Monday, October 01, 2012

Krugman's Referendum

Paul Krugman has an editorial today in the New York Times in which he says that this year’s election is a referendum; not as profound a statement as he thinks it is since, by definition, every election is a referendum. He says that voters are “being asked to deliver a verdict on the legacy of the New Deal and the Great Society, on Social Security, Medicare and, yes, Obamacare…” To the extent that he may be right is the extent to which this nation has lost any sense of principle and has sunk into a quagmire of self interest, because the referendum he poses is “what is the government going to give me?”

The debate which is not being held is “should this be a nation which takes a person’s liberty from them, or their life, without due process of law?” We do not even debate that. Our president has ordered that these things be done, and we accept it despite the fact that out nation’s constitution expressly forbids it.

Another debate which is not being held is to ask if this nation should have the world’s largest military, a military stationed in every corner of the world, and be a nation perpetually at war? We actively support that status, despite the fact that our nation’s constitution expressly forbids the formation of a permanent standing army.

We are, in this election, not discussing our wars abroad, the state of our military empire, or the death and destruction that we impose daily in nations overseas. We are not discussing the constant abrogation of the mandates of our constitution. These are mere principles, and principles mean little or nothing to us. Instead we are discussing what the government is going to provide in the way of benefits to us. We demand that our government spend money which it does not collect in the form of taxes to provide to us the comforts of healthcare, infrastructure, and pensions.

And it's all good because, Paul Krugman tells us, "borrowing costs are at historic lows." Having what you cannot pay for is good merely because debt is cheap. (And governments never repay debts.)

2000 men and women are dead in Afghanistan, 4500 in the sands of Iraq. Did they die so the Sally and Fred could have good jobs? Did they die to protect Johhny's pension? What they thought they were protecting, what they swore an oath to protect, was the constitution of these United States, and we blithely overlook the violation of that document every day and discuss what Obama has done to cut taxes and provide comfort. We dishonor their deaths every day with this campaign of selfishness.

Bread and circuses. An empire rotting from within.

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