It looks like the Tea Party Congress of 2010 is going to massively cut social benefits to the poor through to the middle class, and Americans will find that we are not as wealthy a nation as we grew up believing.
I am of two minds. It bothers me greatly that the plutocracy has pulled off such a huge heist, and ordinary folks like us are going to have to suffer.
But I have always had a theory about this — namely that “austerity” will force economic relocalization — a return to family farms, family workshops, and churches with a more “folkish” outlook. Local economy means local culture, and local culture means that it’s influenced by you and I. Most Whites have an automatic way of thinking, and without multiculture constantly spraying Roundup on us, we’ll revert to a more ecologically balanced culture and law for ourselves.
Similarly, the current attack is a two-pronged effort to reorganize state social services, either by eliminating or privatizing them, and decimate public-sector unions whose workers provide those services. While the safety net is being withered by attrition, police and spying agencies are getting more powers and funding, and the wealth of the super-rich and record corporate profits are deemed off-limits to taxation to close any government budget gap.
Simply put, the elderly are superfluous to capitalism. With high rates of joblessness the “new norm,” more and more people are being made disposable. This leads to an efficient if brutal logic: cutting old-age income and health care will make it easier to scrap old, useless workers. In fact, this reality is already coming to pass. One study published in 2008 found that over a 16-year period life expectancy had declined for many poor American women — precisely those who are disproportionately represented among the elderly heavily dependent on Social Security and Medicare.
The elderly make very good urban farmers. The younguns do the heavy lifting, the elderly do the day to day minor maintenance (feeding the animals) and management (telling the younguns when to come pull weeds and throw mulch and shovel manure).
We can return to this sort of thing — a much more efficient, relocalized economy. The problem I ran into was that people with other options choose to watch TV and hang out and shop for recreation and play video games, rather than develop a local economy.
The problem is that if social welfare and the cornucopian economy disappears too abruptly, it could lead to disorders that kill most of us, especially in densely populated areas. We need time to re-organize daily life.
We do have time now, but the people in this country started buying SUV’s again, once the price of oil went from 147 a barrel back down to 33 a barrel. Very short memories, darnit.
Ordinary people reorganizing the economy will be culturally and politically revolutionary, if we can pull it off.