Sunday, January 27, 2013

In Centrist Times

So, all right, we won the election. Pluralism won out over ROWGs (Rich Old White Guys) and Mr. One Percent isn't President.

But what have we won?
  • Huge numbers of people have lost their homes.
  • Unemployment, though improving, is still high, and most new jobs pay less than the jobs they replace.
  • The degradation of the environment of human culture and of the earth's ecosystem continues.
  • The wars and the expansion of the national security state continue.
So now we have the administration floating cuts Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid as trial balloons. We have the PPACA, which will funnel vast amounts of money to the hated health insurance firms. And we have an organized attempt to stack the electoral college in favor of Republicans.

What have we won?

Gay rights, black rights, women's rights. The right to have our votes counted, though the Republicans are still trying to take that away. Not small things, no, but these rights will not return any people to their homes, or get people jobs. In these things, we have won only the right to keep fighting.

What remains to be won?

The security of elections from big money
After two billion spent on the Presidential election, about a billion from both sides, the Democrats and the Republicans fought to a standstill, or perhaps the Obama campaign's superior computer campaigning won the day. But in state and local elections, it's entirely another story. A sufficiently well-heeled outsider can buy most state and local elections.

A non-partisan judiciary
On Friday, the DC Circuit rendered a ruling that invalidates not just many of Obama's recess appointments. The immediate results are that the National Labor Relations Board is shut down, probably indefinitely, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may never begin operations. But the decision is very broad, and probably nothing like the original intent of the Framers. Reasoning like Christian fundamentalists, the Court rendered a decision which invalidates executive and judicial appointments throughout the 20th century. Stare decisis much? The willingness of "conservatives" to tear down long-standing governmental structures to achieve short-term political goals is an awesome thing.

At this point, I'm finding ideas coming faster than I have time to flesh them out. So I'm going to outline them, and maybe I'll return to them later.

A representative government
Reform the Senate, the Electoral College, and the campaign finance system. We don't have representative democracy any more; we have something else, something run by money and media, and it's killing us.

Environmental action

Reality-based economic policy
Keynes was right, Hayek was wrong. It's time to admit it and act on it.

Health care for all

Labor rights
The right to negotiate working conditions and wages as equals with management.

2 comments:

Kenneth Almquist said...

The ruling of the DC Circuit is in no way the final word on the subject. Since it conflicts with decisions in other circuits, it is likely that the Supreme Court will make the final decision. In the mean time, the NLRB will continue to function.

The Raven said...

it's the Roberts Court that's ruling, though, and probably Roberts will cast the deciding. I think Roberts is likely to be sensitive to the sheer craziness of overturning 200 years of settle law, but also anti-labor, and so will cast a deciding vote in favor of another mess of a decision.