Mailvox: tea parties

JW asks if he is wasting his time protesting with the Tea Party:

What are your thoughts of the coming tax day tea parties on April 15th? I know that “protests” are nearly always irrelevant for creating change, but I also think that it is one the very few things a can do to create change despite the very insignificant chance that it will change anything. Perhaps a blog post in the near future can help provide so more outside insight on whether or not I am wasting my time standing outside with a stick and John Galt T-shirt.

Yes, I’m not a big fan of protests myself, as to me they usually appear to be events that are manufactured in order to provide an rationale for pushing something that is in the works anyhow. But the reaction of the media in attempting to bury these anti-government protests indicates that they are important; if nothing else, it makes it clear to the rest of the nation and the world that America is not supinely submitting to its financial rape.

Will it change anything? I don’t see how it really can. Washington demonstrated its complete contempt for public opinion in forcing the House of Representatives to vote until it got it right on the Wall Street bailout despite the overwhelming opposition of the American public, and it’s no secret that I have long believed the die is already cast. But, is it worthwhile? I think that it probably is, especially for those conservatives and Republicans who rightly feel conscience-stricken about putting Bush and the GOP into power in 2000. Even if such protests are little more than the difference between striking out while swinging and getting caught looking, the distinction is one of character and conscience. Also, as Daniel Hannan pointed out last week, you just never know what is going to be the last straw on the camel’s back.

So, I fully support the Tea Party movement, in fact, I think that would be an excellent name for a third party not just focused on limited government, but genuinely limiting the size and scope of government.

The reason is irrelevant

When you hand over control, you hand over control, and there’s not much point about crying over the fact that you lost it later:

Under the Bush team a prominent and profitable bank, under threat of a damaging public audit, was forced to accept less than $1 billion of TARP money. The government insisted on buying a new class of preferred stock which gave it a tiny, minority position. The money flowed to the bank. Arguably, back then, the Bush administration was acting for purely economic reasons. It wanted to recapitalize the banks to halt a financial panic….

After 35 years in America, I never thought I would see this. I still can’t quite believe we will sit by as this crisis is used to hand control of our economy over to government. But here we are, on the brink. Clearly, I have been naive.

The Bush administration bluffed the banks and Obama is taking advantage of it. This is how the expansion of government in a two-party system usually works! It’s the Counterpush principle, the Nixon-to-China concept. The party which is supposedly against something is used to punch a hole through the wall of popular opinion, then the other party exploits the breach.

Monday column

Grow and Die

“Grow or die” is one of the corporate mantras of the late 20th century. The peculiar shape that corporations now take, courtesy of the perversion of capitalism that is modern finance-driven corporatism, requires constant growth. Rather like great white sharks, which must keep swimming to avoid suffocation, modern corporations have had to keep growing to avoid seeing their stock prices punished by an increasingly avaricious Wall Street.

From 1948 to 1985, the financial sector accounted for around 12 percent of American corporate profits, never reaching 20 percent nor dipping below 5 percent. After 1985, however, the profits of the sector rose dramatically, going from 19 percent in 1986 to 41 percent in 2000. That meant that more than 40 cents out of every corporate dollar of profit was paper profit, not generated by actual wealth-generating activity, but by monetary inflation and corporate gambling….