I hope the book fair is not too bothersome. It still has a way to go. I have been quite, because I used up much of my spare backlog of posts while I was finishing up the reviews. But it was not my intent to not post anything else while it was going on. That was just the way it has worked out.
I saw an interesting post at Decline of the Empire, about the debt ceiling fight, and wrote a response to it. Quoting myself (LOL):
Jack Goldstone, in his book, when discussing the cyclical nature of revolutionary changes, noted that when demographic problems cause an economy to lose steam, a number of bad things happen.
One thing that happens is that the elites begin fighting over the spoils. As the pie shrinks they do their best to grab an even larger portion for themselves to maintain their relative station.
Tie Party rallies are very much about an elite group (granted a relatively low power one) trying to stake out its share of the wealth going forward. The tea party have become, partially the machinations of another elite group (big media interests) a part of the Republican Party.
The Republican “Middle Class” base does not feel that they are getting much from the establishment created (in their minds) by Johnson, FDR, and (nod to Glenn Beck) Woodrow Wilson. With a strong libertarian streak, they are of the opinion that they have earned their success, and the government is both siphoning off their wealth, and intruding in their ability to create more.
Arguing that their earlier prosperity was (for many of them) a combination of hard work that was also well positioned in time and place is obviously not a going to gain a whole lot of traction. Whether you are a suburban gang-banger, or a middle class tea-partier ready to retire: success always belongs to you; failure is the fault of others.
The Republicans want to “starve the beast.”It is their way of reasserting their status within the system. And if they are not allowed that position, then they have very little care for the system. It is these types of activities within elites that get revolutions started. That the end result often looks nothing like what was intended is somewhat beside the point.
The worry is not that the “stupid” republicans don’t know what they are doing. They know what they are doing. That they are willing to risk the unknowable results is what is worrying.
That is pretty much where I left off. You will note that I don't use the "first person plural" of "we" when discussing the Tea Party and Republicans. It is not that I have not sympathy for their views, I just think much of them are geared toward an earlier era of our country: the era of physical expansion and compounding returns on investment. Since, I think those days are over, I don't think their programs are going to work going forward. Lower taxes will not get you an increased return, and social security will probably not earn its way out of collapse - regardless of how you add up your little pieces of paper.
Now Decline of the Empire is usually somewhere to the left of center, and I really don't much care. For the moment, I probably get enough subsidized benefits (education, roads, etc.), while being in a low enough tax bracket, that I balance out reasonably well on a cost basis. Most of the programs coming from the Left share the Right’s same fatal flaw of using an expanding economy to pay for them. It is simply a matter of which group you want to pay of the most. What annoyed me about the post is the “horse race” aspect of it. The Republicans are stupid because they are using “X” tactic, and voters are going to turn them out. Or the Democrats should insist on a better deal because “Y” will be helpful at election time.
You would think in a blog called Decline of the Empire, they would have moved a little beyond rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.