At Davos, gas-like beings grow nervous

Looks like we’re upsetting the galactic elites as well as our own educated classes.  All that noise.  All those elections.  All that “instability.”  According to the ineffable Tom Friedman, “We’re making people nervous.”  And by “people” he means the cosmic forces composed of pure energy which, once a year, assume bodily shape at Davos, Switzerland.

Friedman is so exasperated, poor man.  Here is President Obama, trying so hard to cut the deficit – as he told us himself, in his “eloquent” State of the Union speech – and there those beastly Republicans, ready to rip the very fabric of the universe asunder to score political points.

Our two-party political system is broken just when everything needs major repair, not minor repair,” said K.R. Sridhar, the founder of Bloom Energy, a fuel cell company in Silicon Valley, who is attending the forum. “I am talking about health care, infrastructure, education, energy. We are the ones who need a Marshall Plan now.” [. . .]

The sad and frustrating thing is, we are so close to being unstuck. If there were just six or eight Republican senators. . . ready to meet Obama somewhere in the middle on deficit reduction, energy, health care and banking reform, I believe that in the wake of the Massachusetts wake-up call the president would indeed meet them in that middle ground to forge not just incremental compromises, but substantial ones on these key issues. But so far, the Republicans are having a good year politically by just being the Party of No.

If only we did away with elections, democracy, political parties, public opinion – if only we obeyed, zombie-like, Friedman and his noncorporeal galactic overlords – why, then they would tell us what is truly important to our meager lives – like, say, “infrastructure.”

But we are not worthy. . .


One Response to At Davos, gas-like beings grow nervous

  1. Stephen Kriz says:

    Republicans do have an alternative–albeit one they understandably prefer not to discuss in any detail. Senator Jim DeMint introduced a GOP stimulus plan, authored by the Heritage Foundation, that consists of making the Bush tax cuts permanent and adding onto them a series of permanent tax breaks heavily tilted toward corporations and high-income earners. It would cost more than $3 trillion–more than triple the cost of Obama’s stimulus–over the next decade, after which point its costs would continue to accrue (whereas the stimulus will end after a few years). This is some sort of ideological brain-stem reflex, not the product of any analysis of the state of the U.S. economy.

    One observer dismissed DeMint’s plan thusly: “It is not innovative or particularly clever. In fact, it’s only eleven pages.” Oddly enough, this observer was DeMint himself, talking up his proposal in a speech at the Heritage Foundation. On the contemporary right, it is a mark of intellectual integrity that even a massive economic cataclysm would not prompt any revising of one’s economic prescription. And, while DeMint speaks from the fringe of the party, his beliefs are by no means confined to it: 90 percent of the current Senate GOP caucus voted for his plan.

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