View From Table 9

November 8, 2008

Reality has Strangled Invention

That’s what Philadelphia Inquirer columnist and blogger Dick Polman wrote this week, himself channeling sportswriter Red Smith (writing about an improbable baseball climax).  Yep, that about sums it up.   In a way, every presidential election is historic.  This one, though, is special not just for the ethnicity and personal histories of the candidates (first former POW, first bi-racial American).  It is special because it shows we’ve finally woken up from our daydreamed collective fears of imagined boogeymen destroying ‘the American way of life’ and realized that while we were sleeping, that’s exactly what the tale-spinners who enchanted us with these stories were doing all along.  While they were scaring us with stories of terrorists and gays and the Godless and the immoral they themselves were robbing us blind, proof once again that greed is the worst sin of all.

So now we’ve got hope, and boy does that feel good.

Some reality:

We will not be able to exit Iraq and Afghanistan for some time.  Why?  Because a significant portion of our nation’s income is made in defense.  Like it or not, we are a Warrior Nation.  Don’t believe me?  Watch the movie Why We Fight.

Deficits are going to get bigger.  And, really, given the state of the mess we’re in, they are the least of our worries.   Balanced budgets are for future administrations, ones who have a more stable economy not so highly dependent on consumer spending without supporting industry to pay those consumers living wages.

See, that’s the thing we deluded ourselves into thinking we could get away with – more spending without more income.  Spending without industry. We exported our earning power while keeping our spending power, creating basically a large house of cards (no pun intended).  Now, once again, we know that’s not sustainable nor is it desirable.

Lastly, we won’t see wholesale changes in our healthcare system for some time.  Again, this is a significant source of employment for our country.  What I hope we’ll see is improvement in the insurance rating systems to improve the insurability of many – something modeled on community rating where all employers in an area can secure insurance at the same rates regardless of their individual group experience.  This allows better access with fewer cost barriers for those who are the sickest.

Oh yeah, and those Bush Tax cuts due to end in 2010?  I’d be surprised if they’re not repealed in 2009.


What I hope is that we’ll use this time to develop a more progressive tax system that ensures that those who benefit the most pay in the most, fueling this democratic society properly.

I hope that we’ll turn our attention back to creating and sustaining real industry, rather than exporting industry and importing debt.  Perhaps built on sustainable, domestic energy rather than petroleum?  That alone guarantees our freedom and creates employment infrastructure more than any oil drilling can.

Lastly I hope the boogeymen are finally vanquished to their closets for a while. These are serious times and they demand serious people with serious solutions.   Let’s hope that the purveyors of these scary fairy tales of gay terrorist atheists who hate NASCAR’s 15 minutes are up.

Hope.  What a wonderful feeling.


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