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As you know, Official Politics as played in DC and represented by Big Media is pretty much divorced from the real world.

Got fiscal problems that come from lack of Jobs and people not having cash? Put forth legislation and programs about anything but Job-creation, and make sure people have less cash. (You are allowed to talk about Jobs if you are running for office, however.)

Want to protect the nation from its enemies? Create more enemies every year by sending hundreds of thousands of people thousands of miles away to terrify and kill people in their own land. If you can't afford to send troops to anyone of a dozen or more nations, send sky killer robots. Just make more enemies whatever it takes.

Got a broken Economy which got that way because of widespread fraud and corruption? Help those frauds and corrupts make their disastrous books look better with massive cheap loans and buying their garbage products at face value. It's vital that they be allowed to conduct business pretty much as they did in the way that caused the crash in the first place. (Whatever you do, don't press criminal charges on the criminals, as that will decrease their bonuses for destroying the Economy, which in turn will likely hurt Campaign Contributions.)

Got a War on Drugs which sees the price of drugs grow cheaper and the usage grow wider after decades of War? Okay, put 300,000 or so of minorities and poor people in jail for having miniscule amounts of the stuff; make sure the people who actually help drug-lords to use their ill-gotten gains (Bankers again) give over a percentage of their take to the government in fines. Again, no serious charges, likely for the same reason. (Or is it they have interesting stories to tell if necessary? e.g., Nixon, Richard; and BCCI for starters)

And here's a real knee-slapper for you: We live in a Democracy. (And, yes, for the strict hobbyist out there we are a Representative Republic, or a Democratic Republic, depending on what you like.)

Nonetheless, whenever it's time to have a war, everyone in Public Life agrees we are a Democracy. Even though what the people want in the democracy seldom gets made law.

What's funny about this, and so much more, is... oh wait. Did I say funny? Well, yeah sort of funny if you are morbid or just beaten down so low you can only laugh. What's sad about this...

is it's all the result of what so many take to be "pragmatism." When in fact, if a real solution to a problem is at hand -- something which would actually work, something which could actually be done -- it is immediately said by pragmatists that "it's not politically viable" and it's thrown out, usually without even a hearing. This kind of, ahem, analysis has more of Realpolitician-Lick than Realpolitik about it.

Consider, for merely the one example of the Public Option and Health Insurance politics. The problem and the complaint: medical care costs too much; the care actually delivered is crap when compared to our peers (and a few poor countries). Nope, not possible, can't get there from here. (Health Care Quality was never even raised for a day, btw.)

Well, maybe at that time, with that Congress. But if it had been insisted upon (along with massive job creation)... likely the new Congress following the next elections. Or the one after that, but surely it would happen sooner than it will from today.

And here we come to the root misapprehension so many "pragmatists" have: There are no, and can be no, pragmatic solutions in a fictive world.

What's "fictive" about Official Politics, and as shown on TV? These:

The reason that "Many Good Jobs Now" isn't the main issue for either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party is not because deficits are killing us so we can't spend the money (and they all know this-- and mind you, insanely high majorities of voters have been desiring this as a top concern for years now, even before the Crash),...

...is because both Parties accept at root but for different reasons, that you want your American labor to come as cheap as you can possibly get it. To compete in the global marketplace, don'cha know? And so businesses can be profitable. And politicians who help businesses get profitable get rewarded.

(Oh, did I just let slip some Real Realpolitik? Didn't mean to make anyone faint.)

The alert person can go through my (very partial) listing of Cognitive DC Dissonance above, and work out pretty quickly that, for all the Sound and Fury of the two party struggle, pretty much pleasing the guys with Money above all else is the shared world-view of both Parties. (There are exceptions, for instance among the Socialists in Congress, but certainly not among leaderships).

And now we've come to the Grand Bargain the President is trying to achieve. Although all sense, reason, experience, and arithmetic shows that Social Security is not a contributor to the deficit and won't be for anywhere from 20 to 78 years (depending on if we get out of the current Great Depression [shoot, we're not supposed to notice that, sorry everyone -- jp]) it is being offered to the Republicans as a bargaining chip.

As if it were a true thing, or maybe since we are negotiating with liars it would disturb comity if we said "stop with this lie."

That Medicare also needs to be cut because of perpetually rising costs (including the pharmaceutical prices which are held high by some sort of magic it seems)..

But I already said Public Option. Medicare expansion if you prefer.

Now, our pragmatists-with-a fictive-base, who mistake what we see about Official Politics for the sum and substance of actual-politics-as-practice, argue -- and quite plausibly once you buy the assumptions that DC is somehow connected to reality [extraordinary claims, baby, extraordinary claims! -- jp]

that the President wants to solve this urgent deficit problem (which doesn't exist as it's not a cause but a result of no jobs/no cashflow)

and he is demonstrating to the Republicans "I'll hurt my base, and that gives you permission to hurt your base, so let's both do this in the interests of the nation."

Well, there's a touch of Beltway Myopia. For two reasons: one, here on Real Earth the joyous thrill of a harmonious working together of both parties will be paid for by the immiseration, and job loss, of tens of millions, maybe hundreds in the long term. And surely, surely, surely, the Economy will suffer if more cash is taken out of it. No one disputes that, and if they do, send them to Southern Europe for a few months. [nb: if someone will finance me, I will make the sacrifice and go to Southern Europe for a few months, btw -- jp]

Second reason: the Republicans want a malfunctioning government. With the hundreds of thousands of spies and devices and wire taps and scanners of the internet you'd think somebody in charge would have noticed by now that they've been saying this for decades!!!

Now, the DC-infected type of pragmatist will say "Aha! And there's the beauty of the plan. We'll get to paint them as truculent, divisive, obstructive... etc. And thus get an electoral advantage with the voters. Brilliant!"

That's true we will get to say that. And the Republicans will get to say "we refused a deal and saved your Social Security and Medicare from cuts." And they'll have video clips of the President offering them, saying they need reform, and so on.

So which do you think, after 20 years of Republicans being plainly obstructionist etc, will swing more voters, and in which direction?

I was told a Yiddish expression I might transcribe wrongly here: yiddisha kupf. It's more subtle in meaning than our "he's so smart he's stupid." It refers to someone so absorbed in playing the angles that he misses the key action. And that's what our DC-style pragmatism is entirely about.

Want an electoral advantage? Really? Promise, and mean to carry out, those things that 60, 70, 80% of the voters say they want done. There's your Real-World pragmatism.

So now, about the title.

Fie upon this Bargain for a measly Grand. Please, just stop with this.

 Play politics the way it's really played in our Senate and House. Offer each member a flat $20 million dollars, one payment, no taxes, to take the steps the American people want taken on easily a dozen issues.

Take the steps necessary to actually solve the nation's problems, and strengthen the Economy, and improve the lot of the voters. "$20 million free and clear; drop the bullshit."

$20 million x 535 is just under $12 billion. Why you can hardly wipe out a village these days for that kind of chump change.

Okay, I know, I know, I know. "Jim P, why that's an absurd proposition!"

But these are negotiations. It'll probably take $30 million and a couple of villas to swing the deal, but why not open with a low bid?

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Comment Preferences

  •  This ain't snark. If the President (14+ / 0-)

    won't offer it, I say we do telethons and money bombs, bake sales, etc to raise the bribe money the persuasive speech we'd need.

    It's time to think outside the DC coffin, America.


    We live in a nation where doctors destroy health; lawyers, justice; universities, knowledge; governments, freedom; the press, information; religion, morals; and our banks destroy the economy. -- Chris Hedges

    by Jim P on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 11:45:11 PM PST

    •  You won't even raise 12 mln. (0+ / 0-)
    •  Well, people have already said (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens, PhilJD, Jim P

      they'll pay higher taxes in order to preserve Social Security.

      So let's just pay it up front.

      How much would each American have to front for that 12 billion? (bad at math over here...)

      we've got 300 million people...you've got to subtract out children and the 1%, I mean the .01%--the ultra-wealthy--who would not be interested.

      I'm actually, really, interested in this. At least it would show the political class that we're calling their bluff and asking them to put down the bullshit, already.

      if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 09:08:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "It's a big club, and you're not in it" (9+ / 0-)

    George Carlin (Feb 2007), click on the "show more" below the video at the youtube site and see the whole transcript:

    "...Well, we know what [the owners] want -- they want MORE for themselves and less for everybody else. ...

    ...They want OBEDIENT WORKERS. OBEDIENT WORKERS. People who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork, and just dumb enough to passably accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime, and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And now they're comin' for your SOCIAL SECURITY MONEY. ...



    We live in a nation where doctors destroy health; lawyers, justice; universities, knowledge; governments, freedom; the press, information; religion, morals; and our banks destroy the economy. -- Chris Hedges

    by Jim P on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 11:59:43 PM PST

    •  Neither are the pragmatists. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PhilJD, Jim P

      Not even the President.

      They're just angling for dinner invitations, pandering for a raise, scrambling to remain visible, or groveling to avoid dismissal.

      When 1% take 121% of the gains from "recovery", people actually recovering from lost employment are trading down on wages and benefits. Current strategies by moderates don't even consider winning the Class War.

      by Words In Action on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 08:39:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "pleasing the guys with Money above all else" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action, gulfgal98, phonegery

    is the American (political) Way, and has been for a long time.  Not much has changed since the railroad barrons bought Congress.

    And it you look at "who runs the money" you'll find that not much has changed there, either . . .

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 07:57:46 AM PST

  •  We can do it a lot cheaper. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action, gulfgal98, 3goldens

    Just turn off the Goddamn TV, everybody. Why do our "representatives" need so much money? To buy TV ad time. What if television advertising didn't make any difference? It's DIY campaign finance reform. Turn the damned thing off! Read books and newspapers, talk to your neighbors. Don't give the SOBs a direct payment. They've already got gold-plated healthcare, make 'em earn it.

    The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

    by Azazello on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 08:08:48 AM PST

  •  It's the moderates, stupid. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phonegery, PhilJD

    Without them, the Republicans would be irrelevant and the plutocrats could be over-whelmed.

    When 1% take 121% of the gains from "recovery", people actually recovering from lost employment are trading down on wages and benefits. Current strategies by moderates don't even consider winning the Class War.

    by Words In Action on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 08:30:25 AM PST

    •  This is a competition for a job (0+ / 0-)

      between rival applicants.

      Same job, different applicants with different styles. And the Democrats are winning, because they're better at holding us down and preserving order than the Bush types.

      if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 09:09:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You are also assuming (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nchristine, phonegery, FG, 3goldens, PhilJD

    that if we bought them they'd stay bought.  I'm not so sure that they wouldn't just take our money (as in fact they already do) and continue to serve their own class (and "identity") interests . . .

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 08:33:38 AM PST

    •  The vast majority of pragmatists are not (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deward Hastings, 3goldens, PhilJD, Jim P

      serving their own class. They are kissing up. As I said elsewhere:

      They're angling for dinner invitations, pandering for a raise, scrambling to remain visible, or groveling to avoid dismissal.
      Many of them no doubt think they are doing the only good possible, through the system. And they can point to some "successes". What they fail to acknowledge and take responsibility for is the massive, long-term failure they have had in the Class, Climate and Culture War.

      When 1% take 121% of the gains from "recovery", people actually recovering from lost employment are trading down on wages and benefits. Current strategies by moderates don't even consider winning the Class War.

      by Words In Action on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 08:43:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We don't pay it all up front. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim P

      That would be too stupid for words.

      In essence, that's what we've been doing with our campaign contributions and labor, for around 20 years now.

      if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 09:10:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I agree. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jim P

    Let's stop raising the money for politicians' campaigns and start raising the money to pay the politicians off.

    if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 09:05:55 AM PST

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