Thursday, September 27, 2007

I Have Bad Gas

OK, would someone please explain a couple of things to me???

  1. Why is it that socialized medicine is reputed to be bad because it eliminates consumer choice and the free market laissez-faire economy will sort itself out, with the best competitors/ companies rising to the top like cream or whatever BUT private utility companies are given government subsidies and monopolies in different municipalities? In other words, the government closes the free market to favor for-profit natural gas companies such as People's Energy or oil companies such as Halliburton or mercenary companies like Blackwater-- but that's okay and not threatening to undermine all that capitalism purports to stand for? Why and how?

  2. Why is it that now that our Democratic Republic has been converted to a Corporatocracy -- primary product oil -- half the people I know no longer can afford luxuries like natural gas for hot water and heat?

  3. Is it true that People's Energy can now turn off your heat in the winter if you haven't paid you bill? If so, why should they get government subsidies within a non-competitive market?

  4. Among other things, are our tax dollars now going to be used to:
  • Steal oil from the Iraqis for American-owned private corporations?

  • Fight wars for oil companies -- who have made record profits the last 3 years running.

  • Give no-bid government contracts to oil companies, who make record profits, disappear billions of dollars and then move to Dubai?

  • Build warming centers (read homeless shelters) for people who have homes, but who have had their heat shut off in the dead of winter because of the astronomical increases in the cost of energy and 6 years of economic depression?*** With all of this oil our government is killing for, we can't even get some heat?

If we're going to have a mixed economy -- and you have to if your nation can be found anywhere on a map of reality -- why can't we face the fact that social welfare will ALWAYS have to exist to prevent rioting and starvation and maintain social stability. (Oh, and it's also THE RIGHT THING TO DO, but I digress.) We justify and allow corporate welfare at a much greater cost. And with corporate welfare -- such as government grants and subsidies or when the feds let corporations off the hook for things like taxes or environmental, health and safety regulations -- the citizenry has to foot the bill at least twice.

  • Once, to provide government contracts to large, for-profit companies. (example: Halliburton's multi-billion dollar contracts in Iraq)
  • Twice, to clean up the fall out. (Another 150 billion dollars to prolong this endless quagmire -- a quagmire that was exacerbated by poor policy planning after the invasion in 2003, policy enacted by companies like Halliburton, for example.)
  • If -- for example -- Halliburton makes record profits from this invasion which just keeps going, will Halliburton be footing the bill for the health care of the vets who come home with chronic and severe health problems while fighting this war for oil profits? Perhaps when hell freezes over?

I don't think that capitalism is the healthiest way to run and sustain a society as large and as heterogeneous as ours, however since that is the system we are using, shouldn't we stick to its basic principles -- like a free market, no corporate subsidies, tariffs on goods manufactured in other countries, etc., etc.? Or if we are going to support a system of corporate welfare, why can't we also support a system of civic welfare and institute socialized medicine, support for sustainable (and affordable) energy sources, childcare programs, etc., atc., etc.?

Am I missing something?

***(This is the City of Chicago's current solution to the disconnected heat situation -- send those without heat to warming centers. How about, cut off all contracts for People's Energy if they can't use their exclusive regional contract to help heat the community?)


JoeC said...

Stop it! Stop it! For crying out loud, you're making too much're making people think. Stop it, already! :-)

Nigel St.John Regina Smegmatica Howle-Raines said...

Capitalism is great. Corporate welfare sucks. Promote one, eliminate the other.

La Sirena said...

Joe -- I'm just so fed up with this big government, pseudo-christian, blood-thirsty bunch of pirates. Their policies make absolutely no sense any way you choose to look at it.

Nigel -- Capitalism can be good, but like any system created by humans, it is flawed -- and the bigger the system gets the more it gets wacky.

What we've got going on now is more evocative of the late 19th century with all of the monopolies and the underpaid, overworked workers.

Of course, years of that got people to organize and found labor unions and to put pressure on the government to bust up the monopolies.

Maybe the pendulum has reached the end or it's arc and is swinging back.

twit said...

Capitalism is fine & honest & realistic, as long as it is balanced/tempered by solid & reliable basic provisions & services for those of us at the bottom of the income-scale.

People are far more likely to play fair (ie - not be lazy scroungers), if they can see that they are being given what they know they are due.

Or maybe I'm just naive.


Pelmo said...

ithuaniaWhen people get their head out of their ass, and start to think maybe just maybe things may change.

Throw the morons a new toy with a few extra bells and whistles and they are happier then a pig in shit.

Look at the frenzy that is caused when a new electronic gadget is about to debut.

If people had to choose between getting free health insurance or their favorite team winning the Super Bowl; guess what they would choose?

And you wonder why corporations and the governament get away with all, of the things they do?

La Sirena said...

Twit -- I'm pretty sure Adam Smith (the Daddy of Capitalism) makes a very similiar point in The Wealth of Nations (the Old Testament of Capitalism). Something like productive workers are those who make enough to cover their needs and can afford to buy the company product, thus expanding profits, etc.

Pelmo -- You are absolutely right about people needing to stop being distracted and snowed -- however, I still have a teeny bit of faith in them. All of the important reforms in this country have occurred because the people demanded them. (Public education, workers rights, civil rights, etc.) Usually it takes a couple of few decades but it does happen.

We jut have to keep trying.

Zoro said...

Hello Jen

I'm sorry to say that I believe that the only answer to your difficulties is MARXISM. This will not go down well in the US (I understate).

I cannot argue for it nor can I persuade you. Marxism is not a quick fix but I will say that if anyone who opposes the greed of current society, analyses their predicament to the utter degree, they will discover the theories of Karl Marx.

I am taking a stand, if I don't, time will keep slipping by. Marxism is a dead letter in the US, but I FEEL that a small marxist presence among the intelligentsia can have a pivotal effect.


La Sirena said...

Z --

Why are you sorry to say something you believe? That said, I appreciate that Marxism can function best in small rural communities -- but I don't see how it can really function well when you're dealing with a large economy, land mass and heterogeneous culture. But I honestly don't think any undiluted theory can work at that level. I truly believe that the only philosophy of government should be pragmatic.

We run into trouble when people clamor for public administrators to stand for ideals. That's ridiculous! Yes, every so often history will spit out a Ghandi or a Lincoln, but generally speaking we should be looking for administrators who know how to, well, administrate, not preambulate. In other words, with 435 Representatives and 100 Senators our budget should be sensible and balanced every year. I'm sorry, but the budget is what everyone works on and fights over from day one. No passing any other new bullshit law until the budget is done.

(And incidentally, what made Lincoln a great president was his pragmatism and committment to running this country well. He was NOT an abolitionist and he had some pretty racist views, however, he believed that this country could not function any longer under the cultural, political, and economic divisiveness caused by slavery. He realized that if the Constitution was to survive into the next century, slavery {and the divisions between North and South} had to be abolished.)

La Sirena said...

Oh and Z, I'm apologize for that UScentric rant there.