Sunday, July 19, 2015

Another documentary you will need to see


"The Best of Enemies," which is set to come out on the 31st of this month, and featured in this Daily Beast article, will be well worth watching. Both because the two principles involved in the debates, who are at the center of the documentary, were such amazingly smart, and articulate men, but also because what they talked about was so prescient for the topics going on today.

William F. Buckley Jr. and Gore Vidal were both intellectuals of the highest rank. You had to admire them both, even if, as a progressive such as myself, you certainly didn't agree with Buckley. The problem was that I, being so young, and the rest of the left being so bereft of ideas to challenge economic orthodoxy, and Buckley be so adept at articulating it, challenging him was no easy thing. Vidal, however, did quite well in at least spelling out what that orthodoxy was doing wrong.

The Daily beast article spends a few paragraphs on Hillary Clinton's latest economic speech, and how she takes the Republicans to task for "Trickle Down" policies a few "Troglodytes" are still trying to peddle; the "cut taxes" for the rich, and let corporations have their way policies that the Democrats have repeatedly had to come in and clean up from.

What is interesting here, even as Mrs. Clinton makes reference to creating jobs that pay meaningful middle class wages, is that she seems to gloss over the fact that it was her husband who put two of the most significant nails in the coffins of the middle class: gutting Glass-Steagle, and pushing through NAFTA. Sure, he balanced the books on the deficits, and got jobs growing again, as well as a bit of an increase in wages, a great deal of which was squandered during the Bush II years, but it is also undeniable that he laid the ground work for both the Dot Com bust in the early 00's, as well as the "Great Recession." And now that we've had another two terms of a Democratic administration, where are we? At even greater levels of inequality, both as wealth and as outcomes.

What magic formula is she going to apply to suddenly get Big Money to pay more of its net gain in wages and accept less as profit? What formula that won't displease the bankers and investment honchos who are just as much a part of her financial base as it was for Obama; they guy who not only couldn't jail any of them after the Great Depression, but even brought some of their proteges into his administration. What formula that can't be corrupted, watered down, or otherwise deflected in the long term. And perhaps almost as bad, what formula that won't choke this god awful engine off with bureaucracy, well intended or not; for never forget that competition is a part of the stupid game, whether you like it or not, and you fuck with it at the game's peril.

The simple fact of the matter is that it can no longer be tolerated, and it can't be reformed. This merry go round of cliches has to stop and we all have to get off of it. The thing is, it would be far better to do this in an intelligent, and at least semi-organized fashion, rather than having the mess come apart of a sudden and fling everybody off. Therein lies the choice. It will stop eventually. The only question is whether we will have any effective steerage involved when it does.

ABC NEWS - ELECTION COVERAGE 1968 - "Convention Coverage" - Airdate in August 1968. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) WILLIAM BUCKLEY;GORE VIDAL

Vidal vs. Buckley Paved the Way for the 2016 Debates