Friday, February 18, 2011

PUNCHING BAGS. As conservatives denounce schoolteachers who seek to preserve their collective bargaining rights, it's good to be reminded by Matt Taibbi that the banksters who wrecked the economy have been let off scott free and then some by the government. Lehman Brothers' Dick Fuld, AIG's Joe Cassano, and assorted big and less-big fish have suffered no meaningful consequences for their actions. But that doesn't mean law & order sleeps:
Which is not to say that the Obama era has meant an end to law enforcement. On the contrary: In the past few years, the administration has allocated massive amounts of federal resources to catching wrongdoers — of a certain type. Last year, the government deported 393,000 people, at a cost of $5 billion. Since 2007, felony immigration prosecutions along the Mexican border have surged 77 percent; nonfelony prosecutions by 259 percent. In Ohio last month, a single mother was caught lying about where she lived to put her kids into a better school district; the judge in the case tried to sentence her to 10 days in jail for fraud, declaring that letting her go free would "demean the seriousness" of the offenses.

So there you have it. Illegal immigrants: 393,000. Lying moms: one. Bankers: zero. The math makes sense only because the politics are so obvious. You want to win elections, you bang on the jailable class. You build prisons and fill them with people for selling dime bags and stealing CD players. But for stealing a billion dollars? For fraud that puts a million people into foreclosure? Pass. It's not a crime. Prison is too harsh. Get them to say they're sorry, and move on. Oh, wait — let's not even make them say they're sorry...
One of the saddest things about the decline of this country is that we've relearned a pre-democratic contempt for the suffering of the less fortunate and a solicitous interest in the problems of the very fortunate. Poor saps who never had a chance are presumed to never have deserved one, while the rich are treated with kid gloves lest they take offense and go Galt on us. Once Americans cheered the underdog. Now I see there's a book out called Underdogma: How America's Enemies Use Our Love for the Underdog to Trash American Power which tells that this generosity of spirit is actually a dangerous delusion:
David versus Goliath, the American Revolutionaries, "The Little Engine That Could," Team USA’s "Miracle on Ice," the Star Wars Rebel Alliance, Rocky Balboa, the Jamaican bobsled team and the meek inheriting the Earth.

Everyone, it seems, loves an underdog.... But this tendency, which international political consultant and human rights activist Michael Prell calls “underdogma,” can be very dangerous – both to America and to the world at large.
We hear a lot of talk about "hippie punching" these days, but make no mistake: Under a certain, very high net worth, everybody's getting punched.

No comments:

Post a Comment