Tag Archives: Status quo

Is This “The Most Important Election of our Lives” or Just Another Distraction? by Charles Hugh Smith

Not surprisingly, Smith’s answer is: just another distraction. From Smith at oftwominds.com:

The problem isn’t polarization; the problem is neither flavor of the status quo is actually solving any of the nation’s most pressing system problems.
As I write this at 5 pm (Left Coast) November 6, the election results are unknown. While various media are trumpeting this as “the most important election of our lives,” the less eyeball-catching, emotion-triggering reality is this election is nothing but another distraction. No matter who “wins,” none of our systemic problems will be addressed, much less solved.
Does either party have the will or coherent grasp of what’s broken to fix America’s healthcare mess? No. The Democrats’ “solution” is to take the bloated, ineffective Medicare system that incentivizes blatant fraud, overbilling and profiteering and increase the sickcare cartels’ power and profits via “Medicare for All.”
This is akin to giving defense contractors the power to set the Pentagon budget. Oh, wait, they already have that power.
In the exact same fashion, Medicare’s soaring budget is set by profiteering’ cartels. Nothing will change in “Medicare for All” except taxes will go up and the cartels will skim additional billions in rentier profits.
The Republican solution is to call quasi-monopolies and cartels “markets.”Since turning everything into a market solves all problems, that’s the “market-based “solution.” But since healthcare is run by cartels, which fix the “market” to their own benefit, there really is no “market” in healthcare, and nobody’s interested in establishing one because that would crater cartel profits.
As I’ve noted many times, our dysfunctional healthcare will bankrupt the nation all by itself. Sickcare Will Bankrupt the Nation–And Soon (2011)
How about a systemic solution for opioid addiction? If you believe either party has a solution,” you need to reduce your Ibogaine intake. Opioids and other addictions (like social media and mobile phones) are immensely profitable and so the cartels and monopolies profiting from addictions fund politicos in both parties to insure their profits aren’t reduced.
How about a dysfunctional weapons procurement system? Both parties love trillion-dollar weapons programs as long as the money sluices into enough Congressional districts. So what if the weapon system is defective, already outdated, poorly designed, the wrong system for the challenges ahead or simply not cost-effective– as long as the campaign contributions are gushing into D.C. and politicos can brag about “jobs” created by building failed weaponry, nothing will change. The Pentagon can beg Congress to stop building the darn thing and the Pentagon will be ignored: there’s simply too much money at stake to care whether it actually serves military needs.
How about soaring debt loads on every sector of the economy? Money that goes to pay interest can’t be invested or spent elsewhere, and that starves the economy of productive investment. The super-wealthy own much of the debt and receive much of the interest income. This is a systemic problem that isn’t viewed as a problem because the super-wealthy own the political process.
The “solution” to crushing student loan debt ($1.4 trillion and counting) is to transfer the entire debt to the taxpayers, meaning the federal government issues another $1.4 trillion in debt to pay the super-wealthy who own all the student loans. Nice for the super-wealthy and politicos, not so nice for future taxpayers burdened with trillions more in debt.
Neither party can accept that higher education is a failed, dysfunctional system. And so the “solution” is borrow another couple trillion and pay interest to the super-wealthy who own the debt, all for an “education” that often has little value in either the economy or the debt-serf students’ lives.
The problem isn’t polarization; the problem is neither flavor of the status quo is actually solving any of the nation’s most pressing system problems. This is why we’re coming apart at the seams: problems are being left unaddressed and so they only become more entrenched and destructive.

Why Even a Modest Disruption Will Shatter the Status Quo, by Charles Hugh Smith

From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

Any modest reduction in debt, tax revenues, consumption or new borrowing will bring the entire Status Quo crashing down.

Consider this clipping from the August 1932 San Francisco Chronicle newspaper:

“Reduction of salaries of municipal employees and limitation of city positions to only one member of a household will be sought by (Supervisor) Adolph Uhl in two amendments to the San Francisco charter. The salary reductions would run from 2.5% for the lowest bracket to 25% on salaries of $500 a month or more.”

Thanks to the handy BLS Inflation Calculator we know that $500 a month in 1932 is the equivalent of $8,680 per month (about $104,000) a year.

Imagine the tempest of fury and outrage that would arise should this be proposed the next time local governments run short of funding. Nowadays, the calls would not be for sacrifices from the highly paid public servants but for tax increases of 25% to maintain public-servant wages and benefits while the private sector economy implodes.

This unwillingness to sacrifice for the greater good is now endemic. This is the result of two powerful social forces:

1. The loss of any shared sense of purpose or social good worthy of sacrifice.

2. The ascendancy of maximizing private gain by whatever means are available as the primary purpose and goal of the Status Quo.

The dominance of maximizing private gain by whatever means are available leaves the Status Quo brittle and fragile. Since everyone reckons any sacrifice should fall on someone else, the only possible result is disunity and bitter conflict over modest sacrifices that are too inconsequential to save the system from collapse.

To continue reading: Why Even a Modest Disruption Will Shatter the Status Quo