Friday, December 2, 2016

It's the economy, stupid.

We've all encountered the person who says climate change can't be happening, the planet isn't getting warmer, because it's cold right now. I'm pretty sure we all know that that's a result of an overly simplistic understanding of what climate is, how it works, and we know that they're thoroughly wrong.

 Now, President Obama is handing over the strongest economy in ages - but Trump's voters are convinced the economy's wrecked, and Trump can fix it. Why is that?

Same thing. "The economy can't possibly be in good shape, because I'm poor right now." Sure, corporate profits, the Dow Jones, all that other stuff we measure is all at an all-time high, but the ordinary folks down at the bottom of the economic pyramid don't get that. They just know that their paychecks haven't been increasing much lately, the numbers on the shelf at the grocery store have been increasing, and it's harder to get along. What conclusion can they possibly come to but that the economy is broken?

 I'm not sure I disagree with them on the brokenness of the economy. I very much doubt that a man who has dedicated his entire career to finding ways to create this broken-feeling economic situation will suddenly turn around and start working against it, but he did offer them a change in the status quo, and when you're desperate, any change sounds like a good idea.

 What do we need to do? Massive wealth transfer. Step 1: billionaires pay their fair fucking share of taxes. Capital gains get treated as income. We kill the Social Security cap, which instantly takes Social Security to incredibly overfunded. Corporations pay... well, frankly, any fucking tax at all would be a good start. Once the burden of financing the government is placed on entities that can actually fucking afford to PAY that cost, we move on to step 2: actually helping poor people. Bring EITC up to a point where if you're working, EITC will guarantee you can afford a place to live even if your employer is a leeching shitwad. Yes, it's less efficient to filter that money via the government (since it'll be paid for by the tax on the profits said employer derives by stiffing you out of a living wage) but efficiency is not the only thing we can judge things by. Establish a single payer healthcare system. Everyone is covered. Depending on how smart we play this, we might even manage a basic income for all. But for the moment, that's in "I want a pony" territory.

 What else we need to do: invest in infrastructure. New malls are useless if the roads around them are falling apart. Invest in mass transit that's actually useful; this will help immensely with climate change. Invest in moving to cleaner energy sources. Sorry, coal jobs are going away, but we'll pay for you to go to school and learn how to do jobs that are safer, cleaner, and massively in demand right now because we're moving from coal to solar, or wind, or wave, or tide, or what-the-fuck-ever. Demand for cars is way down, but we can train you on building and maintaining buses, which is a massive growth area. High speed rail. All sorts of things that we could be working on, providing jobs, helping people out of poverty. but no, we need to send them down the coal mine to die in methane explosions, or die of black lung, because it's what their grandpas did.

 Will this be easy? Will it fuck. And that's why Trump won't ever do it. It requires looking at the big picture, looking years, decades down the road, instead of microfocusing on "how can I make the quickest, biggest score from this?".

 Shit, if I was eligible I'd run for President on this platform. Watch me get the popular vote and the Electoral College by a fucking landslide.

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