Is Krugman Right is America an Oligarchy?


Union Workers in Indianapolis

Union workers protest "Right to Work" proposal in Indianapolis

Paul Krugman says that’s the case in his column from 2/20/11.  There are a few points to ponder here.  First, Mr. Krugman reminds us the Representative Paul Ryan (R) was among those that compared Madison to Cairo last week.  Krugman admits that Ryan did not intend to compare Gov. Scott Walker to Hosni Mubarak, but goes on to say,

In any case, however, Mr. Ryan was more right than he knew. For what’s happening in Wisconsin isn’t about the state budget, despite Mr. Walker’s pretense that he’s just trying to be fiscally responsible. It is, instead, about power. What Mr. Walker and his backers are trying to do is to make Wisconsin — and eventually, America — less of a functioning democracy and more of a third-world-style oligarchy. And that’s why anyone who believes that we need some counterweight to the political power of big money should be on the demonstrators’ side.

No.  Neither Representative Ryan nor anyone comparing the union protests in Wisconsin to the unrest in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Iran are correct.   It’s a poor comparison in every way and in fact has much more in common with the 2010 riots in Greece, France and London as I detailed last week.

But what of this idea that America is “less of a functioning democracy and more of a third-world-style oligarchy”?  Oddly, I agree with Mr. Krugman to a point anyway.  Capitalism has been perverted past the point of crony Capitalism to a sinister version of Corporatism.  Corporations have bought and paid for politicians on both sides to eliminate competition and re-write rules and regulations to fix the game in their favor.  They find those that have written complicated regulations then hire them so they can better exploit them. Tim Carney at the The Washington Examiner exposed a vivid example of this trend a few weeks ago in his column,  Bail Them Out, Regulate Them, Then Work for Them.

Mr. Krugman goes on to say,

There’s a bitter irony here. The fiscal crisis in Wisconsin, as in other states, was largely caused by the increasing power of America’s oligarchy. After all, it was superwealthy players, not the general public, who pushed for financial deregulation and thereby set the stage for the economic crisis of 2008-9, a crisis whose aftermath is the main reason for the current budget crunch. And now the political right is trying to exploit that very crisis, using it to remove one of the few remaining checks on oligarchic influence.

This is where I part ways.  Why, because it’s clear that the Unions are not a check or balance they are part of the Oligarchy.  You see there is no right or left, it’s a myth.  Stating the political spectrum as right and left gives the illusion that there is a direction you can go that is correct.  I submit to you that either direction is dangerous.   We should speak not of  right and left, but clockwise and counter-clockwise.  If liberty is at 12 noon, you travel clockwise to conservatism, nationalism, fascism, to serfdom at 6 o’clock.  If you travel counter-clockwise from freedom at 12 o’clock, you pass through liberalism, socialism, communism to serfdom at 6 o’clock.

You see, it doesn’t matter which you choose; the government-big labor oligarchy of the liberal or the government-big business oligarchy of the conservative, you end up in the same place.  Left and right are a convenient illusion created for the purpose of distracting you from seeing the men and groups behind the curtain pulling your strings.  It’s time to cut the strings and neuter the puppet-masters.

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About Larry Downes

Son, brother, husband, father, boss, mentor & friend. Believer in unfettered personal liberty. Occasional host on 93.1 WIBC in Indianapolis.

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