Monday, March 18, 2013
Brainless Politics. The Cyprus Example and Others
Reading about events in Cyprus reminded me once again about the weird illogical aspect of so much politics. Stuff, where you have to put your brain away to keep going.
The list can be very long but these are the items that I could think of right away:
1. The United States spends humongous amounts of money on its military, more than the next ten (or more) biggest spenders put together. Yet that military spending is a Holy Cow for both parties, pretty much, whereas this country of great riches cannot afford health care for the poor or retirement for anyone below the one percent. A related Holy Cow is that the contributions to social security must remain regressive so that the burden is mostly on those who have lower incomes.
2. The largest funder of Islamic terrorism is Saudi Arabia. And Saudi funding of mosques and schools and such in other countries comes with a link to an extreme form of Islam, the form which spreads the kind of thought basis from which terrorism can grow: An extreme one. Yet George Bush responded to the 911 attacks by attacking Iraq, pretty much, and we pretend to ignore the Saudi influence here because it's the largest oil producer.
For similar reasons, the extreme sex segregation and oppression of women in Saudi Arabia is not really addressed. The West wants the oil, not fairness and justice without the oil.
3. The whole financial markets sausage. Those who prepared the poisonous sausage and served it to the rest of us really did not get punished at all. They got bailouts and high bonuses and are largely back in the saddle. Those who ate that poisonous sausage, not knowing any better, are punished, however.
Indeed, the remedies the government had adopted seem to be going to those who should have gotten the punishments, not more money.
4. This whole silly "equal sacrifice" bullshit. The sacrifice is not equal if we demand equal monetary sacrifices from the very poor and the billionaires, or larger sacrifices from those with lower incomes. In the former case, the billionaires hardly feel the sting whereas the lives of the poor are destroyed, and in the latter case (which seems more realistic) those in power can make more money from the so-called sacrifices by gaming the system again.
Now add to this the collapse of the ethical base for the sacrifice. In Cyprus, people who acted the way that was assumed to good and careful, by saving and by not spending, by acting responsibly rather than by gaming the market, those are the people who are now made to pay for the fun others had. It is irrelevant if the real target of the saving taxes is the Russian savings in Cyprus. The sacrifice demanded will be greater on the poor and it makes no difference how ethically one may have acted.
Then, of course, freezing the bank deposits in Cyprus so that the tax can be applied to all is the same as telling people in Spain, Greece and other similar countries to do a run on the banks. Which is truly an odd thing to want to initiate.