Wednesday, March 14, 2018

How we live now

This is a good article to read for #NationalWalkOutDay. It is primarily about, you guessed it, the damn interminable gun debate.  But it is also about the reasons that debate appears to be so intractable. Mostly, it is because our politics, dominated by neoliberalism as it is, is bad.  
What is neoliberalism? The many competing definitions can be confusing and even misleading. And, since the history of neoliberalism has played out in many different countries, what the word denotes in one place is not necessarily the same in others. But we shouldn’t let nuance and complexity dissuade us from using the term, because neoliberalism is an incredibly powerful concept for understanding not just contemporary American life and politics in general, but our reactions to gun violence and school shootings specifically.

Neoliberalism is at once a subspecies of capitalism and a model of governance, a vision of what politics can and should be. It sees political and social life almost exclusively through the lens of the free market, and asks us to consider ourselves and our fellow citizens primarily in terms of our economic activities: as consumers, as workers, as competitors, as human resources. Under neoliberalism, in other words, the individual is less a human subject with rights that entail obligations from the government, but rather a variable in a broader calculus of efficiency, a site for maximizing revenue and minimizing expenditure. Simply put, neoliberalism is about the withdrawal of government responsibility for political problems in favor of market-based “solutions” and individual “choices.”
It doesn't have to be this way, of course.  There are other ways of organizing politics that emphasize democracy and basic human dignity.  We don't have to swallow this crap forever.  Somebody should really tell the Democrats about this.   
The Senate on Wednesday passed the most significant loosening of financial regulations since the economic crisis a decade ago, delivering wide bipartisan support for weakening banking rules despite bitter divisions among Democrats.

The bill, which passed 67 votes to 31, would free more than two dozen banks from the toughest regulatory scrutiny put in place after the 2008 global financial crisis. Despite President Trump’s promise to do a “big number” on the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, the new measure leaves key aspects of the earlier law in place. Nonetheless, it amounts to a sweeping rollback of banking rules aimed at protecting taxpayers from another financial crisis and future bailouts.
That's 16 Democrats voting yes. Way to go, guys.  Is that the over/under on Democrats who will vote to confirm the Torture Lady as CIA Director?  I'm gonna take the over there.

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