• The Rich Are Revolting, In More Ways Than One.

    Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it. If one can afford private security, public safety is of no concern; if one owns a Gulfstream jet, crumbling bridges cause less apprehension—and viable public transportation doesn’t even show up on the radar screen. With private doctors on call and a chartered plane to get to the Mayo Clinic, why worry about Medicare?
    Mike Lofgren of the American Conservative happens to be one of the increasingly rare conservatives who are less concerned about maintaining the lockstep Tea Party insanity or garnering votes from constituencies who are best swayed by ever-increasing extremism and charged rhetoric, and more concerned about the damage being caused by the country's wealthiest and consequently, most powerful people. It's not every day that you find yours truly nodding in agreement with a conservative, but his article puts paid to what's wrong with cheerleading and, in effect, worshiping the wealthy and their money.

    Come to think of it, that's what today's Republican party is all about. Hardworking Americans are guilt-tripped into believing that they aren't worth the waste defecated from the anus of a rich celebutante's Shiatsu unless they're rich, that all rich people are smart and hardworking, and that their ever-growing piles of money are proof positive of their smarts and work ethic, never mind if they made that money through the financial equivalent of three card monte or simply inherited the money from a wealthy relative who actually worked hard for it. It's easier for today's Republicans to have their poor constituents dreaming about becoming wealthy than to actually commit to any reforms or projects that could actually lift everyone's standard of living.

    The average hardworking American genuinely believes his interests somehow align with those of the wealthy, as it's what he or she's been told for the past 30 to 40 years by the GOP and wealthy individuals. Whenever the issue of tax increases comes up, the wealthy are more than content to let these people do their work for them - Americans have been trained to become hyper-reflexive against any sort of tax increase and not just the ones that don't make sense or ones that happen to be screaming cash grabs.

    Make no mistake - America's so-called "super-wealthy" have no allegiance to this country or any other country. As Lofgren explains, it's precisely why a corporate maverick would have no qualms about outsourcing tens of thousands of jobs to overseas locations. The economic ramifications are less of a concern than the immediate boost in profits and, most importantly, stock value. This is why I'm concerned about the Republicans rallying behind a presidential candidate who is hailed for his "business experience," yet displays all of the traditional hallmarks of a sociopathic being who is, by virtue of his personality and wealth, disconnected from the rest of America. He's already shown willful disregard for the well-being of "lesser" Americans through his business dealings and if made president, that willful disregard will become even more apparent.
    It is no coincidence that as the Supreme Court has been removing the last constraints on the legalized corruption of politicians, the American standard of living has been falling at the fastest rate in decades. According to the Federal Reserve Board’s report of June 2012, the median net worth of families plummeted almost 40 percent between 2007 and 2010. This is not only a decline when measured against our own past economic performance; it also represents a decline relative to other countries, a far cry from the post-World War II era, when the United States had by any measure the highest living standard in the world. A study by the Bertelsmann Foundation concluded that in measures of economic equality, social mobility, and poverty prevention, the United States ranks 27th out of the 31 advanced industrial nations belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Thank God we are still ahead of Turkey, Chile, and Mexico!
    None of this disturbs the super wealthy. As Lofgren mentioned, they are truly in the world, but not of it. Therefore, the ordinary concerns of average folk don't concern them. After all, when you rely on private security for protection, send your children to private learning institutions, live in gated enclaves that are isolated from the rest of the world and vacation to far-flung locales that most people would never dream of imagining, let alone actually going, the concerns of those common people are of no concern to you. So when you have reports of America's highway infrastructure crumbling to nothing, it doesn't concern the super wealthy. As long as there's an idling Leer jet waiting, they can bounce from a crumbling America and rest their head at practically any location they wish.

    The one danger of the super wealthy being completely aloof to the turmoil happening around them is being caught up in the blowback that comes from ignoring the ever-increasing pain of being destitute in a country that holds wealth as the highest and holiest standard to follow. Squeezing the blood of productivity from overworked turnips and rolling over ever increasing amounts of money in ethereal financial instruments while ignoring or even participating in the active destruction of the country's social safety nets is something that can't go on forever. Let's just say that history is full of examples where entire nations reached the breaking point for endless looting and there will come a time when that idling Leer jet will suddenly go up in flames.

    We all know exactly what Mitt Romney stands for. Now, my question is, come Election Day, will Mike Lofgren march in lockstep with his fellow conservatives and mark a ballot in Mitt Romney's favor out of sheer party loyalty?