“Basically, you’re a commie bastard, Elie,” said the skeleton of my father, with very little judgment. “You know, you’re animated by that ancient, hard to extinguish Jewish spark of longing for Justice. A CEO in Japan makes 11 times what the average Japanese worker does, in Britain and Canada it’s 20 times. Here in the ‘USA! USA!’, as you call it, the average CEO makes 435 times more than the average worker, because, fair is fair. You know, you’ve always had a rage against this kind of logic.”
Well, in fairness to the CEO class, I had the same reaction when Cheney and Dubya started torturing people in my name, when Obama, years later admitted that “we tortured some folks” and, historically, when my family was lined up by that ravine in Vishnevitz, or simply disappeared without a trace two hundred miles north.
“You don’t really expect those who live on a million dollars a week to suddenly have to make due with only a few hundred thousand, do you?” said the skeleton, his facial expression matched perfectly with his words.
“The super wealthy are not like you, Elie. They go to bed dreaming about wealth and they wake up thinking about it. You are a… how to put this in a way that won’t hurt your feelings?… a fucking idiot swimming against the prevailing tide of your time. Is any of this confusing to you? America is run by wealthy people and the lucrative interests they own.
“Much of history is interpretation, as we’ve discussed, but certain lines can be drawn between events– causes and effects shown with reasonable reliability. A doddering, beleaguered, probably senile Ronald Reagan, oversaw the abolition of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987. Why allow opposing views to be presented to the public when the free market can best decide what views the masses of Americans will see?
“So you have, in short order, the rise of Rush Limbaugh, FOX TV and the rest of the well-oiled Right Wing echo chamber. If they are laughable nuts to some, they are also the voice of America to wide swaths of our population who get all their information from these avowedly fair and balanced sources. Whose interests does the end of the Fairness Doctrine serve in the end? It doesn’t take a PhD in the History of the Fairness Doctrine to figure that one out.
“When Obama became the first presidential candidate in decades to opt out of public election financing he was able to outspend John McCain two to one. He was charismatic, a great campaigner, McCain had to run on the dismal record of his party during eight terrible years, etc. but the 2:1 spending didn’t hurt either.
“All of those twenty dollar internet contributions Obama had quickly multiplied when the big money started pouring in from the financial services, fossil fuel, health insurance and pharmaceutical industries.
“Then, you know, when crafting the Affordable Care Act, fair is fair, take the only effective solution—the public option—off the table from the start and let the private health insurance industry write the law.
“In the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as you’re fond of calling it, the mandate is all one-sided, the consumer is forced to pay for health insurance, in exchange for CEOs holding the line at their seven and eight digit annual compensation packets and giving the insurance companies the option to opt out at any time if their profits are adversely affected by the new law.
“The pernicious myth of the ‘free market’ is so pervasive that the alternative to any profit-driven enterprise is unthinkable, downright un-American. That said, your critique of this rogue form of bare knuckles capitalism makes you, and let’s be honest about this, Elie, a fucking commie.”