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August 17, 2009

Health Reform Fight (3 Of 3)

Filed under: Civil Disobedience, Health Racket Bailout, Neo-feudalism — Tags: — Russ @ 2:52 pm
We now come to the self-directed action of defaulting on debt.
 
The idea that any individual should feel morally committed to this system, e.g. paying alleged “debts” the system forced upon him, is both misguided and self-enslaving, and it’s exactly what the gangsters want people to think. That’s why this kind of social indoctrination exists.
But the facts are:

1. As everyone knows, the elites feel no such scruples or moral obligations. Every bank, every corporation, feels it has an absolute right to be bailed out by taxpayer money, but that it does not incur any social obligations in return. It is entitled to continue with predatory, sociopathic, destructive behavior, both while it is a direct ward of the state and of course after it has gone through the charade of “paying back” a small portion of the public money it stole and continues to steal. (The TARP, which some of them have “paid back” with such fanfare, is only a small portion of the loot conveyance.)

The government approves of this practice.

2. Meanwhile the system has been set up to encourage and basically require that the individual become a “consumer” and go into debt. The brainwashing starts in school and continues all our lives, as the public media is for all intents and purposes a shrieking advertising agency. That goes to the brainwashing which drives people into so-called “voluntary” consumer behavior.

3. More importantly, much of the debt load is not voluntary by any measure. The system is set up to be as high-maintenance as possible. It’s set up to require you drive a car. It’s set up to require a college “education”, which for most is just an astronomically expensive careerist hoop to jump through. It’s set up to drive housing and land prices out of reach other than through debt indenture. It requires a panoply of electronic devices in order to be socially functional: PC with internet connection, cell phone, perhaps a blackberry or twitter or some other such implements. Since economic concentration pressures make it next to impossible to function as a low-overhead small business, the would-be entrepreneur is forced to go into debt to capitalize his business attempt.

All of this is intended to impose social control.

Anyone who understands this whole dynamic understands how the individual has been coerced into it, and how he is not morally responsible for these system debts.

(Of course we’re not talking about borrowing money from a friend in an emergency and then refusing to pay him back. That always has been and always will be despicable.)

So these kinds of defaults are a form of civil disobedience, monkeywrenching. (Perhaps many of the individuals involved don’t really deserve to be called rebels are far as their intent goes. I don’t doubt many of them were selfish enough, the type who willingly binged beyond their means. It’s unfortunate that many of them can get a moral free ride if decent involuntary defaulters really proliferate. Or if such decent people are smeared by association with the irresponsible.  But what’s important here is the overall structural result.)

There’s a really good piece by Michael Hudson from last February, Bubble Economy 2.0.

I still think it’s the best single piece I’ve read on this crisis.

The part that’s relevant for this discussion is how Hudson describes talking to a banker who had an epiphany:

 

The officials drawn from Wall Street who now control of the Treasury and Federal Reserve repeat the right-wing Big Lie: Poor “subprime families” have brought the system down, exploiting the rich by trying to ape their betters and live beyond their means. Taking out subprime loans and not revealing their actual ability to pay, the NINJA poor (no income, no job, no audit) signed up to obtain “liars’ loans” as no-documentation Alt-A loans are called in the financial junk-paper trade.
I learned the reality a few years ago in London, talking to a commercial banker. “We’ve had an intellectual breakthrough,” he said. “It’s changed our credit philosophy.”

“What is it?” I asked, imagining that he was about to come out with yet a new magical mathematics formula?

“The poor are honest,” he said, accompanying his words with his jaw dropping open as if to say, “Who would have guessed?”

The meaning was clear enough. The poor pay their debts as a matter of honor, even at great personal sacrifice and what today’s neoliberal Chicago School language would call uneconomic behavior. Unlike Donald Trump, they are less likely to walk away from their homes when market prices sink below the mortgage level. This sociological gullibility does not make economic sense, but reflects a group morality that has made them rich pickings for predatory lenders such as Countrywide, Wachovia and Citibank. So it’s not the “lying poor.” It’s the banksters’ fault after all!

In other words the poor are saps to submit to a practice and a morality which the elite never believed in and would never practice, but which they do seek to promulgate among the masses.

It’s a modern version of the ancient pious lie.

 
And now we may also have to extend this attitude of disobedience to health care. There’s been a lot of propaganda in the MSM about how many among the uninsured are “free riders”. Whether or not this is ever true, we must reply that no amount of individuals could ever add up to the free riding, rent-seeking, corporate welfare-glomming private insurance parasite, the feudal drug industry, and the fee for service provider model.
 
These epitomize non-value-adding, non-innovating parasitic rackets, which can use captive markets and government-bestowed privilege to jack up prices upon the public, way beyond any legitimate capitalist level.
 
The definition of reform is to rein in the rent-seeking of providers and the big drug pushers, and to break the private insurance parasite completely. Only a reform program which would do this would have any authority to mandate that individuals pay into the system. The only way this could legitimately be done is through taxes for a public program.
 
But the anti-reform concept of mandating individuals to pay into a private feudal protection racket is, on its face, unconstitutional and tyrannical. It is a form of poll tax. No one has any obligation to comply with it.
 
On the contrary, it is those who would try to demand this, who would seek to further corporate depredation under the guise of reform, who would act illegally and immorally. They are traitors to the reform ideal.
 
(Also, on a practical level, no one should believe the lies about such a program being subsidized for those who can’t afford it. That’s not what’s happening in Massachusetts. We can only imagine the nightmares which will ensue if, solely for the sake of corporatist ideology, the Democrats try to complexify the system and render it far more complex, with a tyrannical mandate, for one reason and one reason only: to prop up and add to the profits of a handful of criminals.)
 
So if Obama and the Democrats betray their promise of reform and turn it into yet another assault on the weakest and poorest among the people, the people have the right to defend themselves, including by systematically, as a group, becoming these “free riders” they keep being called they are.
 
People are willing to pay their fair share. But how can you pay your fair share when the price is jacked up to obscenely unfair levels by gangsters with the connivance of the government? And when you have no job or a job which fails to pay a living wage because of the rapacity of the bosses, again assisted by every government policy?
 
No, “the uninsured” are an artificial creation of the government, because it has abdicated its responsibility to ensure decent basic health care for all citizens. Those in the establishment will have a right to tax the people for publicly established care. They have no right to act as hired goons while a racket imposes a private tax on those already victimized.
 
And these victims have no responsibility or obligation to comply.
 
I’d like to wrap up with one general observation on political organization. We true reformers know we must find an alternative to the existing political system. The basic idea is a new reform movement, probably arising organically, originally in a decentralized manner, although if it is to have any impact it will have to achieve cohesion and discipline. (Just look at the Democrat varieties of these.)
 
One way these movements sometimes start out is as single-issue movements. If the people are angry, fearful, but also ready to be inspired, where it comes to an issue, this can be the pivot upon which a broader, lasting movement comes together.
 
Last year there was lots of talk about what Obama was going to do with the grassroots organization which carried him to victory. Overly optimistic people assumed he would reorganize it as a pro-reform pressure group outside the Washington structure. (How sad to think about that now, what could’ve been…) Others thought, that group will keep Obama honest, force him to follow through on his promises. No such luck there either.
 
But we shouldn’t lose sight of how this could have worked. Perhaps the same model can be built up around some campaign, issue or electoral (though 2012 is a long way off..), and next time hopefully the participants won’t make the mistake of following a “leader” outside and as it were above themselves, who can just lie and manipulate and betray like Obama. Next time the movement should be clear from the start that it is self-directed.
 
This can probably best be done with an issue like health care, especially where every element among the power structure is so clearly bent on betrayal and crushing reform even as they blaspheme the word.
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