Monday, February 02, 2009

Shock Doctrine at work in AZ

To get an idea what modern conservatism has become, take a look at our little test bed here in Arizona. With the exit of Janet Napolitano to the Obama administration and a looming economic crisis, it was the perfect opportunity for our mouth-breathing Republican state congressmen and a pliant new Republican governor to gut education and social programs in the so-called interest of reducing the state budget deficit. Classic disaster capitalism - use crisis and disasters to push through your free market agenda, reduce government and eliminate social programs. Legislators hide behind the deficit, saying that cuts in all programs are needed. The public is blinded by the crisis and lets it happen. Included are:

  • a $300 million cut to education

  • $25 million cut to state parks, including at least 5 park closures

  • cuts to libraries and museums

  • "layoffs and furloughs for state workers, and elimination of a welfare program for disabled people waiting for Social Security benefits"

But not all the news is bad. Some programs didn't get cut ... they even got a boost. Guess which:

"Not everything was red ink: The budget package includes $1.6 million for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to use for immigration enforcement ..."

You fucking hypocrites. It's not about balancing the budget. It's about pushing your agenda. Shit on those not able to defend themselves and prop up xenophobic sociopaths. I guess they have their priorities straight.

We're in hell. Janet! Please come back!


Laura said...

What is it that these people don't get about education being an INVESTMENT in the future?? I hate looking at education from a human capital standpoint, but seriously - if you don't have a workforce educated to compete in the global market, then you don't have a workforce. Period.

dbackdad said...

It's crazy. Class sizes are going to go through the roof. The universities are going to have shutter some campuses and discontine several degree programs and tuition will still go up. But don't worry, they'll still find room for tax cuts for businesses.

The only saving grace is that Jan Brewer is only serving out Janet's term and will be up for re-election next year. Despite the conservative nature of the state, the voters are not afraid to elect Democratic governors (16 Dem governors in AZ history, 10 Rep governors). Our legislature and new governor are just a little too confident in their new-found power and will get bit in the ass next election cycle.

Scott said...

lol capitalism

Let's just find whatever we don't like and label it capitalism. That's honest. Klien's work is the real disaster, total hack job.

Indecently, when Rahm Emanuel says something like, "Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things you couldn't do before." should we label that "Disaster Socialism"?

dbackdad said...

Actually, you are not that far off, Scott. I don't really agree with any political school of thought using crisis to push through an agenda that wouldn't go through otherwise. Especially if that agenda is not really about solving the crisis. The AZ GOP agenda is that same that it has always been, crisis or no -- cut taxes to business, eliminate social programs and gut education. It just merely needed the opportunity of a Republican-controlled governor and legislature and a budget crisis to open the door.

dbackdad said...

... and I'm not surprised that you are not a fan of the Shock Doctrine, with Milton Friedman pretty much being eviscerated in it.

Scott said...

Eviscerated? Well look, I'm certainly no big fan of Friedman (Thomas or Milton), but if I wrote a bunch of lies about you and took what you said out of context I could probably make you look pretty bad as well. I won't spend a lot of time defending Friedman or his ideas, but at there are plenty of honest ways to criticize his ideas that would be much more effective than the propaganda type narrative that Klein used.

dbackdad said...

It wouldn't be too hard to make me look bad. :-)

I don't want to be an apologist for Klein, no more than you want to be one for Friedman. It's not a perfect book and it does, at times, make Friedman sound like Joseph Mengele. But the fact that she may have been prone to hyperbole does not forgive Friedman. He did not actively criticize Pinochet at the time even though he knew of the atrocities. And many Friedman disciples from the Chicago School of Economics were in Pinochet's government (and other South American countries). Those aren't "Klein" facts ... those are common knowledge. And the unrest and subjugation of the masses in Chile made it a ripe candidate for the Chicago school economic ideas.

But I digress, Friedman and Chile really have nothing directly to do with my point. That whole discussion would be fodder for another post.

Scott said...

Well that's just it though, it wasn't enough for her to claim he didn't "actively criticize" Pinochet's government (which he did, btw, just not in the letter he wrote to Pinochet suggesting he liberalize their economy), she actually makes the ridiculous claim that Friedman was "an adviser" to Pinochet. It's all these little exaggerations and leaving out the truth here and there that she builds her actual case on.

dbackdad said...

But it's unforgivable for Friedman to be actively praising Pinochet well into the 80's with statements like, Pinochet "has supported a fully free-market economy as a matter of principle. Chile is an economic miracle." (Newsweek, 1982)

Would one praise Hitler just because the economy may have been using economic principles someone agreed with?

Disagreement with Klein's writing style doesn't fundamentally change the fact that Pinochet's dictatorial ways paved the way for a certain economic system to be implemented with a minimum of resistance. Anybody that did resist were either "disappeared" or killed.