Mona Charen’s “Fantasy Island”

Mona Charen finally wrote a somewhat more intelligent editorial than her typical screeching attacks on Democrats in general and Obama in particular. Republished in the Spokesman-Review from Creators Syndicate, she discusses the rates of poverty and whether it has any relation to crime rates. Well, I am sure that a great many people might still take issue with her taking credit for “smart policing” in a time of chronic economic crisis that makes it some what less feasible to keep a high police profile in any city or to maintain large prison systems that as Charen admits do consume large amounts of tax dollars. And that most certainly, just in Washington State alone, at least one prison has been closed (to save money) and there have been layoffs of policeman in Spokane alone (because of the lack of tax revenue).  Would that (because of the chronic economic problems) only increase the likelihood of crime?  Unemployment as well as poverty reduces substantially the tax revenues to the extent that it impedes the ability of government to keep communities safe from criminal perpetrators.  Which of course Mona Charen does not apparently take into consideration.

What I also find interesting is just how puzzled Charen is that more and more impoverished households actually own TVs, cars, etc.  Well, I am quite sure that there are many factors behind newly impoverished households that can own cars, TVs, modern appliances etc. Whether they can replace those cars, household appliances, TVs etc. with the more expensive and new TVs or anything else is quite another matter.  That quite unlike the wealthy who can change a car to match the seasons or a TV to match the household decor; the newly impoverished will have to keep what they have and hope that it lasts.  There is no proof here of the Ronald Reagan mantra that a rising tide lifts all boats.  Quite the contrary, a rising tide tends to drown or creates other havoc.

Then too, I highly suspect that Charen is highly forgetful of what “market forces” actually means.  A poverty level that has increased to over 14% does mean that there is going to be a glut of supply owing to the lack of demand.  TVs, cars and other modern appliances will ultimately be sold at a more affordable level for retail stores to have a customer base.  That is, with deep discounts or sale prices.  Or, there will be the factor of new technology to slowly replace that of older existing technology.  Which would also mean that the TV sitting in the living room that ten years ago would have cost $600.00 or more and of course out of the reach of the chronically impoverished unless they could get it used; would have been since 2007 sold for not even half that as manufacturers discontinued their production to begin producing HDTVs.  HDTVs that once sold (and these were small TVs too) for more than a thousand, can now cost $300.00 to $400.00 in price.  The market forces of supply and demand—when there is too much supply for existing demand—must force down such prices.  Even the chronically impoverished (say at the medium income of around $21,000.00 for a family of four) would be able to afford an HDTV and a cheap broadcast antenna (around $39.00) and get some reasonably priced entertainment.  Not that they could visit a 5* hotel however or vacation in tourist attractions such as Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.  They can barely scrape by as it is.

So yes, there is plenty of reasons to question Charen as to her thinking even now.

Seems the GOP forgot since Reagan that “supply-side” economics that doesn’t take into consideration the demand side of the equation can only create the economic catastrophe circa 2008.  And it also seems (with reference to a poll noted by KREM 2 News:  Spokane, Washington) that neither do the poll’s respondents recognize that the political ideology of “supply-side” economics did the greatest amount of harm to this nation’s current financial stability, in the fact that the respondents now think that the GOP are better able to “fix unemployment” who were first the architects of rising unemployment through 2008.  Says a great deal about people who prefer to be utterly ignorant to facing the facts  Quite frankly, I have yet to see the GOP offer anything beyond fear, retreads of old ideology, ready to abandon the base over tax cut proposals if they either 1. don’t get what they want or 2. just want to oppose the Obama administration over general anathema as to its existence.  They aren’t interested in “smart policing,” laws such as three strikes that stuff prisons to the max and require a high tax base to maintain; if anyone other than a GOP president proposes it.  But, they can be “trusted” to better fix the economy?  Wonder just who the pollsters went to in getting these kinds of answers.

You have to begin to wonder if Charen is chattering away in a vacuum far removed from reality.

At the A Matter of Opinion blog some commenters about the stimulus package wondered why Obama’s crown jewel to kick start the economy only produced some 3 million jobs.  Probably for the same reason that the Bush era tax cuts made possible an economic collapse.  The money simply didn’t end up where it should have to do the most good.  Rather than the wealthy spending widely to invest in their businesses, or an American work force, they stashed their wealth in tax shelters.  Businesses could collapse and people could become unemployed as long as the wealthy had their billions.  So what good really did the Bush era tax cuts do for the American economy?  Unless, the “economy” is narrowed to the “economy” of the truly wealthy as opposed to considering the rest of us.

So the question here is, what would the GOP “fix” as to unemployment or economic improvements when the radical ideology of “supply-side” economics proved not to work because of the human sin of greed?  I will bet that even though the GOP regains control of Congress that they still will not have an answer to that question.  Greed was massively fed during the GW years; there is no telling that the suffering that resulted from greed will ultimately be a lesson learned where the GOP are concerned.

Oh, for the apocalypse fans out there in the world, there are four horsemen.  Each of the horsemen represented a different age:  One the emperor (builder of empires), one the conqueror (invader of nations), one the capitalist (who would indeed by his presence run amok cause massive suffering which did happen); and finally the bringer of all out war, following closely behind the capitalist.  Well, fellow Americans, the decision is now yours.  You put in power the horseman called the capitalist and saw what happened.  On 2 November 2010, does your vote set the stage for the last horseman?  Think about it.

I will of course go on to blog other issues, but our economic undoing is a direct result of our own actions and a failure to think through the latest in ideological fads.  Charen is at least somewhat worth a read even though there is plenty of reason to quibble with her conclusions.

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