From Mark Lilla at The New York Review of Books Blog :
The strikes are ostensibly about a proposed change in pension policy that will raise the minimum age for a partial pension from 60 to 62, and a full pension from 65 to 67. (Yes, this is as crazy as it sounds.) But at a deeper level they are an expression of what the French call ras le bol: they’ve had enough. Enough unemployment, enough austerity, enough political paralysis, enough privileges for the well off, enough corruption. It’s an incoherent and sometimes self-contradictory set of worries, and taken together they don’t translate into any clear plan of action. But that doesn’t matter. Like Tea Party demonstrations in the US, they are the political equivalent of speech acts, provoked by economic contraction and loss of confidence in the political class.
From Jim Quinn at Naked Capitalism :
The politicians attempting to buy your vote today are promising new good jobs. One side is going to impose 100% tariffs on all Chinese crap coming into the country. This will revive domestic manufacturing. Another side is going to create millions of “green” jobs. Imagine all the solar panel jobs coming our way. Someone else is going to rebuild the infrastructure of the country, generating millions of made in America jobs. Too bad there are only 7 million people in the whole country that have a construction background. The Federal Reserve is going to print our way to millions of new jobs by reducing the value of the dollar, again reviving our dormant manufacturing sector. I can see Bethlehem, PA firing up the steel mills that have been dead for 20 years and closing down their casinos. Maybe if we hire some more government bureaucrats to administer the implementation of Obamacare and the financial regulations that are eliminating free checking accounts, the economy will miraculously revive. Paper pushers don’t morph into construction workers. Criminal Wall Street MBAs don’t become petroleum engineers. Unemployed waitresses in Riverside, California aren’t moving to Washington DC to get a great job at Ruby Tuesdays.
The delusions continue. Unless American union workers are willing to work for $7 per hour with no benefits, the manufacturing jobs are not coming back from China. The corporate oligarchs and their bought off cronies in Congress sold the country down the river over the last 40 years. Mega-Corporation profits are at record levels as goods are produced by slave labor in the Far East at 80% lower costs than they could be produced in the U.S. With 86% of the U.S. workforce in the service industry, introducing tariffs on imported goods and devaluing the dollar will further put the squeeze on the American middle class who already have been systematically screwed by the ruling elite over the last 40 years. Our society took 40 years to dig this hole. It is now so deep, there is no way out. But, look at the bright side. At least we don’t have to watch bread lines stretching down the block when we are watching our 52 inch HDTV, holed up in our 5,000 sq ft McMansions, ignoring the monthly mortgage payment bill, and waiting for our unemployment funds to be direct deposited into our bank accounts. I get all teary thinking about it. This is the iDepression 2.0.
The real people of this country who have worked and saved and done the right things have been beaten down. It is time to stand up to those in power and take this country back. We need the moral backbone of Ma Joad at the end of The Grapes of Wrath.
This two stories brought to you by The Daily Blague.