Monday, November 22, 2010

Noam Chomsky on Post-Midterm America: "Democrats are barely what moderate Republicans were 30, 40 years ago."

Heralded as the most quoted living thinker, Noam Chomsky is one my favorite scholars. In the following he makes a great point, that the Liberal-Conservative divide in our country is no more than an illusion in the minds of ordinary Americans. Yes, politically we tend to think left, right, and center. However, in effect they're all one in the same with little distinction; more importantly, both parties have shifted to the right.

Here's an excerpt from the above interview via The Real News Network:
I would drop the term left, 'cause, I mean, what is called the left in the media is what used to be called moderate Republicans. The so-called new Democrats are barely—they're essentially what moderate Republicans were 30, 40 years ago. The Republicans are just brashly and openly the party of private power, private tyranny. They—I mean, they talk about we're the common man and elites, but so does everyone. But if you look at the policies, that's what it is. Take, say, Obama. I mean, the core of his funding in the 2000 [sic] election was actually financial institutions. And when groups of investors get together to control the state—what we call an election—they expect to be paid back. And they were.

[...] Well, you know, I think the term stimulus has been turned into a dirty word, like taxes. But if there was real discussion about this, public discussion about it, I think most of the population would probably agree with leading economists, Nobel laureates, who say what we need is a big stimulus. Deficit reduction down the road, maybe. But we didn't have a stimulus. I mean, if you take a look at the Obama stimulus, I mean, contrary to tons of lies about it, there's good objective evidence that it did save maybe a couple of million jobs. However, it was a very small stimulus, and it was wiped out by cutbacks in government spending at other levels. So the stimulus was actually more or less the same as the cutback in state and local spending. So that means there was stimulus.

[...] for roughly 35, 30 years, a little more, wages for the majority, real wages, have pretty much stagnated, working hours have increased. People have been getting by by having two adults working, or women in the workforce at lower wages, and by debt, and by asset inflation, like, say, the housing bubble. Well, that's just not viable. And meanwhile these same people see that there's plenty of wealth around, but it's going into very few pockets. I mean, the top maybe 1 percent or even one-tenth of 1 percent of the population have been making out like bandits. And so we now have this incredible inequality, maybe back to the '20s, or maybe even a record. And this is part of people's consciousness. I'm working harder. Things are getting worse. I'm working more hours. Benefits which were never very good have declined. Meanwhile, other people are getting very rich. Something's wrong. Give me an answer. They were right to ask for an answer. They're not going to get it from the Democrats, the people who are called the left, because they are the ones who have been denying and implementing policies. They're not going to say, yeah, that's true; that's what happens when we participated in the huge growth of the financial sector, which is of dubious significance for the economy, may be harmful, largely; we did that, and we assisted the policy of hollowing out production, which is a policy of setting working people in competition with each other throughout the world. So what we call our trade policies—a bad term for it. Certainly not free-trade policies. What are called free-trade policies are essentially a program setting working people against each other throughout the world, but protecting the privileged people. So, for example, we don't allow foreign doctors and lawyers and economists and others to practice here. There's all kind of barriers to it.


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