Saturday, June 30, 2012

The bottom line of the barrel

A common refrain about Bobby Jindal is that he is ruthlessly ambitious. I doubt anyone disagrees with that notion.

It's interesting, though, that many people see his enthusiastic slashing of education and other social programs as part of his presidential aspirations. It's especially screwed up that such a thing would make him attractive as a candidate.

We're living in a time of sociopathic capitalism, where the primary, if not sole, benchmark of leadership is how much money a leader can save. Everything else is expendable. In these austere times, it's downright quaint to believe that anything has a value beyond what fits in a ledger or a spreadsheet. Profits reign so supreme now that if we have to choose between earning 50 cents and educating a student, or making 51 cents and telling the kid to go to hell, we'll gladly give the kid directions.

This mindset, long the province of smoky corporate boardrooms, has spread to politics as the economy tanks ever so further. When people are broke, they often throw everything on the back burner out of desperation, and only the most immediate needs matter. When they're always fighting to catch up to the next bill, they have no time for principles or to aspire to a better life.

Republicans, never the biggest fans of the public sector, couldn't be happier about that. They prey on this misery by falsely equating our woes with that of big business. Money's too tight to enact new regulations, or enforce existing ones, or to hire new people, or even to keep people, we're told. Never mind that it's not remotely the same situation, or that business interests have a far more active hand (and stake) in this economic ruin. The public largely buys it at its own painful expense. It gives the misers in government a license to gut the programs that keep society going, which in any other context would make them look like the heels that they are.

With his latest restructuring of education funds and slashing state library funds, Jindal eclipses even Mitt Romney as the ultimate sociopathic capitalist. Jindal's viability as a presidential candidate could happen only now, in an age of historic desperation and misinformation, where people have X-ray vision that sees only dollar signs at the expense of society and humanity.

It gives me hope to see people waking up to Jindal's scorched-earth leadership. It's failing Louisiana and it would devastate the country. Fortunately, the passionate following Jindal enjoys in the beet-red Bayou State doesn't translate nearly as well nationally. But this poisonous focus on profits is larger than one man. The responsibility to make sure it doesn't overwhelm our lives lies with us.

Because we're worthwhile too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed this post, Ian.