Has something slipped into the global food supply that is inducing severe cerebral chemical imbalances in disparate populations in far-flung corners of the globe? (Note to rabid nitpickers: Yes, I know the globe doesn’t have corners. It’s an expression. Get a life and get over it.)
There are riots going on around London, England. Despite being, for the most part, a pacifist, I would condone the use of civil disobedience and force—even the conflagrations of the sort that have occurred during the riots in London—if there weren’t any more peaceful means to achieve the desired ends and their well-reasoned purpose was to combat a particularly monstrous injustice being perpetrated by a brutal dictator. I would include genocide, widespread use of torture, long-term detainment of large numbers of political prisoners held under barbaric conditions, or the cancellation of a wildly popular reality TV show in this category of offences. But that’s not at all the case in London.
Nobody seems to know why the rioters are rioting. And, according to one report I read, that appears to include the rioters.
Huh? How does that come about?
“What ho, George! I say; I find myself a tad bored at the moment. What do you suggest we do to enliven our spirits?”
” I don’t rightly know. What to you want to do?”
“That’s the bother, now isn’t it? I don’t know.”
“Do you fancy a few rounds of darts?”
“No. Would you like to take in a film? I hear there’s a smashing one playing at the Regency Theatre.”
“No. Do you care to go for a walk?”
“No. I … Wait a minute. I know! Let’s start a riot and cause a lot of mayhem and destruction—maybe even leading to some grievous injuries and a death or two, preferably on the part of some other sots.”
“Right ho! That sounds like a real hoot! Let me call my girlfriend and see if she wants to join us.”
“I say, Henry; there’s just one question that plagues me concerning this rioting endeavour.”
“What would that be, James?”
“I cannot for the life of me figure it out in my own head. Do we loot the shops first and then burn them down, or do we burn first and then loot?”
“That’s what I like about you, Henry; you are always thinking. I hadn’t considered that question. I don’t know. I imagine that, just to be on the safe side, for half of the shops we should burn first then loot. For the other half we should do it the other way around. That way, we are bound to get it right 50 percent of the time.”
“By Jove, I think you’ve got it! A capital idea! What would you say to a spot of tea before we begin our rioting?”
What sequence of neurons has to fire and what synaptic connections are required to generate that line of insanity?
If that’s not evidence enough of widespread delirium, take a look at what’s happening down in the United States. (Note to rabid American jingoists: I did not intend any derogatory meaning in my use of the word “down” when introducing the subject of events in the United States. I have friends, family and clients in the States. Overall, while I disagree with some of your politics (and some of the politics in my own country as well), I’m a fairly big fan of your country. But I’m Canadian and I’m writing this at home. Maps are generally oriented such that the United States is below Canada. That’s all there was to it. It’s an expression. Get a life and get over it.)
Many Republicans and Democrats alike say that the government must address the humungous federal deficits and debt. OK. There is nothing crazy in that.
But no matter what compromises President Obama is willing to make in order to meet the Republicans’ demands, the Republican response is almost always, “NO!” If the Republicans had been the crew on the Titanic, they would have intentionally steered into the iceberg rather than risk allowing the captain to get any credit whatsoever for avoiding it.
The Democrats want to raise taxes on the rich. The Republicans refuse to consider anything that might in any way be construed as a tax increase for anyone. Despite claiming to want to eliminate the deficit while refusing to raise any taxes, most Republicans aren’t willing to touch military spending (about 20% of the U.S. Federal budget).
Many, but not all, Republicans are willing to reduce some entitlement payments such as Medicare, Medicaid and Unemployment Insurance. But scant few of them, if any, will do so unless they can find a way to avoid assuming any blame whatsoever for having done so—and they haven’t yet figured out a way to get away with that.
Of course, unless the United States is willing to become a deadbeat country, interest on the rising debt must be paid when due. Combined, entitlement programs and interest on the debt account for about 60 percent of the U.S. federal budget.
On the Democrats’ side, President Obama’s stated willingness to compromise notwithstanding, most of them are not willing to allow the government to trim a single hair on the entitlement programs’ head. They would be willing to cut military spending somewhat, but good luck with getting that past a House of Representatives that is petrified by fear of the Tea Party.
(Note to Tea Party zealots: The rallying cry at the Boston Tea Party, after which your organization was named, was “No taxation without representation!” not “No taxation!” It’s called paying for the government services that you refuse to give up. Get a life and get over it. By the way, the Conservative Party of Canada, which currently forms the government here in Canada, might want to take a note of that as well.)
Given the complete intransigence on both sides, if they want to begin to tackle the deficit and debt they’re going to have to find several hundred billion dollars in savings in the 20% of the budget that is neither military spending, nor entitlement programs, nor interest on debt. You know, I’m not an economist, mathematician or a expert on U.S. federal budgeting, so correct me if I’m wrong, but no matter how much they increase the productivity of the janitors in Congress, I don’t think they are ever going to be able to fire enough of them to save that much money.
So let’s summarize. People in London are rioting for no apparent reason. At the same time, legislators in Washington are acting as if they failed first-grade arithmetic and, in the process, causing great harm to the U.S. economy and resulting in an unprecedented downgrading of U.S. federal debt.
Here’s an idea: either send the rioters to Washington or send the legislators to London. That won’t do anything at all to solve either problem, but at least then the rioters will have a valid reason to riot.
Categorised as: politics