Tuesday, February 16, 2016

What To Write, What To Write....

     I'm at a loss.  This year's primaries/R. Crum cartoon (could even he have dreamed it up?) depress me and leave me longing for the statesmanship and class of Johnson (L.B., not Andrew) and Nixon in their most unguarded moments.  We've lost a Supreme Court Justice and I don't trust the current President or any of the candidates to pick a replacement who won't be some kind of disaster.* The economy is still nasty and a large HVAC manufacturer here in Indianapolis has, after lavish grants, tax breaks, a personal massage† from at least one Governor and other enticements, decided to absquatulate for Mexico, where the bribes are cheaper, nobody minds a little lead or carbon tet, you can beat up the workforce and pee right in the river.  The United States has priced itself out of the manufacturing business; this is not a new story.

     There's much to lampoon in all that (and I just did) but none of it really moves me.  The United States is on the way down.  Oh, it's a long, slow slide.  Oh, some Cato -- possibly Cato, a name they did not choose lightly -- can stand up and decry it.  But what are Mr. Trump, Sen. Sanders, Ms. Clinton, Sens. Cruz, Rubio and the rest‡ if not prospective Caesars, all of them seemingly unaware of the limits on Presidential powers, painting rosy pictures of a new Golden Age of Greatness, Fairness, Moral Values, Sharing, Inclusion and Strong Fences?

     The peak has passed.  It was a great peak, and the decline will have its times of greatness, too, but it is nevertheless a decline.  Roman civilization took centuries to fade away; Empire outlasted Republic by up to a thousand years, depending on how you score it. We can expect similar and there is no shame in fighting a valiant delaying action.  Just don't kid yourself.  In the glory days, this country had no need to question its greatness (whatever that word means to you), and neither did its politicians.  It was self-evident.  Now they're kinda having to hunt.  To qualify.  To bluster.  Don't be fooled; Caesar lusts for a throne, and after him, there are plenty more. 
* I will take sides in the "Don't confirm!" debate, though: the Senate has the right and obligation to not consent to a choice they deem inadvisable.  It's right there in the job description, just as it was in 2007, when the Dems didn't want a Republican President on the way out to pick a new Supreme Court Justice.  Don't like it?  Here's the amendment process, there's a pencil.  Shaddup and start writing.  Or just shut up.
†  That's what they're calling it.  Polite people do not inquire.
‡ "...here on Gilligan's Isle!"  You know, Gilligan's Island is most people's mental model for the Federal Government, if you think about it.  The President/Skipper, Veep/Gilligan, Thurston P. Howell/Senate, Lovey Howell/Supreme Court, Ginger and Mary Ann/House and The Professor is every Cabinet Bureau and Agency.  And the Feds are every bit as mature, organized and effective as those seven stranded castaways, too -- except they command real guns.    


Divemedic said...

I often wonder how historians of the future will remember the nation that was. I feel like our apex was some time during the 1950's. We wee propelled to greatness by two factors: We had a large quantity of relatively untouched natural resources, and our nation built a large manufacturing base during World War 2, a factory base that was untouched by the war, leaving the US as the only nation in the world capable of manufacturing anything for several decades.

There were other nations with large labor pools, and once they built up their manufacturing capabilities, they were able to beat out a nation that became soft and squandered its capital building discotheques and baubles, so that we arrive where we are now: A nation of self absorbed, spoiled children who require safe words to cope with even the most minor difficulties.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Carrier got a $5.1 million tax credit in exchange for creating "green" jobs, i.e., building more and more efficient HVAC equipment.

Unfortunately, I'm sure their union priced labor out of the market, and even with the tax credit, Carrier probably determined it isn't economically-feasible to continue manufacturing here. Who owns the means of production? To whom are the officers of the corporation ultimately responsible? I'd rather face the wrath of the workers and the government before facing the wrath of the stockholders.

And as I have written elsewhere, I sure wish Joe Donnelly would work on making Solyndra pay back the half-billion it wasted and left the taxpayers on the hook to pay back before he worries about a paltry few mil in tax credits for a local employer. But I guess Donnelly figures he's gotta protect his phoney-baloney job.

Joe in PNG said...

I'm going to say the high tide was during the Kennedy presidency, with the drop coming right at the end.
We saw an uptick with Regan, and will likely see another. But the peaks won't be as high, and the valleys will be lower.

Old NFO said...

Sadly, I believe you are absolutely correct... We're on the downhill slide and picking up speed.

cookie said...

I begrudgingly must agree. we have created a world economy we can no longer compete in. I work for a manufacturer that actually exports to China and Japan. I'm sure it is only a mater of time before they build over there. They have already moved a large portion of the process across the ocean. Will we ever be great again? Hell, I hope we can just maintain.


Ken said...

If we're going to be on the wane, could we at least be Gondor instead of Rome? Gondor in its wane still stood for something, at least some of the time.... ;-)

Roger Owen Green said...

I SO wish the Republicans hadn't said, out of the gate, that they wouldn't consider ANY candidate. Now anyone (Grassley, e.g.) who says, "We'll see who the candidate is" is considered a RINO.