Neoliberals and Neoconservatives Are Horrible People

neoliberals and neoconservatives, arguing over the Internet, U.S. defense budget, socialism, capitalism, mixed economy, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid
Just about every person represented in this picture is either a neoliberal or neoconservative. They are part of the problem. Trump has no real ideology, but he has enabled craven neocons who want to loot the United States. Image made by DonkeyHotey via Flickr.

Neoliberals and neoconservatives suck. Not only have they controlled American policy for the past 50+ years, but they threaten the very survival of the human race and this planet. Whenever people try to talk about solutions to solve the biggest crises facing the world, they are rebuffed by the same forces that have created those crises. I got a taste of it this week.

If you couldn’t tell, I’m really pissed right now, much like I was 3 ½ months ago because once again, I was arguing over the Internet. Yet instead of arguing about Syria (I have two more posts about it coming up), I was arguing about the type of future Americans want. In the process, I went against at least at least one neoconservative puke and two neoliberals, one worse than the other.

How Did This Start?

As many political junkies know, there was a huge upset in New York. In the Democratic primaries held there on June 26, 2018 (state primaries will be on September 13), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated 10-term Rep. Joe Crowley. Ever since AOC has done a ton of interviews and her victory is still reverberating across the country. Ocasio-Cortez has not only been knocking on doors, but she has been using her platform to help other progressive candidates around the country. Immediately after her primary win, she mentioned other Justice Democrats like Cori Bush and just last weekend, she and Bernie Sanders showed up at an event for James Thompson in Kansas.

Another big development is how AOC’s primary win has led to a change in the discussion about socialism. The shift began three years ago, as more Americans were wary of the phrase democratic socialism and it became clear that more of the younger set was becoming interested in socialism. This wasn’t your grandma’s time, because newer voters were born just after the fall of the Soviet Union. Now, whenever socialism is mentioned or even criticized, it seems to help bolster AOC’s message and bring more attention to her platform, which is a good thing.

The Predictable (and Exasperating) Backlash

Of course, there is a developing backlash, with some of it coming from the Democratic Party. For example:

  • After the NY primary, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi brushed off Ocasio-Cortez’s upset.
  • This month, turncoat and general douche Joe Lieberman said that voters in New York’s 14th Congressional District should choose Crowley this November since Crowley is still on the ballot due to wonky rules that allow him to be on the Working Families Party line.
  • Also this month, Rep. Alcee Hastings warned Ocasio-Cortez that it would be unwise to alienate centrists in the party, saying, “Meteors fizzle out.”
  • On Wednesday, James Clyburn, the #3 Democrat in the House of Representatives, said that AOC would have to wait her turn to even sniff at a party leadership role.
  • Bill Pascrell said that AOC was making enemies and that “she doesn’t know what the hell she’s talking about.”

With “friends” like these …

The Response

As we go on, the resistance to socialism looks feebler, because those who are trying to resist a progressive wave are falling back to using the same, tired talking points. The pushback has been somewhat stronger, as people in support of Ocasio-Cortez’s platform have found their footing and know what to say in the face of anti-socialist fearmongering. For example, look what just happened on The View:

Sadly, Joy Behar got cut off, but she was owning Meghan McCain in that discussion. It goes to show that those who promote socialism or socialistic programs have an uphill battle.

The Debates I Had

A couple of days ago, I fell into a rabbit hole of ignorance and stupidity. The convo involved four right-leaning people, including to disgusting individuals. This is the way it went:

Poster 1 one made a claim that he didn’t back up. I responded to Poster 1. I asked him a simple question and told him that the United States had socialistic systems, which include Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. As explained by Lawrence O’Donnell:

Poster 1 ghosted.

Poster 2 responds to me and says that the U.S. is a capitalistic country. I respond to Poster 2 and tell them that the U.S. has a mixed economy, which is the truth. When I asked what type of system Poster 2 preferred, he said he liked capitalism and that capitalism was perfect or close to perfect. We go back and forth for a while until that person tells me of his family and how they worked their way up the latter after immigrating to the U.S.

I point out that his family’s situation cannot be easily replicated, especially now since income inequality is at an all-time high. I also countered all of the other points he made. He eventually relents.

Enter the First Puke

Poster 3 decides to respond to me and he says that socialism is just a bad system, Mmkay? Of course, he points to Latin American and Venezuela by name. (If you haven’t noticed yet, Venezuela is the go-to example of a socialist country whose economy went to hell. What people love to leave out are the external forces, including the U.S., which have contributed to Venezuela’s economic woes.)

I point out that the Venezuela economy was largely based on oil and it was failing before Chavez even assumed power, mostly because the government failed to raise taxes on the wealthy during the previous two decades. This was not a defense of Chavez, obviously, but I was adding some context.

Next, I asked Poster 3 what type of economy he wanted the U.S. to have, and he basically supported the type of system we already have, plus the gutting and dissolution of social benefits. (HEY, IF YOU USE SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICARE, OR MEDICAID, WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THOSE PROGRAMS GUTTED?) I pointed out how that would be disastrous and said that a system with a social safety net was more humane, especially if people paid into that system.

I also pointed out that people pay into Social Security via payroll taxes. (Workers also pay into the Medicare system.) Thus, that’s their money, but Poster 3 was like, “Nuh-uh.”

Poster 3 got mad at an assertion I made about Poster 4 (see below) and claimed that there was an increased hatred of white dudes. (He likely believes in that “white genocide” BS.) I savaged that point and asked if white dudes were being targeted by state violence or victims of violence in general because of their skin color. He responded, but I didn’t bother to read that shit. I was done with him.

Enter the Second Puke

At one point, Poster 4 responded to me and said that my definitions were all wrong. I stressed again that the United States has a mixed economy. (It was established by the Constitution.) He then tried to clean up his claim and said that I was getting into semantics. He also said in something about “uneducated immigrants,” and I told him that was plainly racist.

I responded to Poster 4, though, but that was disastrous. After I countered all of his points, he resorted to trolling, much like that idiot I talked about 3 ½ months ago. He kept insisting that people shouldn’t rely on the government to make up for their bad decisions, which is something a neoliberal would say. He is a neoliberal because he claims to be socially liberal and fiscally conservative, which is a contradiction if I ever heard one. But he’s a damn bigot who makes excuses for the first douche and his douche pail pals, so how progressive can he be, really?

I pointed out how messed up the U.S. tax system was. We just passed an irresponsible tax cut that reduces the top tax rate from 33% to 20% and there is a sunset clause for lower earners. The tax cuts for the wealthy are permanent, and how do you think those cuts will be paid for? The Republicans want to cut social benefits.

I questioned why this was so while at the same time we’ve increased the defense budget. Poster 4 also insisted that the defense was so important that the increases in the U.S. defense budget were justified. He handwaved the fact that the U.S. spends more than the next 11 countries combined, that the Pentagon cannot account for $150 billion, and that the United States government would rather kill and maim brown people in the Middle East than take care of its own people.

U.S. defense budget, neoliberals and neoconservatives
This is how much the U.S. spent on defense in 2017, but the 2018 figure will be much higher and Congress just approved a much bigger budget for 2019. (Image source)

He also handwaved the fact that people question the profitability of actually curing patients. Wasn’t medicine developed as a way of helping people? Why should a profit margin stand in the way?

This didn’t bother him at all.

Why This Argument Pissed Me Off So Much

Before I had even traded messages with Poster 3, he consistently showed his insecurity, especially in the face of left opposition. He came into the discussion and others before with a confrontational, abrasive, disrespectful approach. At one point, he advocated for a “purge” and an armed resistance to get rid of all lefties. Of course, he blamed all of the problems in the U.S. and Latin American countries on lefties, while ignoring that the U.S. and other countries had destabilized those countries in order to get rid of leftist leaders.

Poster 4 was decidedly judgmental, insisting that anyone who wanted government assistance was a lazy loser. While he agreed that the government was responsible for basic services (like infrastructure, the defense, and ensuring competition), it was inferred that he believed that the market (and hard work) could solve everything. Again, that is what neoliberals believe.

What really pissed me off was how Poster 4 came from a European country with universal health care, paid maternity leave (we don’t have federally mandated maternity leave in the U.S.), and social benefits based on need. If anything pisses me off more than some stupid American who wants to block reforms, it’s some asshole from a country with generous social benefits who insists that the U.S. can’t change because … reasons. I want to slap those individuals in the face.

At various points, I lost my temper and got very terse with both these assholes. I don’t regret what I said, because they deserved every bit of it.

The Points I Was Trying to Make

Ultimately, these shitheads refused to accept my argument as it was. When I jumped into the conversation, I was pointing out how the U.S. had socialistic systems that were popular.

I was making a moderate argument, in which I envisioned a future where the United States had better a balance between capitalist and socialist systems. While we do have a mixed economy, our system skews toward capitalism and more and more markets have been deregulated. As I was trying to tell Poster 4, that is unsustainable. If it is the government’s job to foster competition, that means that the government will occasionally have to take corrective action, like breaking up too-big-to-fail banks, monopolies, media companies, and other corporations that have gotten too big and hamper competition in various sectors.

I also think that the government should play a role in limiting income inequality. At this point in time, upward mobility is virtually impossible for Americans. Often, when someone is born into one tax bracket, that’s where they’ll stay for much of their life.

The Reality of the Situation

Socialism is gaining ground because the American capitalist system is broken. And the crux of the issue if income inequality.

Compounding the problem is the amount of wealth the already wealthy accumulated over the past decade. In the first four years after the 2007-2008 financial crisis, about 85% of the new wealth generated went to the top 1% of earners. In the first three years after that crisis, 95% of the wealth went to the top 1%. In order for this to happen, there was a degree of abuse from the “job creators.”

One of the worst (if the worst) offenders is Jeff Bezos, whose personal wealth has climbed to $150 billion and whose company, Amazon, paid 0 taxes in 2017. His warehouse employees receive substandard pay, work in horrible conditions, and receive no health benefits. His idea of a health care plan is having an ambulance on standby. Despite this, there are cities in the U.S. and Canada bidding in a race to the bottom for the chance to host Amazon’s second headquarters, and one of those cities even offered to let employees pay taxes to Bezos.

Disney is also an offender because many of its employees don’t make enough to survive each day.

Walmart is another offender. Not only does it drain communities by pushing out mom and pop stores, but it abuses its workers. Walmart executives mistreat their employees so those employees will quit before they can receive raises based on seniority. The store chain also encourages people to use food stamps to supplement their pay.

This was all pointed out during the recent summit hosted by Bernie Sanders. And as a result, Disneyland announced it was increasing its employees’ pay.

At least Poster 2 admitted that there were bad billionaires. That’s more than I could ask from the others.

When I Talk About Socialism …

When I talk about the United States making reforms, I am not calling for an end to capitalism, although I might lean toward the socialistic side. Ultimately, we have a global economy and it would be disastrous for participants to scrap capitalism. However, capitalism needs to be tightly managed. We need strong regulations to protect businesses, workers, and consumers; that’s the least we can do.

Now, when I say that the United States desperately needs reform, this is what I envision:

  • Anyone will be able to start a business, but there will be no bailouts, especially for large corporations (without firing CEO’s and/or nationalizing those businesses).
  • Since anyone can start a business, there will be a private sector, but certain enterprises, like infrastructure, education, and health care, would have heavy government involvement.
    • States and the federal government will be responsible for repairing roads, maintaining bridges, maintaining water pipes and enforcing strict environmental standards. Companies that pollute must pay damages and mitigate harmful practices.
    • There will still be private schools, but all public schools must reach a certain standard and have adequate funding. Private postsecondary schools will be paid for by students or their families, but public colleges and universities will be more affordable or free.
    • I would prefer a single-payer system that gets rid of the unnecessary middleman (insurance companies). I would also allow the government to have bargaining power for prescriptions.
  • Some sectors would have the government as a competitor to keep prices low for customers.
  • There would be a national pension system to supplement people’s personal savings.
  • We will institute a universal basic income in case automation permanently takes jobs away.
  • The government will raise the federal minimum wage to a living wage and index it for inflation.
  • We will have a mandated parental leave.

These ideas are not crazy because a combination of these things already exists in most developed countries. All of Europe has universal health care and the United States falls behind most OECD (Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development) countries in most areas.

Why Neoliberals and Neoconservatives Are the Scum of the Earth

Of course, these people will ask how we pay for this, but I will ask them how we pay for our damn wars, which will be followed by crickets or their obfuscation. This will be paid for by taxes. People will buy into the system, we will pool our money together, and we will cut unnecessary spending, like unjust wars and corporate welfare. Duh.

However, this is not enough for them, and they will keep on their bullshit about why the U.S. needs to spend as much as it does on the military and blah, blah, blah …

Do you not see how messed up this is? If a (non-wealthy) individual asked for more money despite showing that they there irresponsible with it, that person would be laughed out of the building, but not before the neocons and neoliberals would give that person a lecture about personal responsibility. Yet they look the other way when rich people and the government do the same thing, as long as those blockheads are involved in their pet projects — or they’re paid to look the other way like many “journalists” are nowadays.

Even worse is how those people stick together. Poster 4 even admitted that he liked pukes like Poster 3 (and it was clear that they were avatars for him expressing his own bigotry.) Many neoliberals are Democrats, but even they will admit that they feel more of an affinity to neocons like Bill Kristol and Henry Kissinger, a noted war criminal, than voters. Both these camps love economic hostage-taking, “free” markets, cutting taxes, rewarding the “winners” and punishing the “losers,” waging unjust wars, and paying for it by austerity.

That says it all.

Why I Hate Western Centrism

Centrists are closer to neocons because they keep moving the “center” based on the movement of what they think the mainstream right-wing is. Yet they warn us about going “too far left.” Instead of acting as a counterweight to the right or providing a real resistance, Democrats like this indulge right-wingers.

Even worse, centrists might also enjoy the racist, hateful diatribes right-wingers go on. If not, centrists will make excuses for them. Then centrists wag their fingers at their own base.

This is bad because neocons have gotten away with murder (quite literally) for so long. I hear people complain about SJWs, but neocons and alt-righters are far more dangerous. SJWs are annoying, but alt-righters have actually killed people. Do I need to remind you of what happened in Charlottesville in 2017?

That’s why I can’t look the other way when Poster 3 talked about a purge. He was serious. However, neoliberals will handwave that away.

Thus, neoliberals are not just enablers of neocons, they are co-conspirators. These are not just separate entities, but two sides of the same evil coin.

This is why the left is weak in the United States, folks. We have no real advocates.

Seriously, eff these people.

In Conclusion

The United States of American has a sickness. While we celebrate the wealthy, we denigrate the poor and blame them after making their lives worse. We also kill people in other countries, refuse to help our own, then claim to be this shining city on a hill. Give me a break.

This is why I’m pissed off at the Democratic Party. I hate the GOP with a passion because of its bigoted, hypocritical, neocon tendencies, but neoliberal Democrats aren’t helping matters.

In the fight for reform, Democrats like these are not your tag partners, nor are they the referees. No, they are the intermediary who “breaks up” a fight by holding you down while giving the bastard you’re fighting against a free shot. Then that intermediary steps in front of you to block you from getting a hit in because they know you won’t hit them.

Maybe it’s time to punch through the intermediary so we can get to that other one and beat both their asses. They deserve it because neoliberals and neoconservatives are fucking horrible people.

Have any thoughts on the subject? Time’s yours.

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