Friday, October 15, 2004

Bush vs. Kerry--Again


News

Here we go again. By general agreement Kerry won all the debates--the last by 52% to 39%. The result: Bush now leads by 4%. Let's see: 39 - 52 = 4.

Who benefits from the conservative program? Certainly the ultra-wealthy who got the most benefit from Bush's tax cuts and sweetheart deals for big business. But no amount of advertising, propaganda or even tampering with voter registration could get Bush in without broad support from the bulk of the population who, one would think, don't benefit from his program.

Of course it depends on what you mean be "benefit." If benefit is preference satisfaction then, in addition to the plutocrats, the program benefits Americans who deeply discount the future (or possibly haven't heard about the future at all) and are prepared to take big risks to get a few extra bucks for consumer goods, whether through minimal tax savings or personal debt.

Choice reveals preference and, by their political choices ye shall know them. Inferring to the best explanation it looks like there are a mass of voters who regard poverty, drudgery and unemployment as inevitable facts of life, administered by the goddess Tyche, which no government program can ameliorate. They see liberal proposals to improve their lot as futile--or disingenuous, aimed at bankrolling parasites in state bureaucracies and the undeserving poor, and in any case degrading their standard of living and constraining their choices. They're floating on consumer debt and most mange to juggle car loans, credit card debt and second mortgages; they take advantage of creating financing to live well beyond their means. Why should they worry about the deficit?

Will four more years of this garbage persuade them otherwise? No, because given their fundamental assumption that insecurity and personal economic disasters are in the order of nature there is no way to falsify the hypothesis that Bush's program benefits them: if Bush puts $300 in their pockets, a month's payment on their car loans, they see it as pure profit and praise him; if they're laid off, slammed with catastrophic medical expenses, or just struggle monthly to make payments and take out new loans to consolidate their old ones, they blame it on Tyche.

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