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Thursday, September 30, 2004

The Wrong Lizard

"The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."
"Odd," said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy."
"I did," said Ford, "it is."
"So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't the people get rid of the lizards?"
"It honestly doesn't occur to them. They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates the government they want."
"You mean they actually vote for the lizards."
"Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course."
"But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"
"Because if they didn't vote for a lizard, then the wrong lizard might get in."
Well, there's definitely a lizard vs. lizard "debate" tonight. It's not really a debate, but I'll leave that rant for later.

My personal views were pegged by politicalcompass.org as being (economically speaking) centrist libertarian. Which, by American standards, apparently makes me a crazed anarchist left-wing hippie. With sandals.

Anyway, both candidates for the U.S. Presidential race are pretty bad. Corruption seems to be a big problem for both parties. The main plus point for Kerry is that he isn't Bush, given that Bush has a record of ploughing the country into the turf with no sign of pulling the yoke back a bit.

I suppose if I was a citizen, I'd vote for Kerry just because Bush is so bad - in other words, the wrong lizard would get in.

I must admit that I don't quite get how you can be a flag-waving Bush supporter unless you're ignoring the little shell game that the neocons seem to be playing - vote for us, we're Christians, don't worry about all the money we're pocketing here. Pretty much all their major policies seem aimed at making Bush's cronies richer in one way or another in the short term with no regard for the future. For example, let's take the proposed Social Security privatisation. If you don't know what that is, Bush's plan is to let people pay some portion of their Social Security tax into stock-market savings accounts. Sounds good, right? Well, yes and no. There's a few little issues under the "give the people their money" veneer.
  1. Show me the money. Where does the funding come from? The taxes people pay right now go towards paying for the elder generation's pensions, so unless you say "sorry" to all those guys (unlikely) you have to find a bunch of money from somewhere to fund the plan.
  2. People are dumb. Not all of them, but a lot of them wouldn't know a stop-order from a bus ticket. They will invest their money badly, end up old and destitute and fall into society's lap mewling for more cash. Yeah, I know this is the same old "government knows best" socialist crap, but fundamentally the point of Social Security is to provide a safety net for people who'd otherwise be screwed when they are old.
  3. What would be the immediate short-term effect? Massive buy pressure on the stock markets, which would of cause result in a big swell in stock prices. Oh, fancy that, little Dick Cheney and Co. made out like bandits. Coincidental, I'm sure.

Pretty much all the Bush policies boil down like this - take the cash now, worry about consequences later. Now, drunken spending sprees might sound like fun, but it's you, me and our children that will get stuck with the bills and the hangover. Don't fall for the shell game.

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