By Cliff Schecter,aljazeera.com – The debate is still often about “who loves the economy more, when it should be about people”.
Washington, DC, can be a strange place. It’s a city where experience is considered paramount – even if that experience sometimes consists of screaming “Remember The Maine” just before an ill-fated march into Iraq, or picking perhaps the single dumbest person this side of the aurora borealis to be your vice-presidential nominee.
Hence, even after these most impressive achievements, somehow what John McCain says still matters so darn much that the networks fluff the sofa pillows just to his liking each week, as he occupies a Green Room near you for his regular Sunday-morning-media genuflection.
It’s in this atmosphere that we’re now forced to confront a band of enormously wealthy people who’ve benefitted from – or bestowed upon others – large financial bailouts and ill-considered taxcuts who like lecturing Americans living on earned benefits about “shared sacrifice”. As in, you give up a meal each day, and I’ll give up a pair of yacht shoes! Deal?
It is this truth that often goes unreported during discussions of our so-called “fiscal cliff” (besmirching my good name, I might add), a supposed doomsday scenario where the economy will turn into some sort of a combination of the prom scene from Carrie and Fox News’ “1/2 Hour News Hour”, if we don’t all sing kumbaya by year’s end.
Or in the words of the great Peter Venkman “human sacrifice! Dogs and cats, living together! Mass hysteria!”
Meanwhile, back in reality-land, we’re reminded that how people talk about the economy often leads to this madness. As cognitive linguist Anat Shenker outlines in her enormously insightful book, Don’t Buy It: The Trouble With Talking Nonsense About The Economy, the economy isn’t a living, breathing thing. It can’t be hurt. In fact, as Shenker says, the problem is that the debate is still often about “who loves the economy more, when it should be about people”.
Because, you see, people are actually hurt by layoffs, lack of health insurance and the austerity-police, or those plutocrats who’d consider it unclean to fly coach. Read more…