A trillion in debt? #thankscapitalism

Armed with a massive bill that no one took the time to read — a bill filled with last minute scrawls and scribbles in the margins and with pages crossed out with a ball point pen — Republicans passed a tax bill that will put us at least a trillion dollars in debt. Woohoo! #thankscapitalism

Here are 5 quick thoughts:

  1. The bill was passed by the same (so-called) “conservative” Republicans who piously decry deficits and debt….at least they denounce debt when Democrats are in charge…..When Republicans are in charge, however, it’s okay to ring up big debt, and they always do. Reagan did, and George W. Bush did the same. Dick Cheney, Bush’s Vice President, said at the time, Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.
  2. Your opinion didn’t matter. Only a small segment of the population really favors giving the rich a tax cut. However, Congressional bills pass based on how much money is behind it, not based on the will of the people. Studies have been done: there is no statistical correlation between the people’s will and the likelihood of a bill passing. Unpopular bills get passed quite often, while popular measures regualarly get ignored. There is, however, a statistical correlation between the money spent on a bill and a bill’s likelihood of passing. (See YouTube vid below) Your opinion didn’t matter and it won’t matter, not until our democracy is radically reformed.
  3. This is how capitalism works, don’t be shocked. Capitalism can be tolerable, at times, especially if you are someone with privilege, but what we are seeing right now isn’t some radical departure from capitalism, it’s business as usual. Why? Because capitalism is always about making sure that the rich and powerful remain rich and powerful. Let me put it in more objective, less personal terms: capitalism is (by definition) about centralized power and centralized wealth. So long as you have a few people pulling the strings like mafia dons, these powerful people will always do everything they can to make more and more. The dirty little secret? We don’t need the rich. It’s regular people that make the economy run, not an elite group of executives who reward themselves with private jets (and then pay politicians to give them tax breaks on those same private jets).
  4. There is a sizable base of folks who don’t get it and won’t get it. We all know them. They are friends and family, and armed with an arsenal of misinformation, they won’t see this tax increase as being about the rich. Trump and the conservative talking heads will tell them that lowering taxes magically results in economic growth! And this big economic boom will easily make up for the tax cuts!! So, the $1 trillion deficit doesn’t exist! It will all be taken care of later on down the line!….Of course, it hasn’t ever actually worked that way: Reagan ran up debt and George W. Bush left Obama with a debt bomb (and an economy that had exploded and gone into recession). But please — don’t expect rank and file conservatives to see the light anytime soon. This is a very important point, because…
  5. We will only change things by winning. It’s no accident that the Gospel of Political Victory has been preached for decades by people like Rush Limbaugh. It’s paying off for them now. You don’t make real change by compromising, negotiating or “bringing folks together,” as Obama used to talk about. Things will not change until we confront the powers. This is a time of political war. Expecting Republicans to see the light is futile, and getting cynical and doing nothing will only result in more and more of these kinds of bills, bills that are completely and absolutely unhinged from reality. We need a real political revolution if we are going to gut out the corruption that is infesting our democracy. We must win.

Capitalism is, by definition, about centralized power and centralized wealth

Here’s that vid demonstrating that your opinion doesn’t matter:



Published by

Jonathan Erdman

Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability.

6 thoughts on “A trillion in debt? #thankscapitalism”

    1. Yeah…

      I am chewing on a conversation I had over coffee with a couple of bros from the flock yesterday, and the financial aspects of it are sticking in my craw. I am choking on some of the godless crap it was assumed I would swallow.

      One bro actually lamented the push for a $1/hour min wage. And it’s not like the bro is a small business owner who would struggle to pay it. This guy had no personal stake in it at all. He had a problem with it on principle. And what principle did he express as his problem?

      Glad you asked.

      He chose the example of McDonalds and said, “Come on… people. That is an entry level job! If you want a good wage, work a real job!”

      My first thought was about how I, as a college educated professional took a degree in Christian religious studies. Now it could be that I might work for a church with that degree and they MIGHT pay me better than minimum wage, but like EMT’s and firemen, the vast majority of us volunteer our professional services! We GIVE them away. And it could be that by taking a second job at McD’s, I could support my vocation in the other, since I am not trained in say… engineering or chemistry or math – things that might really pay well.

      This brother’s knee jerk reaction dealing with an issue he has no personal stake in would cut me off at the knees.

      But, and I stress this is not how I make my real case, that is a rather selfish way for me to react.

      Actually, there are thousands upon thousands of hardworking men and women, who for whatever reason, try to make humble ends meet with two or three such jobs as McDs. Many of them are raising families doing it, and struggling every day for it while McD’s executives live in mansions and golf with congress. But my bro doesnt have any principles that would put the breaks on that.

      As a dedicated Christian, I freely admit, this notion is closer to selfless than the first, and thus more christianly… if that were a word.

      But actually, I am still nagged by something deeper. And keep in mind, this bro and I are bros! We are free to disagree (and we do), but we are both beholding to the same master who tells a tale of a boss going out to hire laborers for the day and offering them a good wage that they accept. They go to work and put in the full day at it as agreed, but midway through the day, the boss hires some newbe’s and offers them the same wage. And finally at the end of the day, just before quitting time, he hires some more and offers them the day wage too. And the moment he starts shelling out the cash, the workers who put in the full day start crying foul! They think the late-comers should either get paid less, or they should get paid more. It’s not fair.

      And it isnt fair. But that doesnt matter. Everyone got what they agreed to, and besides the boss can pay as he wants. And God rewards old timers and new comers alike. If old timers dont like it, they will gripe.

      And it seems my bro is keeping company with the gripers! He is not honoring the boss!

      And THAT is a MUCH more Christian analysis of it.


  1. I get the sense that Republican Party’s commitment to Tea Party balanced budget enthusiasts is similar to the Democratic Party’s commitment to the Bernie supporters: use ambiguous rhetoric to co-opt the radical wing at election time, then fall back to status quo once the election is won.

    Using debt to finance public services is like renting the government. You can either tax the rich to pay for public services, or you can pay interest to the rich by borrowing from them to pay for public services.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha! Yes….Ugh….The political system is so fucked up…..Do you think there are more people who are catching on to the scam? There’s definitely a good deal of anti-establishment energy right now, but do you think that it will result in substantial and systemic change? Or will people relax once the middle class feels a little more stable?


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