Flimsy Sanity: How to profit from pain

Flimsy Sanity

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Saturday, September 24, 2005

How to profit from pain

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now interviews Nation editor Naomi Klein
NAOMI KLEIN: Yeah. There are two key documents that people should really take a look at. We're going to have them up on The Nation website and I'm sure we can have them up on Democracy Now! as well. There's two documents. They come from the same people, and they're connected. The first one comes from the Republican Study Group, which is the caucus of Republican lawmakers in Congress, headed by Mike Pence. It is called the “Pro Free Market Ideas for Responding to Hurricane Katrina and High Gas Prices.” It comes out of a meeting that took place at the Heritage Foundation on September 15th, where people from the Heritage Foundation and other right-wing think tanks got together with the Republican Study Group members, and they brainstormed thirty-two policy demands to package in as hurricane relief. And we have already seen several-- this is why I think it should be taken extremely seriously, is that the first of the demands is automatically suspending Davis-Beacon prevailing wage laws in disaster areas.

So it's pretty clear that the people making this list have a direct line to President Bush. Because that's already been adopted by presidential decree. The second is to make the entire affected area “flat tax-free enterprise zone”. This is Bush's “Gulf Opportunity Zone” idea, making the whole region a sort of “Club Med” for corporations to have every tax break they have ever dreamed of. But it goes on. This is where we, I think, need to get ready.

They use the excuse of Katrina to talk about everything from opening up drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge to subsidizing -- this is an incredible, incredible one of their demands -- they want to subsidize oil exploration, saying that the corporations won't fund this themselves. And then there's things that we have heard about like they don't want money to be going directly to public schools for displaced children who are affected by the hurricane. They want it to go into school vouchers. This is already happening.

So it’s a transfer of wealth from the public realm, a huge transfer of wealth from the public realm into private hands. So you have this on the one hand. They issued this on September 13. It's already being adopted into law on several levels. And then they come up with another document that actually just came out yesterday, which is the Republican Study Committee's ideas of how to pay for all of these corporate subsidies that they have demanded.

They say, “look, we cannot do this -- we cannot pay for so-called “hurricane relief,” and it has very little or nothing to do with the families that were affected by the hurricane; in fact, it's going to hurt those families.) They say, “the only way we can afford this is if we make some radical cuts to the budget.” They issue another document, the “RSC Budget Options for 2005”, which says “here's where we are going to make the cuts”. Once again, you have the radical re-victimization of the very people who the money was intended for.

Their demands are things like: suspend Medicaid's prescription drug coverage. But more than that, you know, I mentioned the thing that got me was -- I mentioned the fact that they're demanding subsidization for Big Oil for exploration that they won't pay for. In this other document where they talk about how they're going to find the money for all of this corporate welfare, they say that they should cut all programs, all federal research programs, into sustainable energy sources. So, here you have the issue that's really at the core of this disaster, which is global warming and fossil fuels. They're subsidizing big oil and cutting funding to any alternative energy source research


  • At 4:00 PM, Anonymous xristim@pacbell.net said…

    Flimsy, I surf among conservative blogs,newspapers, and public policy organizations -- within a day of Katrina, all were filled with items about the opportunities the devastation opened for pressing the conservative agenda of privatizaton of...well, everything! At heart, I suspect the NeoCons are all dedicated followers of Ludwig von Mises -- who did, literally, believe in the privatization of everything, so nearly as I can tell.

    Oi vey! I'd have a problem with that even if the idea were not already burdened with the inevitable cronyism rampant in this Administration.


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