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Monday, November 10, 2008


Sarah Palin and Tom Joad

OK, this isn't really about Sarah Palin, but it's about something she said in her "exit interview" with CNN:
"I don't think anybody should give Sarah Palin that much credit [for having lost the election], that I would trump an economic time in this nation that occurred about two months ago, that my presence on the ticket would trump the economic crisis that America found itself in a couple of months ago and attribute John McCain's loss to me."
Yes, the crisis just "occurred" about two months ago, a veritable act of God like a hurricane or an earthquake. America just "found itself" in this crisis "a couple of months ago."

No, as I wrote last month, contrary to Palin's claim and John McCain's "the fundamentals of the economy are sound" pronouncement, what is happening in the United States didn't just "happen" "a couple of months ago." Rather, there is a severe, long-term crisis of manufacturing in the United States, from which, fundamentally, everything else flows. Nor is this in any way new. Here's Bruce Springsteen singing about the very same problem is his 1995 masterpiece "Youngstown" from "The Ghost of Tom Joad" album:

Indeed, Bruce was singing about precisely the same thing a decade earlier, in another song I consider a masterpiece, 1984's "My Hometown" (from his "Born in the USA" album).

Tom Joad and his ilk did in fact arise, in part, from real "acts of God" (to use a legal, not a scientific, term) - the prolonged drought which brought about the Dust Bowl (aided and abetted, of course, by capitalism, in the form of bankers foreclosing on homeowners, just as today). Today's generation of Tom Joads, however, are strictly a man-made phenomenon. Or, should I say, a capitalist-made phenomenon.

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