But is Ruin A Bad Thing?

By: Alton C. Thompson

The election of the Rhombney-Ryan team would spell disaster (“ruin”) for the United States, because both—and especially Ryan—are supporters of what has come to be known as “supply side economics”—which is,

“a school of macroeconomic thought that argues that economic growth can be most effectively created by lowering barriers for people to produce (supply) goods and services, such as lowering income tax and capital gains tax rates, and by allowing greater flexibility by reducing regulation. According to supply-side economics, consumers will then benefit from a greater supply of goods and services at lower prices. Typical policy recommendations of supply-side economists are lower marginal tax rates and less regulation.”

Supply-side economics is a cousin of laissez-faire thought in that whereas laissez-faire thought has a “free market” orientation—i.e., insists that governments should not “interfere” in the conduct of business—supply-side economics is more than a negative “philosophy” in that it argues that although governments should “let alone” in certain respects, they need to have the power of taxation. However, in wielding that power, governments need to ensure that they do not create roadblocks for business firms.

Supporters of the Rhombney-Ryan team would disagree with Bennett that the leadership provided those two gentlemen would result in economic ruin, were they to win the presidential election in November. Be that as it may, I have no interest here in arguing otherwise. Rather, my starting point is that their election would lead to economic ruin, with my question being: Would that be a bad thing?—a question that I answer in the negative.

The line of reasoning that I develop in this essay parallels the one I used in “Thank you, Deniers!” except that the earlier essay focused on climate change “deniers,” whereas the present essay is concerned just with two specific politicians. Both are “deniers,” but are much more than that—a matter, however, that I will not comment on here, given that much has already been written about the “fab two”—including Robert Reich, Pierre Tristam, Matthew Rothschild (editor of The Progressive, published here in Wisconsin), Catholic theologians, and Catholic bishops. The perspective used by the above-mentioned individuals/organizations differs substantially from mine, however, in that they all perceive the disaster that lies ahead if Rhombney and Ryan as “bad,” whereas I welcome that disaster.

The basic assumption that underlies my viewpoint is that our society will be collapsing within a few decades regardless of who wins the fall presidential election. As I try to make clear in my “Scumbags and (Intellectual) Prostitutes,” Bill McKibben recently favored us with some chilling numbers regarding global warming. Bill did not himself use his numbers to suggest that our society was on a path toward collapse, but I don’t know how anyone can reflect on those numbers and not conclude that societal collapse is “in the cards”—not only for our society, but for most, perhaps all, societies, as a result of the various phenomena associated with global warming.

President O’Bomber has done nothing of consequence relative to global warming—one reason being that he obviously has no clue as to how serious a problem it is. Indeed, it is past time when we can do anything to halt the further “progress” of global warming—which means that our only choice now is that of adaptation. One hears some people talking about “sustainability,” but that is now an obsolete concept: It is concept having a resource orientation that tacitly assumes that “climate change” is not occurring. It’s clear that O’Bomber doesn’t realize this, and the thinking of Rhombney and Ryan is so obsolete that not even the concept of sustainability plays any role in their thinking.

Although societal collapse is likely to occur regardless of which team is elected in November, it’s likely to occur sooner under the Rhombney-Ryan team—and in a manner more propitious so far as adaptation is concerned. And that’s why I hope that the Rhombney-Ryan team wins the election.

Why might it help us give attention to adaptation earlier than might be the case were O’Bomber to win the election? The Rhomney-Ryan team is proposing draconian measures that, if implemented, will cause a great deal of pain with the poor and members of the working class. That pain on the one hand is likely to result in a great deal of violence, but also result in a great deal of highly-publicized criticism of their policies on the part of certain members of our society. I especially expect that religious leaders might become vociferous in criticizing their policies—with perhaps Catholic theologians (such as my friend Dan Maguire) and Catholic bishops leading the way.

This widespread pain, combined with vociferous criticisms of the policies causing the pain, may create a situation in which the issue of adaptation can come to the fore. If it does, we may wake up to the need for adaptation early enough that a significant portion of our population—the world’s population—can be saved. Climate scientists who argue that global warming will wipe out most of the world’s population before this century is over may very well be correct. It seems to me, however, that if we were to begin thinking seriously about adaptation soon, more lives could be saved. Not most, but more.

What my message here is, then, in brief: Irony of ironies! The election of the Rhombney-Ryan team may have consequences wholly unanticipated by those two gentlemen—by most people, indeed: It may help us wake up to the need for adaptation, perhaps even to the extent that societal transformation will occur instead of societal collapse. Wonder of wonders!

About the author: Al Thompson works (data management) for an Engineering (Avionics) firm in Milwaukee. Click here to mail him.

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