Pluralistic: 05 Jul 2020

Today's links

Bojo's "New Deal" is neither (permalink)

Whenever I think of grifters, I get that classic image of an overconfident, self-destructive idiot racing across a river on the backs of alligators, certain that they won't stumble and lose a leg. See, for example, DJ Trump.

Or Boris Johnson.

You know that grifter tactic of putting a scandal behind you by creating a bigger scandal? That's pure gator-dancing.

Grifters love debt – spending other peoples' money is Grifter 101. But it's not just money-debt – it's also policy debt.

If you have a real problem and a fake solution, the real problem will continue to fester until it becomes so acute that you have a rupture, a default, a leg chewed off. The grifter way of dealing with this is blowing town before the rupture.

The snake-oil salesman who prescribes alternating doses of speed and opioids to "cure your cancer" stays long enough to witness your stoned, energized delight and collect his fee, then gtfos before you enter metastasis and croak.

The 4-5 year terms of Anglo-American elections are not a bad timeframe for this kind of grift. Reaganomics can produce a stock-market sugar rush and hectic roses on the economy's cheeks in that period, and then Ronny can toddle off to count his polyps before the bill is due.

Some gators, though, have faster-than-average reflexes and can turn and take a leg before you can move on. Coronavirus, with its 3-week crisis cycles, is among the most intensely anti-grift adversaries that chancers like Trump and Bojo could encounter.

"Everything's fine! Get drunk in an enclosed space while desperate, precarious, racialized people sharpen your fingernails and groom your fur! It will be fine!"

[3 weeks pass]

"Uh, we've always been pro-mask. Why the fuck are you in that bar? Personal responsibility!"

The chancers have fed our lungs and our economy to the gators, by refusing to lock down and refusing to fund a stay-at-home order. Now, they're trying to figure out how to distract us from the sight of all those gators masticating our severed legs.

Bojo's idea? A "New Deal."

That was FDR's plan to revitalize the economy after the Great Depression through extensive public spending that offered meaningful employment in the caring and infrastructure sectors, with generous arts and scholarship spending.

Which would be pretty amazing! But Bojo's Made-in-Britain New Deal is just another grift.

FDR's New Deal accounted for forty percent US GDP.

Boris's proposed spend is 0.2%.

Zero. Point. Two. Percent.

Grifters like to surround themselves with other grifters. Reagan had Nancy's astrologer. Boris has Dominic "Typhoid Dom" Cummings, who has his own back to the future plan: a Made-in-Britain ARPA (the US agency that created the internet, GPS, etc).

This is how ARPA worked:

A kind of autonomous, excellence-focused institution where advancement was based on skill, not aristocratic birth.

It's impossible to imagine such an institution emerging from a Tory regime. The posh boys would fill the agency with inbred double-hairs in need of cushy resume-padding and an expense account. It wouldn't produce a new internet – it would produce a massive bar-tab and a long tail of sexual harassment claims.

The real racial wealth gap (permalink)

America has a serious racial wealth-gap problem. The mean net worth of white US households is $900,600; the mean net worth of Black US households is $140,000.

But as Matt Bruenig writes, averages are deceiving.

That's because America also has a serious inequality problem. Almost all the wealth in America is controlled by the richest 10% of households (those households are overwhelmingly white, ofc, but also the richest 10% of Black households account for nearly all Black wealth).

"What this means is that the overall racial wealth disparity is being driven almost entirely by the disparity between the wealthiest 10 percent of white people and the wealthiest 10 percent of black people."

In other words, if you made the average Black US household as rich as the average white US household, but left the gap between the richest Black and white people intact, it would hardly make a dent in the gap between white and Black wealth.

"97 percent of the overall racial wealth gap is driven by households above the median of each racial group."

We could eliminate almost all of the wealth gap by making the richest Black people as rich as the richest white people – which would no nothing for nearly everyone.

Or we could fix it by leveling the bottom 90% of Black households up to the same net worth of the bottom 90% of white households, which would still leave both groups in desperate precarity.

Bruenig: "The way through this bind is, of course, to acknowledge that racial capitalism has concentrated almost all of the national wealth in the hands of a small number of white families. The proper course of action is to redistribute that wealth to the multiracial lower and working classes, tackling both racial and class inequality simultaneously."

This day in history (permalink)

#10yrsago Underwater Basket Weaving: the real story

#10yrsago Prizewinning pirate shed

#10yrsago Four Lions: This is Spinal Tap for suicide bombers

#10yrsago Secret copyright treaty participants demand less security, more border-searches of iPods

#10yrsago Internet access guide 2025: Dystopian humor

#10yrsago TSA blocks "controversial opinion" from its internal network

#5yrsago All 40 of the FBI & DHS's post-9/11 terror attack warnings fizzled

#5yrsago Greece says NO

#5yrsago Greek finance minister resigns

#1yrago Tim Wu rebuts Zuck's reasons for exempting Facebook from antitrust enforcement

Colophon (permalink)

Today's top sources: Memex 1.1 (

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