When unpopular politicians set the stage for a government shutdown, there is a method to the madness: by hook or crook, they are the architects of austerity.
This strategy shreds any remnants of trust in the competence and ability of government, and sells the ludicrous notion that the private sector is the solution to societal problems.
These forces have prevailed in some parts of Europe, forcing governments to shed social services to the poor, the unemployed and the young. Those governments have created crises, but they have hardly solved them. Indeed, they have exacerbated them.
Such societies aren’t merely unequal; they have stoked social and class conflict.
Several decades ago, American economists (from the Chicago School of Economics) preached austerity throughout Latin America. Their economic recipes brought chaos, disaster and mass pain.
Naomi Klein has written movingly about such experiments, which ripped nations apart, in her 2007 work, The Shock Doctrine.
Now, it is here – disguised – but here. Schools are closing; repressive institutions are multiplying, and jobs are paying less and less.
Meanwhile, the 1% (remember Occupy?), the richest percentile of Americans, have made more money recently than at any previous period in the nation’s history.
This isn’t just a conservative program; it is also a neo-liberal program that prays at the holy altar of Wall Street.
The neo-liberal program of surrender to market forces has strengthened and energized rightist tendencies, and made the market the very center of national life: not the People.
So, schools close one day; governments shut their doors the next.
The Market prevails.