The shouting is over and directions for the next four years selected. Judging by past behavior (the best predictor, psychologically, of future behavior), we can look forward to:
1. Continued and probably expanded tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and large Corporations. It is no surprise that the stock market soared on the election news: big business stands to gain greatly by the results. Predictions? A strong effort to curtail product lawsuits, no matter how valid, to protect bottom line profits and continued tax incentives to offshore jobs to third world countries where labor costs are low, worker protections minimal, and profitability unlimited.
2. Protection of drug companies by barring pharmaceutical imports from Canada and discouragement of the formation of purchasing cartels for Medicare and other public programs.
3. Semi-privatization of Social Security leading to the emigration of higher paid young employees into private plans, unavoidably diminishing the influx of money available for current and future recipients.
4. Expanded funding for the morass of Iraq and support for the new Afghani government, benefiting the Haliburtons of the world rather than the American worker.
5. Increasing isolation throughout the world as the perceived “big bully of the west” shuns any support which demands shared power and responsible accountability.
6. A decreasing emphasis on job creation as it is no longer a political football and therefore a dead horse. The hope is that the unemployed will eventually take minimum wage service and temporary jobs, the only widely available positions, and business will reap the rewards.
7. The jury is still out on what may happen to a woman’s right of choice and committed homosexual unions but we would be well-served to fear cultural values legislated by anyone.
The Have-Nots – the jobless, the homeless, the powerless, and the poor – stand to lose what little they have in a nation where the wealthy gain ever more power while the working class, by the thousands, slips permanently below the poverty line.
“A society may be defined by how it treats its most vulnerable members.”
Who said that and where is he when we need him?
Virginia Bola is a licensed clinical psychologist with deep interests in Social Psychology and politics. She has performed therapeutic services for more than 20 years and has studied the effects of cultural forces and employment on the individual. The author of an interactive workbook, The Wolf at the Door: An Unemployment Survival Manual, and a monthly ezine, The Worker’s Edge, she can be reached at http://www.virginiabola.com