The respectability of “worthiness.”

It is hard not to notice how misdirected the emphasis on deficit-cutting is, against a dire employment situation (my analysis of the numbers that came out yesterday yields a U3 of 14.06 percent, a U6 of 19.42 percent, and 31,671,000 underemployed or unemployed people), so of course a number of people are remarking on this. But as an old communication major, I look at the phenomenon that the priority is on deficit-cutting, that the priority is on raising the debt limit so the rich can be paid off, and that the priority—as seen again and again in Obama’s “compromises”—is to hurt the vulnerable.

It’s the same message I have, and so many others have remarked on before, that the urgency with which bankers were bailed out does not apply to people a lot lower in the economic hierarchy, for whom relief is not merely a matter of preserving a lifestyle, but of survival. It is a message that the lower a person is in the economic hierarchy, the less valuable, the less worthy, the less important that person is. It is a message that a person’s worth depends entirely upon his or her wealth.

That this is even a remotely respectable message, let alone one that predominates, is a reflection upon our society. It is a sign that this social system is beyond redemption and far beyond the possibility of reform. It is a system that must be overturned.

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