Is Obama Adopting the Shock Doctrine Playbook?

Everyone knows that Milton Friedman advocated a kind of “disaster capitalism”.

Specifically, as explained in the Shock Doctrine, whenever a natural, economic, war-related, or other disaster strikes, the Friedmanites pounce and use the opportunity to quickly impose a brand of economic policy which benefits the elite at the cost of everyone else (by increasing unemployment, pushing the cost of essential goods through the roof, and otherwise increasing poverty), while people are still in shock and before they can react.

Of course, the Bush administration also used the threat of catastrophe to ram through bad legislation. For example, Congressman Sherman says that Congress was warned by the Bush administration that martial law might have to be imposed if the original $700 billion bailout wasn’t passed (see also this and this).

But its not just “conservatives” who play this game.

Obama said Wednesday the recession will turn into “a catastrophe” if the economic stimulus is not passed quickly:

“A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe and guarantee a longer recession, a less robust recovery, and a more uncertain future,” he said. “That’s why I feel such a sense of urgency . . . .”

And Obama’s chief of staff – Rahm Emanuel – said recently:

Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before.

That is classic shock doctrine: use crises – real or imagined – to ram through your pre-packaged agenda.

Whether that agenda is labelled “conservative” or “liberal”, it is almost certain to benefit the powers-that-be, rather than the average American. For example, Obama’s “bad bank” proposal will help the banks, but not the American citizen.

Note: If any of Obama’s economic plans had a chance of succeeding, I would support them (not the use of the shock doctrine, but the economic plans themselves). However, his schemes will make matters worse, just as Bush’s did. Unfortunately, mainstream economists simply do not understand either the cause or the solution to our economic crisis. By attempting to save the status quo, they are exacerbating the severity of the crisis.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13156080225918567393 The Grey Tiger

    Shock doctrine? How about the truth doctrine? While I don’t like a lot that’s in the package as it now stands I do know that a stimulus that creates jobs would help the current problem. Tax cut aren’t the answer most know that you get less than a buck worth of bang out of a buck in tax cuts. For economists to say they don’t know how we got here indicates they are pretty dumb or they are being paid by the wrong people.Anybody who has ever run a check book knows what happened. We gave money away in tax cuts and fought two wars on credit and to keep the economy going we invented and leveraged everything we could think of to try and hold it together. I don’t think it worked, do you?So if this bill is shot down what are the suggested replacement by republicans, Surprise they brought out their pet parrot and he obediently spoke his two words “TAX CUT”If I was Obama , I’d pull the whole package and submit a new one in it’s place with not a tax cut in it. Oh , you say that will never pass! Well think about this, there was 350 billion in tax cuts in the old bill , I’ll bet you I can buy two votes a hell of a lot cheaper than that.

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