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Philanthro-Feudalism Is the Future! | The Nation

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The Notion

Unfiltered takes on politics, ideas and culture from Nation editors and contributors.

Philanthro-Feudalism Is the Future!

China’s new economic plan is a relic of the past. It focuses on raising standards of living. How quaint!

When China’s leaders unveiled their latest five-year plan recently, they revealed that their focus is on lowering inequality, investing in railroads, highways and hospitals and expanding domestic demand through income subsidies. Fancy that!

Those old world Chinese just don’t seem to get it, that the modern way is the American way: deregulate, concentrate wealth in the top 1 percent and then make sure those at the top don’t pay taxes!

Treated well enough, the rich will fund desperately-needed things like cancer research. Just look at David Koch. Keep government regulators’ hands off his cancer-causing formaldehyde, and he’ll happily put $100 million toward a new Institute for (some) Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (As long as it’s named after him. )

It’s the modern new twist on an Old World theme. We call it Philanthro-feudalism.

Those Chinese by contrast, so stuck in the past, are still looking to government to fund government things. They’re even spending public money on public projects—things like broadband internet for peasants and medical and technological research. Communists!

After all this time, they just don’t understand that the best guardians of public dollars are private bankers.

Here at home, we’re making remarkable advances! Our corporations recently gained the right to free speech and they’re so advanced that they’re preparing to spend billions to influence our next election! And a few pesky Wisconsin protesters aside, workers have realized that they don’t need rights, or jobs, or much in the way of wages.

The government of China clearly has a lot to learn. But meanwhile, let’s give ’em our thanks for still buying our bonds—and taking all those jobs off our hands.

One last thing, we’ve learned names matter. The poor aren’t eating so much these days in the US, but don’t call them peasants. They don’t like that. Here we call them consumers.

The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv and editor of At The Tea Party, out now from OR Books. GRITtv broadcasts weekdays on DISH Network and DIRECTv, on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on Twitter and be our friend on Facebook.

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