Television People

Notwithstanding the "outsider" shtick favored by right-wing populists in Washington and, on the other side of the political spectrum, progressives' penchant for waving the "everyday people" banner, the average American sees an unbridgeable chasm between themselves and those who debate the issues that ultimately decide the economic fate of Main Street. Every evening across the country, working people turn on their televisions or scroll through their social media feeds and see politicians, academ

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10 thoughts on “Television People

  1. “It’s a cooperative kleptocracy cynically masquerading as a competitive political duopoly.”

    An all-time great line — concise and incisive.

    We need not look any furtther than the handful of things most Americans seem to agree upon but remain firmly out of our reach — sensible gun control, access to abortion rights, banning Congressional securities trading, term limits, affordable health care, limits on political donations, higher taxes for the super rich, etc.

    The government of the people continues to drift further and further away from the being for the people.

  2. Well said. Brilliant description of the power structure. “Talented liars,” as Chris Hedges would say.

    This congress strikes me as somehow even more capable of going through with a default than the tea party since, as far as I can tell, their sole mission is to get on TV and feel gangster. Am I wrong to suspect there is a decent chance they will at least convince the national “dialogue” that they are willing to go through with it?

    And how far out will that spook markets? Won’t that totally mess with the bond market? My understanding is there is already some heavy issuance coming on 1H ‘23.

    Anyone? Thanks

  3. I guess i am in a weird spot a “television” person who got so annoyed by being laid off from the semi conductor industry due to macro conditions after moving out of state to grab the brass ring in the late 90’s, that i started paying attention to the macro with prejudice in the early 2000’s.

    The thing is that even though my friends and family span almost the entire wealth spectrum, nobody talks macro unless it is to grumble out some commentators narrative. That is a political isolating condition for me especially after coming to the conclusion based purely on non political investing research that Trump was a crook. I voted for him the first time, the thing that put me in his camp originally was the fact that he understood that invading Iraq was a huge mistake. I had on my own come around to understand (exactly what Rush was preaching at the time that Iraq is a great opportunity for Bush re-election because voters do not change horses in the middle of a war) was the real reason we invaded to begin with.

    It is in my opinion a lack of macro finance knowledge that keeps “television” people sidelined, and effectively passive. Macro should be a required education for the sake of democracy. Even my own flawed macro self study has improved my understanding of the world around me to the degree that that the increased knowledge is overall a financial positive to my little household.

    I have been behind some closed doors that remind me of what that H mentioned, and that leads to another point: most people are adverse the septic banter on the other side of the wall. It really stinks in there. Maybe that is why they call it stinking rich.

    1. Spoiler alert: The only thing Donald Trump “understood” about Iraq was that a lot of people were disillusioned with it, and he knew he could leverage that. He didn’t (and doesn’t) care any more about the tragedy of Iraq than he cared about the tragedy of left-behind blue collar workers. If you voted for him, you got duped just like anybody who bought a “Trump steak” or went to “Trump U” or loaned him money for a building. The only thing he understands is how to dupe people. The man is only semi-literate. And I don’t mean that in a pejorative way. I mean that in the most literal sense possible: I do not believe that Donald Trump can read and write at a middle school level, let alone a college level.

      Also, you seem to have missed the point of the article: The television people are the country’s kleptocracy. So, the people on television, not the people watching it.

      1. Thanks for this, H. I was taking post-graduate courses at Columbia when Trump purchased the Commodore Hotel in the mid-70s and swindled then nearly bankrupt New York City in the process. I’ve despised him ever since. The truth about him cannot be said enough. He IS only semi literate. Even that is probably giving him too much credit.

  4. Oh i see “on TV”, my bad i did not finish my coffee this morning and that can be problematic. Should have read it twice.

    As far as being duped, you are right i did not understand Trump was crooked and that his assertions on Iraq were purely political. That makes me wonder why people keep voting for the same party who indebted us in blood and money big time via Bush’s re-election invasion of Iraq. Now the same people (republicans) responsible for that grand staged political evil seemingly want to introduce new found financial anxiety into the service members with lost limbs, busted brains, and haunted souls.

  5. “Despite recent events, the television people are oblivious to the tail risk of a disengaged populace suddenly becoming highly engaged as a result of some near-term ruinous decision or indecision.”

    Wouldn’t that require some support from various local and state police agencies OR the military itself? Even really violent riots (not protests, but actual riots) would probably end up getting put down by the police, national guard, etc. Support from people who normally guarantee security would, I think, have to be from an economic catastrophe occurring specifically to them.

    The only other image I can envision is rule by mob where citizens go after individuals–the ultra-wealthy, politicians, etc. and the police just stand back. And it’s not like the US doesn’t have a history with that (just not against the kleptocracy).

  6. Republicans have already lost the debate on government debt. Even prior to the pandemic, voters generally blamed Republicans for shutting down the government. Now post-pandemic, the average voter doesn’t care about the deficit anymore and is slowly coming to the realization that the government’s budget is not like a household budget. Biden is right to paint the hostage takers as the party of chaos and catastrophe as it’s a winning issue politically for him and the Democrats.

    Now if only Democrats could disabuse voters of the notion that Republicans are better for the economy…

  7. What about writing to your “Television Person” and letting them know what you think about an issue?

    My understanding is that they pay very close attention to a voter’s messages. Isn’t there a formula where they assume that for every one voter who goes to the trivial trouble of writing an email (not any more time than writing a comment on this website) that there are 200 who feel the same way but don’t go to the trouble?

    If you don’t like what is happening in “TV Land” I think it valid to ask if you’ve expressed that to your local TV land representative. I have, many times and as recently as the last month. If nothing else I feel that I’ve done what I’m supposed to do but it appears the majority do not – participate in the democracy that I value and done something other than complain.

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