Thursday, September 24, 2009

Palin in Hong Kong!

Sarah Palin stunned Hong Kong with her BRILLIANT analysis of the global financial crisis and Sino-US relations the other day.

Not only that, she brought COMPLEX issues down to earth, down to "Main Street, USA," as she repeatedly put it, before a crowd of businesspeople carefully screened for pesky journalists (but not carefully enough--the AP slipped through). I mean, only a "Main Street" person would care about such a PRESSING, ABSOLUTELY DEVASTATING issue as intellectual property rights, right? Or eliminating capital gains taxes and estate taxes for the wealthy?

And Palin showed a knack for Daoist mental puzzles with her claim that only the unbridled market could fix problems in the long run and that government meddling caused the financial crisis. Deepening the puzzle into a sort of puzzle within a puzzle, she singled out one kind of meddling for particular rebuke, namely the sort of government action that, well, left the market unbridled. As Palin said, because the government intervened to not intervene in housing markets in particular, "Speculators spotted new investment vehicles, jumped on board and rating agencies underestimated risks." Damn socialism! Death panels!

Amid all this heady discussion, though, some of which, I must admit, went over my head, as it did over the heads of some attendees, who, heads exploding with new ideas, walked out, Palin touched on one issue that left me genuinely puzzled. This was the issue of, as she put it so eloquently, "the protest of... Chinese workers throughout the country," which, she said, along with the protests of Tibetans and Uighurs, "rightfully makes a lot of people nervous."

Her focus on workers was, of course, no surprise. She highlighted Joe the Plumber during the campaign, remember (OK, maybe he qualifies more as "petit bourgeoisie" or "would-be-petit-bourgeoisie-if-he-can-ever-buy-that-business"). Republicans, moreover, have a proud tradition of staunch support for the rights of working people---in other countries.

But Chinese workers, as Palin must know, are protesting against market policies that have shut down their plants. In some cases, they are quite explicitly calling for more government intervention in their workplaces, in the form of wage and hour law enforcement, of all things, or the investigation of occupational illnesses.

Surely, by Palin's logic, China's workers are clearly in the wrong.

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