that’s a given and not really the point. the point is that it makes no sense to advocate a cut in spending when spending is the thing we need. the film is a joke highlighted by its bad timing.
if we want to talk about healing the economy in terms of short term and long term requirements then here is my two cents:
short term: we must seek reforms that address financial regulation - banks should be put on a tight leash, and we should address issues of income inequality by methods of addressing privatization - social services like health care, education, telecommunications and so forth, and taxation - we need to shift the burden of taxation from the poor to the rich through progressive taxation.
Without getting too lengthy we can look at the current “financial crisis” and see reason enough why they should be highly regulated and contained.
Income inequality is a severe problem in this country and social goods should not be made into atomized, private goods where people’s needs are turned into commodities to be at the mercy of markets.
long term: we need to look at replacing Capitalism all together. The core features of this economic system - private ownership, market allocation, remuneration and corporate division of labor - are key factors behind much of the economic problems we face. It is not enough to deride “greed” while ignoring the structural practices that nurture them.
But neither does this mean the alternative is central planning or coordinatorism like we saw in the USSR or in China and so on.
We need to address economies core elements - ownership, allocation, remuneration, and division of labor - know how certain methods of organizing produce certain results, define what we want and need out of an economy and construct new institutions and practices that give us them.
Already this has been done with Participatory Economics (parecon).
In parecon there would be no private, corporate or state ownership. There would be, however, social ownership in that workers and consumers through their respective councils would be owned and managed by the workers themselves.
In parecon allocation would not be done through markets - which are inefficient and anti-social - or central planning. For the latter, even if it could produce benevolent results - which it never has - it would not empower workers and consumers, give them any meaningful way to democratically manage their economy nor would it do anything to build, improve and strengthen social bonds. Through workers and consumer councils planning could be done democratically, with each actor give a say to the degree they are affected and the inefficiencies of market systems could be remedied through their abolition and institutional practices that allow true costs and benefits to enter into the equation.
In parecon remuneration would be based on effort and sacrifice though tempered by need (ie the eldery, sick, disabled and so on). Compensating people based on private ownership, inheritance or genetic inheritance is unethical. Whereas paying people for the duration and intensity of their work isnt.
In market systems and centrally planned systems there are divisions of labor that produce unequal results. some have empowering and fulfilling jobs while others dont. keeping alienated and unequally divided labor in a parecon would not allow meaningful and functioning participation in the democratic process of planning economies. If I only sweep floors then I will rely on others to make decisions for me. I may vote but my participation is relatively meaningless. The alternative can be balanced job complexes where fulfilling and unfulfilling tasks are divided and distributed more fairly. This also addresses income inequality. This doesnt necessarily mean everyone does all job functions - though in some workplaces this might be possible and preferable depending on the tasks and the size. This does mean, however, that depending on what one desires, qualifies for and what is available could determine what job functions a worker has so that all tasks are done and divided in such a way as to give everyone a meaningful way of democratic participation.
Of course this is just a brief overview the long term solution to systemic inequalities and inefficiencies can be remeded with also allowing economies to be democratized by addressing institutional practices of ownership, allocation, remuneration and division of labor. For a more detailed understanding and the explanations and arguments behind Parecon I suggest these books: The Political Economy of Participatory Economics by Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel, Parecon; Life After Capitalism by Michael Albert, Economic Justice and Democracy by Robin Hahnel, and The ABC’s of Political Economy by Robin Hahnel