My thanks to Bruce for bringing attention to this as we see the conservative elite clamp down on possible voting immigrants…
- “A shitty time to be a liberal”: The Economist’s must-read piece on the Clegg paradox (and 2 reasons why it’s wrong) (libdemvoice.org)
- Self-induced Sluggishness – Economist on the world economy (themitochondrialmigrator.wordpress.com)
Date: Tue, Feb 14, 2012 at 8:27 PM
Earlier this month was the birthday of Ayn Rand, the controversial philosopher and novelist, who emigrated from the Soviet Union in 1926. Regardless of what one thinks of her ideas, there is no denying that she was a great American. When the American intelligentsia was playing footsie with Soviet communism, Rand unabashedly defended liberty and individual rights, America’s core values, famously declaring: “[The] United States of America is the greatest, the noblest and, in its original founding principles, the only moral country in the history of the world.”
But this proud naturalized American, who arguably did more than any contemporary figure to restore the faith of Americans in America, might have been hounded out of the country if one of our current crop of Republican hopefuls had been president when she arrived. Why? Because Rand lied and bent every rule to gain…
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This is likely to draw all kinds of negative comments from the right (or even from the center) but the fact that Capitalism, which requires consistent growth… therefore always using more (and making more) income… has done two obvious things: it has made gigantic corporations which create a government all their own which does not often comply with our nationally passed laws; and Capitalism has also put all other economic concepts into a state of public damnation… even by those members of the public whose lives are destroyed by capitalistic growth.
To start with the major energy companies, builders of much of the Capitalist base, rewards those who plunder the natural environment by giving them an unsustainable material prosperity while removing natural benefits and beauty from the land we live on. This is justified by establishing the concept of the ‘free market’ which eliminates all but the most efficient enterprises. In fact, the efficiency is only financial – meaning that the ‘free market’ eliminates any that pursue goals other than maximizing
their profits. Nice guys finish last.
Even the Information Based Economy has been plundered by the capitalist system. By rewarding competition rather than cooperation, capitalism wastes an increasing amount of time, effort and resources, primarily because economic thought and institutions stem from an era of locally distributed goods that were laboriously handmade, usually with minimal set-up costs and large costs per unit. However, as the economy becomes increasingly virtual, capitalism is showing itself increasingly unsatisfactory… the traditional pricing system is still based on unit costs, which are a very poor reflection of the cost structure of information goods. In such circumstances, tremendous inefficiency is inevitable, yet the major software companies (Microsoft, Oracle, etc.) remain tied to the capitalist system.
So what are the alternatives that could replace unregulated Capitalism and give us a transition to an ongoing, non-growth system which would support all of us without destroying the environment… indeed, by an ongoing replacement of the environmental elements that have been lost?
If you start looking through the internet for competing economic theories you will find such titles as Altruism (A System to Reward Generosity, not Selfishness), Sustainability ( strategic management of economic, social, environmental and ethical performance), and the Transition Movement (one of the most promising ways of engaging people and communities to take the far-reaching actions that are required to mitigate the effects of peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis.) These solutions all have significant common denominators; they all seek to get out from under the energy structure which is causing global warming, they all define economics as a social program and work against problems such as greed and huge gaps between the wealthy and the lower classes, and they are all opposed to capitalism as a process.
You’ll notice I didn’t use terms like Socialism or Communism, which none of these theories subscribe to (although it will probably not be seen that way by the corporate right which will use such accusations to turn the middle class in on itself). None of them attack individual creativity… in fact they rely on it.
If this gives you something to think about, remember that there will be no opposition to the control by an aging Capitalist Economy unless the larger portion of our population… a good 90%… joins together for our own benefit. Read the sources, pass the information on to friends and family and urge them to do the same. Keep up a steady stream of communication with all elected representatives who are now bought and sold by capitalistic lobbyist… in a sense become lobbyists of the people.
- Global Capitalism (liamchingliu.wordpress.com)
- The Paradox of Capitalist Regulation (robertlindsay.wordpress.com)
- Capitalists continue to dance with the corpse of what was while things fall apart around them (iflizwerequeen.com)
- How capitalism should “really” be like. (newscci.wordpress.com)
“Consciously or not, policy makers are catering almost exclusively to the interests of rentiers — those who derive lots of income from assets, who lent large sums of money in the past, often unwisely, but are now being protected from loss at everyone else’s expense.”
Hmmm. “Rentiers.” There’s a new word to learn. It’s sort of a nice way to say bastard bankers, or corporate pigs… a lot of class for a collection of scum ( or “scumiers”). Yet these are the people who have taken their tax deductions and NOT created jobs… nor even encouraged the creation of jobs… but have pocketed their cash in the back of their pants in Mexico and China and India… Certainly it is not being spent here in the good old USA.
And who pays the tab on the huge bill created for operation of our government, military, debt repayments and the loans and support w are making to just about every other civil population but our own? Why, we do. The American “Middle Class“… just a label now, since any economic positives of being in the middle class have been thoroughly negated.
Krugman sums up how these “rentiers” take over the ruling power in our country:
“And that explains why creditor interests bulk so large in policy; not only is this the class that makes big campaign contributions, it’s the class that has personal access to policy makers — many of whom go to work for these people when they exit government through the revolving door. The process of influence doesn’t have to involve raw corruption (although that happens, too). All it requires is the tendency to assume that what’s good for the people you hang out with, the people who seem so impressive in meetings — hey, they’re rich, they’re smart, and they have great tailors — must be good for the economy as a whole.“
- Paul Krugman: Rule by Rentiers (economistsview.typepad.com)
- Economic Reality (swampland.time.com)
- Thursday Reading List (ritholtz.com)
- For the Virtual Green Room: June 7, 2011 (delong.typepad.com)
- Who Are The Rentiers? (krugman.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Tim Pawlenty’s Supply-Side Time Warp (douthat.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Abbreviated pundit round-up (dailykos.com)
- The Rentier Regime (krugman.blogs.nytimes.com)
- DCCC and CREEP Want My Money to Re-Elect President Romney’s Econ Team (my.firedoglake.com)
Don’t you see what they have caused? Here are the 10 Epic Failures of the Bush Tax Cuts (each one will lead you to an overall definitive view):
Well, I see why the wealthy are happy with the continuation, but that rules 99% of us out.
- Mike’s Blog Round Up (crooksandliars.com)
- White House Raising White Flag on Bush Tax Cuts? (crooksandliars.com)
- 10 Epic Failures of the Bush Tax Cuts (crooksandliars.com)
- Robert Reich: The Showdown on Tax Cuts for the Rich (huffingtonpost.com)
- “Bush tax cuts: Cutting through the noise” and related posts (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
…picked up from John Case’s socialist-economics mailing group:
People before Profits: Sound bites about jobs
In my home state of Connecticut, I am bombarded with ads from businesswoman Linda McMahon. She has already spent over $24 million of her huge fortune in an effort to capture Connecticut’s open Senate seat. McMahon’s rhetoric echoes fellow Republicans around the country who say: “Government doesn’t create jobs. Small business creates jobs. Cut job-killing government spending. And Cancel the stimulus.”
This article will examine some of these sound bytes.
When does small business creates jobs?
The Republicans are fond of saying that small business creates 70 percent of all jobs. They don’t tell you that small business is also responsible for 70 percent of all layoffs. That’s the nature of small
business. They start up and go out of business all the time.
When businesses, small or large, hire more workers they have more customers. If customers are cutting back, business cuts back. It’s that simple.
Don’t take my word for it. The National Federation of Independent Business asked its members, “What is your single most important problem?” The answer was not taxes, not unions, not labor, not government red tape. The biggest problem for small business is poor sales — not enough customers! And there are no customers because we are all broke, unemployed, drowning in mortgage and credit card debt.
When union’s workers are able to win higher wages, their income flows back into the local economy. Yes, unions are good for small, local business!
But the fastest way to create jobs in the private sector is to increase government spending.
Unemployment compensation, food stamps and other safety net programs are immediately spent at the local supermarket, gas station, and other businesses. A study by the Congressional Budget Office found this kind of government spending among the most effective in creating jobs!
Government spending on infrastructure, education, and medical care helps the businesses that supply these industries. And government workers’ paychecks are also spent supporting businesses in the local and national economy.
McMahon and Republicans are against government spending and against unions. So they are really against small business and small business job creation.
Is government spending evil?
McMahon’s TV ads say, “Cut job-killing government spending.” This makes no sense at all. Almost every dollar spent by the government creates jobs.
The federal, state or local governments directly employ more than one of every six workers at 17 percent. And for every worker with a government paycheck, another worker is employed by a private business selling supplies or services to the government, or providing the things the workers buy with their paychecks.
Since January 2009, the economic crisis has caused state and local governments to cut employment by 397,000. Without the federal funds provided by the stimulus, those job losses would have been more than double. McMahon and the Republicans want to cut the stimulus, throwing hundreds of thousands of teachers, police and firefighters out of work, and forcing states and cities to raise taxes or cut services.
The final piece of economic nonsense is the claim that eliminating the federal deficit is the biggest priority, and that deep spending cuts will somehow help the economy. Most of the media accept this as self-evident. But it is wrong.
Linda McMahon, like most Republican candidates, refuses to say what programs she would cut to eliminate the deficit. But The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities calculates that the Republican plan to cut the Federal budget to 2008 levels would force a 20 percent reduction in
non-defense discretionary spending. Biomedical research would be crippled. Local schools, already hard hit, would see federal funds disappear. Local taxes would rise. Hundreds of thousands of jobs would disappear. The Republican plan could easily throw the economy back into the free fall that President Obama inherited in January 2009.
Deficits don’t kill jobs. Spending cuts kill jobs.
McMahon actually supports two big budget-busters: the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Bush tax cuts for the rich. But the biggest cause of the deficit is the recession itself — unemployed workers and closed businesses don’t pay taxes. Spending for necessary, productive purposes today will help revive the economy and make it possible to cut deficits in the future.
Between two and five million people have jobs or increased hours today because of the stimulus bill, according to the Congressional Budget Office. But stimulus funds are running out, and those jobs will start to disappear in the next months. The best hope for jobs, both public and private sector, is extending and increasing stimulus measures. Enacting President Obama’s $50 billion infrastructure proposal, and the Local Jobs for America Act which funds state and local governments, would be important first steps. That won’t be possible if Republicans like Linda McMahon, with their job-killing priorities, win in November.
- Blumenthal, McMahon Debate Again; Voters Turned Off (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Connecticut’s Senate Race: McMahon vs. Blumenthal (time.com)
- Conn. Senate debate focus: trust, jobs, wrestling (sfgate.com)
Here’s a clip:
The story of 1937, of F.D.R.’s disastrous decision to heed those who said that it was time to slash the deficit, is well known. What’s less well known is the extent to which the public drew the wrong conclusions from the recession that followed: far from calling for a resumption of New Deal programs, voters lost faith in fiscal expansion.
Consider Gallup polling from March 1938. Asked whether government spending should be increased to fight the slump, 63 percent of those polled said no. Asked whether it would be better to increase spending or to cut business taxes, only 15 percent favored spending; 63 percent favored tax cuts. And the 1938 election was a disaster for the Democrats, who lost 70 seats in the House and seven in the Senate.
And then came World War II and the miracle occurred.
From an economic point of view World War II was, above all, a burst of deficit-financed government spending, on a scale that would never have been approved otherwise. Over the course of the war the federal government borrowed an amount equal to roughly twice the value of G.D.P. in 1940 — the equivalent of roughly $30 trillion today.
Had anyone proposed spending even a fraction that much before the war, people would have said the same things they’re saying today. They would have warned about crushing debt and runaway inflation. They would also have said, rightly, that the Depression was in large part caused by excess debt — and then have declared that it was impossible to fix this problem by issuing even more debt.
But guess what? Deficit spending created an economic boom — and the boom laid the foundation for long-run prosperity.
We don’t have a similar miracle waiting in the wings for us. In fact, our military is more than overspent and tired out after the decade of Iraq and Afghanistan. And we are broke!
The odds of the Repiglicans, who will be voted in to Congress by short-sighted middle- and lower-class folks, increasing our expenditures on jobs and government-financed recovery are minimal.
But it turns out that politicians and economists alike have spent decades unlearning the lessons of the 1930s, and are determined to repeat all the old mistakes. And it’s slightly sickening to realize that the big winners in the midterm elections are likely to be the very people who first got us into this mess, then did everything in their power to block action to get us out.
But always remember: this slump can be cured. All it will take is a little bit of intellectual clarity, and a lot of political will. Here’s hoping we find those virtues in the not too distant future.
And here’s hoping it doesn’t take a World War.
- Krugman: This Is 1938 All Over Again, And We Need Something Like WWII To Save Us (businessinsider.com)
- “Paul Krugman: 1938 in 2010” and related posts (economistsview.typepad.com)