The White House apparently believes the best way to strengthen its hand in the upcoming “sequester” showdown with Republicans is to tell Americans how awful the spending cuts will be and blame Republicans for them.
It won’t work. These tactical messages are getting in the way of the larger truth, which the president must hammer home: The Republicans’ austerity and trickle-down economics are dangerous, bald-faced lies.
Yes, the pending spending cuts will hurt. But even if some Americans begin to feel the pain when the cuts go into effect Friday, most won’t feel it for weeks or months, if ever.
In response, it seems, to criticism of his economic plan—which will raise taxes on the vast majority of Americans in order to cut taxes for the wealthiest taxpayers—Mitt Romney has released a one-page “plan for a stronger middle-class.” The provisions are what you would expect:
In a 2009 poll conducted by the BBC, only one out of every four Americans thought that capitalism in its current form was working well. Then came Occupy Wall Street (OWS), a physical manifestation of the anger of millions of Americans at an economic system in which big banks are bailed out by taxpayers only to turn around and pay billions in bonuses while filing record home foreclosures. Between the second quarter of 2009 and the fourth quarter of 2010, our nation's total income rose by $528 billion, but of that economic growth, 88 percent went to corporate profits and just 1 percent—that's right, 1 percent—went to workers.
The Prime Minister of Bhutan, Jigmi Thinley, presided over the United Nations (U.N.) conference in a beautiful gold and ruby striped gho. Thinley is a small man with a broad smile. As he spoke, his demeanor was calm and welcoming, even if his words were not.
“Mankind is like a meteor, blazing toward self-immolation along with all other life forms,” he said, gazing evenly at the rapt crowd.
Socialism was supposed to create a new socialist man—a fellow or gal whose labor was unalienated, who was freed from want, who had time off to read, to fish, to play, to parent. He would be healthier, longer-lived, better educated and wiser than his counterpart under capitalism. To a considerable degree, social democracy (or even its attenuated American cousin, New Deal liberalism) has accomplished some of those goals (higher pay, more time off, widespread education) if not all of them (unalienated labor, widespread wisdom).
I've been thinking about the term "capitalism" since Frank Luntz, the renowned pollster, told Republicans to quit saying it. The Occupy Wall Street movement has turned "capitalism" into a dirty word, he said. If Republicans want to win in 2012, they'd better stop worrying and learn to love "economic freedom" instead.
Obama gave a really good speech yesterday, one that clearly announces his main campaign strategy for the next year and has the potential of having his 2008 base return to occupying his camp. You should read it, but if you don’t have the time, Derek Thompson has a pretty thorough reader’s guide.
Any renaissance of American manufacturing must begin by fundamentally reversing our trade policies—both in general and in particular toward China. Over the past two decades, leading U.S. manufacturers, both the venerable (like General Electric) and the new (like Apple), have offshored millions of jobs—by one recent estimate, 2.9 million—to China to take advantage of the cheap labor, generous state subsidies, and low currency valuation that are linchpins of China’s mercantilist development strategy.
(Sipa via AP Images) President of France's far-right National Front party Marine Le Pen gives a press conference after protesting a French National Assembly vote that authorized a 15 billion euro aid package for Greece.
The epic financial crash of 2007–2008 should have produced a massive political defeat for the conservative ideology whose resurgence began three decades ago. Its signal achievement, liberated finance, did not reward innovation, enhance economic efficiency, or produce broad prosperity. Rather, the result was a speculative bubble followed by a severe crash. Along the way, the super-rich captured a disproportionate share of the economy’s gains, while other incomes stagnated. In the aftermath, ordinary people have suffered large losses of earnings, assets, social protections, and hopes for their children.
Republicans' response to Obama's deficit-reduction plan -- which calls on millionaires and large corporations to pay higher taxes -- predictably consisted of two terms: "job creators" and "class warfare." Who are these job creators, anyway? They want you to think it's small businesses, but Obama's proposal to raise taxes on millionaires wouldn't affect 98 percent of small businesses. In reality, it would affect millionaires who, despite their wealth, haven't been creating jobs for some time.
Economic recovery and higher revenue has left California with a significantly improved budget outlook:
After months of doomsday scenarios and apocalyptic warnings about cuts to California schools, parks and the police, the news from Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday was nothing short of startling: California is now expected to see $6.6 billion more in revenue over the next two years than had been expected. [...]
The unexpected improvement in the fiscal picture was a result of rising incomes. California workers will make, on average, an additional $4,000 over the next two years, the state now estimates, which will mean more income taxes coming in.
New Hampshire Sen. Judd Greggwarns of the dangers of government by community organizer:
Class warfare as leadership is a hard sell. It seems that this fact has not yet found resonance in the Obama White House. In a historical context, there have been governments formed on the basis of class warfare. Their success rate as a form of governance, however, is highly suspect. It is simply difficult to build prosperity based on envy.
In what should be a shock to no one, the public isn't exactly happy with the provisions of Bowles-Simpson:
In the survey, 57% of respondents said they were uncomfortable with gradually raising the Social Security retirement age to 69 over the next 60 years. Some 41% said they were somewhat or very comfortable with the idea.
Roughly 70% were uncomfortable with making cuts to programs such as Medicare, Social Security and defense in order to reduce the deficit, with 27% saying they were comfortable.
Mark Schmitt says the 1970s were a decade of lost opportunities to reconstruct the New Deal order.
The short postwar miracle was built on a "great compression" of broadly shared economic gains, a "liberal consensus," around the idea of a supportive government committed to expanding rights and opportunity, and a loose social compact between industry and organized labor. In the late 1970s, these phenomena, dependent on prosperity, gave way to a particularly predatory form of financial capitalism, joined to an aggressive and opportunistic conservative politics capable of winning electoral majorities.