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June 2011 Archives

June 1, 2011

Biting the hand that feeds 'em

This is really delightful:

"Politicians of both parties have been tough on public employees in this recession, balancing state and city budgets through layoffs, wage freezes, furloughs, and benefit cuts. But rarely have labor-backed Democrats targeted the very right of public employees to collectively bargain. That’s now changing. In Massachusetts, New Jersey, Illinois, and Connecticut, Democratic legislators, eager to save money, are betting they can cut into public employee bargaining rights and still win union backing at election time."
That's puttin' it in your face, eh? Raging union chief and all-round bull goose Rich Trumpcut sez:
"Democrats get most of their campaign funding—72 percent nationally—from business... the union share of the Democrats’ war chest has fallen to half what it was a decade ago."
Here's a real juicy fact:
"AFSCME [the union of pub sec workers extraordinaire] claimed top place in all political spending in 2010, pouring $87.5 million into campaigns."
Man oh man, those poor buggers prepaid for their own royal ass kicking, didn't they?

Somethin's gotta give here, at some point.

The Kraken, released at last?

"Here in the United States, we are glued to our media to keep up with unionized public workers in Wisconsin and other rust belt states... Two recent polls show deep support for union representation in the workplace. Maybe this will be the beginning of a working-class resurgence; maybe unions will look outward and become the standard bearers for those seeking relief from tyranny in the workplace and in their communities; maybe more sectors and areas of the country will be moved to challenge the right-wing public policy that shifts income upward, removes any barrier to capitalist growth, and leaves a devastated world in its wake..."

I've been seriously remiss as usual. Big things may be mobilizing around us. As many suggest, the Madison conjuncture may well be a turning point in job-site class relations, and not just a final spasm of pub-sec unionism.

Gov Walker, urged on by his corporate backers, threw Thor's hammer at the organized public workforce of Wisconsin, and suddenly something far bigger seemed to move, not only there but everywhere. Perhaps a spellbound once-mighty giant buried under the social loam of America, after prolonged stillness, reacted to the bolt.

If so, if that really was the movement of a giant -- did the giant merely toss in its trance, creepily un-fitful 'til now -- or is this, at long last, the first shakes of an awakening?

To shift figures: might the nation's much-abused worker bees suddenly move en masse into the air, to swarm like it's 1937? Might they suddenly all burst into flight, not just a few hives, mind you, but all the hives, the whole damn Yankee apiary nearly all at once taken up into this collective motion, a miraculous mass motion, a spontaneous unordered unforeseen mission to set about themselves and found a new system of job site life in America?

June 2, 2011

Cogs in the machine?

"Work in modern society entraps us in meaningless and inhuman labor."
Stumbled over that in a fit of fidgety self-discontented link hopping, and did it ever set off the virtual steam whistle!

Look, most folks have some variety of McShit job burning itself into their backside, or if not, they have only ass-branding McShit jobs to look back on or forward to. Yet these goo-goos in media pipe dream, puff out one or another brave new world vision filled to overflowing with meaningful occupations for all of us. That's plain bunko.

I submit most jobbled souls happily would settle right now for just a lot less of it and more pay -- less of it to leave time for free labor, not just play, of course. Which puts me in mind of a nice passage of Karl from Trier:

"In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou labour! was Jehovah's curse on Adam. And this is labour for Smith, a curse. 'Tranquillity' appears as the adequate state, as identical with 'freedom' and 'happiness'. It seems quite far from Smith's mind that the individual, 'in his normal state of health, strength, activity, skill, facility', also needs a normal portion of work, and of the suspension of tranquillity. "
By this "normal portion of work" he isn't thinking of a McShit job, of course, even though he goes on to write
"Certainly, labour obtains its measure from the outside, through the aim to be attained and the obstacles to be overcome in attaining it. But Smith has no inkling whatever that this overcoming of obstacles is in itself a liberating activity — and that, further, the external aims become stripped of the semblance of merely external natural urgencies, and become posited as aims which the individual himself posits — hence as self-realization, objectification of the subject, hence real freedom, whose action is, precisely, labour."
That ain't for most of us now, not in this social formation, and at this juncture; nope, it's pure McShit all the way up and down:
"in its historic forms as slave-labour, serf-labour, and wage-labour, labour always appears as repulsive, always as external forced labour; and not-labour, by contrast, as 'freedom, and happiness'."
At this point the old boy really puts of the dialectical grass skirt; bear with it, though:
"This holds doubly: for this contradictory labour; and, relatedly, for labour which has not yet created the subjective and objective conditions for itself (or also, in contrast to the pastoral etc. state, which it has lost), in which labour becomes attractive work, the individual's self-realization, which in no way means that it becomes mere fun, mere amusement, as Fourier, with grisette-like naivete, conceives it.

"Really free working, e.g. composing, is at the same time precisely the most damned seriousness, the most intense exertion. The work of material production can achieve this character only (1) when its social character is posited, (2) when it is of a scientific and at the same time general character, not merely human exertion as a specifically harnessed natural force, but exertion as subject, which appears in the production process not in a merely natural, spontaneous form, but as an activity regulating all the forces of nature."

Even after the coming social revolution brings forth its new and brighter prospects for us all, the vast bulk of our "daily work tasks" will be in large measure McShit jobs with McShit tasks, that is, inasmuch as they are paying us anything -- in other words, inasmuch as they are socially valued jobs, jobs that in their mighty collectivity produce the necessary material basis of society itself. They're mostly not tasks self-assigned and purely guided by our free will, tasks "of a scientific and at the same time general character," or alternatively, tasks that are a fulfilling expression of the creative essence of our then "fully liberated ethical will".

I hope this is true...

Libyan rebels will recognise Israel, Bernard-Henri Lévy tells Netanyahu

Libya’s rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) is ready to recognise Israel, according to French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, who says he has passed the message on to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu....

Netanyahu's office confirmed the meeting with Lévy but did not comment on the discussion. "The prime minister likes to meet intellectuals," a spokesperson said.

Of course, if it is true, it will be something of a first for BHL, shown above in the initial phase of a lycanthropic metamorphosis in front of an al-Jazeera microphone.

Still, as I so often say, you can't make this stuff up.

It all leads me to ponder, not for the first time, that wise old axiom that politics makes strange bedfellows. (This has happened to me once or twice in a literal sense, with mixed results.) I have to wonder about all my sanctimonious moralizing universalizing Leftie friends -- how do they feel about being in bed with BHL and Sarko?

To be sure, I'm in bed with Ahmadinejad, have been for years, and I guess I'm now in bed with Colonel Q, by implication anyway. Neither of them is a bedmate I would have chosen out of all the people on earth, but I'll sleep sounder than I would with BHL's head on the neighboring pillow.

Incidentally, isn't that a nice line about how Netanyahu "likes to meet intellectuals?" If that isn't straight off the cutting-room floor for The Godfather, I'm a lizard.

June 5, 2011


You know: There are topics, you keep saying to yourself, fuck am I sick and tired of X.... if I hear one more word about X... But you never go Elvis on it; you never shoot the tv over it.

Charter school hysterics strike me just that way, and that far. Why give a damn about privatized middle ed? There's nothing about actually existing public schooling in America today...either way... worth even a raised voice, except, of course, the raised voice against the raised voice.

Just what is it about our public schools that cupcake progressives find worth "saving" from the budget axe? What is the great horror about voucherization? Hell, if they set up Ignorance Panels, would that signal anything more awful on the job site or in the community than we got already? Education is already separate and unequal; what about voucherizing looks to be qualitatively worse? Is it even possible to prove the mass of job-bridled black folks in the South are better off because the Dixie public school systems were integrated? (Not that that wasn't a good thing for other reasons.)

Stop wasting time trying to rescue a horse that never really pulled a plow or a wagon. Schooling is a way to care take of kids while both parents are at their crummy jobs. Whatever basic skills of literacy and numeracy they learn could be learned in one fifth the time, and in the case of numeracy that can be documented.

Now, Head Start -- that has it right. Get at 'em young. Approach this free caretaking system mandated by the state as just that, and design it explicitly for what it's now only implicitly about, the manufacturing of social persons.

Go ahead, knock yourselves out. On that front, anything is better than the home-cooked variety, 8 out of 10 times. Just please restrict this gauntlet to the malleable ages 0 through 12, and let the pube'd go free!

You can have 'em for the ages when folks learn things like how to sit still and how to speak up, how to get along and not get along, how to hold your ground and how to gang up, and how to spell "cat " and "what " and "boat", not how to spell "malleable" or "critical thinking".

June 8, 2011

Meet the crown of creation

This by way of Father Smiff's favorite authority, Henny Dougman, who passes it on from Bloomberg (no link, sorry):

"The last of the U.S. baby boomers have ended up poorer than the prior two generations, including those born during the Great Depression and World War II.

... The median household income of Americans born between 1956 and 1965 was $64,179 in 2010, when the group was in their 45-to-54 peak earning years... less than the $73,401 earned in 2000 by the generation born between 1946 and 1955, when they were in their peak earning years, and the $71,617 earned in 1990 by those born from 1936 to 1945.

(All expressed in 2009 dollars.)

Something marvelously bone-in-the-throat about that, eh? My putatively anti-material broad-beamed middle merit-class generation, with its premature sanctimonious Woodstock enlightenment, went on to become, with equal farcicality, the apex generation of the utterly crass and craven "American dream".

Well, who can resist?

I really wanted to stay away from the Weiner's-wiener scandal, but it's actually quite piquant to me, for entirely personal reasons.

Oh, don't get me wrong -- I don't send penis pictures through Twitter, or anything else. Nor have I received any of Anthony's. The personal connection I had in mind is that Anthony once did me a favor. Well, not me personally, but a little anti-car activist group that I was part of, called Right Of Way, whose butt-ugly still-extant Web site -- maintained by me, which is why it's so ugly -- has the piquant name of cars-suck.org.

Right Of Way had the ambitious scheme of doing an in-depth analysis of several years' worth of pedestrian and cyclist deaths under car wheels. We needed to get a comprehensive series of police reports from the state Department of Transportation. Now the Freedom Of Information law, in New York, is a pretty toothless affair -- unless you're an elected official. In that case, you can get most anything you ask for.

As it happened, we numbered among our ranks in those days a young, energetic chap named Harris Silver. And Harris was some kind of old pal of Anthony's, and Anthony was then an 'umble member of the city council.

Harris prevailed on Anthony to request the documents, which we duly received, and after a good deal of work, wrote a rather good pamphlet about.

So we owe Harris and Anthony a debt of gratitude. Harris went on to become a Segway shill, and Anthony a pervy congressman, and I a blogger -- and which is worst, God alone knows.

Harris was a bit of a hipster avant-la-lettre, a very cool dude, but you had to stay off the topic of Israel with him. He was a complete Likudnik, as far as I could tell, on that question, and his coolth would drop away like a butterfly's discarded cocoon as soon as the subject came up. He married outside the tribe, however -- to a very fetching Persian girl.

Oddly enough, Anthony did something along the same lines. Though he is a frothing mad-dog Zionist, he married a Muslim girl from Pakistan.

Kinda thought-provoking. These two gents both personally did the thing that "American Jewish leadership" most deplores -- they intermarried. Which shows that they're both sensible people, at least up to a point. I don't know Anthony's wife, and it's true that she does work for Hillary Clinton, but surely she's a long step up from, say, Hadassah Lieberman, spouse of the Man From Bridgeport. And I can tell you for sure that Harris' wife is a prize.

Harris and Anthony both had the Zionist chip firmly lodged on their respective shoulders -- though maybe Harris has changed; it's been a while since I've seen him; but I doubt it. Yet here are two guys whose ideological attitudes led them one way, and whose eminently reasonable personal choices led them another way.

All good news, on balance.

If Weiner ends up leaving Congress -- as he probably will -- I won't weep; regression to the mean, if nothing else, is likely to replace him with somebody slightly less insane about Israel.

But his woody-shots are less discreditable to him than the nauseating Pecksniffery of, say, a Nancy Pelosi, who wants to investigate whether any of these boner.jpg's were transmitted over taxpayers' fiber. She can't really make much of a case that tweeted stiffies are such a Bad Thing, but the misuse of office equipment...!

June 9, 2011

More Weiner whiners

Shown above, at right, is the toothsome and toothy Dana Goldstein, next to somebody named Ezra -- boyfriend? Colleague? At any rate Ezra is equally toothy, and no doubt equally toothsome as well, if one's taste runs that way.

Enough of Ezra. This post is about Dana, who writes for The Nation these days.

Here's a recent Dana column:

I disagree ... that Weiner’s online sexual habits are irrelevant to his role as a congressman or liberal bulldog. As I’ve already argued, I find it alarmingly unprofessional that Weiner pursued these activities from his Congressional office in the middle of the day, with his staff just outside the door. (As an employee, I certainly would feel uncomfortable if I guessed my boss was spending his workday in this way.)
Now Dana appears to belong to the generation -- Aphrodite bless 'em -- who coined the term 'sexting'. So it's a sorry depressing thing to hear her slinging around priggish corporatese shibboleths like "unprofessional" and "uncomfortable" -- not to mention the Pelosi-like tut-tutting about sexting on company time. Oh, and guess what, Dana -- your much-revered "boss" probably is spending his workday this way; and if he's not, then he's an even sicker puppy than if he were.

I can't even begin to unpack the phrase "liberal bulldog". It's enough to make you believe in the Whorfian hypothesis.

Something you will not like at all

"Stimulus is sugar."
-- T Geithner
That's the trumping citation from Mammon's gospel according to Timmy G. It has the same curt beauty as that over-certified line of Marie A's: "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche." Contemporary paraphrase:
Geithner to jobless: "No cake for you!"
Busy Timmy's bon mot comes from a sweet tale of the treasury sec's triumph over his rivals in the Administration, macronautics-wise. Maybe it's even worth the short read it involves. Suffice it to say when Barry looks in the midnight mirror he sees the tight-assed gleam of this fucking Romulan from Wall Street, and that may be even worse then seeing... gadzooks... Larry Ziffle.

In an oddly related development, our other plump friend, Braless Brad Delong, excerpts this from the ever-miasmic Mike Konczal. It's on "The Importance of Deficit Cutting to Liberal Economists":

"A lot of people seem surprised the Democrats have implicitly prioritized deficit cutting over job creation and full employment. It’s an explicit goal for Republicans, so that isn’t a surprise. But why are Democratic, liberal types not worried enough about the demand shortfall and so much more worried about deficits? It might be helpful to see what a prominent, liberal macroeconomist would say about the state of the world going into the recession...
Konczal then quotes Christina Romer to support his case:
One of the most striking facts about macropolicy is that we have progressed amazingly... In my opinion, better policy, particularly on the part of the Federal Reserve, is directly responsible for the low inflation and the virtual disappearance of the business cycle in the last 25 years... What stops this story from being a good morality play is... a remarkable lack of progress in long-run fiscal policy. In this area, the legacy of 1960s beliefs is still very much with us and may threaten the long-run stability of the American economy... The consequences of persistent deficits may only be felt over a very long horizon... Perhaps over a wide range, deficits and the cumulative public debt really do have little impact on the economy. But, at some point, the debt burden reaches a level that threatens the confidence of investors. Such a meltdown and a sudden stop of lending would unquestionably have enormous real consequences..."
Don't dashing Brad come clopping and jouncing to fair Chrissy's rescue:
"Let me note that Christina Romer has not prioritized deficit cutting over job creation and full employment. And let me note that Christina Romer is correct: in the long run, either the government raises enough revenue to keep its deficit small enough that the debt-to-GDP ratio does not explode, or the market will do something to the economy and the government -- and that something is something that we will not like at all. To pretend that bringing the long-run spending and long-run taxing plans of the government into rough balance is not an essential task of economic policy is to work to end economic prosperity, and to end social democracy as well."
The pig ant has spoken!

But it's all nonsense. If anyone wants a full look at so-called the "peak federal debt ratio" and the sudden catastrophic loss of market confidence that Porker Delong here waves a puggy paw at, then I'll be glad to provide it. Let this stand for now:

There is no stinking "peak debt to GDP ratio", and there's no way the debt to GDP ratio can "explode"; and this threat of the market or gubmint doing something "we will not like at all" is a mere raw-head-and-bloody-bones illusory bogeyman.

Nor is fiscal balance an essential task; nor if imbalance persists, is there any necessary end to "prosperity" or -- God save us -- "social democracy".

June 10, 2011

Over the wall...

... Being the further adventures of Jared Bumstead, unchained econ-con and friend of menial labor everywhere, now free of his solemn White House pledge. No more omertá for Jared; so he boldly asks for us the biggest question of all: "Why are we here?" His answer:

"One reason is that powerful people have decided that too many voters don’t believe that what’s needed — temporary spending to offset the persistent demand shortfall — actually works."
And "You can blame those powerful people" for that because they weren't
  • fighting hard enough,
  • pushing a big enough stimulus in the first place,
  • overselling the package they came up with,
... and so on.

Fairly candid Krugmanoid critique, but here's the sun cuttin' through:

"There’s also this argument... traditional ways in which Democrats talk about Keynesian measures no longer resonate the way they used to.... I think this diagnosis is important. When I/Krugman/Romer/DeLong, etc. say 'there’s a lot more gov’t should do right now to target job creation,' too many people hear 'there’s a lot of new ways politicians can waste your hard-earned, much-needed money on their pet projects which only gets in the way of the private market’s vast job-creation potential.' "
To reinforce himself, Bummy quotes a fellow pwoggerific clubfoot:
“On the issue of jobs and unemployment... a typical...[helot's] statement would be something like the following: ‘Well, you know, I can’t see any evidence that the stimulus really worked and I don’t think just making phony leaf-raking jobs is a real solution...' "
After this, you're expecting the obvious remedy: if folks wanna see the relief first-hand then uncle oughta just give 'em back their own money. They earned it; let 'em spend it and spend it and spend it till the economy is all the way back to 5% unemployment. Give the 'umble wagery a payroll tax holiday, and the squozen consumerate some tax-free shopping weekends... maybe a property tax rebate... a social security emergency CPI adjustment... some health premium rebates, etc.?

Call it Jared-does-Kalecki. But nooooo, this isn't Kalecki, this is a a fudge-brained Beltway buzzard, so we get instead, and I'm not kidding, exactly what the fuckin' bastards pulled in Stimuless I -- pure blanket toss foolery:

"... another round of fiscal relief for states."
Yes, the states! I bet Father Smiff is losing his sacerdotal serenity about now. The states! The employers of gold bricks and shoo-flies.

Oh and Jared wants more "infrastructure investments"...

Had enough? No? Then try on these stout no-pasaran stands: "protecting entitlements" and "a balance" -- yes, a balance -- "...between revenues and spending cuts in budget negotiations." Yup, not just more cuts, more taxes too!

I ain't shittin' ya... this is the jar-man comin' right back at em', pecker rock-hard, spittin' hellfire and spoilin' for a fight....

... Well, maybe not exactly, umh, a fight, but a huge blast of "common sense", fueled by a little bit of genuine anger about how screwed-up our economic policy... "debate", yes "debate", has become.

June 11, 2011

Pearls Before Swine

The Sandwichman provided the philistines at Brookings with a scholarly paper perfectly suited to their needs and views. He gave them a glistening Lump they could clutch to their mean little hearts. And what did they do? I suppose it goes without saying, but they sent him a rejection letter.

I thought the argument he made was compelling. An increase in working hours, raising the retirement age and providing small children with the opportunity to enter the job force should increase prosperity. We all know that the Lump of Labor is fallacious. It stands to reason, then, that policy should take this into account, good and hard. But the Hamilton Project eminences said they didn't like it. I can't for the life of me understand why and, frankly, I don't believe they actually reject the argument. My guess is they plan to steal his ideas and slip them in through libertarian paternalist, passive aggressive "nudges".

The Corporate Behavioral Sink

Cubicle farms breed managers with really tormented neuroses. I've worked for a few outside their corporate environment. They make moral issues out of the strangest things, like services they want performed, and they have great difficulty communicating what they want in clear language. They sidle up to it with questions. They hint at the morality. They produce gratuitous, clearly bogus "narratives". They manipulate and express exasperation. Their children do the same thing to them. There are tears and scenes when that happens. They perform this, and it is a performance, it in front of their employees.

The worst part is the intimate, very personal confidence that appears intended to make the performer sympathetic. The last time I was dragged into one of the scenes, I was treated to an excruciating tale of a child's potty misfortunes—with preciously cute euphemisms* and profuse, pointless apologies. I'm fairly sure it was intended to send me off to fetch cleaning equipment. But I don't know. I'll never know either, thank God.

*Whenever I hear of "widdle piddle", I release the safety catch of my Browning.

Poodle piddle

Ezra Klein is a worthless hank of dog hair. He belongs on a pet-barbershop floor, not where he is, wherever that is, that gets him quoted like he's the nuncio from liberal common sense. Why he isn't even a good chew toy.

For example, what in fuck is this crap crawl?

"Imagine a 3:1:1 compromise: For every three dollars in spending cuts between 2013 and 2022, there’s one dollar in tax increases, and one dollar in stimulus between now and 2013. If Republicans tried really hard and were willing to be flexible on where the spending cuts came from, I bet they could get that to 4:1:1. And the presence of Democrats — and even liberals — lured by stimulus would do more than get the bill passed. It would mean Democrats don’t run against the cuts in 2012, as they’re likely to do to the Ryan budget now.

That’s the sort of policy deal that wouldn’t make sense in ordinary times — why give up three or four dollars in spending later for one dollar in spending now? Why accept further deficit spending at a time when deficits are already sky high? — but does make sense when we’ve got 15 million unemployed, half of whom have been unemployed for six months or more, and extremely low interest rates on federal debt. It’s the kind of thinking, in other words, that we need now more than ever."

Imagine if this guy was advising Henry Clay; why, the Civil War might have come in 1823 -- though now that you mention it, that sounds okay, doesn't it? Okay, let's have him advising the Continental Congress in the summer of 1776.

Bend over and let me drive

The belower wage strategy to re-industrialize Norte Amigo takes another hit:

"The union tried everything. Wage cuts that dropped pay to $12 an hour. Higher health insurance costs. Letting the company bring in an automated assembly line and a “lean manufacturing” program that pumped out product 98 percent on time...But none of it was good enough...Management has already started shipping presses to a new facility in Monterrey, Mexico...the union estimates labor cost per unit for the fluorescent-light fixtures is $3 in Tennessee and $1 in Mexico."
So hey, let's set the peso/dollar rate accordingly. Err, that would destroy millions of marginal Mexican farms, of course, and make the landless farmer outlet -- jobs north of the Rio G -- three times less attractive.

Straight forex fixes are an answer only good for nasty Yankee weasel heads. We need a system of border adjustments optimal for each, according to the market impact involved -- i.e., planned cross border markets. Not gonna happen. So?

Well, occupy the plant in Tennessee before all them "presses" are gone to cactusland. That bull-headed approach comes to mind as a start. Then again, to get a systemic change, we need to freeze by units industrial imports. That we can do -- if a global trade war is within the purview of the plausible.

The light dawns?

Contradictions within the job class...resolved?

The AFL has come blazingly into the single payer healthcare camp, after years of touting the union way to higher fringes. At long last, are the piecards realizing that class-wide interests are long-run union interests as well? (*)

One recalls an earler time when unions wanted pols to stay away from non-employer-based systems of universal healthcare.

After 60 years, NO MORE! A snail by any other name still moves real real slow, eh?

This link gives a snapshot of the heinous muddle in the collective union headquarters of America just prior to the Obummer ascension.

The Barrycare hodgepodge that squirted out the hind end of '09 seems to have cleared a few of those heads, in particular chief heads like the Trumka's.

Recall his home union, the UMW, for years was a big go-it-aloner on health insurance.


(*) Naaahhh. -- Ed.

June 12, 2011

The Votes Weren't There

That's one of those phrases to which the only reasonable rejoinder is a knee to the groin. Used as an excuse, it's bad faith. The "votes" are the least important, least significant part of a process. They're a formalism, not a determining factor.

This has been a public service announcement posted in support of democracy.

June 13, 2011

Fresh Meat For Doc Benway

Congressman Naughty Bits is headed for "treatment". He's finding religion, of a secular variety, and seeking a veneer of moral hygiene.


Trendy quackery emphasizes a behavioral lens, with a further emphasis on addiction. It's only harmful to people who are truly suffering. Poorly socialized, self-involved, arrogant, Type A cretins are not suffering. They're not sick at all. They're perfectly adjusted to their environment. That's the problem. They don't need therapy and we, God help us, don't need them.

If he had any real friends, they'd ridicule him and provide a kindly, salutary slap or two upside the head. Okay, maybe more than a slap or two. He's a congressman, however, a Democratic "liberal bulldog", and they don't have friends. What a pity!

The moral hygiene is a stepping stone for people in his class. It's a career move. I expect he'll resurface as a commentator, if he gets forced out of Congress.

Tax, schmax

I have an exceedingly low regard for Aussienomics, and I hope you all do too!

Of course in my account book the legendary Marx sublator and mechanical debt nut, Stevie Wonder of Keentown, leads all comers from the little down-under. But more conformitory post-Keynesian types -- like Johnny Q, the people's credit quigsling -- are not too far behind.

Speaking of dear Johnny, here's a recent Quigogram from the outback of the collective white male brain:

"The US needs more stimulus now!...combined with a substantial increase in tax revenue in the long term."
That second bit there is the stinger: pure clown poison, in fact worthy of our second most favorite porcine econ-con, pigsley pigsty Delong of the Rubinomical memorial ICU . A pure batch of campus horse feathers, as sez this link of the day to the clever Slacker Ace Mason:
"Here's John Quiggin at Crooked Timber writing that the US needs "a substantial increase in tax revenue in the long term" and backing it up with the claim, "I assume [the optimal debt-GDP ratio is] finite, which would not be the case under plausible scenarios with no new revenue and maintenance of current discretionary expenditure relative to national income." ...Given the historic pattern where GDP growth is above the interest rate, this statement is simply false."
Splendid! And here's why, sez the analytic Mr SA, in nothing less than formula form:
Let b be the government debt and d the primary deficit (i.e. the deficit exclusive of interest payments), both as shares of GDP. Let i be the after-tax interest rate on government borrowing and g the growth rate of GDP (both real or both nominal, it doesn't matter). Then we can rewrite the paragraph above as:

We can rearrange this to see how the debt changes from one period to the next:

Now, what happens if a given primary deficit is maintained for a long time? Does the debt-GDP ratio converge to some stable level? We can answer this question by setting the left-hand side of the above equation to zero. That gives us:

What does this mean? There are three cases to consider. If the rate of GDP growth is equal to the interest on government debt net of taxes, then the only stable primary balance is zero; any level of primary deficit leads to the debt-GDP rate rising without limit as long as its maintained. (And similarly, any level of primary surpluses leads to the government eventually paying off its debt accumulating a positive net asset position that grows without limit.) If g > i, then for any level of primary deficit, there is a corresponding stable level of debt; in this sense, there is no such thing as an "unsustainable" deficit. On the other hand, if g < i, then -- assuming debt is positive -- a constant debt requires a primary surplus."

Fellow congregants: for us citizens of the liberty republic, 'tis case three that rules, 'cause here in America g over time exceeds i and can always exceed i, thanks to the possibilities of any decent credit-based production system and a hearty people's central bank

Yup, we don't need no stinking tax rate increases or friendly loopholes closed (like the mortgage deduction or the earned income tax credit) or new tax bases found, like on existing entitlement benefits -- err, which is not to say that (f'rinstance) a lifetime income tax, "the stealth way to tax wealth away", wouldn't be a grand byway to service Uncle's debt, eh?

June 14, 2011

The weenie roast goes on

Lately my Lefty mailing lists have been, as usual, a fertile source of material for studying the mental processes of Democratic Party apologists. Doug Henwood's list, I'm sorry to say, has been particularly rife with near-demented thinking, in connection with (of all things) the Wiener-waggler's, erm, comeuppance.

Some of us were pretty amused by the whole business, and several suggested that even without this particular Weiner, the roast would go forward without much alteration in its program. Our breezy nonchalance was quickly rebuked, by a half-dozen or so earnest souls eager to explain to us why the Weinerdämmerung was really a Very Bad Thing. A few samples:

I think it is a bad idea to cheer too loudly when the bad guys are taken down by the worse guys. As with Clinton taking hits for a blow job, Weiner taking major hits for sexting helps reinforce American puritanism, something that is already quite bad enough. And its being used as an excuse to give credibility to Breitbart. Hell with cheering that shit on.
it is amazing how quickly the reasoning process of certain sophisticated leftists can degenerate into mindless Cheneyism. Just as for Cheney there's a fixed number of terrorists and once you kill them all the terrorism stops, so too there are apparently a fixed number of ultra-Zionist politicians in Queens, and if you get rid of enough of them their race is extinguished.
This poor chap seems to be still hagridden by wounding memories of his college days:
And your semantic bullshit only makes you look like a fool. Reminds me of the Pomo profs I had who would attack endlessly how a student said or wrote something only because they were completely inept to deal with what they said or wrote
A profound Marxist theorist:
It matters on what basis a neoliberal like Weiner is tossed out of office. If a Clinton is impeached for sexual transgressions by the ultra-right, it tips politics more rightward still, as we saw after 2000. If the collapse of the Spanish economy led to the resignation of the Prime Minister at the instigation of the right-wing People's Party, it'd be a bad thing, whereas it would be positive if it resulted from an uprising like France in 1968....

Does anyone seriously suppose that center-left bourgeois politicians being forced from office by conservatives and sexual puritans advances the interests of the working class? Where's the evidence for this assertion?

A number of perennial themes here.
  • Quivering fear of the ultra-Right, and a corresponding belief that the centrists are somehow containing or countervailing it;
  • A devotion to universal values like anti-"Puritanism";
  • A template for revolution, which must be followed;
  • A fondness for incinerating straw men -- nobody, of course, had actually advanced the notion that Boner-Boy's political detumescence would "advance the interests of the working class";
  • And of course the usual coarse puerile personal abuse, well below the level of imagination and eloquence you'd hear in any schoolyard these days.
Lucullus dines with Lucullus. Among all these delectable dishes, it's difficult to decide which one is most delightful.

I think, on balance, it's the guy who was worried about the Puritan threat. There was a certain irony in this; at about the same time, another participant on the list -- a female one, as it happens; call her St Joan -- had incautiously described the odious school "reformer" Michelle Rhee as "an ugly cunt". Here's Rhee below; decide for yourself:

Poor St Joan was subjected to the near-universal hiss of the list. All based on the highest political principles -- of course.

I wish somebody would write a really searching critique of this concept "Puritanism". To use it in a serious way, as if it were a genuine analytical category, seems a desperately shallow thing for any thoughtful person to do. But the history and usage of the term, in its modern sense, would be an interesting study. There's a certain pleasing symmetry in the picture. "Puritans" (in the modern sense) often have vivid secret sex lives; and modern anti-Puritans often seem strangely -- and openly -- Puritanical.

June 18, 2011

Gnawing criticism

Recent call and response at the Henny Dougman show:

Q: "Is it despair or 'fucking hopelessness' that prompts you to feel that way often?"

A: "It's just being aware of the awful violence of neoliberalism, the slashing and burning of public services, education, universities, the whole edifice of middle class existence, and that all this is happening with such little overt political resistance."

Yikes! No mass unemployment, no deindustrialization, no union masticating, no health care costs or private housing costs or private transportation costs or attacks on the New Deal/Great Society transfer system.

In my day polling marketeers called a response like that "top of the mind". Claim it told deeper stuff about the driver of the shopping machine than a carefully premeditated response.

Here it's schooling .. and what? Public parks, endowment for the humanities. Just what is the top of the mind inside the top of the mind "public services"? Amtrak? worth a repeat: "the whole edifice of middle class existence".

Here's one more culled from this treasure house of puffed rice:

Q: "How does the antidote work and/or how do you employ it?"

A: "In moderation. It's amazing how fast an especially creative LittleBigPlanet level can restore one's faith in humanity. I'm also trying to produce more media of my own these days. Seems to help."

Ach Himmel.. der pwogischer googoos... what can you say... ya can't love 'em like a comrade, that's for damn sure, but ya can't leave em by the side of the road either.

And yet... one can dream...can't one?

I conjure the great Cromwell about to dismiss the Long Parliament: "I will put an end to your prating. You are no parliament."

The cause here? The great endemical corruption? Merit itself. Once it tkes hold of a brain you get nothing but tireless beavering away at the erection of one or other merit powered pyramid scheme.

The temple of folly

The graphic shown below only fools benighted helots (click to enlarge):

It purports to show the Greek debt/GDP ratio under four different sets of assumptions. The only one that shows the ratio going down rather that up to "catastrophic" levels involves doing exactly what the author says -- naturally.

It's a snapshot nightmare crafted by a useful idiot; might as well come straight from the agitprop department of the great north economy corporate conspiracy. "Scary!", as Count Floyd might say.

Take the badass projection - the one that gets national debt to plus 350% of GDP by the mid-2020's. Now here's the sober verdict of scientific macro using the prime macro control tool: this fearful iceberg can be rendered into nothing but a pile of ice cubes, meltable in five years, say 26-31; an evaporating nuisance that could be called the great shrinking value play, performed in 5 annual acts by a progressive Euro zone on one of our possible parallel future planet Earths.

Alas, this path is without signage in the collective north economy commonwealth. Instead the deficit/debt clown crap runs rampant -- lies like a nightmare on the brain of the living, you might say.

"So fucking what, assholes?" That oughta be the torchlike response to these flapdoodle projections. Five years of "price level sprinting" -- i.e. fast-rising GDP, by the lead partners in Eurotrap 2025 could render the most "tewibble tewibble" debt-berg as feeble as a pile of snowballs in Hell.

Lesson number one for north economy wagelingers: "Comrades of the PIIG, listen. There is no runaway uncontainable deficit series."

Deduction for the people of Greece: keep striking, keep mobilizing, keep rioting and burning, just fuckin' keep on keeping on, till the central bank bureaucrats and their tower troll masters... cave.

Cheer to the noise, brothers and sisters. All this grinding of the class gears is the music of Clio's lovely antispheres. It manifests in its cacophonic glory the bloody bizzaro farce at the core of Korporate Earth -- the commanding heights, the financial friggers, and their Temples of Folly.

June 19, 2011

The flatware menace


As the $2,500 (and up) guests dined on beet salad and Chicken Rollata at a San Francisco fundraiser Tuesday for Michelle Obama, waiters and waitresses in the Julia Morgan Ballroom began confiscating everyone's silverware - handing out plastic forks and knives instead.

Less of a security threat, you understand.

What a diverting idea -- some Frisco hedgie suddenly goes berserk and lunges for Michelle, armed with a fish fork. Just the thing YouTube was made for. One could only hope that in gunning him down there would be a great deal of collateral damage to the other diners.

Sociobiology claims another victim

Science has the answer, says the New York Times:

“I don't know what I was thinking.”

So said Anthony D. Weiner in a news conference moments after finally admitting that he had sent naughty photos of himself to women he had met on the Internet.

[Weiner] might not know what he had been thinking — but scientists have an idea or two.

This story is well worth reading, every bonehead word of it. Stupid as it may be, it's a textbook example of how to make news out of nothing, a very important journalistic skill -- creation ex nihilo, in bygone days of darkness thought to be the prerogative of Omnipotence.

Scientists have an idea or two? Well, so have I, and so has every other penifer in creation. And we don't need to know anything about dopamine in order to understand exactly what was going on -- yes, of course the NYT piece(*) mentions dopamine; what did you expect?

Scholars were studied [sic] brain architecture and chemistry long before Mr. Weiner pinged photos of his unmentionables into cyberspace. And their research — some of it subject to dispute — suggests that physiology played a role in Mr. Weiner’s digital dalliances.
Some of it subject to dispute, eh? You've gotta love that Times even-handedness. We don't hear much about the dispute, of course -- just this vague intimation that some poor malcontent somewhere might grouse about the triumphant march of sociobiology. And of course it's hard to deny that physiology played a role; to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, you tweet the organs you've got, not the organs you might have, or the organs you wish you had.
According to some, seeking prominence is part of an inborn survival strategy.
This is sociobiology in a nutshell: a set of whimsical just-so stories that purport to ground existing social institutions in the iron laws of evolution. One wonders, if the prominent are favored by evolution, why there are still so few of them; the un-prominent seem to be reproducing quite nicely, with fewer adventitious advantages.

This sorry piece-of-shit item is the reason why I look forward with such keen anticipation to the demise and ruination of the Times and the Washpost and the Wall Street Journal and all their kind, and only hope I live to see it.

Tough-minded realists like to ask where I would get my news from, if they were gone, and I cheerfully admit that I have no idea. But somehow it's hard to believe that news would stop circulating. Yes, a lot of it would be poorly vetted, full of baloney, worse than useless; contemptible, imbecile garbage, that darkens counsel by words without understanding.

Which is to say, it would be as bad as the Times.


(*) You should pardon the expression.

June 22, 2011

O what does it all MEAN?

The Times has been pondering the sexting epidemic with a great deal of concern. A dangerous business, sexting, it seems:

Sexting has its own allure because as one starts to sext the messages are traded back and forth at a quick rate. The excitement builds rapidly, impulsiveness increases, and, as in most online communications, one's inhibitions are already reduced. ... There is no feedback or reminder that sexting can be dangerous to one's reputation. Sexting relationships can be emotional relationships which compete with marriage and commitment....

Perhaps digital devices need a pop-up screen. Before a photo is sent, the message would ask: Are you sure you want to send this picture? Send now? Send later? Delete? The addition of a question, and an imposed pause, reduces impulsive behavior and should help curb some harmful sexting.

So Motorola and Nokia and Apple and so on need to be persuaded to protect us from ourselves. Is it any wonder most people don't like liberals?

June 23, 2011

Brand Management

So Al Gore has another environmental essay. It reads like a missive from different universe. The one I inhabit has the very same author, and the very same people backing him, beautiful-losing and stalling practical remediation. They got rich doing that. They're planning to get richer still, and the playbook for that is the standard New Democrat/DLC/Neoliberal playbook. They recruit free labor from ingenuous liberals, make a big media splash, promise meaningful engagement and deliver tightly protected markets to hacks who will go on to demand a bailout.

June 24, 2011

Demographic Panic

Not so subtly framed, the "question" is:

"It's clear the younger generation is very demographically different from the elderly, something to keep in mind as politics plays out on how programs for the elderly get supported," she said. "It's critical that children are able to grow to compete internationally and keep state economies rolling."

Well, no. Where to begin? These professional people managers are hopeless. Shorter hours, for better pay in better working conditions is critical. Right now. For the parents, and that's the bare minimum. This would do more for the kids than the child grinding protocols dreamed up in Skinner Box think tanks.

El Chupacabra

SMBIVA's favorite economist, Lump of Larry, had one of his epiphanies and he's touched ground, if only for the moment, in the real world. I doubt he'll stay. There's no money, prestige or power in it. Veneration of the Lump offers much more to ambitious types.

But while he's here, he's made an intelligent observation:

Training programmes or measures to increase work incentives for those with high and low incomes may affect who gets the jobs, but in a demand-constrained economy will not affect the total number of jobs.

A somewhat circuitous repudiation of the Lump, but a repudiation nevertheless.

O Tempura O Morels

Just a bit of digital scribbling on intellectual allergies.

There's something butlerish about mainstream economists. They believe in a way their masters do not. When they rail against something, for example the Lump of Labor, they do it sincerely. But no one else has ever seriously entertained the thought that there is a completely fixed amount of work to be done. It's a laughable idea. More often than not, work creates more work, much of which detracts from quality of life. The merest brush with manual labor is enough to prove the truth of that.

This being the case, why on earth do they spend so much time attacking it? The simplest answer is: projection. Bootlickers, cretins, sneaks, snitches, managerial Stakhanovites, etc. constantly find their own flaws, magnified, in everyone they intend to harm.

That's harsh and overstates the situation in most cases (although...). The "good education" they receive has a whacking dose of operant conditioning. When they're out of the brain grinder, they're faced with the reality of their sunk costs and the need to make a living. The easiest thing is to find a niche within the status quo. A shared allergy is very helpful with that. When everyone is sneezing, force of numbers reassures them that the allergen actually exists.

June 28, 2011

The Diploma Empire strikes back

The Credentialling Sector has been taking some hits lately; people have started to ask whether that sheepskin is really worth what you pay for it. But the credential police have a crack defense team, including the New York Times, in the person of David Leonhardt:

ALMOST a century ago, the United States decided to make high school nearly universal. Around the same time, much of Europe decided that universal high school was a waste. Not everybody, European intellectuals argued, should go to high school.

It’s clear who made the right decision. The educated American masses helped create the American century...The new ranks of high school graduates made factories more efficient and new industries possible.

That's pretty breathtaking, isn't it? A hundred years of bloody history, and it all comes down to mandatory schooling. The Battle of the Bulge was won on the gym floor of East Bumfuck High School -- never mind where Vietnam and Afghanistan were lost. And the "American Century", forsooth! Was ever a richer lode of mindless cliche struck than the New York Times?

The rest of Leonhardt's piece is equally slapdash. For example, he says, "A new study even shows that a bachelor’s degree pays off for jobs that don’t require one: secretaries, plumbers and cashiers." In a subsequent column, he backs this up with a graph, also attributed to what is apparently the same Georgetown U report:

Unfortunately, the links he provides don't lead to this info, as far as I can tell, much less to any indication of how these statistics were derived. The Georgetown report itself says, in its introduction:

When considering the question of whether earning a college degree is worth the investment in these uncertain economic times, here is a number to keep in mind:

84 percent.

On average, that is how much more money a full-time, full-year worker with a Bachelor’s degree can expect to earn over a lifetime than a colleague who has no better than a high school diploma.

But the Georgetown savants don't tell us what kind of "average" this is (mean or median? It makes a difference) or how the number was calculated. (The Georgetown report does contain some unsurprising and no doubt accurate information -- a major in petroleum engineering is worth more than a major in social work; stop the presses.)

Still, let's assume, arguendo, that it's all more or less true; that college graduates are either more likely to be hired, or to be paid more after they're hired, than non-graduates. It doesn't seem unlikely. We might quibble about the precise numbers, and will certainly quarrel about the precise mechanisms that explain the effect. But the effect, such as it is, seems consistent with everyday experience.

The bigger question, of course, is, What are the implications? For the credentialling sector's defense team, the answer is self-evident: all the people who don't now go to college should go to college. Presumably then everybody's income would be up at the BAs' level, right?

Well, wrong, of course. I call this the Bus Fallacy: Anybody can get on a city bus, but everybody cannot get on a city bus. A city bus isn't big enough for everybody.

There are a good many lemmata to this insight. A lot of bubbles are blown up with exhaust gas from the Bus Fallacy. Anybody can make money speculating in real estate; but if everybody expects to make money speculating in real estate, who are they going to make it from?

You get the idea.

The BA confers an advantage. Okay. But an advantage ceases to be an advantage if everybody has it. It's a little like the atom bomb that way.

The credentialling bubble, I think, is nearing the point of collapse, like the dot-com bubble and the real-estate bubble of recent memory, and the locus-classicus South Sea and tulip-bulb bubbles of more venerable memory.

Every college campus I've been on in the last ten years is frantically building new towers and dorms and Centers for This Studies and That Studies -- and above all, gorgeous "fitness" centers, staggeringly lavish and Sybaritic, stocked with hundreds of gleaming exotic exercise machines. I daresay there is no muscle in your body, however small or obscure, that doesn't have a machine specifically designed to exercise it; and the Unis, who presumably know their demo, are buying 'em by the bargeload.

Counsel for the Defense Leonhardt acknowledges that

the [college-noncollege] income gap isn’t rising as fast as it once was, especially for college graduates who don’t get an advanced degree
-- though amusingly, he doesn't provide a link to any "study" that explores this interesting fact. But it's consistent with the overstretched bubble theory -- as is the fact that advantage is now migrating from the BA to the "advanced degree". As the advantage of the BA diminishes, some other advantage must be found, and some other after that....

The real, interesting question is, why this preference for the accumulation of sheepskins on the part of the employer?

With petroleum engineering you can see it, or indeed with any job that requires a very specific set of skills. The employer would obviously prefer that the employee train himself, at his own expense, rather than expend the money to train him. And the more of these costs that the employer can offload -- if he can demand advanced-degree training rather than BA training, say -- the better the bargain for the employer. It's like expecting an employee to have his own tools or use his own car on the job.

Of course if you look at this phenomenon from a certain angle -- the angle I prefer, as a matter of fact -- then the demand for credentials looks like one means (among many) of exploitation. In effect the employer requires that the employee defray ahead of time what would necessarily otherwise be a capital expenditure on the employer's part; this pay-in on the employee's part becomes a precondition to entering the sweatshop door and being exploited further. The pay-in is so valuable to the employer that he might actually let up slightly on the back-end exploitation, and purely as a business proposition, this may in some cases work out to the employee's net lifetime balance-sheet benefit too, at least as compared with less fortunate or astute wage-slaves.

But here again we encounter the Bus Fallacy. It might work out for any given employee; but it can't work out for every employee. If you look at it group-wise, then it's a net loss for the employee group overall. The more capital expenditure the employer group as a whole can offload onto the employee group as a whole, the worse off the latter group is. That's just arithmetic.

Of course there will always be some individuals, perhaps a good many, who beat the odds, as in the real-estate bubble -- people who bought at the right time and sold at the right time. But for every win there's a necessary loss.

Unless I'm committing a Lump Of Something fallacy here? These lump fallacies have been much discussed on this blog and its linksisters of late. Suppose that if everybody got a BA, the world would change in wonderful and unpredictable ways? I guess we can't rule it out; but we can hardly depend on it either.

What's even more interesting than the straightforward petroleum-engineer effect is Leonhardt's argument that a degree brings the employee more money even if his studies were utterly irrelevant to his job. If there's really anything to that -- if we accept the implications of Leonhardt's poorly-sourced chart -- then some explanation is called for. Speculation on this topic might require another post. Leonhardt seems to think it's all about the character-building and mental-workout aspects of college.

Humph. From what I've seen of college, I doubt it.

June 29, 2011

Head for the hills, Ma...

... Deluge a-comin'!

Maybe the NLRB might be up to something. Let a scarecrow from National Review tell the tale:

"Today the NLRB announced proposed changes to union-election procedures, the effects of which will dwarf the importance of the Boeing case and substantially increase the number of unionized workplaces. In a nutshell, the NLRB’s proposed rules would implement “quickie elections,” a process that would allow unions to organize a workplace as easily as they could have had the Employee Free Choice Act (also known as “card check”) passed...This is a very big deal. "
"The proposed rules would.. shorten the time period between the filing of a petition for a union-representation election and the actual conduct of the election.... to a mere 10 –20 days."
Here comes the best part, the patented NR yellow-journal move, the panic-button moment:
"The union win rate will far exceed [the recent] 68 percent. In fact, it’s likely that many employers will choose to not even go through the expense of an election that he’s sure to lose, but will simply voluntarily recognize the union upon a showing of authorization cards."
Help! Help! Run for the gold, Binkers! The end of corporatism as we know it is near! Wages will soar... work effort swoon... operating margins go bright red... beer wagon horses will win seats in the US Senate, dogs dance with blondes.

One only hopes that at least one or two plethoric old porkers will get their final apoplexy from this item.

Shining city on a hill

From comrade Mike Flugennock:

Dateline Hell, Circle 13

"Next week in Chicago, the Clinton Global Initiative will focus on America for the first time, inviting business and political leaders to make specific commitments in support of the former president’s jobs blueprint"
Fuck, I'd move residence to Florida and vote ten times for O'Barry next year, if I thought it would break the heart of the nation's biggest and bestest, most bodacious cream-filled political doughnut, Bill Clintox.

But of course nothing will or can even dispirit this ceaseless curse on America, let alone break his pea-pickin' heart. The monumental fucker's 1000% impervious to rebuke or the call of conscience. Not righteous threats, not boos, catcalls, thrown tomatoes, you name it -- not even the Almighty, in a pillar of cloud over Harlem, thundering "Cease, you son of a bitch, cease!" could stop him runnin' his motormouth. He is completely without shame. OJ Simpson looks like a meek Sardinian monk next to this rampant barefoot jackass.

Remember way back, when he had that Hawthorne tale -- a vitality-sucking fatty sheath over his repaired ticker? There is figures in all things, as Fluellen reminds us. Weren't we all praying? "No, no, heavens no... don't get that sheath off, doc... please... please let the bastard waste away, heart-smothered by his own bubba-blubber... nice and slow and steady."

Petition denied. No dice. And now, having somehow dodged what was clearly an emblematic divine judgement, he's probably good for another ten trillion robust beats, what with that bionic revalve job. He'll bury us all, and in the meantime the Dogpatch Gladstone will inundate us ceaselessly with presidential bull, like this latest on "the economy", linked above, yet another round of ballyhoo for his "Clinton Global Initiative" -- his very own personal Sanhedrin of the living saints of neoliberalism.

Read every bit of it. I did, and why should I be the only one suffering around here? A few teasers:

" I tried for a year to get both Congress and the administration to deal with the fact that the banks weren’t lending because they were still jittery about the economy, and worried about the regulators coming down on them... Look at the tar roofs covering millions of American buildings. They absorb huge amounts of heat when it’s hot... Every black roof in New York should be white; every roof in Chicago should be white; every roof in Little Rock should be white... I’m sympathetic with the objectives of the Bowles-Simpson commission; we do need to do something about long-term debt...I’d be perfectly fine with lowering the corporate tax rates..."
Best for last, the apex of abomination:
"...We lost manufacturing jobs in every one of the eight years after I left office. One of the reasons is that enforcement of our trade laws dropped sharply. Contrary to popular belief, the World Trade Organization and our trade agreements do not require unilateral disarmament. They’re designed to increase the volume of two-way trade on terms that are mutually beneficial. My administration negotiated 300 trade agreements, but we enforced them, too. Enforcement dropped so much in the last decade because we borrowed more and more money from the countries that had big trade surpluses with us, especially China and Japan, to pay for government spending. Since they are now our bankers, it’s hard to be tough on their unfair trading practices. This happened because we abandoned the path of balanced budgets 10 years ago"
"Let’s be realistic here. This is a massive economy. No matter how many impressive commitments we get, we won’t move the numbers. They’ll move the numbers only if enough people say, “Wow, I wish I’d thought of that.” "
Hydra was about endless new heads; Billy is about ceaseless new tongues.

About June 2011

This page contains all entries posted to Stop Me Before I Vote Again in June 2011. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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