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Rubin, Rubin, I've been thinking

By Owen Paine on Tuesday November 28, 2006 06:15 AM

This item in the New York Times made me cackle like a Rhode Island rooster:
Here Come the Economic Populists

FOR years, the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party, exercising a lock on the party's economic policies, argued that the economy could achieve sustained growth only if markets were allowed to operate unfettered and globally.... the Clinton administration vigorously supported free trade agreements like Nafta .... Over time, this combination - called Rubinomics after the Clinton administration's Treasury secretary, Robert E. Rubin - became the Democratic establishment's accepted model for the future.

Not anymore. With the Democrats having won a majority in Congress, and disquiet over globalization growing, a party faction that has been powerless - the economic populists - is emerging and strongly promoting an alternative to Rubinomics.

Not only do we get treated to this slow boat ride past the allegedly foundering good ship Bobby Rubin, but also this piece of buffoonish braggadocio by one Ron Blackwell (AFL-CIA chief economist) on the supposedly restored clout of something called the "labor movement," after the wildly successful November hill top charge by the donkery:
We feel we have a stronger voice now in the deliberations of the Democratic Party.
Why? Well, the pie's staffery helped turn out voters in key districts, and and, well, besides that, the economy has been so bad for industrial jobs and general wages, and and and besides that ... blah blah blah. In short, the usual wishful thinking.

Attention, job nation: don't wait around for the huge gravy wave. Even if the "populists", or at least these old manatees of unionhood, think they're back in the great game. They can't hit their weight. Let the evil bastards up there throw 'em a few big league curve balls and they'll be as hapless as a blind Dutchman. In fact the Times piece gets around to saying pretty much the same thing, by the end:

...[D]espite their relentless criticisms of President Bush's tax cuts, neither the populists nor the Rubinite regulars would try to roll them back now, risking a veto that the Democrats lack the votes to override.

... The threat of a Bush veto affects another piece of the Democratic agenda - an increase in the minimum wage. Both Democratic factions support a bill, to be introduced in January, that would raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour from the current $5.15. The increase would come in three steps, spread over more than two years, with the final $7.25 not reached until spring 2009 at the earliest.

That is the same $7.25 that would be effective today if Congress had given its approval when Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts first proposed the increase in 2004. Yet Mr. Kennedy is the chief sponsor of the new attempt to raise the minimum, his strategy being that the $7.25, stretched out to 2009, is mild enough to be acceptable to Mr. Bush and many Republicans.

... Representative Maurice D. Hinchey, a Democrat whose New York district includes Kingston and other economically struggling cities, asserts that the federal minimum should be $10 an hour now. Going that high right away is unrealistic, he acknowledged, but in the Congressional debate over the Kennedy proposal, Mr. Hinchey will push to have the $7.25 effective no later than the spring 2008, not 2009.

"If I went out on the street in Kingston," Mr. Hinchey said, "and said to people that the minimum wage is not going up to $7.25 until 2009, they would say to me, 'That is all the Democrats are going to do? Why did I vote for you?' "

Hell of a good question, too, Hinchey.

Even so, one must say, my my, how big media preceptions can revolve. Wasn't long ago Bobby Rubin was the dreadnought nonpareil of donk economic policy, and now, suddenly, scaley helot serpents spring from the depths!

Ya, ya, I know, we're just being taken on a cruise around the big circle back to nowhere -- but don't it pick up the story some, though?

Comments (2)


Perhaps I haven't vetted their creds sufficiently, but my sense of things is this new crop of "economic populists" will orbit around and back to spot one because they are America firsters. They truly really seriously in their heart of hearts believe that China is artificially overvaluing the yuan, that slanty-eyed coolies are stealing our jobs, that the great sin of WalMart is the manner in which its gluttonous greed (as opposed to reasonable desire for a fair profit) enhances yellow Communist power and betrays Uncle Sam, etc. etc. etc. Then when at the bilateral bargaining table with the PRC the Paulsons and Rubins and the USTR whip out scary pictures of these menacing nativists and wheedle the further neo-liberalization of China's economy on the Fortune 500's terms. The sell-outs and the rudderless at the helm of the CPC, looking to buy another week, another month, another year, another decade so they can send their kids to the Ivy League and park their ill-gotten gains in offshore accounts before the whole thing blows, are more than happy to oblige.

It's all fucking useless without international proletarian solidarity... even baby steps towards it would be enough to get me out of bed in the morning.

js paine:

i agree
there's a world wide
caution sign over all "national " questions
begging for purelynational solutions

and as for those of the broad weeblehood
of the earth's sole hyper power.....
kep a double triple special
set of weather eyes open

but your analytic tool
cracks apart the problem
split the nation into its antagonistic class elements and ....
this present context
viewed thru the lense of
america's job class
vs the trans nat profiteers
looks about correct to me

status quo:

american jobsters lose american profiteers win

if we proceed with caution here
i think with some humility we can
also proceed without fear of spiraling
into the anti "one world" and thus
utterly re actionary vortex
u describe

step one is the fait of jobs
in this de industrialization process
post industrial creation based economy sounds good
but it means mostly for most of us
taking orders
loading stuff
flipping hamburgers tapping on key boards ....
and not at union wage rates

and quality killer of "average jane and joe
earnable life style "
number one
the over valued imperial dollar

as you say
indeed the yuan is not too low
this was not a yellow plot
to destroy
the factory base
fortress amerika
it was devised in manhattan

the problem
the dollar and its first world mates
are all way over valued

"all the better to ...
screw the world ma "

i won't run out the whole set of circus wagons here

but just end by acknowledging again
your caution light is well lit
and kept lit 24/7

this pop econ con shuffle
can all too easily slide
into brown clothing
and end up
in pat buchanan ville

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