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Heels turn face, but shills are forever

By Fred Bethune on Tuesday July 6, 2010 12:55 PM

While perusing the pwog-e-con-salon, I noticed a familiar name pop up on a piece of WSJ corporate propaganda : Laura D'Andrea Tyson.

As it happens, I had recently stumbled upon a 1994 video of that old villain Sir James Goldsmith debating Tyson. Before viewing, I would recommend moving your monitor back a couple feet and tucking away any delicate objects that may be lying around, as there is a good chance that you will find this twit as infuriating as I do.

For those with high blood pressure, here's a synopsis:

Goldsmith: There is a divorce between the interests of MNCs and the interests of the public. Offshoring is destroying the advanced economies.

Tyson: Offshoring makes American MNCs more competitive and creates better jobs in America.

Sixteen years later, Tyson is shocked -- shocked -- to discover that these same MNCs are now jumping ship and moving their headquarters outside of the US. Rather than contemplating that Goldsmith was right, Tyson argues that the U.S. did not go far enough in catering to the MNCs. They need more corporate tax cuts and they need them now!

I often imagine that shills who completely discredit themselves choose to take the hit for the team, knowing that they will live out the rest of their days in some comfortable position, writing boilerplate for the WSJ or "teaching" at a business school. That's the standard career path. However, when a shill is this glib, this obnoxious, there is only one place for her: Obama's economic team.

Now some might say that this is an indication of the Obama administration's Versailles mentality, or the resurgence of the Clintonian machine, but I have a more economics-oriented explanation: it's about marginal tax rates and work-leisure tradeoffs. You see, the marginal tax rate faced by the most productive of our fainting goats is so high that we cannot entice enough of them to join Obama's economics team, and therefore we have to settle for second-best solutions like Laura D'Andrea Tyson. Instead of taking on that extra consultancy gig for the administration and moving up into the next tax bracket, the little bleaters would rather increase their time spent lazing about, or attending the Goats Music and More Festival.

Something must be done. We need lower marginal tax rates for fainting goats, and we need them now!

Comments (15)

I'm more interested in what it says about Zerobama.

I never thought evidence could stack so high in one column. Adolph Reed absolutely nailed this one back in 1996. "Neoliberal empty vessel."


Has Charlie Rose ever had a post on SMBIVA? Or is he too easy a target? Or maybe it's just me. I occasionally watched his show and stopped after I noticed that no butt was too stinky for him to kiss.

It probably doesn't matter but I still wonder if people like Laura actually believed (or believe, yet) that crap they spout. "overseas production doesn't replace but complements the production in the US" It is as if they never thought of this: If each and every firm acts rationally in its narrow interests the system will almost certainly exhibit not rationality but pathology.

"We need lower marginal tax rates for fainting goats, and we need them now."

I'd say we need to give the elites a choice between higher marginal tax rates or the guillotine.

The later choice might motivate them toward the former.

But as we all know this fall the ignorant American voters will just select more of the same poison that made them so ill over the last 30 years and then wonder why they feel so sick. It'd be amusing if I could but stand above the fray and watch from afar. No such luck...


my darling laura's answers were and are all correct
they are lawyerly correct of course
there has been all of these things
she suggests
and yet the tally seems to have run exceeding to the otherside here over the longer haul

but my is she ever telegenic
perfect neoglib mouth piece

i'd marry her in a heart beat

political economist ??
well ...no
but so what

neither is sir goldie
who as fb points out
could make that same rock solid argument today
and he'd get in reply:
"ya ya of course we know ...tell us something we don't know jew boy "
out of charlie rose

then the mr higher Ed lobby comes crashing in and the safety net pimps
and the various fast shufflers
like mankiw and tyson

and in the end the corporate shills of various descriptions and angles of attack
paunchy yapping nerdy terriers like paul krugman and
dwarf lightening gods
like bobby reich
in an endless rematch of mars versus neptune

Ha! Another one of these hucksters with multiple names. Coulda' told ya. Granted, this one's not hyphenated, but if I've said it once, I've said it a million times...


Fred, if you're gonna get special favors for your fainting goats, I wanna get some love for my narcoleptic Dobermans. I need my place at the trough too, buddy.

CF Oxtrot:


Charlie Rose is a master legitimizer. His "interviews" are always like a slick trial lawyer's direct examination of a star witness, designed to make the interviewee look good, and designed to confirm and reinforce the interviewee's as-sold expertise, wisdom, etc.

Fluffing, in other words.

I still remember his interview of Lisa Randall, and I remember thinking she was an interesting lady. Then I went and bought the book she was hyping on the show (Warped Passages), and read it, and thought -- she's a fuckin' snake oil seller!

I'd had similar conclusions reached much quicker (no interim book-read) when watching him "interview" leading business or political celebrities.

He puts words into the interviewee's mouth, like a good slick trial lawyer on direct exam of a difficult, insecure witness. Independent people who aren't as enmeshed in the political game occasionally get flustered, visibly flustered when being on Rose's show. I watched Tom Watson bristle at the forced answers inherent in Rose's questions about golf, it was clear Rose didn't know what he was talking about, but it's Rose's show innit?


woodchuck attack

"...let me offer another suggestion. If you tell an orthodox economist that you want to impose barriers to foreign imports in order to preserve or create jobs, the orthodox economist will tell you that such barriers will only shrink the overall size of the economic pie. If you tell the orthodox economist that you’re worried about the distributive implications of this line of thought, he’ll tell you that it makes more sense to adopt the pro-growth free trade policies and then do more redistributive taxation. A lot of people disappointed with the past 10 years’ worth of economic results have been led to question the orthodoxy, but it seems to me that we should pay closer attention to the orthodoxy and actually do what the orthodoxy implies.

Which is to say that the United States is participating in a much more open global economy in 2010 than existed in 1990. In part that’s because we’ve liberalized our own trade policies. And in part it’s because China, India, Brazil, and the former Soviet bloc have all liberalized their own policies. What the orthodoxy says about this change is that it should (a) increase our potential output and (b) make us more open to redistributive taxation. Now look at what’s happened over the past twenty years. Do we do more redistributive taxation? No, we don’t. Has the Fed started targeting a more aggressive growth rate? No, it hasn’t. We’re not seriously taking advantage of the putative upside of freer trade nor are we doing the thing that’s supposed to mitigate the downside. So of course it’s not working out the way it’s supposed to.

I think reasonable people can disagree about second-best alternatives to the best possible policy. But the best policy for the United States remains exactly what the orthodoxy says—freer trade, more aggressive economic growth targets, and higher taxes to finance more and better public services. In the 1990s, we got a “lite” version of this kind of policymaking and it worked pretty well. Similarly, I think countries like Chile and Brazil that have combined liberalization with increased social welfare have managed to achieve impressive growth and improvements in human welfare. "


leave to our poster
to do the carving up job here
on harvard yard orthodox flack number 13



Does he even warrant a carving? Can we just make fun of Mr Woody McHashpipe's appearance instead?

I think his own commenters took care of anything that wasn't pre-refuted by Duy

D.P., are you suggesting that there will somehow be a choice this fall?



i submit
refuting might not prove quite as easy
as lots of knee jerk anti MNC types think

if the aim is to dis illusion
some cosmopolite pwogs without borders types
not simply rally the nihilist leaf hat
peak oil hobbit pinkos
and the hell bent radioactive
prime example
the bigger better safety net pimps

the danish model i suspect would have great appeal to pwogs worth a dialogue or two

the stalwart nyet-skis
that frequent SMBIVA comment cages of course
might think they know why trade is what it is and more or less isn't what it isn't
and yet can they show just why trade doesn't
increase "potential american growth"?
can you all effectively knock down
this hideous false flag posturing:

"We’re not seriously taking advantage
of the putative upside of freer trade "

how many of us actually understand
corporate dominated trans border
trade and finance well enough
to blow orthodox apologists like woodchuck here
totally out of the water ????


you mention tim duy
well he hardly rises above the woodchuck on the safety net and potential "upside"

are there no winners from trade among american wage workers
are there not wage class bought products that are cheaper ???

why isn't a robust safety net and retraining program a noble goal ???

flex security is worse then tariffs ???

what about all those peasants uplifted
by the process

okay if you play finite earth games check mate
but there are those among the pwog pop
that aren't utterly convinced we have neared the natural limits of material development
they at least need to be convinced eh ??


hmm, well I don't think that Yglesias is a particularly strong example of the standard Dem free trader arguments, but I'll take a crack at the ones you have highlighted.

"can they show just why trade doesn't
increase "potential american growth"?"

because the current trade configuration doesn't encourage investment in America's productive capacity.. insufficient demand. pumping up the credit just produces bubbles under those conditions. you can only get unemployment down for a limited time until the whole thing crashes

"We’re not seriously taking advantage
of the putative upside of freer trade "

Well, he's right there, but the main upside is increased exports, and that hasn't happened

"are there no winners from trade among american wage workers?"

Sure, but fewer and fewer by the year. I'm pretty sure that it is reaching a point where almost all wage earners are being hurt, if not directly by international competition, then indirectly by lack of domestic demand for their product

"are there not wage class bought products that are cheaper ???"

Yes, but not in proportion to lost income/jobs over the long run

"why isn't a robust safety net and retraining program a noble goal ???"

In and of itself, sure, but as part of a free trade & redistribution package, not really. The scam worked back when economists in the '90's were "specialists".

Trade theorist: "Lower tariffs are good overall. Tax the winners and give it to the losers. Easy"

Tax specialist: "Taxes are bad, mmmkay. They drive a wedge between the real rate of return on a project and the rate of return to the investor, and therefore worthwhile projects are not undertaken, leaving us with lower output and lower growth. Don't touch the tax dial."

Now it's just a joke really. EI for how long? Retrain for what?

"what about all those peasants uplifted by the process?"

That's just a sleight of hand trick there. Funny how suddenly it's a zero-sum game when they need to use some moral suasion. Wasn't it win-win a minute ago?

Al Schumann:

Owen if you want fast and nasty knockdowns, I think it's worth emphasizing, over and over, that the neoliberal pwogs do not have any viable, productive policy connected to their axioms. Axioms and slogans are all they have. That's it. They do, however, have some shitty little tactics. They pump cheap credit into the top of the food chain, whence it trickles down with enormous harm to the economy at every stage. They whack some LaTeX around that for obfuscation. Then they blame the victims. Then they jump up and down shrieking for bailouts.

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