Archive for Economy
NC Democrats newly in the legislative minority had better learn what Ezra Klein just learned via Twitter: Republicans won’t take yes for an answer. Give them what they want and they’ll just demand more.
Klein had suggested that if only congressional Republicans knew how much President Obama was willing to offer, they might be willing to settle on a budget deal. He cites a recent background briefing with a prominent Republican legislator to illustrate:
Would it matter, one reporter asked the veteran [unnamed] legislator, if the president were to put chained-CPI — a policy that reconfigures the way the government measures inflation and thus slows the growth of Social Security benefits — on the table?
“Absolutely,” the legislator said. “That’s serious.”
But Obama has, another reporter injects. (It’s on the White House website in bold type.)
This is not an anonymous quote. It comes from a friend.
The world will not actually end tonight when all of these forced budget cuts come down the pike. They have to be phased in by the end of the year if nothing happens between now and then and, as with all things, once it goes from the hyper-partisan theater of Congress to the agencies responsible, actual thought can be put into play to soften the blow to the average person, save as many jobs as possible, and generally make do, as we Americans are supposed to be so good at. Read More→
A teacher once said that the hardest thing for her to deal with was not the child who could do the work but would not apply himself. It was the child who kept trying and kept failing. Unlike Lake Wobegon, in real life every child is not above average.
Life is not fair that way, our conservative friends like reminding us. There are winners and there are losers. Yet in the next breath they assure us that with hard work, in America anyone can overcome their circumstances and succeed. This is not just an American myth. I once read something similar written in iron above the gates at Dachau.
Equally mythological as hard work guaranteeing success is the unwritten subtext. That if you have not triumphed over your circumstances, it is because you are lazy. You just need to work harder.
This is one of “4 Things Politicians Will Never Understand About Poor People,” writes John Cheese in a recent issue of Cracked magazine.
“Politicians can’t get past the idea that the only possible way to fail in America is if you sit back and do nothing. The idea that someone can put out the effort, yet not gain ground is inconceivable to them.”
For 50 years, when capitalism is raised, you have two allowable responses: celebration, cheerleading. Okay, that’s very nice. But that means you have freed that system from all criticism, from all real debate. It can indulge its worst tendencies without fear of exposure and attack. Because when you begin to criticize capitalism, you’re either told that you’re ignorant and don’t understand things, or with more dark implications, you’re somehow disloyal.
Economist Richard Wolff explains to Bill Moyers how capitalism has gone awry: “If we don’t change the system, we’re not going to change the behavior of the people in it … And if we don’t change the system, substituting a new crop will not solve our problem.”
At the Maddow Blog, Steve Benen examines the results of a Bloomberg News poll. Respondents were asked, “Is it your sense that this year the deficit is getting bigger or getting smaller, or is it staying about the same as last year?”
A 62% majority believe the deficit is getting bigger, 28% believe the deficit is staying roughly the same, and only 6% believe the deficit is shrinking.
In other words, in the midst of a major national debate over America’s finances, 90% of Americans are wrong about the one basic detail that probably matters most in the conversation, while only 6% — 6%! — are correct.
For the record, last year, over President Obama’s first four years, the deficit shrunk by about $300 billion. This year, the deficit is projected to be about $600 billion smaller than when the president took office. We are, in reality, currently seeing the fastest deficit reduction in several generations.
Imagine the conversation went something like this:
“So okay, here’s the deal,” Pope says to McCrory, “we turn the clock back until North Carolina looks like a caricature of a poor southern state from 50 years ago. You will have to own property to vote, Yankees make jokes about us all being crackers. Nuevo-poor (and nuevo-uneducated) locals get even more xenophobic, and they won’t elect a Democrat around these parts for decades. The only places people will be able to afford to shop are my stores. We’ll have it made.”
Oh, yes, they would go that far, says Rob Schofield at NC Policy Watch. He presents this early, partial list of the North Carolina General Assembly’s Greatest Hits of 2013. (It seems like just yesterday, doesn’t it?):
Go figure. The federal budget deficit is not “the economic equivalent of a giant meteor hurtling toward America, about to hit any day,” says the Los Angeles Times.
“… the fight over deficits and spending has become a surrogate for battles over basic political and ideological disagreements over the role of government and, behind the scenes, over how the economic pie should be divided.”
Wow. It took how long to figure that out?