29 July 2011

Tea for Terrorists

Someday the American People will look back on these past few weeks of debt ceiling turmoil as the time when the inadequacy of the American way of government was exposed. The T(errorist) Party faction of the Republican Party has illustrated the fundamental fallacy of our process; not everyone can be trusted to act with the best interests of the American People at heart.

The T Party are legislative terrorists. Like suicide bombers, they are willing to destroy innocent victims to reach their political goals. This is not what our Founders intended. They believed our elected representatives should be honorable persons concerned with the welfare of the whole country, not just the satisifaction of idelological extremists and political zealots. The T Party can never meet their expectations and their mere existance is stark evidence of the failure of American politics to serve the American People.

11 July 2011

The Reagan Cult

The campaign for the Republican nomination for President is heating up. Hardly a day goes by without some bizarre statement by one of the dozen or so contenders and each of them is more bizarre than the last. While each has his or her own special obsession, one thing seems to unite them all, they all venerate Ronald Reagan. Put any two of them on the same stage and before a minute goes by, each will claim to be more worthy of the Reagan mantel than the other.

It's a curious thing, this sanctification of Reagan. Somehow a second-rate actor and TV pitchman parlayed his screen presence into the greatest role in the world. For eight years he played President of the United States. Unfortunately, it wasn't in the movies. It was in the real world where fantasy has real consequences.

To non-believers, this Reaganmania is incomprehensible. His record as President wasn't much better than his record as an actor; average, at best. Other than a few one-liners, he left America little of value. Take a look at how it really was in this Aljazeera piece: Reagan mythology is leading US off a cliff and then try to reconcile the real Reagan with the totem carried by Regan cultists. Where's the reason for the reverence?

08 July 2011

All Obama Ever Wanted?

Glen Greenwald's column at Salon this morning, Obama pushing for cuts to Social Security, Medicare sums up what a lot of us feared about President Obama.

As Greenwald noted, many of Obama's strongest supporters always have said Obama's frequent capitulation to Republican demands were due to his personal failings. Obama is "weak and inept," they said. Sadly, that's the best thing we can say about Obama.

Greenwald explored a number of recent offerings by Paul Krugman and Frank Rich and came to the conclusion Obama isn't "weak and inept,"or, at least that he's not just weak and inept, but that he actually believes the things he's doing are the right things to do. For some reason, despite the overwhelming weight of evidence and expert advice, Obama has drunk the snake-oil and has come to accept Republican policy ideas such as spending cuts and tax forbearance as solutions to the problems of the American economy.


No one knows for sure but it's easy to speculate. Maybe Obama is focused on his reelection and believes the money-lenders and independents are the only ones who matter. Giving-up Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in return for trivial tax revenue allows him to say he opposed his own party and moved toward the Republicans. That would make those who matter happy and they, along with those of Obama's shrinking progressive base who haven't given-up on him, might be enough

Or maybe it's something a little more sinister. Obama is the first black to be elected President. He got his name into the record books and as long as he doesn't do anything embarrassingly outrageous, he'll be able to reap the benefits of being a former President for the next 30 or so years. That's not bad for a guy who certainly must have experienced American racism, a guy born into a world which promised much and delivered little. He played a rigged game and came-out the big winner.

Maybe that's all he ever wanted.

05 July 2011

Paul Krugman Should Be Economic Czar of the USA

Paul Krugman should be the Economic Czar of the USA. His unparalleled understanding of the economy and his ability to explain it are critical to laymen when the information cloud includes so much distortion and misrepresentation shrouding the facts and good faith analysis.

In his latest offering as a New York Times Op-Ed columnist, Corporate Cash Con, he lays out the cause of our continuing economic difficulties the way a wise and celebrated doctor might prescribe treatment for a minor ailment. The symptoms lead him to an easy diagnosis and then to a clear course of treatment.

Our economic troubles, he tells us, are related to our bad habit of believing in trickle-down economics, the idea that money put into the economy at the top will "trickle-down" to those at the bottom. Its been tried before and it failed. It failed so badly, in fact, a better name for it might be drivel-down economics. It's the kind of sophistry medicine show charlatans like Eric Cantor offer to the suckers who need something to cure what they don't understand.

In this latest round, we're being told by drivel-downers that tax free repatriation of foreign profits earned by US corporations will be the basis of a recovery. The huge hoard of cash being held overseas would be brought home and used by American capitalists to invest in the American economy.

Krugman joins others in the exposure of the scheme by reminding us it already has failed us. In 2004, we allowed US corporations to repatriate profits but they didn't use them for job creation. They "used that money to pay dividends, pay down debt, buy up other companies, buy back their own stock -- pretty much everything except increasing investment and creating jobs." We have no reason to believe corporations wouldn't do pretty much the same thing in 2011 as they did in 2004.

The Krugmans goes on to point-out a fundamental truth of economics, economic actors do more of what best serves their interests. A second tax giveaway will give these "companies an incentive to move even more jobs overseas, since they now know that there’s a good chance that they’ll be able to bring overseas profits home nearly tax-free under future amnesties."

The question then arises, does anyone really believe corporations need more money? Krugman reminds us corporations already are swimming in cash. They're hoarding $1.9T because they have no reason to invest it. The lack of consumer demand would make any investment a waste. Consumer don't have the money to buy anything but they would if government created jobs and gave stressed home-owners mortgage relief.

Government created jobs and mortgage relief only part of what we need but they're good enough ideas to make Paul Krugman a candidate for Economic Czar of the USA.