Softpanorama

Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Skepticism and critical thinking is not panacea, but can help to understand the world better

Casino Capitalism Bulletin, 2016

Casino Capitalism

News           Casino Capitalism Bulletin, 2016
Casino Capitalism Bulletin, 2015 Casino Capitalism Bulletin, 2014 Casino Capitalism Bulletin, 2013 Casino Capitalism Bulletin, 2012 Casino Capitalism Bulletin, 2011 Casino Capitalism Bulletin, 2010 Casino Capitalism Bulletin, 2009 Casino Capitalism Bulletin, 2008

 


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Feb 02, 2019] Pope Francis has some sensible things to say

Notable quotes:
"... Politics must not be subject to the economy, nor should the economy be subject to the dictates of an efficiency-driven paradigm of technocracy. Today, in view of the common good, there is urgent need for politics and economics to enter into a frank dialogue in the service of life, especially human life. ..."
"... Production is not always rational, and is usually tied to economic variables which assign to products a value that does not necessarily correspond to their real worth. This frequently leads to an overproduction of some commodities, with unnecessary impact on the environment and with negative results on regional economies.[133] The financial bubble also tends to be a productive bubble. The problem of the real economy is not confronted with vigour, yet it is the real economy which makes diversification and improvement in production possible, helps companies to function well, and enables small and medium businesses to develop and create employment. ..."
"... Whenever these questions are raised, some react by accusing others of irrationally attempting to stand in the way of progress and human development. But we need to grow in the conviction that a decrease in the pace of production and consumption can at times give rise to another form of progress and development. ..."
"... The principle of the maximization of profits, frequently isolated from other considerations, reflects a misunderstanding of the very concept of the economy. As long as production is increased, little concern is given to whether it is at the cost of future resources or the health of the environment; as long as the clearing of a forest increases production, no one calculates the losses entailed in the desertification of the land, the harm done to biodiversity or the increased pollution. In a word, businesses profit by calculating and paying only a fraction of the costs involved. Yet only when "the economic and social costs of using up shared environmental resources are recognized with transparency and fully borne by those who incur them, not by other peoples or future generations",[138] can those actions be considered ethical. An instrumental way of reasoning, which provides a purely static analysis of realities in the service of present needs, is at work whether resources are allocated by the market or by state central planning. ..."
Dec 16, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
December 16, 2016 at 07:48 AM
I'm an environmental scientist, not an economist, but it seems to me that Pope Francis has some sensible things to say, as in the following from Laudato si:

IV. POLITICS AND ECONOMY IN DIALOGUE FOR HUMAN FULFILMENT

189. Politics must not be subject to the economy, nor should the economy be subject to the dictates of an efficiency-driven paradigm of technocracy. Today, in view of the common good, there is urgent need for politics and economics to enter into a frank dialogue in the service of life, especially human life. Saving banks at any cost, making the public pay the price, foregoing a firm commitment to reviewing and reforming the entire system, only reaffirms the absolute power of a financial system, a power which has no future and will only give rise to new crises after a slow, costly and only apparent recovery. The financial crisis of 2007-08 provided an opportunity to develop a new economy, more attentive to ethical principles, and new ways of regulating speculative financial practices and virtual wealth. But the response to the crisis did not include rethinking the outdated criteria which continue to rule the world. Production is not always rational, and is usually tied to economic variables which assign to products a value that does not necessarily correspond to their real worth. This frequently leads to an overproduction of some commodities, with unnecessary impact on the environment and with negative results on regional economies.[133] The financial bubble also tends to be a productive bubble. The problem of the real economy is not confronted with vigour, yet it is the real economy which makes diversification and improvement in production possible, helps companies to function well, and enables small and medium businesses to develop and create employment.

190. Here too, it should always be kept in mind that "environmental protection cannot be assured solely on the basis of financial calculations of costs and benefits. The environment is one of those goods that cannot be adequately safeguarded or promoted by market forces".[134] Once more, we need to reject a magical conception of the market, which would suggest that problems can be solved simply by an increase in the profits of companies or individuals. Is it realistic to hope that those who are obsessed with maximizing profits will stop to reflect on the environmental damage which they will leave behind for future generations? Where profits alone count, there can be no thinking about the rhythms of nature, its phases of decay and regeneration, or the complexity of ecosystems which may be gravely upset by human intervention. Moreover, biodiversity is considered at most a deposit of economic resources available for exploitation, with no serious thought for the real value of things, their significance for persons and cultures, or the concerns and needs of the poor.

191. Whenever these questions are raised, some react by accusing others of irrationally attempting to stand in the way of progress and human development. But we need to grow in the conviction that a decrease in the pace of production and consumption can at times give rise to another form of progress and development. Efforts to promote a sustainable use of natural resources are not a waste of money, but rather an investment capable of providing other economic benefits in the medium term. If we look at the larger picture, we can see that more diversified and innovative forms of production which impact less on the environment can prove very profitable. It is a matter of openness to different possibilities which do not involve stifling human creativity and its ideals of progress, but rather directing that energy along new channels.

192. For example, a path of productive development, which is more creative and better directed, could correct the present disparity between excessive technological investment in consumption and insufficient investment in resolving urgent problems facing the human family. It could generate intelligent and profitable ways of reusing, revamping and recycling, and it could also improve the energy efficiency of cities. Productive diversification offers the fullest possibilities to human ingenuity to create and innovate, while at the same time protecting the environment and creating more sources of employment. Such creativity would be a worthy expression of our most noble human qualities, for we would be striving intelligently, boldly and responsibly to promote a sustainable and equitable development within the context of a broader concept of quality of life. On the other hand, to find ever new ways of despoiling nature, purely for the sake of new consumer items and quick profit, would be, in human terms, less worthy and creative, and more superficial.

193. In any event, if in some cases sustainable development were to involve new forms of growth, then in other cases, given the insatiable and irresponsible growth produced over many decades, we need also to think of containing growth by setting some reasonable limits and even retracing our steps before it is too late. We know how unsustainable is the behaviour of those who constantly consume and destroy, while others are not yet able to live in a way worthy of their human dignity. That is why the time has come to accept decreased growth in some parts of the world, in order to provide resources for other places to experience healthy growth. Benedict XVI has said that "technologically advanced societies must be prepared to encourage more sober lifestyles, while reducing their energy consumption and improving its efficiency".[135]
194. For new models of progress to arise, there is a need to change "models of global development";[136] this will entail a responsible reflection on "the meaning of the economy and its goals with an eye to correcting its malfunctions and misapplications".[137] It is not enough to balance, in the medium term, the protection of nature with financial gain, or the preservation of the environment with progress. Halfway measures simply delay the inevitable disaster. Put simply, it is a matter of redefining our notion of progress. A technological and economic development which does not leave in its wake a better world and an integrally higher quality of life cannot be considered progress. Frequently, in fact, people's quality of life actually diminishes – by the deterioration of the environment, the low quality of food or the depletion of resources – in the midst of economic growth. In this context, talk of sustainable growth usually becomes a way of distracting attention and offering excuses. It absorbs the language and values of ecology into the categories of finance and technocracy, and the social and environmental responsibility of businesses often gets reduced to a series of marketing and image-enhancing measures.

195. The principle of the maximization of profits, frequently isolated from other considerations, reflects a misunderstanding of the very concept of the economy. As long as production is increased, little concern is given to whether it is at the cost of future resources or the health of the environment; as long as the clearing of a forest increases production, no one calculates the losses entailed in the desertification of the land, the harm done to biodiversity or the increased pollution. In a word, businesses profit by calculating and paying only a fraction of the costs involved. Yet only when "the economic and social costs of using up shared environmental resources are recognized with transparency and fully borne by those who incur them, not by other peoples or future generations",[138] can those actions be considered ethical. An instrumental way of reasoning, which provides a purely static analysis of realities in the service of present needs, is at work whether resources are allocated by the market or by state central planning.

196. What happens with politics? Let us keep in mind the principle of subsidiarity, which grants freedom to develop the capabilities present at every level of society, while also demanding a greater sense of responsibility for the common good from those who wield greater power. Today, it is the case that some economic sectors exercise more power than states themselves. But economics without politics cannot be justified, since this would make it impossible to favour other ways of handling the various aspects of the present crisis. The mindset which leaves no room for sincere concern for the environment is the same mindset which lacks concern for the inclusion of the most vulnerable members of society. For "the current model, with its emphasis on success and self-reliance, does not appear to favour an investment in efforts to help the slow, the weak or the less talented to find opportunities in life".[139]

197. What is needed is a politics which is far-sighted and capable of a new, integral and interdisciplinary approach to handling the different aspects of the crisis. Often, politics itself is responsible for the disrepute in which it is held, on account of corruption and the failure to enact sound public policies. If in a given region the state does not carry out its responsibilities, some business groups can come forward in the guise of benefactors, wield real power, and consider themselves exempt from certain rules, to the point of tolerating different forms of organized crime, human trafficking, the drug trade and violence, all of which become very difficult to eradicate. If politics shows itself incapable of breaking such a perverse logic, and remains caught up in inconsequential discussions, we will continue to avoid facing the major problems of humanity. A strategy for real change calls for rethinking processes in their entirety, for it is not enough to include a few superficial ecological considerations while failing to question the logic which underlies present-day culture. A healthy politics needs to be able to take up this challenge.

198. Politics and the economy tend to blame each other when it comes to poverty and environmental degradation. It is to be hoped that they can acknowledge their own mistakes and find forms of interaction directed to the common good. While some are concerned only with financial gain, and others with holding on to or increasing their power, what we are left with are conflicts or spurious agreements where the last thing either party is concerned about is caring for the environment and protecting those who are most vulnerable. Here too, we see how true it is that "unity is greater than conflict".[140]

[Feb 02, 2019] The globalization of the technocratic paradigm

Notable quotes:
"... The technocratic paradigm also tends to dominate economic and political life. The economy accepts every advance in technology with a view to profit, without concern for its potentially negative impact on human beings. Finance overwhelms the real economy. The lessons of the global financial crisis have not been assimilated, and we are learning all too slowly the lessons of environmental deterioration. Some circles maintain that current economics and technology will solve all environmental problems, and argue, in popular and non-technical terms, that the problems of global hunger and poverty will be resolved simply by market growth. ..."
Jun 23, 2015 | EconoSpeak

From Encyclical Letter Laudato Si' of the Holy Father Francis, On Care For Our Common Home:

The basic problem goes even deeper: it is the way that humanity has taken up technology and its development according to an undifferentiated and one-dimensional paradigm. This paradigm exalts the concept of a subject who, using logical and rational procedures, progressively approaches and gains control over an external object. This subject makes every effort to establish the scientific and experimental method, which in itself is already a technique of possession, mastery and transformation. It is as if the subject were to find itself in the presence of something formless, completely open to manipulation. Men and women have constantly intervened in nature, but for a long time this meant being in tune with and respecting the possibilities offered by the things themselves. It was a matter of receiving what nature itself allowed, as if from its own hand. Now, by contrast, we are the ones to lay our hands on things, attempting to extract everything possible from them while frequently ignoring or forgetting the reality in front of us. Human beings and material objects no longer extend a friendly hand to one another; the relationship has become confrontational. This has made it easy to accept the idea of infinite or unlimited growth, which proves so attractive to economists, financiers and experts in technology. It is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth's goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry beyond every limit. It is the false notion that "an infinite quantity of energy and resources are available, that it is possible to renew them quickly, and that the negative effects of the exploitation of the natural order can be easily absorbed"

"The technocratic paradigm also tends to dominate economic and political life. The economy accepts every advance in technology with a view to profit, without concern for its potentially negative impact on human beings. Finance overwhelms the real economy. The lessons of the global financial crisis have not been assimilated, and we are learning all too slowly the lessons of environmental deterioration. Some circles maintain that current economics and technology will solve all environmental problems, and argue, in popular and non-technical terms, that the problems of global hunger and poverty will be resolved simply by market growth.

They are less concerned with certain economic theories which today scarcely anybody dares defend, than with their actual operation in the functioning of the economy. They may not affirm such theories with words, but nonetheless support them with their deeds by showing no interest in more balanced levels of production, a better distribution of wealth, concern for the environment and the rights of future generations. Their behavior shows that for them maximizing profits is enough. Yet by itself the market cannot guarantee integral human development and social inclusion. At the same time, we have "a sort of 'superdevelopment' of a wasteful and consumerist kind which forms an unacceptable contrast with the ongoing situations of dehumanizing deprivation", while we are all too slow in developing economic institutions and social initiatives which can give the poor regular access to basic resources. We fail to see the deepest roots of our present failures, which have to do with the direction, goals, meaning and social implications of technological and economic growth."

[Dec 18, 2017] Can The Deep State Be Cured

Notable quotes:
"... The "Obama Doctrine" a continuation of the previous false government doctrines in my lifetime, is less doctrine than the disease, as David Swanson points out . But in the article he critiques, the neoconservative warmongering global planning freak perspective (truly, we must recognize this view as freakish, sociopathic, death-cultish, control-obsessed, narcissist, take your pick or get a combo, it's all good). Disease, as a way of understanding the deep state action on the body politic, is abnormal. It can and should be cured. ..."
"... The deep state seems to have grown, strengthened and tightened its grip. Can a lack of real money restrain or starve it? I once thought so, and maybe I still do. But it doesn't use real money, but rather debt and creative financing to get that next new car, er, war and intervention and domestic spending program. Ultimately it's not sustainable, and just as unaffordable cars are junked, stripped, repossessed, and crunched up, so will go the way of the physical assets of the warfare–welfare state. ..."
"... Because inflated salaries , inflated stock prices and inflated ruling-class personalities are month to month, these should evaporate more quickly, over a debris field once known as some of richest counties in the United States. Can I imagine the shabbiest of trailer parks in the dismal swamp, where high rises and government basilicas and abbeys once stood? I'd certainly like to. But I'll settle for well-kept, privately owned house trailers, filled with people actually producing some small value for society, and minding their own business. ..."
"... Finally, what of those pinpricks of light, the honest assessments of the real death trail and consumption pit that the deep state has delivered? Well, it is growing and broadening. Wikileaks and Snowden are considered assets now to any and all competitors to the US deep state, from within and from abroad – the Pandora's box, assisted by technology, can't be closed now. The independent media has matured to the point of criticizing and debating itself/each other, as well as focusing harsh light on the establishment media. Instead of left and right mainstream media, we increasingly recognize state media, and delightedly observe its own struggle to survive in the face of a growing nervousness of the deep state it assists on command. ..."
"... Watch an old program like"Yes, Minister" to understand how it works. Politicians come and go, but the permanent state apparatchiks doesn't. ..."
"... The "deep state" programs, whether conceived and directed by Soros' handlers, or others, risks unintended consequences. The social division intended by BLM, for example could easily morph beyond the goals. The lack of law due to corruption is equally susceptible to a spontaneous reaction of "the mob," not under the control of the Tavistock handlers. There's an old saying on Wall St; pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. ..."
www.zerohedge.com

Submitted by Karen Kwiatkowski via LewRockwell.com,

So, after getting up late, groggy, and feeling overworked even before I started, I read this article . Just after, I had to feed a dozen cats and dogs, each dog in a separate room out of respect for their territorialism and aggressive desire to consume more than they should (hmm, where have I seen this before), and in the process, forgot where I put my coffee cup. Retracing steps, I finally find it and sit back down to my 19-inch window on the ugly (and perhaps remote) world of the state, and the endless pinpricks of the independent media on its vast overwhelmingly evil existence. I suspect I share this distractibility and daily estrangement from the actions of our government with most Americans .

We are newly bombing Libya and still messing with the Middle East? I thought that the wars the deep state wanted and started were now limited and constrained! What happened to lack of funds, lack of popular support, public transparency that revealed the stupidity and abject failure of these wars?

Deep state. Something systemic, difficult to detect, hard to remove, hidden. It is a spirit as much as nerves and organ. How do your starve it, excise it, or just make it go away? We want to know. I think this explains the popularity of infotainment about haunted houses, ghosts and alien beings among us. They live and we are curious and scared.

The "Obama Doctrine" a continuation of the previous false government doctrines in my lifetime, is less doctrine than the disease, as David Swanson points out . But in the article he critiques, the neoconservative warmongering global planning freak perspective (truly, we must recognize this view as freakish, sociopathic, death-cultish, control-obsessed, narcissist, take your pick or get a combo, it's all good). Disease, as a way of understanding the deep state action on the body politic, is abnormal. It can and should be cured.

My summary of the long Jeffrey Goldberg piece is basically that Obama has become more fatalistic (did he mean to say fatal?) since he won that Nobel Peace Prize back in 2009 . By the way, the "Nobel prize" article contains this gem, sure to get a chuckle:

"Obama's drone program is regularly criticized for a lack of transparency and accountability, especially considering incomplete intelligence means officials are often unsure about who will die. "

[M]ost individuals killed are not on a kill list, and the government does not know their names," Micah Zenko, a scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations told the New York Times."

This is about all the fun I can handle in one day. But back to what I was trying to say.

The deep state seems to have grown, strengthened and tightened its grip. Can a lack of real money restrain or starve it? I once thought so, and maybe I still do. But it doesn't use real money, but rather debt and creative financing to get that next new car, er, war and intervention and domestic spending program. Ultimately it's not sustainable, and just as unaffordable cars are junked, stripped, repossessed, and crunched up, so will go the way of the physical assets of the warfare–welfare state.

Because inflated salaries , inflated stock prices and inflated ruling-class personalities are month to month, these should evaporate more quickly, over a debris field once known as some of richest counties in the United States. Can I imagine the shabbiest of trailer parks in the dismal swamp, where high rises and government basilicas and abbeys once stood? I'd certainly like to. But I'll settle for well-kept, privately owned house trailers, filled with people actually producing some small value for society, and minding their own business.

Can a lack of public support reduce the deep state, or impact it? Well, it would seem that this is a non-factor, except for the strange history we have had and are witnessing again today, with the odd successful popular and populist-leaning politician and their related movements. In my lifetime, only popular figures and their movements get assassinated mysteriously, with odd polka dot dresses, MKULTRA suggestions, threats against their family by their competitors (I'm thinking Perot, but one mustn't be limited to that case), and always with concordant pressures on the sociopolitical seams in the country, i.e riots and police/military activations. The bad dealings toward, and genuine fear of, Bernie Sanders within the Democratic Party's wing of the deep state is matched or exceeded only by the genuine terror of Trump among the Republican deep state wing. This reaction to something or some person that so many in the country find engaging and appealing - an outsider who speaks to the growing political and economic dissatisfaction of a poorer, more indebted, and more regulated population – is heart-warming, to be sure. It is a sign that whether or not we do, the deep state thinks things might change. Thank you, Bernie and especially Donald, for revealing this much! And the "republicanization" of the Libertarian Party is also a bright indicator blinking out the potential of deep state movement and compromise in the pursuit of "stability."

Finally, what of those pinpricks of light, the honest assessments of the real death trail and consumption pit that the deep state has delivered? Well, it is growing and broadening. Wikileaks and Snowden are considered assets now to any and all competitors to the US deep state, from within and from abroad – the Pandora's box, assisted by technology, can't be closed now. The independent media has matured to the point of criticizing and debating itself/each other, as well as focusing harsh light on the establishment media. Instead of left and right mainstream media, we increasingly recognize state media, and delightedly observe its own struggle to survive in the face of a growing nervousness of the deep state it assists on command.

Maybe we will one day soon be able to debate how deep the deep state really is, or whether it was all just a dressed up, meth'ed up, and eff'ed up a sector of society that deserves a bit of jail time, some counseling, and a new start . Maybe some job training that goes beyond the printing of license plates. But given the destruction and mass murder committed daily in the name of this state, and the environmental disasters it has created around the world for the future generations, perhaps we will be no more merciful to these proprietors of the American empire as they have been to their victims. The ruling class deeply fears our judgment, and in this dynamic lies the cure.

Jim in MN Tallest Skil Aug 20, 2016 8:22 PM

I made a list of steps that could be taken to disrupt the Beast. It's all I can offer but I offer it freely.

https://www.scribd.com/document/67758041/List-of-Demands-October-6-2011

4:00 AM October 6, 2011

Kitchen Table, USA

LIST OF DEMANDS TO PROTECT THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FROM FINANCIAL CATASTROPHE

I.CURB CORRUPTION AND EXCESSIVE POWER IN THE FINANCIAL ARMS OF THE US GOVERNMENT

A. FEDERAL RESERVE

1. Benjaman Bernanke to be removed as Chairman immediately

2. New York Federal Reserve Bank and all New York City offices of the Federal Reserve system will be closed for at least 3 years

3. Salaries will be reduced and capped at $150,000/year, adjusted for official inflation

4. Staffing count to be reduced to 1980 levels

5. Interest rate manipulation to be prohibited for at least five years

6. Balance sheet manipulation to be prohibited for at least five years

7. Financial asset purchases prohibited for at least five years

B. TREASURY DEPARTMENT

1. Timothy Geithner to be removed as Secretary immediately

2. All New York City offices of the Department will be closed for at least 3 years

3. Salaries will be reduced and capped at $150,000/year, adjusted for official inflation

4. Staffing count to be reduced to 1980 levels

5. Market manipulation/intervention to be prohibited for at least five years

7. Financial asset purchases prohibited for at least five years

II. END THE CORRUPTING INFLUENCE OF GIANT BANKS AND PROTECT AMERICANS FROM FURTHER EXPOSURE TO THEIR COLLAPSE

A. END CORRUPT INFLUENCE

1. Lifetime ban on government employment for TARP recipient employees and corporate officers, specifically including Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase

2. Ten year ban on government work for consulting firms, law firms, and individual consultants and lawyers who have accepted cash from these entities

3. All contacts by any method with federal agencies and employees prohibited for at least five years, with civil and criminal penalties for violation

B. PROTECT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FROM FURTHER HARM AT THE HANDS OF GIANT BANKS

1. No financial institution with assets of more than $10billion will receive federal assistance or any 'arm's-length' bailouts

2. TARP recipients are prohibited from purchasing other TARP recipient corporate units, or merging with other TARP recipients

3. No foreign interest shall be allowed to acquire any portion of TARP recipients in the US or abroad

III. PREVENT CORPORATE ACCOUNTING AND PENSION FUND ABUSES RELATED TO THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS

A. CORPORATE ACCOUNTING

1. Immediately implement mark-to-market accounting rules which were improperly suspended, allowing six months for implementation.

2. Companies must reserve against impaired assets under mark-to-market rules

3. Any health or life insurance company with more than$100 million in assets must report on their holdings and risk factors, specifically including exposure to real estate, mortgage-backed securities, derivatives, and other exotic financial instruments. These reports will be to state insurance commissions and the federal government, and will also be made available to the public on the Internet.

B. PENSION FUNDS

1. All private and public pension funds must disclose their funding status and establish a plan to fully fund accounts under the assumption that net real returns across all asset classes remain at zero for at least ten years.

Winston Churchill -> Sam Clemons Aug 20, 2016 7:26 PM

Watch an old program like"Yes, Minister" to understand how it works. Politicians come and go, but the permanent state apparatchiks doesn't.

sinbad2 -> Winston Churchill Aug 20, 2016 7:58 PM

Sir Humphrey Appleby: You know what happens when politicians get into Number 10; they want to take their place on the world stage.

Sir Richard Wharton: People on stages are called actors. All they are required to do is look plausible, stay sober, and say the lines they're given in the right order.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: Some of them try to make up their own lines.

Sir Richard Wharton: They don't last long.

rlouis Aug 20, 2016 7:47 PM

The "deep state" programs, whether conceived and directed by Soros' handlers, or others, risks unintended consequences. The social division intended by BLM, for example could easily morph beyond the goals. The lack of law due to corruption is equally susceptible to a spontaneous reaction of "the mob," not under the control of the Tavistock handlers. There's an old saying on Wall St; pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered.

The failed coup in Turkey is a significant indication of institutional weakness and also vulnerability. The inability to exercise force of will in Syria is another. The list of failures is getting too long.

[Dec 01, 2017] Elite needs a kill switch for their front men and women

marknesop.wordpress.com
Patient Observer , July 23, 2016 at 7:07 pm
An interesting article on John McCain. I disagree with the contention that McCain hid knowledge that many American POWs were left behind (undoubtedly some voluntarily choose to remain behind but not hundreds ). However, the article touched on some ideas that rang true:

Today when we consider the major countries of the world we see that in many cases the official leaders are also the leaders in actuality: Vladimir Putin calls the shots in Russia, Xi Jinping and his top Politburo colleagues do the same in China, and so forth. However, in America and in some other Western countries, this seems to be less and less the case, with top national figures merely being attractive front-men selected for their popular appeal and their political malleability, a development that may eventually have dire consequences for the nations they lead. As an extreme example, a drunken Boris Yeltsin freely allowed the looting of Russia's entire national wealth by the handful of oligarchs who pulled his strings, and the result was the total impoverishment of the Russian people and a demographic collapse almost unprecedented in modern peacetime history.

An obvious problem with installing puppet rulers is the risk that they will attempt to cut their strings, much like Putin soon outmaneuvered and exiled his oligarch patron Boris Berezovsky.

One means of minimizing such risk is to select puppets who are so deeply compromised that they can never break free, knowing that the political self-destruct charges buried deep within their pasts could easily be triggered if they sought independence. I have sometimes joked with my friends that perhaps the best career move for an ambitious young politician would be to secretly commit some monstrous crime and then make sure that the hard evidence of his guilt ended up in the hands of certain powerful people, thereby assuring his rapid political rise.

The gist is that elite need a kill switch on their front men (and women).

http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-when-tokyo-rose-ran-for-president/

Cortes , July 24, 2016 at 11:16 am

Seems to be a series of pieces dealing with Vietnam POWs: the following linked item was interesting and provided a plausible explanation: that the US failed to pay up agreed on reparations…

http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-relying-upon-maoist-professors-of-cultural-studies/

marknesop , July 24, 2016 at 12:29 pm
Remarkable and shocking. Wheels within wheels – this is the first time I have ever seen McCain's father connected with the infamous Board of Inquiry which cleared Israel in that state's attack on USS LIBERTY during Israel's seizure of the Golan Heights.
Cortes , July 25, 2016 at 9:08 am
Another stunning article in which the author makes reference to his recent acquisition of what he considers to be a reliably authentic audio file of POW McCain's broadcasts from captivity. Dynamite stuff. The conclusion regarding aspiring untenured historians is quite downbeat:

http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-will-there-be-a-spotlight-sequel-to-the-killing-fields/

marknesop , July 25, 2016 at 10:40 am
Also remarkable; fantastic. It's hard to believe, and a testament to the boldness of Washington dog-and-pony shows, because this must have been well-known in insider circles in Washington – anything so damning which was not ruthlessly and professionally suppressed and simply never allowed to become part of a national discussion would surely have been stumbled upon before now. Land of the Cover-Up.

yalensis , July 25, 2016 at 3:40 pm

So, McCain was Hanoi Jack broadcasting from the Hanoi Hilton?

[Jul 28, 2017] Reply

Jul 28, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

cartman , July 23, 2017 at 11:38 am

G7 Ambassadors Support Cutting of Pensions in the Ukraine
marknesop , July 23, 2017 at 12:13 pm
So when you cut through all the steam and the boilerplate, how do they plan to do it so it's fairer to poor Ukrainians, but the state spends less?

Ah. They plan to raise the age at which you qualify for a pension , doubtless among other money-savers. If the state plays its cards right, the target demographic wil work all its adult life and then die before reaching pensionable age. But as usual, we must be subjected to the usual western sermonizing about how the whole initiative is all about helping people and doing good.

This is borne out in one of the other 'critical reforms' the IMF insisted upon before releasing its next tranche of 'aid' – a land reform act which would allow Ukraine to sell off its agricultural land in the interests of 'creating a market'. Sure: as if. Land-hungry western agricultural giants like Monsanto are drooling at the thought of getting their hands on Ukraine's rich black earth plus a chink in Europe's armor against GMO crops. Another possible weapon to use against Russia would be the growing of huge volumes of GMO grain so as to weaken the market for Russian grains.

Cortes , July 23, 2017 at 4:18 pm
And pollution of areas of Russian soil from blown in GMO seeds. Creating facts on the ground.
Patient Observer , July 24, 2017 at 4:18 am
Another element of the plan to reduce pension obligations is the dismantling of whatever health care system that remain in the Ukraine. That is a twofer – save money on providing medical services and shortening the life span. This would be another optimization of wealth generation for the oligarchs and for those holding Ukraine debt.
Jen , July 24, 2017 at 5:03 am
I can just see Ukrainian health authorities giving away free cigarettes to patients and their families next!

That remark was partly facetious and partly serious: life these days in the Ukraine sounds so surreal that I wouldn't put it past the Ministry of Healthcare of Ukraine to come up with the most hare-brained "reform" initiatives.

yalensis , July 24, 2017 at 2:30 pm
Nine out of ten doctors recommend Camels.
The other one doctor is a woman, who smokes Virginia Slims.

Patient Observer , July 24, 2017 at 6:09 pm
I recall a news story about the adverse effects of a reduction in smoking on the US Social Security Trust Fund. Those actuaries make those calculations for a living. The trouble with shortening life spans via cancer is that end-of-life treatment tends to be very expensive unless people do not have or have very basic health insurance, then there is a likely net gain. Alcohol, murder and suicides are generally much more efficient economically. I just depressed myself.
kirill , July 24, 2017 at 8:09 pm
Something does not add up. Any government expenditure is an economic stimulus. The only potentially negative aspect is taxation. Since taxation is not excessive and in fact too small on key layers (e.g. companies and the rich), there is no negative aspect to government spending on pensions. So we have here narrow-definition accounting BS.
Jen , July 25, 2017 at 4:56 am
Agree that in a world where the people, represented by their governments, are in charge of money creation and governments ran their financial systems independently of Wall Street and Washington, any government spending would be welcomed as stimulating economic production and development. The money later recirculates back to the government when the people who have jobs created by government spending pay the money back through purchases of various other government goods and services or through their taxes.

But in capitalist societies where increasingly banks are becoming the sole creators and suppliers of money, government spending incurs debts that have to be paid back with interest. In the past governments also raised money for major public projects by issuing treasury bonds and securities but that doesn't seem to happen much these days.

Unfortunately also Ukraine is surviving mainly on IMF loans and the IMF certainly doesn't want the money to go towards social welfare spending.

marknesop , July 25, 2017 at 9:18 am
In fact, the IMF specifically intervenes to prevent spending loan money on social welfare, as a condition of extending the loan. That might have been true since time out of mind for all I know, but it certainly was true after the first Greek bailout, when leaders blew the whole wad on pensions and social spending so as to ensure their re-election. They then went sheepishly back to the IMF for a second bailout. So there are good and substantial reasons for insisting the loan money not be wasted in this fashion, as that kind of spending customarily does not generate any meaningful follow-on spending by the recipients, and is usually absorbed by the cost of living.

But as we are all aware, such IMF interventions have a definite political agenda as well. In Ukraine's case, the IMF with all its political inveigling is matched against a crafty oligarch who will lift the whole lot if he is not watched. Alternatively, he might well blow it all on social spending to ensure his re-election, thus presenting the IMF with a dilemma in which it must either continue to support him, or cause him to fall.

Patient Observer , July 25, 2017 at 7:07 pm
In an economy based on looting, it makes perfect sense. Money flows only one way until its all gone.

[Dec 31, 2016] Milton Friedman was intellectual prostitute of financial oligarchy most of his long life, starting from his days in Mont Pelerin Society

Dec 31, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
JohnH : December 31, 2016 at 04:38 PM
Ironic isn't it? "Why didn't ... exhibit the same restraint in his role as a public intellectual?

The answer, I suspect, is that he got caught up in an essentially political role. Milton Friedman the great economist could and did acknowledge ambiguity. But Milton Friedman the great champion of free markets was expected to preach the true faith, not give voice to doubts. And he ended up playing the role his followers expected. As a result, over time the refreshing iconoclasm of his early career hardened into a rigid defense of what had become the new orthodoxy."

Krugman should have stuck to economics...

likbez -> JohnH...
Yes, this is pretty nasty verdict for Krugman too.

But, in reality, Milton Friedman was an intellectual prostitute of financial oligarchy most of his long life, starting from his days in Mont Pelerin Society ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mont_Pelerin_Society) , where he was one of the founders.

So, if the period when he was a good econometrician exists it is limited to pre-war and war years. As he was born in 1912, he was just 33 in 1945. His "A Theory of the Consumption Function" was published in 1957. And "A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960" in 1963, when he was already completely crooked.

Mont Pelerin Society was founded in 1947 with the explicit political goal of being hatching place for neoliberal ideology as alternative to communist ideology. He served as a President of this Society from 1970 to 1972.

Capitalism and Freedom that many consider to be neoliberal manifesto similar to Marx and Engels "Manifesto of the Communist Party" was published in 1962.

So what Krugnam is saying is a myth. And he is not an impartial observer. He is a neoliberal himself. I still remember Krugman despicable attacks on John Kenneth Galbraith and his unhealthy fascination with the usage of differential equations in economic modeling, the epitome of mathiness.

[Dec 31, 2016] Problems with Krugman as an economist is that he, as a neoliberal, believes that profit motive is superior to the mutual benefit motive all the time.

Notable quotes:
"... My criticism of Krugman is far more fundamental. I do not believe the profit motive is superior to the mutual benefit motive when it comes to organizing economies. ..."
Dec 31, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
Paul Mathis -> anne... , December 31, 2016 at 06:48 PM
I have two problems with Prof. K:

1. His refusal to acknowledge the central role of consumption in our economy. As Keynes said, ""Consumption - to repeat the obvious - is the sole end and object of all economic activity." The General Theory, p. 104.

And Adam Smith agreed: "Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production." The Wealth of Nations, Book IV Chapter VIII, v. ii, p. 660, para. 49.

2. Krugman's refusal to endorse fiscal stimulus unless the economy is at ZLB. That is not only anti-Keynesian, it plays directly into the hands of the debt fear mongers. (Krugman is also worried about the debt.)

yuan -> Paul Mathis... , December 31, 2016 at 06:56 PM
"Krugman's refusal to endorse fiscal stimulus unless the economy is at ZLB."

That is a strawman, and a bad one.

PS: My criticism of Krugman is far more fundamental. I do not believe the profit motive is superior to the mutual benefit motive when it comes to organizing economies.

anne -> Paul Mathis... , December 31, 2016 at 06:57 PM
Important criticisms.
anne -> Paul Mathis... , December 31, 2016 at 07:00 PM
https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/smith-adam/works/wealth-of-nations/book04/ch08.htm

1776

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nations
By Adam Smith

On Systems of Political Economy

Conclusion of the Mercantile System

Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer. The maxim is so perfectly self evident that it would be absurd to attempt to prove it. But in the mercantile system the interest of the consumer is almost constantly sacrificed to that of the producer; and it seems to consider production, and not consumption, as the ultimate end and object of all industry and commerce.

anne -> Paul Mathis... , December 31, 2016 at 07:07 PM
https://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/economics/keynes/general-theory/ch08.htm

1935

The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money
By John Maynard Keynes

The Propensity to Consume: The Objective Factors

Consumption - to repeat the obvious - is the sole end and object of all economic activity. Opportunities for employment are necessarily limited by the extent of aggregate demand. Aggregate demand can be derived only from present consumption or from present provision for future consumption. The consumption for which we can profitably provide in advance cannot be pushed indefinitely into the future. We cannot, as a community, provide for future consumption by financial expedients but only by current physical output. In so far as our social and business organisation separates financial provision for the future from physical provision for the future so that efforts to secure the former do not necessarily carry the latter with them, financial prudence will be liable to diminish aggregate demand and thus impair well-being, as there are many examples to testify. The greater, moreover, the consumption for which we have provided in advance, the more difficult it is to find something further to provide for in advance, and the greater our dependence on present consumption as a source of demand. Yet the larger our incomes, the greater, unfortunately, is the margin between our incomes and our consumption. So, failing some novel expedient, there is, as we shall see, no answer to the riddle, except that there must be sufficient unemployment to keep us so poor that our consumption falls short of our income by no more than the equivalent of the physical provision for future consumption which it pays to produce to-day.

anne -> Paul Mathis... , -1
Krugman's refusal to endorse fiscal stimulus unless the economy is at zero lower bound. That is not only anti-Keynesian, it plays directly into the hands of the debt fear mongers. (Krugman is also worried about the debt.)

[ Only correct to a degree, economic weakness is recognized. ]

[Dec 31, 2016] Economists View 2007 Krugman on Milton Friedman

Dec 31, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
Mathew Kahn:
2007 Krugman on Milton Friedman : As you read this direct Paul Krugman quote, do y ou hear this song in the background.

"What's odd about Friedman's absolutism on the virtues of markets and the vices of government is that in his work as an economist's economist he was actually a model of restraint. As I pointed out earlier, he made great contributions to economic theory by emphasizing the role of individual rationality-but unlike some of his colleagues, he knew where to stop. Why didn't he exhibit the same restraint in his role as a public intellectual?

The answer, I suspect, is that he got caught up in an essentially political role. Milton Friedman the great economist could and did acknowledge ambiguity. But Milton Friedman the great champion of free markets was expected to preach the true faith, not give voice to doubts. And he ended up playing the role his followers expected. As a result, over time the refreshing iconoclasm of his early career hardened into a rigid defense of what had become the new orthodoxy.

In the long run, great men are remembered for their strengths, not their weaknesses, and Milton Friedman was a very great man indeed-a man of intellectual courage who was one of the most important economic thinkers of all time, and possibly the most brilliant communicator of economic ideas to the general public that ever lived. But there's a good case for arguing that Friedmanism, in the end, went too far, both as a doctrine and in its practical applications. When Friedman was beginning his career as a public intellectual, the times were ripe for a counterreformation against Keynesianism and all that went with it. But what the world needs now, I'd argue, is a counter-counterreformation."

Paul Mathis : , December 31, 2016 at 02:26 PM

Counter-reformation? Not exactly.

In an interview with Public Broadcasting System on Oct. 1, 2000, Dr. Milton Friedman said, "Let me emphasize [that] I think Keynes was a great economist. I think his particular theory in The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money is a fascinating theory. It's a right kind of a theory. It's one which says a lot by using only a little. So it's a theory that has great potentiality."

Brilliant economist? Not exactly. For monetarists who believe as Dr. Friedman did that "inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon," the nearly $4 trillion added to the money supply by the Fed since 2008 should have produced raging hyper-inflation. For Friedman, the answer was not debatable: "A steady rate of monetary growth at a moderate level can provide a framework under which a country can have little inflation and much growth." The Counter-Revolution in Monetary Theory (1970).

Dan Berg -> Paul Mathis... , December 31, 2016 at 02:38 PM
$4 T was not "added to the money supply"

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=2VX3

For Krugman, this is called being hoisted by one's own petard.

anne -> Dan Berg ... , December 31, 2016 at 03:35 PM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=2VX3 :

this graph, which should have been labelled but was not, depicts the monetary base from October 2012 to December 2015 for reasons that are a mystery to me.

anne -> Paul Mathis... , December 31, 2016 at 02:44 PM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cfmn

January 15, 2016

Adjusted Monetary Base, 2000-2016


https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cfmq

January 15, 2016

Adjusted Monetary Base, 2008-2016

anne -> anne... , December 31, 2016 at 02:47 PM
About $3 trillion was added to the monetary base between 2008 and the beginning of 2015.
Dan Berg -> anne... , December 31, 2016 at 05:05 PM
so why are you depicting the monetary base if they are such a mystery; and without labels?
anne -> anne... , December 31, 2016 at 05:18 PM
Perfectly described and drawn graphs depicting more than a $3 trillion increase in the monetary base between 2008 and 2015. Nice and simple as that:

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cfmn

January 15, 2016

Adjusted Monetary Base, 2000-2016

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cfmq

January 15, 2016

Adjusted Monetary Base, 2008-2016

Tra la, tra la.

anne -> Paul Mathis... , December 31, 2016 at 03:44 PM
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/08/milton-friedman-unperson/

August 8, 2013

Milton Friedman, Unperson
By Paul Krugman

So Friedman has vanished from the policy scene - so much so that I suspect that a few decades from now, historians of economic thought will regard him as little more than an extended footnote.

anne -> Paul Mathis... , December 31, 2016 at 05:26 PM
Do write further on this matter when possible.
anne : , December 31, 2016 at 02:39 PM
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/19857

February 15, 2007

Who Was Milton Friedman?
By Paul Krugman - New York Review of Books

1.

The history of economic thought in the twentieth century is a bit like the history of Christianity in the sixteenth century. Until John Maynard Keynes published The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money in 1936, economics-at least in the English-speaking world-was completely dominated by free-market orthodoxy. Heresies would occasionally pop up, but they were always suppressed. Classical economics, wrote Keynes in 1936, "conquered England as completely as the Holy Inquisition conquered Spain." And classical economics said that the answer to almost all problems was to let the forces of supply and demand do their job.

But classical economics offered neither explanations nor solutions for the Great Depression. By the middle of the 1930s, the challenges to orthodoxy could no longer be contained. Keynes played the role of Martin Luther, providing the intellectual rigor needed to make heresy respectable. Although Keynes was by no means a leftist-he came to save capitalism, not to bury it-his theory said that free markets could not be counted on to provide full employment, creating a new rationale for large-scale government intervention in the economy.

Keynesianism was a great reformation of economic thought. It was followed, inevitably, by a counter-reformation. A number of economists played important roles in the great revival of classical economics between 1950 and 2000, but none was as influential as Milton Friedman. If Keynes was Luther, Friedman was Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits. And like the Jesuits, Friedman's followers have acted as a sort of disciplined army of the faithful, spearheading a broad, but incomplete, rollback of Keynesian heresy. By the century's end, classical economics had regained much though by no means all of its former dominion, and Friedman deserves much of the credit.

I don't want to push the religious analogy too far. Economic theory at least aspires to be science, not theology; it is concerned with earth, not heaven. Keynesian theory initially prevailed because it did a far better job than classical orthodoxy of making sense of the world around us, and Friedman's critique of Keynes became so influential largely because he correctly identified Keynesianism's weak points. And just to be clear: although this essay argues that Friedman was wrong on some issues, and sometimes seemed less than honest with his readers, I regard him as a great economist and a great man....

anne -> anne... , December 31, 2016 at 03:00 PM
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/02/friedman-and-schwartz-were-wrong/

March 2, 2009

Friedman and Schwartz Were Wrong
By Paul Krugman

It's one of Ben Bernanke's most memorable quotes: at a conference honoring Milton Friedman on his 90th birthday, he said: *

"Let me end my talk by abusing slightly my status as an official representative of the Federal Reserve. I would like to say to Milton and Anna: Regarding the Great Depression. You're right, we did it. We're very sorry. But thanks to you, we won't do it again."

He was referring to the Friedman-Schwartz argument that the Fed could have prevented the Great Depression if only it has been more aggressive in countering the fall in the money supply. This argument later mutated into the claim that the Fed caused the Depression, but its original version still packed a strong punch. Basically, it implied that no fundamental reforms of the economy were necessary; all it takes to avoid depressions is for central banks to do their job.

But can we say that recent events appear to disprove that claim? (So did Japan's experience in the 1990s, but that lesson failed to sink in.) What we have now is a Fed that is determined not to "do it again." It has been very aggressive about monetary expansion. Here's one measure of that aggressiveness, banks' excess reserves:

[Bank excess reserves, 1990-2009]

And yet the world economy is still falling off a cliff.

Preventing depressions, it turns out, is a lot harder than we were taught.

* http://www.federalreserve.gov/BOARDDOCS/SPEECHES/2002/20021108/default.htm

anne -> anne... , December 31, 2016 at 03:17 PM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cfmx

January 30, 2016

Excess Reserves of Depository Institutions, 1990-2009

[Dec 31, 2016] Two Simple Suggestions for George Soros

Notable quotes:
"... By Lambert Strether of Corrente ..."
"... Therefore, the neoliberal project, considered under the aspect of justice, was destined to implode, and known to be so destined from the very beginning, since ultimately for popular acceptance it depends on redistribution, but "winners seldom, if ever, compensate the losers." So why throw good money after bad? ..."
"... Second, neoliberalism puts markets first . Always. So there's no reason to think that losers will ever be compensated, because there's no market in doing that. In any case, how do you put a price on a destroyed Main Street or a child dead from opiates? ..."
"... The neoliberal project has finally failed. It cannot secure a popular mandate, and by its nature cannot ever secure one. Therefore, anyone dedicated to an open society should not fund it. One might argue that alternatives to that project should be funded, but I think (see above) that only small-d democratic projects can create such alternatives, and they should be self-funded. ..."
"... Everything Lambert states he is correct, but as much as Soros's money is amplified by and mirrors NED and USAID money, it might be his job to invest in Democrat, Neoliberal, and Regime Change projects. He seems to function as a front/shell company like Chaz T. MAIN (Confessions of an Economic Hitman, John Perkins) or Business International Corp. ( http://johnpilger.com/articles/power-illusion-and-americas-last-taboo ) ..."
"... Soros and the State Department (or the dominant faction thereof) have roughly the same prescription for Russia and Eastern Europe. So no need at all to hypothesize one as a front for the other. ..."
"... It's not inconceivable. Think of Pierre Omidyar and USAID in Ukraine ..."
"... Agreed. Just a dumb excuse to persuade people we can't have nice things. Obama may have campaigned on "Yes We Can" in 2008 but Hillary in 2016 was the soaring voice of "No, You Can't." ..."
"... Pretty clear from the rich people and a few very rich people I have encountered, professionally and personally (once shared a secretary with Bill Gates Sr.) that the empathy and comity and decency drivers never got installed with the original programming. ..."
"... Everything Soros does is to line his own pockets I'm afraid. This will fall on deaf ears. For them, it's never enough money. That is what this is really about. Behind the curtains, you are dealing with a bunch of people who care nothing about the collective good and everything about their own net worth. Nothing else matters to them. ..."
Dec 31, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Lambert Strether

December 30, 2016 By Lambert Strether of Corrente

... ... ...

Soros Should Simply Stop Funding Neoliberal Projects

Here's how Soros explains Trump, Brexit, the rise of LePen, and so on:

I find the current moment in history very painful. Open societies are in crisis, and various forms of closed societies – from fascist dictatorships to mafia states – are on the rise. How could this happen? The only explanation I can find is that elected leaders failed to meet voters' legitimate expectations and aspirations and that this failure led electorates to become disenchanted with the prevailing versions of democracy and capitalism. Quite simply, many people felt that the elites had stolen their democracy.

Not to mention their money, as the foreclosure crisis showed.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US emerged as the sole remaining superpower, equally committed to the principles of democracy and free markets. The major development since then has been the globalization of financial markets, spearheaded by advocates who argued that globalization increases total wealth. After all, if the winners compensated the losers, they would still have something left over.

The argument was misleading, because it ignored the fact that the winners seldom, if ever, compensate the losers . But the potential winners spent enough money promoting the argument that it prevailed .

Globalization has had far-reaching economic and political consequences. It has brought about some economic convergence between poor and rich countries; but it increased inequality within both poor and rich countries. In the developed world, the benefits accrued mainly to large owners of financial capital , who constitute less than 1% of the population. The lack of redistributive policies is the main source of the dissatisfaction that democracy's opponents have exploited. But there were other contributing factors as well, particularly in Europe.

Therefore, the neoliberal project, considered under the aspect of justice, was destined to implode, and known to be so destined from the very beginning, since ultimately for popular acceptance it depends on redistribution, but "winners seldom, if ever, compensate the losers." So why throw good money after bad?

Now, to be fair, some more fair-minded mainstream academics are trying to improve neoliberalism by bringing redistribution forward. First, why - after forty years of neoliberalism - would anyone trust them? For example, a current popular topic is the replacement of all wage work by robots. And sometimes the topic "How to help all those poor losers workers" is vaguely discussed. Are we really to believe any help will be forthcoming? Or that, if it comes, it won't be gate-keepered and means-tested to death? History says no. Experience says no.

Second, neoliberalism puts markets first . Always. So there's no reason to think that losers will ever be compensated, because there's no market in doing that. In any case, how do you put a price on a destroyed Main Street or a child dead from opiates?

The neoliberal project has finally failed. It cannot secure a popular mandate, and by its nature cannot ever secure one. Therefore, anyone dedicated to an open society should not fund it. One might argue that alternatives to that project should be funded, but I think (see above) that only small-d democratic projects can create such alternatives, and they should be self-funded.

Conclusion

I think philanthropy even on the Nineteenth Century Robber Baron model - Carnegie Libraries, the Frick Museum, or genuine scholarship[1] - would be preferable to continuing to fund Democrats, or neoliberal projects generally. Soros should consider those alternatives. Short neoliberalism.[2]

Lambert Strether has been blogging, managing online communities, and doing system administration 24/7 since 2003, in Drupal and WordPress. Besides political economy and the political scene, he blogs about rhetoric, software engineering, permaculture, history, literature, local politics, international travel, food, and fixing stuff around the house. The nom de plume "Lambert Strether" comes from Henry James's The Ambassadors: "Live all you can. It's a mistake not to." You can follow him on Twitter at @lambertstrether. http://www.correntewire.com mothyGeithner , December 30, 2016 at 1:26 pm

I'm reminded of Dan Snyder, the owner of the football team from Landover, Maryland.

Snyder is a guy who sold three business ventures for crazy valuations for companies that didn't exist in any capacity a few years later or didn't have anything beyond pizzazz. Yet, Snyder is a billionaire. Why? What good is he? Why shouldn't the government say, "hey, we will leave you with $25 million, but we are taking the rest."? There is no rationale reason for billionaires to exist, so billionaires have to come up with a reason for why their billions are justified without giving the money away. Dan Snyder runs a football team into the ground. George Soros tries to fight villains of his youth, Nazis and Communists under the bed before people realize they should just get rid of billionaires.

Snyder has to run the football team because he has to prove he's worth it and not the by product of inane Fed and tax policies that turned two bit operations into over night IPO bonanzas. Why isn't the guy who invented synthetic diamonds a billionaire or even a millionaire?

reslez , December 30, 2016 at 3:07 pm

Wallace : [while eating some Chicken McNuggets] Man, these s****s is right, yo.
Malik 'Poot' Carr : [with his mouth full] Mm-hmm.
Wallace : Good with the hot sauce too, yo.
Malik 'Poot' Carr : Most definitely.
Wallace : Yo, D, you want some nuggets?
D'Angelo Barksdale : Nah, go ahead, man.
Wallace : Man, whoever invented these, yo, he off the hook.
Malik 'Poot' Carr : What?
Wallace : Mm. M********* got the bone all the way out the damn chicken. 'Til he came along, n****s been chewin' on drumsticks and s***, gettin' they fingers all greasy. He said, " Later for the bone. Let's nugget that meat up and make some real money."
Malik 'Poot' Carr : You think the man got paid?
Wallace : Who?
Malik 'Poot' Carr : Man who invented these.
Wallace : S***, he richer than a m*********.
D'Angelo Barksdale : Why? You think he get a percentage?
Wallace : Why not?
D'Angelo Barksdale : N****, please. The man who invented them things? Just some sad-ass down at the basement at McDonald's, thinkin' up some s*** to make some money for the real players.
Malik 'Poot' Carr : Naw, man, that ain't right.
D'Angelo Barksdale : F*** "right." It ain't about right, it's about money. Now you think Ronald McDonald gonna go down in that basement and say, "Hey, Mista Nugget, you the bomb. We sellin' chicken faster than you can tear the bone out. So I'm gonna write my clowny-ass name on this fat-ass check for you"?
Wallace : S***.
D'Angelo Barksdale : Man, the n**** who invented them things still workin' in the basement for regular wage, thinkin' up some s*** to make the fries taste better or some s*** like that. Believe.
[pause]
Wallace : Still had the idea, though.

Stephen Gardner , December 30, 2016 at 3:40 pm

I loved The Wire . Great show. Watched the whole over a few weeks of binging. It was an addiction that was fundamentally about addiction. ;-)

scotty_mack , December 30, 2016 at 1:07 pm

Everything Lambert states he is correct, but as much as Soros's money is amplified by and mirrors NED and USAID money, it might be his job to invest in Democrat, Neoliberal, and Regime Change projects. He seems to function as a front/shell company like Chaz T. MAIN (Confessions of an Economic Hitman, John Perkins) or Business International Corp. ( http://johnpilger.com/articles/power-illusion-and-americas-last-taboo )

Lambert Strether Post author , December 30, 2016 at 1:20 pm

Soros is the one with the billions. Why would he be a frontman?

Rhondda , December 30, 2016 at 1:53 pm

Perhaps so it doesn't look like the regime change money is coming via State Dept, etc. Arms length, as it were.

Lambert Strether , December 30, 2016 at 2:36 pm

No. Soros is the one with the power. The idea that he's fronting for somebody is ridiculous.

Rhondda , December 30, 2016 at 6:26 pm

https://bookofbadarguments.com/

Darthbobber , December 30, 2016 at 11:04 pm

Soros and the State Department (or the dominant faction thereof) have roughly the same prescription for Russia and Eastern Europe. So no need at all to hypothesize one as a front for the other.

Pespi , December 31, 2016 at 3:05 pm

It's not inconceivable. Think of Pierre Omidyar and USAID in Ukraine

Waldenpond , December 30, 2016 at 3:54 pm

Isn't he a frontman for the pretense of democracy? and the pretense that billionaires are concerned with the working class in general rather than a resource to be exploited and discarded?

I see Soros useful in that he feeds the myth that there are two parties and is a pr funder marketing the myth of choice to the voters. His words are counter to the vast majority of what he funds. I try to focus on what people are doing not what they say.

He could personally build vast swaths of manufacturing plants and hand them over to the workers. He could leave his wealth to a volunteer co-op board that only grants funds to employee owned start-ups. He could build vast swaths of non-profit public housing and hand them over to the communities.

Waldenpond , December 30, 2016 at 4:45 pm

Also, this is not a criticism, but it looks like your argument is for lesser evilism. Your first proposal that he stop investing in D elections as they are losers seems merely to be a capitalist argument that he isn't getting a return on his investment.

I'm not to sure what your second proposal of supporting small d institions refers to maybe think tanks and media? but supporting lower level elections is again back to the 'more and better Ds'.

I get your strategy is to take over the D party but it seems that 'more and better Ds' that just failed to get traction with the 2016 election. Promoting that billionaires could fine tune their influence looks like an amelioration strategy of conservatism rather than an affirmative policy platform in opposition to the Rs.

Larry , December 30, 2016 at 1:18 pm

The problem for Soros and all billionaires interested in the politics game is that they cannot fathom voting against their own interests and they must pick credentialed and vetted candidates. Somebody like Hillary is great for them. For example, when she stated during the primary against Bernie that we can't just have outright free public higher education because rich people would benefit unfairly. That is coding to say that we won't redistribute ill gotten gains for the purposes of building a stable and functioning society.

reslez , December 30, 2016 at 3:09 pm

> we can't just have outright free public higher education becuase rich people would benefit unfairly

Agreed. Just a dumb excuse to persuade people we can't have nice things. Obama may have campaigned on "Yes We Can" in 2008 but Hillary in 2016 was the soaring voice of "No, You Can't."

susan the other , December 31, 2016 at 10:30 am

she also tried to put down Bernie's socialism by saying "We are not Denmark." So what?

susan the other , December 31, 2016 at 10:31 am

she also tried to put down Bernie's socialism by saying "We are not Denmark." So what? does that mean we can't have an equitable society?

Propertius , December 31, 2016 at 5:20 pm

Especially since, in the not too distant past, we actually had "nice things" like tuition-free state universities but we allowed them to be taken away from us.

JTMcPhee , December 30, 2016 at 1:29 pm

Pretty clear from the rich people and a few very rich people I have encountered, professionally and personally (once shared a secretary with Bill Gates Sr.) that the empathy and comity and decency drivers never got installed with the original programming.

And I "follow" Gates Jr. on Twitter, when I can stand to look in, and what a piece of work he, or his Twavatar, is. Always on his book and on his game. And it seems like just a game to him, from the way he plays his position.

Now Trumpunist stars are in the ascendant. And the planet gets more heat load, every moment of every day Too bad the looters are on the way to "conquering death" for themselves, while "dealing death" to the rest of us

reslez , December 30, 2016 at 3:15 pm

> Too bad the looters are on the way to "conquering death" for themselves, while "dealing death" to the rest of us

I wonder what they'll do once they realize they've been had by a bunch of grifting con artists, hardly different from themselves. When the billionaires realize Mars is a death trap worse than Earth, will they feel any remorse about destroying the planet? Or has the "market" whittled that away, along with the rest of the human emotions like shame, guilt, and compassion for their fellow man? When they realize eternal youth and immortality isn't ever going to happen, partly because they've hollowed out their own civilization and corrupted its science, will they regret forcing so many others into destitution and an early grave? Maybe for about 30 seconds, I reckon. The rest cower in self-protective ignorance.

JTMcPhee , December 30, 2016 at 4:27 pm

It's fun to look to pop culture for illustrative myths and potentially illuminating analogies. I like "Wall-e" and "Elysium" and "Terminator" and "Robocop" and for dessert, a big helping of "Soylent Green "

alex morfesis , December 30, 2016 at 3:34 pm

The dillusionati always drown in their own vomit it has been that way for the last 2 million sunsets all the technology in the world wont change that if one can not find peace and happiness with a few million dollars, chasing billions to spend more money 4 monets on the wall in the hall is a losing proposition

As to georgi sore-ohs redirecting his money the klown princes will soon be abandoning their givings with the coming removal of the estate tax putting many non profits out of business

"non profit" hospitals will now be able to convert to for profit dividend paying entities instead of consultant skim capital kiting enterprises

The rober baron era existed before income taxes so I expect sow-oats to slowly melt away now that he can hand out his remaining assets directly and enjoy the rest of his youth with his robobabe .

Despite the best efforts of the dillusionati these past 5 – 10 thousand years once they run out of people to prey with they turn on each other

these are weak creatures, power hungry and control crazy based on their own fears and limitations

The bernaze sauce isnt spicy enough anymore

the rewind button on vcrs killed the soviet union and youtube and the capacity of the average shmoe to cut, paste, edit and freeze frame has reduced the mesmerization to a near stand still

The game is up and there is no more room left to squeeze more gold tips on a chip no matter how much cooling one throws into the mix

The iPhone is just newton with the security state release of tech that has been aroud for over 20 years

The programs still have bugs/features that can not be fixed based on a unix/linux platform from over 50 years ago designed to exist in a closed loop circuit decades of patch and pray can not be fixed by decree

one of the funders of one of the fake news "overseers"(u of penn/annanb) runs an outfit in nyc that prices out derivatives out over 150 years from now but all the tech can't tell me if it is going to rain or snow in 72 hours

The dillusionati are running on fumes

What is amusing is watching the panic as they fear resistance and revolution that will never develop people just want to eat, breath and live a reasonable life these weak dillusionati contemplate and imagine how "they" in their weakness and fears would react but many parts of america have already seen and lived thru an economic apocalypse

even manhattan was a dead zone on the west side when all their shipping moved to LA and all the piers were left open and abandoned with jokes about the only place to find nypd was at donut shops abounding

Living in the south bronx or coney island was living a real life version of madmax

Anyhoot methinx, in respects to the original posting sore-oats just does his freedom and democracy funding to tip the scales on his out of the money tail risk currency options investing he just games the system with a smile

Onto a wondrous and pleasant 2017

The fun has just begun

Less fences and more dances let 2017 be the year we talk past our differences with our neighbors and get on with the being of being

(Damn that was long winded I thought I gave that up )

Kieselguhr Kid , December 30, 2016 at 3:59 pm

bravo!

Kurt Sperry , December 30, 2016 at 11:39 pm

Bravo x2

Altandmain , December 30, 2016 at 1:30 pm

Everything Soros does is to line his own pockets I'm afraid. This will fall on deaf ears. For them, it's never enough money. That is what this is really about. Behind the curtains, you are dealing with a bunch of people who care nothing about the collective good and everything about their own net worth. Nothing else matters to them.

They'd rather watch the world burn than lose money.

John Morrison , December 30, 2016 at 2:36 pm

Based on my own personal experience regarding suggestions that I've published, the suggestions won't even reach him, let alone be followed up on.

Lambert Strether Post author , December 30, 2016 at 2:53 pm

Well, we do what we can.

John Morrison , December 30, 2016 at 5:12 pm

True

Pirate Laddie , December 30, 2016 at 2:42 pm

Hope this isn't dinged as an ad hominem, but I recall that old central European expression: "Anybody with a Hungarian for a friend doesn't need an enemy."
Now that can be read in several ways - but always to the same end, some allies you don't want. Soros may be a Dark Side conduit for neocon or neolib instincts and pelf; or he may just be pissing away his own money, a la Snyder, just in a less benign enterprise. Neither scenario undercuts the "bootstrap" metaphor for progressive funding. We should, therefore, be prepared to see increased efforts to diminish "self-funding" mechanisms that leave too much power in the hands of the little people. Not an ad hom, I'm not talking about Munchkins.

NotSoSure , December 30, 2016 at 3:05 pm

Soros need not be worried. Even without his money funding all these projects, plenty of people will join him in hell afterwards. Once his Open Ideas have been tested there, then he is welcomed to port those here, the lesser hell.

BecauseTradition , December 30, 2016 at 4:42 pm

The argument was misleading, because it ignored the fact that the winners seldom, if ever, compensate the losers.

Yep, which is why sources of unjust wealth inequality – such as government privileges for private credit creation – should be precluded at their SOURCE.

In other words, ethical financing is needed to insure that increases in productivity and wealth are justly shared.

One thing all Americans should believe in is "Thou shall not steal" – even if by subtle means such as implicit privileges for a usury cartel.

Kim Kaufman , December 30, 2016 at 5:11 pm

I would argue that the U.S. hasn't been interested in democracy since, at least, WWII. They have performed coups and assassinations and other destabilizations in other countries (and, I would argue, here with JFK, RFK, MLK, Jr., and who knows how many others in those "freak" small plan accidents over the years) in favor of "friendly" dictators and tyrants. Although Soros claims to hate Nazis and Communists, Allen Dulles was quite partial to Nazis and made sure many of them did not face trial at Nuremberg but instead were employed in the U.S., West Germany and other places.

If Soros wanted to put his money to good use, he could invest in getting some transparency and cohesiveness to our election system. Had he done that after 2000, John Kerry would have been president and probably Hillary also. And many Dem senators, congress critters, etc. To pretend that the elections are honest and represent the people's will has pretty much been discredited, as far as I'm concerned.

My understanding is that Soros likes instability. It's good for his market plays.

John Morrison , December 30, 2016 at 5:16 pm

True

clarky90 , December 30, 2016 at 5:28 pm

Call an annihilation an annihilation. Auschwitz was NOT a "resettlement to the East". The 1931 Ukrainian Famine was NOT a "Collectivization". Using our precious language to lie and obscure .
Despicable

Parker Dooley , December 31, 2016 at 12:09 pm

"Rectification of borders "

Bugs Bunny , December 30, 2016 at 5:59 pm

Hope (pray) Monsieur Soros' secretary prints this one out for his morning press review.

Nittacci , December 30, 2016 at 6:46 pm

Can we please get more posts explaining why Democrats lost? They are my favorite think pieces.

Deloss Brown , December 31, 2016 at 10:37 am

Nittaci, I get emails from something called PEN which have the best, most reasonable explanation I've found.

If you would like to be added to our distribution list, go to
http://www.peaceteam.net/in.htm

Here's one:

There is a recording out today of Hillary Clinton talking to her
biggest donors, laying blame for her loss entirely on the shoulders
of Putin and Comey.

Let's break this down, shall we?

In the first place, she is talking to her "donors." There's your
first problem right there. Hers was always a campaign of the donors,
by the donors and for the donors. That's exactly what the American
people were turned off by. At no time did she actually talk to and
connect with them.

But more fundamentally, there was never a chance of her winning
unless she won the popular vote by MORE than 2 1/2 million. As we
have already pointed out, the last four presidential elections that
Democrats have won in the electoral college were associated with a
MINIMUM popular vote margin of about 5 million and an average of 7
million.

Let's take WI for example. The governor, lieutenant governor,
attorney general and state treasurer are all Republicans, as are 5 of
8 members of the US House, and the senators are split. By what
delusional political consultant standard is WI to be seen as an
inherently blue state? And she never set foot in WI to campaign after
the primaries.

What blue wall where?

If you win the popular vote by a minimum of 5 million, OK then sure,
there's your blue wall, otherwise all you have is blue tissue paper.

So the day Clinton locked up the Democratic nomination, question
number one, two and three should have been, "How the hell can I, the
Democratic nominee with the highest negatives ever, win by at least 5
million in the popular vote count?"

She told her donors then that the general election was going to be
close. The general election was lost right there.

Where could all those extra votes have come from?

At that very moment we were pleading with you to rally behind an
initiative to tap Bernie Sanders for VP. The Clinton people shouted
us down. The Bernie people told us to shut up. Bernie can still win
it all they claimed, totally detached from the reality of even the
pledged delegate count.

But Bernie still got more than 13 million votes in the primaries.
There's your general election victory right there, including taking
back the Senate and bigger gains in the House.

Just as they are doing now, the Clinton's political genius dream team
came up with the wrong answers last July. Not only have they learned
nothing, they are perversely determined to learn nothing.

Clinton had a 65% negative approval rating before Putin did a thing.
If Comey was the big problem that should have been known on July 5th
when he called her out for being extremely careless. The "good news"
that she was not going to be indicted did not give her a big positive
bump. The tone deaf Kaine VP pick was more than 2 weeks later.

She had more than 2 weeks to come up with the answer to the question,
"How the hell do we overcome all these negatives by a WIDE margin?"
And her answer was a corporate TPP supporter for VP?

Are you kidding us?

As unpopular as she was, Trump was only MARGINALLY more unpopular.
That was not a wide margin in her favor, and a wide margin was
mandatory. That was why she lost.

The blame list does not stop with Putin and Comey. Also this week she
accused President Obama of not doing enough. If Obama actually
retained the power to substantially rally anyone, he would have
rallied people to demand confirmation of Merrick Garland for the
Supreme Court, and THAT would have positively impacted Hillary's
chances by highlighting Republican disrespect and obstructionism.

Some blame Bernie for not doing enough. Bernie never had the power to
MAKE his supporters like her. By doing what . . . standing on stage
next to her more? We guarantee you she did not want him standing on
stage with her more times that he did.

But all his 13 million votes, not just a begrudging part, would have
been hers if she had genuinely embraced him and his supporters by
putting him on the ticket too as VP in a display of unity. His
popularity, the highest of any candidate, would have rubbed off on
her big time.

The White House was hers and she threw it away to appease her donors,
to raise an extra 100 million dollars to burn.

How are we so sure of this?

We did a private outreach to the Bernie or Bust people at the time.
What if she picks Bernie for VP, would you go for it? The answer was
not hell no. It was, we'll consider it.

That's called a yes.

And tomorrow we will talk about how to reconstruct the big tent that
was lost by people too busy condemning people on the other side of
the tent to actually win an election.

Alberto Rabilotta , December 31, 2016 at 2:37 am

Soros is repeating Lampedusa: "everything needs to change, so everything can stay the same."

templar555510 , December 31, 2016 at 5:33 am

Making money is a knack usually with some very modest intellectual input. These guys know this and that's why once they have their big pile they start meddling in politics using the clout ( read power ) that their billions gives them. The politicians on the other hand know little, or nothing about making money, but are enthralled by the billionaires . What they have in common is that they all crave kudos to justify their position and its maintenance. That they are a bunch of vain, self-aggrandising sociopaths is beyond question; it's just that it took the Great Financial Crash of 2008 for most of us to realise this and that realisation has now spread to large numbers of the populations in most of the West . So now they have a problem, but how to deal with it they have no idea because there isn't a scintilla of empathy in those minds of theirs. And so now we have Trump and Brexit etc.

JTMcPhee , December 31, 2016 at 7:48 am

From a Guardian article on insecure "smart Meters" put up by Jerri-Lynn in the 12/31 Links, the humors line of the year: "The Power [players] have to understand that with great power comes great responsibility." Nyuk nyuk nyuk Should read, "with great power comes great power "

mf , December 31, 2016 at 10:11 am

democracy with a small d is a fine idea for your schools and other issues that affect your local community. Alas, for everything else, you are living in a complex post-agrarian society in which your very ability to eat depends on the amorphous structure called "the economy". Which in turn depends on central banks, trade, national policies, etc. One could deconstruct this economy, but I somehow doubt that such deconstruction would lead to exceptional prosperity for all. There are multiple examples of deconstructed countries around the world, and they are not exactly an inspiration.

Soros is one of the few bright spots among billionaires, though I am sure he is not perfect. He understands that, through generational forgetting, the world is now facing a resurgence of fascism. He understands it better than most, because he is one of the very few survivors of the holocaust that are still alive. Fascism is so dangerous because, as a method of political advancement, it works well. Appeal to emotion, particularly fear, works better that appeal to reason. It has always been thus. You can second guess him all you want, but you have to give this to him: he is one of the very few left that are trying to do something to stop this wave before it plunges the world into a sequence of wars with nukes on day one.

You would do well to join him, rather than dis him.

As far as neoliberalism goes, one should also be careful throwing this label around indiscriminately. Human population more than doubled in my lifetime, and all these new people are competing for resources. The US will not escape unscathed. Governments can mitigate to some degree, but they cannot fully stop some decline in the living standard until technologies catch up and reduce pressures on resources. Furthermore, US relies on imports for 50% of her oil, which also means US needs to trade and be competitive on world markets. There are no free lunches and easy solutions that will magically make everything better overnight. Thinking there are is unrealistic in its own right.

Hillary Clinton, for all her faults, was a center left politician. She was defeated by a con artist who was riding a wave of about 10-15 years worth of fascist propaganda emanating from increasingly radicalized Republican party. The greatest danger now is actually radicalization of the left, as this will put the US on the path to become another South American permanent disaster. So, when you attack those "Democratic elites", be careful what you wish for, and be careful not to become part of the problem, rather than part of the solution.

Nippersmom , December 31, 2016 at 4:18 pm

"Hillary Clinton, for all her faults, was a center-left politician."
Her record at State, not to mention most of the policy positions she has supported throughout her career, is a vehement refutation of that assertion.

mf , December 31, 2016 at 4:41 pm

vehement according to you. The world is both complicated and violent place, while armchair advice makes it a simple place.

annie , December 31, 2016 at 10:25 am

why can't Soros pay down student debt?

susan the other , December 31, 2016 at 10:44 am

We are living in the twilight of the ideologues. Whatever proves to be practical will now prevail. Soros always had one wheel stuck in the ditch. And Hillary, for all her experience, wound up knowing nothing. It was amazing. Very wizard of oz. Capitalism can morph – but it can't go back. We have all new, complex circumstances now and free marketeering in an open society BS just hasn't got a chance of fixing things anymore. Soros should try to understand this. So should Trump.

Marshall Auerback , December 31, 2016 at 11:24 am

All I can say is, if Soros's Quantum Fund performed the way the Democrats had the last 8 years, heads would definitely be rolling. Odd that he doesn't demand the same accountability for his dollars when it comes to his Open Society Foundation.

Marshall Auerback , December 31, 2016 at 11:28 am

All I can say is that if Soros's fund, Quantum, delivered performance comparable to what the Democrats had delivered over the last 8 years electorally, heads would definitely roll and there would be no more dollars forthcoming. Interesting that this accountability doesn't apply here.

[Dec 31, 2016] What Happened to Obamas Passion

This was written in 2011 but it summarizes Obama presidency pretty nicely, even today. Betrayer in chief, the master of bait and switch. That is the essence of Obama legacy. On "Great Democratic betrayal"... Obama always was a closet neoliberal and neocon. A stooge of neoliberal financial oligarchy, a puppet, if you want politically incorrect term. He just masked it well during hist first election campaigning as a progressive democrat... And he faced Romney in his second campaign, who was even worse, so after betraying American people once, he was reelected and did it twice. Much like Bush II. He like another former cocaine addict -- George W Bush has never any intention of helping American people, only oligarchy.
Notable quotes:
"... IN contrast, when faced with the greatest economic crisis, the greatest levels of economic inequality, and the greatest levels of corporate influence on politics since the Depression, Barack Obama stared into the eyes of history and chose to avert his gaze. ..."
"... We (yes, we) recognise that capitalism is the most efficient way to maximise overall prosperity and quality of life. But we also recognise that unfettered, it will ravage the environment, abuse labor, and expand income disparity until violence or tragedy (or both) ensues. ..."
"... These are the lessons we've learned since the industrial revolution, and they're the ones that we should be drawing from the past decade. We recognise that we need a strong federal government to check these tendencies, and to strike a stable, sustainable balance between prosperity, community, opportunity, wealth, justice, freedom. We need a voice to fill the moral vacuum that has allowed the Koch/Tea/Fox Party to emerge and grab power. ..."
"... Americans know this---including, of course, President Obama (see his April 13 speech at GW University). But as this article by Dr. Westen so effectively shows, Obama is incompetent to lead us back ..."
"... he is not competent to lead us back to a state of American morality, where government is the protector of those who work hard, and the provider of opportunity to all Americans. ..."
"... I've heard him called a mediator, a conciliator, a compromiser, etc. Those terms indicate someone who is bringing divergent views together and moving us along. That's part of what a leader does, though not all. Yet I don't think he's even lived up to his reputation as a mediator. ..."
"... Almost three years after I voted for Obama, I still don't know what he's doing other than trying to help the financial industry: the wealthy who benefit most from it and the technocrats who run it for them. But average working people, people like myself and my daughter and my grandson, have not been helped. We are worse off than before. And millions of unemployed and underemployed are even worse off than my family is. ..."
"... So whatever else he is (and that still remains a mystery to me), President Obama is not the leader I thought I was voting for. ..."
"... I knew that Obama was a charade early on when giving a speech about the banking failures to the nation, instead of giving the narrative Mr. Westen accurately recommended on the origins of the orgy of greed that just crippled our economy and caused suffering for millions of Americans ..."
"... He should have been condemning the craven, wanton, greed of nihilistic financial gangsters who hijacked our economy. Instead he seemed to be calling for all Americans not to hate rich people. That was not the point. Americans don't hate rich people, but they should hate rich people who acquire their wealth at the expense of the well being of an entire nation through irresponsible, avaricious, and in some instances illegal practices, and legally bribe politicians to enact laws which allow them to run amok over our economy without supervision or regulation. ..."
"... I knew then that Obama was either a political lemon, in over his head, an extremely conflict averse neurotic individual with a compulsive need for some delusional ideal of neutrality in political and social relations, or a political phony beholden to the same forces that almost destroyed the country as Republicans are. ..."
Aug 06, 2011 | nytimes.com

When Barack Obama rose to the lectern on Inauguration Day, the nation was in tatters. Americans were scared and angry. The economy was spinning in reverse. Three-quarters of a million people lost their jobs that month. Many had lost their homes, and with them the only nest eggs they had. Even the usually impervious upper middle class had seen a decade of stagnant or declining investment, with the stock market dropping in value with no end in sight. Hope was as scarce as credit.

In that context, Americans needed their president to tell them a story that made sense of what they had just been through, what caused it, and how it was going to end. They needed to hear that he understood what they were feeling, that he would track down those responsible for their pain and suffering, and that he would restore order and safety. What they were waiting for, in broad strokes, was a story something like this:

"I know you're scared and angry. Many of you have lost your jobs, your homes, your hope. This was a disaster, but it was not a natural disaster. It was made by Wall Street gamblers who speculated with your lives and futures. It was made by conservative extremists who told us that if we just eliminated regulations and rewarded greed and recklessness, it would all work out. But it didn't work out. And it didn't work out 80 years ago, when the same people sold our grandparents the same bill of goods, with the same results. But we learned something from our grandparents about how to fix it, and we will draw on their wisdom. We will restore business confidence the old-fashioned way: by putting money back in the pockets of working Americans by putting them back to work, and by restoring integrity to our financial markets and demanding it of those who want to run them. I can't promise that we won't make mistakes along the way. But I can promise you that they will be honest mistakes, and that your government has your back again." A story isn't a policy. But that simple narrative - and the policies that would naturally have flowed from it - would have inoculated against much of what was to come in the intervening two and a half years of failed government, idled factories and idled hands. That story would have made clear that the president understood that the American people had given Democrats the presidency and majorities in both houses of Congress to fix the mess the Republicans and Wall Street had made of the country, and that this would not be a power-sharing arrangement. It would have made clear that the problem wasn't tax-and-spend liberalism or the deficit - a deficit that didn't exist until George W. Bush gave nearly $2 trillion in tax breaks largely to the wealthiest Americans and squandered $1 trillion in two wars.

And perhaps most important, it would have offered a clear, compelling alternative to the dominant narrative of the right, that our problem is not due to spending on things like the pensions of firefighters, but to the fact that those who can afford to buy influence are rewriting the rules so they can cut themselves progressively larger slices of the American pie while paying less of their fair share for it.

But there was no story - and there has been none since.

In similar circumstances, Franklin D. Roosevelt offered Americans a promise to use the power of his office to make their lives better and to keep trying until he got it right. Beginning in his first inaugural address, and in the fireside chats that followed, he explained how the crash had happened, and he minced no words about those who had caused it. He promised to do something no president had done before: to use the resources of the United States to put Americans directly to work, building the infrastructure we still rely on today. He swore to keep the people who had caused the crisis out of the halls of power, and he made good on that promise. In a 1936 speech at Madison Square Garden, he thundered, "Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me - and I welcome their hatred."

When Barack Obama stepped into the Oval Office, he stepped into a cycle of American history, best exemplified by F.D.R. and his distant cousin, Teddy. After a great technological revolution or a major economic transition, as when America changed from a nation of farmers to an urban industrial one, there is often a period of great concentration of wealth, and with it, a concentration of power in the wealthy. That's what we saw in 1928, and that's what we see today. At some point that power is exercised so injudiciously, and the lives of so many become so unbearable, that a period of reform ensues - and a charismatic reformer emerges to lead that renewal. In that sense, Teddy Roosevelt started the cycle of reform his cousin picked up 30 years later, as he began efforts to bust the trusts and regulate the railroads, exercise federal power over the banks and the nation's food supply, and protect America's land and wildlife, creating the modern environmental movement.

Those were the shoes - that was the historic role - that Americans elected Barack Obama to fill. The president is fond of referring to "the arc of history," paraphrasing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous statement that "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." But with his deep-seated aversion to conflict and his profound failure to understand bully dynamics - in which conciliation is always the wrong course of action, because bullies perceive it as weakness and just punch harder the next time - he has broken that arc and has likely bent it backward for at least a generation.

When Dr. King spoke of the great arc bending toward justice, he did not mean that we should wait for it to bend. He exhorted others to put their full weight behind it, and he gave his life speaking with a voice that cut through the blistering force of water cannons and the gnashing teeth of police dogs. He preached the gospel of nonviolence, but he knew that whether a bully hid behind a club or a poll tax, the only effective response was to face the bully down, and to make the bully show his true and repugnant face in public.

IN contrast, when faced with the greatest economic crisis, the greatest levels of economic inequality, and the greatest levels of corporate influence on politics since the Depression, Barack Obama stared into the eyes of history and chose to avert his gaze. Instead of indicting the people whose recklessness wrecked the economy, he put them in charge of it. He never explained that decision to the public - a failure in storytelling as extraordinary as the failure in judgment behind it. Had the president chosen to bend the arc of history, he would have told the public the story of the destruction wrought by the dismantling of the New Deal regulations that had protected them for more than half a century. He would have offered them a counternarrative of how to fix the problem other than the politics of appeasement, one that emphasized creating economic demand and consumer confidence by putting consumers back to work. He would have had to stare down those who had wrecked the economy, and he would have had to tolerate their hatred if not welcome it. But the arc of his temperament just didn't bend that far.

Michael August 7, 2011

Eloquently expressed and horrifically accurate, this excellent analysis articulates the frustration that so many of us have felt watching Mr...

Bill Levine August 7, 2011

Very well put. I know that I have been going through Kübler-Ross's stages of grief ever since the foxes (a.k.a. Geithner and Summers) were...

AnAverageAmerican August 7, 2011

"In that context, Americans needed their president to tell them a story that made sense of what they had just been through, what caused it,...

cdearman Santa Fe, NM August 7, 2011

Unfortunately, the Democratic Congress of 2008-2010, did not have the will to make the economic and social program decisions that would have improved the economic situation for the middle-class; and it is becoming more obvious that President Obama does not have the temperament to publicly push for programs and policies that he wants the congress to enact.
The American people have a problem: we reelect Obama and hope for the best; or we elect a Republican and expect the worst. There is no question that the Health Care law that was just passed would be reversed; Medicare and Medicare would be gutted; and who knows what would happen to Social Security. You can be sure, though, that business taxes and regulation reforms would not be in the cards and those regulations that have been enacted would be reversed. We have traveled this road before and we should be wise enough not to travel it again!

SP California August 7, 2011

Brilliant analysis - and I suspect that a very large number of those who voted for President Obama will recognize in this the thoughts that they have been trying to ignore, or have been trying not to say out loud. Later historians can complete this analysis and attempt to explain exactly why Mr. Obama has turned out the way he has - but right now, it may be time to ask a more relevant and urgent question.

If it is not too late, will a challenger emerge in time before the 2012 elections, or will we be doomed to hold our noses and endure another four years of this?

farospace san francisco August 7, 2011

Very eloquent and exactly to the point. Like many others, I was enthralled by the rhetoric of his story, making the leap of faith (or hope) that because he could tell his story so well, he could tell, as you put it, "the story the American people were waiting to hear."

Disappointment has darkened into disillusion, disillusion into a species of despair. Will I vote for Barack Obama again? What are the options?

Richard Katz American in Oxford, UK August 7, 2011

This is the most brilliant and tragic story I have read in a long time---in fact, precisely since I read when Ill Fares the Land by Tony Judt. When will a leader emerge with a true moral vision for the federal government and for our country? Someone who sees government as a balance to capitalism, and a means to achieve the social and economic justice that we (yes, we) believe in? Will that leadership arrive before parts of America come to look like the dystopia of Johannesburg?

We (yes, we) recognise that capitalism is the most efficient way to maximise overall prosperity and quality of life. But we also recognise that unfettered, it will ravage the environment, abuse labor, and expand income disparity until violence or tragedy (or both) ensues.

These are the lessons we've learned since the industrial revolution, and they're the ones that we should be drawing from the past decade. We recognise that we need a strong federal government to check these tendencies, and to strike a stable, sustainable balance between prosperity, community, opportunity, wealth, justice, freedom. We need a voice to fill the moral vacuum that has allowed the Koch/Tea/Fox Party to emerge and grab power.

Americans know this---including, of course, President Obama (see his April 13 speech at GW University). But as this article by Dr. Westen so effectively shows, Obama is incompetent to lead us back to America's traditional position on the global economic/political spectrum. He's brilliant and eloquent. He's achieved personal success that is inspirational. He's done some good things as president. But he is not competent to lead us back to a state of American morality, where government is the protector of those who work hard, and the provider of opportunity to all Americans.

Taxes, subsidies, entitlements, laws... these are the tools we have available to achieve our national moral vision. But the vision has been muddled (hijacked?) and that is our biggest problem. -->

An Ordinary American Prague August 7, 2011

I voted for Obama. I thought then, and still think, he's a decent person, a smart person, a person who wants to do the best he can for others. When I voted for him, I was thinking he's a centrist who will find a way to unite our increasingly polarized and ugly politics in the USA. Or if not unite us, at least forge a way to get some important things done despite the ugly polarization.

And I must confess, I have been disappointed. Deeply so. He has not united us. He has not forged a way to accomplish what needs to be done. He has not been a leader.

I've heard him called a mediator, a conciliator, a compromiser, etc. Those terms indicate someone who is bringing divergent views together and moving us along. That's part of what a leader does, though not all. Yet I don't think he's even lived up to his reputation as a mediator.

Almost three years after I voted for Obama, I still don't know what he's doing other than trying to help the financial industry: the wealthy who benefit most from it and the technocrats who run it for them. But average working people, people like myself and my daughter and my grandson, have not been helped. We are worse off than before. And millions of unemployed and underemployed are even worse off than my family is.

So whatever else he is (and that still remains a mystery to me), President Obama is not the leader I thought I was voting for. Which leaves me feeling confused and close to apathetic about what to do as a voter in 2012. More of the same isn't worth voting for. Yet I don't see anyone out there who offers the possibility of doing better.

martin Portland, Oregon August 7, 2011

This was an extraordinarily well written, eloquent and comprehensive indictment of the failure of the Obama presidency.

If a credible primary challenger to Obama ever could arise, the positions and analysis in this column would be all he or she would need to justify the Democratic party's need to seek new leadership.

I knew that Obama was a charade early on when giving a speech about the banking failures to the nation, instead of giving the narrative Mr. Westen accurately recommended on the origins of the orgy of greed that just crippled our economy and caused suffering for millions of Americans, he said "we don't disparage wealth in America." I was dumbfounded.

He should have been condemning the craven, wanton, greed of nihilistic financial gangsters who hijacked our economy. Instead he seemed to be calling for all Americans not to hate rich people. That was not the point. Americans don't hate rich people, but they should hate rich people who acquire their wealth at the expense of the well being of an entire nation through irresponsible, avaricious, and in some instances illegal practices, and legally bribe politicians to enact laws which allow them to run amok over our economy without supervision or regulation.

I knew then that Obama was either a political lemon, in over his head, an extremely conflict averse neurotic individual with a compulsive need for some delusional ideal of neutrality in political and social relations, or a political phony beholden to the same forces that almost destroyed the country as Republicans are.

Perhaps all of these are true.

[Dec 31, 2016] Greed Springs Eternal

Notable quotes:
"... You can't go all Ayn Rand/Gordon Gekko on the importance of greed as a motivator while claiming that wealth insulates ... from temptation. ... ..."
"... And this is telling us something significant: namely, that supply-side economic theory is and always was a sham. It was never about the incentives; it was just another excuse to make the rich richer. ..."
"... "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy: that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." ..."
"... choosing a cabinet of billionaires, because rich men are incorruptible"...kind of like showering ZIRP on the Wall Street banking cartel and letting them how to ration credit to the rest of economy...mostly their wealthy clientele, who use it for stock buy-backs and asset speculation. ..."
"... Of course, 'liberal' economists see nothing wrong with trickle down, supply side economics, as long as it's the Wall Street banking cartel who's in charge of it... ..."
"... Stiglitz: "I've always said that current monetary policy is not going to work because quantitative easing is based on a variant of trickle-down economics. The lower interest rates have led to a stock-market bubble – to increases in stock-market prices and huge increases in wealth. But relatively little of that's been translated into increased and broad consumer spending." ..."
"... But pgl and many other '[neo[liberal' economists just can't get enough of the trickle down monetary policy...all the while they vehemently condemn trickle down tax policy. ..."
"... You all think Trump can do worse than the sitting cabal adding $660B from Sep 2015 to the federal debt quietly keeping the economy going for the incumbent party? ..."
"... The losers think the winners are as crooked as they! ..."
Dec 31, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

To belabor what should be obvious: either the wealthy care about having more money or they don't. If lower marginal tax rates are an incentive to produce more, the prospect of personal gain is an incentive to engage in corrupt practices. You can't go all Ayn Rand/Gordon Gekko on the importance of greed as a motivator while claiming that wealth insulates ... from temptation. ...

And this is telling us something significant: namely, that supply-side economic theory is and always was a sham. It was never about the incentives; it was just another excuse to make the rich richer.

Anomalous Cowherd : December 29, 2016 at 11:35 AM
In one sentence, you still can't beat John Kenneth Galbraith's assessment: "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy: that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."

Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth. -- Nero Wolfe

DrDick -> Anomalous Cowherd... , December 29, 2016 at 12:31 PM
You need to know nothing else to understand the entirety of the conservative edifice.
JohnH :
"choosing a cabinet of billionaires, because rich men are incorruptible"...kind of like showering ZIRP on the Wall Street banking cartel and letting them how to ration credit to the rest of economy...mostly their wealthy clientele, who use it for stock buy-backs and asset speculation.

Of course, 'liberal' economists see nothing wrong with trickle down, supply side economics, as long as it's the Wall Street banking cartel who's in charge of it...

Gibbon1 : , December 29, 2016 at 12:29 PM
Why do we need Krugman to tell us this?
DrDick -> Gibbon1... , -1
*We* do not, but our pandering press does and I think that is Krugman's intended target.
JohnH -> pgl...
Stiglitz: "I've always said that current monetary policy is not going to work because quantitative easing is based on a variant of trickle-down economics. The lower interest rates have led to a stock-market bubble – to increases in stock-market prices and huge increases in wealth. But relatively little of that's been translated into increased and broad consumer spending."
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/munk-debates/joseph-stiglitz-current-monetary-policy-is-not-going-to-work/article24346548/

But pgl and many other '[neo[liberal' economists just can't get enough of the trickle down monetary policy...all the while they vehemently condemn trickle down tax policy.

yuan -> JohnH...
and few liberal economists have been more skeptical of QE's economic impact than Krugman.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/krugman-meh-is-grade-fed-gets-on-qe-2015-11-09

PS: bernie, please save me from your bros.

ilsm :
You all think Trump can do worse than the sitting cabal adding $660B from Sep 2015 to the federal debt quietly keeping the economy going for the incumbent party?

The losers think the winners are as crooked as they!

yuan -> ilsm...
when we can borrow over the long-term at 3% and have truly massive infrastructure and clean energy needs we should be borrowing like military Keynesian republicans...

[Dec 31, 2016] Supply-side economic theory is and always was a sham

Notable quotes:
"... And this is telling us something significant: namely, that supply-side economic theory is and always was a sham. ..."
"... That it is and always a sham is irrelevant. It is THE NARRATIVE that matters! They had a compelling story and they stuck to it. That's how you sell politics in this country. ..."
Dec 31, 2016 | www.nytimes.com

Chris G said...

And this is telling us something significant: namely, that supply-side economic theory is and always was a sham.

Urgh. That it is and always a sham is irrelevant. It is THE NARRATIVE that matters! They had a compelling story and they stuck to it. That's how you sell politics in this country.

Trump told a significant fraction of the population that he understood their problems and that he would fix them. He told enough people what they wanted to hear - and did so with a convincing tone - that he got himself elected. That's how you win. You sell people on your vision. If you tell a good story most people aren't going to reality-check it. Sad but true.

On the importance of narrative: Drew Westen, "What Happened to Obama?" - http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/07/opinion/sunday/what-happened-to-obamas-passion.html

[Dec 29, 2016] Krugman was clearly a neoliberal propagandist on payroll. His columns are clearly partisan.

Dec 29, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
Peter K. :

All of the Democratic primary voters somehow believed Hillary Clinton would make a better candidate against Trump than Sanders would.

And now we're stuck with Trump for at least 4 years.

Good job.

As Saul Bellow once said, "a great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is strong". Reply Wednesday, December 28, 2016 at 07:09 PM Peter K. -> Peter K.... , December 28, 2016 at 07:11 PM

Seriously why should we ever believe these neoliberal centrist Democrats again?

Why when they were so very, very wrong!

Krugman ASSURED us Clinton was a great candidate who would easily win.

likbez -> Peter K.... , December 28, 2016 at 10:09 PM
Krugman was clearly a neoliberal propagandist on payroll. He should not be even discussed in this context because his columns were so clearly partisan.

As for "Centrist Democrats" (aka Clinton wing of the party) their power is that you have nowhere to go: they rule the Democratic Party and the two party system guarantees that any third party will be either squashed or assimilated.

In no way they need that you believe them: being nowhere to go is enough.

Remember what happened with Sanders supporters during the convention? They were silenced. And then eliminated. That's how this system works.

Cal -> likbez... , -1
Krugman is a polarizing agent here in RiverCity...to our collective loss IMHO...as you know I don't have the Nobel.
But you might be giving him some hope with that "was"? Clearly he does not need $.

He is writing for our....yes, American, maybe even Global citizenship, which he thinks is in peril. It is. Otherwise I'd be out fishing.

And you? What's in it for you? Are you familiar with the history of political party systems that transition in and out of 2 parties? Is this little forum an example of the 2 party system: pro/con Krugman?

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke : , -1
Americans believe crazy things, yet they are outdone by economists
Comment on Catherine Rampell on 'Americans - especially but not exclusively Trump voters - believe crazy, wrong things'#1

Americans are NOT special. Since more than 5000 years people believe things JUST BECAUSE they are absurd - in accordance with Tertullian's famous dictum "credo quia absurdum".#2

As a matter of principle, almost everybody has the right to his own opinion no matter how stupid, crazy, wrong, or absurd; the only exception are scientists. The ancient Greeks started science with the distinction between doxa (= opinion) and episteme (= knowledge). Scientific knowledge is well-defined by material and formal consistency. Knowledge is established by proof, belief or opinion counts for nothing.

Opinion is the currency in the political sphere, knowledge is the currency is the scientific sphere. It is extremely important to keep both spheres separate. Since the founding fathers, though, economists have not emancipated themselves from politics. They claim to do science but they have never risen above the level of opinion, belief, wish-wash, storytelling, soap box propaganda, and sitcom gossip.

The orthodox majority still believes in these Walrasian hard core absurdities: "HC1 economic agents have preferences over outcomes; HC2 agents individually optimize subject to constraints; HC3 agent choice is manifest in interrelated markets; HC4 agents have full relevant knowledge; HC5 observable outcomes are coordinated, and must be discussed with reference to equilibrium states." (Weintraub)

To be clear: HC2, HC4, HC5 are NONENTITIES like angels, Spiderman, or the Easter Bunny.

The heterodox minority still believes in these ill-defined Keynesian relationships: "Income = value of output = consumption + investment. Saving = income - consumption. Therefore saving = investment."

Until this day, Walrasians, Keynesians, Marxians, Austrians hold to their provable false beliefs and claim to do science. This is absurdity on stilts but it is swallowed hook, line and sinker by every new generation of economics students. Compared to the representative economist the average political sucker is a genius.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

#1 The Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/rampage/wp/2016/12/28/americans-especially-but-not-exclusively-trump-voters-believe-crazy-wrong-things/?utm_term=.3b8eabe9eb3d
#2 Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Credo_quia_absurdum

[Dec 29, 2016] MSM has a nerve to critize ordinary American for believing in wrong things.

Did not William Casey (CIA Director) say, "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false."?
Notable quotes:
"... The media should certainly shoulder some blame for parroting militarist propaganda but ordinary USAnians who continue to reward these scoundrels with their votes. And with Trump ordinary USAnians appear to have elected someone even more willing to shamelessly lie and loot than his predecessors. ..."
Dec 29, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

Catherine Rampell:

American Believe Crazy, Wrong Things : Many Americans believe a lot of dumb, crazy, destructive, provably wrong stuff.

JohnH, December 28, 2016 at 03:23 PM

Americans are also led to believe a lot of crazy, wrong things, such as Saddam had WMDs, or Iran had a nuclear weapons program, to cite only the most outrageous lies dutifully propagated by the mainstream media.

Before Catherine Rampell criticizes ordinary Americans, she should have the Washington Post engage in a little serious introspection and self-criticism...

yuan -> JohnH... , December 28, 2016 at 03:50 PM
The media should certainly shoulder some blame for parroting militarist propaganda but ordinary USAnians who continue to reward these scoundrels with their votes. And with Trump ordinary USAnians appear to have elected someone even more willing to shamelessly lie and loot than his predecessors.

It is time for ordinary USAnians to engage in a lot of serious introspection and self-criticism. I doubt this will happen until it's too late. (Very thankful that I am not tied to this nation!)

Chris G -> yuan... , -1
>It is time for ordinary USAnians to engage in a lot of serious introspection and self-criticism.

Don't hold your breath. Introspection and self-criticism aren't our strong suits. They run counter to that whole "American exceptionalism" thing.

> I doubt this will happen until it's too late.

I doubt that it will ever happen but, if it does, I have no doubt that it will happen until after its too late to salvage what currently passes for civilization in these parts.

"There's a big difference between the task of trying to sustain "civilisation" in its current form... and the task of holding open a space for the things which make life worth living. I'd suggest that it's this second task, in its many forms, which remains, after we've given up on false hopes." ( http://dark-mountain.net/blog/what-do-you-do-after-you-stop-pretending/)

Time to let go of false hopes.

[Dec 28, 2016] Neoliberalism consists of several eclectic parts such as neoclassic economics, mixture of Nietzscheanism (often in the form of Ann Rand philosophy; with the replacement of concept of Ubermench with creative class concept)) with corporatism.

Notable quotes:
"... But there are other flavors too. For example Trump introduced another flavor which I called "bastard neoliberalism". Which is the neoliberalism without neoliberal globalization and without "Permanent revolution" mantra -- efforts for enlargement of the US led global neoliberal empire. Somewhat similar to Eduard Bernstein "revisionism" in Marxism. Or Putinism - which is also a flavor of neoliberalism with added "strong state" part and "resource nationalism" bent, which upset so much the US neoliberal establishment, as it complicates looting of the country by transnational corporations. ..."
"... Neoliberalism also can be viewed as a modern mutation of corporatism, favoring multinationals (under disguise of "free trade"), privatization of state assets, minimal government intervention in business (with financial oligarchy being like Soviet nomenklatura above the law), reduced public expenditures on social services, and decimation of New Deal, strong anti trade unionism stance and attempt to atomize work force (perma temps as preferred mode of employment giving employers "maximum flexibility") , neocolonialism and militarism in foreign relations (might makes right). ..."
"... The word "elite" in the context of neoliberalism has the same meaning as the Russian word nomenklatura. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nomenklatura, -- the political establishment holding or controlling both public and private power centers such as media, finance, academia, culture, trade, industry, state and international institutions. ..."
Dec 28, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
sanjait -> Peter K.... December 28, 2016 at 05:02 PM , 2016 at 05:02 PM
At this point, when I hear people use the words "neoliberal," "elites" and "the media" in unspecified or highly generalized terms to make broad characterizations ... I know I'm dealing with an unserious person.

sanjait -> sanjait... , December 28, 2016 at 05:05 PM
It's a lot like when someone says "structural reform" without specification in an economic discussion: An almost perfect indicator of vacuity.
likbez -> sanjait... , -1
Let's define the terms.

Neoliberals are those who adhere to the doctrine of Neoliberalism (the "prohibited" word you should not ever see in the US MSM ;-)

In this sense the term is very similar to Marxists (with the replacement of the slogan of "proletarians of all nations unite" with the "financial oligarchy of all countries unite"). Or more correctly they are the "latter day Trotskyites".

Neoliberalism consists of several eclectic parts such as neoclassic economics, mixture of Nietzscheanism (often in the form of Ann Rand philosophy; with the replacement of concept of Ubermench with "creative class" concept)) with corporatism. Like with Marxism there are different flavors of neoliberalism and different factions like "soft neoliberalism" (Clinton third way) which is the modern Democratic Party doctrine, and hard neoliberalism (Republican party version), often hostile to each other.

But there are other flavors too. For example Trump introduced another flavor which I called "bastard neoliberalism". Which is the neoliberalism without neoliberal globalization and without "Permanent revolution" mantra -- efforts for enlargement of the US led global neoliberal empire. Somewhat similar to Eduard Bernstein "revisionism" in Marxism. Or Putinism - which is also a flavor of neoliberalism with added "strong state" part and "resource nationalism" bent, which upset so much the US neoliberal establishment, as it complicates looting of the country by transnational corporations.

Neoliberalism also can be viewed as a modern mutation of corporatism, favoring multinationals (under disguise of "free trade"), privatization of state assets, minimal government intervention in business (with financial oligarchy being like Soviet nomenklatura above the law), reduced public expenditures on social services, and decimation of New Deal, strong anti trade unionism stance and attempt to atomize work force (perma temps as preferred mode of employment giving employers "maximum flexibility") , neocolonialism and militarism in foreign relations (might makes right).

Like for any corporatist thinkers the real goals are often hidden under thick smoke screen of propaganda.

The word "elite" in the context of neoliberalism has the same meaning as the Russian word nomenklatura. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nomenklatura, -- the political establishment holding or controlling both public and private power centers such as media, finance, academia, culture, trade, industry, state and international institutions.

[Dec 28, 2016] Free trade is a delicate instrument, much like tennis racket.

Dec 28, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
Economists believe crazy things: December 28, 2016 at 06:05 PM

[As if] protectionist Japan is now backward and poverty stricken; free trade Africa is soaring on the wings of giant trade deficits :

Economists lead the way in silly beliefs that defy empirical reality and common sense. The most glaring example of this is the view that free trade is beneficial. All evidence points in the opposite direction, but no matter - our fake economists are happy to say/believe whatever so long as their foreign government paymasters and banks write the ten thousand dollar checks for "consulting" and "academic reports".

likbez -> Economists believe crazy things.. December 28, 2016 at 07:31 PM

You are probably wrong. Free trade is a delicate instrument, much like tennis racket. If you hold it too tightly you can't play well. If you hold it too loose you can't play well either.

Neoliberals promote "free trade" (note "free" not "fair") as the universal cure for all nations problems in all circumstances. This is a typical neoliberal Three-card Monte.

The real effect in many cases is opening market for transnationals who dictate nations the rules of the game and loot the country.

But isolationism has its own perils. So some middle ground should be fought against excessive demands of neoliberal institutions like IMF and World Bank. For example, any country that take loans from them (usually on pretty harsh conditions; with string attached), has a great danger that money will be looted via local fifth column. And will return in no time back into Western Banks leaving the country in the role of the debt slave.

The latter is the preferred role neoliberals want to see each and every third world country (and not only third world countries -- see Greece and Cyprus). Essentially in their "secret" book this is the role those counties should be driven into.

Recent looting of Ukraine is the textbook example of this process. The majority of population now will live on less then $2 a day for many, many years.

At the same time, balancing free trade and isolationism is tricky process also. Because at some point, the subversion starts and three letter agencies come into the play. You risk getting color revolution as a free present for your refusal to play the game.

Neoliberals usually do not take NO for the answer.

That's when the word "neoliberal" becomes yet another dirty word.

[Dec 28, 2016] MSm pressutute has a nerve to critize ordinary American for beleaving in wrong things.

Dec 28, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
Did William Casey (CIA Director) really say, "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false."?

Catherine Rampell:

American Believe Crazy, Wrong Things : Many Americans believe a lot of dumb, crazy, destructive, provably wrong stuff.

JohnH : , December 28, 2016 at 03:23 PM

Americans are also led to believe a lot of crazy, wrong things, such as Saddam had WMDs, or Iran had a nuclear weapons program, to cite only the most outrageous lies dutifully propagated by the mainstream media.

Before Catherine Rampell criticizes ordinary Americans, she should have the Washington Post engage in a little serious introspection and self-criticism...

yuan -> JohnH... , December 28, 2016 at 03:50 PM
The media should certainly shoulder some blame for parroting militarist propaganda but ordinary USAnians who continue to reward these scoundrels with their votes. And with Trump ordinary USAnians appear to have elected someone even more willing to shamelessly lie and loot than his predecessors.

It is time for ordinary USAnians to engage in a lot of serious introspection and self-criticism. I doubt this will happen until it's too late. (Very thankful that I am not tied to this nation!)

yuan -> yuan... , December 28, 2016 at 03:50 PM
"but it is ordinary"

[Dec 27, 2016] The fake news is the everyday news in MSM. They just make it up.

Dec 27, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
Fred C. Dobbs : December 27, 2016 at 05:06 AM , 2016 at 05:06 AM
(Does this have something to do
with Jon Stewart's retirement &
Stephen Colbert 'going legit'?)

Wielding Claims of 'Fake News,' Conservatives

Take Aim at Mainstream Media http://nyti.ms/2iuFxRx
NYT - JEREMY W. PETERS - December 25, 2016

WASHINGTON - The CIA, the F.B.I. and the White House may all agree that Russia was behind the hacking that interfered with the election. But that was of no import to the website Breitbart News, which dismissed reports on the intelligence assessment as "left-wing fake news."

Rush Limbaugh has diagnosed a more fundamental problem. "The fake news is the everyday news" in the mainstream media, he said on his radio show recently. "They just make it up."

Some supporters of President-elect Donald J. Trump have also taken up the call. As reporters were walking out of a Trump rally this month in Orlando, Fla., a man heckled them with shouts of "Fake news!"

Until now, that term had been widely understood to refer to fabricated news accounts that are meant to spread virally online. But conservative cable and radio personalities, top Republicans and even Mr. Trump himself, incredulous about suggestions that fake stories may have helped swing the election, have appropriated the term and turned it against any news they see as hostile to their agenda.

In defining "fake news" so broadly and seeking to dilute its meaning, they are capitalizing on the declining credibility of all purveyors of information, one product of the country's increasing political polarization. And conservatives, seeing an opening to undermine the mainstream media, a longtime foe, are more than happy to dig the hole deeper.

"Over the years, we've effectively brainwashed the core of our audience to distrust anything that they disagree with. And now it's gone too far," said John Ziegler, a conservative radio host, who has been critical of what he sees as excessive partisanship by pundits. "Because the gatekeepers have lost all credibility in the minds of consumers, I don't see how you reverse it."

Journalists who work to separate fact from fiction see a dangerous conflation of stories that turn out to be wrong because of a legitimate misunderstanding with those whose clear intention is to deceive. A report, shared more than a million times on social media, that the pope had endorsed Mr. Trump was undeniably false. But was it "fake news" to report on data models that showed Hillary Clinton with overwhelming odds of winning the presidency? Are opinion articles fake if they cherry-pick facts to draw disputable conclusions?

"Fake news was a term specifically about people who purposely fabricated stories for clicks and revenue," said David Mikkelson, the founder of Snopes, the myth-busting website. "Now it includes bad reporting, slanted journalism and outright propaganda. And I think we're doing a disservice to lump all those things together."

The right's labeling of "fake news" evokes one of the most successful efforts by conservatives to reorient how Americans think about news media objectivity: the move by Fox News to brand its conservative-slanted coverage as "fair and balanced." Traditionally, mainstream media outlets had thought of their own approach in those terms, viewing their coverage as strictly down the middle. Republicans often found that laughable.

As with Fox's ubiquitous promotion of its slogan, conservatives' appropriation of the "fake news" label is an effort to further erode the mainstream media's claim to be a reliable and accurate source. ...

[Dec 27, 2016] Peak Robot: The humans as the fragment of machines

Dec 27, 2016 | econospeak.blogspot.com
http://econospeak.blogspot.com/2016/12/peak-robot-fragment-on-machines.html

December 25, 2016

Peak Robot: the Fragment on Machines

Martin Sklar's disaccumultion thesis * is a restatement and reinterpretation of passages in Marx's Grundrisse that have come to be known as the "fragment on machines." Compare, for example, the following two key excerpts.

Marx:

...to the degree that large industry develops, the creation of real wealth comes to depend less on labour time and on the amount of labour employed than on the power of the agencies set in motion during labour time, whose 'powerful effectiveness' is itself in turn out of all proportion to the direct labour time spent on their production, but depends rather on the general state of science and on the progress of technology, or the application of this science to production. ...

Labour no longer appears so much to be included within the production process; rather, the human being comes to relate more as watchman and regulator to the production process itself. (What holds for machinery holds likewise for the combination of human activities and the development of human intercourse.)

Sklar:

In consequence [of the passage from the accumulation phase of capitalism to the "disaccumlation" phase], and increasingly, human labor (i.e. the exercise of living labor-power) recedes from the condition of serving as a 'factor' of goods production, and by the same token, the mode of goods-production progressively undergoes reversion to a condition comparable to a gratuitous 'force of nature': energy, harnessed and directed through technically sophisticated machinery, produces goods, as trees produce fruit, without the involvement of, or need for, human labor-time in the immediate production process itself. Living labor-power in goods-production devolves upon the quantitatively declining role of watching, regulating, and superintending.

The main difference between the two arguments is that for Marx, the growing contradiction between the forces of production and the social relations produce "the material conditions to blow this foundation sky-high." For Sklar, with the benefit of another century of observation, disaccumulation appears as simply another phase in the evolution of capitalism -- albeit with revolutionary potential. But also with reactionary potential in that the reduced dependence on labor power also suggests a reduced vulnerability to the withholding of labor power.

* http://econospeak.blogspot.ca/2016/12/peak-robot-accumulation-and-its-dis.html

-- Sandwichman

[Dec 27, 2016] Facing Layoff, An IT Employee Makes A Bold Counteroffer

Carnival Corp. told about 200 IT employees that the company was transferring their work to Capgemini, a large IT outsourcing firm
Notable quotes:
"... Senior IT engineer Matthew Culver told CBS that the requested "knowledge transfer activities" just meant training their own replacements , and "he isn't buying any of it," writes Slashdot reader dcblogs . ..."
"... Foreign workers are willing to do a job at a lower salary in most if not all cases b/c the cost of living in their respective countries is a fraction of ours. ..."
Dec 26, 2016 | it.slashdot.org
(computerworld.com) 134

Posted by EditorDavid on Sunday December 25, 2016 @05:05PM from the Bob-Cratchit-vs-Scrooge dept.

ComputerWorld reports:

In early December, Carnival Corp. told about 200 IT employees that the company was transferring their work to Capgemini, a large IT outsourcing firm. The employees had a choice: Either agree to take a job with the contractor or leave without severance. The employees had until the week before Christmas to make a decision about their future with the cruise line.

By agreeing to a job with Paris-based Capgemini, employees are guaranteed employment for six months, said Roger Frizzell, a Carnival spokesman.

"Our expectation is that many will continue to work on our account or placed into other open positions within Capgemini" that go well beyond the six-month period, he said in an email.

Senior IT engineer Matthew Culver told CBS that the requested "knowledge transfer activities" just meant training their own replacements , and "he isn't buying any of it," writes Slashdot reader dcblogs . "After receiving his offer letter from Capgemini, he sent a counteroffer.

It asked for $500,000...and apology letters to all the affected families," signed by the company's CEO. In addition, the letter also demanded a $100,000 donation to any charity that provides services to unemployed American workers. "I appreciate your time and attention to this matter, and I sincerely hope that you can fulfill these terms."

And he's also working directly with a lawyer for an advocacy group that aims to "stop the abuse of H-1B and other foreign worker programs ."

Re:Dear Matthew ( Score: 5 , Insightful) by Anonymous Coward writes: on Sunday December 25, 2016 @06:00PM ( #53553189 )

Foreign workers are willing to do a job at a lower salary in most if not all cases b/c the cost of living in their respective countries is a fraction of ours.

I would be willing to do my job at a fraction of what I am paid currently should that (that being how expensive it is to live here) change. It is equally infuriating to me when American companies use loopholes in our ridiculously complicated tax code to shelter revenues in foreign tax shelters to avoid paying taxes while at the same time benefiting from our infrastructure, emergency services, military, etc..

Its assholes like you that always spout off about free market this or that, about some companies fiduciary responsibilities to it's shareholders blah blah blah... as justification for shitty behavior.

Re:Dear Matthew ( Score: 2 ) by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) writes: on Sunday December 25, 2016 @06:13PM ( #53553247 )
It is equally infuriating to me when American companies use loopholes in our ridiculously complicated tax code to shelter revenues in foreign tax shelters to avoid paying taxes

So who are you infuriated at? The companies that take advantage of those loopholes, or the politicians that put them there? Fury doesn't help unless it is properly directed. Does your fury influence who you vote for?

... while at the same time benefiting from our infrastructure, emergency services, military, etc.

No. Taxes are only sheltered on income generated overseas, using overseas infrastructure, emergency services, etc. I am baffled why Americans believe they have a "right" to tax the sale of a product made in China and sold in France.

Re:Dear Matthew ( Score: 2 ) by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) writes: on Sunday December 25, 2016 @06:33PM ( #53553303 )
I am baffled why Americans believe they have a "right" to tax the sale of a product made in China and sold in France.

In a seriously silly Monty Python sketch about taxes, someone mildly suggested:

"I think we should tax foreigners, living abroad."

Kinda sorta the same idea . . .

Re:Dear Matthew ( Score: 3 ) by fibonacci8 ( 260615 ) writes: on Sunday December 25, 2016 @08:43PM ( #53553777 )

I suppose it's related to the idea that intellectual property "rights" granted by a country of origin should still have the same benefits and drawbacks when transferred to another country. Or at the very least should be treated as an export at such time a base of operations moves out of country.

Re:Dear Matthew ( Score: 5 , Insightful) by Rob Y. ( 110975 ) writes: on Sunday December 25, 2016 @06:37PM ( #53553317 )

Except that calling, say iOS sales 'generated overseas' when the software was written in the US, using US infrastructure, etc . And the company is making the bogus claim that their Irish subsidiary owns the rights to that software. It's a scam - not a loophole.

Re:Dear Matthew ( Score: 5 , Insightful) by geoskd ( 321194 ) writes: on Sunday December 25, 2016 @07:35PM ( #53553547 )
It's a scam - not a loophole.

They are the same thing. The only way to ensure that there are no tax dodges out there is to simplify the tax code, and eliminate the words: "except", "but", "excluding", "omitting", "minus", "exempt", "without", and any other words to those same effects.

Americans are too stupid to ever vote for a poltiician that states they will raise taxes. This means that either politicians lie, or they actively undermine the tax base. Both of those situations are bad for the majority of americans, but they vote for the same scumbags over and over, and will soundly reject any politician who openly advocates tax increases. The result is a race to the bottom. Welcome to reaping what you sow, brought to you by Democracy(tm).

Re: ( Score: 2 ) by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) writes:

Except that calling, say iOS sales 'generated overseas' when the software was written in the US, using US infrastructure, etc .

That makes no sense. Plenty of non-American companies develop software in America. Yet only if they are incorporated in America do they pay income tax on their overseas earnings, and it is irrelevant where their engineering and development was done.

It has nothing whatsoever to do with "using infrastructure". It is just an extraterritorial money grab that is almost certainly counterproductive since it incentivizes American companies to invest and create jobs overseas.

Re: Dear Matthew ( Score: 2 , Insightful) by Anonymous Coward writes:

Yes, taxes are based on profits. So Google, for instance, makes a bunch of money in the US. Their Irish branch then charges about that much for "consulting" leaving the American part with little to no profits to tax.

Re: ( Score: 2 ) by SwashbucklingCowboy ( 727629 ) writes:

Oh get real. Companies make it appear that nearly all income is generated overseas in order to get around that. It's mostly a scam.

Re:Dear Matthew ( Score: 4 , Insightful) by msauve ( 701917 ) writes: on Sunday December 25, 2016 @07:45PM ( #53553601 )

"I am baffled why Americans believe they have a "right" to tax the sale of a product made in China and sold in France."

Because the manufacturing and sales are controlled by a US based company, as is the profit benefit which results. If a US entity, which receives the benefits of US law, makes a profit by any means, why should it not be taxed by the US?

[Dec 27, 2016] Class Struggle In The USA

Notable quotes:
"... Rich individuals (who are willing to be interviewed) also express concern about inequality but generally oppose using higher taxes on the rich to fight it. Scheiber is very willing to bluntly state his guess (and everyone's) that candidates are eager to please the rich, because they spend much of their time begging the rich for contributions. ..."
"... Of course another way to reduce inequality is to raise wages. Buried way down around paragraph 9 I found this gem: "Forty percent of the wealthy, versus 78 percent of the public, said the government should make the minimum wage "high enough so that no family with a full-time worker falls below the official poverty line." ..."
"... The current foundational rules embedded in tax law, intellectual property law, corporate construction law, and other elements of our legal and regulatory system result in distributions that favor those with capital or in a position to seek rents. This isn't a situation that calls for a Robin Hood who takes from the rich and gives to the poor. It is more a question of how elites have rigged the system to work primarily for them. ..."
"... the problem is incomes and demand, and the first and best answer for creating demand for workers and higher wages to compete for those workers is full employment. ..."
"... if you are proposing raising taxes on the rich SO THAT you can cut taxes on the non rich you are simply proposing theft. ..."
"... what we are looking at here is simple old fashioned greed just as stupid and ugly among the "non rich" as it is among the rich. ..."
"... you play into the hands of the Petersons who want to "cut taxes" and leave the poor elderly to die on the streets, and the poor non-elderly to spend their lives in anxiety and fear-driven greed trying to provide against desperate poverty in old age absent any reliable security for their savings.) ..."
"... made by the ayn rand faithful. it is wearisome. ..."
"... The only cure for organized greed is organized labor. ..."
"... A typical voice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues" ..."
Mar 29, 2015 | Angry Bear

Noam Scheiber has a hard hitting article on the front page of www.nytimes.com "2016 Candidates and Wealthy Are Aligned on Inequality"

The content should be familiar to AngryBear readers. A majority of Americans are alarmed by high and increasing inequality and support government action to reduce inequality. However, none of the important 2016 candidates has expressed any willingness to raise taxes on the rich. The Republicans want to cut them and Clinton (and a spokesperson) dodge the question.

Rich individuals (who are willing to be interviewed) also express concern about inequality but generally oppose using higher taxes on the rich to fight it. Scheiber is very willing to bluntly state his guess (and everyone's) that candidates are eager to please the rich, because they spend much of their time begging the rich for contributions.

No suprise to anyone who has been paying attention except for the fact that it is on the front page of www.nytimes.com and the article is printed in the business section not the opinion section. Do click the link - it is brief, to the point, solid, alarming and a must read.

I clicked one of the links and found weaker evidence than I expected for Scheiber's view (which of course I share

"By contrast, more than half of Americans and three-quarters of Democrats believe the "government should redistribute wealth by heavy taxes on the rich," according to a Gallup poll of about 1,000 adults in April 2013."

It is a small majority 52% favor and 47% oppose. This 52 % is noticeably smaller than the solid majorities who have been telling Gallup that high income individuals pay less than their fair share of taxes (click and search for Gallup on the page).

I guess this isn't really surprising - the word "heavy" is heavy maaaan and "redistribute" evokes the dreaded welfare (and conservatives have devoted gigantic effort to giving it pejorative connotations). The 52% majority is remarkable given the phrasing of the question. But it isn't enough to win elections, since it is 52% of adults which corresponds to well under 52% of actual voters.

My reading is that it is important for egalitarians to stress the tax cuts for the non rich and that higher taxes on the rich are, unfortunately, necessary if we are to have lower taxes on the non rich without huge budget deficits. This is exactly Obama's approach.

Comments (87)

Jerry Critter

March 29, 2015 10:40 pm

Get rid of tax breaks that only the wealthy can take advantage of and perhaps everyone will pay their fair share. The same goes for corporations.

amateur socialist

March 30, 2015 11:42 am

Of course another way to reduce inequality is to raise wages. Buried way down around paragraph 9 I found this gem: "Forty percent of the wealthy, versus 78 percent of the public, said the government should make the minimum wage "high enough so that no family with a full-time worker falls below the official poverty line."

I'm fine with raising people's taxes by increasing their wages. A story I heard on NPR recently indicated that a single person needs to make about $17-19 an hour to cover most basic necessities nowadays (the story went on to say that most people in that situation are working 2 or more jobs to get enough income, a "solution" that creates more problems with health/stress etc.). A full time worker supporting kids needs more than $20.

You double the minimum wage and strengthen people's rights to organize union representation. Tax revenues go up (including SS contributions btw) and we add significant growth to the economy with the increased purchasing power of workers. People can go back to working 40-50 hours a week and cut back on moonlighting which creates new job opportunities for the younger folks decimated by this so called recovery.

Win Win Win Win. And the poor overburdened millionaires don't have to have their poor tax fee fees hurt.

Mark Jamison, March 30, 2015 8:09 pm

How about if we get rid of the "re" and call it what it is "distribution". The current foundational rules embedded in tax law, intellectual property law, corporate construction law, and other elements of our legal and regulatory system result in distributions that favor those with capital or in a position to seek rents.

This isn't a situation that calls for a Robin Hood who takes from the rich and gives to the poor. It is more a question of how elites have rigged the system to work primarily for them. Democrats cede the rhetoric to the Right when they allow the discussion to be about redistribution. Even talk of inequality without reference to the basic legal constructs that are rigged to create slanted outcomes tend to accepted premises that are in and of themselves false.

The issue shouldn't be rejiggering things after the the initial distribution but creating a system with basic rules that level the opportunity playing field.

coberly, March 30, 2015 11:03 pm

Thank You Mark Jamison!

An elegant, informed writer who says it better than I can.

But here is how I would say it:

Addressing "inequality" by "tax the rich" is the wrong answer and a political loser.

Address inequality by re-criminalizing the criminal practices of the criminal rich. Address inequality by creating well paying jobs with government jobs if necessary (and there is necessary work to be done by the government), with government protection for unions, with government policies that make it less profitable to off shore

etc. the direction to take is to make the economy more fair . actually more "free" though you'll never get the free enterprise fundamentalists to admit that's what it is. You WILL get the honest rich on your side. They don't like being robbed any more than you do.

But you will not, in America, get even poor people to vote to "take from the rich to give to the poor." It has something to do with the "story" Americans have been telling themselves since 1776. A story heard round the world.

That said, there is nothing wrong with raising taxes on the rich to pay for the government THEY need as well as you. But don't raise taxes to give the money to the poor. They won't do it, and even the poor don't want it except as a last resort, which we hope we are not at yet.

urban legend, March 31, 2015 2:07 am

Coberly, you are dead-on. Right now, taxation is the least issue. Listen to Jared Bernstein and Dean Baker: the problem is incomes and demand, and the first and best answer for creating demand for workers and higher wages to compete for those workers is full employment. Minimum wage will help at the margins to push incomes up, and it's the easiest initial legislative sell, but the public will support policies - mainly big-big infrastructure modernization in a country that has neglected its infrastructure for a generation - that signal a firm commitment to full employment.

It's laying right there for the Democrats to pick it up. Will they? Having policies that are traditional Democratic policies will not do the job. For believability - for convincing voters they actually have a handle on what has been wrong and how to fix it - they need to have a story for why we have seem unable to generate enough jobs for over a decade. The neglect of infrastructure - the unfilled millions of jobs that should have gone to keeping it up to date and up to major-country standards - should be a big part of that story. Trade and manufacturing, to be sure, is the other big element that will connect with voters. Many Democrats (including you know who) are severely compromised on trade, but they need to find a way to come own on the right side with the voters.

coberly, March 31, 2015 10:52 am

Robert

i wish you'd give some thought to the other comments on this post.

if you are proposing raising taxes on the rich SO THAT you can cut taxes on the non rich you are simply proposing theft. if you were proposing raising taxes on the rich to provide reasonable welfare to those who need it you would be asking the rich to contribute to the strength of their own country and ultimately their own wealth.

i hope you can see the difference.

it is especially irritating to me because many of the "non rich" who want their taxes cut make more than twice as much as i do. what we are looking at here is simple old fashioned greed just as stupid and ugly among the "non rich" as it is among the rich.

"the poor" in this country do not pay a significant amount of taxes (Social Security and Medicare are not "taxes," merely an efficient way for us to pay for our own direct needs . as long as you call them taxes you play into the hands of the Petersons who want to "cut taxes" and leave the poor elderly to die on the streets, and the poor non-elderly to spend their lives in anxiety and fear-driven greed trying to provide against desperate poverty in old age absent any reliable security for their savings.)

Kai-HK, April 4, 2015 12:23 am

coberly,

Thanks for your well-reasoned response.

You state, 'i personally am not much interested in the "poor capitalist will flee the country if you tax him too much." in fact i'd say good riddance, and by the way watch out for that tarriff when you try to sell your stuff here.'

(a) What happens after thy leave? Sure you can get one-time 'exit tax' but you lose all the intellectual capital (think of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, or Steve Jobs leaving and taking their intellectual property and human capital with them). These guys are great jobs creators it will not only be the 'bad capitalists' that leave but also many of the 'job creating' good ones.

(b) I am less worried about existing job creating capitalists in America; what about the future ones? The ones that either flee overseas and make their wealth there or are already overseas and then have a plethora of places they can invest but why bother investing in the US if all they are going to do is call me a predator and then seize my assets and or penalise me for investing there? Right? It is the future investment that gets impacted not current wealth per se.

You also make a great point, 'the poor are in the worst position with respect to shifting their tax burden on to others. the rich do it as a matter of course. it would be simpler just to tax the rich there are fewer of them, and they know what is at stake, and they can afford accountants. the rest of us would pay our "taxes" in the form of higher prices for what we buy.'

Investment capital will go where it is best treated and to attract investment capital a market must provide a competitive return (profit margin or return on investment). Those companies and investment that stay will do so because they are able to maintain that margin .and they will do so by either reducing wages or increasing prices. Where they can do neither, their will exit the market.

That is why, according to research, a bulk of the corporate taxation falls on workers and consumers as a pass-on effect. The optimum corporate tax is 0. This will be the case as taxation increases on the owners of businesses and capital .workers, the middle class, and the poor pay it. The margins stay competitive for the owners of capital since capital is highly mobile and fungible.Workers and the poor less so.

But thanks again for the tone and content of your response. I often get attacked personally for my views instead of people focusing on the issue. I appreciate the respite.

K

coberly, April 4, 2015 12:34 pm

kai

yes, but you missed the point.

i am sick of the whining about taxes. it takes so much money to run the country (including the kind of pernicious poverty that will turn the US into sub-saharan africa. and then who will buy their products.

i can't do much about the poor whining about taxes. they are just people with limited understanding, except for their own pressing needs. the rich know what the taxes are needed for, they are just stupid about paying them. of course they would pass the taxes through to their customers. the customers would still buy what they need/want at the new price. leaving everyone pretty much where they are today financially. but the rich would be forced to be grownup about "paying" the taxes, and maybe the politics of "don't tax me tax the other guy" would go away.

as for the sainted bill gates. there are plenty of other people in this country as smart as he is and would be happy to sell us computer operating systems and pay the taxes on their billion dollars a year profits.

nothing breaks my heart more than a whining millionaire.

Kai-HK

April 4, 2015 11:32 pm

Sure I got YOUR point, it just didn't address MY points as put forth in MY original post. And it still doesn't.

More importantly, you have failed to defend YOUR point against even a rudimentary challenge.

K

coberly, April 5, 2015 12:45 pm

kai,

rudimentary is right.

i have read your "points" about sixteen hundred times in the last year alone. made by the ayn rand faithful. it is wearisome.

and i have learned there is no point in trying to talk to true believers.

William Ryan, May 13, 2015 4:43 pm

Thanks again Coberly for your and K's very thoughtful insight. You guys really made me think hard today and I do see your points about perverted capitalism being a big problem in US. I still do like the progressive tax structure and balanced trade agenda better.

I realize as you say that we cannot compare US to Hong Kong just on size and scale alone. Without all the obfuscation going Lean by building cultures that makes people want to take ownership and sharing learning and growing together is a big part of the solution Ford once said "you cannot learn in school what the world is going to do next".

Also never argue with an idiot. They will bring you down to their level then beat you with experience. The only cure for organized greed is organized labor. It's because no matter what they do nothing get done about it. With all this manure around there must be a pony somewhere! "

Last one.

coberly , May 16, 2015 9:57 pm

kai

as a matter of fact i disagree with the current "equality" fad at least insofar as it implies taking from the rich and giving to the poor directly.

i don't believe people are "equal" in terms of their economic potential. i do beleive they are equal in terms of being due the respect of human beings.

i also believe your simple view of "equality" is a closet way of guarantee that the rich can prey upon the poor without interruption.

humans made their first big step in evolution when they learned to cooperate with each other against the big predators.

Jerry Critter, May 17, 2015 12:10 am

it is mildly progressive up to about $75,000 per year where the rate hits 30%. But from there up to $1.542 million the rate only increases to 33.3%.

I call that very flat!

Jerry Critter, May 17, 2015 11:20 am

"i assume there are people in this country who are truly poor. as far as i know they don't pay taxes."

Read my reference and you will see that the "poor" indeed pay taxes, just not much income tax because they don't have much income. You are fixated on income when we should be considering all forms of taxation.

Jerry Critter, May 17, 2015 9:25 pm

Oh Kai, cut the crap. Paying taxes Is nothing like slavery. My oh my, how did we ever survive with a top tax rate of around 90%, nearly 3 times the current rate? Some people would even say that the economy then was pretty great and the middle class was doing terrific. So stop the deflection and redirection. I think you just like to see how many words you can write. Sorry, but history is not on your side.

[Dec 27, 2016] Trump's Economic Plan is a Betrayal of the People Who Voted for Him

Dec 27, 2016 | www.unz.com
Mike Whitney

... ... ..

Bottom line: Trump's Santa Rally could turn into a stock market bloodbath unless he's able to deliver on his promises, which doesn't look very likely. Check this out from Bloomberg:

"President-elect Donald Trump's race to enact the biggest tax cuts since the 1980s went under a caution flag Monday as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned he considers current levels of U.S. debt "dangerous" and said he wants any tax overhaul to avoid adding to the deficit.

"I think this level of national debt is dangerous and unacceptable," McConnell said, adding he hopes Congress doesn't lose sight of that when it acts next year. "My preference on tax reform is that it be revenue neutral," he said

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan think tank, has projected that Trump's plans would increase the debt by $5.3 trillion over a decade, with deficits already over $600 billion a year and rising on autopilot

What I hope we will clearly avoid, and I'm confident we will, is a trillion-dollar stimulus," he said. "Take you back to 2009. We borrowed $1 trillion and nobody could find that it did much of anything. So we need to do this carefully and correctly and the issue of how to pay for it needs to be dealt with responsibly." ( McConnell, Warning of 'Dangerous' Debt, Wants Tax Cut Offsets , Bloomberg)

It doesn't sound like McConnell is a big fan of Trump's economic plan, does it? So why has the Dow risen to within 26 points of the 20,000-mark if that's the case?? Do investors think that Trump can simply issue an executive order and force Congress to do what he wants?

Good luck with that. The deficit-crazed Republicans are just as committed to austerity as ever, mainly because slashing government spending coupled with low interest rates is a tried-and-true method of transferring obscene amounts of money to the 1 percenters. Why would they tinker with a mechanism that works perfectly already?

They won't, at least not to the extent that it'll have any meaningful impact on the living standards of millions of working people across America. Congress is going to prevent that at all cost. And so will the Fed. Just listen to what Yellen had to say to a journalist from the Washington Post last week following the FOMC meeting. She was asked point-blank whether she thought the economy needed more fiscal stimulus or not. Her answer:

"Well I called for fiscal stimulus when the unemployment rate was substantially higher than it is now. So with a 4.6 percent unemployment, and a solid labor market, there may be some additional slack in labor markets, but I would judge that the degree of slack has diminished, So I would say at this point that fiscal policy is not obviously needed to help us get back to full employment But nevertheless, let me be careful that I am not trying to provide advice to the new administration or to Congress as to what is the appropriate stance of policy."

Nice, eh? Yellen threatens Trump with three more rate hikes in 2017, torpedoes his $1 trillion infrastructure plan with a wave of the hand, and then has the audacity to deny that she's dictating policy.

Of course she's dictating policy. What else would you call it?

Yellen is saying as clearly as possible, that if Trump launches his fiscal spending plan, the Fed's going to slap him down by raising rates. If that's not a threat, then what is??

[Dec 27, 2016] Income inequality has increased in many developed countries over the last several decades.

Dec 27, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
anne :

http://gabriel-zucman.eu/files/PSZ2016.pdf

December, 2016

Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the United States
By Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman

Abstract

This paper combines tax, survey, and national accounts data to estimate the distribution of national income in the United States since 1913. Our distributional national accounts capture 100% of national income, allowing us to compute growth rates for each quantile of the income distribution consistent with macroeconomic growth. We estimate the distribution of both pre-tax and post-tax income, making it possible to provide a comprehensive view of how government redistribution affects inequality.

The government has offset only a small fraction of the increase in inequality. The reduction of the gender gap in earnings has mitigated the increase in inequality among adults. The share of women, however, falls steeply as one moves up the labor income distribution, and is only 11% in the top 0.1% today.

Reply Tuesday, December 27, 2016 at 01:09 PM anne -> anne... , December 27, 2016 at 01:13 PM
http://gabriel-zucman.eu/files/PSZ2016.pdf

December, 2016

Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the United States
By Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman

Introduction Income inequality has increased in many developed countries over the last several decades. This trend has attracted considerable interest among academics, policy-makers, and the general public. In recent years, following up on Kuznets' (1953) pioneering attempt, a number of authors have used administrative tax records to construct long-run series of top income shares (Alvaredo et al., 2011-2016). Yet despite this endeavor, we still face three important limitations when measuring income inequality. First and most important, there is a large gap between national accounts-which focus on macro totals and growth-and inequality studies-which focus on distributions using survey and tax data, usually without trying to be fully consistent with macro totals. This gap makes it hard to address questions such as: What fraction of economic growth accrues to the bottom 50%, the middle 40%, and the top 10% of the distribution? How much of the rise in income inequality owes to changes in the share of labor and capital in national income, and how much to changes in the dispersion of labor earnings, capital ownership, and returns to capital? Second, about a third of U.S. national income is redistributed through taxes, transfers, and public good spending. Yet we do not have a good measure of how the distribution of pre-tax income differs from the distribution of post-tax income, making it hard to assess how government redistribution affects inequality. Third, existing income inequality statistics use the tax unit or the household as unit of observation, adding up the income of men and women. As a result, we do not have a clear view of how long-run trends in income concentration are shaped by the major changes in women labor force participation-and gender inequality generally-that have occurred over the last century.

This paper attempts to compute inequality statistics for the United States that overcome the limits of existing series by creating distributional national accounts. We combine tax, survey, and national accounts data to build new series on the distribution of national income since 1913. In contrast to previous attempts that capture less than 60% of US national income- such as Census bureau estimates (US Census Bureau 2016) and top income shares (Piketty and Saez, 2003)-our estimates capture 100% of the national income recorded in the national accounts. This enables us to provide decompositions of growth by income groups consistent with macroeconomic growth. We compute the distribution of both pre-tax and post-tax income. Post-tax series deduct all taxes and add back all transfers and public spending, so that both pre-tax and post-tax incomes add up to national income. This allows us to provide the first comprehensive view of how government redistribution affects inequality. Our benchmark series uses the adult individual as the unit of observation and splits income equally among spouses. We also report series in which each spouse is assigned her or his own labor income, enabling us to study how long-run changes in gender inequality shape the distribution of income.

Distributional national accounts provide information on the dynamic of income across the entire spectrum-from the bottom decile to the top 0.001%-that, we believe, is more accurate than existing inequality data. Our estimates capture employee fringe benefits, a growing source of income for the middle-class that is overlooked by both Census bureau estimates and tax data. They capture all capital income, which is large-about 30% of total national income- and concentrated, yet is very imperfectly covered by surveys-due to small sample and top coding issues-and by tax data-as a large fraction of capital income goes to pension funds and is retained in corporations. They make it possible to produce long-run inequality statistics that control for socio-demographic changes-such as the rise in the fraction of retired individuals and the decline in household size-contrary to the currently available tax-based series.

Methodologically, our contribution is to construct micro-files of pre-tax and post-tax income consistent with macro aggregates. These micro-files contain all the variables of the national accounts and synthetic individual observations that we obtain by statistically matching tax and survey data and making explicit assumptions about the distribution of income categories for which there is no directly available source of information. By construction, the totals in these micro-files add up to the national accounts totals, while the distributions are consistent with those seen in tax and survey data. These files can be used to compute a wide array of distributional statistics-labor and capital income earned, taxes paid, transfers received, wealth owned, etc.-by age groups, gender, and marital status. Our objective, in the years ahead, is to construct similar micro-files in as many countries as possible in order to better compare inequality across countries. Just like we use GDP or national income to compare the macroeconomic performances of countries today, so could distributional national accounts be used to compare inequality across countries tomorrow.

We stress at the outset that there are numerous data issues involved in distributing national income, discussed in the text and the online appendix. First, we take the national accounts as a given starting point, although we are well aware that the national accounts themselves are imperfect (e.g., Zucman 2013). They are, however, the most reasonable starting point, because they aggregate all the available information from surveys, tax data, corporate income statements, and balance sheets, etc., in an standardized, internationally-agreed-upon and regularly improved upon accounting framework. Second, imputing all national income, taxes, transfers, and public goods spending requires making assumptions on a number of complex issues, such as the economic incidence of taxes and who benefits from government spending. Our goal is not to provide definitive answers to these questions, but rather to be comprehensive, consistent, and explicit about what assumptions we are making and why. We view our paper as attempting to construct prototype distributional national accounts, a prototype that could be improved upon as more data become available, new knowledge emerges on who pays taxes and benefits from government spending, and refined estimation techniques are developed-just as today's national accounts are regularly improved....

[Dec 27, 2016] Low oil prices and an increasingly costly war in Yemen have torn a yawning hole in the Saudi budget

Dec 27, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

December 27, 2016 at 04:40 AM

Low oil prices and an increasingly costly war in Yemen have torn a yawning hole in the Saudi budget and created a crisis that has led to cuts in public spending, reductions in take-home pay and benefits for government workers and a host of new fees and fines. Huge subsidies for fuel, water and electricity that encourage overconsumption are being curtailed. ...

[Dec 27, 2016] Is Trump just another globalists shill?

Dec 27, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
John San Vant... Tuesday, December 27, 2016 at 08:07 AM , December 27, 2016 at 08:07 AM
John,

I wonder what facts you have to label Trump's team "globalist shills".

Robert W. Merry in his National Interest article disagrees with you
http://nationalinterest.org/feature/trump-vs-hillary-nationalism-vs-globalism-2016-16041
=== start of the quote ===
Globalists captured much of American society long ago by capturing the bulk of the nation's elite institutions -- the media, academia, big corporations, big finance, Hollywood, think tanks, NGOs, charitable foundations. So powerful are these institutions -- in themselves and, even more so, collectively -- that the elites running them thought that their political victories were complete and final. That's why we have witnessed in recent years a quantum expansion of social and political arrogance on the part of these high-flyers.

Then along comes Donald Trump and upends the whole thing. Just about every major issue that this super-rich political neophyte has thrown at the elites turns out to be anti-globalist and pro-nationalist. And that is the single most significant factor in his unprecedented and totally unanticipated rise. Consider some examples:

Immigration: Nationalists believe that any true nation must have clearly delineated and protected borders, otherwise it isn't really a nation. They also believe that their nation's cultural heritage is sacred and needs to be protected, whereas mass immigration from far-flung lands could undermine the national commitment to that heritage.

Globalists don't care about borders. They believe the nation-state is obsolete, a relic of the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, which codified the recognition of co-existing nation states.

Globalists reject Westphalia in favor of an integrated world with information, money, goods and people traversing the globe at accelerating speeds without much regard to traditional concepts of nationhood or borders.
=== end of the quote ===

I wonder how "globalist shills" mantra correlates with the following Trump's statements:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/06/28/donald-trump-globalization-trade-pennsylvania-ohio/86431376/

=== start of quote ===
"Globalization has made the financial elite who donate to politicians very, very wealthy ... but it has left millions of our workers with nothing but poverty and heartache," Trump told supporters during a prepared speech targeting free trade in a nearly-shuttered former steel town in Pennsylvania.

In a speech devoted to what he called "How To Make America Wealthy Again," Trump offered a series of familiar plans designed to deal with what he called [Obama] "failed trade policies" - including rejection of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with Pacific Rim nations and re-negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico, withdrawing from it if necessary.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee also said he would pursue bilateral trade agreements rather than multi-national deals like TPP and NAFTA.

In addition to appointing better trade negotiators and stepping up punishment of countries that violate trade rules, Trump's plans would also target one specific economic competitor: China. He vowed to label China a currency manipulator, bring it before the World Trade Organization and consider slapping tariffs on Chinese imports coming into the U.S.

[Dec 27, 2016] Were All State Capitalists Now

Feb 09, 2012 | foreignpolicy.com

Market capitalism has certainly had a rough five years. Remember the Washington Consensus ? That was the to-do list of 10 economic policies designed to Americanize emerging markets back in the 1990s. The U.S. government and international financial institutions urged countries to impose fiscal discipline and reduce or eliminate budget deficits, broaden the tax base and lower tax rates, allow the market to set interest and exchange rates, and liberalize trade and capital flows. When Asian economies were hit by the 1997-1998 financial crisis, American critics were quick to bemoan the defects of "crony capitalism" in the region, and they appeared to have economic history on their side.

Yet today, in the aftermath of the biggest U.S. financial crisis since the Great Depression, the world looks very different. Not only did the 2008-2009 meltdown of financial markets seem to expose the fundamental fragility of the capitalist system, but China's apparent ability to withstand the reverberations of Wall Street's implosion also suggested the possibility of a new "Beijing Consensus" based on central planning and state control of volatile market forces.

In his book The End of the Free Market , the Eurasia Group's Ian Bremmer argues that authoritarian governments all over the world have "invented something new: state capitalism":

In this system, governments use various kinds of state-owned companies to manage the exploitation of resources that they consider the state's crown jewels and to create and maintain large numbers of jobs.

And in all three cases, the ultimate motive is not economic (maximizing growth) but political (maximizing the state's power and the leadership's chances of survival). This is a form of capitalism but one in which the state acts as the dominant economic player and uses markets primarily for political gain.

For Bremmer, state capitalism poses a grave "threat" not only to the free market model, but also to democracy in the developing world.

Although applicable to states all over the globe, at root this is an argument about China. Bremmer himself writes that "China holds the key." But is it in fact correct to ascribe China's success to the state rather than the market? The answer depends on where you go in China. In Shanghai or Chongqing, for example, the central government does indeed loom very large. In Wenzhou, by comparison, the economy is as vigorously entrepreneurial and market-driven as anywhere I have ever been.

True, China's economy continues to be managed on the basis of a five-year plan, an authoritarian tradition that goes all the way back to Josef Stalin. As I write, however, the Chinese authorities are grappling with a problem that owes more to market forces than to the plan: the aftermath of an urban real estate bubble caused by the massive 2009-2010 credit expansion. Among China experts, the hot topic of the moment is the new shadow banking system in cities such as Wenzhou, which last year enabled developers and investors to carry on building and selling apartment blocks even as the People's Bank of China sought to restrict lending by raising rates and bank reserve requirements.

Talk to some eminent Chinese economists, and you could be forgiven for concluding that the ultimate aim of policy is to get rid of state capitalism altogether. "We need to privatize all the state-owned enterprises," one leading economist told me over dinner in Beijing a year ago. "We even need to privatize the Great Hall of the People." He also claimed to have said this to President Hu Jintao. "Hu couldn't tell if I was serious or if I was joking," he told me proudly.

Ultimately, it is an unhelpful oversimplification to divide the world into "market capitalist" and "state capitalist" camps. The reality is that most countries are arranged along a spectrum where both the intent and the extent of state intervention in the economy vary. Only extreme libertarians argue that the state has no role whatsoever to play in the economy. As a devotee of Adam Smith, I accept without qualification his argument in The Wealth of Nations that the benefits of free trade and the division of labor will be enjoyed only in countries with rational laws and institutions. I also agree with Silicon Valley visionary Peter Thiel that, under the right circumstances (e.g., in time of war), governments are capable of forcing the direction and pace of technological change: Think the Manhattan Project.

But the question today is not whether the state or the market should be in charge. The real question is which countries' laws and institutions are best, not only at achieving rapid economic growth but also, equally importantly, at distributing the fruits of growth in a way that citizens deem to be just.

Let us begin by asking a simple question that can be answered with empirical data: Where in the world is the role of the state greatest in economic life, and where is it smallest? The answer lies in data the IMF publishes on "general government total expenditure" as a percentage of GDP. At one extreme are countries like East Timor and Iraq, where government expenditure exceeds GDP; at the other end are countries like Bangladesh, Guatemala, and Myanmar, where it is an absurdly low share of total output.

Beyond these outliers we have China, whose spending represents 23 percent of GDP, down from around 28 percent three decades ago. By this measure, China ranks 147th out of 183 countries for which data are available. Germany ranks 24th, with government spending accounting for 48 percent of GDP. The United States, meanwhile, is 44th with 44 percent of GDP. By this measure, state capitalism is a European, not an Asian, phenomenon: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Sweden all have higher government spending relative to GDP than Germany. The Danish figure is 58 percent, more than twice that of the Chinese.

The results are similar if one focuses on government consumption - the share of GDP accounted for by government purchases of goods and services, as opposed to transfers or investment. Again, ignoring the outliers, it is Europe whose states play the biggest role in the economy as buyers: Denmark (27 percent) is far ahead of Germany (18 percent), while the United States is at 17 percent. China? 13 percent. For Hong Kong, the figure is 8 percent. For Macao, 7 percent.

Where China does lead the West is in the enormous share of gross fixed capital formation (jargon for investment in hard assets) accounted for by the public sector. According to World Bank data, this amounted to 21 percent of China's GDP in 2008, among the highest figures in the world, reflecting the still-leading role that government plays in infrastructure investment. The equivalent figures for developed Western countries are vanishingly small; in the West the state is a spendthrift, not an investor, borrowing money to pay for goods and services. On the other hand, the public sector's share of Chinese investment has been falling steeply during the past 10 years. Here too the Chinese trend is away from state capitalism.

Of course, none of these quantitative measures of the state's role tells us how well government is actually working. For that we must turn to very different kinds of data. Every year the World Economic Forum (WEF) publishes a Global Competitiveness Index , which assesses countries from all kinds of different angles, including the economic efficiency of their public-sector institutions. Since the current methodology was adopted in 2004, the United States' average competitiveness score has fallen from 5.82 to 5.43, one of the steepest declines among developed economies. China's score, meanwhile, has leapt from 4.29 to 4.90.

Even more fascinating is the WEF's Executive Opinion Survey , which produces a significant amount of the data that goes into the Global Competitiveness Index. The table below selects 15 measures of government efficacy, focusing on aspects of the rule of law ranging from the protection of private property rights to the policing of corruption and the control of organized crime. These are appropriate things to measure because, regardless of whether a state is nominally a market economy or a state-led economy, the quality of its legal institutions will, in practice, have an impact on the ease with which business can be done.

[Dec 27, 2016] Suicide rates rise after jobs move overseas, study finds

Notable quotes:
"... In Bristol County, which includes Fall River, New Bedford, and Taunton, manufacturing employed nearly a quarter of the workforce in 2000; now it provides jobs for only one in 10 workers. ..."
"... Most of the manufacturing jobs lost since 2000 are unlikely to return, economists said. Automation has made manufacturing much more specialized, requiring more education and fewer workers, leaving parts of the country struggling to figure out how to reinvent their economies. ..."
"... "We will probably never have as many manufacturing jobs as we had in 1960," Dunn said. "The question is how do we train workers and provide them opportunities to feel productive. What's clear from the election is an increasing number of people don't have those opportunities or don't feel that those opportunities will be available." ..."
"... Characteristics of people dying by suicide after job loss, financial difficulties and other economic stressors during a period of recession (2010–2011): A review of coroners׳ records ..."
Dec 27, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
Fred C. Dobbs : December 27, 2016 at 03:37 AM

Suicide rates rise after jobs move overseas, study finds
http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2016/12/26/suicide-rates-rise-after-jobs-move-overseas-new-study-funds/yVhFkZOslgnODKEjTfcDTK/story.html?event=event25
via @BostonGlobe - Deirdre Fernandes - December 27, 2016

FALL RIVER - In this struggling industrial city, changes in trade policy are being measured not only in jobs lost, but also in lives lost - to suicide.

The jobs went first, the result of trade deals that sent them overseas. Once-humming factories that dressed office workers and soldiers, and made goods to furnish their homes, stand abandoned, overtaken by weeds and graffiti.

And now there is research on how the US job exodus parallels an increase in suicides. A one percentage point increase in unemployment correlated with an 11 percent increase in suicides, according to Peter Schott, a Yale University economist who coauthored the report with Justin Pierce, a researcher at the Federal Reserve Board.

The research doesn't prove a definitive link between lost jobs and suicide; it simply notes that as jobs left, suicides rose. Workers who lost their jobs may have been pushed over the edge and turned to suicide or drug addiction, lacking financial resources or community connections to get help, the authors suggest.

The research contributes to a growing body of work that shows the dark side of global trade: the dislocation, anger, and despair in some parts of the country that came with the United States' easing of trade with China in 2000. The impact of job losses was greatest in places such as Fall River and other cities in Bristol County, along with rural manufacturing counties in New Hampshire and Maine, vast stretches of the South, and portions of the Rust Belt.

"There are winners and losers in trade," Schott said. "If you go to these communities, you can see the disruptions."

The unemployment rate in Fall River remains persistently high and at 5.5 percent in September was a good two points above the Massachusetts average. Nearly one in three households gets some sort of public assistance.

Opposition to global trade policies became a rallying cry in Donald Trump's campaign, propelling him into the White House with strategic wins in the industrial Midwest and the South. Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on Chinese goods and has bashed recent US trade pacts. ...

Fred C. Dobbs -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 27, 2016 at 03:41 AM

... Previous trade deals, including the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, chipped away at US manufacturing towns. But economists say the decision to normalize relations with China was far more disruptive. Some economists have estimated the United States may have lost at least 1 million manufacturing jobs from 2000 to 2007 due to freer trade with China.

In Bristol County, which includes Fall River, New Bedford, and Taunton, manufacturing employed nearly a quarter of the workforce in 2000; now it provides jobs for only one in 10 workers.

Most of the manufacturing jobs lost since 2000 are unlikely to return, economists said. Automation has made manufacturing much more specialized, requiring more education and fewer workers, leaving parts of the country struggling to figure out how to reinvent their economies.

"We will probably never have as many manufacturing jobs as we had in 1960," Dunn said. "The question is how do we train workers and provide them opportunities to feel productive. What's clear from the election is an increasing number of people don't have those opportunities or don't feel that those opportunities will be available."

Officials in Fall River and Bristol County said they are trying to provide appropriate training, including computer programming, a prerequisite for many manufacturing jobs.

They also point out there have been recent victories.

Mayor Tom Hoye said Taunton has also been more active in recent years, holding community meetings and expanding social services for residents facing distress and drug addiction.

Despite the hits the city and its residents have taken, there is reason to be optimistic about the future, he said.

Jobs are returning, and the county's suicide rate dropped from 13 per 100,000 people in 2014 to 12 per 100,000 in 2015.

"We're reinventing ourselves," Hoye said on a recent morning as he sat in an old elementary school classroom that has served as the temporary mayor's office for several years.

"It's tough to lift yourself out of the hole sometimes. But we're much better off than we were 10 years ago."

Fred C. Dobbs -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 27, 2016 at 03:55 AM
'The research doesn't prove a definitive
link between lost jobs and suicide; it
simply notes that as jobs left,
suicides rose.'

Pierce, Justin R., and Peter K. Schott (2016). "Trade Liberalization and Mortality:
Evidence from U.S. Counties," Finance and Economics Discussion Series
2016-094. Washington: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

https://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/feds/2016/files/2016094pap.pdf

http://faculty.som.yale.edu/peterschott/files/research/papers/pierce_schott_pntr_20150301.pdf

Fred C. Dobbs -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 27, 2016 at 04:00 AM
(Note: The 2nd link is to a
different paper, same authors.)

'The Surprisingly Swift Decline
of US Manufacturing Employment'

Fred C. Dobbs -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 27, 2016 at 04:27 AM
Understanding vulnerability to self-
harm in times of economic hardship
and austerity: a qualitative study
M C Barnes, et al.

'This is the first UK study of self-harm
among people experiencing economic or
austerity-related difficulties.'

December 2015

http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/2/e010131.full.pdf

---

Characteristics of people dying by suicide after job loss, financial difficulties and other economic stressors during a period of recession (2010–2011): A review of coroners׳ records
Caroline Coope, et al

Journal of Affective Disorders
Volume 183, 1 - September 2015

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165032715002694/pdfft?md5=bebc4ce035acbeeee6cb0b9bd586a5e3&pid=1-s2.0-S0165032715002694-main.pdf

Chris G -> Fred C. Dobbs... , -1
Suicide rates rise after jobs move overseas, study finds

That's consistent with the GOP's notion of how to most effectively cover health problems: shoveled dirt.

[Dec 27, 2016] Trump should say, Thanks, Obama!

Notable quotes:
"... I would say both parties are for the rich and both do their best to distract their respective base with talk of abortion or race, while neither would like these red meat distractions disappear by being in any solved. ..."
"... Why do they like these particular distractions? Because the rich don't care about either. ..."
"... Trump broke the mold by talking about jobs in a meaningful way immigration and exporting factories both boost unemployment, suppressing wages while boosting profits; these topics have been forbidden since Ross Perot spoke of millions of jobs going south on account of Nafta, exactly what happened. ..."
"... 8mm official unemployment. 16mm reduced participation since 2005 in 25-54 age group. ..."
"... 24mm total, not counting part timers that want full time and 10mm fewer voted for dems in 2016 than 2008. ..."
"... Exactly the same number that voted for Romney voted for trump, so Hillary lost obamas third term not because of a wave of trump racists but because there was somehow dissatisfaction among former dem voters regarding the great jobs program, low cost healthcare, and prosecution of bankers and other elites that drove the economy off the cliff. Granted, nominating the second most unpopular person in America might not guarantee success ..."
Dec 27, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
John k, December 26, 2016 at 2:33 pm

Dems are the party of the rich and poor.

Really? When did they do something that benefitted the poor?

I would say both parties are for the rich and both do their best to distract their respective base with talk of abortion or race, while neither would like these red meat distractions disappear by being in any solved.

Why do they like these particular distractions? Because the rich don't care about either.

Trump broke the mold by talking about jobs in a meaningful way immigration and exporting factories both boost unemployment, suppressing wages while boosting profits; these topics have been forbidden since Ross Perot spoke of millions of jobs going south on account of Nafta, exactly what happened.

8mm official unemployment. 16mm reduced participation since 2005 in 25-54 age group.

24mm total, not counting part timers that want full time and 10mm fewer voted for dems in 2016 than 2008.

Exactly the same number that voted for Romney voted for trump, so Hillary lost obamas third term not because of a wave of trump racists but because there was somehow dissatisfaction among former dem voters regarding the great jobs program, low cost healthcare, and prosecution of bankers and other elites that drove the economy off the cliff. Granted, nominating the second most unpopular person in America might not guarantee success

Anyway, Trump should say, Thanks, Obama!

Synoia , December 26, 2016 at 2:40 pm

8mm official unemployment. 16mm reduced participation since 2005 in 25-54 age group.
24mm total, not counting part timers that want full time

Obama's legacy. Read it and weep.

John k , December 26, 2016 at 3:23 pm

I mis spoke.
Nominating her had risks, but it assured Bernie would not be president, and Bernie was a far greater risk to bankers and the other dem paymasters than trump. Remember, for them it was existential, bernie would have jailed bankers. Trump is one of the oligarchs.
With her nom bankers let out a sigh of relief and could thankfully murmur, 'mission accomplished!'

WheresOurTeddy , December 26, 2016 at 3:29 pm

Bernie would not be president only if they Bobby Kennedy'd him.

It didn't come to that. They just fixed the primary.

Vatch , December 26, 2016 at 7:12 pm

If Sanders had won the Democratic nomination, and he had been "Bobby Kennedy'd", people besides the conspiracy enthusiasts would have started to notice a pattern. Instead, there are millions of people who actually believe that Sanders lost the primaries to Clinton fair and square. Some of us know better. . . .

As for patterns, Trump's nominations for cabinet level offices are showing a pattern: billionaires, hecto-millionaires, overt vassals of the ultra-rich, and at least one (alleged) criminal: Ryan Zinke.

Yves Smith , December 26, 2016 at 10:22 pm

The one unambiguously positive feature of Obamacare was Medicaid expansion, which does help the poor.

marym , December 26, 2016 at 10:47 pm

It does help people, but increased privatization and estate recovery make it not unambiguous.

ambrit , December 27, 2016 at 4:42 am

True. Because of estate recovery, I am doing without medical "insurance" of any kind. As I tell Phyllis, if I get anything serious, just put me in my ragged old canvas chair in the back yard and keep the beer coming until I stop complaining.

This entire Medicade story is curious. I had thought that any self respecting oligarchy would want reasonably powerful clients to buttress the oligarch's power and influence. Instead, the Medicade Oligarchy buys into a "power base" of the poor and disenfranchised. The funds for this complex relationship are supplied, as best as I can discern, by the central government. What will the Medicade Oligarchs do when the "X" Oligarchs cut off or even just restrict the flow of funds from the central government?

Cry Shop , December 27, 2016 at 5:36 am

Not just estate recovery. Loading Medicaid with more claimants, particularly poor, ethnic minority claimants, was a great way to stress it's gonig to need a neo-liberal cure, if the neo-cons don't use the opportunity Obama gave them to out right kill it. Medicaid isn't Medicare, and the retired folks know it. They, the retires, would kill it in a second if they could get an extra $100 per annum in free drugs.

ambrit , December 27, 2016 at 5:46 am

I'm not too sure about the "Retired" "Poor" divide anymore. The two groups are converging and merging. Any animus experienced here would be the result of restriction of total benefits available. In other words, an artificially engineered conflict.
Once the "old folks" realize that they, as a class, are the poor, all bets will be off.

marym , December 27, 2016 at 8:44 am

Once the "old folks" actually are poor enough to qualify for Medicaid (dual eligible) they are at risk for being tossed off Medicare into Medicaid managed care .

marym , December 27, 2016 at 8:50 am

Nor is Medicare Medicare, in the sense of being a fully public program. Medicare Advantage, Medicare supplemental insurance, and prescription drug insurance are all privatized.

Tully , December 27, 2016 at 11:41 am

the funds supplied by the central government. No.
they are supplied by the taxpayers.
That is the system – taxpayers subsidize private sector profits.

steelhead , December 26, 2016 at 2:59 pm

43 years. The decline started in 1973, the year I graduated from high school.

Nittacci , December 26, 2016 at 3:00 pm

"I'm guessing that upwards of 90% of United States voters work for wages"

How is that possible with a 62% labor participation rate? Do you believe unemployed, retired, students and stay-at-home parents don't vote?

grayslady , December 26, 2016 at 5:48 pm

Yes, I had a problem with that phrase, as well; especially as older people (read "retired") are known to have the highest percentage of actual voters. Assuming that the 90% is an overstatement, I don't believe it negates the point that all ages and all races can find common ground on certain issues–Medicare for All being one of those issues. Seniors would definitely get behind an improved Medicare, just as students, unemployed, working poor, and others would support such a sensible universal health care program.

ambrit , December 27, 2016 at 4:46 am

" sensible universal health care program."
Sensible for whom? For the presently entrenched oligarchs, the system in use now is perfectly sensible.

Baldacci , December 26, 2016 at 9:31 pm

Only 30-35% of the total US population votes in any one election. 90% would be possible.

funemployed , December 27, 2016 at 9:34 am

They old though – retired folks love them some voting. Work or have worked for wages, or had vital domestic labor supported by a wage earning family member would surely get us over 90 IMO. (sorry for quibbling Lambert. I think we all get the point. Thanks for the lovely essay)

[Dec 27, 2016] The government's 20th century growth as a factory underestimates service sector growth and our continued share shrink in 20th century

Dec 27, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
AngloSaxon : December 26, 2016 at 10:24 PM , 2016 at 10:24 PM
In my opinion, probably not. The government's 20th century "growth as a factory" underestimates service sector growth and our continued share shrink in 20th century industrial production means our "potential" growth is by this factory methiod, in decline. If we grow 3% it is a gaudy number by the government's own statistical backwardness.

To regenerate American factory growth is not possible right now under a market system. I mean, it simply isn't. If we tried, we would crater industrial growth as well with consumption cuts.

likbez -> AngloSaxon... , -1
Growth of the service sector is also under attack due to increasing "robotization", replacing salaried workers with "perma-temps" and underpaid contractors (Uber) as well as offshoring of help desk and such.

What's left? Military Keynesianism ?

[Dec 27, 2016] Prediction for 2017 oil prices and increased probability of Seneca Cliff

Dec 27, 2016 | peakoilbarrel.com
Fernando Leanme says: 12/25/2016 at 9:13 am
My estimate continues to be $63 per barrel Brent.
likbez says: 12/27/2016 at 1:27 am
Essentially this is very close to BofA Merrill Lynch price prediction. Does not promise great profitability for shale ;-).

This price might increase the chance of Seneca Cliff.

And does not save KAS from its huge budget deficit (Platt thinks that they need at least $85 to balance the budget). Russia probably can balance budget at this price (anything about $55 average will suit)

See http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/The-Craziest-Oil-Price-Predictions-For-201712879.html

In February of this year, when WTI was just over US$31, Brandon Blossman at Tudor Pickering Holt & Co said he expected oil at US$70 by the end of the year, and at US$90 by the end of next year, commenting on the Colliers International Trends 2016 Commercial Real Estate Market Update, as quoted by Houston Agent Magazine.

Raymond James forecast WTI at US$75 in the first quarter next year and at US$80 in the fourth quarter of 2017.

U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects Brent Crude prices to average US$51.66 in 2017, with WTI Crude prices averaging US$50.66 next year.

BofA Merrill Lynch – one of the optimistic viewpoints among the investment banks – said in its 2017 Market Outlook that its forecast for WTI Crude is US$59 and Brent – at US$61. BofA Merrill Lynch also factors in a rebound of the U.S. shale patch in its price projections.

[Dec 27, 2016] Guriev mising on the Russian economy and President Putin

Economist was always adamantly anti-Russian and, especially, anti-Putin. The use of people like Sergey Guriev (recent emigrant to Paris, who excape to avoid the danger of criminal procecution for skolkovao machinations) is just an icing on the cake.
Notable quotes:
"... During the 2015-16 recession, GDP. fell by more than 4 percent and real incomes declined by 10 percent. That is significant, but much less serious than, say, the 40 percent drop in GDP that Russia experienced during the first half of the 1990s. Despite a dramatic decline in oil prices and the burden of sanctions imposed by Western governments after the Crimea crisis, the Putin administration has managed to avert economic disaster by pursuing competent macroeconomic policies. ..."
"... As the sanctions cut off Russia's access to global financial markets, the government set out to cover the budget deficit by undertaking major austerity measures and tapping its substantial sovereign funds. In early 2014, the Reserve Fund (created to mitigate fiscal shocks caused by drops in oil prices) and the National Welfare Fund (set up to address shortfalls in the pension system) together held the equivalent of 8 percent of GDP. ..."
Dec 27, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
Fred C. Dobbs :

In Russia, It's Not the Economy,
Stupid http://nyti.ms/2hlLRNx
NYT - SERGEI GURIEV - Dec 25

LONDON - The Russian economy is in trouble - "in tatters," President Obama has said - so why aren't Russians more upset with their leaders? The country underwent a major recession recently. The ruble lost half of its value. And yet, according to a leading independent pollster in Russia, President Vladimir V. Putin's approval ratings have consistently exceeded 80 percent during the past couple of years.

One reason is that while the Russian economy is struggling, it is not falling apart, and many Russians remember times when it was in a much worse state. Another, perhaps more important, explanation is that Mr. Putin has convinced them that it's not the economy, stupid, anymore.

Thanks largely to the government's extensive control over information, Mr. Putin has rewritten the social contract in Russia. Long based on economic performance, it is now about geopolitical status. If economic pain is the price Russians have to pay so that Russia can stand up to the West, so be it.

It wasn't like this in the 1990s and 2000s. Back then the approval ratings of Russian leaders were closely correlated with economic performance, as the political scientist Daniel Treisman has demonstrated. When the economy began to recover from the 1998 financial crisis, Mr. Putin's popularity increased. It dipped when growth stalled. It climbed again in 2005, after the global price of oil - Russia' main export commodity - rose, foreign investment flowed in and domestic consumption boomed. And it fell substantially after growth rates slowed in 2012-13.

Russia's intervention in Crimea in early 2014 changed everything. Within two months, Mr. Putin's popularity jumped back to more than 80 percent, where it has stayed until now, despite the recession.

One might argue that these figures are misleading: Given the pressures faced by the Kremlin's political opponents, aren't respondents in polls too afraid to answer questions honestly? Hardly, according to a recent study co-written by the political scientist Tim Frye, based on an innovative method known as "list experiments." It found that, even after adjusting for respondents' reluctance to openly acknowledge any misgivings about specific leaders, Mr. Putin's popularity really is very high: around 70 percent.

During the 2015-16 recession, GDP. fell by more than 4 percent and real incomes declined by 10 percent. That is significant, but much less serious than, say, the 40 percent drop in GDP that Russia experienced during the first half of the 1990s. Despite a dramatic decline in oil prices and the burden of sanctions imposed by Western governments after the Crimea crisis, the Putin administration has managed to avert economic disaster by pursuing competent macroeconomic policies.

As the sanctions cut off Russia's access to global financial markets, the government set out to cover the budget deficit by undertaking major austerity measures and tapping its substantial sovereign funds. In early 2014, the Reserve Fund (created to mitigate fiscal shocks caused by drops in oil prices) and the National Welfare Fund (set up to address shortfalls in the pension system) together held the equivalent of 8 percent of GDP.

The government also adopted sound monetary policy, including the decision to fully float the ruble in 2014. Because of the decline in oil prices and large net capital outflows - caused by the need to repay external corporate debt and limited foreign investment in Russia - the currency depreciated by 50 percent within a year. Although a weaker ruble hurt the living standards of ordinary Russians, it boosted the competitiveness of Russia's companies. The Russian economy is now beginning to grow again, if very modestly - at a projected 1 to 1.5 percent per year over the next few years.

This performance comes nowhere near meeting Mr. Putin's election-campaign promises of 2012, when he projected GDP. growth at 6 percent per year for 2011-18. But it isn't catastrophic either, and the government has managed to explain it away.

Thanks partly to its near-complete control of the press, television and the internet, the government has developed a grand narrative about Russia's role in the world - essentially promoting the view that Russians may need to tighten their belts for the good of the nation. The story has several subplots. Russian speakers in Ukraine need to be defended against neo-Nazis. Russia supports President Bashar al-Assad of Syria because he is a rampart against the Islamic State, and it has helped liberate Aleppo from terrorists. Why would the Kremlin hack the Democratic Party in the United States? And who believes what the CIA says anyway?

The Russian people seem to accept much of this or not to care one way or the other. This should come as no surprise. In a recent paper based on data for 128 countries over 10 years, Professor Treisman and I developed an econometric model to assess which factors affect a government's approval ratings and by how much. We concluded that fully removing internet controls in a country like Russia today would cause the government's popularity ratings to drop by about 35 percentage points. ...

What Makes Governments Popular
Sergei M. Guriev (CEPR), Daniel Treisman (UCLA)
November 11, 2016
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2882915

[Dec 27, 2016] The technocrats lied about how globalization would be great for everyone. Peoples actual experience in their lives has been different.

Notable quotes:
"... We have a dollar democracy that protects the economic interest of the elite class while more than willing to let working class families lose their homes and jobs on the back end of wide scale mortgage fraud. Then the fraud was perpetuated in the mortgage default process just to add insult to injury. ..."
"... One thing that Trump certainly got wrong that no one ever points out is that there is a lot more murder than rape crossing the Mexican-American border in the drug cartel operations ..."
"... The technocrats lied about how globalization would be great for everyone. People's actual experience in their lives has been different. ..."
"... Centrist Democrat partisans with their increasinly ineffectual defenses of the establishment say it's only about racism and xenophobia, but it's more than that. ..."
Dec 27, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
RC AKA Darryl, Ron
RE: Democracy Is Dying as Technocrats Watch - William Easterly

Assaults on democracy are working because our current political elites have no idea how to defend it.

[There are certainly good points to this article, but the basic assumption that our electorally representative form of republican government is the ideal incarnation of the democratic value set is obviously incorrect. We have a dollar democracy that protects the economic interest of the elite class while more than willing to let working class families lose their homes and jobs on the back end of wide scale mortgage fraud. Then the fraud was perpetuated in the mortgage default process just to add insult to injury.

One thing that Trump certainly got wrong that no one ever points out is that there is a lot more murder than rape crossing the Mexican-American border in the drug cartel operations:<) ]

Peter K. -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... December 27, 2016 at 06:39 AM

The author fails to mention the Sanders campaign. An elderly socialist Jew from Brooklyn was able to win 23 primaries and caucuses and approximately 43% of pledged delegates to Clinton's 55%.

This despite a nasty, hostile campaign against him and his supporters by the Clinton campaign and corporate media.

There's also Jeremy Corbyn in the UK. Podemos, Syriza, etc.

Italy's 5 Star movement demonstrates a hostility to technocrats as well.

The author doesn't really focus on how the technocrats have failed.

The technocrats lied about how globalization would be great for everyone. People's actual experience in their lives has been different.

Trump scapegoated immigrants and trade, as did Brexit, but what he really did was channel hostility and hatred at the elites and technocrats running the country.

Centrist Democrat partisans with their increasinly ineffectual defenses of the establishment say it's only about racism and xenophobia, but it's more than that.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron said in reply to Peter K.... , -1
Yes sir.

[Dec 27, 2016] Donald Trump targets globalization and free trade as job-killers

Dec 27, 2016 | www.usatoday.com

"Globalization has made the financial elite who donate to politicians very, very wealthy ... but it has left millions of our workers with nothing but poverty and heartache," Trump told supporters during a prepared speech targeting free trade in a nearly-shuttered former steel town in Pennsylvania.

In a speech devoted to what he called "How To Make America Wealthy Again," Trump offered a series of familiar plans designed to deal with what he called "failed trade policies" - including rejection of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with Pacific Rim nations and re-negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico, withdrawing from it if necessary.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee also said he would pursue bilateral trade agreements rather than multi-national deals like TPP and NAFTA.

In addition to appointing better trade negotiators and stepping up punishment of countries that violate trade rules, Trump's plans would also target one specific economic competitor: China. He vowed to label China a currency manipulator, bring it before the World Trade Organization and consider slapping tariffs on Chinese imports coming into the U.S.

[Dec 27, 2016] This Russian hacking thing is being discussed entirely out of realistic context.

Notable quotes:
"... This Russian hacking thing is being discussed entirely out of realistic context. ..."
"... Voting machines are public and for Federal elections then tampering with them is elevated to a Federal crime. ..."
economistsview.typepad.com

RC AKA Darryl, Ron : , December 18, 2016 at 07:18 AM

This Russian hacking thing is being discussed entirely out of realistic context.

Cyber security is a serious risk management operation that firms and governments spend outrageous sums of money on because hacking attempts, especially from sources in China and Russia, occur in vast numbers against every remotely desirable target corporate or government each and every day. At my former employer, the State of Virginia, the data center repelled over two million hacking attempts from sources in China each day. Northrop Grumman, the infrastructure management outsourcer for the State of Virginia's IT infrastructure, has had no known intrusions into any Commonwealth of Virginia servers that had been migrated to their standard security infrastructure thus far since the inception of their contract in July 2006. That is almost the one good thing that I have to say about NG. Some state servers, notably the Virginia Department of Health Professions, not under protection of the NG standard network security were hacked and had private information such as client SSNs stolen. Retail store servers are hacked almost routinely, but large banks and similarly well protected corporations are not. Security costs and it costs a lot.

Even working in a data center with an excellent intrusion protection program as part of that program I had to take an annual "securing the human" computer based training class. Despite all of the technical precautions we were retrained each year to among other things NEVER put anything in an E-Mail that we did not want to be available for everyone to read; i.e., to never assume privacy is protected in an E-Mail. Embarrassing E-Mails need a source. We should assume that there will always be a hacker to take advantage of our mistakes.

RGC -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , December 18, 2016 at 07:57 AM
Can you spell "diversion"?

Sanders: "Break up the banks!"

Trump: "The elites are screwing you over!"

Supporters of the status quo:

"It's racism"

"It's Russian hackers"

Whatever it takes to change the subject.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> RGC... , December 18, 2016 at 08:09 AM
Maybe it is diversion, but it is definitely uninformed if not just plain stupid.
sglover -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , December 18, 2016 at 06:11 PM
Absolutely. What does that suggest about Team Dem?
DrDick -> EMichael... , December 18, 2016 at 08:34 AM
The reality is that all the major world powers (and some minor ones), including us, do this routinely and always have. While it is entirely appropriate to be outraged that it may have materially determined the election (which I think is impossible to know, though it did have some impact), we should not be shocked or surprised by this.
RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> EMichael... , December 18, 2016 at 09:55 AM
"...I would suggest attacks on Putin's personal business holdings all over the world..."

[My guess is that has been being done a long time ago considering the direction of US/Russian foreign relations over NATO expansion, the Ukraine, and Syria.

Long before TCP/IP the best way to prevent dirty secrets from getting out was not to have dirty secrets. It still works.

The jabbering heads will not have much effect on the political opinions of ordinary citizens because 40 million or more US adults had their credit information compromised by the Target hackers three years ago. Target had been saving credit card numbers instead of deleting them as soon as they obtained authorizations for transfers, so that the 40 million were certainly exposed while more than twice that were probably exposed. Establishment politicians having their embarrassing E-mails hacked is more like good fun family entertainment than something to get all riled up about.]

http://money.cnn.com/2014/01/10/news/companies/target-hacking/

Target: Hacking hit up to 110 million customers

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> EMichael... , December 18, 2016 at 10:22 AM
Voting machines are public and for Federal elections then tampering with them is elevated to a Federal crime. Political parties are private. The Federal government did not protect Target or Northrop Grumman's managed infrastructure for the Commonwealth of Virginia although either one can take forensic information to the FBI that will obtain warrants for prosecution. Foreign criminal operations go beyond the immediate domestic reach of the FBI. Not even Interpol interdicts foreign leaders unless they are guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes.

The Federal government can do what it will as there are not hard guidelines for such clandestine operations and responses. Moreover, there are none to realistically enforce against them, which inevitably leads to war given sufficient cycles of escalation. Certainly our own government has done worse (political assassinations and supporting coups with money and guns) with impunity merely because of its size, reach, and power.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> EMichael... , December 18, 2016 at 10:43 AM
BTW, "the burglar that just ransacked your house" can be arrested and prosecuted by a established regulated legal system with absolutely zero concerns of escalating into a nuclear war, trade war, or any other global hostility. So, not the same thing at all. Odds are good though that the burglar will get away without any of that because when he does finally get caught it will be an accident and probably only after dozen if not hundreds of B&E's.

There is a line. The US has crossed that line, but always in less developed countries that had no recourse against us. Putin knows where the line is with the US. He will dance around it and lean over it, but not cross it. We have him outgunned and he knows it. Putin did not tamper with an election, a government function. Putin tampered with private data exposing incriminating information against a political party, which is a private entity rather than government entity. Whatever we do should probably stay within the rule of law as it gets messy fast once outside those boundaries.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , December 18, 2016 at 11:01 AM
As far as burglars go I live in a particular working class zip code that has very few burglaries. It is a bad risk/reward deal unless you are just out to steal guns and then you better make sure that no one is home. Most people with children still living at home also have a gun safe. Most people have dogs.

There are plenty burglaries in a lower income zip code nearby and lots more in higher income zip codes further away, the former being targets of opportunity with less security and possible drug stashes, which has a faster turnover than fencing big screen TV's. High income neighborhoods are natural targets with jewelry, cash, credit cards, and high end electronics, but far better security systems. I don't know much about their actual crime stats because they are on the opposite side of the City of Richmond VA from me, but I used to know a couple of burglars when I lived in the inner city. They liked the upscale homes near the University of Richmond on River Road.

Peter K. -> DrDick... , December 18, 2016 at 09:21 AM
Putin was mad b/c Clinton interfered in Russia's election using the bully-pulpit.

She may have been complete correct in what she was saying, but it's not surprising she pissed Putin off.

The Democratic establishment would rather discuss this than do a post-mortem on Hillary's campaign.

They kept telling us the e-mail didn't reveal anything and now they say the e-mail determined the election.

DeDude -> Peter K.... , December 18, 2016 at 09:43 AM
"They kept telling us the e-mail didn't reveal anything and now they say the e-mail determined the election"

And those two statement are not in conflict unless you are a brain dead Fox bot. Big nothing-burgers like Bhengazi or trivial emails can easily be blown up and affect a few hundred thousand voters. When the heck are you going to grow up and get past your 5 stages of Sanders grief?

Peter K. -> DeDude... , December 18, 2016 at 09:54 AM
"Big nothing-burgers like Bhengazi or trivial emails can easily be blown up and affect a few hundred thousand voters. "

There is already an audience for those faux scandals, the Fox viewers.

They don't create new Voters.

You're nothing but a brainwashed partisan Democrat, a mirror-image of these brainwashed Fox viewers.

You're told what you're supposed to think by the Party leadership and you eat it up.

No critical thinking skills.

EMichael -> DeDude... , December 18, 2016 at 09:55 AM
He's barely over Nader.
DeDude -> EMichael... , December 18, 2016 at 10:07 AM
I know - and there used to be some signs of a functional brain. Now it is all "they are all the same" ism and Hillary derangement syndrome on steroids. Someone who cares need to do an intervention before it becomes he get gobbled up by "ilsm" ism.
Peter K. -> EMichael... , December 18, 2016 at 01:08 PM
Nader's critique was correct.

The Democrats moved to the right and created more Trump voters.

im1dc -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , December 18, 2016 at 08:56 AM
ABC video interview by Martha Raddatz of Donna Brazile 2:43

Adding the following FACTS, not opinion, to the Russian Hacking debate at the DNC

Russian hacks of the DNC began at least as early as April, the FBI informed the DNC in May of the hacks, NO ONE in the FedGovt offered to HELP the DNC at anytime (allowed it to continue), and Russia's Putin DID NOT stop after President Obama told Putin in September to "Cut it Out", despite Obama's belief otherwise

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/dnc-chair-says-committee-was-attacked-by-russian-hackers-through-election-day_us_5856acb6e4b08debb78992e4

"DNC Chair Says Russian Hackers Attacked The Committee Through Election Day"

'That goes against Obama's statement that the attacks ended after he spoke to Putin in September'

by Dave Jamieson Labor Reporter...The Huffington Post...12/18/2016...10:59 am ET

"The chair of the Democratic National Committee said Sunday that the DNC was under constant cyber attack by Russian hackers right through the election in November. Her claim contradicts President Barack Obama's statement Friday that the attacks ended in September after he issued a personal warning to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"No, they did not stop," Donna Brazile told Martha Raddatz on ABC's "This Week." "They came after us absolutely every day until the end of the election. They tried to hack into our system repeatedly. We put up the very best cyber security but they constantly [attacked]."

Brazile said the DNC was outgunned in its efforts to fend off the hacks, and suggested the committee received insufficient protection from U.S. intelligence agencies. The CIA and FBI have reportedly concluded that Russians carried out the attacks in an effort to help Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.

"I think the Obama administration ― the FBI, the various other federal agencies ― they informed us, they told us what was happening. We knew as of May," Brazile said. "But in terms of helping us to fight, we were fighting a foreign adversary in the cyberspace. The Democratic National Committee, we were not a match. And yet we fought constantly."

In a surprising analogy, Brazile compared the FBI's help to the DNC to that of the Geek Squad, the tech service provided at retailer Best Buy ― which is to say well-meaning, but limited.

"They reached out ― it's like going to Best Buy," Brazile said. "You get the Geek Squad, and they're great people, by the way. They reached out to our IT vendors. But they reached us, meaning senior Democratic officials, by then it was, you know, the Russians had been involved for a long time."..."

im1dc -> im1dc... , December 18, 2016 at 08:59 AM
This new perspective and set of facts is more than distressing it details a clear pattern of Executive Branch incompetence, malfeasance, and ineptitude (perhaps worse if you are conspiratorially inclined)
im1dc -> im1dc... , -1
The information above puts in bold relief President Obama's denial of an Electoral College briefing on the Russian Hacks

There is now no reason not to brief the Electors to the extent and degree of Putin's help for demagogue Donald

[Dec 27, 2016] Neopopulism

Dec 27, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs -> Peter K.... December 26, 2016 at 07:15 AM neopopulism: A cultural and political movement, mainly in Latin American countries, distinct from twentieth-century populism in radically combining classically opposed left-wing and right-wing attitudes and using electronic media as a means of dissemination. (Wiktionary)

[Dec 27, 2016] How Americans Spent Their Money In The Last 75 Years (In 1 Simple Chart) Zero Hedge

Dec 27, 2016 | www.zerohedge.com
How Americans Spent Their Money In The Last 75 Years (In 1 Simple Chart) Tyler Durden Dec 25, 2016 11:55 PM 0 SHARES Consumer spending makes up 70% of the United States economy. We all have bills to pay and mouths to feed, but where do Americans spend their money? Here is a breakdown of how Americans spent their money in the last 75 years...

In the chart above, spending is broken into 12 categories: Reading, alcohol, tobacco, education, personal care, miscellaneous, recreation & entertainment, healthcare, clothing, food, transportation and housing. Each category is further broken down into spending by year, from 1941 to 2014, and each category is given a unique color. The data were collected from the Bureau of Labor Statistics . The data is adjusted for inflation and measures median spending of all Americans.

Unsurprisingly, housing expenses have almost always been the largest area of spending in America for over 70 years. The only exception is 1941, when spending on food averaged $8,311, whereas spending on housing came to $7,537. However, in 1941 the government included alcohol in the food spending category, which inflates the food spending data for that year. In the other years, alcohol was given its own category. In every other year measured, spending on housing outpaced every other category.

Another interesting trend is the downward slope of spending on clothing. Americans spent the most on clothing in 1961 for an average of $4,157. In every year measured since 1961, spending on clothing fell, even when accounting for inflation.

At the same time, Americans began spending more on education, transportation and healthcare. Spending on education has increased far more than any other category, jumping from $242 in 1941 to $1,236 in 2014. Education spending increased at a particularly fast rate between 1984 and 1994 and onward. While spending on healthcare increased between 1941 and 2014, overall spending dipped between 1973 and 1984, but then began rising rapidly thereafter.

Between 1941 and 2014 Americans spent money on most of the same things, with a few changes. Housing has persisted as a large area of spending for Americans, as has the food category. However, spending on food and clothing has fallen when adjusting for inflation while spending on education and healthcare has risen quickly.

[Dec 27, 2016] Oil Price Roulette: Investors Bet On $100 Oil

Notable quotes:
"... "was the most traded contract on Tuesday across the whole ICE Brent market." ..."
"... "That's a relatively cheap lottery ticket," ..."
"... "It's clearly not the consensus in the market that we're going to see a return to those prices any time soon, so it's more likely a hedge against unforeseen geopolitical events during that time." ..."
Dec 27, 2016 | finance.yahoo.com
Oil prices are rising and speculators are already staking out bullish positions on futures for the next few months, but some traders are rolling the dice on a much bigger price spike in the next two years.

Some contracts that pay off big time if oil prices hit $100 per barrel by December 2018 just saw a spike in interest, according to Bloomberg . The $100 December 2018 call option, Bloomberg says, "was the most traded contract on Tuesday across the whole ICE Brent market." That contract gives the owner the right to buy Dec. 2018 futures at $100 per barrel.

Few oil analysts expect oil prices to rise that high within the next two years. The oil market is still oversupplied, and even with the OPEC deal – which will take 1.8 million barrels per day off the market if fully fulfilled – the world is still flush with oil sitting in storage. It will take time to work through those inventories, providing a cushion to a tightening market. However, the sudden interest in such a remote possibility of a large price spike suggests that investors are growing more confident that the market is on the upswing.

"That's a relatively cheap lottery ticket," Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S, said in an interview with Bloomberg. "It's clearly not the consensus in the market that we're going to see a return to those prices any time soon, so it's more likely a hedge against unforeseen geopolitical events during that time."

Related: The U.S. Oil Rig Count Hits Its Highest Level Since January

Purchasing these options may not be such a huge risk – Bloomberg says they could cost a bit more than $1 million while the payoff would be multiples of that if prices happened to go that high. It is similar to going to Vegas and playing roulette, putting some money on a single number or a few numbers, which have long odds but huge payouts. On the other hand, the spike in interest in the $100 options could also just be a small part of a broader hedging program from some companies, cropping up now since the contracts are two years out.

With oil back above $50 per barrel, money managers have become much more bullish on crude. In fact, collectively, hedge funds and other investors have sold off short bets and purchased long positions, building up the most bullish net-long position in more than two years. OPEC has not yet cut back by a single barrel, but its Nov. 30 deal in Vienna has succeeded in sparking a bull run for oil.

By Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com

[Dec 27, 2016] On Krugman And The Working Class - Tim Duys Fed Watch

Notable quotes:
"... Excellent critique. Establishment Democrats are tone-deaf right now; the state of denial they live in is stunning. I'd like to think they can learn after the shock of defeat is over, but identity politics for non-white, non-male, non-heterosexual is what the Democratic party is about today and has been the last decade or so. ..."
"... That's the effect of incessant Dem propaganda pitting races and sexes against each other. ..."
"... And Democrats' labeling of every Republican president/candidate as a Nazi - including Trump - is desensitizing the public to the real danger created by discriminatory policies that punish [white] children and young adults, particularly boys. ..."
"... So, to make up for the alleged screw job that women and minorities have supposedly received, the plan will be screwing white/hetro/males for the forseeable future. My former employer is doing this very plan, as we speak. Passed over 100 plus males, who have been turning wrenches on airplanes for years, and installed a female shop manager who doesn't know jack-$##t about fixing airplanes. No experience, no certificate......but she has a management degree. But I guess you don't know how to do the job to manage it. ..."
"... Bernie Sanders was that standard bearer, but Krugman and the Neoliberal establishment Democrats (ie. Super Delegates) decided that they wanted to coronate Clinton. ..."
"... Evolution of political parties happens organically, through evolution (punctuated equilibrium - like species and technology - parties have periods of stability with some sudden jumps in differentiation). ..."
"... If Nancy Pelosi is re-elected (highly likely), it will be the best thing to happen to Republicans since Lincoln. They will lose even more seats. ..."
"... The Coastal Pelosi/Schumer wing is still in power, and it will take decimation at the ballot box to change the party. The same way the "Tea Party" revolution decimated the Republicans and led to Trump. Natural selection at work. ..."
"... The central fact of the election is that Hillary has always been extraordinarily unlikable, and it turned out that she was Nixonianly corrupt ..."
"... I'm from Dallas. Three of my closest friends growing up (and to this day), as well as my brother in law, are hispanic. They, and their families, all vote Republican, even for Trump. Generally speaking, the longer hispanics are in the US, the more likely they tend to vote Republican. ..."
"... The Democratic Establishment and their acolytes are caught in a credibility trap. ..."
"... I also think many Trump voters know they are voting against their own economic interest. The New York Times interviewed a number who acknowledge that they rely on insurance subsidies from Obamacare and that Trump has vowed to repeal it. I know one such person myself. She doesn't know what she will do if Obamacare is repealed but is quite happy with her vote. ..."
"... Krugman won his Nobel for arcane economic theory. So it isn't terribly surprising that he spectacularly fails whenever he applies his brain to anything remotely dealing with mainstream thought. He is the poster boy for condescending, smarter by half, elite liberals. In other words, he is an over educated, political hack who has yet to learn to keep his overtly bias opinions to himself. ..."
"... Funny how there's all this concern for the people whose jobs and security and money have vanished, leaving them at the mercy of faceless banks and turning to drugs and crime. Sad. Well, let's bash some more on those lazy, shiftless urban poors who lack moral strength and good, Protestant work ethic, shall we? ..."
"... Clinton slammed half the Trump supporters as deplorables, not half the public. She was correct; about half of them are various sorts of supremacists. The other half (she said this, too) made common cause with the deplorables for economic reasons even though it was a devil's bargain. ..."
"... I have never commented here but I will now because of the number of absurd statements. I happen to work with black and Hispanic youth and have also worked with undocumented immigrants. To pretend that trump and the Republican Party has their interest in mind is completely absurd. As for the white working class, please tell me what programs either trump or the republican have put forward to benefit them? I have lost a lot of respect for Duy ..."
"... The keys of the election were race, immigration and trade. Trump won on these points. What dems can do is to de-emphasize multiculturalism, racial equality, political correctness etc. Instead, emphasize economic equality and security, for all working class. ..."
"... Krugman more or less blames media, FBI, Russia entirely for Hillary's loss, which I think is wrong. As Tim said, Dems have long ceased to be the party of the working class, at least in public opinion, for legitimate reasons. ..."
"... All Mr. Krugman and the Democratic establishment need to do is to listen, with open ears and mind, to what Thomas Frank has been saying, and they will know where they went wrong and most likely what to do about it, if they can release themselves from their fatal embrace with Big Money covered up by identity politics. ..."
"... Pretty sad commentary by neoliberal left screaming at neoliberal right and vice versa. ..."
"... The neoliberals with their multi-culti/love them all front men have had it good for a while, now there's a reaction. Deal with it. ..."
Dec 27, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
Jason Nordsell : , November 27, 2016 at 08:02 AM
Excellent critique. Establishment Democrats are tone-deaf right now; the state of denial they live in is stunning. I'd like to think they can learn after the shock of defeat is over, but identity politics for non-white, non-male, non-heterosexual is what the Democratic party is about today and has been the last decade or so.

The only way Dems can make any headway by the midterms is if Trump really screws up, which is a tall order even for him. He will pick the low-hanging fruit (e.g., tax reform, Obamacare reform, etc), the economy will continue to recover (which will be attributed to Trump), and Dems will lose even more seats in Congress. And why? Because they refuse to recognize that whites from the middle-class and below are just as disadvantaged as minorities from the same social class.

If white privilege exists at all (its about as silly as the "Jews control the banks and media" conspiracy theories), it exists for the upper classes. Poor whites need help too. And young men in/out of college today are being displaced by women - not because the women have superior academic qualification, but because they are women. I've seen it multiple times firsthand in some of the country's largest companies and universities (as a lawyer, when an investigation or litigation takes place, I get to see everyone's emails, all the way to CEO/board). There is a concerted effort to hire only women and minorities, especially for executive/managerial positions. That's not equality.

That's the effect of incessant Dem propaganda pitting races and sexes against each other. This election exposed the media's role, but its not over. Fortunately, Krugman et al. are showing the Dems are too dumb to figure out why they lost. Hopefully they keep up their stupidity so identity politics can fade into history and we can get back to pursuing equality.

bob -> Jason Nordsell... , November 28, 2016 at 03:02 PM
"There is a concerted effort to hire only women and minorities, especially for executive/managerial positions."

Goooooolllllllllllllly, gee. Now why would that be? I hope you're not saying there shouldn't be such an effort. This is a good thing. It exactly and precisely IS equality. It may be a bit harsh, but if certain folks continually find ways to crap of women and minorities, then public policies would seem warranted.

Are you seriously telling us that pursuing public policies to curb racial and sexual discrimination are a waste of time?

How, exactly, does your vision of "pursuit of equality" ameliorate the historical fact of discrimination?

Jason Nordsell -> bob... , November 29, 2016 at 10:17 AM
You don't make up for past discrimination with discrimination. You make up for it by equal application of the law. Today's young white men are not the cause of discrimination of the 20th century, or of slavery. If you discriminate against them because of the harm caused by other people, you're sowing the seeds of a REAL white nationalist movement. And Democrats' labeling of every Republican president/candidate as a Nazi - including Trump - is desensitizing the public to the real danger created by discriminatory policies that punish [white] children and young adults, particularly boys.

Displacement of white men by lesser-qualified women and minorities is NOT equality.

Paid Minion -> bob... , December 26, 2016 at 01:29 PM
So, to make up for the alleged screw job that women and minorities have supposedly received, the plan will be screwing white/hetro/males for the forseeable future. My former employer is doing this very plan, as we speak. Passed over 100 plus males, who have been turning wrenches on airplanes for years, and installed a female shop manager who doesn't know jack-$##t about fixing airplanes. No experience, no certificate......but she has a management degree. But I guess you don't know how to do the job to manage it.

God forbid somebody have to "pay some dues" before setting them loose as suit trash.

This will not end well.

Richard -> Jason Nordsell... , November 30, 2016 at 03:45 PM
You had me nodding until the last part.

Back when cultural conservatives ruled the roost (not that long ago), they didn't pursue equality either. Rather, they favored (hetero Christian) white men. So hoping for Dem stupidity isn't going to lead to equality. Most likely it would go back to favoring hetero Christian white men.

Todd : , November 27, 2016 at 08:46 AM
"...should they find a new standard bearer that can win the Sunbelt states and bridge the divide with the white working class? I tend to think the latter strategy has the higher likelihood of success."

Easy to say. What would that standard bearer or that strategy look like?

Bill -> Todd... , November 27, 2016 at 08:59 AM
Bernie Sanders was that standard bearer, but Krugman and the Neoliberal establishment Democrats (ie. Super Delegates) decided that they wanted to coronate Clinton. Big mistake that we are now paying for...
Bob Salsa -> Bill... , November 28, 2016 at 12:56 PM
Basic political math - Sanders would have been eaten alive with his tax proposals by the GOP anti-tax propaganda machine on Trump steroids.

His call to raise the payroll tax to send more White working class hard-earn money to Washington would have made election night completely different - Trump would have still won, it just wouldn't have been a surprise but rather a known certainty weeks ahead.

dwb : , November 27, 2016 at 10:47 AM
Evolution of political parties happens organically, through evolution (punctuated equilibrium - like species and technology - parties have periods of stability with some sudden jumps in differentiation).

Old politicians are defeated, new ones take over. The old guard, having been successful in the past in their own niche rarely change.

If Nancy Pelosi is re-elected (highly likely), it will be the best thing to happen to Republicans since Lincoln. They will lose even more seats.

The Coastal Pelosi/Schumer wing is still in power, and it will take decimation at the ballot box to change the party. The same way the "Tea Party" revolution decimated the Republicans and led to Trump. Natural selection at work.

In 1991, Republicans thought they would always win, Democrats thought the country was relegated to Republican Presidents forever. Then along came a new genotype- Clinton. In 2012, Democrats thought that they would always win, and Republicans were thought to be locked out of the electoral college. Then along came a new genotype, Trump.

A new genotype of Democrat will have to emerge, but it will start with someone who can win in flyover country and Texas. Hint: They will have to drop their hubris, disdain and lecturing, some of their anti-growth energy policies, hate for the 2nd amendment, and become more fiscally conservative. They have to realize that *no one* will vote for an increase in the labor supply (aka immigration) when wages are stagnant and growth is anemic. And they also have to appreciate people would rather be free to choose than have decisions made for them. Freedom means nothing unless you are free to make mistakes.

But it won't happen until coastal elites like Krugman and Pelosi have retired.


swampwiz -> dwb... , November 28, 2016 at 12:59 AM
My vote for the Democratic Tiktaalik is the extraordinarily Honorable John Bel Edwards, governor of Louisiana. The central fact of the election is that Hillary has always been extraordinarily unlikable, and it turned out that she was Nixonianly corrupt (i.e., deleted E-mails on her illegal private server) as well - and she still only lost by 1% in the tipping point state (i.e., according to the current count, which could very well change).
bob -> dwb... , November 28, 2016 at 03:09 PM
You know what will win Texas? Demographic change. Economic growth. And it is looking pretty inevitable on both counts.

I'm also pretty damned tired of being dismissed as "elitist", "smug" and condescending. I grew up in a red state. I know their hate. I know their condescension (they're going to heaven, libruls are not).

It cuts both ways. The Dems are going into a fetal crouch about this defeat. Did the GOP do that after 2008? Nope. They dug in deeper.

Could be a lesson there for us.

Smugly your,

dwb -> bob... , November 28, 2016 at 06:27 PM
Ahh yes, all Texas needs is demographic change, because all [Hispanics, Blacks, insert minority here] will always and forever vote Democrat. Even though the Democrats take their votes for granted and Chicago/Baltimore etc. are crappy places to live with no school choice, high taxes, fleeing jobs, and crime. Even though Trump outperformed Romney among minorities.

Clinton was supposed to be swept up in the winds of demographics and the Democrats were supposed to win the White House until 2083.

Funny things happen when you take votes for granted. Many urban areas are being crushed by structural deficits and need some Detroit type relief. I predict that some time in the next 30 years, poles reverse, and urban areas are run by Republicans.

If you are tired of being dismissed as "elitist", "smug" and condescending, don't be those things. Don't assume people will vote for your party because they have always voted that way, or they are a certain color. Respect the voters and work to earn it.

Jason Nordsell -> bob... , November 29, 2016 at 10:27 AM
The notion that hispanic=democrat that liberals like bob have is hopelessly ignorrant.

I'm from Dallas. Three of my closest friends growing up (and to this day), as well as my brother in law, are hispanic. They, and their families, all vote Republican, even for Trump. Generally speaking, the longer hispanics are in the US, the more likely they tend to vote Republican.

The Democratic Party's plan to wait out the Republicans and let demographics take over is ignorant, racist and shortsighted, cooked up by coastal liberals that haven't got a clue, and will ultimately fail.

In addition to losing hispanics, Democrats will also start losing the African American vote they've been taking for granted the last several decades. Good riddance to the Democratic party, they are simply unwilling to listen to what the people want.

RJ -> bob... , December 06, 2016 at 11:20 PM
You might be tired of it, but clearly you are elitist, smug, and condescending.

Own it. Fly your freak flag proudly,

Tom : , November 27, 2016 at 11:42 AM
This is a really shoddy piece that repeats the medias pulling of Clintons quote out of context. She also said "that other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they're just desperate for change. It doesn't really even matter where it comes from. They don't buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won't wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they're in a dead-end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well."

Now maybe it is okay to make gnore this part of the quote because you think calling racism "deplorable" is patently offensive. But when the ignored context makes the same points that Duy says she should have been making, that is shoddy.

dwb -> Tom... , November 27, 2016 at 12:07 PM
There are zero electoral college votes in the State of Denial. Hopefully you understand a)the difference between calling people deplorable and calling *behavior* deplorable; b) Godwin's Law: when you resort to comparing people to Hitler you've lost the argument. Trump supporters were not racist, homophobic, xenophobic, or any other phobic. As a moderate, educated, female Trump supporter counseled: He was an a-hole, but I liked his policies.

Even my uber liberal friends cannot tell me what Clinton's economic plan was. Only that they are anti-Trump.

Trump flanked Clinton on the most popular policies (the left used to be the anti-trade party of union Democrats): Lower regulation, lower taxes, pro-2nd amendment, trade deals more weighted in favor of US workers, and lower foreign labor supply. Turn's out, those policies are sufficiently popular that people will vote for them, even when packaged into an a-hole. Trump's anti-trade platform was preached for decades by rust belt unions.

The coastal Democrats have become hostages to pro-big-government municipal unions crushing cities under structural deficits, high taxes, poorly run schools, and overbearing regulations. The best thing that can happen for the Democrats is for the Republicans to push for reforms of public pensions, school choice, and break municipal unions. Many areas see the disaster in Chicago and Baltimore, run by Democrats for decades, and say no thank you. Freed of the need to cater to urban municipal unions, Democrats may be able to appeal to people elsewhere.

Nick : , November 27, 2016 at 01:16 PM
Where can you move to for a job when wages are so low compared to rents?
The young generations are not happy with house prices or rents as well.
Giant_galveston -> Tim C.... , December 05, 2016 at 08:43 PM
Tim, I believe you've missed the point: by straightforward measures, Democratic voters in USA are substantially under-represented. The problem is likely to get much worse, as the party whose policies abet minority rule now controls all three branches of the federal government and a substantial majority of state governments.
Tim C. : , November 27, 2016 at 02:50 PM
This is an outstanding takedown on what has been a never-ending series of garbage from Krugman.

I used to hang on every post he'd made for years after the 2008 crisis hit. But once the Clinton coronation arose this year, the arrogant, condescending screed hit 11 - and has not slowed down since. Threads of circular and illogical arguments have woven together pathetic - and often non-liberal - editorials that have driven me away permanently.

Since he's chosen to ride it all on political commentary, Krugman's credibility is right there with luminaries such as Nial Ferguson and Greg Mankiw.

Seems that everyone who chooses to hitch their wagon to the Clintons ends up covered in bilge..... funny thing about that persistent coincidence...

dazed and confused : , November 27, 2016 at 02:58 PM
"And it is an especially difficult pill given that the decline was forced upon the white working class.... The tsunami of globalization washed over them....in many ways it was inevitable, just as was the march of technology that had been eating away at manufacturing jobs for decades. But the damage was intensified by trade deals.... Then came the housing crash and the ensuing humiliation of the foreclosure crisis."

All the more amazing then that Trump pulled out such a squeaker of an election beating Clinton by less than 2% in swing states and losing the popular vote overall. In the shine of Duy's lights above, I would have imagined a true landslide for Trump... Just amazing.

Jesse : , November 27, 2016 at 04:29 PM

The Democratic Establishment and their acolytes are caught in a credibility trap.

dimknight : , November 27, 2016 at 11:48 PM
"I don't know that the white working class voted against their economic interest".

I think you're pushing too hard here. Democrats have been for, and Republicans against many policies that benefit the white working class: expansionary monetary policy, Obamacare, housing refinance, higher minimum wage, tighter worker safety regulation, stricter tax collection, and a host of others.

I also think many Trump voters know they are voting against their own economic interest. The New York Times interviewed a number who acknowledge that they rely on insurance subsidies from Obamacare and that Trump has vowed to repeal it. I know one such person myself. She doesn't know what she will do if Obamacare is repealed but is quite happy with her vote.

Doug Rife : , November 28, 2016 at 07:17 AM
There is zero evidence for this theory. It ignores the fact that Trump lied his way to the White House with the help of a media unwilling to confront and expose his mendacity. And there was the media's obsession with Clinton's Emails and the WikiLeaks daily release of stolen DNC documents. And finally the Comey letter which came in the middle of early voting keeping the nation in suspense for 11 days and which was probably a violation of the hatch act. Comey was advised against his unjustified action by higher up DOJ officials but did it anyway. All of these factors loomed much larger than the deplorables comment. Besides, the strong dollar fostered by the FOMC's obsession with "normalization" helped Trump win because the strong dollar hurts exporters like farmers who make up much of the rural vote as well as hurting US manufacturing located in the midwest states. The FOMC was objectively pro Trump.
Nate F : , November 28, 2016 at 07:57 AM
I was surrounded by Trump voters this past election. Trust me, an awful lot of them are deplorable. My father is extremely anti semetic and once warned me not to go to Minneapolis because of there being "too many Muslims." One of our neighbors thinks all Muslims are terrorists and want to do horrible things to all Christians.

I know, its not a scientific study. But I've had enough one on one conversations with Trump supporters (not just GOP voters, Trump supporters) to say that yes, as a group they have some pretty horrible views.

Giant_galveston -> Nate F... , December 05, 2016 at 08:38 PM
Yep. I've got plenty of stories myself. From the fact that there are snooty liberals it does NOT follow that the resentment fueling Trump's support is justified.
Denis Drew : , November 28, 2016 at 08:41 AM
One should note that the "The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic - you name it ... " voted for Obama last time around.

When the blue collar voter (for lack of a better class) figures out that the Republicans (Trump) are not going to help them anymore than the Dems did -- it will be time for them to understand they can only rely on themselves, namely: through rebuilding labor union density, which can be done AT THE STATE BY PROGRESSIVE STATE LEVEL.

To keep it simple states may add to federal protections like the minimum wage or safety regs -- just not subtract. At present the NLRB has zero (no) enforcement power to prevent union busting (see Trump in Vegas) -- so illegal labor market muscling, firing of organizers and union joiners go completely undeterred and unrecoursed.

Recourse, once we get Congress back might include mandating certification elections on finding of union busting. Nothing too alien: Wisconsin, for instance, mandates RE-certification of all public employee unions annually.

Progressive states first step should be making union busting a felony -- taking the power playing in our most important and politically impacting market as seriously as taking a movie in the movies (get you a couple of winters). For a more expansive look (including a look at the First Amendment and the fed cannot preempt something with nothing, click here):
http://ontodayspage.blogspot.com/2016/11/first-100-days-progressive-states-agenda.html

Labor unions -- returned to high density -- can act as the economic cop on every corner -- our everywhere advocates squelching such a variety of unhealthy practices as financialization, big pharam gouging, for profit college fraud (Trump U. -- that's where we came into this movie). 6% private union density is like 20/10 bp; it starves every other healthy process (listening blue collar?).

Don't panic if today's Repub Congress passes national right-to-work legislation. Germany, which has the platinum standard labor institutions, does not have one majority union (mostly freeloaders!), but is almost universally union or covered by union contracts (centralized bargaining -- look it up) and that's what counts.

Gary Anderson : , November 28, 2016 at 09:47 AM
Trump took both sides of every issue. He wants high and low interest rates. He wants a depression first, (Bannonomics) and inflation first, (Trumponomics), he wants people to make more and make less. He is nasty and so he projected that his opponent was nasty.

Now he has to act instead of just talk out of both sides of his mouth. That should not be as easy to do.

C Jones : , November 28, 2016 at 10:31 AM
Hi Tim, nice post, and I particularly liked your last paragraph. The relevant question today if you have accepted where we are is effectively: 'What would you prefer - a Trump victory now? Or a Trump type election victory in a decade or so? (with todays corresponding social/economic/political trends continuing).
I'm a Brit so I was just an observer to the US election but the same point is relevant here in the UK - Would I rather leave the EU now with a (half sensible) Tory government? Or would I rather leave later on with many more years of upheaval and a (probably by then quite nutty) UKIP government?
I know which one I prefer - recognise the protest vote sooner, rather than later.
Bob Salsa : , November 28, 2016 at 12:48 PM
Sure they're angry, and their plight makes that anger valid.

However, not so much their belief as to who and what caused their plight, and more importantly, who can and how their plight would be successfully reversed.

Most people have had enough personal experiences to know that it is when we are most angry that we do the stupidest of things.

Lars : , November 28, 2016 at 05:58 PM
Krugman won his Nobel for arcane economic theory. So it isn't terribly surprising that he spectacularly fails whenever he applies his brain to anything remotely dealing with mainstream thought. He is the poster boy for condescending, smarter by half, elite liberals. In other words, he is an over educated, political hack who has yet to learn to keep his overtly bias opinions to himself.
Douglas P Anthony : , November 29, 2016 at 08:16 AM
Tim's narrative felt like a cold shower. I was apprehensive that I found it too agreeable on one level but were the building blocks stable and accurate?

Somewhat like finding a meal that is satisfying, but wondering later about the ingredients.

But, like Tim's posts on the Fed, they prompt that I move forward to ponder the presentation and offer it to others for their comment. At this time, five-stars on a 1-5 system for bringing a fresh approach to the discussion. Thanks, Professor Duy. This to me is Piketty-level pushing us onto new ground.

JohnR : , November 29, 2016 at 12:07 PM
Funny how there's all this concern for the people whose jobs and security and money have vanished, leaving them at the mercy of faceless banks and turning to drugs and crime. Sad. Well, let's bash some more on those lazy, shiftless urban poors who lack moral strength and good, Protestant work ethic, shall we?
Raven Onthill : , November 29, 2016 at 04:12 PM
Clinton slammed half the Trump supporters as deplorables, not half the public. She was correct; about half of them are various sorts of supremacists. The other half (she said this, too) made common cause with the deplorables for economic reasons even though it was a devil's bargain.

Now, there's a problem with maternalism here; it's embarrassing to find out that the leader of your political opponents knows you better than you know yourself, like your mother catching you out in a lie. It was impolitic for Clinton to have said this But above all remember that when push came to shove, the other basket made common cause with the Nazis, the Klan, and so on and voted for a rapey fascist.

Rick McGahey : , November 30, 2016 at 02:44 PM
"Economic development" isn't (and can't) be the same thing as bringing back lost manufacturing (or mining) jobs. We have had 30 years of shifting power between labor and capital. Restoring labor market institutions (both unions and government regulation) and raising the floor through higher minimum wages, single payer health care, fair wages for women and more support for child and elder care, trade policies that care about working families, better safe retirement plans and strengthened Social Security, etc. is key here, along with running a real full employment economy, with a significant green component. See Bob Polllin's excellent program in https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/back-full-employment

That program runs up against racism, sexism, division, and fear of government and taxation, and those are powerful forces. But we don't need all Trump supporters. We do need a real, positive economic program that can attract those who care about the economics more than the cultural stuff.

Sandra Williams : , December 01, 2016 at 12:20 AM
How about people of color drop the democrats and their hand wringing about white people when they do nothing about voter suppression!! White fragility is nauseating and I'm planning to arm myself and tell all the people of color I know to do the same. I expect nothing from the democrats going forward.
Robert Hurley : , December 01, 2016 at 11:04 AM
I have never commented here but I will now because of the number of absurd statements. I happen to work with black and Hispanic youth and have also worked with undocumented immigrants. To pretend that trump and the Republican Party has their interest in mind is completely absurd. As for the white working class, please tell me what programs either trump or the republican have put forward to benefit them? I have lost a lot of respect for Duy
Giant_galveston -> Robert Hurley... , December 05, 2016 at 08:32 PM
Couldn't agree more.
RJ -> Robert Hurley... , December 06, 2016 at 11:26 PM
No one should advocate illegal immigration. If you care about being a nation of laws.
olga.shaumyan@gmail.com : , December 01, 2016 at 06:13 PM
I think much of appeal of DJT was in his political incorrectness. PC marginalises. Very. Of white working class specifically. it tells one, one cannot rely on one's ideas any more. In no uncertain terms. My brother, who voted for Trump, lost his job to PC without offending on purpose, but the woman in question felt free to accuse him of violating her, with no regard to his fate. He was never close enough to do that. Is that not some kind of McCarthyism?
Eclectic Observer : , December 05, 2016 at 10:55 AM
Just to be correct. Clinton was saying that half (and that was a terrible error-should have said "some") were people that were unreachable, but that they had to communicate effectively with the other part of his support. People who echo the media dumb-ing down of complex statements are part of the problem.

Still, I believe that if enough younger people and african-americans had come out in the numbers they did for Obama in some of those states, Clinton would have won. Certainly, the media managed to paint her in more negative light than she objectively deserved-- even if she deserved some negatives.

I am in no way a fan of HRC. Still, the nature of the choice was blurred to an egregious degree.

Procopius : , December 05, 2016 at 08:40 PM
"The tough reality of economic development is that it will always be easier to move people to jobs than the jobs to people."

This is indisputable, but I have never seen any discussion of the point that moving is not cost-free. Back in the '90s I had a discussion with a very smart person, a systems analyst, who insisted that poor people moved to wherever the welfare benefits were highest.

I tried to point out that moving from one town to another costs more than a bus ticket. You have to pay to have your possessions transported. You have to have enough cash to pay at least two months' rent and maybe an additional security deposit.

You have to have enough cash to pay for food for at least one month or however long it takes for your first paycheck or welfare check to come in. There may be other costs like relocating your kids to a new school system and maybe changing your health insurance provider.

There probably are other costs I'm not aware of, and the emotional cost of leaving your family and your roots. The fact that some people succeed in moving is a great achievement. I'm amazed it works at all in Europe where you also have the different languages to cope with.

Kim Kaufman : , December 07, 2016 at 10:03 PM
I'm not sure the Hillary non-voters - which also include poor black neighborhoods - were voting against their economic interests. Under Obama, they didn't do well. Many of them were foreclosed on while Obama was giving the money to the banks. Jobs haven't improved, unless you want to work at an Amazon warehouse or for Uber and still be broke. Obama tried to cut social security. He made permanent Bush's tax cuts for the rich. Wars and more wars. Health premiums went up - right before the election. The most Obama could say in campaigning for Hillary was "if you care about my legacy, vote for Hillary." He's the only one that cares about his legacy. I don't know that it's about resentment but about just having some hope for economic improvement - which Trump offered (no matter how shallow and deceptive) and Hillary offered nothing but "Trump's an idiot and I'm not."

I believe Bernie would have beat Trump's ass if 1) the DNC hadn't put their fingers on the scale for Hillary and 2) same with the media for Hillary and Trump. The Dems need more than some better campaign slogans. They really need a plan for serious economic equality. And the unions need to get their shit together and stop thinking that supporting corrupt corporate Dems is working. Or perhaps the rank and file need to get their shit together and get rid of union bosses.

IHiddenDragon : , December 10, 2016 at 09:01 AM
The keys of the election were race, immigration and trade. Trump won on these points. What dems can do is to de-emphasize multiculturalism, racial equality, political correctness etc. Instead, emphasize economic equality and security, for all working class.

Lincoln billed the civil war as a war to preserve the union, to gain wide support, instead of war to free slaves. Of course, the slaves were freed when the union won the war. Dems can benefit from a similar strategy

IHiddenDragon : , December 10, 2016 at 09:05 AM
Krugman more or less blames media, FBI, Russia entirely for Hillary's loss, which I think is wrong. As Tim said, Dems have long ceased to be the party of the working class, at least in public opinion, for legitimate reasons.

Besides, a lot voters are tired of stale faces and stale ideas. They yearn something new, especially the voters in deep economic trouble.

Maybe it's time to try some old fashioned mercantilism, protectionism? America first is an appealing idea, in this age of mindless globalization.

Jesse : , December 26, 2016 at 11:08 AM
All Mr. Krugman and the Democratic establishment need to do is to listen, with open ears and mind, to what Thomas Frank has been saying, and they will know where they went wrong and most likely what to do about it, if they can release themselves from their fatal embrace with Big Money covered up by identity politics.

But they cannot bring themselves to admit their error, and to give up their very personally profitable current arrangement. And so they are caught up in a credibility trap which is painfully obvious to the objective observer.

c1ue : , December 26, 2016 at 12:11 PM
Pretty sad commentary by neoliberal left screaming at neoliberal right and vice versa.

It seems quite clear that the vast majority of commenters live as much in the ivory tower/bubble as is claimed for their ideological opponent.

It is also quite interesting that most of these same commenters don't seem to get that the voting public gets what the majority of it wants - not what every single group within the overall population wants.

The neoliberals with their multi-culti/love them all front men have had it good for a while, now there's a reaction. Deal with it.

[Dec 27, 2016] When you call for cost cuts which can only be done by cutting labor costs which means fewer workers getting paid less, you are calling for your wages and income, or of your children and grandchildren to be slashed as well.

Notable quotes:
"... The author missed the fact that pillage and plunder and rentier capitalism as defined by Reaganomics has failed just as badly as communism for the same reason. ..."
"... If you want to be paid well, you must pay everyone else well. ..."
Dec 27, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

mulp : December 26, 2016 at 03:00 PM

"Do unto Others " -might be an important Economic principle

The author missed the fact that pillage and plunder and rentier capitalism as defined by Reaganomics has failed just as badly as communism for the same reason.

When you call for cost cuts which can only be done by cutting labor costs which means fewer workers getting paid less, you are calling for your wages and income, or of your children and grandchildren to be slashed as well.

Tax cuts mean paying fewer workers to provide public services whether roads, education, knowledge, health, which means you will suffer losses of services AND eventual loss of income to your family. Fewer paid workers forces wages and incomes lower for all workers.

If you want to be paid well, you must pay everyone else well.

TANSTAAFL

[Dec 26, 2016] Scientists Develop Robotic Hand For People With Quadriplegia

Dec 26, 2016 | science.slashdot.org
(phys.org) 22

Posted by BeauHD on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @07:05PM from the muscle-memory dept.

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phys.Org:

Scientists have developed a mind-controlled robotic hand that allows people with certain types of spinal injuries to perform everyday tasks such as using a fork or drinking from a cup. The low-cost device was tested in Spain on six people with quadriplegia affecting their ability to grasp or manipulate objects. By wearing a cap that measures electric brain activity and eye movement the users were able to send signals to a tablet computer that controlled the glove-like device attached to their hand. Participants in the small-scale study were able to perform daily activities better with the robotic hand than without, according to results published Tuesday in the journal Science Robotics .

It took participants just 10 minutes to learn how to use the system before they were able to carry out tasks such as picking up potato chips or signing a document. According to Surjo R. Soekadar, a neuroscientist at the University Hospital Tuebingen in Germany and lead author of the study, participants represented typical people with high spinal cord injuries, meaning they were able to move their shoulders but not their fingers. There were some limitations to the system, though. Users had to have sufficient function in their shoulder and arm to reach out with the robotic hand. And mounting the system required another person's help.

[Dec 26, 2016] Autonomous Shuttle Brakes For Squirrels, Skateboarders, and Texting Students

Dec 26, 2016 | tech.slashdot.org
(ieee.org) 74

Posted by BeauHD on Saturday December 10, 2016 @05:00AM from the squirrel-crossing dept.

Tekla Perry writes:

An autonomous shuttle from Auro Robotics is picking up and dropping off students, faculty, and visitors at the Santa Clara University Campus seven days a week. It doesn't go fast, but it has to watch out for pedestrians, skateboarders, bicyclists, and bold squirrels (engineers added a special squirrel lidar on the bumper). An Auro engineer rides along at this point to keep the university happy, but soon will be replaced by a big red emergency stop button (think Staples Easy button). If you want a test drive, just look for a "shuttle stop" sign (there's one in front of the parking garage) and climb on, it doesn't ask for university ID.

[Dec 26, 2016] Robots Are Already Replacing Fast-Food Workers

Dec 26, 2016 | hardware.slashdot.org
(recode.net) 414

Posted by EditorDavid on Sunday December 11, 2016 @05:34PM from the may-I-take-your-order dept.

An anonymous reader quotes Recode:

Technology that replaces food service workers is already here . Sushi restaurants have been using machines to roll rice in nori for years, an otherwise monotonous and time-consuming task. The company Suzuka has robots that help assemble thousands of pieces of sushi an hour. In Mountain View, California, the startup Zume is trying to disrupt pizza with a pie-making machine. In Shanghai, there's a robot that makes ramen , and some cruise ships now mix drinks with bartending machines .

More directly to the heart of American fast-food cuisine, Momentum Machines, a restaurant concept with a robot that can supposedly flip hundreds of burgers an hour , applied for a building permit in San Francisco and started listing job openings this January, reported Eater. Then there's Eatsa, the automat restaurant where no human interaction is necessary, which has locations popping up across California .

[Dec 26, 2016] IBMs Watson Used In Life-Saving Medical Diagnosis

Dec 26, 2016 | science.slashdot.org
(businessinsider.co.id) 83 Posted by EditorDavid on Sunday December 11, 2016 @09:34PM from the damn-it-Jim-I'm-a-doctor-not-a-supercomputer dept.
"Supercomputing has another use," writes Slashdot reader rmdingler , sharing a story that quotes David Kenny, the General Manager of IBM Watson:
"There's a 60-year-old woman in Tokyo. She was at the University of Tokyo. She had been diagnosed with leukemia six years ago. She was living, but not healthy. So the University of Tokyo ran her genomic sequence through Watson and it was able to ascertain that they were off by one thing . Actually, she had two strains of leukemia. They did treat her and she is healthy."

"That's one example. Statistically, we're seeing that about one third of the time, Watson is proposing an additional diagnosis."

[Dec 26, 2016] Latest Microsoft Skype Preview Adds Real-Time Voice Translation For Phone Calls

Notable quotes:
"... Skype Translator, available in nine languages, uses artificial intelligence (AI) techniques such as deep-learning to train artificial neural networks and convert spoken chats in almost real time. The company says the app improves as it listens to more conversations. ..."
Dec 26, 2016 | tech.slashdot.org
(zdnet.com) 37

Posted by msmash on Monday December 12, 2016 @11:05AM from the worthwhile dept.

Microsoft has added the ability to use Skype Translator on calls to mobiles and landlines to its latest Skype Preview app. From a report on ZDNet: Up until now, Skype Translator was available to individuals making Skype-to-Skype calls. The new announcement of the expansion of Skype Translator to mobiles and landlines makes Skype Translator more widely available .

To test drive this, users need to be members of the Windows Insider Program. They need to install the latest version of Skype Preview on their Windows 10 PCs and to have Skype Credits or a subscription.

Skype Translator, available in nine languages, uses artificial intelligence (AI) techniques such as deep-learning to train artificial neural networks and convert spoken chats in almost real time. The company says the app improves as it listens to more conversations.

[Dec 26, 2016] White House: US Needs a Stronger Social Safety Net To Help Workers Displaced by Robots

Dec 26, 2016 | hardware.slashdot.org
(recode.net) 623

Posted by BeauHD on Wednesday December 21, 2016 @08:00AM from the one-day-not-so-far-away dept.

The White House has released a new report warning of a not-too-distant future where artificial intelligence and robotics will take the place of human labor. Recode highlights in its report the three key areas the White House says the U.S. government needs to prepare for the next wave of job displacement caused by robotic automation:

The report says the government, meaning the the incoming Trump administration, will have to forge ahead with new policies and grapple with the complexities of existing social services to protect the millions of Americans who face displacement by advances in automation, robotics and artificial intelligence. The report also calls on the government to keep a close eye on fostering competition in the AI industry, since the companies with the most data will be able to create the most advanced products, effectively preventing new startups from having a chance to even compete.

[Dec 26, 2016] Stanford Built a Humanoid Submarine Robot To Explore a 17th-Century Shipwreck

Notable quotes:
"... IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine ..."
Dec 26, 2016 | hardware.slashdot.org
(ieee.org) 47 Posted by BeauHD on Friday December 23, 2016 @05:00AM from the how-it's-made dept.

schwit1 quotes a report from IEEE Spectrum:

Back in April, Stanford University professor Oussama Khatib led a team of researchers on an underwater archaeological expedition, 30 kilometers off the southern coast of France, to La Lune , King Louis XIV's sunken 17th-century flagship. Rather than dive to the site of the wreck 100 meters below the surface, which is a very bad idea for almost everyone, Khatib's team brought along a custom-made humanoid submarine robot called Ocean One . In this month's issue of IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine , the Stanford researchers describe in detail how they designed and built the robot , a hybrid between a humanoid and an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV), and also how they managed to send it down to the resting place of La Lune , where it used its three-fingered hands to retrieve a vase. Most ocean-ready ROVs are boxy little submarines that might have an arm on them if you're lucky, but they're not really designed for the kind of fine manipulation that underwater archaeology demands. You could send down a human diver instead, but once you get past about 40 meters, things start to get both complicated and dangerous. Ocean One's humanoid design means that it's easy and intuitive for a human to remotely perform delicate archeological tasks through a telepresence interface.

schwit1 notes: "Ocean One is the best name they could come up with?"

[Dec 26, 2016] Slashdot Asks: Will Farming Be Fully Automated in the Future?

Dec 26, 2016 | hardware.slashdot.org
(bbc.com) 278

Posted by msmash on Friday November 25, 2016 @12:10AM from the interesting-things dept.

BBC has a report today in which, citing several financial institutions and analysts, it claims that in the not-too-distant future, our fields could be tilled, sown, tended and harvested entirely by fleets of co-operating autonomous machines by land and air. An excerpt from the article:

Driverless tractors that can follow pre-programmed routes are already being deployed at large farms around the world. Drones are buzzing over fields assessing crop health and soil conditions. Ground sensors are monitoring the amount of water and nutrients in the soil, triggering irrigation and fertilizer applications. And in Japan, the world's first entirely automated lettuce farm is due for launch next year. The future of farming is automated . The World Bank says we'll need to produce 50% more food by 2050 if the global population continues to rise at its current pace. But the effects of climate change could see crop yields falling by more than a quarter. So autonomous tractors, ground-based sensors, flying drones and enclosed hydroponic farms could all help farmers produce more food, more sustainably at lower cost.

[Dec 26, 2016] Self-Driving Trucks Begin Real-World Tests on Ohios Highways

Dec 26, 2016 | news.slashdot.org
(cbsnews.com) 178

Posted by EditorDavid on Sunday November 27, 2016 @04:35PM from the trucking-up-to-Buffalo dept.

An anonymous reader writes:

"A vehicle from self-driving truck maker Otto will travel a 35-mile stretch of U.S. Route 33 on Monday in central Ohio..." reports the Associated Press.

The truck "will travel in regular traffic, and a driver in the truck will be positioned to intervene should anything go awry, Department of Transportation spokesman Matt Bruning said Friday, adding that 'safety is obviously No. 1.'"

Ohio sees this route as "a corridor where new technologies can be safely tested in real-life traffic, aided by a fiber-optic cable network and sensor systems slated for installation next year" -- although next week the truck will also start driving on the Ohio Turnpike.

[Dec 26, 2016] Stephen Hawking: Automation and AI Is Going To Decimate Middle Class Jobs

Dec 26, 2016 | tech.slashdot.org
(businessinsider.com) 468

Posted by BeauHD on Friday December 02, 2016 @05:00PM from the be-afraid-very-afraid dept.

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Business Insider: