Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 05, 2013

Obama Destroys The New Deal

Most of those who voted for Obama will be quite disappointed with his attempts to pass the Republicans at their right. But they have no reason to be disappointed. This is exactly what he had announced in several of his speeches before the election: cuts to Social Security, cuts to medicare/aid and higher regressive taxes. Here they come:
Besides the tax increases that most Republicans continue to oppose, Mr. Obama’s budget will propose a new inflation formula that would have the effect of reducing cost-of-living payments for Social Security benefits, though with financial protections for low-income and very old beneficiaries, administration officials said. The idea, known as chained C.P.I., has infuriated some Democrats and advocacy groups to Mr. Obama’s left, and they have already mobilized in opposition.

As Mr. Obama has before, his budget documents will emphasize that he would support the cost-of-living change, as well as other reductions that Republicans have called for in the popular programs for older Americans, only if Republicans agree to additional taxes on the wealthy and infrastructure investments that the president called for in last year’s offer to Mr. Boehner.

Mr. Obama will propose other spending and tax credit initiatives, including aid for states to make free prekindergarten education available nationwide — a priority outlined in his State of the Union address in February. He will propose to pay for it by raising federal taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products.

A chained consumer price index is based on idea that price changes should not be measured as inflation when they result in behavior changes that compensate for the price change. You like to eat beef. Beef and other meat go goes up 10%. As you do not have more money you change to pork which now costs as much as beef once did. Measure in the regular CPI inflation is 10%. Measured in a chained CPI inflation is zero percent. Next year meat prices go up another 10%. As your c-CPI adjusted income does not increase you will again have to change your consumption behavior. You replace pork with cheaper chicken. The regular CPI again shows 10%, the chained CPI would still be zero. Next year prices go up again and you will have to change to cat food.

Adjusting Social Security cost-of-living payments with a chained CPI will lead to constant downward pressure on the recipients standard of living. They will have to do with less and less. Not even a republican would have dared to offer such a proposal.

Starting new wars, "signature" drone strikes on people because the "behave like terrorists", extreme secrecy, Guantanamo still open, no prosecution for any Wall Street crime and now the destruction of the New Deal as an "offer" to the republicans.

The good news: When Obama is finished with his turn it will be hard to come up with a worse U.S. president.

 

Posted by b on April 5, 2013 at 02:05 PM | Permalink

Comments

It's been said a hundred times: Obama is a good speaker, but a weak politician, unable to get his policies through.

The question is: if he were not black (or half-black, at least identifying as black), would he have achieved more?

Posted by: alexno | Apr 5, 2013 3:06:36 PM | 1

I really, really hope that this is just a game Obama is playing where he offers republicans everything that they want knowing that they'll refuse and he ends up looking like the only reasonable party who can then do what he wants without offering the republicans anything.

Posted by: Kanzanian | Apr 5, 2013 3:33:20 PM | 2

The good news: When Obama is finished with his turn it will be hard to come up with a worse U.S. president.

Yeah, many, myself included, figured it would be impossible to come up with anyone anything worse than Bush. A lot here at MoA knew Obama was bad, but that bad?

The predator criminal elite psychopaths are not dumb. They’re always capable of coming up with a new scam. You don’t think they can come up with worse than Obama. Ha! I hope I’m proved wrong but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Posted by: juannie | Apr 5, 2013 3:33:43 PM | 3

"The good news: When Obama is finished with his turn it will be hard to come up with a worse U.S. president."

Yes, I do believe President Obama has been accepted for the role of holding the bag. He volunteered, I guess, but the important thing is, he was found worthy of the job. He looks so cool, but you know, I think he's a chump. Oh well, we'll see.

Posted by: Mooser | Apr 5, 2013 3:51:04 PM | 4

Except for the certainty of being swatted, I would have liked to have been present when Obama decided he was, darn it, the one who is smart enough, good-looking enough, and well-liked enough to see the Bush War on Terrorism out to a sucessful conclusion.

Posted by: Mooser | Apr 5, 2013 3:54:53 PM | 5

The CPI calculation has been a scam for a long, long time. Lower the CPI then adjusted GDP is higher. Voila! We have strong economic growth . Clinton introduced hedonics in the CPI calculation to "adjust" for "quality improvements". Note also the percentages of the different items. So health care costs which have been ramping up 9% a year for over 30 years is some miniscule component of the CPI.

If the CPI is calculated the same way it was when Papa Bush was President it would be around 6-7%. That implies we have been in an economic contraction for a long time. That makes perfect sense when you look at the Labor Participation rate which is back where we were in 1979 and when you look at median household income adjusted for the current scam CPI -it has declined nearly 8% since 2000 but if you adjust for what inflation actually has been it has declined even more.

The sheeple will continue to get sheared!

Posted by: ab initio | Apr 5, 2013 3:57:19 PM | 6

Most of those who voted for Obama will NOT be quite disappointed with his attempts to pass the Republicans at their right. Most Democrats I know are so stupid that they'll just say, "Oh, poor Obama, look what those dreadful Republicans made him do!"

IMHO Obama is positioning himself to cash out big time once he leaves office. Like Clinton before him, he will become very wealthy from those on whom he is now showering government largesse.

As in banana republics, holding political office has now become a major path to great wealth.

As for those incredibly stupid Democratic voters I know, they deserve what they'll get.

Posted by: JohnH | Apr 5, 2013 5:22:55 PM | 7

"As for those incredibly stupid Democratic voters I know, they deserve what they'll get."

Sir, it is hard not to suspect you of dyspepsia.


Posted by: Mooser | Apr 5, 2013 6:28:40 PM | 8

Getting Obama elected was a master stroke by the US shadow elites.

Posted by: clubofrome | Apr 5, 2013 6:31:54 PM | 9

It is true that Obama was first elected with major financial backing from Wall Street. They have been lusting for the opportunity to "manage" the SS trust funds for decades. It has also been clear at least since Clinton that the Democrats can be bought off on this issue. It will be up to those of us below, to make one big stink over this and threaten any Democratic representative that votes for this with a big primary challenge. A primary challenge can break the bank for many representatives who do not have access to the big WS dollars.

Posted by: ToivoS | Apr 5, 2013 6:44:06 PM | 10

b, can you do a post to tell us just what in the world is going on between the US and North Korea? What's the real story?

Posted by: Paul | Apr 5, 2013 6:51:54 PM | 11

Paul @ 11 -- My take, without benefit of deep research, is that the US has found ways to may the young NK leader nervous. He then overreacts, which becomes the rationale for the US to place ever more weaponry ever closer to...China.

I think NK is being used to make getting US military closer to China "ok."

Posted by: jawbone | Apr 5, 2013 7:11:08 PM | 12

Obama spoke about making cuts --changes, tweaks, etc.-- as early as May 2007, well before he announced his attempt to win the Dem nomination.

He so alarmed Paul Krugman that Krugman tried to alert Dem voters, but Obama's "cool" won over so many that they simply ignored unpleasant facts.

I'm sure Obama had made known to the Big Money crew which early on backed his run for the nomination that he would indeed to whatever it took to get SocSec money into their tender management.

Bad, bad, bad president.

Posted by: jawbone | Apr 5, 2013 7:15:38 PM | 13

Obama is also trying to make the out of pocket costs to Medicare recipients much higher. He believes seniors use too much health care, and it if costs them more they'll use less. And die sooner.

Posted by: jawbone | Apr 5, 2013 7:17:47 PM | 14

I notice that it's just fine and dandy to tax cigarettes but they never touch beer and liquor. Tell you what...I'd rather ride down the freeway with a smoker than a drinker.

Posted by: BAJ | Apr 5, 2013 9:02:47 PM | 15

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-5Y74FrDCc

The link is for a video of Obama speaking about cuts to SocSec from April 2006. It's the earliest I've seen of him going on the record, but I'm sure his Corporatist Big Money donors were well aware of his opinions well before 2006. And that's why he was fast tracked to the Senate, then presidency.

He's into globalization as a reason for cutting the standard of living -- of US workers, not US elites.

He's a pretty slow speaker, so it's not easy listening. Takes fortitude and patience.

Posted by: jawbone | Apr 5, 2013 9:11:53 PM | 16

Link @ 16 via DCblogger at Correntewire.com

Posted by: jawbone | Apr 5, 2013 9:22:32 PM | 17

Obama made it clear on dKos in 2005 that he was no progressive and was (is) a character-less compromiser

…According to the storyline that drives many advocacy groups and Democratic activists - a storyline often reflected in comments on this blog - we are up against a sharply partisan, radically conservative, take-no-prisoners Republican party. They have beaten us twice by energizing their base with red meat rhetoric and single-minded devotion and discipline to their agenda. In order to beat them, it is necessary for Democrats to get some backbone, give as good as they get, brook no compromise, drive out Democrats who are interested in "appeasing" the right wing, and enforce a more clearly progressive agenda. The country, finally knowing what we stand for and seeing a sharp contrast, will rally to our side and thereby usher in a new progressive era.
I think this perspective misreads the American people….

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 5, 2013 9:24:39 PM | 18

Some people (African-Americans in this case) had Obama and the Dems figured out long ago.

Black Agenda Report, May 7, 2008
Running to the Right: Barack Obama and the DLC Strategy

DLC endorsement is the gold standard of political reliability for Wall Street, Big Energy, Big Pharma, insurance, the airlines and more. Though candidates normally undergo extensive questioning and interviews before DLC endorsement, Obama insisted the blessing of these corporate special interests had been bestowed on him without these formalities and without his advance knowledge, and formally disassociated himself from the DLC. But like Hillary Clinton, and every front running Democrat since Michale Dukakis in 1988, Barack Obama's campaign has adopted the classic right wing DLC strategy.
[snip]
When he does speak, it won't be good news. Republicans are sure to escalate their demands, insisting that Barack Obama denounce a list of black and progressive organizations, activities, beliefs and individuals to retain his share of their base. And as long as Obama is wedded to the DLC strategy, he will eagerly comply.

If there was an actual mass-based progressive movement in the US, operating on the ground and independent of political parties and campaigns, it might have a prayer of holding Barack Obama accountable. But there isn't.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 5, 2013 9:30:04 PM | 19

One more favorite view on loser Obama and then I'll shut up.
Taylor Marsh nailed Obama in 2007
Obama's Progressive Cannibalism

For months this has been going on. In fact, I was the first to point it out. Maybe the void of comment is why Barack Obama felt he could get away with attacking Paul Krugman, one of the leading thinkers in the progressive community. It's akin to going after Molly Ivins, but since she's gone, I guess Obama decided to take down one of the only progressive columnists that have our back. At issue isn't just the personal attack on Krugman because he dared to analyze Mr. Obama's health care plan, an analysis that was right on the money. The bottom line is that this proves what I've been saying for over 10 months: Barack Obama has no ideological compass. NOTE: The SOB lacks character, is why.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 5, 2013 9:37:53 PM | 20

Obama is a waterboy, nothing more. He's just doing what they appointed him to do. Nothing to see here folks, move along. Don't worry about finding a worse psychopath for the job, there's always Hillary He Died I Saw I Came Clinton.

Posted by: Sean | Apr 5, 2013 10:49:47 PM | 21

@toivoS 10 Wall St isn't interested in the SS funds 1 because they have it already and 2 because there isn't any money left in the SS funds, as they have spent it all and left a bunch of IOUs that they have no hope of paying back.
Barry is just marking time, hoping things don't turn to shit any more than they have already and he doesn't end up like George W Bush, basically in hiding.
what will kill his presidency is something Bill Clinton mentioned in passing at the Democratic Party convention, interest rates returning to historic levels.

Posted by: heath | Apr 5, 2013 11:38:10 PM | 22

@heath
I'm no economist, but it seems to me that interest rates don't even have to go to historic levels to cause a major problem.

Currently the US is paying about 2.5% interest on its $16T (and growing) debt, which is just over a billion per day. That's part of the average deficit per day of $3.8B/dy (which has recently decreased with sequestration). The effective current interest rate is about zero, however, if inflation is factored in.

But if the interest rate were to double to five percent that turns into a real inflation-adjusted cost of over a billion per day, and increasing. Anyhow (again I'm not an economist) that's a start, and as you indicate it could get worse.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 6, 2013 1:28:30 AM | 23

Sean @ 21: "Obama is a waterboy, nothing more."

Yep, he'll do what he was vetted and hired to do. The bidding of the 1%. Republicans and Democrats are engaged in a " good cop, bad cop" scenario, with very few exceptions.

Posted by: ben | Apr 6, 2013 2:22:22 AM | 24

Well, Germany's Social Democrat Schröder got his agenda 2010 through in 2003 - impoverishing anyone who had the bad luck to be long term unemployed at one stage of his/her life plus torturing anyone who could lift a finger to keep applying for jobs if he/she had a likely chance or not. Social services count on the food collected from shops after their date of freshness has expired. My supermarket organized donations of flour for the needy for Christmas (no joke, it is true). Schools exclude kids whose parents cannot pay from school meals (shocking, but true).

Germany is considered a rich country and is competing well in exports.

It is high time to tax the rich.


Posted by: somebody | Apr 6, 2013 2:31:02 AM | 25

"The good news: When Obama is finished with his turn it will be hard to come up with a worse U.S. president."

Surely you jest. Anyone the GOP comes up with will have to be a lot worse just to win the primaries.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Apr 6, 2013 8:58:31 AM | 26

@somebody 25

I suggest the problem is not getting the right people into power as the special interest people make it their number one job to either capture those people or make sure they never get into power, so then the only solution as I see it is to get rid of government.

Posted by: heath | Apr 6, 2013 10:14:44 AM | 27

This on the "Chained CPI"...

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022621226

Posted by: ben | Apr 6, 2013 10:27:41 AM | 28

@27 The alternative to "no government" is military rule. The army is well-trained, well-armed and unified. You think they're just going to go home if the Government what, abolishes itself? Back to their families and farms, like on HBO?

Togam cedant arma.

Posted by: ruralito | Apr 6, 2013 10:39:15 AM | 29

@ 27: Contrary to Ronald Reagan's opinion that "Government is the problem, not the solution," government is the only force that can oppose the mega-corporate power in today's world. Problem is, multinational corporations have amassed so much money they buy governments and politicians to do their bidding. I've always liked this Thomas Jefferson quote from November 12, 1816..

" I hope we shall crush in it's birth, the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country."

This is our challenge, not only here, but around the globe. The giant corporations of the world, in pursuit of ever increasing profits, are ruining the world.

Posted by: ben | Apr 6, 2013 10:51:36 AM | 30

For the U.S., another example how so called "free trade agreements" garner more power for the aforementioned 1%.

http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/the_trans-pacific_partnership_more_power_for_the_global_on_percent_20130405/

Posted by: ben | Apr 6, 2013 11:10:46 AM | 31

"Tell you what...I'd rather ride down the freeway with a smoker than a drinker."

Absolutely! I have a forty-year record of accident free driving, both motorcycle and car. Anybody can do it, if they learn to leave no turn unstoned.

Posted by: Mooser | Apr 6, 2013 11:21:53 AM | 32

I can't see the GOP letting Obama leave office until they have him to blame for a renewed conscription. The guy is such a chump. I still can't get over it, I would have loved to be there when either they convinced Obama, or Obama convinced them, that he was the guy who could make the Bush "War on Terrorism" work.
Oh well, as Maurice Chevalier once warbled: "I'm glad I'm not young anymore" Plus, I think I have rabies, also known as Bites Disease.

Posted by: Mooser | Apr 6, 2013 11:29:23 AM | 33

Jawbone, "...which becomes the rationale for the US to place ever more weaponry ever closer to...China.

I think NK is being used to make getting US military closer to China "ok.""

I think that's exactly the deal. I think China likes Korea divided, as giving S. Korea a reserve of cheap labor, they'd be stiff competition for China. As is, China is the cheap labor king among advanced producers, they're trying to get in every more advanced production/tech. SK has really jumped their production technology over the last decade(s) and I dare say China envies them. Uniting the peninsula would transform South Korea from an island to part of Asia. Perhaps Russian gas lines new mineral reserves would all make Korea an economic threat to China. I don't think Japan is so threatened and might enjoy Korea as a balance against China. I think Russia has got to like unification so it seems that the US and China are the only holdouts.

I think China might flip on this issue, at least I believe they are more ambivalent about unification. I'm arguing this with a friend now. He thinks China would like to see unification, as it would show them to be a exemplar of liberty, the growth of Korea would increase trade, he points to many present international trade and manufacturing projects between the two countries. I don't know, I would appreciate the thoughts of the "bar" and hopefully b will address this topic soon.

Posted by: scottindallas | Apr 6, 2013 12:20:21 PM | 34

no 27 heath, no government, no taxes, no social security, back to the support of the tribe.

The problem is not no much government figures who of course can be bought off, but lack of solidarity in the community. Or no community at all, just individuals.

Ruralito's video recommendation how Cuba has been coping with no oil is quite fascinating in that respect as it clearly shows the only way people can live peacefully in this world.

Unfortunately I suspect that not that many people worldwide would prefer to live in the countryside growing food organically not consuming much. They may be forced to. But this will not be peaceful.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 6, 2013 12:25:17 PM | 35

A GOP president CAN'T be as bad as a Democrat at this point. Elected representatives can only sell out their base, they have to compromise something. Sadly, Obama compromises before negotiating, so he capitulates but only after rebranding the Heritage Foundation's approved of policy. He'll describe the victims of bad policy he's about to exacerbate, but he'll never argue the shibboleths that drive these finacialists (I like capital intensive production, capitalism produces real things--this is all financial games, which taxes us all more surely than income taxes, which can be avoided or ameliorated; you can't avoid oil speculation, food commodity speculation, privatization of utilities markets.

Posted by: scottindallas | Apr 6, 2013 12:26:17 PM | 36

Obama and his appointees have overlooked a clear and obvious aspect of "moral risk" in modern capitalism: If you are too big to fail, you are too big to be unregulated.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Apr 6, 2013 1:05:09 PM | 37

"...capitalism produces real things." Ayup, chicken mcnuggets eg.

Posted by: ruralito | Apr 6, 2013 1:11:53 PM | 38

"...capitalism produces real things". Unfortunately, it's not to keen on cleaning up its messes, caring for the sick, unemployed, veterans etc.

Posted by: ruralito | Apr 6, 2013 1:16:47 PM | 39

The people won't believe, can't believe Obama has sold them out. I did one year after he was first elected, he was to slow not bold enough to carry out the "change" he promised. I at first thought he was merely incompetent, then I thought, no he's a liar. Then I realized it, he was both!!!
The people can't believe it, they won't believe it, they don't want to believe it. After not voting for him to elected a second term. I was in an voting day party held by one of my dear friends. I mentioned my reasons for not wishing to vote for him. I had to be extremely diplomatic to not arouse anyone's ire. No one could believe that I was not on the side of this messiah and that the republicans were not letting this poor man govern. I asked them all why is Guantanamo still open if the congress has no jurisdiction over it and it is run by a mandate from the executive? Silence and the usual well do you prefer Romney. I simply said I want the pieces to fall where they may.
We don't really have a government so what hell!
Now concerning NK my dear Scottindallas, of course the US and china want to have their own bogey man and client state. The Japanese don't want the Americans anymore, it offends their national honor. The Chinese like having a buffer state, it's very simple!

Posted by: Fernando | Apr 6, 2013 1:59:30 PM | 40

Good old Barry Soto is playing neo-liberal economics. Reduce the public sector for the private sector. The private sector in this case is Wall Street. We all know that Social Security would do better operating out of Wall Street, don't we? Is Obama the worst U.S. president? We have the NDAA, international and domestic drone programs, CISPA, and, oh yes, Fast and Furious that drama about guns and drugs. I agree with you B. He will be seen as the worst U.S. president.

Posted by: AEWilliams | Apr 6, 2013 2:30:00 PM | 41

Derbig? Is that you?

Posted by: Gwen | Apr 6, 2013 3:05:50 PM | 42

Conventional Washington Wisdom places the blame for the loss of the Vietnam War on public opinion. The solution? Make public opinion irrelevant.

Obama made public opinion irrelevant on Afghanistan, Guantanamo and government snooping by making everything Bush did non-partisan.

Now Obama wants to prove that public opinion doesn't matter when it comes to decisions regarding the social safety net and civil institutions. Starting to gut Social Security will be his trophy, endearing himself to the 0.1% and assuring his everlasting wealth.

And Obama's Orwellian followers will continue to call him a Democrat!

Posted by: JohnH | Apr 6, 2013 4:02:37 PM | 43

So true, JohnH @ 43 -- Obama especially made it clear that the public opinion about health CARE reform was to be utterly ignored. He declared early on that single payer was "off the table," and the MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media) most eagerly followed his directive. The phrase "single payer" was seldom used in print and if it was used it was to denigrate and ridicule its supporters.

Medicare for All, a single payer approach, received approval in the the low 60's, but only a few national pollsters ever asked the public to give their opinions.

At a "town meeting" when a very well phrased question about single payer was asked, Obama said "I see the little single payer supporters are here," basically ignored the question. The official WH transcript left the question and Obama's reply out entirely.

Posted by: jawbone | Apr 6, 2013 4:37:45 PM | 44

Gaius Publius posting at Americblog links in August of 2011 to a Ken Silverstein Harper's article from November 2006, when Obama must have been considering his run for the presidency. The speech discussed is summarized by pointing out how Obama drapes himself in the language of the left on green issues, but gives very, very few details. And, the only clear objective called for by Obama is...tad dah!... increased ethanol support...for BigAg, just what his Corporate masters want.

The Harper's article is available only to subscribers. Anyone here with access who might have time to look it over? Perhaps summarize some of its points? Thanks.

http://harpers.org/archive/2006/11/barack-obama-inc/

Posted by: jawbone | Apr 6, 2013 5:13:12 PM | 45

his Democratic Underground post has the April 2006 video, along with a PDF of the entire speech by Obama.

The excerpts posted by the commenter seem to fit with the usually very pro-Obama stance of DU. But reading the entire speech is revealing as to how very much it was similar to his campaign speeches: Generous on words redolent of liberal history and meaning, but with a paucity of actual recommendations. Other than Change and Hope.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/18/AR2006041801176.html

I hope this link will work here, as it did on the Americablog post (it does!) -- I tried once and was challenged. WaPo now doing paywall? If you can't use the link here, go to Gaius Publius's post.

http://americablog.com/2011/08/ken-silverstein-on-obama-in-2006-barack-obama-inc.html

Anyway, Meyerson --per Wiki, "an avowed democratic socialist," one of two in DC, the other being Bernie Sanders-- takes rather careful aim at what he criticizes about the Hamilton Group and its leadership. He says they do point out correctly and adequately many of the problems in our economy as of mid-Oughts. But he fleshes out the parts of their approach which they wish to keep on the down low. Yes, stagnant income. But it's the fault of teachers' unions, not greedy banksters or corporations. Somehow.

Good article, go read what Peter Orszag, Roger Altman, and Robert Rubin were saying in '06. And what Barry was very comfortable with as well. Peter Peterson wasn't id'd as being there, but he's been pretty tight with Obama since then...even tho' he wears the R team's colors.

It's come to this: The chief project to restate Democratic economics for our time was unveiled a couple of weeks ago, and it's named after the father of American conservatism, Alexander Hamilton.

SNIP

Much of what Rubin and his co-authors have to say in their statement is on the money. Since the mid-'70s, they note, "prosperity has neither trickled down nor rippled outward." They acknowledge that recapturing broadly shared prosperity in an age of globalization is a daunting conundrum. Still, they have some recommendations: Balance the budget (a principle they elevate to a fetish). Have the government invest more in "education, health care, energy independence, scientific research, and infrastructure," since market forces "will not generate adequate investments" in such social essentials. Provide compensatory wage insurance for the many workers forced to take lower-paying jobs as middle-income jobs grow scarcer.

Unfortunately, some of Hamilton's disdain for democracy seeps into their statement as well. The problem of "entitlement imbalances is so large," they fret, "that the regular political process seems unlikely to produce a solution," so they recommend a bipartisan "special process" insulated from popular pressures. [Which, as we know, Obama tried to implement twice, iirc, with probably another effort of that type coming soon.]They also place such traditional Republican boogeymen as teachers unions on the list of problems that need to be solved. On the other hand, their list of national problems includes nothing about a corporate and financial culture that richly and reflexively rewards executives who offshore work to cheaper climes and deny their American employees the right to join unions.

Indeed, much of their statement amounts to whistling by the globalization graveyard. The authors place great stress on improving American education -- a commendable and unexceptionable goal, but one that may do little to retard the export of our jobs since, as they acknowledge, it's increasingly the knowledge jobs that are going to India and even China. But then, Rubin was the guy who promoted both NAFTA and unfettered trade with China. [And now the Trans-Pacific Trade negotiations go on under Obama in complete secrecy; and there seems to be some kind of Trans-Atlantic Trade Agreement in the offing: both giving global corporations rights to ignore local and national laws and regulations. Why is that necessary?] In a sense, the Hamilton Project can be seen as Rubin's sincere but inadequate attempt to grapple with the consequences of the policies he championed. Like the side agreements to NAFTA, which were advertised as protecting worker rights and environmental standards but which in fact did neither, the Hamilton Project comes up short on genuine solutions. There's nothing in the statement about raising the minimum wage or mandating a living wage; the word "unions" is nowhere to be found, though unionizing our non-offshorable service sector jobs is the surest way to restore the broader prosperity for which Rubin and his co-authors pine.

What the Democrats need is a project that takes as hard a look at corporate boardrooms as the Hamiltonians do at teachers unions. For, so long as our problem is at least partly American capitalism's indifference to American workers, the Democrats won't find a solution in the example of Alexander Hamilton or the muffled cadences of Robert Rubin. (still true, my emphasis)

Sounds like Life in These United States under Obama, right?

Posted by: jawbone | Apr 6, 2013 5:14:34 PM | 46

THIS is what we should demand, to make public opinion matter.

OBAMA '08
BARACK OBAMA: CONNECTING AND EMPOWERING ALL AMERICANS THROUGH TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION
* Protect the Openness of the Internet . . .etc
* Encourage Diversity in Media Ownership: . . .etc
* Protect Our Children While Preserving the First Amendment . . .etc
* Safeguard our Right to Privacy . . .etc
* Open Up Government to its Citizens: The Bush Administration has been one of the most secretive, closed administrations in American history. Our nation’s progress has been stifled by a system corrupted by millions of lobbying dollars contributed to political campaigns, the revolving door between government and industry, and privileged access to inside information—all of which have led to policies that favor the few against the public interest. An Obama presidency will use cutting-edge technologies to reverse this dynamic, creating a new level of transparency, accountability and participation for America’s citizens. Technology-enabled citizen participation has already produced ideas driving Obama’s campaign and its vision for how technology can help connect government to its citizens and engage citizens in a democracy. Barack Obama will use the most current technological tools available to make government less beholden to special interest groups and lobbyists and promote citizen participation in government decision-making. Obama will integrate citizens into the actual business of government by:
--Making government data available online in universally accessible formats to allow citizens to make use of that data to comment, derive value, and take action in their own communities.
--Establishing pilot programs to open up government decision-making and involve the public in the work of agencies, not simply by soliciting opinions, but by tapping into the vast and distributed expertise of the American citizenry to help government make more informed decisions.
--Requiring his appointees who lead Executive Branch departments and rulemaking agencies to conduct the significant business of the agency in public, so that any citizen can watch a live feed on the Internet as the agencies debate and deliberate the issues that affect American society.
--Restoring the basic principle that government decisions should be based on the best-available, scientifically-valid evidence and not on the ideological predispositions of agency officials.
--Lifting the veil from secret deals in Washington with a web site, a search engine, and other web tools that enable citizens easily to track online federal grants, contracts, earmarks, and lobbyist contacts with government officials. etc

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 6, 2013 7:07:05 PM | 47

@ruralito 29 the military as the armed wing of the government,will go home, no doubt they will bitch and complain but if they stop being paid they will. And yes there is mcnuggets but also anything you may desire.
@ben 30 without a government, the multinational corporations will be forced to go back to bowing and scraping to their customers needs. Lockheed Martin for example. Thomas Jefferson was ill disposed to the type of outfit that Alexander Hamilton liked ie big money financiers and manufacturers using the power of the state to protect their position and further enrich themselves.
@scottindallas - I can see the Chinese invading again if there is a war, to quickly depose the Kim regime and set up a more 'diplomatic' regime that still keeps DC at arms length until the south Koreans are ready to toss them out.

Posted by: heath | Apr 6, 2013 8:43:57 PM | 48

37) customers being who - warlords?

Posted by: somebody | Apr 6, 2013 9:19:05 PM | 49

@Somebody 48

you, me, neighbours, distant relatives, other corporations. They won't be able to get away with making industrialized military killing machines anymore.

Posted by: heath | Apr 6, 2013 10:14:50 PM | 50

There's a strong demand for "industrialized military killing machines", lol. More likely an enterprising General "Buck" Turgidsen will be selling his services on the "Free" Market. And there won't be no gubmint to stop him.

Posted by: ruralito | Apr 7, 2013 12:11:48 AM | 51

49) what do you think will all those military and police people do when no government controls and pays them?
I can tell you from global history
- tax trade routes for the locals - that is the nice way
- rob, extort, pillage - the dark way - protect against robbery - the nice way, it seems, but whose right is it to own the stuff in the first place? Must be fought out.
- trade drugs (strong consumer demand)
- trade guns (will be even stronger demand - everybody defend themselves), will escalate to tanks, weapons of mass destruction when things heat up, will escalate into defense industry

And where do you complain when your neighbor infringes on your property just because he likes it? No government paid judges available. So I guess you will have to employ your own militia.

Government is the only defense people have against the rule of the strongest gun. Without it they are defenseless. Without government multinationals are free to rob whatever they want.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 7, 2013 1:32:47 AM | 52

US history is full of what happens without government supervision by the way ...

Posted by: somebody | Apr 7, 2013 1:39:10 AM | 53

Thanks to Somebody @ 52 for a useful history lesson.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Apr 7, 2013 4:18:04 AM | 54

@ben #30

I recall when the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan was sent to Japan two years ago provide tsunami relief.

I wish I could have been there when the captain of the USS Ronald Reagan presented his credentials and said "We're from the US government and we're here to help you!"

Posted by: ralphieboy | Apr 7, 2013 4:39:10 AM | 55

"what do you think will all those military and police people do when no government controls and pays them?
I can tell you from global history
- tax trade routes for the locals - that is the nice way
- rob, extort, pillage - the dark way - protect against robbery - the nice way, it seems, but whose right is it to own the stuff in the first place? Must be fought out.
- trade drugs (strong consumer demand)
- trade guns (will be even stronger demand - everybody defend themselves), will escalate to tanks, weapons of mass destruction when things heat up, will escalate into defense industry"

pretty much a succinct description of the activities of ALL Gov'ts everywhere.

Basically, as far as I can tell, Gov't is merely "Who has the biggest (and most reliable) Posse?"

Posted by: yah . . . but | Apr 7, 2013 5:30:45 AM | 56

53) I recommend Michael Cimino Heaven's Gate - that is the only reason I know about this part of US history.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 7, 2013 5:43:21 AM | 57

All I recall about "Heaven's Gate" is that it was panned by the "respectable" critics, which should have alerted me to its true worth.
In a similar historical vein Thomas Pynchon's "Against the Day" uses and illuminates the Coeur d' Alenes massacre, another bit of inconvenient American history that never got told when I was in high school or college. Maybe things are better now thanks to revisionists like the late Howard Zinn, but I suspect that current pedagogical practice in most U.S. high school history classes is no better than it was decades ago when I acquired a modicum of "officially approved" instruction, and a taste for "backstories and revealing details". This site and the links provided here help to satisfy my craving for the latter, so thanks to all who offer pointers to what's going on behind the scenes and out of public view (including, of course, those regarding events which though long past and largely forgotten still offer insight into current machinations on the part of "our betters".

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Apr 7, 2013 8:22:40 AM | 59

Long lecture by economist Richard Wolff on the history of the US economy. Worth a listen, if you care.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1017110470

Posted by: ben | Apr 7, 2013 10:23:13 AM | 60

@HKO #58
One doesn't have to go to high school to see revisionist history -- just read Reuters, NYTimes, WashPost, etc. nearly every day, also the U.S. government press releases for wicked stuff like "Iran's nuclear ambitions" and "North Korean provocations." MOA often has diaries on the subject.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 7, 2013 11:04:43 AM | 61

Here's an example in today's news of historic revisionism, with the UK's Financial Times interpreting China's president's words, which while vague seem to me to be directed against the U.S., into a "veiled rebuke" of North Korea. After all it is the U.S. (with its allies including UK) and not DPRK which has been throwing Asia into chaos, from Syria to Korea and many places in between.


China warns against Asia troublemakers
By Jamil Anderlini in Bo’ao, Hainan

China’s President Xi Jinping has said no country should be allowed to throw Asia into chaos, following weeks of escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula and threats from the nuclear-armed North Korea of an imminent attack on the US and its allies.

Mr Xi issued the veiled rebuke of China’s North Korean ally in a speech on Sunday at a Chinese business forum attended by dozens of national leaders from Asia, Africa and Europe.

“No one should be allowed to throw a region, or even the whole world, into chaos for selfish gains,” he said, without naming any specific country. “Countries, whether big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, should all contribute their share in maintaining and enhancing peace.”

The comments hint at growing frustration in Beijing over Pyongyang’s sabre-rattling and weeks of heated rhetoric. It also comes after a US defence official told Reuters Washington had decided to delay a long-planned missile test scheduled for next week “to avoid any misperception or miscalculation,” given tensions with North Korea.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 7, 2013 11:55:54 AM | 62

Here's an example in today's news of historic revisionism, with the UK's Financial Times interpreting China's president's words, which while vague seem to me to be directed against the U.S., into a "veiled rebuke" of North Korea. After all it is the U.S. which has been throwing Asia into chaos, from Syria to Korea and many places in between. (cont.)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 7, 2013 11:58:36 AM | 63

China warns against Asia troublemakers
By Jamil Anderlini in Bo’ao, Hainan

China’s President Xi Jinping has said no country should be allowed to throw Asia into chaos, following weeks of escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula and threats from the nuclear-armed North Korea of an imminent attack on the US and its allies.

Mr Xi issued the veiled rebuke of China’s North Korean ally in a speech on Sunday at a Chinese business forum attended by dozens of national leaders from Asia, Africa and Europe.

“No one should be allowed to throw a region, or even the whole world, into chaos for selfish gains,” he said, without naming any specific country. “Countries, whether big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, should all contribute their share in maintaining and enhancing peace.”

The comments hint at growing frustration in Beijing over Pyongyang’s sabre-rattling and weeks of heated rhetoric. It also comes after a US defence official told Reuters Washington had decided to delay a long-planned missile test scheduled for next week “to avoid any misperception or miscalculation,” given tensions with North Korea.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 7, 2013 12:00:08 PM | 64

Bush Jr. + Cheney were part of the PTB.

Obama is the hired hand-maiden of the PTB.

It is a different position.

The former create their own ‘reality’ up to a point - Obiman is put in a subservient position, is a place holder, a figure-head, one going thru the motions, acting out a role under a larger shadowy nexus, and in Obiman’s case, a carefully chosen, successful, PR dream.

The whole process is testimony to the loss of ‘democracy’, more broadly, political power invested from below, as opposed to Corporate or Financial Industry Power which rule opaquely from above.

Cheney's Halliburton Made $39.5 Billion on Iraq War - Znet.

http://www.zcommunications.org/cheneys-halliburton-made-39-5-billion-on-iraq-war-by-angelo-young?

as an ex. that Obama cannot replicate.

Obama takes the required seeming baby steps as they can be, will be, accepted: drone strikes as opposed to war - chipping away at SS instead of just thrashing it - transforming health care into another bonanza for insurance cos. (hidden in a 2k page incomprehensible bill) - downdumbing public education to give it over to Corps -- even the WaPo has published against -

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/01/22/wheres-the-collective-action-in-obama-education-policy/

and so on.

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 7, 2013 12:06:35 PM | 65

When Obama is finished with his turn it will be hard to come up with a worse U.S. president.

No. Because Gvmt. / elected power has been eroded so far it has become a fake show, society of the spectacle if you will. The next Prez may look different, act different, have so called different interests or talking points, represent, once again, change, but will be even worse than Obama.

He might be a she, and unknown (like Obama), probably a Dem as, beyond major changes of the revolutionary kind (or staggering world events) the system will limp along, and Reps no longer have the vote. The one party twin D_R system will not be broken, no third party, etc. will emerge, as long time corruption and financial interests and deals have locked the system tight since ages.

Anyone who breaks the mold would be a step forward. In any direction. But it won’t happen.

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 7, 2013 12:37:09 PM | 66

The US is in deep, deep financial trouble. Deeper than anyone is aware of.

From 1980 up to the year 2000, the amount of americans that EVERY year reached the age of 65 was (fairly) stable. From the year 2000 up to 2026 the amount of americans reaching EVERY year the age of 65 increased/will continue to increase EVERY year. And all those folks expect to receive Social Security & benefits from Medicare.

And that's precisely the reason why Obama simply is FORCED to "tweak" the inflation rate. Otherwise the federal budget would simply break down under the burden of all the retirees.

Posted by: Willy2 | Apr 7, 2013 2:29:11 PM | 67

Derbig, is that you"

What is this? They don't even accept permit applications until April 18th!

Posted by: Mooser | Apr 7, 2013 2:54:49 PM | 68

59) the jury is out on this one - the film is available on DVD

It was filmed with great respect for historical detail - definitely worth to watch.

It did ok in Europe. I guess it was against the Reagan zeitgeist in the US.



Posted by: somebody | Apr 7, 2013 6:22:33 PM | 69

67) your argument would make sense if US real gross domestic product was not rising - i.e. more services and goods produced per inhabitant.

It is a matter of distribution not of scarcity.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 7, 2013 6:51:55 PM | 70

"67) your argument would make sense if US real gross domestic product was not rising - i.e. more services and goods produced per inhabitant.

It is a matter of distribution not of scarcity."

ALmost everyone that knows anything about GDP knows that in many respects it is one of the least useful indicators of Economic robustness. This is of course why Gov'ts refer to it all the time.

For example, If I went to your house and burned it down to the ground, the financial-events in the aftermath such as Fire Service bills, Hospital bills, re-building of the house etc etc would actually ADD to the GDP of whatever country you are claiming to live in.

Now burning down a house is not really an activity that benefits a society, but it does ADD to GDP.

If one is going to argue about economic health it might be kinda useful to be aware of that, wouldn't you think?

Posted by: yah . . . But | Apr 8, 2013 12:37:02 PM | 71

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