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View Diary: Graphing Rising Income Inequality, the Trademark of Neoliberalism (282 comments)

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  •  I'll drop this in here (2+ / 0-)
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    divineorder, ohmyheck

    I choose this section because of the quote from an openly neoliberal professor but people should read the entire linked article from nakedcapitalism.

    You'll quickly learn more about Dennis Kucinich if you're not familiar with his history.

    The Case Against the Credit Ratings Agencies

    By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College

    Standard and Poor’s threat to downgrade of U.S. Treasury bonds from AAA to AA+ would exacerbate the problem if it actually discouraged purchasers from buying these bonds. But on the Monday on August 8, following their Friday evening downgrade, Treasury borrowing rates fell, with short-term T-bills actually in negative territory. That meant that investors had to lose a small margin simply to keep their money safe. So S&P’s opinions are as ineffectual as being a useful guide to markets as they are as a guide to promote good economic policy.

    But S&P’s intent was not really to affect the marketability of Treasury bonds. It was a political stunt to promote the idea that the solution to today’s budget deficit is to pursue economic austerity. The message is that President Obama should roll back Social Security and Medicare entitlements so as to free more money for more subsidies, bailouts and tax cuts for the top of the steepening wealth pyramid. Neoliberal Harvard economics professor Robert Barro made this point explicitly in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. Calling the S&P downgrade a “wake-up call” to deal with the budget deficit, he outlined the financial sector’s preferred solution: a vicious class war against labor to reduce living standards and further polarize the U.S. economy between creditors and debtors by shifting taxes off financial speculation and property onto employees and consumers.

    First, make structural reforms to the main entitlement programs, starting with increases in ages of eligibility and a shift to an economically appropriate indexing formula. Second, lower the structure of marginal tax rates in the individual income tax. Third, in the spirit of Reagan’s 1986 tax reform, pay for the rate cuts by gradually phasing out the main tax-expenditure items, including preferences for home-mortgage interest, state and local income taxes, and employee fringe benefits—not to mention eliminating ethanol subsidies. Fourth, permanently eliminate corporate and estate taxes, levies that are inefficient and raise little money. Fifth, introduce a broad-based expenditure tax, such as a value-added tax (VAT), with a rate around 10%.

    Bank lobbyist Anders Aslund of the Peterson Institute of International Finance jumped onto the bandwagon by applauding Latvia’s economic disaster (a 20 percent plunge in GDP, 30 percent reduction of public-sector salaries and accelerating emigration as a success story for other European countries to follow. As they say, one can’t make this up.


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