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View Diary: I am going to ask, no insist, that you read something (104 comments)

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  •  Class Warrior Nancy Pelosi leading the charge.... (21+ / 0-)

    for the 1%, fighting for austerity and pushing our caucus right.

    Nancy Pelosi Told House Democrats to "Embrace the Suck."  
    Moyers is correct in the class war framing you highlight in the diary.

    What's the solution ?  Democrats could promote  “the four percent solution.”

    The name refers to the average level of unemployment we had in 2000, the last year we were at full employment and the last year of a healthy economic period (1995-2000) when wages and incomes rose smartly and inequality actually declined. In an important new book by Dean Baker and Jared Bernstein, Getting Back to Full Employment: A Better Bargain for Working People (available for free download), they make a sustained argument for enshrining the four percent figure as an overriding national priority and putting full employment squarely at the center of the progressive agenda.

    Baker and Bernstein handily demolish the various arguments against such a target — unemployment that low would cause accelerating inflation, current unemployment is mostly structuralm and so on — and detail the many economic benefits that would follow from meeting or at least approaching that target. There is probably no other economic policy that would deliver as much in terms of raising material well-being, reducing inequality and even bringing down the long-range deficit.

    The excuse that voters would not buy it is simply not credible. Take a look back at some of Benenson’s data:

       In a forced choice question, just 39% of voters and 23% of Independents agree: The way to get our country back on track is to get government out of the way and unleash the power of businesses and markets to create jobs by lowering taxes and eliminating needless regulations. While 59% overall and 65% of Independents agree with the alternate choice: The way to get our country back on track is to get the public and private sector working together to invest in manufacturing, technology, small businesses and education to create jobs our country needs and train our children to succeed in the new economy.
    Obviously, Congress will be an obstacle here but, contrary to the Zen precept, you can’t hit the target unless you’re aiming at it.

    Democrats on the fence about this aggressive growth agenda should keep in mind the probable political payoffs from getting close to full employment. Obama’s approval rating would likely go up and that, combined with economic improvements, would give them a much better chance of gains in the 2014 election. And full employment wouldn’t exactly make the Democrats a lock for the 2016 Presidential election but that, combined with the Democrats’ burgeoning demographic advantage, would make them damn hard to beat.

    Our job? Call Congress at their local offices during the break.

    Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

    by divineorder on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 10:14:42 AM PST

    •  Off the top of my head... (11+ / 0-)

      would it be useful to tie tax rates to unemployment rates? ... i.e. in periods of high unemployment, raise tax rates on both wealthy individuals and healthy corporations, but they would have incentives to create jobs because the healthier economy would then cause the tax rates to be spread out a little more evenly?

      Perhaps that's all off target, but I think there must be a way to make wealthy people and corporations understand that at least most would BENEFIT from pumping more money into the broad economy, one way or another.

      I don't want to see the proposed Swiss solution here -- give everyone a basic "salary" to live on -- but people need a way to make enough money to live on. I understand that some really low-level jobs don't require much education, but some people don't have the mental equipment (through no fault of their own) to extend their education. Yet they need food and shelter, and they have the same right as others to find love, create families, etc.

      If you work hard, and provide something of value, you should earn enough to support at least yourself, without needing to resort to food stamps. Wealthy people and corporations shouldn't have it both ways --  low taxes for themselves (starving the safety net), and low wages for their employees.

      And yet they want even more inequality.

      "I think in America, the opposite of poverty is justice." Bryan Stevenson

      by gfre on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 11:33:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Brilliant IDEA!!!! (6+ / 0-)

        I love it.

        Tax rates on incomes over 4 million a year, should go up 10% for every percentage of unemployment over 4%, and deductions should be reduced 10% for each precentage point as well, with unemployment measured as it was in the Carter Administration, when workers that had run out of unemployment benefits were still counted as unemployed.

        The old Airline Economist at ShadowStats computes the actual U6 at around 22%. Great Depression numbers only masked by the safety net.

        To Goldman Sachs in according to their desires, From us in accordance with the IRS.

        by Bluehawk on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 10:09:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I like your idea about tying tax rates (6+ / 0-)

        to unemployment numbers, but I also like the Swiss idea of giving everyone a basic salary to live on (which you don't like).

        I think the future, including increasing automation, virtually assures that we will always have a significantly higher percentage of unemployed than we've had in the past. Everyone needs to have their basic needs met and if there are no jobs we must do something as a society. The basic salary concept would fill that gap and there is no doubt that there is plenty of money to cover it. It's just a matter of priorities regarding the distribution of that money.

        •  I agree with most of what you say. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JerryNA

          But we have a long way to go before the Swiss idea could become law in this country.  We have moved so far in the other direction, and we have great forces arrayed against us.

          Unfortunately, there is a lot of misplaced pride in the "American" idea of pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. Also, someone has been stealing our boots for the last 40 years.

          "I think in America, the opposite of poverty is justice." Bryan Stevenson

          by gfre on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 11:46:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Is it that Obama is in control of the money (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mkor7

      to elect House Dems (through the DNC and/or his relationships with big donors) or is it that some pro-austerity schmuck has goat pictures of Pelosi?

      I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 11:38:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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