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View Diary: Delusional Democrats and Market Fundamentalism (230 comments)

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  •  Good points, both here and in the diary (10+ / 0-)

    I would only caution that there is no necessary contradiction between social issues and issues of economic justice. It isn't a question of either or but both and more.

    Any effective unifying narrative has to take this into account. We can't afford to be divided over a specious conflict between economic empowerment vs. social empowerment.

    Nothing human is alien to me.

    by WB Reeves on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 01:55:01 PM PST

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    •  WISH there was a serious economic debate w/in (64+ / 0-)

      party.   While the likes of Warren, Sanders, and Grayson are tolerated, it's not like their views are taken that seriously by a sizable majority of Hill Dems.  Their views are never considered in the WH.

      Other than Jared Bernstein, I'm not even aware of a serious Keynesian being employed in a significant economic post in this WH.  He left Biden's employ about 3 years ago.  While J.K. Galbraith's counsel was eagerly sought by Dem presidents for decades, his son (an esteemed economist in his own right) had no apparent influence w/ either WJC or Obama.  Who wants to consult w/ a Nobel laureate like Krugman when you can have a SecTreas who can't properly pay his own taxes?

      Let's look at what Krugman says today about the proposed Comcast/Time Warner merger:

      So let me ask two questions about the proposed deal. First, why would we even think about letting it go through? Second, when and why did we stop worrying about monopoly power?

      And there are good reasons to believe that this isn’t a story about just telecommunications, that monopoly power has become a significant drag on the U.S. economy as a whole.

      There used to be a bipartisan consensus in favor of tough antitrust enforcement. During the Reagan years, however, antitrust policy went into eclipse, and ever since measures of monopoly power, like the extent to which sales in any given industry are concentrated in the hands of a few big companies, have been rising fast.

      Monopoly power, insufficient investment in infrastructure. minimum wage, steadily declining labor power--these issues all need serious intraparty debate.  They rarely, however, get that debate.  Last I saw, the minimum wage bill that was the SOTU centerpiece still lacked support from the ML and from far too many other Senate Dems.

      Dems need a course adjustment on economic policy.

      Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

      by RFK Lives on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 03:01:37 PM PST

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      •  Couldn't agree more n/t (8+ / 0-)

        Nothing human is alien to me.

        by WB Reeves on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 03:07:22 PM PST

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      •  IANAL (5+ / 0-)

        but from what I've heard Judge Bork has been able to completely destroy anti-trust law from his perch on the DC Circuit Court.

        Politics means controlling the balance of economic and institutional power. Everything else is naming post offices.

        by happymisanthropy on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 03:38:41 PM PST

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      •  Re: this: (27+ / 0-)
        WISH there was a serious economic debate w/in party.
        There was: it just didn't involve real Democrats...if you will remember, we were shut out by the White House.

        Republicans have managed to assume control of the Democratic Party from within. Center, middle of the road, pragmatic, pro-business, neo-liberal, third way Democrats are nothing more than wolves in sheep clothing. They are just soulless republicans who realized they could assume control of the Democratic Party by paying lip-service to a few popular Democratic social issues, especially issues re: inequality, and then allow racial minorities, women, and gay rights activists to shout down opposition. It was an easy way to divide the party and then assume control.

        And like fools, we fell for it...all they needed was the right presidential candidate...

        We know republicans are evil...we don't have to spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week attacking them...what we need most, at this moment in time, is to purge the Democratic Party of republicans who pretend to be Democrats. If we don't, then we will surrender the party to the corporations...

        And I'm sure they are feeling pretty optimistic about upcoming elections with Hillary Clinton as the candidate du jour.

      •  dems need an attitude adjustment first (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        If you don't have a seat at the table, you're probably on the menu.

        by CarolinNJ on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 06:39:24 PM PST

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      •  Christine (4+ / 0-)

        Romer was a Keynesian.  In fact, her expertise was in the Great Depression.  Hell Summers was too in his way.

        The single most important article to read on this administration was published in the New Yorker.  The key passage - which in essence doomed the Democrats in 2010 is here:

        Perhaps nobody’s task was more important than Romer’s. She had drafted a crucial section of the memo which included an economic forecast and projections about the impact of a fiscal stimulus. Romer was well suited for the job; an economic historian, she was a close student of Washington policymaking during downturns. One of her key papers as an economist at the University of California at Berkeley, where she had spent the previous twenty years, showed that, contrary to popular belief, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s spending programs hadn’t pulled America out of the Depression. (She found that monetary policy was the key factor.) Conservatives had seized on the paper to disprove the efficacy of fiscal stimulus, but Romer’s point wasn’t that Roosevelt had spent too much to no purpose; it was that he hadn’t spent enough. When faced with a severe recession, she believed in overwhelming force.
        The most important question facing Obama that day was how large the stimulus should be. Since the election, as the economy continued to worsen, the consensus among economists kept rising. A hundred-billion-dollar stimulus had seemed prudent earlier in the year. Congress now appeared receptive to something on the order of five hundred billion. Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel laureate, was calling for a trillion. Romer had run simulations of the effects of stimulus packages of varying sizes: six hundred billion dollars, eight hundred billion dollars, and $1.2 trillion. The best estimate for the output gap was some two trillion dollars over 2009 and 2010. Because of the multiplier effect, filling that gap didn’t require two trillion dollars of government spending, but Romer’s analysis, deeply informed by her work on the Depression, suggested that the package should probably be more than $1.2 trillion. The memo to Obama, however, detailed only two packages: a five-hundred-and-fifty-billion-dollar stimulus and an eight-hundred-and-ninety-billion-dollar stimulus. Summers did not include Romer’s $1.2-trillion projection. The memo argued that the stimulus should not be used to fill the entire output gap; rather, it was “an insurance package against catastrophic failure.” At the meeting, according to one participant, “there was no serious discussion to going above a trillion dollars.”
      •  Monopoly power (0+ / 0-)

        We didn't stop caring about monopoly power. You could argue that it's always been lip service.

        The most glaring example is McCarran-Ferguson (1945) which exempts insurance companies from Federal anti-trust law and allows them to collude and price fix. Pricing power is monopoly power. Estimates vary as to how much that tidy little piece of corporate largesse has contributed to runaway health premiums, but it's safe to say that it's somewhere between "a shitload" and "a crap-ton."

        Repeal of McCarran-Ferguson was introduced into the health care reform debate 2 or 3 times, even once by members of opposing parties, but never gained any critical mass. The 80% rule (20% cap on administrative expenses) was supposed to accomplish the same thing, but it really doesn't.

        Price fixing ought to be anathema to proponents of capitalism, whose benefits can only be realized in a competitive marketplace. And as you point out, any true capitalist would puke all over the Time-Warner/Comcast merger. Its ill effects are 100% predictable: shittier service at higher prices.

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