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View Diary: The Out-Of-Touch Republican Congress (111 comments)

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  •  How many 'top' priorities are Economic? (4+ / 0-)
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    Rocket, bree, GN1927, PsychicToaster

    It seems that concerns about the economy are split into several categories here.  The set of chosen "Top Priorities" is not orthogonal, but issues with a significant dependency on the economy are numerous.

    "Situation in Iraq/war" may contain a significant economic component, as people realize that there is likely no economic benefit forthcoming from our large "investment" in Iraq.  Moral issues, fear of terrorism, foreign relation with third-party countries, and religious bigotry all make various contributions to this category.

    Concern with the category "Fuel/oil prices/lack of energy sources/the energy crisis" undoubtedly contains a strong economic component, as well as concerns for the environment (global warming in particular).

    "Immigration/illegal aliens" is also mainly a category that depends on economic concerns, as many people believe that illegal immigrants are taking jobs away from American citizens.  This category also has some dependency on tendencies towards racism, at least for some respondents.  

    The category "General Economy" comes next, and this is clear enough.  But economic concerns are further spit into many other sub-categories" "High cost of health care" (relative to wages, of course)..."Access to education" (can't afford college?)..."Unemployment" (No wages?/fear of no wages?)..."Social Security"..."Lack of Money..."High cost of living/inflation"..."Gap between Rich and Poor"...

    The way we ask the question strongly influences the answer we receive.  I believe this data shows a very strong concern with economic issues that is understated by breaking up said issues into many small categories.  We keep reading the figures on how well the economy is doing, but in terms of median real wage growth, budget deficit, trade imbalance, job quality, debt, job security, and total employment, the picture is grim, the public pessimistic.  

    When the Chairman of the Federal Reserve speaks of inflation, he is mainly concerned with wage increases.  When we see the figure on "core inflation", it excludes just about everything somebody living at the subsistence level needs to survive.  When we speak of "unemployment" in terms of percentage, the number has a strong dependency on how many people simply have given up looking for employment. When we look at figures for "job growth", it is never adjusted for the increasing number of people entering the employment pool.  If the stock market goes up, is that called "inflation" for somebody currently investing in their retirement?

    The entire discussion on the economy is framed in a way that confuses and divides the populace as to what the real issues are.  It must be all of those damn illegal immigrants, right?

    We need a better way to frame the issue of "The Economy" to make real progress on the real underlying issue of social economic justice.  I wish I had a solution at hand, but I am putting this "out there" for everyone to think about...maybe, together, we could focus on this and help find a better frame of reference to address this issue.

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    by lightfoot on Tue Jun 06, 2006 at 05:50:25 AM PDT

    •  Exactly (1+ / 0-)
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      lightfoot

      What I find interesting is that some of the immediate concern economic issues, such as gas prices, energy crisis, and health care costs are a result of some of the concerns that hover around 1-3%.

      Things like education, the deficit, unemployment, corruption, and the gap between rich and poor are closer to the root cause of the economic problems, but they receive little concern.

      The Republicans are leading the way the average American would, patching up the problems they see because they don't fully grasp the nature of the causes, or in a true dereliction of duty, don't want to deal with the causes for personal/political self-preservation.  

      The Democrats, as evidenced by the previous administration, know that the attention must be placed on the causes of the problem.  Great strides were made in education, we turned the deficit to a surplus, unemployment was going down.  I will concede that the major holes in the law concerning executive compensation and off-shore business tax immunity has been a major cause of the widening gap.  However I am confident that now that the loophole is so glaringly obvious, the party who has the concerns of America at heart will work to close it.

      •  The diversion of economic concerns (0+ / 0-)

        away from the root cause to the "symptoms" of the disease is an act of political self-preservation for Republicans.  The vacuity of neo-liberal economic theory (1)(2)(3) is a guiding principle behind Republican economic policy (and unfortunately is a virus that infects too many Democrats as well).  We have turned away from the wisdom of economists such as John Maynard Keynes, Thorstein Veblen, and John Kenneth Galbraith, who recognized the close interrelationship between sociology, politics and economics, and who acknowledged the necessary and positive role of good government. Neoliberal economics, by its very nature, is designed to distract our attention from the root causes of social economic injustice.  The bankruptcy of neoliberalism has revealed itself though the degeneration of our economy into criminal crony capitalism (1)(2)(3).

        Thank you(!), PsychicToaster, for making this most insightful point on the distinction between immediate concern economic issues (symptoms) and root cause of the economic problems (disease).

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        by lightfoot on Tue Jun 06, 2006 at 07:55:53 AM PDT

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