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Tonight, I come to you with some unsolicited (IMHO, critical) advice: For multiple reasons, which I get into briefly, below, and for the sake of the success of the Democratic Party this year, please consider tempering your proclamations concerning the current administration's "successes," specifically (and only) with regard to its handling of the economy to date.

Fixing our economy is going to be a long, painful slog. IMHO, anyone who tells you otherwise is engaged in an exercise of wishful thinking. As recent opinion polls have noted, the general consensus among the population is one of hope for the future, but it's combined with acute awareness of pain in the present concurrent with significant apprehension concerning the year ahead.

As Paul Krugman notes in his column in Monday's (today's) NY Times (links and much more detail provided further below), the Bush administration left us with an economy that is in far worse condition than many would have us believe. Even now. IMHO, despite comments to the contrary by some highly optimistic economists, many Democrats, those in the MSM, and some fellow bloggers, we're considerably farther away from being out of the woods than many might think. Due in large part to the legacy of decades of greed-gone-wild, the possibility exists that we could closeout 2010 in almost as bad (if not as bad...or worse) shape as we're in now.

Putting it as nicely as possible, if I had to use a phrase to describe my thoughts about the current state of the economy, it would be (and there are scores of diaries that I've posted over a lengthy period of time which go into greater detail on this), still: an extremely fragile house of cards.  

Today, and along these same lines of thought (again, see farther down, below), Krugman is even more economical with his words, as he describes our present situation as: "grim."

On Saturday, Digby posted a brief diary which discussed current Democratic realities, while speculating about potentially successful, political talking points we should consider (along with talking points that are being considered by our Party, as I write this) to dig our way out of our economically-induced political rut during the 2010 cycle. Check it out here: "Rebranding the Enemy."


Rebranding The Enemy
Hullabaloo
by Digby
Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Plan emerges:

From the WaPo, "2010 situation grows more difficult for Democrats."


An already difficult situation for Democrats in Congress is worsening as the 2010 political season opens.

To minimize expected losses in next fall's election, President Barack Obama's party is testing a line of attack that resurrects George W. Bush as a boogeyman and castigates Republicans as cozy with Wall Street.

Back to Digby...


It's not a bad idea. But it would have been a little bit more believable if the Democrats hadn't spent the last year scrupulously "looking forward not backward" and coddling Wall Street and the banksters.

There's another interesting sentence buried well within the WaPo piece...


...The one thing that heartens Democrats is that voters also don't think much of the GOP, which is bleeding backers, lacking a leader and facing a conservative revolt...

I'm reposting a link, right HERE, which I posted above, since it pertains quite precisely to this last quote.

Digby later updated her post with some suggested Democratic talking points from another WaPo piece, the gist of which has been discussed witin this community at length (there are diaries up on the boards right now about these matters, as I post this), by many, including yours truly:  "Aughts were a lost decade for U.S. economy, workers."

(h/t to Meteor Blades, from his "Midday Open Thread," from Saturday, January 2nd, and to Digby, from earlier that day, "Rebranding The Enemy.")


"Aughts were a lost decade for U.S. economy, workers"
By Neil Irwin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 2, 2010

For most of the past 70 years, the U.S. economy has grown at a steady clip, generating perpetually higher incomes and wealth for American households. But since 2000, the story is starkly different.

The past decade was the worst for the U.S. economy in modern times, a sharp reversal from a long period of prosperity that is leading economists and policymakers to fundamentally rethink the underpinnings of the nation's growth.

It was, according to a wide range of data, a lost decade for American workers. The decade began in a moment of triumphalism -- there was a current of thought among economists in 1999 that recessions were a thing of the past. By the end, there were two, bookends to a debt-driven expansion that was neither robust nor sustainable...

The WaPo's Irwin also reminds us that:

      1.) There was zero net job creation since December 1999, with our nation's economic output being the worst since the Great Depression.

      2.) Middle-income households made less in 2008, after adjusting for inflation, than they did in 1999, as well. This has probably become even more severe since we've weathered 2009.

      3.) American household net worth has declined--again, when adjusted for inflation--compared with sharp increases in every other decade, since they started collecting that data back in the 1950's.

Yes, we have a very, very long way to go (perhaps as much as a decade, based upon the Bureau of Labor Statistics' most recent projections, or more) before we're out of the economic woods.  The economy, as Krugman notes below, stands as much of a chance of heading downwards or sideways as it does up, even as we progress through the year ahead.

I truly hope that everyone reading this will, at least, try to heed (or, at least consider) Paul Krugman's advice in his column in Monday's (today's) NY Times.  But, to do that, as it relates to the pronounced sentiments of some in this community, you would have to understand and accept that all talk regarding the economy "...brings us to the still grim fundamentals of the economic situation." Those are not my words; this is what the Nobel Prize-winning economist's telling us in his column, today.

Clearly, congressional Wall Street bailout oversight panel chair Elizabeth Warren is of the same mindset. In "AMERICA WITHOUT A MIDDLE CLASS--IT'S NOT AS FAR AWAY AS YOU MIGHT THINK," she points out just how close we are to the abyss.


Today, one in five Americans is unemployed, underemployed or just plain out of work. One in nine families can't make the minimum payment on their credit cards. One in eight mortgages is in default or foreclosure. One in eight Americans is on food stamps. More than 120,000 families are filing for bankruptcy every month. The economic crisis has wiped more than $5 trillion from pensions and savings, has left family balance sheets upside down, and threatens to put ten million homeowners out on the street.

In these graphics, Warren explains how this crisis started more than a generation ago.

And, via this set of of graphics, Warren explains how, despite millions of families putting a second parent in the workforce, higher costs have outlapped additional income. She notes...


...higher housing and medical costs combined with new expenses for child care, the costs of a second car to get to work and higher taxes combined to squeeze families even harder. Even with two incomes, they tightened their belts. Families today spend less than they did a generation ago on food, clothing, furniture, appliances, and other flexible purchases -- but it hasn't been enough to save them. Today's families have spent all their income, have spent all their savings, and have gone into debt to pay for college, to cover serious medical problems, and just to stay afloat a little while longer.

--SNIP--

...now the crisis has swamped millions of middle class families.

So, as I explain above, Krugman's words--combined with Digby's pragmatism--may comprise the most important policy guidance and communications suggestions Democrats should consider as they devise talking points and campaign strategy for the upcoming mid-terms this year: "That 1937 Feeling."


That 1937 Feeling
By Paul Krugman
Op-Ed Columnist
New York Times
Published Online: January 3, 2010   In Print: January 4, 2010

Here's what's coming in economic news: The next employment report could show the economy adding jobs for the first time in two years. The next G.D.P. report is likely to show solid growth in late 2009. There will be lots of bullish commentary -- and the calls we're already hearing for an end to stimulus, for reversing the steps the government and the Federal Reserve took to prop up the economy, will grow even louder.

But if those calls are heeded, we'll be repeating the great mistake of 1937, when the Fed and the Roosevelt administration decided that the Great Depression was over, that it was time for the economy to throw away its crutches. Spending was cut back, monetary policy was tightened -- and the economy promptly plunged back into the depths.

This shouldn't be happening. Both Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, and Christina Romer, who heads President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, are scholars of the Great Depression. Ms. Romer has warned explicitly against re-enacting the events of 1937. But those who remember the past sometimes repeat it anyway.

As you read the economic news, it will be important to remember, first of all, that blips -- occasional good numbers, signifying nothing -- are common even when the economy is, in fact, mired in a prolonged slump...


Bold type is diarist's emphasis.

Krugman continues on to discuss "statistical illusions," and how they're actually caused by an "inventory bounce." As Krugman tells us, businesses are stuck with large stocks of goods during recessions. They slash production as they work off their inventories. Once the inventories are disposed of production is raised again, and that shows up as a burst of growth in GDP.

BTW, we'll almost certainly see this effect manifested within the Institute for Supply Management's Manufacturing Survey results for December which will be announced early this week. But, again, as Krugman reminds us, it's all an illusion.

He notes that the traditional means by which we've come out of recessions in the past--housing, consumer spending, business investment, exports--are all toast. Housing has massive inventories of foreclosed and soon-to-be-foreclosed properties that haven't even hit the marketplace. Consumer spending is shot. And, with the commercial real estate fiasco just getting started, combined with excess capacity that's at record levels, business investment is going to be next to nil for many years, too. Lastly, as far as exports are concerned (and, remembering that Krugman's expertise is in international trade), Krugman's  pointing out that the trade deficit is widening again, and that's due to "China and other surplus countries...refusing to let their currencies adjust."

As Krugman summarizes it, more likely than not, we are not on the road to a sustained recovery. And, his concern is that those that make policy will misinterpret these blips of good news and succumb to the same legislative branch pressure which precipitated the policy mistakes which FDR made in 1937, which then caused a double-dip in the Great Depression.

In fact, Krugman tells us this is already happening. Bernanke-led quantitative easing efforts are coming to an end over the next few weeks. Purchases of mortgage-backed securities by the Fed are now scheduled to come to a grinding halt over the next few months. And, the current stimulus program will peak by mid-year. (Krugman asks: How we can let the stimulus peter out with massive unemployment still in play?)  He points out that this all amounts to monetary-tightening.

I'll add to Krugman's list the continued, planned evisceration of consumer credit lines (which are tantamount to monetary-tightening in the view of most economists' mindsets) within the marketplace.

So, what we're ending up with--potentially--is another slow-motion trainwreck playing out before us, just in time for the November elections. As Krugman explains it, in a guestion: Are these folks going to realize all of this before it's too late? In his own words: "If they don't, 2010 will be a year that began in false economic hope and ended in grief."

Looking at all of this from the vantage point of being a lifelong Democrat, I have to ask myself: "What are these folks thinking?"

#      #      #

Originally posted to http://www.dailykos.com/user/bobswern on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 02:07 AM PST.

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  •  Tip Jar (249+ / 0-)
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    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 02:13:11 AM PST

    •  Tipped. (29+ / 0-)

      A glimmer of hope, at least with regard to the trade deficit, is that the West is finally rumbling regarding Chinese exchange rate, with Chinese steel about to be taxed with punitive tariffs. The EU (despite its overall balanced I/E ratio) isn't very happy about it, either, and might consider sanctions.

      Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

      by Dauphin on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 02:28:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bring Bush back out into the spotlight. (9+ / 0-)

      But wait until the final weeks before the election. He can work for us. That's why his former boss, Cheney, keeps him hidden.

      Flox News - The American Sheeple's #1 Source For Right-Wing Disinformation

      by kitebro on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 05:54:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are limits to how much mileage (23+ / 0-)

        you can get from something like that. One's opponents would say (and quite rightly) that you were living and running somewhere in the past, if you keep trotting out a two-years-gone President.

        If apes evolved from humans, why are there still humans?

        by Bobs Telecaster on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 06:37:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bush's "Clinton did it" Mantra (12+ / 0-)

          Didn't work so well for him two years in either.

          When so many people are hurting they won't give a damn about the "blame game" and the Dems are foolish to think that they will.

          People want help now and when it isn't coming they will react negatively to who ever is in power.

          Bush pushed the housing bubble and used the OCC lawsuit against the state of NY to neutralize the predatory lending laws of the states, opening the gates to the subprime meltdown.

          Remember the "have's and the have's more" speech?

          What will Obama and Geithner use when so many people are tapped out?

          Where will the next bubble come from in a society addicted to "asset inflation" as a way to stimulate business?

          •  But "Clinton did it" was effective (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sebastianguy99, fernan47

            because so many Democrats have also repeated that meme (including around here.)

            You can damned well bet the Republicans won't bite on that one. To a soul.

            Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without - W S Coffin

            by stitchmd on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 07:15:55 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Only when he covered his arse with... (9+ / 0-)

              Predatory lending.

              The rhetoric only matters if you can have something tangible to support your case with the people.

              Bush used "easy cash" and easy lending" to grease the rhetoric.

              It was all an illusion based on debt with mortgages laced with "balloon payments", Zero down on new cars, and cheap foreign imports to create the illusion of prosperity... while the real economy was auguring in to borrow from the pilots vernacular.

              •  Obama doesn't have anything to work with... (9+ / 0-)

                Krugman makes the point in his article here:

                During the good years of the last decade, such as they were, growth was driven by a housing boom and a consumer spending surge. Neither is coming back. There can’t be a new housing boom while the nation is still strewn with vacant houses and apartments left behind by the previous boom, and consumers — who are $11 trillion poorer than they were before the housing bust — are in no position to return to the buy-now-save-never habits of yore.

                What’s left? A boom in business investment would be really helpful right now. But it’s hard to see where such a boom would come from: industry is awash in excess capacity, and commercial rents are plunging in the face of a huge oversupply of office space.

                Can exports come to the rescue? For a while, a falling U.S. trade deficit helped cushion the economic slump. But the deficit is widening again, in part because China and other surplus countries are refusing to let their currencies adjust.

                So the odds are that any good economic news you hear in the near future will be a blip, not an indication that we’re on our way to sustained recovery. But will policy makers misinterpret the news and repeat the mistakes of 1937? Actually, they already are.

                http://www.nytimes.com/...

                •  Oh absolutely (8+ / 0-)

                  it was the debt economy. Why people couldn't see that was then, and remains, beyond me.

                  Bernard Madoff was just a symbol for the whole decade, and the whole economy.

                  Did you see the article in yesterday's NYT about Florida real estate?How it was all about one speculator after another bidding up prices? It wasn't limited to there. Spouse is an architect and was talking about having commissions to do repeated studies on the same parcel of land after it got passed from one developer to the next at ever inflated parcels, then some poor sucker was left holding at the end without another to pass it to.

                  Those handoffs are gone, and that's why, for example, we just got our tax assessment for the new year and it's 15% lower than it was 3 years ago, and our region (Maryland) is considered relatively stable.

                  It's still winding down. I agree with Krugman completely.

                  Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without - W S Coffin

                  by stitchmd on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 08:28:16 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Th Greed-is-Good mantra... (12+ / 0-)

                    ...goes all the way back to Reagan... and, of course, then people started taking out home equity loans, credit cards, and what all to keep up with their neighbors.  It was great for corporations and for the economy too, really, until the bills started coming in.  And then we mysteriously had a majority of two-bread-earners paying the bills instead of one, and that was great for women, for awhile.  And, of course, the Unions were crushed with the Air Traffic Controller Strike.  Overall, the big winner, since 1981, has been corporations, and the big losers have been the rest of us.  And that is why the Republicans still bow at the alter of St Ronnie the Deliverer.

                    Howard Dean Speaks For Me

                    by ultrageek on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 08:35:50 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Bingo! Give the man a cigar! (7+ / 0-)

                      It does indeed trace right back to Reagan.

                      As Economist Thomas Pally points out in his piece the Debt Delusion:

                      America's economic contradictions are part of a new business cycle that has emerged since 1980. The business cycles of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush share strong similarities and are different from pre-1980 cycles. The similarities are large trade deficits, manufacturing job loss, asset price inflation, rising debt-to-income ratios, and detachment of wages from productivity growth.

                      The new cycle rests on financial booms and cheap imports. Financial booms provide collateral that supports debt-financed spending. Borrowing is also supported by an easing of credit standards and new financial products that increase leverage and widen the range of assets that can be borrowed against. Cheap imports ameliorate the effects of wage stagnation.

                      This structure contrasts with the pre-1980 business cycle, which rested on wage growth tied to productivity growth and full employment. Wage growth, rather than borrowing and financial booms, fuelled demand growth. That encouraged investment spending, which in turn drove productivity gains and output growth.

                      SNIP!

                      It is not enough to deal only with the crisis of the day. Policy must also chart a stable long-term course, which implies the need to reconsider the paradigm of the past 25 years. That means ending trade deficits that drain spending and jobs, and restoring the link between wages and productivity. That way, wage income, not debt and asset price inflation, can again provide the engine of demand growth.

                      http://www.thomaspalley.com/...

                      The solution that Palley offers is also echoed by Paul Volcker:

                      Here’s Volcker on the current economic "recovery":

                      "I think it’s questionable of how rapidly the economy will expand after this recession, because there are a lot of basic adjustments that have to be made.... We can’t just pump up consumption and pump up housing again. Might pad us for a year or two, but it’s imbalance that got us in trouble in the first place. We’ve got to work toward producing more goods, selling more goods abroad, being more competitive abroad, maintaining a decent rate of savings, bringing budgetary–federal budgetary situation back into something that’s sustainable, and all those things, plus the financial market is wounded. There’s no doubt about that, and it won’t recover from those wounds, deep wounds for a while." (When pressed, Volcker wouldn’t put an exact time frame on the recovery, but said it would take "several’ years.)"

                      http://blogs.wsj.com/...

                      The truth is we shouldn't blame Bush when the real culprit is Ronald Reagan!

                      The problem is that thirty years of bad assumptions are not easily undone, especially when the majority in congress are still spouting the "free trade" and deregulation crap that brought our economy to its knees in the first place!

                      •  I'll take the cigar... (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        tacet, Flint, Doodlespook, Noor B

                        ...but I'd like credit for the gender.  It's Give the Lady a Cigar!

                        Howard Dean Speaks For Me

                        by ultrageek on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 08:56:43 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Okay... Puff Puff! (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Doodlespook, dotdot

                          I'll resist the temptation to say "well give the little lady a cigar" because I know I'll get clocked good and proper!

                          •  You know... you "say" you'll resist... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Hens Teeth

                            ...and yet you didn't.  I'm not going to clean your clock good and proper, but I will point out that, while you may have thought it funny or clever, your response was simply sexist.

                            I forgive your assumption that I was male.  The majority of people on this site are; and, given although that I have been an active participant on this site for over 6 years now, there are an awful lot of people here, and it is no one's obligation to track anyone else's gender.  

                            However, when I point out that I am not of the male gender, for you to then proffer a gender based stereotypical insult couched in terms of "I'm not going to say this but....." is, by definition, sexist.  It is equivalent to saying, "I'm not racist but..." or, "some of my best friends are Jews but...".  

                            For the record, I am neither physically short nor thin and in no way would you think me frail or delicate if you were to encounter me on the street.  Furthermore, I do not consider myself, or any woman, to be intellectually inferior to men, simply based upon who stands and who sits when.  I do not swoon, or kowtow to men because of their gender, and am certainly not one to be put in her place, as a "little lady" so easily is.

                            In summation, I specifically repudiate your non-assertion that, due to my gender, I am "less" in any way whatsover.

                            So, thanks for the cigar.  But, no-thanks for the ha-ha-not-insult.  

                            Howard Dean Speaks For Me

                            by ultrageek on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 04:24:10 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

            •  It was effective because it was so oft repeated (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Uberbah, farbuska

              A lie repeated constantly becomes truth.  That's politics, folks!

              Howard Dean Speaks For Me

              by ultrageek on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 08:32:07 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  which is why we need to keep beating the refrain (5+ / 0-)

                that this is the result of Reaganomics come into full fruition under George W Bush. Keep saying it over and over again.

                But this time it won't be a lie, it will be the truth.

                Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without - W S Coffin

                by stitchmd on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 08:37:13 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  This isn't a lie though... (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  stitchmd, shaharazade, Uberbah, farbuska

                  The asset inflation "bubble economy" didn't exist until Reagan brought it into being.

                  This is the "consolidation phase" of Reagan's economic policies come home to roost.

                  •  exactly (0+ / 0-)

                    which is why I said it's not a lie. It is the truth.

                    And that's the refrain we need to keep beating. Over and over again.

                    Unfortunately too many Democrats are willing to do the Republicans' work for them and blame Clinton, too.

                    Now, how often do you see Republicans blaming Bush? Much less Reagan?

                    It never happens.

                    That eleventh commandment of theirs is stronger for them than many of the first 10!

                    Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without - W S Coffin

                    by stitchmd on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 10:30:15 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  And we rip them for their hypocrisy (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Uberbah

                      We also shred their credibility for never owning up to their lack of criticizing their own too!

                      They get labeled "ditto heads" and lambasted for not taking their own to task.  

          •  They're STILL saying Clinton did it (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Winnie, stitchmd

            so surely it wouldn't hurt to remind people now and then who really did do it.

            •  And the American people ain't buying it! (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Winnie, greeseyparrot, shaharazade

              The GOP is shrinking at an unparalleled rate too... do you think that it works with any but the 20% who will believe anything the squawking heads like Limbaugh and Beck serve up to them?  

            •  but (0+ / 0-)

              (and my point above again is) we've got to stop buying into that meme, too, and stop blaming Clinton ourselves, as Democrats.

              Lay the blame where it belongs: on the initiation of Reaganonmics, fully realized in the George W. Bush era, his daddy's protestation about "voodoo economics" long thrown to the wind.

              Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without - W S Coffin

              by stitchmd on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 08:30:27 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  no choice but to talk about Clinton (10+ / 0-)

                ...otherwise when you push for reform, you'll just have NAFTA and Gramm-Leach-Baily thrown back in your face.  Reagan and Bush of course shoulder most of the blame, but Clinton has a large share as well.

                I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

                by Uberbah on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 08:36:26 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  here's the exact problem I'm talking about (4+ / 0-)

                  lay the blame where the blame needs to be laid. Clinton signed Graham-Leach-Bliley but it was a Republican bill out of a Republican congress.

                  I'm talking message here.

                  There sure is a choice not to lay this at the feet of Clinton.

                  Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without - W S Coffin

                  by stitchmd on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 08:39:18 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Clinton, Rubin, Summers (13+ / 0-)

                    etc. were all more than happy to do the bidding of the banksters on this issue.  To pretend otherwise is disingenuous and not helpful.  Clinton is no less a globalist/corporatist than the GOP.  

                    ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

                    by Kristina40 on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 08:45:09 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  okay, fine (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      sebastianguy99, Egalitare

                      why should the Republicans do the work of laying the blame on Democrats when we're so happy to do it for them?

                      That's all I'm saying...

                      And this is exactly the point...

                      Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without - W S Coffin

                      by stitchmd on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 10:27:40 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Maybe just maybe (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Flint, Uberbah, josephcast, farbuska

                        we should start blaming the people responsible no matter what party they call home?  Maybe; we as a Society need to stop pointing fingers and start fixing what is broken?  The people in office now have NO intentions of doing that because their keepers have no intentions of giving up one iota of their wealth and influence.  We have allowed this Oligarchy to be created while playing the two party poo flinging games to the delight of Plutocrats and Oligarchs everywhere.  In the end, we are all covered in poo save that top 1% of "special people"...

                        ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

                        by Kristina40 on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 10:44:38 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  personally, I reject the idea (0+ / 0-)

                          that Democrats and Republicans are fundamentally the same. Neither is perfect, and both owe a lot to their "corporate masters," if you want to put it that way.

                          But do you really think they are the same? Really?

                          Look, I have never been one to avoid laying blame where blame is due. But to say that Clinton is responsible, especially to say he is equally responsible, for the financial mess we are in is just ridiculous. Absurd on its face.

                          If we call ourselves Democrats (and this is, after all, a "Democratic blog," as so many are wont to keep repeating) then we should be careful about how we talk about Democratic culpability in this financial and economic debacle. Because the Republicans certainly will blame us, and the media which more often calls on right wing talkers for opinions will listen to that, and the Republicans will never accept blame for it themselves and will be more than happy for the blame to be laid upon us.

                          That's what I'm saying.

                          I'm not thrilled with the way things are going, but gd knows it will never change under Republicans. If it's going to change at all, it will need to come from the D side of the aisle.

                          And that is one thing I can absolutely count on as a certainty.

                          Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without - W S Coffin

                          by stitchmd on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 12:56:26 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Here we disagree... (0+ / 0-)

                            I'd have to put these as the certainties:

                            1. Change will never come from the Republican side of the aisle.
                            1. Change is more likely to come from the Dems than the repubs, but there's no guarantee that it will.
                            1. This "Democratic Blog" is morphing into a "Progressive Blog" and the two are not necessarily the same any more... just ask the "blue dogs."
                          •  I don't disagree with that at all (0+ / 0-)

                            in fact I'd say I agree almost 100%. And I will say that this place has a far more progressive tilt than it did when I started lurking 5 or 6 years ago, when people were talking about being "libertarian Democrats." You don't hear much of that these days.

                            Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without - W S Coffin

                            by stitchmd on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 04:27:58 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  how do you spell V-E-T-O? (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Jim P, Uberbah

                    and why didn't Clinton use his?

                    "History is a tragedy, not a melodrama." - I.F.Stone

                    by bigchin on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 09:03:01 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It was passed in the Senate by veto proof margin (4+ / 0-)

                      The bill that ultimately repealed the Act was introduced in the Senate by Phil Gramm (Republican of Texas) and in the House of Representatives by Jim Leach (R-Iowa) in 1999. The bills were passed by a Republican majority, basically following party lines by a 54–44 vote in the Senate[12] and by a bi-partisan 343–86 vote in the House of Representatives.[13] After passing both the Senate and House the bill was moved to a conference committee to work out the differences between the Senate and House versions. The final bill resolving the differences was passed in the Senate 90–8 (one not voting) and in the House: 362–57 (15 not voting). The legislation was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on November 12, 1999.

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                      A Clinton veto would have only been symbolic at best.

                      •  It was a bipartisan bill signed (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Flint, Uberbah, Egalitare, farbuska

                        by a Democrat President.  It would be stretching the truth to the breaking point to put all the blame on the Republicans.

                        And Clinton and Democrats didn't have a problem taking ownership of the growth in the bubble economy back in the late '90s.

                      •  Not just symbolic, though... (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        tacet, Flint, dotdot, Uberbah

                        I get that the bill would have passed with or without Clinton's signature, but had he refused to sign it, no one could ever assign any blame to him for it.

                        I know there's a number of Republican Congressional bills that were passed with veto proof majorities that Clinton signed, and while it's true that a veto wouldn't have stopped those bills from being enacted into law, it would have sent a strong message that while he may not be able to keep the Republicans from driving us over the cliff, he wasn't going to willingly go along for the ride.

                        It's about optics.  I don't care if those bills were inevitably going to become law, we would have a lot more leverage and authenticity today if Clinton had forced the Republicans to pass those disasterous bills against his will.

                      •  not to start with, it didn't (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Flint, MindRayge, Jim P, farbuska

                        Wikipedia:

                        The House passed its version of the Financial Services Act of 1999 on July 1st by a bipartisan vote of 343-86 (|Republicans 205–16; Democrats 138–69; Independent/Socialist 0–1),[3] [4] [5] two months after the Senate had already passed its version of the bill on May 6th by a much-narrower 54–44 vote along basically-partisan lines (53 Republicans and one Democrat in favor; 44 Democrats opposed).

                        GLB only passed with a high margin AFTER months of support from Clinton and Clinton's economic team.

                        I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

                        by Uberbah on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 09:41:20 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  and that's the problem I'm talking about (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Flint, dark daze, farbuska

                    Clinton and his economic team pushed for both NAFTA and Gramm-Leach-Bailey, and then Clinton signed both NAFTA and Gramm-Leach-Bailey when they passed Congress.  That Republicans did most of the damage to the economy does NOTHING to change the fact that our politicians have had a hand in it as well.

                    It's like a Republican saying that the affairs of Clinton, Spitzer and Edwards are fair game while Ensign's should never be mentioned.  Just doesn't wash.

                    I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

                    by Uberbah on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 09:12:06 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  True... (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      stitchmd, Uberbah

                      And to deny Clinton's role in it and the other Dems in congress that went along with Reagan's economic assumptions shreds any credibility that we might have on the subject.

                      It also has to be noted that Clinton didn't go along with Rubin right away and Gramm-Leach-Bailey was served up to him with a veto proof margin in the House and the Senate.

                      NAFTA is another story however and here he takes the blame good and proper.

                    •  "We Can't Handle the Truth" (5+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      niemann, stitchmd, Jim P, Uberbah, farbuska

                      The problem though is that I don't think we can come to grips with the truth.

                      After reading the current diaries about the lack of a conference committee on HCR and having a Senate bill that was largely written by the corporate interests... how can the dems position themselves as a populist party?

                      NAFTA and Gramm-Leach-Bailey were pro-corporate acts. Can the Dems really sell themselves as "populists" after such a graphic example as HRC?

                      As a number of college students I've talked to have expressed it lately:

                      "Obama... same old shit in a different wrapper"

                      The youth vote swung the elections but he seems to be losing it.

                      •  do the Democrats want to be a populist party? (0+ / 0-)

                        I think it's a question worth asking.

                        I also think the teabaggers have a better claim to the populist mantle at this point.

                        Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without - W S Coffin

                        by stitchmd on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 10:32:35 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Teabaggers are astroturf... (0+ / 0-)

                          When you have corporate money funding the "teabaggers" being funneled into support their "movement", bus them to town hall meetings, and the all corporatist channel "FOX News" doing their promotion, advertising and organizing... the teabaggers can hardly be called a legitimate populist movement.

                          Howard Dean's 50 state strategy and grass roots organizing won the day in the last two election cycles and that is a "populist" movement.

                          So do the Dems want to be a populist party? They already are.

                          The challenge will be to see if they can keep their support with what is going on in congress right now.

                          •  Worth noting... Teabaggers are??? (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Uberbah, farbuska

                            The teabaggers are a symptom and not a movement. A rabble without a cause raging against a world they don't like and are incapable of understanding.

                            Glenn Beck under siege!!!
                            http://www.dailykos.com/...

                          •  see, I disagree (0+ / 0-)

                            and I think we do ourselves a disservice to dismiss the anger out there as "astroturf." Yes, it's sponsored by corporate, disingenuous interests - some of which are, need I remind you, funding this site right now. But that doesn't mean that the people who have been motivated to speak out at these rallies are not genuine themselves. Otherwise what can you make of the people who show up at Palin book signings?

                            There are lots of motivations for people to act the way they have been acting in this "movement;" nevertheless, there is a not insignificant group of people who have been activated and who are, in fact, drawing a lot more people and who are gaining power within their own factions.

                            Don't dismiss it. To do so is, again, condemning ourselves to repeat the history we remember.

                            Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without - W S Coffin

                            by stitchmd on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 01:07:17 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I don't dismiss the anger... (0+ / 0-)

                            The Teabaggers don't have a coherent theme though and they don't have any candidates to elect and they are completely torn apart by factionalism between the original founders of the movement to the GOP/Dick Army "Freedom Works" faction.

                            But they marginalize themselves when they start parading around towns in New Mexico and Presidential rallies waving guns. The average American finds that objectionable.

                            Having said that though... there are similarities to what is going on with the left wing.

                            The anti-government meme they espouse as in "audit the Fed" has been taken up by people on the left too like Alan Grayson.

                            They rant about the special interests and guess what... so do we on the left.

                            Hell! Look at the anger and contentiousness on D-Kos lately and you can see that we are building towards something.

                          •  Speaking of marginalizing themselves... (0+ / 0-)

                            This is why the teabaggers won't get wide spread national support:

                            OMFG!  Teabag leader carries sign with "N" word.
                            http://www.dailykos.com/...

          •  this is the key (9+ / 0-)

            Looking at all of this from the vantage point of being a lifelong Democrat, I have to ask myself: "What are these folks thinking?"

            They are thinking, "The man in the street has no where to go...rethug madness is just around the corner."

            And they are thinking this because many people right here on these pages spend entire days defending the Dems moves as 'the best we can get' vis a via 'the alternative.'

            As long as Kossacks repeat that deadly meme, we will descend deeper into serfdom. This is the war going on here: some Kossacks want to resist serfdom, but many want to justify serfdom.  Why they want to do so is the real mystery.  It cannot be answered because the blogger behind the curtain is anonymous.  Is that Kossack paid to be here to drive us to the right?  Is that Kossack invested him/herself in the status quo?  Is that Kossack just a shill?  Is that Kossack truly ignorant?  Stay tuned for the end of the narrative always comes, sooner or later.  

            We must practice `pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.' Antonio Gramsci

            by fernan47 on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 08:07:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  "We're the only game in town" (7+ / 0-)

              This kind of thinking is fundamentally flawed because it assumes that people will hold their nose and turn out at the polls because of the "GOP threat."

              All you have to do is ask former Governor Corzine is this holds water or not.

              He outspent his opponent 2:1 and Obama campaigned for him repeatedly in the state and it failed to get the Dem voters to the polls.

              D-Kos is full of policy wonks and ideologues and not representative of the average voter. It is to a large degree an echo chamber for progressive views, divided as we might be at times. (yes we are a herd of cats! or Pooties or what ever you want to call us)

              •  We're in big big trouble. n/t (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Flint, Noor B, Uberbah, farbuska
                •  Of course we are. And our fearless leaders (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Flint, Uberbah, bobswern

                  are driving us to the edge.  I'm talking about the Dems we elected the last two cycles, not MB or Kos or mcjoan and company, just to be clear.  There were a number of Blue Dogs added to both chambers of Congress, and they have not helped matters at all.  They are just as wedded to free-market ideology as the Republicans.  They are still stuck in a mid-twentieth century economic mentality, and they are not willing to honestly contemplate contemporary adaptations of New Deal policies, let alone new approaches to our problems.

                  I'm going to stick my neck out now, and I'm certain someone will come along to chop it off, but here goes anyway:  we have to stop looking to the DLC/DCCC/DSCC-appointed Wise Wo/Men and start looking in the mirror for real agents of change.  Our elected officials are not going to save our butts this time.  Their thinking is, in too many cases, too institutionally-bound, too dependent on the failing economic structures to question their assumptions and look for pragmatic, workable solutions.  I will say it again:  you want an agent of change we can all believe in, take a solitary stroll into your bathroom and look into the mirror, look at the face you see staring back at you.  And don't you dare tell me you're not up for this task.

                  I'm thinking for a few days of running a discussion diary on all this, but today is not the day.  I have class at 5 PM, my textbook is still in the belly of an airplane somewhere instead of on my front porch, and I need to go borrow my prof's copy so I'll be ready for her discussion tonight.  bobswern, I hope you'll show up when I do get it posted.

                  "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18 (-8.50, -7.23)

                  by Noor B on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 11:55:38 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  If I'm available, I'll be there! Thanks! n/t (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Noor B

                    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

                    by bobswern on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 02:50:03 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Well Said... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Noor B

                    I hope you do start that diary series because it needs to be discussed.

                    Obama holds the promise of change but right now the establishment and his advisers are pulling him back into the status quo.

                    What we need is a paradigm shift off the "Reagan" track that are the underlying assumptions that congress is still running on... both dems and repubs.

                    No... there are differences between the parties, but the underlying assumptions are too close for them to really be agents of the type of change that is truly needed.

              •  Obama shouldn't be scared of Republicans, he... (0+ / 0-)

                ...should be scared of a 2012 version of Ross Perot, without the flackiness.  The media would shit on a primary challenge from the left (Gore, Dean, xyz) but the media loves them independents.

                A rich independent could run against Bush AND Obama WHILE getting the same rock-star treatment that Obama got before he passed Hillary in the primaries.  A rich independent could also rake in the disillusioned voters by telling them that they don't have to worry about him selling out, because he's already rich.

                Throw in a little social conservatism to bring in the Christofascists, and Obama's in a lot of trouble.  

                Think Steve Jobs/Mike Huckabee.

                I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

                by Uberbah on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 02:12:42 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I don't think that is true... (0+ / 0-)

                  The media would shit on a primary challenge from the left (Gore, Dean, xyz) but the media loves them independents.

                  The media loves the "rebel" narrative and if Gore or Dean broke ranks they'd have one.

                  •  how do figure Dean's treatment in 04? (0+ / 0-)

                    Before they killed off his candidacy with the "Dean Scream", the media trashed Dean as having a "volcanic temper" and for being "too liberal", nevermind that he was a pro-gun fiscal conservative without anything like McCain's temper tantrums.

                    No, the media still hates Dirty Fucking Hippies, as Broder made clear in one of his recent columns:

                    But this does not weaken the thrust of Daley's main argument. His target is the left of his party -- the grass-roots liberal activists who condemn the centrist Democrats sitting in marginal seats for blocking some provisions of health-care reform, for example, and the leaders of organized labor who threaten to retaliate by withholding their support from the moderates.

                    These groups put heavy pressure on Obama to move his agenda to the left -- even when a Congress with swollen Democratic majorities is balking at the measures that Obama already has endorsed.

                    The president is surrounded by people who share Daley's grasp on reality, none more important or better placed than Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff and a fellow Chicagoan. But the picture is not so clear on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

                    The moron even sites the election in Virginia that Democrats have moved to far to the left and that's why they are at risk this fall.

                    I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

                    by Uberbah on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 03:40:03 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Nixon over came his defeat... (0+ / 0-)

                      And so can Dean. In fact he has rehabilitated himself long ago with his 50 state strategy and his even handed commentary.

                      He has built a loyal constituency that is now larger than it was in 04.

                      The defining point though is that the Dems in congress are now alienating there base. Rahm's dismissive comments about the left have left a bitter taste in many progressives mouths and the HRC debate and the lack of substantial economic reforms are also hitting home.

                      In 04 Dean was assassinated by the corporate media, the GOP, and the DLC crowd... something that is not likely to be repeated given current events and trends.

                  •  Didn't work for Kennedy, or Jackson (0+ / 0-)

                    I really don't think any Democrat will challenge President Obama. It's a historic Presidency, and no one wants to help the Rethug extremists.

                •  But Ross Perot wouldn't be Ross Perot (0+ / 0-)

                  without the flakiness. ;)

                  Seriously, Huckabee is done and I've never heard of Jobs having any political aspirations (he's also not in best of health, and probably an Obama supporter anyway).

                  Christofascists demand more than a little social conservatism.

                  And rich people are not exactly the most popular right now. Romney had loads of $$, but he didn't even win the nomination.

                  I think he's got 2012 in the bag thanks to personal popularity and Rethug extremism, but the Congressional elections are more worrisome.

        •  Bush stole the Cheese (9+ / 0-)

          but lambasting this economic disaster while laying it at the feet of the GOP won't

          1. bring jobs back
          1. change the est. 2.3 million 2010 foreclosers  
          1. 1:50 folks who have only food stamps as income
          1. change WallStreet

          I recall reading a little book titled Who Ate the Cheese. Two mice. Both by habit going to the same room every day stocked with cheese. One day the cheese was gone. After a few days one of the mice decided not to return and went off looking for the new cheese source. The other (progressive democrat?) kept returning every day to find no cheese, but hoping and expecting it would be there where it had always been. This progressive mouse never lost hope...but starved to death.

          Without meaningful healthcare, there will be nothing left to believe in by election 2010. The GOP then have a 50% chance of their lies once again prevailing. That is good odds for the liar.

          Luke, The Belief is strong. Trust your beliefs.

          •  The starved mouse was the "accept the status quo" (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Noor B, Uberbah, Hens Teeth, farbuska

            Dem however.

            It's the progressive saying "what we have is no good, look for a real solution," and the status quoist saying  "be pragmatic, this is where the cheese has always been, this is what cheese storage is like."

            So your analogy is illustrative, but labelled backwards.

            Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

            by Jim P on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 10:11:29 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  We have to resurrect Reagan (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Uberbah

          It was Reaganomics that killed our country.  W was just another nasty little addition to that.  And we have to totally abandon every bit of supply side crap that has been passed in the past 30 years. If we don't get the corporations under control, our economy will be nothing more than a shark feeding frenzy, with the sharks eating their own entrails.

          I do not like thee, Doctor Fell, The reason why I cannot tell; But this I know, and know full well, I do not like thee, Doctor Fell.

          by opinionated on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 01:22:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe you can still tie Bush to the economy. (33+ / 0-)

        And that's a HUGE maybe.

        But the administration already fumbled the ball when it comes to most else. War? We doubled down. Torture? Erosion of civil liberties? Didn't see a single criminal trial.

        If you're going to bring Bush back out into the spotlight, it helps to have a handy excuse (that doesn't boil down to Washington comity) as to why the excesses and crimes of the former administration haven't yet been given more scrutiny.

        Regards,
        Corporate Dog

        -----
        We didn't elect Obama to be an expedient president. We elected him to be a great one. -- Eugene Robinson

        by Corporate Dog on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 06:38:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Along With the Pseudo-Dems (23+ / 0-)

        Sorry, the guilt is shared.

        Pillory them right alongside Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gramm, Leach, and Bliley.

        Of particular disgust - right down the list of ass-wipe Dems who voted for Iraq, Patriot Act, and Gramm-Leach-Bliley.

      •  But will people buy it? (12+ / 0-)

        After awhile to those who are not partisan, that sounds like a lame excuse, especially when November '10(Bush will be out office 19 months) rolls around, and things don't look like it is improving, no amount of Blaming Bush is going to matter(even though that is the truth) It is President Obama's hot potato.

        America, They were yours, Honor Them, Do Not forget them-IGTNT.

        by Mr Stagger Lee on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 06:45:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And coming up with a strategy like this... (12+ / 0-)

          An already difficult situation for Democrats in Congress is worsening as the 2010 political season opens.

          To minimize expected losses in next fall's election, President Barack Obama's party is testing a line of attack that resurrects George W. Bush as a boogeyman and castigates Republicans as cozy with Wall Street.

          Republicans cozy with Wall Street? That won't fly.

        •  Economically, I think you MIGHT still be able to. (6+ / 0-)

          I mean, look at most of the polls. They indicate that... (a.) A large majority feel the fault for our economic disaster belongs in the hands of the Republicans. - AND - (b.) A similar majority feels that it will take time for the policies of the Obama administration to bear fruit. - AND - (c.) They explicitly trust Democrats to handle the economy more than Republicans.

          If Democrats get overambitious, and try to pin OTHER problems on Bush, I think THAT'S a losing strategy. The Obama Administration has done far too little to hold the Bush Administration accountable in other arenas, and that will come back to bite them with a vengence, if they try to do it before an election.

          But regardless of how enemic I believe the stimulus was, voters seem to have faith in this administration's handling of the economy, RIGHT NOW.

          That's not to say that most voters TRULY understand the scope of this undertaking, or that they WON'T turn like rabid dogs in a heartbeat after a few more months of substandard economic conditions, or that their memories will be able to extend back beyond January 20th, 2009 when they're standing in the voting booth.

          Regards,
          Corporate Dog

          -----
          We didn't elect Obama to be an expedient president. We elected him to be a great one. -- Eugene Robinson

          by Corporate Dog on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 06:59:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  To allow him to slink off (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Winnie, Brooke In Seattle, Uberbah

          into obscurity is crazy. His image needs to be invoked. If only for a second or two in a commercial. There is a reason he is being kept out of the spotlight.

          Flox News - The American Sheeple's #1 Source For Right-Wing Disinformation

          by kitebro on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 07:31:21 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, its real, concrete (5+ / 0-)

          The GOP was able to use the "terror" card to play on voters fears of imaginary bogeyman.  

          In a poor economy, the fear is real, not imaginary.  People know immediately if Dem's solutions are helping them or not.

          I'm from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party...

          by Betty Pinson on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 08:32:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  The platform should be something like (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greeseyparrot, SyntaxFeline, ohmyheck

        Do you want to continue the steady growth of jobs and the economy or go back to the abyss that was George Bush and the republicans?

        With Obama's Presidency, I feel the enduring pain of every teabagger, and believe me, I completely enjoy it.

        by pollbuster on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 07:19:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Continue the steady growth of jobs? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jim P, riftt, farbuska

          What steady growth of jobs is it that you are talking about?

          The one in which we aren't losing jobs as quickly as we were before?

          That's not growth.  A loss of 10 jobs in one month may be a zillion times better than a loss of 100,000 jobs in a month, but it's still not "growth".

          It's a loss.  We haven't turned the corner on jobs yet.  We're still losing more than we are gaining.  The rate of loss has declined substantially - which is great - but it is still a loss.

          Hard to ask people if they "want to continue the steady growth of jobs" when there hasn't been any growth of jobs.

          I'm guessing you're employed, so this probably isn't real to you.

      •  Bring Corporate Owned Politicians to Spotlight (9+ / 0-)

        If Obama was corporate owned, he would have Geither, Summers & Bernanke in control of our economic policies. Krugman & other actual progressives, that aren't owned by Wall Street, have been shut-out by this White House. Draw your own conclusions.

    •  The problem with more stimulus is (8+ / 0-)

      that we have to have buyers for our debt at low rates, otherwise high interest rates will prevent a recovery.  If you haven't noticed, interest rates (ie the 10 year) have been pushing up recently as our creditors are demanding a higher yield on their investments.  This is why true Keynes cannot be applied here, because Keynes theory operated under the assumption that we would run surpluses or break even during non recessionary times, while we have been running big deficits for nearly 30 years (and even Clinton's 2 positives were only that due to using SS money and the tech bubble).

      •  We do NOT need to issue more debt (13+ / 0-)

        It is the banksters who have us believing that governments need to either raise taxes or borrow money in order to finance government spending. This position is a complete abrogation of the sovereign power of the nation state.

        From Myths, Scares, Lies, and Deadly Innocent Frauds: Part Two,

        "Government Spending is NOT operationally limited or in any way constrained by taxing or borrowing," in that whatever Government deficits we leave to our children also need not be repaid by them through either further borrowing, or increased taxation. These deficits, just like our own can be financed by our children and grandchildren by creating whatever money they need to finance them."

        Here's another excellent article on government's inherent power to create money. It discusses how Lincoln issued "greenbacks" (which Morgan and other financiers hated) to partly finance the Civil War.

        A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

        by NBBooks on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 06:36:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Have you heard of Zimbabwe? (6+ / 0-)

          You cannot just issue dollars without debt behind them and expect to exist in a global economy.

          •  Why the wrong-wing scare tactic? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ChemBob, xaxado, Mr SeeMore

            Whether it will crush your position in gold, or silver, or whatever the hell it is you trade, or are invested in, I DON'T care. Abraham Lincoln did, it worked, and we did not turn into Zimbabwe. I'm worried about the survival and prosperity of the nation, not the ability of bunch of traders and speculators to make money trading paper back and forth. The past three decades we tested the idea that letting them do do would create riches that "trickle down" to everyone else. It did NOT work, so the experiment is over with and we MUST organize the country to get a new system in place and operating. I suggest you get used to the idea and perhaps look for another way of making a killing living.

            A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

            by NBBooks on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 09:24:50 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Are you kidding (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Uberbah, farbuska

              First, the world in which Lincoln operated was a wholly different animal from today's globalized economy.  Second, printing dollars without debt support would lead to massive inflation (ie our dollars would be worthless globally), which would mean oil for one (along with all other imports) would go through the roof along with interest rates on our current debt (thus killing our economy once and for all).

              •  And what abou the Constitution? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                xaxado

                So Article I, Section 8, (Congress shall have the power "to coin money, regulate the value thereof) has been killed off by the international banks?

                How is the money supply increased now? What occasions the increase? So, it's OK for JP Morgan Chase to create a few billion in "new money" as margin on credit default swaps, or oil futures contracts, but it is not OK for the government of the United States to to create a few billion in "new money" as credits issued to the bank accounts of construction companies building new bridges and rail transit systems?  

                A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

                by NBBooks on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 10:25:54 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  "debt support" would be "collateral", no? (0+ / 0-)

                That would mean assets. What assets do we have to keep running the presses? "Running the presses" is exactly that absence of "debt support."

                Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

                by Jim P on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 10:26:32 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  look (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ChemBob, NBBooks

            the monetary system is controlled by global bankers.

            all we have to do is take the power away from them.

            easier said than done, but money is a pure illusion and all these notions about debt are pure garbage.

            your comment is much, much more than a right wing scare tactic: it is fundamentally wrong at its core.

            We must practice `pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.' Antonio Gramsci

            by fernan47 on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 10:00:42 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Economic literacy is helpful (1+ / 2-)
              Recommended by:
              Uberbah
              Hidden by:
              NBBooks, xaxado

              you are essentially advocating we go back to trading in beads and seashells.  Since the global finance system isn't going to change overnight, we must in fact deal with debt and interest rates.

              •  This comment (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                xaxado

                "you are essentially advocating we go back to trading in beads and seashells" is so egregiously false I had to hide rate it. Obviously the commenter has never bothered to read the various proposals for reforming the global finance system.

                A Critical Assessment of Seven Reports on Financial Reform: A Minskyan Perspective, Part I

                Developing the principles of a managed trade system by Robert E. Prasch

                Demythologizing Central Bankers and the Great Moderation, by Thomas Palley

                The Fallacy of the Revised Bretton Woods Hypothesis: Why Today’s System is Unsustainable and Suggestions for a Replacement, by Thomas Palley (pdf file)

                Money Manager Capitalism and the Global Financial Crisis, by L. Randall Wray

                THE MONOPOLY OF GLOBAL CAPITAL FLOWS: WHO NEEDS STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT NOW? by Terry McKinley

                A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

                by NBBooks on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 10:39:05 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  You can't hide rate my correctness (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Uberbah

                  the comment I responded to suggested that money and debt are illusions.  In the current economic paradigm (which is the only one that exists) debt is extremely important and we have a limited capacity of it (limited by our creditors).  Any discussion on a "new" paradigm in light of current situation is exactly like a beads and seashells economy, since neither currently exist or are being legitimately considered as a replacement for our current one.

                •  Web of Debt (0+ / 0-)

                  Web of Debt by Ellen Brown explains the "greenback" system of money supply regulation.  She makes a convincing case that the current system is deeply flawed, inherently.  Lincoln's system cut out the debt parasites, which is essential for sustainable economics going forward.  John Kennedy was trying to recreate this basic American approach to money when he was killed.

                  The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein -- best book ever, I nominate for a Nobel Prize!

                  by xaxado on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 11:34:32 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I don't see why the HR here. You... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...did a good job of providing alternative views about fixing the global financial system. Why add the zero to the discussion?

                  Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

                  by Meteor Blades on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 04:55:22 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Because of "go back to trading in beads and seash (0+ / 0-)

                    "go back to trading in beads and seashells." It's just an outrageous lie. It's the manner of arguing taken straight out of Ann Coulter's "How to talk with a liberal" books: you take your opponent's argument to its most absurd, ridiculous extreme, fling it in their face and accuse them of being unrealistic. It's despicable. Where in fernan47's comment that SilverOz attacked can a reasonable person conclude that fernan47 is advocating a return to a primitive monetary system of beads and seashells? In point of fact, there have been a lot of studies done by economists and others on the problems with the current international financial system, and various proposals for replacing it or reforming it. None of these are easy reading, they all require a lot of concentration and thinking, and much previous knowledge about economics and finance. So, for someone to engage in a discussion of the international financial system and then dismiss a basic observation as "go back to trading in beads and seashells" - well, to say it does a great disservice to the the audience and the participants is an understatement. It seems to me more like an attempt to stifle debate by slamming any proposal that challenges the status quo. We're trying to discuss proposals for change, and having to repeatedly defend the idea that, yes, the status quo needs to change, is an impediment to discussion, which is, after all, aimed at creating change.

                    Moreover, fernan47 is absolutely correct: all money is in the final analysis an illusion. What's so special about little pieces of paper with green ink on them? Or little blips of electrons floating around the internet from bank account to bank account? Intrinsically, nothing. Only a widely held faith that they can be used to purchase actual goods and services makes them valuable. Once that faith in money is shattered, then the illusion ends.

                    A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

                    by NBBooks on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 08:57:17 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  uprated (0+ / 0-)

                I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

                by Uberbah on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 02:17:40 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Dollars issued for works of value do not (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Egalitare, farbuska

            inflate the currency.

            Why?

            Because we have the value to back the dollars, when the work is done.

            Bailing out failed financial institutions does inflate the currency.

            Why?

            Because they make nothing of value.

            Our problem is that we don't make things of value, and we need to.  If we do that, via public works, or domestic policy aimed at growing manufacturing, we then will pay down our debt.

            If we don't do that, we either inflate bubbles, go off and fight about it, or sell the nation off to the people holding dollars.

            IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

            by potatohead on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 11:21:22 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •   Money buys work (0+ / 0-)

              ...it doesn't get created by work. To create money there are only two ways: physically print it or borrow it into existence. The thing you propose would pressure someone somewhere to do those two things eventually, in order to pay for more work than the money system can tolerate.

              You cannot produce money by mining gold. The gold can be sold off into the economy but it is still just competing for dollars like anything else, say a loaf of bread.

              Debt + repayment of debt equals zero; what has been created and remains after those two are accounted for is the money attributed solely to time via the interest rate. Money is literally time physically represented. When you borrow, the cost of it is your time spent repaying it at the going rate of time.

              We will never pay down our debt...the debt will always be there, but it will be there against a rising backdrop of prices of everything or of rock bottom labour somewhere. It is that way because there essentially no cost to borrow trillions if the interest rate is kept near zero. Governments do not pay down principal on debt like you or I because they don't have to.

              The game is rigged. We all know that. We are now forced to compete with foreign labor. Our time has less value and we therefore commit more of it by agreeing to a lifetime or low paying work when we agree to current consumer interest rates.

              The answer to our problems is no/low consumer debt and lots of Government debt...which is, oddly, what we are seeing. I hate it just as much as anyone but that is where we are now. We have to work through it or default, I guess.

              •  Not true at all. (0+ / 0-)

                If we create money to fund efforts that are of themselves of value, and ideally can produce value of their own (manufacturing, etc...), we do pay down our debt.

                The size of our debt does not have to be as large as it is.

                Being a debt based system isn't a "rigged" game.  It is a rational way to account for value consumed and produced.

                We just need to invest more in value generating things, and our burden will be reduced.

                We are only forced to compete with foreign labor because "free trader", "supply sider", "trickle down" types force that.

                You go take a look at those nations that did not go down this road, and they have their economies nicely de-coupled from the worst of this, not suffering as we and the UK are.

                IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

                by potatohead on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 01:23:30 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Manufacturing cannot produce money (0+ / 0-)

                  It can produse profit and jobs though. But those things are part of the recycling of money in the economy.

                  Without a source of new money you cannot grow anything.

                  Highly competitive businesses chasing the same dollars (a static pool of money) don't create any  new opportunities in our system.

                  The US and the UK are on their way to wage parity with the rest of the globe, more or less mitigated by the cost of shipping things half way around the world.

                  Within the global economic system there is no choice. It's not that the others are doing anything right that we aren't. We started from a higher perch and we will meet them somewhere in the middle.

                  All the fancy financial stuff we dabble in is just smoke and mirrors to facilitate more borrowing at the cunsumer level...which is our only source of new money at the time to grow anything (mo business borrowing). Unfortunately, it's hoarded and concentrated.

                  •  No. Here are the core elements of this: (0+ / 0-)

                    Our wealth is measured in terms of how much of our time is "free" time, as in we get to do what we want, instead of what we have to or are forced to do.

                    If somebody finds a stick, it has some value.  The value is in the time it would take for somebody else to find a stick, and in terms of there not always being sticks.

                    If somebody manufactures something with that stick, or applies work to the stick, say to make it a handle, or tool, then it has value because not everybody can do that, or if they can, it takes their time to do it.

                    Manufacturing builds value and that value can lead to wealth, and this is how:

                    Wealth is innovation applied to labor over time.

                    A nation of people, who can quickly make tools from sticks is a very wealthy nation.  They can free their time through the tools, and supply more of their own needs.

                    Now, let's talk money.

                    Money has no inherent value.  It is a value transfer medium only.  The idea is that a sum of money boils down to time, work and or energy.  It works because everybody uses it, and it's easier than just actually doing work, or directly trading things of value.

                    We are a debt based system.  When a work is to be performed, debt is created.  Money literally appears to fund the work.  When the work is done, that money is backed by the value of that which was done, or ends up as debt, in that nothing was done.

                    That's a "loss".

                    As a nation then, we always have debt.  The size of the debt is not as important as the value and wealth creation that backs that wealth.

                    If one borrows a million dollars, builds a factory, then sells everybody a car, that manufacturing made a ton of money!  The initial million is backed by the factory existing, and the return on that million is the better utilization of time and materials that money made possible, by funding a work investment to start with.

                    Should this not be true, we would all be making our own cars!

                    You are correct in that we need credit to do things, but incorrect in your assumption that doing those things (manufacturing) does not make us wealthy.

                    At the end of the day, people need things.  Each nation must feed it's people, etc...

                    Right now, we consume more than we produce, and that's causing our debt to grow as we are not building enough to have parity.

                    Lots of dollars are out there, backed by NOTHING.  So then, those that have those dollars can't buy anything but us with them, and that's exactly what is going on.

                    We are being owned in return for being allowed to not make things and let others serve our needs.

                    This is not sustainable, and that's why many people are calling for a return to an economic environment where we provide more of our own needs, and depend on other nations far less.

                    When you need something from somebody, you are accountable to them.  Ever wonder why we have to put up with as much as we do internationally?  This is a big part of why.

                    IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

                    by potatohead on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 10:51:41 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  value is not utility (0+ / 0-)

                      If I produce a handle from a stick it is useful but it has no associated value until it is sold or traded and we use that as a standard. The handle is useful only as much as the market will judge it to be. The labour in it has not injected value to it in the eyes of someone who doesn't want it. The cost to procure it is the cost in replacing the medium of exchange (time not necessarily well spent making handles if there is no market).

                      It would be great to say: hey, we can produce useful items so lets just do it, but the market will not give us more than the other guy's handles.

                      The great success of the American 20th century was that the rest of the world was in shambles after devastating wars and the talent had fled to where the only manufacturing activity was strong. There was demand, limited foreign competition, talent, technology, infrastructure, borrowing... and the engine was well lubricated by tremendous recycling of money internally. It will never be as good a stary alighnment as that was...unless we find some major advantage to exploit.

                      Getting back to money. How does it come to life if is not by borrowing it when it is not in your hands or available to you from your stick whitling? You cannot pay me if you just have handles, cuz I won't show up. You have to start by borrowing it somewhere to get going...then if the recycling is sufficuent in the local economy we may perhaps do well in our handle business. If it is not sufficient then we may drop our price, petition someone to force people to buy our handles or try any other complicated scheme to get our handles sold at a profit so that we may not have to go borrow more to keep the business going. Unfortunately for us our labour is not enough. It is not really valued as much a we think it should. It never is.

                      That is the good side of borrowing. Interest, that is where we get fouled up and where time comes into play. Time generating the interest is uniformly valued (by setting a rate) where labour's time is not. Labor is always scratching out value where it can.

                      I totally understand your view. It would be great if we could tap the value of work without a market, but we can't unles we contrive things by punishing some other player just as keen of doing well. In our case that would be the rest of the world to which we owe a pretty penny now! Interest due each and every month...

                      The Gov could build plants but they would not be competitive unless they closed the doors to cheap labor...They borrow so that someone, anyone for that matter, can take a cut from that new money and use itto fund somthing that works. are we forced to borrow? Yeah, pertty much until parity exists in the world.

      •  So start raising taxes on the top 1% . .nfc (12+ / 0-)

        I am here to represent the democratic wing of the Democratic Party. Roar louder!

        by Josiah Bartlett on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 07:54:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  that would probably be a more effective (5+ / 0-)

          campaign strategy that trying to raise the spectre of Bush.

        •  This is an issue that anyone could understand. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Josiah Bartlett, farbuska

          If you cannot afford to pay your bills you either need to increase your income or you need to reduce your bills. We have all seen what the bills are and who benefits from them, a "profiteering tax" would be a wildly popular way of bringing fiscal sanity back to our budgetary processes.

          "Soak the rich" doesn't sound so bad when the public sees "the rich" soaking up the gross national product at their expense.

          A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

          by nippersdad on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 09:38:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  This is one of the reasons that it was so (0+ / 0-)

        very important to get out in front of the issue, get ourselves out of the wars and let the larger banks go into receivership. Most of that debt has not been used for Keynesian stimulus, investing in future American infrastructure which will eventually pay for itself, but to prop up a status quo that only invests in the very diseases we suffer from.

        This is exactly what those who were warning about Rubinites creating policy were worried about, and I see no potential change in trajectory until the Rubinites are dug out root and branch.

        A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

        by nippersdad on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 09:31:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  "US growth prospects deemed bleak in new decade" (14+ / 0-)

      Then there's this, posted today/yesterday about a meeting between some major economists on Sunday.

      Speaking at American Economic Association's mammoth yearly gathering, experts from a range of political leanings were in surprising agreement when it came to the chances for a robust and sustained expansion:

      They are slim.

      Many predicted U.S. gross domestic product would expand less than 2 percent per year over the next 10 years. That stands in sharp contrast to the immediate aftermath of other steep economic downturns, which have usually elicited a growth surge in their wake.

      Kenneth Rogoff, also of Harvard, argued that if the U.S. government ever "credibly" pulled away from its backing of the financial system, then a renewed collapse would likely ensue.

      He cited government programs giving large financial institutions access to zero-cost borrowing as artificially padding their bottom lines.

      "There's something of an illusion of profitability," he said.

      http://www.reuters.com/...

    •  "What are these folks thinking?" (10+ / 0-)

      I ask myself also. It all seems as if it is a house of cards ready to fall, and our leaders are too insulated to see, much less take appropiate action.

      That we are now 1 year and 3 months later from Paulson's the sky is falling, and still no new laws, no protections in place, stock market back over 10,000, the bailed out firms paying ridiculous bonuses, the business as usual on Wall St.

      What are these folks thinking?

      "We are tired of war," he said. "We don't want it anymore."

      by allenjo on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 08:03:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Krugman's post is just a warning (0+ / 0-)

      it's not as grand or even as dire as you make it out to be.

      I mean honestly I know you have an agenda here but for once could you just leave it out? You'd be a better economist I think.

    •  I've been saying it for years... (7+ / 0-)

      ...the Democratic Party has to become the Party of the American Paycheck.  If it continues to be a lapdog to corporations, we need a Labor Party to step up.

      Howard Dean Speaks For Me

      by ultrageek on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 08:30:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  They're thinking politics. (25+ / 0-)

    Deficit hawks are loud, and they have successfully convinced the population that deficits are always a bad thing. It may seem easier to follow their views instead of doing what is best for the economy.

    Yes, it's dumb from an economic viewpoint. But from a political one they may be counting on the no one could have foreseen excuse.

    Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

    by Dauphin on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 02:31:36 AM PST

  •  0 net growth for past decade (23+ / 0-)

    in jobs.  Not that it is any consolation, but the jobs, or lack thereof, are Obama's fault is finally put to rest with this information now available.  But now, people who should know such things are only knowing them now?  That the jobs infrastructure collapsed in the last decade is only being noticed now?  

    I was puzzled why the stimulus monies were not reaching the jobless, but does this reflect that the Obama advisors were using the same thinking as was proven to not work for the last eight years?  

  •  People are numbers. All they care about (9+ / 0-)

    are numbers.  I bet their remedy is to reduce some of those people numbers so the economic statistic numbers will look more favorable.

    'If we lift our voice as one, there's nothing that can't be done' MJ

    by publicv on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 03:22:48 AM PST

  •  Tip and Rec.... (32+ / 0-)

    Trends?  Three different trenders, here was the consensus:

    There is going to be a double dip.  2010 will be worse than 2011.  Precious metals and energy are the only place to put your money, long term.  Somebody carved trillions of dollars out of the North American economy (middle class), unemployed people with the skills to do it ought to be looking for the money.  Who has it?

    Given that they we have two people working, it makes these statistics absolutely criminal.

    Today, one in five Americans is unemployed, underemployed or just plain out of work. One in nine families can't make the minimum payment on their credit cards. One in eight mortgages is in default or foreclosure. One in eight Americans is on food stamps. More than 120,000 families are filing for bankruptcy every month. The economic crisis has wiped more than $5 trillion from pensions and savings, has left family balance sheets upside down, and threatens to put ten million homeowners out on the street.

    If you remember the dire predictions of labor shortages back in the early 90s, this will make sense.  I had a USDOL fed tell me to my face that the real reason for welfare reform was to meet the needs of that labor shortage.   Our fascist government created this mess, and they are on their way to take over our schools.  Schools no longer educate kids, they train the labor force so the corporations don't have to.  

    The failure to respond to any of this is why Americans are pissed and will take it out on incumbents at the polls.  If Obama and the Democrats weren't corporate owned, they would have done something about this and stayed in power for decades.  As it is, they deserve to lose.

    They're asking for another four years -- in a just world, they'd get 10 to 20. ~~ Dennis Kucinich

    by dkmich on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 03:29:10 AM PST

    •  My question is Why didn't 'the people' (8+ / 0-)

      get/understand what was happening to them before now?  And why is this all of a sudden, the Democrats fault?  I live in a state, one of the top five, that has least felt the recession and unemployment has only been around 4%, but reading diaries, such as Muskegon Critic, realize how critical the job situation is, but it didn't happen last January 21st when Obama assumed office.  This 0 growth situation should be a great bargaining chip for the Democrats, but we are ceding it to the Republicans.

      •  It started with Reagan. (46+ / 0-)

        Job loss is what trickled down while the money trickled up.  It is like aging.  You don't notice how much you've changed until you look in the mirror one day and wonder where the hell all the time went.  

        Clinton passed NAFTA for Reagan.  If he had been a Republican, it would never have passed.  People trusted him not to screw them over with "globalization" when they shouldn't have.  I live in SE MI.  Muskegon and the rest of the state are having good times compared to SE MI.  That is where the population is, jobs were, and the major job loss occured in the state and in the country.   Autos is just the last of our manufacturing industries to be dismantled and shipped overseas.  Textiles and electronics were just the first few.

        Autos have been screaming on deaf ears about unfair trade.  Instead of the loan, they and American workers would have been tons better off with mandatory single payer and redistributing health care costs to the federal government.  Mfg is the oldest of the industries in this country, and autos is the oldest of those left.  They have years of history of unionization and legacies that they have to pay for; and one of their biggest debts is health care for all its retired and current employees.  

        The reason I blame Democrats is because I expect Republicans to be assholes, and I expect Democrats to represent the working/middle class.  Obama wrongfully and routinely conflates the autos with the banks including their CEOs; and he ducked out on single payer when it was the "real" stimulus this country needed.  I work with the Gov's office and the auto czar and trust me when I tell you that DC hasn't got a clue about the auto industry.  They are stuck back in the 70s when the major dislocations were unskilled, blue collar.  They don't realize that the current displacement in the industry is impacting white collar, high wage and high skilled jobs.  What do you retrain for when you already have two master degrees and a Ph.D?  

        Starting with Clinton, Democrats have sold us out.  Plain and simple, there is no party left that represents the middle class.  If there was, Obama wouldn't be governing like he is.  Obama owns the wars, owns the bank bailouts without reform and help for Main Street, and he now owns 0 job growth.  To his credit, he has at least paid lip service to enforcing trade violations; but EFCA languishing in the tombs with single payer speaks louder.  Instead of using the bully pulpit to beat the House and Senate into reform, he fiddles while the America middle/working class burns.  This is a time for strong leadership, not a milquetoast.

        They're asking for another four years -- in a just world, they'd get 10 to 20. ~~ Dennis Kucinich

        by dkmich on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 04:37:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Which state is that? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenearth
      •  Those of us living in areas (18+ / 0-)

        that have been decimated by loss of manufacturing have known for 25 years that our government was, at best, ignoring the situation.

        I live in a county of 100,000 people, all deeply affected by continuing loss of industry. We just didn't have enough people left to make ourselves heard over Clinton-era claims of a booming economy.

      •  it is not all of a sudden the Dems (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dkmich, Uberbah, farbuska, allenjo

        fault.

        it is not all of a sudden at all.

        what is clear after the 2008 election and the past year is the the Democratic party is now fully corporatized.

        that is what is different...we busted our butts to change the overlords and we really thought we were going to get some meaningful change, not a lot, but some.

        instead we got more of the same and we are further down the road to collapse.

        without real financial reform, we are toast.  

        We must practice `pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.' Antonio Gramsci

        by fernan47 on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 10:19:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  schools have (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      farbuska

      never, ever intended to really educate the masses.

      they have always been indoctrination machines.

      what educational history have you looked at?

      We must practice `pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.' Antonio Gramsci

      by fernan47 on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 10:17:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Household net worth (36+ / 0-)

    The U.S. economy has expanded at a healthy clip for most of the last 70 years, but by a wide range of measures, it stagnated in the first decade of the new millennium. Job growth was essentially zero, as modest job creation from 2003 to 2007 wasn't enough to make up for two recessions in the decade. Rises in the nation's economic output, as measured by gross domestic product, was weak. And household net worth, when adjusted for inflation, fell as stock prices stagnated, home prices declined in the second half of the decade and consumer debt skyrocketed.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

    Most commented on the lack of job growth in the last decade but just as shocking has been the decline in net worth.

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 03:36:51 AM PST

  •  Good post (22+ / 0-)

    One correction needed, however.  You refer to "his" in reference to Digby. It is "her" writing, not "his."
    fyi.

    sláinte,

    cl

    Religion is like sodomy: both can be harmless when practiced between consenting adults but neither should be imposed upon children.

    by Caoimhin Laochdha on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 03:57:15 AM PST

  •  on the bright side (30+ / 0-)

    a narrow dem majority frees them of having to put up with their voters' irritating demands that they deliver on campaign promises, and even offers a surefire way of making those voters STFU by "proving" that the losses were a backlash to trying to do too liberal, too ambitious an agenda too quickly.

    they want to be thrown into that briar patch.

    surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

    by wu ming on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 04:23:31 AM PST

  •  Why isn't this Diary on the Rec List? (7+ / 0-)
    •  Because the exchange and trade of (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gmb, Brooke In Seattle, jamesia, bobswern

      goods and services is not a sexy topic--i.e. it's less interesting to the sex that's more interested in the hunt and the capture than the processing of matter.

      How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

      by hannah on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 04:46:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  On the rec list now, but (8+ / 0-)

      it really needed to say something about Jane Hamsher in the title to hit the rec list sooner.  People around here have been exceedingly myopic over the last couple of weeks.

    •  One reason among many (0+ / 0-)

      Purchases of mortgage-backed securities by the Fed are now scheduled to come to a grinding halt over the next few months.

      Emphasis added. This kind of alarmist, over-the-top editorializing gives the piece a shrill, breathless tone that is unnecessary.

      And there's a strawman aspect to it as well. No authoritative voices have been pumping up unwarranted optimism. The best, most positive spin that mainstream and leading economists are saying is that, "we are in huge trouble and the way out is going to be very long and difficult."

      Nobody thinks otherwise.

      So this diary, with it's "I hate to be the bearer of bad news" is basically a schtick and we're being played off of emotional hooks like those in the quote above.

      There was nothing wrong with, "Fed purchase of mortgage backed securities will end by 2Q."

      Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

      by The Raven on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 07:08:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Let me suggest that work and workers (29+ / 0-)

    have long been a denigrated component of American society.  Perhaps it's the most persistent remnant of our history of cheap/free labor (indentured/slave/female) that trade and factoring continues to be preferred.  That is, the transformation of matter continues to be considered of less social value than the manipulation of people and of figments of the imagination such as money.

    Perhaps that's because artisans and inventors were rarely "encouraged" to emigrate from their native lands.  As a result, the pool of artistic and creative talent and intellectual innovation is largely to be found in the descendants of the involuntary migrants whose contributions have been historically discounted and continue to be denigrated because of the social strata to which they were assigned.

    North America is a topsy-turvy land where social success is divorced from any practical achievement.  And the system has been made worse by the substitution of money for the trappings of success--worse because, it turns out, money is most easily accumulated by crooks.

    How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

    by hannah on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 04:31:08 AM PST

  •  Bernake talking about raising interest rates (13+ / 0-)

    I haven't seen the market this morning but that is certain to cause a dip - the cynic in me wonders if goldman sachs had decided to short the market last Thursday and needed their boy Bernake to talk the market down.  But more likely is just that Bernake is dumb.  Raising interest rates now would assure a double-dip.

    Democrats *do* have a plan for Social Security - it's called Social Security. -- Ed Schultz

    by FredFred on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 04:57:03 AM PST

    •  Instead of increasing the rate of interest, (8+ / 0-)

      why not levy a transaction tax on money and phase out the hodge-podge of levies on which the public sector now depends for funding.

      The public sector needs a secure stream of revenue and, unless we revert to a barter system of exchange, the transfer of currency would seem to be most secure.

      How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

      by hannah on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 05:07:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not sure what you mean (0+ / 0-)

        "a transaction tax on money."  But if you mean what I think you mean (i.e., a tax on financial transactions), the entire financial world has to be on board for this to work, and considering the entire world can't even agree on what day it is, I can't imagine the world financial centers all agreeing that there should be a tax on financial transactions, much less what that tax should be and where the money collected from the tax should go and how it should be used.

        If you thought manufacturers left this country in a mad rush, wait until we unilaterally decide to impose a tax on financial transactions.  An entire hedge fund - or brokerage or bank - could move to Switzerland before the sun goes down.  Financial institutions are much easier to "move" than factories.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 06:30:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Bernanke's not dumb, but given all that's gone on (9+ / 0-)

      over the past year or so, GS probably does have the kind of ability to effect the outcomes you mention.  Government seems to be just another GS division at this point.  Only one with the ability to tax.

      Bonuses have been talked to death, but these exorbitant bonuses on the heals of  the meltdown suggest that the bailouts et. al. are considered part of normal Wall Street operations.

      "I'm mean in the East, mean in the West. Mean to the people that I like best. ... I push folks down, and I cause train wrecks." Woody Guthrie

      by Terra Mystica on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 05:51:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  More from Ian Welch (43+ / 0-)

    These are just snips from a much longer piece. They’re not really enough but I don’t want to make this too long. It’s best to read the entire post.

    His point is that it’s unlikely our leaders will do much to fix the situation.

    Elected Democrats at the Federal level are members of the national elite.  If they weren’t a member when they were elected, they are quickly brought into the fold.  They are surrounded by lobbyists, other members and staffers who were lobbyists, as a rule.  They learn they need to raise immense amounts of money in the off years when normal people aren’t giving, and that the only way to raise that money is for corporate interests and rich people to write the checks.  They also receive the benefits of elite status, very quickly. It’s not an accident that the every Senator except Bernie Sanders is wealthy.

    [..]

    The elites are convinced they know what has to be done.  Not necessarily what’s “best”, but what is possible given the constraints they believe America operates under and the pressures which elected officials work with.  So Obama can say, and mean, that if he were creating a medical system from scratch, he’d go with single payer.  But he “knows” that’s impossible, not just for political reasons, but because there are huge monied interests who would be horribly damaged or even destroyed by moving to single payer.  On top of that, he looks at the amount of actual change required to shift all that money away from insurance companies and to reduce pharma profits, and to change which providers get paid what, and he sees it as immensely disruptive to the economy.  In theory, it might lead to a better place, but to Obama, the disruption on the way there is unthinkable.

    [..]

    And if you’re a member of the elite, your friends, your family, your colleagues—everyone you really care about, is a member of the elite or attached to it as a valued and very well paid retainer.  For you, for everyone you care about, the system has worked.  Perhaps, intellectually, you know it hasn’t worked for ordinary people, but you aren’t one of them, you aren’t friends with them, and however much you care in theory about them, it’s a bloodless intellectual empathy, not one born of shared experience, sacrifice and the bonds of friendship or love.

    •  It's a great post (28+ / 0-)

      thanks for the link.

      I also found this interesting:

      And so, until disaster turns into absolute catastrophe, the elites will fiddle with the dials, rather than engaging in radical change.  When the time comes when it becomes clear even to them that radical change is required, they are far more likely to go with their preconceived notions of what’s wrong with the US, which are very reactionary, than to go with liberal or progressive solutions.

      [snip]

      To the elites, ordinary Americans are pretty much parasites.  It’s not the bankers, with their multi-trillion dollar bailouts who are the problem, it’s old people with their Social Security and Medicare.  The elites made it.  They are rich and powerful.  They believe that their success is due entirely to themselves (even if they inherited the money or position).  If you didn’t, then that means you don’t deserve it.

      (emphasis mine)

      Add to that last part the toxicity of the "prosperity gospel," on which the Atlantic Monthly recently wrote, and how it has co-opted those who aren't truly elite into the same line of thinking, along with class and race resentment and you have a recipe for a right-wing populist backlash and the potential for a demagogue, perhaps more than one, to really impede any notions of implementing progressive approaches to the problems.

      Remember Weimar? Remember Allende? To me the latter is possibly a bigger worry for where we are in this country although the current administration is in no way that far to the left; yet they still pose a threat to the very folks that Welch writes about.

      So where do we go from here?

      Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without - W S Coffin

      by stitchmd on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 05:36:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "elites" and narrow self interest masquerading as (20+ / 0-)

      expertise, are the biggest problems we face.

      I wish I had more to say, but you nail it above better than I ever could.  There is a whole thing in a textbook on the role of schools in society for a course I took a while back that goes into the idea of the cult of the expert-- how anti-democratic it is, and how tied into an assembly-line view of society it is.

      My political compass: Economic: -7.38 Social: -5.79

      by musicalhair on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 05:47:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The perspicacity of Palin (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xaxado

        Well above this diary on the Recommended List is one about Sarah Palin. It contains this quote from her:

        I believe that I am [qualified to be President] because I have common sense... I believe that what Americans are seeking is not the elitism, the kind of a spinelessness that perhaps is made up for that with some kind of elite Ivy League education and a fact resume that's based on anything but hard work and private sector, free enterprise principles.  Americans could be seeking something like that in positive change in their leadership.  I'm not saying that has to be me.

        That diary focuses on the linguistic horrors of Palin's statement--which misses the political brilliance of it: Tap into the well-founded distrust of the 'cult of the expert', and distance yourself from those hated experts by your own Dubya-like mangling of language, while simultaneously misdirecting populist resentment onto people who are in fact not the experts who got us into this mess. And directing popular support to politicians like her, who espouse policies created by those actual anti-democratic elites.

        It's an old, old tactic--remember Spiro Agnew's "pointy-headed liberals"?--but if you ridicule it for that, well, it's probably because you're one of those overeducated, elitist intellectuals with no common sense and no respect for traditional values.

        •  the demagoguery of populism (0+ / 0-)

          is in deed a dangerous thing.  But, I'm certainly not calling for the outright dismissal of anything intellectual.  

          I'm saying, and it has been said by many, that informed skepticism in needed when considering public policy-- or anything really.  

          The best example I can site is the polygraph/lie detector.  In the precedent setting case experts on the machines testified on how effective the machines and the operators were.   Everything was stacked for the machine's results to be admissible in court, except expert testimony from other more general fields raised the one concern that saved us from that thing's oppression.  The use of it raised confession rates when used on both guilty and innocent people.  More was going on than the experts-- all of whom had a conflict of interest-- cared to admit.  At best it is an art, not a reliable device, and at worst it is a guilt machine meant to get whom ever they want to frame up.

          Same with any expert, from NFL draft analysis to economists and everything in between.  Follow the money and the logic.  That's all I'm saying.

          My political compass: Economic: -7.38 Social: -5.79

          by musicalhair on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 01:29:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Some time ago I read a post here (13+ / 0-)

      in which the author explained how the years after World War II were a pause in the social stratification of American society.  The managerial and the working class had both shared foxholes together during the war, and these bonds of brotherhood were not forgotten when many business leaders were making decisions which affected the middle class.  We have a new generation making these decisions now.

      •  The experience of Vietnam was very different. (6+ / 0-)

        It seems to me the Boomer generation seperated itself into those that opposed the Vietnam war (Democrats) and those that supported it (Republicans).  Because communists were our enemies in Vietnam, it was fairly easy to convince Boomer Republicans to support policies against their own self-interest if they were framed as anti-communist, along with painting the Democrats as pro-communist, since they were against the Vietnam war.

         

        "How many times do you have to be hit over the head before you figure out who's hitting you?" - Harry S. Truman

        by methinshaw on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 06:33:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not Quite (9+ / 0-)

          The Democratic Party was torn apart over the Vietnam War. The hawks controlled the party in '68. The doves briefly took it over in '72. But the hawks have been dominant ever since.

          I think your description in very rough terms describes something fundamental about American political culture since the 1970s. But American involvement in Vietnam was initially ramped up by two Democratic administrations and then stoked further by a Republican administration.

          Republican politicians ever after used Vietnam as material for a Dolchstosslegende about Democrats, but this political strategy went back to at least 1944, when the Dewey campaign accused FDR of coddling Stalin, and continued throughout the Cold War, when Democrats were accused by Republicans of "losing China," allowing the USSR to get the bomb, and so on and so forth.

          This has, however, always been a right-wing fantasy. The mainstream of the Democratic Party in the 1950s was composed of hawkish anticommunist liberals. And despite the battle over the party's soul in the late 1960s and early 1970s (that was, indeed, brought on by Vietnam), the Democratic Party has continued to be dominated by hawks over the last four decades as well.

          Stop Obama's Wars Now! Bring the Troops Home!

          by GreenSooner on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 07:21:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Except there was a draft, so you had every (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Uberbah, maryabein

          party in there, but it's true that, as always, the "elite" found ways to get deferments or "National Guard" duty.

          •  Some (or at least one) (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Uberbah, polar bear, farbuska

            even took the last year and a half off their National Guard duty with no consequence.

            A guy I work with who served in Vietnam as a Marine told me of going into the draft board where all the rich kids could afford to pay a dentist to install braces which gave them a deferment.  He didn't have the money for that so he was shipped overseas.

    •  Status Quobama. n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xaxado, farbuska

      "History is a tragedy, not a melodrama." - I.F.Stone

      by bigchin on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 09:18:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Coddling Wall Street? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenearth, ccyd, polar bear

    Democratic progressives, in general, are pretty naive when it comes to the economic impact on elections. It's all well and good to paint the Wall Street types as coddled fat cats. But the average American gets his/her 401K statement and that's what they think the economy is doing--and by extension, what the current administration is doing for the economy. And as most realize, stock prices are largely a figment of our collective imagination.

    So keeping a positive glow on our economic outlook is crucial to maintaining control of government and of the ability to continue to tighten the reins on the very Wall Street types who we castigate.

    Yes, the Bush economy was far, far worse than any one realized--we gave away the store to other countries. Matt Taibbi's great 2008 article said it all.

    Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.

    by MrMichaelMT on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 05:17:26 AM PST

  •  Yes, I read Krugman this morning. (24+ / 0-)

    I have to agree here:

    Looking at all of this from the vantage point of being a lifelong Democrat, I have to ask myself: "What are these folks thinking?"

    Neo-conservative Reagonomics failed in the 00s, but also neo-liberalism.  But Democrats are still following Summers.

    "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead

    by TomP on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 05:21:11 AM PST

  •  Another Rec'd diary for BobSwern to start... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, Norm DePlume, polar bear

    off the first business day in 2010...

    Well the markets are full of optimism...

    http://finance.yahoo.com/...

    http://finance.yahoo.com/...

    http://finance.yahoo.com/...

    http://finance.yahoo.com/...

    http://finance.yahoo.com/...

    Happy New Year fellow Kossacks, I hope the better than expected news does not make anyone's day bad...

    Obama - Change I still believe in

    by dvogel001 on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 05:22:27 AM PST

  •  Sorry, can't rec ... (15+ / 0-)

    ... no pictures.

    I wanted you to take my breath away with pictures.

    Damn you.

  •  Putting a second parent in the workforce (6+ / 0-)

    And, via this set of of graphics, Warren explains how, despite millions of families putting a second parent in the workforce, higher costs have outlapped additional income.

    I think the answer is obvious. Polygamy and Polyandry. If people are allowed to have more than one husband or wife, there will be more parents that can go to work.

    "If religion is the opiate of the masses, then fundamentalism is the amphetamine." Miz Vittitow

    by MillieNeon on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 05:42:07 AM PST

    •  Marriage is unnecessary. (11+ / 0-)

      The hippies (and low-wage, low-skilled immigrants) have the right idea.  Get all your friends together and live communally so that everyone's money helps everyone else survive.

      When you hear stories about eight Mexican immigrants sharing a house, or about hippie communes back in the day, don't be outraged.  Think instead, "This is a good idea about how to share costs and individual talents."

      Of course this line of reasoning won't be viable to many Americans who were brought up with the idea that "mine" is superior to "ours" and to whom "the commons" means nothing more than roads and utility rights-of-way.  But to many Americans, it will come to make more sense as their individual worth dwindles and can not be made up by the incomes of only a husband and wife.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 06:50:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  As former hippie/punk woman (0+ / 0-)

        I lived with a group of friends in the 70s, and I live with two other women today. Pooling resources is a wonderful way to go.

        Fortunately, as more and more people need to band together, there will be plenty of empty shopping malls in which to squat.

        "If religion is the opiate of the masses, then fundamentalism is the amphetamine." Miz Vittitow

        by MillieNeon on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 12:19:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  might want to add this (22+ / 0-)

    more krugman (pdf):

    And despite the praise being handed out to those who helped us avoid the worst, we are not handling the crisis well: fiscal stimulus has been inadequate, financial support has contained the damage but not restored a healthy banking system. All indications are that we’re going to have seriously depressed output for years to come. It’s what I feared/predicted in that 2001 paper: "[I]ntellectually consistent solutions to a domestic financial crisis of this type, like solutions to a third-generation currency crisis, are likely to seem too radical to be implemented in practice. And partial measures are likely to fail."

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 05:42:14 AM PST

  •  My concern for economy... (19+ / 0-)

    is not political. It is concern that progressives mount enough of a grass roots movement to pressure these sold-out fat cats in office to begin a massive public works program, a la WPA, to put people to work. These sons of guns allowed off shoring and the destruction of our manufacturing base. Now they are going to have to create jobs in the public sector to rebuild our economy.

    I'm a fan of yours bobswern. But my concern for our economy has nothing to do with the 2010 elections. If the democrats did the right thing for the people, they'd have nothing to worry about.

    Good talking points with no action is a cynical ploy.

    "Revolutionary Road" was a brilliant film.

    by scorpiorising on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 05:45:39 AM PST

  •  Let's face it. The U.S. had it easy following (40+ / 0-)

    World War II when the other industrialized nations of the world were busy rebuilding after the war and purchasing American products to do so.  There was no real competition in the "global" economy.

    That began to change as Europe and Japan emerged again as industrial powerhouses, and we're exempt from having to spend hundreds of billions on national defense, secure under the U.S. nuclear umbrella.

    So while they were investing in education and infrastructure, the U.S. was spending obscene amounts on weaponry and war.  Even the Interstate highways system was sold to the American public as a major defense project.

    Then along came Reagan, who did more than anyone to disrupt and destroy the middle class. I'm still amazed at how quickly we've forgotten the Savings and Loan crisis which came about as a consequence of deregulation.

    If the U.S. is to recover, it absolutely must invest more in education and infrastructure and reduce its spending on weapons and war.

    "You can't put a civil rights issue on the ballot and let the people decide. .... . If you left it up to the people, we'd have slavery......" ~ Jesse Ventura

    by rontun on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 05:45:43 AM PST

  •  Dems should condemn the lost decade.... (11+ / 0-)

    ...of the Bush years, not so much him personally.

    Then give all the data about income, net worth, stock market, national debt.

    They also stress that things that needed to be done, like HC, SS, education, infrastructure and the environment weren't touched.

    Just condemn the first decade of the 21st century as a missed opportunity we have to make up for now.

  •  Painful for who? Wall Street or Main Street?.... (12+ / 0-)

    Fuk bailing out Wall Street!  Wall Street is a money pit.  Bailout Main Street!  Let Wall Street work for the money.  They are after all the best and the brightest.  Making money by chasing investments, i.e. Main Street, shouldn't be any difficulty at all for them.  So, force them to invest in Main Street by necessity, by leaving them no other alternative.

  •  And yet they still retained Bernanke. (20+ / 0-)

    That should dash any hope you may otherwise have.

    America: our highest paid profession is thief.

    by Paul Goodman on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 05:51:16 AM PST

  •  If anyone feels they can predict anything... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    carlos the jackal, greenearth

    ...out of this I'd like to know what they've been smokin'.

    To the FBI:  The above is to be taken figuratively; I really wouldn't smoke anything they gave me.

    So old I remember when NASA was just two drunk guys and a case of dynamite.

    by dov12348 on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 05:57:25 AM PST

  •  I don't understand... (7+ / 0-)

    If everyone knows that large corporations dump money in Congress peoples' pockets to influence public law, why does it still happen? It seems like a really naive question, and I guess it is, yet I also think that's the reason it's never asked.

    Is it that we just view politics as analogous to a sporting event, where ensuring our team wins is more important than how the team members got to the game? Group think is powerful, I guess.

    Or is it that the specter of these huge organizations, by virtue of their size and vast resources, causes complete pacification on our part even before we've decided on non-action? If that is true, perhaps they don't need to actually 'donate' huge sums to our representatives. A simple threat would suffice.

    I read Sartre before bed, obviously. Waxing philosophical over coffee.

    •  Fear of the opposing political party (12+ / 0-)

      drives a large segment of the country to keep supporting the their chosen political party, even when it is obvious to the majority of Americans that the entire system is corrupt.

      "Vote for the Democrats, anyone is better than Bush!"  "Vote for the Republicans, the Democrats are a bunch of socialists that want to take away your Bibles and guns!"

      A plurality of Americans are now unaffliated with either party though, suggesting that many people are waking up to the fact that both the Democrats and Republicans are essentially the same.  Maybe there is hope...

      "How many times do you have to be hit over the head before you figure out who's hitting you?" - Harry S. Truman

      by methinshaw on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 06:22:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  current health care reform makes it worse (7+ / 0-)

    The current version of the health care reform bill will drive the ecomony worse.  The US needs to spend less on health care, but the current version actually increases the percentage US GDP spent on health care.  All that money that could be flowing to create jobs will instead be going to the black hole of a few.

  •  CNN is Calling 20101 (12+ / 0-)

    "The Year of the Deficit."

    Their point is that now that the economy has recovered, it's time to tackle the real problem -- the deficit.  The Village is going to impose austerity measures on the people, because they need to punish us for causing the recession.

    I won't tell anyone that Reagan was a turd.

    by bink on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 06:11:45 AM PST

  •  Japan's lost decade (10+ / 0-)

    is actually more like a lost decade and a half. For anyone who thinks 1937 was just a glitch, or that that is not happening now - think again.

    Japan knew about 1937, and repeated the mistake anyways. Do we really want to still be doing this badly ten years from now?

    If apes evolved from humans, why are there still humans?

    by Bobs Telecaster on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 06:28:12 AM PST

  •  I can't help but to think (13+ / 0-)

    of Despair.com's eponymous poster:

    "It's always darkest just before it goes pitch black."

    Of course I tend to think dusk just started.

  •  Economic recovery was never the goal. (26+ / 0-)

    It’s going to be a real long slog if they continue with this top-down thinking (rescuing too-big-to-fail banks and waiting for the effects from that to trickle down to the general economy). Another thing that might make it a long slog is for the government to keep rewarding failure, by subsidizing the same entities who have screwed up their respective systems (financial sector, healthcare and whatever else they can think of next). Another thing that might contribute to a longer than necessary slog is to continue to spend a billion dollars a day to "fight terror" (which we should all know by now is a war-profiteering venture, garnished with a chance to control what remains of the world’s oil supply). They’re even outsourcing stimulus spending, green jobs etc. to prevent an American from getting a job and to protect corporate profit margins.
    The goal is to create a New Normal, to lower US living standards and make us more "globally competitive". Greed-gone-wild is the objective. They’re just dressing all this up as economic recovery. Both party leaderships are in the Globalization camp, so the American people are going to get robbed either way.

    •  Expanding Medicaid & Medicare eligibility (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bigchin, Mike Taylor, farbuska

      if enacted quickly, could go a long way to getting health care costs under control and lessen the negative impact on the economy.

      I think Obama and conservative Dems will come to regret not getting more accomplished.  That point could have easily been made to Blue Dog Dems.

      I'm from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party...

      by Betty Pinson on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 09:07:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Long, painful slog." (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polar bear

    I think there are people who enjoy this sort of thing.

  •  Mortgage Backed Securities (12+ / 0-)

    Word  has it that when the treasury removed all monetary Caps from Freddie and Fannie on the 12/24 news dump (it was 400 Billion between the two)  , this was in preparation for the Fed to cut back on it's MBS purchase program. It has become politically untenable. So the two GSEs will take the place of the Fed.

    This reminds me of when the Fed started TALF after it became apparent that it was politically untenable for the treasury to keep bucket feeding money to the bankers.

    If true, this  will end up as being the largest circle jerk in the history of mankind with the dollar bill used as the Vaseline. ( paper cuts man, think paper cuts) .

    In short and I do mean short, this will end up very badly. Until we own up to the losses, housing will never find a floor and more and more Zombie banks will be created. Ultimately when they start failing in larger groups the FDIC will announce that that 500 Billion dollar credit line is gone and now Treasury is furiously looking for a way to raise more money.

    So , it will be a banking holiday. Keep plenty of cash in your mattress. This ride has yet to hit the bottom yet.

    •  i was surprised when i heard that, too. shoveling (7+ / 0-)

      billions to the crooks while telling us we aren't good enough for health care or jobs programs--that's what's going to cost Dems.  Not saying it will be a bad election season--i think they can do well.  But if this keeps up, fugedaboudit.

      •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ctsteve, xaxado

        People are riding high on the new poll numbers, but I think that bubble will be burst the same way the housing bubble was. When people find out the specifics of Financial reform, HCR and the jobs program , they will show up in droves as the polls indicate, to vote against the incumbents,

        Those who are largely unaffected by any of the above and spend their time defending the Dems to other Dems, think how hard that job is going to be when it's the swing voting block of independents .

        One reason the polls are going up is the administration and congresses willingness to stand up to those "crazy lefties". That's the worst message that could be sent. They are going to need those lefties to show up in droves. Alienating them is a direct path to electoral wipe out unless the Tea-baggers take over the the GOP.

        Then I think the damage will not be as extreme in 2010. But it's not anything the Dems should take comfort from. If you are winning because the opponent is perceived to be worse than you are and not on your policy differences, that leaves the Dems wide open for a defeat in 2012. Once the Tea-baggers are a proven loser for the GOP, they will dump them over the side. The financing will be pulled as will Fox's promotion of them.

        Then the Dems will have to stand on policy. Considering that jobs didn't return to close pre-recession from the 2002 recession until 2005 this is not an issue that will help the Dems.

        Making claims about jobs saved as they shovel money to the bankers will be perceived as throwing the middle class a few dimes.

        Personally, I think the financial sector will prove to be the biggest drag on Dems bar none. When all their hopes rest on a stock market staying elevated that's pretty bad since most of the people that have been laid off or are living in fear of it, have sold . The only ones benefiting from the rise is those who need it the least.

        Even if some people managed to hold on to their 401ks, they can't monetize them by borrowing. They used to use their houses. The 401k was just nice to look at. They may have disposed of more money if they had it if they felt wealthy. But March of 2009 is going to stay with us for a long time.  Helocs are dead. Credit cards are headed for the dead. So they have a statement that says they have money, but it isn't anything they can use for immediate needs unless they just cash out and take the penalties. They will be more inclined to save so they have a cushion since credit is so scarce.

        Large Employers are sitting on Cash right now from strip mining their companies. They aren't investing it or buying stock. That is their credit line.

        Small Business' like mine are also sitting on Cash. No chance of taking on debt even though I get calls 3-4 x a month. The consensus seems to be , I'll wait until business picks up as in , 2-3 quarters of sustained activity. Unfortunately we need consumers to have jobs, pay taxes and buy stuff. Yet unemployment is still referred to as a lagging indicator.

        That may be true for some people who don't have bottom line responsibility, but for those of us who do, that is the one indicator we keep our eyes on the most. Until it reverses substantially ( 27 million jobs have to be created to get back to 2007? ) no one will do shit.

  •  Armchair economists ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drache, polar bear

    ... must factor in this news.

    Manufacturing grew faster than expected in Dec.

    Associated Press

    Washington -- A private trade group says manufacturing activity grew at the fastest pace in more than three years, a sign the pace of recovery is picking up.

    The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing executives, says its manufacturing index read 55.9 in December after 53.6 in November. A reading above 50 indicates growth.

    Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a reading of 54.3.

    New orders, a signal of future production, jumped to 65.5 from 60.3 in November.

    The index, which also includes production, employment, inventories and prices, first showed growth in August after 18 months of contraction.

    Measures of manufacturing in the U.K., the eurozone and China also grew in December.

    Don't know if it's a random uptick or part of a trend.

    •  Isn't this the "inventory bounce" (9+ / 0-)

           discussed in the diary ?

    •  cram that crap, megisi (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      drache

      We don't do anything but doom here.  Get with the program. As someone said above, to the tune of 23 recommends, 'Our fascist government created this mess.'

      Andrew Mellon & GOP: 'In a Depression, assets return to their rightful owners'

      by Tuffie on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 08:06:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  it's crap that was already debunked in the diary (5+ / 0-)

        Krugman continues on to discuss "statistical illusions," and how they're actually caused by an "inventory bounce." As Krugman tells us, businesses are stuck with large stocks of goods during recessions. They slash production as they work off their inventories. Once the inventories are disposed of production is raised again, and that shows up as a burst of growth in GDP.

        I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

        by Uberbah on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 08:27:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Except for the last number (0+ / 0-)

          Future production is rising.

          Those of us who work in manufacturing have seen significant progress in recent months.  Maybe people should once in a while listen to the guys in the field, rather than academia?

          •  wishful thinking (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            poxonyou

            There is no sustainable rise in production without demand.  And with 17% unemployment, there isn't going to be any demand for a veeery long time.

            Maybe people should once in a while listen to the guys in the field, rather than academia?

            Maybe you shouldn't make assumptions before you make an ass out of you and me.

            I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

            by Uberbah on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 09:45:20 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Come to the mall with me (0+ / 0-)

              They've been totally packed the last few weeks.

              Demand might be higher than you think.

              Maybe you shouldn't take such a harsh tone with people you've never met?  My company has been hiring, our sales are way up, and local business (Westchester county, NY) is improving.  New commercial construction is up, and infrastructure is getting to the point where its getting hard to drive with all the construction and detours.

              But this is just my imagination of course.  It couldn't possibly be real.  Oh look, markets are at a 16 month high!

              nope, not real.

              •  it's called "Christmas shopping" (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                poxonyou, farbuska

                And maybe you shouldn't take such a condescending tone with people you've never met.

                I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

                by Uberbah on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 09:55:59 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Stop assuming you've got the answers (0+ / 0-)

                  Xmas was ten days ago.

                  And yes, it seems that people spent a bit more this year than last.  Maybe things are picking up?

                  Why are so many here afraid of success?

                  •  not talking about answers, but obvious reality (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    poxonyou

                    Xmas was ten days ago.

                    Returns, post holiday sales.  Wait a couple weeks and get back to us with your rosy tales of shopping malls, Mr. Blankfein.

                    Why are you denying the herd of elephants in the room?

                    I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

                    by Uberbah on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 02:00:06 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  I"m glad to hear about these hopeful signs, and I (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Uberbah

                would be ecstatic to see the recovery proceding rapidly and robustly.

                But I think if we're not being crazy-optimistic, we just MUST look at the long-term patterns, see that we're in a decade-long slump that has roots that go back considerably farther than a decade, and therefore make plans to support the recovery, rather than just hoping it's going to take off on it's own from here.

                We need to continue stimulus spending, aimed specifically at jobs creation. And we need our government to think about ways to ease the credit crunch for both productive businesses and middle income families.

                We need to impose some demands on the banks, so that they help clean up the mess they've made.

                We really, really need to avoid the 1937 error of assuming the Depression was over as soon as there was any statistical uptick.

                For many of us, it is definitely NOT a case of thriving on doom and gloom, but just wanting Democratic policies to take into account how precarious our situation is -- even if sales are up.

    •  Well, all is well. Thanks. Problem solved. n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bigchin, Uberbah
    •  Allow me to ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... apologize for kicking off this latest round of nastiness.

      That wasn't my intention at all. I just thought it was a set of data worth tossing into the discussion mix.

      Demand is a little flat in aggregate and that won't help with a broad, sustainable national recovery. But, as is always the case, I'm sure there are regional outliers that mask it.

      You say macro, I say micro, let's call the whole thing off.

      •  fights are unavoidable (0+ / 0-)

        I think the numbers are complicated, but I agree with others that is illusionary to think in an economy based on consumer demand that we are going to overcome the economic crisis. That remains the true indicator for me that the numbers are illusionary.  The problem is that this has as per usual at this site gotten mixed up in the partisan/personality debates. So people are not willing to admit the obvious- 17 percent unemployment means weak demand. Not good in a consumer economy.

  •  the (5+ / 0-)

    only people who I can imagine don't see there are huge storms ahead are those who have not yet been washed overboard at least once in the past 10 years by economic dislocation, don't understand the implications of a fully functional derivatives death star that has been rearmed, and still can't hear the great sucking sound of free trade.  Perhaps they've been blessed being able to wear some fancy kind of economic blinders all this time.  

    Hope for American workers isn't Wall Street's agenda.

    by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 07:44:48 AM PST

  •  zero "job creation since December 1999" (12+ / 0-)

    Interesting that little fact.

    December 1999 was the month when thousands of us were protesting in the streets in Seattle trying to convince Bill Clinton that the WTO would be bad for American workers and that the Democratic Party's embrace of "free trade" above every other concern was the wrong direction for this country.

    Clinton's response (via WA Governor Gary Locke - Obama's Commerce Secretary) was to call out the National Guard and shut down the protests.

    In retrospect, who was correct on the "free trade" issue. The Neoliberal Democrats and their Republican allies in the Club for Growth, or the working people and the students marching in the streets of Seattle?

    "One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity nothing beats teamwork." - Mark Twain

    by greendem on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 07:48:48 AM PST

    •  and stock market down a bit over the decade. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Uberbah, ohmyheck

      The last ten years has truly been a waste of effort for most of us who find ourselves squarely where we were or more likely a bit behind from twn years ago.  Listening to the pundits makes me wonder what planet they have been living on.  My husband has been out of work for three of the past four years -- a skilled carpenter.  And gifting the financiers with taxpayer borrowed bailouts means high inflation awaits us all, so I don't see a thing good for any of us in the future.

      2.5 trillion dollars have been "borrowed" since the [SS] system was "reformed" in the 80s and they simply don't want to pay it back. - dKos Blogger -

      by Silverbird on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 08:00:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pulling back (0+ / 0-)

    on quantitative easing is probably somewhat warranted is it not?  Its basically a way of preventing deflation when you cant go south of 0% rate...what happens if all of those reserves that the banks are getting start getting loaned out at once?  I think Bernanke needs to mitigate a little for inflation.  Call me conservative

    •  quantitative easing = inflation (0+ / 0-)

      quantitative easing equals inflation. so pulling back on it would fight inflation. (your second sentence seems to muddle that point).

      It seems virtually impossible for inflation to occur with out level of unemployment, but that is what they thought in the 70s...

      I'm wondering how the parameters that surround stagflation compare with our current situation, because right now i just don't see inflation happening, but agree that it would be a world of hurt if it does happen.

      •  I just meant (0+ / 0-)

        in the second sentence that is a tool that helps BEYOND lowering the rate.  There is no ceiling on interest rates to curb inflation, but there is a floor as to what you can do with the rate to curb deflation.  Yes, I am saying though that the hidden tension for inflation is still there, and the more QE you execute, the more is could build up...and if banks decide to start lending all at once, you get a huge flood on the money supply...I agree with you that it should not be something to fear as long as employment is where it is.

        Stagflation and/or hyperinflation are things to worry about.  A little inlfation is good

  •  This is why (6+ / 0-)

    I have placed all my investments into companies associated with the research, development, and deployment of Predator drones.

  •  Digby & Krugman: the Happiness Twins (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    centerleftdem

    Digby could find fault and portent in a basket of kittens, and is tiresome as hell, IMHO.  Krugman is the 'Yes, But' champion of the world.  Not saying I have any answers either, but if things always turned out as shitty as these two believe, we'd still be huddling around fires in caves. By now, as I recall, we were due for 20 percent U-3 unemployment, food riots and social upheaval on a massive scale.  The stock market increase was one of those 'blips,' also. Of course, only rich people care about that last one; the trillions lost in IRAs and 401-Ks by people like me who live in rowhouse neighborhoods ddon't really count when there are millionaires to be bashed.

    Andrew Mellon & GOP: 'In a Depression, assets return to their rightful owners'

    by Tuffie on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 08:01:04 AM PST

  •  We need a direct-hire jobs creation bill. (11+ / 0-)

    One that hires people to work directly for the government, like the old WPA program.

    I'm really sad to see the number of people on this site who seem to have just put their hands over their ears and are saying, "La la la, I can't hear you," when others point out that we are NOT doing well.

    And that's not a diss on Barack Obama either.

    Yes, he inherited a hell of a mess.

    But happy talk and pointing at minuscule changes in the jobs report isn't going to get us back to full employment.

    I read all of those stories you link to over the weekend, and one of them mentioned that we would have to create 300,000 jobs A MONTH for the next four years to get back to the 2007 levels.

    And I got laid off in 2007, so it wasn't a banner year for lots of us.

    We need lots of help and we need it now, and all the people trying to shout down those cries for help and saying that we are only doing it to make the President look bad: you are terribly, dreadfully wrong, and completely out of step with what is happening for 20% or more of the country.

    Thanks, Bob.

    Tipped and rec'd.

    PS -- The scariest story was the one on WaPo that said six million Americans are living on nothing but food stamps. Of course, the comments with the story are full of people who don't believe anyone could do such a thing, and they are completely out of touch with what many of us live every single day:

    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 08:04:24 AM PST

    •  That, and a robust industrial policy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      josephcast

      I'm all for renovating our highways and bridges, but these jobs are a) temporary and b) cater to one segment of the population.   We need permanent, good paying jobs for people in all walks of life and in all trades.  Sadly, we've offshored a huge chunk of our industrial manufacturing capacity and the IT jobs those workers went into have been outsourced & insourced with H1-B's.  

      No DC politician is doing more about this than mealy mouthed speeches & press releases.  We need action.

      Sunshine on my shoulder...

      by pkbarbiedoll on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 09:58:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Stock market having big rally this morning. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    centerleftdem
  •  ...and the band played on... blub..blub..blub (6+ / 0-)

    I feel like a battered child from a dysfunctional family. On the one hand you have the bellicose abusive parent (republican party)and on the other you have the passive aggressive emotionally abusive parent (democratic party).

    Like all abused children I sometime need to realize that I can't fix this family and just walk away.

    "be a loyal plastic robot boy in a world that doesn't care" - Frank Zappa

    by Unbozo on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 08:39:54 AM PST

  •  Amazing observation of the day (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    centerleftdem

    That's the most positive bobswern diary ever!

    Enrich your life with adverbs!

    by Rich in PA on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 08:47:37 AM PST

    •  Actually, the most positive diary of mine... (6+ / 0-)

      ...ever posted here on DKos was a piece I posted on MyDD, on the evening of June 3rd, 2008 (the last primary evening of the season). It was cut and pasted by another DKos diarist and made the top of the Rec List here for about 12 hours, throughout that milestone of an evening...talking about how it was time for ALL Democrats to come together to support President Obama.

      But, it would be incovenient to your derailed line of thinking--and perhaps it runs counter to your perceptions of my sincere sentiments--to acknowledge that, I s'pose.

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 09:06:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  all things considered (0+ / 0-)

      I'm glad you'd rather be in PA...

      please stay there.

      "History is a tragedy, not a melodrama." - I.F.Stone

      by bigchin on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 09:31:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Conveniently nobody is mentioning (9+ / 0-)

    that several state govs are insolvent and will be making huge cuts this year.  Oil prices are rising rapidly as well which will crush any recovery, real or imagined.  Couple all that with the CRE implosion and the coming Op ARM implosion and possibly rising rates and you have a double dip disaster in the making.  The Baltic Dry hasn't recovered and Treasuries are a mess.  I just can't get the pom poms out...

    ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

    by Kristina40 on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 08:55:30 AM PST

  •  NPR morning news reported (6+ / 0-)

    that there is an alarming gap in jobs available for the middle class.  There are upper tier jobs and there are some jobs like nurses aides.  Truck driver at 37M was all they could come up with for the middle class.

    We are in a world of hurt that can't be solved easily.  Jobs aren't that easy to create.  And all the rethug ideas haven't worked except in reverse.  Dems usually do a better job, but because rethug ideas were in ascendency (and seems to be still) all the old mechanisms are now broken.  NAFTA has killed our ability to defend ourselves from goods produced by pretty much slave labor.  We are on the slippery slope down.  China is on its way up due mostly to letting the leashes loose and by subsidizing energy.

  •  Maybe it needs to get a lot worse (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kristina40, farbuska

    before it gets better.  After all, what has changed?  What have we done structurally to make the situation better?  Have we regulated Wall Street?  Have we regulated the big banks and insurance?  Any anti-trust legislation?  Did we do anything to alter "too big to fail"?  Any reform of unfair trade practices?  Any real efforts to transform our energy infrastructure?  Any real effort to bring good paying jobs back to America?

    Band aids only work for so long.  I'm reminded of the advertisement of the big leaking dam where an engineer walks by and sticks his chewed bubble gum in the leaking crack in the dam.  Eventually we are going to need real structural changes, and not bubble gum.  And so my question is, when will that come?  What must happen before we take control of our economy back from the robber barrens who continue get rich while America fails?  What will it take?

    Expose the lies. Fight for the truth. Push progressive politics. Save our planet. Health care is a right, not a privilege.

    by lighttheway on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 09:29:39 AM PST

    •  The problem is there are too many super-rich (0+ / 0-)

      and they will be desperate to maintain that status quo. So if there is an economic collapse, there will be less Super-rich fighting to keep the status quo. Maybe thats the actual answer. Most people are doing so badly anyway it won't change much.

      •  Won't change much? Is that a joke? (0+ / 0-)

        Maybe you should study up on the Depression, including rates of unemployment, homelessness, and hunger.  

        My mother, all her life, had fragile bones that broke easily. He doctor said it was probably from malnutrition as a child.

        One Christmas, she and her brothers and sister got coal in their stockings. It wasn't a bad thing. It was a good thing. It meant they would be warm on Christmas day.

        Let's see if we can find some way to weaken the super-rich without consigning working class families to go hungry in the winter cold.

  •  This is just (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    centerleftdem

    goofy:

    And, his concern is that those that make policy will misinterpret these blips of good news

    More than 2 years before the whole housing/mortgage market went kablooey, then Senator Obama wrote to the Fed warning that there was going to be an implosion.  In 2002, he not only opposed the Iraq war, but outlined what he expected would be the outcome (economically as well as strategically), which has proven true almost to the letter.

    I don't think that 'misinterpreting' economic data is part of The President's skill set.

    If the demand is fulfill ideals to the letter now or stop having them, we divide the limits of reality & vision for tomorrow. Then politics becomes cynicism

    by pvlb on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 09:45:21 AM PST

  •  The economy is improving! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    centerleftdem
    Support for this comes from the unemployment claims for the past year.  In January of 2009 over 741,000 jobs were lost.  That was the highest number of jobs lost in many years.  However since then unemployment claims have been dropping.  The last several months have shown losses well under 450,000.  When those numbers are revised October and November may show losses under 300,000.  

    There is also a rebound in manufacturing as shown in reports this morning and the last few months.

    Lets stop sounding like republicans.  The Obama stimulus is working!

    Krugman may have a Nobel medal, but like most economists his record is terrible!

    •  Because I don't believe (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poxonyou, Uberbah, josephcast, farbuska

      the pom pom brigade I'm a Republican?  The numbers have been revised each month to show MORE job losses not less.  Ever heard of a dead cat bounce?  Google it.

      ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

      by Kristina40 on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 09:53:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sure I have heard of that! (0+ / 0-)

        But what you need to understand in that there are pockets of strong growth in many places throughout the country.  I live in Washington State, near the Tri Cities, where 1.9 billion was given to help the Hanford Nuclear Waste site.  In that area the unemployment rate is under 5%, rentals are hard to come by, and housing prices are rising.

        Sure there are places like Clownifornia that are in bad, bad trouble, but that is their own making.  They stood in lines at grocery stores to sign papers that took away the legislative process from those they elected.

    •  So more people are unemployed... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poxonyou, Uberbah, jennylind, josephcast

      now then when Obama took office and money is about to dry up considerably? Well where I come from thats not considered good news.

    •  other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play? (0+ / 0-)

      I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

      by Uberbah on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 02:26:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not until nation/Dems confront failed Reaganomics (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ctsteve, Uberbah, maryabein, jennylind

    Democrats refuse to pin the tail on the elephant. The last 30 years in the US has been a disaster for the US based on the metrics of Deficit, Debt, Debt/GDP, income equality, wealth equality, trade deficits, tainted food, health care costs, technological leadership, manufacturing jobs and wages.

    NY Times puts up an editorial today by Ross Douthat which makes the entirely false claim that:

    "In the unhappy aughts, we witnessed the exhaustion of Reaganomics. A quarter-century after Ronald Reagan’s mix of tax cuts and deregulation revived American competitiveness."

    1. Reagan initiated biggest tax increases and most regressive tax increases by the increasing payroll taxes to help pay for his massive deficits.
    1. US LOST it's competitive edge as the "unregulated" Wall Street began raiding US industrial base for cash. Cash was looted from companies R&D and capital expansion, cash was looted from workers pension and savings. US manufacturing was shipped overseas after the companies were taken apart by a predatory Wall Street.
    1. Reagan ran up massive deficits and debt that threaten US financial security.

    Along the lines of this diary, Democrats need to focus how screwed up US is (debt, deficits, Debt/GDP, interest on debt being 10% of US budget, oil trade deficit of $300B year, predatory Wall Street, income inequality, wealth inequality, health care costs) and why it is directly related to the failed econonomic ideology of Reaganomics, deficits, deregulation and oil companies over US national security.

    And most importantly, Democrats need to propose real fixes for the problem.  Health care costs, cut oil imports by 50%, green jobs economy (both of which = climate change legislation) and taxes = spending with very progressive taxes on all income and wealth (property tax).

  •  Morning Edition listed "top middle class jobs" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Uberbah, maryabein, josephcast, farbuska

    this morning.  Registered Nurse was at the top, with home health aides, service reps, and truck drivers.  

    As a nurse, I gotta say, being a hospital nurse, at least, requires a huge amount of physical stamina along with being able to multitask for anywhere from 8 to 12 hours without a break sometimes.  They also list a salary level that is in my view overly optimistic.  Being a health aide or home health care worker also requires a whole lot of stamina and I wouldn't call that a middle class job at all, pay wise.

    The person interviewed said, well, it's not middle class yet, but people could learn advanced problem solving, interpersonal, and team-building skills and market those skills within the home health care market in order to "professionalize" their role.  Sure, maybe on some planet somewhere, but its not gonna happen here in the U.S. anytime soon unless these workers get it into their heads to start forming unions, etc.

    It was a very disturbing segment.

  •  What will be the effect on credit card interest (0+ / 0-)

    rates?

    Will they be able to raise them with the increased rates?  Or will the legislation passing in February protect the average credit card holder?

  •  It's our War on Economic Sanity (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trinityfly, Uberbah, farbuska

    what's killing us. We can't afford them, although the military budget remains sacred, yet magically unconnected in public with our economic woes.

    In the past year, we've maintained our presence in Iraq (pulled troops were replaced with contractors), expanded Afghanistan, moved into Pakistan (ask the Pakistani's if we have or haven't), gearing up in Yemen, which will inexorably mean Somalia, as well, threatening Iran, building bases on the borders of Venezuela, trying to destabilize Bolivia....

    The President will be going to Congress with a "supplemental" budget--that is, more deficit, but done in a way to somehow make it appear as, at least to Americans if not to people who can add and subtract, not part of our deficit.

    We've got to get away from "economy is this little box, military is that little box, healthcare is a third little box, etc."

    It's all of one piece.

    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 10:23:08 AM PST

  •  The problem with economic policy from the WH (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Uberbah

    was they never made the assessment the great economic divide between 99% and 1% was a source of the problem. They made it a simple liquidity problem which in theory shouldn't happen once we came off the gold standard in 1973.

    The White House responded to a liquidity problem. They treat the Great Depression as a result of trade collapsing due to tariffs. The Great Depression was the result of the country being over leveraged and too much wealth being hoarded by too few people, and Germany and U.S. farms defaulting.

    Economic Recovery is going to be a relatively long road, but the goal cannot be to get back to 2007. That was an awful time for a great a number of people, and people were living on the promise of their house jumping 500% in a few years. Unless the White House realizes that, its going to be a very long road.

  •  Oh no, it's doom, doom,. doom (0+ / 0-)

    My portfolio went up like 33 percent in 2009.

    OMG, I think I'll jump off a cliff.

    •  Your portfolio went up? Oh, well then... (9+ / 0-)
      ...all's well with the world. All those stats about poverty and unemployment, up above, are irrelevant, I guess. Sorry to waste your time. I'll wait for your apology regarding same...with regard to me spending 78 seconds typing this...

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 11:25:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  what are you invested in (0+ / 0-)
        •  401k Mutual Funds, primarily... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          poxonyou, Uberbah
          ...mostly, but heavier cash in that than most, over the past 90-120 days; some metal--a lot of silver (coins), which has done better than gold btw, IRA's, profit sharing account with a successful company which is 50-50 bonds/equities...looking at getting into FOREX...and you?

          "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

          by bobswern on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 12:59:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The reason why I asked (0+ / 0-)

            is because if you really want to know what a person thinks of the economy, look at what they invest in, not what they say.

            So here's what I see.

            401k Mutual Funds, primarily

            That shows you're being sloppy or a novice. Because "mutal fund" tells me nothing. A mutual fund can be invested in hedge funds, stocks, bonds, foreign, metals, anything, so that tells me absolutely nothing.

            But heavier cash in that than most, over the past 90-120 days

            This tells me you're a speculator. Because no serious investor would be changing their portfolio over rolling 90-120 day periods.

            some metal--a lot of silver (coins), which has done better than gold btw,

            Tells me you're worried about inflation. That's pretty ironic comming from someone touting Krugman, who says the OPPOSITE.

            So now a lot more about you , then your posts let on.

            As for me, I am 30 percent US Stocks, 15 percent Foreign Developed, 15 percent Emerging Stocks, 10 percent Corp Junk Bond, 20 Percent Precious Metals, and 10 percent cash.

            I don't speculate. But I had to dump all my Treasuries end of 2008 when the Fed drove interest rates to 0, since inflation is definitely on the horizon.

            •  Actually, your assumptions about me are VERY... (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bruh1, FightTheFuture, poxonyou, Uberbah
              ...off the mark, since I only (deliberately) provided limited information. You went from point A to point D, bypassing points B and C (in your response).

              This IS a blog. It's a public arena. (As it is, I provided too much info.)

              I noted I moved money around ONE TIME in the past 90-120 days. No indication given (by me) that I do that on a regular basis...which I don't...at least not as far as 401k's are concerned.

              "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

              by bobswern on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 01:32:59 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  We're all doomed... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    centerleftdem

    we're all going to die....

    I mean, seriously, there seems to be no room for middle ground here.  The people who want to focus on the positive things are told their idealists or something and the people who warn us of the struggles or trials yet to come are nihilists.

    "... a dream that became a reality and spread throughout the stars" - Captain Kirk (Whom Gods Destroy)

    by PixieThis on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 11:07:10 AM PST

  •  Economy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobswern, jennylind

    Paul Krugman is the best.  Why isn't Obama listening to him?

  •  Look to Health Care Insurance, Life Insurance (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    farbuska

    As bubble vehicles for financial growth and trading.

    IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

    by potatohead on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 11:18:44 AM PST

  •  OK maybe I am a jerk... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    josephcast

    but here is some more good news to consider...

    http://finance.yahoo.com/...

    Manufacturing ain't dead yet in the US....

    Obama - Change I still believe in

    by dvogel001 on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 12:09:52 PM PST

    •  I wonder.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens, poxonyou

      how much military spending through the MIC is helping prop up manufacturing.  I really do.  In Wisconsin about the only good job news lately has been a plant who makes armored vehicles near Oshkosh saving/adding jobs.

      Also, big news in the Eau Claire, WI area is 100 new jobs created by Defense contracts.

      And, of course, a look at durable goods in the US also helps paint a picture....

    •  This is a sideways/slightly positive result... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poxonyou, Uberbah
      ...here's why.

      1.) This was heavily covered in my diary, and even by Krugman, directly. It was expected.

      2.) I'm much more interested in the ISM Service Industry Index update, coming towards the end of the week. It's been much worse than the manufacturing index. Manufacturing covers less than 20% of our output; services over 80%.

      3.) As far as hiring is concerned, upon closer review of the ISM Manufacturing Index's most recent results, announced today, if you read further on into the story...


      ...The ISM's employment index rose last month to 52 from 50.8, the third straight month it has topped 50...

      As Calculated Risk has closely covered this, the ISM Manufacturing Index must read higher than 52 for there to be a bump in HIRING in the Manufacturing sector. Sales might be up...per my diary and Krugman's comments...but, this means little/nothing as far as jobs are concerned.

      Does it beat a sharp stick in the eye? Absolutely. Is it anything to get excited about...definitely NOT...especially in light of: a.) Calculated Risk's analysis on this matter, b.) Krugman's and my diary's comments about this very issue, just today.

      IT IS A "BLIP."

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 01:43:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I like Krugman... (0+ / 0-)

        but he likes to beat the negative drum because he is not fond of the Obama economic policies...

        Obama - Change I still believe in

        by dvogel001 on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 01:52:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But, his reference is historical and factual... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ctsteve, poxonyou, Uberbah

          ...as far as the "inventory bounce" is concerned.

          Again, getting to the reality on all of this sincerely where I'm coming from...despite ANY appearances to the contrary. Am I skeptical of much more info than you? Of course. But, it's with sound reason.

          There's much more behind my comments than you might realize...for instance...a friend and former colleague runs sales for Manitowoc (large regional area sales mgr. in the U.S.), big heavy equipment manufacturer based in the U.S.

          He's telling me it's a MESS. They keep hearing about stimulus funds driving investment in heavy equipment, but NONE of the construction co's (i.e.: road/paving/bridge contractors, etc., etc.) are getting access to the CREDIT they need to buy or lease the stuff...so, these potential customers end up buying USED equipment from him...IF they're VERY lucky...and IF they can find much LOWER amounts of finance (commitments)...which, MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, doesn't happen...and even those deals are coming unravelled...

          "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

          by bobswern on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 02:17:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It is true we still have tight credit... (0+ / 0-)

            markets which there is a program through the community banks and the SBA to work on addressing in the works...

            Obama - Change I still believe in

            by dvogel001 on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 02:23:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  You know we are all like... (0+ / 0-)

            Jeckyll/Hyde with the banks...we tell them you are not lending enough on the one side of our mouth whereas on the other side we tell them that they have bad lending practices and lend to people and businesses that are not credit worthy...

            Obama - Change I still believe in

            by dvogel001 on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 02:25:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  And then still on the 3rd side of... (0+ / 0-)

            our mouths we tell them that they should lend money more but if they make profits on that money they lend to businesses then they are greedy banksters...

            Obama - Change I still believe in

            by dvogel001 on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 02:26:48 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  So why are all efforts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxado, Uberbah

    still about pumping money into the absolutely useless former economy that doesn't work? Each blip or dip is irrelevant to the real economy when thereis basis for the majority of  people to live or consume what the too big's are selling? The appalling mandate to purchase a product that does not even address what one is paying for the, need to get medical help, and calling this reform is truly what the bamboozle boils down to.

    Until the Democrats stop contiuing with the same agenda, ideology, and policy that has brought us here and actually does what's necessary, instead of blaming the Republicans, we all lose. It matters not who did this R or D, because that lets them all off the hook. Any strategy politically speaking is useless unless they actually do whats necessary and stop propping up the failed 'free market', neo liberal, voodoo economics that is by design not about a economy that is for the common good or the workers. It is a system that is about growth defined as profit margins and increasing the growth with no reagrd for what it does to society. It's not even good capitalism.

    Obama said we do not disparge wealth we believe in creating wealth. Creating wealth for the top is not going to help at all until the government starts doing it's job which includes, regulation, trust busting, investment in businesses that hire people to make innovative products that we and others need, new trade policies which protect our real economy, new green industries which are more then just marketing for the same old like coal and weatherization. They need to stop thinking of the people needs as  

    Unless the people stop thinking that all we can get is what they hand out as possible we are stuck in their reality. No amount of spin, excuses or blaming will help the Democratic party retain power let alone a majority. why should it if refuse to use their power to 'fix' the economy that we all must live in. They deserve to lose as they are part of the problem, right now they are all of the problem. No amount of bs can change that.            

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