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Some 300 economists and civic leaders, including James K. Galbraith, Heidi Shierholz, Robert Reich, Leo Gerard and Helene Jorgensen warned this morning of the "grave danger" if austerity measures are imposed in the midst of the current weak recovery. Their statement to U.S. politicians offers an excellent counterpoint to the bad but totally expected Census report about impoverishment in the United States reported by Joan McCarter. The statement originated with the progressive Institute for America's Future:

In the fall of 2008 the U.S. and other major economies were in a free fall in the wake of a global financial crisis.  Emergency stimulus policies here and around the world broke the fall, but brought us only part way to full recovery.

Today there is a grave danger that the still-fragile economic recovery will be undercut by austerity economics. A turn by major governments away from the promotion of growth and jobs and to premature focus on deficit reduction could slow growth and increase unemployment – and could push us back into recession.

History suggests that a tenuous recovery is no time to practice austerity.  In the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal generated growth and reduced the unemployment rate from 25 percent in 1932 to less than 10 percent in 1937.  However, the deficit hawks of that era persuaded President Roosevelt to reverse course prematurely and move toward budget balance.  The result was a severe recession that caused the economy to contract sharply and sent the unemployment rate soaring. Only the much larger wartime spending of the early 1940s produced a full recovery.

Today, the economy is growing only weakly. 7.8 million jobs have been lost in the recession.  Consumers, having suffered losses in home values and retirement savings, are tightening their belts. The business sector, uncertain about consumer spending, is reluctant to invest in expansion or job creation, leaving the economy trapped on a path of slow growth or stagnation. Over 20 million American workers are now unemployed, underemployed or simply have given up looking for a job.

The President and Congress should redouble efforts to create jobs and send aid to the states whose budget crises threaten recovery by forcing them to lay off school teachers, public safety workers, and other essential workers.  It also makes sense to invest in public service jobs – and in infrastructure projects for transportation, water, and energy conservation that will make our economy more productive for years to come.

There's good reason to focus on America's outdated, crumbling infrastructure. Not only would spending there create jobs immediately, it would be an investment in the future, the same kind of investment that, for instance, is being made by China, which plans to spend $738 billion on renewable energy projects alone over the next decade.

The statement also recommends new sources of revenue, among them a financial transaction tax, a high-income surcharge, the Wyden-Gregg corporate loophole-closing proposal, ending billions in subsidies to Big Energy.

In a press conference announcing the release of the statement, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich pointed out that now is exactly the wrong time to be pressing for cutbacks in public spending. Doing so "risks a repeat of 1937," a time when budget balancers and deficit hawks prevailed upon the FDR White House to prematurely adopt measures that reversed the growth of the previous four years and sent the U.S. economy back into depression.

The agenda of many of those fighting to curb deficit spending now, as the economy staggers, is not a new one. They are longtime foes of social insurance, of government investment, of regulation, men and women who reject the entire idea that government should provide a safety net, that it has any business directing the economy except to rescue the big guys when they screw things up. Listening to their siren call is always a bad idea. It's far worse now and risks putting a fragile economy completely on the rocks. Of course, those who suffer most from such a catastrophe will not be the wealthy who keep demanding sacrifices from all but themselves. It will be instead those who the Census highlighted today, and those in the middle class who could find themselves added to the poverty statistics in the next report.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 10:56 AM PDT.

Also republished by I follow and I Quote Meteor Blades in my Diary Group.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Paul Krugman will doubtless be pleased (15+ / 0-)

    Cue MSM quoting one guy from the Hoover Institute (or Cato) as a counterweight to 300 geniuses in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 10:58:00 AM PDT

    •  Paul Krugman told Obama to fire Simpson (10+ / 0-)

      Krugman: Fire Alan Simpson

      I always thought that the deficit commission was a bad idea; it has only looked worse over time, as the buzz is that Democrats are caving in to Republicans, leaning ever further toward an all-cuts, no taxes solution, including a sharp rise in the retirement age.

      I’ve also had my eye on Alan Simpson, the supposedly grown-up Republican co-chair, who has been talking nonsense about Social Security from the get-go.

      At this point, though, Obama is on the spot: he has to fire Simpson, or turn the whole thing into a combination of farce and tragedy — the farce being the nature of the co-chair, the tragedy being that Democrats are so afraid of Republicans that nothing, absolutely nothing, will get them sanctioned.

      When you have a commission dedicated to the common good, and the co-chair dismisses Social Security as a "milk cow with 310 million tits," you either have to get rid of him or admit that you’re completely, um, cowed by the right wing, that IOKIYAR rules completely. snip

      •  How does that relate to this article? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        understandinglife

        This article is about near-term austerity, not the long term cat food commission.

        In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

        by blue aardvark on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 11:02:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  true, but the catfood is about both ... solving (3+ / 0-)

          the deficit - or "fiscal discipline" is a complete non issue in 2010.  The austerity movement is a movement that frankly is steeped in shoddy freshman level economics mistakes.  Fiscal austerity hawks are the ones who are driving this train into long term pseudo-depression, and both parties are driving it together.  

          •  Some people are convinced that humans (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            isabelle hayes

            are basically evil and have to be threatened or bribed to get in line.  Since threats are cheaper, there's a large contingent of people who rely on deprivation (threats to a person's ability to sustain life) to gain compliance with the directives of the authorities.  The deprivation can't be so severe as to actually interfere with productive labor.  But, ameliorative measures have to be closely watched.  Americans aren't dieing of starvation, yet.  So, the austerians believe that there's still a ways to go to hammer home the message of who's boss.

            Non-financial corporations are sitting on $837 billion in cash that they are refusing to spend on new plant or job creation.

            The Constitution is not a menu for an exclusive diner.

            by hannah on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 01:43:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The Soloist (0+ / 0-)

              a real life film about a black boy of delicate sensibilities, who has such talent he gets into julliard, then becomes mentally ill and goes on the street in l.a.,where a reporter finds him, and so on;

              the most important thing from that film for me were the scenes in the street, where the center for assistance was behind steel barriers, like a prison, and outside that was like the streets of bosnia, beirut, etc.;

              i've seen films/tv of the "bad" neighborhoods in l.a. and elsewhere, but this wasn't a neighborhood, there were no houses in sight, only concrete; people's beds and cooking, dressing, everything, sharing, fighting, like a refugee camp;

              in our country

              supposed to be the "great experiment": a place for the little people to matter and to run things

              what this film shows is what unregulated capitalism has done and is doing to us

              stop spending on the wrong things and spend whatever it takes to get our society healed

        •  Well, it reminded me of what Krugman said (5+ / 0-)

          saying that this focus on the deficit is wrong headed.

          when I read this in MB's quote:

          History suggests that a tenuous recovery is no time to practice austerity.  In the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal generated growth and reduced the unemployment rate from 25 percent in 1932 to less than 10 percent in 1937.  However, the deficit hawks of that era persuaded President Roosevelt to reverse course prematurely and move toward budget balance.  The result was a severe recession that caused the economy to contract sharply and sent the unemployment rate soaring. Only the much larger wartime spending of the early 1940s produced a full recovery.

          This reminded me of:

          I always thought that the deficit commission was a bad idea; it has only looked worse over time, as the buzz is that Democrats are caving in to Republicans, leaning ever further toward an all-cuts, no taxes solution, including a sharp rise in the retirement age.

  •  And wait till more Repubs... (7+ / 0-)

    ...get in with their anti-deficit fetishes.

    When an otherwise good person supports an obviously bad war, that person becomes something less than good.

    by dov12348 on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 10:58:02 AM PDT

    •  Still… (4+ / 0-)

      …Meteor Blades needs to figure out how to condense that rant into a script for a 30-second commercial.

      Teh stoopidTM, it hurts. Buy smart, union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone: DemSign.com

      by DemSign on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 11:11:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  How many times do we have to write (5+ / 0-)

      this same diary?  Although I appreciate the information about this new group of economists who have come forward to remind everyone of what they and others have been saying for the past year since the deficit hawks have been banging the austerity drums, the vast majority of the American public is almost totally economically ignorant, particularly concerning macroeconomics.  Meanwhile, the media, either as ignorant as the public or maybe just craven, fails to cover anything their viewers can't grasp in a 2-minute segment.

      Most people have the idea that the rules governing their family finances should also apply to the federal government, e.g., when there is no money and times are tough it's time to stop spending and hunker down, pay off debt and save as much as possible.  Just ask your neighbors.

      What they don't understand, since they've never been through an economics course, is that the rules for the federal government are different - almost completely opposite, in fact.  The country's economy is not lacking money right now - the country is absolutely awash in money - but the money's not moving.  It's sitting in banks (reserves), in corporations (uninvested profits) and the U.S. Treasury (bonds).  It's not the lack of money that's the problem, it's the lack of velocity of that money.

      Right now no one in the private sector is willing to do anything to break the logjam, and the nation's politics is so screwed up the government can't get anything moving either.  So everyone sits here, half-dead in the water, with everyone becoming angrier and angrier and one political party threatening to install certifiable lunatics in congress, while the media ignores all these repeated warnings from economists.

      "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 Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 11:41:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Very well put. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lucy2009

        I think we're coming to some serious form of unrest.  Maybe those in DC need to see people camped out on their lawns and in their streets before they'll do anything.

        When an otherwise good person supports an obviously bad war, that person becomes something less than good.

        by dov12348 on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 12:19:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  "They are longtime foes of social insurance, ... (10+ / 0-)

    .... of government investment, of regulation, men and women who reject the entire idea that government should provide a safety net, that it has any business directing the economy except to rescue the big guys when they screw things up. Listening to their siren call is always a bad idea. "

    And, literally, a deadly, non-empathetic one now.

  •  Heh, I just used that link in a comment. We (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    should really get busy and let our Dems know that screwing with Social Security while leaving Defense off the table is just not going to cut it.

  •  No "This.. is.. Spartaaa!!!" joke? (5+ / 0-)

    In all seriousness, why Republicans and 'baggers can't discuss actual solutions instead of "CUT CUT CUT", especially when there's empirical evidence, takes my breath away at times...

  •  But (6+ / 0-)
    Riots are good for the economy. /snark
  •  It's amazing how disconnected (11+ / 0-)

    politicians are from knowledge and reality.

    Of course, wealthy people worry more about inflation.  And deficits do not matter if they are created by tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.  :-)

    Good post, MB.  

    Deoliver47, quoting Bernice Johnson Reagon: "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition"

    by TomP on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 11:01:21 AM PDT

  •  THIS IS THE ECONOMYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!! (n/t) (6+ / 0-)

    What have you done for DC statehood today? Call your Rep and Senators and demand action.

    by mistersite on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 11:01:30 AM PDT

  •  I really don't get why there is such a stonewall (7+ / 0-)

    against renewable energy development in this country.  I think I know the answer..... companies are getting 'cheap' development and labor elsewhere.  Once upon a time the US was the absolute leader in development of just about everything.  The companies spent money to get us to a certain expectation, now they no longer want to foot the bill, so to speak, and just want profits.

  •  Somebody had better figure out how to get (4+ / 0-)

    this across to the American people.  They don't get it.  

    "If I owned hell and Texas, I'd live in hell and rent out Texas" - Union General Phillip Sheridan

    by ZedMont on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 11:03:14 AM PDT

  •  The austerity is a bi-partisan movement sadly (7+ / 0-)

    and given his choices for catfood, the President might very well be part of it.  These are the mistakes of 1938 being repeated.  The time for belt tightening was 2000 when the money was all there ... not now, when government borrowing is almost free.  

  •  AustMeasures has killed the Ireland economy (8+ / 0-)

    80 % of success is just showing up! Plan 9 From Outer Space meet Plan Z From Afghanistan.

    by Churchill on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 11:07:00 AM PDT

  •  Another reminder of the crucible (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden, divineorder, isabelle hayes
       
        that is ours to face up to like patriots in the forthcoming election.

        Keeping control of the Congress is the test of our time.

        I urge all Democrats, all good Americans of both parties, to stand tall this fall.

       

  •  And less margins in the House and Senate... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, neroden

    Will ensure no spending.  

    Maybe this letter could be send to the 10.2.10 groups and see if it would be something they'd sign off on as well.  

    Sen. Reid on GOP threat of filibuster on tax cuts - "by Republican logic, until rich CEOs get what they want, middle-class families can't get what they need."

    by Jonze on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 11:15:37 AM PDT

  •  1/7th of us living under imposed austerity (6+ / 0-)

    measures right now. Just ask me, I'm in that group. And it's not easy.

    It's hard to overstate how destructive the economic ideas offered...by Boehner would be if put into practice. ~ Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 11:15:41 AM PDT

  •  Maybe. But Pete Peterson wants austerity... (5+ / 0-)

    And they're running this place for the Petersons, not the Lunchbuckets. They better hurry up & cut Social Security, before we all go broke.

    As a scientist, Throckmorton knew that if he ever were to break wind in the echo chamber, he would never hear the end of it. --Bulwer-Lytton Contest entry

    by Wom Bat on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 11:15:53 AM PDT

  •  Bad Idea means it's already decided. (5+ / 0-)

    it's going to happen.

    Of course, those who suffer most from such a catastrophe will not be the wealthy who keep demanding sacrifices from all but themselves. It will be instead those who the Census highlighted today, and those in the middle class who could find themselves added to the poverty statistics in the next report.

    Anything that helps keeps the commoners down and behind.....

    Spray tons of carcinogens into the ocean to hide petroleum spewed from a hastily-drilled hole from a greedy corporation, but don't smoke pot.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 11:16:01 AM PDT

  •  This Is Not 1932 (0+ / 0-)

    In the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal generated growth and reduced the unemployment rate from 25 percent in 1932 to less than 10 percent in 1937

    And applying the lessons of 1932 is not going to work. But don't listen to me ... go ahead and try it.

    Borrow the money from the Chinese or Japanese instead of from ourselves, buy the steel and cement from China, hire six people to run that four lane lipformer instead hundreds of people to pour, level and finish that concrete by hand ... and then get back to me with all the good it did those blue and white collar workers who are currently out of jobs, or who are working part time at the local 7/11.

    <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

    by superscalar on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 11:21:50 AM PDT

    •  No, this is 1931. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      isabelle hayes, Celtic Pugilist

      If we actually applied the lessons of 1932 -- including creating a Works Progress Administration and a Civilian Conservation Corps -- then it would indeed give lots of people jobs.

      You accurately point out that if we fail to heed the lessons of 1932, well, then we won't have such good results.....

      -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

      by neroden on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 11:53:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It Might Be 1931 (0+ / 0-)

        No, this is 1931

        But the U.S. economy bears zero resemblance to the U.S. economy of 1931.

        Works Progress Administration and a Civilian Conservation Corps

        The implication being that you are going to hire a whole lot of people to do manual labor like building fire trails, damns, clear brush, design and build administrative buildings etc.

        This I gotta' see.

        <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

        by superscalar on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 12:55:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  exactly what we need: wpa &ccc, n/t (0+ / 0-)
    •  For argument's sake... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Land of Enchantment

      ...present your proposal.

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

      by Meteor Blades on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 12:58:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My Proposal? (0+ / 0-)

        I don't have one (not one which either political party is going to realistically consider anyway), but then I don't have a solution to suspending the second law of thermodynamics either.

        Saying 'we have a solution, because this worked in 1932' does not hold up to close scrutiny either, and it does not follow that because one says that one has a solution, that it is necessarily a solution.

        One wants to take two systems which bear almost nothing in common, and say that one can apply the same approach to the second system with the expectation of the same results as those results from the first system.

        Kind of like

        1.) We must do something

        2.) This is something

        3.) Ergo, we must do this

        Additionally, I find it funny that the Democratic Party seems to be wildly flailing about for answers to the problems with one hand, while at the same time actively working to make the problem worse (i.e. a new 'free trade' agreement with South Korea) with the other hand.

        <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

        by superscalar on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 01:22:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  By The Way MB (0+ / 0-)

        We both know what the problem is -- in a nutshell the U.S. can no longer compete on wages, on the amount of negative externalities we are willing to put up with, with the amount of tax holidays or corporate tax breaks we are willing to award, etc., with the rest of the world.

        We also both know that the U.S. produces very little of what it consumes, and that there is very little that anybody can, practically speaking, do about it now.

        Find a solution to these issues (a solution that you can both explain to the American people and get them to buy turning around) and you've found your solution.

        <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

        by superscalar on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 01:37:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The reason American private corporations (0+ / 0-)

          can't compete is because they've defined competition as a contest or conflict to the death and our public corporations are no longer willing to provide the fire power.

          Consider this.  Iraq was supposed to justify our invasion by giving us access to cheap oil--i.e. a monopoly situation, about the only way American enterprise can thrive anymore.  We can't compete because we've lost all understanding what competition (mutual striving for a goal) means.  Doing a Tonya Harding is not competition.

          The Constitution is not a menu for an exclusive diner.

          by hannah on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 02:44:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  70% Of All Exports From China (0+ / 0-)

            Are from American companies doing business in China. Those companies moved to China for exactly two reasons:

            1.) To take advantage of the cheaper wage rates, lax environmental laws, wink and a nod business arrangements (read legalized bribery).

            2.) So as to set up shop in an still developing economy with a 'growing middle class' (an economy unlike the U.S.)

            How does the U.S. compete with this?

            Answer: The U.S. cannot compete with this in its current form.

            <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

            by superscalar on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 02:51:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  There is no reason to compete. (0+ / 0-)

              There is reason to regulate corporations engaged in interstate and/or international operations and require them to secure a federal charter which spells out their duties and obligations, including the obligation to provide support to the nation upon which they rely to promote their enterprise with treaties and military back-up, if needed.  In relying on individual states to charter corporations over whose operations in other states they have no jurisdiction, we have created monsters -- artificial persons which claim the rights of natural persons and satisfy none of the obligations of citizenship.  Our public corporations are strictly limited by their charters.  Our private corporations expect to be bribed to comply with the most minimal standards of civility.

              The Constitution is not a menu for an exclusive diner.

              by hannah on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 03:13:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  He's a Smoot-Hawley guy (0+ / 0-)

        Talk about living in 1932!

        The Smoot–Hawley Tariff raised U.S. tariffs on over 20,000 imported goods to record levels.
        The overall level tariffs under the Tariff were the second-highest in US history, exceeded only (by a small margin) by the Tariff of 1828 and the ensuing retaliatory tariffs by U.S. trading partners reduced American exports and imports by more than half.

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

        "Those who don't learn the lessons of history . . ."

  •  semi OT (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder

    While we wallow in a huge trade imbalance, Germany merrily rides the weak euro.  This is another problem in forex that is ignored--and hurts American industry--since we compete with Germany in so many high end/scientific products.

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 11:25:19 AM PDT

  •  warn against austerity = warn against GOP (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Williston Barrett, Eric Nelson
  •  It's like the movie 300 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, MaizeandBlue, vzfk3s

    versus the bigger army of conventional wisdom and austerity led by King Peter Peterson who can rely on CNN to spread his fear mongering IOUUSA BS.

    The Corporate Owned Media and its newfound fiscal hawking that wasn't there at the start of the Iraq war will no doubt treat these brave economists as outcasts while forgetting simple history such as the Golden age was brought upon by deficit spending which, I think, should be called investing as deficit investing sounds much better to the public than deficit spending and it goes to something that makes more sense, too. People can relate to college loans and it pays to spend for your kids to go to college, even putting a family in debt to do so at times(leaving aside the fact that this is the only instance in which a federal budget should be treated like a family budget. This great Robert Reich piece explains it all with historic facts and stats.

    As if the Eurozone meltdown and the inflation hawkery ignorance of the ECB hasn't already proven this austerity BS(as bad as our FED can act in some ways, at least it is not that stupid) wrong(and a misunderstanding of why it happened via not paying off debt in the good times and Goldman Sachs hiding it as well as currency swaps). A couple of points of inflation can stop a riot.

    Great diary, MB. I just hope the army of the "church of the savvy" listen.

    Pro Life??? Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!- George Carlin

    by priceman on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 11:32:25 AM PDT

  •  Does anyone else see the parallels between (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden, isabelle hayes

    austerity economics and say, conservatives' attitudes towards things like reproductive rights, gay rights, Social Security, middle class tax cuts and a load of others things that I'm seeing? It just seems to me that, more and more, American conservative philosophy isn't so much based on the based in the "classical" conservative rationale--that the human condition is static and thus we need to "conserve" against the negative aspects of it that we can't change--as a philosophy that resents the world isn't the way they want it to be and so someone needs to be punished for it?

    Seriously, the conservative approach to nearly everything has the reasoning level of a 4-year-old. Austerity economic included. Ever try to reason with a 4-year-old who doesn't understand he can't have things the way he wants? It's a lot like arguing with a conservative these days, isn't?

    -8.50, -7.64 Autism Speaks does not speak for me. I can speak for myself. I am a person, not a disease. I want to be respected, not "cured."

    by croyal on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 11:32:56 AM PDT

    •  Yes, they are all examples of deprivation of (0+ / 0-)

      human rights.  Deprivation is not quite extermination.  Although it does resemble the pest extermination industry in making sure that some survive to be exterminated (mostly) later.  A final solution is not consistent with the profit motive.

      Perhaps we should consider deprivators as similar to dairymen who milk their cows until they slaughter them.

      The Constitution is not a menu for an exclusive diner.

      by hannah on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 02:49:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  so how many economists are for austerity? (0+ / 0-)

    do the austerians (is that a word?) have a statement? are they all alive?

    •  Krugman coined the term "austerians" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sc kitty

      I prefer deprivators, if only because, while "deprivation under color of law" is recognized in the criminal code, "deprivation under cover of law" is far more pernicious and should be.

      The Constitution is not a menu for an exclusive diner.

      by hannah on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 02:51:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wind Energy jobs are just waiting (5+ / 0-)

    for a serious ramp up. We could create tons of jobs, end the oil dependency, limit health-care costs due to pollution, AND reduce global warming factors in a few years if we had politicians more concerned about the national well-being than their income stream.

    U.S. Offshore Wind Potential Four Times Total Power Generated
    The "Assessment of Offshore Wind Energy Resources for the United States" shows that 4,150 gigawatts of potential maximum wind turbine capacity from offshore wind resources are available in the United States.

    According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2008 the nation's total electric generating capacity from all sources was 1,010 gigawatts....

    ...Detailed resource maps and tables for the offshore wind resources of 26 coastal states' bordering the oceans and the Great Lakes break down the wind energy potential by wind speed, water depth, and distance from shore.

    We currently have 5,000 megawatts planned for development. There are caveats modifying the 4,150 gigawatts figure as it just shows the gross amount available, and doesn't take out local factors which might reduce that.

    Still, we have the absolute potential, just from off-shore wind which is 4x greater than what we generate using petroleum, coal, and nuclear, and 810 times what we have in development for wind energy.

    This is just one thing we could do. Add it together with all the other NOW EXISTING alternate energy things, and jobs, unhooking our foreign policy from oil, health outcomes, and pollution could all be radically altered in just a few years.

    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 Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 11:41:07 AM PDT

    •  Not infrastructure!!! That means roads! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      divineorder

      The last thing we should be doing is squandering resources on new roads when we're now in the era of Peak Cheap Oil.  10 years from now we won't be happy motoring like we are today.

      This administration is as dumb as a rock.  If they made a commitment to transforming the economy to ALT-E, it would be like the dot com bubble all over again.   Money would come pouring out of VC investors into all kinds of ALT-E start ups.  Instead, they invest in America's past (more roads) not it's future, mass transit.

      •  The wind farms we saw as we crossed down through (0+ / 0-)

        high plains into  the northern hill country of Texas do have a lot of new roads torn into the ranches where they are being built. Meh. Trade offs...

      •  Infrastructure refers to things under-ground: (0+ / 0-)

        water lines
        sewage facilities
        electric cable
        aquifer restoration
        flood control
        docking facilities
        landing strips
        rail beds
        energy transmission lines (gas, oil, electric)

        The Constitution is not a menu for an exclusive diner.

        by hannah on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 02:54:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It hasn't meant underground since it was French.. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hannah, Eric Nelson

          ...There is also hard vs. soft infrastructure, the latter including, among other things, educational and health institutions, the framework of the Internet.

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

          by Meteor Blades on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 03:31:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Underground is not a concept that's (0+ / 0-)

            easily understood by people who go by appearances.  Out of sight, out of mind.  "infrastructure" is a fancy term that know-nothings can reject just because it's fancy.  "supports" would be a good term, but its association with children, as in "child-support" really generates resentment.  For all the talk about "family values," children are only good when they are owned and do what they are told.  Other people's children, especially those belonging to women who demand support, are a real pain.

            The Constitution is not a menu for an exclusive diner.

            by hannah on Fri Sep 17, 2010 at 12:31:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Millionaires Club (AKA Congress) (0+ / 0-)
    doesn't give a flying f-ck about Main Street, moreso after the awful Citizens United ruling.
  •  these 300 economist probably watched this video (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder

    http://www.youtube.com/...

    how many of these folks do you think will make it to oct 2 rally in DC?

  •  This will fall on deaf ears (0+ / 0-)
    The republican legislators don't want an economic recovery, they want to win elections.  This will not resonate with them at all, and I seriously doubt we'll hear much about it from on the msm.  Propaganda and bumper sticker slogans win over facts and logic. We're just fucked.  The clowns are leading the way.
  •  This is a quote from one of the (0+ / 0-)

    Damming The Flood

    The austerity program that in the summer of 1994 Aristide was obliged to accept in exchange for an end to military rule and FRAPH intimidation was designed, in the words of one of the main authors of that program, to redistribute some wealth from the poor to the rich." (Damming The Flood, P.54)

    They don't even lie about it.  I looked in the book notes and it refers to Narin on Democracy Now! but doesn't which author the quote is from.

    "IJDH provides the tools for people who care about Haiti to make a real difference on the ground."-- Bishop Thomas Gumbleton

    by allie123 on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 12:56:03 PM PDT

    •  Sorry did not mean to bold whole quote (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      isabelle hayes

      just the part about austerity program  being designed to take money from poor people to give it to rich people.  That is what austerity programs do.

      "IJDH provides the tools for people who care about Haiti to make a real difference on the ground."-- Bishop Thomas Gumbleton

      by allie123 on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 01:01:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The significance of the number '300'...COURAGE. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    Others have already noted in jest that the number '300' functions as a cultural reference to popular re-tellings of the Battle of Thermopylae. And that's all fine, well, and good. But perhaps, instead of joking about "This is Sparta!" we should instead think of the historic phrase thought to be said by Leonidas - "Molon labe" - literal translation "come and take them" (i.e. our weapons), figurative translation "come and get it" or "over my dead body."

    I guess what I'm saying is this: we should be telling the Republicans and Tea Partiers and astroturfers and lobbyists that we're not going to let them wreck things without a fight.

  •  What we need to understand. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    isabelle hayes

    I think what we need to understand is that private corporations perceive themselves to be in competition with public corporations (commonly referred to as governments).  Moreover, private corporations have developed a rather peculiar definition of "competition"--i.e. they equate it with a conflict or contest to the death.  That is private corporations want to destroy public corporations or, at least, weaken them so badly, they can be easily mauled.

    Why this is so is a puzzlement.  After all, private corporations are the creatures of public corporations (Delaware has authorized more than 8000 of them).  Why would the author of these artificial persons want to destroy them?  It's not rational.  Perhaps it's because private corporations, knowing they could be dissolved, feel vulnerable and being scared makes them aggressive.

    Actually, private corporations have reason to be concerned about regulation, a concern that's not very different from a teenage son who's taken the family car and driven it into the ditch and knows with almost certainty that the keys are going to be taken from him.  What hasn't been quite figured out is how to impose effective regulation.  While states may be able to regulate health insurance providers, states regulating international corporations is pretty much a non-starter.  Delaware is happy if they just pay their annual franchise tax, which makes up 25% of Delaware's budget.
    (Which may provide a clue why corporate America is interested in who the next Senator from Delaware will be.  Or, perhaps, O'Donnell is a loss leader).

    The Constitution is not a menu for an exclusive diner.

    by hannah on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 01:36:39 PM PDT

  •  This post is and the statement that it quotes (0+ / 0-)

    are absolutely correct on every point. The Democrats used to realize the truths stated here.  The statement talks about what is really holding back businesses from hiring. It's not uncertainty about taxes and regulation, it is uncertainty about demand, about consumer spending!

    "The only thing we have to fear - is fear itself." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    by orrg1 on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 03:14:39 PM PDT

  •  Austerity <--> Smoot Hawley Tariff Act (0+ / 0-)

    Just as the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act slowed trade, thereby worsening the Great Depression, so would Austerity.  Austerity is a restriction on trade by a different means but a restriction nonetheless.  Don't our dear Free Marketeers rail against restrictions on trade all the time?

  •  "It also makes sense to" (0+ / 0-)

    stimulate consumer demand with direct incentives like Cash-4-Clunkers which saved the auto industry from collapse just a year ago.

    But no, we can't do anything to pump up what is normally 70% of our economy because that would not be politically correct - don't want the government encouraging poor, dumb consumers to spend their money on anything more than what they absolutely need.  That's the real austerity that nobody dares discuss.

    Oh, and now that Obama has joined the BS about "we can't afford" more deficit spending, we are not going to get any more stimulus at all, let alone a jobs program.  Welcome to "Change we can believe in" - BS economic propaganda from the Dems who couldn't care less about the unemployed.

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