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Disappointments. Failures. Lost opportunities, and lost elections. None of it mattered. For whatever reason--call it relentless optimism, perhaps--I half-expected that even after the midterms, things would be better, from the point of view of political strategy. I half-expected the cadre of people in the White House and the lame ducks in Congress to realize that they had preemptively conceded, negotiated and triangulated themselves all the way to some staggering midterm losses, and that maybe a change of pace was in order. I half expected those same people to realize that if we are to avoid President Palin, or Romney, or Huckabee, or even Pence or Thune, that the process or re-engaging allies who had grown somewhat less than enthusiastic ought to be on the agenda.

We didn't get that. We got the opposite instead.

We got a so-called Deficit Reduction Commission that adjourned without even proposing a recommendation because its slavish devotion to cutting Social Security benefits and shifting the tax burden even further onto the middle class was too much for the liberals to take. And the President did come out aggressively pushing for something. Unfortunately, that something just happened to be an anti-growth, anti-middle class freeze in cost of living adjustments for federal employees, all in the name of deficit reduction. Now, it's not my typical style to be this blunt, especially regarding a sitting Democratic President--but the proposed COLA freeze, along with the attempted mobilization of Organizing For America to promote it, has to count among the most tone-deaf moves this Administration has made heretofore. But it, as well as the nonbinding proposals of the Deficit Commission, indicate quite clearly that the era of shared sacrifice is at an end, and that we are beginning to enter an era of corporate-based plutocratic neofeudalism. After all, if a Democratic administration with a sweeping mandate and a huge organizing base, combined with Democratic Congressional majorities the likes of which will not be seen again in some time, cannot slow--much less reverse--the gradual shifting of the burden of taxation onto an ever-shrinking middle class, then who can?

I don't relish coming to this conclusion. I try not to be a nattering nabob of negativity. But facts have to be submitted to a candid world. 8ackgr0und N015e recently recently posted a diary with a startling graphic and a shocking conclusion:

The figure running down the page shows the 50 largest American corporations (based on market capitalization).  The green bars show the cash on hand.  The red bars show the debt.  The companies are sorted based on the amount of cash they have on hand, in descending order.

Scroll down the page and you will see virtually all of the names are ones you recognize.  That makes sense.  These are huge corporations that dominate the global economy.  That's why they are household names.  

Added together, these companies hold about $3.7 TRILLION dollars in cash.  That is a little more than the entire United States government spent last year.  In other words, these 50 companies have enough cash to do everything the federal government did last year, and still have $500 Billion left over.  That includes fighting two wars.

Included in that total is the largest corporate cash hoard of any US company: $800 billion for Goldman Sachs. Just to put $800 billion in perspective: in $100 bills, that amount of money would form a stack nearly 543 miles high. If accumulation of even more wealth in the hands of the wealthy truly did create jobs, then Goldman Sachs would be restoring prosperity to the American economy on its lonesome by now. Corporate profits are growing at a record pace, and the stock market is in fine shape as well these days. And despite that, the only fiscal remedies deemed acceptable by the DC village include cutting social security benefits, raising the retirement age, instituting the aforementioned pay freeze, or the findings of the supposedly bipartisan Deficit Reduction Commission whose key recommendations, as mentioned, are primarily based on shifting the responsibility of paying for America further down onto the middle class.

There is no more notion of shared responsibility among many of our nation's elites. They have successfully managed not only to purchase policies that enhance their ability to accumulate an even higher percentage of the nation's wealth; they have also managed to create a political environment where one party (and a significant portion of another) is so dedicated to preserving that accumulation that they will sacrifice everything else--including nuclear security--to continue it.

In the previous incarnation of feudalism, at least the lords had an obligation to be the military protectors of the land. These days, they don't even have to do that--they just profit from the wars that lesser mortals fight. In previous societies, stark degrees of wealth inequality result in social unrest and even revolution. But I suppose that like George W. Bush, our current crop of elites is counting on being dead by the time history--or the masses--comes to judge them.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:02 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  So what are you going to do about it? (8+ / 0-)

    That's what I want to know!

  •  Pathetic. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Judge Moonbox, jennylind, zaka1, Lucy2009

    Just fucking pathetic.

    Complaining on the internet is not dissent.

    by snout on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:05:50 PM PST

  •  Does elite equal "Democrats and Republicans" (8+ / 0-)
    If so, why the cryptic language?

    And , is it really true that only the leadership does not belief in shared sacrifice? Or is this the main stay of both parties?

  •  A Lot of People Have Been Pointing This Out for (25+ / 0-)

    30-40 years as we methodically took step after step to bring out the results of this very old attitude at the top of our economy and population.

    It's not merely a case of we-told-you-so. What's worse is that most who could see today's state of affairs unfolding 20 and more years ago, are still able to see 20 and more years into today's future.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:06:35 PM PST

  •  Obama (27+ / 0-)

    I'm starting to get the feeling that Obama is doing more damage to the Democratic Party than the Republicans are.
     For evidence, look at the divisions that Obama is rendering. A good example is DKos. We have the pro-Obama crowd against the progressives.

     Nor remember how things were right before Obama was elected. Quite the change, huh?

    "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

    by gjohnsit on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:06:59 PM PST

  •  Countdown to Middle class being called (23+ / 0-)

    Parasites in 5 4 3 2 2 1

    We Destroyed this Village in order to save it from the Viet Cong er um Taliban

    by JML9999 on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:07:49 PM PST

  •  Noblesse oblige... (15+ / 0-)

    ... was the old myth now replaced by things like "trickle down" and so forth.

    The names have changed, the new (hereditary) aristocracy has learned to make their power somewhat more subtle and behind the scenes in many ways, but you're right:  we've managed to set our social order back by 400 years in just a few short decades.

    The inadequate is the enemy of the necessary.

    by JRandomPoster on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:08:01 PM PST

    •  It did exist for a very brief period (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lisastar, satrap
      but it was also a result of the existential threat that communism represented to capitalism.

      With that threat gone, conservatives feel no need to compromise with liberals.

      •  Close. (5+ / 0-)

        "With that threat gone, conservatives have found a new one in the Liberal living next door."

        The inadequate is the enemy of the necessary.

        by JRandomPoster on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:17:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Liberals? NIMBY! n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JRandomPoster

          Präsidentenelf-maßschach;Warning-Some Snark Above;Cascadia Lives

          by annieli on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:24:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I am not discussing how they use (3+ / 0-)
          the process of fake threats to push the country right.

          I am discussing the real threat that they saw from the Russian bear, etc, and what that meant in terms of not moving towards a kleptocracy. It was not a real option until the 90s. Until then, Even reagan could only go so far.

          After the fall of communism, that opened the door.

          FDR, fore xample, was an accomoddation to the real far left in the US. Many of his policies grew out of their policy ideas. He had to adopt themor else. He knew that.

        •  I am not discussing how they use (0+ / 0-)
          the process of fake threats to push the country right.

          I am discussing the real threat that they saw from the Russian bear, etc, and what that meant in terms of not moving towards a kleptocracy. It was not a real option until the 90s. Until then, Even reagan could only go so far.

          After the fall of communism, that opened the door.

          FDR, fore xample, was an accomoddation to the real far left in the US. Many of his policies grew out of their policy ideas. He had to adopt themor else. He knew that.

      •  One meme that I haven't (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Major Tom, CParis

        read enough of but I assume is embodied by the "What's the Trouble with KS" crowd is why on earth the poor have such a fixation for Republican funneling of their money to the upper middle and upper classes.

        They hate themselves and each other more than they desire better circumstances...

        From Neocon to sane- thanks to Obama- and Kos.

        by satrap on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:18:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The same could be asked of Democrats voting (13+ / 0-)
          for who we vote for.

          I simply find the question irrelevant given the systemic choices offered to us.

          it would be one think of the Democrats really were offering the poor economic advancement in our society. But that's not at all the dynamic at play.

          We must stop mythologizing the democrats as the party of the poor and middle class. that's simply fantasy.

          They are the party of "Well we aren't quite as bad as the GOP." That may matter to some at the margins, but for most , they don't see enough of a chance to increase loyalty to us.

          •  I think I'm going (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            alizard, bablhous

            to have to start thinking your way.  I really HAVE thought of the Ds as the party of the little guy/gal.....

            From Neocon to sane- thanks to Obama- and Kos.

            by satrap on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:30:23 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  They haven't been that party in decades (12+ / 0-)

              Like me and most, you have been relying on emotional memories and myth to drive your thinking- or that's my guess.

              The truth is when you stop thinking of the history and pay attention to what they actually do. they are a pretty hard right party, and the GOP is reactionary.

              Hard right means what defines their economic and political assumptions. They are mostly based in laissez faire economic policies and status.

              The GOP is reactionary in that they want to return to a state that existed before the modern welfare state.

              The best way to think of the Democrats is to actually do the opposite of what others suggest. THey often will suggest we look at the Democrats in isolation without looking at the rest of the world. This is usually, in my view, coming from the "America is singular crowd."

              Once you burst that illusion about our being singular, there is no reason to not look at the Democrats in comparison to other parties around the world. In that context, the party is a hard right party to right of center as its range.

              its also plutocratic just like the GOP is. This last 2 years has taken off the last layers of pretending otherwise as they ignored poll after poll to do what the plutocrats want over the american public's expressed desires.

          •  bingo n/t (3+ / 0-)

            surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

            by wu ming on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:51:42 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Plus the Dems (8+ / 0-)

            just piss off a lot of people with their sliminess. People see them as just as corrupt but wimpy to boot.  

            •  That's why its a choice between pepsi and coke (6+ / 0-)

              People just find the Democratic formula for a soft drink weaker than the GOP. They are left to make decisions not on any thing substantive but matters of taste. Its like Weston the guy who wrote about the mind of independents. They are voting on style- the john wayne effect- not substance. How could they vote on substance? The democrats aren't offering them substantive differences so they are left with style.

              •  bruh, do you think (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Words In Action, JRandomPoster

                we all voted for President O. based on his style?  I'm not being sarcastic.  Did we?  (I shiver.....)

                From Neocon to sane- thanks to Obama- and Kos.

                by satrap on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 06:06:28 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes. His campaign manager (4+ / 0-)

                  as much as admitted that was his selling point. I believe it was a book by the manager. The thesis was that they did not see an significant policy differences between Clinton so they realized they had to engage young voters, etc on stylistic differences about the historic nature of the campaign, branding terms like "change you can believe in" (which by the way is straight out self help guru lingo although that's not in the book) etc.  If you looked the policies, they were for the most part identical, and indeed, Obama's economic team were mostly from the Chicago school (which is conservative). Now, I still said we had to vote for him given the choices because at least there was a theorectical if not likely change he may have been better than CLinton. Just like edwards was a theorectical spin at the wheel of the clinton certainty. But as it turns out, its been far worse than even I imagined. I was adtually defendign the president until late Jan 2008. I said his cabine was his to choose, etc. Got banned from a site for saying so. Its the stimulus that made me turn on his policies. Then its gottne worse since that time. I had hope the crisis was something he would rise to occasion,b ut then I have come to relaize in the least year that they are conservatives, they aren't capable of it.  They being Democrats. I sort of suspected before but when the polling data showed such variance from the easy moves for the democrats and yet still they choose the plutocrats interest, that was enough to realize I had let go of romatnic fantasy.

            •  the "wimpy" part is unfair (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              left of center, apimomfan2

              They do stand for their beliefs. Unfortunately, what they believe in is that their job in office is to do whatever it takes to ensure that they get to live in luxury after retirement from money given to them by grateful corporations and billionaires.

              Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

              by alizard on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 07:16:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  they all think they TOO can be millionaires (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          alizard, JRandomPoster, jm214, satrap

          why no one ever suggests the likelihood, for example, that just one person in John Boner's district will become a millionaire in the next 5 yrs is beyond me.

          Yeah, I'm pitchfork mad like that.

          by lisastar on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:29:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  It's actually the middle class (0+ / 0-)

          who are convinced by the likes of Beck and Rushbo that the government is taking their money and giving it to poor people. Neal Boortz never misses an opportunity to say that 50% of the country pays no income taxes. He makes it sounds like the poor don't "pay their fair share" while laughing all the way to the bank.

  •  But, but 11th Dimensional Chess, and give him.... (13+ / 0-)

    ....more time (it's only been a little less than 2 years), and it's really YOUR fault because he wasn't really a progressive anyway, and the mid-terms are not THAT important, etc., etc., etc.

    "...if my thought-dreams could be seen, they'd probably put my head in a guillotine...." {-8.13;-5.59}

    by lams712 on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:08:15 PM PST

    •  To be fair it is insane that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lams712

      America conducts elections nationally every two years. No other leaders put up with it or have to cope with that insanity.

      Obama didn't get a year in which to govern and had to face elections immediately. In a year he could have a different situation.

      A Catholic, Jew, Muslim and Buddhist walk into Al Aqsa Mosque. Buddhist immediately exclaims: "excuse me I appear to be in the wrong joke."

      by Salo on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:15:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  William S Burroughs called the (17+ / 0-)

    "naked lunch" the moment you look down at your fork and see what is really there.

    The middle class is finally looking at the end of its fork. It won't like it what it sees.

    "Space Available!" is the biggest retail chain in the nation.

    by Free Jazz at High Noon on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:09:33 PM PST

  •  Was there ever a notion of shared sacrifice? (11+ / 0-)

    I think WWII was an exception, not the rule.  It was a rare instance in which most all members of society did without and made sacrifices for the greater good.  

    I can't think of another time before or since.  

    Elites have always ridden out the hard times that have crushed the masses.  And have benefited financially from wars, when the peasants have been crushed.  

    Humanity really hasn't changed much in the last 40,000 years.  

    Unfortunately, now there is now a pretnese that we all are equal.  We're not, and never have been.  There's a pretense that there is no ruling class.  There always has been.  We have a pretense of social and economic mobility, and it's a cute fiction that rarely manifests in reality.

    "Right wing freak machine" General Wes Clark

    by Tracker on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:09:43 PM PST

    •  It's been downhill ever since the (0+ / 0-)

      development of agriculture.  Before that, when we were hunter gatherers, there wasn't much point in owning more than you could carry since we were nomadic.  Perhaps there were "leaders" who were bullies, but classes really didn't gain a foothold until we settled into sedentary communities.  Only then can you hoard quantities of stuff.  

      I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had. - Margaret Mead

      by fayea on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:57:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  the difference between now and then? (0+ / 0-)

        Life without sophisticated technology is nasty, brutish, and short.

        Life with technology can be otherwise.

        We live under leadership that wants life with technology to be nasty, brutish, and short for everyone but the elite.

        Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

        by alizard on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 07:21:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The depression (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alizard, bablhous

      at least in my grandparents community. Their grange bank stopped foreclosures and helped, my grandfather a rancher in California said they pooled food and provided shelter for workers they could not pay. People voted for FDR and made a New Deal where they paid for social programs that helped people. Shared sacrifice is different then sacrificing your self and your fellow citizens because the rich are entitled to wealth creation and the country is competitive in the global screw. No sharing involved here, all our monies are theirs, and were not deserving of help.  

      •  Read the Grapes Of Wrath (0+ / 0-)

        I recently re-read it and was amazed by the similarities.  Demonization and exploitation of the poor so that the rich can get richer.  

        Many people shared the sacrifices of the Great Depression, but many people also profited from their neighbors' desperation.

        "Right wing freak machine" General Wes Clark

        by Tracker on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 06:16:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  like now (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tracker, quotemstr

          but this time around the people who profit from their neighbors desperation are running the government and own the place. FDR welcomed their hate and worked to get a new deal for people. Both party's our whole government seeks to protect and enrich those that perpetuated this meltdown. They are the ones dealing away our economy the real one. The people who profit from desperation are continuing the crises, as it is disaster capital capitalism and wealth creation on the peoples back. There is no 'shared' anything here, there is instead thieves offering us up for sacrifice so they can not only profit but keep all their ill gotten booty and impose austerity globally.

          Corporations are set up to maximize their profits,that is what they do. Our government is now there ATM. Robbery, extortion and fraud is not shared, why should people compromise or sacrifice for entities that are extorting the money we pay in taxes. Why should we sacrifice for those who profit from the destruction of our country? It makes no sense for people to support their own demise for wealth creation for those who's wealth is in direct opposition to the common good of our society and 'national interest'. It is also against our security as our defense department, MIC and foriegn policy are nothing more then mercenaries for profit and geopolitical dominance through resources and even labor. Endless wars for profit that produce nothing of value for any society.                

  •  Geezus we had a chance to drive a stake (29+ / 0-)

    through the heart of Goldman Sachs and Citibank and BofA and the rest in Fall 2008, and instead we nursed them back to health with our own blood . . . until now we're being sucked dry. F*ck.

  •  Do you think a poor spokesman (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alizard, PhilW

    Or TV liberal is worth 900 votes in Florida? I do.  

    http://www.dailyhowler.com/...

    read down. It's funny that a lot of the people who hammered Gore are largely the liberal pundit establishment now.

    O'Donnell for example. Wow, think about what he did back then and what he does now.  

    A Catholic, Jew, Muslim and Buddhist walk into Al Aqsa Mosque. Buddhist immediately exclaims: "excuse me I appear to be in the wrong joke."

    by Salo on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:10:38 PM PST

  •  Dante, that is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alizard, boofdah, Ezekial 23 20
    a chilling cri-de-coeur; touching; excellent if tragic.

    It should be placed in the National Archives, for future students of 21st century feudalism to study.

    From Neocon to sane- thanks to Obama- and Kos.

    by satrap on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:11:09 PM PST

  •  How much did Goldman Sachs get from (8+ / 0-)

    the public treasury via AIG rescue. A lot. I guess that they won't be giving it back.

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:11:28 PM PST

  •  August 14, 1935 (21+ / 0-)

    Today a hope of many years' standing is in large part fulfilled. The civilization of the past hundred years, with its startling industrial changes, has tended more and more to make life insecure. Young people have come to wonder what would be their lot when they came to old age. The man with a job has wondered how long the job would last.

    This social security measure gives at least some protection to thirty millions of our citizens who will reap direct benefits through unemployment compensation, through old-age pensions and through increased services for the protection of children and the prevention of ill health.

    We can never insure one hundred percent of the population against one hundred percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life, but we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age.

    This law, too, represents a cornerstone in a structure which is being built but is by no means complete. It is a structure intended to lessen the force of possible future depressions. It will act as a protection to future Administrations against the necessity of going deeply into debt to furnish relief to the needy. The law will flatten out the peaks and valleys of deflation and of inflation. It is, in short, a law that will take care of human needs and at the same time provide the United States an economic structure of vastly greater soundness.

    ~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    ___________

    Time was when people who have benefited enormously from the advantages of having been born and having grown up in the United States realized that they benefited thereby . . . It was not considered "giving back," it was considered being responsible.  

    It is both sad and shocking that so many who have benefited so much now think that they did it "all on their own" and that they are entitled to keep it all as a result.

    Shame on them.

    PROUD to be a Democrat.

    by noweasels on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:12:56 PM PST

  •  There was an era of shared sacrifice? nt (6+ / 0-)

    "... the Professional Left, that is simultaneously totally irrelevant and ruining everything" (Glenn Greenwald)

    by ranger995 on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:13:48 PM PST

  •  And all this is why I've been investigating (4+ / 0-)

    getting the fuck OUT of this country for some time.  My SO is even looking into joining the Australian military, since he already has 11 years' experience with the Marines.

    I hate to say it, I really do, because I'm proud of my service, but ... I'm done.  This country's jacked, and no one in power gives a shit, and too many people on the bottom are so fucking apathetic that they won't do anything about it anyway.  And too many of the rest fucking vote against their OWN interests anyway.  I'm very much at the "good riddance, leave them to it" phase.

    If you want to fight and die for my right to sit here and bitch, sleep with whomever you want.

    by talismanlangley on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:14:34 PM PST

  •  America loves it's history of Revolution (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Major Tom, boofdah

    Some 17 year olds can even remember the important players in that act.

    America doesn't know how to revolt, these days...or what to revolt about.

    Unless it might be an ad by Walmart for $200 wide screen TV's, and they don't have enough.  That won't result in a revolt....just a stampede.

    We shame ourselves.   Everyday.

    I know this site doesn't approve of it, but it should, if it seeks change, publish the addresses of every person who has their foot on our necks.

    We all know who they are.  We just don't know where they are...or how to confront them.

    "That Love is all there is, is all we know of Love" Emily Dickenson

    by Keith930 on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:15:21 PM PST

  •  Don't blame me...I voted for (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilW, Lucy2009

    Hillary!  I knew Obama was too good to be true.  Suckers!

  •  It's the same feudalism: they always own the land (4+ / 0-)

    In the previous incarnation of feudalism, at least the lords had an obligation to be the military protectors of the land. These days, they don't even have to do that--they just profit from the wars that lesser mortals fight. In previous societies, stark degrees of wealth inequality result in social unrest and even revolution. But I suppose that like George W. Bush, our current crop of elites is counting on being dead by the time history--or the masses--comes to judge them.

    The latter will be there yet again to judge those who exploit.

    Präsidentenelf-maßschach;Warning-Some Snark Above;Cascadia Lives

    by annieli on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:16:06 PM PST

  •  "cannot slow--much less reverse" (11+ / 0-)

    After all, if a Democratic administration with a sweeping mandate and a huge organizing base, combined with Democratic Congressional majorities the likes of which will not be seen again in some time, cannot slow--much less reverse--the gradual shifting of the burden of taxation onto an ever-shrinking middle class, then who can?

    Um -- they didn't want to.

    I can haz primary?

    What do we want? Compromise! When do we want it? Now!

    by itswhatson on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:16:57 PM PST

  •  The facts don't lie, do they. Hey, we should (7+ / 0-)

    bring this to the attention of the mainstream media. Oh, wait a minute... never mind.

  •  Don't these people have kids? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CParis, Words In Action, Lucy2009

    Oh, yeah, I get it -- their kids will be so rich (no inheritance tax, if they get their way) they'll be immune from just about everything.

    Rich people will be the last to be consumed by global economic meltdown, global climate change... but the nukes get everybody.  So maybe someone should working on that START treaty!

  •  Drip, Drip, Drip of Sensible Moderates Finding (19+ / 0-)

    themselves body-painted into the hippie corner.

    You guys are gonna wish you hadn't let the far out gazes fool you into thinking we didn't see what was happening.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:17:45 PM PST

  •  Obama's freezes may (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Major Tom, wsexson, apimomfan2, flavor411

    be only symbolic, but it stains the greedy excesses of the so-called Wall Street talent rather well.

    Wall Street must have the least talent of any sector of our society unless raw greed is considered talent.

  •  Guess we should all fold our tents, and go home! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    left of center, jan4insight

    It's over....

    Right?

  •  This is no accident, it is intentional. (20+ / 0-)

    You can't have repeated fuck-ups the size of what is happening under the Dem/Obama watch, and have it be an accident. It's just not possible. We would have never believed it under a Republican President and the same should be true for our "Democratic" President.

    The Dems and Obama aren't just incompetent, or disorganized, or have bad messaging, or good intentions but not enough experience, or a tough time of it because of Bush's mess, or struggling because of the GOP, or, or, or....They want to have happen, what is happening, otherwise it wouldn't be happening.

    Quit making it more difficult than it is.

    I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Thomas Jefferson

    by Lucy2009 on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:19:46 PM PST

    •  Good point; although (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Major Tom, wabird, Lucy2009

      I think the massive and devastating unpopularity of healthcare totally shocked them and the rest is history.

      Healthcare was our Waterloo....

      From Neocon to sane- thanks to Obama- and Kos.

      by satrap on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:22:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've been making the same point all weekend, Lucy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      apimomfan2, Lucy2009

      Obama is not the solution; he's part of the problem. He isn't "weak"; he's quite bright and pursuing the precise agenda he believes in.  Progressives aren't on his radar and the sooner we realize it, the less disillusioned and disappointed we'll be. We can then stop speculating about his chess moves and bitching about obstructionist Republicans and start talking about options....not that I have any to put on the table, but I'm looking because the extant ones are in the toilet.  

  •  Ah, I see the accusations are already flying (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Major Tom, Words In Action, IndieGuy

    fast and furious.

    You evil Obama basher, you.

  •  This site seems to get worse each day. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alba, in2mixin

    The front page writings is petulant and childish.  It's simply horrible.  Some of it is so bad it makes you wonder if its snark.  

    Trust-Fund Kids of America Unite... save the Bush tax cuts!

    by JCPOK on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:20:54 PM PST

  •  The COLA thing strikes me as fundamentally (5+ / 0-)

    wrong on all counts. I see no reason to freeze wages on Federal workers. I see every reason to try to do something about the wealthiest few percent. Did OFA actually promote COLA? What was the rationale presented? I've heard a few arguments that are pro-COLA, but only in terms of that it won't "harm" anyone. Okay. But it's still not sensible in terms of needlessly fixing the wages of a non-elite sector of the working class. It's tone-deaf in that it does not help anyone, and it also is politically not going to run well with many Democrats, IMHO.

    "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

    by mahakali overdrive on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:22:16 PM PST

  •  Cash is a good thing. (0+ / 0-)

    Corporations making lots of profits is actually a good thing.  At least it is way better than the alternative, which would be corporations losing money.  Imagine how scary it would be if all of the largest companies were losing money.  We would quickly be back in a Great Depression scenario.  Being awash in cash creates at least the possibility of investment and expansion of the economy.  The challenge now is to make sure that the investment and expansion happens, and that the benefits of an improving economy are shared fairly.

    •  Many of us still ARE in a 'Great Depression (13+ / 0-)

      Scenario'.

      Apparently you're lucky enough not to be in the 20% of the country unemployed or seriously underemployed.  Stay there, it's pretty sucky out here.

      •  actually (0+ / 0-)

        I haven't had a job in 15 years.  I'm self-employed, and I have one employee.  Maybe that's why I think it's better to make money than lose money.  If I'm losing money, I can't hire anybody, and I wouldn't even be able to keep my one employee. And if my clients are losing money, they can't pay me.  

        So if you are unemployed, that is all the more reason why you should be encouraged that businesses are starting to make some serious money.  What is needed now is for businesses and consumers to have the confidence to spend and invest.  

        •  I won't be encouraged that businesses are (0+ / 0-)

          'starting to make some serious money' until they start hiring seriously.  They're already sitting on Trillions in serious money and not hiring.  So I won't be cheering them on as they make more money, and either just sit on it, or hand it out as executive bonuses.

          As has been pointed out on here endlessly, businesses are in it to make as much profit as possible, so they'll only hire when forced to, by demand outstripping their productive capabilities.  Demand drives the economy, not businesses making serious money.  And you'll only see demand if people are employed and have money to spend.

          •  now you've hit on something important (0+ / 0-)

            This is one of the paradoxes of capitalism, and a really important point.  The ideal thing for any business is to reduce its costs as much as possible.  So if you could eliminate all of your employees and produce just as much by using a workforce of robots, you would do it.  And if you don't do it, somebody else will do it and if their overall cost structure is lower than yours, they will eventually drive you out of business.  The paradox is that if every business could figure out how to produce just as well without employees, they would all find out that they don't have enough customers who can afford to buy their products.  

            The same thing happens when production moves to countries with lower labor costs.  That is great for them in the short run, but then if they have succeeded in putting all their customers in America out of work, all of a sudden they have to start closing factories.  

            How does the government, or private business, fix this problem?  It's not so easy.  I see a lot of people moaning about the fact that the government is not doing more to create jobs, but a lot less detail about exactly how the government is supposed to do that.  Ultimately, we have to figure out how to transition into whatever is going to be the next kind of economy, just as we transitioned from an agricultural economy to a manufacturing economy, and then to a service economy.  

    •  Actually, Joe, if (8+ / 0-)

      Citibank, AIG, Goldman and the other top 1000 banks in the USA were gone tomorrow, there would be a new top 1000 largest banks.  

      And the sun would come up.

      And the American "genius" so often noted in story and song would have made do quite well.

      Your story is the typical response that we need a huge corporate nanny state.

      From Neocon to sane- thanks to Obama- and Kos.

      by satrap on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:26:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Cash would be good if... (4+ / 0-)

      ...thos corporations were actually taking that money and investing it into job creation and growing the US economy.

      If they're not doing that, then all that corporate cash really isn't especially good for the rest of us.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:48:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  but a lot of that cash is offshore (2+ / 0-)

      Nice if it's repatriated and taxes are paid. But it's not going to happen unless a huge tax break is granted.

      And I'm still not sure what they would do with that cash. Overcapacity means need for investment is minimal.

      •  We need to sent the Mother-eff'ers who control... (0+ / 0-)

        ..that offshore cash offshore to join it never to darken our shores again or be supported by our military.
        Any first world nation would tax them at a much lot rate than we would and any developing nation's dictators would just take their assets without our military protecting those disloyal fucks hiding behind the name Globalists.

        The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

        by Bobjack23 on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 08:56:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I suppose the shared sacrifice (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah

    of military service is out of the question - wouldn't be right if rich kids got yelled at by working class drill instructors, and the lives of the rich are worth so much more.

  •  Not the beginning but the end (8+ / 0-)

    The era of corporate-based plutocratic neofeudalism began during the Woodrow Wilson Admin and WWI. That effectively ended the progressive era. It's been downhill ever since, save a blip during the New Deal era.

    What we are entering is the final chapter -- complete and total corporate control of all aspects of our lives: media, food, environment, church and government.

    All that remains is the Internet and that is being negotiated as I type this.

  •  Tax cuts for the rich (15+ / 0-)

    The idea that we are even discussing the idea is total lunacy. Of course, letting them expire won't be nearly enough, nor even substantial increases on high earners.

    The most likely scenario is that we go on like this running ever bigger deficits until we default or financially implode (which implies default). There is simply no political will in the US for any other outcome.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:32:14 PM PST

    •  Can you FUCKING (8+ / 0-)

      imagine a country that puts cash funneling to zillionaires on par with a few more months of shite amounts of money to long term unemployed people.

      It sounds like something Robert Mugabe dreamed up.

      From Neocon to sane- thanks to Obama- and Kos.

      by satrap on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:34:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Certainly we should probably extend benefits (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        left of center, mike101, satrap

        But I am more interested in the long-term outcome here of what we do about the fact that 9-10% of our population is likely to be out of work for a long period of time or permanently and cannot find a way to contribute to the economy because the jobs they previously did are no longer necessary. It isn't clear to me what the best policy is to deal with this situation. Are we just going to endlessly extend UI benefits? Is this fair to people who are working?

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:54:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You hit upon the very (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sparhawk, mike101, apimomfan2

          crux of our problem: By the American Congress joyously failing to act fiscally to curtail the massive amount of cyclical employment we are now suffering, they are setting America up for STRUCTURAL unemployment, which will happen after years of 10% unemp.

          This stuff was technocratically preventable- at least to a certain extent- but nobody really argued for it.

          From Neocon to sane- thanks to Obama- and Kos.

          by satrap on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 06:04:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It may have been preventable (0+ / 0-)

            But it's hard to say, because it is my view and those of other Austrian economic thinkers that the deficits and massive debt we have are precisely the cause of our current situation.

            Unfortunately, helping those affected by the crisis by (for example) making work for them will simply introduce other structural defects into the economy, namely a structural economic dependence on government stimulus, like an addict who needs his fix.

            Our economy has deep and fundamental structural problems and as this diary implies sacrifices will need to be made by everyone in order for it to get back to equilibrium.

            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

            by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 06:11:51 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  my local grocery store (0+ / 0-)

          just added four self checkout lines.  Pretty cool - I got in and out in record time this evening.  But I keep wondering how this will effect the woman I often check out with if I stop early on my way to work..She's got to be at least 80 years old and I'm sure she's working because she needs to to survive.  She's very slow and sometimes seems a bit confused.  They usually put her in the express lane, which basically makes the express lane take about the same amount of time as the other lanes.  But what will become of her if her job as a checkout clerk is no longer relevant?   New technology that actually creates new jobs instead of making them irrelevant is sorely needed.  

          •  Re (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            quotemstr

            But what will become of her if her job as a checkout clerk is no longer relevant?

            It sucks for her. However, you can't ignore the fact that everyone else in the economy except her benefits enormously from the auto checkout in terms of cheaper groceries and faster checkouts.

            That's why automation and outsourcing is unpopular: because it has very visible negative impacts (a few people lose their jobs) and less visible positive impacts (everyone gets slightly cheaper/better stuff).

            People decry Walmart because of its effects on the poor and wages. But those same poor people can't get $8 pairs of jeans anywhere else. If their wages are lower, but their cost basis for living is even lower proportionately, is that bad? I don't know.

            I'm just saying that these issues are complex and can't be reduced to a sound bite.

            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

            by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 06:19:38 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  necessary to whom? (0+ / 0-)

           you are assuming that the existing market provides accurate "information" as the economists would put it about which tasks are needed in our society and which aren't

           

          •  Most necessary tasks... (0+ / 0-)

            ...are tasks that someone is willing to pay to have done. Only a few public "commons" type services are not included.

            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

            by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 06:43:48 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Only someone STOOPID (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      apimomfan2

      would be considering tax cuts for the rich right now.

      Turns out I can't hear a thing when I yell. All the time I was screaming "Yes We Can!" the pragmatist next to me was hollering "Yes We Can't!"

      by Words In Action on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 06:10:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There might be reasons... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Onomastic

        ...it is justifiable. For example, I believe that Rhode Island just cut their taxes on high earners in order to attract more business (typically headed by high earners) into that state.

        However, I find it hard to believe that federally the reasons why we are having economic problems is because of high taxes on the rich, or that increasing those taxes will cause substantial disincentives to business. We probably can raise taxes on the rich at least somewhat without too much trouble.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 06:14:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The economy has done so well since (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      apimomfan2

      Bush enacted the tax cuts for the wealthy.

      Unemployment has dropped to almost nothing and the middle class is flourishing just like the Republicans predicted.

      We'd be real smart to listen to them, they would NEVER lie to us.

  •  The optimism about the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    left of center, boofdah

    lame duck session was a little unrealistic.  Not only are there more Senate Republicans but you also have to worry about defeated members saying something like "my state voted me out, so I'm respecting their wishes."

    Is the tax deal going to be better than a total cave?  Probably, but is the whole laundry list going to be addressed? Probably not.

    "Raise your hand if you think Social Security and Medicare are Socialism."-Lawerence O'Donnell

    by AZphilosopher on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:33:31 PM PST

    •  But Republicans wouldn't do that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AZphilosopher, apimomfan2

      If the election had been reversed, the GOP would be playing hardball and pushing through everything the could before losing power.

      Democrats, unfortunately, are playing by a different set of rules - and are getting crushed.

      I'm thinking about making it my spiritual journey to love others, [but] I fear the morons will disappoint me. - Rat, Pearls Before Swine

      by Gay In Maine on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 06:16:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  When are some folks going to wake up to... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        left of center, apimomfan2

        ...to the fact the Democrat leadership and Republican leadership are playing on the same team. The Republicans are being, and have been, so bold an uncompromising because they know they have no meaningful opposition and they have read the script. They know they are playing a win, win game as long as the current Party structures stay in place.

        It is easier to steal under Republicans because not all Democrats play on the same team as the leadership of both parties so the Plutocracy ran in the Democrats to set up another Republican eight years to finish the rape of America. If we all fall for this, and by all I mean the rank and file of both parties, 10 years from now there will be nothing left to save.

        The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

        by Bobjack23 on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 09:12:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  "beginning to enter (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    left of center, chuckvw, mon

    an era of corporate-based plutocratic neofeudalism"?

    I think we did this a few yrs after WWII, but otherwise great writing and analysis.

    •  Actually the two decades after WWII (0+ / 0-)

      was when we had the strongest middle class, smallest class differences, and greatest general prosperity in our history. The era of neofeudalism really began to come into the scene in the 70s.

  •  I will forward a link to this diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    left of center, Reverend Floyd

    to the White House, to Sen. Durbin, and to OFA, for when they come to me with an itchy palm in 2012. Sorry, folks, I have to save what I can to buy cat food.

    It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness - Eleanor Roosevelt

    by Fish in Illinois on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:35:52 PM PST

  •  Medieval feudal lords protected no-one (5+ / 0-)

    Peasants did all the real fighting in medieval times, and they fought in wars waged for the personal benefit of some aristocrat.  Aristocrats dueled and jousted as a matter of honor and egoism, but wouldn't even think of risking their lives for any other purpose.

    In other words, exactly like today.  Welcome to feudalism; it never really left.

  •  Goldman Sachs' Response (4+ / 0-)

    We actually make 5 stacks of hundred dollar bills each about 100 miles high because our single stack kept falling over.

    "If we can't be free at least we can be cheap." Zappa

    by Zwoof on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:37:54 PM PST

  •  There is still shared sacrifice, the problem is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    left of center, panicbean, mon

    that only the middle class and the poor share the sacrifice to keep the wealthy healthy.

  •  ABC reports that the deal has been struck (10+ / 0-)

    Tax cuts for the rich "in exchange" for UI extension.  They had a jack high and we had three kings. I hesitate to even say "we" anymore.  They folded.

    Game. Set. Match.

    www.bushwatch.net - Kicking against the pricks since '98!

    by chuckvw on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:39:27 PM PST

  •  Reform the Accumulated Earnings Tax? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    panicbean

    I understand a huge business will have and need tons of money at their disposal to remain competitive but $800 billion in cash reserves for Goldman Sachs strikes me as way over their needs.  They can surely keep it in reserve but the ACE can be put to use to encourage them to start spending.  

    Accumalated Earnings Tax  

    What is the Accumulated Earnings Tax?
    Accumulated earnings tax is a tax imposed by the IRS on Corporations with retained earnings that is "deemed to be unreasonable and in excess of what is considered ordinary".

    •  Oh, there are (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chuckvw

      tons of excellent ideas out there to mold the casino/finance industry towards more socially responsible ends.

      The chances that any of them ever end up as law evaporated when the ruling class decided that it wanted more casino gambling after 2008, not less.

      From Neocon to sane- thanks to Obama- and Kos.

      by satrap on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:43:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That'd only affect Goldman (0+ / 0-)

      I understand a huge business will have and need tons of money at their disposal to remain competitive but $800 billion in cash reserves for Goldman Sachs strikes me as way over their needs.  They can surely keep it in reserve but the ACE can be put to use to encourage them to start spending.  

      Unless you want to make the tax unreasonable, Goldman-Sachs is then only company that'd probably be affected, not that that would be a bad result.  The flip side, which Dante neglects to mention and which the graph points out is that those top 50 companies have about $4.5 trillion in debt as well. Goldman Sachs is the only company on the list with significantly more cash than debts at about $400 billion.  The rest of the companies either have about $10-40 billion more in cash than debts or a lot  more debt than cash (e.g. GE which is 6 on the list in terms of cash reserves has about $80 billion in cash to about $500 billion in debt).  So although the companies on the list are sitting on a bunch of cash, the majority are sitting on just as much or even more debt, so keeping a bunch of money in case things get worse doesn't seem like a bad idea.

      •  Cash is only one asset (0+ / 0-)

        There are other balance sheet items like accounts receivable and notes receivable that counts as assets.  When comparing corporate financial structure, you have to look at a company's total assets with its total liabilities and equity.  

        You can't compare one asset like cash to the totality of the liabilities because what you did skews the picture.  Take a look at some financial ratios like current ratios and total debt ratio instead.  

        •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

          And that's why looking at cash on hand for the top 50 companies in the US and then complaining that they should be using their cash is short-sighted.  

          This story is interesting but it's rather misleading to say that because company X has a stockpile of Y billion dollars, they should be using it instead of just keeping it.  Without a better understanding of cash flows, assets and liabilities, it's hard to say whether the money that they have is excessive or something that prudent management should have on hand.

          •  You make a good point (0+ / 0-)

            Also, the Accumulated Earnings Tax is levied when the IRS can prove a "forbidden purpose" of using the corporate form to hide income.  

            I don't know about you but I'm not going to defer anymore to management decisions, not after what Wall Street did to the economy.  The OP had good intentions with regards to corporate accountability.  It should be encouraged and areas of improvement should be suggested.    

  •  Cutting workers pay not Obama's MOST tone deaf. (5+ / 0-)
    This is an administration built on tone deaf, the only thing it hears are its own inner voices which have apparently been saying "Jump, jump, jump".

    So the GOP says Jump and Obama asks how high. Should he jump his own public option.  Done. Should he jump Wall St reform. Done. Should he jump East coast oil drilling. Done. Should he jump DADT. Done. Should he jump Social Security. Done.

    And then he does his own jumps, like jumping on the back of Federal workers who have been suffering pay and budget cuts for the last eight years.  Obama is just showing off for his GOP masters, sometimes they don't even have to say jump.

  •  Tax the elites. (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming, PhilW, echatwa, mon, apimomfan2, satrap

    Tax them without mercy. Tax them NOW.

  •  So stop paying income tax. Claim the maximum (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    apimomfan2

    number of dependents, minimum withholding, and don't file. If a hundred people do it, they will face consequences. If a thousand or more do it, the government will begin to see consequences, and the potential for greater consequences. If enough Americans fail to file and pay, the government won't have enough prison space to incarcerate people...unless you are beginning to take the FEMA camp thing seriously. If there are such things, now you know for whom they are intended. If you do not approve of the way your government handles your money, don't let them. We all already know that vote for me, vote for this, vote for that doesn't work...the government, republicans and democrats, have been playing both ends against the middle, us, for years, and it is a losing game. Stop playing now. Or stop complaining ans ante up.

  •  bye-bye liberalism (7+ / 0-)

    hello class war. the 20th century is effectively over, and the long peace of the new deal is dead and gone. dems have to figure out which side they're on.

    surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

    by wu ming on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 05:46:26 PM PST

  •  We are now a plutocracy. (3+ / 0-)
    The United States constitution was written as a guide to form a government of representative democracy. According to this system, informed, aware citizens elect congressional representatives, a president, and vice-president who are to "establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

    Our nation is no longer a democracy governed by the people. Our nation is now governed by corporations and the rich who decide our representatives. The representivess of the rich haved formed their own system representing the common welfare of the rich and powerful. The poor and middle class provide for the defense of the nation so the rich can prosper.

  •  Time to Eat the Rich (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Anna M, PhilW, Words In Action, apimomfan2

    No quarter - we are back to the 1930's - being thrown in jail for unionizing and standing up for our rights.  In the 1930's the rich were frightened of the masses.  It's time to make them scared again.

  •  Big Pharma (7+ / 0-)

    I realized that President Obama, who I had worked hard to elect, was an eager sell-out when he cut the deal with BIG PHARMA.
    As a candidate he decried Billy Talzan, the lobbyist for Big Pharma who put the law in place to forbid drug reimportation and also forbid Medicare from drug price negotiations.  Bill T. then resigned from the House and took a million dollar a year job with Big Phama.  Obama the candidate said this was horrible, essentially legalized bribery.
    Obama as President invited the very same Billy Tauzan to the White House in the first month of the Health Care Legislation and gave Big Pharma a blank check.  No drug importation from Canada, no drug price negotiations for Medicare and Medicaid.
    And Obama fought tooth and nail to KEEP that dispicable bargain in place in the final version of Obamacare.  
    This deal will not only cost the Medicare billions of dollars and increase the deficit.  It will also cause millions of sick people their health and their lives as they cannot afford Big Pharma drug prices that are 2 0r 3 times higher than prices in Canada.

  •  when did the era of shared sacrifice begin? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    left of center

    just wondering...

    But if you're taking a vote, it ended about 1950.  And it's only gotten coarser since then.

    My parents, both around 80, love their social security and medicare...but they're ambivalent about extending unemployment benefits.  If you suggest any cutbacks to the benefits THEY receive, they are anything BUT ambivalent.

    "WHAT DO YOU WANT US TO DO????   CRAWL OFF AND DIE?"

    That's how that conversation usually ends.  

    The inter-generational fiscal war has begun....thank you Republicans.

    "That Love is all there is, is all we know of Love" Emily Dickenson

    by Keith930 on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 06:02:11 PM PST

  •  Shared suspicion (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action

    Voters turned to GOP because they no longer have faith in each other. It's every man for himself.

    They have faith in Adam Smith's invisible hand, their own prowess in the marketplace, god's will, the Second amendment, or the protection of the corporate warlords.

    American's don't believe "Yes we can", it's "Hell no you can't".

    Barack Hussein Obama- Don't Mock the Constitution.

    by odenthal on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 06:07:42 PM PST

  •  Had we kept the majority (0+ / 0-)

    Things would've been better.

    But we didn't and now both Republicans AND Democrats think that is proof we want Republican ideas.

    If only there was someone who warned us they would think that way while we still could've kept the majority.

    Oh wait- there was. They were relentlessly mocked and derided as "cheerleaders".

    "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

    by Whimsical on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 06:09:46 PM PST

  •  Maybe it's like alcoholism (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    left of center, Words In Action

    Some people have to hit the very bottom really really hard, before they realize what is going on. The whole country has been on a consumerist binge for 20 years now. All too drunk with bread and circuses.  And war.

    My aging hippie optimism is almost gone.  Here we are in this kind of hellish orange cyber-limbo waiting for the collapse.  Wondering what's going to happen next.  

  •  Slavery making a come back (3+ / 0-)

    That is a bit strong but it is the direction we are headed.

    ..........Slavery...........: People = Property
    Corporate Personhood: Property = People

    The problem is corporations have become something they were never meant to be. They are products of contractual agreement. We need them. But thanks to developments in mass media they can now pose as people. They play on our humanity to sell a product, and now they can play freely with campaigning, as defended under the first amendment as if they were real people.

    The attack of the zombies is happening and it is real. They pose like people and we form allegiances with them as if they were people, but they have no heart and no soul. They only want one thing - your money.

    And it is not that they wanted to do this - they have no choice in the matter. They are zombies. We, as humans made them this way, and we are the only ones who actually have a choice. But we let that choice get stolen at the ballot box by not knowing the facts, not knowing what is in our own best interest. These zombies have the propaganda machine running and we have to fix it.

    This is not a Democratic or Republican or Teabag issue - it is the fight of our times to put that toothpaste back in the tube.

  •  seriously? All this time I've been under (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Anna M, apimomfan2

    the impression that "shared sacrifice" has been defunct since Reagan's administration.

    When was it restored?

    precisely?

    "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

    by Sybil Liberty on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 06:16:04 PM PST

  •  History is millions of people missing lunch (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action

    dinner and breakfast. Nothing more nor less. Privation not ideas brings down governments.

    But I suppose that like George W. Bush, our current crop of elites is counting on being dead by the time history--or the masses--comes to judge them.

    They don't realize the social safety net they're dismantling is their safety net too, the one that keeps them safe from us.

  •  And yet Obama still has a small army (5+ / 0-)

    of truly delusional devoted admirers, who latch on to his proportionately dwindling list of mostly small to medium-bore, or severly, shamefully and unnecessarily watered-down accomplishments, radically downplay his growing list of failures and failings, and call him one of the greatest presidents in galactic history, attacking anyone who dares to challenge this self-evident truth, in doing so wasting the time and energy of people who just want to see things get better, and have better things to do than behave like star-struck groupies hoping to get a backstage pass.

    You've really got to wonder about all the energy that even now is still being devoted towards defending Obama and attacking his critics, that you'd think would be better spent on pushing him to do what he was elected to do. You really have to wonder about all that, where it's coming from, and whether it's genuine, or manufactured.

    And no, I don't question the sincerity of most of his defenders (although I do question their intelligence, honesty and connection to reality sometimes). I question where this devotion is ultimately coming from, which I believe are powerful special interests who stand to gain much from his policies, and are engaging in astroturfing in order to divide the left and keep it from uniting to push Obama & Dems to be more progressive, and are doing it by manipulating well-meaning but politically naive people (as well as inticing not so well-meaning people who know what's really going on but are ok with it because they believe that they will personally benefit, and not suffer, from it).

    I'm beginning to become converted to the "Obama is not weak, he's complicit" meme. Not weak politically, that is. Definitely weak morally, if he's complicit. But we're way past the point where this could be explained as the actions of a well-meaning but weak and misguided liberal president who is further hemmed in by a corrupt and weak party, and evil opposition, and vast amounts of corporate money. Nuh-uh. He knows what he's doing and is complicit. He may not "like" it, but he's doing it.

    And he doesn't have to, which is all I need to know.

    "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

    by kovie on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 06:18:18 PM PST

  •  My comment "Death of the Democratic Party" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    left of center, apimomfan2

    just went up on Laurence Lewis's Obama diary.

    From its peak in 2008 with everything open to it, the Democrats revealed they have no core principles,no agenda they want to fight for, no persons in our economy and culture to be accountable, noone to be responsible for implementing the saving of America.

    When there is no agreement if the unemployment problem is structural or cyclic meaning tweaks to get by will suffice, and the economists are silent while "free trade" quackery rules international trade even enlisting Obama in its PR section as he did in India just a few weeks ago, we are going down at at inexorable pace.  Fast.

     WalMart in its takeover as a monopoly in retail and merchandising (65%) of American domestic sales  cancelled 90% 0f American vendors and replaced them with Pacific Rim principally Chinese vendors. 4,800 companies, some of them billion dollar companies like Rubbermaid   were cut to pieces or went out of business. Walmart gave another 1200 companies new business in China, so 6,0000 vendors now get the bulk of Walmart's buying while millions of Americans get squeezed down until they hit the 17 to 25 million underemployed and fully unemployed.

    Another sign of the impotence of the Democrats: their token bill on offshoring American plants in the Senate to forbid tax advantages as are common in domestic plant changes was opposed by all Repubs and some Dems effectively killing it thru the filibuster trick once again.

        In an honest system, the filibuster would be a courtesy, a day or two delay while some missing Senator jets in back from his overseas policy factfinding trip but now it is to paralyze the Government from tampering with the complete domination of the corporate and globalization agenda.

        " America is worn out, too expensive, (insert canards here) too lazy, "not educated enough" to do world class work!". Or so the globalists seeking to close American plants while opening cheaper labor sites in other countries lobby effectively to add the Democrats  to Republicans on the offshoring team.  Behind the scenes. in secret, or in disguise while people get thrown into the street.

    China now effectively controls Walmart as a channel.
    Anyone you rely on for 90% of your supplies controls you.  The former manufacturing capacity in America is not waiting to startup with new buyers it is sold off, bankrupt, scrapped or relocated tooling and production machinery overseas.  in effect WalMart (and many others) are now captive of the Chinese exporting experiment. We have no recourse.

    Meanwhile America's best and brightest economists that agree with the domination of the 8 monster banks get Obama's ear and make policy. The people, Democrats wait for something significant to happen.

         The WH team can't decide what to do, their communications isn't working but more important their analysis and their projections are as off base in this area of finance as it is possible to be.  We have a disaster unfolding.  the team is busy trying to figure out wether they can leave the banks alone and survive the disaster or the economic problems worldwide will finally break into the bubble and cause a catastrophe.  They have no answer for the catastrophe.  

      With a failure of the politics, of discipline and even what bills are critical and must get passed, and incoherence on the causes and even the effects of the economic implosion and debt crisis personal and Federal, where is the Democratic Party?

    Time for a major realignment of the 70% of people who get it and want fundamental change, not bandaids and excuses as the country collapses.

    cast away illusions, prepare for struggle

    by Pete Rock on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 06:19:35 PM PST

  •  But what if WE didn't pick up the SLACK for them? (0+ / 0-)

    National do-not-enlist campaign, support for troops going AWOL, learning more cyber tactics, releasing any information we may have, supporting those who step forward....you get it.

    The ruling class gets to sit back - I get it. But they need us to fight their wars, smuggle their drugs, fill their prisons, and buy their crapola that slaves in other nations manufacture. This is an opportunity, if handled as such. Let's just calling it OUR end of Sacrifice.

  •  We did not elect Malcom X to be President. (3+ / 0-)

    Nor did we elect Martin Luther King. We elected Barack Hussein Obama. A many who shares the burden of being "First" along with notables like:
    Marian Anderson
    Jackie Robinson
    Thurgood Marshall
    Lena Horne
    Sidney Potier
    Bill Cosby
    Vanessa Williams
    Colin Powell
    ...and all the unknown African-Americans who broke the color barrier in their occupations or achievements. They had to live under a microscope, with whites looking for any misstep that would confirm their prejudices and other blacks looking for any behavior that would "reflect badly on the race".

    We made history by electing the first non-white President. But the progressive agenda will pay a price for that. The right-wing media monopoly has already made a hostage of his reputation as the "First Black President".

    They squeeze a lot of leverage out of it just by hinting that they can insure that he will be remembered as a "Malcom X" rather than "Martin Luther King".

    I had hoped that Obama's multi-ethnic perspective and global upbringing would enable him to be the first "post-racial" American President. He may still rise to that role... if he can find a little more "Jack Johnson" in him.

    Until then, let's remember that the battle against RepubliCorp and the battle against racism are one in the same. Abandoning Obama now will only hand a victory to both.

    Have you noticed?
    Politicians who promise LESS government only deliver BAD government.

    by jjohnjj on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 06:27:03 PM PST

  •  The other side of that graph (0+ / 0-)

    If you're going to talk about the cash the companies have on hand, you also need to talk about the debt.  The top 50 might have $3.7 trillion in cash but they also have $4.45 trillion in debts.  If you look at the top six companies, only Goldman and Citibank have more cash then debt and even then Citibank looks like it has only about $10 billion or so more cash then debt.  Goldman is another story with what looks like about $400 billion net. On the other hand, you have companies like GE with about $80 billion in cash and $500 billion in debt

    Yeah, so although it looks like the cash the companies have seems like a huge horde of money, looking at their debt position, it looks like the money is being kept as a buffer so that they don't end up in serious problems if things get worse.  

    •  Compare it to the US government. (0+ / 0-)

      What is their debt to cash ratio?  How much do we owe to China?  These companies are way better off.

      •  What? (0+ / 0-)

        What is their debt to cash ratio?  How much do we owe to China?  These companies are way better off.

        Wait, so you're saying that if their  debt to cash ratio is better than the US government's or if they are doing better financially, they should do something to worsen their financial position?  With that sort of incentive, why would any company try to do well or improve their financial position?  

  •  Or, it will be swift. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    left of center, apimomfan2

    There is no more notion of shared responsibility among many of our nation's elites. They have successfully managed not only to purchase policies that enhance their ability to accumulate an even higher percentage of the nation's wealth; they have also managed to create a political environment where one party (and a significant portion of another) is so dedicated to preserving that accumulation that they will sacrifice everything else--including nuclear security--to continue it.


    They really don't care.

    Sit down. Nothing to see.

    "They pour syrup on shit and tell us it's hotcakes." Meteor Blades

    by JugOPunch on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 06:37:07 PM PST

  •  Neofeudalism (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    left of center
    Somehow I knew I didn't invent that phrase, but I did think of it without any prompting. Glad that so many others are using it.

    We should use that instead of conservatism, even though non-conservatives are in on the game too.

    The essential message of conservatism neofeudalism: Don't get too uppity. Know your place.

    You don't have to be a racist or sexist to have that mindset.

    liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

    by RockyMtnLib on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 06:44:20 PM PST

  •  There are so many constructive paths to take (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    left of center

    ...even within the vapid board rooms of capitalists there are so many different constructive paths to take. The President should be calling all of them to meet to create a national corporate action plan. Legislation that complimented a national corporate plan that actually was underway would have a far better chance at results.

    Why would one would sit on capital?  If the economy could collapse into oblivion, if my investors thought as much, if I thought my own bad behavior was the tip of the ice berg, if somebody was pulling my strings to, If the interest rate was near 0 and there were no or decreasing customers...Sure, there are rational reasons.

    But as a nation - and that concept has fierce competition in boardrooms given the size and scale of emerging markets (e.g., Brazil, India, and latter China) - as a nation there are limits beyond which patriotism can be invoked.

    If only there was someone good with words and rhetoric...  

    "Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass... it's about learning how to dance in the rain." (unknown)

    by kck on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 06:45:21 PM PST

    •  If the economy collapses, then that capital (0+ / 0-)

      will be worthless.  Sitting on dollars or any fiat currency (and yes, that includes gold due to it's minimal inherent value) when there is a good chance of total collapse is stupid.

      •  What currency cash can be an hour by hour reality (0+ / 0-)

        ...but liquidity and exposure are the assets being protected. Sure, "sitting" is a euphemism for being managed as liquid assets and dollars are not the default currency.

        "Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass... it's about learning how to dance in the rain." (unknown)

        by kck on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 06:44:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  hmm, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    left of center

    I guess if I thought 10% of the country owning 90% of the wealth as "shared sacrifice" then I'd really be pissed now that the rich own a few more percent of the wealth.  But the fact is...the minority, stark minority, has always controlled an inordinate amount of wealth in this country...it is just far more worthy of attention when wages cease to stagnate but instead roll back to a couple decades.  It is more apparent when unemployent hits double digits and people suddenly notice that the rich are really rich and that the middle class is a credit built fiction.

    But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have laid my dreams under your feet; tread softly, because you tread on my dreams. -- Yeats

    by Bill O Rights on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 06:55:50 PM PST

  •  What is disturbing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    left of center, Pete Rock, apimomfan2

    about our country right now is there are few examples of what is happening to us in history, and most of them moved on a much shorter time scale.

    In previous societies, stark degrees of wealth inequality result in social unrest and even revolution.

    Social unrest and revolution are usually the result of sustained and unanswered political awareness and protest of oppression. We aren't going to have social unrest or revolution. The oppressed electorate in the United States has no political awareness and they have shown no signs of anything which would lead to revolt. It looks like we are not only just going to sit and take it, we are going to vote for it!

    Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't.
    Mark Twain

    by phaktor on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 06:57:28 PM PST

    •  there are three factors (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      left of center, apimomfan2
      1. the old way of doing things cannot work anymore, it heads into a crisis.
      1. the rising or oppressed group has some consciousness of the situation some leadership and can strike back and bush the tottering fgroup over and force a collapse.
      1. That part of 2 can only happen if there is a crisis that the new group can take advantage of and it has the skills and tenacity to strike politically, arouse the people looking for a way out of the crisis and demonstrate some leaderrship inside the shell of the old system.

      We only have #1 in play,  part 2) is very weak by tradition and the way politics is done in the USA.

      Part 3 is unlikely in the next couple of years, more likely is a further twist towards a populist right wing reaction  that could be very difficult and nasty for several years.  They are just better prepared than we are right now.

      My thesis is dems and Repubs are done, they are both zombie parties fig leafs for the uber rich.

      how they get supplanted (politically)is a the question though.

      cast away illusions, prepare for struggle

      by Pete Rock on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 08:52:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Right Wing machine destroyed idea of nationalism. (5+ / 0-)

    For about 40-50 years the right wing propaganda/idea machine has created the belief that the highest moral good is one's own self-interest.  They have made Darwinian dog-eat-dog capitalism the highest good.  The Christian wing sanctified it.  I think these people truly beieve in what they are doing as the best moral action they can take.  In some ways, a new Calvinism.

    •  There are two alternatives permitted to your idea (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      left of center

      (50 year self interest as the highest good) paradigm
      as end all and be all of American life.

      Some people get uneasy, get an idea of service and go into the military or perhaps the Peace Corps or some NGO.  That helps maintain the state of of affairs because both soft power and hard power are needed by the state.

      The other alternative (the first ones cut across all class lines and take the activist or self motivated individuals out of politics more or less)is to brcomer a counterculturalist or try to live off the grid, or just go away and travel.

      All of those choices basically one thing in common: they leave  a person in a apolitical or sideline position as far as being consciously trying to change what goes on.

      Both major parties have sewn up politics as a professional career, and what is left is joining the club or being an "outsider" which works for a bit and then the player starves or finds some other way of making a living.

      What happens in the meantime of all these years is certain economic trends and forces simply wash over and change everything, regardless of what any of us want or understand. The economics now determine America is no longer going to grow and be the innovative place it had been-the conservative and suspicious fear mindset is taking hold and squeezing all the interest and optimism out of virtually everyone.  

      That figure of 3.7 trillion ! on the sidelines while American society contracts....means the largest corporations are simply looking to expand wherever they can and use as few Americans to do their work as possible. They are already world players and get a better return from overseas operations than inside the US.  All the political stalemate and inertia flows from that fact. they want it all, they care not one fig (50 years of complete selfishness is THEIR religion) and they want the bigger stage.  America is a big market, but if spending isn't  up, then it is time to move away.

         This country made the investment, the trillions possible.  Now we get the knife in the back and the grand theft because we are inconvenient.

      We need a short and simple to remember bullet point list of demands, needs and let these worthies now it is happening by any means necessary or we won't coexist any more, not just in America but world wide.  There is still something we are good at and it involves settling accounts with those needing settling with.

      cast away illusions, prepare for struggle

      by Pete Rock on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 08:44:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There isn't any evidence that there was any (0+ / 0-)

    sweeping mandate for anything as suggested here. Thus, there wasn't anything that was going to be easy to accomplish, as a mandate would allow.

  •  I am not sure about the future state of the (0+ / 0-)

    Nation, but reading this Diary while watching "The Walking Dead" on A&E is not going to help me sleep to night.

  •  We look to the wrong leaders for direction (0+ / 0-)

    Before the Reagan revolution began, a different choice for proceeding was given. It was hinted at by President Carter.  This direction was articulated by the World Teacher Maitreya starting in 1977:

    Mankind will be faced by Me with two lines of action; on their decision rests the future of this world. I will show them that the only possible choice is through sharing and mutual interdependence. By this means, man will come into that state of awareness of himself and his purpose which will lead him to the feet of God. The other way is too terrible to contemplate, for it would mean the annihilation of all lifestreams on this Earth.
    Man has the future in his hands.

    The answers to your problems are simple indeed. Many times have I told you that the will to share must govern your lives.
    Once again, I repeat: without Sharing and Justice, My brothers and sisters, man will know no peace. Heed, then, My advice. Take, then, the only open course and trust in Sharing to relieve
    the agony of the world. My Teaching, thus, is simple. Know, then, the joys of Brotherhood. The principle of Sharing will lead you thereto. Commit yourselves to this cause and know the joy of Service. Commit yourselves to this work and realise your potential. Make known by all means your stand for Justice and Peace, and help your suffering brothers elsewhere in the world.

    - From Messages from Maitreya the Christ, Share International Foundation

  •  You are wrong in so many ways... (0+ / 0-)
    it's hard to say where to start.  I won't except to say that:
    A) We have to make some sacrifices from our side for deficit reduction and Obama's token freeze is not an overly costly one while showing the Indy's good faith.  Like it or not the Indy's are important and they want 2 C good faith.
    B) We no longer have super majorities, or even a majority (in The House), so can't push through anything by ourselves.
    C) We aren't done winning points, yet, but, despite the unhappiness from our Left ranks, we will do fine on what has/is already being achieved.  Benefits from all Reid/Obama's hard work will be widely realized by 2012.

    "Only Democrats could lose in a popularity contest to someone MORE unpopular than themselves." - Bill Maher

    by rainmanjr on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 10:50:38 PM PST

  •  Shared Sacrifice Lives (0+ / 0-)

    In this 21st Century when so many other institutio­­ns seem to be shirking their responsibi­­lities, you embraced your responsibi­­lities. -President Barack Obama, recently speaking to the American soldiers in Afghanista­n .

    Now would be the perfect time for President Obama to speak to the nation and return once again to this theme of embracing responsibi­lity. Our men and women in uniform have embraced their responsibility. Most Americans will never know this level of sacrifice and responsibl­ity that our brave troops have accepted. Still, millions of Americans across the country have been doing their part in these difficult times.

    Middle class and working familes across the country were asked to carry the load and share the responsibi­lity when, through no fault of their own, the banks failed and the economy crashed. Union auto workers shared in the responsibi­lity and took cuts in pay and benefits to get the American auto industry back on it's feet. And recently, President Obama proposed that federal civilian employees share in their responsibi­lity with a two-year pay freeze to help address the federal deficit.

    Obama should remind the nation of all of these shared sacrifices being made by our troops in defending the country, as well as the millions of people living on Main Street who have made it possible for us to steadily bring our economy back from the abyss.  And then he should point out that now is past time for Wall Street and corporate America and wealthy Americans to embrace their responsibi­lities and help carry their fair share of the load as well.

    Will President Obama make such a statement?  At this point, I'm unsure.  But it does seem like he has been laying the groundwork to make such an argument.  

  •  3.7 Trillion!!??! (0+ / 0-)

    They need to be at a minimum, hoisted up by thier ankles and shook really hard. Just the spare change that rattles loose could bail out mainstreet!

    It's like my Dad always said... Eventually, everybody gets shot. -Moe Syzlak

    by dauber on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 02:38:02 AM PST

  •  The era of shared sacrifice was over the minute (0+ / 0-)

    Ronald Reagan was sworn into the office of the President.  

    We are now just feeling the hangover of that 30 plus years political party binge, and now find ourselves stumbling to the bathroom to the medicine cabinet only to find the aspirin bottle empty.

    Hey Boehner and the Republicans: WHERE ARE THOSE JOBS YOU PROMISED????

    by LamontCranston on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 04:39:16 AM PST

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