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Before I start, let me say that I could just as easily write a long essay on the successes of liberalism. And there are many. But I have come to believe that, at this time in history, it is imperative for liberals to take a long hard look at not just what we got right, but what we got wrong.

I actually began calling myself a progressive over 20 years ago, long before it became popular to do so. I did this because I saw a distinction, in terms of policy prescriptions, but more importantly, in terms of philosophy, on how best to use government to secure a healthy and prosperous society for all citizens. And I saw the liberal establishment, to a great extent, abandoning its roots of economic populism. I saw this clearly before Thomas Frank wrote "What's the Matter With Kansas" or Kevin Drum wrote "Why the Democratic Party Has Abandoned the Middle Class in Favor of the Rich".

These writers observed that as liberals focused more and more on so-called cultural issues, they began to exclude bread and butter issues that affect the vast majority of working class Americans. I saw this too. But I saw something more -something I can only describe as the complete collapse of the economic left. What I mean by this is not that there weren't advocates for populist ideas like protectionist trade policies, defending progressive taxation, raising the minimum wage to a living wage, or public works programs. There were. What I mean is that these voices had become almost completely invisible, not only in mainstream political discourse, but among the liberal left as well.

This was, and is, in large part due to a total blackout of anything resembling economic populism in the establishment media. The effect of this cannot be overstated, and it was left out of the above mentioned works. But it's an important part of the story.

I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen someone advocating raising tariffs on television in the last 10 years. Indeed, the censorship of progressive economic ideas that were commonplace in our national discourse only 30 years ago is so extensive that one may rationally suspect that one of the primary functions of the establishment media is to censor progressive economic ideas.

So after a while, what we ended up with was the rise of a "New Liberal" media establishment that is TV friendly and knows the rules. Talk all you want about identity politics, prayer in schools, and other cultural issues. You can even talk about poverty, jobs and outsourcing. But don't ever talk about raising tariffs. That's "protectionism." Don't talk about taxing the hell out of the rich. That's "class warfare". Don't talk about using the government to hire the unemployed for public works. That's "socialism."

These rules have been in place a long time. And sometimes people do break them. Especially lately as the outrage of the Wall Street Bank Heist has risen to a fevered pitch. I suspect our censors realize it's better to let the left vent in a nice controlled fashion than risk an all out revolt.

But despite these aberrations, or bursts of rebellion, or maybe even progress, I still see a liberal left establishment in America that is lacking the ideas, vision, even the vocabulary to fight what is being done to our country. Liberals are able to articulate so well on issues of race, gender, gay rights and scores of other important issues. But on economics, corporate hegemony, and global financial capitalism, liberals are largely, tragically speechless.

So the New Liberalism, otherwise known as neoliberalism, otherwise known as right wing, laissez faire capitalism, goes largely unchallenged by the serious liberals, and even to some extent among netroots liberals, as we retreat to defend the old, familiar orthodoxy of liberal social policy - welfare, after school programs, planned parenthood - from budget cuts.

Believe me, in one sense I am and have always been thankful for programs such as these. They help a lot of people. But I am also aware that they are merely band-aids on a hemorrhaging, collapsing society.

And this is the crux of what I want to address here. While liberals have been working tirelessly to rescue society from the ruins of a failed, sociopathic, economic philosophy, wouldn't it have been wiser to defeat the failed economic philosophy instead?

After many years of studying public policy as it pertains to the government's constitutionally mandated task of promoting the general welfare, I have concluded that the vast majority of liberal social programs should be entirely unnecessary.

Yes, let's do end the welfare state. If, we were to simply create a massive, public works program that gave every single American who was willing and able to work a decent, living wage job, we could transform American society in one generation.

Think what such a program would do to society. Aside from dismantling a primary rallying point of the right, it would cause everyone's wages, even those in the private sector, to rise, even without appropriate trade protections. It would rapidly create a new working class that could afford to buy homes, send their kids to school, and generally reverse much of the societal collapse we are experiencing now.

You want to see a reduction in teenage pregnancies, high school drop-outs, spousal abuse, divorce, drug addiction, illiteracy, inner city crime, and suicide rates? Put America to work. There are correlations of varying degrees between every one of the social problems I just listed and poverty.

Families with stable, secure incomes are happier, healthier, more productive, and much more able to deal with problems than families on the edge or over the edge of economic collapse. This isn't rocket science.

Now, believe me, I know first hand that being middle class is no guarantee that a family will be happy. And I am fully aware of high incidences of drug addiction among the middle and upper classes. Public works is not going to create a nation of Ozzie and Harriets.

But were not talking about "dysfunctional" families, or families with "issues". We're talking about families in a state of emergency. We're talking about homeless or close to it. We're talking societal collapse, i.e. Detroit style.

Liberals, it seems, have a program to solve every social ill known to man except the one poor people really need: lack of money. Why is that? Most liberal academics and policy advocates know full well the correlation between unwanted pregnancies, premarital sex, and poverty, and yet they devote their whole life to getting rubbers in schools (a policy prescription that has costs a fortune in political capital) instead of fighting for economic reforms.

Perhaps playing social engineer is more interesting than giving people living wage jobs and then leaving them alone to live their own lives. Or maybe really getting at the root of the problem requires taking on the elite liberal establishment of Harvard and Wellesley.

Whatever the reason, it has failed and has to change. We could reverse the societal collapse that is accelerating across our country with just a few simple changes.

FDR put over 10 million people to work with big fat government jobs and did more social and mental health of society than all the liberal programs combined. They didn't call it a depression for nothing.

If the American left doesn't fight head on the neoliberal/conservative economic pillaging underway, and reclaim the economic mantle for all Americans, even the smelly, redneck ones, then you can kiss this country good bye. Cause every year, the economic sociopaths become more and more entrenched.

We need to stop burning up our political fires on tweaks and fiddles. The flaws in our economy are fundamental and require fundamental reform. The working people of this country are under attack. And if the left isn't willing to defend them, to fight for them, then who will?

We need to stop allowing the establishment media to set the limits of debate and advocacy.

We need to stand up for the progressive policies we already know are right.

-Rebuild America with a public works program funding jobs. Think how many jobs we could have created with the $12 trillion shoveled out to the banking mafia.
-Wipe out our almost $1 Trillion annual trade deficit and the hemorrhaging of jobs by withdrawing from the anti-labor trade agreements and restoring trade tariffs the way China does.
-Create a national, single payer health insurance program for all Americans. Not a national health care system. An insurance system. Return health care back to doctors where it belongs.
-Raise the minimum wage to at least $12 per hour.

These aren't pipe dreams. These are policy prescriptions that were mainstream only a decades ago.

These simple steps alone would transform American society in a single generation. Slowly but surely, we would see our schools get better, our streets get cleaner, our people become happier (remember the pursuit of happiness), our families get more stable, violent crimes get less frequent and something else that never gets talked about.

Rebuild America would make Americans feel like they're part some something important again. They would start to take more pride in their communities. They would sue each other less, resent each other less, and cherish our diversity more.

This is not a theory. This is precisely what would happen as we slowly began rebuilding our country and our society from the ruins. Slowly the dog eat dog, survival of the fittest, mental illness of the right wing would slip away. It's hard to overstate how much the right wing, self first, live and let die, disease has left people feeling on their own, alone, and isolated.

We need our democratic government of, by and for the people to unite us again as Americans. There is a difference between nationalism, and national spirit. We need to restore our sense of community. The sense that we are all in this thing together. Government is not the enemy. It is the gift of those who fought and died defeating an oppressive monarchy to allow, for the first time in history, the people to govern themselves. And it is the instrument by which we as a people work together to solve national problems, and protect the needs and interests of our citizens.

This is not socialism. It is democracy. And we must never allow limits to the power of the self-governed to use our democracy to protect our common interests from the tyranny of the few.  

This is what we are fighting against. The radical right movement, which permeates not only Republican politics, but the corporatist, neoliberal movement as well, is not just about "smaller government" and "individual liberty", it is about attacking our right and ability to self-govern. It is about attacking the foundations and institutions of democracy.

Liberals need to learn to counter this attack. But we also need to rethink some of the axioms of social policy that have made liberalism such an easy target.

Government, especially at the state and federal level, should be a powerful instrument, but it should also be a blunt instrument. We need to understand its strengths, but also its limits. And we need to focus on these strengths. Defining these strengths and limits is something I will address in a later post. But in closing, I want to stress that we need to be all about the money. That is what our people really need, above all else. And that comes in the form of good, living wage jobs. Period.

Originally posted to Happy Rockefeller on Thu Jun 09, 2011 at 08:58 PM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Policy Zone, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, and Community Spotlight.

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    •  My friend...THIS is a very righteous and... (63+ / 0-)

      well-written entry!  This should be the basis upon which a new progressive economic agenda is molded.  Rachel Maddow has even said that when Dems run on progressive economic issues - such as increasing the minimum wage, protecting Medicaid, etc - they tend to become more popular among their constituents.  It's time we all wake up!

      •  Well then... (40+ / 0-)

        Happy Rockefeller:

        You want to see a reduction in teenage pregnancies, high school drop-outs, spousal abuse, divorce, drug addiction, illiteracy, inner city crime, and suicide rates? Put America to work.

        I enthusiastically agree.  In fact, I've written at length on the details of the kind of economic agenda that would make it possible for Liberals to actually solve America's pressing problems, and not just offer more "do something" bandaids (welfare, unemployment, minimum wage) that only end up giving the Republicans targets to focus on.

        Yes, it's good to have a vision (for the Largely Uninformed) of the 'great society' that liberals could create if they were free to set the nation's economic agenda.  Unfortunately, a lot of the support that such a vision would generate would be steadily eroded by the alarmist complaints that the Republicans would be sure to raise when some of the policy details are brought up.

        That is why I think it is important for "progressive activists" be become more fully informed how to answer the economic arguments that the Bad Guys on Wall Street will raise.  "Higher taxes inhibit economic growth", "full-employment will threaten us with hyperinflation", etc., etc.  With ready answers on hand, liberal activists would have a chance to sustain middle-class support by deflecting the largely-bogus arguments that are certain to be raised.

        One way to sell the Liberal Economic Agenda to upper-middle-class voters:
        Make The American People Richer.

          •  One other point that is almost never made, (18+ / 0-)

            is that the Republicans become orgasmic talking about free markets, but nobody ever points out that there are no free markets at all, because the market is absolutely constrained when it comes to labor. In a true free market, labor would be free to move where the jobs are. But of course, labor can't move at all.

            So, the market is only free for those who reap the profits. They are free to outsource virtually everything, without consequence, and pay nothing for the privilege of using slave labor.

            You are absolutely correct: trade policy as the fundamental reform that needs to be undertaken in order to reverse the perverse incentives to send all good jobs overseas is almost NEVER discussed. The number of diaries on this topic here on DKos is almost zero.

            And a new WPA would be wildly popular, and would do more to restore our failing infrastructure and reverse our economic slide than anything. Which is why the Republicans will never allow this to happen, unless we change the conversation and force them to do it.

            There is nothing more important to essential economic justice than a rational trade system that does not punish our citizens for living and working in a country where wages and conditions are decent.

            And until and unless we fix this, nothing else really matters. We will fight the same stupid battles that we are fighting now, over and over, we will continue to have totally dysfunctional government, we will continue to live with the lie of trickle-down and the Laffer curve, we will continue to be forced into implementing shock doctrine approaches for faux deficits with middle-class destroying austerity measures, privatization of all our resources, and rising poverty, homeless and desperation. We will continue our slide into becoming a third world plutocracy.

            Of course, the plutocrats love things just the way they are. And their lap dogs in Congress are only too willing not to change anything, and to block any and all attempts to really create jobs. Which is why WE MUST insist on changing the conversation.

            This is a fabulous diary. Thank you so much for writing this. I hope this starts a discussion that we really need to be having.

            "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

            by flitedocnm on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 03:47:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I wonder if a new WPA and CCC called the (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              flitedocnm, laurnj, lcrp

              WPA and CCC wouldn't get the support of seniors?  Many probably participated in these programs or new family members who did.  I know that my mother still remembers how her cousin went to work for the Youth Conservation Corps and wonders why something like that couldn't be done for working class and at-risk youth.

              Plutocracy (noun) Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; 1) government by the wealthy; 2) 21st c. U.S.A.; 3) 22nd c. The World

              by bkamr on Sat Jun 11, 2011 at 02:52:34 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  we allowed the government to screw us (3+ / 0-)
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              BMarshall, flitedocnm, lcrp

              Why the hell shouldn't we say to corporations, OK, you are going to outsource jobs, at the expense of our economy, then we will have to raise taxes on your products to offset that UNFAIR and anti-american ECONOMIC PRACTICE.  We should tell corporations that there is no way you are going to reap profits in our society by shifting your labor force to countries where labor is dirt cheap.  This is common sense.
              But it doesn't happen because our government has been corrupted.  Unfortunately it may be to late for any revisionist policies to gain a foothold.  The Obama's of the world will be the best we could hope for on the election stage because the system discourages anything else.  So people, the US will continue to deteriorate until the people finally revolt.  By then the fascist right will have enshrined societal values that it is OK to use military might to squash public dessent.  Indeed this country is headed in a very wrong direction.  What a shame.  I grew up just after WW II, a baby boomer who knew the excitement of a dynamic and stable working class of the 50's and 60s.  I frequently feel sorrow that my children may never know this type of America again.

            •  Not Congress. (0+ / 0-)

              Pelosi has been beyond solid on these issues, and Reid is passable.  The rot is in the Executive on this one.

              The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

              by Punditus Maximus on Sat Jun 11, 2011 at 08:36:26 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Greenwald with Taibbi ... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Just Bob

            A piece by Greenwald, back in Dec 2009, hits a nail on the head.

            Link

            The piece highlighted the triangulating dysfunction, the disastrous state of the modern day Dem Party, now with the Obama administration, including its heavy reliance on the Rubin/Goldman crowd for economic policy.

            Something that jumped out at me from that piece was this comment by Greenwald, ending with the Taibbi quote:

            As I've written for quite some time, I've honestly never understood how anyone could think that Obama was going to bring about some sort of "new" political approach or governing method when, as Kilgore notes, what he practices -- politically and substantively -- is the Third Way, DLC, triangulating corporatism of the Clinton era, just re-packaged with some sleeker and more updated marketing.  At its core, it seeks to use government power not to regulate, but to benefit and even merge with, large corporate interests, both for political power (those corporate interests, in return, then fund the Party and its campaigns) and for policy ends.  It's devoted to empowering large corporations, letting them always get what they want from government, and extracting, at best, some very modest concessions in return.  This is the same point Taibbi made about the Democratic Party in the context of economic policy:
            The significance of all of these appointments isn't that the Wall Street types are now in a position to provide direct favors to their former employers. It's that, with one or two exceptions, they collectively offer a microcosm of what the Democratic Party has come to stand for in the 21st century. Virtually all of the Rubinites brought in to manage the economy under Obama share the same fundamental political philosophy carefully articulated for years by the Hamilton Project: Expand the safety net to protect the poor, but let Wall Street do whatever it wants.

            I see this quite dramatically in NYC, where we have the greatest gap of wealthiest, obscenely wealthy and poor (I will get to the middle class at bottom, which is exactly where its going.):

            It is actually easier to be poor in NYC than middle class. The rich, well, lol, they live on Easy Street, and boy, do they live beyond "well." But one may wonder as they see a lot of low income folks living in NYC... how do they manage? The rents are sky high!

            They (our corporate elite managers) will and do expand food  stamps and medicaid... School breakfast and lunch programs continue. (undocumented immigrants get all these and more)  They give poor folks section 8 housing. Day care. After school and summer free programs for kids galore. Etc.

            Unemployment rolls will keep getting funded too.

            They will continue to expand the "safety net" for the poor, keeping them afloat, while the poor demographic expands... while the middle class shrinks and goes into free fall.

            Only when the middle class gets serious about its endangered plight, will there be any chance to reverse the big plunge to the bottom.

            As Taibbi so aptly put it: "Expand the safety net to protect the poor, but let Wall Street do whatever it wants.

            No one will speak for the middle class. They are to be made invisible and voiceless, all the better to make them disappear with barely a ripple. Theft in broad daylight but no one sees the crime.

            No one but the middle class is left to revolt. What remains of it.

            Should a "progressive" Dem blog dwell in the safe zones of a lame party, or should it drive a lame party to break out? If it cant, should it break out?

            by NYCee on Sat Jun 11, 2011 at 09:26:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Case in Point from BAR... (0+ / 0-)

              The Corporate Dream: Teachers as Temps

              Public education’s corporate enemies – Democrat and Republican – now wage open warfare against teachers unions, seeking to strip them of collective bargaining rights. But that’s just the beginning. “The billionaires, and the politicians they have purchased, want nothing less than to destroy teaching as a profession.” In the ideal corporate world, most teachers would have the status of temps.

              Ever wonder why teachers and teachers' unions have taken such a drubbing by both parties and the helpful corporate media over the past two years? (Obama/Dems helpfully giving them the full on GOPlike New Dem "reform" messaging and policy they could wrap their middle-class-choking hands around?)

              Perhaps because, as the article points out, teachers unions -- the largest unions in the US -- can provide strength to the  middle class and that means they just gotta go!

              Teachers are the biggest obstacle in the way of the corporate educational coup, which is why the billionaires, eagerly assisted by their servants in the Obama administration, have made demonization and eventual destruction of teachers unions their top priority. Corporations hate collective bargaining, or working people’s power of any kind, but their vision goes way beyond simply neutralizing teachers unions. The billionaires, and the politicians they have purchased, want nothing less than to destroy teaching as a profession.

              Every time a Gates or Zuckerberg starts shoveling the "philanthropic" cash to a Bloomberg or Fenty or Booker, I feel sick, which I consider a healthy response. By the same token, I cheer on any state which has managed to steer clear of the reforms necessary to win Obama's Race to the Top. Winners are losers.

              It's a hideous, ugly game. Education, as example du jour, has been highly instructive.

              Should a "progressive" Dem blog dwell in the safe zones of a lame party, or should it drive a lame party to break out? If it cant, should it break out?

              by NYCee on Sat Jun 11, 2011 at 09:52:53 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I absolutely agree... (15+ / 0-)

          We definitely have our work cut out for us because a large portion of this requires unlearning the "trickle down" garbage that has been taught as mainstream economic theory.

          We need to argue how tax dollars are recycled through the economy while tax cuts are hoarded.  

          We need to argue that there are two types of goods and services: public and private - with government being the best entity at providing the former.  

          We need to expose conservative economic theory for what it is: a cult that believes that an invisible hand will automatically correct everything as it were some sort of spirit or deity.

          We need to use the financial crisis as an example that it's the obligation of government to correct market imperfections through regulation and consumer protection.

          We need to be unabashedly pro-labor and pro-union - recognizing that the labor market is only as good as the actual well-being of the labor that supplies it.

          And we need to sell the progressive economic agenda as Making Americans Richer...  :)  

          •  That is so well stated. (4+ / 0-)
            We need to argue how tax dollars are recycled through the economy while tax cuts are hoarded.  

            Put another way, who's going to spend more money on Main Street, the rich person who already has everything they need or the poor person who needs shoes and a meal?

            And this:

            We need to use the financial crisis as an example that it's the obligation of government to correct market imperfections through regulation and consumer protection.

            Many problems do not have only one solution. A balance of regulated capitalism and socialized health care, education, and other essential services seems to work for the rest of the developed world.

            Reaganomics: The belief that: 1) unregulated capitalism can produce unlimited goods for an unlimited number of people on a planet with finite resources; 2) You can increase revenue by decreasing revenue.

            by FrY10cK on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 01:47:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  So who can we get into the WH (3+ / 1-)
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          Hidden by:
          happy camper

          who will create some jobs?

        •  I agree (4+ / 0-)

          And the problem as I see it is, that a lot liberals simply don't deal in the realities of what it takes to be an employer. I put myself into that category to some extent.

          Most liberals seem 100% clueless as to what having a business line of credit means, what it does, and why we (or to be more precise, the financial sector) tip-toed right up to economic armageddon in 2007-2008.

          Even really understanding what it means when someone is saying "have you ever had to meet payroll?" seems to be speaking in tongues or something.

          Don't get me wrong, I think that in many ways policy has been grossly distorted to large corporate interests, but it just as misguided to revel in liberal ignorance about how businesses are, what it means to create and grow them, and fully appreciate that that is what facilitates jobs, and the tax base which powers the entire system.

          I am entirely on-board with the proposition that supply-side economic theory and trickle-down tax policy is an abject failure. But at the end of the day, it is still business (owners, workers, customers) which fuels what is the American enterprise.

          The true breakdown form a macro-level being that we have come to think of those as rigged bright-line distinctions, when that is not accurate. A businesses customers are directly, or indirectly their own workers. That ultimately a businesses workers are the customers, and that the owner is sowing the seeds for his or hers long-term business failure by not remembering that.

          Likewise, workers often fail to fully appreciate that without a successful bottom-line, there won't be jobs. Honest collaborative work, respect, and equity are how those divides are bridged. How those translate into law, policy, and implementation are where the true problem solving must occur.

          cheers,

          Mitch Gore

          Who is a Tea Partier? Someone who listens to Glenn Beck. Who's an anti-Tea Partier? Someone who understands Glenn Beck

          by Lestatdelc on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 04:29:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Garbage capitalist propaganda. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pot, S M Tenneshaw
            But at the end of the day, it is still business (owners, workers, customers) which fuels what is the American enterprise.

            You "fuel" nothing.  You're a petty bourgeois middle man, an intermediary between the actual producers of value, the workers, from whom you siphon off your living.  

            "It's not a question of worrying or of hoping for the best, but of finding new weapons." -- Gilles Deleuze, Postscript on Control Societies

            by GiveNoQuarter on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 05:00:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  n/t (0+ / 0-)
            Likewise, workers often fail to fully appreciate that without a successful bottom-line, there won't be jobs. Honest collaborative work, respect, and equity are how those divides are bridged. How those translate into law, policy, and implementation are where the true problem solving must occur.

            There would be plenty of jobs if you were expropriated and your workers ran the business themselves.  You're entirely superfluous.

            "It's not a question of worrying or of hoping for the best, but of finding new weapons." -- Gilles Deleuze, Postscript on Control Societies

            by GiveNoQuarter on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 05:03:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What this "you are entirely superfluous" (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              LHB, Mad Season, virginislandsguy

              reply supposed to mean exactly?

              I'm also curious as to how you think business and jobs are made. Can you share with me what your perspective is?

              cheers,

              Mitch Gore

              Who is a Tea Partier? Someone who listens to Glenn Beck. Who's an anti-Tea Partier? Someone who understands Glenn Beck

              by Lestatdelc on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 07:55:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Who, Then, Would Expropriate the Workers? (4+ / 0-)

              Once they were the owners?  

              Let's get real: everybody who provides some productive service earns an income.  I'm not particularly adept at risk taking or organization, so I sell my labor services to someone who is in exchange for a guaranteed salary.  As long as the administrator's compensation roughly matches their contribution to the production process, I don't complain.

              Just because modern economic theorists get some of it wrong, doesn't mean they get all of it wrong, or that Marx was right about everything.

              "What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love and Understanding?" Nick Lowe

              by LHB on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 09:25:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you atlanta ace n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        James Kroeger
      •  Tariffs (7+ / 0-)

        Hopefully two books by HaJoon Chang and Ian Fletcher that came out recently will give some intellectual cover to finally pushback on the ridiculous trade deals that we have been sold.

        Trade reform is the most important reform to the private sector economy, imo.

        All I've got is an orange blog, three paragraphs, and the truth.

        by Attorney at Arms on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 02:40:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I like it!!! nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shockwave, ToeJamFootball
    •  Wow. So complex an issue. (10+ / 0-)

      Some points to ponder.

      • The failure of a large segment of Americans to associate patriotism with the inclusion of non-whites. Therefore a failure of a sense of common nationalism that liberals have traditionally played on for support of liberal social economic policies. That is, pictures of poor suffering brown people don't play as well to too many Americans as pictures (e.g. depression era pictures) of poor suffering whites do/did. It's proven, I believe, to even act pestilential to liberal economic policies. Racism stymies.
      • For the last 30 years the American economy had done spectacularly well under conservative policy and therefore should not be challenged. Spectacularly well for the wealthy that is. And the wealthy own the media. How dare anyone upset the cart with ideas like tariffs? And that's exactly how the media treats liberal economic proposals all the while telling the middle-class such proposals would be harmful to the middle-class. Where are people supposed to get their information?
      • Many well educated liberals have done rather well for themselves (thanks to liberal government education policies of the 50s and 60s for the most part) and struggle with cognitive dissonance around liberal economic issues. Fat, content and economically secure liberals tend to be ineffective.

      So how is it a "Failure of Liberalism" and not just a failure of liberals? Shouldn't you diary be titled "Failure of Liberals"?

      •  Thinking the same thing--it's not *liberalism* (7+ / 0-)

        that is the failure here; it's the failure, as even Chris Hedges points out in his book, of the liberal "elite" and comfortable establishment that is the problem. We the grassroots need to take their failures away from them and build a permanent movement.

        Proud owner of an unincorporated uterus. :)

        by boofdah on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 12:07:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I had a similar thought (6+ / 0-)

          Liberalism didn't fail, Democrats failed liberalism.  Liberalism would be a much better way to solve so many of our problems but Democrats are not trying to solve them with liberal solutions, that's the problem.  Democrats as a whole are not liberal and there is a very strong contingent of conservatives and neoliberals within the Democratic Party and they are not underrepresented here.

          I think it has a lot to do with the fact that the GOP has gone off the deep right end, the center has moved with the Overton Window and there are a lot of Blue Dogs and even non Blue dogs that, if this were 30 years ago instead of today, would have more likely been moderate Republicans.  Today, their likes aren't welcome in the GOP.

          The Democratic Party has gotten more conservative as a result, and only relatively recently has there been a moderately strong progressive coalition in the House.  That's thanks to the likes of many of the folks that frequent this place and the tireless work they all do, with new technologies they've been able to begin to close the gap but it's still a huge gap.  It boils down to the fact that we still need "better Democrats" assuming that "better" is loosely defined as "more liberal" or "more progressive."

          Better Democrats = more liberal policy = better governance = the success of liberalism.

          Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

          by democracy inaction on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 04:46:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Liberalism (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            boofdah, Executive Odor

            is a pose some Democratic politicians use to get power.  Nothing more.  

            It's highly unlikely you're going to get better policy by electing "better" Democrats.  The game has already been fixed in advance.  The agenda of the bourgeois state,  aside from minor details, is not something determined by elections.

            Pay attention to the power behind the throne.  

            Most of these scumbag politicians are more than happy just to be able to kiss the ring.  

            "It's not a question of worrying or of hoping for the best, but of finding new weapons." -- Gilles Deleuze, Postscript on Control Societies

            by GiveNoQuarter on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 05:17:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  here (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VigilantLiberal, LHB

      http://www.amazon.com/...

      my travels across the country since the days of Jack Kennedy, I have seen the political transformation of Reagan Democrat areas such as Macomb County, Scranton, and South Boston. I knew that these Catholics and blue-collar workers did not leave the Democratic Party; the Democratic Party abandoned them. In fact, as Mark Stricherz shows, wealthy, liberal activists hijacked the national party, leaving millions of Catholics and working-class voters with no home in either party. An important and original book, Why the Democrats are Blue tells the story of a political revolution that the media never told us about. -Ray Flynn, former President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Ambassador to the Vatican]

      Why the Democrats are Blue argues that secular, educated elites, using a commission created at the 1968 convention in Chicago and later chaired by Senator George McGovern, took the Democratic Party away from working class and religious Democrats. This quiet revolution helps explain why six of the last nine Democratic presidential candidates have lost

      •  Very, very interesting. I have to read that book, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        majorityvoice

        as it coincides with my belief that the real democratic party died at Chicago in 1968, and that rump remnant we now have is but a ghost of a party that can do little but mimic the right.

        •  it's actually worse (0+ / 0-)

          68 to 2004, 7 out of 10 elections the gop won, and the only dem victories were when they ran southern democrats.

          militants and radicals took over the party in 68

          •  "militants and radicals"? (3+ / 0-)

            That's how you characterize this set of bland cautious politicians?

            The diarist makes some very important points about how the Democrats took their eye off the economic ball. The elites did forget the base.   On the other hand, they also lost the South by supporting civil rights, as Johnson predicted.

            Recycling cheap right-wing slanders doesn't add to the discussion.

            Michael Weissman UID 197542

            by docmidwest on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 06:40:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I have to agree with Michael. The idea that (0+ / 0-)

            "militants and radicals" were the downfall of the democratic party is a conservative meme used to cover the real hijacking of the democratic party by elites that saw the democratic party's salvation in aligning themselves with the interests of Wall Street and the wealthiest.

            I acknowledge that the Democratic party needed to be rebuilt after the  fractious nomination and campaign of 1968; but the so-called "militants and radicals" of the time got very little voice, despite the electoral victories of such movement leaders and Tom Hayden.

            After the 1968 election, and without the south, there really were just two directions to choose from. One was that of populism and the economic well being of the workers; the other was acquiesce to the establishment economic elites and embark on a course of 'Republican lite'.

            The peace movement got what it wanted, when Nixon finally pulled us out of Viet Nam, so the next generation of students focused on studies and careers. the Civil Rights movement lost steam and splintered after MLK, and the last obvious national leader of the liberal left disappeared with Robert Kennedy, since McGovern got smashed so badly. No one was left to rally the liberal left.

            This is all ancient history, yes; but as the diary makes clear, it has real world consequences today; so to reverse it we need to understand how we got here.

      •  Can I Come Back Home to the Democratic Party? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Happy Rockefeller, majorityvoice

        Speaking as a Catholic Worker for whom matters of both Faith and Social Justice are NON NEGOTIABLE.  

        "What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love and Understanding?" Nick Lowe

        by LHB on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 09:29:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Hmmmm (0+ / 0-)
      ...but it should also be a blunt instrument.

      Is that what you meant to write?

      Because it seems incongruous with the very next sentence:

      We need to understand its strengths, but also its limits.

      cheers,

      Mitch Gore

      Who is a Tea Partier? Someone who listens to Glenn Beck. Who's an anti-Tea Partier? Someone who understands Glenn Beck

      by Lestatdelc on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 04:12:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Fantastic Diary: Obsession With Cultural Change... (0+ / 0-)

      is killing the left.  

      Speaking as a "Philadelphia Barroom Democrat," whether you want to hear it or not, obsessing over cultural issues that revolve around sexuality is killing The Left.

      Ignoring declining real incomes among workers in favor of expending endless political capital on policy changes that will provide small marginal benefits (that are viewed by many as non-negotiable) to a small minority of the population won't get Dems reelected.

      No matter how righteous it makes you feel.

      "What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love and Understanding?" Nick Lowe

      by LHB on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 09:14:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What Liberals? (79+ / 0-)

    During the last liberal Presidency we danced to the Beatles.

    The next Democratic presidency saw the launch of neoliberal aka corporatist financial policy.

    Liberals have been politically massacred ever since the Beatles, and the Democratic party has been the compassionate conservative party since not long after.

    The hippies never got their first reinforcements till 2006, and by 2010 the reinforcements had seen enough.

    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 Thu Jun 09, 2011 at 09:05:00 PM PDT

    •  Trends and tendencies are, I'm afraid, all (10+ / 0-)

      I have the time or space for here. In a nation of 300 million, it would take a long book to be very specific. I could certainly name names though. I just don't see how that would contribute to the thrust of this post though.

      •  Well, there are a lot of people who (36+ / 0-)

        participate here and a lot of citizens of this country who haven't a clue what a real liberal Democrat looks like or sounds like.  All I could think as I got towards the end of you essay was about LBJ's War on Poverty and the congressmen that I knew as a kid who were all very concerned during their professional careers with providing ways for families and kids to get out of poverty.  We gave up on the poor in the Democratic Party.  I remember one of Clinton's top guys in NYC telling me that the Democratic Party was not going to focus on poor people anymore.  The GOP was focused on the super rich and the Dems set their sights on the Middle Class.  Working class and poor?  Those folks who make up a huge part of this country were all but forgotten for all intents and purposes by both parties.  Now neither party cares about anyone outside of the top 2%.

        But it wasn't always like that in Washington.  There used to be some very smart, powerful and important people who understood the big picture and worked very hard to address the needs of the people who struggled the most in this country.  They understood that by fortifying that group and giving them opportunity to advance they were advancing the greatest potential for this country's future.  They were the kind of people who if they thought to try to stop the sale of sugary soda in a school, they would couple that initiative with providing free milk in its place.  

        Our party started social engineering by banning things, and stopped replacing them with more productive options a long time ago.  

        Taking things away is easy politics.  The hard politics are in the arena where you are trying to give something to the people - that's where the real fights and political courage are necessary.

      •  Thrust of this post (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zett, StrayCat, tardis10, Swill to Power

        You claim that the media black out on liberal policies is somewhat or mostly to blame.  But this black out and the general hatred by elites of all things progressive goes back much further than FDR.  That's why when FDR instituted the work program he famously said, "Nobody is going to starve during the warm weather." and withdrew some programs for the summer.  Nobody has ever seen any of these programs as a permanent measure.  Tariffs are another story.  But since we no longer have a manufacturing base there is much less political might behind enforcing tariffs.  In short on work programs and tariffs America was always this way just we once had factories to counter balance.  In fact the current defense, financial and insurance industries can be thought of as work programs since none of them exist without government support.

        On defending progressive taxation you maybe right that a media blackout is to blame.  But it's a weird kind of blackout since Obama ran on taxing those with incomes greater than $250K and then just refused to deliver.  At the state level it's much harder to get these kinds of things through as this article explains.  So blame the media is one possibility but Gooserock's hint that its simply because Americans are mean and stupid is also probable.

    •  Several years ago (61+ / 0-)

      I attended a talk by Jim Hightower, the fiery Texas progressive and radio host.

      He said; "In my youth in the 60s, I worked tirelessly to remove Lyndon Johnson from office, only to realize in my later years that he was the most progressive president of my lifetime".

      That's Countdown for the 2,082nd day since Mission Accomplished. You thought that would change? Are the troops home yet? Keith Olbermann January 20, 2009

      by Ed in Montana on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 04:21:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But then again (33+ / 0-)

        LBJ was conducting a great evil in SE Asia and sending us to die in the commission of that evil.

        He allowed his liberal greatness to be destroyed by fear of Republicans calling him and by extension Liberalism "soft on Communism".  The fear of that and that alone allowed the great American liberal movement, ascendant overall since the Great Depression, to crash and burn in the jungles of Vietnam.

        It's hard to be young and know thousands of lives are on the line and one of them may be yours. That tends to make you ignore the otherwise great accomplishments which at the time seemed status quo and in fact, inadequate in comparison to life and death, and that death to in fact be murder.

        "The rich will strive to establish their dominion and enslave the rest. They always did... they always will. . ." Governeur Morris

        by Dave925 on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 05:09:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not to minimize the horror that was (26+ / 0-)

          Vietnam, but I look at soldiers today fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan while we allow things like the Patriot Act to pass and this country is falling apart at the seams - what are they fighting for?  Austerity?  The expansion of poverty?  The decline of a democracy?

          At least, the people who fought under the Johnson Administration were fighting for a real democracy in that era - one that was getting better with the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, Medicare, better opportunities for education and all kinds of important advancements.  It was wrong of LBJ to not have had the courage to tell the Yale boys like McNamara to fuck off - but from the standpoint of what kind of country I'd want to fight and die for - LBJ's was more my cup of tea than what our country has become in this era.

          •  The country was falling apart (17+ / 0-)

            at the seams during the LBJ admin -- and mostly over his totally unnecessary war.  He also fully was aware his war would take away funding from the Great Society programs, particularly in the poverty area.  He went ahead anyway as these programs were diluted by Congress (LBJ not wanting to call for a tax increase to pay for the war, in the early yrs).

            And stop blaming his war on advisers like McNamara -- the tapes show to any reasonable person that LBJ was calling the shots, and on one early 1964 tape is heard brusquely cutting off McN and dictating to him what he should say at his next DoD presser -- namely that VN was too vital to the US to lose.  Btw, McN -- iirc -- was a Berkeley grad, not Yale.  But yes, the poorly educated Johnson did have an inferiority complex about the "Harvards" as he referred to many of the Kennedy admin holdovers.

            LBJ was a very hated figure by 1968 when he finally announced he wouldn't run again.  Basically his war, his lying about the war and his personal inability to connect with the people and have credibility with them cost the country dearly -- and it was indeed split in two, along ideological, racial and even young vs old lines.  Quite a legacy Johnson left once we get past the early bill signing hoopla -- and a country coming apart at the seams is hardly my cup of tea or something I'd recommend any president try to emulate.

            •  Random memory: comedian doing LBJ (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Nulwee, StrayCat, Dave925, JuliaAnn

              impression, with LBJ coming clean to the American Public "My friends, there is no Vietnam."

              A few years later we saw Nixon having a "Credibility Gap" over his Watergate coverups and dodges.

              Today we have a profound "Reality Gap" between, practically speaking, our entire political/business/military class and just plain bloody common sense.

              We've proven Tim Leary's contention that the nature of hierarchy is that the people at the top are fed deceptive pictures of the world by subordinates willing to please; and those themselves fed fictions by those under them, repeated down to the bottom of the pyramid.

              We are not far off, structurally, from Mao's China, where he's thinking food production is quadrupling while it's actually being slashed by 4/5ths.


              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 Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 08:42:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  "coming apart at the seams" = growth (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dave925

              Unfortunately the backlash was successful.

              Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

              by kck on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 09:17:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Sorry, but (14+ / 0-)

            the men who died in Vietnam weren't fighting for democracy any more than our kids in Iraq and Afghanistan are now.  And lots more of them died then than now.

            •  Good point, (8+ / 0-)

              though I read inclusive's remarks to be about fighting for democracy here at home with the various liberal legislation.  Certainly Johnson sent our boys over to VN to fight for a very repressive SVN govt, hardly a democratic one, and the record shows that he wasn't really interested in political/social/economic reforms over there, as JFK tried to encourage, but instead in showing US military might.

              LBJ of course was also very reactionary and anti-democratic domestically in the way he, and friend J. Edgar Hoover, tried to stymie and destroy the antiwar movement.

              And again, as an economic populist, whatever inclinations he had in that direction were trumped by his more important concern, namely not losing in VN.

              •  Liberalism is not a person meeting some ideal (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Dave925, JuliaAnn, inclusiveheart, badger

                It's a set of principles and a change process that includes introspective root cause analysis, reliance on human capital, building on the good, replacing the bad, trial and error, continuous progress.  

                Success does not rely on saints or angels but relentless principled action.

                Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

                by kck on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 09:22:22 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Exactly right (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  kck, inclusiveheart, YucatanMan

                  Damning LBJ for Viet Nam as an assessment of the 1960s is just another episode of "Politicking with the Stars - Baby Boomer Edition", not much different than the Obama or anti-Palin editions that currently occupy a lot of space here.

                  What matters is what happened during the LBJ administration, and domestically, the legislation produced fundamentally altered this nation in good ways - everything from Medicare to the Civil Rights Act to the Wilderness Act and so much more.

                  And you've nailed exactly the methodology that was used to produce much of that legislation - it was well-designed, well-crafted and still politically possible.

                  Politics is about accomplishment and not celebrity. At least liberal politics and democracy is.

                  We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. - John F Kennedy

                  by badger on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 12:38:53 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Your comment speaks to the fact that (27+ / 0-)

              there is only a fraction of the American population who have even the slightest idea of how much of our democracy we have lost over the past several decades.

              I am stunned by how many people just don't understand what a great expansion of democracy that was given to us with the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts - and how many people just haven't a clue how destructive the Patriot Act and other laws like it like recently enacted really are.  Personally, I am ashamed to send anyone out into the world to fight for this country while we collectively sit on our hands and allow people to tear the Constitution to shreds.

            •  The average age of a soldier in Viet Nam (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              terabthia2

              was 19.

              Nineteen. Think about that.

              "The rich will strive to establish their dominion and enslave the rest. They always did... they always will. . ." Governeur Morris

              by Dave925 on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 09:36:58 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  It must be remembered (4+ / 0-)

            There was no fighting then and not any now for this country. These Wars now and that one then are and were being fought for reasons the public isn't made privy to.

            We now know there was great concern about vast oil fields (what else)  in the South China Sea that would naturally be part of Vietnam's resource wealth of which there were also strategic minerals. Corporate America wanted to exploit those resources for themselves. It was anathema some damn commie nationalist like Ho Chi Minh would secure that wealth for the Vietnamese people.

            It's since been shown these resource questimates were wildly inaccurate but that's not how it was seen in the late 50's. The "fighting for the 'democracy' of South Vietnam against Commie 'agression'" was complete and utter crap as was the domino theory that would have the Viet Cong fighting us in the streets of San Francisco.

            But that crap is the same that's used to cover up the real reasons for these Imperial Wars that lo and behold 50 years down the road we discover are exactly what their critics always said they were- Imperial Wars.

            Don't fall for the bullshit. The bullshit shamelessly exploits natural patriotic feelings and cruelly abuses them.

            The bullshit kills and in the case of Vietnam and now Iraq, it kills millions.

            "The rich will strive to establish their dominion and enslave the rest. They always did... they always will. . ." Governeur Morris

            by Dave925 on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 09:36:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  This +1. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dave925
              But that crap is the same that's used to cover up the real reasons for these Imperial Wars that lo and behold 50 years down the road we discover are exactly what their critics always said they were- Imperial Wars.
            •  I am not falling for any bullshit. (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              badger, wiseacre, YucatanMan, Dave925

              I understand the concept and practice of imperialism and our consistent and unfortunate adherence to such a screwed up policy in our global dealings - on a multitude of levels.

              But we waive those flags and talk about democracy and tell those people who go to fight that they are "protecting our democracy" - my point was that while we've sent people away to now several countries over the past ten years - we've been busy back at home fucking taking the democracy apart - destroying the Constitution.

              There is no honor in the first lie, but there is particular evil, insult and betrayal inherent in the second.

        •  that's the dilemma of any progressive, or (0+ / 0-)

          left-leaning pol here in the U.S.  Something somewhere in the equation always has to be sacrificed to the right.  

          For the last 30 years or so, the Dems just cut that process short by simply sacrificing the left to appease the center.

          Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

          by a gilas girl on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 02:28:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  LOL, Yeah, Right Now LBJ (12+ / 0-)

        is lookin' kind of good-- even tho' he probably stole the one TX senate race.

        but you gotta admit, passing the Civil Rights Act in a nation chock-full of flat out bigots (including the "democratic" variety in the south) pushed numerous "democratic" southerners into clownservatism-- and ultimately these people put grandpa reagan in office for two terms.

        it's all been downhill since.

        "I don't feel the change yet". Velma Hart

        by Superpole on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 05:36:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Amazing Johnson revisionism (5+ / 0-)

          on this board.  

          LBJ was no liberal, but did agree to push for the JFK agenda* that was left unfinished because of Dallas, including Kennedy's CR bill.  Btw, polling showed a plurality of the public by 1964 in favor (iirc) of passage, with positive public trends beginning probably in the summer of 63 with some backlash against harsh segregationist crackdowns in the South, etc.  Iow, the nation as a whole was a little different, much more moderate and even liberal-minded in some respects, by mid-64 than what you depict as chock-full of bigots.  It was much more courageous of JFK to introduce that CR bill a year earlier, when public opinion was less clear on the issue.

          * also, Johnson when he assumed the presidency from a very popular (true) liberal president, had a conservative-reactionary cold warrior and Big Oil/anti-Labor past reputation to have to deal with (in addition to continuing murmurings about his possible role in the events of Dallas), so decided to shore up his left flank in the party and put the liberals at ease by pushing through the largely JFK legislation on his desk.  He was also probably thinking ahead to the VN War portion of his presidency, when, roughly a year later, he would need to keep his liberal wing intact as he began to wage war

          •  but he got it done (8+ / 0-)

            You are right that Johnson was deeply flawed. He also presided over the greatest expansion of our society since Roosevelt. He gets credit for that just like he gets blame for Vietnam, etc. Kennedy's ghost didn't sign that stuff. In politics it's not who you are that matters, it is what you do.

            Now, it is also right that the very idea of "America" seemed to break apart under Johnson and Nixon - the center could not hold. How much blame they deserve for that is unclear, but 'some' might be the right answer.

            •  I would suggest that (5+ / 0-)

              "some" blame is a rather mild way to describe what Johnson did to this country in the 1965-8 period.  The massive war abroad, and the war at home, both the battle about the war in the public sphere and the battle in the inner cities over lack of economic opportunity and police/local authority racist tactics -- LBJ gave us two wars to have to fight, all of it entirely unnecessary had he just followed his predecessor's withdrawal policy on VN.  But for macho Lyndon, that would have meant "cutting and running", and he didn't want to be "the first president to lose a war" -- it was all personal to him you see.  

              Johnson, temperamentally averse to dissent by nature, also tried to destroy the ability of Americans to protest the war.  That's just a fact.  He also was utterly unable to handle the problem of the inner cities and urban poverty.  By 1966, certainly by the next year, his credibility had been shot over VN, and he was temperamentally incapable of connecting with poor blacks in the ghettos, where he was increasingly reviled as an uncaring warmonger.

              So no question that LBJ deserves a great deal of blame for beginning the social tearing apart process and being unable or unwilling to do anything about it for 3 yrs.  Terrible president despite some early liberal legislation signing.  Probably never should have been allowed near the presidency, but apparently he pulled a trick on the Kennedys in that convention hotel suite, and JFK was forced to put him on the ticket.  

            •  Has there been a President in recent history... (5+ / 0-)

              that was not "deeply flawed"???

              As long as the balance of their "flaws" benefit the people over the corps, I'll take it.

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

              by Josiah Bartlett on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 08:27:33 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Flaws are only in relation to our (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Josiah Bartlett, YucatanMan

                otherworldly idea of perfection.  Perfection does not exist, but is only an artifact of Platonic philosophy warped and handed down to us by a religious hierarchy bent on power and control.  By that standard, we are all flawed, and thus, unfit for freedom.  Until we discard that ideal and embrace the fair, the good, the excellent we will continue to be bound in chains of our own acceptance.  Johnson was a product of his time and place, and was just as inconsistent in his behavior as Jefferson with his slaves, Lincoln with his ideas about african americans and Kennedy with the Bay of Pigs.  Until the idea of perfection is buried, our analyses of the behavior of our fellow human beings will be misleading.

                Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

                by StrayCat on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 09:34:20 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  The Vietnam Criticism... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              badger, YucatanMan

              interesting that LBJ gets smacked down for Vietnam... yet Obama, who is on record stating "he does not believe in stupid wars", currently has us bombing/attacking all over N. Africa.

              what a Load...

              "I don't feel the change yet". Velma Hart

              by Superpole on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 10:54:25 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  So tired of all the Kennedy fetishism (5+ / 0-)

            Kennedy was a cautious politician, a corporate-friendly, tax-lowering conservative, and a close ally of Joseph McCarthy. His broadside against U.S. Steel in 1962 was instructive in that it was considered a "gaffe".  That alone should tell you Kennedy's economic philosophy.

            Kennedy's economic plan bore no resemblance whatsoever to the Great Society.  That was a creation of the Johnson Administration, and never saw the light of day until after Kennedy's death. Cagey politician that he was, Kennedy would never have committed to such a bold stroke out of fear of his extremely narrow plurality in 1960.

            Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

            by Big River Bandido on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 07:50:37 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So many falsehoods in one (4+ / 0-)

              post, so little time.

              Briefly:  there was nothing cautious about JFK's 1963 Civil Rights Act proposal, nor his Test Ban Treaty, nor his attempt in his final year to begin the détente process with the Soviets.  Also nothing cautious about his quiet, backchannel overture to Castro, to initiate dialogue towards a new beginning with that govt.

              But he was cautious when caution was req'd:  during the Missile Crisis, the coolest head in the room.  On the decision not to send in combat units to VN -- time and again he rejected the advice of his military and nat'l security advisers to escalate.

              On economic matters he was both cautious and proactive:  seeking both tax reform and an across the board tax cut, a demand-side approach by which to stimulate a somewhat sluggish economy as he well knew that the country had been in seeming cycles of normalcy and recession several times in the late 50s and in 1960.  He didn't want another recession on his watch, and so acted to prevent one.

              JFK -- the right combination of boldness and innovation coupled with appropriate caution, in a liberal direction.

              •  JFK's Civil Rights proposal (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Superpole

                was a watered-down piece of incrementalism which went nowhere in Congress while Kennedy was alive.  The bill was greatly strengthened by LBJ after Kennedy's death.  

                Also, the country did experience a deep, though short, recession in 1962.  

                Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

                by Big River Bandido on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 08:26:19 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Wrong again. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mundog50, YucatanMan

                  JFK's 1963 CR bill was widely considered the most important and substantive such bill since Reconstruction.  That was the view not only of the liberals in Congress, but the major CR leaders like MLK who endorsed it, as well as the MSM.

                  You might be confusing that bill with Maj Leader Johnson's 1957 CR bill, which was (deliberately, for political viability reasons) a watered-down bill with no teeth.

                  After Dallas of course, LBJ had a little more wiggle room to add to JFK's bill -- that was just taking what was available plus for LBJ wanting to make the bill a little more of his own rather than having JFK get too much credit.

                  •  Did you guys live through it? (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Swill to Power, Superpole

                    I have been reading the above posts, and there is a lot of statements being made from both sides as if they are quoting gospel. So I am wondering what the age of the commenting parties might be? I was 8 when Kennedy was assassinated, and had a draft card to go to Vietnam when that conflict wound down. In my neck of the country, little was  noticed about the civil rights stuff in 1965, but a lot of notice about the war. It was on the TV every night and I saw several of my friends older brothers come home in a box. That affected us a lot. I was in the service when Nixon resigned and had the strange pleasure of referring to him as "the Honorable Richard M. Nixon" until the day he left. Was also in the service when Jimmy Carter was President, did not really have an opinion about him at the time, other than the service newspapers all said he was going to do away with the exchanges and commissaries and cut our pay. I did not vote for Reagan because something about him seemed phony and patronizing.

                    Saying all that, here is how I feel now. George Washington gets a lot of bad press because he was kind of aloof and did not like to shake hands. But, he was head of the army, and he stayed the whole time when most of the Congress was hiding out well away from the fighting. Lyndon Johnson made a huge mistake on the war, maybe because he manned a desk during WW II, but he got some huge things passed, civil rights and Medicare, mostly through force of will. I think he was a real jerk, but because of what he got done, I forgive him. Jimmy Carter was an Annapolis graduate, one of Hyman Rickover's hand picked officers and a damn smart guy. He has been a shining example to all of us for the work he has done since leaving office and I respect him a great deal and am sorry I ever thought badly of him. I did not appreciate Hubert Humphrey for what he was at the time, all I knew was he wanted to continue the war. But I wish we had him now.

                    •  Just on Humphrey, (0+ / 0-)

                      you misread him.  He actually was against LBJ's war -- as expressed in a Feb 15, 1965 memo to the president, unsolicited, wherein he told Johnson that with his huge electoral victory behind him, the GOP Right-wing being badly defeated, he now had plenty of wiggle room on VN to pull out.

                      Johnson responded by never acknowledging to his own VP that he'd read the memo, then by shutting Humphrey out of all future WH discussions on VN (for many months), then also by probably beginning to bug/tap the phones of Humphrey's VP office.  Hubert had two choices at that point:  either resign over VN or try to get back into LBJ's good graces by going out publicly to support his war.  He chose the latter.

                      But there's no question that had he been elected, he would NOT have just continued LBJ's stupid quagmire of a war -- had he done so, he would have been quickly hounded from office, by his own increasingly antiwar party.  Humphrey was a true liberal -- not a necessarily strong of character person, but a well-intended and usually principled liberal across the board, including on war matters.  Johnson was the one -- the non-liberal, the macho TX conservative and protector of Big Oil interests -- who had the reactionary cold warrior instincts that largely mirrored the GOP right-wing.  He's the one who still easily deserves the lion share of blame.

                  •  The 1957 Civil Rights Act (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    wiseacre

                    was gutted before it passed the Congress.  

                    Sen. Kennedy voted against the bill.  

                    Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

                    by Big River Bandido on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 10:06:43 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  The gutting had Maj Leader (0+ / 0-)

                      Johnson's fingerprints all over it.  He wanted to have it both ways, looking to his 1960 run for the presidency:  make it appear to liberals that he was strongly pro-CR, but not overly disappoint and even alienate his own base, the southern conservatives, with a bill that would have actual teeth, actual enforcement power.  He was therefore able to give a cynical wink and a nod to the latter group, while displaying some CR interest to the libs.  Typical Johnson approach.

                    •  That was the only way LBJ could get it passed (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      a gilas girl

                      It is a time-honored strategy - thin edge of the wedge.  Get your foot in the door.  There is contemporaneous documentation of the "Johnson treatment" to that effect.

                      All the negative publicity and analysis aimed at Johnson has  undermined his truly visionary Great Society achievements.  If he can be caricatured as a corrupt ogre in league with big oil, then maybe liberals won't fight hard to keep his legacy.  But if you actually look at what the independent oil people such as Richardson, Murchison and Hunt, as well as Herman Brown, Jesse Jones, and the other smoke-filled back-room Texas insiders were saying about LBJ under JFK, LBJ was widely criticized as TOO LIBERAL. John Connally, who left the JFK administration to become Gov. of Texas, was their go-to Democrat of choice, not LBJ.  

                      I find it interesting that not one of these posts sees fit to blame McNamara and Bundy who were the architects and cheerleaders of the Vietnam debacle.  Not to mention the fact that it started as a CIA counterinsurgency strategy that mushroomed out of control until it was too big to handle, and the logistical and bureaucratic problems associated with waging a war where the DOD is relegated to a support position. Nor have they considered the strong oil and gas influence in Washington, especially at the DOD (then War Dept) and State, since WW I.  LBJ was strong on domestic and weaker on foreign policy.  He placed a lot faith in his advisors, and of course once you're in a quagmire, there you are.  They did not advise him candidly, either, but had all kinds of side enterprises going on. The original documents spelling all of this out are there for those who care about historical accuracy and not ideologically-motivated revisionism.

                      When you read about the best and brightest, who were ivy-league liberal professors and corporatists, it's clear that they valued theories over realities.  And we are still paying for their arrogant, elitist, and naive idealism today. They thought they could create a utopia if they got all the social  theories right and put them in place. They forgot that human nature is too complex to be captured in theoretical exercises.  They certainly didn't want to pay attention to empirical evidence.  Reality is for dreamers, not hard-nosed theorists like MacGeorge Bundy.

                      And yes, being born in the mid 50s in Texas, I sure did live it.

                      Which side are you on?

                      by wiseacre on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 02:24:52 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I think you meant to reply (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        wiseacre

                        to Mundog50, above.  I agree with you.

                        Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

                        by Big River Bandido on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 03:30:44 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Well I was responding to the thread in general (0+ / 0-)

                          and I saw you agreed with me :).

                          Question:  Whose interests does it serve to tear down LBJ's dream of a Great Society?  Because it cannot be denied that that Society, in fact, was what he wanted most for America and what he wanted to be his legacy.

                          Which side are you on?

                          by wiseacre on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 05:53:34 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I can't see that tearing down the Great Society (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            wiseacre

                            does any good to anyone at all.  Everyone benefits when a culture and society are civilized.  

                            Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

                            by Big River Bandido on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 06:20:43 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  No, it serves Republican ideology quite well. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Big River Bandido

                            I wish I knew the origins of some of the grants for LBJ research that has lead to some of the revisionist or critical histories.

                            Which side are you on?

                            by wiseacre on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 07:13:08 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Politically, yes (0+ / 0-)

                            but Republicans also live in this country, and when the entire social compact disintegrates, even they too are affected by the social ills that follow.  The rich can buy bottled water, but they can't bottle their own air to breathe.

                            The ongoing climate crisis — which deserves a Great Society-style response — is going to have repercussions for the public health.  Incidence of allergy and respiratory distress of all kinds have increased exponentially since 1970, and the only factor to account for it is air pollution.  

                            I suppose I wouldn't put it past some, after sucking all the wealth out of this country, to spirit it away somewhere and gorge themselves in style.  It will be their final insult to the values of the nation they have plundered.

                            Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

                            by Big River Bandido on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 08:28:20 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                •  And JFK had no interest in civil rights (2+ / 0-)

                  Events forced him to take a stand on the issues, and his brother and some advisors (in all likelihood) forced him to take the right stand.

                  We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. - John F Kennedy

                  by badger on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 12:50:02 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  LOL. I smell JFK revisionism (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            StrayCat, happymisanthropy, badger
            when, roughly a year later, he would need to keep his liberal wing intact as he began to wage war

            Which war would that be?  Oh, you mean escalating the Viet Nam war, which JFK was pushing along nicely with ever increasing numbers of advisors?  Sorry, I'm not going to let you have it both ways.  You can't say that LBJ inhereted all the good stuff, but started the war.

            Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

            by bigtimecynic on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 09:16:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You seem not to understand (0+ / 0-)

              the vital difference between mere advisers -- the only ones JFK sent over -- as opposed to ground combat units, which JFK consistently refused to send, knowing that would be the beginning of a larger US military quagmire commitment.  LBJ of course, as soon as that "decent interval" after his election and inauguration had passed, immediately agreed to send in the Marines, by the tens of thousands in the first group, 175,000 combat soldiers by the end of 1965.

              Quite a difference 175k combat troops under LBj and 16k military advisers under JFK.

              Sorry, but it was LBJ's decision to escalate.  JFK by Oct '63 had chosen to withdraw.  Johnson knew about that, and knew he was reversing Kennedy's withdrawal policy when he made his fateful decision in early '65.

              Johnson chose, and chose very unwisely -- choosing in effect to side with Goldwater wing of the GOP in going full-bore militarily into Nam.  Strange decision that -- he'd just got through defeating warmongering Barry and that wing over VN in the '64 election.

              Odd fellow, that Johnson.  But the war did greatly benefit his financial benefactors -- primarily the TX Brown & Root Co construction firm, his major political backer early on.  

              Meantime, some of you, like bigtimecynic above need to brush up on JFK.  James Douglass' recent book, JFK and the Unspeakable, is a good place to start for an excellent overview of his FP.  John Newman's landmark work, JFK and Vietnam, goes into more detail and proves JFK was decided officially upon a withdrawal by 1965 strategy, regardless of whether we were "winning" over there or not.  

              •  Guys - the diary is not about the Vietnam War (0+ / 0-)

                This side-thread is veering wildly off-topic

                The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts. -Bertrand Russell

                by mftalbot on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 12:07:19 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  History IS revisionism (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Superpole, badger

            or as Toynbee said

            History is argument, without end.

            Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

            by Big River Bandido on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 10:22:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  still dancing to the music of the Beatles here (10+ / 0-)

      great diary - thanks.

      unions and working people have been losing.

      see my sig line

      And of course, our mission for a better America led by better Democrats is still in its early stages. -- Markos Moulitsas, 5/26/11

      by mightymouse on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 05:23:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Who were America's last liberal leaders? (15+ / 0-)

      MLK and RFK.

      Carter, sorta, Clinton, not really, Obama, barely.

      •  JFK, RFK, MLK (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tmo, greenearth, YucatanMan

        Read the recent book JFK and the Unspeakable if you need more convincing re JFK's liberalism, both in domestic and FP.

        All 3 of course were conveniently eliminated in a span of less than 5 yrs.

        We've never recovered.  

        And well-intended but badly flawed liberals like McGovern and Humphrey and Mondale et al were all a pale imitation, at best, of those 3 great liberals from the 60s.  Carter was a conservaDem with some moderate to liberal instincts (such as human rights and energy).  Clinton was actually more liberal minded but had to govern in a more conservative era and Congress compared to Carter.  Not exactly an economic populist except in the results, with more people taken out of poverty and into the middle class, or close, than at any time since the 60s.

        Obama probably has some liberal instincts but seems personally incapable of doing the bold steps necessary to tackle the major economic problems of his time.  Too much the bipartisan conciliator, too trusting in the very people and experts who got us into this mess.  Smart guy, but being badly advised by Geithner.  

        •  Agreed (0+ / 0-)

          Obama probably has some liberal instincts but seems personally incapable of doing the bold steps necessary to tackle the major economic problems of his time.  Too much the bipartisan conciliator, too trusting in the very people and experts who got us into this mess.  Smart guy, but being badly advised by Geithner.  

          Yep - his presidency is in danger if he doesn't pivot away from deficit reduction (which no one but Our Reptilian Corporate Masters cares about) to job creation and economic recovery (which everyone does care very much about.)

          The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts. -Bertrand Russell

          by mftalbot on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 12:11:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  MLK wasn't a liberal (0+ / 0-)

          he was really a socialist (which along with being a black civil rights leader was no picnic in 1950's and 1960's America).

          Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

          by a gilas girl on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 02:41:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Clinton not at all (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        YucatanMan

        the liberal leaders weren't really the head of the tickets, btw.

        liberal leaders were the ones in Congress and especially the Senate who primarily were defeated in the primaries.

        HHH was probably a better example of a liberal leader than the last three Dem POTUSes.

        Tip O'Neill was an old school liberal leader.

        much more than JFK, I'd say EMK, but he had to grow into that role.

        Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

        by a gilas girl on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 02:39:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hard to characterize (0+ / 0-)

          someone like HHH -- who ran in 1968 largely in support of LBJ's War -- as a liberal leader.  Certainly not a leader as he compromised liberal values to maintain his political viability and relations with boss Lyndon.  Certainly not liberal -- as he expressed himself (as opposed to his own privately-held liberal views) publicly on that issue.  Though once away from the iron grip of bully boss Lyndon, no doubt, had he been elected, he would have governed much more consistently than LBJ as a real liberal, including quickly withdrawing from VN.

          And EMK -- yes, he did have some growing to do, again re the VN War he was a little behind Bobby, who was much quicker than Ted to publicly oppose LBJ's war.  Jfk of course was ahead of them all on that issue (including Tip, iirc), formally stating a policy of withdrawal as of Oct '63.  And on other issues, economic ones, again ahead of Ted.

          EMK grew into more of a true liberal firebrand more in the 1970s, as he shed some of his establishment-friendly tendencies and went with passionately felt core principles.  But he never had JFK's keen political instincts or ability or intellectual power, nor Bobby's stronger ability to connect with average people of all stripes.

    •  people forget that Carter (11+ / 0-)

      despite being in some ways a good man was on the right wing of the Democratic party at the time. And Carter was way to the left of anyone since.

      •  "Way to the left of anyone since"??? (4+ / 0-)

        C'mon, that's silly.  JC was elected as a moderate and governed (when one does the math) as same.  The major difference between him and Bill Clinton was that the former governed in a more liberal era with a more liberal Congress, and so had more room, if he so chose, to govern cooperatively with a lib-minded Congress of Dems who were still interested in progressive legislation, like health care reform.

        But JC, not being a true liberal, chose a mix of moderate and liberal governance, more the former than the latter overall.

        CLinton got stuck with a lousy economy and deficit situation upon coming to office, and elected to get things right with his econ stimulus package/deficit reduction approach.  He also had to deal with an extremely hostile MSM, from day one, plus an increasingly conservative and ideologically rigid GOP that was out to destroy him.  Carter had by contrast a bunch of fairly soft-touch moderates and fair-minded conservatives to deal with in that era's GOP.  

      •  Carter gets a free ride here (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        brodie, YucatanMan, virginislandsguy

        I don't hate him. If I were a voter at the times he ran, I would have voted for him, but he's not the liberal saint that many make him out to be. He was a big deregulator and the "Reagan Defense Buildup" actually started under his Sec of Defense, Harold Brown.

    •  Exactly (14+ / 0-)

      Clinton made Carter look like a flaming lefty.  Throw in the 12 years of laissez-faire corporate cronyism from Reagan-Bush and the 8 years of worse corporate cronyism of GWB and there hasn't been a true-blue liberal in many American voters' lifetimes.

      "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove." P.G. Wodehouse

      by gsbadj on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 07:22:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Democratic cheerleaders (0+ / 0-)

      understand one truism (for them) which is anything done or said by an elected D is inherently good and anyone who says something else is bad. Liberals said a number of economic policies weren't good ideas, and when they can no longer pretend those economic policies are working, they have to blame the people who disagreed for not clapping or presenting their ideas in a better light.

      Like conservatism, "progressivism" can only be failed.

  •  Social issues make for easy controversy (17+ / 0-)

    Culture issues make better controversy than economic issues most people are not informed enough to have a serious opinion about. When I say serious opinion I mean one that the person who has it feels confident about. On social issues it is pretty easy for a person to form a solid opinion that they think jives with their values. A gut check is not going to solve economic questions reliably or Americans would not have run up all that personal debt.

    Dylan Ratigan focuses on economic issues but his ratings aren't the best. His story and obscurity demonstrates what happens when you go down that road. Until people are willing to educate themselves on really complex subjects we will have to wage a proxy war of social issues to elect those with economic views we share.

  •  And most of all (59+ / 0-)
    But don't ever talk about raising tariffs. That's "protectionism." Don't talk about taxing the hell out of the rich. That's "class warfare". Don't talk about using the government to hire the unemployed for public works. That's "socialism."

    Most of all what you can't talk about is socialism.  You can't talk about the fact that labor creates all wealth.  That all that capital is is the concrete form of the stolen labor of generations of working men and women.  That while CEOs pay themselves 400 times what their workers get, the actual material product of the labor of a good die-maker is worth at least 400 times as much as anything some smug preppie in a $1000 suit ever produced.

    "Tu vida es ahora" ~graffiti in Madrid's Puerta del Sol, May, 2011.

    by ActivistGuy on Thu Jun 09, 2011 at 09:46:09 PM PDT

      •  An oldie but a goodie quote: (24+ / 0-)
        When I feed the poor they call me a saint, but when I ask why the poor are hungry, they call me a communist.

        Dom Helder Caldera

        There's a reason the liberation movement in the Catholic church was quashed.  It gave too much visibility to the poor.

        "Charity is today a 'political charity.'. . . it means the transformation of a society structured to benefit a few who appropriate to themselves the value of the work of others. This transformation ought to be directed toward a radical change in the foundation of society, that is, the private ownership of the means of production."

        "But the poor person does not exist as an inescapable fact of destiny. His or her existence is not politically neutral, and it is not ethically innocent. The poor are a by-product of the system in which we live and for which we are responsible. They are marginalized by our social and cultural world. They are the oppressed, exploited proletariat, robbed of the fruit of their labor and despoiled of their humanity. Hence the poverty of the poor is not a call to generous relief action, but a demand that we go and build a different social order."

         — Gustavo Gutiérrez

        Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man. Thomas Paine

        by Rebecca on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 05:45:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Infuriating (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rebecca, Matt Z, zett, m00finsan, elwior

          A while back, a small but very wealthy city that I live near accepted a shiny new police car, courtesy of some wealthy old man who had read that the city (though wealthy) would not raise the revenue to get a new car.

          At first, I though it was a nice thing.  Then I got mad that a wealthy community would refuse to do what needed to be done and, instead, rely on some private individual to pay for what their community needed.

          "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove." P.G. Wodehouse

          by gsbadj on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 07:42:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Infuriating, indeed. (5+ / 0-)

            My mother, several years back, was talking about a wealthy woman who gave computers to the local school and how much good she was doing.  I was infuriated at the idea that our schools had to rely on a wealthy person to get what should be part of their normal costs.

            We are going back to nobless oblige and I mean it in the sense wikipedia mentions:

            :"Noblesse oblige"  is generally used to imply that with wealth, power and prestige come responsibilities.  The phrase is sometimes used derisively, in the sense of condescending or hypocritical social responsibility....

            This doesn't mean that all the wealthy people who give are hypocritical, but the people who are trying to take us back to those days are.  

            Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man. Thomas Paine

            by Rebecca on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 08:16:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Right (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Rebecca, m00finsan

              It's selfishness, the idea that why should I pay for my share of a functioning society when I can simply hold out long enough and let someone else pay up for me.

              It's only a matter of time before someone gives the police a new car,... under the condition that they drive by his house every 20 minutes.

              "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove." P.G. Wodehouse

              by gsbadj on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 09:10:28 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Socialism is liberalism's legitimate offspring. (11+ / 0-)

      After thinking through liberalism, on of its greatest thinkers in the twentieth century, John Rawls, devised a society that looks a lot like contemporary social democracy (what many here call socialism) in his opus magnus 'A Theory Of Justice'.

      Indeed, Karl Marx himselfed recognized the familiarity between socialism and liberalism, hinting at Immanuel Kant, one of liberalism's greatest thinkers of all times, and his Categorical/ Practical Imperative.

      Let's talk about socialism, baby...

      "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect." Mark Twain

      by aufklaerer on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 04:52:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's an idea that will elect democrats? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Just Bob, sethtriggs

        "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes." Ronald Reagan

        by Kvetchnrelease on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 05:08:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  No, I don't think so (0+ / 0-)

        As a matter of fact, I think the whole concept of "liberalism" in this thread is skewed. Liberalism embraces progress, but it also embraces civil liberty and sovereignty of the individual. Socialism does no such thing, but emphasizes progress over liberty. If socialism is a child of anything it is progressivism, which is the offspring of liberalism.

        "It is in the shelter of each other that the people live." -- Irish Proverb

        by Our Man in Twisp on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 11:00:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Where exactly do you get that? (0+ / 0-)
          Socialism does no such thing, but emphasizes progress over liberty.

          I will admit that any debate over liberalism / socialism etc. should indeed make clear which definition it refers to.

          Liberalism, as I understand it, is the school of thought that began with Adam Smith and that includes the utilitarians like Smith, Hobbes, Locke, but also contractarians like Immauel Kant. It stresses the absence of overarching morals and individual responsibility and freedom.

          Socialism, as I understand it, is the scientific concept of historical materialism - the idea that the history of mankind is a history of class struggles, the realization that the workers are the main force of progress, and, hence, history, and the ideal society is one in which 'the free development of the individual is the basis of the free development of all.' Socialism is all about freeing the individual, it defines progress as increasing individual liberty, but includes freedom from hunger, fear, war etc. in the canon of necessary individual liberties.

          Progressivism is the one concept that's a bit murky. It used to stand for Teddy Roosevelts compassionate conservatism, today it demarkates the left wing of the liberal wing of the Democratic party...so, I'm not so sure what progressivism stands for, other than most of the dedicated lefties here use it for themselves.

          "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect." Mark Twain

          by aufklaerer on Sat Jun 11, 2011 at 12:46:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  and, further, (10+ / 0-)

      without labor, there is NO wealth.

      Yet labor is vilified.  I hear every week from someone who tells me it was the labor unions that brought down companies like Bethlehem Steel when, in reality,  the company's demise was a logical consequence of years of mismanagement.

    •  It's sad that it took DONALD TRUMP (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy, elwior

      to bring up tariffs. And he got surprising mileage out of that. More mileage than any of his other song & dance. I mean WTF!!!!!!

    •  Taxing the hell out of the rich might not (0+ / 0-)

      be the best of ideas. I'm for raising the tax rate at high income levels, but our government shouldn't be taxing the hell out of anyone.

      The rich already pay the largest chunk of taxes. More often than not, I think these taxes go to fund public goods (roads, regulations, parks, social programs, etc.) - things for which the benefits tend to be equal for citizens regardless of the amount of taxes they paid to create the benefit. Thus taxes already have the net effect of transfering wealth from the rich to the poor. Now, generally speaking, I think this is a good thing. But only to a degree.

      Also, labor does not create all wealth. Ideas create wealth. Good management creates wealth. Good capital allocation creates wealth.

      To think of capital as stolen labor of generations shows fundamental misunderstandings of our practical modern economy. And some CEOs are worth more than 400x the cost of their average worker. The decisions they make can lead $10B companies into bankruptcy, or they can get ROA of, say, 10% - resulting in a billion dollar gain for the company. This is the truth. And if you don't see and understand this, you won't be taken seriously on economic matters outside of this forum.

      Try looking at things another way.

      by atheistben on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 10:51:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Without a workforce... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pot, Cartoon Messiah

        ...they won't make any money whatsoever.

        Besides which, "this forum" is supposed to be a place where economic progressives can be heard by other economic progressives, and help each other get those ideas implemented. The entire rest of the traditional media landscape is where you can hear the philosophy of economic royalism and shilling for plutocrats you express so clearly in your comment.

        The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts. -Bertrand Russell

        by mftalbot on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 12:47:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So what? (0+ / 0-)

          Without the knowledge and ideas and patents about how to build and improve cars, auto workers won't make any money whatsoever, either. Both are needed, and both need to be compensated.

          And I'm serious, if you want to implement progressive change, you're going to have to do it in more places than here. And to be taken seriously elsewhere, you need to understand the basis for our economic system.

          Try looking at things another way.

          by atheistben on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 01:13:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Take that Ayn Rand horseshit to Redstate n/t (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pot, nymosyn

            The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts. -Bertrand Russell

            by mftalbot on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 04:57:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Rich aren't paying taxes, that's the problem (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pot, mftalbot, nymosyn

            As in:

            1) Exxon Mobil made $19 billion in profits in 2009. Exxon not only paid no federal income taxes, it actually received a $156 million rebate from the IRS, according to its SEC filings.

            2) Bank of America received a $1.9 billion tax refund from the IRS last year, although it made $4.4 billion in profits and received a bailout from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department of nearly $1 trillion.

            3) Over the past five years, while General Electric made $26 billion in profits in the United States, it received a $4.1 billion refund from the IRS.

            4) Chevron received a $19 million refund from the IRS last year after it made $10 billion in profits in 2009.

            5) Boeing, which received a $30 billion contract from the Pentagon to build 179 airborne tankers, got a $124 million refund from the IRS last year.

            6) Valero Energy, the 25th largest company in America with $68 billion in sales last year received a $157 million tax refund check from the IRS and, over the past three years, it received a $134 million tax break from the oil and gas manufacturing tax deduction.

            7) Goldman Sachs in 2008 only paid 1.1 percent of its income in taxes even though it earned a profit of $2.3 billion and received an almost $800 billion from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury Department.

            8) Citigroup last year made more than $4 billion in profits but paid no federal income taxes. It received a $2.5 trillion bailout from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury.

            9) ConocoPhillips, the fifth largest oil company in the United States, made $16 billion in profits from 2007 through 2009, but received $451 million in tax breaks through the oil and gas manufacturing deduction.

            10) Over the past five years, Carnival Cruise Lines made more than $11 billion in profits, but its federal income tax rate during those years was just 1.1 percent.

            Not only are wealthy corporations shirking their civic duty, the rich in general are, too.

            in recent years nearly half of all income — including both wages and salaries and nonlabor income — has gone to 10 percent of families. The top 1 percent of families now receive nearly 25 percent of income, up from less than 10 percent in the 1970s.”

            snip

            And at the same time that more and more income has become concentrated at the top of the scale, tax rates on the highest earners have been falling.

            snip

            In the 2010 fiscal year, the Bush tax cuts will actually give millionaires more in tax breaks than 90 percent of Americans will earn in income. So the result of all of this is “a compression in the tax burdens applied to taxpayers with different incomes — the difference between the average tax rates on high-income groups and those on middle-class households is narrower than at any other time in modern history.

            But you did make one true statement.

            to be taken seriously elsewhere, you need to understand the basis for our economic system.

            Which side are you on?

            by wiseacre on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 07:08:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  But corporations aren't rich people (0+ / 0-)

              Corporations are corporations. Ultimately, their profits work their way into the hands of the shareholders (where they are taxed).

              And even if tax rates on the wealthy are falling, income inequality is rising, so proportionally, they may be paying the same amount of the tax burden as they always were. Or more. Or less. I'd be curious to see pie charts over time of what percentage of total tax revenue is paid by each quintile.

              Try looking at things another way.

              by atheistben on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 04:20:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Shareholder dividends taxed only if distributed (0+ / 0-)

                Dividends are optional.

                I understand your technicality about corporate taxes, but the fact is, if you're wealthy in the US, you are now paying the lowest taxes ever for your income bracket, and the societal need is greatest since the Depression.

                But don't worry.  The plutocracy will benefit the "fittest", and the rest of the useless breeders can just die like they should.  Because that's what America stands for, and what the Constitution was made for and what the preamble to the Declaration of Independence is all about - government by the rich, for the rich, on the backs of the rest of us.

                Which side are you on?

                by wiseacre on Tue Jun 14, 2011 at 04:29:12 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Engineers are labor, too (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Just Bob

            Capital in and of itself does not create or invent anything except new ways of moving little green bits of paper around.
            Certainly, some inventors have used the green bits of paper they made to become capitalists, but this is no different than other laborers saving their hard earned green bits of paper in order to start their own business.
            Capital has reaped the benefits of labor, whether that labor was scientific invention or digging in the dirt for tubers.
            This is where I support the small business model: most of these capitalists are also laborers: the best small business owners work harder than their employees.
            However, this top-down model is not reality, but rather merely the current paradigm. There are other worlds than these, from syndicalism to guilds to collectives such as kibbutzim and monastic societies.
            What appears to be a common thread between many liberals and conservatives is the notion that there has to be leader. Anarchism is vilified by both camps.

            "Superstition, idolatry, and hypocrisy have ample wages, but truth goes begging." - Luther

            by Cartoon Messiah on Sat Jun 11, 2011 at 05:51:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent piece. Hope it stays afloat 'til morning (14+ / 0-)

    when it will get readership it deserves.

  •  Always about band-aids (14+ / 0-)

    Never about fundamentally altering the relations of production.

    -9.00, -5.85
    If only stupidity were painful...

    by Wintermute on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 02:49:01 AM PDT

  •  I don't want to rain on this (12+ / 0-)

    but there are some real problems with the analysis.

    We can indeed try the concepts of an agrarian/Industrial Age egalitarian economy a second time.  But if I understand what people in the Midwest and South are doing correctly, especially rural people, it's that they are voting in Republican government after government tasked with downsizing and ultimately liquidating the agrarian and Industrial Age economic base they have.  The family farm is gone.  The factory that hired lots of workers to do manual labor is nearing extinction.  Blue collar work increasingly consists of running fairly sophisticated and expensive machines.  

    What I think I'm seeing is the economic basis of rural and small town American society being eradicated.  White Christian Middle America is dissolving itself.  Parts of the country are transforming to the post-industrial/tech economy by creating new high tech companies of various sorts (e.g. healthcare).  Other parts of the country are taking the rough and negative road of disintegrating the previous forms, cannibalizing the remnant wealth and socializing it to the wealthy and corporations.  Thereby leaving an economic vacuum which forces most people to migrate to the cities, and the few that remain adapt to the new economic order by forming recreational service industries- run vacation resorts  and such for the city folk who generate the large amounts of wealth.

    The annoying and difficult truth is that we are going to have to start shrinking population.  There isn't going to be need for the armies of workers of the Industrial Age economy, and putting surplus workers into nonessential jobs and e.g. the arts doesn't work socially.  The EU countries are already mostly shrinking- after one or two generations of high unemployment.

    All of these concurrent development together puts an enormous squeeze on societies.  There will be a need to maintain high productivity with smaller numbers.  It's hard to see this happening without a massive and enduring improvement in physical and mental health.  At this point we've probably squeezed the great bulk of the gains we can out of improved quality and availability of food, safer civil life, vaccines, organized education systems, etc.  More money being put into these things probably means marginal gains.  There is just one place left to go for substantial- transformative- new society-wide gains in physical and mental health, and perhaps intelligence.  Which is genetic defect correction.  That's not economically or technically feasible for adults now living, but it's possibly a reality for the children being conceived in perhaps a decade.

    I have come to think that the American People is holding out on a social democratic health care system so long as it won't and can't realistically promise to truly change our collective condition.  When it promises and proves it can deliver at least somewhat, then everything changes.  There is no time in human memory without significant insanities and diseases distorting lives and relationships, creating enormous and continuous social abuses and suffering.  Indeed, that may be the deepest root of human misery.   But in the future- perhaps even just two or three generations from now- that may no longer be a reality of everyday life.

    So I'm not persuaded of liberalism's failure.  If anything, it's the only way out after everything else has been tried and fails.  And there's not enough of the Modern kind even here on DK.

     

    •  I am rec'ing yuor comment (18+ / 0-)

      because I think you add important context to a complex issue.  However, I don't think that your comment negates the bulk of the diary which I think is also a good part of the problem.

      Until it becomes acceptable to discuss the economic problems of capitalism (without blaming the victims), it will be impossible to solve the very real problems you have outlined.  Today, the discussion revolves around.  "Ya, it's happening.  The only solution/outcome is that the rich will need to get richer and the poor will get poorer.  Too bad. So sad."

      Until there are stronger & consistent voices promoting economic solutions where everyone gets a fair piece of the pie by providing meaningful jobs with fair wages, our future is bleak.
       

      Peace will come when the Republicans will love America's children more than they love their money.

      by Naniboujou on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 04:54:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This: (11+ / 0-)
      The annoying and difficult truth is that we are going to have to start shrinking population.

      We live on a single planet, with seemingly vast but ultimately finite amounts of air, water, and other natural resources. Yet our society is based on the notion of infinite, perpetual growth. It can't work. It won't work. Unless or until we can fulfill some sort of Sci-Fi fantasy of cheap space travel to a "Final Frontier" of limitless inhabitable planets, we need to wake up to the fact that our civilization is inherently unsustainable.

      Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

      by drewfromct on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 06:09:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Liberalism's catch 22 (4+ / 0-)
        We live on a single planet, with seemingly vast but ultimately finite amounts of air, water, and other natural resources. Yet our society is based on the notion of infinite, perpetual growth.  drewfromct

        Excellent comment.  It cannot work, I agree.  We have reach Mother Earth's carrying capacity:

        Engineered to end hunger, the Green Revolution failed because the world allowed the increased food the grow more and more hungry people...India's population growth largely erased its food production increases.  Now a record 1 billion people suffer malnutrition; 10 million more do so each year.  A recent U.N. report titled The State of Food Insecurity can with a press release saying, 'For millions of people, eating the minimum amount of food to live an active and healthy life is a distant dream."   The View From Lazy Point, A Natural Year in an Unnatural World , Carl Safina

        There is however, a long overlooked solution:

         

        In our meetings with other nations I have feeling that little attention is being paid to the subject of conservation and use of natural resources.  I am surprised that the world knows so little about it self.  Conservation is a basis for permanent peace.(my emphasis)
        Its occurs to me, therefore, that even berfore the United Nations meet...it might do much good to hold a meeting in the United States of all the united ans associated nations...

        I repeat again that I am more and more convinced the Conservation is the basis for permanent peace...

        I think the time is ripe.  

        Franklin D. Roosevelt as qtd in The View From Lazy Point, A Natural Year in an Unnatural World , Carl Safina

        Liberalism must have true conservatism as its ally.  The time is indeed ripe.

        Is very bad to steal jobu's rum...is very bad

        by jobu on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 07:55:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  True conservatism was (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          drewfromct, jobu

          building the interstate highway system with public funds. A man who plants a tree of which he will never sit in the shade under is a conservative. Giving money to the rich instead of doing things like the interstate highway system is not conservatism but is really just greed. Today's rich are vampires who are sucking the blood and profits on the back of those true conservatives who came before them and leaving nothing to those who come after.

          Voting for a Republican is like letting the fox in the hen house and expecting to have fried chicken for Sunday dinner- John Lucas

          by Jlukes on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 11:26:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  actually, this is bullshit (5+ / 0-)
      The family farm is gone.  The factory that hired lots of workers to do manual labor is nearing extinction.  Blue collar work increasingly consists of running fairly sophisticated and expensive machines.  

      Oh, agrarian, manual labor jobs exist in the USA all right. It's just that now they are performed by brown people who tend to speak Spanish.

      •  And family farming is expanding. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Robobagpiper

        Read Eaarth by Bill McKibben of 350.org.

        It's a book ostensibly about responding to the fact the climate change is already an unstoppable force we will have to live or die with, but it's really a book about what kind of society we want to live in when one gets right down to it.

        The book isn't without it's flaws, but it's an important and illuminating read.

        In the book, McKibben clearly shows the stats demonstrating a return to small family farming in his home state of Vermont and in many other parts of the country. His stats also show that most of these new farmers are people who were raised in a more urban setting, and are leaving it behind.

        He also showed how many areas of his state have built local framing & related economies that have survived our economic downturn pretty well precisely by building a REAL economy based of products of value rather than a  fake economy built on "derivatives" and fake financial wealth concentrating schemes.

        Pionta Guinness, le do thoil!

        by surfbird007 on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 07:48:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't see this happening (0+ / 0-)

          In the Midwest, there's more and more farm consolidation all the time. Family farms are a thing of the past, and that's not a good thing.

          Sure, there may be anecdotal evidence of small producers making it here and there. But the sheer cost of embarking anew as a small farmer makes it prohibitive for all but the wealthiest. It's a multi-million-dollar investment, and that means several hundred thousand dollars in hand to even have a chance at financing the operation.

          (I do know of a few wealthy people who operate small hobby farms primarily for the tax breaks.)

          Today's "farm family" typically has the wife working full-time somewhere else, and the husband often picking up part-time work as he can. Higher corn prices (pushed up by ethanol subsidies) have been putting more money in the pockets of farm owners, but that's an increasingly small segment of society.

          "The real power is in the hands of small groups of people and I don't think they have titles." -- Bob Dylan

          by nonprofit jim on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 09:15:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nothing anecdotal about McKibben's numbers. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pot

            He provides researched numbers to demonstrate an increase in family farming overall, though perhaps not in your part of the country.

            I think perhaps you view farming in a different light than some others as well, because there are a lot of start up operations that get going without requiring million dollar financing. They are very small scale, by design. They tend to bypass traditional markets and go straight to the consumer, by design. We've had 2 open up in the last year where I live, and both are doing well. They're not going to get rich, and that was never their goal in the first place.

            Pionta Guinness, le do thoil!

            by surfbird007 on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 12:52:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  My mother grew up on a farm (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Matt Z, m00finsan

        and I spent lots of time there with our grandparents.  

        The family farm is gone.  It's a way of life that no longer exists in this country, because people can't live off it anymore.

        Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

        by Big River Bandido on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 07:56:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I live across from a dairy farm in CT, it is still (0+ / 0-)

          running.  That farm abuts another that was a dairy farm but the person who ran it bought his own so the family has converted it to a hay farm.  We also have Christmas tree farms, organic farms, plant nurseries, vineyards, horse farms, alpaca farms, sheep farms, and bison farms.  The family farm has transitioned into the modern era here in CT, there was tremendous pressure, though, to sell the land for subdivisions but that pressure has slowed with the decline of the housing market.

    •  I see the beginning of a great, fruitful debate! (0+ / 0-)

      Wow- so much thoughtfulness before lunch!

      Both you and the diarist have laid out some resounding arguments. I look forward to a rigorous debate here!

  •  I think your diary (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rebecca, Athena, Our Man in Twisp, pgm 01

    repeats a 'publican stereotype that is about 20 years out of date.  There are a lot of progressive Democrats out here, at the grass roots, who have been fighting for economic gains for a long time.  Your characterization of "liberal" Democrats as some kind of DFH or "limosine liberal" is unhelpful and misleading.  Of course the focus for progressive Democrats is on the economy, on making sure the working and middle classes have the resources they need to make it.  They were addressing these issues for a long time before "condoms in schools" became an issue.

    "Do I have any regrets about the hard votes I took?" No. Not at all...and I never will. --Mary Jo Kilroy

    by Kurt from CMH on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 03:28:01 AM PDT

    •  Too harsh (0+ / 0-)

      I think you would gain some perspective by studying Thomas Dewey and William Scranton.

      Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

      by Just Bob on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 07:14:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I stand by my comment. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Our Man in Twisp

        Where are the "cultural" issues among progressive Democrats today?  They certainly aren't the priority.  Not when the 'publicans are doing everything they can to ensure their corporate masters hold the reins of economic and political power for the rest of my lifetime.  The issues are union busting, taxes, spending, unemployment, climate change and alternative energy.  These have nothing to do with "rubbers in schools".  We know the 'publicans will do as much as they can to ban abortion and take away people's reproductive freedoms, because they believe it's OK to use sex as a way to throttle individual freedom, especially for women.  Plus, it's the proven way to get the religious right suckers to the polls.  But it certainly isn't the number one issue among Democrats.

        "Do I have any regrets about the hard votes I took?" No. Not at all...and I never will. --Mary Jo Kilroy

        by Kurt from CMH on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 07:58:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You seem to be missing something (5+ / 0-)

          Before Brown vs. the Board of Education and the departure of the Dixiecrats from the Democratic Party, the Republican Party was dominated by the Eastern Establishment.  They, (Dewey, Scranton, Rockefeller and others) represented the liberal perspective in our political system.

          1964 represented another shift. Scranton ran against Goldwater in the Republican primary. In my mind that was the defining moment for the Republican Party. The power in the party shifted from the east to the west.

          Demographics have paid a large role as well. In the last 40 years 88 congressional seats have moved from the Rust Belt to the Sun Belt. That's also 88 electoral votes.

          Please give the diary additional consideration. There's an opportunity to capitalize on that old school perspective.

          Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

          by Just Bob on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 09:03:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The author articulates the idea (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Just Bob, PrahaPartizan

            that the Democratic Party is trapped in the 1970's.  The problem is not the New Left; the New Left is gone.  I came of age in the 1980s when the DLC Democrats took over. The problem in the Democratic Party is corporate whores like Max Baucus, Heath Shuler, and Ben Nelson who call themselves Democrats.  Gradually they are being excised, but not soon enough.  

            "Do I have any regrets about the hard votes I took?" No. Not at all...and I never will. --Mary Jo Kilroy

            by Kurt from CMH on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 10:23:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Kurt is right (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              PrahaPartizan

              There is no ideological discipline in the Democratic Party. Right now I don't think anybody here can paint a clear picture of who or what a liberal or progressive is. Is Dennis Kucinich a liberal or a progressive?

              "It is in the shelter of each other that the people live." -- Irish Proverb

              by Our Man in Twisp on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 11:05:23 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Hmmmm... (0+ / 0-)

              I don't read it quite that way, but I agree with you in part. The New Left is gone.

              The DLC, New Democrats, and Third Way have drawn my attention. The desire is to be more like Republicans so they can get on the corporate gravy train.

              But we differ is likely to be our estimate of the proper course for the future. I don't know to what extent we differ. I do know I'd be happy with a William Scranton now.

              It gives me sorrow seeing many people moving back in the direction of the New Left. To some extent I count myself among them...but not quite ready and with some lessons learned. We move in that direction because we have no where else to go.

              Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

              by Just Bob on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 01:31:17 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Distinguish liberal from progressive (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Just Bob

                A progressive is a (social) liberal (economic) populist.

                The mainstream liberal is a (social) liberal (economic) corporatist.

                The mainstream conservative is a (social) conservative (economic) corporatist.

                The wingnut conservative is a (social) conservative and (economic) libertarian.

                There is a small wingnut branch that is (social) conservative and (economic) populist.

                The libertarian is a (social) liberal and (economic) libertarian.

                This is why the corporatists are in power- they own the mainstream of both parties.

                Which side are you on?

                by wiseacre on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 06:53:57 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  All good points (0+ / 0-)

                  I guess we all have our own definitions in mind when we post. Communication is an iffy thing. Perhaps it depends on the context.

                  Within the context of this diary, a liberal is one who puts a bandaid on a compound fracture and considers the job done. A progressive is one who sets the broken bone, cleans the wound, administers antibiotics, and dresses the wound.

                  More to the point is that the liberal says we need a strong safety net. The progressive agrees and works to ensure fewer people fall into that strong safety net, thus saving money in the long term.

                  Even more to the point, liberals and progressives are on the same side and are often the same people. The difference between them isn't a wedge issue.

                  Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

                  by Just Bob on Sat Jun 11, 2011 at 05:46:42 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Actually Limousine liberal is the truth (0+ / 0-)

      The leadership of the democratic party, and indeed most of the prominent voices on the left, are aristocrats.

      Frankly- I find that to be the best thing about liberalism. A real liberal is somebody who advocates for someone less fortunate and privileged than himself. This is the great tradition of liberalism. I see limousine liberals as true, principled liberals.

  •  Really? (8+ / 0-)
    What I mean by this is not that there weren't advocates for populist ideas like protectionist trade policies, defending progressive taxation, raising the minimum wage to a living wage, or public works programs.

    That's quite an assumption.  This sounds like the cornerstone of the House Progressive Caucus.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 03:49:47 AM PDT

  •  "Instead of" ? ? (4+ / 0-)

    First, at the time you began calling yourself a progressive, I had no choice but calling myself a socialist or "new left" (referring to the Partisan Review of the 1950's and not of my own day), so I agree in general. In specific, though, it's not necessarily fair to say that the individual workers who went after teen pregnancy and went for condoms in the classroom were doing that "instead of" poverty remediation, but rather as a perceived path to poverty alleviation.

    If we take "liberal" as the belief in greater freedom, then there is no inherent failure in the movement, and what we want instead is not less freedom. If we take it as "amelioration of capitalism," then it has failed, although its failure is a mixture of half measures and a few legitimate screw ups.

    I just think that when we turn on our friends, we do our enemies a favor. It is important to change the conversation back to material, to the roots, to the basics. However, it's wrong, I think, to blame the honest workers in the fields of the lord for what the crows and weeds have done.

    Everyone is innocent of something.

    by The Geogre on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 03:52:27 AM PDT

  •  Why would anybody... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rebecca, ybruti

    want to impose a tariff on television?

  •  Is there a way to work this from the other end? (5+ / 0-)

    Instead of raising wages what if we were able to lower the cost of living?

    I could sure use a bigger paycheck, but I'd be equally happy if the amount of my current paycheck could cover my basic needs as it once did.

    I'm just asking whether lowering the cost of living might be more do-able than raising everyone's wages. Maybe that would be more daunting than the other way around, I don't know, I'm just asking.

    In other words, which would stand a better chance of becoming a reality, raising the minimum wage or regulating residential housing prices, as a for instance.

    Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

    by JTinDC on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 04:25:45 AM PDT

  •  Good diary but historical perspective missing (15+ / 0-)

    I agree wholeheartedly with the paucity of economic liberal values in modern liberalism. I also agree with their centrality in improving EVERYONE'S lives in the society. I do however think that you are inaccurate when you deal with the reasoning behind the liberal shift from economic to cultural issues.

    Liberals didn't suddenly just decide that they were going to forget its economic roots in favor of cultural issues - a conflict was set up between the traditional economic liberal (the blue collar white worker/farmer and the culturally oppressed minority). Its a schism that developed during the 1960s and was partly fueled by racism. Liberals, under the banner of the Democratic Party, had a choice to make, introduce civil rights or lose a great chunk of their white, working class base - people who were economic populists but not in favor of policies like integration and minority assistance. Many of those working class voters rejected liberalism.

    This was of course not the only factor but it is an important one.  

    The cave, the Matrix, America.

    by Grassee on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 04:36:59 AM PDT

    •  Civil rights and Buckley V Valeo (6+ / 0-)

      There was/is indeed a sizable segment of our paycheck-to-paycheck working brethren who resented the "preferences" perceived to be inherent in Civil Rights remedies, but there was no effort on the part of our "leaders" on the left to disabuse them of this notion or educate them on the moral and economic benefits of shedding the awful cloak of Jim Crow.

      The Rehnquist Court pushed back in 1976 against congressional oversight of the criminal enterprise known as the Nixon Administration, thereby brilliantly assuring both the left and right would have to kowtow to the oligarchs to survive politically.

      History will show Clinton and Obama merely did what had to be done (throw the left under the bus) in order to keep their jobs, in what can only be described as a sanctioned political system of graft - Citizens United being only the latest word from The "Supreme" Court that our founders meant to build an aristocracy to rule "we the people".

       

      "extravagant advantage for the few, ultimately depresses the many." FDR

      by Jim R on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 05:28:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Unions made some perception mistakes, too (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Grassee, esquimaux, Brooke In Seattle

      The union movement has been badly hurt by the perception that unions harm productivity (ex.: the only exposure company managers gets to union labor is at trade shows - where on display are sometimes the most ridiculous union rules).   Unions have done a poor job selling the need for unions anymore, and as government has shifted focus away from the working class, there is no one left to defend the value of higher wages.

      Working for government is no longer viewed as a higher calling.  Today it is the playground for people looking for power - a place rule instead of to serve.  This is because Congress has stopped being citizen representatives who are supposed to be the skeptics - of all leaders.

      West. No further west. All sea. -- Robert Grenier

      by Nicolas Fouquet on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 07:06:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tipped and rec'd (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rebecca, terabthia2, MKinTN

    In a self interest driven economy (aka capitalism), you need to make the system value society. This is a foreign concept to capitalism and it's no wonder we progressives fail at messaging in the USA.

    Our country is run by a bunch of greedy, egotistical slobs and for the most part, always has been. They don't care about the health of their society or their country. They only respond to incentives (this is taught not innate as classic-liberals or conservatives would have you believe). They only care that government helps them make more wealth and power.

    We live in a society where ALL institutions are being privatized. Media, art, education and even government went from having at least some public support to corporate conglomerates that  take public sector funds and privatize them.

    I agree with Happyrockefeller that liberals are terrible at messaging. But it is not a fortune cookie sized message and private sector toadies get to twist it on the way to the audience.

    -7.5 -7.28, Democratic Socialism...It's not just for Europeans.

    by Blueslide on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 04:51:48 AM PDT

  •  I Know the Tact I'd Take (16+ / 0-)

    Stolen Productivity.

    The Diarist notes the fifty-fold increase in productivity these past 60 years. I recall in my boyhood 50 years ago the forecasts of the future technology would bring us all, the possibility we wouldn't need to work more than 20 hours a week and we'd all live to be a hundred and that could have happened.

    Why didn't it?

    Because all that productivity, all that wealth, it ALL was captured by a relative handful of Americans, our very own Plutocracy, the top 400 families, the 1/10th of 1%. FDR's own "Economic Royalists". And it was the increasingly Radical Republican Party and the increasingly timid Democratic one that engineered and allowed it to happen.

    It can yet be turned around. Let this be our battle cry.

    "Who stole our future? We want and will take it back!"

    It can be done. People simply have to be told the truth. We do that one on one. Face to Face. From the local level on up. The media will never allow it so we must do an end run on the plutocracy's own propaganda machine. This is what is meant by "grassroots". Time to spread the news and set the growth into motion.

    That future can still be yours. It's too late for me and my generation. Bamboozled, we allowed our future to be stolen already but I work for what I know is right regardless. And that's all that it should take to motivate any decent person. You do it because you know it's right.

    Let's do it.

    "The rich will strive to establish their dominion and enslave the rest. They always did... they always will. . ." Governeur Morris

    by Dave925 on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 05:03:42 AM PDT

    •  If Lying To Steal can be marketed, WHY can't (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave925, Matt Z, happymisanthropy

      the "truth" be marketed?

      Unfortunately the kennedy school of government professional managerial dilettante types who run our "liberal" institutions can't GIVE water to thirsty people  - and the thugs make 'em pay into penury!

      Dilettantes have PROVEN themselves effective at preaching to the choir - little else. They certainly haven't figured out how to market the truth about the right wing liars.

      rmm.

      Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

      by seabos84 on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 05:58:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Failure is what? We have not returned to Leninism? (0+ / 0-)

    This was tried in the Soviet Union I believe.

    create a massive, public works program that gave every single American who was willing and able to work a decent, living wage job, we could transform American society in one generation.

    "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes." Ronald Reagan

    by Kvetchnrelease on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 05:07:19 AM PDT

    •  yes, it was tried (3+ / 0-)

      and was a great success.

      The Soviet system did not fail because of this.

    •  Not ALL Americans (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pot

      Just those who are out of work and can't find it in the private sector.

      Not ALL jobs, just public works.  You know, projects that require large capital outlays, are risky, and have a long period of slow returns.  That the private sector won't invest in absent massive opportunities for graft and padding.

      Like all our deteriorating physical infrastructure we've been neglecting while making damn sure that the free market rights of hedge fund managers and investment bankers to create fraudulent, wasteful, non-productive paper financial products remained unimpeded.

      Which side are you on?

      by wiseacre on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 06:40:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Leninism was neither Socialism nor Liberalism (0+ / 0-)

      Please Google 'NEP'.

      Leninism was state capitalism. Not really much different than our own economic system.

      "Superstition, idolatry, and hypocrisy have ample wages, but truth goes begging." - Luther

      by Cartoon Messiah on Sat Jun 11, 2011 at 05:57:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It was a tactical/strategic plan for revolution (0+ / 0-)

        with marxist socialism as its ultimate goal:

        The main task among a number of tasks, was to develop trade. Why? Because under the conditions of the NEP the bond between industry and peasant economy cannot be established except through trade; because under the conditions of the NEP production without sale is fatal for industry; because industry can be expanded only by the expansion of sales as a result of developing trade; because only after we have consolidated our position in the sphere of trade, only after we have secured control of trade, only after we have secured this link can there be any hope of linking industry with the peasant market and successfully fulfilling the other immediate tasks in order to create the conditions for building the foundations of socialist economy.http://www.marx2mao.com/...

        The Diarist advocates:

        Liberals have been working tirelessly to rescue society from the ruins of a failed, sociopathic, economic philosophy, wouldn't it have been wiser to defeat the failed economic philosophy instead? If, we were to simply create a massive, public works program that gave every single American who was willing and able to work a decent, living wage job, we could transform American society in one generation. The flaws in our economy are fundamental and require fundamental reform. The working people of this country are under attack. And if the left isn't willing to defend them, to fight for them, then who will? Government, especially at the state and federal level, should be a powerful instrument, but it should also be a blunt instrument.

        "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes." Ronald Reagan

        by Kvetchnrelease on Sat Jun 11, 2011 at 08:05:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  schools (12+ / 0-)

    Love this paragraph---

    Families with stable, secure incomes are happier, healthier, more productive, and much more able to deal with problems than families on the edge or over the edge of economic collapse. This isn't rocket science.

    As a retired teacher, I know how true this is--and how the thought has been denied.  To be crude--for effect--treat kids like shit, expect them to grow up to be shits.  I worked in ghetto NYC schools--and saw many of my students end up "away--in jail."  Liberals refused to admit a racial component to crime--refuse to use the word "ghetto"--refuse to force integration--refuse to get adequate funding--then wonder why they look weak.

    I'm old--if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.  Our poor children are bleeding--there is a racial component--keeping this quiet guarantees failure.  LBJ got this right--another Vietnam casualty.  

    Compensatory education is expensive, and the rewards are delayed--and no one shouts out for the children.  Disgusting.  Throwing money at problems is often the best strategy--was the best strategy--and then St Ronnie arrived.  The Dems and the AFL/CIO closed up shop--went over to the dark side.

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 05:11:57 AM PDT

  •  It feels like I've been waiting 40 years for that. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David PA

    Thank you, bless you, and best wishes for you and yours.

    Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

    by Just Bob on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 05:25:55 AM PDT

  •  I Really Disagree with This (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    icemilkcoffee, bruddaone

    Blaming the media, again:

    I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen someone advocating raising tariffs on television in the last 10 years. Indeed, the censorship of progressive economic ideas that were commonplace in our national discourse only 30 years ago is so extensive that one may rationally suspect that one of the primary functions of the establishment media is to censor progressive economic ideas.

    So after a while, what we ended up with was the rise of a "New Liberal" media establishment that is TV friendly and knows the rules. Talk all you want about identity politics, prayer in schools, and other cultural issues. You can even talk about poverty, jobs and outsourcing. But don't ever talk about raising tariffs. That's "protectionism." Don't talk about taxing the hell out of the rich. That's "class warfare". Don't talk about using the government to hire the unemployed for public works. That's "socialism."

    WHY do you and numerous others here believe it's "television's" job... it's mainstream media's job to educate the masses regarding important concepts and issues?!

    and why do you and numerous others here pretend old school television is the best way to educated people in the first place? why would you think that?

    "Television is chewing gum for the mind", someone once said.

    Television programming is mostly designed for very short attention spans.. designed to distract people from the issues you claim are important, and is designed to sell people shit they more or less really don't need-- but somebody with money wants to sell-- so that is what matters.

    people here are dullard-like when it comes to using NEW MEDIA; helloooooooooooo you're looking at it right now, combined with "old" media: art, literature and social events.

    whatever. keep clamoring for "television" to do the work that needs to be done-- and continue to see FAIL as the result.

    "I don't feel the change yet". Velma Hart

    by Superpole on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 05:28:20 AM PDT

  •  "The best argument against democracy... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nonprofit jim, icemilkcoffee

    ... is a five minute talk with the average voter."

    (Winston Churchill)

  •  Problem Is Oddly Enough "Meritocracy" (15+ / 0-)

    Let's go right for the head of the beast here:

    Robert Rubin's "Hamilton Project" of Wall St. Dems or the bigwigs of the big commercial and investment banks that currently dominate our economy.

    These institutions and businesses are lead by a very narrow demographic:

    Ethnic white boomers with working class, immigrant or second-generation parents, from the Northeast or Chicago, who rose to power through their own ability, on the backs of the inexpensive, high-quality, wide-access public education and social programs of the post-war period.

    They believe in one thing above all others:

    Meritocracy.

    Work hard, work well, work long ...

    And the rewards will be yours.

    Be "the best and the brightest" and yours is the Kingdom of Earth.

    The problem is:

    By definition, the best and brightest are small in number.

    And the public investment that allowed people like Robert Rubin or Jamie Dimon or John Mack or Larry Summers rise from relatively modest backgrounds to the top has been repealed.

    Besides:

    The American system is not supposed to be a meritocracy.  It's a democratic Republic.  This is not government or economy or society for the Best of the Best.  It's supposed to be for everyone.

    Tellingly, I read on Jared Bernstein's blog that "moral hazard" was a huge concern of the Obama administration and played a role in preventing the White House from proposing adequate stimulus spending and jobs programs.

    They didn't want to give money to people who don't deserve it.

    I think that this idea is at the heart of resistance among establishment Dems in talking about pocketbook issues.

    They don't think working people deserve help from government.

    After all, if we deserved it, we would have gotten it ourselves.

    Find me fast on Daily Kos by following me.

    by bink on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 05:37:12 AM PDT

    •  More (9+ / 0-)

      I think that people who staff the Obama White House believe that if you or I had simply worked as hard as they did -- we would be enjoying the same power, prestige and comfort that they do.

      This might make our elites feel mighty virtuous.

      But it's a really bad way to run a country.

      Find me fast on Daily Kos by following me.

      by bink on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 06:01:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  what is the basis of desert? (0+ / 0-)

      I don't see as how food, clothing, housing, health care, education, and human treatment from our criminal justice system depend on our choices for desert. We all deserve these things regardless of our choices. And since the majority of us don't have them, precious questions about whether we have free will or whether a CEO should be limited to 10 or 10,000 times the pay of her workers can be put off until we do.

    •  Moral hazard (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brooke In Seattle

      The vast majority of the discussions around "moral hazard"during the stimulus had to do with not incentivizing the banks to continue to make pooor decisions.  

      I'm not even sure Bernstein's passing remark relating to the effect from the homeower's perspective means what you and FDL think he means. Nor does he attribute moral hazard as being a huge cocern to the White House in the size of the stimulus or jobs programs.

    •  I would write it this way. (0+ / 0-)

      Since really about Reagan, business schools, consultstants, business and regular journalists, think tanks of verious sports, economic and self-help writers, and financial section in general has taught an idea which has infected large parts of America.

      Here is the idea:  there are only a small number of people who create all the means necessary for proft and productivity.  As a result, they deserve all the benefits. Stock price goes up, CEO and staff become rich--workers get nothing.

      This is why in many ways unions are hated.  Unions fundamentally argue for the value of labor and workers and demand a piece of the profits from increased productivity, etc.  The attack on teachers in many ways is about marginalizing their JOBS.  What they DO, what they CONTRIBUTE.  

    •  Geez, I hate that word! (0+ / 0-)

      The whole trip about what and who deserves -- to eat, to have housing, to have a decent life. Makes me wanna scream!

      And guess who they would choose to judge the deserving from the undeserving?

      Well, in fact, that's who we do have making those judgments, and a big reason we're in the trouble we are.

      Reality has a well-known liberal bias -- Stephen Colbert

      by ItsaMathJoke on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 02:32:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The failure of liberalism (3+ / 0-)

    Perhaps Liberalism's apparent failure is more due to it's transformation to an identity badge. Sort of like showing your drivers license to gain admission to the local disco, many now identify themselves as liberals/progressives as a quick way of establishing  themselves as tolerant, forward thinkers.
     Apparently the issues of their daily lives contain little simularity with those of the working class and poor. They are in effect, theoretical progressives.
    As for the direction of American Life? It seems that the  result of prosperity  in the end, is fear and apathy.
     

  •  I think you are off the ranch on this one. (6+ / 0-)

    It is not a failure of liberalism, it's a failure of democrats.  Its a failure of those who claim to be liberal yet embrace 80's style republican economics.  It's a failure of those who think the world revolves around what is happening in d.c., rather than what happens across america.  And it's a major failure to believe that social and economic issues are somehow seperate, and that helping one does not help the other.
       No, the real problem is a progressive/liberal base that always have leaders who are centrists.  Liberal economic ideas have long been thrown out of washington and replaced by ones that ultimately benefit those in washington.  We are sometimes thrown some crumbs to keep us from starving, and told we should be happy that we get anything.   We have an entire party attacking america but the battles are not being fought in d.c..  They are being fought on the local levels while dems in washington barely seem to register what is happening to this country.  Unfortunately democrats fail to grasp the idea of strong leadership and a need to fight even if you might lose.  Thus the "major" democratic players don't even step foot on the playing field.  
        Until 2010 I always considered myself a liberal and never a democrat.  With obama I saw hope that true liberal ideas might be put forth and given real recognition.
    Saidly like many other liberals we have seen only a president who is worried more about being in the center than  putting forth real leadership.  The problem with centrists is when you do not strongly believe in something you never have any reason to want to fight.  And once again democrats pretend not to notice and chastise and attack those who do.  No, the failure is not liberalism, it is a failure of a party ultimately not willing to rock the boat that they benefit being in.  

  •  Excellent diary (3+ / 0-)

    economic populism is the future of the Left.

    "It is, it seems, politically impossible to organize expenditure on the scale necessary to prove my case -- except in war conditions."--JM Keynes, 1940

    by randomfacts on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 05:47:43 AM PDT

  •  This essay could also be titled (5+ / 0-)

    "The Success of Conservatism." Conservatives have achieved every economic policy goal they've created over the past thirty years, often with the help of liberals. They are organized, ruthless, and determined. They mobilize supporters and engage liberals in open warfare via their social policies, a never ending mixed bag of racial, gender, and identity politics. They choose to lose those battles.

    Only now, the economic end game is in sight, and they've set their sights on winning social polices.

  •  professional managerial $ocial cla$$ is OUT of (6+ / 0-)

    touch with the bottom 75% of us, and the professional / managerial cla$$ is and has been the ...

    ha ha ha...

    "backbone" of Democratic "leadership" for a bunch of decades.

    From the Statistical Abstract of The United States, 2011, table 701, “Money Income of People ... 2008” .

    There were appx. 240,000,000 men and women over 15 with Money Income.
    There were appx. 24,000,000 with Money Income over $75,000.
    There were appx. 216,00,000 with Money Income UNDER $75,000.
    There were appx. 180,000,000 with Money Income UNDER $50,000.

    Of those who call themselves "Democrats" in that 24 million making over 75k a year, toooooooooo many think cuz they chat with their barista and their waitron they know what the lives of the barista and waitron are like - hell - maybe they were a waiter ... in college ... 20 or 30 years ago!

    The incessant nickel and dime sell outs to the right wing do NOT impact households with people making over 75K a year they way the nickel and dime sell outs impact people scrapping by on nickels and dimes.

    PERIOD. End of Story.

    Oh yeah - this is the "positive" reason too much of the liberal "leadership" is politically fucking incompetent against the right wing lying thieves -

    the REAL reason we peee-0ns get sold out so much is that too many of the DLC Neo Libs are just flat out duplicitous sell out scum.

    rmm.

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 05:48:36 AM PDT

  •  Great conversation (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Floande, srkp23, Bob Friend

    even the comments I disagree with.  We need this conversation.  Thanks for bringing it up Happy Rockerfeller.
    I wish I had more time to read, but I have to go to work.  

    Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man. Thomas Paine

    by Rebecca on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 06:01:25 AM PDT

  •  I'm much more "liberal" than most Democrats (0+ / 0-)

    .. espousing political viewpoints in the political sphere.

    Did you mean to type "premature sex" as opposed to "premarital sex" - Or am I just a libertine who finds the whole concept of connecting marriage and sexual relations pretty much as forward thinking as the bustle?

    An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics - Plutarch

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 06:08:26 AM PDT

  •  I'm in! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    daveUSA, bruddaone

    What should I do first?

  •  Amen!! (8+ / 0-)

    Wish I could rec your diary 100 times!!

    We're in a 30 year paradigm of neoliberal economics. The Grand Turning was 1978-80 with Prop. 13/Margaret Thatcher/Ronald Reagan. The whole idea of society taking care of itself was suddenly thrown out the window in favor of every-man-and-woman-for-himself-and-herself. The neoliberal model became permanently molded into society and positions that were once thought of as radical are now acceptable. The end result is a breed of Republicans who are so callous in their appeal of selfishness that I keep thinking I'm living in the Onion. I was hoping with the 2008 economic collapse and Obama's election that we'd FINALLY be getting out of this model. Sadly, I was mistaken. I'm a fan of Obama for the most part, but he clearly has not moved out of the corporatist model.

    We just cannot sustain this. We just can't. We can't have it both ways. We can't have our cake and eat it too.

  •  It's a failure of Democrats - frankly a large part (4+ / 0-)

    of progressive thinking on economics has been more or less totally vindicated by what has happened to the economy.  Indeed, a liberal solution to the unemployment crisis as you outlined above was the most sensible.  But as has been discovered, the powers that be simply don't buy into that.  They fought against larger stimulus and now are pivoting towards spending cuts.  

    I mean in 2011, nearly fifty years after his death, Martin Luther King's economic vision would STILL be seen as radical, communist craziness - perhaps even moreso than in the 60s.  

  •  Hands Clapping! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David PA, Just Bob, terabthia2, m00finsan

    First of all, Great Piece of Work!  Couldn't agree more with your thesis.  Might have titled it something other than the "Failure of Liberalism" though, since failure to me connotes game over, we lost.  But that's not what your piece is about.

    I too call myself a "Progressive" and have done so for as long as I can remember.  The term "Liberal" these days seems to stand exclusively for a social/cultural philosophy that now has a negative connotation in the minds of many Americans.  Certainly the right and the media hold most of the blame for the demonizing of the term, but as the author points out, our side was complicit in this outcome by not emphasizing the economic populist policies associated with the liberal philosophy.

    Anyway, I would point out that we made an attempt to resume campaigning on a mantle of economic populism, but for some inexplicable reason we once again abandoned that mantle soon after it had shown obvious signs of success.

    As you know during the period from 2005-2008, Howard Dean held a lot of power within the Democratic Party and of course held the Party's Chair in the run up to the 2008 elections.  His message was one of almost exclusively economic populism.  Furthermore, he not only used it to play defense, he took it on the road to play offense in red districts which the Dem. establishment (the old guard) said we had no chance to win and that Dean was just throwing away valuable party resources.  But Dean boosted these campaigns on a theme of economic populism that appealed directly to the "pickup truck owners" in the red districts.  

    So what was the political fruit born from Dean's strategy of economic populism?  We all know the answer.  We took control of the Presidency, the House and the Senate (the ultimate TRIFECTA!).  Now of course there were other reasons behind these victories, but I think it can be argued that the winning of seats in marginally red districts had a lot to do with campaigns which were conducted in those districts on "bread and butter" issues of economic populism.

    So after this great success, what happened?  Dean left the Party Chair, the old moderate guard came back and dumped Dean's whole strategy and we got the 2010 election result, WTF!  Now again, 2010 was not all related to the abandonment of Dean's plan, but I think a continued aggressive message of economic populism in the face of the Repugs. false demonetization of HCR would have helped at least blunt the 2010 result.

    Now as we are entering the 2012 election cycle with the top 1% and the banks getting richer, while the rest of us remain unemployed or underpaid while getting poorer, we find an electorate that is ripe for a message of economic populism.  The only question that remains is whether Democrats will aggressively deliver that message?

    "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

    by Doctor Who on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 06:15:45 AM PDT

  •  Tax the Rich (3+ / 0-)

    End the deficit

    My new bumpersticker.

    Hopefully it will cause some heartburn somewhere.

  •  Wow, I can't recommend this diary highly enough. (4+ / 0-)

    I believe that full employment through massive public works should be the central goal of the progressive movement and ultimately the Democratic Party. I'm really glad to see this at the top of the rec' list. Let's build some sustained momentum behind this on DK.

  •  Wish I could rec this (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David PA, Just Bob, terabthia2, bruddaone

    a million times.  You have taken progressive philosophy and laid it all out in one simple diary.

  •  Really a helpful essay -- hope you do more along (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Just Bob, ActivistGuy

    the same lines.

    The lack of "vision" on what passes for the left in politics has long bothered me. Instead of a grand vision of the Future to work toward, "the left" has been conducting one holding action after another to preserve something of the status quo ante against the depredations of the R barbarians who long ago got inside the gates.

    All the "revolutionary" energy has long been on the R side of the equation. Surprisingly enough, that's how they get their agenda (somewhat) popularized and enacted. It does take energy and belief, and Ls haven't really had that since Carter, if not since Johnson. But without a vision for the Future, it's really hard to work up the energy and enthusiasm necessary to get it done.

    Desperately holding on to the increasingly inadequate present (especially on matters of human rights and economic/social justice), while fussing here and there around the margins of cultural issues is hardly the recipe for successful implementation of what truly needs to be done to raise the People up rather than continue to beat them down.

    But that's all we're going to get from Liberals in the captive political system -- and from its media courtiers.

    So we need to go outside it like so many have done before us. Liberal Populist progress needs to grow from within the People not be imposed upon them.

    Hope you keep writing on this very important topic.

    --felix

  •  Extending the Bush tax cuts (7+ / 0-)

    was a seditious act perpetrated by Republicans and Democrats of all political stripes working in collusion (Al Franken, you make me want to puke). Those tax cuts should be repealed immediately, either by special congressional action or by an executive order issued for the sake of national defense. This should be done now, today. Geithner and Bernanke should be fired. Rupert Murdoch should be stripped of all US media holdings. Nuclear power plant constructionshould be stopped. Decentralized wind and solar power should be financed here the way it is ain many other countries (Germany, e.g.). Bullet-train infrastructure should be a national priority carried out in the name of defense, the way Ike pushed through the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s. Bill McKibben should stop whining and start a new political party -- hey, this is just the tip of the iceberg of my wish list for this country. What's yours?

  •  This is a staggering essay, and I'd like to add (5+ / 0-)

    That I think the movement you are looking for is in its infancy right now, but it is happening, it is going to happen, and it is going to succeed.

    I put up a diary about a year, maybe 2 years ago.  Having watched the GOP become more and more extreme each year, I believe they as a party are in their death throes.  They are no longer actively seeking new adherents; instead they are litmus-testing candidates right out of the party with the most insane, extremist positions they can come up with.  

    The end-game of this is either the US populace capitulates to this extremist way of thinking and we turn into a third-world shithole, or we repudiate this extremist way of thinking and the GOP goes down in flames with Palin and the Tea Party spraying gasoline on it as it goes.

    The GOP has made it a stark and unavoidable choice this year: either it's their way, or the highway.  Given how many outraged Americans are standing up to this bullshit, I think the GOP is going to be put to the highway.  They have not just campaigned for 2012 on extremism (like they used to), they have actually begun making those extremist ideas into policy.  They've as a party signed on to ending Medicare, and Social Security.  They've affirmed those votes in Congress.  In the states, their extremist governors have been actively pursuing corrupt, hurtful, punitive policies that benefit no one, add no jobs, and improve nothing.  They give a rush of satisfaction to hateful fucks who want to see people suffer.  Once that hateful rush has passed, people who signed onto it may begin to notice that nothing has really changed for the better.  For them, or anyone else.

    We have to bludgeon them down with those extremist votes and policies.  We have to do it hurtfully, rudely, loudly, assertively, and with much vigor.  We have to take this shit sandwich these people think they can serve us, and we have to cram it back down their throats, on fire.

    Or we're going to lose this country.  I don't think it's much of a question that they will go down in 2012, and they will go down hard.  The facade of the Teabaggers is gone.  We know they're just a bunch of bitter old racist pricks now.   2012 is going to be the beginning of an unknowable period of decay for the GOP.  I do not think there are enough sane voices left in the Republican Party to rescue it from its insanity.

    That is going to leave a power vacuum.  The Democrats are already compromised by so many stupid conservative ideas . . . Obama can hardly look left without being called a communist, fascist and terrorist all at once.  They're captives of the beltway Village, the media, and all of the self-reinforcing institutions that are dedicated to keeping a few fat hogs at the trough in this country.  So at the end of this process, which I think is happening more and more rapidly all the time, the Democrats will once again be the conservatives, and a new liberal party will form to the left of them.  It used to be that people given a choice between a Democrat acting like a Repubican and a real Republican they'd choose the real thing every time -- but after the Medicare cancellation and the NUMEROUS and VERY UNPOPULAR GOP governors basically looting their states dry, I don't think that "default safe choice" thing that the GOP has relied on for decades is going to work anymore.

    I think they're fucked.  And I think the renaissance of liberalism is already happening.  Look at the huge network of liberal news and communication and coordination that is already springing up to combat the Teabagger nonsense.  That demographic, that organization, that groundswell is going to grow and either the politicians can get out in front of it, or get left behind.  

    Just in case you forgot today: REPUBLICANS VOTED TO END MEDICARE. AND THEY'LL DO IT AGAIN.

    by slippytoad on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 06:44:16 AM PDT

  •  what you describe (0+ / 0-)

    is not a failure of liberalism per se, it is a failure of the media.  In their mad pursuit to follow Foxaganda's "fair and balanced" tripe, they have failed to be either fair or balanced.  Rather than practice journalism they now practice pro-corporate propaganda, as you alluded to.  This is not a failure of liberalism, other than the fact that liberalism's defenders have failed to generate a media outlet that can effectively compete with corporate propagandists.

  •  Imagine if Obama had done what he promised. (3+ / 0-)

    No political movement can survive betrayal.  Electing people who say one thing and then do the opposite.

    Had Obama kept to his campaign promises and accomplished the modest incremental goals he campaigned on, the discussion would be about the success of "liberalism" in the US.

    Strong public option that 120,000,000 American's would be joining in droves shifting US health care to a functional European system. ($800B a year economic boost with reduced health care costs to 100's of millions strapped consumers)
    .
    Passage of energy/climate bill with cuts to US oil consumption (and $500B oil trade deficits and $500B oil war costs) and reduction in greenhouse gases.

    Ending the Bush tax cuts, refinancing US economy and government. Killing the GOP's phony deficit war on Social Security and Medicare.

    In fact, liberalism did succeed in the 2008 election. It was betrayed by Obama with his team of Summers, Geitner and Duncan, all subjects  of recurrent DKOS diaries on the bad policies they propose and Obama promotes.

    Liberalism is about fact based policies, science and technology have a liberal bias as does justice and equality.  That may or may not win but it's always the right thing to do and blaming rational thought for political betrayal or electoral cupidity is not useful or factual.

    •  And don't forget the EFCA. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BuzzLightyear235

      The Employee Free Choice Act was a mild, mild attempt to level the playing field for labor against the wall of corporate opposition.  He promised he would support it.  He didn't.

      If a carpenter built a cabin for poets, I think the least the poets owe the carpenter is just three or four one-liners on the wall. Mike Lefevre - steelworker

      by Bob Friend on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 12:04:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  military industrial complex (5+ / 0-)

    Nothing progressive is possible at a Federal level without a sea change in the amount of money spent/wasted on armaments. Transitioning even some of the big ticket weapons systems towards whichever greenish buzzword industry(s) would stop the cash bleeding, stimulate the economy and [sustainable .... etc ...]

    Pushing this issue in the House elections next year would expose the deficit peacocks as the frauds they are, amphibious tanks and Afghanistan is where the money is actually going, and begin the process of breaking through the serious people group think by taking the debate directly to the American people. The problem is it probably won't get anybody elected. America is addicted to oil and defense spending and, while a detox off oil could be stimulative and less painful than a worse case scenario, a detox off the military industrial complex is probably not politically possible.

    shine perishing republic

    If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

    by jgnyc on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 07:02:58 AM PDT

  •  I think we should stop using the word liberalism (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David PA, randomfacts, zett

    I think we should stop using the word liberalism to refer to progressivism. It's just too confusing. Most everywhere outside of America, the word basically means what we once was called Rockefeller Republicanism, and is usually used as a synonym for “the right”.

    I personally like the term “democratic socialism” or just plain “progressivism” much better than “liberalism”.

    I think part of the Democratic Party's doldrums have to do with the same confusion over ideology that we have over terminology. We literally don't know what it means to be a Democrat! There is no theory underlying our party. This is becoming a larger and larger problem for us, I believe.

    •  Nah... (0+ / 0-)

      ...I like "liberalism" just fine, thanks. :) Just because it's been bashed for the past 30 years doesn't mean we have to abandon it. I'm wearing it like a badge of pride! :)

    •  It's we who are confused (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wiseacre

      Republicans = lower taxes, less government, strong defense

      Democrats= are we liberals or neo liberals or progressives or maybe a litlikekmbal kRDAFJ;LKA SFDJ;alA SEikhjS :lkjdfn;l  ksLKJL LLlkjdf lkadff lkajdflaksdjfla isejflk'lsak sje'filJLR KME blah blah blah.

      "It is in the shelter of each other that the people live." -- Irish Proverb

      by Our Man in Twisp on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 11:13:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Double-edged sword (0+ / 0-)

    The emphasis you put on money is well-founded, of course, but similar, if not the same, considerations were what gave rise to corporatist Democrats.  Business is, after all, where the money in America is.

    Stupid is as stupid elects.

    by TheOrchid on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 07:17:50 AM PDT

  •  This diary plainly states (5+ / 0-)

    what I have been thinking most of my life, but have not been able to state so simply.

    While liberals have been working tirelessly to rescue society from the ruins of a failed, sociopathic, economic philosophy, wouldn't it have been wiser to defeat the failed economic philosophy instead?

    To take a riff off of one of my favorite DKos user names: It's complex if you ignore the simplicity.

    Pionta Guinness, le do thoil!

    by surfbird007 on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 07:24:45 AM PDT

  •  Well said, Thanks! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terabthia2
    If the American left doesn't fight head on the neoliberal/conservative economic pillaging underway, and reclaim the economic mantle for all Americans, even the smelly, redneck ones, then you can kiss this country good bye.

    The most nefarious part of whoever really founded the "Tea Party" is the pandering to the fear of otherwise decent folks. As a strategy it was brilliant, recruit folks who might benefit the most from an economic democracy and turn them into an army that will "patriotically" protect oligarch's interests.

    Our fellow citizens are now pulling apart "big government" mindlessly and not asking themselves critical questions about "Big Insurers" or "Big Bankers" or any other "Big" that effects their lives way more intimately than the government does.

    These are the folks we need to reach in some way, cut through the crap they're fed and speak with them practically about what is really going on.

  •  the policy proscriptions you identify (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Friend

    are exactly what we need.

    And people would support them.

    Which is why it was crucial to have someone like Obama in office to help keep things going in the "right" direction.

    Obama divides the core constituencies which could lead a wave of true change - and this division is maintained as a means to keep real change from occurring.

    If a Rethuglican were in office, it would be far easier to go on the offense.

    Which is why we have Obama.

    And which is why Wall Street will make damn certain the GOP nominates a crazy / idiot for their ticket.  

    If Obama loses re-election, the risk of a united economic driven popular backlash is too high.

    Wall Street needs progressives & activists divided.

    FDR said, "I welcome their hate!" Obama referred to them as "Savvy Businessmen". Any questions?

    by Johnathan Ivan on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 07:40:03 AM PDT

  •  Right question, wrong answer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David PA
    Yes, let's do end the welfare state. If, we were to simply create a massive, public works program that gave every single American who was willing and able to work a decent, living wage job, we could transform American society in one generation.

    . . .

    You want to see a reduction in teenage pregnancies, high school drop-outs, spousal abuse, divorce, drug addiction, illiteracy, inner city crime, and suicide rates? Put America to work. There are correlations of varying degrees between every one of the social problems I just listed and poverty.

    Families with stable, secure incomes are happier, healthier, more productive, and much more able to deal with problems than families on the edge or over the edge of economic collapse. This isn't rocket science.

    I could not agree more that a lack of work is at the root of nearly all of our societal ills, but the problem is that the solution that you propose hasn't been shown to work anywhere that it has been tried. In fact, it's failed everywhere that it's been tried, starting with, yes, FDR's work programs which did not end the Great Depression, through the failed Communist experiments, still in their dying throes in Cuba and North Korea, through the Southern European welfare states that are now facing austerity and/or bankruptcy, through Japan's "Lost Decade" of failed attempts to public works itself out of stagnation in the 1990's, and on up to the present utter and complete failure of Obama's nearly one trillion dollar stimulus to keep unemployment below 8% as promised.

    It doesn't fuckin' work. There's a simple reason that it doesn't work: government jobs do not create wealth, they just reallocate it. That's fine for the purpose of meeting other goals besides economic prosperity and full employment. If we as a society want to reallocate a portion of our wealth in order to build infrastructure, or educate our kids, or care for the poor, or fight our enemies, then that's great -- we should by all means do so. But don't try to pretend that you can endlessly and infinitely do that without "eating your seed corn", so to speak. Eventually, as they say, "you run out of other people's money".

    Ultimately, I think history has shown fairly clearly that the only way you get anything approaching actual full employment (as opposed to Communist drudgery, i.e. mass forced labor) on a sustained basis is with a successful, growing, prospering private economy. Somehow new wealth has got to be created in order to expand the pie, and provide more work, rising wages, more prosperity, and you only expand the pie by innovating and creating new ways to combine labor and capital in order to create wealth. If government was capable of doing that, then we'd all be very wealthy Soviets right now. But it's not, so we're not.

    The whole world has already seen in stark relief what societies that try to rely on government jobs to bring about prosperity look like. Think South Korea versus North. Hong Kong/Taiwan and the old China. The new China and the old China. Russia versus the Soviety Union. Thailand or Burma. Puerto Rico or Cuba. Western Europe or Eastern Europe under Communism. The U.K. in the 1970's, or the U.K. in the 2000's.

    Now, I do think that there are reasonable arguments to be had as to exactly how we go about creating a prosperous private economy. There's a very good argument that a substantial public investment in infrastructure, education and health care is essential to establishing the foundations of a successful, 21st century private economy. Others still maintain that high taxes and economic growth are simply incompatible, so if people want more of those things, let the private sector provide them.

    But you are right -- there are very few left who still believe against all evidence that government jobs create sustainable economic prosperity. But it's for good reason -- it sounds good in theory, but in practice it doesn't really work.

    •  The trend of wealth in hands of fewer is what (6+ / 0-)

      needs to be reversed. We're headed for third world country status without a more democratized tax structure. Many pieces have pointed out that the last time the economy was this stagnant, the 30s, wealth was concentrated in so few.

      Only by getting the middle class believing in itself again and seeing real economic gains and more employment (agree from the private sector more than public) will things change. Investing in infrastructure through public works along with populist rhetoric would stoke the economy fire that is now slow dying.

      There are ways to put more people to work - both public and private. The diarist is right that this is what is needed more than anything - putting more people to work. (Better Middle Class earnings would help a lot too. ) We're not doing that in earnest yet. There are only faint movements that way so far.

    •  unfortunately (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      m00finsan, David PA, happymisanthropy

      Capitalism is, as predicted, running out of steam and eating its own guts for fuel, which makes the entire paradigm of "govt. jobs v. private-industry jobs" itself the wrong paradigm for understanding the crisis.

      You could say that the Western economy—not just in the United States but in Western Europe also—entered into a period of crisis in the mid-1970s. So for forty years there has been, not exactly stagnation, but very low levels of growth compared to the period right after the Second World War. Of course, there has been a lower level of technological development in this period than there was in the past. But this is largely due to the fact that there has been less money to invest. You could say if they had gigantic quantities of money available, companies today could probably develop solar power. After all, they have to find some substitute for fossil fuels. They say that it’s too expensive—but it’s too expensive because there isn’t sufficient capital to invest in the production of new forms of energy. To say that it’s too expensive is simply another way of saying that capital is not generating quantities of profit sufficient for developing new technologies. The problem isn’t that there aren’t enough scientists in the world, or enough mathematicians or solar workers. The problem is that they don’t have enough money. That also explains why, even with the existing technology, they’re not able to employ millions of people in Asia, Africa and Latin America. There simply is not enough money to continue at the given scale of investment. So it’s easy to blame this on a kind of failure of science, but that’s not the problem. The engineers are there, the science is there. The problem is that nobody has the money to invest in it, and that is a failure of capitalism to generate enough profit to continue its expansion.

      At least that's one pretty rigorous analysis, even if it's unlikely to get on "Meet the Press."

      "The Economic Crisis in Fact and Fiction"

      •  Judging by the excerpt (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        David PA

        "rigorous" is not the way I would describe that analysis. The idea that there has not been money to invest in capitalism is just preposterous. The development of Asia and Latin America occurred at a scale and pace never before seen in human history, with hundreds of millions of people moved from feudal poverty to modern middle-class in a matter of decades, as opposed to the centuries that it took to accomplish the same thing in Europe and North America.

        Solar power is not attracting investment because carbon-based fuels are still way less expensive.

        •  love to hear your response to the whole essay (0+ / 0-)

          Maybe as a diary? Could be a productive dialogue.

          •  I'll give it a shot, don't have lots of time (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Swill to Power

            to work with.

            •  I heard that (no time edition) (0+ / 0-)

              Just thought it would be nice to get an actual dialectical engagement with an actual Left political analysis of the situation (by rigorous, I wasn't referring just to the writer I quoted, but to the rather large and global Left critique of political economy -- a perspective basically shut out entirely from conversations both in corporate media and even around here, where proud "Liberals" would have been considered very, very conservative in the U.S. a half a century ago)

              •  OK, I took a look at it (0+ / 0-)

                I still think it's not rigorous. I think he's correct in that Keynes has been proven wrong; you can't eliminate the business cycle by scientifically applying government spending at the appropriate moments. Government spending does not contribute to the capitalist economy. It detracts from it. Which is worthwhile if it is to meet other goals, i.e. food, clothes, shelter, education and health care for those who need it. But it's not something that you do if you want to stimulate economic growth and thus jobs.

                But where I differ from what Mattick is that he makes a fundamental error in assuming that all of the wealth around us that we enjoy (albeit incredibly unequally) is "there for the taking" and should be seized by the people if they can't get it legally through the capitalist economy. It's very myopic to imagine that all of those things came to be (and would continue to exist) were it not for private property rights, and a system of law and government that protects them.

                •  I imagine he would reply... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...that it's very myopic to imagine that other, more equitable systems of cooperative governance and political economy wouldn't arise to replace the current one, which is manifestly a disaster -- heck, let's call it disaster capitalism -- for most of the world and much of the country. Whether that new system would provide the U.S. with its current gated-community lifestyle, predicated upon the grotesque exploitation of human and natural resources, well, that's a different question.

                  I suppose one might feel slightly less sanguine about the situation -- and slightly less scared of a revolutionary change -- if one were picking through computer graveyards in Ghana so I can afford an extra latte per day and a new iPad2. Perhaps not.

                  •  It's kind of like that Churchill quote . . . (0+ / 0-)
                    "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

                    The same could probably said of capitalism. Yeah, it sucks, but not worse than all of the alternatives that have been tried as of yet. Yes, it's possible that there are still other alternatives that have not been tried, that we can "imagine" providing more people with a better quality of life, but the track record on previous attempts is just not good at all.

                    And calling it a "disaster" is just silly. As I stated above, hundreds of millions of people, maybe at this point over a billion, have been moved out of poverty and into a comfortable middle-class existence through the capitalist system just in the past thirty years. Very few of them would voluntarily return to the poverty of their forefathers.

    •  Not the 'FDR did not end Great Depression thing (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rei, dww44, pot

      again. FDR most definitely reversed the unemployment trend, saved the banking industry, turned around the stock market. What exactly do you mean by it 'didn't work'? What? FDR didn't reignite the bubble economy of the late 20's?

      Also- the country achieved full employment by ~1942 or so. Don't forget WWII was the New Deal on Steroids. WWII was pretty much a socialist economy with real government control of the production and rationing of a lot of basic goods. And guess what, socialism worked! Socialism won the war too.

      Same with your assertion than Obama's (very limited - almost half of that was tax cuts) stimulus didn't work. It managed to turn the economy around from losing ~700,000 jobs per month to generating 100,000 jobs a month. How is that not working? It turned the stock market completely around. You know what didn't work? Unregulated Wall St capitalism. That didn't work. That failed spectacularly in 2008. It failed here. It failed in the UK. It failed in Iceland. It failed in  Ireland.

      The modern practice of Keynesian economics is to use to government stimulus to fill in the valleys of the economic cycle. Not to have it as a permanent crutch for the economy. As such I think it has a definite role to play.

      •  FDR came into office in 1933 (0+ / 0-)

        the Depression did not end until 1942. That's 8-9 years in office. No President since has been re-elected with even 8% unemployment, not to mention double digits. It was an epic failure that resulted in untold suffering for millions.

        The issue with Obama coming in with 700,000 a month in job losses and the reducing that to +100,000 is a canard that's just unprovable. We've had major downturns before, and (since the Depression) they were never this sustained. Things turned around more quickly, and headed north more quickly. Without one trillion dollar stimulus packages. So who's to say whether sans the stimulus things wouldn't have turned around more quickly, and more sharply? It's a counterfactual scenario that we could argue all day and night about and never come to a resolution.

        I don't necessarily oppose Keynesianism per se. I think it makes sense for the government to borrow and invest more during economic downturns, and then try to get back into balance during upturns. I just think it's very unrealistic to imagine that you can create economic prosperity through government spending. That doesn't happen. More realistic is just to cushion some of downturns in the natural business cycle.

        •  Who is to say whether sans the stimulus .... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dww44, defluxion10, pot

          Obviously nobody could know what would have happened if there was no stimulus.  All we could say is there was an improvement (albeit slow) in the economy since the stimulus started.

          By the way, FDR came into office in 1933, but the Great Depression actually started in 1929. So we have a solid history of what happened in those 3 years of do nothing laissez faire. Guess what- ? do nothing laissez faire completely failed in those 3 years as the stock market crash turned into the Great Depression. So we know that that approach doesn't work. We also know tax cuts don't work because GW Bush did his own stimulus act in 08 (lots of conservatives forget about this) which consisted entirely of tax rebates, and it didn't do a damn thing. We also know that austerity doesnt work because we have two living examples of austerity in the form of Ireland and Greece at this moment.

          •  Laissez faire doesn't quite capture the (0+ / 0-)

            whole picture. There was the Smoot-Hawley tariff act, which was obviously huge. The Federal Home Loan Bank Act. The Revenue Act of 1932, a massive tax increase. Emergency Relief and Construction Act. Reconstruction Finance Corporation.

            Herbert Hoover does not exactly go down in history as a Reaganite Conservative.

            •  GW's "stimulus" was peanuts (0+ / 0-)

              compared to the Obama stimulus. Austerity is not really a policy; it's what you do when you can no longer borrow enough money to fund your existing social programs.

            •  The tax increase was in 1932 (0+ / 0-)

              The actual tax revenue would not have kicked in until 1933. There had already been over 2 solid years of depression by 1932 already. So that can't be the cause of it. Also the tax rate remained that high throughout the recovery in the 30's. So it didn't hamper the recover neither. Nor was that tax rate unprecedented. It was higher in the post WWI era, and higher in the WWII era.

              In fact, the low tax rate of 1929 was coincident with the stock market crash. So you could argue that low tax rate=> stupid investments.

              As to the tariffs- there was probably some effect on the Great Depression. However keep in mind that the portion of the american economy that was foreign trade related was very small at the time. The american GDP contracted by over 50% dring the Depression. Whatever negative effects the Smoot Hawley act had, it wasn't the cause of the Great Depression.

              Anyways the original argument was whether government job creation worked or not. Here we have the Hoover approach- which was to do nothing until way late in the game (the Emergency Relief Act wasn't even passed until Jul 1932), and as a result the Great Depression got worse and worse. Whereas FDR championed government job creation from day one, and as a result the unemployment situation and the GDP turned around right away and improved year after year until full employment took hold. One approach worked. The other approach didn't work.

          •  Whoops (0+ / 0-)

            GW's "stimulus" was peanuts compared to the Obama stimulus. Austerity is not really a policy; it's what you do when you can no longer borrow enough money to fund your existing social programs.

          •  There are also other alernatives to stimulus (0+ / 0-)

            however. Stiglitz had it right when he recommended nationalizing the banks. That's exactly what should have been done.

            There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

            by upstate NY on Sat Jun 11, 2011 at 12:20:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  yep, living wages, worker participation, unionism (0+ / 0-)

      and progessive taxes, along with strong anti-trust laws and consumer friendly controls on banking and wall street would be much better than a masive government run make-work jobs program.

      Also a larger estate tax system to prevent the accumulation of generational wealth retention and recycle wealth back into the economy would be needed for the capitalism you discribe to work and still sustain a thriving middle class of workers.

       Without those things vigorously enforced the basic fact that money attracts money will soon put us back in the bad place we find ourselves today.

      America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

      by cacamp on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 04:24:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Right on! (0+ / 0-)

    I have been waiting to read these thoughts in print. Thank you and keep up what you are doing.

  •  yes, the diff betw R and D is Ds say they believe (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Just Bob, Swill to Power, m00finsan

    in reproductive rights.  They have sold us out to the richest bidder just like the Rs.

    Howard Dean inspired me to think that we could change the Democratic party.

    The DLC or whatever they call themselves are back in charge.

    i will keep voting for the lesser of 2 evils.

    One person who I felt represented my frustration, anger etc. turns out to be a weirdo who thinks he is sexy.  Geez can I please have some representation?

  •  To Paraphrase Theodosius Dobzhansky (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Just Bob, LillithMc, bink
    Nothing in our society makes sense except in the light of economic security.

    Cultural issues are only a sideshow, a red-herring meant to distract, unless people have security; in their finances, in their health, and in opportunities by merit.  Insecurity creates a populace that is easily manipulated

    Right now, I am a liberal who cannot care any less about social issues because economic insecurity, caused by myriad policies generated through neoliberal masturbatory speculation, is corrosive to our commonweal.  We are in political crisis because of degenerate economic policy and things will get no better until we return to liberal economic governance.

    We may not be Victorian London, but here is what neoliberals would make of the world (From Sweeney Todd):

    There's a hole in the world like a great black pit
    and the vermin of the world inhabit it
    and its morals aren't worth what a pig could spit
    and it goes by the name of London.
    At the top of the hole sit the privileged few
    Making mock of the vermin in the lonely zoo
    turning beauty to filth and greed...
    I too have sailed the world and seen its wonders,
    for the cruelty of men is as wonderous as Peru
    but there's no place like London!

    Distrust of authority should be the first civic duty. - Norman Douglas

    by Fossil on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 08:08:33 AM PDT

  •  By God, this diary is magnificent! (4+ / 0-)

    You speak for me and do it very well.

  •  Have been lurking since 2001 (11+ / 0-)

    this is probably the third or forth comment i've posted. But this is the best damn diary I have read on this site in a while. If only...

    The workers are more powerful with their hands in their pockets than all the property of the capitalists

    by KnuttyDem on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 08:36:38 AM PDT

  •  You make great points (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terabthia2, m00finsan, dww44, bruddaone

    Here is the other (unpopular) point that others won't agree with me on: Identity politics has led large swaths of the White working class to assume that the Democrats are either indifferent or hostile to their issues. They think the Democrats want to use their precious tax dollars to fund social welfare programs that reward and enable pathological and irresponsible lifestyle choices.

    •  That is what swathes of white working class (0+ / 0-)

      think.  I know, I'm a member of said class.  The thing is, how to display care for white working class issues and for the issues of non-whites and women without losing the former?

      Improving economic reality in general will improve life for all races because, as Chris Rock said, what is called black culture is really poverty culture.  The question is, how to gain justice for brown people without losing the white people?

      •  I really don't know (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        m00finsan, MrWebster, zett

        Whites view it as a zero-sum game. They hear all these talks about "social justice", but believe that the liberal concept of "social justice" applies to everyone but them.

        •  You are right. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zett, bruddaone

          Your point showed itself when Obama knocked the Cambridge cops over their treatment of Gates.  While it is true the police have been brutal on cops, it is also true that they have been brutal toward whites with no power, connection or voice.  

          Over and over I read on many sites the following: cops are racist toward African Americans and would never treat a white person in that way.  I remember on youtube were many visuals of cops abusing whites including tazering a white grandmother.

          It became an issue not of unchecked police power and police brutality and the emerging prison state, but it was solely only a "black issue" and Obama was defending his own.

          The gop is openly the party of white people or "white nationalism".  Is it any wonder aggrieved white people turn toward the demogogues who speak openly to them even though  those demogogues only wish for a state with more power over disenchranised whites.

          •  The problem here is that many liberals (0+ / 0-)

            automatically assume that, because whites will suffer Driving While Black, they are all "privileged". But a white family where two parents barely make ends meet, can't afford good healthcare, have to struggle to afford college, and so forth wouldn't consider themselves "privileged".

            There are lots of Whites who don't have the keys to the Executive Washroom. They don't have friends who can get them into Yale or other elite colleges and universities. Yet, according to many liberals, they are "advantaged".

  •  I'm disappointed in some of the comments (7+ / 0-)

    Happy Rockefeller did a very brave thing in posting this essay to dkos.

    This is neither an attack nor an obituary. It's a prescription.

    Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

    by Just Bob on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 09:23:20 AM PDT

  •  Dylan Ratigan advocates tariffs all the time. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bruddaone

    But few people on this board watch his show, and when they do, they write diaries about how horrible he is.

    Yes, he had on idiotic Andrew Breitbart and a couple of other loons, but his economic ideas are good ones.

    He talks all the time about the six industries that have captured our economic regulators in a stranglehold, and advocates getting out of NAFTA and CAFTA and all the trade agreements that are just screwing this country.

    But if there's one thing the right and left seem to be able to agree on, sadly, it's that they don't want tariffs and they cling to the trade agreements even as we drown in them. The left says it's advancing poor countries and the right says it's communistic to have an industrial policy that protects our own countrymen and women.

    Until we can put aside some of our differences and fight back against those in power who only want to step on regular people in their climb to the top, we are doomed.

    Sadly, I don't see that we can ever do that. Our positions, as espoused by our elected officials, are too entrenched.

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 09:55:40 AM PDT

  •  America has never elected a liberal President (0+ / 0-)

    JFK, Carter and Clinton all defeated liberals in the democratic primaries and the party veered rightward each time they did. LBJ passed some liberal social legislation and began what the diarist decrys, conservative economics covered up by liberal social policies. Even FDR only turned leftward later in his presidency when the depression forced America to turn its back on the robber baron type of government and unions were ascendant. Unions being acendant being the key to liberal governance.

    Liberal power has always resided in the bureaucracy within the government. Many of the administrations mentioned above staffed their executive branches with people educated in liberal universities which had specific programs to educate government workers. Thus liberals permeated the halls of congress and the more important bureaucracy in the Cabinet level depaartments of government.  

    Liberal aides to Congressmen and Senators wrote the legislation and liberal bureaucrats wrote the rules and implimentent it all. In that way when democrats were in charge liberal things happened even when the president himself wan't so liberal.

    The GOP recognized this phenomenon and have spent decades working to change it. When I lobbied in the early 1970's there really was a liberal bastion in government bureaucracy. Under Reagan they began to purge liberals and it went on under every GOP administartion until Bushjr counted final coup and made government a bastion of unliberal thinking.

    America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

    by cacamp on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 10:01:11 AM PDT

  •  This is true and has always been true - (0+ / 0-)

    and as long as the people making money out of turning America into a 3rd world country own the media, it will continue to be a liberal pipedream.  Our country is now so crazy that one of my fellow J.P.s on the Quorum Court said, not just with a straight face but as if it were the fact so compelling that I should immediately agree with him, that since times are tough and there are so many unemployed people we shouldn't, as local government, use tax dollars that we have to hire people to build and run the animal shelter we need.  (Needless to say, I hope, I still voted for the animal shelter.)

  •  outstanding diary, this comment is so spot on (6+ / 0-)
    Indeed, the censorship of progressive economic ideas that were commonplace in our national discourse only 30 years ago is so extensive that one may rationally suspect that one of the primary functions of the establishment media is to censor progressive economic ideas.

    We are taught to disdain conspiracy theory. Such disdain is often very, very strong here.

    Who and what is protected when we all shy way from looking at the evidence? Not the public interest, that's for sure.

    Get cynical Kossacks. Your wildest imagination barely scrapes the surface of what the elites are really up to.

    For example, when the gov't and industry tell you not to worry about the radiation or the oil volcano, remember that the gov't and industry are underplaying the problem by one or two orders of magnitude.

    That's where we are today folks.

    “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.” – Einstein (1946)

    by Earth Ling on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 10:02:06 AM PDT

  •  Tony' Judt's "Ill Fares the Land" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dww44

    Should be more widely read. Judt's book was a call very similar to this diary.

    Except he wasn't afraid of being a democratic socialist. Social democracy works. And it is the modern face of socialism. I wish American leftists would stop this silly dance around the word.

    Democratic socialism works. Let me say it again, a different way.

    Social democracy works.

  •  Liberal Intellectual Vacuum (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trinityfly, Our Man in Twisp, dww44

    You won't find a more stinging critic of the American left than Chris Hedges, and in this article he defines one of the underlying causes for the deficit in economic populism in the media. The purges of left-wing economists from our nation's universities coincided with the rise of right-wing economic intellectualism. We fell behind in economic thought and our univiersities to this day teach economics from a right-wing perspective.

    People think our ideas are outdated because they are. We need a progressive revolution at the intellectual level to force economic populism back onto the front page.

  •  social issues are risk free for the oligarchy (6+ / 0-)

    Branding our government as a democracy requires the illusion of choice in elections.

    Sometime during the 60's/70's the middle class reached the economic level required to consider social issues in addition to economic issues.

    And the upper class used this energy to its maximum effect.  They simultaneously funded both the socially liberal and socially conservative organizations and pushed hard to make these issues the ones that split the parties.

    Abortion, gay rights, religion in schools, etc.  The idea is to fuel huge fights with very small motion in actual policies.  This consumes all the energy on the social left and social right and drowns out any discussion of economic issues.

    Working like a charm.  We now have a false choice every election.  And things like abortion and gay rights are always going to be addressed if one false side or another gets a big enough majority in congress.  But somehow when either side gets that majority, they can't manage to take that action until they lose it again.

    It's a fixed game.  With one ruling party pretending to be two.  Little better than a banana republic.

  •  Not 1900 any more (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah

    The enormous global crimes--I'm talking about the Soviets particularly-- committed in the name of social and economic justice undercut our moral stance. The equally horrific (or even worse) crimes of mercantilism and private enterprise, including slavery and the vampirism of the Industrial Revolution--all these grow dim in the public mind. We cannot escape history, and right now the tide of recent history and of human thought is not with us, and it won't be with us for a long time.  

    To have had the idelas of social and economic justice exploited by such villainous hands is a singular piece of historical bad luck.  So what? I say, fuck it. We're right, and the idea that rapaciousness is civilization is wrong, and we'll win and they will lose.

  •  We will always have free interneet access. (5+ / 0-)

    Here's why:

    I suspect our censors realize it's better to let the left vent in a nice controlled fashion than risk an all out revolt.

    Any inspiration you got from the Wisconsin folks in the streets of Madison is why the establishment Democrats love the existence of Daily Kos. It's a diversion that keeps us out of the streets, and provides a sense of community while keeping us isolated from each other,

    Bring them home now. It's long past time

    by llbear on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 10:49:53 AM PDT

  •  Amen (0+ / 0-)
    Yes, let's do end the welfare state. If, we were to simply create a massive, public works program that gave every single American who was willing and able to work a decent, living wage job, we could transform American society in one generation.

    You know the Chinese are not particularly into human rights, but they did understand about employing people.  Now mind you, their employment was nothing to really brag about being as they put men into mines and they LIVED there.  But they managed to create something - the great wall, the terra cotta soldiers for example, and keep a great number of their people employed.

    Surely we can be as smart and yet smarter!  Of course I keep thinking that we ARE smart, silly me!  But at least we could BUILD something?  They built things during the depression that are still around, WTF is wrong with us?

    This was, and is, in large part due to a total blackout of anything resembling economic populism in the establishment media. The effect of this cannot be overstated, and it was left out of the above mentioned works. But it's an important part of the story.

    I think our pols, our so-called left leaning pols have also helped with the blackout.  Blue dogs, for example, have blocked meaningful legislation and kept truly progressive legislation from happening.  It breaks my heart that our own caucus harbors people who are so anti the people.  And if we fight back - Blanch Lincoln for example, we get excoriated.

    In order to get to where you want to be and I want to be and where we do the most good, it seems to me we have to let a lot of baggage go.  We have to think, not of "purity" or what is politically correct and what is not, but more about what has worked, what isn't working, what cannot possibly work etc.  For instance the great god capitalism.  It hasn't worked.  It requires a great deal of tweaking and regulation and invisible hands made manifest to get it to be halfway decent.  If there are those who wish it to be still our goal, then for christmas sake, figure out how to keep it from totally eating us alive.  For those who are just bewildered by it all, think in terms of the end result you would like to see. - such as full employment, decent wages, good educations, things like that.  What kind of model do we need to build to get there?

    boycott Koch = don't buy Northern TP

    by glitterscale on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 10:55:41 AM PDT

  •  Every day I see common sense (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Friend, boofdah, bruddaone

    solutions to our problems outlined by very credible people such as yourself...beautifully written, well thought out, inspirational.

    I am happy to see these types of diaries here and I thank you for giving an opportunity for well thought out solutions to compete with the drivel and distraction that fills most of the 'ether' that surrounds us.

    And yet, common sense solutions are never even considered by our "representatives".  I don't care anymore 'why' they won't consider them.  I don't care about them anymore and I will not be playing within their rigged game.

    Like Chris Hedges, I don't think anything will truly change without civil disobedience.  I think it will have to be the people standing up and saying 'no more'.

    A chat with you and somehow death loses its sting ~ Black Adder

    by trinityfly on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 11:07:57 AM PDT

  •  Last Friday, Bill Maher had a guest on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah, bruddaone

    that supported raising tariffs.   From the look on Maher's face, I thought he was going to have a heart attack.  He was aghast and not supportive.

    Thom Hartman supports tariffs routinely.   I agree with them.   The reason they give for NOT doing tariffs is that it will jack up the price of clothes (at Walmarts) to poor people.   I'd like to think they'd all be working and wouldn't need cheap junk from Walmarts anymore.  

    Wal-Mart workers in China have set up unions at all 66 outlets operated in the country by the company, the biggest retailer in the world, capping what a senior Chinese union official described Thursday as the beginning of a wider campaign aimed at other foreign companies in China that are seen as traditionally anti-union.

    Wal-Mart has long battled to ban unions from its stores and distribution centers, and Guo Wencai, a senior organizer of All-China Federation of Trade Unions, called the unionization at the Wal-Mart outlets a "breakthrough" for organized labor.

    Guo said during a news conference in Beijing that the success in unionizing Wal-Mart stores would be a springboard to similar campaigns aimed at foreign companies including Foxconn Electronics, Eastman Kodak and Dell.

    "It is an irreversible trend," Guo said.  more

    Isn't it amazing what happens when the government says do it or else.   If this doesn't frost US workers' cookies, nothing ever will.  

    If you don't stand for something, eventually you stand for nothing.

    by dkmich on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 11:18:51 AM PDT

  •  Thank you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah

    As a socialist, I feel that this dialog is WAY overdue. Time to get back to our roots and go after the plutocrats.

    "I must create a system or be enslaved by another man's." - William Blake

    by Tod Westlake on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 11:22:44 AM PDT

  •  Nostalgia for FDR (0+ / 0-)

    This is a tremendous, thought provoking diary. I agree that the democrats have been trapped in the right wing's framing in terms of economic issues. However I see the diarist bring up , as mny other Kossacks like to do, FDR style mass employment programs.

    Whwnever somebody brings this up- I want to ask: what exactly would you have these millions of people do? You have to realize that due to mechanization and automation, we no longer have the need for massive number workers for any job. Just as one farmer today can grow what used to take 50 farmers to grow; one construction worker with a large bulldozer can outdig 50 workers with shovels. Just where would you put these millions of people to work? Another problem is, a lot of the laid off workers were office workers. Are you going to put them to work digging dirt (shoveling is HARD work)?

    One problem with the right is that they are forever falling for some nonsensical Easy Button answers (like tax cuts).  The left should not fall for its own easy answer. 'Just give them all jobs' is precisely the 'easy button' for the left. Job creation in the modern world is extremely difficult. It's not an easy button. Don't bring up FDR and his job corps unless you have answers for where exactly you would put our millions of unemployed workers to work.

  •  I hate this thread. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brainwave

    Progressives hate poor people.

    Liberals hate authoritarians

    Liberals like libertarians better than they like communists.

    Progressives like to achieve progress through societal coercion.

    Working people hate progressives because progressives keep telling them to stop smoking or else.

    All liberals are progressives but not all progressives are liberals.

    Fascists hate liberals. So do theocrats. So do Marxists and monarchists. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said as much in a letter to G.W. Bush calling on him to admit the "failure of liberalism." Liberals think that is funny.

    The opposite of liberal is illiberal.

    Conservatives are liberals. Progressives are liberals. Libertarians are liberals.

    Liberals don't know what liberals are. Progressives don't know what liberals are either. Most progressives are liberals who have accepted the dirty word fascists have made of liberalism so they don't like to be called liberals.

    It's really really easy to confuse people about what liberals stand for.

    That's why I hate this thread.

    "It is in the shelter of each other that the people live." -- Irish Proverb

    by Our Man in Twisp on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 11:30:54 AM PDT

    •  Agreed. But if you can get beyond the liberal (0+ / 0-)

      bashing, the diarist's point about the Left having abandoned economic populism is spot on.

      "Maybe there's only one revolution, since the beginning -- the good guys against the bad guys. Question is: Who are the good guys?" ("The Professionals," 1966; Bill Dolworth (Burt Lancaster) to Hans Ehrengard (Robert Ryan).

      by brainwave on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 02:31:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Health Care Reform and Environmental exgs. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bruddaone

    As I followed HCR, it was apparent that Dems leadership had no fucking idea about what they were agreeing to.  Oh there was some nice things but you know, in the end, lots of fucked people.  For example, I tried out a calculator Kaiser set up to try various versions of proposed health care pays.  It was obvious to me that the mandate may have helped people at the most bottom scales, but  it was going to be a financial burden for people above that.  

    When the high risk pools came out, over and over I read working people complain that they would join if  they could afford the payments.  (And don't even mention that Obama with no reason, did not allow abortions to be covered).  Same system as before.  If you had the money, you were okay.

    What world is Dem leadership living in??

    Or on environmental issues.  One paid contributor here snorted and spouted time to impose ultra heavy taxes on gas to force changes in fossil fuel use.  Anybody in touch with reality could see this would devestate the poor, working poor, and large segments of both middle and lower middle cllasses.  Not one ounce of creativity on how to achieve the same ends without throwing entire swats of the population into utter eternal destitution.  The working classes were just as nonexistent to the poster as they are to the oligarchs.

    Good diary and spot on.

  •  Democracy at Risk (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ActivistGuy

    The serious risk is the subversion of democracy by the predatory lenders and oligarchs.  If Greece privatizes its prime tourist area, they pay little of their debt and eliminate a source of income for Greece.  That "privatization" is being demanded by their lenders as part of the 'work-out" of the loans.  Our mortgages were out of the range of common sense, but the "work-out" is that millions of homes are now in the possession of the banks including half my street.  When my local board of supervisors gave for free a public park to a crony to use for his personal profit, the tea party brain-dead crowd cheered because he opened the closed park.  They think he is Santa Claus.  We have had 30 years of this brainwashing.  Rachel Maddow documents the lack of mention of any "liberal" ideas on corporate media.  It is well past liberal and into subversion of not only 90% of the population, but control of property by oligarchs.  Statistically we resemble Russia.  All it takes is the power of a Putin to shut down all dissent.  Or could it be Palin in the next "election"?

    •  Lillith, our hope then is that they go (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LillithMc

      so far, that eventually a truly Democratic gov't takes shape, one that would qualify as radical today. What needs to happen quite simply is confiscation of the looted goods. It's happened in the past all over the world. It can happen here.

      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

      by upstate NY on Sat Jun 11, 2011 at 12:22:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As a dyed-in-the-wool conservative, I might not (0+ / 0-)

    see eye-to-eye with all of your specific prescriptions, but on basic tenor and tone and nailing the problem spot-on:

    Boo-yah!!  Boy Howdy and how come all of those alleged "best and brightest" advising our so-called leaders can't see that basic truth?

    However you get there -- and get there you must:

    People gotta have jobs.  Jobs are power, sustenance, emotional vitamins, etc, etc, etc.

    Figure out how to do it without the government paying salaries?
    That would be my preference, but, when push comes to shove, this is an emergency.  In an emergency, you do triage and ask deeper questions later.

    Put people to work!!!
    When the patient's vitals stabilize, we can ask deeper questions.
    You did it for the Bentley and ski-vacation crowd.
    Why not do it for the rest of us?

    Hell -- we actually do the work that makes things happen. That should be worth something.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 01:35:13 PM PDT

  •  Economic populism is the demand for economic (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wiseacre, Panurge, LillithMc

    justice and economic democracy. How did the corporatists succeed in turning this into a taboo? First the Left was divided into radical populists and incrementalist reformers. The populists became isolated and were made suspect and persecuted. But eventually, they became tied to the economic failure of Soviet-style socialism and Marxism and thrown out onto the scrap heap of history to great fanfare. Meanwhile, the incrementalists tried to save themselves by disavowing the radicals and in the process wound up disavowing economic populism along with it. The final step was the successful brainwashing of large swaths of the working class and lower middle class into buying libertarian ideology while the Left stood by and watched or played along.

    "Maybe there's only one revolution, since the beginning -- the good guys against the bad guys. Question is: Who are the good guys?" ("The Professionals," 1966; Bill Dolworth (Burt Lancaster) to Hans Ehrengard (Robert Ryan).

    by brainwave on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 02:03:49 PM PDT

  •  Decline of unions (0+ / 0-)

    The decline of the power of liberals is directly related to the decline of union power.  The right wing has funded attacks on many aspects of modern life.  Their continuing attacks on unions have been mostly successful.  If we want to re-build the Dem party into a strong, liberal force, we must re-build unions.

    But, since the right wing has politicized workforce issues, we cannot re-build the unions without re-building the Dems.

    A fatal Catch-222.

    •  This kinda ties into brainwave above. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Just Bob

      Unions were largely hung out to dry as a result of the AFL-CIO hard-hat support of the Cold/Vietnam War.  The left of center split apart all by itself with little help from the right.  The hard left's main faults are impatience and the unwillingness to make the clear choice when the choice is clear.  The center's main faults are letting fear of the Right guide them and lack of an idea of how to make the case for even moderately liberal or progressive policies, as well as lack of understanding of how to approach "swing voters".  (I suspect that Dem centrists think "swing voters" are essentially center-right voters who can be persuaded to vote for a centrist platform by not being too "scary", while liberals think of them as low-information, centrist, or independent voters (or maybe a combination of any or all of these) who can be persuaded to vote for a left-of-center platform by proper framing and superior rhetoric.  Point is, both sides are at fault and both sides have to come together.  We ought to be able to do this by now--certainly Dick Trumka's AFL-CIO isn't George Meany's.

      The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

      by Panurge on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 03:44:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Labor as part of the military/industrial complex? (0+ / 0-)

        The unions were protecting their jobs. As it turns out, that didn't work so well for labor.

        Now Trumka is making threatening sounds because the Democrats aren't doing enough for him. Perhaps we need to know more about the labor platform.

        Are they still pro war?

        Do they still believe that will lead to jobs building the war machine?

        Do they remember their far left roots at all?

        Now don't get me wrong. It's just that I'd like to see a Labor Party to the left of the Democratic Party. That shouldn't be so hard.

        Are you listening, Thumka?

        Disclaimer: I was on active duty from 63 - 73.

        Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

        by Just Bob on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 05:28:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Nixon actively courted labor, and so did org crime (0+ / 0-)

        so labor got hoist on its own petard.

        Hello, labor?  Management is not your friend.  Remember?

        I distinguish between the hard left/Marxism that doesn't believe in traditional liberal democracy (free citizens of a State and not subjects of it), and the progressive left that does with all its heart.  We need to make sure those demarcations are very clear in the debate with the center and the right.

        Which side are you on?

        by wiseacre on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 06:29:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's true. (0+ / 0-)

          Thing is, the right has a vested interest in conflating them--in making people think "liberal" means "Marxist".  It's not just an honest mistake, and I think we have to realize that and call them out on it.  

          OTOH, how do you make that stick when they'll just play the "crypto-" card?  The best thing I can think of is this:  "OK, then, hung-up ol' Mr. Normal, if everyone who says s/he's a liberal is really just a crypto-Marxist, then how could you know when someone was really just a liberal?  Are you saying it's somehow IMPOSSIBLE to be a liberal--that having once conceived of a liberal platform it's somehow impossible to actually subscribe to it??  Once you acknowledge that it's not impossible, what could I say to you that would satisfy you that I actually held these ideas and not others that you like to imagine I have??"

          The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

          by Panurge on Sat Jun 11, 2011 at 01:55:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  A Remarkable Diary--Thanks (0+ / 0-)

    There is much to recommend in your analysis of the state of liberalism today.  It reminded me of a rather technical seminar that I attended years ago where the leader suggested the seminar "consisted of some pearls and some goat turds and it was up to us to know the difference."

    Your last five paragraphs included some goat turds about government power and democracy.

    Government is not the enemy.

    And we must never allow limits to the power of the self-governed to use our democracy to protect our common interests from the tyranny of the few.

    Government is not the enemy, but government is always "the other" or the ultimate boss.  If I can't stand my work, I can change jobs.  If I can't be reconciled with my neighbors, I can move. If I get screwed by Home Depot, I can go to Lowes.  But government is as you say powerful and blunt, the ultimate authority, and unchecked, threatens the freedoms ours is designed to secure.  The founders understood and respected that fact by creating checks and limits for a representative republic with democratically elected representatives.

    Democracy and self-governance are not always the same thing. I believe the founders understood self-governance to be the ability and willingness to govern ones own self within the understood bounds of law and that democracy was a means to elect representatives and leaders.

    I don't know who James Bovard is, or was, but his quote that “Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner”

    ...with liberty and justice for all.

    by pee dee fire ant on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 02:40:18 PM PDT

  •  it failed to challenge 1000 radio stations (0+ / 0-)
    We need to stop allowing the establishment media to set the limits of debate and advocacy.

    We need to stand up for the progressive policies we already know are right.

    these are losing issues as long as the right keep getting  free speech free ride on 1000 radio stations.

    we even let our universities endorse many of those stations and the racist lying anti-science blowhards the put on. here's a petition to stop it:

    http://signon.org/...

    American Universities: Stop broadcasting athletics on Rush Limbaugh radio stations.

    To be delivered to: American Universities and Colleges

    “We the undersigned demand that our state-funded universities and colleges immediately find alternative non-partisan radio stations to broadcast their athletics.

    By broadcasting on Rush Limbaugh and other political talk radio stations they endorse partisan political propaganda, global warming denial, hate, racism, and attacks on our unions and teachers, and therefore contradict their own stated goals and mission statements.”

    Progressives will lose all major messaging battles until they picket the limbaugh/hannity megastations and boycott those stations' local sponsors.

    by certainot on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 02:54:15 PM PDT

  •  What happened to liberalism? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cacamp, LillithMc, Just Bob, defluxion10

    Since the days of FDR the rightwing has been organized, motivated, and well financed.  Their goal was to destroy anything and everything ever created by FDR and to restore the power of big money.  Unfortunately for us, even the Democratic Party was filled with so-called leaders who were much more interested in their chances of becoming millionaires than they were in much of anything else.  It's not that liberalism itself failed.  It's that we had no real leadership on the left, and when we thought we did for a while, it was destroyed.   What we have now is a cabal of politicians whose personal ambitions come first, last, and always.  For example, take a look at the presidency of Bill Clinton.  How many deals did he make with the GOP that helped destroy the last  hopes and dreams of our so-called "middle class?"  Let's see. . . free trade with no protections for our workers, deregulation of our banking and financial institutions, welfare "reform," creation of the DNC rightwing Democratic Party, and anything else he could do to destroy the memory of FDR, even including the music that went with it.  Also, he gave away the digital spectrum and allowed the entire media to be controlled by corporations with a vested interest in killing any remnants of liberalism that might ever show up again.  If you don't believe it, take a look at who owns what and see what happens to anyone who doesn't toe the line.

    Maybe this all happened because the right is more motivated to protect their interests.  You see, they're really greatly outnumbered in this country, so they work much harder than the left, and they have the money to buy what they need, including people.  
     

    •  There's much more to say on this issue, (0+ / 0-)

      but I'll leave it at what I posted above.  I just want to warn people to think for themselves and not to depend on the garbage that comes from our so-called media.  I've given up on most of it and have moved over to PBS and an occasional Sixty Minutes.  No, they're not perfect, but they're certainly not as bad as the rest.  And,  watch out.  Some of those cheap "reality" shows can destroy your brain.

    •  agreed, but it began with union successes (0+ / 0-)

      The big fightback began as soon as the rise of unions started to erode the power of the oligrachy over the working class. And boy, did they hate FDR because he had betrayed his "class. But by FDR's time most Americans applauded the spreading wealth and rise in wages unions had provided so the moneyed class had a hard time gaining traction with their anti-union garbage and anti-worker lies.

      But soon the working class became complacent and the oligarchs happened upon their most effective weapon i.e. racism. Using the divisive tactic of the 'southern strategy' they were able to convince the new middle class white workers that the 'others' were out to take their jobs and rape their women.

      That was Reagans great achievement and the beginning of the end of the middle class in America. Working class unity was shattered, unions were weakened and both political parties came under the sway of the oligarchs.

      America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

      by cacamp on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 03:46:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is almost over (0+ / 0-)

    You make the point that liberals lost their advantage when they turned attention to social issues and ignored economics. It seems that any group in power for a long time will eventually begin to explore its own limits and thereby lose the majority. My opinion is that we are at that point now with conservatives and the cycle phase is passing through the switching point. As can be the case when flipping a switch, we are seeing some sparks. Our social cycle is about 80 - 90 years with phase shifts every 40 -45 years. I think if the Wisconsin recalls verify the NY-26 result, I will feel pretty good as far as where we are in the long term view.
    The failure in the progressive movement right now is a simple lack of leadership. There is no national figure that is considered the leading progressive voice. Arguments could be made on behalf of several people, but that is my point. The CPC is a non-entity because its members do not vote their principles and because they too often put party loyalty ahead of good government.

    •  ISTR Arthur Schlesinger's 20-year cycle. (0+ / 0-)

      It always sounded like an excuse for biding our time ("Ridin' the storm out!")  because People Will Come Around Eventually.  Well, no, they won't necessarily--the case constantly has to be made.  Part of the problem is that the Dems have been fighting over two platforms that cohere with themselves better than with each other.

      Otherwise, this.

      The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

      by Panurge on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 03:47:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I disagree. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    defluxion10

    How can you say liberalism has failed on the grand, political stage, when there really hasn't been a truly liberal party or president in a long, long time.  Right now what we have is a center to center-right party and a FAR right party.  

    So it shouldn't surprise anyone that no significant liberal change has been made, who is going to make it other than small groups of grassroots people who have to fight tooth and nail just to get ANY help or money to keep the initiative going.  No Koch funded bus tours to support our cause.

  •  And the winner is.... (0+ / 0-)

    Rupert Murdoch, or perhaps it will be David Koch after he poisoned Charles, of course he would have to, as there is only one winner in Monopoly. David looks skywards to the creator and proudly announces, I won, and btw I hope you can excuse this mess I've left the place in, I hope you don't mind cleaning up a bit, there's bugger all to eat. and I'm really sick of breathing through this mask.

    Whoever controls the media, the images, controls the culture

    by nezzclay on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 04:03:56 PM PDT

  •  its dead alright (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    defluxion10

    when you get a liberal change president take office amidst the most dramatic economic crisis  in 80 years, and he, ... escalates the war on the other side of the world, amasses a billion dollar warchest from wall street, institutionalizes high medical costs, prosecutes whistle blowers,  and generally does nothing about anything that matters.

  •  liberalism (0+ / 0-)

    It has never really recovered since the late 60's really.  I love Obama BUT i think He and the congress had an awesome chance in 08 .. now not so much.. in fact i grow worried we may not even hold the WH if the economy doesnt get better.... of this happens say goodbye USA.. the Supreme Court and everything else will go the way of Mussolini.. Fascism .. this is really too bad.. but people deserve what they vote in.. The rest of us have to suffer with it... :(  Just my 2 cents

  •  We need to found a radio network (0+ / 0-)

    that uses NPR donor model with Air America's politics. The problem is that because Unions have been so demolished we have no other founding capital to do this except to hope for a few George Soros types. Most Liberal billionaires tend not be be populist. I still think someone needs to petition Warren Buffet to not leave all his money to the Gates Foundation and leave 2-3 billion for a cause like creating a progressive media.  

    -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)!

    by dopper0189 on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 05:06:04 PM PDT

  •  Awesome Diary (0+ / 0-)

    Americans won't tolerate Two Parties of The Rich&Powerful and the Republican Party might as well have "Republicans are for The Rich" Trademarked.My Grandparents was always saying "Republicans are for the Rich and Democrats are for The Poor" and now that Republicans have destroyed the Middle Class in the USA if ya ain't Rich you're Poor.

  •  It's jobs stupid (0+ / 0-)

    Great diary. I may never call myself a liberal again. We do have to keep after our so-called liberal Dems to fight for the middle class and for jobs, jobs, jobs.
    Americans get it. Poll after poll shows people know the major concern is jobs. But all the talking heads, including most liberals except for people like Krugman and Reich, can talk about is the deficit and the wonders of free trade for our economy.
    You hate to say there is a direct correlation between the state of the country, the public debate and the fact that all major news organizations are now just departments within large corporations...but...

    Blue is blue and must be that. But yellow is none the worse for it - Edith Sidebottom

    by kenwards on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 05:59:57 PM PDT

  •  There are social and economic axis (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ChadmanFL, RMForbes

    and the establishment liberal today is socially liberal, but highly likely to be economically regressive.

    Social liberal and conservative is one axis, economic progressive and regressive is another axis, and authoritarian libertarian is the third axis.  (scope of government)

    There are others, but those three work for now.

    Right now, there exists a regressive economic majority in congress.  That's the failure of liberalism expressed another way.

    (great diary, BTW I play to share it)

    That regressive majority consists of the GOP and way too many Democrats!

    The regressive majority basically puts the interests of big business and profit before that of ordinary people and small business.  Small business being a few to say, 50 employees.  Small business has most of the same needs and wants that the middle class does, by the way, and would benefit from most of the same programs.

    Small business identifies with big business though, and that presents a problem because it reinforces regression, without any real return for the small business voting against it's best interests.

    We don't really have Democrats messaging to them in this way, and we need to, because they are connected to their communities, are the majority employers, and they influence a lot of votes.

    Chamber of Commerce messaging is all over these guys too, sending exactly the wrong messages.

    The regressive economic majority in Congress also believes in trickle down, they believe in free markets, despite there being no free markets anywhere in the world too.

    There might be small, free like markets in very under-developed places, but that's not material really.  They won't scale, and everybody knows it.  It's just too profitable to LIE about it.

    Realistically, the Progressive Democrats, and perhaps the Black Caucus are the only progressive economic forces in Washington.  The establishment Democrats are by and large regressive.  Maybe not as hard core as the GOP is, but regressive all the same, with "third way" being a bit more nicely distributed regression, and no where near what we need to actually return some opportunity and capital to the people so they can build.

    And that is exactly what must be done!  Deficits don't matter, if we are building the means of production to labor out of them, and we are improving our national infrastructure to empower them to deliver back to us the wealth we need to return to a state where it's equitable for most of the people, most of the time.

    The failure of liberalism to me then, is simple economic blindness.  We don't have a multi-axis political discourse.  It's binary, leaving economics out, because all the media and the framing, but for some progressive noise by comparison, advocating the things we all know need to be done.

    Other nations have non-binary politics, and they have less monolitic media too.  Because of those things, the economic axis is in proper form, and the interests of the people and small business have material representation.

    Here, we need to build that up!

    Nobody is going to do it either.  It literally is US, progressives and progressive minded people, or nobody, and that's a hard fact that isn't all that popular.

    Progressives, minorities, labor, etc... need to establish the firm value of people as our common ground platform, and start getting after that in our messaging, or it's just a noisy dream.  We need to GOTV too, with dollars, time, and any other means we can establish to self-support our movement, because the rest of the dollars are aligned against us, favoring the regression, even within our own part.

    US OR NOBODY.  Reality.  Not popular reality, but reality all the same.

    Sorry for the book length comment.  I just wanted to riff on your great diary for a bit, just because it feels good.

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

    by potatohead on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 06:55:06 PM PDT

    •  You nailed it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GMFORD

      I think the left in America is winning big on social issues and losing big on economic issues.  

      On social issues almost every poll and legislation passed by states and the federal gov't shows that on religion and things like tolerance is minority groups is improving greatly.  If you told me 15 years ago that a good chunk of states would sanction gay marriages or civil unions I would have though you crazy.  But here we are with many states legalized it and many poised to.  Religion is also going our way.  While the evangelical right-wing is alive and makes up a good chunk of Americans, the majority of Americans are moving away from religious institutions, just as Europe already has.  The only social issue that I'm troubled with is abortion, where polls seem to indicate a trend against the pro-choice movement.

      With regard to economic issues we've been losing since the late 70's/early 80's.  Just look at any graph of income inequality and it's painfully obvious that since Reagan's Presidency inequality has skyrocketed to levels not seen since the pre-Great Depression era.  The right-wing in America has consistantly won the debate in favor of regressive taxation and in greatly curtailing the social safety net.  It really is quite amazing how well the right-wing in America has convinced the poor and middle-class that lower taxes are actually to their benefit, when in reality they get no noticable benefit from regressive tax cuts.  I do think there is some hope here though.  Republicans in Congress are now openly supporting dismantling the most critical social safety net policies like Medicare and Social Security.  While most Americans do seem to go along with regressive taxes the vast majority oppose dismantling these programs that are still very popular.  They seem to have overplayed their hand and I suspect it will backfire big in 2012 and beyond.

      •  There is one tax break that really helped (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Just Bob

        me in 2010.  I worked as an independent contractor and even though my taxable income was only $6700 my "self employment tax" would have been $700.

        The tax credits I got to help self employed people brought the bill down to $79, causing me to sigh in relief and give a silent thank you to President Obama.

      •  it's not so amazing when you consider (0+ / 0-)

        there is no significant messaging to the contrary

        That is where WE come in.  Again, US or nobody.  Until economic progressives differentiate themselves from the Democratic party as a whole, we will be marginalized.

        Progressives need to take the party economically, or form a voting bloc that's significant enough to impact legislation.

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

        by potatohead on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 12:18:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  That really is IT in a nutshell. (0+ / 0-)

    Progressivism is effectively DEAD if it cannot effectively champion economic democracy. Frankly, I've seen nothing since the Obama campaign to indicate even merest implication of the remotest possibility of the progressive "movement" to do this.

  •  Thank you (0+ / 0-)

    I was beginning to think I was the only one who felt this way.

  •  Firstr, we should stop calling the economic (0+ / 0-)

    failure a Bush failure.  It was a failure of conservative ideology.  If they get power back, they've shown they will do it again.

  •  Deep Brainwashing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Just Bob

    We do not realize how deeply we have all been brainwashed in the US.  I have been trying to explain to my best friend from high school who has been in England for 40 years why I am unable to trust my doctor.  It comes from years of being on the edge of not having health care due to "pre-existing condition" plus cost.  It comes from 25 years of working in an office where having "liberal" ideas could cause me to be shunned and perhaps fired.  Yesterday an article in the "Economist" said David Brooks did not have the "mental furniture" to understand universal health care.  The right is sociopathic.  They are proud to run for election on the elimination of medicare, medicaid and social security.  To say we failed at the message of progressive beliefs may be true, but the "fear" of communism has been "mainstream" since my childhood of the 1950's.  For some overseas, the US and especially the Tea Party plus our military power are similar to the Germans before WWII.

  •  Great Diary! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Just Bob

    Juxtaposed with the Morgan diaries, the Palin diaries, and the Wiener diaries, this is an even greater diary.
    Another failure of the left is that, since the 1970s, it has failed miserably at decoupling itself from the mainstream culture. The left got co-opted. The establishment adjusted and swallowed us whole. A lot of the energy went into the stems and leaves, and not into the flower.
    Sometimes I think that we need another Dubya or Nixon: it is fitting that the establishment be something that we despise and fight against.
    The greatest gains made by progressivism were in the 1960s, when the youth dropped out of mainstream society, regarding the establishment as a bunch of squares.
    When people regard politicians as 'cool', we have a problem.
    As long as we fail to eschew things like television, commercial radio (including NPR... how many times have you heard NPR tell you that such-and-such program is brought to you by Raytheon or Lockheed Martin?), and ad-driven periodicals, we fail to be true progressives.

    "Superstition, idolatry, and hypocrisy have ample wages, but truth goes begging." - Luther

    by Cartoon Messiah on Sat Jun 11, 2011 at 06:11:04 AM PDT

  •  Liberalism has not failed. It works just fine (0+ / 0-)

    here in Massachusetts.

    It does, however, like democracy, require a well-educated populace and an open mind to function well.

    “Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law." - Jesus

    by Jose Bidenio on Sat Jun 11, 2011 at 06:33:40 AM PDT

  •  are you related to "THE" Happy Rockefeller... (0+ / 0-)

    (i.e. Nelson Rockefeller's wife)? If so, are you a Republican still swimming upstream by trying, unsuccessfully so far, to turn that party into some kind of open-minded, reasonable one? It's rare these days to see or hear from anyone who calls themselves a progressive to also consider themselves to be a Republican (the Republican Party, despite all of their incompetence, has done a pretty good job of running all reasonable-minded people out of the party).

    As far as liberalism...my biggest concern is that too many progressives cower whenever Republicans yell the word "boo" at them (usually, in the form of phrases such as
    "socialist," "big government" and "liberal"...phrases that the Orwellian leaders of the Republican Party have spent more than 50 years to turn into pejoratives.

  •  Ross Perot...who knew? (0+ / 0-)

    Take a look at this and then look back on the Clinton/Bush era in rewind. Both agreed on the same thing, ship jobs overseas so we could become a service economy....Ross knew better...

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

    Liberalism is a label used by the right to obscure our true agenda which is really nothing but the use of pragmatism instead of ideology.

    by Sinan on Sat Jun 11, 2011 at 08:22:52 AM PDT

  •  This is a good analysis, (0+ / 0-)

    but it misses an important point -- the coalition we want to build with working-class whites is irrevocably damaged by our insistence that a rising tide lift all boats, including those of women, persons of color, and gay persons.

    So long as we continue to recognize the basic humanity of those persons, people who gain a psychic wage from their racism, sexism, and homophobia will vote and work against their class interests.

    There is no way to thread this needle.  We cannot push for access to a decent life for middle-class persons while denying black people access to the middle class.  It is inherent to who we are as liberals to recognize the humanity of all.

    What we are going to have to do is persuade the majority of white racists that their class interests trump their race interests.  And that is why liberalism is failing right now, due to current leadership.  President Barack Obama is personally a plutocrat, and that has nothing to do with the movement as a whole; it has to do with the fact that he lied to us and told us he wasn't in very convincing terms.

    The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

    by Punditus Maximus on Sat Jun 11, 2011 at 08:35:49 AM PDT

  •  Thank you Happy Rockefeller, brava...Please write (0+ / 0-)

    more diaries, when you have time.

  •  Nominated for the new WH Economic Adviser (0+ / 0-)

    Happy Rockefeller!!!

    Mr. President, please?

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