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Syntagma Square, May 2011
2011 protest, Syntagma Square, Athens (Wikimedia Commons)
When right wing politicians talk about deficits you can be certain that they're waging class warfare. When right wing politicians pursue economic austerity you can be certain that they're waging class warfare. If right wing politicians truly cared about fiscal responsibility, they would raise taxes on those who can most afford to pay more taxes and they would end corporate handouts, whether they be direct subsidies or the indirect enabling that is having the public foot the bill for environmental and other public harms incurred as part of corporate profit making. If politicians cared about balanced books they would do what's best to grow the economy and rectify social and economic imbalances. Prosperity does not trickle down. If given the chance, it can blossom up.

In the United States, the only honest fiscal solution is to end the Bush tax cuts, end foreign military adventurism, stop pretending that it's necessary to spend more on military and ostensible national security hardware than the rest of the world combined, and end all forms of corporate subsidies. If a corporation cannot survive on its own it deserves to die. If a corporation's survival serves some vital social or security need and it cannot survive on its own, then it should be socialized rather than publicly subsidized. After all, public subsidies to privately held corporations already are a form of socialism, it's just that much of the money goes into private pockets rather than serving the public good.

That we are even discussing economic austerity is itself proof that the political systems of the developed world are but servants to private industry. We know how the world dug itself out of the Great Depression, and it wasn't economic austerity. It was deficit spending. It was Keynesian economics. It was a widespread series of policies that laid the foundation for true economic growth. From the ground up. The top resting securely on a solid base rather than on the shoulders of an overburdened populace. And as more and more people had the means to participate in the economy the short-term deficits began to resolve themselves. When people have money to spend they also have taxable income. When people have money to spend the businesses that profit off their spending also have taxable income. A reviving economy means greater government revenue because more people and businesses are contributing to it. A reviving economy means fewer government outlays, not as a form of social punishment but because there is less social need. It's not complicated.

European voters in the past decade went mostly conservative, electing the wrong governments at the wrong time, and the embrace of austerity programs by those governments has provided a clear lesson for everyone—not that a lesson should have been needed, given the monumental historic successes that were the New Deal and the Marshall Plan. But the economic news out of Europe this year has been almost relentlessly bleak, and last month it was reported that economies across the Eurozone are shrinking again, with a double-dip recession looking increasingly likely. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development predicted that the anemic British economy also would slip back into recession. Across the continent, consumer confidence has collapsed. And of course this economic turmoil is only proving yet again what shouldn't even need to be proved: that deep recessions aren't solved by focusing on deficits. From The Economist, in January:

In the euro zone, Germany, France, Spain and Italy all managed to reduce their structural budget deficits, the latter three thanks to austerity. All are expected to reduce those deficits further this year. But this is not the good news it seems. Austerity, the IMF has found, could be making Europe’s crisis worse, rather than better.
In February, Gerard Lyons, the chief economist and head of global research at Standard Chartered, summarized to Sky News:
Europe doesn't have a debt problem, Europe has a growth problem.
And that's the whole point. Because reducing deficits does not revive struggling economies. Direct effort to stimulate growth does. And how is a shrinking or stagnant economy supposed to grow when the actual people actually trying to survive in that economy are being punished with deliberately imposed further economic hardship? Again, this is not complicated.

Incredibly, even as the International Monetary Fund was pressuring Greece to accept further austerity, the head of its mission in Greece admitted that austerity was doing more harm than good:

A leading architect of the austerity programme in Greece – one of the harshest ever seen in Europe – has admitted that its emphasis on fiscal consolidation has failed to work, and said economic recovery will only come if the crisis-hit country changes tack and focuses on structural reforms.

Poul Thomsen, a senior International Monetary Fund official who oversees the organisation's mission in Greece, also insists that, contrary to popular belief, Athens has achieved a lot since the eruption of the debt crisis in December 2009.

Depending, of course, on what is meant by achievement. Which Thomsen acknowledged:
In an extraordinary departure from the script the IMF has followed to date, the Danish official, who is also in charge of the IMF programme in place in Portugal, acknowledged there was a "limit" to what society could endure.

"While Greece certainly will have to continue to reduce its fiscal deficits, we want to ensure – considering that social tolerance and political support have their limitations – that we strike the right balance between fiscal consolidation and reforms," he said. As such, the IMF had cautioned against "an excessive pace" of fiscal reduction.

And even more incredibly Thomsen wasn't the only one deviating from the austerity script:
The leaders of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation on Friday issued a warning about the economic and social risks of austerity programmes in a "call to action" designed to boost growth and fight protectionism.

Expressing concern about the weakness of economic activity and rising unemployment, the IMF's Christine Lagarde, the World Bank's Robert Zoellick and the WTO's Pascal Lamy joined the heads of eight other multilateral and regional institutions in calling for policies to create jobs, tackle inequality and green the global economy.

Which is even more incredible considering that Greece at that very moment was being pushed by the IMF and others to drink even more austerity poison. So what's the real purpose? Why impose even more crushing austerity on an already devastated population? As the headline to an article by Floyd Norris in the New York Times succinctly explained:
Banks Come First in a Greek Rescue Plan
And that's the bottom line. Austerity is not about saving failing economies, because it's obvious that those failing economies are not being saved. They are, in fact, being damaged even worse. In January, Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz provided the perfect analogy:
"It reminds me of medieval medicine," he said. "It is like blood-letting, where you took blood out of a patient because the theory was that there were bad humours.

"And very often, when you took the blood out, the patient got sicker. The response then was more blood-letting until the patient very nearly died. What is happening in Europe is a mutual suicide pact," he said.

Keynesian economics, which require governments to help sustain demand, suggests that austerity measures should be imposed when an economy is booming, not waning.

Keynesian economics suggests deficit spending as a means of jump-starting a waning economy, and it only proved itself by ending the Great Depression. There is no polite way to say this: the imposition of austerity at this moment in economic history is stupid. Not just a little stupid, staggeringly stupid. And not just staggeringly stupid, but on a human scale, just plain old cruel. Medieval cruel. Imposed suffering cruel. Deliberately imposed suffering cruel. And the results speak for themselves, because as bad as the abstract economic data look, the human costs are even worse. The human costs are profoundly disturbing. As reported by the United Nations last October:

Austerity measures adopted by developed countries to address the current economic upheaval hurt global growth and pushed millions more into poverty just when greater social protection was needed, the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) was told today.
How bad is it?

The economies of Europe are imploding, as conservative governments continue to pursue exactly the wrong policies at exactly the wrong time. Europe has a growth problem, but Europe's conservative governments continue to shrink national economies. As explained by Nouriel Roubini, who along with Stiglitz and Paul Krugman was one of the few economists to predict the global economic collapse:

The trouble is that the eurozone has an austerity strategy but no growth strategy. And, without that, all it has is a recession strategy that makes austerity and reform self-defeating, because, if output continues to contract, deficit and debt ratios will continue to rise to unsustainable levels. Moreover, the social and political backlash eventually will become overwhelming.
And that backlash has begun, with riots in Greece and general strikes in Portugal and Spain.

If you want an economic preview of what a Republican government would be in the United States, all you have to do is look to Europe. It's the same prescription of brutal budget cuts disproportionately falling on the backs of the less affluent and the historically less privileged. The Republicans will offer a presidential nominee who would have let the auto industry go bankrupt, who thinks unemployment insurance is a disaster, who would cut Medicare and Social Security benefits, and who doesn't even want us to know where else he would cut spending. The Republicans will offer a presidential nominee who will cut benefits on just about everyone who needs them in order to finance tax cuts on corporations and the very wealthy. The Republicans will offer a presidential nominee whose austerity would be as cruel and stupid as that now crushing Europe, but which would benefit the extremely wealthy such as himself.

We have Republican Congressional leaders who want to repeal the Obama health care law, which would explode the national debt, but who aren't offering anything to replace it. House Republicans just voted to end Medicare, while proposing budget cuts that would decimate health care spending and cost a million students their Pell Grants. The Republican budget would particularly hurt low income Americans and seniors and women. And even as the Department of Agriculture reports how food stamps reduce poverty, the Republicans want to cut them, too. And even as new data proves that the welfare reform of sixteen years ago has resulted in more child poverty, the House Republican budget leader wants even more of that.

Two dozen Fortune 500 companies paid no taxes last year, and bankers are forming a new SuperPAC, but even as Republicans use deficits as an excuse to push an agenda that would punish tens of millions of people who are less affluent and less politically powerful, they voted to continue to subsidize Big Oil, they continue to focus on extending the very same Bush tax cuts which soon will be the deficit's primary driver, and they would cut the top tax rate to the lowest level since the Hoover Administration. They don't seem to remember what that administration wrought, and they certainly don't want anyone to remember how that disaster was ended. As Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman wrote, in September of 2010:

Deficit spending created an economic boom — and the boom laid the foundation for long-run prosperity. Overall debt in the economy — public plus private — actually fell as a percentage of G.D.P., thanks to economic growth and, yes, some inflation, which reduced the real value of outstanding debts. And after the war, thanks to the improved financial position of the private sector, the economy was able to thrive without continuing deficits.

The economic moral is clear: when the economy is deeply depressed, the usual rules don’t apply. Austerity is self-defeating: when everyone tries to pay down debt at the same time, the result is depression and deflation, and debt problems grow even worse. And conversely, it is possible — indeed, necessary — for the nation as a whole to spend its way out of debt: a temporary surge of deficit spending, on a sufficient scale, can cure problems brought on by past excesses.

In Europe we are witnessing macroeconomic malpractice on a historic scale, and there is no excuse for the unnecessary suffering it is causing. It is about the wealthy and the powerful cruelly exploiting a crisis to consolidate their wealth and power, but it is much worse than that. Because it also is stupid. It is stupid not only because it is an economic agenda that is making economies much worse, it is stupid because there is only so much cruelty people can take. The 1930s were a time of tremendous displacement and unrest, and some think the deliberate Keynesian deficit spending that was the New Deal and the tragically necessary Keynesian deficit spending that was the World War II economy saved the United States from itself collapsing into one or another of the forms of dangerous political extremism that it spent more than half a century fighting. In Europe in the first half of the Twentieth Century, shattered economies and extreme social inequities led to some of the most vicious and catastrophic political reactions in human history.

Economic austerity is both cruel and stupid. The lessons here are obvious. Governments and voters have choices. The consequences of those choices will define the course of history for decades or more.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thank you LL - for this detailed (27+ / 0-)

    piece - I'd like to print it out and have everyone I know read it.

    We have Republican Congressional leaders who want to repeal the Obama health care law, which would explode the national debt, but who aren't offering anything to replace it. House Republicans just voted to end Medicare, while proposing budget cuts that would decimate health care spending and cost a million students their Pell Grants. The Republican budget would particularly hurt low income Americans and seniors and women. And even as the Department of Agriculture reports how food stamps reduce poverty, the Republicans want to cut them, too. And even as new data proves that the welfare reform of sixteen years ago has resulted in more child poverty, the House Republican budget leader wants even more of that.
    This distresses me more than I ca even begin to talk about.

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

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:05:42 PM PDT

  •  Evidently It Goes Much Farther Back Than the Last (19+ / 0-)

    decade because many or most developed nations have had wealth concentration increase since around 1980. That's a foundational trend that has to precede austerity.

    Most wealth has to get to the rich before they can pull the plug on society.

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

    by Gooserock on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:08:15 PM PDT

  •  austerity is what the 1% tells the 99% as a poor (18+ / 0-)

    substitute for fiscal and monetary regulation and is a covering term for retaining inequity. Nicely done diary. Austerity needs to be reframed by a discourse that includes discussions of steady-state economies

    The trouble is that the eurozone has an austerity strategy but no growth strategy. And, without that, all it has is a recession strategy that makes austerity and reform self-defeating, because, if output continues to contract, deficit and debt ratios will continue to rise to unsustainable levels. Moreover, the social and political backlash eventually will become overwhelming.

    slutty voter for a "dangerous president"; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Sciant terra viam monstrare." 政治委员, 政委!

    by annieli on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:08:16 PM PDT

  •  Krugman has been banging this drum since (15+ / 0-)

    forever. You've done a splendid job here!

    The invasion of Iraq was a war crime, a crime against humanity, and a crime against civilization. Prosecute the crime.

    by Positronicus on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:09:04 PM PDT

  •  Second paragraph makes way too much sense. (7+ / 0-)

    No sausage making involved.
    Thanks Laurence.

    Here is the truth: The Earth is round; Saddam Hussein did not attack us on 9/11; Elvis is dead; Obama was born in the United States; and the climate crisis is real. It is time to act. - Al Gore

    by Burned on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:11:48 PM PDT

  •  It's only common sense (5+ / 0-)

    In order for an economy to thrive, people need to be able to spend money. If you're paying down debt, you're don't have the resources to do that, you're giving your money to THE BANKS.

    I don't understand why that's not a part of the Democratic message: Debt Reduction Gives the Banks Your Money

    Isn't it time we took off the mask of the GOP as shills for Wall Street?

    Reduce the deficit, yes, but do so by raising taxes on the wealthy.

    What separates us, divides us, and diminishes the human spirit.

    by equern on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:15:01 PM PDT

  •  QED! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, David54, mrsgoo

    I'm sharing on FB as well!

  •  Excellent. What we need is spending... (20+ / 0-)

    ...along the lines of World War II directed toward putting people back to work doing what needs to be done to transform this nation into a 21st century model of international leadership AND cooperation instead of a fading giant with a reactionary rump (mostly Republicans) determined to follow policies guaranteed to keep us fading and a Democratic Party that needs to go on offense instead of merely trying to hang onto the remnants of the New Deal.

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

    by Meteor Blades on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:16:52 PM PDT

  •  Austerity is necessary to crush Euro Socialism (15+ / 0-)

    And it is working as designed.

    Yes, the baby is thrown out with the bathwater, but that is a small price to pay to restore aristocratic rule.

    God save the Queen.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:17:08 PM PDT

  •  A thousand times (6+ / 0-)

    I would rec this.  Brilliantly done.  Thank you.

  •  This one paragraph says it perfectly (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, NM Ray, YucatanMan

    and it should be sent to everyone we all know!

    In the United States, the only honest fiscal solution is to end the Bush tax cuts, end foreign military adventurism, stop pretending that it's necessary to spend more on military and ostensible national security hardware than the rest of the world combined, and end all forms of corporate subsidies. If a corporation cannot survive on its own it deserves to die. If a corporation's survival serves some vital social or security need and it cannot survive on its own, then it should be socialized rather than publicly subsidized. After all, public subsidies to privately held corporations already are a form of socialism, it's just that much of the money goes into private pockets rather than serving the public good.
    Excellent Laurence, excellent!
    •  Not sure I agree with it, entirely. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ChemBob, Fonsia

      In the case of the US auto manufacturers, would it have been a better choice to nationalize the auto industry or let GM and Chrysler fail? I won't argue about the defense industry, since I have a personal stake in that.

      "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

      by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:49:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would have nationalized it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        qofdisks

        because it was too important to fail. IMHO, the way it was taken over was pretty close to nationalizing it with a capitalist spin put on it. I mean the CEO of GM was fired by the President, basically.

        Regarding the defense industry, of which you are apparently a part...Why don't these companies try to branch out the obvious brains and know-how that they have into something constructive rather than destructive? How about some diversification?

        •  There is diversification (0+ / 0-)

          at least within the company I work for. There are projects in support of more than just war fighting. There is always a problem with human resistance to change, and venturing into areas where you have less familiarity, but the desire for profit can motivate more diversification. If conflicts of interest are more removed from the decision making on spending, and if overall defense spending is reduced, that can provide additional impetus for companies to diversify.

          As for my own work, which I won't get into specifics about, I believe that most of the security-related projects I work for are not in themselves destructive, although they may be used to support battlefield activities, and there may be civil liberties issues with how some of the the technologies are used outside the military sphere.

          "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

          by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:07:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I meant to add that (0+ / 0-)

          the company I work for has some involvement in the energy and health care sectors, although the projects are not always in line with progressive goals any more than the defense projects are.

          "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

          by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:09:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Re (0+ / 0-)
          because it was too important to fail.
          The value of an organization is what it produces. It's not like we need those two car manufacturers. Ford, Honda, Toyota, etc can make cars.

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

          by Sparhawk on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:28:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not sure about that. Without the demand from (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ChemBob

            multiple auto makers, numerous parts suppliers would have folded and damaged the vehicle-building industry all around.  

            Ford, Toyota and others testified to that effect in supporting the bailouts of GM and Chrysler.  

            What a Police State Looks Like: "On one side: soft human flesh, unprotected human skulls, cardboard signs, slogans they chant, armed with belief in 1st Amendment rights. On the other: helmets, body armor, guns, batons, chemical weapons." -- JanetRhodes

            by YucatanMan on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 12:51:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Doesn't GM remain partially "nationalized" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        katiec

        since our government owns quite a bit of GM stock now?

        I haven't been specifically keeping up with this, but I have not heard that GM bought all its stock back yet either.

        Maybe someone can enlighten me further.

        If it involves a government bailout, in my opinion, it should involve government ownership until the industry is able to function on its own.

        I also believe infrastructure should either be heavily regulated monopolies (due to the efficiencies to be gained) or solely government controlled.  I realize that is a very left-wing concept these days, but in the first 80 years of the 20th Century, it was the normal everyday government approach.

        It took Reagan and his privatization to really screw things up good.  And Clinton's Third Way corporate crap wasn't a lot better.

        What a Police State Looks Like: "On one side: soft human flesh, unprotected human skulls, cardboard signs, slogans they chant, armed with belief in 1st Amendment rights. On the other: helmets, body armor, guns, batons, chemical weapons." -- JanetRhodes

        by YucatanMan on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 12:47:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  all Germans must be right-wing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    qofdisks

    they all believe the rest of Europe needs austerity - stupid really

    UK - ok, we are used to them being right-wing puddles, but Germany?  What is wrong with them? This is not cruelty towards their own German population, but cruelty against Southern Europe. I would call this a new form of Racism in Europe.

    •  there is much division in germany (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tari, ferg, Fonsia, TomP, Euroliberal, YucatanMan

      and while she's not (yet?) facing the backlash that may drive sarkozy from office, merkel is not widely popular.

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

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:22:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  agreed - the most incompetent foreign policy (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laurence Lewis, YucatanMan

        in decades under Merkel. Never thought I would miss Kohl. Despite all his faults, I do miss his big picture leadership for Europe. Always knew I would miss Joschka Fischer.

        •  dramatic appeal by Krugman on Europe (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          714day, qofdisks

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

          Europe’s Economic Suicide

          By PAUL KRUGMAN

          Just a few months ago I was feeling some hope about Europe. You may recall that late last fall Europe appeared to be on the verge of financial meltdown; but the European Central Bank, Europe’s counterpart to the Fed, came to the Continent’s rescue. It offered Europe’s banks open-ended credit lines as long as they put up the bonds of European governments as collateral; this directly supported the banks and indirectly supported the governments, and put an end to the panic.

          The question then was whether this brave and effective action would be the start of a broader rethink, whether European leaders would use the breathing space the bank had created to reconsider the policies that brought matters to a head in the first place.

          But they didn’t. Instead, they doubled down on their failed policies and ideas. And it’s getting harder and harder to believe that anything will get them to change course.

          Consider the state of affairs in Spain, which is now the epicenter of the crisis. Never mind talk of recession; Spain is in full-on depression, with the overall unemployment rate at 23.6 percent, comparable to America at the depths of the Great Depression,  and the youth unemployment rate over 50 percent. This can’t go on — and the realization that it can’t go on is what is sending Spanish borrowing costs ever higher.

          In a way, it doesn’t really matter how Spain got to this point — but for what it’s worth, the Spanish story bears no resemblance to the morality tales so popular among European officials, especially in Germany. Spain wasn’t fiscally profligate — on the eve of the crisis it had low debt and a budget surplus. Unfortunately, it also had an enormous housing bubble, a bubble made possible in large part by huge loans from German banks to their Spanish counterparts. When the bubble burst, the Spanish economy was left high and dry; Spain’s fiscal problems are a consequence of its depression, not its cause.

          Nonetheless, the prescription coming from Berlin and Frankfurt is, you guessed it, even more fiscal austerity.

          This is, not to mince words, just insane. Europe has had several years of experience with harsh austerity programs, and the results are exactly what students of history told you would happen: such programs push depressed economies even deeper into depression. And because investors look at the state of a nation’s economy when assessing its ability to repay debt, austerity programs haven’t even worked as a way to reduce borrowing costs.

          What is the alternative? Well, in the 1930s — an era that modern Europe is starting to replicate in ever more faithful detail — the essential condition for recovery was exit from the gold standard. The equivalent move now would be exit from the euro, and restoration of national currencies. You may say that this is inconceivable, and it would indeed be a hugely disruptive event both  economically and politically. But continuing on the present course, imposing ever-harsher austerity on countries that are already suffering Depression-era unemployment, is what’s truly inconceivable.

          So if European leaders really wanted to save the euro they would be looking for an alternative course. And the shape of such an alternative is actually fairly clear. The Continent needs more expansionary monetary policies, in the form of a willingness — an announced willingness — on the part of the European Central Bank to accept somewhat higher inflation; it needs more expansionary fiscal policies, in the form of budgets in Germany that offset austerity in Spain and other troubled nations around the Continent’s periphery, rather than reinforcing it. Even with such policies, the peripheral nations would face years of hard times. But at least there would be some hope of recovery.

          What we’re actually seeing, however, is complete inflexibility. In March, European leaders signed a fiscal pact that in effect locks in fiscal austerity as the response to any and all problems. Meanwhile, key officials at the central bank are making a point of emphasizing the bank’s willingness to raise rates at the slightest hint of higher inflation.

          So it’s hard to avoid a sense of despair. Rather than admit that they’ve been wrong, European leaders seem determined to drive their economy — and their society — off a cliff. And the whole world will pay the price.

      •  I'm only worried that the Left will split (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laurence Lewis, tari

        the vote in France, and give them another conservative.

        Which would be total disaster.

        Enjoy the San Diego Zoo's panda cam! And support Bat World Sanctuary

        by Fonsia on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:30:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm pretty sure (0+ / 0-)

      what your implying about the Germans and Southern Europeans has existed for a while; it may have been a major part of a war?

      •  not really-historically you had France and Germany (0+ / 0-)

        opposed to each other with many wars and hatred. The good thing is that was stopped after the war in the context of the Nato, the European treaties and finally by forming the European Union. Actually, Germany and Italy even formed an alliance - fascist alliance. Ok, you can go back 2000 years and you had Germans fighting the Roman Empire. No, this is a new thing that is a consequence of how the Euro zone is dominated by Germany.

        •  I was referring more to (0+ / 0-)

          the Germans supposed superiority to all. If I have my facts straight and I could  be wrong about some of this but, Hitler believed in an "Aryan race" superior to all with the Germans superior to all other aryans (ironically, since he was originally Austraian) and looked down on southern Europeans. He worked with the Japanese too it doesn't mean he considered them his or the Germans equals.

  •  Cui bono? Who benefits from austerity? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, TomP

    Those with cash, or creditors whose debts are repaid in dollars that have been decreased in value by inflation.

    Austerity is more than anything the fear of the moneyed class of loss of value of cash generated by inflation growing out of deficit spending.  To date, deficits in the US are not generating inflationary spirals, since dollars are more valuable than other asset classes.  

    For holders of every other kind of asset--including the value of their labor--inflation can help lift the yoke of debt.

    Republicans bleating about deficits are taking orders from the money--and also, they hate deficits when Democrats spend money, even though Republican presidential deficits have equal inflationary impact.

    •  Inflation benefits those... (0+ / 0-)

      ...with first access to money and credit. Deflation preferentially impacts the rich, since they have assets to deflate. Wealth disparity tends to decrease during recessions.

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

      by Sparhawk on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:27:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not sure that's true (0+ / 0-)
        Wealth disparity tends to decrease during recessions.
        I'm sure there can be some examples where this was true during some recessions.  But, wealth disparity has increased almost exponentially during this recent "great depression".

        Only horses should wear blinders.

        by independantman on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:49:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Re (0+ / 0-)
          But, wealth disparity has increased almost exponentially during this recent "great depression".
          Yeah, because the govt has taken all possible steps to prevent deflation.

          Deflation is the cure, not the disease.

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

          by Sparhawk on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:56:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I don't often rec diaries I first see on the FP, (6+ / 0-)

    but between you and Deoliver, you've forced me to rec two such today.

  •  Sounds better than it really is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Orinoco
    In the United States, the only honest fiscal solution is to end the Bush tax cuts, end foreign military adventurism, stop pretending that it's necessary to spend more on military and ostensible national security hardware than the rest of the world combined, and end all forms of corporate subsidies. If a corporation cannot survive on its own it deserves to die. If a corporation's survival serves some vital social or security need and it cannot survive on its own, then it should be socialized rather than publicly subsidized. After all, public subsidies to privately held corporations already are a form of socialism, it's just that much of the money goes into private pockets rather than serving the public good.
    1) Are we talking about ending ALL Bush tax cuts...even the ones to the middle class?  2) ending corporate subsidies means not giving any kind of stimulus money to corporations like Solyndra and such because if they can not survive on their own they need to be "socialized rather than publicly subsidized".  I mean, can someone differentiate between "socialize" and "publicly subsidize" please?

    A lot of things that are put out that are better than capitalist and free market solutions really have yet to prove themselves out to be better.  

    Only horses should wear blinders.

    by independantman on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:21:53 PM PDT

    •  there's no reason (7+ / 0-)

      for the public to subsidize private industries. solyndra should have been a public effort rather than a publicly subsidized private effort. and yes, i would end the bush tax cuts. and i would pass the obama middle class tax cuts to take effect the day the bush tax cuts end. let the republicans vote against that.

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

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:26:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I do like that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laurence Lewis

        Aside from my "trollishness" on lots of stuff here on Daily Kos, I do like what you have said here.  Maybe this should be presented on a more wide range of venues specifically by the Obama team.  

        I like it.

        Only horses should wear blinders.

        by independantman on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:36:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I have to say that I think nationalizing the (0+ / 0-)

        solar power industry wouldn't be a good idea.

        "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

        by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:51:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  solar is diffuse enough (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          qofdisks

          that there could be nationalized efforts alongside private ones.

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

          by Laurence Lewis on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:54:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So would you have a (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sparhawk, qofdisks

            national non-profit solar panel company competing against private firms that receive no subsidies?

            "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

            by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:59:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  i would have public r & d (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              quillsinister, katiec, YucatanMan

              and any profits made from the results remain in public coffers. i'm also not opposed to the government investing in private green tech companies- not as subsidies, as shareholders.

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

              by Laurence Lewis on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:02:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Should the individuals who (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sparhawk

                develop innovations, funded by government, expect that their financial reward for that innovation, and the products created as a result, will be limited to their salary?

                "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

                by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:24:52 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Laurence's position makes no sense (0+ / 0-)

                  The Feds do all kinds of research. They make those results free to the public. That's the value they provide, and it's great.

                  Private companies commercialize elements of that research and make whatever profits they can. The value they provide is commercial tech, and they deserve whatever profits they make as a result.

                  This system works perfectly well. There s no reason to muck with it.

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

                  by Sparhawk on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:32:48 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I wouldn't say it works perfectly but (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Sparhawk, qofdisks

                    I'm not sure completely overturning it in favor of his approach is the right alternative. Also, the dividing line between public research and private commercialization is not always so clear cut. Private companies such as the one I work for do a lot of research themselves, sometimes internally funded and sometimes government funded. And people from national labs and public universities also try to commercialize the technology developed in those places.

                    "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

                    by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:38:03 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Laurence... (0+ / 0-)

                      ...would be happy if the government controlled all major industry and research. I don't think I'm straw manning his position by saying this. There is not an industry that I can see that he does not vociferously advocate nationalization.

                      (See elsewhere in the thread where he implies that government takeover of successful corporations like Intel is good policy).

                      If I'm wrong about thus, I would love to see how and be corrected, but taking his advice on economics is probably a mistake.

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

                      by Sparhawk on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 07:25:45 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  We innovate and private interests send (0+ / 0-)

                      production to China.
                      Now even the innovation is being outsourced.

                  •  Perfectly well? (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    BradyB, qofdisks, YucatanMan

                    We have the lousiest and most expensive broadband in the developed world.  Ditto for healthcare.  Ditto for a lot of other things.

                    Private companies aren't what they used to be in the U.S.

                    •  I wonder if there were more competition in (0+ / 0-)

                      the area of broadband infrastructure, if the situation would be better in that area.

                      "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

                      by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 07:05:59 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  No, because infrastructure like that is a (0+ / 0-)

                        "natural monopoly."  The heavy capital investment upfront guarantees that there will be only one or two or very very few "winners" in the long term.  The rest will go bankrupt and be eaten up by those with the deepest pockets.

                        We just witnessed this consolidation take place from 1999 to now as AT&T and Verizon have soaked up the majority of players.

                        Yes, there are many providers of broadband service, but very few owners of the infrastructure.  

                        A natural monopoly is an OK thing to have, but government regulation is the only way to assure the monopoly status is not abused by greedy corporations.

                        Having more competition in building out broadband infrastructure makes as much sense as having seven water companies install pipes under every street in the nation.  It would only drive up costs, complicate service, and result in eventual consolidation under one (or very few) company any way.

                        The same reason is why "electricity deregulation" and "competition" is such a farce.

                        What a Police State Looks Like: "On one side: soft human flesh, unprotected human skulls, cardboard signs, slogans they chant, armed with belief in 1st Amendment rights. On the other: helmets, body armor, guns, batons, chemical weapons." -- JanetRhodes

                        by YucatanMan on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 02:08:03 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                •  True innovatio and especially (0+ / 0-)

                  the inventors are not rewarded already in our system.

          •  Public financing of individual systems would be (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            katiec

            a good move, as well as nationalized rules permitting installation with the appropriate interfaces with every utility.

            o> Nationalized infrastructure planning and smart grid upgrades would also be very helpful.  The efforts are all too small and fragmented at present, and delayed or interrupted by irrational Republican/Libertarian money grabs or flat out obstruction.

            o> Long term credits or programs in place for decades instead of a year at a time would also help people plan when they could afford  to add or expand solar capacity.

            o> Long term national decentralized power infrastructure goals would also help. Big electric corps are not going to be extra cooperative when it comes to every house generating their own power.  We need the added boost from a national goal with rules to get that to happen.

            What a Police State Looks Like: "On one side: soft human flesh, unprotected human skulls, cardboard signs, slogans they chant, armed with belief in 1st Amendment rights. On the other: helmets, body armor, guns, batons, chemical weapons." -- JanetRhodes

            by YucatanMan on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 02:02:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Why Solyndra failed . . . (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laurence Lewis, mrsgoo, qofdisks, katiec

      The truth about why Solyndra failed is that it was trying to act as a private enterprise and it was competing against Chinese manufactured solar panels.  When the Chinese started dumping their solar panels on the US Market, Solyndra could not compete and remain competitive.  The US did not try to protect the new US manufacturing industry with any import controls, but instead provided some govenment subsidized financing.

      The end result was that private enterprise was unable to compete with the Chinese dumping.  Another illustration of the same result is the aisles of every WalMart in every community in America.

      Impeach Grover Norquist! Defeat a Republican!

      by NM Ray on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:10:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nailed it. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        qofdisks

        But, of course, the more simplistic version of "solar power will never work!" sticks better in the minds of the simplistic.

      •  The other problem was that they were overtaken (0+ / 0-)

        by technology and market changes, as in cost of materials and that rotating cylinder design that was not more efficient than the latest flat-cell stuff, certainly not for the cost involved. But that's all part of the tail-chase problems in our world economy that is just beyond any possible kind of "control."

        "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

        by jm214 on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:48:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, the tech IS more efficient. (0+ / 0-)

          It concentrates the photons for a higher photon to electron conversion ratio.  It is well proven that concentrators substantially increase the efficiency of solar panels.

          •  Yah, I should have said "cost-effective," or somet (0+ / 0-)

            hing like that. If I read the story right, the Chinese competition, with whatever subsidies or "efficiencies" in production they had managed to achieve, were able to under-sell. Leading to that little FOXword "Solyndra," meaning "yet another lilbrul failure."

            Sure seems to me like there ain't any clear path out of the current swamp of greed, special interests, vested interests, suited interests, all that. Stupid humans.

            "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

            by jm214 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 07:57:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Cross Posted NM Ray to Heath's blog (0+ / 0-)

        from down south.
        http://www.nmpolitics.net/...
        Thanks.
        Nice and elegant explanation.  The radical right is always throwing Solyndra in our face against sustainable energy.  I wish I had been armed with quick and dirty come back.  I hope I don't lose it for future reference.

    •  Your municipal sewers (0+ / 0-)

      are a socialized enterprise. Built and run by some local government entity, initially paid for with municipal bonds, maintained by user fees or assessments.

      That big complex of auto dealerships is a publicly subsidized enterprise, since the municipality gave dealers tax incentives to locate where they did, and built road and other infrastructure to accommodate them.

      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:12:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Re (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AaronInSanDiego
    If a corporation cannot survive on its own it deserves to die.
    I agree, so, you agree that bailing out Detroit was the wrong move? After all, if a corporation cannot survive on its own, it deserves to die.

    By your logic, GM and Chrysler should be gone or severely downsized by now.

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

    by Sparhawk on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:25:06 PM PDT

    •  rather (3+ / 0-)

      i'd have taken it over.

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

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:34:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What about Ford? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk

        They didn't need a bailout. Would you have the government take them over too, or would they compete against the government?

        "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

        by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:52:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  You chopped that as short as you could. (7+ / 0-)
      If a corporation cannot survive on its own it deserves to die. If a corporation's survival serves some vital social or security need and it cannot survive on its own, then it should be socialized rather than publicly subsidized.
      One might argue that letting 3 million+ workers keep their jobs serves some vital social interest.
      •  So which is it (0+ / 0-)

        Evil corporations don't need subsidies from American taxpayers?

        Or, we need to sav American jobs by subsidizing corporations?

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

        by Sparhawk on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:15:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Evil corporations with fat on the hog (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          YucatanMan

          CEOs such as  in banking and in Big Oil should not be pillaging the American taxpayer.

          GM went into reorganization and its middle management was lopped away. Totally reorganized, no longer hierarchical. It is a lean machine.

          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 Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:18:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Also (0+ / 0-)

          We have plenty of cars, it isn't like we need more auto manufacturers. Honda, Toyota, Ford, etc would have been happy to pick up the slack.

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

          by Sparhawk on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:19:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Were you even paying attention (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            qofdisks, sethtriggs, YucatanMan

            to what was going on with GM?

            If GM fell, all the parts manufacturers would have collapsed.

            There would be no Ford. There would be no American car industry.

            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 Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:23:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Which is partly why (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              upstate NY, sethtriggs, YucatanMan

              Ford supported the bailout of GM and Chrysler, IIRC.

              "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

              by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:30:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  They wouldn't have collapsed (0+ / 0-)

              Hyperbole and propaganda.

              GM and Chrysler may not still exist (no big loss), and yeah there would have been a disruptive shifting of part suppliers and possibly further bankruptcies.

              Then it would be over and we'd just have a new economic environment now with more efficient auto manufacturing. The world wouldn't have ended.

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

              by Sparhawk on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:37:39 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  False dichotomy. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          YucatanMan

          Here, allow me to emphasize the relevent bit:

          ...then it should be socialized rather than publicly subsidized.
          :-)
          •  So... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            soros

            ...we'll have private car companies competing with government owned car companies (who were so badly managed previously that they went bankrupt?).

            How is this even slightly fair? Ford/Honda/Toyota does a better job than its competition only to get kicked in the teeth for being successful?

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

            by Sparhawk on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 07:20:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Socialized institutions does not have the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            YucatanMan

            top management objective of looting, big salaries and bonuses.

        •  Those which serve a greater purpose, as said, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          katiec

          should be preserved through nationalization.

          Vehicle manufacturing capacity can be argued to be vital to our national interests.  If the companies that exist cannot operate in the black, then I see nothing wrong with government operating them until they are able to stand on their own feet.

          In the case of utilities, it is hard to argue there is any case for privatization, unless it is as a private monopoly which is heavily regulated.

          In the case of finance, "too big to fail" should not ever be possible.  The government should split up groups which reach that status and not pick up the pieces for those which fail.  In the event of a downturn, aid should be provided directly to the citizens and let them decide how best to meet their own needs, rather than to huge banks which refuse to loan money to business while giving themselves huge bonuses and lobbying against the very government which provided their bailouts.

          etc, etc, etc

          What a Police State Looks Like: "On one side: soft human flesh, unprotected human skulls, cardboard signs, slogans they chant, armed with belief in 1st Amendment rights. On the other: helmets, body armor, guns, batons, chemical weapons." -- JanetRhodes

          by YucatanMan on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 02:13:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Should have been nationalized (5+ / 0-)

      along with the banks.

    •  Let them go out. Someone will still make cars (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sparhawk

      that can do so at a profit.

      [T]here is no more dangerous experiment than that of undertaking to be one thing before a man's face and another behind his back. - Robert E. Lee

      by SpamNunn on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:56:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Someone from other countries, you mean (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        qofdisks, YucatanMan

        You'd rather America lose out on high-valued manufacturing so that it can move to other countries.

        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 Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:37:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe so. I doubt it, though. (0+ / 0-)

          Someone would buy up the factories, use the supply chain, put the workers back to work.   Sometimes, you have to break something old to make something new.

          [T]here is no more dangerous experiment than that of undertaking to be one thing before a man's face and another behind his back. - Robert E. Lee

          by SpamNunn on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 07:21:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  ??? Money (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            qofdisks, sethtriggs

            If someone would have done this, you'll have to explain to me why no one invests in American manufacturing now. If there's all this capacity, why has our economy dropped from 25% manufacturing to less than 10%.

            Who bought up the factories and supply chain and put the workers back to work? Who stepped in and produced anything new?

            25% to less than 10% of GDP.

            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 Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 06:27:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Tooling was allowed to go obsolete. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            upstate NY

            Manufacturing must dynamically evolve and continuously be updated.  Modern tooling was transferred to other low cost labor countries and America was left holding out-dated facilities.  The problem is more serious than you can imagine.

  •  It's not hard to see why this is happening (6+ / 0-)

    Austerity fits the self-image of the 1% so well.

    See, they're wealthy because they earned it - they worked hard, made the right choices, etc. etc. and nobody helped them at all. They did it all on their own.

    Further, anyone could do what they did; poverty is a choice, aided and abetted by overgenerous government that makes people dependent.

    Therefore, the solution is pain and suffering until people adopt the virtues of their superiors. (AKA the beatings will continue until morale improves.) As long as the 1% is calling the shots, there will be austerity. It's the only moral thing to do - by their lights.

    David Brooks gave a really good capsule summary of Conservative thinking the other day that may have been more revealing than he realized:

    ...Most poverty and suffering — whether in a country, a family or a person — flows from disorganization. A stable social order is an artificial accomplishment, the result of an accumulation of habits, hectoring, moral stricture and physical coercion. Once order is dissolved, it takes hard measures to restore it.
    emphasis added

    Throughout history, this is how aristocrats have always justified their existence and their lordship over the serfs.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:27:10 PM PDT

  •  What is cruel is not "stupidity." What's cruel... (4+ / 0-)

    ... is diverting revenues to solve a concocted problem of debts and deficits produced by the previously Republican and ostensibly "conservative" Congresses of the first six years of the Bush presidency. (And No, I don't let Democratic Congresses off the hook on this, either.)

    It is neglect of infrastructure investment that would also buoy the economy and sustain jobs, as well as caring for the growing underclass. It is overlooking an obvious crisis in the provision of health care in America.

    The neglect to do these things is not benign and the refusal to do them is deliberate and intentional - and approaching the venal - not stupid!

    Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

    by TRPChicago on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:27:11 PM PDT

  •  Subsidies to GM and Green Companies (4+ / 0-)

    that Obama has made were reasonable. As he mentions every chance he gets, without the GM bailout that Romoney opposed, there goes our auto industry, and Obama rightfully can take a bow for saving hundreds of thousands of US manufacturing jobs. Likewise with the administration's subsidies for wind, solar and other green companies. Our Asian and European competitors have been doing this for decades, so simplistically calling for an end to all corporate subsidies, I think, is short-sighted. I think the answer is more nuanced than that and I think we have to always look down the road at the second and third levels of impact of public policy decisions. That being said, subsidies to big oil and big banks are wastes of our tax dollars--big oil in particualr does not need them, and the big banks just take the money and do not come through with their part of the bargain. I particularly favor subsidies for small businesses in sectors that show promise for developing employment, as well as using creative approaches to keep our high tech companies innovating and creating the waves of tech jobs that we have seen over the past two years.

    •  there is another approach (3+ / 0-)

      that isn't subsidization.

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

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:38:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Vertical integration and socialization of (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laurence Lewis, qofdisks, YucatanMan

        industries heavily interwoven with national security.

        As the heaviest user of oil and gasoline in the country, the US military should own and run its own energy company, along with manufacturing plants for munitions, weaponry, armor and transportation.  By keeping these functions 'in-house', the government would provide useful employment and skills training for service members without the overhead of stockholder profits.

        Likewise, I would claim that energy security is perhaps the single most important form of national security the country faces, and that all non-renewable energy resources in the country and it's territorial waters should be nationalized and reserved for domestic use.

        •  and it shouldn't need saying (4+ / 0-)

          but no one should be profiting off wars and the machinery of wars...

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

          by Laurence Lewis on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:49:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ditto imprisonment. (5+ / 0-)

            There should be no privately run 'correctional' facilities.  

          •  Why not? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Americantrueandblue, Sparhawk

            How is that fundamentally different from profiting off anything else?

            "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

            by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:57:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  because vital national needs (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              YucatanMan, qofdisks

              should be socialized. and because it inevitably creates financial incentives for wars and military bloat.

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

              by Laurence Lewis on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:00:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  What's a vital national need? (0+ / 0-)

                For example, the DoD sure as hell needs microchips for various purposes.

                Should it spend tens of billions of dollars in research and tooling costs to replicate existing commercial facilities and almost irreproducible private research on the topic, or should it just do the economical thing and buy chips from Intel at $20 per chip or whatever?

                This example is true for countless products and services that are already used in the private sector. There is simply no reason other than crackpot economic theories why the DoD shouldn't just buy the existing commercial solution.

                As far as 'bloat' at private contractors the DoD has the power to fix that anytime it wants, assuming it's a problem, which I am not sure we've demonstrated is true. This economic analysis as a result is mostly useless.

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

                by Sparhawk on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:48:31 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  bunk (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  BradyB, YucatanMan, qofdisks

                  when congress is paying for weapons systems that the pentagon itself says are unnecessary, we have serious problems. and socializing doesn't necessarily mean replicating.

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

                  by Laurence Lewis on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 07:04:48 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Re (0+ / 0-)
                    socializing doesn't necessarily mean replicating.
                    Great, so the next brilliant idea here is for the DoD to take over successful companies like Intel? I can't believe I'm hearing this kind of talk from supposedly 'the reality based community'. It's unhinged from reality and has elements of ideas that have failed many many times in the past.
                    congress is paying for weapons systems that the pentagon itself says are unnecessary
                    So you're going to blame defense contractors for this? (BTW, these are also 'jobs', the kind of thing you're willing to give free government money to GM to support... what's the difference between unproductive GM and unproductive defense companies? Nothing, except you politically like one of them but not the other).

                    Last I checked, the Senate was controlled by Dems, and since 2006 the Dems have controlled at least one and maybe both chambers of Congress. If Congress is demanding weapons systems we don't need, maybe the finger shouldn't be pointed at defense contractors, but at Congresspeople (and Democratic ones at that). Potential defense contractor bloat has zero to do with this, it's a 'problem' that can be solved by Congress and the Pentagon anytime someone feels like it.

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

                    by Sparhawk on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 07:17:34 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes, there are serious problems there. (0+ / 0-)

                    I don't know if the solution is simple, though. Partly, this is difficult to unwind because the system has been developed over such a long period of time, so that much of the expertise about defense is now in the private sector. That's apart from issues of greed and corruption.

                    "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

                    by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 07:23:47 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  What be construed as NOT being interwoven with (0+ / 0-)

          national security?  Security has shown to be a justification for anything.

  •  Acts 4:32-3t .. "no one claimed private ownership (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, srelar

    of any  posessions, but everything they owned was held in common.  .. There was not a needy person among them for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold.  They laid it at the apostle's feet, and it was distributed to each as any  had need."

    Where are the folks who want government to heed Scripture this evening?  

    It's not a fake orgasm; it's a real yawn.

    by sayitaintso on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:34:31 PM PDT

  •  I agree, but the US and Greece are different (0+ / 0-)

    The US is rich nation with still low borrowing costs, and as such should definitely rely on deficit spending to reprime the economy. If we borrow too much the market will let us know by increasing rates.

    The market has already let Greece know it's borrowing too much; its rates are out of sight. It cannot deficit spend any more. It can only ask the richer Euro nations to bail it out. And maybe they should, in order to preserve the Euro. But only if Greece makes major structural reforms. Austerity may be a byproduct; it should not be the primary goal. But, guaranteed jobs, high pensions, early retirement and an entrenched guild system have got to go. The Greeks may riot, but unless they start invading Germany, there's really nothing else for them to do. There may be pain, but you have to pay the piper sometime.

    •  the euro also is a problem for greece (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YucatanMan

      and yes, they have no political options right now, but austerity isn't working. if the wealthier european countries want to help greece they should be focusing on jobs not deficits.

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

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:43:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Only if you buy the propaganda (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ferg, Euroliberal, YucatanMan

      The corporate media has sold a bag of goods on Greece that fits well with the bankers' narrative. Early retirement and high pensions, eh? Greeks retire later than Americans and Germans. High pensions of an average of 4k a year? Taxed?

      What was going on in Europe is nothing less than vendor financing. It's a scam.

      The market, the market. No one should be beholden to the market. Gov'ts should be making these decisions, not the market.

      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 Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:09:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They did... (0+ / 0-)

        The Greek government made the decision to take on an unbearable amount of public debt...oops...Now it is time to pay.

        •  You don't understand how it works (0+ / 0-)

          But you soon will

          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 Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 06:25:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Or it is time for those irresponsible gambling (0+ / 0-)

          lenders to lose their money.  Why is the argument being made that a lender can be as irresponsible as humanly possible and still deserve to have all money returned?

          Interesting isn't it?  There are two ways this could go.

          Why is it that those who gave out their money freely and in excess deserve to be paid back every last dime?

          If they were drinking it all up in a bar or if they were running around with open doors on their armored cars, spewing money across the countryside, would it still be the responsibility of retirees on pensions to pay back the irresponsible fools?  

          What if they were lending money to homeless men on the side of the railroad tracks?  Would they deserve to demand that public servants' salaries be slashed so that the banks were paid back for their irresponsible loans?

          Perspective shifts can shift the view on solutions.

          What a Police State Looks Like: "On one side: soft human flesh, unprotected human skulls, cardboard signs, slogans they chant, armed with belief in 1st Amendment rights. On the other: helmets, body armor, guns, batons, chemical weapons." -- JanetRhodes

          by YucatanMan on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 02:20:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Do you have any idea (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      upstate NY, Euroliberal, YucatanMan

      what's already happened in Greece by way of austerity?  I've been keeping up with the Greek situation since December 2008, so I guess I have a sense of how many givebacks have already been made, how much has already been squeezed from those who had very little to begin with.  I need to assemble the links; it's nightmarish, Americans think its a bunch of spoiled fat guys belching complaints over their coffee and baklava, but it just ain't like that.

      The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges. ~ Anatole France

      by ActivistGuy on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:28:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Europe chose austerity in its economic (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, ferg, Euroliberal

    union.

    If you read the very charter under which the eurozone was erected, you will find austerity measures writ large. For instance, the ECB can buy private and corporate bonds in the secondary markets, but it is disallowed from ever purchasing government bonds in those markets. Everyone knew Europe could make a killing early on when it could have purchased Greek bonds in the secondary markets for 20% of the face value, the price of those bonds (back when Greek debt was a manageable 115% debt to GDP 2 years ago) would have instantly skyrocketed with a guarantee from the ECB and Europe that it would continue buying distressed bonds.

    This is what Switzerland did with its own currency. Its central bank went into the secondary market and announced it would start printing and then buying back its own bonds when they reached a certain price point (pegged to the euro). The bankers instantly left Switzerland alone and realized that the Swiss were serious. They would defend their economy.

    But the ECB instead tries to keep Europe afloat by accepting sovereign bonds from private banks who use those bonds as collateral. The ECB always needs to pass through private interests to buffer up the continent.

    The rot and austerity in Europe is based in its initial design, which was never meant to last more than a few years until they created a tighter union. Jacques Delors has already spoken to this in numerous venues.

    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 Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:37:44 PM PDT

    •  The eurozone is worse than the USA when (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Euroliberal

      it comes to austerity. Check this out:

      http://www.europeanvoice.com/...

      There is, though, very little transparency about the EIB's trading book; more public scrutiny over these kind of EIB operations is clearly needed.

      Second, why has the EIB chosen to complain directly to the US authorities, rather than leaving it to the EU's member states (the EIB's shareholders) or the presidency of the European Council to do so? The EIB consistently defines itself as being driven by EU policy; yet on this occasion, and on such an acute issue, it has chosen to break ranks very publicly, at the risk of contradicting its masters.

      Finally, what exactly is the EIB's problem with the strictures of the US's Dodd-Frank Act? How much would the new US rules cost the EIB, at least in capital blocked for stability reasons? Perhaps not so much, though it is typical for bankers of any sort – public or private – to react badly when they are obliged to comply with new, more restrictive rules. Could it be that its current sensitivity about how it trades in derivatives is because, contrary to its public statements on the matter, the EIB is floating in some choppy financial waters?

      The European Parliament is currently locking horns with European governments to bring about rigorous reform of derivatives markets by, as a minimum, aligning the EU regime to the new US provisions. It ought now to question the EIB about why it has stuck its head above the parapet so belligerently. The bank's management would seem to need a reminder that the EIB is indeed policy-driven, and that new European law on the issue is still in the making.

      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 Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:39:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  and as krugman pointed out from the start (4+ / 0-)

      a common currency without common economic and political structures was a recipe for... exactly what we have.

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

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:44:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  GOoPer Logic (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, GeoffT, zaka1

    No handouts to people.

    Corporations are people.  (Mitt Romney)

    No handouts to people.

    Most Republicans are against contraception because you can't get pregnant from anal sex. ---Chelsea Handler

    by hobie1616 on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:42:30 PM PDT

  •  Worse than not working, austerity... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, a2nite

    ...is a giant distraction from finding a strategy for growth. Each country needs to feed itself in ways that are different than what worked for them in the 20th century.  

    I like Roubini's phrase:

    The trouble is that the eurozone has an austerity strategy but no growth strategy.
    Even if austerity did work, it would not address the fundamental economic problems.

    The US is in a totally different place with ideological vultures using the economy's stress to bludgeon New Deal and Great Society programs. But similar to EU austerity, even if they succeed, it's irrelevant to the fundamentals of a stalled economy where the sunniest scenarios for decades of superior growth have no space for 50% of us.

    Austerity, like the Ryan budget, moves from the miserable to the horrible.  All while there are many workable solutions and plenty of money and resources to implement them.

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

    by kck on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:43:30 PM PDT

  •  They don’t want growth. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GeoffT, a2nite

    ‘Bipartisan’ government policy is already sending as much money as possible to the top, by design, to stifle growth in the general economy, reduce public consumption etc. They know what it takes to create jobs (more money in consumers’ pockets) and they’re intentionally doing the exact opposite of that.
    The anti-growth agenda is already in action because we're running out of fossil fuels. They wouldn’t be building a trillion-dollar pipeline to ship in the hardest-to-refine-shit-in-the-world (tar sands) if there was still plenty of oil. To sustain the levels of growth to which we’re accustomed would require a serious expansion in the development of renewable energy, an expansion that would reduce the market share (and the political power) of conventional energy. That’s not going to happen. Conventional energy will not give up its political power by accepting the reduction in market share that would occur with a serious expansion in the development of renewable energy.
    We’re headed for an ugly and painful economic slowdown, to preserve and protect the political power of conventional energy (administered by a political system that is protecting the market share of conventional energy by blocking necessary expansions in the development of renewable energy). If you’re looking for a root cause, it’s a political system in which money = speech.

  •  Ofttimes when a company goes bankrupt (5+ / 0-)

    the management loots it to their own benefit.  Austerity is just this strategy writ large.

  •  We must raise taxes on everyone, and spend less. (0+ / 0-)

    Debt is crushing the economies of the world, not a lack of spending.  To continue to pretend otherwise is foolish, and will only make things worse later on.  

    But we will be promised the free lunch for our votes again  and again, until the bad times come for an extended period of time - because no politician has the sac the tell people the truth.

    [T]here is no more dangerous experiment than that of undertaking to be one thing before a man's face and another behind his back. - Robert E. Lee

    by SpamNunn on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:53:16 PM PDT

    •  actually (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite

      basic keynesianism says you spend your way out of a deep recession. ignoring basic kayensianism has been the most foolish macroeconomic failure in memory.

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

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:58:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But that is a short term solution to (0+ / 0-)

        what hopefully is a short term problem, where as dealing with debt is a longer term issue.

        "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

        by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:28:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This isnt a typical recession (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SpamNunn

        It's a debt and balance sheet based recession. Your advice is like telling a heroin addict that the way to treat withdrawal symptoms is to get him more heroin quickly! It will certainly cut the withdrawal symptoms, I'll give you that, but it just hurts more in the longer term.

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

        by Sparhawk on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:52:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  How then do you explain post-WW2 (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Laurence Lewis

          expansion? For decades after, we did not have any of this hurt you speak of after we went full-on Keynes. Yes, it can't go on forever, but even as late as 2000, we could have been back on the road to solvency until the Republicans looted the economy yet again.

          "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

          by bryduck on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 09:19:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Same w/tge great depression. iNET.... (0+ / 0-)

          now has videos up from their recently concluded lecture series.  Lots of good stuff relating to our current situation, including talks by Steeve Keen, Michael Hudson, etc....

        •  you're flat wrong (0+ / 0-)

          it's a jobs and growth based recession. you ignore the most basic concepts and most obvious history of keynesianism, not to mention exactly what i outline in the post about europe.

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

          by Laurence Lewis on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 10:02:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  That's what Mrs. Thatcher says (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sethtriggs

      "There Is No Alternative".  Wages must be lowered.   returns on investment must go up.  "There Is No Alternative." m  Obsolete workers and communities must root hog or die.  "There Is No Alternative."  Any resistance to complete corporatist neoliberal capitalism must be crushed totally with all available force.  "There Is No Alternative."  Social instruments of working class power must be permanently eviscerated.  "There Is No Alternative."

      The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges. ~ Anatole France

      by ActivistGuy on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:45:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "...you'd think America was the poorest nation... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Laurence Lewis, zaka1

    on earth..." In this quote from 714 day's diary about Childhood Hunger in America, the diarist comments on the republican's calls for everyone but themselves to make sacrifices:  

    ...I get so damned sick of hearing about which impoverished belts need to be tightened so that those who have way more than enough can have much, much more. My God, to hear the stingy well-to-do yammer on about who else has to sacrifice, you'd think America is the poorest nation on earth. It isn't. It's still the wealthiest, even if that wealth is clutched in the pockets of 1% of us...Let's not behave as if we are citizens of a third world country and allow our children to go hungry....
    Apparently the Congressional republicans feel no shame in "acting like America is a third world country", if that's what they think it takes for them to be able to keep hoarding their own wealth, regardless of the cost to their nation.

    The republican Congress members are despicable, selfish, mean, and entirely incapable of pitching in to make their own nation a better place.  They are only concerned with enriching themselves and getting power; and they never have enough of either.

  •  Bankers want to get their bonuses first!! (0+ / 0-)
  •  The New Deal and the Marshall Plan (0+ / 0-)

    are more or less the sort of policies of conservative European governments.    Americans of any stripe are in no position to lecture Euros on the proper breadth and depth of the social democratic program.    In fact, it was only in response to endless billingsgate directed at them by the Anglo-Saxon states that eventually continental Euros began to fall away from their  own heritage and accept the hegemony of Reaganism-Thatcherism.

    The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges. ~ Anatole France

    by ActivistGuy on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:15:52 PM PDT

    •  The New Deal and the Marshall Plan are (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite

      quite apt in Laurence Lewis's diary because they were responses to depression and deflation and devastation.

      Germany, in particular, was saved by the Marshall Plan, but it does not approve of a similar plan for the periphery which is much worse off; people are dying there for lack of food or health care.

      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 Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:21:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Austerity Kills (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, Euroliberal

    I urge everyone to check out these two diaries from over at the Eurotribune:

    http://www.eurotrib.com/...

    There is a relationship between austerity and health (duh!)

    and also, an interesting proposition:

    http://www.eurotrib.com/...

    "Should Germany be forced out of the European Union?"

    Read the comments in particular to get a sense of the upheaval and consternation in Europe right now.

    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 Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:16:39 PM PDT

  •  Culture of cruelty IS the true American value (0+ / 0-)

    It's what we stand 4. It = more money 4 the evil 1%.

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:19:48 PM PDT

  •  Krugman today: Europe’s Economic Suicide (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Laurence Lewis

    "A Republic, if you can keep it."

    by Publius2008 on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:26:05 PM PDT

    •  The one thing that bugs me about Krugman (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Euroliberal

      is this canard:

      In a way, it doesn’t really matter how Spain got to this point — but for what it’s worth, the Spanish story bears no resemblance to the morality tales so popular among European officials, especially in Germany. Spain wasn’t fiscally profligate — on the eve of the crisis it had low debt and a budget surplus. Unfortunately, it also had an enormous housing bubble, a bubble made possible in large part by huge loans from German banks to their Spanish counterparts.
      Spain's private debt is triple and quadruple that of the public debt in the so-called fiscally profligate countries. By repeating this point constantly, Krugman draws too many distinctions between the corruptibility of the public sector and the rather parlous waywardly state of the public sector.

      In the countries with high public debt, the money was not used on social welfare (as can be shown in Italy, Greece and Portugal since they pay less per capita for social services and have smaller bureaucracies than the core eurozone). Instead, the money was used in the same fashion than the private sector in Spain used it, to build out (not necessarily to invest, unless you consider housing an investment). Greece used it to buy military weaponry from France and Germany. Portugal used it in the same fashion that Spain did, and Ireland used it to make its bankers rich.

      There should be no distinctions for morality when it comes to spending in the private and public sectors. The private sector can be as profligate as the public sector, and in the end--as we see in Spain and Ireland--the private sector becomes an albatross over the public sector, as the public sops up its losses. In Greece, the situation was reversed. There was no housing bubble, and Greek banks were doing quite well, having totally avoided Wall Street and intra-European banking.

      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 Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:34:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Amazing (0+ / 0-)
    If a corporation cannot survive on its own it deserves to die. If a corporation's survival serves some vital social or security need and it cannot survive on its own, then it should be socialized rather than publicly subsidized. After all, public subsidies to privately held corporations already are a form of socialism, it's just that much of the money goes into private pockets rather than serving the public good.
    Somebody will have to remind me why Daily Kos was taking up monetary collections to send Nancy Pelosi roses for passing the sick joke that was the Affordable Care Act in 2010, enshrining corporate subsidies to the private health insurance racket as the basis of the system rather than trying to get to any kind of rationally workable solution.  

    It seemed stupid to me then, and a clear-cut case of mindless cheering for Team Blue over Team Red rather than actually thinking through the logical consequences of the action - not so stupid in 2012, I guess.

    Proud supporter of the drug-addled, f***ing retarded professional left.

    by Kall on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:47:10 PM PDT

    •  Because the alternative was worse (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sethtriggs

      While I agree with your general thesis, to paraphrase the brilliant (cough) theoretician Donald Rumsfeld: you go to war with the politicians you have, not the politicians you want.

      I doubt many of us would disagree with the necessity of health care reform in the US, but "Obamacare", as the critics like to call it, was a compromise to allow some form of health care access for all.

      A "rationally working solution", as you put it, would have run straight into the brick wall of the "Party of No" and with the US holding Socialism almost in the same esteem as Satanism, finding a solution that politicians would have to justify as "not Socialism" (something our Socialized military works hard to defend us against) would have ended the careers of many politicians. At least now they can make the feeble claim that it's business overseeing your health care and not the government.

      Yes, the compromise is sad, but I doubt the US would get even the little reform it did without something similar.

  •  thanks, Lawrence brilliantly said and needs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis

    to be said over and over..conservatism has been a visible massive failure the pain in the uk and erie is palpable.  Trouble is there seems to be apathy and no energy for change,,the populace has been beaten down.

    Macca's Meatless Monday

    by VL Baker on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:52:10 PM PDT

  •  Most excellent. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis

    I'd rather have a buntle afrota-me than a frottle a bunta-me.

    by David54 on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:57:40 PM PDT

  •  Rec'd, linked and MUCH appreciated (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis

    I started to disagree at "If a corporation cannot survive on its own it deserves to die.", but the rest of the paragraph was masterful and changed my mind.

    VERY nice post, Mr. Lewis.

    Thanks!

    "Doing My Part to Piss Off the Religious Right" - A sign held by a 10-year old boy on 9-24-05

    by Timbuk3 on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 07:29:27 PM PDT

  •  does this apply to the domestic auto industry? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Wes

    "If a corporation cannot survive on its own it deserves to die."

    During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. ~George Orwell

    by Derffie on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 07:37:44 PM PDT

  •  Growth is impossible. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe wobblie, zaka1

    The problem isn't that there's not enough wealth.  The problem is that the system is rigged.  Even if growth was possible, what then?  It will plateau eventually.  Relying on mythical growth to come save us is as stupid as austerity.

    •  Who bailed out the banks? It wasn't the banks. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe wobblie

      The system is rigged all right.  It's rigged by the political elite on both sides.  Who bailed out the banks?  It wasn't the banks.  It was crony government not letting badly-run companies fail like this article says they should do.  

    •  You can grow smaller and smarter (0+ / 0-)

      Growth does not mean excess. It can be economically lucrative to plan for a green economy.

      Wealth is simply one thing: increased efficiencies and standard of living.

      Money is the distribution of wealth.

      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 Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 06:31:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Until you run out of (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe wobblie

        increased efficiencies and increasing standard of living.  Then where's growth?

        •  Eventually we all die (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bryduck

          You have to invest.

          I mean, if eventually we have a sustainable clean energy resource, and can feed a certain number of people on the planet (say 6 billion) then we don't need growth.

          But we're not there yet.

          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 Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 07:59:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This may be the most important point (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            upstate NY

            we've seen in all of the back-and-forth between the libertarians and the progressives we get whenever a FPer does a macroeconomics post.

            But we're not there yet.
            Ex-freaking-actly.

            "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

            by bryduck on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 09:22:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Invest in what? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joe wobblie

            If there's no need for growth, there's no investment.  If there's nothing to invest in, there's no investment.  If the economic engine is already humming at full speed, there's no investment.  If there's no investment, there's no growth.

            We ARE there.  One way or another, this is the terminal phase of capitalism, if capitalism is a system in which investment is fundamental (and I should think that anyone would agree that investment is practically synonymous with capitalism).

            •  So, we don't neednew energy sources? (0+ / 0-)

              You think everything is just fine as it is.

              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 Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 10:31:23 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Even if we do, then what? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                joe wobblie

                Is there anything left to invest in after converting to a renewable energy system, if that's even possible at this point?

                •  I already answered that earlier (0+ / 0-)

                  We do not have energy sustainability right now, nor adequate means of growing/distributing food.

                  If there comes a time when needs are met, then you don't need to create mechanisms to fulfill basic needs.

                  There will always be needs and desires, but in a post-energy economy, there will be plenty of debate about which desires we should invest in fulfilling.

                  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 Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 11:24:45 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You say "invest" (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    joe wobblie

                    but I think you really mean "allocate".  Investment means increasing the means of production.  How can that be done if they're all running at maximum capacity?  If there's planning rather than investment, how can that be called capitalism?

                    •  We just have a different definition of investment (0+ / 0-)

                      Allocation does not imply anything transformative. Investment typically yields something else. That's why I use it. You can invest in education, invest in research, invest in transportation, etc.

                      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 Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 06:22:41 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

  •  Sharing is not enough (0+ / 0-)

    If we don't get this printed in our local papers, no one will except the truth and we must do everything to get this into the publics view. Not many left from the Great Depression era, but for those still around to read this and back it up will be the key to proving it right. Who can start to get this into the publics view, and I mean now?

  •  I generally agree, but ... (0+ / 0-)

    There are a couple of compelling arguments made in favor of subsidies:

    The first is the protection of fledgling industries. Many governments subsidize or otherwise protect new industries to ensure they have a chance to grow and compete on an even footing with more mature players in the field. Unfortunately, as the industry grows, maintaining subsidies can allow them to remain uncompetitive as they lack incentive to control costs or to produce a superior product.

    The second argument is about subsidizing key industries. For example, many countries heavily subsidize their steel industries. In times of war, lacking a domestic steel (or agricultural) industry would be disastrous. You might think that the US industrial base is large enough that we would not have to worry about this, but the US steel industry has repeatedly had to deal with other countries, such as Russia, Japan and Brazil, dumping their steel to support a domestic industry. We can respond by subsidizing US steel, create offsetting duties to counter the dumping (and invite WTO response), or allow the US steel industry to suffer or go bankrupt.

    It's certainly not the case that all subsidies are a bad thing or that industries we agree to subsidize be nationalized (given the US political climate, natioanalization is simply not a viable strategy).

    These, at least, are points that people can reasonably disagree on, unlike the idiotic Republican insistence that free trade and austerity are the wunder-cures to the world's economic woes.

    •  Fake Democrats (0+ / 0-)

      again..I will point out facts...
      Gillibrand voted for the Bush Tax cuts
      Voted for another free trade treaty
      Voted against the safe importation of drugs
      Has never written a student loan reform bill
      Never wrote a comprehensive national jobs bill
      I represent something different
      You need hundreds of people like me to make a difference
      Www.norenforsenate.com

      www.norenforsenate.com Scott Noren DDS

      by DoctorNoren on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 06:59:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Addendum (0+ / 0-)

      im a registered Democrat running as an Independent.
      Www.norenforsenate.com
      Dr. Noren

      www.norenforsenate.com Scott Noren DDS

      by DoctorNoren on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 07:01:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Right Wing Class Warfare (0+ / 0-)

    I couldn't agree more, the right wing today is completely at war with the middle class!

  •  King Crimson said it in one line (0+ / 0-)

    "The fate of all mankind, it seems, is in the hands of fools."

    If we give power back to the Republicans in November, we will get what we deserve.

    See the children of the earth who wake to find the table bare, See the gentry in the country riding out to take the air. ~~Gordon Lightfoot, "Don Quixote"

    by Panama Pete on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 02:48:45 PM PDT

    •  Panama Pete (0+ / 0-)

      you lose by the time you get to the ballot box. You need to take over at the local committee levels and get rebels in office that won't get dirty hands.
      I'm one of them but you need hundreds of us.
      Doc
      Www.norenforsenate.com

      www.norenforsenate.com Scott Noren DDS

      by DoctorNoren on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 06:56:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bush Tax Cuts (0+ / 0-)

    so tell me...what does it mean when a Democrat votes for the Bush Tax cuts? No answer? Too bash for everyone? Sorry...what about the lack of follow through when a financier spouse of Congress shorts the 2008 downturn and gets off Scott free? Well that's what I face...a fellow Democrat seeped in Wall Street lobby money who has schmoozed the masses into thinking they are progressive.
    The media has all the power to paint the picture. The problem is YOU lose ultimately. In this case, I fight for student loan reform, bringing back Glass Steagall, a jobs bill to create jobs and you get fluff. Great system.
    Doc running for Congress

    www.norenforsenate.com Scott Noren DDS

    by DoctorNoren on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 06:53:26 PM PDT

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