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is the title of this op ed for Friday's New York Times.

The fear is economic.

The fear is not having a job.

It is made worse by the cutting off of extended unemployment benefits as of Saturday.

It is exacerbated because, as Krugman points out,

employment generally involves a power relationship: you have a boss, who tells you what to do, and if you refuse, you may be fired. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If employers value their workers, they won’t make unreasonable demands. But it’s not a simple transaction.
From the standpoint of the employees,  higher unemployment means
employers are in a position to work them harder, pay them less, or both.
Economic insecurity means that people are reluctant to quit even a badly paying poor job unless they have another job in hand.

So are employers working their employees, harder, paying them less, or both?

Please keep reading. . . .

Is there any evidence that this is happening? And how. The economic recovery has, as I said, been weak and inadequate, but all the burden of that weakness is being borne by workers. Corporate profits plunged during the financial crisis, but quickly bounced back, and they continued to soar. Indeed, at this point, after-tax profits are more than 60 percent higher than they were in 2007, before the recession began. We don’t know how much of this profit surge can be explained by the fear factor — the ability to squeeze workers who know that they have no place to go. But it must be at least part of the explanation. In fact, it’s possible (although by no means certain) that corporate interests are actually doing better in a somewhat depressed economy than they would if we had full employment.

What’s more, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to suggest that this reality helps explain why our political system has turned its backs on the unemployed. No, I don’t believe that there’s a secret cabal of C.E.O.’s plotting to keep the economy weak. But I do think that a major reason why reducing unemployment isn’t a political priority is that the economy may be lousy for workers, but corporate America is doing just fine..

And of course now that corporations are unleashed for their political spending, those running them are more than happy to keep things as they are

- demanding and getting concessions
- sitting on trillions of cash

We will see efforts to repatriate overseas profits without their being taxed.

We will see insistence on any tax deal lowering the effective tax rate so that major corporations continue to pay either very low effective taxes or no taxes at all (or even have the government rebate to them for taxes they in fact never paid in the first place).

Does any of this create jobs?   Well, it sure has not so far.

So people continue to fear, which suppresses the willingness to organize which keeps the power relationship tilted to the employers.

Krugman criticizes those progressives who are not focusing on employment.   I would quibble on this because I do not think anyone who will forgo an emphasis on increasing employment for any tradeoff can legitimately be considered a progressive, not when so many people are already hurting.

Rewarding passive investors and corporations who do not pay their employees enough to stimulate the economy through spending is not only poor economic policy, it in the long run is a poor political strategy, because either eventually there will be a major pushback - if the Democrats are willing to focus truly on jobs - or else we might be heading for civil disorder.

In any case, read the Krugman column.

Especially his last paragraoh:

Too many Americans currently live in a climate of economic fear. There are many steps that we can take to end that state of affairs, but the most important is to put jobs back on the agenda.
More jobs means less fear.

More jobs means a healthier economy.

Less fear means a healthier society.

The choice SHOULD be easy.

Originally posted to teacherken on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 07:59 PM PST.

Also republished by Pushing back at the Grand Bargain and ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (132+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045, tofumagoo, annieli, librarisingnsf, Involuntary Exile, Independent Musings, mskitty, oldcrow, copymark, The Jester, yoduuuh do or do not, MufsMom, high uintas, Gooserock, cotterperson, Matt Z, Oaktown Girl, jck, mrsgoo, susakinovember, ArthurPoet, PeterHug, fixxit, peachcreek, LamontCranston, countwebb, ctsteve, Shockwave, Bluehawk, Gowrie Gal, NM Ray, George3, LeftHandedMan, Redfire, philipmerrill, PrahaPartizan, Egalitare, riverlover, Sandino, MartyM, Paul Ferguson, bobswern, slowbutsure, VTCC73, camlbacker, wilywascal, WheninRome, basquebob, Creosote, hannah, rat racer, myrmecia gulosa, kurt, WhizKid331, trkingmomoe, quarkstomper, jadt65, AnnieJo, rmonroe, 4kedtongue, xaxnar, Dartagnan, sillycarrot, Kristina40, Airmid, duhban, jamess, Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees, rapala, Debs2, Doctor Who, SaraBeth, Habitat Vic, StrayCat, Nowhere Man, jrooth, mookins, salmo, triv33, Sam Hill, CitizenJoe, CA Nana, BlueDragon, grollen, Arrow, unclejohn, ChemBob, Betty Pinson, geebeebee, zerelda, Joieau, psnyder, markdd, mattc129, tom 47, Pescadero Bill, Raggedy Ann, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, lcrp, Pat K California, Tool, tardis10, ColoTim, Bluesee, unfangus, dandy lion, lunachickie, kevinpdx, tidalwave1, MarkInSanFran, divineorder, linkage, elwior, cpresley, sow hat, Dirtandiron, FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph, orlbucfan, Mr Robert, VA Breeze, Sunspots, ItsaMathJoke, Turbonerd, Zack from the SFV, GeorgeXVIII, shaharazade, MKinTN, Notreadytobenice, jbsoul, splashy, amparo fan, greengemini

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 07:59:38 PM PST

  •  thanks for this (21+ / 0-)

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 08:16:48 PM PST

  •  You're Onto Something. (37+ / 0-)
    I would quibble on this because I do not think anyone who will forgo an emphasis on increasing employment for any tradeoff can legitimately be considered a progressive, not when so many people are already hurting.
    By any rational measure the Democratic Party is a conservative party, has been so for between 20 and 40 years. Our last liberal or progressive President left office before Kent State.

    And I mean conservative in the American sense, a philosophy whose policies will shrink the middle class to a minor fraction of the population.

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

    by Gooserock on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 08:54:14 PM PST

  •  mr.u reads a lot of history and historical fiction (33+ / 0-)

    He's reading about the time when there was a civil war going on between Pompey and Ceasar, 45 to 49 BCE. The economic situation was very much like what we are going thru now.

    As Steven Saylor writes,

    Tradesmen were in distress because no money was in circulation. Free laborers were unable to find employment. Shopkeepers and tenants were unable to pay their rent. Bankers were demanding payment  of old loans and refusing to  make new ones.

    It seemed that only a handful of people had money and that they had a great deal of it and the rest had to go to them begging for loans.

    Same as it ever was. At least it seems like that sometimes. The thing is we know how these things end and still we do it.

    And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County Down by the Green River where Paradise lay. Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away. John Prine

    by high uintas on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 08:57:52 PM PST

    •  Also relevant (14+ / 0-)

      A couple weeks ago I pulled the quote below from the wikipedia article on the Roman Empire. It was relevant to a discussion I'd had with friends regarding infrastructure problems and germane to your observation.

      The decline of cities and civic life in the 4th century, when the wealthy classes were unable or disinclined to support public works, was one sign of the Empire's imminent dissolution.
      (Attributed to Tertullian

      If a terrorist pollutes your water but creates jobs, is that ok?

      by Cecile on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 05:22:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Much more recent (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LI Mike, Tool, tardis10, elwior, high uintas

      Read Frederick Lewis Allen's Only Yesterday and Before Yesterday.  These social histories of the 1920s and 1930s, written only a few years after the events they described, paint a vivid picture of an America that is frighteningly close today's -

      Especially when it comes to the Republican Party's economic and social programs.  Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, has changed.

      This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

      by Ellid on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 06:27:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Same as it ever was" (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lcrp, elwior, orlbucfan, Mr Robert, high uintas

      The nature of the problem and its solution are incredibly simple, yet neither party's leaders will make a move to fix it.

      Our leaders think we're stupid.  The question is, how long do we keep putting up with it?  How long do we keep believing the lies?  How long do we keep cheering them when they're working against the public's best interest.

      If cutting Social Security & Medicare benefits for low income seniors is what Democrats do after they win a budget standoff, I'd hate to see what they do after they lose one.

      by Betty Pinson on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 07:14:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Again, I feel I have to point out: (11+ / 0-)

        The responsibility of our form of government is to "the people" in the broadest sense. And as you say; "The nature of the problem and its solution are incredibly simple".

        Yet, our current government is not responding in ways that can help improve the lives of greatest number of people. As you go on to say; "yet neither party's leaders will make a move to fix it."

        That's because there are forces in place meant to convince the politicians that can fix it to legislate in ways that favor some very few, very influential groups, therefore essentially leaving it (our economy and therefore extreme income disparity) broken for the majority.

        These forces do this by means of direct payment to election campaigns of individual politicians or groups of politicians, by direct threat to incumbent politicians to fund the campaigns of opponents, and by way of subtly promising lucrative employment for politicians after they leave political office.

        The results of late have been especially egregious in that they have taken the form of the dismantling of rules and regulations which were meant to protect and benefit the greatest number of people.

        This has resulted in things like news media consolidation that now serves as propaganda mechanisms, and the unbridled ability for extreme financial accumulation for the wealthy few which expands their ability to influence politics and enact their agendas.

        And that - the ability of a potent and influential few to have their agenda put in to place to serve just them, is in a nut shell, the corruption of the intent of our government.

        Our government is corrupt. Plain and simple. A condition that seems to play out in every form of government eventually (and for at least a second time for ours) and one often only corrected when things get extreme enough that people are willing to risk life and limb to correct it. Bummer as that may be.

        I know you already know this Betty, just thought I'd spell it out for those still in the dark and who are too trusting of the current political process.

        "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis Brandies

        by Pescadero Bill on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 08:47:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is good news for John McCain! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rat racer, Ellid, elwior, Dirtandiron

    ... and the GOP would like to keep it that way. So would too many (D)s.

  •  It reminds me of a Yoda quote (12+ / 0-)
    "Fear leads to anger, Anger leads to hate, Hate leads to Suffering."
    I believe that fear can lead to anger.

    What we have to do is turn that anger into a commitment to change this dysfunctional political system that does these terrible things.  Otherwise, if it turns to hate we are doomed.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 10:01:46 PM PST

    •  The binary mode suggests that the response to (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10, Shockwave, elwior, shaharazade

      fear is either fight or flight. That's not correct. There is a third alternative, to one chosen by the prudent instinct-driven -- i.e. freeze in place until the threat goes away. Economic stagnation is such a response. Hoarding is evidence. People won't spend until the danger is past. Or they'll do it in secret, as the growth of th shadow economy (now at two trillion) attests.

      Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

      by hannah on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 01:45:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's nothing prudent about this (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        divineorder, elwior, atana, shaharazade

        hoarding. It has long bordered on criminal. At the very least, it remains obscene.

        There's also nothing to suggest that anyone is driven so that they are "frozen in fear" and that's why they're hoarding. This is all calculated and it is deliberate. They know if they starve this government of revenue long enough, it'll be ripe for dismantling. So let's try to stop gussying this bullshit up with soothing words and concepts. The end game here is the end of this Republic. Period.

        This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

        by lunachickie on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 09:11:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The U.S. government creates and issues the (0+ / 0-)

          currency. Taxes return what has been sent out back to the Treasury (as revenue). It's a cyclic process. When the stream of currency is diverted into stock speculation or secreted off-shore, the cycle is interrupted. The failure to levy taxes sufficient to keep the currency moving leads to stagnation and deprivation -- situations some of our petty potentates prefer because they make them feel powerful.

          Hoarding is obsessive behavior. Pack rats do it and so do beavers.

          Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

          by hannah on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 11:02:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  And??? (0+ / 0-)

            You appear to be really trying hard to ascribe a regular behavior in the animal kingdom to the unnatural behavior of a bunch of fucking blatant human crooks. What is your actual point?

            This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

            by lunachickie on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 11:15:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  When humans behave obsessively like other (0+ / 0-)

              animals we consider it antisocial, since humans are not only endowed with the ability to communicate, but with the ability to share and care. Those that can't are less than human.

              Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

              by hannah on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 12:32:43 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  So why would you present this (0+ / 0-)

                as a relevant consideration when it flat out doesn't seem to even be in the ballpark?

                There is a third alternative, to one chosen by the prudent instinct-driven -- i.e. freeze in place until the threat goes away. Economic stagnation is such a response. Hoarding is evidence.

                That presents the consideration that the hoarders and what they're doing to our economy is part of some sort of normal course of events when it is nothing of the sort.

                Our government is currently


                rewarding passive investors and corporations who do not pay their employees enough to stimulate the economy.
                Which is seriously fucked up, particularly when


                after-tax profits are more than 60 percent higher than they were in 2007
                You seemed to speak earlier as if all this shit is somehow not only normal, but easily-explainable in comparison to the basic instincts of "fight or flight". And that's.....really something.

                This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

                by lunachickie on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 01:55:08 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  You have to have credibility to have credibility (30+ / 0-)

    that is the one thing about being a Democratic voter that I keep coming back to. Credibility is not immortal. It is not a birthright. Transferable down through the years from political generation to generation by default. You have to constantly re-establish it. Bolster it. Grow it. Re-enforce it.

    You understand why the Democratic Party does the things it does a lot more when you think of the organization as assuming that it always has, and will always have, the credibility and moral high ground and the power that comes with it on defending the middle class and the poor by virtue of it's brand. It's legacy. It's legendary icons and past glories.

    It's been a legacy party in many ways for years.

    "We have nothing to fear, but fear itself".
    An FDR quote was the first thing to pop into my head as I read the Krugman piece. It is a powerful legacy, but it has been a legacy that has been neglected, and sometimes disregarded or countermanded, for decades on the one hand, while the other assumes the connection will always be as strong as the day it was said in people's hearts and minds.

    You have it. You have it. It's yours. It's the brand.

    It is the foundation behind 'look at them, look at us, and see who is the grown-up' as a tactic and substitute for making an ideological argument against Movement Conservatism. You don't have to make an argument or bolster your cause if you assume you have it by default. It's just who you are and everybody knows it.

    That's the thing. Everybody doesn't know it. We were all warned that everybody doesn't know it, too. 2010. Medicare. The GOP ran on defending Medicare. What the GOP did on Medicare in 2010 was astounding considering who the GOP is and what they really think of Medicare and what they really want to do to it. That ability to run on defending Medicare from the Democrats should have ended assuming that legacy branding was enough to negate a bad faith attack or argument.

    But it hasn't.

    It's a good thing that Elizabeth Warren and the new generation of proud progressives have come along in the last few years, because otherwise the great wake-up call might have been when the GOP kept doing awful things and then getting away with it because they were blessed with low-information voters, a lousy castrated news media, and opponents who were not actually blaming the bad guys by name and labeling them as being the bad guys. Had the Grand Bargain gone down in 2011, it is very possible, I would argue actually very likely, that the GOP would have voted for the thing, then ran on being the party of defending Social Security from the dastardly Democrats who were a dire threat to it and Medicare. They get their policy outcome, and they get to hang it on the Democrats for being dumb enough to assume their legacy would trump their putting their fingerprints on the most radioactive (and ultimately brand destroying) parts of the deal. In twenty years, Conservative historians will be damning the Tea Party for saving the Democrats from themselves between 2010-2012.  

    Things are getting better. Visions are getting bolder in the tent. Robust counter arguments to failed impotent non-arguments are being made. Blame is being placed.

    But when I read Krugman, and I think about the budget deal, I think we have a long way to go in terms of the culture of the party fully catching on.

    The Democrats should be fairly ruthlessly demolishing the GOP. They have nothing. Movement Conservatism has failed, consistently and diversely in as many areas of governance, as any ideology has in modern times.

    But it is still not being argued against.

    And legacy power is still being assumed.

    You cannot automatically assume, as a Democrat, that you are just going to be able to just freely beat the living tar out of the GOP on the unemployed being given the shaft here. That you can see the fear in people's eyes and in their voices and speak to them with the most credibility and ability to soothe and engage. That is more of the same running on an unbolstered legacy as if the legacy is always as strong as it ever was thinking.  

    When the budget deal got voted on, and the unemployed got unconscionably left out of the deal, I'm sure that a lot of Democrats were mad, and went home just itching to beat the crap out of the Republicans for that outcome now that the deal was done. MSNBC was rife with commentary rightfully imploring just that tactic, along with some kind of early January attempt at addressing the unemployment travesty.

    But the deal was done. It was agreed on. The poors see that. The olds and the sicks and the youngs all do too.

    Sure, the GOP never intended to help the unemployed.

    But. You wrote them off too. They were expendable. A bargaining chip that didn't measure up in the bigger picture. The GOP voted to screw the unemployed. It was their ambition.

    And Democrats enabled it. Signed off on it.

    Democrats voted for that outcome too. It was a negotiation. They wanted to fuck the poor. We agreed to fuck the poor. We and they did not have a debate between help the poor and screw the poor, we had a negotiation over how much the poor would get screwed. A lot or a little. The same debate was held over food stamps. Not who is for or against feeding the starving, but how much the starving would get kicked. A little or a lot.

    That is going to linger in the hearts and minds of those who were and are the desperate and the put-upon.

    You will be able to do some damage to the GOP for their pathological abuse of the most vulnerable among us. But it is a abuse that is enabled and tolerated and baked into the outcome of policy in a bipartisan fashion. That will blunt the sting of the jab that the GOP should take all of the blame for the bad outcome.  

    I belong to a legacy party. A party that has been surfing it's icons and great past achievements for the vast majority of my lifetime.

    We can change that. We have to change that.

    Until Elizabeth Warren came along, a number of the people I know who now cite her both very proudly and very often were still citing Eleanor Roosevelt's name at the very top of their go-to names for inspiration and vision. She was gone long before I was born.

    I agree that the choice should be easy.

    Each time I turn on the television and see a new stock market high, while the vast majority either barely muddle on or fall into the ranks of the great silent suffering, there are dark warning clouds to that obnoxious and malignant class divide.

    Because if things fall apart, the blame will not just fall on the bad faith-fueled worst of us, it will also be laid at the feet of those who knew better and enabled the worst of us for short-term, cynical, and/or expediencies sake in times of dire need.

    You can't be the triage team you should be by principle and by rights if the people who need you the most have come to see you and associate you with passively and politely allowing the arsonists to savagely keep setting their worlds on fire.


    I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

    by LeftHandedMan on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 10:17:31 PM PST

  •  Bernanke was appointed by Bush (5+ / 0-)

    and now Krugman supports this guy.  So we know something is wrong here.

    The monetary policies of the Federal Reserve enrich the very wealthy at the expense of everone else.

    Obviously the wealthy own the assets.  And the wealthy are the ones that can get the big loans on their assets and make profits.

    The hoi poloi now must go deeper into debt to pay for a too expensive house.  And does it really help the many to go into debt to buy a car?

    Krugman is not your friend unless you are wealthy, no he is not your friend unless you are very wealthy.

    •  The Federal Reserve is a creature of Congress, (6+ / 0-)

      just like the monster was created by Frankenstein. Whom shall we blame, the monster or the master?

      People who cause mayhem through surrogates should be held to account. 2014 is a congressional election year.

      Congress is responsible for monetary policy. The founders could have assigned that responsibility to bankers. After all, they had the model of the Dutch, the bankers who financed the industrial revolution in Britain and the slave trade with the Americas. The founders chose to locate responsibility for the currency, along with insuring the accuracy of weights and measures, in the Congress. Delegating the responsibility to a quasi public entity was supposedly prompted by the perception that elected public officials are irresponsible. So, instead of replacing the unjust servants, the irresponsible were permitted to hand off their duties to someone else.

      That was a hundred years ago. But, just as health insurance companies can be made useful keepers of records and accounts, the Federal Reserve Bank can be managed for the benefit of the economy, rather than as the handmaidens of self-dealing politicians. Indeed, the Fed has been pouring dollars into the economy. The problem is that the dollars are still being effectively hoarded by the financiers, instead of being invested in productive enterprise. And the reason for the latter is two-fold: Americans have more than enough of things, so more products aren't really wanted and the services that are wanted have always been discounted as worthless by economists (because they are hard to count). Not to mention that quality is almost impossible to assess at all and isn't, for that reason, of interest to economists. Good quality is sort of like pornography. We recognize it when we see it, but it's hard to describe. High quality insures long time and satisfying use. We can deduce from all the goods ending up in the dump that quality is missing, but that does not help us get it back. And then, of course, things that last a long time and give good service are inimical to the profit motive.

      Why does Wall Street hoard money? Because Congress keeps threatening to withhold more. Rationing always has that consequence. To say "tax cuts" is to employ the language of fear. When Krugman writes of fear, he's referencing the attitudes of his cohorts on Wall Street, as did Warren Stephens, the Lord of Little Rock, when he spoke of risk and insecurity. Aggression on anyone induces fear in the observers, who can't be sure they won't be next.

      The Capitol Hill Gang are a terror organization. It takes one to know one.

      Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

      by hannah on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 01:36:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bernanke has propped up the banks, which has (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nextstep, divineorder, elwior

      the secondary effect of propping up the economy. The Fed, under Bernanke, has been creating $85 billion plus per month in new money to prop up the US economy. The austerity coalition of the Obama administration and the Congressional Republicans, OTOH, has been choking the economy with govt spending cuts.
         Since the Federal Reserve is the central BANK of the US, it is limited to working through the banking system. Bernanke has noted that the fiscal authorities (the President and Congress) have been a drag on the economy.
        At his nomination hearing, Bernanke, a scholar of the Great Depression, was asked what he would do if a financial crisis like the one that tripped the Great Depression would occur under his watch. "I'd drop money from helicopters," he replied.
         He has done that.

      •  As long as we keep blaming Bernanke (5+ / 0-)

        We're avoiding the problem.  We can argue about who did what when til the end of the millenium and it won't solve anything.

        Finger pointing is a clever game that ThirdWay/DLC/Corporate Dems use to distract the public and avoid fixing economic problems.   Personally, I refuse to fall for it.  

        Start kicking DC Dem ass until they fix the problems.  It's their job, the GOP isn't going to do it.  

        If cutting Social Security & Medicare benefits for low income seniors is what Democrats do after they win a budget standoff, I'd hate to see what they do after they lose one.

        by Betty Pinson on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 07:28:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Problem is, he's done it through the banking (5+ / 0-)


        If we were dropping $85 billion per month directly into work relief projects, well...there'd be no economic issues to be discussed.

        "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis Brandies

        by Pescadero Bill on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 08:54:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, but that would be inflationary (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shaharazade, Pescadero Bill

          Giving to the banks strengthens the confidence fairy. Then the banks sit on it, because inflation. If you gave it to workers, they would spend it. Prices would go up for everyone, including the rich. Then there would be political pressure to give more money to workers to keep them ahead of inflation. The result is a net transfer of wealth from the top to the bottom. The top doesn't want that, so no work relief projects for you: all the money must go to uber-rich people who will sit on it.

    •  What different monetary policy should the Fed (0+ / 0-)

      have been doing durning the Bernanke years?

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 09:04:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wait, what was it? (5+ / 0-)

    Shock Doctrine or something?

    Told you so.

  •  This is another element of Disaster Capitalism (14+ / 0-)

    "Control" labor costs by destroying the ability of workers to negotiate or keep what they have. When Freedom becomes the choice between slavery or starvation, then the job is done.

    And it doesn't end if and when a worker is able to retire - look at all the raids being made on pension plans.

    We talk about a culture war in this country, between the Right and the Left, but increasingly it looks like that is just a cover for the economic class war being waged on everyone for the benefit of the rentiers.

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

    by xaxnar on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 04:08:54 AM PST

  •  If you want to read something unnerving... (9+ / 0-)

    Take a look at the comments to Krugman's column today that are attacking him for saying what is obvious. The unreformed Ebenezer Scrooge lives!

    It's scary how many people out there believe in the right of employers to do whatever they want to their workers, and attack the government for trying to make life better for everyone.

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

    by xaxnar on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 04:14:41 AM PST

    •  it is sad to think (10+ / 0-)

      that some think an employer should be allowed to discriminate on the basis of race and gender

      that they do not believe in a minimum wage, the absence of which can precipitate a race to the bottom, especially in times of already high unemployment

      I have an acquaintance who thinks this country will not survive another 40 years - we will split apart on a number of issues, including that of white privilege.

      I have to disagree somewhat, because the changing demographics makes it almost impossible except for a few places in the Upper Midwest and the Deep South to have states contiguous enough to be able to have a functioning entity where white privilege could dominate.  Here I note that one of the whitest places in the US is northern New England, and yet even there is recognition that we are a different nation than we used to be - think of the issue of marriage equality, for example.

      The level of vitriol by those who comment in response (rejection?) to someone like Krugman is because they cannot offer rational arguments so they have to try to drown him out.  Oh, and the other part of that kind of response is certain to be ad hominem attacks -  anyone accuse him of being a commie because he is of Jewish heritage?

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 04:39:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Federal Resreve's Stimulus and Jobs (0+ / 0-)

    To begin with, I must preface my comment by saying I know as much about macro - economics as a train engineer knows about civil engineering.  But I am a student of human nature, and the Big Banks on Wall Street are after all run by "humans".  Albeit Greedy CEO type humans.

    So putting myself in the shoes of a greedy Wall Street CEO who is receiving monthly amounts of candy from the Federal Reserve through a program called "Quantitative Easing" (which is supported in large part by middle class taxpayers), I have to ask myself, how do I keep the candy flowing to me?  I know the Federal Reserve is giving me this candy (even though I was bad and caused the crash) for me to lend in hopes it will decrease unemployment.  But I also know if I do that, and unemployment goes down, the Fed will see that and reduce, or worse cut off, the flow of candy to me.  So my best bet to keep the candy flowing to me is to lend out very tiny amounts.  Just enough so the Fed thinks its Candy stimulus is working a little, but not well enough so that they reduce the flow of candy to me.

    Well, does that sound like what has been going on, with the big corporate profits and only minimal reductions in unemployment?

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

    by Doctor Who on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 05:05:54 AM PST

  •  Running scared (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, jrooth, Dirtandiron

    It's true that workers have been running scared for decades.  But at least one way of keeping their boots on our neck is gone:  the fear of losing health insurance.  I think that's one of the reasons that the R's are fighting the ACA so hard.

    •  it would be interesting to see data (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jrooth, tardis10, lunachickie, Dirtandiron

      on how many people stayed in jobs for less pay because of pre-existing conditions for themselves or their covered family members

      further, although I doubt there is data on this, in how many cases employers who knew about it used that as leverage and did not give promotions/raises

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 05:39:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You must be a Carpenter because you hit that nail (0+ / 0-)

      right on the head!

      Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

      by Dirtandiron on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 10:09:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The upper 20% of households earns 51% (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, Vega, dandy lion, Sunspots

    of the income in the US. That is the key fact in the modern US economy. The corporations are pitching their wares to that upper 20%. The bottom 20% earns less than 4% of income. They pretty much don't matter.
       So, it makes sense to squeeze the wages of the bottom 80% of households in order to hold down costs and prices of the goods you want to sell to that upper 20% (the only group that has significant disposable income.)
       And, it makes sense to, basically, let the bottom 20% starve. Even in the best of times, they might as well be living in Albania. Screw 'em. They don't have any money anyway.

    •  So true (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'd like to see stats on what percentage of disposable income is in the top 20%.  The bottom 20% are working multiple jobs and/or hanging on to the tatters of the safety net to keep alive.  The middle 60% are getting by, perhaps making their mortgage payments, perhaps with a job with benefits, perhaps not, in a lot of cases trying to spend like they are in the top 20% by going in debt.  The middle group doesn't have that much disposable income, they just try to spend like they do.  (The other pillar of consumption besides the income of the top 20% are the credit cards of the middle 60%.)  The top 20% are buying the 128G ipad airs and new cars and deciding between Europe and the Caribbean (actually not, they go to both).

      I know people in that top 20% and they consider themselves middle-class.  Even the ones who are not conservative don't spend a lot of time thinking about the lower percentiles - they are too busy shopping and remodeling and traveling and entertaining and playing with their gadgets.  

      This is all generalizing, I know.  But there is a kernel of truth to it.

      "It is easy to sit up and take notice, What is difficult is getting up and taking action." Honore de Balzac

      by Vega on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 09:03:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dallas, you need to account for taxes and transfer (0+ / 0-)

      payments to understand how much spending power households have.

      When businesses and economists looks to consumer spending, the ability to spend is not pre-tax and before transfer payments such as Social Security, SNAP, Medicaid, etc.  but after.  In addition, the wealthy are the major contributors to business investment ( so this is not spent on consumption).  These factors dramatically changes spending power.

      The real squeeze on lower and middle class incomes, is that we have had an extremely feeble jobs recovery after a recession - so incomes are lower from unemployment and less upward pressure on wages.

      In the past, the steeper the decline in GDP in a recession, the stronger the recovery and return to low unemployment. This time there effectively has been no recovery period, just a return to ordinary job growth.  We need about 1.4 million additional jobs per year just to keep up with population growth, so adding 2 million/yr reduces unemployment slowly.

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 09:36:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What happens if you can't buy soap (6+ / 0-)

    Done With Linda - The "REAL" on food stamps
    I cannot believe a woman named Linda is out there collecting 60k from good people who empathize with her past situation on aid - because she made "bad decisions." But Linda is buying a $1,000 bedspread - as a treat for herself - because she says she had to put up with "trolls" on her page discussing her woes.

    Linda is not alone. She has her own family who helps her and her husband works. She has a job. Linda even buys cigarettes so she gets to keep smoking - on whose dime?

    Ultimately, people gave her money to a) buy a $1,000 bedspread; b) stay at home and live her dream as a writer; c) so she would have "extra time to sleep" and "rest"; and d) so her husband could "decide" whether to keep his job or not?

    She said "I have family resources" and "I can always make the amount I need in a month" - then why oh why does she say her plight was "taken out of context" and people thought she was in need?

    Point is, I am living it. I do not have family. I do not smoke. I am college educated. I worked in a law firm as a paralegal. My parents were married over 40 years. I grew up in a big, beautiful house my mom and dad bought for 18k in 1960. I did not make "mistakes" like drinking or drugs or erratic behavior.

    There was a fire next door to where I was renting and I could never go home. The next day, literally 14 hours later, my branch office closed.

    I did not go on food stamps or unemployment. I took whatever savings I had and bought my way into renting a unit with no job. I had no family to turn to, never a Christmas card, Easter card, birthday card from any relative - no aunt, no uncle, no brother, no sister, no mother, no father.

    I slept on the hardwood floors of the unit with NOTHING - no bed, no kitchen table, no silverware, no towels, no winter coat. No sheets. No blankets. I had about $200 left - and no, I was not pathetic for not saving a lot - if you work for attorneys, and you don't work for a great attorney, you are hired in and hired out, routinely. New case, new throng of people, new people cast out. Don't say or do the wrong thing, or stand up for yourself, or you will be ousted. It takes years to adjust to people calling you "the help" because you are not an attorney.

    I found a part-time job outside of the city. It took six buses and two elevated trains a day to get there and back - two hours each way. That was okay, it was a job. It paid $391 a week. I bought a $40 gray winter coat from Marshall's and $4 gloves from Walgreen's. I was set.

    The attorney was a sole practitioner. He literally called me "a piece of [crap]." Many, many times. I put my head down. I was humiliated because I never had anyone speak to me this way in a professional setting. Many people have done this to you at work, and you told them off, but I was no longer in that position. I took it. I needed the money. And he knew it.

    I kept that job for 9 months. I did not apply for food stamps, but I think I would have been over limit making almost $1,600 a month. Besides, rent was $900 in a major city, transportation was $80 (now a monthly pass is $100), that left me just enough for utilities and groceries.

    Then, I lost my position - no surprise. The attorney opened up a letter from a payday loan - I know stupid, but for $100, I could pay back $120. I opened all the mail in the office and the attorney told me to turn in my keys because I had not given him the letter addressed to Human Resources. When I opened the letter to place it with all the other mail, I saw my name on it. It was actually addressed to me, not to the attorney. So I put it in my front desk drawer, and forgot to take it home. He found it and said I opened his mail and fired me.

    I had slammed a car door on my hand about three months back and had a deep laceration and broken forefinger. (It was not my car. I cannot afford a car and have not driven in over 10 years.) I did not go to the hospital because I wanted to believe I could stop the bleeding and the bone was not broke. I went to work. I wrapped my hand and literally bled on the keyboard (I type 100 wpm, accurately, and was "a little" concerned about it). The attorney had me work an extra hour.

    So firing me three months after that meant the attorney had not, at least, fired me the day it happened. He told me the day I went to the hospital, after work, that I had better be in the office the next day, and hung up on me. Because I had to take off a day to have surgery.

    I went to work the next day, after surgery.

    So, no job. I had just paid my rent at the beginning of the month. I had no money. Now what?

    I applied for food stamps.

    I walked to the food stamp office. I had no money for the bus.

    I received $4.40 a day in food stamps.

    * IF you do not have kids under 18, you are not over 65, and you do not have pre-diagnosed hypertension, you cannot buy: soap. You cannot buy: dish soap, laundry detergent, paper towels, tissues, tampons, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, band aids, razors, a sponge (50 cents), or a light bulb.*

    Please understand, I was mind numbed. I cannot buy soap?

    Imagine, none of those items and no hope of getting them.

    No hope of getting a job because you cannot buy a bus pass. Not every job available is going to be in walking distance. But "you know me" - I would have taken a minimum wage job and found a way to get back downtown to a law firm - because how do you interview for a new job if you must be at the old job? You are trapped once you start working minimum wage. How will you get downtown during the day to a professional interview if you work during the day? You can't take a day off.

    There is no medical aid just because you are on food stamps. That is for people who have kids or are on disability or are over 65. So people who say you have free everything, that's not true. There is no subsidized housing unless you have kids and sometimes, unless you are the right race. I am white, but that doesn't mean that the "right race" should not have the opportunity, they should, it just means that the housing recording says these are the categories who can apply right now and none of those categories includes Caucasian.

    1. Now I am going to have to apply for unemployment. Even though I am eligible, because I have worked for over 15 years, I cannot receive my unemployment for three months.

    Why is that?

    Because unemployment had tried to contact me three years earlier and my address was not updated. Since I was not using unemployment and had moved a couple times, I never thought to notify unemployment of an address change. I was not unemployed, why would I think to call them?

    As it turns out, I was, apparently, overpaid two years, seven months earlier, on unemployment. (Had I lost my job in February, the following year, there would have been no delay on unemployment.) They said it was an undetected error and I could have contested it, but now it was closed. They were also deducting the money I owed for the over payment (fair enough), but the penalty weeks meant I could not receive a dime for 12 weeks.

    Otherwise, I would have received $351 - or $276 with the deduction. I would have received $1104 a month on unemployment and if I had applied for food stamps, my food stamps would have been $10 a month. Yes, 2.50 a week because unemployment is income and $1104 puts you at $10 a month for food stamps. If you do not work or do not receive unemployment or SSDI, you receive $30.80 per week or $123.20 per month.

    Yes, I called the director of the state unemployment insurance. I asked: Is there a hardship option? He said no. In fact, there is. I found out three years later. There is a hardship option. He either did not know, did not care, or lied to me.

    2. Call the churches, like everybody says. Do churches really help? No.

    Churches tell you they have no money, at least the churches in the zip code where I moved to. Not a fancy zip code because I had to take whatever unit I could, considering I applied for an apartment without a job. If you call the churches outside your zip code that could afford to give you a bar of soap, they tell you to go back to your zip code ("where you belong").

    I called 14 churches and found 1 church willing to help. They offered me a $20 Jewel gift card to buy soap. The secretary said to pick it up on Monday. I waited the whole weekend, and called first, because I had to walk. I had no bus pass. She said she was told they "forgot" - one pastor from a sister church was to bring it to a meeting, but forgot. Come back Wednesday. On Wednesday, they said, come back Friday. On Friday, Monday. On Monday, Wednesday. On Wednesday, the pastor came to the phone and said, "Come to the church and I will wash your hands for you" and hung up on me.

    Who to tell? Who will care what this church said to me? Isn't there some organization that oversees church protocol? (I can call on my Safelink phone that allows me 240 minutes a month. I do not have minutes to spare, trying to find out who to call to complain about a church, I only have 60 minutes a week. I need those minutes to find a church in walking distance that will help me either find a way to buy soap or donate soap to me.)

    I did find a Catholic Church willing to give me a gift card. They came to my apartment building, I met them outside. There were three people. They backed up and literally held the card in their hand away from their body. I backed away, what was wrong with them? And why were there three people to hand me a gift card? They told me to put my key in the door or in the mailbox to prove I lived there. The other requirement was they wanted to visit with me inside my house. For what, I asked? They said I may need furniture or something, they wanted to see. I said I did not need furniture, I needed soap. They refused to give me the $20 Jewel gift card if I did not put the key in the door and let them in. I refused the gift card.

    Now, if that seems stupid, because you don't say no thank you if you are asking for help, then so be it. It is what was left of my pride - and I was a little afraid of who these people were - two men and one woman. They were obviously from the church, but they were not friendly. They were accusatory and said a lot of people ask for help that do not need it and fake where they live. Well, I had never heard of that, but I was embarrassed standing there asking for a gift card and I could not jump through a hoop for people from a church. It seemed cruel.

    Later on, I called another church to ask for a bus pass to a job interview, and said I may need a second bus pass, if I get a second interview. I was told I could have 1 bus pass. It turned out that I was put on a list - that the churches shared together - a list that was passed around so people did not try to "swindle" more than one church for help.

    I kept telling myself, "Then you don't want it bad enough." I have to live with myself, too, and not slip down every slope. It was the second to last slope I had: my dignity. I also had my health.

    3. Call the Salvation Army. The director of the main branch of the Salvation Army told me to put my clothes in the bathtub with soap (as if I could buy soap) and "stomp" on them. That is how I should wash my clothes because that is what he did when he was a kid and poor. He said the Salvation Army has no funding for soap. I asked about a gift card and he said there were "very, very few Target cards" and they were all gone.

    4. Call the Red Cross. The Red Cross was no longer taking applications from individuals for the remainder of the year. They were out of money. If you were part of a national disaster they "may" be able to help. But not with soap.

    5. Food Banks. The first food bank I went to passed out 2-3 bags of stale bread. People were leaving with these big bags and when you got in there, you found it was bread from shops "around town." They passed out pizza sauce and frosting mix. Several cans of beets. I can eat beets, that's good. No vegetables and no fruit and no cheese and no milk (Someone tried to tell me cheese was available at food banks from the government - they have never been to a food bank, obviously.) Plus, they were mean. They were mean to the older-than-me people waiting out front. It was cold and they would not let people sit in the vacant chairs inside - at least let the elderly sit there. The chairs are supposed to be for clients. They yelled at people to back up while they went in and out of the building to pay the parking meters for their Volvos. A woman passing out food took out a bag of carrots and said "Yum" and put them in the bottom of a desk drawer.

    I went to another food bank, a church food bank. They passed out spoiled carrots and rotten bananas.

    I went to anther food bank and there was no sign. I found it in back of the building, in the alley. A long line looked like the Depression. A garage in back was passing out food. There was a shelf of cereal boxes. I asked why they were not passing out the cereal. They said there was not enough for everyone, come back next week. Next week, there were no cereal boxes.

    I saw a grandmother walking away with her grandson. They had received two 8-pack hot dogs for the week and some beets. I am sure the grandmother gave all the hot dogs to her grandson.

    Dismayed, on my meager Safelink minutes, I called The Greater Food Bank Depository. They told me the food banks order food and once it's gone, they get bread from other resources. The food is supposed to supplement your food budget, not provide a meal. They were not interested in the behavior at the food bank because people who are trying to eat have no right to complain if they are treated poorly.

    6. Electric and gas assistance. Great program. They pay one time - and they will pay up to $1,000 in utility bills IF you pay the first $75.00. They don't tell you that until they you tell you that you are approved - then they tell you the money is held until you make the $75 payment. Call the Salvation Army, they said.

    7. Call the Salvation Army to help you pay the $75 so the state agency will pay a generous portion of your electric or gas bill. The Salvation Army has no live person. You are to leave your name and number. Do you think anyone calls back?

    8. Teeth. Like Linda, I have bad teeth. My mother had all her teeth replaced at 16, my dad had bridges, and my brother (no longer with us) had teeth probably worse than mine. (He majored in Southeast Asian Studies and Tibet at the University of Madison. Why does that matter? Because people think people on aid who have bad teeth are lowlifes who should have taken better care of their teeth. We all need to take better care of our teeth, even some of us who can afford it.)

    At one of my jobs, I had dental insurance. It only paid $1,000, but it was "good enough" for the dentist to begin work on my teeth. He pulled all the bad teeth. I was left with 12 teeth. Four in front, six on the bottom, and two in back. The front two teeth had composite filling. I was laid off that job and lost my insurance and the dentist cancelled the order for new teeth (again, fair enough). I could not pay out of pocket.

    At my new job, the same job where the branch closed, I called the dentist where an attorney went for his dental care. I explained that I did not have an attorney's salary. Because it was a recommendation, payments were an option. I had fancy x-rays and sat down with the dentist. He told me he wanted $15-30,000 to fix my teeth and would accept $3,000 down. I cried. Not because I was weak, but because I had already said I could not pay upfront a lot of money and because a rich man was telling me I would not have new teeth.

    I called the university dental schools in my city. They schedule appointments 90 days off and if you are accepted, they will not give you a "plan" for another 90 days. You must pay 25% of the cost.

    New teeth, top and bottom, cost $1400. I saw a long line outside a dental clinic. I called and asked how all those people were getting their teeth pull and replaced with dentures. How were they affording it? They said they were all on aid.

    How could that be? I was not offered dental services. They said because they are on SSDI or they have kids.

    Yes, I see people who have cash on EBT cards buy barbecues at Family Dollar. I see people pay for groceries on EBT and they look like they came out of a salon - fake hair, fake nails, fake lashes. They drive off in fancy cars they may or may not own. I see mothers pile up bags of Cheetos for their kids and no strawberries or bananas or yogurt and use their EBT card. This is why people criticize people on food stamps because some food stamp recipients withdraw cash from the ATM and use it to gamble. That's all true.

    I finally figured out why people on aid are not screaming for soap. A lot of people collect SSDI in addition to food stamps, so they have cash.

    What do I want?

    — I want people like Linda to not say they were on welfare because they were dumb and made bad choices. She had family to help her and she was no longer in need. She was on Pinterest choosing how to design her daughter's bedroom. She accepted 60k and said she is buying herself a $1,000 bedspread because she deserves "a treat" for putting up with critiques about her being on welfare and accepted donations.

    She will next set up a non-profit and ask for more donations.

    — I want a dentist to allow me to pay back his or her dental care after I get a job - at a monthly rate I can afford for however long it takes - IF he will fix my teeth at no cost so I can even get a job.

    — I want soap and tampons.

    — I'd like to wash my clothes and towels.

    — I want a bus pass to go to a job interview and follow-up interviews.

    — I want a job. I am a paralegal but I will gladly work as a Legal or Executive Assistant.

    — I want people to donate to churches the things people on aid cannot buy. Like soap. And follow-up to see if the churches are giving the soap to people or making people jump through hoops.

    People who donate to churches think their money is going to the community. Many churches neglect to tell people they give the money to organizations. Some organization will not even respond, they say they have too many requests.

    I know things could be worse. I could lose my health.

    Am I going to lose my health with no clean clothes and no soap? Probably not. My teeth are worse now, but so is my potassium level. I ended up on a potassium drip at the hospital. Who paid for it? The bill was 15k. The state paid for 5k - I never filled out a form, but that's what they said when I said I had zero income - and put 10k on my credit report.

    The state should not have to pay my bill because I should not a) not have soap and b) no bus pass so c) I cannot get on a bus or d) go to a job interview or e) because I do not have clean things or f) enough of the right foods so g) I end up in the hospital with a bill I cannot pay with my own insurance.

    I don't know if I will ever be able to buy soap. How long is that going to last? Forever?

    I asked Target's Community Relations for a gift card, although I realize they only donate to non-profits, not individuals. I hoped someone would stand up and do the right thing and somehow, some way offer me a gift card at a store. They told me to go to the Greater Food Bank Depository because they are a "great organization" that passes out soap. GFBD fills orders from food banks for food, not soap. I don't know if anyone has ever seen soap at a food bank, but I have not. I'm sure some communities collect for it and they probably pass out tiny hotel bars people donated from vacations. The Target community rep also said "Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas" as if that's a possibility for me.

    I tried the Salvation Army again to see if they had any available gift cards from Target, since Target supplies them with gift cards. The Salvation Army said they have no gift cards, but they will send a rep over to my house to give me a bus pass to pick up a Christmas ham.

    You cannot buy soap on an EBT card or food stamps IF you do not have kids under 18 and are not over 65.* How will I buy a light bulb, tampons, or a bus pass? How will I get a job if I do not have soap and cannot clean my clothes?

    by MuddyPuddle on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 06:21:20 AM PST

    •  The US has the worst social services of all (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage, Dirtandiron, Sunspots

      developed nations. That fact is the consequence of American Puritanism and fundamentalist religiosity. If you are poor, it is your fault for not being one of the people God favors. So suck it up. That's the American Way.

      It's really not surprising that a culture founded on genocide of native people and importing slaves to be serfs in little medieval theme parks ("Southern Estates") would be full of nasty people who won't take care of each other. The power of the US was based solely on the natural resources of the continent. Those are nearly exhausted now, and a dark ages approaches here once the current military empire collapses.

    •  why not cross post this at Alternet or (0+ / 0-)

      elsewhere? It was a good glimpse of life for the working poor. I am just now reading Michael Katz's updated version of the Undeserving Poor. it shed light on the history of all this.

  •  the fear economy also explains the vet cuts (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CitizenJoe, Dirtandiron, Sunspots

    In a good economy, the government would not reduce promised veteran's benefits if they wanted to continue a volunteer military; UNLESS they anticipated continuing maintaining a high enough unemployment rate that the working class had few options.

    fact does not require fiction for balance (proudly a DFH)

    by mollyd on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 06:28:11 AM PST

  •  & the culpability of Dim-0-Crap $ell Out$ is ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ummmmmmmmmmmmm ...


    - the lying stealing fascists have always been about lying to steal,


    -100's of Democratic / Union / 'Progressive" leaderly pooh-bah$

    - making well over $100,000 a year


    - about 80+++ % of us are NOT racists, NOT bigots, NOT rich pig ass kissers,

    I'd BLAME the sell out scum of the Third Way / Blue Dog / DLC, AND, their diaper pissing politically pathetic enablers in the Dim-0-Crap Party.

    the fascists are doing their job,

    the ONLY job Pelosi and the sell outs and the doormats are doing is keeping their jobs.


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

    by seabos84 on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 07:28:20 AM PST

  •  The secret cabal takes the form of lobbies. (3+ / 0-)

    Lobbyists simply pressure their congressional lap dogs to vote against government spending initiatives that might relieve unemployment.

    Not very secret, and not necessarily the work of CEOs, but a cabal none the less. A subtle, but for the most part, effective cabal.

    That's how political corruption of the kind we are dealing with in this country works.

    "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis Brandies

    by Pescadero Bill on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 07:30:28 AM PST

  •  Less inequality, less need for SNAP, unemployment (2+ / 0-)

    insurance...if the greedy just let workers make more money we would need these programs less...there was an oped recectly about telling the rich that if society was more equitable they would not be forming charities to help, but the rich like that, they get to pick who gets helped

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 07:56:13 AM PST

  •  I think it's past time to address the four (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, Sunspots

    freedoms FDR outlined. Of course, that is not going to be achieved easily.

  •  Corporations are limiting the money supply (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, shaharazade

    That's what the "sitting on trillions" amounts to. They are playing inflation fighters, because their Owners are more worried about inflation than anything else. Inflation, coupled with social programs, redistributes wealth from the top to the bottom.

  •  It's nothing less than (0+ / 0-)

    astounding that democrats haven't made jobs their top prioritysince the beginning of the current economic fiasco.

    They are completely amoral and out of touch.

    The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

    by dfarrah on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 10:51:41 AM PST

    •  The average congresscritter (0+ / 0-)

      was born with either a silver spoon, or a lucky horseshoe.  They are situationally disadvantaged in understanding need, want, or lack of opportunity.

      Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

      by benamery21 on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 08:51:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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