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Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Con versus the reality

Like I said, (last post) I love Paul Krugman, he's fighting valiently to expose the con that masks itself as conservative. I hope people will start listening to him, because he knows what he's talking about. Krugman continues that thread in his latest post Krugman notes:

"..... Romney’s “plan” is a sham. It’s a list of things he claims will happen, with no description of the policies he would follow to make those things happen. “We will cut the deficit and put America on track to a balanced budget,” he declares, but he refuses to specify which tax loopholes he would close to offset his $5 trillion in tax cuts.

And his private speeches talk to his real base, the folks he compares to the 47% who depend on Government(s) [such as their private ones] to function. He says government can't create jobs, private enterprise does. He reaffirms the trope that letting himself and his fellow monied-aristocrats have the money will somehow put people back to work. And he does it in the same voice and using the same deceptive methods he uses when selling workers at factories he's acquiring on his buyouts and how he'd never send their jobs to China -- before he promptly does so. People shouldn't be fooled. Krugman isn't. He offers an alternative plan that is as simplistic as the other. Krugman is tongue in cheek but there is a serious point underneath.

"Here it is: Every American will have a good job with good wages. Also, a blissfully happy marriage. And a pony."

Romney is full of stuff

"Romney is faking it. His real plan seems to be to foster economic recovery through magic, inspiring business confidence through his personal awesomeness."

Romney says as much "Government doesn't create jobs;" Only the magic of oligarchy does. Sure, right, in China.

"Where Mr. Romney says he’ll achieve energy independence, never mind how, Mr. Obama calls for concrete steps like raising fuel efficiency standards. Mr. Romney says, “We will give our fellow citizens the skills they need,” but says nothing about how he’ll make that happen, pivoting instead to a veiled endorsement of school vouchers; Mr. Obama calls for specific things like a program to recruit math and science teachers and partnerships between businesses and community colleges."

And this represents traditional Democratic Republican policies. It's kind of "Field of Dreams" for politicians. "If you build it, they will come. Romney's dreams all involve dumping the business of the commons on aristocrats. It's an old vision. It was the kind of capitalism you saw in France before Louis the 16th lost his head. When the business of government, the commons, public systems, are put in the hands of private citizens you get dysfunction, usury, and corruption; because such folks are usually after rent, not achieving a mission of the public good. Naturally. This is a lesson of history.

"So, is Mr. Obama offering an inspiring vision for economic recovery? No, he isn’t. His economic agenda is relatively small-bore — a bunch of modest if sensible proposals rather than a big push. More important, it’s aimed at the medium term, the economy of 2020, rather than at the clear and pressing problems of the present."

But Obama's vision is better than Romney's. It's just not "left" enough to push back much against all the ground we've lost. The Center usually is a mid point between aristocrats and commoners. Our current system is a mid point between aristocrats with a conscience and commoners with no conscience; and trying to hold onto what few gains the rest of us commoners have made. When the right pushes back it is usually pushing for elitism and aristocracy. That is what they are trying to conserve; their own wealth and privilege. Not general common rights, etc...

...."If you didn’t know what was actually going on in the U.S. economy, you’d think from reading the Obama plan that America was a place where workers with the right skills were in high demand, so that our big problem was that not enough people have those skills. And five or 10 years from now, America might actually look like that. Right now, however, we’re still living in a depressed economy offering poor prospects for almost everyone, including the highly educated.

... And nobody is willing to call a spade a spade, not democrats not republicans, not most of our comfortable well fed pseudo reporters sitting in chairs in the corporate media. We are in a depression.

Indeed, these have been really bad years for recent college graduates, who all too often can’t find anyone willing to make use of their hard-won skills that were expensive to attain. Unemployment and underemployment among recent graduates surged between 2007 and 2010, while far too many highly trained young people found themselves working in low-skill jobs. The job market for skilled workers, like that for Americans in general, is now gradually improving. But it’s still far from normal.

And here is where I disagree with Krugman. He writes:

"In a better world, the president would be proposing bold short-term moves to move us rapidly back to full employment. But he isn’t."

Underlying that is power and ownership, not just short term ameliorating proposals. The fact is that we are suffering a financial and debt driven depression, and behind that is the raw power of elites. For things to move forward the common folks; folks like you and me have to have some savings and income, and we have to be relieved of unfair debts. And that is a power issue not just something that can be fixed with short term Keynesian fixes. But we are facing a steady diet of lies and propaganda. Krugman writes:

O.K., we all understand why. Voters have been told over and over again that the 2009 stimulus didn’t work (actually it did, but it wasn’t big enough), and a few days before a national election is no time to try to change that big a false belief. So all that the administration feels able to offer are measures that would, one hopes, modestly accelerate the recovery already under way.

Obama's efforts will work some, but not because they put people back to work until the economy fixes itself, but because the processes and income transfers involved in putting people back to work shift resources back to where the 30% at the bottom are a little less dispossessed and while the top 1% will continue to own all the improvements in our financial positions at least we won't be dispossessed by them as much as before. Money makes money, and money and power multiply; maybe even multiply by factors of 10 or 100. That was Vilfredo Pareto. Krugman knows that, but what is he going to do? The right knows that, but they think there is nothing wrong with the rich morphing into nobility and they are practicing the big lie. So Krugman is also right when he says:

It’s disappointing, to be sure. But a slow job is better than a snow job. Mr. Obama may not be as bold as we’d like, but he isn’t actively misleading voters the way Mr. Romney is. Furthermore, if we ask what Mr. Romney would probably do in practice, including sharp cuts in programs that aid the less well-off and the imposition of hard-money orthodoxy on the Federal Reserve, it looks like a program that might well derail the recovery and send us back into recession.

So it's a choice between survival, and protecting the current system, and radical change for the worse. For now we have to accept survival.

And you should never forget the broader policy context. Mr. Obama may not have an exciting economic plan, but, if he is re-elected, he will get to implement a health reform that is the biggest improvement in America’s safety net since Medicare. Mr. Romney doesn’t have an economic plan at all, but he is determined not just to repeal Obamacare but to impose savage cuts in Medicaid. So never mind all those bullet points. Think instead about the 45 million Americans who either will or won’t receive essential health care, depending on who wins on Nov. 6.
I'm just an amateur, but I've been following this subject since High School and practically minored in it in college.

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