One napkin was shown to Ronald Reagan who, foreshadowing Trump, was too thick to understand it. Like Trump, the Gipper thought that it proved that, 'the lower the tax, the more tax revenue collected.' George Bush Sr. called that "voodoo economics."
Not voodoo, no; but here’s the key — pay attention, A students! — it’s a CURVE. When "marginal" tax rates are ABOVE 90%, cutting to, say, 85%, will actually produce more tax revenue from increased business activity. But at the lower end of the curve, with taxes below 40% as they are now, there’s no tax gain — just the opposite, the Laffer Curve shows tax collections will collapse.
Cutting the corporate rate to 15% from 40% will cause a $4 trillion-dollar tax loss — which non-corporations, that is, working class schmucks who voted for Trump, will have to make up.
. . . And that ain’t the bottom of the stupid and venal oozing from the Oval Office. The Donald’s tax plan includes opening new loophole called, "territoriality." To translate from the pigs’-Latin, this means that the US can no longer collect taxes on profits of US corporations on their foreign operations.
In other words, THIS IS A MASSIVE TAX BREAK FOR MOVING A FACTORY OVERSEAS. Shifting your plastics factory from Midland, Michigan to Monterey, Mexico means you no longer pay taxes on it. Hey, wasn’t this the guy who said he’d TAX companies that leave the USA?
Well, it looks like he’ll make Mexico great again.
But maybe Trump is no tax dunce — but one very brilliant business man who knows how to dupe his troops. After all, he’s a casino magnate who makes his money by fleecing those suckers in the red trucker hats. Trump knows: the house always wins.
- Greg Palast
Didn't want to ignore current events before moving into the historical ones . . .
When Obama inherited the Deep State’s agenda from George W. Bush, he set up Syria’s Assad for regime change by repeating for many months that if Assad used chemical weapons in the “civil war” that Washington had sent ISIS to conduct, Assad would have crossed the “Red Line” that Obama had drawn and would, as the consequence, face an invasion by the US military, just as Iraq had been invaded based on Washington’s lie about “weapons of mass destruction.”
Not to put too fine a point on this insight, but:
When the gullible and insouciant American public and the presstitutes who participate in the deceptions permitted the Deep State to get away with the fairy tale that a few Saudi Arabians under the direction of Osama bin Laden, but without the support of any government or intelligence agency, were able to outwit the entirety of the Western Alliance and Israel’s Mossad and deliver the greatest humiliation in history to “the world’s only superpower” by making the entirety of the US government dysfunctional on September 11, 2001, Washington learned that it could get away with anything, any illegal and treasonous act, any lie. The gullible Western populations would believe anything that they were told.
Not only insouciant Americans, but much of the world accepts any statement out of Washington as the truth despite the evidence. If Washington said it, Washington’s vassals in Germany, France, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Belgium, and Japan assent to the obvious lie as if it were the obvious truth. So do the CIA purchased media of these vassal states, a collection of whores who prefer CIA subsidies to truth.
When Obama inherited the Deep State’s agenda from George W. Bush, he set up Syria’s Assad for regime change by repeating for many months that if Assad used chemical weapons in the “civil war” that Washington had sent ISIS to conduct, Assad would have crossed the “Red Line” that Obama had drawn and would, as the consequence, face an invasion by the US military, just as Iraq had been invaded based on Washington’s lie about “weapons of mass destruction.”
Having burnt this idea into the feeble minds of the Western populations, Obama then arranged for a chemical weapon to be exploded in Syria and blamed it on Assad. Thus, the Red Line had been crossed, the insouciant West was told, and America would now invade.
The UK prime minister, the usual piece of Washington-owned garbage, rushed to the support of the American invasion, promising British support. But the British Parliament voted NO. The MPs said that the UK was not going to support another American war crime justified by obvious lies. Only in Britain does democracy still have any teeth, as we saw a second time with the Brexit vote. All the rest of the West lives in vassalage and slavery.
The Russian government also took a firm stand, admitting that Russia stupidly trusted America in Libya, but no more. We, said the Russians, will ourselves remove any and all chemical weapons from Syria and turn them over to Western “civilization” to be destroyed, which the Russians did.
What did Western “civilization” do with the weapons? They gave some of them to ISIS. This gave Washington a second chance to accuse Assad of using chemical weapons “against his own people.”
And so Washington has rolled out this hoax a second time. During a Syrian air force attack on an ISIS position, a chemical weapon exploded, or so it is alleged. Instantly Washington said that Assad had used “Sarin gas against his own people.” Trump was shown photos of dead babies and stupidly ordered a US military strike against Syria.
But don't worry Trumpists, you won't feel a thing.
Or notice any different pain in your life.
The unambigious fact is that US capitalism is a mechanism for looting the many for the benefit of the few. Neoliberal economics was constructed in order to support this looting. In other words, neoliberal economists are whores just like the Western print and TV media.
. . . So far we have barely scratched the surface of the external costs that capitalism imposes. Now consider the pollution of the air, soil, waterways, and oceans that result from profit-making activities. Consider the radioactive wastes pouring out of Fukushima since March 2011 into the Pacific Ocean. Consider the dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico from agricultural chemical fertilizer run-off. Consider the destruction of the Apalachicola, Florida, oyster beds from the restricted river water that feeds the bay due to overdevelopment upstream. Examples such as these are endless. The corporations responsible for this destruction bear none of the costs.
If it turns out that global warming and ocean acidification are consequences of capitalism’s carbon-based energy system, the entire world could end up dead from the external costs of capitalism.
Anyone else finally noticing how easily one now sees the end of capitalism raising its ugly head from the swamp?
If developers had to pay these costs instead of passing them on to taxpayers, would their projects still be profitable?
Now consider the external costs of offshoring the production of goods and services that US corporations, such as Apple and Nike, market to Americans. When production facilities in the US are closed and the jobs are moved to China, for example, the American workers lose their jobs, medical coverage, careers, pension provision, and often their self-respect when they are unable to find comparable employment or any employment. Some fall behind in their mortgage and car payments and lose their homes and cars. The cities, states, and federal governments lose the tax base as personal income and sales taxes decline and as depressed housing and commercial real estate prices in the abandoned communities depress property taxes.
Social security and Medicare funding is harmed as payroll tax deposits fall. State and local infrastructure declines. Possibly crime rises. Safety net needs rise, but expenditures are cut as tax revenues decline. Municipal and state workers find their pensions at risk. Education suffers. All of these costs greatly exceed Apple’s and Nike’s profits from substituting cheaper foreign labor for American labor. Contradicting the neoliberal claims, Apple’s and Nike’s prices do not drop despite the collapse in labor costs that the corporations experience.
A country that was intelligently governed would not permit this. As the US is so poorly governed, the executives and shareholders of global corporations are greatly enriched because they can impose the costs associated with their profits on external third parties.
We cannot survive an unregulated capitalism with a system of primitive property rights. Ecological economists such as Herman Daly understand this, but neoliberal economists are apologists for capitalist looting. In days gone by when mankind’s footprint on the planet was light, what Daly calls an “empty world,” productive activities did not produce more wastes than the planet could cleanse. But the heavy foot of our time, what Daly calls a “full world,” requires extensive regulation.
The Trump administration’s program of rolling back environmental protection, for example, will multiply external costs. To claim that this will increase economic growth is idiotic. As Daly (and Michael Hudson) emphasize, the measure known as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is so flawed that we do not know whether the increased output costs more to produce than it is worth. GDP is really a measure of what has been looted without reference to the cost of the looting. Environmental deregulation means that capitalists can treat the environment as a garbage dump. The planet can become so toxic that it cannot recover.
In the United States and generally across the Western world, property rights exist only in a narrow, truncated form. A developer can steal your view forever and your solitude for the period his construction requires. If the Japanese can have property rights in views, in quiet which requires noise abatement, and in sun fall on their property, why can’t Americans? After all, we are alleged to be the “exceptional people.”
But in actual fact, Americans are the least exceptional people in human history. Americans have no rights at all. We hapless insignificant beings have to accept whatever capitalists and their puppet government impose on us. And we are so stupid we call it “Freedom and Democracy America.”____________
You'd know that Tommy Freed Man would have something comfortably neolib con-encouraging to offer in order to secure his necessary placement in the national conversation (er, newspapers and pop novels), but few others would.
The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has written in his latest piece: “Why should our goal right now be to defeat the Islamic State in Syria? This is a time for Trump to be Trump — utterly cynical and unpredictable. ISIS right now is the biggest threat to Iran, Hezbollah, Russia and pro-Shiite Iranian militias — because ISIS is a Sunni terrorist group that plays as dirty as Iran and Russia… Trump should let ISIS be Assad’s, Iran’s, Hezbollah’s and Russia’s headache — the same way we encouraged the mujahedeen fighters to bleed Russia in Afghanistan…”
The daily and the columnist enjoy reputations as old warhorses empathising with Israeli interests. The probability is that Friedman is advancing Israel’s project to refuel the US’ stalled project of ‘regime change’ in Syria. Israel is pulling out all the stops to ensure that the swathe of Syrian territory bordering its ‘occupied territories’ in the Golan Heights remain in the hands of Al-Qaeda and ISIS. Israel nurtured these groups to create a buffer zone between the Syrian territory it illegally occupies and where Damascus’ writ ends.
The Israeli attacks on Syrian forces operating near Golan Heights are becoming more frequent. Another major attack took place two days ago. Every time Israel attacks Syrian government assets, it provides an alibi, but in reality these attacks coincide with Syrian government operations against al-Qaeda and ISIS groups. Clearly, Israel intervenes to protect its al-Qaeda and ISIS proxies.
Friedman’s piece falls into perspective. On two occasions in recent weeks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov voiced unease that the US may rekindle the regime change agenda in Syria and give it precedence over the fight against the ISIS. . . .
Well, the plan does seem to be getting clearer.
But the end results seem to end with the launching of the even bigger bombs.
April 22, 2017
Aligned with Clinton, the elites of the Democratic Party needed to change the subject. Clear assessments of the national ticket’s failures were hazardous to the status quo within the party. So were the groundswells of opposition to unfair economic privilege. So were the grassroots pressures for the party to become a genuine force for challenging big banks, Wall Street and overall corporate power.
In short, the Democratic Party’s anti-Bernie establishment needed to reframe the discourse in a hurry. And — in tandem with mass media — it did.
The reframing could be summed up in two words: Blame Russia.
By early winter, the public discourse was going sideways — much to the benefit of party elites. The meme of blaming Russia and Vladimir Putin for the election of Donald Trump effectively functioned to let the Wall Street-friendly leadership of the national Democratic Party off the hook. Meanwhile, serious attempts to focus on the ways that wounds to democracy in the United States have been self-inflicted — whether via the campaign finance system or the purging of minorities from voter rolls or any number of other systemic injustices — were largely set aside.
Fading from scrutiny was the establishment that continued to dominate the Democratic Party’s superstructure. At the same time, its devotion to economic elites was undiminished. As Bernie told a reporter on the last day of February: “Certainly there are some people in the Democratic Party who want to maintain the status quo. They would rather go down with the Titanic so long as they have first-class seats.”
Amid great luxury and looming catastrophe, the party’s current hierarchy has invested enormous political capital in depicting Vladimir Putin as an unmitigated arch villain. Relevant history was irrelevant, to be ignored or denied.
With dutiful conformity from most Democrats in Congress, the party elites doubled, tripled and quadrupled down on the emphatic claim that Moscow is the capital of, by any other name, an evil empire. Rather than just calling for what’s needed — a truly independent investigation into allegations that the Russian government interfered with the U.S. election — the party line became hyperbolic and unmoored from the available evidence.
Given their vehement political investment in demonizing Russia’s President Putin, Democratic leaders are oriented to seeing the potential of detente with Russia as counterproductive in terms of their electoral strategy for 2018 and 2020. It’s a calculus that boosts the risks of nuclear annihilation, given the very real dangers of escalating tensions between Washington and Moscow.
Along the way, top party officials seem bent on returning to a kind of pre-Bernie-campaign doldrums. The new chair of the Democratic National Committee, Tom Perez, can’t bring himself to say that the power of Wall Street is antithetical to the interests of working people. That reality came to painful light this week during a live appearance on national television.
During a 10-minute joint interview along with Bernie Sanders on Tuesday night, Perez was a font of exactly the kind of trite empty slogans and worn-out platitudes that oiled the engines of the dismal Clinton campaign.
While Sanders was forthright, Perez was evasive. While Sanders talked about systemic injustice, Perez fixated on Trump. While Sanders pointed to a way forward for realistic and far-reaching progressive change, Perez hung onto a rhetorical formula that expressed support for victims of the economic order without acknowledging the existence of victimizers.
In an incisive article published by "The Nation" magazine, Robert Borosage wrote last week: “For all the urgent pleas for unity in the face of Trump, the party establishment has always made it clear that they mean unity under their banner. That’s why they mobilized to keep the leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Representative Keith Ellison, from becoming head of the DNC. It’s why the knives are still out for Sanders and those who supported him.”
While Bernie is hardly a reliable opponent of U.S. war policies, he is significantly more critical of military intervention than the Democratic Party leaders who often champion it. Borosage noted that the party establishment is locked into militaristic orthodoxies that favor continuing to inflict the kind of disasters that the United States has brought to Iraq, Libya and other countries: “Democrats are in the midst of a major struggle to decide what they stand for and who they represent. Part of that is the debate over a bipartisan interventionist foreign policy that has so abjectly failed.”
For the Democratic Party’s most hawkish wing — dominant from the top down and allied with Clinton’s de facto neocon approach to foreign policy — the U.S. government’s April 6 cruise missile attack on a Syrian airfield was an indication of real leverage for more war. That attack on a close ally of Russia showed that incessant Russia-baiting of Trump can get gratifying military results for the Democratic elites who are undaunted in their advocacy of regime change in Syria and elsewhere.
The politically motivated missile attack on Syria showed just how dangerous it is to keep Russia-baiting Trump, giving him political incentive to prove how tough he is on Russia after all. What’s at stake includes the imperative of preventing a military clash between the world’s two nuclear superpowers. But the corporate hawks at the top of the national Democratic Party have other priorities.
Norman Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, where he coordinates ExposeFacts. Solomon is a co-founder of RootsAction.org.
Instead of complaining constantly about the Koch brothers’ zillions pouring into the political system, the Democrats need to start asking what their billionaire supporters are willing to do in the era of the authoritarian Trumpsters. Democrats have their fair share of affluent supporters, such as George Soros. Besides their routine campaign contributions, and expressing among themselves a sense of dread over the fate of our democracy, why aren’t the pro-Democratic super-rich harnessing their resources to address the impending crisis they foresee, a crisis all the more likely to be provoked by the power-concentrating Trump regime?
It is not difficult to see what they could be doing. The first step is a strategy session to determine what civic and political resources could lead to the creation of new action institutions and thousands of energetic organizers toiling at the grassroots level in preparation for the 2018 elections.
A few billion dollars astutely distributed to achieve several long-overdue reforms, and replace lawmakers beholden to unsavory corporate interests and rampant militarism with legislators who will serve the people, could readily dispel the depression and discouragement that that is felt by liberal and conservative Americans alike. Policy precedes action, says political writer Bill Curry. You have to have something to fight for before you begin organizing.
As I’ve pointed out in my book, Unstoppable: The Emerging Left/Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State, many major policy reforms have long enjoyed substantial left/right support, and organizing such consensus could spark an unstoppable political movement. Millions of Americans of all political stripes back such causes as full Medicare for all, living wages, cracking down on corporate crime, eliminating crony capitalism, action on climate change and other critical environmental degradations, protecting the commons, developing robust civic skills in primary and secondary education, rationalizing the tax systems, expanding access to justice, protecting consumers and reforming criminal justice (to name just a few).
. . . Making the civil society stronger by expanding the good work of existing organizations, and starting new ones to tackle unaddressed challenges, is essential. From that heightened level of advocacy can spring a new politics with a fresh perspective and honest candidates for public office.
. . . This difference in fervor can be overcome by an elevated sense of urgency, now and for posterity. Just reflect on the greatest advances in US history when people organized to beat back and overcome the forces of darkness.
It's been enlightening to have the Republicans on the side of ordinary Americans, hasn't it?
As a number of outlets have reported, at a town hall last week, Wisconsin’s Jim Sensenbrenner told a constituent, asking about her congressman’s vote to overturn Obama’s broadband privacy rules, said, “Nobody’s got to use the Internet.”
. . . It’s of course an absurd comment. It is difficult to get a job in this day and age without Internet access; it’s hard to find a place to live. It’s not a matter of convenience, at this point it is necessary to be on the Internet to be a fully integrated citizen.
But note why Sensenbrenner said this: he pitched it in terms of the beneficent ISP providers who have kindly provided us all gateways to the Internet.
What no report I’ve seen has noted is that Sensenbrenner also happens to be the author of the USA Freedom Act as passed. In spite of his key role in defeating prior efforts to shut down the PATRIOT Act dragnets, Sensenbrenner managed to pose as a privacy advocate (making horseshit claims about knowing about the dragnet) so as to push through a bill that took the heat off telecoms, all while making more innocent Americans’ data available to NSA’s analytical maw.
Here, he reveals his true colors, a completely unrealistic view of the importance of the Internet on actual human beings.
You’re very generous. The man hasn’t had a job outside the public sector, going directly from law school to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1969. He really has little idea what the rest of the world requires of individuals to be employable in private sector. I’m only surprised he hasn’t referred to the internet as a series of tubes nobody needs. Thank goodness he hasn’t been involved with the House Committee on Science and Technology since 2001. He couldn’t keep up with the pace of change. Hope Wisconsin retires him in 2018.
Speaking of being led by ordinary Americans:
The election was a choice between fetor and a lunatic. We chose the lunatic. Whether this was better than the alternative, we will never know, but Trump is going from bad to worse, or as the Mexicans say, de Guatemala a Guatepeor.
Does he believe this stuff? Is he naive enough to think that there was something unusually horrible about the attack? Horrible, yes, but not in the least unusual. Do you know what everyday, boring artillery does to children? Five-hundred-pound bombs? Hellfire rockets? Daily Mr. Trump’s military and his allies daily drop shrapnel-producing explosives on people, cities, towns, adults, children, weddings and goatherds in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Good draft-dodger that he was, he probably has never seen any of this. Good psychopath that he may be, he may not care.
This whole gas-attack business smells to high heaven. It looks nicely calculated to force him to attack Assad. Gas was important: Killing babies, little babies with explosives is so routine that no one cares, but we have been programmed to shudder at the thought of Gas!
_________________Actually artillery has killed several orders of magnitude more people, but never mind.
Targeting children was a nice touch. Definitely a PR bonus. So Donald goes into his Poor-widdle-fings weep, while Americans weekly kill more children in three to seven countries, depending on the date.
Is the man consciously a liar? Hasn’t got sense enough to think before operating his mouth? Actually believes what he says when he says it? Glance at a small part of the record and focus on his changing his tune, not on whether you agree with a particular policy. Erratic, erratic, erratic. He was going to run out the illegals within two years, absurd but he said it. Going to put high tariffs on Mexican goods. Didn’t. On Chinese goods. Isn’t. Tear up the Iran treaty. Didn’t. Declare China a currency-manipulator. Isn’t. Ban Muslims. Hasn’t. Promote good relations with Russia. Isn’t. Get the US out of Syria. Ha. Make NATO pay for itself. Isn’t. The man has the steely determination one associates with bean curd. You cannot trust anything the man says.
Having been reprogrammed as a good neocon, bombing places he promised to get out of, looking for a fight with Russia, he is now butting heads with Fat Thing in North Korea. He his said things closely resembling, “We have run out of strategic patience with the North. If nobody else will take care of it, we will.” Grrrr. Bowwow. Woof.
The problem with growly ultimata made for television is that somebody has to back down–that is, lose face and credibility. If Trump had quietly told Fat Thing, “If you crazy bastards scrap your nuke program, we will drop the sanctions,” it might have worked. But no. Negotiations would imply weakness. Thus an ultimatum.
So now either (a) Fat Thing knuckles under, humiliating himself and possibly endangering his grasp on power or (b) Trump blinks in a humiliating display of the Empire’s impotence, possibly endangering his grasp on power. Kim Jong Il, or Il Sung Jong, or whatever the the hell the latest one of them is called, shows not the slightest sign of backing down. So does the Donald start an utterly unpredictable war, as usual in somebody else’s country, or does he weasel off, muttering, and hope nobody notices?
Fred’s Third Law of International Relations: Never butt heads with a country that has a missile named the No Dong.
Many of us favored Trump, slightly daft though he was, because he wasn’t yet Hillary, wasn’t yet a neocon robot, and didn’t want war with every country he had heard of, apparently meaning a good half dozen. At least he said he didn’t, not yet having been told that he did. In particular, he didn’t want war with Russia. But when the neocons control the media and Congress, they can convince a naive public of anything and, apparently, the President.
Why is the Hillarification of Trump important? The necessary prior question: What is the greatest threat to the neocons’ American Empire? Answer: The ongoing integration of Eurasia under Chinese hegemony. The key countries in this are China, Iran, and Russia. (Isn’t it curious that, apart from the momentary distraction of North Korea, these countries have been the focus of New York’s hostility?) In particular if Russia and, through it, China develop large and very profitable trade with Europe, there goes NATO and with it the Empire.
Oops. Thus the eeeeeeeeeeek! furor about Russia as existential threat and so on. Thus sending a few troops to Baltic countries to “deter” Russia. This was theater. The idea that a thousand garrison troops can stop the Russian army, which hasn’t gone silly as ours has, on its doorstep is loony.
Hillary was on board with the Russia hysteria and the globalization and the immigration and so on. Trump could have screwed the whole pooch by getting along with Russia, so he had to be reconfigured. And was. A work in progress, but going well.
Too much is being asked of him. One man cannot overcome the combined hostility of the media, the political establishment, the neocons, the myriad other special interests that he has threatened. Mass immigration is a done deal. China develops and America, already developed, cannot keep up. The country disintegrates socially. Washington, always depending on war and its threat, faces a new world in which trade is the weapon, and doesn’t know what to do. The culture courses. The world changes.
Yet if only Trump showed some sign of knowing what he is doing, and could remember from day to day, if only he realized that wars are more easily started than predicted, if only he were not becoming an unbalanced Hillary. Yet, apparently, he is.”
April 20, 2017
You’ve probably heard the news that the celebrated post-WW II beating heart of America known as the middle class has gone from “burdened,” to “squeezed” to “dying.” But you might have heard less about what exactly is emerging in its place.
In a new book, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, Peter Temin, professor emeritus of economics at MIT, draws a portrait of the new reality in a way that is frighteningly, indelibly clear: America is not one country anymore. It is becoming two, each with vastly different resources, expectations and fates.
Two roads diverged
In one of these countries live members of what Temin calls the “FTE sector” (named for finance, technology and electronics, the industries that largely support its growth). These are the 20 percent of Americans who enjoy college educations, have good jobs and sleep soundly knowing that they have not only enough money to meet life’s challenges, but also social networks to bolster their success. They grow up with parents who read books to them, tutors to help with homework and plenty of stimulating things to do and places to go. They travel in planes and drive new cars. The citizens of this country see economic growth all around them and exciting possibilities for the future. They make plans, influence policies and count themselves lucky to be Americans.
The FTE citizens rarely visit the country where the other 80 percent of Americans live: the low-wage sector. Here, the world of possibility is shrinking, often dramatically. People are burdened with debt and anxious about their insecure jobs if they have a job at all. Many of them are getting sicker and dying younger than they used to. They get around by crumbling public transport and cars they have trouble paying for. Family life is uncertain here; people often don’t partner for the long-term even when they have children. If they go to college, they finance it by going heavily into debt. They are not thinking about the future; they are focused on surviving the present. The world in which they reside is very different from the one they were taught to believe in. While members of the first country act, these people are acted upon.
The two sectors, notes Temin, have entirely distinct financial systems, residential situations and educational opportunities. Quite different things happen when they get sick or when they interact with the law. They move independently of each other. Only one path exists by which the citizens of the low-wage country can enter the affluent one, and that path is fraught with obstacles. Most have no way out.
The richest large economy in the world, says Temin, is coming to have an economic and political structure more like a developing nation. We have entered a phase of regression and one of the easiest ways to see it is in our infrastructure: our roads and bridges look more like those in Thailand or Venezuela than the Netherlands or Japan. But it goes far deeper than that, which is why Temin uses a famous economic model created to understand developing nations to describe how far inequality has progressed in the United States. The model is the work of West Indian economist W. Arthur Lewis, the only person of African descent to win a Nobel Prize in economics. For the first time, this model is applied with systematic precision to the U.S.
The result is profoundly disturbing.
In the Lewis model of a dual economy, much of the low-wage sector has little influence over public policy. Check. The high-income sector will keep wages down in the other sector to provide cheap labor for its businesses. Check. Social control is used to keep the low-wage sector from challenging the policies favored by the high-income sector. Mass incarceration: check. The primary goal of the richest members of the high-income sector is to lower taxes. Check. Social and economic mobility is low. Check.
In the developing countries Lewis studied, people try to move from the low-wage sector to the affluent sector by transplanting from rural areas to the city to get a job. Occasionally it works; often it doesn’t. Temin says that today in the U.S., the ticket out is education, which is difficult for two reasons: you have to spend money over a long period of time, and the FTE sector is making those expenditures more and more costly by defunding public schools and making policies that increase student debt burdens.
Getting a good education, Temin observes, isn’t just about a college degree. It has to begin in early childhood, and you need parents who can afford to spend time and resources all along the long journey. If you aspire to college and your family can’t make transfers of money to you on the way, well, good luck to you. Even with a diploma, you will likely find that high-paying jobs come from networks of peers and relatives. Social capital, as well as economic capital, is critical, but because of America’s long history of racism and the obstacles it has created for accumulating both kinds of capital, black graduates often can only find jobs in education, social work, and government instead of higher-paying professional jobs like technology or finance— something most white people are not really aware of. Women are also held back by a long history of sexism and the burdens — made increasingly heavy — of making greater contributions to the unpaid care economy and lack of access to crucial healthcare.
How did we get this way?
What happened to America’s middle class, which rose triumphantly in the post-World War II years, buoyed by the GI bill, the victories of labor unions and programs that gave the great mass of workers and their families health and pension benefits that provided security?
The dual economy didn’t happen overnight, says Temin. The story started just a couple of years after the ’67 Summer of Love. Around 1970, the productivity of workers began to get divided from their wages. Corporate attorney and later Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell galvanized the business community to lobby vigorously for its interests. Johnson’s war on poverty was replaced by Nixon’s war on drugs, which sectioned off many members of the low-wage sector, disproportionately black, into prisons. Politicians increasingly influenced by the FTE sector turned from public-spirited universalism to free-market individualism. As money-driven politics accelerated (a phenomenon explained by the Investment Theory of Politics), leaders of the FTE sector became increasingly emboldened to ignore the needs of members of the low-wage sector, or even to actively work against them.
America’s underlying racism has a continuing distorting impact. A majority of the low-wage sector is white, with blacks and Latinos making up the other part, but politicians learned to talk as if the low-wage sector is mostly black because it allowed them to appeal to racial prejudice, which is useful in maintaining support for the structure of the dual economy — and hurting everyone in the low-wage sector. Temin notes that “the desire to preserve the inferior status of blacks has motivated policies against all members of the low-wage sector.”
Temin points out that the presidential race of 2016 both revealed and amplified the anger of the low-wage sector at this increasing imbalance. Low-wage whites who had been largely invisible in public policy until recently came out of their quiet despair to be heard. Unfortunately, present trends are not only continuing, but also accelerating their problems, freezing the dual economy into place.
What can we do?
We’ve been digging ourselves into a hole for over 40 years, but Temin says we know how to stop digging. If we spent more on domestic rather than military activities, then the middle class would not vanish as quickly. The effects of technological change and globalization could be altered by political actions. We could restore and expand education, shifting resources from policies like mass incarceration to improving the human and social capital of all Americans. We could upgrade infrastructure, forgive mortgage and educational debt in the low-wage sector, reject the notion that private entities should replace democratic government in directing society, and focus on embracing an integrated American population. We could tax not only the income of the rich, but also their capital.
The cost of not doing these things, Temin warns, is incalculably high, and even the rich will end up paying for it.
“Look at the movie 'Hidden Figures,'" he says. "It recounts a very dramatic story about three African-American women condemned to have a life of not being paid very well teaching in black colleges, and yet their fates changed when they were tapped by NASA to contribute to space exploration. Today we are losing the ability to find people like that. We have a structure that predetermines winners and losers. We are not getting the benefits of all the people who could contribute to the growth of the economy, to advances in medicine or science which could improve the quality of life for everyone — including some of the rich people.”
Along with Thomas Piketty, whose Capital in the Twenty-First Century examines historical and modern inequality, Temin’s book has provided a giant red flag, illustrating a trajectory that will continue to accelerate as long as the 20 percent in the FTE sector are permitted to operate a country within America’s borders solely for themselves at the expense of the majority. Without a robust middle class, America is not only reverting to developing-country status, it is increasingly ripe for serious social turmoil that has not been seen in generations.
A dual economy has separated America from the idea of what most of us thought the country was meant to be.
Read the entire essay here.
April 20, 2017
Paul Craig Roberts
In my long experience in Washington, vice presidents did not make major foreign policy announcements or threaten other countries with war. Not even Dick Cheney stole this role from the weak president George W. Bush._____________
But yesterday the world witnessed VP Pence threaten North Korea with war. “The sword stands ready,” said Pence as if he is the commander in chief.
Perhaps he is.
Where is Trump? As far as I can tell from the numerous emails I receive from him, he is at work marketing his presidency. Once Trump won the election, I began receiving endless offers to purchase Trump baseball caps, T-shirts, cuff-links, coffee mugs, and to donate $3 to be entered into a raffle to win some memorabilia. The latest offer is a chance to win one of “personally signed five incredible photographs of our historic and massive inauguration.”
For Trump, the presidency is a fund-raising device. If his VP, National Security Advisor, Secretary of Defense, UN Ambassador, CIA Director, whoever, want to start wars wherever, that’s just more memorabilia to raffle off for a $3 donation.
As a result of Trump’s failure to govern his own government, we have VP Pence telling Russia and China that there could be a nuclear exchange on their borders between the US and North Korea. Although Pence is not smart enough to know, this is not something Russia and China will accept.
Washington worries about North Korea having nuclear weapons, but the entire world worries that Washington has nuclear weapons. And so many of them. World polls have shown that the majority of the world’s population are far more concerned about the threat to peace posed by Washington and Israel than by Iran, North Korea, Russia and China.
Pence prefaced his “the sword stands ready” remark with “the United States of America will always seek peace,” which after Serbia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, and Syria is as false a statement as it is possible to make. From Washington’s perspective it is always Washington’s victims that are “reckless and provocative,” never Washington.
The US stands for war. If the world is driven to Armegeddon, it will be Washington, not North Korea, Iran, Russia, or China, that brings life on earth to an end.
On an emotional and political level, I can understand why any president (and especially a Democrat who is also the first African American president of the United States) would be incredibly reluctant to even hint at the truth about the Republican party, because the truth about the Republican party is so goddamn grim.
You see, the overwhelming majority of the rank-and-file of the GOP are unsalvageably fucked-in-the-head. They are happily brainwashed nitwits and racists who would gladly belly-flop their entire family into a live volcano if Fox News told them to and would spent their last moments on this Earth before being incinerated into iconoclastic ash cursing Obama or Clinton or Nancy Pelosi or Susan Rice for the ouch ouch burning.
After watching Republicans for 30 years marching down and down and down this long and horrifying road to smug, snarling, mindless political bestiality, it is about goddamn time that we started treating this grim fact as a fact. Just as factoring in wind-speed and fuel consumption and the laws of gravity are critical to safely piloting an aircraft from A to B, this grim but immutable fact needs to be factored into our resistance to the Right.
At this late date it absurd to believe that we will find any potential converts on the Right, primed and ready for a Road to Damascus moment if only Trump fucks them over enough. Just as it is absurd to believe that we have any hidden allies in the corporate media who would be willing to put their position an paychecks at risk to help our cause once Trump fucks up enough.
Of course President Obama was never going to say this out loud, or apparently every let himself think such terrible thoughts at all. To him, every Republican pile of horseshit was taken as proof that a pony could not be far away, if only we clapped a little louder, bent over a bit further and were never so crass as to mention that the GOP was run by amoral thugs and hobgoblins.
But just because President Obama could never speak such truths out loud, doesn't mean that New York Times columnists shouldn't. Because our country is now fully Half Fox and Half Free. And as I wrote seven years ago...
In order to avoid wasting his presidency, squandering the opportunity we have given him, and letting the country spiral into a permanent corporate feudal pest-hole, Barack Obama must do the hardest thing of all: he must exceed his design specifications. This is not unprecedented, but like Franklin Roosevelt the capitalist-turned-social-Democrat or Abraham Lincoln the compromiser-turned-Emancipator, Obama must let go of a central pillar of his identity and embrace the brutal fact that our modern house divided against itself cannot stand.
That we cannot endure permanently Half Fox and Half free.
That we will become all one thing, or all the other.
And that this is your fight, President Obama.
This burden has fallen to you: it cannot be shirked and cannot be delegated.Well President Obama did not rise to that challenge. He failed. And if we on the Left keep on chasing the ensorcelling fantasy that these fuckers on the Right will eventually wake up if only ... if only ... if only ...
Read the entire essay at Driftglass.
Also, please read:
Do I think Mr. John Ossoff will take this seat?
I have no idea.
On the one hand, as I said after the 2016 election, I have never gone wrong betting on the racism and arrogant ignorance of the Right: I've only erred occasionally on the point spread. And six months later my faith in the suicidal stupidity of the average Republican voter remains deep and abiding.
_____________On the other hand, every election between now and 2020 is a referendum on President Stupid and his just-fucking-sack-the-place agenda.
Sardonicky notes that the sillier distraction always wins:
There's nothing worse than a silly distraction from a serious distraction. This silliness distracts the tired, the hungry, the jobless from what really counts: Russia, and voting for a Democratic Party whose sole remaining purpose is to serve its pathologically rich cadre of donors. It's a distraction from fighting a terrorist group which itself was manufactured by the same "intelligence community" which is now pretending to do battle with it. But pointing this out would be a huge distraction from Ryan Lizza's convoluted little propaganda piece.
Keeping in mind Sean Spicer's "destabilization" slip in two separate speeches:
Thursday, April 20, 2017
And of course US/Israel would want nothing more then to benefit their ISIS proxies.. In order to also benefit their (US/Israel/ISIS) mutual partner in crime, the PKK.
With many in the U.S. foreign policy community backing both the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the defeat of the Islamic State group (ISIS), a new report could raise some cause for concern. The report says Assad's military has been the most engaged faction against ISIS over the past year of Syria's conflict, making it an extremely risky target for a U.S. foreign policy that is intended to stop the jihadists' advances.
"The report says Assad's military has been the most engaged faction against ISIS over the past year of Syria's conflict" Well that's a statement of the obvious!
The report published Wednesday by the London-based IHS Jane Terrorism and Insurgency Centre, one of the world's leading security analysis agencies, says 43 percent of ISIS's battles between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017 were fought against the Syrian military and its allies, which include Russia, Iran and pro-government militias. Meanwhile, the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a majority-Kurd coalition of Arabs and ethnic minorities, accounted for 17 percent of the action against ISIS.I'm going to requote two very crucial facts from the above paragraph!
"The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a majority-Kurd coalition of Arabs and ethnic minorities, accounted for (ONLY) 17 percent of the action against ISIS"
That's because ISIS conveniently melts away as has been stated here repeatedly. "43 percent of ISIS's battles between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017 were fought against the Syrian military and its allies, which include Russia, Iran and pro-government militias."
So the US backed Kurds account for only 17 percent of the action waged against ISIS while SAA and allies have fought 43% of ISIS battles in the same period of time.
Making the SAA and it's allies the best, most effective fighters on the ground against ISIS- No matter how often the big lie has been repeated by the 5 eyes main stream & alternative media.
Keeping in mind you've never read the "Kurds most effective fighters against ISIS" lie stated here! No sirreeeee.... Because it was always the BIG LIE . I've stated very plainly, on several occasions, if the fight was REALLY against ISIS OBVIOUSLY the US could have allied with SAA. Supported them in their real fight against ISIS! But the US didn't do that because their goal was not to truly fight ISIS.
The actual goal under the guise of "fighting ISIS" served multiple purposes:
- Allow for destabilizing the region
- Destroying existing nations
- Ethnically cleanse the populace & create a massive weaponized refugee surge targeting Europe, extending to the US and Canada
- Ethnic cleansing allowed for the clearing of existing multiple state territories for annexation by the PKK Kurds in order to create Kurdistan aka Israel 2.0
- This destabilization extends into North Africa as well.
The fact of Syria being the main opponent of ISIS has always been obvious.
The Kurds as an effective fighting force has never been obvious or true.