Message: we care

With the possible exception of Paul Krugman, there is no one with an establishment media gig who is more shrill than Felix Salmon. This New York magazine tells us what we probably already knew, that happy days are here again for banksters:

Scaramucci is the kind of person who will happily spend real money to have SkyBridge Capital show up in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps as the fictional sponsor of a fictional charity ball at the Metropolitan Museum.He was also the guest of honor at a (real) $1,500-a-head charity gala at Cipriani 42nd Street in March, at which he was awarded the Hedge Funds Care Award for Caring.

[….]

Meanwhile, in the real world, the one devastated by Wall Street’s disastrous financial miscalculations, paranoia is on the rise, with rage at the blithe technocrats in charge of the country making the tea party the most powerful voice in Republican politics. The unemployment rate is still near 9 percent, home prices continue to drop, and the number of people out of work for over a year are near an all-time high.

The bankers know these numbers, but they don’t feel them; instead, they trade them. First Friday of the month, the new unemployment figures will be coming out. Is it up, or is it down? Call it right, and you could make millions. And deserve every penny.

But they care, even as they hunt they hunt the American middle-class to extinction, they’ll be giving to foundations that improve education by eradicating public schools!

I don’t hate or even dislike rich people. I have rich banker friends and I don’t begrudge them their wealth at all; they vote Democrat, mostly without bitching about taxes. It’s not fair, I’m sure, to paint everyone with the same brush here. The problem is probably systemic: it’s a grave mistake to have our society run by people who can make a fortune betting on other people’s misery.






108 replies
  1. 1
    WereBear says:

    All in all, the Rockefellers have made some notable successes as a ridiculously rich family; we could use that kind of pressure again!

    But I think what we have here is what I call “The Martha Stewart Effect” which is how easy it is to make money… when all you care about is making money.

    And the kind of people that tends to be.

  2. 2
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    The problem is probably systemic:

    No, Dude.
    The problem is slight of hand….misdirection, the slight of the invisible hand of the market.
    There are still great swaths of people that believe in the innovation of the market, lotsa them even here on this blog.
    Free market solutions do not work.
    The invisible hand of the market punched American families in the face with the econopalypse and strangled Americas schools with NCLB.
    And I still get EDK fanboiz here tellin’ me that “market-based” solutions should get another chance.
    Fuck that.
    The rest of you can bend over and give those freemarket fucktards another go at assraping America if you want, but I’m going to call out those fuckers wherever I see them.

  3. 3
    Ronc99 says:

    Doug,

    I would like to know what makes you think you have the expertise to call Paul Krugman shrill? You question Stockman on entitlement reform and yet ignore Obama’s own intent to do same as Stockman — I think YOU need to look in the mirror!

  4. 4
    Dave says:

    it’s a grave mistake to have our society run by people who can make a fortune betting on other people’s misery.

    Communist.

  5. 5
    Dave says:

    it’s a grave mistake to have our society run by people who can make a fortune betting on other people’s misery.

    Communist.

  6. 6
    Ronc99 says:

    P.S. Doug, YOUR rich banker friends don’t have to bitch about paying taxes. They lobby (own) most of both parties in DC who then cut their taxes. You are VERY naive, son!

  7. 7
    jrg says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley:

    Free market solutions do not work.

    How do you think that computer you’re tying on came to be? The tooth fairy?

    The invisible hand of the market punched American families in the face with the econopalypse and strangled Americas schools with NCLB.

    WTF does NCLB have to do with the “free market”?

    The free market has it’s limitations. In some cases it creates more problems than it solves. In many cases the interests of the market do not match the interest of the greater good… but saying it had nothing to do with many of the advances we enjoy today is deeply misguided.

  8. 8
    Brian says:

    Of course the problem is systemic.

    The problem is a rigged system that allows those standing next to a large revenue stream to continually dip large buckets into the stream and withdraw large amounts of cash for themselves.

    In my experience, most people who work on Wall Street understand that they’re living as parasites. Those who still have access to what we call a conscience explain that: they’ve got a family to support; if they don’t take the money, someone else will; and, in a nation devoted to Corporatism as its unofficial religion, there are no rewards for being poor, but honest.

    Hard to argue with this logic.

  9. 9
    eemom says:

    I dunno. I’m finding Krugman’s column today to be depressingly persuasive.

    WTF, Mr. President?

  10. 10
    harokin says:

    Scaramucci is the kind of person who would fit perfectly in any Dickens novel.

  11. 11
    Dave C says:

    @Ronc99:

    Around here, being called shrill is not an insult but a compliment.

  12. 12
    Warren Terra says:

    Scaramucci

    On the other hand, I hear he does a fine fandango.

  13. 13
    liberal says:

    I have rich banker friends and I don’t begrudge them their wealth at all…

    Begrudge? That connotes envy/resentment.

    In the context of the banksters, who are parasitic rent-collectors who don’t earn their wealth, I think “begrudge” is a little misleading. As in “I begrudge the burglar his takings.”

  14. 14
    Linnaeus says:

    @harokin:

    Scaramucci is the kind of person who would fit perfectly in any Dickens novel.

    Or Italian commedia dell’arte.

  15. 15
    steviez314 says:

    Anyone who buys/sells foodstuff commodity futures without being a producer or consumer or market-maker deserves to be arrested.

  16. 16
    Mark S. says:

    I was looking for something I read recently, but this will do:

    From 1973 to 1985, the financial sector never earned more than 16 percent of domestic corporate profits. In 1986, that figure reached 19 percent. In the 1990s, it oscillated between 21 percent and 30 percent, higher than it had ever been in the postwar period. This decade, it reached 41 percent.

    This might work for Switzerland, but I can’t believe it’s healthy for the US. The only thing this produces is bubbles.

  17. 17
    cat48 says:

    I didn’t read Krugman today b/c I haven’t registered at NYT to pay yet & also, why pay for his column when I can read about how Obama is a “corporate whore, sellout, etc.” right here on this blog for free? It’s the typical progressive meme when it’s not something else.

  18. 18
    El Cid says:

    __

    I don’t hate or even dislike rich people. I have rich banker friends and I don’t begrudge them their wealth at all; they vote Democrat, mostly without bitching about taxes. It’s not fair, I’m sure, to paint everyone with the same brush here.

    It isn’t necessary to paint every individuals with a ‘broad brush’ in order to discover empirical data which does reveal that the ‘rich banker’ types are systematically causing harm.

    The studies of actual domination (imperfectly, but nearly dominantly over the long haul) by the super-rich may not be as fashionable now, given that most of the times people concentrate on a few really influential billionaire types.

    Which, of course, is then seen as an exception, rather than an outlier of behavior reinforcing the same rule.

    “Class” interests is a different way, really, of saying “group” interests, with the definition of “group” including a strong focus on the economic power and interests of people and institutions which logically can be placed at different levels.

    That’s neither Marxist analysis nor ‘over’-simplification. Without being to able social forces beyond individuals, there’s really no point in attempting any analysis of what happens politically or economically.

    None of this can be talked about, though, without being immediately interpreted by many people and the semi-humanoid punditariat as ‘you hate all rich people’.

  19. 19
    Lolis says:

    @Ronc99:

    A few weeks ago you were a Republican troll. Now you are full on firebagger? What gives?

  20. 20
    Bob says:

    @cat48:

    Just delete everything after the question mark in the url and you can read anything at the NYT.

  21. 21
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley: In the Soviet Union, the government made the decision that all citizens should have boots. And they were all size 9.

    This was told to my history class by a student.

    Capitalism is the best system where the consumer has most of the control in choosing something. There are lots of things, healthcare, where it doesn’t.

    The only absolute I know that works is no public member variables.

  22. 22

    So who can tell me what exactly happens if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling? I’m thinking with the crazy anarchists known as the Tea Party in congress that is exactly what’s going to happen.

    So does this mean the stock market will crash? Investors will flee American markets? What, exactly?

    I asked the Great Gazoogle but couldn’t find any serious response, just cracpot Teanuts saying what a brilliant idea this would be.

  23. 23
    Ronc99 says:

    Dave C,

    Thanks for the clarification on being shrill is not considered bad. I didn’t know that and stand corrected :)

  24. 24
    Yutsano says:

    @Southern Beale: We do a major monetary shuffle until we’re out. Then your guess is as good as mine.

  25. 25
    sukabi says:

    @Ronc99: he’s being snarky… because Krugman is constantly being ignored because he’s considered “shrill” by the Villagers who don’t like his “tone”…

  26. 26
    Dave says:

    @Southern Beale: No one really knows because no economy of this size ever defaulted. Two things for sure though: credit would disappear and a lot of banks would collapse because of their exposure to Treasury Bills. So that right there and probably a hundred other equally crappy outcomes.

  27. 27
    Genine says:

    Ronc99,
    To be “shrill” on this site means to tell the truth. It’s a play off the fact that many in the media call those who point out inconvenient facts shrill and those who trot out pure bullshit are “serious”. See also “1984”.

  28. 28
    Genine says:

    Ronc99,
    To be “shrill” on this site means to tell the truth. It’s a play off the fact that many in the media call those who point out inconvenient facts shrill and those who trot out pure bullshit are “serious”. See also “1984”.

  29. 29
  30. 30
    Brachiator says:

    The problem is probably systemic: it’s a grave mistake to have our society run by people who can make a fortune betting on other rigging the game to insure people’s misery.

    Fix’d.

    It’s funny how recently pundits have crowned banksters as Makers Not Takers(tm) even though their bonuses largely come from getting fat on fees and faulty mortgages, not from actually producing anything or contributing to the economic health of the country in the form of creditworthy lending.

    Along these lines, down the road look for stories about problems with the First Time Homebuyer Credit and other attempts to stabilize the housing market. CPAs and other tax preparers are starting to see foreclosures on homes which got the credit. This means that many lenders were still making crappy loans and did not change their shoddy practices at all.

    Also, too, lenders are playing games with loan modifications, racking up revenues from fees and then shutting down on the mortgages anyway. Other lenders are holding back on foreclosures, looking at what they need to do to clear their balance sheets, not help home owners.

    The game continues and Elizabeth Warren’s hands are still largely tied, preventing her from doing any reasonable regulation.

  31. 31
    sukabi says:

    @steviez314: yep, the speculators are driving the markets. Wasn’t there supposed to be new regs about that… at least wrt oil?

  32. 32
    Yutsano says:

    @Southern Beale: When outlays start demanding more than tax receipts. Then we’re screwed.

  33. 33

    @Brian:

    no, you can’t argue with the rationalization of one individual. but, taken as an individual, or as one firm vs every other firm, they are as powerless and as replaceable as they claim, in their defense, then they are arguing for the exact sort of regulation and oversight they vigorously oppose.

    you can say hate the player, not the game, but if you as a player, don’t want the rules to be changed, or enforced then you are accountable for the game.

  34. 34
    Bob Loblaw says:

    Oh, silly DougJ. You can’t have a market without a buyer and seller, you silly willy head.

    If everybody in the world was singularly committed to improving the welfare for all at every turn, then how would so many people make so much money all the time? Wealth would require work, and work is for suckers. Besides, capitalism needs losers anyway, you silly Commie pinko you.

  35. 35
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Southern Beale:
    FWIW, I heard an economist on NPR talking about some of the effects of failing to raise the debt ceiling. Among them, the military would stop being paid, the government would no longer be able to write checks to defense contractors – or anyone else – until the ceiling was raised. He also said that we the US would not be able to service its debt. That could, turn, lead to China, Japan, and the other nations that currently hold our debt to head for the exits. That would cause even further defaults (The Social Security Trust Fund, for instance) with the effect that America could come to be regarded as an international dead beat. Even if we could find someone to buy our debt after that the interest would be ruinously high.

    In short, the recently averted government shutdown would look like the the good old days compared to a default.

  36. 36
    Chris says:

    @Brachiator: It’s worse than that, really. The whole “makers vs takers” thing is a false dichotomy. (Uh oh, I used a four syllable word, I’ve lost any Teabaggers who might read this!) No one is exclusively a “maker”, and no one is exclusively a taker, and nobody can even make a realistic “scale” on which anyone could measure the “maker-ness” vs “taker-ness” of any given individual.

    It is, in other words, just a distraction from the real issue, which is: how will we, as a society, get along together? Will we return to feudalism and/or slavery, or will we at least attempt to make things better for everyone?

  37. 37
    Poopyman says:

    Tom Tomorrow gets all courageous. Also shrill.

  38. 38
    Dave C says:

    @Ronc99:

    No worries.

  39. 39
    Dave C says:

    @Poopyman:

    That was painfully spot on.

  40. 40
    Elliecat says:

    @Poopyman:

    Tom Tomorrow gets all courageous. Also shrill.

    And gets it just right. As usual.

  41. 41
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Poopyman:
    The worst part is that it works for them.

  42. 42
    Martin says:

    I’m beginning to think that Trump is a Democratic troll. I know the guy redefines the word ‘craven’, but he’s really so over the top now on this birther stuff that he seems more like an effort to ratfuck the GOP primary race. Who expects a show of hands at the first GOP primary ‘Who here thinks that President Obama is really a space alien?’ and all but Ron Paul will put their hands up – Trump immediately and without shame, and the rest hesitantly as though they’ve forgotten the month’s talking points of whether Obama is a vampire or a space alien or the creature from CHUD.

    Edit: Bachmann’s hand would shoot straight up too. Forgot about her.

  43. 43
    MattR says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley: More brilliance from m_c, opening with a denunciation of DougJ’s conclusion that there are systemic problems with the free market with the following as “evidence”

    The problem is slight of hand….misdirection, the slight of the invisible hand of the market.
    There are still great swaths of people that believe in the innovation of the market, lotsa them even here on this blog.
    Free market solutions do not work.

  44. 44
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Martin:
    Obama has never proved to my satisfaction that he isn’t one of the Mole People. Until he provides a picture of himself not crawling out of the ground I will remain unconvinced.

  45. 45
    eemom says:

    @Warren Terra:

    Galileo Figaro….

  46. 46
    NonyNony says:

    @Martin:

    I’m beginning to think that Trump is a Democratic troll.

    Well, he’s certainly a little troll.

    Actually I do think that Trump is trolling the GOP nomination, but he’s not a Democratic troll. He’s Trump troll. The man is looking out for himself and nobody else – and he sees the Republican primary as a chance to have the Trump brand on everybody’s lips for the next year. For free. And he can collect donations from marks and use them to travel in style while he’s “campaigning”.

    Now, some might argue “but doesn’t the weird conspiracy-mongering birtherism and other crap that Trump is engaging in hurt the Trump brand long term?” And the answer to that is to read that last part of the sentence over and over again and realize that the Trump brand is spectacular crap sold in a shiny way and Trump is absolutely okay with that.

    Trump sees his run for office as a way to make more money. Basically he saw what Palin has been doing and said “OMG – how can people be such rubes? I need to get me some of THAT action”. And then he sharpened up his shears and went off to fleece some birther rubes.

  47. 47
    Poopyman says:

    @MattR: Also too, she misspelled “sleight”, not that I’m anal about that or anything.

  48. 48

    @Dennis SGMM:

    I just talked to my FA about this. She said that a default “isn’t even on their radar” that no one expects this to happen.

    ME: Yeah but what if it does?
    FA: But no one thinks it will …
    ME: But what happens if it does?
    FA: Stop worrying it won’t. I’m looking at the news now, no one is talking about this.
    ME: LOOK. We have some crazy Tea Party anarchists in control of congress and they are itching for a fight and so far every one of them thinks defaulting is a swell idea.
    FA: That is the fringe.
    ME: Have you not noticed that the fringe is who is in charge?
    FA: Let me have you talk to … (the other FA who is the manager….)

    SIGH. The *other* FA agrees that the Tea Party is nuts, told me that the bond market would collapse, some stocks would do well, others not so well, the dollar would get stronger, global markets wouldn’t be any better than ours because we’re all in the same boat, and basically “I’ve been doing this 50 years and anything that can happen will happen so you need to be hedged against this.”

    I need to be hedged.

    Jeeeebus.

  49. 49
    Martin says:

    @Dennis SGMM: I’m still quite certain the true answer is that he’s a human/alien hybrid, send back in time from the future to alter events in order to lead to the demise of the human race. We can either go with some kind of terminator or borg. There’s a lot of material there to work from. I’m quite a fan of the borg, personally.

  50. 50
    Bill Murray says:

    The problem is probably systemic: it’s a grave mistake to have our society run by people who can make a fortune betting on other people’s misery.

    and we don’t even get cheap holidays in other peoples misery, but I guess I don’t want a holiday in the sun anyway

  51. 51

    @NonyNony:

    he’s not a Democratic troll. He’s Trump troll.

    That sounds about right. And of course he’s going to make some money off of this. Maybe privatize the elections and call them TrumpTheVote or something. You know how he always has to put his name on everything …

  52. 52
    Martin says:

    @Southern Beale: It won’t happen. The adults know what would happen – it’d be a calamity, but they’ll act like a default would be the most responsible thing evah and try to roll the Dems over it. The Dems need to not fall for it.

  53. 53
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Via Benen:

    POLL SHOWS APPROVAL FOR BUDGET DEAL….
    __
    A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday indicates that the budget agreement that prevented a government shutdown is popular, with Americans supporting it by a 58 to 38 percent margin. But there’s a partisan divide, with two-thirds of Democrats and a majority of independent voters backing the deal, and Republicans divided.

    Democratic-leaning and “independent” people like “agreements” and “compromises.” They don’t much pay attention to the substance. They just know they like the idea of hammering out a deal. This is hugely consequential in figuring out why Democratic politicians behave as they do.

  54. 54
    Calouste says:

    @Martin:

    I think that Trump has just realized that if you have sown up the birthers, you have sown up the GOP primaries. He’ll probably get a few more votes based on his image as a successfull businessman, and there you go. No need to worry about the evangelical vote, although there is probably a huge overlap between evangelicals and birthers anyway. It’s Lee Atwater’s wet dream, you can actually be fairly openly racist as a presidential candidate.

  55. 55
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @cat48:

    If it makes you feel better (it won’t obviously), Krugman expands his austerity critique to other Western governments and especially the Republican Party and modern conservative thought quite frequently. It’s a rather all-encompassing criticism. This makes no sense to you because your entire worldview is simply that Obama = Great, and anybody who says anything less than complimentary about him is just a big ol’ meanie head. Carry on.

  56. 56
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    @Calouste: You mean “sewn”? ‘Cause the idea of sowing Birthers is just icky.

  57. 57
    Brachiator says:

    @Chris:

    It’s worse than that, really. The whole “makers vs takers” thing is a false dichotomy

    . Actually it’s just nonsense, and a strange genuflection (Uh oh, I used a four syllable word, too) by conservative pundits, who worship the financial elite.

    Magically, all the rich have “earned” what they have actually stolen from others, or rigged the tax code to give them, while the middle class and the poor are supposedly grabbing “undeserved” entitlements. And pundits, who are little more than parasites, are magically “makers” simply because they fawn over their “betters.”

    It is, in other words, just a distraction from the real issue, which is: how will we, as a society, get along together? Will we return to feudalism and/or slavery, or will we at least attempt to make things better for everyone?

    Oddly enough, many conservatives and conservative pundits love the hierarchical certainty of feudalism. Me, I’m just looking for a fair deal for people. I don’t think you necessarily have to “make” things better for everyone, just make sure that there is real opportunity.

  58. 58
    Chris says:

    @Southern Beale: Ideally, you should be hedged against everything.

    It’s just a little expensive to do. :-)

  59. 59
    eemom says:

    @Bob Loblaw:

    Krugman may have been a Hilbot during the primaries, but overall I think he’s been pretty restrained in criticizing Obama. One of the reasons today’s column was so depressing is that I had the sense he doesn’t really want to be saying what he said. It had a tinge of despair to it, and rightly so, considering that he’s the calm voice of reason who is CONSTANTLY being drowned out by the babbling bedlam of lunatics.

  60. 60
    mattski says:

    Am i the only who think NRBQ whenever I see NCLB?

    now back to your regularly scheduled blog posting

  61. 61
    BGK says:

    @NonyNony:

    realize that the Trump brand is spectacular crap sold in a shiny way and Trump is absolutely okay with that.

    So, Trump is the apotheosis of Turd in a Can? Astonishing.

    I have a not-politics forum I frequent when I need to get out of the boat and see what RealAmerica is thinking. Plural of anecdote not being data and all, I find a disturbing enthusiasm for the idea of Trump the President. All the usual reasons: running the USofA as a business is a good idea, “firing” the deadbeats would solve the budget crisis, can’t be worse than what we have now, and so on. I was somewhat heartened by the nearly half who cheered the idea, much as is done here, in a please-bring-the-crazy so we can win 40 states way. Still, the credulity of people who see Trump as a legitimate candidate made me glad for the second bottle of Plymouth gin in my pantry.

  62. 62
    Comrade DougJ says:

    @mattski:

    Hey, they were on one of those NPR shows doing a live concert last week around noon.

  63. 63
    Chris says:

    @eemom:

    Despite his nickname of “the Shrill One,” I’ve never found Krugman to be any kind of wide-eyed why-doesn’t-everyone-have-a-pony utopian. He’s been a pretty consistent voice for the center-left, and has never had any trouble going after “firebagger” types when he thinks they’re wrong (as with Nader in 2000).

    I readily believe that he doesn’t want to be saying what he’s saying. He’s just witnessing a system that’s been drifting towards insanity for his entire career, getting crazier and crazier with each setback.

  64. 64
    Jay B. says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Because that subset of gormless Democratic voters are as ignorant and gullible as Tea Baggers? Thankfully, they have a Democratic Party that really does reflect their non-existent, shoot-themselves-in-the-face values.

    Compromise now, compromise tomorrow, capitulate forever!

  65. 65
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Southern Beale:

    That “Yeah but what if it does?” is what gives me the shakes. Where we tend to see default as a disaster in the making I can’t help but think that it would at one fell swoop deliver everything on the Republican wish list.Medicare, Medicaid, discretionary spending, ACA, Social Security, education funding, Head Start, would all be wiped out. Federal tax revenue is projected to be around four-and-half trillion dollars this year. That would leave more than enough for our bloated defense establishment and without all of those pesky entitlements we could afford more tax cuts for the corps and the wealthy. There are plenty of Republicans who would see this as a win-win.

  66. 66
    Brachiator says:

    @FlipYrWhig: RE: A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday indicates that the budget agreement that prevented a government shutdown is popular, with Americans supporting it by a 58 to 38 percent margin.

    Democratic-leaning and “independent” people like “agreements” and “compromises.” They don’t much pay attention to the substance. They just know they like the idea of hammering out a deal. This is hugely consequential in figuring out why Democratic politicians behave as they do.

    This falsely presumes that politicians are supposed to govern by automatic pilot, based on opinion poll results.

    Odd that Republicans don’t presume that opinion polls are determinative. And the GOP won the House in the mid-term elections, so the Democrats’ tactics do not ensure political gains.

    Also, by this, the Democrats could give the Republicans everything they want, call it a “compromise” and presumably satisfy the public. Why, then, even have a Democratic Party? Why not simply rubber stamp the GOP agenda and call it a day?

  67. 67
    geg6 says:

    I’ll be honest, Doug.

    I know lots and lots of wealthy people. And I don’t like a single one of them. They are all assholes of the first order.

    Now, do I believe that all rich people are like the assholes I, personally, know? No. But do I believe that the rich people I know are representative of 99% of all rich people? Yes.

  68. 68
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Jay B.:

    Thankfully, they have a Democratic Party that really does reflect their non-existent, shoot-themselves-in-the-face values.

    Yes, they do. That’s what you have to fix. There’s a lot of inertia that leads Democratic politicians to make compromises and Democratic voters to say they want compromises.

    @Brachiator:

    This falsely presumes that politicians are supposed to govern by automatic pilot, based on opinion poll results.

    I didn’t say they were _supposed to_ do anything of the kind. But they do.

    the GOP won the House in the mid-term elections

    Because the Republicans painted the _Democrats_ as uncompromising. That’s why they kept complaining about how Obama rammed his agenda through without Republican input. It was bullshit, but it worked on at least a few people, because people like the idea of making compromises.

    by this, the Democrats could give the Republicans everything they want, call it a “compromise” and presumably satisfy the public.

    Probably true. That’s why we have to figure out a way to reward Democrats for not doing that. The “fight harder” theory presumes, implicitly or explicitly, that “fighting” is a way to win greater support, especially from your “base.” Well, when polled, the base doesn’t express that preference at all.

    (edited slightly after posting)

  69. 69
    rickstersherpa says:

    I also find Brad DeLong and Joe Stiglitz two other voices in the wilderness, but of course they are never brought on any of the mass media organs or quoted in Politico.

    http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/.....-rich.html

    Also, this is another case where I think Professor Krugman’s disenchantment with Obama gets the better of him (as John pointed out, Obama has accomplished far more progressive goals in two years than Clinton accomplished in 8). The problem for the Democrats and Liberals, not having done the hard work the last 40 years of persuading the middling people of their wisdom, and having at times made damned fools of themselves, find themselves in the positions that Adam Server describes in response to Glenn Greenwald:

    By Adam Serwer | Posted 04/06/2011 at 09:00 AM
    Glenn Greenwald writes that Democratic voters need to stop letting Democrats take their votes for granted:

    Server quoting Greenwald: “One thing is for certain: right now, the Democratic Party is absolutely correct in its assessment that kicking its base is good politics. Why is that? Because they know that they have inculcated their base with sufficient levels of fear and hatred of the GOP, so that no matter how often the Party kicks its base, no matter how often Party leaders break their promises and betray their ostensible values, the base will loyally and dutifully support the Party and its leaders (at least in presidential elections; there is a good case that the Democrats got crushed in 2010 in large part because their base was so unenthusiastic).”

    Server responds: “I think this is a misdiagnosis of the problem. Democrats are less liberal than Republicans are conservative because there are fewer self-identified liberals in America. Democrats rely more on the votes of moderates, and so they can’t afford to be as strident ideologically.

    The other thing is that never in history has liberals abstaining from a vote led to a more progressive government. When liberals decided Al Gore was too much like George W. Bush they voted for Ralph Nader or they stayed home. Either way, the U.S. ended up with an economic collapse, an unnecessary war, and an imperial executive branch that shows no signs of abating now that the White House has changed hands. As Greenwald notes, the Democratic base didn’t show up strongly in 2010 either, and now liberals are fighting to keep Medicare and Medicaid from being abolished. Family planning for poor and working-class women is on the chopping block, while Republicans are attempting to tax reproductive health benefits out of private insurance entirely. Liberals may ultimately come back to the Democrats, but this isn’t merely out of blind loyalty or because they’re easily manipulated by cheap Democratic fearmongering. It’s because the consequences of Republican dominance are anything but abstract.

    Look, the civil-liberties left just isn’t a big part of the base. What you have to hope for is that the president that gets elected staffs his administration with people who care enough about the rule of law to make sure it gets followed. The last administration didn’t do that, and this one got rid of the people who did.

    Anyway, I’m not sure what the answer to this is, but I’m fairly certain that abstaining from voting isn’t it. Life hands you a lot of hard choices and few easy ones, and the latter are rarely important.”

    Me: This is especially true of the Senate where the small, predominately rural, predominately white, states outnumber the urban and liberal states. There is choice between “poor” (Ben Nelson, Mary Landreui)and “catastrophic.”

  70. 70
    Calouste says:

    @Comrade Scrutinizer:

    Yes, I did. Although Trump is definitely sowing the field. Of course he will quietly put birtherism on the backburner once he no longer needs it because it would be too much of a negative in the general. But out of the current GOP candidate field, Trump really is the Leader the authoritarians have been looking for. I don’t think he is perfect in that role, but far better than the rest.

  71. 71
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Brachiator:

    It strikes me that we’re losing ground. Every time that we compromise with the crazies we lose a little more of something that we want or something else that people need. Maybe that’s the best that can be done at the moment, I don’t know.

    I’m reminded of the Civil War general who told an aide, “A few more victories like this one and we are undone.”

  72. 72

    Love Salmon. And, yes, Banksters give other rich people a bad name.

    The key diff. is not whether youre rich or not — it’s whether youre willing to acknowledge the game is rigged.

  73. 73
    madmatt says:

    Glad to hear you don’t object to your rich banker friends stealing from taxpayers every single day by taking money from the fed for free and turning it around and investing it in treasury bonds for a some long term interest. When will the rest of us get an opportunity for free money?

    In other words EVERY BANKER IS A FUCKIN THIEF

  74. 74
    jwest says:

    @geg6:

    “I know lots and lots of wealthy people. And I don’t like a single one of them.”

    I pretty sure that wiping their windshields at the end of the car wash line doesn’t really qualify as “knowing” them. And even if they don’t roll down the window and engage in conversations, it doesn’t mean they are assholes.

  75. 75
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @jwest:
    On the other hand, your snotty, supercilious, response does mean that you’re an asshole, you asshole.

  76. 76
    NonyNony says:

    @BGK:

    So, Trump is the apotheosis of Turd in a Can? Astonishing.

    The “Trump brand”? Oh hell yes. Look at “The Apprentice”. Look at the crap he’s shoveled out over the years with his name on it. He has a real estate business but mostly what he’s in the business of selling is “Donald Trump”. If that isn’t polished Turd in a Can I don’t know what is.

    Plural of anecdote not being data and all, I find a disturbing enthusiasm for the idea of Trump the President. All the usual reasons: running the USofA as a business is a good idea, “firing” the deadbeats would solve the budget crisis, can’t be worse than what we have now, and so on.

    First remember that the demographic of the Internet is skewed in a weird way. Libertarians are famously overrepresented as are people with enough money to waste time on the Internet. I know there’s enthusiasm for a Trump run on the Internet, but there was HUGE enthusiasm for Ron Paul in ’08 on the Internet too.

    Second, yeah, it is disheartening to see people still spouting that ridiculous “run the government like a business” crap after they got everything they wanted and had an MBA CEO CIC asshole in charge for 8 years. I like to respond that the only form of government you can run like a business is a monarchy, since businesses are basically run on a feudal system of allegiances and rewards, but anyone dumb enough to think that the government should be run like a business these days is too dumb to understand the repercussions.

    (And I’ve also found that authoritarian power-worshippers are overrepresented on the Internet as well. I think because of the libertarian overrepresentation – not all libertarians are closet monarchists, but most of the Randians seem to want to find a king they can bow down to. Unhealthy in so many ways.)

  77. 77
    Mnemosyne says:

    @rickstersherpa:

    Liberals may ultimately come back to the Democrats, but this isn’t merely out of blind loyalty or because they’re easily manipulated by cheap Democratic fearmongering. It’s because the consequences of Republican dominance are anything but abstract. (emphasis mine)

    Mr. Serwer wins a cigar. I was astounded to read that Greenwald column and not find one single reference to the concerted Republican campaign to break unions, or the brand-new ability of Michigan’s governor to break up municipalities on his own discretion, or the dozens of other nightmares that have been coming from the Republicans since they were voted in.

    It’s almost like Greenwald’s theory doesn’t make any sense if you look at actual actions that real Republicans have taken, which is probably why he carefully kept it in the realm of the abstract and pretended that we’re exaggerating when we say that putting the Republicans in charge of things is like handing a blowtorch to a 2-year-old.

  78. 78
    Mnemosyne says:

    @jwest:

    Ah, the same old “liberals are just jealous!” meme that we’ve been seeing for the past 40 years. And here I thought you guys were opposed to recycling.

  79. 79
  80. 80
    Brachiator says:

    @FlipYrWhig: RE:the GOP won the House in the mid-term elections

    Because the Republicans painted the Democrats as uncompromising.

    Just not true.

    Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Wing are built on the principle of total and absolute opposition to everything the Obama Administration might do. Their guiding principal is the idea that the present administration is illegitimate, and that their goal is to “take the country back.” No room for compromise here.

    The GOP leadership and party mainstream covers all the remaining bases. They stake out every conceivable position even if it is self-contradictory, as long as the conclusion is “Obama is wrong.” So they claim that the mid-terms gave them a mandate, they claim that they are ready to compromise, they claim that Obama rams his agenda through, they claim that they don’t have time to read the bills (but have time to read the Constitution out loud). On top of this, they come with their own agenda to cut family planning services, to kill public broadcasting, to hobble the EPA. And they declare their permanent opposition to health care, and constantly try to repeal it.

    I have never, ever, EVER, heard any Republican claim to want to try to compromise on health care reform. Their “compromise” is always to kill it.

    It was bullshit, but it worked on at least a few people, because people like the idea of making compromises.

    People like a lot of things. This ain’t what the Congress is for, do simply make people happy without reservation.

    Probably true. That’s why we have to figure out a way to reward Democrats for not doing that.

    This is odd. I thought we elected public officials to do a freaking job. I didn’t realize that we have to treat them like children, and give them candy in order for them to do what they were elected to do. And odd, that the GOP and the Tea Party Ascendant are not based on the notion that if their leaders aren’t bribed or placated, they won’t do anything. And for the mainstream GOP, all it takes is money.

    The “fight harder” theory presumes, implicitly or explicitly, that “fighting” is a way to win greater support, especially from your “base.” Well, when polled, the base doesn’t express that preference at all.

    Again, you seem to think that polls are particularly meaningful, or that they are an accurate assessment of voter sentiment. Or that politicians must do what the polls tell them. This is wrong, and dangerous on all kinds of levels.

    It is reactive, not pro-active. And since the Republicans don’t give a rat’s ass about polls, it makes Democrats double losers, since they can’t even say here that they are reacting to the GOP agenda.

    And I have never said that the Democrats need to just fight harder. My point has always been that they need to fight smarter.

    Shit, even Gadaffi knows how to buy time, counter his opponents, pretend to look reasonable while steadily moving forward, play one side against another.

    The Democrats were able to do more against the old Congress. They don’t seem to realize that they need to alter their strategy to deal with a GOP that has purged or neutralized their moderate wing. And falling back on what the polls supposedly show ain’t gonna help.

  81. 81
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne: I will freely admit that I can be manipulated by fear. Republican dominance is THAT bad. I’ll take a thousand Bradley Manning incidents over the remotest chance that some Republican will get to exercise power over me or anyone I care about or even people I don’t like very much (you know who you are…). I don’t care how bland or how uninspiring a Democrat is. I voted happily for Creigh Deeds, dammit. This shit is real.

  82. 82
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Brachiator:

    Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Wing are built on the principle of total and absolute opposition to everything the Obama Administration might do. Their guiding principal is the idea that the present administration is illegitimate, and that their goal is to “take the country back.” No room for compromise here.

    I think you’re correct. IIRC the Obama administration has adopted any number of positions that the R’s held dear back when they were semi-sane and the Republicans promptly refudiated them.

    As others have observed, Obama could produce a cure for cancer and the solution to world peace and the Republicans would oppose both because of the hardship worked on the HMO s and defense contractors.

  83. 83
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Brachiator:

    Again, you seem to think that polls are particularly meaningful, or that they are an accurate assessment of voter sentiment. Or that politicians must do what the polls tell them. This is wrong, and dangerous on all kinds of levels.

    Where is this “must” coming from? We can have a whole conversation about what politicians _should_ do. They should be brave and they should be smart and they should be fierce. And yet most of them aren’t like that at all. Why is that?

    The path of least resistance for a politician is to do things that the people who have voted or might vote for him or her will like. If you want a politician to do something other than that, you have a steep hill to climb.

    Republicans, when polled, say they _don’t_ want compromises. The word “compromise” is like ashes in their mouths. Democrats, when polled, don’t say that. Thus Democratic politicians will continually choose to talk about compromises and to arrive at compromises because it’s what their supporters like to hear. Even if they behind closed doors say that Republicans are bloodthirsty madmen intent on killing us all either quickly or slowly, when they come out from behind those doors they say that it’s important to work together and find common ground.

    So if Democratic politicians make compromises and that Democratic voters say they like compromises, it’s not hard to fathom why both _actual_ compromises and _rhetoric_ about compromises keep happening.

    You’re right that this deforms politics and deprives Democrats of weapons that Republicans use with impunity. But I’m not sure how you/we/they fix it. Selling something bold as itself already a compromise, maybe?

  84. 84
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Brachiator:

    Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Wing are built on the principle of total and absolute opposition to everything the Obama Administration might do. Their guiding principal is the idea that the present administration is illegitimate, and that their goal is to “take the country back.” No room for compromise here.

    Right. These people are never going to vote for Democrats anyway. But there’s a group in the middle, including old-line Republicans who are somewhat persuadable when all conditions are right, that IMHO was won over by all the talk about how Obama was doing too much too soon and being too “partisan.” None of that would make any sense as a line of argument or advertising if there wasn’t some group of independents or “swing voters” who didn’t themselves believe in the romance of compromise, common ground, meeting in the middle, etc.

  85. 85
    Brachiator says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    It strikes me that we’re losing ground. Every time that we compromise with the crazies we lose a little more of something that we want or something else that people need. Maybe that’s the best that can be done at the moment, I don’t know.

    People keep talking compromise. I don’t see it. I see capitulation, especially with the new Congress.

    And yet, there is this strange attempt at justification. “We know we promised to undo all the crap that the Bush Administration did, but instead we are going to add more GOP crap to it. But we really promise we will undo it after 2012. Or maybe 2016.”

    Seems to me that the Democrats need to push their own agenda more forcefully and use that as the base for compromise, not the old GOP agenda.

    I’m reminded of the Civil War general who told an aide, “A few more victories like this one and we are undone.”

    Uh, that was Pyrrhus, a Greek general and a bit earlier, around 300 BCE.

    His name is famous for the term “Pyrrhic victory” which refers to an exchange at the Battle of Asculum. In response to congratulations for winning a costly victory over the Romans, he is reported to have said: “One more such victory will undo me!”

  86. 86
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Southern Beale:

    I need to be hedged.

    The prospect of a hedging concentrates the mind wonderfully, or so I’ve heard.

  87. 87
    eemom says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Quite right.

    It is so strange now to recall what a terrible disappointment McDonnell-Kook’s victory was a mere 18 months ago. At the time I totally discounted the rumblings that it portended something more ominous in 2010….and now here we are amongst the wreckage.

  88. 88
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Brachiator:

    Seems to me that the Democrats need to push their own agenda more forcefully and use that as the base for compromise

    I’d love to see it. Love. We need more stimulus, for example. It’s madness to talk about austerity. It’s madness to just punt on energy. But it’s been nonstop crisis since Obama took over, and practically nothing that has occupied his attention even played a role in the ’08 campaign — except HCR. To me, this has been the problem: Obama is scrambling to put out all kinds of fires, while the Republicans hatch plans to do what they always do. They’ve been thinking long-term, and Obama hasn’t been able to do that.

    Some non-Obama Democrats would help, and do help, and have helped, but if the point is to expand the debate, that doesn’t have to take the form of “Obama is fucking everything up because he’s not doing X.” It can instead take the form of “We need to do X, and here’s my plan to make it law.”

  89. 89
    Virginia Highlander says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I don’t care how bland or how uninspiring a Democrat is. I voted happily for Creigh Deeds, dammit. This shit is real.

    Yep, me too. And I will do it again if I have to. I even voted for Boucher, the mealy-mouthed appeaser, and was damned proud to do it.

  90. 90
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @jrg: NCLB is a free market solution. Schools get funding determined by standardized test results.
    My mac came from a regulated market.
    Where workers get a living wage in safe conditions to build macs.
    If you have a PC it likely came from third world semi-slave labor assclown.

  91. 91
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @MattR: Free market solutions do not work.
    NCLB didn’t work, deregulation of mortgage flipping didnt work, and the BP oil spill and Fukushima Daichii were both the result of Kost Kutting Kapitalism in action.
    Regulated market solutions work.
    Like I said, my mac came from a regulated market, according to what I know about Apple.
    Where workers get a living wage in safe conditions to build macs.
    If you have a PC it likely came from third world semi-slave labor assclown.
    That is the free market. Offshoring manufacturing jobs to third world countries is the free market. Killing unions is the free market.
    Raping the environment is the free market.

    Unregulated free market capitalism leads to human flesh for sale in the marketplace and other horrors. Dr. Jerry Pournelle

  92. 92
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): regulated capitalism that would be.
    Give me an example of a free market solution to a problem that has worked.
    You can ax MattR for help.
    ;)

  93. 93
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    You morons are really going to let the freemarket fucktards assrape us again.
    Unbelievable.

  94. 94
    Calouste says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley:

    If you have a laptop (and most consumer computers these days are laptops), there’s a 90% chance that it is made in Taiwan, whether is a PC or a Mac. Well, maybe 100% if it is a Mac. Apple laptops are made by the same company that makes Dells and Compaqs amongst others. But keep believing in the gospel according to St. Steve.

  95. 95
    MattR says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley: The funny thing is that regulated capitalism is a free market solution.

  96. 96
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Calouste: SO FUCKING WHAT!

    Im so sick of you your dumbass fantasy freemarket. Its just a twist on murrikan exceptionalism, isn’t it?
    My great-great-great-great grandfather owned sweatshops where 12 year old girls worked 16 hour shifts.
    There is your fucking free market.
    Free market policies CAUSED the Econopalypse.
    Free market policies like NCLB CAUSED America’s third-world rank in science and math.
    And you want to let them have a do over.

  97. 97
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @MattR: oh bullshytt
    Bend over, because here they come again.
    And MattR is gunna hold the jar of vaseline for them.

  98. 98
    Mandramas says:

    @MattR: Hmm, no. Free market is an ideal situation that never was applied in the story of the world since it is really very ideal. Regulated market is the normal capitalistic situation, since free market solution are working only on ideal situation that never will happen, so the Goverment must correct the problems that a market generate.

  99. 99
    Gus says:

    @geg6: I would agree with the 99% figure, but I have rich relatives who are wonderful people. @Calouste: Actually, I believe that Macs are made in the PRC. I used to work for a company that sold Macs, and tracking the packages from UPS usually showed the origin was Shanghai.

  100. 100
    Mandramas says:

    @Calouste: There are no monopolies on free market. If only one company do all the computers, so, this is not a free market situation. It is a unregulated market, but it is not really free.

  101. 101
    kestral says:

    @Calouste: I’m confused. What does this have to do with anything? Did I miss something fun? I hate it when that happens ):

  102. 102
    Mandramas says:

    @kestral: Just standard troll wars.

  103. 103
    Brachiator says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Where is this “must” coming from? We can have a whole conversation about what politicians should do. They should be brave and they should be smart and they should be fierce. And yet most of them aren’t like that at all. Why is that? The path of least resistance for a politician is to do things that the people who have voted or might vote for him or her will like.

    Odd, I’m not liking what the politicians are doing. But you keep falling back on defending politicians, while I am saying that their efforts are ineffectual, and are not giving people what they want, unless your point is that people just want Washington to play nice, even if it results in catastrophe.

    So if Democratic politicians make compromises and that Democratic voters say they like compromises, it’s not hard to fathom why both actual compromises and rhetoric about compromises keep happening.

    But compromises are not happening. The Republicans are getting what they want. The Democrats are calling capitulation compromise. You seem to think that this pleases Democratic voters. Maybe it does, in the short term. But it evades my question: why not simply give Republicans everything they want? Wouldn’t this be just as acceptable?

    You’re right that this deforms politics and deprives Democrats of weapons that Republicans use with impunity. But I’m not sure how you/we/they fix it. Selling something bold as itself already a compromise, maybe?

    At the end of the day, I don’t care about politicians or their weapons. In the end, the Democrats promised to fix the economy, restore stability, and provide an economic background which supported job growth.

    At some point, even the most exhausted voter is going to look into that big box of Compromise and see that it’s empty. The Republicans will then come up with their standard promise to fill it up if people kill social security, deregulate everything, and cut taxes for the rich. Democrats will be sitting with no plans, no agenda.

    We will see whether voters will say, “that’s all right. We only wanted compromise. We didn’t really want jobs and stuff.”

  104. 104
    Calouste says:

    @kestral:

    I was just pointing out to HGW that her conception, that Mac’s are being made in in bright shiny light factories where the angels sing while workers get a complimetary shoulder massage every two hours and that PCs are made in dark hell holes where supervisors lash the whip over 9 year-olds who work 28 hours a day, isn’t actual reality.

    Of course, pointing out facts to HGW sends her in an incoherent rage, pretty much like a honorary Republican would.

  105. 105
    MattR says:

    @Mandramas: I agree with what you said. But if we are talking about the “free market solutions” that m_c is railing against then regulated capitalism has to be included in that category.

  106. 106
    joeshabadoo says:

    @MattR: But that’s not a free market solution. The “free market” is so worshipped that the name is being put on what works instead of what is actually true.

  107. 107
    Wolfdaughter says:

    @Brachiator:

    The Republicans are getting what they want.

    Actually, no. I won’t go onto the RW blogs because I already have hypertension and heart palpitations, but a number of posters on other threads have said that the RW blogosphere is apoplectic over the latest deal.

    The rest of your post is highly overblown and assuming the worst.

    Things are not great, far from it, but you paint with too broad a brush.

  108. 108
    Wolfdaughter says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley:

    Every time you get on your high horse you make a fool of yourself. Your response to Calouste was ugly and uncalled for.

    Most of us on this board are a good deal older, and yes, wiser than you. We’ve had years to learn and experience which you simply lack.

    When you accuse all sorts of people on this board of supporting unregulated capitalism, you’re flinging poo. It’s an ignorant accusation. Just as a couple of days ago you were claiming that most people in BJ are war supporters, and lecturing us on why war isn’t a good idea. In other words, you arrogantly lecture people who came to much the same conclusions as you do in your saner posts, only years ago. We’ve marched, written letters, tried to support progressive candidates, and some of us have risked our lives in wars. What have you done?

    Make your posts without the juvenile polemics and you’ll get some hearing. Otherwise, expect to be piled on, deservedly.

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