“YoYo Economics”

Greg Sargent at his WaPo Plum Line blog reports “Obama unleashes sharp attack on inequality, and Campaign 2012 begins“:

Obama’s speech in Kansas, which just concluded, was the most direct condemnation of wealth and income inequality, and the most expansive moral defense of the need for government activism to combat it, that Obama has delivered in his career. The speech is best seen as a bid to establish a moral and philosophical framework within which literally all of the political and policy battles of the next year will unfold, including the biggest one of all: The presidential campaign itself…
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“We simply cannot return to this brand of you’re-on-your-own economics if we’re serious about rebuilding the middle class in this country,” Obama said, in what will probably be the most enduring line of the speech. A number of people on Twitter immediately suggested a new shorthand: “YoYo Economics.”
__
“Roosevelt was called a radical, a socialist, even a communist,” Obama said, in a tacit reference to similar attacks on himself. “But today, we are a richer nation and a stronger democracy because of what he fought for in his last campaign: an eight hour work day and a minimum wage for women; insurance for the unemployed, the elderly, and those with disabilities; political reform and a progressive income tax.” Strikingly, the validity of some of these same government functions is still being debated today…

E.J. Dionne, also at the WaPo, provides historical context:

Here is how Roosevelt stated the problem when he spoke in Osawatomie:
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“At many stages in the advance of humanity, this conflict between the men who possess more than they have earned and the men who have earned more than they possess is the central condition of progress. In our day it appears as the struggle of freemen to gain and hold the right of self-government as against the special interests, who twist the methods of free government into machinery for defeating the popular will. At every stage, and under all circumstances, the essence of the struggle is to equalize opportunity, destroy privilege, and give to the life and citizenship of every individual the highest possible value both to himself and to the commonwealth. . . . “
__
Roosevelt was uncompromising in insisting that those who wanted to protect private property needed to understand that those who held property had obligations to serve the public interest. “The true friend of property, the true conservative,” he declared, “is he who insists that property shall be the servant and not the master of the commonwealth; who insists that the creature of man’s making shall be the servant and not the master of the man who made it. The citizens of the United States must effectively control the mighty commercial forces which they have called into being.”

In one of its sidebar readership-capture polls, the Washington Post asks: “Do you agree with President Obama that supply-side economics has ‘never worked?’” Surprise, surprise — the dissenting factor stands at twenty-seven percent!






118 replies
  1. 1
    Egg Berry says:

    Obama’s speech in Kansas, which just concluded, was the most direct condemnation of wealth and income inequality, and the most expansive moral defense of the need for government activism to combat it, that Obama has delivered in his career.

    I’m going to call bullshit on this right here and now.

  2. 2
    The Dangerman says:

    Speak softly and pack a big stick (and pardon Obama as he whips it out).

    /blazing

  3. 3
    MikeJ says:

    BTW, everybody’s fave, Charlie Pierce, was wrong about the Obama speech. He thinks it’s a *bad* idea to try to redefine what the teabaggers were all about. Personally I think it was the most brilliant part. If the teabaggers want to jump on the train and belatedly declare they’re in favour of good legislation, I say let ’em on, pass the bill, and argue about credit later.

    I still like Pierce, but he gets things wrong now and then. And I can’t hear his name without thinking of Chuck Pierce who lived across the street from me when I was a kid.

  4. 4
    wilfred says:

    Excellent. I hope he means it.

    One way to show he does is for him and any other like minded candidate for any political office to absolutely refuse contributions from either the literal or methaphorical ‘Wall Street’, i.e. the enemies of working people.

    More light, please.

  5. 5
    Waynski says:

    In our day it appears as the struggle of freemen to gain and hold the right of self-government as against the special interests, who twist the methods of free government into machinery for defeating the popular will

    I wonder what Newt… as a historian of course – critically and fundamentally… would have to say about this.

  6. 6
    RedKitten says:

    In one of its sidebar readership-capture polls, the Washington Post asks: “Do you agree with President Obama that supply-side economics has ‘never worked?’” Surprise, surprise—the dissenting factor stands at twenty-seven percent!

    Man, that’s getting a little creepy, isn’t it?

  7. 7
    srv says:

    Working on my “Repeal the 5 day work week!” poster for next year.

  8. 8
    NickM says:

    John Brown commanded what some call the Potawatomie massacre the next town over, and i think ossawatomie was his base. Not many people remember it now, I think , but less than 50 years after the Civil War, TR’s audience must have remembered it. Of course, Kansas was a populist hotbed in the 00’s-10s, too, which I’m sure was a factor in where he delivered the speech.

  9. 9
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    The Ghost of Christmas Past conjures the image of Hope, which I hope, is not cruel in the end.

    Has the 2008 Obama been resurrected when we need him most?

    If he is invoking ‘Occupy’ at nearly the same instant he is sending DHS to
    scuttle the dirty fucking hippies, sans a genuine epiphany of regret, I pray his tostones roast in a Christian Zionist vision of Hell.

  10. 10
  11. 11
    suzanne says:

    At every stage, and under all circumstances, the essence of the struggle is to equalize opportunity, destroy privilege, and give to the life and citizenship of every individual the highest possible value both to himself and to the commonwealth. . . . “

    That’s some seriously beautiful stuff there.

    I wholeheartedly love this. Nothing gets me like a crusade. Especially a hopeless one, nevertheless fought for.

  12. 12
    Karen says:

    @wilfred:

    It would be lovely if the world worked that way. It would be specfuckingtacular if the media wasn’t determined to shoot down everything Obama does and never show anything positive.

    It would be amazing if the GOP opposition didn’t also include shadow companies, Citizen United People Companies, The Chamber of Commerce, etc.

    If Obama or any Democrat refused Wall Street money, where would the money come from? Let’s say he would be purer than pure, not take money from businesses or banks. He wouldn’t have the funds to take any of the opposition down.

    Without the wall street funds, Obama is taking a knife to a nuclear war.

    I’m not saying that it doesn’t suck that it’s the way the game is played but I have to deal with the reality.

  13. 13
    AnotherBruce says:

    @suzanne: Yeah well that was a crusade which led to seven decades of prosperity, and many advances in civil rights. Even to this day we are benefiting from it. So there are those trying to defeat it. But it was never and still is not hopeless.

  14. 14
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Jenny:

    Bless you, Jenny, you’ve done it again!

  15. 15

    I wondered if the firebagger response would be “too little too late” or “he doesn’t mean a word he says.” Judging from the posts above the marching orders were sent out on number 2…evil, lying fiend.

    Damn you Obama!! Damn you to Hell!!!

  16. 16
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    One thing to remember Roosevelt assumed the presidency on the assassination of William McKinley by anarchist stirred up by brutal strikes and massacres of workers by the police and the Pinkertons. TR knew if this wasn’t settled by people of good will, well look what happened to Russia a few years later.

  17. 17
    And Another Thing... says:

    CSPAN is re-running Obama’s speech at about 1:20 EST.

  18. 18
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @magurakurin: Why can’t it be a “both … and” situation?

  19. 19
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @RedKitten:

    Man, that’s getting a little creepy, isn’t it?

    What’s equally creepy, for me at least, is that I glanced up from your comment to my iPad’s battery indicator. Guess how much battery power I had remaining at that moment? Thass right. . . .

  20. 20
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    “YoYo economics”, damn, that’s a good term. Implies the volatility of it all too, and hearkens back to “voodoo economics”. I’d have probably gone with “Go Fuck Yourself Economics”, which is why I’m not a politician.

  21. 21
    wilfred says:

    @Karen

    The world is the way it is because monied interests make it that way. At the risk of reductionism, the single most important factor in political reform is getting the monied interests out of politics.

    Anything short of that is simply rhetoric. Obama would be exposed as a hypocrite if he mouthed populist sentiments and trundled off bundles of Wall Street cash. Isn’t that worse than relying on what appears to be a genuine move to the left amongst the American people?

  22. 22

    @Omnes Omnibus: the old “two-pronged” attack? No reason it couldn’t be I suppose. Obama is evil and he must be taken down, anything that works…what’s that sound…is that an ICE agent knocking down the door…

  23. 23

    Man, this story is gonna blow your mind

    GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann learned that protesters often come in adorable packages. A video captures the Minnesota congresswoman greeting 8-year-old Elijah and his mom at a signing event for Bachmann’s book, “Core of Conviction: My Story,” in South Carolina.
    __
    The candidate, who is an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage, met her match with the soft-spoken, pint-sized activist. The video shows Bachmann leaning in to listen closely as the youngster whispers, “My mommy’s gay, but she doesn’t need fixing.”
    __
    Bachmann bolts back up and manages a “bye bye” as mother and son walk away.

    Un-FREAKING-believable ….

  24. 24
    jl says:

    Thanks the links. Dionne’s provides good historical perspective.

    Stiglitz has an interesting column. The title says it is about the Euro, which it is. But it also contains a short rant that lists all the failures of the mainstream unregulated free market school of nirvana in preventing and diagnosing financial crises over the last twenty years. Which is related to the Austerian school of economics, a close cousin of tricky down, or trick me down, or trickle down.

    What Can Save the Euro?
    Joseph E. Stiglitz

    http://www.project-syndicate.o.....46/English

  25. 25

    @wilfred: another vote for #2? We report, you decide. Fair and balanced. Not a dime’s worth of difference.

  26. 26
    gnomedad says:

    People have complained about Obama not hitting back or taking the offensive. At the risk of going all 11-dimensional chess, I swear the guy has enormous patience and a genius sense of timing. Why fight battles against morons that will be forgotten by election time, especially when said morons are busy hanging each other. Obama just smiles and makes sure they don’t run out of rope. Now that we’re approaching a few Voter Attention Span Units of the election, he can start ramping up his pushback. I just hope he keeps hammering a few simple messages.

  27. 27
    JCT says:

    @Southern Beale: I saw that earlier, the look on her face was 7 shades of priceless. Owned by an 8-yr-old.

  28. 28
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @JCT: Let’s be frank here, presuming the 8 year old is sane, the kid has a major advantage.

  29. 29
    dance around in your bones says:

    I watched as much of the speech today as I was able to (active grandbabies selfishly demanded my attention) but from the parts that I saw I wholeheartedly approved.

    The contrast between the ideas and aspirations of Teddy Roosevelt, Republican of 100 years ago, and the Republicans of today could not be more stark.

    Calling ‘trickle-down economics’ basically bullshit bumper sticker stuff was stellar.

    I have always hoped that in his second term Obama would go medieval on some asses, and this speech gave me more of that hope. Call me naive, I don’t care.

  30. 30
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @dance around in your bones: Hey, you were “licensed to kill time”, right? If so, my condolences to you. I hope you are hanging in there.

  31. 31
    freelancer says:

    Anyone have a link to where one could watch the speech start to finish?

  32. 32
    boss bitch says:

    If I had a dollar for every time Obama gave one of these speeches and people predictably act like he’s never said these things before….

    Oh that’s right, this time it was “expansive”

  33. 33
    Mnemosyne says:

    @wilfred:

    “If you can’t drink a lobbyist’s whiskey, take his money, sleep with his women and still vote against him in the morning, you don’t belong in politics.”

    Jesse Unruh

    But, yes, let’s demand purity! Purity always wins elections!

  34. 34
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @boss bitch:

    If I had a dollar for every time Obama gave one of these speeches and people predictably act like he’s never said these things before….

    Not that exact set of words and not in that exact order. So there.

  35. 35
    And Another Thing... says:

    @freelancer: CSpan.org or CSPAN broadcast tonite at 1:20 a.m. EST

  36. 36
    boss bitch says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    LOL…well I stand corrected.

  37. 37
    dance around in your bones says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Yep, I ‘lost my license’ as it were, and decided a nym change was in order. I’m hanging in pretty well, and deciding to dance around in my bones :)

    And thank you for your condolences, y’all are so kind.

  38. 38
    boss bitch says:

    @freelancer:

    Part 1:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....LCeUkg5b94

    Part 2

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....Y5ehI6GxVc

    Whitehouse.gov will probably have the full video tomorrow.

  39. 39

    @wilfred:

    At the risk of reductionism, the single most important factor in political reform is getting the monied interests out of politics.

    Maybe so, but unilateral disarmament is not the way to achieve that goal. If money is corrupting things, we have to come up with a way of changing the law to get money out, not make things easier on the money party.

  40. 40
    amk says:

    @boss bitch: You would have been blogging from Bahamas, earning 20% from all that monies.

  41. 41
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @dance around in your bones: Even the “resident assholes,” not trolls, step up with kind words and support when someone has a real problem. It’s one of the things I like about the place. Of course, they turn around and tell you to fuck off the very next second because you said something that marginally disagrees with their take on things.

  42. 42
    amk says:

    @wilfred:

    relying on what appears to be a genuine move to the left amongst the American people?

    In what alternate universe do you dwell ?

  43. 43
    burnspbesq says:

    As opening salvos go, that was pretty good. Now for some message discipline. Hang the albatross of stolen opportunity around the Republicans’ necks everyday. Never let the striving classes forget which party is their friend and which is their enemy.

  44. 44
    Capn America says:

    I thought Newt was the new FDR?

  45. 45
    dance around in your bones says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Truer words..etc. I never understand why people get so excited/angry/agitated on the Internet. I’m more of a ‘meh’ type person, I guess. In the long-term scheme of things, nothing much is going to matter.

    But the outpouring of support and sympathy for me here the other night was surprising and gratifying at the same time. This is a wonderful and empathetic community which I am very grateful for.

    eta: no doubt some pedant is going to point out that I should have said ‘a community for which I am very grateful’. hahaha.

  46. 46
    khead says:

    A bit OT but…

    Massey settles for 210 million.

    The money will go to compensate the grieving families, bankroll cutting-edge safety improvements and pay for years of violations by Massey Energy, owner of the Upper Big Branch mine at the time of the April 2010 blast. Under the deal, Alpha Natural Resources — which bought Massey earlier this year — will face no criminal charges in the explosion as long as it abides by the settlement, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said.

  47. 47
    Linnaeus says:

    @khead:

    And when people ask why we need unions, well, that’s why.

  48. 48
    John Casey says:

    @wilfred: If he can’t take their money and fuck ’em over, he’s not the politician I think he is. No unilateral disarmament!

    On a completely different point, I feel compelled to say that today’s collection of Balloon Juice posts is an absolute treasure trove of goodness.

  49. 49
    JC says:

    It is an EXCELLENT speech. Clearly, a great contrast with the Rethugs.

    Still and all – I am always wondering, what are the economic underpinnings of things, that will cause change to manifest?

    When will people REALLY say, enough is enough, and vote in numbers accordingly?

    Roosevelt, both of them, rose up in the context of some brutal poverty, as was said, YoYo politics, and some seriously effed up corporate abuse.

    The compensatory machines of the plutocracy, just seem better at managing suffering nowadays. Just bleed people enough to cause a little bit of pain, but not enough to get them off of their ass. And better at defusing/blunting the movement for change.

    Part of this is, the economic order is so quickly changing, and it isn’t as if, in this country at least, there are 1/3 of the workforce in production or agricultural positions.

    A lot of ‘worker’s rights’ came about because of the fact that factory workers were needed, and they were a very large segment of society at the time.

    It is very hard to organize the service sector, however, because it is so distributed, and consists of different populations.

    And organizing the service sector in toto – is really going to be the only way that there will be a large enough population to push back on the 1%.

    But professional service sector employees? They are somewhat comfortable, though again, bled a little bit more every year (or standing still, rather).

    And various other service sector jobs, are either mom and pop, or so temporary as to never gather any type of permanence, to ever be a political force.

  50. 50
    khead says:

    This is pathetic.

    The deal seeks to guarantee that the families of the 29 dead miners and two co-workers who survived the explosion will each receive $1.5 million. Those who accept the payout can still pursue lawsuits, but the $1.5 million will be deducted from any settlement or jury award. At least eight families of dead miners previously settled with Massey.

  51. 51
    some guy says:

    as long as T. Geithner rules Our World all the reworked shibboleths of the “malefactors of great wealth” ring plouffe in my ears.

  52. 52
    JoeShabadoo says:

    I think the term YoYo economics has some real staying power.

    It is a great phrase that people will remember and Obama even avoided using the acronym himself since it would sound ridiculous if he said it and explained it to people. I imagine the admin released his twitter bots to get the acronym out immediately though.

  53. 53
    wilfred says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Right. We really fucked the bankers, Wall Street and the defense industry over. More of the same, please.

    @Roger Moore:

    Sure. But why not take the lead by actually bringing the subject to the table for once? The rest is hard on rhetoric.

    @amk:

    I don’t know. I guess the same one that the President lives in. The one where he thinks that adopting traditionally Leftist positions and the modified language of class struggle might resonate with Americans. That’s why he made the speech, right?

  54. 54
    JC says:

    Basically, SEIU needs to somehow find a way to have everyone join it. And start wielding that power accordingly. Which is very, very, hard to do.

    But it must be done. As has been said before – the best IT people – now they are expected to work 80 hours, on call 24 hours a day, no extra compensation. Writers – articles are paid at at $18 dollars, for 750 words.

    And we don’t need to talk about Wal-mart and the like, who pay a pittance, with no health coverage.

    All of these workers are taken advantage of, and will continue to be taken advantage of, unless they can band together.

  55. 55
    Lojasmo says:

    @Benjamin Franklin:

    Piss up a rope, fire bagger troll.

  56. 56
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @wilfred:
    You might find this article on the large contributions two Hoover and FDR’s campaigns and how the money from Wall Street shifted from Hoover to FDR by 1932. The end of the chapter shows the large contributions to FDR.

  57. 57
    amk says:

    @khead: The keypoint of that deal is “Those who accept the payout can still pursue lawsuits”. I’m sure those miners’ families don’t think it’s ‘pathetic’.

  58. 58
    JCT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Very true. Hell, my beagle dog could best that idiot.

  59. 59
    Lojasmo says:

    To be clear: franklin is a drunken, slave-owning bitch.

  60. 60
    some guy says:

    awesome. Walkbalk, Stage 17:

    U.S. officials considered conducting a covert mission inside Iran to retrieve or destroy a stealth drone that crashed late last week, but ultimately concluded such a secret operation wasn’t worth the risk of provoking a more explosive clash with Tehran, a U.S. official said.

    how I miss the “operator error” walkback 6. I guess that Western Afghanistan walkback has proven too plouffe.

  61. 61
    khead says:

    @amk:

    No, it’s still pretty pathetic. Anyone that goes to court now may already have their 1.5 million but now has to argue against Massey and the government – who already cut a deal on their behalf whether the family wanted it or not.

    Plus, the original Massey offers to the families were around 3 million.

    The numbers seem to keep getting smaller.

  62. 62
    freelancer says:

    Thanks, I’m gonna pop some popcorn and re-disappear for a bit.

  63. 63
    JC says:

    One more – to be Marxist about it, technology has continually made life better. Less war, less poverty, more freedom, more self-expression, less prejudice. Less tolerance for violence and disrespect.

    However, technology does not seem to impede the collection of power, money, resources, in an elite, above a certain ‘baseline’ of tolerability for the general populace.

    In fact, it accelerates the inequality, in a lot of cases.

    Thus, no matter the eloquent words, no matter the will behind them, no matter the standing on the values, the poetic Green Lantern will of denouncing and standing for economic justice, won’t make a difference, if it isn’t supported by an economic framework.

    So, I’m wondering, what about the current economic framework, and the best guess projected future economic framework, will actually support less inequality?

    Anyone have any ideas?

  64. 64
    clayton says:

    Why does memorandum have the “Full text of President Obama’s economic speech in Osawatomie, Kans.” flaged as authored by NEWT GINGRICH?

  65. 65
    clayton says:

    Why does memorandum have the “Full text of President Obama’s economic speech in Osawatomie, Kans.” flagged as authored by NEWT GINGRICH?

  66. 66
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @JC: Do you have any idea how to get through IT people to make them understand that it is in their best interest to organize? I don’t. A lot of them think they embody the rugged individualism.

  67. 67
    some guy says:

    @JC:

    Anyone have any ideas?

    Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke have plenty of of ideas, and will be sure Team Obama implement them. post hoc, ergo prop

  68. 68
    JC says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    No, it’s pretty hard. And yet, it’s needed. The problem again, is the transitoriness.

    IT is constantly changing. I’ve seen entire IT departments disappear, as IT gets modernized (one person can do the work of 10), and outsourced (I know 5 people over the last 5 years, that have trained their replacement teams in another country.)

    And yet – ORGANIZING per se, to save those jobs – wouldn’t really WORK, because you’ve got to modernize – an internet server today does the job of 100 servers ten years ago. It DOES take only one individual monitoring 1000 servers to keep these running today, when it took 20 people ten years ago.

    So how would one deal with the transitory nature of things?

    Germany has a better idea – by law, 50% of firms are OWNED – in terms of POWER – by the actual workers.

    So it is in the interest of both the executive teams and the workers, to not be at odds, resist modernization, or do things that are ‘bad’ for the progress of the firm, but also not to walk over workers.

    Are there other ideas? For example, if people here, like with credit unions, only buy from worker-owned firms?

  69. 69
    The prophet Nostradumbass says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): The CWA have been attempting to organize IT workers for years, and have gotten basically nowhere.

  70. 70
    JC says:

    Funny enough, talking about tech – we can actually point to two success stories in tech in the 2000’s – that clearly illustrate the problem.

    Apple – I know many people who work at Apple – the hours have gone up, slowly, imperceptibly, especially for new hires, but the pay is hardly more than it was 10 years ago. The expectation though is you WILL work that 60 hours, and like it.

    Amazon – Bezos runs his organization like a complete tyrant, running roughshod and disrespecting most of his very intelligent people who work on his tech infrastructure. But, they make money, right? New kids coming out of college need jobs, right? I also think that amazon probably pays nearly the same it did to newcomers that it did a decade ago.

    So it all stays under the radar. It’s all acceptable. Only the 1% wins, in terms of capturing the wealth created by the intelligence of thousands of bright programmers.

    EDIT: But even with that – it’s still a pretty good job, as jobs go. You use your brain, you do some good creative work, you feel that proud rush of a ‘job well done’. As jobs go, it’s good. Having to deal with the tyrant at the top is something that happens only rarely, after all.

    And what are the alternatives?

  71. 71
    General Stuck says:

    @JC:

    Anyone have any ideas?

    It’s a democracy, where if you think shit is wrong (and I agree with you it is) then you need to get elected enough warm bodies that see things the same way and will act to make the sausage the flavor it needs to be to bring back some income equality. Obama is doing what he should be doing for the cause, by articulating the problem from the top.

    The rest of us have to do what we can to help. It really isn’t rocket science, and only a matter of cold numbers to unlock a better solution. There are a lot of things wrong, and they have been wrong for a long period of time, so nothing will occur overnight, and the speed at which they do change is mostly governed by the amount of deprivation and pain the bulk of the electorate is willing to tolerate, before they are willing to shelve their bias and prejudices, and petty creature comforts their tribe passes out to keep them distracted, and act in their own self interest at the ballot box. One election at a time.

  72. 72
    suzanne says:

    Want to see some cute? Yeah, you do.

  73. 73
    boss bitch says:

    @suzanne:

    can’t see nuffin’

  74. 74
  75. 75
    Xenos says:

    @JC:

    (I know 5 people over the last 5 years, that have trained their replacement teams in another country.)

    It makes sense that people are willing to do this, as it helps the transition to being an independent consultant, which is a logical career move for someone facing this scenario. But it would be so tempting to profoundly mistrain the members of the replacement team – work some fundamental misunderstandings into the training, find a way to doom the replacement team and get some revenge on the employer.

    Do these IT professionals have any sense of mischief?

  76. 76
    JC says:

    @General Stuck:

    GS, I’m not disagreeing with your comment, but it is tangential to my point. I’m thinking more thinking about future bounded by current and future economic realities. Think Hari Seldon of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation service.

    Take, for example, I, Pencil.

    The story is not about the ‘Invisible Hand’, so much, but it is true that there was a discovery involving thousands of previous antecendents, that came together to make a cool writing tool (which is now, of course, mainly defunct. Things change quickly!)

    In that same sense, currently at least, I just don’t see the economic incentives that will change things. In fact, that Morgan Sachs article, 4 years ago or so? – is more prescient, in that the future is being written by, for, and about, the 1%, at least economically.

    Again, progress is continuing to be made on a human front – technology, cellphones, blogs, etc, make any obvious injustice visceral, and everyone (or mostly everyone) viscerally reacts to injustice, as we have seen from Egypt to our own OWS.

    Just not progress in terms of fixing inequality, because the effects are invisible.

  77. 77
    burnspbesq says:

    @Benjamin Franklin:

    he is sending DHS to scuttle the dirty fucking hippies

    You do understand, don’t you, that this statement is false? What are you hoping to accomplish by spreading false statements?

  78. 78
    JC says:

    @Xenos: It’s a fair question, but there’s a simple answer.

    a. Spread throughout the corporate world, when you get hired now, are 4 hour ‘personality assessment’ tests. These are very, very good, and have lots of hours of research and predictive power behind them, though obviously not perfect, at identifying eager to please, good team players, good moral sense, and yet also bright and productive. That information stays on file. And, these are only added to, upon various HR reviews, as a better picture of the worker is maintained, the longer the worker is there.

    b. Once the time is come to pull the trigger, those who are even a little bit viewed as bound to cause trouble, are immediately let go – and I mean, MARCHED OUT – and those identified as high moral team players are still present, leaving a core of folks who are told, “Look YOU GUYS are our best and brightest” (which in a lot cases is true), “and we have to make this transition, for the good of the company. But since we value you guys SO MUCH, you are getting a pay raise while you train the new team, as well as a nice little bonus once you leave. Also, we are putting together some outstanding recommendation package for you, and our HR team is going to help you get new jobs”.

    c. So with egos fluffed, and a pay raise, the good moral team player workers, grit their teeth, and start working the transition – and it’s important to ‘do a good job’, as a basic self-identifier, so they do so.

    d. In the end the ‘trying to help get new jobs’, ends up mainly being lip service, but a nice looking exit package is created.

    See? Simple.

  79. 79
    General Stuck says:

    @JC:

    Just not progress in terms of fixing inequality, because the effects are invisible.

    The “economy” is a construct of man, and therefore should be fixable to enough of a degree, to where the pie is sliced in a way to benefit everyone. Technology certainly has made things much more difficult and complex, the matrix that world economy operates within. It doesn’t need to be micro managed for econ justice, and broad corrections are possible, imo.

    My worry is that before the threshold of pain is reached for the voters to act with some cold pragmatism, it might be too late. But we won’t know that, if and until we have to boil leather to make soup under a bridge. I don’t think it is too late yet, but could be wrong about that.

  80. 80
    burnspbesq says:

    @JC:

    The fundamental problem with your entire riff is that it’s based on a fallacy: that the domestic labor market is hermetically sealed and impervious to international competition. If you work in the IT space, you’re competing for work with 22-year old IIT grads in Bangalore, and what they’re willing to work for defines the market.

    Another way of looking at it is that every sovereign country gets to define for itself what its labor laws look like, and unless you have a way to effectively boycott countries whose laws are not to your liking, the race to the bottom is on.

    If somebody else can do your job as well as you can somewhere else for less money, it’s not your job, and you need to find a way to do something else that adds more value.

    That just is, and nothing is gained by pretending otherwise.

  81. 81
    JC says:

    @burnspbesq:

    I don’t disagree – again, as I’ve said, the IT market changes quickly. I’m simply documenting the effects.

    I never made a point about a hermetically sealed market, in fact. Your point complements mine, in so far as the WEALTH CREATED from all of these ‘productivity gains’, goes to the 1%.

    Thus, I don’t see – economically – any counter-indications to a continuing inequality shift.

  82. 82
    JC says:

    @General Stuck:

    The “economy” is a construct of man, and therefore should be fixable to enough of a degree, to where the pie is sliced in a way to benefit everyone

    What man? What man can be blamed for the pencil? What man can be blamed for outsourcing?

    Now, clearly, we can advocate for better policies – I’m just thinking that we have to be smart, and think up policies that won’t ‘founder on the rocks’ of waves that cannot be changed – such as outsourcing, tech change, etc.

    That is why I brought up the worker-owner partnership in Germany, where BOTH are owners – because that is one way to make the situation better, without tilting at windmills, or raising your fist to the storm coming.

  83. 83
    JC says:

    At worst, we’ll get change when the effects of global warming start to really kick in. That suffering won’t be invisible, or be able to be ignored, once it gets loud enough. (I think. Sometimes I doubt this, considering snap heat waves get written off, as do flash floods, etc, that are treated as ‘acts of God’, when sometimes they are anything but.)

    and that WILL require a level of cooperation between nations, and a paying attention to by the plutocracy, that will even things out.

    But, like with the Thai floodings, the spills in the Gulf, Katrina, etc, they’ll be a lot of suffering on the way to fixing things.

  84. 84
    Xenos says:

    @JC: The only sensible response to large scale economic change creating tremendous inequality and social instability is a large government sector that redistributes the wealth. It is both the conservative and liberal response, and TR is exactly the precursor for Obama to be invoking.

    Even Jonah Goldberg understands this.

    Industry can’t accomplish this on its own – why would anyone ever imagine the economic system would produce counter-indications to the continuing inequality shift? For a lot of people the market has been reified into a omniscient if amoral god. Of course, it is hardly omniscient, even if it is certainly amoral.

  85. 85
    Mnemosyne says:

    @JC:

    I’m always curious where these workplaces are that do personality tests. I work for a Giant Evil Corporation (we warp children’s minds for profit!) and AFAIK, our HR doesn’t do anything like that.

  86. 86
    JC says:

    @Xenos:

    The only sensible response to large scale economic change creating tremendous inequality and social instability is a large government sector that redistributes the wealth

    And the ONLY reason we got this, to the degree we did in either Roosevelt’s time, is because of the rank and in your face injustices that people suffered, and the Depression, which almost capsized the United States.

    The ‘counter-indications’ were the in your face injustice – now mostly hidden – and the total and absolute failure, with tremendous poverty and suffering, of the 1920’s 1% running the show economic model.

    In that sense, the only counter-indications will be another utter failure and collapse. But I’m hoping for a transition that doesn’t have to involve that.

  87. 87
    JC says:

    @Mnemosyne: Well, a couple off the top of my head – I know for certain some positions at Ikea, a lot of insurance companies, and some banks – although it depends on the department of the bank.

  88. 88
    Xenos says:

    @JC:

    And the ONLY reason we got this, to the degree we did in either Roosevelt’s time, is because of the rank and in your face injustices that people suffered, and the Depression, which almost capsized the United States.

    And white supremacy. It was effectively promoted as a means of creating class solidarity, and was a critical component to creating a social counterbalance to ruthless capitalism.

    Was there even a single non-supremacist candidate in 1912?

  89. 89
    JC says:

    @Xenos: Cite please?

    EDIT: And is this relevant, or are you simply pointing something out you find interesting?

  90. 90
    Xenos says:

    It is relevant because white supremacy was a critical part of a part of history we are trying to invoke. Obviously it is not something we want to repeat, but if we wonder why there is all sorts of group-solidarity on the extreme right and relatively little on the left, well, that has something to do with it.

    It would be nice if we could come up with a socially motivating force that was not inherently evil. I don’t see a liberal religious revival in the works, and some sort of Obama cult of personality, outside the fevered nightmares of wingnuts, is not in the works. But there needs to be a powerful social and cultural counterweight to the power of big business, and we need to find it.

  91. 91
    wilfred says:

    In regard to income inequality, it is a direct consequence of division of (mental and physical)labor; never more clearly seen than in today’s world where bankers make millions and laborers make nothing. This inequality is built into the Darwinian outlook of capitalism, and it’s accompanying nonsense about ‘merit’. In a perfect example of Marx’s assertion that life determines consciousness, this absurdity is never challenged, and thus never turned on it’s head.

    Marx wrote:

    When the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and with it the antithesis between mental and physical labor has vanished; when labor is no longer merely a means of life but has become life’s principal need;when the productive forces have also increased with the all-round development of the individual, and all the springs of cooperative wealth flow more abundantly – only then will it be possible completely to transcend the narrow outlook of bourgeois right and only then will society be able to inscribe on its banners:
    From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!

    Anything less than that is a bandaid on a rotting corpse

  92. 92
    boss bitch says:

    @suzanne:

    Oh that’s so sweet.

  93. 93
    Mnemosyne says:

    @JC:

    The original law that created Social Security was deliberately written to exclude as many African-Americans as possible. The deal that Roosevelt made to get Southern Democrats to vote for the New Deal was that it primarily helped white people.

    A lot of people have their rose-colored glasses on when it comes to the New Deal — in actuality, the compromises that Roosevelt made to get the Deal passed (like his refusal to support a federal anti-lynching law) would not be acceptable to most liberals today.

  94. 94
    Xenos says:

    @Mnemosyne: The only cracks in the facade white privilege of the FDR administration were Eleanor and the Jewish Secretary of Treasury. The insane, over the top hatred of modern wingnuts for Michelle and Geithner has a rather straight forward antecedent.

    But the arc of history can bend toward improvement — FDR was better than FDR, and a second term Obama may be everything the Republicans fear.

  95. 95
    DPirate says:

    Yeehaw more change we can believe in*! At least until after the election…

    *crackdowns notwithstanding, chance of blacklisting unchanged, certain fees and tariffs may apply.

  96. 96
    TheStone says:

    @NickM: Ossawatomie was the site of Brown’s victory in a skirmish against some conservatives – oops – I mean border ruffians.

  97. 97
    TheStone says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): IT: haven of wannabe Gulchers.

  98. 98
    Terry says:

    @Xenos

    Sustainability could be the counterweight. Young people sense the inherent justice and fairness in it.

  99. 99
    harlana says:

    awesome that we have to go back a century to remind ourselves what addressing economic justice sounds like, but it was a good move, because TR cannot be demonized the way FDR has and lord in heaven, we have been barrelling towards the time of the robber barons at rocket speed for the past few decades so it’s pretty apropos. hey folks, you don’t really wanna go back 100 years, do ya, cuz that “fantasy” is what republicans fap to every nite

  100. 100
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @harlana: We don’t have to go back that far to remind ourselves. But it wasn’t a bad idea for Obama to do so because everyone since FDR who has advocated for economic justice has been tarred as a soshulist (Cole, please fix the fucking filter; I would like to be able to type a political/economic term in a conversation about politics and economics without resorting to idiotic workarounds.) or, worse, a DFH.

  101. 101
    Xenos says:

    @Terry: I noticed this in some tea-party style reactionary protest signs from a few years ago: “Green is the new Red”. I suppose the reactionaries are on to you.

    I remember reading a cover story in Fortune or Forbes denying global warning in the strongest of terms… in 1987. You have got to give those guys credit for knowing how to play the long game.

  102. 102
    Joseph Nobles says:

    In our day it appears as the struggle of freemen to gain and hold the right of self-government as against the special interests, who twist the methods of free government into machinery for defeating the popular will.

    The only difference today is that the special interests use the counsel of Luntz and the megaphones of Fox News and talk radio to warp the popular will into handing over the mechanics of free government wholesale.

  103. 103
    slightly_peeved says:

    @gnomedad:

    I just hope he keeps hammering a few simple messages.

    He’s been hammering two phrases over the past couple of months that appeared in this speech.

    “Fair share” and “The Buffett Rule.”

    I’d be surprised if these two aren’t mentioned in any big speech by Obama from here to the election. The Republicans have spent the last year threatening to shut down the government rather than increase taxes on rich people, the Democrats have drafted legislation that makes it perfectly clear to all but the 27%, and Obama started hanging it around their necks months ago.

  104. 104
    harlana says:

    @slightly_peeved: the contrast could not be starker and i’m really glad all those DFH’s didn’t listen to others who told them to shut up and sit down since they’ve really helped shift the discussion towards the direction of income inequality (as opposed to a manufactured deficit crisis) and making it “ok” to acknowledge that it’s really unhealthy and possibly terminal for the country

  105. 105
    singfoom says:

    It was a good speech. I wish that his picks for financial advisors and regulators was as good as this speech.

    Your mileage may vary, but I am more impressed by actions than words, and the gap between the supposed intention of the words of this speech and the actions by this administration in reference to the financial sector is huge.

    It’s hard for me to believe the walk will be walked when he’s holding hands with Wall Street as he strolls.

  106. 106
    Herbal Infusion Bagger says:

    Wish this had been his inaugural speech. He should have kicked the Repubs in the goolies and denounced Zombie Reagan Economics when his political capital was higher.

    Still, it’s an improvement.

  107. 107
    MomSense says:

    @boss bitch #32

    You are not alone!
    http://www.thepeoplesview.net/.....e-and.html

    And last night the genius Ed Schultz implied that the President must finally be listening to him and then came out with the statement that he wants the President to veto an extension of the Bush tax cuts even if it means that poor and working class families give up our payroll tax cuts. He said that we wouldn’t mind. Isn’t that nice of him?! I mind!! Seriously, he has no clue about what a struggle it is for most families and it never occurs to him that as a millionaire he shouldn’t presume to speak for us.

  108. 108
    MomSense says:

    @Mnemosyne #93

    Thank you for that history lesson. My grandmother was one of the people initially ineligible to participate in Social Security. Still, you would be drawn and quartered if she heard you say even the tiniest negative comment about FDR. She understood the opposition and hitched her wagon to FDR.

  109. 109
    Paul in KY says:

    @Waynski: Especially with that quote coming from a Republican President who’s on Mount Rushmore.

  110. 110
    Paul in KY says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee: The really funny thing is that he was parked in the VP slot by the powerbrokers who didn’t like his populism as New York governor.

    They thought ‘what is the most powerless position we can put him in’.

    Boy, were they laughing when Pres. McKinley was murdered.

  111. 111
    Paul in KY says:

    @Xenos: Eugene Debs maybe?

  112. 112
    AA+ Bonds says:

    At every stage, and under all circumstances, the essence of the struggle is to equalize opportunity, destroy privilege, and give to the life and citizenship of every individual the highest possible value both to himself and to the commonwealth. . . .

    LOL, imagine a national figure using the phrase “destroy privilege” nowadays in the United States

  113. 113
    AA+ Bonds says:

    I agree with Mnemosyne, Xenos and others that recovering class solidarity has to involve open promotion of racial equality, but I will also point out that the Democrats traded the South away for exactly that issue and that happened between FDR and now.

    It’s a question of both history and strategy and indicting the Roosevelts over their compromises doesn’t address either question and past a certain degree it does the work of the Republicans for them by slandering the Democrats over projects that long ago became opposed to white supremacy in America rather than compromises with it

  114. 114
    AA+ Bonds says:

    I mean, there was also a time when unions benefited indirectly from lack of general social support systems, when they were trying to win over workers through the benefits of an organized workforce in a particular shop or trade vs. being some poor slob going it alone, but that time passed long ago and most unions have moved promoting those benefits for all to the very forefront of their campaigns because now it’s Us vs. Bullshit.

  115. 115
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Xenos:

    I remember reading a cover story in Fortune or Forbes denying global warning in the strongest of terms… in 1987. You have got to give those guys credit for knowing how to play the long game.

    I’m not really sure about all that, because at that time the President was a public global warming denier as well as pretty much the entire Republican Party and plenty of Democrats.

    What we actually saw on the right as far as I can tell was full throated opposition to the science, swinging toward reluctant and partial acceptance of the science, and then back again to full throated opposition of the science. It’s kind of like how the Republicans have dealt with economics.

  116. 116
    El Cid says:

    @Mnemosyne: True, but African Americans also saw things like the Fair Employment Practices Commission, the “Black Cabinet” (the informal Federal Council of Negro Affairs), and the jobs that African Americans did get from New Deal programs — which FDR re-segregated after Southern governors objected to whites working alongside blacks.

    President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed an unprecedented number of African Americans to high positions. By mid-1935, forty-five had positions in cabinet offices and New Deal agencies. In 1936, this group began calling itself the Federal Council on Negro Affairs. Although these leaders were not officially cabinet members, their role in advising the President on black employment, education, and civil rights issues led the press to refer to them as FDR’s “Black Cabinet” or the “Black Brain Trust.” Among them were Mary McLeod Bethune, director of the Division of Negro Affairs of the National Youth Administration; William H. Hastie, assistant solicitor in the Department of the Interior; and Robert C. Weaver, who served as a special assistant to the Administrator of the United States Housing Authority.

    It was a complicated world back then, too, and an inconsistent ally was leagues better than most enemies; but knowing that Eleanor Roosevelt so closely supported Mary McLeod Bethune that ER sat next to her at a conference and supported her forming the ‘Black Cabinet’, that said something.

    Not to mention that despite the Great Migration of African Americans (and poor whites) out of the rural South, tremendous numbers of African Americans still lived there; and it was under FDR that the South was transformed from a a colonialist 3rd world primary products exporter to an actual part of the developed US.

    This aided African Americans, and poor Southerners of all backgrounds, but, unfortunately, nurtured the same right wing racist bastards who’d eventually lead their bitter anti-civil rights brethren into the Republican Party and spread Southern right wing shit all over the country.

  117. 117
    japeMiliu says:

    MomSense

    Ed Shultz sometimes talks from the hip and often he lets a
    winger say easily refutable crap.

    But on this one I agree with him. Any extension would be
    for a year tops for the unemployed and same for the middle
    class taxpayer. But the greedy evil Repukes want their
    precious Bush tax cut FOREVER. NO DEAL. A year from now
    there will still be need – but the Greed Over People will
    have had their pound of flesh and continue to grab for
    more.

  118. 118

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