It’s true!

The point where Wall Street blew up the world economy is pretty obvious right? There’s a little blip on the radar but despite the overall shrinkage of our economy, we’ve remained productive. Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily translate to better working conditions. In fact, in extreme cases this is leading to quasi-sweatshop conditions. We’re seeing record productivity and record profits but wages aren’t matching; in fact they’re actually going down across all demographics.

This is statistical evidence of individual workers being squeezed for more work, harder work, faster work, off the clock work. We need more jobs, but companies aren’t hiring because people won’t buy their stuff.

So how do we get people back to work? High-end tax cuts aren’t going to do it; corporate cash reserves are already at a 50-year high. Cutting taxes doesn’t make them invest, it just gives them more cash. How do we fix that?

We get money into peoples’ pockets, one way or another. Keynes* said that you build bridges and roads where you can, and if all else fails you pay people to dig ditches and then pay other people to fill them back up. This approach seems to be working in Iraq, but I guess there’s some reason we can use our money to do that there but not here.

*the guy who came up with this whole evil socialistic deficit-spendy thing about demand stimulating the economy

Bottom line? If rich people don’t wake up then pretty soon they’re going to run into a situation where poor people can’t buy their shit any more.

In the United States, wealth is highly concentrated in a relatively few hands. As of 2007, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 34.6% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 50.5%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 85%, leaving only 15% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers).

We’re getting screwed.




I hope the White House has come around to seeing things Jared Bernstein’s way:

Jared Bernstein, a former economic advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, said it was futile for Obama to try to accommodate Republicans determined to block the White House agenda. “If the president frames his jobs agenda based on what Republicans will accept, I don’t think he’s going to end up with much,” he said. “He has to prescribe what he and his team believes the country needs and fight for it.”

This presents a challenge because polling (and the last election) shows that the people really do not like stimulus spending. It’s counterintuitive that you get out of debt by going further in to debt.


No it isn’t, and I really wish people would stop saying this because it supports the simplistic right-wing framing of this issue. Anyone who has ever taken a loan to buy a car or a house, open a small business, or get an education understands that you can in fact ‘spend your way outt’ve debt.’ As liberals, progs, Democrats what-have-you, we’d do ourselves a favor to stop acting like “you have to spend money to make money” is such a mindblowingly complicated idea. It was conventional wisdom for generations, and it can be so again if we stop acting like such pussies about it.

One of the more amusing aspects of the current political landscape is the tendency for conservatives to tie themselves into knots trying to maintain the fiction — two and a half years in — that President Milquetoast McStatusquo really is the violent leftist radical they’ve been describing him as. Here is Norman Podhoretz taking what we could call a fundamentalist approach: ‘Never mind what Obama has done, our talking points from the ’08 election say he’s a dangerous radical who associates with terrorists!’ This is the only approach they will ever try, because the last thing they’re going to do is honestly compare Obama’s policy choices to those of a Republican.



Brief notes on contacting Congress or the White House:

1) Email is pointless. Don’t even bother.

2) Phone calls are good, but tend to be boiled down to a “yes” or “no” stance on a particular issue. Calling local/state level offices is more effective as they receive less volume and are slightly more receptive.

3) A handwritten* letter is best of all, but don’t mail it; ever since the never-to-be-solved anthrax attacks of 2001 it takes weeks for snail-mail to get to the Capitol. Instead, write out a brief one-page note, sign it, scan it, and fax it over. If you don’t have access to a fax you can use FaxZero to send 2 free faxes a day, though you’ll need to save the scan as a DOC or PDF. This can be done by opening the scanned image (jpg or etc) in Word, OpenOffice, Acrobat, or etc. and then re-saving it. Then you have a file laying around that can be re-faxed on a daily basis.


*don’t know why, but DC lore says handwritten is best. Presumably because it indicates a greater degree of effort has gone into the communication.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi dialed up the rhetoric before Speaker John Boehner’s plan to raise the debt limit heads to the House floor for a vote, declaring it a “job-killer” and saying seniors could “kiss their Medicare good-bye.”

“If you believe in that the education of our children, the retirement of our seniors, the creation of jobs in a fiscally sound way, you couldn’t possibly vote for the bill that the Republicans are bringing to the floor today,” Pelosi said Thursday.

via Nancy Pelosi: Kiss your Medicare goodbye – Seung Min Kim –

There is exactly one difference between Reid and Boehner: whether the debt ceiling gets raised in one or two increments. Pelosi wants to draw a distinction that doesn’t exist. The facts aren’t on her side, so she pounds the table.

She talks a good game, but every time she steps up to the podium from here on out I’m just going to hear, “It is clear we must enter an era of austerity” repeated on an endless loop. She failed as a champion of liberals principles: when the Dems had the majority her job was to serve up the caucus for whatever piece of shit compromise Obama was laying out, and now that they don’t she’s irrelevant.

Just retire already.