PDA

View Full Version : Who Screwed The Middle Class?



Gayle in MD
03-28-2011, 07:48 AM
Who Screwed the Middle Class?— By Kevin Drum

| Fri Mar. 25, 2011 3:00 AM PDT
<span style='font-size: 11pt'>I've written several times before about Winner-Take-All Politics, in which Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson argue that middle-class wage stagnation and growing income inequality are due as much to political decisions over the past 30 years as they are to broad economic trends. I find their arguments persuasive, but there's no question that it's a tough case to make. After all, exactly which political decisions are we talking about? Can we point to specific pieces of legislation or specific agency decisions that have retarded wage growth? In fact, we can—things like tax policy, financial deregulation, the decline of antitrust enforcement, and anti-union rulings by the NLRB all played a role. By themselves, though, these just aren't enough to account for what's happened. So what's the smoking gun when it comes to the impact of politics on wage stagnation and growing income inequality?

I think Lane Kenworthy fingered the right culprit a few weeks ago: the abandonment in recent decades of full employment as even a rhetorical goal of American economic policy:

The post–World War II experiences of the rich democracies suggest three routes to rising working- and middle-class wages. One is an environment in which firms face only moderate competition in product markets and limited pressure from shareholders, allowing them to pass on a significant share of growth to their employees. This characterized the period from the late 1940s through the mid 1970s, but it’s now long gone. The second is strong unions. I see little hope of that in America’s future. The third is full employment.

But full employment is only possible if the Federal Reserve is committed to it, and this is decidedly no longer the case: "Since the late 1970s, independent central banks such as the Fed almost always have prioritized low inflation, rendering low unemployment difficult to achieve. If the Fed isn’t on board, even a workable plan for full employment supported by the American public and our elected officials probably won’t be enough."

Following the stagflation of the 70s, conservatives decisively took over Fed policy and put it in the service of the wealthy, prioritizing low inflation over low unemployment and tacitly promising bailouts whenever Wall Street found itself in danger (a practice charmingly known as the "Greenspan put"). Matt Yglesias has a useful piece in Democracy this month arguing that progressives need to take the Fed far more seriously if we ever want to have any chance of reversing this:

Central banks and monetary policy are the primary determinant of short-term economic conditions—of the unemployment rate, and thus of workers’ ability to bargain for wages. This is, clearly, a hugely important subject in its own right. But it’s also a critical determinant of overall political conditions.

....But when Barack Obama was elected in 2008, he rather hastily chose to reappoint [Ben] Bernanke, creating a situation in which no Democrat has held the most important domestic policy job in the land since 1987. He inherited two vacancies on the Board of Governors that he left open for over a year, only putting names forward after a third vacancy emerged in 2010....Of course, no one can know for sure what the Fed would have done had Obama picked someone other than Bernanke to chair it or filled the vacancies more rapidly. But it’s certainly plausible that different personnel would have led to swifter and more forceful moves toward monetary stimulus, a more rapid end to the recession, and a lower unemployment rate.

A lot has happened over the past 30 years, but if you're looking for a single political sea change that's had the biggest impact on middle class wages—more important than union decline, more important than NAFTA, more important than the end of Glass-Steagall—it's the political consensus that underlies the Fed's reluctance to allow labor markets to stay tight enough to generate wage increases in the real economy. And it's something we're seeing all over again right now, as the DC chattering classes have almost unanimously decided that inflation is our real enemy right now, even though core inflation is running around 1% and unemployment is still near 9%.

This is a policy beloved of the business community, which prefers loose labor markets that keep wages low and executive compensation high, but it hasn't always been the Fed's policy and it's not written in stone that it has to be now. Tight labor markets and rising middle-class wages are, to a large extent, a choice we make. Politics took them away 30 years ago, and politics can return them to us if we want.</span>
http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2011/03/screwed-fed

Gayle in MD
03-28-2011, 09:12 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Fascism: modern political ideology that seeks to regenerate the social, economic, and cultural life of a country by basing it on a heightened sense of national belonging or ethnic identity. Fascism rejects liberal ideas such as freedom and individual rights, and often presses for the destruction of elections, legislatures, and other elements of democracy. Despite the idealistic goals of fascism, attempts to build fascist societies have led to wars and persecutions that caused millions of deaths. <span style='font-size: 14pt'>As a result, fascism is strongly associated with right-wing fanaticism, racism, totalitarianism, and violence.</span> </div></div>

pooltchr
03-28-2011, 09:21 AM
Building your post count again????

Steve

LWW
03-28-2011, 11:57 AM
It's amazing how well she gets it without ever actually getting it.

First off, the far left here are not liberal at all as they bleat incessantly for more state power.

Secondly, most all republicans aren't liberal either as they also bleat for more state power.

The most liberal current members of congress ate the Pauls and Bachmann.

Words mean things, and it's a shame she can't use them properly.

pooltchr
03-28-2011, 01:52 PM
She can't use them properly, if she doesn't understand the meaning. And she can't know the meaning, if she relies on her leftist blogger friends for all of her information.

The real shame is that, in an age where the truth is available to anyone with a computer, and the desire to discover facts, and not just something that agrees with your personal agenda, that anyone would intentionally remain ignorant.

Steve

Sev
03-28-2011, 01:54 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: pooltchr</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Building your post count again????

Steve </div></div>

She doesnt stand a chance.

LWW
03-29-2011, 03:00 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Sev</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: pooltchr</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Building your post count again????

Steve </div></div>

She doesnt stand a chance. </div></div>

Don't go that far.

Woofie, almost certainly under her order, has already threatened my life in PM ... aitch has threatened my wife in public forum with violence ... in combo they have threatened to sue me ... they have turned me in to Homeland Security ... woofie did hack my professional business account and give the cabal temporary free reign to snoop around ... they have led gang attacks to get me banned here ... this is IMHO an unstable and potentially dangerous group.

pooltchr
03-29-2011, 06:34 AM
Obviously anyone who takes an internet forum to such dangerous personal levels is mentally unstable.

Have you noticed how our friend from south Florida, while admitting he leans to the left, has managed to remain civil in his discussions, without resorting to name calling, personal attacks, and classifying everyone into little catagories they can attack?
G, W, and H could learn much from him. It is possible to disagree without being disagreeable! Unfortunately for the three of them, they seem to relish slinging mud and generally being nasty, miserable people.

Steve

Qtec
03-29-2011, 07:04 AM
O, O , Oh.......LMFAO

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">The most liberal current members of congress<span style='font-size: 26pt'> ate</span> the Pauls and Bachmann.

<span style='font-size: 26pt'>Words mean things,</span> <span style="color: #990000"><span style='font-size: 23pt'>LOL</span></span> and it's a shame <span style='font-size: 26pt'>she can't use them properly.</span> </div></div>

Again, LMFAO. /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/grin.gif


.Q

LWW
03-29-2011, 08:00 AM
While a typo, it is still technically true as the moonbat crazy left slime machine tries to devour all who stand in it's path. All I need do is incorrectly use the word "LIBERAL" as the cabal so commonly does.

Now, what was your point again?

Gayle in MD
03-29-2011, 08:05 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Qtec</div><div class="ubbcode-body">O, O , Oh.......LMFAO

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">The most liberal current members of congress<span style='font-size: 26pt'> ate</span> the Pauls and Bachmann.

<span style='font-size: 26pt'>Words mean things,</span> <span style="color: #990000"><span style='font-size: 23pt'>LOL</span></span> and it's a shame <span style='font-size: 26pt'>she can't use them properly.</span> </div></div>

Again, LMFAO. /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/grin.gif


.Q </div></div>
<span style="color: #660000"> His fantasies just get more ridiculous as time goes by....

</span>

Reclaiming The Issues: Islamic Or Republican Fascism?
by Thom Hartmann
Published August 28, 2006 by CommonDreams.org


Excerpt:

http://billiardsdigest.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=345562#Post345562




In Sinclair Lewis's 1935 novel "It Can't Happen Here," a conservative southern politician is helped to the presidency by a nationally syndicated "conservative" radio talk show host. The politician - Buzz Windrip - runs his campaign on family values, the flag, and patriotism. Windrip and the talk show host portray advocates of traditional American democracy as anti-American. When Windrip becomes President, he opens a Guantanamo-style detention center, and the viewpoint character of the book, Vermont newspaper editor Doremus Jessup, flees to Canada to avoid prosecution under new "patriotic" laws that make it illegal to criticize the President. As Lewis noted in his novel:


"The President, with something of his former good-humor [said]: 'There are two [political] parties, the Corporate and those who don't belong to any party at all, and so, to use a common phrase, are just out of luck!' The idea of the Corporate or Corporative State, Secretary [of State] Sarason had more or less taken from Italy." And, President "Windrip's partisans called themselves the Corporatists, or, familiarly, the 'Corpos,' which nickname was generally used."
Lewis, the first American writer to win a Nobel Prize, was world famous by 1944, as was his book "It Can't Happen Here." And several well-known and powerful Americans, including Prescott Bush, had lost businesses in the early 1940s because of charges by Roosevelt that they were doing business with Hitler. These events all, no doubt, colored Vice President Wallace's thinking when he wrote in The New York Times:

"Still another danger is represented by those who, paying lip service to democracy and the common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the power which money gives, do not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion. American fascists of this stamp were clandestinely aligned with their German counterparts before the war, and are even now preparing to resume where they left off, after 'the present unpleasantness' ceases."
Thus, the rich get richer (and more powerful) on the backs of the poor and the middle class, giant corporate behemoths wipe out small and middle sized businesses, and a corporate iron fist is seizing control of our government itself. As I detail in my new book "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against The Middle Class," the primary beneficiaries of this new fascism are the corporatists, while the once-outspoken middle class of the 1950s-1980s is systematically being replaced by a silent serf-class of the working poor.

As Wallace wrote, some in big business "are willing to jeopardize the structure of American liberty to gain some temporary advantage." He added, "Monopolists who fear competition and who distrust democracy because it stands for equal opportunity would like to secure their position against small and energetic enterprise [companies]. In an effort to eliminate the possibility of any rival growing up, some monopolists would sacrifice democracy itself."
But American fascists who would want former CEOs as President, Vice President, House Majority Whip, and Senate Majority Leader, and write legislation with corporate interests in mind, don't generally talk to We The People about their real agenda, or the harm it does to small businesses and working people. Instead, as Hitler did with the trade union leaders and the Jews, they point to a "them" to pin with blame and distract people from the harms of their economic policies.

In a comment prescient of George W. Bush's recent suggestion that civilization itself is at risk because of gays or Muslims, Wallace continued:

" The symptoms of fascist thinking are colored by environment and adapted to immediate circumstances. But always and everywhere they can be identified by their appeal to prejudice and by the desire to play upon the fears and vanities of different groups in order to gain power. It is no coincidence that the growth of modern tyrants has in every case been heralded by the growth of prejudice. It may be shocking to some people in this country to realize that, without meaning to do so, they hold views in common with Hitler when they preach discrimination..."
But even at this, Wallace noted, American fascists would have to lie to the people in order to gain power. And, because they were in bed with the nation's largest corporations - who could gain control of newspapers and broadcast media - they could promote their lies with ease.

"The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact," Wallace wrote. "Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy."
In his strongest indictment of the tide of fascism the Vice President of the United States saw rising in America, he added:

"They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection."
Finally, Wallace said, "The myth of fascist efficiency has deluded many people. ... Democracy, to crush fascism internally, must...develop the ability to keep people fully employed and at the same time balance the budget. It must put human beings first and dollars second. It must appeal to reason and decency and not to violence and deceit. We must not tolerate oppressive government or industrial oligarchy in the form of monopolies and cartels."

This liberal vision of an egalitarian America in which very large businesses and media monopolies are broken up under the 1890 Sherman Anti-Trust Act (which Reagan stopped enforcing, leading to the mergers & acquisitions frenzy that continues to this day) was the driving vision of the New Deal (and of "Trust Buster" Teddy Roosevelt a generation earlier).

As Wallace's President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, said when he accepted his party's renomination in 1936 in Philadelphia:

"...Out of this modern civilization, economic royalists [have] carved new dynasties.... It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction.... And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man...."
Speaking indirectly of the fascists that Wallace would directly name almost a decade later, Roosevelt brought the issue to its core:


"These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power."
But, he thundered in that speech:


"Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power!"

In 2006, we again stand at the same crossroad Roosevelt and Wallace confronted during the Great Depression and World War II. Fascism is again rising in America, this time calling itself "compassionate conservatism," and "the free market" in a "flat" world. The RNC's behavior today eerily parallels the day in 1936 when Roosevelt said:


"In vain they seek to hide behind the flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the flag and the Constitution stand for."

President Roosevelt and Vice President Wallace's warnings have come full circle. Thus it's now critical that we reclaim the word "fascist" to describe current-day Republican policies, support progressive websites that spread the good word, and join together this November at the ballot box to stop fascist election fraud and this most recent incarnation of Republican-fascism from seizing complete and irretrievable control of our nation.

Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk show carried on the Air America Radio network and Sirius. http://www.thomhartmann.com His most recent book, just released, is "Screwed: The Undeclared War on the Middle Class and What We Can Do About It." Other books include: "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection," "We The People," and "What Would Jefferson Do?"

pooltchr
03-29-2011, 09:45 AM
Why do you continue to decry the problems of facism, while you continue to support the rise of facism?

Steve

bobroberts
03-29-2011, 04:50 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: pooltchr</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Obviously anyone who takes an internet forum to such dangerous personal levels is mentally unstable.

Have you noticed how our friend from south Florida, while admitting he leans to the left, has managed to remain civil in his discussions, without resorting to name calling, personal attacks, and classifying everyone into little catagories they can attack?
G, W, and H could learn much from him. It is possible to disagree without being disagreeable! Unfortunately for the three of them, they seem to relish slinging mud and generally being nasty, miserable people.

Steve </div></div>
I know your not talking about me. I;m from S.Flas and dont lean left.

LWW
03-30-2011, 02:01 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: pooltchr</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Why do you continue to decry the problems of facism, while you continue to support the rise of facism?

Steve </div></div>

How can you seriously expect someone to answer that when they don't even know what the word means.

It's like blaming the parrot for learning bad language.

LWW
03-30-2011, 02:03 AM
I think he meant soflasnapper.

ugotda7
04-02-2011, 05:29 PM
PO...................?

JohnnyD
04-02-2011, 06:56 PM
gail why are you goofy?

SHALOM.