Hard truths about the U.S. economy


Robert Reich tells the truth.  Can you be bothered to listen?

Tip of the old scrub brush to MoveOn.org.  Is there any wonder why the would-be oligarchs work so hard to discredit MoveOn.org?

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16 Responses to Hard truths about the U.S. economy

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    . . .a Peggy Noonan wannabe.

    My experience with Noonan, both when she worked for Cronkite and when she worked for Reagan, is that she is unmitigatingly polite. We disagreed on a lot of stuff, but I always found her to be a pleasant person, and a real joy when she got things right.

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  2. thomas says:

    hattip – I just made a comment on the “Gotta know some history…” thread on this blog. I posted a comment about Peggy Noonan. You remind me of her. You are impressed with your own word choices and how you string them together, aren’t you. I am not. Not at all. Your word deceptions are so transparent, calling Robert Reich “a (sic) academic Communist loon…” showcases your love of hyperbole and your lack of fact-based knowledge. Robert Reich is no Communist. You, however, are a Peggy Noonan wannabe.

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  3. Dorothy Parker was a great poet.

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  4. James Kessler says:

    Hattip, you whine that Ed and other liberals twist words beyond their meaning.

    And yet you call Mr. Reich a communist.

    Sorry, Hattip, it is you that is twisting words beyond their meaning and using words that don’t apply. I seem to recall once before I warned you away from misusing the words “communist” and “socialist” as you clearly don’t know what the words actually mean.

    It’s time you learn what the words actually mean so you can quit robbing them of their actual meaning by pretending that liberals are the same thing as communists and socialists.

    Unless of course you want to admit that you and your fellow conservatives are the same thing as fascists and Nazi’s?

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  5. James Kessler says:

    To correct:
    No, Hattip, the rich knows absolutely nothing about the real world or how wealth is created or how liberty is maintained.

    That should be “No, Hattip, the right knows absolutely nothing…”

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  6. James Hanley says:

    Hattip,

    Please read my prior comment to note that I have no liking for Robert Reich. But to call him a communist only shows your pathetic ignorance of both communism and Robert Reich (and from that I would predict you are pathetically ignorant about a great many other things as well).

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  7. James Hanley says:

    The leaps in logic in Reich’s piece were almost physically painful. He takes facts then strings them together with speculation, not evidence. And not all his facts hold up. “The middle lacks purchasing power because it can’t borrow anymore”? Excessive middle class borrowing, to buy houses well outside their reach, was a critical contributor to the current recession. And while middle class incomes, in real dollars, have been stagnant, the prices of so many goods the middle class wants have come down so much that the middle class actually has greater effective purchasing power than it did thirty or fifty years ago, and arguably more than it did 20 years ago.

    Reich has never been an influential economist, and for a reason. He, after all, is the guy who was urging Clinton to adopt a Japanese-style industrial policy on the eve of Japan’s long-long stagnation, brought about in large part by its grossly inefficient industrial policy.

    I do agree with some of his points, such as the tax cuts leading to large budget deficits, but even that’s only half the story, the other half being the Republicans’ dramatic post 9/11 spending increases.

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  8. James Kessler says:

    Hattip writes:
    Reich knows absolutely nothing about the real world, how wealth s created or liberty maintained within it.

    No, Hattip, the rich knows absolutely nothing about the real world or how wealth is created or how liberty is maintained.

    For 30 years we have blindly followed the right that says that if we just let the rich become ever richer that it will magically trickle down to the rest of us poor sods. And for 30 years…and especially for the last 10 years we have seen nothing of the sort. Your side says giving tax cuts to the rich will create jobs, economic prosperity for everyone, and balance the budget…and it does nothing of the sort.

    And then on top of it your side has been taking away people’s liberty as well. With your sides fascination with warantless wiretapping and taking away the people’s rights to form and have strong unions to protect them from the ravages of the fantastically riches rapacious greed.

    We have followed your party for 30 years, Hattip, and in that 30 years the middle class has stagnated and shrunk. It’s time for you to wake up, Hattip, and realize that you will never ever be rich enough to matter to the Republican party. It’s time you start putting your own economic interests ahead of those who already have far too much.

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  9. Jim says:

    Hi Pangolin!

    Your comments are thoughtful and appreciated. I hope you’ll stick around and even hang your hat here for a bit.

    I think there are false choices offered by both sides. On the extreme left (almost extinct in the U.S. today), you have those who say Communism or some authoritarian form of Socialism is more fair and just because everyone gets a slice of the pie. On the extreme right (a movement that is ubiquitous in America today), the voices scream, “to hell with the poor or with those who simply cannot work for scraps and crumbs”. In short, “I’ve got mine, Jack. Now root, hog or die.”

    Both messages are extreme and decidedly un-American. Unfortunately, the extreme right wing message is roundly well-received by uneducated, misinformed or plain, simple folk who are easily-led. The left wing message in its extreme form has been tried elsewhere and found wanting. North Korea, the USSR, pre-1991 Eastern Europe and Cuba are all apt examples. Does everyone get a slice of the pie in North Korea? Good heavens, no. Was there equality in the old Soviet Union? Nothing of the kind, almost from the start.

    But there ARE Socialist societies that are less repressive or not repressive at all where economies are flourishing. Norway, Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Finland, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, the UK and the Netherlands are all doing reasonably well. Japan, of course, has its own problems…owing in part of recent disasters and in part to its dependence on American consumerism.

    But in some of these cases, one could even argue that certain of these nations are more Capitalist than Socialist.

    And therein lies the problem of false choices. When people ask me if I am Protestant or Catholic, being a good Episcopalian…I reply, “Yes”. Am I a Capitalist or a Socialist? Yes.

    Any economy will turn to bile and poison without restraint. In the case of a Socialistic country like Norway, the Capitalistic impulses of the government and the people keep extremism at bay. Is Canada Capitalist or Socialist? Does it really matter? People are treated equitably, religion is neither repressed or endorsed and there is opportunity for any hard working entrepreneur.

    What I believe the U.S. needs is to return to those imperfect, but still substantially better days when our Capitalism was muscular but still guided by our best and most noble Socialistic impulses. Think 1933-1980 or thereabouts. All the word “socialist” really means anyway is “with a view toward society”. Indeed, that pretty much sums up the Preamble to the Constitution.

    Do we need to be a Socialist nation? I don’t think so. I suspect it would prove too swift or sudden a change for Americans to handle. But we definitely need to end the anti-Socialist, no-holds-barred Capitalist orgy we have been on unabated since 1981.

    We are tax-cutting, deregulating and privatizing ourselves right into the sewer. The tragedy is that a plurality of those actively working for this sort of “Land of the Dead” society are the very folks who will find themselves among such a society’s earliest victims. But when confronted with the intellect and erudition of a Paul Krugman, it just sounds — as Caribou Barbie might put it — “just too facty and academic”. Better to receive our marching orders from someone we can actually comprehend, who tells us we are victims of the poor or minorities and who promises us our own place in Fiddler’s Green.

    Yes, let’s all work for the Koch Brothers. Let’s defend them at all costs. Because when they prosper…we all prosper.

    Or so the tortured and fallacious argument goes. It’s just so much easier to understand…

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  10. Pangolin says:

    All other things being equal I am going to go with the guy who says that average people deserve a fair share of the pie over those that say we should beg for crumbs or starve in the streets.

    If communism or socialism means that I get food, housing and medical care while a “free market” give subsidies to the wealthy and I starve I’ll take communism.

    Since Ronald Reagan we’ve had thirty years of cutting taxes for the wealthy and kicking the poor and middle class in the head. George W. Bush ran a budget deficit on EVERY budget he signed while cutting taxes for the rich. Meanwhile small town businesses are boarded up and homeless people sit in front of empty houses owned by government-funded banks.

    Capitalism has failed. It’s a lie.

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  11. Jim says:

    Hattip,

    Perhaps you would care to introduce us to some of your intellectuals? Or are you one of the growing number of conservatives who consider erudition suspect at best. I realize dumb is quite in vogue, as exemplified by Caribou Barbie and The Decider. But there was a time when your side could, as I expressed in an email to a friend recently, make us “work for our soup”.

    Buckley and Safire are dead.

    Of course, Buckley’s son has some intellectual heft. But then…who did he endorse for President in 2008?

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  12. Ed Darrell says:

    Tara Woodruff suggests we look to ThinkProgress:

    Number Of High-Income Households Paying No Income Taxes Almost Doubled Between 2007 and 2008 | As Republicans are already launching a fight to extend the Bush era tax cuts for the wealthy, an IRS study released today reports that the number of people with yearly incomes over $200,000 who paid no federal income taxes almost doubled between 2007 and 2008, which is the most recent data available. The tax breaks must be working for some; already the wealthiest 400 Americans hold more of the nation’s net worth than the bottom 50 percent of earners combined.
    – Sarah Bufkin

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  13. Ed Darrell says:

    Reich isn’t saying government should get its cut, Morgan. He’s saying the poor and especially the working man who built the nation should get a fair share.

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  14. Ed Darrell says:

    HT said:

    Reich knows absolutely nothing about the real world, how wealth s created or liberty maintained within it.

    It’s been the subject of his studies since his Rhodes Scholar days at least. What evidence can you offer that Dr. Reich does not know what he’s talking about? Mind you, it was his job to know exactly this stuff as Secretary of Labor, and he did that job relatively well.

    He preaches poverty, ruin and slavery.

    Evidence, please.

    He is a hindbound and reactionary collectivist apparatchik and propagandist–a grim parody of the sort that vexed us 65 years ago. He is a caricature of a New Deal or Soviet “intellectual”. If you had any real knowledge of history, not to mention political economy, you would understand this glaringly obvious truth.

    And you say this because you are Queen of Romania?

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  15. hattip says:

    MoveOn.org does a good enough job discrediting itself–your bizarre and wholly imaginary “oligarchs”.are not required.

    There is no cabal of “the Rich” trying to “discredit” the Establishment Left elites, of which MoveOn.org is a part. There is the hard working middle classes trying to save what is left of this nation from said Leftist elites. If there are “oligarchs” about, they are within that parasitic bunch.

    Reich is an exemplar of this sort He is a academic Communist loon, as are you.
    Reich knows absolutely nothing about the real world, how wealth s created or liberty maintained within it. He preaches poverty, ruin and slavery. He is a hindbound and reactionary collectivist apparatchik and propagandist–a grim parody of the sort that vexed us 65 years ago. He is a caricature of a New Deal or Soviet “intellectual”. If you had any real knowledge of history, not to mention political economy, you would understand this glaringly obvious truth.

    But what really amuses is the fact that you do not realize how thickly the trust fund set fills the ranks of front organizations like MoveOn.org. Here is a cue: they have nothing but contempt for you, your liberty or your prosperity. Wise up before it is too late. Move On from your adolescence and you college years and face the “real” reality of the American economy: It has been sabotaged by the Left. Refuse the lies proffered by Reich and cleave toward the truth.

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  16. [...] Hat tip to Ed Darrell. [...]

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