Leticia Van De Putte will make Texans smile

July 3, 2014

As an introduction to her speech at the Texas State Democratic Party 2014 Convention last Friday, Lieutenant Governor candidate, Sen. Leticia Van De Putte produced a short video, making light of the serious issues of citizens trying to get the attention of Texas officials under the current GOP junta.

If nothing else, the Democrats offer someone with a much better sense of humor than the Republicans.

Published on Jun 28, 2014

Introducing Senator Van de Putte and family at the Texas Democratic Convention

Texas State Sen. Leticia Van De Putte; the Harvard-graduate, Texas pharmacist pushed the Texas Senate in good directions; she offers a solid record and outstanding ability for the Lieutenant Governor's office.  It Texas, the Lieutenant Governor makes the state budget, chairs the State Senate, and appoints people to several important boards and commissions, making the post more important than the Governor, in many calculations.

Texas State Sen. Leticia Van De Putte; the Harvard-graduate, Texas pharmacist pushed the Texas Senate in good directions; she offers a solid record and outstanding ability for the Lieutenant Governor’s office. It Texas, the Lieutenant Governor makes the state budget, chairs the State Senate, and appoints people to several important boards and commissions, making the post more important than the Governor, in many calculations.

Now, is there some way we can get the video of Van De Putte’s actual speech, or the text of it?  What she said of substance was even better than the video.

More:


Wendy Davis’s guide to Fort Worth: What every GOP delegate, and Texas voter, should know

June 8, 2014

You may have missed it.

Ending yesterday, the Texas Republican Party conventioned in Fort Worth, Texas — oh, if you were in Fort Worth you noticed all the people looking like fools and packing urban assault weapons, but others may have missed it. National GOP officials, and quite a few Texas GOP candidates, hope the convention would fly under the radar, with its call for repeal of Constitutional rights in almost every plank of their platform.

Delegates got a nice little map to help them tour Fort Worth, which is where Wendy Davis, the Democratic nominee for governor, got her political start.

Come to think of it, it’s a map every Texas voter ought to have, even those not visiting Fort Worth.  It spells out the difference between Wendy Davis’s vision for the growing, healthy and productive Texas, and Greg Abbott’s no-public school, low-wage playground for the rich-and-heavily-armed view.

Sites to see in Fort Worth, if you're a Texas Voter.  Map courtesy Wendy Davis for Governor campaign.

Sites to see in Fort Worth, if you’re a Texas Voter. Map courtesy Wendy Davis for Governor campaign.

[Conflict of interest note:  I've hired (and been happy with) the work of some of the law firms listed, and have familial connections to others.  Needless to say, the views in this map are not necessarily the views of any of my employers, though they should be, if they had any sense about what's good for Texas, and justice.]


Beleaguered Texas GOP governor candidate Greg Abbott goes on offensive makes offensive Tweet

April 8, 2014

This guy just can’t seem to figure out when it’s polite to talk about some things, and when one should just be quiet.

In short, he’s not got the judgment to be governor of Texas.

We’re just five days out from a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, where gun packing has taken too many innocent lives in the past few years.

Doesn’t Abbott have any sense of decency?

No wonder his campaign is troubled.  At this point, a candidate for governor should be working on a message about building the state to make it stronger (hows that for generic?).

Abbott’s cracking Second Amendment gun jokes while families grieve.  Ouch.

This isn’t funny, five days after the April 3 incident at Fort Hood.

Not funny sign, at this time, if ever.

Not funny sign, at this time, if ever.


Can dog whistle politics keep the GOP in power, or is America too smart to stay enthralled?

March 2, 2014

Especially if, by some grotesque misunderstanding, you don’t think you’re in the 47% Mitt Romney wrote off as undeserving of a vote and a life, you ought to listen to Ian Haney López describe what’s going on in GOP and conservative politics.

From Bill Moyers.

Transcript here.

Cover of Ian Haney Lopez's Dog Whistle Politics, How coded racial appeals reinvented racism and wrecked the middle class; Oxford Books

Cover of Ian Haney Lopez’s Dog Whistle Politics, How coded racial appeals reinvented racism and wrecked the middle class; Oxford Books

Moyers’s website describes this interview:

Ian Haney López on the Dog Whistle Politics of Race

February 28, 2014

What do Cadillac-driving “welfare queens,” a “food stamp president” and the “lazy, dependent and entitled” 47 percent tell us about post-racial America? They’re all examples of a type of coded racism that this week’s guest, Ian Haney López, writes about in his new book, Dog Whistle Politics.

Haney López is an expert in how racism has evolved in America since the civil rights era. Over the past 50 years, politicians have mastered the use of dog whistles – code words that turn Americans against each other while turning the country over to plutocrats. This political tactic, says Haney López, is “the dark magic” by which middle-class voters have been seduced to vote against their own economic interests.

“It comes out of a desire to win votes. And in that sense… It’s racism as a strategy. It’s cold, it’s calculating, it’s considered,” Haney López tells Bill, “it’s the decision to achieve one’s own ends, here winning votes, by stirring racial animosity.”

Ian Haney López, a professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, is a senior fellow at the policy analysis and advocacy group, Demos.

Producer: Candace White. Segment Producer: Robert Booth. Editor: Sikay Tang.

Does revealing the existence of dog whistles help kill the cheap trick?  My fear is that those who hear the whistle clearly understand that they are responding to a racist call, and that is why they respond.  Exposing the racism, or exposing the subtle use of racism, only makes the politicians who use the whistle more appealing to those voter segments, and those policies more appealing to those voters (though they would not admit it).

If you think dog whistles don’t exist, consider the hot controversies surrounding education spending, vouchers to kill public schools, immigration reform needed to boost our economy, or health care reform.  Consider also the birther movement.

After hearing Mr. Haney López’s interview, what do you think?

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Wendy Davis’s first ad: A positive vision for Texas (but too long for most TV)

October 8, 2013

In stark contrast to Greg Abbott‘s “Texas is for white people with guns” advertisement (addressed here yesterday), Wendy Davis‘s get-to-know-me ad paints a vision of a better Texas to be had, even if in a too-long four-and-a-half minutes:

The ad was released yesterday at Davis’s campaign website, “Are you with Wendy?”

I imagine the GOP will jump on the ad, complaining that it doesn’t show enough guns (are there any?).  But it does several things the next Texas governor needs to do:

  1. It paints a picture of a Texas government that works to help people succeed in Texas.
  2. Davis’s ad shows Texas’s diversity, and suggests both that the diversity is a virtue for Texas’s future, and that Texas government shouldn’t be barring the door (or voting booth) to any Texan (especially white Texas women, many of whom may get a shock when they try to vote this November).
  3. Davis urges policies to help Texas cattlemen, who have been hammered hard under GOP rule (50% of Texas beef ranches closed in the past two years).
  4. Davis urges policies to help Texas farmers (cotton is still big in about a hundred counties).
  5. Aerospace and aviation get specific attention — you saw the American Airlines jet? Davis was City Councilwoman in Fort Worth, American’s hometown and headquarters. Already Davis turned around Greg Abbott on that issue when she called for a Texas government that supported American Airlines and its few tens of thousands of jobs in Texas.  Abbott announced last week that he has dropped his suit to prevent American’s merger with USAir, a suit that threatened Texas jobs directly.
  6. The ad ties Davis’s success in business, and life, to public institutions that help all Texans, institutions Davis used to climb the success ladder.
  7. Pro-business. Business in Davis’s ad is aerospace, ranching, farming, oil, and main street retail, among others.  Abbott’s ad shows only one ramshackle BBQ shack.
  8. It demonstrates an area where Greg Abbott should have been active in fighting crime, processing rape backlogged rape kits from Texas assaults — but where it too Davis in the legislature to get action to solve the crimes.
  9. Oh, yeah:  Education is in there.  It’s solidly in there.
  10. Overall, it’s a positive, “once more into the breach” sort of story.  At the end of Abbott’s ad, one can say he seems a physically capable guy; at the end of Davis’s ad, one may want to get up and go start a business, or run for office.

Davis’s ad does a lot of things a pitch for Texas’s next governor needs to do, on issues that we hope the next governor is way ahead of the rest of us on — but which are wholly missing from Abbott’s first non-negative ad effort.

What do you think?

More:

Davis at a rally following her most recent history-making filibuster.  KUT photo by Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon

Davis at a rally following her most recent history-making filibuster. KUT photo by Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon


Greg Abbott’s campaign stumbles — except for white people with guns

October 7, 2013

For three days after Fort Worth State Sen. Wendy Davis announced her candidacy for the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor, the Republican front-runner, Greg Abbott, seemed off-balance, first going to negative campaigning about Davis.

Some Texans wondered whether Abbott had a good idea about what the role of governor is, which could form a basis for his candidacy.  Why does Abbott want to be governor, and what would he do?

Today Abbott released an almost-90-second advertisement.  The ad reveals Abbott doesn’t have a vision for Texas in the future, and the ad suggests Abbott will rely heavily on trying to scare white Texans to outvote everybody else.

Here are my observations about Abbott’s ad as it came to me on Facebook, and the ad, below.

Greg Abbott first went negative when State Sen. Wendy Davis announced her campaign for governor last week.

He’s having difficulty finding a reason to run for governor, demonstrated by his video, below.

The video is impressive:

  1. Not a single Hispanic shown out of several dozen people. In fact, there appears to be only one, lonely woman of color in the entire thing. Texas is for white people, Abbott appears to be saying.
  2. Those white people in Texas need guns. It’s not like Texas has any shortage of guns, nor has the Obama administration done anything to restrict gun ownership or use, nor is it even an issue in Texas — but watch the video, you understand that the Texas white people shown in it, need guns. (Why? you may ask?)
  3. Abbott is all for low-wage, service industry jobs. When he talks about jobs in Texas, the ad shows a rickety, ramshackle BBQ joint. You may like BBQ more than Greg Abbott, but if you’re an aerospace worker, or you work for American Airlines, you would do well to question why Abbott worked so hard to kill American Airlines before Sen. Davis made it a campaign issue. (Abbott belatedly dropped his suit challenging the American/USAir merger, last week. Less than a week in the campaign and Wendy Davis is already improving Texas government . . .)
    Faced with a pro-business Democrat with a proven record of making things work for business and Texas, Abbott is adrift. These appear to be issues he hasn’t pondered much, other than to reduce regulations on businesses that injure people.
  4. Not a word about education. Where will all those gun-wielding white people send their kids to school?
  5. When he mentions water policy, something that comes far behind guns, BBQ, and the Tea Party in Greg Abbott’s Texas, he shows footage of Interstate 35 in Austin. One of Texas’s greatest problems (on the ballot in November with a Constitutional Amendment), but to Abbot it’s an afterthought. Maybe he thinks he can shotgun a few clouds to resolve the issues?
  6. Not a word about farming, nor ranching. Texas’s lack of a water policy, and inadequate work to mitigate global warming, pushed about 50% of Texas’s cattle and beef operations out of business on the GOP watch, just in the last four years. In Greg Abbott’s Texas, land is for shooting quail for rich folk, all you hamburger eaters can take a hike.
  7. Not a word about oil or gas, nor fracking, nor the abuse of eminent domain to ram a pipeline through Texas ranches and farms, killing the ranches and farms.
    You’d think after two decades in state office, Mr. Abbott would have a better idea about Texas and Texas problems, and would run a campaign on how to improve things for Texans, not just out of state pipeline companies.
  8. Abbott is running against Barack Obama, and he hates California. No good reason, but those are probably the only applause lines in his bereft-of-Texas stump speech.

You’d think some of those Million-Dollar-A-Year consultants would have worried a bit about Texas in setting up these ads. They must think their only chance is to scare their supporters out to the polls. They may be right.

Abbott’s campaign said:

Preserve Texas as the land of liberty. Watch my video below, and donate here: http://bit.ly/18UKBnr

What do you think, America?  See any reason for anyone other than a paranoid white guy to vote for Abbott?

Conflict of interest note:  Abbott is a Duncanville boy, a favorite of most residents of Duncanville we know. 

More: 

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott appears bef...

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott appears before a controversial tablet displaying the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol (behind the capitol building) in Austin, Texas, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The Wendy Davis story — stay tuned

October 3, 2013

Two years ago this ad helped push Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis to victory in a district stacked against her.  I think it’s one of the more powerful political advertisements done in the last decade at least, considering the target audience.

Today Sen. Davis will announce she’s running for Governor of Texas.  Regardless the outcome of the race, it’s still a remarkable life story.

Polls show Davis only 8 points behind Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, who usually enjoys an 80%-20% advantage in elections.  Davis is good enough to essentially wipe out the name identification, party identification and money advantage Abbott has, before she announces.

It could be a very exciting political year in Texas.  Stay tuned.

More:

Details: The entire conversation between Texas Senator Wendy Davis and James Henson, Director of the Texas Politics Project at UT Austin. Senator Davis discussed a range of topics including education, budget priorities in the 82nd Legislature, her filibuster in the final hours of the 82nd lege, and the future of the Democratic Party in Texas.

Recorded Dec 1, 2011 at The University of Texas at Austin.

Master of the Capitol:  Picture from Vogue Magazine; caption: Wendy Davis in a Carolina Herrera dress and Reed Krakoff pumps. Photographed by Eric Boman, Vogue, September 2013

Master of the Capitol, “I do hate losing”: Picture from Vogue Magazine; caption: Wendy Davis in a Carolina Herrera dress and Reed Krakoff pumps. Quote from the article: “I’m a very competitive person,” she says as the sun sets behind her and she packs up for the movie. “You won’t change things unless you are prepared to fight, even if you don’t win.” She pauses. “But I do hate losing.” Photographed by Eric Boman, Vogue, September 2013


VOTE! dammit!

September 5, 2013

I’m stealing this from Eli Rabett wholesale.

Confess:  Did you know before this moment that big elections loom in Germany (September 22) and Australia (September 7)?

Eli’s post:

In an ueber weird commercial the German Metalworkers Union puts up on YouTube what may be the single greatest get out the vote ad ever.

A rough transcript of the text to juice up the Aussies out there who also have an election coming up, even though they have to vote.

0:05   Germany chills out
0:13   All the important stuff in 2013 has been decided
0:30   Really, already decided?
0:48   On September 22 the cards will be mixed again
0:51   (Merkel)  This government has been the most successful in Germany since the reunification . .
0:57    (Steinbrueck SDP)  This government thinks that they can slide through . .
1:00    (FDP = libertarians) Only one thing can beat the, the FDP itself
1:04    National election 2013
1:07    Problems there are aplenty
1:12    No joy from a lousy job?
1:16    Too few nursery places?  R. Tol appears
1:23    Rather retire earlier?
1:29    Better education?
1:36    Equality?
1:38    It’s not so easy, first you have one house, and then another
1:40    You can never have enough
14:2    Right now we have an asocial market economy, not a social one
1:46    You have a voice, use it
1:56    September 22 is the election
2:01   It’s close
2:07   It’s difficult
2:11   It’s gonna be dirty
2:17   Unexpected coalitions will emerge
2:25   It’s time to beat on the table
2:32   Push!
2:39   Onwards to the election!
2:46   Vote!!
2:51   So, let’s discuss this a bit further

Maybe you’ll watch the G20 meetings with a little different perspective?

Who was the genius behind that compilation (file under “highest and best use of weird internet videos this year”)?  Can we hire her or him for the Texas elections next year?

It’s from the German Metalworkers Union, IG Metall.  Justification enough to revitalize America’s labor movement.  Rich Trumka, are you paying attention?

More:

A good get-out-the-vote (GOTV) poster, according to some design critics.  GRA 217/Intro to Design

A good get-out-the-vote (GOTV) poster, according to some design critics. GRA 217/Intro to Design

 


Getting a more complete picture of Herbert Hoover: His dog liked him

February 6, 2013

Not sure how to file this.  Should it go under “Things we didn’t know about Herbert Hoover,” or “Hoover the mensch,” or “Some campaign photo ops never change?”

This is a campaign photo from 1928, Herbert Hoover and his dog, King Tut:

Herbert Hoover and dog, King Tut, in 1928 campaign photo

Campaign photo from 1928, of Republican candidate Herbert Hoover and his dog, King Tut. Image from Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, National Archives.

Tip of the old scrub brush to The Hoover Blackboard, a blog of the Hoover Library.

More:

Hoover Library

Herbert Hoover was Secretary of Commerce in the Harding and Coolidge administrations. What else don’t we remember about Hoover, most of the time? Hoover Library display, photo by akasped.


Quote of the moment: Herbert Hoover, on credit, in Des Moines, Iowa, 1932

February 4, 2013

Herbert Hoover and crowd in West Branch, Iowa, 1932 - dedication of Hoover Library

Herbert Hoover, 88, attended the opening of the Hoover Library in West Branch, Iowa, on August 10, 1962, 30 years after his speech in Des Moines defending actions to shore up the credit of the U.S.  At this 1962 event, former President Harry Truman came to pay respects, mensch that he was; Truman is walking ahead of Hoover here.  Photo from Travel Iowa blog, and probably from the Hoover Library and Museum

Let me remind you that credit is the lifeblood of business, the lifeblood of prices and jobs.

  • Herbert Hoover, address at Des Moines, Iowa, October 4, 1932. — The Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Herbert Hoover, 1932–1933, p. 467.  (courtesy of Wikiquote)

_____________

Just a month before he would be crushed at the polls by Franklin Roosevelt, President Herbert Hoover returned to Iowa, his proud home state, to deliver this speech in Des Moines, detailing actions his administration had taken over the previous 18 months to save the U.S. and world economies.  Much of this action had been out of the glare of popular press.  Hoover hoped that by explaining the difficult battles his administration fought behind the huge oak doors of boardrooms and international diplomacy, Americans might appreciate more what he had accomplished, and not focus so much on the fact that the Great Depression still ravaged millions of Americans.

In today’s anti-credit political environment, it is interesting to see one of our most ardent businessman presidents defend credit. In an irony unappreciated in today’s political discussions, much of the discussion in 1932 between Hoover and Roosevelt was over which one could better manage to get to and keep a balanced budget.

The full speech is available at The American Presidency Project housed at the University of California – Santa Barbara. Politics wonks, history fans, and economists will want to look at the full speech this line is ripped from, contextually bereft. Context, in this case, does not change the meaning, but deepens the complexity of the issues and time.  Hoover bragged about keeping the U.S. on the gold standard, because so many contracts and mortgages were written to be payable in gold, and not currency.  So leaving the gold standard could have enormous disrupting influence on credit.

The first of these perils was the steady strangulation of credit through the removal of $3 billions of gold and currency by foreign drains and by the hoarding of our own citizens from the channels of our commerce and business. And let me remind you that credit is the lifeblood of business, the lifeblood of prices and of jobs.

Much of the rest of the speech defended Hoover’s use of government in ways that would cause apoplexy among Tea Partiers and a blizzard of critical press releases from Republicans, today:

Hoover addresses a large crowd in his 1932 cam...

Hoover addresses a large crowd in his 1932 campaign. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now, we have fought an unending war against the effect of these calamities upon our people in America. This is no time to recount the battles on a thousand fronts. We have fought the fight to protect our people in a thousand cities from hunger and cold.

We have carried on an unceasing campaign to protect the Nation from those unhealing class bitternesses which arise from strikes and lockouts and industrial conflict. We have accomplished this through the willing agreement of employer and labor which placed humanity before money through the sacrifice of profits and dividends before wages.

We have defended millions from the tragic result of droughts. We have mobilized a vast expansion of public construction to make work for the unemployed. We fought the battle to balance the budget. We have defended the country from being forced off the gold standard, with its crushing effect upon all who might be in debt. We have battled to provide a supply of credits to merchants and farmers and industries. We have fought to retard falling prices. We have struggled to save homes and farms from foreclosure of mortgages, battled to save millions of depositors and borrowers from the ruin caused by the failure of banks, fought to assure the safety of millions of policyholders from failure of their insurance companies, and fought to save commerce and employment from the failure of railways.

We have fought to secure the disarmament and to maintain the peace of the world. We have fought for stability in other countries whose failure would inevitably injure us. And, above all, we have fought to preserve the safety, the principles, and the ideals of American life. We have builded the foundations of recovery.

Now, all these battles, related and unrelated, have had a single strategy and a single purpose. That was to protect your living, your comfort, and the safety of your fireside. They have been waged and have succeeded in protecting you from infinitely greater harm that might have come to you.

Thousands of our people in their bitter distress and losses today are saying that “things could not be worse.” No person who has any remote understanding of the forces which confronted this country during these last 18 months ever utters that remark. Had it not been for the immediate and unprecedented actions of our Government things would be infinitely worse today.

Instead of moving forward we would be degenerating for years to come, even if we had not gone clear over the precipice, with the total destruction of every ideal we hold dear.

Let no man tell you that it could not be worse. It could be so much worse that these days now, distressing as they are, would look like veritable prosperity.

In all these great efforts there has been a constant difficulty of translating the daily action into terms of public understanding. The forces in motion have been so gigantic, so complex in character, the instrumentalities and actions that we must undertake to deal with them have been so involved, the figures we must use are so astronomical as to seem to have but little relation to the family in the apartment or the cottage or on the farm.

English: Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Herbert...

Five months after Hoover’s Des Moines speech, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover in convertible automobile on way to U.S. Capitol for Roosevelt’s inauguration, March 4, 1933 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If Hoover made that speech today, every fellow at the Hoover Institution would sign a petition demanding his impeachment, never mind that he’s not president any more.

____________

A few notes about the photograph at the top:  This photo shows two former presidents, Herbert Hoover and Harry S Truman, walking through a crowd at the dedication of the Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, in West Branch, Iowa, in 1962.  One might pay careful attention to how lax security was, generally — the crowd is allowed within an arm’s length of the two former presidents — and this was after an assassination attempt had been made on Truman, in Washington, years before.  Insignia on the uniforms of the police are difficult to discern, but from the uniforms it looks as if there was a combination of local police, possibly a county sheriff’s staff, and Iowa state highway patrol troopers.  I found it interesting to note that several of the younger men appear to be Explorer Scouts, BSA — one wearing what appears to be an Eagle Scout neckerchief. Cameras were special event tools, but generally not of the quality that could get a decent photograph at an event like this, except for professionals with professional cameras.  Still, visible are double-lens reflex cameras held up in hope of a proper aim, small Kodaks, one man winding film in a 35-mm single-lens reflex, and a tiny handful of home movie cameras (with three lenses on the front — wide angle, normal and modest telephoto).  Click on the photo for an expanded view, and see what else you may.  If by chance you know anything about this photo, Dear Reader, please tell, in comments.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Henry Mowry at Mowryblog.

More, and resources:

Presidents Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover at ...

Presidents Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover at the dedication of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum on August 10, 1962 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


12 million jobs — but not until when?

October 16, 2012

Oy.

It’s extraordinary to consider with just three weeks until Election Day, but Mitt Romney’s central argument to voters has been exposed as a total fraud.

Greg Sargent added, “Let’s recap what Kessler has discovered here. The plan that is central to Romney’s candidacy on the most important issue of this election — jobs — is a complete sham. This is every bit as bad — or worse — than Romney’s claim to have created 100,000 jobs at Bain, or his vow to cut spending by eliminating whole agencies without saying which ones, or his refusal to say how he’ll pay for his tax cuts.”

Obama’s budget NOW creates 12 million jobs in the next four years, according to projections.  Romney?  He stretches it out to ten years, but reduces the job creation, so it’s 2.5 times as long to get the same number of jobs.  Say what?  Romney’s plan reduces the number of jobs created by cutting the rate at which they are created.

Read more at Rachel Maddow’s blog, with links to the actual studies.  Maddow links to Greg Sargent’s blog, The Plum Line, at The Washington Post. 12 million jobs, Mitt Romney, economy, Bain Capital

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One more time, again: Why “supply side” economics doesn’t work without demand

October 4, 2012

I posted a short excerpt from a recent column by economist Paul Krugman, explaining why GOP reliance on magic to fix the economy probably won’t work.  Commenter David Xavier took issue with Krugman’s analysis.  David’s comment brought home to me just how badly many self-described conservatives misunderstand basic economics, especially the keystone free enterprise principles of supply and demand.

My explanation of why supply side economics can’t work came out for the 21st time at least.  Let’s make a post of it, in hope that more people may read it and view it, and understanding may increase.

David Xavier said:

Krugman wants the government to spend as this will drive demand. But “demand is constituted by supply”. To buy something you must first produce and sell something. The selling is what gets you the money, but the production of value adding output is what first allows you to sell. Without value adding activity, there is nothing to sell and therefore there is no basis for demand.

I replied:

Well, there’s the problem. You don’t understand either the law of supply, nor the law of demand. You’re talking “supply side” economics, which we discovered didn’t work way back in 1982 through 1988.

Supply does not stimulate demand, ceteris paribus. It’s the other way around. Henry Ford’s Model A didn’t created demand for transportation; the demand for transportation, coupled with a demand for transportation that didn’t involve horses and their natural effluents, created a demand for a horseless carriage. Ford created a machine that met that demand, and could manufacture it in enough quantity to matter.

Demand is not “constituted from supply.” Demand comes from needs, and wants. If supply can be created to meet that demand, demand can be met from supply.

But demand comes first, as Krugman, a Nobel-winning economist, well understands.

If consumers have no money to buy, the quantity supplied cannot matter in the least. If there were no demand for transportation at all, Henry Ford is sunk.

The law of supply explains how producers go about meeting demands — if prices are higher, they are happier to supply more. Again, if consumers have no money to purchase the good or service offered, the amount of supply is completely irrelevant.

Before Henry Ford’s mass production of automobiles created a demand for gasoline, gasoline was cast off from oil refining as a waste product from the production of kerosene for lanterns. Refineries from Standard Oil dumped millions of gallons of gasoline into rivers — no demand, the massive supply simply did not matter.

And as we can see from that example, demand not only creates the market, it can make a product considered to be waste, into the economic equivalent of gold.

Without demand, supply is simply excess manure, or gasoline by-product from the production of kerosene, to be dumped into a river (and thereby pollute the hell out of the river).

You’re right to say that without value-added activity, there is no economic activity. But tell that to Mitt Romney, who thinks finance is the magic, and not production.

A key problem with all of Republican economics is the ignoring of consumers, and ignoring the reality that consumers need money to stimulate demand. Tax cuts can’t help the hungry, who cannot eat tax cuts, nor the unemployed, who cannot take to the bank tax cuts on non-existent income.

Your odd myopia — maybe blindness — to the reality of how economics works, is shared by a lot of so-called conservatives. It’s a tragedy; it’s a tragedy I hope voters will put an end to, soon.

Did you ever notice that no supply-side economist has ever won a Nobel? Have you noticed that few supply-side economics articles are available in journals? Has your search for the numbers to back up the Laffer curve been as unproductive as they have been for everyone else — including Arthur Laffer? (Laffer promised to publish an article explaining how supply side economics work, as soon as he got the numbers together. That was in 1982. 40 years later, there is still no real intellectual foundation for GOP claims of tax cuts creating wealth. Those studies that have been done suggest tax rates maximize revenue when taxes hit about 70%, more than three times the rates Laffer proposes. History shows a much different story than Laffer claimed: Tax cuts in the Harding and Coolidge administrations led to bubbles that collectively burst in October 1929, leading to the Great Depression; tax cuts in 2001 led to bubbles in housing and the stock market, which burst in 2008, leading to our Great Recession.)

Right now, businesses are sitting on a pool of about $2 trillion, profits they’ve accumulated since 2008. If supply side economics worked, that money would be invested in manufacturing and service creation, and we should have an unemployment rate in negative numbers. The disproof of supply side economics is our current situation. Employers have plenty of supply of money, but they refuse to hire without demonstration of demand from consumers. Unemployed consumers, lacking money, cannot make that demand up from thin air. Magic does not work, in the real world of supply and demand, in economics.

Nota bene:  Videos come from a delightful series on economics created and put up on YouTube by Dr. Mary J. Glasson, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.  Glasson’s series is available at YouTube and covers almost every topic in an entry-level survey undergraduate economics course.  Look for “mjmfoodie” at YouTube.com.

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If President Obama could visit your kitchen table . . .

September 29, 2012

From the Obama campaign:

During the last weeks of this campaign there will be debates, speeches and more ads. But if I could sit down with you in your living room or around the kitchen table here’s what I’d say:

When I took office we were losing nearly 800,000 jobs a month and were mired in Iraq. Today I believe that as a nation we are moving forward again. But we have much more to do to get folks back to work and make the middle class secure again.

Now, Governor Romney believes that with that even bigger tax cuts for the wealthy and fewer regulations on Wall Street all of us will prosper. In other words he’d double down on the same trickle down policies that led to the crisis in the first place. So what’s my plan?

First, we create a million new manufacturing jobs and help businesses double their exports. Give tax breaks to companies that invest in America, not that ship jobs overseas.

Second, we cut our oil imports in half and produce more American-made energy, oil, clean-coal, natural gas, and new resources like wind, solar and bio-fuels—all while doubling the fuel efficiencies of cars and trucks.

Third, we insure that we maintain the best workforce in the world by preparing 100,000 additional math and science teachers. Training 2 million Americans with the job skills they need at our community colleges. Cutting the growth of tuition in half and expanding student aid so more Americans can afford it.

Fourth, a balanced plan to reduce our deficit by four trillion dollars over the next decade on top of the trillion in spending we’ve already cut, I’d ask the wealthy to pay a little more. And as we end the war in Afghanistan let’s apply half the savings to pay down our debt and use the rest for some nation building right here at home.

It’s time for a new economic patriotism. Rooted in the belief that growing our economy begins with a strong, thriving middle class. Read my plan. Compare it to Governor Romney’s and decide for yourself. Thanks for listening.

Read the President’s plan: http://OFA.BO/SAzDgd


Full Frontal Freedom, “What you hiding down below”

September 16, 2012

Is this just a bit too much over the line?  From a band (one hit wonder?) named Full Frontal Freedom (or is it Wrong Direction?):

Laughing shake of the old scrub brush to MoveOn.org.


Ben Sargent: “Are you better off . . . ?”

September 14, 2012

Pulitzer Prize winner, and retired (drat it!), Ben Sargent, in the Austin American-Statesman, September 9, 2012:

Ben Sargent, Austin American-Statesman, September 9, 2012

Ben Sargent, Austin American-Statesman, September 9, 2012

It could be a dangerous question for a Republican to ask; voters might actually remember four years ago.


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