It's time to change the pattern of cuts in Congress.

Congress can't find the willpower to raise taxes on the rich, but that hasn't stopped them from chipping away at our retirement and slashing our social safety net. For decades, we've seen billions cut from vital programs like food stamps, unemployment insurance, and cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security – but closing corporate tax loopholes or making Wall Street pay more to gamble is simply off the table. With the passing of the 2014 budget, Congress cut the cost-of-living increases for military retirees by one percent. That may not sound like a lot – but it could add up to as much as $80,000 dollars less for a veteran over their lifetime. And, Republican lawmakers are calling for even more cuts from programs like disability insurance in exchange for extending long-term unemployment.

Cutting programs that people rely on isn't only inhumane, it's unjust. We've had decades of poor and working-class Americans being forced to bear the burden of spending cuts, while taxes on the wealthy and corporations have continued to decline. Even many of our democratic lawmakers support ideas like chained CPI, but very few have the courage to stand up and call for taxing the rich or eliminating subsidies to giant corporations.

These cuts do nothing to help hard-working Americans, and they actually do serious harm to our national economy. These austerity measures take money out of our economy, and put more cash in the hands of the wealthy. It's time to change this pattern in Congress, support lawmakers who stand up for the little guy, and stop slashing these programs before there's nothing left to be cut.

Comments

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 45 weeks ago
#1

Thom, with all due respect, this isn't about willpower; it's about priorities. And frankly, I think it goes even further than that. Those ugly fascists are trying to kill us... or to put it more politely, "cull the herd".

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 45 weeks ago
#2

AIW -- It seems to me that the ugly fascists are not trying to kill us, but they think that killing us is an acceptable side-effect for them to gain power and wealth.

I agree with you on Thom's use of the word willpower. From what Thom says all the time he must agree with you also. One of the top priorities of the Repugs is to damage the Obama administration.

ckrob's picture
ckrob 8 years 45 weeks ago
#3

Politicians respond to the same reinforcers as do we all. They receive largess now which the system did not earlier allow. The system has been corrupted through a combination of self-reinforcing feedback mechanisms between the incredibly wealthy and our political functionaries. I think a case can be made that we are now governed with a positive feedback loop the result of which (characteristic of positive feedback) will be a destruction of our entire political and economic structure. If you question the above, explain how a system which gives all newly created wealth to the wealthy can actually endure. Briefly stated, trickle down doesn't!

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 45 weeks ago
#4

Points well taken, "chuck". But when you deny people things like food, shelter and medical care, they die. It doesn't matter to me whether this is the means to an end, or an end in itself, because the results are the same. Those guys are just plain evil, regardless of what motivates them. - AIW

ckrob's picture
ckrob 8 years 45 weeks ago
#5

My point is the "system," as is, will self-destruct to the detriment of all including the wealthy. If the "evil-doers" were to all disappear today, new evil-doers would appear tomorrow to fill in the vacant slots. It's the system that provides an ability to be so detrimental. Reform the system! Changing the actors will do nothing. Check out Richard Wolff on YouTube for ideas about what direction reform of capitalism might take.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 45 weeks ago
#6

What Obama Really Meant Was ...Remarks by the President on Review of Signals Intelligence
(if he had told the truth) --Jan 19-2014--by Chris Hedges
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/what_obama_really_meant_was_20140119

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 8 years 45 weeks ago
#7

Our government social programs are not charitable gestures on the part of wealthy business owners and their well compensated lackeys. They are part of the just compensation of those who work so hard to make them rich. What the wealthy don't pay in wages they pay in taxes and if they refuse to do either - as they are now - then you have what's happening now, the destruction of the middle class and the pauperization of working people.

Cuts to our social programs is thus an undue tax increase on the working people. It's a matter of justice not charity.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 45 weeks ago
#8

All this petty bickering on Austerity measures is ridiculous. All about solely domestic cuts in our social safety net. When are we going to discuss cutting our Military budget? The big difference between our country and every other industrialized nation in the world is that they can afford a social safety net and a national health care program because they don't have this incredible Military burden. I want to hear about substantial slashes in our DOD budget first and foremost. Right now that budget stands at about $1T/year. Our annual Military budget exceeds the combined budgets of every other industrialized nation in the world. We should easily be able to cut that in half and still defend our borders. Before that is done any other Austerity measures are purely bogus. $500 Billion would pay a lot of Doctor's bills and feed a lot of hungry children.

ken ware's picture
ken ware 8 years 45 weeks ago
#9

Kend – I would like to apologize for doubting the 80% figure you posted concerning Afro-American mothers that are single parents. It was unfair for me to connect the two rag shows with your facts you posted. It seemed incredibly large for a percentage of that community. I researched it further and found out it is actually closer to 67% to 65% of unwed single parents, because the surveyors lumped two unwed parents (mother and father) into the same category as the unwed mothers. They may have also included divorced mothers into the figures concerning not having a father in the family. I can understand the difficulty of a young unwed mother raising her child, especially if they are living in poverty. But, as a single parent who raised a daughter, being a single parent by itself is no excuse for the child not to be educated. I am proud to say my daughter holds a Master’s Degree in Education and that is in part due to our never ending conversations about the value and necessity for higher education.

A.I.W. – Thank you for your kinds words of encouragement. I think I might just drop in from time to time and voice my views. Everyone needs a voice of decent occasionally. Yes, I do plan on spending as much time as possible with my grand-baby, Aiden Kenneth. Crawling back under a rock, I don’t think so.

ken ware's picture
ken ware 8 years 45 weeks ago
#10

D.A.M. - You are correct in your assessment of our current problem concerning the Military Industrial Complex and the vast amount of wasted funds we through to them each year. But to disregard the Sequestration process, which by the way is still in effect, and the damage it will continue to do our society is naive. As you recall the Military budget is also included in the Sequestration and it also is supposed to cut its budget by 10% a year for ten years. Congress seems more willing to let the Military wiggle their way around these cuts with special exemptions on how the cuts will be implemented, then they are with the budgetary cuts to non-military programs. I hope this response is not too lengthy for some of you.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 45 weeks ago
#11

D.Marc -- You should listen to Thom. Austerity has never helped any economy that was not already booming. The DOD expenditures represents one of the few job programs we have going. It is one of the most inefficient programs one could imagine, but it is still a jobs program. Do you want my lecture again on how increasing the deficit reduces the debt?

HisLowness 8 years 45 weeks ago
#12

The system is corrupted. It's run by millionaires that are beholden to corporate America. Nothing will change until the system itself is revamped to one that puts it's citizens first. Changing the players does nothing.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 45 weeks ago
#13

K.W. -- I think the new budget eliminated the military cuts and social security cuts.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 45 weeks ago
#14

HisLowness -- I disagree. It is run by billionaires.

Bluesyinohio's picture
Bluesyinohio 8 years 45 weeks ago
#15

As one of those people who live on Social Security Disability I know from real experience what it is to live on the edge of disaster in my life.

I have to live on a check of $724 a month. My SNAP went from $138 to $131 a month. I am on Medicare and Medicaid. I still have to pay for fuel, maintainance, and insurance on my 2001 Ford Focus to get the doctor's and to the store. I cannot always get what I need in food and have to go to a food bank to supplement my Diabetic diet.
The only things I splurge on is an internet modem on my home telephone.

I challenge any Congressman or Senator, Lobbyist or Corporate head to live on my income and try to live a "good" life.

Could any of you do it? Would you even try?
Many people live in our country who get even less to live on than I do. I live in subsidised housing and there are always others here that do not have even what they need to function.
Homeless try to take shelter in the hallways and stairwells to avoid bad weather and are turned away by security people.
This is happening more and more in our country and if the Legislators in Congress don't start serving the People and not the Corporate interests, our country will fall apart.

Tom Ardavany 8 years 45 weeks ago
#16

Thom Hartman has it exactly. Furthermore, C. Wright Mills outlines in his book "The Power Elite" the interlocking directorate of the state, corporations and the military. We have evolved to the next epoch. As Mills describes, the public has been silenced by the power elite. Halliburton, Palantir, Booz Allen, Boeing, and Raytheon are just a few of the corporations that have co-opted the government. There is explicit and formal coordination between the regulatory agency and regulated industry; contracting agency and contractor.
Gen. Dempsey, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is on a lecture circuit giving the military definition of reality. The Koch brothers buy politicians and crush public opinion with their money. Congress no longer debates anything. They have abdicated their responsibility and they obstruct public opinion and discourse. Half of the Representatives in Congress are millionaires.
The political directorate, the corporate rich, and the ascendant military look upon the government as an umbrella under whose authority they do their work.
And what of the Great American Public? We hear how Federal judges overturn laws voted on by the people; we have democratic elections overturned by courts and judges. We are a mass society; no longer the public. We have evolved to the next epoch. The names may have changed, but Mills' book is as relevant today as it was in 1956.

uncbros's picture
uncbros 8 years 45 weeks ago
#17

Money has always been speech in the Criminal world. The supreme corporate court made it legal speech now. Could it be those on the court who did this are of the criminal persuasion? Every thug in the world knows nothing speaks louder than cash.

ken ware's picture
ken ware 8 years 45 weeks ago
#18

I should have realized those asses in Washington would throw the older voters on Social Security a bone (since they seem to be the largest voting block at present time) while they keep feeding the military machine. I think I will double check that, because if your right and you probably are, that just sends me off the charts in my hatred and disgust for the politicians in Washington! With the Supreme (IDIOT) Court's decision that money is free speech and corporations are people, we know who the politicians in Washington are looking out for. First and foremost themselves and then the Wealthy and Multi-National Corporations who feed the "kitty" or the election contributions that feed the frenzy of lies that come out of their lying mouths each election cycle. I truly hope I am wrong, because of my daughter, grandson and son-law who will inherit this country when we (I am gone, many of you are a lot younger!) are gone. It seems the freedom and the government that we fought for and died for over the centuries has been purchased by the wealthy elitist and our form of democracy is all but finished. If I wrote what I would like to write about this government, I would end up in GITMO and tagged a terrorist. (I know A.L.W. you think that would be good! ha.) I get nervous even saying that much! Until the citizens of this country start to THINK FOR THEMSELVES and not believe every sound bite they hear, our Country, Freedom and standard of living is gone...How does it feel to live in a Stalinist country, run by the wealthy? How does that song by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young to, STEP OUT OF LINE AND THE MAN COME TAKE YOU AWAY....Sorry, there I go ranting again. K.W.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 8 years 45 weeks ago
#19

Norman Goldman once said, "Social Security is not government spending." but I say, "Government spending is good (in a democratic society)."

ken ware's picture
ken ware 8 years 45 weeks ago
#20

Bluesy - I do not know how you do it. When I mentioned they throw Seniors a bone by not cutting any of their programs, it was not in disrespect. Congress is still afraid of the older vote and they should be. It will not be long before I too will be living on Social Security and Medicare in a few years! Good luck and have a healthy and happy week...K.W.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 45 weeks ago
#21

Tom Ardavany, reading your informative post, the thought that keeps coming back to me: the USA thinks nothing about posturing to the rest of the world as some sort of final authority on "democracy" and how to be a democratic society! What a crock.

"uncbros"- let's face it, this country has been taken over by thugs. And hacks and quacks. - AIW

ptg0's picture
ptg0 8 years 45 weeks ago
#22

Unfortunately, congress is made up of two parties. From what I have seen over the last 40 years, both parties are to blame.

ken ware's picture
ken ware 8 years 45 weeks ago
#23

chuckle8 - I checked with Forbes and from what I can gather the Military is still getting a 5% cut, but the way it is handled it will not affect the Industrial Military Complex until 2015. It states the budget for the Military is still $500 billion for 2014. Here is the website if you would like to check for yourself, I could be wrong. copy/paste http://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthompson/2013/12/11/budget-deal-is-good-news-for-defense-industry/

For some reason when I save this in comments it goes all over the page. I hope it works!

pslebow 8 years 45 weeks ago
#24

Thom's heart is in the right place but his economic solutions come more from feelings rather than a basis for how the economy really works. Yes, taxing the rich feels good. Putting tarrifs on imports feels good. But these concepts are secondary and emphasizing them is just as misplaced and wrong-headed as Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Simpson and Bowles. Until he is able to digest the simple concepts of modern monetary theory and to understand the difference betweeen the federal government which runs on limiteless sovereign currency verses a household budget, he should, pardon the language, just shut up and get educated. He's just fueling an ugly partisan debate and not raiseing the level of understanding among folks like you and me one iota.

The issues of inequality, interlocking boards and all the other symptoms of a twisted economy cannot be unraveled unless there is concensus on what the economy really is. Then we can decide, through politics, what is fair and just.

See, for instance -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ba8XdDqZ-Jg

Its not for the short-attention spanners out there.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 45 weeks ago
#25

"Bluseyinohio", welcome to Thom's blog. I'd love to hear your music. Sounds like you've plenty the sing the blues about.

Your home environment sounds pretty grim. I hope you've been able to create a cozy nook for yourself there, where you can feel safe and sleep soundly at night. You're right; our country is falling apart. Whenever I hear about sub-zero snow storms in various parts of the U.S. I always think about the homeless and wonder how they survive it. Some of them don't.

I play piano and keyboards, by the way. Have played lots of blues through the years, both solo and in bands. What I love about that genre is all the emphasis on keys; mainly piano & organ. I got bored with rock because most of it is so guitar-oriented, with not-so-interesting harmonies... Jazz harmonies send me to heaven.

If I reincarnate after this lifetime, I hope I come back as a wild parrot, preferably someplace like Costa Rica. No car insurance, utility bills or taxes... And I've always wanted to fly like a bird! But for now, it's music and blogging that keep me sane. - Aliceinwonderland

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 8 years 45 weeks ago
#26

Poverty relief programs never were a gift from the rich or a sacrifice forced on the middle class. US poverty relief benefits were well below those provided by the modern nations to their poor. With the exception of a brief time in the 1970s, welfare benefits remained far below the poverty line. Before "reform," over 80% of welfare recipients voluntarily quit welfare for jobs in well under 6 years, working their way up, earning wages, paying taxes, ultimately repaying all the aid they had received -- and more. They paid for it. That said, what has been phasing out the middle class is the middle class, itself. The votes of the middle class gave us the politics and policies we've been "enjoying." The US began its Great Job Drain with the Reagan administration, and the middle class wildly applauded Reagan's deregulation, supported massive corporate tax cuts, etc. We have lost the bulk of our working class jobs since then. Instead of speaking up against the policies resulting in this massive reduction of jobs, the middle class chose to target the very poor. Clinton ended welfare itself (general assistance and AFDC) and implemented mandatory workfare replacement labor for those with minor children, replacing other workers (at a fraction of the wages). This created a situation of far fewer jobs, far more people in desperate need of a job, serving powerfully to help end/prevent unions, suppress wages, maximize corporate profits, and shrink the middle class -- all with the support of the middle class.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 8 years 45 weeks ago
#27

I agree it's time to change the Teagressional pattern of billionaires first and the rest of you losers can go to hell. But first we need to identify the forces behind this pattern and then make sure that whoever we elect both understands and targets those forces. It's a relatively small group of dangerous citizens, the type who find it highly acceptable to make billions off the back of society without they themselves lifting a finger. Programs like Social Security, Food Stamps, and Unemployment insurance piss them off because these programs aren't part of their free market piggery.

They're able to force their austerity lie on the unsuspecting public in large part by funding a multitude of think tanks and ALEC. Through ALEC they get states to pass laws that ensure more wealth for the already wealthy and austerity for working people.....look it up. They also control the message through a vast majority control of political media. Ultimately they purchase Tea Party House members and use these imbeciles to distract with political obstruction while they pick, we the workers, pockets clean.

Always remember...it's 315 million of us and maybe 400 of them....I'm willing to bet that no more than 400 Fascists are responsible for the overthrow of our representative democracy. Expose and target them with counter legislation.....reverse legislation like free trade, legislation these impertinent bastards have forced on us. Tax the holy crap out of them.. God dammit, we need to elect dozens more like Alan Grayson or it's violent revolution, take your pick.

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 8 years 45 weeks ago
#28

Agree. Congress became a bird with two right wings, which probably explains why it are flailing around insanely, crashing into walls... Still, when all is said and done, we can look back as far as 1980 and see that we're in this mess because, every step of the way, government actually did give the middle class what they demanded, from corporate deregulation to NAFTA to wiping out basic humanitarian aid to Americans who were pushed out of our shrinking job market.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 45 weeks ago
#29

pslebow -- What do you think is primary? What does Steven Keen think is primary? Any country that has tried protectionism (tariffs) always helps the economy of that country (per Thom). Whenever the top tax rate exceeds 50% in the US the economy improves (per Thom and Larry Beinhart). The problem with listening to economists is that they always want to apply a mathematical model. In addition they want the mathematical model to be tractable. Paul Krugman pointed out in the NY Times sunday magazine in Sept of 2008, that this attraction to a mathematical model always leads to cherry picking the data (he said mea culpa). With regard to concensus on the economy the following quote would be useful for you to absorb.

In economics, the majority is always wrong.
John Kenneth Galbraith

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 45 weeks ago
#30

10-K, Branski, I couldn't agree more. I vividly recall all those middle class idiots voting for Reagan, applauding him, and it made me sick. I hope they're enjoying their "just desserts", as it were... fucking fools. But there WILL come a point where the 315 million have finally had enough and all hell breaks loose. I hope I live to see it. I also hope it transpires without bloodshed.

Most economists put me to sleep... Ravi Batra is among the few exceptions. - AIW

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 8 years 45 weeks ago
#31

Aliceinwonderland, I too prefer a bloodless revolution like that of 1688 in England, but I think without mass media support, all may be lost....unless progressive media like Thom's and in general the social media are able to leak enough truth to the populous.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 45 weeks ago
#32

DHBranski -- The middle class was being manipulated by the billionaires per the methods outlined in Powell doctrine. Carter was still leading in the polls. They then came up with the Iran-Contra thing and agreement with Iran to not free the hostages. Have you heard about Lee Atwater's confessing and asking for forgiveness on his deathbed? A significant amount of critical thinking by the middle class could have overcome these proganda ploys, but Reagan and others had already started fighting critical thinking in the 60's. That is, he did away with free college education in California. Interestingly, the texas repug party had has a plank in their platform in 2012 for the elimination of teaching critical thinking. When the press found out, the plank was immediately removed.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 45 weeks ago
#33

DHB -- Now you have made me bring out how much the dems are not right wing. In the 13 weeks of the 5 years of the Obama administration that the dems had control of both houses the following happened:

1 Chrysler saved

2 GM Saved

3 AHCA passed (AKA Obamacare); (because of blue dogs like Max Baucus it was not a single player plan; to get Sen Baucus to sign it, Max's county got single payer.)

4 Middle class tax cut

5 Went from losing 750,000 per month to 30 straight months of job gains (in spite of Republican governors cutting 4.5 million jobs)

6 Education spending increased

7 Laws against hate crimes strengthened

8 CHIPS expanded (Children’s Health Insurance Program)

9 Forced through Child Labor Laws

10 consumer protection agency formed

11 Credit card reform

12 Predatory lending to soldiers restricted

13 Troops paid for stop loss time

14 Torture stopped

15 VA spending increased

16 Women allowed to serve on subs

17 Equal pay for women

18 Nuclear arms reduction proposal

19 BP cleanup fund

20 EPA strengthened

21 FDA powers broadened

22 Healthcare for 9-11 responders funded (during Bush Term it was ignored)

23 DADT was repealed

24 Within 24 hours of his inauguration in 2009, he ordered that the financial statistics of the top 400 families should be treated like everyone else's; that is, they should not be a classified government document.

25 When the congress was adding Part D to Medicare (the prescription drug assist; I think it was in 2004) the democrats tried to pass an amendment to help fund it by a 1% income tax on incomes over 1 million.

26 In 2009-10 when Obama lost his filibuster proof senate, the senate had a record number of filibusters (380 or so); during LBJ's 6 year reign as senate majority leader there was one.

27 The bills that were filibustered would have helped our economy for both the long and short term. My favorites were the card check bill, the Disclose Act, stopping waivers for the Buy American Act of 1936 and the credits for bringing jobs back (no credits for tearing down factories to send jobs overseas.

28 Republicans supported the Reinhart-Rogoff Study used to push austerity throughout the world; The study was a total scam supported by Pete Peterson who wants all the social security money invested on wall street. It was easy to suck in democrats and the general public because too much debt being a bad thing makes intuitive sense.

ken ware's picture
ken ware 8 years 45 weeks ago
#34

A quick study of The Power Elite by Mills can be found at

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Power_Elite Really interesting and somewhat scary concerning our present circumstances that surround our daily lives and what we think we know about our country and what actually is the truth...K.W.

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 8 years 45 weeks ago
#35

Democracy? The role any individual plays in this "democracy" is determined by economic/class status. Consider a most basic and obvious point, our idea of representative government today: Each election brings only two viable candidates, a Democrat and a Republican. Neither party represents the interests of the now-huge chunk of the population that is not as well off as middle class. For whom can they vote? This chunk of the population is the target of considerable legislation without representation. Since the 1980s, our poor have been stripped of a number of fundamental legal and human rights solely by reason of class. Americans actually did reach the point where it is employers/corporations alone who determine human worth, and Americans do believe that those who are not of current use to employers are disqualified from participatory democracy (as well as fundamental civil and human rights). Actually, as those who regularly read international news media know, Americans are the only ones today who regard us as an "authority on democracy." To the international community, the US increasingly looks more like a feudal state.

ken ware's picture
ken ware 8 years 45 weeks ago
#36

Chuckle8 - Do you really think the Left is any more concerned than the Right is? Sounds like it could all be window dressing for the next 2014 election cycle. Would Obama and the Left really be concerned about the middle and lower class if they made sure the Sequestration was part of the Budget Act? And have no doubt they made sure it was part of the Budget Act, not just the politicians on the Right. I really have my doubts about either side of the political isle and how much they really care about the American Public or what is supposedly left of it...I really believe their main concern is how much power they will retain and in the case of Obama, how his legacy will look in the future....K.W.

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 8 years 45 weeks ago
#37

Of course the Democrats are now a right wing party. Since Clinton, Dems enacted more of the right wing agenda than decades of Republicans were able to achieve. Clinton wiped out the Great Society as a necessary step toward ending the New Deal, while stripping a segment of the population (by reason of class alone) of such fundamental rights as the right to the minimum wage, the right to reasonable legal representation, equaokl protection under the law, etc. He still had time to begin dismantling the New Deal directly, targeting Social Security/disability. Clinton achieved what decades of hard core right-wingers had only dreamed was possible. The "icing on the cake:" Clinton deeply fractured the "left," pitting the middle class against the rest (former middle class/poor), ensuring that this time, there will be no "populist uprising" (by any other name) -- no push-back against the right wing.

There's nothing even remotely left about giving another tax cut to the middle class, the bourgeoisie, the main Dem. Party campaign donors. It doesn't trickle down. Much of your list sounds fine on paper, and means little or nothing in real life, such as any notion that we now enjoy equal pay. The bottom line is that our form of govt cannot survive the extreme economic disparities/poverty we have today. The Chrysler and GM jobs that were saved protect a number of middle classers, mostly male (although as I understand it, with reduced wages). Etc., etc. Nice enough policies, very middle-of-the-road, but they avoid the most critical, urgent issues. Legislators are going to great lengths to appease middle class donors as the 2014 elections approach.Nothing has been done to revserve the agenda that brought the US to this miserable point.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 45 weeks ago
#38

"chuck", I never took a course in critical thinking; in fact, I don't even have a college degree. Having spent some years in college, however, I'm hardly left with the impression that critical thinking is encouraged there. I doubt most of the critical thinkers I've encountered have learned critical thinking that way either. Back in the mid-'60s when I was in my teens, it was the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement that opened my eyes. As a young adult, I had it figured out that political ads are worthless, that most of the stuff on the boob tube is bogus; especially true since our media morphed into the fascist noise machine it is today. I don't have a lot of sympathy for middle classers who took Reagan seriously, who thought it was okay to dump on the poor. I remember the anger I felt towards these folks back in the 1980s, when Ray-gun was prez, since they were the ones who put that senile pig in the White House. I remember how smug they were, these white middle class and working class morons, and how self-righteous. Now some of them get a taste of what poverty is like; a belated thank-you gift from ole Ronnie Boy and the GOP! And if that ain't karma, honey, I don't know what is. People allow themselves to be manipulated. Nobody manipulates us without our permission. - Aliceinwonderland

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 45 weeks ago
#39

Obama is not the "left", except by false pretense.

BMetcalfe's picture
BMetcalfe 8 years 45 weeks ago
#40

When most of our elected officials representing us "on the Hill" are millionaires, they no longer can conceive of what the rest of us have to deal with on a daily basis. Sure... some of them really did grow up poor, or middle class - and now that they're far beyond having to live daily with the memories of what their meager lives used to be, they don't want to remember it by listening to stories from present-day the impoverished. Hearing about our pain makes them angry, not sentimental or humbled. They don't want to know about the vets who are suffering from physical and emotional injuries. They don't want to know about rising insurance rates that price so many of us out of the market. They don't want to hear that food banks are facing empty shelves because many who used to be able to give to them are now recipients of their generosity. They don't care about a neighborhood, a town, a polluted river, or some other catastrophe which could be helped tremendously by FEMA or other funding which is in Congress's make-or-break hands... UNLESS it's their District or their State, and an election is coming up soon for them. And if they do actually vote to grant funding for help - they want it offset by stripping other necessary programs, instead of a higher tax on the wealthiest who won't miss the tax.

When the people are hurting for jobs, the government should hire as many as they can, and help create private sector jobs for the others. Then, when the public is back to work, and more companies are hiring, people working on government payroll can move from government payroll to the newly created private jobs. But Republicans especially don't want to see that. Instead, they wasted 24 billion dollars by shutting down the government for 19 days. That money could have helped so many people in so many ways, but no... it has to be used to make up for their stupidity. And you & I pay for their carelessness.

Back in the 1960s it was the Republicans who made birth control and abortion available to the women and children who needed it. Now they are blathering in their sanctimonious pulpits, saying women should be home raising babies and cleaning house - without pay - so more men can have the well-paying jobs, along with Viagra.

Everything has been turned upside-down, and they want us to leave them and their wealth alone and we can just help each other. What a sorry lot we elected... But this can change in November.

pslebow 8 years 45 weeks ago
#41

Thanks for your comment. Primary in my opinion, is understanding the nature of the "machine" one is trying to fix, before applying one tool or another. The primary step is to understand that money used by a country that has sovereign currency is limitless - can print virutally as much as it wants. But how much is too much? This is a question rarely address.

So the notion that we must prevent foreign countries from "stealing" our jobs at home via tarrifs (Thom's theory) ignores an alternative and deeper question, how can we apply the resources we have at home to benefit our society and economy? So if China sells a cheap widget or article of clothing, does the US, its pride hurt, have to make those wigdets or shirts locally to survive? What about taking the workers who Thom wants to create these widgets and have them, instead, fix our infrastructure, care for the elderly, install windmills? So does US jingoism have to be the driving force. We can, at this point, easily afford to hire the unemployed to do these much more valuable and useful things rather than make widgets.

(I strongly suggest you view the video I linked in my original post)

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 45 weeks ago
#42

pslebow -- Early this morning while in bed (2 hours of before getting up), it occurred to me that the word "primary" is actually an antithesis to the discussion of economics. One of the most fundamental concepts in economics is the law of supply and demand. Primary would mean is supply or demand more important. To acquire a good economy, IMO, one needs to balance supply and demand. Too much demand we have inflation, and too much supply we have unemployment. The federal reserve was created in the early 1900's with charter of balancing inflation and unemployment.

I do not want to watch any video of someone else. I want to discuss this topic with you.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 45 weeks ago
#43

pslebow- I clicked on that link and lasted twenty minutes into the lecture. Like I said earlier, economists put me to sleep. There's simply no way that I'm going to sit through a two-hour lecture about economics, unless that lecture touches upon what's in it for us and how it impacts our lives. Beyond that, money and economics bore me. Can't help it. Sorry... - AIW

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 45 weeks ago
#44

Tom Ardavany: I agree with you 100% and by the way you have an excellent bio...very impressed! actually... amazed!

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 8 years 45 weeks ago
#45

This story on Democracy Now! describes the divisive racism and intolerance in the Republican message of the last 25 years that got the middle and working classes fighting amongst themselves rather than uniting against their masters http://www.democracynow.org/2014/1/14/dog_whistle_politics_how_politicia... It includes previously unavailable audio of Lee Atwater, chairman of the Republican National Committee, quite openly instructing Republican operatives on how to use racism to further the Republican electoral campaigns.

In addition to that there is a phenomenon described by Saul Alinsky when he wrote about what happens when people start to ascend in status. When he first started organizing poor Stockyards' laborers they were all beat down, had low self esteem, were relatively powerless and poor as all hell. They crafted a manifesto in which they declared that all men are equals regardless of race, color, creed or economic class. Then what happened? They won. They gained power, got a better deal and started making money. They moved out of the Back of the Yards neighborhood into a nice little subdivision in Bridgeport. No sooner had that happened than they started to talk about how they didn't want any of "these people" or "those kinda people", any riff-raff or racial minorities coming into their nice, new neighborhood.

Pat Brown, former governor of California and the current governor's father, wrote in a book about Ronald Reagan that the Democratic Party was "a victim of its own success". It ended the Great Depression, moved the working classes out of poverty and into the middle class. What happens when people start making money? They start buying stock and voting Republican.

These two factors together, Republican divisiveness and Democratic success, caused the middle class, particularly the blue collar middle class to turn against its own vested interests.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 45 weeks ago
#46

Yep! "Oh we like sheep...." and like ole Forrest Gump used to say: Stupid is as stupid does! Those blue-collar middle class sheeple got exactly what they deserve. Too bad the rest of us have to be stuck with what they deserve. - AIW

P.S. This is in response to Mark S's post #46, not #42.

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Today, we are closing Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

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