Robert Reich

Bare knuckle economics

Cross posted from Real Economics.

I have generally been highly critical of the Obama administration and its economic policies. However, below I link to an unique and very informative DailyKos diary that examines the little-heralded efforts of the administration to improve the economic lot of average Americans by trying to support the manufacturing sector of the economy. Now, while I could easily argue that these efforts are "too little, too late," they do constitute evidence that there are some in the Obama administration who have not entirely fallen victim to the Leisure Class (Predatory Class) mentality described by Thorstein Veblen and our own Jon Larson. In this case, the writer identifies the individual: Ron Bloom, former official of the United Steel Workers Union, and currently special advisor to Tim Geithner and White House director of manufacturing policy.

Bare knuckle economics

Previously published on The People's View.

If you read the Wall Street Journal or right wing blogs, you know who Ron Bloom is. He is special advisor to Tim Geithner and White House director of manufacturing policy. He's a former official at the United Steel Workers Union who helped manage the auto rescue.

Mr. Bloom attended Harvard Business School, where he gravitated to populist business cases and was keenly interested in employee buyouts. After 10 years at investment banks, among them Lazard, he became special assistant to the USW president in 1996.

Both inside and outside the USW, Mr. Bloom is known as a financially savvy negotiator — with a tendency to spout profanities WSJ

Right wing blogs are more straightforward

Is there really any doubt that Obama and his administration are a pack of radical Leftists?

Look for Bloom on Youtube and you'll see - they really really hate him. Here's what got our right wing compatriot's underwear in a twist. Speaking as a union official at " 6th Annual Distressed Investing Forum" Bloom said:

Generally speaking, we get the joke. We know that the free market is nonsense. We know that the whole point is to game the system, to beat the market or at least find someone who will pay you a lot of money, 'cause they're convinced that there is a free lunch.

We know this is largely about power, that it's an adults only no limit game. We kind of agree with Mao that political power comes largely from the barrel of a gun. And we get it that if you want a friend you should get a dog.

Absolutely nothing that Bloom said is even controversial on Wall Street, but according to American Right Wing Propagandists, working people are supposed to naively believe in the stories told to them by the economists. Read more.

The author also performs the excellent service of criticizing Robert Reich, and liberals and progressives in general, for ignoring and even disliking the manufacturing sector. As the author notes, back in June 2009, Reich opined on the auto bailout by diving fully into the cesspool of a "post-industrial policy":

Depression News: It's Still the Economy Stupid!

Promoted. Originally posted 2009-10-03 08:50:04 -0400. -- GH

Getting a strong healthcare bill is still top on my agenda, but let's not forget the latest on the jobs front. The idea that the "recession" had more or less reversed has always seemed to me to be nonsensical given the economic circumstances that the majority of Americans are now facing or realistically fear. Now we learn that job losses are escalating while unemployment benefits are running out for people who can't find new ones. Throwing money and more money at financial institutions is proving to be a chimerical solution--hich of course we all knew anyway.

All the talk about the danger of an escalating debt misses the point. as Robert Reich points out. The Truth About Jobs That No One Wants To Tell You.

Progressive Case to Eliminate Health Insurance Tax Credit

Although it has been mostly promoted in the political sphere by right wing free market fundamentalists as part of their proposals to throw everybody into an individual insurance market (a horrible idea), and by some in congress in disingenuous plans (Wyden-Bennett) to save the federal budget part of health care costs (but increasing total costs and costs to both individuals and states; thanks a lot), there is a progressive policy

Open Thread: Things Often Are Not What They Seem

 In a recent blog entry. Robert Reich provides an interesting take on Obama's new campaign against tax havens. He suggests that the tax bill may be a way that Obama means to outflank corporate resistance to healthcare reform. Printed with his permission. See comments below for a link to a more straightforward (if less nuanced commentary by David Sirota.

Open Thread: Some Political Ruminations That Taken Together Offer a Way to Think Coherently About the Present Chaos

I have put together three "commentaries," that pull things together for me as I try to decipher the situation we are facing. I accept the necessity for finding pragmatic solutions to the problems we face as a nation, but in the end I think it is philosophy (n.b. not ideology) that triumphs.


The Knives are Out

Robert Kuttner had an interesting commentary, The Post Partisan President, on Huffington Post this weekend. The short version is: No more time for sweet talking. He discusses the legitimate concerns to progressives that Obama's post-partisan approach will be that all too familiar Democratic cave-in as the Republicans heighten the pressure.