Are you buying this?
Like many other nations, we looking at a ballooning national debt and, like many of those other countries, we have many of the same issues with balancing international competitiveness against our generally higher wages. at a time where many of our largest government expenses, while exessive and sometimes wasteful, are justifiable for the longterm security of the nation. Via Bloomberg News:
As Spain sinks deeper into recession and the jobless rate heads for 20 percent, the highest in Europe, employers are telling workers to accept wage cuts if they want to stay competitive. That’s making it harder for households to tackle a debt load built up during the country’s economic boom and equivalent to 18,000 euros ($25,700) per person.
“There’s a Catch-22 problem for Spain,” said Dominic Bryant, an economist at BNP Paribas SA in London, referring to the 1961 novel by Joseph Heller that highlights a no-win situation faced by a World War II pilot trying to avoid duty. “The solution for the competitiveness problem makes their debt problem worse. By squeezing wages you weaken the domestic economy further.”
Annual growth of almost 4 percent over a decade turned Spain into an engine of Europe’s economy, boosting pay and prices as a building boom encouraged households to rack up 800 billion euros in debt. More than a year into a housing slump that helped spark the worst recession in six decades, the challenge is to trim labor costs and pay back loans without hobbling the country’s route to recovery.
Some people seem to want the economy to sink further. Instead of innovating our way out economic disaster - the green economy and increased scientific ventures to who knows where? - they want to drag America down further clawing back hard earned wages of the workers in order to satisfy the needs and luxurious lifestyles of the uber rich end of investing class, the very people that are the cause of this economic disaster.
We have had to witness finger wagging at us from supposed leaders of this nation in an effort blame us for their out of control "ownership society" pipe dreams that they encouraged and turned around to scapegoat us for.
Ownership society is a slogan for a model of society promoted by former United States President George W. Bush. It takes as lead values personal responsibility, economic liberty, and the owning of property. The ownership society discussed by Bush also extends to certain proposals of specific models of health care and social security.
Bush was out there selling America on buying their own little slice of the American dream... All the while winking at businesses that flooded the uber free market that had developed as a faux sloganeering ideology from the hardly recalled scandalized criminal Ronald Reagan years.
Attacks on Reaganomics usually focus on rising inequality and fiscal irresponsibility. Indeed, Reagan ushered in an era in which a small minority grew vastly rich, while working families saw only meager gains. He also broke with longstanding rules of fiscal prudence.
On the latter point: traditionally, the U.S. government ran significant budget deficits only in times of war or economic emergency. Federal debt as a percentage of G.D.P. fell steadily from the end of World War II until 1980. But indebtedness began rising under Reagan; it fell again in the Clinton years, but resumed its rise under the Bush administration, leaving us ill prepared for the emergency now upon us.
The increase in public debt was, however, dwarfed by the rise in private debt, made possible by financial deregulation. The change in America’s financial rules was Reagan’s biggest legacy. And it’s the gift that keeps on taking.
Unlike Krugman, I cannot point to the disastrous Reagan years as a defining point in the business side of failure, though it is one marker among many on the road to disaster, but more as the time that the the right wing and conservatives turned to a sloganeering of faux ideology to raise him to a pedestal he did not deserve to even be dusting, and leading to Gingritch inspired talking points, Frank Luntz LIEdeology double speak and a general bluster of previously discredited ideas presented as slogans.
This is an unusually large excerpt from C&L's Barbara O'Brien:
"By now you probably see where we’re going. “American Way” conservatism was the dominant political philosophy in the 1920s, and the nation was governed by its principles through the Harding and Coolidge administrations, from 1921 to 1929. Some historians call this decade “the Republican Era.” The vigorous progressivism of 1900-1916 was vanquished, and the labor union movement lost ground. In fact, the longer one looks at America in the 1920s, the more familiar it gets — corporate profits rising faster than worker earnings; a crackdown on immigration; culture wars led by an aggressive Christian fundamentalist movement; and tax cuts galore. If they’d had iPods back then, you’d hardly know the difference.
Of course, it would come to pass that the Republican who won the 1928 presidential election by a landslide, Herbert Hoover, was probably sorry he won. The stock market crashed in October 1929, which marked the beginning of the Great Depression. The Depression was caused by a number of interacting factors, and since it was a worldwide phenomenon you can’t blame the Republicans for all of it. But in the United States many of those factors were created, directly or indirectly, by “American Way” conservative policies. Among these factors were a wildly overheated stock market (security regulation was socialism, after all) and the maldistribution of wealth that resulted from laissez-faire business policies. Since President Herbert Hoover was a tried-and-true “American Way” conservative, he mostly was at a loss to solve the nation’s economic problems, even though he had almost all of his four-year term to do so. In 1932 the nation turned to a liberal Democrat, Franklin Roosevelt, to make things right.
Righties are quick to point out that the New Deal had a limited impact on the Depression, and that the nation’s economy didn’t really pull out of the slump until the industrialization of World War II — over which FDR also presided. (This is just one of many examples of righties taunting lefties for not cleaning up rightie messes they couldn’t clean up themselves; Iraq is another.) But New Deal programs had a longer-term success in fostering economic stability. Federal deposit insurance, unemployment insurance, Social Security, increased government oversight of securities, and other New Deal innovations made Americans’ economic lives more secure and created a buffer against many of the factors that cause economic depressions.
And considering that rightie counter-arguments to the New Deal usually advocate returning to the same governing philosophy that allowed the Depression to happen, you’ll forgive me if I don’t take them seriously.
Anyway, after the FDR landslide in 1932 it was clear the right wing had fallen from grace. Righties spent the rest of the 1930s seething with resentment and planning a comeback. And just when they had a shot at re-taking the White House — bam, World War II happened. And this made the American Right look doubly stupid, because for the most part righties in the 1930s were isolationists who had not only pooh-poohed the threat of the Third Reich but had actually admired Mussolini.
After World War II righties rebounded with a fury. They did this in large part by taking the issue of national security away from the Democrats. It’s important to understand that the Right managed this not because of anything they actually accomplished, but through a “compilation of hysterical charges and bald-faced lies,” to quote Kevin Baker in this Harper’s article, “Stabbed in the Back,” which I vigorously urge you to read.
Much of the Red Scare and McCarthyist hysteria of the late 1940s and 1950s were as much about slapping down liberals and Democrats as it was about national security. See the Kevin Baker article for details. See also Richard Hofstadter’s Anti-Intellectualism in American Life (Vintage/Random House, 1962), in particular pp. 41-42 (emphasis added):
The inquisitors were trying to give satisfaction against liberals, New Dealers, reformers, internationalists, intellectuals, and finally even against a Republican administration that failed to reserve liberal policies. What was involved, above all, was a set of political hostilities in which the New Deal was linked to the welfare state, the welfare state to socialism, and socialism to Communism. In this crusade Communism was not the target but the weapon, and it is for this reason that so many of the most ardent hunters of impotent domestic Communists were altogether indifferent to efforts to meet the power of International Communism where it really mattered — in the area of world politics."
I encourage you to read the whole thing... After you finish here :)
See if you can easily pick out the parallels to many of the problems of today, and maybe begin to realize that not only has "The Great Republican Experiment" failed miserably, but that now is not the first time it has failed miserably.
This is the second time just in the last century that your conservative ideological whack-jobbery has proven itself worthy of nothing but ridicule and scorn. And thus it shall remain the butt of all jokes, for ever more.
Reagonomics, the GOP, the "I got mine-ism" free market juice box republicanism sloganeering that you all emulate will merely be hilarious punchlines as your party sinks further and further into the abyss of a control by radical bigots, Christianists/Dominionists , outright loonies, and other failed warmongers.
We have an opportunity, RIGHT NOW, to put some of our workers back on track to taking control of their own destinies away from the sloganeering of the right wing epic failure we have been dragged into and giving individuals a tool to fight the corporate personhoods that have left this nation economically on the doorstep of the mortuary to be bagged and tagged. We can turn the economy around but it is not going to happen with sloganeering telling us to "Support the troops - CUT TAXES!", as if taking away the source of the militaries wages is going to help any of those workers or the security of the United States of America. Sadly, this is all they have. Failed ideas and slogans. But we have a real opportunity here that will, both in the short run and the long run, help return prosperity to everyone in this nation.
It is about supporting everything that provided this nation with prosperity, respectability on the world stage and even security both for the people and for the nation as a whole... Because an economy that functions is one that provides the taxes needed to pay for government services like "Supporting the troops!" Something that everyone in this nation can and should buy into.
- America's Working Families Are Struggling
- Corporations and CEOs Have All the Power
- Workers in Unions Can Bargain for a Better Life
- But the System Is Broken
- The Employee Free Choice Act Will Help Build an Economy That Works for Everyone
Originally posted at 2009-06-03 10:25:12 -0400 - bumped up for a few more reads - CM1