Developing Nations

By Dan Kervick

Matt Yglesias has described three popular contemporary political approaches to the challenge of maintaining our national commitment to “providing health care services to the elderly, the disabled, and the poor and also to bolstering the general incomes of elderly people.”  One is Congressman Paul Ryan’s approach of reducing the level of the future commitment in order to bring it in line with “historic norms about the level of taxation.”  The second is the liberal approach of preserving our existing level of commitment into the future, even if that means raising taxes in the aggregate.  The third is “the hazy Obama/Simpson-Bowlesish center that wants to raise taxes and cut programs.”

Perhaps this short list characterizes the main political answers reasonably well, if the main political question is how to tame the budget, and shrink or control the deficit.  But I would like to point out that all three answers have something in common:  Not a single one of these approaches, as usually presented, contains any call for the national government to engage seriously in what one might call “investing in our future”.  All three of them reflect the defeatist mindsets of different camps of worn out oldsters, each promoting a different way of giving up, making do, or just hanging on.  They are all pathologies of the dismal “No, we can’t!” era in which we now live.

The promoters of these three variations on the theme of austere, hard news pessimism no doubt fancy themselves realists and responsible grownups.  But they are nothing of the sort.  They are burned-out casualties of neoliberalism, afflicted with dead imaginations or ideological blinders, who have forgotten what it means to grow a country and build a society.  We need to move beyond their miserable and dismal trilemma.  If the die-hard adherents of these schools of thought want to mope around the shuffleboard courts at the End of History Home for Final Surrender, let them.  But it’s time for the rest of us to reject all three approaches and reignite our history.

We have all learned in recent years to draw that invidious distinction between “developing countries” and “developed countries”, and we generally count the US among the fortunate developed few.  But now that we have spent several decades blowing up our economic system, expanding the gap between rich and poor, wasting trillions on foreign wars, throwing millions of our citizens out on the street or into jail cells, and falling further behind in so many of the measures used to calculate relative levels of prosperity and happiness, perhaps the time has come get out of the lazy and self-stultifying habit of calling the United States a “developed country”.  Wouldn’t it be better to get back to the chip-on-the-shoulder outlook that has characterized us Americans throughout most of our history?  We ought to think of ourselves as a developing country whose future should be far brighter than our extremely unsatisfactory present.

Consider China: it clearly thinks of itself as a developing country, and acts like one, even though the Chinese civilization is thousands of years old.  It has a clear and ambitious vision of a more prosperous future for its young people and the generations to come.  As a result, the Chinese have been pouring national resources into building the future of their dreams.

But President Obama has informed us that we are “out of money”.  He appointed the egregious Bowles-Simpson commission to underline that point, and has empowered and vindicated Pete Peterson, the Concord Coalition and the other miserly apostles of parsimony who are draining the ambition and laming the vigor of the nation.  Even worse, the administration’s instinctive budgetary conservatism and austerity-mongering has played into the hands of people like the Kochs, the patrons and heroes of greedy bastards everywhere, whose sole political aim is to put progressive democratic government out of business for good, and whose social philosophy can best be summed up as “Keep your hands off my wallet!”

But we have tremendous material and human resources in the United States, many of them currently unemployed and unutilized, others used wastefully and stupidly. We are not “out of” anything essential. And we certainly can’t be out of money.  Money is a mere financial instrument, a public utility manufactured by the national government in whatever quantities are needed at virtually zero cost, and that exists for the purpose of moving real resources around the economy.  If we want to get very busy moving our real resources around our economy once again, and mobilizing them for high-powered productive purposes that serve the public and build the future, we can do just that – whenever we want.  And we can always create whatever financial instruments we need to accomplish our goals.

But what is missing is the political will, since the instinctive energies of a naturally optimistic nation have been locked up in the dreary, cobwebbed vaults of two moribund political parties that have outlived their natural usefulness and are crippling the country with their negativism.  I sincerely hope the rising next generation, once they get over their current distractions with the politics of camping out in public squares and dodging police, will be able to shake off this national degeneracy and get busy commandeering the vast unemployed resources of the country to start building a future again.

The primitive and benighted politics of stinginess and self-shrinkage are afflicting Europe as well.  In a recent post at New Economic Perspectives, Bill Black reported the words of a Dutch citizen who argued that “austerity is necessary for our children.”   It is hard not to sympathize on one level with the sentiment expressed in this statement.  Every parent understands the ongoing moral conflict of parenthood: How much of their income should parents devote to the pursuit of their own comfort and the satisfaction of their own personal desires; and how much should be devoted to the pursuit of their children’s well-being and happiness?

But viewed in the context of what is happening in Europe right now – massive youth unemployment across the continent – the Dutch citizen’s statement is almost cruelly ironic.  How are Europeans fostering the well-being of their children by throwing their children into mass unemployment, or by permitting them employment only in a stagnating economy in which their children’s skills are increasingly wasted and poorly rewarded?  How can the next generation prosper if the current generation lets the continent’s industrial capacity and human capital waste away under a fanatical and blisteringly stupid regime of continental austerity?

Resources can be used for consumption, saved for future use, or invested in productive activity, and households often choose mainly between saving and consumption.  But a nation – or a continent for that matter – is not a household.  It does not provide for its children simply by saving current income so the children can have more later.  Like a business, a nation needs to spend money to make money.  It needs to invest in the development of national capital and build productive capacity.  And healthy levels of consumption, far from robbing the future, are necessary to spur industry.  The great Scottish philosopher David Hume understood the role that the pursuit of what he called “luxury” played in the development of nations; and cited the enthusiasms of puritanical parsimony as one of the chief causes of the failure of nations to develop.  The industrial capacity that is built now to supply the consumption needs of the present generation adds to the productive capacity of the society and extends that productivity well into the future.  The capacity we build now is capacity our children can enjoy and don’t have to build themselves.   And where private enterprise falters either from waste, private debt, fear, thievery or a simple lack of effective consumer demand due to excess household debt and saving, public enterprise must step in and energetically pick up the slack.  Austerity on a large social scale is not saving; it is the destruction of capacity and failure of investment.  Europeans are stealing from their children by stifling private and public investment in the present to practice a misguided religion of penny-pinching.

MMT understands that public deficits under monetarily sovereign governments play an entirely different function than private sector debt.  Governments that issue the national currency are not mere users of that currency.  They do not have to borrow or tax back the currency they issue from the public in order to spend that currency.   They always have the capacity to create more money via public spending than they destroy via taxes, without charging a real debt on the future.  It is true that too much public sector money creation can be inflationary if it merely chases the goods and services produced at existing levels of productivity and output.  But if the money is spent effectively to promote industry and the production of new goods and services, the monetary expansion is just absorbed into the expansion of the economy without sending price levels higher.

Recently the economists Lawrence Summers and J. Bradford DeLong have argued for increased public spending.  They have cited low public borrowing costs and claim that public spending can pay for itself by returning an equal or greater amount of tax revenue to the public treasury.   But whether or not that is true, the focus here on tax revenues and borrowing costs is misplaced.   An expansion of public spending pays for itself with the real goods and services that are produced by the spending, and the value that is added to the society as a result.  Whether some of that value is then drained back into the public treasury in the form of tax payments is a secondary question related only to the use of taxation as a tool for price stability.   Recently I have argued that the US Treasury should probably get out of the business of borrowing altogether.  If we moved in this direction – and simply permitted the US Treasury to spend more money into the economy than it taxes out, without issuing debt – Americans would have a better understanding of the actual nature of the federal deficit.  The feeling that excess expenditures had to be “paid for” by budget balancing tax revenues would dissipate.  Europeans should take the same course, either by withdrawing from the Euro altogether if their fellow European neighbors fail to act intelligently, or by politically mobilizing the continent to authorize the European Central Bank to credit national government accounts with sufficient balances to power a massive fiscal expansion.

European nations are older than the United States.  But they too are developing nations.  There are no developed nations.  We are all developing nations.  It’s time to start acting that way again.  History is not over; social change and revolution are not finished; the human spirit and the drive to innovate, create and improve are not dead; art and the revelation of beauty are not over.  We are not in a post-everything era; we are in a pre-something era where the something that awaits us is so great we can barely imagine it.  But it is our job to try to imagine it, and then move toward the object of our vision with purpose and drive.   We are all children just starting out; even those of us who are older children.

38 Responses to Developing Nations

  1. Dennis Redmond

    Great post. Though I’d make one qualification: we are indeed in one “post” period — the post-US Empire period. One of the things holding us back is that the 1% have defined patriotism as the politics of allegiance to a trillion-dollar military, the economics of permanent colonial war, and a culture of Empire-centric provincialism and neoliberal hucksterism. Time to redefine patriotism to mean trillions of dollars for US universities, schools and green jobs, a politics of multipolar engagement and respectful dialogue, and a culture of non-commercial creativity and digital sharing.

    • Dan Kervick

      Yes, what a waste that has been. But we shouldn’t go along with the labels of people like Fareed Zakaria who want to call the post-Empire world a “post-American” world. America isn’t going anywhere. It can be better than ever, even as the empire sinks into the ocean of history.

  2. A wonderful, uplifting post! It would make a great speech.

  3. Thanks Dan.

    A really positive post.

    It’s ironic that as the “developed” world has evolved it has become mired in a misconception of limited finances. We in the “developed” world believe we have run out of money, when in reality money is the one thing we can never run out of. At the same time we act as if real scarce resources–fossil fuels–are unlimited. We’ve got it all completely upside down. We should be using our real unlimited monetary capability to grow into new technologies and development strategies to evolve out of overusing limited natural resources. Instead, we pretend we have run out of money and allow all the existing money to be speculated on the continued use of dwindling resources, while the economies of the world go down the tubes.

    Thanks for reminding us that it doesn’t have to be this way.

  4. Dan Kervick

    We in the “developed” world believe we have run out of money, when in reality money is the one thing we can never run out of.

    When people say we are out of money, they mostly mean, “I’m not sharing any of my stuff!” They also don’t want the government to appropriate purchasing power to itself because they are afraid they will have less purchasing power themselves as a result.

    But if government deficit spending is intelligent, it can build wealth so the addition of net financial assets doesn’t result in a diminution of the value of the net financial assets we already possess.

  5. Charles Yaker

    Great post but we need a leader, a manager who will make it happen and unfortunately I don’t see that leader. I only see staff using a military analogy not line without which we are going nowhere.

    • Dan Kervick

      Yeah, we need a sort of economic Churchill to fight the GWOS (Global War on Stagnation).

      The current generation of leaders in the United States and Europe are weak, unimaginative second-raters who don’t understand history and have no idea how things actually get done. They are counting beans when they should be calling for throwing everything we have into a planetary effort to save the planet and build a prosperous future. I guess none of them actually wants to be a great leader, and all of them are more interested in just cashing their government paycheck and phoning in their role in history.

      • Charles Yaker

        You are again correct, they are just moving the deck chairs on the Titanic

      • Interesting choice of leader, Dan! Churchill was a classical liberal, goldbug and probably the biggest opponent of Keynesian debauchery in history! Being a true humanitarian, he was also a Georgist!

        Too bad he was bought out by the neo-classical cabal.

  6. Marco Tizzi

    Dan,
    as italian I experimented “moneyprinting” before the Euro: it’s true that our governments spent very bad the money they printed. Basically they stole the money. And so I come to the first problem: how do you prevent frauds? You can say you still have many frauds in the “”private”" banking and financial sector, but the goal should be to make things better.
    On the other side I still think that MMTers undervalue inflation – which is somehow affordable – but most of all the devaluation of your currency in international markets. Dollar is a reserve currency, but how long will it last as a reserve currency?
    As soon as this change you’ll experience a drop in rate of exchange due to moneyprinting. I remember what that used to mean in Italy: no chance to buy a foreign product.
    Maybe U.S. people can live well without foreign products. But we, for instance, have no raw materials (like ZERO) so it would be very hard for us to build a real industry.
    In the end: maybe MMT can work in U.S. I wish you all it does. I wish you all you can have a chance to try practically. But exporting the theory seems to me much harder: we need something new in Europe, not a return to the past.

  7. Yes, Marco, in Europe you do indeed need something new. Like MMT for instance. But how can you have it? You, like most Europeans, have chosen to trade away your monetary sovereignty and now even any semblance of a democratic society for control by the fascist, mafioso who are the leaders of the EU. Learning from history is not something that Europeans or their descendents in the US have taken to. I do not believe you comprehend the concepts.

    • Marco Tizzi

      Sorry if it seemed like I was somehow advocating Europe and the Eurozone as it is now. I HATE this situation and the lack of democracy (absence of democracy, I should say) it brings.
      I consider myself basically anarchist (anarchy = without leaders) so you can imagine how I feel with such an oppressive government.

      But I can see the problems in applying MMT in Italy, considering the country out of Euro or with a double currency: the same people who now are ruling us in a police and military state will also have the power to print as much currency as they want and give it to their friends.
      I don’t think it’s a solution.
      On the other side I won’t be able anymore to buy a HP notebook or a Nike pair of shoes.
      Ok for the shoes, but I need the notebook! :o)

  8. Bayard Waterbury

    Dan, interesting that you would suggest that we see ourselves as a “developing nation” instead of a “developed” nation. In order to do so, we must also admit that we have assumed all of the mechanics in economic/political terms of a Third World Nation, where control of our politics has been ceded to the oligarchs who are free to continue crafting the economic and political policies strictly to their benefit. We have become, essentially, a Slave State, a sort of American Orwellian Hell, in which various oligarchs through elections, appointments, and lobbying have assumed control over the 99%. Please, someone argue that I’m wrong!! Sure, we have “freedom of speech” for all the good it does us. Most Americans are too busy, to depressed, to apathetic, or too indoctrinated, to go beyond the media oligarchy to seek answers. The mainstream media is entirely controlled by about 7 entities, crosslinked and cooperatively inclined, not to mention substantially controlled by profit motive to propound what satisfied their advertisers, mostly those in the 1%. One cannot tune into any show, radio or television, read any newspaper or magazine, with very minor exceptions, where they can find the plain, straightforward, unvarnished truth, but instead are presented with a self serving pablum of lies, half-truths, and toxic opinions which are devised to keep them believing that, somehow, the answers to their misery lie somewhere within the grasp of one of our two major parties. The biggest problem is that in the rare case of good strong opinions offered by folks like Larry Summers, Simon Johnson, and Bill Black are largely buried in the blather such that no one becomes convinced that these ideas and options are any better or more preferable than those offered by plutocrats like Paul Ryan, and the various political candidates. Why would Elizabeth Warren find traction so hard to find when her ideas are so common sensical and sparkling. They are subjected to the media and die there. There are many wonderful writers, like you, who are telling the truth and carrying forward the torch of progressive thinking, and who are substantially ignored but for your own chorus, of which I am a member, who just love to sing along, and otherwise feel helpless to go further, beyond the occupy movements to insisting on no uncertain terms, on real change. Are we afraid? Perhaps. But if strength lies in numbers, we still have far to go to build a meaningful alliance for things like a Constitutional Amendment to overcome the dilatory effects of Citizens United. But, we must continue to push to proselatize others to our cause, lest we consign America to the dustbin of history, just another failed state.

    • Charles Yaker

      Jared Diamond wrote about your last line in Collapse http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collapse:_How_Societies_Choose_to_Fail_or_Succeed

      But you made another point about the “chorus”. Which bears examination. Nobody is attempting to. Communicat with the bulk of Americans. Those at don’t have a college education and probably don’t ask “why” . My suggestion there is for someone with MMT Mitch Green maybe start a non profit, collect funds and rent billboards through out the US and post simple coments like. “reducing Social Security and Medicare will lead to a Resession possibly a depression”. Or ” There is an alternative nobody needs to go to bed hungry and nobody needs to be unemployed” it may not cause change now but when Austerity kicks in it will get noticed and get the average Joe to turn to MMT and the Economists who warned them .

  9. Did you see how many insurance and health-care related companies are listed as the “ALEC Corporations” on the Common Cause website? A blog at http://www.alternet.org leads us to the link (the following may be imperfect: hard to know u.c. “I” from l.c. “l” if link on page is in sans serif font):

    http://www.commoncause.org/site/pp.asp?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=8078765

    This means that “ALEC” lawyers for their members, instead of elected members of the Administrative Branch of Government, are “writing the laws” of the land, from “health care” to everything else important.

  10. Re the ALEC private”law-writing” machine above, is this “praxis” not a blatant subversion of our Constitution by a “foreign power” (a private cabal with private profiteering interests), and a blatant act of treason by elected members of the Administrative Branch of Government?

  11. Marco, Charles – MMT is NOT “something new”. Before Italy signed the Euro Suicide Pact, it was one of Europe & the world’s best growing nations after the war. Italy “applied MMT”. Italy could print as many lire as it wanted, and it did.

    it’s true that our governments spent very bad the money they printed. Basically they stole the money. If the alternative is the past “bad spending”, “steal the money” or the current Euro suicide pact – RETURN TO THE PAST! As I’ve said before, many Italians have a weird distorted view of their own past & present. The USA spends its money far worse, with far more stealing than Italy has any time since 1945. The hyperselfcritical-Italian view has no basis in statistics or reality.

    On the other side I won’t be able anymore to buy a HP notebook or a Nike pair of shoes.
    You’re reversing the likely causality. The lire could drop because Italians bought too much from abroad, because Italy suddenly got richer. There is no automatic effect – printing money–>currency devaluation, inflation. There would be a very strong possibility that the value of the new lire would go up after some time of MMT policies.

    It would be easier for you to afford a HP notebook or Nike shoes. Who cares if the lire buys half as many dollars (& that degree of weakness is unlikely, and very unlikely to continue) – if you now have three times as many lire, and Italian produced-goods do not inflate in price? As Abba Lerner said, nations not applying functional finance (=MMT) cannot compete in the long run with nations using functional finance. Not using functional finance / MMT, especially in a big-government modern economy is like the politicians getting in airplanes & randomly bombing cities. It is that insane. The old politicos were not that crazy, especially before 1980 or so, especially before the Eurosuicide. The Euro policies are that crazy. They are like randomly bombing cities. And frequently. Random, frequent bombing is not good for economies.

    You are making wild logical leaps – without noticing them. Slow down – festina lente. MMT proceeds by careful baby steps, like real science. Assuming that inflation/devaluation MUST occur – is based on not understanding real economics = Keynesian/Institutional/MMT economics & implicitly assuming the validity of neoclassical / commodity theory falsehoods. MMT thinks very carefully about inflation and the policy recommendations incorporate many anti-inflationary ideas. IMHO in the USA in particular, which I know best, MMT & the JG would set off colossal deflationary forces underestimated by the academic MMTer’s usual academic caution. As Wray noted, the old Italian governments erred by following the mainstream idiocy of high interest rates “to fight inflation”. The reverse is true in the long run. Lower interest rates & you will lower inflation.

    the same people who now are ruling us in a police and military state will also have the power to print as much currency as they want and give it to their friends.
    Somebody ALWAYS has to have the power. Someone ALWAYS is printing the money. Right now it is the ECB. The Eurocrats have shown themselves to be utterly corrupt, completely untrustworthy. Infinitely worse, infinitely more dishonest than Berlusconi or all the worst of the postwar Italian politicians combined. Who do you want to have the power to print money or not? Deranged, evil tyrants at the ECB? Or politicians that Italians have some control over with elections?

    Italy – any state in the Eurozone is not really an independent country any more. It is just an administrative subdivision, a province. And the “Eurozone country” is not at all democratic. It is basically a fascist state. Europeans signed away their democracies to live in a financial-fascist state, without noticing. Formal, flawed, corrupt old Italian democracy is still a lot better than fascism.

    • Marco Tizzi

      Calagus,

      as I said I didn’t want to advocate this regime. I am totally aware of what’s happening in Europe and agree 1000% with your view. I only have to disagree on some of your statements that are probably based on a wrong view of the italian politics in the past.

      1- we bought too much from outside? We have NO raw materials. ZERO. NOTHING. We MUST buy from abroad because we do NOT have them. Our industry is based on manufacturing: buy raw manterials, manufacture, sell. It’s true that we based far too much our economy in export: if there is a rule in economy is that all the countries cannot be exporters. An economy based on export CANNOT work in the long run without some kind of war, either military or monetary. But still we have to find a way to buy raw materials at affordable prices.

      2- our past: it’s true that inflation was much better then the actual situation. I can remember when we had an inflation of 7% our bank accounts gave 10% ineterests. Now we have a 3% inflation and bank accounts give 1%. So money is actually reducing for us. From the other side our politicians didn’t give us acceptable infrastructures, mostly in the south, and financed directly Mafia through public spending. We never had a choice, we never had a chance: you go against Berlusconi and you are right, but remember the alternative was those ones who took us into Euro (Berlusconi has always been against Euro). There has never been democracy in Italy, we always had to chose between “worse” and “much worser”. Now we MAYBE have the chance to change everything with new popular movements like Movimento 5 Stelle. But I don’t wannna go back to our Mafia-based parliament that decides everything.

      3- you say that somebody always have the power. Well, ok, as a dreamer I want citizens to have power, mostly through direct democracy as it happens in Switzerland, but even more. Did you ever hear the name of a Swiss politician? No, ask yourself why.

      4- sombody issues money. Today this is done by banks. Does it work? No. Do we have to change it? Yes. The problem is how. What about introducing a double currency in Europe? One national directly issued (not borrowed) from the government and keep Euro for international trade. It could save us. But then I’d like CITIZENS to DIRECTLY decide the amount of money issued and what this is used for. This would be a real revolutionary MMT.
      Otherwise is just moving power from European technocrats-bankers to Italian organized crime and military State.
      Sorry, we had enough in the past.
      People have to remember one thing: in the western world bombing people has always been something unsual in the last 60 years. In U.S. apart from 9/11 there’s no “real” bombing of people after WWII. In Italy bombs exploding around have been usual life since 1993 and the State has always been involved: first they called it “terrorism” and then “mafia”, but actually it was only the Government. Everybody knows it and everybody are scared: not because we are “hyperselfcritical”, but because we KNOW our politicians much better then everybody else in the world.
      I don’t wanna come back to those times, sorry. For no reason. At any cost.

  12. A very inspiring post, Dan. It led to my recalling these famous words from John Kennedy: “Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans— … tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.”

    • Dan Kervick

      Thanks Tyler. I have the same feelings. Maybe its because I grew up in the sixties in a bedroom filled with moon maps, moon globes, Gemini and Apollo rockets models, planetary “mobiles” hanging from the ceiling and the sense that I lived in a country that was ambitious and actually tried to do big things.

      The whole Loserville “No we can’t” zeitgeist we live in now makes me sick. It can never be an excuse for leaving resources unemployed to say we are “out of money.” Ultimately, you don’t spend money in investing: you spend resources. If there are resources unemployed, then the “no we can’t” line is just a lie.

      • “Maybe its because I grew up in the sixties in a bedroom filled with moon maps, moon globes, Gemini and Apollo rockets models, planetary “mobiles” hanging from the ceiling and the sense that I lived in a country that was ambitious and actually tried to do big things.”

        These are always my favorite “stories” from you. (Sniff). Great to see you mobilizing your thoughts into these NEP posts as of late. What we need is the equivalence of another war effort, sans the war this time. Thank you for constantly reminding me that “No, REALLY, we can!”

    • Dan Kervick

      Maybe this Kennedy line will inspire too:

      We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

      • That’s one of my favorite quotes. Kennedy knew that the obstacles humankind creates for itself can be transcended when people come together as a team.

        I was driving across the magnificent Chesapeake Bay Bridge yesterday, marveling at what humans can do when we work together.

    • Charles Yaker

      Yeah but they killed him and this is what we got.

      • Charles,

        They did not kill his legacy. In a poll, Americans named John Kennedy as the president they would choose to have added to Mount Rushmore. That means they agree with what he stood for, which means there is tremendous hope. History has taught us that America has a remarkable ability to self-correct.

        • Charles Yaker

          Tyler

          You are correct but they did kill him and may have derailed the dream or buried it in the jungle of Vietnam

  13. Right on. This from someone smack dab in the heart of Boomer-ville!

  14. Pingback: 10 Sunday Reads | The Big Picture

  15. You mischaracterize the liberal approach. Yes, they want to raise taxes in the aggregate, but higher taxes mean more economic growth (at least historically). The liberal idea is to increase economic growth and to make sure that most Americans get to enjoy some of it. Growth under liberal high tax regimes has always outpaced growth under low tax business friendly regimes, so the feeling is we that we can return to higher growth rates. The idea is also to use that growth to increase living standards across the board, including better retirements and health care. This is in contrast to the post-Reagan flat lining of wages and living standards even as productivity rose.

    Liberals have never been anti-growth. In fact, they’ve long supported it at higher levels and more broadly spread than conservatives who have long favored slower growth and tighter distributions of it through their pro-business policies.

  16. Those who say we are out of money are simply dead wrong. We are out of political will to take back our economic surplus from those who consider themselves its owners. In days of yore, when society was so afflicted, the story was that a dragon was hoarding gold and jewels and needed to be slain, giving rise to the myth of St. George.

    We all know who the dragon is and his initials are not B.O., though he seems to be as much in the dragon’s thrall as everyone else in Washington. The dragon is the FIRE sector – finance, insurance and real estate, which seems to have been taken over by organized crime, and unless we rise up and slay that dragon, and its neo-liberal economics and neo-conservative politics, we might as well await our doom.

    The FIRE sector’s made-man is Willard “Mittens” Romney, a bully vulture capitalist, who represents everything that has led us to the impasse we face. If we elect him in the fall, it will be four more years of cow-towing to the dragon. Enough is enough. If Obama can win without the bankers hw may feel he can afford to subjugate them.

  17. Pingback: Developing Nations | Humor & Bitch Slap

  18. Pingback: Public Enterprise, National Development and Unemployment | Rugged Egalitarianism

  19. Pingback: Public Enterprise, National Development and Unemployment | New Economic Perspectives