They’re Making Love to the Third Rail: What Are We Gonna Do About It?

By Joe Firestone

OK, the President has officially proposed the “chained CPI” cut to Social Security in opposition to what the heavy majority of American voters want him to do and in contradiction with promises he and Joe Biden made during their re-election campaign. So, what punishment should we exact from this Administration, and what should we do to prevent cuts from happening in addition to signing petitions, and calling Representatives and Senators?

Immediate Punishment for Lying

President Obama and Vice President Biden clearly lied to our faces about what they would do when the Republicans came for Social Security if they were re-elected. I know politicians lie frequently during campaigns. But, I think that if we want to make them accountable, then we need to develop zero tolerance for that. A politician’s word has to become his/her bond; or he/she must be defeated as soon as we can make it possible. That has to become both the perception of politicians and the reality of how our system operates, if we’re going to save our democracy.

Accordingly, I propose that a Democratic Congressperson introduce a bill of impeachment in the House for this President as soon as possible. The grounds for impeachment could include failure to prosecute the torturers from the Bush Administration, failure to prosecute the control frauds in the FIRE sector, as well as the charge that the President lied to the American people about his intentions on SS policy in the last election campaign, in order to deceive us into re-electing him. I think that’s fraud.

It’s essential that a Democratic Congressperson introduce the bill of impeachment. Otherwise, the first step in making it clear that the party has repudiated its leadership on the safety net issue will not be clearly made. Of course, the more Democrats who sign onto the bill, the more the point of repudiation will be made. If a majority of Democrats can come together to this, then candidates of the Party will be free to run against the President on the chained CPI in 2014.

There’s certainly a reasonable chance of indictment in the House and conviction in the Senate for failing to prosecute in the first two areas mentioned, provided that the public can mount an impeachment movement (a long shot, certainly). But whether or not the President could ever be convicted in the third area of lying about SS is less important than that the issue be vetted in public at length. We need to have a debate about politicians lying to the public in order to get elected. An impeachment forum is probably the only vehicle that can teach them a sufficiently searing lesson.

Even though the Vice President guaranteed no cuts to SS even more strongly than the President, I don’t propose that he be impeached. The reason is that the fish rots from its head, and that the disposition to mess with SS surely comes from the President, completely apart from whether or not Joe Biden was lying when he delivered his flat-out guarantee, or was just acting as a tool for his boss.

Yes, yes, I know. I’m not a Very Serious Person (VSP) for making this proposal. It has no chance to pass, and little chance of getting anywhere in Congress unless people become so angry that a real movement for impeachment begins. So why do it?

I say do it to express the anger of the base. And do it to introduce the possibility of impeachment. And do it to make the point that the President and the Democratic Party are doing things that the base will never accept. The issue of “chained CPI” will be an issue of betrayal to the base for years to come, unless it fails to pass, and even then it will leave a legacy of distrust, unless the Party resists this President. And, if it does pass, then, eventually, either it will be replaced by the CPI – E (CPI for the elderly), or the Democratic Party will be replaced by another that will take this up as a cause.

Punishment for Democratic Party Openness to Cuts

The majority of the Democratic Party in Congress seems to be “open” to discussing SS cuts. Some pretty much back the President, others are haggling over price, i.e. the tax increases they can get in return for cutting entitlements. Relatively few are saying that SS cuts are DOA and, in the Senate, that they will be opposed by (coordinated?) filibusters that will doom any measures including SS cuts.

So, a second element of punishment that may motivate a movement for impeachment is a moratorium on contributions to the Democratic Party, or any of its various committees, or to any Democratic office holders and candidates who will not make a pledge of unconditional opposition to the President’s proposal, until the effort to cut SS is defeated. This must be done immediately so that contribution statistics show that such a moratorium is in place, and that the Party and its candidates are falling far short of its monthly goals.

That kind of punishment for the Party will send our message of anger loud and clear, and will motivate opposition to SS cuts on the part of key Senators and Congresspersons. If the anger of the base is reflected in contribution totals, then, as the months go by, opposition will build to any deal that involves SS cuts. By this summer, before any deal is likely to be concluded, the handwriting will be on the wall. Namely, if the Democrats support the President on any cuts to SS, then they can kiss the 2014 election, and perhaps even the Democratic Party, goodbye.

New Messaging Strategy Opposed to Cuts

The most important reason why SS and other entitlement cuts keep coming up is because neoliberal ideology has become dominant in America since 1980. Its manifestation is the area of fiscal policy is so-called fiscal responsibility, meaning government austerity, deficit reduction and reductions in the debt-to-GDP ratio. Neoliberalism calls for deficits and debts, rather than full employment to be at the center of fiscal policy, and it calls for jobs, health care, the future, and even democracy to be sacrificed on the altar of its warped vision of fiscal responsibility. 

I’ve discussed neoliberalism here and here. I say that it kills and is against the public interest. I say that Obama’s chained CPI will kill more and more people as time goes on if it passes. It is not fiscal responsibility. It is the height of irresponsibility. Fiscal responsibility is assessing fiscal policy against its projected impacts on society and democracy. It is not about projecting its impact on the levels of the deficit, the debt, and the debt-to-GDP ratio.

We have to message that. We also have to make people understand that the Government is the money scorekeeper. It can never run out of points. It can always generate new money for any expenditure that it must make for public purpose. The Congress can certainly provide new authority to do that to the Treasury any time it cares to. But it has already provided the authority for the Fed to issue unlimited reserves for purposes of monetary policy; and it has also provided authority to the Treasury to create platinum coins with arbitrarily large face values specified by the Secretary, that can earn enough seigniorage to fill the public purse to any level needed to repay debt, and enable congressionally appropriated deficit spending.

We also have to message that the sequestration, debt ceiling, and budgetary crises being created by Congress are faux crises, shock doctrine being used by the neoliberals to create the crass darwinian social system they want to live in. There’s no need or reason for any of the crises we’re experiencing, because the Government is short of money only by the free choice of its various branches; not because there is any real scarcity of financial resources. And, as for real resources, those are sitting idle, because there’s no consumer demand to drive sales, which in turn can drive employment.

The Government can create that demand, but it has to use its financial capabilities to create money to do that. It cannot simply sit and wait for the private sector to decide that it can make more money by employing people than it can through financial speculations and control frauds. The Government doesn’t need increased taxes to provide that demand. It doesn’t need to cut SS or other components of the safety net to do that. It doesn’t need to borrow or cut present programs to pay for new programs for spurring innovation, reinventing infrastructure, creating new energy foundations, enabling green jobs, or implementing enhanced Medicare for All, or fixing our messed up public educational system. The Government can use its money creating power to accomplish all this without spending cuts or more borrowing if it wishes to do that.

Lastly, we need to message that we know all the above, and that our representatives in the Senate and Congress had better learn it too, and stop poor mouthing us. We need to tell the next Senator and Congressperson we talk to who tells us that his/her support for the chained CPI is necessary because we’re running out of money, that we know this line of talk is pure BS, and that we’re not having any. And we also need to tell them, that if they persist in their support of chained CPI then they will be primaried, and defeated; and failing that, defeated in the general election, and that their careers will be over, because they will have shown by their continued support that they are unqualified to represent the people either in Congress or in the Senate.

Supporters of Social Security and the safety net have been on the defensive now for years. They defend SS by pointing out that it is fully solvent and has contributed nothing to the present crisis. They defend it by pointing out that an easy fix to any “solvency problems” projected in 2033, 235, or 2037 as the case may be, is to remove the payroll tax cap. The defend it by pointing out that cuts to it would break promises made to the generation that has “bailed out” SS over the past 30 years, by paying double what was paid previously to 1983 in payroll taxes. Finally, they defend by pointing out the fictional character of the CBO-based projections that the claims of crisis are based on. But almost no SS supporters go beyond these objections to attack the very assumptions of neoliberal fiscal policy; specifically that the US has debt and deficit problems that SS and other entitlement programs will exacerbate in the future.

Instead, entitlement supporters either ignore the assumption, or, like Senator Bernie Sanders, start out their defenses by granting the neoliberal view of fiscal responsibility, but calling for higher taxes and reduced spending in areas they think are counter-productive. That has to stop! Messaging by supporters has to go on the offensive and deny that there is any problem of solvency, present or future, at all. That’s the way to win the current battle to save the safety net, as well as the coming battles to make it more generous and to make America a land of hope and opportunity once again.

33 responses to “They’re Making Love to the Third Rail: What Are We Gonna Do About It?

  1. sunflowerbio

    Thank you once again Joe for taking the lead on these topics. Several other issues could also be added to an impeachment indictment, such as failure to close GITMO as promised, shredding the constitutional guarantee of habeas corpus, and executing American citizens without due process, but I believe most of these are issues that the average citizen would not support as impeachable acts. Lying to voters probably would not stand up to conviction either unless it were brought by Democratic representatives, as we saw during Clinton’s trial. It’s a sorry state of affairs when such a clumsy mechanism as impeachment is the main tool available to the public to correct miscreants, but it is the Constitution we have inherited.
    I notified Obama that I would not contribute any funds to his reelection if he signed the NADA and I am sticking to my resolution.

    • Average citizens will not yet support this. That’s true. But it’s important that it be laid on the table. First because these ARE impeachable offenses and “fiat justicia ruat caelum.” And second, because once a flag like that is planted people can self-organize around it. As it is, “impeachment” is the unmentionable word among progressives. This weakens their opposition to the illegal and unconstitutional actions of this president. If this barrier could be removed, the “left” opposition to the President would get some teeth. Right now, the President can ask: “what’s their alternative.” At the very least impeachment holds out the possibility that Joe Biden is the alternative. Would he be any better? Well, pre-impeachment there’s no reason to believe he would be. But, post-impeachment is another thing, because the impeachment process would be a learning experience for him as well as for the President and the rest of the country.

  2. “Hey, by the way, let’s talk about Social Security. Number one, I guarantee you, flat guarantee you, there will be no changes in Social Security. I flat guarantee you.”

    – VP Joe Biden, on the campaign trail, August 14, 2012

    • joefirestone

      Ah . . . “I remember it well.”

    • Is that like “Read my lips…”
      Since when? is any politician held accountable for anything,anything “said” ?

      • golfer1john

        Sometimes. Bush 41 lost because he broke his promise. The people who cared about the promise stayed home or voted for Perot. In the case of Democrat voters, though, when the election comes around all is forgiven. Obama broke all those 2008 promises and lost nary a vote because of it.

        • joefirestone

          John, I think he lost because of the recession. That may have been caused, in part, because he raised taxes. But, if he had both raised taxes and spent on higher multiplier programs perhaps he wouldn’t have lost.

          On Obama, I think things are more complicated than that. Obama and the Ds promised they would get the country out of the recession. They also ran on Medicare for All. They also ran on cleaning up the mess on Wall street. They didn’t get the country out of the recession. They didn’t clean up the mess on Wall Street, and they passed a bailout for the health insurance companies that provided little immediate benefit to people before the elections of 2010. Also, the Credit card Reform bill did very little for people and allowed the banks to continue to charge abusive credit card interest rates. So that’s the record the Dems ran on in 2010.

          I think they paid for their poor performance all over the country, and we paid too because we got that tea party House, and Republican legislators and Governors all over the country. generally, Republican performance was terrible. The Democrats could point to it all over the country. In 2012 the R candidates for the presidency were an awful joke, except Romney and Huntsman. Romney won, but ran as a disrespectful plutocrat against Obama. So, Obama was able to beat him. Not because Ds and Independents loved him; but because Romney was the greater of evils, and Obama ran a populist campaign telling people lies.

          So, yes, it’s true that Obama lost very few votes compared to 2008; but he did not do well compared to other incumbents. The election was close and was more like Bush’s victory in 2004, rather than Clinton’s in 1996, Reagan’s in 1984, Nixon’s in 1972, Eisenhower’s in 1956, or any of Roosevelt’s re-election victories. In short, I think Obama’s re-election was grudging, and occurred only because Romney and the Rs were so bad. The Dems didn’t take the House, and even though the Dems excuse themselves now, saying that it was due to gerrymandering, everyone should know very well that if the Ds had had a decent margin over the Rs, then they would have overcome that.

          So, I’d say that the Ds are still paying a price for their 2009 – 2011 perfidy, and their fecklessness since then, and the Republicans in their turn are still suffering from their clearly anti-people bias. Both parties are paying an electoral price. But this price isn’t sufficiently painful for them to make them want to change.

  3. golfer1john

    “We need to tell the next Senator and Congressperson we talk to who tells us that his/her support for the chained CPI is necessary because we’re running out of money, that we know this line of talk is pure BS, and that we’re not having any. ”

    Sometime MMT friend Paul Krugman had multiple chances to do exactly that yesterday morning on This Week, and instead chose to make a political defense of Obama. Does he really buy into the BS? Or does he pretend to buy into it, because he is no longer a real economist but just a political hack?

    • joefirestone

      He’s a Nobel prize Ph.D. economist; but as far as I know, he has no claim to either education or fame as a political scientist. So, I guess in that role he’s just a political hack.

  4. Thornton Parker

    This post raises four questions:
    1. If we are in for some years of austerity, and if MMT is right, is inflation a serious issue now?
    2. If it is not serious now, might President Obama and Vice President Biden be willing to concede on the inflation calculation in exchange for things of more immediate concern, knowing that it can be corrected in the future?.
    3. Is there a strategy for helping the President, the VP, and hundreds of other leaders understand the promise of MMT?
    4. Is criticizing and threatening impeachment part of the strategy?

    • TP,

      Inflation’s not a problem now.

      Not sure, what your no. 2 means

      You mean other than the one we’re following. I’m not sure.Do you have a better one?

      I don’t know if it’s an “MMT strategy”; but, clearly, it’s part of mine.

  5. Interesting post Joe, but I think a little over the top. While I wish I could share in your optimism that there is a path to an MMT awakening through the Democratic Party I am not convinced. The political opening I see is actually (counter-intuitively) on the other side. The Republican Party is reeling from two big electoral losses and many conservatives turned “independents” know that it is bordering on irrelevance. In contrast, the Democrats feel they have the secret sauce of social liberalism and “fiscal responsibility” that will keep them in office for many years to come. I think the best way to move forward may be to move the Republicans to the left. A way to do this would be to get libertarians and socially moderate conservatives on board with MMT and further alienate the Republican base. I think the most effective way to accomplish this might be to frame the job guarantee program as a replacement for our existing welfare safety net. This will sound harsh to many liberals, but I think a lot of conservatives will be open to it. Republicans are already moderating on immigration and will eventually have to come around on many social issues. If we could get them pushing the job guarantee (if you want welfare you have to work for it or else you are out on the street, but we will guarantee you the right to work) it might permanently move our politics in a highly productive direction. Again framing the JG this way sounds harsh to liberal ears, but I think might be able to garner an electoral consensus and move us beyond the absurdities of deficit hysteria.

    • Hi Nate. First, the libertarian Rs are absolutely committed to laissez faire and the market. I can’t envision them accepting the government activism inherent in MMT. I can see other Republicans doing that because they really believe in lemon socialism. But I think this means that they would use MMT for their purposes, while loudly proclaiming that they were engaging in free market-oriented fiscal policies.

      As for Ds, I don’t think this “fiscal responsibility” and social liberalism works, because the brand of “fiscal responsibility” they’re practicing is really “fiscal irresponsibility” and will result in economic stagnation, punctuated by increasingly severe recessions. Sooner or later people will wake up and reject this “clintonism.” I hope very soon now.

    • Ahhhh…NO.

      As Joe pointed out, the majority of the GOP base is fundamentally right-wing monetarist, and the “populist” Tea Party wing is far more extreme towards the Rand/Ron Paul “hard money”/”gold standard”/reduce government to the size of a spermatoza brand of governance. There is simply no opening whatsoever on the Right to MMT, which is considered to them to be just another form of “socialism”.

      And….don’t be fooled by the notion of the GOP “moderating” on immigration or gay marriage, either: the base of the GOTP remains fundamentally in the hands of the Religious Right and the White Nationalists, who see even token recognition of undocumented immigrants as instant “amnesty” of “illegals” and even token recognition of gay relationships as tolerance of “unnatural” sex acts. They retain enough control of local Congressional districts and not a few states that they can veto any attempt by the national GOP to alter their platform.

      Also…overfocusing on the GOTP ignores the basic fact that the Democrats have been lurching rightward and accepting ultimately the economic agenda of Bush/Reagan even as far back as the 1980s, with the emergence of the Democratic Leadership Council as the go-to voice of “Wall Street/Atari Democrats”. In other words, it’s a dual dance to the Right where DLC/Third Way and the GOTP work alongside each other to screw liberals and the public.

      The Job Guarantee, the $100T platinum coin, and MMT need to be sold to the public as an explicit Independent Left populist program in opposition to both the TeaPublican Right AND the Third Way establishment neoliberal Center.

      • joefirestone

        Well put, Anthony. A left populist MMT is essential to leaving the Age of Reagan and Thatcher by moving the Overton window to the left.

  6. While I absolutely agree this is a regressive move, you are falling into the “Con” divide and conquer plan.

    It is the GOP (specifically the corporate fueled Tea Party whack jobs) that is driving the agenda. The President has two poor choices given the legislative realities. He can let the GOP obstruct and nothing at all gets done (unless voters wake up and throw the bums out in 2014), or he can offer some crumbs and work towards a deal.

    Neither option a function of executive policy. Why not go after those responsible (the GOP and their corporate handlers) and be part of the solution?

    • SRV, I think your view of who’s driving the agenda is very implausible. On cuts and “fiscal responsibility” the President has been driving it. He began with the stimulus bill and when he made it 50% or 40% the size it should have been. He continued it with his refusal to go after Medicare for All, inpart because he was looking for a “deficit neutral” solution and Medicare for All would have cost the Government an additional $900 B per year. He continued further with his refusal to come back for a second stimulus in the Summer of 2009 when it was already apparent that the first one was too small. And he’s done it since 2010, when he originated and then continued fiscal responsibility initiatives featuring entitlement cuts and preparing the table for this chained CPI cut.

      The idea that the President is somehow powerless is ridiculous. First, he could have had Harry Reid eliminate the filibuster in January of 2009 before he was inaugurated. If Reid had said no to such a request, Obama could have threatened to have him primaried in 2010. Btw, the filibuster can be dispensed with for good any afternoon Reid wants to do so using “the nuclear option.” So that choice has been open to Obama ever since then.

      Second, in relation to debt ceilings, sequesters, and budgetary crises, the President has had the power from January 2009 on to fill the public purse with many trillions of dollars, pay off the debt and retain enough money, to make the fact that the Government can’t run out on money highly visible to everyone; an unimpeachable fact. If the President were to have a $60 T platinum coin minted, he could create this extreme solvency background to fiscal politics within a week’s time.

      I’ve described how that could be done in many blog posts, and my new Kindle e-book covers this comprehensively.

      Read it, and read the record of Obama’s maneuvers setting the stage for SS cuts and then come back and tell me that the Rs are driving the agenda.

      • Thank you for the civil reply Joe… no idea why do so many who voice their opinions on blogs get so aggressive when challenged!

        Para 1… Right or wrong he chose to go all in on health care while he had the House, clearly betting (wrong of course) on continued control and all else was set aside… he did not “go after Medicare for all” because he did not have the votes (same with more stimulus).

        Para 2… How would he possibly know the the TP freaks would throw all precedent out the window and abuse the filibuster as they have (I ask, where in hell is the voting public on this?). The idea that the president would stoop to the whacko right primary strategy is ridiculous. I’d like to see a link to “the nuculer (miss W) option” and even if it is possible, there is strong resistance from the left as well… getting even with a GOP majority is not a bad plan.

        Para 3… Please Joe, the Platinum Coin was a gimmick (though may have been an option at one point) proposed as an end around on the fiscal cliff… nothing more! The President has a very strong traditional streak and would never, even to support JFs agenda, even entertain such a radical departure… besides, why would he throw the Cons such a puff ball… Rush would have heart attack (hmmm maybe you ARE on to something)!

        Sorry to be repetitive but he wants a deal, has always been open to compromise and, as you say, has always been willing to give the other side something. Finally, should the electorate wake up (in the end they drive the long term agenda don’t they) and cull the House, I see no reason why compromise elements of a deal could not reversed.

        Finally, I’m Canadian (but have always felt US policy has more affect on my life) and agree with your position on most fronts, especially healthcare (healthcare should be a shared responsibility, and for-profit healthcare is morally bankrupt). The President is middle of the road (he never even ran on single payer… IMO because he did not think it would fly) and that is just who he is, and what you get. Why be surprised… would things be better with Romney in the White House?

        • joefirestone

          SRV, sure. I almost always return civility with civility, and often return incivility with incivility. I believe in that when moderators aren’t enforcing civility. At this site we are mostly civil.

          OK. First, I emphasize again that having the filibuster was Obama’s choice. He did nothing to get rid of it; because he believed in this community consensus nonsense and his own community organizing abilities. He screwed up. It was quite clear after he was elected that the only way to get compromise with the Republicans was through having an overwhelming power position, because the party was so ideological. Second, he often stated before his election that he supported Medicare for All, and was opposed to a mandate. These are just facts. Third, he would have had 50 + 1 votes for Medicare for All, had he eliminated the filibuster. Fourth, that would especially have applied if he had gotten the big stimulus he needed, and had he also gotten a bill out of Congress that limited Credit card Interest rates to 4 points over prime. These successes would have made him even more popular than he was in January/February 2009 by May or June, and then he certainly could have gotten 50 Senators who would not have bucked what he wanted. If Medicare for All had been passed and implemented before the end of 2009, there would have been no tea party in the elections of 2010, and also the election would have been a walkaway for Democrats.

          I’ve missed one thing in the above scenario that I usually include in discussions like this. Obama chose to appoint Geithner and Summers, two Wall Street tools. What he should have done was to appoint people much more hostile to the FIRE sector and he should have opposed changes to the mark-to-market, forcing the big banks to evaluate their assets at market value. That would have allowed the Government to take them into resolution, see to it that credit kept flowing, write down mortgages to save all those foreclosures, and end the political power of the big banks all at one stroke. Had he done these things then the big banks would no longer have been in a position to oppose either a very large stimulus or a Medicare for All Bill. In addition, the Finreg bill in the fall of 2009 would have been entirely different and much stronger than it is now, perhaps legislating barriers strong enough to eliminate the possibility of a new crisis.

          Finally, on Platinum coins. The President has ruled it out. But that shouldn’t stop us from talking about it and from pointing out that he’s lying when he says that has no alternative to a “Grand Bargain” with the Republicans. We know that he does. We know that he can mint a $60 T coin, and use the proceeds to change the whole political atmosphere removing the common sense rationale for austerity in both parties. We can’t pressure him to make this choice unless everyone knows about it.

          If everyone does, then notice the effect of that. When Obama then tries to claim that he made a “Grand Bargain” putting the Republic on a firm financial footing, he will then look like a cruel fool, who cut the social safety net and much discretionary spending for good programs for no good reason at all. Getting this information out there would destroy Obama’s “legacy” unless he mints that coin. So I want to spread the word and give him that choice. Why don’t you?

  7. reserveporto

    Given that both asset price collapses of past 15 years have been mostly, if not fully, reflated through monetary and fiscal (Bush’s wars) expansions, and given that all published reports indicate that poverty amongst the elderly is notably lower than amongst other age groups, especially amongst young children, I’m not sure it’s really worth it to get very worked up about a rather minor, and probably quite justifiable, adjustment to income distribution. I’d rather get worked up about how, given present-day wage and financial structures, this redistribution will merely end up being used to fuel yet more price inflation of asset types favoured by wealthy investors.

    • joefirestone

      You’ve got it entirely wrong. The SS cuts are a significant austerity move that will kill people and make them choose between food and medicine increasingly as they grow older. The comparison you make between elderly poverty and poverty in other segments of the population is highly relativistic. Poverty in other segments is also a crime and should be ended with a much strengthened safety net across the Board including strengthened SS which, here in the US, provides the most stingy benefits in the developed world.

      That’s enough for now, but I’d advise you to go somewhere else with this line of criticism, because you’ll just be buried here.

  8. Renee Carlson

    Inspired message!

  9. Excellent piece, Joe. It’s time to march. As I’m sure you know, more than 200,000 demonstrators took part in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. Then came the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the War on Poverty.

    • joefirestone

      Marching doesn’t work as well today, Tyler. Mostly because the media doesn’t cover it. That’s why I’m advocating drying up contributions. In 2012 the Ds raised half a billion on line, that is, from pretty small donors. If that source looks like it’s drying up for 2014, then they’ll panic and do everything they can to patch things up with the base.

  10. Good luck on that initiative. But here we are again – yet another day. And that boulder to be again rolled back up the hill. As it will have to be again, tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

    Back in July 2011, Dean Baker discussed the folly of a CPI of the one percenters that would chain Social Security recipients, not in their Middle Passage but rather in their Late Passage. He would again, on 06 April this year, show the SS recipients would be more disproportionately hit than those taxed income earners over $500k. William K. Black would fulminate again and again against the ‘Grand Betrayal’.

    The fact that, with improvements to the components of the GDP, the debt/GDP ratio will decline as would the debt is insufficient to stir any action on employment generation and growth. Yet no one mentions the, the, bloated military budget. A day or so after the Presidential elections Glenn Greenwald would describe the fate of the progressive in the World of Lesser of Two Evils, where the one to the ‘left’ is to the ‘left’ because the one to the ‘right’ is really in the way.

  11. charles fasola

    Would you mind sharing a little of what ever it is that you are ingesting, inhaling, or……… I cannot fathom how anyone believes we can work within our current governmental system and electoral process to make or create policy which serves public purpose. Take a close look at exactly who you all are allowed to vote for. They are for the most part members of and share common goals with the elite who bribe them to make certain their needs and wants are met. The system is corrupt. The system is a criminal enterprise. The system will not work for the commons. You have got to wake the &^%$ up! Americans are a timid bunch.

    • joefirestone

      Well, what do you suggest we do?

      • What do you think about Richard Wolff’s idea that we need a new corporate entity where the board of directors come from the corporation’s workers/employees, and allow the workers/employees who actually make the products or perform the services the corporation provides, make the important corporate decisions. I have been arguing this for years because I think non-profits do a far better job of taking care of workers/employees and the local community.

        It seems to me that corporations, which derive their existence from the state, should be charged with doing something of benefit to the public, as well as making a profit, especially since corporations have the state gift of limited liability. Initially in this country, corporate charters were for only twenty years and renewal was subject to proof that the corporation had performed enough public good to warrant its continued existence. I think we need to get back to that idea and one way to ensure it is to have workers make the most critical corporate decisions rather than have those decisions made exclusively by persons whose objective is often to reduce employee pay and benefits and screw the local community. A board of workers/employees would be much more inclined to act in the public good given the fact that their interests are much more aligned with the public good than the usual board of directors we have today that are highly aligned with Wall Street.

        Corporate entity reform and government fiat money are my two solutions to our crisis.

  12. Heretical Question for All Democratic parties:
    On FDR Social Security (SS) and LBJ Medicare and SS Medicaid –
    Are y’all BiPetersonSheep or DEM?