Democrats in remaining primary states are now making decisions about whether to continue supporting and campaigning for Bernie Sanders the surprisingly successful underdog in the Democratic primary for President or line up behind the current frontrunner and Democratic Establishment candidate Hillary Clinton. Sanders still has a chance to win a majority of pledged delegates if primary voters feel positively about Sanders and negatively about his opponent Clinton, that they will support Sanders. The role of grassroots Sanders campaign volunteers is crucial here. There are many aspects to voters’ decision-making but I want to highlight one feature of his candidacy that goes beyond differences in policy between Sanders and Clinton. I think that those decisions revolve also around differing understandings of what kinds of love people need to survive and thrive.
By William K. Black
April 19, 2016 Bloomington, MN
The journalist Adam Davidson has written an interesting article about economics and Bernie Sanders. As an economic adviser to Bernie I found his take on Keynesian and institutional economics of considerable interest. Institutional economics, contrary to Davidson’s take on it, is thriving and the University of Missouri at Kansas City has long been a center of institutional economics. (I am one of the scholars at UMKC that works largely in this field.) Davidson treats institutional economics, which overwhelmingly studies microeconomics and the “micro foundations” of the economy as having been rendered obsolete by the transformation that Keynes’ insights sparked in the study of macroeconomics.
Bernie Sanders has an ambitious agenda. Too ambitious, insist his critics (including, especially, surrogates of Hillary Clinton). He would break up the big banks, reverse the redistribution of income and wealth to the top (that accelerated under the triple whammy of the Bush-Clinton-Bush administrations), restore and improve our nation’s infrastructure, and provide employment and better wages at the bottom. The critics proclaim that his programs cannot “pay for themselves”.
Using conventional macro models, Professor Gerald Friedman at UMass showed that they would. He was then attacked for using the conventional models that all conventional economists use. Apparently, these models are fine when they support austerity, but are out-of-bounds for use when they support progressive policy. Adam Davidson (of NPR’s “Planet Money”) has noted that in spite of the empirical results, even Friedman admits that perhaps only 4% of economists believe that Bernie’s programs can pay for themselves.
[Revised 4/18/16. Added Part 2 and link to Part 2]
Bill Black, adviser to Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton supporter Paul Hodes appear on The Real News and discuss whether the Dodd-Frank legislation is effective at preventing systemic risk from Wall Street monopolies. You can view the videos below or on The Real News‘ site with a transcript. Part 2 on Real News.
An expert in banking corruption and finance has joined the Bernie Sanders campaign. William K. Black, an associate professor at the University of Missouri-KC, is Bernie Sanders’ new economic advisor. Black was one of the central figures in exposing and prosecuting corruption in the savings and loan crisis from the late 1980s and mid-1990s. His addition to the Sanders campaign brings important knowledge in laws pertaining to finance and banking.
The savings and loan banking crisis resulted from a multitude of causes, one of which were two laws that helped deregulate them. The Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980 was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter. That law allowed credit unions and savings and loans to offer checking deposits, and to charge any loan interest rate they chose.
Read the rest here.
(Crossposted from Huffington Post. Postscript added for NEP)
Remember several weeks ago when Hillary Clinton was complaining that Democrats did not consider her a “progressive?” Bernie Sanders’ big win in Wisconsin ended that tactic and propelled Paul Krugman and Hillary and Bill Clinton to race to the right, inadvertently proving Bernie’s point that they are not progressives on the key issues.
In the last week, Hillary and her surrogates have pivoted hard right and retreated to their long-held positions on the major issues. Indeed, in several cases they have gone even farther to the right than the policies they pushed over a decade ago – even though those policies proved disastrous. They also inadvertently demonstrated the terrible policies that were produced by the Clinton’s vaunted “pragmatism” and compromising with the most extreme Republican demands. That was the story of Clinton’s infamous welfare “reform” – a policy both Clintons championed. Tom Frank details in his new book entitled Listen, Liberal how the Clintons’ “pragmatism” and zeal to work with the worst elements of the Republican Party led to the welfare “reform” bill. Zach Carter has just written the article I was planning to write about that travesty. He entitled it “Nothing Bill Clinton Said To Defend His Welfare Reform Is True.” I encourage you to read it.
I am now officially an economic advisor to Senator Sanders, and this column reflects some of that advice. Part of my advice is not to take money from Wall Street felons. (I am not taking credit for Bernie’s decision — at most I supported a decision he had already made over a year ago.) One of the reasons I reinforced Bernie’s decision was witnessing the problems President Obama experienced given his taking very large contributions from Wall Street. I channeled the prescient warning that Professor Thomas Ferguson (U. Mass, Boston) gave a group of us in 2008. He predicted, accurately, that Obama would not lead an effective crackdown on the endemic fraud by Wall Street elites that caused the financial crisis. Tom (he is a personal friend) is the expert on campaign finance. He authored the classic book on campaign finance entitled Golden Rule (as in the observation that he that has the gold makes the rules.).
On January 6, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered his State of the Union Address to Congress. It was a perilous stage in world history, and Roosevelt used his annual address to urge U.S. entry into the war then raging. Against the isolationists in Congress (and in the general population), Roosevelt contended that the main objective of U.S. entry was to fight for the universal freedoms that all peoples of the world should possess. These “four freedoms” were freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. It is the third freedom—freedom from want—with which we are here concerned.
William K. Black
February 23, 2016 Bloomington, MN
In an unintentionally hilarious piece evincing exceptional moral blindness, Mr. Womack, a journalist, writes to Bernie.
Senator, you are forming a mob of angry, misinformed people and then turning it on the likely Democratic nominee. That, Senator, is a dangerous and destructive game. Does your campaign honestly wonder why it has become synonymous with nasty online invective?
Gosh, I would have thought that “nasty online invective” might call tens of millions of Americans “a mob of angry, misinformed people” who were “dangerous” because they were backing a candidate for the nomination who is not “the likely Democratic nominee.” The idea that in an electoral nomination contest one is not allowed to criticize the current leader in delegates is, to be gentle, novel. It is certainly not the approach that either then Senator Sanders or then Senator Clinton took when they trailed each other at various points eight years ago.
William K. Black
February 21, 2016 Bloomington, MN
Paul Krugman is plumbing new depths of moral obtuseness, arrogance, and intellectual dishonesty in what is now his third smear of the well-respected economist Gerald Friedman in two days. My prior column discussed Krugman’s two columns on February 17, 2016. Here is Krugman’s lead in his column dated February 19.
On Wednesday four former Democratic chairmen and chairwomen of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers — three who served under Barack Obama, one who served under Bill Clinton — released a stinging open letter to Bernie Sanders and Gerald Friedman, a University of Massachusetts professor who has been a major source of the Sanders campaign’s numbers. The economists called out the campaign for citing “extreme claims” by Mr. Friedman that “exceed even the most grandiose predictions by Republicans” and could “undermine the credibility of the progressive economic agenda.”