With celebrations set to kick off in Denver for the Democratic National Convention, the JOURNAL travels to Colorado where tough economic times are hitting suburban communities.
PBS and Bill Moyers go to the suburbs of Denver as the Democratic Convention is about to being to speak to "real people" — not Economists or Politicians:
Working Americans, and that’s most people, are experiencing the "big squeeze." In fact, they’re trying to survive one of the most profound social and economic changes in our history. The middle class is disappearing, facing a decline in standards of living. So you’d hope that the Democrats in Denver next week and the Republicans in St. Paul the following week would confront this crisis head on and not just serenade struggling families with a chorus of sympathetic but meaningless sound bites.
As wages stagnate, prices are soaring. Economists call this pain the "misery index." It’s a combination of the unemployment and inflation rates, and it’s what politicians have in mind when they ask, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" Well, the misery index is the highest it’s been since George Bush’s father became president, seventeen years ago.
When it comes to feeling the misery index, however, you don’t go to the economists or the politicians. You go to where regular people live. And that’s what we have been doing on this broadcast for months now. We’ve seen how the mortgage crisis has devastated neighborhoods in Cleveland, how workers in Los Angeles are scrambling for a living wage, and how gas and food prices are choking the ability of food pantries to stave off hunger here in metropolitan New York.
This relates to our earlier discussion on Intersting stuff, Psychological Recessions.
The Journal, August 22, 2008
This is the Fight of Our Lives by Bill Moyers
Inequality Matters Forum
New York University
June 3, 2004
“The middle class and working poor are told that what’s happening to them is the consequence of Adam Smith’s ‘Invisible Hand.’ This is a lie. What’s happening to them is the direct consequence of corporate activism, intellectual propaganda, the rise of a religious orthodoxy that in its hunger for government subsidies has made an idol of power, and a string of political decisions favoring the powerful and the privileged who bought the political system right out from under us.”
— Bill Moyers, Keynote speech, June 3, 2004
You just can’t make this stuff up. You have to hear it to believe it. This may be the first class war in history where the victims will die laughing.
But what they are doing to middle class and working Americans — and to the workings of American democracy — is no laughing matter.
Let’s face the reality: If ripping off the public trust; if distributing tax breaks to the wealthy at the expense of the poor; if driving the country into deficits deliberately to starve social benefits; if requiring states to balance their budgets on the backs of the poor; if squeezing the wages of workers until the labor force resembles a nation of serfs — if this isn’t class war, what is?
It’s un-American. It’s unpatriotic. And it’s wrong.
IMO it will take at least 12 yrs of Dem Pres. and dominance in Congress to right this bleak situation that Reagan kicked off in the 1980’s.
And if Obama does not win it’s very very bleak for America’s fast diminishing middle class.
you’ve got to be kidding with this: “IMO it will take at least 12 yrs of Dem Pres. and dominance in Congress to right this bleak situation that Reagan kicked off in the 1980’s.”
if not, please expound on your premise
Funny how all of their “examples” were single moms. Pretty hard to be middle-class with only one paycheck.
Funny though – the first woman still has at least half a dozen handbags still on her wall while the second woman still has a nice Tiffany necklace on! Guess times aren’t that bad yet.
But, do the Dems really care much about this other than that it gets them elected?
Here’s an article from the LA Times about Denver’s plan to deal with homelessness: give the homeless passes to movies, the zoo or bingo games so that they aren’t “traumatized” by the convention.
Who are they afraid will traumatize whom?
Potemkin would be proud.
How Denver will hide its homeless during the Democratic convention
“Pretty hard to be middle-class with only one paycheck.”
My parents did it.
I think that the following article is good historical reading in preparation for the upcoming conventions:
Parties to History
Four Political Conventions that Changed America
Smithsonian magazine, August 2008
Nowadays, the Republican and Democratic conventions to nominate a presidential candidate are little more than coronation ceremonies—carefully choreographed political theater in which the outcome is preordained. Every detail is accounted for, from the text of the speeches to the number of balloons dropped on the red-white-and-blue-clad delegates. The overall goal is to project an image of party unity, a ritual coming together following an often divisive primary campaign.
But there was a time when the Republican and Democratic conventions were bare-knuckled political brawls. It was democracy at its messiest, as delegates bartered their allegiances, secretly courted candidates, challenged the authority of their party’s leadership and even stormed out and held their own protest conventions. At issue was not just the nominee for president but the ideological platforms their chosen candidates would champion. The national conventions emerged as venues for confronting the most pressing issues of the day: the civil rights movement, the size and role of the federal government, reining in the power of the federal courts, how best to confront enemies abroad and when to bring U.S. troops home.
The national conventions thus became crucibles not only for shaping the political parties as we know them today, but for reshaping America itself. With this in mind, we asked four leading authorities to survey the most consequential Republican and Democratic conventions of the 20th century:
1912 Republican Convention
Return of the Rough Rider
1948 Democratic Convention
The South Secedes Again
1964 Republican Convention
Revolution from the Right
1968 Democratic Convention
The Bosses Strike Back
Evidently not so don’t bring in the sound bite weak stuff like expand on your premise when you obviously have nothing relevant to say.
Posted by: km4 | Aug 23, 2008 7:11:46 PM
I read his speech, I was giving you the benefit of the doubt, charitably, in case that you may have a POV that would be edifying. Obviously, you’re, simply, still stuck in a, truly, useless left/right, (D)/(R) paradigm.
His, Moyers’, premise smacks of Polaroidism, at it’s finest. To think, beyond the mere fact that the (D)’s had a Legislative lock until ’94, that, what he describes, started in the early 80’s, stretches the credulity of, even, the most blinkered partisian.
It is why I asking you to further your premise.
Isn’t mis-allocation of capital the reason we’re in this mess?
For a very long time now, interest rates for mortgages have been south of 7%. Its my understanding that you can make a case that inflation has been roughly that high since 71. My own mortgage is less than 6%, and that rate is part of the reason I didn’t just pay cash.
Only people who are bad at math decline to take long-term loans for something less than the inflation rate. So its not entirely nuts that we had a housing frenzy, since that’s the one product that command such large sums of money for Joe and Jane Sixpack. And its leveraged at negative rates.
This was a result of policy. We have a couple of other policies that I can think of that might have similarly unhelpful outcomes (see Iraq).
Perhaps its rooting out those policies that might be the most productive use of the time in both Denver and St. Paul
Mark E Hoffer you’re making it too easy.
Reagan – the start of deficits don’t matter and the official beginning of the financial engineered bullshit US economy.
Aside from 8 yrs of Clinton 25+ yrs of industrial production decline and increasingly financial engineered driven bullshit for the US economy ( especially last 8 yrs under Bush ) with massive market bubbles has created systemic damage.
1. The USA needs $2B a day from China et al or could not keep its economy stable or spare the dollar from collapse.
2. The USA already has close to $10 Trillion in national debt
3. The USA has a trade deficit of $800B/yr
4. The USA is the prime engine for derivatives ‘ticking bomb’ that grew into a massive bubble, from about $100 trillion in 2000 to $516 trillion by 2007 that is starting to go off in blowback stages and the latest ploys by the The Fed, G7 will have little effect to stop it.
5. The USA already has way too many Americans overwhelmed by personal debt racking up a household debt-to-income ratio of 1.42 ( for total of $13.8 trillion in debt including mortgages ) that already matches the country’s $14 trillion G.D.P.
6. The USA has Bushie boy racking up $32 Trillion dollars in total liabilities and unfunded commitments for future payments since 2000.
7. Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism by Kevin Phillips
Phillips describes the consequences of our misguided economic policies, our mounting debt, our collapsing housing market, our threatened oil, and the end of American domination of world markets
8. The cost of Bush to America since 2000
$32 Trillion dollars in total liabilities and unfunded commitments for future payments.
In a speech a few months ago at the National Press Club, former GAO Comptroller General David Walker said:
“If the federal government was a private corporation and the same report came out this morning, our stock would be dropping and some people would be talking about whether the company’s management directors needed a major shake-up”.
“The federal government’s total liabilities,” Walker explained, “translates into a de facto mortgage of about $455,000 for every American household and there’s no house to back that mortgage. In other words, our government has made a whole lot of promises that, in the long run, it cannot possibly keep without huge tax increases.”
where were the (D)s in ’71, ’64, ’33, ’12?
you want to pretend that the USGov began deficit spending in the ’80s?
you should scratch up some fiat and dial (877) RENT-A-CANE, I understand that they’re running their, quadrennial, Convention Special.
Obama is not the cure for what ails the economy. Neither McCain. Nor was Bush or Clinton. If you want CHANGE then change the parties. Don’t let the two foist their crappy candidates on you. Both Obama and McCain are truly crappy candidates. So were Gore, Bush, Kerry, Edwards, and Clinton. If you want more of the same then vote for the same parties. Of course, most people want change to be more handouts, and actually that isn’t change and voting for either candidate will get you more handouts both to businesses and individuals who’d rather get a handout than work.
I’m with km4, although I think he’s dreaming that it will only take 12 years. After the election in 2004, my despondent attitude was primarily because I estimated that the damage done in January 2005 to January 2009 would take 20 years to ameliorate. I have seen nothing in the four years of the second term to change my mind. Bush ran us off a cliff exactly as I expected he would.
I don’t blame Moyers for staying away from economists and politicians, but if he thinks George Bush’s father became president seventeen years ago he might consider consulting a historian or mathematician.
• Acceptance Speech for the Renomination for the Presidency, Philadelphia, Pa., June 27, 1936
Senator Robinson, Members of the Democratic Convention, my friends:
Here, and in every community throughout the land, we are met at a time of great moment to the future of the Nation. It is an occasion to be dedicated to the simple and sincere expression of an attitude toward problems, the determination of which will profoundly affect America.
I come not only as a leader of a party, not only as a candidate for high office, but as one upon whom many critical hours have imposed and still impose a grave responsibility.
For the sympathy, help and confidence with which Americans have sustained me in my task I am grateful. For their loyalty I salute the members of our great party, in and out of political life in every part of the Union. I salute those of other parties, especially those in the Congress of the United States who on so many occasions have put partisanship aside. I thank the Governors of the several States, their Legislatures, their State and local officials who participated unselfishly and regardless of party in our efforts to achieve recovery and destroy abuses. Above all I thank the millions of Americans who have borne disaster bravely and have dared to smile through the storm.
America will not forget these recent years, will not forget that the rescue was not a mere party task. It was the concern of all of us. In our strength we rose together, rallied our energies together, applied the old rules of common sense, and together survived.
In those days we feared fear. That was why we fought fear. And today, my friends, we have won against the most dangerous of our foes. We have conquered fear.
But I cannot, with candor, tell you that all is well with the world. Clouds of suspicion, tides of ill-will and intolerance gather darkly in many places. In our own land we enjoy indeed a fullness of life greater than that of most Nations. But the rush of modern civilization itself has raised for us new difficulties, new problems which must be solved if we are to preserve to the United States the political and economic freedom for which Washington and Jefferson planned and fought.
Philadelphia is a good city in which to write American history. This is fitting ground on which to reaffirm the faith of our fathers; to pledge ourselves to restore to the people a wider freedom; to give to 1936 as the founders gave to 1776—an American way of life.
That very word freedom, in itself and of necessity, suggests freedom from some restraining power. In 1776 we sought freedom from the tyranny of a political autocracy—from the eighteenth century royalists who held special privileges from the crown. It was to perpetuate their privilege that they governed without the consent of the governed; that they denied the right of free assembly and free speech; that they restricted the worship of God; that they put the average man’s property and the average man’s life in pawn to the mercenaries of dynastic power; that they regimented the people.
And so it was to win freedom from the tyranny of political autocracy that the American Revolution was fought. That victory gave the business of governing into the hands of the average man, who won the right with his neighbors to make and order his own destiny through his own Government. Political tyranny was wiped out at Philadelphia on July 4, 1776.
Since that struggle, however, man’s inventive genius released new forces in our land which reordered the lives of our people.. The age of machinery, of railroads; of steam and electricity; the telegraph and the radio; mass production, mass distribution—all of these combined to bring forward a new civilization and with it a new problem for those who sought to remain free.
For out of this modern civilization economic royalists carved new dynasties. New kingdoms were built upon concentration of control over material things. Through new uses of corporations, banks and securities, new machinery of industry and agriculture, of labor and capital—all undreamed of by the fathers—the whole structure of modern life was impressed into this royal service.
There was no place among this royalty for our many thousands of small business men and merchants who sought to make a worthy use of the American system of initiative and profit. They were no more free than the worker or the farmer. Even honest and progressive-minded men of wealth, aware of their obligation to their generation, could never know just where they fitted into this dynastic scheme of things.
It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over Government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. In its service new mercenaries sought to regiment the people, their labor, and their property. And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man.
The hours men and women worked, the wages they received, the conditions of their labor—these had passed beyond the control of the people, and were imposed by this new industrial dictatorship. The savings of the average family, the capital of the small business man, the investments set aside for old age—other people’s money—these were tools which the new economic royalty used to dig itself in.
Those who tilled the soil no longer reaped the rewards which were their right. The small measure of their gains was decreed by men in distant cities.
Throughout the Nation, opportunity was limited by monopoly. Individual initiative was crushed in the cogs of a great machine. The field open for free business was more and more restricted. Private enterprise, indeed, became too private. It became privileged enterprise, not free enterprise.
An old English judge once said: “Necessitous men are not free men.” Liberty requires opportunity to make a living—a living decent according to the standard of the time, a living which gives man not only enough to live by, but something to live for.
For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality. A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people’s property, other people’s money, other people’s labor—other people’s lives. For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness.
Against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could appeal only to the organized power of Government. The collapse of 1929 showed up the despotism for what it was. The election of 1932 was the people’s mandate to end it. Under that mandate it is being ended.
The royalists of the economic order have conceded that political freedom was the business of the Government, but they have maintained that economic slavery was nobody’s business. They granted that the Government could protect the citizen in his right to vote, but they denied that the Government could do anything to protect the citizen in his right to work and his right to live.
Today we stand committed to the proposition that freedom is no half-and-half affair. If the average citizen is guaranteed equal opportunity in the polling place, he must have equal opportunity in the market place.
These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power. Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power. In vain they seek to hide behind the Flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the Flag and the Constitution stand for. Now, as always, they stand for democracy, not tyranny; for freedom, not subjection; and against a dictatorship by mob rule and the over-privileged alike.
The brave and clear platform adopted by this Convention, to which I heartily subscribe, sets forth that Government in a modern civilization has certain inescapable obligations to its citizens, among which are protection of the family and the home, the establishment of a democracy of opportunity, and aid to those overtaken by disaster.
But the resolute enemy within our gates is ever ready to beat down our words unless in greater courage we will fight for them.
For more than three years we have fought for them. This Convention, in every word and deed, has pledged that that fight will go on.
The defeats and victories of these years have given to us as a people a new understanding of our Government and of ourselves. Never since the early days of the New England town meeting have the affairs of Government been so widely discussed and so clearly appreciated. It has been brought home to us that the only effective guide for the safety of this most worldly of worlds, the greatest guide of all, is moral principle.
We do not see faith, hope and charity as unattainable ideals, but we use them as stout supports of a Nation fighting the fight for freedom in a modern civilization.
Faith— in the soundness of democracy in the midst of dictatorships.
Hope—renewed because we know so well the progress we have made.
Charity— in the true spirit of that grand old word. For charity literally translated from the original means love, the love that understands, that does not merely share the wealth of the giver, but in true sympathy and wisdom helps men to help themselves.
We seek not merely to make Government a mechanical implement, but to give it the vibrant personal character that is the very embodiment of human charity.
We are poor indeed if this Nation cannot afford to lift from every recess of American life the dread fear of the unemployed that they are not needed in the world. We cannot afford to accumulate a deficit in the books of human fortitude.
In the place of the palace of privilege we seek to build a temple out of faith and hope and charity.
It is a sobering thing, my friends, to be a servant of this great cause. We try in our daily work to remember that the cause belongs not to us, but to the people. The standard is not in the hands of you and me alone. It is carried by America. We seek daily to profit from experience, to learn to do better as our task proceeds.
Governments can err, Presidents do make mistakes, but the immortal Dante tells us that divine justice weighs the sins of the cold-blooded and the sins of the warm-hearted in different scales.
Better the occasional faults of a Government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a Government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.
There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.
In this world of ours in other lands, there are some people, who, in times past, have lived and fought for freedom, and seem to have grown too weary to carry on the fight. They have sold their heritage of freedom for the illusion of a living. They have yielded their democracy.
I believe in my heart that only our success can stir their ancient hope. They begin to know that here in America we are waging a great and successful war. It is not alone a war against want and destitution and economic demoralization. It is more than that; it is a war for the survival of democracy. We are fighting to save a great and precious form of government for ourselves and for the world.
I accept the commission you have tendered me. I join with you. I am enlisted for the duration of the war.
Give poor Bill a break. He’s my kind of Christian. A Jesus leftie.
Nader all the way in CA. It’s a dem dominant state. Voting Nader NY?
I was in denver last week. It was a soul-less corpes. Just because you can put a bunch of building in one spot doesn’t make it a city. Its the people. Its the surroundings. education. arts. etc. I found that Denver had little, if any, qualities worth noting. I think it will blow away one day soon.
And now a word from our old friend from Long Term Capital Management:
Mr Scholes, an unrepentant free-marketeer, said governments had been a key cause of the debacle.
Yep, that’s right. The guy who’s fund was bailed out by Greenspan, the super intelligent, nobel prize winning economist MORONIC IMBECILE who contributed mightily to the creation of fancy derivatives and fancy formulas for the alteration of stock prices by buying and selling futures (previously known as manipulation) has the unadulterated gall to blame a government which has been expert at observing financial crime with a blind fold. It’s Mr. Scholes that deserves a blind fold; Just before the firing squad.
Mr. Scholes, hubris is thy name. You are a disgrace to men of integrity everywhere.
For all who blame the left or the right, the Democrats or Republicans, you are kidding yourselves – the blame lies squarely in the mirror for each of us every day: for believing in American exceptionalism and allowing the world to shoulder our burdens for the past 40+ years while we played cops and robbers.
There is no difference between the world according to Obama or the world according to McCain – both live in make-believe worlds where the U.S. empire is intact, and U.S. interests are for the good of the rest of the world.
Bill Moyers interview of Andrew Bacevich is a must watch in this regard.
I, for one, welcome our new Chinese overlords.
Ah, Myron Scholes.
Free market man.
If we need to contemplate ending the U.S. empire – we’d better get more prepared:
Closing the ‘Collapse Gap’: the USSR was better prepared for collapse than the US
by Dmitry Orlov
Now back to ‘Running Man’…
Lots of great, thoughtful comments on this article.
From the article:
> The middle class is disappearing, facing a decline in standards of living.
Perhaps that is why so many people succumbed to the financcial industry’s pressure to use their house as an ATM — trying to maintain their standard of living (in an unsustainable manner) as the trend was towards deterioriation.
Bill Moyer’s writing is the kind of flabby political prose that George Orwell critiques in Politics and the English Language.
“As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated henhouse.”
The amazing thing is that the corporate neer-do-wells who are behind this don’t seem to understand that they are undermining themselves. The economy is 70% consumption. Without a healthy consumer class the investor class will eventually take a serious dive. You cannot make an economy on bubble after bubble after bubble, because bubbles are a zero sum game.
There is a reason that the three Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Norwey, Sweden) in 1960-1985 were consistantly on the top 10 list of wealth (GDP/citizen) even with minimal natural resources (the oil had not yet started flowing at that time). They had very strong unions that ensured the wealth created was distributed to everybody. Indeed often times the same social democrat parties that were in charge of the unions were also in charge of the government and would intervene with law if negotiations between employers and unions failed. These countries were living out the neo-con-men’s worst doomsday scenario with huge governments, free socialized health care, free education (with good stipends to live on), minimum wages 3-5 times higher than in the US, and strong protective work safety laws. Yet every year when the stats came out, all three were on the top 10 list of wealthy countries.
You cannot have a strong sustainable economy unless the wealth created in society is distributed to everybody. If you don’t have strong unions to ensure that distribution, you must have strong government to ensure it. The problem in this country is that the voters choice is between naked corporatism (republicans) and soft corporatism (democrats) and neither of those two ideologies will take the drastic steps to ensure the kind of wealth distribution that could put us back to a path of strong sustainable growth.
“It’s the banks, It’s the politics, It’s the XYZ” Spoiled ass Americans are to blame for their own irresponsible actions! If I overextend my family’s budget, it is no fault other than my own. If I have a financial disaster that I can’t make it through, then I didn’t save enough! If I buy a 5000 sq ft house and can’t afford to heat it, it is not the fault of the Saudi’s, Dems, Rep, or you! It falls on my shoulders. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very sympathetic to these people. I was raised in hard times with only ONE parent that had a job and ONE parent that stayed home to raise us children. Apparently we lived in a radical time where you actually looked at how much money you earned and based purchases and savings on that. I’m so damn fed up with everyone looking to the politicians (via way of the taxpayer) to save them! Banks, people that have no savings, foreclosures, gas prices, and now the three Automakers want a F*&%^$%^ handout at the taxpayers expense! The herd has to be thinned and the weak allowed to die, but our politicians and the Fed are too soft to allow it to happen. So instead the entire herd gets dragged down in the name of “fairness.” The American herd has become infected with a systemic disease (derivatives, politics, horrible execution of duties, etc), and now we’re beginning to see pustules fill from this infection. Where will it end, I have no clue, but I can guarantee the politicians will call the surgery a success! Even if the patient is dead.
The blame game is quite interesting around here. The blame should squarely be put on those who really are in control, and the puppet whores who do their bidding in exchange for a ride on a corporate jet and a few thousand dollars of campaign funds.
The majority of politicians of both parties are whores who worship at the shrine of big money, big power, and big influence. They merely implement the wishes of those who fund them, and those who will employ them after political life.
It is all one big monopoly game, the big shots (who are of both parties) prevail because they have all the dough, in fact they have all the dough because they bought the lobbyists and the congress in exchange for legislation that provided them with extreme tax breaks, deregulation of their industries, and the ability to buy anyone they wanted.
If they can’t win elections, they steal them. If their policies are so outrageous that no sentient person would accept them, they lie about them. The media, whose role is to keep the powerful honest, are demonized, accused of bias, and then consolidated and bought out by those who seek to control the message. The name of the game is to demonize all who challenge them and pay the demonizers well.
Make no mistake, those in power will stay in power no matter who is in the WH, and as always, when the Democrats win they expect a few roll backs, but in the end they know how to fool the sheeple (quite a few who post here, BTW) into believing that they are hugely benefiting from the policies of the latest overlords, while the powerful laugh all the way to the bank. (Of course, the really corrupt sometimes go to jail, but there has to be a few greedy sacrificial lambs every business cycle)
Even the most fervent middle class (former Democrats, mostly) Republican was bought off by symbolic tax cuts and fooled into believing that Big Oil is your friend, the credit card and mortgage companies are here to help you manage your money wisely, and a single payer health care system is a commie tool, all the while ignoring the crumbling society all around them. It is a great economy until they lose their job, their pension, their health insurance. So many hard core Republicans are now lamenting “If I only knew…”. Their greed blinded them to the realities and the policies of those in control. The saddest thing is that Democrats think that a change in administrations will change the way business is done in America. New and better ways of fleecing the sheeple is just around the corner.
We are in the fight of our lives as while the players change, the historic story remains the same: the rich and the powerful cannot exist without the destruction of the members of society that they exploit. Everything radiates from that simple premise. It is capitalism at it’s finest! Only when the level of misery among the sheeple goes to extremes do the rich and the powerful reluctantly have to roll back their greedy expectations and pass legislation that helps the miserable and maybe even raise the minimum wage by a few pennies.
We are entering a new phase of “fiscal realignment”, and an opportunity to put America first rather than Big Business, the rich and the powerful. Somehow, I do not think much will change and America is headed for a long, slow, debt induced collapse.
“The problem in this country is that the voters choice is between naked corporatism (republicans) and soft corporatism (democrats) and neither of those two ideologies will take the drastic steps to ensure the kind of wealth distribution that could put us back to a path of strong sustainable growth.”
You have hit the nail on the head.
I agree completely about the soul-less downtown of this and other Western cities.
Denver “sells rocks and trees” (and an option on sliding down snow in between rocks and trees). In a global slowdown this is not going to be a very prosperous place.
Yes, naked corporatism ie. the government “picking winners”. Subsidizing stupid things like ethanol. Preventing the free market from delivering energy. Forcing you to buy special light bulbs with toxic mercury in them. Subsidizing a housing bubble, then blaming laissez faire capitalism. Bill Moyers’ answer? Let our guys do that.
“Funny though – the first woman still has at least half a dozen handbags still on her wall while the second woman still has a nice Tiffany necklace on! Guess times aren’t that bad yet.”
Are you being deliberately dense here?
“half a dozen handbags” Yeah…so freaking what? You know the price of each and every handbag that were shown? You know for a fact that they’re all authentic Louis Vuitton maybe? Ever been to a thrift store? Ever heard of fake branding?
As for the Tiffany necklace…is you a jeweler? You can swear to God in front of court that it was a true Tiffany necklace? Or are you making this stuff up just to be mean?
Mike in NOLA wrote:
“”Pretty hard to be middle-class with only one paycheck.””
“My parents did it.”
So did mine. Moreover, my grandparents went through the Great Depression unscathed. Does that mean there was no such thing as the Great Depression? Does that mean the first statement is wrong?
You want to refute a general situation with personal anecdotes?
Wait a minute! How can I write it is a “general situation”?
Because of this:
(Skip the first 5 minutes which are dedicated to introduce so-and-so and congratulate everyone and their moms.)
This video doesn’t deal with anecdotes. A fair warning tough: it may explode some prejudices.
The “real people”, meaning (I assume) typical ignorant American peasants, are worried ONLY about three things at election time; especially suburbanites:
1) “Those people” in “the city”, which is WHY the “real people” are hold-up in the suburbs in the first place.
2) The fornicating harlots.
3) Having enough firepower to handle “those people” when society collapses when `merica is punished by their “loving imaginary friend” for not addressing issue #2.
Bill Moyers needs to get out of liberal fantasyland and start actually TALKING to “the real people”. Jeeez… people on here will talk about “Buiter says Fed too close to Wall Street”, but then think Bill Moyers talks to anybody but other intellectuals. PA-LEEZ!!! “Real People” are MOSTLY superstitious dumb-asses. That’s WHY America is in the state that’s it in NOW! Who do you think is doing the voting in America, the “REAL people”. The “Real People”, manipulated by “the REAL smart people”, are voting for “the REAL smart people” in election after election after election. “The REAL smart people” are milking the country dry. I wish I was that smart!
“Obama is not the cure for what ails the economy. Neither McCain. Nor was Bush or Clinton. If you want CHANGE then change the parties.”
There is only one way to change the parties: PAY THEM!!
What do I mean by that?
Politicians are like anybody who has a job; they obey those who pay them. Right now, the political donor class pays the campaign bills. Thus, politicians listen to them.
That ain’t rocket science, isn’t it?
So, if We, The People pay the campaign bills, guess who the politicians will HAVE to listen to?
Is that too difficult to understand?
Now, if some intellectual luminaries like Thomas Shawn want to call that “socialist” (houuuuu! I’m already trembling with fear) well, so be it, call me a socialist.
Like I’m going to care.
The consuming middle class is the main reason the economy is growing in a developed country. This is why everybody, including the uberrich should be conserned about the problems these middle (consumer) class people are experiencing (even if they can still afford a few used handbacks and a fake designer necklace. The basics of economic growth are essentially as easy to understand as grade school math. We have a formula where A+B+C+D+E= GDP and A is 70% whereas B+C+D+E combined is 30%. You get more growth out of a 50% increase in A than you would get from doubling all the others combined. So any sensible human being would concentrate efforts towards increase of A (consumer spending). Although the neocon regime we have had the last 8 years understand the formula somewhat (or they would not have given out stimulus checks when they were desperately trying to push their resession forward, past the next election). What they either don’t understand or don’t care about is that the consumption has to be based on gains in real income to be sustainable past an election cycle or two.
In response to a (normal cycle) mild ressesion just as they came into office the Bush administration overreacted with tax cuts, and then when the stock marked started tanking seriously added even more tax cuts. Even worse, their tax cuts were focussed on the wrong people and funneled huge sums of money to the worst possible place, the investor class. The investor class were not going to put their money into a faling stock marked and instead used it to create a huge bubble in real estate (further enabled by the wood brought to the fire by Greenspan). This real estate bubble unfortunately also served to temporarely enrich the consumer class, so the Alfa dog of GDP could keep growing. Although the lack of growth in employment and real wages (as well as raising personal and government dept) indicated that it was fake growth. Now that the bubble in RE is bursting and all that fake growth has to be payed back, we are looking at decades of pain to clean up the mess that these ass clowns made. But they don’t give a s**t, they got what they wanted; two terms, and lots of billion dollar no-bid contracts for they friends.
Everyone is dancing around the fact that globalization is probably the main culprit in the decline of the middle class. Most of our job growth has disappeared in this economic cycle due to offshoring and outsourcing. With more workers chasing fewer jobs, employees have no bargaining power for wage increases. In addition, workplace conditions decline and businesses takes advantage of the situation making people do double jobs, working longer hours.
People in this country do not care if others are getting rich, as long as their situation is improving as well. A rising tide is supposed to lift all ships. The whole Opportunity Society thing. This time around only the yachts are getting lifted. In a democracy this can be dangerous, especially to the rich.
The United States has always had a high wage labor force with a relative scarcity of labor. This has kept the peace between rich and poor. In addition, many of our technology innovations were made in an effort to lower labor costs. The same thing happened during the British industrial revolution. This movement toward using low cost labor for productivity gains instead of technology could sap our innovation advantage in the future. We could become a stratified society like the old antebellum south. Assuming that the people do not rise up and take it out against the rich.
Globalization has thrown the whole US societal balance out of whack. There is nothing wrong with helping people in the third world move up, but not at the cost of what is the American Dream for the majority of the people in this country. A rising tide must lift all ships or all ships will get burned.
But our dear leader says the economy is sound, so it must be.
Seriously, everyone misses the real reasons why the middle class is collapsing. It is the outsourcing of blue and white collar jobs, replacement of US workers with cheaper H1-b and L-1 visa holders, and our government’s open borders policy.
The idioitc Greenspan Fed created artificially low interest rates and kept them low. This created a credit and housing bubble, and people were able to spend the equity in their homes, thus keeping the economy going. This simply covered up the economy’s collape for several years.
There is no reason to believe things will improve in the next few years. America will become a third world country. The sad thing is that this all could have been prevented had politicians not been so corrupt, economists not as ignorant, and Americans not as gullible.
I have to laugh at the negative reviews of Denver. I’ve lived on the West Coast (San Fran), in the middle (Denver and Austin) and now am in New York. I enjoyed Denver and Austin the most. Colorado has the least fat people, and both those towns seemed full of more relaxed friendlier people and a great lifestyle.
I have to agree that there is a risk that Denver is being submerged by new outer ring suburbs of McMansions in all their pastel glory, but the old center of the city, and other towns like Golden and Boulder are terrific places to life – with Universities in the middle, lots of good bookstores and food places.
It’s all a matter of exploring with a local I guess…