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Paul Ryan equals austerity

Paul Ryan equals austerity. This is what he has pushed in the Republican budget. He and other conservatives have basically told us that we need to “get our house in order.” This is what we need. The question that I have to Paul Ryan and other conservatives is whether they have any examples where an economy in a recession which adopts austerity measures begins to prosper. Let’s just think about this for half a second. Currently, we are in a “mini recession.” By definition, a recession is decreased demand. We aren’t buying anything. Don’t believe me? Read the annual report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Americans are spending less. If Americans are spending less, then there is less demand. In the face of less demand, Paul Ryan and other conservative Republicans are telling us that the government needs to spend less. Wouldn’t that decrease demand even more? Of course it would.

This chart is from the IMF (International Monetary Fund). They looked at what has happened when countries with advanced economies put the brakes on growth or tried the austerity game over the last 30 years. Their conclusions fly in the face of what Paul Ryan and other conservatives have been telling us. They conclude “that consolidation lowers incomes in the short term, with wage earners taking more of a hit than others; it also raises unemployment, particularly long-term unemployment.” So, under recessionary conditions austerity lowers income and increases unemployment, particularly long-term unemployment. That’s exactly the wrong medicine for our economy. We want to increase income. We want to increase employment. Paul Ryan’s medicine simply doesn’t work.

By |2012-08-14T20:44:40-04:00August 13th, 2012|Economy|Comments Off on Paul Ryan equals austerity

Tuesday afternoon news roundup – A couple of things

The President is continuing to shine a light on to the Republican budget. He used terms like draconian to describe the Republican budget. I talked about the Republican budget here. President Obama’s speech was extremely pointed, partisan and perfect. He is to be congratulated.

As our population gets larger, the percentage of Americans who are mentally ill, confused, upset, angry and otherwise disaffected becomes larger. Well, the percentage is about the same, but the numbers are larger. I think that’s what we saw in Oakland, California yesterday.

From Oakland Tribune:

The suspect in a shooting rampage at an East Oakland private university told investigators he was angry at a female school administrator and students, saying they teased him and “were not treating him respectfully,” Police Chief Howard Jordan said Tuesday.

The suspect, One Goh, admitted his involvement in the Monday shooting and told investigators that one female administrator in particular at Oikos University was the object of his fury, police said.

Jordan, speaking early Tuesday, would not identify the administrator but did say she is not among the injured. “We don’t believe that any of the victims were the ones that teased him.”

March was a good month for the auto industry. They continue to rebound.

An inventor sues British Petroleum for stealing his inventions, which seem to have helped plug one of the gushing wells.

I know that many people have pointed out Paul Krugman’s article called Pink Slime Economics. I have to take just a couple of minutes and highlight this excellent column. This is a must read

But we should not allow events in the court to completely overshadow another, almost equally disturbing spectacle. For on Thursday Republicans in the House of Representatives passed what was surely the most fraudulent budget in American history.

And when I say fraudulent, I mean just that. The trouble with the budget devised by Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, isn’t just its almost inconceivably cruel priorities, the way it slashes taxes for corporations and the rich while drastically cutting food and medical aid to the needy. Even aside from all that, the Ryan budget purports to reduce the deficit — but the alleged deficit reduction depends on the completely unsupported assertion that trillions of dollars in revenue can be found by closing tax loopholes.

And we’re talking about a lot of loophole-closing. As Howard Gleckman of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center points out, to make his numbers work Mr. Ryan would, by 2022, have to close enough loopholes to yield an extra $700 billion in revenue every year. That’s a lot of money, even in an economy as big as ours. So which specific loopholes has Mr. Ryan, who issued a 98-page manifesto on behalf of his budget, said he would close?

None. Not one. He has, however, categorically ruled out any move to close the major loophole that benefits the rich, namely the ultra-low tax rates on income from capital. (That’s the loophole that lets Mitt Romney pay only 14 percent of his income in taxes, a lower tax rate than that faced by many middle-class families.)

By |2012-04-03T13:44:31-04:00April 3rd, 2012|Budget, Economy|Comments Off on Tuesday afternoon news roundup – A couple of things

Obama lays out his vision of America

I have watched this speech twice. It is really great.

From George Lakoff:

Last week, on April 13, 2011, President Obama gave all Democrats and all progressives a remarkable gift. Most of them barely noticed. They looked at the president’s speech as if it were only about budgetary details. But the speech went well beyond the budget. It went to the heart of progressive thought and the nature of American democracy, and it gave all progressives a model of how to think and talk about every issue.

It was a landmark speech. It should be watched and read carefully and repeatedly by every progressive who cares about our country — whether Democratic office-holder, staffer, writer, or campaign worker — and every progressive blogger, activist and concerned citizen. The speech is a work of art.

The policy topic happened to be the budget, but he called it “The Country We Believe In” for a reason. The real topic was how the progressive moral system defines the democratic ideals America was founded on, and how those ideals apply to specific issues. Obama’s moral vision, which he applied to the budget, is more general: it applies to every issue. And it can be applied everywhere by everyone who shares that moral vision of American democracy.

Discussion in the media has centered on economics — on the president’s budget policy compared with the Republican budget put forth by Paul Ryan. But, as Robert Reich immediately pointed out, “Ten or twelve-year budgets are baloney. It’s hard enough to forecast budgets a year or two into the future.” The real economic issues are economic recovery and the distribution of wealth. As I have observed, the Republican focus on the deficit is really a strategy for weakening government and turning the country conservative in every respect. The real issue is existential: what is America at heart and what is America to be.

In 2008, candidate Obama laid out these moral principles as well as anyone ever has, and roused the nation in support. As president, as he focused on pragmatics and policy, he let moral leadership lapse, leaving the field of morality to radical conservatives, who exploited their opposite moral views effectively enough to take over the House and many state offices. For example, they effectively attacked the president’s health care plan on two ideas taken from the right-wing version of morality: freedom (“government takeover”) and life (“death panels”). The attacks were successful even though Americans preferred the president’s health care policies (no preconditions, universal affordable coverage). The lesson: morality at the general level beats out policy at the particular level. The reason: voters identify themselves as moral beings not policy wonks. (more…)

By |2011-04-21T15:51:10-04:00April 21st, 2011|Obama administration|Comments Off on Obama lays out his vision of America
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