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Sat Dec 31, 2011, 08:19 AM

Our Economy Has Failed -- Until We Admit That, We're Screwed


ColorLines / By Kai Wright

Our Economy Has Failed -- Until We Admit That, We're Screwed
Industries, communities, natural resources, even sports leagues have collapsed as Ronald Reagan’s corrosive vision has become dominant.

December 30, 2011 |


At the foot of Manhattan’s Broadway Ave., just below Wall Street, stands one of the city’s most reliable tourism draws: Arturo Di Modica’s 3.5-ton statue of a charging bull. Since 1989, the sculpture has been an iconic symbol of American wealth, of the aggressive capitalist spirit that, it is argued, made this country great and powerful. Visitors flock from around the world to rub the bull’s horns for good luck. Or they used to, at least. Now, tourists snap pictures from behind police barricades.

For more than two months, the raging bull of wealth has sat caged, facing eye-to-eye with a New York Police Department cruiser as cops have worked around the clock to protect it from the Occupy Wall Street movement. The park’s administrator has called the security “Orwellian.” That’s to say the least.

If you’re looking for visuals to encapsulate 2011, look no further than the bizarre scene at Di Modica’s bull. Daily, the country’s largest police force mobilizes to protect the idea of American prosperity from an imagined threat, while the actual economy lays gored and gutted by demonstrable and ongoing crimes.

In the immediate, this perversity results from a spectacular failure of political leadership. We traveled a long, winding road to the point at which no-brainers like a modest payroll tax cut and an extension of unemployment benefits demand political brinksmanship. People of varying ideologies and partisan affiliations may debate endlessly who’s more at fault, but to do so is to truly miss the forest for the trees. The ugly reality is no leader in either party has yet shown the mettle to rise and meet the enormity of today’s challenges. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/economy/153614/our_economy_has_failed_--_until_we_admit_that%2C_we%27re_screwed/



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Reply Our Economy Has Failed -- Until We Admit That, We're Screwed (Original post)
marmar Dec 2011 OP
ixion Dec 2011 #1
Possumpoint Dec 2011 #2
4dsc Dec 2011 #3
Thaddeus Kosciuszko Dec 2011 #7
Possumpoint Dec 2011 #8
Thaddeus Kosciuszko Jan 2012 #23
fasttense Jan 2012 #21
russspeakeasy Dec 2011 #10
truedelphi Dec 2011 #14
dkf Dec 2011 #4
PETRUS Dec 2011 #9
Post removed Dec 2011 #11
jwirr Dec 2011 #12
JDPriestly Dec 2011 #17
dkf Jan 2012 #24
bhikkhu Dec 2011 #19
90-percent Dec 2011 #5
xchrom Dec 2011 #6
femrap Dec 2011 #13
ddickey Dec 2011 #15
Initech Dec 2011 #16
bhikkhu Dec 2011 #18
fasttense Jan 2012 #22
bhikkhu Jan 2012 #25
chervilant Jan 2012 #20

Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 08:48 AM

1. k/r

 


People of varying ideologies and partisan affiliations may debate endlessly who’s more at fault, but to do so is to truly miss the forest for the trees. The ugly reality is no leader in either party has yet shown the mettle to rise and meet the enormity of today’s challenges.


Indeed. Spot on, that.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 09:16 AM

2. It Is Unlikely

That any leader currently in major league politics can rise to the level that is required. Both major parties are bought and paid for by large corporations and special interests. They serve them more so then us.

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Response to Possumpoint (Reply #2)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 09:35 AM

3. Word

 

Dylan Ratigan says it best. The presidential election is an auction going to the highest bidder and the people have no say in our government any more.

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Response to 4dsc (Reply #3)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 11:05 AM

7. Dylan Ratigan is wrong.

 

The people deserve the government they elected.

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Response to Thaddeus Kosciuszko (Reply #7)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 11:48 AM

8. For What It's Worth

Within two days of their arrival, new Senators and Representatives are given a seminar where they are trained on how to raise campaign funds and introduced to the lobbyists who they will deal with on legislative matters and fund raising. The corruption is therefore immediately passed on.

Under the system of elections where only a portion of the Senators are re-elected at a time and no term limits on either house there is no way to drain the swamp and get reform.

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Response to Possumpoint (Reply #8)

Sun Jan 1, 2012, 01:13 PM

23. As evidenced by congressional job approval polls, nearly everyone knows that the system is corrupt.

 

Nevertheless, they reelect the same corrupt politicians over and over and...

And despite the so-called "historic" changes effected by Tea Party in 2010, incumbents were, for the most part, as safe in 2010 as they have been in previous elections. In the House, 87% of the incumbents were re-elected. In the Senate, 84% of the incumbents were successful.

The fact of the matter is, for the most part, the electorate is either stupid, or as corrupt as the politicians they elect.



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Response to Thaddeus Kosciuszko (Reply #7)

Sun Jan 1, 2012, 06:14 AM

21. The PEOPLE elect?????

 

No majority of the PEOPLE elected the bushes in 2000 and 2004, unless you ONLY count the criminals on the Supreme Court and the computers in Chattanooga TN.


But I still blame the PEOPLE for not protesting or rioting.

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Response to 4dsc (Reply #3)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 01:35 PM

10. I agree. It is an auction

and they distract us with their professional wrestling and jr. high antics.

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Response to 4dsc (Reply #3)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 05:28 PM

14. A DU member known as

Autorank put together carefully detailed explanations of how our nation now has One Big Money Party. I imagine his journals still contain those posts to explore and contemplate.

In thirty years, both the Democrats and the Republicans have allowed for The Federal Reserve to be an Uber Power. We have these unrealistic "bubbles" supported by the Greenspan philosophy of low interest rates. Entire time period when we are told to buy into the "dot com" ventures, or to do whatever we can do to get in a new home before the prices are so ridiculously high, we can't afford it.

Neither party is willing to do the right thing. And both parties wage un-winnable, expensive and non-ending wars. While the Corporate controlled media tells us the problem is social security and the unwed mom on AFDC.

I have yet to see a story on the M$M, except for Dylan Rattigan, and also Jon Stewart, that even mentions
THE FOURTEEN TRILLIONS OF USA DOLLARS that Bernanke gave away to his buddies on Wall Street.

In other words, we are screwn.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 09:49 AM

4. It's curious that Europe is more screwed up than we are.

 

Their politicians look even worse than ours.

Why would that be?

Maybe the truth is that reliance on debt to fund a country is deadly and that goes beyond individual politicians or political structures. Or is debt the result of not being able to work together?

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Response to dkf (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 12:31 PM

9. Debt has next to nothing to do with it.

There was one European country with anything resembling a debt problem. One. Greece. I know the media is goes on and on about "profligate spending" in Europe as a whole, but (as is often the case) the media is full of shit. Throw out the outlier (Greece) and debt to GDP ratios in Europe weren't particularly high vs. the US or anywhere else in the world prior to the economic downturn. Europe's proximate difficulties are related to the crash of a real estate bubble and bogus securities (just like the US!). This is a problem that originated in the private sector and has nothing to do with public debt.

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Response to dkf (Reply #4)


Response to dkf (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 03:24 PM

12. I prefer to think that they all were fool enought to by into the trickle down theory and now have

a vested interest in not admitting it. They are not telling us for various reasons including fear of panic and a bank run. And yes, both parties have played this game.

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Response to dkf (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 06:26 PM

17. Our country was founded on debt.

The American Revolution was fought on debt.

The Iraq War was fought on debt.

Debt is what keeps society going. The problem is that banks unwisely lent their money. They knew that the loans they were giving were extremely risky, so they purchased and sold derivatives to protect their interests from the foreseeable catastrophic losses.

Debt is good. Lenders who recklessly approve loans and then refuse to acknowledge their losses when the loans cannot be repaid are bad.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #17)

Sun Jan 1, 2012, 01:44 PM

24. Debt is good only if it is manageable.

 

For anyone there is a point where it becomes a problem.

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Response to dkf (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 10:31 PM

19. Europe is on much more solid footing in many ways

Chiefly in that they tend to have more effective government policies that balance the needs of the public and private sectors, and achieve higher standards of living and education than we do here. I think all those go together - good education leads to good choices and good government, which leads to more equality in a society, through good government policies.

Sweden as an example:



On the other hand, they are in the midst of an economic crisis due largely (I've read) to the failure of government revenues due to slower than expected growth. At the moment they're in crisis and we seem not to be, but their basic situation of a more equal society, better education, and more effective governments leads me to think that they will solve their current problems.

Depending on the results of the next election, I have hopes but not so much confidence in our ability (as a country) do improve our own condition.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 10:26 AM

5. Here's the root cause

Our institutions are infested with greedy and corrupt sociopaths.

I have great hopes the Occupy Wall Street movement is the best chance we have to undo the decades of moral rot that make up our current laws and policies.

Look at the drums of war pounded on behalf of invading Iran. This is the last thing the majority of Americans want our country to do. It seems most policies in America are favored only by that very tiny minority of elected leaders in Washington.

Average Americans want access to legal abortions, education, health, prosperity, a good future, and happiness. And War should be a last resort only for things like Hitler-esque threats to our national well being. American's don't like wars to serve the economic interests of the elites only.

College kids today graduate with the debt burden equivalent to that of buying a home. Then they get out and can't get a decent middle class job. Only drudgery minimum wage jobs and corporate serfdom.

We have more people incarcerated than any other nation on earth. That is obscene. All those ruined or damaged lives. What a waste. Distribution of wealth today is obscene. Revolutionary War obscene.

OWS, if it grows and becomes more successful, is the only thing I see that could turn us back into a democracy again.

The World's leaders are driving all of humanity off a cliff because they are stupid and greedy and self absorbed pricks!

-90% jimmy

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 10:39 AM

6. du rec. nt

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Response to marmar (Original post)


Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 05:39 PM

15. agreed

As far as economic disparity and inequality is concerned, the people are responsible, too. Americans have for too long been apathetic to government, to policy. When things go well, people disappear into their interests, into their immediate concerns; they cede responsibility to the government and revel in the benefits of citizenship. Thanks to this public apathy, our individual economic security vanished, ceded to the wealthy obsessed by pseudo-philosophers like Ayn Rand.

Krugman's recent article in NYT makes a forceful argument, I think, against these notions of austerity, of cutting spending. The funny thing, to me, is the Republicans all but admit that the economy is screwed--their answer: lower taxes and cut spending. The diagnosis is right, I think; but the solution doesn't seem to be working. Just ask the Irish how well reducing deficit spending is working out for them.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 06:16 PM

16. Too much wealth in the hands of too few - we're screwed.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 10:00 PM

18. Has failed at what?

I think a better statement would be that government policies have failed to manage things well, and as a result we have a crushing level of economic inequality.

I wouldn't blame it on the US economy in general, which still retains some level of market dominance globally, provides for 160 million jobs or so, maintains the average US household at a level of comfort far above the world average, and so forth. Currently, we have had 21 months of private sector job growth, growth in exports to a record level, a decline in trade deficits, a reverse of the long-term slide in the manufacturing sector, etc.

I wouldn't argue that the damaging level of economic inequality that we do have began with Reagan-era policies, or that it needs to change, but to equate the problem with "the economy" is to lay it all on the private sector, which has no real way of changing things. It is the result of a host of government policies, and change there can only come at the ballot box.

If we elect another batch of teabaggers who preach that "government is the problem", and the markets need to be left alone to solve things, we continue the slide to third-world levels of inequality. If we elect people to government who recognize the issues and will practice "good government" of the style that has served many other countries so well, a much better level of equality is just a matter of time.

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Response to bhikkhu (Reply #18)

Sun Jan 1, 2012, 06:59 AM

22. Which came 1st the chicken or the egg, the corrupt government or the failing economy?

 

The control of our government by a handful of psychotic, greedy, rich men is what is causing the corruption and failure of government to manage things well. But an economy that requires the Fed to loan out $7.77 trillion in secret, to a handful of very rich people, to keep them rich, and to allow commerce to continue in a stilted fashion has seriously failed.

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Response to fasttense (Reply #22)

Sun Jan 1, 2012, 01:51 PM

25. What is the most effective way to fix things is a better question

If inequality is the problem, we have numerous models around the world for better ways to do things, and the choice at the ballot box couldn't be clearer.

...and if we date the beginnings of the problem back to Reagan-era policies, then it is also very clear that we, as a nation, made a stupid decision and allowed ourselves to be conned into a bad set of policies, which has steadily put us where we are. The problem started at the ballot box in 1980, and the con has only gotten deeper - the teaparty is just the latest version.

The whole "$7.7 trillion in secret loans" is a bit of twisted "fact". There was a sum total of about that during the time when the markets for credit were drying up and many businesses faced imminent bankruptcy due to lack of cash reserves and no available credit. The money was lent to stabilize the markets and prevent bankruptcies, and it worked. It wasn't secret at all - you can find reports, including the round sum totals, from the discussions of what should be done, to the public announcement of the program, to the widely reported progress of things in the economic news as it happened. The loans were mostly overnight, they were all paid back, and the sum in trillions was reached by lending much smaller amounts many thousands of times. You can look at that as a failure of private industry which could have cost millions of jobs, but was effectively managed and stabilized by government intervention.

Inequality is more the issue, which would not have been served at all by a government standing paralytic on the sidelines watching the collapse of the economy that 160 million people here depend on. (That paralysis is what we had in the last months of the bush regime).

Being clear about the issues and voting in their best interests is what people do in other countries that are better governed and more equal than our own. I don't believe there is any magic way out for us, other than following that example.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sun Jan 1, 2012, 12:31 AM

20. Indeed!

The obscenely wealthy corporate megalomaniacs are scurrying around like cockroaches in the dawning light because their wealth is an illusion. Their hedonism has resulted in the massive Black Hole that the brave and erudite Brooksley Born called the Dark Market. With a current notional value of $680 TRILLION, the 'worth' of these worthless financial instruments exceeds the combined GNPs of EVERY NATION ON THIS PLANET by a factor of ten!

The entire system IS broken! Our global economy IS undergoing catastrophic change. I find it disheartening that the 'leaders' and 'economists' continue to discuss this issue as though there is a 'solution' just around the corner.

We are witnessing a global cultural crisis, and some folks are just not ready to acknowledge that.

Time for change. I am ever more hopeful, now that #Occupy is spreading across the globe.

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