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gulliver

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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 10,240

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I think a job guarantee should be just that.

I strongly support the notion of a job guarantee. I am very heartened by your post to see that this concept exists in Economics. I have always found the notion intuitively obvious—so obvious in fact that I thought perhaps it was either taken for granted or rejected by a consensus of economists. (I come from a Computer Science and mathematics background primarily, with additional study in the natural sciences, philosophy, and psychology.) How could an entire field of study, Economics, miss something so obvious and so socially crucial right in its wheelhouse?

To your comments above, I don't think we really disagree very much. I agree that any solution needs to be simple and difficult to game. But in creating a job guarantee system, we need to make sure we don't make it "too simple." There are many reasons the government should support business revenue streams during downturns, imo. I will mention two.

First, employees gain tremendously if their employers don't lay them off at all. Their careers are preserved, not to mention their social ties and lifestyles. Further, if the government preserves an employing business, that business survives as a labor consumer for current and future employees. Simply hiring the unemployed after they have been laid off should be there as a last resort, of course, but keeping people in their jobs is almost certainly more efficient and far less destructive to their real and intangible wealth.

Second, of course, a company or corporation is a wealth repository that is far greater than the sum of its parts. The rescue of GM and Chrysler, for example, preserved not only employment, but tasks, know-how, teams, etc. Moreover, in the long run, the rescues preserved their surrounding communities. Even if there had been the political will to simply hire the workers who would have been displaced (no chance, thanks to the Republicans), there would be progressively less and less will over time. By preserving companies through transient downturns, we preserve an ingrained status quo. That is much easier than trying to preserve political will.

There are always going to be those who will game the system and try to cheat it. That is a great argument for regulations and one of the better arguments for prisons. Every system is replete with hazards, moral and otherwise. One of the reasons I am a Democrat is that our side does a far better job at recognizing those hazards.

I liked your link to the MMT blog entry. I was glad to see that job guarantee seems to have some respectability if not the dominance it deserves. I wonder what MMT has to say about the meaning of wealth, bubbles, and savings. Thanks for your posts!

Is the word "conservative" about to become a putdown?

The word "Republican" has gone out of vogue thanks to George W. Bush and the Great Recession. One needs look no further than the Tea Party to see a clear example of stout-hearted Republicans running away from their party name and performance. Nowadays, even the most Republican of Republicans knows to sidestep their party affiliation when in polite company. If nothing else, it lets them avoid being asked if they voted for Bush.

The word Republican is toast, but what about the talismanic, argument-settling, self-worth-asserting word "conservative" itself? Have its many unfortunate recent associations with crackpots, serial liars, and flabby, diamond-ring-twisting hegemons finally brought down the last safe right wing word? What will conservatism call itself now that the word conservative is starting to become short for "laughably deranged asshole" in popular culture?

There has been a perceptible change in the Zeitgeist. I can't say for sure when it occurred. Perhaps at some point the Tea Party took off its glasses and everyone saw it was just George W. Republican after all. Maybe enough people witnessed Rush Limbaugh twitching on video making fun of Alex P. Keaton's multiple sclerosis. Maybe a critical mass of media consumers noticed that recently Fox News has begun to morph into a culture-wide laughingstock. I don't know when it happened, but the writing is on the Facebook wall.

Saying "I'm conservative" these days doesn't mean what it did ten short years ago. The presumption of respectability formerly accorded the words has disintegrated. The good will has dwindled to a puddle. Thanks to the hard work of self-professed "conservatives" like George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, and (let's definitely not forget) Glenn Beck, saying "I'm conservative" today is a quick way to lose people. If the trend continues, it won't be long before calling someone a "conservative" will be a putdown.

Republican is Bush. Bush is Republican.

We need to remember that for the general election.

The last Republican President was George W. Bush, and look what happened.

Republican is Bush
Bush is Republican

We got a lemon from the Republican dealership.

Republican is Bush
Bush is Republican

Robbed the treasury. Bought an unnecessary war on credit.

Republican is Bush
Bush is Republican

Jobs disappeared overseas. Job creators created jobs all right. Overseas.

Republican is Bush
Bush is Republican

When the Wall Street burglars (Republicans) came to ransack the country, Bush and other Republicans opened the doors for them. And turned off the alarm switch. And then slept at that switch. Visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads.

Republican is Bush
Bush is Republican

Why are Republicans so angry?

Republican is Bush
Bush is Republican

When Republicans are the ones who got us where we are?

Republican is Bush
Bush is Republican

They don't look in the mirror. Because everyone else knows.

From the nose to the toes.

Republican is Bush
Bush is Republican
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