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Hometown: Xenia, OH
Member since: Tue Sep 19, 2006, 03:46 PM
Number of posts: 24,691

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No. I think the Western middle class is in the top 80% to 95% globally, not the top 1%.

As liberals, shouldn't we be equally concerned about the other human beings on our planet?

Of course we should. And if we don't, nobody will because conservatives certainly are not going to be concerned with poor people anywhere.

Shouldn't we be willing to share the wealth and the jobs and the industries with other countries and peoples?

Should people with more be willing to share with people who have less? That's a pretty good definition of 'liberal'.

We have been very privileged...and like the silver spoon portion of our society, most of that good fortune has been an accident of birth rather than something we have earned.

Winning the 'birth lottery' (witness the Donald) says a lot about your prospects in life. If you or I had been born in Bangladesh or Nigeria, our life prospects would be significantly diminished.

Trade agreements in spite of their ugly local side effects are good for the worlds populations.

I don't know that it is 'trade agreements' themselves. Few of the really poor countries in south Asia or Africa or the rest of the world have trade agreements with Western countries unless you count belonging to the WTO as a 'trade agreement'.

You could make the case that trade, in general, has contributed to the increasing incomes of the worlds poorest 70%. That would not have surprised FDR. Increased global prosperity was one of the reasons he wanted to promote international trade after WWII.

The problem is not disruption due to trade agreements, it's the failure of the social safety net including job training and housing/food assistance.

True. That is why progressive countries can trade 2 to 3 times as much as the US and have stronger unions and middle classes than the US has. They provide the safety nets, progressive taxes, business regulation, etc. that FDR provided to the US.

We shouldn't be trade isolationists any more than we should be political isolationist.

True indeed. Trump and Cruz are classic republican isolationists like Coolidge and Hoover of the pre-FDR era. They love walls and tariffs; they want to break our international agreements; withdraw from international organizations, etc. Basically they are the opposite of what FDR was trying to accomplish.

And that's the BIG difference between Bernie and Donald on trade.

Donald Trump, another free trade critic in the 2016 presidential race, has vowed to violate the North American Free Trade Agreement and World Trade Organization treaties by imposing tariffs that clearly violate the deals. Sanders, by contrast, has more respect for the conventions of international law. He told the paper that he would maintain the existing deals as he sought to replace them.

"They should be renegotiated," Sanders told the Inquirer. "We have an agreement, legally we have agreement. But they should be renegotiated."

Bernie will renegotiate the agreements - NAFTA, WTO, etc. He respects "the conventions of international law".

Trump will 'rip them up'. He has no respect for any form of international law. He will act unilaterally to "make America great again."

Thank you Bernie.

Is world prosperity a "zero-sum, us-vs-them" affair? Trump, et al would say "Yes".

He proposes that we have to take a chunk out of the hides of Mexico, China, India (THEM) in order for US to prosper.

My neighbors' prosperity does not make me poor. And I do not want my neighbors to be poor so that I can be rich. We are all in this together, no matter what conservatives profess.

I grew up in a world in which practically the entire populations of China and India lived in abject and almost universal poverty. The same was true of much of Africa. The US had the world's highest standard of living and Europe and Japan, initially recovering from war devastation, eventually caught and passed the US' middle class.

As an older person now it is hard to adapt to a world in which Asia may one day soon be as prosperous as we are. It reminds me of when, as a young person, older people would wax nostalgic about how much better the world used to be whwn that were young, when it seemed to me that the past was worse than the present.

Part of my brain (I consider it the 'Trump' part) tells me that my neighbors' recent prosperity must be responsible for my recent economic troubles. The other part of my brain (the Bernie part which thankfully is in control) tells me that it is my own bosses (the 1%) who are responsible for my problems, not the poor/middle class family living next door.

Reich: Why Either Trump’s and Cruz’s Tax Plans Would Be the Largest Redistributions to the Rich

in American History

The tax cuts for the rich proposed by the two leading Republican candidates for the presidency – Donald Trump and Ted Cruz – are larger, as a proportion of the government budget and the total economy, than any tax cuts ever before proposed in history.

Trump and Cruz pretend to be opposed to the Republican establishment, but when it comes to taxes they’re seeking exactly what that Republican establishment wants.

Trump’s proposed cut would reduce the top tax rate from 39.6 percent to 25 percent – creating a giant windfall for the wealthy (at a time when the wealthy have a larger portion of the nation’s wealth than any time since 1918). According to the Center for Tax Policy, the richest one tenth of one percent of taxpayers (those with incomes over $3.7 million) would get an average tax cut of more than $1.3 million each every year. Middle-income households would get an average tax cut of $2,700.

Bottom line: If either of these men is elected president, we could see the largest redistribution in American history from the poor and middle-class of America to the rich. This is class warfare with a vengeance.


That's 'populism' right-wing style. Go after Mexicans, Muslims, Chinese. They are the OTHER. While giving our 1% (apparently they are part of US?) what they want.

How convenient that the 'anti-establishment' republicans think that 'trickle-down' economics works for the middle class no matter how often it has failed. Or they are proposing what the 1% wants after all and don't actually care about average Americans.

Surprise! Surprise!

"... the nation’s mayors - most of them Democrats - remain overwhelmingly

committed to free trade in general and the Trans-Pacific Partnership in particular.

Mayors Rise to the Defense of Free Trade

Mayors and private sector leaders in almost all of America’s major metropolitan areas believe they can accelerate growth and expand opportunity by deepening their integration into the world economy, not retreating from it.

Particularly among Democrats, this metropolitan globalism has opened a chasm between the party’s local and national leadership.
In the presidential race, Bernie Sanders has unreservedly denounced free trade deals like the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership that President Obama completed last year; Hillary Clinton has feebly bent in that gale, abandoning her own earlier support for the Pacific agreement. Far fewer congressional Democrats than in the 1990s are backing free trade, too.

But the nation’s mayors—most of them Democrats, especially in the larger cities— remain overwhelmingly committed to free trade in general and the Trans-Pacific Partnership in particular. The U.S. Conference of Mayors has officially endorsed the Pacific pact, and it has drawn enthusiastic praise from big-city Democratic mayors such as Atlanta’s Kasim Reed, Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel and Tampa’s Bob Buckhorn.

Blocking trade agreements, Cabaldon notes, won’t stop the changes powered by the unrelenting forces of technological advance and global competition. “The notion that you can just freeze your metropolitan economy in place right now, or the way it used to be, is just a fiction we [mayors] can’t live with,” Cabaldon says. “So it’s a question of what are the tools we have to make the best of the opportunities, reduce the suffering from the dislocation and then figure out how to compete.”


The secret of Trump's RW populist success is that too many people blame our problems on OTHERS

rather than our own 1% - who look amazingly like Trump himself. Like RW populists George Wallace (though a Democrat he certainly qualifies) and Pat Buchanan before him, he appeals to the racist/nativist streak in too many people.

We trade less than any country in the world (other than 2 small African ones) but what is the cause of our economic problems - trade according to Donald. We have a lower percentage of immigrants than Canada, Germany and Sweden, but what causes our economic problems - too many immigrants according to Donald.

The 'beauty' of Trump's RW populism is that while he distracts us with scapegoating of foreigners - both the ones who immigrate here and the ones who stay home and work - he preserves what really enriches our 1%: regressive taxes (his plan would be more 'trickle-down' tax cuts for the rich), weak labor unions (Donald loves him some 'right-to-work') or a flawed safety net (OK, while his plans are 'oddly' vague they might not be as bad as your typical republican's).

Canada, Germany and Sweden would tell Donald (if he cared what they thought which he doesn't) that trade and immigration do not hurt the middle class as long as you have high/progressive taxes, strong unions and an effective safety net. Of course, if a country does not have those things the domestic economy (75% of the US economy has nothing to do with trade) does not benefit the 99% as well. Without them the 99% benefit little from trade or from the domestic economy. (FDR would say that was the flaw in Coolidge's and Hoover's high-tariff, no-trade policy in the 1920's.) And that is the RW populist secret that Donald protects with his "Look over there! Is that a foreigner taking your job?"

Like FDR Bernie would, I think, go after our 1% with higher taxes, a better safety net, legal support for labor unions and better regulation of corporations and the finance industry. Like FDR Bernie would see that with the benefits of domestic and international-linked parts of our economy being redistributed to all and not just the 1%, he would push for us to be more like Scandinavia in terms of how we negotiate and trade with the rest of the world.

We trade less than every country in the world other than Sudan and the Central African Republic.

If trade is the cause of our problems, why does it not cause worse problems in progressive countries that trade 2-3 times as much as the US does?

I doubt that our relatively minuscule level of trade is going to change no matter who gets elected in November (although there is a chance that Trump will trash the whole system) but we will still blame our problems on trade rather than on regressive taxes, 'right-to-work' or an ineffective safety net. And the 1% will keep laughing at us behind our backs. They know what would help the middle class and hurt them and it ain't restricting trade. (Germany, Sweden and Canada can attest to that, too. Trade ain't the issue; it's taxes, unions and safety nets.)

The US (2%), Canada (18%) and Italy (3%) gained manufacturing jobs from 1991-2000.

They were the only industrial countries to gain manufacturing jobs during that decade. The UK lost 31%, Japan 15%, South Korea 17% and Germany 24%.

In the decade from 2001 -1010 things changed. No developed countries gained manufacturing jobs. The smallest loss was in South Korea at 5%, Germany 10%, Canada 22%, the US 24%, Sweden 27% and the UK 28%.

From 1991 to 2012 the US was in the middle of the rankings of manufacturing jobs losses (while manufacturing output soared in all countries). The biggest loser was the UK at 51%, followed by Sweden at 39%, Japan at 33%, Germany and France at 30%. The US came in at 24% followed by South Korea at 20%, Italy 11% and the best was Canada which only lost 6% of its manufacturing jobs from 1991 to 2012.


Would Trump’s trade threats work? Many experts are skeptical

Donald Trump has promised to shred America’s trade deals and impose fines on imports from Mexico and China. ... By attacking trade agreements, the Republican presidential front-runner is channeling the belief, common among many of this year’s angry voters, that foreign competition is robbing American jobs and shrinking wages.

Levying those tariffs would probably require congressional approval. It would violate commitments the United States made when it joined the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, and the tariffs would trigger retaliation from Mexico.

No problem, Trump says. He’d rip up NAFTA. He could exit the agreement provided he gave Mexico and Canada six months’ notice. Experts differ on whether Congress would have to authorize this.

If Trump replaced the low tariffs provided by NAFTA and World Trade Organization rules with punitive tariffs on Mexican and Chinese goods, he probably would ignite a trade war that would raise prices for Americans and cause diplomatic havoc. Economists recall that the 1930 Smoot-Hawley legislation, which raised tariffs on imports, inflamed trade tensions and worsened the Great Depression.


Something tells me that Trump will not wait for congressional approval. Krugman thinks that Trump may well follow through on his threats "as part of a reign of destruction on many fronts."

Krugman:if globalization makes an effective union movement impossible that’s a big problem. Does it?

This is mainly a data note to myself. But with trade becoming an issue in the election, I thought it might be useful to take on one myth: the supposedly necessary relationship between globalization and the decline of organized labor.

You hear this myth from both sides of the political spectrum — from conservatives asserting that unions became unsustainable in the modern economy, and from protectionists on the left arguing that free-trade agreements killed labor.

Background: I am very much in the camp that considers organized labor an essential force for equality, both because it gets higher wages for ordinary workers and because it’s a political counterweight to the power of organized money. So if globalization makes an effective union movement impossible, that’s a big problem.

But there’s evidence close at hand that the link is far from proven. More on this when I get around to a longer piece.


It will more interesting to read the future 'longer piece' on this but his preliminary expression of doubt about the link between the two seems consistent with the strength of unions in countries that are more 'globalized' than the US - like Germany, Canada and Sweden - and the weakness of unions in the few countries that are less 'globalized' than the US.
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