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Member since: Fri Nov 6, 2015, 07:20 AM
Number of posts: 2,352

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Is it too early to talk about the post-nomination Reconciliation Dinner?

We're going to need a lot of black tofu, shaped like crows...

RIP for the other side

When you are living for one good poll, when your candidate serves up word salad instead of policy, and that salad changes daily based on the audience and the events in the outside world, it's a very hard life. When your candidate has decades of bad policy and worse decisions following like faithful dog, it's even harder to keep the faith.

You begin to resemble Linus, waiting in a pumpkin patch for the Great Pumpkin.
Or the End of Time folks, waiting for the Rapture.
More to be pitied than censured.

Well, It's 11 months until we are all put out of their misery (or, god forbid, put into it for 4 years). Meanwhile, we have work to do, putting Bernie into the nomination and the White House.

Have you promoted Bernie today?

Buffett will stump for Clinton. How close are their views on the economy?

and how much would she have to pay him, in cash or consideration at a future date, to disappear?


One of the world’s richest men, Warren Buffett, will campaign for Hillary Clinton this month in Nebraska. The Omaha World-Herald first reported last week that Buffett, who runs the Berkshire Hathaway empire, will stump for Clinton on Dec. 16 to rally support for her campaign prior to Nebraska’s Democratic caucuses and the state’s primary vote in early March.

A spokesperson for the Clinton campaign confirmed to CNBC Clinton and Buffett will be making a joint appearance.

The Nebraska native has donated tens of thousands of dollars to her super PAC, Ready for Hillary. He predicted last year that Clinton, now in her second bid for the White House, would win the Democratic nomination and the presidency.

“I think that she is the most likely person to be president of the United States,” Buffett told the Fox Business Network in May. “I’m going to vote for her.”


The Perfect Republican Stump Speech


We(538) asked former Republican speechwriter Barton Swaim to write a ​totally pandering stump speech for an imaginary GOP presidential candidate — one who ​espouses only positions that a majority of Republicans agree with. ​Here’s the speech he wrote, including notes to explain his phrasing, behind-the-scenes pro tips on appealing to Republican voters and the data he used to decide which positions to take.

It's long, see link. No word on when the Democratic equivalent will come out...

What Would Sanders Do? The Dynamic Effects of Seven Sanders Initiatives BY GERALD FRIEDMAN


No one should be surprised by the popular support that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has attracted in his run for president as a democratic socialist. Nor should we be surprised that he has drawn attacks charging that his policies will bankrupt the United States. Sanders’ proposals for infrastructure, early-childhood education, higher education, youth employment, family leave, private pensions, and Social Security would total over $3.8 trillion over 10 years. While this is a large number, it would be barely 6% of federal spending for 2017-2026. Apart from any benefits these programs would bring directly, their cost would be reduced in four ways: Two operate by offsetting current spending and tax policies—either replacing existing federal spending or reducing tax breaks currently subsidizing private spending. The other two, which account for over 70% of the cost reduction, are the “dynamic effects” of increased economic growth—boosting tax revenues and reducing federal safety-net spending when the economy expands.

A quarter of new spending would be offset by savings and by faster economic growth. (See Figure 1.) The ongoing effects of the Great Recession that began in 2007 have left many resources underutilized. By putting unemployed workers and discouraged workers (who have stopped looking for jobs) back to work, the Sanders program would increase economic activity and government revenues while reducing spending on safety-net programs like Supplemental Nutrition. Taking these dynamic effects into account, the net cost to the public treasury would be about $2.7 trillion, instead of $3.8 trillion, over 10 years. That is, over a quarter of the total tab would be offset by reductions in other forms of government spending and by increased tax revenue derived from faster economic growth.

Figure 1: Additional Spending and Offseting Cost Reductions under Sanders Program

Each of the seven spending proposals would benefit from offsets and dynamic effects. (See Figure 2.) Universal childcare and free college tuition, for example, would replace existing spending on programs for childcare assistance and much of the spending on Pell Grants for students at public colleges, spending on infrastructure would offset some required maintenance spending, and raising Social Security benefits would allow some seniors to avoid dependence on Supplemental Nutrition (SNAP) and other safety net programs. The programs would also increase tax revenues by eliminating some existing “tax expenditures”—tax breaks that subsidize private spending—like deductions for employer-provided child care.

Figure 2: New Spending Programs and Net Costs after Offsets and Dynamic Effects

The programs would accelerate the recovery from the Great Recession. (See Figure 3.) Eight years after the beginning of the Great Recession, the American economy remains depressed. While the economy has been growing steadily since the end of 2009, output remains nearly 5% below capacity. Only 59% of the adult population is employed, down from over 63% before the recession and the lowest level in 30 years. I estimate that, due to increased government spending, the Sanders program would increase GDP growth rates for 2017-2026 enough to result in a projected GDP in 2026 $4 trillion higher than without the programs.

Figure 3: Projected Gross Domestic Product (GDP), CBO Estimates vs. with Sanders Program

The Sanders program would add six million new jobs. (See Figure 4.) The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that, due to sluggish economic growth, the percentage of the working-age population employed will fall between now and 2026, from 59% to 57%. The Sanders program would directly create jobs in infrastructure, in child-care services, in higher education, and for young people. It would also create additional jobs indirectly, as the newly employed and others spend their additional income. All told, I calculate that the program would raise employment by six million jobs by 2026.

Figure 4: Projected Employment, CBO Estimates vs. with Sanders Program

Government spending would decline relative to GDP within the decade. (See Figure 5.) Federal spending would initially increase faster than GDP under the Sanders program. After 2021, however, federal spending would be lower as a percentage of GDP than it would be under Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections, because of the strength of the economic recovery engendered by the Sanders stimulus. This is actually a conservative estimate of the boost to GDP because it does not include the productivity-raising effects of infrastructure spending and increased education.

Figure 5: Projected Federal Spending, Percent of GDP, CBO Estimates vs. with Sanders Program

GERALD FRIEDMAN is a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

What Is Actually Radical About Bernie Sanders’ Democratic Socialism Isn’t the Socialism


It isn’t a particularly radical political vision—it’s an unflinching commitment to democracy...The brouhaha over Sanders’ self-identification as a “democratic socialist” has largely missed what is truly radical about that identity. It’s not the socialism. Sanders has never used the “S” word with precision—for him, it seems to be simply a shorthand for robust investment in public services and the common good.

That shorthand has proved remarkably useful, allowing him to distinguish himself from liberals and most Democrats, while pointing out that much of what he calls socialism is already deeply embedded in American society in a variety of popular programs and institutions, most notably in public libraries and parks, in the Social Security and Medicare programs, and in various aspects of the military. The ambitious agenda he has laid out would amount to “the largest peacetime expansion of government in modern American history,” as the Wall Street Journal has noted. At the first Democratic debate, the former senator from Virginia, Jim Webb, used one of his few speaking opportunities to toss a pail of cold water on Sanders’ proposals. “I don’t think the revolution’s going to come,” he said blandly, “and I don’t think the Congress is going to pay for a lot of this stuff.”

Webb was correct about the odds of Congress passing much of Sanders’s agenda for public spending. But he was wrong to conflate that agenda with the revolution Sanders has in mind. What makes Sanders a radical, and what constitutes the essence of his revolution, isn’t his commitment to certain spending priorities or a particular economic plan—it’s his fierce commitment to democracy.

“Change never takes place from the top down,” he told his audience at the University of Chicago. “It always takes place from the bottom up. It takes place when people by the millions, sometimes over decades and sometimes over centuries, determine that the status quo—the world that they see in front of them—is not the world that should be, and they come together. And sometimes they get arrested. … And sometimes they die in the struggle. And what human history is about is passing that torch from generation to generation to generation.”

Though they are very different in their approaches to achieving it, Sanders shares this commitment to a radical version of democracy with Saul Alinsky, the activist and organizer who made Chicago his home and has played an outsized role in our recent national politics. Alinsky’s book Rules for Radicals, the summary of his organizing philosophy that was published a year before his death in 1972, is particularly notorious among right-wing pundits, and he was often invoked by conservatives in the 2008 and 2012 elections as evidence of Barack Obama’s secret radicalism. Obama was, famously, a community organizer in the 1980s for a Chicago-based organization, the Developing Communities Project, inspired by Alinsky’s strategies. Hillary Clinton’s ties are even more direct. She was born in Chicago and grew up in a suburb, and she wrote her thesis at Wellesley about Alinsky. In a letter she sent him in 1971, Clinton wrote that “the more I’ve seen of places like Yale Law School and the people who haunt them, the more convinced I am that we have the serious business and joy of much work ahead.” His ghost will no doubt be conjured once again if Clinton wins the Democratic nomination. As with Sanders, though, Alinsky’s radicalism wasn’t a matter of the specific reforms he pushed for, which were about winning incremental and often relatively modest improvements in the lives of the poor and disenfranchised. Rather, he was a radical and a revolutionary because he actually believed in democracy...


Compare and Contrast: Hillary Group vs Bernie Group

I looked down the first page of the sheltered workshop, er, group for Hillary fanatics, and the maximum number of recs was 50, on one solitary posting. If I cared enough, I could calculate the average, but I estimate it by sight to be 20 per OP, at best, over the entire past week.

Look at the first page of Bernie's group, and you see multiple posts racking up multiple hundreds of recs. A rough estimate: an average of 30, a max of 274 recs over a span of less than 4 days.

It could very well be that too much too fast is posted, escaping notice, or that some posts are just too limited to draw much attention....so if we took anything over 20, say, we'd have racked up an average of 64 recs on 35 well-subscribed threads. Minimum of 20 recs, max of 274.

And yet, the Hillary group sees fit to harass, intimidate, block, ban and tombstone (on the most specious of reasons or no reason at all) people who post stuff that reflects badly on Hillary (stuff otherwise known as unvarnished truth without spin). AND the Administrators see fit to ignore what is going on. Dollars count more, doncha know?

(See Mom, I am learning something from the statistics class...)

The Big Idea That Could Bring Disaffected Voters Back to the Polls By William Greider November 18

Bernie Sanders has a plan to expand, not “save,” Social Security—and it should be popular.


...The 2016 election is not actually about personalities. It’s about ideas—big ideas for governing that, win or lose, can change the country for better or for worse. Republicans are stuck in the past, still longing for the return of their dead president and his trickle-down Reaganomics. Left-liberal and progressive Democrats are prodding their party to reverse the Gipper in major ways by doing big things that would benefit millions of people—like expanding Social Security benefits instead of cutting them. So despite the media’s trivial pursuits, I expect the 2016 election will ultimately pivot on ideological conflict, powered by the great social and economic dislocations that have shaken society’s self-confidence. Dozens of right-left governing issues are already in play, setting up an emotional clash between bleeding-heart optimism on the left and nostalgic resentments on the right.

The most significant of these collisions may be the reemergence of an old and familiar argument about reforming Social Security. This time, left-ish Dems want to expand its benefits and protections and raise the payroll tax on top-level incomes to pay for the expansion. The herd of GOP candidates is once again promising to cut Social Security benefits and maybe turn the government system over to private enterprise (that is, the financial system that wreaked havoc on US prosperity). Veteran campaign reporters evidently think it’s boring, since they seldom mention the issue. But don’t be surprised if the fight over this old New Deal program emerges next year as a crucial battlefront between the parties. In fact, it may provide Democrats with a great opportunity to change the shape of the American electorate and reconnect with disenchanted working-class voters who feel the Democratic Party abandoned them.

Social Security is arguably the federal government’s most popular program, more efficient and responsive than most. It is valued by overwhelming majorities across party lines, age brackets and even income levels. It’s supported by Republicans (81 percent) and by Democrats (94 percent) and by independents (91 percent), from Baby Boomers to Generation Xers and to millennials. What is most relevant is that strong majorities in all sectors—even 62 percent of Republicans—think the government should consider increasing the benefits. So why don’t media see the story?

The distorted politics surrounding Social Security is itself a scandal. It demonstrates how gravely representative democracy has been eviscerated during the last generation by the political elites and financial interests who claim Social Security is dragging the country to financial ruin. Again and again, high-minded experts in the academy and Washington think tanks issue “Chicken Little” forecasts and mobilize well-financed campaigns to persuade politicians (if not citizens) that Social Security must be pruned back substantially in order to reduce federal deficits. This is an utterly fallacious complaint, but the prestige media have lazily swallowed the propaganda. Missing from their “crisis” stories is any evidence that reporters have actually talked to real people—the workers or retirees who depend on the program. If they did, people would explain that the Social Security payments are actually their money—not appropriations from Congress or Treasury or taxpayers. Working people contribute to Social Security every payday with the FICA deductions from their paychecks...


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