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Peter Orszag of Bank Welfare Queen Citigroup is Selling Catfood Futures Hard

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The Obama victory was less than 24 hours old when the Rubinite faction of the Democratic party was out full bore selling “reforming” Social Security as the adult solution to the coming budget impasse, giving it higher priority than any other measure on the table while simultaneously admitting that this is not even a pressing (let alone real) problem.

And the worse is that this snakeoil salesmanship, which comes from former OMB director, now Citigrgoup vice chairman of corporate and investment banking Peter Orszag, is almost certainly an Obama trial balloon. It’s no secret that Obama has long viewed cutting, whoops, “reforming” Social Security and Medicare, as one of his fondest goals. He made that clear shortly before he was inaugurated, in a dinner with conservatives hosted by George Will. He even volunteered in the debates that he and Romney were on the same page as far as these programs were concerned. So it’s reasonable to view Orszag as fronting for the Administration.

Orszag’s Bloomberg piece is simply putrid. It starts out praising Obama for discipline during his campaign and insisting he need to show discipline on the budget front. But this is already a rhetorical bait and switch.

The first mention of discipline referred to the President’s team choosing to put in long hours to meet their objectives. By contrast, the discipline Orszag wants to see happen on the budget front is the sort you inflict on children, animals, and submissives in S&M (actually worse than that, since submissives at least get off on being hurt). But Obama is into that: “I want fiscal restraint and order.”

Now it’s outside the scope of this article to address long form, but we will stop to remind readers that the budget hysteria is completely, utterly misguided. The last thing this economy needs is austerity. You can look at Europe and see how fiscal retrenchment in economies with lots of idle resources has only made matters worse. The IMF has even admitted that math of budget cutting fails because GDP falls even more than the deficit is reduced, which results in the debt to GDP ratio getting larger (and that’s before you factor in longer-term damage due to skill and infrastructure erosion, suicides, deterioration in health, etc). But the neoliberal economists have the same sort of religious zeal as the neocons. Just as the neocons laid in wait since the 1980s before they were able to take us all on a wild, costly, and hugely destructive ride in the Middle East, this crowd of true believers (lead by billionaire Pete Peterson) has been similarly engaged in a long-term campaign and looks poised to unleash its own version of adventurism.

Even if you were to accept the wrongheaded premise that deficit cuts were necessary, the Orszag piece is disingenuous. Orszag claims the Administration has three options, no more, no less. That’s patently ridiculous, particularly since Orszag fails to mention spending cuts, in particular, defense-related. Yet polls show overwhelmingly that Americans put that on the top of their list of budget fixes. No, instead Orszag says Obama could go into the new year and let tax cuts expire or could make concessions on raising taxes on the rich. Orszag doesn’t even bother giving very convincing reasons for dismissing these possibilities. In fact, he undermines his case against going into January with his aside early on “No one was really punished for the debt limit debacle of 2011.” Correct. It made Mr. Market very unhappy for a while, but Mr. Market got over it, and the partisans blamed the other side.

The rest of his article argues for his option which has some bells and whistles, but boils down to: “”We can’t agree on anything else, so let’s go after Social Security and sort out the rest later.” And he admits this isn’t a solution to any real problem:

So the most promising approach may be to compromise on Social Security — even though it is not a significant driver of our long-term deficits.

He nevertheless presents this as a great deal, something the Democrats should “leap at,” as if the Republicans are in a position to inflict worse. Um, did Orszag not watch TV last night? Obama is still president and the Dems actually gained seats in the Senate. So how are those evil Republicans gonna force anything that does not kick in via running over the fiscal cliff (and Social Security does not get hit by that) without the cooperation of the Democrats? I honestly don’t know how Orszag can write something so ludicrous and expect anyone to swallow it.

This move would also spit in the face of the people who just put Obama into office, since in a reversal of his 2008 funding, which has Wall Street as his biggest donor group, the big money types were gunning hard against him. From FT Alphaville:

Gee, should Obama’s liberation from the clutches of financiers give him the opportunity to act on the wishes of voters? From DemocracyCorps (hat tip Suzie M):

While elites assume the fiscal cliff is about deficit reduction and avoiding a contraction in the economy, voters want progress to create jobs over the next five years. Voters want growth, not austerity, and above all, do not see ‘entitlements’ as on the table.

· Two-thirds give an intense positive response to a “plan to invest in new industries and rebuild the country and create jobs over the next five years.” That is 5 points higher than “a plan to dramatically reduce the deficit to allow the economy to grow over next five years.”

· By 67 to 26 percent, voters say the priority should be growth rather deficit reduction.

There is no evidence that voters have any interest in the contours of Simpson-Bowles approach to the budget.

· Over 60 percent rule out cuts in Medicare and Social Security as part of a deficit reduction package.

· Almost three-quarters find acceptable in any such plan creating a new higher rate for those earning over a million dollars.

By putting Paul Ryan on the budget, Republicans decided to put social insurance for seniors on the table, but the Obama’s biggest advantage over Romney was on whom voters trust to deal with Medicare: 51 to 38 percent, a 13-point advantage.

It would seem to be a stick in the eye to defy such clear voter wishes, but that’s never stopped Obama. And he will get away with it because large parts of his base even now don’t perceive that his talk and image don’t map at all onto his policies. This long-planned betrayal might finally wake them up to the actual policies, as opposed to the persona, that they voted for.

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98 comments

  1. Middle Seaman

    My limited observation shows that many voted against Romney and didn’t vote for Obama directly. Budget cutting with more than 10% realistic unemployment is a crime. All it will do is increase unemployment and increase the deficit. Obama and his cohorts support such austerity mainly because they are rich and anti-progressive. Dreamers of cutting the safety net to handkerchief size such as Obama and Orszag are enemies of the poor and the middle class.

    1. TK21

      ” many voted against Romney and didn’t vote for Obama”

      If they think there’s a difference between those two actions they are sorely mistaken. (Of course, if they think there’s a difference between those two candidates they are sorely mistaken.)

      Obama made very clear what he would seek to do if re-elected. He didn’t preview one plan if people voted for him enthusiastically and another plan if they voted for him with their noses held.

    2. JamesW

      Sad to say, the “logic” you heard constantly repeated sounds exactly the same as what heard and overheard, M-Seaman. (I received the below earlier today from an online bud.)

      Obama Déjà vu

      Almost immediately, upon winning the presidential election, Obama stated he wanted to get together with Mitt Romney to discuss the country’s future.

      Mitt Romney? The private equity leveraged buyout super debt-creator? The jobs offshoring guy who offshores all his money as well?

      The guy who only knows how to raid the US tax base, not to enhance it?

      After saying that, President Obama called both Boehner and McConnell, neither of whom would accept his call????

      Not accepting the call of the President of the USA? Almost like they consider him nothing more than a former local organizer who is nothing more today than a hapless figurehead?

      And the beat goes on . . . .

    3. Lady Liberty

      Excuses, excuses just like when obama claimed he would go after the Bankster’s and never did even Dean Baker is acting like obama has no control over this! What a joke to go after a program that is entirely self funded. Social Security can’t tax and it can’t deficit spend people pay for it themself’s along with their employers yet the politicians act like it’s a welfare program what they really want to do is steal it from you they don’t want to pay back all the money they borrowed from it.

      Why Won’t President Obama Stand Up for Social Security?

      http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/the-exchange/why-won-t-president-obama-stand-social-security-231018965.html

  2. rich

    New leaders face China’s wealth divide

    On one hand, many analysts predict that when they hand over the reins to the next leaders in 2023, China will be nearing the U.S. as the world’s number one economy. On the other hand, the pair will be the first leaders in three decades since China opened to economic reform that haven’t presided over double-digit growth.

    “We’re going to have to see a new normal,” said Wang Feng, director of the Brookings-Tsinghua Center, at a recent conference. “The hyper-fast growth rate over the last 10 years is unlikely to be replicated in the future.”

    The challenge is moving China from an export and investment led economy to one based on domestic consumer-based growth. The flood of investment and exports in the past decade helped the nation’s economy grow an astounding five times — from $1.5 trillion in 2002 to an estimated $8.3 trillion this year — and leap-frogging from the world’s sixth largest economy to its second.

    “An effective approach to reduce the inequality and to boost consumption is to shift government spending priorities away from massive infrastructure development — roads, railroads and airports — and toward social welfare investment,” said Professor Gan Li, director of the China Household Finance Survey. “If the government creates a stronger social safety net for its citizens, Chinese workers will feel less pressure to save for health emergencies, unemployment and retirement, and more likely to buy goods and services.”

    http://edition.cnn.com/2012/11/08/business/china-leadership-economy/index.html

  3. rich

    The People Who Elected Obama Don’t Want Cuts to Social Security and Medicare
    Tuesday’s vote is a clear mandate on what matters to hard-working Americans.
    The president should heed the message voters sent as negotiations for a so-called “Grand Bargain” (what white-collar criminologist Bill Black has more properly called a “Grand Betrayal”) heat up in the face of another phony crisis meant to give the fatcats a new shot at redistributing income upward.

    They don’t realize that if and when a tweak is needed down the road, this can be done very efficiently by simply requiring the rich to pay Social Security taxes on the money they make over the current low ceiling of just over $100,000. And they have not heard that while the horse race of the election was distracting everyone, a gang of cynical looters led by Erskine Bowles has been plotting behind closed doors to snatch away Social Security and Medicare under the guise of “deficit-cutting.” And they haven’t yet fully understood that the best way to help the economy is to get unemployed Americans working again, and that cutting Social Security and Medicare is counterproductive.

    As Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz argues in his most recent book, The Price of Ineqality , the continued redistribution of income toward the rich is not only immoral and a cause of social unrest, it is economic stupidity. The economy is weakened when people don’t have enough money in their pockets to buy what they need. To use the excuse of the recession and phony crises in order to rob Americans is nothing short of criminal. The working people who elected Obama did not cause the financial crash. They have been squeezed and squeezed in the last four decades to the point of desperation. They deserve a break.

    http://www.alternet.org/election-2012/people-who-elected-obama-dont-want-cuts-social-security-and-medicare?page=0%2C0

    1. TK21

      “The People Who Elected Obama Don’t Want Cuts to Social Security and Medicare”

      Then why did they elect Obama?

      I went to the zoo and jumped into the tiger pen, but I didn’t want to get mauled! Well, what do tigers do? They maul things.

        1. two beers

          To those who think the coming Grand Betrayal will cause the masses to rise up, consider the power of cognitive dissonance: people generally are loathe to admit they’ve been played the fool and made to look stupid — because no one wants to look stupid. Politicians, advertisers, and con-men (but I repeat myself) understand this and employ the technique to their benefit.

          Most Democrats will still worship Obama as he continues to demonstrates how much he despises the 99%.

        2. different clue

          There were other cages, you know. Cages with aardvaarks, pandas, anteaters, and so forth in them. I jumped into one of those OTHer cages.

  4. Norman

    If the “O” gives way on Social Security, then it just might lead to “the shot heard around the world” again taking place here. I wonder, is he that arrogant to try?

      1. JamesW

        And to add to Ms. Bess, remember, please, that even before Obama was sworn in after the election in 2008, he and his advisors met with the management and editors of WaPo and said they would be going after SS and Medicare/Medicaid.

        That article is still online someplace.

    1. Lil'D

      Ah, but it will be done only with whimpering, there is not a large enough immediate constituency for uproar. Most will shrug and accept it.

      The deed can be done quickly but the pain will not be felt for decades. By then the perpetrators will be gone. If it gets privatized (I’m betting against, but still…) then the transfer of wealth from middle class to financial intermediaries will be parasitical, not predatory.
      It is suboptimal to work the serfs to death quickly.

    2. rotter

      its more than arrogance..dont believe for a minute that they are unaware how bitterly unpopular thier austerity plans are..this is more of a desparate gambit …if they can pull it off they think, they only have to do it once and they can deal with the fallout, they think. What has the monstrous build up of the police state been for? Not to “protect” America from 2 or 3 dozen fanatical anti- Western Islamic clerics, scattered around the world…thats preposterous..the police state building has been sandbagging against us..in case we attempt to push back. which they obviously expect a certain amount of..they are going to push forward with thier austerity plans no matter that the people are against such ideads nearly universally – across both parties. What happens, whether they succeed or not, is up to the people

  5. Anchard

    They didn’t even wait until the election. On November 5th, “senior Senate Democratic aides” were quoted in Reuters to the effect that Obama would push for a Grand Bargain immediately on election. Full-page adverts appeared in major US papers around the same time, funded and organized by BlackRock and other investment managers, bemoaning the perils of the fiscal cliff. The FT also wrote about the ads on the 5th.

    Orszag is a foot-soldier in a much bigger effort. His differentiator is that he seems to be the only one talking directly about Social Security – the others seem focused on Medicare and Medicaid.

  6. monday1929

    Yves, thank you for using the “Welfare Queen designation for Citi. It is fitting, and fair.
    The Bankers are FAILED MEN. They must be called that, and often.
    A goodly portion of any profits garnered from January 2014 Puts will be used to seek justice for the Financial Terrorists who have so damaged our Country. Jamie Dimon would do well to simply turn himself in and confess.
    Destroying the Rule of Law may produce unintended consequences for the Elites.

  7. Chris Rogers

    Funny isn’t it, the ink is not even dry on many ballot papers and here we are just 48hrs after the non-drama of Tuesday discussing Obama’s ‘Great Betrayal.’

    All I can say is that I hope all those that voted for and hence ‘foamed the runway’ for Obama’s second term are happy with the result.

    Had people wanted change, they could have voted Jill Stein, or, in order to deny Obama his ambition of reforming Social Welfare – a euphemism for drastic cuts – voted for that Devil himself, Romney.

    Anyway, the Great Betrayal begins and many Wall Street actors and neoliberals are auditioning for a slice of the action.

    All I can say in all honesty, is God help you.

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    1. bmeisen

      Agreed – the argument against voting for the third (or fourth) candidate is specious. Voting for B because you’re afraid of A is the Dem’s MO. The only reason to vote FOR Obama was because of his close relatives in Nairobi’s slums, i.e. he’s black. This makes about as much sense as voting for someone because she’s white.

      If we the voters are supposed to stay real and vote within the 2-party system because it’s the only system we have, then welcome to reality: Obama might dismantle SS and medicare/aid. Robert Johnson is brilliant in the most recent REal World News posted by Yves: reform is needed in America’s corrupt and bloated private health care system. Financial industry talent aka wall st welfare queens are today’s shamefull freeloaders.

      1. bluntobj

        And this is why my vote for Paul was not wasted.

        I hoist a big middle finger to both parties, as they sit together in the owner’s box in the big stadium, sipping champagne and eating foie gras and caviar.

        Opt out of the games, people. Simplify, reject that salary increase in favor of more time off, deleverage, build non-traditional income sources, and get to know your freaking neighbors and your community.

        Government is power and control, and they want to keep you in the stadium to farm you unmercifully for your cash and your power. We’ll get to see that big time in 2013 and 2014.

        1. different clue

          My vote for Rocky Anderson also was not wasted . . . for the same reason.

          I suspect I have not simplified and downscaled anywhere near to where you probably have, but at least I have declined every opportunity to get promoted at work.

          And my average daily electricity consumption in my own home has been 3.12 killowatt-hours over the last thirteen months. If that is below the individual average, then that perhaps gives me some small shred of personal simplification credibility.

          1. bluntobj

            “but at least I have declined every opportunity to get promoted at work.”

            That one thing alone puts you ahead of most people.

          2. Nalu Girl

            I’ve declined a promotion myself. I liked the job I was doing, and did not want to be a supervisor. I learned from my parents, who against conventional wisdom in the 50s and 60s, taught us to laugh at the “Joneses” and that doing what you enjoyed was more important than making a lot of money so you could buy more stuff.

    2. Nathanael

      People should learn some voting theory and some game theory.

      We have a crappy, out-of-date election system known as “First Past The Post” (see Wikipedia for more) with gerrymandered districts. We need (Party-)Proportional Representation, and for single-member offices like President, we need Approval Voting.

      But few people even know about such things.

      On top of that, the electoral college is also looney (being in a safe state, my vote was wasted no matter who I voted for, so of course I voted third-party). The Senate is extraordinarily antidemocratic (a vote in Wyoming is worth >50 times more than a vote in California). And it’s made worse by demented, insane rules which allow 1 Senator to stop almost anything, and 41 Senators to actually stop everything.

      This isn’t a democracy at the federal level and it’s making it very hard to fix things. Now, the state governments *also* fall short of being democratically elected — gerrymandering and First Past the Post again — but they’re usually easier to fix. (Nebraska even got rid of the “bicameral” system for gumming up the works back in the late 19th century.)

      1. different clue

        Those demented insane Senate rules may be what allow us to save Social Security from the VichyDem-Republican conspiracy against Social Security.

        It would only take a few Mad Dog Democrats to stop the Senate from doing anything. 28 DSenators signed a letter claiming to oppose any changes to SS. If they mean it, they can prevent any action at all.

        And some other Mad Dog Democrats, or some of the same ones, can use the same demented Senate rules to prevent any action whatsoever on Medicaid and Medicare. If they don’t, that proves they never wanted to and were lying about their intentions from the start.

        It seems to me that those 28 “hands off SS” Democratic Senators would be the people to write or call. I will tell my Senator (one of those 28) that if Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaide are touched in any way, or even MENtioned in any legislation, that I will never vote for another D-Senator or D-President ever again.

        It might also be good to try inventing various names to sort out the so-called “Democratic” Senators into various groups. Catfood Democrats, Doormat Democrats, Vichy Democrats, and Mad Dog Democrats if any. If some DSenators actually kill and destroy any effort to mention SS/Medicare/Medicaide in any legislation, we could call those people Mad Dog Democrats, and support them by working to defeat all the rest of the Democrats . . . the Catfood and Doormat and Vichy Democrats . . . from office.

        Also, if the surviving offshoots of OWS have broken into various information seeking/developing/weaponising/disseminating groups; one body of weaponisable information would be what companies or groups Senators go to work for after leaving office. Those companies could then be targetted with boycotts designed to pressure them into firing those ex-Senators. Those Roving Spotlight Boycotts could follow the ex-Senators from job to job to job . . . getting them fired from every job they get and eventually making them unhirable anywhere. Perhaps also targetting them for personal expressions of personal hatred and rejection, shunning, etc. in their personal lives. Ruin their personal and family lives in revenge for them voting to make any changes whatsoever to SS/Medicare/Medicaide.

      2. bmeisen

        Love Nate’s take. Combine the outrageous voter suppression widgets active in the system across the country – voting on Tuesday, decentralized public services (i.e. the voter registration office is in an outhouse at the intersection of rt 92 and highway 10), poliiticized administration of public services (i.e. the voting clerk is a good Dem/Rep), disenfranchisement of felons, voter registration drives organized by political parties (!!), heterogenous ballotting, utterly dysfunctional write-in formats, etc. – you combine this sh*t with first-past-the-post and the electoral college and you get a semi-democracy not far advanced from the pristine plutocracy of 18th century England, i.e. the system that our esteemed forefathers rebelled against.

        True democracy is precious. You get it with permanent, deep-pocket commitments to public education, cultural subsidies, a prominent place at the table for organized labor, constitutional establishment of parties and proportional voting.

  8. ScottW

    Obama will wrap the social security cuts in so much mumbo jumbo that the average supporter will extol the virtues of saving the program and reducing the deficit. Illusion and deception never stops after an election.

    1. Klassy!

      Exactly. Of course, he is aided by our press. Just as Obama is the more effective evil as president, the NYT and NPR and their ilk are the more effective evils in the press. Look at that Jackie Calmes nonsense today. And they have their pro austerity pundits. One can hope that Krugman will provide some resistance (and I say this as no particular fan of Krugman) but I took a look at what he is writing about now and it all seems to be partisan crowing to me.
      The Republican party is not irrelevant because they aren’t rainbow colored. The Republican party is irrelevant because they are redundant.

  9. jake chase

    Nothing will reinvigorate the economy except a bailout of general population that eliminates the debt overhang. Leaf raking measures and corporate boondoggles associated with government ‘employment’ and ‘infrastructure’ programs will help those who get the jobs (and the cash), but leave everyone else strapped (and overindebted) and fail to rebuild aggregate demand. There will probably be gestures in that direction as conditions worsen, but they will not accomplish much and be discredited as a result. I fear we have just reelected a charlatan whose only serious objective is a cushy life after retirement from office. He sold us predator enrichment and pointless war during his first term and will sell us dismantling of the safety net during his second. I cannot wait to hear from those who voted for him as the best of two unattractive options.

    1. JamesW

      I agree with your analysis completely, Mr. Chase — but here’s the overreaching problem, or reality.

      We no longer exist in a consumer-based economy, my fellow career volunteer activists and I realize this, and realize that most people haven’t been paying attention to the evolving situation for the past 20, 30 and 35 years.

      During the past 35 years, the economic elites (or banking cartel, or Transnational Capitalist Class, whatever one chooses to call them) have dismantled the economy, and transformed it into FIRE (as described by the brilliant and always correct, Prof. Michael Hudson) or debt-financed based economy, which employs roughly 7.8 percent of the workforce, meaning too many of the other jobs are almost always up for being offshored.

      Those at the Council on Foreign Relations and various other influence groups, are forever pushing for morphing into hedge funds, and private banks (Private equity LBO firms) as a means of “financial improvement” when it is just an extension of their economic manipulation and power.

      The facts don’t support any existence today of a consumer-based economy — just a debt-instrument-finance-based economy — with the job creation going on in other countries, when it does actually occur anywhere else.

      1. different clue

        Oh, I don’t know . . . .

        When I buy a can of soup and eat it, or a can of sardines and eat them, I have just bought a consumer product and consumed it. Or if I buy a bag of gypsum or azomite for my garden and mix it into the soil. So we still have a consumer-producer economy where people keep eachother working through buying-selling producing-consuming eachothers’ things and services.

        What the FIRE sector is is a parasitic growth on the reduced consumption-production economy. The consumer economy is a lake trout and the FIRE sector is a lamprey attached to it. The lamprey would best be removed and killed through legal and legislative action. In the meantime, might people/neighborhoods/communities etc. be able to route more of their activities through production-consumption channels and less through FIRE sector credit-emmission-for-goods&services-hijacking activities? Could analysis be made fine-grained enough to make it possible to do? Or at least think of?

        Is that a part of what Move Your Money is trying to think
        its way towards? How about Catherine Austin Fitts or Woody Tasch or etc.?

    1. Matt

      Greenscam raised SS retirement age in steps from 65 to 67 ( as of 2026) back in 1983. It is already 66 now.

      1. Denise B

        It’s a constant source of amazement to me how many people think that people are still starting to get full SS at 65. Maybe part of starting a popular uprising against raising the retirement age is making everyone aware that it is ALREADY 67.

        1. jrs

          Yea really! They probably want to make it 70! Raising it from 65 is what they talk about in other countries like Greece, and they’ll liable to have a massive country wide strike for it even now. Meanwhile in the U.S., without any of Greece’s problems it’s already raised, and they’re trying for more. Yea most of the world does live better.

          1. Nalu Girl

            You can still start collecting benefits at 62, just not the full benefit. You will not get as much per month but will collect it over a longer period of time. In my case it will be a wash.

            1. Lambert Strether

              I know. We should never have allowed this phased thing. The elders are asked to betray the young. Very bad. We should be talking about lowering the retirement age — so kids can get jobs instead of elders working ’til they drop!!! — and also making the benefits age neutral, instead of simply defending against cuts.

    2. curlydan

      Medicare, though, could be raised from 65 to 67, right? Just hand over your retirement to pay for the medical premiums in those years.

  10. Quintus25

    Yves,

    Per usual, your analysis is sound and as insightful as ever. I do have one quibble and it’s not directed at your blog post. I’m a twenty something year old who reads this site daily. It’s great remedy against the misinformation found in MSM and supposed progressive outlets. The only thing I find wanting is possible steps to redress some of the issues covered in this blog – income inequality, the corporate plutocracy, the housing crisis, job crisis, etc.

    It’s clear by his policies that President Obama is not this “pragmatic progressive” individual in the media. We all know he sucks and it’s not him but the corporate and political elite as well. My question is what is to be done? I don’t want to become cynical and bitch about Obama’s betrayal of working people. I want to move in a direction where we pressure the Democractic party in a similar fashion as the radical labor movement did in the 1930s. We need to raise these issues into the general population’s conscience and somehow change the discourse in public policy. Similarly, to what Occupy did in 2011.

    I understand this is hard and requires intense motivation and perseverance. I’m hoping we can discuss practical steps to move the conversation and effect change. One of Yves’ ideas is making TBTF banks into public utilities. This is a great idea and a rational response to the financial crisis! How do we move in a fashion where this becomes a reality? Obama is a disappointment and I’m hoping we can have this conversation in the comments section.

    1. JamesW

      While I don’t pretend to answer for Ms. Smith (personally, inquiring of a McKinsey person might not be a real wise move), I would suggest you read the following:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complexity,_Problem_Solving,_and_Sustainable_Societies

      (and the actual paper itself — a truly sweet read)

      http://dieoff.com/page134.htm

      With a completely fraud-based society, existing on absolute corruption, compare to how over 800 banksters were jailed for something almost insignificant in comparison, the S&L debacle of the 1980s and early 1990s.

      And nobody has gone to jail, because Wall Street completely owns the political process, the congress, the executive branch and the supreme court.

      Truly, anyone suggesting supporting the status quo will suffice is one of the bad guys, or the uselessly clueless.

    2. bluntobj

      If you think on a national or global level, you will become bitter and dissapointed.

      You realize that the elites and plutocrats have control, but then you start talking about ways to change that nationally.

      This is a trap.

      Thinking this way keeps you in the stadium, hoping for change, trying to root for the team which advertizes itself most loudly as change agents. However, both teams owner’s are up in their shared box, counting the gate receipts.

      As I have posted before, opting out is your solution for sanity and happiness. That means avoid the debt treadmill, since you’re young, focus on hard trades for education, buy only productive assets (that means land you can grow/produce things on, rental properties, business tools, or knowledge), and above all act and think locally. Develop non-traditional income streams, get used to bartering, live simply, know your neighbors and community, and pick a partner to be with that can do and think in a similar fashion.

      I don’t worry about the “big picture”, because there is nothing I can or want to do to it in the first place. I know that complexity and overreach will doom it to collapse, so it is more important for me to adapt to and influence my local area first.

      Plus I can see the success immediately, and my blood pressure drops when I don’t worry about things I can’t change. ;D

      1. jake chase

        I completely agree. I came to the same conclusions forty odd years ago, when I first realized there was no ‘job’ I could ever get that I would want, that there was very little for sale that was worth buying, that conventional aspirations for success were idiotic and counterproductive. Living up to these realizations was not easy. Among the casualties were marriage, unborn children, assorted creature comforts, feelings of belonging and security. Well, you learn to do without them, if you do not first go crazy or simply give up. You have considerable free time and so you read books, every book you can get your hands on. You don’t watch television or read newspapers, you husband what little money you can find a way to earn. Perhaps you start a little business and perhaps you get lucky. It isn’t impossible. Lots of people do it. You seldom hear about them, but there are always opportunities, even today. If I were starting today I think I would look for a small number of like minded people with whom to collaborate. Pool resources and perhaps start a tiny restaurant, a service business offering something basic. A young friend of mine who is quite intelligent and never went to college makes a business building and servicing swimming pools. He is honest and diligent and has more work than he can handle despite intense competition from assorted con men who charge far more and deliver far less. I would move away from the concrete wilderness of the city, away from the northeast, to a mild climate more thinly populated, I would turn my back on entertainment, night life, grouping and groping, salesmanship, ladder climbing, formal education (mostly a waste of time and energy). Well, I could go on but you get the idea.

    3. djrichard

      I agree. To counter the marketing campaigns being unleashed on us, two marketing campaigns are needed:

      1) Gov is the answer
      2) The deficit is not a problem

      The problem in my mind is that science is needed to provide “cover” for such campaigning. Connecting the dots for (1) may be more a rhetorical challenge than a scientific one. But (2) would seem to lend itself to a more scientific debate. We have excellent articles coming from M. Hudson, but it’s just not quite enough to make a marketing campaign out of it. Or perhaps I’m thinking too timidly – hard to tell. If we could get (2) off the ground, (1) wouldn’t be that far behind it. But we need to connect the dots on (2) to get it off the ground.

    4. lambert strether

      Quintus25: Applause, because you are the sort of person “skeptics” (to pick a word) like me who are older really need to talk to.

      Starting an online conversation is hard. The discourse is very hard to change, minds even harder; both are harder to move than “bricks and mortar.”

      So all I can say is persist. This forum is a great place to evolve your thoughts.

    5. Brooklin Bridge

      Glen Greenwald has an article that lists almost prophetically what is going to happen over the next few days to few months in the on-going effort to prepare the social safety net for privatization. It is so prescient, and so easy to watch becoming true or false over the next few days and weeks that I think the relevant section is worth block-quoting, but here is the link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/07/obama-progressives-left-entitlements

      If history is any indication, this is how this “fight” will proceed:
      STEP ONE: Liberals will declare that cutting social security and Medicare benefits – including raising the eligibility age or introducing “means-testing” – are absolutely unacceptable, that they will never support any bill that does so no matter what other provisions it contains, that they will wage war on Democrats if they try.
      STEP TWO: As the deal gets negotiated and takes shape, progressive pundits in Washington, with Obama officials persuasively whispering in their ear, will begin to argue that the proposed cuts are really not that bad, that they are modest and acceptable, that they are even necessary to save the programs from greater cuts or even dismantlement.
      STEP THREE: Many progressives – ones who are not persuaded that these cuts are less than draconian or defensible on the merits – will nonetheless begin to view them with resignation and acquiescence on pragmatic grounds. Obama has no real choice, they will insist, because he must reach a deal with the crazy, evil GOP to save the economy from crippling harm, and the only way he can do so is by agreeing to entitlement cuts. It is a pragmatic necessity, they will insist, and anyone who refuses to support it is being a purist, unreasonably blind to political realities, recklessly willing to blow up Obama’s second term before it even begins.
      STEP FOUR: The few liberal holdouts, who continue to vehemently oppose any bill that cuts social security and Medicare, will be isolated and marginalized, excluded from the key meetings where these matters are being negotiated, confined to a few MSNBC appearances where they explain their inconsequential opposition.
      STEP FIVE: Once a deal is announced, and everyone from Obama to Harry Reid and the DNC are behind it, any progressives still vocally angry about it and insisting on its defeat will be castigated as ideologues and purists, compared to the Tea Party for their refusal to compromise, and scorned (by compliant progressives) as fringe Far Left malcontents.
      STEP SIX: Once the deal is enacted with bipartisan support and Obama signs it in a ceremony, standing in front of his new Treasury Secretary, the supreme corporatist Erskine Bowles, where he touts the virtues of bipartisanship and making “tough choices”, any progressives still complaining will be told that it is time to move on. Any who do not will be constantly reminded that there is an Extremely Important Election coming – the 2014 midterm – where it will be Absolutely Vital that Democrats hold onto the Senate and that they take over the House. Any progressive, still infuriated by cuts to social security and Medicare, who still refuses to get meekly in line behind the Party will be told that they are jeopardizing the Party’s chances for winning that Vital Election and – as a result of their opposition – are helping Mitch McConnell take over control of the Senate and John Boehner retain control of the House.

      1. Abe, NYC

        Most depressing reading because it’s so plausible, if not highly probable. Either way we’ll know soon, the minute Bowles is, or isn’t, nominated (I’m curious: if it’s not him, could there be a worse candidate?)

        Funny how it’s all about the Treasury again. My first shock with Obama was when he picked Geithner and Summers. I was still hoping for a while this was going to turn out well.

    6. Brooklin Bridge

      Sorry, Quintus25, my comment above was meant as a general comment and I mistakenly put it here. Keep up the good attitude and wide open eyes; that’s quite a trick.

    7. different clue

      I don’t know what will work. It might be good to think/act on two tracks at once, a “save society” track and a “save yourself” track. Brooklin Bridge gave some good advice for the “save yourself” track. If indeed the Two Party Conspiracy succeeds in degrading SS/Medicare/Medicaide
      in preparation for privatising the wreckage; then the less money you make (and pay) means the less money you lose when your SS/Medicare/Medicaide is stolen from you when you age into them. But if you make too little money to even be able to buy, build, develop, and hold your own Fortress of Personal Survival; then what will you ever have or be? John Robb of Global Guerillas and lately Resilient Communities has been offering thoughts/facts/pointers on how to build personal survivalist resiliency. Ran Prieur has been writing interesting things and advice on non-aggressionary personal survivalism in a degrading economy and society.

      On the social political activism track, my feeling (which could be wrong) is that the Senate itself is a crucial battleground over the next few-couple weeks. Twenty Eight Senators pretended to sign a letter pretending to oppose any mention of Social Security in the Grand Theft Bargain currently being conspired towards. We can pretend to believe that the 28 Senators really believe what they have pretended to sign. We can get in touch with them to tell them how we feel about DSenators who vote for any changes at all to Medicare/Medicaide/Social Security. We can tell them we will never vote for another DSenator or DPresident if SS/MCare-Caide are even mentioned in any upcoming legislation. That’s an example of something political I suppose.

    8. jonboinAR

      He mentioned “practical steps,y’all. What can we do to make our voices effectively heard in the short time remaining? How did the TP do it? Do we need a sugar daddy like they had? Does someone have a website/blog where we can coordinate efforts? Is Yves/Lambert interested in making this an activist/organizing blog (I can understand if they’re not). Is there an experienced organizer reading this who wants to weigh in? Let’s not bleat helplessly!

  11. Mark Sites

    I expect we are on the cusp of the neoliberal’s economic Iraq. Obama wants to restructure the social safety nat because he just wants to do it; it’s a solution in search of a justification. Obama’s desire to do this is no less than Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld et al to invade Iraq. And to continue with this analogy, Obama is equally as guilty of not being honest about the real “threat” or the “occupation”.

    At each and every step Obama has selcted as his advisors almost exclusively only those who have already professed their commitment to this end. His mind is made up, and the facts, the future ramifications and diminishment of our social safety net are of no concern to him.

  12. Link777

    I know this is the height of cruelty, but maybe the American people need to learn this hard lesson: the only way to stop getting burned is to stop playing with fire.

    As an African-American who discerned Obama’s true intentions in the winter of 2008 and never voted for him, I am particularly pained by ObamaComa that AA friends have succumbed to over the past four years.
    Worshipping that quasi-AA poser will be seen by future generations of AA’s
    as one of the greatest blunders AA’s ever made. They are so smitten that they will still be on their knees when Nana gets tossed out on the street, penniless. So very sad!

  13. Barry

    The big switch of finance money from Obama in 2008 to Romney in 2012 signals to Obama that he will have to work harder on their behalf if he wants his big payday after he leaves office.

    The fact that he cannot run for a third term means that, more than before, his chief concern is the people who will write his next paycheck, and that’s likely not voters.

    The narrow margin by which he won the popular vote tells Obama that he has an excuse to move further to the “center”.

    The fact that Democrats voted him back into office despite his policies tells him (and other Democrats) that no matter how much they say they don’t want Social Security messed with, they give him permission to do just that.

    1. Anon

      Ex-presidents finding employment after their gig in office has never seemed a very large problem no matter what they accomplished (or not) while in office.

    2. TK421

      Great point, Barry. Anon, an ex president doesn’t have to worry about their future like you and I, but compare how bill Clinton has done to George W Bush–which post-presidency career would Obama prefer?

  14. Chris Rogers

    Quintus young man,

    You have alluded to some liberal or progressive idealism within the USA that in all reality has never existed – the reality is, for majority of your Republic’s existence, its leadership has never given a toss about the average American – you are after all only cannon fodder called upon when needed.

    First and foremost, the Federal Constitution as written created a Republic – the Bill of Rights was an after thought – so from the very off, the Constitution and Republic it founded was anti-democratic and was designed to protect minority interests from the interests of the majority – something the Anti-Federalists fought against.

    Moving forward to the latter part of the nineteenth century if you look closely at labour history, you will see how anti-democratic your nation really is – it has and always will be pro-business in one form or another – this was demo stated by the State’s violent reaction to the Occupy Wall Street Movement, something that has been recurrent throughout your history.

    The only break in this deplorable situation occurred under Roosevelt in the 1930′s – remember, Roosevelt was no liberal, he was part of the ruling elite and was aware in the early thirties that business and the elite had better change its ways or suffer a fate similar to that of Russia in 1917 – the New Deal if viewed correctly saved the ruling elite from its own worse excesses.

    Regrettably for your nation, presently their exists no wise man to save the US ruling elite from itself, instead its full steam ahead with its excesses all paid for by the common man.

    With this knowledge and facts in hand, I suppose the only real way to enable change is by open revolt – and things will have to get a whole lot worse before the US population wakes up to the fact that its been rightly screwed – however, Obama, Congress and the wealthy ruling elite are doing all in their power to bring this around – notice that what gains were made under FDR and in the post WWII settlement will now be removed by Obama and all the cronies in Washington – be they Dems or Republicans.

    One’s analysis may be a little brutal, but I think the time for love tests are over – also, its not just a problem in the USA, we are also witnessing it in Europe – the reality is this, the collapse of the Soviet Union has been a utter disaster for the average Joe in what was usually referred to as the free world – bought to you courtesy of the neoliberals and neoconservatives who now run the World.

      1. Chris Rogers

        Funny that, the book you highlight was published at the time I was in University reading Politics and History – however, and having studied Federalism for my Masters, said book was not on my reading list – never mind, we are actually taught facts rather than veneration in the UK when it comes to US history and the sham of the Constitutional Settlement of 1787-1789 – thats why I favour the UK system over the US, don’t support written Constitutions, the French having had five of them since 1789 – a fervently advocate socialist and cooperative forms of governance in favour of the pigswill called capitalism.

    1. JamesW

      Rogers is partially correct, but may have fallen for the extraordinary amount of revisionism abroad the land — so this isn’t meant as cricism but clarification.

      Both FDR and President Kennedy died while in office — before their full platforms were realized. FDR’s full New Deal was never, ever passed, interdicted by the Supreme Court, unfortunately, which perhaps couldn’t see the Big Picture, or given too much to the letter of the law.

      President Kennedy had a truly radical budget proposal which would have radically altered the US tax structure, making it ungodly difficult for corporations to park their capital offshore, to do a bunch of various financial manipulation schemes offshore, as well as significantly ending the oil depletion allowance, in effect since it was passed in 1913.

      FDR and Kennedy tried, but alas failed, in their move towards real economic democracy.

      1. JamesW

        Forgot to mention two highly recommended books:

        Battling Wall Street: the Kennedy presidency, by Donald Gibson

        John Kenneth Galbraith, by Richard Parker

        1. Chris Rogers

          James Sir,

          No offence taken – as you can see I’m from the Revisionist school of thought and have yet to adequately cover the Kennedy years – most of my serious study was the US embroilment in Vietnam and extraction from Vietnam.

          However, I had no option but to study the Constitutional settlement of 1787-1789 and found myself in the Anti-Federalist camp shall we say – which was actually the more openly democratic.

          As for FDR, whilst no Liberal, I’d say he was a realist and realised that something was amiss during the Depression and that the elite had to be coerced to save itself – and I’m all in favour of anything that gives a helping hand to the common man – a shame your leaders have now forgotten this.

    2. Quintus25

      First, thank you all for responding to my questions. I am taken aback and humbled by the amount of thoughtful responses. I am a working class kid and never did I imagine the interest my comment would generate. I am truly honored. Lambert, this site has tremendously aided me in my growth and development. There are so many wise people to learn from.

      Chris Rodgers, your comment shook me to my epistemological core and I am deeply grateful for it. Like many in my generation, I was educated to venerate globalization, the free market and view the Soviet Union as complete and unmitigated disaster. Marx or Marxism was never discussed in the curriculum and socialism or even social democracy was viewed as impractical. The implosion of the housing market, October 2008, and the subsequent job crisis has radically changed my view on capitalism. I am not the only one in my generation who feels this way. Our future is bleak filled with low paying service jobs with no benefits, a degraded social safety net, increased income inequality police state USA and a looming environmental nightmare. There is quite a number of us seriously interested in alternatives to capitalism – look at the polling data. We want the dignity of work and a democratic government that responds to the need of the common person.

      The problem is my generation doesn’t know where to start. We lack the imagination of a world without capitalism and a truly democratic form of government so many retreat to video games, partying, shopping, fantasy football and reality TV. Those millennials who view themselves “progressive” believe non-violent civil disobedience as the only viable route for change. The idea of armed struggle against an oppressive and reactionary political system is NEVER mentioned or assessed. My own opinion is whether we like it or not, events may lead us to a dire situation where open revolt or armed struggle is the only appropriate course. This is why the question what is to be done is so important to me. There is class struggle and I am sick of being on the losing end of it. I am hoping to both evolve my mind and meet individuals who imagine a different and better world.

      I have two questions that I’m hoping to answer. If fascists use populist or revolutionary rhetoric to increase corporate dominance and implement reactionary social and economic policies, then is President Obama’s administration fascistic? Second, why is central planning viewed as a failure? From my reading of history, there was a period between Khrushchev and Brezhnev, where real political and economic reform could have occurred in the Soviet Union. Leonid Kantorovich the imminent economist and mathematician, advocated for optimal allocation of resources through central planning. I read somewhere that he believed the computing power needed to implement this was 20-30 year in future from the 1970s. My Galaxy Nexus is many times more powerful than the computers used in both the US and USSR in the 60s and 70s. Is there anyway to rehabilitate central planning? David Harvey has stated corporations with large supply chains (Walmart) use a type of central planning. Is this true? Personally, I am for worker owned enterprises but am intrigued by central planning.

    1. different clue

      I still like “Grand Theft Bargain” or “The Catfood Plan”.
      Its a big country and different people can use their favorite phrases to see which win out.

  15. timotheus

    This is clearly the key organizing priority for those of us alerted to what is coming by NC and others. Any suggestions for what group(s) to join to get involved in this fight asap? To all the groups soliciting my cash, I am now asking, What priority does the fight to defend Soc Sec and Medicare/caid have for your group? and acting/not acting accordingly. But I would like to get physical, not just be limited to click-and-support.

  16. Hugh

    I don’t know how many times it needs repeating but Obama is not kidding. He means this stuff. He has meant it since the beginning. Recently, I pointed out a February 23, 2009 conference backed by the Obama White House where Pete Peterson was supposed to be the keynote speaker. Because of the bad press, Peterson’s invitation was rescinded and instead the conference centered around a supposedly more “moderate” plan to slash Social Security put together by Peter Diamond and Peter Orszag.

    http://firedoglake.com/2009/02/23/social-security-white-house-triangulates-against-pete-peterson/

    Then someone else went me one better coming up with this link from January 15, 2009 where Obama stated his intention before he was even in office of cutting Social Security and Medicare.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/15/AR2009011504114.html

    As I said, Obama isn’t kidding. He has no history of compromising with his base, only Republicans. And he has a consistent history of never giving up on his pro-corporatist, anti-99% agenda. He suffers a setback. He simply comes back with something else until he gets what he wants. I mean look at Bowles-Simpson. It was defeated in the Senate on his first effort to put the Cat Food Commission together. So he created it by Executive Order. Its recommendations, which were actually just the draconian off-the-wall recommendations of Bowles and Simpson, went nowhere. Did Obama stop? No way. The whole idea of the budget sequester was to force Congress into agreeing to a Grand Bargain/Betrayal. There was a committee on this late last year, but it too went nowhere. Then the election intervened. Now that’s over Obama is back trying to use the “Fiscal Cliff” to attack Social Security and Medicare, and he is using a brain dead hack like Orszag, as Yves says, to send up a trial balloon to this end.

    This was all predictable and predicted. What the American people voted for and what they will get have nothing to do with each other, just like four years ago.

  17. Susan the other

    Capitalism has reached the point where it cannot be reconciled with existing law because capitalism is now destroying not only the social structure but is turning in on itself. The catch phrase euphemism they use is that there is no longer any way to grow themselves out of this depression – there is no more growth. Well, let’s ask them to get more specific because there are plenty of growth industries – just none that can continue to be exploited by them. They are using all sorts of smoke and mirrors here. When Robert Johnson says capitalism is out of ideas he’s putting it mildly. When Bill Black says they are organizing the Great Betrayal he could be chasing a red herring because the capitalists were never loyal to society in the first place – they have always been anti society. We really have to separate out the capitalists who are desperately trying to appropriate the revenues of society from the politicians who think the capitalists are patriotic. Right. Like Mitt Romney. We should call this era the Great Closing. I’m wondering if it isn’t the Great Bait and Switch because at the same time they are relentless pushing to balance the budget by cutting SS and Medicare/aid, they are weaseling to privatize the SS and Medicare funds. There seems to be a big disconnect here. Is it blackmail by a terminal stage capitalist economy or is it unsound social spending? Just a rhetorical question.

    1. JTFaraday

      “I’m wondering if it isn’t the Great Bait and Switch because at the same time they are relentless pushing to balance the budget by cutting SS and Medicare/aid, they are weaseling to privatize the SS and Medicare funds. There seems to be a big disconnect here.”

      The seeming “cut/privatize” contradiction isn’t necessarily a contradiction. You propose draconian cuts, allow the public to stew about it for a while, then ride to the rescue with a “compromise” plan that is privatized but puts back (or claims to put back) some of the benefits.

      And maybe you do put some of the benefits back. The real point is for the financial sector to handle the money, so it can claim to have made (quote unquote) the money. “The markets” no more care about “the deficit” than Peter Orzag or Jamie Dimon or Marshall Auerbach, all people who share the idea that they have something to gain from having the government do things in a certain way. I don’t know, maybe the Tea Party does. I can’t tell.

      Obamacare is the model, where people priced out of the healthcare/ health insurance market were happy to get slapped with their mandate to purchase health insurance, with subsidies (if they qualify).

      These poor souls show up here occasionally to inform everyone of just that. You want to replicate that state of mind, if not state of panic, in the public at large– and then you pretend to relieve that panic.

      The D-Party wins election after election doing just that.

      1. lambert strether

        You write:

        Obamacare is the model, where people priced out of the healthcare/ health insurance market were happy to get slapped with their mandate to purchase health insurance, with subsidies (if they qualify).

        Yes, ObamaCare is the model. Except Social Security to become a “public option,” along with Medicare, and public schools.

  18. Mark P.

    ‘at the same time they are relentless pushing to balance the budget by cutting SS and Medicare/aid, they are weaseling to privatize the SS and Medicare funds. There seems to be a big disconnect here.’

    No, not necessarily. Under the rubric of ‘rationalizing’ SS and Medicare/aid, they can cut them and, simultaneously, privatize much of what remains. Both routes represent more money for them and less for the rest of us.

    It’s short-termist, yes. But looting always is.

  19. William Neil

    The last time I heard Peter Orzag speak in public was a joint conference on jobs and unemployment put on by the Hamilton Project (Bob Rubin’s baby) and the Center for American Progress at the National Press Club in Wash. DC.

    Orzag was complaining about how many people were on Social Security disability -this as Dec. of 2010 if I recall correctly, when unemployment was even higher than today.

    Let’s get those folks off (entitlement?) and back into the workforce? Given the structural unemployment problems in our economic system (“a glut of both labor of capital” plus rampant automation as Roubini et al put it in “The Way Forward) this was simply amazing, given how things stood then, the unemployment sitatuation. The economic system had no use for 10-20% of the workforce, but Orzag is worried about fakers on disability!! Of course he never said it – but it sure struct me as implied – all these faux disabled – as if you can just waltz in and get the benefit – last time I heard a panel which includes doctors has to approve the request and it can take years…

    So what would anyone expect from Orzag, seemingly the embodiment of the upper middle class Democratic Party which has no critique of present day capitalism beyond what Clinton, Rubin or Orzag can come up with…

    Let’s see how much this election settled, indeed. Lord, please save us from the wrath of the centrist technocrats (my paraphrase of the Middle Ages prayer to be spared the wrath of the Norsemen.)

  20. MicahelC

    Elizabeth Warren could blow the lid off this.

    It is a grand betrayal of her core principles, after all.

    It sure would be nice to hear her make the point.

    1. JTFaraday

      It seems to me that EW is primarily a consumer protection advocate.** If they privatize SS and Medicare, EW will have all that much more to protect.

      And look, she’s sitting right there in Congress already.

      **This is why I call her Suze Orman– although I note that Suze Orman was a big fan of Occupy Wall Street, and EW not so much.

      1. Anon

        I believe EW is primarily a middle class advocate and would see any grand betrayal in those terms. The repubs also ran ads blaming her for helping to start OWS and I don’t believe she has been shy about saying she supports many of their objectives.

    2. lambert strether

      I’d love to be wrong, but I don’t see former Republican Warren blowing the lid off anything. The “key log” for the FIRE sector isn’t better mortgage forms writen in plain English, it’s putting banksters in jail for accounting control fraud.

      It’s not consumer protection we really need, but citizen’s protection.

      1. Anon

        So we will see what hand Obama is going to play when he selects the new treasury secretary. We can dream of Barofsky but based on past performance that’s really just a dream.

        Can hardly wait to see the excuses as to why he HAD to do this and COULDN’T do that when he announces his selection.

        1. different clue

          I read somewhere he wants Erskine Bowles at Treasury.
          And the Catfood Doormat Vichy Democrats all agree. Are there any Mad Dog Democrats who will sabotage the Bowles nomination?

          1. Anon

            Sheila Bair would be another good dream, with the added bonus that the Repubs would have a hard time justifying any vote against her.

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        You are not wrong. Warren is very much in the tank for working with Obama. She is ready and willing to be be “an adult” about compromise. She will only need to do “The Sanders” from time to time, that is, speak passionately in front of an empty chamber (except for a lone camera man) on a Friday when all have left for the weekend before some crushing piece of legislation will take place.

  21. Michael G

    As a Brit, I shouldn’t be telling my American grannies how to suck eggs. But it seems to me that the real campaign should be starting now. Grass roots lobbying to convince every member of Congress that if they vote for the Great Betrayal they need not expect to come back to Congress in two years time. Keep it simple. And at least try.

    Good luck

    1. Lil'D

      Absolutely. It might not work but it can only help. In fact, this might be a good venue to trade sample letters.

  22. The Rage

    Obama is irrevelant, it is the American people that are against the posters on this board.

    Basically, they want the Republicans to “set the base agenda” and for the President to “take away the parts they don’t like and improve on”.

    Yet, they fear the Republicans enough that they also created a Democratic Senate to be another firewall……….Alot of people who voted Romney/House Republican voted against the Senate Republican Candidate, isn’t that something?

    The American people wants:
    1.Deep cuts to the social saftey net and DoD spending.
    2.Higher taxes for the wealthy
    3.Nothing done with social insurance programs right now
    4.Use higher taxes from wealthy to spur government driven investment………….

    Doesn’t sound unreasonable at all if Boner leads a band of Republicans who deal with the Democrats directly, ignoring the Birchers and their global financiers.

    With Romney out of the way, a possibility.

    1. ginnie nyc

      How do you reconcile your points 1 and 4? Meaning, why do you think social safety net and social insurance programs are not one and the same? Medicare and Medicaid are the chief poles upholding the social safety net. The only other major programs in the net are SNAP (Food Stamps)and nominal cash payments.

      1. The Rage

        I don’t see the contridictions. They want snap and other programs like it cut out while the S/M/M stay. Not really that hard.

        Medicare is “insurance”. snap is not.

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