2:00PM Water Cooler 5/5/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


“The European Union is abandoning its love of trade agreement acronyms like TTIP and CETA as it tries to avoid a future where such terms are held hostage by opposition groups” [Politico]. “European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s top aide, Martin Selmayr, this week acknowledged these abbreviations have no future. “President Juncker is an opponent of abbreviations, me personally too, and if you start a debate with such an abbreviation you have probably already lost,” he [said]. European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström made a similar reflection during last year’s crisis in which the EU nearly failed to ratify the EU-Canada agreement. ‘We should have never called it CETA. Just EU-Canada trade agreement, nothing else,’ Malmström said. Acronyms have become ‘quite toxic’ since trade-skeptic NGOs and campaigners seized on them to spur fears about trade deals, the commissioner said.”

“Imports from Korea in March 2017 were higher than any month but one in the five years the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has been in effect. Today’s release of new U.S. Census trade data for the first full five years of the Korea FTA spotlight statements from both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in the past month that the pact’s outcomes are unacceptable. While the statements were notable for coming despite escalating military tensions on the Korean Peninsula, what the administration will do about the pact and when remains a mystery” [Public Citizen].


2016 Post Mortem

“A select group of top Democratic Party strategists have used new data about last year’s presidential election to reach a startling conclusion about why Hillary Clinton lost. Now they just need to persuade the rest of the party they’re right.” [McClatchy]. “But new information shows that Clinton had a much bigger problem with voters who had supported President Barack Obama in 2012 but backed Trump four years later. Those Obama-Trump voters, in fact, effectively accounted for more than two-thirds of the reason Clinton lost, according to Matt Canter, a senior vice president of the Democratic political firm Global Strategy Group. In his group’s analysis, about 70 percent of Clinton’s failure to reach Obama’s vote total in 2012 was because she lost these voters…. His firm’s conclusion is shared broadly by other Democrats who have examined the data, including senior members of Clinton’s campaign and officials at the Democratic data and analytics firm Catalist.” In other words, Global Strategy Group agrees with the thesis of this post: “Political Misfortune: Anatomy of Democratic Party Failure in Clinton’s Campaign 2016 (Part II)” (March 7, 2017). Cue happy dance, because you read it here first….

UPDATE: “DNC LAWSUIT: DNC WON’T ANSWER COURT’S BASIC QUESTION ABOUT STATE PRIMARY DEALS — PART 2 OF 3” [The Florida Squeeze]. Excellent that the small blogs, if not the mainstream press, are following this story, and reading that amazing transcript. This is an important post, which I urge you to read in full. Let me try to pull out the salient points.

First, the DNC lawyers, Perkins Coie, also represent the Hillary Victory Fund (HVF). (Remember the story Politico broke? How the Clinton campaign raised money, supposedly for state parties, but in reality laundered it through the state party bank accounts and right back to the Clinton campaign? The polite word, however, is not “money laundering” but “joint fundraising.”) Florida Squeeze notices these exchanges:

There’s a curious exchange in the DNC fraud lawsuit transcript of motion to dismiss. It’s between counsel for defense Bruce Spiva and Judge William Zloch. After opening statements, the judge asks DNC counsel an ostensibly simple question that can be summed up as, “Explain the DNC relationship with primaries at the state level.” I thought, ‘well this is going to be boilerplate,’ and started to skim ahead. But then I noticed the DNC’s attorney stumbles through nine re-phrasings of the original question without offering a straight answer.

This should have been the easiest question of the day: “How does your client do its job?” Ten times the judge asked Spiva to explain the working relationship with the DNC and the primary process in the states. Ten times Spiva gave vague and confusing answers.

So, why is Spiva (DNC/HVF’s lawyer from Perkins Coie) dancing around?

Counsel for the DNC tap-danced around the judge’s initial line of questioning before finally answering that primary elections are “generally state funded.” But he left out how the Clinton campaign’s “takeover of national party structure” completely changes the context for “state funded.” Sure, there’s accounts with the state’s name on them, but the money was supplied by the Clinton campaign. At the very least, counsel for the DNC is being disingenuous when he says the DNC doesn’t fund state elections. In 2016 alone, FEC filings show that Florida received almost $22 million from DNC Services corp. How does that not constitute DNC funding?

It’s misleading that Hillary Victory Fund raised most of that money, but when it’s reported by the states, it comes from DNC. Checks with lots of zeros buy favoritism, full stop. The mechanism for fixing elections is with “funding support, and the like.” That’s precisely what this lawsuit is about.

Sanders supporters raised record amounts of small dollar donations believing the primary process would be fair and evenhanded. Donations came from people who never contributed to a candidate, and who could barely afford the expense. They believed the sacrifice was worth it to help repair democracy.

You can tell what really terrifies the Democrat Establishment about the Sanders campaign: Small donors. How do you know that? They never mention it.


“72,000 Iowans could be first to lose coverage as insurance market collapses” [Des Moines Register]. Should play well in the caucuses…


“House 2018: Rating Changes in 20 Districts” [Cook Political Report]. AHCA-related. The salient point: “There are still 18 months before the 2018 election, whereas House Democrats eked out final passage of the ACA less than eight months before the 2010 midterms. These Republicans can’t afford a year-long Senate slog.”


GA-06: “11Alive adds temporary 7 p.m. newscast on WATL-TV to accommodate Ossoff/Handel political ads” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]. “The current newscast commercial inventory is otherwise too tight at the NBC affiliate, the sources said. In other words, the bonus newscast is more a place to air these ads for a few weeks rather than an actual consumer service.” And here’s what the Democrats are buying with their ad money–

UPDATE GA-06: Democrats try to catch a wave election by morphing the highly malleable Ossoff into a Republican:

Ossoff is, in other words, propounding the falsehood that Federal spending depends on the Federal government’s ability to tax and borrow (see Joe Firestone here).

MT: “National Democrats are making a late bid to help their party’s candidate [Rob Quist] in Montana’s May 25 special congressional election. But the party’s $600,000 investment is paltry compared with the more than $2 million that a Republican group is spending to protect a seat the GOP has held for two decades” [US News]. “Much of that money is being spent on television spots. In the final month of the campaign, campaign groups supporting Republican Greg Gianforte are spending $2.6 million for airtime, while groups loyal to Democrat Rob Quist are spending about a fifth of that amount on TV ads.”

MT: “The new donation brings the DCCC’s total investment in Quist to $600,000. On April 20, the DCCC invested $200,000 in the folk singer, which was used to buy political ads for Quist’s campaign. According to [DCCC spokeswoman Meredith Kelly], the additional money will be invested in a program aimed at getting likely independent and Democratic voters to vote by mail, which accounts for approximately 60 percent of Montana’s voters, as well as to buy more TV ads” [HuffPo]. “Quist recently declined an offer for Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez to visit the candidate in Montana. Some Democratic operatives say a visit from Perez could prove unhelpful in Republican-leaning districts.” That last sentence sounds to me like Democrat excuse-making for not funding Thompson in KS-04, repeated.

MT: “But Quist is a compelling character running on a message of authenticity against a candidate who’s already lost statewide once. And given how few people tend to turn out for special elections, it’s impossible to know who will wind up winning this one, especially if national Democrats start throwing more money at the race” [CBS News].

Realignment and Legitimacy

New York protesters greet Trump on first visit home Reuters. That should do it. Where are the #MedicareForAll signs?

“Ba­sic­ally, Demo­crats and Re­pub­lic­ans tend not only to have a very dif­fer­ent view of the role of gov­ern­ment, but also a dif­fer­ent value struc­ture: Demo­crats are ob­sessed with justice, and Re­pub­lic­ans are equally ob­sessed with liberty” [Charles Cook, Cook Political Report]. When you look at actions, neither parties nor partisans seem to be doing very well along either axis.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation, April 17: “The labor train is back on the tracks as nonfarm payrolls reversed the prior month’s weakness and came in on the high side of expectations” [Econoday]. “Strength in the labor market continues to pull down the unemployment rate which fell 1 tenth to 4.4 percent for the lowest reading since May 2001. This rate is derived from a separate set of data where the number for unemployed fell by 146,000. There were very few new entrants into the labor market during the month, squeezing what are already tight conditions and pulling down the pool of available workers to 12.8 million from 13.0 million. And the labor participation rate, despite gains in employment, is down 1 tenth to 62.9 percent. Tight conditions haven’t yet sparked much pressure in average hourly earnings which did rise a respectable 0.3 percent in the month though the year-on-year rate fell 1 tenth to a very soft 2.5 percent. How long wages can stay quiet given the lack of available labor is an open question. The first quarter was unusually weak for the economy and today’s report marks an important start for what will hopefully be a much stronger second quarter. But very sizable payroll growth in January and February (at 216,000 and 232,000) failed to give any lift to the consumer who, when it came to spending, retrenched in the first quarter. Still, this report is an unquestionable plus that suggests prior weakness may very well have been, as the FOMC argued in Wednesday’s statement, no more than ‘transitory.'” And: “Although U-6,the number of persons employed part time for economic reasons, and the number of long term unemployed are still a little elevated, it appears the economy is nearing full employment. Overall this was a solid report” [Calculated Risk]. And but: “The household and establishment surveys were in sync this month. The unemployment rate drop was caused by a insignificant number of people added to the workforce. I consider this report good, but one has mixed feeling while diving into the data – is the glass half full or empty?” [Econintersect]. And: “Among other important data released in the report are jobs added and lost in major industries. Jobs were added in leisure and hospitality (55,000), health care and social assistance (37,000), financial activities (19,000), and mining (9,000) industries. Jobs were also added in the retail (6,300), construction (5,000), and government (17,000) sectors. The education sub-industry, which is part of the health care and social assistance sector added 4,000 jobs in April” [247 Wall Street].

Shipping: “Ocean freight capacity shortages on the Europe to Asia trade suffered by forwarders and shippers in March and April have finally begun to ease after two months of supply chain disruption” [Llloyd’s Loading].

Housing: ” A recent report shows that condo prices in Orange County have now reached a record level. This makes sense given the blistering horny buyers that can’t get enough of the tiny amount of inventory out in the market. The same shtick is being pumped out there from last time including “condos are a great way to build equity so then you can buy a home.” How convenient! Of course people got massively burned by condos in the last bust because condos in many cases are apartments with 30 year mortgages” [Dr. Housing Bubble].

Apparel: “This is clothing made from specially woven fabric with touch-screen control capabilities that can be designed in such a way to visually stand out or go unnoticed depending on designers’ wishes” [France24]. “French-based fashion company Spinal Design, for example, has created jeans that can give wearers with directions without having to whip out the mobile at every single intersection. Through blue tooth sensors stitched into the jeans’ waistband, the smart phone stays out of sight.” This sounds stupid to me. But am I showing my age?

Commodities: “The softer metals demand is being felt around the world, as waning exports from key producing countries start to eat into earnings at big bulk shipping companies. A big concern is that expected demand for infrastructure and construction projects in China—long a pillar of global commodities prices—may not materialize as the government tries to rein back debt created by the big projects. Prices for foundation commodities including iron ore and steel rebar have been falling from four-year highs in March” [Wall Street Journal].

Supply Chain: “Xi Jinping’s “Belt and Road Initiative”, a central feature of the Chinese president’s foreign policy, is establishing what generals like to call facts on the ground. By financing around $150bn of infrastructure spending a year in countries to China’s south and west (along the old Silk Road), Mr Xi hopes to create new markets for Chinese firms and new spheres of influence for his government” [The Economist]. But: “The problem is partly one of scale: China is so vast that belt-and-road countries fear being overwhelmed by it. Loans from one bank, China Eximbank, for example, account for a third of Kyrgyzstan’s foreign debt. Yunnan is one of China’s poorer provinces. Yet its economy is still four times bigger than that of its more populous neighbour, Myanmar. Countries both long for and dread Chinese investment.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 45 Neutral (previous close: 45, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 50 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 5 at 12:22pm.

Health Care

“Political Theater: How A Bill That Nearly All Opposed Managed To Pass The House” [Kaiser Health News]. “Peter Kongstvedt, a Virginia health industry consultant, said some House Republicans are likely betting the Senate blocks their legislation from going forward. “Nobody wins with this vote — that’s the damnedest part,” he said. ‘It’s a shallow political statement.’… The GOP’s focus was not so much on what can lower prices and increase health coverage but how to persuade the right-wing Freedom Caucus to back the legislation.”

“20 Republicans voted against the health care bill. Here’s why” [CNN]. “So, who are these 20 GOPers — and, more importantly, why did they vote against the much-touted GOP effort to repeal and replace Obamacare? They tend to be moderates from the Northeast and Midwest — 11 of the 20 are from Pennsylvania (four), New Jersey (three), New York (two) and Ohio (two) — who sit in very competitive districts. There are also a handful of outliers who opposed the bill for their own unique reasons.”

“How Trump won another unlikely victory” [CNN]. “House GOP members finally steeled themselves to overcome the infighting and inaction that tarnished Trump’s First 100 Days.

It is also the story of how the GOP decided that the price of inaction now was greater than the risk of passing a bill that even many Senate Republicans believe is deeply flawed.”

“How one U.S. state is leading the charge to dismantle Obamacare” [Reuters]. That would be Mitch McConnell’s home state, Kentucky. “Kentucky has proposed to lessen its financial burden before it grows by reducing the number of residents on Medicaid by nearly 86,000 within five years, saving more than $330 million in the process. Kentucky’s plan also calls for new work requirements for able-bodied adults to get insurance. Plus, it would establish new fees for all members based on income and lock out some people who miss a payment or fail to re-enroll. By following these proposed rules, Kentucky believes Medicaid enrollees will over time graduate from Medicaid to private and employer insurance plans.” Graduate?! More:

Last year, [Kentucky Governor Matt] Bevin submitted the waiver to restrict Medicaid eligibility by requiring enrollees to work or volunteer at least 20 hours per week and to pay monthly premiums based on income. He’s still awaiting approval.

Bevin said he has spoken with several governors about the waiver and has had extensive conversations with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price about fast-tracking the approval process in order for other states to quickly adopt similar programs. Such conversations are occurring across the country in response to encouragement from the new administration to reform state Medicaid programs, said Alleigh Marre, a Health and Human Services spokeswoman.

“AHCA is a betrayal of all the GOP’s promises on health care” [Vox]. “The reality of AHCA is close to the reverse of what Trump promised… The bill his party is now pushing will cover fewer people, charge higher premiums, raise copayments, and raise deductibles. The reason is that the AHCA takes a ton of money out of the health care system in order to provide a $600 billion tax cut, overwhelmingly for the richest households.

While running for president, for example, Barack Obama promised that his health plan would lead to lower premiums for average families. When pressed, his policy team would gladly clarify that what he meant was premiums would increase at a lower-than-expected rate. That was a reasonable promise, but not nearly so politically appealing as the much grander promise the candidate made in his speeches. And the policy of misleading people worked well enough until he was actually in office, signed a major health care bill, and then people discovered that their premiums were not, in fact, going down.

AHCA, if it becomes law, will put that dynamic on steroids. There’s going to be no way to trick people into believing their insurance plans are getting cheaper and better if they are in fact getting worse, or to dupe people who’ve just lost coverage into believing they haven’t. Patients with preexisting conditions will see with their own eyes that no commitments have been strengthened.

AHCA won’t become law, because the Senate will write its own bill (which doesn’t mean the Senate won’t write a bad bill; see on Kentucky above). It doesn’t seem likely to me that voters who fell for the Trump version of “hope and change” will stick with him (especially volatility voters), but where will they go? And noxious as the AHCA’s tax cuts are, if they help the Republicans in those wealthy suburbs where the Democrats want to challenge them, don’t you think those tax cuts will go through?

“The Senate’s Key Health Care Players” [Roll Call]. “The legislation being considered in the House is widely expected to change significantly in the Senate, and coordination between [Orrin] Hatch and [Lamar] Alexander will be critical. The two wield enormous influence over any health care legislation — Hatch as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and Alexander as leader of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions panel…. Among a number of actions he has taken since the start of the year, aides say McConnell has organized a working group of roughly a dozen GOP senators to discuss issues related to the repeal of the health care law. Members of the group include Hatch, Alexander, Cruz and Lee, as well as Colorado’s Cory Gardner, Arkansas’ Tom Cotton and Pennsylvania’s Patrick J. Toomey [, and] Senate Republican Policy Chairman John Barrasso of Wyoming and Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming. But the input of Hatch and Alexander will likely be the most crucial.” And It remains to be seen whether the amendment by the the House Freedom Caucus “allowing states to waive several of the law’s requirements related to what insurers must cover… can even meet the Senate rules governing reconciliation. Democrats say it won’t.”


What is this, junior high school? What an idiotic message. Putting the focus on the party, instead of the people hurt by the bill? Virtue signaling on people who’ll lose their coverage when ObamaCare doesn’t cover 25 million? Yammering about pre-existing conditions when people pay premiums for insurance they may never be able to use because of narrow networks and high deductibles? The Democrat Establishment might as well set the Iron Law of Institutions to music and sing that.


Imperial Collapse Watch

“In 1943, 38% of America’s nonfarm labor force was in manufacturing, owing to high demand for bombs and tanks at the time. After the war, the normal share of nonfarm workers in manufacturing was around 30%. Had the US been a normal post-war industrial powerhouse like Germany or Japan, technological innovation would have brought that share down from 30% to around 12%. Instead, it has declined to 8.6%. Much of the decline, to 9.2%, is attributable to dysfunctional macroeconomic policies, which, since Ronald Reagan’s presidency, have turned the US into a savings-deficit country, rather than a savings-surplus country” [Brad DeLong, Project Syndicate]. “As a rich country, the US should be financing industrialization and development around the world, so that emerging countries can purchase US manufacturing exports. Instead, the US has assumed various unproductive roles, becoming the world’s money launderer, political-risk insurer, and money-holder of last resort….”


“Life on the Keystone XL route: where opponents fear the ‘black snake'” [Guardian]. “‘Our people call it the black snake because it is evil,’ says Tressa Welch, as thunder clouds steamroll the blue sky over the plains of Wolf Point. ‘And like snakes they come out of nowhere; they slither and strike unknown.'” Well, she’s right.

Class Warfare

“Of the nation’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, over 2.6 million live in this state – almost one in every 10 California workers is undocumented. They make up almost half of its farm workers, and over 20 percent of its construction workers. The National Restaurant Association says that of the country’s 12 million restaurant employees, nine percent are undocumented, while the Restaurant Opportunities Center estimates that in large cities they make up almost half of that industry’s workforce” [Capital and Main]. “‘The legislative response in California came from United Service Workers West, the union for janitors, security guards and airport workers affiliated with the Service Employees International Union. ‘We want to lead the nation with the strongest resistance efforts to protect workers, not just in the community, but in the workplace,’ explained David Huerta, USWW’s president.”

News of the Wired

“Why can’t Des Moines do something about all those abandoned homes?” [Des Moines Register].

“Guy makes good money farming in other people’s yards” [Boing Boing]. ZOMG!!!! He’s wearing a Common Ground Fair T-shirt! “This nomadic gardener travels between Maine to Florida gardening leased front yards. With a frugal lifestyle and revenues as high as $1.5K a week, he’s living the dream.”

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Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here.

And here’s today’s plant (Lee):

Lee writes: “See your iris and raise you one.”

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Altandmain

    Politically I wonder if the GOP would have been better off letting Obamacare collapse under its own mass. The problem is that premiums and deductibles were rising, by rates of 30% or more each year at times in many states, while many of the exchanges were in a death spiral.

    I suppose this is a long shot hope, but there is the possibility that declining quality of insurance might simply force reforms and cause universal healthcare to happen.

    What I’m shocked by is that Obama has largely escaped this with a free pass.

    – He had the opportunity to have passed a better bill after his election. He chose not to.
    – Obama, while he has been under some fire for the 2 $400k speeches, seems to be otherwise given a free pass for his other failings as President. More speeches to come no doubt.
    – There was only a watered down Dodd-Frank Act, and no real consequence for Wall Street behind the 2008 Financial Crisis.
    – The wars and pretty much everything else didn’t end. Granted had Hillary won in 2008 or had McCain won, we would see the US go into even more war.
    – There’s a lot he could have done to overcome the obstructionist GOP. He chose not to and ultimately, decided to serve his own wallet. He knew what people wanted. His entire campaign around 2008 was built around it.

    Meanwhile, the US is doing very badly on many key living standards measures, lagging behind the rest of the developed world. This whole Obamacare is heavily because of his missteps as President, which I am sure were deliberately done.

    If you think about it, Obama’s ultimate legacy is that large segments of the US were so desperate by the end of his presidency that they would choose Donald Trump and roll the dice. That’s his legacy. Ultimately, I don’t think he cares. He just wanted to get rich like the Clinton’s did. That seems to be what the Democrats are about these days, and it is the opposite of what they claim to stand for.

    Throw in Clinton’s appallingly bad campaigning skills and this sealed their fate. I don’t think that Obama will be very well regarded in history at all. He inherited a very serious situation in 2008 and made it worse.

    The only real question I guess is how do the common citizens take back what is now a plutocracy.

    1. RUKidding

      The sad reality is that most/all Obama supporters (who support him to this day & venerate him) will tell you in all sincerity that it’s not Obama’s faaauuulllt that he didn’t create a Single Payer Plan. Nay, verily, it’s all and solely the fault of those mean-bully Republicans who wouldn’t “let” Obama do that. Got it?

      When I attempt to discuss reality, in that Obama got elected and then promptly went behind closed doors to hammer out a deal with BigIns, etc, to produce a version of the Republican-written Heritage Plan, all I get is:”Lalalala laaaa Can’t Heeeaaar you!”

      Most of them refuse outright to talk about all the drone killings. As for not prosecuting Wall St and the Bankers – that, too, is all and only the Republicans fault.

      Very frustrating. Of course, now what we see/hear are so-called “leftwing” types, like Trevor Noah insisting that it’s Obama’s “right” to collect bigly from Wall St… all while insisting there’s no cognitive dissonance there.


      Obama was a lousy president, but too many don’t see it that way. Trump does make Obama look good by comparison, but of course, I agree that Trump IS Obama’s legacy.

      1. jrs

        The Republicans were a non-factor, but whether the insurance companies would have derailed any attempt at single payer if Obama had wanted it I don’t know. Clearly he planned to compromise with EVERYONE from the get go which excludes that.

        Obama might even genuinely believe he is “doing well by doing good” on things like that, cutting some narrow path of compromise that moderately improves things (at least temporarily), a narrow path between the masses, the big money players, the reactionaries (although he got no Republican votes regardless so it’s hard to imagine he’d get more push back than he did already). He may truly believe in that.

        The drone stuff is inexcusable any way you look at it. Does Trump do terror Tuesdays?

        1. Marina Bart

          Clearly he planned to compromise with EVERYONE from the get go

          Not everyone. Single payer advocates were shunned and insulted, and not even the little crumb of a “public option” was allowed to remain.

          The compromises were made entirely and exclusively with donor and prospective donor industries.

          1. jerry

            Unfortunately there is no gradual shift to national healthcare possible, as the Obama apologists tried to describe the ACA as being a “first step” down that road. This is made clear by the fact that not even a public option could be considered. The insurers and providers know they cannot compete with a public model, so they had to kill it.

            You cannot arrive at a cost-efficient model from where we are unless you A) go single payer and face the destruction of health insurers/providers all over, or B) deny so many people coverage that the only ones who are actually insured are the ones with lowest risk or can afford the exorbitant cost (seems to be the GOP idea at the moment).

            1. Marco

              This is an important point that I would like to see the single-payer side flesh out. How do you eliminate the insurance industry? Mass ACT-UP level protests bordering on terrorism “lite”?

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                The Netherlands kept insurers in place and made them offer a basic set of services with a capped industry price.

                So now they must compete on add-ons and…wait for it…customer service
                (Cue jokes about how that would never work in America…)

              2. different clue

                If single-payer costed as much less than private toll-gating insurance companies for the same amount of money to actually reach the health CARE endpoint, then part of that savings would be enough to buy out all the disemployed private insurance company workers. Offer them their current biweekly wage or monthly salary for life in return for accepting that society will fire all their jobs.

                This would require society to not be envious and jealous of all the policy-fired insurance company ex-workers and try to renege on the deal.
                But if you want to prevent the ACT-UP type demonstrations, make sure the insurance workers don’t actually lose anything when they lose their jobs.

            2. VietnamVet

              The accelerating cost of health care is the crux of the problem. At $9,990 per individual per year in the USA; the cost for a family of four is $39,960 when the median household income is $51,939. This is simply unaffordable. Not to mention being a woman and having children are pre-existing conditions. The medical industry evolved into today’s wealth extraction scheme for the benefit of the top 10%. Sooner or later, the bottom 90% will either be bankrupt or untreated dead. The alternative is the restoration of a public health system practiced according the best interests of the patients at affordable costs.

              1. different clue

                We would also have to force our government to force various industries to cancel the mass production of millions of cases of lucrative chronic disease.
                Health-destroying pollution would have to be legally zero-tolerated, for instance, with the pollution-forbidden industries free to pass all the costs of achieving zero pollution along to the consumer. If that makes the product too expensive to buy, let that industry go extinct.

                Sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc. will have to be highly enough taxed to price-punish some millions of people out of buying it, and raise enough money from the people who will still buy it regardless . . . to pay for all the diabetes which will still be mass produced. And so forth and so on.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                I like it. Blame Lieberman.

                On domestic issues, Joe isn’t the worst person in the world especially compared to other Democrats. Bayh and Warner were out there, and Lieberman was the bad guy…this reeks of lying.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Trevor Noah is a viacom approved replacement for a once small show built by his predecessor who has returned it to pitiful ratings. I don’t think people are falling for it.

      3. Gary

        Well… maybe he was lousy but he still beats the dog poop, kitty litter and cow flop out of George W. Bush, Donald Trump, Ronald Reagan, Nixon, etc…

        Don’t forget that.

        1. witters

          “but he still beats the dog poop”

          Because of the ‘soaring rhetoric’? And the ‘morally rigorous’ drone killings?

        2. different clue

          Well, actually he immunized and impunified the Illegal Aggressive War and Illegal Torture cow flop coming from the CheneyBush Admin by “look forward not backward”. And he deliberately on purpose took the CheneyBush tax cuts cow flop from being self-sunsetting as per the actual CheneyBush legislation . . . and made it permanent deliberately and on purpose.

          So he preserved and routinized and normalized the Cheney Bush cow flop.

          That’s all part of what he is getting paid so well for today and tomorrow.

          1. EoinW

            Exactly right! Which is why we would have been better off with an extremist, like McCain, and half the country still being opposed to such things. Instead Obama gave the Left an opportunity to accept such behavior. Even worse, Obama gave cover to foreign leaders to support America’s endless wars. Supporting Bush’s wars left such leadership out on a shaky limb. Today, thanks to Obama, you’ve got Trudeau supporting Trump bombing Syria, while Papa Trudeau turns over in his grave.

            1. different clue

              I would agree in general but disagree in the specific case of John McCain. McCain is a right-wing Clintonite . . . if you will . . . in terms of vicious and nasty foreign aggressionism. McCain wanted a war with Iran to show we could win a war, just like we would have won the Vietnam War “if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids.”

              That, and the specter of President Palin after President McCain still make me not-regret my vote for Obama in 2008. It kept McCain/Palin out of office. Just as I don’t regret my vote for Trump this time around. At least we have kept Clinton out of office.

              1. EoinW

                Good point. Especially considering how Clinton would have bombed all Syrian air bases – not just a token air strike – and who knows what kind of conflict we’d already be in with Russia. I guess the past eight years have been good for us because Obama wasn’t as extreme as McCain.

                However they’ve been horrific years for anyone living in Libya, Syria, Yemen or Ukraine(and we shouldn’t forget Gaza). And like a debt bubble that keeps growing, we’ve lowered our moral bar so much more that when things do go really bad it will be far worse than in 2008.

                At my age, kicking the can works every time. Perhaps we can kick it long enough for sanity to prevail – though the trend states otherwise. Yet as someone who has had a very good half century, it shouldn’t be about me. It needs to be about all the poor people paying the price now so I can continue my spoiled lifestyle a bit longer.

        3. albrt

          Obama was marginally better than Trump from the standpoint of elitist style and sophistication.

          Other than that you are 100% wrong. Obama was not better than Nixon, Reagan, Bush 1, Bush 2, or even Trump in terms of substance. Obama was (and is) a war criminal and a banker-blowing whore. Obama intentionally destroyed the very concepts of hope and change for Americans.

          Obama was the more effective evil.

          1. jrs

            No Obama actually was somewhat better than Trump on some actual issues (yea not all that as a President, merely better than Trump – I admit, it’s a very low bar!).

            For instance Obama wasn’t out unclassifying national monuments. Really I know that none of them are what we need, but I don’t think Obama and Trump are going to be equal on environmental issues at all. That’s Obama derangement talking.

            People who believed in Obama (but I was never really one of them though did think he was better than HIllary in 2008 and so pushed him over Hills in the primary, a little bit of delusion I guess) hold him to a higher standard than they do Trump because they feel betrayed by him.

            But Trump is shaping up to be actually objectively worse (although some issues are more ambiguous at this point). Trump by himself is not particularly effective, but Trump plus the current Congress, may be quite an effective evil indeed.

            Yes the system can seemingly only produce Presidents who basically serve it’s interest, and for the most part plutocratic interest, that’s the overall story. But it’s ridiculous to say noone could have any substance for preferring Obama over Trump.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            Nixon established the EPA. He initiated detente with Russia. He supported the Equal Rights Amendment. Not a nice person at all, but I think it’s ridiculous to put Obama on a different plane in terms of achievement.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think a good deal of people are ready to turn the page on Obama. Where are the Obamacrats? They don’t exist. Hillary Clinton was the unified choice of Team Blue elites. This is astounding. Obama ran against her.

      Support for single payer is effectively support for moving on from Obama. Its not a defense of ACA.

      Ignoring the elites in certain coastal cities, the effects of Obamalings denouncing every criticism as racist has had a toll. People are too afraid to criticize Obama.

      The other issue with Obama is the hyperbole was so bizarre and many of his flaws were so obvious (much like Hillary) acknowledging them now means admitting to willful ignorance. People hate this.

      Donald Trump is still President after all. This is still a backlash against Obama. The destruction of the Democratic Party is more or less complete.

      One problem is the media elites who control the open messaging love Obama, so we don’t necessarily hear the griping. These are the people who swore by Hillary. Again, Sanders and one of the woman dismissed by the Obama boy’s club, Liz Warren, are the two most popular politicans in America.

      FDR and JFK left behind people or built careers for people, real political careers. What has Obama done? Pelosi is berating people at town halls over single payer which is decidedly not Obamacare.

      1. PH

        So true.

        I talked to a Black friend about how we got Trump. I told her Black voters nominated Hillary instead of Bernie. She was shocked. She was sure Trump was elected by racists.

        We discussed O and she was surprised to discover I consider O a blue dog like Hillary.

        Bright woman. But people believe what they want to believe.

        1. perpetualWAR

          I consider Obama an Uncle Tom.
          More black wealth disappeared under Obama than any other president.

          1. different clue

            I wonder whether it might advance the cause of understanding to view Obama as a kind of alien predator operating under black cover. I remember hearing at the start of Obama’s nomination drive that some black people were saying he wasn’t really black . . . not in any culturally relevant American black American sense. Such thoughts were quickly suppressed and put aside, though.

            So perhaps we could think of Obama this way. He isn’t black. He just knows how to play black on TV.

      2. different clue

        As long as the Democratic Party exists and occupies political space, it has not been destroyed.

        If it can not be reconquered and occupied and carefully and rigorously declintonazified, then our survival will require that it indeed be exterminated, so that it no longer exists AT ALL . . . in ANY recognizable form What So EVer. And that means that all the Clintonite scum which makes up its present leadership be publicly destroyed and driven deep into permanent private obscurity.

  2. Jim Haygood

    AHCA … will cover fewer people, charge higher premiums, raise copayments, and raise deductibles.

    Insurers who wrote Obamacare thought government cash subsidies would compensate them for community rating. Since profits haven’t met their expectations, insurers are reverting to the pre-Obamacare model: scrutinize every application, underwrite only the good risks, and foist off the pre-existing conditions applicants onto high-risk pools or Medicaid.

    The curmudgeonly James Howard Kunstler, who’s written about his experiences with a knee replacement, is still fizzing with rage over his encounter with America’s ROHCS [Racketeer Operated Health Care System]:

    If you seek to know why this country is in so much trouble, check out the lead reports about the health care reform bill in today’s New York Times, WashPo, and CNN. You will find there is no intelligible discussion in any of them as to what’s actually ailing US health care. All you get is play-by-play commentary about which political tag-team is “winning,” as if this were a pro wrestling match — with an overlay of gloat that the Republicans fell oafishly out of the ring in the early rounds.

    Any way you cut the dynamics of health insurance, as practiced in the USA these days, it is nothing but racketeering, literally a conspiracy between informed players to swindle uninformed “patients.” The debate in Congress (and the news media) is just about who gets to be swindled. This is almost entirely due to the hocus-pocus of [undisclosed] pricing for services.

    I don’t believe the editors of the New York Times are necessarily “in bed” with the overpaid hospital CEOs and the insurance company fraudsters. They are simply putting up a defense of their previous psychological investment in Democratic Party ideology — in the shibboleth that ObamaCare was unquestionably a great thing because it was created under the magically empowered 44th president.


    With Senators Mitch McClownell and Lamar Alexander now in charge of redesigning the health care system, there’s never been a better time to open a Soylent Green franchise. :-)

    1. Carolinian

      Yes it’s all about cost and arguably the ridiculous charges have produced the situation where insurers are eager to game the system. It wasn’t always like that. Incidentally I’m told that vets are going in this direction as well as their businesses are bought up by large franchises and prices skyrocket.

      1. Altandmain

        I assume that pet lovers will suffer?

        Yeah I think that the franchise model will hurt patients for doctors as well.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “My political tag-team, right or wrong!”

      For the kids, it’s ‘My football/baseball/basketball team, right or wrong!”

      You see them all the time.

      1. Huey Long


        For the kids, it’s ‘My football/baseball/basketball team, right or wrong!”

        This phenomenon of intense loyalty to one’s professional sports team has completely alienated me from watching or discussing sports with people.

        Ditto for politics aside from this blog and Morris Berman’s.

    3. Katharine

      I haven’t followed trends nationally, but CareFirst (BCBS) in Maryland just requested permission to raise premiums an average of 52%. Sounded to me as if they were trying to get rid of cardiac patients the easy way.

  3. fresno dan


    Maryland prosecutors said they will drop rape and sex offense charges against two immigrant teens accused of attacking a 14-year-old classmate in a high school bathroom stall in a case that shocked local parents, attracted international and White House attention and stoked the debate about illegal crossings into the U.S.
    Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said at a press conference that “the original charges cannot be sustained and prosecution is untenable” because of “substantial inconsistencies” from witnesses.
    Defense lawyers for both defendants have said for weeks that the sex acts were consensual and that text messages and school surveillance videos did not substantiate the girl’s claims she had been pushed from a hallway into a bathroom at Rockville High School on March 16 where the suspects took turns assaulting her in a stall as she tried to break free.

    Prosecutors had signaled in an early court proceeding in the case that they were having challenges corroborating events the girl described to Montgomery County Police detectives and that led to the arrests of Sanchez Milian and Montano.

    The severity of the reported assault and the fact the two accused teens had entered the U.S. illegally only months earlier drew heated comments from the White House, in the State House and among demonstrators, callers and emailers who weighed in with the county.

    I remember FOX making a big deal about this. And there was nothing wrong with reporting it. Or even placing a great deal of emphasis on it…..
    But I would bet, that IF it gets reported AT ALL on FOX, the amount of time and discussion will be…..1/100? 1,000? One millionth the time initially spent on reporting the charge???? – – now that an investigation has occurred, it seems the the facts are not worth discussing….

    So for those who watch FOX exclusively, a certain bubble of beliefs are fortified and never pierced by reality….and of course, it is not just FOX

  4. Mel

    Apparel: “[ … ] jeans that can give wearers with directions without having to whip out the mobile at every single intersection. [ … ]” This sounds stupid to me. But am I showing my age?

    Yes, you are. Lots of businesses depend on walk-in traffic, and these jeans will provide that. PE will likely buy that jean company, and have their clients give away pairs of the pants as a move to build market share.

      1. Mel

        You could, most likely they won’t wait for you. They’ll just direct.

        Vernor Vinge wrote a good story, Rainbow’s End, about the Maker movement, and tech-capable masses, and aging. Dove right in with net-connected sunglasses that would show you useful and interesting information about the things you were looking at. Yeah, sure. My first reaction was “Spam my eyes.” Why should I get to choose what I know?
        I went on to suspend my disbelief, and it was a good story. Just not set in our world.

        1. clinical wasteman

          no, it’s not our world, but it never stops interrupting:
          In the tiny “economically active” part of my life I translate Visa Inc.’s European press cuttings (i.e. PR reflushed by “news” publishers) among others, and you wouldn’t — or perhaps you would — believe the effort the spokesbots expend on assuring you that you always longed to be able to pay for something as soon as look at it.
          The 100,000th reminder about the “contactless” part is a nice touch here though, because of the implied picture of Late Adopters physically prostrating ourselves before POS terminals as we try to pay for things with our clumsy, contact-only old-style Visa glasses.

        2. lyman alpha blob

          The world in his story is almost here. Published in 2006, it was set in 2025. When I first read it ten years ago, the concepts seemed far-fetched. Not so much anymore. That clothing is exactly what he predicted in the story. Personally I read it as mildly dystopian – a world where everyone makes a living by data mining using wearable tech seems pretty terrible but that’s about where we’re at. I expect the real version to be even more terrible than the fictional one. In the novel, the technology at least actually worked.

          That being said, this new clothing better do more than give directions if the company doesn’t want to be the next Juicero. The analog version is free and easy to use. “Excuse me, could you show me the way to….” really isn’t so difficult that digital clothing is a necessary upgrade.

          I thought using the mobile phone was supposed to make everyone’s life so much easier, but now handling it seems to be too much of a burden. Can’t anyone be bothered to do anything without computers on top of computers anymore?

          If not, just wait until my new digital buttwiper comes out – I’ll be a squillionaire for sure.

        1. Code Name D

          No your honor. I wasn’the masterbaiting in public, I was attempting to hail an Uber cab.

    1. AbateMagicThinking but Not money

      Re: Showing Your Age.

      More like coming to to your senses. If you are not suffering from Mad Old Man Syndrome, it does take a fair amount of water under the bridge to realise what it is all about and what is really important. Unfortunately not long after that light-bulb moment, as your critical faculties ramp up, physical decline really sets in.

      My advice is stay out of shopping malls (aka Landfill-In-Waiting transfer stations). Every time I step inside one, my life force starts to ebb very quickly.

      On the clothes front; what are the washing instructions? Or are they like that paper underpants that I vaguely remember hearing about back in the ’60 “Space Age”? It reminds me of the latest gizmo’s that the better off kids brought to school to impress the poor unfortunates and become cool for a fleeting moment.

      Pip pip!

  5. Vatch

    ‘We should have never called it CETA. Just EU-Canada trade agreement, nothing else,’ Malmström said. Acronyms have become ‘quite toxic’ since trade-skeptic NGOs and campaigners seized on them to spur fears about trade deals, the commissioner said.”

    I don’t understand. What’s the difference between CETA and either ECTA or EUCTA?

    1. Mel

      They’re flailing around. The fact that we could name it at all helped people mobilize resistance. Au fond, Malmström is just asking for a policy that nobody can talk about. For that purpose, a boring name isn’t perfect, but it’s better than a snappy one.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        H.P Lovecraft wrote a story titled “The Unnameable”, which concludes:

        No—it wasn’t that way at all. It was everywhere—a gelatin—a slime—yet it had shapes, a thousand shapes of horror beyond all memory. There were eyes—and a blemish. It was the pit—the maelstrom—the ultimate abomination. Carter, it was the unnamable!”

        Seems apt indeed for a trade deal…

    2. Big River Bandido

      Malmström is engaging in the standard play of neoliberal politics: conflating the name of something with its essence. Basically, taking a gross mixture of chicken shit policies and calling it chicken salad.

      Usually, however, neoliberals aren’t hoodwinked by their own propaganda, which is why this episode is so embarrassing for them, and so funny to read.

    3. Huey Long

      I don’t understand. What’s the difference between CETA and either ECTA or EUCTA?

      It’s a reflection of the quasi-religious belief of our so called “betters” in the omnipotent power of better PR.

      To state the obvious fact that “the dogs don’t like the dog food” would cause one to be labeled a heretic.

      Their general opinion seems to be that if they give these deals a neutral name, this will somehow stifle dissent from the peasantry.

      1. Katharine

        Neutral names wouldn’t be so bad (not that you can’t turn things like TPP into swear words). What is worse is when politicians in Congress struggle to give their bills elaborately contrived names for the sake of the acronyms. I really preferred the days when bills were just named for their principal sponsors.

    4. Aumua

      PROTIP: Maybe it’s not just the names that are toxic. It’s the “trade” deals themselves.

    5. different clue

      Well . . . that’s how to counter their effort to sneak such agreements under the public perception radar . . . by not acronyming them. Anti trade-treason activists can just acronymize the un-acronymmed trade agreement themselves . . . and keep referring to it by its acronym that it beCOMES acronymmed even if the Trade Creeps don’t want it to be.

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        A turd by any other name would smell as bad….to those who are awake that is.

  6. JohnnyGL

    Pelosi can hem and haw all she wants but the tectonic plates of American public opinion and the political landscape are shifting on healthcare.

    Behold….establishment republicans are surrendering to the inevitable conclusion…single payer WILL happen…


    “CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: I think historically speaking we are at the midpoint. We had seven years of Obamacare, a change in expectations. And I would predict that in less than seven years, we will be in a single-payer system. I think that’s the great irony of this. “

    He goes on to state how Obamacare is a failure and the American people don’t want to treat health care as a commodity. Wow. Never thought I’d see someone like Krauthammer say that. What’s next, George Will comes out in favor, too?

    1. Deadl E Cheese

      It’s things like that which makes me believe that Trump is Jimmy Carter 2.0 (and I strongly believe that George W. Bush is LBJ 2.0 and Obama is Nixon 2.0). Much like the Democratic Party suddenly getting a boner for deregulation heralded the end of the New Deal consensus and the beginning of Carter’s doom, Republicans realizing that they must creep towards single-payer heralds the end of the Reagan era and the beginning of Trump’s doom.

      Note, I’m talking purely in terms of political efficacy. Obviously, deregulation is evil and single-payer is good so they’re not morally comparable. Just, the crack in ideological consensus is eerily similar to that of 1977.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Trump probably isn’t an ideologue, but the Gingrich recruiting process has produced far too many nuts for the GOP to make these leaps. Given the Democrats are largely vacuous non entities, there isn’t a threat driving the GOP.

        Krauthammer and George Will are pigs, but on occasion, they make can make sense. I don’t think the rank and file are there.

        1. Gee

          They are coming along I think. Just read through the comments in any health care related article in the WSJ. Historically, the commenters would be trying to outdo one another on how free market oriented they can be and how bad socialism is, obamacare, bad, etc

          Now, you will see plenty of commenters saying that single payer is inevitable as the whole edifice crumbles. It would have been a much better strategy for Republicans to just let this happen, because in four years, I think we’d see the writing on the wall (At least those of us that dont already see it!)

          What is truly sickening here is seeing the Democrats glee at a truly awful life threatening bill pass the house, just so that they can reap political gain. If that party wasnt dead already, they will make sure they commit suicide on this one. What a bunch of disgraceful men and women.

          1. different clue

            What can millions of seemingly co-unconnected and co-uninvolved passive-obstructionaries do to help that crumbledown happen even faster and harder? So fast and hard that the reality of it cannot be denied?

        2. fresno dan

          May 5, 2017 at 4:05 pm

          It isn’t really that long ago that Gringrich was agreeing and pledging with Clinton (the one with balls….uh,….the one with shorter hair) that health care reform was necessary. Than Bush II expanded Medicare with the prescription drug benefit.
          The idea that there was some health nirvana prior to Obama is just another fairy tale repubs tell themselves.

    2. fresno dan

      May 5, 2017 at 2:26 pm

      Great minds think alike!! ;) I posted the same link in todays NC links earlier.
      I find it interesting and amazing too that Krauthammer thinks single payer is on the way.

      fresno dan
      May 5, 2017 at 11:46 am
      May 5, 2017 at 10:52 am

      Charles Krauthammer:
      …….But the irony is in the end, I think Obamacare wins the day because it changed expectations. Look at the terms of the debate. Republicans are not arguing the free market anymore. They have sort of accepted the fact that the electorate sees health care as not just any commodity. It’s not like purchasing a steak or a car. It is something people now have a sense that government ought to guarantee.

      1. Montanamaven

        And Trump’s remark to the Australian prime minister about Aussie having a better system than ours might not be the gaffe people think it is.

        1. jerry

          Love how quick his handlers had to rush to clean that up, their explanation being that Trump “just said it to be nice”.. lol, niice excuse!

  7. Carey

    My hope is that soon the Few will be hearing the phrase “your money’s no good here, Mister”… a lot. If they can no longer support their minions, life will no longer be oh-so-good for them, either.

    We’ll see.

  8. AnnieB

    Re: Dr Housing Bubble on orange county condo prices. In Boulder County, CO prices on condos have increased 40% in the last three years. Single family houses have increased by about 70%. New construction is mind boggling expensive, $600-800K for a new house, a 3/2 about 1700 sq ft with basic trim. Adding higher end trim is extra.
    People are moving into the Denver/Boulder area from all over, but a lot are from California. FYI, Californians, you should be aware that we have drought conditions here too and fracking is now ready to start in Boulder County. The oil and gas companies have plans for up to 2,000 wells just east of Boulder. We already have an air quality problem, and just recently a family home in Erie blew up, because a gas line from a reopened well was not capped, killing two and injuring two others. Fun times ahead. Californians, and others, may want to give up their Colorado dreams.

    1. Huey Long

      Can any commenteriat members out in Boulder tell me what kinds of industries (aside from oil & gas) are these Cali transplants getting hired to work in and how are the wages out in Boulder county?

      I’m located in the Acela bubble and have no clue what drives the economy of a place like Boulder.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Besides farmers needing cities or trading centers (food is the true engine of growth). Denver was set up as a second Washington in case one gets nuked. Everything is good to go. All of our social security records and what not are there in duplicate. The University of Colorado and an influx of government jobs in recent years which were once more widespread giving us Keynesian multipliers have more recently affected Boulder. The relative growth of the population is keeping the prices high much like the Washington metro area.

        1. Another Anon

          So that explain why Kim Stanley Robinson in his new novel “New York 2140” made Denver the new capitol of the US after DC went under water because of global
          warming. It is a good book by the way.

      2. AnnieB

        Boulder has attracted a multitude of outdoor sports oriented companies, start-ups in healthy food/drinks, real estate is very big, and lately tech companies. Google has a new campus being built. But one of the main employers is the University of Colorado. Wages are high.

      3. RUKidding

        Mostly I know people who’ve retired to Colorado, including Boulder, so they weren’t looking for work. I do have one friend who moved from CA to Boulder bc of a job at the Univ. She has a most excellent job there, which she loves and is highly compensated for. She and her hubby like Boulder, but they really want to move back to CA. So they will most likely do a reverse migration back to CA upon retirement.

        1. Anon

          . . . NOT if they’re smart. California taxes out-of-state pensions. Better to buy a CA condo in a few years and then a smaller one in Boulder City, NV (outside Las Vegas, No income tax) when close to retirement. Maintain voting residence in Nevada during retirement while enjoying best weather time in CA for part of the year.

          With Air-bnb you can simultaneously own/acquire property while using it during your leisure.

          1. JTMcPhee

            …and help grow the Bezzle. But Smart People are Free, in America, to serve their own interests, and Fokk the community. Airbnb — isnt that uber, with cars fixed in one spot? The consumers drive to you, not the other way round?

            Cue the rationalizations and “so whats?” in 3, 2, 1…

            1. Aumua

              Haha this is NC good sir. We’re not savages, for God’s sake. We know that sometimes a second home is the perfect compliment to a great job with excellent pay, especially if it both makes you $$$ and saves you from having to pay bothersome taxes.

              Good show fellows, good show.

      4. Hobbs

        A Boulder friend tells me one of the big tech companies (Google? Or Microsoft? Probably Google) is building a big “campus” there and will be hiring 1500 people. Her duplex abutting a wilderness preserve has just gone stratospheric in price.

    2. Tvc15

      I lived in Erie (Boulder county side) and one of the reasons we moved was the abundance of frack pads including one near a new elementary school. I was initially concerned about my home value because of the fracking, but was amazed to see 3 offers above list the first day. Guess location and Flat Iron views trump clean air and water.

  9. Jess

    Regarding illegal immigrants in CA, “over 20 percent of its construction workers”: Yeah, waaay over 20%. Lots of construction in my area over recent years. I usually walk by, take a gander, sometimes talk to workers. Typical job with four or five workers, all Hispanic, only the lead guy and, maybe, one other, speak passable English. All the rest, only Spanish. Pretty clearly not here long enough to become assimilated or conversant in English.

    1. LT

      In the Econoday article from the Stats section:
      “And the labor participation rate, despite gains in employment, is down 1 tenth to 62.9 percent. Tight conditions haven’t yet sparked much pressure in average hourly earnings which did rise a respectable 0.3 percent in the month though the year-on-year rate fell 1 tenth to a very soft 2.5 percent. How long wages can stay quiet given the lack of available labor is an open question.”

      Here’s the thing: Do they count immigrants without documentation in the labor participation rate studies?
      I’m assuming they don’t because such surveying requires one to be on the radar (documented).
      So is it possible the wage growth is slow because there is more labor participation than is counted?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Rising wages from minimum hourly wage laws are not quite as organic as those from reduced undocumented/H1B/H2B worker supply.

        The latter will drive up wages currently at more than $15/hr, to include wages at $16/hr, $17/hr, $18/hr, etc.

        It will be more diffused, widespread, and more sustainable (because more benefit from it and thus, aggregate demand will go up more and faster).

        1. LT

          So is it possible the wage growth is slow because there is MORE labor participation than is counted? The reason to increase the pool of labor is to reduce the cost of it – that’s been the reasoning of the owners of capital for the longest.
          It goes back to my main question about how the labor participation rate stat is calculated.

    2. Anon

      Pretty clearly not here long enough to become assimilated or conversant in English.

      Learning a second language (passably) after the age of eight, is more difficult than you may imagine. I live in CA. Took Spanish classes in high school and at university and converse occasionally with Mexican immigrants/laborers. I’m sure they don’t find my Spanish passable (but they nod/smile and play along).

      While I believe immigration needs to be controlled, the Mexican immigrants/laborers I encounter have strong ties to their community and hope to live/work in the US as long as they possibly can. (Doing the difficult/dangerous elements of construction work.)

      1. LT

        So legalize them and they can join, with less fear or reservation, the fight for $15.
        Make it mandatory to pay $15 per hour for house work and nannies.
        And I’m pretty sure at that point you’ll start to see more ME refugees working the service jobs that currently the south of the border immigrant laborers perform.
        Currently, the ME refugees taken in by the USA are not that high.
        I’m not saying the refugees themselves are bad, but the establishment has been running the same cheap labor game for a long time.
        For all the faux concern of the elites, once they stand up to gain rights, new “marks” will be found.
        I’m not saying that is a good thing to do. It’s the MO.

        1. different clue

          Putting every illegal-employer carnie who hires an illegal alien mark into prison for years of hard time would eventually put a stop to illegally hiring the illegal alien. Find a way to get all the drug-convicted and mentally ill people convicted for acting out . . . out of the prisons to create a million or so spaces for a million or so illegal- employERS . . . and perhaps the rest of the employERS would “get the message.”

      2. LT

        The only real way the rubber meets the road is to say if you employ ANYONE, no matter their immigration status, they can not be paid less.
        So other rights can still be gained through attaining citizenship. Make pay equal.
        Then let’s see how much of a “nation of immigrants” we are at that point.

        1. jrs

          how would the not paying less than minimum wage be enforced? If it relies on any degree of threats of legal actions by employees, the workers really do need to not have a threat of deportation, or otherwise they aren’t going to risk it.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > The only real way the rubber meets the road is to say if you employ ANYONE, no matter their immigration status, they can not be paid less.

          Why isn’t that a race to the bottom? What’s the reason to be a US citizen, or not?

          And why isn’t saying — like every other country in the world — that you need a work permit to work if you’re not a citizen a “rubber meets the road” policy?

  10. Pelham

    “As a rich country, the US should be financing industrialization and development around the world, so that emerging countries can purchase US manufacturing exports.”

    This woolly argument has never made any sense to me. If we encourage industrialization in the developing world, those countries will take advantage of far lower labor costs and sell their products to us. Right? Why would they buy our manufactured products when — after they industrialize — those countries begin manufacturing their own products?

      1. Marina Bart

        Except with this:

        Instead, the US has assumed various unproductive roles, becoming the world’s money launderer, political-risk insurer, and money-holder of last resort….”

        …isn’t he basically admitting that neoliberalism and the New Democrats failed?

    1. Sandler

      It’s not products, it’s “services” (management consulting and private equity, yay!).

    2. different clue

      If the rest of the world gets industrialized and developed, then the rest of the world won’t need any US manufactured exports.

      And if the US did not IMport anything, the US would not even HAVE to EXport ANYthing because we would not even HAVE to raise any money for the IMports which we would no LONGer even BE importing.

      Equal protectionism for everyone.

  11. Colonel Smithers

    I am watching the France 2 news on TV5 as I type. The execrable Bernard-Henri Levy was on, alongside politicians from so-called left and right in a Front Republicain, to support Macron. One wonders what imperialist adventures will be suggested by BHL to Macron, perhaps televised on CNN’s Global Public Square.

    1. paul

      Does BHL sleep on the TV5 foyer sofa?
      And if he does, what are his dreams?
      A better world or a new discoteque?
      Does he smile in his sleep or does he clasp his medals in terror?

      I think France is racing down the world rankings in its public intellectuals

      1. Clive

        Ah, but then I’ve been watching BBC’s coverage of yesterday’s county and mayoral elections. The level of analysis makes BHL look like Jean-Paul Sartre. Good to know we can still win a race! Unfortunately it’s to the bottom.

        1. paul

          That gets a wholearted laugh!
          26% for the blue tories – triumph in jockistan
          28% in englandshire – disater for labour

          Sometimes I think you just can’t win

  12. Marley's dad

    One of the things that caused people who voted for Obama twice to vote for Trump was the treatment of Bernie’s delegates at the convention IMHO. Not solely that, but on top of all of the phoney positions that Hillary was obviously misrepresenting herself on (like TTP) and the crappy campaign she ran. I can only speak for myself, but reading about the way Bernie’s delegates got treated at the convention pushed me 90 to. 95% of the way towards not voting for Hillary.

  13. dontknowitall

    Nancy Pelosi’s firm No to the question of single payer in the 2018 platform even as she has Perez truck Sanders all over the country tells me that the plutocracy is alive and well and in no danger of falling down or at least the plutocrats see it that way. Obama and wife collecting a million dollars in speakers fees in a single week tells me the plutocrats don’t care what anyone thinks either. Right now Trump, as the personification of randomness, I fear is the only reason for expecting the system to become destabilized enough to bring about change.

    1. Huey Long

      The PE plutocrats were crying about their poor reputation in a piece that ran on Bloomberg yesterday. In the article the plutocrats proposed to solve their optics woes with better PR.

    2. Allegorio

      Senator Sanders apparently has reneged on his promise to introduce single payer in the Senate. The plutocrats simply do not want to give up the healthcare gravy train. The more people that support it the more intransigent the bought and paid for legislators become. Let’s see if California single payer passes. I have a feeling that there will be serious pressure to abort it.

      1. Vatch

        I doubt he would renege on such a high profile promise. It probably is taking a lot of time for his staff (or consultants) to write it, and he’s probably trying to line up as many initial co-sponsors as possible. He may also have wanted to wait to see what would happen with the House sponsored bill. That passed the House, but Fridays are bad for doing something that needs publicity (they’re good for doing something that one wants to be ignored). But if nothing happens by next Thursday, it will look bad for him.

        1. Vatch

          That would truly be grim if he were having trouble finding a single co-sponsor. My hope is that he has some co-sponsors, but that he wants more.

  14. Jim Haygood

    Na na na na, hey hey, good-bye — what is this, junior high school?”

    Actually, it’s probably payback for a notorious incident in 1993, when Rep Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky (D-Pa) became the deciding vote for Bill Clinton’s retroactive tax hike. House Republicans jeered “Bye bye Marjorie” as she cast her vote — and she indeed was defeated in 1994.

    However, Marjorie’s son Marc went on to marry into the Clinton dynasty, so all is well in the end. :-)

      1. Jim Haygood

        I much prefer the decorum observed in several Asian parliaments — Taiwan, Korea, and Japan, for instance — where ideological disputes devolve into free-form brawls with legislators smashing chairs on each other’s heads.

        A solon with a bandaged head is literally fighting for your interests (or someone’s). Who needs WWF when there’s free public entertainment like this:


        1. fresno dan

          Jim Haygood
          May 5, 2017 at 5:40 pm

          Just like pro wrestling, (which has a zillion instances of guys hitting each other with folding chairs) I think its all fake…..
          Now, if they would kill each other, we could make some progress…..

  15. marym

    In Rare Unity, Hospitals, Doctors and Insurers Criticize Health Bill

    (emphasis added)

    The prospect of millions of people unable to afford coverage led to an outcry from the health care industry as well as consumer groups. They found an uncommon ally in some insurers, who rely heavily on Medicaid and Medicare as mainstays of their business and hope the Senate will be more receptive to their concerns

    “The American Health Care Act needs important improvements to better protect low- and moderate-income families who rely on Medicaid or buy their own coverage,” Marilyn B. Tavenner, the chief executive of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s trade group, said in a strongly worded statement.

    Perhaps the R’s in Congress didn’t understand the purpose of Obamacare.

    1. Jim Haygood

      That would be the Marilyn Tavenner who managed the disastrous rollout of the Affordable Care Act website, http://www.healthcare.gov.

      Despite being on the gov’t payroll then, she was working for the health insurance industry … and still is.

      Abject failure is glorious when amakudari [Japanese equivalent to “revolving door”] rescues your talentless ass and still gets you quoted in the fawning MSM.

  16. PKMKII

    “Ba­sic­ally, Demo­crats and Re­pub­lic­ans tend not only to have a very dif­fer­ent view of the role of gov­ern­ment, but also a dif­fer­ent value struc­ture: Demo­crats are ob­sessed with justice, and Re­pub­lic­ans are equally ob­sessed with liberty”

    I don’t buy that. Republicans can be all about justice (law and order republicans) and Dems can be all about liberty (religious issues, what people do with their genitals). As I see it, it’s a moral question. Dems see morality in utilitarianism and refinements to the system, Repubs see it in the protestant work ethic and tradition.

    1. jrs

      I’ve heard a variant that liberals are focused on distributive justice (yes how a societies resources are distributed) and maybe conservatives more on procedural justice (punishing someone for a crime etc.). Distributive justice was supposedly a very common thread while arguing about justice once (oh maybe in England where much common law came from) but isn’t seen as such now. But those are generalizations, noone arguing for a for profit prison system is actually concerned with procedural justice, because it just skews the incentives so badly. That is just sold out politicians and the propaganda organs that support them in a political system where money talks.

      At least different forms of justice as focus makes more sense than “liberty”. Because conservatives are not concerned with liberty in most of the ways that matter. Most of the real life constraints on people’s liberty have to do with jobs and economics, the police state can also constrain liberty of course. But conservatives want to give employers near absolute power over employees. That has nothing to do with liberty and is a huge constraint on people’s liberty in the ways that actually affect their daily lives. So many conservatives will actually manifest a strong controlling trait in their politics (noone should have any benefits without working including healthcare etc. not even for the libertarian reasons of hating taxes etc. (which is at least liberty minded if misguided) BUT they will literally argue BECAUSE people must be coerced to work by fear of not having health care etc.). That’s how actual conservatives often think. That’s not even liberty IN THEORY, it’s straight out authoritarianism.

      Your probably right about it being a values question along those lines as liberty just makes absolutely no sense period in explaining conservatives but believing in a protestant work ethic and tradition does.

    2. Marina Bart

      This strikes me as utterly false. And the biggest problem is, what do they mean by “Democrats” and “Republicans”? Do they mean the elected officials? The party operatives? The donors? Or the actual human beings who participate in the parties merely by voting?

      You have to differentiate between the myths the party professionals tell the voters, and what they themselves believe and care about. And then you have to be more specific about the terms “justice” and “liberty.” Bankers committed serious crimes, and the Obama administration strenuously avoided prosecuting them, just as it strenuously avoided prosecuting Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin (among others) for their open and obvious violations of quite serious laws. So the leadership of the party demonstrably does not care about the rule of law, corruption, or economic justice. What kind of justice do they believe in?

      1. PKMKII

        And the biggest problem is, what do they mean by “Democrats” and “Republicans”? Do they mean the elected officials? The party operatives? The donors? Or the actual human beings who participate in the parties merely by voting?

        I was thinking in terms of the mere party voters. Of course, the politicians are just spinning a brand and marketing.

        1. Marina Bart

          I didn’t intend that as attacking you. I meant more the initial assertion. You’re saying something more interesting. I’m not sure I agree with it, though. I doubt most Democratic voters think in terms of utilitarianism or system refinements. I think voters want to be protected and “get stuff” from the government, and those that still vote Democrat either do get stuff and get protected — like bankers — or haven’t yet figured out that the brand identity no longer fits.

    1. polecat

      I was thinking it might be a Douglas Iris cultivar. There are some really beautiful named varieties that have become available in recent years.

        1. Katharine

          The image info said California native iris black, whatever that might mean.

          1. HotFlash

            Well, maybe so. I was only in CA for 2 weeks back in 86, so didn’t meet all the natives, but the leaves don’t look quite iris-like to me. Whatever it is, it shore is a purty flower.

  17. LT

    Re: McClatchy article on 2016 election

    Macro and micro analysis shows that since 2008, people have been voting for change and not the status quo, with 2012 only showing that people hold on to illusions about elected officials even when the actual policy shows otherwise.
    If the two parties think they continue with “business as usual,” then that business must be continuing to discourage voters, alienate potential voters, and oppress voters with opposing views.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      In 2012, Republicans made a very public display of seeking to limit voting access, and African American turnout was incredible. The Republicans were much quiter this time around on that front and didn’t tick off voters. Since the Dems were focused on “moderate surburban Republicans” (rich white people), African American turnout dropped.

      After 2012 (at least in my opinion), the anti-Obama birther stuff took a back seat to the individual senate races and Hillary. Birtherism was replaced by Benghazism. Democrats predicted an imminent GOP collapse.

      1. LT

        “In 2012, Republicans made a very public display of seeking to limit voting access, and African American turnout was incredible…”
        Holding on to illusions applies.

        Also, it was pretty evident by 2012 that the choice was status quo vs status quo. So maybe a good chunk of people just went to the one that could at least pretend to be different.

  18. Huey Long

    RE: Employment Situation

    Tight conditions haven’t yet sparked much pressure in average hourly earnings

    It makes sense when you look at what sectors those jobs were created in:

    Jobs were added in leisure and hospitality (55,000), health care and social assistance (37,000), financial activities (19,000), and mining (9,000) industries. Jobs were also added in the retail (6,300), construction (5,000), and government (17,000) sectors. The education sub-industry, which is part of the health care and social assistance sector added 4,000 jobs in April”

    The vast majority were in leisure and hospitality and in healthcare and social assistance. Both of these industries have a huge underclass of employees vulnerable to the reserve army of labor, i.e. cleaning staff, LPNs, home health aides, medical assistants, hotel desk staff, etc.

    Their wages are staying low because they have no leverage, and in right-to-work (for less) jurisdictions they’re not going to get any leverage any time soon.

    1. Eureka Springs

      I know a woman who graduated top of her class – surgical nurse. Could not find work within a hundred and fifty miles of home, didn’t want to move her kids. She now cleans bathrooms for a small chain of restaurants/bars which caters to nasty frat/sorority partiers for more money than would have been on offer as a surgical nurse.

      She says she wears thicker rubber gloves in her current position.

  19. Art Eclectic

    Pfft. The only liberty Republicans are obsessed with is for fetuses and bigots.

    1. polecat

      I’d venture that ‘liberty’ extends to the House and, especially, the Senate Democrats as well, when one considers their immense gravitation towards GRIFT, for themselves and their spouses, friends, family members ….

      It’s just a paler shade of $liberty$.

    2. cm

      Yeah, that statement is laughable. Liberty means one is free to smoke/grow/sell mj, end one’s own life in a dignified fashion, engage in voluntary business transactions (such as prostitution), purchase medical drugs (including from outside the country) w/out govt permission.

      1. jrs

        Have overtime laws enforced so at least one has some free time? Tell me what the @#$# is liberty without free time? If people are virtual slaves working 60 hour weeks, 6 days a week, and paid for 40. A bunch of lifestyle issues? No liberty darn well better talk about ECONOMIC issues and what protections exist for employees against employers as those are most poeple’s real masters (sometimes the cops are but most of the time).

        If we don’t even include basic stuff like protecting at least some realm of life FROM employers (in other ways as well but I can’t flesh them all out now but right to unionize is one as well) then such liberty includes the right to be a slave pretty much (plus smoke marijuana – although really – marijuana isn’t EVEN LEGAL if employers are drug testing against in some sense now is it? We have no protections there but to pee in a cup.)

    3. human

      Talk to me about The Home of the Free ™ when I can party on a “public” beach with my friends all night and wake up to the sound of the surf in the morning.

      1. jrs

        And don’t have to go to work the next day!

        Ok but enough utopia for now … my liberty is anarchist and egalitarian. If power is radically unequally distributed then so will liberty be as those with power (and money is a form of power) will constantly be exercising it against those without.

      2. B1whois

        Partying in public? That was a thing that really suprised me about Uruguay. Maybe it is common in other countries as well? Anyway, all I could think was: “that’s true freedom!” It also means society needs a LOT less police when a lot fewer things are illegal. So, in summary, I prefer graffiti everywhere to muscular police forces everywhere.

        1. clinical wasteman

          Hemispheres-wide endorsement of the above and the supra-above.
          Unless the standard of graffiti is exceptionally poor, it’s as simple as preferring a caress to a kick. Or even if the graffitists are disappointing, an innocuous, uninteresting encounter vs. a nightstick to the skull. All the more astonishing then that a preference for that latter has been allowed to pass for political Common Sense across whole continents far from Montevideo.

  20. nippersmom

    There isn’t a whole lot of “morphing” required to turn Ossoff into a Republican.

    1. Pat

      More unmasking him, but then we know it is all about moderate Republicans for our leading Democrats.

      1. Montanamaven

        RT is amazing. Aerial shots of Aleppo break your heart. Street protests in Paris by young people also break your heart. Our propaganda media in USA don’t want us to see that there is an alternative.

  21. Jim Haygood

    After a soggy start, stocks motored ahead at the close to rack up a fresh record in the Nasdaq 100 glamour stock index. America’s most valuable company by market cap, Apple, hit a fresh record high.

    Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index — the benchmark for institutional investors — reached a record high as well for the first time since March 1st, closing at 2,399.

    This outcome was portended by the Nasdaq 100 and its celebrity members, the Five Horsemen of the Technocalypse, which have been acting as leaders for the broader market. Here is a chart of the Five Horsemen, updated with today’s closing prices:


    n.b. It’s erroneously labeled May 4, but is updated to May 5th close.

  22. ewmayer

    o “Basically, Democrats and Republicans tend not only to have a very different view of the role of government, but also a different value structure: Democrats are obsessed with justice, and Republicans are equally obsessed with liberty” [Charles Cook, Cook Political Report] — No, the correct framing is that “Democrats are obsessed with virtue-signaling about justice, and Republicans are equally obsessed with virtue-signaling about liberty”.

    [Aside: when I copied the foregoing snip into my text editor, it displayed as chock-full of special hyphen characters which don’t display in the browser rendering. Is that you, evil Russkie hackerz?]

    o Word of the day, found while looking for a definition of a similarly-spelled one: ‘carminative’.

    Have some fun and try to guess what it means before looking it up. Uh, lemme guess, “tending to cause red-facedness-in-embarrassment”? [Rather the opposite, as it turns out.]

    1. Marina Bart

      the correct framing is that “Democrats are obsessed with virtue-signaling about justice, and Republicans are equally obsessed with virtue-signaling about liberty”.

      More specifically, professional Dems virtue-signal about justice and professional Republicans virtue-signal about liberty, so both can fleece suckers on behalf of great wealth and corporations.

  23. Will S.

    Have any of you guys seen this creepy “PolicyEd” thing showing up on your FB feed? It’s evidently a propaganda wing of the Hoover Institution that produces poorly-animated short videos to promote… I don’t know exactly, quiet subservience to the ruling class it seems like? It came to my attention with an enthralling/appalling video to advertise something called “A Wonderful Loaf” which it describes as an “immersive experience” which will let you “go behind the curtain” and see what keeps cities “functioning like clockwork.” The video itself is a nausea-inducing poem read over clumsily-done animation only marginally better than that Chinese CGI news show “reenactment” of Tiger Woods’ car crash which asks, “who makes sure there’s food for vegans, and carnivores as well? It seems like there’s a wizard who has cast a magic spell.” before showing a vampiric-looking white guy smiling beneficently upon the land from some sort of weird clocktower penthouse. I had to know more about this awful neoliberal prop outfit so I went to their Facebook page where, to my dismay, I found several of my friends had ‘liked’ it. I looked at their other posts and it seems like 95% of them are about “free speech,” with seemingly contradictory titles like “Does freedom of speech mean you can say anything you want? Not exactly…” but then also “Want to protect free speech? You’ll have to defend the rights of people you disagree with.” The rest seem to be all pro-fracking propaganda, with the exception of one called “Socialism’s Empty Promises.”

    TBH though, once I get past the revulsion the videos—I watched about thirty seconds of a few of them out of some morbid curiosity—are kind of hilarious. My favorite is the fracking prop piece called “Getting the Facts Straight” that says “Actually, hydraulic fracturing is identical to conventional oil and gas drilling until the final stage, when a horizontal zone is drilled, then fractured.” So… it’s the same right up until the end, when it’s completely different?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        From the About page:

        It’s a Wonderful Loaf is a PolicyEd project, part of the Mary Jo and Dick Kovacevich Initiative, Educating Americans in Public Policy at the Hoover Institution. Since its founding nearly 100 years ago, the Hoover Institution has sought to promote economic opportunity and prosperity, secure peace, and improve the human condition. This new effort will build on our legacy of substantive scholarly policy inquiry where partisan advocacy has become the norm.

        Uh huh.

  24. LT

    “You can tell what really terrifies the Democrat Establishment about the Sanders campaign: Small donors. How do you know that? They never mention it.”

    That’s also why the Citizen’s United verdict came into being. As much as Obama received from the financial sector, that campaigned showed the insane amounts that small donors could raise.
    The establishment and the entire duopoly has been freaked out, because they realize the things Obama had to say (even if he didn’t do them exactly, or worded them slyly) to get that money.
    One day, they figured, someone could come along and actually do all of those things that were just “rhetoric” with a bunch of money from small donors. So they increased the influence of big donors.

  25. LT

    “Ossoff is, in other words, propounding the falsehood that Federal spending depends on the Federal government’s ability to tax and borrow (see Joe Firestone here).”

    Federal spending, however it is done or could be done, depends on the priorities of the elected officials. No matter how the government is funded, the root of the issue is people are not prioritized over corporate profits.
    While it’s useful to explain the process as you do, changing the priorities are the root of the issue.

    1. David Barrera

      I like your post. We al know the problems with taxation. These are the indirect purchase of tax related legislation and the direct purchase of the law technique practitioners to dodge taxes, the war-economy-tax-burden, the lack of social virtue of the bureaucratic apparatus associated with a tax imposition, the permanent struggle against the ideological sell of the “free markets vs. Washington dictating what to do with one’s money”,etc.
      On the other hand, the MMT faith is telling us nothing we have not known for many years: that the federal government can create extraordinary quantities of currency (besides, do not take the accounting principles to the T: the own purchase of its own debt through different separate mechanisms and its consequent bank deposits/reserves with their liquidity multiplier effect is just a step short of this). Can you picture under a “bankruptocracy” regime (term borrowed from Varoufakis) the absence of the layman defense to the effect that “we are bailing out banks or Wall Street with our own tax money”? When I listen to Stephanie Kelton, not to mention Virginian Islands’ prophet Warren Mossler, I have many other and most fundamental issues with a naked MMT.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the MMT faith is telling us nothing we have not known for many years

        Congratulations. You’ve finally figured out what many MMT haterz have not: That MMT describes what actually is; how fiat currency really works.

        The remaining task is to put the process under Democratic control, which starts with being honest about how the system works.

        Keep at it.

  26. LT

    You know the scariest thing about the “Russia interferring in (now) France’s election?”
    It sounds more like the US meddling.
    And it does not bode well for the USA’s future sovereignity.
    Don’t think for a second global bankstas wouldn’t want everyone in the trap of the Eurozone countries.

  27. LT

    Another thing to remember when you all read about the French elections is France’s stake in Syria, especially post WWI (Sykes-Picot).
    When the officials in France and USA talk about Russia, they’re really talking about Syria and Iran.

  28. different clue

    Guy Makes Good Money Farming Other Peoples’ Land . . . seems to me to deserve elevation into the Permaculture titled topic category . . . so people wishing to find it again can go there and find it. I realize that technically it isn’t permaculture, but perhaps it could be regarded as Honorary Permaculture.

    This shows how “suburban sprawl” can become “suburban food-breeder reactors”. What if millions of suburban house-yard dwellers decided to farm their OWN land? They wouldn’t make the money this guy makes by managing several yards in several places in carefully scheduled turn. But they could make good unmoney creating unmonetized wealth. They could then upgrade their health by eating the unmonetized fruits and vegetables they grow on their OWN land. Perhaps they could upgrade their health enough to need less health CARE meaning less MONEY SPENT on sickness management and maintainance.

    Imagine 50 million suburban households doing this.

      1. polecat

        I’ll bet fresno dan ‘gardens’ only in his Russian bunny slippers …..

        ….. to impress the tomatoes, of course …. as well as the prospective hot babes !

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