2:00PM Water Cooler 6/5/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Trade

“Boeing Is in Talks for a Megadeal That the Trade War Could Derail” [Bloomberg]. “Boeing Co. has been negotiating one of the largest orders ever of wide-body jetliners with Chinese airlines even as tensions between Washington and Beijing escalate, say people familiar with the talks. The discussions center on about 100 twin-aisle jets: 787 Dreamliners as well as 777X planes, the newest long-range aircraft in Boeing’s lineup, said one of the people, who asked not to be named as the talks are private. No deal is imminent, the people cautioned, and the trade war is a major complication for all involved. The Chinese side is waiting for guidance from the government before pushing forward with the discussions….”

Politics

“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (average of five polls). As of June 3: Biden down 34.9% ( 35%) and Sanders up 16.9% (16.5%) stabilize. Warren down 8.4%, others Brownian motion. Of course, it’s absurd to track minute fluctuations at this point.

* * *

2020

Festival of Biden:

Biden (D)(1): “Joe Biden calls on fundraisers to raise up to $100,000 to join his 2020 finance committee” [CNBC]. “If you want to be a member of the national finance committee for Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, be prepared to raise up to $100,000. The former vice president’s campaign is calling on its network of bundlers to help put together thousands of dollars in contributions. There are four tiers of fundraisers in the Biden system, according to an invitation CNBC obtained through a donor who recently sent in a contribution… Meanwhile, the former vice president is preparing to go to Chicago for another round of fundraising events starting June 12. While visiting the Windy City, he will be hosted by Robert Wislow, the chairman of commercial real estate behemoth CBRE Group, according to people familiar with the matter. Tickets for the gathering are expected to go up to $2,800, these people added. Wislow supported Barack Obama when he first ran for president in 2008, but he has contributed to Republican causes as well. He also hosted fundraisers for former Chicago mayor and Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.” • Ka-ching.

Biden (D)(2):”In N.H., Joe Biden says GOP isn’t the enemy” [Boston Globe]. Biden: “Well guess what, Republicans aren’t my enemy. They’re my opposition. And if we treat everyone like an enemy, how in God’s name are we going to get anything done in America?” • The liberal Democrats theory of change since at least 2008 (see Jarret below in health. Anyhow, the #Resistance tells us that Trump is a fascist usurper holding onto power despite his illegitimacy. How is the party that supports him simply the opposition?

Biden (D)(3): “Joe Biden Has the Most to Lose at the Debates” [The Atlantic]. “Biden has always been a strong debater, but he hasn’t faced anyone since Ryan seven years ago, and hasn’t debated another Democrat in more than a decade. The first Democratic showdowns, in Miami at the end of June—over two nights with 10 candidates each— will be the biggest moment in the 2020 race so far, and Biden, as the front-runner, clearly has the most to lose. Biden’s team has kept him mostly out of sight since he launched his campaign at the end of April. Staying out of the way means he has less chance of making a comment that could be twisted into a news-cycle-defining scandal. That’s the upside. The downside, beyond having to fend off snide tweets about his skimpy schedule and articles questioning whether he’s too old to keep up, is that he’s getting almost no practice taking voter questions at town halls or in open exchanges with reporters. Now if he stumbles or screws up, it’ll be a prime-time event, with the rest of the field and an internet full of pundits ready to pounce.”

Biden (D)(4): “Biden unveils $1.7T climate plan, vows to reject fossil fuel money” [Politico]. “Former Vice President Joe Biden laid out a climate change plan on Tuesday that would pour $1.7 trillion of federal money into clean energy spending over a decade to bring U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.”

Biden (D)(5): “Claims of Joe Biden plagiarism now have a climate chapter” [Grist]. “His policy proposal contains at least five paragraphs lifted almost word-for-word from advocacy groups… Possibly cheating on his homework doesn’t seem to have impacted Biden’s grade with at least one activism group. His newly released plan has earned him a ‘B’ ratings from Greenpeace’s Climate Scorecard, up from the ‘D’ they gave him just a week ago, largely for not having a policy at all. His score now comes in right under Tulsi Gabbard and above Beto O’Rourke. Self-professed ‘climate candidate’ Jay Inslee heads up the list with an A-.” • And but:

I dunno if I buy the Greenpeace ratings, then. If the candidate is unserious about developing a plan, will he be serious in supporting it?

Biden (D)(6): “That Time Joe Biden Knowingly Lied About Marching in the Civil Rights Movement” [Paste]. “This is what 2020 would be all about versus Trump—Joe Biden’s endless stream of ‘gaffes.’ There is likely more bad Biden content to work with than time available in the general election, and I can pretty much guarantee that this will not be the last ‘remember when Biden did this awful thing!?!?!’ story to surface in this Democratic primary. The Democrats can and should do better than a man who knowingly lied and falsely took credit for marching in a movement that yielded more positive change on this country than Joe Biden ever has.” • I’m picturing Trump tweets and Biden gaffes competing to dominate the news cycle….

Buttigieg (D)(1): “Warrior-Mayor Pete’s Sanctimonious Chest Thumping” [The American Conservative]. “Buttigieg gets away unchallenged with these shots because critical thought on military service is the third rail of journalism. But context matters. Buttigieg did all of six months in 2014 as a reservist deep inside Bagram Airfield, mostly as a personal driver for his boss, locked and loaded inside a Toyota Land Cruiser. It is unlikely he ever ate a cold meal in Afghanistan. On the campaign trail, Buttigieg refers to himself “as the first veteran president since George H.W. Bush.” Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidate Seth Moulton was a platoon commander in the initial company of Marines that entered Baghdad in 2003, returning for a total of four combat deployments. Tulsi Gabbard did two full tours in the Middle East, one inside Iraq. She volunteered to become the first state official to step down from public office to serve in a war zone, 10 years before Buttigieg. So if you wanna measure for size, bro, the line forms behind Moulton and Gabbard.” • Oh, man. A driver? Sadly, the Naval Reserve found no use for Buttigieg’s Norwegian skills…

Harris (D)(1): “After dazzling debut, Kamala Harris falls from top of presidential pack” [Los Angeles Times]. “In one of her first national campaign appearances, at a CNN town hall, she offhandedly backed eliminating the country’s private health insurance system. Months later, she is still trying to explain her position. (She said that her support for ‘Medicare for all’ meant eliminating healthcare bureaucracy, not doing away with private insurance.)… The hedging revived one of the criticisms that has followed Harris throughout her public life, the suggestion she is politically timid and overly cautious. As attorney general, she was notably muted on some of the state’s most fraught issues, such as police use of force and ballot initiatives to change California’s sentencing laws. That tension has spilled into her presidential campaign, where some aides advocate a more assertively progressive stance to court left-leaning activists while others prefer that Harris hug the middle to better position herself for a general election. The candidate herself is ambivalent, said one strategist familiar with the campaign’s internal dynamic, who described part of the conflict as ‘Kamala vs. Kamala.'”

Hickenlooper (D)(1): “Ethics Investigation Into Former Gov. Hickenlooper’s Travel Gifts Continues” [Colorado Public Radio]. “An attempt to dismiss an ethics complaint against former Gov. John Hickenlooper failed in front of Colorado’s Ethics Commission on Monday. Commissioners will instead move forward with their investigation into whether Hickenlooper improperly accepted free lodging and travel on private jets, a violation of state laws against corporate gifts. Hickenlooper has dismissed the complaints as a political stunt.”

Sanders (D)(1): “Bernie Sanders campaign has 25,000 volunteers in Iowa: report” [The Hill]. “The Sanders campaign’s Iowa caucus director Evan Burger told the outlet that the team is ‘combining the people on the ground — the traditional organizing — with the tech-heavy ‘distributed’ organizing that we’ve learned about in the last few years.’ The campaign recently launched its ‘Bern App,’ enabling the campaign to strengthen its voter database by allowing supporters to use their own networks, according to NBC News. ‘The huge breakthrough is someone sitting at home watching the Bernie Sanders video can click the link to immediately start organizing people they know and don’t know,’ Burger told [New York Magazine’s] Intelligencer.” • Holy moley. The Sanders operation has built a bridge between two of its strategic assets: The (independent) media operation, and the (independent) canvassing operation, presumably feeding the (independent) mailing list. Also, as a sidelight, enabling rapid response to oppo, attacks, etc. Of course, no plan survives contact with the enemy, but this is impressive stuff. And if it scales to California…

Warren (D)(1): “Elizabeth Warren’s latest big idea is ‘economic patriotism'” [Vox]. “The specific Warren proposal on this score has three parts, a Green Apollo Program, a Green Marshall Plan, and a Green Industrial Mobilization. The Apollo Program is a ten-fold increase in clean energy R&D funding, the Marshall Plan is a $100 billion program to help foreign countries buy American-made clean technology, and the Industrial Mobilization (which it would perhaps be more natural to call a ‘Green New Deal,’ were that name not already taken) proposes a massive $1.5 trillion federal procurement initiative over 10 years to buy ‘American-made clean, renewable, and emission free products for federal, state, and local use and for export.’ That’s roughly the scale of federal spending on defense acquisition and would of course turn the federal government into a huge player in this market.” • I bet Warren’s policy shop didn’t copy and paste from other proposals either…

“9 takeaways from Seth Moulton, Tim Ryan and Eric Swalwell’s CNN town halls” [CNN]. • Who?

CA: “2020 Democrats grapple with California’s electoral buzz saw” [Associated Press]. “Campaigns in California, which has about four times as many Democratic voters as Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada combined, are won and lost through hugely expensive advertising and free media that reach the state’s diverse, far-flung population…. Sanders’ campaign hopes to make California a centerpiece of its strategy, talking about “the first five” states rather than the traditional early four. The Vermont independent senator also has the only campaign with multiple paid staffers focusing on the state — on Friday it announced a California staff of eight — and it’s been telling local Democrats it will spend $25 million, if not considerably more, in the state alone. That’s not an unusual sum for a California primary but a total that few of the nearly two-dozen presidential campaigns can match.”

CA: “Labor anger over Green New Deal greets 2020 contenders in California” [Politico]. “Robbie Hunter, president of the state Building and Construction Trades Council — which represents more than 400,000 workers — says that dozens of his members plan a major “Blue Collar Revolution” demonstration Saturday morning at the California Democratic Party convention in San Francisco, which will be attended by 14 of the Democratic presidential contenders and 5,000 delegates and guests. The effort aims to send a message that the party is in danger of eroding a critical base if it continues to back the Green New Deal resolution being pushed in Washington, D.C. by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and her allies. Hunter argues the measure’s goals could endanger thousands of jobs in the Southern California oil industry alone.” • Why we need a Jobs Guarantee. And an industrial policy, for that matter.

CA: “California’s long-overlooked Central Valley holds new allure for 2020 candidates” [Los Angeles Times]. “An underdog mentality is baked into the psyche of the vast Central Valley. The region that produces much of the country’s agricultural bounty rarely gets serious attention from presidential candidates. Residents still talk about when Robert F. Kennedy campaigned here, more than 50 years ago.” • I remember the photos….

RussiaGate

“NYT’s Matthew Rosenberg: Christopher Steele Concerned He Will Be Thrown Under The Bus” [RealClearPolitics]. “‘He is incredibly concerned and obsessed this investigation is going to throw him under the bus. And his view, at least from the people close to him, is, ‘Look, I was working on this dossier that people were paying for. I saw things that the Democrats were paying for. I saw things that seemed frightening to me and alarming. I went to old contacts of the FBI to tell them. I wasn’t a paid source in this case.’ That’s his view of it,’ Rosenberg reported on Tuesday’s ‘CNN Tonight’ with host Don Lemon. ‘He was simply helping them out. And what they did with it, if they used — misused it in a FISA, whatever they did, he had nothing to do with that. Which is to a degree true. He’s not part of that process. He was simply a source of information. And I think he’s acutely concerned he’s going to be thrown under the bus here,’ Rosenberg said.” • Simply helping them out. Because that’s what spooks do. It is known.

Realignment and Legitimacy

That’s not a bug:


If we need an insurgent, we’ll give you a call.

“Poor Chuck Schumer—his best candidates want to be president, not senator” [Brookings Institution]. “Unlike 2018, when the deck was stacked against the Democrats, 2020 looks like a much better year for them. Of the 34 Senate seats up, 22 are held by Republicans. To take control of the Senate, Democrats have to pick up 4 of those 22 seats and hold the seats they already have. But as we saw in House races in 2018, recruiting the right candidates to run is half the battle—that’s where Senate Democrats are in trouble…. There is, however, a silver lining. The Democratic race will get much clearer after the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. History tells us that if a candidate doesn’t manage to win, place or show in these contests they are probably consigned to oblivion.”

Stats Watch

ADP Employment Report, May 2019: “ADP sees private payrolls coming in…. very weak and far lower-than-expected [Econoday]. “ADP’s forecast, one that if proves accurate would intensify expectations for a Federal Reserve rate cut, is likely to trigger at least some downward revisions among forecasters for Friday’s results.”

Purchasing Managers Services Index, May 2019: Weak [Econoday]. “The sample reports softening demand in both domestic and foreign markets with business confidence also at a 3-year low. Growth in new orders is at yet another 3-year low. Despite the slowing, the sample continues to expand its workforce in what is a favorable indication for Friday’s monthly employment report. Prices readings are flat with the sample reporting customer resistance to higher sales prices.”

Institute For Supply Management Non-Manufacturing Index, May 2019: “Boosted by strong acceleration in hiring, ISM’s non-manufacturing index topped Econoday’s consensus range” [Econoday]. “The jobs reading in this report together with similar jobs strength in this morning’s services PMI are positive indications for Friday’s employment report and will help take the edge off of ADP’s very low private payroll estimate which was also released this morning. As for the general strength of ISM’s data, this sample has generally reported stronger than average results for more than a year. Nevertheless, the results are a reminder that US economic growth proved solid in the first quarter and may yet so again, whatever the approaching headwinds from trade, in the second quarter as well.”

Shipping: “Global ship operators that normally begin the summer girding for the rush toward the third quarter instead have been slimming capacity… as they brace for a surge in trans-Pacific tariffs” [Wall Street Journal]. “Executives at several big container lines say they are concerned that recent weakness in shipping rates sends an ominous signal just as some major economies are starting to stumble and trade tensions are rising. Some officials say they fear the escalating row between the U.S. and China will spread to Europe, triggering a downward spiral in demand. Braemer ACM recently scaled back its forecasts for container growth this year, and the World Bank just slashed its forecast for global trade growth from 3.6% to 2.6%. That may leave carriers with few options for preserving margins beyond pulling ships from service.”

Tech: “Apple asks developers to place its login button above Google, Facebook” [Reuters]. “Apple Inc will ask developers to position a new “Sign on with Apple” button in iPhone and iPad apps above rival buttons from Alphabet Inc’s Google and Facebook Inc, according to design guidelines released this week. The move to give Apple prime placement is significant because users often select the default or top option on apps.” • Let’s look on the bright side: Finally some Human Interface Guidelines for the otherwise random iOS.

Transportation: “A new analysis suggests Uber Freight’s growing role in shipping is coming at a heavy cost to the business. Morgan Stanley writes in a note initiating coverage of Uber Technologies Inc. that the Freight unit turns back some 99% of its revenue to trucking companies…. an analysis suggesting Uber is undercutting its brokerage competitors as it gains market share” [Wall Street Journal]. “The research note hits at concerns some freight-industry executives have raised about technology-focused freight startups and the impact their backing from venture-capital firms may have on the freight market. Uber Freight says it has some 36,000 carriers in its network along with more than 1,000 shippers that booked $359 million in business last year. The company is competing with freight brokers that Morgan Stanley writes typically share between 80% and 85% of the gross revenue with truckers hauling the goods.” • Life is easier when you don’t have to show a profit.

Concentration: “The Days of Getting a Cheaper Cable Bill by Threatening to Leave May Be Over” [Bloomberg]. “‘It used to be when customers would call and said, ‘I’m thinking of cutting the cord,’ they’d throw all sort of promotions to keep them from leaving,’ said Craig Moffett, an industry analyst at MoffettNathanson LLC. ‘Now they’re saying, ‘Goodbye, it’s been fun, enjoy the broadband subscription.’ … cable executives are now focused on what they call “profitable” or “high-quality” video subscribers and less interested in cutting deals. At another investor conference in May, Comcast Chief Financial Officer Mike Cavanagh said he wants a subscriber who ‘really values video and our bundle despite the increases in prices,’ and has ‘the wallet for a fuller video experience.'” • Oh.

Gentleman Prefer Bonds: “The bond market may be signaling something worse than a recession: Distrust in America” [CNN]. “But what if the bond market’s apparent malaise, the deepest curve inversion since 2007 (remember what happened then?) were signaling something darker and potentially longer lasting than a turn in the business cycle? Indeed, the yield curve’s alarm bells may be global markets’ awkward attempt to put a price on the rapid loss of an intangible but deeply valuable asset: global trust in the United States as a trading partner and more generally as a leader in the pursuit of democracy and human rights… Take note of one irony: Yes, the yield curve’s inverted pattern shows a strong appetite for US government bonds when confidence in the country’s political stability is waning. That shouldn’t offer any comfort, however: It’s merely a sign that frightened investors don’t see any other safe investment alternatives to Treasury bonds yet. ” • Holy gawd. The United States has had issues with being “agreement-capable” for some time; what bubble have these bond traders been living in?

Gentlemen Prefer Bonds: “Muted junk-bond retreat soothes fears of ‘imminent slowdown’ from inverted yield curve” [MarketWatch]. “Analysts skeptical of calls for a trade-induced economic downturn say the resilience of so-called junk bonds shows the U.S. expansion has room to run, and that the growth worries emanating from an inversion of the Treasury yield curve — when short-term rates break historical norms and trade below their riskier longer-term counterparts — have gone too far…. Investors have traditionally watched for a blow up in high-yield debt as a canary in the coal mine capable of anticipating deeper economic stresses and impending trouble for equities. That logic reflects how bonds from highly leveraged corporations rated below investment grade are sensitive to higher interest rates and the risk that tightening financial conditions could constrain growth and private investment…. One reason why some market watchers are dismissing the yield curve’s recession warning is because its predictive powers come from its ability to detect when businesses struggle to find credit. But debt-bloated firms have continued to issue bonds this year, suggesting financial conditions still remain supportive of growth.”

The Biosphere

“Our Globally Warming Civilization” [Counterpunch]. “Between 1960 and 2025, the three rising trends of: population (P), cumulative oil production (Q), and increase of average global temperature above baseline (T – 14.7C = delta-T), are all uniformly proportional to one another.” • I wonder if oil, temperature, and population are a trilemma. That would be bad.

“The Green New Deal Has Already Won” [The Atlantic]. “Even if neither Biden nor Warren becomes president, their proposals demonstrate how the Green New Deal seems to be winning the battle of ideas among Democrats, at least for now. On his website, Biden even praises Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal by name, calling it “a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face.” And both his plan and the Warren plan—and the Inslee climate plan, and O’Rourke’s proposal—adopt its theory of change, emphasizing that gushing federal investment can help the U.S. economy solve the problem of climate change. All four proposals, to varying degrees, promise a new age of plenty, a dawning era of renewed American dauntlessness. And they show how the window of political possibility has already moved significantly, such that Biden’s $1.5 trillion in climate-focused federal spending can start to seem moderate to right-wing observers.”

“Association of Changes in Air Quality With Incident Asthma in Children in California, 1993-2014” [JAMA]. n=4140. “Among children in Southern California, decreases in ambient nitrogen dioxide and PM2.5 between 1993 and 2014 were significantly associated with lower asthma incidence.”

“The calm before the storms” [Nature]. “Below the surface of the sun, a radical transition is afoot. In 5 years or so, the sun will be awash in sunspots and more prone to violent bursts of magnetic activity. Then, about 11 years from now, the solar cycle will conclude: Sunspots will fade away and the sun will again grow quiet…. [T]he military, satellite operators, and electric utilities all want to know what the sun has in store, because of its tendency to flare up and send dangerous charged particles crashing into Earth as it approaches solar max…. The problem is that no one—in this room or elsewhere—really knows how the sun works.”

Health Care

The Obama-Biden administration’s theory of change: Waiting for the fever to break….

(I disagree with the Tweeter’s comment, but this is the only copy of the video I can find.) Biden’s theory today, too (“epiphany“). Ten years after the ObamaCare debacle.

“Voters are tuning out the health care debates” [Axios]. “In our focus groups with independent, Republican and Democratic voters in several swing states and districts, the voters were only dimly aware of candidates’ and elected officials’ health proposals. They did not see them as relevant to their own struggles paying their medical bills or navigating the health system. Details: We conducted six focus groups in three states (Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania), facilitated by Liz Hamel, the Kaiser Family Foundation’s director of Polling and Survey Research. Each one had 8–10 people who vote regularly and said health care will be important in their presidential vote in 2020.” • Hmm. Certainly does not jibe with rallies, Sanders’ appearance on FOX, etc.

Class Warfare

I like Means TV:

News of the Wired

“In the future, will the English language be full of accented characters?” [The Week]. “In the end, though, the gatekeepers of orthography are the editors. And the views of future generations of editors, who not only enjoy good typography, but tend to believe in getting things right, are more likely to favor the accent. And those who flatly scorn them risk being passé.” • I’m with the editors. Today’s English spelling is unpleasingly regular and dull.

Public Service Announcement (1):

Public Service Announcement (2):

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (mgl):

mgl writes: “Turns out there are miniature irises! This one couldn’t be more than 2”. I later learned they tend to bloom early along with crocus, which is pretty much all that’s blooming now in Anchorage, AK (ok, maybe a few daffs in particularly warm, sunny spots).”

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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.

162 comments

  1. Inode_buddha

    Had a bit of an epiphany today regarding minimum wage as a political tool: My newfeed on FB has been filled up with Bernie at the Walmart board meeting. Most people that I have talked with about wages, say that not every job is worth $15. I just realized how much that sounds like “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”.

    Who determines how much you need?

    From the viewpoint of the working class, there has been exactly zero difference between the political and economic systems — In one system, the state dictates. In the other system, private interests dictate.

    Which one do you think has your interests at heart?

    On a related note re: inflation. It doesn’t matter how fast the gov’t can print money, it will never be enough for those at the top. It would be more accurate to call it the Greed index, keeping in mind there is a world of difference between a guy on the bottom wanting more, and a guy on the top wanting more. A fact which both conservatives and liberals steadfastly refuse to see. Blind indeed.

    “Ye cannot serve both God and Mammon”

    Reply
    1. JohnnyGL

      “Most people that I have talked with about wages, say that not every job is worth $15.”

      Walmart’s gross profit of $129bn screams otherwise.

      https://www.macrotrends.net/stocks/charts/WMT/walmart/gross-profit

      An increase of $5/hr x 30hrs/wk x 52wks/yr = $7,800 per employee. They’ve got 2.2M employees. Let’s say 2M of those 2.2M are in dire need of a raise.

      That’s a bit over $15bn a year in cost to the company. $114bn in annual profit, instead of $129bn sounds like plenty to me. How about a little shared sacrifice?

      I doubt it would actually require such a big hit, because an across the board hike in wages would probably partially boomerang back into revenues for Walmart as employees and their families/dependents had more to spend in Walmart’s stores.

      Reply
      1. WheresOurTeddy

        Walmart: your taxes subsidize it even if you don’t shop there.

        The Waltons Greed Must End

        Lost of Walmart worker stories posted today on Bernie’s youtube channel.

        He’s a political knife fighter and the only one I want up against Mitch McConnell.

        Reply
      2. todde

        Reduce eliminate the payroll tax.

        Everyone gets a raise and we less small businesses will go under.

        Reply
        1. todde

          once more, in English.

          Reduce or eliminate the payroll tax.

          Everyone who works will get a raise and less small businesses will go under.

          Reply
          1. Pat

            No. The payroll tax is the one tax I absolutely do not want reduced as those taxes are dedicated to Social Security and Medicare.

            The raise should come from the companies that strategically and callously refuse to raise wages unless forced to. In point of fact the abuse of the independent contractor position AND the increased use of unpaid interns are good examples of how wide spread the idea is that you shouldn’t actually pay the labor costs involved in your business.

            Yes, I do get that some small businesses have problems with payroll that are not the result of the greed of the owners. But seriously using Wal-Mart’s cheap ass wages to put forth a plan that supposedly helps workers while actually harming them (as Social Security is absolutely necessary for most workers to even consider retirement even if they are physically unable to work any longer shortchanging it is most definitely not worker friendly) and leaves WalMart with even higher obscenely high profits is well….despicable.

            Reply
            1. Pat

              Oh, and just for the record a lot of those small businesses would do better with a higher minimum wage as more people would have more disposable income to make use of those small businesses. Underpaid people don’t shop or use services unless they absolutely have to…

              Reply
              1. todde

                for the record: all of the small business would be better off if you cut the payroll tax as more people would have more money to spend. (and businesses too, as their tax burden would go down)

                Reply
                1. Massinissa

                  Small businesses would be better off… But Social Security and Medicare would be gutted?

                  No thanks. Besides, I doubt that alone would stop the trends of small businesses becoming more and more irrelevant against the forces of monopolization. A ‘magic bullet’ fix like this won’t be enough even if it didn’t have obvious downsides. Which it does.

                  Reply
                  1. Todde

                    I never discussed gutting anything.

                    Taxes, they dont fund spending.

                    You maybe on the wrong site if you think they do.

                    Reply
                    1. willf

                      Payroll taxes withheld from one’s paycheck are not the same thing as Federal income taxes paid to the IRS.

                      You are making an error regarding what sort of taxes are being discussed.

                    2. Todde

                      Absolutely not.

                      Federal taxes do not fund federal.spending.

                      Thats the premise of this website.

                    3. Todde

                      The federal.governent can print money for the SS fund the se as the General fund.

                      There is no difference

                    4. drumlin woodchuckles

                      But if taxes are needed to re-remove the initially-issued MMT money from the economy to keep it from building up to the point of becoming “worthless” in the mind of the public and setting off a hyperinflation . . . then it is taxes which fund the ability of the government to issue MMT money without destroying trust in it and having it hyperinflate.

                      So the distinction between “taxes don’t fund Federal spending” and “taxes sop up excess issued currency so as to prevent loss-of-trust and hyperinflation” . . . is a distinction without a difference.

                    5. Todde

                      Tax capital gains.

                      Money is sopped up.

                      You just reverse what Reagan did in the 80s.

                      Reagan raised payroll taxes and reduced capital gain tax

                    6. drumlin woodchuckles

                      “Reverse what Reagan did” charts the path to a better place to get the taxes which are needed to make MMT work without flooding the econosphere with an ever-rising lake of money.

                      But it doesn’t change the fact that taxation for money re-drainage is necessary to maintain the ability to issue and emit money for spending. So Federal taxes are still necessary for Federal spending. Imposing them AFter the spend rather than beFORE the spend is still imposing them. It is still a distinction without a difference.

                      It takes a religious cast of mind to be able to stare at it without seeing it. But I will stop blaspheming against MMT lest I be stoned for a sinner.

                    7. Todde

                      Strawman.

                      I didnt say eliminate all taxes

                      Anyway, keep your beat dog mentality and go pay that tax ro prove your worth

                    8. Darryl

                      Just popping in to let you know that Social Security payroll taxes do indeed go directly to debit deposits or checks.

                      Social Security payroll taxes collected in one month, say May, are directly used to make payouts in the next month.

                      For May’s Social Security payroll tax, those funds are used in June. As an example.

                      When Social Security taxes are released, the taxes are deposited in banks by the 15th of the month. Banks then hold those funds until the next round of benefits are to be disbursed. I suspect that banks earn daily interests on those deposits.

                      Social Security is an instance where taxes do indeed pay for Federal disbursements.

            2. flaesq

              But why fund SS and Medicare regressively/flat? The money winds up in the same bucket that ought to be offset by greater amounts of progressively-incurred income taxes.

              If the bucket has to be filled (but I’m not sure it does – Doesn’t MMT say to some extent it doesn’t, particularly when we’re in what’s effectively a disinflationary environment) please let it be filled in a progressive way. We can start by inverting the cap gains preferences and advantaging earned income while restoring additional tiers until we get back to the 90% marginal rates that correlated with the post-war boom times.

              Reply
              1. Pat

                In a world where the Waltons and the Bezos and the Kochs do not have the means of buying elected officials you might have a point. But we do not live in that world nor do we live in the world where MMT exists for more than the MIC and Corporate welfare.

                Unless and until those two things change we cannot even consider eliminating the dedicated taxes for SS and Medicare. Even with them we are constantly faced with threats to their existence. Without them they wouldn’t last past lunch.

                Reply
                1. jrs

                  +1

                  there are other ways to cut businesses costs like healthcare costs, but don’t cut payroll taxes now or anytime soon, we don’t live in the kind of world where it could work at this point. And what’s so horrible about businesses paying their fair share in taxes anyway? If they can’t be profitable and do that, maybe they need to close up shop.

                  Reply
                  1. todde

                    I ate a lot of cold cereal growing up when Reagan increased the payroll tax.

                    And my parent’s house was mortgaged to the hilt at that same time.

                    but hey, if me being hungry and homeless is OK with you so a business doesn’t get a tax break, so be it.

                    Reply
                    1. Massinissa

                      You’d get food but other people would go hungry due to cuts in social security and medicare which payroll taxes fund…

                      Its not a magic bullet.

                    2. Pat

                      No salaries fund spending. And considering that the last estimate iI saw put an inflation adjusted minimum wage at over $17. AND we all know how inflation calculation is artificially low. Your bullshit idea of eliminating payroll tax and depending on MMT when most of the people who determine how the government spends it money do not believe in MMT for social spending means that your solution doesn’t solve the problems of artificially low wages AND does decimate SS and Medicare no matter how often you stomp your feet and declare it won’t because…

                      An employees share of payroll taxes is 7.65%. The federal minimum wage is $7.25. That extra 55 cents an hour will make all the difference…especially at age 75 when they cannot retire because bright people like you decided to truly bankrupt Social Security.

                    3. Todde

                      Speaking of bullshit.

                      On one hand you say we cant cut taxes, because the powers that be wont let us.

                      But they will allow the minimum wage to be raised.

                      If u say so.

                    4. jrs

                      There are old people with lots of serious physical problems, nearly at deaths door working even now, with SS being so paltry already (hey if we’re so eager to fund SS through MMT why don’t we just raise the SS payouts now). If this happened I’d believe anything like that.

                      They often work for small businesses, the owners of which hardly even give raises even though they could very well afford to as they are often wealthy. They will probably die at the job, but their employers made out well ..

                    5. Todde

                      Fund SS thru MMT

                      Been my mantra since 2008.

                      Hand outs to the bottom of the economic stratum and the money concentrates itself as we ALL make money from it as it does.
                      .

                      Obama gave a little with his 2% cut, but not enough.

                    6. Todde

                      Politicians will hand out money if it helps them get the elected.

                      They’re pretty good at it.

                      It usually just goes to the wealthy

                    7. drumlin woodchuckles

                      So much money has been given to the wealthy that they are forcing up the “price” of all the things that only the wealthy can buy . . . many stocks, rare works of art, houses increasingly, etc.

                      If food starts to get “limited” and then “scarce”, the rich will use all the newly issued virgin money they keep getting to bid up the “price” of food beyond where the rest of us can afford it. In a heavily gunned-and-ammoed society, that could lead to significant food riots and food stockpile lootathons.

                      That could be avoided by “taxing-back” some of the new virgin money the rich have been given so as to stop measuring the price of things in twice the number of half-as-valuable-per-unit units of virgin money.

                      Now, giving some newly emitted virgin money to the rest of us might well allow us to fund the production of things that are right-now not being produced at all. If the rate of virgin-money give-outs were very carefully kept at the rate of new economic activity stimulated by the new spending of the new money, each unit of the new money would retain its official value.

                      But if the new money piled up faster than the new economic activity could match it in value-per-money, some of it would have to be taxed back out of the system at the “far end” to allow for more new money to be spent into the system or given to us for spending into the system at the “near end”. It would still be taxes. And it would still be necessary to maintain the “head room” which would allow for new spending of new money to remain valuable and useful.

            3. Hopelb

              I just watched this fascinating interview of Michael Hudson on the show Guns and Butter with host Bonnie Faulkner. The interview took place during the 2016 primary and Hudson’s explication of where the US actually gets its money, and of how the financial system works is astonishing as is his prescient evaluation of Hillary vs Trump. He says they are the same.

              Reply
          2. todde

            Either taxes do or they don’t fund government programs.

            Make up your minds as to which one it is.

            Reply
            1. todde

              if there was only some theory I could cite that would explain it.

              A Money Theory.

              A Modern Money Theory.

              :-D

              Reply
            2. Adam Eran

              Governments with sovereign, fiat money (and a floating exchange rate) can make money at will. They will run out of that money when the scorekeeper at the ballgame runs out of points.

              If you believe taxes provision government programs, then all you’ve got to is tell us where the tax payers get their dollars to pay taxes if government doesn’t first spend them out into the economy. Taxes do not provision government. They make the money valuable (dollars retire an inevitable liability: taxes).

              The state is essential to a market economy, though. In fact, no society without a state has ever had an economic market. States, and their taxation, make markets happen.

              How? Say the king wants to employ 10,000 soldiers–a logistical nightmare to feed, house, train and deploy. He pays them in the state-sanctioned currency (“crowns”) then demands the entire population pay taxes in crowns. People then make markets to serve the soldiers, and themselves. The state has to regulate to prevent shoddy goods, or counterfeit crowns.

              As for the inflation issue: The Cato institute’s study of 56 historical hyperinflationary episodes demonstrates that a “central bank run amok” never initiates these. **NEVER***

              Typically, it’s a shortage of critical goods (oil in the ’70s in the U.S., food in Zimbabwe, Ruhr manufactured goods in Weimar) coupled with a balance of payments problem. Yes, the government eventually prints lots of money, but that’s not what kicks off the inflation.

              To demonstrate that *just* money printing does not cause inflation: The government printed lots of money to run the ($3 – $7 trillion) Iraq war, and the ($16 – $29 trillion) Great Recession financial sector bailout. Where’s the inflation there? (Hint: only in financial sector where QE propped up the markets.)

              Reply
          3. Oregoncharles

            In principle, I’m opposed to payroll taxes because they penalize hiring people. The chief exception, in my mind, is directly employment-related programs – like Social Security, but not Medicare so much. There is also a small unemployment tax, at least in Oregon.

            A basic principle is to tax things you want less of, not things you want more of. A partial exception is income taxes or profit taxes, because they’re supposed to be fairly neutral and not influence economic decisions. People are unlikely to want less income because it’s taxed.

            This is a long-running issue here, because proposals for state-level Medicare4All tend to rely on a payroll tax. Health is only very partly employment-related; we already have decent Workmen’s Comp system (state operated). Either that or a sales tax, a certain deal killer in Oregon – the whole thing has to get past the voters. I advocate a dedicated surtax on the business and income taxes. Corporate taxes are much too low in Oregon.

            He’s right about small businesses, which I once had (now it’s even smaller). Payroll taxes are a significant burden, in part just for the accountants. It’s easier for large businesses to absorb, so gives them an advantage. Not good.

            People on the left tend to see payroll taxes as a free lunch of sorts; they’re actually quite costly.

            Reply
            1. Todde

              Amazing how the regressive tax seems to be the only one we cant cut.

              No matter what your political affiliation.

              Or even if you believe in MMT

              Reply
              1. jrs

                Because it’s the one that allows people to claim they earned SS and Medicare, whether it’s true or not, it’s a powerful argument. Or tell me it’s not when all programs for poor people like food stamps get cut, and they don’t even cost much MMT or no. A society obsessed with “just desserts” isn’t my idea, but it’s a long way from changing.

                Employers want to get rid of payroll taxes, well if it comes down to them or workers, I care about the workers. These same employers would likely complain about raising the minimum wage. What matters to me is working people, who must sell their labor to live, and whether they can survive the present and retirement (already iffy of course).

                Reply
                  1. JBird4049

                    FDR set up Social Security to be funded by payroll taxes so as to prevent future politicians from eliminating the program. Even though payroll taxes have been lumped into the general fund for decades especially since the gold standard was eliminated, and really are not needed to fund SS anymore,it still remains a useful fiction. If “my” money went into the program, I should get it back as retirement payments.

                    Reply
                    1. Todde

                      It is a good.myth, but a myth nonetheless.

                      And maybe it was needed by fdr to perpetrate the myth

                      But today we could use the actual 90 year history of it being an effective policy instead of using myths that actuly take money out of the working classes pocket.

                    2. drumlin woodchuckles

                      Well . . . that’s certainly how . . . I!! . . . feel about it.

                      I have PAID and PAID and PAID for my Social Security.
                      And I didn’t just “pay” with “MMT” money. I PAID with Work-Per-Unit-Time Multiplied by all the units of time I have so far worked. I couldn’t MMT my FICA taxes into existence.

                      This may be why some people so deeply distrust sudden talk of MMT at this crucial stage in the Catfood Conspiracy against Social Security. If the MMTists do indeed convince the big public that “money” can very well be “issued” by the government and spent into the economy, and Especially if taxes DON’T pay for Federal Spending, then the spokesfolk for the Upper Class will immediately use all their media platforms to say that since our taxes don’t pay for Federal spending and never did pay for it, then Social Security was never paid for and never even existed. And certainly does not exist now.
                      So no Social Security for you!

                      That is what will in FACT be the outcome of converting
                      society into a belief in MMT.

                    3. Todde

                      And to all of you on hwre who are concerned about the wealthy not paying their fair share, work on the progressive income tax side of things.

                      Use a sniper rifle instead of a howitzer

                    4. Todde

                      And when consumer inflation begins to get out of control, we can reintroduce or raise the payroll tax, like Reagan did.

                      And then instead of being bound by some ideology or myths, we could use fiscal policy to make our lives a little more bearable

                  2. Pat

                    When you get to decide how the government spends its money THEN you can depend on MMT to fund the social spending that should be done. Unfortunately currently it is austerity for the people and pallets of money for various corporations and the military.

                    I agree that we should not cut social spending because of deficits as we can print the money same as we do for every wished for weapon and undeclared war. That is not what is happening. And until the makeup of Congress, campaign funding and lobbying changes putting necessary programs on the chopping block will not do anything but kill them. Sorry but THAT is the reality. The myth is that it won’t.

                    Reply
                    1. Todde

                      I am not relying on anything

                      This isnt a congressional committee hearing, nothing going to change no matter what i say here.

                      Might as well go for. Broke.

              2. Oregoncharles

                So the right thing is to make the SS tax less regressive (remove the cap, at the very least, and tax unearned income) and fund Medicare4All from an income surtax or some other source. Assuming we need to fund it, which is probably a political if not an economic necessity.

                Also, we’re already resource-limited, so MMT may not apply very well.

                “Some other source” could be an extraction/pollution tax, two birds with one stone. Tax bads, not goods. Pollution makes people sick, so it makes sense.

                Reply
                1. Adam Eran

                  Sorry, factory capacity and unemployment indicate no such resource “limitation” exists. We have plenty of under-employed resources…NOW!

                  The idea that MMT doesn’t apply is like saying the law of gravity doesn’t apply. A weightless argument!

                  No tax is necessary to pay for SS. None! Warren Mosler himself (one of the founders of MMT) advocates ending the payroll tax.

                  Reply
                  1. Oregoncharles

                    There may be unemployed people and empty factories, but we’re well past the limit on natural resources – you know, the Earth itself. Several times past. It may not appear as “inflation,” a manipulated figure anyway, as is unemployment, but it certainly makes life more expensive, in ways way beyond money. And it’s a boundary, so it will eventually show up in finance.

                    The answer to idle SOCIAL resources is more labor-intensive production methods – putting people into it, not fossil energy.

                    MMT describes the way we create money; it isn’t a law of physics. I agree the description is correct. But the policy implications are considerably wider than we here really like. E.g., we have MMT for Pentagon spending but not for Social Security.

                    Reply
              3. drumlin woodchuckles

                ” Or even if you believe in MMT”.

                ” . . . believe in . . . ”

                Believe in? That’s an indication of the religious nature of your belief in MMTistianity right there.

                Reply
            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              If payroll taxes were abolished, would the employER raise the employEES’ pay by exactly the amount of the payroll taxes no longer paid? No. They would not.

              And Social Security would be declared unfunded and would be wound down to eventual abolition. That’s a fact in the Overclass world we live in. That’s a risk I will vote against taking every single time I get a vote in the matter.

              Reply
              1. Todde

                Maybe you should raise the payroll tax and prove to your overlords that you are truly worthy.

                I dont fear these people

                Reply
                1. drumlin woodchuckles

                  Preach it, Brother! Spread that Good News of the MMTistian Gospel!

                  If you had an intellectual argument, you would not need to retreat to personal abuse. But you have no argument, so personal abuse is the only retreat you have left.

                  This is not to say that there is no argument in-the-abstract for MMT. This is only to say that you clearly don’t have any argument and therefor cannot offer one.

                  Reply
                  1. todde

                    you’re argument is: “I’m scared they will cut my SS benefits.’

                    it isn’t much of an argument.

                    If you have the political power to increase the min wage to $15, then you more likely than not, have the political power to stop a SS benefit cut.

                    Be scared if you want.

                    Reply
    2. dearieme

      In one system, the state dictates. In the other system, private interests dictate.

      The state is singular, private interests plural: I’d rather not be at the mercy of an all-encompassing monopoly.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        Let’s not forget that it’s a false dichotomy; there are other options, like worker ownership (which I gather is what Marx called “socialism.”) State ownership is too much like fascism, in which business controls the state.

        Reply
        1. willf

          Not to mention that, theoretically anyway, the government is designed to be responsive to citizen pressure to change its behavior. Private interests, not so much, as a glance at the article regarding Comcast and streaming services reminds us.

          Reply
      2. Inode_buddha

        And yet, the private interest (employer) that people work for, is also singular. And quite a monopoly. Changing is non-trivial. At least the government has to pretend to be a democracy, a private employer doesn’t have to answer to anyone.

        Reply
      3. eg

        That’s unfortunate, dearieme, because each and every state on the planet (and they are well nigh inescapable) exercise a monopoly over the use of violence within their borders.

        So yes, you are at their mercy. Hopefully you live in a full-franchise democracy such that their exercise of said monopoly is both legitimate and accountable.

        Reply
    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      ” From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

      That phrase right there reveals the deceitful bad faith driving Marx when he pretended to foresee and want a “classless society” someday.

      That phrase reveals the intention to set up TWO hierarchies: a hierarchy of “ability” and a hierarchy of “need”. And a Ruling Class and its Nomenklatura who would determine and enforce and impose the “ability” and the “need” of every subject of the Marxautocratic Realm.

      Reply
      1. witters

        Actually, no. That formula merely spells out the fact that needs and obligations are internally connected.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Actually yes. As happened in every single country that came under Marxist occupation.

          Reply
  2. doug

    Apple asks developers .
    Nice app you have there, hate for something to happen to it…

    I guess that is ‘asking’….

    Reply
  3. TonyinSoCAL

    Econoday smoking the pipa again:

    Nevertheless, the results are a reminder that US economic growth proved solid in the first quarter and may yet so again, whatever the approaching headwinds from trade, in the second quarter as well.

    So solid, such a great economy, such prosperity that…. the Fed is talking about slashing rates again. I didn’t know that’s what you do during the greatest economy in the history of all time.

    Traders are begging the Federal Reserve for several rate cuts this year to salvage an economy they see set to slow significantly because of worsening trade disputes. The market cheered this week when Fed Chairman Jerome Powell opened the door to the possibility.

    Reply
  4. Cal2

    “As attorney general, [Harris] was notably muted on some of the state’s most fraught issues…”
    Like not prosecuting OneWest banker Steven Mnuchin for screwing 80,000 Californians out of their mortgages, then taking a nice campaign donation from him?

    or not prosecuting the Herbalife Fraud,
    “in 2015, prosecutors in the San Diego office of the California attorney general sent Harris a lengthy memorandum that argued for an investigation into Herbalife and requested resources in order to undertake such an investigation. About three weeks after the San Diego letter was sent, Harris received the first of three donations to her campaign for the U.S. Senate from Heather Podesta, the powerful Washington lobbyist whose ex-husband Tony’s firm, then called the Podesta Group, had worked for Herbalife since 2013. Heather Podesta’s own lobbying firm, Heather Podesta and Partners, would soon be hired by Herbalife, too….”

    https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2019/03/documents-show-san-diego-prosecutors-told-kamala-h.html

    or investing the Billion dollar Bay Bridge construction fiasco. But she did throw poor parents in jail for their kids truancy!

    Meanwhile, back where she got her start, with an injection of influence from Speaker of the State Assembly, Willie Brown, San Francisco was left a crime ridden disaster after her notably muted work as D.A.

    Her grandstanding at the Kavanaugh hearings was not muted.

    Bernie or bust.

    Reply
    1. Late Introvert

      Go Cal2! I guess I should be posting more content rich material, but when someone else says it better than I could, just step back.

      Reply
  5. Off The Street

    Pot pie subculture never ceases to amaze!
    If one eats a Banquet-style frozen pie, and there are such occasions, then that flipping maneuver is a good tip.
    For restaurant pot pies, like my favorite at Claim Jumper, the delicious crust will continue to occupy pride of place on top as each delicious bite is savored.
    Now it is time to eat ;p

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      I eat the entire top crust first, then dip out the insides, then finally finish off the remaining crust. Bleep anybody who tries to tell me how to eat.

      Reply
    2. ChrisPacific

      A pie that needs to be flipped over to taste good is a poorly made pie. The less said about the one in that picture the better.

      They are a culinary icon in Australia and New Zealand (but vary widely in quality, so ask a local for guidance). Americans near Colorado Springs can also buy them from an expat business there.

      Reply
      1. polecat

        I agree. What’s the point of enjoying a fine pot pie, if you can’t visually
        savor a scrumptous, flakey, golden top crust ! Really ….. !!

        HEY EATER ! .. WHY U NO EAT PIE RIGHT ?

        Reply
      2. Hopelb

        There is an obvious and most dire need for a new pie baking pan! My nephew and his wife were over, so we watched that English baking show because they insisted we would love it. This episode involved rolling/ encasing something in a dough, savory or sweet, and 75 percent of them came out crusty on the top but uncooked on the inside or bottom. (I love raw dough so probably would not have a problem with this, but nevertheless…) We clearly need, as do the Brits, a pan that is wire bottomed. A piece of parchment paper placed over the top of the bottom would prevent any drips from causing fires/ oven cleanings.

        Reply
  6. Anonymous Coward

    Here’s a great example of hackish media framing of Bernie:
    https://www.politico.com/story/2019/06/05/bernie-sanders-walmart-starvation-wages-1354268

    The lede …

    Bernie Sanders showed up uninvited to a Walmart shareholders meeting Wednesday, blasting what he called the retail giant’s “starvation wages” and imploring it to pay people at least $15 an hour.

    But if you read further down …

    Sanders was invited to speak as a proxy for Walmart worker Cat Davis, a leader of the pro-worker group United for Respect. It was Davis’ proposal that Sanders pitched.

    So was he invited or uninvited? Why is the lede contradicted by the 5th paragraph in? Surely intentional, designed to make him look like a butt-in-ski rather than a proxy for a WMT employee.

    Reply
    1. WheresOurTeddy

      One of the most obvious and pervasive symptoms of our Empire’s rapid decline and the crapification of literally everything is the absolute dearth of copy editors worth a damn.

      Reply
    2. zagonostra

      Everyday when I do my Google News view I see at least one or sometimes two pure propaganda hit pieces from the MSM trashing Sanders.

      The one at below link is especially egregious in sandwiching a photo of Sanders with the Russian flag on one side and Venezuela on the other. This is just a day or two after a story showing a photo of him with a picture of two houses and a bag of money.

      https://www.foxnews.com/politics/bernie-sanders-soviet-union-venezuela-not-examples-failed-socialism

      Reply
  7. a different chris

    >his best candidates want to be president, not senator

    Well duh. The Senate is so useless in so many ways. The major one is *if* your party has the presidency and the Senate, all the Senate does is rubber-stamp what the President does. It’s no surprise that O’Connell et. al. have not “stood up” to Trump. Why would they and what would it get them?

    And if one party, yours or not, has the Presidency but not the Senate, then nothing at all is going to get done so why are you even there?

    Man when we have that Constitutional Convention can we just go to a Parliamentary system like a modern country?

    Reply
    1. polecat

      If we do have a CC, my hope is that a delegate bring up a motion to dis-band the Union, thus pointing the way, if adopted, for the various States to come to their own ‘arrangements’, whether alone … or in the aggregate(s). That might be the best solution to what is obviously a rather disfunctional republic, one that I think is beyond repair !

      Reply
    2. WheresOurTeddy

      If we have a constitutional convention with the number of states owned lock stock and barrel by the GOP currently, you wouldn’t get “Parliamentary system” so much as “Handmaid’s Tale”.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Or a civil war.

        The Constitutional Convention of 1787 was a serious, yet near failure, by thoughtful, usually well educated, men who did not want the United States to split apart; they wanted a nation-state of multiple independent states united under a well functioning national government that gave all factions of American society and states some say and protections from abuse. There have been unending debates, arguments, speeches, articles, and books in the two hundred and thirty two years since on whether or not they succeeded, but their efforts have generally been thought to have been in good faith.

        It was believed that the United States was likely going to split apart into separate independent sovereign states had they not succeeded. The extremely rancorous, extensive, almost physical violent debates created acceptance, if not consensus, of the new system of government. Even the American Civil War which changed the United States from the United States are united to the United States is united had the same rancorous, extensively wide ranging debates among all sections and classes of American society as happened with both the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution and Bill of Rights, only with extra bloodshed. The Emancipation Proclamation, the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments freeing all slaves and giving (theoretically) equal rights regardless of race happened after decades of debate.

        All Constitutional Amendments happened after much arguing. Even if you disagreed with the results you at least had the satisfaction of expressing yourself and perhaps modifying the results.

        If we have a Constitutional Convention now, it is true that, like with disaster capitalism, the preplanned, prewritten dreamlist of the reactionaries would likely pass. Only without the extensive, society wide, often decades long debates for the necessary support. The changes to the Constitution do not cause the changes in our society; the changes in our society changes the Constitution. The Constitution reflects America. America does not reflect the Constitution.

        So many people forget that and assume that the legitimacy and therefore the authority and power of a government and its laws comes from its citizens. A government can impose its power using force, but without the legitimacy given by its subjects, its authority and power are often tenuous.

        People sometimes blame American backwardness for its religiosity, but fail to see that because religion was never imposed by the state, it never truly lost its own legitimacy. Unlike those countries which had a national church which became entwined with the authority of the government away from its authority from elsewhere. If those “conservatives” (or liberals too) impose their ideas via a Constitutional Convention they probably will not like the long term results.

        Reply
  8. drumlin woodchuckles

    If the Warren team has anyone reading these comments, I offer a “new word” in case it might prove useful.

    ” greendustrial”.

    “We need a New Greendustrial Revolution”.

    Reply
  9. Synoia

    “Between 1960 and 2025, the three rising trends of: population (P), cumulative oil production (Q), and increase of average global temperature above baseline (T – 14.7C = delta-T), are all uniformly proportional to one another.”

    Could we get those nice people from 2025 to tell us the winners of the 2020 and 2024 elections?

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      And when I clicked on that link, it had the following message-

      Connection not protected

      The security of your connection is reduced. Criminals can attempt to steal your data from the website. You are advised to leave this website.

      Not exactly a confidence builder on Apple’s part.

      Reply
  10. polecat

    Re. Our current favorite ex-working working British spy .. I hope that Mr. ‘no-holds’ Barr haz a chance to try out that newly acquired Steele Belted Radial … the one with those ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ nobbies worn off. He better secure it fast, before it rolls away into a frigid IC ditch somewhere.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      Yeah because he lives in that Hillary world where “well, some people will have them but your tax dollars won’t go for it so if you agree with me on these other highly complex proposals then you should vote for me!”

      And I am for abortion right up to birth (or more decently, I just can’t see how I can make a judgement like that on somebody else, especially when I am not impregnable) but the anti’s definitely clearly have a simple point when they say “But I think it’s murder and am going to stop it!”.

      I mean find me one anti-abortion person (who isn’t a politician, notice I said “person”) that cares about who pays for it? Jeebus.

      Reply
      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        Those-ism. If it’s free, those people will just waste it. Why limit your dogwhistle to racists? Resentment is our national sport.

        Reply
    2. Brindle

      ,,,,and also his opposition to women receiving coverage for contraceptives with the ACA (ObamaCare).
      One wonders how long Biden can disguise the fact he is to a large degree a Republican.

      —“Biden’s battle over contraception is a window into his approach to the politics of reproductive freedom, a function of an electoral worldview that centers working-class Catholic men over the interests of women.”—

      https://theintercept.com/2019/06/05/joe-biden-worked-to-undermine-the-affordable-care-acts-coverage-of-contraception/

      Reply
      1. Chaco

        Biden’s made the decision to begin the Presidential campaign now. He’s staking out a position that will appeal to Republicans and social conservatives disgruntled with Trump. The arrogance of the move this early in the cycle reflects his belief that he has the nomination wrapped up. With the MSM lined up against Bernie and the next tier of candidates (Harris, Booker, Buttegieg and Warren) all presenting serious weaknesses, Biden’s handlers have decided that the “electability” argument provides them opportunity to expand their base early in the campaign. His plagiarism of other’s environmental positions, and his lame disclaimer about mistakenly failing to provide proper attribution, is another sign of his team’s arrogance. So reminiscent of Clinton.

        Reply
  11. Another Scott

    The Politico article about unions and the Green New Deal discusses the disconnect between unions and elected Democrats while glossing over earlier policies that contributed to it. Unstated in the article is the years and decades that Democrats, once elected, enact policies (NAFTA, allowing China in the WTO, etc.) that hurt unions. Democrats occasionally pass legislation that tempers the decline of unions, but are always weak and less central than the party’s attempts to align with business and Wall Street. The unions have justifiable fear that Democrats won’t help them when the time comes. And I don’t think environmentalists are doing themselves any favors when using phrases like “just transition,” or emphasizing investments in new technologies. These sound similar to what unions heard about the impact of the trade deals, which haven’t worked out for union members.

    Proponents of the Green New Deal should differentiate themselves from the Democratic proponents of free trade and similar policies if they are to gain the support of unions. One aspect that I keep getting to is mandating that the construction and operation of facilities must be done by unionized workers if it is to get government funding (including tax credits) or be used to meet any mandates. I’m not sold on this idea, but at the very least it is something tangible for unions.

    Reply
    1. jrs

      a lot of unions have become rather reactionary forces and are probably correctly seen as such (it doesn’t mean unionization is bad as it is the only route to worker representation).

      You can blame the neoliberal Dems but I don’t see that that really covers it. If an actual progressive runs for local office it’s often hard to get union support, but always a few unions to support the Republican. One union can be bought off to undermine another union (what has literally happened, non-teachers unions were pushing charter schools) etc..

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        After 40 years of Catfood Democrat betrayal, Unions which weren’t reactionary to begin with have become reactionary. Why would any union member trust a Catfood Democrat?

        If “progressives” support Open Borders and Illegal Immigration, those “progressives” are anti-unionitic anti-workerites; however loudly they lie to the contrary. Union members are not going to trust the current type of COW-left ( Coalition Of Wokeness left) “progressives”.

        Union workers may well trust Sanders because they know he is a throwback to an early, long-gone Democratic Party.

        Reply
        1. Pat

          But many top union officials support just that. Think of the union endorsements of Clinton. Now mind you the Firefighters endorsing Biden and the local teachers Union endorsing DiBlasio is not quite the same thing but I don’t think the UAW,etc can really be counted on not to put the leaders’ access and perks above the membership wishes.

          Reply
    2. Oregoncharles

      It’s weird that the builders’ union opposes it, as they would benefit hugely from all that retrofitting.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Perhaps they believe they would not get ANY of these Green New Deal reconstruction jobs. Perhaps they fear that these jobs would ALL be reserved for illegal aliens.

        Reply
  12. clarky90

    John Chapman (September 26, 1774 – March 18, 1845), better known as Johnny Appleseed

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Appleseed

    Here is an old USAian environmentalist with a Christisn POV

    “The popular image is of Johnny Appleseed spreading apple seeds randomly everywhere he went…. In fact, he planted nurseries rather than orchards, built fences around them to protect them from livestock, left the nurseries in the care of a neighbor who sold trees on shares, and returned every year or two to tend the nursery. He planted his first nursery on the bank of Brokenstraw Creek, south of Warren, Pennsylvania. Next, he seems to have moved to Venango County, along the shore of French Creek….

    …. an itinerant missionary was exhorting an open-air congregation in Mansfield, Ohio. The sermon was long and severe on the topic of extravagance, because the pioneers were buying such indulgences as calico and imported tea. “Where now is there a man who, like the primitive Christians, is traveling to heaven barefooted and clad in coarse raiment?” the preacher repeatedly asked, until Johnny Appleseed,… walked up to the preacher, put his bare foot on the stump that had served as a podium, and said, “Here’s your primitive Christian!”….”

    Reply
    1. Jessica

      I read somewhere that Johny Appleseed was opposed to grafting for religious reasons, so most of his trees were replaced once the settler economy built up a bit and folks could get grafted apple trees.

      Reply
      1. clarky90

        Thank you so much Jessica! I only discovered this info by researching your post.

        ” The True Story of Johnny Appleseed”

        http://mentalfloss.com/article/62113/9-facts-tell-true-story-johnny-appleseed

        HIS APPLES WEREN’T FOR EATING.
        “The apples that Chapman favored for planting were small and tart “spitters”—named for what you’d likely do if you took a bite of one. But this made them ideal for making hard cider and applejack. This was a far more valuable crop than edible apples. In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan wrote:

        Up until Prohibition, an apple grown in America was far less likely to be eaten than to wind up in a barrel of cider. In rural areas cider took the place of not only wine and beer but of coffee and tea, juice, and even water. Where water could house dangerous bacteria, cider was safe. (And delicious.)”

        and

        PROHIBITION KILLED MUCH OF HIS LEGACY.
        By the time the U.S. government outlawed alcohol in 1920, Chapman had become an American folk hero. But this didn’t stop the axes of FBI agents who mercilessly tore down orchards to prevent the making of homemade hooch. Aside from slaughtering Chapman’s trees, this also nearly killed America’s connection to hard cider. The beverage rooted deep in our history has only recently seen a resurgence in popularity.”

        and

        HE FOREVER CHANGED THE APPLES OF AMERICA.
        Pollan credits Chapman’s preference for seeds over grafting for creating not only varieties like the delicious and golden delicious, but also the “hardy American apple.” Since apples that are grafted are the same as the parent tree, they don’t change. But by forgoing grafting, Johnny created the conditions for apple trees to adapt and thrive in their new world home.

        “It was the seeds, and the cider, that give the apple the opportunity to discover by trial and error the precise combination of traits required to prosper in the New World,” Pollan wrote. “From Chapman’s vast planting of nameless cider apple seeds came some of the great American cultivars of the 19th century.”

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          One of our huge old trees is probably a seedling – could not be identified. It fell over, but kept right on growing where it fell, fortunately away from the garages. I cut the top off, so am now training a manageable tree. And barbecuing with the wood. We also have a seedling tree I planted that has apples that are small but deep red all the way through. A friend who grows trees is commercializing it. His name is not Jonny.

          Like Wukchumni, we have too many apple trees. Lots of cider, though. We freeze it, rather than drink it hard. I have, at times, let it start fermenting, then put it in the fridge with the lid screwed down. Apple beer, very good.

          And I’ve got a seedling peach with peaches on it! Peaches are difficult here because of diseases, so I’ve been planting seeds in hopes of resistant varieties. Some tasty ones have already died. We shall see.

          Reply
        1. Old Jake

          Twice thanks, as I’m on the north coast of the Olympic peninsula, and looking for more trees for the orchard – the peach died.

          Reply
      2. clarky90

        You are entirely correct in your comments….Thanks

        “Chapman (Johnny Appleseed) was often noted for his threadbare clothes and preference for bare feet. But these eccentricities may have been offerings to his faith, the Church of Swedenborg (also known as The New Church), a Christian denomination established in 1787. The second part of his signature look—that sack of apple seeds—was most definitely accurate. Because the Church forbade its members harming God’s creation, Chapman became a vocal animal rights activist and vegetarian. He also refused to use grafting to create his orchards, believing that this growing technique physically hurt the source plants. So, he carried a large sack of seeds everywhere he traveled. However, his oft-depicted tin pot hat has not been authenticated.”

        Reply
          1. Hopelb

            Wukchumni, this lovely place gives me an idea. Think of being in the great woods,in between the trees, in a meandering glass structure with appropriately positioned mirrors so the people in the back can see the speaker AND so the people can all see each other (say for debate, or for just stealing glances/winks). Build it and they will …

            Reply
  13. cnchal

    > Transportation: “A new analysis suggests Uber Freight’s growing role in shipping is coming at a heavy cost to the business. Morgan Stanley writes in a note initiating coverage of Uber Technologies Inc. that the Freight unit turns back some 99% of its revenue to trucking companies…. an analysis suggesting Uber is undercutting its brokerage competitors as it gains market share”

    This is how Uber is like Amazon. A short excerpt from a long read.

    In particular, current law underappreciates the risk of predatory pricing and how integration across distinct business lines may prove anticompetitive. These concerns are heightened in the context of online platforms for two reasons. First, the economics of platform markets incentivize the pursuit of growth over profits, a strategy that investors have rewarded. Under these conditions predatory pricing becomes highly rational—even as existing doctrine treats it as irrational. Second, because online platforms serve as critical intermediaries, integrating across business lines positions these platforms to control the essential infrastructure on which their rivals depend. This dual role also enables a platform to exploit information collected on companies using its services to undermine them as competitors.

    Transportation executives should be crapping their pants upon the realization that the nearly unlimited funds backing Uber won’t run out before they get taken out.

    Reply
    1. JBird4049

      Transportation executives should be crapping their pants upon the realization that the nearly unlimited funds backing Uber won’t run out before they get taken out.

      Since the Ubercrapification of our shipping industry means that along with along with most department and clothing stores going away especially as private equity continues it mob style bust-outs of every brick-and-mortar chain stores they can get their cannibalistic, parasitic hands on, most of our transportation and retail shipping is going away along with my ability to get clothes, should I stock up?

      This is all tongue-in-cheek but while the USPS should, one does hope, still be around between the vaporizing of retail and the elimination of transportation/shipping once Uber finally comes unglued what happens? Especially away from the densely populated areas? High density insures some functioning transportation besides Uber.

      Something like 1/3 of the California does not live in areas like Sacramento, the Greater Bay Area or the Long Beach-LA-San Diego megapolis. I assume that holds for the rest of the United States.

      People keep saying that we are spread too far apart especially as all the factories, farms, and other infrastructure has been shipped overseas, destroyed, or ignored into junk. So let’s squeeze in the 100,000,000 people into areas that already have too little housing and already poorly maintained infrastructure.

      Much of the rail system of both shipping and passengers is gone with what’s left failing apart, overused, and often obsolete. Roads, freeways, bridges, and tunnels likewise. Hospitals are closing or being concentrated away from large areas. And so and so forth. Heck, America exports much of its food and much of the rest of humanity depends on it to live. The Mississippi barge traffic is crucial and if stopped people in India or China or Malaysia will start going very hungry. “So sorry one or more of our bridges/dams/canals just block the Mississippi for a month. You weren’t planning on eating anytime soon were you?”

      Something, somehow, somewhere is gonna breakdown in the next 2-3 years as just about all the building and maintenance of the nation’s infrastructure has mostly stopped for over thirty years and it’s due to start busting through the umpteen patch jobs. We are going to start making bad dice rolls soon.

      Reply
  14. JBird4049

    If we need an insurgent, we’ll give you a call.

    Just like with the Deplorable Poor, when it comes to the Democratic and Republican Parties, the difference in treatment of non wealthy women or minority women is by degrees with the political facade being the difference in kind.

    Upper class women will always be able to have access to abortion and their children to good schools but the poor are destined for prison, child “services,” or something masquerading as a school; this was true before Roe v. Wade and is once again true.

    Some might condemn me for the saying of these truths, but I can easily find you some homeless families with their children or some already indentured fellow college students here in the Democratically controlled Golden State.

    Reply
  15. Joe Well

    >>Sadly, the Naval Reserve found no use for Buttigieg’s Norwegian skills…

    There is an oil-rich nation struggling under the yoke of socialism that badly needs to be liberated and Mayor Pete’s silence is deafening. #operationfrozenfreedom /s

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Not to forget that Norway’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund needs benevolent liberating as well as their giant off-shore oil fields.

      Reply
  16. djrichard

    Gentleman Prefer Bonds

    I just assume the 10Y yield is reverting to trend – the trend downward it has had since 1982. The counter trend move upward in 2018 assumed the fiscal spigots were going to be turned on, that the deficit was no longer a dirty word and therefore inflation was no longer a dirty word. It’s just taken til now to capitulate that none of that’s going to happen.

    Seems the Federal Reserve was caught by surprise by this too. Otherwise I don’t think they would have raised their Fed Funds rate to where it is. Because now that the 10Y yield has capitulated, it’s actually lower than the Fed Funds rate, creating an inverted yield curve. Which is unusual because normally an inverted yield curve is created on purpose by the Federal Reserve – they raise their rate above the 10Y yield rather than wait for the 10Y yield to drop below their rate. Still, every good trader knows an inverted yield curve is bad juju. So what’s the Fed Reserve to do? Sit on its hands and let the inverted yield curve work its magic and create a recession?

    Seems to me that the Federal Reserve doesn’t want the market to crash on Trump’s watch. At least not until after the 2020 election. So the Fed Reserve is signaling to the traders, “we feel your pain”, they’ll lower their rate to bring it back below the 10Y yield. They just need a pretext on why they’re doing so, something that doesn’t simply smack of the Fed Reserve propping up the stock market. “It’s the PMI, it’s the employment report, it’s trade, it’s one of those, yeah that’s the ticket.”

    Anyways, even if the fiscal spigots get turned on, I don’t see the 10Y yield reversing trend until spiraling wage inflation is a thing again. I.e. when people aren’t worried about their exposure to inflating prices as long as their wages are increasing / tracking with inflation. Making it safe for them to take on debt at increasing interest rates – i.e. generating inflation. And I don’t see that happening anytime soon unless there’s some kind of JG program.

    Until then, the trend line of the 10Y yield is downwards. Giving the Federal Reserve less and less room for their Fed Funds rate to operate in without inverting the yield curve. Seems like that won’t be able to continue at some point. Interesting years ahead.

    Reply
      1. djrichard

        Hi OTPBDH,

        Thanks for the link! I like the content that comes out of Alhambra partners (I see their content more on ZH than anywhere else) and will definitely have to read through that.

        If I’m guessing right, the argument would be that the Federal Reserve follows the 13 week treasury rate with their fed funds rate. That the market sets the rate and that rate (e.g. the short duration 13 week treasury rate) is set based on the flow of Eurodollars (and presumably commercial paper and margin loans). Basically anything short duration.

        FDRallOverAgain used to argue that as well. He posted a lot over at marketwatch and then set up his own blog. But he unfortunately passed away some years back. And I haven’t been able to find anybody else who was carrying that flag, so I kind of gave up being more neutral on the issue and deferred to parroting the idea the short term yields anticipated the Fed Reserve moves with their Fed Funds rate. If Alhambra has some explication in this area it will be very interesting to read. Thanks again!

        P.S. for a different source that argues that the short term rates are set by the market and not the Fed Reserve (they simply follow), see https://www.valuewalk.com/2018/12/fed-funds-rate/

        Reply
  17. VietnamVet

    It is weird that Mayor Pete gets his facts wrong. George W Bush (43rd President) was very much a Veteran; it is just that he flew F-102s for the Texas National Guard. He was the one who was born on third base and thought that he hit a homerun. It was fairly well documented that he slacked off his last year or so but Dan Rather screwed up his reporting and got himself fired from CBS News. Karl Rove earned his money getting this all muddied up.

    It is swift-boating to disparage anyone who has served in a combat zone. But, unlike Tulsi Gabbard, Pete Buttigieg seems to be fine with the endless wars. Anyone who has served, at least, knows that killing the enemy before they kill you is job #1. The problem is that a cohort of 70 year old fogies are the last of the draftees that once included all able bodied males. The endless wars have been going on so long now that the volunteers are showing up as Mayors and Congress Persons. Except, 7 in 10 youths today would fail to qualify for military service according to the Pentagon.

    Reply
    1. JBird4049

      Except, 7 in 10 youths today would fail to qualify for military service according to the Pentagon.

      Rather like the British youth of 1915? It was not just the internal threat of civil unrest that got the push for British welfare system going. The Canadians, Germans, and Americans all had a larger healthier percentage of in the population of draftable cannon fodder and that is not to mention the general population’s ability to work.

      Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Did Dan Rather screw up his reporting? Or did hidden Karl Rove operatives salt the record with fake evidence for Dan Rather to find and then get discredited by?

      Reply
      1. VietnamVet

        Both. A recent example of stupid hubris is General Michael Flynn. Like Dan Rather, he thought he was a member in good standing of the Elite and inviolate. Not so. By joining Donald Trump’s nationalist mob, the General became a target. The Empire’s Intelligence Officers who had access to top secret intercepts of the Russian Ambassador gave them to the FBI so they could catch the General in a perjury trap and get him gone. The leak confirmed that America bugs the Russian Embassy.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Colonel Pat Lang at Sic Semper Tyrannis raised the possibility that those leaks were probably very illegal and certainly deserving of prosecution because they genuinely burned out ability to eavesdrop on RussiaGov discussions. Now we have lost that ability.

          Why were no such prosecutions ever brought? Because these leaks were advancing the interests of certain Deep Cabals who wanted Trump defeated in the election or defenestrated after it?

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            Same way that Bush’s government burned Valerie Plame as a CIA operative thereby blowing away any contacts that she made – all for a bit of minor political advantage. Needless to say, there is an actual law on the books making it a felony to blow a CIA agent’s cover but they did it anyway-

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valerie_Plame

            Reply
  18. djrichard

    Means TV / Company Money

    The capitalism argument against communism always strikes me as an argument that says to the plebs, “which would you rather have? A company store produced by capitalism? Or a company store produced by communism? Remember which one is more consumer responsive. And remember, either way, you’re playing with company money.”

    Reply
      1. djrichard

        Hi Olga,

        I’ll make it even worse. I’m watching the movie “District 9” at the moment. The movie has fun with the idea that the aliens / prawns can be easily exploited through their love of catfood. It’s like catnip to them.

        That’s what we have in our company stores for us humans. The equivalent of whatever is catnip to us. We just have to get their company money so we can buy their catnip from them.

        Reply
      2. djrichard

        What’s interesting about watching the movie too is to see how the alien prawns are depicted as being leaderless. Seems they’re more communal than anything. But is the special fluid all that they’re missing to get back on path? Or is there some elite guard as well that went missing?

        In contrast, poor Wikus is so hapless, he might as well be alien in the corporate hierarchy that’s run by MNU. In a way, his becoming an alien gave him his exit strategy from capitalism. Of course, Wikus still has to find peace with being an alien, but for most of us that’s almost as hard as finding peace with any exit strategy from the corporate hierarchy.

        Reply
      3. tegnost

        Hi Olga, I don’t think it’s even a simplification. I thought the point was being paid in non currency made it impossible to save or pass on property. I don’t recall communism being mentioned at all

        either way, you’re playing with company money

        completely false

        Reply
        1. djrichard

          tegnost, you’re thinking too much like a human. You need to think more like a prawn. :-)

          I was inspired from the movie to get myself a T-shirt with the picture of a prawn face on it. It’s got some alien inscription that apparently is supposed to translate to, “We come in peace”. But I’m going to tell people it says, “WWaPD – What would a prawn do?”

          Reply
  19. richard

    twenty-five thousand in Iowa
    jaw drops, hits floor
    I wonder how that compares to other campaigns? And historically?

    Reply
  20. Todde

    I wonder how a politician who offered a policy of payroll tax cuts and a raise in the minimum wage would compare to a politician whose policy was only a minimum tax hike.

    More or less votes in an election?

    Or is there just no alternative to the payroll tax?

    You might have to give a welathy guy a tax break, as long as he is hiring americans, to get your minimum wage.

    The good thing is that every working person in america, and the people who hire them will get it too.

    You migjt even be able to push a very progressive income tax hike with the support you will have for the other tax cut.

    I know, too bold. I have my dreams and you can keep your myths.

    Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          New TV show pitch:

          ‘Next Sedition’ would be an interesting update on illionaires comings & goings, a tick-tock show.

          Reply
      1. flora

        Um, not sure I understand your reasoning.
        The payroll tax is social security (and later Medicare). The reason it’s separate is to keep it a worker paid-for benefit that’s in a separate pot of money from the general account, not a general tax to be squandered with no accounting. FDR set it up that way so ‘it would be something people paid for directly and no damned politician could steal it.’

        A minimum wage increase would result in marginally higher FDIC taxes collected from workers… which they would realize in higher SS income in their retirement years. And higher disability benefits or death and family survivor benefits.

        When one is young (like I once was) it’s easy to think ‘I’m getting taxed and it will never be worth anything to me.’ (as I once thought) But the magic of compound interest and time makes SS the difference between catfood and eating decent food in retirement. The neolib politicians are always, always trying to find ways to steal that bit of decency away from people who have worked a lifetime. imo.

        Reply
        1. flora

          adding: about FDR – if you adjusted his inherited wealth for inflation to today’s value then your suggestion just might get him shot.

          Reply
        2. flora

          An aside about how ss works – because I didn’t understand how it works until I was in my 40’s and looked into it, and I think understanding how it works is good.
          One qualifies for ss benefits if one has earned 40 ss credits. 1 credit is earned for each quarter year that one works at a ss covered job, that is, a job that deducts and pays FICA taxes. (not all jobs are covered or pay FICA taxes.) If you work full time you can earn 4 ss credits per year. If you only work say 6 months a year then you earn 2 ss credits that year, for example. So you don’t have to work fulltime, but not working fulltime all years just means it takes longer to earn the 40 credits. If you work 10 years full time at at job that pays payroll FICA taxes then you’ve earned 4 quarters x 10 years = 40 quarters.
          When you earn 40 ss credits then you qualify for ss and medicare payouts at retirement from that point forward. Not only do you quality, but if you die then your surviving spouse qualifies to collect on your earned benefit. If you die and have minor children they also individually qualify for ss payments (it’s an insurance policy you’ve paid the premiums on, after all) until they turn 18. Once upon a time they would qualify for survivor benefits on your policy thru the age of 21 if they were in college or trade school. When I was in school I knew several students who were able to go to college because they were receiving ss dependent survivor benefits.

          Of course, the FIRE sector lobbied for and put an end to survivor benefits beyond age 18. the FIRE sector hates ss.

          So those are the basics. It can make the difference between getting by and drowning in unpayable debt for a lot of people, including young families who lose a bread winner to a car accident and early death for example.

          It’s progressive in the sense that lower income payers receiver a proportionally larger payout than richer payers. And it’s indexed for inflation. And the management costs are very low. No wonder the FIRE sector hates ss.

          Sorry to go on. Think it’s important people know this stuff, and looking at my own ignorance until I was in my mid-40s I figure a lot of people don’t know this. (And the FIRE sector and their handmaidens in the MSM aren’t going to tell you.) Apologies for boring the NC readership.

          Reply
          1. Todde

            I am 51 years old and a CPA.

            I understand ss benefits just fine

            SS i benefits are based on earnings, so everything you just said is independent of the actual SS tax being collected.

            We could make the rate be whatever we want it to be and nothing would change with what you just said.

            Reply
        3. Oregoncharles

          However, the SS “fund” that Reagan and Greenspan foisted on us means that SS funding is no longer separate. The “fund” is money the government borrowed from itself. Of course, the feds can always pay that debt, but when it draws on the “fund” (and SS is critical to my personal survival), the money comes out of the general fund, subject to politics. But then, that was Reagan and Greenspan.

          The real security is that old people vote, and there are an awful lot of us.

          Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      As I just wrote above, there is another option: an extraction/pollution tax. Two birds with one stone. It is better to tax things we don’t want than things we do want, like jobs.

      I think the real reason to retain taxes is because they’re very effective at social engineering.

      Reply
  21. Todde

    The problem is we seem to be hung up on making sure we earned a benefit by paying an additional tax on my wages.

    If i worked i earned a benefit. Keep the W2 filing requirements.

    Reply
  22. Todde

    When i was born, the FICA tax was 10% of Federal Revenue, now it is roughly 35%.

    I say the working class should stop worrying about if they’ve earned their SS and statt realizing they are paying more than their fair share of taxes.

    Reply
      1. todde

        conversely, the corporate tax was 35% of federal revenue in 1968. Now it is down to 10%.

        time to flip the script

        Reply
  23. drumlin woodchuckles

    That “Means TV” vido was compellingly interesting. The part about intergenerational poverty through intergenerational real wealth passdown prevention ( achieved in part by paying captive workers in fake money) sounds just exactly like what black spokesfolk are saying about intergenerational black poverty caused by intergenerational black-wealth-attainment-prevention and black-wealth-passdown-prevention.

    Now . . . how would the speakers in that Means TV video segment respond if someone told them that the Appalachian coal miners paid in fake money for real work had White Privilege, and therefor had no basis to complain?

    Reply

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