How Hypocrites in High Places Have Contributed to the Riots in the Streets

Yves here. I don’t believe that most or even many Caucasian Americans think that most young black men like to loot, and polls taken after the riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin support that view. Most of the public does not like violence but opposition to the protests is still a minority position. However, there is clearly a group of whites that do hold those views, and enough of them are in positions of influence to make it hard for blacks to get access to jobs, housing, and loans.

And although race is an important element of class war, the top wealthy are doing a great job of extracting rents from everyone lower down on the food chain. And the bigger point, which this article underscores, is the Black Lives Matter protests and yes, sometimes riots, are not just due to the failure to stop police brutality hitting a tipping point. It is also due to Covid-19 hours and job cuts and enforced idleness generated justified anger toward the failure of the system, which found a focus in the police protests.

By Paul Buchheit, the author of numerous papers on economic inequality and cognitive science. He was recently named one of 300 Living Peace and Justice Leaders and Models. He is the author of “Disposable Americans: Extreme Capitalism and the Case for a Guaranteed Income” (2017). Contact email: paul (at) youdeservefacts.org. Originally posted at Common Dreams

A perception exists among much of White America that young Black men would rather loot a store than work a job. This perception serves a lot of wealthy people well, deflecting attention away from their own failures to support the needs of society. But it’s a dangerously twisted perception. People want jobs. They want meaningful work. Given the opportunity, heads of households use their money to support their families, to provide for the essential needs of life. Numerous studies back this up.

About 90% of America has been largely unheard since 1975.So what has kept this from happening? A decades-long wealth grab by the richest Americans has left millions of Americans on the brink of poverty—and poverty begets violence, as numerous reputable sources suggest. And the lack of living-wage jobs has contributed to violence, as suggested by numerous other sources.

Martin Luther King said: “I think that we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard.” About 90% of America has been largely unheard since 1975.

Who’s Responsible for the Poverty that Has Led to Rioting in the Streets?

The redistribution of wealth to the richest 1% over the past 45 years is hard to comprehend. In a Time report on a study by the Rand Corporation, it is estimated that the $50 trillion shift from the bottom 90% to the top 1% would pay every working American an additional $1,144 a month, every single month, year after year. If wealth distribution since 1975 had continued in the same manner as between 1945 and 1975, today’s $35,000 salary would be over $60,000. It’s little wonder that so many Americans are lashing out at the broken system.

Hypocrisy kicked in during the 1970s and through the Reagan years, when the infamous Laffer curve and a ‘trickle-down’ philosophy gave Congress the justification to cut tax rates for corporations and the super-rich, and to deregulate the financial industry. “Trickle-down” never worked, but the delusion persists among its beneficiaries.

“Trickle-down” never worked, but the delusion persists among its beneficiaries.More recent hypocrisy. With the 2017 corporate tax cuts came the lofty assurances that money would be freed up for new investment in jobs and R&D. So what happened? In the following year S&P 500 companies set a new record for buying back their stock to artificially boost stock prices for management and investors—a practice that was illegal until the Reagan years. While about a third of S&P companies are now curtailing stock buybacks in response to the pandemic, others have depleted so much of their funds that they have turned to the pandemic-inspired CARES Act for relief to “distressed industries.”

Yet more hypocrisy. Last year nearly 200 CEOs of major U.S. corporations signed an agreement to affirm their commitment to employees, customers, and community. In 2020 signees were almost 20 percent more likely to announce employee layoffs, while paying out 20 percent MORE in dividends and stock buybacks.

The four-decade losses in wealth and job income have contributed to the poverty numbers, and to violent reactions. Martin Luther King explained, “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” Those demands are being expressed through violence.

What America Needs: A Job Guarantee

The Republicans have argued for work requirements for Medicaid and food stamps and other forms of social programs. But when asked what he would do to bring jobs to Kentucky, Mitch McConnell responded, “That is not my job. It is the primary responsibility of the state Commerce Cabinet.”

But it IS his job. It’s OUR job as a nation. Liberals realize change is needed to provide opportunities to less fortunate people. Conservatives blame less fortunate people for not working hard enough. A job guarantee satisfies both sides. More and more experts and national leaders are starting to realize this. Especially with the pandemic, which has thrust us into “the throes of an unprecedented jobs crisis.”

There is plenty of potential work out there: infrastructure projects for roads, bridges, transit systems, and wastewater treatment; disaster preparation for hurricanes and fires; the construction of barriers to protect against sea-level rise; the planting of trees and development of parkland; postal service upgrades. And more work indoors: home care workers to aid the aged and disabled; child care; special needs programs; and not the least a resurgence in science and arts initiatives. The work chosen by recipients may be entrepreneurial, as newfound incomes unleash talents that were previously suppressed by personal financial concerns, and it could potentially take highly creative forms, as in the 1930s, when the Works Progress Administration hired thousands of artists and actors and musicians to help sustain the cultural needs of the nation. A recent Gallup poll found that nearly 70% of workers don’t feel ‘engaged’ (enthusiastic and committed) in their jobs. A guaranteed income will help provide the freedom to choose appealing work.

There is evidence for the success of guaranteed job programs, starting with the Depression-era Works Progress Administration, which put 8.5 million Americans to work building new roads, bridges, and parks around the country. More recently, according to the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality, subsidized employment programs have “reduced family public benefit receipt, raised school outcomes among the children of workers, boosted workers’ school completion, lowered criminal justice system involvement among both workers and their children, improved psychological well-being, and reduced longer-term poverty.” The jobs program RecycleForce, which hires formerly incarcerated individuals with government money, has cut the recidivism rate while saving the taxpayer $1.20 for every dollar invested.

As Cory Booker noted, “If you’re willing to work, you should have a shot at economic stability and the American dream. We do not believe we should leave people behind to the ravages of unemployment and poverty.”

Talk Is Not Enough

Many celebrities and sports stars are saying “we have to do something.” But it will take more than just talk to make this happen. It will demand that those of us in the well-positioned older generations accept the higher taxes that we’ve been avoiding for over forty years.

In the end, if the young people in the streets are given the opportunity to support themselves and their families with living-wage jobs, but then they still turn around and riot, we progressives will have to admit we were wrong. But if the conservatives who say “get a job” won’t support the creation of those jobs, then they’re being hypocritical to the highest degree.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

97 comments

  1. Global Citizen

    Paul must have missed the Ferguson and the other protests before it and after it. The protests had nothing to do with the uber rich he drags on about, but on the situation very local. For instance, we learned from the Ferguson protests the white power structure there saw black citizens as expendable cash cows. They fined and imprisoned them without mercy to benefit whites. This arrangement is similar across the country to this day.

    The “problem” confronting the black community is not with the mythical rich person out there somewhere.

    Reply
      1. Kurtismayfield

        You are correct.. the correct way to put it would be “to benefit the local upper class members of the community, who are mostly caucasian.”.

        Reply
      1. Sue inSoCal

        o4amuse: That’s an excellent piece on “local gentry.” All the focus on the 1 percent is easy. But look to local inherited businesses (and the BBB etc.) in smaller and even rural communities. Very enlightening and the subject is quite definitely off the radar. The mega wealthy are splashy, lurid and in the “news.”

        Reply
      2. norm de plume

        Wow, Patrick Wyman is something of a Renaissance Man. I have been listening to his excellent Tides of History podcast:

        https://wondery.com/shows/tides-of-history/

        His academic background is the fall of Rome but he is now knee deep in prehistory, most recently animal domestication. Like this piece the casts evince deep learning and make astute judgements. And like Mike Duncan and Kevin Stroud, he is a genial host from whom you can learn a lot, gratis.

        Reply
    1. Synoia

      the white power structure there saw black citizens as expendable cash cows

      I’d assert your argument is self defeating.

      The rich (white power structure) saw black citizens as cash cows.

      White power structure has a strong relationship ship with the Uber Rich. Because Ferguson needed money to support the City, and there were two sources, the Rich (Taxes) and the Poor (Fines). The White power structure (representative of the rich) chose to exploit the poor, as the lead article discusses.

      Reply
    2. Mike G

      Those are not mutually exclusive. As Yves points out in his introduction:

      > It is also due to Covid-19 hours and job cuts and enforced idleness generated justified anger toward the failure of the system, which found a focus in the police protests.

      Even before Covid-19 hit, people in cities like Ferguson had little hope for good-paying jobs – Covid-19 just exacerbated the problem.

      Also, I hate to belittle but I just had to LOL at “mythical rich person”.

      Reply
  2. Sound of the Suburbs

    The US developed an under-class with little to lose.
    It’s a time bomb that’s just gone off.

    A more sensible approach from the ancient Romans.
    Placate the masses with bread and circuses.
    It isn’t much and it keeps them passive.

    Those ancients were pretty smart.
    It’s not so much the inequality, as making life difficult for those at the bottom.
    If they have enough, and are fairly comfortable, they won’t really worry about those higher up the scale.

    Today’s elites have a lot to learn.
    We keep hearing how well they are doing, and how many billions they have got, but there is no money and we must cut benefits and services to those at the bottom.
    It’s asking for trouble.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      I think this is a key question to me as to why US politics is failing so badly and in such a manner which isn’t even likely to benefit the rich.

      When you look through history – whether going back to Mesopotanian ‘clean slates’, Roman ‘Bread and Circuses’, Bismarkian basic social welfare systems, post war Social Democratic settlements, etc., etc., you can see that smart elites have always known when not to push the poor and dispossessed (not to mention the pressurised middle classes and bourgeoisie) too far. Seen from the perspective of the 1%, its purely pragmatic to ensure that unless you are extremely confident of your ability to crush dissent (or distract them with religion) then you have to diffuse discontent among both the poor and the middle classes. Smart conservatives have always known this, hence, for example, the tradition of Christian Democrats in Europe being quite supportive of social welfare systems and healthcare.

      A few of the billionaire class (those who aren’t entirely sociopathic) seem to understand this in the US, but they are a surprisingly small number given that it would seem pretty obvious that stopping a complete breakdown in society is in their financial interests. The fact that they don’t get it can be seen by where they are putting their political bets.

      So I don’t really know what sort of dynamic is going on with US elites (in particular), except that its not dissimilar to whats happening in other parts of the English speaking world – but in many respects its becoming more like South America, where the elites will deprive the poor of benefits…. just because they can, with no thought to the future. This is one of the driving forces behind the so called ‘middle income trap’ and I strongly suspect that whatever the equivalent is for already developed countries, the US, and probably the UK, is falling right into it.

      Reply
      1. David

        I think the difference is that traditional ruling classes were conscious of being a class and wanting to remain in power, and their children after them. They were the traditional investors and planners for the long hall.
        Today’s ruling class is more like the crew of a pirate ship. Take what you can get now, collect as much gold as possible and retire somewhere to enjoy it. I don’t actually think that people like Bezos, Zuckerman etc. or for that matter the faceless keyboard peckers of hedge funds, have any particular interest in the long term; indeed, they want to maximise their short-term gains precisely because the long-term is uncertain and uninteresting. To vary the metaphor, they are raiding the safe-deposit boxes on the Titanic with their own private lifeboat waiting.

        “Riots” are one of those subjects where it’s all but impossible to make generalisations. What King said may have been true of a particular place and time, but riots always serve many functions simultaneously, and certainly can’t be prevented simply by providing jobs. Many rioters in different contexts have jobs already, others come because it’s exciting and adventurous, others still to express non-economic grievances (there’s a whole literature on this.) And in some countries, riots are bought and paid for by political parties as a tactic of intimidation. How may of these factors apply, and to what extent, in the US at the moment, others are better qualified than me to say.

        In general, western societies have moved backwards, at all levels, from productive economies to extractive and rent-seeking ones. From the poorest to the richest, people have realised that, in the short term, it’s easier to make money by destroying a company than by building one, just as it’s easier to steal a TV set than to save up for one. If you give people incentives and ideological encouragement, don’t be surprised if they act accordingly.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          Yes, thats a fair point, although it still does puzzle me that the equivalent of the US aristocracy – east and west coast liberal elites – have dug themselves into the hole of being so anti-M4A and free education. It was precisely these elites who were so enthusiastic about expanding basic social programmes back in the 1960’s. The same situation now applies – some sort of balm is needed – but they don’t seem able to see it now, in contrast to (quite literally) how their fathers saw it.

          I think another process is at work here – the MBA classes essentially hijacking what were once public goods and being unwilling to release their grasp. And this MBA class has essentially captured the elites, similar to how in the past courtier classes undercut rotting aristocratic classes, and were often worse rulers as they lacked even noblesse oblige.

          Of course, in the UK I think we’ve seen a different process at work, but I think its the same principle, where a new ruling class seems to think itself immune to having any obligation to society around it.

          Reply
          1. flora

            In the 1960s the US’s economic elites were still on a defacto social/public relations probation after the economic damage they caused leading up to the Great Depression.

            Today’s economic elites are either newly rich or are the 60’s elites children and grandchildren who’ve forgotten or dismiss what can happen, has happened many times.

            Today’s financial elites aren’t the same in public outlook as elites in the 50s and 60s, they’re more like the pre-Great Depression economic elites in their public outlook, more like the original JP Morgan and Andrew Mellon in outlook.

            Reply
            1. funemployed

              I second this. I’d also add that successful elites in the past put a great deal of energy into developing the social and moral reasoning capacities of their children. (this is not to say they acted morally, just that they could tell the difference between virtuous actions and their opposite – a skill that today’s elites utterly lack).

              Whether they liked it or not, hereditary elites of the past were forced to study history and culture, and made to understand that those studies were life or death serious, and what set them apart from the rabble. Today’s elites were largely raised by a combination of shallow television shows and an educational system that views historical study as little more than an opportunity for pro-capitalist, pro-individualist propaganda. And their fitness to rule is understood as nothing more than their ability to dominate all others in the “rat race.”

              As a result, most of today’s elites have the moral and social reasoning capacities of spoiled toddlers. In fact, I’ve lately found myself using the “what would a spoiled toddler do” heuristic when trying to figure out what those crazy oligarchs might do next. fun times…

              Reply
            2. Felix_47

              They also are hugely more wealthy. There is no comparison between Bezos and John D. Rockefeller, or Steven Cohen, the sophisticated inside trader.

              Reply
        2. Eclair

          “In general, western societies have moved backwards, at all levels, from productive economies to extractive and rent-seeking ones. From the poorest to the richest, people have realised that, in the short term, it’s easier to make money by destroying a company than by building one, just as it’s easier to steal a TV set than to save up for one. ”

          David, I would argue that the economies of the USA, as well as the rest of North America and South America, have been ‘extractive’ from the time the european colonists/conquerors set foot on them. Certainly, it was easier to steal land, than it was to remain in your own space in the ‘Old World’ and develop cultures and governments that would husband the local resources and care for the people.

          Easy to cut down ‘free’ giant pines in Maine for the King’s ships, rip up the prairie grasses to plant wheat without water, then watch the top soil billow off into skyscraper-sized dust clouds, easy to murder native people who inconveniently lived where settlers wanted to extract gold, or silver, or iron, or uranium, or oil. Such easy sport to shoot millions of bison, so the grass lands could be made available for ‘free’ fodder for imported beef cattle on their way to Chicago and Omaha slaughter houses.

          Those people who ‘steal TV sets’ and toss a brick through a shop window are so deplorable. And, so small-time. Those who ‘appropriate’ entire continents, who wipe out entire nations, cultures, languages, spiritual practices, who extract the natural riches and turn them into money and power, those rakish conquistadores, explorers, land-developers, generals, presidents, they are the masters of extraction. The super-rentiers. The looters. The destroyers of our planet.

          Reply
          1. David

            That may well be true of the US, and of course exploitation of natural resources has always been part of the game. But I had in mind the fact that, fifty years ago, the major economic forces in western economies were productive, ie they made things and provided things people could use. This reflected, in turn, the rise of the middle-classes to take the place of the landowners who had traditionally lived off rent and investments. In the UK, I remember a point in the 90s when for the first time the majority of the largest companies were extractive – concerned with banking , mortgages, insurance and a variety of other essentially parasitic activities. The situation in the US may be a bit different but the fundamental point remains. You no longer set up a company to make things, but a company to sell shares to people who can be persuaded that one day you will make things, and that they can sell their shares to a bigger fool before it becomes apparent that you can’t. In such a situation, there’s no point in thinking about the future.

            Reply
      2. fresno dan

        PlutoniumKun
        September 22, 2020 at 5:11 am

        https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/goldman-sachs-ex-ceo-lloyd-blankfein-might-vote-trump-sanders-2020-2-1028927812#
        Billionaire and former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein said he might struggle to vote for Sen. Bernie Sanders over President Donald Trump, doesn’t see himself as rich, and that Wall Street bankers are like helpless antelope and unappreciated samurai in a Financial Times interview published Friday.
        “I think I might find it harder to vote for Bernie than for Trump,” Blankfein told Edward Luce, the newspaper’s US national editor, in a “Lunch with the FT” interview.
        “The Democrats would be working very hard to find someone who is as divisive as Trump,” he continued. “But with Bernie they would have succeeded.”
        AND
        fresno dan
        September 21, 2020 at 1:58 pm
        Came across this quote from John Kenneth Galbraith, which I think explains a lot:
        People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          There is more to that quote which gives extra ummphh-

          “People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage. Intellectual myopia, often called stupidity, is no doubt a reason. But the privileged also feel that their privileges, however egregious they may seem to others, are a solemn, basic, God-given right. The sensitivity of the poor to injustice is a trivial thing compared with that of the rich.”

          John Kenneth Galbraith, “The Age of Uncertainty”

          Reply
          1. fresno dan

            The Rev Kev
            September 22, 2020 at 10:01 am

            The Rev Kev
            September 22, 2020 at 10:01 am

            I think the rich and “self made” simply do not understand how much luck there is in one’s life. I’ve had cancer and a heart attack – and I consider myself extremely lucky. I had a survivable cancer and the heart attack didn’t kill me. Either could have been the end of my existence. I am only alive because veterans benefits were much more generous when I got out of the service, so I could be treated (I had no health insurance as a student) and later I was fortunate to have good health care in an country that has advanced medical treatment available almost everywhere.
            Surviving had nothing to do with my “worthiness” or my own efforts – but it takes some introspection and contemplation to understand that whatever success we achieve, little of it is due only to ourselves.

            Reply
            1. The Rev Kev

              fresno dan
              September 22, 2020 at 10:49 am

              Fully agree here. We see it but a lot of wealthy people don’t and think that it is all due to their own boot straps, even if they were born into wealth. Musk for example had a lot of family help. And may I say that I, for one, am happy that things broke your way so that you are still with us?

              Reply
            2. Rod

              but it takes some introspection and contemplation to understand that whatever success we achieve, little of it is due only to ourselves.
              did your parents tell you this? ; ] –mine did : ]

              Reply
            3. Kurtismayfield

              Oh they know, the just don’t give a f#$@.. they want to pull up the ladder as fast as possible so that others can’t have the same conditions they enjoyed.

              Reply
        2. Pookah Harvey

          “I think I might find it harder to vote for Bernie than for Trump,” Blankfein told Edward Luce, the newspaper’s US national editor, in a “Lunch with the FT” interview.
          “The Democrats would be working very hard to find someone who is as divisive as Trump,” he continued. “But with Bernie they would have succeeded.”

          Blankfein is not worried about the amount of divisiveness but the type of divisiveness. Bernie pits the working class against the rich, Trump pits the working class against each other, just the type of divisiveness the oligarchs want.
          Don’t kid yourself that the elite hate Trump. He may embarrass them but is doing exactly what they require. If Trump is re-elected and proves 2016 was not a fluke my guess is that the power grab will accelerate. The accumulation of wealth being covered up by Trump pitting American against American with the oligarchs giving their full throated approval.

          Reply
      3. Adam1

        Divide and conquer has a long history of success. With that said it would appear that the elite just keep doubling down on the strategy just ASSUMING they can control the situation when the reality is they’ve created so much division that the wheels aren’t far from coming off the bus. They are playing with fire that could easily burn them or at least a fair share of them.

        Reply
      4. Carolinian

        Perhaps the problem is a decline in the whole notion of nationalism and patriotism among current ultra wealthy. Look at the way our corporations move to, oh say, Ireland in order to avoid taxes and gain advantage. They have learned how to game the system and so agree with Trump that he would have been a fool not to take advantage of tax dodges and bankruptcies. One might argue that the whole purpose of government is to put a restraint on human innate selfishness and theories of economics and government that fail to do this and in fact celebrate selfishness–“greed is good”–are bound to fail. We are living in an era of bad ideas, not the least of which are the crackpot theories of pulp fiction writer Ayn Rand.

        So the problem with the above is that the notion that the wealthy will see sweet reason and recommit to some kind of social contract is mostly a pipe dream. Politically they have no restraints. It took a Great Depression to knock them down a peg last time and doubtless some disaster–perhaps with covid we are currently experiencing it–will be needed to knock them down again.

        As for the riots and looting, despite what NPR says I have my doubts that the general public takes a tolerant view of this. As Yves has pointed out a lot of it is being done by criminals, not desperate poor people. There’s a degree of calculation in all of it that has yet to be fully explained and BLM itself is a rather mysterious and slippery organization.

        Reply
        1. Hepativore

          Another thing to consider is that many elites have global connections and probably feel that even if they destroy a country’s welfare in the long term, they can simply relocate their investments elsewhere while they sit comfortably in their private estates on their own islands. Since neoliberalism is a worldwide phenomenon in developed countries the wealthy have their tentacles in the economies of many nations. After they are done extracting wealth from the US and UK, they can move on to the rest of Europe, then Asia, etc. Whether or not the US degenerates to the point of being a fallen nation in the long run would probably impact the billionaire class very little.

          Reply
      5. Pelham

        We have our own bread and circuses online. The problem is that the internet offers a lot more than that in the poisonous form of social media.

        Reply
      6. Tom Bradford

        “unless you are extremely confident of your ability to crush dissent (or distract them with religion)”

        I would offer that today’s rich have a third option. Historically the rich were tied to their society – their wealth was in land, livestock, ownership of trading concessions, local sweat-shops for weaving, metalwork, etc. Yes they had cash enough in hand to live opulently but their wealth was in assets tied up in their local city state so they had nowhere else to go and depended on that state functioning. This is why the wealthy are always conservative with a small ‘c’ and promoted bread and circuses to keep the slaves content.

        Today’s wealthy have their wealth in Swiss Bank Accounts or Bahamian security vaults and a bolt-hole in New Zealand, so if they provoke the plebs to mutiny by pushing them too far they can just up sticks and watch the rioting from a safe distance. So why pay for bread and circuses?

        Reply
      7. Basil Pesto

        I’ve been playing a fascinating game called Frostpunk this week. It’s like the Civilization strategy games, but in real-time, on a micro scale, and the objective is survival rather than power. I bring it up because what you describe here:

        Seen from the perspective of the 1%, its purely pragmatic to ensure that unless you are extremely confident of your ability to crush dissent (or distract them with religion) then you have to diffuse discontent among both the poor and the middle classes.

        Becomes the exact mechanic in the second act of the game’s main scenario/story: faced with rising public discontent, you, the leader of the city, are faced with the option of signing laws in one of two policy tracks: order (that is: honing your ability to crush dissent) or religion (that is: distracting people with prayer and religion to lift their spirits and raise hope). Class is rather diffuse or even redundant in the game because of that survival objective and the paucity of resources generally, so it doesn’t perfectly fit into what you said above. Still, I immediately recognised the dynamic when I was reading your post. I’m not sure what the significance of that is, if any!

        I’d recommend the game to anyone who dabbles in those things. Aternatively, if you’re interested, you can watch some Let’s Play videos, but you’ll have to put up with annoying commentaries that typically focus on gameplay mechanics rather than themes.

        Reply
    2. Upwithfiat

      A more sensible approach from the ancient Romans.
      Placate the masses with bread and circuses.
      SoS

      Or we could have a just economic system, roughly along the lines of the neglected Old Testament, with little need to placate anyone.

      Nor does using a few MORE* economic principles from the OT necessitate adopting everything but clearly the OT is not altogether obsolete, especially in retrospect wrt to usury and land ownership.

      *Ever wonder why bankruptcy is for 7 years? That’s from the OT.

      Reply
    3. rd

      It is shown VERY clearly in the male labor participation rates.

      White males: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/LNS11300028

      Black males: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/LNS11300031

      This is the “American carnage” that Trump ran on 2016 and he was right. The problem is that it has simply gotten worse under him as well as his numerous predecessors.

      Women made labor participation gains until about 2000, then flatlined for a decade, and have now been in decline: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/LNS11300026

      Men overall have been in steady decline since the mid-1950s https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/LNS11300001

      The labor force participation rate for everybody peaked around 1990, probably due to civil rights opening lots of jobs for women. It flatlined for a couple of decades and then plunged after the flinancial crisis, flatlined around 2015, and then plunged again this year. https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CIVPART

      I think while NAFTA and free trade have hurt the median wage in the country, the real decline in labor participation kicked into gear with repeal of Glass-Steagal, Bush tax cuts, and a massive shift of the nation’s wealth to the 1% and the financial sector instead of labor and income producing productivity.

      There are a lot of angry people out there of all shapes, sizes, ages, sexes, colors, etc. who are underemployed. It should not be a surprise that the pot is boiling. Unfortuantely, the 1% are doing a very effective job of pointing the finger at the underemployed underclass minorities as the cause of the misery of the white middle class even though both groups are victims.

      Reply
      1. Rod

        Carolinian posted some Techniques and here are the results.
        Graphs really reinforce the point. Thanks for that find.
        Idleness is the Devils Workshop

        Reply
    4. rd

      I note the story this week where documents show that the large international banks have been money-laundering for crooks for many years and keep doing it even as they file documents showing they know this is supsipicious money. The government response around the world? When they are in danger of failure due to too much risk-taking, the central banks throw as much money as possible at them to keep them from going out of busienss. Preosecutions would get in the way of the money-flow.

      Meanwhile, people get pulled over for driving with a broken tail light and end up shot dead, or a no-knock warant is issued and they are shot dead in their own home because they know a drug dealer. Where are the no-knock warrants at 2 am on the bankers who are helping the drug lords manage billions of dollars?

      Reply
      1. fwe’zy

        Wow this whole thread was awesome! +++ all the way up.
        It is Randian/ Social Darwinism on the part of the elites as well as the looters. Both believe in Creative Destruction. Even the criminal pro looters, though, are somewhat less culpable than the elites. If only because of scale!

        Reply
  3. Amateur Socialist

    There has been a 40+ year experiment running in this country along these lines:

    “Let’s see what happens if we tear down all the low income housing, community clinics, and decent public schools in low income areas. We’ll use that money for prisons and militarizing the police…”

    This bipartisan experiment has been running uninterrupted since the 70s. And here we are. With an “opposition” Democratic candidate whose long career in politics and most recent primary campaign would indicate no plans or expectations to revise or abandon the experiment.

    Letting people be heard would involve abandoning the terms of the “experiment”.

    Reply
  4. Eric Patton

    failure of the system

    Jeff Bezos just became the world’s first-ever two-hundred billionaire. The system is working exactly as designed.

    Were the atomic bombs failures or successes? They were designed to go boom and kill a lot of people. They went boom and killed a lot of people. That makes them stupendous successes, even though what they did was horrible.

    Just because millions of people are suffering under the current economic system doesn’t make it a failure. It’s doing what it’s designed to do. But virtually no one anywhere in the vicinity of the left can ever figure this out.

    Reply
    1. cocomaan

      The system is working exactly as designed.

      Exactly, the system is what it does.

      If it’s not doing what you want it to do, that’s because it’s not designed to do that. We can quibble over how a system should be designed, but that’s in the realm of should, not in the realm of what is.

      What’s amusing is that the vast majority of people can agree that the system is not doing what we need it to do in order to ensure widespread prosperity.

      Reply
  5. JBird4049

    It is worse than hypocrisy or greed. Since both parties essentially have the same conservative economic policy; they are tax cuts, reducing regulations and laws, open borders for both people and money, which includes shipping as much of the ability to build or create anything over seas; they use the social issues to create the lesser of two evils; vote for Biden, who is literally demented, for gun control, pro-choice, LGBTQ+ rights, or vote for Trump, the Orange Menace, for gun rights, pro-life, and pro-religion/family. The different candidates won’t give you much tangible benefit, but they will put on a good kabuki show showing fighting for rights and beliefs while making you poorer and the wealthy, more wealthy.

    Neither party wants to actively govern as that risk exposure, requires serious debates and explanations, and the real work of crafting and passing legislation. If the parasites were magically transported to the 1850s, they would not have anything like the Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1856. Instead they would be an unending stream of inanities composed of lies, false pieties, quick speechettes for publication all done in ways that would please the 1% of the time; the Southern Plantation Class, the banks and financiers, merchants and shipping companies including everyone who supplied and managed the slave trade, the shipping of cotton, the financing of everything.

    Instead of dealing with the issues of slavery. and the lesser but still greatly important one of railroads, canals and river travel, or the increasing industrialized of the country, they would have sent the most contentious issues to the courts, hopefully the Supreme Court, and have them make the decision. “‘Oh my, Chief Justice Taney just said that slaves or their descendants, even free cannot be American citizens. Nothing we can do. And give us more money to get another judge!”

    The Dredd v. Scott Decision essentially was one of the reasons for the American Civil War, but both parties would be too busy worshiping courts, kowtowing to the wealthy, while trying to get more loot. People like Abraham Lincoln would not be allowed on the ballot. Neither the new Republican Party nor the Democratic Party would do anything substantial themselves. It would all be smoke and mirrors. You know, bullshit.

    I am comparing 1858 to 2020 to show what the political parties were doing. For over twenty years before the Civil War there was much serious debate, passing real legislation, strong leadership in both the House and the Senate along with beatings, cannings, fist fights, flashing of knives and revolvers inside the Capitol Building by the Representatives and Senators; finally, the collapse of the Whig Party, the creation of the Republican Party, and the splitting of the Democratic Party into two separate parties for the North and South.

    What I am trying to say in my usual draw out way is that the population’s pre civil war
    turmoil was mirrored by all levels of government including the political parties. Each tick upwards in violence was mirrored by the ruling class, the repeated attempts to solve the issue of slavery via legislation, the debates and the violence at all levels of society. Now compare that to today’s ruling elites and their nomenklatura and apparatchiks in the top 10-20% are living in a cult like fantasy detached from the turmoil of the lower classes. The Congress cannot even pass adequate relief for the roughly 20%’unemployed, the millions hungry, the being evicted, or COVID-19. Anything really is undealable unless it involves giving free money to the wealthy. That’s easy.

    Things keep getting worse because we no longer have parties and appointees that want to govern. We have a system were no one knows how to govern even if they want to. It is all political theater and image control.

    So we have the appearance of a smooth pond, that being the well off playing the Three Monkeys while ostensibly unaware of the updrafts. The upper classes and the elites have managed their images of the world to be what they want it to be. They have placed themselves into that kabuki play that they wanted other to believe. It does not include the hard work of making the trains run on time, filling the potholes, fixing the water-mains, or passing thoughtful legislation. Much of the legislation is actually written by the bleeping lobbyists. Something, somewhere crucial is going to break soon. Who knows what it will be, but there are going to be a lot of surprised people fairly soon.

    Reply
  6. Kasia

    These riots/protests, led by “woke” activists and fully backed by the corporate oligarchy, are the leading edge of Blue State Imperialism. This is an attempt at the Californiazation of the rest of the US: the mass pauperization of the population, cementing further power in the super-rich technocratic and media elite. In order to appease the ever-increasing rabble of paupers, special rights and privileges, in varying degrees, are dished out to everyone except heterosexual white men. Inequality before the law, based on race, sexual orientation, or gender dysphoria is justified as “corrective” measures since while some “market minorities” outperform whites, in general the increasingly brown masses, but still including many downtrodden whites, are losing ground under managerial libertarianism of the super-rich. But instead of making economic reparations, the Neoliberal elite stoke the insatiable group narcissism of the various Identities.

    The protesters echo the official elite-approved Narrative (kulturkampf, anti-straight white male), the elite media and major corporations use their Megaphone to amplify the message, and the Muzzle attempts to seek and destroy the wrongthink of bad actors highlighting the violence or question the message. In return the Megaphone downplays any violence and/or blames it on the eternal enemy; straight white males. Interestingly, with the “Karen” phenomenon, straight white females are increasingly being added to the enemy list.

    The agitation is needed to cover the coming collapse of Blue Cities. The distance working triggered by Covid-19 crisis represents the last nail in the coffin of Blue City high rises and a wave of defaults on commercial properties cannot be that far away. No longer tethered to these increasingly dangerous metropolises, wealthy taxpayers will flee to more pastoral settings. Pauperization means a growing parasitical tumor in the form of a lumpenproletariat, which is met by an even larger parasitical police state, deployed as a form of street chemotherapy. But Blue Cities can no longer afford to pay for public police, and so since Neoliberals are always going to Neoliberal, privatization of the police is one of the key aims of the useful “protesters”. Can “Charter Police” forces, provided by multinational corporations, be far behind?

    Reply
    1. The Historian

      Why limit your criticism to Blue Cities? Isn’t what you describe happening to all cities? The ruling class isn’t Blue or Red or haven’t you noticed yet?

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        yes…how easy …some people…forget…that the aristocracy/boss class operates at a level somewhere above D/R, L/R, Red/Blue..
        in the same manner that the bosses/managers breeze through customs…borders are for the little people…as are laws and regs.
        and the belabouring of “cis white males’ is indicative of being stuck somewhere down in the hyperdivision and distracting squabbles, meant to keep us’n’s from ever looking up, and discovering our common enemy.
        as if “blue cities” are somehow monolithic….a single mass with a single hive mind, adhering with religious fervor to some “blue city” decision tree…that —somehow—differs markedly from the , also proverbial, decision tree of “red cities”.
        simplistic and unempirical, and designed as a sugar pill to distract us from the commonalities of the operators of the various systems(like reliance on cops/force, rather than endeavoring to get at the roots of dysfunction)
        —-
        I’m almost finished with “the making of the english working class”(after 9 months!)…and i recommend it highly.
        Class awareness doesn’t just happen all by itself…and with the superorganised and super well funded mindf&ckian machinery forever fomenting division and confusion down below, it will be even more difficult to somehow pry people’s heads out of their nethers.

        Reply
      2. Kasia

        Blue Cities is redundant for cities of a certain size. Indianapolis would have been a Red City but it turned blue a couple years ago. Actually New York City could have been considered a Red City during the Giuliani and Bloomberg years. Ironic considering the Woke Industrial Complex is headquartered in NYC. New Yorkers were basically saying there are two sets of rules, one for the rest of you and another for us — and we make both sets of rules. But even NYC eventually fell to the internal contradictions of their Wokeness for Thee but not for Me policy.

        The ruling class indeed is not red or blue but there are still examples of “red” America: Tennessee would be one. Also how did the stupid Republicans end up being called “red”? The word “red” is packed full of negative connotations due to the Red Army, etc, but somehow the right inherited all this. Everywhere else in the world “red” denotes the left.

        Reply
        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Yes, and neighborhoods like the Upper West Side and Greenwich Village, still (falsely) associated with progressive politics, gave majorities to both Giuliani and Bloomberg.

          It’s why I reflexively make a fist when I hear the “I’m a social liberal and a fiscal conservative” trope coming unmindfully out of their mouths.

          Reply
    2. Makesi

      I protested in my big broke-a** city because i want the police to stop killing people. It would be nice to see my neighborhood school, which was built 100 years ago, rebuilt so it is safe for all who work and learn inside it. Using the money budgeted to the police to accomplish this would be a start.

      Thats why i was out there. Cant speak for the millions of others, and won’t make assumptions. But like thousands of others i was tear gassed for giving a sh*t about my country. My friends have been shot by rubber bullets.

      When i was biking away from the tear gas a couple young kids were riding with me. “Yo why’d the cops shoot the tear gas at us?” One asked. “Because they fu**ing pus*ies!” said the others and they all laughed and rode back to their neighborhoods.

      Reply
      1. Susan the other

        I’ve been wondering how it is possible for cities, whether big or small, to become destitute. They all have people, people with energy and ideas. A small town is like a big city neighborhood. There is the same synergy. Small towns used to be entirely self-sufficient. They housed, fed, educated, communicated, partied, and worked. There was a balanced, functioning economy. Everyone can see it has all failed because the money has been extracted from every corner of the country and siphoned to the mega-multinational corporations. So now the multi-national monopolies are dying because there is no demand. So the government sends everyone $1,200. Clearly this is not gonna work for long.

        Reply
  7. Bob Hertz

    Thanks for posting, many good ideas, but here is one problem —

    even if there is a federal jobs guarantee, the kids who are rioting are not likely to be hired for…

    “There is plenty of potential work out there: infrastructure projects for roads, bridges, transit systems, and wastewater treatment; disaster preparation for hurricanes and fires; the construction of barriers to protect against sea-level rise.”

    This work cannot be done by untrained and frankly undependable teenagers. Nor can it be done by anyone at $12 a hour, nor can it be done without massive expenditures for material and machines.

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      What if there were apprenticeship programs? They train teenagers all the time. Through such programs, the kids learn about dependability.

      Reply
    2. The Historian

      I think you have to stop thinking like one of the managerial class – you know, those MBA beancounters who know a lot about money but not much about how actual work is done.

      That work CAN be done by untrained young people. Back in the day, those untrained people got jobs as apprentices. Nobody becomes a master plumber or a master in any trade by going to college for four years – they learn on the job. Where have all those apprenticeships gone? And how do we get them back? That was one of the great ways we had of putting those teenagers to work, wasn’t it? It also ensured a middle class future for them.

      As far as the massive expenditures for machinery and materials, well, isn’t that creating more jobs? Someone is going to have to work to prepare the materials, someone is going to have to work to build the machines.

      I’ll ignore your comment about undependable teenagers – so far I haven’t seen that many undependable teenagers – just teenagers who have no future and know it!

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        aye! beat me to it.
        my labor force consists entirely of teenagers…and with my boys, they began at closer to toddler age.
        supervision is needed, and much patience with the various stages of maturity and ability to focus, but it certainly can be done….and it makes better Humans.
        and i’m also reminded of my grandfathers: one was born and grew up on the homestead,they didn’t know the Great Depression was happening until a family broke down on the highway in front of the farm. That unaware of the conditions, at 13…out of boredom, and a will to “find his fortune”, he ran off with the circus that came through Caldwell, Texas, shoveling elephant manure…then WPA and a trade(sheet metal), then the Army Airforce….carried him, my dad and me(3 generations) through in relative prosperity, until his death.
        other grandad, was poorer, and left home at 11 with his older brothers, via a mule and a buckboard, and ran off to deeper east texas to work in the oilfields.
        then joined the CCC and learned a trade(lathe and plaster) that carried him, my mom and me(3 generations), in relative prosperity, all the way through the rest of his life.
        I detect meritocratic credentialism, designed to kill public endeavors in the womb, and keep safe the ricebowl.
        as it stands, looking around, we have little to lose by doing a lot of what needs to be done in our society in a less than perfect way. Good Enough will do for now, because the situation is quite dire.

        Reply
      2. Pat

        And it isn’t just crafts like plumbing. Apprenticeships were the norm for many skills including technical ones. At least they were until MBAs decided that instructing people in how their company made or did things meant that the workers got more when they had those skills. Better to pay skilled labor unskilled rates and have the educated or talented but inexperienced either work for nothing or struggle to get that experience.

        There is a reason why all productivity gains have gone to the top in the last decades. Much of that was a concerted event to stop paying Americans the wages they deserve. When they couldn’t move the jobs, they finagled, muddled and outright conspired to keep wages low.

        My favorite classic is companies complaining there are no workers but when you dig you discover there are plenty if only they would pay actual market rates for the crafts they seek not ten or twenty dollars less an hour they advertised the job at.

        We cannot do that because “skills” is almost always we don’t want to pay for it or we want to import people to do it. I will now add we just don’t want to pay to correct the problems this type of stupidity has produced – it might become common practice again.

        Reply
        1. Michael Fiorillo

          In the construction trades, apprenticeship programs were usually run through the unions, with employer funding.

          The auto companies also used to have apprenticeship programs for the skilled trades, especially tool and die-making, and model-making.

          Just like the health care and retirement systems, the move is to place those responsibilities on the backs of individuals, and shame and stigmatize those who can’t get past the built-in obstacles.

          Reply
    3. TomDority

      Geez, we can spend trillions on the financial sector who have repeatedley shown their incompetence at every step. The rentiers “are doing Gods work” – if you believe that, then I have some bridges for you.
      I guess the public purse is open to only the financial geniuses who keep getting themselves into trouble – evn sans-covid it would have collapsed again.
      Undependable teenagers ??? what crack have you been smoking – look what you handed them!!!!
      The work can be done – it’s called on-the job training –
      as for expenditures on materials and machines – well yea

      Reply
      1. fwe’zy

        My impression is that Bob is referring to the teenagers being used as scabs once again, to displace union workers at union rates. We know this is part of the raison d’etre of the school-to-prison pipeline.
        On the other hand, there is plenty of low-tech infrastructure maintenance work that is key to longevity of the system, though the glamour of the design-build overshadows this fact. I was reading something from here about how all work can be knowledge work. Maintenance is a great example of this.

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          All Work IS Knowledge Work.
          takes skill to dig a proper ditch.
          or to pick a perfect tomato(taste-wise)
          They pay us far too little.
          and diss us as a matter course.
          fuck them.

          Reply
  8. Norb

    What I don’t understand is why riot at all? Why play right into elite hands; their wish is to ultimately unleash a violent crackdown on dissent. Gulags and slave labor are no problem for them at all. Why not constructively and creatively disengage yourself from elite influence and control? Rioting will only bring about destruction and loss of property. Property that should be put to better use. Instead of explaining, or justifying rioting, advocate for channeling that energy into another form.

    Until there is a powerful subculture that learns how to reject the elite worldview and learns how to provide for the basic needs of life, the potential violence that will be unleashed upon the poor and suffering masses will be unimaginable. The psychic discord that those hardships will induce in the minds of those effected will take generations to overcome- if ever. That seems to be the plan, and it is working.

    The effort and money being spent to confront the elite directly, on their own terms, is utterly wasted. Until the elite loose the ability to print money at will, to suit their needs, the battle on those terms is lost before it has begun.

    The definition of a non-corrupt or legitimate government is one that fulfills the needs of the people. The ultimate goal of humanity is to be free. Free to creatively interact with the world we live in to find meaning and purpose.

    Rioting is the shallow and reflexive response to oppression. It won’t change anything in a meaningful way.

    I would suggest that dissenters of the current system need to learn how to create guaranteed forms of subsistence before making any form of political demands. For those on the bottom of the social hierarchy, that means, at the very least, growing some of your own food and reading a book from someone critical of the current system. Without that, a person is truly lost, and will only be “allowed” to riot and burn down property that the elite find appropriate. The next step will be to round up the dissenters and throw them into a Gulag or whatever marketable name is decided upon.

    All the while, the system trundles on- the oppressive system of exploitation, not cooperation.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      where, pray tell, are “the rioters” supposed to learn of these alternative methods of resistance?
      trained for 2-4 generations to believe in the opposite, it is no surprise at all that stealing a tv might be at the top of the list when public order breaks down.
      as for “burning their own neighborhoods”…walk a mile in their shoes before handing down prescriptions from on high.
      rage…at the endlessness of the extrajudicial beatings and killings…at the hopelessness of the generational poverty, with no way forwards or upwards…rage is not pretty, nor does it fit into some idealised framework of “fighting for” and “bold steps”, which often themselves end up implemented in hypercomplex systems of weeding out and means testing and mandates from above that are neither understood in context, nor particularly applicable to the life these folks know.*
      geez.
      it would be cheaper and more effective to just bring in dumptrucks full of cash to these neighborhoods…then load the stormtroopers into those trucks and haul them off to retraining camps where they could learn how to be humans, again.

      *i’m reminded of when our youngest was in Head Start, and the HS bosslady was required to do a home visit. i was offended by most of the assumptions contained in the questionaire that she read out to us(assuming at an institutional level that we would be illiterate)…things like: don’t leave your crack pipe out where you kids can get it…or It’s not OK to have sex with your children.
      !!!! Really…i’m perfectly serious.
      the bosslady had been to school with my wife, and was required to do this…and apologised for the insanity of it all…but the boxes had to be checked.
      “welfare”, and all the poor people programs, are designed to not work.

      Reply
        1. Oso_in_Oakland

          they sound like the men who tell women in domestic violence situations to just leave, pointing out how if they stay they must like the abuse.
          so few who don’t experience things can grasp the complexity of either situation.

          ++++ furies ty

          Reply
      1. diptherio

        This, a million times over. I get pretty tired of hearing people moralizing about riots and looting, seemingly more put off by that acute, easily understood destruction that occurs in response to police violence against protesters, than by the globalized, complex, somewhat more subtle variety of destruction and immiseration the ruling class engages in day-in, day-out. “Grow some food and read a book,” ffs. How much food can you grow in a one bedroom apartment? How is reading a book going to get you access to healthcare or buy some new shoes for your kid? Sublime did a pretty good job explaining all this years ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oM1a1ycLtRs

        And on a side note, Amfortas, a couple of days back you had inquired about the comic essay on black-and-white flags and punisher logos. I tried three times over two days to reply with a link for you, but each one was sucked into the void, never to be seen again, so instead of giving you the link, I’ll just tell you the piece was titled “About face” and appeared on the website Popula. That should make it pretty easy to find.

        Reply
      2. Hepativore

        The trouble is, that all indications are that the protests are going to be co-opted into nothingness by the PMC as they become reduced to empty talking points and hashtags. Nothing is going to be accomplished because the same PMC that is co-opting the language of the issues is the same one that is refusing to budge on the core issues that are causing the problem such as economic disparity and the growing power of the police state and surveillance which is going after everybody in the precariat, not just minorities.

        Sadly, I think that the protests will burn out in a few months and be used as an empty marketing scheme by the elites like what had happened with Occupy Wall Street.

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          what everything you said says to me, is that we need to get busy right outside our doors, and not make a bunch of noise on the state or national level…lest they swoop in and either co-opt it or smash it.
          turns out that is exactly what i’ve been busy with for years.

          Reply
  9. Tom67

    Wow. What a thought: “Can “Charter Police” forces, provided by multinational corporations, be far behind?”
    Have never thought that far. But not impossible

    Reply
    1. PeterfromGeorgia

      The genesis is already there . . . my last two neighborhoods (before we headed past the exurbs to a true rural town) had a private security force in the form of off-duty cops who kept an eye on the place.

      Reply
    2. John

      We already have experience with “charter police”. The Pinkertons did all sorts of evil for the Gilded Age oligarchs.
      Now shut up and eat yer freedom fries.
      Just joking.

      Reply
  10. Joe

    Love the article but don’t agree with this, at all:

    “It will demand that those of us in the well-positioned older generations accept the higher taxes that we’ve been avoiding for over forty years.”

    MMT tells us we don’t *need* taxpayer money to pay for a Job Guarantee, or Medicare For All, or our next 22 aircraft carriers.

    Having said that, I’m all for taxing the uber-wealthy back into civil society

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      “…taxing the uber-wealthy back into civil society…”
      not without some test for Humanity.
      as i said yesterday about the local elite/gentry…there are good ones, relatively speaking…and like an article Lambert posts periodically about PMC Precarity, it’s unfair to paint with broad brushes…but surely there’s a psychopathy test for these uberwealthy would-be lords of the manor to weed out the evil…like a mirror to “Means Testing”, if you will.
      Fail at Humanity…Gom Jabbar!—and off to New Botany Bay, which, in fairness also, should be located in one of the sacrifice zones/superfund sites….or maybe that empty quarter in Iraq, where depleted uranium dust wafts over burned out oil machinery.

      Reply
  11. Rod

    great article on a Major Problem in a tidy thumbnail.
    and illuminating comments, but one from David up top really resonated:
    (the Ruling Class may not) have any particular interest in the long term; indeed, they want to maximise their short-term gains precisely because the long-term is uncertain and uninteresting.
    and I would add Scary
    and “scared people do crazy sh*t” (truth on a bumper sticker)
    and when, to those with the most resources and power–who have taken as much of the pie they can stuff into their pockets,, the solutions are a perceived or direct threat to your status and power, then disconnect from a Society that is the Threat to your status.
    And where you gonna go?

    In a moment that we need to trust our common connectivity to address everything–covid/climate/poverty/pollution and resources, etc. , we seem driven(by rugged american individuality? to vested interests) to estrangement and disconnection.
    How unnatural for the historic evolved Human Being to make this choice.
    E Pluribus Unum

    Reply
  12. juno mas

    From the article:

    “…the construction of barriers to protect against sea-level rise;”

    This is a specific quibble, but barriers to sea-level rise are not sustainable solutions. The imperative for “Green New Deal”-like projects should be sustainable infrastructure. Barriers to hold back sea level rise is waste of time, effort , and money (even if it may create jobs). Better to re-imagine coastal retreat.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      every time i hear about the Ike Dike…again up for discussion…along Galveston Bay, I think about Xerxes having the sea flogged for undoing his plans (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Xerxes_lash_sea.JPG)
      spend an hundred and fifty years “subduing nature”, and recreating the conditions of the Carboniferous period, and when confronted with the consequences of such activity, refuse to lie in the bed we’ve made…and propose more subduing of nature as a remedy to all the other subduing.
      …or let’s run off to Mars, and subdue her, too….

      Reply
  13. Bob Hertz

    Rioting and looting are not caused by poverty.

    I live about three miles from the epicenter of the Minneapolis riots after the George Floyd killing, so I saw a lot.

    Most of the rioters were out there out of pure anger. And it was anger at racist police. The 1% richest sector in Minneapolis has been sponsoring racial reconciliation and police reform for yours, without much success.

    The looters (black and white) often came to the stores in nice vans and trucks, and they did not steal food. That was also true in the looting in Chicago and New York City and Washington and California.

    I just reject the effort in this article to crank out a classic Marxist narrative on the riots.

    I do appreciate the excellent comments on a better model for labor and apprenticeships.

    Reply
  14. Susan the other

    Paul Buchheit is a good communicator. (This entire thread is wonderful.) I’d say he’s being delicate when he says that 90% of Americans have been unheard since 1975. More like 1965. The riots in the 60s made no material difference. They sobered up the war mongers for about two decades – but war finds a way, protests and riots are just rocks in the river for the MIC. Things always get mis-played. After the Club of Rome gloom about overpopulation, things got worse. It’s not as if everyone on the planet didn’t understand there were too many humans – everyone has always understood this problem. No less so today. Always caught between prosperity and procreation. And capitalist-materialism-for-all made it exponentiate like a California fire. We are where we are. That’s the scary part. In fact, now that everything has blown up, “trickle-down” would actually work well, in this sense: Green trickle down. Jump started by the government because there’s no profit in it, so no privateers. (So please, let’s not be fooled by public-private partnerships, or perpetual bonds for the bilious billionaires.) Green direct spending could be a very successful watershed for a new economy. It will take an entirely new mindset. I’d submit that we have an adaptable resource ready to use. It was almost created for this purpose. The military. And we have good science. And lots of people who want both jobs and a cleaner environment. What’s missing? I’m sure they’ll figure it out.

    Reply
    1. fwe’zy

      I like that idea about the military, as a stewardship organization and model for buildout of a larger social well-being society. Minus the haircuts!

      Reply
  15. Billy

    Black crime is something that has to be solved by the black community.
    Whites alone cannot do it.

    Tweaking an existing federal program is simpler than creating an entirely new one.

    The best and easiest thing to assist that goal, would be to eliminate the financial penalty for a man to remain in the home, for all people on welfare.

    “The effect of married fathers on child outcomes can be quite pronounced. For example, examination of families with the same race and same parental education shows that, compared with intact married families, children from single-parent homes are:

    More than twice as likely to be arrested for a juvenile crime,[3]
    Twice as likely to be treated for emotional and behavioral problems,[4]
    Roughly twice as likely to be suspended or expelled from school,[5] and
    A third more likely to drop out before completing high school.[6]”

    You may not like the messenger, but you cannot ignore the message.

    https://www.heritage.org/welfare/report/how-welfare-undermines-marriage-and-what-do-about-it

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      ugh.
      please examine the numerous assumptions contained in that heritage thing you linked.
      i scanned it…but i didn’t really have to. I knew they were there.
      see if you can find them: Impress me!
      I’ll help you become a better conservative.
      (small-c)

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        oh, and btw…i’ve actually been on “welfare”.
        it ain’t a picnic.
        hard to get on…hard to stay on…everybody at the office hates you and thinks you’re a fraudster…and even less than human.
        it’s hardly worth it(so, well done, repubs!)
        but i invite you to put down your heritage mag and your rushfrellinglimbaugh…and take your tax cuts and go visit denmark….or france…or even the UK, in it’s current degraded state(thanks to thatcherites, i might add, making certain tat socialism can never be allowed to work(see: history of socialism: every time, man)_)
        in other words, you linked to Heritage…Ergo, you have no idea what “socialism” actually is…but you think that you do!
        which must be an uncomfortable place to inhabit when confronted by folks who actually do know what it means….please go learn stuff.
        start here:
        http://www.marxism.org/
        so that you can at least appear to know of what you yell.

        Reply
    2. Bijou Smith

      “Tweaking an existing federal program” might be easier, and perhaps should be done as an interim measure, but that is no argument against a Job Guarantee. The JG should be legislated for more than just economic reasons (unemployment is a huge cost, far more social costs than the cost of funding a JG) it should _also_ be policy of any decent society simply for humanitarian reasons, to make the UN Declaration of Human Rights actually enforceable in some measure (Article 23).

      Also, from the killing two birds with one stone department, there is no good reason on earth why a JG program should not include one at-home parent as qualifying for the JG wage + benefits. Parenting is public service work by any definition. Women especially need that wage as a back-up in case they need to reject the father of their children in case of domestic violence. They must receive a wage for their parenting in such cases, it is the only civilized thing to do, and it cannot possibly break the government piggy bank (q.v. MMT).

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *