Masterful as always.
Good morning all.
Thanks BT. Jane sure seems to be more busy than usual lately.
“Tea Party supporters pick Mitt Romney as top choice for President in 2012″
Bachmann’s running for Vice President on an “I’m not Palin” platform, in case anyone is too thick to notice.
AARP announced this morning they will no longer object to cuts in Medicare. On a related topic the U.S. has fallen to 37th in the world in life expectancy.
Morning, everyone. “♫ It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day in the neighborhood…♫” (Where is nahant? I need some musical notes!)
EDIT. Ah, there they are!
Good morning, Jane! You’re up early!
Mornin’, BT, pups
I watched most of the LGBT panel at NN with Jane and LT Dan Choi but wasn’t able to hear what prompted LT Choi to rip up a flyer and throw it at the guy who handed it to the panel. Now I know what went down:
Progressives ‘Break Up’ With Obama
Nothing like an up-front, straight out message to Mr Obama and the Democratic Party. Good on you, LT Choi.
No surrender and no more compromises, motherfuckers.
Obama resurrected the Republican Party and is destroying the Democratic Party.
Morning, good on you, Jane. It looks like denying access to health care is the way to keep it ‘the world’s best system’ in the eyes of the crazees.
Somehow I think Romney had his audience measured up, as they all seemed to laught sincerely at his joke. If it had been Bush, he would have taken himself seriously, that he’s unemployed.
Romney’s not responsible for job losses under Bush, nor lack of jobs under Obama, wherever his past wealth was made.
I don’t think it matters who was sitting in the WH when Romney’s firm was stripping and flipping companies, throwing who knows how many people out of work. The point is he was laying people off for personal gain.
Hard to believe that they’re not going to fuck with Medicare — in addition to the Medicaid cuts.
AARP announced that they will not oppose Social Security benefit cuts. Sell outs.
I agree with the one panelist, Romney’s “joke” sounded better (and seemed to be received better) than it reads in print juxtaposed with his actual wealth. He was trying to be “just folks” but it was pretty clumsy.
That’s why I never joined AARP. They take positions I do not support. This isn’t the first.
AARP stands to gain by enrolling more people in their health insurance plans. AARP sold out to the capitalists a long time ago.
Ditto and I still get entreaties to join after writing nasty notes on their enrollment forms in the past.
Next he’ll be ordering o.j. instead of coffee to show he’s one of them.
When they started pushing United Health, I finally altogether decided they’re not for seniors.
I just toss their mailings in my recycle bin unopened.
EDIT: I just feel unrepresented by anyone, these days. My DINO Blue Dog Rep (Donnelly), my governor (Daniels), the Dimocraps, Obama, AARP, etc. When and how does MY voice and those like me get heard?
Their health insurance “plans” suck!!!
Mark Warner was on Morning Joke touting the Catfood Commission recommendations…that’s where they’re at.
I am in a Medicare Advantage plan. I know the subsidies will be discontinued but for now the one I’m in is a decent deal for me. Philosophically I am opposed to them, but I can’t afford to pass them up as long as they make sense economically now that I’m retired.
The internet is coming along nicely for that purpose, imho.
I just feel unrepresented by anyone, these days.
Welcome to the club. Unless we can give tens of thousands of dollars to some Super PAC we are not represented. We’re used as props in political campaigns and promptly ushered out of the room after the election.
Yes, and progressive organizations like FDL. But the elected officials and groups who are supposed to represent me (like AARP) have their own agendas and they don’t include my concerns. I just have this teeny tiny voice yelling at clouds.
I haven’t checked them out but I don’t doubt you for a nanosecond.
The ruling class is putting the screws to all of the workers:
Here it is the assault on Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare. In Canada, 50,000 postal workers were “locked out” by their employer in order to provoke a Tory ‘back to work’ push back through legislation. They are striking because their pensions are being dismantled.
I thought I read somewhere that their plans are rated pretty highly. My insurance agent had one of their plans on his list of “acceptable” options (but maybe he gets more commission by selling it, I dunno). But the Medicare Advantage plan I’m in, for now, is pretty good, although it takes some effort to navigate, and their idea of “reasonable and customary” charges is pretty low.
And totally OT for a moment: those who’ve been following the Decorah eagles might want to tune in again. They all “branched” yesterday for the first time (left the nest for a nearby tree branch) and are on the verge of “fledging” (leaving the nest and flying away). Once that happens there won’t be any more eaglet viewing until next spring. It has been fascinating.
Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.
I’m just thankful I have the VA to fall back on.
I watch them off and on during the day. I’m hooked on Phoebe the hummingbird and her babies. Both the eagles and hummers should fledge towards the end of the month.
Thanks for posting the link and the comment Jane.
The points you made on the show and in the comment need to be hammered from many directions because the MSM will not cover these important facts.
I realize you are at NN 2011 and very busy. What can we do to help you over the next few days to get the points about medicaid cuts and Mitt out?
Medicaid cuts, young adult male suicide rates up 55% in four years, Mitt thinks he’s funny to joke about unemployment?
I need more coffee…
The US market relies on job churn. In a healthy economy, people are both downsized and quit on their own, and both end up working for new companies at comparable salaries.
Lessee, Romney was doing leveraged buyouts during the Clinton years when the economy was booming and unemployment was at an all time low – when even new hires were getting salary bonuses depending on the market.
So read a bit about job churn: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/22/AR2007012201089.html
The problem is not about firing people and making companies more efficient. It’s about a number of issues like a healthy market where investment in internal resources is encouraged, where companies aren’t given tax breaks to be anti-worker, it’s about having universal health care so workers can easily move to new jobs without threat of personal catastrophe, it’s about the steady degradation of the US economy through devaluing the dollar and subsidizing the best-connected companies through infusions of dollars or 0 taxation.
The only reason the dot com recession lasted so long is that Bush refused to do any stimulus in 2001. Otherwise companies would have quickly regrouped. And in 2008/2009, well, we made up a theory that if you give companies huge tax breaks they’ll run out and hire. Nope.
What about the loss of jobs to overseas outsourcing? Job churn doesn’t work when there are no jobs to go to. You wouldn’t happen to be a free market advocate, would you?
Morning BT & Firepups:
Where can I get me some of them demon sheep for their, ya know, deterrent value?
I, too, have the VA to fall back on, but I’m in Knoxville and the VA hospital is two hours away.
“Mitt Romney is the guy who fired your dad.”
Jane always cuts right to the quick!
It’s not just blue collar jobs being outsourced. When a company does its manufacturing overseas, engineering, and R&D (innovation) must follow. That leaves America with a dismal jobs future.
Off to swim in the great capitalist cesspool.
US KIA Afghanistan: 1,622
US KIA Irak: 4,462
Iraki, Afghan and Pakistani casualties: estimates vary to over 1.5M
US MBS 2011: 20,708 and counting
Be good to yourselves, and all other living things
No war but class war
Never. Give. Up.
MEDCAID CUTS = DEATH PANELS!!!!
It leaves us with no job future.
When our neoliberal friend upthread talks about companies becoming “…more efficient”, to me that’s code for profit over people, even when it’s followed by what companies should do with their capital.
Hey Dragon: Check your electric mailbox, yo…
Crane-Station here. (we are sharing a screen today) Funny that you would mention them. I came very near to writing a post just yesterday on the Decorah eagles, in fact I did write one but could not figure out how to get the Livestream up in the post. Did you notice…more than 145,000,000 people have viewed them? The are so cute! Spots and all. Did not know they left the branch!
The United States is turning into a rentier economy, of the rentiers, by the rentiers, and for the rentiers. To the people making the major economic policy decisions, the loss of manufacturing and high unemployment don’t really affect their bottom line. The ex-underdeveloped world is booming, and its demand for goods generates the returns to capital that used to come from selling consumer crap to Americans. Obviously, there are still great swathes of American industry that depend on domestic demand, but to the people who own most of the capital, the real opportunities are elsewhere.
In some ways, the American situation has become much like that of the United Kingdom after the First World War. Although the London financial community generated a trivial proportion of GDP, the bankers dominated economic policy to preserve their domination of financing world trade and international investment. Their concerns and source of wealth was entirely divorced from the state of the domestic British economy. The same is true today of America. It’s difficult to see where this will all end up, but it will surely not be pretty.
I notice the Buddy coffee sign behind Mitt’s head – with the word coffee not entirely visible, and the table with lots of white coffee cups. But alas, the caffeinated brew is a forbidden beverage to Mormons. A “crossover” staged set -but not going the whole way – with coffee.
You are absolutely right. While nobody has really been looking, copyright law has been revised on all fronts to drastically increase rents across the board. That’s where enormous chunks of income for the biggest US corporations are derived, from tech to entertainment to pharmaceutical companies. Nobody really understands copyright law and they make it as opaque as possible, so it has been hard to follow. But it’s been a huge priority for the most powerful companies in the world, and there has been no opposition.
We knew it was just a matter of time before the Eye of Sauron tuned on Cenk.
Sex is usually most rewarding when there is no opposition.
they used audio of Jane at the NN11 over at npr.
dumb title for an article. decent quote attr to JH
gooogle won’t let me link I guess
Glad to see we’ve finally moved past Anthony Weiner, but we should not forget about David Vitter, the pay-to-play criminal from Louisiana http://www.forcevitterout.com
Just be glad you got it, I’m a combat vet and don’t have it.
Of course I’m a free market advocate when there are reasonable bilateral conditions.
We gain through lower cost for goods ($1 off purchase price is typically $1.10 with saved taxes plus add your saved time and SS/Medicare deductions to earn that $1). Some of these goods also become subcomponents for more complex systems. In general, the US has done very well in sales & marketing based on offshored production.
But if we don’t tax any of these companies on profits, then we’re missing key revenues both to keep government services going as well as care for workers who need retraining/up-skilling or other kinds of unemployment/underemployment support.
Of course we could go back to the days when working on a US assembly line or in a backroom soldering shop was considered a career. But with the world’s most prosperous economy, it’s hard to see why we should be trying to compete with the majority of the grunt work, vs. making the supposed promise of a service economy actually work.
(part of that making it work means making sure the financial service economy doesn’t rip off the rest, and part means not throwing away money on fictitious job growth plans from Big Ag and others. And hey, part of it could be in making health care competitive. I don’t see why to sit around complaining that China’s doing our hard labor for us when we can’t seem to fix our internal corruption that’s much more debilitating)
In terms of more jobs for job churn, while everyone was talking about infrastructure “shovel ready” jobs for the 2009 stimulus, service-friendly internet jobs and research jobs and education jobs could get out the door much quicker, especially if taking advantage of cyberspace for telecommuting and remote service delivery.
While we have to have some manufacturing base, this isn’t 1933. While I was all for doing more for the Big 3, in the age of Google and eBay and Apple and Amazon, we should have a few more tricks up our sleeves than “roadside beautification”. There are areas in green energy research, new energy grids, pluggables, nanotechnology, etc. that could make a bigger difference for our overall efficiency and competitiveness. But all we got except the Chevy Volt already in design was a lot of wishful backward thinking.
[Disclaimer: I once was enthusiastic about new efficiencies of computation in the financial sector. Obviously we needed to bolster the computing capabilities of the law enforcement agencies before that Pandora’s Box got opened. But oddly I do agree with Gates that our enforcement of internet security is a serious national security threat, much bigger than anything from roadside IEDs by Al Qaeda, and tied in with China’s push for backdoor illegal economic hegemony.
And as Jane mentions above, the absurd extensions of copyright law, plus the abuse of the patent system, are just more ways the well-connected have taken to gaming the system against the public good. There are a lot of threats from outside and in.
And what’s wrong with making a career of making things with one’s hands? That “grunt work” made this country what it was until the finance sector convinced the capitalists that they could accumulate more wealth trading paper than by actually making things.
A bunch of nostalgia. Sure, working with your hands is fine, whether cleaning out toilets or doing an assembly line. But a GM assembly line of 2011 isn’t a GM assembly line of 1959 or GM would have much worse problems. Downsizing, increased efficiency, et al. are just parts of recurring new efficiencies. And “making things with one’s hands” might be an artist with paintbrush, a mechanical engineer doing design, a landscape artist designing an estate or simply a Mexican immigrant re-roofing your house. All fine work, but not all artistic. When I was throwing boxes in a warehouse, I had only one thought, which was to get out and get a more comfortable less back-breaking job.
Sure we can pay American workers 10 times the wage what any warm body in the world could do – and then we can cry about poverty in the 3rd world. Or we can take advantage of American infrastructure and logistics and access to capital and education and clustering effects around technology centers to give a little more and earn a little more. And then I don’t mind increasing immigration to let newcomers do the work the older citizens have outgrown.
I can’t help but notice you argue from the capitalist’s point of view rather than the worker’s.
So after all the poor people have died off, after working all their lives mowing lawns and installing solar panels for the bright people, we can let immigrants into the country to do the “grunt work.”
It’s interesting that while labour costs in the auto industry have dropped significantly due to technological innovation the cost of an auto has not gone down. The cost of a pair of Converse sneaks is more now that they’re made in Viet Nam than it was when they were made here. I have no doubt the same is true of solar panels. Americans no longer make Converse but they pay a price as if they were. That’s capitalist efficiency.
I’m a worker. The working class and the employing class have nothing in common.
I hope someone from that MSNBC program reads this. That animated “The Power Panel” graphic is very distracting and annoying.
Good grief – you sound like me talking – how in the world did you acquire my background and mindset.
Having had that background and mindset for quite a while, I warn you no good can come of it. :-)
Most importantly, nuanced response does not sell politically unless you have movie star looks – and even then it is an obstacle to overcome. Seems the trick is to find the focus group approved 16 word (a jazz function it seems) phrase that all will latch onto that can later be claimed to include your nuanced idea.
As you can tell, I enjoyed your posts. Thanks for posting! :-)
I saw you on TV a few times yesterday – at one point you noted that the most likely deficit reduction Obama approved result would be a Medicaid cut – the same Medicaid whose expansion was the majority of the new coverage claimed for the Obama health ins reform bill – and that this cut was likely already planned as a give back for the future deficit reduction for 2012 election, even as they were getting it included in the 2010 Health ins reform.
The interesting thing was that the program let that thought die immediately – no discussion. I thought there was so much meat to chose from that it would be interesting to see where the program went with that comment – I did not expect it to be ignored.
Thanks for trying.
Oh nice, a snobby worker. Believe it or not, workers are capitalists too, or didn’t you know?
Immigrants have always been let in to do the grunt work. Have a better idea? The immigrants I know are the ones who work hard so their kids have better jobs, not stuck running a corner grocer 18 hours a day like them.
I can get a pair of Converse sneakers for $27, which in 1972 was $5. Are you telling me Converse sold for less than $5 in 1972?
If you want to talk cars, here’s a site that tells you that cars are safer than they used to and on average last much longer than the 100,000 miles of the 1950′s: http://www.freeby50.com/2008/11/history-of-new-car-costs-and-average.html
No, workers are not capitalists. They are considered a commodity by capitalists. Capitalists enjoy the surplus value created by workers.
And I’m not talking about 1972 prices. Converse moved its manufacturing to Taiwan in the late 90s or early 2000′s, when it was bought by Nike. The resultant drop in labour costs didn’t result in a reduction in price, they went up in price.
Likely the jazz background, I presume. Even though it sounds familiar, there’s often something unexpected. On good nights at least.
Geez, you’ve got it slanted weird. Workers can also enjoy the surplus value between their actual effort and the market value of what they do. We use national borders frequently to limit cutthroat free market effects on labor, as well as minimum wage laws. Otherwise we’d have Grapes of Wrath scenes where everyone will pick for a few pennies less than the next guy until no one gets nuttin’.
Workers often have lower risk than owners. If a worker fails, she’s out her job. If an owner fails, she’s out her investment plus her job. If the workers can get a union in, work conditions and compensation are typically much better; if not, the situation can deteriorate to sweatshop. There are good places to work and bad. Their are employers who seem to attract good workers and keep them satisfied, and that agreement even shows up in the quality of the product.
However workers are treated or considered, they’re still capitalists if they’re trading their services (work) for pay on the market.
I don’t know about 1 particular good produced in Asia, and using that anecdote to condemn offshoring completely without having some details of fact in the case is just irrational.
What I do know in 5 minutes of Googling is that Converse was bankrupt, had lowered its quality, Nike bought them, lowered the quality on shoes even more to save money, shipping out production to various Asian countries, and also did rebranding to tie in Kurt Cobain and other cultural paragons to the brand.
Since Converse was bankrupt, it was obvious anyone buying it would do a combination of lowering costs, increase volumes & distribution, improving demand and possibly raising prices to get to a break-even point, no?
I still don’t see that Converse prices went up significantly, but maybe you have that data? (someone in 2003 at the time of buy-out wrote of the price for Converse AllStars as $35 – are they significantly more now?)
And frankly, I didn’t buy Converse in the early 1990′s because I was already getting ridiculously cheap $5-10 Chinese shoes dumped on the market. Suppose if had more money, would have gone for something more impressive, but since I spraypainted the sneakers anyway, brand didn’t matter much.
Anyway, the bigger points should be 1) China outsourcing (and others) saves us money – if enough, that difference can improve our lifestyle and go into enhancing other services and product lines. 2) The US did not have a population base or production capability large enough to handle worldwide demand anyway. China proved convenient to ramp up production to new levels for new markets, with most of the profits going to us (Barbie, Coke, etc.) This was seen in the booming of the US economy in the late 90′s. 3) The sellout of the US economy and the unwillingness of leaders to fix problems has caused us to stall out. This includes the housing bubble that despite being obvious took 10 years to crash with no action by Bush. It includes the giveaways to the defense/military and oil industries, as well as subsidies to agriculture. It includes letting medical costs run rampant and not fixing a basic problem for worker mobility.
Just because we don’t clean up our own house doesn’t mean China or Japan or India is to blame. Yes, there are currency trade problems with China, and unequal trade terms, but most of the issues and costs are from our own corruption. In the end, as the #1 economy, we should be helping to drive prosperity in the 3rd world, not shoving our money under our mattress and telling them all to stuff it. And that means doing a good job growing, improving environmental performance, and finding high-value ways to add to development so other countries can fill in the lower value or complementary parts of products. (manpower, basic ingredients, location-based services, et al)
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