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pampango

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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Xenia, OH
Member since: Tue Sep 19, 2006, 04:46 PM
Number of posts: 17,262

Journal Archives

There need to be labor and environmental standards in any trade agreement.

If TPP does not have them, and it sure seems like it doesn't, then sticking with WTO trading rules (which do not have labor nor environmental standards that affect labor rights in a place like Vietnam) is better than missing the opportunity that TPP could have represented.

To improve labor and environmental standards globally we will have to negotiate enforceable agreements with the rest of the world. Given what we know about TPP it looks like we will have to wait a long time for that.

One of many countries that actually does what many US politicians profess is impossible:

supporting a strong safety net with high progressive taxation without killing the economy that generates the wealth.

Great Title: “Change They Can’t Believe In: The Tea Party and Reactionary Politics in America”

Another axis of difference between the two is that an establishment conservative will see policy differences or policy preference differences between them and progressives as merely political differences. But these reactionary conservatives see policy differences, or differences of policy preferences, as a contest between good and evil. They have this Manichaean way of looking at politics, this apocalyptic way of looking at politics. Therefore, compromise cannot be . Compromise will not be tolerated whatsoever, because they see it as concession to evil, whereas an establishment conservative knows that compromise is necessary.

The bottom line is that a lot of people assume that the Tea Party people are just crazy … but that’s not the case. I mean, that’s really not the case, and I want to dismiss that misconception as soon as I can … Another misconception that the Tea Party is really just a bunch of racist people and that their movement is about racism — and it’s really not … It’s bigger than racism. People who tend to support the Tea Party, they tend to be sexist, they tend to be homophobic, they tend to be xenophobic; so it’s not just about race. It’s about difference. It’s about anything that violates their phenotypical norm of what it’s supposed to mean to be an American: white, mainly male, middle-class, middle-aged or older, heterosexual, and native born. Anything that falls beyond that description is considered not to be a true American and therefore … these groups are encroaching on what they see as the “real” America, the America that they’ve come to know and love through their lifetime.

It’s not the astroturf movement that a lot of people think it is. I said that in that Brookings piece and I’ve backed that up with some evidence. Now, we saw what happened in Virginia, right? You had this guy, Brat, who got almost zero support from national Tea Party organizations — and look what happened. So I think there’s really valid data showing that the Tea Party movement is not the astroturf movement that people think it is.

People want to say that they’re crazy, and they’re really not. They want to maintain their social position, their social prestige; and as Frederick Douglass once said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will.” So it’s rational to want to hold onto your position; it’s completely rational. It’s about the means through which do that — that’s what the problem is.

Great find, xchrom. Thanks for posting it.

Certainly true that agreements (trade, peace or labor) can be "good or crappy" but

the republican accusation was that they were both crappy - "flooding our markets with foreign commodities" - and negotiated secretly - "It secretly has made tariff agreements with our foreign competitors".

Reciprocal Tariff Act of 1934

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act (RTAA) into law in 1934. RTAA gave the president power to negotiate bilateral, reciprocal trade agreements with other countries. This law enabled Roosevelt to liberalize American trade policy around the globe. It is widely credited with ushering in the era of liberal trade policy that persists to this day.

By giving the President the authority to negotiate these deals, the Congress effectively ceded a part of their power (authorized under US Constitution, Article I, Section VIII) to the executive branch.

After the Civil War, Democrats were generally the party of trade liberalization, while Republicans were generally for higher tariffs. This pattern was clear in congressional votes for tariffs from 1860 until 1930. Democrats were the congressional minority in the majority of Congresses between the Civil War and the election of Roosevelt. During their brief stints in the majority, Democrats passed several tariff reduction bills. Examples include the Wilson-Gorman Act of 1894 and the Underwood Tariff Act of 1913. However, subsequent Republican majorities always undid these unilateral tariff reductions.

... the administration decided to take advantage of having a Democratic-controlled Congress and Presidency to push through the RTAA. In 1936 and 1940, the Republican Party ran on a platform of repealing the tariff reductions secured under the RTAA.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reciprocal_Tariff_Act

FDR's RTAA is what gave us "secret trade deals" and 'fast track' for their approval or rejection by Congress.

The complaints against FDR in 1936 were quite similar to the complaints against Obama today even though times and the nature of the agreements has changed.

In 1936 Republicans accused FDR of making "secret" trade deals with "our foreign competitors".

The 1936 republican party platform looks like it could have been written for the tea party:

It has coerced and intimidated voters by withholding relief to those opposing its tyrannical policies.

It has destroyed the morale of our people and made them dependent upon government.

Appeals to passion and class prejudice have replaced reason and tolerance.

It has created a vast multitude of new offices, filled them with its favorites, set up a centralized bureaucracy, and sent out swarms of inspectors to harass our people.

It has bred fear and hesitation in commerce and industry, thus discouraging new enterprises, preventing employment and prolonging the depression.

It secretly has made tariff agreements with our foreign competitors, flooding our markets with foreign commodities.

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29639

Eurostat report: The EU continues to have the highest taxed countries in the world.

Danes the highest taxed in Europe, reveals Eurostat

Denmark, Belgium and France are the highest taxed EU countries according to research by the bloc’s statistical agency Eurostat.

The data in Eurostat’s report on ‘Taxation trends’ in the EU, published on Monday (16 June), found that the Danish government collected tax worth 48.1 percent of economic output in 2012.

Overall, the average tax-to-GDP ratio in the EU increased to 39.4 percent in 2012, slightly up from 38.8 percent the previous year. Eurostat says the rate continued to rise in 2013.

The EU continues to have some of the highest taxed countries in the world. Of the major OECD countries outside the bloc, only Norway, at 42 percent, has a higher tax burden. Meanwhile, the US, Canada and Japan have rates of 25 percent, 28 percent and 30 percent, respectively.

http://euobserver.com/news/124616

Germany's taxes totaled about 39% of GDP, Sweden and France at 44%. It's amazing how much in the way of social services and safety net these countries can provide with an extra 15% of GDP in tax revenue. Of course, a stronger middle class and greater income equality are the result.

The Eurostat report itself is at http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_OFFPUB/KS-DU-13-001/EN/KS-DU-13-001-EN.PDF.

Krugman: Corporate shock over the defeat of Cantor.

The Corporates and the Crazies

Jeremy Peters and Shaila Dewan write about corporate shock over the sudden fall of Eric Cantor; it’s further confirmation of the story I told in my last column. Corporations and plutocrats had a good deal going: they bankrolled politicians who talked cultural populism during campaigns, but more or less ignored all that and focused on tax cuts and deregulation after the polls closed. And Cantor fit that profile perfectly.

But now the big money has lost control; the base is demanding politicians who don’t just talk the crazy talk, but walk the crazy walk. For a couple of months the story line was that the money was regaining control, but between Cantor and Cochran that narrative has been blown out of the water.

What’s unclear is what comes next. By pivoting so hard to the GOP, the money has lost much of its leverage over the Democrats — yes, there’s Andrew Cuomo and people like him, but it’s not the same as once it was.

How bad is it? So bad that some establishment Republicans — which means people who work for the corporate side — are pining for another run by, yes, Mitt Romney.

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/06/15/the-corporates-and-the-crazies/

If corporate republicans are thinking about turning back to romney, you know things are bad.

Juan Cole: 7 Myths about the Radical Sunni Advance in Iraq

1. “The Sunni radicals of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are popular.” They are not. Opinion polling shows that most Iraqi Sunnis are secular-minded. The ISIS is brutal and fundamentalist. Where the Sunnis have rallied to it, it is because of severe discontents with their situation after the fall of the Baath Party in 2003 with the American invasion. The appearance of video showing ISIS massacring police (most of them Sunnis) in Tikrit will severely detract from such popularity as they enjoyed.

2. “ISIS fighters achieved victory after victory in the Sunni north.” While this assertion is true, and towns continue to fall to it, it is simplistic. The central government troops, many of them Shiite, in Mosul and in towns of the north, were unpopular because representatives of a sectarian Shiite regime. The populace of Mosul, including town quarters and clan groups (‘tribes’) on the city’s outskirts, appear to have risen up in conjunction with the ISIS advance, as Patrick Cockburn argues. It was a pluralist urban rebellion, with nationalists of a socialist bent (former Baathists) joining in. In some instances locals were suppressed by the fundamentalist guerrillas and there already have been instances of local Sunnis helping the Iraqi army reassert itself in Salahuddin Province and then celebrating the departure of ISIS.

3. “Iraqi troops were afraid to fight the radical Sunni guerrillas and so ran away.” While the troops did abandon their positions in Mosul and other towns, it isn’t clear why. There are reports that they were ordered to fall back. More important, if this was a popular uprising, then a few thousand troops were facing hundreds of thousands of angry urbanites and were in danger of being overwhelmed. In Afghanistan’s Mazar-i Sharif in 1997 when the Pashtun Taliban took this largely Tajik and Uzbek city, the local populace abided it af few days and then rose up and killed 8,000 Taliban, expelling them from the city. (A year later they returned and bloodily reasserted themselves). Troops cannot always assert themselves against the biopower of urban masses.

5. “The US should intervene with air power against ISIS.” The Sunni radicals are not a conventional army. There are no lines for the US to bomb, few convoys or other obvious targets. To the extent that their advance is a series of urban revolts against the government of PM Nouri al-Maliki, the US would end up bombing ordinary city folk. The Sunnis already have resentments about the Bush administration backing for the Shiite parties after 2003, which produced purges of Sunnis from their jobs and massive unemployment in Sunni areas. For the US to be bombing Sunni towns all these years later on behalf of Mr. al-Maliki would be to invite terrorism against the US. ISIS is a bad actor, but it so far hasn’t behaved like an international terrorist group; it has been oriented to achieving strategic and tactical victories in Syria against the Baath government and the Shiite Alawis, and in Iraq against the Shiite Da’wa Party government. But it could easily morph into an anti-American international terrorist network. The US should avoid actions that would push it in that direction. So far the Baath regime in Syria is winning against the Sunni radicals. The Shiite majority in Iraq can’t easily be overwhelmed by them. Local actors can handle this crisis.

http://www.juancole.com/2014/06/myths-radical-advance.html

Cole's knowledge always injects some sanity into a chaotic situation.

Countries with the most equal income distributions all do it with the same policies.

High/progressive taxes;
Strong safety net and national health care;
Legal support for strong unions.

The US has none of those. Our taxes are low and regressive; our safety net is weak; our health care system may be improving but it way below the standard of progressive countries; with the enactment of Taft-Hartley we not only do not legally support strong unions we actively undercut them with "right-to-work" states.

The list of those with the most equitable income distributions includes no countries with low/regressive taxes, a porous safety net and weak unions that is on If we are going to deal with our inequality we have to deal with these issues. We don't need to reinvent the "income equality" 'wheel' that has already been proven to work in many progressive countries.

OTOH, the countries on that list that have the best distributions of income in the world, all recognize the value of international trade. Such trade is a much, much larger part of their economies than it is in the US.

74% in Germany
62% in Sweden
51% in Canada
47% in France
37% in the UK
22% in the US

The US cannot effectively deal with inequality by restricting international trade. None of the progressive countries in the world do this.

And the US actually tried this in the 1920's when republicans repeatedly raised tariffs and reduced trade substantially. The result: by the end of the 1920's we had a record level of income inequality. FDR dealt with this by enacting higher/progressive taxes, improving the safety net and creating legal support for unions - just what progressive countries do today. And FDR took steps to increase international trade - just what progressive countries do today.

Add to those: Return the appointment of U.S. Senators by the State Legislatures,

We oppose implementation of the UN Agenda 21 Program which was adopted at the Earth Summit Conference in 1992 purporting to promote a comprehensive program of sustainable development projects, nationally, regionally and locally.

...“climate change” is a political agenda which attempts to control every aspect of our lives. We urge government at all levels to ignore any plea for money to fund global climate change or “climate justice” initiatives.

We urge that the Voter Rights Act of 1965 codified and updated in 1973 be repealed and not reauthorized.

We are resolute in our support of the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

We unequivocally oppose the United States Senate’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

We support an immediate and orderly transition to a system of private pensions based on the concept of individual retirement accounts, and gradually phasing out Social Security ...

We demand the immediate repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which we believe to be unconstitutional.

We support land drilling and production operations including hydraulic fracturing.

We oppose the implementation of any Cap and Trade (aka “Cap and Tax”) system through legislation or regulation.

We support the immediate approval and construction of the Keystone XL and other pipelines ...

We also encourage the adoption of a National Right-to-Work Act.

We believe the Minimum Wage Law should be repealed.

We believe Congress should repeal the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 there by abolishing the Federal Reserve Banking System.

We support the withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations and the removal of U.N. headquarters from United States soil.

We oppose foreign aid except in cases of national defense or catastrophic disasters, with Congressional approval.

We support United States withdrawal from the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization and the World Bank.
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