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Armstead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-09-06 10:10 AM
Original message
GREAT article summarizes the key economic issue facing Democrats
Edited on Mon Jan-09-06 10:26 AM by Armstead
This is a short but powerful overview from of the problem with the current "centrist" approach of Democrats, tying togther the fatal flaw of their conversion to Milton Friedman economics over the last 30 years. It also offers a solution to how the Democrats can reclaim their former position:

The Democrats' Silent Spring
Thomas I. Palley
January 06, 2006


...What happened to mute the Democrats voice on the economy? The academic ascendance of the laissez-faire vision of an economist named Milton Friedman...<CUT>...As a result of the dominance of the Chicago School, both Democratic and Republican economic advisers are trained to occupy a common intellectual space. The only differences that can survive relate to values and the defense of an egalitarian society. The dominance of one economic theory has huge implications for policy, but this is an issue difficult to convey to pragmatic worldly politicians.


And so it remains today. The current cohort of Democratic policy advisers unconsciously uses the same analytical framework as their Republican counterparts.


What we need now are Democratic economic advisers who challenge the flawed economic assumptions of Friedman's laissez-faire school. Three generations ago, Keynes identified the economic challenge of the time as one of optimizing capitalism so that it delivers for all. That challenge continues in the era of globalization. Meeting it requires unashamedly and openly making the economic efficiency case for labor standards, trade unions, minimum wages, corporate accountability and financial market regulation. Additionally, todays advisers must confront the environmental challenge posed by the industrial economy itself. Thats a big ticket, but it's a ticket that can own both the efficiency and fairness franchises, and thats a politically unbeatable combination.

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flpoljunkie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-09-06 10:24 AM
Response to Original message
1. Thanks for link. I second that last paragraph. Recommended.
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Strawman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-09-06 10:40 AM
Response to Original message
2. I like James K. Galbraith
He is precisely that kind of economist.
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-09-06 10:59 AM
Response to Original message
3. we need a broader message than "Save Social Security"
retirement security is a critically important issue ... Democrats have addressed Social Security and other issues like healthcare and minimum wage ... but, overall, the Party lacks a coherent response to the abuses of "free market" capitalism ...

it's interesting to note that Bernie Sanders, a Socialist, leads all challengers by 50% in recent polls and that Sanders regularly receives support from a wide range of voters across the political spectrum ... Democrats are afraid to even mention the words "capitalism" or "socialism" ...

any economic system that values capital more than it values human labor is inequitable and ultimately doomed to failure ... Democrats have refused to recognize that there is a class struggle going on in this country between wealthy shareholders and workers ... it's like they're too afraid to even raise the issue for discussion ...

for those interested, here was a DU thread on this same article from
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Armstead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-09-06 11:02 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Thanks for the link -- Ooops
I didn't ralize there was anotehr thread about this article, or I would have responded to and kicked that instead.

But it's an important one, so the more the merrier I guess.
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-09-06 11:24 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. absolutely ...
this other thread was a few days ago ... i'm glad you revived the article from ...

my thread had something like 3 or 4 people respond ... unbelievable !!

everyone knows "it's the economy, stupid" but DU'ers are more focussed on the horserace itself than on issues that will decide the horserace ...

there were a few interesting discussions in that other thread ... it's worth a read ...

what i find frustrating in many DU discussions is that we're very good at blaming the corrupt republican party, the corporate media, the bogus Diebold software and on and on and on ... and every one of those allegations is very valid ... but the Democratic Party is going to remain a minority party until one of two things happen:

1. Americans get so sick of republicans and neo-cons that they'll vote for Democrats just to have a change or
2. the Democratic Party communicates a compelling vision on how to guide the country in the right direction ... a laundry list of programs, and i agree with most of them, is fine but it is nowhere near adequate ... America is a dying empire and Democrats have not provided the "big picture" solutions to change that direction ... as long as big money retains a strangehold on Washington, nothing will change ...
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Armstead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-09-06 11:30 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. It is depressing what gets ignored at DU
Edited on Mon Jan-09-06 11:31 AM by Armstead
Put up a post about the president's latest facial scar and it will get 100 reponses.

But try to inject core issues of substance, and it often sinks like a stone.

I agree with your 2-possibility scenerio, except I think number 1 is not necessarily going to elect democrats. Instead it will just increase fatalism and underlying despair and apathy of the population.

Number 2 would actually re-invigorate the political system, and would also sweep democrats into office if they really embraced it as an organization.

It's not rocket science. People are getting screwed and they know it. It's time for the Democratic party to assert itself as the party that actually supports the interests of the middle-class majority and the disadvantaged. That's both pragmatic and the best thing for the country.

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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-09-06 11:43 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. i wasn't going to recommend this thread ...
but now that you mentioned bush's facial scar, RECOMMENDED !!
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Armstead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-09-06 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. See? I know my Marketing 101

Subliminable advertising
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dennisnyc Donating Member (388 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-09-06 07:01 PM
Response to Reply #3
11. anti-communism is a kind of religion in amerika and it is a big
part of how the media propaganda machine works.
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-09-06 11:43 AM
Response to Original message
7. K&R

"There are forces within the Democratic Party who want us to sound like kinder, gentler Republicans.
I want us to compete for that great mass of voters that want a party that will stand up for working Americans,
family farmers, and people who haven't felt the benefits of the economic upturn."--- Senator Paul Wellstone

The Democratic Party is a BIG TENT, but there is NO ROOM for those
who advance the agenda of THE RICH (Corporate Owners) at the EXPENSE of LABOR and the POOR.

In EVERY case, "Barriers to Trade" and "Restrictions on Corporations" were created to protect something valuable!

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Armstead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-09-06 06:47 PM
Response to Original message
10. Kick
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Douglas Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-09-06 07:06 PM
Response to Original message
12. excellent article -- balanced
Edited on Mon Jan-09-06 07:36 PM by Douglas Carpenter
I suppose the way the whole campaign mechanism has become dependent on the generosity of lobbyist has made rational thinking about economy extremely difficult for the candidate who is willing to think out of the box and voice openly the politics of reason. Hopefully the ability to raise money online and the revival of grassroots democracy can change that.

I know I've said this before..but I recommend everyone listen to how a Congressman and Senatorial candidate who does that and wins even rural conservative counties by landslide after landslide. When Bernie Sanders is interviewed FOX News (for some odd reason they have him more than all the other networks put together) they get swamped with phone calls and E-mails from conservative viewers who love his message. IT'S HIS MESSAGE THAT SELLS. WITH HIS MESSAGE DEMOCRATS CAN CONTROL THE DEBATE FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA. I'm not talking about him personally or his candidacy. I'M TALKING ABOUT HIS MESSAGE.

link to Bernie's audio/visual files:


Borrowed from:

139. a super-majority of Americans are liberal in all but name

Public opinion polls show that the majority of Americans embrace liberal rather than conservative positions...

The vast majority of Americans are looking for more social support, not less...

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EVDebs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-09-06 11:05 PM
Response to Original message
13. Bush's Capital Repatriation program is silently ending this year
This capital repatriation program is bringing back to the US somewhere in the area of $350 billion dollars to the US treasury this year only. Dems should be trying to make this program PERMANENT along with spreading the money to the states most hardest hit by globalization.

The loss of capital overseas is identical to the loss of jobs to outsourcing overseas. We need to keep that money HERE. DU can publicize this.

The original taxes would have been 35% but now they are around 5.25%

ASA Scorecard on Capital Repatriation

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Douglas Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-10-06 12:56 AM
Response to Original message
14. kick because it is so important
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stickdog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-10-06 02:31 AM
Response to Original message
15. Recommended reading. (nt)
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Hidden Stillness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-11-06 03:46 PM
Response to Original message
16. Everybody is Rich to These People, and Issues are not Fought but "Framed"
Like many people, I think the whole thing is just symptomatic of the change from contacting voters to get elected, to contacting rich corporate donors to give money to the media, to get elected. Eventually, given enough time, the whole orientation would be remade. It is deeper than the switch from thinking of John Kenneth Galbraith to this asshole Milton Friedman, or even than the switch from longer, sustained explanations to the kind of mental short-circuit that is sloganeering and advertising, although it includes it. It is a mental, and then political, change from our Nation as a society of people, wanting the general good; a government with laws, and a court system that citizens can access, to considering only what corporations want--wanting now to negate government and reduce legislation and regulations that protect. It was actually the switch from the middle class and poor having any influence at all, to the rich corporate boardrooms deciding everything, and imposing it on the rest of us. The problem goes far beyond "not having a message"; they are actually living in another world now, with another constituency, and restating things will not help.

Ever since the takeover of the "D"LC/consultants/"framing"/corporate lobbyists, etc., a whole new frame of mind has been introduced, that has shut out the entire American population and its real concerns, and that introduced judgments about things, that were never there before. Rich people and corporations, the investor class, all these groups, are "winners," are "doing well," and the poor and middle class are "less successful," or are actually--although they conceal the phrase, "government-dependant losers." They are ashamed of the poor, do not want to hear about their problems--no affordable housing, slum landlords, price- and bill- gouging--and do not even know what they are. Many Democrats even voted for the Energy Bill, the Bankruptcy Bill, and the Medicare Prescription Bill, every one of which were corporate subsidies that are killing the people who have to live under these new rules--they are totally out of touch, and living in a world of corporate propaganda.

I remember when these things started to change, during the '80s, when they started to fuck around with the meaning of these earlier understandings of how things worked. When they changed the meaning of "deficit spending" from spending that needed to be done to give people money and government programs to recover from a Depression, or spending during war or other crisis, to a totally new, invented "meaning," that of Republicans cutting taxes and increasing defense contracts and corporate subsidies, and driving us into debt and getting nothing for it, as if this were the same situation, and no Democrat corrected it, I knew something was lost already. Already, Democrats were saying, "Oh, I want to cut the size of government and 'privatize' (commercialize!) everything, too," "Oh, I want to cut taxes, too," and I already did not recognize them anymore. They have been fucking up the language routinely for so long...You can just hear them all, "Pwesident Buss wants to increase the deficit--THAT'S not conservative!" You, asshole, it isn't liberal either! Why do they stab us in the back this way?

This was when Democrats no longer talked like real people anymore, and began to sound like these horrible policy statements, because they had contact only with that type, and lost their common sense. It is just like when a corporate/"D"LC/Republican type wants to break in on an economic thread, and impose a " 'free' " market, deregulated, no tax, no government, etc., argument--the first thing they do is trot out the economists' jargon, to try to make you feel as if you are just in over your head next to the great expert and no doubt rich person, who plays the stock market, owns bizzesses, and all the rest. The atmosphere is poisoned with this "superior" jargon that has no instructive values at all, and always, no logic. No one with actual knowledge talks that way to a general audience. Remember somebody like Carl Sagan, the great astronomer who was so popular. Sagan made everything very clear and simple, yet never talked down to anyone, and treated all kinds of different subject matter as equal.

This will not be solved by the same rich consultants giving Democrats new catch-phrases; that is what we have now. They need to actually get a middle class presence in the Party again. The deeper problem is that Democrats no longer talk like real people--who are very anti-corporate, surprise!--but instead always sound like this horrible type that is trying not to make the corporate world mad, which effectively sabotages everything.
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BigYawn Donating Member (877 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-11-06 05:30 PM
Response to Original message
17. IMHO the biggest danger to democrats running in 2006 is...
that the economy is doing well. Atleast the statistics say so.
Not sure if the stats are trustworthy but here they are:

Dow Jones over 11,000 (4.5 year high).
Unemployment at 4.9% (low by historical standards).
Interest rates lower than any time during Carter, Reagan, Bush41,
and Clinton.
New home sales breaking records.
60+% people own homes.
40+% people own stocks directly or through their retirement plans.
Corporate profits have increased at 13 to 15% rate going on for 4 years.
Personal incomes are rising.

The truth is this so called prosperity is like a house of cards built
on borrowing both by individuals and governments. It will collapse, just
a matter of time. My guess is not until 2007 at the earliest.

So I see democrats not doing so well in 2006 but doing great in 2008.
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Hidden Stillness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-11-06 11:14 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. This is the Problem, Right Here
With all due respect, this is exactly why the Democrats have completely lost their way, (assuming you are a Democrat at all). The economy is not doing well, it is in complete collapse; "the statistics" tell us that long-time major capitalist investors have even begun to convert all their assets to Euros and other currencies, an alarming trend that has never happened before. If you believe the unemployment rate is 4.9%, then I don't know what to think. It does not count people who have fallen off the workers' compensation rolls, those who have given up searching for a job, those who never had a job, and the under-employed (part-time and temporary workers who cannot find full-time employment). Your comment that "personal incomes are rising" is bizarre. There is no such statistic, and all measures have been showing the entire middle class unable to keep up and falling further behind; personal debt and bankruptcies have never been higher. "New homes sales breaking records." What? They are not; they have fallen. What are you selling? Your refernce to the percentage of people who own homes is useless, as almost all had already bought them before the current era. The stock market going up can just as easily be taken as an alarming sign, as a supposed good one. The stock market wildly climbing as investors speculate, would not be the first time it has brought on a Depression. Rich people's stocks are by now totally unconnected to the general state of the economy. There is almost no manufacturing anymore in this country, and the entire income level of the middle class has dropped, as they have had to turn to service industry jobs, with no benefits. Whole areas of the country are still depressed, including my own Midwest. I don't give a fuck how your stocks are doing. This is what is wrong with the Democrats, and also with Republican operative plants.
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-11-06 11:26 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. nicely said !!
the economy is doing just great if you're the "right kind of people" ... it's not doing well at all for most Americans ...


Let's begin with those job figures. When you go from dismal to mediocre, of course things look great. Four million jobs in the past two years is good. But 5 million new jobs in the past five years is pathetic by any standard, especially when the administration sold its massive tax cuts for the rich as a job-creating engine. Between 1995 and 2000, remember, the nation created 13.3 million jobs, an average of 2.66 million jobs per year. That's after the tax increase on the rich that the Clinton administration got through Congress in 1993 -- the increase Republicans at the time said would ruin the economy. (The 1990s are the wealthiest decade on record.) The jobs being created this time around are, aside from construction, in low-paying sectors like temporary work, health care, restaurants and big-box stores. High-paying jobs in manufacturing, telecommunications and air transportation are on the losing end. If anything, the tax cuts are subsidizing a devolution in quality jobs.

President Bush's tax cuts, overwhelmingly favoring the rich, demolished the balance and fairness that was beginning to creep back into the tax code. I say creep back, because despite progress under Clinton, the restoration of fairness was timid and still generously tipped toward those who need it least. Clinton slowed down the growing disparities between the rich and the rest. He didn't reverse them, as Franklin Roosevelt and his successors did until Ronald Reagan's election in 1980.

From 1947 to 1979, family income for the poorest 20 percent of the population grew by 120 percent, and by comparable rates for the next two-fifths of the nation's households. Income for the top fifth grew by 94 percent. Since 1979, household income for the poorest 20 percent has risen 0.7 percent. Total. It has risen between 7 percent and 8 percent, total, for the next two-fifths of the country's households, or about 0.3 percent per year. For the richest 10 percent, household income grew 61.2 percent during the same 25 years. And for the richest 1 percent, it grew a staggering 111 percent. Wealth had been becoming a more equal opportunity. It's now a privilege again.

Productivity increases have historically been the best barometer of rising living standards. And in the past few years productivity has risen at bewildering rates, helping corporate profits clock in at or near records in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Yet unlike productivity's windfalls in the 1950s and 1960s, and to some extent in the 1990s, median wages have stagnated. Why? Because corporate profits no longer translate into workers' benefits once shareholders and executives claim their tithe. (Median CEO compensation in 2004 was $4.4 million, or 160 times as much as production workers' average wages). As with the income figures, corporate profits bring true meaning to a rising tide lifting all yachts.
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BigYawn Donating Member (877 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-12-06 01:39 AM
Response to Reply #19
21. CEO salaries is my single biggest beef against "corporations"
If there is a law we need in this country more than anything else
is to tie the total compensation of the highest paid to a maximum
factor based on the lowest paid employee in that outfit.

Even CEO's of near bankrupt corporations such as United Airlines, K-Mart
and crooked CEO's at Enron, WorldCom anf Global Crossing took millions
of dollars home while employees lost jobs.
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BigYawn Donating Member (877 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-12-06 01:32 AM
Response to Reply #18
20. You may be right, but that is not what I read and hear in MSM
So long as the newspapers are constantly telling the readers how
low the unemployment rate is, and every TV station news talks about
Dow Jones hitting 11,000, that is what people are hearing.

I hear constantly how new homes are being built at record pace. It is
not my opinion. It is what I read. Are you telling me you have not
read all this glowing praise of the economy?

Since I come from manufacturing background, I am petrified at the loss
of manufacturing jobs in this country. Majority of wealth is created by
manufacturing, mining and agriculture. The so called service industry
feeds off the goods produced. We can't all be retailers, accountants,
lawyers and insurance agents if there is no wealth created to buy the retail,
account, or insure the goods.

If you read my post carefully, you will notice I have my suspicians
about government stats. But you and I are not the main stream media,
we have no soap box to reach millions 24/7. They don't hear you or me.

Personally, I won't touch this inflated stock market with a 10 foot
pole. I am preparing for a deep depression, which is coming before this
decade is over. I think it will be triggered by the boomers starting to
cash out of their 401-k's to support their living expenses.

That is why I fear and predict that 2006 will be a bad year for
democrats. Right or wrong, the incumbents will get the credit for
the "good" economy so long as that's all the voters hear in MSM.

We will find out in 10 short months.
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