"The wealthy, not only by private fraud but also by common laws, do every day pluck and snatch away from the people some part of their daily living. Therefore, when I consider and weigh in my mind these commonwealths which nowadays do flourish, I perceive nothing but a certain conspiracy of rich men in procuring their own commodities under the name and authority of the commonwealth.

They invent and devise all means and crafts, first how to keep safely without fear of losing that which they have unjustly gathered together, and next how to hire and abuse the work and labor of the people for as little money and effort as possible."

Thomas More, Utopia

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Barockstar

So it has officially begun. Soon everywhere you turn Barackomania will overwhelm your senses. Any day now "liberals" will swear that Senator and now presidential candidate Barack Obama has a secret cure for cancer.

Our disfunctional republic has long embraced the useful fiction of a two party political system. Completely ignored by those who adhere to this belief is the voluminous record of bipartisan support for the most reactionary, corporate-friendly policies of this and previous administrations from welfare "reform" to "free-trade" agreements to our current depredations in Iraq. As I've stated here and elsewhere, there is no difference between the Democratic and Republican parties on fundimental issues. Check the record.

Obama is but the latest in a long line of hustlers distracting the public from the fact that neither party remotely supports its positions on critical issues, as polls have long revealed. A quick perusal of the polling links on this site will make this plain.

Paul Street has a proud record of pointing this stuff out as he did late last year when the first rumblings of an Obama run for the White House began. In his latest post, Street revisits this theme with some added comments on mainstream liberals in general. Read on.

6 comments:

leftisthebest said...

Right on Coldie!

I have told co-workers Obama is not the savior of the left as they falsely protray him to be. True progressives will support one more left than Obama.

I have long advovated the GOP and democrats are almost the same. As stated by The Who, "new boss, same as the old boss."

Progressives who have voiced opposition to the invasion of Iraq (I refuse to call it a war), since day 1 are the true leftists. Those Johnny (and Jennie) come-latelies who not voice oppoistion were toolsof the Commander-in-Chief.

Anonymous said...

Hi Coldtype
Use to enjoy the exchange of opinions that use to periodically be allowed on SCC unfortunately it seems to be banned from existence. One view and no open mind is not well. There is no difference in the parties anymore surprised they don't run with one big corporate seal. SCC has not let us know what type of Libertarian he is although there is a strong Republican link. The site often does carry a heavy dose of hostility, many followers quick to take another not agreeing with SCC mantra down. Would hate to think majority of posters are cops. Is there a secret handshake? If so I don't care. No Barockstar for me all Hollywood profiling. This much about SCC site they appear to not blog anywhere else unless instructed to do so by of a link on his site, now that's scary.

Anonymous said...

I've stated for several years that the GOP and the Democrats are two sides of the same coin. However when going to the polls in 08 I'll probably hold my nose and vote Demoocratic because I find them to be the "lesser of two evils." This nation can't afford another administration like the present one. Until there is a legitimate third party (I'd even welcome a fourth.) too much political power is held between the Dems and the GOP, there will never be true and honest diolouge on capital hill. The average American is being "hoodwinked" by Democrats on the left and the GOP on the right. The question is;how do we stop it? There are no political alternatives on the horizon that I know of. And for the record, Obama has a "snowball's chance in hell" of winning the Democratic nomination much less winning the general election. As was stated earlier, he's merely a distraction.

Coldtype said...

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Coldtype said...

[Note: The following post is a response to "SupplySide" from the 'NRO' thread of the SCC. The moderators apparently felt it "too long"]

Hello SupplySide. There is a great deal to address here, so much in fact that my response will require two parts. For brevity’s sake you won’t object if I call you SS will you? Thanks buddy. Let’s begin with a few words from the lightweight.

“Coldtype your 4th grade understanding of economics is overwhelming. What is you’re solution to failing pensions and the future of social security?” -1/20/2007 11:40:19 PM

Generally SS I ignore the comments of posters that don’t present arguments (i.e. define and defend a position for or against, etc.) to the issues I’ve raised, however, this little fellow’s flailing attempt at rebuttal has unwittingly segued to my position.

The central weakness of your argument lies in its assumption that capitalism, particularly as practiced in the US, represents a true free-market system. When you wrote, “You will clearly never be in business to hire people. You believe that government will save everyone. How Keynesian of you” you betrayed this fact. Inherent in your assumption is the myth of Self-Reliance. This useful fiction holds that the “successful” are such by virtue of their own fortitude, luck, and perhaps the favor of Providence, with no assistance from the “Nanny State” necessary—or proper. This of course extends to US corporations, arguably the most powerful entities on earth today since US foreign and domestic policy is designed primarily to accommodate their priorities.

Let’s begin with your curiously allergic reaction to the theories of the late British economist John Maynard Keynes, before moving to the imminent “failure” of our Social Security system in Part II of my response.

Keynes of course famously proposed that the way out of the world wide depression of the 1930s was for governments to put people to work on projects in service to the common good. In America, that led to projects such as the TVA and the Hoover Dam among a host of other great public works. An extension of this idea was the New Deal out of which Social Security arose. Implicit in all of this was the belief that the government should serve the interests of its people. But that’s not the Keynesianism you and the “free-enterprise” types approve of is it SS?

Can you help me with something SS? Why do you fail to mention the kind of “Nanny State” interventionism about which your tribe DOES approve? Why no comment on the government’s role in the massive transference of the public’s wealth into private hands via the Governmental Procurement System? Surely you’re aware that companies such as Lockeed Martin, Boeing, or any of the pharmaceutical giants would not even exist were it not for a helping hand from good ole Uncle “Nanny” Sam. The same goes for the computer industry. We would not have an aircraft industry at all in fact if not for military Kaynesianism.

You see SS, the taxpayer shells out the billions of dollars in research and development funds via the university grant system. This gets the project off the ground. Once a viable (read: profitable) product is developed, the whole affair is transferred to private corporations for private profit on a stupendous scale. How do you explain such massive public investments being transferred to a relative handful of corporations as anything but the ultimate gift? Shouldn’t the end product remain the public property? If not then let the corporations bear the true expense of R&D (pharmaceuticals) and search for a market outside of one that is guaranteed by the taxpayer (USAF, USN, USMC).

SS are you not outraged by the tariff system in the US which so radically interferes with Adam Smith’s “hidden hand”? Shouldn’t the strongest prevail without interference from the government? I don’t recall anywhere in my reading of Smith where he suggested that it was the duty of the government and, by extension the taxpayer, to assist in every way the success of corporations. Why did your hero, Ronald Reagan, impose more restrictions on foreign products, particularly in the steel industry, than any administration in American history? Free enterpriser’s consistent demands for “small government” fell oddly silent when Uncle Sam (with tax dollars) stepped up in a big way to bail out the fat cats of the banking industry after the Savings and Loan Scandal. Tell me something SS, why will my grandchildren have to pay for their mismanagement and corruption?

That will have to end Part I of my response SS or risk running afoul of the TLCR. Part II of my response will address that great “drain” on our economy that is the Social Security system. Much more later.

Coldtype said...

Part II Of Response To SupplySide

Hello SS. The following pretty much sums up my position on the Social Security "crisis". This is an article which appeared in the Khaleej Times on June 1, 2005 right about the time of the Social Security hysterics and was penned by Noam Chomsky. Let me know what you think. CT

************************************

By Noam Chomsky

In the debate over Social Security, US President Bush’s handlers have already won, at least in the short term. Bush and Karl Rove, his deputy chief of staff, have succeeded in convincing most of the US population that there is a serious problem with Social Security, which opens the way for considering the administration’s programme of private accounts instead of relying on the public pension system.
The public has been frightened, much as it was by the imminent threat of Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction.
The pressure on politicians is rising as leaders in the US House of Representatives hope to draft Social Security legislation by next month.
For perspective, perhaps it should be noted that Social Security is one of the least generous public pension systems among advanced countries, according to a new report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
The Bush administration wants to "reform" Social Security — meaning dismantle it. A huge government-media propaganda campaign has concocted a "fiscal crisis" that doesn’t exist. If some problem does arise in the distant future, it could be overcome by trivial measures, such as raising the cap on the regressive payroll tax.
The official story is that the Baby Boomers are going to impose a greater burden on the system because the number of working people relative to the elderly will decline, which is true.
But what happened to the Baby Boomers when they were zero to 20? Weren’t working people taking care of them? And it was a much poorer society then.
In the 1960s the demographics caused a problem but hardly a crisis. The bulge was met by a big increase in expenditures in schools and other facilities for children. The problem wasn’t huge when the Baby Boomers were zero to 20, so why when they’re 70 to 90?
The relevant number is what’s called the dependency ratio of working people to population. That ratio reached its lowest point in 1965. It won’t reach that point again until 2080, according to Social Security Administration figures.
Projections that far ahead are meaningless. Furthermore, any fiscal problem that might arise in caring for the elderly "boomers" has already been paid for, by the payroll tax rise of 1983, designed for this purpose. And by the time the last "boomer" has died, the society will be far richer, with each worker producing far greater wealth.
In other words, we’re already past the crisis. Anything that comes is just a matter of one or another kind of adjustment.
Meanwhile a very real fiscal crisis is looming: namely, medical care. The United States has one of the most inefficient systems in the industrialised world, with per-capita costs far higher than other nations and among the worst health outcomes. The system is privatised, one reason why it’s so inefficient.
But "reforming" the health care system is not on the agenda. So we face an apparent paradox: The real and very serious fiscal crisis is no crisis, and the non-crisis requires drastic action to undermine an efficient system that is quite sound.
Rational observers will seek differences between the Social Security and health care systems that might explain the paradox.
The reasons are simple. You can’t go after a health system under the control of insurance companies and pharmaceutical corporations. That system is immune, even if it is causing tremendous financial problems, besides the human cost.
Social Security is of little value for the rich but is crucial for survival for working people, the poor, their dependents and the disabled. And as a government programme, it has such low administrative costs that it offers nothing to financial institutions. It benefits only the "underlying population," not the "substantial citizens," to borrow Thorstein Veblen’s acid terminology.