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OT- Sen. John McCain has died
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TheGame
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8/29/2018  9:58 AM    LAST EDITED: 8/29/2018  10:08 AM
meloshouldgo wrote:
TheGame wrote:This is the problem with our country. All of these labels. He's a centrist, he's a conservative, he's a liberal. Nobody is any one thing. I am a democrat but I agree with a few ideas that republicans propose. Some republicans could not careless about abortion, while some conservatives believe in gay rights. When we are always labeling each other that breeds tribalism and hate and closed mindedness. Like McCain said. We need to start off with the presumption that we all love this country and we all have different ideas of how to make it great. If we listen to each other, we can make this a better place. The main problem I see is you have Trump republicans who essentially see that the only problem in this country is that there are non-whites in it and so their agenda is maintaining white privilege and suppressing the minority the vote. That is stuff I cannot abide by and I will fight against that view with everything I have.

I don't disagree that labels are used a lot. I do think they deserve a purpose. A label is a way to associate a largely sweet of priorities or choices to any person. Where it breaks down is that certain people seem to think that every position in that set applies to every person who is associated with it. That's not true, but that doesn't make labeling bad. If you don't use labels you have to separately define every single position taken by a person tuioi describe his/her politics. No one had the throne or marriage to do that.

I understand your point. However, the problem as you point out is that most people are not using labels as a tool. They are using labels as branding to discredit the views of others in a group. He is a liberal, so now if I am a conservative, I can ignore and discredit everything this other person says through the use of this liberal label. We have stopped listening to each other as a country. We are all Americans. We all will fight for this country. Because I believe in universal healthcare does not make me a bad American. Because someone else does not believe in abortion, does not make them a bad American. The only thing I really cannot condone is the denial of the freedoms afforded in the constitution. When you try to suppress the right to vote, when you unjustly deny another American their liberty and freedom, when you enact policies intended to harm other non-white Americans to maintain white privilege, then to me that is not American, and I cannot condone or accept that. Now if we have disagreements about how big the federal budget should be or whether tariffs are good or whether we are spending too much on the military or on social programs. We can and should have those discussions, and it should not be through labels but it should be through discussion of the individual topics and the pros and cons of each view. IMO, the use of labels is the easy way of creating divisions and tribalism that is the heart of the problems in this country and we will all be better off moving away from labeling each other.

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Olbrannon
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8/29/2018  10:16 AM
TheGame wrote:
meloshouldgo wrote:
TheGame wrote:This is the problem with our country. All of these labels. He's a centrist, he's a conservative, he's a liberal. Nobody is any one thing. I am a democrat but I agree with a few ideas that republicans propose. Some republicans could not careless about abortion, while some conservatives believe in gay rights. When we are always labeling each other that breeds tribalism and hate and closed mindedness. Like McCain said. We need to start off with the presumption that we all love this country and we all have different ideas of how to make it great. If we listen to each other, we can make this a better place. The main problem I see is you have Trump republicans who essentially see that the only problem in this country is that there are non-whites in it and so their agenda is maintaining white privilege and suppressing the minority the vote. That is stuff I cannot abide by and I will fight against that view with everything I have.

I don't disagree that labels are used a lot. I do think they deserve a purpose. A label is a way to associate a largely sweet of priorities or choices to any person. Where it breaks down is that certain people seem to think that every position in that set applies to every person who is associated with it. That's not true, but that doesn't make labeling bad. If you don't use labels you have to separately define every single position taken by a person tuioi describe his/her politics. No one had the throne or marriage to do that.

I understand your point. However, the problem are you point out is that most people are not using labels as a tool. They are using labels as branding to discredit the views of others in a group. He is a liberal, so now if I am a conservative, I can ignore and discredit everything this other person says through the use of this liberal label. We have stopped listening to each other as a country. We are all Americans. We all will fight for this country. Because I believe is universal healthcare does not make me a bad American. Because someone else does not believe in abortion, does not make them a bad American. The only thing I really cannot condone is the denial of the freedoms afforded in the constitution. When you try to suppress the right to vote, we you unjustly deny another American their liberty and freedom, when you enact policies intended to harm other non-white Americans to maintain white privilege, then to me that is not American, and I cannot condone or accept that. Now if we have disagreements about how big the federal budget should be or whether tariffs are good or whether we are spending too much on the military or on social programs. We can and should have those discussions, and it should not be through labels but it should be through discussion of the individual topics and the pros and cons of each view. IMO, the use of labels is the easy way of creating divisions and tribalism that is that the heart of the problems in this country and we will all be better off moving away from labeling each other.

Socialist, centrist, capitalist, rascist it's all meant to be derogatory. All meant to ostracize the target of the 'slur' and belittle ideals. To make that person an outsider while the audience is expected to be better than the individual in question. Peer pressure.

Bill Simmons on Tyreke Evans "The prototypical 0-guard: Someone who handles the ball all the time, looks for his own shot, gets to the rim at will and operates best if his teammates spread the floor to watch him."
meloshouldgo
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8/29/2018  11:34 AM
Olbrannon wrote:
TheGame wrote:
meloshouldgo wrote:
TheGame wrote:This is the problem with our country. All of these labels. He's a centrist, he's a conservative, he's a liberal. Nobody is any one thing. I am a democrat but I agree with a few ideas that republicans propose. Some republicans could not careless about abortion, while some conservatives believe in gay rights. When we are always labeling each other that breeds tribalism and hate and closed mindedness. Like McCain said. We need to start off with the presumption that we all love this country and we all have different ideas of how to make it great. If we listen to each other, we can make this a better place. The main problem I see is you have Trump republicans who essentially see that the only problem in this country is that there are non-whites in it and so their agenda is maintaining white privilege and suppressing the minority the vote. That is stuff I cannot abide by and I will fight against that view with everything I have.

I don't disagree that labels are used a lot. I do think they deserve a purpose. A label is a way to associate a largely sweet of priorities or choices to any person. Where it breaks down is that certain people seem to think that every position in that set applies to every person who is associated with it. That's not true, but that doesn't make labeling bad. If you don't use labels you have to separately define every single position taken by a person tuioi describe his/her politics. No one had the throne or marriage to do that.

I understand your point. However, the problem are you point out is that most people are not using labels as a tool. They are using labels as branding to discredit the views of others in a group. He is a liberal, so now if I am a conservative, I can ignore and discredit everything this other person says through the use of this liberal label. We have stopped listening to each other as a country. We are all Americans. We all will fight for this country. Because I believe is universal healthcare does not make me a bad American. Because someone else does not believe in abortion, does not make them a bad American. The only thing I really cannot condone is the denial of the freedoms afforded in the constitution. When you try to suppress the right to vote, we you unjustly deny another American their liberty and freedom, when you enact policies intended to harm other non-white Americans to maintain white privilege, then to me that is not American, and I cannot condone or accept that. Now if we have disagreements about how big the federal budget should be or whether tariffs are good or whether we are spending too much on the military or on social programs. We can and should have those discussions, and it should not be through labels but it should be through discussion of the individual topics and the pros and cons of each view. IMO, the use of labels is the easy way of creating divisions and tribalism that is that the heart of the problems in this country and we will all be better off moving away from labeling each other.

Socialist, centrist, capitalist, rascist it's all meant to be derogatory. All meant to ostracize the target of the 'slur' and belittle ideals. To make that person an outsider while the audience is expected to be better than the individual in question. Peer pressure.

It's not meant to be derogatory, it's used in that way by the majority of the people. I know I am splitting hairs, but without being able to clarify people into larger groups you would never be able to have a conversation.

I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only try to make them think - Socrates
meloshouldgo
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9/3/2018  7:01 PM    LAST EDITED: 9/3/2018  7:07 PM
@PANOS - I will provide a few articles, excerpts that start paiting the picture of what Neloliberal policies brokered by Fiscal Conservative/social Liberal aka Moderate Republicans and by Centrist democrats has done to the country - here is the first one

Decline and fall: how American society unravelled
Thirty years ago, the old deal that held US society together started to unwind, with social cohesion sacrificed to greed. Was it an inevitable process – or was it engineered by self-interested elites?

George Packer

Wed 19 Jun 2013 12.47 EDT
First published on Wed 19 Jun 2013 12.47 EDT

Youngstown, Ohio, was once a thriving steel centre. Now, the industry has all gone and the city is full of abandoned homes and businesses. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters

In or around 1978, America's character changed. For almost half a century, the United States had been a relatively egalitarian, secure, middle-class democracy, with structures in place that supported the aspirations of ordinary people. You might call it the period of the Roosevelt Republic. Wars, strikes, racial tensions and youth rebellion all roiled national life, but a basic deal among Americans still held, in belief if not always in fact: work hard, follow the rules, educate your children, and you will be rewarded, not just with a decent life and the prospect of a better one for your kids, but with recognition from society, a place at the table.

This unwritten contract came with a series of riders and clauses that left large numbers of Americans – black people and other minorities, women, gay people – out, or only halfway in. But the country had the tools to correct its own flaws, and it used them: healthy democratic institutions such as Congress, courts, churches, schools, news organisations, business-labour partnerships. The civil rights movement of the 1960s was a nonviolent mass uprising led by black southerners, but it drew essential support from all of these institutions, which recognised the moral and legal justice of its claims, or, at the very least, the need for social peace. The Roosevelt Republic had plenty of injustice, but it also had the power of self-correction.

Americans were no less greedy, ignorant, selfish and violent then than they are today, and no more generous, fair-minded and idealistic. But the institutions of American democracy, stronger than the excesses of individuals, were usually able to contain and channel them to more useful ends. Human nature does not change, but social structures can, and they did.

At the time, the late 1970s felt like shapeless, dreary, forgettable years. Jimmy Carter was in the White House, preaching austerity and public-spiritedness, and hardly anyone was listening. The hideous term "stagflation", which combined the normally opposed economic phenomena of stagnation and inflation, perfectly captured the doldrums of that moment. It is only with the hindsight of a full generation that we can see how many things were beginning to shift across the American landscape, sending the country spinning into a new era.

In Youngstown, Ohio, the steel mills that had been the city's foundation for a century closed, one after another, with breathtaking speed, taking 50,000 jobs from a small industrial river valley, leaving nothing to replace them. In Cupertino, California, the Apple Computer Company released the first popular personal computer, the Apple II. Across California, voters passed Proposition 13, launching a tax revolt that began the erosion of public funding for what had been the country's best school system. In Washington, corporations organised themselves into a powerful lobby that spent millions of dollars to defeat the kind of labour and consumer bills they had once accepted as part of the social contract. Newt Gingrich came to Congress as a conservative Republican with the singular ambition to tear it down and build his own and his party's power on the rubble. On Wall Street, Salomon Brothers pioneered a new financial product called mortgage-backed securities, and then became the first investment bank to go public.


The large currents of the past generation – deindustrialisation, the flattening of average wages, the financialisation of the economy, income inequality, the growth of information technology, the flood of money into Washington, the rise of the political right – all had their origins in the late 70s. The US became more entrepreneurial and less bureaucratic, more individualistic and less communitarian, more free and less equal, more tolerant and less fair. Banking and technology, concentrated on the coasts, turned into engines of wealth, replacing the world of stuff with the world of bits, but without creating broad prosperity, while the heartland hollowed out. The institutions that had been the foundation of middle-class democracy, from public schools and secure jobs to flourishing newspapers and functioning legislatures, were set on the course of a long decline. It as a period that I call the Unwinding.

In one view, the Unwinding is just a return to the normal state of American life. By this deterministic analysis, the US has always been a wide-open, free-wheeling country, with a high tolerance for big winners and big losers as the price of equal opportunity in a dynamic society. If the US brand of capitalism has rougher edges than that of other democracies, it is worth the trade-off for growth and mobility. There is nothing unusual about the six surviving heirs to the Walmart fortune possessing between them the same wealth as the bottom 42% of Americans – that's the country's default setting. Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates are the reincarnation of Henry Ford and Andrew Carnegie, Steven Cohen is another JP Morgan, Jay-Z is Jay Gatsby.

The rules and regulations of the Roosevelt Republic were aberrations brought on by accidents of history – depression, world war, the cold war – that induced Americans to surrender a degree of freedom in exchange for security. There would have been no Glass-Steagall Act, separating commercial from investment banking, without the bank failures of 1933; no great middle-class boom if the US economy had not been the only one left standing after the second world war; no bargain between business, labour and government without a shared sense of national interest in the face of foreign enemies; no social solidarity without the door to immigrants remaining closed through the middle of the century.

Once American pre-eminence was challenged by international competitors, and the economy hit rough seas in the 70s, and the sense of existential threat from abroad subsided, the deal was off. Globalisation, technology and immigration hurried the Unwinding along, as inexorable as winds and tides. It is sentimental at best, if not ahistorical, to imagine that the social contract could ever have survived – like wanting to hang on to a world of nuclear families and manual typewriters.

This deterministic view is undeniable but incomplete. What it leaves out of the picture is human choice. A fuller explanation of the Unwinding takes into account these large historical influences, but also the way they were exploited by US elites – the leaders of the institutions that have fallen into disrepair. America's postwar responsibilities demanded co-operation between the two parties in Congress, and when the cold war waned, the co-operation was bound to diminish with it. But there was nothing historically determined about the poisonous atmosphere and demonising language that Gingrich and other conservative ideologues spread through US politics. These tactics served their narrow, short-term interests, and when the Gingrich revolution brought Republicans to power in Congress, the tactics were affirmed. Gingrich is now a has-been, but Washington today is as much his city as anyone's.

It was impossible for Youngstown's steel companies to withstand global competition and local disinvestment, but there was nothing inevitable about the aftermath – an unmanaged free-for-all in which unemployed workers were left to fend for themselves, while corporate raiders bought the idle hulks of the mills with debt in the form of junk bonds and stripped out the remaining value. It may have been inevitable that the constraints imposed on US banks by the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 would start to slip off in the era of global finance. But it was a political choice on the part of Congress and President Bill Clinton to deregulate Wall Street so thoroughly that nothing stood between the big banks and the destruction of the economy.


Much has been written about the effects of globalisation during the past generation. Much less has been said about the change in social norms that accompanied it. American elites took the vast transformation of the economy as a signal to rewrite the rules that used to govern their behaviour: a senator only resorting to the filibuster on rare occasions; a CEO limiting his salary to only 40 times what his average employees made instead of 800 times; a giant corporation paying its share of taxes instead of inventing creative ways to pay next to zero. There will always be isolated lawbreakers in high places; what destroys morale below is the systematic corner-cutting, the rule-bending, the self-dealing.

Earlier this year, Al Gore made $100m (£64m) in a single month by selling Current TV to al-Jazeera for $70m and cashing in his shares of Apple stock for $30m. Never mind that al-Jazeera is owned by the government of Qatar, whose oil exports and views of women and minorities make a mockery of the ideas that Gore propounds in a book or film every other year. Never mind that his Apple stock came with his position on the company's board, a gift to a former presidential contender. Gore used to be a patrician politician whose career seemed inspired by the ideal of public service. Today – not unlike Tony Blair – he has traded on a life in politics to join the rarefied class of the global super-rich.

It is no wonder that more and more Americans believe the game is rigged. It is no wonder that they buy houses they cannot afford and then walk away from the mortgage when they can no longer pay. Once the social contract is shredded, once the deal is off, only suckers still play by the rules.

George Packer's The Unwinding is published by Faber & Faber at £20

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/19/decline-fall-american-society-unravelled

I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only try to make them think - Socrates
meloshouldgo
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9/3/2018  7:38 PM    LAST EDITED: 9/3/2018  9:15 PM
Here's how Neoliberals destroyed the left wing push for Universal Healthcare and created the ACA - I know this will be unpopular here, but Obama was very much a neoliberal along the lines of Clinton and Carter. Somepeople call it like it is, hard to find in he main stream media. Notice teh difference between Romneycare and Obamacare was a few million people more being insured, nothing remotely close to universal healthcare. Both sides (GOP and DEMS) play the same game. The GOP openly ridicules welfare of the people, the centrist DEMS play it cute.

Neoliberalism Kills: Part One
Posted on October 21, 2012 by Lambert Strether

By letsgetitdone (Joe Firestone, who is Managing Director and CEO of the Knowledge Management Consortium International (KMCI). Originally published at New Economic Perspectives.

Lambert here: I’ve commissioned Part Two from Joe, which will address the issue of how to spot a neo-liberal “in the wild.” Beautiful plumage!

* * *

During the run-up to passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), I wrote a number of posts (here, here, and here) assessing the ACA very negatively, and pointing out the shortcomings of the various versions of this bill, preceding its final passage. My focus was on contrasting varying versions with HR 676, the Conyers-Kucinich Medicare for All bill, in relation to its likely impact on fatalities, bankruptcies and divorces attributed to lack of health insurance coverage in the US.

At that time, about 47 million people were uninsured, and based on the rate of 1,000 fatalities per million established by the Wolper-Woolhandler-Himmelstein et al study of 2007-2009, I anticipated 47 thousand fatalities in 2010. In addition, I predicted that

— In the “band-aid” period before the health insurance exchanges became operational in 2014 we were still looking at an average of 31,000 fatalities per year due to lack of insurance, or a total of about 140,000 expected fatalities before the exchanges would be effective sometime in 2014.

— After that we were still looking at 23,000 annual deaths per year through 2019.

— A grand total of expected fatalities of 267,000 by the end of 2019

— The bill will not cover 30 million additional people, as claimed by its advocates, but more like 15 million due to rising insurance costs and un-indexed subsidies in the ACA.

— In addition, due to population growth, we would still be looking at 35 million uncovered and 35,000 fatalities due to lack of coverage.

Now 2.6 years have passed since I made those predictions, and the Commonwealth Fund has just released a new study of the ACA. The study projects what we can expect from ACA coverage compared to what we can expect from a baseline do nothing scenario and from Mitt Romney’s latest pronouncements about his health care plan, which, in all likelihood will be obsolete before election day.

The projections are based on Jonathan Gruber’s simulation model. Gruber was a consultant whose ideas were incorporated both into Romneycare in Massachusetts and the ACA at the national level. Gruber’s model isn’t something one can count on in my view, if only because long-term economic projection models using CBO-like methodologies are subject to accumulating errors over time as well as wide deviations from their policy assumptions in reality. Decade long projections are particularly likely to be science fiction rather than science.

Having said that, however, it’s still worthwhile to use Gruber’s projections as a basis for comparison of the various scenarios, simply because they are likely to under-estimate the rate of coverage, as well as the level of projected fatalities, over time. We can be pretty confident, for example that if Gruber’s model projects 286,000 fatalities over a particular period of time; then actual fatalities will be at least that high.

The Comparison

Here’s a Table I constructed using data from the study. There are four scenarios compared in the Table: The ACA, the Romney Plan as described on his web site, http://www.mittromney.com/forms/welcome-0 a baseline scenario assuming that the ACA wasn’t implemented, and a final scenario assuming that HR 676, Medicare for All, had been passed by June of 2009 either through Democrats forgetting bipartisanship and using reconciliation, or the Constitutional Option to overcome the Senate filibuster. The Commonwealth Fund doesn’t include this scenario; but I think it needs to be included in any comparison to indicate what might have happened if the President and Congress had wanted to solve the most serious consequence of maintaining the private health industry, rather than simply put a band-aid on the health insurance problem while bailing out the health insurance companies.

Projected Fatalities Under Varying Health Insurance Scenarios

Let’s begin by looking at the first three years 2010 – 2012. Think about the numbers for a minute. It’s nearly three years since a Medicare for All Bill might have gone into effect. If we were living under the Romney Plan, roughly 148,200 people would have died. Under the baseline of no legislation at all, the fatalities would have been slightly lower at 146,600, and under the ACA we’ve had nearly 140,500 fatalities. The ACA is slightly better than the other two alternatives; but the conclusion that jumps out at one is that the failure to pass and implement Medicare for All has cost at least 140,000 lives in three years, or 47 times the number of lives lost on September 11, and about 14.6 times the number of fatalities on 9/11, during the Iraq War, and in Afghanistan up to the present, combined. I’ll return to this point later.

The years between 2013 and 2022 show a marked divergence of the uninsured estimates among the Romney, ACA, and benchmark scenarios. The ACA saves hundreds of thousands of lives compared with the benchmark and Romney scenarios; but it still projects an additional 286,000 fatalities through 2022 under the ACA scenario, and a total of 427,000 fatalities from 2010 through 2022. This compares to nearly 800,000 under the Romney scenario and just over 700,000 for the no change benchmark. Certainly, the ACA is much better than the Benchmark or Romney alternatives, but it’s hard to avoid noting that the most striking comparison is between any of these three alternatives, and the Medicare for All alternative. Had that alternative been legislated in 2009 and implemented by January of 2010, we’d be looking at virtually no fatalities due to lack of insurance rather than 400,000 or 700,000, or 800,000. Since The Commonwealth Fund Report excludes the Medicare for All alternative from consideration, and in doing so, moves the Overton Window of its policy impact evaluation to the Right, it doesn’t bring the real cost of legislating the ACA option to the fore. That cost, based on Gruber’s simulation is 427,000 lives over the time horizon ending in 2022.

What Was the Justification for Accepting the Cost of Those Lives?

There are a lot of reasons, motivations, and political dynamics which together explain why the ACA, rather than HR 676 passed the Congress. I’ve written a lot about these in the past and have imputed corrupt motives to various people involved in the legislative process producing the ACA often enough. But apart from all this, there is the question of justification or rationalization, of why Medicare for All could be so quickly and easily taken off the table without a major fight from the progressives?

Part of the reason was the promise of Administration support for the public option sparkle pony, as it came to be called in some of the more cynical progressive circles. The PO idea split progressives and stripped away support of DC-based progressive organizations from Medicare for All, on grounds that the PO was a more politically “realistic” alternative than Medicare for All. That is a sad story that has been told very often. But looking past it; what was unrealistic about Medicare for All, the type of system that has been successful in providing coverage and lowering costs in so many nations?

Apart from the political opposition from the insurance companies that Medicare for All would have engendered, I think the main justification for abandoning Medicare for All and switching to the PO and eventually the PO-less ACA, was actually neoliberalism. The President, his main advisers, the Democratic leaders in Congress, and most progressives working for Washington progressive organizations were steeped in neoliberal doctrine. They viewed the Bush tax cuts and the two Wars as unpaid for. The ARRA stimulus Act was similarly unpaid for and added to deficit spending and to the debt-subject-to-the-limit. They believed and most believe today that the Federal Government can have solvency problems if the debt-to-GDP ratio increases too much, and interest rates on the national debt are driven up by the bond vigilantes.

A Medicare for All Act would have required Federal spending on health care to rise by $800 – $900 Billion per year over present levels. They were not ready to cover that with higher tax revenues, and they were not ready to deficit spend it because they viewed that as fiscally irresponsible, and believed then and still believe now that it’s necessary to decrease the debt-to-GDP ratio over time.

So, they wouldn’t consider spending for Medicare for All. They wouldn’t look seriously at the hundreds of thousands of lives they were consigning to oblivion, at the bankruptcies and divorces they could prevent, or at the obvious fact that while HR 676 would have cost the Government $900 Billion more in money annually that the Government can create at will and at zero real cost; it would have saved the people who have to pay for health insurance, and health care out of pocket and in the form of “co-pays” $1.8 Trillion annually, thus providing a marvelous boost to the economy. Instead, they just said to everybody, that it was impractical and that the United States couldn’t afford it; but that it would be able to to afford a self-supporting PO bill, and later when that was taken off the table, a deficit neutral insurance bailout like the ACA.

So, here we are at the denouement, neoliberalism, and other false social and economic theories, kill. In this case, belief in neoliberalism has already killed approximately 140,000 Americans since the beginning of 2010. And if we don’t reject it, over the next decade it will kill 286,000 more, more than 2/3 the number of US fatalities during WW II. And these are only the fatalities resulting from a refusal to deficit spend to pass Medicare for All.

In addition, there are also the fatalities resulting from our collective failure to end the joblessness, the crime, the reactions to family breakup, the social disintegration, and the climate change and environmental effects, and all the other serious problems we refuse to solve because we and our leaders have been captured by neoliberalism and its false notions about fiscal responsibility and fiscal sustainability. We have reached the point, now, where it is neoliberalism or American Democracy, or, if you like neoliberalism or us. There is no alternative! Neoliberalism is one of our worst ideas. And as Popper said, life is about killing your worst ideas before they kill you. So, it’s time for us to free ourselves of neoliberalism, switch to a paradigm that works, and get full employment, Medicare for All, and much else. That paradigm is called Modern Money Theory.

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/10/neoliberalism-kills-part-one.html

I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only try to make them think - Socrates
meloshouldgo
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9/4/2018  9:43 PM
Why do I keep saying th eperiod of time between 1970 and 2010 ushered in the complete overhaul; of the banking system and led to MASSIVE DEREGULATION? Here is a blow by blow account of the different decisions

1978, Marquette vs. First of Omaha – Supreme Court allows banks to export the usury laws of their home state nationwide and sets off a competitive wave of deregulation, resulting in the complete elimination of usury rate ceilings in South Dakota and Delaware, among others.

1980, Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act – Legislation increases deposit insurance from $40,000 to $100,000, authorizes new authority to thrift institutions, and calls for the complete phase-out of interest rate ceilings on deposit accounts.

1982, Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act – Bill deregulates thrifts almost entirely, allowing commercial lending and providing for a new account to compete with money market mutual funds. This was a Reagan administration initiative that passed with strong bi-partisan support.

1987, FSLIC Insolvency – GAO declares the deposit insurance fund of the savings and loan industry to be insolvent as a result of mounting institutional failures.

1989, Financial Institutions Reform and Recovery Act – Act abolishes the Federal Home Loan Bank Board and FSLIC, transferring them to OTS and the FDIC, respectively. The plan also creates the Resolution Trust Corporation to resolve failed thrifts.

1994, Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act – This bill eliminated previous restrictions on interstate banking and branching. It passed with broad bipartisan support.

1996, Fed Reinterprets Glass-Steagall – Federal Reserve reinterprets the Glass-Steagall Act several times, eventually allowing bank holding companies to earn up to 25 percent of their revenues in investment banking.

1998, Citicorp-Travelers Merger – Citigroup, Inc. merges a commercial bank with an insurance company that owns an investment bank to form the world’s largest financial services company.

1999, Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act – With support from Fed Chairman Greenspan, Treasury Secretary Rubin and his successor Lawrence Summers, the bill repeals the Glass-Steagall Act completely.

2000, Commodity Futures Modernization Act – Passed with support from the Clinton Administration, including Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, and bi-partisan support in Congress. The bill prevented the Commodity Futures Trading Commission from regulating most over-the-counter derivative contracts, including credit default swaps.

2004, Voluntary Regulation – The SEC proposes a system of voluntary regulation under the Consolidated Supervised Entities program, allowing investment banks to hold less capital in reserve and increase leverage.

2007, Subprime Mortgage Crisis – Defaults on subprime loans send shockwaves throughout the secondary mortgage market and the entire financial system.

2007, Term Auction Facility – Special liquidity facility of the Federal Reserve lends to depository institutions. Unlike lending through the discount window, there is no public disclosure on loans made through this facility.

2008, Bear Stearns Collapse – The investment bank is sold to JP Morgan Chase with assistance from the Federal Reserve.
March 2008, Primary Dealer Facilities – Special lending facilities open the discount window to investment banks, accepting a broad range of asset-backed securities as collateral.

2008, Housing and Economic Recovery Act – Provides guarantees on new mortgages to subprime borrowers and authorizes a new federal agency, the FHFA, which eventually places Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship.

2008, Lehman Brothers Collapse – Investment bank files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

2008, Emergency Economic Stabilization Act – Bill authorizes the Treasury to establish the Troubled Asset Relief Program to purchase distressed mortgage-backed securities and inject capital into the nation’s banking system. Also increases deposit insurance from $100,000 to $250,000.

2008, Money Market Liquidity Facilities – Federal Reserve facilities created to facilitate the purchase of various money market instruments.

2009, Public-Private Investment Program – Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner introduces his plan to subsidize the purchase of toxic assets with government guarantees.

How did these things affect the economy? You have to read this to gain a full appreciation. Guess who all were presidents and what parties were in power during this? CARTER, REAGAN, BUSH, BUSH, CLINTON and OBAMA
http://cepr.net/documents/publications/dereg-timeline-2009-07.pdf

I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only try to make them think - Socrates
meloshouldgo
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9/6/2018  9:49 PM
The value of this article is in describing how Neoliberalism became a self fulfilling viscous cycle. How the market forces "Winners" and "Losers" to self identify. Why people with a little bit of money think they are geniuses.
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot


Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems

Financial meltdown, environmental disaster and even the rise of Donald Trump – neoliberalism has played its part in them all. Why has the left failed to come up with an alternative?
George Monbiot

Fri 15 Apr 2016 07.00 EDT
Last modified on Wed 29 Nov 2017 05.47 EST

Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you’ll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is?

Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007‑8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness, the collapse of ecosystems, the rise of Donald Trump. But we respond to these crises as if they emerge in isolation, apparently unaware that they have all been either catalysed or exacerbated by the same coherent philosophy; a philosophy that has – or had – a name. What greater power can there be than to operate namelessly?

Inequality is recast as virtuous. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

So pervasive has neoliberalism become that we seldom even recognise it as an ideology. We appear to accept the proposition that this utopian, millenarian faith describes a neutral force; a kind of biological law, like Darwin’s theory of evolution. But the philosophy arose as a conscious attempt to reshape human life and shift the locus of power.

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that “the market” delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.
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Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

We internalise and reproduce its creeds. The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages – such as education, inheritance and class – that may have helped to secure it. The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances.

Never mind structural unemployment: if you don’t have a job it’s because you are unenterprising. Never mind the impossible costs of housing: if your credit card is maxed out, you’re feckless and improvident. Never mind that your children no longer have a school playing field: if they get fat, it’s your fault. In a world governed by competition, those who fall behind become defined and self-defined as losers.
Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us
Paul Verhaeghe
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Among the results, as Paul Verhaeghe documents in his book What About Me? are epidemics of self-harm, eating disorders, depression, loneliness, performance anxiety and social phobia. Perhaps it’s unsurprising that Britain, in which neoliberal ideology has been most rigorously applied, is the loneliness capital of Europe. We are all neoliberals now.

***

The term neoliberalism was coined at a meeting in Paris in 1938. Among the delegates were two men who came to define the ideology, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. Both exiles from Austria, they saw social democracy, exemplified by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and the gradual development of Britain’s welfare state, as manifestations of a collectivism that occupied the same spectrum as nazism and communism.

In The Road to Serfdom, published in 1944, Hayek argued that government planning, by crushing individualism, would lead inexorably to totalitarian control. Like Mises’s book Bureaucracy, The Road to Serfdom was widely read. It came to the attention of some very wealthy people, who saw in the philosophy an opportunity to free themselves from regulation and tax. When, in 1947, Hayek founded the first organisation that would spread the doctrine of neoliberalism – the Mont Pelerin Society – it was supported financially by millionaires and their foundations.

With their help, he began to create what Daniel Stedman Jones describes in Masters of the Universe as “a kind of neoliberal international”: a transatlantic network of academics, businessmen, journalists and activists. The movement’s rich backers funded a series of thinktanks which would refine and promote the ideology. Among them were the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Centre for Policy Studies and the Adam Smith Institute. They also financed academic positions and departments, particularly at the universities of Chicago and Virginia.

As it evolved, neoliberalism became more strident. Hayek’s view that governments should regulate competition to prevent monopolies from forming gave way – among American apostles such as Milton Friedman – to the belief that monopoly power could be seen as a reward for efficiency.

Something else happened during this transition: the movement lost its name. In 1951, Friedman was happy to describe himself as a neoliberal. But soon after that, the term began to disappear. Stranger still, even as the ideology became crisper and the movement more coherent, the lost name was not replaced by any common alternative.

At first, despite its lavish funding, neoliberalism remained at the margins. The postwar consensus was almost universal: John Maynard Keynes’s economic prescriptions were widely applied, full employment and the relief of poverty were common goals in the US and much of western Europe, top rates of tax were high and governments sought social outcomes without embarrassment, developing new public services and safety nets.

But in the 1970s, when Keynesian policies began to fall apart and economic crises struck on both sides of the Atlantic, neoliberal ideas began to enter the mainstream. As Friedman remarked, “when the time came that you had to change ... there was an alternative ready there to be picked up”. With the help of sympathetic journalists and political advisers, elements of neoliberalism, especially its prescriptions for monetary policy, were adopted by Jimmy Carter’s administration in the US and Jim Callaghan’s government in Britain.

It may seem strange that a doctrine promising choice should have been promoted with the slogan 'there is no alternative'

After Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan took power, the rest of the package soon followed: massive tax cuts for the rich, the crushing of trade unions, deregulation, privatisation, outsourcing and competition in public services. Through the IMF, the World Bank, the Maastricht treaty and the World Trade Organisation, neoliberal policies were imposed – often without democratic consent – on much of the world. Most remarkable was its adoption among parties that once belonged to the left: Labour and the Democrats, for example. As Stedman Jones notes, “it is hard to think of another utopia to have been as fully realised.”

***

It may seem strange that a doctrine promising choice and freedom should have been promoted with the slogan “there is no alternative”. But, as Hayek remarked on a visit to Pinochet’s Chile – one of the first nations in which the programme was comprehensively applied – “my personal preference leans toward a liberal dictatorship rather than toward a democratic government devoid of liberalism”. The freedom that neoliberalism offers, which sounds so beguiling when expressed in general terms, turns out to mean freedom for the pike, not for the minnows.

Freedom from trade unions and collective bargaining means the freedom to suppress wages. Freedom from regulation means the freedom to poison rivers, endanger workers, charge iniquitous rates of interest and design exotic financial instruments. Freedom from tax means freedom from the distribution of wealth that lifts people out of poverty.


Naomi Klein documented that neoliberals advocated the use of crises to impose unpopular policies while people were distracted. Photograph: Anya Chibis for the Guardian

As Naomi Klein documents in The Shock Doctrine, neoliberal theorists advocated the use of crises to impose unpopular policies while people were distracted: for example, in the aftermath of Pinochet’s coup, the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina, which Friedman described as “an opportunity to radically reform the educational system” in New Orleans.

Where neoliberal policies cannot be imposed domestically, they are imposed internationally, through trade treaties incorporating “investor-state dispute settlement”: offshore tribunals in which corporations can press for the removal of social and environmental protections. When parliaments have voted to restrict sales of cigarettes, protect water supplies from mining companies, freeze energy bills or prevent pharmaceutical firms from ripping off the state, corporations have sued, often successfully. Democracy is reduced to theatre.

Neoliberalism was not conceived as a self-serving racket, but it rapidly became one

Another paradox of neoliberalism is that universal competition relies upon universal quantification and comparison. The result is that workers, job-seekers and public services of every kind are subject to a pettifogging, stifling regime of assessment and monitoring, designed to identify the winners and punish the losers. The doctrine that Von Mises proposed would free us from the bureaucratic nightmare of central planning has instead created one.

Neoliberalism was not conceived as a self-serving racket, but it rapidly became one. Economic growth has been markedly slower in the neoliberal era (since 1980 in Britain and the US) than it was in the preceding decades; but not for the very rich. Inequality in the distribution of both income and wealth, after 60 years of decline, rose rapidly in this era, due to the smashing of trade unions, tax reductions, rising rents, privatisation and deregulation.

The privatisation or marketisation of public services such as energy, water, trains, health, education, roads and prisons has enabled corporations to set up tollbooths in front of essential assets and charge rent, either to citizens or to government, for their use. Rent is another term for unearned income. When you pay an inflated price for a train ticket, only part of the fare compensates the operators for the money they spend on fuel, wages, rolling stock and other outlays. The rest reflects the fact that they have you over a barrel.

In Mexico, Carlos Slim was granted control of almost all phone services and soon became the world’s richest man. Photograph: Henry Romero/Reuters

Those who own and run the UK’s privatised or semi-privatised services make stupendous fortunes by investing little and charging much. In Russia and India, oligarchs acquired state assets through firesales. In Mexico, Carlos Slim was granted control of almost all landline and mobile phone services and soon became the world’s richest man.

Financialisation, as Andrew Sayer notes in Why We Can’t Afford the Rich, has had a similar impact. “Like rent,” he argues, “interest is ... unearned income that accrues without any effort”. As the poor become poorer and the rich become richer, the rich acquire increasing control over another crucial asset: money. Interest payments, overwhelmingly, are a transfer of money from the poor to the rich. As property prices and the withdrawal of state funding load people with debt (think of the switch from student grants to student loans), the banks and their executives clean up.

Sayer argues that the past four decades have been characterised by a transfer of wealth not only from the poor to the rich, but within the ranks of the wealthy: from those who make their money by producing new goods or services to those who make their money by controlling existing assets and harvesting rent, interest or capital gains. Earned income has been supplanted by unearned income.

Neoliberal policies are everywhere beset by market failures. Not only are the banks too big to fail, but so are the corporations now charged with delivering public services. As Tony Judt pointed out in Ill Fares the Land, Hayek forgot that vital national services cannot be allowed to collapse, which means that competition cannot run its course. Business takes the profits, the state keeps the risk.

The greater the failure, the more extreme the ideology becomes. Governments use neoliberal crises as both excuse and opportunity to cut taxes, privatise remaining public services, rip holes in the social safety net, deregulate corporations and re-regulate citizens. The self-hating state now sinks its teeth into every organ of the public sector.

Perhaps the most dangerous impact of neoliberalism is not the economic crises it has caused, but the political crisis. As the domain of the state is reduced, our ability to change the course of our lives through voting also contracts. Instead, neoliberal theory asserts, people can exercise choice through spending. But some have more to spend than others: in the great consumer or shareholder democracy, votes are not equally distributed. The result is a disempowerment of the poor and middle. As parties of the right and former left adopt similar neoliberal policies, disempowerment turns to disenfranchisement. Large numbers of people have been shed from politics.


Chris Hedges remarks that “fascist movements build their base not from the politically active but the politically inactive, the ‘losers’ who feel, often correctly, they have no voice or role to play in the political establishment”. When political debate no longer speaks to us, people become responsive instead to slogans, symbols and sensation. To the admirers of Trump, for example, facts and arguments appear irrelevant.

Judt explained that when the thick mesh of interactions between people and the state has been reduced to nothing but authority and obedience, the only remaining force that binds us is state power. The totalitarianism Hayek feared is more likely to emerge when governments, having lost the moral authority that arises from the delivery of public services, are reduced to “cajoling, threatening and ultimately coercing people to obey them”.

***

Like communism, neoliberalism is the God that failed. But the zombie doctrine staggers on, and one of the reasons is its anonymity. Or rather, a cluster of anonymities.

The invisible doctrine of the invisible hand is promoted by invisible backers. Slowly, very slowly, we have begun to discover the names of a few of them. We find that the Institute of Economic Affairs, which has argued forcefully in the media against the further regulation of the tobacco industry, has been secretly funded by British American Tobacco since 1963. We discover that Charles and David Koch, two of the richest men in the world, founded the institute that set up the Tea Party movement. We find that Charles Koch, in establishing one of his thinktanks, noted that “in order to avoid undesirable criticism, how the organisation is controlled and directed should not be widely advertised”.

The nouveau riche were once disparaged by those who had inherited their money. Today, the relationship has been reversed

The words used by neoliberalism often conceal more than they elucidate. “The market” sounds like a natural system that might bear upon us equally, like gravity or atmospheric pressure. But it is fraught with power relations. What “the market wants” tends to mean what corporations and their bosses want. “Investment”, as Sayer notes, means two quite different things. One is the funding of productive and socially useful activities, the other is the purchase of existing assets to milk them for rent, interest, dividends and capital gains. Using the same word for different activities “camouflages the sources of wealth”, leading us to confuse wealth extraction with wealth creation.

A century ago, the nouveau riche were disparaged by those who had inherited their money. Entrepreneurs sought social acceptance by passing themselves off as rentiers. Today, the relationship has been reversed: the rentiers and inheritors style themselves entre preneurs. They claim to have earned their unearned income.

These anonymities and confusions mesh with the namelessness and placelessness of modern capitalism: the franchise model which ensures that workers do not know for whom they toil; the companies registered through a network of offshore secrecy regimes so complex that even the police cannot discover the beneficial owners; the tax arrangements that bamboozle governments; the financial products no one understands.

The anonymity of neoliberalism is fiercely guarded. Those who are influenced by Hayek, Mises and Friedman tend to reject the term, maintaining – with some justice – that it is used today only pejoratively. But they offer us no substitute. Some describe themselves as classical liberals or libertarians, but these descriptions are both misleading and curiously self-effacing, as they suggest that there is nothing novel about The Road to Serfdom, Bureaucracy or Friedman’s classic work, Capitalism and Freedom.

***

For all that, there is something admirable about the neoliberal project, at least in its early stages. It was a distinctive, innovative philosophy promoted by a coherent network of thinkers and activists with a clear plan of action. It was patient and persistent. The Road to Serfdom became the path to power.
Neoliberalism, Locke and the Green party
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Neoliberalism’s triumph also reflects the failure of the left. When laissez-faire economics led to catastrophe in 1929, Keynes devised a comprehensive economic theory to replace it. When Keynesian demand management hit the buffers in the 70s, there was an alternative ready. But when neoliberalism fell apart in 2008 there was ... nothing. This is why the zombie walks. The left and centre have produced no new general framework of economic thought for 80 years.

Every invocation of Lord Keynes is an admission of failure. To propose Keynesian solutions to the crises of the 21st century is to ignore three obvious problems. It is hard to mobilise people around old ideas; the flaws exposed in the 70s have not gone away; and, most importantly, they have nothing to say about our gravest predicament: the environmental crisis. Keynesianism works by stimulating consumer demand to promote economic growth. Consumer demand and economic growth are the motors of environmental destruction.

What the history of both Keynesianism and neoliberalism show is that it’s not enough to oppose a broken system. A coherent alternative has to be proposed. For Labour, the Democrats and the wider left, the central task should be to develop an economic Apollo programme, a conscious attempt to design a new system, tailored to the demands of the 21st century.

I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only try to make them think - Socrates
OT- Sen. John McCain has died

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