What Biden And Dems Should Say About The Economy

Biden and Democrats should be explaining to the public that, “The economy is starting to turn around.”

Polling vs The Reality

Polling shows that people feel “the economy” is doing really poorly right now. Every poll. “Grim” numbers.

Lots of top Democrats are reacting to this by saying that all the “numbers” show that the economy is actually doing really, really well. It seems like these voices are declaring that the voters are wrong, which is politically a terrible approach.

What To Say?

Telling the voters they are wrong is a recipe for electoral disaster. What should Democrats be telling the public when the numbers are great but the public says they’re feeling terrible about the economy? Here is how this was successfully handled in the past.

When Obama was running for reelection people were in a sour mood and a “businessman” (Mitt Romney) was running against him. Republicans were telling the public that government should be “run like a business” (Strip the government and harvest the public for profit?) and this meant they should elect a businessman.

The “Explainer-in-Chief” Speaks

Along came Bill Clinton to speak at the 2012 Democratic Convention. Whatever you might think of his policies, Clinton had amazing spot-on political instincts. He said Obama feels the country’s pain. He said things have been bleak for a long time. He said we’ve taken hit after hit, faced problem after problem. But now we’re turning the corner. Everything is in place thanks to Obama and things are starting to get better. You will feel it, just give it a little more time.

He explained things so well he was labelled “Explainer-in-Chief.”

Here is more of what Clinton said in the 2012 speech that I think re-elected Obama

He inherited a deeply damaged economy. He put a floor under the crash. He began the long, hard road to recovery and laid the foundation for a modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses and lots of new wealth for innovators. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, are we where we want to be today? No.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: No!

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Is the president satisfied? Of course not.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: No!

PRESIDENT CLINTON: But are we better off than we were when he took office? (Cheers, applause.)

And listen to this. Listen to this. Everybody — (inaudible) — when President Barack Obama took office, the economy was in free fall. It had just shrunk 9 full percent of GDP. We were losing 750,000 jobs a month.

Are we doing better than that today?

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Yes! (Applause.)

PRESIDENT CLINTON: The answer is yes.

Now, look. Here’s the challenge he faces and the challenge all of you who support him face. I get it. I know it. I’ve been there. A lot of Americans are still angry and frustrated about this economy. If you look at the numbers, you know employment is growing, banks are beginning to lend again. And in a lot of places, housing prices are even beginning to pick up.

But too many people do not feel it yet.

Read the rest here. It’s actually a fun read.

My Point

Clinton single-handedly reelected Obama with that speech. My point is, Biden & Dems need to be saying, “We understand how hard it has been and we’ve been working on it. It is starting to turn around.” Not what they’ve been saying, “Shut up stupid voters, things are great, stop whining about the economy.”

I have spoken.

Civilian Casualties In Gaza

News report: At least 15 people were killed and 60 were wounded in an Israeli airstrike on an ambulance convoy near a hospital in Gaza.

Israel says the ambulances contained Hamas fighters.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the ambulances were carrying Hamas fighters. But look at the numbers of dead and injured! All those dead were not 15 Hamas fighters inside the ambulances and not 60 Hamas fighters injured. Many of those were civilians who happened to be there. And that is one more obvious violation of international law, ignored by our own government, inciting anger around the world.

THIS is what’s happening. The (US-supplied) Israeli war machine might be targeting Hamas (obviously not always – they are killing too many reporters, destroying too many residential buildings, removing too many civilians from their homes for that to really be the case…) but they are killing and injuring and deporting lots and lots and lots of civilians. Because we all know the Trump-allied Netanyahu government is all about ethnically cleansing the “other.”

This war is happening in the context of decades of right-wing Israeli government apartheid treating Palestinians as subhuman. The whole world sees this in that context. This is happening in the context of decades of the whole world seeing US planes and bombs falling on non-whites all around the globe.

This is NOT about “Israel” or “Jews” doing these terrible things any more than Hamas represents Palestinians or Muslims. There is a reason half of the Israeli people were out in the streets demanding the removal of this government for months before this war started. There is a reason Hamas (and Netanyahu, in cahoots with Hamas) wouldn’t allow Palestinians to vote for responsible leadership. The reason is the actual PEOPLE would have gotten rid of the fascist extremists who had taken charge on both sides.

Everything With Israel Is Too Little, Too Late

Decades of siding with Israel while the government of that country carried out its apartheid policies oppressing Palestinian civilians is now reaping consequences. It has made the United States and others accomplices in crimes against humanity.

I think the Israeli government’s announcement shutting off water, food and fuel to Gaza was an inflection point. It was a crime against humanity that everyone could see, and solidified people’s sympathies for the civilians mistreated by that government’s nasty, right-wing, racist apartheid policies. (I say Israel’s government here because the people in charge are right-wing Trumpers and I separate them from the people as much as I separate Hamas from the Palestinian people.)

That Trumpy government justified their long-term policies mistreating Palestinians with “self-defense” claims, saying it protected their own civilians from attack. That justification vanished when Hamas carried out that attack. Those apartheid policies are now recognized as just making things worse.

After the water, food & fuel announcement, supporters of that government (not supporters of Israel, Jews, etc, but that Trumper govt) became accomplices in a crime against humanity. Providing weapons, etc.

There is no excuse. It looks like President Biden has done a lot behind the scenes to stop Israel’s government — but anything short of demanding that govt step down is too little, too late.

PS To be clear I think the Hamas attack on civilians was an act of terror – a crime against humanity. All the people involved should be hunted down and locked in cages and kept there on display for 100 years, alive or dead.

Call It “National Money” Not “National Debt”

I propose renaming the “National Debt” as the “National Money.” Here is why.

Once upon a time, governments had to round up gold to “pay for” things. Kings would gather gold to finance armies and pay mercenaries for their wars. If they collected it from the population through taxes, fees etc it was called “revenue.” If they borrowed it, they would have to pay it back. That was actual debt. Later, nations used gold as a means of exchange and had to actually collect or borrow as much gold as they would spend.

But things have changed. Gold is out of the picture. (So are shells, gems and other historical means of exchange.) Governments allocate resources toward priorities and issue currency as a means of exchange. This is commonly called “spending.” They do not “collect revenue” nor do they “borrow.” They appropriate and issue currency. They tax the currency back to balance and regulate the amount of currency in circulation, and to address inequalities and raise or lower public priorities (like taxing cigarettes.)

Many of the terms used have not kept up with the changes. People still think governments “borrow” when they sell bonds. But bonds are for other purposes than raising money (rounding up gold.)

The budget “deficit” is the amount of currency spent into the economy but not taxed back. What today is generally called the National Debt is the accumulated yearly budget deficits minus any yearly surpluses. (Surpluses happened in the Clinton years.) It is a measure of the currency spent into the economy and not taxed back out.

The legacy use of the word “debt” misleads people into thinking it is “debt.” It is not. Governments that issue their own currencies have no need to collect gold or other “revenue” to “pay for” the goods and services the government decides to direct toward priorities. (Of course governments should not direct more resources than are available, this creates inflation.)

I propose renaming the “National Debt” as the “National Money.”

Or maybe “NashCash.”

#MMT

It’s All Right Ma, I Can Make It

Looking back trying to understand the way I am, I realize I was listening to things like this when I was 12. (And reading stuff like Howl.)

Please listen, study the lyrics, and read Howl.

Darkness at the break of noon

Shadows even the silver spoon

The handmade blade, the child’s balloon
Continue reading

How Free Markets Work

“Neoliberalism” is the idea that markets are better at making decisions than democracy.

If it doesn’t show up click here.

Capitalism And ‘The Private Sector’ Aren’t What We Think They Are

I hear a lot of “capitalism can work if it is regulated.” This misunderstands what capitalism -IS-.

Govt everywhere makes society’s decisions. In OUR system govt decided to “contract out” to the “private sector” to do lots of things. THAT is what “capitalism” is. We HIRED the private sector. We LET private capital invest, and pay them a bit of the profits as a management fee. We are the boss of them.

We are the boss of them.

We all have a misunderstanding of the relationship between government and “private” capital. We (government) ALLOW private capital to exist at all. “Regulation” is too mild a term for the relationship between government and the “private sector.” The “private sector” -IS- govt, just contracted out. The RULEs for that contract aren’t strong enough. We are the boss of them. Period.

This is about our OWN understanding of the relationship between government (us) and “private” businesses. We have lost sight of this.

See Understanding What a Corporation Actually Is Can Help Restore Democracy

Also The “Private Sector” Is Government “Contracting Out” Its Functions

A Place Called England

So I have relocated to the UK. I live in a village near Cambridge.

We have an allotment, which we are setting up with a rabbit fence and a shed. The roof of the shed will drain into water tanks. Mostly that is for next year and later years. For now we have started growing potatoes. When the fence is in we will plant a bit more, but it is late in the season.

I feel more at home here than I felt in California. This song seems to describe for me why that is. Trains, gardens, allotments, regular people looking at rich people with no souls…

From the site Mainly Norfolk: English Folk and Other Good Music

Maggie Holland sang her own song A Place Called England on her 1999 album Getting There. She re-recorded it in 2007 for her anthology Bones. She noted on the first album:

It took me a long time to finish this song—and I probably would never even have started it if I hadn’t emigrated to Scotland about six years ago. I tussled with it on long train journeys and hummed it to myself whilst grubbing about in the allotment. I could not have written it without the inspiration of Christopher Hill’s book The World Turned Upside Down, Leon Rosselson’s song of the same name, Naomi Mitchison’s Sea-Green Ribbons, William Cobbett’s Cottage Economy, Hamish Henderson’s Freedom Come-All-Ye, Jean Giono’s The Man Who Planted Trees, animated discussions with (rightly) proud and passionate Scots like Dick Gaughan (“The first place to be colonised in the British Empire was England”), and many a quiet and gentle gardener; Mr Harding, my aunt Amy Rawling, and my godfather Alan Wells, to name but three.

This YouTube video shows Maggie Holland in Antwerp, Belgium, at Folk in ’t Stad on 30 March 2012.

Click through for the lyrics.

Biden Needs A Primary Opponent

There’s a lot of indication/speculation that Biden is negotiating over the debt ceiling after all. Biden wouldn’t do this if he had a primary opponent.

By talking AT ALL he’s validating Republicans threatening the world. Validating this long-term strategy to cut taxes to force democracy to yield.

The correct “negotiating” position is to say we need to restore the pre-Reagan tax rates on the rich and corporations! That was the beginning of this Republican game of ratcheting taxes down and then demanding austerity because “deficits.”

They SAID SO over and over again. Reagan’s budget director named it “strategic deficits.” Reagan said it was “cutting the government’s allowance.”

W Bush said it was “extremely positive news” when the budget went into deficit after Clinton’s surpluses (which caused recession) because it meant they could force more budget cuts.

The ONLY :negotiating’ position on deficits and debt is restoring the top tax rates from before Republicans started this game.

From 2012, Deficits Were On Purpose To Cause This “Crisis”

It was the plan. They forced these deficits on us on purpose. Reagan called it “strategic deficits.” It was a “shock doctrine” tactic, to get us to panic, and then move in with their “solutions.” So we are arguing about how much to cut out of the things We, the People do for our benefit, which the wealthy and their corporations get vastly wealthier and more powerful.

It was the plan.