Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Dolts Strike Again

There are many sad and angry pundits in America this week. They are mad and pissed at the Democrats for caving into the Bush Administration again, this time on the authorization of wiretaps between the US and foreign countries without a warrant. They are sad because the right thing is rarely done these days. Their weekends were ruined by the Dolts yet again - by 16 of them anyway, including my home-state California Repubocrat Dianne Feinstein, who I think has never opposed a dominant interest in her entire career. Correct me if you can.

Why do the Dolts so regularly cave? Well, because they don't have an alternative to fight for, so why not? If you have no ideas to follow, follow the money. If the Dolts had a plan to get out of Iraq, they would push it against this unpopular president instead of paving the way for him to humiliate them later. If they really thought government was good, they wouldn't leave Paul Krugman to make the case for health insurance for children all by himself. (Well a few Dolts are helping him - Kucinich in particular.) If they really thought value came from labor, blue- and white-collar alike, they would raise tax rates on the income of private equity kings to the rate paid by nurses and first-grade teachers, so that Steve Schwartzman's $300 million last year would be taxed at the 31% paid on the $30,000 earned by Rita Espinoza, instead of at less than half her rate. But the Dolts don't believe value comes from labor. They believe it comes from investors, and that power comes from the wealthy, and that their power depends on getting wealthy investors like the ones the Republicans have. (I use Larry Summers as an example of the Dem view in the comment below.) Don't be sad - nothing personal.

This blog is about how to keep the middle classes from committing unwitting suicide. A major source of prevention would be to drill it into the Doltish head that wealth comes from the whole society not the skimmers at the top. And that means relatively equal sharing of the money- not later charitable redistribution, but equity in initial earnings.

They understand this better in France, but racial segregation with huge guilty class component is chomping away at equality there too.

There was a good moment in the Warren Buffett attack on inverted tax rates in June.

To emphasize his point, Buffett offered $1 million to the audience member who could show that one of the nation's wealthiest individuals pays a higher tax rate than one of their subordinates.

"I'm willing to bet anyone in this room $1 million that those rates are less than the secretary has to pay," said Buffett.
There were no takers. But I doubt any of the presidential Dolts will hire Buffet as their economic advisor.

1 comment:

Chris Newfield said...

An example of how completely the Dem brain subordinates labor to capital (as a source of value, among other things), one can read Clinton policy architect Lawrence Summers saying the following:

"What has received less attention are the particular risks associated with ownership by government-controlled entities, particularly where the ownership stake is taken through direct investments. The logic of the capitalist system depends on shareholders causing companies to act so as to maximise the value of their shares. It is far from obvious that this will over time be the only motivation of governments as shareholders. They may want to see their national companies compete effectively, or to extract technology or to achieve influence.

"We have seen the degree of concern over News Corp’s attempt to buy The Wall Street Journal. How differently should one feel about a direct investment stake of a foreign government in a media or publishing company?"

Milton Friedman couldn't have said it better. First, Summers here accepts what used to be a hard-right neoclassical view of capitalism as efficient only when it tries to maximize investor income and ignored all "externalities," including impacts on stakeholders - employees, citizens, consumers, etc. The superior efficiency of this strategy, even excluding its negative social effects, has never been proven, though it is very profitable for owners with large positions. Second, Summers acts as though it's completely obvious that there's no difference between a government and Rupert Murdoch. Well, actually, Larry, governments are supposed to be BETTER investors for the public good because they care about general development and social impacts, unlike Murdoch, who has lowered economic and social knowledge in the English-speaking world in the focused pursuit of returns and market share for himself. It's amazing - and a sign of Murdochization too - that an influential economist like Summers doesn't remember the argument for public rather than private development and actually prefers the private.