oleeb's picture

    President Hoover Is Back

    I've Been watching State of the Union Speeches since LBJ was President.  Never have any of them been so inadequate to the moment.

    Our President and the rest of the leaders of our country have failed us all and miserably so.  Worse than everything else is how badly our elites are failing our children.

    The President sounded more like Hoover in 1931 than someone who should have the benefit of history who knows that emphasizing a balanced budget in the middle of a major economic depression (which is what we are experiencing) where sustained official unemployment is 10% and the true unemployment rate is closer to 20% is a recipe for disaster not recovery.  His cynical platitudes insult the intelligence of those who understand we have experienced an economic collapse of historic proportions.  His appeasement of right wingers may gain him higher public approval in the short run but is dooming us to years with tens of millions unemployed and continued flight of investment capital abroad instead of here in our own country.

    His weak and uncertain leadership led to the electoral debacle last November.  Now he intends to treat us to more of the same by appeasing Republican demands he knows are bad for the country in return for little or nothing in the bargain.  It just sickens me to think of how badly he and the rest of our political and economic elite have failed this country and it makes me angry that none of them will feel the ill effects of their incompetence and irresponsibility.  Instead, it is the common people who will have to pay the full price for their corruption and greed.


    This is such, i am sorry, simplistic idelogical response.  In a speech in which he called for greater investment and ending tax breaks for oil companies, all you can say he is appeasing republicans. Pathetic.

    I'm not writing for the approval of boot lickers like yourself.  It happens to be the truth.  Deal with it and quit apolgizing for that asshole Republican President.

    Apparently, you aren't the only one who thinks Obama seems rather republican.

    (oh, yes ... I'm playing with the twitterz again.)

    I never find Oleeb pathetic, but there sure are an awful lot of folks here mad at Barry.

    I do not understand how he could do better right now. Not enough dems went into the voting booth last November, so we have right and hard right fascists running the House.

    All tax issues and funding must arise from the House, so what is he to do?

    I liked his speech so i must be in the minority from what I am reading.

    Why should not the Left concentrate on the repub speeches. I am reading that if the repubs have their way 9 of ten people in the country will pay more taxes, the top ten percent will pay less taxes, SS will be gutted, Medicare will be gutted, education will be gutted....

    Things have to be put into context.

    You know why I love you Dick Day, you are reasonable, smart and very nice. I thought it was a fine speech.

    Yes things need to be put in context.

    Mac Sealed

    DD, you're being far too generous as President Hoover prepares to pull the wool over your eyes again.  How many times does he have to double cross the left before you see that he is not the change we were waiting for nor the change we voted for?

    And, as a practical matter I think most people really liked the bromides and rah, rah tone of his speech.  We on the left didn't like it because we understand that what he is saying fundamentally is that he agrees with the basic premises of the Republicans and because of that we are going to get a fundamentally Republican approach toward policy and governance.  He is moving the Democratic Party and the nation to the right and that is the exact opposite of what the electorate wanted in 08 and what the electorate wants to see now.

    And thanks for not finding me pathetic!  LOL!

    The sheep don't suspect a thing, or they'll scatter?

    Maybe the real reason for the Democrats and the Republicans sitting next to each other was to give the appearance that this worked to promote civility. Maybe the whole event was staged so that the people at home wouldn’t see the civility was never questioned by the parties . Why would it be if he were one of them? 

    If the Rpublicans already know Obama is really one of them, then who would stand up and call him LIAR?

    Never would have happened with them sitting apart this time. So as to cover up how good of bedfellows they really are, they camouflage their cozy relationship by putting on a show of feigned “do we have to sit together”

    “Well alright if you insist, we can do it just this once” because Obama promises to bring the sheep to market. We don’t want the sheep, to suspect he’s one of us”?????????   

    I thought it was an OK speech, as speeches go. It snap-polled well across the board.

    AT's got it right. It's really pure political theater. So, I'm not looking to it for some sort of policy promises so much as how it plays. I think his Tucson speech was more the type of empathy America needs right now (and I think it's the real reason behind his recent poll bump). If he had managed to build on that, expand that feeling of "ok, he really cares" to the broader (more mundane) stresses people are feeling, I think he could have consolidated a bit of momentum. He may have missed that boat a bit (not much on jobs, nothing on foreclosures).

    I can't exactly get my head around this one as a whole. Not a real a coherent message with it. Or whatever. The imagery was a bit disjointed. There were some specific policy things; but it seemed like all the most notable policy pronouncements were posturing to challenge the GOP to oppose him for recommending exactly what they've proposed. I can see the thought behind it, I guess. It requires their belief that "working together" is the path to 2012 to be correct. But I think issuing the challenge as he did may come with a bit of a cost. It's one hell of ballsy move to propose corporate tax cuts immediately after pushing through a millionaire tax-cut that a solid majority of Americans didn't like ... and in light of polling that shows REPUBLICANS want to tax the living crap out of corporate executive profits more than anyone (and everyone else is pretty hip on it too). He is a tax-cutting fool.

    I'm kind of speeched out. I'm waiting for actual policy implementation. So I'll take him not endorsing the catfood commission and run with it.

    (oh, and there was the unfortunate fact that "Win The Future" = "WTF" ;-)

    (ohx2: The reason nobody wants to focus on the GOP speeches is because ... well, they were asinine).

    What irked me was his direct honesty, lacking any empathy.....No remorse, just hard cold facts, with very little comfort.

    He talks about how the rules changed for this generation; my generation, and then he admitted it did change. Mr' President, you administered the rules, your policies punished us. 

    No kidding Mr. President; you surrounded yourself with advisors, who considered my generation expendable. Your cure was to let me die and upon my ruins, some grand future awaits us. Like I was a piece of garbage, to be discarded on the side of the road to the Presidents vision of utopia.   Was the collateral damage accceptable to you Mr. Presidente

    Where everyone in the new generation, will go to college and become teachers, or rocket scientists……Sounds to me like the old story of too many chiefs and not enough Indians.

    I’m sorry Mr. President your economic policy of the last two years, screwed me, you screwed my offspring, for some promised pie in the sky future. My generation ready to face retirement can go to h%%% ?

    The President talked about how some governments would have just bulldozed houses to put in a road…….Your administration just bulldozed and buried my future and the future of my seed (offspring) the future generations of Americans. My dreams dashed, because my government saved the privileged class. My dreams of sending my offspring to college evaporated, because my government failed to protect me, from the terrorists of Wall Street.

    Children of the Bankers and Wall Street crowd, will be able to afford college, seeing as how they were protected. 

    Well I am so relieved to know our government is better than most others.

    Well thanks I thought I helped build this one already, and now you want more sacrifice?

    I can’t believe I like the President as a person, but he just doesn’t get it?

    He talks about how the rules changed for this generation; my generation, and then he admitted it did change. Mr' President, you administered the rules, your policies punished us.

    Yes Resistance. India and China should have stayed in their poverty so the US could sail along in their luxury.  And it wasn't until Obama came along that this situation changed. Yes, if you want to understand how India and China rose to their current position, one has only to look at the policies of Obama's over the past two years.  If it wasn;t for Obama we would still be sitting pretty and those in India and China would be living in the poverty their ancestors have known so well.  Damn that Obama.

    Did you hear the speech, how we are the American family. China and India could care less about our family, they seem to be doing all right.

    They own us, Us being the working class slaves indentured to serve foreign governments to pay back a debt incurred by reckless spending.  

    Wonder how much of China or Indias budget is set aside for military?

    so the US could sail along in their luxury.

    Explain yourself, I don't undersand who you think was living in luxury?

    I think what AT is trying to say is that Obama isn't uniquely responsible for the way the US squandered its sole-superpower status after the fall of the Soviet Union, nor is he responsible for the larger forces that led India and China to the economic status they enjoy today.

    Even so, the ratio of tough to love in the speech was jarring, and I'll bet quite a few people had the same response you did, Resistance.

    In defense of Resistance, I don't think it's possible to underestimate the impact of the foreclosure crisis and economic upheaval on peoples' attitudes toward financial companies and anyone they perceive as being in cahoots with them. My observation is that people are marginally ok with the bailout and definitely in favor of the "greedy homeowners" being punished....until they lose their job, sink all their savings into trying to keep their home, and lose it anyway. Then, attitudes  change.

    It takes a pretty saintly person to say "Hey, I'm 62 years old and I had to declare bankruptcy this year, but hey, I'm a Democrat so I guess I better say nice things about the guy who's up there shaking the bankers' hands."  People are bitter and grieving out here. It's important.

    And it's nitwits like you who are glad that the capital generated from the labor of US workers went overseas to give OUR jobs to the Chinese.  That's how they came out of poverty you twit: by taking OUR jobs.  If you'd get your head out of your behind you might be able to get a realistic view of what is going on around you.

    Pointing out something that just is doesn't mean I'm glad about it.  In the end as people have learned, they aren't OUR jobs.  They were just jobs who went to the lowest bidder.  It sucks. But since other countries don't impose minimum wage regulations that would make their workers no more cheaper than what the US worker seeks, and since multinational corporations can basically go whereever they feel like it, and since American consumers and businesses are willing to purchase products produced overseas because they are cheaper, there is little that can be done.

    A similiar process can be seen in local communities that go to the big chain stores rather than shop at the slightly more expensive locally owned stores, sending the dollars out of the local community to the community where the headquarters are located.  Internally, the level and extent of government intervention that would be required to fix this dynamic would not be acceptable to the American people, and getting all other countries to go along with the US so as to address the global dynamic of multinational corporations ain't going to happen. 

    So one can sit back and blame the politicans for a problem that can't be really fixed, or we can try to find a way to adjust to the new realities of the world economy, as sucky as it is. 

    AT says, for the 1001th time, that "There is little that can be done." Do you have anything to say beyond this? Or just an endless number of ways to go on and on about the hopelessness of it all? After a time, this tack just seems absurd AT. You don't look at what other nations are doing, don't look at other proposals, you just go on and on about how people are fucked and Obama can do no other with the hopeless materials he's been given. So let me repeat this. He should resign. If there's truly nothing that can be done, he should give back his salary, and move along. I'm sure your hopelessness fits well in some play or other. Thing is, Obama was the guy who promised HOPE. Remember that? Can you remember back that far? His biggest promise, and HE has utterly given up on it. Maybe he could make a little money off funerals. He's good at those.

    There are a lot of things that can be done, and which we should do.  What can't be done is return to the good old days when the US was the center of the manufacturing world, where people went straight from high school into a job that paid well and had super duper benefits.   Those manufacturing jobs are gone and they're not coming back.  At least not at the same wages/benefits.  But we can begin to adapt our economies and our communities to the new reality.  You sound like you would be down in the timber communities after the spotted owl and new timber-cutting technologies threw a bunch of loggers out of a career telling them "Have hope, dudes, don't bother with the government's offer to retrain you for a new career.  Those logging jobs are coming back." 

    There are many kinds of hope.  One of them is false hope, like hoping for the return of that which will not return.

    Yet as I said there are a lot things that can be done from infrastructure jobs to jobs in fields of new technologies.  Much of the manufacturing jobs that becoming available require more skills and education.   What Obama was calling for last night, in part, was a  collective commitment to make the necessary effort to go through that process of adaption. 

    What Obama pointed out last night is that we have achieved efficiencies in labor that allows 300 steel workers to produce what used to require 1,000.

    The implication here, of course, is that all the benefit of such efficiencies automatically accrue to the shareholders in that industry. Meanwhile, the remaining 300 steel workers must accept lower wages and benefits if they are to remain "competitive" with the other 700 unemployed steel workers.

    But all is not lost, eh? The WTF promise is that the remaining 700 will find employment as entrepreneurs investing (investing what?) in small businesses, presumably selling $4 lattes to the other previously unemployed steel workers selling $4 lattes.

    I don't know about you, but there's something decidedly disconcerting about this picture - but only if you are an unemployed steel worker. It's win-win for Obama and Wall Street and their jobless recovery. And that's really all that matters, ain't it?

    So what should Obama and the federal government do? Mandate that the company rehire those 700 former employees back?  Mandate a set wage amount for those who are employed in the steel industry?  In the end, there only so much the government can do when dealing with private sector companies.  Unfortunately, too many of these companies care about their shareholders and increased growth as opposed to the workers and the communities they live in.  But I just don't see where this country is ready to allow the feds the right to dictate to a company how it needs to conduct its business.  Something as simple as maintaining a legislated ceiling on executive pay as a percentage of overall employee pay in order to ensure CEOs don't get huge raises and bonuses while the workers get laid off, would probably not go over well with most.  Because it isn't just Wall Street but the entire private sector that needs to be dealt with, small and big manufactors, retailers, health providers, etc. etc. 

    The federal government can or should provide support for those who want to return to further their education or to go into their own business, as well as provide incentives for those employers who are willing to hire. 

    Ending the Bush tax cuts would have been a good start.

    The Congress has the ability to enact tariffs and duties to PROTECT AMERICAN WORKERS

    The first legislative act of the Washington Administration was a tariff bill

    Free trade is not free, when the costs are too high to the American worker.

    What does America need to import that couldn't have been produced here at home?

    Except cheap goods intended to drive down American workers wages.

    At last we can agree, Trope:

    since other countries don't impose minimum wage regulations that would make their workers no more cheaper than what the US worker seeks, and since multinational corporations can basically go whereever they feel like it, and since American consumers and businesses are willing to purchase products produced overseas because they are cheaper, there is little that can be done.

    I would remind you as well that as long as you don't get out of the way, that runaway truck bearing down on you is going to squash you flat. There is simply little that can be done.

    We have the tools at our disposal in our governance to address the problems you list (and all others) that make our reliance upon this style of laissez-faire, supply-side economics such a disastrous failure. Yet, your solution is to just lay down and wait for the impact?

    Your last sentence is incredibly unsound in a logical sense. Stated another way, you are telling us that we "need to find a new way to adjust to the realities of the world economy" but that we must do so whilst not holding politicians accountable for failing to embrace and promote the changes required. What are politicians for? Window dressing? Conduits for money to spend on campaign ads? WWE-style entertainment?



    Explain to me how the federal government can re-create those lost manufacturing jobs at those past wages and benefits.  What tools could be used today, tomorrow or the next day that has a snow ball's chance of happening. 

    What Wal-Mart does is sick and wrong, but perfectly legal.  And people just keep pouring into their stores rather than support their local businesses, or American companies making similiar products.  The shoppers want not one thing but two or three things.  So they buy the tv that is from China at Wal-Mart rather than the American made tv sold in a locally owned store.  What tool is going to fix that?

    Tariffs and duties will fix that.

    We can't' fix stupid, but We dont' have to allow idiots to bring America to ruin.

    Instead of borrowing money from China to finance wars, we should have added revenue.

    To get the revenue you either tax the people or borrow.

    Those who borrowed, figured they would sell future generations into slavery to pay back the debt.

    It also increased the interest rates on those less able to afford it.

    Nice game if you can fix it. Borrow money cheaply to promote your scheme (two wars) then  get someone to pay you a higher interst rate because YOU borrowed the money. 

    Borrowing money from the Chinese should be viewed as treason

    Make the Government impose tariffs and duties on all imports to pay for the Wars.

    If you don't want import taxes, don't go to war.  

    I like the idea of a more carrot-stick approach. I think you get to the fundamental point with the need for tariffs, but I think there is something to be said for more open trade - with partners who recognize an equivalent generalized set of operational parameters.

    Where we have failed is in not using access to modern markets as a reward for modernizing labor protections and environmental protections. Instead these deals are crafted explicitly as end-runs around labor protection laws and environmental protections. The WalMarts and Apples of the world are able to get stuff for pennies from labor pools that are paid less in a month than a low-paid American (or European) worker makes in a day. It turns out, we've decided what the emerging world has to offer is expendable labor for less than the cost of some dirt.

    Of course then when they bring the stuff back duty-free, it retails at just enough of a discount to undercut any American trying to pay employees who work their assess off a living wage with vacations and benefits and stuff.

    This gets into the whole "fair trade" thing. It is also (IMO) at the crux of our immigration problem. If people are flocking here in droves - to enjoy +10% unemployment and crap wages for everyone; how crappy have we made it in their home countries? (damn crappy it turns out, our corporations own their arable land and export all their food duty free - then they have to pay tariffs to import food from their neighbors and figure out how to pay for it on American corporate sweat-shop wages).

    I think on one level the neolibs are correct; this is an interconnected world. We can't just pretend it isn't. But it's a far stretch from that to saying we've got to abandon national interests, hand the world over to multinational corporations and just STFU. The answer seems to lie in a more global idea of solidarity. A nation that looks out for it's workers would logically gear tariffs to reflect how various trading partners treat/compensate their labor force. It seems hard to claim support for unions while at the same time asking workers to compete with what is essentially a feudal system of wealth allocation on the other side of the table.

    I know that's not all of our problem, but what we've done is allow a bar to lowered that laborers have fought for a century and a half to advance. By default.

    And somewhat related. I can't get past the thought that when we go beyond the point where extant hard assets and physical commodities offset the leverage they're creating, the only thing they could possibly be gambling (without violating the laws of thermodynamics) are the minutes of people's lives. Every time we let them double-down; you and I (and the Chinese workers we're supposedly benefiting) become just that much more worthless.

    kgb999  You really have a gift with words.

    What you said is so true and clearly stated.  Thanks

    I really believe there are a lot of members of the Republican Party, that feel the same way as you have so eloquently stated.

    The symbolism of the Tea party is based upon our Forefathers throwing off the heavy yoke imposed upon it by bad trade.

    Whatever one might think of Ross Perot, his warnings at the Presidential debates was correct.

    His followers are still out there. You have members of the Tea Party who have spoken up many times, about our their government, has been going down the wrong path.

    Together, we could unite for this cause. We could do an end run around the Clinton type Democrats, and their well placed advocates.

    You can get the sense; Obama wants to get ahead of this movement. Always speaking about the need for better trade agreements. With his appointments we see the Clintonistas and their , fair trade, one world government ideas are still active. Trying to head off what they fear is the impatience, of those who knew how one sided our previous agreements have been, and will always be with a corporate controlled government.

    Someone should tell the President who is campaigning for more exports,

    our problem is not exports; it’s imports.

    Of course we need to innovate to compete, because we can't produce CHEAPLY enough, for the poor to buy our products.     

    Of course we'll get the same song and dance as we always have, they're working on it……As fast as the Corporate lobbyists will let them.   

    Thanks again  KGB

    I'm with ya (of course) Sleepin in all your points. 

    I am amazed at how many people think that government jobs programs like those that put America back to work in the 30's simply cannot be done.  That's what Obama and the Democrats should be pushing at this point along with massive defense cuts, ending the wars, and taxing the rich at the levels they were taxed at by Ike!  But why institute policies that have a proven track record of working right?

    I sure as hell hope that's snark.

    Of course, globalization isn't Obama's fault but I don't think it's fair to say that the ground lost by America's labor forces over the last three decades is the direct result of India and China rising out of poverty.  For one thing, India and China are still in poverty and a good reason for that is that the U.S. companies (and other multinationals) seeking cheap labor don't pay great wages, by definition.

    But what I really object to is the notion that asking a U.S. president to take common sense steps to protect and insure rising wages for U.S. workers has anything at all to do with poverty in Asia or anywhere.  The President's responsibilities lie here, not there.

    Obama is a mixed bag.

    On the one hand, there was a vision of the future with better times ahead, driven by an activist government spurring growth and progress by organizing public investment in innovation, education and infrastructure.  I like it as far as it goes.   In those areas, Obama sounds like a progressive Democrat.

    On the other hand, there were some aspects of the speech - shockingly few - dealing with our current crisis.  These parts of the speech were extremely bad, and somewhat offensive.  Obama tried to sell the country on the idea that the recession is now over, that we have "broken the back of the recession."  He based this on the idea that corporate profits are up and the stock market is up.  But profits are up even though revenue is flat, because corporations have cut costs and improved profit margins by slashing jobs.

    Frankly, this avoidance of reality makes Obama seem obtuse and indifferent.  The whole Western world remains in profound economic crisis and deep doldrums.   Whatever labels economists might use to descibe them, these are the worst economic times in many decades.  And they are not bad times that we just lived through and from which we have now emerged.   We're still there. Obama only seems willing to lead in a world he wishes he were handed, but not the one he actually was handed.

    If you are one of the 9.5% officially unemployed, there was not a single word in the speech about what he is going to do to get you working this year.  Not.  One. Word.  There were lots of words about what he is going to do for your children and grandchildren.  But as for the present it was:  Out of work?  Out of luck!

    There was also nothing in the speech that would make a progressive think that Obama has any plans aimed at addressing the profound inequalities in our society, inequlaities that are historically unprecedented are are fragmenting us socially and politically.  One gathers he doesn't even care about them.  He just wants things to go back to normal - normal being good old dysfunctional and unequal America, with the middle class continuing to fall further behind the wealthy.

    He is also placing far too much blame on foreign competition for US economic sufferings and job losses, and not enough on the structural problems, exploitation, corruption, incompetence and malfeasance of the current order.  China and India did not create the Ponzi flim-flam financial bubble of phony, under-audited and and toxic financial assets.  The Chinese and the Indians didn't crash and burn the economy and evaporate our savings.  I wonder if Obama even understands why we are in a recession.

    So I agree that the speech had a lot of Hooverite qualities.  It was a "prosperity is just around the corner" speech aimed at restoring the economy purely by instilling psychological confidence and making bold plans for the distant future, and by ignoring all of the scary monsters under the bed.

    Obama strikes me as like a baseball player who has been thrown a curve ball by history, and who takes the pitch and then says, "I don't do curveballs; I'm a fastball hitter."  Instead of facing and accepting the crisis and responding creatively to it, he keeps trying to wish himself out of it so that he can move on to his big post-crisis plans.

    One last thing.  This speech reminded me of Obama's inauguration speech in some ways.  Obama is the master of the "optimistic downer".   The theme is something like this: "Well, it's going to be really hard.  We're going to have to work, and compete, and sacrifice, and save, and sacrifice, and work, and struggle, and work some more ... and did I mention work yet?  But we can do it guys, 'cuz we're Americans!"

    The Obama future might be prosperous.  And we might be number one again in that future.  Our kids might have good jobs and make more money than the Chinese kids.  But it doesn't sound like it's going to contain much fun.

    It was all blowing smoke up the nation's ass and as you say "prosperity is just around the corner."  Somehow he forgot to mention his recovery is coming without jobs and that his corporate buddies are creating jobs elsewhere with the tax cuts he handed them.  It is clear he is a man of no vision and no backbone who is afraid to stand up to the rich and the powerful and the Republicans who do their dirty work.  His sole interest is in getting reelected and if he has to destroy the Democratic Party to do it he will and that clearly includes the potential undermining of social security.  What a guy!

    I'm happy to be back in agreement with Dan Kervick.

    The President's Tucson speech had real roots in what it means to be a human and an American, it had real heft and was the kind of work that could actually inspire people to change.

    This one, not so much.

    In his Tucson speech, Obama sketched out the bedrock similarities in how Americans think and feel, and how all Americans can serve the country with pride. In this one, he needed to provide a practical vision of how that might look. If he needed to talk about sacrifice, he needed to be specific, not general, and above all, he needed to describe ways to make the sacrifices fair or at least worthwhile. And I think all you have to do is read Resistance's response to see that in at least one case, he really failed at that.

    Great example: the teacher comment. "If you really want to do something for your country, be a teacher." While Obama said whatever he said next, I supplied "It'll be an especially big sacrifice because you'll be living in your parents' house for the rest of your life. If they still have a house."

    (I guess if your parents don't have a house, you should forget being a teacher and try to make a living ripping people off, or work on marrying well.)

    Not a great speech. But more important, not great ideas. I'm sure I'm not the only one who noticed the similarity between the words sputnik and sputter.

    As someone who loves cold, hard facts, I enjoyed the President's speech, while also realizing, at least on an intellectual level, that he could've added some more empathy to it. On this bit, however:

    Great example: the teacher comment. "If you really want to do something for your country, be a teacher." While Obama said whatever he said next, I supplied "It'll be an especially big sacrifice because you'll be living in your parents' house for the rest of your life. If they still have a house."

    I want to point out that Obama also stressed that teachers needed to earn more and to be respected more. Furthermore, I've been a public high school teacher, and although the pay wasn't great, my wife and I were able to live in a nice enough apartment while she finished her undergraduate degree. What helped was having parents who raised me to know how to balance my own budget and to not spend beyond my means. We lived simply, but comfortably.

    Teachers should have the respect, unless they have done something to not deserve it.

    I can't see how you can raise the teachers pay, if everybody becomes a teacher,


    If supply increases and demand remains unchanged then lower equilibrium price and higher quantity.

    IMHO there is to much emphasis  on higher education.

    The cost to go to schools of higher learning are astronomical and the return on investment for some has proven disasterous. A debtors prison.

    I am beginning to believe the government is shirking it's responsibilites.

    maybe it's more sinister, Obama is trying to do what the republicans have been trying for years,

    Destroy the Teachers Union?

    Whose going to pay for tenured professors if the kids don't get suckered into going to higher education? The government?  

    We tell our children to get a higher education, in order to promote a brain trust of professors.

    Who then can go to work for the DOW's the 3M's the Monsanto's, who'll take the knowledge, keep the patents and open factories overseas and sell it back to dumb Americans looking for a cheaper price.

    Dumb American workers to stupid to realize cheaper prices at the store means lower wages here at home.

    How is it we can pay teachers more?  Who can afford to, when the good jobs are gone?

    Do not allow cheap imported goods to enter our country. Get it through our heads there are no other countries out there, take care of your own. Mind our own business and maybe million dollar drones becomes 1 million plowshares, better pay for teachers. Less borrowing from foreign nations to finance wars all over the planet, while some countries have no such burden.

    If a manufacturer wants to move their operations overseas, then sell their cheap goods over there........Don't bring them here so you can make a larger profit.  

    There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible.
    Henry Ford

    Henry Ford knew the only way he could sell his cars in America was that he had to pay Americans a better wage

    The new industrialist say's make the cheapest goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the lowest wages possible. Get a higher wage earner country to buy the cheap imports, and make as miuch profit as you can while you can.

    Suck the vitality and everything you can out of the country and then retire in luxury. Then go back to the origianl models, when the Nation fights over the jobs,  you the blodsucker can get wages to go lower. better too, is if you can avoid paying any taxes, then you'll see more profits  

    I suppose when the Capitalists, have no others to exploit, they'll be looking to enslave someone in order to produce cheaper goods and sell them to dummies, who don't think about the impact these bloodsucker Capitalists are having on our lives.  

    Go to school so you won't become victimized? Fat chance    You can become an educated fool, standing in the unemployment line with other educated fools. Or find yourself competing with a lower demanding educated Chinaman, or Indian.

    I can't see how you can raise the teachers pay, if everybody becomes a teacher,


    If supply increases and demand remains unchanged then lower equilibrium price and higher quantity.

    A) The usual rules of supply and demand don't apply to a job market where the state gets to set the salary. B) Increasing your pay means greater competition for the limited supply means, if you've got good screen in place, you get better teachers. C) Decreasing class sizes would increase demand for teachers.

    IMHO there is to much emphasis on higher education.

    Agreed. Not everyone needs to go to college. That said, everyone should be able to afford to go to college.

    maybe it's more sinister, Obama is trying to do what the republicans have been trying for years,

    Destroy the Teachers Union?


    Whose going to pay for tenured professors if the kids don't get suckered into going to higher education? The government?  

    We tell our children to get a higher education, in order to promote a brain trust of professors.

    Who then can go to work for the DOW's the 3M's the Monsanto's, who'll take the knowledge, keep the patents and open factories overseas and sell it back to dumb Americans looking for a cheaper price.

    Your 3rd paragraph in that excerpt seems to answer your 1st. In engineering and sciences, most of a professor's pay comes from the DOWs and the 3Ms and the Monsantos, as well as the DoD, NSF, and NIH.

    As for the rest of what you wrote, I'm not sure how (or if) it's meant to be related to the first part of what you wrote.

    Yup, I'm pretty sure that was the part I didn't listen to because I was peeved about teachers having to live with their parents....

    I know it was a cheap shot, something I've been really trying to avoid lately. But I was surprised that the president didn't deal more specifically and forcefully with the issue of teacher pay and respect. This is one of those issues where taking a stand could make a big difference, and it is frustrating that he's not so much of a stand-taking guy a lot of the time.

    I'm genuinely glad you and your wife were able to make ends meet while she finished her degree, and it sounds like you enjoyed it despite having to live simply. But you were young and in love, as the saying goes--would you have been able to achieve a comfortable life and retirement if you'd had three kids on that salary and one of you had stayed home until they were all school-age? That's the part that the President needs to be fighting for, that a person should be able to stay in the profession and have a comfortable (or even more than comfortable) life.

    I think a really expert teacher should be able to earn $100k per year.

    Actually, I didn't enjoy it (the teaching - or rather the disciplining), but I had a bigger beef about the class sizes than the size of my paycheck. With the kinds of students I had (some of whom, for example, were in my class as a condition of their parole), 30 students in a classroom was just too damn many. I absolutely think we should pay teachers more, and, no, I probably wouldn't have been able to live a comfortable life if I had 2 kids (I strongly discourage anyone from having more than 2 kids in this day and age), unless my wife were also working.

    Well, that's honest, and fair, I think. Thank you. (And congratulations on your verification.)

    As with all the other politicians blowing smoke about how teachers should be paid more he offers no way of accomplishing that and, in fact, his failure to continue to fight for aid to the states means his policy is de facto going to lead to teachers being laid off, furloughed and taking pay cuts.

    While I was counting how many ad-homs Oleeb could stick into one comment thread, I came to the conclusion that I like the cut of this Dan Kervick fellow's gib.

    He is good

    Thanks guys.

    "...I like the cut of this Dan Kervick fellow's gib."

    Just wait 'til he really gets going and flies the spinnaker. Now that is something to see.

    Aaargh! Avast & ahoy-keelhaul me for a boy! If it's th'flyin' of an unfurled spinnaker th'wenches be after, it's best left t'the professionals amongst us. (An'if it's explication y'be after, y'do best t'consult me profile)

    Thanks!  I'm doing my best.  I simply have no patience left for those who won't deal with reality and who keep insisting that President Hoover is a Democrat when his policies belie that claim.

    "I simply have no patience left for those who won't deal with reality..."

    Priceless.  If you didn't exist, somebody would have to invent you.

    Please, do me a favor, pollute all the other posts at Dagblog if you like but don't come to mine and stink up the place with your presence.

    If you insist on emerging from your hole on my posts, however, I will repost some of your more notable and highly offensive (not to mention inexcusable) personal attacks on commenters that had done nothing to you yet you were unable to restrain yourself from nearly going postal. 

    I'd rather not have to go to the trouble but will do so if necessary.  I will do it to remind people of who and what kind of person you really are.  Of course, that can be avoided if you just scram and don't turn up here again.  Thanks and have a nice day.

    Please don't do that

    It's fun trying to teach the other side the ridiculous nature of their arguments.

    Some of them put up a good fight. Remember we need to practice our skills, and live practice serves a good pupose


    If you don't want to be mocked for your hysterical idiocy, then don't put it on full, glorious display in a public forum.

    As a better blogger than I once said, you are the worst commenter on the internet.  And you insist on re-establishing that fact every time you put fingers to keyboard.

    I suspect that Obama, and his advisers and the establishment of both parties, does not see a crisis.  They see high unemployment that doesn't really affect the people they know and they see that "the rules of the game" have changed for a whole bunch of people who were playing a different game than them to begin with.

    I don't mean to be so cynical about Obama, actually.  I think he gets that it's unacceptable that so many are hurting but I think he's been convinced that we've turned a corner and done the right things to fix the problem and that the results will manifest over the next 2-4 years. Anything more urgent, to the minds of Obama and his advisers, is both unnecessary and potentially harmful.

    To them, the emergency ended when the big banks stopped failing.  Everything else is a matter of time.  I think that many of them are actually surprised that it's taken so long.  But look, stocks are up and that's a future indicator, right?

    In the long run, we're all dead.

    -John Maynard Keynes

    From WIkiquote:

    A Tract on Monetary Reform (1923) Ch. 3; many have thought this meant Keynes supported short terms gains against long term economic performance, but he was actually criticizing the belief that inflation would acceptably control itself without government intervention.

    (Note, I'm not disagreeing with anything you wrote - it just reminded me of that quote.)

    "To them, the emergency ended when the big banks stopped failing."

    This is the crux of the Obama Administration and the mega bank issue. Well stated.

    As for stocks it's been predicted that since fixed income trading "revenue" is waning at Goldman, Morgan Stanley and such, the next asset class for them to chase (and inflate, my words), will be equities. Thus cometh another bubble.  


    Sure, you saw how much Goldman put up just to get a foot in the door on underwriting a Facebook IPO.  Though underwriting revenues are not what they once were, either.

    Excellent points Destor.  Fundamentally, when he says "we" he isn't talking about the little people like us.  He represents himself and his class, not the people who elected him.  He is every bit as out of touch with the common people as Bush and the rest of the Washington insider crowd.  His speech last night made that exceedlingly clear.  Sad, but true.

    I was so fixated on Paul Ryan's channeling of Hoover that when I saw your post, I thought that you were talking about Ryan too.

    Obama is actually more like FDR, who followed up the New Deal stimulus by prematurely pressing for a balanced budget in 1937.

    But I'm amused that we have three headlines in a row citing Hoover in different contexts.

    I disagree.

    Obama is nothing like FDR.

    FDR recognized that the problem was that people were out of work and he put people to work.  Obama didn't even say the word "unemployment" and he explained the loss of jobs to foreign nations as a function of new technology.  If really believes that then things are worse than I thought but he knows that is pure BS.  Obama has done precious little beyond what Hoover did in response to the crash: stepped up Public Works projects but not enough to make a difference.  We need to put our people to work not kiss the asses of those that caused the economic catastrophe.  Obama's rosy declaration of how the market and corporate profits were up without mentioning anything about unemployment demonstrates that Obama is completely out of touch (just as much as the rest of the Republicans in DC) about the reality of the crisis facting the nation.  Obama doesn't believe in the proven Democratic policies we know can and will put people back to work and he has said so over and over and demonstrated it by doing nothing to put people back to work.  I suggest you read Hoover's 1931 SOTU speech and you'll see how similar Obama is to Hoover and how unlike FDR he really is.

    Keep in mind also that FDR pulled back on the stimulus without the benefit of history.  Because he has the beneift of history and knowing FDR's error, Obama knows that his failure to continue to prime the pump means things will get worse instead of better.  He already knows that his pie in the sky nostrums about recovery are a lie and that the vast army of unemployed can expect little or no relief.  His sole concern seems to be making sure voters are fooled into thinking the crisis is over and the previous inadequate stimulus will keep things stable enough for him to be re-elected.

    Oleeb, there are many people much smarter than you or me who think that we're in a recovery. We should not necessarily assume that they're right, but confidently insisting that they're wrong or that they're lying to us is pure hubris. I'm glad that it's not my job to decide whether to continue stimulus efforts. No offense, but I'm glad that it's not your job either.

    It all depends on what part of the country you are in and what business area. Health Care and insurance did very well and did not feel much. Same for certain parts of the entertainment industry.

    But it was like that in the 1930s as well. In fact the entertainment industry, Hollywood and Radio, did very well during the depression of the 1930s. As did the radio/electronics retail area.

    So it depends on what you are looking at.

    I was surprised today when I talked with a guy who did cement walls for mid-size business buildings and homes. He said that the company he most often worked with (as a subcontractor) had been doing "astronomical numbers" since about November, was replacing worn-out gear, and buying new supplies. He said that one thing they had pulled back on over the last few years was working in Winter because it's more expensive, but they were expecting the rest of this Winter and into next Winter to be pretty productive. I think that the "astronomical numbers" may actually have meant by comparison with the shitty ones of the previous few years, but still...cautious optimism.

    Do you mean concrete walls, or cement block walls? Just curious.

    I think the poured concrete kind, but I might be able to check. Why does it make a difference? Now you've got me curious!

    Some people are sensitive to the differences between concrete and cement. I'm not, but I've got a thing about people getting monkeys and apes confused, or apes and gorillas. (Apes are not monkeys, and gorillas are apes, but we're apes, too. All of the above are primates.)

    Concrete is poured by one trade, concrete and clay masonry is laid by another. In some areas concrete prevails for foundations; in others, cmu prevails.

    Donal is an architect...he would be getting paid to know about this issue only no one is building stuff that requires thought in advance. (they're turning Taliesen into a McDonald's...)

    The Shining Lowbrow ...

    There was a Wright house near Palm Springs that was on the market for pocket change and was almost torn down! I think someone stepped up at the last minute, but damn!

    Most of the economists that I read are not convinced there is much recovery, and many fear that will last for quite some time.  Bill Bonner fears the drop in housung values even more, as some say we are in a double-dip value loss, which translates into potentially trillions more in household losses.  For most Americans, their houses ARE their pensions.  (WERE, I should say.)

    "If you listen to the financial media, the State of the Union, or the stock market you’ll get a very different impression. Or just re-read the article above. It says “…the job market is barely improving.” In fact, it’s not improving at all. It’s getting worse. The population is growing. If employers don’t add new jobs, it means more people out of work.

    Housing? Same story. It’s not “barely improving.” Houses are still losing value.

    We could ask sarcastically: “So, where’s the recovery?”

    But why bother? You know as well as we do that there is no recovery. And there’s not going to be a recovery."

    Read more: US Unemployment and Other Data Not Indicative of "Recovery" http://dailyreckoning.com/us-unemployment-and-other-data-not-indicative-of-recovery/#ixzz1CG0sQ7T5


    Alot of those smart people are the ones who destroyed the economy of the United States or had a big hand in doing so.  You trust those assholes?  Really?

    Even the ones who make the claim that "we" are in a recovery admit it is coming without jobs for American workers.  That means "we" doesn't include normal working Americans and I safely conclude that means for me and my people who are not rich and who don't make their money off investments that there is no recovery and things are going to get worse because there are no jobs.  It's pretty simple.  You don't have to be one of the genius who fucked over America and the world economy to figure it out.  In fact, I'd say the people who most ought to be listening to are the ones on the left who have called this correctly since before the collapse who, of course, are not really serious and just filled with hubris.  Now, when things get worse and there are no jobs despite continued growth of profits for the idle rich you come back to me and let me know how smart it was to listen to those guys who are smarter than you or me.  Okay?

    I don't claim to be smarter than those guys.  But I do think for myself and I know that those smart guys have been wrong on damn near everything for about 15 years and the left's doomsday predictions have pretty much all come about.  We have a choice.  We can make the comfortable choice and listen to the mainstream hotshots who have screwed us.  Or we can take a look at the range of analysis out there and choose to think for ourselves.  That's all I'm saying and I'd say it's a pretty safe bet to bet against the hotshots given their track record.

    A key point here is that in a fair system, being wrong would have genuine, serious consequences for the people who are wrong, and the loss that they take would be in line with the systemic risk they take when they make their bets.

    But our system is not fair, what with the concepts of the level playing field and the "reset button" of wealth redistribution being so out of fashion these days. (I mean, it's never been totally fair, but the numbers indicate that at least in the USA, the financial system is becoming objectively less fair.)

    So we're stuck with something resembling a giant, friendly poker game for the wealthy, where the chips keep getting passed around depending on who wins any given hand, but in which very few of the chips fall down through the grates to the eager masses below. (Now I swear they're using supersize chips and smaller grates.) Just as in any friendly poker game, if somebody blows a hand or two or five, the other players will tease him or her, but nobody's going to toss them from the game unless they do something unthinkable like pee on the table. More than once.

    This leaves the ordinary people out of the game, forced to survive by taking ever-riskier side bets on the calls that the big players make, but without sharing in the benefits that the big players accrue. And did I mention that the ordinary people have to give money to the big players for the opportunity to play at all?

    I know it's necessary for Democrats to be politically strategic, but I agree with kgb's point that every time we "double down," go "best three out of five" or "best seven out of ten" with the elites, we weaken our overall position. We absolutely have to get a handle on this--we can't take a "week in Vegas" approach, where we win some, lose more, and go home feeling like hey, it was fun to play.

    Oleeb, look at this graph. As you can see, Hoover's spending increases in 1930-31 were modest. After FDR become president in 1932, the spending increases were much more dramatic. Around 1937, the slope drops off. That was the premature budget balancing.

    From 2009 to 2010, there is another upward slope, even steeper than in 1930s. That's Obama. In 2011, we will likely see the slope drop off. In that case, the curve will look like FDR's--a steep upward slope followed by a slower descent. Hopefully, this adjustment won't plunge us back into recession as happened in 1937, but I'm not an economist and won't make a prediction.

    I understand that you're unhappy with Obama's policies, but you're comparison to Hoover is a poor one. Obama's response to the financial crisis was far more aggressive than Hoover's.

    Note: The y-axis shows spending as a percentage of GDP, which means that the curve also reflects changes in the GDP. You can eliminate that interference by showing spending in 2005 dollars, but the changes are somewhat obscured.

    What is really starting to get on my nerves about the "we want FDR policies now" crowd is far simpler; many of them talk like he solved the unemployment problem by giving everyone that was unemployed a goverrnment job! For crying out loud,  he didn't do that, that's not what happened:

    Lots of people were out of work the whole time until WWII, that's why we call it The Great Depression. He did not not put everyone to work while he was president, it's just that simple.

    Those indicating they'd be happy with some FDR-like results, reads to me that they'd be happy if Obama put a small number of the currently unemployed in government jobs and let the rest of the unemployed suffer through to the end of his second term.

    Then theres also those golden Depression years when they got the Social Security checks out pronto and saved all those insecure.....

    Yessiree, makes perfect sense that Obama should be primaried by someone promising to take the country back to the golden years of FDR's America. I see now how that would really sell well. Every day I hear people say they wish they had lived during the Great Depression, it was grand.

    What is really starting to get on my nerves about the "we want FDR policies now" crowd is far simpler; many of them talk like he solved the unemployment problem by giving everyone that was unemployed a goverrnment job! For crying out loud,  he didn't do that, that's not what happened...

    These people who 'talk like he solved the unemployment problem by giving everyone that was unemployed a government job!'--who are they? Can you link to someone who is saying that?

    Those policies did have a substantial ameliorative impact.  I've seen data on that and will try to find it and put it up tonight.

    Dreamer, I am not arguing that there wasn't an ameliorative impact, I am simply pointing out that he did not get rid of unemployment, far from it. Also, seems to me that a lot of people aren't looking for the ameliorative impact thing, that might be called Obama talk, plenty seem not to be in the mood to wait for amelioration to occur. You really think a lot of people in the liberal blogosphere would be happy if Obama announced tomorrow that the government would hire a measly 10% of the unemployed on temporary government work projects? Most are extremely unhappy with the incrementalist nature of the health reform that was enacted, even though it is not unlike the way both Social Security and Medicare happened. Many feel that a $800 billion wasn't ameliorative enough, even though worries from some voters about the debt from that amount helped propel more Republicans into the House.

    If the 800 billion dollars;had been given to aid the homeowners in the form of subsidies; to make the payments to the bank, both parties would have benefitted. No defaults, No foreclosures......Stabilization.  

    Instead the Government chose the winners; the losers get the tab.

    I wish I could go to the Fed window and borrow at 0%  that would sure lower my monthly payment.

    I wish Obama would have taken the 2% cut and had applied it to solve the real problem, lack of purchasing power of the people.

    Then I could tell the banks to shove it, I wouldn't need their credit. Instead my government helped them, shackle me. My government financed two wars on borrowed money and then tell me Sorry we can't help the people, Why is that? Because the bankers wouldn't have liked it?  

    I'm with you there with this kind of thing. I'm not arguing Obama admin actions so far have been brilliant, far from it.. I am just sick of the worshipping of a misrepresented past as the answer. Also, I'm really not into where the whole FDR thing eventually takes one, not into seeing a huge WW to finally solve the unemployment problem.

    I wouldn't put it past the corruptness of the hearts and minds of the war profiteers, and the  military/industrial complex,  

    Lets sing praises to GE, for being a good model for the country

    Holder goes after the mob, which is a good thing, but what resources did he use to go after the white collar criminals. How about recovering the money from the fraud of No Bid contracts, or mortgage fraud. 

    Obama, "lets move forward, we don't want to look back"  isn't that the purpose of blinders on a mule?   


    Oddly enough, John McCain sort of approached a similar concept in one of his town hall debates. I had hopes that Democrats would say "wait a minute, WE should be doing this."

    Never heard another thing about it, from McCain or Obama. Damned shame.

    I hope everything we do here is worth the effort.

    At least the people on this site have a support system.

    Thanks Erica

    It's true. Hang in there Resistance. I think you are one of those people who would be a Republican who sleeps at night if your conscience would just keep quiet and allow it. I'm glad it doesn't.

    Vive l'insomnia!


    AA, this isn't right. FDR significantly lowered unemployment - not just stoop it from rising. A 6% fall is something we'd all be happy to see eh? He also did this by experimenting and creating whole waves of new programs and initiatives. I don't see those today. He also kept the stimulus going for 7 years before pulling back, and people are comparing that to 2 or 3? These are major differences.

    A six percent fall in our current UE rate would put it at 3.5%.  A fair comparison would be if Obama can get into the 6.5% - 7.0% range by the end of his first term.  But I'm sure you amateur historians would just move on to the next Obama outrage if the unemployment rate hit its structural bottom by 2012, so what's the point?  

    Don't be an ass. If he got it to 7, I'd sing the Hallelujah Chorus on his lawn. I WANT this guy to do well. Screw personalities, screw our preferences and predictions. This isn't sports, it's real life. But go ahead, rejoin the screaming for your "team." I'm out.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    We all want him to do well. Our lives depend upon it.

    The point I was trying to make is that FDR had a Congress and an electorate that were willing to work in tandem to create the programs that defined the New Deal.  Without getting into whether Obama secretly wants to enrich the big banks at the expense of everyone else, and will not be stopped in his mission to eviscerate the socials safety net, can we at least agee that there was never enough members of Congress that would have been willing to pass New-Deal style legislation?  This point really is the crux of my problem with the incessant focus on Obama; even if he never compromised an inch, and beat the bully pulpit every day in favor of an FDR-style program, it never would have passed.  Instead, he would have been written off as a failure by the end of the summer of 2009.

    And I'll reiterate that if there was a viable option challengin him from the left, I'd support that option.  I just don't see the votes for it.  

    "There's some guy standing on a moose in front of the White House fence!  OMG, he's over, and he's running across the lawn screaming something about the kingdom of our god and 7%! Deploy Security Measures! Deploy Security Measures!"

    You owe me a new monitor. Mine has Dr. Pepper sprayed all over it now, thanks to you.

    Excellent! Thanks for the laugh!

    Quinn, you've got it absolutely right.

    It's almost frightening to see the once commonly understood and quite clear points you're making so fundamantally misunderstood by people who have been influenced by the big lies trumpeted from the rooftops since FDR was President that it didn't really work, that the benefits didn't last, etc...  Also, this current belief that somehow FDR had a willing Congress demonstrates a very shallow understanding of what went down during the New Deal.  FDR was a true leader who whipped Congress into line.  He didn't just throw an idea out to see what they would do with it.  The difference between the Congress then and now is that the Congresses of the 30's understood the gravity of the economic calamity and since none of the programs we now take for granted were in place and had to be invented by FDR and the New Deal the widespread poverty and misery of the people was much more apparent for all to see.  Today, those programs amerliorate much of the worst suffering and a great deal of the rest is hidden from view.  The lack of real understanding of history hinders our progress in this current crisis and it isn't just on this blog.  Obama too, clearly has a poor understanding of the history of the New Deal, how it worked and why, not to mention what it took to get those programs passed and then to preserve them.

    "These people who 'talk like he solved the unemployment problem by giving everyone that was unemployed a government job!'--who are they? Can you link to someone who is saying that?"

    No links necessary; just scroll up three comments or so:

    "FDR recognized that the problem was that people were out of work and he put people to work."

    Sources on this are US Census Bureau, Eric Rauchway, The Great Depression and the New Deal, 2008, and Nancy E. Rose, Put to Work: The WPA and Public Employment in the Great Depression, 2009 (cited as Rose below).  The two books are generally supportive but far from uncritical of New Deal public employment programs--there are many important lessons to be learned from a close study of those efforts.
    Number of unemployed, percent unemployed, total US pop as of July 1 of identified year
    (sources Census Bureau and Rose, p. 17)
    1932  12,060,000    24.1 
    1933   12, 830,000  25.2  125,578,763
    1934 11,340,000   22.0    126,373,773
    1935   10,610,000    20.3   127,250,232
    1936   9,030,000  17.1
    1937    7,700,000  14.3
    1938    10,390,000 19.1
    Size of labor force during GD was about 50 million; in 2009 about 155 million.
    Civil Works Administration (CWA), meant to get people through the 1933-34 winter, hired 4.3 million by Jan 1934.  7 million others applied but were not accepted.
    Civilian Conservation Corps 300,000-500,000/month, total 2.5 million over 10 years (Rose, p. 21)
    Number in Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) programs peaked in Dec. 1934 at a bit under 2.5 million (graph in Rose, p. 53)
    Works Progress Administration (WPA) began Sept. 1935
    over 3 million in early 1936, then cut back, then uptick on account of
    sharp recession 9/37-5/38 to high of 3.3 million Nov 1938 (Rose, p. 78)
    During the Great Dep, when labor force was about 50 million, 1.4-4.4 million people per month were put to work through 3 programs--FERA, CWA and WPA.  (Rose, p. 91);
    4.4 million at height of CWA between CWA, WPA and FERA (Rose, p. 10).
    There simply isn't a market to do some of the green infrastucture work that needs doing unless one is created by making government money available for such purposes.  No chance of getting any, let alone a decent cap-and-trade bill done these next two years, which <a href="http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=green_job_search">some</a> see as essential to stimulating private sector demand for alternative energy investments. 
    As to what the reaction in the liberal blogosphere would be in the highly unlikely event that this Administration and Congress were to pass public employment legislation on a scale comparable to what was done during the Great Depression, I have no idea.  Others can obsess and construct rhetorical straw men to their hearts' content, speculate on that, raise alarms about how this would need to lead to a World War to solve the unemployment problem, bash the liberal blogosphere in advance based on a belief they know what the reaction would be, whatever.  
    I can say I would be ecstatic if that were done and that I think it would do a tremendous amount to raise morale in this country and communicate clearly to the public that when this President says he is intent on the US "winning the future", he will commit the full weight and prestige of his office to the level of investment, including the level of public investment and whatever other measures are necessary to do that.  And--the people part of it--convey with his actions that in meeting these great challenges we don't have people to waste when there is so much work that needs doing.

    Does the original Graph include more years?

    It appears from the 1940's to the 60's a steady rise

    Financial Panics of the 19th Century

    Severe Economic Depressions Occurred Periodically 


    Capitalism works, when it works?  

    The graph came from the wikipedia entry on The Great Depression.

    As to the topic you seem to be raising, you might want to check out this famous article from 2001.

    The article at the link makes a pretty strong case for why the left should be turning up the heat on Obama, rather than all this had-wringing about how helpless we all are in confronting this shift toward doubling-down on supply side economics:

    President Roosevelt succeeded in including left-wing protest in his New Deal coalition. He used two basic tactics. First, he responded to the various outgroups by incorporating in his own rhetoric many of their demands. Second, he absorbed the leaders of these groups into his following. These reflected conscious efforts to undercut left-wing radicals and thus to preserve capitalism.

    Franklin Roosevelt demonstrated his skill at co-opting the rhetoric and demands of opposition groups the year before his 1936 reelection, when the demagogic Senator Huey Long of Louisiana threatened to run on a third-party Share-Our-Wealth ticket. This possibility was particularly threatening because a “secret” public opinion poll conducted in 1935 for the Democratic National Committee suggested that Long might get three to four million votes, throwing several states over to the Republicans if he ran at the head of a third party. At the same time several progressive senators were flirting with a potential third ticket; Roosevelt felt that as a result the 1936 election might witness a Progressive Republican ticket, headed by Robert La Follette, alongside a Share-Our-Wealth ticket.

    I, for one, would welcome a little "co-opting of the rhetoric and the demands of Obama's (leftist) opposition groups" from those who know we are on a fast train to corporatist heaven. In light of this history of the way in which the left made a substantial difference in shaping the FDR Presidency, it makes me wonder why any self-proclaimed liberal would now suggest we simply go along for the ride.

    Turn up the heat. It's cold here on the outside.


    OK, I'm having a hard time taking that graph, looking at history and drawing the same conclusion you do.

    FDR took office in 1933. At about the peak of the depression. From March 9 to June 16, 1933, he sent Congress a record number of bills, all of which passed easily; by May the TVA was in full swing handing out jobs directly to the people with the PWA cranking up the hiring by July. Then in 1934-35 they did another round of investment and initiated the WPA. Oh, yeah and they started taxing booze (Obama's dedication to prohibition is another thing holding us back, BTW).

    During this period, unemployment appears to have plummeted by over 25%. Now, I guess you could try and argue cause-effect, but it seems impossible to assert there was not at least some correlation between massive government hiring and the reduction in people without jobs. A previously unemployed person who starts earning is able to spend money in the economy - which in turn creates more jobs than just the government job. Nobody has ever said that the government would just hand all the people jobs ... and nobody has asserted that's what happened. But this multiplier effect is pretty much a proven fact(of which I'd wager much money you are fully aware).

    Moving on. In 1935 the funding for job creation was interrupted at the same time FDR tried to balance the budget. Almost immediately, the unemployment jumps right back up again. Then in 1938, they get serious and crank back up the PWA, et al.  Quite rapidly, the downward trend that was interrupted in 1935 resumes at almost the exact same slope as when it was interrupted.

    The assertion about WWII is interesting. And according to the data on this graph, it doesn't seem to hold water. FDR signed the STSA in September 1940 which started the bureaucracy in motion for the draft. At that time no additional measures (additional training, equipment, etc.) had been approved. The last civilian Chevrolet truck was produced in January 1942 as the nation was placed into war-production. The time period we're talking about here - when these WWII related measures would be coming online - appears to be across the time period where unemployment went from 5%ish down to 2%ish.

    Yes. Lots of people were out of work during much of that period. The important thing, and thing people are criticizing, is that what appears to have gotten people back to work in the time of FDR, when the nation faced a very similar problem, Obama isn't doing. At the same time, the thing that appears to have caused a second spike in unemployment in the time of FDR?  Obama is doing almost exactly that. Or at least there appears to be a reasonable argument this is the case.

    Amity Sclaes book brought back Depression economics in the news and within the Republican Party, especially.  Her book proved in her mind that it was WW II that put people back to work.  She claimed to have used Dept. of Labor stats, but others have since debunked that claim (or so they believe)  ;o)

    Matthew Dallek wrote about it at Politico, and quoted Eric Rauchway's book:

    "Shlaes cited unemployment figures that excluded Americans who had New Deal-generated jobs, and she virtually ignored what Rauchway calls “the authoritative reference work Historical Statistics of the United States.” That reference book shows that during FDR’s first term, the real GDP grew by some 9 percent annually; and after the 1937-38 recession, the economy grew at an annual clip of 11 percent. By the fall of 1934, another New Deal historian, William E. Leuchtenburg, explains, “the ranks of the unemployed had been reduced by over 2 million and national income stood almost a quarter higher than in 1933.”

    Anyway, it seems there are statistics, and statistics. 

    It isn't a matter of proportion or the very loose association with timing.  It was clear on the day he proposed the inadequate "stimulus" that it wasn't enough.  Hoover's "stimulus" program which was up to that time the largest public works plan in the history of the country was inadequate just as Obama's was.  In fact, much of Obama's spending was simply continued funding for existing programs or tax cuts so it really wasn't providing the stimulus it was billed as to begin with.

    Loose analogies between what Obama's very inadequate program of additional spending and FDR's experience are not really valid.  They are coincidental and that's it.

    It is far more accurate to compare Obama's spending with that of Hoover and if you really looked at it without filtering it through the mainstream consensus viewpoint I think you'd see that is true.  Furthermore, as I pointed out above FDR didn't have the advantage of historical experience as Obama does yet Obama consciously chose to undermine his spending program with tax cuts and by not even proposing an adequate amount of spending and his pullback is fueled primarily be his own self interested desire to lift his popularity for re-election and not to breathe life back into our moribund economy.

    Time and again Obama refers to Hoover's biggest fan in recent times; Ronald Reagan as a model.  He never even mentions President Roosevelt, never refers to the New Deal.  In fact, Obama has on numerous occassions made statements repudiating the fundamental premises of the New Deal philosophy when he denies that the government cannot and should not get into the business of employing people.  That's basic Hooverism in the midst of economic catastrophe.  Your assumption that things are fundamantally improving is belied by the continuing collapse of our economic base.  Unemployment is off the charts and we now have in excess of 20 million out of work many of whom aren't even attempting to find a job anymore because it is so hopeless.  We have had around 6 million foreclosures since Obama was elected--not his fault that the mortgage crisis occured but he has done absolutely nothing to slow it.  Each foreclosure represents an economic cataclysm for an American family.  The situation is disasterous and the "prosperity is just around the corner" boosterism isn't going to get the job done.

    Your confidence that things are actually getting better (in a way meaningful to anyone other than those in the predator class) and that Obama's failure to lead in the midst of crisis mirrors FDR is simply misplaced in the first instance and a misread of what is going on today in Washington in the second.  Sadly, though I do wish you were right, you will find out later that you're not, but until then you will continue to fool yourself into thinking that the more comfortable and comforting scenario being put out by the predator class and their tribunes is accurate.

    I'll be happy to admit I was wrong if that turns out to be the case, but like with the wars, the disasterous tax cuts, the outrageous and ongoing bailout of the banks and Wall Street you'll see that what I've been pointing out about our new Hoover and the rest of the discredited leadership of the nation is true.

    Nothing about the foreclosure crisis in the whole speech? Strikes me as a bit wierd...

    What crisis?  We have broken the back of the recession!  Didn't you here?  It's over!  Onward and upward to the future!

    A nation of innovative hobos. Live the dream!

    "...a nation where you can make it if you try."

    The Man believes in the Santa Claus Principle.

    "A nation of innovative hobos."

    Profoundly funny! I may have to use this line in the future when looking to apply a succinct analysis of WTF. Absolutely spot on!

    Ok, now THIS is too funny! I clicked out of this site from my last comment to view my e-mail. What I found was an e-mail from Organizing for America, subject line: "What does your T-Shirt say?"

    Unfortunately, there's no provision contained in the e-mail that actually allows for an "Innovative Hobo" response. Figgerz.

    Yeah, there's no crisis.  The bank can get your home, so it's all good.

    It's not weird if you're basically a Republican at heart.

    I have had a night, to ponder what lessons I can take away from the speech.

    I can now see, the remedy to all our problems is for the people to become educated.......In other words, the problems are due to our ignorance.

    The people are too stupid, and because of that we are suffering.

    Are you going to be a part of the solution or are you going to remain the problem?

    Don't blame Washington, because you’re too stupid.

    “If you feel you have no place in this enlightened world, you can always join the military and defend us; us the elite educated”. You wouldn’t want to risk losing the only thing that keeps America moving forward into the future would you?

    In fact, the elite would prefer to open up ROTC on college campuses, to increase service by those seeking to “not ask what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your countries elite” because without them there would be no crumbs. 

    Lets hear it for our educated elite, because  without them our country will remain weak, lets hear it for our military becuase without them, who will defend those of the elite educated corps.

    The rest of you are a burden to society not worth picking up the tab for ?

    Ps. Can anyone tell me what the unemployment rate would be if our troops were already home?

    I actually read this whole thing w/o throwing up or my hair catching fire...I think I'm finally finding some balance in my life.

    Well, that's something, at least.

    Hi Stilli.

    Question 1: Compare & contrast, Obama & FDR. One, a cripple; the other, confined to a wheelchair. For extra credit, match the quote to the man: a)"I welcome *their hatred" (*"the malefactors of great wealth") b)"Thank you, Sir. May I have another?"

    Re: A teacher's *pride in a job well done, check out Resistance 2.0. Lucid, concise, original. *(Dare I say it..."It's down to me"?)

    Absolutely, we await your perspective. you're a teacher, what do you think of the Presidents plan

    He has a plan? If so, "I can haz cheezeburgers" (reference:lolcats) I used to let some students take an oral exam (ok, evilthinkers, one became my first wife...). Sadly, some would try in desperation to fill the hour without saying somthing of unredeemable idiocy. Using that standard...

    Poets, priests and politicians
    Have words to thank for their positions…….

    Don't think me unkind
    Words are hard to find
    They're only cheques I've left unsigned
    From the banks of chaos in my mind
    And when their eloquence escapes me
    Their logic ties me up and rapes me



    There's too much confusion.... BTW- I recall a comment wherein you lamented an inability to insert the actual youtube screen capture. In the rich text enabled box the third icon from the right brings up a page where pasting the youtube address will insert the image.

    Land of Confusion

    Jolly, I've tried to insert the info into the file/url

    Do I copy and paste the http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZtWABLuWHo

    Thanks Jolly


    yup. then click the "insert" button (lower left.)

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