Worst "Elites" Since The Great Depression

NYTimes Editorial:

The world has barely dug out of recession and the global economy is again slowing dangerously. Most leaders seem eager to make things even worse.

Instead of looking for ways to reignite growth, Europe’s leaders — and Republicans on Capitol Hill — are determined to slash public spending. Europe’s fixation on austerity is also compounding its debt crisis, bringing the Continent even closer to the brink. Meanwhile, China’s government, which is struggling to contain inflation without letting its currency rise, has been trying to slow domestic demand, allowing its trade surplus to balloon.

Each of these policies is wrong. In combination, they are likely to tip the world into a deep recession.

Bush 43 levels of incompetence.

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    Competition (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Stellaaa on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 10:28:30 AM EST
    At this point western leadership in Europe and the US are in a world class competition of stupidity and timidity while holding on to the power for the parties.  Bleak.  

    I think it's going to be a (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Anne on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 10:56:31 AM EST
    terribly bleak winter; I fully expect homeless shelters to be overwhelmed, for food pantries and soup kitchens to be desperate for donations, for more deaths from exposure, and for more fire- and carbon monoxide-related deaths and injuries resulting from people just trying to stay warm in homes where there is no heat.

    God help us, because there's no help coming from those in power.


    And no plan B to help either (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 11:01:19 AM EST
    or C.  The little people do not matter

    Silly rabbit (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by MO Blue on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 01:30:54 PM EST
    Of course there is a Plan B. The same Plan B that Obama always uses. He will give another speech. It will be the greatest speech evah next month... the month after .......repeat.

    I hope he doesn't yell at me this time (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 03:29:10 PM EST
    Or threaten to make me eat a vegetable that in large quantities is toxic.

    I was walking to my car last night (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by jbindc on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 11:04:14 AM EST
    Parked in a garage about a mile away (the boyfriend had dropped me off and parked it as his office).  I walked in front of a church and saw a van there. Outside the van was a long line of homeless men, probably 30 of them or so, who hung out in the park across the street during the day, waiting to be picked up to be taken to a shelter for the night.

    That is sad in any situation, but this particular event was taking place directly across the street from Lafayette Park in downtown DC.  Which is directly in front of the White House.  Anybody standing in the WH (at least on an upper floor) looking out the windows could have probably seen these homeless men. It astounds me that in the richest nation in the world, we can have that many people in need literally at the doorstep of the leader of the free world.

    Very sad.


    The Last Time I Saw D.C. (none / 0) (#15)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 11:44:23 AM EST
    ...That stroll through Farragut Square, a filthy mass of homeless, Those blackshirts 'round the White House, their dogs in Hannibal Lector masks...

    So what (none / 0) (#32)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 02:55:09 PM EST
    if Obama saw them? He would be yelling for them to take off their bedroom slippers.

    It would be one thing if there had been (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Anne on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 10:33:30 AM EST
    a good plan - bigger stimulus, more public spending, legislation to transition to a single-payer system, etc. - and that plan had not been managed well, but that's not what happened.  Those in power in this country went in another direction, by choice, and with a concerted effort.  

    If we were talking about the former, yes, I would call them incompetent.  But we are talking about the latter, and if they were any more competent at managing the choices they've already made, and pushing the ones they still want to bring to fruition, we'd probably be looking at much worse today than we ended up with.  

    But, not to worry - they haven't given up on their course, they are more determined than ever to keep going.  And I don't know why the NYT seems to be the last to know, but this is not the result of Republicans acting alone, but of a Democratic president and a fair number of congressional Democrats who are not just on board, but are leading the way.

    They didn't need a bigger stimulus (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 10:50:29 AM EST
    Anne.  Understand that the group of people who made that decision all had a hand in creating this mess.  And they needed their "confidence" beliefs proven as well.  Smaller stimulus means they didn't end up fecking the country over as bad as they were all afraid that they had, and also would prove the confidence fairy really does rule the whole world forever and ever.

    And you can't do more public spending because that makes the confidence fairy that the Obama economic crew has caged in their meeting rooms cry and not come out of her little house and she stops spreading fairy dust.  There is another confidence fairy out there that would be so happy with public spending though, but she didn't go to Harvard or Princeton, she went to community college. She is a low class fairy from middle class origins.  She's a nasty tramp fairy :)


    Oh, I know. I am slowly - because it is (5.00 / 5) (#9)
    by Anne on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 11:03:22 AM EST
    just so damn depressing - making my way through Suskind's book; it takes actual will to keep reading, because each thing I think is just so bad is followed by something worse.

    I fully expect that, as soon as the DOJ can make a convincing argument that the confidence fairy is a "person," it will have Suskind indicted and arrested for attempted murder.


    Heh heh (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by jbindc on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 11:05:40 AM EST
    Read about a bumper sticker that said something like,

    "I'll consider a corporation a person when Texas executes one."


    Possible... (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by huzzlewhat on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 11:07:11 AM EST
    The confidence fairy might qualify for personhood in Mississippi if the proposed "personhood" amendment goes through ...

    Yes, I laugh, because the alternative is huddling up in a corner, whimpering.  


    The personhood push (none / 0) (#20)
    by christinep on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 01:38:30 PM EST
    was attempted before in Colorado (the past two elections, I believe.) Soundly defeated. It seems as tho questions about how to characterize "things" like miscarriages and other situations kept arising...& the proponents of the punitive provision were soon on the defensive & chased away by the voters.

    Wondering if post menopausal (none / 0) (#21)
    by oculus on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 01:43:59 PM EST
    hysterectomy would no longer be an option.  Keep those ovaries!

    I Hear You on Being Depressed (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 11:25:55 AM EST
    No matter who is elected, there is no plan to change the course.  

    • Cuts. Either cuts or super cuts.
    • Taxes.  No increases or absolutely no increases.
    • Regulations.  Decrease them or really decrease them.

    And the lobbyists remain to be the only truly bipartisan group left in the country.

    To me at least, the election is going to resemble a republican primary far more than a Presidential election.


    It is incredibly depressing. (none / 0) (#36)
    by lilburro on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 03:19:11 PM EST
    I had to put Suskind's book down for a few days.

    Suskind's book (none / 0) (#42)
    by chrisvee on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 06:27:12 PM EST
    is very depressing. I'm struggling to get through it.

    I just can't get over how we went from an opportunity to really transform the country to this mess.

    Re the 'elites' of the world, they are as they ever were. They won't learn until they face ruination and unfortunately there's still a lot more suffering ahead for all of us before they get there given the financial cushioning they've amassed for themselves.


    Fiscal Austerity... 1937-38... (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 10:53:56 AM EST
    we all know where that resolved, in global war.

    Soviet Union (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Edger on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 11:37:36 AM EST
    1989 (.pdf)

    Economic Collapse
    -USSR focused industrial development on military production and NOT consumer or domestic goods

    Social Collapse
    -Laborers were less motivated to work [...] because there was no reward system (more work did NOT equal more privileges). Huge increase in alcoholism, death rates and suicides.

    -Citizens become aware of the environmental damage the military / industrial economy is doing to their country. DISEASES as a result of environmental abuse concerned citizens.

    Political Collapse
    -Stagnation of the political system (no positive change)

    Damnit Edger, who do you think you are? (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 01:00:32 PM EST
    Brilliant Larry Summers thinks all of us peasants are now finally at our true market price.

    Something tells me he never factored in that killing the American dream completely dead for everyone but the elite would give the elites the productivity of Russia to attempt to survive on.  Harvard sure has cranked out more than her fair share of nucking futz confidence fairy idiots lately.


    History (none / 0) (#17)
    by Edger on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 01:16:11 PM EST
    has a bad habit of repeating itself, I guess.

    Except in Larry Summers' daydreams?


    Just checked Wiki on Summers. (none / 0) (#18)
    by oculus on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 01:18:08 PM EST
    His mother and father were both economists and there are two Nobel laureates in economics in his extended family.  

    I learned that from the Suskind book (none / 0) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 03:09:39 PM EST
    It sort of sounds like because of that though, Larry Summers feels like he has been blessed with an extreme and perfect intellect.  And it also sounded like he lives his life in their shadow and is desperate to somehow overshadow them.

    I also learned from that book that Rahm Emanuel's brother Ari is who the Ari character in the series 'Entourage' is based on.  It would seem that a family trait of the Emanuel brothers is to be an overbeing occasionally talented jerk of the first order, and that if they aren't building something they are burning it down :)


    Absolute power (none / 0) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 10:19:25 AM EST
    Corrupts Absolutely

    Absolutely! (none / 0) (#4)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 10:46:59 AM EST
    Heard or read an interesting point (none / 0) (#22)
    by oculus on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 01:46:04 PM EST
    yesterday.  Very wealthy people in U.S. pay taxes based on a lower rate than the rest of us.  I suppose I knew that already.  But wouldn't that be a better message and "tax the rich"?    

    oculus: That's the basis for the Buffet Rule (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by christinep on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 01:53:19 PM EST
    But it seems only Buffet is saying this. (none / 0) (#24)
    by oculus on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 01:54:54 PM EST
    Why aren't the Dems.?  Much better meme.  

    Agree on the message problem (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by christinep on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 02:08:47 PM EST
    When the President first pushed the AJA, including the tax increase for the m/billionaires, he specifically referred to/called it the Buffet rule, etc.  For a short while, the networks replayed & spoke of the higher rate that Warren B said his secretary paid and there was a bit of hubbub. Now?

    Now, the stump speech is good. The Denver speech at a high school earlier this week was all about the AJA...good reviews, Denver Post headlines even that Obama was a "warrior" for the "middle class," etc.  Yet...like you, I'd like to hear the continual repeating of "here is why the Buffet Rule." Someday (in the great beyond mayhaps) we'll discover why Dems cannot stick with a theme, and we can all deliver the message at a moment's notice & with gusto.


    The Buffett Rule needs to be (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by Anne on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 02:27:30 PM EST
    relegated to the same place as "the public option."  Why?  Because it's more of a talking point, another term to throw around to make the people think Obama's actually on their side.

    David Dayen:

    There's only one thing: just what is the Buffett rule? I looked at this conundrum yesterday, and so did Kevin Drum. He concluded that it was an amalgam of strategies that would arrive at more of a "Buffett ideal," than something like the alternative minimum tax, which would be a "Buffett rule." And without changes to the capital gains tax rate, which is not mentioned in the actual proposal from the White House, such an ideal would be a pretty weak nudge. Changing the carried interest loophole is nice, but it doesn't touch people who just collect from capital gains rather than those who manage money.

    And referring to the comments of Gene Sperling:

    Second, Sperling writes that there would be no new tax rate on millionaires, and that overall tax rates would be LOWER under the type of tax reform the White House would like to see. This means that the Buffett rule would just nudge toward a higher effective tax rate for millionaires by eliminating or capping deductions.

    So basically, several things that the White House supports - closing the carried interest loophole, allowing the high-end Bush tax cuts to expire, capping itemized deductions for individuals over $250,000 at 28% and killing some other loopholes used by the rich, would come together to make up the Buffett "rule." And this comes close to being explicit on capital gains, by saying that "the vast majority of investors in the U.S. will be unaffected by this rule." If capital gains tax rates were going up, all investors who sold a security at a profit would be affected.

    So I'd have to agree with The Economist that this policy is trivial, even if you agree (as I do) with the component parts. "Our economy is riddled with a multitude of deeply-embedded structural flaws that allow the well-connected to enrich themselves at the expense of the rest of us, but nobody will do anything about it." And yes, that was on the website of The Economist.

    The Dems would be better served - and so would we - if they stopped confusing this kind of bumper sticker rhetoric, that seems transparently designed to do little more than win votes, with actual governance.


    A conundrum, indeed (none / 0) (#31)
    by christinep on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 02:53:10 PM EST
    Thanks, Anne for the referenced commentary. I had not seen that.  

    While, of course, the particular "bumper sticker" rule is small potatoes overall, it is significant in focus. For many, it is extremely important to use language that is not just the purview of economists so that a different side of the story than the longstanding "don't tax the job creators" bs can begin to be heard.  In the Buffet case, it gets the broader public's attention; and, as such, shifts the burden to the Repubs (as general conservators of the no-taxes, no-way, no-how bunch) to explain in clear language why Buffet & the like--i.e., the wealthiest--shouldn't face an increase.

    Since our earliest days, the question of taxes is rabidly political (and, heatedly political, at that.)  Too often, Democrats have not been able to find a plain language way to rebut the litany of Reaganism anti-taxation that is so necessary to address $$ inequity at the fundamental level. For this reason, the Buffet Rule stands for more than it is because it embodies as a concept--via a slogan--what has eluded those who would pragmatically look at equitable redress until Buffet came along with his newsworthy invitation to increase his tax rate.


    When (none / 0) (#27)
    by NYShooter on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 02:31:53 PM EST
     you stock the "super committee" with the richest person in Congress (John Kerry) and the number 1 recipient of Health Industry money (Max Baucus) don't be surprised if the "little people" aren't dancing for joy.

    Be fair (none / 0) (#28)
    by jbindc on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 02:35:16 PM EST
    John Kerry isn't the richest person in Congress.  He's fallen to number 3. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) is the richest with a net worth of $287 million.

    Kerry's net worth is only $193.3 million.


    that's a lotta (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by jondee on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 02:39:37 PM EST
    Ketchup bottles.

    probably not (none / 0) (#35)
    by CST on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 03:18:53 PM EST
    I believe they have a rock solid pre-nup, and that number does not include her $$.

    His wife is probably worth about a billion.

    So don't worry Kerry watchers, he still probably has the wealthiest family in congress.


    How they counted it (none / 0) (#41)
    by jbindc on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 03:35:26 PM EST
    Kerry's second wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, is the widow of the late ketchup heir and former Sen. John Heinz (R-Pa.). Several of the Massachusetts Democrat's assets that are attributed to Heinz Kerry are listed as "over $1,000,000" in value, which is in line with ethics rules but obscures how wealthy the couple really is.

    lol, jbindc (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by NYShooter on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 02:48:55 PM EST
    You're better than "Google."

    and faster too.

    TL's little treasure

    thank you,

    mean it



    You're welcome (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by jbindc on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 02:58:33 PM EST
    Compliments are always appreciated. I'm usually the bad guy around here. :)

    And I was fast because I just read that article a couple of days ago and shook my head - no wonder these people are clueless about what everyday people are going through.


    The Family of (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 07:29:09 PM EST
    JFK & RFK was darned wealthy, but their wealth did not block them from seeing the plight of the poor.  It's an issue of values, not wealth per se.

    You're right, (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by NYShooter on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 10:47:27 PM EST
    and reporters used to, you know, report.

    That's the Point, Isn't It ? (none / 0) (#39)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 03:30:18 PM EST
    Rich people seem to always have far less when the light is shinned on them.

    For Kerry and this discussion it would matter how they file, separate or married in term of income.

    Joe CEO's published salary is $10M, yet the IRS would never see that number, especially now when everyone has carryover losses.

    And the reason the Dems are hammering away is because they are in the group who will actually be effected, duh.  It's one of the many faults of wealthy politicians.


    Sheould Read (none / 0) (#40)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 03:31:30 PM EST
    And the reason the Dems aren't hammering...

    For them (none / 0) (#50)
    by cal1942 on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 10:56:21 PM EST
    the 'little people' don't exist.

    No he isn't (none / 0) (#55)
    by jbindc on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 02:06:34 PM EST
    Buffet doesn't agree with "Buffet Rule"

    Billionaire investment guru Warren Buffett, who has become the face of President Obama's $447 billion jobs-creation legislation, indicated Friday he did not agree with the president's proposal to raise taxes on millionaires.

    Buffett said he advocated a tax hike only on what he termed the "ultra-rich," making a distinction between his suggestion and Obama's proposal to raise taxes on millionaires.


    "It isn't to have the rich pay more taxes. It's to have the ultra-rich who are paying very low tax rates pay more taxes. There's all kinds of ultra-rich who pay normal taxes, but there is a small segment--but you can find them very easily--who pay very low taxes, including me. People who make money with money only pay very low taxes at very high levels of income. ... What I'm talking about would probably apply to 50,000 people out of 310 million in the country. ... It would simply mean that if you made tens of millions of dollars, and your tax rate was 16 or 17 percent, you would start paying like the person who made $100,000 or $10 million who paid normal tax rates."


    Liberal bloggers argue that in his August op-ed in the New York Times, Buffett called for taxes to be raised on those making $1 million or more.

    What Buffett actually wrote was he would raise rates on "taxable income" for those making $1 million or more while those making $10 million or more should have "an additional increase in rate."

    From his op-ed: "For those making more than $1 million -- there were 236,883 such households in 2009 -- I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more -- there were 8,274 in 2009 -- I would suggest an additional increase in rate."

    Rememeber When Branson Offerred a Million... (none / 0) (#37)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 03:21:01 PM EST
    ... bones to any CEO that could prove they paid a higher tax rate then their secretaries ?  No takers.

    Spend more? That's your answer? (none / 0) (#44)
    by Slado on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 08:45:07 PM EST
    Where is the money supposed to come from?

    The government is beyond broke and Stimulus I was a failure.

    So what now?  More spending and borrowing?

    Not going to happen.   Only having one answer for a problem doesn't always work.  Time to face reality.  The government can't spend this economy into prosperity.   Especially when that spending is really just borrowing money from the private sector to fund things the economy doesn't need.  Like worthless solar panels or green jobs at 1million per.

    Where do you think money comes from? (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by Romberry on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 05:28:54 AM EST
    Serious question. Where do you think money comes from? Do you understand how money is created? I don't think you do.

    Interesting that the editors don't read (none / 0) (#45)
    by Slado on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 09:09:28 PM EST
    Their own paper

    It isn't complicated.  This is a spending problem and the only answer from progressives is more spending.

    How's that been working for ya?


    How much (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Edger on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 09:22:57 PM EST
    is the Pentagon Budget, compared to the total amount all 50 state governments spend for the health, education and welfare of their populations, again?

    U.S. War Spending Now Exceeds That Of All States


    I agree (4.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Slado on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 05:17:22 AM EST
    We don 't need to police the world.  Conservatives who argue to cut everything but the military are hypocrites.

    It's (none / 0) (#54)
    by Edger on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 06:33:03 AM EST
    a little bit beyond policing, unfortunately... and it has a price tag far beyond just money.

    Lotsa luck (none / 0) (#49)
    by cal1942 on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 10:53:21 PM EST
    in the breadline Slado.

    Remember, you chose the path.


    Nice (none / 0) (#52)
    by Slado on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 05:18:51 AM EST
    See you in the street riots cal when the gov't runs out of IOU's.

    What's a matter, BTD? (none / 0) (#47)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 10:31:12 PM EST
    My comment too accurate for you?