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Robt. Reich: Obama Should Call Out Big Republican Lies

 
 
Reply Sat 2 Mar, 2013 01:21 pm
The White House apparently believes the best way to strengthen its hand in the upcoming "sequester" showdown with Republicans is to tell Americans how awful the spending cuts will be, and blame Republicans for them.

It won't work. These tactical messages are getting in the way of the larger truth, which the President must hammer home: The Republicans' austerity economics and trickle-down economics are dangerous, bald-faced lies.

Yes, the pending spending cuts will hurt. But even if some Americans begin to feel the pain when the cuts go into effect Friday, most won't feel it for weeks or months, if ever.

Half are cuts in the military, which will have a huge impact on jobs (the military is America's only major jobs program), but the cuts will be felt mainly in states with large numbers of military contractors, and then only as those contractors shed employees.

The other half are cuts in domestic discretionary spending, which will largely affect lower-income Americans. There will be sharp reductions in federal aid to poor schools, nutrition assistance, housing assistance, and the like. But here again, most Americans won't see these cuts or feel them.

Moreover, the blame game can be played both ways, and Republicans are adept at slinging mud. When it comes to high-visibility consequences of the spending cuts -- such as a sudden dearth of air-traffic controllers -- Republicans will dodge blame by happily giving Obama authority to shift spending and find the cuts himself, thereby making the White House appear even more culpable.

Besides, there's no end to this. After Friday's sequester comes the showdown over continuing funding of the government beyond March 27. Then another fight over the debt ceiling.

The White House must directly rebut the two big lies that fuel the Republican assault -- and that have fueled it since the showdown over the debt ceiling in the summer of 2011.

The first big lie is austerity economics -- the claim that the budget deficit is the nation's biggest economic problem now, responsible for the anemic recovery.

Wrong. The problem is too few jobs, lousy wages, and slow growth. Cutting the budget deficit anytime soon makes the problem worse because it reduces overall demand. As a result, the economy will slow or fall into recession -- which enlarges the deficit in proportion. You want proof? Look at what austerity economics has done to Europe.

The second big lie is trickle-down economics -- the claim that we get more jobs and growth if corporations and the rich have more money because they're the job creators, and job growth would be hurt if their taxes were hiked.

Wrong. The real job creators are the broad middle class and everyone who aspires to join it. Their purchases keep economy going.

As inequality continues to widen, and income and wealth become ever more concentrated at the top, the rest don't have the purchasing power they need to boost the economy. That's the underlying reason why the recovery continues to be so anemic.

These two lies -- austerity economics and trickle-down economics -- are being told over and over by Republicans and their mouthpieces on Fox News, yell radio, and the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal. They are wrong and there are dangerous.

Yet unless they are rebutted clearly and forcefully, the nation will continue to careen from crisis to crisis, showdown to showdown.

And we will have almost no chance of reversing the larger challenge of widening inequality.

President Obama has the bully pulpit. Americans trust him more than they do congressional Republicans. But he is letting micro-tactics get in the way of the larger truth. And he's blurring his message with other messages -- about gun control, immigration, and the environment. All are important, to be sure. But none has half a chance unless Americans understand how they're being duped on the really big story.

ROBERT B. REICH, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock" and "The Work of Nations." His latest is an e-book, "Beyond Outrage," now available in paperback. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause.

 
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Mar, 2013 01:32 pm
Although I have disagreed with some of your posts, Advocate, regarding the Middle East, this one is right on the button. (Does that make me a hypocrite?)
gungasnake
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 2 Mar, 2013 02:08 pm
@Advocate,
Quote:
The other half are cuts in domestic discretionary spending, which will largely affect lower-income Americans.


Those are all the areas in which a dollar given to a church will invariably do more good in the world than ten or twenty dollars paid in taxes to governments.
Rockhead
 
  3  
Reply Sat 2 Mar, 2013 02:12 pm
@gungasnake,
https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRcjqawQLAnd4-muwboDDJ9m41glisisjeX0_ZjVyMKsYRcL4_6
RABEL222
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Mar, 2013 02:42 pm
@Rockhead,
Who are those people?
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Mar, 2013 02:50 pm
@RABEL222,
mr. and mrs. rev. Jim Bakker...
Advocate
 
  -2  
Reply Sat 2 Mar, 2013 04:21 pm
@contrex,
contrex wrote:

Although I have disagreed with some of your posts, Advocate, regarding the Middle East, this one is right on the button. (Does that make me a hypocrite?)


It doesn't make you a hypocrite. However, you remain the same ole anti-Semite.
Advocate
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Mar, 2013 04:26 pm
@gungasnake,
gungasnake wrote:

Quote:
The other half are cuts in domestic discretionary spending, which will largely affect lower-income Americans.


Those are all the areas in which a dollar given to a church will invariably do more good in the world than ten or twenty dollars paid in taxes to governments.


Don't believe it. I worked for years for a charity that provided emergency funds, food, medical, etc., care to the down and out in a certain community. Except for one nondenominational church, we got virtually no funds or goods from the many churches in the area. I concluded that their money was going in the pockets of the priests and ministers.
0 Replies
 
Advocate
 
  0  
Reply Sat 2 Mar, 2013 04:26 pm
@Rockhead,
Great! The photo says it all.
0 Replies
 
RABEL222
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Mar, 2013 05:45 pm
@Rockhead,
Did they give all their money to the poor and live in a grass shack?
Rockhead
 
  2  
Reply Sat 2 Mar, 2013 05:52 pm
@RABEL222,
ummm. not exactly, no...
0 Replies
 
contrex
 
  3  
Reply Sat 2 Mar, 2013 06:42 pm
@Advocate,
Advocate wrote:
It doesn't make you a hypocrite. However, you remain the same ole anti-Semite.


Even though I am a Jew? How do you work that one out? (and don't roll out the tired old "self-hating" tag. That doesn't work.)
Advocate
 
  -3  
Reply Sat 2 Mar, 2013 06:51 pm
@contrex,
contrex wrote:

Advocate wrote:
It doesn't make you a hypocrite. However, you remain the same ole anti-Semite.


Even though I am a Jew? How do you work that one out? (and don't roll out the tired old "self-hating" tag. That doesn't work.)



There are lot of self-hating Jews out there. Do some soul searching. You may be one.
Kolyo
 
  2  
Reply Sat 2 Mar, 2013 10:38 pm
@Advocate,
Advocate wrote:

There are lot of self-hating Jews out there. Do some soul searching. You may be one.


Is Robert Reich one in your book?

Reich wrote:

The problem is Washington pays too little attention to the large number of Americans -- Jewish and non-Jewish -- who think Israel is doing a lot that's wrong, and worry that the path it's on threatens its long-term survival.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-reich/the-neocons-vs-chuck-hage_b_2481900.html

BTW, when I was at Brandeis shopping for an undergraduate program, Reich spoke on the university's behalf. He certainly didn't seem like an anti-semite then.

The class of symbolic-analysts will lose a huge chunk of its empathy, compassion and humanity when the aging-all-too-fast Robert Reich exits the world. I still remember how he resigned from the Clinton cabinet over welfare reform. Government's loss, NPR's gain.
tenderfoot
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Mar, 2013 10:50 pm
@Advocate,
A knowledgeable and well said post.
0 Replies
 
Kolyo
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Mar, 2013 10:52 pm
@Advocate,
Most of this essay is the standard Keynesian narrative about boosting effective demand, but here is one interesting line that should make both Democratic and Republican voters re-evaluate their positions on government jobs programs:

Quote:
Half are cuts in the military, which will have a huge impact on jobs (the military is America's only major jobs program)


Republican voters should reflect on the fact that despite the GOP's ideological aversion to government-sponsored jobs in general, they are constantly making the argument that we can't cut defense because it would mean job losses. That's inconsistent.

Democratic voters should reflect on the fact that if we cut defense, it will mean the loss of excellent jobs in manufacturing and engineering.

What's my position as an eclectic Democrat? That perhaps defense spending is a good thing after all, but that we should look into other areas where state spending could create quality jobs besides just defense.
Advocate
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Mar, 2013 11:20 am
@Kolyo,
You might consider that those holding those excellent jobs in manufacturing and engineering are the most employable people in the country. There is little unemployment of those people. Thus, considering the winding down of the two wars, some trimming of defense is appropriate.
0 Replies
 
H2O MAN
 
  -2  
Reply Sun 3 Mar, 2013 11:31 am
@Kolyo,
Kolyo wrote:



Democratic voters should reflect on the fact that if we cut defense, it
will mean the loss of excellent jobs in manufacturing and engineering.


All voters should reflect on that fact.

Cutting back on the military and NASA has meant the loss of excellent
jobs in manufacturing and engineering plus diminished new innovations.

Working to strengthen the military and NASA while streamlining both and
making both much more efficient would be a great thing to have happen.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Mar, 2013 11:37 am
The problem with jobs is that the value of human labor...for the kind of labor most humans can do...is at an all-time low, and going lower and lower every day.

It simply does not makes sense to pay humans decent wages to do the kinds of work most of them can do. In fact, it doesn't make sense to pay humans even lousy wages to do the kind of work most of them can do...which is the reason most companies no longer have "steno pools."

You remember them...the were huge pools of workers earning decent salaries who did jobs that no longer exist these days. It's not that companies are unwilling to pay them low wages to do the jobs...the jobs are not available to humans anymore because machines do them infinitely faster and more productively than humans can ever do them.

This phenomena is apparent throughout the workplace spectrum.

That is the problem!

The solution is a bitch!
H2O MAN
 
  -2  
Reply Sun 3 Mar, 2013 12:05 pm

The Republicans' must hammer home that none of President Obama's plans or policies are intended to 'help'
the future American economic situation. Obama's plans and policies are nothing more than scams and lies.
0 Replies
 
 

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