OWS and economics
Nancy Folbre is an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Her post in the NYT Economix begins:
The Occupy Wall Street movement, displaced from some key geographic locations, now enjoys a small but significant encampment among economists.
Concerns about the impact of growing economic inequality fit neatly into a larger critique of mainstream economic theory and its deep faith in the efficiency of markets.
Many unbelievers (including me) insist that we inhabit a global capitalist system rather than an efficient market. Willingness to use the C-word (capitalism) often signals concerns about a concentration of economic power that unfairly limits individual choices, undermines political democracy, generates financial and ecological crises and limits access to alternative economic ideas.
We can’t address these concerns effectively without a wider discussion of them.
Capitalism in the US……………….
I am all for it, (Gandhi on western civilization) was it ever in the US?
What’s to talk about? They won.
Last year the “dysfunctional” congress passed over a weekend the death of Social Security.
It was breathtakingly simple: Just cut the funding. Give the people their money back.
Now the Congress can have politics over how to fund what they still call Social Security just like they have always done with welfare programs.
There will be time enough, and soon, to cut benefits and start the ugly kind of means testing … just like they have always done with welfare programs.
And the part that makes me want to throw up is that it is Democrats who have done this. Not, of course, without help and a wink from their friends across the aisle.
What I find fascinating is its the Dems that did it. And so soon after Bush got his hand slapped for a belated attempt to privatize part of it. McCain would not have even looked at the issue.
I think this is the combination of a Dem President, who’s having his Nixon-goes-to-China moment, and the fact that the lefty ‘progressive’ nutcases can’t protest against a Dem President. Look at the anti-war movement. It literally disappeared within milliseconds of Obama’s inauguration. Look at the incoherent OWS movement. How doe sthe left protest a lefty, mixed race President?
They can’t. And they have no where to go. Not going to vote R. Way to unorganized to primary Obama and too late. Ditto with unseating DINOs. The Tea party actually got candidates on the ballet and ousted sitting Rs. Do you think the left would even try? Do you think Harry Reid is worried about is left flank?
Anyway I’m just fascinated that Obama gets a pass from the left for what would have gotten everyone in epileptic fits if done by Bush. Maybe next time the Dem party will actually vet your guy (and get someone with even a modicrum of executive experience).
Islam will change
OWS was cleared out of Occupy LA yesterday. 30 TONS of garbage left behind. The local flora and fauna destroyed. 300 arrested (peacefully). Sanitation workers saying the smeel was overwelming. Gallon sized jugs of urine, rotting food, drugs, needles, etc.
A good example of Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies combined….
And does anyone expect to take them seriously?
Islam will change
I agree about obama and the left. glad to see you realize its all a ballet.
i’d be a little careful where you get your news. it’s easy enough to print lies about OWS.
and no, even your description of OWS is nothing like either animal farm or lord of the flies.
as for taking them seriously… i don’t yet, there are better ways to make their point after they’ve made their point than turning it into a face off with the cops and the powers… a face off they have to lose.
but as for taking a stand in the first place… what the hell else was there for them to do?
certainly the comfortable… you and me… are not going to do anything to change the insanity. god knows i have tried explaining the difference between SS and welfare to people for over ten years and i don’t think a single person understands what i am talking about.
you think it is all the government and the democrats. yet you believe the government is the good guy when you are not bitching about taxes and regulations. it doesn’t seem to occur to you that “your side” of this ballet is just as guilty as “the democrats”.
Clearly the Dems hope and plan to raise taxes after the 2012 elections. The deal that they apparently want on the table is simple: the working class will lose their payroll tax cuts, and the wealthy will lose their Bush income tax cuts, so everybody would pay more. (Since 2008, Obama has sought to eliminate the Bush tax cuts only on incomes above $250,000, which for a two-earner couple is a bit above the maximum subject to social security taxes.) The election results will decide whether the Dems can do this, or they only lose the payroll tax cut, or we continue in a stalemate that I agree is a disasterous situation for social security.
I agree that OWS is inherently a critic of economics as a field insofar as economists influence policy choices and voter preferences. For over 30 years economists have offered their sound advice to politicians (mostly GOP but also many Dems, e.g. the DLC) that frequently disregards the impact of policies on people’s lives. The justification: swallowing the medicine will make us healthy, at least theoretically. Like chemotherapy but typically without much data on safety and effectiveness. Politicians with 1920s Mellon-esque mentalities and funding sources, supported by their allied economists and even bribed colleges, see no reason to question policies or theories. But the 99 percent want economists to examine their political and social ethics as these influence their work and recommendations to politicians and students. Seems reasonable.
the payroll tax cut is disastrous for social security whether there is stalemate or not. the “stalemate” is just the R’s (and the D’s) jockeying for power. they can’t do this forever or their sponsors will begin to feel the pain. think of it like a big box store coming into town and cutting prices way low to drive out the existing small competitors. they can outlast the small businesses, but they can’t last forever.
meanwhile killing social security was the biggest part of the plan. and they have done that. the rest is what they call “cooling the mark.”
the ows is “reasonable” but not very knowledgeable. except in the sense that Jefferson meant when he thought that it was better that the electorate not be especially well informed. they need to vote their hurts. once they start voting “solutions” they fall prey to one doctrine or another.
i am sure there are honest economists, but public economists are not honest, and i suspect even the honest economists, like the honest businessmen just believe what they hear from “the experts” without bothering to check even their own experience to the contrary.
what passes for “economics” these days is just the state sponsored religion. it helps to keep the masses convinced that there is nothing they can do about their lot, except aspire to become one of the “winners.”
You can get the description that I mentioned from the LA Times or most otehr major papers. Heck it made it in our local rag.
And if you don’t see the correlation with the two books you really haven’t been paying attention.
What esle were they suppossed to do? The people they have a beef with are not in downtown LA. They are in DC. And until they get at least as organized as the tea party they will be marginalized, ignored, and laughed at.
Islam will change
Coberly, do you have a source for that Jefferson reference? That’s really interesting … we’re seeing that, where, say, Fox viewers are certainly being informed of something, but that something is strongly controlled by a single doctrine.
i have read both books. there is no correlation at all. none.
and the LA Times has no particular interest in telling the truth. I will mention that the Germans liked to tell themselves stories about how dirty the Jews were.
Your suggestion that the ows go to DC and/or get as organized as the Tea Partiers who had right wing money behind them is simply naive.
no. I read it in one of the biographies of Jeff but can’t remember which one.
Good theory Coberly but I humbly disagree. Harry Reid, a long-time defender of the social security system, is daring the GOP to raise payroll taxes while refusing to raise taxes on millionaires. I believe he wants both types of hikes a year from now. For now, his website is bragging about how the Obama payroll tax holiday proposal will save the average middle class Nevada family $1600 next year, coincidentally an election year in whch it might be helpful to Obama to have more middle class spending. Maybe he’s fooling me or a fool. We won’t know for another year.
You obviously have not been paying attention to the OWS. And just as obviously missed all the pictures as they pulled 30 tons of trash out of the LA Occupy encampment or the similar mound of debris in NYC. But you can keep you head in the sand and think the OWS had actually built something. They didn’t and until they get organized like the Tea Party did, they really are meaningless…the need representatives in Congress if they want to effect change.
Right now they look like a bundle of ineffective children who can’t even keep their own encampments clean, organized, and rape/drug free.
I like they way you immediately call the LA Times and NY Times liars when they are just reporting what happened. You can go find the pictures yourself.
Islam will change
no need to be humble. you could be right. but it sounds to me like none of those guys understand the whole point of social security: it’s not welfare. it’s not “government spending.” it’s the workers only way to save their own money for their own retirement, safe from inflation and market losses.
playing political games with it is just “welfare as we always knew it.”
and that “average middle class family” is just political lying.
the “family” is two earners at a total family income of 80k… far above average i think.. and certainly in a class where the 1600 makes no real difference to them. meanwhile a 20k earner would get about 400 dollars back, and there are far better ways to get him the 400 bucks. A 20 cents per hour increase in his wages would do it. And the guy who has no job at all, won’t benefit from a payroll tax cut.
as a person who has lived at the low end of the income scale, i can tell you there was never a time when 2% more or less would have made a noticeable difference.
this is just political theater… with the ultimate effect of destroying Social Security, which has been the goal of the hard right all along.
all that other tax stuff can be changed in the blink of an eyelash. even the recession could end in a minute once the banks wanted it to end.
or could have been ended in six months if Obama and the Democrats had taxed or borrowed the money to directly create jobs when they had the power to do it.
instead they gave the money to the banks and to the high income “taxpayers.”
which is the game they are still playing.
and just to be clear… “high income” is anyone who has a job and a home.
i know the LA times is a liar because it was my hometown paper until i got outta LA. the NYTimes has had to teach me it is a liar by publishing lies about SS for ten years.
I don’t know if 30 tons of trash is about what you’d expect from a hundred people living in a park for a month without a regular trash pickup. but i think i could take a photo and call it “30 tons of trash from OWS” and you would have no way of knowing where i even took the picture.
and i don’t know that it matters. any time you have a mob you have trash… including the human kind. the issue that matters is the state of the economy.. including the apparent trend to make the rich richer and the rest of us dirt poor.
then you will see trash.
the germans forced the jews to live in squalor and then told everyone how dirty they were.
the cite by run75…
appears to contradict what I said about Jefferson
don’t count on it. He wasn’t called “The American Sphinx” for nothing.
actually the article following the quote tends to confirm what i said: the “informed electorate” turns out to be “the misinformed electorate.”
Jefferson’s point… in a different context at another time… was exactly that. He felt that an electorate not especially well informed would not be misled by “doctrines,” but be perfectly capable of saying “this hurts.”
since i can’t show you a cite, you will just have to take my word for it… my word that I say it.
can’t know about Jeff, but the point about any idea ought to be “does it make sense,” not “did some great man actually say it and that makes it true for all times and seasons.”T
Coberly maybe Reid is lying but here is what he says on his website: The median Nevada family has a yearly income of $53,310. Under the current 2% payroll tax cut, set to expire at the end of the year, that family is saving approximately $1,066 per year on their tax bill. If the current tax cut expires, their yearly tax bill will go up by that amount. If the payroll tax cut is expanded to 3.1%, as proposed by Senate Democrats and President Obama, that Nevada family’s savings will increase to $1,653 per year.
okay. difference between 2% (is) and 3.1%. (proposed).
i will stand by the rest of my comment:
Hey, why don’t we just do away with the payroll tax entirely and give all those poor struggling middle class families a real boost. They can always apply for welfare when they get old.
but be sure to give them the whole 12.4%. remember when “most economists said” it was “really their money.”
but don’t tell them it’s really their money that they will need to live on when they are old. that can be our little secret.
or maybe we should tell them, so they can figure out where to invest it so it will “be there for them.”
but, but, if they invest it, they can’t spend it….
Jefferson had to argue against limiting the vote to elites. That’s quite different than arguing that voters should be ignorant, which he clearly did not believe. He wanted a constitutional amendment guaranteeing a public primary school education, and wanted to require literacy to vote.