I know many people are in election mode which narrows vision considerably, so let me just say upfront Mitt Romney may be the embodiment of all that is wrong with America: a self-absorbed Corporate Gangster that hides in esoteric dogma to rationalize his transgressive lifestyle. He won’t be getting my vote, it would be like electing Gordon Gekko president. By the way Mittens, if your plan was to fire everyone and sell the country for parts… too late.
That being said, what the hell is Obama’s plan to turn this economy around? Is there one?
Yes there is, and it’s really stupid.
From President Obama’s website:
When President Obama took office, the economy was losing more than 700,000 jobs per month. President Obama acted quickly to pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which cut taxes for small businesses and 95 percent of working families. It also included emergency funding to support about 300,000 educator jobs, more than 4,600 law enforcement positions, and investments in the clean energy sector that supported 224,500 jobs through 2010. Through April 2012, the economy has added more than 4.2 million private sector jobs over 26 consecutive months of job growth.
President Obama knows we still have more work to do. That’s why, in his State of the Union address, the President laid out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last—an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values.
OK… so let’s see what that entails, from Whitehouse.Gov:
In his State of the Union address, President Obama laid out a Blueprint for an America Built to Last, encouraging companies to create manufacturing jobs in the United States while removing deductions for shipping jobs overseas and encouraging insourcing. During the past two years, we have begun to see positive signs in American manufacturing – with the manufacturing sector adding more than 300,000 jobs since December 2009, with companies engaging in the emerging trend of “insourcing” by bringing jobs back and making additional investments in the United States. Manufacturing jobs are growing for the first time since the late 1990s.
The proposals the President is describing today are designed to build on this progress. They include six proposals that Congress should act on immediately to encourage job growth in the United States and that are fully paid for by closing tax loopholes that encourage the shifting of jobs and shielding of profits overseas.
OK… what are the six proposals?
1. Removing tax deductions for shipping jobs overseas and providing new incentives for bringing them back home
2. Targeting the domestic production incentive on manufacturers who create jobs here at home and doubling the deduction for advanced manufacturing
3. Introducing a new Manufacturing Communities Tax Credit to encourage investments in communities affected by job loss
4. Providing temporary tax credits to drive nearly $20 billion in domestic clean energy manufacturing
5. Reauthorizing 100% expensing of investment in plants and equipment
6. Closing a loophole that allows companies to shift profits overseas
The Blueprint includes other provisions like enforcing trade agreements, making Wall Street “play by the rules” and keeping tuition costs from going “too high.”
In other words… Obama’s economic strategy is lame bullshit. No change, no vision, nothing.
This isn’t change you can believe in, it’s not even change at all.
If doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insane then Obama needs a straightjacket. Neoliberalism doesn’t work, has never worked, and will never work in creating broad prosperity. You would think after 30 years of watching the overwhelming majority of the gains going to the Top 1% and an epic crash to rival the Great Depression we would have learned something. Nope.
“Enforce Trade Agreements” – The agreements were written by multi-national corporations for their benefit not America’s.
“Make Wall Street Play By The Rules” – They literally write the rules: OCC, SEC, CFTC, Federal Reserve.. totally stacked with Wall Street cronies. Sometimes the firms get so greedy they break their own rules. But otherwise Wall Street has captured the regulators. They are the regulators.
“Keep tuition from spiraling ‘too high’” – If higher education is an investment in the future why are people walking out of it with any debt?
What may be the saddest fact of all is Obama can’t even get the lame bullshit he is proposing through a Republican congress. That’s how far stupid Right America has moved. Even defeatist, weak, mostly ineffectual reforms are unpalatable to the reactionaries in Congress.
How About A Real Jobs Program?
Allow me to offer six proposals that would actually improve the lives of the 99%.
1. Wipe Out The Debt. The Too Big To Fail Banks should be nationalized, wound down, and destroyed with a total wipe out of the debts they hold. Free enslaved Americans so they can reset and begin to grow again.
2. Nationalize the Fed. The Federal Reserve is the third iteration of a corrupting institution two other Democratic Presidents destroyed – Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. Allowing private money interests to have a strangle hold on the nation’s money supply is a recipe for the kind of crony capitalism and subsequent inequality America now faces. The Fed is not “independent” at all. It is independent of democratic control but it is not independent of Wall Street. Nationalize America’s Central Bank and have it absorbed by the Treasury Department under democratic control.
3. Withdraw from the World Trade Organization. Neoliberal globalization is an economic, political, social, and environmental disaster. It has lead to unstable markets, democratic deficits, racial/ethnic/religious hatreds, and environmental degradation. It is time to restore bi-lateral trade agreements that value fair labor standards and protect the environment.
4. Protect and Invest in New American Industries. Even Ronald Reagan knew that new industries needed protection – that’s why he protected through anti-Free Trade measures the burgeoning Semiconductor Chip industry. One of the reasons Silicon Valley exists (besides the Pentagon creating it) is America protected its semiconductor industry when it counted.
China is now surpassing America in clean technology particularly solar energy – guess what? No. A 100% tariff on all foreign imports of clean energy technology including solar tech. We make it, we buy it, we put our people to work to make it happen. We are going to win the future by not playing a rigged game against slave drivers and reckless polluters.
5. Tax FIRE to build TECI. The Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate (FIRE) economy often euphemistically referred to as “Wall Street” creates no value – at best it is a utility that helps the REAL economy function, at worst it’s a parasitic gang of plutocrats who wreck markets and corrupt politics.
The next evolution within the REAL economy should be Transportation, Energy, and Communication Infrastructure (TECI). Investing in roads and public transportation, alternative energy, a reliable and robust broadband and phone tower network creates jobs while rebuilding the country. Production instead of finance means a reindustrialization program. Real jobs for a Real economy.
How do we pay for it? Taxing the FIRE with a Financial Transaction Tax. Take from the useless to fund the productive.
6. A War On Corporate Politics. To secure the jobs program corporations simply must be removed from the political process. Right now the Supreme Court is firmly pushing corporate interests and Congress is bought by corporate powers. Before legislation can be put forward to politically disenfranchise corporations an all out assault from the White House should be launched. Any corporation giving money or lobbying against the jobs agenda should be hit from all sides from federal lawsuits and continuous investigations utilizing new federal powers granted by Anti-Terrorism legislation.
The Department of Homeland Security, FBI, and other security services should begin infiltrating Corporate America and provoking them into engaging in securities fraud or regulatory abuses then arresting executives. Agent provocateurs could help shut down a possible Corporate response to the jobs program. Strangling a political movement in the cradle is the best strategy.
While #6 may or may not have some satire interlaced within it (see if you can find it) this Six Point Proposal would create jobs, now. It would also build a better society so America could no only win the future but in so doing have a victory worth having.