Thanks for a great discussion.
And how are we supposed to get on the same page when one group of Democrats insists that we need to keep giving in and stop being idealistic and compromise over and over, and the other group is left hopelessly defending what’s left of our liberal public institutions and values.
Instead of focusing so much on social issues like gay marriage and gun control why don’t we put them aside and focus on what actually matters: the broken middle class, growing inequality, and a totally screwed up banking system.
That’s why it’s kind of exciting to see the Republican party get hijacked by the Teahadists.
It gives us hope in the Democratic party that if progressives get loud and obnoxious enough, we can bully the hell out of the corporatists in our party and get them to start listening to us.
Then we’d have hardcore right-wingers representing the Reps against hard-core Progressives representing the Dems — which is a lot more interesting than, as Nader describes it, a duopolistic system with two heads of the same corporate beast as our only choices.
actually they usually bend over backwards and blame the government.
I think the main difference between the working class right-wing and the working class left-wing is that the former blame the government for their problems, and the latter blame corporatism.
In a way, both groups are right of course, but it’s impossible to convince the Teapartiers that we can democratically take over the government and use it as an agent of good. They really and truly hate the federal government, DEEPLY…
But is destroying their argument sufficient?
We’ve got hard data now in from the IMF in the Eurozone demonstrating how austerity is incredibly counter-productive at least in the short-medium term (leading to higher debt/gdp levels even…) and key studies like Alesina-Ardagna and Reinhart-Rogoff have been thoroughly discredited — but we’re still seeing officials like Rehn and Schauble beat the austerity drum, and the Peterson-types state-side (and their GOP puppets) don’t show any sign of letting up in their fight for austerity at home.
What is there left to do when the money infects the political process so much that destroying their arguments and having stacks of empirical evidence countering them is still insufficient?
Anything that happens in the Senate with Brown-Vitter will have to go through Representative Hensarling of Texas, the Chair of the House Committee on Finance:
Who just recently went on a ski-trip to a ritzy club sponsored by Wall Street and big corporate interests for “fundraising” for his little super PAC.
Fat chance, i’d say…
Regarding the Tea Party angle.
Is there any good whatsoever (in the area of economic justice) that can come of the growing anger on the right that manifests as the Tea Party?
Even if their frustration is aimed less at Wall Street and more at the federal government (and particularly at President Obama right now), can their anger somehow be harnessed and redirected to the proper culprits? Can progressives (democrats from the democratic wing of the democratic party) actually team up with the working class Teahadists to somehow form an unholy alliance to take out the banksters?
All the indicators — from his books, the testimonials of his former colleagues, indicated he was a left-leaning Humanist who was up to the task — up until the years leading up to his campaign for president.
I really don’t know what hope there is left, I feel like we were all swindled. I got swindled after 9/11 into warmongering, and Obama swindled us into accepting corporatist ACA and Dodd-Frank legislation under the guise of progressivism.
Even more disconcerting, regarding Mary Jo White and why I have serious reservations about her, is what Jamie Dimon said about her (that she is “the perfect choice” — http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/choice-of-mary-jo-white-to-head-sec-puts-fox-in-charge-of-hen-house-20130125 )
The thing i don’t get about Obama’s lack of negotiating skills is that he’s going to get labeled as a marxist socialist muslim etc by the right-wing no matter what he does, so what is the point of capitulating in all these negotiations just to aim for a grand bargain, and lose all the progressive points?! He may as well actually put forth some serious radical reforms and earn the labels he’s getting from the Teapublicans.
So we should be avoiding Wall Street stooges.
But, what do you say to those who insist that “we need people with relevant experience” — it’s the go-to talking point whenever nominees for key positions are being discussed. What sort of balance do we need to strike between an individual having the expertise and experience, but who has the public interest in mind?
Would it be wrong to look toward Academia to fill the void, since getting the private sector experienced people hasn’t been working out?
On that token — Mary Jo White — is she like a Joe P Kennedy insider who will shake things up, or just another revolving door stooge who will keep her longer career goals in mind during her tenure?
Wouldn’t that require some kind of a shock? Either another financial crisis (perhaps a stock bubble burst) or something along those lines?
And how do you feel about the way money has infiltrated the process (not just politically through Citizens United, but also the way big money like Kochs and the internet creates the “right wing bubble/echo chamber”)? Lawrence Lessig doesn’t seem to think change can come about until we reform money in politics, and once we do that, it will allow for movements to gain more traction.
Well we know Biden and Clinton aren’t going to do anything either, so what hope is there for any chance whatsoever — either to the tax code to help reduce inequality, or to labor laws/stimulus to help rebuild the middle class, or to wall street reform to detoxify banking?
Should we all basically just give in to the fact that in the near future we’ll be fending off right-wing teahadists whose economic marginalization they blame on the government rather than corporatism?
Bruce Bartlett and Bill Moyers have called the United States a “plutocracy” — others have called it an outright oligarchy (Chris Hedges and other less-mainstream individuals).
Is there no turning back?
You mention Obama as a figure that people thought would be the populist progressive to revolt against corporatism, but it became quickly evident with the dying public option and the wishy-washy Dodd-Frank framework, within the context of numerous revolving-door appointments and Rubinite advisors.
My question is, did Obama fool us? Did DC corrupt him? Did Obama have a change of heart? Was he in over his head? Inexperienced?
And a second question: have we lost the momentum that the financial crisis gave us to get the reforms needed in the banking system as well as the tax code that drives inequality? Will the memory of the deregulated catastrophe be too distant to prompt we the people to continue to demand the change necessary?
Thanks Dr. Black and Dr. Wray for your time and brains!
One last thing, why isn’t there an e-book version available for purchase? Some of us can’t wait for big heavy lugs of information to come through international mail.
Private-sector household borrowing in foreign-currency isn’t a problem in the US now (as far as I know).
But, in many parts of Eastern Europe, for example, they issue mortgages in Swiss Francs…and back in the 90′s a lot of yen-denominated debt was being sloshed around the world to finance private household consumption.
I’m just thinking aloud when I wonder if foreign currency-denominated debt should be more closely controlled, and how that would affect bankers and their currency “hustle”.
Dr. Black (or Dr. Wray or any other participants here), do you have any recommendation for a text that provides an overview of the Modern Foreign Currency Market? It seems to be a source of major instability internationally, since it is poorly regulated. I don’t know how the actual computer systems are set up so that an American bank can hold a digital wad of Japanese Yen. Maybe these sort of systemic details aren’t important, but maybe they are? Is there some well-known consultancy that sets up the computer systems for the big banks to securely control for any abuse that could occur and affect sovereignty (like Chinese banks screwing with our digital-dollar system)?
Half the country right now seems to want to cut spending and doesn’t understand the implications.
Half the country right now is scared about the debt for purely emotional reasons, often invoking “think of the children/grandchildren’s future”.
Many of us have been out there trying to educate them on the differences between Household and Government finance…but there’s still a large loud Wrong-wing that is repeating the lies over and over again about Debt being bad and Spending cuts being necessary.
The question is, how can we get the teahadists to drop their emotional anti-intellectualism and adopt a populist and practical policy for growth and full employment?
Theoretically, could a large, influential private business build up enough credibility to take on a debt load that was unsustainable in a foreign currency, which could then drag down the American society?
To clarify, you’d make it illegal for ALL American entities, or just the US government to issue debt in foreign-denominated currency?
To what extent do large foreign-currency-denominated debts threaten the sustainability of a sovereign economy in the MMT model?
So you’re for ZIRP legislated forever, but there should still be a central banking system, where big banks get preferential financing directly through them?
Conceptually, the central banking model isn’t a failure?
In other words, the system as it is now isn’t broken structurally, but is just poorly managed, poorly regulated, and poorly configured?
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