The Moral Case For Not Voting

Twice in my adult life I chose not to vote in a general election, and on a third occasion, I almost didn’t vote, only doing so with great reluctance at the last minute.

Each time my reason for not voting (or, in the latter case, almost not voting), was the same: I had become convinced that both candidates were bad, or that there was not sufficient difference between them to make it worth my while to take a side.

And each time I was completely, terribly wrong.  In 1968 I refused to vote for Hubert Humphrey; the winner, Richard Nixon, presided over a pointless extension of the Vietnam War that cost 28,000 American lives and probably hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian lives.  He also mired the White House in such a cesspool of corruption and chicanery that the reputation of America’s system of government has still not fully recovered.

The next time I chose not to vote was when Ronald Reagan ran against Jimmy Carter.  As a longtime California resident, I knew all the havoc that Reagan had wreaked on that state, knew how his sunny smile masked a callous indifference to human rights and liberties and a dogged determination to dismantle the New Deal, that bit of social engineering cobbled together as a response to the Great Depression that transformed and bettered the lives of millions of Americans.

But I just didn’t like Jimmy Carter, and in my stubbornness and youthful certitude, refused to consider that Reagan might be (as he proved to be) infinitely worse.

In the year 2000, I felt similarly about Al Gore, only dragging myself to the polls at the last minute, with extreme reluctance, because even in my muddle-headed state at the time, I had an inkling that George Bush might spell serious trouble.

We know how that turned out.  Bush became the worst president of the modern era, possibly the worst ever.  It was only because the government he inherited was in relatively good shape, the budget balanced, the economy thriving, that the damage he inflicted was not even worse.

But Bush’s wildly incompetent mismanagement and malfeasance—on a scale, I think history buffs would agree—comparable to that of the latter-day Roman emperors—took our country close to the brink of collapse.  And because of the globally interconnected age we live in, it would have taken a large part of the world with it.

We’re not out of the woods yet, not by a long shot.  In fact, even after the gradual stabilization that has taken place during the past four years, I still wouldn’t rate our chances of avoiding an economic and societal meltdown at much better than 50-50.  Bush’s bankrupting the national treasury to pay for giant tax cuts for millionaires and two insanely expensive and pointless wars was, again, on a par with the follies the sealed the fate of ancient Rome.

And that is precisely why this year’s election is so vital.  In a normal year, in a year when our finances and our social structure were on a sound footing, we could afford four or maybe even eight years of a cynical, mercenary buffoon like Mitt Romney.  We’ve had presidents like him before—Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover come to mind—and survived.

But our position is far more precarious now, very likely as precarious as it’s ever been.  Romney’s plan to apply the Bain Capital model to government—ruthless downsizing and outsourcing, looting the national pension system (aka Social Security and Medicare), and skimming off huge profits for a handful of the best-connected—would be stupid and brutal at any time, but in an economy as fragile as ours, it would be fatal.

I can’t say that strongly enough: if Mitt Romney gets his hands on our government, I think it’s unlikely that our system as we’ve known it will survive.  It’s not just political rhetoric to point out that his so-called economic plan is a poisonous fantasy; any rational economist will acknowledge that it is mathematically impossible to accomplish his goals without massively impoverishing the working and middle classes and/or massively expanding an already almost unmanageable debt.

What does this mean for the average American?  Very possibly a total wipe-out.  It’s not just a matter of losing your health insurance—Romney has already promised millions of you will do that—or getting stuck with lower pay and poorer working conditions.

I’m talking about total collapse, where your money—unless, of course, you were smart enough to stash a few hundred million in offshore accounts—could become literally worthless, where a government stripped of its resources and income by the avarice of Romney and their ilk will no longer be able to provide you with the most fundamental of services.

Yes, I know that sound dramatic and alarmist, and I hope and pray that I’m wrong.  But I’ve been following and studying politics and economics and history on at least an avocational level for some 50 years now.  I’m no professor, no certified expert, but I can hold my own on these subjects, and everything I’ve learned leads me to believe that yes, the situation is indeed that dire.

I’m voting for Barack Obama.  In fact, I already have, and I urge every single American who cares at all about the future of this country and this planet to do the same.  You don’t have to agree with everything he says or does—I certainly don’t—and you don’t even have to like the guy.  But it’s the least you can do, the bare minimum, to help save our country from falling into the hands of people who, whether from greed, megalomania, or sheer, bloody ignorance, might very well destroy it.

Now there are those of you—some of you are even my good friends—who will cling to nostrums like “A pox on both their houses” or “No matter who you vote for, the government wins.”  I say to you, in the strongest possible terms, please consider that it may be time, at least for now, to put aside that kind of thinking.

In 1942, George Orwell wrote an essay condemning British pacifists who refused to participate in the war effort to defend Britain against a Nazi invasion.  He said, in no uncertain words, that under the conditions existing at that time, pacifism was “objectively pro-Fascist.”  You could not remain aloof from the struggle, he argued, as long as there was no realistic option to either a British or a Nazi triumph.

Similarly you can not remain aloof from the present struggle to prevent the devastation that Mitt Romney and his backers would unleash on this country.  You can trumpet your third parties or your principled abstinence from electoral politics as some sort of moral stance, but in fact—and this is, as Orwell put it, “elementary common sense”—you are voting for Mitt Romney just as effectively as any Tea Party fanatic or theocracy-fancying fundamentalist.

You can’t wriggle out of this one.  The Greens aren’t going to win this election.  Nor are the Libertarians, nor a coalition of anarcho-syndicalist communes.  Beginning November 7, this country will either be in the hands of fanatics, criminals and crazy people, or it will remain in the hands of those who have demonstrated at least some degree of sanity and some degree of responsibility to the people who elected them.

So what is the moral case for not voting?  This year, there is none.  Not just for yourselves, but for your children, for the future of this flawed but still inspiring experiment in democracy, please, I beg of you, drag yourself to the polls.  Regardless of whether you do so with a song in your heart or with one hand firmly holding your nose, it’s the least you can do.  I believe—as passionately as I’ve ever believed anything—that this is one time when failing to act is a luxury none of us can afford.

15 thoughts on “The Moral Case For Not Voting

  • November 5, 2012 at 3:19 am
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    But… here’s the thing (and i’m hoping that as someone who follows politics more than i do, you can help me form a more educated opinion on the subject…) What about election fraud?

    I am a voter, i do vote and i will vote (for Obama), but i am very fucking skeptical of the voting process. First of all- there’s that fucking electoral college thing. Then (and the big thing- electoral college aside)- how do we know our votes are actually legitimately counted?

    This first started to occur to me in 2000 with the whole Bush/Gore thing, and then again in 2004 when Bushco won AGAIN when CERTAINLY NO ONE ACTUALLY *WANTED* HIM IN! We hated that bastard! How did he win??? Perhaps I have been listening to my overly-cynical boyfriend too much (i have been for 12 years) but as far as I know #1-Diebold, who makes most of our voting machines (and also ATM’s), is a Republican-owned company and #2-if an ATM can produce a receipt, why can’t a voting machine? Why can’t Mittens or Bush pay someone off with their billions of dollars?

    Seriously, I still vote in hope that my vote actually DOES count, but who the fuck is watching these people? If banks and corporations can be corrupt, why not the voting system?

    (I will not even get into the “more than two parties” issue, but that of course bugs me too.)

    Thoughts?

    Reply
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  • November 10, 2012 at 12:10 am
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    You claim to care about the national debt, and the prospect of the dollar becoming worthless, and so you vote for the biggest spenders going, the same ones who claim that the debt as it stands now is not that big a deal, and that it can be negotiated without making any major cuts to everyone’s beloved (vote-buying) social welfare programs, with bogus Keynesian ‘stimulus’ spending and bailouts piled on top of that? No cuts to beyond-bankrupt Medicare, Social Security, etc.? And then you want to claim that you have some understanding of economics? That is downright hilarious.

    Romney was a joke, and wouldn’t have done much to stop the inevitable crash, but at least he paid lip service to the debt, which is a problem not tomorrow, not next year, but right this second.

    The reality is that without immediate spending cuts–real, major, meat off the bone cuts–there are only two eventual options within the next decade: 1) default and implement austerity measures, which will bring about riots a la Greece, or 2) don’t default and instead continue to ‘pay’ out the benefits with inflated money from the Fed, destroying the dollar in the process.

    Either way, rest assured, our “Greek moment” is coming in our lifetimes, thanks primarily (but by no means exclusively) to your beloved Democrats. I realize that you are old, but you’re not too old to educate yourself about this stuff. Like 98% of Americans, you don’t understand economics, you don’t understand what money is, and you don’t understand the debt.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npJ0CUT8d_Y&

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l37RhdFGVsM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQinW6hPme4

    Reply
    • November 10, 2012 at 12:41 am
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      As President Clinton aptly put it, it’s not complicated, it’s just math. One doesn’t even need to be very old to remember that only 12 years ago we had a huge budget surplus, were paying down the debt, and the economy was booming (more jobs created during the 8 years of Clinton’s term than under any other president in the postwar era).

      And the only difference between then and now? Tax rates were just a bit higher, and we hadn’t been dragged into two insanely pointless and ruinously expensive wars by an unelected president. A president, who, it shouldn’t be necessary to note, was certainly anything but a Democrat.

      Actually, while the national debt (which, once again, was produced by Republican voodoo economics that promised—with monomaniacal certitude—that slashing taxes, especially for the rich, would create boundless prosperity and instead resulted in the most devastating financial crash since the Great Depression) does of course need to be paid off, it is far from being the most pressing problem. If you could get a mortgage on your house that charged an interest rate of less than 1%, you’d think that was a pretty good deal, wouldn’t you? Well, that’s the rate the federal government is currently paying on any new debt, and when you adjust for inflation, the government is actually MAKING money on the deal.

      The real danger is an impoverished working and middle class and a decaying and collapsing infrastructure—physical as well as social. Those are the forces that will drag this country down far faster than a large debt, and to address them will cost money, money we don’t have, but can borrow at basically no cost. We ran up a huge debt during World War II, too, and rather than it resulting in the ruin of our economy, the end of the war saw one of the greatest and longest economic expansions in the history of the country if not the world.

      If you implicitly believe right wing propaganda that is primarily oriented around maximizing the wealth of a relative few under the theory that they know best how to guide our economy, then of course it will appear to you that I know nothing about economics, but as I mentioned, I also know a little about history. Your panicked prescription for a lethal cocktail of greed and austerity has been tried before. It found its ultimate expression in the Middle Ages, in the atomized and brutal world of feudalism.

      Reply
  • November 10, 2012 at 12:45 pm
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    That “budget surplus” you refer to was also known as the dot com bubble. The entire thing was based on ‘income’ from the dot com stock bubble, which of course was fueled by cheap liquidity from Greenspan’s Fed. Sure, hypothetically, if you have a bubble forever, you can run a surplus and pay down the debt, but that’s the problem with bubbles–they never last forever. In other words, Clinton was an economic retard and/or liar, just like every president since.

    As for jobs under Clinton’s presidency, what kind of jobs were they? They were bubble jobs, just like the real estate jobs under Bush. We don’t need “jobs.” “Jobs” are not an ends in and of themselves. Jobs are only a means to and end. What we need is production–productive jobs–and the only real litmus test to know whether a given job is truly productive or not is the free market.

    You are dead right about the wars. That is the one thing that the left is usually right about. However, with respect to taxes, you must understand that 1) every dollar taken out of the private sector via taxes is a dollar that otherwise could have been invested, so 2) you’d better be darned sure before you take that tax dollar that it will be more productive in government hands than in private hands. Clearly that is not the way most voters are thinking these days, as your post illustrates.

    The national debt has been surging since LBJ’s Great Society programs, Reagan’s idiotic defense spending, GWB’s Reagan policies on steroids, and most of all by Obama’s drunk sailor bailout and “stimulus” spending. Clinton got lucky in that he presided over a stock market bubble. Big deal. If he had presided over the real estate bubble crash, he would be implementing the exact same insane policies as Obama, if not worse.

    The Bush tax cuts had virtually no role in bringing about the real estate bubble. It was Greenspan’s Fed supplying the “too big to fail” banks with 1% liquidity for years. Any time the Fed feeds Wall Street artificially cheap liquidity, Wall Street will do stupid things with it, invest it in stupid places for a quick buck, and bring about an inevitable crash. That is common sense–IF you understand the Fed’s relationship with Wall Street.

    The government is only able to sustain the debt now because 1) the world’s focus has been on Europe’s debt crisis for so long that the world has thus far ignored America’s far worse insolvency and continued to seek refuge in the dollar, and 2) inflation from the Fed has not yet forced interest rates on treasuries to rise. Rest assured, however, that one or both of the above WILL END. They HAVE TO END. And when they do, our spending is going to be forced to grind to a halt WHETHER WE LIKE IT OR NOT.

    I believe no “propaganda”–YOU are the one who believes that “a relative few” (the government) know how to guide the economy. In other words, you believe in a centrally planned economy, which is also known as communism. Like I said above, you have no understanding of economics. The free market equals hundreds of millions of people making decisions every second of every day on how to spend their money. CONSUMER CHOICE is the only thing that can ever guide a successful economy–NOT some politician or bureaucrat. Investors invest in business ventures, consumers choose which products/services they want and which they don’t, some investors win and some lose. THAT is how an economy works.

    The most hilarious thing about your post is how you suggest that austerity is a “choice” in our current climate. With our total debt obligations going over a hundred trillion, and no real domestic industry producing any real value to sell overseas and help pay it down as Japan has, it’s no longer about what Americans feel they are entitled to–it’s about what the country can AFFORD. If the money–REAL MONEY–to pay for these welfare benefits does not exist, guess what–NO ONE WILL GET THEM. THAT is what liberals like you fail to understand.

    Like I said, you don’t understand economics. You need to educate yourself. It’s not too late. Start with the videos I posted above.

    Reply
    • November 10, 2012 at 1:30 pm
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      So, by “You don’t understand economics,” what you actually mean is “You don’t subscribe to the same sort of ideological extremism that I do.”

      I’m not one of those people who believes Ron Paul is completely insane; I do think he makes some valid points, as does Peter Schiff. But their overall world view is hopelessly skewed by a deluded romanticism, by the notion that somehow everything was better or more functional back in the 18th or 19th century, when in fact anybody reasonably conversant with American history knows that those times were replete with injustice, both civil and economic, and punctuated by disastrous booms and busts.

      The New Deal, forged as a response to the Great Depression, produced the longest continuous period in our history in which we suffered no major depressions or panics, and in which even the recessions that occurred were manageable affairs, ones in which most working people did not suffer unnecessarily or unduly. Our recent panic and near-depression very likely resulted from systematic attempts by Republicans, beginning with Reagan and growing far more extreme in the Bush era, to reverse the reforms of the New Deal.

      Your view, on the other hand, is that it resulted from our failure to hew to the principles of your voodoo economics, the long-discredited principle that “the market” will solve everything if only government would get out of the way. Have you read Adam Smith? Even the father of the invisible hand and patron saint of capitalism states forthrightly that given human nature and natural conditions, free markets can not function without government involvement and regulation.

      As I said, Ron Paul has some useful insights to offer, particularly when it comes to avoiding unnecessary foreign wars and excessive government involvement in the private lives of the citizenry. But he completely discredits himself and his entire ideology when he’s willing to make the profoundly immoral statement that a person who can not afford to pay for his or her own health care should be allowed to die if they can’t find a charitable organization willing to help them. That’s not the mark of a deep thinker or a caring human being; it’s the ravings of a sociopath. And hardly the foundation on which you can hope to build any kind of rational or humane social, political and economic system.

      Reply
  • November 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm
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    Let’s get something out of the way–IF the country were flush with excess savings, and/or we were sitting on some sort of golden-egg-laying-goose such as Saudi-sized oil reserves, THEN I might be open to the sort of welfare spending that liberals pound the table for. Unfortunately, however, we are absolutely flat broke, and what’s worse, we don’t even have a real domestic export industry to help us claw our way out of the hole.

    The New Deal only worked because it injected liquidity into an economy which was then insufficiently liquid. We had a huge bubble in the 1920s due to cheap credit from the Fed, and then a massive bust when the banks sucked all that liquidity back up, causing the economy to grind to a halt due to a lack of money to allow goods and services to flow. Understand however that what we are seeing now is NOTHING LIKE the Great Depression. That was a liquidity crisis. What we have now, but liberals and even many conservatives won’t acknowledge or can’t understand, is a solvency crisis. And that is much more difficult problem to climb out of.

    We have not had a “free market” to speak of since the Federal Reserve was created. Let’s get that out of the way as well. Having a handful of men sitting around arbitrarily deciding what the price of capital investment will be via the Federal Funds Rate is not free market capitalism by any stretch of the imagination.

    Does the government have a role in the market? I believe it should. I am not one of these hardcore free market types. However, I think theirs is definitely the voice that needs to be heard in our current time. And in describing what is causing our current problems (the Fed’s monetary policies and government deficit spending), they are absolutely, 100%, on the money.

    Finally, as for Ron Paul’s views on charity, I find it very hard to believe that in a country as rich as the U.S. COULD BE if we had sound economic policies, people would be allowed to die in the streets save government intervention. I for one would happily give to prevent that from happening. However, as an attorney whose career has largely consisted of dealing with government agencies, I have NO INTEREST in giving more money to government to hire more idiots at upper-middle-class wages with full benefits to sit behind a desk for seven hours a day playing with themselves.

    Like a wise man once said, when someone from the government comes claiming they want to help you, you’d better watch your wallet, because they’re going to help you with your own money and you won’t get nearly as much back as you give.

    Reply
  • November 26, 2012 at 11:58 am
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    Two words:
    Mormon Underwear.
    Glad you voted.

    Reply
  • December 13, 2012 at 11:08 pm
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    Bernanke just announced plans for yet more money printing, to the tune of another $45B/month. More than half of the total USD in circulation are already held abroad (estimates between 60-70%), since virtually all of what we consume is imported. When those dollars come back–and they will come back eventually–we are finished. There are a lot of pins out there, and we are going to find one sooner rather than later. I’m just wondering how you’ll manage to blame “the Republicans” when it hits the fan and the dollar trades down to its intrinsic value–i.e., nothing.

    Reply
    • December 13, 2012 at 11:29 pm
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      All major currencies have an intrinsic value of nothing, Chicken Little. And how can you expect to be taken seriously when you premise your hysterical theories on a blatant falsehood? Nowhere near all of what we consume is imported, as anyone capable of clicking a Google or Wikipedia search button could quickly find out. The Republicans are not solely to blame—there’s no shortage of irresponsible Democrats—but it was the Republicans who blew a massive hole in the budget to finance idiotic wars and an equally idiotic tax giveaway to the rich. I’m sorry (for your sake) that we’re not still on the gold standard, but I’m not sorry we’re no longer living in the 18th or 19th century. I imagine, however, that you’ve been pining away for the “good old days” ever since the demise of feudalism, feudalism being, of course, the logical outcome of the cray-cray Paulist world-view you cling to with such Biblical fervor.

      Reply
  • December 17, 2012 at 3:43 pm
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    “All major currencies have an intrinsic value of nothing, Chicken Little.”

    If a currency is not based on gold or silver, then it can only be based on the productivity of the nation printing it (i.e., it’s an IOU). In the case of highly productive nations like Japan, despite the propaganda our media puts out, they are able to stay afloat despite idiotic monetary policies because there is actual value being produced behind the yen (cars, TVs, etc.) to back the money up. Despite cries from the federal propaganda machine about how ‘productive’ our service-sector economy is, in reality the only thing we have backing our money up is its reserve currency status. But that is going to change.

    “And how can you expect to be taken seriously when you premise your hysterical theories on a blatant falsehood? Nowhere near all of what we consume is imported, as anyone capable of clicking a Google or Wikipedia search button could quickly find out.”

    Oh really? In that case, I’ve got a fun game for you to try. Next time you’re out retail shopping, try finding a single non-food item on the shelf that is made in the USA. You’ll be looking for quite a while.

    “The Republicans are not solely to blame—there’s no shortage of irresponsible Democrats—but it was the Republicans who blew a massive hole in the budget to finance idiotic wars and an equally idiotic tax giveaway to the rich. I’m sorry (for your sake) that we’re not still on the gold standard, but I’m not sorry we’re no longer living in the 18th or 19th century. I imagine, however, that you’ve been pining away for the “good old days” ever since the demise of feudalism, feudalism being, of course, the logical outcome of the cray-cray Paulist world-view you cling to with such Biblical fervor.”

    Actually, most of this country’s real economic growth–as in the tangible kind as opposed to the paper kind–took place in the 18th and 19th centuries. Call me a tin foil hatter all you like, but the liberal notions that “consumer spending” drives economic growth and that a dollar is better off in government hands than in private hands is flat out wrong.

    Reply
  • January 4, 2013 at 6:33 pm
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    Mr. Livermore, you can argue correctly that trickle down economics is a purely superstitious fantasy. History and basic real economics do not support the free market fantasy of the Chicago School of Economics, or as commonly known “reaganomics’; this ideology is truly a class war upon the working and middle classes of all countries. There has never been a country that has created a middle class without massive infrastructure, education spending as well as tariffs and tight banking regulation. There has never been a country that didn’t “build things” by borrowing against its own ‘bank’ to then increase prosperity for the rich, as well as the lower classes. And as you often bring up, a strong union movement to somewhat spread the wealth.
    But you still , as in the 90’s, in your columns that I often read, treat democratic party talking points as truth. If you just stuck to, vote lesser of two scary fuckers, I could agree. But instead you completely wash history. You completely absolve not only Obama of propping up the Casino but also Clinton. This is amazing. Because even after Obama was first elected you were tweeting ‘he got no balls’. and is ‘paying off the bankers’. (a paraphrase). You liberals, that think your pontifitick big words are going to increase the turnout, are really a big as problem as the tea partiers. You cannot break from ‘my team must win’. In order to change the system, in order to slow global warming a big break has to happen. In order to stop the next coming bigger meltdown drastic action has to be mobilized; you liberals were still talking about elections. You are AS RESPONSIBLE as the republicans. Since you did nothing but try to beg people to just sit back and vote.
    Bush only continued the Clinton Policies. And Obama has too. Yes Bush cut taxes on the rich, an increase of debt there, but that had NOTHING to do with the economic meltdown. It was the financial sector becoming a casino. This started before Clinton but was ramped up to absolute unsustainable leverage during him. Clinton repealed the glass stegal act, repealed the commodity futures act……all to satisfy his friends in the FIRE sector.It’s like you don’t even notice that Rubin, Larry Summers etc. were even there during the Clinton years.Who is Brooksley Borne Larry? And why did Greenspan and Clinton force her out? The same people Obama brought in. The crash happened because the finance sector, which are not ‘banks’ in case you didn’t know, but are ‘now’ because Geitner and Obama said they could be, (Fed authorized them to become bank holding companies) which means taxpayers are NOW going to pay all their losses, …the crash happened because there is a complete shadow banking system unregulated. Over the counter derivatives, interest securitization, three tranches of falsely rated CDO’s and CDS’s, a wrapping/interest rate swaps of credit of governments, municipalities, car loans, housing loans, student loans. And no economist outside of the wall street journal ‘trickle down’ ‘free market’ school says Obama has done any better. Even the liberal hero Paul Krugman has said since 2008, there will probably be another meltdown because of Obama’s policies.
    And you to say this, is an obvious indicator that you are of the ‘investment class’ because you are living off of it. And not actually working. If you ever really did work.
    “As President Clinton aptly put it, it’s not complicated, it’s just math. One doesn’t even need to be very old to remember that only 12 years ago we had a huge budget surplus, were paying down the debt, and the economy was booming (more jobs created during the 8 years of Clinton’s term than under any other president in the postwar era).”
    The majority of jobs created during Clinton, were lower paying service sector and part time jobs. The real wages of the bottom half went down during your heroes ‘boom’. And as with Obama, the majority of jobs created are part time. Full Time jobs shed, and hundreds of thousands of teachers have been laid off, and trillions have been loaned to the FIRE sector at near zero interest rates. His bailout mirrored Bush’s to the states. A temporary hold up. Then abandonment. Austerity. Republican economics. Chicago School trickle down. Obama’s financial advisors are his belief. There is no doubt about that now. To suggest otherwise, is to engage in the same fantasy that debt and deficit draw downers believe in. The democrats only care to prop up equities and markets, not to create jobs nor certainly as is so obvious, to increase social welfare. If you actually want to read a book, rather than pontificate off headlines , here are some.
    Matt Taibi Griftopia (you can read some of his early articles on Rolling Stone..doubt you even made that effort)
    Yves Smith Eco-conned
    Nomi Prins It Takes a Pillage…..
    along with many articles by michael hudson, bill black and yves smith on her blog Naked Capitalism
    You know you’re funny. and I wouldn’t bother except that a lot of people think you ‘know about punk rock’….just cuz you got lucky….but for as damn old as you are…you are still as headline reading and pontificating as you always were. You always write like you gotta herd people some way ‘proper’ way. When you don’t even know shit.

    Reply
  • January 4, 2013 at 11:20 pm
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    “Mr. Livermore, you can argue correctly that trickle down economics is a purely superstitious fantasy. History and basic real economics do not support the free market fantasy of the Chicago School of Economics, or as commonly known “reaganomics’; this ideology is truly a class war upon the working and middle classes of all countries. There has never been a country that has created a middle class without massive infrastructure, education spending as well as tariffs and tight banking regulation. There has never been a country that didn’t “build things” by borrowing against its own ‘bank’ to then increase prosperity for the rich, as well as the lower classes. And as you often bring up, a strong union movement to somewhat spread the wealth.”

    The time when the American middle class was created–the early to mid-20th century–was a time when there was nowhere near as much infrastructure spending, education spending, or banking regulation as there is today.

    Tariffs, yes, but that and unions are two points where I differ with hardcore free marketeers on. Unchecked third world immigration via open borders (cheap labor) is another area where the free marketers have it wrong.

    Anyway, the rest of your post suggests that, like most other ‘overschooled, undereducated’ people today, you have no understanding of how an economy works. Zero percent liquidity coming out of the Fed, the FDIC, $85 billion of bond and mortgage buying a month by the Fed–this has absolutely nothing to do with “trickle down” or “free markets,” but has far more in common with Marxism (centralization of all credit under the state). Not to mention, government borrowing to fund the building of a highway or bridge versus government borrowing to fund consumption (social security, medicare, etc.) are two completely different worlds. Get a clue.

    Like Larry, you have no understanding of how a productive economy works. Surplus productivity = savings = investment = capital = jobs = more productivity = income = consumption = increased quality of life for all, ad infinitum. It’s not rocket science. It just seems like it is, since the true understanding of money and how an economy works has been purposely obfuscated by the Keynesian fools filling all universities and editorial pages today, who are themselves promoted by the scumbags connected to the the banking cartel known as the Fed.

    Reply
  • January 4, 2013 at 11:44 pm
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    “the crash happened because there is a complete shadow banking system unregulated. Over the counter derivatives, interest securitization, three tranches of falsely rated CDO’s and CDS’s, a wrapping/interest rate swaps of credit of governments, municipalities, car loans, housing loans, student loans. And no economist outside of the wall street journal ‘trickle down’ ‘free market’ school says Obama has done any better.”

    This is great. The problem is that the FIRE sector has too much influence over government, so your solution is–surprise!–more government. In other words, give the FIRE sector, and anyone else with big bucks to donate to politicians, even MORE of an opportunity to write new legislation (as you yourself admit happens), just like the mortgage industry did pre-2008. Create MORE opportunity for shady influence by growing government. Brilliant!

    The best regulation for discouraging casino-like behavior on Wall Street is the free market. In other words, LET THEM GO BANKRUPT WHEN THEY BEHAVE RECKLESSLY. Going out of business for making bad investment gambles–WHAT A RADICAL IDEA.

    But no, let’s look to congress to fix it all, right? Let’s rely on the idiots in congress, who have even less of an understanding of the FIRE sector than Livermore does (see this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvMGHzB37lo), to do the right thing and create some sort of magical legislation that will stop the bad guys from doing bad things with the free money coming out of the Fed.

    Bottom line, as long as Wall Street is supplied with 1) endless cheap liquidity from the Fed to gamble with; and 2) government bailouts to save them when their gambles go wrong, then any regulation created to stop the gambling is the equivalent of a whack-the-mole game (“Let’s whack down the reckless FIRE speculation when it pops up! Oh wait, there’s another one! And another one!”).

    Until the underlying cause of it all is addressed–again, the Fed’s artificial interest rates and corresponding government bailouts–then nothing will ever change.

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