Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Some Economists for Edwards to Endorse Obama

I am jumping the gun as this has not yet been publicly announced, but on Sunday about half of the former group, "Economists for Edwards," agreed at the urging of James Galbraith and Clyde Prestowitz to endorse Barack Obama for president. A condition of this, which I insisted on as a condition for signing on, was that it be made clear in our statement that we would be working to change some of Obama's policy positions, particularly on health care and social security, to become more like those supported by Edwards. There was considerable debate in the group on all this, and about half are not signing on. However, none of those not signing on expressed that they favored Hillary instead, even though some favored some of her policy positions.

Regarding the social security issue, I would like to make public a table that I have cooked up with invaluable input from Bruce Webb. It makes clear the degree to which reality in the last decade has been much closer to the low cost (LC) projections by the Social Security Trustees, the projection under which the system never runs a deficit ever, in contrast with the widely publicized intermediate cost (IC) projections which give deficits starting in 2017 and "bankruptcy" in 2041 (after which recipients would only be getting about 120% of what ones are now in real terms), thus reinforcing the case for doing nothing. The numbers are annual percentage terms, and I think it is otherwise pretty self-explanatory. The only year that reality was below the IC projection was the recession year of 2001, and it exceeded the LC projection in six out of the ten years. I also note that final GDP numbers for 2007 are not in, but social security balances came in above the IC projection by $3 billion, but below the LC projection by $12 billion.

Year IC projection LC projection Actual real GDP change
1997 2.5% 3.2% 3.8%
1998 2.5% 3.1% 3.9%
1999 2.6% 3.4% 4.0%
2000 3.5% 3.9% 5.1%
2001 3.1% 3.5% 1.0%
2002 0.7% 1.6% 2.4%
2003 2.9% 3.8% 3.1%
2004 4.4% 4.9% 4.4%
2005 3.6% 3.9% 3.6%
2006 3.4% 3.8% 4.7%

1997-2006 average IC = 2.92% LC = 3.51% Actual = 3.60%
2001-2006 average IC = 3.02% LC = 3.58% Actual = 3.37%

33 comments:

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

I apologize that the numbers in the table are so close to each other. I typed them in as much farther apart. However, hopefully people will be able to figure out what is what. They are in the correct order, if not necessarily right under where they should be.

Barkley

Jack said...

Barkely,
I just want to point out that in today's poliltical reality it is not sufficient to be for a candidate for this or that reason. It is essential for the success of any czandidate that their supporters be able to point out what is not supportable in the opposition's positions. At he party primary level this approach should be without rancor and with an emphasis on what is better about the one versus the other. I'm still having a real hard time seeing what is better about Obama.
Not that I support HC, especially since the NYT's article about Billy's close financial relationship with some Canadian wheeler-dealer. It simply points out the more venal aspects of Clintonian politics.

Once the election season gets past the primaries, however, it becomes time for the gloves to be put aside. If economists for him or her can't beat the living crap out of the Repub candidate's economic plan their endoresment won't mean crap.

Jack said...

Barkely,
I just want to point out that in today's poliltical reality it is not sufficient to be for a candidate for this or that reason. It is essential for the success of any czandidate that their supporters be able to point out what is not supportable in the opposition's positions. At he party primary level this approach should be without rancor and with an emphasis on what is better about the one versus the other. I'm still having a real hard time seeing what is better about Obama.
Not that I support HC, especially since the NYT's article about Billy's close financial relationship with some Canadian wheeler-dealer. It simply points out the more venal aspects of Clintonian politics.

Once the election season gets past the primaries, however, it becomes time for the gloves to be put aside. If economists for him or her can't beat the living crap out of the Repub candidate's economic plan their endoresment won't mean crap.

ProGrowthLiberal said...

Early in this race, I endorsed Edwards. To which some of my right of center economist friends thought I had lost my mind. I guess some folks think being a progressive means one has to turn in one's Ph.D. Of course, this is a silly notion.

Alas, the Edwards campaign fizzled. On Clinton v. Obama - I have yet to decide.

Ken Houghton said...

While I appreciate the efforts, "that it be made clear in our statement that we would be working to change some of Obama's policy positions, particularly on health care and social security, to become more like those supported by Edwards" is roughly like those people who support John "0% NARAL Rating" McCain because of his relative-to-Huckabee "pro choice" position.

You're drawing to an inside straight against three of a kind. I wish you luck, but it's not the way to bet.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

I have been asked by Jamie Galbraith to add the following comment to this posting, which I shall do so verbatim.

"First, of the original Economists-for-Edwards group, of about thirty, only about seven declined to sign the statement endorsing Barack Obama. A substantial number of others simply number of others are simply not yet heard from. In the nature if email circulars, it is possible that they haven't gotten the message yet.

Second, the phrase on social security was added to satisfy you alone [that's me, Barkley]. No one else insisted on it. I put it in the satatment for two reasons: First, it's a good point. And second, I wanted to have you on the team.

Third, most of those who did sign, did so with enthusiasm. That includes me.

Jamie."

Barkley

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

For the record, some garbled syntax and misspelling in the first paragraph of the supposedly verbatim quotation from James Galbraith were my fault, not his.

Barkley

Bruce Webb said...

A little note on the methodology. These GDP numbers represent snapshots in time, that is the 1997 number is drawn from the 1997 Report while the year end number is drawn from the 1998 Report and does not try to incorporate revisions to earlier years either from that or subsequent Reports, which is to say you will not get one to one correspondence with current BEA historical numbers.

From my perspective the point of this exercise was to try to get into their minds at the time the new data point was selected. If the economic and demographic assumptions that went into the Intermediate Cost alternative were based on best available information then you would naturally expect real world outcomes to fluctuate around the median. If this doesn't happen and you have a consistent string of results that fall well outside your probability bounds you would normally expect some explanation about why your model is underperforming. Because otherwise it says bad things about your model and perhaps worse things about your modelers.

There is a clear, logical and even honest path out of the thicket here. It requires acknowledging Low Cost for what it actually is. If you examine the actual projected operation of the Low Cost model in every Report Year from 1997 to 2007 you get an identical result: fully funded Trust Fund with no changes in benefits or retirement age and a flat trust fund ration (level of reserves). I concluded years ago that Low Cost was in fact the answer to the question "What would it take to grow totally out of crisis?" And the answer is clear: Low Cost or results close enough to it to offset certain assumptions that didn't quite pan out.

This leaves Intermediate Cost in an awkward spot, to maintain crisis it has to come in below Low Cost, if the models ever meet and cross it is game over for privatizers. Which means artificially wedging their numbers in no matter how counterintutive they may be. This puts privatizers into a bond. If they really believe these IC numbers they are logically bound to use them in their growth models for their private account. Instead they simply punt away from the dangerous return man.

Their solutions always boil down to a variation of 'something is better than nothing' with workers being asked to make mass concessions on wages and benefits and still not getting to 100% of the scheduled benefit. Well a straightforward examination of the numbers shows the clear opposite, over this eleven year period 'nothing was better than something'. People who claim we can't afford to wait need to set up a little date with the data tables. The assertion is simply untrue, not only can we afford to weight the preponderance of evidence suggests we should.

There was nothing in the air in 1997 and 1998 that suggest that near term a 33% slump in Real GDP growth was a reasonable median, or that a 20% slump was as optimistic a forecast as could reasonably be made by the well informed economists of the SSA. If there was you would expect them to point it out in the subsequent Report. This never happens, the Trustees simply explain that this factor or that factor moved the payroll gap one direction or another by some fraction or another. You get the what and never the why.

Other things being equal growth during the next five years at the rate we grew the last five years smashes the Crisis model. People who insist this is impossible need to explain why. Why is 2.2% GDP in 2013 and after a best faith guess at the median? Historically that would be a rather pessimistic floor, are the chances really 50/50 that medium to long term our outlook is actually worse?

Man some people need to get off the floor and embrace their Inner Obama, these numbers are crying out for a little does of 'Si, se puede!

Brenda Rosser said...

I really don't know that much about Obama except that he is in receipt of a very significant amount of corporate funding. How independent are any of these candidates going to be when they are all 'blessed' so?

As for another Democrat John Kerry, why didn't he contest the 2004 election result and why didn't he:

- answer the student question as to why he didn't contest the election result and

- intervene when that student was tasered by the police simply because he kept asking the question.

Stun gun used during Kerry debate
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7001464.stm

If Americans support the idea of governments being democratically elected why have they voted for those that have been opposing democratically-elected governments all around the world?

Iran in the 1950s
Chile in the early 1970s
Venezeula (present)
Palestine
Other latin American nations

Why do they tick the box for those that support dictatorships in:

Uzbekistan
Saudi Arabia
Pakistan

Clearly the values of those that 'vote' are not reflected in the outcome of the elections.

Brenda Rosser said...

On Obama. Is the following article correct in its assertion that Obama

- is a believer in 'limited government' and 'free trade' in the context of corporate control of the US Government and a government program of heavy socialist intervention for the rich and unfettered competition/'you're on you're own' scenarios for the poor?

- has supported the 'Hamilton Project' "formed by corporate-neoliberal Citigroup chair Robert Rubin and “other Wall Street Democrats” to counter populist rebellion against corporatist tendencies within the Democratic Party (David Sirota, “Mr. Obama Goes to Washington,” the Nation, June 26).

- Supported Joe Lieberman's struggle agains an anti-war Democrat Ned Lamont and other 'mainstream Democrats' fightin anti-war progressives.

- criticized efforts to enact filibuster proceedings against reactionary Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

- opposed an amendment to the Bankruptcy Act that would have capped credit card interest rates at 30 percent.

- voted for a business-friendly “tort reform” bill that rolls back working peoples’ ability to obtain reasonable redress and compensation from misbehaving corporations (Cockburn; Sirota).

-claims to oppose the introduction of single-payer national health insurance on the grounds that such a widely supported social-democratic change would lead to employment difficulties for workers in the private insurance industry—at places like Kaiser and Blue Cross Blue Shield (Sirota).

- voted to re-authorize the repressive PATRIOT Act.

- refuses to foreswear the use of first-strike nuclear weapons against Iran.

- claims the war in Iraq is merely a strategic blunder used to promote democracy in Iraq.

etc etc.

The Obama Illusion
Presidential ambitions from the start
http://zmagsite.zmag.org/Feb2007/street0207.html

If this article's account of Obama is true then America is in dire straits. Nothing but choiceless elections for right-wing candidates that are the very architects of the nation's financial, environmental and social collapse.

Feeder of Felines said...

Brenda R.:

``then America is in dire straits.''

That's about the size of it, as far as I can see. Then again, dire straits have been know to produce improvements in policy, vide FDR.

Brenda Rosser said...

"Then again, dire straits have been know to produce improvements in policy, vide FDR."

Improvements in policy by the same people that cause the catastrophe. Except this time there remains some significant doubt as to whether recovery from this long line of abuses is actually possible.

"The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the larger centers has owned the Government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson... "

Written by President Franklin Roosevelt in a letter to Col. Edward Mandell House, President Woodrow Wilson's mentor and adviser, November 21, 1933.

And from the pen of the former Australian leader of the opposition, Mark Latham:

"Such a relief to be out of that place; it's always trying to narrow me down. What's happened to our democracy that a bit of radicalism is now stamped on, like ants on a driveway? All the influences, all the messages in modern politics are conservative....In the academic world, the process of responding to new evidence, revising old findings and reaching fresh conclusions is known as learning. It is celebrated as intellectual growth. In politics it is demonised as wild and erratic.."
'The Latham Diaries" page 397

And today in the Sydney Morning Herald:

Pollies are financially self-interested schemers: Latham
http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/latham-out-of-exile/2008/02/07/1202234012692.html

Jack said...

Brenda,
As I've noted previously, Maximillian where are you when you're needed most? If I can write in a name, will be Robespierre. In the NY primary this past Tuesday I chose to vote for Edwards for no better reason than the other two "front" runners are just that. Fronts for a political philosophy that's killing us all. It appears that the only difference between Clinton and Obama is that we get two for one in the former and uncertainty in the latter.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

Brenda,

I am not going to deal with all the issues you raise, in some cases because I do not know the answers. I supported Edwards originally, who also has his own past not so glorious links and policy advocaies. He is gone. I am not ready to go vote for or support someone with no chance of winning, like Ralph Nader or the Socialist Workers' Party candidate, or whomever. Those who voted for Nader in 2000 gave us the war in Iraq.

Regarding Kerry, I think he did not contest the election results because he decisively lost the popular vote, in contrast to Gore in 2000. I think he should have stopped the cops from pounding on that kid. I do not think his failure to do so was because of his complicity in some corporate plot.

Kerry lost in 2004 for the same reason that the American people have not sufficiently opposed policies inimical to democracy in many of the countries around the world you list: ignorance. In 2004over 60% of those voting for Bush thought Saddam Hussein was directly involved in 9/11. As for Chile and Iran and all that, most Americans have no idea they happened. Just. Plain. Ignorant.

Regarding Obama and Clinton in fact I do not see really large differences between them on either economic or social policies. Your complaints about links to corporations and the Hamilton Project apply to both of them, although there are scattered issues where Hillary looks more progressive, most of them already discussed by me in this venue, and some where Obama looks more progressive.

For me, the ultimate push was on foreign policy. Hillary voted to grant Bush power to go to war in Iran, and Obama voted against it. Unlike Edwards and others, Hillary never has said she made a mistake voting to grant the power to Bush to invade Iraq. Obama was not in the Senate when he opposed doing so, but he did vote against Bush going to war in Iran. This is the big one, as far as I am concerned.

The other issue is electability. After Super Tuesday, with John McCain defeating Mitt Romney in California, it is all but certain that McCain will be the Republican nominee, and he is by far the most competitive of their candidates against any of the Democrats. Indeed, there are quite a few things about him that are admirable. He has been reasonable about global warming. Prior to getting tromped for it, he was somewhat reasonable on immigration. Most important, as someone who was himself tortured, he has stood strongly against using torture, putting him against Bush and all the other Republican candidates, except for the libertarian Ron Paul.

However, if he comes to power, quite aside from his very hawkish stance on Iran and Iraq, he has indicated he would appoint social conservatives who would oppose a woman's right to have an abortion to the Supreme Court, and the most liberal member of the Court, John Paul Steven, is 88 years old, or thereabouts, and likely to be replaced during the next presidential term.

Brenda, you as an Australian may not give a damn about whether women in America have the right to choose, but I have three daughters of child-bearing age, so I do (and I might even if I did not have any daughters).

So, I want a Democratic candidate who can defeat McCain. The latest polls show Obama able to do it, and Hillary Clinton losing to him. Obama appeals to independents as does McCain. Hillary would unite the Republicans, including all these ultra-conservatives who do not like McCain. They hate her and her husband, and they will come out in droves to defeat her.

So, Obama is an imperfect vessel, as was the person I previously supported, Edwards, but I have no problem supporting Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton.

Bruce Webb said...

"Hillary voted to grant Bush power to go to war in Iran, and Obama voted against it."

Did he? Was there really some 'Sense of the Senate of the State of Illinois' that he voted on? And would that of mattered?

Obama was not in the US Senate at the time of the AUMF and did not have access to the same intelligence. For a guy that has a record of more than a hundred 'present' votes, including numerous ones on the very subject you highlighted as important to you, i.e. choice, he doesn't exactly stand up as a subject for Profiles in Courage. He can say that he would have voted 'No' on AUMF, which is not the same as actually voting 'No'

" The latest polls show Obama able to do it, and Hillary Clinton losing to him."

Well I have not seen such polls. Hillary's large state successes including results that show here decisively beating McCain head to head are beginning to bury that whole 'high negative' 'unelectability' line. The papers are full of stories today showing conservatives breaking ranks, among the base McCain's negatives are sky high.

More and more Obama's rhetorical line is coming down to 'Vote for me because I am me and decidedly not her'. Well that is not good enough, I need something more than a blank screen that allows me to project whatever I want to see, and frankly that is all I am getting here.

Brenda Rosser said...

Barkley said: "I am not ready to go vote for or support someone with no chance of winning, like Ralph Nader or the Socialist Workers' Party candidate, or whomever. Those who voted for Nader in 2000 gave us the war in Iraq..."

Okay, I understand your position. However, if this the overall position for the people of the US, those wishing for acceptable governance, then it is nothing less than tragic. This predicament IS the reason why there is quickly unfolding global crises. The parties have surely colluded to ensure no other outcomes are possible.

It wasn't that long ago in Tasmania when the voters here were faced with the choice of two major parties who intended to dam the pristine, wilderness of the Franklin River. They voted regardless. For 'no dams'.

There must be some point when people get to that level of frustration. When they will say enough is enough and finally demand a choice. How bad do things need to get?

Jack, sorry to hear about your experience.

I'm offline for most of the coming week. Maybe a miracle will happen when I tune in again. ;-)

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

Brenda,

Believe me, I am not claiming that things are great here. Far from it. We are just trying to do the best we can with what we've got.

Bruce,

I think you have confused the Iraq vote with the Iran vote. If you read what I wrote carefully you will see that I did not puff Obama up that much on the Iraq war as I noted he was not in the Senate.

Perhaps you missed it, but there was this past fall a vote on granting Bush power to do what he wanted in Iran. Both Obama and Edwards voted against it, as did Biden and Dodd also, who were still in the race then. Hillary voted for it, and was the only Dem candidate for president who voted for it.

As far as I am concerned this is way more important than what ads people are using against each other over relatively trivial differences in economic policy positions. And, this is what the rest of the world is most worried about, as Brenda's post indicates. Frankly, they could care less what kind of health care system we have or who is on the Supreme Court (although that may affect them if those people are willing to grant presidents power to go to war against votes in Congress). They care about not having the US causing unnecessary wars and pointlessly invading this country, that country, and several more on the way to perdition. And on this matter, there is very serious daylight between Obama and Clinton, not to mention McCain.

Barkley

Jack said...

But Barkley, you're argument can be reduced to, Obama is the lesser of evils. Oh am I so sick and tired of the lesser of evils choice we are constantly being fed. I'm not disagreeing with you if you're pointing out that Obama may have ever so slightly nuanced his positions so as to appear the better candidate. If nothing else, it certainly indicates that he and his core group of planners know how to sell a product.

However, even your analysis shows his only edge is that he's possibly less hawkish than HC. That's just not sufficient. Global circumstances need to be revised in order to reduce the likelihood of continuing hostilities. Half the world seems to be on fire at the moment. The economic circumstances in this country are an even more important issue that Obama has not made any good commitment toward improvement. His health care proposal, if it can be called even that, truly is sub-standard. It is so depressing that we are always finding ways to excuse the short comings of the newest promise of hope for the future. I'd love to hear a candidate that didn't promise hope and change, but instead made specific proposals that sounded significant.

In short, we're still f--ed, albeit not so royally.

coberly said...

rosser

i guess i am with you. i do not trust Obama, but until we actually get an electorate that understands what is at stake, we are left with the lesser evil.

i am hopeful that you and the other economists can persuade Obama that Social Security does not need fixing. In any way.

Unlike Bruce, I don't think the Trust Fund is very important... in the sense that I'd rather see a default on its bonds than any change in the structure of SS.

As you know, SS can continue to pay "real" benefits equal to today's without any tax increase...I think that may be true even in the unlikely event of a Trust Fund default. I know that SS can continue to pay the present level of benefits...replacement of 40% of real average lifetime income.. with a tax raise of no more than a dollar per week per year per worker.

This would, according to current projections, not be needed until 2030 if the Trust Fund is honored*, or it could begin as early as 2016 if the politicians are so convinced that honoring the Trust Fund will require a raise in the general tax that would destroy the economy.

But if they believe that, we may have worse things that Social Security to worry about. The required tax raise would be that same dollar per week per year per worker, though it would be distributed more "progressively" through the income tax.

*the dollar per week per year tax raise would begin in 2030 only to gradually raise the tax to avoid a more abrubt change in 2040 when the Trust Fund is scheduled to be fully paid out....as designed.

Anonymous said...

Re the numbers:

1) Is it reasonable to conclude that the numbers are being deliberately cooked to keep coming up with an intermediate forecast that predicts SS "crisis" some years down the road?

2) Why is it we never hear anything of this in mainstream media, & the seeming acceptance of the "crisis" meme is so bipartisan?

These are very important questions to me, hope someone will answer, thanks!

coberly said...

anonymous

i have tried to publish in the mainstream media. no luck. none. even a letter won't get published if it is too clear about the real numbers..

and i don't mean Bruce's, which are a little hard to understand

but the simple fact that the Trustees own numbers show that the cost of balancing the SS budget amounts to a one dollar per week per year increase in the payroll tax, while wages are going up ten dollars per week.

so is there a conspiracy?

Jack said...

Is it fair to say that the financial industry has significant control over the editorial leanings of the MSM? That is the key to anon's question. There is a vast treasure in management fees and commissions to be earned by the privatization of social security. The investment community knows no shame related to its incredible level of avaricious greed.
Our IRAs and 401Ks provide a 1% skim operation that gives no guarantee of growth. We only get management. In a managerial economy profit and growth are secondary to executive compensation. That's the core of the issue. Social security has too much money that's currently not subject to that euphemism of all euphemisms, the investment management fee. That's the vig earned for watching over the evaporation of someone else's nest egg.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

I think you are basically right, Jack, although the influence has been so insidiously pervasive that almost nobody seems to notice, or if they do, they have just sort of forgotten it. I think the clear point was that it was when Goldman Sachs's Robert Rubin was Treasury Secretary and he was in charge of appointments to the Board of Trustees of the Social Security Administration that these scare scenarios were first cooked up. That they were propounded by Boards appointed by both Dem and GOP presidents sank it into the shallow consciousness of most MSM commentators who have simply repeated it and repeated it endlessly.

The most depressing thing about Bush's two month campaign of traveling around the country in early 2005 is that even though his plan failed and was never passed (of course, he never actually proposed a specific one, just kept floating various ones) polls show that he did succeed in raising the percentage of people who believe that "there is a crisis." So, in 2004 John Kerry could simply stand firm for social security, but now even its supposed dearest defender, Hillary, is apparently all for a bipartisan commission to propose how to "fix it."

I was in Washington yesterday and actually spoke with someone high up at the Social Security Administration. This individual was fully aware of the numbers in the table in the posting, the fact that reality has more often beaten the low cost projection than not. But the train is running hard for a bipartisan commission. What I heard was that the people in SSA are unhappy with the push for a "big bang" based on truly inane 75 year projections. They are trying to tone the thing down to "small changes" that would "guarantee the next 20 years," and which may not be needed anyway. This is what things have gotten reduced to in Washington by this relentless propaganda from Wall Street.

Barkley

coberly said...

Barkley

only to say the next twenty years are guaranteed already. unless they plan to default on the trust fund.

but if they do that, why should ANY "plan" be taken seriously?

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

I think this is a matter of knowledgeable bureaucrats trying to slow down an onrushing train. Unfortunately, this chatter about the need to "fix it" is so entrenched that these folks somehow cannot come right out and say that it is a bunch of baloney.

Anonymous said...

I hope this isn't a stupid question, but WHY can't they just come out & say it?

coberly said...

anonymous

i don't think it's a stupid question at all.


because no one would hear them?

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

anonymous,

Unfortunately, John Kenneth Galbraith a long time ago pointed out that there is something called "the conventional wisdom" and one goes against it openly only if one is somewhat brash or daring. Bureaucrats as a group are not known for either. They prefer to operate by obfuscation and "slowing down a train," by subterfuge rather than open opposition that they fear would leave them crushed.

Maybe not admirable, but I fear that is the way it is.

Barkley

urban legend said...

There is something so terribly childish about the "we're-fucked-no-matter-who-you-vote-for" crowd. It's like we expect the Daddy (or Mommy) candidate to do all the work once elected, and we can just sit back in glory as it unfolds.

It isn't going to be that easy. The job of undoing the damage done by Republicans since 1981 will be long term, and will require constant pressure on the Democrats as well. Of course, both parties are influenced by corporate power because, well, corporations have a lot of power. You tend to have a lot of power when you employ and pay 80% of the population.

The difference is that we are part of the constituency that elects them, too, and they will appoint a 1000 or so policy-makers who will hesitate more than the Republicans would to piss us off. The Republicans wear it as a badge of honor not to pay any attention.

Just as Bill Clinton had to maneuver his way through national anti-government attitudes exploited and exacerbated by 12 years of Reaganism, I think Obama has made the right formulation for progressivism for this particular moment in time: corporations can have seats at the table, they just can't have all of them. Implicit is the belief that, as we see the stark contrasts between the Clinton and Bush eras, the corporations will see that some level of progressive solutions is a lot better for everyone, even the corporations and the wealthy.

If lip service is the best we can get in the first few years -- I would say, just as a couple of examples, that maintaining Social Security as social insurance or appointing less anti-labor members of the NLRB, are more than lip service -- then lip service it is. It's better than the opposite. It's going to take our continuing collective effort, though, to build the power of the movement as a truly counter-vailing force. Getting people like Imus and Shuster fired or suspended, or Joe Klein under constant heat, is a start, however. So is getting tens of millions in low-value campaign contributions.

coberly said...

i am not satisfied with Rosser's, or the high bureaucrat's "who us? DO something?"

what "we" could do... and i suppose that means me, too. is start going to meetings, and writing fliers and talking to anyone who will listen and explain to them that the "conventional wisdom" about SS is a Big Lie.

it is doable, but we'd have to actually care.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

coberly,

I have not been particularly quiet.

Barkley

Anonymous said...

well, i've done by bit, as a nobody. but an isolated nobody without a relevant "professional" position has about as much cred as a fart in a hurricane. "Who are YOU? What makes you think you're so smart?"

The irony is, the numbers are hidden in plain sight, & pretty easy to understand, if folks would just look.

But most folks just can't believe so many different interest groups would lie to them in concert (Dems, Pubs, L/R, the media, the gov, business...).

People easily believe that ONE of these groups might lie -- but that means their opposite number is telling the truth -- doesn't it? Most people I know out here in the hinterlands accept the idea that SS will go bankrupt, they just hope it survives for them.

But to me, that indicates that in a downturn such as we're moving into, it may become easier our leaders to kill it while saying they're saving it.

But no one's answered my question yet. Is it likely the Trustees are spinning the numbers to get the intermediate forecast they-someone- prefers?

People Power Granny said...

Are outside forces like corporations or even the federal government supposed to "take care of us." Even if they claim they will, don't believe them. People Power Granny has her ideas about that at http://peoplepowergranny.blogspot.com. If you visit, vote in my poll about whether corporations are here to take care of us.