I completely forgot to post my very enjoyable show with the esteemed Lance Manion from Tuesday night. (I also forgot my brother’s birthday was Sunday, so don’t feel singled out, Lance.) We talked about local government, what it takes to run for office and what progressives can do to change their towns.
This is the movement of religious extremists with which Rick Perry has aligned himself. They believe their prayer rallies can call down the wrath of God and destroy the demons that have possessed that particular area. Oh, they also hate Catholics and Mormons (more demon possession) and the people they convert have to publicly burn the religious artifacts of their former faith. (This rally is in San Diego.) Pretty scary stuff:
Okay, I just talked to a couple of people who work with the House progressive caucus, and they say they’re not backing down on cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. So if your congress critter is a member of the progressive caucus, let them know you support them in opposing any cuts and maybe they won’t screw us this time.
Call the White House. Call your senators and your congress critters. Touch Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, and you’re history. We’ll stay home on election day.
If you ever wondered how the world looked the other way as Jews were herded into camps, there’s a pretty good facsimile happening right now.
News of the World. And so the first domino in Rupert Murdoch’s dynastry falls. Fox News to come?
Man thrown in jail because teller doesn’t think his cashier’s check looks legitimate.
Some may say: What could a president do faced with such implacable opponents? But the opponents didn’t start implacable. Back in January, Speaker John Boehner said the possibility of a government default was “not even on the table.”
The president’s weakness, however, empowered the most radical Republicans. Would one more hard push extract one more big concession? The answer was always, “yes.” So the radicals pushed — and pushed again — and incidentally pushed would-be dealmakers to the side.
Through it all, Obama has played nice, again and again entreating his Republican opponents to emulate his example and play nice too. It’s not what Lyndon Johnson would have done. It’s not what Franklin Roosevelt would have done. I doubt it’s what Hillary Clinton would have done.
Which brings me back to my starting question: Why don’t the Democrats rebel? Presumably, they elected Obama to stand up for their shared principles. But he’s not standing up. He’s rolling over. Or being rolled.
The remedies to the U.S. deficit follow immediately from this diagnosis: Put America back to work by stimulating the economy; end the mindless wars; rein in military and drug costs; and raise taxes, at least on the very rich. But the right will have none of this, and instead is pushing for even more tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, together with expenditure cuts in investments and social protection that put the future of the U.S. economy in peril and that shred what remains of the social contract. Meanwhile, the U.S. financial sector has been lobbying hard to free itself of regulations, so that it can return to its previous, disastrously carefree, ways.
But matters are little better in Europe. As Greece and other countries face crises, the medicine du jour is simply timeworn austerity packages and privatization, which will merely leave the countries that embrace them poorer and more vulnerable. This medicine failed in East Asia, Latin America, and elsewhere, and it will fail in Europe, too. Indeed, it has already failed in Ireland, Latvia, and Greece.
There is an alternative: an economic-growth strategy supported by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Growth would restore confidence that Greece could repay its debts, causing interest rates to fall and leaving more fiscal room for further growth-enhancing investments. Growth itself increases tax revenues and reduces the need for social expenditures, such as unemployment benefits. And the confidence that this engenders leads to still further growth.
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