You know, I think this David Dayen post on the Clinton speech explains for me why I have such an instinctive mistrust of Barack Obama. He doesn’t really try to explain his policies to the voters, he simply tries to manipulate them. (Remember the public option pledge?) The man has spent his first term trying to cut back-door deals on Social Security and Medicare. My feeling is, if he thinks he had a really good reason to do so, he should discuss it out in the open:
Bill Clinton is one of the few politicians that bothers to try and tell the public what is happening in their lives and how that connects to what happens in Washington. It’s shaded to his advantage, like approximately every politician ever. And I don’t agree with all of it – he tried to peddle some structural unemployment stuff that economists agree on all sides pretty much agree with.
But this is a deficit in our politics. The public has a very low political literacy, and one of the reasons for that, despite a dysfunctional media, is that politicians don’t bother to take the time to explain the consequences of their policies. This leaves them reaching for their own trusted sources, and open to the worst kinds of distortions. Clinton, in his down-home kind of way, tried to reel back those distortions. He fact-checked the Republicans on welfare. He fact-checked them on Medicare – and in so doing, downplayed a bit the potential effects of cutting provider payments on access to hospitals and doctors, but SO WHAT? I’m tired of this belief that we cannot cut pay for vastly overpaid health care providers. Anyway, the providers voluntarily agreed to the cuts, because they knew they’d get more customers in the bargain. And Medicare Advantage lost some of its subsidies and now has more subscribers at a lower cost. Clinton got into that.
Go read the rest.
They’re trying to take over the Senate:
The banks are starting to rally their support for the Senate. The American Bankers Association are going to start funding super-PACs anonymously in an effort to help the Republicans take back the Senate and they can rid of the pesky financial regulations holding them back.
The board of the ABA will vote on whether or not they’re going to form a non-profit that will help funnel their money anonymously to super-PACs supporting between six and 12 Republican candidates looking for senate seats, Bloomberg’s Robert Schmidt and Phil Mattingly report.
Though, it’s because of campaign finance laws weakening that they’re able to fund their little friends. Otherwise, they’d have to list their names on donor sheets, and they don’t want that, as Schmidt and Mattingly explain:
The financial industry has so far kept a low profile in the 2012 campaign, in part because banks remain targets for both political parties for their role in the 2008 financial crisis. While Wall Street banks and their employees have given millions to presidential and congressional campaigns, some of the largest banks have stayed away from overt political activities like funding the parties’ conventions.”
With their mask of protection, it’s off into the night they go. But they know the mask could be ripped off by a new law at any moment. “Today, we’re OK; tomorrow, I don’t know,” Dawn Causey, the ABA’s general counsel, said during a conference call. “There is a risk.”
It’s a presidential election year, so Ohio Republicans are up to their usual dirty tricks. Whether the feds will stop them from stealing the election this year is still up in the air:
Judge Peter Economus has set a hearing for September 13 to address Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s refusal to comply with the court’s ruling that the state must allow early voting on the three days leading up to the general election. Economus released a terse order Wednesday afternoon: “The Court ORDERS that Defendant Secretary of State Jon Husted personally attend the hearing.” The Obama campaign filed a motion earlier Wednesday asking the court to make Husted give way.
Hillary watching Bill’s speech from East Timor last night:
Scott Brown’s ahead by 5 points. If you have a few bucks to spare, send her some. We need her on our side.
There is an astounding disconnect between Elizabeth Warren and the man for whom she gave her excellent speech at last night’s pep rally:
“People feel like the system is rigged against them,” Warren said. “And here’s the painful part: they’re right. The system is rigged. Look around. Oil companies guzzle down billions in subsidies. Billionaires pay lower tax rates than their secretaries. Wall Street CEOs — the same ones who wrecked our economy and destroyed millions of jobs — still strut around Congress, no shame, demanding favors, and acting like we should thank them.
“Anyone here have a problem with that?”
Warren sounds like a Democrat. Expect the big chief to totally muffle her themes when he speaks tonight. I’m picturing Obama buddy Tim Geithner’s reaction as she spoke… He is not applauding.
Worth repeating from Joseph Stiglitz’s recent piece about Mitt Romney, tax cheat:
Those at the top include a disproportionate number of monopolists who increase their income by restricting production and engaging in anti-competitive practices; CEOs who exploit deficiencies in corporate-governance laws to grab a larger share of corporate revenues for themselves (leaving less for workers); and bankers who have engaged in predatory lending and abusive credit-card practices (often targeting poor and middle-class households). It is perhaps no accident that rent-seeking and inequality have increased as top tax rates have fallen, regulations have been eviscerated, and enforcement of existing rules has been weakened: the opportunity and returns from rent-seeking have increased.
Today, a deficiency of aggregate demand afflicts almost all advanced countries, leading to high unemployment, lower wages, greater inequality, and – coming full, vicious circle – constrained consumption. There is now a growing recognition of the link between inequality and economic instability and weakness.
There is another vicious circle: economic inequality translates into political inequality, which in turn reinforces the former, including through a tax system that allows people like Romney – who insists that he has been subject to an income-tax rate of “at least 13%” for the last 10 years – not to pay their fair share. The resulting economic inequality – a result of politics as much as market forces – contributes to today’s overall economic weakness.