Friday, March 7, 2014

Deflation is not benign

Noam Chomsky (2014) "How to Ruin an Economy; Some Simple Ways"

Noam Chomsky (2014) "How to Ruin an Economy; Some Simple Ways" is great!

Adam Smith coined the phrase Vile Maxim to describe the goals of the masters of society.  "All for ourselves and none for anybody else."  That's the essence of neoliberalism.  Chomsky describes how it works (drive for short-term profits), who is for it (the richest nations of the world), who provides most of the opposition (so-called "primitive" indigenous societies), where it's going (total catastrophe), and what we can do (many good ways to oppose it, but we haven't got much time).

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Disinflation here in USA

Krugman was discussion disinflation in Europe, showing the concentration of wage increases at zero.

I replied.

Disinflation is right here in the USA as well, with a major driver being the US Government itself, driven by the VSP in Chief, Barack Obama. Exactly where have Federal wages gone in the past 5 years since Obama enacted a wage freeze (not to mention shut downs and hourly cutbacks)? Well, it's worse, actually, as jobs have been hugely cut as well, and a new pile is just hitting the fan as returning war veterans are being laid off, and orders to the military industrial complex cut back, and when new jobs are created, they get staffed by bottom feeder contractors. So good paying jobs are being replaced by low paying jobs, when they are being replaced at all. We should be replacing useless military spending with Plan B renewable energy development. But with Fracking, we've got no energy shortage, just a climate that's getting worse faster and faster, and a beautiful country being turned into toxic waste dump.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Leftist Krugman Bashing

Leftist Krugman bashing is unfair and counterproductive.

Paul Krugman isn't perfect, but his is the best voice there is inside the mainstream media.  In fact, it's amazing that he says so much from a perch at the Grey Lady, not known for being friendly to the left.  (How many times has the Times presented a Chomsky op ed, for example?)  I pay to subscribe to the New York Times for only one reason…Paul Krugman!

Paul Krugman cheered on the Occupy Movement, and accepted and even adopted the 99% vs 1% rhetoric.

Paul Krugman has consistently pointed to inequality as the key issue of our time.  And I'm not just talking about "equal opportunity," which he has also shown is far from being true.  He is one of the best voices there is on topics like this.  He cuts through the right wing bullshit better than anyone.  He has showed how mobility in the US is not as many people imagine, or as good as it is in many other places.  And, regardless of mobility, that there still needs to be decent pay for all.  He favors raising the minimum wage, and making it easier for unions to organize.  (Where else in the mainstream corporate media do you hear people calling for more unionization???)  He has spoken positively of the examples set by Scandinavian countries in terms of equality and taking care of everyone.

Though Paul Krugman has defended Obamacare as better than what we had before (bringing him much anger from some quarters of the left) he has also always made it plain that he believes a Single Payer system would be better.  He favors lowering the medicare eligibility age.  He favors increasing the minimum wage.  He has strongly opposed cutting Social Security and has said it should be increased in several ways, including lowering the eligibility age.  He fought back strongly against cuts, including the cut disguised as a technical adjustment to the cost of living adjustment.  He fought back strongly against raising the eligibility age, pointing out that people with lower income are not necessarily living longer.  Back in the day, he wrote the best articles opposing privatization of social security, and he wrote the best articles showing that contrary to critics (and he pointed to their roots in the finance industry) the Social Security system is fundamentally sound, and the best way to run a government pension system.  (Fortunately, privatization of social security is no longer being actively promoted--and we owe Krugman much gratitude for this.)

Rather than falling in line (with the neoliberals) that unemployment has been coming down--so there's no problem anymore they claim) Paul Krugman has consistently pointed out the fall in employment to population ratio has not recovered, and that the great recession, aka depression, is not over yet, nor can we say it will just take care of itself over any time span.

Krugman has also been quite critical of many people in the Economics profession, almost inventing the Saltwater vs Freshwater divide, and pointing out many if not all of the problems with the economics profession as it exists now.  (It's that "if not all" that seems to bother many lefty econo-bloggers, such as Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism.)

I read Krugman daily and I think everyone should.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Economics Profession

Krugman had a great and long post addressing the legion of major economists who ignore the obvious realities of depressions.  I highly endorse the ideas he represented.

However, in this long post he chose to specifically mention Milton Friedman and Larry Summers as ones who had far more pro-social ideas than Barro and others like him.

That inspired me to write this (but, actually, I'd put the beginning of our downfall back a bit further to the Kennedy Tax Cuts, which had the hands of Hicksian economists all over it--and John K. Galbraith was so right.)

Here here! And quite in line with Keynes himself, who did a great job putting down faith based classical economics in his day. But where there's money, there's always more faith proclaimed. Perhaps you need a new profession with public financing, independent of corporate funded institutions. Didn't said Larry Summers have a lot to do with the destruction of financial regulation started by FDR which had proven useful for decades, only to see unprecedented banking failure and public bailouts result? What does he have to say about this? I hear nothing. I see every weakening of the structure FDR created as having had ill effects, including say Nixon's abandonment of Bretton Woods. I realize these are all now said to have been inevitable, but I doubt both that and the pro-big-finance system which has been created were inevitable, but the result of deliberate choices made by people like and including Larry Summers. And now I see no going back, and THAT is still our biggest problem. I'd call it the neoliberal revolution, which also included the cited Milton Friedman. I suppose it's good that these people had some good ideas. Or was it? A few good ideas may have made the others more acceptable. And a similar thing happens when there is a powerless minority or majority of economists with good ideas. They candy coat the creeping pro wealth bias made inevitable by the others.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Liberal Case against a Universal Basic Income

I completely agree with Max Sawicky regarding the proposed (by certain utopian libertarians mainly) Universal Basic Income.  In many ways, I like the utopianism, and like Max I'm not worried about how it changes incentives for individuals.  It's just that it would wreck other programs that, while less utopian, are actually successful.  It would also be unfair to many, such as current and future social security recipients who had high income jobs.

What the idea is, actually, is a kind of hot potato used to smear existing programs while sounding even more "progressive" than they are.  Max spells this out in great detail.