Tuesday, June 23, 2009

We Are Pissing Away our Assets

This photo-essay is something that has really stuck with me. Detroit is experiencing in a couple of decades what Philadelphia experienced over a century.

I am posting it here so I can find it easily. It is beyond haunting...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Apology Fliers

Don't really know if this is really true or not, but it's an example of what one could do justce-wise if one weren't constrained by ossified values from the millennia before last:

A woman judge in Turkey has ordered a wife beater to personally distribute 1,000 leaflets apologising for the act, the Turkish media reported on Tuesday.

Judge Aslihan Limon, 28, in the northern town of Arac served the ruling on Mustafa Kadinci who was accused of hitting his wife and then locking her up after a row.

Apology Fliers. Imagine what we could do if all we were trying to do was provide the best justice system we could, based on effectiveness, fairness, etc. rather than on constraining Anglo-Saxon ideas form 10-something.

Healthcare, Smhealthcare

President Obama writes me:

The campaign to pass real health care reform in 2009 is the biggest test of our movement since the election. Once again, victory is far from certain. Our opposition will be fierce, and they have been down this road before. To prevail, we must once more build a coast-to-coast operation ready to knock on doors, deploy volunteers, get out the facts, and show the world how real change happens in America.

And just like before, I cannot do it without your support.

So I'm asking you to remember all that you gave over the last two years to get us here -- all the time, resources, and faith you invested as a down payment to earn us our place at this crossroads in history. All that you've done has led up to this -- and whether or not our country takes the next crucial step depends on what you do right now.

I think the world of the President, in general. I know he will not embarrass us, he will not do overtly dumb things, he will often do good things, and occasionally very good things. But I'm starting to get a rather panicky feeling...

I've been listening to the debate the last several weeks, and all I hear is mandates and tax credits. And something about gateways or collectives. I know I didn't vote for that. I thought I was voting for universal health care. But this administration starts off by saying that we will never acheive that, so let's settle for some bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo and reforms and affordability and call it a day.

And then he asks me to throw my support behind it.

Look (as the President is so fond of saying), no person in this country should be unable to get healthcare because of an inability to pay. Ask me to work for that and I'm there tomorrow. But to ask me to work for a tax credit, for Clintonian incrementalism, for a no-illegals guarantee, for a public option -- well, as the President would say, "come on now."

Leading a mass movement requires embracing inspirational ideals. It requires pushing for the changes that the people are clamoring for. Many people like their insurance just fine, says the President. That's because they're not sick. To get welfare programs for the poor, people who are not poor had to be convinced to get on board. Mr. President, let's see you do some convincing that every American deserves health care, even if he/she can't scrape up the $890 a month it's going to cost.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Isn't Supply-Side Economics Debunked By Now?

The question I'd like to ask every politician who opposed tax increases and favors cuts to social services is this:

"You are placing a rather large bet on the idea that the budget is best balanced on the backs of the weakest, the neediest, the sickest, etc., and that we must not under any circumstances ask the rich to contribute even one cent more, all on the theory that increasing taxes will cause more harm in the long-run by discouraging enterprise. Given the size and social importance of this wager, can you tell us what evidence you have that this theory is true?

Monday, June 08, 2009

John Cole says:
The unemployment situation is getting worse than was expected, something we all knew anyway:

(And I'm not going to remark on the Thing We All Know(tm)

Here's What To Think(tm):

I don’t think people have processed just how serious is the trouble we’re in. We have been created job-less people at an alarming rate for some time. That is translating, as personal savings are exhausted, the kindness of family and friends is dwindling, and assets are being liquidated, into more foreclosures and evictions—some of which will also contribute to the coming commercial real estate collapse. (So says Atrios, so it must be true.)

We may get to a point where the external indicators agree we have nowhere lower to go. But that won’t mean we start climbing back up. Our economy has been so distorted for so long that it will take a long time to get it right again.
When was the last time housing was affordable? When could most families handle paying their own tuition bills, or health insurance premiums?

Which industries are going to be creating new jobs in adequate quantity any time soon? (Search your heart and you’ll know it ain’t alternative energy, at least not in the next 5 years.)

We are in serious trouble. This is not ordinary ebb-and-flow of the business cycle. Yes, the business cycle still exists, and yes it will eventually stop swinging negative and start swinging positive. But we’ve learned in the recent past that an economy that is in a statistical growth period can still be a hard place to find a place to live, educate the kids, and take care of the sick.