This is it for me, at least for this chapter. I am off to join some people who don’t much appreciate voices singing out of key, and while they might be able to get over my public disdain for coaches who punt in opposing territory, it would be rather awkward to continue to point out the incompetence of the administration. So for now, it’s probably best to hang it up.
Archive for the ‘NAFTA’ Category
Posted in Corruption, Education, Energy Policy, Health Care, Housing Crisis, Housing Policy, Industrial Policy, Inspirational, Labor Policy, Meltdown, Middle East, Miscellaneous, NAFTA, Obama, War on Terror on December 15, 2009 | 29 Comments »
You can’t seriously be calling the Democrats (these, anyway) fiscally conservative.. they are having a contest of who can offer the bigger bailout and who can run faster from NAFTA.
I’m not sure either party is covering itself in glory on the fiscal discipline front.
The last time the Democrats were in office the country was running a surplus after having shrunk the federal payroll for the first time in a generation. Then a Republican hack named Alan Greenspan said that all of this surplus-running was going to mess up the economy, because pretty soon we would run out of debt and the Fed would lose its main tool to control the economy, and besides, if the government were cash flow positive it would ultimately start buying assets, and that would cause all sorts of political problems. So Dubya got his tax cuts, and the economy turned south, and all of a sudden we needed tax cuts because the economy was struggling and needed the help – never mind that we had just approved the tax cuts on the grounds that the economy was doing too well. We were running large deficits, and then we decided to invade a country, screw up the invasion, and refused to leave, greatly adding to our financial problems. At one point the Republicans said the solution was to privatize Social Security, which of course would have individual investors buying the same sorts of assets in the same quantities as the same hacks said was irresponsible a few years earlier, but that was too stupid, so they settled for just spending all the money any of their friends asked for. They could have raised taxes, but this would bother people, so they just borrowed from the Chinese.
The Bridge to Nowhere? That’s Alaska’s very Republican congressional delegation at work. The oil company tax breaks are Republican, as is the bailout of Bear Stearns. And that giant overturned Brinks truck between Jordan and Iran? Republicans got us there, Republicans handed it over to KBR and the rest of the corrupt, inept contractors, and it is Republicans who are keeping us there, because Liberty University’s library quite clearly has no books on the Peloponnesian War. Compared to this, almost anything would be an improvement.
I am no fan of either the Obama or Hillary bailout plans (Hillary doesn’t seem to feel bound to anything that isn’t in her interests, so you can imagine where mortgage documents come to play), but I think the NAFTA criticism is warranted. I benefit from NAFTA; everyone on this email benefits from NAFTA. But many people do not, perhaps because a job is a social force as well as a means of generating income. Trade raises overall GDP, but it also concentrates wealth in the hands of capital-holders and those in the knowledge industries who are more difficult to replace with uneducated labor. You could follow classical economics and maximize first total GDP and then redistribute it as desired, but there is something unstable about the high tax rates and high welfare levels this would imply. Our manufacturing base would likely have been hit hard regardless of what we did – tying health care to employment would have taken care of this – but NAFTA sped its decline. Plus, it was and is a terrible deal. To take only the most obvious example, the Mexican Constitution still prohibits foreign ownership of any land within fifty kilometers of the coast. Some renegotiation ought to be on the table.