Deconstructing Bannon’s Baloney

  By James A. Kidney Presidential Rasputin Steve Bannon called for “deconstructing the administrative state” at a convention of those-who-used-to-be-known-as-Reagan-conservatives-but-are-now-just-Trump-nuts Thursday at the new MGM gambling palace in Maryland. “Deconstructing the administrative state” echoes Lenin after a couple bottles of vodka screaming in Red Square, or maybe just a long-haired 19-year-old outside the 1968 Democratic convention. It is both threatening and laughably cracked. The phrase probably is just a word pudding for the old Republican oligarch’s favorite book, A Treasury of Economic Nonsense, a political Kama Sutra coauthored during a fevered coupling of Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman. These are the erotic (to Republicans) positions that cause enthusiastic ejaculations by Paul Ryan – no taxes, no rules, no government, except to buy military equipment and to protect patents. Give Bannon credit for PR. “Deconstructing administrative excess” certainly is gentler sounding than “gutting the government.” Once you are accustomed to the … Read more of this post . . .

Why is Wall Street Killing Market Capitalism?

By James A. Kidney Happy birthday, Vanguard S&P Index Fund! You turned 40 years old on August 31 and you are the granddaddy of index funds, says a congratulatory article in The Wall Street Journal.  You also are very healthy and growing like a newborn. But investing in the Vanguard S&P 500 or other such funds will not save “market capitalism” which, at about 250-years-old is suffocating to death — thanks to Wall Street. Two other Wall Street Journal stories provide signs — as if any more were needed — that the stock markets no longer function as places where people and institutions make bets on those public companies that are expected to perform well and those expected to perform poorly. That is, or was, the sole utility of stock markets — to reward companies with a bright future and punish those that misstep.  It was the way capitalism among public … Read more of this post . . .

Make Real Economic Change: Raise Taxes On the Rich — A Lot

By James A. Kidney  Now that the major party nominees are chosen, the economic pundits are making their recommendations on how to boost what remains a moribund economy. Despite recent months of reported job increases and a slight uptick in average pay last month, few believe the economy is robust or expected to be so.  See also here (pay wall).  The reasons — and proposed cures — depend on your politics, of course.             Where the Candidates Stand Donald Trump this week proposed the usual failed trickle down policies.  He wants tax cuts for the wealthy, including elimination of the estate tax (which effects about 0.2 percent of citizens).  He would increase the earned income tax credit, which is a pure redistribution of a little income to the poor which does not create jobs.  He would provide only a tax deduction for child care — which means you have to … Read more of this post . . .

Why I (Belatedly) Blew the Whistle on the SEC’s Failure to Properly Investigate Goldman Sachs

By James A. Kidney The New Yorker and Pro Publica websites today posted an article by Pro Publica’s Jesse Eisinger about the de minimis investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission into the conduct of Goldman Sachs in the sale of derivatives based on mortgage-backed securities during the run-up to the Great Recession of 2008.  The details of the SEC’s failure to aggressively pursue Goldman in the particular investigation, Abacus, and its refusal to investigate fully misconduct by Goldman and other “Too Big to Fail” banks, stands not only as a historic misstep by the SEC and its Division of Enforcement, but undermines the claim that the Obama Administration has been “tough on Wall Street.”  The Pro Publica version contains links to a few of the documents I provided. No one in authority who was involved in the Goldman investigation ever gave me an explanation for why the effort was so slight. … Read more of this post . . .

Why Hillary?

    By James A. Kidney            We can blame Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Establishment for the fact that Clinton’s only opponent for the Democratic presidential nomination is a 74-year-old Democratic Socialist instead of a younger liberal such as Elizabeth Warren.  Clinton (or, better, the Clintons) and her allies, of whom there are many among the Democratic elite, discouraged others in the party from running, either specifically and directly (“It’s Hillary’s turn.”) or more indirectly (“Hillary is the only one with the financial support to win against the GOP oligarchy.”)  Plus, of course, “There is a special place in Hell for women who don’t support women.” Coronation for Hillary.  Attractive alternatives were never heard from, much less nurtured for the future. But nobody thought about Bernie Sanders. As we predicted (Jan. 20 post, “The Week of the Long Knives”), the Democratic Establishment clubs dropped on … Read more of this post . . .

The Democrats:  McGovern Redux?  Really?

By James A. Kidney

bigger fly swatter cartoon

The “top stories” section of The New York Times online this morning featured news articles about “Bill Clinton Unleashes a Stinging Attack on Sanders” and another about Madeline Albright and Gloria Steinem criticizing women who support Bernie Sanders rather than Hillary Clinton.  All three essentially called female Sanders supporters traitors to their gender – “Aunt Thomasina” rather than “Uncle Tom.”

Bill Clinton also blamed Sanders for internet trolls who, according to Clinton, used vicious, sexist language in online comments directed to female columnists and others, male and female, supporting his wife.  This raises a question:  Has Bill Clinton ever looked at internet comments before?  Does he understand that internet trolls are mostly folks holed up in their basements with no friends?  They are not manning the computers at presidential candidate headquarters.  Those folks instead are sending out bothersome emails about the virtues and pressing financial needs of their own candidates.  Well, Bill has his own server as well as servants, so maybe he doesn’t see email spam.

The cause of these attacks is that young voting-age females in New Hampshire are polling overwhelmingly for the old guy and Clinton is getting desperate in the state.  Young and even middle-aged women don’t seem attracted to the Hillary Clinton drumbeat that, no matter how cozy she is with Wall Street and the Robert Rubin crowd, she is a proud standard-bearer for every self-identified racial and sexual group on the planet demanding its rights — except those who are male, straight and white.

Here is an excerpt from her opening statement at the debate with Sanders last week in which she barely recognized the importance of economic issues and jumped to race and gender, which Sanders has not made a focus of his campaign:

“Yes, of course, the economy has not been working for most Americans. Yes, of course, we have special interests that are unfortunately doing too much to rig the game.But there’s also the continuing challenges of racism, of sexism, of discrimination against the LGBT community, of the way that we treat people as opposed to how we want to be treated.”

[Let’s make it clear that either Sanders or Clinton would be head-and-shoulders better than any Republican running for president.  This was proved conclusively at last week’s Democratic candidate debate – the first in which it was just Sanders and Clinton, head-to-head. It was mostly a mature, thoughtful discussion of issues, with much agreement. Backers of either candidate would be stubbornly wrong-headed to stay home on election day if the other person was nominated instead.]

A key issue in the Democratic race is electability.  It always is for both parties. That is where the attacks on Sanders by Clinton supporters are most pronounced and effective.  The second, and as effective, attack on Sanders is for lack of foreign policy chops. There is merit to the second claim,

Read more of this post . . .The Democrats:  McGovern Redux?  Really?

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