Monday, September 19, 2011

Unemployment and the American Jobs Act in Perspective.

Outsourcing  is not the only culprit in the loss of manufacturing jobs.  Many of them have been lost by automation  which is a good thing since it makes products available to more people. All the manufacturing nations have lost jobs due to automation. Automation makes the workers more productive and would be a good thing if the workers shared in the benefits from their increased production. Unfortunately, this has not happened.  The surplus of labor that automation has produced has been used by corporate CEO's to cripple the union movement and reduce wages; the purchasing power is not only  hurt by fewer workers, it is hurt by their lower income.  The fruits of the increased productivity has resulted in higher concentration at the top where the marginal propensity to consume is much lower. In other words, these people don't spend the extra money on consumer goods but, rather, invest it in profitable international corporations which are profitable because they are using cheaper foreign labor.

Manufacturing jobs are not the only kind of jobs that are important, however, and it's the other kind of jobs and services that are hurting the American economy by shipping jobs overseas. One of the problems in having so much of our goods and particularly services produced overseas is that conventional Keynseian spending creates overseas jobs. That is why the The American Jobs Act is more promising than merely putting money in consumer's hands, although there is a lot of that in the act too. The key element, in the opinion of some economists like Robert Reich and Paul Krugman is the insertion of money into the economy by addressing the crumbling infrastructure, public transportation and keeping vital public employees such as teachers, cops and firemen on the job, paying their taxes and spending money. Both, however, believe that it is too small.

This is only a short term solution, however. The long term solution requires revisiting our entire philosophy and laws on international trade and scaling back the political power of international corporations.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Letter from committee to elect Alan Grayson

Dear Brooks W.:
Last night was a Grayson Double Feature on National TV – first Countdown with Keith Olbermann on Current TV at 8 pm, and then The Ed Show on MSNBC at 10 pm.  The subject was the Tea Party audience's call, at Monday's Republican debate, for an uninsured 30-year-old to die.  Here is what Alan Grayson said on Countdown:
Keith Olbermann:  In 2009, my next guest anticipated last night's Tea Party call to let the uninsured drop dead without medical care.  Alan Grayson, then a Florida congressman, got on the floor of the House and said, "The Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick."  To say he took a lot of criticism for that understates the case just a little bit. And as last night proved, he was right.  I'm joined now by the former Florida congressman Alan Grayson. Good evening sir.
Alan Grayson:  Good evening.
Olbermann:  Your immediate reaction to last night?
Grayson:  Well, in fact, it does prove that I was right, but I wish I were wrong.  We belong to a 3,000-year-old tradition where you shelter the homeless, you feed the hungry, and you heal the sick.  And it's amazing to me that at this late date, after all this time, we're still debating a fundamental question like this.  We have so many problems in this country.  We have 23 million people who can't find a job, a full-time job.  We have 47 million people in this country who need the government's help to feed themselves.  We have 50 million people in this country who can't see a doctor when they are sick.  We have 15 million families who owe more on their mortgage than the value of their homes; all those people could end up very quickly living in their cars. And to all those people, the Tea Party has only this to say, all they want to say to them is, "You can go to hell."
Olbermann:  And there's even one stage beyond that, isn't there? I mean, it's really, "I'd rather see you die than see my taxes go up, or my taxes not go down." Is that where we are?
Grayson:  No, it's worse than that. They see, they take pleasure in other people's pain. The interesting thing about them is they have this enormous threshold for pain, as long as it's someone else's.
Olbermann:  Yep.
Grayson:  That's the saddest thing. It's sadism.
Olbermann:  Alright, when we see sadism, I've noticed a dearth of some degree of anger. I felt it within, but I'm even sitting here now, it's hard for me to express my reaction to this in terms of anger. And you and I have both gotten angry on this very subject. Is it more sadness or horror that these are the people who live among us?  Or is this something that we have to contend with to make a society that isn't handing out bouquets and gold bricks to everybody, but is just keeping everybody alive for a couple of extra months or a couple of extra years or as long as they possibly can be.  What do we have to, what is the appropriate response?  What is the functional response to this?
Grayson:  Listen, 2000 years ago, it's these same people, the same kind of mentality that was cheering when the lions ate the Christians.  It's always been with us. There's always been a dark side to us, but we have to fight it.  We have to make sure that, in the end, we are decent human beings.  Look, I was on a plane today and somebody saw that I was in the front of the plane, and my bag was in the back of the plane.  He took the bag; he brought it to the front of the plane. I don't know his name.  I'll never see him again.  I have no idea who he is, but he showed me human kindness.  Not just American kindness, but human kindness.  That's who we really are.  Any there's plenty of us who recognize that.
Olbermann:  And not to turn this into sermonette or something, but the Tea Party, as you know, infuses religion into everything.  Where was the Christianity in that response last night? That sounded more like devil-worshipers to me actually.
Grayson:  Right, I would suggest they go back and read the Sermon on the Mount.  Maybe it will have new meaning for them now.
Olbermann:  And again, to try to figure out what to do about this. It's seemingly much more of a dilemma than you would think at first glance.  As I said, I'm having trouble summoning the anger, even though I know I feel it.  It's more horror and as if you knew a great, terrible truth was revealed last night, and you need to tell people about it.  Should the Democrats run with that clip? Should that be a part of everybody's campaign next year, that one little sequence or an explanation of what that means?
Grayson:  What it comes down to is very simple, and you don't just see it only on that clip, because it does summarize it, but it summarizes a much larger truth.  The larger truth is that these people who claim to be pro-life are actually pro-death.  And they glorify and sanctify other people's pain.  That's what it comes down to. They are callous, bigoted tools. And that's the so-called "loyal opposition" these days in America. And that's the underlying truth that Democrats failed to bring out in the 2010 election and must bring out in the 2012 election, or God help us all.
Olbermann:  Indeed.  How do we do it?
Grayson: Oh, very simple. Show people that clip. Make the point. Don't feel like you have to compromise when you're talking about people's lives, when you're talking about life and death. There is no compromise between life and death.  You take away people's Social Security, you're hurting old people. You take away people's Medicare, you're hurting old, sick people. You take away people's Medicaid, you're hurting, poor, sick people.  That's the truth that needs to be brought out:  the pain that corresponds to taking all these things away from people.  You know, the thing that has motivated the Tea Party, it seems, is a fear.  They claim that something's being taken away from them. And they're using that fear to take away something from everybody else, and that's the sense that we're all in this together; that we do have responsibilities to each other; that I am my brother's keeper.
Olbermann:  "There is no compromise between life and death." Well said, sir. The former and, we hope, the future congressman from Florida Alan Grayson. Thanks again. Good to see you.
Grayson:  Thank you.
There is no one else on the national scene today who so plainly speaks the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  WE NEED ALAN GRAYSON BACK IN CONGRESS!  Click on that red button below -- show your support for Alan and for America.  Every dollar counts.