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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The Dawn Of Realism

Or maybe not. I have been fascinated to see comments from the rightish wing of things about Obama's declining approval ratings predicting a GOP win in 2012.

It seems to me obvious that Obama's recent fall in approval comes from the left, which is not likely to suddenly start voting Republican. The left is not necessarily tied to the anchor of reality, so it feels like it is being dumped in the ocean for no good reason.

Case in point, this DU thread:
It's all BULLSHIT. Retirement should be 55, Min Wage should be $20, Workweek 4 days
(if that)

Healthcare should be free

Education, housing, food, communications should all be subsidized and easily accessible to the working classes

The US shouldn't have 700+ military ba$e$ around the world and billions of $$ in contracts to protect the profit seeking interests of the wealthy global capitalists. Wealthy pricks who do nothing but extract and extort profit from labor around the globe.

It's all bullshit.

But hey at least the Era of Compromise is over. We've got nothing left to give up!
This is a very popular thread on DU, with many heartfelt agreements. A few brave souls attempt to rebut the idea that all the socialist countries already have this by noting the general fiscal instability, but, it turns out, there is an explanation for that too:
77. They're going bankrupt because of our policies and culture

Wall street didn't only fuck over America.
Read the thread. It is kind of funny, especially when a small businessman gets in there and tries to reason with people.

But the point of this post is that we are seeing evolving wings of unreason on the traditional conservative wing, the traditional liberal wing, and the libertarian wing.

In the middle, there are some people milling around and trying to make it work, but they may be a slight minority right now.

My absolute favorite part of the DU thread is this series:
101. Little known fact: UAW nearly achieved a 4-day workweek in 1979
195. Not a 10 hour a day 4-day workweek. That doesn't help anything

We were negotiating an 8 hour per day, 4-day workweek.

Doing that requires 25% more employees to get the same amount of work done.

When we first negotiated this plan we began with one 8 hour per day, 4-day workweek each month and then the following year it was to go up to two 8 hour per day, 4-day workweeks each month incrementally until every week was an 8 hour per day, 4-day workweek each month.

It could not be done immediately because we couldn't hire and train enough new employees to cover the extra workers needed. As it was Ford was hiring everyone who walked into the door during that period.

The slogan at our Union convention the year before it began was "4 For 5", meaning 4 days work for 5 days pay.

Imagine if we had not have had to give this benefit back in concessions in later contracts. The pattern for a 4-day workweek would have set and that would have become the norm for everyone. Keep in mind to accomplish this employers would need to increase their workforce by 25%. So instead of having a 9.2% unemployment rate right now we would have more jobs than we could fill. It would be a workers paradise.
Gee, it's not like this had anything to do with the rise of foreign auto companies, is it?

There is much comic gold in the thread, but I think it suggests that the US will have a hard time reaching any sort of consensus about current realities.

At these turning points in U.S. history, there is never a consensus reached. One side just loses. The Loyalists; the Southern planters; the conservative Brahmins, Vanderwhoever, Main Line, and FFV. All lost out to the new forces in the land.

It remains to be seen who is the loser this time, but I will say that the Progressives are not acting like winners.
"It's all BULLSHIT. Retirement should be 55, Min Wage should be $20, Workweek 4 days (if that)"

There's no mention of 10 cent gasoline? WTF!!!

I want it all!
Neil - I think perhaps the reason I reacted so strongly to this thread was that it exemplifies a cultural divide.

Some of us, due to background, education or work experience, have always unconsciously moved within a world of constraints.

Others, it would appear, have unconsciously been moving in a world without constraints. This could account for the anger - Daddy just isn't coughing up the way he used to.

In other words, for some the 60s just ended.
Mark - no, but I believe this economy is supposed to run on windmills.
I think you're right about the source of the anger. That's why they're likely to lose, in the end. No matter what one thinks ought to happen, U.S. no longer stands for "Uncle Sugar". As our current SecState put it so succinctly, government's primary function now is to "take things away from you for your own good". That's a harder sell than they've had to make in the past.
Well Neil, it is a rare engineer that doesn't move in a world with constraints, so while it may be screamingly obvious to you, pointing out the screamingly obvious to someone who has been living in a world withOUT constraints is not likely to produce understanding or even discussion. Such a person will simply conclude that you are insane, and probably malevolently insane.

Oh, yeah, they'll lose. They'll lose because it is not possible for them to win. Nobody can give the original poster on that thread what he or she seeks.

We may be at the point at which some people just drop out of the possible political universe.

DU has evolved a theory. It is that the nasty Tea Party terrorists are just capturing the government in a coup. That last is a direct quote from another thread. Also I notice that a bunch of politicians are discussing this theory, and the Ezras and the Krugmans are hopping on.

So from the consensus DU has reached, I don't think a national political consensus can be achieved. We may need to accept that the country is just splitting into a group that will not accept limits and the rest of the population that does, however unwillingly and unhappily.

This strongly suggests that the eventual divide will cross all the normal poltical boundaries. We've got people of all different political affiliations in the "no-reality" group. The eventual result will be interesting, to say the least.
Mom - Do you consider the House Republicans part of your wings of unreason? How about the Senate Democrats? What is your take on the Senate's refusal to fund the FAA, shutting down a large part of it AND costing the taxpayers one billion on foregone revenue?
In defense of the people you quote from DU: the media
has convinced a large fraction of the populace that profit comprises 80 or 90% of price of most goods, and that everyone is a millionaire, except them, and that said millionaires pay no taxes whatsoever, it's only the little guy who pays taxes etc, etc, etc. They have been intentionally lied to by the media their entire lives, and you expect them to somehow have discovered the truth, on their own? How many working people have the time, training, or inclination to do so. Hearing this repeated endlessly has convinced many people they have no chance on their own, which, coincidentally, suits the need of Democratic Congressmen perfectly: such people are ripe candidates to suck into a life of dependency on the welfare state. These people have been encouraged to think this way by heartless people who seek to exploit them so that they are sure to turn up, and vote the right way, on election day.
Anon @ 6:36. You have a good point, because the media doesn't like the gnarly detailed reporting, but it is hard to understand how anyone could reach middle-age without grasping some basic economic realities.

Normal people, that is.
Anon @ 6:22. Some of them. Some of the Republicans and some of the Democrats, although I think the FAA flap is pretty much par for the course for Congress. Congress has been dysfunctional for a long time.

But the focus of this post wasn't on the political establishment. It was on the people - the voters.

What interests me are the strong elements of controversy AMONG the supposedly like-minded groups. Look at that thread. All of these people belong to that forum. Look at the difference in responses.

Don't you see the deep division there, and the difficulty people have speaking to each other? You've got one person posting a picture of a pony with a rainbow. You've got other people who run businesses trying to explain the basic economics. And you've got other people wanting to double down from the original post.

If you look at Congress, you see that there really are groups from both parties trying to work things out.

But it's going to be very hard for Congress, because a decent sized group of the population just isn't willing to face that we will have to raise taxes and we will have to cut spending and we will have to deal with entitlements for which we pretended to save but did not. Also federal retirements are partially in the same bag.

I bet you can find the same types of divisions on conservative-oriented boards. A decent portion of the libertarians are in their own world too.

It's going to be very hard for Congress to craft a solution before a majority of the population is willing to face up to the situation.
Mom- You say it will be very hard for Congress: I think this is the wrong way to look at it; Congress does what's
best for Congress; let's not fool ourselves. Replace them all with people who run on a cut the budget platform. The present Senate was elected on bread and circuses platforms, and they will never see the light.
The sad fact is that the people with real
Power, influence and money think that
There should be no minimum wage, no
regulations, no social safety net. That's
what MoM needs to be addressing., the
dismantling of the middle class.
"Congress does what's best for Congress"

Yeah, but usually that is what will get them re-elected. And the thing is, if people stopped putting up with the BS it would end.

I'm contemplating the difficulty of getting there. It seems high to me.

But in fairness, a lot of people are in total desperation.

You literally can't get any job a lot of places. Not at a fast-food joint. And all the places that used to hire part-time retail now won't give a shift - they want open availability, which means you can't even work two part-time jobs. This is a very brutal economy.

This is worse than it was last summer, by a significant margin.
Spork - I think you have to start at the bottom and work up.

We had a strong middle-class in this country only because we had a strong working class.

The fact that we no longer "get" that is our problem.

We've run out of money, that's for certain. But we have growing social needs. That is also certain. So the bitter truth is that we have to take a lot of stuff away from the middle-class and start following policies that will generate jobs for the working class. Only such policies will reverse the bitter trend.
The current policies being proposed will hamper
Upward mobility not enhance it. Do you really think
Policies which force the US worker to compete with
Third world labor, strip away the safety net, and
Devalue the dollar are going to be overcome by
Those who start out at the bottom ? Most people
Have no problem starting out the bottom as long
As their labor is rewarded. We all know the productivity
gains have not been shared with labor for the last 40

The American worker IS competing with Third World labor, like it or not. There's no tax or regulation that can change that, unless you intend to use the U.S. Navy to blockade the seaports of China, Thailand, India, etc.

Productivity gains let us hold our own against the hungry up-and-comers of the world, more or less, but we have to run hard just to stay in place. Better get used to it.
When I was out of work during the tech bust, it was hard to find any openings. I put in for everything I could think of, but you would go for months without even a callback. When I ran out of unemployment, I managed to get into an $8 hour call center job. Used to talk with one of the guys working there about how we used to pay as much in taxes as we got on our paychecks. And that is a reality that doesn't seem to have sunk in at the state and local level. Low paying jobs generate low tax revenue.
Sporkfed - the US has one of the highest income tax rates on corporations in the world; those like GE who evade it by investing in areas the Democrats have given tax favors ( such as solar energy ) are few and far between. Given a high tax rate in the US and a lower one in, say, Canada, where will a US corporation go? A corporate executive is responsible to his stockholders ( read, " retirees " because pension funds hold the majority of US stock shares ), and so he will move to Canada. Canada used to he a high cost place to operate a firm, and now they are competitive, due to a lower corporate tax rate.

Once the US Congress cuts the corporate tax rate, and puts a leash on the out of control regulators at EPA, FDA, NLRB - all of whom have been in the news lately due to multi billion dollar costs they have imposed on firms through their regulations- and reform our tort law, which allows lawyers the opportunity to legally extort hundreds of billions from corporations each year, the US will become the best location for investment in new businesses.
But don't count on it as long as Obama and his Democrats run the show in Washington.
That poster was quoted as saying, "It would be a workers' paradise".
== == == == ==

Does the wittle pwecious not understand the history of that phrase & why it's ALWAYS used ironically?
They have been intentionally lied to by the media their entire lives, and you expect them to somehow have discovered the truth, on their own?

Sort answer: YES!

Longer answer: it isn't only the media that had been lying to them. If anything, the media is merely printing/reading press releases now they so are only regurgitating someone else's lies. Simply put, every large organization - business, government, religious, educational, et cetera - lies. Enlightenment comes when one no longer denies that fact.
they want open availability, which means you can't even work two part-time jobs.

This is happening with full-time EXEMPT positions, too. My sister was threatened with termination (at her hospital job) if she wouldn't work 60 hours for no additional pay. Basically, they want to replace her with part-timers on call 24/7. (I think some of this is unforeseen reaction to ObamaCare, but that is only speculation on my part.)
We had a strong middle-class in this country only because we had a strong working class.

Unfortunately, very few people understand this; the middle class is taken as a "given".

Verification is "prewa". The Boston-accented version of "prewar". Might be the description for the times we live in.
The American worker IS competing with Third World labor, like it or not. There's no tax or regulation that can change that,

Yep, and always has.

The only time there may have been an exception was when far too many Third world nations experimented with communism from 1945-1990 or so; in that time the Third World simply removed themselves from competition so US labor didn't have to compete.
Charles - so what is your sister going to do?

I can see why they would do this - hospitals are getting pounded by Medicaid cuts, the economy with more Medicaid patients, threats of future Medicare cuts, etc.

Entire hospital chains are failing right now.

In the end, this will be shifted into for-profit hospitals that cater to profit centers and cut essential services to avoid partially or uncompensated care cost drains.

And the future plans to cut Medicare involved in Obamacare are pure death for hospitals.
Charles - regarding "prewa", I am guessing China might go. But I think they'll chip away at the Soviet region.

My sister had been working the extra hours but she physically and mentally couldn't take it and is now on FMLA with 8 weeks to go.

She will likely go back to work when the FMLA is up and work 40-50 hours a week, taking the risk of getting fired for not working enough. But the 60-hour weeks will never happen again.

Why a hospital wants to treat the lead technician of a blood lab like this is beyond my comprehension.
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