Opinion

David Rohde

Mr. President and Mr. Speaker, we’re not in Kansas anymore

By David Rohde
December 8, 2011

On Tuesday, Barack Obama declared the debate over how to restore growth, balance, and fairness to the American economy the “defining issue of our time.”

“This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class,” he said in a Kansas speech, “and for all those who are fighting to get into the middle class.”

The following day, Republican front-runner New Gingrich said Mr. Obama “represents a hard left radicalism” and is “opposed to capitalism and everything that made America great.” The answer, he said, was slashing taxes and the size of the federal government.

The arrival of the middle class at the center of the American political debate is a step forward, but Obama and his conservative rivals steered clear of an ugly truth. Revitalizing the American middle class in a transformed global economy is a staggeringly complex task. And neither Democratic nor Republican orthodoxy alone is the answer.

A recent study by MIT professors Frank Levy and Thomas Kochan laid out the depth of the problem. Rising blue-collar employment after World War II allowed the United States to create what Obama called “the largest middle class and the strongest economy that the world has ever known.” Now that those factories have moved en mass overseas, the U. S. faces a far more arduous undertaking.

Levy and Kochan argue for a new “social compact” that includes a public-private partnership where the United States’ unparalleled venture capital and research university systems create high-end design, production, marketing and distribution jobs. Reforming profit sharing, unions, higher education, on-the-job training and tax law would create higher-skilled American workers who benefit from company performance along with senior executives. They cite the training, innovation and profit-sharing practices of Wegman’s, Cisco and Google as examples.

By contrast, Obama’s most specific legislative proposal in his speech was a payroll tax cut funded by a surtax on millionaires. Economists say the cut is a helpful short-term stimulus, but the key to strengthening the middle class over the long-term is the difficult task of creating stable, well-paying jobs.

The United States is not alone. Economies around the world are experiencing the same income disparity and stagnation in middle class wages. The reasons for the change – and the potential solutions to America’s economic woes – lie in the American middle class reinventing its place a changed global economy.
Sweeping technological changes over the last twenty years have altered traditional economic dynamics. The Internet has created network effects in extreme, with hundreds of millions of worldwide users making Amazon, Facebook and other companies extraordinarily valuable in extremely short periods. At the same time, global, computer-driven financial markets produce staggering profits and losses at unprecedented speed.

A study released Monday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that the primary cause of income disparity in the U.S. and its 33 other members was technological change. A historic integration of financial and trade markets, fueled by technology, created an unprecedented worldwide demand for highly skilled workers in those fields. As a result, a select group of CEOs, traders and others – the so-called one percent – became fabulously rich fantastically quickly.

At the same time, technology is dividing the middle class. A November study by researchers at Stanford and Brown found that the number of middle class neighborhoods in the United States were shrinking as income disparity widened.

To the dismay of the middle class, technological innovation is sending jobs overseas but not reducing costs at home.  Education and health expenses in the United States, for example, continue to steeply rise. As The Economist recently noted, the middle class is squeezed from two sides, with wages dropping and living costs rising.

Our tired, polarized politics have not caught up with these changes. The Democratic party’s failure to dramatically reform Medicare and Social Security, for example, undermines its argument that government can be effective. At the same time, the global elite’s prosperity is not magically trickling down as supply-side Republicans predicted.

Finding a way forward is not easy. No one, including me, knows how to reinvent the American middle class. The workings of a rapidly, evolving globalized economy remain poorly understood. And the challenges American society faces are generational.

Obama’s goals and vision for the middle class, in general, are far more inventive than those of conservative Republicans. The Republican right, oddly enough, has become more doctrinaire, utopian and out-of-touch with global realities than the “Marxist” Obama administration. Criticism that the president glosses over the country’s staggering fiscal problems, twists figures and issues vague proposals are legitimate, but the conservative right too often offers simplistic, naive and ideological answers to enormously complex dynamics.

Over time, the American middle class can innovate, moderate and educate its way back to prosperity. Public-private partnerships can create high-quality schools and jobs. American made high-end goods and services can be exported to China and other growing economies.

The American middle class should not fear technological change or increasing global competition. Instead, we must forge a new politics at home and a new place in a transformed world economy.

PHOTO: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the economy and a payroll tax cut compromise during a visit to Osawatomie High School in Kansas December 6, 2011. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Comments
17 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Technological innovation has been with us since the dawn of the industrial revolution. What has destroyed the middle class is bone-headed trade policy based upon a flawed, 200-year old trade theory. Thanks to their steadfast refusal to ever again consider the subject of overpopulation, economists have failed to recognize the inverse relationship between population density and per capita consumption, and the role of population density disparities in driving global trade imbalances.

It’s impossible for the U.S. to “compete” its way out of its huge trade deficit. Our trade “partners” will simply compete all the harder. The only way to restore a balance of trade and rebuild the manufacturing sector of our economy is by withdrawing from the World Trade Organization and reclaiming our right to manage trade in our own best self interest.

Pete Murphy
Author, “Five Short Blasts”

Posted by Pete_Murphy | Report as abusive
 

Excellent and thought-provoking article.

It’s scary that all the main political powers & blocs right now are coming out with the wrong answers and appear unwilling to compromise constructively so as to come up with something better than either side can offer (or block) alone. The answers coming out of the Washington talking shop would be so much better if only they were willing to see each others perspectives.

Posted by matthewslyman | Report as abusive
 

@Pete Murphy: I would support your opinion on the WTO which has never been smart enough in its methods or objectives.
David Rohde’s article appears to gloss over the fundamental aspect of IDENTITY… How do you draw a line between “us” and “them”, the “exporters” and “importers” of the medium-term future as we would have it; in a low-tariff globalized market where there are almost no restrictions to the outsourcing of working-class and middle-class jobs to countries with dissimilar civil rights and social conditions? Can the results of this insane policy be anything EXCEPT the bottom falling out of middle-class and working-class incomes and affordability ratios?

@Pete Murphy, on the other hand: “Technological innovation has been with us since the dawn of the industrial revolution.” True, but there is something different and more powerful going on here, which Mr. Rohde correctly explains in brief:
> “The Internet has created network effects in extreme, with hundreds of millions of worldwide users making Amazon, Facebook and other companies extraordinarily valuable in extremely short periods.”
The OECD’s conclusion is right, and Rohde is right to cite their study (which I will examine later). The current market confers unfair and disproportionate advantages to the winners, and conversely unfair and disproportionate penalties on the losers. Until this growing systemic imbalance is corrected, the system will remain severely out-of-kilter. The information revolution is not merely a new phase of the old industrial revolution… It is an augmenting phase, in which the effects of the slowly advancing industrial revolution (the amplification of human muscle) are themselves multiplied through a new revolution, amplifying the power of a human brain & means of communication.

Before the two revolutions were combined, there was significant resistance to the extreme network effects we are now experiencing. With the information revolution coming of age, we are beginning to see the near-total break-down in that resistance to outsourcing.

One last point for any die-hard Republicans still willing to propose significant tax cuts as a remedy for the current economic malaise… Go and study electronics, and compare the flow of money with the flow of electricity through an electronic circuit. What happens when you remove all resistance from certain wires in the circuit that are connected between the battery terminals? SHORT CIRCUIT… That’s what’s happening in the economic & business situation today. The TARP program was the biggest short-circuit in the history of American economics. It’s no wonder if everyone is burning out…

Posted by matthewslyman | Report as abusive
 

The only place Mr. Rhode loses me is when he says: “Obama’s goals and vision for the middle class, in general, are far more inventive than those of conservative Republicans…oddly enough…out-of-touch with global realities than the “Marxist” Obama administration.”

I have yet to see any such “goals and vision” from Obama with sufficient detail to make possible such a conclusion. You can create any society you wish by the incentives and penalties government adopts.

Unfortunately our present bloated federal government is incredibly inefficient. It encourages unrestrained reproduction of our unmotivated, unskilled poor. We do not effectively defend our borders or diligently deport the resulting illegal immigrant hoards.

“Benefits” intended for American citizens then entice ever more to come here. Again, this means the higher reproduction rate of these people produces more unmotivated, unskilled poor “new citizens”. Our government creates NO incentive for them to learn English and assimilate. Also, every dollar they send out of the country helps the receiving country three or four times more as it bounces around in that economy instead of here.

Washington makes VERY poor use of the huge sums it shovels out day after day, week after week, Month after month and year after year. Our representatives in both parties have NEVER learned to prioritize limited revenues, believing “If we spend it they will pay”. Well, “we, the people” are increasingly broke and our country needs to put itself on a sustainable budget…something neither party has shown any appetite for.

We also need to create tax disadvantages for sending high quality American jobs overseas, and tax advantages for bringing them back or creating them. Obama has shown NO leadership on ANY of these things.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

For those who don’t understand my electronics analogy, allow me to explain in more detail.

Due to the information revolution (now combining its effects with the industrial revolution), certain wires in our electronic circuit (or, certain industries and businesses in our economy) are experiencing substantially reduced resistance, and so are getting very hot without conferring much benefit on the rest of our electronic circuit (or, without producing much for the rest of our economy that they do not consume for themselves). By massively reducing their resistance relative to other essential parts of our electronic circuit, they are also starving the rest of our circuit (economy, with various essential industries and businesses) of electrical power (money and fair profit potential).

Some people are proposing, as a solution to this crisis, the removal of as much resistance from the circuit as possible (lower taxes almost to the extent of offering zero resistance to any business/other transactions). The effects of this policy are quite predictable: the relative resistance of the hottest wires will be even lower, compared with the wires that are now going cold (imbalances, income disparities, Gini index, poverty etc. will be worse).

It’s what we call a “short circuit”. This involves parts of the circuit getting extremely hot and possibly burning out (some people getting mega-rich without much effort on their part, and then retiring early just when their skills are needed most); while other parts of the circuit are starved of power (other essential industries and businesses are starved of fair profit potential and masses of people are forced to work like dogs instead of raising the next generation in a relatively humane environment); and in the final act of destruction, there is a high probability that the power-source will explode (i.e., monetary system and government may fall, along with all that rests upon them, if this policy is pursued to its conclusion).

This is not an exaggeration. Whenever the advantages of winners and the disadvantages of losers have been disproportionate (in one direction or the other), we have seen a loss of performance in the useful product of our electronic circuit. This pattern has been followed previously with various forms of short-circuit (such as, the misappropriation of state industries in post-Soviet Russia by undeserving but well-connected persons), with the above results observed (such as, the devaluation of the Russian Ruble). We are already beginning to see many of these symptoms within Western economies. We are in grave danger. We need to turn back from the precipice.

Lower taxation is NOT the answer. Fairer taxation, with a general equalization between capital gains/ dividends/ earned income, would substantially improve the productivity and stability of the system from where we now stand…

Posted by matthewslyman | Report as abusive
 

@OneOfTheSheep: Excellent comments. “Washington makes VERY poor use of the huge sums it shovels out day after day, week after week, Month after month and year after year.” More control over each unit of electrical power (or, each unit of government expenditure) is a major part of what needs to happen…

Posted by matthewslyman | Report as abusive
 

Obama and the Democrats need to show the voters that Republicans reduce taxes ONLY for the rich. Since 1985 the middle class contribution to Social Security has increased by a mutiple of 3 to 4x, yet for $1.0 million plus earners (esp. non-W2 income i.e. capital gains) has dropped by a factor of 3 to 4x. Look at the numbers. Top income tax bracket for capital gains is still less than what 2 W2 earners filing jointly pay.

What Roosevelt in the early 1900s and what we see today is a US tax system puts the burden on the working poor and middle class, while the super wealthy get away paying nothing, esp. US. corporations, partnerships, trusts, etc. Obama has made a very good point showing the similarities of the Robber Barons and today’s 1%.

Starving the governments feeds the ambitions of today’s 1%. A weak government is a weak regulator is a weak enforcer of the law. REalizing that nearly 1/3 of the world’s wealth sits offshore untaxed is to recognize how much influence that money must have, yet without knowledge of the source. Democracy?

The debt problem in Greece, Italy and Spain could all be easily paid off with the off-shore accounts of their citizens in Switzerland, Cayman, etc.

Posted by Acetracy | Report as abusive
 

This is such a sad commentary! When we voted in Obama in 2008, we thought we voting for revitalizing the economy through investments in education, technology, new green industries, improvements to infrastructure, building a new electrical grid, etc. that would have gone a long way toward rebuilding the middle class. We never even got the chance to try! Bush and the Republicans crashed the economy with tax cuts for the rich, two wars, deregulation of banks and Wall Street investors before he could make a dent. I’m sorry, your prescriptions for longterm tech investments and innovation strike me as too much prudence coming just a tad too late! You need to help fix what you’ve broken first, if that means tax holidays for the middle income people and 70% tax rates for the idle, non-job-creating investor class for the next 10 years, then so be it! The investor class has broken faith with the rest of us. There’s no way we’re ever going to trust you again. Some of us have lost our retirement savings and kids; college money. Some of us have lost access to health care. I’m frankly not in the mood for your holier than thou, pretending to be non-partisan prescriptions!

Pay us back! Then we’ll decide whether we’ll talk to you or not. You don’t get to just “move-on” from this kind if devastation and damage.

Posted by SullyinOgden | Report as abusive
 

The things that need to be changed are known.

Public pensions for example. In my relatively small town of 90k, we now have 3 retired police chiefs each receiving 6 figure public pensions. 2 of the retirees are in their 50s, the other one mid 60s. Meanwhile the police force has been cut %25, beginning with the cops at the bottom. The reform is simple, no one on a public pension should receive more than the top tier retirement for social security.

Medi-care reform. Ration it. Next time I hear about a senior can’t decide between food and an $8 a day or more handful of pills, I’m sorry but it’s time to die. Screw big pharma if they won’t lower their price, don’t buy the medicine. A society spending too much of its resources to keep the elderly barely alive is doomed.

Pay cuts for government workers. Starts with the President and Congress; also dramatically increase their share of health care costs.

Rising health care costs. Socialized Medicine just like the rest of the modern world has. Anybody who wants more can buy private insurance.

Rising college tuition. Most college is a joke. Why should an English major pay the same tuition as a Chemical Engineer? A massive decentralization of so called institutions for higher learning is needed.

Raise dividend taxes to the %35 level. Corporations should have an incentive to do R&D not pay out huge sums to investors. Tax all stock trading, especially high frequency trading. Capital gains should be taxed at %35. Take away incentives for trading just to trade, as nothing is gained by gambling in a casino.

Decentralized local production is the only way Americans can compete with Chinese and Indians. Americans have forgotten how to innovate, create, and be resourceful. Life isn’t an ipod,iphone, or ipad. Life is food, clothing, and shelter; start producing that locally.

Reuters can start by sending me $15 for this comment, because it is the only sensible thing being said.

The purpose of money is to facilitate the trade of goods and services. When people hoard money the purpose of money is abrogated. Invest in your community not corporations. Your community will take care of you, big pharma, big business, big government won’t.

Posted by jusguessn | Report as abusive
 

Excellent article Mr Rohde but I believe it is a major fallacy to think the Feds or any government has more than peripheral effect on it’s interior or global wage and spending trends.

We’re gauging the flow of money here and most is spent by individuals. We vote with our wallets every day, and we get exactly what we’ve paid for.

Every dollar spent at Walmart is 50 cents for the Chinese and an hours work that an American didn’t get. How can things be, as their motto said for awhile, “Cheaper Always”?. It can not be without hurting people.

The same with short term corporate dividends at the expense of long term fiscal health. The ducks quack, so they’re fed, but employees suffer after the fat is gone and cuts go into muscle and bone.

The pendulum will swing back with or without our intervention, but we could speed it up considerably by voting a little more intelligently with our wallets and being a little more reasonable in our expectations.

Posted by CaptnCrunch | Report as abusive
 

Finally, common sense in a world growing more polarized.

Ross Perot said, you can have zero unemployment with everyone working at McDonalds…what do you have.

Thanks for the common sense.

Posted by maxmillius | Report as abusive
 

@OneOfTheSheep

“Washington makes VERY poor use of the huge sums it shovels out day after day, week after week, Month after month and year after year.”
——————————–

Ah, the usual misplaced anger and once again focused on the wrong and easy targets. Speaking of shoveling money, just how much of it has the Government shoveled towards Wall Street, the banksters and mega-corporations?

But let’s talk about immigration and borders instead. Talk about folly. I’ll quote the burning platform once again.

“The oligarchy of moneyed interests have done a spectacular job convincing the working middle class they should be angry at 20 year old OWS protestors, illegal immigrants and the inner city welfare class, rather than the true culprits – the Federal Reserve, Wall Street banks and mega-corporations. This is a testament to the power of propaganda and the intellectual slothfulness of the average American. U.S. based mega-corporations fired 864,000 higher wage American workers between 2000 and 2010, while hiring almost 3 million workers in low wage foreign countries, using their billions in cash to buy back their own stocks, and paying corporate executives shamefully excessive compensation.”

As if the financial crisis and all our current woes are due to immigration and border control.

Cannot see the forest from the trees. Divide and conquer at play and you are another victim of it.

Posted by TheUSofA | Report as abusive
 

When Things Fall Apart: Disorientation, Desperation, Chaos

The global “shadow” banking system is unraveling, with dire consequences for financial assets and failed policies.

We’re not used to things falling apart, and so our first reaction is disorientation. What we’ve been trained to expect by constant intervention in supposedly “open” markets is that Central States and central banks will “save the day” with a new intervention: an interest rate cut, a new round of money-printing, emergency loans, new bailout funds, the list has been almost endless since the initial evidence of the Great Unraveling appeared in 2007.

So when official interventions are announced to great fanfare and then fail to goose the market, we’re disoriented. John Hussman neatly summarized the insanity of a market propped up only by constant official manipulation: We represent the Lollipop Guild:

(http://www.hussmanfunds.com/wmc/wmc1112 05.htm)

Frankly, I am concerned that Wall Street is becoming little more than a glorified crack house. Day after day, the sole focus of Wall Street is on more sugar, stronger sugar, Big Bazookas of sugar, unlimited sugar, and anything that will get somebody to deliver the sugar faster. This is like offering a lollipop to quiet down a 2-year old throwing a tantrum, and expecting that the result will be fewer tantrums.

What we have increasingly observed over the past decade is nothing but the gradual destruction of the ability of the financial markets to allocate capital for the benefit of future growth. By preventing the natural discipline of the markets to impose losses on poor stewards of capital, and to impose interest rates high enough to force debtors to allocate the capital usefully, the world’s policy makers are increasingly wrecking the prospects for long-term economic growth.

The problem with depending on intervention “sugar” for sustenance is that the market slowly loses its sensitivity to the mechanisms of control (insulin), and at some point the sugar no longer generates a response. We are very close to that point now, as the expected “grand EU treaty agreement” is duly issued as expected and global markets are holding their breath, hoping that some new intervention will keep the teetering financial system from falling over the edge.

This is desperation. In market after market, participants don’t really have any faith in the future resilience of the fundamentals which supposedly underpin global markets; rather, they are desperately hoping the next intervention will work better than the last one. But like insulin insensitivity, the market is on a one-way slide: every intervention works its magic for a shorter period of time, and markets respond with increasing torpor to the “fix.”

The next phase is chaos, as participants finally grasp that interventions will no longer save them. Then the mad rush to the exits (selling) will begin, and many will be trampled, as the bid will disappear across entire spectra of assets.

We should recall that nothing fundamental has changed since 2007. Here are two fundamentals of many which haven’t changed at all: wealth is still concentrated and the global financial system is still overleveraged and over-indebted, meaning that every decline in asset valuation triggers a “reverse wealth effect.”
——————————————————–

But let’s instead focus on and talk about immigration of all things and the economic damage it’s doing to our country?? Wow, talk about myopic.

Just know you’re playing your part in this game of divide and conquer all too well. You don’t even bother to look at the real crooks, financial crimes are not your concern. They’ve raided the wealth of nations and you’re concerned about immigrant remittances. How about the shadow banking system that exists beyond borders and away from regulatory eyes. How much damage do you think it is capable of?

Any day now the other shoe might be dropping. A possible financial crisis/meltdown on a global scale (once again) but you go on ahead and keep an eye on that immigration issue.

Posted by TheUSofA | Report as abusive
 

Here’s a chilling piece from Reuters for the more prudent. We are talking about trillions of dollars being re-hypothecated.

MF Global and the great Wall St re-hypothecation scandal
http://tinyurl.com/8x7d4d3

Further analysis here:

Why The UK Trail Of The MF Global Collapse May Have “Apocalyptic” Consequences For The Eurozone, Canadian Banks, Jefferies And Everyone Else
http://tinyurl.com/cx2fs2l

quotes from Reuters piece:

…..With collateral being re-hypothecated to a factor of four (according to IMF estimates), the actual capital backing banks re-hypothecation transactions may be as little as 25%. This churning of collateral means that re-hypothecation transactions have been creating enormous amounts of liquidity, much of which has no real asset backing.

…..With weak collateral rules and a level of leverage that would make Archimedes tremble, firms have been piling into re-hypothecation activity with startling abandon. A review of filings reveals a staggering level of activity in what may be the world’s largest ever credit bubble.

…..According to Jefferies’ most recent Annual Report it had re-hypothecated $22.3 billion (in fair value) of assets in 2011 including government debt, asset backed securities, derivatives and corporate equity- that’s just $15 billion shy of Jefferies total on balance sheet assets of $37 billion.

…..Engaging in hyper-hypothecation have been Goldman Sachs ($28.17 billion re-hypothecated in 2011), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (re-pledged $72 billion in client assets), Royal Bank of Canada (re-pledged $53.8 billion of $126.7 billion available for re-pledging), Oppenheimer Holdings ($15.3 million), Credit Suisse (CHF 332 billion), Knight Capital Group ($1.17 billion),Interactive Brokers ($14.5 billion), Wells Fargo ($19.6 billion), JP Morgan($546.2 billion) and Morgan Stanley ($410 billion).

…..The volume and level of re-hypothecation suggests a frightening alternative hypothesis for the current liquidity crisis being experienced by banks and for why regulators around the world decided to step in to prop up the markets recently.”

Posted by TheUSofA | Report as abusive
 

This piece adequately portrays the dilemma; but what’s offered as a way forward? Oracles have proved problematic. What’s needed is innovation based on social research. Here’s mine!

Through the auspices of an economic mechanism created and supported by each government according to the resources and enlightenment of their respective peoples, a minimum standard of living be guaranteed for every human being, and that support be numerically tied to their basic needs in the zone of human activity in which they are resident.
That economic minimum sustenance is to be subsidized by tariffs solely based on consumption of non-food, medical, or minimal shelter economic activity.
That support donated by the economic mechanism of such an institution be provided without any conditions whatsoever, especially any based on political or religious belief, and be passed to each human being by a regular and documented means, impervious to access by anyone else but the recipient.
That those having adequate economic means not be paid this support, but that their portion of its possible benefit be kept in trust for any eventuality causing them to be incapable of self-sustenance.
Now that we’re all shaking our heads, lets stop and let me offer what the economic impact of such a policy would mean.
Firstly, it would alleviate tension and competition for resources. If every human knows they’ll have a place to sleep, eat, wash, and be treated for medical and aging issues, the fear that progresses to hatred will be greatly assuaged.
Secondly, such a system would be far less expensive to bear than the costs of militarism and political competition by force.
Thirdly, the arena for fair struggle and triumph would have a moral component that inescapably freed those strong and lucky enough to be dominant from a perpetual moral quandary.
Fourth, the minimum standard would be low enough that no one who wished to own or influence would be able to use such support as a means of competing with those wishing to make a greater effort.
Fifth, the dilemma of automated production freeing humans from servitude whilst eliminating their access to economic benefit would be solved.
Sixth, the mechanism used to support such a system by taxing non-essential consumption alone by excepting the previously cited minimums, would inherently tend to control harmful, unsustainable, economic exploitation and reduce birthrates swelled by social desperation.
Pie in the sky? The big rock candy mountain? What have you to offer as a way forward? Reading the auguries is not enough to accurately solve issues.

Posted by Snowyb | Report as abusive
 

While I would agree with Rohde’s diagnosis of the problem, its frustrating to see the establishment cop out that only a ‘centrist’ minded political leader can tackle these issues; the centrist is needed the establishment says because both sides are always to blame for all big problems in our country. This cop out allows for escaping the need to make a judgement as to whether one side or the other is at fault in the current debate. So while one side does everything in its power to prevent these issues from being addressed, regularly distorting the truth for this effort, the other side is also responsible because in a speech with 20 points to support an argument, one of points was not correct.

Posted by NoVaCRE | Report as abusive
 

Rebuilding the middle class is difficult when we can’t even stop it’s shrinkage. I agree that the Republican’s tiresome and empty “shrink the government” agenda is more harmful than the soothing simplicity of it’s message would imply. Starving the beast is actually most of the problem.

@matthewslyman short circuit analogy is fairly astute. But @Acetracy shares the silver for identifying regulation as part of the problem- that is the LACK of regulation. @jusguessn also shares the silver for his catalog of hard to swallow truths. But the gold goes to me, I think, for identifying unfair trade practices designed for the 1%. These include strong environmental, wage, and social regulations that burden businesses with having to protect our country and our society. But coupled with a free trade policy that does not charge tariffs on imports that do not bear this same burden, and you have a recipe for catastrophe. The consequence is that we export our pollution AND our jobs.

Good bye middle class. There’s no turning back your destruction, or that of the planet, for that matter. Talk about a short circuit!

Posted by LEEDAP | Report as abusive
 

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