Saturday, July 16, 2011

Why I am now a Liberal

See this is where your mistaken about me. I'm fully aware that the impulse to regulate can lead to ridiculous extremes. I know that Union rules can lead to ridiculous inefficiencies and be harmful to well intentioned companies. I know that investment decisions are always made with the regulatory environment in mind and that potential areas of growth can languish as a result. If Conservative arguments didn't at least sometimes have merit, then it wouldn't have been possible to end up in our current mess where people think that if a little is good, a lot must really rock.

But I'm also aware that certain industries are harmful to the Commons in ways that aren't reflected in their balance sheets unless the harm is codified as taxes and regulations. I also know that companies would gladly pay less that a dollar an hour for labor if they could find a way to get away with it.

I'm old enough to have watched the baseline of 'reasonable' in this country drift so far to the right that Gov Jim Thompson of Illinois and for that matter Richard Nixon's politics would be instantly written off a "socialist" today. (You may recall that Nixon was the one who created the EPA in the first place. The problems it was set up to address are very real and many of them have been mitigated as a result.

The problem with today's Right Wing is just like that of a substance addict. Their personal dissatisfaction just translates into needing MORE of whatever it is they think will help and negative consequences are washed away in a flood of denial.

As I've been saying all along. If the National Association of Manufacturers AND the Chamber of Commerce and NRO think you've gone off the rails, it's time to step back and reevaluate where you stand

Friday, July 15, 2011

Re. The Debt Limit......

Let me type slowly and clearly. The Republican Party does not and never has cared about debt or deficits. They only care about taxes. The current round of negotiations proves that this has not changed. In the meantime the tax cuts that have been in place for the last ten years have accomplished nothing EXCEPT exacerbate the deficit. If they were the key to job creation, then no one would be complaining about current unemployment.

The problem with employment is unrelated to the current discussion. The housing equity bubble allowed both new home construction and consumer spending to continue well past their natural due date as the actual basis of our wealth, was carefully and deliberately relocated to China, India, Mexico and Brazil.

One other thing remains certain. No matter how you feel about the ability of tax revenues to create jobs, the idea that suddenly cutting off those revenues will do anything but make unemployment worse is sheer fantasy or (more likely) craven dishonesty. The Republicans know that their current threats are designed to make the economy worse.

The opportunity is here, to intelligently address these problems but the primary impediment to the whole process is centered rather firmly in the Tea Party wing of the Republican caucus. You would think that when the same organization that sunk millions of dollars into advertising designed to sink Obamacare, goes on record as opposing your negotiating strategy, that it would be time to reconsider, but ignorance and nihilism seem to be calling the shots and the moment.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thursday, July 07, 2011

E-Verify Employment Check........

No one can deny that proper enforcement of employment restrictions can and will be remarkably more effective at stemming illegal immigration than the system of random harassment that we currently have in place. But I'm am also very wary of "technological" solutions to the problems. In an age of 10+ percent unemployment I still have to jump through 14 hoops if I ever want to talk to a human being on the telephone at any large company. It's time we understood that "efficiency" and "full employment" are in direct conflict with each other and stopped worshiping efficiency at all costs.
My slogan for years has been "Never Trust A Robot". Nothing I see coming down the pike has changed that outlook.