Saturday, July 24, 2010

P2 Meme: Math

Republicans are bad at math:

They claim that the Stimulus Bill did not provide economic benefit when it did
They claim that Social Security is going broke when it is not
They favor unpaid tax cuts while claiming to want to reduce the deficit
They oppose measures that actually would reduce the deficit (see previous post)
They oppose unemployment benefits based on cost when unemployment benefits generate more economic benefit than cost
They wrote a budget with no numbers in it
They claim that 1000 attendance at RO10 is more than 2100 at NN10
(add your own here)

It's one thing for Republicans to try to rewrite history, but math is not subjective. The Republican tendency to make up a new story when the facts don't suit them is disastrous when applied to math and economics, as we saw when the economy crashed.

Democrats are willing and able to work with what the numbers really are, and that is the only way to rebuild the nation's economy. Despite well-organized and well-financed conservative opposition, the Democrats have improved the economy, especially for the middle class.


Vote Democratic in November to continue the progress or don't vote and watch the country go back to fantasy economics thanks to conservatives who can't--or won't--do the math.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Know the Facts: Health Care Costs

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that adding these provisions to our national health care program would save the following amounts

· Medicare drug price negotiation ($300 billion)

· Public Option ($25-$110 billion)

· Drug reimportation ($19 billion)

· Shorter pathway to generic biologics ($71 billion)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

To the White House re Shirley Sherrod

1. Print this out, cut it out, tape it to your bathroom mirror, and read it to yourself every morning:
Fool me once, shame on you
Fool me twice, shame on me
2. It took the collective hive mind a few hours to sort out that the Sherrod video was edited to create a false impression. You could have waited. Better yet, you could have initiated the process. When you insist that your small team of experts do everything alone, you cut yourself off from resources like the hive mind that want to help you get to the truth. Even if you are smarter than anybody on the planet, you're not smarter than everybody.

3. The next time Brietbart attacks, it's not likely to have his name on it, but he will take credit eventually because the guy has an ego the size of Montana. Use that knowledge. Use his history against the right wing media. Be prepared for the next time because there will be a next time.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Economics of Exploitation

Posted to Daily Beast in response to commenters lamenting the rapid advances China is making while we seem stuck in political muck:

China is advancing rapidly because it is exploiting its workers or allowing others to. A few get rich, but most have as much chance of advancing from worker to magnate as they do of winning the lottery. It is no coincidence that the marketing hook is the same for both: maybe it will be me.

The US also accomplished great feats via exploiting labor and continues to exploit labor today. It's a poor argument to say that being exploited here is still better than the life they left behind.

It's a better argument to say that the 1800s and early 1900s were raw and uncivilized times for much of the U.S. But we're no longer uncivilized, and we have a choice. Are we willing to throw the most powerless among us under the bus to elevate our own standard of living?

If so, we have competition. Plenty of countries around the world are willing to exploit their citizens, and the corporations of the world are in the position to pick and choose which country is willing to sacrifice the most.

But if we can see beyond the short term, we can see that the only sustainable way to hold on to some quality of life--for ourselves and our children and grandchildren--is not to compete in the gutter but to lift the rest of the world up.

Imagine what a world with an international minimum wage would look like. Reduced poverty, reduced health issues, and billions of customers for corporate goods and services. Studies have shown that nations with a plutonomy (few wealthy, many poor, no middle class) sacrifice total national wealth compared to nations with a broad middle class.

Obviously those in power pursue plutonomy anyway because some people would rather be super-rich even at the expense of the nation. They either don't realize they will only be able to enjoy their wealth behind guarded walls, or they don't care.

By the way, unions are not the enemy. Unions are what allow people to band together and resist exploitation. Allowing workers to combine their labor into an entity with economic leverage is the only way I can see that the world can break out of our current downward spiral of exploitation.

The most important economic challenge we face today is to create a model of sustainable worldwide economic balance and to sell that model to the worldwide public.

Sustainable models like that exist, but there has been no campaign to make the public aware of them, let alone move toward them. Who would finance such a campaign? Those with the money don't want things to change.

Or do they? There is a lot of money going to feed and educate the poor, make micro loans, and generally promote long-term economic improvement. Can some of this money go toward a worldwide education campaign so that we can all be pulling in the same direction?

Labor is not the only thing that can be exploited. Ignorance can also be exploited, and right now, it's being exploited very successfully.