OBAMANOMICS IS HERE!! HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM

Senator McConnell claimed on CNN-Sunday December 19, that the bill was 76% Republican, 12% Democratic and the rest could be argued.  That’s about 80/20, exactly what Ronald Reagan said it would take to be a Republican.  Interesting, huh?

Does anyone remember the calls from astronauts in space when they perceived that they had a serious problem?  Their calls were very calmly:  “Houston we have a problem.”  Now Americans in the space outside of Washington don’t know who you call.  Is it Ghostbusters?

The events we witnessed in passing the Tax Cut Bill were really inconceivable to anyone with a degree of common sense.   The President set the stage by “negotiating” with John Boehner and Mitch McConnell,  those Republicans he labeled as holding him hostage, to agree to a tax cut for millionaires in exchange for obtaining payments for the unemployed through unemployment insurance.  That was the beginning of this episode. Once they had an agreement it was sent to Congress for consideration.

Congress took this proposal and worked it to completion.  The result was a bill that the President declared “mission accomplished”, the bill was signed and the glorification of compromise and bipartisanship was declared.  Everyone was supposed to receive a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Washington.

No matter how one looks at this he/she can make some or all of the following obervations and perhaps have some of the following questions answered:

1.  This place called Washington is a “Cuckoo’s Nest”.  Maybe we need to call Jack Nicolson to tell us what to do.

2.  Explain to us how a continuation of Reaganomics (Voodoo, trickle down, supply side) is going to get us out of this mess by continuing the Bush economic policies which brought us to our knees.

3.  Explain to us how acceptance of a cut in payroll tax (social security contributions) is going to strengthen the social security system.

4.  Tell us what is in this bill to solve the unemployment problem we have when this is simply a continuation of what we have been doing for the past ten years.  The Bush years were the worst on public record for creating jobs.

5.  Tell us what this is going to do for us about the deficit/debt problem which the Republicans have been screaming about and have been quite quite willing to contribute additional debt. This bill will increase the debt immediately starting in January.

6.  Tell us how this “plan” is going to change the incredible wealth/income inequalities that have been going on for the past 30 years.

7.  Tell us why corporations are not going to see this as an excellent opportunity to invest in foreign nations instead of here and tell us why banks are not going to see this nation as a bad investment.

Nope, I don’t see this as a good “deal” of the President buying this used car.  It costs us at least 850 billion dollars and we’re going to borrow it from the Chinese.  Frankly, I don’t want the President negotiating anything else for me in the future.  And apparently there are a lot of progressives and Democrats that feel the same way.  The President tried to put lipstick on this Republican pig and make it look better, but that pig is sitting there with a big smile on its face and a big red R in the middle of its forehead.

But the torch has finally passed clearly from Bush to Obama.  It is flaming out of control as we now enter an era of Obamanomics. As Robert Reich discusses in his excellent article in the link below it is basically a continuation of what we have had, with the eight year exception of the period that President Clinton gave us.  The deficits are now President Obama’s, the unemployment is his, and  the responsibility for the economy is his.  In other words the buck stops right on his desk and he has alienated much of his base.

May I also add that the responsibility for the Afghanistan war is his as he has decided to increase the size of that war and spend more than 2 billion dollars a week  there.

So how do I feel about this?  I’m extremely disappointed and almost depressed.  I had great hopes that there would be some significant change in 2008.  I bought into, hook line an sinker, the theme of the campaign.  But now when I hear the question from an obnoxious Sarah Palin who asks:  “How’s that hopey, changey thing working out”? ; I will respond by saying:  Not worth a shit!

I plan to respond, however, by moving on with some positive suggestions about our future.

Please see this article by Robert Reich recently posted to place this blog in the proper context:

http://robertreich.org/post/2337421398

Dr. Tom Baldwin, Biloxi, MS  12/18/2010

OBAMA’S USED CAR: ONLY 900 BILLION!

Most of you will recall that in the most recent campaign the President compared the economic recovery with removing a car which had wrecked in a ditch.  He described how difficult it was to remove and indicated that he was not going to let the Republicans drive again; they had to ride in the back seat. Has anyone ever wondered  what  happened to that car after the election?  I have and now I think I know.  It’s for sale or lease!

Before the election it wasn’t worth much and probably could have been bought for salvage–maybe $100–but there were no buyers as the election proved.  But now the American people are being asked to pay $900 billion dollars for the privilege of driving it.

Now it turns out that the President assumed responsibility for a car with four flat tires, an engine that wouldn’t start, and no gasoline.  The tires have been barely inflated, a little gasoline was added and the car is now sputtering.  The Republicans, having had a very good election, decided that they now want him to pay $900 billion (payable in 2 annual payments) for the car to allow him to drive  it on a two year lease.  How in the world could he say no? This is the only car he has to drive. He’s now asking us to pay the lease charges.

Get the “picture” everyone? It’s the only car we have.  Maybe we should seek alternate transportation?  How about a plane, train or another  donkey?  Personally, I’ve never been very keen on riding an elephant.

Now let’s examine some of the details of this “deal” that the Republicans are “willing” to make and the President wants us to accept.  The costs of this 900 billion can be met by loans from China, Saudi Arabia and several other countries at very good interest rates.  Obama will let the big banks hold the money for us at no interest and some of it can be loaned to us from the banks charging up to 20% or more interest.   We can pay that back over several years.   We can even give big chunks of it (at least 140 billion) to our wealthiest Americans to spend as they like.  We are “permitted” to use up to about 60 billion to aid unemployed workers, give about 120 billion to all Americans to reduce their social security payments.  Obviously we’ll have some other “flexibilities” including tax credits for college tuition and for those of us who die and have estates over 5 million dollars our survivors will get a big break on their inheritance taxes!  But we can’t give $250 to seniors in lieu of a cost of living increase.

Now what the hell is the matter with you “progressives”?  This is the best “deal” Mitch McConnell and John Boehner would accept. Are you just a bunch of malcontents?  Everyone has been asking him to be “bipartisan” and the Republicans are ecstatic with this “deal”.  Hasn’t there been peace in politics?  For goodness sakes, look at all he’s done for us.  And to compare this with the public option for healthcare insurance?  Shame, shame, shame on us.

I must admit I’m mad as hell.  But I’d like to offer something constructive.  As a former professor of physics and management and a consultant to leaders in the corporate sector, I’d like to recommmend the President study some negotiation skills, conflict resolution skills, and then problem solving skills.  That could be done within a month with his mental abilities.  Although I’d happily serve as his mentor,  perhaps he can get some help from Harvard instead.  For example, I recommend the little book, “Getting to Yes, Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In”.  That was written at Harvard, by Fisher and Ury in about 1981.  But I’m sure he can also find many other references of value;  I’m probably going to send him my old, worn copy.  This same recommendation also applies to these other skills above.  In the meantime, he might practice these skills with new negotiations on this old car.  But he needs to know that capitulation, acquiescence, or playing lose-win are not the only choices for outcomes!  He also needs to look up the word “compromise” in this context.

Since the deficit will be increased nearly a trillion dollars with this “deal”, it should not be surprising that deficit reduction will now be an even larger priority.  I will soon have some specific recommendations (demands!) that we should make to do that! And they will include, “Keep your damn hands off our social security, medicare and healthcare” and add a public option now! It will also demand that this criminal distribution of wealth to the richest Americans stop NOW!

P.S. By the way, it’s going to be interesting to see how other countries, especially China,  react to this great “deal” the President has “negotiated” with Republicans.  I bet they have some used cars, too!

Dr. Tom Baldwin, Biloxi, MS, 12/08/2010

MUTUAL ASSURED DESTRUCTION (MAD): INSANITY IN D.C.

WARNING:  This blog (article) may be injurious to the mental conditions of Republicans ( and Blue Dog Democrats), Tea Party members and Plutocrats.  The author assumes no responsibility for increases in sanity of these groups!

During the Cold War we were kept “safe” by insuring that we could kill more in the Soviet Union than they could of us by having more nuclear weapons.  Fortunately, we did’t have to prove that.

In the current environment, we were told that the Republicans and the Tea Party would save us from the deficit and unemployment by electing them to office.  Once elected they have stated their opposition to allowing tax cuts for the rich to expire, that they probably couldn’t do anything else about jobs, that they didn’t care about deficits except for making sure unemployment benefits were “paid for”, and the fact that Bush’s record for creating jobs was the worst in decades.  Bush’s record was the creation of about 1 million jobs in eight years compared to Clinton’s record of about 23 million.

The Republican Party is not only insane (stupidity is too weak a word) and is lying to us, but they think the rest of us are insane and stupid too!  I’m beginning to be concerned about the Democratic Party and President Obama.

Now the evidence is getting stronger that we will continue on the same destructive path for at least two years and it will undoubtedly get worse.  Remember the definition of insanity:  “Continuing to do the same things and expecting different results.”  Republican “leaders” refuse to tell us why the Bush tax cuts for the rich will suddenly start to increase or create jobs when the opposite was true for nearly 10 years.  And “we” seem to be willing to allow them to get away with this.

Look at the graph below.  It shows the current situation with the deficit and the projections for the near future.  It has little or nothing to do with Social Security and Medicare over the next ten years.  Instead our “wise men” in Washington want us to be concerned and excited with what will happen decades into the future.  Most of us won’t be alive and our children and grandchildren will all be living in poverty as the rich become hideously rich as is already the case today.  One percent of Americans now control about 25% of the wealth and the top 10% control half the wealth.  Even Warren Buffet, the third richest man in the world, is “begging” for the government to force him to pay more taxes and increase taxes for the wealthy.  (Click on the graphs to enlarge and make clearer.)

In the graph above you will clearly see that the largest contributions to the deficit are coming from the Bush Tax Cuts, the economic downturn (recession) and the two wars (defense spending).  What this means quite clearly is that if these are reduced then the only place to make serious cuts is with domestic programs.  Does anyone want to speculate what this means for Americans–all of us??

In this next graph below, I show a graphic of how the plans by Democrats and those by Republicans differ to retain the Bush Tax Cuts for all.  In other words, the tax cuts for the richest individuals exceed those of about two average family incomes.  Does anyone care to speculate how much this increases the wealth of the top 2% or more even in a few years?  This is what we have been doing for 10 years.

Are we angry yet?  Try the graphic below I presented in an earlier blog.  This is a representation of the large concentration of wealth in the top brackets over the last three decades.  The trends started to worse for us near the beginning of the Reagan administration with Reaganomics otherwise known as Voodoo, trickle down and supply side economics.  The Republicans cannot stop telling us enough how their brand of economics has been so good for us.  Don’t you feel it?


So if you are a progressive what are you going to do about it?  Write a letter to your Congressman?  Wring your hands?  Drop out?  Cry? If we are not angry and fed up enough with all the lying, deceit, cowardness, etc. going on in Washington yet, and are ready to vote with our feet and our bodies to stop this insanity soon, then we will only have unpaved streets to march on.  This is where we are headed folks.  The suggestion of  “civil dialogue” with the Tea Party made by the Founder and other leaders of the Coffee Party is one of the most absurd suggestions I have ever heard. These economic issues affect all Americans and even some of the rich recognize it.  It’s time to talk about and plan civil disobedience before it becomes uncivilized.

Dr. Tom Baldwin

Biloxi, MS     12/6/2010

A CALL TO ACTION: PROGRESSIVES UNITE!!

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: A CALL TO ACTION!!


The time is growing near to take to the streets. The abominations going on in Washington today have to cease. The Republican Party and its corporate, wealthy backers are pulling a power play of major magnitude and abandoning all moral judgment. What the Republican Senate is doing can clearly be labeled extortion or blackmail.  Fair minded Americans everywhere must voice their protest.

I propose that we consider the following:

If Senator Mitch McConnell and Rep. John Boehner continue on their current paths and continue to block all legislation and continue to substitute tax cuts for the rich for unemployment benefits then we must respond.  I am proposing that we commit to mass demonstrations in Washington, blocking at least McConnell and Boehner from coming back to work on January 5.  I also propose that we block payment of their salaries and health care benefits for at least the month of January and continuing for as long they fail to work cooperatively for the benefits of the great majority of Americans. It’s time for fair minded people of all political persuasion to rise in public protest against these people with no moral compass.  The principle is simple:  “We do unto them as they do unto us.”  The link below provides additional detail on these circumstances.  Please share this blog with your friends and especially with progressive organizations with whom you have contact.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/12/01/gop.senate.demands/index.html?hpt=T1