Posts Tagged ‘Economy’

A lot of what perplexes us about conditions of inequality and economic failures can be better understood if we recognized how much of our hunting/gathering life we bring to contemporary society.

For the first 140,000 years that modern humans have existed, we all lived as hunter gatherers. We shared everything we produced with each other, reinforced egalitarian principles, lived in relative harmony, and no authority figure could tell us what to do. We also lived in small groups of about 100-150 people. Our society was small enough then that lazy or selfish people were quickly identified and shamed into behaving or expelled from the group.

Today, about 20,000 or so years removed from hunter/gathering days, almost all of us live in enormous societies with millions of other, mostly unknown, people. This makes it impossible to live in the primitive socialism of hunter and gatherers. The state, as in Cuba, may try to force a “plan” on everyone and to check non-social behavior. But all it does is to suffocate freedom, produce inefficiently, and generally fail to check anti-social behavior. The solution, as most Northern European countries have discovered, is a judicious combination of capitalist markets and state regulation.

Click on this to see video: Cuban economy




There is a lot of misinformation out there. I actually teach this stuff and know what the facts are. You can google my points below:
1. The flow of undocumented workers has been from and not to the U.S. since 2005. Thus, building or making the border more ‘secure,’ something that is impossible anyway, would actually keep the undocumented from leaving the U.S.
2. Obama has deported more undocumented than any other president. That is why Latinos call him the “Deporter in Chief”
3. Yes undocumented get some health benefits. But this happens because of actions at the local level rather than by federal policy. See the article below.
4. Why do cities and counties provide such services? First, because it is cheaper to do preventive care than pay for undocumented using hospital emergency rooms. Second, because the undocumented provide essential cheap labor for many local industries, from restaurants to crop harvesting to house cleaning to construction. Local economies need their labor. Trump has used undocumented Polish labor at some of his construction projects. And documented labor will not do those jobs at those wages. Third, undocumented labor contribute enormous amounts of tax revenue, often using other people’s Social Security numbers, but do not collect any unemployment, housing, disability, public housing, or retirement benefits. In fact, the revenue they contribute to social security has kept that program afloat financially and makes possible the retirement of documented Americans. This is a fact. Finally, the U.S. Offers very few immigration opportunities to Latin American countries as opposed to European countries. Thus, the economic demand for cheap labor, the destruction of economies in Latin America by American companies investing there, produce pressures which result in people having to come here without papers. It is a complex process where the U.S. is just as responsible for what is happening as the people sneaking in.

Some conservative websites are recirculating videos of a black man giving a rant on how what happened in Ferguson to Michael Brown, and to black men in general, could have been avoided if black men just took responsibility for their lives. In the video, he says things like:

“Black people it is 2014, hate to break this to you if your life is messed up, it ain’t because of slavery. Your a** was never a slave, you probably ain’t know nobody was a slave, you probably don’t know nobody that knew nobody who was a slave.”

“Civil rights about 50 years ago, we won. It was a fight. We sat, they marched, we won.”

Here is the video:

Here are a few of things commentators posted about the video:

  • if the other black males felt the same way as he does,,,, black people would rise up and become overall more successful in a single generation,,,, or quicker.

  • Like he said time to clean up! let’s start from the White House!

  • These are the cracks in the facade that Black people need to free themselves from the racism and control that white liberals and their approved black overseers have.

    If the Berlin Wall could be torn down and statues of Lenin pulled down, then maybe there is hope for the Black community.

  • This man says it in a way that ” ‘da brothers (& sisters)” will relate to. We whites got it when Bill Cosby said it alright, but this needs to go “stratospheric.”

  • Well said, Sir! It’s nice to hear people speaking from their intelligence instead of their posterior. Why isn’t this on MSM? Never mind, we ALL know why … it doesn’t fit their agenda! It’s a shame too. I know many people, of many races, colors, religions, and ancestry who think just like this man. We are special because we are Americans … act like it!

I think that white people want to see this guy say these things because it makes them feel better. It confirms their opinion that they have no role to play in this tragedy. But they DO! They want to believe that black people are so stupid as to want to stay in their misery when all they have to do is change their mindset. Hahahaha… That is a big joke. In the vast majority of these cases of police killings, the black man was doing nothing more than minding their own business when confronted by police. The police, like white people in general, are afraid of black men, even when there is no evidence to support the fear. The same people who applaud this man’s rant, will also walk across the street or shrink when they see him in an elevator. We all have to admit it! There is white people’s justice and black people’s justice, and the latter is severe, unjust, and deadly. Take a look at this article:

Until we deal with an unjust justice system, we will continue to see these barbaric police crimes.

Recently, some conservative news sources and blogs have called attention to Palin’s 2008 RNC  nomination speech.  They believe that Palin predicted what they call Obama’s disaster.  I have to protest and laugh at such obvious distortions.  The only thing she predicted is her own hypocritical and tainted record.  Here is one passage from her speech where she outlines what she thinks Obama would do.

The answer is to make government bigger … take more of your money … give you more orders from Washington … and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world.

The problem is that Alaska and her own reign as governor is a better example of budgetary excess, government dependence, and reckless allegiance to special interests.  Alaska receives twice as much in federal dollars as what it pays in federal taxes. Highest than any other state in the union. One in three jobs in Alaska depends on federal dollars. Palin even got almost $27 million in federal earmarks for her hometown of Wasilla, a town of 6,700 residents! Each state resident of Alaska also receives $1800 a year in stipends from the government. Sounds like pure hyprocrisy and “socialism” to me.  But this is nothing new for Palin.  Witness her bizarre and contradictory opposition to Rahm Emanuel’s use of the word retard.  Hahaha!

A few graphs came to my attention recently which confirm arguments I made in recent posts.  One is on consumer borrowing.  The chart below shows  that U.S. consumers are spending a lot less than they were a few years ago.  This is one reason why the economy is not recovering as fast as it could.

Consumer Borrowing as of 9/10/10

The other data is on the steep industrial decline that began in the 1950s.  It supports the argument I made about how much of the Tea Party anger and desire to “restore” America is a plea for a time period that has largely disappeared and not likely to return any time soon, at least not in the form that existed before.

The current recession is the beginning of a deep structural change in the economy, a shift as radical as the one that led to the period of industrial growth in the early decades of the 20th century.  As Matt Bai has argued, it looks like we are on the verge of entering “into a digitized and globally competitive world, and that transformation was threatening to displace the middle class and erode the country’s economic dominance in the decades ahead.”

Manufacturing Decline in the U.S.

The Tea Party and Republican opposition to Obama’s policies will hamper and stall a process that requires government intervention to lead and subsidize the transition to this new economy.  We have more than a burgeoning government debt to worry about if the opposition has their way.  Clearly, the infrastructure of this emerging economy requires a tremendous expansion of broadband internet, alternative energy, fast inter-city train service, an upgrading of the electrical grid, and more.  Without those, there is little likelihood that the private market, by itself, can do enough to keep the U.S. competitive and in the forefront of this permanent economic transformation.

Impact of Govt Taxes and Spending on the Economy

Moreover, as the side chart makes clear, tax cuts do have a stimulus effect on the economy but it is relatively small compared to other government actions.  In particular, middle class tax cuts, economic transfers through food stamps and unemployment, as well as government spending on infrastructure are much more likely to have a positive effect on the economy.  That so many Americans and policiticans are so wrong about taxes and spending makes you terribly sad or as Professor Edward D. Kleinbard, former chief of staff of the bipartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, now a law professor at the University of Southern California stated, “The debate has become so unrealistic it makes you want to scream.