The Atlantic has an interesting article on the “post-work” future, when automation (and probably outsourcing) has eliminated so many jobs that massive unemployment is structurally unavoidable, at least as far as traditional corporate employment goes. It covers far too much territory for me to attempt to summarize, but I wanted to jot down a few thoughts of my own.
In the section on government “makework,” why no mention of infrastructure renewal except in the past tense? The American Society of Civil Engineers estimated the total cost of fixing our infrastructure at $3.6 TRILLION– I find it very hard to believe that that would not translate into an enormous amount of construction and engineering jobs, but perhaps the assumption is that most of the construction and engineering tasks would be performed by robots.
The most direct approach would be for the government to raise taxes on corporations and the rich in order to give everyone a “universal basic income,” which both Nixon and Milton Friedman supported back in the 60s. If there isn’t enough work to go around, this will be absolutely imperative, not just from a humanitarian perspective, but from an economic perspective as well: Corporations still need consumers to be able to afford their products.
There were also sections on the possibility of people becoming independent artisans, or the government helping them start small businesses, which is all well and good, but it will be a lot easier for people to make that leap if they’re not desperately clinging to or searching for a job (or two), or wondering where their next meal – or roof – is coming from.
The bottom line is that until we finally repudiate the conservative Randian belief that the unemployed are worthless, lazy parasites who must be punished economically (in the guise of “tough love,” of course) rather than reduce the winnings of the “job creators,” the post-work future will be about desperation and misery instead of creativity and opportunity.
Are any of the right-wing homophobes who are up in arms over the Burger King Pride Burger boycotting Skittles? Because if “Taste The Rainbow” isn’t literally shoving the gay agenda down our throats, I don’t know what is.
Ted Cruz explains that the GOP’s love of the rich is really a great big lie, and that Republicans are really the only party that helps the poor… presumably by eliminating taxes and regulations so that the rich have more money to spend, some of which may occasionally go to the poor.
I, for one, would like to apologize on behalf of all progressives for our shameful lack of appreciation of all the GOP’s charitable good works.
This is why all the both-sides-do-it/both-sides-are-equally-at-fault arguments are bullshit, and have always been bullshit:
While both parties have extreme elements, he suggested, only in the G.O.P. did the extreme element exercise real power. “The extreme right has 90 seats in the House,” Mr. Echevarria said. “Occupy Wall Street has no seats.”
Hilarious bonus quote:
“We have got to quit worrying about the next election, and start worrying about the country,” said [House Tea Party caucus member Randy] Neugebauer, who sits on the House Financial Services Committee and is a recipient of significant donations from Wall Street.
Riiiight. I’d hate to see what it looks like when you guys aren’t worrying about the country.
While it is certainly encouraging to think that the South is a ticking demographic timebomb poised to blow up the Republican Party once and for all, I would be a lot more excited if the Democrats had not shown themselves to be ready, willing and able to fill the political void that remained. Much as I like the idea of the GOP relegated to the role of a crazy ineffectual fringe party, it’s not as exciting if the newly dominant Democrats are indistinguishable from, if not actually to the right of, the pre-crazy Republicans.
Maybe it’s an instinctual compulsion to maintain a constant ideological distance from their opponents that causes the Democrats to move rightward at the same pace as the Republicans, or maybe they’re just completely corrupt and cynical, and the most conservative positions they can get away with move to the right as the GOP does.
If the Democrats destroy the Republicans only to become them, it will be a Pyrrhic victory at best, as America will rapidly follow the GOP down the drain.
Okay, sure, I can sort of buy Krugman and Lemieux’s premise that horrible ideas like austerity, torture, and endless war all stem from the same macho impulse to to prove oneself a Manly Serious Man Of Action Who Can Make The Hard Choices, but why is it that it always seems to be someone else who pays the price for those “hard choices”?
It’s kinda hard to respect the machismo and courage of a pundit or politician who calls upon complete strangers to make sacrifices instead of themselves or their family, friends, or peers. If I saw Cheney and Dubya personally ducking bullets in Baghdad, or Paul Ryan urging tax increases for himself and his wealthy benefactors as the first step to shrink the deficit, then I would be impressed.
Maybe Atrios has it right after all, and they really are sadists.
It’ll be interesting to see where the NRA comes down on California’s attempt to ban 3D gun printing. I can’t think of any other issue where the goals of unfettered, unaccountable gun ownership and maximum gun manufacturer profits aren’t perfectly aligned, much less completely at odds.
I would love to see what the OMG OBAMA DIDN’T SAY TERRORISM BECAUSE HE LOVES TERRORISTS right-wing jackasses will say if it turns out that the Boston Marathon bomber turns out to be one of their own, what with the bombings taking place at the site of the original Tea Party on Tax Day and all. Probably complain about how they’re being persecuted and stereotyped.
The Democrats are now officially the party that’s trying to cut Social Security, and the Republicans are now the party that’s trying to protect it. Nice work Mr. President, I didn’t even know it was possible to score an own-goal in eleventy-dimensional chess.
First and foremost, rich people care about the deficit. More than 85 percent of the survey participants said they considered the nation’s budget deficit to be a “very important” problem facing the country, the researchers found. In addition, nearly one-third of those surveyed said the budget deficit and too much government spending is the nation’s biggest issue.
That stands in contrast to the rest of the country, only 7 percent of which focused on the budget deficit, instead zeroing in on jobs and the economy, according to a 2011 CBS survey cited by the researchers.
“Why did policymakers focus so intently on the deficit issue?” Page and Bartels wrote in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times. “One reason may be that the small minority that saw the deficit as the nation’s priority had more clout than the majority that didn’t.”
Rich Americans also have ideas about how to cut that deficit that differ from the less wealthy. Compared to others, the survey found the rich are more likely to want to cut government-subsidized health care and social welfare programs like Social Security. They’re also less supportive of initiatives that help the unemployed and raise the standard of living for low-wage workers than the rest of the country.
Wow, if it weren’t for this study, I would have had no idea that rich people have completely different priorities and far more political influence than everyone else. Thanks, Science!
Wow. Just… wow. Okay, admittedly Google’s counsel could have done a better job of explaining that internet advertising isn’t really all that different from traditional advertising, just with better and more dynamic targeting, but in all fairness he probably didn’t think he’d need to. My condensed transcript for those of you who don’t have time for videos or Louie Gohmert:
Gohmert: “Isn’t it true that you sell your Gmail users’ data to your corporate customers so they can send ads to them?”
Salgado: “Well no.”
Gohmert: “So couldn’t you therefore sell the same kind of data to the government BENGHAZI BENGHAZI BENGHAZI?”
Salgado: “Wait… what?”
Gohmert: “HuffPo reporters are simpletons.”
Sensenbrenner: “My son is a HuffPo reporter.”
Gohmert: “Oh. Mumble grumble mumble.”
And one direct quote because there is no way I can do it justice:
Salgado: “Sir, I think those are apples and oranges. The disclosure of the identity-”
Gohmert: “Well, I’m not asking for a fruit comparison.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if more Republicans could have empathy for gay people without having to have a gay family member first? Sure, it’s great that Rob Portman finally tapped into “the Bible’s overarching themes of love and compassion and [his] belief that we are all children of God,” but he didn’t bother to have that conversation with himself until he had to think about his own kid not being able to get married. As long as it’s someone else’s gay son or daughter, who cares, right?
What Mr. Pierce said. The saner elements of the GOP may recognize that the party has an image problem, but they’ve conditioned their base to believe, expect and demand so much hateful madness that they can’t back away from it.
All they can do is talk about how they’re not really as crazy as all that and they’re going to rein in the loonies, and hope that that sounds enough like responsible maturity that normal people won’t be appalled by them anymore.
Unfortunately, the 1% (or .1%, or .01%) are the ones who get to set policy, and they don’t have much interest in what the rest of us think, except insofar as they desire it to conform more closely with their own Beltway/millionaire worldview.
Harry Reid stillhasn’t seen enough obstruction from Senate Republicans to support filibuster reform, saying, “The only way we’ll get rid of the filibuster is if it continues to be abused.” He has either been sound asleep for the past four years, is the most trusting man alive, or he is simply and completely full of the brown stuff.
I believe that what’s going on here is that filibuster reform would actually make life more difficult for Reid and the rest of the Democratic caucus. Their job isn’t to enact progressive economic laws that their corporate donors oppose, it’s to quietly prevent them while avoiding blame. The continued existence of the filibuster makes this easy: They can all declare their undying support for financial reform, or the public option, or tax increases for the rich, and then let the Republicans do all the dirty work of blocking it.
But if there’s no filibuster and all the Democrats need is a simple majority which is easily attainable, Reid must engage in reverse whipping: Finding enough conservative Democrats from the Villain Rotation to vote against Progressive Bill X in pretend defiance of the party leadership. Instead of just exposing one or two at a time to the wrath of their state’s Democratic voters, Reid could find himself forced to burn half his villain pool on every vote.
Worst case for Reid: Conservadems get primaried and replaced by progressives who refuse to join the Villain Rotation. Best case for Reid: Conservadems get primaried and replaced by actual Republicans, making his job even easier than it is now.
It’s apparently also okay as long as you have a whole bunch of innocent, hardworking hostages employees that would lose their jobs if your company got prosecuted out of existence. Of course, if you sent the individuals responsible to prison, that wouldn’t put everyone else out on the street. I can only assume that Breuer was worried that aggressive prosecution would drive those delicate souls to suicide like it did to Aaron Swartz.
I’d like to think Breuer is out at DOJ because of gross incompetence, but it’s probably more like he’s completed his mission of escorting the fraudsters safely across the statute of limitations threshold and is now ready to collect his reward.
After finally watching the hilariously bad strawmanathon of Atlas Shrugged: Part I, where corrupt CEOs, lobbyists and politicians conspire to make it harder for corporations to make obscene profits, it was really driven home that one of the biggest differences between the right and the left is a fundamental disagreement on who’s mooching and who’s producing.
A T-shirt featuring Barack Obama dressed as a witch doctor — complete with a bone through the president’s nose — is proving to be somewhat popular at the South Carolina tea party convention in Myrtle Beach, according to the shirt’s creator.
Bob Cramer, a Myrtle Beach local, told Palmetto Public Record that his homemade airbrushed shirt is meant to be a comment about President Obama’s “takeover of medicine” through the Affordable Care Act. The shirt claims that Obama-the-medicine-man is “your new doctor, coming soon to a clinic near you!”
“Some people tell me it’s racist, but it’s not racist — it’s political,” Cramer said. “Matter of fact, that’s how I got invited here.”
Oh, absolutely. I’m sure that if it were Hillarycare or Bidencare, we’d be seeing pictures of Hill or Joe as a witch doctor. But one of the commenters has the best explanation of all as to why it’s not racist:
How in the world is this racist? If the same image (witch doctor type outfit, pierced nose, etc) were made of say, George Bush—or any white politician—it would be fine, right? To say you can’t depict Obama in a way that would be fine for any other person BECAUSE of his race is sorta’ racist itself, IMO.
So according to this logic, anything that could hypothetically be applied to a white person, no matter how nonsensically, not only can’t be considered racist, but exposes anyone who calls it racist as being the real racist. It’s so stupid it’s brilliant!