Reversing 40 years of shareholder capitalism won’t be easy. But remember this: you, the working people of America, outnumber the corporate executives and big investors by a wide margin. Together, you can change the rules, and build a world where workers have real power.
Last Thursday, 39 million American parents began receiving a monthly child allowance ($300 per child under 6, and $250 per child from 6 through 17). It’s the biggest helping hand to American families in more than 85 years. They need it. Even before the pandemic, child poverty had reached post-war records. Even non-poor families were in trouble, burdened with deepening debt and missed payments. Most were living paycheck to paycheck – so if they lost a job, they and their kids could be plunged into poverty. It’s estimated that the new monthly child allowance will cut child poverty by more than half. But every single Republican in both the House and Senate voted against the measure.
You’re hearing a lot about inflation these days. Don’t buy it. Every time the economy gets a bit of wind in its sails and workers get a little wage increase, conservatives scream about inflation and price increases.
Biden’s failure to make the right to vote his highest priority – to visibly fight for it, make it his own personal cause, and go on the road to take that cause to the American people – is not only bad policy for the nation. It’s also bad politics. It may cost Democrats dearly in next year’s midterm elections, and beyond.
Finally, real patriotism means using your position of power in the media to inform and educate the public rather than weaponize lies and promote extremism to get more clicks. I’m talking to you, Mark Zuckerberg, and you, Rupert Murdoch. On this 4th of July, let’s commit to real patriotism. It’s not easy, but it’s the necessary hard work we must undertake to make this country better for everyone.
Why Debt is the official business of the economy
Seventy percent of the US economy depends on consumer spending. But wealthy people, who now own more of the economy than at any time since the 1920s, spend only a small percentage of their incomes. Lower-income people, who were in trouble even before the pandemic, spend whatever they have – which has become very little. In a very practical sense, the U.S. economy depends on the spending of most Americans who don’t have much to spend. That spells trouble ahead.
The greatest danger we face today is not coming from China. It is our drift toward proto-fascism. We must be careful not to demonize China so much that we encourage a new paranoia that further distorts our priorities, encourages nativism and xenophobia, and leads to larger military outlays rather than public investments in education, infrastructure, and basic research on which America’s future prosperity and security critically depend. The central question for America—an ever more diverse America, whose economy and culture are rapidly fusing with the economies and cultures of the rest of the globe—is whether it is possible to rediscover our identity and our mutual responsibility without creating another enemy.
Everyone ought to celebrate when those at the bottom get higher wages. The typical American worker hasn’t had a real raise in four decades. Income inequality is out of control. Wealth inequality is into the stratosphere (where Jeff Bezos is heading, apparently). If wages at the bottom rise because employers need to pay more to get the workers they need, that’s not a problem. It’s a victory. Instead of complaining about a so-called “labor shortage,” Republicans ought to be complaining about the shortage of jobs paying a living wage. But don’t hold your breath,
ProPublica’s bombshell report on America’s super-wealthy paying little or nothing in taxes reveals not only their humongous wealth but also how they’ve parlayed that wealth into political power to shrink their taxes to almost nothing. Jeff Bezos, the richest man in America, reportedly paid no federal income taxes in 2007 and 2011. Elon Musk, the second richest, paid no taxes in 2018. Warren Buffett, often ranking number 3, paid a tax rate of 0.1 percent between 2014 and 2018. The real scandal is it’s legal.
The super-rich have bought armies of lobbyists to keep their taxes minuscule and to create tax loopholes large enough to drive their Lamborghinis through
So without Manchin, is the For the People Act dead? Probably, unless Biden can convince one Republican senator to join him in supporting it. Would Mitt Romney or Lisa Murkowski or Susan Collins be willing to do so and buck the voter-suppressing, Trump-dominated GOP? Or will history record that Republican senators were more united in their opposition to democracy than Democratic senators are in their support for it? The optimist in me says Romney will do it because he’s an institutionalist who’s appalled the authoritarianism that Trump has unleashed in the GOP. The cynical realist in me says no way.
Something I’ve just learned about Amazon – one of America’s most profitable and fastest-growing corporations, headed by the richest man in the world: According to the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Amazon warehouse workers sustained nearly double the rate of serious injury incidents last year as did workers in non-Amazon warehouses.
The greatest danger to American democracy right now is not coming from Russia, China, or North Korea. It is coming from the Republican Party. Only 25 percent of voters self-identify as Republican, the GOP’s worst showing against Democrats since 2012 and sharply down since last November. But those who remain in the Party are far angrier, more ideological, more truth-denying, and more racist than Republicans who preceded them. And so are the lawmakers who represent them. Today’s Republican Party increasingly is defined not by its shared beliefs but by its shared delusions. Last Friday, 54 U.S. senators voted in favor of proceeding to debate a House-passed bill to establish a commission to investigate the causes and events of the January 6th insurrection. This was 6 votes short of the number of votes needed for “cloture,” or stopping debate – meaning any further consideration of the bill would have been filibustered by Republicans indefinitely. So there will be no investigation.
Maybe it’s wishful thinking to declare the pandemic over in the US, and presumptuous to conclude what lessons we’ve learned from it. So consider this list a first draft.
Maybe it’s wishful thinking to declare the pandemic over in the US, and presumptuous to conclude what lessons we’ve learned. So consider this a first draft.
Most Republican voters believe him. It is natural to want to put all this unpleasantness behind us. We are finally turning the corner on the pandemic and the economy. Why look back to the trauma of the 2020 election? Because we cannot put it behind us. Trump’s big lie and all that it has provoked are still with us. If we forget what has occurred the trauma will return, perhaps in even more terrifying form.
America prefers to look forward rather than back. We’re a land of second acts. We move on. This can be a strength. We don’t get bogged down in outmoded traditions, old grudges, obsolete ways of thinking. We constantly reinvent. The downside is a tendency toward collective amnesia about what we’ve been through, and a corresponding reluctance to do anything about it or hold anyone accountable.
By almost any measure, Joe Biden’s first 100 days have been hugely successful. Getting millions of Americans inoculated against COVID-19 and beginning to revive the economy are central to that success.
Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos want to colonize outer space to save humanity, but they couldn’t care less about protecting the rights of workers here on earth. Musk’s SpaceX just won a $2.9 billion NASA contract to land astronauts on the moon, beating out Bezos. The money isn’t a big deal for either of them. Musk is worth $179.7 billion. Bezos, $197.8 billion. Together, that’s almost as much as the bottom 40 percent of Americans combined. And the moon is only their stepping-stone. Musk says SpaceX will land humans on Mars by 2026 and wants to establish a colony by 2050. Its purpose, he says, will be to ensure the continued survival of our species. “If we make life multiplanetary, there may come a day when some plants and animals die out on Earth but are still alive on Mars,” he tweeted.
People around the world witnessing the fragility of American democracy “want to see whether our democracy is resilient, whether we can rise to the challenge here at home. That will be the foundation for our legitimacy in defending democracy around the world for years to come.” That resilience and legitimacy will depend in large part on whether Republicans or Democrats prevail on voting rights. Not since the years leading up to the Civil War has the clash between the nation’s two major parties so clearly defined the core challenge facing American democracy.The Bigot Party | The Smirking Chimp
The most dramatic change in American capitalism over the last half century has been the emergence of corporate behemoths like Amazon and the simultaneous shrinkage of organized labor. The resulting imbalance has spawned near-record inequalities of income and wealth, corruption of democracy by big money, and the abandonment of the working class.Bessemer and the Power Shift | The Smirking Chimp
A quarter century ago, I and other members of Bill Clinton’s cabinet urged him to reject the Republican’s proposal to end welfare. It was too punitive, we said, subjecting poor Americans to deep and abiding poverty. But Clinton’s political advisers warned that unless he went along, he jeopardized his reelection.How Bidenomics Unites America | The Smirking Chimp
In 1963, when the newly sworn in Lyndon Baines Johnson was advised against using his limited political capital on the controversial issue of civil and voting rights for Black Americans, he responded: “Well, what the hell’s the presidency for?”Biden’s no LBJ but he must protect voting rights. What else is the presidency for? | US voting rights | The Guardian
As the Trump Party takes over the GOP, anti-Trump Republicans are abandoning the party in droves – thereby weakening it for general elections while simultaneously strengthening Trump’s hand inside it. It’s great news for Democrats and Joe Biden.Why Trump’s Takeover of the GOP is Great for Biden and the Democrats (but a Potential Disaster for America) | The Smirking Chimp
Texas’s prevailing social Darwinism was expressed most succinctly last week by the mayor of Colorado City, who accused his constituents – trapped in near sub-zero temperatures and complaining about lack of heat, electricity, and drinkable water – of being the “lazy” products of a “socialist government,” adding “I’m sick and tired of people looking for a damn handout!” and predicting “only the strong will survive and the weak will perish.”The Freedom to Freeze | The Smirking Chimp
This week’s Senate trial is unlikely to convict Donald Trump of inciting sedition against the United States. At least 17 Republican senators are needed for conviction, but only five have signaled they’ll go along.The Monstrous Predicament Trump Left Behind | The Smirking Chimp
If there were ever a time for bold government, it is now. Covid, joblessness, poverty, raging inequality and our last chance to preserve the planet are together creating an existential inflection point.Why Republicans Won’t Agree to Biden’s Big Plans and Why He Should Ignore Them | The Smirking Chimp
The sudden lurch from Trump to Biden is generating vertigo all over Washington, including the so-called fourth branch of government – CEOs and their army of lobbyists.CEOs’ Newfound Concern for Democracy is Bunk | The Smirking Chimp