May I Use The "D"-Word Yet?

2 September, 2011
by Pirate Joe.

The August jobs report just came out, and man, was it bad. Job Growth: 0. Well, O.K., it's not like we lost any but wait: if job growth is zero, then economic growth is zero. As we used to say back in the '60's, that's a "bad scene".

This leads me to the 8th of September and president Obama's big jobs speech. What in the world is he going to say? What can he say? Is he going to announce the revival of the FDR-era NRA, CCC and WPA? Not with this Tea-Party congress, sonny-boy.

You may pause here, if you wish, to insert the standard right-wing conservative, Tea-Party Republican mantra about cutting taxes on the ruling class, (who are euphemistically refered to as "job-creators") and the de rigueur admonishment to "pick yourself up by your own bootstraps". If everybody's finished drowning the government in the bathtub, I'll continue:

Right now, Obama's in a seat so hot I wouldn't want to exchange places for any amount of money. What brings a little bit of the unusual to this situation is that it's almost all his own fault. Regardless, he must deal with it. The way I see it now, his only strategy (and it's a weak one at best) is to make the grand, sweeping, jobs proposals he should have made in January 2009, now. The Republicans, of course, will fly, to a one, into an immediate rage and declare the whole idea D.O.A., demonstrating, as usual, their undying allegiance to the ruling class. Next? Repeat as often as necessary with other good ideas and programmes for the Republicans to shoot down until they have painted themselves as the Party of Scrooge with their own brushes, just in time for November, 2012. However, remembering the Michael Dukakis campaign of 1988, I must say that I don't think the strategists at the Democratic National Committee are quite sophisticated enough to come up with anything like that. I do think that Obama is beginning to sense how vulnerable he is. With the Tea-Party congress however, there's little or nothing he can do about it.

I said beginning to sense how vulnerable he is. The key word is "beginning" as opposed to "has". It hasn't stoped him from delaying the implementation of a mixed bag of environmental rules set to take effect soon. Most, (but not all) of these rules made sense, and their side-tracking will further alienate his "base". He's good at that.

But what's far worse, is that this could presage a "yes" decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, a horrendous project that will have devastating environmental consequences, (and I don't mean global warming). I'm talking about the bulldozing of thousands of hectares land, noise and light pollution, and the certainty of spills containing not only oil, but also hundreds of nightmarish chemicals we are not even allowed to know the composition of. This is nothing more than another appeasement for Big Oil, the environment be dammed.

Yet I digress. While Washington whiled away it's time with tax cuts for the rich, budget cuts and eliminating disaster aid, (Republicans) eliminating environmental safeguards, pressuring state A.G.'s to drop suits against the banksters who caused this crisis and forgetting about Main Street (Democrats), and bailing out the criminals who made this happen, (both) this recession evolved. Evolved, and I'm going to use the "D"-word here, (parental discretion is advised): evolved into a depression. I really don't see why we can't be honest about it; after all how can we appreciate the scope of what must be done without comprehending of the depth of the problem?

Let's review some basic facts: Consumer spending accounts for 70% of the national economy. You can't dance around it: it's just true. Now for some deductive reasoning: If consumers don't have money, they can't spend money. If consumers can't spend money, there is little demand for products and services. If there is little demand for products and services, folks are not going to produce said products and services. Therefore, no one will be hired to make those products and services (that no one can afford to buy).

Tea-Baggers sit down now, because this will make you swoon: There are only a few ways to get the economy started again, and all of them require putting money into the hands of the middle class and poor. None, by the way, involve enriching the ruling class. Je suis desolé.

The first is, of course jobs. Oh, and did I mention jobs, jobs and jobs? We need to get folks working again. Stuff that private sector crap. We need a new NRA now. Actually, we needed it in January of 2009. Think FDR.

The second would be grants. Get money into people's hands so they can spend it. That is, create demand for products and services. Think FDR again.

Third: Redistribute wealth. As long as the (relatively finite supply of) money is locked in vaults at the top, it will not circulate, (i.e. be spent).

The bottom line? Without spending, there will be no recovery (and) unless you provide money to be spent, there will be no spending. Get it?