Add to My Yahoo!
  Home Wednesday, 08 July 2009 
Main Menu
 In Brief
 Ottawa Scene
 Canadian Provinces
 USA Today
 Countries of the World
 Key Current Issues
 Crime Stories
 Sporting Life
 Canadian Republic
 Heritage Now
 Contact Us
 We Recommend
 Privacy Policy

Login Form


Remember me
Forgotten your password?
No account yet? Create one

Today In History
On July 8, 1939
Henry Havelock Ellis, English physician and author, died

musiclibre web media sharing and recommendations

IF YOU’VE GOT QUESTIONS ABOUT SOLAR ENERGY ... Not all that long ago now President Barack Obama "announced that ... grants will be available for those wishing to do research in renewable energy ... such as wind [and] solar." The next day "German industrial conglomerate Siemens AG said ... it will acquire a 28 per cent stake in Archimede Solar Energy S.p.A. to expand its expertise in solar thermal power plants." Meanwhile, for mere mortals who just want to know more the OpenSolar blog in the San Francisco Bay Area has been expanding its resources for letting you "ask questions about solar technology and get personal answers from experienced solar professionals and installation owners." All this remains one big piece in the big new clean-energy future that lies ahead. You can check it out in depth at ABOUT OPEN SOLAR!

OBAMANOMICS IS THE RIGHT STUFF RIGHT NOW .. if only Obama can figure out how to sell it?   PDF  Print 
Written by L. Frank Bunting  
Sunday, 24 August 2008  

"During my formative years," Barack Obama has told David Leonhardt of the New York Times, "there was still ideological competition between a social-democratic or even socialist agenda and a free-market, Milton Friedman agenda. I think it was natural for me to ask questions of both sides and maybe try to synthesize approaches." Mr. Leonhardt’s report on the new Obamanomics, on the eve of the Democratic Party Convention in Denver, suggests that the resulting synthesis just might be close enough for jazz to just what the doctored ordered, for the "broken" US and even global economies today. The trouble is that the synthesis remains for the most part buried in "a hodgepodge of position papers." The "biggest weak spot in his, and his party’s, economic agenda" is that Mr. Obama "still hasn’t quite figured out how to sell it" — simply and "elegantly" (in the old manner of Ronald Reagan). It may be that his new vice presidential running mate Joe Biden will be able to help. One way or another, something has to happen, soon. As Mr. Leonhardt also explains, "John McCain’s economic vision, as he has laid it out during the campaign, amounts to a slightly altred version of Republican orthodoxy, with tax cuts at the core" — that has done so much to create the current mess in the first place.

A dozen key theses of Obamanomics ... according to David Leonhardt in the Sunday New York Times, August 24, 2008 ...

1. "Ever since Wall Street bankers were called back from their vacations last summer to deal with the convulsions in the mortgage market, the economy has been lurching from one crisis to the next. The International Monetary Fund has described the situation as ‘the largest financial shock since the Great Depression.’ The details are too technical for most of us to understand. (They’re too technical for many bankers to understand, which is part of the problem.)"

2. "Americans have still been buying ... but they have been doing so with debt. A big chunk of that debt will never be repaid, which is the most basic explanation for the financial crisis. Even after the crisis has passed, the larger problem of income stagnation will remain. It’s hardly the economy’s only serious problem either. There is also the slow unraveling of the employer-based health-insurance system and the fact that, come 2011, the baby boomers will start to turn 65, setting off an enormous rise in the government’s Medicare and Social Security obligations."

3. "I have spent much of this year trying to get a handle on what is sometimes called Obamanomics and have come away thinking that Obama does have an economic ideology. It’s just not a completely familiar one. Depending on how you look at it, he is both more left-wing and more right-wing than many people realize."

4. For "15 years, Democratic Party economics ... was the battle of the Bobs. On one side was Clinton’s labor secretary and longtime friend, Bob Reich, who argued that the government should invest in roads, bridges, worker training and the like to stimulate the economy and help the middle class. On the other side was Bob Rubin, a former Goldman Sachs executive turned White House aide, who favored reducing the deficit to soothe the bond market, bring down interest rates and get the economy moving again. Clinton cast his lot with Rubin ... Obama ... told me a story about Reich and Rubin .... He was sitting at a conference table, with Rubin two seats to his left and Reich across from him. ‘One of the points I raised,’ Obama told me, ‘is if you just use you, Bob, and you, Bob, as caricatures, the truth is, both of you acknowledge the world is more complicated.’ By this, Obama didn’t simply mean that their views were more nuanced ... . He meant that both have come to acknowledge that the other man is, in part, correct."

5. "Obama’s agenda starts not with raising taxes to reduce the deficit, as Clinton’s ended up doing, but with changing the tax code so that families making more than $250,000 a year pay more taxes and nearly everyone else pays less. That would begin to address inequality. Then there would be Reich-like investments in alternative energy, physical infrastructure and such, meant both to create middle-class jobs and to address long-term problems like global warming."

6. "Today’s Democratic consensus has moved the party to the left, and on issues like inequality and climate change, Obama appears willing to be even more aggressive than many fellow Democrats. From this standpoint, he’s a true liberal. Yet he also says he believes that there are significant parts of Reaganism worth preserving. So his policies often involve setting up a government program to address a market failure but then trying to harness the power of the market within that program. This, at times, makes him look like a conservative Democrat."

7. "‘The market is the best mechanism ever invented for efficiently allocating resources to maximize production,’ Obama told me. ‘And I also think that there is a connection between the freedom of the marketplace and freedom more generally.’ But, he continued, ‘there are certain things the market doesn’t automatically do.’ In other words, free-market policy isn’t likely to dominate his agenda; his project would be fixing the market ... And it does seem to need fixing. For three decades now ... laissez-faire capitalism hasn’t delivered nearly what its proponents promised. It has created big budget deficits, the most pronounced income inequality since the 1920s and the current financial crisis."

8. In "Obama’s view, the risks to market-based capitalism now have more to do with too little regulation than too much. He can sound almost righteous on this point. He talked to me about the need for a moral element to capitalism and said that the crony capitalism of recent years should be the nightmare of any market-loving economist. At times, this part of his message can seem to overwhelm his respect for the market. Obama’s aides have justified his proposed windfall-profits tax on oil companies, for example, by saying that it makes up for the unjustifiable tax breaks the energy industry has received in the past. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a tax targeted at a specific industry, which, as some economists have pointed out, is just the sort of tinkering that the Chicago School detests."

9. "The Tax Policy Center, a research group run by the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, has done the most detailed analysis of the Obama and McCain tax plans, and it has published a series of fascinating tables. For the bottom 80 percent of the population — those households making $118,000 or less — McCain’s various tax cuts would mean a net savings of about $200 a year on average. Obama’s proposals would bring $900 a year in savings. So for most people, Obama is the tax cutter in this campaign."

10. "Obama would raise taxes on" the "top 0.1 percent by an average of $800,000 a year ... It’s hard not to look at that figure and be a little stunned ... But it’s also worth putting the number in some context. The bulk of Obama’s tax increases on the wealthy — about $500,000 of that $800,000 — would simply take away Bush’s tax cuts. The remaining $300,000 wouldn’t nearly reverse their pretax income gains in recent years ... To put it another way, the wealthy have done so well over the past few decades, with their incomes soaring and tax rates plummeting, that Obama’s plan would not come close to erasing their gains ... Warren Buffett, an Obama supporter" will "tell you his preference is ... let the market work, however way it’s going to work, and then just tax the heck out of people at the end and just redistribute it."

11. "The second criticism is that Obama’s tax increases would send an already-weak economy into a tailspin. The problem with this argument is that it’s been made before, fairly recently, and it proved to be spectacularly wrong. When Bill Clinton raised taxes on upper-income families in 1993, his supply-side critics insisted that he would ruin the economy. As we now know, Clinton presided over the longest economic expansion on record, the fastest income growth most workers had experienced in a generation and the disappearance of the federal-budget deficit. His successor, Bush, then did exactly what the supply-siders wanted, cutting upper-income tax rates, and the results were much worse."

12. "I asked Obama whether he thought he had been able to tell an effective story about the economy during this campaign ... He ... said this: ‘I think I can tell a pretty simple story. Ronald Reagan ushered in an era that reasserted the marketplace and freedom ... Bill Clinton to some extent continued that pattern, although he may have smoothed out the edges of it. And George Bush took Ronald Reagan’s insight and ran it over a cliff ... I think the simple way of telling the story is that when Bill Clinton said the era of big government is over, he wasn’t arguing for an era of no government ... what we need to bring about is the end of the era of unresponsive and inefficient government ... so that the government is laying the groundwork, the framework, the foundation for the market to operate effectively and for every single individual to be able to be connected with that market and to succeed in that market. And it’s now a global marketplace ... Now, that’s the story ... telling it elegantly — ‘‘low taxes, smaller government’’ — the way the Republicans have, I think is more of a challenge.’"


Only registered users can write comments.
Please login or register.

Powered by AkoComment 1.0 beta 2!

Last Updated ( Friday, 24 October 2008 )

: Home :: In Brief :: Ottawa Scene :: Canadian Provinces :: USA Today :: Countries of the World :: Key Current Issues :: Entertainment :: Crime Stories :: Sporting Life :: Canadian Republic :: Heritage Now :: Contact Us :: We Recommend :: Privacy Policy :
counterweights magazine - political debate
powered by mambo open source designed by peekmambo and fluid web design
counterweights is part of the good content network