Monday, April 30, 2007

I want to vote for that man

Mark Kleiman summarizes Edwards's speech to the California Democratic Convention.

Of course I also want to vote for Obama and even Clinton (Clinton because she's a woman and to make wingnuts' heads explode).

I particularly love primary school for the whole world.
"What if we committed to funding primary education for every child in the world?"

That would transform history. Of course it's not going to happen, but the thought of a President who is as mad as I am that it's not going to happen gives me chills.

On income inequality an interesting rhetorical strategy

"Income inequality: the top 300,000 earners earn more than the bottom 150 million."
There are currently fewer than 146 million employed Americans. Also the top 300,000 get less than 14% of total income (that is double the figure for top 0.1% from Saez click where it says "NEW" in red).

Clearly Edwards is comparing the income of the super rich to pensioners and housewive's. "Earners" means income recipients not employed people. This is not really fair to the appalling US economy. I am all in favor of clever rhetoric in a good cause. The issue is immense and, I'm sure, a huge game changing crush the Republicans for decades vote winner.

Light blogging as I am teaching a graduate tiny mini module of a course on inequality and economic growth. I use more equations, but the bottom line is that Edwards is right about how to achieve economic growth and equality and ... damn it's 2007. How am I going to stand the wait until November 4 2008 ?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2007/04/paul_krugman_an.html

April 30, 2007

Paul Krugman: Another Economic Disconnect
Edited by Mark Thoma

Why haven't high profits caused an investment boom?:

NY Times: Last fall Edward Lazear, the Bush administration's top economist, explained that what's good for corporations is good for America. "Profits," he declared, "provide the incentive for physical capital investment, and physical capital growth contributes to productivity growth. Thus profits are important not only for investors but also for the workers who benefit from the growth in productivity."

In other words, ask not for whom the closing bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Unfortunately, these days none of what Mr. Lazear said seems to be true. In the Bush years high profits haven't led to high investment, and rising productivity hasn't led to rising wages.

The second of those two disconnects has gotten a lot of attention... The administration and its allies whine that they aren't getting credit for a great economy, but because wages have been stagnant [since 2001]... the economy feels anything but great to most Americans.

Less attention, however, has been given to the first disconnect: the failure of high profits to produce an investment boom.

Since President Bush took office ... rising productivity and stagnant wages — workers are producing more, but they aren't getting paid more — has led to ... corporate profits more than doubling since 2000. Last year, profits as a share of national income were at the highest level ever recorded.

You might have expected this gusher of profits, which surely owes something to the Bush administration's pro-corporate, anti-labor tilt, to produce a corresponding gusher of business investment. But the reality has been more of a trickle. ...

It's possible that sluggish business investment reflects lack of confidence in the economic outlook —... that's understandable given the bursting of the housing bubble...

But ... there is a more disturbing possibility. Instead of investing in physical capital, many companies are using profits to buy back their own stock. And cynics suggest that the purpose is to produce a temporary rise in stock prices that increases the value of executives' stock options, even if it's against the long-term interests of investors.

It's not a far-fetched idea. Researchers at the Federal Reserve have found evidence that ... stock buybacks are strongly influenced by "agency conflicts," a genteel term for self-dealing by corporate insiders. ...

Whatever the reasons, we now have an economy with incredibly high profits and surprisingly low investment. This raises some immediate, short-run concerns: with housing still in free fall and consumers ever more stretched, optimistic projections for the economy depend on vigorous growth in business investment. And that doesn't seem to be happening.

The bigger issue, however, may be longer term. Mr. Lazear was right about one thing: business investment plays an important role in raising productivity. High investment in equipment and software was one major reason for the productivity takeoff that began in the Clinton era, and continued in the early years of this decade.

And low investment may be one reason productivity growth has slowed dramatically over the last three years — another development that hasn't received as much attention as it should.

In any case, next time someone tells you that any action that might reduce corporate profits a bit — like actually enforcing health and safety regulations or making it easier for workers to organize — will reduce business investment, bear in mind that today's record profits aren't being invested. Instead, they're being used to enrich executives and a few lucky stock owners.

anne

Anonymous said...

Another week has passed and another week with no health care plan from Barack Obama. Now, Obama told us in Nevada not to be impatient because he is so new to, well, health care and promised that there would soon be a plan. But, there is no plan and soon has become later. There is still no substance to Obama's campaign, and I am increasingly worried.

anne

Anonymous said...

Hillary Clinton, as I have argued and will continue to argue, has supported war in Iraq before war and supported occupation since and promises to support occupation in the future. I am not interested in having another warrior as president, and the idea of a warrior Clinton is intolerable. What I find are Democrats who are completely alienated by Clinton; Republicans are not the issue. No matter, Iraq is the tragedy of the age and I will never ever vote for a warrior Clinton.

anne

Anonymous said...

Lately, there have been profiles of the crticial aides of Hillary Cliton and Barack Obama in the Washington Post and New York Times. The worry in the advice given to Obama was that it was to never be substantive. The advice for Clinton was to be a Republican and to be mean at that.

....

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/29/AR2007042901661_pf.html

April 30, 2007

Clinton's PowerPointer: With Data and Slides, a Pollster Guides Campaign Strategy
By Anne E. Kornblut - Washington Post

....

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/01/magazine/01axelrod.t.html?ex=1333080000&en=d32e32dea39ef546&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

April 1, 2007

Obama's Narrator
By BEN WALLACE-WELLS

Anonymous said...

The war in and occupation of Iraq has been a profound tragedy, needless and lunatic. I have come to the conclusion that there can be no compromise in voting for those who have advocated and continue to advocate for the war and occupation.

The costs have been thouands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed, tens of thousands of Americans and who can ever say how many Iraqis wounded, $2 trillion materially and counting. We must leave Iraq immediately, though we are not leaving. How though can I ever vote for a supporter of war and occupation, especially a supposed Democrat?

anne

Anonymous said...

What John Edwards will need is continued boldness or courage to be substantive and enough polling support to gain the broad press attention deserved, and drown what I realize will be continued pettiness in narrow press coverage.

While I have much hope for Barack Obamam, I really do wonder and increasingly worry about where the depth is.

anne

Anonymous said...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/29/AR2007042901661_pf.html

April 30, 2007

Clinton's PowerPointer: With Data and Slides, a Pollster Guides Campaign Strategy
By Anne E. Kornblut - Washington Post

"If Clinton sounds middle-of-the-road, it may be because Penn is a longtime pollster for the centrist Democratic Leadership Council whose clients have included Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.)."

No; Joe Lieberman was never middle-of-the-road. Clinton wants to be Republican-light, which is always what Lieberman was, though on Iraq Lieberman is George Bush or Dick Cheney. This article tells me how right I have been about the Warrior Princess.

anne