Charlie Rangel’s Fast Moving World

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This is so much fun on its own. I don’t want to further comment — just smile.
Charles Rangel invites you to “like” his government Facebook page.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

11 comments on “Charlie Rangel’s Fast Moving World

  1. yoyo says:

    Your writing, and the initial sounding reasonable, very critical and did not really take some time, I am perfect. Somewhere within the paragraphs you really can make me, but only while a believer. I still have a problem with your logic jump, you can do good to help fill those gaps. If you really can achieve this, I will eventually be hooked.

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  2. DonS says:

    “Add to this underlying political reality the further fact Obama, to use the expression Steve used in another context, has a “suck up, kick down” personality. What Obama most craves is to win the approval and respect of the Jamie Dimons of the world.” (D Kervick)
    Obama’s new hires continue to be from the financiual ‘elite’. While paying lip service to jobs, Obama’s increasing emphasis is on the debit/debt side of the equation, particularly the problem of the long term debt, which could be handled by rational policies that did not coddle the rich, the corporations and the defense industry. Obama used to be more schizophrenic on this; talking both stimulus/jobs and retrenching (medicare, social security)/debt. He seemed to recognized the difference between short term need for stimulus as well as longer term reform.
    Obama no longer seems to think sensibly on the subject. He talks debt all the time, hints that changes need to be made in social security, using vague language to attempt to preserve his deniability. He turns his back on the unemployed, not leading as he should, as cravenly as he turns his back on the torture of Bradley Manning in Quantico.
    Obama is counting on the economy to recover and provide jobs as a matter of course. But this is not happening, nor will it happen without government leadership. But Obama’s game of pandering to the rich in the hopes of gleaning enough ‘right of center’ repubs, while finessing the progressives, requires he keep a low profile, replete with platitudes instead of leadership. His failure to deliver could be compared to the despicable Arora, outed in the lead post.
    The teabaggers are indeed making a squawk in the state houses and the repubs are nervous that they are overplaying their hand. Pushback, even backlash seems to be setting in. Obama gives tepid lip service to the unions. He seems incapable of sticking his head up very far.
    Even if Obama gets reelected, the middle class continues to slide further into economic uncertainty. Obama’s electoral slogan ought to be “It could be worse. Trust me”. My thought, it couldn’t be much worse.

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  3. questions says:

    Good News! They’re killing each other over GOLD in them thar hills!
    “Seizing on the decade-long surge in gold prices, combatants from multiple sides of the conflict are shifting into gold mining, among them leftist guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and fighters from the shadowy armed groups that rose from the ashes of right-wing paramilitary squads. ”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/04/world/americas/04colombia.html?_r=1&hp
    Do we do nothing right? Ever?

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  4. questions says:

    Thanks for the comment, Dan.
    I know the technical definition of “structural unemployment” at this point thanks to your cluing me in! And I read Brad DeLong daily, along with some other econobloggers, so I re-read the definition pretty regularly and I have taken note of the evenness of unemployment across sectors and so on.
    My sense, though, is that there can be a broadening of the definition of “structural” to cover things that I think of as structures, even though they aren’t entirely well-classified under the rubric of a “mismatch between the work force and available jobs” whether by virtue of training issues or immobility issues.
    I get the feeling that as we learn to live with less, as we learn to cut back on services, as we learn to volunteer rather than be paid, we are recapitulating a different job market.
    Used to be a time when women didn’t work and lots of necessary stuff got done with fewer people. Well, it looks like education and retail and a lot of other job categories are going the way of the dinosaurs and where there is still something of a need for a person, volunteers will be called upon. One fifth of us is underemployed or unemployed so there are plenty of potential volunteers.
    (When was the last time you saw a parking garage attendant? A cashier? Someone to put 80 dollars worth of gas into your tank? Someone to check out your library books? There are prototype grocery carts that will ring up sales via RFID as you put things into the carts. There are robots to assemble things, automations all over the place. That’s a lot of job categories to go away.)
    Between dumping actual people on the one hand, and learning to do without on the other, and exporting labor to low wage nations on the third, and exporting food production on the fourth hand, we have created an economic freak show that helps the rent seekers, but doesn’t really help the rest of us stay employed. And I tend to think of this creation as a structure implicit in the workings of capital.
    Watch for the teacher-bashing, union-busting, government-trashing Republican/rent-seeking coalition. These workers represent the last bastion of pushback against big capital. If they win the argument over time, it will become harder and harder to find any firm structures to push back against our coming-to-be feudal economy.
    Now I know that technically, none of this is “structural” in the technical sense. I have that down at this point.
    But I’m quite comfortable fucking around with concepts, stretching them past the recognition point, and seeing what else they can do. “Structural” seems to be able to capture the sense of social and economic structures, game theory structures, the micro-to-the-macro structures that I think I see in the current economic dynamic.
    I don’t think the gov’t CAN create sufficient demand to make up for what we once had because we have political structures in place in a competitive electoral system with a lot of people suffering from social rage and resentment, because we really have learned to do without all sorts of services we were in love with a scant few years ago, because after the party we’re hungover and puking our guts out. We don’t want another party like that any time soon.
    These all seem to me to be structures in our economy. And if they are cyclically-appearing structures, they still have to run the cycle because they are structures.
    In the end, I am unconvinced by the traditional technical definition of “structural unemployment”. But maybe there’s some really great Krugman piece or DeLong or Quiggen or Konczal piece or Yves Smith piece or something that will say simply and firmly that I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about. And likely, it’ll be both right and wrong at the same time! I know the technical terms here, but I’m simply disagreeing with those boundaries the way one does when one reads extra-curricular material!
    If you find a piece that engages with the terms at hand — on my terms — let me know. I am not in need of another restatement of the technical definitions and the clinging to guns and religion among economists. I’m interested in a meta-level read of “structural” by someone who knows the terrain better than I do!
    Thanks again for the comment, though.
    And by the way, I think this mess is far less “Big Bad Obama is bought by capital” and far more there simply isn’t enough political power to raise taxes, redistribute the billionaire boys’ club money, and employ the millions in useful activity. Rent seekers do well because we all quite willingly pay them for our telecom and transportation and energy and medical desires and needs. Union-bashers succeed because we are captivated by social resentment. Lack of public sector investment succeeds because we fear gov’t power and we love corporate power.
    Position-taking in competitive electoral systems creates the space for precisely what we end up with. There will always be people willing to exploit the structural spaces, and there will always be supporters.
    Sad.

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  5. Dan Kervick says:

    “And here’s some employment news. Of course, nothing is structural, ever … Because just as jobs go extinct, new ones come on line. Always and well-timed….”
    That is not the issue. To accept that our currently extremely high levels of unemployment are not structural does not at all mean that we should expect new jobs to just come on line rapidly to replace the ones that were lost.
    The term “structural unemployment” refers to an alleged mismatch between the work that is in demand by employers with the resources and willingness to hire, on the one hand, and the skills that can be supplied by the current labor force on the other hand. The appeal to this alleged structural unemployment is corporate and beltway America’s phony-baloney excuse for not taking strong fiscal action to alleviate unemployment, and for ditching an activist fiscal policy in favor of deficit terrorism and austerity. The suggestion is that there is actually a lot of pent up demand for high-skill labor, and if only all those dumbass unemployed folks had prepared themselves with the right skills, the business world would be gobbling them up and putting them to work. But since there is a “skills mismatch”, these poor undersupplied corporations find themselves all dressed up and ready to grow, but with no one to hire.
    It’s bunk. Companies aren’t hiring because they
    there is both inadequate aggregate demand and inadequate public investment, and as a result there are few opportunities for growth. Under the circumstances, all companies can do is try to enhance profitability in an environment of anemic growth by keeping costs low. And that means no hiring. Without government activism, the economy will continue to languish and sputter for years, especially now that the Europeans are beginning to feel the recessionary pinch of their own ill-advised austerity programs.
    What’s worse is that even if growth rebounds, our highly productive economy and workforce might reach a new equilibrium with permanently higher levels of “natural” unemployment. This new equilibrium high unemployment level also won’t be so-called structural unemployment, because we aren’t talking about a mismatch between available skills and desired skills, but a mismatch between the wages companies are willing to pay in a system in which they are committed to paying fortunes to top executives and investors, and the wages that are required by workers to achieve a decent standard of living in America.
    If you ask me, we are likely to see such permanently high levels of completely unnecessary unemployment for some time, and an economy that persistently performs well below capacity, even as it delivers fortunes to a privileged few. And you know why? Not because of structural unemployment. But because the corporate world and their Washington lackeys *like* high unemployment. They *prefer* a system in which everyone who actually has work has to grovel and bow just to keep that work, in a labor environment where there is a built-in pool of job-hungry competitors. They *prefer* a system in which nobody except the very top level of earners has any bargaining power whatsoever, and in which one’s only available response to declining or stagnant wages, lost benefits and lost protections is to say, “Thank you for at least not firing me.” Our bosses call this “competitiveness”, and will never be happy so long as somewhere, anywhere, some worker in America has a higher standard of living than his average Chinese counterpart.
    You might think that there would be a political price to be paid for this kind of tolerated wretchedness. But the socio-economic imbalance of political power has reached such scandalously extreme proportions that it doesn’t matter anymore. Obama is not paid by his bosses to make “America” well off. He is only paid to make a few Americans well off. Add to this underlying political reality the further fact Obama, to use the expression Steve used in another context, has a “suck up, kick down” personality. What Obama most craves is to win the approval and respect of the Jamie Dimons of the world. He does this by throwing some of the serfs under the bus when the boss asks him to jump, and then he pats himself on the back for “making the tough decisions.” H is an obsequious tool of the powerful, and a coward to boot.

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  6. questions says:

    And here’s some employment news. Of course, nothing is structural, ever…… Because just as jobs go extinct, new ones come on line. Always and well-timed…..
    “In an industry that employs nearly 1 in 10 Americans and has long been a reliable job generator, companies increasingly are looking to peddle more products with fewer employees. Shipping and warehousing workers are being replaced by robots that can process packages more efficiently than humans. Virtual assistants are taking the place of customer service representatives. Kiosks and self-service machines are reducing the need for checkout clerks.
    Vending machines now sell iPods, bathing suits, gold coins, sunglasses and razors; some will even dispense prescription drugs and medical marijuana to consumers willing to submit to a fingerprint scan. And shoppers are finding information on touch screen kiosks, rather than talking to attendants.”
    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-robot-retail-20110304,0,6578831.story

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  7. questions says:

    VOTER FRAUD IS RAMPANT AND WE MUST DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!!!!!!
    Especially in Indiana where so far they only have a photo ID law — we need GENETIC TESTING and a Republican in every voter booth if a Democrat is voting!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just to make sure there’s no fraud.
    “Indiana’s top elections official was indicted Thursday on voter fraud and other charges for allegedly listing his ex-wife’s address as his own on voting and loan forms, and ineligibly serving on a town council, a prosecutor said.
    The Hamilton County grand jury charged Republican Secretary of State Charlie White with seven felony counts in all, including three counts of voter fraud, two counts of perjury, and one count each of theft and financial fraud, said John Dowd, one of two special prosecutors asked to investigate the matter.”
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chibrknews-indiana-elections-chief-charged-with-voter-fraud-20110303,0,7948188.story
    Oh, wait, it’s a Republican charged with voter fraud. Well, then.
    Oh, wait, it’s the Secretary of State, the guy in charge of voter integrity.
    !!!!!!!
    Gotta love Indiana. Gotta love the official Republican anxiety about vote integrity.
    Gotta LOVE irony!
    And this, too!!!!!!
    “He is charged with theft for allegedly continuing to collect a salary from the town council after he was no longer eligible to serve. The financial fraud charge pertains to White’s allegedly lying under oath about his address on loan documents.”

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  8. Solomon Kleinsmith says:

    Oh great… another avenue for him to lie to people!
    Solomon Kleinsmith
    Rise of the Center

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  9. questions says:

    Ron Paul misses so many points it’s shocking that he breathes.
    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/03/rep-ron-paul-education-is-not-a-right-video.php?ref=fpb
    No one has a right to anyone else’s wealth. Education and medical care are not rights. We tax waiters and waitresses from their first dollar and then they can’t afford their education and they go 200,000 dollars into debt. It’s crazy.
    That’s a paraphrase.
    Ok, to take apart a little bit of this mess, probably there aren’t a lot of people who go 200 grand in debt in student loans. The feds don’t have a ceiling that high and there probably aren’t a lot of sub prime lenders willing to let waiters and waitresses go that far under. Med school is a little different, though. But I think he means college here, maybe even community college?!
    Next, many state constitutions do indeed treat primary and secondary education as a right. So yes, we tax to pay for that.
    Third, I get the feeling that the Honorable Mr. Paul has made use of other people’s higher education and would continue to prefer a world in which his surgeons have a college education, his staffers can read, write, AND locate Egypt on a map (unlike, apparently, some rightwing TV “news” networks’s staffers), and I would bet that he’d like a whole bunch of people to have college and graduate educations in medical molecular biology, neurology, and all the other sciences that make his longevity more likely rather than less so.
    And perhaps the Hon. Mr. Paul might like public health services so he and his family don’t die in an epidemic, or from preventable disasters — oh the lack of structural engineers and materials scientists — if only we’d funding the guaranteed loan programs and not made the switch from grants to loans…. I can hear the moaning now. To save some precious wealth today, we sold out the future. And then we were somehow transported across time to our very own future in which life sucked — all for an extra 100 sq ft on the house, and a trip to France. Gosh we were dumbfucks.
    And further, the story goes something like this — we tax, we subsidize, we all do better, and we make up that tax loss by living in a better world.
    We tax, we overcome collective action problems, we are happier.
    But some people, the Hon. Mr. Paul among them apparently, so deeply feel the loss of that tax money, that precious lifeblood, that money, that wealth, that blood, that we cannot even begin to imagine a world in which that loss could be repaid by a greater gain. The Hon. Mr. Paul suffers greatly from future discount. I wish that our medical team had figured out a cure for this. Sadly, the real cure is a combination of:
    compassion
    imagination
    thoughtfulness
    empathy
    care for others
    a thick reading diet of apocalyptic fiction and disease-of-the-month fiction (my dog died, my kid died, I’m dying, my neighbor died, Oprah’s dead and dying guest of the week…), some Plato….
    imagination
    economics
    imagination
    So let’s imagine a world in which the market fails (hard to do!!!) and no one provides cheap enough quality education such that we have amazing technology, amazing medicine, pollution controls, lots of food, entertainment, schools, roads, and all the other public services we’ve gotten used to — and things start to look a little dicey.
    Dear Hon. Mr. Paul, you really need to get out more and talk to people.
    Why not join up with Charlie Rangel on Facebook and listen to the sufferings of dreams deferred, of brains gone unused, of dying people who could be saved were anyone to go full Kantian and see their duty in cultivating their talents and making a world in which we all can cultivate our talents.
    Go for it, Ron! You, too, can overcome the future discount, the love of money, the greedheadedness you speak for. You can overcome the money illusion, the attachment to every real dollar amount as if it spoke to your soul, of your soul, as if it were your soul. You, too, can become a Kantian!

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  10. questions says:

    Things in Wisconsin move a little more slowly than Rangel speaks, and maybe he can rent out some extra space in Madison, but for now, the Dem assembly members are meeting constituents out on the front lawn in a March in the midwest, and RASMUSSEN reports that a lot of people really don’t like Walker.
    I will take Rangel’s attempts to talk to people, even while he has some interesting relationships with IRS forms over Walker’s way of relating to people. Seriously, mild self-dealing on rent controlled apartments and island getaways ain’t nothin’ compared to Walker’s general attitude towards the working middle class, teachers, public servants and all the people who make things happen in this world. A day without a hedge fund or a day without a janitor? A day without secondary subprime mortgage wheeling and dealing or a day without a teacher? A day without the billionaire boys’ club or a day without public health nurses vaccinating kids before school starts?
    I’ll keep Rangel! But it’d be nice if he could pay a competent accountant every year to do the tax forms! I get the feeling he could afford it.
    Let’s all friend Charlie and buy some pizzas for the protesters in Madison. These people do more for us than would 50 governors like Walker.
    The links are from TPM:
    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/03/wisconsin-assembly-dems-set-up-office-outside-protesting-capitol-restrictions.php?ref=fpblg
    and:
    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/03/ramussen-poll-majority-of-wisconsinites-side-with-unions-on-collective-bargaining.php?ref=fpblg
    And meanwhile, TPM also reports that a lot of our war effort against the Taliban was diverted to supporting the Taliban, including a lot of fuel.
    Just got gas myself and noted that whoever bought it before me spent almost 80 bucks. Pretty amazing, this fuel thing. Speculation, Libya, or speculation. Peak oil? Or speculation? Or maybe it’s commodity speculation?
    At any rate, it’d be funny if unemployment stayed at 9%, consumer spending went up a bit as it has to eventually (I mean, socks do wear out after a while, appliances leak, and you need new glasses or you can’t see), and interest rates went up to make sure that unemployment stayed in the stratosphere.
    The stock market seems happy today. Unemployment does that to the employed.

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