Sunday, September 25, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

A running log of events in the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Economist Dean Baker makes an extremely good point about the mocking NY Times piece on the protests:

The NYT used its news section to mock critics of Wall Street. It presented the comments of some of the people protesting Wall Street. While the people quoted in this article do appear to be confused about the role of the financial industry in the economy, the paper would have no difficulty finding articulate critics of the financial industry.

For example, it could present the views of Nobel prize winning economist Joe Stiglitz. Or, it could present the views of Nobel prize winning economist, and NYT columnist, Paul Krugman. Or could interview Simon Johnson, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund.

Are lefties doing as much as they can to help the movement?

It's no secret that the protesters on Wall Street are actively being marginalized by the press. Of course, it's also no secret that the protesters themselves are doing an effective job of self-marginalization as well through a lack of focus on media management, goal orientation and message coordination. One of the challenges of the protest movement on the left is resistance to the forms of coordinated discipline that maximize the efficacy of group action.

But this also isn't exactly the fault of the protesters. The reality is that labor orgs, Democratic clubs and central committees and other left-leaning organizations should be putting the full weight of their money, messaging and organaizing capacity into a directly anti-wall street movement. In the absence of that, particularly in New York, the action is left to a ragtag bunch of college kids and disparate activists with little in the way of media skills and organizational experience.

President Obama and the war on the middle class

The war against the middle class has been a relatively silent one until now. For decades, certain corporate interests and their influence peddlers in Washington (both lobbyists and politicians alike) have orchestrated a stealth ambush targeted at the core of American society. By and large, outside of high-information circles, the legislative actions that filled their coffers at the expense of middle class wallets went largely undetected by most Americans.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Obama’s proposal

We got ourselves some vigorous criticism from one of our "usual suspects" and we have ourselves a warning about how Obama intends to pay for the new stimulus (Not at all clear as to why, but President Obama is avoiding using the term "stimulus").

The news about how the debt-ceiling debacle was perceived by the public is that, as a sheer, unmitigated disaster, it ranks a bit below Hurricane Katrina/flooding of New Orleans and just a hair above Iraq's inavsion of Kuwait in 1991. Personally,  I regard that as extremely good news because that means that Obama is likely to avoid that sort of complete collapse/surrender in the upcoming negotiations over how much of his proposal to put into law.

And sure enough, the President is reacting to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's plea "The message was: either accept my package as it is, or I will take it to the American people. I would say that that’s the wrong approach." by taking his case directly to Cantor's own district, telling citizens to contact Congress and demand quick action.

Economists are generally happy about the plan and what's really, REALLY cool is that the White House is refusing to make preemptive concessions!