Kire Schneider Online

Friday, May 9, 2014

PBS: Video: NewsHour: Shields and Brooks on the Flagging Labor Force, Congressional Mid-Terms & Foreign Policy



This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

I agree with Mark Shields and David Brooks when they say that the jobs report is good news and a positive step.  If we get a few more reports like this it will be good for Democrats because Americans will see that the economy is improving.  More importantly, it will be good for the country to see job reports near three-hundred-thousand per month, several months in a row, and see many Americans gong  back to work,

As far as the mid-terms, that 27-60 right track wrong track direction for the country, according to the Washington Post ABC News poll, is like a baseball team that should be a strong contender but is 10-15 games out of first place at the all star break. Not something that could kill your season by itself but is bad news and a problem that Democrats are going to have to overcome and bring down or risk not just losing the Senate, in November, but taking big losses in the House as well.

When a big problem in foreign policy occurs, President Obama continues to be criticized for getting caught off guard and not having a vision from which he can derive responses.  Mark Shields hit on that in this video where he said that "President Obama is a great speaker but where he's lacking in foreign policy is an ability to make to clear what his vision is and what he believes."

Crooks and Liars: Opinion- Dave Johnson- "Democrats Who Move Right Lose Elections": Tell That to Red State Democrats


Source: Crooks and Liars: Opinion- Dave Johnson- Democrats Who Move Right Lose Elections: There is No Center

The former great, RIP, Progressive Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tip O'Neal, had a saying, "All politics are local."  Well, of course, that is not all true but a lot of it is, especially when you are talking about Congressional elections where only voters in a district or state  vote for the next Representative or Senator for that seat in the next Congress.

This means that, whether you are a candidate or the incumbent, you have to know the district or state that you represent, or want to represent, in order to get elected and reelected. To put it simply, you can't be a Bernie Sanders Socialist running statewide in Mississippi and expected to get elected. Keep in mind that Senator Bernie Sanders represents Vermont, probably the most socialist leaning state in the union, with a population of around eight-hundred-thousand and only one U.S. Representative.

You can't be a religious-right candidate, who wants to incorporate their religious views into law, and expect to be elected statewide in New Hampshire, which just happens to be the most liberal-libertarian state in the Union. It, again, is small state with little more than a million people but it is the "Live Free or Die state" that doesn't like big government, economic or personal, and wants government to butt out of individual's lives.

I still give Senate Democrats the edge in retaining the U.S. Senate in November and I don't see them losing a lot of seats in the U.S. House either. I say that because, since 2005-06, they've figured out that the way to win House and Senate seats is by having their candidates represent the districts and states they are running in politically and ideologically. That means not recruiting Democrats who are as far to the left as, lets say, Elizabeth Warren, running in Red States but, in such situations, have fiscally conservative, socially moderate to liberal candidates instead.

They also recruit New Democrats, the real Liberals of the Democratic Party, the JFK/WJC wing of the party, to run in the Northeast and Midwest and even the West Coast and Mid Atlantic. Democrats who are very liberal on social issues and believe in economic opportunity and empowerment instead of  government dependence.  This makes them pretty liberal on economic issues as well.  You recruit for the district and state instead of saying that Socialist Bernie Sanders and New Deal Progressive Elizabeth Warren can get elected anywhere in the country.  That is beyond political fantasy.

The social democrat, Occupy Wall Street, wing of the Democratic Party believes in recruiting the most left Democrat possible and getting out the vote for that person.  The Democratic Party has many leftist members of Congress who work only to advance their agenda and will never work with Republicans on anything.  They wonder why Democrats lost 5-6 presidential elections from 1968-88 and lost the U.S. Senate in 1980 and Congress as a whole in 1994.

Senators Mark Pryor, Mary Landrieu, Kay Hagan, Mark Begich, Senate candidates Allison Grimes, Michelle Nunn, Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Alaska, Kentucky and Georgia respectfully are the potential for Democrats to hold the Senate in 2014.  They are Senators from deeply red states but are perfectly tailored to represent them because these states tend to like candidates and incumbents who are somewhat independent and aren't afraid to go against their party establishment and aren't very far to the right or left politically.  They all have a non-elitist, non-Washington, common person approach to  politics.

Democrats hold the Senate now with a 55-45 majority because they have a lot of senators who represent red states.  They could easily pick up 3-4 more with Kentucky, Georgia, Mississippi and Kansas, states with unpopular Republican incumbents because they recruit for the state instead of the party.  The  Republican Party hasn't figured this out yet.  They have 45 senators and are in the minority because they are fanatically bound to nominate the furthest right candidate no matter the district or state.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Dish: Opinion: Andrew Sullivan: Why Rand Paul Matters: Senator Paul's Critique of President Reagan's Fiscal Policy

U.S. Senator Rand Paul 

The Dish: Opinion: Andrew Sullivan: Why Rand Paul Matters

For me, though, these clips make Paul’s candidacy more appealing, not less. What the GOP needs is an honest, stringent account of how it has ended up where it is – a party that has piled on more debt than was once thought imaginable and until recently, has done nothing much to curtail federal spending. Reagan was a great president in many ways, as Paul says explicitly in these clips.
But Reagan introduced something truly poisonous into American conservatism.
It was the notion that you can eat your cake and have it too, that tax cuts pay for themselves and that deficits don’t matter. This isn’t and wasn’t conservatism; it was a loopy utopian denial of math. And the damage it has done to this country’s fiscal standing has been deep and permanent. It is one of modern conservatism’s cardinal sins. And Paul is addressing it forthrightly – just as he is addressing the terrible, devastating consequences of neo-conservatism for America and the world in the 21st Century.
What we desperately need from the right is this kind of accounting. It’s what reformers on the left did in the 1990s – confronting the failures of their past in charting a new future. Taking on Reagan on fiscal matters may be short-term political death, as Corn suspects and maybe hopes, but it is vital if the GOP is to regain some long-term credibility on the core question of government solvency. Compared with the ideological bromides and slogans of so many others, Rand Paul is a tonic. And a courageous one at that. 
The New Democrat 
I really respect Senator Rand Paul and love Andrew Sullivan (you know platonically) because of their damned straight honesty and forthrightness.  Andrew, on his blog, The Dish, today compared the supply side economics of the Reagan and G.W. Bush administrations with the overreach of the Democratic Party at the time of the emergence of the New Left in America. The base of that party became so radical in the late 1960s and 1970s that it gave liberalism and Liberals a bad name.  It took Bill Clinton ,in the early 1990s, to bring the Democratic Party back to Earth, so to speak, and make it a center-left party again. 
Senator Rand Paul was speaking the plain truth when he said that President Jimmy Carter had a better, more responsible and conservative fiscal record than President Ronald Reagan.  President Carter had a balanced budget as one of his goals and he pushed that throughout his presidency. He had a very rough economy and never got there but it wasn't because of the overspending of his administration or the Congress.  It was because of the bad economy of the late 1970s and early 1980s. 
President Reagan abandoned the goal of a balanced Federal budget by 1984 in late 1981 or early 1982 when his Economic Recovery Act became law.  He was getting intelligence reports about the U.S.S.R. and the mess its economy was in.  Perhaps he got the idea that this would be the time to end the Cold War and put the Soviet Union out of business.  That meant building up the Defense Department in an attempt to bring the Russians to their knees so that they had to negotiate with the U.S. in order to survive economically. 
The fact is that our last fiscally conservative president was George H.W. Bush who was no radical,  right or left.  He had a pretty conservative fiscal policy and a tight monetary policy.  Without the 1990 Deficit Reduction Act that he negotiated with a Democratic Congress we wouldn't have reached the balanced budget in 1998 that we did. President Gerald Ford is probably the most fiscally conservative president we've ever had as far limiting what the Federal Government would do and spend.  It is not Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush.  They were both supply side borrowers and spenders. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Bloomberg News: Video: Rip up the Script: "Why Canada's Middle Class Beats America's"



This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Strange title for an over two-minute video, two-minutes and seventeen seconds to be precise, that spends only twenty seconds talking about the Canadian middle class. Most of this video was about the decline of the American middle class, which should've been reflected in the title.  The last twenty seconds discusses why Canada wasn't hurt as much by the Great Recession as the U.S. 

Why Canada wasn't hurt as much by the Great Recession as America and Europe?  Canada is larger than America geographically but has one-ninth the population. They have thirty-five million people v.s. three-hundred and ten million. Canada is also energy independent, sending energy to the U.S. via the Keystone Pipeline. They don't have the debt and deficit issues that the U.S. or a lot of Europe has and they tax business at a much lower rate.  Canada has a lot of economic resources with a fairly small population and a lot of land.  Physically, it is  the second largest country in the world, trailing only the Russian Federation.

Germany's economic system is similar to both Canada's and America's.  It has a robust private sector and a strong safety net.  It has modern infrastructure and taxes business's lower than the U.S. They have managed to keep their debt to GDP ratio down throughout the Great Recession.

The U.S. is trying to figure out how to become energy independent, how to finance and rebuild a crumbling infrastructure, educate more Americans and improve our 39th in the world ranking in education.  We have to move millions of Americans out of poverty.  Our poverty levels are roughly twice that of the rest of the developed world.  This requires improvements in education and job training. We need  to get our national debt stabilized and under control.

Friday, May 2, 2014

PBS: NewsHour: Gwen Ifill Interviewing Marcia Coyle: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Michigan Ban on Affirmative Action



This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Damn! A Supreme Court decision on which I agree with Chief Justice John Roberts. Well, to amend that, I would've voted with the Chief Justice on this affirmative action case but I would've sided with liberal Justice Stephen Breyer to this extent.  If you are going to have affirmative action laws, then you should at least have legislatures and executives who are accountable to the voters making the decisions, instead of leaving it up to colleges to draft their own affirmative action policies.

I'm against affirmative action and so is this blog.  I'm a Liberal, not a racist. I'm against affirmative action because I take the MLK dream about racial equality and tolerance seriously.  Americans should be judged by their character and not by the color of their skin.

We all want racial and ethnic minorities to be admitted to  colleges and do well in the American economy but you can't reward them because of their race,  ethnicity, or gender. We reward all people, regardless of race, ethnicity and gender, according to the skills they bring to the table, their personal and professional qualifications. 

If there are communities in the country which are struggling,  you have to  make sure that they are not being denied access in society because of their race, ethnicity or gender.  That requires a strong and effective civil rights enforcement system.  Beyond that, there must be mechanisms to ensure they have  educational and job training opportunities so that they can be successful on their own.

PBS: Video: NewsHour: Paul Solman Interviewing William Darity on a Government Jobs Program



This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Economist William Darity is saying that "since we could borrow over a trillion-dollars for the 2008 TARP bailouts and the auto bailouts that we could afford to borrow the same amount of money for a new Federal jobs guarantee". The problem is that we can't afford either and just because borrowing a trillion dollars is a bad policy for one reason doesn't mean it would be a good policy for another reason. You are still talking about putting an additional trillion-dollars on the national debt, that is all debt financed, and increasing the Federal budget by 37.5 percent .

It would be one thing if the economy was still in recession and you decided to do this as part of a short-term stimulus to put all of those people back to work.   But it sounds like Mr. Darity is talking about an indefinite Federal program,  all financed by the debt and adding an additional trillion dollars to the debt every year.

Ideas like this  are being put on the table now because the 2009 American Recovery Act simply didn't go far enough.  I agree with Progressive Economist Paul Krugman on this. The stimulus should've been 1.5 trillion dollars or more, a trillion  for infrastructure investment alone, the rest for middle class tax relief, business tax relief and public aide to state and local governments.