Saturday, July 23, 2011

Polar Opposites: Dave Lutrin And Sean Duffy (AKA- Paul Ryan, Jr.)


Sean Duffy, clearly a mindless acolyte of Paul Ryan, himself a mindless acolyte of admitted Jesus-hater Ayn Rand, was reminded, if just subliminally, by the SEIU this week, that Gore, Kerry and Obama all carried, by increasingly large margins, Wisconsin's 7th congressional district. Perhaps his boyfriend Paul saved his ass by directing the gerrymandering of the district to include more Republicans and fewer Democrats. Perhaps. But McCain only won 43% of the district and next year Duffy's opponent, state Senator Pat Kreitlow, is widely acknowledged one of Wisconsin's most talented political leaders-- as well as the adored and respected longtime evening news anchor for WEAU-TV in Eau Claire, the heart of the district. And he has an impressive legislative record of accomplishment for Wisconsin working families... unlike Duffy, who just "me-too's" everything Ryan ever says and was the lead sponsor this week on the bill to eviscerate Dodd-Frank, making it easier for his Wall Street campaign donors to prey on unsuspecting consumers. Matt Taibbi didn't mention Duffy in his latest Rolling Stone piece, but he was certainly describing him.
"We're seriously talking about defaulting on our debt, and cutting Medicare and Social Security, so that Google can keep paying its current 2.4 percent effective tax rate and GE, a company that received a $140 billion bailout en route to worldwide 2010 profits of $14 billion, can not only keep paying no taxes at all, but receive a $3.2 billion tax credit from the federal government. And nobody appears to give a shit. What the hell is wrong with people? Have we all lost our minds?"

I doubt Duffy-- or even his mentor for that matter-- would understand a word of any of that. These are purely political creatures out to make a buck for themselves. They get their marching orders from Wall Street and Big Business-- the folks who finance their careers. When Obama was still insisting Ryan was "serious" and worth paying attention to, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman had already alerted the country to the fact that Ryan's ideas were worthless and that Ryan himself is nothing but a Flimflam Man. Duffy is just a Flimflam wanna-be. Thursday Krugman was on Ryan and all the little nihilistic Ryan wanna-be's again.
[W]e’re looking at not one but two looming crises, either of which could produce a global disaster. In the United States, right-wing fanatics in Congress may block a necessary rise in the debt ceiling, potentially wreaking havoc in world financial markets. Meanwhile, if the plan just agreed to by European heads of state fails to calm markets, we could see falling dominoes all across southern Europe-- which would also wreak havoc in world financial markets.

We can only hope that the politicians huddled in Washington and Brussels succeed in averting these threats. But here’s the thing: Even if we manage to avoid immediate catastrophe, the deals being struck on both sides of the Atlantic are almost guaranteed to make the broader economic slump worse.

In fact, policy makers seem determined to perpetuate what I’ve taken to calling the Lesser Depression, the prolonged era of high unemployment that began with the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and continues to this day, more than two years after the recession supposedly ended.

Let’s talk for a moment about why our economies are (still) so depressed.

The great housing bubble of the last decade, which was both an American and a European phenomenon, was accompanied by a huge rise in household debt. When the bubble burst, home construction plunged, and so did consumer spending as debt-burdened families cut back.

Everything might still have been O.K. if other major economic players had stepped up their spending, filling the gap left by the housing plunge and the consumer pullback. But nobody did. In particular, cash-rich corporations see no reason to invest that cash in the face of weak consumer demand.

Nor did governments do much to help. Some governments-- those of weaker nations in Europe, and state and local governments here-- were actually forced to slash spending in the face of falling revenues. And the modest efforts of stronger governments-- including, yes, the Obama stimulus plan-- were, at best, barely enough to offset this forced austerity.

So we have depressed economies. What are policy makers proposing to do about it? Less than nothing.

The disappearance of unemployment from elite policy discourse and its replacement by deficit panic has been truly remarkable. It’s not a response to public opinion. In a recent CBS News/New York Times poll, 53 percent of the public named the economy and jobs as the most important problem we face, while only 7 percent named the deficit. Nor is it a response to market pressure. Interest rates on U.S. debt remain near historic lows.

Yet the conversations in Washington and Brussels are all about spending cuts... For those who know their 1930s history, this is all too familiar. If either of the current debt negotiations fails, we could be about to replay 1931, the global banking collapse that made the Great Depression great. But, if the negotiations succeed, we will be set to replay the great mistake of 1937: the premature turn to fiscal contraction that derailed economic recovery and ensured that the Depression would last until World War II finally provided the boost the economy needed.

Did I mention that the European Central Bank-- although not, thankfully, the Federal Reserve-- seems determined to make things even worse by raising interest rates?

There’s an old quotation, attributed to various people, that always comes to mind when I look at public policy: “You do not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed.” Now that lack of wisdom is on full display, as policy elites on both sides of the Atlantic bungle the response to economic trauma, ignoring all the lessons of history. And the Lesser Depression goes on.

The fiscal catastrophe of the 30's brought on something else in much of the world, the rise of Big Business financed faux populist movements-- fascists-- that have too many similarities to our own Teabaggers to ignore. So be better not. However, at the same time, there was a heightened consciousness among working families that weren't sucked in by the allure of fascism. While Hitler, Franco and Mussolini rose in Europe, Franklin Roosevelt vanquished the Republican fascists here in America. Obama is no FDR by any stretch of anyone;s imagination, but there are political leaders in every part of America, some in Congress, some in state government, some not in any governmental positions, ready to fight back. I want to point one out I hope we'll be hearing a lot more from this year.

David Lutrin was a Democratic candidate for Florida's 16th CD in 2006... until Rahm Emanuel forced him out of the race to make way for a self-funding Republican willing to switch his party registration. Emanuel's candidate won, went on to be as big a pervert as the Republican he replaced (Mark Foley) and lost reelection-- after voting with the GOP for two miserable years. Now the district is represented by a rich right-wing asshole, Tom Rooney, perhaps the worst member of Florida's congressional delegation (not counting Allen West). I wonder if we could persuade Dave Lutrin to run again. From the sound of this video, he's still as passionate about the issues the country faces as ever:

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At 2:52 PM, Blogger Cirze said...

Make those calls!


Get cracking, team!

At 5:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

just wondering...if Kreitlow was so talented, why did he lose by a large margin after one term as State Senator?


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