Presidential Campaign Policy Positions - Buried and Probably Gone

The blogs are full of it. Thousands of bits in cyberspace declaring the Democratic primary is over before it is over, misogynistic rhetoric abounds, talk of somehow this is a great political realignment and if you aren't paying attention you would swear the second coming of Christ is upon us.

There are those of us who actually pay attention to policy positions, who want the new political realignment to be about policy change. Are we really going to get that? Well, frankly I don't think so and this is why.

Firstly, there are 49% of Democratic voters who are having their candidate of choice ripped a new one daily in the main stream press and in the blogs. That's half of all those who voted in the Democratic primary.

What's Wrong with Taxing Capital Gains?

Capital Gains taxes were asked about in the last Democratic Presidential Primary Debate.

Capital Gains are the profits someone makes from investments on Wall Street. Reporter Gibson asked both Obama and Hillary on raising these taxes.

Here is the exchange:

GIBSON: All right. You have, however, said you would favor an increase in the capital gains tax. As a matter of fact, you said on CNBC, and I quote, "I certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton," which was 28 percent. It's now 15 percent. That's almost a doubling, if you went to 28 percent.

But actually, Bill Clinton, in 1997, signed legislation that dropped the capital gains tax to 20 percent.

OBAMA: Right.

GIBSON: And George Bush has taken it down to 15 percent.

OBAMA: Right.

Obama Said What?

Normally I try to stay away from the daily tit for tat of the Democratic primary but this latest buffoonery needs a comment.

Two days ago Obama said:

You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them," Obama said. "And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations,

Reasons to feel hopeful

Two news stories caught my eye.

1. An op-ed by Robert Reich in today's NYT titled "Totally Spent". He writes:

The only lasting remedy, other than for Americans to accept a lower standard of living and for businesses to adjust to a smaller economy, is to give middle- and lower-income Americans more buying power — and not just temporarily.

The only way to keep the economy going over the long run is to increase the wages of the bottom two-thirds of Americans. The answer is not to protect jobs through trade protection. That would only drive up the prices of everything purchased from abroad. Most routine jobs are being automated anyway.

Obama's Economic Advisers

While the political rhetoric spews and folks decide their religion, some of us are looking at the policy beneath. People, it ain't pretty. It appears we have more of the talkin' the talk instead of walkin' the walk rhetoric and the keyword change is now redefined to mean status quo

Obama's Economic Advisers

  • Austan Goolsbee: U. of Chicago neoclassicist and “single payer universal health care critic claiming "it doesn't follow free market principles"
  • David Cutler: Harvard economist who believes that high health costs are good for the economy
  • Jeffrey Liebman: another Harvard economist and former Clinton adviser who favors privatizing social security

From Real Clear Poliitics

Goolsbee, however, says globalization is responsible for "a small fraction" of today's income disparities. He says "60 to 70 percent of the economy faces virtually no international competition." America's 18.5 million government employees have little to fear from free trade; neither do auto mechanics, dentists and many others

So is that to imply that 40% to 30% Americans being negatively affected by globalization is ok? and yes we are offshore outsourcing state and government jobs. Remember Alan Blinder projects that 40M US jobs are vulnerable to global labor arbitrage (offshore outsourcing). I'll assume wage stagnation is being ignored as well in this above quote.

The Nation's article Subprime Obama points out: