Democrats

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Democrats Recently Voted to Give Trump Even MORE Police Power

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 04/06/2020 - 3:26am in

Even as the president has overseen a nationwide wave of police brutality in response to the George Floyd protests, Democrats are voting to increase the executive branch and the national security state’s powers. Last week, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to reauthorize the questionably named USA FREEDOM Act, an updated and amended version of the 2001 PATRIOT Act. Signed into law in the wake of the September 11 attacks, the PATRIOT Act authorized sweeping new governmental powers to infringe upon civil liberties, including the indefinite detention of immigrants and those designated as “terrorists,” the ability for police to search homes and businesses without the occupant’s consent or knowledge, allow the authorities to go through telephone, email and other records without a court order, and gave police and government agencies greatly expanded powers to repress. 

The act, sponsored by prominent New York Democrat Jerry Nadler, was passed 284 to 122, despite the efforts of prominent progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez( D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-NY), Ro Khanna (D-CA), and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), who opposed it. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) urged her fellow Democrats to vote the legislation through, claiming that “If we don’t have a bill” then “our civil liberties are less protected.”

“Central to that defense is how we do protect and defend. It’s about our values, which are part of our strength. It’s about the health, education and well-being of our people, our children, our future, which is part of our strength. Our military might is part of our strength. And our intelligence is very much a part of our strength, in order to provide force protection for our men and women in uniform, when they go out there to protect and defend our country, force protection,” she said.

Earlier in May, the bill was passed 80-16 by the Senate, who rejected Senator Rand Paul’s amendment preventing Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants being used against Americans. “The Patriot Act, in the end, is not patriotic. The Patriot Act makes an unholy and unconstitutional exchange of liberty for a false sense of security. And I, for one, will oppose its reauthorization,” Paul argued, to no avail.

Trump has responded to the protests flaring up in over 100 American cities with a heavy hand. Police have been responsible for countless attacks against protesters and press alike, with the president deploying the National Guard in 24 states. More alarmingly, he has encouraged them to shoot whomever they deem “thugs” and “looters.” “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he tweeted. He has also threatened to let the army loose across the country to ‘defend” residents. Yet a Morning Consult poll found that 54 percent of Americans support the protestors, with only 22 percent (and only 38 percent of Republicans) opposed to them. Democrats overwhelmingly support them, 69 percent to 13 percent against.

Despite this, prominent Democrats have condemned the events. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo denounced many New Yorkers’ behavior, saying that we have to “separate the protestors from the looting.” “They demean Mr. Floyd’s murder by using it as an excuse for criminal activity,” he added, as he imposed a curfew. And even as New York City cops were plowing their vehicles through crowds of protestors and brutalizing young women, Mayor de Blasio excoriated the protestors, saying he was going to “beat” them back. “We will not tolerate violence of any kind. We will not tolerate attacks on police officers. We will not tolerate hatred being created…an attack on police officers is an attack on all of us. Pure and simple,” he added, without specifying who “us” referred to.

Even in Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s joint speech against Trump’s handling of the situation, much of the criticism leveled at the president was for his bad optics, rather than for the 9,000 arrests, 13 deaths, and countless hospitalizations. “At a time when our country cries out for unification, this President is ripping it apart. Tear-gassing peaceful protestors without provocation just so that the president could pose for photos outside a church dishonors every value that faith teaches us,” they wrote. Meanwhile, the extent of criticism presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had for the police was to advise them to shoot protesters in the leg, rather than in the torso.

The tactic of rhetorically opposing Trump’s actions while, in practice, bolstering them fits a years-long pattern of behavior for many top Democrats. Despite labeling him a dangerous fascist who would be an erratic and irresponsible commander-in-chief, Democrats rubber-stamped his increases in the military budget and his judicial appointments, rather than oppose them. And on Venezuela, they gave Trump’s handpicked Venezuela mouthpiece Juan Guaidó a standing ovation at the State of the Union Address in February.

David Sirota, speechwriter, and advisor to insurgent presidential challenger Bernie Sanders laid out a checklist of ten concrete actions Democrats could take now to actually limit Trump’s authoritarianism. These included opposing his Pentagon spending bill, calling his bluff, and using his federal budget bill to defund the police, restrict the National Guard, and cease taking contributions from police associations. However, if history is any judge, the party establishment will side with their supposed adversaries in the Republican party over the American people.

Feature photo | President Donald Trump walks past police in Lafayette Park after he visited outside St. John’s Church across from the White House, June 1, 2020, in Washington. Part of the church was set on fire during protests on Sunday night. Patrick Semansky | AP

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post Democrats Recently Voted to Give Trump Even MORE Police Power appeared first on MintPress News.

The 25% Solution

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 11/05/2020 - 4:02pm in

Some states are allowing businesses to begiun to emerge from the COVID-19 lockdown by allowing them to operate at 25% capacity. How exactly will that look like?

Joe Biden’s Campaign Strategy

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 29/04/2020 - 4:31pm in

Joe Biden has clear signs of dementia. But his handlers can’t let us see that. How will they get him to Election Day?

Trump and Biden Trade Hit Pieces: Distinctions without a Difference

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 28/04/2020 - 12:37am in

This season’s sequel to the “Game of Thrones” features reality TV star and the current occupant of the Oval Office versus the former Senator from MBNA and two-term VP. It’s time to binge-watch dueling hit pieces from the U.S electoral duopoly going at it.

The narrower the distinctions between Democrats and Republicans, the more vociferous they get in inflating those distinctions as if a distinction were really a difference. As liberation president of Tanzania Julius Nyerere famously observed, “The United States is a one-party state but, with typical American extravagance, they have two of them.”

 

War with China – thinking through the unthinkable

Behind the blame game between the Democrats and the Republicans is a bedrock consensus, for example, on identifying China as not just a commercial rival but as a future enemy in a nuclear war. The U.S. imperial ship of state is set on a collision course with China. Democrat Obama “pivoted” to Asia; Republican Trump seamlessly followed course. The RAND Corporation, a quasi-governmental think tank created to provide intelligence to the U.S. Armed Forces, published a position paper that spells it out: War with China: Thinking Through the Unthinkable.

The corporate media echo the meme of China as the sinister enemy. The Democrat-leaning New York Times reports, “Chinese agents helped spread messages that sowed virus panic in US.” “Alarmed by fake text messages and social media posts,” the newspaper of record warns, “experts see a convergence with Russian tactics.” With no sense of shame, the Times then accuses the “pro-Trump news outlets” of promoting “conspiracy theories.”

On the Republican side, Fox commentator Tucker Carlson hyperbolically exclaims, “China did this [coronavirus pandemic] to the world and we should not pretend otherwise.”  Paranoically exhorting that “in very real ways, the Chinese government controls us,” Carlson demands, “at some point our leaders should be held accountable” for allowing China to “undermine” us.

So ditto head Biden issues a campaign video entitled, “Trump did not hold China accountable,” attacking Trump for correctly saying, “China has been working very hard to contain the coronavirus.”

This view, incidentally, is shared by the World Health Organization, which praised China for its exemplary handling of the pandemic. The corresponding Trump hit piece retorts with a video of Biden saying, “I complimented him [Trump] with dealing with China.”

Proving that the rightwing media and Trump do not have a lock on xenophobia and racism, the Democratic Party ad shows Biden screaming, “I would be on the phone with China and making it clear, we are going to need to be in your country! You have to be open!” And “Trump let in 40,000 travelers from China…left this country unprepared and unprotected” from the Asian menace.

 

Rubber stamping the bipartisan consensus

The direction of U.S. imperial policy is unquestioned as the partisan rivals compete to see, for example, who can be the bigger Sinophobe. Not mentioned is that China’s rising economic power is in part a consequence of the U.S. neoliberal consensus to export industrial production to low-wage Asia. Protecting the US working class is not what the politicians are squabbling about.

Nor do they deeply differ on Trump’s National Security Strategy, which broke with the previous characterization of the world as a “community of nations” to the present description of a great power “competitive arena.” In the drive to achieve global “full spectrum dominance,” China and Russia are identified as military targets.

Substantive unity between the Democrats and Republicans is obscured by the smoke and mirrors of partisan bickering. On some issues, the duopoly is so unanimous they do not even bother to make a show of debating.

On March 8, the U.S. House of Representatives pushed through a bipartisan resolution increasing illegal unilateral sanctions against Nicaragua, which passed on a unanimous voice vote in eight minutes, with no debate and no one speaking in opposition.

By the end of March, after only a “smidgeon of negotiating,” Congress unanimously passed the record astronomical $2 trillion CARES Act boondoggle. While workers are experiencing the highest recorded unemployment, the bipartisan act will gift 43,000 rich citizens an average “windfall” of $1.7 million each, according to Forbes.

Then while healthcare, transportation, sanitation, and other vital workers remain on the job, the Congress critters went on recess to shelter in place, demonstrating that theirs is not an essential service.

 

The decadence of the two-party system

Being on the take at the expense of the U.S. people is a bipartisan pastime and a mark of finesse for the inside-the-beltway crowd. Senators on both sides of the aisle benefited by insider trading, dumping stocks after a confidential coronavirus briefing.

Trump’s corruption needs no elaboration, but he can legitimately criticize the Dems on the same count. A Trump hit piece points out that father Biden took son Hunter on a taxpayer funded official U.S. government visit to China, where the son profited with a “billion dollar deal” with a subsidiary of the Bank of China.

The highest-ranking Democrat, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appears in a video showing how she’s persevering through shelter-in-place, giggling in front of her $24k refrigerators stocked with expensive ice cream.  A Trump hit piece juxtaposes that image with one of the millions of unemployed in this country saying, “we’re starving.”

Joe Biden cluelessly compounds the error by tweeting, Nancy Pelosi has “great taste” in ice cream. Meanwhile, nearly 2,700 families preregistered at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank drive-up. NPR reported 10,000 cars waited hours in line for emergency food aid in San Antonio.

A couple of years ago, former Democratic Party presidential candidates John Kerry and Hillary Clinton attended a wedding hosted by the richest mogul in India for his daughter, estimated to cost $100 million by Bloomberg. While John and HRC inanely danced Bollywood-style, 170 million Indians barely subsisted on less than $2 per day.

Internet comedian Jimmy Dore observes, “The Democratic Party is so corrupt, so unbelievably corrupt and out of touch, that a guy who sits [not his exact word] on a golden toilet gets to make fun of them for being out of touch elitists. And it lands.”

We will have to wait until November to see who the Electoral College anoints in its game of thrones. Even the premier progressive pundit Noam Chomsky finds the only remotely redeeming quality in Biden is that he isn’t Trump. Biden supported Bush’s Iraq war and sided with the Republicans to defeat the student bankruptcy and prescription medicine price control bills. He voted for cutting Social Security and for confirming Antonin Scalia. With Democrats like this, you don’t need Republicans.

The problem with voting for either the Republicans or Democrats – besides that they rule – is that you need a scorecard to figure out which is the lesser evil. That problem can be avoided by helping to build a left third-party movement. As socialist and one-time presidential candidate Eugene Debs commented:

I’d rather vote for something I want and not get it, than vote for something I don’t want and get it,”

…like war with China.

Feature photo | In this combination of file photos, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Del., on March 12, 2020, left, and President Donald Trump speaks at the White House in Washington on April 5, 2020. Photo | AP – File

Roger D. Harris is on the state central committee of the Peace and Freedom Party, the only ballot qualified socialist party in California.

The post Trump and Biden Trade Hit Pieces: Distinctions without a Difference appeared first on MintPress News.

Forced binaries, etc.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 24/04/2020 - 4:37am in

I’ve been hating on the Democratic party in public for almost 35 years, in private for longer than that. But I have to say, and I don’t see how anyone could deny this, if a Democrat were president now there just wouldn’t be anywhere near as many dead and doomed people. The CDC might not have been richly funded, but it certainly wouldn’t have been eviscerated, with talented people not wanting to go anywhere near it. The pandemic task forces wouldn’t have been disbanded, and probably would have been listened to from fairly early on.

Given the choice between neoliberal technocrats and proudly ignorant yahoos, I have to go with the former. I’m not going to stop agitating for a world where we could have better choices, but as long as it’s a forced binary, as they say in the polling business, it’s an easy answer.

Sorry if this disturbs anyone. It sorta disturbs me. But you have to be honest with self and others.

What Will Progressives Be Doing on Election Day 2020?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 22/04/2020 - 4:01pm in

As usual, progressives are being told that they need to set aside their principles in order to vote in the most important election ever, one that would prevent the reelection of Donald Trump. But will they?

5 Things the Government Must Do Now to Avoid Collapse and/or Revolution

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 12/04/2020 - 6:49am in

London riots - Photos - The Big Picture - Boston.com          The COVID-19 medical and economic crisis remains mostly unaddressed by both the Republican and Democratic parties. They have only passed one piece of legislation that significantly helps workers: supplementing existing state unemployment benefits by $600 per week. Those additional payments expire in four months. Until then many people who are out of work will receive about $1000 a week. If the past is precedent, Congress is likely to renew the law.

            Aside from expanded unemployment checks, the government has been useless.

            Here are the essential basic things Congress and President Trump must do in order to avoid economic collapse, mass starvation, an epidemic of violent crime reminiscent of “A Clockwork Orange” and political unrest up to and including revolution.

            They must do it now.

            A Universal Basic Income is the smartest fastest way to stimulate the economy by keeping money flowing from consumers. Neither political party seems to care enough about the prospect of street riots to pass a UBI. But they need to do it yesterday to avoid catastrophe tomorrow. Flat UBI payments are unfair to people who live in expensive cities and states; the cost of living in my hometown of Dayton, Ohio is half of Manhattan. Weight UBIs according to living costs.

            COVID Care

            At bare minimum, medical treatment for COVID-19 and related ailments (bronchitis, pneumonia, etc.) should be free from a patient’s first test to their last breath in a ventilator. It should be free for everyone: insured, uninsured, homeless, prison inmate, undocumented worker for an obvious reason: if an illegal immigrant contracts the coronavirus, they can transmit it to you. It’s to everyone’s advantage that everyone have access to medical care.

            Theoretically, the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act does that. Not in reality. “Our health care system is a mess and the law does not explicitly prohibit charging you if you go to an out-of-network provider. It also doesn’t address other ‘surprise billing’ problems,” Time reports. Treatment for COVID-19 can easily run $35,000 or more—not only should Americans not have to pay, they can’t pay.

            Whether you go to your physician or urgent care or the ER, no one who suspects she has COVID-19 should be asked for their insurance card. Healthcare providers should bill the federal government.

No leading Republican or Democrat — Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi — wants to do this. Why? Because they’re stupid, crazy or both.

            Draft the Immune

            The Centers for Disease Control are rolling out a pilot program of a testing kit that can show if you have been exposed to the novel coronavirus and thus have the antibodies to resist a repeat infection. Authorities are considering issuing “immunity cards” to citizens who have had COVID-19. The idea is that people who are cleared could return to work. So far so good.

            As much as I’d like to believe that political cartoonists and columnists are essential workers, if I have had and recovered from COVID-19 I could probably be more useful delivering food to the elderly, volunteering at a hospital, or performing some other essential task currently going undone because the person who usually does the job is either sick or home trying to avoid getting sick. Waiting tables could help save my local restaurant.

            The government should retool the Selective Service System to draft recovered COVID-19 victims to perform services needed to help people and restart the economy.

            Ramp up Distance-Learning

            Parents, school children and college students in many cities are finding online instruction to be woefully inadequate at best. The most pressing issue is unequal access to the Internet. This is a huge problem. Fortunately, it’s easily fixable.

            There are about 75 million students in the U.S. 17% don’t have home Internet access. That’s 13 million kids. A Wifi hot spot costs $50 a month. A Chromebook is $300. $4 billion, roughly the cost of occupying Iraq for a week, buys a home computer for everyone who needs one; $10 billion a year covers Wifi access. That’s the worst-case scenario; the government could get a volume discount.

            Unfortunately, neither Democratic nor Republican politicians care about our kids enough to act.

            Rent and Mortgage Holidays

            31% of apartment dwellers failed to pay April rent. Expect that number to soar in May and June. Idiotically, the only relief offered by even the most progressive mainstream politicians is a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures. Moratoriums end. Courts reopen. When they do, millions of people could be thrown out onto the streets.
            Even if you don’t care about them, think about your own property values. During the 2008-09 economic meltdown, mass foreclosures left millions of homes empty. These eyesores dragged down the values of their neighbors’ homes. We really are in this together.

            People who can’t pay their rent or mortgage shouldn’t have to. And at the end of all this, they shouldn’t bear the burden of accumulated debt, interest or late fees. Congress should declare a rent and mortgage holiday until the end of the crisis.

            To mitigate the hardship on landlords and lenders, real estate and other taxes should be waived during the same period. So should utilities like gas and electricity. Congress should consider a tax credit for property owners. Banks should receive Federal Reserve funding at zero percent.

            So far, no mainstream politician is talking about this.

            A War Holiday

            Secretary-General António Guterres of the United Nations is calling for warring parties in the world to lay down their arms for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war,” he said, emphasizing the fact that war makes it hard for humanitarian assistance to reach victims of coronavirus.

            War is a tremendous waste of lives, resources and money that could be better spent elsewhere, and that has never been more evident than today. Yet at this writing President Trump has ordered the U.S. Navy off the coast of Venezuela in a classic demonstration of gunboat diplomacy. His administration is continuing Barack Obama’s benighted proxy war in Yemen. American drones are slaughtering innocent people in Somalia.

            This is all monstrous BS and should stop forever but, at minimum, wars of choice can wait until the end of the coronavirus crisis. Yet here again neither party, Democrat or Republican, has endorsed the Secretary-General’s idea.

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, is the author of the biography “Bernie.” You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)

Solidarity Class

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 24/03/2020 - 2:37pm in

Hey everyone! How’s your pandemic going? Good? Good.

If you’re freaking out, like I am, take a stroll through the archives and take your mind off of the current tragedy by enjoying some humor about previous tragedies.

Fresh audio product

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 14/03/2020 - 1:57am in

Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link):

March 12, 2020 Kali Akuno on why black voters like Joe Biden • Dibyesh Anand on the belief system of India’s Hindu Fascists (book here)

Beating Teflon Trump Entails a New Perspective on GDP

By Brian Czech

In the earlier months of Donald Trump’s presidency, Democrats were stunned by his popularity despite his racist rhetoric, acerbic arrogance, and international insults. Trump himself had meanly boasted that he could “shoot somebody on 5th Avenue” and not lose any votes. He knew the American political system—Dems included—worshiped at the altar of GDP growth. Trump, as the quintessential growthist, had skyrocketed to the throne of Untouchable High Priest, albeit in a sharply divided church of red and blue growthists.

President Donald Trump

Say no to economic bloating: It’s time for Democratic candidates to take a stand against growth-mongering. (Image: CC BY-SA 2.0, Credit: Gage Skidmore )

The Democratic response to Trump’s resilient popularity was to double down on the corruption and general awfulness of Trump, all the way to articles of impeachment. Dems were stunned once again at the lack of buy-in. Yet no one in Big Money circles—nor their media-manipulated red states—cared about “abuse of authority” or even “contempt of Congress” when GDP was growing faster than anyone had hoped for in years.

Dems have also tried to take credit for the growing GDP, claiming it has more to do with Barack Obama’s policies than Trump’s. Right or wrong, that’s a claim that falls on deaf ears. The growth mindset is all about now; previous administrations are as irrelevant as climate change to red-state congregants of the GDP religion.

What else can the Democrats do, in the face of such pro-growth Trumpian triumph? Easy! They can challenge the assumption that growth is good!

Some Democratic strategists, still stuck on “It’s the economy, stupid,” shudder at the notion of questioning growth. Yet think how easy the argument is. Without batting an eye, Dems can say:

GDP isn’t everything. All it measures is the number of people and the amount they consume. Why should that be the number one goal? More and more buyers of more and more stuff…how is that helping at this point in history? More and more traffic, congestion, pollution, noise, and stress. That’s a good thing? All the while with less and less natural resources, green space, wildlife, peace and quiet, and even the peace of mind that comes with a stable climate! “It’s the economy, stupid” had its day as a slogan, but that was decades ago. Now, in the twenty-first century, pushing for higher GDP is the new stupid.

There have been some baby steps taken in that very direction by some of the Democratic 2020 presidential candidates. Cory Booker ventured out first during the June 27, 2019 Democratic debate by stating, “The indicators that are being used from GDP to Wall Street’s rankings [are] not helping people in my community. It is about time that we have an economy that works for everybody, not just the wealthiest in our nation.” While he wasn’t questioning the goal of growth so much as the distribution of GDP, merely casting doubt on the merits of GDP is right on the cusp of a growth critique.

Two more things are noteworthy about Booker’s comment. The first is especially relevant to readers of the Steady State Herald and to active citizens in general: Booker seemed to be following up on advice provided by CASSE at a meeting with one of Booker’s staff on April 11. We suggested that he merely question GDP as a measure of success, and that is exactly what he did. Second, this succinct questioning was enough to qualify as an NBC News “top candidate line.”

Andrew Yang

Andrew Yang challenged the merits of GDP as an indicator of success during his campaign. Who’s next? (Image: CC BY-SA 2.0, Credit: Gage Skidmore)

 

 

At the July 31 debate, Andrew Yang went a step further: “What we have to do is, we have to say, ‘look, there’s record high GDP and stock market prices, you know what else there are record highs [of]? Suicides, drug overdoses, depression, anxiety.’ It’s gotten so bad that American life expectancy has declined for the last three years.”

Yang went on to say, “The way we win this election is we redefine economic progress to include all the things that matter to the people in Michigan and all of us like our own heath, our well-being, our mental health, our clean air and clean water, how our kids are doing.”

 

 

Yang’s sweeping statement was reminiscent of the words of Robert F. Kennedy in 1968:

Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things… Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.

The fact that Kennedy made these points more than 50 years ago is not so much evidence of the prescience of Kennedy as it is of how far behind the times the Democratic Party (sans Booker and Yang) has fallen on limits to growth. After all, Kennedy already spoke in terms of “for too long.” Now, in the 21st century, with GDP approximately 20 times higher than the 1968 model, economic growth is causing far more problems than it solves. It’s a bad dirty deal that’s starting to look like an existential threat!

Yet GDP growth is Trump’s calling card. Big Money passes it around 24/7, while Dark Money sneakily funds research and “think tanks” to make it seem like growth is the solution, not the problem. The only way to defeat this phenomenon is to keep harping on the impact of perpetually pushing for GDP growth. We have to emphasize, too, that it’s not just environmental impact. The environmental deterioration caused by bloating GDP is a matter of common sense, yet it’s not rocket science to connect that environmental deterioration to economic unsustainability and national insecurity.

Aside from Booker and Yang, who are out of the running for 2020, the Democratic presidential candidates haven’t provided any leadership to speak of for raising awareness of limits to growth and the need for a steady state economy. That said, they have been far, far less growth-obsessed than Trump. In fact, taken as a whole, they’ve had so little to say about economic growth that columnist John O. McGinnis (also a professor of constitutional law at Northwestern University) claimed, “Democratic presidential candidates have abandoned the idea of economic growth.” That was an overstatement, though. Outside of Booker’s baby step and Yang’s follow-up, none of the candidates have capitalized on the potential of a 21st century growth-is-stupid strategy. Rather, they are too focused (according to McGinnis) on “taking” from the rich and redistributing it to the poor. According to McGinnis (and supply siders at large), Dems would do better to help the less fortunate by way of the seemingly ancient approach of GDP growth, that “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

Iowa State Fair

A sign at the 2019 Iowa State Fair reads, “Make Him Go Away, 2020.” Trump’s obsession with GDP growth is especially ripe for disposal. (Image: CC BY 2.0, Credit: Phil Roeder)

So, what is the political lesson? It is that the Democratic focus on helping the less fortunate would be far more effective if coupled with the message of limits to growth. Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, especially,1 should be pointing out there is only so much “water” for a rising tide, and only so much room for “boats” on the water (not to mention the limited availability of boat-building materials). In the 21st century, we need a transition to a steady state economy for the sake of all boats.

All that said, a democracy is supposed to be “for the people, by the people.” Simply wishing that Sanders, Biden, or Warren will take a stand on limits to growth is about as productive as wishing that Trump would re-sign the Paris Climate Treaty. In order for a Democratic presidential nominee to handle the truth about limits to growth, he or she will need to hear from constituents to develop the knowledge and comfort to do so. So will Democrats (or other progressive candidates) running for county, state, and federal offices across the board. If CASSE’s one request of a presidential candidate quickly paid off with a rhetorical baby step that was then recognized by NBC News as a “top candidate line,” imagine what thousands of such requests across the country may accomplish.2

Teflon Trump’s obsession with GDP growth is not only ham-handed; it’s short-sighted, anachronistic, and stupid. It belongs in the dustbin of history, and the sooner it gets there the better. Let’s make sure it gets there by providing the alternative vision: the vision of the steady state economy.

1Elizabeth Warren would be too avowedly pro-growth to manage a steady-state paradigm shift, certainly within this election cycle.

2 Why not print this off and send it to your local Democratic Party candidates, staffers, and organizers? If they express an interest, follow up with a visit, or at least send them a copy of Best of The Daly News: Selected Essays from the Leading Blog in Steady State Economics, 2010-2018. Best of The Daly News is a primer for getting people—including staffers and candidates—quickly up to speed on steady-state economics. To order copies at the cost of printing for political candidate distribution, send an email to Casey Reiland, Managing Editor, at caseyreiland@steadystate.org.

Brian Czech

Brian Czech, Ph.D., is the founder and executive director of the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy. He is the author of three books, Supply Shock, Shoveling Fuel for a Runaway Train, and The Endangered Species Act, as well as more than 50 academic journal articles. He served as a conservation biologist in the headquarters of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1999-2017 and as a visiting professor of natural resource economics in Virginia Tech’s National Capitol Region.

The post Beating Teflon Trump Entails a New Perspective on GDP appeared first on Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy.


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