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One of the lies promoting neoliberalism was, "China will buy more of our stuff"! Now why would they spend five times more to buy our stuff? I hope if Kamala Harris becomes president, she will hire Tom hartmann and Robert Reich as advisors. That is pretty close to exactly the way I see it also. Excellent writing.

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We've been addressing the same issue on Robert Reich today. https://robertreich.substack.com/p/the-biggest-myth-of-all?utm_source=post-email-title&publication_id=365422&post_id=138710410&utm_campaign=email-post-title&isFreemail=false&r=zc69i&utm_medium=email

I point out that the irony in a democracy is that ignorant cult members will vote to end their own benefits. Only 58% of the electorate own any stock and most of that is through retirement mutual funds. The average investor, like me, has little or no control of our own investments because we have to rely on retirement funds.

I have a unique perspective because I heard Sarbanes Oxley/Dodd Frank whistleblower cases. Individuals have virtually no clout. Institutional investors rule. Those that are public (like state and local government funds) should consider the public interest before investing.

Most of the people I know who play individual stocks rely entirely on advice from brokers, who in the abstract can care less if the customer wins or loses.

42% of the electorate have nothing but Social Security and maybe a home as savings.

SSI provides a subsistence existence to disabled people and to anyone over age 65 who is destitute. Funded through general taxation, part of the budget.

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This is the place to become educated. Here, and in a variety of other places, I have learned much, much more than I ever learned in a civics course, a history class, or in a four year liberal arts college program. You cannot condense and recreate this kind of well-thought out, lived, and studied knowledge into a class or course and hope that students will eat it up as conscripts in schools. People have to come voluntarily seeking information, truth, and knowledge, and because others have recognized this as a trusted and reliable source. There is more accurate, detailed, and insightful truth in this one "daily take" than in most college courses. There are reasons for that, of course. Spread the word. Unfortunately, truth is not what many people are looking for or willing to accept.

Another great source is Robert Reich's messages. The following is an excerpt from a speech he gave 30 years ago, which he posted yesterday. It is a stunningly correct assessment from 1994 of what was coming and what has indeed taken place.

"My friends, we are on the way to becoming a two-tiered society composed of a few winners and a larger group of Americans left behind, whose anger and disillusionment are easily manipulated. Once unbottled, mass resentment can poison the very fabric of society, the moral integrity of society, replacing ambition with envy, replacing tolerance with hate. Today the targets of that rage are immigrants and welfare mothers and government officials and gays, and an ill-defined counterculture. But as the middle class continues to erode, who will be the targets tomorrow?”

Reich was writing for a group called Inequality Media Civic Action.

The audience was not ready then for the insights and truths Reich articulated in 1994. Maybe more people are ready for Thom's and Reich's messages now. Maybe not. Everything ultimately depends on the audience and how forcefully and urgently they act. Civics classes will not make the difference. Children must be lured and invited, not led and compelled.

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Why do people (even people "in the know") not realize why the US economy today has recovered far better from the Covid pandemic than any other developed country..... It's because Smokin' Joe Biden called up the ghost of John Maynard Keynes and applied Keynes' principles to support the economy during the shutdowns and keep the base intact for better days ahead. Thanks for the (nasty reminder) trip down memory lane..... We should have done much better than we did. The important thing to remember is that every decision of the neoliberal crowd to screw the US economy and workers was a political decision - they will tell you that "economic principles" forced those decisions that tore our country apart (and are still doing that), but it is all bull..... IF we elect Biden again and if we elect enough Democrats, and IF the Democrats are willing to politic and get their agenda done instead of worrying that people would not like them, we can save the country and quickly move to dismantle the evil structures of neoliberalism and its distorted economy, and move back to a new Golden Age.

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Bravo Thom!! In one short and to the point article, you have explained in plain easy to read language, what the magical thinking of neoliberalism has wrought for our democracy. We are indeed in deep shit that will not be easy to climb out of.

I hope we can spread this understanding to enough people to create and engage a powerful enough movement for political change before a totally fascist state has rendered us all powerless.

I will follow Senator Chris Murphy as well. 👍🏻🇺🇸

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I'm 80 years old, still healthy and strong... I can confirm all the truths spoken here. The lust for wealth has blinded Lady Liberty!

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One of the best synopses of where we are now and how we got here.

I have been asking progressive folks and organizations for some time, now, based on what we know,

What is the plan / team building for:

1. Framing the core issues (as presented here) into a clear, evolving message as opposed to the corporate Democratic Party advertising gurus and polling wizards;

2. Building a support network to provide airtight historical back up to support the messaging frames;

3. Establishing a Delivery Network to get the message out. Something in place of the ever diminishing clean journalism platforms that can go head to head with the social media cesspool.

*Remember when rock n roll had the big boys shitting in their pants?*

Anyone?

Donald

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You make an important point. Glass-Steagall prohibited commercial banks from using deposit money to speculate in the markets – including derivatives. They were mostly restricted to making their profits by making loans. The high water of neoliberal deregulation, Gramm Leach Bliley,1999, permitted commercial banks to speculate in the markets again without limitation.

The bailout was needed because the banks bet multi-billions with many hedge funds that the housing market would continue to rise. The Big Short movie showed a few of the colourful hedge fund managers outsmarting the banks. The banks lost their bets. The bailout money flowed through the banks to the hedge funds creating a massive upward transfer of wealth from the salaried classes to the .01%.

Why from the salaried classes? The salaried classes paid back the bailout. Where do the banks get their money except from their customers through higher charges.

Phase 1: Government—Banks—Hedge Funds

Phase 2: Customers—Banks--Government

The reforms of Dodd Frank initially tried to put some restrictions on the ability of commercial banks to speculate in derivatives and other risky investments (the Volker Rules). Those have been gutted to the point of ineffectiveness.

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This is as clear and concise a statement as could be made about this disastrous policy decision borne of Republican lies.

The one that has concentrated wealth for the already wealthy corporations and the Republicans stranglehold on money and power.

The authoritarianism necessary to weld this into law is looming, and the Donald is their guy.

Of course this DJT fluent in thievery of every kind wants to run the ship onto the reef .

Who else is destructive and depraved enough to make this happen ?

The Republicans have been having guests address their conventions in the past several years to change their thinking to authoritarian BS . One Victor Orban has impressed them thoroughly . Putin another GOP hero is favored by these traitors to Americas

“ Freedom for All” bedrock and White Supremacy and militant ignorance knows no bounds.

This must be forcefully pushed back and Democrats and any who love Lady Liberty must waste no time in opposing them .

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Along these lines I would recommend the new book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway -

The Big Myth: How American Business Taught Us to Loathe Government and Love the Free Market.

A review of the book in The New Republic: https://newrepublic.com/article/171434/big-business-hijacked-freedom-oreskes-conway-interview

These two wrote Merchants of Doubt which is also an eye-opener.

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Waking up requires the proper message to be repeated over and over again. That is not happening with our side but the other side has it in spades. The Dems need to send free Speech TV video to replay and replay like the Putinites do on Fox confederate news. The Dems only need to do 2 things to win. First to choose 3 or 4 economic issues that the Dems base of low information voters will be moved wit;h and second daily repeat that message by every Dem elected official so by election day every person on the planet knows what those 3 or 4 economic issues are. No we are better than the Putinites or any non economic issue. That did not work in the 2022 election for the base of the Dems and the house was lost,

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For additional background to Thom's cogent account here, I recommend "Democracy in Chains" by Nancy MacLean for an excellent account of the roots and development of "neoliberalism" --essentially property rights vs. human rights. Also, her earlier book "Liberty Is Not Enough" is and excellent account the of the before and after struggle between minority labor and capitalism following the passage of Title Six of the Civil Rights Act of 1965.

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If this is a crossroads for the Democratic Party, despite Thom's optimism, it's hard to see how they are going to take the road less travelled. I am highly doubtful they have it in them. I'd love to be wrong.

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One thing that would complement this excellent overview of how Neolib capitalism creates Billionaires at the expense of Middle-Class Americans is a brief discussion of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). Sadly, most Americans have no clue how the Dollar (money) works, much less understand that money accrues value through government taxing and spending.

Warren Mosler has an excellent 5-page white paper which is free to download that overviews MMT. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gvDcMU_ko1h5TeVjQL8UMJW9gmKY1x0zcqKIRTZQDAQ/edit?pli=1 [5 pages]

MMT is really not a theory so much as a description of how our monetary system works and the role played by the Federal Reserve Banks and Congress. After reading the paper, it will likely become clear that few, very few, legislators have a clue how their own economy functions and their role in it. They cut taxes on the wealthy and/or underfund IRS staffing to enable rampant corporate tax-dodging (Trump), and then they rant about government spending raising the national debt which they cause by diverting tax revenue our undertaxed billionaires; not honest middle class taxpayers.

The GOP solution to the debt is always to cut government spending on pensions , welfare, education, public healthcare, etc. I encourage Hartmannites to read up on MMT. Economist Stephanie Kelton published an interesting MMT book in 2020 - The Deficit Myth. It is full of useful MMT insights. Or just Google "Mosler," or "Kelton," or "MMT."

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Dec 10, 2023·edited Dec 10, 2023

It's been nothing but lies since the Gulf of Tonkin (in my memory). I guess if you live in a society built on a fantasy (white male entitled superiority) that shouldn't be a surprise. What does surprise me (not so much George Orwell) is how many are so fucking clueless.

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Yes, that was the great deregulation ogf the banks by Gramm Leech Bliley. FDR's reforms gave the US a stable financial system from the 1930s. What Clinton did not only laid the groundwork for the 2008 collapse, but the continuing fragility of the financial system.

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