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December 17, 2021 07:00 AM UTC

Friday Open Thread

  • 28 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

“At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed.”

–Frederick Douglass

Comments

28 thoughts on “Friday Open Thread

  1. If you’re in a room full of folk and you can’t figure out who the stooge is in the first 60 seconds…it’s you. 

    Kanye West’s ‘Independent’ Campaign Was Secretly Run by GOP Elites

    New documents show Kanye West’s doomed White House campaign—styled as an “independent” third-party effort—appears to have disguised potentially millions of dollars in services it received from a secretive network of Republican Party operatives, including advisers to the GOP elite and a managing partner at one of the top conservative political firms in the country.

    1. That makes me wonder whether Krystin Sinema is a deep GOP plant. First she runs as a Green Party, then as a Democrat where she continues to protect the Republican agenda.

      There's your Jill Stein on steroids.

      1. Sinema is a corporatist above all. Payday lenders,law firms,  finance, insurance, and real estate industries are her top contributors. Those are the interests she represents, above those of  her constituents. . She gets millions more from national donors than from Arizonans. 

        Progressives need to stop supporting her through feminist organizations such as Emily’s List, and through Democratic PACS. 

        I agree that her Green Party run is suspect. She doesn’t appear to have any agreement with the Green  platform

        1. Sinema was a social worker and earned a MSW in 1999.  She worked on Nader's 2000 presidential campaign, and was a losing independent candidate for local contests.  In 2001 -she became an organizer of protests — anti-war and opposing "the North American Free Trade Agreement, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization."  Someplace in there, she became a spokesperson for the Greens — but in 2002 ran as an independent candidate affiliated with the Greens and lost. By 2004's election, she registered as a Democrat and ran for the AZ House in the odd districting system, with 2 winners per state Senate district.

          My sense — she was more committed to the protests and used the Greens' mailing and phone lists, and less a committed Green who also protested.

           

        1. That is giving Cinema (since she thinks she's performing on the big screen) more credit than she deserves.

          She's stupid and narcissistic which is a dangerous combination. (Sound like anyone else we know in politics?)

          Never attribute to duplicity what can easily be explained by stupidity.

          1. Sinema was valedictorian of a small high school at age 16, graduate of BYU at age 18, earned a MSW, earned a JD, completed a leadership program at Harvard, and earned a Ph.D.

            Sure doesn't SEEM stupid in the usual sense of the word.

            1. Thank you. As much as Sinema’s obstruction pisses me off, I don’t actually think she’s stupid- just sold out to corporate interests. 
              It’s mildly interesting to speculate about whether she was a mole when she was protesting corporate power and using the Greens to get started in politics, or a genuine believer who changed her mind and decided that corporation people were her true friends. 

  2. Brad DeLong, the well-known history of economics professor at Berkeley, looks at: "Is Inflation "Non-Transitory"?"

    Federal Reserve policy for years has undershot the inflation "target" of 3%. That caused the recovery from the deep 2008 recession to be extremely slow. The Biden Boom has accelerated the economy quickly, but note that inflation expectations are still very low: see how investors are valuing long-term bonds and mortgage rates). 

    The third thing to say is that restoring an economy to full employment while undertaking a massive structural shift in an economy with sticky downward wages (and some prices) has always, in our experience, been accompanied by a transitory burst of inflation. You have to incentivize movement into the sectors that need to expand by creating price differentials vis-a-vis the contracting sectors. And with their wages (and some of their prices) downward-sticky, that is a transitory burst of inflation. It is the post World War II demobilization and the Korean war era mobilization from the Cold War that should serve as are examples, if indeed there are any examples that are relevant. Those who look at the US post-Korean War experience and try to generalize from that are, I think, barking up the wrong tree:

    Robert Armstrong & Ethan WuThe Fed Still Thinks Inflation Is Transitory: ‘The most surprising thing in the Fed’s sedate December meeting was the news… that monetary policy committee members project three interest rate increases next year, rather than the two that consensus had called for. Even this spooked no one…. The Fed is acknowledging short rates will need to rise somewhat to hedge against persistent inflation. That is evident in the 2022 and 2023 dots. But the median forecast for rates in 2024 nudged up only a bit, from 1.75 percent to just over 2 percent. The longer-run dots have stayed the same…. The committee thinks, with a high level of unanimity, that a short raising cycle, topping out at 2.5 percent, will ensure that inflation is transitory…. Above target inflation will last about a year. Everybody, say it together now: transitory! The Fed retired the word, but it still thinks the same way…. The bond market wholeheartedly agrees with the Fed’s attitude…

    LINK: <https://www.ft.com/content/024e4598-61cf-4871-89dc-0626d71a8c96>

      1. Maybe a couple bullet points worth biting on:

        – If transitory inflation leads to less-than-transitory policy action, like increasing interest rates, it could make a pretty big difference if you're taking out a loan

        – As with about anything, follow the money when it comes to considering what's causing inflation: https://robertreich.substack.com/p/truth-about-inflation

        – Inflation's not without consequences, especially for folks on limited or fixed income, but it's also a nice talking point to throw against the political wall to see if it sticks to Uncle Joe or Ds running in battleground states/districts. Whether it's transitory or not transitory might matter a great deal politically in the run-up to the mid-terms.

        1. "Fixed Income"?

          Social Security is not fixed income because it increases with inflation, and lucky seniors may be home owners with fixed house payments, even luckeir, maybe they've paid off the mortgage!

          Inflation hurts people in weak negotiating positions with their employers. Thank god for Unions.

      2. Yeah. Brad DeLong is much more lay-person readable when he's talking about history; he has very interesting and informative perspectives.

        In todays situation, there is a debate between Team Transitory and Team Freak-out. Is inflation is just a bump in the road as the economy readjusts to Covid related supply chain and consumer purchasing disruptions, or is there something permanent either in terms of inflation expectations, or a super over-heated economy.

        Paul Krugman and DeLong are both on team transitory, claiming that today's inflation is more like the recovery from WWII when consumers have a sudden release of spending, and then the captains of industry look at demand and invest to meet it. As opposed to the 1970s supply crash from OPEC, and the stagflation.

        The question for the Fed is whether to act now to cool the economy. That is easy to do by raising interest rates, in order to crash the housing market (construction and purchases). That is what Larry Summers is arguing for.

        Team Transitory says that would be crazy. Instead we should fund childcare Covid vaccines so people can re-enter the workforce. Besides we actually want a little inflation.

        Team Hard-nosed Business Investor Bond Traders is looking at the situation and saying. "Nope; No way. No inflation coming that we can see."

        Team Maggot, wants the economy to collapse so they can kill the Biden Boom. 

        1. The irony is that as Team Maggot hopes for an economic Armageddon to punish Biden and to “own the libs,” who do you think will be hurt the most?

          Think about the average white trash Trump supporter who spends at least half of his disposable income on maintaining his big ass pickup truck (fuel, tires, tags, accessories…..but not insurance) and the other half on junk food, ammo, cigarettes, booze, weed, and keeping the trailer good enough shape to withstand the next Biblical (but not climate-change related) flood. 

          It’s Medicaid expansion, child tax credits, COVID vaccines and so many other things he opposes. Even if it’s in his self interest, he has to oppose it.

          You can’t tell me what to do…..

    1. America’s billionaires have grown $2.1 trillion richer during the pandemic; everyone else got screwed with inflation. 

      Maybe Dr. Pfruit could give us an Econ lecture on how this is a good thing (a dynamic that will only intensify, not dissipate)? How MAGA policy could have prevented this unprecedented transfer of wealth from the many to the few? 

  3. Simple sure-fire way to get Build Back Better to pass the Senate:

    Include a permanent tax holiday for Billionaires and their descendants, with further rebates upon proof of donations given to GOP candidates.

    We're spending $8 trillion on defense over the next 10 years — what's another $1.75 trillion for things that actually strengthen our nation?

    We all know the values today's GOP hold dear.

    Surely, I'm not the first to realize this…

    1. There would still be about 30 Republicans who would vote against it – even if it put money in the pockets of their paymasters (Cruz, Paul, Lee, Cotton, Hawley, Johnson ….. you know, the Asshole Caucus).

      But I'll bet the 19 Republicans who voted for the physical infrastructure bill plus Manchin would support what you're suggesting.

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