The Democrats: A party that wants to die but can’t pull the plug

Yesterday, I noted my exasperation, in the face of the economic desperation of the younger generation, with the Clintonites in the Democratic Party. Young men and women are drowning in massive debt, high rent, low pay, and precarious jobs, and what do the Democrats have to offer them?

In today’s Times, Chuck Schumer, the highest elected official in the Democratic Party, gave an answer:

Right now millions of unemployed or underemployed people, particularly those without a college degree, could be brought back into the labor force or retrained to secure full-time, higher-paying work. We propose giving employers, particularly small businesses, a large tax credit to train workers for unfilled jobs. This will have particular resonance in smaller cities and rural areas, which have experienced an exodus of young people who aren’t trained for the jobs in those areas.

Tax credits to employers to train unskilled workers.

Do you know how old and ancient and bullshit this idea is? Here’s how old and ancient and bullshit this idea is. When, more than a decade ago, the University of Oregon political scientist Gordon Lafer came out with his landmark study The Job Training Charade, demonstrating how poorly these job training programs had performed over the years, he reached back, on the cover of the book, to a 1982 bill that essentially promised to do what Schumer is now proposing to do.

There’s one difference. Where the 1982 bill focused on government programs and partnerships, Schumer’s bill seems to focus exclusively on tax giveaways to employers, already awash in cash.

Why did Lafer feature that bill on his cover? Because despite decades of data and research showing how bad these programs were, they held an unusual attraction to Republican and Democratic legislators alike. Co-sponsors of that 1982 bill ranged from right-wingers like Paula Hawkins and Thad Cochran (remember them?) and Orrin Hatch to liberals like Teddy Kennedy. Job training, Lafer showed in exhaustive detail, has come to be the neoliberal salve for our free-market age. When you can’t do anything else for workers, train them. For jobs that aren’t there or wages that suck.

It’s true that Schumer offers other proposals, including a $15 minimum wage, but for anyone with a memory, the devotion of one sentence, much less a paragraph, of precious column space to this synecdoche of the bipartisan political economy of the last four decades—well, it’s enough to make you think this is a party that wants to die but can’t pull the plug.

34 Comments

  1. LD July 24, 2017 at 1:19 pm | #

    They. Don’t. Care. About. You.

    • Shoes4Industry July 24, 2017 at 10:09 pm | #

      If you don’t address climate change IMMEDIATELY and with WWII-like fervor, every other issue will be moot. The next 3 years are all there is to avoid catastrophic environmental collapse. After that, all bets are off.

  2. Chris Morlock July 24, 2017 at 1:28 pm | #

    Neo-lib corporate Democrats are Republicans. The shift Chomsky predicted has happened, and there hardly is one person in Washington that doesn’t think all solutions come from a free market source. I wish the Dems would die, and join the Republicans where they belong. Have a Republican party where the primary arguments are about social issues, it’s fine. On economic issues, they would be in the same exact astral plane.

    • jim rouillard July 24, 2017 at 5:28 pm | #

      Yet the two moribund parties maintain a deathgrip (mortmain) on the nation and the electoral process. When, oh Lady, when might we be delivered/

      • James Levy July 25, 2017 at 8:40 am | #

        Today so many issues are divisive “deal-breakers” that creating a coherent majority party in a nation with 500 cable channels and, to steal one from George Carlin, 26 varieties of Rice-a-roni, i.e. a completely fractured polity with everyone determined on exercising their sovereign will, seems out of the question. The last time that happened you had Northern white men rallying to the causes of free soil, free men, and free labor, which is both evocative and vague enough to work. What could a popular opposition to the legacy parties come up with to rally the troops in 2017? I mean, something compelling enough to get them out of the “but I’m throwing away my vote” or “I’m handing the election to the people I hate” mindset that predominates today? I think we will live (for a time) and die (as an organized, functioning republic) with the parties we are stuck with now. And yes, that’s a bad thing.

  3. brunssd July 24, 2017 at 1:38 pm | #

    It’s a big club and you aren’t in it – George Carlin

  4. TomFromMS July 24, 2017 at 2:42 pm | #

    Cochran is officially in the Senate, but if you look carefully, you will realize that what you think to be a senator is actually a wax likeness from Madam Tussad’ waxworks. The wax copy makes a good stand-in because it and Cochran accomplish the same thing.

    • jim Rouillard July 24, 2017 at 5:32 pm | #

      I was thinking the very same re Strom Thurmond and the fact he was actually dead but still in his senate chair for decades

  5. Anonymous July 24, 2017 at 3:02 pm | #

    a $15 minimum wage nationally would be a huge deal though. Sure, in coastal cities it’s not so radical but here are major swathes of the country where it would provide a decent living for a single earner supporting kids.

  6. gracchibros July 24, 2017 at 3:44 pm | #

    Here is my NY Times Comment from late this afternoon:

    “This is far dimmer proposal on jobs than FDR’s Second Bill of Rights from 1944, and Senator Sanders said he drew inspiration from that Second Bill in his Georgetown speech in late 2015.
    This is also far removed from the decent, if truncated proposal put forth by the Center for American Progress for their Ideas Conference in May of this year, calling for the right to a job for those without a college degree, based on the Marshall Plan and the WPA.

    Senator, surely you must be aware that labor’s share of national income has been shrinking dramatically since its peak in the late 1960’s, corporations are awash in profits, and they look around the world for the cheapest labor, and don’t seem to care about investing in those parts of the U.S. that need the most help: urban ghettos, Red State rural America, and the older poor suburbs like Ferguson. If the U.S. Armed Forces can train the nation’s high school graduates to learn sophisticated electronic systems, surely our vaunted private sector can do the same.

    As for small businesses and job training, wouldn’t the cost of expanding their work forces be covered in all the many programs to extend them lending upon submitting a convincing 5 year plan?

    Instead, we need a new Civilian Conservation Corps and WPA to address all the work that the private sector won’t undertake, and to hire the millions with former drug and prison records, who deserve a second chance.”

    • Chris Morlock July 24, 2017 at 6:31 pm | #

      The second bill or rights is a template for action in modern America, and I firmly believe it guides many true progressives on an almost spiritual level. It’s one of the most powerful speeches ever made in American Politics, and it gets almost no recognition. It’s as American as apple pie, and it flows from the spirit of the constitution and exudes American values. Sanders and Turner get it, and talk about it all the time. Our Revolution uses it as an ethos.

      The way to realign the south and red state conservatives is to appeal to them on this real world economic principle, and then forget the social ideology the Left usually peddles. Appeal to conservative social values with FDR 2nd Bill of Rights economic principles and you have your realignment. Conservative social democracy.

      We can argue about god gays and guns, diversity, and abortions at another time, while agreeing to disagree.

      • gracchibros July 24, 2017 at 8:29 pm | #

        Thanks Chris. I think you got it right: that Second Bill, of eight rights, the first being to that of a job, is a good starting template to bridge the gap between “redistribution and recognition,” the poles set up by Nancy Fraser of the New School to try to encompass the old New Deal left and the social, gender and racial causes since the 1960’s. Universal medicare and housing should be the next too (Dems have been obsessed with education, but Sanders has put it on the proper egalitarian footing – funding.) Don’t underestimate how difficult coming up with a satisfactory platform, program will be. FDR had some great framing in his speech to the Commonwealth club in the fall of 1932: modern economic power, corporate power, had destroyed the independence of the average citizen, who was no longer free unless the nation could restore a minimum of material basics, and making that a second Bill of Rights gives us the opportunity to continue the language used, that of legal rights, that non-economic movements have built upon. Jefferson Cowie does some very interesting writing in “The Great Exception” about where we have been, the left, since the rise of the Right. I don’t think Obama has altered the playing field. More fundamental changes are needed, in “the architecture of American life.”

        • bob mcmanus July 27, 2017 at 7:38 am | #

          “redistribution and recognition,” the poles set up by Nancy Fraser

          “Redistribution vs Recognition” is also the title of a book, a dialogue between Nancy Fraser and Axel Honneth. I am firmly on the Fraser side, but I think the early Honneth and the politics of recognition do make a very strong case, besides a lot of empirical evidence from the last century. As a committed Marxian, the question of elitism and vanguardism/Leninism is important, and how much democracy do we need in our praxis. One hundred years ago the comintern and Party had struggles with nationalism and never really figured out how to work through it.. Chomsky or Debs (“The Patriot is an International Scab”) did not have the Plan

          Anyway. I’m trying to work out the ways the class struggle seems to need to work through social identities, and maybe the identities need to be foregrounded. Recommended: Carol Gilligan, Audre Lorde, and Axel Honneth, recognizing that Honneth’s recognition work is from the 80s and 90s, was very informed by cultural studies and feminism, post-colonialism etc so has almost forty years of work following. Critical Race Theory, Critical feminism, queer theory: Take identity politics very seriously. We Marxians don’t have enough success to ignore allied voices.

          • gracchibros July 28, 2017 at 10:55 am | #

            Bob:

            Thanks for your commentary. I first heard about Nancy Fraser via her short but loaded essay in Dissent magazine, “The End of Progressive Neoliberalism,” which is a very updated version of her themes of “Redistribution vs. Recognition.” As I’m learning from her 1995 long essay, “From Redistribution to Recognition? Dilemmas of Justice in a ‘Postsocialist’ Age'”, which appeared in the New Left Review, she sees more overlap between the two poles than I indicated in my too brief comment on this blog. She writes that in matters of Gender and Race, to solve some of the feminist problems and black identity problems under capitalism, some of each “R” is needed, the problems are very much intertwined with the architecture of the capitalist economy, but sexism and racism also bear heavily as forces in their own right.

            Her essay in Dissent caught my attention because I had been running into feminists devoted to Hillary who were as far removed from the problems of the working class as you can imagine; these were creative, intelligent women who had started businesses, were professional academics, ecologists whose work overlapped with both business and academe, yet who were totally missing in action when it came to what anyone on the old left would refer to as the “political economy.”

            Fraser grasped how easily their viewpoints fit into mainstream economic “neoliberalism.”

    • Chris G July 24, 2017 at 8:13 pm | #

      Great comment. Thank you for sharing.

      • gracchibros July 24, 2017 at 8:43 pm | #

        Thanks Chris G. There’s more coming, a very difficult essay about to enter the writing phase, something like this for a title: “Gender, Race, Class, Ecology and Economics: The Rip-Tides and Cross-Currents of the Progressive Identity Crisis.” I lean towards making the basic template to solve that identity crisis “material,” based on that Second Bill, with regions submitting their work projects, federally funded. Full public participation on their formulation…sorting in two broad directions: green restorative and creative alternative energy projects, and the social needs being the other: child care workers, teacher aides, elderly care…and I think the educational and skill level aspects will be more complex than the old CCC and WPA…as will be the actual participants…it will be very different than the “all white young men,” of the 1930’s, assuredly. This is my answer to economic democracy if done right…it will build public and worker participation which will hopefully spread to the corporate sector which won’t allow anything like that “in the door now.” In my view, the “right to life” starts with the right to basic material wants being fullfilled. A scary, threatening thought right now for many Americans – and that after “all these years.” Schumer and the more centrists Dems are not there yet, but I took it as a sign of hope that the Center for American Progress stuck their neck out to intervene in labor markets with their May proposal: they crossed, however tentatively, across a major Neoliberal barrier. Whether it turns out to be the Rubicon is way too early to tell.

        • Chris Morlock July 24, 2017 at 11:56 pm | #

          I completely agree. The way to equality and civil rights in America is not through endless manipulation of identity politics. Neo-Liberals need to play the race, gender, sexuality, etc. and “oppression” cards because at their core they do NOT believe in economic equality. Their vision of a world is one where diversity is represented, gay people have equality, etc. but without any thought given to the fact that half of people are poor and half make less than 25k a year in the richest country on earth. That is no where near my ideal society.

          Added to that they have declared cultural war on “white people”, whatever the hell that means, and use it as a pseudonym for anyone that disagrees with their agenda. So much so that they manufacture “angry white deplorables” and blame them for being so racist and backwards that nothing can happen because of their obstinate attitudes. Meanwhile, most “white” Americans are poor and working poor and in crisis, befuddled with coastal elites telling them that they are the problem and they should recognize their “white privilege”. It’s a disgusting display of elitism and has become the norm. It reminds me of the attitude towards “oakies” in California during the depression. It’s part of the real racism in America.

          Using the 2nd bill of rights as a template guarantees avoiding the pitfalls of identity politics and will actually lead to a society where gender and race equality will become reality. Chiding bogeyman “white people” and pushing aggressive civil rights actions without any economic quality basis is a cruel joke.

    • Roxanne Decktor July 25, 2017 at 1:16 pm | #

      The states can enter the area of funding projects with a State Bank, like that in North Dakota. If the people can gain sovereignty over their own bank account, that can lead to enormous solutions to many problems. In my small county in NJ, there are those who look to fund the budget using imate revenues. How bizzare and non-human. Our incarceration rates should send us to the moon and back with horror. We have to help ourselves by building these solutions. The young ones in debt know that there are many solutions but they’ve been stopped by oligharical capitalists and globalists who have ended the need of a country for their wealth game. FYI Bernie Sanders supports the creation of a Public Bank in Vermont, he came out and said so. More info at publicbankinginstitute.org. People getting involved with healthcare, banking, environment, education etc is the requirement of democracy. These dems are seriously not concerned in the least in working for those things. Their talk is loosing value every time they open their mouths.
      We don’t need another hero, Sen Schumer, we need public power.

  7. Ronald Pires July 25, 2017 at 12:11 pm | #

    All through my childhood (the 50s-60s) and my early post-college career (the 70s). every single employer I had trained me for every job I was hired for. On his own dime. I was offered complete tuition for post-grad courses by my employers throughout the 70s & 80s, and on many occasions I was sent to training seminars and conferences by my employer, with my employer picking up whatever tuitions, plane fares, and room & board were involved.

    Education once had value to employers.

    • Chris Morlock July 25, 2017 at 11:01 pm | #

      Yes, a product of the New Deal and the most popular and productive era in world history. My father graduated high school in 1949 and enlisted in 1950, doing a tour in Europe with military intelligence after they sent him to the Defense Language Institute in Monterrey. They taught him Russian and German, and after being discharged in 1954 went back to get his degree in history at the University of Vienna. He was paid to learn more and the stipend was more than enough to buy a car and travel Europe. The army even paid to ship the car back to the States which he used and drove across country back to San Francisco where he sold the car for a profit, a VW beetle.

      So after 6 years, half in the Military and half in school, my father spoke two languages fluently and had a bachelors in European History. He had enough cash in his pocket to spend 6 months looking for a job comfortably. Later, he used college credits still afforded to him by the GI bill to get his advanced degree in history from Berkeley in the mid 1960’s.

      I won’t go into my college experience and what I owed afterwords, what I learned, and what was in my wallet at the end of that stint. There was a time when America valued people but the Reagan Neo-con Neo-Lib revolution stripped it down to nothing, and Trump volleyed out of it on the lifestyles of the rich and famous. It’s a cartoon of an era, and Trump is simply the icing on the cake of the “free market” solutions to everything.

  8. gracchibros July 25, 2017 at 3:19 pm | #

    I agree Ronald…this is a great business transfer program, transferring what is clearly their cost as an externality to the public purse.

    I left the following comment today at a NY state (Watertown) station that posted CNN’s coverage of Schumer’s directions; it is a further clarification of my above thoughts…

    If small businesses are viable, have a good plan, and need new workers to meet rising demand, wouldn’t they include the cost of training those workers in the five year plans they submit to get a loan, either from any of the local, state or federal agencies that offer them, or in Appalachia, the Appalachian Regional Commission? Is the problem, as businesses large and small keep stating, the fact they can’t find workers with the right skills, or that in poor rural areas there is not adequate demand because consumers there don’t have adequate income? And whether it is wise public policy or not, when area businesses can document a need for workers they need and the lack of skills, they usually go to the local governments, especially county governments, to set up programs for training in the local community colleges. Isn’t Schumer, with his tax breaks for businesses for training, continuing the great transfer program, where business transfers their costs to the public…and this at a time when business profits have never been higher…
    In poor rural Red America, there is a crying need for a new Civilian Conservation Corps and a WPA, for all the work, environmental restoration especially, and combating global warming which the private sector won’t undertake; also unmet social needs: teacher aides for reading…elderly care and child care…these jobs should be publicly funded at the $15.00 per hour rate, plus benefits. That will begin to meet the environmental and social goals the private sector will not address, and build the overall demand in these rural regions that will also allow local small businesses to improve.
    The job of public education is to give citizens the basic skills they need for the modern economy, while also cultivating the critical thinking skills and knowledge of history to equip them as full civic and economic participants, something I doubt the corporate sector really wants. I have a big problem with turning high school and community colleges into vocational schools largely serving the commands of the private sector. If the US military can train high school grads for the most technically demanding modern electronic systems, which they do, why can’t a private sector awash in cash and profits do the same? And of course, the military and the private sector run on an authoritarian basis, where citizens who enter hang their civil rights and ability to speak out up on the doorway lintel before they enter. A conflict between capitalism and democracy? Yes, I’m afraid that’s true, but buried in the public discourse dominated by corporate media.
    And let a new CCC and WPA arise to meet all the public needs that the private sector has always refused to address. And Senator Schumer, hasn’t so much private sector philanthropy from US generated profits now gone abroad, not into our domestic regions that need the help: rural areas and urban ghettoes? I’m thinking of the Gates family, the Soros ventures, and indeed, the Clinton Foundation.
    Didn’t Nicholas Lemann ask the crucial question, and implicitly challenge where all this private philanthropy is directed, in his NY Review of Books article, “What Happened to Clintonism” (June 8, 2017 print edition) when he wrote:
    “Clinton as ex-president has become a highly visible participant in a distinctive subculture that globalization has created, one in which the focus of liberalism has moved from the state to philanthropy by billionaires, and from the nearby working class to the faraway very poor. That has made into the kind of foil that Trumpism feeds on. ”
    Between the outrageous profits and surpluses that the 1% has collected at the expense of American labor, and the accompanying accumulation of vast private philanthropy, it would seem that business oriented billionaires and the private sector which is missing workers with particular skills could get together and solve that problem…if indeed they have American best interests at heart. I doubt they do.
    That’s why we need a public jobs program that will federally fund projects that emerge from local and regional unmet needs, as happened in the 1930’s. It will be said that it only happened then with the complete collapse of the economy, which is not what we have now under the much touted two chief economics statistics of low unemployment and low inflation. But these two metrics no longer measure well-being, for humans or for nature. The economy has indeed collapsed for good portions of our society, for economic groups and regions.
    That’s why a very good essay based on research in our troubled rural regions was entitled “Deaths of Despair” – by a Penn State professor, Shannon Monnat. Read it and weep here at
    http://aese.psu.edu/directo

  9. Gorgar Tilts July 25, 2017 at 3:43 pm | #

    Generation Zyklon is going to liquidate the Millennials.

    This is both moral and expedient. No one wants a repeat of Boomerism at the top.

    No Millennials, no problem.

  10. bob mcmanus July 26, 2017 at 5:03 pm | #

    Added to that they have declared cultural war on “white people”, whatever the hell that means

    Flat out Frasean exterminism of the working class is what it means. And also the women WC, the gay WC, the black WC, etc but by being flattered with recognition that part is less visible. This involves both maintaining sustenance levels for and expanding the dependency class, the sub-proletarians and lumpenproletarians in order to expand the reserve army, but also by expanding the lowest middle class level and pushing down the salaried class to more precarious and fearful economic positions:student debt, premiums for top universities, high youth unemployment, internships etc. Intellectual labor must be fearful not of falling into unionized high-wage collectivity, but into social exclusion and poverty. That is where they find what remains of the surplus.

    In globalized automated late-Capitalism the proletariat gradually disappears in order to make sub-proletarians of the creative and technocratic classes:coders, animators, and academics.

    This will express itself socially as the demonization of the collective abstracted working class, and then the individual worker on moral grounds, .

    • Chris Morlock July 27, 2017 at 1:36 am | #

      Well, it’s beyond my education level to understand that kind of political science, lol. All I can say is that my observation is that Neo-Liberals, bereft of any traditional left wing economic justice rhetoric, needed to move the narrative away from economic justice to other means of expressing anger. They chose to push deeply into civil rights, which I have always thought of as positive, but by the 1980’s that gave way to a kind of rampant ID politics that focused on who was oppressed more, using a type of reverse valuation to “virtue signal” to each group who seemed to have even less and less power.

      My problem isn’t with this reverse system of giving power and exposure to small groups- that’s fine. But it’s come at the expense of reason and the working class. The narrative always triples down on “white supremacy, Euro-centrism, and white hegemony as the enemy. The story is this bogeyman group is responsible for all social injustice, and if we can just overcome them we will achieve social justice.

      Meanwhile “white people”, a term which means nothing objectively, are poor and getting poorer just like everyone else. On top of the bigotry, neo-liberalism projects all social tyrannies on this mythical group- they are mindless theists, anti-abortion, and love gun violence. It’s become an ethos in media to create this group and endlessly flog it for all the evils of humanity. The “Trump” voters. This totally exploded in their faces in 2016, and the tide of diversity and social justice for minorities meant little to an electorate that can’t pay their bills regardless of their skin color. The only true social justice is economic justice, and any attempt to achieve justice without economic justice is a cruel joke. .

  11. wetcasements July 28, 2017 at 4:20 am | #

    The neoliberal cabal known as “The Democratic Party” just held strong and protected health care for 20 million Americans. Discuss.

    • Chris Morlock July 28, 2017 at 6:40 pm | #

      You mean the Heritage Foundations mid nineties Republican healthcare system? You mistook us when we said “medicare for all” and thought we said “medicaid for all”. That’s really the only component left of the ACA that actually works- terrible free healthcare insurance for extremely poor people. Glad the Republicans failed but crowing about victory here is a joke.

      ACA was supposed to be a solution to the corruption of the free-market healthcare system, instead it was just another welfare subsistence program. Another slap in the face of the working class.

  12. jonnybutter July 28, 2017 at 9:40 am | #

    The neoliberal cabal known as “The Democratic Party” just held strong and protected health care for 20 million Americans. Discuss.

    Democrats get a cookie for not voting to destroy their own crappy-but-better-than-nothing law? What is there to ‘discuss’?

    • gracchibros July 29, 2017 at 12:04 pm | #

      I’ve been trying to find out who has been advising Senator Schumer for his “apprenticeship” direction, and it seems to be coming from the Center for American Progress’ work (aka as the Clinton’s think tank…or used to be) and this long report from December of 2015:

      https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/reports/2013/12/02/79991/training-for-success-a-policy-to-expand-apprenticeships-in-the-united-states/

      And there is a long train of shorter follow-up pieces related to apprenticeships, so clearly this idea was gaining traction. It leaves open the question of which faction inside CAP drove the Marshall Plan-WPA job guarantee proposal?

      Thus Schumer (all the party’s releases from their meeting in Berryville, VA on July 24th say “Senate Democrats,” not Democratic Party…??? and there is a series of four or five downloads by policy proposal, not a unified paper…pretty undtidy, I have to say…rush job?
      ) has passed over the CAP’s Marshall Plan-WPA proposal from the idea conference of May 16th, 2017…and gone with apprenticeships.

      So the Schumer branch of the party is still reluctant to intervene in labor markets, one of the real “Rubicon’s” of Neoliberal Commandments; the game, while sounding pro-worker (and in theory there is nothing wrong with paying apprenticeships, an old tradition but not widespread across industries in the US focused on the old AFL trades) is how much of the cost of training is business going to shift onto the public…and why if there is unmet demand in the industries related to the missing skills (and this trope-pleas is coming almost entirely from pro-industry think tanks, consulting firms…etc., don’t the industries solve their own problem at their own cost? Well, that’s not how capitalism works, is it?

  13. wetcasements July 29, 2017 at 4:28 am | #

    The perfect is the enemy of the good.

    And good luck getting Jill Stein or Susan Sarandon to pay for your grandma’s hip replacement.

    • jonnybutter July 29, 2017 at 12:38 pm | #

      You will get no new converts with mindless stuff like this. A preponderance of Americanos have noticed that the Dems, at best, only slightly amend the country’s right-wingward march over the last 35-40 years. That movement to the right is simply a fact, and Dem’s ineffectiveness is also a fact, however you apportion blame. I think it’s clear that the Dems have actually been complicit, especially since the 90s.

      I do agree that a third party is the wrong way to go, though. We just need to get rid of the dead-ender Clintonites. Their version of the Democratic Party is not much of a party anymore anyway, so it can’t be impossible. A whole culture of (lucrative) losing and giving in has deep roots there now, and it’s time for a change, seriously.

      I’m not putting inordinate faith in electoral politics. But if the subject is parties, it’s past time to fucking 86 the Dems as they are. No one sucks like the Dems. Even now, they are despised as much as is Trump. That takes some real, serious, dysfunction

    • Chris Morlock July 29, 2017 at 2:38 pm | #

      We elected Dems to have an overwhelming majority in government in 2008, the house the senate and the presidency. We elected a black guy with a Muslim name who sounded like the most progressive candidate ever to get the Dems nomination.

      We then got Bob Dole’s healthcare plan, hatched by the Heritage Foundation, from 1996.

      And Susan Sarandon and Stein are the problem? Please join the Republican party, you won’t even have to feign interest in social issues anymore.

  14. b. January 31, 2018 at 7:00 pm | #

    “they held an unusual attraction to Republican and Democratic legislators alike”

    Really?
    The Grand Unified Theory of US bipartisan tax revenue extraction and its conversion into private profit applies to every institutionalized con, from the Eisenhower-facilitated military-industrial-congressional complex to expansive war profiteering in arms exports, actual invasions, occupations and impunitive strikes, assistance to collective punishment undertakings such as Yemen, to nuclear triad “modernization” to reconstruction and “nation building” contracts to … government-subsidized dysfunctional health insurance, government-sponsored bubble mortages, government-provided dead-end student loans, to indeed every single flavor of private-public “partnership”, including schools, education, and indeed “vocational” and other “training”, including “training” to fix dysfunctional law enforcement.
    Follow the Money. Invented phrase, not actual history, but the line captures the essence of this great nation of hucksters and con men in three words. Follow the money – it is our prosperity gospel, the cant of a tax evaders that founded the nation, the creed of the plantation owners and slave traders, every craven and misbegotten deal, compromise and legislation.

    Unusual attraction my rear.

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