Saturday, June 2, 2012

Hispanics, Greeks, and a German

You want might want to get used to saying "President Romney," after yesterday's monthly Labor Department jobs reports showed unemployment increasing from 8.1 to 8.2 percent, and other economic reports show that the economy is slowing down. With less than six months until the election -- five more jobs reports -- there's not enough time left for the economy to recover.

Karl Rove's Electoral Map - click to enlarge
 The economy, of course, the one you hear about in the news, means the profits of the 1 percent, profits we don't share in any more, not since Neoliberalism, or Reaganomics, if you will, was adopted in the US, Europe and Asia. Out there in The World, and at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, it's known of as The Washington Consensus; austerity, i.e., cutting government budgets and slashing worker pay, benefits and retirement. Here, it's the Ryan Budget, a severe austerity program that would privatize Social Security and Medicare, which is backed by Mitt Romney, and Democratic acquiescence to Republican policies.

Vote Obama - Lose Less

Economic Growth -- the Economy -- is not about making and selling things any more. It's about extracting wealth from the 99 percent. The monthly jobs report showed that wages (up 2 percent) are not keeping up with inflation (up 3 percent.) Over the past year wages increased 1.3 percent, a percentage point below inflation. In other words, real wages are in decline. Profits are way up, to record levels, but we don't get any part of them. Money and wealth is being transferred from us to the rich. It's being redistributed, upward.

Remember that declining wages are not the only way wealth is extracted. We can still be getting paid, but they just take it back after we get home. Higher rents, foreclosures,  higher gas prices, fees charged by banks, higher prices for all kinds of things, like water, where we pay more to subsidize the rich and their industry, who get cheaper rates, and tax breaks. They no longer pay any significant taxes, so we are subsidizing the roads, bridges, ports, airports, development projects, all the things they need to do business.

President Obama has done nothing  to reverse or even slow this trend. Instead of spending his political capital getting the Employee Free Choice Act passed to remove some of the legal barriers to union organizing, he used it to pass Obamacare, which makes everyone buy private insurance. He invited health care industry CEOs to the White House to ask them what they wanted, and refused to consider any kind of single payer or public option program, which is what the public wanted.

Europe recently entered into double dip recession, and China is also slowing down. The effect of those haven't even shown up in the US economy, except in the plummeting stock markets, the gambling houses of the rich where they are backing out of bets on growth like rats fleeing a sinking ship. Mitt Romney himself lately has liquidated millions in stocks to cash.

Electoral map watchers like Larry Sabato and Karl Rove say Obama is in a good position (The Sabato link has a detailed and interesting analysis and his first map of the election cycle. After clicking the Rove link, click on his name to see his electoral map.) Obama has a chance in states that really shouldn't be in contention, like Arizona and South Carolina. Those states have lots of Latino voters. New Mexico is said to be in Obama's column, and it's because of Latino voters. Latinos make up an always increasing share of the electorate, and if Latinos in swing states can be convinced to actually come out and vote for Obama, he has a good chance.

Greeks will soon decide whether or not to abandon the European Union. If German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the de facto Commandant of Europe, drops her insistence on making the poorer countries of Europe, like Greece and Spain, pay for the bad bets of German banks, and thereby holds the European Union together, world stock markets will stop falling and start to rise again. The 1 percent will get back to the business of extracting wealth from the rest of us, and Obama will win in November.


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