“You only live 26,000 days — wear them out.” Quincy Jones
The Economy’s Not Booming. Capitalism Is.
What Happens Capitalism Booms — But Only at Everyone Else’s Expense?
by, Umair Haque
“Here’s a secret.
The economy’s not booming — capitalism is. And “the economy” and “capitalism” are hardly the same thing. Hence, economic indicators have stopped telling us how well people’s lives are really faring — the state of their true “welfare”, as it were, which is an economic term for general prosperity (not handouts) — in striking, sharp, and gruesome ways.
That difference is the story that isn’t told. It can’t be — because American economists assume that capitalism is the answer to the question they should be asking. “What kind of institutions does real prosperity require?” Assumption: only capitalist ones. They’re playing Jeopardy — not thinking about society. Hence — “the economy’s booming!!” — as long as a few measures of capitalism are. And over the years, even those measures — which were largely empty to begin with — have had whatever tiny shreds of meaning which were once in them plucked out, excised, and removed.”
Constitutional Rot Reaches the Supreme Court
by, Jack M. Balkin
“The fight over the Kavanaugh appointment exemplifies our country’s advanced case of constitutional rot. The rot has been growing for some time, and has now reached the Supreme Court of the United States. The Supreme Court is unlikely to save us from decay. We will have to do that ourselves.
As I have argued in this lecture, our country has gone through cycles of constitutional rot and renewal throughout its history. We are at (what we can only hope is) the most extreme point in a cycle of constitutional rot. Unfortunately, we are also at the high point of a cycle of party polarization. And, to make matters worse, we are also at the end of the debilitated Reagan regime, with a new political regime yet to be born. The endings of political regimes are highly confusing periods regardless; extreme party polarization and advanced constitutional rot make our current period even more difficult.
Right now we are in an especially corrupt moment and the courts are unlikely to help extricate us. They may even make things worse in the short run. And they are likely to be compromised and tainted by the corruption that surrounds them. But that does not make me a Thayerian or a Holmesian. One should be guided by the nature of the times. Rather than oppose judicial review per se, one should simply not expect too much from courts, and endeavor to keep them from doing too much harm. Things will eventually change. In the meantime, it is best not to look to an institution that cannot and will not help the country.
The lesson of history seems clear enough: During a period of advanced constitutional rot and high political polarization the federal courts are unlikely to be an instrument of constitutional renewal. Renewal will have to come from political mobilization instead.”
[Not only is he a sexual predator and liar, Brett Kavanaugh has overruled federal regulators 75 times on such cases as clean air, consumer protections and net neutrality.]
‘We come with all these parts and no instruction on how to put them together.’
Out and about this morning the predominate conversations were about the Supreme Court confirmation and our current administration. One women in her early 70s told an acquaintance, “I was raised in a Republican house my entire life and my parents would be outraged.” The vile and decisive rhetoric continued from the oval shaped office this morning with slander and additional lies. McConnell, already planning his re-election to the senate in 2020 (He’s 76), said in a report on Saturday, the day of BK’s confirmation, that he isn’t done with his “project” to revamp the nation’s courts. U.S. historian Jon Meacham assured us in Ketchum on Wednesday [10.3] our “Constitution was written for moments like this, and “the Founders would be surprised it took us this long” to get a president like D.T. He added: “In the past, we have moved past these times, eras, to endure and prevail.” The political climate did not commence with 2016. The current narcistic and corrupt leader landed on a throne built by an ideology developed in the 70s and 80s. Its creator did not live to see it to fruition, but those around him did. This article by Senior Research Analyst Lynn Parramore, Institute for New Economic Thinking, lends acute awareness to James McGill Buchanan ideology, a Tennessee-born Nobel laureate. “If he were alive today, it would suit him just find that most well-informed journalists, liberal politicians, and even many economics students have little understanding of his work. If Americans really knew what Buchanan thought and promoted, and how destructively his vision is manifesting under their noses, it would dawn on them how close the country is to a transformation most would not even want to imagine, much less accept.” This is not conspiracy. Parramore’s analysis is based on research by Duke University historian Nancy MacLean (‘Democracy in Chains’, 2017). She could not “gain access to Buchanan’s papers to test her hypothesis until after his death in January 2013. Billionaire industrialist Charles Koch was a big fan and has pushed Buchanan’s ideology into our politics and policies for decades. It’s a worthy, and important, read as we approach another election. It has connected so many dots for me socially and politically, explaining the IS of, why is this happening? “Concepts determine the route that attention follows” [N. Goddard].
“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s like incredible.” For anyone who missed it last week, the NYTimes reprints the extraordinary journalistic year-long investigation of DT’s corrupt tax schemes in today’s print paper.
The juxtaposition of these two stories most likely did not escape the editor.
‘We mistakenly believe that capitalism begets inevitably democracy. It doesn’t.’
“Have you wondered why politicians aren’t what they used to be, why governments seem unable to solve real problems? Economist Yanis Varoufakis, the former Minister of Finance for Greece, says that it’s because you can be in politics today but not be in power — because real power now belongs to those who control the economy. He believes that the mega-rich and corporations are cannibalizing the political sphere, causing financial crisis. In this talk, hear his dream for a world in which capital and labor no longer struggle against each other, “one that is simultaneously libertarian, Marxist and Keynesian.”