Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Catnip 6/5/12: To Be in Alaska Now


Jack London's cabin from Alaska. They actually found this thing, hauled it back to Oakland, and re-assembled it here. Sparse living, to be sure.

It's only Tuesday, and we got a whole lotta crazy to talk about already. Plus, actual voting and stuff! Let's get to a few notes...

Ezra goes right off the rails today, suggesting that maybe a Romney presidency would be best because the Republicans will crash the economy out of spite if they lose. Apparently Klein is simply going to ignore that Republican economic policy is batshit insane - huge tax cuts for the wealthy, and they will keep spending and explode the deficit. So, we reward the hostage-takers for their bad behavior, and end up in a bigger mess than we are now - and hurt a whole lot of people along the way with the Ryan budget. What part of that makes any sense?

Stiglitz takes a different view, arguing the odds of another recession grow under Romney due to the Ryan austerity budget cuts. The question comes down to whether or not you believe the Republicans are serious about cutting spending - my guess is they will keep spending for their campaign contributors and force austerity on the poor and middle class, and on programs such as education, environment, etc. Since there are more poor and middle class people who benefit from government spending, I tend to give the nod to Stiglitz here. Plus, tax cuts explode the deficit, which will make the confidence fairies nervous, right? That is the argument, isn't it? Or does that all go away when Republicans take back power?

Joe Nocera notes that Tim Noah notes that the decline in American wages came with the decline of American unions. Now the liberals lament their own union-bashing. "The result is that today unions represent 12 percent of the work force. 'Draw one line on a graph charting the decline in union membership, then superimpose a second line charting the decline in middle-class income share,' writes Noah, 'and you will find that the two lines are nearly identical.' Richard Freeman, a Harvard economist, has estimated that the decline of unions explains about 20 percent of the income gap." Some of us have been pointing this out for a while now, and we aren't even Harvard economists.

Here comes the farm bill. The Senate grapples with Republicans who want bigger subsidies for farmers (yes, Republicans want "spending" for their supporters, imagine that), the Democrats fight off cuts to food stamps, the House crazies aren't going to put up with any of it, and good luck to you, Senator Stabenow, as you try to herd this monster into some sort of coherent legislation.

Very interesting California primary today, as party lines are obliterated in the state's new "top-two finishers compete in November" vote. While chances are the Democrat and Republican on any ballot will still have the money and name recognition to put them in the "top two" of any given race, it could make for some very interesting results in those contests where it isn't so clear who is who, or there are two popular Dems on the ballot, etc. and so on. Might be fun to watch. It is of national import as the key to the Democrats taking back the House in Congress runs through California, as they are looking to pick-up a substantial number of seats here in November.

Greg Sargent has a great round-up of the stories coming out of Wisconsin. Dems are already talking recount, Walker is already muttering about "voter fraud". This one is coming down to the wire. Polls close at 9ET/6PT, which means I'm in for an interesting day.

Mitt Romney continues to lie about the auto industry bailout. This alone should disqualify him from the presidency. Bottom line: If the automakers hadn't received the money in December of '08, they wouldn't have survived. Period. The dude put companies into bankruptcy for a living. He knows the score, and he continues to lie anyway. That's enough now, Mitt. Just stop.

We are looking at an $8 billion dollar election cycle in '12. Holy shit. Can you imagine what '16 will be like?

Off to my very busy day.