I campaigned for you in the primaries and general election of 2008, write about the economics of climate change, work in the area of energy efficiency and renewable energy, and am a climate activist in Northern California.
Stated as above, the deficit hysteria-driven austerity campaign would have never gotten off the ground; no one outside the financial industry or its paid minions would choose to design society to facilitate the financial sector’s enrichment at the expense of the rest of the economy.
The austerity push by politicians, political operatives, and pundits of the last 5 years is the height of economic, political, and social perversity and stupidity. Yet, as it still resonates in the halls of power, in the White House and Congress, and in many parts of the media, it still requires explanation and clarification. Besides inspiring the reduced level of government funding we are now seeing in the US and elsewhere, the deficit hysteria campaign is threatening to undermine what remains of the American social safety net that helped form and support the American middle class over the past 70 years. In addition, now and in the future, we will need a government able to use the full range of fiscal (i.e. financial) tools to combat climate change, tools which the austerity campaign seeks to lame or sequester for the benefit of a small financial elite. In the latest turn, deficit hysterics are trying to incite intergenerational warfare between the young and the old, accusing the latter of taking more than their share of public financial resources which the young will need later in life.
As the US government shutdown was still in effect and the prospect of a debt default loomed, President Obama held an extraordinary and revealing White House press briefing on October 8th in which he clarified his then position vis-à-vis the shutdown and debt ceiling. After the shutdown was (temporarily) ended on October 17th, Obama made a fairly extensive public statement airing his views of how he sees economic policy and government’s role. While I have not followed every one of Obama’s press conferences or speeches, in both of these public appearances, Obama went into unusual detail and lengths to expand on his views of politics, government and the economy. In addition, he marked out his most combative stance vis-à-vis the Republicans to date. Also in his October 17th statement we had the clearest statement for a number of decades, of some of the benefits of having a government at all from a top American political leader.
The mythical market and view of an autonomous, self-managing capitalism is contradicted by the multiple real critical dependencies of our economy.
While the US political system (federal, state and local) has been assumed to be one of the more stable political institutions in the world, over the last two decades a series of confrontations between the Republicans and the Democrats has started to expose serious faults in American governance.
350.org’s “Do the Math” educational campaign and documentary film points out a crucial fact for our time: that most of the known reserves, the assets of the fossil fuel industry, must remain in the ground untapped, for the climate to remain something remotely like what we have known throughout the history of civilization. Civilization requires agriculture, which is dependent on a few sensitive species to produce a surplus of food for masses of people with comparatively lower levels of labor or mechanical work. If we make the climate inhospitable to these species, as well as to ourselves, via fossil fuel use and degradation of the carbon buffering capacity of the environment, we will make it vanishingly likely that our own success as a species will continue.
This is a syndicated repost courtesy of New Economic Perspectives. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission. By Michael Hoexter In a previous post, I outlined how leaders in positions of political power, especially at the national level, are chosen to fulfill a unique ethical role that differs from that which is appropriate for…
This is a syndicated repost courtesy of New Economic Perspectives. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission. By Michael Hoexter The austerity campaign, a favorite for the last four years of politicians and financial tycoons, remains a seemingly self-contradictory and baffling phenomenon for those who know that it goes against at least 80 years…