Monday, December 13, 2010

Mid-December Odds and Ends...

My desktop is filled with odds and ends and all of them are worthy of sharing.  So here we go:
First, we have often written that the new conservative movement is not about saving or conserving what exists, but really about dismantling social and economic programs and returning to a specific “Golden Age” in the past that they wish to bring back.  This is the definition of a reactionary and I wish that we’d get in the habit of using that name for them.  
A good example of pure reactionary thinking is from the Governor-elect of Ohio, John Kasich.  The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer’s Reginald Fields reports that Kasich wants to throw out the state’s collective bargaining laws as they apply to public employees.  As the law now stands, police and firefighters cannot strike but have binding arbitration to settle contract disputes, but all other public employees, such as teachers, may strike.  Kasich wants to throw it all out.  As he is quoted as saying, [Here]
 If they want to strike they should be fired...They've got good jobs, they've got high pay, they get good benefits, a great retirement. What are they striking for?  
Kasich has said this will be a top priority for him when he is inaugurated.
Yes, sirree.  March back into the past with Kasich!  Pure Reactionary thinking.  Unfortunately, we can expect more of its kind in the near future!
Second.  We can’t let Dan Froomkin’s piece in Monday’s Huffpost go unnoticed. [Here]  The title of the article, “Larry Summers, Unapologetic To The Bitter End,” describes Summers’s remarks on Monday morning to the Economic Policy Institute.  Summers has been head of Obama’s National Economic Council and these will be the final public remarks that he will make before stepping down and returning to Harvard.  (Why does Harvard want him back?)  
Froomkin reminds us that: [Here]
After stepping down from the Harvard presidency, Summers was paid $5.2 million for his part-time work for a massive hedge fund in 2008. He also took in more than $2.7 million in fees for speaking engagements at such places as Citigroup, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs -- including one visit alone that netted him $135,000 from Goldman Sachs.
Is Larry Summers apologetic or sorry for how the economy behaved during his WH tenure?  No way.  Froomkin reported that the “passive conditional past subjunctive” was Summers’s closest brush with introspection and apology.  This is the parsed sentence: [Here
That's where one would have liked to have seen more rapid progress.
It’s guilt-free governance, isn’t it?  My question is: Who will hold the pan of water for him as he washes his hands of any guilt when he steps out of the White House's front door for the last time?  Maybe they’ll give the job to Valerie Jarrett or even Michelle.  After all, Larry Summers thinks that’s what most women are best at...
Before we say good-bye to Larry, we should remember that he has not ruled out future cuts, slices, and shaves of Social Security.  This leads us to the third item we must mention.  Many liberal commentators are afraid that the next confrontation in Congress will be over Social Security and they fear that it will be the stage for the most major cave-in of the Obama presidency.
Robert Kuttner, the co-founder and co-editor of the liberal American Prospect, lent his fears to all of ours in an article that also appeared on Huffpost, titled “Social Security: The Coming Cave-in.”  Kuttner joins others who have predicted that the Deficit Commission’s recommendations were a first step to soften us up.  The current extension of the Bush tax-cuts to the wealthy will cost us almost 900 billion over the next decade.  [Here]  Next, enter the deficit hawks, screaming that the sky is falling and let’s go back to those Golden Years of Herbert Hoover and Calvin Coolidge. 
Kuttner wrote that many people are predicting that Robert Altman, yet another investment banker, will probably succeed Summers.  Instead, Kuttner suggests that Elizabeth Warren be chosen.  Even reading about the suggestion was a cheerful thought, although we all know that it would never happen.  
That’s the last O & E for now.  More tomorrow...

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