In view of that undoubted clear-headedness, it's sometimes jarring that when it comes time to proffer fixes, they come a'cropper:
"The fundamental economic challenge ahead is to restore the vast American middle class," Reich recently told a Senate panel.Duh, says I. And what is the biggest obstacle to that?
"That requires resurrecting the basic bargain linking wages to overall gains, and providing the middle class a share of economic gains sufficient to allow them to purchase more of what the economy can produce. As we should have learned from the Great Prosperity — the 30 years after World War II when America grew because most Americans shared in the nation’s prosperity — we cannot have a growing and vibrant economy without a growing and vibrant middle class."Yeah, right. Stirring stuff! Have I mentioned before how amused I find these patriotic paeans to the American spirit, and the earnest calls for resurrection? "All" we have to do is restore the old social contract, and we'll be back on the track to prosperity. Happy days, etc...But that seems to me to completely overlook the fact that the acolytes and catamites of Reaganism have spent the last 30 years, and untold BILLIONS of dollars UNDERMINING in the very fabric of that contract, negating its conditions of possibility, wherever they found it, and relentlessly expunging and erasing it even from the rhetoric of the national discourse.
Renew the social contract. Sher. I'll take it up with Lloyd Blankfein next weekend at dinner at the Club... Like THAT'S gonna happen. I mean, I don't wanna be an entirely wet blanket, here. SO mebbe somebody can help me out with this? Where is ANYBODY going to find the votes and the courage to undo the "Reagan Revolution?"
St. Barry, the Pale, will soon be "forced" to extort HUGE, probably deadly, give-backs from the poor, the elderly, and the disabled to 'compromise' with the GOPhux over the Debt Ceiling...or maybe it's the budget, or some other legislative trinket. In any and all cases, since "everything is on the table," St. Barry will INEVITABLY concede something vital to the well-being of someone invisible to them all.
Watch the crocodile tears, and remember: This is what he was ELECTED to do, from day one.
Why? Cuz the USer middle class is too expensive to "restored." It's outlived its usefulness. There are now other markets. Lots of 'em. So the USer middle class has to be 'disciplined' (what the experts call it), taught to be grateful enough that you have ANY fucking job at all, so that you'll work for peanuts, in shitty conditions, with crap for protection, and be goddam glad you're not in the extension phase of your unemployment which ThePrez just bargained away for deficit reduction..
The impoverishment of the so-called "middle class" isn't the "unintended consequences" of some otherwise worthwhile project. In case y'all missed it during the last 20 years, US manufacturing jobs all but disappeared, unions shrivelled, wages shrank in comparison to productivity, and the automatic indenture machine called the "credit card" became the common currency. 'A growing and vibrant economy' is precisely what "off-shoring" and "globalism" were designed to curtail, to arrest, to in effect cripple. Remember the great sucking sound?
They BOTH (Reich/Krugman) KNOW this to be true, but--as paid-up members of the coordinator class--cannot and will not say so...
So Reich's (in this case; Krugman's, too, often enough) prescription for improved ecomonic health is really little better than a prayer from the pulpit to some unrelenting, impervious, probably imaginary deity, offered solely for the purpose of preserving the appearances that sustain 'faith.'