The monopolists’ may-pole 1885 April 29. Illustration by Frederick Burr Opper. The cartoon shows some of the monopolist plutocrats of the Guilded Age ( Robber Barons). “(Jay) Gould, W.K. Vanderbilt, W.H. Vanderbilt, (Russell) Sage, Cornell, [and] Cornelius Vanderbilt”, some dressed as women, holding ticker tape and dancing around a may pole; Cyrus W. Field ( in bread and dress, center). Hanging out the window in the background is William M. Evarts, in a building labeled “Millionaires Snug Harbor”, and in the background is a “Monopoly Mill” labeled “Stocks” and “U.S. Bonds”.
“It costs money to fix things” (1884 January 9). Artist Frederick Burr Opper. The political cartoon was about the general state of Congressional corruption. The man forward to your left is handing money to a Congressional page to be handed out for buying legislative favors. The various signs of the Congressmen and Senators read ”I will do anything for $20,000, I can be bought for $10,000, My price is according to the size of the job, [and] My price is only $5000.00″. Patronage were a big issue in 1884; once being elected to office or receiving an appointment to office at the state or federal level, jobs were than handed out to friends in return for the political favors the new officials had received. Not always a terrible thing, but much like the Bush administration appointments to rebuild Iraq, many were unqualified for the work.
“Small purchasing power of workers cause of business recession. Washington, D.C., Jan. 7. Testifying before the Senate Committee studying unemployment, Homer Martin, President of the United Automobile Workers, today said it was his impression that the present business situation has resulted from the inadequate purchasing power of workers. He added, this was caused by business taking so much out of the profits that the distribution among workers is affected, January 7,1938.” It was part of the nation’s economic problem than and is part of the reason of the slow pace of the current recovery. Paul Krugman and others have made the same argument as Martin. Unfortunately we’ve had a conservative Congress who is more concerned with making President Obama look bad, than creating jobs.
Homeless and friendless by R.T. Sperry, 1891. “Illus. in: Darkness and daylight: or, Lights and shadows of New York life. A woman’s narrative of mission and rescue work in tough places, with personal experiences among the poor in regions of poverty and vice / by Mrs. Helen Campbell, Col. Thomas W. Knox, Inspector Thomas Byrnes. Hartford, Conn. : A.D. Worthington & Co., publishers, 1891, p. 155.” This would have been back in ye good old days before child labor laws, much in the way of regulating corporations, regulating food, no safety net programs like Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance or national food assistance program.
Forty families of drought and depression refugees camped by the roadside beside an irrigated pea field, February 1937. “Forty families of drought and depression refugees camped by the roadside beside an irrigated pea field. A freeze which destroyed the pea crop threw practically every family in this camp on emergency relief. Nine miles from Calipatria, California.” One of the great photographer Dorothea Lange’s lesser known photos of life during the Great Depression.
Son of depression refugee from Oklahoma now in California, November 1936. Also by Dorothea Lange. The combination of the Depression and the Dust Bowl made a lot of mid-westerners refugees.
William Saletan is a liberal, but he has partaken of the deficit peacock punch, Why I Love Paul Ryan
Ryan refutes the Democratic Party’s bogus arguments. He knows that our domestic spending trajectory is unsustainable and that liberals who fail to get it under control are leading their constituents over a cliff, just like in Europe. Eventually, you can’t borrow enough money to make good on your promises, and everyone’s screwed. Ryan understands that the longer we ignore the debt crisis and postpone serious budget cuts—the liberal equivalent of denying global warming—the more painful the reckoning will be. There’s nothing compassionate about that kind of irresponsibility.
The most obvious mistake is is taking the stand that deficits are a bigger problem, thus require greater priority than job creation. Democrats concede that we have some long term issues with Medicare and Social Security, but they require relatively easy fixes. The other problem, and one reason that that column reads like satire is that Ryan is either not good at math or believes his own propaganda. Oh, and he is a shameless hypocrite when it comes to economic stimulus, Republicans Loved Stimulus When Bush Was in the White House. Back Then, Helping Boost Economic Growth Was Bipartisan
Stimulus is now a dirty word, especially among Republicans in Congress. But it wasn’t always so. In January 2008 when the economic picture was far less dire and the unemployment rate was only 4.8 percent, 165 Republicans in the House of Representatives and 33 Republican senators voted to pass a stimulus package with an estimated cost of $152 billion. That package provided tax cuts of up to $600 for individuals or $1,200 for married couples, plus an additional $300 per child. The bill also contained a number of temporary tax breaks for businesses. And just in case you thought President George W. Bush’s stimulus bill was simply a bunch of tax cuts, it also included $40 billion in direct spending. The legislation was even called the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008.
President Bush lauded the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 for providing “a booster shot for our economy … [putting] money back into the hands of American workers and businesses.” Reps. Eric Cantor (R-VA) and John Boehner (R-OH) as well as Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) all seemed to agree, as did nearly 200 other Republican members of Congress that voted in support of the bill.
Note these free spending Marxist income redistribution are all still in Congress and one of them, according to today’s perusal of conservative web sites, is the far Right champion of small govmint and the conservative candidate for Vice President.
But will the voters get it? Ryan’s has a carefully cultivated image as a wonk hero, somebody who deserves to be taken seriously because he understands policy minutiae and cares about reducing the deficit. The image is a little misleading: As my former colleague Jonathan Chait has written in New York magazine, during the Bush Administration Ryan supported creation of the Medicare drug benefit and other policies that substantially increased the deficit. But Ryan’s image helps to insulate him, and his ideas, from the charge that he’s proposing what would amount to the most radical revision of governing priorities in our lifetime. Pointing out the very real, very painful consequences his budget would have somehow seems impolite.
With that in mind, here are five things everybody should know about Ryan and his agenda, based mostly on non-partisan authorities such as the Congressional Budget Office, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
1. Ryan really believes in ending Medicare as we know it. The essential promise of Medicare, ever since its establishment in 1965, is that every senior citizen is entitled to a comprehensive set of medical benefits that will protect him or her from financial ruin. The government provides these benefits directly, through a public insurance program, although seniors have the right to enroll in comparable private plans if they choose. But the key is that guarantee of benefits, and it’s what Ryan would take away. He would replace it with a voucher, whose value would rise at a pre-determined formula unlikely to keep up with actual medical expenses.
Most readers will probably be able to guess or already know the other four before clicking on the link. Ryan wants to hand Social Security over to Wall Street – like the wiz kids at JP Morgan who recently lost about $5.8 billion. They’ve since recovered, but is that the kind of roulette wheel ordinary working Americans want to place their bets on. Ryan wants to gut Medicaid as well. One class of citizens that Medicaid helps is the kid in the picture above. Ryan would so decimate government funding that we would somehow have to shrink government down to WW II levels. In 1945 the population of the U.S. was just shy of 142 million. Current population about 312 million. We also live in a much more sophisticated economy. Between the tax cuts for the wealthy, continued massive subsidies for big business the Ryan plan that Saletan thinks is so mature would be the biggest transfer of wealth, from poor and middle class to rich in our history- would that be Ryanhood or Romneyhood.
Nate Silver notes that whatever Romney was thinking, it was not about getting the moderate undecided voters since Ryan is the most radical far Right VP candidate in modern history, A Risky Rationale Behind Romney’s Choice of Ryan
Politics 101 suggests that you play toward the center of the electorate. Although this rule has more frequently been violated when it comes to vice-presidential picks, there is evidence that presidential candidates who have more “extreme” ideologies (closer to the left wing or the right wing than the electoral center) underperform relative to the economic fundamentals.
Various statistical measures of Mr. Ryan peg him as being quite conservative. Based on his Congressional voting record, for instance, the statistical system DW-Nominate evaluates him as being roughly as conservative as Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota.
Ryan’s home district is fair sized, but judging from his history there he almost has enough family and family connections to guarantee him a seat in Congress. So his supposed popularity is going to be tested in the coming weeks. Just my admittedly biased opinion, but Ryan cannot connect with blue collar working class voters the way the blue collar Joe Biden can. Guess where the Ryan family fortune came from? That is right, government contracts. Why Ryan Could Make a Romney Victory Harder.
The party increasingly depends on the types of voters who don’t like Ryan’s plans for Medicare and Social Security.
Ryan’s ambitious budget blueprint, as passed twice by House Republicans over the past two years, crystallizes the GOP’s highest policy priority: shrinking the size of the federal government, largely by dramatically restructuring entitlement programs led by Medicare and Medicaid. But the GOP today is increasingly dependent on the votes of older and blue-collar whites who — while eager to scale back government programs that transfer income to the poor — are much more resistant to retrenching entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security that largely benefit the middle-class.