Hey guys! In honor of Hillary losing big last night in Wisconsin, we decided to talk substantively about the "issues" today. If you don't click you're choosing sizzlin' style over nourishing policy substance. So...have we lost you yet? Hillary lost big with her blue-collar white base in the past few states. Now John McCain has totally been sending beady little rhetorical bullets at Barry Osama's grammatical biscuits and Hillary has resorted to our favorite pastime, demonizing the very financial services industry that employs her pretty daughter. It's panic button time! And what does that mean for your morning hosts, me and Megan Carpentier (newly of Glamocracy!)? It means a totally riveting conversation about entitlement programs, semiconductors and steel tariffs! Jump for our love!
MOE: Dude, what is Joe Scarbrough wearing turn on MSNBC
Ooooooh Chris Matthews just said "Slavery was in the constitution! We gotta deal with those things!"
He's been aggressively repeating his triumphant confrontation with that Obama supporter.
MEGAN: I'm HOPING that's the ugly sweater his mother gave him for Christmas.
MOE: Oooooh and more hilarity from MSNBC. An employee on Hardball MISTAKENLY FLASHED A GRAPHIC OF OSAMA BIN LADEN as host Chris Matthews was discussing OBAMA
MEGAN: I saw that!
MOE: Hey guys, here's the video of Chris Matthews interviewing that Texas state senator. Oh, so now you like Chris, SinisterRouge? Ha ha ha well will you please answer the same question re Hillary? Honestly if I wanted someone who had already created palpable legislative change I might not be desperate enough to vote for an unproven Senator on the basis of his books and his biography! If I wanted someone who had accomplished shit, crap, I'd vote for McCain!!
But wait a second. I didn't just go there. Besides it's a moot point. Hillary is over, right? Or no?
MEGAN: I personally love how NAFTA isn't her fault because she "wasn't in the Senate" at the time, so she couldn't have anything to do with it... but she wants/takes credit for all these supposed legislative accomplishments as First Lady so she can talk about how experienced she is as a person in governments.
But, yeah, Stephanie Tubbs Jones is a great ssurrogate, and a really good debater and whomever let that poor little man from Texas go up against her was smoking some crazy weed, dude.
Or else Obama's Congressional surrogates from Texas weren't dumb enough to do it.
Um, it's not quite completely finished, but Hillary can't afford to take the rest of the races 51-49. She's got to win them all by the same margins as Obama did last night in Wisconsin (or more, since she's likely to have a few more losses) and start reeling in a lot more superdelegates to win.
And/or con Barack's pledged delegates into voting for her at the convention despite the damage to their own political careers.
MOE: Personally I would rather hear criticism like Samuelson's , who writes today in The Obama Delusion that basically Obama's policies amount to "goody bag politics." Because the reason a lot of Obama believers are into him is because at some level they share Republicans' distrust of government spending, which is why they don't feel like starting any new wars. But if the country is going to move into a sound place economically and socially I think some really drastic moves and some really unconventional thinking are going to need to be applied, and we think all that needs to be underpinned with the kind of political capital Jimmy Carter fell short on — hence Barry. But demonizing free trade and promising new federal programs is ...you know, ugh...I suppose that the real miracle would be if Obama was actually successful at affecting huge change that way. The stupid thing is that it's totally not his specialty, but when McCain talks about getting FedEx and UPS into the government so we don't have disasters like Katrina, or when he talks about "jobs that AREN'T coming back," he makes more sense. Fuck, like I pointed out, Huckabee's crazy Fair Tax is actually supported by a lot of nuts on the left, including someone claiming to be an economic adviser to Mike Gravel. Soooooo...
I guess the only thing we can all agree on is that the whole wealth management industry has too much money.
Which is why most people in that industry give money to Obama.
MOE: I want to pry into John Kenneth Galbraith's coffin and clone that guy for the Obama cabinet is the thing.
MEGAN: I don't like a lot of Obama's or Hillary's economic rhetoric because I don't think it's realistic. We're not going to reverse NAFTA and shit. The key to being successful in growing the US economy (as they recognize at one level by promoting "green economy" jobs) isn't slapping tariffs (i.e., more taxes that Americans pay in higher prices) on everything we import from everywhere all over the world, it's finding ways to encourage development in sectors in which we can be competitive without trying to pick those sectors and enshrining them in legislation that will outlast their competitiveness. Like, let's try not giving tax breaks and whatever to dying industries, let's help employees with retraining and even relocation or, God forbid, continuing education. Let's help businesses with the R&D of their choice or think about the weird ways or tax code fucks shit up for them (like a section of it that says that the depreciation schedule for a warehouse roof is long than the life of the average roof, so businesses end up paying taxes ON MULTIPLE ROOVES).
There are plenty of things to think about when it comes to free trade, but voluntarily raising prices for all Americans in the midst of a recession isn't a good plan, people.
MOE: That's an important part, but where can America be competitive? I am actually quite convinced that our cultural veneration of the free market and our eminently free, and large, market has left us competitive above all in the business of "demand creation." Our vast expanse and embrace of free trade has also left us with some logistics powerhouses in Wal-Mart, Fed Ex and UPS. That same expanse and huge market and language supremacy and the something peculiarly cultural about our higher education has left us competitive in technology, and for that you have to give MIT and Harvard and Stanford a lot of credit. Our laws and liquidity and educational institutions — again, a function of the massive size of our market — make us competitive in financial services. But let's not forget the fact that in most countries that have produced dramatic economic growth the government has played a role in the decisions that steer the economy. It wasn't an accident that Asia built all those semiconductor fabs. Those are multibillion dollar factories that are incredibly expensive to run, and yet the margins are crappy and the industry is highly cyclical and you don't want to invest in a chipmaking company — or, let's face it, ANY manufacturing business — if you're a shareholder, because the business is scary, and cyclical. You have ups and downs that are inherent to the purchasing cycle. Asian governments opened those factories because they knew the industries were growing and they wanted to create jobs. And we let them go because, you know, the shareholders never saw the point of manufacturing chipsets in America anyway...
Bonus points to anyone who actually read that.
I don't even know what I am talking about.
MEGAN: All of that is true, but I think the way that we end up trying to choose — partly because we have a different system of government — means we pick too late.
MOE: But it's amazing, you know, we have these incredibly innovative, advanced and effiicient high-tech industries that really led the way in exporting all their jobs overseas. And what manufacturing jobs are we left with?
Auto accessories. American Apparel. Boeing! And we all know Boeing isn't FUNDED BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Should we get back in to discussing the election?
MEGAN: The companies that have the money already are able to successfully argue for protection or encouragement to what can be the detriment of other companies. Take the steel industry, for example. Up in arms over competition from Asia at the start of Bush's presidency, they took to the ITC to argue for retaliatory tariffs and Bush gave it to them... causing massive price and supply disruptions that harmed EVERY SINGLE OTHER downstream industry in the midst of a recession — auto manufacturing, heavy equipment manufacturing, construction, etc, etc. Oh, and since the overseas suppliers weren't about to wait around for us to get our shit together, they sold it all elsewhere, meaning some of those disruptions are now permanent and there's even an undersupply in the world right now.
Ok, I believe we have officially nerded out. Perhaps we should poll readers about whether they'd rather us do this hungover and barely coherent or all up in arms about the nuances of industrial and economic policy.
MOE: Well steel, oil...hahah you just made me think of the Great Leap Forward.
And then you get these "dumping" lawsuits.
It's so complicated! My head hurty
MEGAN: And our lovely economically non-viable "zeroing" policy — the maintenance of which, btw, lobbyists lobby for — that unfairly prejudices the outcome by eliminating from review all the instances in which dumping didn't occur.
MOE: Ooooh, Obama raised $36 million last month.
I have to ask, if he goes to public financing.
Where does that money go? Does McCain just get $12 million and they call it even or what?
MEGAN: I cannot believe that either one of them is going to take public financing. Period. Public financing is this stupid game the candidates play chicken over and then they both agree to dispense with the charade at a mutually agreeable time.
The rule is that they're severely limited in how much they can spend and raise after that, and they're both poised to blow past that. The 2008 numbers aren't yet available, but the cost-of-living adjustment for last year was $81.78 million, so it'll be something north of that. But, basically, outside of accounting and legal expenses, that would be the sole amount of money the candidates could take/spend in the general election. No way.
I think public financing at this point basically serves as a way to get government money to fund the nominating conventions. They got $15 million in 2004.