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David Frum State Bankruptcy

David Frum writes about why Mitch McConnell wants the blue states to declare bankruptcy. If you read any of my posts on Karen Ho’s book Liquidated, you’ll have a clue what the “shareholders” are up to.

Here’s the short summary behind the motivation for why Republicans want NY to declare bankruptcy: they see themselves as owners of the economics of the state and they did not promise pensions to the public unions waaaay back when. That was done by other people. Now those wealthy New Yorkers, Californians and Jerseyans have to pay sky high taxes to the states to maintain those pensions. And they don’t want to. Like I said, they see themselves as owners. They don’t see themselves as taxpaying citizens. They never agreed to letting a cop or firefighter retire with a nest egg.

Let’s not forget that if you are one of those public employees in a union whether it is a teacher or paramedic, the bargain you struck with the state was that you would defer some of your compensation to a pension fund. That’s your money. You worked for it all your life. Likely, you have been basing all your major life decisions on whether it was going to be there when you got old including if and when you would have children and whether those children would get money to go to college from your other savings.

But in a bankruptcy proceeding, pension funds are not the first creditors that will be paid back from the assets of the state. In all likelihood, they will get the shaft- hard.

But that doesn’t matter to the owner-funders of the Republican Party. All they care about is the here and now and they want out of any obligations that the past might have saddled them with.

Go read the Frum piece in The Atlantic. Then go read Karen Ho’s book Liquidated. Then go read anything you can find on the Shock Doctrine.

There’s a good chance that the Republicans are going to lose EVERYTHING in the 2020 election. But by they time that happens, they will have set up an elaborate domino maze that will take everything we prize in the American system down with them and they have enough judges in place to keep it from ever rising again.

It sounds hyperbolic and unlikely. But what hyperbolic and unlikely prediction hasn’t come true since Trump and the Republicans took over? Trump pressing the nuclear button? There’s still time. There are 9 months until Inauguration Day.

******************

By the way, if I hear one more person whining that anyone but Elizabeth Warren should be Biden’s VP pick, I’m just going to assume they haven’t been paying any f#^*ing attention and think this is still 2008.

It’s not.

It’s 1932.

It HAS to be Warren or Biden will be signaling that he’s incapable of leading in desperate times.

18 Responses

  1. Well, I certainly agree with your economic insights here. But I will disagree with your comment on Warren, and expound a bit. i’m not a big Warren fan in general, but that’s almost beside the point. I don’t care whom Biden picks as VP, outside of wanting him to pick someone who can help him win this oh-so-important election. And I don’t think Warren does, certainly not as much as some others, like Klobuchar.

    What votes does Warren help Biden get that he wouldn’t already get? Warren is a very liberal senator from MA, which unfortunately is not in the mainstream of where this country is. Warren’s primary campaign was not impressive, when you consider that she came into it with very strong name recognition, and yet won no primaries, came in third in her own state. Her poll numbers, which early on had her nearly at the top, steadily fell. Where does she help Biden? Not in any particular state, whereas Klobuchar likely helps him in the crucial midwest, and Val Demings, who is a risk, would at least help in Florida,; Whitmer in Michigan.

    And Warren presents a target and a distraction, which we do not need. In past elections, I wanted the candidate to pick a VP whom I admired, not go too bland or conservative. But in this one, with everything at stake, why do we want to give the Republicans a chance to shout “Socialism!” every minute? Sure, they always like to use that term, but it is not effective against Biden, would not be effective against Klobuchar; i don’t know about Kamala, probably not. But Warren’s policies, pretty close to Sanders’ are farther to the ‘”left” than the virtually any VP possibility. Massive taxes on the wealthy is something that I have always been for, but not only would they not pass, it would be easily spun into tax increases on everyone. That is a big part of the reason that Warren’s numbers dropped as the campaign went on.

    We do not need to make the VP choice the lighting rod in this election. Warren would be a big roll of the dice. She might work if this is perceived by the electorate to be 1932, but i don’t think it is as yet; and remember that the Democrats always won the South in those days. Does Warren help this ticket in swing states? Florida? Wisconsin? That is where this election will be decided. Does she do anything for our chances to win or even force the Republicans to compete in reddish states like Georgia or Texas or even Arizona? i doubt it. It is a state by state election, of course.And with the Supreme Court ready to declare that “faithless electors” have the right to vote for anybody they choose, despite the result of the state popular vote, we had better have some margin to cover that. We are looking at a four-year Biden term, and we had better have someone who is perceived to be a popular choice to take over from there. in my opinion, Warren is the one VP choice who could cost the Democrats the election, because the Republicans would make the race about her, not Trump. And there are a few Republicans who would vote for Biden, but not that ticket.

    • William. It is time to address the ugly truths that have been exposed by this pandemic. You know, the ones that Clinton tried to address, Bush exacerbated and Obama tried some magic hand waving to fix?
      It is going to cost some people money. There’s no way around it. If you’ve got it and a tax hike is not going to break you, then you will need to accept it. Because there are millions of people who are hurting desperately right now. They’re between a rock and a hard place and Trump is destroying their lives.
      They have also worked really hard and since there are only 24 hours in a day, what the wealthy have personally contributed to society is only marginally greater than the work of any office worker or teacher or manufacturer of fine wood products.
      The structural problems MUST be fixed and no one else in politics understands them with the depth that Warren does. No one.
      The status quo is over. You need to accept it. We are at a saddle point. We can either descend into chaos and poverty or we can get our shit together and get to the roots of the problems and fix them. There is no leaving things as they are.
      By the way, you don’t know who people will vote for this fall. I didn’t think Obama could win in August 2008. It was not a foregone conclusion. But then the floor gave way in the market and the country would have elected Dennis Kucinich at that point.
      So, even though Trump has a cult following, there may be enough voters to completely upend this whole country.
      You’d better hope so.

      • RD,

        I have come to expect William to respond the way he did re Warren, despite the fact that what you say about her knowledge of the financial world is right on target and absolutely needed in the biden administration. In fact, no matter what the circumstances are in finding her the best choice for VP (IMO, president), he always says NO. Why is that?

        William, even you can see that Biden hasn’t a clue on how to deal with the financial pandemic which is coming our way and that he will desperately need a person who actually understands how to fix these complex problems. If we don’t, I fear we will fall into a depression equal to what we experienced in 1929, even worse. This is not the time to allow our personal predjudices to cloud our judgment. We have to accept that Biden is old and not mentally fit enough to not be taken advantage of by other white men who will certainly overwhelm him with their recommendations. We need someone who can stop biden from compromising our chances away and Warren is the person to do that.

        RD is right in recognizing that, “we can either descend into chaos and poverty or we can get our shit together and get to othe root of the problems and fix them…” Choosing Warren is a no brainer. You act llike you have a crystal ball confirming with absolute certainty that Warren would jeopardize biden’s chances of being elected. I think she will help him win by an even greater margin.

        How cowardly for any American to take such a position and base the choice strictly on emotion and not logic and reason, especially considering what will happen if biden chooses someone who doesn’t have a clue about fixing the financial problems we will face. I like both Harris and Abrams, but they would not be the best choice for America at this time in being able to help biden lead us out of the overwhelming financial and health crises we will be dealing with for a long time.

        The road to hell is paved with good intentions and we are already there. There is no greater time for courage and fearlessness, if we want to save our country.

      • RD, this could well be the case, it often feels that way to me. Either make major structural changes, or the country is lost. Or it may already be lost, we will see. The Republicans have taken advantage of a very flawed electoral system framed by the otherwise very astute Founders, to consolidate power. Unless Democrats can somehow change many red states to blue, the Senate will at best be a small Democratic majority,not enough to pass sweeping tax bills which would greatly raise the taxes on the wealthy. We both well remember President Clinton trying to enact a very modest tax increase on the wealthy, and the Republicans screaming that it would bankrupt the country; and Clinton finally getting it though, I think by one vote in the Senate (and they almost had to beg Bob Kerry for that), and by a very few in the House, which vote cost several brave Democrats their seats in the next election. And then we lost 47 House seats in 1994, not just for that reason, but it was part of it. And we lost 68 or so House seats in 2010, largely due to ACA.

        So the gargantuan task is to somehow turn some of the red states, which form a kind of wall against Democrats taxing big corporations. Not to mention the Supreme Court, which is prepared, like the court that FDR had to face, to throw out all sorts of legislation as “illegal taking,” or whatever concept they make up. The only thing which saved our economy after the great crash and depression, was the very smart and charismatic FDR, national panic, and him finally being able to convince the business-centric Supreme Court to start resigning. Maybe i’m unduly pessimistic, but I do not see even a better Congress enacting significant anti-corporate legislation, maybe just a few incremental improvements. And right now, the Republicans are still favored to hold the Senate, though i could see us getting to 51 seats, which would be including Manchin.

        The 1932 election was all about the economic collapse. This election will mostly be about fitness for office. I do not expect a vast majority of voters to vote for a Democratic-run economy, though they should. For over three years, all the media kept referring to “the booming economy,” which it never was, except for billionaires. So how do we create the narrative that the Republicans have ruined the economy? Even though Trump’s policies are destroying the middle class and poor, the people in Red states and even some swing states have been convinced that he was doing a great job on the economy. The stock market went up! That of course was because all of his policies poured money into corporations, so of course their share prices would go up. The stock market is not the economy, now more than ever, but try telling that to the anchors of the cable news shows.

        • What really saved our economy in 1932 was America getting into the war. Reports show that FDR was inhibited by the American public’s opposition to direct U.S. involvement in the fighting. He was determined to save Great Britain from a Nazi victory in Europe, so he manipulated events in the Pacific in order to provoke a Japanese attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, thereby forcing the United States to enter the war on the side of Britain. I don’t that solution will work now.

          Believe it or not, White House senior advisor, Kevin Hassett, talks about the economy and what we are in store for: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/kevin-hassett-us-economy-unemployment-depression_n_5ea593e0c5b6805f9ecede10 Sounds pretty ominous don’t you think? We minimize it at our peril. The biggest mistake would be to not recognize what we have to be prepared for if we don’t want this to happen, at least to the fullest extent that is possible. We have to accept that the only way it can be fixed is to ensure that the best person for the job is in a powerful enough position to make certain the solutions are ENACTED and not just talked about. There is no time to waste. It will need to be dealt with from day one. Name one person who is better equipped to do it than Warren.

          • I don’t think that FDR tried to provoke a Japanese attack, much less that he knew it was coming and let it happen–granted, KAW did not claim the latter.

            After all, the Axis was only a defensive pact. Japan used that excuse not to help Germany against the Soviet Union, because Germany attacked the USSR, not vice versa. Hence, Hitler could have used the fact that Japan attacked the USA not to declare war against the USA. FDR could not have counted on Hitler being stupid.

      • We are at a saddle point.

        After this pandemic event, nothing is going to be the way it was.
        We -not only as a Republic but as a species, are going to have a reckoning with a whole new way of life.
        Systems, structures, economies, trading, traveling, etc, etc. must trigger into a sustainable, healthier and environmentally sound new course, before we annihilate ourselves to extinction.

        Warren has a broader vision for what it is coming, than most others qualifiers.
        IMHO

    • William:
      What is your choice for VP instead of Warren?
      You mention some but acknowledge risks as well.

      • bellecat, i would favor Klobuchar, because she is smart, capable, and helps in the Midwest. She was going to win the Minnesota primary, but decided to drop out, endorse Biden, and that got him the primary victory there. She also did well in New Hampshire, coming in a close third. She obviously did not have enough support to win the nomination, but, she showed she could draw some votes. She would likely help in Wisconsin, a key state, and maybe Michigan. She understands the Midwestern voters. Also, she almost never makes a mistake during a debate, does not have to backtrack on issues. The only negative I’ve see about her was that NYT article about mistreating staff, but I don’t think that would be a big deal now. I would trust her more in a debate against Pence than anyone else.. Finally, while i concede that she is not a staunch liberal, she votes the right away almost every time, she has a good record of getting bills passed. She could help Biden in dealing with the Congress.

        Second choice, and admittedly a longshot, and someone I do not know a lot about, ,is Tammy Baldwin. She is soft-spoken but strong, and a respected senator in perhaps the biggest swing state. if she helps Biden win Wisconsin, he will likely win the election. Since we absolutely cannot afford to have Trump win, i would want to pick the VP candidate who gives us the best chance to win. . The risk with her is that Wisconsin’s rules are that if a senator resigns, the governor does not pick the replacement, but there is just a new election. On the other hand, Warren’s state is run by a Republican, who would almost certainly choose a Republican replacement, making it that much harder o control the Senate.

  2. If we get firm control of the other two branches of the government–can we impeach and remove all the Fascist Society, er, Federalist Society judges, or are we required to have criminal charges?

    Although, I think retroactive investigations could probably find a lot of criminal, or at least smelly, things in their pasts–which might motivate some of them to resign. 😈

    Also, if we have firm control of the other two branches, can’t we just defy the right-wing judges? If I may channel Uncle Joe Stalin, how many divisions does the Federalist Society have?

    • I’ve thought about that a lot. We can’t impeach the judges, it would require more votes than we would have. The best we could possibly get in the senate is 52-48, and that is doubtful. Even when FDR had a very strong victory in 1932, the so-called “Nine Old Men” on the Supreme Court blocked his legislation. FDR tried to add Justices to the court, but Congress stopped him. Fortunately, enough court members realized that they were unpopular and out of their time, so they resigned,which saved the country from some kind of revolution. The Federalist Society judges on the court now will never go anywhere. We can only hope that the Democrats control the White House for the next 20 years, by which time at least Thomas would have left, so that we would once again have a majority.

      Defying the judges is an interesting idea. They have no real enforcement power. But this would require a very strong Democratic majority. A Democratic president could issue many executive orders to try to overcome the court decisions. It probably is the right way to go.

      • Many candidates have recommended court packing to take away the power of the current court. There is nothing in the constitution about the number of supreme court judges. So more can be added.

    • We probably can’t remove all of them but I bet like you say a lot of them have pasts that were not fully investigated or their pasts were hidden from the senate when they voted. I’m willing to bet that there is something about Kavanaugh that will be enough to take him off the supreme court. Remember the WH didn’t want a complete investigation because they knew he would not pass it.

  3. We are experiencing a time the likes of which none of us has experienced. And it’s world wide.

    Trump is spectacularly unequipped for even the most basic tasks related to his role. The GOP has openly displayed its most base motives.

    We see it, we know it. And those who weren’t paying attention before are sure as hell paying attention now.

    I am fastening my seat belt for the bumpy ride ahead. Where’s Bette Davis when you need her?

    The wealthy might be slowly becoming aware that millions upon millions of regular citizens are ready to do away with their greedy awfulness. A few gun lovers and Trumpists won’t stop the tide.

    I was hoping I could spend my golden years quietly, but it seems it’s not to be.

    Love to you all and hugs, too.

    RD, thank you again for providing this port in the storm.

    • HerStory,

      Well said and so true!

      I’ve mentioned it before on this “port in the storm”…the pandemic might be a blessing in disguise tjat will awaken the masses to the greed and betrayal embodied in the insanity of trump, his GOP sychopahnts and the rich who support them. A cleansing.

      • Kathleen,

        There is no doubt that the governors, mostly Democratic, are polling way higher in the area of “trust” for solid information and action regarding the pandemic than Trump.

        The schadenfreude sliver of hope from this horror show, is that Trump and the GOP can’t distract or attack their way out of this.

        The obscenely wealthy, along their GOP lapdogs are being exposed. Even the rich, elite types in the media are realizing they can’t back them and maintain credibility.

        And Trump’s been deprived of golf, Mar A Lago, hate rallies and travel. He is cracking under the pressure, because he can’t just do whatever he wants.

        The GOP’s latest messaging is “don’t defend Trump but attack China” because he is that indefensible.

        I would love to see Warren as VP and I also would love to see her as Treasury Secretary. I hope that Biden puts together and announces his cabinet picks along with the VP announcement.

        He has a wealth of smart, charismatic people, with loads of governmental experience, from which to choose.

  4. The future? 😮

  5. Someone on the Washington Monthly blog suggested putting this on a bumper sticker, if it isn’t too wordy: 😈

    “Democrats: Obamacare!

    Republicans: Shine a flashlight up your rear & inject bleach!”

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