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Grayson writes: "It's time to end this man-made economic disaster. It's time to stop slashing our own economic wrists. It's time for jobs."

Former Congressman Alan Grayson. (photo: Getty Images)
Former Congressman Alan Grayson. (photo: Getty Images)



Unemployment: Why

Alan Grayson, Reader Supported News

16 May 12

 

recently happened to be at an event where billionaire George Soros was being interviewed. The right wing hates Soros because he is: (a) liberal, (b) rich, and (c) fearless. [I could also make a case that they hate Soros because he is (d) Jewish, but I leave that up to you.]

Soros said a lot of things, but he said two sentences that I wish that everyone could hear. This is what he said:

You can't cut your way out of a recession. You have to grow your way out of a recession.

The simple truth in those nineteen words seems to have eluded our policymakers, both Democratic and Republican, for the past four years. Here is a chart that proves it:

The chart has been featured regularly at Daily Kos, but it comes from the Calculated Risk Blog. It graphs job losses during and following each post-WWII recession, month by month, as a percentage of total employment.

As you can see, the job losses in America since 2008 are not only the worst in postwar history, but also feature the weakest "recovery." In every single other recession, employment returned to peak levels in less than four years. (In fact, leaving aside the Bush Recession of 2001, employment returned to peak levels in less than three years.) Yet here we are, four years after the Great Recession started, still almost four percentage points under peak employment.

Which is five million jobs. Five million people who can't find work. Five million people with no income.

So, as Soros and I might ask on Passover, "why is this recession different from all other recessions?" There is a simple answer: the austerity fetish. The bizarre notion that cutting is healing.

The Wall Street Journal recentlyconfessed that without local government layoffs -- police officers, firefighters, teachers and others -- unemployment would be a full percentage point lower. I think that that's an underestimate. If those police officers and firefighters and teachers still had jobs, we would be safer, and our children smarter. But beyond that, as those public employees spent their earnings, a lot of carpenters and waiters and real estate agents and cashiers would be able to get back to work.

And we have no one to blame but the cut-cut-cut policymakers, in whichever party. As Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman put it three weeks ago:

 

Consider, if you will, the current state of our nation. Despite hints of economic progress, we're still in the midst of an immense disaster, in which unemployment and underemployment are devastating millions of American lives. And none of this need be happening! There has been no plague of locusts; we have not lost our technological know-how. Americans should be richer, not poorer, than they were five years ago. Yet economic policy across the board has become almost passive, has essentially accepted this disaster instead of trying to end it.

Soros and Krugman are right. It's time to end this man-made economic disaster. It's time to stop slashing our own economic wrists. It's time for jobs.

Courage,

Alan Grayson


Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

 

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+8 # bluepilgrim 2012-05-16 17:23
That graph, big enough to see, canbe found at http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2010/12/employment-graph-repeat.html
 
 
+27 # bluepilgrim 2012-05-16 17:31
It seems likely to me that this is the 1%'s answer to job outsourcing: just throw enough people out of work in the US so that they will work for peanuts. It seems that already the 1% has given up on the US as a consumer market, now that everyone's debt has been maxed out and they no longer have money to buy stuff.

In short, turn the US into a third-world country, exploited for resources and cheap labor, and sell stuff elsewhere.
 
 
-5 # robbeygay 2012-05-16 21:05
Sorry Bluepilgrim ~ it appears to me, RSN commenters are too far left leaning to see facts as they are in USA and the Developed West generall. Whilst Capital -v- labor is everlasting in any system known to post-barter man.

Did you ever consider the constant drive for shorter hours, more leisure's, benefits & wage, whilst capital must find that in production growth & price of goods. That keeps snowballing consequential of each other.

Higher production turns to greater machine replacement of man. Even on the farm seeding machines, weeding GMO & Chemical, harvesting machines, thrashing machines same in every field. Produce more the result from less employees, and consumption oversupply as domestic disposable income diminishes. OK alternative export? But they are waking up they can produce cheaper for their domestics, and even export to you further diminishing your own consumption of pricier domestic produced volume.

Where does it end you produce more for less buyers, more people and capital goes idle and capital exports also. Domestic depression surely the only consequence till you allow money to truly replace barter medium for settlement on cost push and demand pull rules. Capacity to use, plus disposable incomes balance the answer. USA has become too reliant on enriching their capital and labor take, at the expense of exporting to poorest sectors abroad, and they have woken up.
 
 
+9 # bluepilgrim 2012-05-17 07:10
I'm having some trouble deciphering what you are saying -- the syntax and semantics doesn't quite hang together (such as "Higher production turns to greater machine replacement of man."), it seems. I'll try.

First, as for capital vs labor, capitalism is relatively new. Feudalism was post barter in many respects, for instance, and lasted for hundreds of years. Communistism is not barter based either. So your premise is incorrect. This is not about barter vs money.

Marx, of course, covered the problem of overproduction, as a result of capitalism, extensively, as well as the difficulties of producing for exchange value over use value.

"USA has become too reliant on enriching their capital and labor take, at the expense of exporting to poorest sectors abroad" makes no sense to me -- I don't understand what you are trying to say.

We should keep in mind the significant difference between growth and development. Unlimited growth is quite impossible since physical resources are finite -- and we see destruction of the environment as one result of ignoring that.
Devlopment, with increased efficiency and and rising standards of living is another matter, and if there are hard limits to that is questionable, especially when social values instead of mere material values are taken into account.
Also remember there are only two sources of real wealth: nature and labor. No capitalism needed.
 
 
+2 # Capn Canard 2012-05-17 11:47
Excellent post! But may I recommend David Graeber's book "Debt: the First 5000 Years" where I believe he hits the nail on the head suggesting that credit effectively predates both barter and monetary systems. We all owe someone something whether it is non tangible things like love or devotion and real property and goods/services. Good job.
 
 
0 # bluepilgrim 2012-05-17 12:53
I hadn't heard of him before. Found an intersting video at http://video.pbs.org/video/2090599737/ .

Thanks for the reference --- I owe you.
 
 
0 # bluepilgrim 2012-05-17 13:17
Forget that PBS video -- it starts out with a goldman sachs commercial and it crashed my machine. I should know better than to try to watch PBS.

Much better and longer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTYvpVG_Jc0
 
 
0 # robbeygay 2012-05-17 17:40
But eventually wee must pay the piper with all our residual accumulations for next gen. Unless we are in the prisoner welfare houses.
 
 
0 # robbeygay 2012-05-17 17:44
Yes I loved the tourist hotel advert "everything will be alright in the end. If it isn't alright yet it isn't the end yet" LOL

Thanks Bluepilgrim I will watch it again.
 
 
0 # robbeygay 2012-05-17 17:52
Thanks BP & Capn Canard that http://video.pbs.org/video/2090599737/%20. is great explanation of my point.
 
 
+1 # robbeygay 2012-05-17 17:38
Right but Capitalist 1% hoarders would have great problems with more coffinmaker barter than coffin buyers. Hoarding works best for them with Cash. Barter balances supply and demand better I think?
When labor price in USA gets too high the !% replace with mnachine and pro9duct still cheaper in low wage cost Nations, 1%'ers find the machines producing more for less employment, unemployed have no income to buy the extra product, so you seek exports to Nations with cheaper products anyhow. Boy that's difficult to make a balance Blue Pilgrim?
Simple everything requires demand preceding supply, when excess supply exists labor becomes redundent by machine like drone bombers need less manhours employed as pilots, navigators, gunners etc and less ATC at home airporta etc. Berer canneing machines need a ton less tinsmiths.
 
 
0 # robbeygay 2012-05-18 16:22
BP. Higher production comes from machines as labor hours reduced from 60 hr wk to 37- hr/wk now total man hoursis lower considering the unemployed, machine hours and production just keep rising as man hours drop.
 
 
+3 # bluepilgrim 2012-05-17 07:40
A bit more on barter: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barter

[...]
Contrary to popular conception, there is no evidence of a society or economy that relied primarily on barter.[2] Instead, non-monetary societies operated largely along the principles of gift economics and debt.[3][4] When barter did in fact occur, it was usually between either complete strangers or would-be enemies.[5]
[...]

Remember that Ancient Rome and Greece used money (Biblical '30 pieces of silver') and that was not unusual. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money

Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exchange_value
In political economy and especially Marxian economics, exchange value refers to one of four major attributes of a commodity, i.e., an item or service produced for, and sold on the market. The other three aspects are use value, value and price.

Thus, a commodity has:

a value
a use-value (or utility)
an exchange value
a price (it could be an actual selling price or an imputed ideal price)
[...]

If you access a course or lecture on Marxian economy, or the first chapter of Marx's "Capital" it will go into the idea of exchange value and money, from that perspective. (Courses are available at rdwolff.com)
 
 
-1 # bluepilgrim 2012-05-17 08:08
Here's Davidf Harvey's 13 part course, 'Readin Capital' on video

http://vimeo.com/search?q=Marx%27s+Capital

You can get the book itself (Volume 1)from http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/

There is also an audio version at http://www.marxists.org/audiobooks/archive/marx-engels/capital-vol1/index.htm -- ideal for listening to while you peel the potatos for supper (--grin--).
 
 
0 # robbeygay 2012-05-17 19:12
Assuming WE HAVE on HYPERTHETIC UNIT COST TO CONSUMERS 150% retail price TO 36% Disposable income available from products made.
There is the problem Unit must be 150/36=4.1667 four+ products to 1 domestic consumption
Since the Capitalist is 4% of people and public employees is 30% we have 66% labor
Thus we now have 1/3 of product to them so 4.2 produced - 1.3 of disposable income leaving 4.2-1.3=2.9 consumers less than units produced and that means we must find foreign buyers to consume. Since these are fery hypothetical numbers we will find we need say 3 buyers for 1 American.
That is just not feasible unless we want to bleed the World dry and into total bankrupotcy, since each have the similoar output to disposable income and it is all worse when the 99% are taxed at varying rates of 15% to 35% which is paying the disposable income for the 30% public employees factored in here.

When the labor cost goes higher the employers invariable reduce the component of wage earners and increase mechanization and machines do not buy that volume of products, so it all gets worse with less consumer incomes needing to buy more productsn and only by exporting can even the worker share be maintained at these levels.
 
 
+1 # robbeygay 2012-05-17 18:03
Great discussion guys, I appreciate the ideas and the video points, I'm Aussie but live in Vietnam 23 years and see Marxian failures and still that 1% problem no different. They only changed the Mandarins here and 5.7mn vote for 90mn to abide.
 
 
0 # bluepilgrim 2012-05-17 19:50
I don't about Vietnam, but Russia and China were not actually communist but state capitalist -i.e., still an oligarchy in charge but government instead of corporations, and still with an oligarchy. That sounds like what you are describing.
 
 
+1 # robbeygay 2012-05-18 16:31
Blue Pilgrim probably right, in Ho Chi Minh's time I think he was really pushing Communism, he died & like LBJ after JFK death, Le Duan kind of went mad wrong ways.

What they have now is rather as you describe Russia & China I agree. Changed the mandarines now 5.7mn rule the 90mn and collect the rewards accordingly.
 
 
+3 # Bodiotoo 2012-05-17 12:04
Your getting red ink here, but I find myself neutral at the moment.
Possible solution: A new structure across the board as during the Great Depression when the work week was reduced to 40 hours.
You are right on about American Leisure time...with automation, less workers are needed...now if that could only be applied to government jobs...after all our elected officials seem to be robots responding in kind to what ever talking points the "leadership" directs at them.
 
 
0 # bluepilgrim 2012-05-17 13:23
With automation people should be working fewer hours -- but they work more, for less money, often multiple jobs. More hours than anyone on Europe. The benefits have gone the capitalists (owners).

Much of what we buy, made in CHina, etc., is so cheap it doesn't hold up and has to be tossed and re-bought frequently. What a waste.
 
 
+1 # robbeygay 2012-05-17 19:16
Yes besides importing cheaper Chinese goods because the ones that buyer makes in USA cost structure he can't afford. the double dillema being we now must export what he produces because we can't consume or afford that and so mechanization further to lower USA uniyt cowt for sale abroad is a never ending decline at home?
 
 
+1 # RLF 2012-05-17 03:46
Third world countries get very dangerous...for everyone.
 
 
+3 # Innocent Victim 2012-05-16 17:40
Alan Grayson disappointed his supporters by breaking his pledge to vote NO on ACA unless it contained a strong public option. His admitted reason: to avoid undermining the Obama presidency; same reason as given by Dennis Kucinich. Yes! Barack Obama has been such a good president that he was worth breaking a pledge to supporters! Oh, yeah!

Now we have Paul Krugman as Grayson's ideal! Paul Krugman, who like the Fed, tells us that inflation is low; that a bit of inflation would be good for us. Krugman argues against bankers (Bernanke, for example) who say that austerity is good for us (for us not them!) Of course, Krugman is right, we need Keynesian stimulus, but that is just a bit of primer. We have serious structural faults in our economic system that Krugman (Robert Reich, too) never mention; afraid to touch them: 1. Militarism; 2. Banks freed from Glass-Steagall; 3, Banks to big to fail; 4. Self-destructiv e globalism; 5. Regressive taxation and more. Krugman and Reich are tied to the Democrats. When the chips are down, they support the Party, as did Grayson and Kucinich.
 
 
+1 # RLF 2012-05-17 03:50
You're right about inflation. MOst of these guys think we can inflate away the overvaluation of housing prices...proble m is ...it makes people on fixed income poorer...people on SS will be on the streets begging...not to mention, our savings become worthless...may be that is why people are buying cars now...figure that in two years they won't be able to afford anything.
 
 
+1 # robbeygay 2012-05-17 23:26
Its not doing even fixed income good for 8% Obama or 10% Bush unemployed and worse for Spain's 26% unemployed 40% part time combined labor.
 
 
0 # redsquareblack 2012-05-17 04:22
In truth, wouldn't a bit of inflation actually be good for us? In the simplest case, wouldn't that make real public debt lower?
 
 
+3 # bluepilgrim 2012-05-17 06:06
No, it wouldn't. Inflation is a mismatch between money supply and real wealth and a symptom of a malfunctioning economic system or an uncorrected error.

If it lowers real debt it does so on the backs of those least able to afford it.
 
 
+2 # Bodiotoo 2012-05-17 12:06
Do you believe we would be better off if we had had a McCain presidency? Just asking.
 
 
-9 # BradFromSalem 2012-05-16 19:28
How the heck does X-Congressman Grayson expect us to grow our way out of this crisis? It would seem he advocates giving more of our money to his Democratic pals in Congress. These are the same people that when they had complete control of the government did nothing to create any jobs at all. After two years of their incompetence, led by the divinely inspired "We are the One you have been waiting for" Barry Hussein Obama, and nothing to show except more money going from our pockets, to the government, and then to the bankers. Where was the jobs? Nowhere, that's where. Why? Because instead of putting in the pockets of the people that actually create jobs, it all went to the bankers. I unsderstand now why the voters of FLA threw this guy out, he is just covering for his new Messiah.
 
 
-3 # Bodiotoo 2012-05-17 12:13
Here is a suggestion.
Stop hiring full time employees for government jobs. Double minimum wage, and direct that to climb to $20.00 per hour. Government employees work four 6 hour days, Government offices stay open from 8a.m to 6 pm. Over lap of the nmorning and afternoon shifts during the middle day, keeping offices open and available to workers with full time (the new full time is 32 hours...hourly rate up to your employers (minimum applies).
Government positions SHOULD NEVER BE CAREER JOBS...and no government pensions can be taken until 67 just like social security.
Welfare become work fare...lets get something for the money paid out, hardship cases can of course be addressed...but even a disabled person could be a crossing guard in a cash strapped school district.
Time to work together and drop the Ayn Rand model.
 
 
-2 # PhilNC 2012-05-16 20:52
Are you saying that the Democrats failed/fail because they weren't/aren't bold enough? Imagine that! I think people across the political spectrum were disappointed, not just "liberals". Everyone was expecting something called... change. But instead we all got short-changed. No wonder 2010 turned out like it did.
 
 
+2 # Bodiotoo 2012-05-17 12:15
Short Changed. You bet. As long as the 60-40 rule applies and the Senate can "filibust" without standing on the floor of the Senate for 2-3 days whatever...eith er party will be the party of "No Way"...Democrat s Never had the so called "Super Majority" needed...the problem really lies with the American political system being so screwed up by lobbyist and fat cats.
 
 
0 # robbeygay 2012-05-17 23:23
You want to know see Title: Payroll Jobs added or lost per month, April, posted on May 4, 2012
Post: April Employment Report: 115,000 Jobs, 8.1% Unemployment Rate
on http://www.crgraphs.com/ the Democrat Obama record compared with Bush records. Jan 2008 to March 2012, Bar Graphic simpluicity.
 
 
+7 # RMDC 2012-05-17 02:24
The real question is -- Recession for whom?

The investor class or the 1% is not experiencing a recession. In fact, they are experienceing the greatest boom phase in all human history. The number of billionaires increases at astonishing rates. They oppose any government jobs programs because it will end their boom economy. They are getting the growth they want. Grayson assumes growth for all and that is not good for the 1%.

Recessions and high unemployment rates mean lower wages and benefits for workers. That is what the investor class wants.

The recession we are experiencing all over the world is not a natural economic process. It is designed phenomenon. It plan is to reduce the living standards of most people in Europe and the US so that the benefits of production of wealth can go to the investor class. They control the governments in the developed world and they are getting the policies they want.

Soros is an iconoclast. He like to say things he believes will shock people. He's not a real liberal or socialist. He hates socialism and communism just as much as the Koch brothers. His comments are just his style for grabbing headlines.
 
 
+1 # robbeygay 2012-05-17 23:11
Soros is a commodity trader, his commodity is money, he doesn't care socialist or Capitalist, democracy lets him manipulate his commodity trades. Just see what he did to Thai and Malaysia values of the commodity he was trading. Like the Hunt brothers with silver further back, and Koch today. Manipulating through Volume traded and just what lost $3bn for J.P.Morgan Chace Bankers. Gamblers and ruthless commodity traders all of them.
Depression will come when USA labor and Capital together conspire to price they production output too much higher than the lower cost Countries alternative price/quality values. Mechanising production coupled with communication and trensport speed and efficiency expedites the process.
 
 
+3 # bubbiesue 2012-05-17 05:37
To Mr. Grayson I say, AMEN.

I also say to every candidate everywhere, MAKE YOUR ONLY PLEDGE THE PLEDGE TO USE YOUR BEST JUDGMENT IN EVERY CASE, period. Please. You never know what you're going to face tomorrow.
 
 
0 # Innocent Victim 2012-05-17 07:27
If you want to know what you will face tomorrow, watch Michael Hudson or Jim Rogers (from two very different walks of life!) on youtube.com

Krugman? Reich? They are limited in what they can say because of Party loyalty.
 
 
+2 # bluepilgrim 2012-05-17 08:12
I think it is more than party loyalty; it is mind set, and university education, in which it is assumed that capitalism and 'standard' economics is all there is and all they teach -- taboo to teach anything else. Rick Wolff talks about this and how he had to go outside the courses offered to learn alternative economic systems.

(But then, who funds the universities, and what is their mindset?)
 
 
0 # Innocent Victim 2012-05-17 10:23
Without meaning to defend universities, I claim there is nothing outside the realm of university economics for Krugman to criticize an expenditure that is huge. He could say that military dollars have only a small multiplier in the economy. Therefore, they should be spent cautiously as unrecoverable. They should also be carefully audited. (Pentagon auditing seems to be neglected, though our Constitution demands it.) That is "standard" economics. Economics is concerned about both income and expenditures. He should question the purpose of our 1,000 or more bases around the globe. How much security have our invasions and occupations bought us? Where is the accounting? That is economics!
 
 
0 # bluepilgrim 2012-05-17 10:54
You have a point. There is much within standard university economics which can explain the crisis -- if it would be properly applied. And there are a number of main stream economists who are now beginning to criticize the bankrupt policies.

I won't say they can solve it all without reaching outside of classical or Keynesian economics, but a lot of the mess is explainable without it. It's something like there are things which Newtonian physics can't handle, but that's not say that bad Newtonian physics won't lead to disasters or is excusable. Even classical economics will find the disaster inherent in fraud, thievery, and complete lack of regulations. The 'invisible hand' does not condone sin.
 
 
0 # Innocent Victim 2012-05-17 11:33
Bad Newtonian physics leading to disasters? Do you mean something like the Columbia shuttle explosion? Maybe, the decision to build nuclear power plants in the 1950s? Fortunately, most bad physics takes place in physics homework assignments. Now "sin"! That you will find almost everywhere, especially in the back seats of parked cars.
 
 
+2 # bluepilgrim 2012-05-17 13:37
Well, if you have an 'invisible hand' that invites on to think of sin -- godlike, mysterious stuff.

I mean bad physiscs like bridges fall down -- or the shuttle explosion: that took some rocket science but not quantum or particle physics. Maybe some relativity to keep the orbit calculations accurate, but nothing too exotic.

Marx predated Einstein and Plank but his work still hasn't been properly understood or accepted. Science moves faster than poitics and economics because their is less greed (I know -- but there really isn't as much) and clinging to beliefs and power. There is peer review and imperical data instead of imperialist data. It's harder to fool people working in science into thinking some garbage idea works than it is in politics or economics. You keep blowing up rockets and they change the design; you keep blowing up the economy and they keep doing the same thing -- or do 'austerity'. If a bridge falls down do engineers conclude they need less rivets or thinner steel?
 
 
-1 # Innocent Victim 2012-05-17 18:40
If someone's writing is not properly understood or accepted, the fault is the writer's, in my view. Some writers have been said purposely to make their work difficult in order to require long years of study. Anyone who devotes years to the study of Marx becomes a Marxian because of his investment in time. What a waste to study for years and then decide it was pointless!

If Marx could have written with the clarity of Einstein, thousands of man-years of study could have been saved!
 
 
+2 # bluepilgrim 2012-05-17 20:13
His writing can be difficult, but what he wrote is difficult too: I'm listening to David Harvey about Capital again andhe points out there is a lot of literary and philosophical references in it. Hegel is difficult to understand, but I have heard it said that whole crew of German philosophers at that time were -- they used a difficult style.

What little I've read of Capital was not difficult, but much of it was rather tedious. Supposedly it all comes together at the end of the book (details first, concpet later).

My biggest problem, aside from time, is being poor and not having a printed copy to curl up with, and have to read at the computer (but at least it's accessible now.) For years I barely knew the book even existed. I still haven't found much actual Hegel -- mostly things about him, or someone's interpretation of what he wrote (but Hegel is notoriously obscure).

Rick Wolff explains Marxism well, but in a limited way. Still, a major block to the work is the massive propaganda against it, with being taboo to even talk about it except as something terrible -- and even now there is much of that.

Still, some academics are terrible to read -- I read a book on Modula-2 programming language by Niklaus Wirth and it was horribly opaque. It took me half an hour to understand his explanation of what turned out to be 'a 3 row by 4 column table has 12 elements'.

What I've read of and about Marx indicates it's hardly pointless.
 
 
+1 # Innocent Victim 2012-05-18 08:08
I agree that Marx had important insights about the workings of capitalism and the class structure of human society - at least from what I have read about Marx rather than by him. As for his relationship to Hegel, Marx may have obtained his "dialectical" view (a metaphor) of history from Hegel who espoused it. My unsophisticated view is that historical changes are better understood with reference to historical facts as best we know them rather than with reference to a "philosophical" view which could lead one astray. My main areas of interest are in descending order: survival in today's world, mathematics and physics, history. That does not leave me much time for history, but I have found some engaging shortcuts in the "Great Courses" on China and on ancient Rome. Regards!
 
 
+1 # robbeygay 2012-05-18 16:12
Maybe swo BP but aside from the near dead North Korea I don't think there is another country retaining their tried Marxist theories now. I live in SRV we have long dumped that manifesto. David Harvy link I followed your advice and heard 3 hours on line yesterday, he is so brilliant and understandable.
As for your poverty I am sorry I'm not flush also. But with age the online books get more attractive to me, even with 2.5 diopters I can't read printed paper works so well now, the net has this zoom factor nothing I can't read,. Cheers BP keep thinking and deeply nutting it out and thanks for the net links you advised I've never studied harder, but being retired soon 68 I am damned if I know why I keep studying? Its worse than cigarettes and herione addiction I guess?
 
 
+3 # genierae 2012-05-17 09:04
Why are so many progressives and liberals such pessimists? Your thoughts control your life, and they also project outwards and influence the community around you. Instead of thinking the worst about every situation that we are faced with, why not throw off the black clouds and begin to live with that legendary American optimism? Where there's a will, there's a way. Life is not meant to be easy, and in fact the easier you have it, the weaker and mushier your character becomes. Just look at Romney, he has always been rich, always had every material thing that he wanted, and he's nothing more than a puddle of mush, no integrity, no compassion, no humanity. This society has everything backwards, bowing down to money and material things, and ignoring the real treasures of a beautiful character and a loving heart. That is why it is dying, it was based on a false premise, and now the American dream is turning into a nightmare. We don't need people whose only answer is to sit around and complain, we need people who have the inner strength to live courageously. We are in transition, moving into a new reality, and if we can't let go of our illusions, we will be left behind. Inside the human heart is all the resources that are necessary for us to begin to live in a new way. All we need do is to look within.
 
 
+2 # PGreen 2012-05-17 11:52
People are isolated. The greatest achievement of OWS, as Noam Chomsky writes, may turn out to be the revitalization of solidarity. None of us can accomplish much in isolation. Such affective isolation (which is intrinsic to our society) breeds pessimism. The establishment, of course, well understands this, and promotes social structures which foster isolation. It is the best model for worker control and the promotion of consumerism-- which is itself a kind of objectification of human nature into a commodity which can be exploited.
 
 
-2 # Bodiotoo 2012-05-17 12:17
Because lefties look for blue skies, better times and believe in hope.
 
 
+1 # Feral Dogz 2012-05-18 08:26
Pessimism expressed by progressives and liberals comes as a result of seeing that many (most) of our (America's) leaders (govt., business, religious) are self serving sociopaths interested only in feathering their own nests by exploiting the environment and the workers who create real wealth, both here and abroad.

Life is not meant to be easy?

Meant by whom for whom? Life is not "meant" to be anything. Life is what we make it within the possibilities and constraints of our circumstances. The choices we make and the actions we take determine the world we live in.

A beautiful character and a loving heart are characteristics I find in the progressive, liberal, left wing, socialist people I know, who are also courageous and willing to stand up and express their frustration and dismay. How can we understand and expect to remedy the sickness in our society if we don't discuss the problems and possible solutions?

Introspection is a good place to start, but I fear that many Americans have devolved to the point of heartlessness. The fear and desperation cultivated by "conservative" media serve to bolster a "me first and the devil take the hindmost" attitude that leads to nationalism, militarism, and fascism.
 
 
+1 # John Steinsvold 2012-05-17 09:50
An Alternative to Capitalism (if the people knew about it, they would demand it)

Several decades ago, Margaret Thatcher claimed: "There is no alternative". She was referring to capitalism. Today, this negative attitude still persists.

I would like to offer an alternative to capitalism for the American people to consider. Please click on the following link. It will take you to an essay titled: "Home of the Brave?" which was published by the Athenaeum Library of Philosophy:

http://evans-experientialism.freewebspace.com/steinsvold.htm

John Steinsvold

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result."~ Albert Einstein
 
 
0 # robbeygay 2012-05-17 16:31
Try the Wiki Graph at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_Unemployment_1890-2009.gif
you can note:-
Hoover 1929-33 Depression causes raised unemployment from 5% to 22% ~ FDR 1933-45 WW II Profit Recovered from war and brought Unemployment down from 22% to 2% full employment ~ Truman 1945-53 ROV War advisors only Increased Unemployment from 2% average 4% Entered Korean War ~ Ike 1953-61 ROV Troops start from Korea demob. Increased Unemployment from 4% to 6% ~ JFK 1961-63 ~ LBJ 1963-69 ~ Nixon 1969-74 PRC Lover & USA Surrender VN War ~ Ford 1974-77 ~ Jimmy Carter 1977-81 ~ Regan 1981-89 Reganomics started unemployment rise & back again ~ HW Bush 1989-93 Iraq War & Debt Recession start ~ Clinton 1993-2001 Debt lowering & low Unemployment fix survived Republican scandal attack & Impeachment ~ GW Bush 2001-9 War Terror Debt Depression cause 2001-09 ~ Obi 2009-012 gradual unemployment lowering & end Wars & seek debt reduction taxes, bailed banks & major Corp problems, but won't halt depression I believe.
 
 
0 # ALinSTL 2012-05-18 23:48
Boehr said he needed the Bush Tax Cuts in order to create jobs 2 years ago...SOOOOOO it's 2 years later...WHERE ARE THE JOBS, BONEHR THAT YOU & YOUR KAPO, CANTOR, PROMISED?!?!?!? !?!???? YOU GOT THE MONEY SO WHERES THE JOBS....MORE GOPIG LIES...
 

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