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Leonard writes: "With Election Day fast approaching, it's always useful to look at what the other guys would do, instead."

Economist Joseph Stiglitz. (photo: Roosevelt Institute)
Economist Joseph Stiglitz. (photo: Roosevelt Institute)

Joseph Stiglitz: "Romney's Plan Is Based on Magic"

By Andrew Leonard, Common Dreams

02 November 12


Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz - an Obama critic - says Romney's cuts would be disastrous

oseph Stiglitz has a decent résumé. He won the Nobel Prize in economics and served as chairman of Bill Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers before being named chief economist of the World Bank. His C.V. , however, pales before his passionate commitment to pushing for economic policies that help the poor and powerless - inside and out of the United States. For Stiglitz, economics and social justice can't be separated.

Since the election of Barack Obama, Stiglitz has also been something of a thorn in the side of the current administration, consistently critiquing the White House for falling short. He wasted no time in pointing out that Obama's stimulus was too weak and his housing policy woefully ineffective - and he's been particularly biting on the topic of Obama's subservience to banking interests. But with Election Day fast approaching, it's always useful to look at what the other guys would do, instead. Stiglitz took some time out to explain to Salon why, when the topic is economy, there's really no choice for progressives in this election.

What's at stake in this election for the U.S. economy?

Quite a lot. First, there's what we call the macro-economy. The budget cuts that Romney/Ryan propose will certainly slow growth. If the European downturn continues that could tip us into a recession. The cuts certainly won't provide the kind of stimulus that Obama's jobs bill, for instance, pushes. Romney's plan is based on magic: Just because he gets elected, the economy is supposed to take off. There is no evidence that anything like that would happen. Quite the contrary - I think the opposite would happen. The business community would see the cutbacks coming and that would itself cause a slowdown in the economy.

So that's the macroeconomy. Secondly, the Romney/Ryan budget promises to spend more on the military while cutting taxes and cutting the deficit, and that means only one thing. If you look at the arithmetic, it means less investment in infrastructure, R&D, education … it just can't add up any other way. And that means we'll be growing more slowly in the future.

The irony is that these two things - lower growth now and lower growth in the future - means that our debt-to-GDP ratio won't improve, it will get worse. So even if you were foolish enough to think that the debt-to-GDP ratio is the main determinant of future prosperity - which it's not - the Romney agenda will fail.

And although I don't like what's called "presidential economics," where you look solely at what happens under a particular presidential regime, the fact is that Romney has many of the same economic advisers that Bush did. Those economic advisers essentially doubled the debt in eight years. And that was in a period of relatively high growth. Why would we think that wouldn't happen again? I don't see any reason for that. Particularly when the global environment is more adverse.

And then the third part has to do with what kind of society we will be. If Romney wins, we will become a more divided society, a more unfair society. And that in turn will bring greater inequality, and will also undermine our growth.

Your most recent book is titled "The Price of Inequality." Conservatives are pushing back, however, at the very idea that inequality is growing. One of Romney's advisers just published an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal declaring, basically, that because everybody has a cellphone and an HDTV now, we're better off than we were 10 years ago.

A lot of people living in shacks in South Africa also have cellphones and TVs, but that doesn't mean they have an adequate standard of living - adequate nutrition or access to adequate healthcare, adequate life expectancies …

In any case, when we measure inequality we take into account the fact that the prices of some things go down while the prices of other things go up. That's what we call "real income" - adjusting for those prices. And median household real income today is lower than it was 15 years ago.

You've made the negative case for how the economy will suffer if Romney is elected. Is there a positive case to be made for Obama? You've been one of the people on the left most critical of Obama's efforts on the economy. Why should progressives vote for him now?

I think the main reason, quite honestly, to vote for him is that if he loses there could be a major step backward in every aspect. Not the least important of which is the importance of the Supreme Court, which would affect inequality of political power, as with the Citizens United case. The Court will also rule on basic human rights, gender rights, discrimination, things I think progressives should care a lot about.

But in terms of the economy, while I've been critical, there still has been progress in an awful lot of areas. Less progress than there should have been, less progress than was promised, but progress all the same.

Where do you see that progress?

Healthcare. Access to healthcare for everybody is an important step. It wasn't the kind of deep reform that one would have liked where you would have done something about the pharmaceutical industry and health insurance industry and so forth, but it did result in increased access and that was terribly important. In education, getting the banks out of student loans saved $80 billion over 10 years. That's a big deal. So while the housing program …

I was about to ask, what have been your biggest disappointments?

Housing policy has been a big disappointment. But compared to Bush, who didn't do anything, and the Republicans, who haven't proposed anything - Romney has been totally silent on the issue - at least Obama did something. So I am disappointed, but it represents a small step forward rather than zero. And I am worried that under Romney we will go back to the kind of deregulatory environment where we allow the banks to exploit our homeowners once again.

Looking ahead, are there things Obama could do that would represent a real step forward, rather than just consolidate what has already been achieved, or simply prevent going backward?

There aren't many magic bullets, but let me talk about a couple things. Obviously, more progressive taxation - getting rid of the distortionary provisions in corporate welfare, special treatment of capital gains, carried interest - would make our economy more efficient and less unequal. Then there are a set of reforms on what I call economic legislation: finishing financial sector reform, strengthening corporate governance. More effective enforcement of competition that would eliminate the pervasive monopoly power that's growing in our economy. Bankruptcy reform that would allow appropriate discharge of student debt. Stopping the for-profit schools that are basically funded by the U.S. government that are taking advantage of so many poor people.

We can also cut back on defense spending and use that money to invest in infrastructure and R&D, and make more investments in education to try to start dealing with the problems caused by the lack of equality of opportunity.

If Obama wins, the first item on the agenda is dealing with the "fiscal cliff." A lot of progressives are worried that Obama will seek some kind of "grand bargain" that ends up slashing the safety net. What do you think will happen? What would you like to see happen?

I've been involved in this business long enough to know that the outcome won't be what I would have wanted if I could do it alone. But the kind of compromise that I would like would begin with significant tax increases as a result of the elimination of corporate welfare buried in the tax code, special treatment of capital gains, the Cayman Islands tax avoidance setup, a whole set of things of that kind.

On the expenditure side, I'd like to see the biggest chunk come out of the military, I think we're spending too much on weapons that don't work against enemies that don't exist. We need to spend our money more smartly - that's where I would see the biggest chunk of expenditure cuts.

I think that there is scope for fine-tuning our Social Security system. One of the easiest solutions is increasing the age of retirement, but that only works for people like me who have high incomes and whose life expectancy and health is quite good. For a lot of people at the bottom that's not true, so there can't just be an across-the-board increase in age of retirement.

Where does trade fit into this overall equation? Both Obama and Romney have been competing on the basis of who will be tougher on China. Is that really a source of our economic problems?

No. I think Romney has behaved unusually irresponsibly for a presidential candidate. I know that Obama has tried to balance the need to interact with China and be tough, both for political reasons and because there have been certain abuses. Whether he has drawn the right line, I don't know, there are some judgment calls, some of the particular cases that he has brought against China have been misguided. But he's been trying to keep a balanced position and I think he's done it relatively well, certainly in terms of keeping the level of heat down

Romney has taken the irresponsible position of promising on "Day One" to call China a currency manipulator. Doing that gives you no room for wiggle. That means on Day One he opens a trade war.

Not only has he not recognized that China has already appreciated its currency but he also hasn't recognized that a stronger yuan won't affect America's multilateral trade deficit very much. What will happen is we will import more goods from other developing countries and less from China. So what?

One of the biggest areas of progressive disappointment with respect to Obama has to do with banking policy. Do you see any chance of improvement there?

We face a choice between someone who is viewed as being too close to the financial industry and somebody who is in the financial industry. Of the two I'd rather have someone who is close but not in it. So to me, there's just not much choice.

I think a lot will ride on who gets selected as the next treasury secretary. The reason I say that is I'm not sure that Obama has strong views on a lot of these issues. Therefore he may be more amenable - I don't want to say "pushed around" - but he may be more amenable to being influenced by the banks. So there is at least an opening, depending on who gets chosen, for somewhat stronger regulation. I don't know if we can count on it - there's a battle going on right now, or will be going on, I'm sure, as soon as the election is over, over who will succeed Timothy Geithner. And you know the banks will want to see someone of the same ilk.

Anybody you would like to see there?

There are lots of names of people who have done quite a good job. Gary Gensler at CFTC [Commodity Futures Trading Commission] and Sheila Bair at FDIC [Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.] really performed their role as regulators in an admirable way. I think that there are good people, the question is whether they will survive the pressure that the banks bring to bear.

I certainly hope there will be a lot of pressure from the other side, too, on the grounds that, look, now's the time to really do something. your social media marketing partner


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-84 # Innocent Victim 2012-11-02 19:12
If there were no moral question in supporting either Obama or his eager substitute, I should agree with Mr Stiglitz. Moral concerns take precedence over economic ones. I, for one, cannot vote for a war-criminal, nor for Obama's substitute. By my vote, I cannot say to the world: Yes, I want to give the killer of innocents, protractor of GWB's wars, persecutor of Jullian Assange and Pfc Bradley Manning, licensor of new nuclear power plants, savior of banksters and their "too big to fail" corporations, liar on his oath of office, ... , I cannot give such a man my vote! First things first, Mr Stiglitz.
+29 # Activista 2012-11-02 21:42
I agree - the moral question is Obama/Clinton starting two civil wars to put Libya and Syria tribes into perpetual war. Just today came over horrific video in
Present USA foreign policy (Obama/Clinton) is SICK/criminal. BUT IF Romney is elected HE wants to spend more on military and ARM these rebels - watch video of our "freedom fighters" in Syria bringing American democracy to Syrian People ...
What Stiglitz is saying (my interpretation) Obama has problems (system has problems) but Romney - this is Third Reich.
+22 # Interested Observer 2012-11-03 08:56
The difference is between falling short and running full speed in the wrong direction.
+25 # Sacrebleu! 2012-11-03 09:47
So anything that happens in the World is due to the POTUS? Do you really think that civil wars in the Arab spring were started by Obama/Clinton?
This is one of the most powerful offices in the world, but it has limits.
-19 # Innocent Victim 2012-11-03 12:56
Do you think the civil wars were bad? You seem to. What has been bad has been the meddling of the US, as I see it. Even the deposing of Ghadaffi was due to the US. Most Lybians were better off under him, from what I read.
+13 # KittatinyHawk 2012-11-03 13:48
From what you read.
Civil Wars are their business. They asked for help, I believe we should have ignored.
However, it is not what nations do.
With guns over our heads we are but puppets in war game. You think we are evil, than you better start reading up because torture didnot start in has been going on for Centuries as was Wars and Killing.

So what have you done to stop it, I ask again. Do you know any Syrians or Libyans? I doubt it. They have stories, lots of stories of torture, kidnapping, silencing...not one person families to make it known. The Middle Eastern Culture including Israel make the Mafia look like cupcakes.

I suggest getting facts before hanging OB
+3 # bingers 2012-11-04 20:47
That's what happens when you restrict your reading to wingnut publications.
+4 # KittatinyHawk 2012-11-03 13:44
Most of these phony bleeding hearts have no clue of the warring between tribes in Middle East and I am sorry but the Syrians, Libyans, et al are tribes always were and proud of it.
We, mankind have been killing innocents since the dark ages. DUH

I wonder if these same bleeding hearts ever protested in their we just snivel.
I wonder if they realize we will be eating agent orange soon. But that is probably not their problem. Funny how issues differ. I have been fighting Chemicals, Wars, Hate since I am young. I will do so until they kill me...
-25 # Innocent Victim 2012-11-03 12:54
Activista is to be commended because he, at least, takes the moral question seriously. We disagree, though, in several regards:
1. Comparisons with the Third Reich fail because so far the present fascism is not racially based, simply economic.
2. Re-electing Obama has the disadvantage of giving the despot a vote of approval. Thus, we can no longer claim that we did not know. We have seen what he has done, and still re-elect him.
3. The view that the alternative is a worse choice may be true, but it is an unknown. He is a business man, a man who is accustomed to choosing what works. If he sees that an approach is counterproducti ve, he may reverse course. Obama has persisted in counterproducti ve military and economic policies. Romney is well known for his ability to reverse course, no matter what he has said or done in the past.
4. Again, as a moral matter, my view is that I am not responsible for the choice some others have made. Those who have limited the choice to the two top rascals of the war parties bear the responsibility for whoever wins.
+13 # Cassandra2012 2012-11-03 14:20
"Fascism should rather be called corporatism, as it is the merging of government and corporate power." --Benito Mussolini
+4 # KittatinyHawk 2012-11-03 13:40
Sorry but Libya and Syria have been warring since I was a child. My friends are Syrian/American and had lots of hate for Israel and others in Middle East.

You can be bleeding hearts all you want but the Middle East has been killing each other for centuries.

I hate war, ammunition, guns....I fought against you know how many people have died since I was born in 1948 ... but OB is the only one doing it since then?
+28 # BobboMax 2012-11-02 22:34
[quote name="Innocent Victim"] "I cannot give such a man my vote! First things first, Mr Stiglitz."

And so, Mr. victim, who would you propose that I vote for? Romney? He's not just a savior of banksters- he is one. Ms. Stein? An excellent candidate, but unless you live in a safely blue state, a wasted vote, in essence, a vote for The Etch-a-Sketch. Perhaps Michelle Bachman? Or The Newt Himself? Best to hold your nose and vote for the King of Drones.
-14 # Innocent Victim 2012-11-03 13:00
You may not find me innocent, for which I thank you, but I shall not be guilty of supporting an established despot.
A "wasted vote"? What is voting for? To pick a winner? In that case, those who voted for Hitler in 1933 did not waste their votes.
Voting, in my opinion, is an obligation to vote for the best candidate according to one's conscience and intelligence. Dr Stein is my choice. You may pick the winner and have the satisfaction that will come from it. I shall pick a loser, and have the satisfaction of not having voted for an international criminal.
-2 # Hey There 2012-11-04 21:58
I'm with you. Jill Stein as a vote of protest to Obama's actions even though Romney/Ryan duo would be worse.
+1 # Carol Sterritt 2012-11-04 23:24
Unfortunately, INnocent Victim, most Americans don't realize how scrubbed up the German history has been. Peopel don't realize taht many decent people voted for Hitler, as they too had fear as a concern. They were told not to vote their conscience - that if they did, the Russian Bolsheviks would be killing their grandmothers and raping their daughters. (The example of what happened to the Czar and his family was often referred to, during that 1933 election.)
+30 # Majikman 2012-11-02 23:24
The repugs have torpedoed holes in the hull below the water line and you want to overhaul the engine. With your list of priorities there are no survivors. First things first indeed.
+6 # soularddave 2012-11-02 23:53
No. The country's pretty well evenly divided on social issues, so the current path is about as good as it will be.(half agree, and half don't - we cancel each other out)

Most people want the economy to improve, so that where the real issues lie.
+22 # nimbleswitch 2012-11-03 00:39
Innocent, methinks you will be doomed to political disappointment- -and will always be voting to remove presidents by supporting the challenger--for life.
-15 # Innocent Victim 2012-11-03 13:02
We are both "doomed" to political disappointment, I think, because we are living in a despotism, a country without the rule of law, and that is going to be the case through the rest of my lifetime and probably yours.
+42 # maddave 2012-11-03 00:52
OK, Innocent, I grant you your reasons for voting AGAINST Obama. Now who do you propose as an alternative? I applaud your standing against today's military & police actions and our injustice & inequality before the law, BUT you are throwing your vote away. Only Obama or Romney can win the presidency. Consequently, to be counted at all, you must vote AGAINST the greater threat, and that greater evil is Romney. Here are two treasons why:

#1 He hired Robert Bork (as his judicial advisor) to screen (as many as) three Supreme Court Justice nominees, a handful of Appellate court judges and at LEAST 200 Federal Court Justices --- all for life. We'll live under judgements from those Bork-minded judges for at the next 30 years!

#2. Until just the past two weeks when he discovered that his hawkish position was not viable, Romney strongly favored our entering insane, disastrous WARS in Syria, Libya and Iran. Fighting such wars would require 1,000,000 men on the ground, deci-trillions of dollars, decades, and a Viet Nam style draft - and we'd still not win!

By NOT voting for Obama, that's the path you choose.

as long as we are limited to a two-party system AND as long as our two parties are dependent upon Corporate America for their election & re-election funds, their words may diverge, but once elected, it all becomes "business as usual". .
+3 # Sacrebleu! 2012-11-03 09:48
I guess you meant decatrillions - decitrillions are tenths of trillions.
-10 # Innocent Victim 2012-11-03 13:09
It does not matter. We are no longer a constitutional republic. The Constitution, once abandoned cannot be restored by writing new laws. Only punishment of the violators can restore our basic law and rights. That is not going to happen without a revolution. The democracy, flawed as it was, is gone; the Bill of Rights has been turned to waste; we are under a despotism - no rule of law, no equality under what law is maintained. You may be thrown into a prison - or worse - by a military guard in the middle of the night. No accusation, no trial, no public record. This is the US today!
-1 # Carol Sterritt 2012-11-04 23:33
The notion that the vote a person utilized had to be for the winner was exactly how Hitler came into power. Obama and Bush and Clinton have destroyed this nation. Currently forty nine cents out of every dollar of profit goes to the Big Financial people.
This is theft of the retirement monies of the people 50 years on up. And so now we don't even have the retirement monies to help us afford the extremely expensive insurance policies that Rahm/Obama set up for the benefit of their cronies in the insurance world. Obama DID NOT have a gun held to his head when he chose Goldman Sachs people Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner to head the Fed and the Treasury. And Obama's military has spent 255 billions of dollars during late summer 2010 and thirteen months alter. meanwhile, his buddy Geithenr won't even "loan" money to the states that have deficits with problems.
+39 # Ralph Averill 2012-11-03 01:01
How very childish of you. It must be very lonely for you living on top of your moral mountaintop looking down on the rest of us. Will you take any responsibility if Romney wins? That would be the moral thing to do. One also hopes you are not sitting out the rest of the election as well. Or are the Democratic congressional candidates in your state/district too morally tainted for you to vote for them as well?
It's all about Congress in 2012!
-19 # Innocent Victim 2012-11-03 13:11
You are wrong! I have no responsibility for Romney's being the alternative. I did not choose him. I have responsibility only for my own choices.
+14 # Lolanne 2012-11-03 13:36
Quoting Innocent Victim:
You are wrong! I have no responsibility for Romney's being the alternative. I did not choose him. I have responsibility only for my own choices.

Yes, you DO have responsibility for your choices. And how you choose will either help re-relect Obama or help elect Mitt the Twit.
+10 # Billy Bob 2012-11-03 14:18
Thank you! You're refering to a grownup decision. How many times are we, as adults, given the choices we wish we had?

"Gee I can't decide whether to buy the Rolls Royce or buy another Chateau"

No. This is reality, and most of us have to deal with imperfection.

Thank you for tellin' it like it is!
+1 # Carol Sterritt 2012-11-05 23:31
Except if everyone gave up their fear, (Americans are addicted to fear,) got awareness of how screwed up Obama and his appointments of Big Military, Monsanto and Big Financial people have been, and voted third party, then we wouldn't be stuck with his "Fascism Lite." Every vote cast for Obama is yet another vote stolen from people like Rockey Anderson and Jill Stein. And those two are the only ones offering us any real hope, and any real ability for the system to change.
-8 # Billsy 2012-11-03 14:09
How very judgmental & arrogant of you. Your attitude allows the democratic party to take your vote for granted. At least some of us cast a vote for someone with whom we share policy views. You can't control other people. Live and let live.
+7 # eafinct 2012-11-03 04:08
And you think Romney will turn his back on all these things? Come on, he'll just give you more and better of them.
+12 # Andys 2012-11-03 04:28
While I appreciate the moral purity of your approach, the fact is that one of these two will be elected. If you live in a swing state, I suggest you vote for the lesser of the two "evils" in that Mr. Stiglitz makes a lot of sense. If you live in another state (like I do), then your conscience. Which leads us to a discussion of the electoral college.
+29 # BlueReview 2012-11-03 07:30
"No moral question"? Economic concerns are also moral ones! Why is it all right for the elite to treat their workers as property, as less than their pampered pets, rather than treating them with dignity and paying them a livable wage?

Mr. Romney told his backers a story about going to China and seeing the workers' living conditions. From the video: "And they work in these huge factories, they made various uh, small appliances. And uh, as we were walking through this facility, seeing them work, the number of hours they worked per day, the pittance they earned, living in dormitories with uh, with little bathrooms at the end of maybe 10, 10 room, rooms. And the rooms they have 12 girls per room.

Three bunk beds on top of each other. You've seen, you've seen them? (Oh...yeah, yeah!) And, and, and around this factory was a fence, a huge fence with barbed wire and guard towers. And, and, we said gosh! I can't believe that you, you know, keep these girls in! They said, no, no, no. This is to keep other people from coming in."

Who of you honestly believes that these workers are living in ideal conditions? And even if this isn't a lie, if people really do need to be kept "from coming in"--how bad do the living conditions outside these compounds have to be, to make living in them so desirable? This is what the likes of Mitt Romney want to take the entire world to--him living in luxury, you living in squalor. Where's the morality in that?
+9 # Cassandra2012 2012-11-03 14:25
Yes, Romney and his ilk believe corporations are 'people', but that people are toys, commodities, serfs ..... all expendable! He must have Asberger's syndrome, unable to genuinely empathize with other humans. [Though one can't help wondering if he is an android, himself.]
+30 # guyachs 2012-11-03 08:46
If you think things won't get a lot worse under romney, you are not living in the real world. You probably said the same thing about bush and gore.
+8 # Professorjane Gilgun 2012-11-03 09:34
I wish more people saw a bigger picture and then took consequences into consideration. We need a group that educators people about how to think constructively. I wish billionaires would fund that kind of effort.
+14 # Lolanne 2012-11-03 13:42
Quoting Professorjane Gilgun:
I wish more people saw a bigger picture and then took consequences into consideration. We need a group that educators people about how to think constructively. I wish billionaires would fund that kind of effort.

It would sure be nice if somebody would fund it! Here in Texas, part of the repugnant ones' platform (I'm not kidding -- part of their PLATFORM) is eliminating the teaching of critical thinking skills in schools! This is the kind of world they want the vast majority of us to live in -- one where children aren't even taught to think critically, are never equipped with the skills that would enable them to make the best decisions for their own well-being. Regressive politics? YOU BET!

VOTE A STRAIGHT DEMOCRATIC TICKET ON TUESDAY! We truly must kick the TP-ers and greedy old prevaricators out on government!
+4 # Professorjane Gilgun 2012-11-03 21:41
I would laugh at the thought of eliminating critical thinking from the curriculum if it weren't so potentially harmful. There must be an alternative universe where ignorance is value and good is bad and bad is good. How can anyone reject critical thinking? I hope we don't sink that low. I'd like to start a campaign to get billionaires to fund a campaign that promotes constructive thinking.
+3 # KittatinyHawk 2012-11-03 14:03
We have educators...wha t are you all doin?
+2 # Cassandra2012 2012-11-03 14:26
Ha! dream on.
+8 # KittatinyHawk 2012-11-03 13:38
Don't but remember your Rethugs have been killing people for half a century, and Papa Bush been selling arms to third world esp Middle East since his days in CIA.

Killer of Innocents...wha t fertilizer do you use? What is under your sink? Are you and environmentalis t or another phony running their mouth. Smoke. What kind of car do you drive. What kind of heatings system do you have. I see killers all over the USA. I see them shopping and filling their baskets with food that is unsafe to feed their family and animals.
Want to preach, go ahead but do not bs the vote because the Military killed people, the Military and Man have been killing People, Animals, Trees, Natural Resources since day one.

Grow up...try actually casting a Vote instead of a stone. After all I am sure you do not buy American, are chemical free.

If you didn't like what was being done did you do anything about it? When is the last time YOU Marched, Protested, Boycotted.... There are no innocent victims except children and animals anymore.
+3 # Billy Bob 2012-11-03 14:19
I particularly liked your last paragraph. You've outdone yourself.
+3 # Cassandra2012 2012-11-03 14:28
to the Tea-Party

Everyone is suddenly angry.
Angry in concert.
They’ve identified the bad guys —
the corporations, the insurance companies and banks,
the venal
superrich, their vain wives and over-indulged children,
those errant
husbands who’d been cheating all along.
They all say they didn’t know.

They say they were
innocent, victims
of slick hotshots, those
self-absorbed moneymaking high fliers.
they’re just the poor populace, the taxpayers, the American people,

They don’t say,
how years ago they voted; how they cheered
the stunned deer president they let
be swept right up into a lie of office,
they don’t say how they jeered
the claims
of torture, the doubts of any questioners, the opposition
far from self-congratula tory conventions.

They don’t say,
how they
not to see
the flimflam sleight
of hand,
the sneer of cunning.
+8 # WolfTotem 2012-11-03 13:40
Innocent Victim, it's a bit late, but I'd just like to ask you to reflect, in relation to the moral standpoint you've expressed and the responses your comments have elicited, on the implications of the pseudonym you've chosen.

One may be the victim, even the innocent victim, of some misfortune or aggression. But then, to adopt the status of victim is fraught with great moral dangers. As for innocence, I'm afraid that, by following the path of moral purity, one may end up sustaining far greater evils than those one meant to resist.

Also, when you judge leaders, you cannot just project onto them the simple moral standards that sustain you in everyday life, unless the responsibilitie s you have to face are in some way comparable. Try to imagine the horrible moral choices that had to be taken by a Churchill or a Roosevelt in their hard task of protecting their people and the world. Here, no innocence is possible.

Please reflect on this. And not just in the context of the election. I'm not spelling out all my reasons for being so suspicious of both victimhood and the seamless white robe of "innocence". I feel you have it in you to see the pitfalls of oversimplificat ion and purity, even if I don't for one moment take you for a whited sepulcher.
-7 # Innocent Victim 2012-11-03 17:21
I do not consider myself an isolated victim of our political leaders. We are all victims of the dilution of our Constitution's 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th amendments by FISA, NDAA, and other outrages that have been enacted. We are all victims of the militarism that substitutes for beneficial foreign policy and has drawn us into invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. We are all victims of economic policies that have removed regulatory safeguards from banking and have driven our work-force into a race for the bottom wage in competition with workers in developing countries.

Moral purity is not the question, when I castigated a president who assumed the role of Lord High Executioner and breaks his oath of office in a multiplicity of acts.

Your tone of asking me to reflect is condescension on a high order. I might ask you to reflect on your support for a president who has added much to the toll of human misery.

As for my innocence, at the least I was not guilty of voting for Obama in 2008. I voted for the best person, Ralph Nader. That is my habit in voting.
+10 # WolfTotem 2012-11-04 06:06

This is NOT personal, and you haven't taken my point. I appreciate your outrage, but it's something else I am trying to put across. I'd not do so if I didn't see it as important.

You write "We are all victims of...". Right. Let's accept that, lock, stock and barrel.

But what I'm saying is: we CAN be victims. Yes, shit happens. What we CANNOT allow ourselves to become is professional victims. We cannot adopt that masochistic status.

It lies at the root of some of the greatest crimes in history! Crimes the consequences of which are still with us.


And none of us is innocent, just as none of us is separate from the rest. We are all fouled by great evils - only saints can transcend them. That's one of the most horrible truths we must face - and God knows I understand your revolt against it! Yet when you write "I have responsibility only for my own choices", it just is not true. We are not discrete entities. That's a fallacy of American individualism. It turns people into free radicals...

In relative terms, I am not optimistic, yet I cannot condone your negativism. If you make your house in it, it can become a perverse form of narcissism. And heaven knows we are all of us the victims of narcissistic perverts!

Our true concern: to avoid greater evils.
-4 # Innocent Victim 2012-11-04 09:03
We are not discrete entities but part of a massive polis, and I do what I can to influence other voters to vote not as handicappers of a horse-race but as people of conscience. Barack Obama must be reproached at the polls. Democrats must learn that they cannot ignore the interests of the 99.9% and win elections.

What are you resisting in your victim's submission to the lesser evil? You are playing right into the hands of our enemies. If Obama is re-elected, you will have given him your confirmation. You chide me for behaving as a victim, but I am standing up to an enemy, not submitting to him. I call myself "Innocent Victim", but you are making yourself Obama's victim. Prometheus was a victim, but he opposed the powerful gods to the end. You are the bent-over, professional victim.
+2 # Billy Bob 2012-11-04 10:01
That was one of the best comments I've ever read. Great job!
+3 # Billy Bob 2012-11-04 12:52
WolfTotem, You completely understand what I've been trying to say for months, and you've put it very professionally, succinctly, and laid it out logically.

Thank you for taking the time.
+3 # WolfTotem 2012-11-04 19:46
Thanks. I'd not have let this digression develop if I didn't regard it as important.

I'm sorry I.V. is so emotional - and judgmental - and didn't grasp my last line about the overriding need to avoid greater evils. Fighting evil is a dangerous business as it involves relating to it. Dangers there both for leaders and for their critics.

An awareness of history can help. Look at Lenin's crimes, but what are they beside Stalin's? Like Hilaire Belloc's Jim, we can... always keep a-hold of Nurse / For fear of finding something worse.

What I'll say now will be unpalatable to many. When a land's occupied by a cruel enemy, there are a number of choices. The people can expect nothing from the occupier or the puppet government and must band together to survive. Some will join the resistance and fight the invader. Others will stay at their posts and collaborate.

Collaborators have a bad name, they include quislings and profiteering opportunists. They also include truly heroic figures who work with the enemy to serve their own people. Like Yeats' Countess Cathleen who sells her soul to the Devil to feed her starving tenants.

We've no choice but to work with WHAT IS, however distasteful. Only from that starting point can we attain what we aspire to. That's true both for leaders and voters.

To close the digression, a nod towards a Buddhist symbol, the lotus, pure yet rooted in filth.
+1 # Carol Sterritt 2012-11-05 23:37
No, actually a person's true concern when it comes to an election is to vote their conscience. As far as avoiding "lesser evils" - once the "lesser evil" has agreed to wire tapping without warrants, has agreed to drones flying around third world nations and killing babies, and has agreed to letting his friends at Goldman Sachs and AIG call the shots, then that person is not a lesser evil. He is a Fascist, and once fascism is accepted, for whatever reason, then fascism will blossom into its total totalitarian nightmare. Right now, that nightmare includes the fact that 49 cents out of every dollar of profit goes directly to the biggest Financial Firms. (Thirty years ago, only 8 cents out of every dollar of profit went to Big Fiance!) Our grandkids and great grandkids will be paying for this Bernanke/Geithn er crap economy (Of course, maybe you are part of Goldman Sachs or AIG and it is all to your benefit.
-1 # Carol Sterritt 2012-11-04 23:21
I support you with every word you say. (You might find other like-minded people over at Firedoglake.) When a person understands that 80% of what every President accomplishes has to do with their appointments, and that Obama's appointments have been exactly as his puppet handlers have suggested: Goldman Sachs/AIG running the Treasury and the Fed Reserve, Monsanto running the FDA and Department of Agriculture, etc. then it is far too difficult to vote for this man. Plus Obama plans on cutting Social Security, and he has helped give up trillions of dollars of the Middle Incomed person's wealth to Obama's friends on Wall Street. Plus he wants as much war as Mitt Rmoney does - though so far he has focused on Pakistan rather than Iran. The Third Party candidates offer solutions, and I for one refuse to bow to the notion of voting for Fascism Lite. Fascism is Fascism, and when people start to get sick from the Monsanto famine foods, then they will realize how stupid they were to think that any type of Fascism was going to save them.
0 # Theo 2012-11-06 12:36
While I agree with almost everything you state, this is a discussion, with an economist, about the economic reasoning behind choosing one candidate (out of the 2 that actually stand a chance at getting elected) over the other. Your moral values have no place in this discussion. In my opinion, no individual's morals should ever come before the potential sustainability and economic well-being of an entire country. I believe that Mr. Stiglitz, given the context of the content, is dead on and you seem to agree. If you want to argue your moral stance, you should do so in a discussion/arti cle about the moral reasoning for selecting a candidate.
0 # Innocent Victim 2012-11-06 15:01
You are wrong in thinking that I agree with Mssrs Stiglitz or Krugman in their Keynesian remedies for what are systemic problems in our economy. Such remedies would only be palliative and temporary. There is much else that must be done which the two establishment economists seldom mention: transforming to an economy that is not enslaved to imperialism and military production, as a starter. Though Keynesian remedies would be palliative for the unemployed, they would also inflict inflation on the employed and on people who rely on savings. They are far more numerous than the unemployed.

My judgments do not separate economic matters from moral ones, and I am in very good economist-compa ny in that regard, Thorstein Veblen, and Adam Smith, as examples. If you have read them, then you would remember their emphases on the consequences to society of economic behavior and their condemnation of practices that are inimical to society in economic conduct. Apparently, you are ignorant of their concerns. It is a matter of cowardly style, today, to try to separate economic behavior from moral behavior, much as people like Henry Kissinger preach separation of the political from the moral. You do yourself little credit in adopting that style.
0 # Theo 2012-11-06 16:03
My thinking that you agree with Mr. Stiglitz came from you: "If there were no moral question in supporting either Obama or his eager substitute, I should agree with Mr Stiglitz." Again, given the content, what your statement tells me is that you do agree with Mr. Stiglitz, but I guess that was a misinterpretati on. I apologize.

Did you read that Mr. Stiglitz is for reducing defense spending, thus trying to reduce the enslavement of our economy by reducing military production? You appear to agree on that as well.

Do note that I'm not arguing for purely Keynesian remedies. I'm also not arguing that morals have no place at all in economics, or entirely ignorant to their impact, just that, as stated above, "no individual's morals should ever come before the potential sustainability and economic well-being of an entire country." From what I've read, I don't see Mr. Stiglitz making this claim either. I'm trying to make the claim that the economy should come before morals, not that they shouldn't be included at all. However, I do still feel that your moral based comments are out of place here and a bit trolling if I may say so.

What credit would you be referring to, and what style have I adopted? I don't recall giving myself any credit or stating what views I've adopted other than to agree with most of what Mr. Stiglitz has said in this article and to make the claim that the economy should come before your morals.
0 # Innocent Victim 2012-11-06 18:10
My "if" is a large one! I do agree with Stiglitz that austerity in Europe and in the US is the wrong economic policy.

Your assertion on the place of an individual's morals v. "the economic well-being of ... country" is a distraction because the priority is not an issue. I am not imposing my views on anyone; only expressing them. What you are demanding is that I should not try to influence others on the basis of my moral views, a somewhat excessive demand from someone who ought to be espousing free speech. You have the right to feel what you do, but not to tell me what I should or should not do. You do have a rather authoritarian turn of mind, it appears. Try allowing others to have opinions different from yours.
0 # Theo 2012-11-06 20:00
I guess we'll have to agree to disagree but I'd say that the real distraction is entirely disregarding the presented economics and commenting about morals in an article about economics. If you have something to say about his reasoning laid out in the article, this would be the place for it. I also feel that priority should be an issue. That something of a higher priority should have a higher weighted value that those of lower priorities. My problem is I'm really just trying to justify my vote because I don't feel entirely comfortable with it. I've lined up my priorities and made a decision I feel slightly suits me better than all the other options but I'm still not convinced.

To clarify: I don't feel that you shouldn't be exercising your freedom of speech. I'm not censoring you in any way or forcing you into anything. This back and forth we are having is freedom of speech at its finest. I am suggesting that you entertain the idea that your moral views on the election might be better served in the many other articles that try to argue the moral reasons for who to vote for. Again, I actually agree with most of your moral reasons to not vote for Obama.
+53 # Activista 2012-11-02 19:35
"On the expenditure side, I'd like to see the biggest chunk come out of the MILITARY, I think we're spending too much on weapons that don't work against enemies that don't exist."
this would solve 90% of USA problems.
Joseph Stiglitz analysis is best I have seen (actually all his work is great).
Just notice where his work is published ... NOT in mass media, but what you would call in pre-internet age a samizdat.
It is military - stupid.
+3 # KittatinyHawk 2012-11-03 14:04
I do not like all his work but he at least is not tempered by party. He has criticized them all
-7 # Gnome de Pluehm 2012-11-02 21:55

Gnome de Pluehm

Population growth and the automation of industries, along with its elimination of jobs, have created a developing world-wide crisis that up till now has had no known solution. There are too many people for whom the world can provide meaningful occupation.

Instead of creating unneeded jobs, the simplest solution is to reduce the population to the number of people required to do the necessary work. The problem will be resolved and everyone will be happy. This solution does not require extermination of whole populations, of ethnic groups, nor aggregated cohorts of any kind. It will not require either the use of force or of making choices by any centralized authority.

Once again, industry and automation will pull us out of this quandary and will advance civilization. The solution is to develop world-wide the manufacture and distribution of high-end sex toys. Automated toys of this kind with complex motions, high quality surfaces, and perhaps barely-noticeab le electrical stimulation will come to be preferred to the ordinary sexual experience, and the birth rate will decline precipitously. This is the ultimate in “green” revolution owing to the reduced stresses placed on the environment.
-7 # Innocent Victim 2012-11-03 17:38
At last, a positive thinker! Automated, high-tech, sex-toys! Why did no other person come forward with this? But wait! Aren't there other means of sexual satisfaction beyond "normal", child producing sex? I am told there are, some very popular with both sexes. Yet, the population continues to grow. Could it be that the people who are having many children do not know about the alternatives to copulation? Maybe the "Right to Life" people ought to sponsor teach-ins in the social strata that are over-producing themselves? It could be federally funded. I would not object to the "Lifers" being subsidized in this way.
Maybe, the activity would calm them down.
+15 # natalierosen 2012-11-02 22:33
Brilliant article. If only we would listen. How about Mr. Stiglitz for Treasury in the second Obama administration? !
-54 # 4merlib 2012-11-03 00:56
According to Joseph, "Those [George W. Bush] economic advisers essentially doubled the debt in eight years. "

Nice try, but it was the brief reign of the Pelosi and Reed Congress & Senate that was responsible for the bulk of the debt increase during the 8 years of the Bush presidency.

It's admirable that Joseph is passionate about social justice - in fact that was probably the real underlying reason why he received the Nobel Prize [look up who awards those things, OK?], but the simple truth is that when [inefficient] government takes too much money out of the economy [and spends it wastefully as in Obama], the economy eventually falters and everyone suffers.

I take it Joseph's idea of social and economic justice is mostly about narrowing the gap between rich and poor, even if it means everyone gets poorer.
+34 # guyachs 2012-11-03 08:49
You mean Reed and Pelosi started 2 wars, reduced taxes on the rich and created medicare part D? I think you are already forgetting history. Too much fox/limbaugh
0 # Carol Sterritt 2012-11-05 23:41
Obama appointed Geithner and left Bernanke at the Fed. Between those two men, some 15 to 16 TRILLIONS of dollars was put into the accounts of the people that Geithner and Bernanke favored. Experts say that at least 4.5 trillions of those $$ will never be repaid by the bankers. But by our grandkids! Then you also have Obama appointing Arne Duncan who lets privatized industries give a single principal at a single charter school some 800,000 dollars. And Obama's appointments at FDA and Dept of Agriculture allow Monsanto's famine foods to flourish!
+13 # mjc 2012-11-03 10:31
Sorry, 4m45lib, but it wasn't Pelosi or Reed who called for invading Iraq because of mythical nuclear weapons: it was George Bush and his neocon advisors. It wasn't Democrats who decided to forgo any sort of small scale hunting of bin Laden in Afghanistan, and begin an intrusion into Afghanistan that has occupied more than 10 years of our military and over 2,000 Americans lives and countless billions in cost. The doubling of our debt and spending in Iraq and Afghanistan has cost us many trillions of dollars...that' s TRILLIONS with a capital T. Spending that amount of money on two wars...UNnecess ary wars...wars of choice...was the Republican administration of George Bush's choice.
+4 # bingers 2012-11-04 20:58
Bullshit! It was 2 unfunded wars accompanied by huge tax cuts for those who didn't need them that did the job, and that was before the Dems took over the legislative branch.
+21 # gdp1 2012-11-03 06:40
Romney will be a disaster...don' t think so? him in...and don't come crying when you go into recession...
+14 # jky1291 2012-11-03 10:06
Republicans are not insane to defeat President Obama because his policies failed. They are outraged that his policies prevented their 25% unemployment Depression that would enable them to buy up the rest of the country for 10 cents on the dollar. Don't believe me, believe the facts. Nearly every proposal to help those earning less than $250,000 per year has met nearly unanimous opposition from the Republicans, while nearly every Republican proposal would provide most of its benefits to the 1% only. They are more than perfectly willing to spend 4 - 6 billion dollars of price gouged consumers' money to buy this election for their puppet to reinstitute their failed policies, to insure the successful completion of their traitorous scheme. They have already extorted another $140 billion added to our national debt, with the extension of the 2003 Bush tax cuts for those earning over $250,000 per year since the 2010 election, by coercing those that their policies put out of work with fraudulent lending practices, phony securities' ratings, and illegal foreclosures. Why would anyone believe that a 1%er, who does not believe in government, has any incentive to improve conditions for the 99% by being elected to govern? In a single election the Republicans are determined to undo the results of the American Revolution and the Civil War by reestablishing the MONARCHY OF WEALTH in order to ENSLAVE US ALL!!!
+6 # KittatinyHawk 2012-11-03 14:07
Recession...tha t would be a picnic compared to what these cretins have instore. China is just s breath away...he loves China
+11 # cordleycoit 2012-11-03 08:11
Romney has no more plan than Nixon had in his nonexistent Peace Plan. Romney has no plan which will do nothing for anyone except the partners in Bain and other vulture funds. He will dig up every last lump of coal and burn it happily poisoning the air water and food chain. His buddies at Monsanto will collect on givong us gen and franken food and then things will get worse. Complaints will end as FEMA rearmed moves on the non team players as terrorists. Then things will get worse as we must face Salt Lake City. Blood Atonement becomes the law of the land, and things get worse.
+26 # mikehz 2012-11-03 08:13
Stiglitz's summary is one of the most concise and clear expositions on the contrasts between Obama and Romney... and it boggles my mind that so many people are taken in by Romney's "magic dust". Romney has not yet given a single clear definition of his magic "5 Point Plan". His summary: "vote for me and all will be well" is lame in the extreme.

Wake up America... Stiglitz is correct in his analysis and conclusions.
+8 # Depressionborn 2012-11-03 08:16
Stiglitz is right. Half of what we are living on is being borrowed . orrowing will have to stop. What then, Mr stiglitz?
-18 # MidwestTom 2012-11-03 08:51
Most on this site have not seen the movie 2016 OBama's America. My neighbor insisted that I watch it with him last night. It is not full of right wing propaganda, but rather looks at his history. I came away with several thoughts: 1. He has no concept of normal life in America, or in our schools (he wasn't there). 2. He has always viewed America as the cause for all of the workd's problems, and believes that we are a evil colonial power trying to enslave the reat of the world. 3. He has no normal accomplishments anywhere in his history (which he keeps deeply hidden), but he is a great speaker. The movie does not attempt to explain it, but ut asks the question, of who paid for the major expenses of his life; namely, how does a poor kid with poor grades at Occidental College get into and pay for Harvard, with no scholarship? I will probably still vote for him, but the movie convinced me even more that we have two bad choices. You really should see the movie, it won't change your mind, but it will open our eyes.
+12 # jky1291 2012-11-03 10:13
As you devoted posters on RSN know, I have been and still am a firm believer that we need a viable 3rd Party presidential candidate to salvage our nation from the challenges we face. But, with 6 - 9 billion dollars being projected to be spent on this election, no non corporate independent 3rd party candidate superior to President Obama was willing to expose themselves to the reprehensible abuse being heaped on the opponents of the multinational corporations' funded U. S. Chamber of Commerce and all the other undisclosed billionaires' phony "educational" Super PAC's. Despite that fact I would have been willing to deny President Obama my vote for his complicity in his corporate acquiescences, and let the chips fall where they may, until Romney's threat to position Paul Ryan a heartbeat away from imposition of the Fourth Reich. I still have reservations about President Obama's ability to substantially overcome corporate control of our total government, but I have no such reservations concerning the total demise of this country descending into apocalyptic civil war resulting from the 1%'s total enslavement of the 99% under a Ryan influenced administration. The destruction of the great state of Wisconsin was just a trial run for the dictatorship of the 1% over the entire world. VOTE FOR OBAMA! or be responsible for the self-fulfilling religious prophesies of Armageddon. A vote for Obama is a vote AGAINST RYAN!
+10 # Activista 2012-11-03 13:10
"Paul Ryan a heartbeat away from imposition of the Fourth Reich"
yes - we are getting there.
-3 # Mannstein 2012-11-03 18:58
Hitler created 12 million jobs in 4 years. That's an accomplishment that Ryan is unlikely to repeat. Fourth Reich indeed, no way Jose.

And by the way the Germans of 1932-33 were faced with the same dilemma as US voters of today. The ones who cast their vote for Hitler did so because of the economy and in addition wanted to have nothing to do with Communism. They were well aware of the disaster that Communists produced in the USSR. It got down to a choice between Hitler, the Communist, or the defunct parties which had failed since 1918 to bring Germany back to normalcy. The Versailles Diktat also played an important role. Incidentally, the German hyper inflation of the 1920s essentially wiped out the middle class. The German Bankers did a good job of that. Bernanke and the Banksters are well on their way of repeating the episode in the good old USA.
+3 # Activista 2012-11-04 01:12
Hitler created 12 million jobs to make tanks (Krupp) and bombers. 10 years later (1945) Germany was in rubble and Hitler died as a rat under the Berlin.
This is the lesson for the USA (building the Fourth Reich) - it is militarization stupid.
+6 # jky1291 2012-11-04 01:18
The economic projections predict that 12 million new jobs will be created regardless of who is elected. So, the Republicans are only promising to take credit for something to which they contributed nothing, and continue to blame everyone else for all the problems that they caused, as usual.
+4 # jky1291 2012-11-04 01:03
The total disregard for the needs of its citizens was one of the main factors that directly led to the Russian Revolution and the "Communists" coming to power. The very policies that the Republicans plan to institute are going to make Communism a very attractive alternative. Unfortunately, true communism cannot successfully benefit the citizens under its governance if it is instituted by violence, as was demonstrated by the Soviet experiment, violating the original principles proposed by Marx. Essentially, by ignoring history, a vote for the Republican policies is a vote for communism, because people who are starving to death, dying for lack of health care, are homeless because of illegal foreclosures, unemployed because of corporate greed, and have nothing left to lose cannot and will not put up with those policies until the next election the Republicans have positioned themselves to buy or if necessary steal with the complicity of the Supreme Court. The Republicans falsely claim that we are on a similar path to Greece, but in fact they would place us directly on the path like Syria. Choose wisely if one wishes to live to see the results.
+1 # bingers 2012-11-04 21:04
Soviet communism isn't actual communism, and communism would never work as a government because it's basically the opposite of government. But unlike the right wing idea of every man for himself, communism is the belief that we're all in it together and must help each other.
-6 # KittatinyHawk 2012-11-03 14:11
I am voting for third parties in Pa. I hope we all get them in the notice of people. I have waited 25 years for them, now we must change America back to the Country we know and love.
But we have to get off our own butts and do the work.
+3 # bingers 2012-11-04 21:05
PA being a swing state, that's a really bad idea.
+2 # mjc 2012-11-03 10:33
Sounds like science fiction to me.
+10 # Billy Bob 2012-11-03 12:37
It sounds like your movie "without propaganda" glossed over a few things: like the fact that he was raised in rural Kansas by his white grandmother, and the fact that President Obama graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard, and was head of the Harvard Law Review. Apparently Harvard has no clue what it's doing.

My eyes have really been opened to the extent of conservative racism in this country since 2008. It's really beyond the pale.

No matter what achievements he's had there's always an excuse among the right-wing why it's still not good enough or why it doesn't really count.

Of course Twit can do no harm. Did you know that he once was so poor that he had to sell some stock to avoid getting a job while going to college? He's parents must have really saved their pennies for him as well, because he attended prep schools his whole life before that. Today, those kinds of prep schools cost over $30,000 a year starting in grade school.

It's an eye opener too.

Sshhh! Don't tell anyone, but liberals are listening when conservatives make racist remarks about "stupid niggers". For instance, I was listening when one of the right-wingers I know remarked that the 900 people who died in Katrina were all just a bunch of "lazy niggers" anyway, so the world was better off without them anyway.

It opened my eyes as well.

Tell your buddies that some of us will be voting to cancel out their votes.
+4 # KittatinyHawk 2012-11-03 14:15
Thank you... I had my first awakening to racial slurs, good ol boys back in seventies. I had already done marches in NY as a kid for equal rights, then I moved onto environment as it had so much racialness. Most toxic sites were always slabbed for poor neighborhoods or rural areas.

I hate that word but it is not just for blacks, there are white n also I just call them white trash.
+8 # Billy Bob 2012-11-03 13:00
Another thing tom,

Have you noticed how much I've been nagging your to double-check your sources over the past few months? This has become a real pattern with you. You can always be relied on to give us the conservative talking points as though they were "news" to us and as if we just needed to be enlightened.

Of course YOU aren't a conservative! NO! You're just one of us and you just want to broaden the conversation and open our minds a bit, right?

Unfortunately, you never seem to realize that we HAVE heard the conservative spin, AND we've checked the accuracy of it, which you apparently have not done. Most of your information seems to come in the form of "I heard a guy who told me....." Come on tom! You CAN do a lot better than that. Don't they even have Google or a library where you live? It ain't rocket science.

+11 # Billy Bob 2012-11-03 13:02

Now, regarding your accusations more specifically:

1. Tell me tom, what is "normal" American life? I've lived all over this country and I can tell you that I've never seen anything resembling "normal" anywhere.

2. Do you have ANY substantive evidence to back up this wild accusation? With people like you saying Obama isn't colonial enough, whatever that means, AND the fact that 90% of Democrats (myself included) are still angry with him for being TOO colonial, how can the guy please anybody?

3. I'd still consider his accomplishments at Harvard and the University of Chicago to be EXTREMELY IMPRESSIVE accomplishments . Do you have ANY CLUE how UNBELIEVABLY competitive that is? In many fields only about 1 out of 100 applicants are even given an interview at Harvard. Do you know how many people apply for a job at a school as prestigious as the U. of Chicago?

NO, that DEFINITELY NOT "normal". I'd call it "EXTRAORDINARY".

Then again, no matter what, he just doesn't LOOK like a President, though huh?
+1 # KittatinyHawk 2012-11-03 14:18
We have a couple of people who talk from their openings not sure which since so much is just trash. then they discuss God with that mouth or ass.

I never see any of them prove anything except with twitter, youtube or some other garbage.
+3 # KittatinyHawk 2012-11-03 14:09
No one had to beg you to watch anything negative of Democrats, Independents and the such You are the other evil just like your party.

If you want Change so much why didn't you get off your midwestern ____ and do and four others are on so many sites I wonder how much meth you all do
+1 # bingers 2012-11-04 21:01
That's moronic at best. My apologies to actual morons who are smarter than that.
+5 # reiverpacific 2012-11-03 10:29
All I can say is "Magic"? -More like Voodoo witchcraaft.
"Fair is Foul, Foul is Fair
-hover in the Fog and filthy Air"!
-4 # fishermanbob 2012-11-03 12:11
Stiglitz provides good reason to not support Romney but I disagree with him on voting for Obama and facing the same situation four years from now. Chris Hegdges on Truthdig 10/29/12 provides good reason to vote 3rd party and begin the road to change from the mess we have been dealing with for the past 12 years.
+5 # KittatinyHawk 2012-11-03 14:23
Except that the third party isn't happening because you have all done nothing for over twenty five years and expect us to trust them to get things done.
Won't happen, you have to come up, make yourselves known.
I know Greens, Progressives, most are so busy with their Cocktail Parties, patting themselves on the back...they are not among us. Not rethugs but they are not blue collar, unemployed, homeless. They have no Political Clout so would waste four years and more money. Would probably sign things then go ooooops.
I vote for third party now is a vote for Romney. Want change good I have working for it for decades. But I am still seeing the same Green Party at the same places going nowhere....
Media are voting for Romney either way you look at it. thank Hedges when things go belly up
+6 # KittatinyHawk 2012-11-03 14:33
Romney has no Plan for American Middle Class or Poor. Romney cannot spell Middle Class nor does he want to.

Everyone has an opinion, like mine.

I am voting for OBama because he has made changes. He probably should have jumped on the gun in first year, that he did not is not a reason to Hang Him.
He has used Military to do things that is not right. So has every leader, I do not condone it, but I am not getting a rope out for OB.
I have worked Politically since the sixties from Marches, Protests, Organizations. I have seen laziness grow in past twenty five years and if there is anyone to blame for USA Today it is Americans themselves.

Third Party....I loved the concept 30 years ago. So many cropped up, were goin to change things. Then I started getting involved...most of them were bores. They spoke of their issues, rest of us fighting pollution corporate greed, nukes...well unless that was their issue...Nope. I put ups signs nobody came because all these people do is sit and talk, talk, talk. Now we have some who have turned heads, I am glad. But Tuesday, no one is turning my head. I see no performance records, I see no proof that they will have clout needed to change anything.
I want Change. I have fought for Change.
But until everyone gets off their Butts and Changes their own lives, changes their buying, their attitudes...not hing is going to happen. You are the ones who have to Change the World....
Romney has not Magic just Evil
+4 # jky1291 2012-11-04 01:28
While I will still welcome a 3rd Party if we survive and the corporations still allow us to hold elections in 2016, I am confident that there will be many excellent qualified Progressive candidates within the Democratic Party, willing and eager to resist the corruption of the multinational corporations, and the greed of the wealthy and special interests, such as Elizabeth Warren, Alan Grayson, and a host of other rising truth tellers committed to the 99%. I would hope that a consensus can be reached without a destructive primary season, which might give a Republican candidate the illusion of viability.
+1 # JSRaleigh 2012-11-05 11:33
Quoting fishermanbob:
Stiglitz provides good reason to not support Romney but I disagree with him on voting for Obama and facing the same situation four years from now. Chris Hegdges on Truthdig 10/29/12 provides good reason to vote 3rd party and begin the road to change from the mess we have been dealing with for the past 12 years.

Except that the third party candidates are all stealth kochromenybots.
-5 # Innocent Victim 2012-11-03 17:57
Did you ever imagine that as a USian you would have to vote either for a war criminal or for a war criminal-wannab e, or otherwise for a minor candidate who could not really win?
0 # PaineRad 2012-11-04 02:06
Minor little correction to the article. There is no such thing as a Nobel for economics. Alfred Nobel's will provided for prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Peace. Period.

The prize in economics is not a Nobel, and the medal is not the same as for the other, real ones. The economics prize was created by the central bank of Sweden at a time when the financial sector and the economics profession in Sweden wanted to enhance their lowly status and reputations. They created their prized in memory of Alfred Nobel, but it is actually a separate award that does not IMHO, deserve to be called a Nobel. It is the Swedish central bank prize.

BTW, their hoax worked. Most of their prizes have gone to neo-liberal crackpots of the Milton Friedman variety. Why? Because that is the ideology or simpletonology they wanted to promote. It is only recently that they began to spread it around a little.
+1 # JSRaleigh 2012-11-05 11:31
I don't so much object to Romney's "plan" being all smoke & mirrors as I object to him looting Social Security to pay for it.
0 # BobboMax 2012-11-06 19:36
Ya know, I think IV is a troll, albeit a very skillful one. S/He espouses a very simple-minded approach to complex moral problems, yet we're paying attention and spending our time rebutting him/her.

Better we should be down in the sewers, doing our best to slay the dragons that IV acknowledges but declines to engage, lest s/he dirty the hem of his/her pure gown. We'll stink when we come up from the sewer and IV will recoil in distaste, but we'll know we fought the good fight.

Obama isn't my ideal candidate, but this isn't an ideal world. You better play the hand you're dealt the best you can, because you can't get out of the game. We didn't fight hard enough in 2000 and look what we allowed to happen to the world.
0 # Innocent Victim 2012-11-06 20:16
Ya know, I do not deserve your compliment (skillful) any more than your slights. It does not take great skill to answer the criticisms I have received.

You, however, have learned nothing from the 2000 election. You supported Al Gore, from your last sentence. You supported Bill Clinton's boy, the right-of-center boy who learned nothing from his pro-labor, New Deal father.

You made the same mistake you make now, choosing the lesser evil - still an evil. You could have supported Ralph Nader in 2000, our finest presidential candidate since George Washington. If only 10% had supported Nader in 2000, 2004, or 2008, instead of voting for a lesser evil, we could have avoided much of out current problems. You could have made the Dems, including Obummer, respectful of the progressives in our country. You were a dupe in 2000 and probably today, a dupe of the protoge of slick Willy in 2000, and of slick Obama since. You are in the sewer now, the sewer that a despot has made of the rule of law, the sewer made by our Lord High Executioner, the lesser evil. I voted for the greater good, Dr Jill Stein. I never support an evil, even a lesser one. Doing so only encourages more evil.
0 # BobboMax 2012-11-07 00:07
Your skirts are clean.

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