That sense of outrage exists to this day. In some sense it’s more acute. Voters have noticed the speed with which Corporate America and big banks have recovered from the crisis. They’ve also noticed that unemployment remains unusually high and that wages have stagnated (actually dropped) since the recession. No wonder that, when Pew recently asked voters if they agreed with the statement that “the rich just get richer while the poor get poorer,” 92 percent of Democrats said they did, the highest since Pew began asking the question in 1987.
What they did do, however, was draw attention away from the actual problems surrounding the South Africa World Cup — you know, the little stuff: state-sponsored mercenaries clearing shanty towns so that tourists wouldn’t have to look at poor people, massive corruption surrounding stadium contracts, violent cover-ups. That stuff was reported on, kind of, but most soccer fans, even the hard-core ones, had no idea it was happening. And when the tournament turned out not to be a tourist-killing machine, South Africa was massively praised in the media for clearing the imaginary bar that the media had created for it in the first place. All the problems — including the very real one of violent crime suffered by South Africans — just went away.
Also applies to cities hosting Olympics.
It is probably possible to justify subsidization of child rearing through some kind of economist-friendly rhetoric about externalities and long-term fiscal sustainability. But in the real world, I don’t think that’s even the best way to think about it. (In ecological terms, after all, an additional human being is the ultimate negative externality). One of the main goals of any kind of political community is the enduring of the political community. That requires the rule of law and blah blah blah, but it also obviously requires there to continue to be living, breathing human beings who belong to the political community. Which is to say that children, though expensive, differ from luxury cars in that they are human beings. By the same token, you could note that while it is illegal to take your Porsche (“theft”) and also illegal to take your baby (“kidnapping”), we have different words for these crimes and one is punished more severely than the other. Indeed, babies aside, if I were to destroy Mankiw’s Porsche, that would be punished much less severely than if I were to destroy Mankiw himself (“murder”) because, again, Mankiw is a person. It’s not just that people are considered very valuable. Even if I destroyed 10 or 20 Porsches, the punishment would be light compared with if I murdered someone in cold blood. Cars aren’t people. Babies aren’t luxury consumer goods. That’s just how it is.
Back with a vengeance.
But as central as this debate is to the identity of the party, Democrats won’t openly litigate it until they’re forced to ponder life after Obama. Partly out of deference to the president, partly out of a preoccupation with governing, and partly because there is no immediate political need, parties rarely conduct their internal soul-searching when they control the White House. It’s only when the president finally contemplates retirement that the feuding breaks out with real violence. Think of the Republican Party after George W. Bush. Or, you know, Yugoslavia.
How the food stamp diet is leaving the Rio Grande Valley both hungry and obese | The Washington Post
For more than half an hour, Canales listened to their concerns about his bill and another proposed by a lawmaker who wanted to eliminate candy and chips: Should government really be in the position of telling adults what to eat? And if so, who would be trusted to sort through the 40,000 items sold in a typical grocery store and divide healthy from unhealthy? If energy drinks were banned, why not also ban canned iced coffee that has twice the caffeine and triple the sugar? Or Sunny D fruit drink? Or Gatorade? Or fruit punch? And once every product had been rated and sorted, what if some grocery stores decided it was easier not to accept food stamps at all? Or what if food-stamp recipients felt too stigmatized to shop?
Wouldn’t lawmakers be better off working to solve the problems of poverty rather than regulating them? How about funding programs for nutrition education, or encouraging more fresh produce in inner-city grocery stores, or building playgrounds and making streets safer so people would exercise? Why not focus on alleviating the stresses of poverty, which so many studies had linked to overeating?
And now instead of solving one problem, we want to turn it into a larger debate and bigger problem. :[
He looks out the window onto his small balcony awash in sunlight. “So I’m divided between being glad that I was so hubristic and being appalled.” He turns back to me. “I mean, who did I think I was?”
Marty Sullivan figured out how the world’s biggest companies avoided billions in taxes. Here’s how he wants to stop them.
Yet beneath this veneer of logic and restraint are the passion and moral sensibility of a crusader. Sullivan’s radar is finely tuned to pick up any hint of hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty. And while the economist in him understands and accepts that corporations have a mandate to maximize profits through “tax efficiency,” the kid from Jersey City and St. Peter’s Prep is quietly outraged by government officials who so readily yield to the corporations’ self-serving entreaties.
“What politicians keep forgetting is that you can’t ‘partner’ with the corporate community when it comes to writing the tax laws,” Sullivan explains. “They’re not partners — they are adversaries.”
Sometime in the years leading up to September 17, 2011, zombies had gone from being associated with a terror of mob rule to the promise of release from an inescapably all-encompassing system. To be clear: Zombies were not being equated with corporate capitalism – they had become the revolution itself. Zombies had become the alternative to the system with no alternative.
Graeber believes that neoliberalism, judged as a political project, has “succeeded magnificently in convincing the world that capitalism – and not just capitalism, but exactly the financialized, semi-feudal capitalism we happen to have right now – is the only viable economic system.” As he sees it, the political project of neoliberalism is to ensure that “under no conditions can alternatives, or anyone proposing alternatives, be seen to experience success.”
…I would like to believe that neoiberalism won’t end in a catastrophic collapse and global dieback. I’d like to believe that utopia can come about by means of peaceful protest or enlightened deliberation by democratically elected bodies. I believe Kim Stanley Robinson is right, that “utopia has gone from being a somewhat minor literary problem to a necessary survival strategy.” But I think the choice Robinson gives, of “utopia or catastrophe” is a false one. We are past the time when utopians can shy away from the catastrophic. Catastrophe is the trench beyond which utopia lays.
In reality, the “free market” is a bunch of rules about (1) what can be owned and traded (the genome? slaves? nuclear materials? babies? votes?); (2) on what terms (equal access to the internet? the right to organize unions? corporate monopolies? the length of patent protections?); (3) under what conditions (poisonous drugs? unsafe foods? deceptive Ponzi schemes? uninsured derivatives? dangerous workplaces?); (4) what’s private and what’s public (police? roads? clean air and clean water? healthcare? good schools? parks and playgrounds?); (5) how to pay for what (taxes, user fees, individual pricing?). And so on.
These rules don’t exist in nature; they are human creations. Governments don’t “intrude” on free markets; governments organize and maintain them. Markets aren’t “free” of rules; the rules define them.
The interesting question is what the rules should seek to achieve. They can be designed to maximize efficiency (given the current distribution of resources), or growth (depending on what we’re willing to sacrifice to obtain that growth), or fairness (depending on our ideas about a decent society). Or some combination of all three—which aren’t necessarily in competition with one another.
If my vagina was a gun, you would stand for its rights,
You would ride on buses and fight all the fights.
If my vagina was a gun, you would treat it with care,
You wouldn’t spill all its secrets because, well, why go there.
If my vagina was a gun, you’d say what it holds is private
From cold dead hands we could pry, you surely would riot.
If my vagina was a gun, its rights would all be protected,
no matter the body count or the children affected.
If my vagina was a gun, I could bypass security,
concealed carry laws would ensure I’d have impunity.
If my vagina was a gun, I wouldn’t have to beg you,
I could hunt this great land and do all the things men do.
But my vagina is not a gun, it is a mightier thing,
With a voice that rings true making lawmakers’ ears ring.
Vaginas are not delicate, they are muscular and magic,
So stop messing with mine, with legislation that’s tragic.
My vagina’s here to demand from the source,
Listen to the voices of thousands or feel their full force.