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Friday, July 15, 2011

What if...

We live in an age of faux bi-partisanship which turns out to be the expediency of the lowest common denominator. Ron Paul has displayed a brave penchant for real bipartisanship when he works with a Kucinich, a Frank, a Sanders, etc. when most Republicans would avoid being seen in the same room with such leftists. He does so because, when he finds common ground to advance the principles he believes in, he's not going to let conventional political wisdom stand in the way. We also live in a time of great crisis. Our nation has run out of money fighting unjust wars and our culture is tempted toward fascism with corporatism being the precursor. 

Given the urgency of the hour, Ron Paul ought to step out of bounds in a big way. When a district or a state has only neo-cons running in the primaries for House or Senate and there are, in the same states or districts, progressive Democrats taking on corporatist Democrats, Ron Paul ought to endorse the progressive Democrat. 

Such cross-party endorsements would help him in two ways: First, it sends a clear signal to progressive Democrats in other districts and states that he intends to run a coalition government in his first term, thus giving them an added incentive to vote in the Republican primary. Second, if progressive Democrats can win from having Paul's endorsement, they will also get Obama's endorsement in the general election, thus increasing the likelihood of having a cooperative congress to pass the deal I describe several times in this blog. Of course, in the general election Ron Paul ought to endorse the progressive Democrat when there is not a libertarian Republican in the race. 

This is not conventional strategy. It will confuse the media who have turned politics into sports entertainment, and it will infuriate bosses and banks in both parties who know they own the show. However, voters will be intrigued and after they get to hear from the Doctor why he is prescribing this strange medicine, many Americans will take it. We certainly need a different medicine than the one we've been taking.  Ron Paul is the right person to prescribe the right medicine. And we to his left are listening to what the Doctor has to say.


  1. Absolutely crazy.

    For a whole slew of reasons.....

    Taking just a few...

    1) RP insists on "allowing the correction"; meaning, let everything collapse as it will, and go from there.

    Sorry, but the entire point is to avoid catastrophe - not to embrace it as "cleansing".

    Deflation was the biggest fear, and we still might go double-dip with demand so low.

    RP and his ilk argued QE and bailouts would lead to rampant inflation. Well, it hasn't.....it's only just managed to sustain demand above depression levels. What would demand be like without it? What would the costs have been without it? Catastrophe costs.

    2) RP also wants banks to set interest rates. He says savers don't save because they're getting only a few %. He says if interest rates weren't managed by FED then banks could offer 6%.

    But.....if banks are offering 6% on deposits, how much will loans be?

    What effect will this have on mortgage holders?


    It will also inhibit new market entrants - no new buyers. House prices will collapse, leaving mortgage holders in negative equity.


    A collapse in housing market will also produce unemployment in construction, with no pick-up in sight.

    3) Withdraw from overseas, cut military spending.

    Yeah, great. But don't pretend this isn't without consequence - for employment, both within armed forces and its suppliers. Moreover, what does anyone think the military has been doing overseas? Loss of hegemony has costs too - regardless how much 'progressives' might embrace demilitarisation.

    We can add the armed forces losses to those from banking and the financial sector, construction, industry and services.

    RPs policies would lead to the largest rises in unemployment the USA has ever seen.

    And all based on his unproven theories about money supply - derived from the extremist free-marketeers at Mises Institute.

    4) On top, he wants to cut benefits - so no state help for those made unemployed, directly from his policies. No state help for businesses, no state education, no state-funded healthcare, etc etc etc.

    Geez - find a better way to trigger riots?

    5) Strong dollar policy: this would make imports cheaper, and exports more expensive. This would lead to loss of American jobs....exporting even more jobs overseas. Americans would increasingly buy foreign, and so would everyone else. A balance of payments issue would immediately deepen.

    6) Gold standard? Madness. There isn't enough money around atm, if anyone hasn't noticed.....let alone on the gold standard. And what does it mean? How much gold is there? Does anyone think the issued dollars can be converted to gold-backed ones, with the relatively tiny amount of gold available? How much gold is available to back each dollar? Conclusion - there won't be many dollars about if it is backed by gold. If people imagine they will be seeing any of these gold-backed dollars themselves....they are deluded.

    Plus, it's simply fetishism. There's absolutely nothing about GOLD that makes it the pre-eminent currency form. Indeed - it's limited, so it has problems (the same reasons it was abandoned already!) Gold-bugs see that as its strength, of course. Delusion.


    Europe is riven with strikes atm - and RonPaul wants to go much, much further. One would have to be crazy to support it.

  2. And you're *so* into progressives supporting Ron Paul you can't be arsed to address the only comment you got.


  3. lml,
    I apologize for not getting back on this sooner Been on vacation and had much to catch up on. I do not disagree with your criticisms of Ron Paul. Deregulation has caused much of our problems. We have to have a central bank of some sorts even though I would like to see the Fed reformed so that its books are transparent and its governors are held democratically accountable. Going back to the gold standard in a global economy would be a disaster. However, allowing local, competitive and complementary currencies into the market place would probably help consumers as the dollar has its inevitable ups and downs. I agree also that deflation continues to be a huge threat; however, we could see that flip and the economy slip into stagflation. I think what we need now is much more stimulus in the form mostly of spending on infrastructure. Drawing down the military will mean that more people need to be put to work and the private sector cannot do this alone. I am in short on the same page with your rejection of libertarian economics.
    Given all this I would ask two questions: How much of the libertarian agenda is politically doable? I would say very little and nothing without the cooperation of progressives. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are not going away and bridging the gap for future benefits will require that the payroll tax funding remain required. Opting out of this is not going to happen. We are not going to get rid of the Fed or go on the gold standard. However, paying down debt will help keep interest rates low. I believe that Ron Paul's 50% pledge to fund the safety net can be negotiated into a green jobs bill, with shoring up entitlements coming through other means. In short, Ron Paul gets elected only in a coalition with progressives which would prevent him from destroying the most popular and most essential domestic entitlements. With that same coalition, a great deal of military spending can be shifted to other domestic concerns.
    The second question: Even if you fear that Paul would do the worst if elected, what prevents you and many other progressives from voting in the GOP primaries if there are no competitive races for progressives in the Democratic primaries? We have a once in a life time chance to destroy a political party which is exactly what will happened if Paul comes to the convention with a majority of the delegates and a plurality of the votes. I can think of nothing better for our body politic than libertarians and neo-cons at one another's throats with cultural conservatives caught in the middle. I think that is is insane for progressives without competitive Democratic primaries not to infiltrate the GOP primaries.
    Thanks for comments.

  4. Thanks for the reply.

    Sorry about my impatience, forgive me? A word about that:

    I found your site amongst (what I consider to be) far-right efforts to embrace the left - I suspected maybe your blog/post was more of the same.

    Specifically I arrived here via Rivero's Whatreallyhappened.com via Activist Post. WRH is far-right - scratch the surface and it's riddled with genuine Nazis and fascism (fascists support RP).

    Notably, far-right supporters of RP claim ALSO to be against cuts and in support of "the people" against "the powerful" and blah blah blah. Such supporters of RP are being dishonest, and cynical - no surprise considering they're actually fascists.

    And RP is playing his part - look how carefully he and his supporters avoid (or even distort) the fact that his policies will lead to cuts and attacks on benefits much more serious than anything seen even in Greece.

    RP even admitted recently that "the problem" was that, as in Greece, when austerity measures are implemented (such as he proposes) then people will riot.......

    Quite a shocking assessment of the implication of his own policies - but look how quiet everyone kept it?

    An RP election would be like YEAR ZERO. A terrifying prospect imo.

    Rather than garner support from the left (or progressives) RP can instead support the left where he sees fit. He can support us - not the other way around. What would RP ever concede to the left? NOTHING, I am sure. RP is poison.

    I mean, how RP is getting anywhere atm is astonishing considering his view about regulation: how crazy does one need be to imagine *less* regulation would have better avoided financial catastrophe?

  5. I'm not convinced sovereign debt is the issue most people assume it is. Greece is different, as it can't print money - Greece is like a US state, not the USA itself. Greece could go bankrupt, as could a US state....but the USA can't. It's only a book figure, really. An interesting and cogent take on this is available through MFF - Bill Mitchell.

    A good blog, interesting take - and totally opposed to RonPaul's thinking. It offera a much more positive view on deficits (and government), unsurprisingly, perhaps.



    "His [Ron Paul's] views (Austrian extremist) and those of the mainstream of my profession share common ground which is now the base upon which macroeconomic policy is being made. The common ground is:

    Persistent budget deficits will stifle growth because they push interest rates up and crowd out private enterprise.
    Persistent budget deficits and quantitative easing will lead to inflation with a risk of hyperinflation.
    Persistent budget deficits ultimately lead to government insolvency where debt holders are left stranded.
    They also raise issues of inefficient use of resources when deployed by the government and loss of incentive to private enterprise through taxes etc. which I will leave alone today.

    Complex issues, yet RP is super-dogmatic about it.....he's ideological. And committed to things which are highly questionable at best, terrifying at worst.

    --BTW, something that keeps playing in my mind is the amount of research and development that is driven by "defence" spending. I'd agree that infrastructure projects, NASA, whatever would be attractive ways to constructively drive demand....but RP doesn't. Quite where the R+D will come from under RP (after he guts the army?)is anyone's guess. The "private sector", he'd answer I suppose. But still - you can't change the system overnight and certainly not without serious dislocation and painful adjustment. RP just embraces it - nevermind that it actually consists of exactly the disaster everyone else wishes to avoid.

    It's perverse, isn't it? And mystical? To believe we have to go through some disaster/crisis/major readjustment so as to 'realign with natural forces' or some such? Seems it to me. It seems like they believe it's "cleansing" or something?

  6. this is good too


  7. lml,
    I am not patient myself so may forgiveness cover us both. I think you are right that should Ron Paul get his way completely, we drop into a terrible recession. Unfortunately, the president is talking 4 trillion in government cuts and "tax reform" (aka shifting the deductions around without limits and cutting rates at the top). Again, I think that he does not nominated or elected without making a deal with progressives. He has already offered up 50% of the savings from military spending to domestic safety net in exchange for a net cut in overall spending. He indicates that most of the needs to go into entitlements so that young people will eventually be able to opt out of the system. That wish is never going to come true so there has to be a back up plan. That backup plan can be negotiate with progressives if progressives get him nominated and elected. Let's just suppose that we agree to 700 billion military and corporate welfare cuts annually. Half of that would go to paying down debt, helping to keep interest rates low. The other half RP has promised to the social safety net. When it becomes apparent that he will not be able to get the opt out he wants, he can be persuaded to let the other 350 can go to the states for use as they see fit. Progressive states can use it for public option health care and/or green infrastructure. Whether you think this is politically viable or not, I am sure you would see this as preferable to major cuts in social security and and ongoing military spending.
    I would like to see all of the cuts going to building the healthy, peaceful green economy and progressive tax reform bringing in revenue to bring down the debt. However, that is not going to happen either. The president is not wrong to make compromises; however, he is being forced to compromise with neo-cons rather than libertarians. Nominating Ron Paul increases the likelihood that libertarians gain against neo cons in the Republican party, giving the President a better negotiating partner. Would you be willing to jump ship and vote for Ron Paul and libertarians in the GOP primary and then vote for the president and Democrats in the general election? If not, why not?

  8. No!

    Progressives should support progressives.

    Certainly not RonPaul.

    If RP has anything to offer, he can get onboard. Otherwise, he is merely a danger.

    How can anyone seriously suggest supporting things which are anti-thetical, so as to hope to gain the realisation of what one believes in?

  9. People think Bush was bad? RonPaul is worse - for progressives, at least.

    Bush ushered in tax-cuts.

    RP wants to abolish income tax.

    Seriously - look at the facts?

    So RP wants to cut military spending and legalise drugs? Big deal? Like that's teaching progressives anything?

    Only a fool could suggest you can cut defence by that much, and not have an army of opposition. Literally.

    I think one is being naive is one imagines the American people will accept such a cut in defence. Where's the evidence they *really* would accept it?

    Bush was *re-elected* just 7 years ago. Presumably there's some genuine support for a strong military.....like it or not. And they don't pour ALL of their money down the drain - they spend it. Stopping spending has consequences, not all "good", however you look at it.

    I don't get it - I don't see what progressives have to gain out of supporting RonPaul. How can that possibly be a reasonable strategy?

  10. I mean, how long have lefties and bleeding-heart liberals been calling for cuts in defence spending?

    Why do progressives need RP to make this argument?

    And look how lefties have been treated for making such arguments?

    They want to leave america 'undefended' - that's the charge, right?

    But we're suddenly supposed to support uber right-wing RonPaul because he's saying the same thing, but little else besides?

    Come off it?

    Better to support progressives arguing for a reduction in defence. Better to persuade Obama to adopt a position that any tax-cuts the Repubs want to impose come off the military.

    Likewise the debt ceiling. Better to have threatened defence spending than pensions and benefits.

    That's a failing of Obama and the DEMS, but no reason to support RonPaul. RonPaul can argue for the deficit to be cut by defence cuts, and we can thank him for that - nothing else.

  11. I will address your reservations next but right now i want to focus on my previous question. the question was not would you be willing to vote for Obama in the general election. The question is: if you have no realistically competitive races between a progressive and a blue dog in the Democratic primary down ballot, would you be willing to vote in the Republican primary for Ron Paul? To ask it another way: If President Obama loses the next election who would you rather he lose to a neocon like Romney, a cultural traditionalist like Bachmann or a libertarian like Paul? I cannot agree with you that George Bush is preferable to Ron Paul. It seems to me you are saying that we have to be content with the military industrial complex or that we can have guns and butter forever. The American people are war weary and they would much rather not be footing the bill for nations who could pay for their own defense.
    Yes i would much prefer to have a progressive in the white house than Ron Paul but this president has shown us that he is not a progressive or that he no longer thinks that progressive policy is politically viable and that we have no choice but to compromise in a rightward direction. Do you honestly think we can get a progressive congress next time around, one that includes 60 progressive Senators because unfortunately that is the only way that a progressive agenda gets done in full measure. I say it is better for us to make a deal with libertarians rather than neo cons. I wish we could get a progressive super majority but it has not happened in my lifetime.
    So again, what is the harm in voted for a man in the Republican primary whose nomination will do more than anything can possible imagine to destroy the GOP and then turn around and vote to re-elct Obama in the general election.

  12. C: this president has shown us that he is not a progressive or that he no longer thinks that progressive policy is politically viable and that we have no choice but to compromise in a rightward direction.

    And see how much heat he takes? From the right, I mean.

    So, he's correct to do, one could argue. No matter how much it might disappoint the left.

    But to imagine voting for RonPaul would improve things! How?

    If you're going to complain that Obama isn't progressive enough, how can RonPaul possibly pass muster?

    No, I really do think in many ways RP is a far greater danger to progressives than Bush ever was.

    Perhaps we can say Bushco wanted to exploit the state - to make it look after mostly "them" - but RP wants to smash it entirely. (other than to protect private property, of course.)

    And he wants a gold standard! This is crazy stuff.

    Abolish the FED, and.....allow every bank to be its own FED. Great.

    Allow competing currencies? ! What sort of a bonkers idea is that?


    Course - everyone is free to disagree. Do what you will, eh? ;) Don't let me spoil the party.

    But IMO RP is a poisonous danger to 'progressives'.

    If RonPaul were to be elected I'd fear fascism next. It would be a catastrophe. He's poison.

  13. No doubt Obama takes way to much heat from the far right who control the other party. I want to be sure I understand your answer: You're saying, No you would not vote for Ron Paul in the GOP primary even if there were no competitive races down ticket for progressives in your state's Democratic primary. This is because you think that if Obama were to lose it would be far better for him to lose to a Romney or a Bachman since they will not try to destroy the federal government but use it for their constituents' interests thus preserving the opportunity for a future Democratic president to use the federal government for her or his constituents' interests? Furthermore you would not vote for him in the primary because you think he might actually win the general election and be able to destroy the federal government and impose the gold standard? You are not trouble by the prospect that national debt is being used legitimately or not to make massive cuts in government spending and that should a Romney or a Bachmann be elected they will make those cuts come from domestic programs while increasing spending on military fetishes?

  14. To last_name_left: If you think Mike Rivero is a fascist then you are either clueless about fascism or clueless about Mike Rivero. Fascism and socialism are cousins. In fact Nazism is national SOCIALISM. That's literally what the word means. Moussolini correctly defined fascism as corporatism. In other words, governments getting involved with, owning and bailing out corporations. Obama's bailout of GM is classic fascism. And the bailouts have led to inflation. Have you checked gas prices lately? Have you checked food prices? Have you checked gold prices? The government hides inflation by taking "volatile" items out of the index. Guess what? Those "volatile" items are where the inflation is showing up. This isn't demand driven inflation. It's dollar devaluation driven inflation similar to what was happening in Germany before WW II. It's a type of "stagflation".

    As far as the correction Ron Paul talks about, it does need to happen. What happened instead is that the banksters got the money, gave themselves fat bonuses, and told the rest of America to go to hell. Foreclosures are happening just like they would have happened without the bailouts. The bailouts didn't protect everyday Americans. It would have been cheaper just to pay of everybody's mortgage. The toxic assets are still on the books. Fannie Mae is lining up TO GET ANOTHER BAILOUT! If the banks had to face reality they would be more willing to write off bad debts and collect what they could. Instead Time reported that banks are bulldozing perfectly good homes just to keep the prices artificially high. Is that how you help the poor?

  15. @ Liberty - what a lot of rubbish.

    "Moussolini correctly defined fascism as corporatism."

    Define your version of corporatism. And then give Mussolini's definition of corporatism. You'll see the difference.

    The modern American sense of corporatism is nothing like what Mussolini meant by the term.

    You're talking a lot of rot. And you don't even know it.