Team Jeb claims Dubya ‘inherited’ 9/11 and recession

The Republicans' Magic Calendar.

Stung by Donald Trump’s self-evident truth that history did not begin on September 12, 2001 and end at noon on January 20, 2009, Jeb Bush asked, “Does anybody actually blame my brother for 9/11?” As it turns out, this is hardly the first time the former Florida governor complained about the unkindness the calendar has shown his brother. In August 2012, Jeb declared it was “unbecoming” for Barack Obama to continue to “blame others” for the economic calamity he inherited from George W., and went so far as to suggest the president should be “spanked” for pointing the finger at his brother. And in April 2009—just weeks after Obama entered the Oval Office in the midst of the greatest American economic calamity since the Great Depression—Jeb protested:

“If I had one humble criticism of President Obama, it would be to stop this notion of somehow framing

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The examination of labor in cinema

The 16 year old widow and five month old daughter of a murdered striking worker in ‘Harlan County, USA’

Barbara Kopple’s 1976 film Harlan County, USA is widely regarded as one of the finest documentaries ever made, and a definitive depiction of the issues surrounding a labor dispute. Kopple originally intended the film to be focused on the 1969 United Mine Workers Of America election between William Anthony “Tony” Boyle and Joseph “Jock” Yablonski, which ultimately ended in stuffed ballot boxes and the assassination of a family. That event is touched on in the film, but Harlan County, USA instead focuses on how the larger issues of economic fairness affect the lives of people in Harlan County, Kentucky. In the early 1970’s, workers at Harlan’s Brookside Mine went out on strike against Duke Power demanding safer conditions and fairer wages for people who were living in company provided homes that

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Cartoon: The Glox market

If you missed the Kickstarter for my hardcover, two-volume compilation, 25 Year of Tomorrow, good news—you can still pre-order a set!

Cartoon: The stock market, explained

Dow Jones cuts early Monday loss of nearly 1,100 points as markets take deep plunge worldwide

Stock Market noon Aug. 24

This was how the Dow Jones average looked at noon ET.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 1,100 points on the opening Monday to 15370.33. It was the worst intraday loss ever. It had taken back more than 700 of those points later in the morning and has recently been trading around 16,250. The market remains volatile, however.
In mid-May, at its all-time peak, the Dow closed at 18,312.39. On Friday, Aug. 21, the Dow lost 531 points, putting it 10 percent below the peak, making it a market correction. In the view of most, but not all, analysts this plunge marks the end of one of the longest U.S. bull markets in history. The market passed the 18,000 mark in February and, until two months ago, only a handful of “bears” were naysaying the possibility of its soon reaching 19,000.

A key element of the

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Health insurers’ stocks, CEOs feeling good about Obamacare

For months, Republicans and their amen corner have been warning “Obamacare will destroy the private-insurance market” in order to “make a single-payer, i.e. socialized medicine, system inevitable.” Apparently, the conservative prophets of doom forgot to tell the nation’s major health insurance companies. As it turns out, even as Republicans decry the Affordable Care Act’s mythical bailout of the carriers, the insurers’ CEOs and shareholders are very happy with Obamacare’s prognosis for their firms.

As Sarah Kliff recently explained, “Health insurers arguably have the biggest financial stake in the exchanges’ success.” But as the executives running America’s large health insurers look at current enrollment numbers, the demographic mix of their new customers, and their future prospects for individual, business and Medicare Advantage product lines, they are comfortable with what they see.

On Wednesday, Aetna chief executive Mark Bertolini told the audience at the J.P. Morgan Health Care Conference:

“Given the general demographics that CMS released yesterday, I’m not alarmed. They’re better than I thought they would have been.”

Please read below the fold for insider responses on Obamacare.

Making Twitter profitable


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Economics Daily Digest: Why the internet moves at the speed of indifference

Economics Daily Digest by the Roosevelt Institute banner

By Tim Price, originally published on Next New Deal

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via e-mail.

Telecom’s Big Players Hold Back the Future (NYT)

David Carr profiles Roosevelt Institute Fellow Susan Crawford and explores her crusade against the telecom monopolies that offer high fees instead of high speeds. Every time you wait for a video to buffer, you’re experiencing the magic of the market at work.

Sheila Bair: Dodd-Frank really did end taxpayer bailouts (WaPo)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal talks to the former director of the FDIC about why skeptics are wrong to doubt the agency’s commitment to winding down failed banks and why it’s important to raise leverage requirements so it doesn’t have to prove it.

Obama Urged to Make Economy a Bigger, Bolder Topic (AP)

Jim Kuhnhenn reports that with the CBO projecting a lower deficit and the GOP scrounging for scandals in the couch cushions, Obama advisers and critics are asking the president to change the conversation by laying out a real second-term economic agenda.

The 1 Percent Are Only Half the Problem (NYT)

Timothy Noah argues that while runaway wealth at the top contributes to rising inequality in the U.S., there’s also the growing educational divide and resulting skills-based gap. But if the left and right discuss both problems, they risk an agreement breaking out.

Boom or Bubble? (New Yorker)

James Surowiecki has good news (1) and bad news (2) for analysts who think stock prices are overinflated because GDP isn’t keeping up with corporate profits: (1) corporate profits are only barely connected to the real American economy these days, and (2) see (1).

Global Capital and the Nation State (Robert Reich)

Reich notes that big corporations are hiding their money from tax collectors while extorting sweetheart deals from national and local governments, but right-wing nationalist parties are convincing more and more voters that cooperation is the new exploitation.

Food Stamps Get Licked by Cuts (Prospect)

Monica Potts writes that the House and Senate farm bills would make food stamp funding less generous and kick millions off the rolls even as more Americans are going hungry. In other words, let them eat cake, just as long as they’re paying for it out of pocket.

This Week in Poverty: Fighting Poverty Through Wall Street Accountability (The Nation)

Organizer and activist Stephen Lerner tells Greg Kaufmann that one of the challenges in fighting poverty is that there are so many different root causes, but one advantage of focusing on Wall Street is that behind most of these big problems there’s a big bank.

George W. Bush’s magic calendar returns

In the run-up to Thursday’s celebration at the George W. Bush Presidential Library, America’s 43rd president declared that “history will ultimately judge” his tenure in the White House. And that is precisely the problem for the custodians of Bush’s legacy. After all, the slaughter of 3,000 people on 9/11, the catastrophic and unnecessary war in Iraq, illicit domestic surveillance and illegal detainee torture, the worst eight-year economic performance since Herbert Hoover, a near-doubling of the national debt (thanks in large part to tax cuts that will continue to drain the U.S. Treasury for years to come), the implosion of Wall Street and the disastrously bungled response to Hurricane Katrina all occurred on George W. Bush’s watch.

Unless, that is, you don’t just rewrite history but redefine time itself. According to the Republicans’ Magic Calendar, George W. Bush somehow “kept us safe” despite the carnage on Sept. 11, 2001. Miraculously, it was President Bush who killed Osama Bin Laden, despite his opposition to the very kind of raid ordered by Barack Obama two years after Dubya left office. As for W’s dismal economic record, his fabulists complain, Bush is wrongly getting a bad rap for recessions which should instead be blamed on Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

As you’ll see below, creating the magical Bush timeline has been a team effort.

Midday open thread

Jackie Robinson, No. 42

A far less stereotypical hero than Hollywood myths admit.
  • Proving that everything is working as intended for the 1%, the stock market continues to boom while consumer finances continue to deteriorate, with retail sales falling to the lowest level in 9 months in March.
  • Up to 200,000 homeowners still trying to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy will get a little bit of a helping hand from the government. This week, HUD announced its decision to extend its Hurricane Sandy forbearance program beyond its scheduled April 30 expiration, allowing continued mortgage payment relief on FHA backed mortgages for affected homeowners still struggling to rebuild.
  • In what appears to be an effort to avoid the otherwise-inevitable pissing match with the state’s Attorney General, the City Council in Bisbee, Arizona has agreed to delay implementation of its history-making ordinance establishing civil unions and revise it in an effort to address concerns not only raised by the Attorney General about pre-emption by Arizona state law, but by “social conservatives” as well. Because nobody can dispute the God-given right of Arizona “social conservatives” to have a say in how community property, inheritance, guardianship and “disposition of remains” following death is handled by gay families they are not a part of.
  • With the Administration’s support for funding more law enforcement (aka “school resource”) officers in schools as a way to reduce the possibility of another Sandy Hook, one has to be at least a little curious about what the track record of law enforcement presence in schools has actually been. Suffice it to say, its primary impact has been to expand the cradle-to-prison pipeline, with Black, Latino and disabled students bearing the brunt nationwide by the hundreds of thousands. Who could have guessed?
  • Just when you think anti-Semitism could not take yet another turn the worse, it does—this time under the watchful tutelage of a teacher (who has not been identified, except as a “veteran”) who assigned students the task of making a “persuasive case” that Jews were to blame for Nazi Germany. What else can we expect in a world where slavery is seen as a legitimate device to teach arithmetic?
  • This week saw the premiere of 42, a biopic that seeks to tell the story of the legendary Jackie Robinson, who will always be honored for breaking the color barrier in major league baseball. As a testament to his legacy and bravery, Major League Baseball retired his number, “42”, for all teams in 1997 (and it remains the only number universally retired). The bad news is that, like most Hollywood narratives addressing racism and America’s racist past, the movie appears to once again tell a story of a stoic Black person who stares down oppression and bigotry with the patience of Job and nary a moment of public anger or self-defense, becoming beloved by whites all over as a result of his willingness to emulate Jesus Christ instead of a normal human being in his response. The movie spends precious little time chronicling the actual feelings of the stoic Black hero himself and what he learned about America, and America’s racism, from his experience. Fortunately, Robinson made sure he told his own story about his own feelings, in his autobiography, I Never Had it Made. Highly recommended.
  • Rest in Peace, Annette Funicello and Jonathan Winters. You may have been totally middle-America entertainment, but were still part of many people’s day to day sunshine.

Open thread for night owls: Stock market vs. labor market

Night Owls

Derek Thompson talks about the job situation and includes a chart that we’ve all seen one or another version of for quite some time in The Economic Story of the Year: The Stock Market vs. the Labor Market:

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 and the Dow closed at nominal all-time highs. Three days later, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the economy added a shockingly low 88,000 jobs in March. How bad is 88K? Well, put it this way, we’re theoretically in the midst of an accelerating recovery, and 88K new jobs per month won’t get us back to full employment for another 20 years, or more.
I suspect that this will be one of the defining national stories of 2013, and beyond: The big, sustained, and accelerating gap between the working opportunities of most Americans and the profits produced at the top.

You could argue that this is a new, and transitory, story. You could say I picked two headlines from the past four days (I did). You could say that firms rushed to technology and efficiency to replace workers in an exceptional, and slowly normalizing, crisis (they did). You could say that the balance between labor and capital might naturally come back to normal as rising Asian wages send more work back into the U.S. (they might).

corporate profits v. labor v. GDP

But when you draw back the lens, you see that this week’s stock market/labor market schism isn’t a new story, at all. Here’s the 40-year look at the growth of corporate profits vs. GDP vs. income that goes to workers, rich and poor. I mean, holy wow.

Why are corporations on such a tear? The first clue is that a significant share of these profits have always come from two sectors, as Jordan Weissmann has reported: Manufacturing and Finance. Together, they account for more than 50 percent of domestic corporate profits. But they employ just 13 percent of the workforce. […]

That’s part of the story. But this chart offers a nasty coda:

Chart on median household income


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2011Ryan budget ignores CBO, reality, says health care repeal will reduce deficit:

The non-partisan, number crunching CBO has long since become a major nuisance for the GOP, since many of its conclusions about the realities of the budget run counter to GOP budget truthiness. That’s the case again in the so-called “Path to Prosperity,” Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to weed the nation of the elderly, the sick, and the disabled so the rich people can get even more stuff.

In the case of this budget proposal, Ryan conveniently ignores the fact that the CBO says repealing the Affordable Care Act won’t reduce the deficit.


Tweet of the Day:

Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University: Where you can’t watch an R-rated movie, but you can bring a loaded gun to class http://t.co/…
@estherbreger via TweetDeck


On today’s Kagro in the Morning show, Everything on the show today has a Greg Dworkin component to it. First, an extended version of his regular segment, featuring Monte Frank of Team 26, for a recap of their Newtown-to-DC ride, an update on their activities & word on what’s next. Then, the story of the surprising phone call Greg got from Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist David Cay Johnston, regarding my reading of his article, “What The NRA’s ‘School Shield’ Would Cost.” While I finished up the article, Armando called in to go to bat for Johnston & pitch an effort to get him on the show.


High Impact Posts. Top Comments.

Dow Jones industrial average


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Dow soars, none for poors

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Economics Daily Digest: Dow or don’t

Economics Daily Digest by the Roosevelt Institute banner

By Tim Price, originally published on Next New Deal

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

Why There’s a Bull Market for Stocks and Bear Market for Workers (Robert Reich)

Reich notes that while giddy market analysts treated yesterday’s Dow gains as a sign that happy days are here again, an economy’s health is measured by the well-being of its flesh-and-blood people, not the corporate pod-people who are currently rolling in money.

The GOP Budget Divide: Don’t Know vs. Don’t Care (NY Mag)

Jonathan Chait writes that Republicans have decided to either pretend they don’t know what President Obama is offering or deliberately avoid finding out, since exposure to heavy doses of reality has been proven to have harmful side-effects for their arguments. 

Paul Ryan Ups the Ante (TNR)

Jonathan Cohn writes that Ryan’s plans to further gouge spending with once off-limits Medicare cuts show the GOP’s not looking for a middle ground. There’s where we are now and a point way off on the right that will one day be considered a leftist compromise.

Fear and the New Deal (Prospect)

Scott Lemieux writes that Ira Katznelson’s Fear Itself, an account of how Southern Democrats shaped the New Deal, serves as a reminder of the political constraints that even FDR had to face, not a “gotcha” that proves the last 70 years of progress didn’t count.

It’s time to tax financial transactions (WaPo)

Katrina vanden Heuvel argues that instead of slashing basic government services through sequestration, we could be raising billions by taxing Wall Street’s excess. If they even notice the money missing, they’ll probably just assume they should be hushing it up.

To serve and protect… banks? (Salon)

David Dayen notes that there’s clear evidence that banks have repeatedly broken the law by foreclosing on active duty service members serving overseas, but despite the criminal penalties in place, jail cells remain as empty as the service members’ former homes.

He Who Makes the Rules (Washington Monthly)

Haley Sweetland Edwards looks at how the implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law has become less of an exercise in rule-making and more of an elaborate brain-teaser for industry lawyers hired to make words mean the opposite of what they say.

GOP Senator Suggests New Way for Republicans to Gum Up Wall Street Reform (Think Progress)

Travis Waldron notes that Richard Shelby, a top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, wants to submit all new financial regulations to a cost-benefit analysis. You know, just on the off-chance that any of them cost more than the $22 trillion financial crisis.

Tim Price is Deputy Editor of Next New Deal. Follow him on Twitter @txprice.