Obama’s Economic Plan

The economy is a disaster, but Obama is only proposing modest tweaks.

6 thoughts on “Obama’s Economic Plan

  1. Perhaps our newly minted slaves could work on Al Gore’s Tennessee carbon credit plantation.

    The ability to derive work from fossil fuels using devices like steam engines made chattel slavery uneconomical. That was the real reason for its abolition. Slavery will probably come back into vogue if we ever get serious about reducing fossil fuel use.

    Someone’s got to push that plow or pull that combine. Look at Brazil. The only reason its vaunted sugar cane ethanol program produces more btus than it consumes is because of the efforts of abused serfs who work the fields and landowners who pimp them for government subsidies.

  2. I note that NO legislation effectively dealing with climate change has been passed.

    Therefore, the obvious, ongoing descent into neo-feudalism is caused by something different.
    (There will be ample opportunity to expand on that later.)

    Fossil fuel supplies are not infinite. The attitude expressed above is that of a society that worships in the religion of “always consume more.” That society will arrive at the end of fossil fuel supplies WITHOUT having judiciously used the remainder of that supply to affect the transition to a direct solar energy system and the obvious change in the life of the society. At that point the real slavery begins for the masses to supply the few (those with guns and troops) all the things they want.

    A population laboring to grow its own food gets 1) non-toxic food 2) good exercise 3) better diet
    4) liberation from the multitude of bad effects of factory farming, starting with a $20 billion a year savings on farm subsidies to elimination of use of food for political manipulation. Better we get used to it now because it’s inevitable. The question is: will it be done freely or at the point of a gun.

    The grave idiocy we face was summed up perfectly by pappy Bush: “the American way of life in non-negotiable.” Certainly … right up to the point it collapses under its own non-sustainable, narcissistic weight.

  3. Slavery has always been in vogue. Right now, there are more in slaves on earth than in any time in history. There is still even agricultural slavery in the US. A few years ago a farming operation in Florida was prosecuted for actually locking up its unpaid migrant workforce. And even much of the technically “legal” farm work is so grueling and low-paid that the word “slavery” isn’t inaccurate.

    Also, Billy Mac’s statement that “devices like steam engines made chattel slavery uneconomical” is just wrong. Fossil Fuel driven machines replaced work animals, not human workers. They haven’t yet invented a machine that can pick fruit cheaper than a slave.

  4. Ted seems to have left out the most significant «stimulus» elements of all – an incredibly bloated military budget and interminable wars of aggression ’round the globe, to a tune of over one million million (10^12) USD annually, and a prison population several times higher, per capita, than that anywhere else on the planet, which, as Nouriel Roubini pointed out in a recent video interview with the Wall Street Journal, reduces unemployment figures in the US be about 3 percentage points. But then again, Ted may have chosen not to remark upon them bacuse these «stimuli» are nothing new, and Mr Obama can only take credit for not curtailing them, which many of those who voted for him in 2008 thought that he had committed himself to doing….

    Henri

  5. Quoth Grouchy:

    Right now, there are more in slaves on earth than in any time in history.

    Data, please? Not even in the Middle East and Northern Africa, where it was still legal a generation ago is it much in vogue and out in the daylight. And let’s stick to the technical term, because if we’re entitled to poetic license for stuff we don’t approve of, income taxes directly deducted from your salary and mandatory military enlisting would make your truly and all his countrymen “slaves.”

    They haven’t yet invented a machine that can pick fruit cheaper than a slave.

    I don’t know about. Even down here in backwards South America they have invented machines that can help a paid laborer pick fruit (coffee berries, specifically) faster than hand-picking. Best of all (or worse, from your POV) the workers are buying them and increasing their income (by increasing their productivity, as Economics would have it).

  6. As Ted would say: Do your own research. I stand by my statement. In absolute numbers, there is currently more “real” slavery than ever–even if its only a very small portion of the total population.

    Here in the U.S. they use migrant workers (not “real” slaves*) on their hands and knees to pick things like tomatoes. They pay these workers as little as legally possible. Those who think they can get away with it pay them less. I have directly observed these operations and have colleagues who advocate for improving their conditions. Needless to say, this advocacy is extremely difficult.

    There is absolutely no reason to believe that any mechanical innovation would increase farm worker’s salary in the U.S. It might increase a business owner’s profit, but these gains would not be shared by those sweating in the sun.

    *As Brando’s character in Pontecorvo film BURN! explains to the landowners, chattel slavery is more expensive than wage-slavery because you have to tend the health and well-being of a owned slave. A wage-slave is disposable, and thus cheaper.

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