Dickens redux

I drive past an old red VW bus parked on the edge of a shopping center parking lot. The side door, facing towards the street is open and a mother watches over her children, across the street from a local market. I pull into the market’s parking lot and as I get out of my truck, I notice directly ahead of me a four-door sedan whose paint job has seen better days; the driver’s door is ajar and inside, a young woman focuses intently on her smartphone (a rare luxury even the poor can afford these days). I pick up a few items and get back in my truck to head home. Back on the main drag through Santa Rosa, I drive past a strip mall with three empty storefronts; two are advertised for lease with a large sign on the building.

I bank at a credit union in Rohnert Park, the next town south along Highway 101. The branch is in what appears to be a nearly empty shopping center. The anchor, Pacific Market, closed its store shortly after the town approved a Wal-Mart expansion. The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports that there are eight empty storefronts in the plaza;[1] but it looks like there are many more. I asked my branch manager how long they were going to stick it out at this location; he didn’t actually answer my question except with a display of discomfort, but he went on to note that the property management company seemed in no particular hurry to fill the space, an attitude which reminds me of the banks sitting on a “shadow inventory” of millions of foreclosed homes, waiting like vultures for prices to make even the smallest move upward.[2]

The banks might be sitting pretty, but in Sebastopol to the west, more and more, I see parents with their children, holding cardboard signs, asking for help. Sebastopol is a relatively well-off town where liberals can easily afford to be patient with President Barack Obama’s excuses, but even here, people are feeling profoundly betrayed.

I’ve been reading an awful lot about the federal debt limit deal, in which Obama first insisted on a “clean” increase with no strings attached to enable the U.S. to continue to pay its bills, then on modest revenue increases to go along with spending cuts—including to Social Security and Medicare, and finally simply capitulated to the Republicans.[3] Notorious Keynesian and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman has pointed out that austerity may actually end up increasing the deficit,[4] which he attributes principally to the economic downturn caused by the same folks whose tax cuts the GOP insists on preserving,[5] and who now refuse to invest vast amounts of cash they are squandering in order to get the economy moving again.[6] But Krugman also notes “that even Republicans weren’t suggesting cuts to Social Security; this is something Mr. Obama and those he listens to apparently want for its own sake.”[7]

Voters used words such as “disgusting” and “ridiculous” in summarizing their view of the debt fight, according to one poll released this week. And that unhappiness comes as Obama faces fresh signs that the economic recovery is stalled.[8]

As if to show he gets the message, Obama said after signing the bill increasing the debt limit, a bill that puts Social Security and Medicare at risk, “While Washington has been absorbed in this debate, people across the country are asking what we can do to help the father looking for work.”[9] Please. First, it is far from only men, let alone fathers, who are looking for work.[10] Second, he has said so many times that sky-high unemployment is a priority—but done absolutely nothing about it—that it is hard to imagine how he can say it with a straight face:

May 8, 2009: Such hard-working Americans are why I ran for President. They’re the reason we’ve been working swiftly and aggressively across all fronts to turn this economy around; to jumpstart spending and hiring and create jobs where we can with steps like the Recovery Act. Because of this plan, cops are still on the beat and teachers are still in the classroom; shovels are breaking ground and cranes dot the sky; and new life has been breathed into private companies like Sharon Arnold’s. And already, 95 percent of working Americans are seeing a tax cut that we promised would show up in their paychecks.

We’re moving forward because now is not the time for small plans. It’s not a time to pause or to be passive or to wait around for our problems to somehow fix themselves. Now is the time to put a new foundation for growth in place — to rebuild our economy, to retrain our workforce, and re-equip the American people. And now is the time to change unemployment from a period of “wait and see” to a chance for our workers to train and seek the next opportunity — so when that new and better day does come around, our people, our industry, and our entire country are ready to make the most of it.[11]

December 3, 2009: We knew from the outset of this recession, particularly a recession of this severity and a recession that is spurred on by financial crisis rather than as a consequence of the business cycle, that it would take time for job growth to catch up with economic growth. We all understood that. That’s always been the case with recessions. But we cannot hang back and hope for the best when we’ve seen the kinds of job losses that we’ve seen over the last year. I am not interested in taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to creating jobs.[12]

December 4, 2009: And that’s something that we’re going to have to really work on. Now, it’s typical that it takes time for job growth to catch up with economic growth. And it’s typical that it takes a little more time to come out of a recession when it comes to hiring. But Americans who’ve been desperately looking for work for months — some of them maybe for a year or longer — they can’t wait. And we won’t wait. We need to do everything we can, right now, to get our businesses hiring again so that our friends and our neighbors can go back to work.[13]

February 19, 2010: That’s why I’m not going to rest. That’s not — why we’re not done. That’s why Harry Reid isn’t going to rest until all of America is working again, until the dream of home ownership is secure once again, and until our economy is benefiting not just Wall Street but benefiting hardworking Nevada families, benefiting the middle class, benefiting Americans all across this great country of ours. That’s what we are aiming to do.[14]

March 2, 2010: And when it comes to domestic policy, I have no more important a job as President than seeing to it that every American who wants to work and is able to work can find a job — and a job that pays a living wage. (Applause.) That was my focus last year and that is my focus this year: to lay a foundation for economic growth that will create jobs, that raises incomes, that will foster a secure economic future for middle class families.[15]

July 2, 2010: So we’re investing in our people and we’re investing in their future. We’re competing aggressively to make sure that jobs and industries and the markets of tomorrow take root right here in the United States. We’re moving forward. And to every American who is looking for work, I promise you we are going to keep on doing everything that we can — I will do everything in my power to help our economy create jobs and opportunity for all people.[16]

September 3, 2010: Now, that’s positive news, and it reflects the steps we’ve already taken to break the back of this recession. But it’s not nearly good enough. That’s why we need to take further steps to create jobs and keep the economy growing, including extending tax cuts for the middle class and investing in the areas of our economy where the potential for job growth is greatest. In the weeks ahead, I’ll be discussing some of these ideas in more detail.[17]

September 15, 2010: So we don’t have time for any more games. I understand there’s an election coming up. But the American people didn’t send us here to just think about our jobs; they sent us here to think about theirs. They sent us here to think about their lives and their children’s lives, and to be responsible, and to be serious about the challenges we face as a nation.[18]

October 8, 2010: At the same time, we have to keep doing everything we can to accelerate this recovery. Yes, the trend line in private sector job growth is moving in the right direction. But I’m not interested in trends or figures as much as I am interested in the people behind them — the millions of honest, hardworking Americans swept up in the most devastating recession of our lifetimes. As I’ve said before, the only piece of economic news that folks still looking for work want to hear is, “you’re hired.” And everything we do is dedicated to make that happen.[19]

November 5, 2010: Because the fact is an encouraging jobs report doesn’t make a difference if you’re still one of the millions of people who are looking for work. And I won’t be satisfied until everybody who is looking for a job can find one. So we’ve got to keep fighting for every job, for every new business, for every opportunity to get this economy moving. And just as we passed a small business jobs bill based on ideas from both parties and the private sector, I am open to any idea, any proposal, any way we can get the economy growing faster so that people who need work can find it faster.[20]

January 7, 2011:It’s the idea that if you’ve got a dream and you’re willing to work hard, then you can succeed.

That promise is at the heart of who we are as a people, and it’s at the heart of our economic might. It’s what helps give an entrepreneur the courage to start a business, or a company the confidence to expand. It’s what leads to new products and new ideas, and technologies that have not only made us the world’s largest economy, but also the most innovative economy in the world. Making it possible for businesses to succeed is how we ensure that our economy succeeds and all our people succeed. It’s how we create jobs.[21]

June 13, 2011: But I’m still not satisfied. I will not be satisfied until everyone who wants a good job that offers some security has a good job that offers security. (Applause.) I won’t be satisfied until the empty storefronts in town are open for business again. I won’t be satisfied until working families feel like they’re moving forward again, that they’re progressing again. That’s what drives me every day when I walk down to the Oval Office — you, your families, your jobs, your dreams, and everything it takes to reach those dreams.[22]

July 8, 2011: And that means getting back to a place where businesses consistently grow and are hiring, where new jobs and new opportunity are within reach, where middle-class families once again know the security and peace of mind they’ve felt slipping away for years now. And today’s job report confirms what most Americans already know: We still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do to give people the security and opportunity that they deserve.

We’ve added more than 2 million new private sector jobs over the past 16 months, but the recession cost us more than 8 million. And that means that we still have a big hole to fill. Each new job that was created last month is good news for the people who are back at work, and for the families that they take care of, and for the communities that they’re a part of. But our economy as a whole just isn’t producing nearly enough jobs for everybody who’s looking.[23]

Those passages are all from Obama’s speeches found in the first four pages of Google search results on the White House web site. It’s not hard to see a pattern. Obama talks. He talks a lot. And his administration says even more:

For two years the White House has been determinedly cheerful, always declaring that the recovery was on track, that its policies were working fine. And all it did was squander its credibility. Maybe admitting the truth, saying that in fact we hadn’t done nearly enough, would not have helped get useful legislation through Congress. But at least it would have conveyed the message that the WH was living in the same reality as ordinary workers.[24]

But what Obama actually does is only even more clear in retrospect from this particularly heartless message on November 12, 2009, a message I have repeatedly criticized him for, in which he repudiates the logic of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal:

We all know that there are limits to what government can and should do, even during such difficult times. But we have an obligation to consider every additional, responsible step that we can [take] to encourage and accelerate job creation in this country. And that’s why, in December, we’ll be holding a forum at the White House on jobs and economic growth. We’ll gather CEOs and small business owners, economists and financial experts, as well as representatives from labor unions and nonprofit groups, to talk about how we can work together to create jobs and get this economy moving again.

It’s important that we don’t make any ill-considered decisions — even with the best intentions — particularly at a time when our resources are so limited. But it’s just as important that we are open to any demonstrably good idea to supplement the steps we’ve already taken to put America back to work. That’s what this forum is about.[25]

While Obama places his faith in yet another deficit reduction committee,[26] we are, disregarding various Bureau of Labor Statistics manipulations, still some 31 million jobs in the hole.[27] And as Robert Reich put it,

If consumers can’t and won’t buy, and employers won’t hire without customers, the spender of last resort must be government. We’ve understood this since government spending on World War II catapulted America out of the Great Depression — reversing the most vicious of vicious cycles. We’ve understood it in every economic downturn since then.

Until now.[28]

But, Reich continues, Washington politicians focus instead on the budget deficit. And by insisting on cutting spending, as most economists agree,[29] we’re just making a bad situation worse.

“It would be wonderful if [the debt ceiling agreement] being resolved had the economy take off like a rocket. But I don’t think that’ll be the case,” said Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers, the firm that compiles the closely-watched ADP monthly employment index.

He said while the continuation of a payroll tax holiday or some other kind of fiscal stimulus could help the job market, the debate over the debt ceiling demonstrates Congress is in no mood to take any kind of action to spur growth or hiring.[30]

John Mauldin, who agrees with Krugman on just about nothing, wrote last month, “We need 3-3.5% GDP growth in the US to really make a dent in jobs. We are not going to get it.” Mauldin, who argues that even if the Obama administration is right that the stimulus created 3 million jobs, that they cost $266,000 each, was certainly right about GDP.[31] The Daily Kos put it this way[32]:

The nation’s gross domestic product expanded at a pitiful seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.3 percent in the second quarter that ended June 30, the Department of Commerce reported today. This was a good deal worse than most experts had predicted for the period. In addition, first-quarter growth was revised from 1.9 percent to 0.4 percent, All in all, very bad news. Many analysts are saying the second half of the year will be better. But there’s been little reason so far to be optimistic about that. Various July reports, including the Federal Reserve Board’s Beige Book released this week, have indicated that already-slow growth is slowing still more in most regions.

In addition, the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis revised its GDP assessment for the past eight years. Results: The recession was worse than previously thought and the “recovery” has been considerably weaker. In 2009, the economy shrank by 3.5 percent instead of the 2.5 percent that was earlier estimated.

In today’s “advance” report, which will be revised over the next two months as additional data become available, consumer spending rose by an annualized rate of 0.1 percent. That was the worst showing in two years. In the first quarter, spending was up 2.1%. Durable goods decreased 4.4 percent, compared with a first-quarter increase of 11.7 percent. Nondurable goods increased 0.1 percent, compared with an increase of 1.6 percent and services increased 0.8 percent, the same as in the first quarter.

“All the data we got for June thus far suggest that as we entered the third quarter, we did not gain any momentum setting up for a good third quarter,” said Christopher Probyn, chief economist at State Street Global Advisors in Boston.

“We are not starting the third quarter on a positive note,” said Probyn, speaking before the GDP report was released.

The New York Times‘ conservative op-ed columnist Ross Douthat is not one to praise Obama in the best of circumstances. But he and Paul Krugman share a remarkably similar diagnosis. Matt Taibbi makes the comparison[33]:

It has been extremely interesting in the last weeks to see observers on both sides of the aisle make this point. Just yesterday, the inimitable New York Times conservative Ross Douthat listed Obama's not-so-secret rightward push as a the first in a list of reasons why the Republicans should dig in even more, instead of making a sensible deal:

Barack Obama wants a right-leaning deficit deal. For months, liberals have expressed frustration with the president’s deficit strategy. The White House made no effort to tie a debt ceiling vote to the extension of the Bush tax cuts last December. It pre-emptively conceded that any increase in the ceiling should be accompanied by spending cuts. And every time Republicans dug in their heels, the administration gave ground.

The not-so-secret secret is that the White House has given ground on purpose. Just as Republicans want to use the debt ceiling to make the president live with bigger spending cuts than he would otherwise support, Obama’s political team wants to use the leverage provided by those cra-a-a-zy Tea Partiers to make Democrats live with bigger spending cuts than they normally would support.

Douthat makes this observation, then argues that the Republicans should recognize Obama's hidden motive and hold out for an even better deal. It will then be a race to see which party can abandon employment in favor of deficit reduction faster. He writes:

Why? Because the more conservative-seeming the final deal, the better for the president’s re-election effort. In that environment, Republicans have every incentive to push and keep pushing. Since any deal they cut will be used as an election-year prop in 2012, they need to make sure the president actually earns his budget-cutting bona fides.

This is interesting because just last week, the liberal opposite of Douthat at the Times, Paul Krugman, came to the same conclusion:

It’s getting harder and harder to trust Mr. Obama’s motives in the budget fight, given the way his economic rhetoric has veered to the right. In fact, if all you did was listen to his speeches, you might conclude that he basically shares the G.O.P.’s diagnosis of what ails our economy and what should be done to fix it. And maybe that’s not a false impression; maybe it’s the simple truth.

One striking example of this rightward shift came in last weekend’s presidential address, in which Mr. Obama had this to say about the economics of the budget: “Government has to start living within its means, just like families do. We have to cut the spending we can’t afford so we can put the economy on sounder footing, and give our businesses the confidence they need to grow and create jobs.”

Not only is Obama not a progressive, but it is increasingly apparent that for all his words about wanting to put people back to work, he’s right in there with the stick-it-to-the-poor and kick-’em-while-they’re-down crowd. And as for campaign promises of “hope” and “change,” Obama consistently exceeds the wildest fantasies of the GOP’s wettest dreams, as he widens and multiplies the military crusades,[34] embraces and extends the Bush administration’s putative “anti-terrorism” policies,[35] refuses to prosecute those who created the financial meltdown,[36] leaves the unemployed to twist in the wind,[37] and now puts Social Security and Medicare at risk.[38]

It will be hard for mainstream pundits to avoid a conclusion that we are far beyond politics as “the art of the possible,” that the debt deal at least demonstrates dysfunction in Washington.[39] Ordinary citizens will doubtless notice that politicians pursuing a radical right wing agenda—and that includes Democrats—carried on heedless of their wishes that social programs they expect to rely upon in their old age should be protected.[40]

And meanwhile, I am witness to a Dickensian horror of families begging for alms in the supposedly richest country in the world that leaves me wondering what it is we’re fighting so many wars ostensibly to protect,[41] and why it is so damned important to preserve a fiction of union to keep such a terribly cruel country together.[42]

  1. [1]Nathan Halverson, “Pacific Market closes in Rohnert Park,” Santa Rosa Press Democrat, February 21, 2011, http://yourtown.pressdemocrat.com/2011/02/rohnert-park/pacific-market-closes-in-rohnert-park/
  2. [2]Carla Fried, “Why the Housing Market is Three Times Worse Than You Think,” CBS MoneyWatch, March 31, 2011, http://moneywatch.bnet.com/economic-news/blog/daily-money/why-the-housing-market-is-three-times-worse-than-you-think/2382/; Jacob Gaffney, “Banks grip on prime shadow inventory growing: Morgan Stanley,” Housing Wire, January 28, 2011, http://www.housingwire.com/2011/01/28/banks-grip-on-prime-shadow-inventory-growing-morgan-stanley; Scott Van Voorhis, “Huge shadow inventory fueling home price fears,” Boston Globe, January 21, 2010, http://www.boston.com/realestate/news/blogs/renow/2010/01/huge_shadow_inv.html
  3. [3]David Espo, “House Debt Limit Vote: Republicans Vote Against Raising Debt Ceiling,” Huffington Post, May 31, 2011, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/31/house-debt-ceiling-vote-budget-cuts_n_869395.html; Lori Montgomery, “In debt talks, Obama offers Social Security cuts,” Washington Post, July 6, 2011, http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/in-debt-talks-obama-offers-social-security-cuts/2011/07/06/gIQA2sFO1H_story.html; Peter Wallsten and David Nakamura, “Did Obama capitulate — or is this a cagey move?” Washington Post, July 31, 2011, http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/did-obama-capitulate–or-is-this-a-cagey-move/2011/07/31/gIQAhJXGmI_story.html?wprss=rss_politics
  4. [4]Paul Krugman, “Self-defeating Austerity,” New York Times, July 7, 2010, http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/07/self-defeating-austerity/
  5. [5]Paul Krugman, “AIG,” New York Times, March 20, 2009, http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/20/aig/; Paul Krugman, “Deficits: the causes matter,” New York Times, November 27, 2009, http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/27/deficits-the-causes-matter/; Paul Krugman, “The Angry Rich,” New York Times, September 19, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/20/opinion/20krugman.html; Paul Krugman, “The Unwisdom of Elites,” New York Times, May 8, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/09/opinion/09krugman.html
  6. [6]Justin LaHart, “Companies Cling to Cash,” Wall Street Journal, December 10, 2010, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703766704576009501161973480-search.html
  7. [7]Paul Krugman, “What Obama Wants,” New York Times, July 7, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/08/opinion/08krugman.html
  8. [8]Peter Nicholas, “Debt drama takes political toll on Obama,” Los Angeles Times, August 3, 2011, http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-obama-debt-20110803,0,6490421.story
  9. [9]Nicholas, “Debt drama takes political toll on Obama.”
  10. [10]Bradley Blackburn, “Women Lag Behind Men in Economic Recovery,” ABC News, March 21, 2011, http://abcnews.go.com/US/unemployment-recession-men-return-work-women-left-economic/story?id=13185406
  11. [11]Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President on Job Creation and Job Training,” White House, May 8, 2009, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-job-creation-and-job-training-5809
  12. [12]Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President and Vice President at the Opening Session of the Jobs and Economic Growth Forum,” White House, December 3, 2009, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-and-vice-president-opening-session-jobs-and-economic-growth-forum
  13. [13]Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President on the Economy in Allentown, PA,” White House, December 4, 2009, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-economy-allentown-pa
  14. [14]Barack Obama, “Remarks by The President At Town Hall Meeting In Henderson, Nevada,” White House, February 19, 2010, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-town-hall-meeting-henderson-nevada
  15. [15]Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President on Energy Efficiency in Savannah, Georgia,” White House, March 2, 2010, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-energy-efficiency-savannah-georgia
  16. [16]Barack Obama, quoted in Jesse Lee, “President Obama on June Jobs Numbers: A Positive Six Months,” White House, July 2, 2010, http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/07/02/president-obama-june-jobs-numbers-a-positive-six-months
  17. [17]Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President on Monthly Unemployment Numbers,” White House, September 3, 2010, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/09/03/remarks-president-monthly-unemployment-numbers
  18. [18]Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President on Small Business Jobs Bill,” White House, September 15, 2010, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/09/15/remarks-president-small-business-jobs-bill
  19. [19]Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President on the Economy in Bladensburg, Maryland,” White House, October 8, 2010, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/10/08/remarks-president-economy-bladensburg-maryland
  20. [20]Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President on the October Jobs Report,” White House, November 5, 2010, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/11/05/remarks-president-october-jobs-report
  21. [21]Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President on the December Jobs Report and Economic Personnel Announcements,” White House, January 7, 2011, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/01/07/remarks-president-december-jobs-report-and-economic-personnel-announceme
  22. [22]Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President at Cree, Inc., in Durham, North Carolina,” White House, June 13, 2011, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/06/13/remarks-president-cree-inc-durham-north-carolina
  23. [23]Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President on the Monthly Jobs Report,” White House, July 8, 2011, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/07/08/remarks-president-monthly-jobs-report
  24. [24]Paul Krugman, “Hope Is Not A Plan,” New York Times, August 3, 2011, http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/03/hope-is-not-a-plan/
  25. [25]Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President on the Economy,” White House, November 12, 2009, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-economy-jobs-forum
  26. [26]Ryan Grim and Michael McAuliff, “Super Congress Getting Even More Super Powers In Debt Deal,” Huffington Post, July 31, 2011, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/31/super-congress-debt-ceiling-deficit-deal_n_914272.html
  27. [27]David Benfell, “The respectability of ‘worthiness’,” DisUnitedStates.org, July 9, 2011, http://disunitedstates.org/?p=4034
  28. [28]Robert Reich, “Vicious Cycles: Why Washington is About to Make the Jobs Crisis Worse,” July 25, 2011, http://robertreich.org/post/8042268683
  29. [29]David Dayen, “I Ruined the Economy and All I Got Were These Lousy Tax Cuts,” American Prospect, June 13, 2011, http://prospect.org/cs/articles?article=i_ruined_the_economy_and_all_i_got_were_these_lousy_tax_cuts; Chris Isidore, “Debt ceiling deal won’t restart hiring,” CNN, August 2, 2011, http://money.cnn.com/2011/08/01/news/economy/debt_ceiling_jobs_outlook/index.htm
  30. [30]Isidore, “Debt ceiling deal won’t restart hiring
  31. [31]John Mauldin, “What Happened to the Jobs?” Safehaven, July 9, 2011, http://www.safehaven.com/article/21643/what-happened-to-the-jobs
  32. [32]Meteor Blades, “Kee-runch. At 1.3% growth, second-quarter GDP report reeks even worse than experts predicted,” Daily Kos, July 29, 2011, http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/07/29/1000232/-Kee-runch-At-13-growth,-second-quarter-GDP-report-reeks-even-worse-than-experts-predicted
  33. [33]Matt Taibbi, “Obama Doesn’t Want a Progressive Deficit Deal,” Rolling Stone, July 11, 2011, http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/obama-doesnt-want-a-progressive-deficit-deal-20110711
  34. [34]Tom Engelhardt, “American Militarism Is Not A Fairy Tale,” TomDispatch, June 14, 2011, http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175404/tomgram%3A_william_astore%2C_american_militarism_is_not_a_fairy_tale/
  35. [35]Glenn Greenwald, “The vindication of Dick Cheney,” Salon, January 18, 2011, http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/01/18/cheney/
  36. [36]George Washington, “There’s No Recovery Because the Government Made it Official Policy Not to Prosecute Fraud,” Washington’s Blog, July 8, 2011, http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/07/theres-no-recovery-because-government.html
  37. [37]John Nichols, “As Unemployment Spikes, Obama’s Got a Bigger Problem Than the Debt Ceiling,” Nation, July 8, 2011, http://www.thenation.com/blog/161863/unemployment-spikes-obamas-got-bigger-problem-debt-ceiling
  38. [38]David Dayen, “Pelosi, Reid Talking Big About Revenues, Protecting Safety Net on Catfood Commission II,” Firedoglake, August 2, 2011, http://news.firedoglake.com/2011/08/02/pelosi-reid-talking-big-about-revenues-protecting-safety-net-on-catfood-commission-ii/
  39. [39]Steven Thomma, “Don’t pop any champagne corks: Debt deal shows broken system,” McClatchy News, July 31, 2011, http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/07/31/118889/voters-set-the-stage-for-washingtons.html
  40. [40]Ronald Brownstein, “Voters Fear Debt Deal Will Hurt Medicare,” National Journal, July 25, 2011, http://www.nationaljournal.com/daily/voters-fear-debt-deal-will-hurt-medicare-20110725
  41. [41]Engelhardt, “American Militarism Is Not A Fairy Tale.”
  42. [42]David Benfell, “Just another skirmish in the Civil War,” DisUnitedStates.org, July 26, 2011, http://disunitedstates.org/?p=4244

Author: benfell

David Benfell holds a Ph.D. in Human Science from Saybrook University. He earned a M.A. in Speech Communication from CSU East Bay in 2009 and has studied at California Institute of Integral Studies. He is an anarchist, a vegetarian ecofeminist, a naturist, and a Taoist.

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