“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.
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Robert Kuttner: Obama, the Economy and the Movement
The latest figures on the economy make it all too clear that we are stuck in a feeble recovery that could go on for several years to come. Growth was only 1.4 percent in the first half of 2013, and the economy is still creating too few jobs to increase worker earnings, which actually declined in July. [..]
For three decades, this society has been dividing into haves and have-nots. Yet the struggles of ordinary people have been weirdly disconnected from our politics. Democrats express an economic populism when their backs are to the wall, but our Democratic presidents tend to get captured by economic elites.
Rebuilding the economy from the middle out is a start. Even better would be rebuilding it from the bottom up.
Paul Krugman: Republicans Against Reality
Last week House Republicans voted for the 40th time to repeal Obamacare. Like the previous 39 votes, this action will have no effect whatsoever. But it was a stand-in for what Republicans really want to do: repeal reality, and the laws of arithmetic in particular. The sad truth is that the modern G.O.P. is lost in fantasy, unable to participate in actual governing.
Just to be clear, I’m not talking about policy substance. I may believe that Republicans have their priorities all wrong, but that’s not the issue here. Instead, I’m talking about their apparent inability to accept very basic reality constraints, like the fact that you can’t cut overall spending without cutting spending on particular programs, or the fact that voting to repeal legislation doesn’t change the law when the other party controls the Senate and the White House.
Am I exaggerating? Consider what went down in Congress last week.
Job-growth is sputtering. So why, exactly, do regressive Republicans continue to say “no” to every idea for boosting it — even last week’s almost absurdly modest proposal by President Obama to combine corporate tax cuts with increased spending on roads and other public works?
It can’t be because Republicans don’t know what’s happening. The data are indisputable. July’s job growth of 162,000 jobs was the weakest in four months. The average workweek was the shortest in six months. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has also lowered its estimates of hiring during May and June. [..]
The real answer, I think, is they and their patrons want unemployment to remain high and job-growth to sputter.
Richard (RJ) Eskow: Fighting the GOP’s Hateful Agenda – Without Hate
When is it fair to say that some political battles aren’t just disagreements over policy, but actually represent a struggle between ‘good’ and ‘evil’ points of view? And when, if ever, is it helpful to say so?
There are those on the Right who debase the currency of that four-letter word – “evil” – by using it against anyone who disagrees with them. But what word do you apply to people who deny food to hungry families, voting rights to minorities, or a chance for self-advancement to hard-working students from lower-income homes?
How do you fight the hateful without succumbing to hate?
White southern Republicans enact voter ID laws because they don’t want Democrats to vote, particularly people of color
Nearly 150 years after the end of the US civil war, the South and the federal government are poised for a rematch over the voting rights of black Americans, and ultimately over the fundamental rights of all Americans. Once again, the former Confederate states are determined to defend their traditions and way of life, while the Union forces in the North – the federal government – are positioning themselves to defend justice and equality.
But this time, in an ironic twist, two black men – President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder – are leading the charge.
In the 1860s, the fight between the North and the South was about slavery and the right of the Confederate states to maintain a dreaded institution that kept people of African descent in bondage. Unprecedented carnage resulted.
Ralph Nader: Love, Corporate-Style
Mitt Romney famously said during his most recent bid for the presidency: “Corporations are people, my friend.” Perhaps nothing else better surmises the state of our country — even the state of our culture — than a prominent politician running for the presidency openly advancing such a flawed opinion. It is no secret that corporations now wield immense power in our elections, in our economy, and even in how we spend time with our friends and families. Corporate entities, in their massive, billion dollar efforts to advertise and “brand” themselves, not only want consumers to think of them as people, but even as “friends.” If a corporation could hit the campaign trail itself, one could imagine it uttering the phrase: “Corporations are friends, my people.”
I recently came across a full-page ad in the New York Times. The ad, which shows a tiny baby’s hand clutching the fingers of an adult hand, is captioned with the words: “Love is the most powerful thing on the planet.” It goes on to read: “For all the things in your life that make life worth living — Johnson and Johnson, for all you love.” Notably, this is Johnson and Johnson’s first “corporate branding” campaign in over a decade.
This poses an interesting question. What exactly is corporate love? Love is a very human emotion — but, coming from a business conglomerate whose over-riding goal is bigger profits — this message rings hollow.