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Feb 22 2016

Punting the Pundits

“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.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

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William K. Black: Wall Street’s Message to Young Adults: ‘You Are Clueless’

Wall Street CEOs are very upset with young adults. They believe you are “clueless” and “voting against [your] own interests” when you support Bernie Sanders. A Wall Street CEO took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to decry the fact that, “Millennials are flocking to Sanders.” It would be cruel to note that one has to be clueless to believe that writing an op-ed in the WSJ was a good way to reach millennials supporting Bernie. But at least we can gain an insight into Wall Street’s theory of why Bernie is bad for young adults. It turns out that Wall Street is worried that Bernie is pushing Hillary Clinton to take inequality seriously because younger Americans take inequality seriously. Wall Street, of course, loves and exists to produce staggering inequality.

These young voters appear to be falling headlong for the Vermont senator’s plaintive narrative of economic “unfairness.” His throwaway prescriptions for redistributing income and wealth are being echoed by an increasingly nervous Mrs. Clinton–despite such policies’ having been jettisoned during her husband’s administration in the 1990s.

Notice the devastating nature of the Wall Street critique — Bernie’s discussion of inequality is “plaintive” (which means “sad” and “mournful”). Human beings are sad about the severe inequality in America — and have concluded that the Clintons’ “New Democrat” policies were a major part of the problem. Given what has happened to middle and working class Americans’ incomes under the neoliberal economic agendas of the Clintons and Bushes, the reaction of those supporting Bernie means that they are voting in favor of their economic interests. The Wall Street CEO inadvertently admits this fact, and comes to his real complaint — the public is furious that Wall Street elites made a fortune by leading the three most destructive financial fraud epidemics in history — and did so with impunity. How dare the American people no longer worship Wall Street?

Paul Krugman: Cranks on Top

If prediction markets (and most hardheaded analysis) are to be believed, Hillary Clinton, having demonstrated her staying power, is the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic nomination. The Republican race, by contrast, has seen a lot of consolidation — it’s pretty much down to a two-man race — but the outcome is still up for grabs.

The thing is, one of the two men who may still have a good chance of becoming the Republican nominee is a scary character. His notions on foreign policy seem to boil down to the belief that America can bully everyone into doing its bidding, and that engaging in diplomacy is a sign of weakness. His ideas on domestic policy are deeply ignorant and irresponsible, and would be disastrous if put into effect.

The other man, of course, has very peculiar hair.

Marco Rubio has yet to win anything, but by losing less badly than other non-Trump candidates he has become the overwhelming choice of the Republican establishment. Does this give him a real chance of overtaking the man who probably just won all of South Carolina’s delegates? I have no idea.

But what I do know is that one shouldn’t treat establishment support as an indication that Mr. Rubio is moderate and sensible. On the contrary, not long ago someone holding his policy views would have been considered a fringe crank.

Leo W, Gerard: Murdering American Manufacturing: ‘Strictly Business’

In the week before Valentine’s Day, United Technologies expressed its love for its devoted Indiana employees, workers whose labor had kept the corporation profitable, by informing 2,100 of them at two facilities that it was shipping their factories, their jobs, their communities’ resources to Mexico.

A few workers shouted obscenities at the corporate official. Some walked out. Others openly wept as United Technologies shattered their hopes, their dreams, their means to pay middle-class mortgages.

Three days later, 1,336 workers at Philadelphia’s largest remaining manufacturer, Cardone, learned that company planned to throw them out too and build brake calipers in Mexico instead. Two weeks earlier, a Grand Rapids, Mich., company called Dematic did the same thing to its 300 workers.

No surprise. In the first decade of this century, America lost 56,190 factories, 15 a day.

Republican presidential candidates talk incessantly of building a physical wall to keep impoverished Mexican immigrants out of America. What they fail to offer is an economic barrier to prevent the likes of United Technologies and Cardone and Dematic from impoverishing American workers by exporting their jobs to Mexico.

Richard Wolffe: Trump, Rubio and Cruz had to declare victory because America hates losers

After at least three victory speeches in South Carolina on Saturday night – delivered with full and earnest conviction, defying the doubters and predicting a surefire path to the presidency – you could be forgiven for thinking there were at least three Republican winners.

For a country that celebrates its winners and immediately, deliberately forgets its losers, it was a strange turn of events to watch Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz all give victory speeches after Trump’s win. Republicans (especially Trump) like to accuse President Obama of trying to turn America into a feeble European-style home of losers; no one in America celebrates even their respectable defeats quite like the Europeans do.

So watching Rubio and Cruz declare victory despite defeat was much like watching the British crack open champagne to celebrate sixth place at the Olympics.

Jeb Lund: Ding, dong, the dynasty is dead: so long to Jeb Bush and the family legacy

In announcing the suspension of his campaign, Jeb Bush couldn’t have found a more apt expression for his departure from a contest that was beyond his ken than “I congratulate my competitors who are remaining on the island”. The 2016 Republican presidential primary is a thing forged in madness; as befitting the functional illogic of a reality TV show, it doesn’t make a lick of damn sense beyond itself, but the results cannot be appealed. Jeb has been voted off the island; he is the weakest link; goodbye.

There were signs long ago that he would fail to gain traction among Republican voters despite his political pedigree and all his campaign cash – not necessarily deterministic, but they were there. [..]

Jeb Bush was one of the family, and he failed. And if there is one, stark emotional legacy of the Jeb 2016 experience, it is this: despite coming from all that power and money, Jeb Bush ran a campaign so wracked with failure and so thoroughly inept that he could move millions of Americans beyond their richly earned contempt for him and his family. By the end, Jeb Bush actually made people feel sorry for him.