Quantum Meruit

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Month: October, 2011

Demand-Side Economics, for a Change

“Supply-side economics” really just means “bring our costs down.” Lower taxes, fewer government regulations, and all that. Republicans believe in supply-side, and that’s why they want lower taxes and fewer regulations. Businesses aren’t making money because so much of their money goes to paying all this other stuff. That’s why we’re in a recession.

Except that’s not true. Bruce Bartlett, late of the Reagan and H.W. Bush administrations, disagrees. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has been tracking mass layoffs for years, and when they occur, BLS sends the firm a survey asking why they laid off workers. In 2010, how many firms cited “government regulation” as the reason? 0.2%. Two-tenths of one percent. How many firms cited “lack of demand”? 30.6%.

What’s with the head-in-the-sand? To be a believer in demand-side, you’d have to come to some conclusions: (1) there’s no problem with government regulations; (2) firms are firing (and not hiring) because people aren’t buying enough stuff; (3) tax cuts for the wealthy don’t enable people to buy more stuff; (4) something out there has to increase demand.

To a supply-side believer, saying “aggregate demand” is a dirty-word that conjures images of John Maynard Keynes. The funny thing is that Keynes works and supply-side doesn’t. Supply-side economics ignore the fact that businesses make money when people buy stuff; if people aren’t buying stuff, then they can’t make money. Tax cuts for the class of people who buy things? That means more disposable income. That means more buying stuff.

And while we’re at it, how about a government stimulus to cajole businesses into producing things and hiring people? The private sector — i.e., consumers — clearly aren’t interested in that right now.


First Official Statement from Occupy Wall Street

It’s pretty hard to argue with these grievances:

They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.

They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.

They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.

They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.

They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless nonhuman animals, and actively hide these practices.

They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.

They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.

They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.

They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.

They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.

They have sold our privacy as a commodity.

They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.

They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.

They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.

They have donated large sums of money to politicians supposed to be regulating them.

They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.

They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantive profit.

They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.

They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.

They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.

They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.

They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.

They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.

(Via Daily Kos.)