Friday, September 30, 2011

A New Tag

I was reading Krugman (big duh) and decided I needed a new “tag” for the Republican Party/Party of the Rich/The Confederate Party.

Unrecoveries and the New Normal

”Larry Mishel has a very good piece systematically debunking the zombie claim that fears of regulation are holding back job creation. There is, literally, not a shred of evidence for this claim — not in the numbers, not in what businesses say. Yet it has been eagerly adopted not just by Republican politicians but by Chicago economists, Federal Reserve presidents, and more. I think the willingness of so many people to completely abandon any intellectual principles here, so that they can play for Team Republican — or maybe we should call that Team Oligarch — is part of what has me down these days.”

Some of you have a natural gift for language and probably don’t realize that there are those of us that don’t grasp the nuances of language so quickly. My wife looked an me like I was stupid the other day (okay, it actually isn’t that rare of an event) when it dawned on me that if you drop the “F” off of “Fowl” you are left with “Owl”. It’s really obvious -- I know -- but noticing it is altogether different. It amazes me how many people don’t notice the different colors and shades of light bulbs. Anyhow...

In recent times, the word “oligarch” has been used to describe the newly rich -- fabulously rich -- in Russia. It isn’t a term of endearment.

””The Guardian” described the oligarchs as "about as popular with your average Russian as a man idly burning bundles of £50s outside an orphanage”.”

And with that thought done...there’s another bit of language I want to talk about -- a billion. On occasion, I will be using “a thousand million” in place of a billion. That’s because I think we fail to grasp the enormity of the number. Let me rephrase; I think we fail to grasp the enormous power a billion -- one thousand million -- dollars gives an individual.

Most of us can grasp $1,000. Let’s say you’re walking down the street on your way to dinner with one thousand dollars in cash on you and a street urchin asks you for a dollar. It’s nothing to you. It’s a dollar. You spent more than that on parking. That’s like a politician asking a billionaire for a million-dollar campaign donation.

In that the legal limit for an individual is $2,500 -- it’s less than pocket change for our $1,000 is a billion analogy. The legal limit is a quarter of a cent. You can donate the legal limit to every single member of Congress (435 in the House, 100 in the Senate) for $1.34. You’d still have $998.66.

Do you think you’d miss less than 2 bucks if you had a thousand in your pocket? Do you understand why there are PACs and why the Citizens United case is so important? Do you understand how much influence and access you can gain for mere “pocket change”?

Some things haven’t changed.

(John D. Rockefeller handing out dimes)

Don Brown
September 30, 2011

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