If It’s The Economy Stupid…

by William Skink

The Montana Post could learn something from Elizabeth Warren, nationally, and James Connor, locally. So far the “progressives” over there have ignored Jon Tester’s servitude to banks. Elizabeth Warren, however, is not ignoring the betrayal of her colleagues. She actually has courage and the consistency of her principles, which was on clear display when she called out the Democrat sell-outs in the Senate for their votes:

Speaking about a series of recently lost policy fights — on gun reform, the tax bill, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and more — Warren told the annual gathering of progressive elected officials and advocates, “Just this week we lost the first round in the battle of a bad banking bill — a bill that would take the reins off of Wall Street’s most reckless actors and put as greater risk of another financial crisis. When I saw a handful of my Democratic colleagues vote for it, it felt like a stab in the heart. Not for me, but for all the homeowners who were cheated and all the taxpayers who bailed out those banks. That is wrong.”

While she was angry at Wall Street, she said, she felt most betrayed by her own colleagues. “It is so hard to fight against all the money and all the lobbying. It is so hard to fight when we fight and lose. It’s worse when some of our teammates don’t even show up for the fight,” she said.

It’s maddening to watch alleged progressives with no spine constantly giving their candidates a pass on critical issues. If you don’t think banking regulation is a critical issue then you, like so many cognitively impaired partisans, must have forgotten the economic crisis now a decade old, but still reverberating for the vast majority of the population that didn’t recover like Wall Street did with the help of public bailouts and Fed liquidity injections.

If it really is the economy, stupid, then how stupid is someone like Pete Talbot? In a recent post, titled We’re #1! In income inequality, that is, Talbot reminds MP readers of James Caraville’s infamous phrase. He goes on to suggest that this message could be a winning one for Democrats in 2018 because income inequality has skyrocketed in states like Montana.

Here is how Talbot explains why income inequality exists (warning: this description could make you actually stupider about the economy):

What’s behind this disparity? It’s “due to the rapid income growth among the upper class,” which has “increased the cost of real estate throughout the state and made housing less affordable for many members of the middle class.” Which also means that more-and-more of the average family’s paycheck is going to rent or mortgage payments. No surprise there.

I don’t think Pete Talbot is stupid, but I’m wondering how stupid Talbot thinks progressives are. Referencing Bill Clinton and the economy without mentioning the repeal of Glass-Steagall is just one glaring omission. The description above is another pathetically sparse explanation of what has happened, economically, in our state and our country.

Why has their been rapid income growth among the upper class, Petey? Could it be the direct result of the neoliberal policies of the Obama regime? Here is an article from July, 2016. The date is important because it’s before the election of Donald Trump. From the link:

“The share of income going to the top 1% of families – those earning on average about $1.4m a year – increased to 22% in 2015 from 21.4% in 2014.”

According to him, while the 1% power ahead and continue to reclaim income lost during the recession, a full recovery for the bottom 99% remains elusive. “Six years after the end of the Great Recession, those families have recovered only about 60% of their income losses due to that severe economic downturn,” he said.

It should not come as a shock that to many Americans talk of economic recovery rings hollow. The top 1% of families saw their income grow by 37% between 2009 to 2015, from $990,000 to $1.36m. The incomes of the other 99%, however, grew by just 7.6% during that time – from $45,300 in 2009 to $48,800 in 2015.

This has been the trend, post economic collapse. It’s why Occupy Wall Street movements exploded across the country. Remember that? Remember when young people were taking a stand against the obscenity of bailing out instead of jailing Wall Street?

That movement didn’t get the same immediate, broad support high school kids are getting today advocating to not get shot in their classrooms. But then again, the specter of Trump wasn’t making progressives and other shards of the shattered left go berserk like we see today. No, the progressive strains were largely accepting of the eventual backlash against those dirty hippie camps.

While the economy stagnated for the vast majority of Americans under Obama, the power of the police state grew. It was the economy, stupid, back then and it’s still the economy, stupid, right now.

Because I apparently can’t get enough of stupid, let’s take a look at how Talbot concludes his post:

The phony “populist” message of a Donald Trump: deregulation or immigrants stealing your jobs or “tax cuts paid for by growth” or repealing Obamacare… are all wearing thin. So, Democrats, don’t shy away from a progressive, economic message. A living wage would be a good start, as would a more progressive tax system and a single-payer health care plan.

And maybe we can put a dent in income inequality in Montana and the rest of the country.

I mean, Christ almighty, Jon Tester is VOTING FOR DEREGULATION while a mouthpiece for Montana progressives is talking about Donald Trump.

The Democrat establishment is attacking progressives like Linda Moser because the establishment prefers a lawyer who champions attacking labor (including immigrant women) while Talbot is still talking about Obamacare instead of Medicare for all.

Our own city leaders are continuing to prioritize gentrification as the poor get punched in the face, and the only two ideas coming from this Missoula progressive are either “the regressive way (tax cuts to the rich and corporations in the hope that their extra money will trickle down to the hoy polloi) or the progressive way (increasing wages and benefits for the working class, and upping taxes on the rich).

No direct action? Is that not even a glimmer of possibility anymore?

Well, of course it is. People take direct action all the time. Those in pain and in despair act with increasingly frequency to destroy themselves. The more deranged and homicidal individuals in our country take direct action to bring into oblivion as many other people as possible.

The direct action of high school students is currently being applauded (exploited?) by supporters of gun control.

And I suspect there will be increasing calls from the resistance (like Josh Manning) to take direct action against Trump.

So direct action is definitely an option, but I would suggest being extra weary, of who is supporting direct action, and why. Cui bono is still a solid mantra in these surreal times.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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9 Responses to If It’s The Economy Stupid…

  1. You’ve put up a lot of good posts over the past week. Keep it up.

  2. Pingback: What Makes a Progressive? Words and Actions, Trolls and Activists – The Montana Post

  3. Eric says:

    The whole argument about income inequality, and that the playing field needs to be leveled is ridiculous when you look at it. It is simply out there to promote class warfare for politics.

    I believe in America. And the fact is that nobody in America is forced to be a permanent underclass.

    One of my Grandpas was a sharecropper. He never owned his own farm. Surprised? When you think of sharecroppers, you think of poor black people in the South, but the truth be known there were generations of poor white people in the Midwest too.

    My other Grandpa was a farmer too. They were both descended from German immigrants.

    When we were kids, after our parents got divorced, we had nothing. One pair of pants to wear all week, and no shoes in the summer. The best thing we had was library cards. We could be sitting around in poverty in NE Iowa, or Missouri right now, blaming the rich for holding us down. But we didn’t.

    I’ve got a brother who owns his own trucking company. My Big Sister is an RN. My baby brother is a lawyer. My four kids consist of 2 Engineers, a licensed beautician, and my youngest is in her 2nd year at MSU-Boz and is an aspiring educator.

    And I firmly believe that no matter where we were born, be it the south side of Detroit, or a reservation that we would be the same place today.

    I’m glad the economy is roaring again. Business in Montana is good, and ever since inauguration day people and companies have been spending money again.

    Income inequality? As Scrooge would say – HUMBUG !

  4. Eric says:

    I came up with the permanent underclass statement, because if the system was really rigged, there would be a group of people who are locked out of the American dream, and I see no walls around neighborhoods.

    Wouldn’t you agree with me, that we get what we earn, be it little or great? Regardless of luck and regardless of fate?

    It is the economy stupid, as you pointed out. The economy is why Tester and Gianforte are cruising towards easy reelections today. This won’t be a ‘change’ election, because most Montanans are liking the direction the US is going.

    Remember the Great Leader, Barack Hussein Obama smugly telling us “Those jobs are never coming back” and blaming President Bush for the economy 7 years after he left office? Isn’t it cool to see most of us getting raises, coal jobs coming back slowly, and even US Steel is reopening plants in Illinois, just because America is open for business again?

  5. *Eric says:

    Just a follow up on this post – I saw Jon Testers new commercial, and he is now a Trumpist.

    I’d love to be at the Country Club in Helena this week and listen to the Dems grumble.

    I didn’t (and dont) think Tester is in that much trouble to get him to switch allegiances.

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