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March 23 2011

The Republican's Big Lies About Jobs (And Why Obama Must Repudiate Them) | Robert Reich - blog - 2011-03-22

And if all others accepted the lie which the party imposed – if all records told the same tale – then the lie passed into history and became the truth.

– George Orwell, 1984 (published in 1949)

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was in town yesterday (specifically, at Stanford’s Hoover Institute where he could surround himself with sympathetic Republicans) to tell this whopper: “Cutting the federal deficit will create jobs.”

It’s not true. Cutting the deficit will creates fewer jobs. Less government spending reduces overall demand. This is particularly worrisome when, as now, consumers and businesses are still holding back. Fewer government workers have paychecks to buy stuff from other Americans, some of whom in turn will lose their jobs without enough customers.

But truth doesn’t seem to matter. Republicans figure if their big lies are repeated often enough, people will start to believe them.

Unless, that is, those big lies are repudiated – and big truths are told in their place.

What worries me almost as much as the Republican’s repeated big lies about jobs is the silence of President Obama and Democratic leaders in the face of them. Obama has the bully pulpit. Republicans don’t. But if he doesn’t use it the Republican’s big lies gain credibility.

Here are some other whoppers being repeated daily:

Cutting taxes on the rich creates jobs.” Nope. Trickle-down economics has been tried for thirty years and hasn’t worked. After George W. Bush cut taxes on the rich, far fewer jobs were created than after Bill Clinton raised them in the 1990s.

To his credit, President Obama argued against Republican demands for extending the Bush tax cut for those making more than a quarter million. But as soon as Republicans pushed back he caved. And the President hasn’t even mentioned that the $61 billion Republicans are demanding in budget cuts this fiscal year is what richer Americans would have paid in taxes had he not caved.

Cutting corporate income taxes creates jobs.” Baloney. American corporations don’t need tax cuts. They’re sitting on over $1.5 trillion of cash right now. They won’t invest it in additional capacity or jobs because they don’t see enough customers out there with enough money in their pockets to buy what the additional capacity would produce.

The President needs to point this out – not just in Washington but across the nation where Republican governors are slashing corporate taxes and simultaneously cutting school budgets. President Obama says he wants to invest in American skills, but many states are doing the opposite. Florida Governor Rick Scott, for example, says his proposed corporate tax cuts “will give Florida a competitive edge in attracting jobs.” They’ll also require education spending be reduced by $3 billion. Florida already ranks near the bottom in per-pupil spending and has one of nation’s lowest graduation rates. If Scott’s tax cuts create jobs, most will pay peanuts.

Cuts in wages and benefits create jobs.” Congressional Republicans and their state counterparts repeat this lie incessantly. It also lies behind corporate America’s incessant demand for wage and benefit concessions – and corporate and state battles against unions. But it’s dead wrong. Meager wages and benefits are reducing the spending power of tens of millions of American workers, which is prolonging the jobs recession.

President Obama and Democratic leaders should be standing up for the wages and benefits of ordinary Americans, standing up for unions, and decrying the lie that wage and benefit concessions are necessary to create jobs. The President should be traveling to the Midwest – taking aim at Republican governors in the heartland who are hell bent on destroying the purchasing power of American workers. But he’s doing nothing of the sort.

Regulations kill jobs.” Congressional Republicans are using this whopper to justify their attempts to defund regulatory agencies. Regulations whose costs to business exceed their benefits to the public are unwarranted, of course, but reasonable regulation is necessary to avoid everything from nuclear meltdowns to oil spills to mine disasters to food contamination – all of which we’ve sadly witnessed. Here again, we’re hearing little from the President or Democratic leaders.

Look, the President can’t be everywhere, doing everything. There’s tumult in the Middle East, we’re suddenly at war in Libya, Japan is struggling with the aftermath of disaster, and surely Latin America is an important trading partner.

But nothing is more central to average Americans than jobs and wages. Unless the President forcefully rebuts Republican’s big lies, they’ll soon become conventional wisdom.

Reposted from02myEcon-01 02myEcon-01

May 26 2010


BP and the Audacity of Greed

Even as BP’s blown well a mile beneath the surface in the Gulf of Mexico continues to gush forth an estimated 70,000 barrels of oil a day into the sea, and the fragile wetlands along the Gulf begin to get coated with crude, which is also headed into the Gulf Stream for a trip past the Everglades and on up the East Coast, the company is demanding that Canada lift its tight rules for drilling in the icy Beaufort Sea portion of the Arctic Ocean. In an incredible display of corporate arrogance, BP is claiming that a current safety requirement that undersea wells drilled during the newly ice-free summer must also include a side relief well, so as to have a preventive measure in place that could shut down a blown well, is “too expensive” and should be eliminated. Yet clearly, if the US had had such a provision in place, the Deepwater Horizon blowout could have been shut down right almost immediately after it blew out, just by turning of a valve or two, and then sealing off the blown wellhead. The current Gulf blowout has already cost BP over half a billion dollars, according to the company’s own information. That doesn’t count the cost of mobilizing the Coast Guard, the Navy, and untold state and county resources, and it sure doesn’t count the cost of the damage to the Gulf Coast economy, or the cost of restoration of damaged wetlands. We’re talking at least $10s of billions, and maybe eventually $100s of billions. Weigh that against the cost of drilling a relief well, which BP claims will run about $100 million. The cost of such a well in the Arctic, where the sea is much shallower, would likely be a good deal less. Such is the calculus of corruption. BP has paid $1.8 billion for drilling rights in Canada’s sector of the Beaufort Sea, about 150 miles north of the Northwest Territories coastline, an area which global warming has freed of ice in summer months. and it wants to drill there as cheaply as possible. The problem is that a blowout like the one that struck the Deepwater Horizon, if it occurred near the middle or end of summer, would mean it would be impossible for the oil company to drill a relief well until the following summer, because the return of ice floes would make drilling impossible all winter. That would mean an undersea wild well would be left to spew its contents out under the ice for perhaps eight or nine months, where its ecological havoc would be incalculable.
Reposted fromFreeminder23 Freeminder23

Ölkatastrophe im Golf von Mexico - morgen startet Operation "Top Kill"

Über einen Monat ist es nun schon her, dass die Bohrinsel "Deepwater Horizon" vor der US-Golfküste explodierte und sank. Seitdem strömen bis zu 100.000 Barrel Öl pro Tag ins Meer, alle Versuche, die ökologische Katastrophe einzudämmen, sind bislang gescheitert. Morgen nun will BP mit "Top Kill" den Durchbruch schaffen. Wie aber funktioniert das noch nie erprobte Verfahren?Bislang hat sich BP beim Kampf gegen die Katastrophe wahrlich nicht mit Ruhm bekleckert - von irreführenden Angaben über die Menge des austretenden Öls bis hin zum Einsatz von risikobehafteten Chemikalien wurde so ziemlich alles falsch gemacht, was falsch zu machen war. Nicht ohne Grund zweifelt inzwischen sogar die US-Regierung an der Kompetenz des Ölkonzerns - und das, obwohl BP sowohl Präsident Obama als auch zahlreiche Abgeordnete beider Parteien mit großzügigen Wahlkampfspenden unterstützt. Nachdem vor zwei Wochen der Versuch, das Bohrloch mit einer 100 Tonnen schweren Stahlglocke abzudichten endgültig gescheitert ist, soll morgen eine weitere technische Großanstrengung unter dem martialisch klingenden Namen "Top Kill" den Durchbruch im Kampf gegen die Ölpest bringen. Wie aber funktioniert das Verfahren - und welche Risiken sind damit verbunden? Das Prinzip ist schnell erklärt: Schwerer Bohrschlamm wird in das Bohrloch gepumpt und verstopft dieses, gegebenenfalls ergänzt durch ein Abfallgemisch, das unter anderem aus Golfbällen und zerhächselten Autoreifen besteht - dem sogenannten "Junk Shot". Anschließend wird das auf diese Weise provisorisch abgedichtete Bohrloch mit einer Zementschicht bedeckt. Der Vorteil einer solchen Vorgehensweise im Vergleich zu den bereits gescheiterten Versuchen ist, dass der Ölfluss sozusagen "direkt an der Quelle" unterbunden wird. Das nachfolgende Video verdeutlicht das "Top Kill"-Verfahren. Natürlich ist der Einsatz eines bislang unerprobten Verfahrens mit Risiken verbunden. Da das Öl mit enormem Druck aus dem Bohrloch austritt, müssen Abfall und Schlamm mit noch höherem Druck ins Bohrloch gepresst werden, um einen Verstopfungseffekt zu erzielen. Wird aber durch den Druck von beiden Seiten der ohnehin bereits beschädigte Blowout Preventer vollends zerstört, könnte am Ende noch mehr Öl als bisher in den Golf von Mexiko fließen. Laut Doug Suttles, dem Chief Operating Officer bei BP, liegt die Wahrscheinlichkeit eines Misserfolgs zwischen 30 und 40%, was angesichts des schwer fassbaren Umfangs, den diese Katastrophe jetzt schon angenommen hat, wenig beruhigend ist. Es könnte demnach durchaus sein, dass sich die Situation an der US-Ostküste im Fall eines Scheiters von "Top Kill" noch weiter verschlechtert. Für diesen Fall arbeitet BP bereits an einer alternativen Lösung unter dem weitaus weniger martialischen Namen "Lower Marine Riser Package Cap" (LMRP). Dabei würde die demolierte Steigleitung abgetrennt und durch eine neue, mit einem Bohrschiff verbundene Leitung ersetzt werden, welches das an die Oberfläche schießende Öl auffangen könnte. Das auch dies keine dauerhafte Lösung sein kann, liegt auf der Hand. Unklar ist außerdem, ob BP bei einem erneuten Scheitern überhaupt die Chance auf einen weiteren Versuch erhält - so deutete US-Innenminister Salazar bereits am Wochenende an, dem Konzern das Heft demnächst aus der Hand zu nehmen, sollte nicht bald ein Erfolg eintreten. In diesem Sinne heißt es morgen wohl: Daumen drücken und auf das Beste hoffen - immerhin befürchten die Experten der American Association of Petroleum Geologists bereits, dass aus dem Bohrloch noch mehrere Jahre lang Öl austreten könnte, sollten alle Eindämmungsversuche scheitern. Was das wiederum für das marine Leben im Golf von Mexico bedeuten könnte, mag man sich gar nicht ausmalen...
Reposted fromFreeminder23 Freeminder23
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