Franklin County Democrats

The official site of the Democratic Party of Franklin County, Missouri

Dean Baker dissects a Financial Times pro-Free Trade editorial with Enough Magical Thinking On Trade.

In fact econometric studies have shown that, consistent with economic theory, trade has been a source of downward pressure on the wages of the 70 percent of the workforce that lacks a college education. The basic story is that we put our manufacturing workers in direct competition with low paid workers in the developing world while protecting our doctors, lawyers, and other highly paid professionals. The predicted and actual result is lower pay for the vast majority of U.S. workers.

In additional to the negative impact of current trade patterns on wages, there is also the simple problem of the massive loss of demand due to the trade deficit. We currently import $500 billion a year more than we export. This is $500 billion that is creating demand in Canada, the European Union, Mexico, and elsewhere, rather than in the United States. Is there some story as to how domestic consumption or investment is somehow larger because of this trade deficit? If so, it would be worth a Nobel Prize if someone could lay it out with a straight face.

The $500 billion trade deficit, coupled with a standard multiplier of 1.5, translates into $750 billion of lost annual output (roughly 4.5 percent of GDP). This in turn would come to about 6 million jobs. That is close to enough to get us back to full employment. That would give workers enough bargaining power to secure real wages. So yes, trade is a big deal.

It is also worth noting that the “trade” deals currently on the table, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Pact, have little to do with trade. Both are primarily about putting in place a pro-corporate regulatory structure that would almost certainly not pass in Congress through the normal process or in any other democratically elected parliament. It will also include increased protectionism in the form of stronger patent and copyright protections. These will have the effect of raising prices, slowing growth, and costing jobs.

This week’s audio netcast: If you think John Boehner’s lawsuit against the president will be laughed out of court, wait till you find out that when YOU try to sue, it’s no laughing matter. Lina Khan tells you why. President Obama’s first technology adviser Aneesh Chopra has some advice on how partnerships between the feds and corporations can improve government services. Finally, Bill Press interviews D.C. “Mayor for Life” Marion Barry.

Yikes! DailyKos is carrying this piece on health care for a state that has refused to expand Medicaid even though it would be 100% paid for by the federal government.  Folks living in rural  parts of this state are bearing the burden of this decision.  I wonder if our Franklin County Senator and Representatives would have any second thoughts if they were part of an event in which They pull thousands of teeth here. At the end they will have buckets of teeth.  All compliments of an international aid group trying to help in the self professed “greatest country on earth.”

Every year, hundreds of people have every one of their teeth pulled there. Then they put their names into a denture lottery, with the hope of being picked to get a set of false teeth made for them at the next year’s event. Forty-six people were picked from a list of 700 to get dentures this year.“They pull thousands of teeth here. At the end, they’ll have buckets of teeth,” said volunteer Jennifer Lee, Virginia’s deputy secretary of health and human resources and an emergency room doctor.

And, well, it looks like this:

In a tent where people waited for a vision exam, McAuliffe knelt beside Martha Deel, whose only job is caring for her brain-injured son. Fifty-one years old, she looked decades older. After her exam, she said she would line up to see a doctor for “the girl stuff.

No, we’re not talking Gaza, or Bangladesh, or rural India, or highland Guatemala, we’re talking Virginia — one of our country’s wealthiest states full of highly-profitable defense corporations, like Northrop Gunman, whose share price just rose to $123.87/share — just in case you were wondering. Killing people is big business in Virginia, but apparently saving the lives — and dignity…and teeth — of those who live in this exceptional state that likes to call itself a “Commonwealth” is just not worth the money.

Virginia’s Democratic governor has been — in an effort worthy of praise — heroically trying to expand Medicaid against the insane obstructionism of Republicans in his state’s legislature, and on Friday he visited his citizens — receiving health care in a horse barn — as a reminder of just how great the stakes are in this fight.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe renewed his pitch for expanding health care to the poor Friday by touring a field hospital set up at a county fairgrounds, where people had camped out for days for the chance to see a dentist or doctor.

McAuliffe flew to the Remote Area Medical expedition in far southwest Virginia, where the line for free dental and medical care was 1,500 long by 4 a.m. Friday, when organizers started turning people away.

“That just breaks your heart,” said McAuliffe (D), standing in a horse barn that served as a makeshift doctor’s office, with bedsheets strung up between examination tables to provide a measure of privacy.

 

PoliticMO has this story on Governor Nixon and how this year’s veto list compares to past years.  Looks like he’s been busier than a CEO trying to avoid their responsibility to America by “inverting” their company headquarters overseas.

Jay Nixon

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The current edition of In These Times has this classic from Matt Bors…

Poloiticus USA has the story of another ratings drop for John McCain’s, I mean Dick Gregory’s Meet The Press.  As noted many times on this blog the rightward slant of viewpoints on all the Sunday shows but particularly Meet The Press has convinced me that washing my car in the rain, organizing my speaker wires, or watching grass grow is a far better use of my time.  It appears I am not alone…

Most of the Sunday morning shows are heavily biased towards Republicans. In 2013, three of the four English language broadcast network Sunday shows gave the majority of their solo interviews to conservatives. Face The Nation, Meet The Press, and Fox News Sunday all favored conservatives. Meet The Press favored the right over the left by a margin of 48%-35%. Right-wing guests outnumbered left-wing guests on Face The Nation, Meet The Press and Fox News Sunday for the entire year last year.

Many blamed David Gregory for this pro-Republican bias, but Republicans outnumbered Democrats 2 to 1 when Tim Russert hosted Meet The Press. The difference between Gregory and Russert is that Russert was better at giving off an air of objectivity, even if his show was fundamentally the same as Gregory’s.

Meet The Press is declining because the country is changing. Shows that are dominated by conservative and Republican guests are not reflective of a majority of the country. As the Republicans have moved more to the right, the Sunday shows have become a platform for their radical views. Instead of keeping up with the leftward social shift in America, the Sunday shows are interviewing Rick Perry and giving John McCain a virtually weekly slot on national television.

David Gregory is just a symptom. The disease that will eventually kill Meet The Press is pro-Republican bias.

As Terri Clark laments, there are Better Things To Do.

Andy Borowitz takes a look at the child refugee crisis and see’s one man for the job…

esting the political waters in Iowa today, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said that if he is elected President, he would bring the flow of illegal immigrants over the U.S.-Mexico border to a virtual standstill.

“There are ways of keeping people from getting to where they want to go,” Christie said, claiming that he was the only Republican hopeful with the hands-on experience necessary to fix the border crisis.

The New Jersey governor was vague about how he would halt traffic over the border, but exuded confidence that he was the right man for the job.

“I’d make a few phone calls,” he said. “It would get done.”

Before proceeding I invite all readers, especially conservatives that may feel the need to yell at young children to watch the music video Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor.

Now for the fun, keeping in mind that America is one of the richest nations on earth and was built by immigrants, and professes to be a Christian nation that believes in the scripture regarding taking care of the least of these, this episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart will be particularly entertaining.

Not quite so entertaining but just as enlightening as to why this is not a crisis of immigration but an opportunity to live up to our higher ideals by helping child refugees is Joshua Holland’s article America’s Response to Child Refugees is Downright Shameful.

In recent years, 20,000 to 40,000 unaccompanied minors were apprehended at our Southern border, and nobody paid much attention. This year, that number is projected to exceed 60,000 — an estimated 36 percent of whom have a parent in this country —  and that uptick is causing a national freakout.

It’s anything but a crisis. The US is not only one of the world’s wealthiest countries, we also have one of the lowest population densities in the developed world.

To the degree that there is a crisis on the Southern border, it’s one of our own making: Border Patrol has been overwhelmed by the spike in detainees, especially children, and Congress refuses to devote the modest resources required to care for them in a dignified way. (As economist Dean Baker pointed out, Obama’s request for $3.7 billion to address the spike in refugees — most of which would be spent sending them back to a bloodbath rather than caring for them — represents just one-tenth of 1 percent of the federal budget.)

This is not our finest hour.

Pope Francis agrees…

In a message delivered to the Mexico-Holy See Colloquium on Migration and Development on Monday, the pope drew attention to these migrant children who he said often undertake the dangerous border crossing alone in order to escape violence in their home countries:

“This humanitarian emergency requires, as a first urgent measure, these children be welcomed and protected. These measures, however, will not be sufficient, unless they are accompanied by policies that inform people about the dangers of such a journey and, above all, that promote development in their countries of origin.”

 

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