Tuesday, February 16, 2016

3 Cheers For Thomas Piketty For His Praise of Bernie Sanders' Campaign

Piketty in Cambridge 3 crop.jpg
 Thomas Piketty, author of the 700-page economic work, 'Capital in the Twenty-First Century', has now firmly come down on the side of Sen. Bernie Sanders in the American elections, to the consternation of the elites and their media gate keepers. To remind readers, Piketty's tome methodically researched hundreds of years of French tax records - which are amongst the most detailed in the world - given the French bureaucracy was intent on meticulously documenting who was wealthy and how much they'd amassed since the French revolution. Clearly, the purpose was not to have a replay of that horrific historical spasm, but also to quantify inequality.

With the assistance of Berkeley scholar Emmanuel Saez, Piketty's monograph also integrated 15 years of similar tax records from 30 other nations, including the U.S. In concert, the French records disclosed the rich inevitably make out like bandits, even after major financial downturns. This is possible because the rate of return to wealth (r) inevitably exceeds the rate of growth (g) of the revived economy. Hence, the share of national income that labor receives as compensation is invariably lower than the share accruing to rentiers and speculators via investments, speculation. Because capital -rentier income is less equally distributed than work income (most Americans don't own stock shares), the wealthy prosper while the rest suck salt.

This also has much to do with the basis for our own metastasizing inequality which few in the political establishment want to address. They'd just as soon we all remain comatose or at least like de facto zombies and never read a word about the issue, becoming more engrossed in our social media distractions or video games.

Piketty -  in a new op-ed published Tuesday in The Guardian  -  credits Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders with waking the larger American political establishment up to the problem of rising income inequality and channelling the Democratic electorate’s righteous outrage. Piketty says that Sanders’ campaign proves that a leader like Sanders—if not Sanders himself—“could one day soon win the U.S. presidential elections and change the face of the country.”  Piketty, went on - in a swipe at the Neoliberal Hillary:
Because he is facing the Clinton machine, as well as the conservatism of mainstream media, Sanders might not win the race, but in many respects, we are witnessing the end of the politico-ideological cycle opened by the victory of Ronald Reagan at the 1980 elections.”

So true! I myself believe it will take something akin to a political miracle for Sanders to prevail - requiring most citizens tuning out the endless corporate media yap, the attack propaganda from the Clintons, as well as succeeding in getting at least 50 percent of the registered voter millennials to show up to actually do it to compensate for the millions of African-Americans hoodwinked into believing HRC is their only hope.

Piketty also correctly put the Neoliberal tag on both former president Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama- who have failed to even attempt real tax reform, allowing for inequality to run rampant. Obama's administration even arguably made it much worse by failing to allow the brazen Bush tax cuts to expire when they should have, back in 2010, and then even added kerosene to the fire by not collecting the full 6.2%  Social Security payroll tax for two years. This cost the system well over $200b and was the proximate cause of the S.S. Disability fund being emptied so rapidly - necessitating a transfer from S.S. proper.

 According to Piketty:  “Sanders’ success today shows that much of America is tired of rising inequality and these so-called political changes, and intends to revive both a progressive agenda and the American tradition of egalitarianism

This turns on its head the insipid propaganda that "it is mainly the young supporters who never lived when socialism thrived and have no idea how bad it is".  Which is obvious claptrap circulated by committed buffoons who probably can't tell the difference between the Soviet style socialism of the Cold War and the democratic socialism practiced by many western European nations today. Those nations, including Norway, Denmark and Sweden,  believe their citizen's general welfare trumps military welfare or wars without end.  Piketty also observed;:
"Sanders makes clear he wants to restore progressive taxation and a higher minimum wage ($15 an hour). To this he adds free healthcare and higher education in a country where inequality in access to education has reached unprecedented heights, highlighting a gulf standing between the lives of most Americans, and the soothing meritocratic speeches pronounced by the winners of the system.changes, and intends to revive both a progressive agenda and the American tradition of egalitarianism  "
 Piketty further notes, quite accurately, on the Repukes:

Meanwhile, the Republican party sinks into a hyper-nationalist, anti-immigrant and anti-Islam discourse - even though Islam isn’t a great religious force in the country-  and a limitless glorification of the fortune amassed by rich white people.”

I couldn't have summarized the GOOPr clown cavalcade  better, also explaining why I no longer plan to waste any blog posts on their inane brat fests - like the last one in South Carolina.

As for Sanders’ rival, Hillary Clinton, Piketty observes: she "is now just another heiress of the Reagan-Clinton-Obama political regime.”

For those for whom this reference may sail over heads or not register, I suggest getting hold of the last instalment of Oliver Stone's excellent series 'The Untold History of the United States' which, of course, the corporate media and other ancillary, hack-infested abodes (e.g. 'The Daily Beast') have attempted to debunk- to no avail for anyone who knows and grasps the country's history, i.e. minus the B.S.

Interestingly, despite the toxic influence of money in our politics -  ramped up by Citizens United -Picketty himself is not resigned to doom, instead crediting the Sanders campaign with offering a real counterforce to fight unlimited campaign contributions. This as opposed to succumbing to its power.

Bernie now has a new and powerful ally in his crusade against the monied political establishment and its media cronies, but make no mistake they will try to slime him as viciously as they've tried to slime Oliver Stone. Alas, truth is a commodity that the rigged, Neoliberal establishment can't abide.

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"This is how the wealthy control the political process. The system makes it extremely difficult for those who challenge the policies that serve their interests to ever be heard. That is why it is inspiring to a see candidate like Senator Sanders get enough money and support to be a serious contender for the Democratic nomination, even without big money contributions."

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