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Jul 8, 2022·edited Jul 8, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

I don't understand why we keep referring to a "democratic party" or even to politician "X" or "Y." We keep acting like personal stances matter, as if proclamations from websites or speeches or conventions in any way reflect what a politician or a party will actually do.

There are corporations and the rich. That's it. What they want is, with very few exceptions, what politician X or party Y will do. Words and speeches and bold tweets aside, if we were to objectively review what rich people and corporations were asking for and what the Democrats are or are not doing, there would be a frighteningly strong positive correlation.

We MUST STOP speaking as if there is a legitimate political system in this county. All this effort trying to slowly fill the party with better representatives or to pressure elected officials...it's just the democratic illusion designed to keep our eyes off of the actual people and organizations that determine exactly what will and won't happen. Name the corporations. Call them out. Enter their offices and leave literature for their employees calling out the horrible things their employer does. Make videos and tweets and websites and books about the true role of firms in destroying regulations, in propping up the most racist, anti-science, anti-democratic policies. Protest in front of every store. But for the love of god, let's stop acting like these politicians truly have beliefs that can be swayed. They are little more than talking-point-delivering puppets, pinatas in suits designed to take the heat for policies designed in backrooms and boardrooms across America.

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Jul 8, 2022·edited Jul 8, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

Ian, it's a damned sight harder than what you propose. Books, tweets, websites, shareholder rebellions, lawsuits, demonstrations - all been done repeatedly. But here's the deal - if the Washington Post, the NY Times, the Guardian, Mother Jones, were to stop publishing investigative journalism, and if people don't vote, what do you think happens in November 2022?

Here is the fact: the GOP has spent decades taking state legislatures, state Secretaries of State, state supreme courts. Do you remember Bush v. Gore, and Florida Secretary of State Kathleen Harris, who stopped the vote count in Florida and who was on Bush's campaign committee? If we don't take the secretaries of state offices in Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, what do you think will happen in November 2022? PS that includes state Supreme Court justices as well.

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Well, I absolutely agree that voting still matters and state races matter more than ever. But I do not agree that it's "all been done." Quite the contrary...despite a small handfuls of activists taking steps like this, I see a nation of fearful debt slaves, millions of people who say they'd support stuff like this, but wouldn't dare do it themselves and criticize those who do. I see supposed liberals who know just how corrupt things are, but are so stuck in their ways and committed to their fantasies about how they, personally, do no harm, that they jumped on the critical bandwagon to lambaste Occupy and other movements. I don't think we've come close to the type of effort we need to put the truths of our society front and center to all those who live lives of willful ignorance.

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Ian, do you mean to say you are not aware of organizations, shareholder groups, nonprofits, public interest groups, attorneys, professors, working people, who have for decades worked to expose the corporate CEOs' contributions to candidates and the payoffs they get? You have never seen the work of Buyblue.org, nor of Professor Jack Glaser, nor of the groups working to get CalPERS and NYPERS out of fossil fuels?

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Jul 8, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

I am aware of all of these groups and more. In fact, I am arguing that far more people should join or pay attention to their work, and go much further. I do not believe it is a stretch to say that, relatively speaking, the total number of people working or volunteering for these orgs or who pay attention to their efforts is frustratingly small when compared to the number of people who have no idea they exist or who rarely come across any information they provide. There is an enormous number of people who remain committed to arguing about politicians or attempting to influence what one particular elected official thinks or how they vote. I believe the commitment of many to that strategy has proven to be a complete failure, and that our only hope is to start directing as much energy as possible to calling out those who are funding the collapse of our country and species.

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Great! How would you propose to bring this about?

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Jul 8, 2022·edited Jul 8, 2022

Well, as usual, the answer is....we have to do everything we can with whatever resources and skills we each have. For me, that comes in the form of access to students, so I've been speaking with student leaders and discussing ways to get their groups to focus more on donors behind policies rather than those who ultimately vote for this or that. I've also been working to get independent media outlets better represented on campuses so we can open student eyes to this perspective before they get stuck in their CNN/Fox/WSJ/NYT habits, which are tough to break. I do believe we need to have some type of nation-wide strategy that provides anyone interested with key facts about particular employers so that they can be distributed outside of buildings, snuck into meeting rooms and bathrooms...basically anywhere it can reach employees and customers. We need to have readily available, short summaries of what major firms actually fund to counter the white- and green-washing look-at-us we put a rainbow on our twitter account and we're so woke and BIPOC friendly marketing that companies are doing these days, all while paying for policies that make those and every other issue so much worse.

Open to any and all ideas you may have!

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I agree that most people are completely unaware of groups that are organized for the purpose of exposing those working against the best interest of the middle class. I for one am not aware of any group fitting this criterion, although I thought I was well connected within my community. I have always believed that the only thing that can counter act the power of the powerful one per-cent is a well-organized citizenry. I fully understand that organizing the citizenry is very difficult, but not impossible.

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Ian- absolutely agree! Today "public awareness" is molded by Social Media, owned by, who else, the folks who buy the politicians. Scary times these.

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And same with traditional media. To me, the complete lack of change in media structures and accountability is absolutely frightening. Nothing meaningful was done to ensure that another series of Iraq war lies won't saturate the air waves, or that another Trump run won't involve endless coverage for the sake of profits, with limited challenges to all the bs that will be spewed, lest they anger those they hope to keep interviewing.

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It has worked in other countries to end specific company crimes but you are dead right it should be brought to a country level.

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So one thing that I found fairly interesting was a three part series on PBS Frontline about big oil. The enemy (Big oil) and their lobbyists, especially Koch family ran a postcard campaign and protest with paid protestors against a bill to tax big oil. It worked like a charm because the legislators supposedly did not realize it was a paid campaign and not just their constituents. I think it was Oklahoma but I can’t remember for sure. The legislators were interviewed and were astounded that so many people called their offices. Nowadays, I am hard pressed to find anyone willing to call, email or write their representatives. When I tell them I did and they reply “it doesn’t help”. Although most of them have never done it even once! It has to be a sustained effort on all fronts with numerous people coordinating! It might work then! If elected officials actually thought they could lose then maybe they would do something but they know they won’t because people cannot be bothered to inform themselves. It breaks my heart! Go the PBS and watch the frontline series on Big Oil!

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Absolutely. That's something I find to be incredibly frustrating about progressive laziness. What if this was all a lot simpler than people thought? We see what works! We have plenty of examples of it from just the last 10 years, it's just that the efforts were corporate funded. Show up! Overwhelm town halls! Protest every day outside of offices. Make it impossible for the media and elected officials to ignore you anywhere they go.

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school boards too.

And state elections lead to gerrymandering. That's a longterm strategy that has worked for the GOP.

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Why hasn't gerrymandering been outlawed nationwide,it's an obvious,outrageously unfair attempt by GOP (mostly) to prevail.

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It’s hard not to think of the current political landscape as a Punch-and-Judy puppet show: hapless fall-guy Democrats versus evil, self-serving Republicans, each playing off each other to fundraise and entertain the masses while the puppet master oligarchy continues to pillage and plunder.

Those of us who care get duped into playing whack-a-mole, fighting outrages on dozens of fronts, squandering our energy, money, and our hopefulness while the goal keeps moving further down the road.

Let’s clear away all the obfuscation — it all comes down to wealth and power. Wealth buys power, power begets more wealth. Tax away absurdly excessive concentrations of individual and corporate wealth and watch the country return to some measure of sanity.

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Definitely agree. I think that's one of the reasons why efforts at windfall taxes or increasing taxes on the wealthy are fought so hard...they know that all their doom and gloom predictions will not come to pass. There will be no massive destruction of job creation nor lack of innovation. We'll just have better-funded schools and communities and social services and the wealthy will still remain wealthy beyond comprehension.

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The oligarchs of the world rule. Since we have multinational corporations, many with up to 40% foreign ownership, there is little or no concern for American Democracy or interests. Yet these corporations receive billions in subsidies from our Treasury!

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HENCE: Our taxes.!!! We are the bottom line. Our poor choices in elections based on the binary choices we are offered, we put in place people every year who vote themselves their own raises in income from those very taxes.!!! Need we be reimneded: Citizen United and the effect it has had in exerting influence on our political system? Did not the founding fathers make reference to the need for a free public education to the end of which an educated citizenry will be enabled to make good and proper choices??

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R. S. Not even our choices! Our votes are discounted and 'purged', blocked by inadequate numbers of polling places and all the ways that voting is mismanaged.

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Indeed!! And the incessent use of the fillibuster to OBSTRUCT even a modicum of effort to bring proposals to the floor for disscusion.

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Rebekha Simms ; Yes! like voting rights even!

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Of course, our election system with a neutered F.E.C. is a cruel joke with Electoral College, gerrymandering and all the rest of it like Citizens United unlimited 'speech' in the form of money: taking away the voices of the majority of us who are not wealthy.

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Listen to Richard Wolff podcast. He says the same thing Rebekha says.

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You're right, Laurie. And we should start calling our own 1% oligarchs because that's what they are. Our government gives them a pass and therefore power. Our government doesn't even tax them equitably.

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Suggested Reading : The Puppet Masters By Robert Heinline.

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I love Heinlein! His books have been a wonderful experience for all of my life. My favorite book of all time is "Time Enough For Love".

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I disagree. There is a huge difference between Democrats and Putin bought Republicans.

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Jul 8, 2022·edited Jul 8, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

There are corporate owned Democrats and corporate/Putin owned Republicans. My argument is not that there are zero differences in the parties (the SCOTUS disaster is a painful reminder of that), but that our time and energy is wasted pretending as if the politicians and parties should be our focus. More than anything else, we have to focus on the men and women and banks and trade associations and lobbyists behind the curtain, not the middlemen specifically designed to drain and distract us from who is really in charge.

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Americans should have been voting on issues instead of personalities! When Bernie ran in 2016 he was asked if his hair was a hindrance. He said, "This election is not about hair." But part of the formula for putting people to sleep is to make them focus on the wrong thing, and to make them so stupid that they can't consider issues instead of packaged personas.

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I should have included MAKING PEOPLE SO OVERWORKED that they cannot attend to issues, instead of personas.

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founding

This is a very good point. It is why voters cast their ballots based on personalities, appearance and sound bites. They just don't have time for anything more.

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Oh ok yes I agree but that means overturning Citizens United, which right wing does not want to do since they are motivated by money.

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Definitely. It is so frustrating how, once again, those who were looked at as progressive chicken-littles turned out to be completely correct in terms of how Citizens United played out. Still, I worry that it is so unbelievably useful to those in power that any genuine efforts of Dems to address it will face major pushback.

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So true. I fear we are to far down the rabbit hole. Once people finally see what has happened the fascist will be in charge and Marshall Law will be used for mass murder.

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Dems and Rethuglicans drink from the same poisoned well.

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Agree Cathleen and that's the conundrum. "Who" is behind the masks; and no independent media 'with juice' to call them out. A perfect storm..

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ALL politicians are motivated by money. That's how the system works, unfortunately. Until THAT changes, little else will, imo.

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We go around the politicians.

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Ah, thx Chuck; more truth. That's all another reason to have care when totally demonizing 'all' of those who supported the orange monster; there's a percentage of them who 'believed' that he was exactly that independent 'truth teller', yet blind to the consequences of his actions. Not all mind you, but a good percentage.

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Who wants to save capitalism?

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What do you propose? Man has always been self-centered and greedy. Capitalism is the only economic system that recognizes this and knows that it can only work if the government controls, not eliminates this characteristic. On the other hand, the other economic systems mistakenly believe that man is well gifted with compassion and the characteristic of sharing.

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What about Jon Stewart?

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Who wants to save capitalism? It is an evil system.

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Ian, this is insightful. Thank you.

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right on Ian.

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Wow it seems like u nailed it! But how are we lifelong Dems supposed to respond to this?

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Well said. 100% correct.

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Oh so RIGHT! Finally the means to an end! This is the answer!

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Your comment is spot-on, sir! Corporate puppets, indeed, are the Dems.

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Senise It Appears you have embrace a political bias in your interpretation. The object is not the party but the polititians reguardles of their ilk. Again follw the moneytrail permoted by itizens United and it "marketing "program" thru the misuse of the media.

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I was responding to a comment specifically about Democrats (the subject of the original post), and therefore stated my reply with that focus. It's a given that Republicans, as a party, are a lost cause.

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Pardon my typing errors>>> Im an old woman and my eye site is failing. Perhaps a backlit keyboard would help.

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Distilling the past week or so of what I've been gleaning from these discussions seems to be the disconcerting message: "The Republicans are dying, and the Democrats are doomed." Just sayin'.

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As a woman who has been both upper middle class economically and also living under the poverty line because of a drunk driver, I think the driving force in how non-entrenched voters choose candidates is who is going to sustain their way of life for the privileged and who speaks their minds and hearts for the poor. There is ample evidence what poverty and lack of economic security does to a person's ability to think critically. I have regained economic status by becoming an online therapist. Neither group of wealthy people who run this country cared about when the drunk driver ruined my body and destroyed my financial ability to provide for myself. And neither wealthy group cared while I struggled to recover nor now as I help others as a petmanently disabled senior citizen. From my vantage the Democratic Party is doing what its wealthy, predominantly white members want.

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When you are down in this country, The powers that be pounce on you to finish you off. When the federal government did a major study of bankruptcy, they found the most common cause was a medical emergency. Their fix was to make it harder to declare bankruptcy.

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President Clinton...welfare to work. To "attone" for his loose zipper. To change the narrative. To court voters to the right of him. To win re-election.

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Earl.....you are so right.

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founding

I am so sorry about this, Sabrina. The true measure if a society is how it treats its weakest citizens. As I said to Fred, what happened to you and him could happen to anyone. Sometimes it does, and then they wake up. But not enough. It’s shameful.

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YOU are exactly WHO the Demos need to protect! So sorry you've been marginalized. Sounds as if you've got real "spunk." My best to you, Sabrina. 💖

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after the democrats took over i went fro a middle class income to living in a mobil home

and a low class income

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My wife was disabled by a reckless driver. I am a disabled veteran. It is a tough world for the disabled.

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Hi John, I am sorry to hear this! Yes, it truly is. l do not get the sense the culture of the US has room for us. We have to force our way into things to get our needs met that able bodied people take for granted.

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Sabrina, Thank you for sharing your story and perspective. I have compassion for what you've been through, and I applaud your actions to recover in the ways that you could. I have a parallel experience due to different reasons and I've found that recovering from what happened is not as hard as recovering from an ongoing feeling of "injustice" and betrayal that there were no consequences or change for what they did. We have a deficit of empathy in our country which is leaving people to needlessly languish, or be lost or left by the wayside. If much of our political process has been redesigned to reward those with money or power - and in order to selfishly stay in office (retain power) some people will rationalize that they have to do whatever it takes to get enough $$ - it's the ends justify the means sell your soul to the devil deal.

New Campaign finance reforms would be a start - and things like term limits and elected officials having more transparency for who they get money from, their conflicts of interest disclosures to show who they really serve could be a start to a larger reform. Standards for public office from the Supreme Court to our city councils' would be interesting refreshing to experience.

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Jul 8, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

I think the worst damage to democracy in America was Ronald Reagan's nullification of the Fairness Doctrine. People have been lied to for so long that they can't see the truth anymore. And they are so attached to their convictions that they would rather kill than give them up. Ask any of us old yellow dog democrats - it all started with Reagan.

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Let us not forget the fertile ground Eisenhower left for Reagan.

*The National Prayer Breakfast

* One nation UNDER GOD

* In God We Trust

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* And the precient warning to not allow the Military-Indudtrial Comple to become involved with our governmental processes??

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founding

Yes. He made greed respectable. Disgusting.

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I am driven to bring back something like the Fairness Doctrine. Imagine a structure that demand fairness and equality. We need it badly and created in a way that includes social media and all TV.

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Jul 8, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

The last thing this country needs is a bombastic big mouth like the last guy, however we do need a strong voice that is committed to helping the working class. President Biden is a strong union supporter and has consistently shown that, but many workers have no unions to protect them, they depend on policies that provide them with a fair playing field. I'e watched so many administrations come and go over the decades and few of them have addressed many of the workers needs, except Robert Reich who saw the danger ahead and gave a stark warning. Too bad they didn't listen. We better pay attention now, if we lose the House and/or Senate in November, there's no second chance to save democracy as we know it.

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founding

Thank goodness some courageous people are forming unions. I hope this becomes a big movement. It’s the first time it’s happened in decades.

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With the recent SCOTUS decisions, kiss employee rights goodbye.

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founding

I’m looking forward to the day when these illegitimate poseurs are taken down and the real constitution is restored. Their behavior is beyond criminal.

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Biden is only a “strong union supporter” in words. Yeah, he’ll make supportive noises but then nothing. He let the PRO act die on the floor within Build Back Better without a fight. If it wasn’t Manchin it would’ve been someone else, as there always is. The cheek of them telling voters “Vote Blue in November or Roe v Wade won’t get codified.” Pffft Yeah pull the other one.

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The Democrat disease may be fatal. Dems lost the working class. That is a disaster.

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founding

I think that’s what Robert is saying. The solution is to offer them good jobs and benefits and strengthen unions as well as to bring jobs back. The last will be particularly difficult but has to be thought out and done. BTW, I do have an idea about that. It seems to me that there is a need for tradespeople like carpenters, plasterers, iron workers, etc. How about retraining factory workers who’ve lost their jobs to do much needed work like that? It pays well.

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We could also train workers in dying industries like coal and oil in new industries like green tech.

The coal workers in WV don't want to mine coal and get sick; they WANT to be retrained in clean energy.

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founding

Yes, great ideas!

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Also,offer some jobs to align with the Infrastrusture money to immigrants,they might be thrilled to learn a trade and make good money to support themselves and their family.

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founding

Great idea!

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Bain Capital. Sen. Mitt Romney.

Many US based factories closed. Sold. Good paying, union jobs gone. Check out ""American Factory" documentary.

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Jul 8, 2022·edited Jul 8, 2022

This comment is not at all helpful. I suspect you are a Republican trying to create reality from perception.

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Liz....you are so wrong. Face reality! Dems lost working class years ago. I am a socialist. What are you? You sound like sorry establishment democrat who has no idea of what is going on in working class America.

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author

Elizabeth and John, Huge thanks to you both for your trenchant comments, but please do refrain from ad hominem charges.

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I disagree. Hillary won the popular vote by 3 million. Biden by 8 million. The only way the Republicans have won is by cheating. George Bush against Gore was bullshit. Trump against Hillary was a weird electoral college manipulation of voting machines by the Russians.

To the extent somecworking class white males vote Republican due to racism, they do so counter to their own economic self interests.

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But the working class still votes for Trumpers because Dems forsake them years ago. In my state working class means the same as poverty. No unions, no decent pay, no safety net. If you think Hillary is the answer you just don't get it. She took millions from Wall Street and big oil. How can you justify that?

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She is a warmongering piece of shit. Part of the 5 Elite Families, who's only interest is Power!

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I think Elizabeth is merely pointing out that we did elect Hillary Clinton. In fact the last 6 out of 7 Democrats running in presidential elections WON the popular vote but were cheated out of it by a system that could be used against the will of the people. Electoral College.

You think we’re better off with Trump over Clinton? BS!

I’d like a progressive candidate but we would not be where we are if the people who voted had their votes count!

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Elizabeth, I agree. The rural Dems ended up voting for racism and nationalism. It isn’t just that the Democrats abandoned the workers. These people are attracted to segregation. They are as much to blame for their own willful ignorance.

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I agree also, Elizabeth. Economics has little or nothing to do with it. They hear the dog whistle to a racists' collective subconscious.

They don't care whether they lose their Social Security, Medicare, Black Lung as log as they can hurt "the other."

Seeking Reason is right. States like Wyoming and the Dakotas have fewer people than metropolitan New York or LA but control the Senate. That's not fair. The Electoral College is outmoded.

I fear the “independent state legislature doctrine,” which asserts that state legislatures have almost absolute power to set their own rules for federal elections, will sink democracy. See Moore v. Harper, a challenge to North Carolina’s new congressional map. https://www.businessinsider.com/what-is-moore-v-harper-supreme-court-case-voting-rights-2022-7

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I understand the working class being disillusioned by the Democratic Party we know today. I however can’t for the life of me figure out how they see Republicans as the better option, (the lesser evil if you will) especially since Trump. Who is nothing more than a semi rich con man pretending to care about the working class (and the religious) when in reality he cares about no one except himself.

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The working class are often socially conservative. When the democrats offered economic help, that trumped social issues. Now many vote right for socially conservative policies and economic HOPE (false maybe, but hope nonentheless)

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I understand what you mean, but this isn’t what the modern Republican Party under Trump has done, I mean one needs to look no further than the fact that the main benefactors of his 2017 tax cuts were the wealthiest Americans, certainly not the working class.

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Thank you for your comment. Trump offered (false) hope and opposition to the establishment. Neither party did much at all for the working class.

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That’s true. I still don’t see how anyone in the working class could view Trump as “one of them” he’s not and never has been.

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For Trump and working class, it is the establishment keeping them poor, so draining the swamp is superficially attractive to both. Trump did not detail that he would make changes to suit him.

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To some extent yes, but some at least care enough to not try to destroy the very foundation that the country was built upon.

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I agree. Except it is more then just two tiers. Those of us who are disabled, unable to engage in substantial work , are treated even worse.

We are told that it is our fault that we are the way we are.

#hurtsmyheart

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founding

It isn’t your fault, Fred. There but for fortune go the lucky.

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I’m sorry you are made to feel that way! It breaks my heart. What happened to our compassion as a country? It’s so sad but Trump made it okay to make fun of disabled people or to abuse anyone who was already down and out. The way we treat the disabled. Poor, homeless, Immigrants in our country makes me ill.

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If you are poor, you just didn’t try. If you get sick, just say bye-bye.

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Professor Reich, I know you want to save capitalism, but I'm not sure why. Everything you describe here is a natural consequence of a capitalist economic system. I audited your most recent Wealth and Poverty class, and I think the distinction you made there between stake-holder and share-holder capitalism is an important one, but it doesn't go far enough. The fact that we once enjoyed stake-holder capitalism in this country, but that it was transformed into share-holder capitalism should be evidence enough that capitalism always moves in the direction of enriching the already-rich and impoverishing the already-poor. We DO need a working-class movement in this country, but as long as it exists within the limits of capitalism it won't go far enough.

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Disagree. We don't having working capitalism in the US, because the wealthiest do not pay their taxes. Progressive taxation is a core feature of Smithian capitalism. When the wealthy are taxed, they have less power to distort the market upon which capitalism depends. There is also money for roads, bridges, education and healthcare for all citizens. When the wealthy are not taxed, they have the wealth and power to reduce their taxes further, and the result is....this mess we find ourselves in, with generally poor healthcare, generally poor education, and crumbling infrastructure.

AOC is right about one thing: Tax...The...Rich. Add in "Medicare For All Who Want It," and you have a winning ticket for any future Democratic platform. 80% of Americans approve.

In 1945, Winston Churchill was up for re-election. WWII was over, Churchill was at his political zenith. Everyone assumed he would win. It was obvious. When the Labour Party sat down to write a manifesto, it was doom and gloom. Then some bright spark said "Since we're going to lose the election anyway, why don't we say what we really want , instead of tacking to the Center, as we always do." The centerpiece of the Labour platform became "Tax the Rich, and Healthcare for All." Famously, Labour beat Churchill in a landslide.

Oh, BTW, Bernie and AOC, please stop saying "Medicare for All." It makes me cringe, 64% of Americans don't want it. Just tack on those three little words "....Who Want It."

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founding

Just curious, why don’t people want it? Is it the association with geezers? For me Medicare has been a godsend. Until I was able to get it I was spending a fortune on insurance I rarely used. Blue Cross has made a killing on me because I was self-employed and paid astronomical rates. Do you think people don’t understand what Medicare really does?

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Hi Paula, a lot of people don't understand the whole medical coverage. First and foremost, Insurance Companies don't give a damn about the state of your health, they care abut profits and profits only. Second in any country with which I am familiar (essentially Canada and Great Britain) National Health works ok when you are young and healthy, but as we get older our health generally deteriorates (yes, I know most of this is self inflicted by our life styles, but that doesn't help) So, most of my relatives in Canada had to have secondary private insurance to help cover such things as chronic heart disease, arthritis, and other infirmities of old age. I am very fortunate that here in California I have been a member of a Health Maintenance Organization since 1965. And, I taught school in a district in which our Union (of which I sat on the Board of Directors) had been wise enough to bargain for Medical Insurance coverage after retirement. So, although I had to apply for Medicare at age 65, like everyone else, I've enjoyed low cost, high quality. health care for life. For those of you unfamiliar with this Health MAINTENANCE Organization it is not to be confused with a Health Management Organization. The difference is Maintenance means annual health evaluation, recommended classes to teach self care. All lab tests your personal physician needs to evaluate your condition. Health Maintenance Organizations are owned by the physicians - not shareholders - so Health is their main concern, not the bottom line as in Health Management Organizations. If the Federal Government had an ounce of sense, they'd assist in the formation of Health Maintenance Organizations nationwide. Of course, the Insurance Companies would go nuts, Health Management Organizations are very lucrative business's along with auto and home owners insurance, and they would probably lose billions in profit.

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founding

I know what you mean about teachers’ healthcare, Fay. My mother, who taught in LAUSD, has it. I wasn’t aware of the Canadian and British situations though, even though my husband is English and his sister lives in Canada. I’ll ask them about what you said. We really do need to help people stay healthy. In my experience doctors do very little of that and almost no outreach, which you’d think would be a no-brainer. Sometimes they badger you to get your screenings but to me that isn’t health maintenance—it’s revenue for them and largely unnecessary anxiety for patients. (Obviously sometimes it’s helpful. I know that from personal experience that I won’t go into. But a lot of it is just unnecessarily intrusive.)

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I've found just the opposite. My primary care doctor phoned to ask how I was doing when my husband died. Another called me to ask if I needed anything when I was traveling for business all the time.

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founding

That’s wonderful! So when you say you have a health maintenance organization, which one is it? I should investigate.

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Yeah. I think it's a combination of a lack of education about it, combined with the Law of Psychological Inertia. Most people don't like change. If they're happy with their employer-based insurance, they want to keep it. You were not happy with your insurance.

Democrats are always saying "80% of Americans want MFA," which is true if you only ask the question "Do you want Medicare-for-all?" But if you ask the follow-up question "By the way, you do understand that you too will have Medicare?" support drops to 36%. The way we think this can be rationalized is that when Americans hear MFA, they think universal healthcare.

No, MFA is a real vote loser. Imagine how many Republicans ads will feature husbands and wives at the kitchen table, poring over their bills, wondering how they can cope with inflation, and the wife says "And now Joe Biden wants government control of our healthcare. That's socialism!" End of healthcare reform.

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founding

Are you saying that people don’t like the idea of universal healthcare? If that’s so, what do they want, keeping in mind that not everyone has an employer.

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Honestly, I don't think they like the term universal healthcare nor medicare for all. Our society is selfish and always worried about other people getting free healthcare, essentially they want it but don't want it to benefit anyone else.

IMHO, I think it needs to be marketed as "self-healthcare" and taking the control out of your employers hands. "Tired of being stuck in a job you hate because your employer funds your healthcare ... get self-healthcare and take back control. " "Self-healthcare for the independent worker who wants their boss to MYOB"

If it's marketed right, then it will easily sway over the soundbite community

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founding

People really are unbelievable. If they’d just get a life and leave other people alone we’d all be better off.

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No, the opposite. We think that the polls mean that 80% of Americans want universal healthcare - you know, the decent Americans. There are 20% who don't want it because they are quite happy with what they have and don't want anyone else to have it - you know, the meanie Americans. But of the 80% who want all Americans to have decent healthcare, only 36% want Medicare for themselves. That's why MFA is a vote loser. With "MFA Who Want It" you can keep the 80% on board with healthcare reform.

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I think you are entirely off track.

The biggest benefactors of Medicare for all would be the big companies. They can shift the burden of fringe benefits to the taxpaying population. Same for unions.

It's crazy that they have been the main reason it hasn't become law.

If accompanied with elimination of the collateral benefits rule, the cost of virtually all insurance, personal injury, workers' compensation, malpractice, etc. would drop propitiously.

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Trued to "heart" Paula B.

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We don't have Smithian capitalism because there's no such thing, except in theory. As Professor Reich has pointed out, the free market is a myth. All markets are created by governments which establish the rules under which they operate. As soon as we acknowledge that, we have to acknowledge that many of Smith's ideas are utopian.

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Have to disagree with you again. Smith foresaw the power of capital to distort the free market, and this is why he wanted progressive taxation - to curb the power of the rich - and strong government to collect and distribute those taxes into things that capitalist is not interested in, but that the people have a lot of interest in: roads, bridges, canals, education, etc.

You may call it utopian, but we had, I think, a Smithian economy between 1948 and 1980 in America: taxes were high, educational standards were high, the middle class was the richest middle class in any country in history. Then came Goldwater, Reagan and Friedman, who all said government is the problem, then proceeded to slash taxes on the wealthy and on corporations. End of Smith.

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founding

I think the problem here is cultural, Michael. We did have progressive taxation and it worked very well but now everyone wants to be a billionaire and thinks they will be. Reagan did that. There’s a real stigma about leveling the playing field thanks to him. We have to fix that, which in a country that was founded on greed will be difficult to do.

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Hmmm, I've heard this argument before, but if you look at the polls, 80% of Americans want higher taxes on the wealthy. I think the billionaire wannabes are adolescent - a small minority...

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founding

I hope you’re right.

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But my point, Michael, was that the free market can't be "distorted" by capital because there's no such thing as a free market to begin with. And I think the fact that the US no longer enjoys what you call a "Smithian" economy is evidence of capital's ability to create the conditions that most favor the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few. However, given the system we have, I agree that more aggressively progressive taxation is one step that we could take to address the inherent imbalances of capitalism.

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I lived those times. You’re right.

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You're selling a product. Medicare is not soup.

Healthcare is a right.

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founding

Yes!

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Shame on Biden for continuing to invite Manchin and Sinema for White House meetings when he should have been KICKING THEIR ASSES for obstructing so much legislation that would help the working class. And NOBODY has done enough to counter the reckless corruption spewing out of the Supremely Useless Court.

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founding

I was just thinking about Lyndon Johnson and what he’d do in this situation. He was an asshole but we sure could use him now.

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Like the old saying goes (paraphrase): "He may've been an asshole, but he was >our< asshole!"

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Paula, I am in complete agreement, LBJ, was a bully, lacking in public manners, but very successful in leadership, (as long as it didn't involve a war). He was single-handedly responsible for Medicare (and by default Medicaid) the Voting Rights Act, and Civil Rights Act. So, yes a more civil LBJ would be a boon right now.

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Robert: I agree with you except your mild-mannered words describing repubs as "authoritarian populism" is soooo out of whack with their policies of pushing guns into everyone's hands, US's growing prison population and the growing white male racist, misogynistic groups: This is FASCISM!

The "F" word must be stressed!! Fascism!! America is on the verge of being taken over by a rw fascistic police state!!!!

You are so brilliant, so why aren't you seeing this?????!

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In the 54 years I've been paying attention, one thing I've noticed is that whenever Democratic candidates attempt to appear more "centerist" in order to woo moderate Republican voters, it turns out that in most cases they fail. When faced with the choice between a real Republican or a Democrat trying to sound like a Republican to gain their vote, Republican voters will chose their candidate 9 times out of 10. The fallacy of the "moderate" Republican should be dispelled.

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founding

Yes, the risk of appearing to "pander" to voters is real: Al Gore's advisors may have cost him the election in 2000 by over-coaching his debate performances!

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Democrats do not need to seem more moderate; they need to show and sell that the left is mostly pretty moderate. We can win over more voters by explaining how what we do works. Check out this short video: www.votereducationproject.com/hbuew

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Democrats fight for the policies and investments that work for everyone including the working class. But Democrats have never explained how what they do works. People understanding a few simple fundamentals driving our economy will make them more BS proofed against the constant and decades long misinformation campaign from the GOP. Democrats say that trickle-down does not work and bottom-up economics works, but do not explain how. They point to evidence of both, but a deeper understanding comes from understanding the processes at work. Here is a short video with the fundamentals that explain how and why bottom-up economics works and how and why trickle-down does not work. All voters need to understand these few principles driving our economy to vote for those candidates and office holders that are on the right side of the fundamentals and against those that are not. Adding these messages to the national conversation can only help win back more working-class voters and others that should be voting for Democrats. www.votereducationproject.com/hbuew

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Democrats are lousy at messenging. You’re right Karl, the messages need explaining and often it’s not complicated.

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My video could use a little polishing and a professional voice over, but the basic messages are there. The messages need to be sliced and diced in different formats but somehow, we need them introduced into the national debate. I am introducing a perspective and some terms that simplify and highlight the most important economic drivers, while connecting and relating them to concepts people already understand. What are your thoughts?

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They say these things to keep people in the dark so they don't see the criminals they really are. Example Pulossi's remark to Insider trading (remember they put Martha Stewart in prison for this!) well it's OK for them to do it.

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CRAM IT DOWN OUR THROATS!!!! MONEY! MONEY! MONEY! Everything you spoke of has its root in money, more money. MONEY defines our culture, our values, our mores. There is no ideal of morality to sustain our culture. There is no ideal of America and equality to sustain our culture. We have tried and failed to sustain a culture of MONEY!!! Capitalism and MONEY are a snake that has eaten its own tail. Capital was freed up by the government because companies were not producing enough gross profit to allow organic growth. The quickest way to improve gross profit was to cut labor costs. That started the race to inequality, fewer dollars for consumers to spend, less demand for a new factory! What's a corporation, a capitalist to do with all that cheap capital? Remember, capital seeks the greatest return with the least cost. The answer, buy market share or, even better, buy back stock. The corporations we hate are just operating in the system we have given them to operate. "IT'S THE SYSTEM STUPID" The root of all of this rests with gross profit dollars and its function as a percent of sales. Inequality and consolidation are the result of capitalism doing what it is naturally inclined to do.

Russia and the Republicans know this, and they know the next step has usually been autocracy. This is not an economist speaking. It is an idiot who has owned his own business for forty years and has observed what has happened in an industry. Easy on me, Dr Reich.

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Yes, our system and corporate governance laws where there is shareholder primacy and a focus on quarter-to-quarter profit means corporations are encouraged and required to behave in the ways they do. We need to change corporate governance where corporations would be accountable to all stakeholders instead of just shareholders especially in certain industries like medical, pharmaceutical, energy, and food related industries. Our current form of capitalism is unsustainable as it concentrates wealth and uses the wealth for undue influence over media, politics, and governance. There are a range of reforms needed to correct, mitigate, or counterbalance these problems.

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We have a wound of a thousand cuts and the blood is flowing to autocracy. There is not one simple answer. Political Band-Aids no longer work. You are correct.

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Welcome to the wonderful world of the republican mantra: If enough is good, more MUST be better.

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founding

I’m sure you’re not an idiot, David.

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When one has been in business for forty years, you have made enough mistakes to earn the title of idiot. That said I have been married 44 years, put two kids through college, and am somewhat comfortably retired. I'm a lucky idiot. (:

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founding

We all make mistakes. I guess then we’re all idiots. 😀

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Joe Biden came into office with plans to improve the lot of the middle class, and Minchin and company would not allow that to happen. His plans were torpedoed by his own party. Don't blame Joe! I believe he is sincere, and frustrated by the action or these DINOs!

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Robert - Thank you for one of your best columns.

I have been a progressive Democrat since 1972, and the decline in Democratic principles saddens me. I hope that the young will seize this opportunity to reorient the party.

Instead of Independence Day, we should celebrate an Interdependence Day. We only succeed when we work together to build strong, inclusive communities that make the most of what each of us can contribute.

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Jul 8, 2022·edited Jul 8, 2022

Biden and Democrats are coming into focus for who they truly are. The republicans have shed their sheep clothing and are full out at war with our country. They are the wolves in plain sight. They have their middle finger up for any opportunity for bipartisanship. It’s obvious. There’s no negotiation unless you’re in Biden’s fantasy head. Republicans are ripping our throats out and Biden’s leadership is to whine and say “Go Vote “ There are too many things he could do to mention. Expanding Supreme Court for just one. I’m sure Biden is smarter than me so what’s up. A Republican Party wears their corporate employee status with great pride and tells us to go to hell. Biden and the Democrats are not that honest. I believe they also are employees of corporate America. It’s a sick game. Money first. The people need to understand the seriousness of our situation and revolution is the only option. This is not an intellectual exercise. Take back our Government is our only solution and understand anything less your a pacifist living in denial. Maybe time for our own insurrection only get rid of all of them. If you think this is radical then wait till you see what is coming with our inaction

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