“Civics”

While sorting out the goals and needs of People’s Economics, one thing stands out: how do we wind up with some general agreement on the system(s) of our world?  That’s where this piece, first run two years ago, comes in.  

Driving down the interstate, your safe travel and even your life depends a lot on the competence of many other people. Sure, there is a body of law and court precedent and paid agreements with insurance companies that enforces the basic codes of decency and safety. But in the end it really comes down to the skill and attention of comrades in gasoline and steel being at their best not just casually but constantly.

Of course this fails from time to time, but considering how much time people spend behind the wheel it’s amazingly seamless and simple. The system largely works – we all get there nearly all the time. We depend on each other to not be stupid and the vast majority of the time it comes together.

This basic lesson in civics is a good place to start as the nation unravels into some kind of dark hole that frankly promises to only become darker with time. It’s a thought experiment, a self-taught lesson worth thinking through by malcontents and eggheads alike, by both those in power and those in pain.

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Post -Election Clarity

The election is over. The results will still take a lot of sifting through before we know exactly what has happened, but we do know that both parties have a stake in government now. Democrats took the US House, several legislative chambers, and six Governors offices. Republicans held, and even strengthened, their grip on the Senate.

This is going to be gridlock. But for Democrats, there is a very clear way forward that will point to a successful 2020 and beyond – possibly for a whole generation. It’s a matter of growing leadership and strengthening the position of problem solvers who work for the people of this nation.

I will get back to defining People’s Economics shortly.  It only matters more after this.

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Mid-Term Entrenchment

Electino Day is 6 November. There is likely to be a ‘blue wave” that will change the US House and many statehouses to Democratic control, but the Senate is not likely to change. The net result is almost certainly going to be entrenchment and gridlock, meaning that nothing is going to be done for the next two years.

It’s important to take a break from the description of People’s Economics to consider why this is likely the case, and why the repudiation of Trump will not be complete. The short answer is that while America would like to move ahead in a different direction, it simply has not been properly defined.

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Trade Deficits – Bad?

The nearly permanent US trade deficit is getting a lot of attention. Surely, it’s a bad thing to send so much money outside the US when it could be providing jobs to American workers, yes? The problem largely goes without saying, and is never actually discussed.

But are trade deficits really that bad? As with most things in economics, the short answer is no but the long answer is yes. Let’s discuss.

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Fighting Back?

Difficult time appear to cal for action, but they demand first and foremost character and judgment. Unfortunately, Sen Elizabeth Warren failed spectacularly at demonstrating both.

Her desire to take a new approach to countering bullying and nonsense in public discourse is understandable, but it takes a lot more than a cute gimmick. Worse, her inability to navigate the delicate issues of race and identity have demonstrated that Democratic leadership is still generally clueless about this topic and will continue to only make things worse.

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Destruction, Creative or ???

In the area of foreign policy, is Trump just plain crazy, or crazy like a fox? Is this random flailing bent on isolating America, or is it creative destruction which tears up the old deal before dictating a new one?

Everyone in America has their opinion now. But so, too, do the leaders of foreign nations who have to deal with it. Europe seems to think that Trump is an idiot for smashing the old alliances, and that’s understandable. China, on the other hand, is much more wary that they are dealing with a more serious and permanent change.

There are very good reasons for this.

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Ya Gotta Laugh …

There’s no way we’re gonna get through this without a few old-fashioned political jokes. It doesn’t matter what “it” is or what “getting through it” looks like to you. We gotta laugh. So I’ll start it off:

How many bloggers does it take to change a lightbulb? Um, whoever said that bloggers actually do something useful?

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