As I see Baker’s transition team start to come together, it is striking to me how many business executives he is filling his inner circle with. We all knew that Baker is in the pocket of big business. Why didn’t we run on it?
The Massachusetts Democratic Party ran a huge campaign about “Big Dig Baker”. Frankley, voters don’t give a crap about that. They care about the issues, particularly the economy. Elizabeth Warren ran and won on a message of economic populism. Coakley and the Massachusetts Democratic Party? Not so much. By turning Baker’s business credentials into a negative, we could have pushed the fact that Baker is beholden to corporate interests at the expense of the little guy. We could have tied Charlie to the failed policies of Trickle-down economics. Why was both the Party and the Coakley Campaign so focused on trivial attacks?
Going forward we have a chance to right this wrong. We need broader issue based messaging that paints a whole picture about the differences between Democrats and Republican policies. That didn’t happen this time around, and the blame doesn’t just lie with Coakley. Let’s figure out what went wrong so we can improve our ground game and fight for a progressive vision of the future.
Tom Joad built this country and its wealth, not John Galt.
Why not build messaging around the fact that the real “job creators” are the people who spend money to buy things? The more that governmental policies look out for people so that they can not only have jobs but those that pay well, the better off the entire economy becomes.
Not diminishing the role of the worker in building this country, but the 19th and early 20th century industrialists had the ideas, assembled the corporations, obtained the financing and industry and national infrastructure resulted. It’s capitalism.
A hundred years before that our own country was founded by business people who thought they would prosper more without the Crown. Some studies have shown that George Washington was perhaps one of the richest men in the country at the time. Without them we’d be South Canada.
So far Baker has appointed a college COO, a State Rep small business owner and a City manager to cabinet posts. Hardly indicative of a government run by business interests.
Take away the public roads, the people educated in public schools, and Henry Ford’s Model T is worthless. Wealth comes from strong, educated, healthy, prosperous communities.
as were the canals and railroads.
The car drove the creation of real roads in this country not the other way around.
How long did that take?
AAA was formed to document decent roads so that people could take trips. They also advocated for more roads. You get some sense of this in the PBS series mentioned below. The abundance of cars created the demand for more roads.
And that’s the point. And that’s what’s missing in the “Praise the Job Creator” rhetoric. Both are needed. Simply having “wealthy people” and waiting for their largess to flow or trickle down to us common folk never turns out well and never will.
No matter how many cars there are, it is still the government who funds there construction. I question how Baker can cut revenues and continue to build roads. Sure, capitalism plays a role in our society. The problem is when it comes at the expense of the wellbeing of the public.
I would suggest that it was the Model T that stimulated the demand for roads.
Baker’s not even in office yet so we’ll have to see what budget ideas he proposes when the time comes.
“it is still the government who funds there construction”.
With money it gathers from productive taxpayers, like corporations.
Ford paid living wages and kept his production in his community in Michigan. Ford built American cars for American workers in American factories and communities. Baker won Outsourcer if the Year and his 2010 platform bragged about all the workers he planned to fire. Union busting Ford was a friend of the worker compared to Baker.
I’m only responding to
and I don’t care much for Ayn Rand so it’s not about that part either.
I’d just thought I’d mention that George Washington owned most of his wealth in slaves.
We didn’t have ginormous cooperations we have today when the nation was founded. Just because our countries founders were wealthy in the past doesn’t change the moral delema we face today. We live in a different era, and at this point in time, the interests of Big Business tend to cloud out the little guy. A better analogy would be the period before the Progressive Movement in the early 1900s
about how large an impact (and therefore proportion of the wealth) that slavery had to the Southern economy. It was much more that previously thought.
Mark L. Bail says
workers and capitalists in terms of production in the 19th and early 20th century. A capitalist system seems to require both.
It’s the balance that has gotten out of whack. At the beginning of the last century, there was a war on workers and workers waged a war on capital back. They had strength in numbers. Those numbers have dwindled, and workers in general don’t realize the extent to which they’ve retreated in the last 40 years or so.
Bob Neer says
Our laws and working arrangements are national, but the labor market is global in many respects, and many corporations are also global. Democracy is suffering as a result.
I’m tired of “globalization” being the accepted rationale for low wages and the continued hammering (with kudos to Senator Warren) of the middle class in the USA.
Denmark is on the globe as is Canada and other nations where workers get decent wages, health care, and more.
Japan is on the globe and there CEO’s make a fraction of what our CEO’s make in the USA.
Excuse my rant, please, but globalization is just a way of saying that one supports public policy where working class has to compete with the lowest common denominator while our wealthy class is exempt because “this is America and we’re different”.
There, I fixed it. They’re all happy now.
One example is that the US is one giant unified market. It makes sense for a manufacturer in a low wage/low regulation country to target the US markets. Heck, you see packages now with English/French/Spanish labeling and you’ve hit the entire continent. Now think about what it takes to sell in Denmark and what your return on investment would be- maybe you’d just leave the Danish market to the locals.
This is one one component of the complexity, though many business people from other countries have cited this as the reason that people want to sell here- one unified market. Add in a fair legal system, reasonable regulation compared to other countries, great transportation, big box store distribution etc etc and you can see where this leads.
Yes, which equates to “it means labor gets screwed in the USA and the non developed nations of the world” while in the developed nations, it means they care more for their entire population, not just the few who benefit from such injustice.
But for example, in many European countries there are restrictions on weekend shopping. Why? So workers don’t have to work them. Who is inconvenienced? Shoppers, who are actually other workers. We used to have blue laws in MA (when I first arrived here in 1982). No malls open. No grocery stores. No liquor. Everyone hated them.
For many years large scale retailers were not allowed in some countries, driving up prices. Who benefits and who loses from that?
Japan is the classic example, preserving lots of jobs by forcing (through law) convoluted distribution systems.
There’s a similar (though rarer) system here in MA- did you know if you start your own microbrewery that you would be barred from selling directly to liquor stores? You must use a distributor.
Peter Porcupine says
By exporting manufacturing capacity, we are actually exporting the attendant pollution to other less developed countries. the whole Woburn ‘Civil Action’ scenario is being replayed ad infinitum around the world to benefit us.
And I am genuinely asking, you honestly seem like someone who recognizes the problem and has a moderate/center right perspective that could enable a proactive solution.
I am willing to die on the hill of resurrecting the New Deal consensus and rebuilding the economy we had in the 1950s, but that strategy has kept unions irrelevant for the last three decades and doesn’t seem to be one that will be effective from a policy implementation or political marketing standpoint-even if Sanders or Warren are considerably more mainstream today than they would’ve been in the 80s or 90s. The neoliberal globalization genie is still well out of the bag, and it will prove difficult to put it back in.
Basic income seems like a more sensible and implementable policy solution, it alters the distribution of profit but not the means of production, but one that has long been opposed by the people it would benefit most. I know Douthat and Seilem <3 EITC and would expand it, but it seems that Brazilian conditional cash transfers are more efficient.
… that this is deliberate?
I would certainly agree that this is a side effect of trying to do things as cheaply as possible but I’m not willing to suggest that somebody deliberately wants to pollute in extremis and is actively searching for ways to make the worlds air dirtier.
It’s also of interest that you make note of “a Civil Action” as that involves pollution by a tannery (that is a processor of leather goods). Leather goods have been manufactured world-wide since well before America was America. Maybe the chemicals used have been refined but that general processes of tanning have been imported to America and not the other way around. I’m not an expert on tanning hides but I believe that it can be done with a minimum of electricity. One of the biggest drivers of pollution is electricity demand driving coal fired plants. The other very large driver of pollution is, well, drivers… of automobiles.
Peter Porcupine says
This is indeed a process going back millennia but the gross byproduct was less then. It was ALWAYS gross, but I mean the amount produced by a tannery. Leather was a luxury good not available to many; shoes were often just rags tied around feet. Even at the start of WWI, there were many rural recruits who did not wear shoes regularly and didn’t like them much – the whole ‘throw him down on his back to but shoes on him’ jokes. The idea of having MANY shoes, or shoes that fit, or shoes that weren’t mended is a late 20th century conceit. And it was made possible by the exponential increase of leather good in general, generating far more polluting waste than an early tanner could have dreamed of; it also became more chemical (and less animal turd) based at the same time. So the electricity portion of the program was the least of it.
Next – it is not deliberate, it is merely possible. Other countries want the production to feed their population, and don’t care about the pollution. Let alone taxes, OSHA regulations, limited work hours, minimum wage, insurance and product liability – all the happy stuff that is piled upon US manufacturing in the name of protection. The cost of shipping the finished goods here is vastly less than the differential in cost to manufacture here after factoring in business regulations. It’s not an accident that iPads are made by economic slaves – who are considered fortunate by their neighbors as they earn money at all.
The question “what are people supposed to do for work?” is truly not being answered by anyone, assuming by work you mean providing a reasonable wage and one that is proportional to the amount of time and money (educational costs) needed to get there. If one eliminated inter-generational fund transfers the issue would be more stark.
I think the workforce is even losing that beyond what traditionally has been called middle class. If you are not funded by parents and borrow your way through college and law or medical school, and end up a pediatrician or an average lawyer, it’s going to take you a long time to recover both the real and opportunity costs.
That doesn’t seem right, and I’m not even talking fairness. If all sorts of careers don’t make economic sense, what’s going to happen then?
It is one few policymakers in either party are addressing, and certainly one few economists on your side (center to the right if I might presume) of the aisle have yet to really ask, let alone, address with a concrete solution. Warren is offering a solution-tighter regulations that force companies to play by the rules, that return us to traditional ‘small c’ conservative banking principles, and that create an economy where living wages and made in America can be ensured again.
Yet with Pandora’s Box of globalization out of the bag, it seems difficult for her solutions to be workable on the scale required to solve the problem. I see problem avoidance and sunny rhetoric on the other side-though I would be interested to see what a center-right economist would offer as a solution.Most seem to involve wage insurance and subsidization through tax incentives like expanding EITC, which doesn’t seem palatable to their base or the business class.
Wasn’t there quite the flap about him accepting an award for being outsourcer of the year?
There was a minor kerfulffle when a bold, progressive female Massachusetts politician pointed this out. Of course, that person was not Martha Coakley, so it didn’t go too far. I don’t remember lots of ads and speeches.
Warren did more for Coakley in that last week than Coakley did for Coakley.
The saddest thing is, as deplorable as her record was as AG, she really did go after bankers on bad foreclosures and mortgages. It would’ve actually been easier for Coakley to cut this kind of ad than it was for Sen. Franken, but, instead I got a lot of stuff about war on women and breaking the glass ceiling. Stuff totally irrelevant to Massachusetts, in my opinion, certainly to all the independent voters who opted for Baker and the Democrats who stayed home.
Peter Porcupine says
It was a superPAC ad with Charlie in a tuxedo with a top hat. No monocle.
Rachael Maddow et al got very excited when a photo was found of Baker accepting an award for outsourcing in a tuxedo. But the ad was dark and faux-sinister and cartoon-y, making him look like The Penguin. The ad kind of destroyed the impact of the photo, IMO.
Ad or no ad, the fact remains economic populism was not a key part of the debate in this election. Showing a picture of Baker in a tux is hardly a substantial debate.
Peter Porcupine says
Twice. Not once. Twice. Were you, perhaps, unconscious the entire time? Comatose? Kidnapped? Out of the country? Off the planet? Mayhap you took halloween a wee bit too seriously and method acted your way into another, more blissfully unaware, character? Hmm?
Twice. In the last ten days of the campaign… That’s how many times I saw Martha Coakley make Charlie Baker squirm in person, on TV, during a debate ON THIS VERY QUESTION. One more than the number of times EW brought up the issue. There are a few debates I did not see, but in which, I’m given to understand, she similarly pressed the issue. And squirm he did.
Several times she asked him point blank why he outsourced jobs, to his face. No ads. No surrogates. No passive aggressive SuperPAC filtration. Straight up MC pressing the point home while CB nearly visibly panicked. She made repeated reference to his salary. She asked him, many many times, why he didn’t release his employment contract with General Catalyst and put, immediately, to bed the question of ‘pay-to-play’. She took the game to him again and again. You’d have to ask the Globe and the Herald why these moves didn’t get the traction… but that doesn’t mean she didn’t bring it.
I’m forcefully reminded of the old joke about Republicans witnessing Obama treading upon the water whereupon they accuse him of an inability to swim…
The undecided voter is far more likely to get his/her information from campaign ads and make his/her decisions accordingly. Coakley won the debates, I think every pundit agrees with that on all sides of the spectrum. So did Kerry and Gore, hands down. So did Romney by most pundits, for that matter. It didn’t matter. Obama swift boated Romney early with this ad, which is when my gut started to tell me Mitt was gonna lose, and lose bigger than expected. Coakley never ran an ad that simple, direct, and effective.
This is the kind of attack ad Democrats need to learn how to run on reflex.
Debates are raw material for narratives at this point, not convincing actions of their own. Coakley never used the raw material in a way that she could have. No ads. No spots. No single message being used by all surrogates.
How many times does Coakley have to lose before some people admit she can’t win?
I’d say that this line of argumentation is beneath you, except that you made it, so apparently… it isn’t.
From Nixon’s five o’clock shadow to Kennedy (Edward M) trouncing Mitt Rmoney and on to Obama’s “please continue Governor”… Debates have often been the turning point for the election. And the idea that debates (in this instance three in the last 10 days of the campaign) are just fodder for narrative is ridiculous on the face of it.
She has to, first, lose more than she’s won. Secondly, she has to lose by more than 4 points… which she’s never done. How many times do we have to get the shaft before some people admit there’s a hand on the other end of it?
…it obviously wasn’t enough for the Dem ticket to win.
I think you misread my comment. “Please continue Governor” — your only example less than two decades old — was a big deal not because of the the debate, but because it was flogged by everyone the next day. Because liberal standard-bearers trumpeted it and turned it into a story. They made it a subject of conversation.
Coakley never did. Yes, she made a good first move at the debate, but did not follow it through.
Petr, if we were in Alaska, and we had only one or two Democrats capable of winning anything ever, I’d say give Martha a second chance. But we have choices. Anybody who supports a two-time loser to give a Republican a third major win only has themselves to blame for the inevitable result.
Because our nominee was just as tied to big business as Mr. Baker.
If we pursued that strategy with Ms. Coakley as our nominee, we would have invited attacks on our nominee’s cozy relationships with the casino industry (or at least its advocates and lobbyists), the health care industry (let’s not forget that the AWFUL Partner’s deal was our nominee’s work), and long list of other similar relationships. That’s BEFORE we start talking about the leadership of the various unions. I’m strong supporter of labor. Labor is, nevertheless, a “big business” too.
So long as we maintain our practice of choosing “centrist” candidates, leaders, and poobahs, we will find it VERY hard to attack GOP candidates in this way.
I remember a time when we could attack GOP nominees because of their long history of corruption. Our own behavior has taken that weapon off the table as well. A great many voters “don’t care” about the Big Dig corruption because eight years of total Democratic control of state government has produced a LONG LONG list of equal corruption.
Baker’s campaign downplayed his government experience and stressed his “business” experience because it was a winning strategy. From my experience talking to voters there were two big “it’s the economy, stupid” issues that determined the election: (1) taxes (2) jobs. Baker was able to leverage his not-particularly-extensive business background on both of these points, for the following reasons:
(1) Taxes: due to various management misadventures under Patrick, Baker was able to make the somewhat dubious argument that he would manage better and therefore be able to provide MORE services with LESS taxes.
(2) Jobs: this worked on two fronts; he argued (a) a more “business-friendly” environment = more jobs (I can’t say if that’s true or not, to me it seems that the Patrick administration has been very pro-business) (b) he would cut gov’t regulations and therefore everyone’s construction/landscaping/sales/fishing small business would
be wildly successful, even if that business is totally imaginary right now (cf. “Joe the Plumber”)
For me the most ironic part of this whole presentation was that a large part of Baker’s employment experience has been in government, and he was then able to leverage that background to make money in the insurance industry, a highly regulated field where he drew upon his government contacts to get preferential treatment. No one seems to know exactly what he did after HPHC but it seems to involve knowing a lot of people . . . Whereas Massachusetts voters really didn’t have a chance to get familiar with the two real entrepreneurs in the gubernatorial race, Dan Wolf and Don Berwick, both of whom started their own successful businesses.