Anyone care to suggest what is going on? March 2, 2022 By johntmay Today/Suffolk University poll: More than half of respondents (51%) believed the US was in a recession or depression. This comes as GDP grew by 5.7% last year, more than 6mln jobs were added and unemployment is only at 4%. Please share widely! 00
First, I haven’t been able to find a link to the poll itself. It isn’t obviously visible on the Suffolk University website. Two different recent pieces (one in USA Today, the other from Fox) discuss the poll, but neither provides a link to it. The fact that somebody says a poll says something doesn’t provide much information.
The US is clearly NOT in a recession, by any measure. It is even more clearly not in a depression. A poll that says that 80% of voters believe that heavy objects fall faster than light objects says more about either the poll, the voters, or both than about the behavior of objects.
The USA Today story (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2022/02/27/state-union-biden-faces-unease-inflation-his-leadership/6912451001/) notes that inflation is cited as a major concern:
Leaving aside the special case of the 1970s-era stagflation (which is not happening today), an economy with high inflation is NOT in recession.
It is hard to avoid talking about “deplorable” voters and their attitudes:
Democrats agree that the relentless assault on the single most fundamental aspect of representative democracy — the right to vote and to have those votes matter — is important. Republicans — while their party does all it can to dismantle representative democracy — say they don’t care.
There is ZERO data that illegal immigration is a problem. That has been a dog-whistle and racist trope of the GOP for decades. Funny how it remains high on the list of Republican priorities.
So what can we take away from this poll (or at least the stories about this poll)?
Since the major news outlets — Fox, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS — repeat the same misinformation about the economy and pump hysteria rather than facts, it is not surprising that so many Americans are misinformed. About half of Americas say that Fox News is their primary source of information — that alone speaks volumes about this.
All the major news outlets benefit from close nail-biting elections — that’s what sells advertising. The major news outlets are VERY good at driving public opinion to create a neck-and-neck race during each and every election. The reports of evenly-divided polling reveals the success of media strategies as much as anything else.
What is going on?
Republicans are trying to destroy representative democracy while suppressing non-white Americans. Democrats are trying to stop that.
More than half of Americans are just as ignorant about economics as they are about basic physics (or a great many other things). They experience a few months of price increases — and hear a spate of hysterical news pieces about inflation — and conclude that we’re in a recession or depression. Right.
The GOP-driven disinvestment in public education that began with Ronald Reagan is continuing to bear fruit in the wholesale ignorance, illiteracy, and innumeracy of the American public — including voters.
Most important of all:
A close football game attracts viewers and yields very nice advertising revenue. A blowout drives away viewers and loses money.
The major news outlets want the 2022 election (along with every election) to be a nail-biter.
To me, it’s just additional proof that the media is not liberal, it is corporate. Trump delivered tax cuts to corporate media. Biden did not.
Indeed Donald Trump was GREAT for the ratings of CNN and MSNBC.
Jeff Zucker, who just left CNN after a decade at its helm, created “The Apprentice” and made Donald Trump a household name.
The macro economy doesn’t matter and never bas. As Reagan quipped, it’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job and a depression when you lose yours. This pandemic exposes the inequity at the heart of our economy. Those that enjoy white collar jobs had the security of not being laid off and got to work from home and see their portfolios go up in value. Those that work with their hands, work in schools, work in hospitals, or work in the food service actually had to show up to a job site and risk Covid exposure while also dealing with the uncertainties of layoffs and schedule changes due to the changing regulations.
A big reason Biden may have done more poorly with Hispanic voters than Hillary did had as much to do with their microeconomic conditions being affected more by pandemic related lockdowns and closures than the average office worker. I know I had a lot of students who not only lost critical learning time during remote but also had to take on full time occupations to keep their families afloat. So this is really a tale of two economies and Democrats should be sensitive, as they were during the Trump economy which looked good on paper, should be on the side of those who don’t work in an office. That means taking inflation seriously since those daily costs add up and it means fighting much harder than they have for higher wages, stronger unions, and fairer trade.
Indeed, we should take inflation seriously.
Inflation is reduced by reducing government spending and raising interest rates to make loans more expensive.
Are you suggesting that this is wise in today’s economy?
The point I’m belaboring is that like or not terms like “recession” and “depression” actually mean something.
If “take inflation seriously” actually means something, what should that meaning be?
I suggest that pulling back on government spending and making debt more expensive is exactly the WRONG answer for families suffering from the economic woes that beset us.
If we misdiagnose the cause, then we are very likely to do more harm than good as we attempt to address the disorder.
For most people, those words just loosely mean “economy feels bad” which is what inflation is doing to some people. However, even there I personally have not noticed as much as some seem to be making it out to be.
Perhaps, but I fear this is unresponsive.
The poll in question is described as a poll of registered voters. While its true that the respondents may use those words (“recession” and “depression”) to mean “economy feels bad”, it is also true that this ignorance may well lead them to cast dangerously mistaken votes.
The actions that a government takes to fight inflation are in fact the opposite of the things a government does to fight recession and depression.
If voters are so ill-informed that they cannot distinguish basic economic concepts like “inflation”, “recession” and “depression” then what does that say about the choices those ill-informed voters will make at the polls?
America — driven by generations of GOP lies and the resulting disastrous public policy — has created a woefully ill-informed electorate.
That woefully ill-informed electorate (and the corporate media that panders to it solely to make money) plays a major role in our compromised and several weakened representative democracy.
Sadly, the lies are not limited to the Republicans. How many times have we heard politicians promise to bring “manufacturing jobs” back to the USA, with the implication that doing so will end the erosion of the Middle Class?
The average hourly wage in manufacturing is $24.48. It is $26.92 for the private sector as a whole .
Manufacturing was not at the core of the Middle Class, labor unions were, along with tax codes, trade policy, and so much more.
I’m not sure what you’re asserting here.
Failing to achieve a goal is different from a lie.
When I talk about “GOP lies”, I mean things like the assertion that illegal immigration is responsible for an increase in crime, or that illegal immigrants are criminals. Each canard has been a staple of GOP utterances for at least two decades.
Another lie is that “government is bad”. Another is that “Deficits are bad” or its counterpart “America must balance our national budget just like every household”.
The failure of Democrats to bring manufacturing jobs back to the US is not comparable to these flagrant lies.
I agree that the notion that it is POSSIBLE to restore American manufacturing jobs to what they were — to white men — in the 1960s or 1970s is at best misinformed.
At the same time, I have the distinct impression from your commentary that you still assert that this magical restoration of manufacturing jobs in the US was possible. It was not and is not. It will not happen.
It would not have happened if Republicans had had more power. It would not have happened if different Democrats had been elected (who would have been better than Bill Clinton?). There is no economic or trade policy of the US that could have maintained the manufacturing job force of the 1960s and 1970s. Even that would have been viewed as a failure, because that workforce excluded nearly all women and most blacks.
There is similarly no change in economy or trade policy that will bring those jobs back today.
What MUST happen is to instead focus on the distribution of WEALTH, rather than on income. No American should have to trade their hours doing things they don’t want to do so that they have access to the basic necessities of life. Wealth concentration is the issue, not the absence of “good jobs”.
This isn’t meaningful without being specific about what we mean by “middle class”. I’m not sure how it is possible for labor unions to play a significant role in the economy without manufacturing playing a large role. The wholesale decline in the political power of labor unions is a direct result of the wholesale loss of manufacturing jobs.
One reason why it is so important to be clear about what we mean by middle class is that it helps us improve the accuracy of our understanding about the economy of the 1960s and 1970s.
The prospects of non-white and female workers were MUCH less rosy than our own in our white male nostalgia about a more idyllic time.
Failure to acknowledge ones knowledge that the goal one is suggesting is a smokescreen is a lie. Manufacturing was never the main cause of the growth of the middle class and bringing it back will not save the middle class.
Maybe the fact that the rate of child poverty has increased by 41% in one month has something to do with it.
Presumably you’re referring to the Columbia piece published a few weeks ago (https://www.povertycenter.columbia.edu/news-internal/monthly-poverty-january-2022).
That piece attributes the increase to the expiration of the monthly child tax credit.
Who do you think is to blame for that expiration? Which party supports the monthly child tax credit, and which party opposes it?
In the upcoming 2022 mid-term elections, which party is most likely to restore the monthly child tax credit?
Good questions for another thread, Tom. The question for this thread, though, is why do people think we’re in a depression or recession.
The question for this thread is in its title:
You imply that “what is going on” is that people incorrectly think we’re in a recession or depression because elected officials have blocked the extensions of the monthly child tax credit that Joe Biden and House and Senate Democrats proposed and attempted to pass.
I’m curious about your reluctance to explore the topic that you raised.
The Democrats because they are the party in charge. They do not need a single Republican vote to save those credits. They have done next to nothing to advertise the fact that conservatives in both parties would rather cut rather than extend this vital aid. Republicans evil should not excuse Democratic ineptitude. It’s that exact kind of binary thinking that has prevented the kind of autopsy that should have followed the Hillary loss and the narrow Biden win. Lecturing voters on how good they really have it is a poor electoral strategy.
What do you propose Democrats do differently, then?
Which successful social programs have historically been enacted with ZERO votes from the Republican side of the aisle?
Social Security? Medicare? Great Society?
I can think of just one — the ACA — and it has been a political albatross ever since.
The idea that Democrats are solely to blame because they hold a mathematical majority is political foolishness.
And the ACA was designed by the Heritage Foundation. What can Democratic voters do? Elect better Democrats.
Maybe dump all those dems claimed to be able to “work across the aisle” because they were less progressive.
Sometimes you have to. Plus I thought you were the one advocating trying to peel off votes from folks like Collins and Murkowski. Not every state and district will elect an AOC clone.
I thought the ACA had increased in popularity over time.
It has, but it has still been a political albatross.
It was the first major program that I think of where the GOP demonstrated that the merits of the legislation were irrelevant to GOP support.
It will be difficult or impossible for America to address any of the urgent needs that face us so long as half of American voters religiously, dogmatically, and ignorantly reject EVERY proposal by any Democrat because it comes from a Democrat.
The very fact that anybody blames Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema for the paralysis of essential legislation while ignoring 50 GOP Senators voting in blind lockstep against EVERY proposal from the Democrats is itself a symptom of our failed system.
“Electing better Democrats” is absurd when Americans are putting the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene and Ted Cruz in elected office.
Went out today and saw gas was well over $4. today. Might be a good time to reconsider our embargo on Venezuelan and Iranian oil.
Neither country has invaded anywhere recently, so far as I’ve heard.
I’m fine with that. I think we can pair it with an embargo on Russian oil. Biden has largely done a great job on foreign policy, but he has done a poor job cleaning up Trumps mess on Iran. He continues to insist on a better deal than what Obama got, when clearly, the Obama deal was the best deal we were going to get. I’ve long been an Iran dove and Russia/China hawk. Once Iran has full access to Western markets the mullahs are done, they realize this too which is why they prefer sanctions. I suspect the same is true for Maduro, who already lost an election. Giving his people food, water, and medicine in exchange for their oil does not seem likely to bolster his regime, but will bolster Americas reputation in the region.
America will never make any substantive progress on climate change while gas costs under $5 per gallon.
Europe has been paying that for decades.
And Biden is tapping the strategic reserve. Am I the only one thinking we should use this situation as an excuse to finally get serious about different energy sources? Rather than trade one oil source for another why don’t we make real strides toward weening us off entirely? The one thing I would do to ameliorate prices at the pump is be super-vigilant about price gouging, which I suspect is going on when the station closest to me bumped their prices ten cents twice in as many days this week.
Price gouging by gas station suppliers is very hard to prove, in part because the price of gas is a textbook case of market-driven supply and demand.
Most gas stations have very nearby competitors, often next door or across the street. It is very hard for one station to post prices higher than its neighbors for any length of time.
Gas station markups are notoriously low and weak.
A gas station owner or manager has to set their prices based on the replacement cost of each gallon they sell. The gas station has to pay its operating costs while the gas it has is being used. When the underground tanks need to be replenished, the gas station owner has to have enough cash on hand to buy the next truckload.
If an owner guesses too low, the owner can’t afford to buy the next truckload of gas. If an owner guesses too high, their customers buy their gas at the cheaper station next door.
In a volatile situation like this, a gas station owner who guesses that the next truckload will cost three times as much as the last one will raise the posted price by a LOT and hope that the competition does the same.
With the current world situation, the increase you describe don’t sound like gouging to me.
You may well be right, but boy does it feel like taking advantage of the situation.
I encourage you to put yourself in the shoes of the gas station owner — how much more expensive do you think the next truckload of gas for that station will be?
At the moment, I suspect that fear of astronomical increases is a more likely explanation than simple greed — and of course, the two are not mutually exclusive.
I actually didn’t realize Russia was a major source for us, and I’m not convinced it has to be that much more expensive. Seems to me rather than trying to predict what the next batch would cost, consumer prices should reflect what the station paid for the gas it is actually selling to us at that moment.
It isn’t so much that Russia is a major source for us, it is instead that it is a global economy. Russia is a major source for much of Europe, and a disruption in Russian supplies means that those European buyers must go elsewhere. They drive up the cost of futures for the US even though the US doesn’t buy directly from Russia.
This is also why the Joe Biden administration announced that it is releasing oil from the US strategic reserve. The goal is to attempt to slow the world-wide runup in fossil fuel futures.
That precise misconception is why gas-station pricing is so often used as a case study in graduate economics.
The essential point is that the price paid by the gas station owner for the gas they already have is a sunk cost — the gas is already there and is unaffected by world affairs.
Suppose the owner followed your strategy and charged $2.50/gallon while knowing that some factor will cause the next truckload to be five times more expensive. If all their competitors do the same, then nobody can afford to resupply their stations after a few short weeks and the stations all close. If their competitors raise their prices and the owner does not, then there will be a run on the owner’s cheap gas. The owner will sell out in a few days and will have no way to replenish their supplies because that next truckload is five times what they have on-hand.
The result of your strategy is no gas for anybody if the gas stations all do it, and a forced shutdown for any gas station who does it alone. Market pricing of a commodity in limited supply is a very powerful factor in micro-economics.
It is the expectation of what the NEXT truckload will cost that a gas-station owner must grapple with.
Is that the strategy for pricing other things too? When I work retail I’m pretty sure we raise our prices only when we ended up paying more to get the product.
Also, FWIW, the gas station near me jumped another fourteen cents today!
I don’t know about other things.
Gas station pricing is studied because it is among the most volatile and most competitive.
I’ve endured many conversations trying to explain this concept to my brother and father. A teacher friend helped run a family gas station and explained it to his students like this
“You’re making a down payment today on the gas you know you’ll have to buy tomorrow and passing that cost onto the consumer”.
It’s a very volatile commodity subject to fluctuation. As I tell the students when we get to supply and demand, remember when it was wicked cheap two years ago? Everyone stopped driving due to lockdowns so the demand went down and Russia and the Saudis engaged in a price war right before Covid. A perfect storm leading to lower prices. One of my favorite stations on the way home is a self serve and the guy was so happy to see me back in April 2020 that he came out and filled my tank for me. Now there’s a line reminiscent of the Carter years.
Only options Biden has is to tap the reserves, but tap it too much and there won’t be enough there if the supply really hits a critical capacity or the Russians are cut off entirely from Western markets as this crisis accelerates.
Wheat prices will also go up since the belligerent states account for 25% of the worlds wheat production, largely to the developing world markets, but our producers might supply those consumers to offset and that will raise prices here.
I’m with Joe Manchin. We gotta go full steam ahead on renewables and nukes while fracking as much as we can without damaging the environment to create jobs here and rebuild our reserves. Germany tried to cut off coal, fracking, and nukes only to become dependent on Putin’s petrol.
What happened to real renewables like solar, wind, and water?
Gasoline at less than $5/gallon has always been the major impediment to the growth of real renewables that America and the world so desperately needs.
I disagree that nuclear power is a viable option. Surely the near-catastrophic events unfolding in Ukraine give pause to any argument in favor of expanding nuclear power.
We should be using this crisis to move our economy away from fossil fuel altogether.
Sounds okay to me. Did $5/gallon gasoline get into the SOTU or is it going to be benignly neglected?
I don’t expect any SOTU to include every item.
I hope that $5/gallon gasoline will be part of our long-term energy strategy whether or not it’s ever part of any SOTU from any President.
I know you’ve mentioned this is the price Europe has paid for sometime, but don’t they also have other transportation options?
They have other transportation options because they’ve used taxes on gas to keep its price high for generations.
Europe has excellent public transportation and excellent bicycle- and pedestrian friendly cities and towns because gas has always been expensive enough that commuting by car is not an option.
Nobody in their right mind is going to make it a stated goal to drive gasoline up past $5 per gallon. That is completely backwards. We must first have other options which we can incentivize by transferring non-renewable subsidies to renewables. Only then can we live with the happenstance of gas prices climbing.
Rising gas prices are not a “happenstance”.
Our gas prices are unrealistically low because we have effectively subsidized low gas prices for generations. We do not require anybody to pay carbon costs. We have spent trillions of dollars in military spending to preserve access to cheap fossil fuels.
We ignored pollution until it could no longer be ignored because pollution controls were “too expensive”. We poisoned our cities and towns with lead for generations because unleaded gas was “too expensive.”
Other options cannot happen while our unsustainably cheap fossil fuel technologies are supported by short-sighted government policy.
How does the price of gas prevent other sources from being developed? Seems to me that for a country that prides itself on an entrepreneurial spirit there are already plenty of opportunities for innovation with respect to renewables.
There are massive startup costs associated with every technology revolution. Consider the transition from vacuum tubes to transistors and then from transistors to integrated circuits.
In both cases, MASSIVE federal investments (through the defense and space programs of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s) paid those startup costs.
“Entrepreneurial spirit” has little or no relevance — it is simple economics. Entrepreneurial spirit is not going to build passenger rail service that will get North Shore commuters out of their cars and off I93.
No alternative transportation technologies will gain widespread use while gas is under $5/gallon. Even hydrogen-fueled automobiles (which do nothing about the many of the environmental impacts of the automobile) won’t be cost-competitive with gas until the technology matures and scales.
Waiting for “entrepreneurial spirit” to address our immediate climate change issues is like relying on hope and prayer to solve gun violence — it is a euphemism for doing nothing.
In my view, we need to focus on the supply side of cleaner transport BEFORE manipulating the demand for gasoline. Plus, there will always be a need for cars. Places I go and times I need to get there rarely match the routes and timetables I would need for public transit, even if that were completely fare-free. Nor do I ever expect there to be enough demand to increase service in that respect.
You are proposing a catch-22 that means that we will never break our dependence on fossil fuel.
Establishing a floor for gasoline pricing is a crucial part of any effort to focus on the supply side of cleaner transport.
I want to make other fuels cheaper first, rather than gas more expensive. I do not accept what sounds like a false choice.
How do you propose for the government to fund the massive — at least tens of billions — investment?
Massachusetts voters — allegedly among the most liberal in the nation — have refused to accept even modest increases in the gas tax time and again.
We’ve been pursuing this carrot-first approach for decades and it has failed miserably.
What do you propose to do now that hasn’t already been tried many times over?
Same way I’ve said for years – general revenue, same way we pay for toll-free roads. Sticks first certainly isn’t going to play politically since as you’ve noted voters are reluctant to raise gas taxes. I support the Fair Share Amendment which would put a surcharge on the taxes of the wealthiest and earmark much of that for transit. It would likely pass as long as its written to pass constitutional muster, which tripped it up last time.
BTW, there is more than one definition of liberal in play here, or the difference between liberals and progressives. The latter wants to move heaven and earth to change the world. The former want to make sure people are taken care of. This is a dichotomy JohnTMay often reminds us of. There’s plenty of overlap in this particular Venn diagram of course, as you and I often remind him. Gas taxes tend to be regressive for people who need to drive and on a budget.
A one foot rise in sea level for the city of Boston is more regressive than anything we can imagine.
You’re in denial about how serious the situation is.
And consider that much of this was made possible by massive investment by the US Government, not the private sector.
And yet we still see and read about how inefficient and parasitic the government is when we watch corporate media – and how “socialism” is the end of freedom.
Regardless of the politics, much of the transformative science done since the end of WWII was funded by the federal government.
It is perhaps worth observing that the loudest elected officials who bemoan “socialism” are nonetheless eager to accept federal funding for research in their districts and states.
Without federal funding, a smart phone would not be smart, Elon Muck would still be looking for private investors, as would Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
We are in enthusiastic agreement.
“Here’s a fact you won’t hear on Fox News today. Exxon, Chevron, and Conoco made $46 billion in profit in 2021. Now they’re using 40% of those profits for stock buybacks. Big Oil is raking it in, raising prices, and taking advantage of the war in Ukraine to push for more drilling.” Senator Ed Markey
Exxon, Chevron, and Conoco are doing exactly what current federal law requires them to do — maximize the financial returns of their shareholders.
The fossil fuel companies have known for years or decades that they will not be able to sell fossil fuel forever. They have invested billions or trillions in acquiring leases that they believe contain un-tapped oil. When the fossil fuel market collapses, those leases become worthless.
Mr. Markey’s observation is exactly correct. It is approximately as newsworthy as observing that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow morning, and will be accompanied by widely-scattered lightness.
It is only when the federal government — driven by popular will — changes the fundamental rules of the game that we will see any change in any of this.
Big Oil has known about the climate change crisis longer than anybody outside Big Oil. They have been a — or even THE — key player behind climate denialism. They know that their future is at stake, and they long ago chose to enrich and protect themselves rather than face the consequences of their very existence.
They correctly observe that in doing that, they are obeying the laws — laws that they helped create.
Big Oil will fight these changes as vigorously as they are able. I suspect that Big Oil has approximately as much desire to preserve American life as Vladimir Putin.
The changes that face us are not going to resolved easily and they’re not going to fixed in one agenda of one president, no matter how passionately that agenda is promoted and no matter how effective the messaging of that promotion is.
Does anyone see the irony of Christopher protesting rising gas prices within a month of compelling government reports (https://www.wcvb.com/article/boston-massachusetts-rising-seas-noaa-report-february-15-2022/39100817) of catastrophic sea-level increase in Massachusetts by 2050?
Our much-vaunted political system has utterly and catastrophically failed to address the climate change crisis. In this particular aspect of the current situation, Vladimir Putin is by no means our biggest threat.
The biggest threat to life in Massachusetts in 2050 is from climate change. Even if we all somehow manage to survive this war without starting a nuclear holocaust, we still have to confront our own suicidal behavior regarding climate change.
The sky is falling again, just like with democracy I suppose! We need to find ways to fight climate change and sea level risings without picking the pockets of ordinary people. I submit that renewables can and should be very cost effective. We should treat big oil like big tobacco, stop coddling them, and ween them off subsidies, which we should then transfer to renewables. Quite simply we should be paying the energy companies for R&D on renewables and not fossil fuels. I can swallow a resulting cost bump either due to withdrawal of subsidies or the price of saving Ukraine, but I will never affirmatively cheer on or root for $5 gasoline.
Call it a “victory tax”.
5$/gallon gasoline — or higher — so that we can cut Russia off from its oil markets will do more to help the Ukranian people than pretty much anything else every American can do.
You won’t get anything but snide chuckles from Europeans if you start complaining about the price of gas in the US.
You’ve been saying that for as long as I’ve been at BMG. The result is that we have done essentially nothing about climate change.
It’s already too late to stop the sea level increases — that train left the station years ago. ALL of the science shows that the various climate predictions, while within the error bars, are all turning out to be too conservative. The scientific community tried its best to avoid alarmism. The result was that they’ve been ignored.
The Amanita phalloides mushroom is among the most toxic of poisonous mushrooms. The initial symptoms often abate after a day or so. By the time the symptoms of liver failure appear (days later), the patient is doomed unless an immediate liver transplant can be performed.
By the time a heavy cigarette smoker starts coughing up blood, the cancer is generally uncureable.
America — and you — chose to do nothing about climate change for TWO DECADES.
We are now entering a period where the burning question is “how bad will it get, and how soon?”
Ordinary people are dying in Ukraine right now. Close to a billion ordinary people will be dying from climate change between now and 2050 as the Himalayan watershed feels the first wave of global warming induced drought and flooding.
The suffering of ordinary people in the greater Boston area — and along the entire coast of Massachusetts — will be FAR worse than inconvenience that even $10/gallon gas will cause you or anybody else.
It is at least a decade too late for the painless mechanisms you fantasize about. They don’t exist, and will not be invented anytime soon.
Ordinary people in Massachusetts in 2022 are going to have to make some sacrifices — just like ordinary people throughout history have made sacrifices.
The problem with having a radical secret agenda while you distance yourself from progressive programs as being too radical is that you end up fooling nobody. Biden didn’t win any votes by alienating people who want police reform. The reformers feel betrayed, and the anti-reformers have no reason to trust him.
Whoa! Do NOT say that I have chosen to do nothing about climate change for two decades. This has been an issue as far back as my memory goes and I am absolutely shocked that we are still even talking about this. There is so much we could and should have done over the course of my lifetime. We should have had 50 MPG vehicles a long time ago. We should have started equipping every new construction project with solar panels a long time ago. We should have built more wind farms a long time ago. All of this I believe are very practical solutions as well. My mantra is cheap, clean, and convenient, and I’m fully confident that if any country can pull that off it is the USA. Don’t you dare lay climate change at MY feet!
The reason none of those things have happened is that in their launch phase — when massive startup expenses must be amortized — they have not been price-competitive with cheap fossil-fuel competition.
Your mantra amounts to “do nothing”, because so long as the price of a fossil-fuel alternative stays low (usually artificially low because the climate change impact is “externalized” — ignored), the new technology can’t compete.
“Cheap, clean, and convenient” happens with the things you enumerate ONLY after they’ve been in the market for 5-10 years. They only get there if consumers buy them, and consumers will not buy them if they are too expensive.
We absolutely should have had 50 MPG vehicles a long time ago. Surely you can see that gas at $5/gallon creates a MUCH stronger market incentive for those vehicles than gas at $2.00/gallon.
What we got instead of 50 MGP vehicles was a US auto fleet of gas-guzzling SUVs. That was because Congress, in its wisdom, created an exemption for “trucks” so that they did not have to conform to the mileage standards of passenger vehicles. The auto manufacturers therefore created the “SUV” — a “truck” for the purposes of the regulation, and a passenger vehicle in all other regards.
The popularity of SUVs was driven by cheap gasoline.
Like it or not, millions of Americans repeating your mantra is the reason that we have done nothing about climate change.
I bought a Prius in 2005. It averaged 50 MPG during the 275,000 miles it was in my family. Aside from a loose power steering connection that cost $175 to diagnose and repair, all we did was normal routine maintenance. One change of spark plugs, oil & filter, tires, wiper blades. My sons and I took it on ski trips to Vermont – never got stuck. My sons used it to move to college and out of college to their apartments- it’s that roomy inside. Both of my sons are over 6’2″.
I now have a 2020 Prius Prime and I am averaging 100 MPG.
We’ve had 50 MPG cars in the USA for well over twenty years. The problem is the public’s perception of electric/hybrids as well the public’s fetish with what they call “SUVs” and yeah, pickup trucks that never have stuff in the truck beds.
I don’t want to wait for the market to make these things happen. I want laws to be passed to force these things to happen (which by definition in turn creates a market). Industry bellyaches all the time about costs, but in the end they always seem to figure it out, especially when all competitors share the same burden anyway.
I feel like you are attacking me personally over this. I have never been a policy maker or elected official, though I’m pretty sure people I have voted for have had strong environmental records. Heck, I wasn’t even an adult when most of what we’re discussing should have been taken care of.
I intend to criticize your commentary, not you.
I heard on the news today that Bill Galvin is calling on Maura Healey to investigate gas price gouging.
Venezuela opposition criticizes Biden team talks with Maduro | Miami Herald
As I dig deeper into this, it appears that when questioned about their own financial situation, most Americans say they are doing well, but when questioned about the overall economy, most Americans say it is not doing well. To me, this is evidence that the media is manipulating the truth.
Paul Krugman says something very similar in his column in today’s NYTimes (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/03/opinion/biden-economy-inflation-jobs.html) (emphasis mine):
The news media is lying to us.
My take is they the .1% that effectively owns the media and the talking heads we see each day on the media (yes, even MSNBC) who rake in millions of dollars a year in wages are not happy with the news that so called “low skilled” people are starting to rise up for higher pay, better working conditions, and respect. Indeed, even those considered to be well paid are starting to wake up and demand better working conditions. The millennials are learning that the ping pong table and free smoothies in the break room are a poor substitute for higher wages. They have discovered that they can accomplish a “40 Hour Week: from home in 30 Hours, with no commute – as their employers are starting tp demand they get back to the office.
The only way for corporate America to deny increased benefits and better treatment to the working class is to convince them that times are hard and asking for more might lead go unemployment.
“The President’s economic plan is working! New unemployment claims just hit another pandemic low — the LOWEST in 16 months and down MORE THAN HALF since Joe Biden took office. Unemployment and COVID-19 are down; and jobs, economic growth and consumer confidence are up.” Jen Psaki
Yes, it’s working. If only the media would report it. The economy added 678,000 jobs in February, pushing the unemployment rate down to 3.8 percent. The jobs numbers for December and January were also revised up 92,000.
Now if only the Media would report this.
That’s an excellent riff, you have a great future as a horn player in a New Orleans jazz band.
We surely agree that the news media (even MSNBC) is lying to us.
I ascribe the lies to a much more direct and mostly unconscious cause — maximizing advertising revenue and therefore profits.
I think that MSNBC and CNN will broadcast literally ANYTHING that their numbers people tell them will increase audience share and advertising revenue. I don’t think the program directors and script writers care even a tiny bit about working conditions, low or high paid workers, or anything else you offer.
I think they care about how much their 30-second spot for fancy dogfood will bring them. I think they care about whether they should increase ratio of time they spend in commercials or raise their advertising rates and decrease that ratio.
I really don’t think the social policy concerns you mention are even indirectly on their radar — except to the extent that they change their audience demographics.
In my view, the mainstream news outlets want EVERY political race in every election season to be a too-close-to-call horse race — but a horse-race that Steve Kornacki will have definitive results for “when we get back” from their latest “break”.
I think these outlets HATED the way the 2020 results dribbled in over weeks — they want a definitive outcome by no later than a few hours after midnight on election night. I think these news outlets manipulate their reporting and content to keep the polls as close as possible.
Nobody watches a blowout. Nobody likes a tie. Overtime is great, but only if it’s “sudden death” and wrapped up in one more 15-minute quarter with special rules.
BTW, I doubt that the on-air faces have much influence over the long-term content. I think that’s one reason why so many big-name faces have left MSNBC.
It’s all about the money. Nothing else matters.
Indeed…we agree 100% on this. But there is an editorial board on every network and aside from the list of terms that are no longer socially acceptable, I have no doubt that there are economic terms that are not permitted and economic figures that are pushed to “page four, below the fold”….
Yes, it’s about selling fancy dog food, but it’s also about not upsetting the corporation that produces the fancy dog food so that they advertise with you more then WXYZ.
Media corporations know how much Big Pharma spends on media buys. One cannot watch TV in this time of year without seeing at least one Medicare Supplement Policy ad – keeping Joe Namath and J.J. Walker in the spotlight! Universal Health Care will end all of that and the revenue stream that is paying for the salaries of the CEO and well paid Talking Heads. Rachel Maddow’s $30 Million a year has to come from somewhere!
Sorry Rachel, I once one of your earliest fans, but a $30 Million a year, I can’t afford you.
Rachel Maddow is one of the talking heads at MSNBC who has dramatically reduced her participation. Between the pandemic and the absence of substantive news from DoJ, Ms. Maddow’s show became increasingly repetitive and tiresome — I suspect for her as well her audience.
It appears to me that Ms. Maddow’s reporting essentially dried up after Jeff Sessions left DoJ. She was very aggressively pursing the Russian/Ukrainian money trail to the GOP (along with the Southern District of New York DoJ branch) until Bill Barr took over. Ms. Maddow had little or no hard news and relied on pure repetition and “human interest” trivia from then on.
I mute the audio during all commercial breaks. I end up watching the golf channel many weekday evenings because MSNBC and CNN repeat the same six stories — mixed with 33% commercial time — five nights a week.
Speaking of Big Pharma ads — does ANYBODY with a serious medical disorder tell their doctor what medication they want? I can’t imagine insulting a competent provider with something like that.