Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

The Tragedy and Irony of Right-wing Activism in California

Here in Chico, the tea party ran an expensive campaign to shift local elections to June, when students would be gone.  The special election was expensive, although great lip service was spent on reducing the local budget deficit.  The tea party lost badly and is responding aggressively.


In California, the right wing got a redistricting proposition passed, giving responsibility to its citizens commission.  According to their initial proposal, it looks like the Democrats would pick up four congressional seats.


Of course, in the legislature, the Republicans are blackmailing Democrats, who fall just short of the super majority required to pass a budget, with demands to create spending limits and to trash pensions.

Third Invisible Handcuffs Interview

My latest interview with Nancy Wiegman at KCHO in Chico can be downloaded at

Republican Revolution

How is it that a minority party can impose its will on the country, while the Democrats were relatively slow to move, even in the midst of the Great Depression?  How is it that the Republicans can take the anger that welled up against capital and turn it against labor?

Second Interview on The Invisible Handcuffs

Richard Estes, “Speaking in Tongues.” KDVS, Davis, CA invited me on his program to discuss the Invisible Handcuffs.

The url is:

Interview about the Invisible Handcuffs

Alan Ruff of WORTfm in Madison, WI gave me a very good interview yestersday.  This is the first of 3 interviews.  I hope to have the url for the next 2 in a day or two.

Access at:–InterviewAboutTheInvisibleHandcuffs

The Optimism of a Double-Dip

A crisis is the method by which a capitalist economy partially purges itself of the effects of past mistakes while imposing misery on the masses.

Economists often characterize the outcomes as by the shape of letters of the alphabet.  A “V” indicates a quick collapse and an equally quick recovery.  “L” suggests a collapse followed by a very weak recovery.  And a “W” indicates a double-dip in which the quick recovery is followed by another collapse.  Ironically, our previous president was known as “W” will and our present president could be known as zero, which approximates the first letter of his last name.

A V-shaped recovery suggests that the economy was fundamentally strong, allowing the economy to quickly pick up steam.  A W-shaped outcome is a telltale sign of an economy that was leaked to begin with, propped up by external support, which was withdrawn prematurely.   For example, Roosevelt succumbed to outside pressure in 1937, leading to an expected setback.  Under far less pressure, Obama followed suit.

Both the crisis and the recovery can only be understood in terms of the long-term processes that caused the initial collapse.  In “The Confiscation of American Prosperity: From Right-Wing Extremism and Economic Ideology to the Next Great Depression” I tried to tell the story of the gradual weakening of the US economy.  The book explained how the unusual postwar prosperity was created by a sequence of the Great Depression and then the war.  The postwar period up to the late 1960s is often described as The Golden Age because the economy performed better than ever before. Continue reading