After neoliberalism dies what will we say about it?

People remembering neoliberalism will surely remark that the drive to centralize led to social failures.  Obamacare was a huge effort to centralize healthcare, for example.  Americans were told lies to get the public’s support.  Those lies included first, the idea of free care.  Under a lackluster economy many Americans found healthcare unaffordable and some were willing to believe that they could avoid high costs under a public program.   But an economy is a whole thing.  Costs can’t be shifted outside of itself.  When a public program will pay any price, inflation adds to the public’s debt and healthcare expenses go beyond affordability.   The idea that insurance premiums wouldn’t increase was a fallacy.  So was the idea that people could keep their favorite doctors.  Many doctors weren’t included under Obamacare and others were driven out of healthcare.  Dentists were excluded altogether and some dental practices failed after the Great Recession.  Obamacare failed to provide better care and its cost drove Americans away.  It caused lifespans to diminish.  Allowing insurance companies to write Obamacare legislation led to bad laws and eventually to more fraud in healthcare.  Giving pharmaceutical companies free rein to sell opiates and psychotropic drugs also injured people and caused deaths.  Anti-monopoly laws and anti-trust laws weren’t enforced in healthcare.

Another tragic centralization was initiated by banking deregulation coupled with easy money policy (low-interest rates for loans).  That led to fewer larger banks that could borrow money to risk it in markets.  American banks under the Greenspan Put expected American taxes to backstop their losses during the Great Recession.  Banks lost sight of the importance of solvency because the Federal Reserve promised to save them.  It was like the Federal Reserve giving a subsidy for failing.  Zero interest rate policy took money from savers who couldn’t earn any interest and that hurt old people who needed that interest money to pad out their expenses after they retired.  Mergers and acquisitions led to the failure of American businesses as their assets were diverted into investor’s pockets and their employees lost out.  Short-term job security undermined markets that required long-term investments like the American education system and American real estate marketplace.  With job insecurity it became too scary to buy a house or get an education.  Inflation in real estate and at the university also drove people away.

Under a centralized economy, neoliberals had less successful innovation.  Many stories circulated about revolutionary innovations in healthcare and in energy technologies.  Stories about stem cell treatments that promised to alleviate the suffering of elderly people with damaged organs or tissues or bones never seemed to amount to anything real.  Curative stem cell treatments failed to take the place of older treatments that would never cure illness.  Neoliberals wanted sick people to stay sick so that they could buy more healthcare.  Likewise, fusion energy innovation seemed to always be slower than needed in an economy suffering under high energy costs.  Low energy nuclear reactions seemed to promise room temperature superconductivity and limitless energy but never came to market in the U.S.  Vested interests in established markets worked to slow progress rather than to speed it.  Meanwhile algorithms were substituted for human judgement and whenever a problem came up from using an algorithm, no one was blamed.  Bad algorithms led to teacher shortages when teachers were unfairly evaluated.  Bad market algorithms led to inappropriate risk and caused the Great Recession, leading to losses in real estate values and millions of foreclosures.  Algorithms inaccurately predicted catastrophic global warming that was a fantasy of inappropriate computer rounding and inaccurate temperature monitoring.  Neoliberals wanted carbon taxes to pad their budgets.

Neoliberals also lost the ability and the opportunity to change course in response to policy failures.  Bickering among competitors for economic and political power was rampant.  This bickering undermined coherency in attaining society’s goals and even undermined a coherent narrative about goals worth pursuing.  Fraud and dishonesty became the hallmark of neoliberal press.   Organizations–think tanks– that were protected from taxation and that were supposed to find and promote good policies failed to do so.  Their focus became too short-term for long-term success.  Think tank failures and corruption led the public to distrust the three branches of government.  The Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches failed to perform their primary functions.  The legislature failed to write good laws.  See Obamacare laws and banking deregulation under the Clinton Administration, for example.  The Executive failed to enforce existing law.  The Bush Administration and the Obama Administration, for example failed to enforce laws in banking.  Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, failed to prosecute illegal CIA torture that led to suffering and death. Some judges failed to interpret law based on the historical past.  They opposed constitutionalism.  Congress continued to interfere in the American economy by picking winners and losers and the Executive tried to manipulate global politics in order to manipulate markets.  The Judicial Branch in the Supreme Court found a way to make Obamacare seem constitutional when it wasn’t.  Instead of prudent government, it was a time of making deals.

After a while neoliberalism died.  It killed the economy and created political strife that it couldn’t survive.  People are still amazed at its longevity considering its failures.  To understand more about our evolution of political ideologies in the United States, buy a copy of Political Catsup with Economy Fries available at Amazon.com.

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United States-Mexico Canada Agreement supports higher labor standards.

On October 2nd, President Trump announced a successful renegotiation of NAFTA, the previous trade deal that President Trump called the worst deal ever for the U.S. worker.  The new USMCA which will replace NAFTA as soon as Congress signs its approval, will give workers an opportunity for more prosperity for themselves and their families under the new trade deal.  Workers involved in Mexican car manufacture, for example, under the USMCA will get a wage floor so that they will be able to earn more and this provision also supports more car manufacture sites in the U.S. by evening out wages across trade partnership nations.

Renegotiation of the trade partnership between Mexico, Canada and the U.S. also resonates well with the new tax strategies that the Trump administration passed earlier this year.  Both of these successful negotiations support better conditions for workers in the U.S. by changing our approach to trade.  When other nations are penalized for their tariffs against American products they are brought to appreciate the consequences of unfair trade.  There has been a need in America for fairer trade since NAFTA was passed. If Congress approves the USMCA they will help global trade and U.S. trade and U.S. jobs.

President Trump pointed out in his Tuesday speech which announced the success of the renegotiation that without the threat of tariffs he would not have been able to apply pressure to bring trading partners to the table.  It looks like President Trump has succeeded in the NAFTA renegotiation and hopefully, Congress will support his efforts.

How much do you need to know to hire someone?

The recent hearings in the Senate to confirm or decline the Judge Brett Kavanaugh nomination have shocked the nation.  But they haven’t shocked the nation enough.  I say that because getting a job is supposed to be about doing a job.  The filter for keeping out unqualified applicants is important.   Nowadays though, we’ve moved away from a simple evaluation of a person’s job abilities.  I keep hearing that a person’s online reputation and even their credit rating can influence employers.  I think that applying a new standard of being accusation-proof is a wrong one.  This new standard has come about because of social media.

I think that shocking the nation and creating chaos in the nomination process may have been the whole point of bringing forward accusations of inappropriate behavior that may or may not have happened 36 years ago.

In the Information Age, in a time when people are trying to know everything about everyone I think that knowing everything about everyone is a bad idea.  Scouring the shadows for a person who will gossip or make up a story without any evidence in order to undermine an accomplished career is a mistake.  Brett Kavanaugh is a person who has served in our nation’s courts for years.  He is capable and qualified for this Supreme Court position and I hope that his nomination goes forward to an approval.

As the “me too movement” has carried itself forward in a hysterical wave of hearsay, I would like to say that hearsay is not the way to understand happenings.  Evidence is.  Dr. Blasey Ford’s testimony doesn’t rise to the level of evidence for many reasons including her inability to say for sure where or when events that she described happened.  She also isn’t a credible witness to her own story because she wasn’t sober.  Her story illustrates very well why young women and young men shouldn’t go to unsupervised parties with underage drinking.  But it also serves a political purpose.  She has delayed the Kavanaugh confirmation.

Blasey Ford claims that the only certainty she holds is the certainty that she was “mashed-up” by Kavanaugh.  Although this accusation has blocked Kavanaugh’s confirmation, it doesn’t rise to the level of a criminal accusation according to legal experts.  A more appropriate accusation may be against Blasey Ford as a slanderer.  Blasey Ford as a psychologist knows that her story isn’t about trauma.  The events that Blasey Ford describes fall short of “trauma” because her life wasn’t in danger.  Although she may have been afraid of being raped, there wasn’t a threat that endangered her life.  The only clear purpose of her story has been to muddy the waters of Kavanagh’s accomplished life with her accusation.

None of us should have to live under a microscope.  If we accept that we can be scrutinized for unfounded gossip, or for accusations without proofs or witnesses, how can we retain a footing in the sensible world of work and public life?  Gossip can invade life with wild and unsupported stories.  It can sour the private and public life of an accomplished and hard-working person.  Gossip shouldn’t affect a person’s job and a good boss doesn’t invite gossip into the workplace.  A better Senate wouldn’t invite an unsupportable accusation into public hearings for Kavanaugh.

Jobs are about doing.  Evidence is also about doing.  Evidence is about what, when, who, how, where, and sometimes why an event happened.  Events happen in three-dimensional space and require a grid of supportable facts.  Without basic three-dimensional facts, a person’s suffering must remain a private suffering.  How can it deserve to occupy public space if it doesn’t occupy physical space?

Evidence of wrongdoing sometimes loses its way in the prosecution of crimes against women.  Women who have experienced a violent act against their person suffer and some choose not to accuse their attacker.  The cost to society of violence against women is high.  The cost of violence to women is high for those who have experienced that violence.  That is a problem.  But relying on hearsay in lieu of evidence is bad.  How can our justice system function without relying on evidence?  Our justice system has sometimes failed to defend the right of women to be secure in their persons.  Substituting hearsay for evidence doesn’t repair that fault.  Even though this confirmation hearing isn’t a court proceeding I think it is more reasonable to keep to evidentiary standards than not to.

Nowadays, the word “tolerance” seems so far out of our lexicon.  A live and let live attitude seems far away right now.  Can’t we all try to avoid harming others?  Can’t we try to avoid condemning a person without evidence of wrongdoing?  It is just too easy to make up a story to undermine a person’s accomplishments in order to achieve a political goal.  We as a society shouldn’t accept unsupported accusations or allow such an accusation to undermine a judge’s accomplishments or his ability to do a job that needs doing.