[This article pertains to political economists in the United States.]
Conservative economists favor Republican candidates because it’s the way for them to rise in power themselves, but what about ‘progressive’ economists: are they psychopaths, too; or do they instead blindly favor ‘Democratic’ candidates because of a sincerely oblivious belief that the mere ‘Democratic’ Party-label indicates that the given politician is actually progressive?
Apparently, the answer is the latter, if one is to judge from assertions by the most-famous ‘progressive’ economists. Even so-called ‘progressive’ economists say that corrupt ‘Democratic’ candidates who have clear records of lying should be judged on the basis of what they say they will do, not on what their conservative record shows they’ve actually done and the interests they have actually been serving and paid by.
For example, Joseph Stiglitz is trumpeted by economists and by the newsmedia as being a ‘progressive’ economist, and he was recently asked in a Huffington Post interview, regarding Hillary Clinton,
“Some people are skeptical as to whether she is really genuine, … whether or not this is a woman who is too cozy with Wall Street?”
And he answered, “Well, she’s clearly much better than the Republican candidates,” and he cited as supposed evidence for that, not just what she is saying to him, but what she is saying to Democratic Party voters in a Democratic Party primary campaign to attract liberal voters and so to win the Democratic Party’s Presidential nomination. He compares to that, such things as the Republican candidate Marco Rubio’s (who, of course, doesn’t consult with such ‘progressive’ economists) campaign statements, which are aimed to appeal to conservative voters and so to win the Republican nomination — as if the task for either candidate (Clinton or Rubio) at present is actually to win, instead, the general-election campaign and so to appeal to the entire electorate, both conservative and liberal. Is Stiglitz really that stupid? Of course not. He knows the difference between a primary campaign and a general-election campaign.
He simply ignored Hillary Clinton’s already established and lengthy record, which is that of a conservative in ‘Democratic’ rhetorical garb, just like Barack Obama (the continuer of George W. Bush’s Wall Street bailouts and most of his other substantive policies), or, for that matter, her own husband, Bill Clinton, who had ended the great Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s progressive legacy of the Glass-Steagall Act, which placed a firewall between, on the one hand, government taxpayer-insured bank-deposits and checking and savings accounts, versus, on the other hand, Wall Street’s risky gambles and bets to win high profits with proportionally higher risks — and, so, FDR basically blocked any continuation of Wall Street’s then-existing ability to gamble with Regular Joes’ money and so to leave the gambling losses to Regular Joes, while still reaping the outsized gambling profits, which then go to Wall Street’s banksters, alone.
The ‘Democratic’ President Bill Clinton in 1999 helped Republicans ram through Congress the Gramm-Leach-Bliley, all-Republican, bill (which is one of the most corrupt laws in U.S. history), to terminate the Glass-Steagall Act in order retroactively to legalize Citibank’s takeover of Travelers Insurance; and his Treasury Secretary (Robert Rubin) was then hired by Citigroup to help to lead this very same Wall Street firm that had lobbied the hardest for this Republican law to legalize that merger, which violated FDR’s progressivism and violated the American public. If this action by Clinton wasn’t corrupt, then nothing is, except perhaps Wall Street’s continuing lavish spending on the Clinton Foundation and on Hillary Clinton’s political career, first as Wall Street’s junior U.S. Senator, and then as an aspiring U.S. President.
A good summary of the reality about Hillary Clinton was Ben White and Maggie Haberman’s Politico article, on 28 April 2014, “Wall Street Republicans’ dark secret: Hillary Clinton 2016,” which noted that, “The darkest secret in the big money world of the Republican coastal elite is that the most palatable alternative to a nominee such as Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas or Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky would be Clinton.” It’s not that the fundamentalist Cruz or the populist Paul would fail to treat Wall Street fairly; it’s instead that Hillary Clinton would be even more subservient to that big-money than either Cruz or Paul would be — that she’s more corrupt. And she is.
That’s Wall Street and the firms which serve it. The ‘feminist’ EMILY’s List is also included, of women who still vote for Hillary for the same reason that Blacks still vote for Obama (despite their being pounded the worst by his economic policies), which has to do with gender or racial identifications instead of any progressive (or even practical) ideology at all, but Hillary is almost entirely Wall Street’s property — bought and paid for, and committed to delivering to them what they have paid for (advantages to big international firms at the expense of small firms and at the expense of consumers and of workers and of the environment), which is the types of services that such ‘Democrats’ as she, and her husband, and Barack Obama, have privately promised to them, and delivered to them. (Actually, Obama is the very worst: During his Presidency, the top 1% income share has soared, and he has been President in the years following an economic crash, which is precisely the period in the economic cycle when the norm has instead been for economic inequality to decrease, not increase. In order for a President Hillary Clinton to outperform his lousy record on inequality, she’d need to reject his policies and turn radically against Wall Street, which has financed her own rise. What you’ve just now read is all documented right there, at that link; any intelligent voter will want to examine it.)
America has become a corrupt country in a corrupt world, nothing unusual in this regard. The first step to America’s becoming less corrupt would be for its voters to recognize that they have been and are fooled by the decades-long big-money indoctrination into “the free market” (actually crony capitalism), and that their top priority should thus be to vote against it — to vote against (i.e., in the exact opposite direction from) the advertisements and ‘news’ media that pump what the super-rich want to be pumped into politics and into government, and so pump the popular votes that enable it all to be legal and ‘democratic,’ no mere oligarchy that mocks America’s anti-aristocratic Founders.
Stiglitz wants to be part of the game that Hillary Clinton, as Obama’s Secretary of State, was playing: working for Wall Street while pretending to be their enemy. He wants to be on Hillary’s team, perhaps even inside the White House. (Like President Obama himself told the banksters in secret, at the start of his Presidency, on 27 March 2009: “My Administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks. … I’m not out there to go after you. I’m protecting you.” And, he fulfilled on that promise. But he doesn’t fulfill on the big ones to the contrary, that he makes in public, and to the public.)
If President Obama were sincere about his opposition to increasing economic inequality, he wouldn’t deceive people by saying that, as The New York Times summed up his propaganda in a headline on 3 February 2014, “In Talk of Economy, Obama Turns to ‘Opportunity’ Over ‘Inequality’.” He would instead acknowledge that equality of opportunity cannot increase while inequality of incomes is increasing, because opportunity depends very largely upon income: the bigger a person’s income is, the more economic opportunities that person tends to have. Instead of acknowledging this basic crucial economic fact, Obama, and the Clintons, and economists, hide it.
The lying permeates not only all of the Republican Party, but also the very top, the national, level of the Democratic Party. Democratic voters were especially deceived by Obama, and by Hillary, and by John Edwards, in the 2008 Democratic Presidential primaries, to think that their plan (it was all basically the same plan) for health insurance would produce “universal health care,” but all three knew that it couldn’t possibly deliver any such result. The percentage of Americans who had insurance then was 85.4% insured; 14.6% uninsured. Currently, it’s 87.1% insured, 12.9% uninsured. Their plan thus increased the insured rate by 87.1%/85.4%, or merely 2% above what it had been when they all started promising “universal coverage,” something which already exists in all other developed countries (100% of the population having health insurance). That’s how corrupt our country is. And they all promised also a public option, something which would enable anyone to opt out of the for-profit corporate model of provisioning healthcare services. But, Obama never really intended to deliver on that promise, either.
Leading economists are not mind-blowingly ignorant.
Perhaps the main reason why the turnout of Democrats at the polls is so poor is that the Democratic Party has sold out so much to Republican Party values, so that the Democratic Party’s voters are giving up hope and giving up on the Party itself as representing them and their interests. The reality now in the United States, has become that there is, now, a choice only between two conservative parties, with the only differences between them being ethnic and gender preferences in order to keep up the fraud that there exists a real political choice and not just a one-party, actually fascist, government, decorated, around the edges, with differences about how deeply into conservatism this nation ought to go.
And, so: what can be expected of the Democratic Party’s economists, except the hope that their next career-move will be upward, instead of downward?
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.