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The True Path to Prosperity


The True Path to Prosperity

Robert Reich

Growth doesn’t “trickle down.” It rises up.

"Make no mistake, what Trump and Republican leaders in Congress are proposing is not tax reform," Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness (AFT), said in a statement on Tuesday. (Photo: Americans for Tax Fairness/Twitter)


“Democrats are the party of economic growth and fairness.”

If I weren’t so pissed of right now at both parties, I would have laughed my way through reading this bullshit article.


“The only way to grow the economy is by investing in the education, healthcare, and infrastructure that average Americans need in order to be more productive.”

That is exactly what the Democrats have been saying for years. Obama said it over and over again. That was part of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. So clearly it is not that easy a message t get across.Why not? For one thing many Americans are opposed to big government programs, they believe for some reason that private enterprise can do everything better. For another thing, the cost is very expensive and many Americans do not want to make the initial investment, focusing instead on their immediate tax situation. The Democratic message is that we need to make some sacrifices now for the benefit of our children and future generations. Many Americans only care about themselves and do want to hear about sacrifices. Basically these American are supporting what amounts to a Ponzi scheme based on using up all the present resources and whomever is here when the resources run out is out of luck. Right now the resource we are running out of that is most critical is an atmosphere that make human life possible as greenhouse gases accumulate at an alarming rate. Many Americans want to continue the Ponzi scheme for their own selfish benefit and are denying there is even a problem. This is the view of most Republican politicians. The game is almost up. Greed and selfishness are paving the way to worldwide disaster.


Why can we not have economic thinkers like Herman Daly or Richard Wolfe on Common Dreams ?

I like Robert Reich, but he is so mainstream it hurts.

Gross Domestic Product is a measure of what ?

I will answer:

Of the circulation of money - period - and it matters not if this is due to the fabulous and destructive practices of war, or the building of solar infrastructure - to the blind, deaf and dumb proponents of what passes for economics these days - one is as good as the other - which it most certainly is not - in fact - smoke and mirrors.

There is a new book out which I may have to read, as America appears to be at that stage where perspective is all important:

“The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic” (October 2017)

The book review that follows is written by:

“Jerry D. Lenaburg is a Project Manager and Military Analyst with 30 years experience in government and industry. A 1987 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, he served as a Naval Flight Officer from 1987–1998 and has published in the Journal of Military History.”



Reich was a Bernie Sanders supporter during the primary. So I don’t think he is that mainstream. Sander’s campaign was hardly mainstream. The revolution. Free tuition for all undergrads at public colleges and universities. Single-payer healthcare coverage. Fifteen dollar minimum wage,


Apart from, according to non-ideological experts, only a modest stimulus effect (most of the benefits of which will also go the top) tax policy is a zero sum game. Any net gains by those at the top will be paid for, one way or the other, by those not at the top. There is no magic here.


A little hard to understand where Reich is getting his optimism about the sell out dems’. They have shown nothing but words - and even those are quite sparse. Just boggles the mind how someone could write SUCH a naive article. I mean, the Dems!? Really!




There are different ways to look at both Bernie Sanders and Robert Reich, and much depends upon the state of the individual doing the ‘looking’.

I like many of the ideas of both Bernie and Robert, but I find both mainstream, in a good way.

For you, Lrz, that would mean conventional democratic values.

But I do not think the Democratic Party of today, in this real world, is beholden in any meaningful way to the values and actions which constitute reality, rather than fond memories.

Jim Carter was in my view the last mainstream democrat, in reality.

But now, corporate capture is complete.

In the short term, the best that can be hoped for is the removal of Trump, but even that would be only the meagerest of beginnings.

It seems to me there is an inevitability about all that is happening - a world, in fact, upside down.

But the opposite result is also possible - a return to sanity.


Yes, CD should include writings of ecological economists like Herman Daly who I recall described capitalism’s worship of money over nature as an example of a fallacy of misplaced concreteness. Paper or digital money are ultimately meaningless concepts unlike fertile topsoil, healthy forests, clean rivers, and a stable climate.


I’ll add Michael Hudson and Yanis Varoufakis.


I am much more radical than the $1 billion per person wealth cap proposed in the Avaaz petition. In the US, there should be a wealth cap of at least $1 million with every dollar above that taxed at 99% so that we can pay for a new green economy. This is obviously something that will happen in an alternative universe although the top (marginal) tax rates were 91% in the 1950’s through the early 1960’s in the US so it is possible to institute something like this proposed wealth cap.


I can’t take anyone’s intentions seriously if they’re publishing Bob Reich at this point. This essay makes it clear where his loyalties are: the Democratic party. And his empirical claims are easily falsifiable.

Reich (and those like him) are very much part of the problem.


Robert Reich: ‘For just as long, Democrats have been selling fairness, but without explaining why a fairer economy is also more productive and prosperous.’

Huh? The Clintons brought on all the wealth-concentrating deregulations of the financial markets, and Obama hired the authors of the same ruinous rules to run the economy. Sorry, Reich, it’s past time to boot out the Old Democrats and ring in the New. If you don’t get out of the way, you will be run over.


I don’t buy the “corporate capture is complete” stuff. I don’t see it in the voting records of most Democrats or in their speeches. They seem to be mainly on the same page as activists fighting for a better environment, equal opportunity, human rights, etc. Their relationship to corporations seems to be complex. The Democrats support capitalism but also support many regulations on corporations and support things like Dodd-Frank to limit Wall Street. On internet social media and comment sites complexity seems to be a dirty word but I think it matters and I think it particularly matters when viewing the Democratic Party which is supported by a wide variety of groups with various agendas.


I see several things to question Rob Reich’s claim to economic wisdom.

Steve Jobs would be the first of many others to say that a big part of American business is to dream up, and invest in things that Americans don’t even know yet that they want. Which came first, Apple’s investment in iPods, or the American public’s demand to buy iPods? BTW, critics of consumerism criticize this.

And then there are people like natureboy who are opposed to growth:

Then there is:

I suggest that that is too simplistic. Transportation can contribute to growth. Education, used well, can contribute more, but growth is better value = quantity, quality at a more affordable price. Just like a word processor beat typewriters, which beat transcribing longhand to printers plates. And similar examples. This leads to questions of who owns that tools that produce. Who owns the assembly lines, robots, etc.? A question that I haven’t heard much discussed in several decades, perhaps not since the sit-down strikes that stopped GM from removing the machinery from the Michigan factories that were being struck by the UAW.

Some of this was discussed in the book ‘World Debt, Who is to pay’ by Jacabo Schatan, who worked in Salvador Allende’s government. That any productivity inventions should not go into quantity or more; only into quality of life.


More classical economists would respond that money is a receipt that you did work that deserves payment, such as with a trip to Disneyland. The person who has earned the money has the choice of what good or service he wants in payment for what he did, and when he wants that payment. He might put healthy food, or something else, ahead of the things that you name, and he has that right. Wise people know that money by itself is simply pretty paper. Its real value is what you can exchange it for.

BTW#1, that is the #1 fault with paper, digital (fiat) money. The government can devalue that money by stealth, cheating the person who earned it.

BTW#2, the word ‘he’ can be replaced by the word ‘she’, ‘it’ or whatever pronoun turns your crank.


Yet Yanis is mainstream progressive, I think. I’ve never seen him talk ecological economics - what Wendell Berry calls “The Great Economy”, which is what Ithurielspear is thinking of in his reply to me if I read him correctly.

We need de-growth, but that doesn’t mean full stop.

It means selection.

Replacing the fleet of fossil fueled vehicles with an equal sized fleet of electric is not the answer in my opinion, but transport systems and farm machinery, that is where our priorities ought to go.

You would need walkable communities with wide open zoning laws, or virtually no zoning laws, rather than gazillions of Teslas, if you catch my drift ?


Very well said.


Certainly they don’t get us everything but it wasn’t the Republicans who got us the ACA.