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Bill Daley, Austan Goolsbee: No Change Is Needed Or Wanted

Bill Daley, the White House Chief of Staff, told the Democratic National Committee to “keep up the fight”, according to The Canadian Press. He touted the successes of the Obama administration in passing a tax cut for the rich, obtaining ratification of the nuclear arms treaty with Russia, and repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. He expressed gratitude for the help of the DNC, and told them there were big things to do.

Daley joined the administration not long ago, leaving banking giant JPMorgan Chase, where he made a fortune as “Midwest Chairman and head of corporate responsibility for the bank.” Bloomberg reports that he took home $8.7 million in 2010 and the first week of 2011, and that he has assets between $7.3 and $49.7 million.

I’m sure that what is good for JPMorgan Chase and Bill Daley is good for America, so perhaps it’s harsh to state affirmatively that the things he wants to accomplish have nothing to do with being a Democrat, at least if the test of being a Democrat is related to the party platform written for President Obama in 2008.

Major parts of that platform were thrown overboard without a fight, Guantanamo, increased taxes for the richest Americans like Bill Daley, and a plan for affordable quality health care, including a public option. But now small parts of the platform are now being jettisoned as well:

And we will help those who are hit hardest by high energy prices by increasing funding for low-income heating assistance and weatherization programs, and by providing energy assistance to help middle-class families make ends meet in this time of inflated energy prices.

We will expand access to health care and nutrition for women and reduce the burden of maternal mortality.

I don’t see anything in this platform that suggests that we would cut LIHEAP or WIC if Republicans were mean about deficits.

Austan Goolsbee showed up on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to explain that LIHEAP funding went up in 2008 because the price of oil was so high, so Obama’s proposed cuts just restore it to the proportional level of 2008. Stewart points out that home heating oil is more expensive now than it was then, and Goolsbee is embarrassed into a giggle (about the 5 minute mark). Stewart doesn’t have to go on to the fact that the need is greater now than it was then, with millions unemployed and underemployed, and millions more who took pay cuts or jobs paying much less, just to support their families.

Goolsbee repeats the phrase “live within our means” over and over, and never points out that the amount of our means is determined by tax levels. When we cut taxes on the rich, and let corporations they control for their personal benefit avoid taxation, we insure that “living within our means” immiserates millions of Americans.

Goolsbee was supposed to be for economists what Obama was for politics as a whole, a bright younger person, ready to break the boundaries erected by decades of bad government and legislation created by lobbyists for corporations and Veal Pen groups on both sides of the pretend political divide.

Goolsbee was supposed to be the new economist, the guy whose ideas weren’t founded on the failed economic theories that caused the Great Crash. It is now crystal clear that Goolsbee is just as much a tool as the corporation man Daley. The economics profession has no intellectual independence or claim to our respect. A Chief of Staff whose vast wealth came from JPMorgan Chase deserves no respect as an agent of change or anything else.

The Great Crash was a huge opening for forces outside of conventional belief structures to take positions in government and business. That didn’t happen. We have more of the same, applied with a heavy hand and rubbed into our faces. The class war is over and the rich won. It’s time for sensible people to hide under the fur and suck as much as possible from the beast, and then hide from it.

The Great Crash wasn’t enough to break up the old boys network that runs government and business. I hate to think what it will take to push those people to the side and make room for new people not raised in the consensus that created them.

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