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The Tally Ho

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

The Corporation/Ehrenreich & Krugman

While all the talk has been about Michael Moore's F911, which I think it did its job - it wasn't that great of a flim... however, on Saturday night I saw a great documentary, The Corporation. This documentary didn't dicuss many things that I was not aware of, but it did combine many issues of corporate power and how it effects us. It covers advertising/visual culture, environment issues, labor issues, history of corporate power and governments, and the how corporations are treated as individuals (among other things). As a documentary, it is the best of the year - and I am glad that some good ones have come out in 2004. Obviously I loved Super Size Me also. So, if The Corporation comes to a city near you - see it. If not, I bet the book it is based on is a very good read.

Did anyone else notice that Barbara Ehrenreich will be writing for the NY Times Op-Ed page for the next three months? Well if you didn't, her first Op-Ed was titled Dude, Where's That Elite? She writes:
...the idea of a liberal elite nourishes the right's perpetual delusion that it is a tiny band of patriots bravely battling an evil power structure. Note how richly the E-word embellishes the screeds of Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly and their co-ideologues, as in books subtitled "Rescuing American from the Media Elite," "How Elites from Hollywood, Politics and the U.N. Are Subverting America," and so on. Republican right-wingers may control the White House, both houses of Congress and a good chunk of the Supreme Court, but they still enjoy portraying themselves as Davids up against a cosmopolitan-swilling, corgi-owning Goliath.

Comments? In her second column, Their George and Ours, she writes:
The signers further indicted their erstwhile monarch for "taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments." The administration has been trying its best to establish a modern equivalent to the divine right of kings, with legal memorandums asserting that George II's "inherent" powers allow him to ignore federal laws prohibiting torture and war crimes.

Then there is the declaration's boldest and most sweeping indictment of all, condemning George III for "transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation." Translate "mercenaries" into contract workers and proxy armies (remember the bloodthirsty, misogynist Northern Alliance?), and translate that last long phrase into Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib.

In Krugman's latest piece, Bye-Bye, Bush Boom, he writes:
And economic growth is passing working Americans by. The average weekly earnings of nonsupervisory workers rose only 1.7 percent over the past year, lagging behind inflation. The president of Aetna, one of the biggest health insurers, recently told investors, "It's fair to say that a lot of the jobs being created may not be the jobs that come with benefits." Where is the growth going? No mystery: after-tax corporate profits as a share of G.D.P. have reached a level not seen since 1929.

What should we be doing differently? For three years many economists have argued that the most effective job-creating policies would be increased aid to state and local governments, extended unemployment insurance and tax rebates for lower- and middle-income families. The Bush administration paid no attention — it never even gave New York all the aid Mr. Bush promised after 9/11, and it allowed extended unemployment insurance to lapse. Instead, it focused on tax cuts for the affluent, ignoring warnings that these would do little to create jobs.

I know most people won't comment, but I would like to hear what people think of Ehrenreich, her columns, and Krugman's view of the current economy.


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