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"I think about food a lot"

Anglachel goes back to the basics:

I think about the way in which grocery stores and shopping lists become political markers of having "made it." I think about socio-economic classes in terms of where they buy their potatoes and what color they are - red, white, gold, purple.

Anglachel says she's going to post a lot more on food, and I look forward to it.

Time to reprise the ramen noodles post, I guess. Boy, did the "creative [cough] class" hate that one!

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tedraicer's picture
Submitted by tedraicer on

Just thinking out loud here about the Obama Problem after reading her post, many of his supporters clearly believe that opposing homophobia and racism (but not so much sexism), and the war in Iraq (when it was fought by Bush), and not actively hating the poor, and wanting a Palestinian state, and laughing at the "teabaggers," and wanting Evolution taught in science classes means they are "progressive".

But it doesn't. What it really means is they are comfortably well-off college graduates who are oblivious to the real lives of most Americans, and not interested in learning what they don't know, lest they be obligated to support policies that might actually cost them something. The Obamacratic Party is the Democratic Party minus all that icky "class warfare" stuff that was central to the party of FDR, Truman, and LBJ and still had some pull in the Clinton era ( taxes were raised on the very wealthy and tax credits offered to the poor); the Democratic Party for those in the top 20% not willing to rub shoulders with religious fundamentalists. It is anti-populist to the core.

It is also a view that is sufficiently short-sighted that it is blind to the opening its anti-populism gives to a GOP that may be currently down but is very far from out.

Submitted by lambert on

... the beauty part is that single payer wouldn't have cost them a thing, and as they're reasonably well travelled, they know from other countries what the statistics prove: Single payer would make the whole country better off. Making the "public option" (or "plan") advocacy all the more... shitty.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

And, for that matter, why Bowers's PBR/Whole Foods post bothers me to no end.

Pibbers are like thos people buying hummers because it was trendy, then buying a prius because it was trendy. Sometimes the trendy thing is actually good, often its not.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

I loved the Ramen post.

The point of Ramen was not to be taken completely literal, though you provide ample literal information--and sometimes they have 4 or even 8 for a dollar sales on the generic ramen. The point was the ridicule at the thought that a little money can help anyone, that it was even worth giving crumbs to people who could really use the crumbs.

In addition to that ignorant and elitist position, perhaps the thing that bothered me most was that Hillary was saying something very clearly: I'm not going to let the corrupt oil companies profit out of your dire circumstances. It was such a strong signal of solidarity with the working poor. It was one of the clearest affirmations of liberalism of the entire campaign, other than Kucinich or perhaps Edwards (though I never believed Edwards commitment). This is a significant reason why I grew to distrust the liberalism of the proggers aka pibbers.

jumpjet's picture
Submitted by jumpjet on

At the time, I was very much swayed by Obama's argument that oil companies would just take the potential savings for themselves as profits. Did Clinton's version prevent that?

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

Essentially, she would have required the oil companies to pay the taxes that are charged to the people (this was an important difference from McCain, who simply wanted to not collect the tax from anyone, which would've depleted the roads funding that the tax pays for, one of the Obama folks favorite claims was that Clinton's proposal would also have done this - that it was just like McCain's - when it clearly wasn't). There were suggestions that the oil companies would simply recoup their new taxes in higher prices. However, in the instances where it had been tried at the state level - including in Illinois with State Senator Obama's support - it worked. About 60% of the tax savings ended up passing on to the consumer.

More importantly, I thought at the time, was the politics, which were good - at a time when ordinary people were hurting, she was proposing getting rid of a regressive tax on consumers and shifting it to the oil companies. It wouldn't have solved the gas crisis (which, of course, turned out to be not a crisis), but it was a good political move which is why Obama moved so aggressively - with the help of so many good "progressives" - to destroy it. Why alleged progressives were interested in preserving a regressive tax on consumers instead of shifting it to the oil companies was never explained. Similarly, I don't believe any of the Obama folks ever seriously addressed the Illinois case where it worked (leading lambert to ask the classic question, it works in practice, but will it work in theory?). Since they couldn't fight it on 1) the facts or 2) the politics, a lot of them moved to belittling how little savings it would be, as if nobody could possibly care about $30. Thus, the Ramen post, pointing out that $30 a month can make a big difference to some people.

It was one of the more depressing episodes in a primary season filled with depressing episodes. Watching "progressives" lobby to keep a regressive tax and deny ordinary Americans this little bit of help because Obama opposed it. It was not, to say the least, a good sign.

In the scheme of things, it was a small one. But it was also a telling one, IMO.

Jeebus, the last year and a half has been rough (politically speaking).

jumpjet's picture
Submitted by jumpjet on

If you want to make things easier on the poor, why not levy entirely new taxes on the oil companies and use them to fund the wide proliferation of intercity rail and rapid-transit bus systems, thus removing the entire need for a car in the city in the first place?

And for the suburbs and the country, just make sure the rail reaches them as well.

Submitted by lambert on

But the point of the ramen noodle post is that every little bit helps.

Submitted by hipparchia on

besides being a good political move.

gas was $4/gallon here at the time, which turned out to be mostly price gouging [it dropped back down to about $1.50 last winter], and it added $50-60/month to my transportation outlay. that was a big bite for me.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

It was a small thing, intended to counter McCain's gas tax holiday (which would've simply denied the govt any tax money). It was primarily a political move to counter the GOP move to try to cut another tax and deny the government revenue. It was never painted as a long-term solution. It had the added benefit of showing people the government recognized they were suffering from gas prices and that, while any real solution required a lot of time and work on our energy policy, it was at least a little bit of help that could be delivered immediately (unlike, say, additional offshore drilling - there is a reason to have an affirmative policy proposal on the table instead of simply responding to the GOP). That so many rallied so hard to deny people that little bit of help - we're not talking the larger energy policy (I will note here Obama's vote for Cheney's energy bill) - was depressing. And nobody I read claimed it would solve the larger problem, including Clinton. But it wasn't designed to. Clinton had a larger energy plan (similar to Obama's after he changed his to compete with Clinton and Edwards because, as with so many issues in the primary, Obama started out to their right).

The entire thing was a fact-free character smear (Clinton will say anything to win, nevermind Obama went from touting the gas tax holiday in Illinois to claiming it never worked when he ran for President) instead of any kind of policy discussion. Much like the rest of the campaign.

Ugh! Now, I'm through revisiting the primary even though I feel like I relive it every day whenever I read about healthcare on the blogs. It's the same dynamics.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

until Clinton's opponents started lying about it. That's what the big deal in the entire fiasco was for me. You had Obama and his supporters lying and smearing Clinton's character to discredit a policy - albeit a small one - that was essentially progressive. I would argue that this pattern has continued to this day by Obama and his supporters. Look at the healthcare "debate". It's not that this incident matters, particularly. I 'm not mourning the loss of the gas tax holiday. I'm mourning the loss of a blogosphere where you could not simply lie repeatedly and have it accepted as truth because it came from a center right politician. That however awful Hillary Clinton allegedly is, someone running to her RIGHT on domestic policy issues (as Obama did) is not, in fact, an improvement and the progressive answer. Yet with Obama every principle must be sacrificed on the alter of Obama because he is that awesome. Don't look at what he does, look at what he says. Uh-huh.

I'd argue that what we're seeing now - a lot of allegedly progressive blogs essentially telling people on the left to sit down and STFU on single payer - stems from the same dynamic we saw all during the primary, including on the gas tax holiday, although it was far from the worst or most important instance.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Hillary went on Fox News and got Bill O'Reilly nodding along to the idea of a special windfall profit tax on Big Oil, which was how her proposal differed from McCain's.

The symbolism/framing was terrific -- populist, and pushing back on corporate hegemony -- even if the program was tiny.

Insignificant though it was, it certainly didn't rate 100 economists mysteriously and, no doubt, spontaneously organizing to bash it, and making a major news / blog story out of that. You'd almost think someone orchestrated that little bit of kabuki....

Submitted by lambert on

The real question is which 100 economists and why. Saltwater, or freshwater, for example? And one thinks immediately of Obama's early backing by hedge funds, which I damn dumb missed at the time (thought they were just like any other lobbying group, though events of 2008 proved me wrong, wrong wrong).