Dr. Jill Stein Tells It Like It Is

Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party’s presidential candidate, discusses the economic realities of bipartisan politics in this must see video.

It’s the Corporations, Stupid!

Bill Clinton famously won election on the campaign slogan “It’s the Economy, Stupid!” Analysts have come to understand that he pursued the  same kind of policies that favored corporate interests over the middle class that his Republican predecessors and followers did. The same can be said of President Obama.

The role of government under both parties favors the interests of the highest bidders. While there are differences in the platforms of the two parties, and each appeals to a different psychographic, the underlying economic underpinnings are the same – both parties support the interests of the most influential corporate agendas. This is today called “plutocracy,” but it isn’t new – it is essentially a continuation of power politics of the middle ages which has become known as feudalism. The dominant powers in politics are the health care system, Wall Street and the military/security industry.  A concerted agenda of judicial activism, legislative lobbying, and a presidency beholden to these interests, the erosion of the middle class and rise of the plutocrats is assured under today’s bipartisan political structure.

Preparing For The Obama 2nd Term

The 2012 election has been presented as a “clear choice” between two starkly contrasting forms of rhetoric, but there is little difference underlying policy. The corporate money stands by to fund, influence and corrupt whomever is elected. Making this even more obvious, consider the that following the substantial bounce of the Democratic Convention, and the failure of the Republican Convention to engage any new public interest, President Obama has all of a sudden pulled ahead of Mitt Romney in fundraising. Coincidence?

The leading indicators favor the re-election of the amiable President Obama, who presents a “warmer and fuzzier” form of rhetoric than the angry, defensive, exclusionist and paranoid “winner take all” rhetoric of Mitt Romeny. Corporations are realistic. Close as polls are, the betting line heavily favors Obama. Intrade places the odds at 57% in favor or a second term, with  swiftly accelerating volume in the past couple of weeks adding credibility to the prediction. Alan Brochstein observes in his article in seeking Alpha: “How to Position for a Second Obama Term” how closely President Obama’s official betting odds of winning track the S&P500:

A Middle Class Hero is Something to Be

In the vernacular of Occupy Wall Street, the main function of politicians of both parties is to represent the interests of the 1% – the most powerful corporations, whose interests tend to run counter to the interests of the middle class economy.  The Republicans’ economic solutions consist almost entirely of boosting the defense industry and the multinational corporations at the expense of the national economy and the middle class. The Democrats’ economic rhetoric is that they support policies to grow small business and the middle class, while actual policies continue to be written by the same large corporations. The middle class – or what’s left of it – gets what’s left over, so it’s a “trickle down” effect under either party. The 99% is again in the position of having to decide between “the lesser of 2 evils” and the verdict on who that is seems to have now been determined. As ever, the middle class is a pawn in power politics.

Q. Dare the middle class hope for political solutions?

At one point in June, 1992, third party presidential candidate H. Ross Perot led the polls with 39% (versus 31% for Bush and 25% for Clinton). Just prior to the debates, Perot received 7-9% support in nationwide polls.It is likely that the debates played a significant role in his ultimate receipt of 19% of the popular vote. Perot denounced Congress for its inaction in his speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on March 18, 1992. Perot said:

This city has become a town filled with sound bites, shell games, handlers, media stuntmen who posture, create images, talk, shoot off  Roman Candles, but don’t ever accomplish anything. We need deeds, not words, in this city.

A. A Third Party Solution is Unlikely

In the 1992 election, he received 18.9% of the popular vote, approximately 19,741,065 votes (but no electral votes), making him the most successful third-party presidential candidate in terms of the popular vote since Theodore Roosevelt in the 1912 election. A detailed analysis of voting demographics revealed that Perot’s support drew heavily from across the political spectrum, with 20% of his votes coming from self-described liberals, 27% from self-described conservatives, and 53% coming from self-described moderates. Economically, the majority of Perot voters (57%) were middle class, earning between $15,000 and $49,000 annually, with the bulk of the remainder drawing from the upper middle class (29% earning more than $50,000 annually). Exit polls showed that Ross Perot drew 38% of his vote from Bush, and 38% of his vote from Clinton, while the rest of his voters said they would have stayed home had he not been on the ballot. Close but no cigar doesn’t begin to describe the fact that the  electral college system seems stacked against the viability of an alternative third party candidacy.

What We Can Learn From Marketing In the Digital Age

An Unrepresented Consumer: The Middle Class

Still, corporations depend on the middle class as an economic interest, so realpolitic may mitigate a tendency toward cynicism in the mind of the voter.  Corporations are not all bad, and the art of the possible means that with bipartisan compromise, the middle class economy could still hobble forward.

Toward A Post Partisan Information Era

The best hope for a solution lies in a government that is more responsive to its secondary constituents – the public, relative to its primary constituents – the corporate backers. It isn’t unlike what the corporate world faces today – where shareholders’ interests are primary, and consumers’ interests, secondary.  A more informed, more demanding digital saavy consumer is helping to change the way that corporations do business. Can we extend this effect to the electorate?

Making government more accountable in the digital age can help to re-balance the equation. But an key part of the equation is a  more informed, analytical, and post partisan electorate.  Today, brands that do not deliver on consumer values lose market share.

A more informed and demanding public could help move both parties toward greater accountability. While a true political solution is probably too much to hope for, the reality is that government policy drives economic change, but can only govern by the consent of the governed. The first step is public awareness. Clamor for change. Demand meaningful legislation to reduce the role of corporate money in campaigns and the media, and investments in public education to create a nation of critical thinkers rather than partisan sheep.

Most important: Try to see past the ruse of the framed debate of the two parties.  Left vs. Right is a decoy. The real issue, as ever, is corporate vs. individual interests. This is the struggle that built a middle class in America, and that has since continued to reverse those gains.

Snap! principle of economic analysis:

It’s important to understand the underlying economic trends and their causes, and that can only be done from a truly independent, non-partisan perspective. This blog will continue to highlight economic issues independent of the false choice of bipartisan politics.

Consumers in the digital age are taking control

Dr. Jill Stein’s Background

Dr. Jill Stein is a mother, physician, teacher of internal medicine, and pioneering environmental-health advocate. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1973, and from Harvard Medical School in 1979.
Professional Background: She is the co-author of two widely-praised reports,  In Harm’s Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development, published in 2000, and Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging, published in 2009.  Her “Healthy People, Healthy Planet” teaching program reveals the links between human health, climate security, and green economic revitalization. This body of work has been presented at government, public health and medical conferences, and has been used to improve public policy.  Jill has testified before numerous legislative panels as well as local and state governmental bodies. She played a key role in the effort to get the Massachusetts fish advisories updated to better protect women and children from mercury contamination, which can contribute to learning disabilities and attention deficits in children. She also helped lead the successful campaign to clean up the “Filthy Five” coal plants in Massachusetts, an effort that resulted in getting coal plant regulations signed into law that were the most protective around at that time. Her testimony on the effects of mercury and dioxin contamination from the burning of waste helped preserve the Massachusetts moratorium on new trash incinerator construction in the state.  Jill has appeared as an environmental health expert on the Today Show20/20Fox News, and other programs. She was also a member of the national and Massachusetts boards of directors of the Physicians for Social Responsibility. Her efforts to protect public health has won her several awards including: Clean Water Action’s “Not in Anyone’s Backyard” Award, the Children’s Health Hero” Award, and the Toxic Action Center’s Citizen Award.
Political Activism: Having witnessed the ability of big money to stop health protective policies on Beacon Hill, Jill became an advocate for campaign finance reform, and worked to help pass the Clean Election Law. This law was approved by the voters by a 2-1 margin, but was later repealed by the Massachusetts Legislature on an unrecorded voice vote.  In 2002 ADD activists in the Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party approached Dr. Stein and asked her to run for Governor of Massachusetts. Dr. Stein accepted, and began her first foray into electoral politics. She was widely credited with being the best informed and most credible candidate in the race. Jill represented the Green-Rainbow Party in two additional races – one for State Representative in 2004 and one for Secretary of State in 2006. In 2006 she won the votes of over 350,000 Massachusetts citizens – which represented the greatest vote total ever for a Green-Rainbow candidate. In 2008, Jill helped formulate a “Secure Green Future” ballot initiative that called upon legislators to accelerate efforts to move the Massachusetts economy to renewable energy and make development of green jobs a priority. The measure won over 81 per cent of the vote in the 11 districts in which it was on the ballot.