Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

May 30, 2016

Is America committing slow-motion suicide? A look at the decline of CUNY

Filed under: economics,Education,financial crisis — louisproyect @ 5:19 pm

Since my wife is a faculty member at Lehman College, the picture of its library in yesterday’s NY Times captured my attention:

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 1.12.29 PM

Lehman and other City University of New York colleges were profiled in an article titled “Dreams Stall as CUNY, New York City’s Engine of Mobility, Sputters” that like so many in the newspaper recently depicts an American in deep if not irreversible decline. Lehman’s library was a case in point:

At Lehman College in the Bronx, Robert Farrell, an associate professor in the library department, said the library’s entire book budget this academic year was $13,000, down from about $60,000 a decade ago. Because the roof has been chronically leaky, about 200 books were damaged during a rainstorm three years ago; a tarp still covers some volumes.

Mr. Farrell also said that the library has had to reduce its spending on academic journals and database subscriptions. “We can’t be a serious institution of higher learning without providing our faculty and students with access to these kinds of things,” he said.

It was just one more reminder that the ruling class of the USA has no intention of funding the public good. With respect to private enterprise, unless the same kinds of profits can be generated on American soil that can be made overseas in an epoch when capital takes wings and flies around the globe in search of higher profits, you will wait in vain for the post-WWII prosperity that both the Trump and Sanders campaign evoke. After all, capitalism does not exist to create middle-class jobs. It exists to allow men and some women to be able to buy $15 million condominiums in New York and vacation in St. Bart’s just like Gaddafi’s sons did.

The article mentions that the City University of New York was founded by Townsend Harris in 1847 as the Free Academy of New York to educate “the children of the whole people.” What a benign figure. But if you take five minutes digging into his past, you will learn that he was named the first Consul General to Japan in July, 1856 just after Commodore Perry made the Japanese an offer they couldn’t refuse. Perry commanded a fleet of four warships that arrived in Edo Bay on July 8, 1853. After the Japanese instructed him to go to Nagasaki, the designated port for foreign contact, he threatened to burn Edo to the ground unless they kowtowed to American demands to “open” up their country for trade. As it happens, the American Manifest Destiny that led to this gunboat diplomacy and the creation of a school for “the children of the whole people” went hand in hand. Slavery, colonial expansion abroad and internal expansion through the grab of Mexican and Indian land were essential to the consolidation of a modern capitalist powerhouse that needed an educated workforce to maintain its ledger books and sell its commodities.

It is questionable whether the same imperative exists today, even as neocolonialism and the oppression of Mexicans and Indians continue.

It is probably not news to people who have been following higher education issues as I have ever since I began working at Columbia University in 1991, but essentially the powers that be are “starving the beast” as Grover Norquist urged. The Times reports:

Since the 2008 recession, states have reduced spending on public higher education by 17 percent per student, while tuition has risen by 33 percent, according to a recent report by the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Arizona is spending 56 percent less, while students are paying 88 percent more. In Louisiana, students are spending 80 percent more on tuition, while state funding has been cut by 39 percent.

The article places emphasis on feuding between NYC mayor Bill De Blasio, hailed by the liberal left like Obama was in 2008, and Governor Cuomo about whom there are no illusions. Cuomo has foisted much of the funding for CUNY on the city, a burden it can ill afford. Some say that this is his way of paying back the PSC, my wife’s union, for backing his rival Zephyr Teachout in the DP primaries in the last gubernatorial election.

As a frequent visitor to the Nicaragua Network meetings in 1989, De Blasio struck me as a smooth operator but I hardly figured him as a future mayor. Despite dark reminders about his visit to Cuba and Sandinista sympathies, De Blasio has been a reliable friend of real estate interests. In yesterday’s Times, there’s an op-ed piece on the gentrification of Harlem that nails him for his failure to take them on:

Still Harlem endures as a community with high hopes, and in 2013, we felt sure we had found a champion. Bill de Blasio ran as the mayor for everyone, which we figured had to include Harlem. Black voters were crucial to his victory, and we thought we were covered and cared for. He even has a likable son, as liable to get stopped by the police as ours might.

We were wrong. The man we saw as “our mayor” may talk about housing affordability, but his vision is far from the rent control and public housing that President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia once supported, and that made New York affordable for generations. Instead, he has pushed for private development and identified unprotected, landmark-quality buildings as targets. He and the City Council have effectively swept aside contextual zoning limits, which curb development that might change the very essence of a neighborhood, in Harlem and Inwood, farther north. At best, his plan seems to be to develop at all speed and costs, optimistic that the tax revenues and good graces of the real estate barons allow for a few affordable apartments to be stuffed in later.

Corey Robin, who teaches at Brooklyn College, one of the more prestigious campuses in the CUNY system, blogged about the article:

The piece makes a brief nod to my campus, Brooklyn College, whose “rapidly deteriorating campus” has earned it the moniker “Brokelyn College.”

I can personally attest to that. On Thursday, as I left campus, I stopped in the men’s room of our wing of James Hall. One of the two urinals was out of business, covered by a plastic sheet. I sighed, and thought back to the time, about a year ago, that that urinal was so covered for about six months. The clock in my office has been stopped for over a year. Our department administrator tried to get it fixed: it worked for two days, and broke again.

He includes a picture of the desks in a classroom:

You can bet that there are no desks like that at NYU or Columbia where the students are being prepped for jobs in the financial services or those sectors of the economy that look after big business’s far-flung empire. I imagine that an MBA from either of these two schools and a minor in computer science might open doors at an accounting firm or investment bank. Art history or sociology? Forgettaboutit.

You have to understand the decline of CUNY in the context of public higher education’s nationwide crisis. Everywhere you look, schools are being denied funding adequate to their needs. This almost certainly means that it will be more and more difficult for American corporations to staff the middle-tier managerial positions for which these schools are expected to furnish. The Times article points to the difficulties a young woman is facing trying to become qualified as a public school teacher:

At City College, Anais McAllister, 22, a senior from Yonkers, said she had planned to major in English with a concentration in education, which would have allowed her to become a teacher after graduation. When some of her required education classes were canceled, she realized she would need another year — and another $6,000, at least — to graduate with the education credential.

With her scholarship expiring at the end of this academic year, and a younger brother entering trade school in the fall to obtain his plumber certification, she dropped the education concentration.

“The fact that this can happen, where your department can be cut financially where you have to think about dropping it, is ridiculous,” she said.

With her problems probably being repeated across the system, it will be difficult for public schools to operate effectively, which obviously will be of little importance to someone like Cuomo who is a major backer of charter schools.

When Corey Robin posted a link to the Times article yesterday morning on FB, the first comment to appear was this: “We’re committing slow-motion suicide as a country.” I responded as follows:

This is obviously related to the state of American capitalism that in its current phase has little interest in the kind of national development that led to all sorts of public investments such as expressways, railway systems, higher education on one hand and on the other private investment in nationally-based manufacturing (auto, steel, etc.) Bernie Sanders advocates investment in the former but really has no idea how to get the capitalist class to invest in American manufacturing when you can get Mexican auto workers to accept much lower wages. The writing is on the wall but it is not suicide–it is homicide. Andrew Cuomo, the Koch brothers, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg, Barack Obama–all of them could care less if Lehman College, where my wife works, has a leaking ceiling. They are only interested in serving their own class interests. The USA needs a socialist revolution and the longer we place hopes in capitalist reform, the longer we delay confronting the tasks that are staring us in the face.

Of course in FB, you are loath to post longer comments but I’d like to now expand upon what I wrote.

On May 15th Barack Obama gave the commencement speech at Rutgers University that contained this Panglossian statement:

Point number one:  When you hear someone longing for the “good old days,” take it with a grain of salt.  (Laughter and applause.)  Take it with a grain of salt.  We live in a great nation and we are rightly proud of our history.  We are beneficiaries of the labor and the grit and the courage of generations who came before.  But I guess it’s part of human nature, especially in times of change and uncertainty, to want to look backwards and long for some imaginary past when everything worked, and the economy hummed, and all politicians were wise, and every kid was well-mannered, and America pretty much did whatever it wanted around the world.

Guess what.  It ain’t so.  (Laughter.)  The “good old days” weren’t that great.  Yes, there have been some stretches in our history where the economy grew much faster, or when government ran more smoothly.  There were moments when, immediately after World War II, for example, or the end of the Cold War, when the world bent more easily to our will.  But those are sporadic, those moments, those episodes.  In fact, by almost every measure, America is better, and the world is better, than it was 50 years ago, or 30 years ago, or even eight years ago.  (Applause.)

Although the students were likely to appreciate the president’s visit, they might have questioned his take on the “good old days” considering that the school’s tuition is now $13,000 per year, one of the most expensive public university in the country. Of course, the school has tried to generate revenue through its athletic program but it keeps running into scandals on an almost yearly basis, the latest one connected to the football coach trying to get the administration to overlook a star player’s failing grades.

The problem for Obama is that many Americans do remember “the good old days”, which were not that long ago. When I was a student at the New School in 1967 and had completed most of the credits I needed for a PhD in Philosophy, I needed a job to keep me going as I worked on my dissertation. That led to jobs as a welfare worker and 5th grade teacher in Harlem that went begging back then when AFDC and funding for public education were in ample supplies as part of the Great Society—funded to some extent by feverish war spending a la Military Keynesianism.

When those jobs became too much of a psychological toll, I began looking at the classified ads in the Sunday Times business section, which usually ran for 5 pages or so. They were in alphabetical order and I turned directly to those that started “college graduates”. There were usually about three hundred listed that read something like this: “Major insurance company seeks programmer trainees, starting salary $6000. No experience necessary.” That’s how I got my first job at Met Life in 1968. The $6000 was adequate to pay for a modest one-bedroom or studio apartment. For me that was “the good old days” even though it was inextricably linked to a brutal imperialist war that would cost the lives of millions of Vietnamese.

For most working people in the area, jobs could be landed at places like Ford Motors in Mahwah, New Jersey or the oil refineries just across the river along the New Jersey Turnpike. Those were good union jobs that paid the kind of money that would allow you to live in a suburban tract housing and send your kids to college. Those who remember those “good old days” are being wooed by both Trump and Sanders who have about as much of an idea to bring them back as I do about the origins of the universe.

None of this matters to Barack Obama or the rich bastards who are funding both the Democrats and Republicans an on equal opportunity for profit basis. Their newspapers like the NY Times and even Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal can publish hand-wringing items like the one on CUNY but in the final analysis, they have no idea how to make America “great” again.

We are living in a period that can both be described as capitalist decline and capitalist expansion. Places like Detroit go down the tubes but for the capitalist investor, it could not be any better. All you need to do is stroll around the Chelsea neighborhood in NYC and gaze at the new condominiums that are the preferred homes for Wall Street hedge fund operators or plutocrats from Brazil, Russia, India or China, the bloc of nations that are supposed to be rescuing us from neoliberalism according to imbeciles like Mike Whitney.

The truth is that we are in a new kind of “The Other America”, the 1962 book that SP leader Michael Harrington wrote about the pockets of poverty in a nation in which everybody else was prospering. The coal fields of West Virginia and California’s Central Valley came under the spotlight. Nowadays, it is getting to the point where there will be pockets of extreme wealth surrounded by oceans of poverty or near-poverty only relieved by those middle-class families that can tread water sufficiently to keep from drowning.

This is not a nation “committing suicide”. It is one in which the superrich are killing the rest of us through a slow process of attrition. There is absolutely nothing in Bernie Sanders’s economic program that can reverse this. The idea that the USA can adopt a Nordic socialist model when Northern Europe itself has been cutting back on social programs and making life hell for immigrants is—in a word—utopian. The sooner we revive the radical movement of the sixties in which Sanders was committed to genuine socialism, the better.

 

 

20 Comments »

  1. Louis, this is an excellent essay, a needed corrective to the Times piece. U.S. capitalism is not creating enough well-paying jobs that require a four-year degree and has no need for large numbers of senior college graduates anymore. In fact, it creates a crisis of expectations to have a plethora of graduates wondering where those jobs are and beginning to question the system that can’t meet their needs. One minor correction: the PSC — which is my union as well — did not endorse Zephyr Teachout in the gubernatorial primary. The PSC only endorses candidates for local office. However, the PSC is part of the Working Families Party, which discredited itself by endorsing Cuomo.

    Comment by Glenn — May 30, 2016 @ 5:47 pm

  2. Hmm. I wonder where I got the idea about Teachout. I will have to look into this.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 30, 2016 @ 6:41 pm

  3. Reminds me of this doc featuring Chomsky I just happened to watch on Netflix this AM:

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — May 30, 2016 @ 6:57 pm

  4. Some facts from Wikipedia’s page, Educational attainment in the United States:
    [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Educational_attainment_in_the_United_States]

    % of people 25-and-over with Bachelor’s degree: 31.96%
    % of people 25-and-over with Master’s and/or doctorate and/or professional degree: 11.7%

    I don’t know the breakdown for what majors get the best jobs, but we can guess which majors don’t. We know that a History or Literature, etc. degree (Humanities basically) doesn’t get you a job, other than a service industry job flipping burgers or serving coffee, etc. But, I also know engineers who can’t get a job that easily. So, even a solid engineering degree is no longer enough.

    Of the 11.7% of those with higher level degrees, we also know a great number of people with masters/doctorate/professional degrees who likewise cannot find a steady job. For example, we know there are lots of people with PhD’s who have to teach one course in one college, another two in another college, etc., and are sending out resumes to different educational institutions on a regular basis, year after year, to no avail. And of course we know lots of people who, no matter how high their education, simply cannot find a job in their field of study.

    Now, that last one is for people with a *higher* degrees (just under 12% of population). Clearly the social system underpinning the economy is not built for providing jobs. Pretty soon, the Americans will have the same percentage of highly educated people with no jobs as in Iran.

    Comment by Reza — May 30, 2016 @ 6:58 pm

  5. It’s not clear to me that you understand what Sanders’ program is. He wants greater progressive taxation and a vast expansion of “entitlements” (health care, elder care, child care, paid family leave, paid sick leave, etc.).

    The U.S. is the wealthiest country in the world and controls its own currency. All of this can easily be paid for. Of course 1950s-style capitalist prosperity isn’t coming back. It doesn’t have to come back. Just expand the public sector to create jobs that the private sector refuses to create. Shorten the working day. Etc.

    Counterpoising reform to revolution in a time period when revolution isn’t on the immediate agenda makes no sense. Ultraleft “all or nothing” statements do nothing except immobilize people, lead them to think all is hopeless, and then they drop out of politics and await their fate. It’s also inconsistent with your support for “broad left” parties (like the Green Party USA) that aren’t calling for immediate revolution. (Jill Stein wants a Green New Deal, after all.)

    Also, the conservative union leaders that forced the WFP to back Cuomo are no longer backing the WFP. When the WFP endorsed Sanders they pulled out. This gives WFP activists greater power and allows for a left turn in the WFP.

    Comment by jschulman — May 30, 2016 @ 7:55 pm

  6. He wants greater progressive taxation and a vast expansion of “entitlements” (health care, elder care, child care, paid family leave, paid sick leave, etc.).

    The U.S. is the wealthiest country in the world and controls its own currency.

    —-

    But there is no fraction of the ruling class that is willing to go this route. This is not the 1930s when the existence of an alternative system in the USSR made more palpable by sit-down strikes led by communists put sufficient heat on FDR to push for sweeping reforms. The abandonment of core manufacturing in the USA is the prime source of misery today. You say: “1950s-style capitalist prosperity isn’t coming back. It doesn’t have to come back. Just expand the public sector to create jobs that the private sector refuses to create. Shorten the working day. Etc.” Expand the public sector? Why would they do that when there is no material force that can make them do that? Sanders represents nothing but campaign speeches that appeal to suffering working class people. Job creation after the fashion of WPA is utterly impossible today–this is not to speak of the inadequacy of the original program. Just to repeat, the New Deal was a program that conformed to the needs of the American bourgeoisie when it was still in the business of economic development within its borders. There is not a single major capitalist figure today who is sympathetic to Sanders’s program. This is not Sweden in the 1930s the Wallenbergs sought labor peace through concessions around wages and social benefits. Volvo went to China and Ford went to Mexico. That’s the world we live in now.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 30, 2016 @ 8:24 pm

  7. So class struggle from below couldn’t make any of these things happen? Sanders himself has made it quite clear that making nice with capitalists won’t lead to reform, that “the billionaire class” has no interest in conceding any such things. So you have to force them to do it. What’s to disagree with? Is Jill Stein saying anything different?

    Really, you sound like someone telling your co-unionists “don’t bother striking because the boss will inevitably beat us.”

    You’re right about the New Deal but it doesn’t matter — the New Deal was ersatz social democracy, Sanders is demanding the real thing. Which, again, the wealthiest country in the world can easily afford to fund. And Sanders actually wants these things. FDR was just making concessions.

    Obviously no significant reform can come about without social unrest. But this has been true since time immemorial.

    Comment by jschulman — May 30, 2016 @ 8:33 pm

  8. Of course class struggle can affect these things but Sanders showed absolutely no interest in using his campaign to promote it. He ran a very conventional campaign that consisted of rallies where people could hear inspirational talks and then vote for Bernie. As someone wrote on CounterPunch, a march of a thousand of his supporters from a rally to Wall St. would have had a much bigger impact than any vote.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 30, 2016 @ 8:37 pm

  9. Having been involved with said campaign I think it’s less conventional than you think. And there have been rallies and marches — to Wall St., even — you just weren’t there for them.

    Sanders has said over and over again that the campaign isn’t about him as an individual — it’s about “a political revolution.” What he means is less radical than what you and I would mean by that phrase but he IS trying to build a movement that isn’t merely “vote for me and I’ll set you free.”

    Why would Sanders keep walking picket lines during this campaign if he had no interest in making class struggle “affect these things”? Just for votes? Really? Since when do (famous) presidential candidates do that? Clinton only showed up on the CWA picket line AFTER Sanders was already there. And of course Verizon is lining Clinton’s pockets, not Sanders’.

    Comment by jschulman — May 30, 2016 @ 8:44 pm

  10. In the Chomsky doc above he coins a word I’d never seen before. He says the American working class is increasingly the “Precariat”, that is, the very survival of the proletariat is increasingly precarious.

    Without an enormous fightback organization I just don’t see why the modern Precariat should expect anything less for the future than The Iron Heel.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — May 30, 2016 @ 8:44 pm

  11. Wallerstein has described the state of world capitalist system as one at a ‘bifurcation’ point. Due to the deep contradictions built into the system, it cannot support the well-being of a majority, worldwide. Hence its current crisis of governance and legitimacy.

    According to Wallerstein, in this context, the system could be pushed in either of two directions: pushed to develop into a more egalitarian system (the socialist program; if enough people can organize to push for it), or it can be pushed to a system even more unequal; especially compared to its development characterized by the post-WW2 period and up to late 1970s. With globalization solidly in place today, the capitalist agenda is clearly to push for a more unequal system, and for now they have the power to do so. And the ‘movement’ that Trump’s rhetoric has tapped into could be considered as part of such a move. Trump doesn’t necessarily have to be elected president for us to worry about the trend that has now claimed a degree of legitimacy in the public discourse. His politics has set a new tone for what are acceptable outlooks in the political field in the U.S. This is a hegemonic move to the right with strategic impact.

    Another of Wallerstein’s points of argument is this: while during the stable cycles of capitalism (ex., 1950-1980) it takes huge social energy to induce systemic changes, during the crisis periods of capitalism it takes smaller input to push the system to change in one direction or another. So, for a smart left, it is actually an easier task NOW to push for changes in the socialist direction than it was for the Generation of ’68.

    So, to jschulman’s point, we shouldn’t counterpose ‘reform’ to ‘revolution’. In fact, most modern revolutions’ sparks start with moves based on immediate specific demands for particular reforms. The difference between a smart left and a dumb left is that the smart left sees and acts in a way that takes moves for reform seriously, takes part in them wholeheartedly, and sees such movements as a natural environment to draw energy and inspiration from (not something to inject themselves into just to sell their newspapers and act all-knowing, and not just to lecture and ‘lead’). While working in and alongside such reform movements, a smart left *can* (and must do their best to) escalate and elevate the movement into expressing larger demands and make moves toward more systemic changes. There are no shortcuts to a revolutionary leap. It must be *built*. Unfortunately, the right wing understands this principle much better than the left here in the U.S.

    A real revolutionary movement and its leadership must understand concretely the dynamics between reform and revolution. Fetishizing either one as the only strategic consideration renders one either as a Democratic Party functionary, or a useless leftist who pronounces meaningless general slogans such as, “Revolution Now!” not caring to explain any specific first steps to be taken to embark on such a hugely complex and prolonged process of change that we *as a species* still have to figure out.

    Just look at how complex things have gotten in Syria. Nobody — as in, anybody seriously contemplating changing things fundamentally here in the U.S. — should think it’ll be any less complicated in western industrialized countries.

    Comment by Reza — May 30, 2016 @ 9:18 pm

  12. I guess I didn’t remember this perfectly. But it was what led me to believe Cuomo was retaliating against the PSC and CUNY but it was only neutrality that made him to opt for a vendetta.

    They will point to the fact that the CUNY’s faculty union declined to endorse Cuomo in last year’s unexpectedly competitive Democratic primary against Zephyr Teachout, which surely didn’t help matters either. The Professional Staff Congress went along with its parent union, New York State United Teachers, which declined to endorse. (“I can’t say I’m inside the mind of Andrew Cuomo, but I have to think it plays a role,” said Stephen Brier, a CUNY education historian and co-author of the upcoming book, “Austerity Blues: Fighting for the Soul of Public Higher Education.”)

    http://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2016/02/cuny-feels-the-effects-of-a-worsening-relationship-with-cuomo-031514

    Comment by louisproyect — May 30, 2016 @ 9:45 pm

  13. Well, Mr. Proyect, get out there and organize those American communist workers!
    I don’t agree with your dismissal of social-democracy and the New Deal, the idea that American workers will support some kind of revolution is quite misguided in my view.

    Comment by George Balanchine — May 31, 2016 @ 3:09 am

  14. Karl:
    Small but interesting point. Chomsky probably picked up the word “Precariat” from Italian. Various forms have entered into everyday speech here as workers’ rights have been eroded and fewer jobs have any guarantee of permanence.That’s why French workers are in the streets today. I suppose Americans had less need of the term since they’ve always been pretty much dependent on the whims of employers. It’s like the old joke about the native language of people living near the arctic circle. They didn’t have a word for snow because it was everywhere.

    Comment by Peter Byrne — May 31, 2016 @ 10:12 am

  15. The] world capitalist system . . . cannot support the well-being of a majority.”

    And yet the productive capabilities of humankind have never been greater.

    Surely anyone can grasp this much!

    Comment by Pete Glosser — May 31, 2016 @ 1:31 pm

  16. Colleges in the US have never had anything to do with “the public good.” They are factories for petty bourgeois replication. At no time in American history has more than 1/3 of the adult population held a college degree.

    It just so happens that the petty bourgeoisie is oversized in this time of cyclical crisis. Stiff upper lip chaps, you’ll be back at the management and professional game in no time.

    Could be worse. When there is a surplus of workers the prisons swallow them up. One in five working class men in America are now felons.

    Comment by Kaylee — May 31, 2016 @ 5:08 pm

  17. They are factories for petty bourgeois replication.

    What kind of fucking moron are you blathering about the petty-bourgeoisie. Are you a fucking coal miner or something? My wife’s students are the Black and Dominican sons and daughters of bus drivers, cabbies and tiny bodega owners who might have gotten a good paying blue collar job in the 50s or 60s with a high school degree as I indicated in my article. They are now forced to go to college since those jobs are gone. If you troll my blog again, make sure to use the same phony name or else you are out of here. I am sick and tired of sock puppets, especially blowhard ultraleftists.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 31, 2016 @ 5:41 pm

  18. Even though I am a socialist, I had this “Hamiltonian” letter recently published in my local paper:

    We are told that the private sector is the foundation of capitalism, and that “job creators” are the foundation of the private sector. But the Founders—especially Alexander Hamilton—understood that the public sector is the basis for industrial development and material progress. That vision has evolved in terms of infrastructure, banking, education, research, public health, and social welfare.

    Workers in the public sector are no less productive or essential to capitalism than those in the private sector. And it is only workers—not “job creators” and especially not investors—who produce the goods and services that have use value in our daily lives. Nevertheless, the vast majority of the accumulated wealth resulting from productive labor accrues to less than 5% of households, many of which contribute no useful labor.

    Moreover, for decades the wealthiest have labored to limit wages, outsource jobs, and put families and students in debt; and to decimate government services, including higher education. Indeed, pursuit of “shareholder value” on Wall Street causes disinvestment from productive capital, using corporate profits for speculative stock buybacks that artificially inflate portfolios.

    This neoliberal capitalist class is determined to accumulate wealth by any means necessary. They have destroyed labor unions while going on a long-term tax strike. They are destroying the public infrastructure that is the basis for genuine growth and shared prosperity. And when their financial machinations result in the next systemic crisis, they will perversely demand that the government bail out their banks in order to “save capitalism from itself.”

    Comment by David Green — May 31, 2016 @ 11:42 pm

  19. This neoliberal capitalist class is determined to accumulate wealth by any means necessary …

    For “wealth” substitute “money.” As we all know, the two are not perfectly synonymous.

    Comment by Pete Glosser — June 2, 2016 @ 6:00 pm

  20. […] Department is ruining America: Big budgets, militarization and the real story behind our Asia pivot Is America committing slow-motion suicide? A look at the decline of CUNY The Relentless Shabbiness of CUNY: What Is To Be Done? US Intelligence Veterans Urge Fast Report on […]

    Pingback by Links 6/4/16 | Mike the Mad Biologist — June 4, 2016 @ 8:45 pm


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