Farewell. The Flying Pig Has Left The Building.

Steve Hynd, August 16, 2012

After four years on the Typepad site, eight years total blogging, Newshoggers is closing it's doors today. We've been coasting the last year or so, with many of us moving on to bigger projects (Hey, Eric!) or simply running out of blogging enthusiasm, and it's time to give the old flying pig a rest.

We've done okay over those eight years, although never being quite PC enough to gain wider acceptance from the partisan "party right or wrong" crowds. We like to think we moved political conversations a little, on the ever-present wish to rush to war with Iran, on the need for a real Left that isn't licking corporatist Dem boots every cycle, on America's foreign misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. We like to think we made a small difference while writing under that flying pig banner. We did pretty good for a bunch with no ties to big-party apparatuses or think tanks.

Those eight years of blogging will still exist. Because we're ending this typepad account, we've been archiving the typepad blog here. And the original blogger archive is still here. There will still be new content from the old 'hoggers crew too. Ron writes for The Moderate Voice, I post at The Agonist and Eric Martin's lucid foreign policy thoughts can be read at Democracy Arsenal.

I'd like to thank all our regular commenters, readers and the other bloggers who regularly linked to our posts over the years to agree or disagree. You all made writing for 'hoggers an amazingly fun and stimulating experience.

Thank you very much.

Note: This is an archive copy of Newshoggers. Most of the pictures are gone but the words are all here. There may be some occasional new content, John may do some posts and Ron will cross post some of his contributions to The Moderate Voice so check back.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Occupy Movement And Transition

Commentary By Ron Beasley

The folks over at Outside The Beltway have been talking a lot about the Occupy Wall Street movement.  Randian Doug Matconis has been dismissive and hostile.  James Joyner has been more sympathetic but also dismissive for the most part. Today Steven Taylor has a well reasoned post.

However, while it is impossible to know for sure if this movement (which has spawned, it should not be forgotten, spin-offs nationally and globally) matters or not, we can reasonably consider some possible ways that they might and I think that Tarrow�s classification of this as a �we are here� movement is where such discussion should focus.

If these movements, coupled with the general economic difficulties we are having, spurs a national conversation about things like wage stagnation, the lack of growth of the middle class, and the growing gap between the extremely wealthy and the rest of the society, then this could be a movement of significance.  The prevailing attitude in the United States remains that everyone has a high degree of social mobility if they simply work really hard.  However, the numbers don�t actually bear out that reality.  If the attitudes of the general population come in line with the actual numbers, then a serious shift in politics could take place.  I am not, by the way, talking about radical shifts, but rather a revival of a truly left-liberal politics.

Unlike Doug and James Stephen Taylor seems to understand the driving force.

Consider a simple fact: in the midst of ongoing economic difficulty, the main argument of the GOP has been that we need to cut taxes and cut spending. Such tax cuts would help those who are already doing quite well (and would certainly benefit the aforementioned financial industry). Further, spending cuts equals less services and a less complete safety net to the less economically fortunate in the society.

In short: those who helped cause the economic crisis are seen as benefiting from the current structure of politics, while those who are the most effected by it (and who feel like they played by the rules) feel alienated by the current structure of politics (and to be sure, the exact concerns of any particular participant in OWS may be quite varied).

I don't really think that anyone fully appreciates what is happening in the world including Occupy Wall Street itself.  The world financial and economic system is in transition and the society itself will follow.  While it's true that Wall Street is a casino where the house always wins and that the big banks and bankers are at best immoral if not criminal - organized crime.  But what is really going on?  Our economy and society was built on cheap oil.  While there is plenty of oil left we are at peak cheap oil.  As a result there will be radical shifts in transportation will will radically shift the economy.  It will become more and more decentralized.  Out of necessity more goods will be produced and manufactured locally.  This is ultimately bad news for the multinational corporations as the world once again will become a very big place.  This is good news for the average citizen but transition is rarely painless. 


1 comment:

  1. I sometimes hear arguments that the national budget should be modeled after family budgets -- thrifty. Cutting taxes and spending is a great idea. But that's only half of what families do when times are bad.
    Families cut spending to be sure, but "cutting taxes" is the same as pinching off the revenue stream ("losing a job").
    In tough times the main breadwinner loses income then gets a lower-paying job or a second job. So does the other breadwinner. So do the kids.
    (That's not "cutting taxes". That's the national equivalent of collecting taxes. Not enough, but better than zero.)
    And when all those measures plus cutting spending is still not enough, the next step is borrowing -- home equity line of credit (for the lucky ones), credit cards to the max, dipping into savings, borrow against any retirement plans or insurance policies, hit up other family members... the list continues til the well goes dry...
    Running the national budget like a family budget Does. Not. Work.
    The reason so many companies are sitting on so much capital is easy to grasp: THERE IS NO DEMAND BECAUSE SO MANY PEOPLE ARE RUNNING OUT OF MONEY. Last I heard the savings rate, which had been going up for over a year, has now started to decline again, a sure sign that thrift is no longer working for a growing number of families.
    The time to prime the economic pump is now. Delay only makes the situation worse. Faced with a war there would be no hesitation to spend money.
    The problem isn't China. Or Europe. Or anyplace else... except Washington, D.C. The GOP is dedicated to insuring that the economy will continue to be bad because any other development makes the president look good. (And unfortunately the guy seems to have come to this realization too late to avoid a train wreck.)
    OWS is pointing to is the economic equivalent of an enemy invasion. But as Pogo said, We have met the enemy and he is us.