Naked Capitalism has yet another article to add to the pile – Why Democrats Lost: It’s Not All About Millennials by Joe Firestone.
In this case, I am going to talk about what I like in this article and what needs a better presentation to be plausible.
But why in heavens name, should I contribute to any candidate who won’t tell me what they’ve done, and what they plan to do down to the level of specific commitments? Why in heavens name should I move to buy a pig-in-a-poke?
In short, this year’s Democratic Campaign handling of e-mail was incompetent. It could not have been better designed to generate anger and contempt from Democratic Party-inclined supporters. It was a series of no-reply harangues intermixed by messages about “your supporter record shows . . . “ (which were like dunning messages from debt collectors), and whining pleas for money from seemingly idiot candidates who, apparently, could not even say who they were and what they stood for. They had absolutely nothing to run on, a condition I predicted would result as far back as 2010 when they chained themselves to PPACA. No wonder they got blown out by the worst gaggle of Republicans ever assembled for a political campaign.
Joe has finally put into words what I felt subconsciously when I got all those fund-raising emails.
At a conscious level, I kept wondering why the party of the middle and lower classes was expecting us to have enough money to match what the wealthy top 1% could spend.
A party that truly understood their constituency might have tried to put together a better plan than raising money from people who don’t have it. Had they thought really hard, they might have come up with a plan such as build a policy record that would show these people which side we are really on.
So, third, here’s what the Democrats could have run on, on the condition that the voters delivered both Houses of Congress to them, with the Republican constituencies that likely would have been impacted.[Admirable list of 11 proposed benefits and increases in benefits. and some paragraphs about other proposals.]
In the political debate that might have ensued over them, the main Republican counters would have been funding problems, the prospect of inflation, and the debt, apart from their usual calls for self-discipline and condemnation of lazy people and moral degenerates (unlike them and their Wall Street and big bank allies of course) who won’t stand on their own two feet and want, instead to rely on big Government. There are of course MMT answers explaining why all these supposed problems are faux problems, or can be easily be managed.
This is where Joe needs to come up with specifics on how this would be paid for. If he recognizes that Democrats’ problem was that they failed to come up with specifics about what solutions they have, then he shouldn’t make the same mistake himself. He does provide links which would supposedly answer these questions, but that isn’t enough. He needs to say something more specific about this in the same article where he makes his costly proposals.
Modern Money Theory says that a country like ours is not limited by having enough money, but it is limited by real resources. Given this real limitation, I would think his long list of benefits would have to be accompanied by an explanation of what shifting real resources to all these people with suddenly more money would do to the economy. At some point real resources and unemployed people would be in short supply. Then inflation would be an issue. MMT proponents can’t expect people to believe that nobody else would have to adjust so that inflation could be controlled. MMT proponents always must show explicitly that they take the problem seriously.