Thursday, June 7, 2012

Analysis: Conservatives used tactics of the left in Wisconsin win


Some post Wisconsin recall election analysis at Reuters that reveals an ironic twist.
Activists with the conservative Tea Party movement say they owe a lot to their schooling in left-wing community organizing tactics for the historic Republican victory over the Democrats and their union allies in the Wisconsin recall election.
The conservative activists have literally taken a page out of a left-wing radical's guide to organizing - as many have read the late Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals."
"There was no manual for organizing on the right, so we adapted it to the conservative cause," said Brown, of We the People of the Republic, a Tea Party group based in Madison, Wisconsin. "The left has been good at it for 100 years, so what better place to start?"
Those in the "non state and local government sector" in Wisconsin seem just as energized to organize and operate against what they view as the equivalent of "rent seeking" by state and local government entities as so-called left-wing groups.

In extracting their "rents", these local government entities enjoy the coercive authority of taxation, which is a much stronger form of coercion than any enjoyed by your typical run-of-the-mill, non-government rentier.

Much of the type of chaos that we have witnessed recently in Wisconsin is driven by a federal government, the government entity that retains monetary authority, which relinquishes responsibilities (often termed "unfunded mandates") to state and local governments that do not possess authority to create balances of a state currency needed to implement public projects.

16 comments:

dave said...

i didnt know that the democrats had any tactics, or a game plan of any kind

Chewitup said...

Great point Matt. Congress is really good a creating pork and earmarks, but for some reason has a problem funding their mandates imposed on the states.

Matt Franko said...

Dave,

The Dems take this back to when Pres Obama was an Alinsky "community organizer" in Chicago.

And outside the Dem mainstream or at least on "the left", Tom here has chronicled for instance the techniques used by the Occupy folks. They at first level may not seem "organized" but they do have a plan and techniques they are employing.

Chewie,

A big one is Medicaid where Feds require so-called state "matching funds" to get the Federal funds. And this goes on in Education K-12. And now transitioning to Federal "lending" for college (which is A TAX)... complete chaos.

There is no need for the Feds to do this, to the contrary I believe it causes problems at the state/local level as we see in Wisconsin.

.....Look all of this goes back to what Bill Mitchell wrote last week that really got me re-focused on the main issue which is ignorance of true macro. If we dont get the macro right, all else reduces to chaos pretty quickly.

Those individuals occupying positions in our national government are a disgrace or worse.

Resp,

paul said...

"…Those individuals occupying positions in our national government are a disgrace or worse…"

+1

Self-serving maybe?

Salsabob said...

From personal experience, a MMTer can win any cocktail argument about federal spending not being limited by taxes or borrowing; constrained only by the concern for demand-pull inflation.

The problem comes with explaining how all that additional spending will be used or, more importantly, not be misused.

It's an old problem just magnified by MMT's ultimate conclusion that there can be more, lots more, spending. The notion of state/local matching funds has been seen as part of the answer within the govt sector - force the locals to put some skin in the game to help assure the spending is not a boondoggle or just lining pockets.

The concern remains, however, and itt doesn't help that a MMTer has to agree that a lot of federal funds went to bailing out the banksters and no one going to jail.

I've seen other MMTers shy away from this with the carte blanc, "we don't do micro." My sense, however, is MMT isn't going anywhere in this political environment until it gets serious about how all the promise of more federal spending doesn't go to waste, fruad and abuse - even if it lifts GDP in the process.

Salsabob said...

apologies for the typos - fat fingers

Unforgiven said...

Might be a good time to bring up credit based bubbles and go over some of Warren's recommendations for the banking system?

Rephrase "we don't do micro" to "it becomes a political preference".

Matt Franko said...

Bob,

"concern for demand-pull inflation"

I believe those concerns are WAAAAAAAAAAY overblown.

Resp,

Anonymous said...

Salsabob, you're right on the money. All those opposed to rent-seeking, graft, election buying, cronyism etc are going to line up against MMT because even if they understand the logic of the accounting, they will quickly conclude that pushing more money into local and state entities will inevitably result in abuses of all kinds.

Money has been pushed into public sector employees and most other people who interact with these folks are furious that's the case. I'm sure MMTers assumed Walker would be tossed out on his butt. Sorry, you were 100% mistaken.

paul said...

"I'm sure MMTers assumed Walker would be tossed out on his butt"

No reason for MMT'ers to believe that.

The polls consistently said otherwise - there was little reason to expect success.

MMT'ers are people of science aren't they?

Tom Hickey said...

dave: "i didnt know that the democrats had any tactics, or a game plan of any kind"

Worse. No unifying vision of where they want to take America to divert the policy juggernaut that is racing toward a cliff.

Tom Hickey said...

"I've seen other MMTers shy away from this with the carte blanc, "we don't do micro." My sense, however, is MMT isn't going anywhere in this political environment until it gets serious about how all the promise of more federal spending doesn't go to waste, fruad and abuse - even if it lifts GDP in the process."

Please read the proposals at www.moslereconomics.com (in the nav bar at the top of every page).

Bill Mitchell discusses this just about daily wrt specific issues and he does it globally.

Tom Hickey said...

Anonymous: "Money has been pushed into public sector employees and most other people who interact with these folks are furious that's the case. I'm sure MMTers assumed Walker would be tossed out on his butt. Sorry, you were 100% mistaken."

I think that this is an issue under-analyzed on the left. One of the problems that is being highlighted is that the divide and conquer strategy is working for a reason, and it is the same reason that private sector unions were successfully attacked and marginalized.

Institutions and policies that seem to favor one group over another or others are open to attack unless it can be shown that this somehow benefits everyone.

Notice how the GOP defends its wealth constituency, the ownership class, and a natural target in a democracy made up mostly of not non-wealthy. They are not "owners' but "job creators," "innovators," and "risk-takers," whose activity benefits everyone economically.

The other hand, private sector unions can be pitted against public based on unequal distribution, and unions in general against non-union workers and other voters, especially the elderly who fear inflation and taxes cutting into fixed income, so hate wage increases.

In other words, in the framing, class and sub-classes, oops, I means groups and sub-groups, and also institutional arrangements.

Until the left wises up, they will continue to get rolled by the right until the inevitable collapse that occurs every 80 or so years, after which there is a reset. The collapse is still in the unfolding.

lowerleftlimit said...

@Salsabob

I agree with your general sentiment. However, the problem you have identified is IMO more related to creating a transparent & accountable political system.

As far as I'm aware there is no field of human thought that formally discusses the merits of different forms of 'spending-systems'. By 'spending-system' I mean the processes related to deciding how state money is spent. How politicians are chosen, how politicians are held accountable, how state organizations distribute funds, how state organizations are held accountable, etc.

This is a whole field waiting to be explored. But IMO it is a bit much to expect MMTers to be taking this into account.

Shaun H.

Matt Franko said...

wrt Democrat Party chaos, Bill Clinton is right now undermining any attempts to draw lines along the demarcations Tom identifies above.

Clinton is going around bragging about how he delivered the surpluses and extolling the virtues of Private Equity.

This is subversive to what I would think would be Progressive Policy proposals of "the left". May lead to low voter turnout on the Dem side.

Resp,

Tom Hickey said...

Bill Clinton is a New Democrat who bought in Rubinomics. Progressives regard hm a shill for the elite. They also saw HRC is a proxy candidate and supported Obama in order to head off her otherwise inevitable nomination.

That worked out exactly opposite of expectations, which was clearly as son as "O-bumer" appointed Rahm Emanuel COS and Rubin's protegé Larry Summers as CEA. Hopes for any real change were dashed at that early point. So don't expect a big Democratic turnout this November. Conversely, the anti-Obama sentiment on the right will result in a huge turnout for the GOP unless Ron Paul breaks ranks, which is unlikely, IMHO. As of now, plan on a Romney administration that may very well control Congress, too.

This will result in a huge victory for the financial sector and military-industrial complex, and an attempted expansion of empire globally. It will also result in a solidification of a right-oriented judiciary on virtually all levels, and inevitable gains for social conservatives as the spoils are divided.

The obvious result for the left will be even greater polarization, and a battle for control of the Democratic Party, as liberals and progressives unite to oust conservatives and moderate that cooperate with them.