The attached essay, composed by CPEG members Mel Rothenberg and Bruce E. Parry over the past year, argues that a Marxist materialist analysis is fundamental in understanding and articulating the current international social/economic conjuncture. They note about the essay, “We sketch the theoretical framework underlying such an analysis, apply this framework broadly to describing the key phenomena defining our era, and draw some general strategic conclusions on what political approach and tasks revolutionary Marxists should be currently focusing on. To do all this in a relatively short essay necessitates a necessarily cryptic and schematic presentation, but we felt this was worth doing in view of the absence of such analysis among Marxist activists. There are a number of worthy lengthy and more detailed treatises written by scholars and academics, some of the most relevant of which we reference. Unfortunately these works are often theoretically dense and do not ordinarily find their way to left activists, the primary intended audience of this essay.
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On June 7th, CPEG members Ron Baiman and Bill Barclay testified before the Illinois House of Representatives on House Bill 106, Introduced by Rep. Mary Flowers of Chicago, which would create a “LaSalle Street”, or Financial Transactions Tax in the state.
Baiman testified that a LaSalle Street Tax would be fair, feasible, and beneficial, adding billions in revenue to the ailing state budget. Barclay testified that talking points from opponents of such a tax are not grounded in real experiences. Download the powerpoint presentations that accompanied their testimony:
Ron Baiman’s Testimony (.pptx)
Bill Barclay’s Testimony (.pptx)
This response to the Romers’ Critique of Friedman Bernienomics Analysis, authored by CPEG’s Ron Baiman, is a cross-post from the Dollars and Sense blog.
To her credit Christina Romer, one of the four former CEA Chairs who wrote a scathing four paragraph letter dismissing Gerald Friedman’s detailed study of the impact of the Sanders economic program, has acknowledged that Friedman’s estimates warrant a detailed and substantive analysis. Romer has, with her husband and prominent fellow “Neoclassical (NC) Keynesian” Economist, David Romer, produced a more detailed critique that attempts to back up the stridently critical statements of the CEA Chair’s letter.
As Friedman notes, in his detailed rebuttal, the Romers’ major critique appears to be that a stimulus program that ramps up from $300 billion in 2016 to $600 billion by 2021 and then declines to the $300-$400 billion per year range from 2022 to 2026 (Romers, p. 2) cannot produce permanent gains in GDP growth rates via increased emp/pop ratio and productivity rather than a one-time boost in output that tapers off as the stimulus declines. Indeed, the Romers appear so sure of their NC methodological approach that they speculate that Friedman must have made an elementary miscalculation by not calculating multiplier impacts off of an unchanged (for 10 years) CBO baseline.
The Poverty of Neoclassical Economic Analysis, by CPEG’s Ron Baiman, is a response to recent denunciations of economic analysis regarding economic proposals from U.S. Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders. Baiman writes “When I first got wind of the denunciation of Prof. Gerald Friedman’s Bernienomics impact estimates by prominent liberal Economists, two questions came immediately to mind. Who were these “liberal economists” and what were their objections? A little googling around got me the first answer in a jiffy. The liberal economists were four former Chairs of the Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) under Democratic Presidents Clinton and Obama: Alan Kreuger, Austan Goolsbee, Christina Romer, and Laura D’Andrea Tyson. It took more time and more work to establish the second answer.” Click below to read the full essay.
In his February 5th Op-Ed piece, Paul Krugman vilifies the Sanders supporters for their position on health care in the United States and their evaluation of Obamacare in particular. He starts out with an anecdote about Ted Cruz, but for the rest of the article ignores the subject of how much the Republicans hate Obamacare. Yet it is the right — driven by the insurance companies, the pharmaceutical companies and other business interests that seem to elude Krugman — that really hates Obamacare. Instead he focuses his vitriol on the left.