Sunday, September 22, 2019

Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – September 21, 2019

Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – September 21, 2019
by Tony Wikrent
Economics Action Group, North Carolina Democratic Party Progressive Caucus

Strategic Political Economy

Matt Stoller [Pro-Market, via Naked Capitalism 9-18-19] 
Director is the key founder of what is now known as the Chicago School of law and economics, which reshaped the American approach to corporate power and political economy.... Director’s life was dedicated to setting free the power of concentrated capital, eliminating the power of labor, and undoing the New Deal. His success is so profound it is hard to describe, so embedded are we today in the world and rhetoric Director shaped.
Brahmin Left vs Merchant Right: Rising Inequality and the Changing Structure of Political Conflict (Evidence from France, Britain and the US, 1948-2017) (PDF)
Thomas Piketty [via Naked Capitalism 9-15-19]
...changing political cleavages in FR-US-UK 1948-2017 documenting the shift from class-based political conflict to multiple-elite (intellectual vs business elite) and identity-based political conflict. 
Main empirical finding: the rise of multiple-elite politics
  • • In the 1950s-60s, the vote for left-wing (labour-socialist-democratic) parties in France-UK-US used to be associated with lower education & lower income voters: class-based political conflict (→ redistributive policies)
  • • It has gradually become associated since 1970s-80s with higher education voters, giving rise since 1990s-2000s to a multiple-elite party system: high- education elites vote left, while high-ncome/high-wealth elites vote right. I.e. intellectual elite (Brahmin left) vs business elite (Merchant right). 
Keynes Was Really a Conservative
Bruce Bartlett [via Naked Capitalism 9-16-19]
Peter Drucker, a conservative admirer of Keynes, viewed him as not merely conservative, but ultraconservative. “He had two basic motivations,” Drucker explained in a 1991 interview with Forbes. “One was to destroy the labor unions and the other was to maintain the free market. Keynes despised the American Keynesians. His whole idea was to have an impotent government that would do nothing but, through tax and spending policies, maintain the equilibrium of the free market. Keynes was the real father of neoconservatism, far more than [economist F.A.] Hayek!”

....Keynes completely understood the central role of profit in the capitalist system. This is one reason why he was so strongly opposed to deflation and why, at the end of the day, his cure for unemployment was to restore profits to employers. He also appreciated the importance of entrepreneurship: “If the animal spirits are dimmed and the spontaneous optimism falters … enterprise will fade and die.” And he knew that the general business environment was critical for growth; hence business confidence was an important economic factor. As Keynes acknowledged, “Economic prosperity is … dependent on a political and social atmosphere which is congenial to the average businessman.”

....Indeed, the whole point of The General Theory was about preserving what was good and necessary in capitalism, as well as protecting it against authoritarian attacks, by separating microeconomics, the economics of prices and the firm, from macroeconomics, the economics of the economy as a whole. In order to preserve economic freedom in the former, which Keynes thought was critical for efficiency, increased government intervention in the latter was unavoidable. While pure free marketers lament this development, the alternative, as Keynes saw it, was the complete destruction of capitalism and its replacement by some form of socialism.
We have yet to see an incisive critique of Keynes based on understanding he was a shameless oligarch with no regard for republicanism, if not outright antipathy to republicanism. Bartlett's jab at the greatly idealized Keynes would be much more powerful if Bartlett understood the tensions and contradictions inherent between republicanism and capitalism.

The Trade War Spurs China’s Technology Innovators Into Overdrive
[Industry Week, via Naked Capitalism 9-17-19] 
“In Shenzhen’s glitzy financial district, a five-year-old outfit creates a 360-degree sports camera that goes on to win awards and draw comparisons to GoPro Inc. Elsewhere in the Pearl River Delta, a niche design house is competing with the world’s best headphone makers. And in the capital Beijing, a little-known startup becomes one of the biggest purveyors of smartwatches on the planet. Insta360, SIVGA and Huami join drone maker DJI Technology Co. among a wave of startups that are dismantling the decades-old image of China as a clone factory — and adding to Washington’s concerns about its fast-ascending international rival. Within the world’s No. 2 economy, Trump’s campaign to contain China’s rise is in fact spurring its burgeoning tech sector to accelerate design and invention. The threat they pose is one of unmatchable geography: by bringing design expertise and innovation to the place where devices are manufactured, these companies are able to develop products faster and more cheaply.”
Lambert Strether adds: "Gee, didn’t we have this advantage once? Thanks, neoliberals!"

Jared Bernstein  September 13, 2019 [Vox, via The Big Picture 9-16-19]
For decades, the dominant strain of the profession has interacted with conservative politics on a project both sides shared: cutting taxes (mostly for the wealthy), deregulating business, and aggressively steering government interventions away from helping the economically vulnerable under the argument that to do so invited “inefficient” outcomes....

The good news is that there’s a new economics that’s increasingly ascendant, one that rejects the market-centric framework and its conservative policy tools on behalf of Appelbaum’s simple but profound conclusion: “Communities can decide what they want from markets.”.... the new economics isn’t arising just because we want “better” outcomes from our markets. It’s also arising because a lot of the old stuff has turned out to be just plain wrong....

This summary just scratches the surface of a new economics that rejects the supremacy of unfettered markets (and I could’ve named many more names — apologies to those I’ve left out). Exciting work in this spirit is well underway on antitrust, patent rules, minimum wages, union power, the environment, and even the fundamental measurement of growth itself....

Far more important, from my perspective, is seeing these ideas show up in the thinking of policy makers, including many of the Democrats running for office (as with Saez and Zucman’s help with Warren’s wealth tax). Many of the people and think tanks named above are offering informal guidance to various campaigns on inequality, labor markets, and trade.
Saudi Arabia shuts down about half of its crude production after drone strikes
[Middle East Eye, via Naked Capitalism 9-15-19] I have written a number of times, drones are and always were going to be a weapon of the weak, and it is becoming harder and harder to defend against them. The American military was incredibly stupid to develop them, because ultimately they remove part of the monopoly of force from powerful countries.... 
Ages where elites can easily be killed tend to concentrate elite minds. In some places that will lead to even worse police states, but the other way to solve the issue is to make people’s lives pretty good. People with pretty good lives tend to have better things to do than political violence.

Predatory Finance

Markets Are Starting to Play a Haunting 2007 Tune
[Bloomberg, via Naked Capitalism 9-18-19]
This week brought an epic spike in repo market rates in a replay of events that prompted the New York Fed to intervene twice back then for the first time in a decade.

Repo chaos tests Wall Street confidence in NY Fed’s Williams 
[Reuters, via Naked Capitalism 9-19-19]

NY Fed examines banks’ role in money market turmoil 
[Financial Times, via Naked Capitalism 9-21-19] 
Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism comments:
Short version: excess reserves concentrated at big banks (like JPM, Citi, BofA). Fed assumed they would lend it out to other banks. They didn’t.
A person at one US bank said that while it been “net lenders into the market” this week, they “have to make economic decisions for the company”. That means that the cost and return of deploying cash in the repo market is assessed relative to the cost and return of using funds for other things, like investing in currencies overnight.
So a reader yesterday was on the right track in wondering about the distribution of reserves but looking at the wrong actors. He thought the big banks might be short on reserves when it was the reverse: they were holding them back! And Nathan Tankus explains why.
[CNBC, via Naked Capitalism 9-17-19] 
“Federal prosecutors on Monday accused three J.P. Morgan precious metals traders, including the global head of base and precious metals trading, of participating in a racketeering conspiracy in connection with a multiyear scheme to manipulate the markets and defraud customers. The alleged scheme saw the nation’s largest bank by assets profit handsomely, while investors suffered losses.”
[University of North Carolina Press, via Naked Capitalism 9-21-19]

[American Banker, via Naked Capitalism 9-16-19] 
“A New Jersey pastor who was falsely arrested because of errors made by Wells Fargo employees may be forced to resolve legal claims against the bank in arbitration, renewing questions about banks’ use of the process. Jeff Edwards, the pastor of Parsippany United Methodist Church for the past 29 years, sued Wells Fargo in May to recoup costs related to his arrest, which was eventually dismissed after it became clear the bank had mistakenly identified the wrong person related to cashing fraudulent checks. But now the bank is seeking to move the case out of court, arguing that the pastor is bound by an arbitration clause he signed when he opened his account with First Union 22 years ago.”
We really need to abolish arbitration and let corporations again be exposed to the full force and fury of the rule of law. Otherwise we will never have enough deterrence -- fear of justice -- to make sure these errors are treated seriously and immediately, instead of letting corporate behemoths mindlessly destroy people's lives. 

At Press Conference, Fed Chair Powell Refuses to Answer Whether Wall Street
Banks Are Too Big to Manage
Pam Martens and Russ Martens, September 19, 2019 [Wall Street on Parade]

Could Ultra-Low Interest Rates Be Contractionary? 
[Project Syndicate, via Naked Capitalism 9-20-19] 
"I’ve been saying this for years. 1. Takes low-risk interest income away from savers, leading them to cut spending and try to save more or at least not deplete capital. 2. Signals deflationary expectations. 3. Encourages borrowing only by those for whom the cost of money is their biggest expense item, ie, banks and leveraged speculators, aka rentiers, who are also bad for productive activity."
Russia Has ‘Oligarchs,’ the US Has ‘Businessmen’ 
[FAIR, via Naked Capitalism 9-15-19]
In 150 NYT, CNN and Fox articles, ‘oligarch’ seems reserved for Slavic billionaires.

Information Age Dystopia

Matt Stoller [BIG, via Naked Capitalism 9-17-19]
....Google is probably the most important company in the world today. It is of course big and profitable, with roughly $120B+ of revenue and a market capitalization floating around $850 billion. The corporation knows what we think because we tell it, by searching for things, trillions of times a year. It has perhaps unprecedented power over the free press itself, monopolizing online ad revenue and dominating traffic to publishers. In some ways, it operates as the government of the internet, structuring technical and formatting norms of how we learn about the world around us. The company also has macro-economic impacts. It is a pace-setter for the rest of the economy; AT&T bought Time Warner in part as a defensive move against Google. 
Google has also changed our politics. It is a significant player in political campaigns, being criticized by Presidential candidates like Tulsi Gabbard for censorship. It is a global player. For example, the company’s YouTube subsidiary unwittingly helped power a fascist movement in Brazil. In addition to its reshaping of the communications landscape, Google’s political operation has structured the debate over corporate power in D.C. and all over the world.
[TechCrunch, via Naked Capitalism 9-20-19]

“Silicon Valley held a secret fundraiser for Trump” 
[Business Insider, via Naked Capitalism 9-19-19] 
“President Donald Trump’s Silicon Valley donors traveled to a secret location in Palo Alto, California, on Tuesday to attend a fundraiser for the president where tickets cost as much as $100,000 a couple…. Attendees weren’t told in advance where the event would be or who would be hosting. Instead, they were asked to meet at a remote location before being shuttled to the host’s house — reported to be that of the Sun Microsystems cofounder Scott McNealy.”
Will establishment Democrats begin to back away from criticizing Big Tech to preserve their campaign cash cow?  It's what they've done with Wall Street and Big Pharma. 

The Failure of Establishment Neoliberal Economics

[Los Angeles Times, via The Big Picture 9-17-19]

[New Republic, via The Big Picture 9-21-19]
There are many things I like about this article. It illustrates that problems arise not from evil, malicious people, but the ideologies in which they have been trained to think. It gives details of how Republican leaders in Congress at the very least bent the truth if not outright lied to prevent inquiry into what actually went wrong. It shows that labor unions were the only actors in this whole story that acted from a sense of promoting the public good -- which is an implicit repudiation of conservatives' and neoliberals' demonizing of organized labor. It explicitly contrasts engineers with financially mindede managers. It explicitly attacks Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, and shows why the public acclaim he has been given is entirely misplaced. Most of all, it is a perfect example of Thorstein Veblen's analysis of the conflict between industry and business
....Nearly two decades before Boeing’s MCAS system crashed two of the plane-maker’s brand-new 737 MAX jets, Stan Sorscher knew his company’s increasingly toxic mode of operating would create a disaster of some kind. A long and proud “safety culture” was rapidly being replaced, he argued, with “a culture of financial bullshit, a culture of groupthink.”
Sorscher, a physicist who’d worked at Boeing more than two decades and had led negotiations there for the engineers’ union, had become obsessed with management culture. He said he didn’t previously imagine Boeing’s brave new managerial caste creating a problem as dumb and glaringly obvious as MCAS (or the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, as a handful of software wizards had dubbed it). Mostly he worried about shriveling market share driving sales and head count into the ground, the things that keep post-industrial American labor leaders up at night. On some level, though, he saw it all coming; he even demonstrated how the costs of a grounded plane would dwarf the short-term savings achieved from the latest outsourcing binge in one of his reports that no one read back in 2002.*

Sorscher had spent the early aughts campaigning to preserve the company’s estimable engineering legacy. He had mountains of evidence to support his position, mostly acquired via Boeing’s 1997 acquisition of McDonnell Douglas, a dysfunctional firm with a dilapidated aircraft plant in Long Beach and a CEO who liked to use what he called the “Hollywood model” for dealing with engineers: Hire them for a few months when project deadlines are nigh, fire them when you need to make numbers. In 2000, Boeing’s engineers staged a 40-day strike over the McDonnell deal’s fallout; while they won major material concessions from management, they lost the culture war. They also inherited a notoriously dysfunctional product line from the corner-cutting market gurus at McDonnell.
.... much of the software on the MAX had been engineered by recent grads of Indian software-coding academies making as little as $9 an hour, part of Boeing management’s endless war on the unions that once represented more than half its employees. Down in South Carolina, a nonunion Boeing assembly line that opened in 2011 had for years churned out scores of whistle-blower complaints and wrongful termination lawsuits packed with scenes wherein quality-control documents were regularly forged, employees who enforced standards were sabotaged, and planes were routinely delivered to airlines with loose screws, scratched windows, and random debris everywhere. The MCAS crash was just the latest installment in a broader pattern so thoroughly ingrained in the business news cycle that the muckraking finance blog Naked Capitalism titled its first post about MCAS “Boeing, Crapification and the Lion Air Crash.”

Here, a generation after Boeing’s initial lurch into financialization, was the entirely predictable outcome of the byzantine process by which investment capital becomes completely abstracted from basic protocols of production and oversight: a flight-correction system that was essentially jerry-built to crash a plane. “If you’re looking for an example of late stage capitalism or whatever you want to call it,” said longtime aerospace consultant Richard Aboulafia, “it’s a pretty good one.”

There was one unmistakable harbinger of what was to come at Boeing in the saga of the GE90—an all-new, ultra-efficient engine inspired by a NASA project that General Electric’s pioneering chief of aviation Brian Rowe developed exclusively for the new plane. Market watchers referred to the development of jet engines, which make up 20 percent of an airplane’s purchase price, as GE’s “crown jewel,” because the margins were high once the company had eaten the ten-figure cost of developing and testing one. But in 1993, GE’s notorious downsizing CEO Jack Welch—by then well on his way to becoming the most grotesquely lionized character in American business—abruptly fired Rowe, along with several thousand other aviation engineers. The results were predictable: The engines failed their tests, often in spectacular fashion, replete with smoke and flames, over and over and over again. Things deteriorated to the point that the FAA sent Boeing a “letter of discontinuance” directing the company to cease flight tests until GE got its act together. A shrunken staff of engineers, working overtime to implement decisions by colleagues who had long since been laid off, finally got the engines approved more than a year past their scheduled delivery dates, and malfunctions continued to plague the engines for years thereafter.

Less than two years later, a layoff-happy Welch protégé named Harry Stonecipher, McDonnell Douglas’s former CEO, grabbed the reins at Boeing, and the same dysfunction took hold in Seattle.
The McDonnell Douglas engineers had seen it all before: In the name of RONA, Stonecipher’s team had driven the last nail in the coffin of McDonnell’s flailing commercial jet business by trying to outsource everything but design, final assembly, and flight testing and sales of the MD-11. In 2001, one McDonnell engineer wrote a scathing critique of the metric and its inevitable result, “Out-sourced Profits,” that went viral on Boeing’s intranet server. But Wall Street analysts dismissed the paper as a “rant,” and so the whole process was fated to begin anew under Stonecipher’s watch at Boeing.
The McDonnell Douglas engineers had seen it all before: In the name of RONA, Stonecipher’s team had driven the last nail in the coffin of McDonnell’s flailing commercial jet business by trying to outsource everything but design, final assembly, and flight testing and sales of the MD-11. In 2001, one McDonnell engineer wrote a scathing critique of the metric and its inevitable result, “Out-sourced Profits,” that went viral on Boeing’s intranet server. But Wall Street analysts dismissed the paper as a “rant,” and so the whole process was fated to begin anew under Stonecipher’s watch at Boeing.

Boeing might represent the greatest indictment of 21st-century capitalism
A link from the article above
Packed in the 737 fiasco are all the economic problems we face: crony capitalism, regulatory capture, offshoring...

Restoring balance to the economy

46,000 UAW workers go on strike against GM, America’s biggest automaker 
[CNN, via Naked Capitalism 9-16-19]

Why the Striking Autoworkers Need to Win Big 
Harold Meyerson [The American Prospect, via Naked Capitalism 9-18-19] 

[The Nation, via Naked Capitalism 9-16-19]

Health Care Crisis

Purdue Pharma, manufacturer of OxyContin, Files for Bankruptcy, Agrees to Settle Some Pending Opioids Litigation: Sacklers on Hook for Billions?
Jerri-Lynn Scofield [Naked Capitalism 9-12-19]

UK: Suicide rates surge 11.8% in a single year
[Al Jazeera, via Naked Capitalism 9-15-19]
Lambert Strether notes, "Everything’s going according to plan."

Climate and Environmental Crises

What It’s Like Living in One of the Hottest Cities on Earth—Where It May Soon Be Uninhabitable
[NPR, via Naked Capitalism 9-17-19] 
“In dozens of major U.S. cities, low-income neighborhoods are more likely to be hotter than their wealthier counterparts, according to a joint investigation by NPR and the University of Maryland’s Howard Center for Investigative Journalism…. NPR analyzed 97 of the most populous U.S. cities using the median household income from U.S. Census Bureau data and thermal satellite images from NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. In more than three-quarters of those cities, we found that where it’s hotter, it also tends to be poorer. And at least 69 had an even stronger relationship than Baltimore, the first city we mapped. This means that as the planet warms, the urban poor in dozens of large U.S. cities will actually experience more heat than the wealthy, simply by virtue of where they live. And not only will more people get sick from rising temperatures in the future, we found they likely already are.” • Everything’s going according to plan.
Man vs. mosquito: At the front lines of a public health war 
[Center for Public Integrity, via The Big Picture 9-17-19]
Mosquito-borne illnesses like Zika have increased almost tenfold nationally from 2004 to 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s put local governments at the front lines of a contentious public health war ― one that climate change will only worsen.

A 2016 report by Climate Central found warming temperatures coupled with more humid days have elongated mosquito seasons. The insect’s range has also expanded. Aedes aegypti, the species that transmits Zika, dengue, yellow fever and chikungunya, has moved northward in the U.S. by roughly 150 miles per year. By 2050, researchers predict, almost half the world’s population will be exposed to at least one of two major disease-carrying mosquitoes. Scientists are also concerned about the growing threat of resistance, which undercuts the effectiveness of insecticides.

Mosquitoes are not a new enemy. Historian Timothy C. Winegard estimated in a 2019 book that the winged insects have killed more than 52 billion people ― making them humanity’s “deadliest predator” with far more casualties than all recorded wars combined. Malaria, now seen as a mostly tropical disease, was rampant in the U.S. until a federal program run by an early version of the CDC eliminated the illness domestically by 1951. That program made heavy use of DDT, a now-banned insecticide that is toxic to mosquitoes but also to birds, bees and humans....

Today, the herculean task of managing and tracking mosquitoes falls largely to local mosquito control districts. These little-known entities can operate as standalone agencies funded through special taxes or as divisions within health or agricultural departments. Vast differences in budgets, scientific expertise and policy mean mosquito control in the U.S. can vary widely from one location to the next.
“The Amazon’s Neocolonial Problem” 
[BrazilWire, via Naked Capitalism 9-16-19] 
“The G7’s cursory offer of $22 million US dollars [to fight Amazon fires] is not money that Brazil actually needs, the country has $385 billion in reserves. The key failure of this thinking is the notion that the Amazon fires are some kind of tragic accident. It is not through oversight, incompetence or “failure to act” that the rainforest is in flames, it is a deliberate, planned and genocidal deforestation strategy, from which G7 companies are themselves in line to benefit. A leaked presentation by Washington DC lobbyists close to the Trump administration shows US companies being recruited to exploit the Amazon, from the Mining, Agribusiness and Gas/Chemical industries. A myriad of G7-based companies are already directly benefitting from the far-right Brazilian Government’s policies.”
[BrasilWire, via Naked Capitalism 9-17-19]  
“Brazil is a country with a 500-year history of monoculture and mining commodity boom-and-bust cycles, which has always produced high levels of income inequality and poverty. This pattern only began to be broken under Workers Party President Lula, through the implementation of redistributive socioeconomic polices, most importantly through massive minimum wage and pension payment increases, which lifted 29 million people above the poverty line. It is absurd to imagine that a monoculture production-based approach tied to the international supply chain, using low labor-intensity activities such as cattle ranching and soy farming on indigenous reservations, will make up for the setbacks caused by the post–2016 coup’s dismantlement of successful poverty-fighting policies and gutting of labor laws, which have plunged millions of people into extreme poverty.”
Trump plans to revoke a key California environmental power; state officials vow to fight 
[Los Angeles Times, via Naked Capitalism 9-18-19]

USDA gives final approval for faster hog processing line speeds 
[New Food Economy, via Naked Capitalism 9-18-19]

“As line speeds increase, meatpacking workers are in ever more danger” 
[USA Today, via Naked Capitalism 9-20-19] 
 “One meatpacking worker I interviewed cried telling me how an industrial bag sealer seared away the flesh from her fingers. Another got emotional telling me about her supervisor’s constant screaming and the stress of keeping up. One told me that when she is on the line trimming chicken wings, she is terrified of breaking the cardinal rule that workers from meat and poultry slaughtering and processing plants across the United States shared with me: Don’t stop the line.” 
Lambert Strether adds: "Not sure what W. Edwards Deming would think of a production line run on principles the exact opposite of the Andon System, but you’ll soon be eating the outcome of that philosophy."

 GND - An opportunity too big to miss

How Can We Design a Green New Deal?
[The Real News Network 9-16-19]
1,400 people gathered to discuss how to build infrastructure—and movements—that support decarbonization and equity. We spoke to one of the event’s hosts, Daniel Aldana Cohen.
Wind Turbine Database highlights evolution of US wind
[Indiana Environmental Reporter, via American Wind Energy Association 9-20-19]
The US Wind Turbine Database has been created so users can view the location and details of almost 60,000 turbines in the US. The Energy Department, American Wind Energy Association and US Geological Survey worked together to create the database, which is updated continually.
Sen. Sanders: Green New Deal to create 20 million jobs
[The Hill, via American Wind Energy Association 9-20-19]
The Green New Deal will result in 20 million new jobs, creating many opportunities for workers displaced by the nation's shift away from goal, says Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., of his proposal. The proposal aims to establish "millions of good, high-wage jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States."

Creating new economic potential - science and technology

Robot Investment Reaches Record 16.5 billion USD - IFR presents World Robotics Industrial Robots
[International Federation of Robotics 9-18-19
The new World Robotics report shows an annual global sales value of 16.5 billion USD in 2018 – a new record. 422,000 units were shipped globally in 2018 - an increase of 6% compared to the previous year. IFR forecasts shipments in 2019 will recede from the record level in 2018, but expects an average growth of 12% per year from 2020 to 2022.
IFR also reported 
Sales value of service robots for PROFESSIONAL USE increased by 32% to 9.2 billion USD. Logistic systems such as autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs) represent the largest fraction in the professional service robot market (41% of all units sold). The second largest category is inspection and maintenance robots, (39% of all units sold). These two segments account for 80% of total market share.

Disrupting mainstream politics

For the first time in my life, I’m frightened to be Jewish 
David Graeber [Open Democracy, via Naked Capitalism 9-15-19]

[Below via Naked Capitalism 9-15-19]
This is how Democrats used to campaign in the south. Notice how they are like 'here's how your life is better.'

View image on Twitter

“Sanders or Warren: Who gets more support from working-class donors?” 
[Open Secrets, via Naked Capitalism 9-19-19] 
“In the battle for working-class donors, however, there is a clear winner between the [Sanders and Warren]. An OpenSecrets review of campaign contributions — including those giving small amounts through the fundraising service ActBlue — reveals that among the 2020 Democrats, Sanders gets the most support from Americans in typically working-class jobs — and it isn’t close. The Vermont senator is the top recipient among farmers, servers, social workers, retail workers, photographers, construction workers, truckers, nurses and drivers, among several other groups. Each of those professions — which don’t typically provide much campaign cash — earn near or below the median income, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sanders has raised $46 million in total, far more than his primary opponents, so it’s no surprise he leads among the most professions. But it’s his margin of victory that stands out. Of all the money going to 2020 Democrats from servers — one of the lowest-paying jobs in the country — more than half went to Sanders alone. As the first major presidential candidate to propose eliminating student debt, Sanders took in one quarter of all students’ contributions to Democratic presidential hopefuls.
“The Changing Shape of the Parties Is Changing Where They Get Their Money”
[Thomas Edsall, New York Times, via Naked Capitalism 9-19-19] 
“Money is the mother’s milk of politics, as the old saying goes, and the slow motion realignment of our two major political parties has changed who raises more money from the rich and who raises more from small donors. First: Heading into the 2020 election, President Trump is on track to far surpass President Barack Obama’s record in collecting small donor contributions — those under $200 — lending weight to his claim of populist legitimacy. Second: Democratic candidates and their party committees are making inroads in gathering contributions from the wealthiest of the wealthy, the Forbes 400, a once solid Republican constituency. Democrats are also pulling ahead in contributions from highly educated professionals — doctors, lawyers, tech executives, software engineers, architects, scientists, teachers and so on.”
“A GOP pollster said $2 billion would be spent in the 2020 election on convincing 6% of voters which party to vote for”
[Business Insider, via Naked Capitalism 9-15-19]
“Luntz specified that the 6% included people who were ‘conflicted, the ones that liked aspects of the Trump presidency, but not all of it, or the ones who disliked much of what he’s done,’ not those who could flatly deny a candidate. The slice of voters Luntz thinks candidates will be spending big on has ‘never been that small,’ he said. ‘I don’t think more money will be spent with more effort and more intensity on a smaller group of people than what will happen in this election,’ Luntz said. ‘Because in the end, if you’re undecided in Texas or California or New York, you don’t matter. So it’s 6% who are undecided in 20% of the states that could actually move.'”
“Manufacturing Consent — How Democratic operatives are undermining Bernie Sanders 2020 candidacy”
[Ashok Koyi], via Naked Capitalism 9-20-19]
An organization called Focus on Rural America — that’s founded by someone who worked for Bill Clinton, ran paid campaigns for Obama — that’s advised by someone who worked as State director for Hickenlooper — that’s chaired by someone who has apparent allegiance to one of the Democratic primary candidates — specifically — Elizabeth Warren — publish just memo of the poll where Bernie is getting lower vote share than Pete Buttigieg. 
These polls are conducted by ex-Obama pollster — with a staff member whose father worked for Obama as chief strategist — publishes just memo of the poll — with numbers that are complete outliers — with no information on the methodology/demographic breakdown — which then are picked-up by mainstream media — use this poll to push free propaganda for Warren & other corporate dems — while undermining Bernie’s campaign — till this propaganda becomes reality in the minds of undecided voters.

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