Wednesday, April 12, 2006

David Sirota on the "Wall Street Dems" Latest Effort

There's a term I hadn't heard before: "Wall Street Dems." Works for me. David Sirota has a series of pieces illuminating the newest trouble being hatched by the faux-centrist, accomdationist wing on the Democratic Party: "The Hamilton Project."

What's that? Caroline Daniel of MSNBC explains:

Robert Rubin, the former Treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton and most influential Democratic economic adviser, launched an initiative on Wednesday aimed at influencing the economic policy debate and charting a course "diametrically opposed to the current policy regime".

The Hamilton Project, named after Alexander Hamilton, the first US Treasury secretary, will focus on fiscal imbalances, such as the growing budget deficit....

Sounds pretty good, right? Not so fast. It's not really, or at least primarily, about fiscal restraint; that's just a beard for standard Republican fare like free trade, school vouchers, rationing of public employee tenure and welfare reform:

The initiative defended open competition and trade at a time when some Democrats have become more hostile to the foreign ownership of US assets.... Policy papers unveiled yesterday proposed vouchers for summer schools and giving teachers tenure based on standards for effectiveness. "That is not consistent with certain orthodoxies we are familiar with. I think that's a fairly controversial proposal. I wouldn't say that's a yawner," said Mr Altman.

The white paper also called for entitlement reform but acknowledged the political constraints that helped stall Mr Bush's drive to reform Social Security. "The principal problem is one of political choice and will and what is most needed is a bipartisan approach for deciding among the options," it said.

Right. What the Democrats need to win elections, and what America most needs to reverse its current disastrous course, is to stop trying to attach environmental standards, workers rights, and other "fair trade" provisions to freewheeling free trade agreements; school vouchers; busting the teachers' unions; more welfare reform; and bipartisanship. That's the old medicine that helped get the patient so sick in the first place. This broad, anti-progressive agenda calls into question any other Clinton/DLC economic statements, no matter how good they sound on their face.

Barack Obama, of course, is elated:

Barack Obama, a Democrat senator from Illinois, welcomed the initiative as a way of transcending "tired ideologies".

The "tired ideologies" being the Democratic liberalism that, for pretty much the entire second half of the 20th Century, made America the predominant and much-admired world power, defeated the Nazis and the Soviet Union, and created the highest standard of living in the history of the world?

Read Sirota (and here) for more. (Update April 19, 2006: and here. April 20: and here.)


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