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Live Chat: Robert Scheer on the Economy

Posted on Aug 12, 2010

If you missed Robert Scheer discussing with readers his latest column, “The Rubin Con Goes On,” on the WikiLeaks revelations, or you just want to relive the excitement, you can read the full transcript or listen to the podcast below.

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9:52 Truthdig


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Thu, 12 Aug 2010 17:52:27 GMT


 The event doesn’t begin until 11 am PT / 2 pm ET but feel free to submit questions, we’ll accumulate them for when Robert Scheer arrives.

11:02 Robert Scheer

Thu, 12 Aug 2010 19:02:59 GMT


 Hello everyone.

11:05 Truthdig

Thu, 12 Aug 2010 19:05:09 GMT


 Question from knk18, Lake Forest. Why is Obama sticking with this team of Rubin, Summers and Geitner? He can’t be oblivious to their prior shenanigans. Does he think because they helped cause the mess that they are needed to fix it?

11:10 Robert Scheer

Thu, 12 Aug 2010 19:10:17 GMT


 Well, I think that Obama is kind of a deliberate centrist and a child of the meritocracy, and the assumption [is] that there is the best and the brightest centered at Harvard. And Summers, and Geithner— It’s a mystery why you’d go with guys who are screwing up royally as we speak. The most recent Wall Street Journal poll shows that the public is very down on this economic team, and over 70% of the American public thinks that this situation is going to get worse before it gets better. This is turning out to be the bane of Obama’s presidency. You’d have to ask a psychiatrist why he is sticking with a team that’s proving to be disastrous. The compelling argument that’s used to get people to sell out to Wall Street is [the danger] that they’ll “spook” the markets. They won’t invest, won’t lend money, things will get worse, and that has been the sellout mantra that causes politicians to cave to all people, and I think it’s not true. You have to confront them; they require regulation, if nothing else for their own survival.

11:11 Comment From Kevin

Thu, 12 Aug 2010 19:11:03 GMT

Comment: Why doesn’t the press challenge the ridiculous statements about the expiration of the Bush tax cuts on those earning 251k or more? Like point out that this progressive tax system taxes the first dollar of income above 250k at 39.6% instead of 35%, and ask a Republican to explain how that hurts the economy.

11:13 Robert Scheer

Thu, 12 Aug 2010 19:13:09 GMT


 I don’t know why the press doesn’t do much of what it should do. First of all, I think that, unfortunately, a number of our press pundits are in the highest tax category, and they’re far more sympathetic to the super-rich than they ought to be. I think that it’s absolute malarkey to think that a slight increase in their taxes would affect investment and consumption, and clearly the best way—and economic literature supports this overwhelmingly—to increase consumption is to give money to people who are hurting—the unemployed, the poorly paid—they’ll know how to spend it. 

11:13 Comment From gerard

Thu, 12 Aug 2010 19:13:15 GMT

Comment: What is the likelihood that criticism from the grass roots will change any of Obama’s actions?

11:15 Bertromavich via twitter

Thu, 12 Aug 2010 19:15:40 GMT


 The Bush tax plan vs. the Obama tax plan in one chart: Also, yes, when a small business owner’s taxes are reduced ...

11:17 Robert Scheer

Thu, 12 Aug 2010 19:17:15 GMT


 I think that the polls will affect his action, and the polls reflect great unease in the American public. And that unease is very bad news for incumbents, including the president. And you know, as Bill Clinton famously said, “it’s the economy, stupid,” and I think that Obama has wasted a lot of political capital on issues that shouldn’t have been on the front burner. I don’t think he should have spent as much time on a very mediocre health care reform. And I do think he should have straightened out this financial mess by challenging the Bush policies instead of accelerating them. He may decide not to listen to the public, but if he continues in this direction, he’ll be a one-term president. It’s always been an arrogance of people who claim to be at the center of American politics that they know what the average person wants and needs. And when someone like his press secretary says that the professional left is excessive in our criticism of his performance with the economy and Afghanistan, those are not some far-left opinions, those are the opinions of the majority of Americans, as reflected in this week’s WSJ poll. Two-thirds of Americans think that the economy is going into deeper recession. This is not the whining of the professional left. It’s an expression of the concern of the average American, without jobs and losing their homes. Two-thirds of Americans don’t think that this involvement in Afghanistan is going to have a positive end. Two-thirds think that the economy is going into deeper recession. This is not the whining of the left; it’s the Americans concerned, without jobs and losing their homes.

11:17 Truthdig

Thu, 12 Aug 2010 19:17:26 GMT


 Question from Yahoo: “If the financial crisis didn’t happen in 2008 would Obama have won? I think if the economy was still good McCain would have won.”

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By felicity, August 13, 2010 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

As our economic system stands, and as long as it is
accepted as the system we want to live under and we are
averse to changing it, the fact is that Main Street
needs the capital of Wall Street to function and Wall
Street does not need Main Street to function (and

And as long as Washington can rely on living off the
fat of the paper economy (Wall Street,) Washington is
not about to change the system.

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