Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Most Important Thing About Economy + Central Issue In Election: Obama On Jon Stewart’s Daily Show Rejects Ratner/Prokhorov “Barclays” Paradigm

Obama on Jon Stewart 10/18/2012 with a pinch representing Ratner and Prokhorov amongst the few benefitting from a skewing of wealth that slows the economy
President Barack Obama appeared on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show last week and at about thirteen minutes into the program (6:05 in this video) he stated clearly what he said was “the most important thing is when you think about the economy” and what he said was “the central issue in this election” which must be addressed.

And then President Obama rejected as detrimental to the nation’s economic growth the paradigm that fundamentally underpins the creation and extraordinary government assistance to the Bruce Ratner/Mikhail Prokhorov-owned “Barclays” Center and the larger Atlantic Yards mega-monopoly of which the Jay-Z-promoted “Barclays” Center is a part.

Citing the historical record for authority, Mr. Obama stated what many of us (perhaps not every Republican) might consider a basically self-evident truth: That economic growth is impaired by setting up the economy so that “a few folks are doing very well at the top and everybody else is getting squeezed.”

This is the same point I made just days ago, responding to an email I received from Barbra Streisand in which she asked me to support President Obama.  I said that the case she made for Obama and his agenda would have been much more compelling had she focused in on this disparity in wealth as the most central and important of this election’s issues.  I even commented how the International Monetary Fund has issued a report saying that this “widening disparity” in wealth is gumming up and slowing down the U.S. economy.  I likened it to how things grind to a halt at the end of a Monopoly game, when further moves cease to be possible because all the money is piled up in one place.  (See: Friday, October 19, 2012, Political Thoughts In Her Email Aside, Streisand Owes Response To Community Letter Asking “Why Play Barclays?” Plus Maybe A $700,000 Check!)

The Atlantic Yards mega-monopoly and the so-called “Barclays” Center that spearheads it is a glittering example of what not to do if the economic precepts cited by Obama are of concern to anyone.  As I keep saying: The heaped-up gleam and glitter of the “Barclays” Center seized and hoarded by the wealthy Ratner and Prokhorov, just like a folkloric pirate treasure chest, symbolizes exactly this kind of piled-up, economy-destroying redistribution of wealth.

And it is because of the huge amount of public subsidy that has been directed into the “Barclays” Center that, when Barbra suggested that I send money to support Obama and his agenda, I, in turn, suggested that Ms. Streisand write a $700,000 check to compensate the public for all the subsides that went to Ratner and Prokhorov for her two concerts at the arena.

No doubt you want to know what Obama said about the economic effects of skewing benefit to a few and exactly how he said it.  Here is his statement:
The most important thing is when you think about the economy, I am absolutely convinced that, when you look at the historical record, that when middle class families do well, when there are ladders of opportunity for poor families to get into the middle class, the entire economy does well, and when a few folks are doing very well at the top and everybody else is getting squeezed the economy grows slower.  And that is the central issue in this election that we've got to make sure we address.
You see that little pinch Obama is making with his fingers above?  That little pinch is Mr. Obama referring to the “few folks” like Mr. Ratner and Mr. Prokhorov who we have been setting up to do “very well at the top” with schemes that squeeze “everybody else” and slow the economy like Atlantic Yards and its “Barclays.”

I know that not everybody is always going to follow through to make all these connections. . .

. . .  The New York Times as a prime example doesn’t make such connections and is unlikely to observe how all of the following, to compile just a short list, are all of a piece with the preferential transfer of wealth to Ratner and Prokhorov going on in Brooklyn: The fact that, despite what Romney initially told the public, his tax liability for 2011 turned out to be a mere ten percent; that the wealthy pay proportionately less (increasingly so) of their income into the Social Security System but are taking escalating benefit from it, the harm to the public from the ongoing Barclays LIBOR scandal and the Times ongoing reality and fact-skewing promotion of Jay-Z and the “Barclays” Center.

I know also that politicians don’t also follow through on all the precepts they express when running for office. . .

. . .  But isn’t it interesting that Obama in a tight, hard-fought election rejects the foundational underpinnings that brought us the “Barclays” Center and Ratner’s Atlantic Yards mega-monopoly?

(Below is interview where Obama's statement is at 6:05)

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