dday beats poblano

Nate Silver (aka poblano) had a very bad day yesterday, predicting there was a 99% chance Hillary would win Michigan.

He might have done better if he had read this piece by dday.

The Democratic Party’s working-class calamity: How a generation of workers were abandoned to corporate interests
by David Dayen, Salon
Tuesday, Mar 8, 2016 05:59 AM EST

Every four years or so, a contested presidential primary in the Rust Belt forces America’s political elite to set aside their theories of how globalization benefits everyone, and make gestures toward creating middle-skill jobs for the working class. The difference this time around, as voters hit the polls in Michigan, is that at least one Democratic candidate, Bernie Sanders, actually seems to believe his own rhetoric about the pitfalls of free trade and the need to revive domestic industry. Which is why Hillary Clinton has channeled her inner populist, accusing Sanders of depriving the nation of manufacturing plants through his votes against the auto bailout and the Export-Import Bank.

Marcy Wheeler has cogently explained why Clinton’s accusation on the auto bailout doesn’t add up. The initial vote on the Troubled Asset Relief Program had nothing to do with auto companies. Sanders supported a separate vote at the end of President Bush’s term to extend relief directly to automakers, telling Vermont Public Radio: “I think it would be a terrible idea to add millions more to the unemployment rolls.”

When that vote failed, both Bush and Obama eventually used TARP money, which had few restrictions, to inject capital into auto companies. But Obama had made no decision on that before the January 15, 2009 vote on releasing the second $350 billion tranche of TARP funds, which Sanders voted against. Clinton bases her entire critique on this vote, but the letter Larry Summers wrote to Congress requesting the $350 billion makes no mention of bailing out auto companies.

The hit on the Ex-Im Bank, where Sanders is a lone dissenting voice from the left, is similarly off the mark. I have previously written in Salon about the strange role reversal on this credit facility, which gives loan guarantees and insurance to U.S. companies to facilitate international trade deals. For decades, liberals opposed Ex-Im as both an instrument of corporate welfare and a tool of U.S. foreign policy, with a particular knack for supporting the desires of dictatorial regimes.

Since his days in the House, Sanders led the charge against Ex-Im. Sanders didn’t “agree with the Koch Brothers,” as Politico mischaracterizes the issue; they decided to agree with him. And his core argument has been that Ex-Im’s recipients – the majority of whom are Boeing, General Electric, and other conglomerates – use the subsidies to ship jobs overseas rather than support workers at home. According to the Sanders campaign, in the last 9 years, just 41 companies received $116 billion in financial support from Ex-Im, 61 percent of the bank’s assistance. And those same companies have outsourced over 180,000 jobs since 1994. As an aside, I highly doubt that multinational corporations with numerous credit options even need international financing assistance: This is a cherry-on-top kind of benefit.

Voters can smell the phoniness of Democratic appeals to workers. Before the 2008 Ohio primary, Clinton and Barack Obama competed to denounce NAFTA, even after back-channel communications between Obama’s campaign and Canadian officials revealed that the tough talk was pure lip service that would be immediately jettisoned upon entry into the West Wing. Of course, this proved true: The same castigator of free trade as a candidate negotiated and promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership as a President.

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