What an informative, thoughtful and interesting read, Charles. With the growing divide between the "haves" and the "have nots" a populist revolt of sorts is taking place. I always thought that this would happen, I just never thought it would be a right wing revolt. Be careful what you ask for, I guess.
"With socialism"?

We've had socialism in the US for over 125 years. You guys have no idea what life is like under anything but socialism. You need to start figuring out that we don't have to live with just this kind of socialism. There are other kinds.

Don't tell me this is capitalism. You'd shit your pants if you spent 5 minutes living in a capitalist world.
One more time Modede and commenter Cthulhu demonstrate there's no space available in their addled brains for critcal thinking or reality testng. But, these folks are often mildly amusing, though irrelevent, in their Cloud Cuckooland world views. As usual, my response to both is a head shake and a giggle.
So if the government is in essence a "compact" between the people to collectively organize and provide for their common needs... obviously utilizing the idea that common structures are cheaper than individual structures ---
(E.g. single, organized state-funded fire department vs. multiple private fire companies)
-- then it would make sense that the government do things that are ultimately cheaper and more functional for the majority.

Why it is the case that things have been made conducive for the rich to become phenomenally wealthy, while wages have stagnated for everyone else, AND the everyone else has to purchase their own fucking cars, deal with mounting personal debt, and constantly rising prices...
...When banks get bailed out, but homeowners get foreclosed upon.
...When education prices keep rising, and rising, indebting students in the 10s and 100s of thousand dollars. (University is free in Mexico...)
...When farmers face constantly rising prices to merely farm (and lower sales prices for their produce). ..

This doesn't seem like socialism.

At least not socialism for the many, ... but it does seem like socialism for the rich.

I don't know what fact-free "jackkay" and Mr. Cthulhu are talking about.
What *I'm* talking about is economic democracy. For the majority of people.
In the Minsky quote section, were the first three sentences each missing a word?
@9, missing two letters. fixed.
Here is a different view on why our government enshrines full employment. Governments tend to promote the activities that generate revenue for them. So for example, when the feds generated half their revenue from alcohol consumption taxes, we were a nation of drunks. This statement makes the most sense if you believe the "watch what they do, and don't listen to what they say" mantra of government. If you listen to what conservatives say, they want to cut government spending. In practice the have a wee bit less stomach for it. If you are willing for a moment to take this view, then go back through history and you will start to realize its obvious power for explaining certain government actions.
I just love the one sided and single minded ideas of economic theory. I studied economics in college and one thing will always remain true, and that is a socialist country would fail. Period. But you anti capitalist whiners should look at what we actually have and stop all your crying. You pro capitalist should wake up to. We have both! The US spends the second most (in terms of percent of GDP in 2009, and is still one of the world largest spenders) on social programs in the world. We have a balanced economy. Honestly if the balance is two far to one way or the other the system would fail. A balance of capitalism and regulation is needed for success.
I like the analysis of the housing market. A good example of democratic socialism policy that has protected against the financialization of the housing market is a land trust - Burlington, VT for example, has implemented a very effective land trust system.
Socialism should be about affordability. But not just that. It should be about giving everyone the ability to live as her, their or his best self, to put our time and energies to the most creative, meaningful and self-true uses possible, and to have as much of a say as everyone else in shaping and sustaining the world we share, so that it can become the world we need.

Or, as the Lawrence textile mill strike anthem put it "we need bread, and roses too".
"Socialism is, above all, about making life affordable."

Really? Because in practice it seems to be about seceding personal freedom to Bureaucrats. Handouts are a way to get the masses on your side but there just a means to an end...

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