Posts Tagged ‘Stacey Abrams’

The Quality Of Enabling Is Not Strained

August 17, 2018

In a recent NY Times Op Ed (The Debt-Shaming of Stacey Abrams: Our pernicious double standard on politicians who owe money. 8-17-18) Michelle Goldberg elaborates the blatant class bias found within our democracy regarding debt. This is of interest after considering Abrams’ run for Georgia Governor in the 7-29-18 posting entitled Unspoken.  Analysis isn’t considering the national debt soaring to over a trillion here. More something along the lines of the previous posting (How Sausage Is made). Goldberg writes: “But Republicans think they can damage Abrams by going after her on the issue of her personal debt, which totals more than $200,000.” She goes on to mention other candidates receiving like treatment during this midterm year, NY’s Jumaane Williams (“for owing money on a failed restaurant venture and for losing a house to foreclosure”) and Wisconsin’s Randy Brice (“faced criticism for his debt, including $1,257 in late child support that he paid off last year, as well as a 1999 bankruptcy”). The reasons for the debt are various: Abrams for her education and caring for family crisis while Brice struggled with cancer without insurance, a personal crisis. Goldberg goes on to point out that our president had 6 bankruptcies on record when he ran, his son-in-law “paid a record-setting $1.8 billion for a tower at 666 Fifth Avenue in 2007, near the height of New York City’s real estate market. His family’s company struggled to deal with the resulting debt before being bailed out this month by Brookfield, a real estate company whose investors include the Qatar Investment Authority. Any ordinary person who repeatedly squandered family money on bad bets the way Kushner has would most likely be seen as a deadbeat and a loser.” and Abrams’ GOP opponent, Brian Kemp, “a multimillionaire who is being sued for allegedly failing to repay a $500,000 loan used to buy supplies for an agricultural company he invested in.” In a nutshell, “This line of attack throws a pernicious political dynamic into high relief. The financial problems of poor and middle-class people are treated as moral failings, while rich people’s debt is either ignored or spun as a sign of intrepid entrepreneurialism.” But Goldberg’s assessment is pretty topical – class and race. “If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface; of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There’s nothing behind it.” (Andy Warhol) This seems to satisfy most people. Digging a little deeper we have the unspoken, but recurrent, theme of solving Ohio’s (and the nation’s) substance abuse and addiction problem – to solve a problem requires actually recognizing and admitting there is one! Analysis can’t disregard the 1%, 99% dichotomy that is America. Not included in the economic statistic of 1%, but considered as such by the SCOTUS (Citizen United ascribes personhood), would be corporate accountability, which deals with enormous sums of electronically available wealth. Recent revelations, disclosed with the Paul Manafort trial, reveal corporate eagerness to make jumbo loans (and indebtedness) to those who travel in the upper echelons of the 1%. Locally we find the 7-24-18 Newark Advocate headlining Park National announces increased income for quarter, year. The corporate person’s accountability of assets and debits is impeccable. Can as much be said for the human persons charged with running the corporate entity? ““We continue to focus on long-term plans to fuel and sustain loan growth and strong overall performance,” Park CEO David Trautman said.”” “Park National Corporation had $7.5 billion in total assets, as of June 30.” Goldberg’s double standard is rooted in a single fundamental economic standard – a bank’s assets primarily consist of the loans it has extended, the money it is owed, the interest and fees it collects. Even the POTUS mouths support for suing the enablers of addiction. What about the enablers of debt? To quote Abrams: “it’s hard for people to believe that change happens.”

Unspoken

July 29, 2018

Stacey Abrams Could Become America’s First Black Female Governor reads the headline of Molly Ball’s recent Time reporting (7-28-18). Unspoken is “if people will actually fill out the ballot and vote.” Ball says as much with her headline by adding the addendum “—If She Can Turn Georgia Blue.” Analysis can’t help noting that this doesn’t say the same as the unspoken “if people will actually fill out the ballot and vote.” Ball preemptively undermines the democratic process by phrasing things in the “traditional” strong person “leader” rhetoric that has become just all too natural – that Abram will somehow or other magically make it happen (“if she can turn Georgia blue”). And if she doesn’t make it happen, well, er, she was not “strong enough.” The gubernatorial candidate says as much in the article: “Abrams says her biggest obstacle is getting people to believe victory is possible. “Georgia is different now, but it’s hard for people to believe that change happens,” she says. “You don’t notice change when it’s gradual. My campaign seeks to harness it, but I’m asking people to not believe their eyes.”” Analysis finds it significant that Stacy Abrams describes herself as “asking people.” The onus still falls on the people in this electoral process, not on the strength of the “leader.” Her opposition in Georgia is about ditto that found in Ohio. It prides itself on having used various means, like dark money, gerrymandering and coded rhetoric, to dominate state government. Democracy is also pretty humbling; something not apparent when it is interpreted as simply clicking a “like” box, signing an online petition, or feeling self-justified by the latest polling figures. “It’s hard for people to believe that change happens” but actually filling out a ballot and voting on August 7 is how it gradually comes to be in Newark Ohio. Analysis finds it important to vote in the August 7 special election.