Ah, Love Those Market Reforms…

Remember “welfare reform?”  You know, the capitalist’s wet dream it took a Democratic Party regime to deliver?

Guess what?  Yep:

WASHINGTON — Despite soaring unemployment and the worst economic crisis in decades, 18 states cut their welfare rolls last year, and nationally the number of people receiving cash assistance remained at or near the lowest in more than 40 years.

The trends, based on an analysis of new state data collected by The New York Times, raise questions about how well a revamped welfare system with great state discretion is responding to growing hardships.

Michigan cut its welfare rolls 13 percent, though it was one of two states whose October unemployment rate topped 9 percent. Rhode Island, the other, had the nation’s largest welfare decline, 17 percent.

Of the 12 states where joblessness grew most rapidly, eight reduced or kept constant the number of people receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the main cash welfare program for families with children. Nationally, for the 12 months ending October 2008, the rolls inched up a fraction of 1 percent.

The deepening recession offers a fresh challenge to the program, which was passed by a Republican Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996 amid bitter protest and became one of the most closely watched social experiments in modern memory.

The program, which mostly serves single mothers, ended a 60-year-old entitlement to cash aid, replacing it with time limits and work requirements, and giving states latitude to discourage people from joining the welfare rolls. While it was widely praised in the boom years that followed, skeptics warned it would fail the needy when times turned tough.

Makes one eager for the coming Democrat-mandated glories like calling still more semantic tricks “health care reform,” including the open possibility of making it illegal to not purchase private “health insurance,” and “finally” getting down to “reforming” the utterly functional, distinctively non-broken (except for the regressiveness of its dedicated tax) Social Security system, doesn’t it?

Toleration Research

Noam Chomsky once said this to Bill Moyers:

MOYERS: Corporations? [Isn’t] the capitalist business system’s first priority profit-making for the general welfare, as its defenders say?

CHOMSKY: The chairman of the board will always tell you that he spends his every waking hour laboring so that people will get the best possible products at the cheapest possible price and work in the best possible conditions. But it’s an institutional fact, independent of who the chairman of the board is, that he’d better be trying to maximize profit and market share, and if he doesn’t do that, he’s not going to be chairman of the board any more. If he were ever to succumb to the delusions he expresses, he’d be out.

The same fiction-fact relation applies in marketing research.  Question any big business marketer in public, and s/he will swear marketing research is all about discovering people’s true wants and needs.

That’s a howling lie, of course.  In the real world, marketing research is about finding buttons to push and then ascertaining how much force, in what forms, can be applied to the found buttons.

Consider this important Advertising Age bulletin about the ongoing overclass push to finish subordinating the internet to corporate broadcasting/big business marketing/market totalitarianism:

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — The web is about to get a little more like TV — minus the ad-skipping. ABC.com has started to peddle research that shows online viewers will tolerate shows such as “Grey’s Anatomy” with ads from multiple sponsors, much like TV.

Albert Cheng, exec VP of Disney-ABC TV digital media group, talked about ABC’s research, conducted by Nielsen Media Research, on a panel at this year’s National Association of Television Program Executives conference in Las Vegas. ABC spokesperson Karen Hobson said the network is showing the data to agencies in hopes of getting them to buy into the concept.

Network programming on the web, whether on ABC.com, CBS.com, TV.com, Hulu or any other distributor, has typically had a single sponsor. Sometimes ABC has featured one national advertiser and one local advertiser. Online programs have also generally had one ad per break, in part to keep viewers from clicking away, and in part to lure marketers to try what was once a new concept.

As a bonus, the networks disable the fast-forward button, so ads can’t be skipped, and since ad recall is higher, they’ve been able to charge higher cost-per-thousand rates than TV. But because there are many fewer ads, online revenue per viewer for the networks is still far below that on TV.

Boosting ad loads
ABC.com has been making noise for some time about boosting ad loads to bring the amount of revenue earned from viewers more in line with TV, and started conducting research early in 2008. “We can actually increase deliver, reach and frequency by looking at a model that will have more sponsors and more ads,” Cheng said at NATPE, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The ABC/Nielsen research concluded that adding multiple sponsors per ad break had “a minimal effect” on recall and did not affect purchase consideration or ad attentiveness. ABC said the data show that doubling the number of ads within a show from four to eight “did not affect the viewers’ overall experience with the ABC.com player.”

If ABC.com is successful, expect other online players to follow, since demand for online spots in network shows generally outstrips supply. The danger, as MediaVest Worldwide’s Donna Speciale so aptly put it, is finding “that very fine line and balance before we push them over the edge of being pissed.”

The title of this report?

“ABC Says Web Viewers Will Tolerate Twice the Ads”

Nuff said.

Twitter Litter

Corporate capitalist transportation system painted itself into a corner and threatening to blow up and/or burn out the world? Market totalitarianism’s answer? Bail it out to do more of the same!

Corporate capitalist for-profit health care radically mis-allocating resources and generating near-universal anguish? Market totalitarianism’s answer? Make it illegal not to purchase private health insurance!

Corporate capitalist media system promoting mass addiction to egregiously vapid time-wasting while simultaneously making it impossible to comprehend the most basic information needed for democratic citizenship? Market totalitarianism’s answer? Make sure commercialism reaches down to the tiniest tentacle of the media matrix.

Satellite TV Penetrates the Car

Big business marketing and its competitive advancement of market totalitarianism continue even in great depressions.  The latest news about this core social process is the arrival of satellite-broadcast television inside moving automobiles.

It’s hard to decide which is more egregious:  The sheer wastefulness of such “advancement,” or the further expansion of the already overwhelming dominance of commercial televisual transmissions over “free time” in this desperately ailing democracy.

“We Start at the Top of the Pyramid”

Ne’er were truer words unwittingly spoke.

In explaining his take on the ongoing sacrifice of millions of lives to market totalitarianism’s insistence on preserving private-sector “health insurance” as the only game in town, the creepy coward Tom Daschle told his former US Senate colleagues today that:

“We start at the top of the pyramid and work our way down until the money runs out.”

Daschle was speaking about the provision of medical services, not the wider ranking of political access and socio-economic priorities. Nevertheless, his complaint is precisely accurate as an observation of the basic workings of our market-totalitarian, profits-über-alles society. “We” [read: the leadership stratum] do indeed start at the top of the pyramid, and (very) occasionally work “our” way down one or two steps before announcing that the monies and possibilities have run out.

If you need proof that Daschle by no means acknowledges this larger reality, consider his amazingly stupid purported antidote to “our” problem of top-down medical provision: Daschle thinks “we” can MARKET “our” way out of it:

Mr. Daschle offered a commercial version of how he wanted to market “wellness” in order to emphasize preventative care and to drive down costs.

Toward the end of his short stump speech, Mr. Daschle stressed the value of nutrition and his hopes of emphasizing it to curb obesity and other ailments. He was urged to keep repeating those words.

Sure, yep, right, uh-huh, that’ll work well: In a society where automobiles are the all-but-mandatory means of achieving every task of human mobility longer than 100 feet, and in a nation where commercial media-viewing is the mildly addictive, gargantuanly sponsored, capitalist-preferred runaway #1 leisure-time activity, watching some new TV ads is going to reverse it all! Yes, and there’s cold fusion happening in my coffee cup, too…