I am in the middle of this book about President Obama.
I am from Chicago. He is from Chicago as a politician.
He did his community work in the neighborhood where I grew up.
He was a senator from my old neighborhood of Hyde Park.
He currently lives in Hyde Park.
I went to school at Hyde Park High.
My dad still lives in Barack' s old senate district 13th.
Barack's family is mixed. My family is mixed.
His great grand-mother on his mother's side was part Cherokee.
My great grand mother on my mother's side was part Cherokee.
Barack Obama stole my job and is currently impersonating me.. (smile)
The book is about half way done and describes the Chicago Obama moved to, the Chicago he learned his politics from, the Chicago of my child hood.
I concentrate on the values, the Chicago values, he learned there and the mid-west values of Kansas which his mother taught him.
He organized his campaign based on those values and won, I think the presidency because of those values.
I spell them out in the book.
Every person from the mid-west knows what they are:
They are not like NY values, or California values, or the values of the South-they are mid-western.
Let's have a look at Chicago and Barack Obama and those mid-west values I make such a big deal over.
Well, what do you say about Obama?
He is the conjuring image, the prototype, the summation of all of the American dilemmas.
Is he Black, is he white, why is race so important in America?
Where are your racial papers? Obama has none.
Is he for equality or is he the one saying you can make it in America if you work hard. Don't you or do you need affirmative action?
Why bother with civil rights marches when you can be President and
write the civil rights laws?
He is the new generation that says the old hatreds are over.
We don't know and don't care about who is already dead and buried
in the cemetery.
He says he is against corruption and the corrupt politics in Washington, but he did come from Chicago. Did any of that rub off on him?
He is for peace and getting rid of Cowboy violence.
He embraces his former enemies and gives them jobs.
He reads to the children at night.
He writes home every night via the internet to millions of people who supported him.
He is the father for all the single women who now have a new man in the house that they can tell their children to look up to.
He is quiet, no drama Obama.
How do you write about a person that looks like that?
We Americans don't care.
Obama greatest strength it seems is that if we are going to have to stare at someone on TV for 4 or 8 years we chose him for all the reasons above.
He is slowly moving from the rank of politician to family member-guess whose photo is in the homes of millions of Americans, hanging up beside the photos of family members-Barack Obama.
Obama gets internalized, becomes family, The young boy who made his grandma proud.
How do you write about that?
The magnitude of the issues facing the new President are so large. The solutions now being discussed are not going to make a dent. The new President has to tell the American people what is not going to be good news.
The summary is a follows:
1-The American life style will have to be downsized. The consumption society is no longer sustainable. This means small houses, group living, exburgs, technological enclaves. green zones, young people pressed into national service, fewer college bound folks, young people leaving the country to take jobs in other countries-where the jobs will be; changing demographics-Americans are not replicating themselves- too few babies and that means other groups will gradually become the new Americans, ditto in all of Europe, Russia and Japan. They, too, are having declining populations and will see demographic changes in 50 years. Americans, the English, the Italians, the Russians, the French all are reproducing at rates below replacement levels. Others, immigrants will replace them in 50 years. That is why immigration is an issue all over the west. This is becoming evident.
Technological village life is coming, (no commutes needed here, less energy needed and cheaper, with college kids and young people and immigrants providing much of the labor to a graying America whose age and life expectancies continue to increase-taxing the health care system for the next 30 years.
Well, what are to be the solutions?
Financial system;- Devolve to local and regional banking structures. They still exist and pre-date the concentration of the last 30 years-although Wall Street will try to merge and kill them.
Political System: Devolve to more local control with technological innovations with labor being a combination of national service- youth and immigrants. Everyone wins.
Energy System: No real good solutions here--so many polluting sources. The best bet is to get rid of the cars, downscale dirty industries, reduce city populations-reduce the polluting population segments-but this will be prohibitively expensive and we will not likely succeed-carbon cap or no carbon cap.
At best, the energy jobs and technology will have to be conceived and built overseas and exported to the United States. We can't afford to revamp the energy system on our own. We are in debt 13 trillion dollars and frankly broke. What will happen is our kids will have to follow the jobs overseas and meantime, the government will default on the debt, restructure, and/or face rampant inflation. None of this is good. But solutions are possible if we organize nationally. See my other blogs on solutions.
The Political System:
Politics has become seized by the special interests and career politicians and wall street.
No good solution.
The system will decay or be revamped toward more local control. Let's hope its done in the latter way and a planful way. If not, it will be messy times in the republic with more and more poor people, a decimated middle class and returning vets who will not be able to get the health care they need or find jobs. That is why we must continue the two wars. You don't want all those vets back home and dissatisfied. The wars are an employment program not only for the vets but their families back home dependent upon the military contracts and the companies they work for. Stop the wars and massive unemployment and depression occurs overnight.
All of that is bad news.
Group housing for middle class kids. Poor and immigrant families already do it.
Obama is in St. Louis-recounting the first 100 days. Well what has happened is that people are content with the fact that he seems to be trying. His approval ratings are up to 63%; for the first time more people are saying that the country on the right track and the economy is tanking slower than expected.
Well, good, but not good enough.
The point is that Obama gets credit for trying. The man works hard. He is on TV tonite undoubtedly to remind people what he has gotten done. But a billizard of trillion dollar bills is coming as far a the eye can see.
Well that might help but that is not his message overall. He knows none of this will work without the mobilization of the American people, especially the young and the college-educated. But he has not mobilized them and likely will not despite the fact that he knows they are the key to America's future.
What has to be done-and he won't say it-but you heard it here first:
1- The fifty percent of college graduates who can't get a job and have returned home to live in the basement have to be mobilized. They have to be given training, money to go to the small towns of America and help in the greening and revitalization of those small towns.
That is the key to America's future.
Some young people will have to migrate outside the country to where the jobs are. The corporations have done this seeking profits.
The aging middle class in this country is and has been abandoned.
Our only hope over the next twenty years is to get some of our young people the technological skills to help those towns.
They have the time if we pay them to do it.
They can create the green jobs we need to revitalize small towns and then they will live there. Impossible? No. The fact is that this model already exists all over the world.
Most of the worlds innovation is done in enclaves (Silicon Valley, Hong Kong, Singapore, France.) The 'innovation centers' attract the bright and the entrepreneurial and, in fact, drive the world's economies, . These folks like to be close to one another. Make the small towns attractive-example the NC Charlotte-Greensboro area, the San Francisco area- all attract these individuals and their counterparts who drive the world economy.
What is the ultimate driver in all this is also in places like China- is cheap educated labor- ditto India.
So what are the pillars of both prosperity and economic recovery world-wide?
They are what they have always been; cheap labor, cheap energy, cheap food.
That was the United States 40 years ago. Not now. No cheap energy, no cheap labor, and rising costs for food diverted to ethanol use to save Iowa farms.
But who has cheap food (self-sustaining small farms?)
China does, India does.
Who has cheap energy?
China does, India does partially because they use old technology and cheap labor. So here they come. Western societies are expensive, don't produce anything any more and are graying and dominated by the monied classes.
Devolution to simpler technologies is inevitable because our windmills and water power and computer power will be cheaper every 18 months, but alas, they are not enough alone.
And finally we will have to lose our total dependency on currency:
More likely have to depend upon neighbor barter systems to some extent.
You help me harvest my crop and I will help you. Or we loan the harvester out as the community harvester. Re-introduce community co-ops on a massive scale. (This is already happening in the midwest.)
Far-Fetched? Just you wait and see. People do this in small towns already and with young people back in the small towns to help many small towns could be placed back on an economically sound footing.
If we do not, then things can get rough.
In the United States there is only five days worth of food on the shelves. If that supply is disrupted people will spontaneously leave the cities and head for rural areas anyway. That is devolution of the disorderly type, and we don't want that.
Tomorrow: We need some more detail and what is to be done with those greedy wall street moguls?
Obama and the Media: His Future May Depend Upon the Media-True or False?
Selling the idea of Hope, and even Democracy, propounded by a black politician from corrupt Chicago was more than much of the media could stomach.
Media Storms and False Bluster:
For young people who paid attention to the press and media coverage of the election, the contentiousness, seemed at times overwhelming. The adult world appeared scary to some of them who were unsteadied by the vitriol which came pouring into living rooms across the nation. They watched the Daily Show where the political news came with a bit of humor instead.
But make no mistake this election was a media event-a media bonanza.
“The right could raise hundreds of millions pitching “Obama is coming with his terrorists friends and he is not one of us" pitch; ” the left had “lets take the country back and elect a black man—wouldn’t that be special? ” message.
Commentators and pundits whip-lashed listeners and watchers with daily atrocity stories to pump up ratings and to get candidate A to spend money in the media to counter the overnight claims of candidate B. Guess who was getting rich? The media.
Conservative media operations condemned Obama while making millions off politicians-Obama too, democrats and republicans-who bought air time, off drug and conservative groups who bought politicians to defend the status quote. The politicians had it easy: whip up the constituency and tell them to donate to your campaign, whip up the right or the left special interests and tell them to donate to your campaign, go on TV and help media with their ratings—so they make more money, some of which you expect to get back in donations.
It’s all about money.. for everyone involved. There are no virgins here. Obama raised more money but he got most of that money from the same conservative special interest media conglomerates and wallstreet which he condemned. He tried to raise money from small donations but it was not enough. Everyone got money from wall street and what a coincidence Wall Street got billions in bail out money.
Its all about money. Is that too cynical?
The tabloidization of media in the United States is rampant, driven in part by shrinking revenues in print media especially newspapers, TV, Radio, even the internet are all in cut back mode. A presidential election can represent 25% of the entire revenue for the year for some media outlets. Presidential and off year electoral campaigns are crucial to the bottom line.
There is, however, less news, rather we get phony atrocity scare stories and gossip; we get reporters interviewing reporters both getting pay checks from the same boss conglomerate; the two then interview the politician who get donations from the same conglomerate. This makes no sense. We get distractions, reality shows, Jerry Springer-like amusements, so we don’t interfere with the folks really running the important things which effect our lives.
Think: where were the media in examining the Iraq war, in examing the Bush torture sessions, civil liberties erosions, the environment?
They were all feeding from the Washington money trough while the middle class in the United States was being sold out, jobs sent overseas, while whole industries were being abandoned and being told all of this was good for America.
It wasn’t. Wall street collapses, life savings disappear and
the plan is keep it going after modest reforms.
The old Whoopi Goldberg quote is a good one—paraphrasing.
“You don’t mind getting mugged in a bad neighborhood, all they get in your wallet; but don’t go anywhere near Wall Street—they rob you of your life-savings and your future.”
All of this is ongoing in the context of increasing tabloidization of media and segmentation into markets, conservative radio stations, liberal radio stations, print media, broadcast media all fragmented and segmented’ all commanding audiences which never have to hear a dissenting view-audiences which can be prompted to send money and support to
candidates after their segment has been hyped by the fragmented media.
Cross over media-that is media which talks to a wide audience-is becoming more and more rare. More and more Americans are listening to fewer and fewer media and only to those individuals and media that agree with their political and social points of view. This is not compatible with Democracy which assumes a free press, that free speech results from exposure to a wide variety of points of view—an informed public.
Grab your hat. It's going to get rocky.
July 1, 2010
Note that the Supreme Court has given the green light for unlimited spending by corporations and labor unions in presidential and other campaigns. This is really bad. But we can see why it occurred
Unlimited spending is good for corporations, it increases their influence in Washington; it is good for the politicians because they all take that money and spend a lot of it on media, conservative and liberal media-campaigns cost billions per year; it is good for the politicians because they can keep much of those donations and not really account for it. The loop holes are you can give or loan that money to other candidates, that is the unspent portions of it. Wow. what a plan. Who is monitoring these items. No one.
So, rest assured. It is as bad as you suspect it is.
But all is not lost. See my blog on "What America Needs to Do to
Survive" on my website and on this site.
What is not there is the suggestion that we take and convert part of the military budget and use it to train vets in green technology so that when they return they can make a living . Likely no. But it is an idea
Also I had placed a blog item here entitled "Unemployment? Who Gains and Lessons We Should Be Learning From This Recession." My publisher made me take it down, pending publication. But if you want copy of the early chapters, let me know and I will email it along.
July 2, 2010
The Financial Reform bill is near passage.(It has now passed) And it is severely lacking. It is a failure.
The banking system, wallstreet and the threat they pose to the American people remains in place.
It seems the politicians did not want to jepordize campaign donations to themselves with a campaign year coming up this year.
The new consumer protection agency in the bill is tied up in hundreds of exceptions to it's provisions and it has been placed under the control of a former Sachs Director as of this date. There is a hint there. (Elizabeth Warren has been given the role of advisor.)
The opportunity has been lost here and it won't come back. Financial reform will take another recession-depression and that will happen in 2012 when trillions of debt in the EU falls due. They don't have the money. "Belt-tightening" means you and I are out of luck. Anyway, who can afford a belt?
See my blog on this site entitled (What America Needs to Do to Survive? for more details.
So we are in election season again; the Democrats and the Republicans-Tea-Party forces are now raising money to feed the media monkey once again seeking to convince us that things are either ok, will be ok if we just get rid of one party, or the opposite, if we just vote in the other party.
What we really have here is gang politics. all about jobs, money, politicians and special interest gangs looking to get or retain control over your wallet and my wallet.
We watch and feel unable to stop this slow-motion mugging from occurring.
What to do?
This all sounds complicated; and this mystification is presented to breed a sense of frustration and to justify the continuation of the status quo.
Here are a few simple things I and others I have suggested elsewhere.
The system as it now stands is a gigantic pyramid scheme based on money--our money being transferred to Wall street and corporations-the government is merely the middle man in all of this. They go there and regularly take those funds from us via government subsidies, tax loopholes, bailouts, special laws, policies which make for continuing high unemployment rates, continual war which keeps the war-profiteering companies in cash, graft, waste, and outright theft.
Over a trillion dollars is missing in the so-called war effort.
What to do:
The first step is to shut down the money flows going to wall street by withdrawing funds from our 401k's and investing them locally. (There will be no real interest gained on wall street anyway) The same would be true for all bank accounts.
Put the funds in local co-ops, credit unions and local community controlled banks. Our money is the life blood of the system. We should withdraw that support.
Labor unions, pension plans, even payroll deduction plans, all ultimately end up on wall street. This funding source should be shut down.
On the legal side, the ERISA laws should be re-rewritten to facilitate this process. More on that later.
With as few as 100,00 people participating this could bring the whole system up for review and change beyond reform.
Left wing millionaires and billionaires should be encouraged to take their funds out of wall street and put it into local community banks, co-ops and the like to rebuild devastated small towns and to fund an internal peace corp to pay young people, now idle, to help in that effort.
Funds, too, will be needed to create local farming and food production. Self-sufficiency, sustainable planning is the core idea here.
Funds should be used to finance the technology enclaves I have proposed in another blog, to work with small town revitalization planners as well.
The city should not be neglected in this, but that is a more problematic situation. More on that later
What to do: Part Two--Upcoming.
Buying American has become too expensive so we buy from China, because that is all we can afford, and mind you, males in this country have actually lost 5% of their income since 1997. NAFTA?
In fact there has been no real increase in income for Americans since 1968, (See article in Ramparts Magazine "The Last Christmas in America.")
In response, the single wage earning family had to become a two-wage earning family to survive, had to become a credit card using family and a "let's take money out of the equity in the house family to survive;" and to boot we all get blamed for "living above our means."
Ok, enough of this cheerful news. What to do you say?
We should look at solutions tomorrow, always tomorrow.
But for this election note that even if the House changes over Obama can use the veto, and that will give us what we currently have--stale-mated politics, which means things continue on with that slopping sound continuing in the background--politicians, banks, wall street and the corporation types feeding at the public trough, slopping down our dollars to gamble with.
If they fail they can send the bill to us and the FDIC.
Or have the Federal Reserve once again buy up a new round of "toxic assets--now disguised as "quantitative easing."
So you see the blog today is not for the faint of heart.
But as I used to say to my students "Don't bring me a problem, unless you have some solutions attached."
So tomorow I will follow my own advice.
Nov 5, 2010
This will be a short blog today because solutions are few. But let's take a look anyway.
First: The left and the right have to fix the economy. Now that means jobs but let's not get carried away with the "jobs' mantra. Our system has blinded us to real economics, in favor of finance economics.
The jobs fixation is a good example.
First, this is a goal which is not attainable in the short run. American job recovery to pre-recession levels will take five to fifteen years at the current pace of new job development. We simply don't have the time to pursue a jobs strategy with millions of unemployed, and note that longer term unemployed are basically becoming not employable any more and need years of training to become so.
So what to do?
Economics and Jobs-What Should Be Done
Let's do the following exercise:
Question: If you had a job what would you do with the money?
Answer: I would pay the mortgage on my house and pay my bills.
Solution: Give money directly to individuals to do this and skip the banks altogether via direct loan modifications, and direct write-downs of debt. It will happen anyway via the default and foreclosure route.
So solve the problems directly and in doing so take the billions in profits the banks rake off the top.
The job route will take too long, however, and present ideas around jobs will not bring back enough jobs anyway and will take years to achieve.
The second thing to do is to head off debt enslavement. This is the banks strategy. All debt, credit card debt as well,should be written down or eliminated. That is the 600 billion the Federal Reserve is giving to the banks should be used for citizens instead, not the banks.
See above for the first steps. (Sound far-fetched? Not at all. This already happening as foreclosures and bankruptcies will attest.
The third step is to change the ERISA laws such that our pension monies and daily deposits do not go to wall street and the banks.
Everyone can do that.
There is no interest to be gained anyway (one percent in ten years) and keep the money locally and regionally, thereby depriving wall-street of its power. Everyone can close out a bank account and put it into a local co-op or credit union. I have written of this elsewhere on this site.
Think what 600 billion would accomplish with the above goals. A lot.
Then funds will be freed up and disposable income rises and the economy is given the boost it needs. But also organize and revitalize community and locally owned banks. This mess started because 30 years ago Americans starting sending their money to wall street (5 trillion a year now and 40% of the entire GNP!--up from 10% thirty years ago) wall-street has robbed us blind and this continues to this date.
But solutions are possible.
I will have a new "solutions only" blog coming soon.
The banksters have become gangsters and steal from the public. Some cities are beginning to recognize this and are filing suits under the RICO laws laws aimed at mobsters. This is not far--fetched, see my blogs.
What to do if you are worried about foreclosures: Best audio I have heard on what can be done.
If you want to keep track of the polls on a daily basis, here is the best site
Should we be buying gold, go on the gold standard as Ron Paul suggests, allow currency collaspe and start over again, or impeach congress, end fractional banking and wall street gambling on margin, end buying stock on margin-end the Federal Reserve?
In this video these ideas are being tossed around and then come back and I will give my suggested solutions.
What will be the triggers for the rest of the year for a possible financial crisis and the consequences in global and US finance?
Well there are several. Lets list a few first and the go back after for the detail.
1. 70% of the trades on Wall Street are by computer. Computer glitches real or manipulated can set off a panic and that can make valuations and pricing difficult if not impossible, including gold, silver and stocks.
2. The Greek default could result in currency debasement. This would have a domino effect in the west. If not Greece then if Spain asks for a postpone of its austerity programs. Both could trigger in a month or two.
3. The rising price of fuel and food is what actually set off the "Arab Spring" riots. Egypt is at that point again. The most dangerous point for a country as far as bloody revolution is concerned is when seeming gains are followed by severe setbacks.
It was fuel prices and food price increases which set off the Arab spring and it will be rising food and fuel prices that will do it again. How close are they to more increases?
Governments around the world subsidize fuel and food prices already to avoid revolution. These two plus arms purchases are what they spend their money on.
4. April is the deadline when the US government receipts in taxation come in. If lower than anticipated then expect the US credit rating to drop and interest rates to drop below zero etc., and perhaps a run on US securities and perhaps bonds as well.
5. December 31st. This the "fiscal cliff" deadline which I have written about in other places on this site. Up for action are the tax breaks for the rich, taxes on the middle class, tax cuts for the rich and cutbacks in the military, and other bread and butter items.
No telling what will happen. Uncertainty can really trigger ancillary events, most unpleasant.
Five more triggers set to fizzle or ignite in the next six days on wall street, the banks and JP Morgan--one pundits view.
We will throw these into the mix and get back our analysis tomorrow.
But what should the average citizen do about the above situations? Stay tuned.
Well where are we in the never-ending European Debt Crisis and what is likely to happen?
First, there is a clear anti-Merkel trend. Socialists have won elections or gained strength in France, possibilty Holland, in Italy, now it looks Spain is rebelling against austerity as well.
Second, the European Central banks while offering unlimited funds may find that nobody wants those funds with the condtions now attached and the fact of the matter is that more debt cannot cure existing debt.
If that happens what will happen? The possiblilities and outcomes
1. Rolling default. Country after country may opt out of the zone or threaten to do so-getting concessions on the austerity plans-- which it is clear stiffle growth.
The Germans would lose. Yes the Germans would lose because they sell many if not most of their products to the PIIGs. Inflation would occur
and the creditor nations would lose and take the haircut, even if the zone fell apart. After all the Greeks reason, austerity and default start to look alike except default regains Greek soververgnity and that looks good to Greeks and the other nations right now.
2. Expect a planned default-with reverberations in the United States as well. That is why President Obama is promising an increase in exports. He plans to let the US currency float thereby increasing exports. He has to to put Americans back to work. A cheap dollar helps.
3. Meantime the Chinese and the Russians see this coming as well and are talking now about creating trade and currency aggreements between themselves which would insulate them from the dollar and its collapse.
They are even talking commodity trades not based on currency but a form of barter. And that could work and if it does other nations could start to immulate it--trouble for the west.
Now in another blog we look at what the issues for Obama's second term will be at their solutions. Imported below.
After the election what has to be done and in what order?
Now that the election is over more thoughtful citizens want to move beyond the euphoria and/or grief over whether our particular candidates won or lost.
What we in the middle class what to know is what is likely to happen with the issues we care about and even more importantly we want to know who really won and who really lost in this election other than mere politicians.
No, what we want to know is what is the plan to deal with the issues we really cared about in the course of the election; why they did not get even discussed and there is no plan to even address them in the next four years-I would not count on Obama's help.
We will discuss these "hidden" issues in the next several weeks one by one (about 21 of them) and offer solutions and more importantly, which of the issues ought to be tackled and, in what order.
I know a huge task but the impossible is simply what us Amercans have not yet achieved.
By way of preview of the list of 21:
Who won the election?Now that is winning by preventing. What am I referring to?
Wall Street won the elections and invested 5 billion dollars in doing so and won the status quo. No real changes are likely, fiscal cliff or no.
The issues cared about were won or were effectively blocked from even being brought up by either of the major parties or their candidates.
...Wall street effectively blocked any discussion of:
Climate change even in the face of a devastating hurricane in New England
Massive foreclosures among the poor and the middle class were not discussed.(See backrounder below:)
Middle Class Debt Enslavement: What to do?
A financial system in meltdown and recesssion heading toward depression and crushing austerity cuts
Racism and the New Jim Crow
Wall Street criminality-see background article below.
Flat and decreasing wages over the last 30 years.
An aging population with fewer skills and progressing health care costs
Immigration: Is revamping small towns with immigrant and youth labor an answer? I tend to think so and have outlined a plan. Anyway, it is happening away. It is our future.
Education Reform and investment
The short falls of the Capitalist System- See background below:
Threats to Democracy from the National Security State
Serious political reform of a broken Congress and political system
The buying and selling of political office by millionaries and billionaries
Tax reform: the system now is one where the rich loot middle class assets and get away with it
Repatriation of profits and money hidden overseas
Only 51% of the American people even bothered to vote.
The concentration of ownership of the media in a few hands
Right wing poliltics
Physical Infrastructure and Energy policy
The Fiscal Cliff--It is coming up first so we look at it first.
Nov 9, 2012
The 21 Solutions- #1 The Fiscal Cliff and the so-called "deficit crisis."
Let's discuss the issue of the Fiscal Cliff. The President is on the television today proclaiming its importance in addressing the deficit. First let's examine the assumptions in his speech to see if they are accurate.
Is there a deficit in American society and is there enough money in the system to deal with our current costs?
The politicians say no, therefore, there has to be a massive austerity program, cutbacks and new taxes; but that is not accurate.
We see what is happening in Europe with this approach and even the Europeans see that this "austerity" idea has not even worked for them after years of trying.
All it will get you is riots and depressed economies.
Rather what we have in this country is a mal-distribution and criminal appropriation of wealth by the top 2 percent of the population over the last thirty years--misappropriated from the middle class of this country.
The issue now is how to right this mis-appropriation and mal-distribution and get that money back to its rightful owners--the middle class.
If we did this would there be enough money to take care of this so-called deficit?
Here's how: We take our money back from the rich.
But will the mechanism of taxing the rich really solve the deficit problem?
The rich, the media and the politicians, say no.
What a surprise there.
But let's have a look at this question for ourselves.
In short who has enough money to solve our monetary and budget problems? Let's give the gross figures and then go to the detail and really have a look at things.
See the article below which argues there is enough money and no deficit if we tax the rich at reasonable levels.
In the Eisenhower administration the tax rate at the top was 91%. Today it is 35% and the rich only really pay 10% not the 35%-this not even counting a trillion in off shore profits which do not get taxed at all.
There is enough money.
We are not broke as a nation, we are being robbed as a nation.
The times when tax rates on the rich have been highest have been the most prosperous in the nations history, because consumers had money to spend and they spent it creating a booming economy. Today they don't have the money, the 2 percent do, and we have a terrible recession.
This is not rocket science.
The rich took the money and invested it in themselves and China, overseas and in derivative gambling, whereas Amercian consumers would invest at home locally.
Exactly how much do the rich get each year from the national government and taxpayers in detail? See quote below.
"The traditional image of 'welfare' pales in comparison to corporate welfare and millionaire welfare. Whereas over 90% of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families goes to the elderly, the disabled, or working households, most of the annual $1.3 trillion in "tax expenditures" (tax subsidies from special deductions, exemptions, exclusions, credits, and loopholes) goes to the top quintile of taxpayers. One estimate is $250 billion a year just to the richest 1%.
Senator Tom Coburn's website reports that mortgage interest and rental expense deductions alone return almost $100 billion a year to millionaires.
The most profitable corporations get the biggest subsidies. The Federal Reserve provided more than $16 trillion in financial assistance to financial institutions and corporations. According to Citizens for Tax Justice, 280 profitable Fortune 500 companies, which together paid only half of the maximum 35 percent corporate tax rate, received $223 billion in tax subsidies."
Quotes from a letter to the editor from:
July 16, 2012 3:10pm
"Here are the facts. Data from Edward Wolff confirms that from 1983 to 2007 the percentages of net worth and financial wealth for the top 1% remained steady. But the percentages for the rest of the richest 5% increased by almost 20%, while the percentages for the lowest 80% of the population DECREASED by almost 20%."
How did this happen and who got rich off of this mal-distribution?
Here is a vociferious critic of the Ryan Budget from the Reagan budget director -David Stockman (From the Financial Times.)
Quote from the above article
This pattern is world wide:
What is the wealth gap and how much?- Who has the money?
More pointedly world debt has been created by these same American banks and the tax payers world-wide are having to pay when the banks lose money but these banks get to keep all the profits if they win in their gambling. This is crazy.
To be clear: the world we live in is a construction of the banks using phony debt as a means of control.
How did this debt happen?
First, let's settle the question of who or what caused the deficit in the United States in the first place such that the government had to borrow all that money; and who got rich off the debt we currently have and are continuing to get rich off this debt.
First a little history of debt in this country and then we go to the specifics.
Turns out the greatest contributor to the greatest debt in US history was George Bush.
Debt increased from 133 billion to 1 trillion during his administration. This was the Republican "starve the beast" strategy--create a debt ridden goverment (this has the added benefit of benefiting the banks who float this debt) and then under the cover of austerity take back middle class assets, ignoring the fact that two wars made Republican defense contractors, the banks, the pentagon, the so-called secuity industry and wall street--rich. There is no justice here.
On top of all this is the claim is made that the middle class overspent and now has to tighen it's belt because the monied classes simultaneously reduced wages forcing the middle class to put their wives, children and grannies to work forcing them to use their high interest rate credit cards to survive.
Why can't the American public see this scam is beyond me.
But a chart is worth a thousand words.
It is clear that the Republicans ran up the debt with bailouts for banks, two wars, and tax breaks for the rich--debt which they are now asking the middle class to pay.
I am suggesting this was and is no accident.
And, they are poised to do it again because there are billions in profits in it for their constituents-the banks, the pentagon, the so-called security industry, the prison industrial industry, the war profiteers and the bank foreclosure mills which are owned by the banks.
How will this work is to ask the question of how this phony deficit is maintained everyday.
Here we start with the role of the banks in this manufactured debt scam.
Banks are a major part of this and they maintain this debt scam everyday as they take our deposits and saved money and use it against the middle classs to maintain power for the 2 percent over the middle class. Here is how it works.
On a day to day basis the intitutution which has the most daily impact on our lives is our local conglomerate bank. Here are the ways.
Wall Street Takes Your Paycheck Each Time You Make A Deposit and Uses It Against You.
Understand that Wall street operates on split seconds. In seconds after you make that deposit the money is made available to wall street traders.
Meantime, they make you wait for your money, with a phony "hold" process which means they have just taken your money for one to seven days and have forced you into making them an overnight or one to seven day loan. This amounts to trillions of dollars each year. So Americans loan this money and don't complain.
They gamble with your money right away, and understand your money is no longer there in your account. Most banks keep only one dollar in ten in their vaults, the rest is being gambled or loaned out--in either case gone.
They carefully keep track of how often you withdraw your money (a savings account is even better) and track carefully your average balance and how often you withdraw your funds.
If they guess wrong and spend your money; or too many depositors come for their money at the same time they simply go to the Federal Reserve and get a free (1%) loan overnight-that fast-while they set limits on how much of your money you can get in a single day, giving them time to go borrow if they need to, from other banks, or from the Federal Reserve Bank.
If even 11 percent of Americans go to the bank to get their money they would find that their money is not there and the banks would panic, that is why they always try to reassure the public that things are ok. They mortally fear people coming for their money.
If we pressed to get our money there would be "run on the banks"declared by the President he would declare a "bank holiday" and the banks would simply be closed with a phony promise to open again in a few days or weeks while congress created new laws to govern them.
But the fact of the matter is that all is happening is that the bank is calculating how to get more of your money before they have to re-open and when they do you will find that about half (if you are lucky) will be gone.
The government will promise us the rest at a later date, or simply remind you that FDIC does not cover your money above a certain amount. This closing of the banks happened in 1929 and brought in the great depresion.
That is what happened and can happen again to your money. And it will likely happen in Europe first. Here is what to expect there first and then here in the US.
Banks profits come from exorbitant interest rates-usurious interest rates. How?
Even bank insiders recognize the problem that banks now present.
"The recent trading losses at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and scandals over money laundering at HSBC Holdings Plc and Standard Chartered Plc have prompted even financial-industry insiders to ask whether these complex global organizations are too big to manage."
"The bigger these subsidized institutions become, the more likely they are to receive government support in times of distress. Implicit subsidies increase as the systemic importance of a bank rises, creating more incentive for management to talk up the social value of their bank becoming even larger.
"All of this is really about privatizing the benefits when things go well and socializing the costs when things go poorly. No one has found measurable economies of scale or scope for banks with more than $100 billion in total assets, yet four of the Big Six have balance sheets exceeding $1 trillion. Global megabanks have become a huge, nontransparent and dangerous government-subsidy program"
See the article below:
The insiders are now split on the wisdom of having the big six banks potentially threaten the financial stability of the entire global economy.
See details of the so-called deficit. My backgrounders:
But what to do then?
Some say the Fiscal Cliff is simply the banks demanding our tax money and austerity to pay their gambling debts and losses.
Haven't we been through this before in 2008? Are we going to let them do it again?
They argue: how about just going over the cliff? Is that the best thing to do?
But are there other ideas about reducing debt.
Here is an idea of how to get rid of middle class debt and the debt of the poor. This approach says that our problems are institutional and therefore we should be creating alternative institutions, and not count on politicians and corrupt insititutions to go against their own interests and reform themselves. This is context of the "Fiscal Cliff" discussion.
Meantime, the idea is to get rid of foreclosure debt and write it off.
Now, backgrounders done, what is the best thing to do?
Fiscal Cliff--Solutions: My View
1-Do nothing and a trillion dollars (over ten years) in tax subsidies for the rich go away-( more also look at simultaneoulsy closing tax loop holes for the rich and taxing financial tranactions and off shore profits.)
If we do this there would be no deficit-and no need to touch Social Security and only minor tinkering with Medicare.
This is an no-brainer and the Democrats could claim victory and the Republicans could claim there was nothing they could do to stop it.
That is attractive and a deal and a law could be passed even before the deadline which would insist that taxes for the middle class be extended permanently. This would be law before the Fiscal Cliff deadline.
Then a negotiation over the rest of the items could take place over the next year.
But note, too, that Congress could simply pass another law to eliminate the Cliff entirely.
After all thls is all self-imposed and can be easily reversed or changed by Congress.
Besides there is no real deadline at December 31st.
That is a myth as well--especially in the context of a lame duck Congress.
I may get surprised but the likely outcome is to kick the can down the road and some form of the status quo. A deal can and likely will be struck around some temporary measure on the tax cuts for the rich and the middle class and suspension of the miliary cuts.
Social security cuts have a mechanism for cuts already in place and no immediate cuts are even necessary.
Social Security is supposed to pegged to the cost of living but Congress can simply each year vote that away and has. There have been no increases in Social Security payments in two years.
Cuts in Social Security and Medicare are really only being pushed by Wall Street trying to get their hands on billions in Social Security and Medicare money. Don't be fooled by all the dooms-day talk.
That trick worked in 2008.
We should not let this trick be used against us again.
Also, note Medicare cuts are built into Obama care already, so no immediate action is required there anyway.
So in fact the only real item on the table is the trillion dollar subsidy for millionaries over the next ten years.
This, I argue, simply can no longer be afforded and should be simply allowed to expire.
This is essentially what Obama is recommending except with one deadly proviso:
He is willing to put Medicare, Social Security and other safety net items up for compromise-a carrot for Wall Street.
This should not be supported and from my point of view, will be suffcient proof that Obama has not changed and cannot resist the Washington Wall Street overlords.
This will be the watershed decision of his second term, if not his entire Presidency. Don't cave Mr. President; after all there was an election.
So the so-called deficit could be tackled with the above measures along with closing just a few of the huge tax loopholes supporting the rich.
Math is math.
There is a growing consensus around this position:
Tommorow: The Second Problem of the 21 I have positied and my proposed solutions-immigration.
11/13/12 Problem #2 Solution #2
To understand immigration is to understand its drivers. Those drivers are:
1-Demographics. Reading above in this blog you realize that the Latino population in this country is and will overwhem other groups in the population, most of whom do not have a birth rate which is self-replicating and sustainable.
Moreover, this is true in the entire Western world. Being wealthy always means people don't want the burden of raising children, thereby sealing their demographic fate or war has decimated the breeding population, or as in China, a policy which has more males that females in the population. In any event many countries have native population problems.
So who is falling down the demographic well?
All of Western Europe, Japan, Russia, The US, and China.
That is why all of these countries need immigrant labor to sustain their life styles.
It was, at one time, a race between technology to replace labor and the need for human labor.
The need for human labor has won.
After all the Apple Iphone is essentially a handmade device using 19 century labor techniques with cheap Chinese labor. Technology ain't going to save us or prevent changes.
The YOLO sense among the young and the old is fueled by a sense of one world ending and another beginning. That is true and, historically, happens all the time.
So the United States is likely to become Mexico North. After all Mexico is not the poverty-ridden country of last century, it is an economic powerhouse now, drug cartels or no drug cartels.
The second driver is population distribution. The most important aspect of immigration is that the Latino population has distributed itself in many of the small towns of America. They have not congregated in the cities as much of the population has done but have dispersed.
They have contact with a strong work ethic and with the land deriving from the small villages from which they came and have precisely the skills needed to rebuild small towns in America-construction, housing, village life and the resourcefulness of the recently poor. That is why they get hired by employers--they work hard.
In my model add to this the urban college-educated and the technologlly sophisticated young technocrats and entreupreners and you have the ingredients needed to rebuild America.
But note most of the above will happen whether we plan for it or not.
The only issue will be whether it will be planned for or will it be done in the crisis of collapse of the major institutions of this country.
The new institutions in this scenario will be decentralized with an emphisis on local self-sustaining communities-a blend of technology, green energy and agriculture. It will be, if not prevented, signal the return of cheap labor, cheap energy, and cheap food. This will take 20 years.
Massive intitutions have failed us so, like it or not, we have to rebuild from the bottom upon a new kinds of decentralized institutions.
Immigration policy, therefore, will be to facilitate this process and this can be done and is already underway, even as politicians, still fail to understand its import, broad implications and outlines.
By 2050 this new pattern will have been recognized. But note this is the pattern for all countries. New arrivals (and slaves) come in, do the tough jobs and eventually replace older groups and/or intermarry, or sometimes there is war and rampant civil war as a response.
This is and has been the pattern in the United States as well, historically-but in end, in wealthy countries, if immigrants become integrated economically and all goes well because intermarriage plus economic intergration equals political power and things settle down into the new paradigm.
Immigration, therefore, will solve itself in time-unless the forces of regression try to actively prevent it.
Specifc policy and action recommendations tomorrow.
In a discussion of immigration policy it seems prudent to ask how do other countries handle immigration and what are their policies?
So lets have a look.
So why am I positing a relationship bewtween climate change and immigration policy?
Here is why.
Hurricane Sandy is an argur: the response to the destruction has been just one of how can we be better prepared of the next hurricane.
That is a flawed analysis. The analysis ought to be the following:
1-Climate change is real and all of the East Coast is at risk not only from the weather but also the weather in the context of the 22 nuclear reactors up and down the East Coast which are near water or the Ocean.
2-Millions of people are at risk this state of affairs was made clear-- something which will only get worse in our future namely:
a. Millions of people cannot live near the coast as they currently do.
b. These populations are dependent and the lifestyle of having millions live in crowed cities is no longer a sustainable life-style-in the face of climate change.
c. There will have to be re-ruralization and re-location programs to move these folks toward the interior. If we don't many will die in place.
d. Climate change makes clear that our over-technologized society in these kinds of situations collapse easily, no water, no electricity, no mobility, no food, hungry people, disease and the like will beset the population within ten days and the country simply does not have the resources to combat these circumstances in the present climate situation and certainly will not have resources to meet needs in the context of a worsening climate situation.
e. Present populations are remarkably unable to take care of themselves for even five days in the event of more severe events and most do not have the skills for any kind of survival at all.
Modernity has produced populations which have virtually no life skills on the sustainable side, don't know how appliances work, or even have tools they might need in diasters; don't know how to repair things they are dependent upon and use everyday, and, ominiously, are totally dependent upon technology to survive.
Technology in this situation betrays the population which has no ability to survive without it, or even have a idea of how to live in a low tech environment with little or no electricity for days on end, no TV, no food, no water--well you get the idea.
If you want to get an idea of how it will go look at disaters around the world--weather, earthquake, flood (Katrinia comes to mind) and we quickly see the patterns: law and order breaks down quickly people become desperate seeking food to survive, mass movements away from the cities start as people head out of cities seeking food and safety, or are paralyzed in place and perish.
So what does all this have to do with immigration you ask?
Here is how they are related:
Given climate change we Americans must understand that new skill sets, which are not so technology and electricity dependent will be absolutely necessary--especially in relation to the big three: food, water, energy, and community survival.
How then, do we develop such skills in our population because it is clear that climate change will mean they will become more and more critical. Our massive instituitions will not be adequate to meet the needs of most of us.
Simply put what do you do if there is no or only intermitten power and no gas? We will need new skills to cope with a new enviroment.
We now have to look to the 12 million immigrants in this country who recently from village life; have cultures which have memories and skills surrounding living down, living a more sustainable, and a more self-self-sufficient life style.
The issue of immigration is, therefore, how to harness those people skills, those cultural advantages which will be needed in our climate change future.
Those skills, along with some technological supports on a small scale with wind, solar other sustainable energy sources are what is going to be needed for our future and our kids future.
Sadly in that kind of future dependent city dwellers and inefficient cities do not really fit.
So my model is one of moving folks out of harms way, developing a more decentralized social model, more self-sufficient, less energy gouging is inevitable, either planned or arrived at via chaos and collapse
We will have to do it whether we plan for it one not.
Climate changes will over take us whether we are ready or not.
But how do we get ready?
See my blog "What America Must Do to Survive" on this site to get some of the preliminary ideas but here is a quick summary of specific policy steps in addition to those I have already outlined elsewhere.
1-We need to understand that we are in an emergency situation and adopt a 20 year plan--the amount of time before, climate scientists say, we will be overwhelmed by climate change changes.
2-We need to create a "domestic peace corp" where immigrants enroll with other young people in a proposed new National Serivce program.
Something like this already exists in the world notably in Israel where with an agricultural Kbutz system transformed an arid region into one which is liveable.
3-National Serivce will involve relocation to safer areas, reivalization and decentralization, and combining low tech, with agriculture and sustainable energy modalities.
Toward those goals and outcomes, we now need immigration politices which:
1-Extend the Dream Act to all eligible immigrants and add the provisio that they provide National Service for two-three years as part of a path to full citizenship.
(Locking people up, building border fences, massive privatized detention centers for immigrations won't and do not work anyway.)
2-Pay our young unemployed college graduates to join with this group in the proposed National Service and begin the process to re-organize this country from the bottom up.
3-Enlist the young and entrepeurial in this process to deal with a new low-tech sustainable modalities and all three groups combine in a patnership of the young. They are the only groups working together who can save this country.
Bring in the military to provide structural and infrastructure needs and we have, in my view, a workable model for the future where climate change will dominate much of our thinking and our attention.
Some National Service participants would be paid as part of a massive stimulus package. Money going there will be money well spent.
More detail tommorow.
11/19/12 If the rich pay their fair share would there be a deficit?
11/19/12 Debt as a Means of Control. Some say yes
Threats to Democracy from the National Security State
Perhaps the greatest overall threat to our Democracy is the National Security State.
Here we explore that proposition. First take a look at the following link. After we look at possible solutions.
What are the issues in the fiscal Cliff? Video
The down-sizing of America has begun. See my devolution comments above
Obama offering cuts in Social Security and Medicare to republicans?