Thursday, April 28, 2011

Inside Look at DC

Reading an article about the battle on capitol hill over the fee's credit card company's charge stores for credit card transactions when an anoynamous senator weighs in on how Washington really operates,

"The fights down here can be put in two or three categories:
The big greedy bastards against the big greedy bastards;
the big greedy bastards against the little greedy bastards;
and some cases even the other little greedy bastards against the other little greedy bastards.”

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The People's Budget

The main Politcal battle right now in this nation is not what it should be.

If it was about the corrupt system on Wall Street that created a collapse and are now profiting off it without accountability, it would have been sufficient. (in honor of last weeks passover)

If it was about the future of our Nuclear Power Plant system around the country that is aging, and that has never created a way to safely dispose of the waste, and could lead to a disaster like we are seeing in Japan if not audited, it would have been sufficient

If it was about how millions of Americans are being illegally foreclosed on by a corrupt mortgage industry, it would have been sufficient

If it was about how we have a huge amount of unemployed workers fueling the cycle of decreasing demand which further fuels layoffs, it would have been sufficient

If it was about how we are involved in 3 wars right now costing us too many lives and too much money that we dont have,  it would have been sufficient

If it wasabout how a 2010 Supreme Court decision now allows corporate american to spend unlimited amounts of undocumented money on political campaigns, but it isn't, it would have been sufficient

If it was about how corporate america has virtually taken control of our government by sponsoring elections with cold hard cash, by lobbying for laws to be passed in their favor, by lobbying for less regulation, by getting their own in top position of government regulation, and by giving million dollar jobs out to regulators and congressman once they leave the halls of government, but it isn't, it would have been sufficient

But none of these items are on top of the political agenda, instead its the budget. How much we spend.
Paul Ryan the Republican Congressman struck first with his idea of how to spend less money. He want to give out tax cuts to the rich, end medicare by having seniors go to private insurance ( we hope private insurance will take them), and cut all kinds of federal programs, that feed, educate, and cloth the poorest and weakest amongst us, which is exactly what Jesus would have done.
The President is willing to negotiate but refuses to end medicare.
But the third way that is not being discussed is the People Budget created by the largest coalition in the House, the Progressive caucus. And remember in 2010 when the Democrats lost many House seats, most were from the Blue dog (corporate sponsored) coaliton, and very very few from the Progressive Caucus.
The People Budget is the most rational thing to come out of Washington in years.
The plan calls for
-invests 1.4 trillion in education, and job creation
-ends bush tax cut
-increases taxes on millionaires to 49%,
-tax capital gains as income instead of less than income
-close corporate tax loopholes,
-end big oil subsidies
-start taxing the derivative market
-public option for health insurance, forcing competition
-every one pays into social security not just the first 100k of income
-nothing happens to medicare and medicaid
Resulting in a a surplus by 2021.
The only problem with this besides it making perfect sense, is that it will take money out of the pocket of those that run this country.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Minimum Wage

Thom Hartmann points out that every single time except for once, the federal government chose to raise the minimum wage the result was a growing economy and job creation.
He also points out the example of Henry Ford, who started his company by paying employees a wage where they could not afford to buy the product they made, the ford car. His solution was to increase their pay, making it possible for his worker to buy his car.

Guess what happened? When the worker could afford the car they bought them, the increase in sales was enourmous where ford had to expand his business and hire more workers. Thus disproving the Republican myth that if you make the CEO spend more money he will automatically fire more workers. This is the reasont the modern coproration uses to stop new regulation, to stop new taxes, to fight for tax cuts.

Remember its just a myth that was proven by one Henry Ford, who spent more money on his labor and was rewarded with increased demand and sales and profits.

So next time you here this Republican myth I mentioned above, ask for an example, a real world example of their myth occuring, if they cannot come up with one, its just a talking point.

Corporate Power

Just watched another great episode of Thom Hartmanns tv show, The Big Picture, on RT TV on youtube where he talks about the rise of corporate influence in this country. He said until the 1890's it was illegal for corporations to lobby politicians, or attempt to influence any election or law, the punishment was jail time and the corporation would be dissolved.

But starting will Abraham Lincoln, who gave out tons of free land to the Railroad barons, so they could built a trancontinental railroad, so the North could win the Civil War, corporate power grew among the barons to where a "small group of men became the wealthiest men on the planet."

"With that wealth they bribed a few members of the Supreme Court so they would rule that corporations had the same rights as people, so there money could influence elections and law."

In 1870's a Wisconsin State Supreme Court Justice warned his law students, basically saying corporate power is building, for economic and political power,
"The question shall arise in your day, which shall rule, wealth or man, which shall lead, money or intellect, who shall fill public stations, educated and patriotic free men or the fuedal serfs of corporate capital." Edward G. Ryan

The Railroad barons than gained citizenship status for all corporations when in a lawsuit that went to the Supreme Court, a court reported noted the citenship-like rights belonging to the corporation.

2010 citizens united Supreme Court officially allowed corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence the political process and not report who they donate the money to. The result was 300 million dollars was spent on the 2010 political campaign, up from 60 million in 2006.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

State Banks

"Not a single North Dakota bank has failed in more than 10 years. By contrast, in the other 49 states—all of which lack their own bank—nearly 300 banks failed in 2009 and 2010 alone. "

PBI Newsletter

Monday, April 18, 2011

Who/What creates job's

One of the strongest arguments form the right is the cut taxes for the rich because they create jobs. It makes sense on the surface, if Joe Ceo has to pay an extra million in taxes he cannot use that money for other things like pay salaries for a few extra workers. But there is always more to the story.

Watching an interview with the president of the AFL-CIO reminded me of what really drives companies to hire employees, and while the CEO does hire and does help the economy out by hiring, this idea is just a reaction to other market forces. Mainly demand.

A company is only interested in hiring if they have an increase in demand that they cannot meet, so they hire someone knew, meeting the extra demand, thus making them more money. But when times get slow, demand slows, why do I, as a CEO need to keep extra people around. You can give me all the tax cuts and interest free loans in the world but why would I hire someone to make something that I cant sell? Why would I hire a new home salesman if homes are not selling?

According the AFL-CIO consumer buying makes up 72% of our economy. So to get our economy going we need to be buying things. If we don't work we cant buy. If you give corporations billions in tax cuts and free money they still will not hire anyone because no one is buying. But if you give everyone who is out of work billions they will buy and than companies will hire.

But our leaders are not interested in clever ideas that will actually work, and solve large issues of the day. They would much rather throw money at the leadership/wealthy class, than give it to the people that can fix this economy. The Federal Reserve Bank has already given the large banks and other large corporations access to trillions in interest free loans, yet they are sitting on the money, they will not invest it because there there is no demand.

Its almost like the middle class is the secret to fixing the economy but our political leaders cannot get them involved, because they do not support political campaigns in huge amounts. And the ones that do support the campaigns in large amounts are constantly whispering in our leaders ears, "give us more money, give us more tax breaks, give us less regulations", a steady drumbeat, a steady mantra, like the march into the Iraq war.

But after 30 years of tax cuts for the rich and less regulation for corporations we have a growing Oligarchy and shrinking middle class. We need strength from both of these groups to be strong nation.

The same thing happened with the economic crash of 2008. A bubble built around home mortgages and when it popped there was so much leverage on Wall Street that the stock market crashed, (leverage meaning companies would put up 1 million dollars as collateral and bet 100 billion dollars on mortgage stocks), when the banks crashed loans became hard to find and companies went under, jobs were lost and people did two things, stopped paying taxes and asked for unemployment benefits, this put a strain on our federal and state budget.

So how would you fix this? Would you create jobs? Bail out Wall Street? Ball out homeowners about to go under? Help everyone?

Our leaders chose to Bail out Wall Street and what they are doing now, cutting our spending.
Wall Street is now back on top making more money than before the crash and since no one went to jail for all their illegal activity it now says that even when you take our nation to the brink of collapse you will still highly benefit from it. They are sitting on trillions in interest free loans and refuse to loan it out, or help homeowners facing foreclosure. This has only helped part of our economy.

The plan I like that no one talked about in DC was to go to the point in the economic food chain where this whole mess started, the home mortgages. You give them the money, with some type of string attached, and they have to use the money to pay their mortgage. Since this started the collapse this will end it, because the money will make its way through the whole food chain.

The banks will get their money back in both scenarios.But, in the one chosen by DC we have the money starting and ending with the banks resulting in one part of the economy recovering and the rest not. In the other we have the money hitting every spot in the economic food chain and all areas recovering.

It reminds me of a nature channel documentary I saw about Yellowstone. When it was being populated with animals they wolf, the main predator of the landscape was left for last. And before they introduced them the rangers began to have problems with the landscape. Parts of the plant life were dying. This lead to other animals dying who needed the plant life. And wouldn't you know it was all because of the wolf. Once the wolf was introduced to the land they began to hunt the dominant herbivore, elk or something. When they elk were not hunted they stood in one area and ate all the plant life and moved on, but now that they were being hunted they grazed a little and moved on. This allowed the land to recover.

The Republican Party today would have been against the Wolf being brought back to the landscape, they would have argued that it is an aggressive hunter who would have further disrupted the landscape. And they would have benefited one animal to the detriment of the whole landscape.

Middle Class

The middle class is definitely being attacked. They had to fight to become the middle class. And today they will have to fight to keep it.

A new chart has popped up showing how much pay rose for middle class and upper class workers, from two time periods, 1950-1980, and 1981-2008. The results are stagering,

Middle Class salaries rose 75% from 50'-80', while the upper 1% rose 80%. Pretty even. But from 80'-08'
Middle class salaries rose 1%, while the upper 1% salaries rose 400%.

This is pretty staggering and shows what is going on this country. This shoots a big whole through Republican ideology, that says if you work hard you will make your own way. This picture shows that its pretty damn hard to make your own way if you are not in the upper 1% of wage earners. Its pretty hard to earn your way if you do not make massive campaign donations.

There is no way you can make the argument that the upper 1% of wage earners just flat out works that much harder than the average joe to warrant 400% wage increase compared to 1%.

And its just plain unfair to label someone who addresses this issue someone involved in class warfare, or a socialist. These types of numbers are not going to create a strong America if they are kept where they are.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Weak Democrats

The Democratic Party is so weak. The only discussion going on in Washington right now is about the deficit. We spend more than we take in, and it needs to be fixed now we are told. But who is pushing this policy? It looks like the Republicans are. So why are the Democrats falling over themselves to work on ideas the Republicans want to tackle when the Democrats still run the Senate and the White House.

A simple poll will tell you the American people want the economy fixed and they want jobs. God forbid any politician actually listen to the American people. How do the Democrats expect to win in 2012 running on cutting  spending when no one is working.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dean Bakers budget talk

Ways to come up with money for our Government
1. Break up large banks who can now borrow at zero interest rate. How can anyone else compete.
2.Big Pharma's patent laws means we spend 300 billion a year on drugs that should cost 30b.
3.Give medicare vouchers with option of purchasing European healthcare.
4. Government should rewrite the rules of CEO's with the same furver they are attacking union workers.
5. Reign in military spending.

and dont forget the others I have mentioned before;
Raise tax rates on corporations and millionaires
close tax loopholes
close offshore tax havens
Address big oil and big agriculture subsidies

What does the Republican party want

Mike Lux tells us;

"The Ryan budget, Cantor's quote, and Scott Walker's war on unions are just the latest examples of radical conservatism's war on the American middle class. Conservatives want a country where the wealthy and powerful are free to do what they want when they want. They want unbridled capitalism with all restraints taken off, the way America was in the 1920s -- no, better make it the Social Darwinist 1880s, before Teddy Roosevelt came along and did too much trust-busting, food safety legislation, and national park creation. Conservatives want an America where there is complete "freedom" for the rich and powerful, but if you aren't in that category you are on your own. This battle is for the future of the American middle class, and we'd better win it. "

The budget

Mike lux, over at huffington post, formerly of open left, has some great arguments about Paul Ryans budget proposal. Which, in a nut shell, is aimed at far rich, millionaire constituents.

"The Ryan budget is a remarkable document: all of its budget cuts hammer working class families, seniors, and students -- while all of its tax cuts go straight to millionaires. It does almost nothing to deal with the deficit, yet still manages to deal a death blow to virtually every member of the working middle class and everyone trying to work their way into it

The good news, for those who are millionaires? They get so many economic benefits it will be hard to keep track of them all.

You can easily balance the budget in less than 10 years, even including those interest payments, simply by cutting the waste in military spending, reforming the government contracting procedures, ending tax loopholes for investment bankers and offshore companies, ending subsidies to oil companies and big agribusinesses, taxing speculative financial trades, and having millionaires pay taxes at the same rate they did under Ronald Reagan.

You can easily balance the budget in less than 10 years, even including those interest payments, simply by cutting the waste in military spending, reforming the government contracting procedures, ending tax loopholes for investment bankers and offshore companies, ending subsidies to oil companies and big agribusinesses, taxing speculative financial trades, and having millionaires pay taxes at the same rate they did under Ronald Reagan.

The Ryan budget has nothing -- not a single frickin' thing -- to do with cutting the federal deficit. It is all about income redistribution"

Friday, April 8, 2011

What defecit?

Read a great post on the blog, that is sadley closing its doors. I really enjoy their writing. They always back up their arguments with real world facts, so it was a great place to learn from.

They are saying its not the deficit stupid. There is no deficit. The wealthy land owning aristocracy that built and still run this nation along with their apprentices in Congress are finally doing what they always wanted to do, take more away from everyone who is not a millionaire, and give more to millionaires. Makes perfect sense. If you dont think about it.

Watch my actions not my words.
We are told their is a war on terrorists and our nation is in danger, we get two wars in the middle east. But a contradiction is that we had no real investigation into the 9/11 attacks, or how 20 something levels of security all fell asleep behind the switch board, resulting in 9/11. Plus we have an extremely porious southern border that is not a concern to our leaders. This says to me we are not really in danger.

We have an economic collapse not seen since the Great Depression. We are told if we do not give trillions of dollars to the banks that caused the collapse, interest free, than our economy will be in trouble. But when millions lose their jobs, and are kicked out of there homes, and taxes cannot be paid, and the drain on social safety net services increases, we do nothing.
Now how can we be so concerned about one section of the economic model, and turn our shoulder to the other. It looks like our leaders could careless about the state of the economy, as long as they survive.

So call me crazy, but when i see our leaders in washington, whome all happen to be millionares, tell us our nation spends too much money and we need to conserve, right after they pass a tax cut, i have to burst out laughing.

You see where I am headed, no? So if you lost your job, and no one is hiring, and want unemployment, your probably not going to get it, because they tell us we have to tighten our belts.

You say your in a union and you want to negotiate as a large group to get better pay? Not in Wisconsin you can't. We need to tighten our belts.

Your a senior and you get medicare, sorry again, you will have to get less.

But if your a millionaire and you want a tax cut, you bet your sweet ass your going to get one. Because no millionaire should have to sacrifice in these times.

That article I read said if our leadrs claimed their was a dangerous green cheese on the moon they would argue the only way to protect the country would be by cutting medicare, union pensions, and tax cuts for the rich.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

brooksley born

Saw a great documentary last night produced by PBS Frontline, called the Warning, about one person in Government regulation who saw the economic collapse of 2008 coming way back in the Clinton administration.

Brooksly Born was a derivitive attorney for 20 years before being tapped by Bill Clinton to head up a financial regulatory agency that dealt specifically with Derivatives, the same items that caused or greatly enhanced the crash.

Her most reasonable argument, to make a law so the regulators would know the activity of hundreds of trillions of dollars of financial, derivative transactions was not only disagreed with by Clinton's other financial advisers but was vehemently attacked.

His other advisers were Alan Greenspan,  Robert Rubin, and Larry Summers, all of whom worked for and loved private enterprise, to the point that during Alan Greenspan's first meeting with Born, he told her he thought the markets needed zero regulation.

All the parties mentioned were brought in front of Congress to discuss the ideas of not only new regulation, but just to have this new market report in, as to see what was going on. Born was murdered, in Congress, by Greenspan, Rubin, Summers, and many in Congress. Her hands were tied.

Even after a hedge found imploded because Born's advise was not followed, she was still chased out of Washington for here crazy idea of wanted to watch over a huge unchecked area of the market.

Ten years later the entire market suffered a blow that would tsunami around the world, all because free market radicals who were in bed with corporate America refused to watch over or enforce any type of normal rules on a section of the market.

Its like street level crime, imagine some rapists were so organized that they lobbied for laws that would prevent anyone from calling the police when a rape was committed. It makes as much sense as that. Both wall street non-regulation and decriminilazing rape would hurt communities and people alike.

So every time you hear a story about deregulation regarding wall street or economic markets, substitute the word Rape for economic markets.

Example; We cannot regulate wall street after the crash it will hurt the markets
Substitution; we cannot criminalize rape just because many people are being raped, it would break of the family unit.
Did i convince you?
Watch the front line