Saturday, December 27, 2008
We Will Do Everything in Our Power to Help
President Bush in an interview just this last week said that on September 28, 2008 his own Secretary of the Treasury came to him in great alarm and said: “the credit markets are frozen! If we do not give them a massive bailout of cash, we may face a depression, a greater depression than the Great Depression.” This was the Phi Beta Kappa, Republican, former head of Wall Street’s Goldman Sachs talking, not some radical Marxist, and it was our first main stream signal that something was drastically wrong with our capitalism. With full support of our entire political and economic leadership, Congress quickly voted $700 Billion and gave $350 Billion to Secretary Paulson to spend immediately. What he did with it, he refuses to say, but the fact that we can all observe is that it did nothing to help us or to help the economy. The additional Billions that were given before and since have not helped either. Millions and millions of us are facing the pain of economic downturn and nothing has helped us. All of us are scared. We wait breathlessly for January 20 when President Obama can do something to help. Today he promises to spend $400 Billion to create 4 million jobs although many more than that have already been laid off.
The entire main stream political and economic establishment including the departing President and the incoming President and his main stream advisors are desperately seeking to get things going as they were before September 2 8, to restore the fragile bubble economy that then existed. Although Obama promises some direct aid to the unemployed, poor and hungry, Obama’s main strategy as suggested by his choice of advisors is to restore our trickle down economic system
Even Paul Krugman wrote in the NYT on December 22:
“The prosperity of a few years ago, such as it was — profits were terrific, wages not so much — depended on a huge bubble in housing, which replaced an earlier huge bubble in stocks. And since the housing bubble isn’t coming back, the spending that sustained the economy in the pre-crisis years isn’t coming back either.”
Even some in the labor movement do not want a new bubble:
NYT columnist Bob Herbert wrote on December 20:
“As Andy Stern, president of the huge Service Employees International Union, told me on Friday: ‘We’ve had a 25-year experience with market-worshipping, deregulating, privatizing, trickle-down policies, and it has ended us up with the greatest economy on earth staggering, and with the greatest amount of inequality since the Great Depression.’”
Our capitalism is not just “staggering.” It has crashed and nobody can rebuild or restore it. It has mutated into its final terminal stage as capitalism. It can further mutate into an authoritarian government joined with a system to benefit the powerful, but not as capitalism.
MONETARISM WILL NO LONGER KEEP CAPITALISM GOING
So far as we can tell, all of the current mainstream advisors, including those that Obama has chosen, are monetarists, being intellectual disciples of Milton Friedman. Monetarism has produced fabulous profits for the very wealthy, but it has served the rest of us poorly even before September 28. Since the crash of capitalism, it will not even serve the very wealthy in terms of keeping capitalism going.
Monetarism has at least 4 basic express ideas:
1. Capitalism is basically a stable economic system that serves all of us rich and poor.
2. The occasional ups and downs of capitalism can be handled by adjusting the interest rate and the money supply.
3. A really serious down turn can be controlled by a massive injection of public money into this stable capitalism, supplied by us taxpayers.
4. There are no structural or systemic defects in capitalism.
There are also some implied assumptions that do not fit the real world:
1. A rising tide lifts all boats with substantial fairness
2. There are no irreconcilable conflicts of interest between the rich and the poor, between capitalism and democracy or between the interest of employers and the interests of employees.
Now that a major crash is upon us, one that threatens to drop us into a “depression worse than the Great Depression,” the Wall Street strategy to avoid this disaster is, guided by the monetarists, to give more an more money to the major banks with the idea that these banks and their subsidiaries will then extend more credit to employers who will create more jobs, paying existing or lower wages, so that after all of this trickle down, employees will have enough purchasing power, augmented by their own new loans and credit cards, to start another bubble. Wall Street loves bubbles. Bubbles make Wall Streeters very rich so long as the bubble works. The main product of Wall Street banks is credit…to fuel the economy with loans bearing interest paid back for the enrichment of Wall Street banks. Hence, Wall Street seeks to restart capitalism with some sort of a new bubble. Due to Wall Street’s massive contribution of dollars to our elected officials, no other strategy is being considered. The trouble is there are no new bubbles on the horizon. We do not want a new housing bubble, a Silicon Valley stock bubble, or a bubble that would have Detroit turning out more massive SUVs. We do not want to increase the already massive disparity of income between the very rich and the rest of us. Another trouble is that the amount of actual purchasing power that trickles down is too little, and too late.
The mainstream monetarists are very bright. The problem is neither lack of intelligence nor stupidity by mainstream advisors. Robert Rubin, Ben Bernanke, and Henry Paulson are each members of Phi Beta Kappa. The mainstream economic advisors have chosen to use their intelligence to keep existing capitalism going and to make themselves rich by devoting their lives to serving the interests of the very rich. They have chosen to deny the existence of structural defects in capitalism.
CAPITALISM HAS ALWAYS HAD A STRUCTURAL OR SYSTEMIC FLAW, THE CAPACITY TO SELF-DESTRUCT IN ITS MATURE STAGE.
Capitalism has always had this fatal flaw that some are now calling a “systemic defect.” This is the defect noted by capitalist Henry Ford in the 1920’s and first enunciated 150 years ago by Karl Marx. Capitalists do not pay their employees enough salaries and wages so that employees can buy the products that they produce. Capitalism is thus inherently unstable. The necessary purchasing power can be maintained temporarily by foreign investment, government purchases for defense, wars, and Homeland Security, by borrowing and credit card financing, but we have reached the limit. Neither we, nor corporate businesses can borrow more. We cannot pay higher taxes so as to further fund a fragile capitalism that has died for want of purchasing power.
The main stream has applied every possible “band-aid” to capitalism, and it is still trying find other props. Most of us have supported those efforts. Most of us knew of no alternative. The difficult truth is that the inner dynamic of capitalism in its mature mutation, has caused its terminal illness, its final crash. Neither All the King’s men in “Humpty Dumpty,” nor President Obama will be able to put it together again. The reason is that nobody in the political and economic main stream has yet publicly acknowledged this systemic defect. Nobody is publicly dealing with it, or even hinting at its existence. Everybody recognizes that our capitalism depends for its survival on consumer purchasing power, but few want to face up to the systemic defect that causes the absence of purchasing power. Painful and disagreeable though it may be we must face up to and deal with this systemic defect.
Capitalism, our “mother” also has much influence on us now. It feeds all of us. Every one of us is dependent on capitalism for our survival. We think we have no other choice. Whether we are employees of business, non-profits, the media or universities, we are fed by this “mother.” Even if we are self-employed, we are dependent on the income of employees for our income. We are not and can never again be hunter-gatherers, or self-sufficient farmers. We are as dependent on the current mutation of capitalism as a new born baby is on its mother. When our “mother” no longer nurtures us, we become very scared. We become so scared that some of us deny that anything is wrong; some of us assume that it is our own fault, and some of us emphasize other causes like crooked businessmen, crooked politicians, or false advertising; and some assign blame to inner psychology, even to a Jungian collective unconscious. We turn to anything and everything to avoid facing the real problem. Just as we desperately need and want the love of our real mothers, we similarly cling to our capitalism, and we find it very difficult to analyze or criticize either one. Those who hugely profit from capitalism naturally encourage us not to blame capitalism. Their media treats discussion of capitalism’s defects as a taboo subject. They reinforce our own dependent reluctance.
There is more and it is related to the vast disparity of incomes between the capitalist class, employers and those who invest with employers, and the rest of us. By its dynamic of paying employees as little as possible, and seizing as much as possible of the increase in wealth our work produces, the capitalist class has accumulated a staggering almost unimaginable stash of wealth. The capitalists have used this wealth to purchase a controlling share of our political power. Wall Street Banks have so far bought off the Democrats, who then lie and tell us that they are trying to enact reforms for our benefit. They just never get around to doing it. As Lou Dobbs reported on December 20 on CNN, Democrat Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee has his own reform bill and another competing reform bill pending in his Committee. This powerful Democratic Chairman simply cannot find the necessary support to bring either bill up to the full Senate. Senator Dodd received $4 million dollars in his last election from the Wall Street banks he says he would like to regulate. Similarly, VP Biden representing the credit card issuers fostered a draconian Bankruptcy Bill that haunts us now. Ironically, President Obama on Saturday before departing for Hawaii appointed this same VP Biden to head a task force to try to meet the needs of the middle class. Do you suppose that Biden will recommend the cancellation of his recently sponsored awful Bankruptcy Bill? We must enlighten Senator Dodd, Vice President Biden and the other Democratic elected officials who receive money from Wall Street.
Our strategy is founded on this: Our widespread recognition that capitalism has died and cannot be revived will necessarily cause President Obama, Senators, Blue Dog Democrats, academic advisors, Wall Streeters of honest good will, and everyone except those who seek to survive by theft, to deal with our real human needs and stop using our money in a vain attempt to restart a dead capitalism. Therefore our most important task is to understand that multinational capitalism has died, why it has died, why it cannot be restarted, and to communicate that truth to everyone we know.
This is not to say that our way forward will be easy or pain free. We have to deal with capitalism’s terminal gasps that may lead some frightened persons turn to fascism. We have to face the ferocious, possibly violent reaction of those who have immensely profited from bubble capitalism as they seek to defend and preserve their wealth. The truth is that a great depression, greater than the Great Depression, may come upon us very soon. A bright European observer, Franck Biancheri speaking on the archived KPFA program “Guns and Butter” that aired on December 10 predicted this disastrous and painful crash at the multinational level by July 2009.
Reflect for a moment on what we could face as early as next summer:
• The nation’s food delivery truck fleet shut down for want of profit making opportunity.
• Empty food stores
• Wal Mart and other big box stores shut down because China stopped shipping stuff to the US and decided instead to improve conditions for the Chinese
• 30 million people out of work and hungry
• Hospital emergency rooms flooded with sick and injured people
• Charitable soup kitchens and charitable food suppliers overwhelmed and non-functional
• No food to buy with the dollars that we have..
So maybe, just maybe Franck Biancheri is wrong. This may not happen by next summer. It may not come until 2010. The point is that this greater than the Great Depression will soon happen unless we all face up to and correct the systemic defect in our political economy. It is inevitable. The advent of fascism will not stop the pain that is coming.
To survive the immediate pain, we would all be well advised to put in a store of emergency food. We should also persuade the new Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to stop making ethanol from corn and accumulate an emergency supply of corn and wheat.
We can each resolve to avoid panic, selfish choices, and false solutions.
We humans working together in our human community can solve this systemic defect and meet our reasonable needs. Multinational capitalism, the Federal Reserve Bank, Wall Street and their investment banks, money and credit schemes will not survive, and should not. We have the following advantages to meet the crisis and to create a new political economy:
We have needs, we each have skills and abilities to meet needs of others, and we are all willing to work.
The business capitalism in our local communities, our banks, car dealers, hardware stores, and food stores and clothing stores need not be much affected. Our local lives will go on, but much better than before when Wall Street siphoned off the lions share of our productive wealth for the very rich.
We now realize that all of us humans are interdependent and interconnected in our common needs for affordable housing, public health, clean water, adequate food, and medical care.
We each have the capacity to care for others and the capacity to receive the caring of others.
We have vast national resources.
We have a fallen global market economy with formerly arrogant, aggressive, defiant gung ho capitalists now on their knees, dispirited and begging for our help.
We have a new President with a towering intellect, oratorical skills, leadership skills, a strong will and a compassionate heart, who promises to act pragmatically.
• We can use the experience from WWII and set up something like the War Production Board, staffed by bright pragmatic people, to guide us in what should be produced to meet our needs and what should not be produced.
• We can set up a new Federal Loan Bank and create a new currency using the Constitutional power given to Congress “To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin.” We may choose to support the American Monetary Act now being introduced by Congressman Dennis Kucinich and supported by Professor Michael Hudson. http://www.monetary.org/amacolorpamphlet.pdf
• We can demand that our government be our employer of last resort, supplying as many jobs as may be necessary. We can demand that public expenditures be made for our direct and immediate public benefit and not for Wall Street or its investment banks.
• We can demand that Congress make “all laws which shall be necessary and proper…in order to from a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity…”
• We may not be able to afford wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we may have to bring our troops home.
We are in the most exciting times since 1776 when the fall of multinational capitalism compels and allows us to organize new ways of working together to meet our needs founded on caring for each instead of fearfully exploiting and competing with each other.
Dated: December 27, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
6063 E. Rosewood
Tucson AZ 85711
Phone 520 514 7836 Fax 520 514-7088
Cell 520-400-5905 email@example.com
December 13, 2008
Edward Kaufman, Chief of Staff
Office of Senator Joseph R. Biden
201 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-0801
Regarding: Senate Rule XXII and President Obama’s and Vice President Biden’s promise of hope and change
Dear Mr. Kaufman:
Congratulations!!! You are soon to be a Senator yourself. That is why I, a resident of Arizona, and I claim a Sovereign Citizen, am writing to you. You are also very close to Senator Biden and that is another reason. I will soon be a constituent of VP Biden, and I have always considered that I am a constituent of all Senators. I trust that you also will recognize a duty to all of us and not just the voters of Delaware.
I am the outraged voter-citizen who filed the suits challenging the constitutionality of Senate Rule XXII in the 1990s when the filibuster was used to thwart our majority will and Bill Clinton’s proposed stimulus package. We are again confronted with the same problem: Certain Senators are sure to use the filibuster to thwart political and economic solutions to our imminent second Great Depression. The filibuster can and will be used to thwart control of global warming, regulation of Wall Street, and a sustainable energy policy. Just as the filibuster was used for 100 years after the Civil War to prevent enactment of a law against lynching, the filibuster now can and will be used to drive many of us into the economic law of the jungle and possibly starvation. It will surely be used to impede pragmatic legislative solutions and experiments in a wise way to see what really works to deal with our problems.
It makes good sense to require 60 votes or even 67 votes to confirm Judicial appointments when such nominations require the advice and consent of the
Senate, and when these Judges serve for life and can only be impeached or removed by a 2/3 vote.
It is simply a “bloodless coup” for the Senate to require more than a simple majority of those Senators present to enact political and economic reforms or anything else that can always be done away with by the next Congress.
I ask, I beg that you and Vice President Biden face the many crises that we all face and implement our majority will as voters by using the “constitutional option” aka the “nuclear option” to implement our majority will.
I am writing to you now so that you and Vice President Biden can carefully plot your strategy, enlist the support of a majority of Senators, and draft Vice President Biden’s ruling now that would end unconstitutional use of the filibuster.
You could move and VP Biden could rule, when the necessary “option” motions are made to avoid the filibuster, something like the following:
“The Chair rules that when legislation or appointments are proposed that can be cancelled or reversed by the next Congress, the Constitution compels Senate Rule XXII with its 60 vote requirement to close debate to be unconstitutional. For such legislation, the Chair rules that the Constitution compels action by vote of a simple majority of a quorum of those Senators present and voting. The Chair rules that Senate Rule XXII with its 60 vote requirement insofar as it applies to judicial appointments for the life of the nominee which can be undone only by a 2/3 vote of impeachment, is constitutional.”
I hope that you and Vice President Biden will exercise the leadership necessary to do this successfully.
DOUGLAS R. PAGE
President Obama: You have set up a web site and invite comment from your supporters. Here is something we are profoundly concerned about. We your loyal sovereign supporters and voters are being robbed blind by Wall Street. Professor Michael Hudson tells us that Two Trillion Dollars have been given to 15% or so of the wealthiest banks on Wall Street, investment banks like those that Robert Rubin, Senator Charles Schumer, Senator Chris Dodd and Vice President Biden and many other Senators have long supported. Our money is still being poured out to Wall Street. There is no end in sight. The phony rationale has been that we all will fall into a deep economic depression unless we make it possible for these banks again to extend credit, to make loans. First off, they are not doing this. These banks are, according to Professor Hudson, hoarding the money so that they can deal with their huge, but as yet unaudited, liabilities on collateralized debt obligations, credit default stops and the like. The Bank of America even used bailout money to buy a bank in China. Moreover, the stated objective makes no sense. No sane person wants to jump start the real estate bubble, the Silicon Valley bubble or any other bubble. Yet, that is the stated objective. These few banks seek to “solve” the real problem of our insufficient purchasing power in an awkward indirect tickle down way by transferring public money to the top 1% in the hope that the top 1% will find profit making opportunities and lend, invest, create employment, pay existing or lower wages, and thus finally “restore” our purchasing power. If these Wall Street banks mean what they say, this “solution” was not working before the crisis, has not worked since 1980, and especially will not work now. If these Wall Street bankers are spinning the facts to cover an outright theft of our money as appears to be the case, they should be prosecuted. These banks should be allowed to fall into bankruptcy, and a more direct, creative and effective use should be made with our bailouts.
President Obama, we, being some of your sovereign voters who gave you campaign money and who elected you want you to know that we have come to a startling realization: Our national market economy, our capitalism has “blown its engine.” No new inputs of oil or fuel or cash will jump start this blown engine. We must meet the immediate need of getting survival cash in our hands, then analyze why the engine failed, and then fix the defect. There are many among us who because of habit, obliviousness or temporary advantage have not yet accepted the fact that our national capitalism has permanently stalled beyond anybody’s capacity to restore it. We all soon will.
Have you noticed the spin on the real cause of the depression we now face? The main stream media incessantly label it as a “credit crisis,” and a “liquidity crisis” of Wall Street. Ben Bernanke and Henry Paulson were the first users of these words when the investment banks stopped lending because of their vast liability exposure in collateralized debt obligations. The use of these words as obfuscating spin continues inaccurately and inappropriately now that we are in a full blown depression. Their analysis is faulty. They either have not examined the dynamics of capitalism or they find it advantageous not to deal with the dynamics in public. Our diminishing or non-existent paychecks are the cause of Wall Street’s crisis and of our own crisis. Millions of us cannot afford to buy what multinational capitalism produces and attempts to sell at a profit. Naturally, high unemployment does not help. Stephen Lendman reported in http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2008/12/the-global-economic-crisis-bad-and-worsening/
“Economist John Williams corrects it (official statistics) by including what BLS leaves out, and through November reports unemployment at 16.5% or more than double the manipulated government data.”
There is suddenly an “overproduction” of houses that can be sold at a profit although millions are homeless. We do not need more credit in order to buy. We need much more adequate salaries and wages and we need full employment. In capitalism’s gigantic siphoning of money from the production process in the form of CEO salaries and perks, dividends, and interest, capitalism has created a small wealthy group of about 33,000 of us who have as much income and wealth as the bottom 300,000,000 of us. It has left the rest of us with insufficient wages and salaries to buy the houses and cars that capitalism produces. There is a limit to the number of houses the members of the top 33,000 very wealthy want, so their purchases do not keep capitalism going.. Five or more mansions spread around the planet for each of them is enough. The Wall Street spin, if honestly presented seeks to preserve the profit making opportunities, salaries, perks, dividends, interest, and power of the top 1%, and for the wealthiest investment banks of Wall Street. We emphasize: This strategy will not work even for Wall Street capitalists because it does nothing directly to restore our employee purchasing power upon which capitalism is so desperately dependent.
Our tax money is thus contributing to the continuation of the very dynamic that caused the crisis and blew up the economic engine we call capitalism. The bailout is not made on condition that employees be paid more so that they can buy what is produced. There is no condition imposed that the profit CEO salaries, perks, dividends, or interest of those who receive this public bailout be curtailed or eliminated. It is analogous to pouring more and more oil into a blown engine of an Indy race car. Pouring more and more oil will not start this blown engine and put it back in the race.
It is significant that the Wall Street spin studiously avoids suggesting an immediate direct solution to our real crisis: the quick transfer of public money to those who will quickly spend it, such as generously enhanced unemployment pay and a negative income tax. It is sad that even the UAW is part of the spin and is marching to Washington offering benefit concessions while forgetting Henry Ford’s dceision that he had to pay his employees more generously so that they could buy the Model Ts that their labor produced on the assembly line. With UAW concessions and support of the “credit crisis,” Ford employees will not be buying many Fords.
These observations are neither left nor right. They are simply observations of Wall Street acts and Wall Street’s stated purposes as communicated to us by the Wall Street owned media.
What underlying truth is this obfuscating spin hiding? In the case of the bailout of Wall Street investment banks and insurance companies, it may be a case of the top 1% getting all of our money they can “while the getting is good,” and hiding it away in their personal accounts overseas before we wise up. The Wall Street spin may conceal the largest theft of public funds we humans have ever experienced.
The rationalizations and justifications for national capitalism have been totally discredited. National capitalism is neither meeting human needs nor its own needs. It is not efficiently managed. It is not innovating. Any economic system whose normal dynamics can take us into the dark ages must be abolished. It is the height of stupidity to support an economic system that creates a few persons with the power to destroy our well-being.
Is capitalism providing society with good efficient management in its search for profit? Robert Rubin, Secretary Paulson and other top bankers of Wall Street were not very efficient in getting us into the subprime and collateralized debt obligation mess, and in their failure to deal with the core defect of inadequate purchasing power that has been with us since 1980. The management of capitalism’s best and brightest in the auto industry has brought the auto industry to bankruptcy.
Is American capitalism providing society with innovation in its relentless search for profit? Certainly not in the auto industry or in the housing industry. What about new products like hydrogen fuel cells? So far as I have been able to find, the main source of innovation is the University of California at Irvine where a public employee, Professor Scott Samuelsen is a world wide leader of hydrogen cell research and applications. Unfortunately for us, Wall Street capitalism has innovated and ineptly managed a large number of ways to make a short term profit without producing anything we need. This management has brought capitalism to its knees and begging for public bailout. Innovation and good management? What about Bear Stearns and Citibank? What about AIG? Lehman Brothers? The coal industry is spending millions in false advertising and PR to sell “clean coal” when no such thing now exists and is not predicted to exist for at least 2 decades. We are experiencing unthinking greed by our brightest national capitalists and not good management and innovation.
The point of all this is not to pick on human beings, misled and oblivious as they may be. Ben Bernanke is a brilliant human being with an IQ far above most of us mortals. He is moral and civilized. Capitalism did not self destruct for the want of human intelligence. The point here is to analyze and recognize the inevitably self destructive dynamic of capitalism itself. Former capitalists and present defenders and revivers of capitalism, Ben Bernanke, liberals like Paul Krugman and Robert Reich, and most importantly our elected Senators must face the facts. Capitalism has now destroyed itself at least at the national and global levels. National capitalists have successfully demanded that we turn over the management of our economy to them. “Privatize” and “let the market handle it” they said. They asked for freedom to invest abroad. We met their demands, loosened regulation, and provided billions and billions of public money to stimulate capitalism. We gave them unfettered freedom to invest and take their production facilities anywhere on the planet Despite this capitalism and capitalists have totally failed us. There is no point in trying to revive this blown economic engine at the national level.
We, through our democratic government, led by our new President Obama must take over the overall management of our national economy and our currency away from the market, away from Wall Street and away from the Federal Reserve Bank. We must use our public money much more directly and efficiently to solve real problems. For example, to meet the tragedy of those whose pensions are now vastly diminished in value, we must use public money to meet legitimate expectations. We must tax the wealth of those who “made out” during the bubbles and bailouts to fund what needs to be done
Our local capitalism in our local communities should not be much affected. A Federal Loan Bank can supply local auto dealers, hardware stores, and grocery stores with routine business loans for innovation. This Federal Bank could supply us with affordable housing loans. We are apparently not ready as citizens and voters to manage our local economies. Local capitalism should continue in our local communities. The civic impulse in us Americans seems to be in relatively short supply. We can barely manifest enough civic energy to vote periodically. Most union members do not attend union meetings. We so far do not have enough civic energy or interest to manage our local businesses through employee ownership and management. If bursts of civic energy should emerge to challenge capitalism on the local level, employees and voters can form Mondragon co-operatives so that they can be owner-managers of local business.
We challenge any and all remaining defenders of capitalism to show precisely how this analysis is wrong. If President Obama’s official advisors, or any one thinks that it is, put forth what you believe to be a more accurate analysis of the inner dynamics of capitalism.
December 13, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
A PLAN B
Despite all of the talk and promise of hope and change, it is now apparent that President Obama plans to try to restart capitalism as it was prior to August 2007. He proposes to try to restore the status quo just prior to the present crisis. He also plans to use public funds, our tax money, “as much as is necessary” for this purpose. The total already promised is $7.3 Trillion for Wall Street. This is $28,000 of debt for each one of us, our children and grandchildren. If Obama goes ahead with his proposed stimulus package for Main Street, it is estimated that will cost at least $7 Trillion more. That will be a debt of $56,000 for each of us. Obama promises to help both Wall Street and Main Street, both the wealthiest 1% and the “middle class,” a classification that contains ever diminishing numbers. Those of us who are not a part of the wealthiest 1% are typically economically insecure, worried, poor, and getting poorer in terms of medical care, housing, and even adequate nutritious food, and the new taxes necessary to pay off this tremendous debt. There is an irreconcilable conflict of interest between the top 1%, Wall Street and the very rich, and the bottom 95% consisting of Main Street, the Middle Class, the poor, the homeless and the destitute. Obama now seems to be a servant of Wall Street. We hope that he is a wise prophet with secret future plans, when he promises that we are all united Americans with a common need and a common goal.
President Obama does not now acknowledge how very sick and fragile our capitalism was in August 2007. We were overburdened with credit debt. The economy was kept going by tempting us into more debt by issuing multiple credit cards, and by selling us overpriced subdivision houses with mortgages that we could not afford. As we shall show below, the subprime mess was a natural mutation of the dynamics of our capitalism.
However, most of us continue to give Obama the benefit of the doubt. We have no other choice. We hope and we pray that he, like Lincoln, is making every possible effort to harmonize profoundly conflicting ideologies and levels of wealth, and that he will ultimately do what is right and possible for mankind and fulfill our yearning for hope and healing change. We hope that he will do this without another Civil War, and without the loss of our liberty.
All we can do right now is to raise questions: Will Obama’s present plan to give Wall Street $7.3 Trillion without effective conditions really stimulate the whole economy? Will Obama’s efforts, priorities, and huge bailouts rescue Wall Street and the top 1% so that capitalism will be jump started for them and for all of us?
President Obama’s selection of University of California Professor Christina Romer as his head economics advisor gives us a hint of what he plans. She, so far as we can tell from her writings, has never studied nor even acknowledged the existence of capitalism’s inner dynamics. She seems to assume that capitalism if left to itself, will work smoothly and permanently with full employment. The insight that we now have as to her interests and beliefs comes from her entry on “Business Cycles” in the Library of Economics and Liberty at http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/BusinessCycles.htm
As to the causes of business cycles, recessions and depressions, she writes: “…there is no reason why business cycles have to occur at all. The prevailing view among economists is that there is a level of economic activity, often referred to as full employment, at which the economy could stay forever….If nothing disturbs the economy, the full employment level of output, which naturally tends to grow as the population increases, and newer technologies are discovered, can be maintained forever.” She seems to believe that our capitalism can be controlled simply by tweaking the money supply and the interest rates. If these cycles cause pain among us, she writes: “The advent of unemployment insurance and other social welfare programs means that recessions no longer wreak the havoc on individuals’ standard of living that they once did.”In her view of our capitalism, “Everything is grand in Kansas City. Everything is good as it can be.”
Although she is said to be a specialist in the causes of the Great Depression, Her academic work and writings seem to reflect her interest in simply uncritically and non-judgmentally observing capitalism, and measuring its external movements and tendencies. She assumes capitalism is at least potentially a stable, socially useful system for all of us. She seems to assume that only minor tweaking is needed to keep it going. She does not show interest in the inner workings of capitalism, its tendency toward monopoly, overproduction, and imperialism, in its creation of a tremendous disparity between the rich and the poor and the resulting political power, and its longstanding need for ever increasing public expenditure to avoid economic depression.
She thus assumes a capitalism that has never existed anywhere, at any time. No manipulations of money supply and interest rates have ever made capitalism work with full employment. Born in 1958 and coming of age in 1978, she has never personally experienced or witnessed the pain of the Great Depression. She has apparently not been much influenced by John Steinbeck’s book, Grapes of Wrath whose main character Tom Joad says regarding our capitalism: “There is food to eat and people to eat it, but them two cannot get together. There is work to do and people to do it, but them two cannot get together either.” Professor Romer thus deprives herself of much relevant data, insights, and actual experience of the real workings of capitalism during strikes, on the picket line, in the legislative halls, among the victims of industrial pollution, with the sick whose only source of care is the hospital emergency room, and among the homeless, unemployed and underemployed. She apparently has not read Barbara Ehrenreich’s recent book, “Nickel and Dimed” about a woman’s unsuccessful effort to survive in our real economy. She also deprives herself of those who have studied the real inner workings and dynamics of capitalism, or she finds it professionally advantageous to ignore them. (No capitalist business or corporation has ever provided grants to professors or graduate students to study the defects of capitalism.)
The point of all of this is that neither Professor Romer nor President Obama can devise remedies and solutions for the great crisis of our capitalism unless they know the real causes of the crisis.
Feeding more hay to a sick elephant will only make it sicker if the elephant has cancer in its digestive tract. The evidence shows that our capitalism has “cancer of its metabolism.” The evidence shows that ever since 1980, capitalists could not make a profit producing things that people really need. The fact that capitalist employers draw out tremendous salaries and dividends from the production our labor creates and the fact that investment banks draw out more in interest, leaves us employee-consumers with insufficient wages and salaries to buy the goods our labor has produced. So the employers have “overproduction.” We still have needs, but there is no profit for capitalists in meeting our needs. They fire us and move on to some other activity where they can make a profit, first overseas in economic imperialism by hiring employees to produce there, at even lower wages. When even imperialism produced more goods that could be sold, capitalists turned in 1980 to what has been named Financialization. Desperate for new sources of profit, capitalists began to buy and sell each other’s companies using the easy credit from investment banks to do so rather than their own accumulated profits or issuing stock. (Interest is tax deductible, while dividends are not.) They also began to invest in subprime mortgages, and then in the many levels of collateralized debt obligations based on these new mortgages. These three or more levels of collateralized debt obligations provided quick Ponzi scheme type profit for Robert Rubin and his investment banks, but produced absolutely nothing that human beings needed. This is how capitalism actually has worked during recent history. This illustrates the inner dynamics of capitalism. As we see, capitalism was very sick even in 1980 in that there was insufficient profit making opportunities in producing what people needed. Every year from 1933 to date, capitalism has needed tremendous contributions of public money to stay out of depression. Capitalism has never been robust on its own without public money. It has always been fragile. Our capitalism’s mutation from one level to the next is set forth in detail in my previous article, “Why is Our Capitalism Failing Us?” published in Dissident Voice at http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2008/06/why=is=capitalism-failing-us/
There simply is no credit crisis. There is a demand crisis, a crisis among us voter consumers consisting of our inability to buy what we need. We need more credit like we need a hole in the head. We are already maxed out on credit. The real problem is that people do not earn enough from their labor to buy what capitalism cam produce. There is an “overproduction” of things that can be sold at a profit, but there simply is not an overproduction of things we really need. So it is a pure criminal theft of our money to give $7.3 Trillion to investment banks, their CEOs and shareholders in the hope that they will again make credit available. This scandalous gift of public funds is aimed at a problem that does not exist and will do absolutely nothing to solve the problem that does exist. A policy that is aimed at providing profit making opportunities for investment banks on Wall Street will not even produce profit for them. It does absolutely nothing to increase our purchasing power or our earnings or our well being. If we were eagerly ready to pay for more cars and houses, you may be sure that Wall Street banks would find a way to finance them. We are not. We cannot. We have no earned money with which to buy. THAT is the problem. The current strategy involves spending $7.3 Trillion in an outright gift to bankrupt ineptly managed investment banks and insurance companies to relieve them of the liability of now worthless collateralized debt obligations. It is then hoped that they will again extend credit. This is not working, it could work for us if at all only by trickle down, and it cannot work even for Wall Street. Even if the banks are forced to lend money to businesses and credit card holders, there is no way to force anybody or any company to borrow. There is no way this trickle down will create adequate purchasing power among those with needs. It does nothing to solve the inner sickness of capitalism. There is absolutely no reason why we the public should bear the cost of Robert Rubin’s stupidity and take over the massive liabilities of the investment banks in these worthless collateralized debt obligations. In order to qualify to invest in those, one had to be a sophisticated wealthy investor. Let Robert Rubin and other investors like him bear the loss of their stupid investments. It is idiotic to let Robert Rubin and his protégés now influence the policy of bailing them out when they are responsible for the problem.
With an accurate and realistic analysis of the dynamics of capitalism, one can then fashion pragmatic reforms or substitutes as circumstances demand, a Plan B.
We have plenty of humans willing and anxious to work. We have immense human needs, many of them unmet. We have thousands of businesses ready and willing to meet those needs, although some needs like medical care cannot and should not yield a profit. What is missing is a source of earned purchasing power. Instead, to get things going why not set up a Federal Loan Bank and provide the necessary credit at low interest rates directly to local healthy banks so that they can function normally? These local banks can then meet the routine needs of business for flooring loans, seasonal loans, and other normal long and short term loans. Spend the $7.3 Trillion on extending and increasing Unemployment benefits, in retraining, building new sources of energy, and rebuilding our bridges and levees. Let’s spend it for Universal Health Care. If necessary let our government be the employer and the lender of last resort. Let Robert Rubin’s investment banks go bankrupt. With any luck, Wall Street’s corrupt political power over our elected officials will then be weakened. Once things are going, we can then consider further steps to solve capitalism’s inner sickness. For those human needs that capitalists cannot meet adequately and still make a profit like universal health care, our government can become the employer of last resort. For example, our government can hire doctors, nurses and physician’s assistants. It can place a physician’s assistant in a drop in clinic in the corner of drug stores to provide immediate health care. We can then relieve our employers of the expense of providing health care and Worker’s Compensation Insured medical care for job injuries.
Since our government is not choosing direct solutions, it is apparent that this is a class issue. Wall Street, Robert Rubin and the top 1% naturally prefer that the $7.3 Trillion be given to them to compensate them for their stupid investments. We do not need to yield to these outrageous demands. Our President and our government are so far demonstrating that they are subject to the control of Wall Street. Our alternative is to let the investment banks go bankrupt and not us. They created their own problem. There is no sense in letting them take us down with them.
It is also obvious that President Obama, at least for the present, is adopting as his very own, and trying to refuel, the already existing class war of Wall Street and the very rich against the rest of us to convert every minute of our existence into a profit making opportunity. This is obvious from his priority of helping Wall Street first, asking absolutely nothing substantive in return and the promptness with which he gave his support. It is obvious from his support of the Wall Street policy of helping investment banks and insurance companies, but not Ford Chrysler or GM. The Wall Street policy is to let the auto companies go through bankruptcy to escape their union contracts and health insurance commitments. Wall Street will then help these companies after bankruptcy. The current policy will not work. A Great Depression will soon be upon us. We hope that brilliant, pragmatic, compassionate, non-ideological President Obama and his economic advisor Professor Christina Romer will then stop listening to Robert Rubin’s and Wall Street’s “solutions.” We hope that President Obama will then use our public money to solve the inner sickness of capitalism, and to meet our needs. We will then be truly united Americans with common needs, dreams, and more equal political power. We will then have more fully achieved a government of, by, and for the people.
Dated: November 29, 2008
Doug Page firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, November 22, 2008
In the 1920s, Henry Ford perceived a fundamental flaw in capitalism and when he suddenly started paying his auto workers the then extremely generous sum of $5 per day. A unilateral raise of this magnitude was shocking at that time. Ford did this so that his employees would have enough money to buy his Fords. Ford had recognized a fundamental fatal defect of capitalism: It inevitably produces more than can be sold.
Since we have an economic system, capitalism, where almost all humans are employees, who, if not employees, will purchase capitalism’s products? Hunters and gatherers? Self employed farmers? What group in society has cash to purchase what capitalism produces? Are there enough money lenders and capitalist employers with enough profit and earned interest to purchase all of the production? Experience now clearly demonstrates that there are not. We now have tremendous unused capacity to produce. Capitalism is destroying itself. This is not a left-right problem, nor a conservative- liberal ideological problem. It is simply a fact. It is an inevitable, unavoidable result of the core dynamic of capitalism. That core dynamic is:
Lame duck President Bush speaking recently about the economic depression we now face said: “We must save capitalism,” “Government is not the total solution,” “Capitalism is the only way,” and “The key is sustained economic growth with free trade within the
Free of the propaganda coming from the top 1%, we can evaluate the power and numbers of “terrorists,” and make a determination as to whether there are less expensive and more effective ways such as effective police work and negotiation, to deal with them rather than a permanent planet-wide war.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
REVERSING THE SENATE'S ARROGANT POWER GRAB
REVERSING THE SENATE'S ARROGANT POWER GRAB
A Focus for a March to Save Ourselves from Disaster
President Obama cannot do it all by himself. He needs our organizing ability and help to accomplish what he has promised.
In 1993 under far less dangerous circumstances, Republicans and Wall Street used the Senate filibuster to block President Clinton’s proposed Economic Stimulus Package. With the even more bitter partisan divisions and profound ideological conflicts now existing, President Obama and we voters will again have to deal with a filibuster by Republican Senators trying to defeat such a stimulus package. There can be no relief for us, no change, and no reform so long as the Senate filibuster requiring a supermajority of 60 votes remains.
THE SENATE FILIBUSTER UNCONSTITUTIONALLY OBSTRUCTS OUR SOVEREIGN VOTING POWER
The Senators themselves do not deny that their maintenance of the 60 vote supermajority requirement is unconstitutional. In 1993, when the Senate first used the filibuster as a partisan tactic to defeat President Clinton’s Economic Stimulus Package, I filed suits in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against all 100 Senators seeking a Judicial ruling that the maintenance of this Rule by the Senators violated my sovereign voting rights in that it unconstitutionally diluted my fractional share of sovereign voting power, and the voting power of the majority of sovereign voters in the US of which I was a part. I relied on the great “one man, one vote” decisions of the
This was the response of the Senators:
1. The 100 Senators unanimously directed the Senate Legal Counsel to oppose my claim. In practical effect, the Senators arrogantly denied that voters were sovereign, and by implication, claimed that they the Senators were sovereign. Not a single Senator dissented.
2. The Senate Legal Counsel filed a written response in the District Court and did not deny my claim that Senate Rule XXII was unconstitutional. This is significant because of the legal doctrine that a fact set forth in a Plaintiff’s claim that is not denied shall be deemed admitted by the Defendant Senators. So the Senators themselves admitted that Senate Rule XXII requiring a supermajority of 60 Senatorial votes was unconstitutional.
3. Our elected agents, our 100 Senators successfully and arrogantly defended the Rule on the narrow procedural ground that neither I nor even a majority of sovereign voters had “standing” to make such a claim against them in the Courts. The Senators relied on a Supreme Court case written by Justice Antone Scalia, Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, that set forth new conservative restrictions on sovereign voting citizens who sought relief in the courts against unconstitutional governmental action. The case is a right wing device to maintain the status quo and to enfeeble voters. It also violates our First Amendment right to petition the government (and hence the Courts) for a redress of grievances. Thus I was barred and we are barred from the courts from seeking validation of our own sovereignty in the governmental process.
The unanimous maintenance of Senate Rule XXII by the Senators constitutes the overthrow of our constitutional governing pattern and an overthrow of our right to govern ourselves and to guide our destiny through our elected representatives. It is a bloodless coup by the Senators, as effective as a military coup in a banana republic. Given even the normal disagreements among humans, it is impossible to muster and maintain political support for legislation or for reform by a majority of the Members of the House, the support of the President, and in addition the votes of a supermajority of 60 Senators. This Rule stands as an effective obstruction to any reform, any hope of change, and any effective governmental relief from the effects of an economic downturn.
THE SOVEREIGN VOTER CONTROL OF GOVERNMENT SET
Every school child knows from the Gettysburg Address, that our government is of, by, and for the people. This is not a philosophical fantasy or idealistic dream. This concept of our government received the stamp of validation by the great Chief Justice Marshall in an 1819 Supreme Court Decision. We have no sovereign King. Our President is by no means sovereign. We voters are the sovereign Fourth Branch of government in our Constitutional governing process. We are the bosses of our elected representatives. The elected are our agents. The Constitution expressly provides that in both the House and the Senate that “a majority of each shall constitute a quorum to do business.”
The House of Representatives, bound by the same phrase in the Constitution, has no such filibuster rule and has functioned by vote by simple majority for over 200 years. The Senate can and should also do its business by majority rule.
Our Constitution, with its cumbersome requirement that a bill be approved by a majority of the House of Representatives, a majority of the Senate, and the signature of the President, presents difficult obstacles to any change in the status quo, and to any reform. Unfortunately we sovereign voters have this further unconstitutional obstacle. The filibuster authorized by Senate Rule XXII requires a supermajority, the affirmative vote of 60 Senators to pass any legislation, and not merely a majority of a quorum.
WHY DO OUR ELECTED SENATORS MAINTAIN THE SUPERMAJORITY 60 VOTE RULE?
Senate Rule XXII gives each individual Senator immense political power to block legislation or appointments. Under Senate practice at least since 1993, there are no long speeches, no long debates, and no speeches at all. A single Senator simply asks his party leader to put a “hold” on a pending proposal. The party leader and the rest of his party honor this individual request. If the proponents wish to proceed despite the opposition, the proponents must muster the support of 60 Senators. The Rule also gives overwhelming power to “special interests,” a drug company that wishes to oppose Single Payer Health Coverage, a Wall Street firm that wishes to prevent reform or an ideologue who wishes to maintain capitalism as totally unregulated. These unelected “special interests” initially need to “persuade” only a single Senator to stall the legislation, and only 41 Senators to block our majority will as manifested in the 2008 election.. This accounts for much of the gridlock in
All 100 Senators support Senate Rule XXII because it gives each of them immense individual power, and it provides them with campaign contributions from powerful wealthy “special interests” to finance their re-election campaigns. The Senators routinely betray a majority of the sovereign voters, violate their oaths to support and defend the Constitution, and accept money from the special interests. Even newly elected Senators support the Rule, even if they may secretly oppose it, because of their belief that they must go along with Senate tradition if they have any hope of getting the support of more senior Senators for their own proposals.
The contempt for voter sovereignty by the Senators becomes even clearer when one realizes that the Vice President and a simple majority of Senators themselves can change the rule any time they wish. This precedent was established in 1975 by Senator Mondale and other Democratic Senators following the bitter battles over Civil Rights Legislation. So frightening is the prospect that a simple majority of Senators could end the rule, that the Senators now call this possibility the “nuclear option.” The Republicans recently used this threat successfully against the Democratic Senators to persuade them to confirm extreme right wing judicial nominees.
Meanwhile those Democratic Senators who pretend that they support main stream
THE LEGITIMATE ANGER AND OUTRAGE OF VOTERS ABOUT THE BAILOUT OF
Millions of us voters are understandably angry and outraged about the Democratic Senators’ uncritical support of Wall Street and their betrayal of voters and
We voters, President Obama, and all Democratic elected officials must be empowered to deal with the effects of a serious economic downturn on all of us.
We all need to organize and lead a million man march armed with symbolic pitchforks on both the local and Washington offices of Democratic Senators, and to keep marching as long as is necessary. There are millions of angry voters near local Senatorial offices in
- That when the Republican Senators filibuster this badly needed legislation, that the Democratic Senators and newly elected Vice President Biden pledge to use the nuclear option to eliminate the filibuster and restore constitutional legislating by majority vote in the Senate once and for all.
- That the Senators halt the useless bail out to the very interests in Wall Street that created the problem.
- That the Senators support legislation that will immediately and directly help voters and
Main Streetwithout making things worse...
- That the Senators pledge to fund the costs of the Stimulus Package and other necessary rebuilding by a wealth tax on the wealthiest 1%.
- In order to collect the new taxes, that the Senators pledge to require IRS to use the powers of the Patriot Act and DOD and CIA computers to locate that wealth wherever on the planet the wealthy may have hidden it to achieve the following objectives:
a. To heal the damage that Wall Street has created.
b. To fund Single Payer Health Coverage for every American, to fund alternative sources of green energy, and to rebuild the infrastructure
c. To curtail the overwhelming antidemocratic political power that the wealth of Wall Street and the top 1% affords them.
Most of us do not know about the immense total wealth held by the wealthiest 1%. It is a well kept secret. It is at least $13 Trillion. How much is that? It is as much wealth as all that the bottom 95% own. This $13 Trillion is held by 30 thousand people. These 30 thousand hold as much wealth as 300 million of us. If we stack up $100 bills, $1,000 stack would be a stack between ¼ inch and ½ inch high. A million dollar stack would be 39 inches high. A billion dollar stack would be 3280 feet high or 6/10 of a mile. A trillion Dollar stack would be 621 miles high. The $13 trillion total wealth of the top 1% would be a stack of $100 bills 8073 miles high. The wealth of this top 1% must be taxed in order to help us build a stable functioning community as authorized by the 16th Amendment to our Constitution. . We have no alternative. We ordinary citizens cannot afford further taxes during this economic downturn.
A further source of funds is a stock transaction tax. A tax of one dime on every purchase and sale of stock on our exchanges would raise $52 billion per year, assuming trades of 2 billion shares per day and 260 trading days per year.
We are motivated by our own need, and the desperate need of our human community. We seek Justice. As the moral philosopher Ronald Dworkin has written: “It is unjust for some to have more than they need when others are needy.” Our community is very needy and we the people must recapture our voter sovereignty.
Dated: November 5, 2008
 Page v. Robert Dole et al, DCDC No. 93-1546; Appealed to CA DC circuit No. 94-5292
See also, Page v.Robert Shelby et al DCDC No.1:97CV0068; Appealed to CADC circuit No. 98-5093
In filing and maintaining these suits at my own expense, I was encouraged by the fact that one of
 Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504
 McCulloch v.
 Meikeljohn, Alexander, Free Speech and Its Relation to Self-Government, Harper, NY, 1948; See the Preamble to the Constitution, “We the people …do ordain and establish; See also Amendments 9 and 10, reserving powers to the people.
 Senate Rule XXII, the filibuster rule, can be found at http://rules.senate.gov/senaterules/rule22.php
 Bill Dauster, “It’s Not Mr. Smith Goes to
 For example Senator Schumer recently defied the Democratic Party position and opposed and defeated a tax on stock transactions that Wall Street opposed. Senator Biden vigorously supported and still defends a draconian unfair bankruptcy bill that the big banks of Wall Street wanted.