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.