Tag Archives: Free Trade

The Endgame

Ever play the game of Monopoly?

Losing the game of Monopoly

You know how it ends. Eventually no one has anything left but the rich.

We now live in the new Gilded Age where the wealthy own more than all the rest of us combined. We are in the final stages of the game of Monopoly and we’re losing. We are giving away our money and our government and our freedom to the billionaires and transnational corporations.

You know it’s true. Your income doesn’t go as far as it used to. You have probably experienced a loss of pay or of benefits or employment and probably know others who have as well. Your expenses keep going up but your wages don’t.

And what’s worse, is you doubt that it will be getting any better.

In fact, we are so far along the game of Monopoly that the rich are not only taking everything from us, but they’re even changing the rules of the game so they make even more faster.

The only way we win this game of Monopoly is to get politically active. Get out there and join groups and start leaving comments correcting the websites and blogs that shill for the wealthy.

But, most importantly, get out there and start talking with your family and your friends and your neighbors. They all feel the same way you do. Everyone knows we’re losing this game of Monopoly and we have to get active, right now, if we expect to fix this before it’s too late.

What kind of America are you going to leave for your children and grandchildren? Will they be slaves for the wealthy or will we demand our fair share of the profits of this great and wealthy country?

Get active and get three other people to join you in getting active.

The games almost over.

Cancel The Trade Agreements

The millionaires and transnational corporations are trying to sell us on another trade agreement, the TPP.

Free trade causes a giant sucking sound

This job killing trade agreement will do tremendous harm to Americans, just like all the other trade agreements have. We’ve seen one trade agreement after another and we’ve been promised how each will bring prosperity to Americans, but things just keep getting worse.

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that we’re being sold a lie. These trade agreements have American workers competing with the starving and even the slave laborers of other countries.  How do we expect to keep our American quality of living when we’re competing with workers in third world countries? We can’t obviously, and that’s why things are continually getting worse, right here at home.

These trade agreements don’t even help the other countries’ workers because all the  money goes to the corporations.

Way back in the old days, we had a presidential debate where Ross Perot came right out and said that if we sign these trade agreements, we would hear a giant sucking sound as all our jobs left the country.

He was right!

It’s time, right now, today, to cancel all the trade agreements and quit listening to the millionaires and transnational corporations lie about how wonderful life will be if we just believe them this time.

But it’s time, right now, today to call our representatives and the president and tell them all that we want out of all the trade agreements and we want to put our tariffs back in place.

Time is running out. We are quickly losing control of our government to the rich and multinational corporations and we have to start fighting, today, to get our country back. It will be too late before we know it.

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The Poison Pill Killing the Post Office

The Poison Pill Killing the Post Office
David Schlecht

This story can’t be repeated often enough and it’s important enough that it should be on everyone’s mind and on everyone’s lips.

Five years ago, the Republican party put a poison pill into legislation that is killing the Post Office. The Post Office is now expected to fund medical benefits for their retires FOR THE NEXT SEVENTY FIVE YEARS, all in the next few years.

Think about that for a minute. The next seventy five years means they’re having to put money aside for people who aren’t even born yet and might work at the Post Office.

The purpose of this poison pill is obviously nothing less than an effort to kill the Post Office, the only office that is protected by the Constitution.

The Republicans want to give the Post Office off to one of their rich Super PAKs and they might as well make sure there are billions of dollars in medical saving accounts to give away while they’re at it.

If you’re a Republican, I’m sure you have some excuse about how your party is so unethical and so against everything America and it’s constitution stand for, but you can only lie to yourself for so long.

The Republican Party is not only poisoning the Post Office, they’re trying to poison the entire country and no body is talking about it. Have you heard about this on your Fox news channel? Nah, didn’t think so.

We have got to overturn this awful poison pill and kick the crooked Republicans out of power for the next few generations until they come clean and start working for the better of the country rather then the best interests of their billionaire donors.

Does Supply Drive an Economy or Does Demand?

Does Supply Drive an Economy or Does Demand?
David Schlecht

We’ve discussed supply side economics many times on this blog and there are countless websites that compare the two economic models, Keynes vs Friedman. But this time I’m going to add a bit of history to the discussion. After all, if we can’t learn from our mistakes, we’re doomed to repeat them, and repeating them we are.

Supply Side Economics

Probably the best way to describe Supply Side Economics is Voodoo economics. This is the idea that if you give money to the rich, they will hire people and pay a good wage and the heavens will open and the angles will sing and leprechauns will dance. It’s also referred to as trickle-down economics.

In other words, people will run out and buy just because the stores are full.

Keynesian Economics

This is the old model of economics where demand drives the economy. In other words, when people have money they will buy.

Now this is obviously just broad strokes and there is a whole lot more involved in each of these models of economics. You may find yourself interested enough to learn economics and get into the nuts and bolts of these, but this is as technical as I plan to get.

Alright, so here’s the little bit of history I promised you. Neither of these perspectives of economics is new. Since the beginning of economic times, the concept of supply and demand has been the fundamental core of the study of economics.

However, back in the early days of America, the concept of unfettered free trade was the approach the government took and this freed up the companies to be as greedy and they could. This allowed America to become quite wealthy, or at least our wealthy became wealthy.

Of all the leading countries, we were becoming the most wealthy. This seemed to convince many people that if a little free is good, oh my gosh, totally free trade must be the be-all end-all of wealthy. So, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, America decided to pull all the plugs and let the rich get as rich as they wanted.

So by the 1920s we saw the roaring 20s when the wealthy were insane with their greed and wealth. At lease back then, they were smart enough to protect our industries through tariffs.

Then, the big crash.

Following the Great Depression, many economist admitted that the whole idea of completely unregulated greed was bad for America. At this time, Keynes came back to the idea that maybe really, demand drives the economy. This wasn’t the first time economics thought of this, but it was back in vogue.

Then, about 50 years ago, Friedman brought back the greed and supply side economics.

So, fast-forward to today and we’re all the rage back into supply-side economics and unfettered free trade. Of course, we’re also seeing the return of the economics of the Great Depression.

When will we learn from history? When we start exposing the idiots who keep pushing failed economic policies on us. When we eject the same people who got us in the First Republican Great Depression. The Republicans.

Unfettered Free Trade doesn’t work. All it does is impoverish a nation and make a handful of greedy people insanely rich.

Free trade doesn’t work.

Supply Side Economics don’t work. It’s a myth.

Voodoo Economics always brings disaster. Read your history.


How is the Republican House doing so far?

So what has the Republican House of Representatives done since they were elected last November?

If you voted for them you should be paying close attention. After the election is when your real work begins. You have to pay attention to what your representatives do so you can have half a clue if you want to re-elect them come next election.

So, what have they done for America? There are endless polls out there saying what is most important for the average American. The first thing on every poll is the economy. So, what have the Republicans brought us to address the economy?

Nothing! Zip, Nada!

In fact, they did the one thing that would have a tremendous negative impact on our economy, reversing the health care reform that almost every American, including all the Republicans, has been trying to do for over a half a century. Fix the health care system. They want to repeal it even though by impartial non-partisan analysis, is to save our economy hundreds of billions of dollars.

They have even taken the word, Labor, out of the labor commission.

Okay, so they haven’t done anything for the A-number-one-most-important thing. So how about other important things?

Have they fixed the Free Trade disaster sending all our jobs over seas? No, I guess not.

The second most important thing to most all Americans is unemployment. What have they done for the unemployed? You guessed it. NOTHING!

How about corruption in government? Nothing! In fact, they’re making it harder to expose the Republican corruption.

The next most important thing to most all Americans is the broken health care system. Have they done anything, anything at all to fix it? No. They have absolutely no ideas or plans for anything.

Okay, so they haven’t done anything at all that the average American needs done. But what have they done?

Well, they have done two things. They spent hundreds of millions of our tax dollars playing politics with the Health Care Reform bill.

And, their second most wonderful accomplishment — they have spit in the faces of all American women by marginalizing the crime of rape. They have spent our tax dollars and wasted precious time redefining Rape while failing to address anything that matters.

I have to admit, if I was a Republican voter, I’d feel pretty darned stupid by now. Hey Republicans, is it time to wake up yet? Is it time to come to your senses? It’s too late to take back your party. Your party is toast. It represents no one but the crazies and the billionaires.

Economy Still Stumbling

Economy Still Stumbling [Updated]
David Schlecht

Unemployment in many states is still on the rise. We saw a short glimmer of hope over the holiday season but now we’re back to further and further declines in the economy.

The stock market is improving though, but so what? The stock market doesn’t provide jobs for Americans. In fact, it’s time we quit considering the stock market when remarking on the state of America’s economy. For Americans the things that mean anything when considering the country’s economy is jobs, pay, benefits, and pensions. Also included in evaluating the economy is the state of our social safety net, not the stock market.

All these things affect the economy of Americans. The stock market does not. I know, I know, there many people (one hundredth of of one percent of Americans) who actually make any reasonable money off the stock market but that in no way reflects the state of America’s economy.

This simple difference explains why we haven’t dug ourselves out of the Bush years yet. We’re putting our resources and attention in the wrong things. Did we learn nothing during the last Great Depression? The conservatives are telling us that it was the second world war that got us out of the last Great Depression. Well, now we’re in two and a half wars. Our economy should be the best it’s ever been, right? Well, no, not really. Wars don’t cure depressions. Job do. The stock market doesn’t cure depressions, jobs and benefits and pay do. So when are we going to start addressing these problems?

Want to fix the economy? Here’s how:

  1. Stop with the tax give-aways to the billionaires and multi-national corporations. Put taxes back where they were before Reagan began the destruction of our economy,
  2. Increase the minimum wage to a living wage and keep it there,
  3. Require all major corporations and all multi-national corporations provide substantial pensions to all workers, full time and part time,
  4. Stop the Social Security tax give-away for billionaires. Expect billionaires to pay the same percentage of tax for Social Security that you and I do,
  5. Temporarily create government jobs for Americans (no tax dollars spent on non-American incentives, you know, the bill the Republicans opposed), and
  6. Fix our broken trade policies, get out of NAFTA, GAT, WTO, and all the rest of the trade agreements that are destroying our manufacturing jobs. In other words, protect American jobs.

The nice thing is these don’t have to be done all at once but the more that we enact, the faster our economy will improve.

Now if you see these points brought up over and over in the blogisphere, they must not be rocket science, so why hasn’t our government thought of them? They have, but the big businesses controlling both parties are preventing us from stopping the rape and pillage of America’s economy. Remember, someone is making out like bandits while the rest of us suffer, and those bandits donate to make and break our politicians.

Get involved! Get active. Participate on our political process. Run for the local dog catcher or school board. That does make a difference.

[Update: ] Check out this post at Open Left for an good example of what the economy really means.

All Government is Bad

All Government is Bad
David Schlecht

I’m so sick of hearing this chant from the Republicans. Our forefathers would be disgusted to hear people say that “we the people” is bad. I’m not bad. And if you’re reading this I know you’re not bad because you research the issues. Government is not bad.

But, what they’re really saying isn’t that we should have a weak government but that we should have no government to interfere with the greed of the corporations. Our government is the only way we can stop the multi-billion dollar corporations and CEOs from taking over our country. When they say, “do you want government coming between you and your doctor?” what they’re really saying is “Let the insurance billionaires come between you and your doctor, not ‘we the people’.”

Look around the world and you will find that the most successful and most socially advanced countries have BIG GOVERNMENTS.

Government isn’t bad, lack of “we the people” is a disaster for a democracy.

Bring Our Jobs Home

Bring Our Jobs Home
David Schlecht

There are numerous quotes stating that America lost over 40,000 factories during the Bush years. Doing a quick Google search for “factories closed” and “plants closed” is a ballpark confirmation of these quotes. Why is America losing all our jobs?

I’m pretty sure there’s little argument amongst Americans as to the cause. All our jobs are being shipped out of the country. That presidential candidate with the big ears, Ross Perot, was right. Free trade is destroying America. That “giant sucking sound” has come true. But, what caused this? How did free trade do this. We were told free trade is the best thing for America.

It’s simple. If it’s cheaper to build things in a third world country where there no laws to protect the workers and no laws to protect the environment, then there’s nothing to stop companies from moving out of the country. The best defense we had against this, since the founding of our country, has been tariffs. PROTECTIONISM! We used to protect our industries and our jobs.

The Democrats in Congress tried passing a bill that would discourage companies from doing this but, as in everything else good for America, the Republicans obstructed it; they wouldn’t even let it go up for a vote. Now, let’s be fair, here. This problem isn’t just Bush and it’s not just the Republicans. Clinton was the one who started this whole screw-the-workers program. But, the Republicans have done more than their share to increase the problem and obstruct any solution.

We all need to start putting bumper stickers on our cars saying “BRING OUR JOBS HOME NOW!” We need to start chanting that at every town hall meeting we go to. We need to start calling our representatives and telling them. We need to start writing letters to our newspapers saying it.

It’s the only way we can drown out the noise of all the money telling Congress to keep it up. More tax breaks for companies sending our jobs out of the country. More tax breaks for the rich. That’s what got us in this mess and Obama wants to continue it.

List of facilities vital to US security

List of facilities vital to US security
David Schlecht

WikiLeaks reports on a new list of facilities vital to US security. Guess where some of these facilities are. China!

You know? China? The only super power to threaten nuclear strike against America in the past 10 years.

Why would our representatives allow us to rely on a threatening adversary? Because some people who donate to (aka: control) our government can make money off it. And what is the “it” I refer to? It is “free markets” and “free trade” that have created this mess. American can’t even build a cruise missile without chips from China.

We have allowed our jobs to be shipped over seas and now don’t build anything we need here anymore.

Stop the free trade disaster.

How Can We Ever Dig The USA Out Of This Hole?

How Can We Ever Dig The USA Out Of This Hole?
David Schlecht

Both America’s political parties are working overtime to magnify the divide between the left and the right. It’s good for a political party to have a well defined platform, but it’s downright bad for America for the parties to encourage their voters to hate the other party. We will only be able to fix this mess when we can come together on the causes and the solutions.

It’s not a matter of political parties. It’s not just the left vs the right. It’s not the Republicans vs the Democrats. It’s not even the conservatives vs the liberals. Let that sink in for a moment. It’s not a “us vs them” issue. It’s an issue of all of Americans coming together to fix this mess.

The first step in cleaning up this mess is just like addiction recovery, we must admit that we have a problem and face the causes of this problem. Once we can see the problems, the solutions become clear, even easy.

So, what are the problems and the causes? Obviously the issue first and foremost on everyone’s mind is the abysmal state of the US economy — our jobs or lack thereof. Also way up on the list are issues like our dysfunction government, but this is too vague to address. Let’s really address exactly what is dysfunctional about our government. Many say the unresponsiveness of the government to the people’s needs, or something about how our government seems to be owned by the big businesses and industries. Still others lament about our loss of oversight. How can BP be drilling all those off-shore wells given their proven inability to deal with problems?

Here is my short list of things that have been going wrong with our country:

  1. Sluggish economy
  2. Lack of jobs
  3. Steady decline in wages while productivity sky rockets
  4. Reduction in workplace safety
  5. Corporate lobbyists writing the laws that our representatives rubber stamp.
  6. Lack of a reliable or believable news media

Next we have to look at the causes of each of these issues. One of the best ways to determine the cause is to look at what has changed to cause the problem. After all, these issues are new to America. None of them existed 30, 40, or 50 years ago. What has changed? Let’s look at it.

1. Sluggish economy — I don’t think that anyone can argue that this isn’t the direct result of lack of jobs. No one is really believing that the economy is sluggish because businesses aren’t making enough products. In other words, supply side economics are an obvious farce.
2. Lack of jobs. This is obviously caused by the fact that all our good jobs have been shipped over seas while our “service economy” that the sellers of the “free trade” disaster promised us have gone to minimum wage workers or in many cases, immigrants who are willing to work for even less. Migrant (even illegal immigrant) workers weren’t a serious problem before the 80s. Let’s look at the two issues separately.

The problem with our jobs going over seas is quite simply caused by the free trade deals we’ve entered into. There is no way American workers can compete in free trade with workers willing to work for pennies a day. This, in itself isn’t everything. We are also suffering from companies moving their factories overseas and then sending their products back to America to sell. This only became profitable when we dropped our tariffs from the 20% range to the current 2% range.

As for immigrants taking our “service economy” jobs, it’s just a sad state of affairs that we’re left fighting over service level jobs and fighting with foreigners. What has caused this? We didn’t have this trouble before the 80s. In the 80s we had unions that would act as watch dogs to ensure that Americans weren’t losing their jobs to immigrants. Now there is no one to stop businesses from encouraging illegal immigration.

3. Steady decline in wages while productivity sky rockets. What has happened in the past few decades to cause this drop in wages while the rich reap the benefits of our increased productivity? Before the 80s, wage increases directly tracked productivity increases. Now they don’t. What was different then? For one thing, we had unions.  For another, we had higher taxes on the super rich.

4. Reduction in workplace safety. What has caused this? One obvious issue is the lack of unions. Remember the days when unions played an active role in ensuring workplace safety? But there’s more. We used to have a government that had agencies that policed the companies to ensure that we were safe at work. Now we’re shrinking our government to the point where it is no longer able to function to protect us. Of course, even a well funded government is worthless if the agencies are filled with people uninterested in the people. Remember the line, “You’re doing a heck of a job, Brownie”. All the money in the world wouldn’t make FEMA a functional agency as long as it is managed by the wrong people.

5. Corporate lobbyists writing the laws that our representatives rubber stamp. When Reagan took office there were less than 400 lobbyists. Now there are over 47,000. What has caused this? What is different today than 40 years ago? The cost of our elections! It now takes millions of dollars to run for office. The average American can’t afford this without a generous corporate backer.

6. Lack of a reliable or believable news media. What has changed in our news business in the past 40 years? One obvious change is the extreme consolidation of the industry. We used to stop companies from taking too much control of an industry. Now we just close our eyes to it. When the news media is run by the millionaires, it will only reflect the interests of the wealthy.

Now that we have found some probable causes of the current ills destroying our nation, we can formulate plans to correct them.

1 & 2. Jobs and economy. The problem is simple. stop the free trade nonsense and put our tariffs back in place.

3. Wage decline. Again, reverse the mistakes. Stop the war on unions. Tax the super wealthy. Bring back the 90% top tax rate.

4. Reduction in workplace safety. We have to fund our agencies enough and give them enough power to stand up to the big businesses that are making money off our unsafe working conditions. We also need to be careful to never vote for candidates that say government can do no good. The might just prove themselves right. And, again, unions would only help in this area.

5. Too many lobbyists. The only way I see of turning back the undue influence money has in elections is to demand publicly funded elections.

6. Our broken media. Certainly if we started enforcing our anti-trust laws we could break up the big monster news media corporations and get local interests back to running our news sources. We used to have laws that required news outlets program in the public’s interest. It’s time we brought back those laws.

In conclusion, our problems are not party related, but they certainly are policy related. Don’t fall for the trap of accusing the “other side” for the problems. It’s all our problems and only WE can solve them.