Tag Archives: depression

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.

[poll id=”98″]

Enough Trickle Down

How’s that whole trickle down economics working for you?

Do you realize we’ve been in Reganomics for over 30 years now and it’s tearing this country apart.

It’s time we quit with the lies of Trickle Down economics, or Voodoo economics as the Republicans used to call it.

It’s time to roll back the Reagan tax cuts and start rebuilding our middle class. It’s time to end the trade agreements and go back to the tariffs that worked for 200 years.

Check out Thom Hartmann’s article on the failed state of Reaganomics.

United We Fall

United We Fall
Dave Speck

This post is in response to Mr. Schlecht’s post yesterday encouraging us to reach across the aisle and make coalitions with the conservatives and Republicans. Let’s start by saying that I’m not disagreeing, but rather playing devil’s advocate. Maybe we’re both right in some ways.

[See us on the DailyKos Diaries]

It just might be possible that America is at a crossroad, much like the crossroads of the last gilded era (the 1920s) and the rise of Germany’s Hitler. In both of those cases, there were plenty of followers of the conservative movements. In America, the conservative movement was drowned out by a huge liberal involvement and America recovered from the gilded age with The New Deal which put a stop to the landed gentry and reversed the toxic wealth disparity through laws and taxes. Germany, on the other hand, had a liberal block that was both unwilling and unable to get traction.

In both cases, nothing was gained by compromising with the conservatives. Granted, Mr. Schlecht does not say the word, “compromise” but that seems to be where he’s heading.

What if America’s liberals of the 1930s didn’t reverse course, but rather compromised to just slow things down a little. Would America have rebounded like we did? I would say obviously not. Only by standing true to our knowledge and the facts and demanding that we act accordingly were we able to turn things around.

And, knowledge & facts are the reason that we can’t compromise with those who history & facts prove to be wrong. The conservatives are not driven by knowledge or facts. In fact, they consider anyone possessing such sorcery to be the “elite”. The conservatives prefer their fairy tales of no man made global warming, earth is 6,000 years old, and the church should dictate the laws to the country.

Honestly, I ask you, how does one “compromise” with wrong? You can only compromise if you’re willing to be part wrong, yourself.

We need to forget compromising with those who refuse to listen to the facts. There is no saving those just like there was no saving the Nazis in Germany. They know they’re right regardless of the facts staring them in the face proving they’re wrong. How do you even talk to someone like that?

I say you don’t. We need to get our word and the facts out to those who are willing to listen. If a conservative is so blind that they listen to conservative propaganda like Rush or Fox, then they’re happily ignorant and no amount of facts or coaxing will wake them up.

Instead, we need to be getting our word out to those who know we’re right but just haven’t gotten motivated yet. We need to motivate the 75% of America that know we’re right. The 75% of America who are closet liberals but are just afraid of the word because it’s been demonized so relentlessly by the fact-free conservative media.

Get out there and talk to your family and your neighbors and your friends and get them motivated. And if you can’t get through to them because they’re handicapped by their conservative propaganda, forget about them. Move on to those who might actually be able to believe the facts and learn from history.

Fiscal Cliff and Spending Cuts

Fiscal Cliff and Spending Cuts

Matthew K.

What does it mean, fiscal cliff?

It sounds pretty scary, like the end of the world or something. But, in reality, it is nothing so drastic or scary. The term is just a marketing term to fool you into thinking emergency measures are needed. So what’s the worst that will happen when we reach the cliff. Nothing. Got that? Nothing.

But, if we all get scared by the hype and think that drastic cuts are necessary, then, yes indeed, bad things will happen, and the effects will be felt for years to come.

Don’t get me wrong, we can’t just sit on our hands. We have to address the mess this country is in and this is the time to do it.

So, what spending cuts should we do?

To start with, no country has ever, EVER cut its way to prosperity. You might want to ponder that for a moment.

So if the solution isn’t to cut, then what do we do?

We do the same thing we did before when we were in debt to the tune of 125% of GDP, which is much worse than we are today. What we did then was we created jobs programs, we invested in infrastructure, we created the GI Bill that sent people to college for free.

That’s what we need to do this time. We need to do what has been proven to work.

But we still need to look at trimming our budget as well. We need to trim the things that aren’t investments in our country and our economy. We need to stop giving money and tax breaks to the rich and the multinational corporations.

This brings us to the real question. What is spending and what is an investment?

You already know the answer to that. If you go out and treat yourself to a nice hundred-dollar steak dinner, that’s spending that is gone the moment you pay for it. But, an investment, like money in the bank, is there for all time, bringing in more money every day.

Spending for a country is the same. If it’s not bringing in a return on investment, it’s spending. The biggest spending we do as a country is spend on our military. We spend more than the rest of the world combined.

And what sort of return do we get on all those bombs dropped? All those missiles fired? Nothing. We are spending, like a short term steak dinner, on almost every dollar we spend on the military.

Money spent on free education is an investment that returns money to our coffers for the entire lifetime of the student. How about social programs like social security? It has been shown that every dollar invested in the people of a country through social programs like Social Security and Medicare are returned at a rate of $1.27 for every dollar invested. That, my friends, is what’s called an investment.

We need to face this fiscal cliff as an opportunity to stop the big dinner spending spree of the military and move that money into investing in our people and in our roads and bridges and our future as a country.

 

Fixing America’s Economy

Fixing America’s Economy
by
Waylin

There is a fix for America’s current financial, political, education, and health industry disasters.

Any addict hoping for recovery must first admit what the problems are. America must wake up to the cause of our current problems and admit that they are problems that needs addressing.

In all the cases mentioned above, there is one primary underlying addiction that is perpetuating the disaster. For those who are willing to take the time to look at our history, it is obvious that we had a handle on these problems for the most part of the past 100 years. We had the world’s best education systems, we had the world’s best medical, we had the world’s leading economy.

But, looking back at the 1920’s and you will see that, like today, this wasn’t true. They were the unregulated “Roaring 20s” but it lead directly into the world’s worst Depression of all time. What have we been doing right since the 1920’s and what are we no longer doing right, today?

The answer is capitalism, or more accurately, unrestrained greed.

We used to have the world’s best education system. But, then we started getting stingy with our education dollars, and today we want to give a big slice of the education dollars to billionaires in the way of privatized schools and vouchers.  The most successful countries in the world today, have a tax rate almost double what we have in America and aren’t afraid to spend it on education.

Got that? Double.

Why don’t we have higher taxes? Because greed has taken control of our country. Unrestrained Capitalism has us believing that it’s in our best interest to abandon all the things that made America strong over the past 100 years: unions, education dollars, regulations, taxes.

When you hear the term “free markets” it is code words for taking away what little restraints we still have on greedy capitalists.

America used to have laws that said insurance companies must be non-profit as well as our hospitals. We’ve abandoned those regulations and look where it’s gotten us. The medical industry is working diligently to restrict the number of doctors we have in America.  Why? Well, for greed, and nothing more. Fewer doctors means higher profits for doctors.

Now, all you Fox zombies, just hold on. I’m not saying we need to do away with capitalism, I am saying we need to get back to the days when we weren’t afraid to regulate it. Regulations are our friends.

Since the days of Reagan, our politicians are afraid to break up the big monopolies. They even express interest in advancing them, if they’re a Republican, and they’re too afraid to do anything if they’re a Democrat.

Our capitalism is running amock and we have to regain control of it. But, that will be impossible until we come to admit that we have a problem. Like a typical addict, we have to admit we have a problem before we can fix it.

The 99% Movement is succeeding at bringing this to our attention, but the greedy capitalist are doing their best to discredit the movement. We have to all wake up and realize that the greedy corporate news sources are dead set on preventing us from taking back control of our country. It’s time to turn off the broadcast television and time to admit we have a problem. The problem is unrestrained capitalism and therein lies the fix.

Who Owns the Deficit

Who Owns the Deficit
Dave Speck

So we hear the republican chanting over and over how the sky is falling if we don’t balance the budget, even if it means we have to take food out of the mouths of our elderly and sick and weak and poor. The world will end. Why all the noise?

The Republicans voted to raise the debt ceiling 18 times during Reagan’s administration. Got that? 18 times. During that time Reagan increased our nation’s deficit by three trillion dollars, more than all the previous presidents combined.

Where did all that money go? It went to tax breaks for the rich, mostly. That and to the military budget and his failed Star Wars program.

Then, along came Clinton and he balanced the budget and had a surplus that would have paid off the deficit in 10 years.

Where did all this money come from? Clinton ended “Welfare as we know it.” In other words, he stole it from the poor. He also raised taxes on the wealthy a couple percentage points.

Then, Bush added almost five trillion dollars to the deficit and the republican voted seven times to raise the debt ceiling.

Where did all that money go? Tax breaks for the rich and two illegal wars.

Then the economy crashed, as it always does when you lower taxes on the rich, and Bush pushed through another trillion dollars to the banker crooks.

Now, Obama wants to add a small fraction to the debt, less than 8%, and the Republicans are threatening to bring the entire country down unless we take more money from the poor.

Do you see any sort of pattern here? The republicans ran up almost all of the 10 trillion dollar debt and they don’t want to pay for it. They want the poor and the weak and the elderly and the sick to pay for their big party.

The republicans and the rich have been living large for the past 30 years at our expense and now they want you and me to pay for the bill.

What would you say about a political party that does this? What would you say about a party that is willing to crash our economy if they don’t get their way on everything? We’re in this mess because of the tax breaks to the rich and the republicans are saying they will destroy the country if we don’t give more tax breaks to the rich.

What party does big business own?

US Debt per GDP

 

What The Tea Party Wants

What The Tea Party Wants
Dave Speck

It is very hard not to hear the voices of the billionaires behind every single tea party request.

The Tea Party Requests

  • Fewer regulations on the oil companies
  • Drill baby drill
  • Lower taxes on the billionaires
  • Welfare for Billionaires
  • Lower benefits for the middle class
  • Smaller government
  • Kill the unions

… and on and on it goes.

Who Votes Against Their Best Interests?

It takes a real fool to be out there chanting against the middle class and against the workers and against regulating big business and against fair taxes on the rich, against their own best interests.

But, the Republican party if full of fools.

So, tea party, what, exactly, do you want, other than what the billionaires want?

You want smaller government? Tell me what small government country you want to be like. Somalia, maybe? Haiti? There isn’t a single one out there I want to be like. Tell me what big government country you don’t want to be like. The bigger the government, the bigger the benefits to the tax payers. Of course, we all want to clean out waste from our government but making it smaller isn’t the solution. It only helps the billionaires.

So, tea party followers, please, tell me, what do you want that the billionaires haven’t told you to want?

Who Fixed the Last Great Depression?

During the last Great Depression, America voted for progressives to fix the country and Germany voted for a conservative, Hitler. Who are you voting for? Since I know that you will refuse to admit it to yourself, I’ll help you out. You’re voting for the conservatives.

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]
by
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.

More Depression Please

More Depression Please
by
Captain Jack

Is this recovery going too fast for you? Itching to get back in the days of Bush when we were losing 700,000 jobs every month? Sorry to see the housing prices leveling off? Need more pain and suffering?

Well, then all you have to do is … nothing. Stay home. Don’t vote and you can guarantee that the Republicans will be out voting in force afraid that Obama is a secret Muslim. The frightened crazies don’t care if the Bush years return. Just so they get the “enemies”, their fellow Americans, out of office.

That’s what we have to worry about in America.

America doesn’t need to worry about nuclear attack or terrorist attacks as much as we need to worry about what will happen to this country if we get another conservative government before we get done cleaning up after the last one.

But you can bet that they will all be out there voting and if we want to stay home because we’re unhappy we didn’t get a little pony, then we will be responsible for the disaster as much as the fools who are all out there wetting their pants about the scary black man in the oval office.

Want more depression? Easy! Just don’t get involved in the coming elections in November. Stay home. Don’t vote. You’ll get exactly what you deserve.

The Folly of Extending Unemployment Benefits

The Folly of Extending Unemployment Benefits
by
Captain Jack

No, I’m not another one of those brain dead conservatives that think the best cure for high unemployment numbers is to let them starve to death. No, Sharron Angle, they’re not unemployed because they like starving. But, just extending unemployment benefits is more harmful than beneficial. Let me explain.

During the Republican Great Depression of the 1930s, many people were unemployed for so long that they became unemployable. There’s only so many years you can unsuccessfully apply for work in your profession before you quit trying. Sure, many of them tried alternative professions, such as selling apples or pencils on the street corners. But there’s not a big demand for menial labor like that.

So, what did all those people do back in those days? You guessed it, the same thing they’ll end up doing this time if we don’t fix the unemployment issue right away. They became chronically homeless. Do you remember the large number of homeless that were referred to as Hobos? Yes, a large number of people learned to live off the streets and off the land. None of them ever got assimilated back into society.

Giving people extended unemployment benefits doesn’t keep them employable. It makes them dependent on the benefits. The only long term solution to unemployment is more jobs. For every dollar spent on unemployment benefits, we need two dollars in jobs programs. The only way to keep the people employable is to keep them employed. That means jobs programs.

Too bad the republicans are killing every attempt at building jobs programs. The republican senators do not want to fix the economy, they want to benefit from it by stretching it out as long as they can. Just look at all the jobs programs that the republicans have voted against. It’s sickening, yet few republican voters realize it.

We need a whole lot more jobs programs and we need them immediately. Extending unemployment benefits without jobs will only make matters worse.

Who Owns our Government?

Who Owns our Government?
by
David Schlecht

In recent posts I’ve gone into some detail onto the problems with our existing financial system. As I’ve pointed out, we will never be able to avoid the bubbles and busts without stringent regulation. The lack of regulation directly led to the great depression of the 30s and is the direct cause of today’s financial problems.

Let’s look at today’s disaster. As posted, earlier, the crux of our current disaster is the derivative market. We have numerous home loans bundled up with other loans and sold like stocks. These bundles are then re-bundled and sold off again. By the time the final sale happens, a buyer may be getting bits and pieces of hundreds of mortgage loans, many in default.

The loans, themselves, aren’t the real problem. The real problem is the banks and investors have trillions of dollars tied up in billions of dollars worth of loans.

Think about that for a moment. The main problem isn’t the mortgages going into default, but those mixed and multiplied derivatives.

The cheap and easy way to fix the problem (for today, anyway) is to make the mortgages good by buying them out and negotiating with the owners for terms that the owners will accept. In fact, we could pay off all the bad mortgages for around 800 billion dollars. Our government could buy up the bad loans and negotiate with the borrowers and spend less than we have given to the banks, so far.

Making the foundation of the bubble good, the derivatives problem goes away. Once the bubble is re-inflated, we can reintroduce the regulations that the Republican Free Market Cult has destroyed and get back on track. This, of course, means getting rid of and possibly outlawing derivatives.

If this makes sense, then you’re probably wondering why our government, in all its wisdom, didn’t already think of this.

Well, they did! In fact, they were trying to buy up the mortgages and do just this but the Republicans and the banks were screaming so loud and putting so much money into lobbying Congress, that OUR GOVERNMENT couldn’t do what we needed them to do. Instead, we’ve put trillions of dollars into the banks, and nothing has been fixed.

The stock market is showing signs of rebound, but once one realizes that the root of the problem isn’t fixed, it becomes obvious that we’re spending trillions of dollars to bolster up the banks but the problem won’t go away. The current Free Market Depression will come back with a vengeance by this Fall. By then, we’ll have trillions less to spend where we really need it.

Now, ask yourself, why do the banks get money but the mortgagees are losing their homes? It’s because we are still allowing lobbyists to control our politicians. The only way to resolve this issue is to refuse to vote for any politician, no matter what party, if they accept business donations. Sorry, but that means no more Republican politicians and good bye to many of the Democrats as well, until they come clean.