“America’s economic future, the quality of our health, and the quality of our environment depend on our ability to continue America’s proud legacy of discovery and invention. As winners of the Nobel Prizes in science, we are proud of our contribution to the extraordinary advances American science has made in recent years. But we’re deeply concerned that without leadership and continued commitment to scientific research the next generation of Americans will not make and benefit from future discoveries.
“President Obama understands the key role science has played in building a prosperous America, has delivered on his promise to renew our faith in science-based decision making and has championed investment in science and technology research that is the engine of our economy. He has built strong programs to educate young Americans in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and programs to provide Americans the training they need to keep pace with a technology-driven economy.
“If you believe, as we do, that America’s future is bound in essential ways to science and innovation, we urge you to join us in working to ensure the reelection of President Obama.”
You can find the entire letter here. I would urge you to read it… and pass it around.
- Science and Medicine Nobel Prize Winners Support Obama (biotech.about.com)
- Sixty-Eight Nobel Prize Winners Endorse Obama (addictinginfo.org)
- Obama Picks Up Nobel Endorsements (news.sciencemag.org)
- Nobel Laureates Endorse Obama (thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com)
Some people can’t wait for Bush’s book on Economics to come out…
– and –
Jeff Daniziger in the L. A. Times:
… and some people believe whatever they are told…
– and –
Kevin Siers in the Charlotte Observer:
… perhaps the economy needs a prank…
– and –
Drew Sheneman at Tribune Media Services:
… but we can be grateful for a candidate’s maturity…
– and –
Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
… and let him take credit for things he didn’t do (he needs to convince us of his worth.)
This is likely to draw all kinds of negative comments from the right (or even from the center) but the fact that Capitalism, which requires consistent growth… therefore always using more (and making more) income… has done two obvious things: it has made gigantic corporations which create a government all their own which does not often comply with our nationally passed laws; and Capitalism has also put all other economic concepts into a state of public damnation… even by those members of the public whose lives are destroyed by capitalistic growth.
To start with the major energy companies, builders of much of the Capitalist base, rewards those who plunder the natural environment by giving them an unsustainable material prosperity while removing natural benefits and beauty from the land we live on. This is justified by establishing the concept of the ‘free market’ which eliminates all but the most efficient enterprises. In fact, the efficiency is only financial – meaning that the ‘free market’ eliminates any that pursue goals other than maximizing
their profits. Nice guys finish last.
Even the Information Based Economy has been plundered by the capitalist system. By rewarding competition rather than cooperation, capitalism wastes an increasing amount of time, effort and resources, primarily because economic thought and institutions stem from an era of locally distributed goods that were laboriously handmade, usually with minimal set-up costs and large costs per unit. However, as the economy becomes increasingly virtual, capitalism is showing itself increasingly unsatisfactory… the traditional pricing system is still based on unit costs, which are a very poor reflection of the cost structure of information goods. In such circumstances, tremendous inefficiency is inevitable, yet the major software companies (Microsoft, Oracle, etc.) remain tied to the capitalist system.
So what are the alternatives that could replace unregulated Capitalism and give us a transition to an ongoing, non-growth system which would support all of us without destroying the environment… indeed, by an ongoing replacement of the environmental elements that have been lost?
If you start looking through the internet for competing economic theories you will find such titles as Altruism (A System to Reward Generosity, not Selfishness), Sustainability ( strategic management of economic, social, environmental and ethical performance), and the Transition Movement (one of the most promising ways of engaging people and communities to take the far-reaching actions that are required to mitigate the effects of peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis.) These solutions all have significant common denominators; they all seek to get out from under the energy structure which is causing global warming, they all define economics as a social program and work against problems such as greed and huge gaps between the wealthy and the lower classes, and they are all opposed to capitalism as a process.
You’ll notice I didn’t use terms like Socialism or Communism, which none of these theories subscribe to (although it will probably not be seen that way by the corporate right which will use such accusations to turn the middle class in on itself). None of them attack individual creativity… in fact they rely on it.
If this gives you something to think about, remember that there will be no opposition to the control by an aging Capitalist Economy unless the larger portion of our population… a good 90%… joins together for our own benefit. Read the sources, pass the information on to friends and family and urge them to do the same. Keep up a steady stream of communication with all elected representatives who are now bought and sold by capitalistic lobbyist… in a sense become lobbyists of the people.
- Global Capitalism (liamchingliu.wordpress.com)
- The Paradox of Capitalist Regulation (robertlindsay.wordpress.com)
- Capitalists continue to dance with the corpse of what was while things fall apart around them (iflizwerequeen.com)
- How capitalism should “really” be like. (newscci.wordpress.com)
While Obama still has a Democratic majority for the Lame Duck Session, it appears that he has decided to cave into the Republicans on the Bush Tax Cuts extensions and give the rich the cuts they…deserve? That’s why someone like MaryScott O’Connor hits the nail on the head:
MaryScott O’Connor Commented 3 hours ago
“I’m shocked, SHOCKED to find this Administration bending over for the Republicans again. And by “shocked” I mean… totally unsurprised. What a total WIMP this man has turned out to be. Or… I guess I should say… next to Clinton… Obama is the best Republican President we’ve ever had? What a desolation.”
I guess I have to say that my support for Obama is slipping rapidly. I don’t so much care that he gives in, but that he DOES NOT FIGHT for the things we know to be necessary. In fact, I’d rather be taxed as a member of the Middle Class and help us get away from the deficit than to make sure the rich take out infinitely more than any of the bottom 99%.
What is this man doing? Does he not talk with liberals or progressives? Does he not hear even old guard Repubs like David Stockton who made a statement last Sunday that it was time to back away from the “cut taxes” mentality he introduced under Reagan?
Doesn’t Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi stick a nose in here and vow to get the changes we all hoped for?
I’m utterly pissed!
“Well, anyone who thinks we can move this economy forward with a few doing well at the top, hoping it’ll trickle down to working folks running faster and faster just to keep up – they just haven’t studied our history. We didn’t become the most prosperous country in the world by rewarding greed and recklessness. We didn’t come this far by letting special interests run wild. We didn’t do it by just gambling and chasing paper profits on Wall Street. We did it by producing goods we could sell; we did it with sweat and effort and innovation. We did it by investing in the people who built this country from the ground up – workers, and middle-class families, and small business owners. We did it by out-working, out-educating, and out-competing everyone else.”
- Barack Obama.
…and it’s time the Middle Class that’s left wises up and refuses to go back into the arms of the Republican Wealth Assuagers who got us into this situation!
- Unbuttoned Obama Strikes at GOP with Folksy Sayings In Labor Day Speech [Videuoh] (gawker.com)
- Obama’s Labor Day Speech 2010 (VIDEO, TEXT): President Assails GOP, Promotes Job Creation Program (huffingtonpost.com)
- Obama: Critics ‘talk about me like a dog’ (thehill.com)
In his WaPo column today entitled “The spoiled-brat American electorate,” Eugene Robinson accurately pushpins us right to the setup board when it comes to our ability to find solutions to national problems through politics.
Here’s a piece:
The nation demands the impossible: quick, painless solutions to long-term, structural problems. While they’re running for office, politicians of both parties encourage this kind of magical thinking. When they get into office, they’re forced to try to explain that things aren’t quite so simple — that restructuring our economy, renewing the nation’s increasingly rickety infrastructure, reforming an unsustainable system of entitlements, redefining America’s position in the world and all the other massive challenges that face the country are going to require years of effort. But the American people don’t want to hear any of this. They want somebody to make it all better. Now.
You can read the whole column HERE.
Today is a good one for finding this stuff. Dave Johnson wrote this article on Alternet last month titled:
Here’s a highlight:
Sometimes it can be so obvious where a problem comes from, but very hard to change it. The anti-government, pro-corporate-rule Reagan Revolution screwed a lot of things up for regular people and for the country. Some of this disaster we saw happening at the time and some of it has taken 30 years to become clear. But for all the damage done these “conservative” policies greatly enriched a few entrenched interests, who use their wealth and power to keep things the way they are. And the rest of us, hit so hard by the changes, don’t have the resources to fight the wealth and power.
Look at the influence of these entrenched interests on our current deficits, for example. Obviously conservative policies of tax cuts and military spending increases caused the massive deficits. But entrenched interests use their wealth and power to keep us from making needed changes. The facts are here, plain as the noses on our faces. The ability to fight it eludes us. Will we step up and do something to reverse the disaster caused by the Reagan Revolution or not?
Are there any politicians who don’t lie about their history? This is another big one from Hysterical Raisins:
“I believe in the power of the free market. I believe in a strong financial sector that helps people to raise capital and get loans and invest their savings. But a free market was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it. That is what happened too often in the years leading up to the crisis. Some on Wall Street forgot that behind every dollar traded or leveraged, there is family looking to buy a house, pay for an education, open a business, or save for retirement. What happens here has real consequences across our country.”
- President Obama to Wall St. community at Cooper Union. For full text go HERE.
“It is really quite sobering what has happened. From 100% of our economy was private prior to September of 2008, but as of Tuesday, the federal government has now taken ownership or control of 51% of the private economy.”
- Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN)
How does this woman get elected?
In Fear the Boom and Bust, John Maynard Keynes and F. A. Hayek, two of the great economists of the 20th century, come back to life to attend an economics conference on the economic crisis. Before the conference begins, and at the insistence of Lord Keynes, they go out for a night on the town and sing about why there’s a “boom and bust” cycle in modern economies and good reason to fear it.
Get the full lyrics, story and free download of the song in high quality MP3 and AAC files at:
Plus, to see and hear more from the stars of Fear the Boom and Bust, Billy Scafuri and Adam Lustick, visit their site: http://www.billyandadam.com
Music was produced by Jack Bradley at Blackboard3 Music and Sound Design. It was composed and performed by Richard Royston Jacobs.
From Minuteman Media:
CEOs Sacrifice Workers While Enriching Themselves
Funnyman Bob Newhart used to do a comedy bit in which he portrayed a commanding officer addressing his troops on the eve of a big battle. The commander spoke bluntly about the bloody horror the troops would face and the certainty that many of them wouldn’t survive. The officer rallied them with appeals to courage and sacrifice and then concluded by saying, “My only regret is that I, personally, will not be able to go with you.”
That’s a perfect expression of today’s corporate ethic as practiced by chief executive officers. With bloody ruthlessness, CEOs constantly sacrifice workers in the name of global competitiveness, but the chiefs never seem to join in the sacrifice. We’ve recently been given another example of this disparity in a report on corporate pensions by the Government Accountability Office.
The GAO found that four of the largest corporate bankruptcies of the last 10 years were disastrous for the employees’ pension funds. Prior to their bankruptcies, United Airlines, US Airways, Polaroid, and Reliance Insurance had underfunded their employees’ retirement plans by $11 billion—money essentially stolen from the workers. The corporations then abandoned any responsibility for the pensions, turning the obligation over to the federal government under a program that pays only a fraction of what is owed to the employees.
But guess which employees did not suffer any cut at all in their retirement money? Right—the four CEOs. Indeed, as they were underfunding and axing the workers’ pension plans, the four chieftains quietly pocketed a total of nearly $50 million in retirement pay for themselves.
Bob Newhart’s joke has become a nightmare for millions of workers. It’s time for Congress to tie CEO pensions to the value of their employees’ retirement funds.
Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and winner of the 2009 winner of the Nation/Puffin Prize. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.
I’ve been reading a number of articles on the subject, recently, as I try to put my finger on why my own world is shrinking. It won’t be long and there will be no Middle Class, or a very small one that we use as a museum exhibit to remember when the world worked better than it does now.
Elizabeth Warren’s piece on Alternet titled America without a Middle Class – It’s not as far away as you might think is a good starting place:
Today, one in five Americans is unemployed, underemployed or just plain out of work. One in nine families can’t make the minimum payment on their credit cards. One in eight mortgages is in default or foreclosure. One in eight Americans is on food stamps. More than 120,000 families are filing for bankruptcy every month. The economic crisis has wiped more than $5 trillion from pensions and savings, has left family balance sheets upside down, and threatens to put ten million homeowners out on the street.
I’m in the first “1 in 5″… have been for 18 months or so… and I’m also part of the “5 trillion” in pension and savings losses (in my case, $30,000. from a once-secure 401 k.) So does that put me in the disappearing middle class?
PBS’ FRONTLINE explored how the credit card industry has shattered the Middle Class. It’s worth watching HERE. I watched and then thought how lucky I was that I gave up credit card use 5 years ago… only spend what I have, only use a debit card.
Health Care costs (which we are all evaluating as we watch the Senate debate the current Bill), have done their best to eliminate much of the Middle Class’s economic structure. There is a report from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which lays out the economics of this situation HERE.
Plenty to read… plenty to think about. I hope you have a job and don’t have time to read it all… and, if so, I’m jealous.
Here is a clip from the article at Politico:
This compliments of the Florida Progressive Coalition Blog:
Pretend it is 70 years from now and folks are looking back at 2009 and our economic situation. Would they notice that major corporations, like Insurance companies and banks, were making record profits at the end of a major recession? Would they notice that unemployment vs. new jobs was running a a rate of 6 to 1?
Would they see that the Congress didn’t seem to want to challenge the control of the rich over the remaining 99% of the population by putting back taxes which were made into exemptions by thirty years of conservative ignorance?
And maybe they would look at 70 years before 2009 and see what was done in a remarkably similar situation. There was a President then who, although a son of the rich, adopted the situation of the poor and the middle class and worked to fix the problem.
In Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s own words back then (April 29, 1938):
“Democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism — ownership of Government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. Democracy is not safe if its business system cannot provide employment, and produce and distribute goods in such a way, as to sustain an acceptable standard of living.”
- (from “Recommendations to the Congress to Curb Monopolies and the Concentration of Economic Power”…read it all HERE.)
We have learned a lot since the days of FDR, haven’t we? Back then we learned that regulations actually protect the economy and give us the possibility of growth and change. FDR experimented with many plans that did not work, but over time we learned which things did and had measures like the Glass-Steagle Act come out of Congress keeping banks away from risky investments, among other things.
Somewhere along the way we were seduced by Reaganism to believe that the government was untrustworthy and corporations could do everything better. We let private greed slowly but surely take over every part of our economy… and now, when change needs to happen again, we find a Congress that is heavily subsidized by the corporate interests which need to be regulated.
I would like to believe in my government again. I am ready to back my President and those few Representatives and Senators who do not seem to be direct employees of corporate lobbyists… and I believe a majority of THINKING AMERICANS are ready to back them as well.
I hope that, in that future time when people are looking back, they realize what we did to solve the problem and that we brought back our Democracy with strength and energy and pride.
“As a general matter, I would exclude from commercial banking institutions, which are potential beneficiaries of official (i.e., taxpayer) financial support, certain risky activities entirely suitable for our capital markets. Ownership or sponsorship of hedge funds and private equity funds should be among those prohibited activities. So should in my view a heavy volume of proprietary trading with its inherent risks.”
- Paul Volcker speaking in Los Angeles earlier this month.
So what does this mean for our economy and what should be done by both President Obama and the Federal Reserve (and which is definitely NOT being done)? Robert Kuttner has an interesting piece in HuffPo called Listening to Paul Volcker.
READ IT. Then think about contacting the President, the Fed and your Congressfolk.
… and he does it to a T. I don’t usually copy an article in it’s entirety, but I want to make sure you read this one. It comes from HuffPo:
Americans Have Been Taken Hostage
The American people have been taken hostage to a broken system.
It is a system that remains in place to this day.
A system where bank lobbyists have been spending in record numbers to make sure it stays that way.
A system that corrupts the most basic principles of competition and fair play, principles upon which this country was built.
It is a system that so far has forced the taxpayer to provide the banks with the use of $14 trillion from the Federal Reserve, much of the $7 trillion outstanding at the US Treasury and $2.3 trillion at the FDIC.
A system partially built by the very people who currently advise our President, run our Treasury Department and are charged with its reform.
And most stunningly — it is a system that no one in our government has yet made any effort to fundamentally change.
Like health care, this is a referendum on our government’s ability to function on behalf of the American people. Ask yourself how long you are willing to be held hostage? How long will you let our elected officials be the agents of those whose business it is to exploit our government and the American people at any cost?
As hostages — was there any sum of money we wouldn’t have given AIG?
Why did we pay Goldman Sachs and all the other banks 100 cents on the dollar for their contracts with AIG, using taxpayer money, while we forced GM and others to take massive payment cuts?
Why hasn’t any of the bonus money paid to the CEOs that built this financial nuclear bomb been clawed back?
And more than anything else — why does the US Congress refuse to outlaw the most anti-competitive structure known to our economy, one summed up as TOO BIG TOO FAIL?
It has become startlingly clear that we as a country, and I as a journalist, had made a grave error in affording those who built and ran those banks and insurance companies the honorable treatment of being called capitalists. When in fact the exact opposite was true, these people were more like vampires using the threat of Too Big Too Fail to hold us hostage and collect ongoing ransom from the US Government and the American taxpayer.
This was no unlucky accident. The massive spike in unemployment, the utter destruction of retirement wealth, the collapse in the value of our homes, the worst recession since the Great Depression all resulted directly from these actions.
Even with all that — the only changes that have been made, have been made to prop up and hide the massive flaws on behalf of those who perpetuated them. Still utterly nothing has been done to disclose the flaws in this system, improve it or rebuild it.
Last fall was an awakening for me, as it was for many in our country.
And yet, our Congress has yet to open its eyes, much less do anything about it. In fact conditions have never been better for the banks or worse for the rest of us.
Why is this? Who does our Government work for? How much longer will we as Americans tolerate it? And what, if anything, can we do about it?
As we approach the anniversary of the bailouts for our banks and insurers — and watch the multi-trillion taxpayer-funded programs at the Federal Reserve continue to support banks and subsidize their multibillion bonus pools, we must ask if our politicians represent the interests of America? Or those who would rob America of its money and its future?
As a country, we must demand that our politicians stop serving those whose business models are based on systemic theft and start serving those who seek to create value for others — the workers, innovators and investors who have made this country great.
Was worth it, no? BTW, if you don’t listen to Dylan Ratigan on MSNBC at 9:00 AM weekdays, you are missing a great news analytics show. You can replay it 24 hours a day on MSNBC’s Web Site.
Commenting on whether the USA will experience a “Lost Decade” as a result of recession, like Japan in the 1990s:
“There’s no way we’re going to tolerate a Lost Decade in this country. It’s a fantasy, because the House of Representatives has elections every two years. The country is not going to tolerate 10 percent unemployment indefinitely. People (in power in Washington) need to be aware of that. If they don’t take the opportunities now . . . someone else will.”
-James K. Galbraith, Economist.
…the folks who are fighting for us:
Make sure to stay on top of the real issues!
…until its federal funding is eliminated. I believe that as I listen to Rep. Mike Pence (R-IND) as he tries to amend the funding bill that will support that funding.
The grounds? Why, abortion of course, even though NOT ONE CENT OF THE MONEY GIVEN TO PLANNED PARENTHOOD GOES TO ABORTION. This is because of a law passed while the Repiglicans were in charge… and it continues to this day.
True, Planned Parenthood DOES fund abortions… but not on the federal dime. And this is because of the requirements of the majority of women in America.
The anti-abortion contingent is a religion based group who are unable to recognize the separation of church and state. Nor do they wish to accept the fact that Planned Parenthood also provides more basic women’s health services, especially to poor women who would not be able to afford breast exams or pregnancy services, than any other organization.
Listening to Repiglicans debate is like watching the people who sucked the basic foundation out of our economy for decades – since Reagan got elected to the Presidency – become the people who are most unaware of their previous accomplishments. Listening to them whine and complain is sometimes humorous, but mostly pathetic.