Are We Discardable Economic Units, Consumers or Participating Citizens?

Along with and underlying today’s employment crisis there is another, long-building employment crisis: The time has arrived when technology is replacing jobs in significant numbers.

The current solution is to treat people as nothing more than economic units and just discard the worker when the machine takes over, handing the resulting profits to an already-wealthy few. This is capitalism, where a few are allowed to “own” and exclusively benefit from what would otherwise be the common resources.

But the other side of this is each discarded economic unit is also a discarded consumer.

We have to come to terms with this.

m4s0n501

The Root Cause Of The Economic Catastrophe

Everyone understands that the root cause of this economic catastrophe was corporate money’s influence on our politics. Corporations are able to concentrate money. We, the People let them do that because it enables them to undertake large-scale projects. But currently executives can access that money and use it to influence politics through bribery and/or manipulating public opinion. Deregulation, unfair tax codes, loss of consumer and worker protections and decades of falling wages and benefits have been the result — hardly in the interest of the public.
Until we stop allowing use of corporate money to influence politcians and the public these problems will only increase.
When are we going to come to grips with that?

Repubilcans Sabotaging Solutions — Why?

Nationally and in California Republicans are clearly trying to sabotage economic recovery efforts. Why? Do they have some strategy at work here?
Schwarzenegger to veto Democrats’ budget plan,

But Schwarzenegger said the Democrats’ package lacked deeper cuts to welfare and senior assistance programs, flexibility to reduce school spending, and the elimination of two of 14 state employee holidays.
The governor also wanted assistance for homeowners facing foreclosure, broad authority to relax environmental regulation on public work projects and more toll roads.

After months and months of trying to pass a budget, compromising, giving Republicans everything they wanted, they still refused to allow a budget. So the Democrats found a way around that and passed a budget. The Governor’s veto means a near-immediate layoff of as many as 200,000 workers. That will have a cascading effect on California and the nation’s economy.
Why are they doing this?

California Republicans Admit Taxes Needed – Still Refuse To Allow Them

This post originally appeared at Speak Out California
California Republicans finally, finally submitted what they claim is a plan to attack the budget deficits, detailing specifics of the cuts they are demanding. The plan they submitted only cuts the deficit in half, thereby admitting (but not admitting) the urgent need to raise taxes to cover the other half of the deficit.
The Republican plan guts public schools, community colleges, Medi-Cal, transit, mental health and many other programs. And yet it still leaves half of the deficit in place. So it isn’t really a “plan” at all. It is just one more extremist demand that we gut public schools.
A phrase like “guts schools and programs” becomes abstract when it is heard often enough. So what does this mean to the average Californian? What kind of education will children receive as we push to 40 or more students per classroom? Will they be safe if the district cannot afford crossing guards or buses? Will any of us be safe after police and firefighters are cut back? Do we go another decade without improving mass transit or even repairing roads and bridges? Will epidemics spread as health care is cut back? What about three-hour lines at the DMV? And what happens to people’s ability to train for jobs when community colleges are cut way back?
The Republicans demand that we sacrifice the education of an entire generation of school-aged Californians, so that a few wealthy people and corporations can become even wealthier! Their benefactors are covered — with their kids are in $20,000-a-year private academies. But what will this do to the economic future of the rest of this generation, and to the future of California? They don’t care.
This process as it has unfolded over so many years has shown us that California is ungovernable until we remove the current 2/3-requirement system that allows a small group of extremists to hold the state hostage.
Click through to Speak Out California.

The Economy

This chart explains where the economy must go, and why. Sorry.

credit_market_debt_to_gdp.gif

Click to enlarge

It wasn’t just the housing bubble, it was debt in all of its forms.
For extra credit, see if you can identify the year Reagan and the “supply-siders” took office and any changes that occurred at that time.
P.S. I will not accept any cleaning bills.

Economy Question

Question: How does it help our economy for our government to borrow money from China and use it to lower interest rates in an attempt to persuade people to borrow even more money to buy even more stuff that was made in China?
Update – What I am trying to say is, loosening credit does not help the average person. If you can’t afford something, buying it on credit doesn’t help you afford it. Who you need is higher wages, health care, etc. Then you can afford things.
This is a solvency crisis, not a liquidity crisis. Predatory capitalism harvested the consumer, ate the consumer, shat out the consumer, and loose credit isn’t going to revive a consumer that has been through that.

Today’s Bubble Post — Reckoning

James Boyce, in one of his best posts ever, says that if something is unsustainable it can’t be sustained. And here we are. Go read James Boyce: The Darwin Depression: Time To Say Goodbye To How It Should Have Never Been.,

It is very dangerous for an empire such as America’s, faced with ebbing influence around the world, to amp up on cheap credit and buy out the store. At the end of the day, you have a frustrated country, swamped in debt and merchandise it doesn’t really need, wondering how to pay the bills. Japan has never really recovered from its bubble, and its bubble is looking pretty small compared to the one we’re popping.
Look at this. Consider this image.

Of course, you have to click through to see the charts.

Pat Buchanan On Auto Company Loan

I’m going to give credit where credit is due. Pat Buchanan has written a column on the auto industry and American manufacturing and jobs that everyone should read. So I am linking to it, and even linking to the repugnant Human Events site where it appears.
Please read The Toyota Republicans. Excerpt:

What are Republicans thinking of, pulling the plug, at Christmas, on GM, risking swift death for the greatest manufacturing company in American history, a strategic asset and pillar of the U.S. economy.
The $14 billion loan to the Big Three that Republican senators filibustered to death is just 2 percent of the $700 billion the Senate voted to bail out Wall Street. Having gone along with bailouts of Bear Stearns, AIG, Fannie, Freddie and CitiGroup, why refuse a reprieve to an industry upon which millions of the best blue-collar jobs in America depend?
. . . Is the Republican Party so fanatic in its ideology that, rather than sin against a commandment of Milton Friedman, it is willing to see America written forever out of this fantastic market, let millions of jobs vanish and write off the industrial Midwest?

Minnesota Republicans threaten chaos

The Minnesota recount is going along pretty smoothly considering everything, and routine small problems are being routinely corrected. But in this freakishly close race, every vote is important, and a lot of people are getting unduly excited. The Star Tribune’s headline (“Minnesota’s vote: Cast into doubt”) is entirely wrongheaded, and unfortunately it encourages the Republican goons — for example, Sarah Janacek:

Coleman supporters say their man won on Nov. 4, is still winning and will be certified as the winner: “If that gets refuted, then the whole system will be throw into chaos,” said Sarah Janecek, a Republican strategist. “So far, at the grocery store and gas station, everyone is very tired of the whole thing, but there’s a basic sense that, yep, we had an election and we had a recount and the result was the same, so the system must work.” (Star-Tribune, December 14, 2008)

Coleman did not win on election day, because his margin then threw the race into automatic recount. No one wins until Friday when the recount (hopefully) will be finished.
Janacek knows that, but she doesn’t care. She’s setting up the “stolen election” meme, and she’s threatening chaos if the recount doesn’t match the election day count. But that’s what recounts are for — to check the original count to see if it was correct. Recounts are meaningless if you insist that they don’t change anything.
Here’s the kind of thing we’ll be dealing with:

How to steal a senate seat
By Richard Baehr

The Minnesota senate race is being stolen as you read this. Rejected absentee ballots may be counted at discretion of counties. Which ones do you think will find more to count? There is no uniform standard for determining which once rejected absentee ballots should now be counted — just as with Florida in 2000 (basis for Bush v Gore decision in U S Supreme Court). My guess is that Minneapolis/St. Paul and Duluth/Iron Range areas will decide on acceptable ballots. Coleman’s lead may well disappear. (Read more)

They’re absolutely convinced that Franken is committing fraud even though they have no accurate information about the recount (and not even very much inaccurate information). Furthermore, they seem completely unfamiliar with the idea that when you accuse someone of a crime, you have to provide evidence that a crime was actually committed — more than once they ask me to prove that there was no crime. Finally when I persist in asking that same obvious question, they declare me a troll and stop responding.
At the moment I’d say that Franken has a 50-50 chance. He’s only 190-odd votes behind, and some signs are pointing his way. If he does win the recount, we should prepare ourselves for a flood of enraged screams, and we have to give tit for tat and push back hard. We can’t let them intimidate the ref this time.

The tweakers are crashing on us

Most scientists believe that only objective factors are real and try to eliminate all subjectivity from their explanations — subjectivity is seen primarily as a source of error. Economists are the most objective social scientists, and they customarily sneer at dumber so-called scientists who fail to reduce human behavior to hard facts.
When things are going well, that is. During times of prosperity economics is a hard science like physics. It’s only when things go badly that they kick the can over to psychology and reach for mental factors like “irrational exuberance” and “mental depression” so that they can blame other, stupider sciences for their failures. (Quantum physicists also reach desperately for The Mind at times, since after sixty or seventy years their data are still impossible to interpret.)
So here’s my explanation of the present Collapse of Western Civilization: amphetamines. The world of finance is a rather small one, populated entirely by supersmart, extremely aggressive and competitive men (mostly) who have to go at top speed twelve or more hours a day, day after day. How do they do it? Performance-enhancing drugs, that’s how: legally-prescribed amphetamines. (Cocaine is uncool, and so Eighties.)
And since finance controls the world, when the tweakers crash, the whole world crashes with them. Like a football team collapsing in the fourth quarter, the world has run out of beans. We’ve had our jag, and now we’re crashing. Not much fun.
In my small experience, amphetamines are very nice. The world becomes a happy place. You get smarter and have lots of energy, and you can keep on going indefinitely. Complex ideas seem simple and all of your ideas look good. The crash isn’t even that bad if you use in moderation. But amphetamines are not conducive to moderation.

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