November 21st, 2008

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Economics Made Simple

Rant warning: this is a rant.  That means, this is not open for argument in this venue.  Comments I don't like will be deleted without warning or apology. 

Treasury Secretary Paulson is, without doubt, the second stupidest man in this Administration, You Know Who being the first.   In fact, I have acquired even more disrespect for the people who supposedly know so much about the economy, as they flop around like beached flounders and demonstrate that they are utterly clueless and also can't connect a logical chain longer than one link.  Half a link.  (For the uninitiated, there *are* no logical chains that short.  But these people are that incompetent.)

The incompetents have blamed it on a) American consumers for buying on credit, b) immorality caused by northern secular liberals, c) Clinton,  d) welfare, e) the lack of oil drilling in ANWR...and on and on.

Folks, the mess did not start with sub-prime mortgages (that was a branch on the tree--not its taproot), self-indulgent citizens overspending on their credit cards, or any of the other popular theories.  It started with the plain and simple oldest way of all to go broke: spending more than you take in.  Not by individuals--by the government.   How'd that happen?  

Very simply.  Bush started two wars and lowered taxes.  Wars are expensive.   Very expensive, especially when you want your friends to make a lot of money out of providing services to your military because (you lying scumsuckers insisted) it was cheaper to privatize.  Sure it was.  That's why the national debt is off the chart.   Now you and me, if we decided to spend an incredible amount of money, just might have the good sense to go out and get a second job--bring in more money.  But not the Bushies.  No, they cut taxes (cut the income that pays for wars) at the same time they increased spending (on the wars) and...just like that...ballooning national debt. 

The tax cuts were supposed to (they said)  increase jobs and "stimulate the economy."    That didn't work.  It didn't work because they cut corporate taxes without demanding anything in return...with no safeguards whatever...and the corporations took those tax cuts and went right on shipping jobs overseas or in some cases just cashing in the profits and running.  And since 40% of this nation's economy is based on consumer activity (consumer spending), when you throw a lot of people out of work...they don't spend as much.   You would think even a kid could figure that out, and certainly any kid whose parents work at an ordinary job knows that already.  No job, no spending money.   Also--and this is important--no taxes from the person who formerly paid income tax.   Now you're not getting tax income from the corporations *or* the individuals.  Real smart, there, Sherlock.

Once you've run the country into massive governmental debt by this hare-brained scheme, and things are shaky, then anything else can tip the inverted pyramid...people who lose jobs can't make the house payment. Or the car payment.  And they can't get new jobs, either.  And as fuel prices rise (something predicted decades ago, but would they listen?  Noooo...that was a *liberal* notion)  and everything gets more expensive and those with jobs begin to realize how fragile their economic base is...they also spend less, or try to. 

If you really want to stimulate the economy, then you want to create jobs.   You don't give those jobs to CEOs.  You don't give tax cuts to the big corporations, because they'll take it and raise their CEOs' salaries and fly them around on private jets and send them to vacation spas.  And cut jobs.   You have two choices.  You can give tax cuts at the bottom first--but that doesn't help the person with no job.  You can create jobs with government money because you know--experience shows--that the corporations won't use any money you give them to create or retain jobs--they'll find some way to let their CEOs play with it, fritter it away, and not a red dime will end up in the pocket of an actual worker who would spend it on food, clothing, housing, and education.

Instead, you  create jobs that actually meet the needs of the country (not building all those cars.)   Lots of things need work in this country.  Bridges are an obvious example.  Other crumbling infrastructure, including substandard housing.  New infrastructure to support more efficient transportation (airplanes and SUVs are not efficient transportation).   Environmental infrastructure: cleaning up the disgusting mess this Administration has made of parts of Appalachia and is about to make of more of the West.   The research in science and technology and medicine--where we once led the world, and don't anymore--to improve these other areas.  People need uncontaminated food, uncontaminated water, clean air to breathe, a place to live, clothes to wear (and I'm not talking $600 shoes and $6000 suits),  medical care when they're sick or injured, and most of all jobs--occupations that let them feel good about themselves, have some dignity, some sense of worth.   They do NOT need the kind of "leadership" that rewards crappy judgment at the top of the tree with billions of bailout money while their jobs are vanishing and the bank's demanding the house they live in.  

But any suggestion that money be spent on providing things citizens actually need (the food, the water, the housing, the medical care, the jobs with which they could buy these things, transportation options to and from the work, education,  energy sources that don't destroy the land, water, and air...) gets dumped on as being "liberal" or "socialist"....while the boys in the silk suits (and gals ditto) are assured of golden parachutes the size of the Sahara, continue to fly around in private jets and be whisked here and there in limousines, never having to deal with the reality most of us live in. 

That's the problem--not some family in debt because both parents lost their jobs.   Not the person who, as one snotty person on TV said "Really wasn't qualified to buy a house."  No, the problem started at the top, with men and women who just don't give a damn about the country or about the people in it--who want to play out their hero  fantasies with our blood and our money and our homes and our land and water and air.  Does the CEO of GM care a cat-dropping about real people?  Prove it.  I think the evidence leans heavily the other way.  Same with the AIG execs who took their handout from the government and happily went off to celebrate as expensively as possible.  And they dare sneer at welfare mothers!   

I've been angry about this for weeks, but the book came first, so now...snarl. 

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