Friday, December 17, 2010

Obama Wins (well, sort of)

Some call the present recovery a sham. I'd simply say that it is a managed economy, as usual. Mostly, it has been managed by bankers and intended in their own interest but sometimes with unexpected results. A good computer program could stabilize our economy much more successfully. Human beings are hindered by very short time horizons and a desire for quick satisfaction. The consequences frequently resemble what has been known as "the tragedy of the commons." In a word, they greedily foul their own nest and produce tragic results for many of the innocent.

Money rules; human beings primarily act as place holders for accumulated capital which continues to accumulate in good times and bad. Unfortunately, the human element only makes things worse. Incompetent hogs are Mammon's Achilles heel. They rig the "invisible hand" of the markets and create bubbles and crashes like there is no tomorrow. They will, if not restrained, destroy the biosphere of this planet. They create their own "facts" and slander all contrary science as "junk science." They employ an eagerly bought army of servile professionals; politicians, scientists, intellectuals, pr experts, media commentators, money managers, lawyers and, yes, even thugs. It pays well to lie and to spin and to legislate in their service.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bipartisanship Rampant

Today, the compromise tax bill's romp through the congress seems to have become unstoppable.

When the two parties and the electorate come together like this, it is possible to infer that they are going to borrow even more money than had previously been contemplated. Even the staunch defenders of the "unborn" are not protesting loudly. After all, the debt is a long term problem and, in the long run, we shall be dead.

In the short term, this bill is good for almost everyone: the unemployed, the middle income taxpayer, the rich who just love to get richer, the businessmen whose main concern is the next quarterly report, the wall street crowd through whose sticky fingers pass the most lucrative transactions, and even me because my modest investments will be made moderately less modest.

So much for the class war, which will just bubble along quietly until the next election campaign is underway. The screams will probably be very audible a year from now.

Is there a point to all this? Yes, it is clear for all to see: it is not lack of information that afflicts us. The fault is in our nature. It will take more than a few deaths and modest ecological disasters to change us in any constructive way.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

We are not all Sheep

In his hastily called press conference today Obama gave a very slick defense of his compromise with the Republicans on taxes.

It has not escaped me that the extra x00 billion dollars we will borrow to pay for it will be just another excuse for attacking important social programs. It is a part of the "starve the beast" strategy that is being used in a long standing and vicious class war against the American people.

Obama is a skillful shepherd but we are not all sheep.

Monday, December 6, 2010

What the Political Parties D0 Best

There are three important USA deficits that urgently need to be reduced: the budget deficit, the trade deficit, and the jobs deficit (we are exporting more jobs than we create internally). In addition, the swollen concentration of wealth needs to be reduced or there will never be enough American demand for goods and services to sustain economic growth. This growth will be needed in order to make the servicing of our huge debt tolerable.

Tax laws can be used in order to correct these monumental problems. What are the two main parties up to? Well there seems to be a "compromise" in the works. There will be a temporary extension of all Bush tax cuts, which the Republicans want, in return for a temporary extension of unemployment benefits and maybe a few other tax breaks for the middle class, which the Democrats want.

The tax cut extensions mean lost revenue. The unemployment benefits mean more expenditures. The tax cuts for the rich mean more money to invest, mainly abroad because that's where the profits are. Tax cuts and benefits for the middle class mean more consumption, largely for imports because we don't make much anymore. So we are still in the mode of increasing the deficits. The Bush tax cuts also accelerated the longer term increase in the concentration of wealth.

What are the two parties up to? Kicking the can down the road. That is what they do best. This is unsustainable!