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"Behind every great fortune lies a great crime."
    -  Balzac

  Capitalism hasn't failed. What has failed is the economic system in place today.
No amount of government taxes, trade barriers, or regulation caused it to fail.
  No investigative reporter, or congressional oversight committee, or regulatory watchdog, exposed the massive fraud and corruption in the financial system today. All of the safeguards put in place to protect the public, and the current system from itself, failed.
  The global financial crisis came to light because what amounts to a falling out amongst thieves. They simply stopped trusting the ability of each other to pay their debts. Once lending stopped, credit creation froze, and the Ponzi-scheme that parallels our financial system broke down.

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 This so-called "Great Recession" isn't cyclical, it's secular and the problems are systemic. We didn't get here by accident. Choices were made by very wealthy and powerful people, thus those choices can be reversed.
 It's important to understand that we aren't fighting Adam Smith's Invisible Hand. We are fighting against the Money Trust.

"We must break the Money Trust or the Money Trust will break us." - Louis D. Brandeis, 1913

 The first thing that one must acknowledge is that we have just witnessed one of the most massive transfers of wealth, from the poor to the rich, in mankind's history. This enormous theft now threatens the very existence of the middle class in America. David DeGraw does an excellent job of adding it all up. Here are a few highlights:

50 million Americans now live in poverty
Half of all American children will need foodstamps at some point in their lives
Hunger rates are now at all-time highs
50 million citizens are now without health care
1.4 million filed for bankruptcy last year, 60% of them because of medical bills
13 million are expected to lose their homes before the crisis is over
Meanwhile, we incarcerate more people in the world than any other nation, and a new prison opens somewhere in America every week.

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 These are merely the highlights.
Make no mistake - this trend was in place even before the financial crisis struck. In 1972 the CPI adjusted wages for the average worker was $738.48 per week. In January 2008 that figure was $598.18.
 Simply put, the average American worker has been getting poorer for a long time. What's more, the past decade was the worst in 70 years, and we are looking at a permanent underclass of former workers.

 The trend isn't limited to America. In 1970, 434 million people were suffering from malnutrition. That number is now 854 million. In 1820, the gap between the richest and poorest country was 3 to 1. Today it is 80 to 1.

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On the other side of the coin, the wealthy have never had it better:

The richest 1% have seen their after-tax income triple since 1980 as a percentage of the nation's total income, while the bottom 90% have seen their share drop 20%
This trend accelerated since 2002.
The top 1% owns 70% of all financial assets, an all-time high
The average CEO makes 500 times the compensation that the average worker does. In 1970 it was only 25 to 1.
The top 400 richest have more wealth than 155 million Americans, and that gap is increasing

 The list goes on and on...

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"The war against working people should be understood to be a real war.... Specifically in the U.S., which happens to have a highly class-conscious business class.... And they have long seen themselves as fighting a bitter class war, except they don’t want anybody else to know about it."
— Noam Chomsky

 So what? Why should you care if our nation has less and less equality?
It's not a matter of class envy. Going all the way back to Aristotle, a strong middle class has been the most important part of a stable and just society. According to Seymour Lipset, and many other economists, a strong middle class is necessary for a stable democracy.
  To put it another way, the decline of the working class in this country is a threat to our Constitutional form of government.

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 What does that mean? If you want a glimpse of the near future of America, look no further than Samson, Alabama.
  Last March, Michael McLendon, a disgruntled worker from Pilgrim's Pride, a chicken processing company, went on a killing rampage that left 11 people dead. While a horrible tragedy in itself, the event was marked by something more unusual - federal Army troops from nearby Fort Rucker were brought into Samson and other surrounding areas to patrol the streets. This fact was largely ignored by the major media.

  The reason why the troops were manning traffic stops in the small Alabama town, in clear violation of the Posse Comitatus Act, was because the local sheriff asked for support from the military. The reason he couldn't handle the situation? Budget cuts in police enforcement.
  What has this got to do with Michael McLendon and Pilgrim's Pride? In 2006, the giant chicken processor teamed up with Wall Street and borrowed hundreds of billions of dollars to acquire a rival company. To pay for the buyout, and the executive bonuses that came with it, it cut the wages of its workers. Soon after it found it couldn't pay for the debt and declared bankruptcy. This led to massive layoffs and devastation of the tax base of the community.

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Note the inverted relationship between marginal tax rates and wealth inequality in the charts above

 So who put together the deal that bankrupted Pilgrim's Pride? Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch. The Merrill banker who made the deal was recently hired by JP Morgan Chase. JP Morgan was behind the financial derivatives that has bankrupted Jefferson County, Alabama over a sewer project.
  Because of the financial disaster regarding the sewer project, sewer charges were raised to more than double the national average. Poor, working residents are being forced to chose between water and heat. Cuts in the sheriff's office are so severe that plans are being made to call in the National Guard for any breakout in civil order.

 If this sounds suspiciously like the scenario of a 3rd world nation in Latin America, it only means that you are paying attention.

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Junk Economics

"For if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance."
— George Orwell

  Last November, Andy Haldane, the Head of the Bank of England, said that the state and the banking system was locked in a "doom loop", and that massive reforms were necessary to break out of it.
  Since then there has been very little reforms on either side of the Atlantic.

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 The biggest obstacles to reforms are a) the false belief that we have a free market, and b) the false belief that there are no other alternatives. These perceptions have been carefully shaped by the Federal Reserve, and other central banks, over several decades.

  First of all, the Federal Reserve virtually controls the field of economics today.

 The Federal Reserve, through its extensive network of consultants, visiting scholars, alumni and staff economists, so thoroughly dominates the field of economics that real criticism of the central bank has become a career liability for members of the profession, an investigation by the Huffington Post has found.
...
  "The Fed has a lock on the economics world," says Joshua Rosner, a Wall Street analyst who correctly called the meltdown. "There is no room for other views, which I guess is why economists got it so wrong."

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."
 - Upton Sinclair

As Barry Ritholtz has pointed out, the field of economics today has become a joke.

 Indeed, the arrogance of economics is that it is the polar opposite of Science. It begins with a few basic assumptions, many of which are obviously untrue; some are demonstrably false.
  No, Mankind is not a rational, profit maximizing actor. No, markets are not perfectly, or even nearly, efficient. No, prices do not reflect the sum total of all that is known about a given market, sector or stock. Those of you who pretend otherwise are fools who deserve to have your 401ks cut in half. That is called just desserts. The problem is that your foolishness helped cut nearly everyone else’s 401ks in half. That is called criminal incompetence.
  Starting from a false premise that fails to understand the most basic behaviors of the Human animal, economics proceeds to build an edifice of cards on a foundation of sand.

 It's hard to believe that a field of study could have drifted so far off course into obvious delusions...unless it was done intentionally. The fact that the wealthy elites have gained so much power and wealth from both the booms and busts of this unstable system is all the motive that you would need.

"The last duty of a central banker is to tell the public the truth."
 - former Federal Reserve Vice Chairman, Alan Blinder

  Albert Edwards, the chief strategist at Societe Generale, has flat out accused the Federal Reserve and Bank of England in complicity in robbing the middle classes of America and Britain.

 while governments preside over economic policies which make the very rich even richer, national consumption needs to be boosted in some way to avoid underconsumption ending in outright deflation. In addition, the middle classes also need to be thrown a sop to disguise the fact they are not benefiting at all from economic growth. This is where central banks have played their pernicious part...
  Now you might argue central banks had no alternative in the face of under-consumption. Or you might conclude there was a deliberate, unspoken collusion among policymakers to rob the middle classes of their rightful share of income growth by throwing them illusionary spending power based on asset price inflation. We will never know.
  But it is clear in my mind that ordinary working people would not have tolerated these extreme redistributive policies had not the UK and US central banks played their supporting role.

 
To over-simplify things, the Federal Reserve has only one tool at its disposal: the printing press. The Fed cheapens money to stimulate the economy, but this encourages speculation, which leads to bubbles.

 The moral is: Cheap money creates bubbles; and bubbles move wealth from workers to rich motherporkers. It's as simple as that. That's why the wealth gap is wider now than anytime since the Gilded Age.

 Lately, the Federal Reserve has become much more open about its collusion with the financial elite. For examples, the Fed's efforts to cover up its role in the bailout of AIG, and its role involving the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers.

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The Big Picture

"A corporation cannot be ethical; its only responsibility is to turn a profit!"
— Milton Friedman

  One of the things missing from the economic discussion today is the lack of the perspective.

 Wall Street has financialized the public domain to inaugurate a neo-feudal tollbooth economy while privatizing the government itself, headed by the Treasury and Federal Reserve. Left untouched is the story how industrial capitalism has succumbed to an insatiable and unsustainable finance capitalism, whose newest "final stage" seems to be a zero-sum game of casino capitalism based on derivative swaps and kindred hedge fund gambling innovations.

 The failure of today's economists extend beyond the fact that they failed to anticipate the recession (as late as January 2008, most economists were predicting we would avoid a recession). Their real failure is that they don't even understand why the recession happened, despite the fact that the man on the street can grasp the idea once he is aware of the facts. It's that sort of failure that cannot be forgiven.

 My favorite contemporary economist with a historical perspective is Michael Hudson. His view of economists today is not complimentary.

the "intellectual engineering" that has turned the economics discipline into a public relations exercise for the rentier classes criticized by the classical economists: landlords, bankers and monopolists. It was largely to counter criticisms of their unearned income and wealth, after all, that the post-classical reaction aimed to limit the conceptual "toolbox" of economists to become so unrealistic, narrow-minded and self-serving to the status quo. It has ended up as an intellectual ploy to distract attention away from the financial and property dynamics that are polarizing our world between debtors and creditors, property owners and renters, while steering politics from democracy to oligarchy.

 Economics today is not just a science without a purpose. Economics, as the professions now exists, is to science what Fox News is to the news media. Just like the purpose of Fox News is to misinform the public, the purpose of economics today is a PR con to justify inefficient and immoral policies that defend the status quo and keep mankind from advancing.

 Manufacturing and industry, the great drivers of the American middle class for over 100 years, didn't die by accident. There was a deliberate decision made in the late 1970's to favor finance over industry.
 We have arrived at this point because choices were made. One of those choices made by economists was to turn their backs on the moral values of classical economics. This was reflected by political ideology in a certain segment of society.

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  For instance, I noticed Glen Beck had this to say at the CPAC.

 He then read disapprovingly the Theodore Roosevelt quote that "we grudge no man a fortune in civil life if it is honorably obtained and well used...so long as the gaining represents benefit to the community."
  "Is this what the Republican Party stands for?" Beck demanded. He was answered with boos and cries of "no!"

 It may seem ironic that a group well versed on religion, and supporting laws regulating practices that they consider immoral, would never consider extending their morality to the accumulation of great wealth and power. Their outrage appears limited to immoral acts that don't actually effect them.
  Why should honor and benefit to a person's community be excluded from the discussion of economics and moral behavior in general? Also, isn't this strange concept of separating honor and morality from economics at least part of the reason why we are in this situation?

"We're moving to an oligopolistic situation." - Kenneth Guenther, Independent Community Bankers of America, 1999

   It should be noted that the field of economics wasn't always like this. In fact, its original purpose was enhancing the human condition.

What have been lost are the Progressive Era’s two great reforms. First, minimizing the economy’s free lunch of unearned income (e.g., monopolistic privilege and privatization of the public domain in contrast to one’s own labor and enterprise) by taxing absentee property rent and asset-price ("capital") gains, keeping natural monopolies in the public domain, and anti-trust regulation. The aim of progressive economic justice was to prevent exploitation – e.g., charging more than the technologically necessary costs of production and reasonable profits warranted.
  A second Progressive Era aim was to steer the financial sector so as to fund capital formation...Today’s bank credit has become decoupled from capital formation, taking the form mainly of mortgage credit (80%), and loans secured by corporate stock (for mergers, acquisitions and corporate raids) as well as for speculation. The effect is to spur asset-price inflation on credit, in ways that benefit the few at the expense of the economy at large.

 The current economic system is sick. It's been poisoned with self-serving ideology from top to bottom. It's needs radical and systemic reforms, not tinkering within the current system (like those proposed so far).
  This will not happen within the current political and economic system because the wealthy elite do not want it to happen.

 However, the system was constructed by choices that were made. It can be changed in the same way the progressives changed it a century ago, but it requires a mass movement. It requires people to understand that their enemies aren't working people from other cities, nations, races, religions, or anyone who collects a paycheck. Their enemies are those of the powerful and wealthy elite who rigged the current system.

[Update: Because I can't say it better...]

Originally posted to gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 09:04 AM PST.

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    by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 09:04:05 AM PST

  •  Missing a key point (24+ / 0-)

    and that is that efficiency and technology have made the industrial worker (ie the backbone of our famous middle class) obsolete.  This has lead to the owners of the capital from reaping all the gains (since they no longer have workers to deal with) and has greatly skewed the wealth distribution.  The middle class as we know it was an invention of industrialization and with the demise of labor intensive industry (and that is global), the middle class will suffer without policies designed to spread the benefits of technology more equitably.

    •  High unemployment is a bit of a paradox (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron

      You would think if we need less workers that would mean we are producing more with less workers.  And greater productivity should be good for all.

      Instead high unemployment universally accepted as bad for society.

    •  Pure Wall Street bullshit talking point IMHO. (36+ / 0-)

      Commenter has no shame.

      Here's what happened (and spare me the "productivity" excuse, the jobs went ELSEWHERE; productivity accounts for only a small part of this reality):

      "The US is not a viable concern anymore – Duncan"

      Last year the US economy shrank by 2.4 per cent. But the budget deficit was 10 per cent of GDP. Without that deficit spending, the economy would have shrunk by at least 12 per cent, i.e. 2 per cent plus 10 per cent. Even after that deficit spending, the unemployment rate is 10 per cent, interest rates are zero, and central banks around the world are printing enormous amounts of paper money to prevent economic collapse. This policy response is supporting the global economy but it has not even targeted the structural flaws responsible for the crisis.

      The point being: the world’s largest economy and engine of global economic growth — the United States — is simply not a viable concern any more. As Duncan explained it:

      The country is de-industrializing because wages in the US are up to 40 times higher than those in developing countries like China. Therefore, the United States makes very little that the rest of the world cannot buy somewhere else much more cheaply.

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 09:25:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  How many times do I have to post this Bob (10+ / 0-)

        goodsvip19922007

        This graph clearly shows that industrial production (measured in units of stuff we make, not value) is up dramatically (over 50%) since 1992, while the amount of labor required to make that stuff was essentially flat.  Even during the 90's "boom", industrial production was up almost 50% while manufacuring jobs were only up 10%.  The fact is it isn't outsourcing that is killing US jobs, it is technology/efficiency/robotics.  You simply don't read in the paper when a company buys a $1 million machine that replaces 40 workers, but you do if a company moves its operations to another country.  

        You can stick you head in the sand about the technology issue all you want, but you are gonna find out the hard way that no amount of tariffs or "fair trade" is going to bring any of those jobs back.

        •  So if we don't need the jobs anymore (5+ / 0-)

          why aren't are lives better?

          It would seem that if we need less labor to live that should be a good thing.

        •  so you (10+ / 0-)

          so you are saying we are even more screwed.

          Personally i dont agree with you as tech creates entire new opportunities and sectors as we expand into areas of manufacturing and so forth that were never though possible before.  Problem is, we have/are outsourcing our tech industry too.

          But if indeed you are correct, better load up the guns and canned beans cause this wont end well. 72% of americans have a high school education or less.

          (regarding the bank mess) They want to cure the patient but not deal with the disease.

          by dark daze on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 09:43:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Like I said, shameless Wall Street bullshit ... (14+ / 0-)

          ...obfuscating a much harsher reality.

          Even our GDP's contorted to accommodate this harsh reality! (And, that's according to the folks in our government that create the damn numbers in the first place!) You should read NY Times reporter Louis Uchitelle's coverage of this and start reflecting those truths in your otherwise-distorted misinformation.

          You are hiding behind a lie supported by inherently inaccurate/misdirecting numbers...created to support "the lie"... "What We Think We 'Know' About Our Economy."

          "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

          by bobswern on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 09:55:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I love how you link to yourself (4+ / 0-)
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            Sparhawk, Winnie, Dauphin, Quicklund

            Seriously, you know as well as everyone else here that the "error" in GDP as cited by the article your catchy headline links to is only at most .2%.  That's it, an error of .2%.  

            And how is my display of facts (in easy to read graph form) Wall Street bullshit?  You can deny it with your lack of facts and data all you want, but the numbers do not lie.  We now produce more stuff with far less people, simple fact.  The more you deny it, the further we will ever be from a solution that enables the middle class to benefit from these productivity increases.

            •  GDP calculations are nothing short of a travesty (11+ / 0-)

              ...unto themselves.

              "Error of .2%???" You must be kidding me, right?

              Q3 '09 GDP...originally stated at 3.5% and then adjusted downward to 2.2%! Two-tenths of a percent my ass.

              The first release of the nos., inherently, may be manipulated anyway the gov't wishes. It's the release that gets all the press, too. But, it's published far too early for its own good, and you know this, yourself. It's a p.r. scam writ large.

              The unemployment numbers, with their outrageous "annual benchmark revisions" are, lately, even more absurd.

              You justify virtually all of your commentary on inherently erroneous statistics, perpetuated by a spin machine which does a great deal to further that misinformation, too.

              The realities on Main Street deserve better coverage than that, especially in this community! It's what's real, and top-of-mind in the voting public, as well.

              To distort these truths is to misdirect the Democratic Party's efforts, IMHO.

              It is time for REALITY to drive our party's meme...NOT convoluted, acknowledged-to-be-erroneous, quantitative bullshit!

              "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

              by bobswern on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:07:04 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The TRUTH is.... (10+ / 0-)

                ...by the time the "second revision" of the previous quarter's GDP numbers are published, with barely an acknowledgement in the MSM, the next quarter's totally bullshit first-draft numbers come out, repeating the bullshit cycle all over again.

                Like I said, it's a freakin' travesty. And, in times like this, it does little more than obfuscate the immense suffering going on in our society RIGHT NOW.

                It is shameful! To tout these numbers, and to accept/post them as fact, is inexcusable.

                "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

                by bobswern on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:10:07 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  The idiots on Main Street (5+ / 0-)

                  apparently cannot read in your world, huh?  The numbers are reported each time and the revisions to the previous quarters are in the opening paragraph and not even buried in the report.  It doesn't take a whole lot of intelligence to find them if you want.  But more to the point, who cares?  Why does average Joe on Main Street even care what the GDP for the quarter was?  

                  And by the way, you are wrong, the revisions are printed in the months following the initial report and well before the next quarter's report comes out.  For instance the first revision to Q4 comes out this Friday, while the Q1 numbers won't print until mid-late April.  Please get your facts straight before ranting in the future, too many people in this community look to you for economic information for you to not be accurate.

                  •  Come on (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    poxonyou, bigchin, Hens Teeth

                    The numbers are reported each time and the revisions to the previous quarters are in the opening paragraph and not even buried in the report.

                    You know perfectly well that this isn't true. The revisions never get the kind of headlines that the first report does. Just because you and I notice them only means that we are econo-geeks and need to get a real life. Most people never see the revisions.
                      Even more importantly the revisions don't matter to Wall Street.

                    "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

                    by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 06:10:33 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Not all the stats are bad (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Meteor Blades, Winnie, Quicklund

                and you dismissing all stats and conducting your entire economic analysis through what you feel in your heart is better?  

                Yes, GDP is revised all the time, but the dairy of yours you linked to was about the report that GDP is overstated through a calculation of import components and that error was .2%.  Revisions and error are two entirely different things as you learn on day 1 of stats.  Since GDP does come out early, much of the last month is estimated and thus the large potential for revisions, but the end number is pretty darn accurate as is the direction.  Who really cares what the first number is anyways (other than for direction), as I am not sure it makes a difference in anyone's lives besides economists and day-traders.

                As for the unemployment statistics, they are very accurate.  What you referenced again was the establishment survey, which is not the "unemployment statistics", but the large firm biased job creation (loss) survey of businesses.  It has huge error due to both response issues and with the birth/death of business issue.  I have been critical of the birth/death adjustment in the past as well and to be fair, the benchmark revisions have gone both ways (ie they don't always revise jobs down).  The fact is simple, there is going to be a lot of error (the statistical definition) on any attempt to county roughly 130,000,000 jobs down to the thousands.

                This isn't about spin Bob, it is about using the statistics within their error to explain what is currently going on in the economy (ie right now we are in a shallow recovery or bounce off a bottom) without allowing feelings to ruin analysis.

                •  I beg to differ (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  poxonyou, bigchin

                  As for the unemployment statistics, they are very accurate.

                   It was only a few weeks ago that the BLS revised employment numbers, and 1.3 MILLION jobs vanished. That's far too many to just dismiss.

                  "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

                  by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 06:05:42 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  That's not exactly right (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              shpilk, bigchin

              You can deny it with your lack of facts and data all you want, but the numbers do not lie.

              If both sides have facts and data then it comes down to a matter of debate. Your graph, while impressive, doesn't necessarily tell the whole story.

              "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

              by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 06:03:10 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  I notice you haven't addressed the original (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sparhawk, Quicklund

            graph: Does the US or does the US not produce a greater amount of manufactured goods per worker?

            Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

            by Dauphin on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:11:20 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The concept of "productivity" is totally... (9+ / 0-)
              ...undermined by the recent acknowledgements (read Uchitelle's work in the NY Times) of those that actually generate the numbers in our government relating to the amount of PARTS OUTSOURCING/OFFSHORING that occurs in our manufacturing sector, today. So, inherently, as the GDP is now acknowledged to be much more severely contorted than the other commenter will even acknowledge, so are the manufacturing statistics and related, erroneous claims of "productivity."

              Again, this is now quite broadly acknowledged within our own government, too!

              See this from Louis Uchitelle at the NY Times for more, quite precise detail: "Economists Seek to Fix a Defect in Data That Overstates the Nation's Vigor." (IMHO, it comprehensively answers the matter at hand.)


              Economists Seek to Fix a Defect in Data That Overstates the Nation's Vigor
              By LOUIS UCHITELLE
              Published Online: November 8, 2009      In Print: November 9, 2009

              WASHINGTON -- A widening gap between data and reality is distorting the government's picture of the country's economic health, overstating growth and productivity in ways that could affect the political debate on issues like trade, wages and job creation.

              The shortcomings of the data-gathering system came through loud and clear here Friday and Saturday at a first-of-its-kind gathering of economists from academia and government determined to come up with a more accurate statistical picture.

              --SNIP--

              "What we are measuring as productivity gains may in fact be changes in trade," said William Alterman, assistant commissioner for international prices at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

              --SNIP--

              Much of the conference was devoted to an analysis of the gap between existing data and reality, and ways to close that gap.

              SEE these two links for much more detail and many more links:

              "Should Dems Curb Their Enthusiasm Re: Friday's Big GDP Nos.?"

              "Why Today's 'Great Q4 '09 G.D.P. Report' Is A Travesty"

              "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

              by bobswern on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:27:50 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  .2% (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Winnie, Dauphin, Quicklund

                That is your .2% Bob.  Why do you always lead with that article and then leave off the part where the economists state that AT MOST the error is .2%.

                And by the way, that "defect" in reporting you cite has absolutely nothing to do with industrial production, which only measures actual output at US factories (ie not value like GDP).

                •  .2% MoE off of the 2ND REVISION... (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  jimreyn, bigchin, Dirtandiron, thethinveil

                  ...to the numbers...which occurs a couple of months after the totally bogus first-draft numbers receive all of the publicity, and generate all of the spin which undermines the true extent of the suffering going on in and around Main Street, today!

                  And, shortly after the more accurate--but still faulty--2nd revision comes out, which receives little notice, the process starts ALL OVER AGAIN with the publishing of the first-draft numbers for the current quarter.

                  People barely follow the first-draft numbers, let alone the much, much more quietly announced "revisions." And, by then, AGAIN, the bullshit machine  repeats the same misinformation process for the next quarter, too!

                  So, again, all I have to do is reference your posts from the first-draft releases of the previous couple of quarters GDP results to fully demonstrate how you--and others--hype this misinformation to this community.

                  It's downright SHAMEFUL.

                  Here's yet another report about this ongoing travesty: "GDP is a questionable measure of economic growth."

                  "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

                  by bobswern on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:40:55 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  How does reporting GDP undermine suffering? (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Winnie, Dauphin, Quicklund

                    You simply have not made that connection.  Every day you turn the news on or open a newspaper there are stories about the suffering of Main Street.  I do not see how reporting GDP (and its revisions) in any way diminishes that suffering.

                •  GDP (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  bigchin

                  which only measures actual output at US factories (ie not value like GDP).

                  GDP is a measurement of consumption, not production.

                  "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

                  by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 06:12:26 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  100% false (0+ / 0-)

                    The gross domestic product (GDP) or gross domestic income (GDI) is a basic measure of a country's overall economic output. It is the market value of all final goods and services made within the borders of a country in a year.

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                    by Sparhawk on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 08:38:27 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You'll have to do better than that (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Sparhawk, bigchin

                      I suggest you look into the way that the GDP is actually calculated.
                       No, I'm not being coy. I'm serious.

                      "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

                      by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 09:07:38 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I'm being serious as well (0+ / 0-)

                        GDP can be determined in three ways, all of which should in principle give the same result. They are the product (or output) approach, the income approach, and the expenditure approach. The most direct of the three is the product approach, which sums the outputs of every class of enterprise to arrive at the total. The expenditure approach works on the principle that all of the product must be bought by somebody, therefore the value of the total product must be equal to people's total expenditures in buying things. The income approach works on the principle that the incomes of the productive factors ("producers," colloquially) must be equal to the value of their product, and determines GDP by finding the sum of all producers' incomes.

                        There are multiple methods, different methods each have their issues, but they are all fundamentally an attempt to measure output: the consumption measure (expenditure approach) is only used as a proxy for output. The definition of GDP is output, not consumption.

                        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                        by Sparhawk on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 09:11:19 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

              •  You always pass over the critical paragraph (11+ / 0-)

                Here is the paragraph from that same NY Times article you never quote when you cite your prior diary:

                The statistical distortions can be significant. At worst, the gross domestic product would have risen at only a 3.3 percent annual rate in the third quarter instead of the 3.5 percent actually reported

                SilverOz is correct.  The defect you constantly cite to means the GDP might be overstated by a whopping 0.2%.

                There is simply no need for your insulting tone to SilverOz.  I have tipped and recc'd this diary for its discussion of how class warfare works.  Personally I have no doubt whatsoever that labor arbitrage plays a huge role in that warfare.  Even Paul Krugman now admits that most individuals in a country can be made worse off by this type of "free trade" in which the owners pocket the entire difference in profit by way of efficiency.

                Nevertheless, SilverOz is also correct.  We still manufacture about 23% of the world's goods, if memory serves correctly, but we do it with about half the people we used to.  Have you ever seen the History channel series about how stuff is made?  How often do you see a football field sized manufacturing floor, and there's only one or two employees there -- monitoring the computer inputs.  The rest of the process is all mechanized.

                "When the going gets tough, the tough get 'too big to fail'."

                by New Deal democrat on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:41:00 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Now you're totally deceiving the audience! (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  shpilk, Dirtandiron, TimmyB
                  The final, published, 2nd revision of the Q3 GDP was 2.2%! NOT 3.3%, as you try to posit here!

                  The reality is the numbers are released (too early) to hype a myth. You might as well throw Main Street under the rug, for all intents and purposes.

                  And, to sit here and talk about 3.3% versus 3.5%, when you KNOW the final number was 2.2%, is beyond the pale!

                  A .2% MoE on 2.2% GDP--wherein it's not even enough to produce significant job growth--is far different then a .2% MoE on 3.5% GDP.

                  And, the 2nd revision didn't appear--and then only in a minor "correction" story--until just a few weeks before the entire bullshit p.r. process for the next quarter's GDP was about to commence!

                  Propaganda: Rinse. Repeat.

                  But, the truly sad thing here is: you already know this!

                  Shame on you!

                  "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

                  by bobswern on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:51:59 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Apples and oranges, Bob. You need to learn (5+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Winnie, Dauphin, Quicklund, dotdot, SilverOz

                    how to read and analyze numbers.

                    There are two different issues at play w/r/t GDP.

                    The first is the possible overstatement by as much as 0.2% of GDP due to components produced overseas.

                    The second, entirely different matter is the subject of revisions.  The first number reported in just about any government statistic is based on sampling only a part of the data -- or else certain components of the data haven't been reported yet, and so need to be estimated.  Jobs data each month fall into the first category (e.g., January's ( - 11,000) report was probably based on reviewed only 1/3 of the survey results).  GDP is an example of the second.  We don't have all of the necesary components of the data at the time of the first report - things like inventory gains or reductions - and so there has to be an estimate.

                    We could either wait 3 or more additional months to get one, final number, or we can get initial estimates almost immediately so we don't have to wait.  And revisions go both ways. For example, iirc, 8 of the last 10 first reports of payroll numbers have been revised to the better.

                    "When the going gets tough, the tough get 'too big to fail'."

                    by New Deal democrat on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:59:46 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Now you're retreating to faux condescension... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Dirtandiron

                      ...of course it's a combination of truths at work here.

                      But, tell me, during the 6-8 week period every quarter (13-week period), how do the bogus GDP numbers affect:

                      1.) ecomomist's sentiments

                      2.) opinion leader's sentiments

                      3.) actions in our government

                      4.) the MSM reactions/reportage

                      5.) ultimate result (throwing Main Street under the bus, because not enough action is being taken by our government to ease the pain)

                      So, it's okay, in your mindset, to totally misinform EVERYONE about the actual state of the economy for the better part of every quarter.

                      And, please, spare me the bullshit condescension, in the process of addressing my comments. Of course, ultimately, after nobody's paying attention (people barely pay attention to the intial, totally bogus numbers, and they're the ones receiving all the hype), the numbers are significantly (frequently, that's the case) "revised" downward to better reflect the truth.

                      So, what's the point of your EXTREMELY weak argument here?

                      We are being knowingly misinformed regarding the state of our economy. THAT is the "takeaway."

                      The OBVIOUS ANSWER is to NOT RELEASE THE DAMN NUMBERS until they bear some semblance of REALITY!

                      What a concept, huh?

                      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

                      by bobswern on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:07:38 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  There is no sane argument to made in this... (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        shpilk

                        ...thread against the TRUTHS that I present.

                        You cannot say, on the one hand, that you support Main Street, while simultaneously supporting the methodology that's in place to misinform just about EVERYONE about the true state of our economy.

                        It just does NOT flush.

                        I've provide a 360-degree set of irrefutable facts here. Give it up...

                        "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

                        by bobswern on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:10:43 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  If we wait too long to release the numbers, (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Winnie, Dauphin, bobswern

                        they don't do much good any more.

                        Would you like it if we waited 6 months to report the unemployment rate?  Of course not.  Even though the initial report might be off, it is close enough, especially if we are watching the trend, to make some informed policy decisions.

                        Again, the revisions go both ways.  Early on in the recession, the jobs numbers were all being revised downward.  Then as time went on, they were almost all getting revised upward.

                        I'm sorry you don't like my attitude, but if you didn't insult people about numbers and statistics that, frankly, you have demonstrated a problem analyzing, there wouldn't be a need to respond.

                        "When the going gets tough, the tough get 'too big to fail'."

                        by New Deal democrat on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:13:32 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  There you go again... (4+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          shpilk, chuckvw, xaxado, thethinveil
                          ...with the bullshit.

                          The fact remains that: a.) the entire concept of job gains in November is highly suspect; b.) when numbers relating to GDP are off by more than 50% from the end result, perhaps it's best not to even release them, at all.

                          However, when it's widely acknowledged that the numbers--especially the first draft nos.--are extremely flawed, they shouldn't be released, at all. They paint a false picture and actually may do much more harm than releasing nothing until they bear some semblance of reality.

                          Sorry, it's just shameful to hype stats when the underlying problems with those statistics are fully known by those that hype them.

                          Virtually all of the "positive" jobs nos. and GDP nos. that have been released in the past few months share this trait. Are things getting better? Not really. What we're witnessing is more akin to a flatline, sideways movement. But, those that are hyping the nos. as an "improvement" are ignoring the bigger truths.

                          Then again, if we wait long enough...perhaps into the next four-year presidential term, things will improve significantly. But there's a tremendous amount of pain ahead, and too few in this community are addressing that, opting for a meme that has little bearing in the real world...and in the voting population, too.

                          This IS a political blog...

                          "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

                          by bobswern on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 02:30:04 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  This IS a political blog ... (0+ / 0-)

                            ... that is supposed to be reality based.

                            On the economic releases, GDP of 2.3% followed by GDP of 5.8% is flatlining?

                            Jobless claims of 500,000 going down to 480,000 or even 460,000 or lower is flatlining?

                            Real retail sales increasing at a rate in excess of 4% a year is flatlining?

                            Industrial production increasing at a rate of 10% a year is flatlining?

                            Monthly jobs reports going from (- 200,000)/month to essentially 0 is flatlining?

                            Retail employment going from negative to positive for two of the last three months is flatlining?

                            Like I have said upthread, you have no standing to insult people when your understanding of the numbers is so bad.

                            "When the going gets tough, the tough get 'too big to fail'."

                            by New Deal democrat on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 04:35:01 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You're very good at ad hominems... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Kharafina
                            ...but the reality is much more along the lines of DeGray's article, as I noted in a diary a few days ago, and as gjohnsit notes in THIS diary.

                            The things are getting better meme is not resonating, because the pain on Main Street is increasing.

                            Your stats ignore MANY obvious, bigger realities...and one need look no further than THIS diary to understand that.

                            You can't have it both ways...we have crossed a threshold in our society (again, look no further than the very diary in which we're commenting now).

                            Spare me the "you don't understand the numbers" bullshit.

                            The truth is, you ignore the much more important numbers. Period.

                            Record poverty. Record foreclosures. Record amounts of people on unemployment for record periods of time. Record hunger. Record deficits. Near-record redistribution of wealth. And, you want to talk about a 20,000-job drop as being significant? Here's significant: first-time unemployment claims ROSE last week.

                            What a crock of crap.

                            But, hey, you have Meteor Blades buying into. But, that no longer matters, quite frankly.

                            There's an overwhelming truth here...at least for those of us that wish to confront inconvenient realities.

                            This is far more than a "Gilded Recovery." Far, far worse than that...

                            "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

                            by bobswern on Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 08:47:37 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  ...but rather pathetic at focusing upon REALITY. (0+ / 0-)
                            Consumer Confidence in U.S. Falls More Than Forecast (Update2)

                            So, cherry-pick the "good" numbers here, Buck-o.

                            Then we'll do a deeper dive on their accuracy...which, I guarantee you, is quite shaky, at best.

                            "Seasonally-adjusted increase" in real estate prices is my favorite one. (As long as you don't mention the millions of properties that are even listed in inventory within the marketplace.)

                            It's a sad, sad joke...the marketplace manipulation and misinformation is over the top...

                            "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

                            by bobswern on Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 09:04:25 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

              •  That's not what I asked. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sparhawk

                I requested production-per-worker, is possible in physical terms per sector, not GDP numbers with the well-known distortion of 0.2% (such a lot, really).

                Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

                by Dauphin on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 02:22:05 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Technology my ass. (39+ / 0-)

          I'm one of a handful of people left in NYC who do typesetting and page-makeup. Or used to. My largest money-maker for the last 6 years, I just discovered, is giving everything for their 2010-2012 purchase cycle over to India.

          There used to be a thousand or three of us in New York, as recently as 5 years ago. But now, every big job is sent to India where they are getting paid peanuts. Everybody I know is now making about a half or less of what they used to make, in another field, if they are making anything at all.

          There have been no great technological innovations in my field in the last 15 years.

          So these American companies are all reporting greatly improved efficiencies, but the only efficiency is that the people who made these companies profit for decades have now been shit-canned. Technology had nothing to do with it.

          Offshoring had everything to do with it.

          We can also point out that the Federal, State, and City tax revenues have also declined as a result of this corporate destruction of an entire job field.

          What we need is an offshoring labor tax equal to the value of salaries paid offshore. For starters.

          Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

          by Jim P on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:31:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Wow. You really are one of the few holdouts. (10+ / 0-)

            I was a NYC (Ad Alley) typesetter from '76 to '87. I saw the final progression to digital phototypesetting before the Apple Laserwriter drove the preliminary nail in the coffin around '86.

            Merganthaler VIP. Computergraphic Quadex. CCI.

            There were dozens and dozens of typesetting shops with good pay. And then within a very few number of years -- POOF! -- nearly all gone. Not to India, but taken in-house to the ad agencies with the advent of desktop publishing.

            My favorite time was working along side Ed Benguiat at Photoletter, Inc in the Alphabet Lab, churning out new typefaces for ITC. Those were the glory days.

            Pass a good HCR bill, not just a bipartisan one.

            by DavidHeart on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:53:04 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The amazing thing is that just ... (12+ / 0-)

              ...10 years before you started, many places were still using hot lead in their typesetting operations. I have a small burn scar on my right hand because, as a sweep-up guy, age 14, at a local newspaper, I got a little too close to the lead melter for the Linotype machine. The guy who ran that noisy beast was about 70, and his hands were covered with burn scars.

              I refuse to accept "no can do" as a proper slogan for progressives.

              by Meteor Blades on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:14:09 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  When I started lead was just beginning (7+ / 0-)

                to be replaced by the IBM composer and tape-reader computerized typesetting. But I was through a lot of hot lead shops in my role as printer's devil before that. There was a great deal of respectful treatment for typesetters, as it seems a really good one could aim a squirt of lead to hit a good 20 feet away.

                For the record, when I'm working now, I make about $1 an hour less than I made in 1988. And then I'd get time-and-a-half, with doubletime past 60 hours or Sunday work. Now, the companies make you lie about your hours if you go to overtime, make you put it in the next bill as regular hours.

                This, of course, is against the law, but nobody had ever turned anybody in for this, because you'd be blacklisted. (And they did, and do, blacklist.)

                Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

                by Jim P on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:33:56 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I worked as a printer for year or so before ... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Jim P, BYw

                  ...I moved to journalism. It was early photo-typesetting, a step up from IBM, but still with tape-readers. We worked three consecutive 13-hour shifts a week and then got four days off.

                  When you say $1 an hour less, is that inflation-adjusted, or do you mean nominal dollars?

                  I refuse to accept "no can do" as a proper slogan for progressives.

                  by Meteor Blades on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:39:27 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Nominal dollars. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    shpilk, xaxado

                    I never did college, so no journalism for me. My real goal in taking the job inthe first place was I wanted to be Thomas Paine. My employer would let me print propaganda pieces which I would paste up on walls and hand out on street corners with my friends.

                    For instance, a friend of mine worked for a place which brought in napalmed Vietnamese children for plastic surgery. This was a secret agreement a Quaker organization had cobbled together with the White House. She'd give me the "before" photos which would then find themselves all over town with "Napalm. How does it feel?" headlines.

                    Being a typesetter was, like your experience, very intense and precise work followed by time off.

                    I still want to be Thomas Paine, I must admit.

                    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

                    by Jim P on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:57:52 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Damn! I knew it! (0+ / 0-)
                I spent over a decade moonlighting at night (doing my agency stuff during the day, producing it at night in-between live jobs) in a fairly large type shop doing high-end work (Fortune 500 annual reports, major packaging assignments for co's like IBM, General Foods, PepsiCo, etc.) with a whole bunch of old hot lead folks!

                And, we all crashed and burned in the late 80's/early 90's with the increased graphics capabilities of the Mac being available to all.

                (It's like I could almost sense it through the comment exchanges. LOL!)

                "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

                by bobswern on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 12:06:14 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Ah. Quadex. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              shpilk, DavidHeart

              There was a system! ("Compugraphic" btw) I so miss text programming. It was entertainment for me as much as work.

              We had O&M, H&K, and a few other of the largest ad agencies. They were all coked up, man. But their constant chaos and state of panic sure made me a lot of overtime!

              I've survived this long only because I'm one of the best what ever was at it. I remember when Benguiat was all the rage, especially with advertisers, for a time. Hey, if you know anyone who needs a catalogue, a text book, ... I'm paying commissions.

              Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

              by Jim P on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:27:20 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  No Shit! (4+ / 0-)

            Shipping what used to be good paying jobs overseas is what got us into this mess in the first place.

            By allowing U.S companies to ship jobs to China, where there are no unions, no pollution controls, and few humam rights, we are engaged in a race to the botton of the economic ladder.  Granted, the Walton Family has done quite well selling Chinese made stuff at their Wall-Mart stores, but the people who used to make the same stuff in America were screwed.  And our country is screwed when there are fewer workers paying taxes.

            Prices don't go down when jobs are shipped overseas.  Instead, profit margins for the owners go up, while real America goes into the shitter.  But as the diary states, the propaganda-econs bullshit us by claiming that shipping jobs to China helps us all.  These are lies of course, but both the Dems and GOP do nothing while our country bleeds jobs.                    

          •  Whats funny too is that they probably have to (0+ / 0-)

            2 or 3 people to do the work of one over here, and they will do a lower quality job, as well.

            "the work goes on, the cause endures .. "

            by shpilk on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:40:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  SilverOz peddles the usual horse-crap (16+ / 0-)

          Yes, the mode of manufacturing has changed radically - I know about, I used to write about it when spindle speeds of machines tools changed from around 5,000 rpm in the 1960s-1970s to 50,000 rpm then 120,000 rpm in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

          But to extend that fact to the assertion that "industrial worker [is] obsolete" is so God-damned wrong and misleading, you ought be hung from a gibbet and let the ravens peck your eyes out. It's that serious a sin. At the very least, confined to the Eight Bolgia in Dante's Eight Circle of Hell.

          Just look at the nearly $2 trillion in infrastructure repairs identified by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Why should any of the pumps, rails, steel, cables, wires, process controls, valves, and other industrial goods needed to effect those repairs not be made here? Why import them? The only reason - and this is the truth your are helping obscure - is that corporate managers would rather outsource the child labor, and environmental destruction, and disregard for workers' lives and safety that would otherwise be forced to respect under existing U.S. laws and regulations.

          And that $2 trillion needed is just to repair what has already been built. That $2 trillion, in other words, is the amount that the U.S. economy has been unable to re-invest in itself just to keep functioning properly, thanks to the nonsense economic theories people like you peddle.

          And what about new infrastructure? Why should any part of a wind turbine or solar array not be made here?

          Just work up a bill of materials for any big infrastructure program to transform the economy of the United States. You're looking at, minimally, needing triple the amount of steel the U.S. produces annually. Then there's the concrete, the copper, the aluminum, the glass, the welding supplies and equipment, and on and on and on.

          What about clothes and footwear. Import penetration is nearly 100 percent, and has been since the later 1980s. In other words, the United States is an economy unable to clothe itself without resorting to exploiting the "cheap' labor of other countries. Do Americans no longer need clothes and shoes? Of course they do - and why not make they here? Again, the only reason is that corporate managers would rather outsource the child labor, and environmental destruction, and disregard for workers' lives and safety that would otherwise be forced to respect under existing U.S. laws and regulations.

          SilverOz has NO idea how the real economy functions, yet he or she insists on poisoning the public discourse with their nonsense.

          There is an extremely important article just posted to the Washington Monthly website, by Barry C. Lynn, director of the Markets, Enterprise, and Resiliency Initiative at the New America Foundation, and Phillip Longman, senior fellow at NAF, Who Broke America’s Jobs Machine? Why creeping consolidation is crushing American livelihoods.

          The problem Lynn and Longman identify is the cessation of enforcing anti-trust laws, which allowed a massive concentration of industries and business sectors. This in turn, created an economic environment virulently hostile to small companies and businesses. And guess who creates most of the jobs in the U.S. economy?

          Moreover, recent Labor Department statistics show that the loss of jobs here at home, be it the result of sudden economic crashes or technological progress or trade liberalization, does not appear to be our main problem at all. Though few people realize it, the rate of job destruction in the private sector is now 20 percent lower than it was in the late ’90s, when managers at America’s corporations embraced outsourcing and downsizing with an often manic intensity. Rather, the lack of net job growth over the last decade is due mainly to the creation of fewer new jobs. As recent Labor Department statistics show, even during the peak years of the housing boom, job creation by existing businesses was 14 percent lower than it was in the late ’90s.

          A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

          by NBBooks on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:28:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You have never been inside a modern manufacturing (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sparhawk, dotdot, skymutt

            plant have you?  Lots of machines and equipment and very few people.  It is a simple fact, modern manufacturing is not labor intensive.  And you solution is almost laughable.  Yes, let's ban all imports and make everything here ourselves, thus not only killing all of our export industries, but also creating a massive inflation that will devastate the poor and working class even more.  Jobs aren't being created because companies do not need people to make things anymore, not because of consolidation.

            •  Oz i'm with you (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sparhawk, skymutt

              although I think it's been a combination of factors. I worked on assembly lines for years. Each year the technology would get better and machines would go from 4-5 operators down to 1-2 over the course of a few years. People just have no idea at how many jobs were lost due to technology and automation.

              "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." Mark Twain

              by dotdot on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 12:04:41 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  C'mon - you know it depends on the industry (12+ / 0-)

              and you're ignoring a number of points and making a number of assumptions.

              Auto assembly plants in North America still require about 30 man-hours per vehicles, compares to 44 in 1989 when MIT did its study of the world auto industry. Meat processing and packing has seen even less change in labor intensity. Clothing and footwear has also, and you refuse to address the issues of regulatory arbitrage that lies at the base of the near-extinction of those industries in the U.S.

              You peddle the "neo-liberal" line that curtailing imports will lead to a trade war and retaliation that will lower our exports. Yeah, under the stupidity of people like you, that's what would happen. But get rid of GATT and WTO and re-negotiate trade agreements based on real economic development, such as providing drinkable water to the nearly 4 billion people that don't have it now, and there will be plenty of exporting going on. Under such new trade policies, developing countries will start making the industrial goods and infrastructure components they actually need, instead of producing for export the trinkets and plastic junk for American consumerism of cheap schlock.  

              A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

              by NBBooks on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 12:10:46 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  That's one third in 20 years (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sparhawk

                That is actually pretty impressive, especially since I am guessing union work rules probably kept that number elevated until recently.  But go to the engine plant in Dundee, MI sometime.  They have about 200 workers there to make engines for I think it is 4 different companies and every worker there has to have at least an associate degree.  Almost the entire place is automated but for the beginning (ie loading) and the finishing of the products.  It is quite amazing.

                •  Yes, it's very impressive (7+ / 0-)

                  I'm NOT denying that there have been impressive gains in industrial productivity. What I'm pointing to - and the New America Foundation in the article in Washington Monthly is pointing to - is that it is EXTREMELY MISLEADING to suggest that improvements in manufacturing technology are the sole cause of the loss of manufacturing jobs. It is the insanity of the type that ruled for the past 29 years to argue that we don't need manufacturing jobs, or that manufacturing jobs are obsolete, or that manufacturing jobs are not coming back. By insanity, I mean such idiots as Geo. H. W. Bush Sr's economic adviser, Michael Boskin, who said "It doesn't matter if we produce computer chips or potato chips." Boskin's - and yours - is the dominant view, the "neo-liberal" or laissez faire economics, that has ruled for the past three decades, and which has wrecked the industrial base, destroyed the working class, and is now destroying the middle class.

                  Your assumptions are entirely in line with the ruling paradigm of economic "neo-liberalism." For example your assumption that any country that abandons "neo-liberal" economics and begins to follow its economic self-interest in trying to be as self-sufficient as possible, will ignite a trade war. Historically, you're opposed to the very idea that the American republic was established for: the rejection of the weak Articles of Confederation for the much stronger federal government of the Constitution, so that the government had enough strength and power to ensure that Americans would decide their own economic destiny, not the oligarchs in London, Paris, or Geneva. And that's what your school of economic thinking does: in support of a mere theory of comparative advantage, we have abandoned the protective, Hamiltonian policies that built the U.S. into an industrial super power, and we have forced Americans to join the the global race to the bottom - where they now find that they no longer control their economic destinies, but that they are decided for them by corporate and financial oligarchs in London, Tokyo, Biejing, and Hong Kong.

                  In the mid-1800s, the foremost American economist was Henry Carey, who pointed out that a nation's ability to import is based on its ability to pay for those imports. And the ability to pay is based on the earning power of the population. Force the population to compete against the slave labor of the far-flung British Empire, Carey warned, and you will destroy their earning power. Then, the only way to pay for imports will be to do so on credit, amassing a burden of debt owed to those nations we import from.

                  Well, thanks to you and your beliefs, we have fallen right into the trap Carey warned about a century and half ago.

                  While Lincoln was busy waging the Civil War against the oligarchy of slave holders - who also had believed in  "free trade" so much that they began making noises about seceding from the Union over the tariff question as early as the 1830s - Lincoln also pushed for a railroad to be built clear across the continent. It was the Apollo moon program of that time. The requirements of the transcontinental railroad drove scientific and technical developments in metallurgy, steel making, machine tools, telegraphy, and the rest of the economy. One day, somebody proposed that we could save valuable steel for the war effort if we imported the actual rails from England, instead of producing them ourselves. Lincoln replied, "If we buy the rails from England, we will have the rails, and the English will have our money. If we buy the rails from U.S. makers, we will have both the rails, and the money."

                  The country bumpkin lawyer, Abraham Lincoln, knew more about economics than trained fools like Michael Boskin ever did.

                  A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

                  by NBBooks on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 05:19:26 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Magnificent, NBB! (7+ / 0-)

                    When one educated person like yourself can slay the dragons of ignorance and fraud represented by the likes of Silver Oz, I do have hope again.

                    I own a manufacturing company in the US, in the textile industry.  Yes, we do exist.  My payroll is down 90% over the last 5 years.  Why?  Imports, from countries that subsidize exports, where pay is low and benefits don't exist.  I compete by designing products with deep local knowledge, then marketing them direct, with strong service support.

                    In fact the division between products and services is entirely abstract and artificial.  Many physical products are best offered with an integral service component that tailors them to individual customers.  Automation can become a tool within a service-based product offering, but human understanding is more important.

                    My belief is that we are exiting the era of industrial standardization -- clothes that fit no one in particular, which is too often, nobody.  By concentrating on product/service reintegration we can build a more information intensive physical culture, one that accomplishes what Buckminster Fuller called "Moreing with lessing".

                    As always you are spot on, NBB. Thanks for the tangible jolt of inspiration.  Makes me want to go out and create some jobs!

                    The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein -- best book ever, I nominate for a Nobel Prize!

                    by xaxado on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 05:50:08 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Examples from the gold standard era? (0+ / 0-)

                    That is what you are relying on?  The difference we have today is that the developing world (ie India and China among others) can now easily compete with us on an international scale, thus limiting any ability of tariff policy to work (and yes there would be a trade war, don't be naive) because our export ability would be killed.  And last I checked we have all but abandoned the one scientific area that could be akin to the rails of the 1860s (ie manned space exploration).  Your dismissal of the globalized economy really showcases your lack of understanding in real world economics.

            •  You mean... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              NBBooks

              ...the poor and working class that would suddenly have jobs if manufacturing were moved back onshore?

              It always amazes me that some economists can think only in terms of costs, not incomes.

              I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

              by TheOrchid on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 12:51:14 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I have, I've worked in them and you are wrong. (0+ / 0-)

              The Chinese, Mexicans, Filipinos, Malaysians and Koreans have very little of the high technology .. now go find me an AMERICAN MADE computer, TV, cell phone, Ipod/MP3 player.  

              Modern car manufacturing has some robots, but these are not taking all that many jobs, and modern electronics in the US hardly exists anymore.

              "the work goes on, the cause endures .. "

              by shpilk on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:35:56 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Your argument doesn't scan... (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tacet, gjohnsit, shpilk, SingleVoter, TimmyB

          ...when practically everything I buy these days that's manufactured sayd "Made in China" on it.

          I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

          by TheOrchid on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 12:47:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  If it was only about productivity (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shpilk, Clues, xaxado

          then why did our trade deficit increase 4 fold?

           I don't think you are giving off-shoring nearly enough credit.

          "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

          by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 05:56:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The problem with this Industrial Production graph (0+ / 0-)

          is that is shows US numbers.  If the problem is a combination of offshoring manufacturing and automating the bits that don't get offshored, this graph doesn't tell the story.

          What I'd really like to see are the industrial production numbers for all the manufacturing that has gone away.  What are the numbers in Mexico, India and China?

          If 70% of US manufacturing companies move their production offshore, using as much labor (or more) than they did in the US, and the 30% that remain increase their production through technology, then it does not prove the point that the major reason for manufacturing job loss is due to automation.

      •  Why can't it be a combination of both (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Winnie, New Deal democrat, TimmyB

        factors?

        "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." Mark Twain

        by dotdot on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:53:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Silver Oz has a point. (7+ / 0-)

        We have reached a point technologically where a relatively few workers can produce enough to provide a decent standard of living for everyone.

        The problem is distribution.

        Sparkhawk (not trying to call out, just for reference) wants to make this about the classical exchange of labor for compensation.  The problem is that this society's rules are rigged so that capital has all the bargaining power.  Not surprising since it's really a government of capital, by capital and for capital.  If we keep playing by Sparkhawk's rules, ninety-eight per cent of us will be doing gardening and laundry for the other two per cent (or starving).  And the whole skills thing is a ruse.  We heard that in the 90s about computer software skills, and look what's happened to that industry.  Name a skill that can't be outsourced to a smart person willing to work for a few hundred dollars a week in India or China?  If it's a skill that has to be performed locally, tell me when we're going to stop importing cheap labor, unskilled AND skilled.

        The funny thing is that there's also an excess of capital.  There's so much damn money in so few hands that it's running around, demanding high returns and turning the whole financial system and everything it touches into a casino.

        So we have a system with a surplus of the two things we need to provide what everyone needs, yet more and more people are going under in this country.

        Wouldn't it be time to look at how viable this system is and whether it should be considered the apotheosis of human social and economic development?

        "Capitalism is irresponsibility organized into a system." -- Emil Brunner

        by goinsouth on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 01:41:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Lot of folks have a hard time acknowledging (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bluehawk, thethinveil, Steppin Razor

        that much of our current situation arises from conscious choices made by the ruling elite and their agents in The Village, choices made with the full knowledge of what the consequences would be for the rest of us.

        Some of the chief perpetrators were Bill Clinton and his economic team, a team which Obama has largely reconstituted.

        www.bushwatch.net - Kicking against the pricks since '98!

        by chuckvw on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 02:35:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  That's not true at all. (15+ / 0-)

      The jobs of industrialization are all offshore, taken there by wealthy who taken the jobs away.

      Efficiency and technology have not taken away worker's jobs in significant numbers compared to the massive offshoring of manufacturing jobs.

      "the work goes on, the cause endures .. "

      by shpilk on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 09:28:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  False, see comment above (6+ / 0-)

        you just don't read in the paper every time a company replaces a worker with a machine/computer.  How many secretaries were outsourced?  They have been replaced with computers.  How many cashiers were outsourced?  They were replaced with self scanners.  How can the glass factory down the street here make more glass than ever and yet do it with 250 workers instead of the 3000 they had in the 60's.  

        •  here the thing (10+ / 0-)

          why are companies so willing to replace humans with robotics.  I'll tell you why, because human labor is seen as a liability now because of such things as such high health care cost.

          Healthcare is at the root of some much that is wrong in this country, and HCR is not going to do anything to address it.

          (regarding the bank mess) They want to cure the patient but not deal with the disease.

          by dark daze on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 09:45:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Its not just healthcare though (10+ / 0-)

            robots are usually cheaper (large upfront cost, but no hourly rate), they make less mistakes, are far more precise, don't get sick (although I guess they do break), they don't complain, they don't sue you, etc.  I agree that healthcare is a huge problem here and has put us at a competitive disadvantage, but the robotics are here to stay.  Besides, it isn't just robotics, but things like better computer technology too.

          •  Let's see the f*cking robots buy their products (36+ / 0-)

            That's what is so ridiculous.

            Mr. Capitalist thinks, oooh, I will buy this machine so that I can fire 500 workers. Once I recoup my cost of buying the machine, I will have x% more money to keep for myself/my shareholders. Mwahahaha!

            Idiot.

            Who the fuck is going to buy your products if labor is replaced by machines?  You gonna sell a car to a robot?

            And if China is such a great place to make stuff, how come it's not a better place to sell stuff? How come you have to ship it halfway around the world to sell it?  Same reason.  If you don't pay your workers enough so that they can be customers, or if you eliminate the need for workers, you are eliminating your customers.

            And that is why there is an unhappy ending to the whole "free market capitalist" fairy tale.

            Here's a thought.

            Instead of trying to make more and more stuff, more and more cheaply to use up more and more resources and fill up more and more landfills, what if we try making less stuff, a little slower and better? Then people can earn enough money to be customers.

            It's simple enough for a child to understand, but not simple enough for a greedy wall street bastard.

            Women do 2/3 of the world's work, receive 10% of the world's income and own 1% of the means of production.

            by LibrErica on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:01:29 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You see, (5+ / 0-)

              the problem is that when countries agree on that there'll always be a partybreaker, an important country which will embrace efficiency at the expense of jobs and will reap the benefits, since employment in that country will increase (while employment in other countries will decrease by a greater amount). Beggar my neighbour and all that.

              Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

              by Dauphin on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:13:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  You, my friend are so very right (14+ / 0-)

              I have been "screaming" that sentiment for years now.  If there are not LIVING wage jobs for people to participate in the economy, eventually Mr. Big Corporation loses consumers to buy his shit.

              It will happen, it is just a matter of time.

            •  Another Nail (6+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Quicklund, xaxado, ilex, BYw, Dirtandiron, LibrErica

              hit squarely on its head.

              Great comment.

              Is very bad to steal jobu's rum...is very bad

              by jobu on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:37:42 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  great point (9+ / 0-)

              I've said it a number of times, but I will say it again: American workers have been complicit in this arrangement, because they accept the lower/pay benefits and make up the difference in DEBT.

              You can only take out a HELOC so many times. You can only go to Rent A Center so many times (fuck you Magic). You can only max out your credit cards so many times.

              The past 30 years, the pain to the economy of this transition away from paying people has been minimized, but once Americans truly figure out that debt is not their friend, wow it will be painful.

              •  My grandfather was a furniture maker (14+ / 0-)

                (in western NC)

                He was one of those "buy American" people.  He only drove Ford cars. He wouldn't buy anything that was made overseas.  Back then, you could actually do that!

                Once when I was little, he and my grandmother had taken me to a department store to buy me an outfit for church and Granddad said No to the dress I wanted. It was super cute so I tried to plead for it.  And I will always remember this.  He said, Dumplin' for me to buy you that dress is to take the food right out of the mouths of our neighbors. We've got to buy clothes that our neighbors make. Because I sure as shootin' want them to buy the furniture that I make. Y'see? Cain't you find another dress you like?

                He had an 8th grade eduction, but he read the paper every day and as far as I'm concerned, he understood the world very well.

                If it were possible to create that ethic today - Yeah, I can buy these $10 jeans, but in buying them, I'm as good as taking the food off the tables of my neighbors. -- that would be a good thing. But really, the best we can probably do at this point is to encourage people to buy second hand clothes.

                This makes me want to learn to sew. Seriously. Because I've tried to find American-made clothes and it's next to impossible. Even 10 years ago, that wasn't true. Of course, since last summer, I haven't really been shopping for any clothes. Can't afford it.

                Women do 2/3 of the world's work, receive 10% of the world's income and own 1% of the means of production.

                by LibrErica on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:16:06 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Maybe a small child could also understand... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sparhawk, Winnie

              ...that what you are asking for is unrealistic.

              Instead of trying to make more and more stuff, more and more cheaply to use up more and more resources and fill up more and more landfills, what if we try making less stuff, a little slower and better?

              Plain and simple: you can't put that rabbit back in the hat.  

              Over the long haul, labor can't compete with technology in terms of a lot of the processes involved in making many of the products we use-- and I'm talking about labor not being competitive on speed, cost, and quality.  Should labor be used to etch computer chips for instance?  Should a master craftsman with a magnifying glass be etching thousands of lines on a semiconductor chip smaller than a postage stamp?

              Better to figure out ways to deal with the world we live in than to imagine that we'd have a utopia if things would only go back to the way they were in the past.  

              •  I don't agree with that propaganda. (4+ / 0-)

                or a lot of other propaganda that says that everything is better if it has a computer chip in it.

                Toyota's brakes aren't better for having computer chips.

                So #1, adding computer chips to everything, and the requisite buggy programming, isn't the be all end all.

                And #2, you're only saying that this isn't possible because YOU can't imagine it. You've swallowed the free trade propaganda hook, line and sinker.

                The more people who snap out of that waking nightmare, the better off we'll be.  All it takes to do things differently is for individuals to make different choices. And that is most definitely possible.

                Women do 2/3 of the world's work, receive 10% of the world's income and own 1% of the means of production.

                by LibrErica on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 12:23:03 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Sparhawk

                  ...I didn't say that every product is better if it had a computer chip in it.  But your example of cars is a poor example, because cars definitely are better cars than the cars of 35 years ago-- they're safer, more fuel efficient, and last longer-- and part of the reason they are better is because of the computer chips they have.  And this will be even more true of the next generation of electric cars, which would simply not be possible without computer chips.  

                  If your life experience is a "waking nightmare", I am sorry.  Mine is not, i can assure you, despite my generally positive views on technology that you think I need to "snap out of".  

            •  somewhere along the line (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              LibrErica

              we would have to re-invent economics as a social science. Economics as if people mattered. As the diarist suggests economics as a scholarly pursuit is a fraud, with some exceptions. First of all we need to re-integrate economics with political science. You cannot understand economics as a stand-alone system.

        •  It's actually a combination of the two. It's not (22+ / 0-)

          an either or situation.  You are in effect saying that offshoring is not occurring in any meaningful way.  This is plainly false.  You are correct in that many jobs are lost to efficiency improvements, like that $15 million dollar printing press putting 30 people out of a job.

          Many unskilled and semi-skilled jobs are being lost to improved efficiency.  However, more are being lost to outsourcing because the 'powers that be' don't want to spend the money to upgrade existing facilities here, don't want to pay a living wage, don't want to play by the rules, etc.  But, the loss of skilled labor (computer programmers, xray diagnoistics, medical transcription, material engineering, etc) are being lost to offshoring in the pursuit of the almighty bottom line and bonuses.

          •  A combination surely, but... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Winnie

            You are of course correct that many factors are aat play here.  (So goes everything in life.) But you go too far in your criticism.

            You are in effect saying that offshoring is not occurring in any meaningful way.

            If you read upthread you will see this discussion began comparing the relative impacts of offshoring and automation.

            Efficiency and technology have not taken away worker's jobs in significant numbers compared to the massive offshoring of manufacturing jobs.

            IMO, I feel the automation factor is far more significant.  The trend exists worldwide. Just as automation replaced the farm hand in the 1900s, automation is replacing the factory/construction hands in the 2000s.

            And yes, those fewer factory jobs are then shipped overseas. But the point is, the proportion of overall worldwide population working in factories is dropping.  

            •  Unskilled labor may not be offshored in (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              melo, Jagger, Ice Blue, ilex, Hens Teeth

              significant numbers, but skilled labor sure as hell has been offshored.

              Technically, correct in that the numbers of unskilled labor needed are going down due to automation.  But, there will always be some need for unskilled factory work.  Also, SilverOz is implying that 'all' the layoffs have been due to automation and none to off shoring.  That is false.  S/He has also completely disregarded skilled labor offshoring.  You do know that there is a very high chance that the xray you had the other day was 'read' by a radiologist in Pakistan or India and not in the US (the wonders of digital imaging and being put into a jpg file).  That your last visit to the doctor was transcribed into the records by a nurse in India, not someone here in the US.  Most of the great medical break throughs are not being made in the US any longer.  Nor technical ones.  Being educated is being frowned upon by the 'moral majority' groups as being 'elitist'.... The fact that the super rich got their money (in the beginning for most) through education is completely lost on them.

              •  What we have forgotten. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                melo, Hens Teeth, nchristine

                Look at the impact of the GI Bill on returning veterans after WW2.  I would suggest the massive free college education of so many had a significant positive impact on both our economy and our democracy.  What we have forgotten.

                •  There was a time when improved processes (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  shpilk, Jagger, Hens Teeth

                  led to new areas of endeavor, but it looks as if that got offshored as well.

                  My dad got his college education (a couple of Associate Degrees) through the GI Bill.  He and mom did well.  It got me into college.  My mom was the first in her family to get a college degree (out of siblings and cousins) and that was in '83.  I was the second.  My sister may have been the first to have a Masters on that side of the family (mostly farmers).

              •  My point was misread (0+ / 0-)

                My point was not about unskilled labor vs. skilled labor.  My point was, whereas millions of skilled jobs have been offshored, at the same time tens of millions of skilled jobs have vanished entirely from the manufacturing sector. These jobs no longer exist in America, nor do they exist offshore.

                Also, SilverOz is implying that 'all' the layoffs have been due to automation and none to off shoring.

                I entirely disagree. SilverOz's comments discuss the relative impacts of the root causes. It is a matter of tens of (2-digit) millions being of much greater significant than single-digit millions.

          •  silveroz did not at all imply that offshoring (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            skymutt

            was not a problem.  

      •  Remember when humans were on (4+ / 0-)

        assembly lines? All machines now, I remember when cars and electronics were put together by people, they've all been replaced with robotic arms. Both positions are correct here. Offshoring and technology have screwed us.

        "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." Mark Twain

        by dotdot on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:58:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I disagree on two levels (32+ / 0-)

       This has lead to the owners of the capital from reaping all the gains (since they no longer have workers to deal with) and has greatly skewed the wealth distribution.

       Without debating whether this is true or not (for instance, the destruction of tariffs has allowed the growth of wage arbitrage, which would be a better explanation), you are missing the far larger point of the diary. Which is that this wealth inequality is inefficient and self-defeating. Instead of justifying the imbalance, we should be looking for solutions to it.

       The middle class as we know it was an invention of industrialization

       That's just untrue. The middle class began with the breakdown of the feudal system (see Italian Renaissance; circa 15th Century).

      "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

      by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 09:36:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The middle class as we know it (8+ / 0-)

        is defined by industrialization.  The middle class as invented in the Renaissance was totally different from the American middle class we all discuss.  The middle class created during the Renaissance was primarily skilled artisans and the poor were still a huge proportion of society, while our middle class (usually referenced to the 1950's) encompassed a much larger portion of the population and was defined by the ability of unskilled labor to achieve middle class status.  

        •  Which brings up another point (28+ / 0-)

          our middle class (usually referenced to the 1950's) encompassed a much larger portion of the population and was defined by the ability of unskilled labor to achieve middle class status.

           You seem to think that the unskilled middle class arose because someone invented technologies that are now becoming obsolete.
            I think the middle class arose because of a strong labor movement, which raised worker's wages and shaped labor, trade, and tax policies.

          "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

          by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 09:53:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The labor movement did all those things (6+ / 0-)

            but it needed a huge demand for unskilled labor to accomplish that task.  What has happened since is that manufacturing (and many other sectors) simply has less of a need for labor and thus you cannot get back to that golden middle class era no matter how you change trade policies.  The demand for unskilled (and even semi-skilled) labor is simply not coming back.

            •  I simply disagree (12+ / 0-)

               What has happened since is that manufacturing (and many other sectors) simply has less of a need for labor and thus you cannot get back to that golden middle class era no matter how you change trade policies.

               I don't disagree simply because I can. I disagree because I see hundreds of millions of people being employed in low-skill jobs in other nations that used to be here.
                I'm not sure how easy it would be to prove my point, but I'm sure that I could go a long ways towards making my case.

              "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

              by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:43:29 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  But you make the assumption that (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sparhawk, Winnie, Quicklund, skymutt

                if we forced those industries back they would be high labor jobs here too and that is where you would be wrong.  Any new/modern manufacturing plant in the US is labor light and with most of the labor being people who fix/operate machines.  Also, despite what people like to claim, there is quite a bit of demand in India/China/etc for these goods and that production wouldn't come back.  So what you would be left with is companies only bringing back production that was to be sold to the US, doing that with far less labor than they would in China (et al) and with greatly inflated costs to us, which the majority of Americans wouldn't not see an increase in wages to counter the inflation.

                •  Off-shoring (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  melo, Bluehawk, california keefer

                  You made a good reply here, so I decided to think about it a while before replying.

                  First of all, you've slightly changed the subject. No longer are we talking about why so few are working in the manufacturing industry, but what it would take to get those jobs back (which is your stronger point).

                   The fact that so many goods have gone from "Made in America" to "Made in China", and that our trade deficit in goods has gone up at least 4 fold in the last two decades, goes a long ways towards proving my point about why our manufacturing base has shrunk.

                   As for your point concerning what it would take to get them back, that's more of a intellectual exercise.
                    Let me state that I don't agree with your implication that it isn't worth the effort of trying to get them back. (I know you didn't actually say that, but you made it sound hopeless.)
                    Also, I don't think that China (and many other countries) have played fair. They've artificially suppressed their currencies, giving them an unfair advantage.
                    Another thing is that I believe, for both economic and moral reasons, that we shouldn't have free trade agreements with nations that suppress labor unions and use forced labor for exports.

                    All this means higher prices at Wallmart, but I think Americans are ready to pay 50% on an electronic gadget if he has a decent paying job.

                  "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

                  by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 06:38:36 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Good article (12+ / 0-)

            in the current (Mar.) Harper's about how Germany does it. It has to do with (gasp) worker participation in corporate management. They are at least as technologically advanced as we are. The workers who sit on corporate boards include those without college degrees.

      •  Yes, always look on the bright side... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gjohnsit, PsychoSavannah

        Post Black Death:

        With so many dead, fewer people were left to work the land. A few workers had the spunk to stand up to the nobles and landowners and point out that they weren't about to give more work for the same money — not when the supply of workers had become smaller and thus more valuable. The most famous of these uprisings was led by Wat Tyler, an English rabble-rouser who got himself killed for his trouble in 1381.

        Post-plague economics forced some large landholders to split their estates into smaller plots. Instead of remaining tenants who turned over the bulk of their crop to the landlord, some laborers actually began earning pay for their work.

        Though there were fewer people overall, more people had land, income, and the potential to buy goods. This stimulated a rise in merchants, craftspeople, and skilled traders who could supply goods. Up until that time, you were either rich or poor, usually poor. Now there was a middle class.

        And after WWII TROTW's manufacturing base was bombed to bits, so we got the golden age of America in the 1950's.

        Nothing wrong now that a little death and destruction won't remedy.  Superbug, global climate change, peak oil, fresh water depletion...ought to be something along anytime now.  Lucky survivors should see an increase in wealth...eventually.

    •  Yes and No (8+ / 0-)

      As a small businessman (manufacturing) I can speak to the drive for productivilty.  For me, its a matter of survival.  If I hadn't invested in technology that improved my bottom line, I wouldn't be around to keep the employees I have retained.

      I didn't make these rules, but I sure as heck have to follow them.  The Fed isn't going to show up on my doorstep because I'm TSTF (too small to fail).

      As a big fan of Lew Daly, Unjust Deserts, I firmly agree with his notion that we should not hesitate to capture some of these productivity gains to pay society's bills.

      You should diary this topic.  This was a good thread.

      Is very bad to steal jobu's rum...is very bad

      by jobu on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:50:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The industrial worker is not obselete. (13+ / 0-)

      The industrial jobs have merely been moved overseas and are being done there by underpaid, exploited workers there.

      There is nothing I use in a day that is necessary to my existance that is made by high technology processes.  Putlic Transportation to work, legal secretarial work, public transportation home, walk dogs, cook dinner, sometimes watch some TV, read a real physical book with pages to turn, go to bed in comfey futon matress with flannel sheets and a feather quilt.

      I shop in second hand stores for most things I need first, then go other places if I don't find it second hand.  I can afford new stuff, but choose this form of counteracting consumerism.  I don't have money in the stock market, but in CDs in insured local banks and credit unions.  

      When I read The Wealth Of Nations, I was suprised to find that Adam Smith grouped management with the unemployed, considering both to be a drain on the profits generated by workers.  That still seem generally true.

      2.5 trillion dollars have been "borrowed" since the [SS] system was "reformed" in the 80s and they simply don't want to pay it back. - dKos Blogger -

      by Silverbird on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:09:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well except for the small detail of actually (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit

      getting rid of the workers.  Your theory is all on paper - no one has actually managed to run all the factories without people.  And throw in the requirement of sustainability and you are worrying about a problem that might not happen for a long time.  Yes the Luddites will eventually be correct.  No we are not there yet anymore than we were in 1811 - so long as sustainability is taken into account.

    •  Buckminster Fuller predicted this... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit, Winnie, PsychoSavannah, Azazello

      ...in his book "Critical Path." He talks about how we will have to restructure society to take care of people, since, eventually, machines will replace most labor eventually.

      Of course, this won't happen because the people at the top just want more wealth without sharing it. Just as the advent of the PC didn't reduce our work hours as predicted, it allowed the ownership society to get more work out of fewer people, thereby driving up productivity.

      The sleep of reason produces monsters.

      by Alumbrados on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 12:28:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We Don't Import Anything? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit, Hens Teeth

      Your claim that efficency and technology have made the industrial worker obsolete might be a little more believable if China wasn't a huge exporting machine with millions of industrial workers.

      So let me ask the obvious question, why aren't Chinese workers obsolete, given that China is currently exporting billions of dollars worth of manufactured goods to the United States?    

      Please let me know.  Frankly, other than having a huge pool of cheap labor slaving away under a communist dictatorship, China has no advantages that I can see.              

  •  perfect comparison (40+ / 0-)

    Economics today is not just a science without a purpose. Economics, as the professions now exists, is to science what Fox News is to the news media. Just like the purpose of Fox News is to misinform the public, the purpose of economics today is a PR con to justify inefficient and immoral policies that defend the status quo and keep mankind from advancing.

    bold= nail, meet hammer!

    thanks for this...hotlisted for deeper read :)

    "Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle." -Helen Keller

    by ridemybike on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 09:21:56 AM PST

    •  I liked that one too (20+ / 0-)

      It was all mine. Just made it up this morning after re-reading the Michael Hudson quote.

      "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

      by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 09:26:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I would disagree (6+ / 0-)

      economics now is what it always has been, a study of the economy under the current set of rules/paradigms.  The problem is not that economists (most anyways) have gotten worse or become shills, it is that the rules of the game have been changed (screwed up) so much that the predictive ability of the profession has been lost.  Things like the CFMA and FSMA have greatly changed (for the worse) our economic paradigm/rules and these are what have caused economics to become far less accurate since economists operate under the rules of the game (whatever they are at the time).  Unfortunately, these particular rules injected huge amounts of chaos into the system that have directly lead to the predicament we are in today.

      •  Face it, you can't handle the truth! (9+ / 0-)

        "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

        by bobswern on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 09:39:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I wish you were right (14+ / 0-)

        First of all, I should clarify that this applies to macroeconomics, not micro, which doesn't deal with policy.

        The problem is not that economists (most anyways) have gotten worse or become shills, it is that the rules of the game have been changed (screwed up) so much that the predictive ability of the profession has been lost.

        That doesn't explain 1) why their track record is worse than what the man on the street could predict (taking myself as an example), or 2) why they have drifted away from the broad ideas of classical economics, or 3) the simple lack of intellectual curiosity. For instance, why was Minsky only resurrected after the collapse, instead of before, when his predictions could have been useful?

        "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

        by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 09:42:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Nonsense. Economic theory reminds of Vaporware. (17+ / 0-)

        The diarist says, January '08. In fact as late as March '08 every single "economic expert" appearing on tv, except one or two who were ridiculed by the rest of the crew, were saying there was no recession. Even Democratic strategists would cede that Democrats couldn't run on the economy since the (cooked) numbers were showing a strong economy.

        This at a time when about 70% of the public had been saying we were in a recession in poll after poll for months.

        Vaporware was fantasy software, which sounded great but never came into being. There was no "there" there.

        Which is precisely the position of Fed-based economic theory: not one, except the couple who could actually do spin-free arithmetic, predicted anything whatsoever like what we saw unfold. (btw, ordinary people like me in the tens of thousands predicted what did happen. We could do arithmetic.)

        If you have something which makes predictions, and those predictions are consistently wrong, then whatever you have is not connected to reality, is not science, and is less useful than the vaporware of the dotcom bust.

        The question remains, if it doesn't work in the world of economics and finance, which is sooooo hard and reality-based, why does the establishment continue to use it, if not purely for propaganda purposes?

        Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

        by Jim P on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:45:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe we need a massive shutdown to jolt (20+ / 0-)

    the corporations and wealthy. Money and assets only have value if your neighbors let you keep them with out daily battles in which the sheer numbers would say you will lose. Money is just an agreement ... otherwise it is TP. Thier tactic is to divide the rest of us so that we attack each other instead of them.

    Nothing will change unless we choose to not participate in our own fleecing in the name of a few possessions they allow us instead of a real life lived well (AND I don't mean a life spent collecting crap...Makes me think of that sea animal that glues junk to itself to hide from predators) and with empathy for other life forms.

    The biggest problem is the sell-outs who for thier own gain would help herd us into the corporate feedlots.

    Fear is the Mind Killer

    by boophus on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 09:24:19 AM PST

  •  Re (5+ / 0-)

    No, Mankind is not a rational, profit maximizing actor. No, markets are not perfectly, or even nearly, efficient. No, prices do not reflect the sum total of all that is known about a given market, sector or stock. Those of you who pretend otherwise are fools who deserve to have your 401ks cut in half. That is called just desserts. The problem is that your foolishness helped cut nearly everyone else’s 401ks in half. That is called criminal incompetence.

    Anyone who has money in stocks or other investments buys into this philosophy. The "nearly everyone" are exactly as complicit. If you don't like risk, don't buy stocks.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 09:28:21 AM PST

    •  agree (15+ / 0-)

      its amazing how people think they are entitles to reward but not take upon any risk.

      The stock market is a game of hot potato, if people think its still some sort of long term investment vehicle they are sadly mistaken.

      What is truly scary, I know some old timers who are quite bright investors and have made quite a lot of money as successful financial advisors.  Asking them this last year and even now, where the best place to put money is, the reply " damn if we know".

      Thats scary.  You put it int he makret, you better be a trader and a damn good one, and to me thats not investing, thats gambling.

      (regarding the bank mess) They want to cure the patient but not deal with the disease.

      by dark daze on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 09:33:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This chart shows the 1950s tax rate (23+ / 0-)

    Photobucket up until 1963.

    "the work goes on, the cause endures .. "

    by shpilk on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 09:30:52 AM PST

    •  So to adjust for inflation (9+ / 0-)

      ....multiply all of the dollar figures by 9.

      So joint income over $3.6 million would be at the 91% marginal rate. (You have to add up all the brackets all the way down to get the total tax bill.)  Married filing separately over $1.8 million income would be at 91% rate.  Head of household over $2.7 million income would be at 91% marginal rate.

      Joint filers under $36,000, married filing separately under $18,000 and head of household under $18,000 would file at a 20% rate.

      So what were the exemptions and standard deductions?

      50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

      by TarheelDem on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:12:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, up until the late 70s (8+ / 0-)

        you could deduct interest on loans and credit cards. Mortgage interest, of course, as well as property/state/local taxes.

        Don't remember the standard deduction, but it wasn't too much less than now. A couple thousand less, at most.

        •  If only a couple of thousand (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shpilk, NoMoreLies, ilex, Dirtandiron

          ...then a current minimum wage worker ($7.50/hr) would pay on an AGI of $13,000 around $2600 in taxes. But back then, there proportionally fewer workers making absolutely the minimum wage.

          Seems like there would need to be more progressivity at the bottom end to offset the wage losses of the past 30 years.

          50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

          by TarheelDem on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:02:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Nice to know... (0+ / 0-)

        as I was wondering how we would pay our bills with a 65% tax rate.

        •  Yep it is good to know (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          New Deal democrat

          That the 65% marginal rate was equivalent to being on the income over $576,000 and under $684,000 today.

          Which meant that you would have no more than $108,000 of your income taxed at 65% if your total taxable income is $684,000.

          Or:
          $108,000 taxed at 65% = $70,200 plus
          $84,000 taxed at 62%  = $52,080 plus
          $64,000 taxed at 59%  = $37,760 plus
          $36,000 taxed at 56%  = $20,160 plus
          $36,000 taxed at 53%  = $19,080 plus
          $36,000 taxed at 50%  = $18,000 plus
          $36,000 taxed at 47%  = $16,920 plus
          $36,000 taxed at 43%  = $15,480 plus
          $36,000 taxed at 38%  = $13,680 plus
          $36,000 taxed at 34%  = $12,240 plus
          $36,000 taxed at 30%  = $10,800 plus
          $36,000 taxed at 26%  = $ 9,360 plus
          $36,000 taxed at 22%  = $ 7,920 plus
          $36,000 taxed at 20%  = $ 7,200

          Total taxes $310,880 or 45% rate, leaving you a mere $373,120 to live on.

          Note that this is adjusting the 1950 income figures for inflation.

          50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

          by TarheelDem on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 01:39:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  It's not that simple, of course. (0+ / 0-)

        No one actually paid 91% tax rate, as those people had tax shelters back then, too.

        The bottom of the scale would need to be extended downwards - bottom tax rate should be about 10%, not 20%.

        "the work goes on, the cause endures .. "

        by shpilk on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 06:25:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Tax rates are only part of the picture. (6+ / 0-)

      Like comparing apples and pineapples.  Need to also  compare the underlying tax laws over the years, IE. the components of income and deductions in arriving at net taxable income.

      My Karma just ran over your Dogma

      by FoundingFatherDAR on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:13:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There was another diary a day or two ago (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gjohnsit, shpilk, PsychoSavannah, BYw

        That showed recent percentages paid in tax (in all forms) by various wealth levels as a result of tax offsets, showing that overall taxation on the top 1% or so was something like 6% of ALL income, whereas it was around 12% on the poorest.  Be interesting to see how that same graphic would look over time.

        I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken. - Oliver Cromwell

        by Ezekial 23 20 on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:27:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Feel free to do the research (0+ / 0-)

        That would be invaluable information.  Knowing what the net taxable income that these brackets identify, what the actual gross income was that they likely applied to.  Especially in the lower brackets -- which probably had fewer folks taking deductions.

        50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

        by TarheelDem on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 01:09:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  agreed, but that's all I posted. (0+ / 0-)

        All of the tax breaks and shelters, exclusions, the deferred income, the massive amount of money shoved offshore .. trillions and trillions and trillions of dollars since the 1980s.

        "the work goes on, the cause endures .. "

        by shpilk on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 06:22:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Long Ago...I had an apartment and a car (8+ / 0-)

      A small place in North Park and a new Corolla. 1970's.
      I made less than $3.00/hr. then, $13.05 in today's money.
      Please visit this cost of living calculator.
      It wasn't until the late 80's that my earnings caught up with the effects of double digit inflation in the late 70's. Well they never really did, that lost buying power was gone forever.
      $30.00/hr is today's minimum wage.  

    •  on the other side is a map of Middle Earth (0+ / 0-)

      In 1950, there were exactly the same number of hobbits living in the Us as people paying the top tax rate -- ZERO. There were so many loop holes that the tax rates were a joke -- they still are.

  •  Bravo! Bravo! (19+ / 0-)

    Excellent diary gjohnsit.  You have hit the nail right on the head.  Excellent analysis.  And scary too. You have hit upon the truth and it is scary and ugly.

    Like I have said before, I want Stiglitz at the Fed and Elizabeth Warren at Treasury, and Rahm Emmanuel, Larry Summers and Tim Geithner tossed out into the street onto their asses.

    Will Obama be able to turn things around before we have wide scale rioting and looting?  Day by day we are getting ever closer to a class war. We are all at the breaking point.  I think Obama is beginning to realize this, finally.

    If the people lead, the leaders will follow.

    by Mz Kleen on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 09:34:54 AM PST

  •  wrath of history (14+ / 0-)

    Junk economics is just a hand job for junk accounting.  The most evil actors in this tragedy are the accountants who hid the truth in off-book schemes, marked values fraudulently, created offshore shell corporations, etc.  You will see them here prominently defending themselves ("We broke no laws!"), but their immorality has killed the golden goose of civilization for all of us.  Which accountant protested the FASB "mark to fantasy" rule last March that created the current fake stock boom?  Not one.  They are all criminals -- co-conspirators, not bystanders.  The wrath of history will judge them harshly.

    The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein -- best book ever, I nominate for a Nobel Prize!

    by xaxado on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 09:44:18 AM PST

  •  Change your title. Rape should not be used this (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doc2, dmauer, Mariposa, Gorette, Britkid, Amaryliss

    way, regardless of the validity of your point. I hope you are fortunate enough that no one close to you has been raped but I am not so fortunate.

    Find another word.

    "Everything can be found at sea, according to the spirit of your quest" Conrad

    by Captain Marty on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 09:44:44 AM PST

    •  I'm not going to change the title (27+ / 0-)

      as what has happened has indeed been a rape. I am that victim you want to defend. Just like everyone else I know.

      "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

      by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 09:49:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I understand, but still... (6+ / 0-)

        ...consider putting it in quotes. People who have been in bad situations hate that word and will not listen to your arguments as long as it's there.

        Besides, the middle-class votes for the politicians that cause the damage. You can't "rape" the willing...

      •  Victim? Maybe. Of rape? No. nt (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        doc2, Britkid, Amaryliss

        "Everything can be found at sea, according to the spirit of your quest" Conrad

        by Captain Marty on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:12:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm curious (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Captain Marty, thethinveil

          What do you think of historic terms like The Rape of Belgium or The Rape of Nanking? (written by a woman, I might add)

          "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

          by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 02:17:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Easier for me for a few reasons. Use changes with (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Amaryliss

            time, so Pope's "The Rape of the Lock" was a fine poem title in the 18th century but would not work so well now.  

            The early 20th century use in Belgium or Nanking makes more sense to me because the wanton violence and terror perpetrated by the attackers is closer to physical rape of a woman or man. So for me, physical violation and ongoing terror and fears for personal safety make the use of the word more acceptable.  

            Economic rape? Not OK with me. It makes a catchy title but I noticed that the diarist never used the word again in the diary.  Just as "The Rape of Nanking" is a catchier title than "The Terror of Nanking" or "The War Crimes of Nanking".

            "Everything can be found at sea, according to the spirit of your quest" Conrad

            by Captain Marty on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 04:26:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Then we are debating preferences (0+ / 0-)

              If you were to walk about Detroit today (for example), not knowing its history, you might think the place had been subjected to some horrible war or plague.
                The fact is that this class war is just as destructive as the Rape of Belgium was. It's secondary effects have been an epidemic of alcoholism, crime, domestic abuse and divorce, and mental trauma.

               You've accused me of being insensitive to victims of sexual rape. I think you are being insensitive to victims of class war.
               Our issue here isn't a word. Our issue here is perspective.

              "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

              by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 06:46:34 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Don't remember accusing you of anything certainly (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gjohnsit

                not insensitivity to sexual rape.  Were you answering the right posting here?  

                You said you were curious, I answered. No accusations.  

                I went to Michigan State U and many of my friends were from Detroit, I remember vibrant Detroit in the late 60s and early 70s.  I went back there a few times on business a few years ago and thought I was on a post-apocalyptic movie set.  Detroit is a disaster, I completely agree.  I was born in a mining town, grew up in a different mining town, and I have seen that disaster before.  I have that perspective and I personally know way more about the effects of class war then I wish I knew.  

                Class war?  I am fine with that term and it is horribly destructive and we must fight it.  We have a class war right now in my country. But why call class war by a different term that distracts?

                "Everything can be found at sea, according to the spirit of your quest" Conrad

                by Captain Marty on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 08:23:28 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  I second that (20+ / 0-)

        The word has more than one meaning.

        And I'm sick of people trying to concern-troll our language into being so inoffensive that it in fact means nothing.

        RAPE is indeed what has happened to the middle class.  We have been assaulted and degraded, injured and left carelessly as nothing more than an object for the amusement of the elite.

        Republicans and personal responsibility are distant, estranged acquaintances.

        by slippytoad on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:16:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you for not backing down. (8+ / 0-)

        We cannot PC our language to the point where it loses all impact. What you write about is a form of rape.  

        And I'm speaking as one who was raped in the non-metaphorical sense.  And I have no problem with your use of the term.  

      •  You obviously have never actually (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Captain Marty

        been raped. You're being an ass.

        I'm in the pro-Obama wing of the Democratic Party.

        by doc2 on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 01:38:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Progressivism - Yer doin' it wrong. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Captain Marty, Amaryliss

        The ONLY time the use of the word rape is acceptable is describing sexual assault.  Full stop.  That's it.  

        What you're doing is  co-opting the word rape for dramatic effect, and that is wrong.  It's insensitive, it's destructive, and it trivializes what is for a lot of people a very traumatic experience.  

        In this country the middle class has been used, stolen from, lied to and played against people of other classes.  You couldn't have used any of those metaphors?  What has happened to the middle class in this country is bad enough. The thoughtless hyperbole is unnecessary.

        And if you don't understand that, then perhaps it's time to educate yourself.

        •  Once again (0+ / 0-)

          The ONLY time the use of the word rape is acceptable is describing sexual assault.  Full stop.  That's it.

          First of all, you aren't the word cop. You don't get to say when one word can or can't be used.
            If you were referring to a degrading word that refers to a minority group, then I might defer to you. Instead we are talking about an act. Not a group of people.
           Full stop. That's it.

          What you're doing is co-opting the word rape for dramatic effect, and that is wrong.  It's insensitive, it's destructive, and it trivializes what is for a lot of people a very traumatic experience.

          No. If I was referring to rape victims that would be true. But I'm not.
           I'm referring to an act, which implies that it can be used as a metaphor. Don't try to tell me that I can't use metaphors.

           Secondly, the class war we are seeing has real victims. Victims that have suffered real trauma. Not metaphorical trauma.
            The class war has led to epidemics of alcohol and drug addiction, crime, domestic abuse, and mental health issues. These are real victims, and I think you are being insensitive to them.

          "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

          by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 06:54:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Last I checked, "rape", as a verb, meant the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit

      following:

      to force to have sexual intercourse.
      to plunder (a place); despoil.
      to seize, take, or carry off by force.

      Seems two of the three usages are appropriate to the diary. Indeed, the final definition is the original, of which the more common meaning is derivative.

      Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

      by Robobagpiper on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 08:50:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent overview (7+ / 0-)

    Good summary of the many excellent takes and historical information on the "Greatest Swindle in the History of Mankind" (that's my suggested diary title for you). Thanks for the superb references. I didn't have many of these.

  •  Fantastic diary...a tour de force (13+ / 0-)

    synthesis of the trends that I have been all to aware of...the Republican and conservadem banana republicanization of this country.

    Unfortunately, what we need, which are massive tax hikes on financial wealth and the rich to prevent this happening again, are thus far off the table. Just to give perspective, if the effective tax rate of the Forbes 400 richest Americans were at the level it was in 1955, it would net close to $45 billion a year of additional revenue to the government.

    We need to tax capital gains, interest and dividends at the equivalent rate as ordinary income, restore progressivity to the tax code so the richest of the rich pay ~50% effective tax rate  (a 70 percent marginal tax rate minus deductions and loopholes), and tax fossil fuels, with a rebateable credit against payroll taxes. We should also consider a 1%/year wealth tax (on personal fortunes worth more than $50 million), if that passes Constitutional muster.

    "Big Darkness, soon come"-Hunter S. Thompson

    by NoMoreLies on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 09:52:31 AM PST

  •  Like many of your diaries (22+ / 0-)

    This one's a keeper. Way back in early 04, before I even signed up for an account here, I would print out memorable comments and diaries from different people here and a few other early blogs and put them in a binder. This was just in case Karl Rove ate Daily Kos and the lefty blogosphere one day. :)

    I stopped doing that after a while, simply hotlisting or bookmarking them instead. Every now and then, though I'll still print out a gem and this is clearly one of them.

    I was starting to compile notes and sources to write about the Nouveau Pauvre, but now I don't have to. It's all here.

    Thank you for all your time and effort in writing such important and useful pieces.

    Who you jivin' with that

    by cosmic debris on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 09:55:08 AM PST

  •  This is a great diary. (13+ / 0-)

    This is what diaries ought to be.

    Thanks for all your work on this.

    And the cartoons are awesome...

  •  Doonesbury re: Wall St. pigs (5+ / 0-)

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:03:55 AM PST

  •  Patterns of deception ...for FIFTY YEARS !! (10+ / 0-)

    Bill Moyers laid out The Secret Government in 1987. The foundations of the previous decade's abuses at the highest level of our government are to be found in Iran-Contra.

    They only call it class war when we fight back! ht: buhdydharma

    by ezdidit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:05:30 AM PST

  •  Cultural Hegemony (15+ / 0-)

    How did we, as a nation, get so stupid that we allowed junk economics to achieve cultural hegemony ?
    How did Uncle Miltie's Free-Market Kool-Aid become the only drink on the menu ?
    Why did our universities allow their econ. departments to be become Free-Market Fundamentalist Madrassas ?
    With all their money, Exxon could only buy a tiny minority of climate scientists. How did Wall St. buy virtually the entire economics profession ?

  •  HEREIN lies EVERYTHING; THIS is the ENCHILADA (17+ / 0-)

    Q: Why do Republicans cry "Class Warfare!!!1" at every mention of income distribution?

    A: Read this diary.

    All the political arguments swirling around the vast wasteland of TV punditry is just so much distraction with bullshit.

    America's gross misdistribution of wealth is the underlying story in Ameican politics, and the underlying reason why this nation is on the brink of failure as a functioning democracy. Joe the Plumber does not know this stuff. He must be made to understand, no mater how much he wishes to resist this knowledge.

    All other forms of political persasion must be backburnered to the matters described in this diary. This diary outlines the #1 issue progressives must advance - relentlessly.

    •  Wall Street Reform (0+ / 0-)

      Should be on the front burner with flame set to 'surface of the sun'.  Get Chris Dodd to report the toughest Wall Street Reform bill out of his committee and Double Dare Republicans to vote or filibuster against it.

      If we can do this, its game, set and match.  HCR and Cap and Trade will be pieces of cake after this, IMHO.

      Is very bad to steal jobu's rum...is very bad

      by jobu on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 03:14:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great Diary! The Upton Sinclair (12+ / 0-)

    quote I just read also in Steinbeck´s East Of Eden. The only fault I might raise with your wonderful explanation of our courrupt system is this: What do we do now? Right Now. How do we organize? Who will lead us? I had truly hoped Pres Obama would be The One, but, alas, he is not. I would willingly follow any man (or woman) whom I could trust to lead us out of this wallow.

    •  I keep thinking about (0+ / 0-)

      how Gandhi and MLK made changes to whole countries by simply organizing small groups of people brave enough and peaceful enough to go against crushing corrupt authority.  

      We have to be brave enough to speak out, have a message, and do it without violence.  Even I am afraid to speak out except on a blog.  But, like you I would gladly stand up with a Gandhi or MLK.  

      My only question is that with globalization, will it not become more difficult to make changes since one does not necessarily have just a country, but the whole world power to try and change?

      Sometimes when life throws you a curve ball, throw a spit ball back at it.

      by zaka1 on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:42:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If Ghandi or MLK were alive today (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        melo, jerseyite, zaka1

        Fox News would report how they were socialists, terrorists, and describe in detail alleged sex scandals. The rest of the media would then pick up the stories and elaborate.

         People need to reject the major media spin and start thinking for themselves.

        "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

        by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 12:07:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was in (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gjohnsit, thethinveil

          in High School when MLK made his "I have a dream," speech and will never forget the energy in Washington, D.C. and in the country that day.  The Civil Rights movement created that energy. During that time the country was divided as well, but people had a stronger belief in doing the right thing and a stronger unity which is what truly created change.  It was a very difficult time in our country, but many believe our country was worth fighting for.

          You right, about the media.  Back then it would have been unheard of not to air MLK's speech, or follow the civil rights movement, but today I wonder if the media would even covered a movement as honestly as the media did back then.  

          Sometimes when life throws you a curve ball, throw a spit ball back at it.

          by zaka1 on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 12:37:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  this is true (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          poxonyou, zaka1, thethinveil

          I have personal experience on this account. Gandhi for instance cultivated his own personal journalists. (He was in fact regularly described as a socialist and terrorist in other papers.) Nowadays it can't be done. The famous tree-sitters of the late '90s were a perfect example: they engaged in classical Gandhian tactics, trying to show the world how the state and corporations were not only tied together, but would use extremely violence even against explicitly non-violent idealists to get their way. And so they did: one tree-sitter - David Chain - was deliberately killed and the police insisted on treating it as an accident (despite the existence of a video of the guy who did it explicitly threatening to "drop a tree on him" some hours before), in other cases, police adopted the policy of systematically torturing pacifists who had chained themselves to tractors or fences and the like, by rubbing pepper-spray directly in their eyeballs. The media ultimately treated it as justifiable.

           Gandhian tactics only work if the media is willing to report on them that way. The US media has changed since the '50s. It's just too corrupt.

           Incidentally: a lot of the people who had been tree-sitters were the ones who ended up giving up on pacifism in frustration and breaking windows in Seattle. It helps explain a lot, actually  

          •  OTOH (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PsychoSavannah, thethinveil

            Gandhian tactics only work if the media is willing to report on them that way.

            I won't deny that.

              However, there is another example: the labor movement. They were called every name in the book in the media and on the floor of Congress. They were lied about, framed, murdered, and everything you can possibly imagine.
              Yet the labor movement kept gaining ground, until finally, under FDR, the government had to throw them a bone (or several).

             The mass movement has to happen outside of the regular media. Good thing we have the internet.

            "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

            by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 01:16:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  the labor movement (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              poxonyou, thethinveil

              wasn't non-violent though

              or wouldn't be so considered nowadays. Strikes were often a matter of physically keeping scabs off the premises; workplace sabotage involved - still does involve - destruction of corporate property (which I don't consider violent but certainly is so considered by the media), workers often did fight back when attacked by Pinkertons, cops, soldiers, and goons.

               my suggestion was that a purely Gandhian strategy doesn't work without the media. There are other problems with such an approach anyway: they tend to be non-democratic, organized around charismatic leaders (though one might argue they don't have to be.)

               just throwing out considerations. I don't want to discourage anyone from organizing against corporate capitalism in the way they most see fit.

              •  The thing about Ghandi (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gjohnsit, zaka1

                is his non-violence included a lot of violence. The end result was a torn nation, with hundreds of thousands dying. As well as an economic violence. And of course the violence to property rights of the British. These things of course are easy to overlook. But today, Ghandi would be locked up as a Terrorist.

                I am not sure what that says about us.

                But I agree, "non-violence" tactics seemed to work better when they were reported. They also worked better when a corporate media wasn't framing the issue in favor of the powerful. All of them attempting to create a dead/apathetic/cynical/inactive consumer culture devoid of any grassroots political-ethical meaning, feeling, thought or action.  

                "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

                by thethinveil on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 03:16:46 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  huh? (0+ / 0-)

                   what would be an example of Gandhi's violence? And how did Gandhi's violence lead to partition?
                   I'm not even going to ask about "violence" to British property rights, since it does rather raise the issue of how British people got such extensive property rights in India to begin with...

                  •  Hey, (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    david graeber

                    We agree, I was simply putting it in the terms of today's conventional wisdom for ironic effect. I gave you some examples. Widely acknowledged in history, the British provided some semblence of peace between Hindus and Muslims much like Tito's rule in the Balkans provided a peace between ethnic groups there.

                    I was also of course speaking of metaphorical violence. This violence is inescapable. Any change by necessity requires a kind of violence and often includes physical suffering. But it occurs as an economy of violence(Where did those property rights of the British come from?). Some violence is ended, new violence finds form.

                    Take a look at the discussion of the use of the metaphor of rape in this diary. Some kossacks feel that economic deprivation, through starvation, joblessness, loss of personal possession and homelessness, are in no way similar to being sexually assaulted or violated. In fact, they argue it degrades the seriousness of sexual assault by drawing comparisons. The philosopher, Levinas has made a similar point on the violence of metaphor that eliminates an the act's concreteness in favor of conscious understanding. Yet there are numerous similarities, there is an unwilling victim, there is a willing perpetrator, there is the consequence of loneliness, isolation, suffering, and a feeling of guilt. It is often denied by observers. I could go on.

                    Of all things there is violence in cross-identifying with each other, we lose the concreteness of the act of actual rape. Yet all the author has done is make a statement. Here all we have take care of is insure the economy of violence undergoes a serious cost-benefit analysis. In this case, cross-identifying, is a good thing, it builds understanding between different groups and shows the seriousness of economic deprivation.  

                    Anyways, I have to get off the computer for a couple of hours... I will respond later. If you disagree with my interpretation of history. Fine, correct me.

                    "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

                    by thethinveil on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 07:34:56 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  well, the common notion (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      melo

                      that bureaucratic imperial regimes like Tito's, the USSR, of the British Raj merely "put a lid on" pre-existing ethnic tensions seems to be belied by history. Actually it seems more like they created them. It's not like the kind of inter-communal violence between Hindus and Muslims we see today was in any sense traditional. There's a reason why this stuff is all a late 19th and 20th century phenomenon - why genocide occurs almost constantly in the period of the modern nation-state and extraordinarily rarely in the thousands of years previous. These tensions were a product of the Raj, both indirectly, by its very mode of administration, through top-down bureaucracies that stamp simple identities on everyone (which older empires didn't really do), and later directly, politically, to postpone independence.  But that's another story.

                      Otherwise maybe we don't disagree so much.

          •  I agree with you, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kharafina, david graeber

            but the truth is people in the media are paid to shut up with big corporate salaries. The lies that have been spun over and over again continue to grow larger everyday.  The media message today is nothing more than a corporate voice to confuse the population.

            But, more importantly, on the flip side one could ask how is Washington monitoring the level of anger, fear, and desperation the people are truly feeling if the media is not reporting it?  Polls are not a true gage of how people are suffering across the whole country.  Or is the NSA truly monitoring the level of frustration in the population.

            Eventually, if things continue as they are the frustration will boil over, and as world history has shown over and over again in France, England, Germany, etc., people do rise up when their voices are no longer heard and their votes no longer create change. Even throwing us a little bit of a healthcare or jobs bill is not going to fix our situation.  

            Sometimes when life throws you a curve ball, throw a spit ball back at it.

            by zaka1 on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 04:19:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Individual actions (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit, Cliss, zaka1

      Will inspire and embolden others.

      Blood or treasure.  The fuckers must pay.

      It's scary to go first, though, isn't it?

      It's time for the pitchforks and torches! Guillotines are way too complicated.

      by No one gets out alive on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:43:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Re: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zaka1, No one gets out alive

        You rarely hear about the guys who go first...except as martyrs.

        "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

        by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 12:08:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I´m late, very late, and I wish I could (0+ / 0-)

          have joined this conversation. I can´t get Joe Stack out of my mind. This in particular keeps bothering me:

          I know I’m hardly the first one to decide I have had all I can stand. It has always been a myth that people have stopped dying for their freedom in this country, and it isn’t limited to the blacks, and poor immigrants. I know there have been countless before me and there are sure to be as many after. But I also know that by not adding my body to the count, I insure nothing will change. I choose to not keep looking over my shoulder at "big brother" while he strips my carcass, I choose not to ignore what is going on all around me, I choose not to pretend that business as usual won’t continue; I have just had enough.

          Would you call Joe Stack a martyr? When does someone graduate from murderer/terrorist to martyr? Should Joe Stack have attacked a U.S. military installation? In the U.S. or overseas? Was Joe Stack wrong? I have decided to dig up some old material, the essays, the pamphlets that were being circulated around, say, 1770 through 1779 or so. What did these patriots have to say about killing and violence?

          You don´t need to answer this of course. I just wanted you to know that I am trying top keep up.

  •  There are few classes of hack fraudulence (16+ / 0-)

    I despise more than the "science" of "economics."

    Never in all my study and reading have I encountered a class of academics so wilfully disconnected from reality, and so blindly loyal to ideology and cultlike thinking, than economists.

    I literally cannot believe a word any one of them says.  Even the good ones don't seem to really understand what the fuck is going on.

    Republicans and personal responsibility are distant, estranged acquaintances.

    by slippytoad on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:11:01 AM PST

  •  I do not understand how so few economists (26+ / 0-)

    managed to predict something that I saw clearly happening 10 or more years ago. Hell, I saw it start happening as soon as Reagan was elected.

    And I'm damned near innumerate.

    I believe that so many well-paid economists and pundits didn't see it coming because they weren't living it. Or they were paid to ignore it. Those of us who have been struggling to get ahead since the '80s could have told you -- if you had been listening.

    I had to start over so many times, I've just about lost track. Never will I regain what earnings were kept from me by making me start over and over and over so that some rich person could make more in capital gains.

    I saw the jobs crisis coming when all my avenues for advancement kept being off-shored. I saw the credit crisis when nobody was getting raises and everyone was living off credit cards because I didn't have one, so I couldn't afford that lifestyle. I saw the housing crisis when, because of my low income and bad credit, I couldn't afford a house -- yet I saw hundreds of people who made less than I did lining up to sign on the dotted line. They made deal after deal because -- like I used to think -- they believed their income would only go up.

    Until the government can ignore or shout down the nay-sayers who insist that government can't create jobs or wealth, we will continue to struggle. Private entities don't care about creating American jobs because it costs them too much. They don't want to hire older workers because their health care costs too much. They don't want to hire younger workers because their training costs too much. They don't want to hire experienced workers because their salaries cost too much.

    What the hell are people supposed to do?

    We can't all start businesses. Some people are just NOT entrepreneurs. We can't all go to college. Some people are just not students. (And I've taught at the college level. I know this from experience. Some perfectly intelligent people have no desire to spend time in the classroom. Our education systems fail them.)

    If Congress could somehow be persuaded to allow a WPA-type program to be created, we could put people back to work doing all kinds of things -- not just infrastructure projects.

    But because the people who make the rules and the people who buy them aren't in any trouble with regard to jobs or money, they don't give a damn about making anything work for the rest of us. Why should they? They've got us right where they want us, and they will continue to squeeze off our air until all the life is gone.

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:32:14 AM PST

  •  thanks and well done (3+ / 0-)

    Saez & Piketty have done some very important work. And so have you by writing about these issues.

    "Reality is complicated. Glenn Beck is simple." The Rude One

    by whitewidow on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:36:07 AM PST

  •  I wonder how economists' (5+ / 0-)

    stock portfolios perform in the stock market.  My guess is that they end up believing their agenda-driven lies and suffer financially as a result.

    John McCain, vi ne meritas stari en dek futoj de la usona flago.

    by verdastelo on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:37:50 AM PST

  •  Excellent Diary (18+ / 0-)

    Would that we saw more of this type of diary here, analytical and thoughtful.

    Your mention of Jefferson County, Alabama (where things got so bad that they were no longer burying the bodies of indigent folks who passed) reminded me of a story I read this weekend in the times about the City of Tracy, California.

    Apparently, coming soon to Tracy is pay-to play 911 service.  (Yes as in emergency, call the cops, house on fire, I've fallen and I can't get up 911 services.) Residents will soon need to pay $48/year to have access to call 9-1-1 when they need it.

    Perhaps recognizing that this is merely fodder for entrepreneurial lawyers the first time someone dies because emergency services won't respond to a call due to non-payment, there is an out.  If you don't want to, or can't afford to, pay the $48, then you can still get emergency help dialing 911.

    But it will cost you $300.

    Obviously, this is the wave of the future, where it may well be that Grover Norquist & Company finally are getting what they always wanted:  a government shrunk so small that it can now indeed be drowned in the tub.

    Thanks again for the diary.

    If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

    by shanikka on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:40:30 AM PST

    •  Toll-booth economy (5+ / 0-)

      Michael Hudson has been using the term "tool-booth economy" for some time now.
        It isn't just 9-11. Just look at the highways that are being converted into toll roads. It's all part of the privatization of everything public, that eventually leads to a two-class country.
        Maybe our future will one day look like the West Bank in Palestine, where the Jews drive on one road and the Palestinians on another. Except in our country it will be divided by class instead of ethnicity.

      "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

      by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:59:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  State and local politicians are cheaper to buy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cliss

      Hello Feudalism.

      Kiss the ring, peon!

      It's time for the pitchforks and torches! Guillotines are way too complicated.

      by No one gets out alive on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 12:10:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "mass movement" is happening --out of the market (7+ / 0-)

    Excellent diary.

    Among the many good points, I note the following:

    As Barry Ritholtz has pointed out, the field of economics today has become a joke.

    It reminded me that when I was at an excellent college studying economics under distinguished professors, one of the constantly repeated points was that with all that was known now about the economy and all the tools available to the Federal Reserve and federal government, let alone Wall Street and the banks themselves, that no significant recessions or depressions would happen again in the US.

    Obviously, as you demonstrate, that is not only not true, but also as you note:

    Economics, as the professions now exists, is to science what Fox News is to the news media.

    I do believe, however,that there is a "mass movement" well underway and that is the movement away from trusting the friendly well packaged image of stock brokers as "financial consultants" and "investment advisers".  In our small town there are numerous corner Jones and Davidson brokers and in the local banks there re outlets of well known names of what were once big name brokerages.  However, most of the hard working folks and retirees I know and deal with on a daily basis as a small town lawyer, no longer trust these "friends" who always had a "buying opportunity" for them a have reduced their life savings drastically in the past year.  Even the rock ribbed Republicans no longer trust Corporate America.

    Now they don't even know what to do with their Toyotas!

    The real folks of the country are well into their "mass movement".  The question is whether it will be a Tea Party type movement or a true Progressive movement?  Is this an Upton Sinclair moment?

  •  2 out of 3 Corporations paid no taxes... (11+ / 0-)

    ...
    Majority of Corporations avoid Paying Federal Income Tax according to a GAO report in 2008.  About the GAO report Senator Levin said:

    "...this report makes clear that too many corporations are using tax trickery to send their profits overseas and avoid paying their fair share in the United States..."

    Yet these corporations continue to whine to lawmakers and continue to pay off politicians so they can keep increasing their profit margins.

    They keep on lying and paying off their corporately sponsored politicos to instill irrational fear (fear of "socialized medicine", etc) and to twist the truth (replacing fact with fiction and science with alchemy) so people will  vote against their own best interests.

    Somehow the corporations and the politicians have managed to keep their power, and increase their personal and corporate bank accounts despite all the public anger.  

  •  People sneered at the Marxist dialectic (9+ / 0-)

    But we are almost there, that exalted state where the capitalists have expropriated everyone else...

    -9.00, -5.85
    If only stupidity were painful...

    by Wintermute on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:53:58 AM PST

  •  The Fed is to Capitalist Economics (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, Terra Mystica

    What Trofim Lysenko was to Communist Agriculture: a catastrophic cult of pseudoscience.

    Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

    by Robobagpiper on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:59:29 AM PST

  •  Excellent diary, (7+ / 0-)

    especially for those of us that have watch the rules change over the last thirty years or more and were told lie after lie that all is well; it is probably "you," that isn't working hard enough.

    Adam Smith's invisible hand hasn't worked for a long time and has totally disappeared. That is why there are laws for us and laws (not so much) for the wealthy.  What happened in Alabama is frightening.

    I agree the system is "sick," and it will require a mass movement to change it.  Our system reminds me of the true story of Rob Roy and his struggles against the corrupt royalty.  The lesson is that  the system of royalty became too sick and corrupt to continue.

    Sometimes when life throws you a curve ball, throw a spit ball back at it.

    by zaka1 on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 10:59:42 AM PST

  •  Nice work. I wish the "Teabaggers" would (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap, Quicklund, Hens Teeth, banger

    read and understand this.

    I discovered the meaning of life, but forgot to write it down.

    by dry heat dem on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:00:39 AM PST

    •  absolutely! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit, Hens Teeth, Arizona Al

      I talked, recently, to a highly impassioned Ron Paul supporter and he was pointing the finger at the Fed as the cause of all the problems. That's a start -- I've been advocating talking to the populist right for a long time. The main part of the Democratic Party is just too much involved in corruption to ever agitate for change. We need to stay left but make our alliances on the right -- we can unite under the banner of smashing the Fed and smashing the emerging police state and it is time, as some others have mentioned here to get behind the second amendment rights to bear arms. Normally I was against this but have changed my mind on this in recent years.

    •  C'mon (0+ / 0-)

      It's practically a teabagger manifesto--straight out of Ron Paul.

    •  Teabaggers already think this way... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Silverbird, Hens Teeth

      before anyone overreacts let me explain.

      This is the danger of the Teabaggers, as much as we recognize their ignorance you have to realize that they are the victoms of this economy in many ways, let me explain further.

      1. The conspiracy they know is out there is described in this diary.
      1. They want to fight back so their best weapon is the we'll keep our money (no taxes) because its the only non-violent weapon they have against the system
      1. they are being fooled and lied to by the same people that put them into that situation.
      1. their tendency racism and violence are being manipulated by the same cabal

      I make no excuses for these clowns but you have to realize they are being controlled. They're racists, but they are likely that way because of their upbringing, you can't change that brainwashing either but the wealthy are pushing that button.

      After reading this diary, and following some of its links you have to realize that voting Democratic changes nothing, we are all just a short step away from being a teabagger ourselve, maybe with a little more information but with the same lack of power.

      I say this because I know people who aren't necessarily teabaggers but you know they get the same talking points from the same places but the frustration is real, this entire diary really explains how much we may have in common with them. After reading this anyone would be frustrated with political and economic systems driving us and them over the same cliff.

  •  This is simply ... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, Quicklund, Terra Mystica, banger

    the best diary I've seen around here in a long time.

    Hopelessly pedantic since 1963.

    by admiralh on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:02:05 AM PST

  •  Well done, gjohnsit. n/t (7+ / 0-)

    I refuse to accept "no can do" as a proper slogan for progressives.

    by Meteor Blades on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:03:04 AM PST

  •  Wealth gap is WIDER than during the gilded era (18+ / 0-)

    The wealth gap in the United States today is wider than it has ever been in the history of the nation.  Think about that.

    As to military policing, I just finished reading Zeitoun, the story of four New Orleans residents who stayed behind during Katrina.  A few days after the hurricane, they were removed from their home and taken to the Greyhound bus station.  Before and immediately after the storm, the institutions that couldn't get water and bathrooms to the nearby SuperDome had built a Guantanamo-style high security enclosure, which they filled with people who were summarily scooped up off the streets--no Miranda, no phone call, no charges filed.  These more or less randomly arrested citizens were provide no shelter, no place to sleep.  They were periodically sprayed with pepper spray.  They were subjected to body searches.  In the case of Zeitoun and his three companions, they ended up in maximum security prisons with no one aware that they had even been "arrested."  When a hearing was set for Zeitoun, his wife was told that the location of the hearing was a secret.

    I need to write that diary.  We are teetering a lot closer to the edge of martial law than most people realize.

    The only true competition in America is local--over which politicians will enjoy the privilege of representing the interests of the rich.

    by geomoo on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:03:30 AM PST

  •  Editorial Cartoon. Needs an artist. (5+ / 0-)

    I woke up this morning with this idea trapped in my head - for an editorial cartoon that depicts the American Middle Class as a little old lady (on her way home with her groceries), trapped in a dark ally and being mugged and beaten by thugs representing Corporate America, bankers and Wall Street who keep demanding more from her even as they continue to rail on her. It was my thought that the brutality of it would wake some folks up.

    Any cartoonists in the audience?

    -8.00, -8.26 "Fascism is capitalism plus murder." - Upton Sinclair

    by djMikulec on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:05:33 AM PST

  •  Great diary! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, PsychoSavannah, yowsta

    One of the best in a long while.

    "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." Mark Twain

    by dotdot on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:06:08 AM PST

  •  Decoupled from any capital formation, especially (7+ / 0-)

    for normal people.  The modern version of indentured servitude?  Another discarded and seemingly resurrected 18. C economic concept (by any other name, call it mortgage bonding).

    A second Progressive Era aim was to steer the financial sector so as to fund capital formation...Today’s bank credit has become decoupled from capital formation, taking the form mainly of mortgage credit (80%), and loans secured by corporate stock (for mergers, acquisitions and corporate raids) as well as for speculation. The effect is to spur asset-price inflation on credit, in ways that benefit the few at the expense of the economy at large.

    A good definition of the problem, and a pivot point for recovery, if someone can put it into words that most people can understand.  And understand in a way that it resonates with what they know they are going through, but don't necessarily know why, or how to change it.

    This may be a emphatic declaration of the obvious, but nobody in a position to change the situation says peep one about reversing the course of the middle class.

    Great diary!  Truly one of the best here in a while.  It is so hard to get a holistic sense of such complex economic issues.  I think you've done so here.  Thanks.

    "Dega dega dega dega. Break up the concrete..." The Pretenders

    by Terra Mystica on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:06:35 AM PST

  •  Capitalism did fail (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jagger, greengemini, zaka1, verdastelo

    The end game of capitalism is monopolization of wealth and power. So, when the worlds largest banks and financial institutions fuck us over, that means the worlds leading capitalists fucked us over.

    Capitalism fails every time we decide not to save a life, send a young person to college, keep a family from being foreclosed on, or allow corporations to drown out the voice of the people.

    As your evidence shows, capitalism is failing. This is what capitalism breeds. If we keep telling ourselves that capitalism is not the problem, or that we just need a little more regulation then we are just fooling ourselves.

    Capitalism is based on perpetual growth. Once you decide that we cannot have perpetual growth and that we need a system that accepts the propostion; then you are no longer talking about "capitalism."

    IMO.

    To whom it may concern: I am an American citizen. Not an American consumer. I am a human being, not a variable in the capitalist system.

    by FinchJ on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:09:09 AM PST

    •  Capitalism (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PsychoSavannah, anyname

      Capitalism is based on perpetual growth.

       You've touched on a point that I've brought up before.
        In fact not all capitalism requires perpetual growth. The difference is in the money.

       Today's currency is based on debt. All money is loaned into existence. Thus the economy has to grow in order to pay interest on the money. The growth in the economy has to be reflected in more money, which requires more interest, etc. etc.
       
       It wasn't always like that!
      For 4,000 years people used money that was based on assets. Specifically, gold and silver.
        Gold and silver isn't based on debt. Thus as more gold and silver are mined, the economy can grow without the attached debt.

       No, I'm not making this up. I know gold and silver have fallen out of favor today, but then it's because economists (read: Central Banks) hate gold and silver.

       One other thing worth noting: debt can be tracked and controlled. Assets can't.
       That's why governments hate gold and silver money too.

      "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

      by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 12:19:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I had to login just to RECOMMEND this great diary (8+ / 0-)

    Can't we beam this into every sane person's head? I wish. Thank you!

    •  Sorry, The Republicans Have Already Defined This (0+ / 0-)

      diary as "socialism".

      The Republicans have framed our daily lives with a few simple words that the American voters respond to in a specific way.

      Until Democrats are able to define some words, nothing will change.

  •  It won't change until heads roll (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, MariaWr

    Literally.

    And then they will play nice for a few decades, at most.

    And then we start again.

    More heads this time around, methinks.

    It's time for the pitchforks and torches! Guillotines are way too complicated.

    by No one gets out alive on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:12:17 AM PST

  •  now this is what should be on the "news" (5+ / 0-)

    every single day

  •  All I say is Americans, if you own a gun keep it. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jagger, yowsta

    Don't let laws be enacted to disarm yourself.  No one wants to be a sitting fuck to this invisible monster. Keep that amendment in place.  

    'If we lift our voice as one, there's nothing that can't be done' MJ

    by publicv on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:15:14 AM PST

  •  You should post this to a wingnut site (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, Terra Mystica

    ...instead of preaching to the kos choir. Don't we need healthy argumentation coming from both sides?

    Good job; I don't know if this is particularly partisan. Fact is fact, right?

    MY Erdos number is 2146679321

    by NuttyProf on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:21:49 AM PST

  •  This Diary should be required reading in every (9+ / 0-)

    class room in this land

    Splendid work.

    Once upon a time the free press used to point out this kind of information but now they too are the pocket of K Street.

  •  Kudos for an outstanding diary (5+ / 0-)

    Unfortunately, most Americans are either too stupid, too lazy, or too blinded by our national "best of all possible worlds" mythology to understand out what's happening to them. Our current economic practices are unsustainable, and a lot of people are going to be in for a very rude awakening.

    I'm not a fearful person by nature, but this scares the hell out of me.

  •  Yep (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    melo, gjohnsit, Hens Teeth

    we all know that.

    But remember Harry Reid a few weeks ago saying that it would be a hard sell to raise taxes on those making more than $250k a year?

    The American middle and lower classes have been so effectively conditioned at a Pavlovian level that Beck's outrageous statement and Reid's apparently absurd complaint are the two poles of the public discourse.

    America, and by extension, the world, exists for the benefit of the ruling class and the American people have totally internalised that rule.

    They truly do believe that one day, they too will be rich and they are so inherently greedy that they will inflict penury and disease on themselves in the present if only they don't have to pay when they are rich.

    I have been to the malachite room in the Hermitage in St Petersburg where the Czar's cabinet held its final meeting before being led away to oblivion. No doubt they passed important legislation and made solemn, and binding resolutions.

    It is breathtaking and marvellous to behold. It is also the sign of a system that is dying in its own putrid waste. It will take much longer than any of us might wish or hope, but when the end comes it will be swift, violent and complete.

    Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

    by Deep Dark on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:38:05 AM PST

  •  All time highs... since 1995. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thethinveil

    The hunger figures only go back to 1995.

  •  I will never forget a job I had back in the 80's (6+ / 0-)

    doing the books for a family lawyer, who, btw, handled big, rich clients.  Even lower-class people who came in had to plop down about a $5,000 retainer fee and that was the 80's.

    Anyhow, the beginning of Reaganomics was starting to creep in and this attorney had a Pension & Profit sharing plan...  We all looked forward to that money one day.

    And then one day he slammed the damn thing on my desk and said, "Thank God I don't have to contribute to this piece of shit anymore" and with that, he closed it up, with most of us having only a 20% or 40% stake in our amounts (like an employer's match for a 401k you get more with years of work).

    I should have seen it then but have thought of it often since.

    -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

    by MarciaJ720 on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:40:45 AM PST

  •  Emailed to my republican mom (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Boston to Salem, PsychoSavannah

    With love, of course :)

    It's amazing - and a bit maddening - to hear her say, well, yes, you're right, I can see the point of this, it makes sense - and then three days later, it's as if the conversation never took place.

    Seriously, we have to 'unhook' Faux News...

  •  excellent post (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, thethinveil

    The criminal inequality in this country drives all.
    Politics, economics, the use of religion and other societal differences to divide and conquor us all.
    Try economicedge.blogspot.com. Usually right on point with this topic.

  •  Richest 400 Taxpayers See Incomes Double, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, thethinveil
  •  Diary offers no alternatives (1+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Eposter
    Hidden by:
    boatwright

    "The current economic system is sick."

    "It's been poisoned"

    "rigged the current system."

    "like the scenario of a 3rd world nation in Latin America"

    "doom loop!"

    - the doom loop was my favorite.  Anyways, with all these doom and gloom loops, what is the alternative?  The diary offers none, and sufferes because of it.

  •  Money is today's means of oppression (5+ / 0-)

    It used to be military power, religion and education. Not that these aren't still used to control the masses, but money is the dominant means of control in the west today. A tiny minority effectively controls the lives of a huge majority through their control of money and how it's distributed, owned and used.

    They have transformed a financial system that was intended, and in theory still exists, to put the surplus capital held by both rich and ordinary people alike, earned through years of hard work and wise investment, to good use, as investment capital, funding the growth of the economy, into a giant money pump that channels all this money into their hands, via both legal (through laws that have been changed in their favor by the politicians that they own) and illegal (but hard to prosecute due to their ownership of these politicians) ways.

    And the public has been kept largely clueless, or at least quite confused, about all this, via their ownership of major media, which lies about and spins things in their favor on an hourly basis. And in doing so, they have wrecked the economy. And yet they still try to suck more money out of it, as if nothing's gone wrong and they can keep on doing this forever. See, these people are diseased, in their hearts and souls, and all they care about, all that they can relate to, is money, and the vast power and privilege that it gives them. And they always want more of it, no matter how much they already have. This is the way of diseases. They know no limits.

    "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

    by kovie on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:54:21 AM PST

  •  You brilliantly describe the problem, (4+ / 0-)

    but your diagnosis and suggested solutions are unnecessarily moralistic. The financial collapse occurred not so much because there was a bubble as because banks were running at 37 to 1 leverage at the peak. Risks were stupidly (and yes greedily) underestimated and the financial system lacked the assets to cushion the losses. That was irresponsible behavior that can be prevented in the future by regulatory reform.

    The concentration of wealth and income at the very top must be addressed by a newly progressive income tax and a stiff estate tax. There is no reason that we could not return to 90% taxation of the highest incomes, and there are good reasons that we should.

    •  the diarist's call to to arms against the rich (1+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      doc2
      Hidden by:
      boatwright

      are a FAIL.  So the diarist is upset the economy is bad, and the solution is to destroy wall street?  Just how is destroying wallstreet not going to make the economy worse?

      •  Progressive taxation....... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        3goldens, jobu, Steppin Razor

        ....and "destroying wallstreet" are NOT equivalent.  Quit listening to Fox and actually READ this excellent post.

        One of these days the forces of greed will realize that eating the seed corn is just stupid.

        Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

        by boatwright on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 12:13:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  did the diary really say "progressive taxation"? (0+ / 0-)

          I did not read that anywhere in the diary.  The solution this diary proposed was that wall street is the enemey, and we all know what we do with the enemy.

          Also, raising taxes on the rich would solve all the problems the diarist sees.

      •  Wall Street != the real economy (9+ / 0-)

        People need to get over that idea.

          Besides, I didn't call for an outright destruction of Wall Street. I called for systemic reforms of the financial system.
          It's happened twice before in this country, and the economy didn't collapse.

        "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

        by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 12:29:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I only hope that Europe starts to Ban Goldman (6+ / 0-)

          Sachs and other wall street crooks...

          With Washington unlikely to do anything to constrain Goldman, it looks like the European Union, which is launching a major audit, just might banish the bank from dealing in government debt. The problem is that CDS markets are essentially unregulated so such a ban will not prevent Wall Street from bringing down more countries—because they do not have to hold debt in order to bet against it using CDSs.

          Here’s a more appropriate action: declare war on Goldman Sachs and other global financial firms that created this mess. Send the troops, the planes, the tanks, and the ships. Attack every outpost of the saboteurs on European soil. Blockade the airports and ports. Make Wall Street traders and CEOs fear for their lives, or at least for their freedom to travel. Build some Guantanamo-like facility to hold these enemy financial combatants until they can be tried, convicted, and properly punished.

          Ok, if a literal armed attack on Goldman is too far-fetched, then go after the firm using the full force of the regulatory and legal systems. Close the offices and go through the files with a fine-tooth comb. Issue subpoenas to all non-clerical staff for court appearances. Make the internal emails public. Post the names of all managers and traders on Interpol. Arrest anyone who tries to board a plane, train, or boat; confiscate their passports; revoke their visas and work permits; and put a hold on their bank accounts until culpability can be assessed. Make life at least as miserable for them as it now is for Europe’s tens of millions of unemployed workers.
          We know that the Obama administration will not go after the banksters that created this global financial calamity. It has been thoroughly co-opted by Wall Street’s fifth column—who hold most of the important posts in the administration. Europe has even more at stake and has shown somewhat more willingness to take action. Perhaps our only hope for retribution lies there.  Some might believe the term "banksters" is too mean. Surely Wall Street was just doing its job—providing the financial services wanted by the world. Yes, it all turned out a tad unfortunate but no one could have foreseen that so many of the financial innovations would turn into black swans. And hasn’t Wall Street learned its lesson and changed its practices? Fat chance. We know from internal emails that everyone on Wall Street saw this coming—indeed, they sold trash assets and placed bets that they would crater. The crisis was not a mistake—it was the foregone conclusion. The FBI warned of an epidemic of fraud back in 2004—with 80% of the fraud on the part of lenders. As Bill Black has been warning since the days of the Saving and Loan crisis, the most devastating kind of fraud is the "control fraud", perpetrated by the financial institution’s management. Wall Street is, and was, run by control frauds. Not only were they busy defrauding the borrowers, like Greece, but they were simultaneously defrauding the owners of the firms they ran. Now add to that list the taxpayers that bailed out the firms. And Goldman is front and center when it comes to bad apples.

          http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/

          ...oh, not to worry, I'm wearing a Flame Retardant Valentino Orange Moo Moo whenever I visit DailyKos.

          by Badabing on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 12:45:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  As if they already weren't tired of our BS. (4+ / 0-)

            This "Made in USA" financial mess is going to end up costing us even more global goodwill than our stupid military adventurism.

          •  Wall St. and the City (of London) (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cliss, Badabing

            Are just as deeply intertwined in Brussels and Frankfurt as their are in Washington, DC.  Greece just appointed a special minister to handle their debt problem.

            Suprise!

            It's the former head of Goldman Sachs's Greek banking division.

            Adam and Eve had Iraqi birth certificates.

            by bink on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 02:59:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Um, of course they are intertwined. (0+ / 0-)

              How could they not be?

              Look, every gov't puts out a bond issue to fund its doings. Those bond issues are done directly or indirectly. The indirect side sells licenses to agents, and those agents are the big banks, and they sell bonds to investors. This is just like an IPO on Wall Street. if you're a government and you're selling your sovereignty for cash, then you go to banks.

              The alternative is an economic system that does not rely on free trade and free markets.

              There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

              by upstate NY on Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 06:35:21 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  No (0+ / 0-)

                There is no "of course" as to why the regulators must be the same people as the regulated, and why Goldman Sachs has to be represented on both sides of the negotiating table.

                Adam and Eve had Iraqi birth certificates.

                by bink on Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 10:14:28 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I was referring to ngovernments and the (0+ / 0-)

                  licensees.

                  Are they not intertwined?

                  The government literally sells licenses to Goldman so that Goldman can sell gov't bonds to investors.

                  That means they are intertwined.

                  If the government instead licensed itself and refuse to sell bonds indirectly, then they could avoid this entanglement, but then the cost of debt would be higher and there would be less government money.

                  There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                  by upstate NY on Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 11:54:22 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Okay (0+ / 0-)

                    My intertwined comment referred to bringing in a former Goldman Sachs executive to negotiate with Wall St. on behalf of the Greek government.

                    Adam and Eve had Iraqi birth certificates.

                    by bink on Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 12:28:22 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  SInce Greece has arangements with all (0+ / 0-)

                      of these big banks (the banks are licensed by Greece to conduct the bond issues) you have to wonder if they would ever be able to find someone outside these intwinements to be subordinate to the finance minister. Even the current finance guy, Papaconstantinou, has the same background. The Goldman woman who made the currency swap deal in the first place, Antigone Loudiadis, was a Brit of Greek background with lots of highly-placed connections, the ECB even has former Greek bankers with these connections running Europe's economy (Taso Orphanides and Costas Paleologos). The connections are everywhere. Imagine what would happen if somehow Jamie Dimon was brought in to consult.

                      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                      by upstate NY on Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 02:00:18 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

          •  Except they didn't defraud Greece. (0+ / 0-)

            How did they defraud Greece?

            Where are people getting this stuff?

            There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

            by upstate NY on Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 06:36:13 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  "radical and systemic reforms" (0+ / 0-)

          such as?

          Your graph and political cartoon diary fails at offering any alternative.  Simply saying "radical reforms" and throwing the word 'systemic' in a few times is not an actual reform.

          •  There are lots of alternatives (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PsychoSavannah, thethinveil

            To list them all would require another long diary (or two).
              But if you wanted a few examples, I would start with rolling back financial deregulation to 1970 levels. Doing so would require three different stages of deregulation being rolled back. It would force the break up of all the major backs (not the nationalization, or the destruction of), implement consumer protection beyond what is being proposed now, and crush the very structure of risky financial speculation in the world.

             It would be very radical and systemic. And yet it would leave the economy intact.

            "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

            by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 01:07:09 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Uprated to counter ridiculous HR. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PsychoSavannah

        Boatwright should read the FAQs

        I'm in the pro-Obama wing of the Democratic Party.

        by doc2 on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 01:47:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Eat the rich (4+ / 0-)

    we've had this scourge for way too long.  Incentives for working hard and being smart are ok (like getting getting paid well), but most of these asshole CEO's and rich people are far too over-valued and have become parasites on society.

  •  This IS a failure of capitalism (5+ / 0-)

    It IS.  It's a failure intrinsic to capitalism.

    "Free-market" capitalism posits that only when the markets are free of undue political distortion for special interests, can we prosper.

    Under prosperous conditions, those greediest for money and power continue to push relentlessly for limitless money and power.  Once they have it, they exert it to:

    Politically distort the free market, for their special interests.

    This mechanism is inherent to capitalism.  "Free-market" capitalism, free of political distortion, is a myth, an oxymoronic impossibility.

    "Arguments are to be avoided. They are always vulgar, and are often convincing." -- Oscar Wilde

    by Villagejonesy on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 12:19:17 PM PST

  •  Kondratiev Wave - Long Cycle Wave Economics (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Trendar, gjohnsit, Cliss, xaxado, smellybeast

     title=

    This credit bubble and collapse cycle has been going on as long as there has been a cabal of wealthy bankers who can control the money supply to this degree.  I believe that this is part of an economic domination strategy that has been passed on from generation to generation.  This cycle has historic records going back over 1000 years (I have heard) in any event the cycle of boom bust credit bubble/collapse has increased to match the long-term life expectancy ALMOST EXACTLY.

    once in every generation. . .

  •  I was just reading another diary on the rec list (0+ / 0-)

    And I started thinking about the “Death Industry”, you know the one, the one that makes its profits when people reach the ends of their natural lives.

    I don’t really want to expand on this, I just wanted to make some kind of comment.

  •  Oh fuck. (5+ / 0-)

    Fuckity fuck fuck fuck.

    A diary like this should come with a dose of valium.

    Because it's true. It's all true.

    It's time to speak truth to crazy.

    by TX Unmuzzled on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 12:26:35 PM PST

  •  The heart of this was buried (5+ / 0-)

    the decline of the working class in this country is a threat to our Constitutional form of government.

    I believe that is fully the intent, here. There are just a few very influential people who think fascism, monarchy and dictatorship are just great, and these people coincide quite exactly with the 1% who for all intents and purposes now rule things.

    Losing any influence over the messages coming out of the televisions, combined with American's tragic, soul-destroying television addiction has been key. The average American adults - the average, mind you, not the worst of them - now spend 80% of their elective free time drooling in front of the tube. All the time they're not reading to their children, reading a book, inventing the next energy device, taking a fucking walk, for Pete's sakes... How do you think think the faschrapitalists got away with the whole goddam barn, anyway?

    The vast majority of the people who ought to be angry are just diddling away their unemployment benefits and the last mortgage money in front of the tube, waiting for it to tell them that everything's going to be OK now. Pathetically, they just want to be rich, somehow, magically. When we're ALL billionaires, everything will be dandy!

    If you can't be a good example, at least be a horrible warning.

    by David Mason on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 12:32:37 PM PST

    •  I posted something similar (0+ / 0-)

      a few days ago in response to a "where's the change??!"  post.  Many, too many, people are waiting for someone to hand them a piece of paper or the "news" to report that "change is here" and here is your list of goodies.

      It's not going to happen that way, but it sure feels like that is what people are waiting for.

  •  Read these last two lines from the diary, (8+ / 0-)

    If you don't have time to read it all.  Excellent!

    However, the system was constructed by choices that were made. It can be changed in the same way the progressives changed it a century ago, but it requires a mass movement. It requires people to understand that their enemies aren't working people from other cities, nations, races, religions, or anyone who collects a paycheck. Their enemies are those of the powerful and wealthy elite who rigged the current system.

    We need Health Care, not Wealth Care.

    by relentless on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 12:39:48 PM PST

  •  someone posted that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit

    we don't need lecture at dkos.... wrong sorry we needed the excellent lecture.... thank you for explaining how the world works

    We should stand up and say let's work together until we finish defeating the left and then we won't have to work with them as much. - Newt Gingrich

    by anyname on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 12:40:22 PM PST

  •  This is really well done. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, Kristina40

    I have been making this agrument since 2006, and you just gave me some new ammunition. Thank You.
    What's sad is that so many in the middle calls do not believe this. Not because they can't but because the won't. It's all there, they just won't look at it.

  •  Our debt is their wealth (6+ / 0-)

    Think about it. Your mortgage, credit card debt, etc. is borrowed money from the wealthy. Part of their net wealth is your debt.

    Now take this one step further. If the broad middle class had enjoyed their share of the increase in productivity of the economy, we would be far less in debt, have a more stable, equitable economy and not have the interest debt stream, that further creates more disparity in wealth.

    Now take it one more step. The reason that we have just endured a massive speculative bubble in housing prices is that the wealthy have too much money to invest. This was driven, not just by loose regulation, but by a massive amount of money looking for a secured (at least they thought) investment. Just how easy was it to get a mortgage and why was that the case? Why was there so much money available to do this?

  •  wrong on at least two points (0+ / 0-)

    although your diary is right about a lot, your introduction is totally wrong.

    This isn't capitalism? Wrong. This is capitalism, capitalism is the money trust, and the invisible hand was always a myth.

    Capitalism always turns out this way, I don't know why you need to try so hard to protect the capitalist brand, when it always leads to the money trust problem you correctly identify.

    You are also wrong about cheap money being bad for the working class. Debtors benefit from cheap money, because the money they pay their debts back with is cheaper than the money they borrowed.

    Read about the gold vs silver standard, and being crucified on a cross of gold.

    otherwise, good diary... thanks

    •  No, he isn't wrong (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit

      show me the capital in this money trust.

      Workers = Capital
      Machinery = Capital
      Factories = Capital
      The production of labor = Capital

      Banks are supposed to provide money to invest in more efficient and expanding capital, i.e. Capital Investment.

      Capital is material, and Capitalism is the thesis
      Finance (and money trusts) is immaterial, and is the antithesis

      The finance "industry" that has taken over too large a portion of the US capital product, the GDP, is "producing" imaginary wealth in the form of bits and bytes in the ethernet and assigning a representative value to them.  This is the new accounting, this is why mark to market, the price of a material asset such as a home, has gone bye-bye.  Now it whatever those bits and bytes of creative accounting determine what the value is and it has nothing more to do with material use-value.

      This is a pseudo-capitalism, super-capitalism, hyper-capitalism, whatever you want to call it, but it is not capitalism - we long past that stage.

      This is the synthesis in the dialectic and it is about to change into another thesis known as the "new normal".

      We no longer have capitalism, we have had capital flight in fact.  And it's flown to China and SE Asia.  Now they have capitalism... for now.

      "Where they burn books, they will ultimately also burn people." - Heinrich Heine, Almansor, 1821

      by Jeffersonian Democrat on Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 03:43:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Class warfare is long overdue (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, njlib2

    I'm not as far left as some folks; however, class warfare is one issue that I fully support.

  •  does obama understand economics enough to reform (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, thethinveil, njlib2

    our gov't. obama seemed in the past to take the big corporations are the risk takers approach to reform. heck, big corporations are just as bad as big gov't a lot of the time.  i hope obama gets away from this down economics and start inspiring laid off middle management workers to start their own businesses and not to depend on the big corporations.

    unfortunately, obamas hcr plan does not include the ability of the corporate worker to purchase their own healthcare plan. this is what makes me think he does not get it

  •  How ironic (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, PsychoSavannah, Hens Teeth

    that the really important messages...dark, haunting realities...nowadays come to us through "comedians."

    The frustration of Carlin comes through clearly as he tries to get across to clueless Americans the fact that their welfare is not bundled with that of obscenely wealthy scammers who manipulate them with lies and cheap bait.

  •  Capitalism has always been imperfect (0+ / 0-)

    and frequently fails.  The purpose of government is to deal with market failure.  People can't easily, justly or sufficiently provide collective goods, such as national security, healthcare, roads, court systems, economic security in old age, a protected environment, food and product safety, etc., etc., etc.  They also can't easily, justly or sufficiently prevent corrupt people (i.e. bankers) from taking advantage of them in many or all of these areas.

    The main problem is that capitalists have too much power to game the political system to their advantage.

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - FDR. Obama Nation. -6.13 -6.15

    by ecostar on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 01:13:10 PM PST

  •  So what do we do? (3+ / 0-)

    Move our money out of the big banks?

    Buy only small and local?

    Stop driving?

    Exert tax resistance?

    What's the plan?

    If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

    by rhetoricus on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 01:13:21 PM PST

    •  Seems like there are two options: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, rhetoricus, smellybeast
      1.  Go the "John Galt" route and quit working, hoping that the result is that the entire financial system collapses on itself.  Quit spending any money.  Starve the system.

      or

      1.  Organize political change in 2010 and bring the same systemic change that Barack Obama brought to the presidency in 2008.

      Obama needs a better Congress - particularly, a better Senate - to fix what's broken.

      "It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses." - CS Lewis, Weight of Glory

      by Benintn on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 02:03:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Organize (8+ / 0-)

      What needs to happen is get people to understand what is happening to them and why.
       It's nice to move your small savings to a local bank, but it only makes a difference if you can get 20 other people to do the same.
        If you can educate that 20 people so that they realize what is happening to them, then they can each teach another 20 people. Suddenly you have a movement that the government has to acknowledge.

      "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

      by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 02:10:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  4-step solution (0+ / 0-)

        Realize (a la Carlin) you are one of their fucking peasants.

        Decide to stop being a peasant.

        Educate (as you are doing) others as to their peasant status.  (Not "land of the free" b.s.)

        Organize them to stop being peasants.

        Oh yeah, (5) duck the incoming...

        If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State...

        by HenryDavid on Sun Feb 28, 2010 at 02:27:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  All of the above, except (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit, Dixie Liberal

      tax resistance.  And talk to people you know.  Doesn't have to be "lecture-y", just in everyday conversation.  Everyone knows someone who can't afford to go to the dentist. That is an opening to a health insurance discussion and how much better it would be if YOU had the choice to pick the insurance plan YOU need with the knowledge that all of them had to offer a basic level of care and actually give it to you.....remind them that right now, their insurance company can LEGALLY drop them if they get sick.  Ask them when they had their last premium increase and if they don't know, tell them to look at their pay stub....it's right there in black and white.  If they don't have insurance, remind them that they will have it.

    •  Chicago Lawyer nails it (0+ / 0-)

      upthread in this comment

      Is very bad to steal jobu's rum...is very bad

      by jobu on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 03:03:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We need a TEA PARTY (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit

      Don't laugh, I mafe the argumemt above that enemies the tea partiers are looking for are the same ones identified in the diary, they are just being blinded and misdirected

  •  asdf (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, PsychoSavannah, zaka1

    Make no mistake - this trend was in place even before the financial crisis struck. In 1972 the CPI adjusted wages for the average worker was $738.48 per week. In January 2008 that figure was $598.18.

    Are you better off than you were . . . ?
    If another politican asks that at a 5000 a plate fundraiser, he should be hissed and jeered out into the street.

    You cannot present a monster with a flower. Nora Astorga.

    by vivens fons on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 01:23:23 PM PST

  •  All this happened regardless... (8+ / 0-)

    of what party or president was in power.

    Corporate PACs, not just bribery but a lifestyle!

    by rubine on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 01:24:27 PM PST

  •  An observation and a question. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PsychoSavannah, Cliss, xaxado

    The objective is not wealth.  The objective is power and money has just served as a very convenient, objective shield behind which it is possible to accumulate power and influence.
    The reality is that for power to be felt, it has to hurt.  Which is why deprivation is the order of the day.  And deprivation is achieved by sequestering necessary resources, including money, the lubricant of exchange and trade.  That is, the effect of amassing money to gamble on worthless paper had the same effect as sequestering gold in earlier days.  (How did the Dutch gain control of world commerce?  By scooping up the gold Spain stole from the Americas, sequestering it in their vaults, and issuing paper in exchange as it struck their fancy).

    Question:  Why do we dole out OUR money, secured by the good faith and credit of the American people, to private banks so they can lend it back to the federal government at triple the interest rate?

    How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

    by hannah on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 01:39:36 PM PST

  •  Yes, we have been set up to fail and this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, axel000

    has been happening for a long time. Everyone who wants the free market ....this is what happens. There are no rules.

    People voted for their boss and not themselves.
    Some questions include what do we do and is it too late?

  •  it's economic euthanasia, (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, PsychoSavannah, Cliss, xaxado, zaka1

    a result of the economic terrorism perpetrated by the banks and corporations, with the willing complicit behavior of the Congress and the White House's use of the Larry Summers, Geithner, Greenspan 'trickle down,' and 'creating job insecurity' method of financial governance.  

    If any of us regular people had found a way to use a computer and network to create the havoc that the unregulated banking industry and the outsourcing corporations have done, we would be in Gitmo or worse. We'd be called terrorists for having brought the country to its economic knees.  But it's ok for the banks and corporations to do it----that is just called 'capitalism.'  Nuts.

    This alleged recession is going to throw away the careers of a generation, possibly more.  The unemployed will be disappeared---which is going on now with a supposed jobless recovery and unemployment benefits running out, causing more despair and homelessness.  And it's all for the banks and corporations, with Congress and the White House pretending nothing is wrong.

    As Glenn Beck said at the CPAC meeting, 'not all of us will make it,' or words to that effect, regarding the American dream.  

    History will regard this time as catastrophic for the future of the American worker and family.  Ask for a euthanasia kit from your Congressman, since it's the least he/she can do.

    Hope is not a plan, nor will it pay the bills.    

  •  Thank you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, Dixie Liberal

    for this excellent diary. Also for mentioning Michael Hudson.  His name didn't ring a bell till I watched a video linked from his site when he was a guest on The Oracle.

    http://www.epluribusmedia.org/donate.htm

    by Soma on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 02:25:41 PM PST

  •  Mark-To-Market Accounting.... (7+ / 0-)

    has been killed by Bernanke and his Bubble Boys.

    The housing market stays way over honest prices.

    The housing market fuels faked asset holdings for banks.

    Faked asset holdings fuel bonuses for bankers and for traders at every company from BofA to Goldman, Sachs.

    1. Mark-to-Market is honest accounting.
    1. Faked real estate prices and all the CDO/CDS instruments built on real estate prices are being held up fraudulently.

    My community has seen no rise in salaries. Housing prices are being held up at easily 50% above what income levels support.

    Both coasts and Arizona and parts of Texas have the same effects.

    Massive fraud. That's all. Much worse than Madoff.

    Angry White Males + Personality Disorder delusionals + Pro-Life Christians

    =EQ=

    The GOPer Base

    by vets74 on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 02:30:53 PM PST

  •  The Computers No Longer Need a Lot of Humans (0+ / 0-)

    To keep them running.

    Adam and Eve had Iraqi birth certificates.

    by bink on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 02:47:22 PM PST

    •  Comprehensive Immigration Reform (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tgs1952, gjohnsit, Bobjack23

      I'm totally baffled by this as well.  I think we can conclusively demonstrate that this country has no further need for at least 20 percent of the population we have.  Why add more?

      We need comprehensive emigration reform:

      In other words, we need to find partner countries to whom we can export our excess population.

      Adam and Eve had Iraqi birth certificates.

      by bink on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 02:49:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  citizenship swaps (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        thethinveil

        Many seniors move offshore to save money -- some countries encourage retiree residency to gain their capital.  We could destigmatize and formalize that process, for example, swaps with India.  We gain young engineers and scientists, they gain seniors needing living assistance, which creates low skill jobs.  It's an exit plan well short of soylent green, an adventurous last phase, and improves demographics in the working age group.  As a senior, I would certainly find the prospect exciting.

        One note of caution: if done, it should be mediated entirely by non-profits.  The potential for abusive fees to all parties would be tempting to all manner of parasites.  We need to structure incentives for a win/win, which seems possible.

        The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein -- best book ever, I nominate for a Nobel Prize!

        by xaxado on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 04:57:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary - great ideas - (4+ / 0-)

    Here’s a slightly science-fictiony take on the points made.

    The earlier remarks made about productivity reminded me of a piece in the Rolling Stone, by David Kushner – "When Man and Machine Merge". That article spotlighted the life & ideas of Ray Kurzweil, the technological genius & inventor, responsible for the Kurzweil synthesizer, text to voice computer programs, & many remarkably accurate predictions about computers & artificial intelligence. The most exciting idea, to me, in the Rolling Stone article was Kurzweil’s (and not just his) prediction that sometime in the next ten to twenty years, computers will exceed human beings in intelligence.

    This is backed up by any number of futurists’ curve & trend spotting notions about the logarithmic increase in the speed of technological change & rate of paradigm shifting – Moore’s law about computer memory, Kurzweil’s processor speed law, Good’s idea that computers, once past a certain minimum IQ, will be capable of designing newer machines, ever more intelligent, "bootstrapping" themselves into godlike genius – corroborating Arthur C. Clarke’s statement, that within the next 500 years, mankind will command a technology that will allow us to do anything not absolutely forbidden by physical law; we will possess  science indistinguishable from magic.

    The question this all calls to mind is – what will this incredible increase in productivity (productivity by the old-fashioned economic definition – surplus value or profit per. worker) do to capitalism? Productivity goes to infinite – or very high – values. Profits go infinite? When workers are replaced by machines – computers - when the price of any product or commodity is dependent only on the cost of the raw material & the cost of the machines used to produce it (which price, in turn, is reduced to zero, because there is no human labor involved in mining, or farming, or researching, or drilling, or fishing, or manufacturing, or repairing, or managing, or transporting) what sense does the wage system make?

    The demand for labor goes to zero – the price of labor goes to zero – wages are no longer paid. The demand for commodities remains, but there are very few with anything like money. How will economies function?

    Some people's solution, that by a sophisticated Ludditism, protectionism & unionism, we may save jobs in this country, won’t do. Just as by Gresham’s law bad money drives out good, so by iron clad capitalistic competitiveness, cheap labor drives out expensive. The companies that don’t extensively automate will be driven out of business by those that do, & cheaper goods produced by intelligent machines will drive out more expensive human made products, even if it takes black markets to do it. It’s already happening.

    The idea of "a job" is a dinosaur.

    The problem, as society enters into this huge technological transition, is what political & economic system can handle the tremendous change we’re about to undergo.

    One extreme is to carry on as we have been doing, as a capitalistic culture & economy – more & more wealth & power vested in fewer & fewer hands (as we notice, capitalism goes to monopoly as one of its major dynamics), until the government & the owners (or corporations: the two stanchions of evolution – variation & selection – are also shaping corporations. So, corporations are very like living things, & are in direct competition with human beings for resources & power – & are winning) become essentially the same entity – a perfect fascism, & probably pretty dictatorial. Everything will have a price, including most government services - & what you can pay will depend on how well you are connected. Sort of a combination of South American dictatorship & the Mafia. Or a giant welfare state – everyone on the dole, & no functioning markets to set prices (except hidden ones).

    The other direction is to democratize the power of the thinking machines. After all, we are all equal heirs of the patrimony of human culture. Everyone owns the alphabet, & trigonometry, & organic chemistry, & quantum physics. Why should the skills & knowledge that make the intelligent machines be controlled by a self-selected elite? Perhaps with the help of abundant free labor & genius at planning, we could organize communities which would be self-sustaining, autonomous, ecologically sound & politically free – more like trees than factories.

    I think society is headed in the "free" direction. The internet seems to be the new paradigm – free information. I wonder if the housing price collapse was more caused by the intrinsic value of houses – very cheap, because of new technology – finally reaching a truer level, than by the crazy financial manipulations of giant lenders with too much cash. Music, news, & houses want to be free. Money, that most abstract of human inventions, looks like it wants to be free, also. What will we do, when all we have to do to get whatever we want, is just ask for it?

    Toil no more. The money lenders will finally be thrown from the temple, & maybe things will get holier.

    "Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right." - Isaac Asimov

    by greenotron on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 02:52:19 PM PST

    •  Good points (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3rdOption, thethinveil

      Just as by Gresham’s law bad money drives out good, so by iron clad capitalistic competitiveness, cheap labor drives out expensive.

       There is an economic theory for this.
      The Iron Law of Wages: an alleged law of economics that asserts that real wages always tend, in the long run, toward the minimum wage necessary to sustain the life of the worker.

      "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

      by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 03:45:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Limits (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3rdOption

      The question this all calls to mind is – what will this incredible increase in productivity (productivity by the old-fashioned economic definition – surplus value or profit per. worker) do to capitalism?

      The question for me is, how sustainable is this increase in labor productivity? Some of it is from an increase in efficiency, but a fair amount of it is from substituting mechanical energy for human energy. And THAT requires an abundant supply of cheap stuff to burn (eg, petroleum, coal, natural gas).

      As the world hits the limits of those energy sources--whether limits of supply, or (as with coal, in particular) the limits of environmental damage from burning the stuff--then I'd think the price curve stops trending down toward zero.

  •  Homerun DIary. Invest in Woodchippers. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dixie Liberal

    1789

  •  amazingly, some people are only now (10+ / 0-)

    starting to get this, despite its being obvious for decades.

    The sides have been pretty clear all along: Them, and us.

    Either you are one of Them, or you are angry about it. If you are not angry, you are either complicit (working for Them) or naive (asleep).

    don't always believe what you think...

    by claude on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 03:25:49 PM PST

    •  I'm just realizing it I'm ashamed to say. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poxonyou, xaxado

      I was naive enough to think that George Bush and company was just a rogue administration.  But Obama's behavior has opened my eyes.  I now realize that they own us no matter what party gets in power.  I first became suspicious when Obama didn't take control of the military.

  •  gjohnsit (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, Cliss, xaxado, 3rdOption

    .. great work.  I wish more people would wake up from their Lunesta induced coma.

    Hope for American workers isn't Wall Street's agenda.

    by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 03:34:03 PM PST

  •  This diary is hits the... (11+ / 0-)

    ...nail on the head. The underlying and root cause of the current depression is the inequality of the distribution of wealth and its impact on total economic activity. There will be NO recovery so long as the wealth of our nation is concentrated in the hands of the super rich who won‘t (or can‘t) spend enough to keep the economy going. A decreasing marginal propensity to consume as people grow richer is a basic tenet of economic theory. Only ten percent of our population now possess over 80% of our wealth which means that 90% of us do not have the economic resources to maintain our consumer based economy. This lack of consumer demand guarantees a double dip recession that could well slip into a 30's type depression. Unemployment will probably rise well into the teens and stay there. Following California’s lead, state after state government will go bankrupt as well. The answer is to recycle some of the stagnant pool of wealth (it currently is not going into productive investment) back into the economy through a more progressive tax structure on those with annual incomes over $250,000. Spend the increased revenue on free universal health care, and education for qualified students through college. This action would stimulate consumer spending, jump start the economy and surprisingly not even hurt the super rich who would benefit from the resulting economic growth. The Obama administration will not confront the super rich to make it happen, and if the Republicans are returned to power the problem will only get worse. The result will be (and is) a return to a near permanent type of recession and one in which government at all levels will not have the resources to prevent the shredding of an already woefully inadequate social safety net.

    _____________________________________________________________________________________________________

    If you read anything today read Juan Cole‘s  recent  analysis of the super rich.

      INEQUALITY OF WEALTH
    (percent of economic wealth)
    Photobucket
    To see the data go to UCSC.

    Where we are headed if we don‘t change course and begin to fairly tax the super rich.

    Photobucket

    Photographer: Tuca Vieira, Paraisópolis Favela in Sāo Paulo, Brazil 2005

                                           

  •  That was a fantastic report. Thank you! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit

    Makes me dad George is Gone! One of the few truth tellers.

    The world must never forget: the crimes and atrocities committed by the republicans in the Bush administration!

    by Freedom Loving American on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 03:55:41 PM PST

  •  Small 'c' capitalism may not have failed... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, Cliss, xaxado

    ...but it is being murdered by an international, Corporate Capitalism which serves ONLY Mammon.

    The small entrepreneur, risking his savings to provide for his/her family by meeting a real need in his community, is now in danger of extinction, precisely because profit is not the end, but the means to the Ends sought.   Corporate Capitalism has no End except profit.  If a Corporation can make profit by starving, robbing or killing people, it will do so unless restrained from doing so by Law, and active government regulation.  

    Best Diary on the subject I have yet read on daily kos.  Thank you.

    Tipped and Recommended, of course.

    "We know the truth, not only by the reason, but also by the heart." - Blaise Pascal

    by Dixie Liberal on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 04:25:08 PM PST

  •  Capitalism needs massive amounts of growth. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Superpole, axel000

    Capitalism needs massive amounts of growth.
    I’m not like some kind of radical, I’m just pointing out the obvious. The really horrifying fact is that nothing will ever be as big and bad as ‘globalism.’
    They got the all-you-can-eat enchilada buffet and it just wasn’t enough!  
    The middle class got downsized in the 90’s. I can hardly remember what they looked like. Yuppies?

    Nudniks need not apply.

    by killermiller on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 04:46:51 PM PST

  •  Excellent diary....excellent. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thethinveil

    n/t

  •  Nice work. Working people need a raise ! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thethinveil
  •  One fallacy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit

    Economics doesn't have to be a hard science. Hard science can't even solve the problem of three interacting gravitational masses, never mind systems of billions of humans interacting. Yet somehow civilization marches forward, even on the basis of metaphysical systems like religion. Kind of like how Xeno was proved wrong.

    Rather than apocalyptic upheavals, more likely capitalism continues to adapt and lumber on to the next bonfire of vanities.

  •  The sad thing is that we are still debating this (7+ / 0-)

    on a "progressive" blog.

    In this age of falseness, only howls of agony ring true.

    by Paul Goodman on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 05:16:58 PM PST

  •  A big giant rec from me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit

    I found myself nodding my head alot in this diary.

    One thing... you wouldn't happen to have a link or something to back this up would you?

    So who put together the deal that bankrupted Pilgrim's Pride? Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch. The Merrill banker who made the deal was recently hired by JP Morgan Chase. JP Morgan was behind the financial derivatives that has bankrupted Jefferson County, Alabama over a sewer project.

    I printed your diary out to show someone and they are contesting that point. Unfortunately there is no link to back it up unless I missed it elsewhere.

    We shall fight them on the internets. We shall fight in the Starbucks, and in the streets, we shall fight them on the Hill. We shall never surrender!

    by bhlogger on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 06:09:26 PM PST

  •  Try this out (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, alizard, SingleVoter, xaxado

    What if the owners and the labor in the enterprise were the same people. What would capitalism look like then?  I belong to two co-ops. One for food, and the other is a credit union.  I pay 6.9 interest on my credit card.  Gee, I wonder why it is so low? Could it be that there are no parasites in the loop.  We are the owners, there are no predators gaming the system.  The same thing can happen in other industries.  Read about Mondragon in Spain sometime.  These guys compete in the world wide machine tool industry quite favorably and are completely worker owned.  They even have their own banks.  So they are their own capitalists.  This is the way out of this mess.  But not many in the US have even heard of this type of arrangement, let alone started it.  But, it will be the fix, if we want to avoid the complete collapse of the current system.

  •  "Like a Sledge Hammer in the Face".... (0+ / 0-)

    is indeed a big part of it.

    but you have to admit the match that torched off the whole house of cards was allowing Lehman Brothers to fail.

    Why was Lehman ignored when everyone else was bailed out?

    A risk advisor for top financial institutions and top B-school professor, Mark Williams explains how uncontrolled risk toppled a 158-year-old institution, using this story as a microcosm to illuminate the interconnection of the global financial system, as well as broader policy implications.

    This story is told through the eyes of an experienced risk manager and educator in a detailed and engaging way and provides the reader with a complete summary of how a savvy company with sophisticated employees and systems could have gotten it so wrong.

    http://www.borders.com/...

    However, the conventional wisdom includes a corollary that is much less obvious: because the Lehman bankruptcy was a disaster, US taxpayers must honour in full all the debts of all the banks. This corollary could put US taxpayers on the hook for trillions of dollars in commitments that the Wall Street boys apparently made on our behalf. Before we cough up the dough, we might want to consider whether Paulson, Bernanke and Geithner were not quite as stupid as the current conventional wisdom would imply.

    The problems that followed from Lehman did not just stem from the fact that the government was not honouring Lehman's debts. This was an uncontrolled bankruptcy of a huge investment bank in a world where the official line was still that everything was under control. The Washington Post had even run a column the day before Lehman's collapse ridiculing those who were making negative comments about the state of the economy.

    In this context, an uncontrolled bankruptcy of a major investment bank was sort of like a sledge hammer in the face: a rather rude and unexpected blow. The most immediate consequence was that Reserve Primary, one of the largest money-market mutual funds in the world, suddenly could not pay its shareholders in full, because it had tens of billions invested in Lehman. In the wake of Lehman's bankruptcy, Reserve Primary did not know how much, if any, of this investment it could recover. In the post-Lehman world banks could suddenly no longer trust each other, and the interbank lending rate went through the roof.

    But now we have had six months to adjust. The Fed and Treasury are now guaranteeing deposits in money-market mutual funds. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation doubled the size of the bank accounts it guarantees, and non-interest-bearing accounts of any size are guaranteed. In addition, the Fed is now lending hundreds of billions of dollars directly to non-financial corporations, establishing a channel of funding that goes outside the banking system.

    These and other measures have restored some measure of stability to the financial system. Now that we have these measures in place, is it still true that we can't subject Citigroup, Bank of America or Goldman Sachs to a managed bankruptcy (aka "nationalisation") without the world coming to an end?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

    "Essentially, Obama is irrelevant". Paul Craig Roberts

    by Superpole on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 07:18:20 PM PST

  •  Do something about it - oppose HCR! (0+ / 0-)

    I hope everyone is keeping this diary in context of the HCR debate - which compels the overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens to purchase insurance from private corporations.

    The Senate bill without a non-private alternative will entrench the existing system, by making it mandatory.

    "Any plan I sign must include an insurance exchange ... including a public option" President Obama, 7.18.09

    by efraker on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 07:25:31 PM PST

  •  As a (relative) conservative, I have to say (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    california keefer, Hens Teeth

    THIS IS WITHOUT A DOUBT THE BEST ARTICLE I HAVE EVER READ ON THIS SITE.

    The more I read and try to understand, the more I see the current situation not as a conflict between left and right.  Politicians ALWAYS have their own agenda - to get reelected.  That is it and that is all.  They all say anything they need to say to get what they want.

    I do not support punishment for the creation of wealth.  A progressive income tax code is perfectly appropriate, but it can be taken too far.

    What I DO support is a system that does not socialize loss and privitize gain.  For free market economics to work, their needs to be punishment.  NO institution should be too big to fail.  I find it hard to believe that me, a bank employee, can actually find myself in favor of strict regulation of banking activities.  But I do.

    Here's a heads up for everyone - read "The Mystery of Banking" by Murray Rothbard and "Stabalizing an Unstable Economy" by Hyman Minsky.  I have read literally hundreds of books on economics, financial planning and risk and these are by far the best.

    •  We aren't that far apart (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xaxado, Hens Teeth, Nisi Prius, zaka1, tardis10

      The more I read and try to understand, the more I see the current situation not as a conflict between left and right.

      I think the left-right political structure is a false construct that serves no purpose but to divide the "little people" against one another.

        For instance, working class people on both the left and on the right were outraged from the Wall Street bailouts. You know who wasn't outraged? The uber-wealthy.
        I know that working class people on both the left and on the right are opposed to the Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited corporate campaign donations. You know who isn't opposed? The uber-wealthy.

       Working class conservatives and liberals need to understand that they have more in common with each other than they do with conservatives or liberals in the wealthy elite.
       Instead of looking left and right, we should be looking up and down.

       "Stabalizing an Unstable Economy" by Hyman Minsky.

       I just started reading this myself.

      "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

      by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 08:27:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You want to know something strange? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gjohnsit, xaxado, Hens Teeth

        I work as a financial planner at a major bank.  And I ask my boss (and her boss, and that person's boss) if she has ever read the book - no.  "Manias, Panics and Crashes?" - never heard of it.  "Irrational Exuberance?" - same story.  Familiar at all with Keynesian economics?  "Who's Keynes?"  Milton Friedman?  "Nope."  For God's sake, if you work in the financial planning industry you damn sure better have at least HEARD of Adam Smith!!!!

        What I find SO strange is that most of the BANKERS I work with, at a MAJOR BANK can't give you the briefest description of how banks even operate nowadays.  But they know they are against regulation, that's for sure.  And Efficient Market Hypothesis?  Its gospel.

        But I rant.  Good luck with the book.  Its tough, but worth every word.

      •  I look at is as a matter of income equality (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gjohnsit

        and how truly democratized a society is. Strong central governments in which people are free to vote for 1 of 2 candidates every 2-4 years (or "throw away" their vote on a 3rd party candidate because our system is built for 2 parties), is not democratic. Democracy starts in the communities and work places. Any institution in which we participate should be organized in a non-hierarchical democratic manner, even consensual decision making when possible. The days of hierarchical, centralized power and wealth must end. It's not "human nature", it is a false construct forced upon us for centuries by force and propaganda (used to fool enough people to support the power structure so that it doesn't lose legitimacy, in which military and economic power breaks down).

        Income equality is also essential. Countries with great income equality tend to rank much better in quality of life. Lower crime, often lower drug abuse, less homelessness, less obesity, less teenage pregnancies, etc. etc etc. The poster children for this are Japan and the Scandinavian countries. Japan focuses on controlling wages, while the latter countries focus more on taxation methods.

        When we are taught to talk in terms of left in right, those who want to continue the status quo, will quickly point out the usual boogeymen, like the former Soviet Union, North Korea, Venezuela. They'll talk about taxes, but not about what we're getting for the work we do, whether through the government or private means. Americans pay a lot more for a lot less.

        •  also social mobility (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gjohnsit

          Contrary to what people first think, the social mobility is much higher in countries with greater income equality. Some reasons for this. The citizens tend to be better educated as a whole. The government may more helpful in retraining people to adapt to a changing labor market (Denmark). People are more easily able to study fields that interest them. The wealth of the country is less concentrated, so more people are able to earn more, but fewer, if any, are going to ever earn obscene amounts of money.

          A system that encourages and perpetuates obscene wealth grabbing by a tiny percentage of the population is not ethical, whether you want to label it an -ism or not, it's organized robbery of the masses. Our government is complicit because it doesn't affect them personally and some are even taking part in it themselves. What they instead worry about are the lobbyists hounding them all day, and the large campaign donations they'll need for the next election.

  •  excellent diary but missing 1 thing (4+ / 0-)

    what the hell do we do about it ? I just come away feeling helpless and depressed (and angry). Do we get out the pitchforks and march on wall street or Washington. ? Is it time for armed revolt ? That would not fit into the goals of this site. I'm thinking our standard of living and what is important needs a complete rethink. Workers need to get more of the corporate pie. there needs to be neighborhood cooperatives for food, health care and the necessities of life. Maybe shorter hours for workers. The american standard of living will be more modest with no giant SUVs, fewer big screen TV's and less waste. The rest of the world can't continue to live in abject poverty either. This one of the reason much of the world is in constant turmoil. one thing we need to do for sure is quit spending so much money on our military, it is an economic black hole. You've written a lot of excellent diaries like this, but there are never solutions. Are there any or are we doomed ? identifying a problem is the 1st step to fixing it. Like a lot of people on this site, I am in my fifty's. I don't think we will find a solution in my lifetime. but maybe our children can fix it .

    •  As they say. . . (4+ / 0-)

      "The Truth shall set you free. . ."

      Make of that what you will but what Carlin said in 3 minutes is the whole damn truth and knowing that puts us head and shoulders above the majority in this country who know things are fucked up but are so easlity fooled into scapegoating who they are told to scapegoat by the same fuckers who run this particular cluster fuck want them to.

      It's the Progressives! That's who the Plutocrats mostly want blamed and there's no shortage of mental defectives who'll pick up that canard and wield it as directed by henchmen like Glenn Beck and the other usual suspects. But on the other hand we here tend to believe the Democrats will one day yield up a leader to make it all right and rid us of the Repuke scum. That's no more true than the first example was either.

      The point is they keep us blaming each other because in dividing there is conquering and until we all wise up and realize it ain't Pukes, it ain't Dems it's all of them- they're all owned by the Plutocrats and when we realize that and start taking direct action against these people, these Plutocrats who deign to be our masters in non-violent but in very inconveniencing ways, we the people will continue to be served up as the main course in their economic buffet.

      They're not hard to find. Look at the boards of the Fortune 50, that's where they sit, get the names and let them know they are not anonymous. Let them know there's a new day coming and Americans are wising up and they have a choice; they can put an end to their evil or it will be ended for them, sooner or later.

      The arc of history aims to advance mankind. With every passing century, slowly but surely we move further away from the rule of the rich and closer to the self government the enlightened have foreseen. Though it doesn't look that way now, it certainly is (compare the world now to how it was 200 years ago) and these Plutocrats will either change or they will be dumped in the trashcan of time.

      True it may not happen in the lifetimes of we 50 somethings but it is going to happen one day and we do our part in making it happen by knowing the truth and telling it to all we know. That's what Carlin was doing. That's what this diarist is doing. We can do it too.

      - Fools and dupes abound and wisdom is the subordinate of naked greed. What a country!

      by Dave925 on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 08:31:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You aren't the first to say this (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poxonyou, california keefer

      The problem is that this diary is already very long. There are a huge number of alternatives out there, and to list them would require at least one other diary, if not more.
        If you want a short, preview list, check this out.

      "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

      by gjohnsit on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 08:31:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It is time to revolt (0+ / 0-)

      The way our great grand parents did, and the way many have continued to do so in the countries we now look up to in Europe. We want income equality and democracy in all aspects of life (not just the illusion of it once every 4 years). Simple enough demands. Stop robbing us, stop lying to us, stop wasting our money on things we don't need or want (massive bail outs and wars). We organize together with these ideas.

      What exactly are the goals of this site? The front page writers are not going to lead major change, but they're largely in the background of this site over the past 6 months anyway. The diaries are where most of the discussions take place, and many different points of views and ideas are shared. But, a website is not going to matter that much in the bigger picture. The Internet in fact is often a distraction from popular organizing. People rant away, anonymously (understandably), alone in their rooms, when their neighbor next door may be posting on the same site with similar feelings.

  •  Tipped and rec'd, great diary, George Carlin (0+ / 0-)

    [Update: Because I can't say it better

  •  This can't be recommended often enough... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, Dave925
  •  Terrific summary of what last 30 years wrought (4+ / 0-)

    My belief is that there are four things that the New Deal did to create the great American middle class:

    1. Promote unions (creating the base of the New Deal coalition)
    1. Increase taxes on the wealthy
    1. Increase the number of government workers
    1. Make college education affordable to large numbers

    Then look at what the right-wing agenda has been over the last thirty years:

    1. Bust the unions
    1. Cut taxes for the wealthy
    1. Privatize public sector jobs
    1. Cut funding for public colleges and universities

    I wish I could say that over the last 30 years the Democrats have universally opposed the right-wing agenda. Alas, they have not, particularly with regard to the second and third points. Throw in support for deregulation of key industries, support for NAFTA and trade with China, and it appears that elements of the Democratic Party have caved to the corporate agenda. I think the key point is really the shape of unions. When unions had clout, they were able to spell out a clear message that was carried out into their families and communities. By not stopping the decline of unions, the Democrats shot themselves in the foot (or maybe higher).

  •  "...a falling out amongst thieves." (0+ / 0-)

    to boil down the entire diary, and we show all signs of letting them get away with it.
    Sheesh, and I thought I was depressed before.

  •  Thank You - N/T (0+ / 0-)

    "Upward, not Northward" - Flatland, by EA Abbott

    by linkage on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 08:21:44 PM PST

  •  Don't be angry. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, xaxado

    Yeah it's true the Banksters took all our money. But it's monopoly money.

    Here's why I don't feel sorry for them.
    Across the street from our house, there is a new development.  It froze in its tracks, about 2 years ago when the real estate market started having problems.  The developer, Legacy Homes, ran out of money and was unable to finish building the homes.  They had to file for bankruptcy.
    Just like those wooly mammoths who died with poppies in their mouths, the end came suddenly.
    Key Bank, the lender, had no choice but to seize the property.
    Amount spent so far:  $50 million.  Just to pave the damn thing, plant grass and put in little green fluorescent stakes where the houses would be.
    Key Bank just got hosed.
    There is NO WAY that 2 acre parcel is worth $50 million.  If you realize real estate is NEVER going back to the peak levels it reached around 2006.  Now think about all the overpriced Cracker Boxes that people are currently struggling to pay, one day soon the owner realizes he's underwater and does the "Jingle Mail" sends the keys back to the bank and rents a U Haul truck and takes off in the middle of the night.

    They can celebrate and clink their champagne glasses together.  Meanwhile, I'll beat those fuckers at their own game.  I'm working on a big food hoard.

  •  Bill Gates and the crime of Windows (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, The Jester

    Yes...I can see Balzac was right every time I run my Windows powered netbook...it is truly a crime to have such a kludgy operating system.

    And the fourth richest guy in the world, Larry Ellison of Oracle...there I'm not sure what his crime was...being too smart?  Winning the America's Cup.

    Steve Jobs...only crime I've seen him committ is no USB, camera and Flash capability in the iPad. Now I've got to wait for the UV1 and hope it runs Android. I've let him off with probation on that though.

    Going forward, the current "crimes" are no balanced budget by 2012.  No Wall Street bank break up and regulation to prevent another meltdown/bailout.  No energy efficiency/green economy/climate change bill is certainly a crime. Last but not least, no health care reform is a true crime.

    The guilty party...Democrats with majorities in Congress they won't use to pass legislation US clearly needs.

  •  I loved what you wrote, but... (0+ / 0-)

    I don't know if someone has already said this, since there are over 500 comments, but I do think that this needs to be simplified a little more if we would want to create a "mass movement". The truth is, I think we sometimes try to present intellectual arguments to people and try to explain why having our belief structure would benefit them. On the flipside, you have Faux News or St. Ronnie explain their flawed economic ideas so simply that one will easily understand it, and will believe they are more educated on economics as a result.

    I do also love the comparison of Faux News to today's economics. Both are a dumbed down and eroded version of what economics and the media used to be.

  •  Excellent diary! (4+ / 0-)

    Should be on the front page of every paper and internet news source (fat chance of that happening) and read by every person in America.

    Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by nandssmith on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 09:07:38 PM PST

  •  A broken record. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hopeful Skeptic

    Skipping on a scratch, really...

    When will we sing a new song?

    they sentenced me to 20 years of boredom
    for trying to change the system from within

    by wanderindiana on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 09:07:53 PM PST

  •  this statement is absurd... (0+ / 0-)

    "Hunger rates are now at all-time highs"

    Hunger has little to do with actual need to eat.  The survey asked basically how often you feel hungry.  Many studies show the more you eat and the larger meal you eat actually contribute to feeling hungry.  There are malnourished people yes, and many malnourished are obtaining plenty of calories, but that statement just doesn't make sense.

    •  yeah, it's just nuts, ain't it? (4+ / 0-)

      http://www.globalresearch.ca/...

      America is the richest nation in history, yet we now have the highest poverty rate in the industrialized world with an unprecedented amount of Americans living in dire straights and over 50 million citizens already living in poverty.

      The government has come up with clever ways to down play all of these numbers, but we have over 50 million people who need to use food stamps to eat, and a stunning 50% of US children will use a food stamp to eat at some point in their childhood. Approximately 20,000 people are added to this total every day. In 2009, one out of five US households didn’t have enough money to buy food. In households with children, this number rose to 24%, as the hunger rate among US citizens has now reached an all time high.

      The record food stamp use, the food banks running out of food, these are all 'Welfare Queens' taking advantage of the system.

      Right?

      "the work goes on, the cause endures .. "

      by shpilk on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:49:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  that is not an all time high... (0+ / 1-)
        Recommended by:
        Hidden by:
        shpilk

        you are seriously short sighted if you think that it is just as hard now to get calories as is was 80 years ago.  Not having enough money to buy food does not mean someone goes without food.  You can be penniless and eat three squares a day.  

        Who the hell is talking about welfare queens?  My point was you have a fucking seriously limited view of history if you think that more people are hungry than "EVER".  

      •  oh, and it seems you miss the whole point... (0+ / 0-)

        the word "hunger" does not mean someone went without food.  Get your facts straight mate....

        according to the ERS/USDA it includes..
        -people who skipped ONE meal in a THREE month period
        -people who felt they should have eaten more

        it goes on and on.  My point is that if this was an ALL TIME high, with hunger greater than EVER we would be seeing more malnutrition deficiencies in hospitals.  We are not.  The numbers support this... sorry if they don't support you argument.  Thats not how reality works.

  •  tipped rec'd and hotlisted (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit

    Excellent information.  

    Most of which I was already aware, but it's nice to have it all in one place so well put together.  Thanks!

    "The more the Democrats pursue the center... the further to the right the "center" moves." -fellow kossack vacantlook

    by Hopeful Skeptic on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 11:11:47 PM PST

  •  But, but... our president thinks those WS bonuses (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, CitizenOfEarth

    are just fine!

    "History is a tragedy, not a melodrama." - I.F.Stone

    by bigchin on Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 01:11:27 AM PST

  •  Milton Friedman is laughing in his grave (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, John E Jacobsen

    Friedman should have been hung for crimes against humanity. Instead he got the Nobel Prize.

    Thru these bailouts lootings, Friedman is screaming at us from the grave.

    "To the last, I grapple with thee; From Hell's heart, I stab at thee; For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee"
    Herman Melville  

    Call it a 'Plastic Democracy'© if that makes you feel good. I call it Fascism.

    by CitizenOfEarth on Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 04:43:44 AM PST

  •  Drug Dealers cars and homes and money siezed. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit

    When a drug dealer is busted, the law enforcement agency takes the drug dealers cars his money, and sometimes his property.  Just like that.  That money and that property then becomes property of the law enforcement agency, or the city or the state.

    It appears we have the same right to seize the assets of the officers of banks that have robbed the public.  There were thousands of well orchestrated bank robberies.  Some of them were with the stock market, some with bogus investments, others with fraudulent lending.  It's all taking money from one guy, a million times over and putting into the pockets of companies that knew they were robbing.

    At least with a drug dealer, he is actually selling a product, and the buyer usually is happy with his purchase, or he finds a new seller.  

    It's not like we don't know who the bank robbers are.  We know.  They are still robbing the public, and throwing each other boat loads of cash, laughing at us.

    "Hey, with religion you can't get just a little pregnant"

    by EarTo44 on Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 06:26:25 AM PST

  •  Marketwatch cross-link (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit

    In response to Paul Farrell's article this morning on CBS Marketwatch, Death of US Capitalism, I posted a link back to this diary. Judging by most of the other comments over there on Farrell's article, there aren't too many readers there who would ever look at anything on Daily Kos. However, so far the response over there to my post has been positive. It's important to get the message out there in a lot of different places if things are ever going to change.

    •  I don't agree with him on one thing (0+ / 0-)

      Just because the two parties suck doesn't mean you shouldn't vote. It isn't an either/or scenario.
        You should vote 3rd party. There's always a 3rd party candidate.

       Other than that, George Carlin rocks.

      "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

      by gjohnsit on Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 05:22:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Superb work as always, GJ (0+ / 0-)

    The middle (or former) class is waking up to class warfare upon itself, as those 1941 newsreels once scarily displayed the map of Europe covered in black with swastika flags sticking up out of each country.

    Today, between progressives, (true) libertarians, anarchists and -- yes -- many of the Tea Partiers, we look for an Eisenhower to lead a take-back (or perhaps, find-what-we-never-had ?) of true Economic Liberty where each receives the fruits of their labors...

    (our friends back at b.c. spotted you here, so i was lucky enough to find it -- seems like the audience is bigger and better for these thoughts)

    If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State...

    by HenryDavid on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 03:56:06 PM PST

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