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If people aren't obligated to pay taxes on their income in the first place, what difference does the rate make?
If your car is electric, what difference does the price of a gallon of gas make to you? Yes, there may be some psychic pleasure in seeing your neighbor having to shell out more and more dollars at the pump, but that's not nice.
This whole kerfuffle is starting to look like the campaign finance scam in which Congress put restrictions on individual contributors and no limits on what incumbents could collect and even distribute to their cronies -- all to insure their continuance and power in office.

The problem we have in the U.S. and, indeed, globally is that while the use of money is increasing (more people are using it to account for their transactions) and the absolute quantity in circulation keeps going up, the rate at which the dollar travels from hand to hand has slowed from a sprint to a crawl. It's as if we were standing in a circle in kindergarten, playing "button, button, who's got the button" and one of the players had pocketed it while pretending not to know its whereabouts. The game would come to a halt.

When it comes to money, there are two significant players who can hoard the money and keep it out of circulation: the banks and the people responsible for issuing the currency to the several states--i.e. Congress.

This raises the question why they would do that. And the answer is simple -- control. The Congress, supposedly the servants of the people, want to demonstrate their ability to make their masters miserable. Why would they do that? Because their position has been made vulnerable by universal suffrage and ever increasing citizen participation. The time-servers want to show us who's the boss.

You'd think that firing a quarter of the House in the elections of 2010 and 2012 would have sent a message to the rest that business as usual can't go on. But, we should all know that one person's failure, or even 110, will not effect reform in the rest. Issa will not play nice because Lungren is gone. Besides, the recently fired get to hang around for another two months. (There are good reasons why private corporations escort the fired off the premises immediately). The "retired" members of Congress get to hang around because we assume they are people of honor. More often than not such assumptions are wrong.

Personally, I think we should make common cause with some of the Tea Party crowd. They are upset that there is not enough money to go around, but their assumptions about the reasons for that situation are wrong. It isn't because some poor people are getting too much or even that some individuals aren't paying out enough; it's that Congress and their cronies on Wall Street are putting on the squeeze.

The explanation for why they would do that is similar to the explanation for why prosecutors jigger the evidence to promote the imprisonment of innocent persons. Since prosecutors get no personal benefit, we assume they wouldn't do such a thing. But, we are wrong. Sending an innocent person to prison actually enhances the prosecutor's self-importance and our assumptions protect him from being found out. And then, to top it all off, the tradition of absolute immunity for prosecutors let's them off the hook when they are found out. No accountability. That is the sumum bonum of the public servant's existence. Absolute power.

And that's what some members of Congress are after.

Why is President Obama reluctant to take on the hostage takers? Why is he negotiating with Congress? Does he have a choice? They have all the money. How is he going to persuade them to let go? Which hostages can be sacrificed? How about people who don't really care how much they are taxed? How about the Warren Buffets of the world who aren't into accumulating money just for show?

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Comment Preferences

  •  California's new voting system resulted in (9+ / 0-)

    Democratic candidates being pitted against each other in the general election and enabled Brad Sherman to best Howard Berman by 20 points.
    Howard Berman has served in the House for three decades. He helped engineer the AUMF for George W. Bush and resisted immigration reforms to promote the interests of Hispanics. He and his brother were some of the first to rely on direct mail advertising to promote political candidates.
    Now there is a kerfuffle over the fact that a PAC sent out mailers to voters highlighting establishment Democrats' support for Berman, an insult that's supposed to deprive Sherman of the mantle of seniority he might like to inherit from Berman.

    We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 04:00:18 AM PST

  •  It's the mixing of economics and morality (4+ / 0-)

    that drives me crazy. "Fairness" should be a separate issue. We have half the country willing to give all the money to the oligarchs because they think too many undeserving people are getting money. Once again throwing the babe out with the bath water, as reactionaries tend to do.

    We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

    by PowWowPollock on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 04:24:17 AM PST

    •  Another question. (6+ / 0-)

      The question that occurred to me yesterday is whether currency is like any other commodity that's in short supply. Does the artificial scarcity that's being created have the same result as rationing in that it prompts people to hoard what they don't even need or want, just in case? Does, for example, the insecurity about their future income prompt elders selling a home that's gotten too large to expect and demand a higher price from the next owner than they would, if they felt more secure? Are poeple holding on to real assets in neighborhoods near schools they no longer use, instead of turning them over to younger families, out of fear for their own future needs?
      If so, then the artificial scarcity of money is leading people to make decisions on the basis of the quantity of money available to them and those decisions are poor because they don't have any real relationship to the usefulness of the asset being considered for sale and purchase. Moreover, in this example, the failure of the elderly to move on has the result that the educational and recreational infra-structure that serves young families goes to waste because they can't afford to move into extant neighborhoods. Which means that children have to be transported and the extant assets are under-utilized at a greater cost to the elderly residents.

      Accounting for everything with money makes these consequences clear, but it doesn't help if we don't follow through.

      We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 04:45:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  As usual, you nailed it. (0+ / 0-)

        We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

        by PowWowPollock on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 05:24:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes. The housing crash killed the market. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Seniors, quite wisely, don't want to sell their homes at fire sale prices. In general, underwater houses freeze up the market and cause all kinds of economic inefficiencies.

        When the backlog of foreclosures is gone and new foreclosures are at normal rates confidence will begin to improve and markets will return to normal. Congress is now impeding that process because they are in the hands of the  money holders who are making huge profits off of underwater homeowners who can't sell or refinance.

        look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

        by FishOutofWater on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 06:01:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Before Alan Greenspan determined, in about 1993, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roger Fox

          that capital gains taxes needed to be reduced, to "liberate" the equity American home-owners had accumulated in their houses, the default rate on home mortgages was less than 1%. People don't put their shelter at risk, unless they have no option.
          The pressure to make people relocate actually started in the seventies, when, in the interest of filling up the suburbs and new communities being built in out-of-the-way places (a new flavor of segregation) people were persuaded that their old neighborhoods were about to be invaded by marauding hordes of dark-skinned people of uncertain origin and fled for their lives. This so-called "white flight" was validated and assisted by a financial sector which deprived the old of financing, insurance, fire and police protection, and the upkeep of public facilities. Disinvestment in the old in favor of the new was a matter of policy, not happenstance. Communities were splintered not to make room for a new highway or airport or public transport, but because breaking up existing social networks was the key to power and influence.

          It's not a matter of divide and conquer; it's a matter of divide to conquer. Age cohorts are segregated from each other because that makes it easier to exploit them. It's hard to fleece a grandma, if she's living around the corner from eleder son's house.

          We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

          by hannah on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:04:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  YES.....Fairness vs Stability (0+ / 0-)

      Low tax rates on the uber rich, and deregulation led to income disparity and crashes, not just in 2008....

      1800 to 1930, 28 of 31 economic downturns lasted 1 to 5 yrs,  saw 20-33% peak to trough drops in the economy, 15% to 30% job shedding, a depression every 20 years and a recession every 4.3 yrs.

      Tax fairness & Level the playing field has been used to sell us instability.

      FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 02:22:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  But doesn't the prez control the supply of money? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Congress just (supposedly) sets taxes and approves/amends budgets.

    The issue of the congressional cash vacuum cleaner that has been set up is separate. It's important, and exists symbiotically with irresponsible "fiscal responsibilty," but it's not the cause -- rather a symptom.

    One might even place tongue in cheek and call it a pre-eisting condition.

    Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

    by dadadata on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 04:50:04 AM PST

    •  No, the Constitution assigns management of the (4+ / 0-)

      currency to the Congress. In about 1913, Congress set up the private Federal Reserve Bank as perhaps the first example of privatization, ostensibly ridding itself of obligations with which, it was claimed, the representatives of the people could not be trusted.
      Having been established by Congress, the Fed can also be abolished, as Ron Paul, among others have suggested, mostly as a ploy to get more leverage over the members of the Board. The Members of the Board are appointed by the President, with the concurrence of the Senate and the terms of the Fed Board are not concurrent with the term of the President.
      Anyway, the way it works now is that the Fed requisitions money from the Treasury and then doles it out to the banks, charging a less than one percent service charge. The banks then use that money to lend to their customers or keep it safe by lending it back to the U.S. Treasury in bonds which pay out a dividend of 2.9% (in 1991 it was 8.1%). Then the Congress says we can't send money to the states because the banks have already lent us too much. As a result, the states, which cannot issue their own money (although California did issue its own IOUs a couple of years ago), have to turn to the Wall Street banksters and offer bonds, which pay higher interest than the Treasury's because they are, supposedly, more risky, to pay for needed capital improvements, paying out a good chunk in management fees, etc. in the process. And then ordinary working Americans have to pay off those bonds with dollars that made ever scarcer by the fact that both Wall Street and Congress are hoarding the dollars that are out there.
      We are being strangled by a figment of the imagination.

      We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 05:12:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I should add, the executive can only spend (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        what the Congress appropriates -- not what it budgets.
        That's another part of the charade. The budget gets discussed almost endlessly and not even passed in the last two years, while the appropriations bills get no attention at all.
        It's as if someone handed a credit card to the spouse and then only paid for the purchases s/he agreed with.
        The only option the President has is not to spend the appropriated money and, to a limited extent, move it around to spend where he thinks best.
        Social security and medicare are routinely targeted by Congress because the money for them is earmarked as it is collected and has to be spent as designated.  In other words, Congress cannot use that money for bribes, only to threaten to deprive. I used to think they wanted to send the money to their friends on Wall Street. Now I think it's just a matter of control. Not being able to control who gets paid from that pot of money chafes the members of Congress who are used to securing their positions of power by deciding who gets and who doesn't and relying Wall Street to be the enforcers.

        We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 05:28:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Great, but we are being strangled by big banks & (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MKinTN, hannah


        Deception and misunderstanding has convinced many people that they need to be strangled for their own good.

        look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

        by FishOutofWater on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 06:07:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  it's all flimflam (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neon Mama, hannah, MKinTN

    there's enough "money" out there to insure that every person on the planet has the necessities, including education

    but here, in the place where democracy was its raison d'etre, a place where the common person could prosper

    instead we're finding how at least half our population is suffering mightily, even if employed

    and what's the percent of people who don't/can't/won't have employment, whose milieu is a feral place; what does it cost to keep that culling of the population going, i.e. the police/prison industry

    the "money" could be spent to improve the status of us all, instead of the mic and the fossil fuel industry

    how do we get there from here?

  •  Good Diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    However, I don't think the Tea Party people are going to make common cause with us soon.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 05:47:21 AM PST

  •  We have the power of ballots and even more (5+ / 0-)

    power of where & how we spend our dollars.  

    We can stop the big bank hoarders by swaps to credit unions and cash.  

    We can avoid chain stores whenever possible.  Even if we pay a few more cents to support local business, those people spend local.  Those people are taxed local to support our infrastructure.

    We can agitate to stop our local governments from wasting our taxes by handing it over to Chamber of Commerce which works against our interests.

    We can support the Walmart workers strike -- and others like it -- to help our fellow citizens earn a living wage instead of needing to survive by using tax paid or people donated charities --- or becoming wage slaves to debt.

    Have a Jesus Christmas.  It should not be the season of gluttony feeding the merchandisers of clutter.  

    Better to give time to help fellow man/woman than fleeting trinkets.    Bother your politicians to stop the war on women,  to pass judge appointments so justice stops being so delayed that it is essentially denied, to stop letting states steal native American children for profit, to stop blocking reforms against the moneychangers.

    And if we can --- throw a little cash at the debt forgiveness project by OWS of rolling jubilee.

    De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

    by Neon Mama on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 06:06:52 AM PST

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