Thursday, October 21, 2010

What Needs to be Done, working paper

Here are a few of the inevitably many things that need to happen -
1) roll back the concentrations in banking and media that the government (FCC, et al) has allowed.  In general, we need a more robust interpretation and enforcement of AntiTrust laws.
Here's a typical story about the media roll-up from 2003. (and how has it worked out for the local newspapers??)
The 'Financial Reform Bill' crystallized the existing structure and reinforced the market positions of the Too Big To Fail Banks.  They are now even Bigger, with less competition. A rather perverse outcome.  Oh, by the way - TARP almost breaking even is a rather meager outcome when the big banks are paying $144 Billion in bonuses this year.
(And TARP is only breaking even because of the other incredibly expense TRANSFER OF WEALTH PROGRAMS BENEFITTING THE BIG BANKS AT THE EXPENSE OF PENSION FUNDS and other savers)
1b)  Prepare to take over the system of payments and provide a capital backstop in the event (only a matter of time) before the Banks fail again (they are still insolvent and only existing because of the massive transfers of wealth to them discussed above.  A true accounting, including marking their commercial real estate to fair value, would show the entire system to still be worth less than zero.  Prices need to be allowed to reset lower from their credit bubbles high.  Our present official monetary and fiscal policy is to prevent this at all costs.

So - break up the large firms, reinstate Glass Steagall (separating Commercial Banking from Investment Banking). Allow prices to reset to a reality based level.

2) raise interest rates immediately.  Whats happening in the economy is not a monetary policy problem.  Cut income taxes on the first 50k of income to 0% for the next few years at least.   Raise income taxes on >250k income for the next few years at least.  (I'm against high taxes in general, but need to clawback some of the government deficit from the last 10 years from the bush taxc cuts and the fact that the gains from the Structure of International Trade and Wall Street has gone exclusively to this income bracket).

3)Campaign Finance Reform - public funding, a mandate for free airtime to all candidates who can get some threshold of signatures.  Dedicated campaign/political/government channels airing interviews with the candidates, presentations of platforms,. etc.   Reverse the recent Supreme Court decision about unlimited and anonymous political spending.

4) Nothing called News can have intentional factual inaccuracies (it is currently the law of the land that "News" does not have to be true, and can be intentionally false.  So things even as seemingly small as Fox News splicing footage of a small crowd into some liberal conference/speech or a big crowd onto Glenn Beck's rally, et al. )

5) Tear up the Trade Agreements.  These are the most Anti-Democratic Laws ever passed, negotiated in secret usually by large business interests, and have  been devestating to 99% of the people on earth.  Trade needs to be based on a Fair Trade standard.  So at a minimum, as a for example of what you could do - if you want to import to the United States, the product needs to be produced according to our existing set of laws governing the production here.  So Compliance with our environmental laws, workplace protections laws, product safety laws and possibly even something in the dimension of wages - minimum wage laws perhaps.  This is tougher to do and needs more thought.  But why should Free Trade be based on arbitraging away the Environmental Protections and Standard of Living that American workers fought for at great cost over 200 years?  When has Big Business been in favor of any "progressive reform" that turned out to be a huge boon to them?  For instance, the Food and Drug Administration - please read the Jungle by Upton Sinclair!  Or the unionization of workers and a rise in wages vs. profits - Big Businesses hired the Pinkertons to kill people!  This is history!  But these things were necessary to create the stable society and robust middle class that in turn were huge boons to big business!!

6) end the empire building - this has killed every once great nation.  Get out of Iraq, Afghanistan.  Roll back the military presence around the world.

9) The Federal Gov't needs to invest in basic science research, and make cheap higher education loans available to everyone - people here aren't educated enough to make real contributions to the economy.  The sense of entitlement has to go, these people need to do their share.

10)End the homeland security department - Ridge admitted they put out fake terror alerts for political purposes.  What more do you need to show how the national security apparatus is anti democratic and can (and is ) being used against the interests of the people?

11) Something on health care.  In principle I am in favor of universal coverage, but not through the existing insurance/pharmaceutical racket.  Also, we need a health based tax system if we are going down this road,  I am deeply opposed to paying for some 300lb 10 coca-colas a day drinking Diabetic's medicines.  (Eg, lifestyle related disease healthcare costs, when the lifestyle/behavioral choices can/has been identified need to be self funded - eg, a tax on coca cola, etc.)
12) Prosecute the War Crimes - a fish rots from the head. Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle, Yoo, Gonzalez, Addington and the rest. You have Myers out there now saying those guys lied to start the war - the former head of the joint chiefs of staff!!!
  How can we hold ourselves up to the rest of the world as a moral example without this?  How can we be serious as a NATION OF LAWS without this??

13) so much more

1 comment:

  1. #4 is really fucking important. There will never be progress without an honest accounting & subsequent discussion of each issue. We have the tools to reach out to every American, get their opinions, tabulate the consensus, and set policy. Unfortunately the tools are only as good as the craftsman and right now, the craftsmen are Rupert Murdoch, Jeff Zucker, & their masters!