Posts Tagged ‘FDR’

Everything Under the Sun by Justin Bass

October 19, 2012 Leave a comment

* I highly recommend the book. I wrote it.

Everything Under the Sun


Transcription of Paul Krugman on CNBC’s Squawk Box, July 11, 2012

July 13, 2012 1 comment

Paul Krugman on CNBC’s Squawk Box, July 11, 2012



Andrew Ross Sorkin: “Today we are inducting a Nobel laureate into the Squawk Box Book Club. We are proud to present a Blue Chip award. I think this compares with the Nobel. I don’t know how you think about this?”

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera: “Way better.”

Andrew Ross Sorkin: “The book: ‘End This Depression Now.’ Paul Krugman walks us through the Financial Crisis that triggered the greatest downturn since the Great Depression, and offers us ways to move forward. Paul Krugman joins us on set this morning. Of course, he’s also the author of ‘End This Depression Now’ and ‘The Return of Depression Economics’ and ‘The Great Unraveling.’ And we have your award (Nobel prize for economics). How does this compare? Do you remember  the morning that you found out you got the Nobel, and then you got this (the actual award)?”

Paul Krugman: “Can you do a Swedish accent? I think it would be a little bit more impressive.”

Andrew Ross Sorkin: “Is it a woman who calls? Or how does it happen?”

Paul Krugman: “It was some guy with an obviously fake Swedish accent. I didn’t actually believe it until it was up on their website about a half an hour later.”

Andrew Ross Sorkin: “So Paul, I want to talk about economics, and I want to talk about what’s going on in the world. But tomorrow we have Simpson and Bowles. Erskine Bowles, Alan Simpson on the show. And from everything that I’ve read and seen that you’ve said before, you’re not a fan of this. And historically, I will tell you, we get a lot of people who sit around this table and say ‘We’ve got to find a compromise in Washington [D.C.]. This is a good model. At least it’s a starting point.’”

Paul Krugman: “It’s a model that’s heavily tilted toward things that are not good ideas. It’s heavily tilted toward inflicting pain on the most vulnerable. It is obsessed with cutting tax rates. I mean, it’s not unlike the Republican side of it. It isn’t really a balanced proposal. It’s actually a proposal that’s very heavily tilted toward spending cuts, not enough toward revenue increases. I guess we could do worse, and, given the way politics are going, we might.

This is not a well-crafted proposal. And by the way, there are huge magic asterisks. If you think that they’ve actually solved the problem, it turns out that all of the big savings in Simpson-Bowles are all ‘Savings to be determined later.’ They don’t actually lay out how they’re going to control health care costs. And it is fundamentally about health care costs. And that does not become clear, the way they present it.”

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera: “Medicare, in particular.”

Paul Krugman: “Well, but Medicare is part of a broader problem, right? Medicare costs have actually grown a little more slowly than private insurance costs over the years.”

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera: “I’m talking about the federal government right now has Medicare, right? And Medicaid to some degree.”

Paul Krugman: “That’s right. But Medicare. If we could suddenly have French health care costs instead of American health care costs, our budget problems would be solved forever, right? It is about the very high cost of the U.S. health care system. And you cannot resolve our budget problem without resolving that. If you do resolve that, then this thing becomes a whole lot easier.”

Joe Kernen: “Paul, I was excited when you were coming in, because I view you as almost a unicorn. You really exist in real life. Sort of an ancient species or a new species. Because I try to understand where you’re coming from on some of this stuff. And I’m confounded when I read your pieces. And I’m hoping we can have a philosophical discussion.”

Paul Krugman: “Look, can I say something? We came into this [Financial] Crisis, and that’s what my book is about. Back then there were some very different views about how this thing was going to work, about how things were going to play out. People like me had one set of views. Other people had very different views. There were some predictions. A lot of people thought people like me were crazy…”

Joe Kernen (interrupting): Right.

Paul Krugman (continued through interruption): [Other people thought] we can have budget deficits without raising interest rates.”

Joe Kernen (interrupting): “But, but bigger picture Capitalism versus a Social Democracy model. And I was going to just ask you, there was a time when we had 8% of government as GDP [Gross Domestic Product]. Then we got up to 15%. Now we’re at 25%, and it will be at 40 or 50% eventually with entitlements, if they’re not reined in. Is there a maximum amount of government spending as a percentage of GDP below 100 that you would? What would it be? Is 25% ok for a percentage of GDP?”

Paul Krugman: “When I’m in Europe, I will actually lecture them. They should let their stores open on Sunday. They have too much regulation. But we have European economics. Look at Sweden, which has been sailing through this [Financial] Crisis beautifully. It’s close to 50% GDP.”

Joe Kernen (interrupting): “But, but, but there’s more people in Newark [New Jersey].

Paul Krugman: “Come on. It’s not clear what difference. It is possible…”

Joe Kernen (interrupting): “Would you put up the economic record of any part of Europe with the way we do Capitalism her over the last 200 years? Which one?”

Paul Krugman: “Oh, sure. Sweden again. Sweden was a poorer country than we were 200 years ago. If you’re looking for the last 30-40 years, you know Europeans don’t actually look that bad. They’re now screwing up because they made this terrible mistake of one currency without one government. But as of 2007, before this [Financial] Crisis hit, the previous 10 years had looked pretty good compared to ours, in a lot of dimensions.”

Joe Kernen: “You are a capitalist?”

Paul Krugman: “Yeah.”

Joe Kernen: “Is there some kind of modification to Capitalism? What would I call it?”

Paul Krugman: “I’m a Free Market Welfare State guy.”

Joe Kernen: “Wait a minute. A Free Market Welfare State.”

Paul Krugman: “I believe you let markets mostly run themselves. You have an economy that’s basically driven by market forces. But you collect taxes to provide a safety net. A pretty strong safety net.”

Andrew Ross Sorkin: “How big does the safety net have to be?”

Joe Kernen: “It goes back to our forefathers, who said ‘Limited government, low taxes.’”

Paul Krugman: “Really? I don’t actually remember hearing about that?”

Joe Kernen: “Nothing about that? Nobody?”

Paul Krugman: “No, I don’t think that’s in there [Constitution of the United States].”

* Mr. Kernen immediately grabbed the computer mouse in front of him and looked at his computer screen.

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera: “Let’s talk safety net. So Medicare, by the nature when you look at actuary tables, actually becomes a benefit for the rich. Medicare is for everyone. We have billionaires who sit on this set, and they get Medicare. And if you are poor, the actuary tables bear out that you will die likely before you ever get your first Social Security check or Medicare. So how big is the Welfare State?”

Paul Krugman: “That’s actually, that’s not actually right, by the way. It’s certainly not true. What matters is life expectancy at age 65, and that is higher for more affluent people. But think about how many billionaires are there? The amount of money you can save by means-testing Medicare turns out to be trivial. And, by the way, if you do means-test it, what you have done is increased marginal tax rates because you’ve said if you make more money then you will lose your Medicare benefit. That’s actually reducing incentives.”

Andrew Ross Sorkin: “I’m going to turn it around then. Is it trivial? I don’t actually believe this, but I’m doing this almost as a Devil’s Advocate. Is it trivial then to increase taxes on the wealthy, since the amount of money you gain in the same way?”

Paul Krugman: “No, that’s not true.”

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera: “The converse is not true?”

Paul Krugman: “No, the converse is not true. The amount of Medicare that we spend on the richest .01% of the population is a tiny amount of money. The amount of money we can gain in taxes is not a tiny amount of money, because they are very, very rich. The health care of a rich person doesn’t cost a lot more. Actually, it costs a little bit less than the health care of a poor person. The income of a rich person is higher, by definition. So there’s a lot more taxes.

So this is not true. We cannot solve our budget problems entirely by raising taxes on the rich. But we can make a significant dent by raising taxes on the rich. And we actually cannot make a significant dent by doing things like means-testing Medicare.”

Andrew Ross Sorkin: “You talk a lot about the bond vigilantes. And I’m curious, how much do you think we can spend to quote-unquote grow the economy, if you think that would work, before the bond vigilantes have a problem?”

Paul Krugman: “Well, first of all. I guess the question is. We have to look at history. There’s no easy way to do this by looking at spreadsheets. We look at the fact that Great Britain had debt levels as a share of GDP [Gross Domestic Product] much higher than we currently have, for most of the 20th century. Never a problem. We look at Japan, which people have been predicting bond vigilantes will attack for 20 years now. No problem. So it looks as if countries that have their own currency, that are stable, advanced democracies have the ability to run to levels.

You know, I don’t like, I don’t want us to get up to a Japanese level of debt. But there is no sign that we’re anywhere close. There’s no sign that we’re close to [???] points of GDP debt levels.”

Joe Kernen (interrupting): “People use the analogy: ‘When you jump off a building, you think you’re flying until you hit the ground.’ People say if we doubled to 4% on what we need to pay to fund our expenses that we’re already headed for Europe.”

Paul Krugman: “That’s. Even. You know. Think about Europe for a second. Think about the fact that Britain has levels of debt that are basically the same as ours. And are actually a bit higher than that of Spain. Britain (the Pound) is a safe-haven currency. They can borrow at pretty much the same rates we can. Spain is obviously in the news today. It’s not actually about the debt level. It’s about the constraints of that terrible mistake of a single currency created. It’s not about the debt level.”

Joe Kernen: “But, but there would come a time where it would be hard to get Chinese.”

Paul Krugman: “When the economy is doing well, you should be paying down debt. And I spent a large part of the last decade screaming about Bush and his tax cuts and his unfunded wars, saying that this is not what we should be doing. We should be trying to get our debt down.”

Joe Kernen (interrupting): “But.”

Paul Krugman: “But now is a time when we have an economic emergency where there really is no good alternative. If we try to balance the budget under these circumstances, all we do is throw ourselves into a deeper Depression.”

Joe Kernen: “What would be a number? What’s the maximum amount that the government should spend as a percentage of GDP [Gross Domestic Product]? Do you have a number for me? I’m just trying to figure it out.”

Paul Krugman: “Well.”

Joe Kernen (interrupting): “Well, I’m trying to figure it out. You know [hand gestures from Mr. Kernen].”

Paul Krugman: “Look, when it gets above 50.”

Joe Kernen: “When it gets above 50.”

Paul Krugman: “Then I start to wonder.”

Joe Kernen: “Government spending as a percentage of GDP [Gross Domestic Product]?”

Paul Krugman: “We have several European countries that are right at the 50 line.”

Joe Kernen: “But is there anything to the notion that money is treated better in the private sector, where there’s accountability and people minding the store?”

Paul Krugman: “There are some things that government does better that the private sector, like taking care of people who are in desperate need. Health care seems to be something. Health Insurance the government runs better.”

Joe Kernen (interrupting): “Do you see innovation continue if the government?”

Paul Krugman: “Of course. That’s. There are so many myths out there. Half the time, more than half the time, when anybody tells you about some great innovation, ‘That wouldn’t have happened under socialized medicine,’ it turns out the innovation was made in Europe or Australia, not here.”

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera: “A lot of the critics of that approach would say in Europe they have rationing. Let me finish. What happens is that you end up not giving care to the elderly as much as you would to younger people, because they’re going to live longer. They’re more deserving. What a lot of people here say is ‘Look, we all ration, right? We all have unlimited wants but limited means.’ And the question comes down to who will do the rationing? Will it be the individual or will it be the government? And should it be the person who is in charge of their own life to make their choices, and have good choices about health insurance rather than ceding to the government?”

Paul Krugman: “What planet are those people living on? As far as I can make out, it’s my insurance company, not me, who is making those choices. And I have insurance.”

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera: “Because it’s provided by your employer, right?”

Paul Krugman: “Right.”

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera: “Because it’s 3rd party payer. Will you acknowledge that? No?”

Paul Krugman: “No, when you get a private personal insurance policy, which by the way that market has never worked anywhere.”

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera (interrupting): “Because there is very heavy government intervention in that market.”

Paul Krugman: “No, that market has never worked well anywhere.”

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera: “It’s never functioned ever. It’s never been allowed.”

Paul Krugman: “It functions worst where there’s the least intervention. But, but this notion of rationing. The notion that. Look, everybody talks about hip replacements. It’s true that you have a longer wait for a hip replacement in Canada than here. Who pays for hip replacements in America? Medicare. This myth that the rationing is coming because we have a private system. We actually have less rationing because we spend more money. The French system has almost no rationing. It’s a very heavy government intervention…”

Joe Kernen (interrupting): “I want you to come back. I have questions about the two kinds of fairness. Somehow the government figures out outcomes, rather than a meritocratic system?”

Paul Krugman: “I think we could go on like this for a while.”

Joe Kernen: “Equal outcomes for our citizens?”

Paul Krugman: “No, but there’s a long distance between that and saying. I mean, if you had talked to people in 1925 and talked about the economy we had in 1955, with Social Security and Unemployment Insurance and these kinds of things, they would have said ‘This capitalism will collapse.’ In fact, the post-War [World War II ended in 1945] generation was the best economic growth we’ve had in a very long time.”

Joe Kernen (interrupting): “I’m scared of 50% government spending. I can’t go there with you.”

Paul Krugman: “But it’s not going to happen here, right?”

Joe Kernen: “You said you’d let it happen.”

Paul Krugman: “No, I said that’s where I start getting nervous.”

End of the interview.


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Reminder: Republicans and Conservatives will lie, cheat and steal

November 6, 2011 Leave a comment

The Superwealthy are now in full-swing trying to dismantle pensions for public employees on their way to attempt to dismantle Social Security.

The rich own everything: real estate – the land and the buildings – as well as some roads, highways, oil & gas pipelines, utility companies, parking meters, and on an on. And it’s never enough for these greedy, self-seving, SuperRich.  I’m talking about the Koch Brothers and former Enron trader, John Arnold. All of these Superwealthy out-of-staters fund twistedly “conservative” candidates and causes to stick it to the average American. Koch Brothers funded Scott Walker’s campaign in Wisconsin, and then Governor Walker walked over to the public employees and took away their bargaining rights. Koch-heads also funded Proposition 23 in California in 2010, along with the Texas oil companies – Tesoro and Valero – in an attempt to stop California from using renewable energy standards. John Arnold is now funding right-wing propaganda to dismantle public employees’ pension plans in California.

John Arnold donates to both parties, and specifically he donated/donates to President Obama. Is Obama a Conservative President if he is funded by Conservative Money? Remember: Republicans and Conservatives will lie, cheat and steal. How much of the middle is Obama straddling? Does Obama lean to the right?

The true meaning of conservative has no relationship with the current Republican party. The members of that party and its representatives in our government, for the most part, defend corporate profits and tax cuts for the Superwealthy above everything else. For real.

IMPORTANT: “Fix Pensions First,” aka “The California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility” is NOT a highly accredited source of information.



“Is it fair that those who suffer the most from such downturns have their safety net cut, while those who generate the volatility are bailed out by the government?”

Problem: The self-serving Superwealthy are up to no good for the majority of Americans; the Superwealthy know it takes money to make money, so they spend money to influence elections.

Solution: Vote for Democrats, because Democrats work to benefit the majority of Americans.

Reminder: Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt – the only president to be elected four times – gave us Social Security, Medicare and Unemployment Insurance benefits after three consecutive Republican presidents led to the Great Depression of the 1930s.


According to Wisconsin campaign finance filings, Walker’s gubernatorial campaign received $43,000 from the Koch Industries PAC during the 2010 election. That donation was his campaign’s second-highest, behind $43,125 in contributions from housing and realtor groups in Wisconsin. The Koch’s PAC also helped Walker via a familiar and much-used politicial maneuver designed to allow donors to skirt campaign finance limits. The PAC gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, which in turn spent $65,000 on independent expenditures to support Walker. The RGA also spent a whopping $3.4 million on TV ads and mailers attacking Walker’s opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Walker ended up beating Barrett by 5 points. The Koch money, no doubt, helped greatly.

The Kochs also assisted Walker’s current GOP allies in the fight against the public-sector unions. Last year, Republicans took control of the both houses of the Wisconsin state legislature, which has made Walker’s assault on these unions possible. And according to data from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, the Koch Industries PAC spent $6,500 in support of 16 Wisconsin Republican state legislative candidates, who each won his or her election.

Walker’s plan to eviscerate collective bargaining rights for public employees is right out of the Koch brothers’ playbook. Koch-backed groups like Americans for Prosperity, the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Reason Foundation have long taken a very antagonistic view toward public-sector unions. Several of these groups have urged the eradication of these unions. The Kochs also invited (PDF) Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, an anti-union outfit, to a June 2010 confab in Aspen, Colorado; Mix said in a recent interview that he supports Governor Walker’s collective-bargaining bill. In Wisconsin, this conservative, anti-union view is being placed into action by lawmakers in sync with the deep-pocketed donors who helped them obtain power. (Walker also opposes the state’s Clean Energy Job Act, which would compel the state to increase its use of alternative energy.) At this moment—even with the Wisconsin uprising unresolved—the Koch brothers’ investment in Walker appears to be paying off.”

“As a California teacher, you do not pay Social Security taxes.  But you may have paid enough Social Security taxes in other jobs to qualify for a Social Security retirement benefit.  That benefit will be reduced because of your teacher’s (STRS) pension.  The law requiring this reduction is called the ‘Windfall Elimination Provision.’
Why the offset?
Benefits we pay to wives, husbands, widows and widowers are “dependent’s” benefits.  These benefits were established in the 1930s to compensate spouses who stayed home to raise a family and who were financially dependent on the working spouse.  But as more and more couples both worked, they each earned their own Social Security retirement benefits.  The law has always required us to offset one retirement benefit against another.  In other words, if a woman worked and earned her own $800 monthly Social Security retirement benefit, but she was also due a $500 wife’s benefit on her husband’s Social Security record, we could not pay that wife’s benefit because her own Social Security benefit offset it.  But if that same woman was a teacher who did not pay into Social Security, and who earned an $800 STRS pension, there was no offset and we were required to pay her a full wife’s benefit in addition to her teacher’s pension. 
The Government Pension Offset rule exists simply to ensure that everyone is treated fairly.
This rule affects almost all California teachers who do not pay into Social Security.  But there are some exceptions.  For a list of those exceptions, go to
An important Medicare message
Even though you may not qualify for monthly cash benefits on your spouse’s Social Security record, you still can get Medicare on that spouse’s record if you are 65 or older and if you can’t get Medicare on your own record.”

“Maggie Ellis spent more than 20 years as a teacher, including 10 at a public school, before she learned a dirty little secret: She won’t be getting all the Social Security she would be entitled to in retirement.
Ellis’ current job, as a fifth-grade teacher in the Elk Grove Unified School District, isn’t covered by Social Security.”


We, the People of the United States of America, need sensible regulations

October 20, 2011 Leave a comment

The favorite economic nostrum of conservatives, like Rick Santelli on CNBC, is “Less Regulations.” No, what Wall Street has proved without a doubt is that we need regulations.

Rick Santelli is a demagogue and a sophist. Loud and obnoxious, Santelli schemes to protect the lopsided status quo economic gains for the Superwealthy. Santelli did not scream when the Wall Street banks sank our economy and received taxpayer bailouts. Santelli did not scream when we all found out that there were no Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, yet we wasted $1 Trillion there. Santelli did not scream when the majority of the $1 Trillion in Bush Tax Cuts went to the Superwealthy and did not improve the wage earnings or employment numbers of Americans. Over the last decade, U.S. corporations eliminated 2.9 million jobs at home and at the same time created 2.4 million jobs overseas, according to The Nation citing The Wall Street Journal. Santelli did not scream when we wasted over $1 Trillion on an unpaid-for Medicare drug benefit that was ramrodded through Congress by the Republican majority of the early 2000s.

When does Rick Santelli scream? When we, the United States of America, try to provide for the economic benefit of the majority of people in this country. When Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Washington Mutual, AIG, et al. went bankrupt, and Wall Street stripped away half of the profits from the Dow Jones Industrial Average (14,000 dropped below 7,000) along with half of the wealth from people’s 401ks and pension plans, while also creating mass unemployment and frozen credit markets that disabled small business investment, President Barack Obama had to clean up the economic messes (plural) left in the wake of Bush, Cheney, Paulson & Company. That’s when Rick Santelli SCREAMED!!!

“This is America! How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills?” – Rick Santelli


Reality Check:

Rick Santelli is a demagogue and a sophist. The predatory lending practices of subprime-mortgage lenders, like the now defunct Ameriquest and bankrupt Countrywide Financial, tricked many prime-lending candidates into ARMs – Adjustable Rate Mortgages – which many times carried an interest rate that could literally double and triple in just a few years (for example: balloon from 4% to 12%). That’s when people owed more on their mortgages than their homes were worth. Yes, some people signed up for these loans willingly because they thought that they could flip the homes before the mortgage payments exploded out of control. But many subprime loans were sold when the homebuyers could have got prime loans with no adjustable rates. Read Matt Taibbi’s Griftopia and Bethany McLean’s/Joe Nocera’s All the Devils Are Here for the Fact & Evidence.

IMPORTANT: The Subprime Mortgage Debacle was a locally grown financial problem that could have been contained to our shores, but Wall Street, bloviating about its ability to create short-term profits and reveling in its infinite greed, bundled up these crap loans and created packages to sell all over the world, which generated a global economic meltdown that continues to this day. The genesis of the problem was “Subprime.” Ameriquest was found guilty of doctoring loan documents in order to help unworthy homebuyers get subprime loans. Many banks and lending institutions were not checking that the homebuyers had jobs or any income. That’s for real. And why was Rick Santelli not SCREAMING then?

Because Rick Santelli is a demagogue and a sophist for the lopsided status quo economy that benefits the Superwealthy, who pay his salary.

CNBC is its own special dissembling, deceiving, demagogue center within the NBC network. The channel broadcasts other ideologically biased commentators, such as former Ronald Reagan staffer, Larry Kudlow. I have been watching CNBC since 2005, when I worked as a financial reporter on Wall Street. Every time the stock market tanks the CNBC personalities somehow always find an opportunity to either say it themselves or book guests who are willing to say, “Now is a great time to buy stocks.” Buy, Buy, Buy.  

The truth is that the fundamentals of the American Economy are unsound right now, because we have moved a majority of our manufacturing base away from our shores. In order to have a healthy, functioning economy and ensure the long-term success of our country, we need jobs for Americans. Then more people can pay taxes, which we need to pay for our roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, and on and on.

So why is Rick Santelli not screaming about the Wall Street banks double-crossing U.S. on the $700 billion taxpayer-funded Troubled Asset Relief Program bailout? Because George W. Bush pitched the American People on the idea that the Wall Street banks would L-E-N-D that money into the larger economy, but then a few weeks later Bush’s Treasury Secretary and ex-CEO of Goldman Sachs, Hank Paulson, informed us via the TV that the bailout would be used differently.

And why is Rick Santelli not screaming about Corporate America sitting on a record $2 Trillion cash on hand instead of hiring American workers?

We need regulations for Wall Street banks and regulations for companies operating in America. We need sensible regulations. Like making sure that Wall Street banks have capital reserves (or money on hand) to pay for their bets if they go bad. Or requiring that Wall Street banks can not place stock trades for themselves milliseconds before they place stock trades for their clients. Or eliminating tax loopholes and Cayman Island tax havens for corporations. Wait! Can you hear that? Nope, never mind. I thought maybe I heard Rick Santelli. He is quiet on these egregious violations of the public trust because he is a demagogue and a sophist for unlimited Wall Street greed and corporate profits, with secondary consideration for the majority of Americans. Caveat: not all Wall Street bankers and corporate executives function from a perspective of unlimited greed, but a lot of them do. And that’s why we need regulations. The evidence that we need regulations: Subprime, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Ameriquest, Bernie Madoff, and on and on. What Rick Santelli does with that information is blink and pretend like that information doesn’t exist, and then he will start SCREAMING again at anyone who doesn’t want to protect the lopsided status quo gains for the Superwealthy, who pay his salary.

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair 

Switching gears to talk about Social Security:

Social Security was designed to be fully paid for by payroll taxes taken out of everyone’s paycheck, so that when we all get too old to work we can have some kind of retirement savings to live on. Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt – the only president to be elected four times – established Social Security, Medicare and Unemployment Insurance benefits after three consecutive Republican presidents in the 1920s led to the Great Depression of the 1930s. Unfortunately, Ronald Reagan started stripping away Social Security funds (as did Bush 1, Clinton, and Bush 2) and replacing actual money with I.O.U. paper backed by U.S. Treasury bonds, which is considered the safest investment on planet Earth. Social Security still functions as it always has, because payroll taxes get taken out and older Americans always receive their Social Security checks on time. Until lately. Social Security recipients still receive their checks on time, but President Obama enacted a “payroll tax holiday,” which takes less money out of people’s paychecks during this Great Recession (caused by Wall Street greed and the mismanagement of a Republican-majority Congress and a Republican-controlled White House) and also depletes money coming into the Social Security coffers.

Solution: We need to fix Social Security. And, yes, we can fix it. Wait! Yes, now I can hear Rick Santelli SCREAMING!!!

Click the link to see the video:

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Occupy Wall Street: Solutions

October 11, 2011 Leave a comment

1. Establish government assistance to buy up bad mortgages, like what the taxpayer-funded $700 billion TARP bailout was supposed to do in the first place.

2. Help homeowners who are under water on their subprime mortgages.

3. Put George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in the dunk tank and have people line up to pay $1.00 per ball to try and dunk Bush & Cheney, in order to raise money to pay for the unnecessary expenditures incurred during the Great Recession that the Republican-led Congress and the Republican-led White House left in their destructive wake. Unnecessary expenditures = Iraq War, Bush Tax Cuts, Wall Street bailouts (would not be needed if Bush S.E.C. did any regulating of Subprime-mortgage-backed securities, especially 2004-2007).

4. Have Goldmans Sachs’ CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, actually do “God’s work” – feed the hungry and help heal the sick – instead of exploit the people and rob the masses blind, like with Subprime.

5. Create a federally funded Public Works Program (like FDR did in the Great Depression of the 1930s) to build up a renewable energy infrastructure in America by putting unemployed Americans back to work…we start with a solar-electric system installed on the roof of every public school in the nation. Everything A to Z that is used for the installations could be “Made in the USA” at reasonable prices. “Made in China” defeats the point of providing manufacturing jobs for Americans. Especially on a technology – solar electricity – that we helped to invent and know how to make very well.   

Reminder: Bell Labs in the United States invented the first working solar-electric module, and used it to power a telephone repeater station in rural Georgia in 1954.

6. Mandate that banks increase L-E-N-D-I-N-G (this requires that the government simultaneously buy up bad mortgages to relieve stress on consumer spending/lending).

7. End the Bush Tax Cuts. We simply readjust tax levels to the Clinton years – when everybody was flush with $Cash$.

8. Slice up a more equitable distribution of wealth amongst the 300 million Americans. With stagnant wages for the majority of Americans while the rich got richer over the last decade, all of a sudden the United States of America is starting not to feel like a place where all people have equal opportunity to succeed.  

9. End the Iraq War, for real. No more multi-billion-dollar, no-bid contracts for politically connected, publicly traded military contractors, like Halliburton. Oh yeah, that reminds me about the Bush & Cheney dunk tank. But Cheney has an artificial heart condition. Maybe his old chief of staff, Scooter Libby, would be willing to take the fall for Dick one more time.

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The Executive Branch has a lot of Power

October 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Mr. President, you could be using your executive power to create a Public Works Program to rebuild our country’s infrastructure – roads, bridges, solar electricity on every public school in the United States, and on and on. The Executive Branch has a lot of Power. It’s time to get your FDR on.




“Obama’s necessary war against Al Qaeda. There can be little doubt that his administration’s use of drone strikes—and the successful raid that killed Osama bin Laden—has made it tougher for Al Qaeda to again attack the United States.”

* We, the United States of America, are now target-killing people from the sky with unmanned drones. Even American citizens who have al Qaeda ties. No rule of law, no day in court. Just those unpublished intelligence reports.

(a) At least we are targeting al Qaeda, and not having unnecessary wars, like in Iraq.
(b) This is bad international precedent mixed with efficiency of results.
(c) The Executive Branch as a lot of Power. Drone attacks seem to skip over some of the checks & balances of the legislative and judicial branches of government. Because this looks like a policy recipe for Abuse of Power. Imagine Bush/Cheney using drone attacks in Yemen, instead of wasting $1 Trillion and wasting over 100,000 lives – U.S. soldiers and civilian casualties – in Iraq. The Executive Branch has a lot of Power.



“The Associated Press has reported that the U.S. is building a CIA air base in the Persian Gulf region to target terrorists in Yemen….

U.S. officials say the government is continuing counter-terrorism cooperation with the U.S. military.

Covert action by the CIA offers the U.S. more freedom of action if a future Yemeni government decides to curb cooperation.

‘We have seen what kind of things work to disrupt networks in Pakistan,’ said the U.S. official, who would not speak publicly about sensitive intelligence matters. ‘Clearly there is an effort to say, *Is there any way we can duplicate that to disrupt networks in a place like Yemen that has a lot of similar characteristics?*”

Another U.S. official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said, ‘There’s no question that we’re trying to look at a lot of different ways to make something happen in Yemen.’

That official said the Al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen ‘is now the most capable, most imminent threat to the U.S.’

In Pakistan, Obama has intensified drone strikes against Al Qaeda and Taliban militants in the tribal areas along the Afghan border.”


You can’t pull the wool over my eyes 3 times.

September 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush tried “Trickle-down” economics, and both left the U.S. with deficits and recessions. Tax cuts for the Superwealthy help only the Superwealthy. You can’t pull the wool over my eyes 3 times. But Republicans and Conservatives keep repeating “tax cuts!” like a mantra until they’ve hypnotized themselves.

The Superwealthy made out like bandits over the last decade. Total haul from the Bush Tax Cuts in 2001 and 2003: $1 Trillion. No shit, for real! We could have used that money for our schools, hospitals, roads and bridges. The Bush Tax Cuts are a major reason we have a deficit in this country. The $1 Trillion George W. Bush spent on the false war in Iraq is another reason the United States has money problems right now. Of course, the Subprime Mortgage Meltdown/Financial Crisis that led to Wall Street banks collapsing in 2008…that didn’t help either.

Reminder: Corporations are sitting on a record $2 Trillion cash-on-hand, but are not hiring. Instead U.S. corporations are exploiting their workers for longer hours to keep productivity up, but without paying the workers for the added work. The average American’s wages were stagnant for the past decade: we are making less now than we were in 1998.

It’s time to rebuild America with a solar-electric infrastructure paid for by the federal government; and for the main purpose of putting Americans back to work. Let’s start with a solar-electric system on every public school in America. The best way to pay for these public works projects is to readjust tax levels to the Clinton years. Meaning: End the Bush Tax Cuts for the Superwealthy, like Warren Buffett said.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s even Ronald Reagan’s father earned enough money to put food on the table through the “New Deal” public works programs.



“Reagan was grateful to FDR for providing work for his father and brother in New Deal relief programs.”,9171,910233,00.html


“[The WPA] provid[ed] jobs for 8.5 million Americans who otherwise would have been unemployed….[Those federally funded workers built] 125,110 public buildings, 8,192 parks and 853 airports….[as well as assisted with] the Hoover Dam, Chicago’s sewer system and the aircraft carriers Yorktown and Enterprise. In all, the two agencies disbursed $9.8 billion….

The WPA generally paid better than relief, but not as well as private industry. Unskilled laborers earned as little as $19 a month; professional and technical workers not much more than $94 a month. Fortunately, some WPA families were also eligible for relief payments. By law, nine out of ten WPA recruits had to pass a means test, and Congress did not want them to have too much money left for luxuries.

Still it gave eating money in hard times to some Americans who later became famous, including Actors Orson Welles and Burt Lancaster and Artists Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. Oh yes, and a fellow named Richard Nixon earned $3.50 an hour from the National Youth Administration, a division of the WPA, for doing research in the Duke University law library.”