Flaming Moderate (8/14/14)
STALLED, OBSTRUCTED, DELAYED
2011, before 11/10 election: 102 bills passed by the house but not moved in the Senate, but most successful two years in Congress since Lyndon Johnson
Homeownership and Business Assistance Act
· Helping Families Save their Homes Act
· Health Care for 11 Million Children (S-CHIP)
· FDA Regulation of Tobacco
· Omnibus Public Land Management Act
· Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights
· Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act
· Defense Procurement Reform
· Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
· Stronger TARP Oversight
· FY 2009 Supplemental wound down the Iraq War, obtaining relative stability in Afghanistan, before leaving each theater and making retroactive stop loss payments to over 185,000 service members)
· Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act
· Defense Authorization (to provide 3.4% pay raise for troops, expand support for military families)
The Birth of Trust and Hope (as of 8/1/09)
Let’s have real security, clean, open government, well paid jobs, the best education, the best, expanded, health care, energy independence and security for America’s seniors
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Major Issues: 2
Major goals 4
Reagan’s Good Faith but Unrestricted, Unregulated Policies Leading to Recession 5
Bush’s Continued Failures, Continuing and Worsening the Financial Breakdown 7
Democrat’s Prospective Speech IN THE COUNTRY TOWNS 8
First Actions and Priorities 10
Real Security 12
Honesty and Openness 14
Broad Prosperity 17
Inequality of Income 18
Their Response: 20
President Obama’s Later Response 21
Economic Stimulus 22
Productivity Gains 23
Financial Reform 23
Energy and Technology 37
Mortgage Lending 38
Mergers and Acquisitions 40
Merge SEC, CFTC 40
Cars (gas prices) 41
Food Safety 43
Subsidies in Agriculture 44
Adjustment to new growth 46
The Health Care System You’ve Earned 50
Cost Control 57
Strengthen’s Medicare 59
Sexual and Reproductive Health 64
Preventive Care 64
Prescription Drugs 64
Energy Independence 65
Protecting America’s Seniors 73
Anti-Crime Policy 80
Middle East 93
Iraq and Afghanistan/Pakistan 94
Homeland Security 96
Tax reform 98
Next Steps 104
Earned benefits 111
Crime and Corruption 115
Drug Crime 116
TransPacific Partnership 126
National Service 130
Foreign Policy 130
Small Business 141
Executive power 141
Effective Government 141
HONEST LEADERSHIP AND OPEN GOVERNMENT
End emergency war funding beginning in FY '14, reduce base discretionary defense spending. Bring our troops home and realign national security strategy, saving $1.1 trillion over 10 years. End unfairly low wages and salaries and insufficient retraining for the jobs. We’ve passed the Fair Pay act and expanded the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Now, the stimulus package has helped save … and created …jobs. Invest $2.9 trillion in jobs, manufacturing, alternative energy, entrepreneurs and small business. Let Bush-era tax cuts expire for the highest incomes in '14, enact a high net-worth surcharge. Treat capital gains and qualified dividends as ordinary income. Limit regressive itemized deductions for high earners. End corporate welfare, establish accountability to discourage--not subsidize--harmful activity. Reduce deficits $6.8 trillion, cut spending $749 billion, reduce debt to 62.3% of GDP by '22. Much more! (See the "Budget for All" for more details and rationale.)
I. Invest in America's Infrastructure, creating jobs
Jobless claims have just fallen to lowest level in nearly five years. You don’t know it yet, but you’ve laid the foundation for jobs and continuation of a growing economy. It’s too slow but the economy grew a million jobs in 2010, after THEY crashed your old economy and sent your jobs to foreign countries. The economy they ruined by deregulation and risky investment, like a train at 200mph, can’t be stopped in ten seconds. TRAIN for the new jobs.
The Recovery Act represented the largest infrastructure investment since President Eisenhower, the largest education investment since President Johnson, and the largest clean-energy bill ever. It has saved or created as many as 3.7 million jobs across America while creating a foundation for future growth.
Rebuild our crumbling bridges, dams, levees, ports, water and sewer lines, railways, roads, and public transit by better methods.
We must invest in high-speed Internet and a modern, energy-saving electric grid. These invest ments will create good jobs and rebuild America. To help finance these projects, we need national and state infrastructure.
Exports are a proven way back after a crisis (Sweden, Finland, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea). Now, in 2014, our exports are growing faster than imports. In the last year we’ve exported so much that that deficit was reduced from 6% of GDP to 3%. It was 62% of GDP at the end of President Bush43’s terms.
II. Create 21st Century Energy Jobs, Building the new, clean energy economy
Invest in American businesses that can power our country with innovative technologies like wind turbines, solar panels, geothermal systems, hybrid and electric cars, and next-generation batter ies. And we should put Americans to work making our homes and buildings energy efficient. We can cre ate good, green jobs. In America, address the climate crisis, and build the clean energy economy: new emissions and fuel efficiency standards for American vehicles with new industry. Our scientists will invent cheaper gas and heating oil and speed getting alternative, non-polluting, energy.
III. Invest in Public Education
Provide universal access to early childhood education, make school funding fair, invest in high-quality teachers, and build safe, well-equipped school buildings for our students. A high-quality education system, from universal preschool to vocational training and affordable higher education, is critical for our future global economy and can create badly needed jobs now. Encourage students choosing scientific and technical education. Microsoft wants 1500 employees it cannot find. Educate to invent, including ‘Race to the Top’ and ‘Educate to Innovate’. Reform student lending, following President Obama’s student loan reform making college more affordable for students and families and saving American taxpayers roughly $68 billion over the next 10 years.
IV. Offer Medicare for All (or efficient single-payer health care)
The United States has been ranked worst among industrialized countries for the fifth time. The Affordable Care Act the Affordable Care Act is insurance reform. It provides stability and safe health for Americans who have insurance and provides affordable choices for those who don’t. It will lower costs for families, businesses, and America as a whole, provide the largest middle-class ‘tax cut’ for health care in our history, and puts an end to the worst insurance industry abuses…as soon as we get it out of the profit- making insurance companies’ hands. FOUR earlier Republican and Democratic presidents tried to make our health care as good as for people in the other industrialized countries and couldn’t start it up. President Obama got it going. Now we have to finish what he started for us. Only Obama has given us the chance to become number ONE in health care for not just the well-off, where we STILL ARE NUMBER ONE, but for EVERYONE. The Affordable Care Act will reduce the deficit $1.3 trillion over ten years, unless those guys who SAY they want to reduce the deficit just reduce your health care and bill it to our kids to repay the highest medical expenses in the world.
“All progressives since Theodore Roosevelt wanted [health care reform], all Democrats since Harry Truman fought for it, and only Barack Obama got it. ... This is his huge accomplishment.” Douglas Brinkley.
The expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) extended coverage to another 4 million low-income children, increasing the total number of children covered by the program to more than 11 million.We should expand Medicare, or provide single-payer insurance, so it's available to all Americans, and reform it to provide even more cost-effective, quality care. The Affordable Care Act is a good start and we must implement it -- but it's not enough. We can save trillions of dollars by joining every other industrialized country -- paying much less for health care while getting the same or better results. This will improve their skills for our new growing economy.
V. Make Work Pay
A minimum wage which takes a family out of poverty provides stability and safe health for Americans who have insurance and provides affordable choices for those who don’t. Americans have a right to fair minimum and living wages, to organize and collectively bargain, to enjoy equal opportunity, and to earn equal pay for equal work. Corporate assaults on these rights bring down wages and benefits for all of us.
VI. Wall Street reform
Gave power to consumers and investors, put a stop to criminally reckless lending practices, brought shadowy Wall Street trades into the light, and ended taxpayer-funded bailouts.
VII. Credit Card Reform
Put a stop to unfair credit card billings.Reform started new protections for students and young people and required credit card companies to explain their contracts in plain language.
VIII. Middle Class Tax Cuts
We’ve gotten a tax cut for 95% of us. You didn’t notice it because it was just slipped into your check by less withholding and the press didn’t tell you. And it had been about eight years since we had an increase of any kind in our paychecks. The corporations own 91% of the newspapers and they didn’t tell you that you won.
Allow all tax cuts to lapse, insist with the opposition on a lame-duck Congress after the election; convince them to make the stimulus, sufficient, rebuild infrastructure, reform entitlement, discipline spending to lower the debt, get a tax code that lets the government pay its way without stifling business, punishing the middle class or rewarding tricks…Simpson-Bowles. American houses are now among the world’s most undervalued (19% below) American banks have had to write off debts (Citigroup $143b of loan losses); create a dynamic export sector and a boom in high-value services (architecture, engineer ing, finance; even small companies are seeking a toehold in emerging markets; high prices are restrain ing demand; shale gas, (temporary), the prior stimulus was not enough to cure deregulation, but it’s helping, it has lowered energy bills and is displacing coal and carbon emissions; we’ll propose a beleiva ble long-term deficit plan and to fix America’s ramshackle public services which have declined since 1980. We can’t get over 20 years of “W” in two years, so be angry, but, it’s coming.
We’ll return to fairer tax rates. End, once and for all, the Bush-era tax giveaways for the rich, which the rest of us -- or our kids -- must pay eventually. Also, we must outlaw corporate tax havens and tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas. Lastly, with millionaires and billionaires taking a growing share of our country's wealth, we should add new tax brackets for those making more than $1 million each year.
VIII. Tax Wall Street Speculation
A tiny fee of a twentieth of 1% on each Wall Street trade could raise tens of billions of dol lars an nually with little impact on actual investment. This would reduce speculation, "flash trad ing," and outra geous bankers' bonuses -- and we'd have a lot more money to spend on Main Street job creation.
IX. End the Wars and Invest at Home
Our troops have done everything that's been asked of them, and it's time to bring them home to good jobs here. We're sending $3 billion each week overseas that we should be investing to rebuild America. We’re stopping the trillion dollar spent warring FOR EIGHT YEARS against a country that did not attack us.
X. The Deficit from the Wars
We have left Iraq (after rejected attempts to negotiate cooperation), removing 100,000 troops so that we may focus on rebuilding our nation at home. We’ll stop getting into foreign, unwin nable, wars by making up foreign nuclear weapon stories.
Before 2014 we’ll finish the slowing of al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. We shall contin ue to build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty land genocide, climate change and disease.We will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.
America’s deficits came over 8 years and paying off a loan from China is just as hard as paying a loan or credit card bill here. It can’t be undone in eight years. Our progress since 2008 is the best that can be done if both sides won’t work together to pass the Jobs Act, regulate their bad financial spending to get greater fees and commissions for the financial industry. It was just greedy.
XI. Strengthen Democracy of the PEOPLE
We need clean, fair elections -- where no one's right to vote can be taken away. No fraud has been shown in all the states limiting voting! Therefore no state should go beyond past require ments to ask for extra credentials to prove identity or citizenship.
--corporations should not be given more power to buy legis lators favor by enormous campaign contributions. Corporations are not people, nor voters. But after the Citizens United decision, money is being used to buy the positions of elected officials on issues. We must amend the Constitution to allow states and localities to limit campaign con tributions and expendi tures. We must require disclosure so we ban anonymous political influ ence. We must slam shut the lobbyists' revolving door in D.C. so elected officials don’t buy, with their votes on issues, a later, highly paid, position in business.
We’ll pass the DISCLOSE act, S 3369 to find out WHO is blocking us from knowing who’s calling the shots.
Elections are about patriotism to our ideals.
XII. Immigration Reform
Immigrants who want to join in our democracy deserve a clear path to citizenship. We must stop giving corporations the rights of people when it comes to our elections. And we must ensure our judici ary's respect for the Constitution. Together, we will reclaim our democracy to get our country back on track. We’ll stop Republican spending of $1b on the electronic fence which has failed to keep immigrants from coming up here to do the farm work our workers don’t apply to do. We’ve stopped foreigners from hating us and we’ll treat them well while they solve their own problems.
XII. Secure Social Security
Keep Social Security sound, and strengthen the retirement, disability, and survivors' protections Americans earn through their hard work. Pay for it by removing the cap on the Social Security tax, so that upper-income people pay into Social Security on all they make, just like the rest of us. This money has been earned.
XIII. Restore Unions to Representing workers
Unions represented 33% of the workforce in 1980. Attacks on them have cut them back to 6% representation. When unions represented union workers all workers wages kept pace with inflation and the middle class was protected.
In Wisconsin, without collective bargaining, the reality is workers and working clas communities are getting low wages and a raw deal.
XIV. Toward a World Without Nuclear Weapons
President Obama reached the most important arms control agreement with Russia in two dec ades. New START will reduce our nuclear arsenals, put inspectors on the ground in Russia, and renew America’s leadership in pursuit of a world without nuclear weapons. He also rallied the world behind a plan to keep all nuclear material away from terrorists.
XV. Taking Care of our Troops
The implementation of the Post-9/11 GI Bill increased educational opportunities for veterans by making college more affordable for returning service members.
We can’t get over 20 years of “W” in two years, so be angry, but, it’s coming. Reform, don’t cut back: Austerity is not working. The tax code is too long and complex. Federal, state and local regulations conflict and should not be overseen by five or six different agencies. The current system of ineffective agencies make political fundraising easier but are not a good system of financial oversight. We were 5th in the world in infrastructure and now we are 25th and have earned a “D” grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers. We led the world in percentage of college graduates and now we are 14th. Our univer sity system is being defunded. R&D has fallen to half what it was in 1960. The Air Traffic control President Reagan attacked requires a $25 billion upgrade. The countries drinking water is carried through old and leaky pipes and its cellular and broadband systems are slow compared with those of many other ad vanced countries.Therefore we must invest in human and physical capital. The elegant solution would be to have a national infrastructure bank that is funded by a combination of government money and private capital. Projects should be chosen by technocrats on merit, rather than by elected officeholders or bu reaucrats.
President Reagan’s Good Faith But Unregulated Policies Lead to Recession, federal spending 20% higher and a skyrocketing deficit:
When President Reagan took over in 1981, he inherited an annual deficit of $59 billion and a national debt of $914 billion. By the time Presidents Reagan, Bush and Bush had finished their unpaid for wars and favors for the well-off they had quintupled the deficit, times, FIVE, to $4 trillion, started two unnecessary wars (better done by special forces), generated more debt than had been accumulated by all prior American administrations,, started the unsuccessful Space Defense initiative, (which analysts THEN viewed as a money eating pipe dream) AND, after giving a TAX CUT, defunded school, health and workplace safety programs. THEN he made a deal tax cuts for the well-off. Since then, for forty years, jobs have been cut, salaries and wages have not kept up with inflation or the cost of living and recession has resulted from thoughtless risky investments with OUR MONEY. (The taxpayer covers for private, institutional failures under laws written under President Reagan).
President Reagan proposed a low-tax, small government and suffered later reversal of his elimination of hundreds of loopholes. He promised, but never accomplished THE PROMISED SPENDING CUTS. But they were promised with a confident broad smile. He came in as a monetarist, BUT HE GOVERNED AS A KEYNSIAN pushing through large tax cuts and running up a huge bill in defense spending.
President Reagan was an engaging person and more fun than the other side. He had great lines, like, being 20 years older than Mondale, said “I will not use my opponent’s age as an issue against him”, and “I am the only one here who voted four times for FDR” (but failed to check outrageous risk with others money and setting up job destruction).
The failure of the USSR’s economy “had little or nothing to do with the Reagan Administration’s policies but instead reflected the ‘deep-seated and chronic’ rot pervading the USSR’s economy.  Communism’s failures, not President Reagan, defeated communism.
President Reagan’s overspending on the largest ‘defense’ in the world just cost money which could have gone into job creation. His attacks on labor destroyed increases in wages for 30 years by firing the striking air traffic controllers and ending labor’s wage and salary leadership which had sustained the middle class. He effectively reduced pay to the lower and middle classes that USED TO PROVIDE THE MIDDLE CLASS MONEY THAT MAKES OUR ECONOMY WORK WITHOUT RECESSION. THE MIDDLE CLASS NOW PAYS far more total taxes than the well-off (even though the well-off pay at higher RATES on less of its earnings). So, by military spending and tax cuts for the well-to-do, he led US, and the world, to live beyond our means. We SHOULD have been saving money for successful business creation and for retirement of our up-coming baby-boomers. They financed their increased debt to a large extent, putting our kids in debt, by putting us in debt for T-bills with China and other developing countries.
Emerging countries suffered much less in the Great Recession. These developing countries have been doing it the right way, producing more than they have been consuming. President General Eisenhower, in 1959, as he signed off, warned us not to spend what they spent on the ‘military-industrial complex and to ‘only buy what you can pay for. Presidents Reagan and Bush rejected his advice and created a huge future deficit for America, now unavoidably being paid for by us taxpayers, or their kids. They blamed it on President Obama and asking for the tax increases Presidents Reagan and Bush43 should have enacted to ‘pay-as-you-go’ instead of pulling the American taxpayer into immense deficit. Now, in the Congress and presidential campaigns, they refuse to pay for the deficit caused by their wars, extra drug benefits and deregulation.
President Reagan’s two terms saw plenty of other failures. Ethical standards inside his administration were relaxed. He oversaw a humiliating military retreat from Lebanon, the scandal of Iran Contra, a timid response to the AIDS epidemic and a lot of intentional and inept deregulation, some of which contributed to the savings and loans crisis that led to THE GREATEST, including the present, taxpayer bail-out under the first President Bush. He achieved almost nothing in education or health He failed to restrict abortion as he had promised conservatives, probably insincerely. He gave James Watt at Interior and Anne Gorsuch at EPA power to ruin America’s landscapes and distribute PUBLIC lands in national parks to mining conglomerates, timber companies and corporate retailers. There was a carnival of corruption and greed at the Pentagon. He wasn’t anti-government. What he did was provide a different KIND of government in which defense contractors ‘made hay’, middle class salaries and wages failed to rise with inflation and private corporations came to occupy a much stronger position.
Foreign policy was no better. President Reagan wrongly attacked New Zealand as an unreliable ally. HIS complaint was New Zealand’s failure to allow American nuclear in its harbors. New Zealand was correct, not the Reagan administration. Moreover, New Zealand’s farmers are entirely pleased that it quit costly agricultural subsidies all the way back in 1984. New Zealand had no adverse results from ending subsidies and saved that money for its taxpayers.
He described Muammar Qaddafi as a “mad dog” then American military BOMBED Qaddafi’s HOME.
By the end of Reagan’s presidency, 41% of the oil we use here came from abroad, leaving us dependent on the Middle East. Further, it was during his first term that growing demand for Chinese goods produced the first deficit-causing negative trade balance with China. So they had the taxpayer covering our economy’s failure to sell desired products to Americans, forcing them to buy from abroad and create a trade deficit. He his ‘BUY’ policies led to personal BORROWING to buy more than we needed. Well, it sure SOUNDED good, but it didn’t follow President Eisenhower’s advice to live within our wages. His huge governmental deficits and enthusiastic encouragement to spend, contrary to President Carter’s approach, reversed America’s savings so that national debt overwhelmed the GNP. And now his party says DEMOCRATS caused the national debt. They are saying this while the rich get tax cuts.
President Reagan, unable to cut spending at the Pentagon, HID defense spending outside the budget, claiming that “defense is not a budget item”,to avoid ‘telling’ the voters, all SO IT WOULDN’T BE NOTICED, WHILE DISASTROUSLY INCREASING OUR NATIONAL DEBTDoes it better ‘defend’ us to have a ‘defense’ budget THE SAME SIZE AS THE ENTIRE DEFENSE BUDGET OF THE REST OF THE WORLD COMBINED? When his leadership PRETENDED we could BUY our way out of MADE-UP threats like Grenada. President Carter had warned us against this large mistake, President Bush43’s wasteful, unsuccessful, ‘WAR’ response to 9/11 and the incredible resulting debt from never paying for that war. President Reagan’s administration established in the American mind that credit had no limits and that the bills would never come due. We found out it wasn’t true, and the whole world has suffered.
President Reagan’s administration was not conservative. They were spendthrifts, BORROWING FROM CHINA TO COVER THE TAB. But he wasn’t what he called a ‘tax-and-spend Democrat. His was a BORROW AND SPEND Republican. Our taxpayers are now liable for the debt, AND FOR THE INTEREST ON IT. President Reagan’s ending of ‘pay-as-you-spend’ did far more to damage America’s morals than the sex, drugs, and rock and roll that he asked the voters to blame.
The American economy, not President Reagan, ‘won’ the Cold War. His huge military, and the resulting huge debt for the taxpayer, only pays for their hidden desire for empire to make America number one only in military spending.
We are beginning to recover by having the best economy in the world and creating jobs for OUR PEOPLE.
The more serious problem with Reagan’s policy—in terms that would have been understood by Adam Smith---was that it did not protect. His ‘voluntary export restraints” of steel to Japan CUT DOWN America’s economy. His system of ‘voluntary restraints’ gave profit and market position to the Japanese. We were stopped from recovering later when our ‘international’ dollar lost effectiveness following the Plaza Accords among the world’s major finance ministers in 1985. One result was a permanent change in American manufacturing causing CEOs TO SEND OUR JOBS TO FOREGN COUNTRIES with cheaper labor. Our American workers lost big. When we used to start the technology and build and supply the heavy and the precision machinery, that work went substantially, in many areas, to Japan. America’s lead in education and technology went down for twenty years after then Governor Reagan fired Clark Kerr, a great educator, from the leadership of the University of California. Today, California STILL remains deeply in debt and unable to function properly, as a result of Reagan’s policies and California’s later inability to cover for his errors. Then he put the ENTIRE COUNTRY in the same kind of debt. He was a delightful person, but his administration’s state and national policies leave us broke.
Since President Reagan, fewer people have completed their education, even though the income gains which KEEP US with inflation come to the people WHO DO finish. Wages WENT DOWN during President Bush43‘s presidency. After Reagan America has had slower growth and the middle class got a smaller share of the earnings even though the CEOs they worked for showed increasing output because they worker did a more efficient job. Education would have helped the most, like it always did before, allowing companies to make complex products so America would haves high-wage jobs. In the 40s, 50s and 60s the American economy grew rapidly AND GAVE AN INCREASING SHARE TO THE VAST MIDDLE CLASS. That hasn’t happened since 1980.
As observers point out current presidential Republican candidates ECHO THE VERY SAME, WRONG, ‘TRICKLE DOWN’ LIES THAT LED US INTO THIS CRISIS IN THE FIRST PLACE. Democratic Senator Nelson of Nebraska introduced a bill that attempts the cure: it cuts taxes for the middle-class, prevents layoffs for first responders, and pushes for quick spending to do shovel ready infrastructure work which USED TO support the world’s strongest economy. It provides jobs, improves water treatment, weatherizes taxpayers’ homes and buildings, produces alternative energy, raises doctors’ offices into the computer age, renovates and modernizes by promoting training and education 10,000 schools and brings computers to classrooms. President Obama and our Congress is trying, against Republican opposition, to follow this fine idea. It will ultimately create 3 to 4 million more jobs, help the economy grow long after the recession, make business more competitive, make commuters safer and provide cleaner environment and energy independence.
President Bush43’s Continued Failures, ‘Bequeathing’ the Problems to Taxpayers
President Bush43’s Securities Exchange Commission THREW AWAY the complaints against failed financial ‘managers’, including one against Bernie Madoff, before the 2008 asset Great Recession which took $50 trillion in value from the assets we Americans had hoped to live on in retirement. Only now is the SEC investigating those companies. Asset recessions take ten years to fix.
In the years leading up to deregulated business’s failure in the 2008 crisis, the FINANCIAL, not the manufacturing sector, accounted for an unheard of ONE-THIRD of total domestic ‘profits’ — about twice its share two decades earlier before the 1980s turn to un-researched, unregulated finance with OTHERS’ money. Manufacturing excellence was abandoned. Other governments, like Canada’s, didn’t allow that mistake.
We were told these profits were justified because the industry was doing ‘great things for the economy’. It was ‘channeling capital to productive uses’; it was ‘spreading risk’; it was ‘enhancing financial stability’. NONE OF THOSE WERE EVER TRUE, they just made us feel good while we fed the UNPRODUCTIVE economy of the ‘money changers’. Capital was channeled not to job-creating innovators, but into an unsustainable housing bubble, unsustainable credit bubbles, unsustainable stock prices and a ‘defend-our-country’ no-win, war. Risk was concentrated, not spread; and when the housing bubble burst, the supposedly stable financial system imploded, with the worst GLOBAL slump since the Great Depression and immense damage to America besides. Finance gambled, with OTHERS’ money, giving false substitutes for real assets, and the American taxpayer got the debt from the people who made outrageous salaries while workers‘ wages were not increased after THEIR productivity increases.
Finance was only one of the problems. President Bush refused to send $34,000,000 voted by the Congress to fight the death of women and children in childbirth. President Obama restored that funding in January, 2009. Incidentally, failure in THAT care make us #28 in world health when we are the wealthiest, best economy in the world.
Then, rather than reforming economics in the face of six huge problems, Bush, while accusing others of being socialist, just gave the BANKS AND LENDERS more money, without monitoring the spending. He didn’t change the defective system. He just allowed them to go on as before. This followed the pattern of his SEC, asleep at the switch, when Lehman’s books were found bogus and Goldman Sachs was deceptively helping Greece cover its huge debt.
GOLDMAN SACHS WAS SELLING THE ASSETS IT HAD JUST TOLD ITS INVESTORS TO BUY, TELLING THEIR INVESTORS ‘EVERYTHING IS FINE’. That continued the 2008 “free fall”. Citibank got a cash injection of $25 billion in October 2008 (along with eight other banks, as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program [TARP]), and it was rescued again with another $20 billion cash plus guarantees for $306 billion in bad assets in November 2008, TWO MONTHS BEFORE PRESIDENT OBAMA CAME IN. They even needed help a third time, ‘paying’ the government by converting $25 billion of its preferred shares to common stock in February 2009. AIG also received three bailouts, including a $60 billion credit line, an investment of as much as $70 billion, and $52.5 billion to buy mortgage- linked assets owned or backed by AIG. It’s true the lending (circulatory system) of the economy must be kept alive as Bush and Obama have acknowledged, but it was essential to do as much as Obama did AT THE SAME TIME, as a condition of being saved, to CORRECT the lenders AND ATTEMPT TO REQUIRE THEM TO LEND THEIR SAVED ASSETS TO SMALL BUSINESSES FOR ADDITIONAL JOB CREATION. President Obama got as much as could be gotten from a resistant Senate, President Bush43 didn’t try. He had Secretary Paulson intentionally LEAVE ALL CONGRESSIONAL AND JUDICIAL CONTROLS OFF TARP!
President Obama had to ‘save the ship’, after President Bush41 allowed potential destruction of the NEXT economy by continuing the failed Reagan policy of deregulation. President Obama has seen TARP repaid but the world economy remains in danger due to policies in 1980 and following. America hasn’t seen equal financial ruin since Reagan/Bush’s savings and loan scandal of 1989.
Both parties, bought by campaign finance from corporations, left a huge and crucially vulnerable segment of our economy unchecked, allowed the spread of greenhouse gases and left unregulated the production of deadly strains of E. Coli in our food supply. The resistant minority in the Senate didn’t even follow THEIR idea of their theory. The Republicans absolutely failed their promise of the last twenty years to reduce the size of government…they overwhelmingly increased the deficit AND NOW THEY BLAME ‘THE OTHER GUY’.
Democrats’ speech TO THE COUNTRY and TOWNS
Thanks for your great work.
Our nation is better than it was in 1946 when the movie first appeared. Women have gained economic power and reproductive rights; we enacted Civil Rights and Voting Rights and, through Medicare and Medicaid, dramatically reduced poverty among the elderly; we began to tackle environmental devastation; we stopped treating gays as criminals and have even started to recognize the right to marry the one you love. We have enacted the beginning of universal healthcare.
Reform, don’t cut back: Austerity is not working. The tax code is too long and complex. Federal, state and local regulations conflict and should not be regulated by five or six different agencies. The current ‘inherited’ system of ineffective agencies make political fundraising easier but are not a good system of financial oversight. We were 5th in the world in infrastructure and now we are 25th and have earned a “D” grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers. We led the world in percentage of college graduates and now we are 14th. Our university system is being defunded. R&D has fallen to half what it was in 1960. The Air Traffic control President Reagan attacked requires a $25 billion upgrade. The countries drinking water is carried through old and leaky pipes and its cellular and broadband systems are slow compared with those of many other advanced countries.Therefore we must invest in human and physical capital. The elegant solution would be to have a national infrastructure bank that is funded by a combination of government money and private capital. Projects should be chosen by technocrats on merit, rather than by elected officeholders or bureaucrats
Create the future winning economy.
Avoid another opposition debt ceiling battle which cost taxpayers $1.3 billion;
We shall set the goal that our markets are the freest and the most trusted, our infrastructure andinternet band width the most advanced, our openness, whenever we don’t have it, to foreign talent second to none, our funding for basic research the most generous, an investment-friendly tax code, our college education system unrivaled, our currency and interest rates the most pristine; our health care system the most efficient, our energy supplies the most secure, clean and cost effective. Sustainably! And we’re not afraid to employ force and will use it to advance less than vital interests, but always recognizing the limits of American power and insisting on multilateral action.
Significant revenue increases will result from the elimination of corporate welfare buried in the tax code, special treatment of capital gains, the Cayman Islands and other tax avoidance setups, a whole set of things of that kind. On the expenditure side, we’ll limit the military to what the Pentagon WANTS, not enlarging the defense budget already larger equal to half the rest of the worlds. At least, let the countries we’ve been defending PAY THEIR SHARE. We won’t fund weapons that don’t work against enemies that haven’t appeared. We need to spend our money more smartly — that’s where we’ll get the biggest chunk of expenditure cuts.
We’ll see our workers moving up in income. In Denmark, 75% of Danes and in Britain, 70% of the British, get ahead, but fewer than 60% now get ahead in America). Instead of ONLY having lower costs, countries should promise good schools and good environment, as well as low taxes on workers…partly financed by high taxes (over 50%) on capital. We need targeted financial stimulus, greater bank regulation/more and a more equal society.
We’ll encourage a constitutional amendment to amend the Constitution to allow states and localities to limit political contributions and expenditures to end the Supreme Court decision in CITIZENS UNITED v. FEC: The Supreme Court ditched 125 years of precedent, and empowered 21st century” robber barons” trying to take over the government”; as a result the opposition will spend $6 billion in the next election. It’s true that the prior campaign finance limits under 16 states’ laws had already eroded due to the increasing difficulty candidates had to raise the necessary sums to campaign; but all agree, it’s time we return to government of, by and for the people not government of bought and paid for special interests”.
Now, in the recent past, the Recovery Act of the years from 2008 to 2010 created a better, not bigger, government and the Congress was the most productive since Lyndon Johnson. It contained tax cuts and government spending insisted on, but that budget that traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support, but was entirely opposed due to the opposition’s desire to stretch for even more, or less.
We work for business: we’ll ensure that American business may draw on an educated, healthy work force, can rely on modern public infrastructure absolutely necessary to serve our economy and workers. We ask stable transparent financial markets which were missing for thirty years in which the more productive workers got no raises. Forward!
They blocked our proposed Jobs Act that would help replace many of the teachers, police officers, social workers, and fire fighters cut over the last several years in their recession. Next, we’re not done. Let’s boost this recovery from 2008’s loss of 9 million jobs. Not even the Jobs Act will be enough. Four times in the last 30 years, tax cuts for corporations and the well-off have failed to create jobs. The facts show that the money going to the well-off doesn’t trickle down, it trickles up. They’ll keep cutting government spending (mainly on the middle class, and end our new business rules that would keep us out of the same trouble they got us into last time. Their cutbacks and deregulations aren’t making corporations hire more workers, even though they have record profits and are keeping their/our economy’s money in their bank accounts, or in tax dodges so they won’t have to support the country and people who made them rich. Corporate profits are up right now, but they aren’t hiring. Most companies don't even know what to do with the profits they're already making. Much of those profits have come from replacing jobs with computer software or outsourcing jobs to foreign countries. The way to get jobs back is to give American consumers raises they can again spend and create 70% of your economy. Most of those corporate profits come from the middle class, whose spending has always made them the real job creators. But here's the problem. The middle class can’t spend when it lost 9 million jobs, their homes lost a lot of value in the housing bust they created, their wages are dropping, and they're worried about keeping their jobs. They were told they could borrow against the rising values of their homes, but it was, they knew, a purchase that would fail because financial statements contained lies and no raises were coming from business. That false housing bubble that wasn’t going to last. At the Democratic convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, President Obama showed how to stop making things worse: Raise taxes on the wealthy rather than cut programs the middle class depends on (like Medicare and Medicaid), give tax incentives to companies that create jobs in the United States, and invest in educations so we’ll be number one. But we need far more. We’ve got to refinance mortgages at today's low interest rates. And why not get coal miners ‘clean’ jobs and pray we can clean their lungs.
Throw out the lawmakers who:
1) refuse to help job creating small businessesand earned middle class wages they may spend;
2) propose or support the budget reducing Medicare by making it private;
3) refuse to collect and to provide the money for job creation;
4) reduce jobs by cutting job-producing transportation budgets $40-$50 billion next year;
5) cut 200,000 kids from the Head Start that makes them more ready to earn good paying jobs;
6) deny pregnant and new mothers
7) refuse to end the tax cut for the well-off and restore the rates under President Eisenhower;
The truth from history is that the federal government has created jobs by building roads and schools, guaranteeing loans and financing scientific research in ways that INDIVIDUALS AND INDIVIDUAL BUSINESSES DIDN’T AND COULDN’T.
We’ll end welfare! We’ll end CORPORATE welfare like THEIR bailouts and excessive tax loopholes. All decrease the tax share of the well-off and increase your taxes. Banks and insurance companies are hoarding money which is necessary to invest to restructure our economy floored by export of jobs and to educate Americans to do the more technical and scientific work now effectively allocated, left, to the American economy. We’ll stop letting corporations write their own rules. We ended welfare for the POOR, SO now, to be fair, we must end welfare for corporatrions and people who earn more than $100,000 per year. We’ll give your elections and elected officials BACK TO YOU reclaiming them from the Supreme Court ruling that gave the election financed advantage to the corporations. Let US pay for political campaigns, THE SAME AMOUNT TO EVERY SIDE, so WE are the ones they talk to when deciding about OUR LIVES. WE WANT democratic elections in which citizens’ voice is not drowned out by unlimited corporate spending 70% of citizens choose limitation of political contributions by big money.
Unfairly low wages and salaries and insufficient retraining for the jobs which have not been exported by previous administrations cause the deficit, not debt. We’ve passed the Fair Pay act and expanded the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Now, the stimulus package has helped save … and created …jobs.
ACTIONS AND PRIORITIES
1) Restore the ‘Fairness Doctrine’ in the media;
2) end the gag order in foreign countries on population control, women’s access to reproductive freedom and funding for termination of unaffordable children
Prevent foreign military threats by strong defense and smart offense. Our goal is defense, not empire. Use diplomacy, not our military, wherever evil appears. Limit military attack to those who can effectively attack America, not for resources. Vote for kids; they shouldn’t have to pay debt for any war, nor for this war. Making war doesn’t set up democracy and preparation for war results in wars, not peace. We shall always remember that the Soviet Union was defeated not by war, but by economic strength.
Negotiate and agree on an international treaty on cyberspace, providing compensation to cover the damages and criminalizing these attacks. Improve cooperation among international law enforcement groups. (WE INITIATED REDUCED NUCLEAR WEAPONS WITH RUSSIA (with whom 95% of nuclear possessed). Negotiate to stop Iran, North Korea, other countries having or seeking nuclear weapons by using positive disincentives and deterrence strategies. Containment, deterrence and negotiation to end nuclear weapons generally will protect us against attack here. None of the nuclear powers will choose to spend their taxpayers’ money to prepare attack on the central economy of the world nor to cause the inevitable counterattack if they strike.
Join with Iran, agreeing, as before entering Iraq, to control its competitor countries. The U.S. leaving Iraq will remove ONE of the nuclear powers which crowd Iran in the Middle East. Concerted negotiation with Russia will remove the weapons of another by successfully continuing the Reagan-Gorbachev agreement to reduce nuclear stockpiles. We will focus on ACTUAL nuclear weapons, not on pretending Iraq, nor Iran, has them.
Continue concerted, negotiation to succeed in eliminating the nuclear weapons of other countries (preventing war AFTER countries have the bomb is too risky for any participant): First, spending on education, including tech and scientific better benefits; second, spending toward innovation and new small business in the real economy, sells better; third, eliminate all nearby threats to ease the decision. To achieve this goal, it will be necessary to bring pairs of countries on board simultaneously since neither of the pair would permit the other to be the only effective nuclear power in the area (Britain and France, India and Pakistan). Carefully coordinate and time termination of the nuclear option for each ‘paired’ enemy.
Drop our nuclear arms to ease the perception of America as a threatening empire. Europeans have abandoned their empires. Empire doesn’t deter terrorism nor limit the ‘rise of the rest’. Military has not has not created democracy, merely restored democracy where it previously existed. We should avoid the threat of empire since it has nurtured the religious and nationalist development of Al Qaeda in 40 Muslim and other countries around the world.
Regarding the threat of terrorism, Democrats have passed the 9/11 commission recommendations. Responding to warnings, alone, with strong defense, should control the threat. The recommendations passed after Republican Governor Tom Kean, chair of the bipartisan 9/11Commission, said that the World Trade Center attacks could have been prevented. This was proven since the Clinton administration did break up an Al Qaeda plot to launch a 9/11-style attack on December 31, 1999. President Clinton had previously launched 60 cruise missiles in a furious attack which narrowly missed bin Laden. Clinton also acted before 9/11 attempting to prevent an attack. On July 10, 2001, two months before, the head of the CIA warned Secretary of State Rice that Al Qaeda’s bin Laden threatened to attack somewhere. Ms. Rice and State did not respond as President Clinton did when he ordered the CIA to terminate bin Laden.
Prepare for the threats of tomorrow, restoring Richard Clarke, the best anti-terrorist expert in the country, to his role.
Strong offense means acting as an off-shore balancing force not a spendthrift warrior. Stop massive research on missiles and large troop movements, offering end of anti-missile defense or JOINING WITH RUSSIA TO DEFEND AGAINST THE 5% OF OTHERS HAVING NUCLEAR. It is the wrong, costly, answer for the American taxpayers AND DOESN’T TOUCH TERRORISM. END NO BID CONTRACTS, WHICH CAUSED OVERCHARGES TO THE TAXPAYER ON IRAQ SUPPLIES WHEN IT FUNDED BUSH’S NO-BID CONTRACTORS. China and Iran don’t want war with the central economy and military power.
No large power now opposes us, so missiles and missile defense constitute expenditures with no gain except jobs which do not build the real economy. Strong defense and preparation for any challenge by development of plans and organized resources will permit us to expand quickly if needed, but we should not spend taxpayers’ money on weapons obsolete for real, current, threats and terrorism. Stop the eternal preparation for the last war. We should take offensive steps against China only if it puts offense spending first in the Chinese budget, attempts to catch up in nuclear weapons or forward deploys Chinese troops. Action would not be necessary until then. All six great powers should not overdo offensive steps since Reagan proved that preparation for war, by itself, is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and there is a danger Americans can inadvertently create the exact future for which it prepares. Each side’s military preparations (including China’s buildup of sufficient defense to support its need for oil) can be interpreted by the other side as confirmation of its worst fears.
In the third terrorism index more than 100 of America’s most respected foreign-policy experts see a world that is growing more dangerous and a national security strategy in disrepair. Use consensual leadership, with Europe and eventually with Eurasia, to increase the western system’s supremacy in world affairs and add legitimacy. Gain the maximum security for Americans by thoroughly understanding the needs and goals of others and terrorists, of whatever religion, and by establishing an enduring and enlarging alliance of like-minded democracies and others, in a comprehensive campaign against the conditions that make others destructive. Domination, by itself, is a dead end street, and expensive to the taxpayer. A garrison state mentality can poison any democracy. Zbigniew Brzezinski, supra, p. 213-229 Democracy of each included country is not necessary. Globalization can help but if it is managed to provide more equal wealth and health of humans everywhere rather than enrichment of only the current world trade leaders.
We must do the necessary research and development, professional training and organizational planning to be ready for new threat, not launch of missiles and anti-submarine weapons. We should stop preparing for WORLD WAR III. To preserve our taxpayers’ priorities and assets we should re-adopt President Kennedy’s military budgeting ceilings, which were then enforced. The central economy of the world doesn’t have to spend taxes to increase the defense budget in nine of the last past ten years, at an average increase of more than 6%. We shall follow President Truman’s plan to use containment, promote economic development abroad and remain humble in the process to avoid stirring unnecessary enmity.”
NATO must continue as a credible military alliance, but after the U.S. response to 9/11, it needs repair. We should return to the words of President Kennedy, who said “imagine a president who not only prevented war but won the peace”. Anti-missile emplacement in Eastern Europe constitutes an implicit invasion of Russia and Iran so we should join Russia in its use or trade it away..
We will be prepared for the threats of tomorrow, just as President Clinton was in 1999 and was continuing against the expected attack which came on 9/11.  We shall not exaggerate potential threats to the American people. We shall defend against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups (which does not require and cannot benefit from preparations for World War II), improve our intelligence and pay attention to warnings of attack which the Bush administration ignored. We shall never again waste our military risk our soldiers’ deaths as in Iraq. In the future, we’ll try terrorists as criminals.
We shall persuade all that, as the FBI has always said, torture does not produce good information. The best intelligence we’ve gotten is by understanding others languages and methods.
Never again risk imprisoning ‘reported’ terrorists by offering $25,000 of our taxpayers’ money to for names. Many guiltless Guantanamo inmates were captured just to get the money for turning them in.
At home, we’ll protect hunting rights and the freedom to protect ourselves and our families with guns.
We shall practice smart defense, in contrast to the following past practice. President Bush’s actions immediately after 9/11 established that he was not, as he later alleged, fighting Al Qaeda. He refused the offer of the government of Afghanistan to arrest bin Laden and put him on trial. Instead President Bush attacked Iraq, killing more than 10,000 innocent civilians, leaving bin Laden untouched and lost the then alliance with Iran. The CIA’s Gary Berntsen revealed that U.S. commanders knew from intelligence, which had tracked him, that bin Laden was holed up at Tora Bora. He could have been caught.  SMART defense means catching Osama. Clinton tried. Bush invaded Iraq instead. At the beginning Kerry said: “It was wrong to outsource the job of capturing bin Laden and his lieutenants to Afghan warlords. A week earlier those Afghan warlords were fighting against us. Instead we could have found and ended them. Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq, ‘started it’. Bin Laden did. But then President Bush attacked a different coungry, Iraq, where there were then no Al Qaeda. Due to the U.S. offensive action perceived to be against Muslims, terrorist groups have INCREASED since the attack on Iraq according to sixteen intelligence agencies. And it has cost the American taxpayer a trillion dollars which could have been used to fund Social Security and education in technology which will bring the U.S. back to economic world leadership.
Generally, the six pivotal powers must become architects of the world order. By strategic collaboration we may seek out the incentives to stop apparent lethal threats. Be respectful, positive and build stable bilateral relationships, a hub-and-spokes set, with these six powers rather than going to war or fearing bad trade-offs. For them to join us in combating terrorism we want them to be prosperous and stable. The American public, decade after decade, has been a dedicated multi-lateralist. In the strategic collaboration, America should cover its bets by hedging against certain FUTURES, but not against countries. Now, while no unbridgeable differences prevent relationships with these six powers, America can forge a new peace and prosperity by drawing them near. We should have a highly capable, technologically sophisticated military, which is the most effective hedge against power problems with the six.
Aviation security protects us so we shall reject the leadership of the Congressional Republicans who killed many of Al Gore’s expert proposals to protect aviation security.
WE SHALL NOT CONTINUE TO USE 9/11 AS AN EXCUSE TO EXPAND EXECUTIVE POWERS AND SPEND MILLIONS TO HIRE HOMELAND SECURITY PERSONNEL.
We shall change our source of energy for us and our military so our security is not threatened by our need for Arab oil. To accomplish this, President Obama requested $6.4b for alternative energy. Dev eloping alternative energy sources will avoid the oil “crunch” predicted by the IEA (International Energy Agency) for 2010 (due to slow production among non-OPEC countries). Fuel dependent defense also requires developing alternative fuels. We will then avoid our THIRD energy crunch (after the1970s, under Carter, in 2000, and under this President Bush).
See also Defense, Crime, Spending on Iraq, Iraq, Deficit, Homeland Security
HONESTY AND OPENNESS:
Clean the election process, following the lead of Common Cause in 2008. And, in a new step for clean and open government, continue the House Democrats provision of disclosure of 6500 formerly secret earmarks for spending your taxes. We shall now spend less in earmarks. SET UP TELL ALL on spending projects.
Call Social Security and Medicare earned benefits, ending the description ‘entitlements’ which sounds like welfare
Check and guide the set-up of the HONEST LEADERSHIP AND OPEN GOVERNMENT ACT
Ban the legislation that exempted Congress and staff from doing insider trading (using government, public, information to trade for profit
End Revolving-Door Abuses by extending ‘cooling off’ periods before a public official may take a private job
Pass grassroots disclosure legislation so the public will know who is really paying for the ‘astroturf’ campaigns to stop health care reform and climate change legislation. (tea-parties)
Congress should create an independent, professionally staffed ethics commission for elective and appointive positions, instantly permitting confidential disclosure to it of ongoing corruption and cronyism. Continue the practice of limiting gifts, travel and meals from powerful special interests, requiring disclosure of gifts from lobbyists and limiting how quickly a legislator may return as a lobbyist.
Change campaign finance. We shall avoid ‘government by organized money’ (FDR). Right now, instead of building a future, this country is bleeding billions of dollars in tax loopholes and subsidies that go to rich and powerful corporations. Public financing of campaigns (voter owned elections), will substitute the voters as the source of campaigns and take the place of the private corporations which now rule ‘democracy’ by providing 66% of campaign finance. Eliminate “paid for” demands to legislators by eliminating the businesses’ and lobbyists’ roles in electing them. State by state we should follow Maine, Arizona, Connecticut, North Carolina, and others to pass full public funding options for state and federal races. Those laws have reduced campaign spending. Now, for fairness, since union members’ money is not allowed to be used for a political purpose without permission of the union member, pass law that corporate money cannot be used without the permission of the shareholders. All these may require amendment of the Constitution since the Supreme Court’s mistaken decisions that corporations ‘free speech’ rights include unlimited corporate funding of political campaigns.
Prevent a state’s chief election officer from again simultaneously heading a partisan campaign. That official called the election for her side, without counting 18,000 votes, in Florida in 2000.
Make election days national holidays to stop the long lines. Stop any more arrest threats to voters and stop the deliberate clogging of electoral advice lines done in Florida at the last election.
Defend the independence of religion, but end President Reagan’s violation of separation of church and state. Permit referrals to the above ethics commission to stop outright lies that a candidate voted for legislation when he was not yet in the House of Representatives.
In contrast to opposition claims, the five years since President Obama came into office have shown great results:
January 2009 April, 2014
The Dow Jones up, from 7,949 to 16,459
Unemployment Compensation, down from 7.8% to 6.7%
GDP Growth, up from -5.4% to 4.1%
Deficit (% of GDP), down from 9.8% to 3.3%
Consumer Confidence, up from 37.7% to 78.1%
We aren’t broke, but we’ve been robbed. Due to owners’ refusal to give earned wage increases that reflect worker-increased profits, 70% of the Americans were not advancing economically. The previous, business, policy of ‘low prices first’ reduces jobs and our middle class. These rock-bottom prices come at a significant human cost, even if low prices also benefit… the costs ware low, stagnant, wages, less and limited health coverage, and low safety standards.Owners’ refusal makes it time create the future economy those owners failed create by taking America back from the tax cut profiteers, war-makers and those owners. Instead, management used those ‘stolen’ raises to lobby for its own unimaginable tax loopholes and benefits.
The United States lost roughly half of its manufacturing jobs between 1980 and 2010 that used to be the backbone of middle-class America. As unions disappeared, so did the middle class' share of income earned. Data from the US Census Bureau suggests that from the late 1960s to the late 2000s, there was a nearly one-to-one correlation between the decline in the percent of unionized Americans, and the decline in the share of all income that goes to the American middle class. These were high-paying jobs with strong benefits that used to constitute the backbone of middle-class America. In the 1952 to 2000, mainly Republican, years, there was only an increased GDP of 11.5% for workers’ wages but up to 22% increase of GDP or wealth for finance, insurance, and real estate.
President Bush43 tax cuts gutted Americans' incomes $6.6 trillion.
The opposition theory has been that TARP would energize capital investment in more business to produce more jobs. But corporate spending around the world has been disappointing.
America’s economy gained jobs faster than in the 90s in the second quarter, 2014, after shrinking, at 2.9%, in the first quarter weather.
President Obama has started SelectUSA -- an initiative to encourage U.S. businesses to bring jobs back home, and to urge foreign companies to invest in America. Fast forward to 2014, and we have more than $18 billion of investments across 17 different states, resulting in new jobs for American workers, and growth for our nation's economy. We’re continuing early next year, where more than 2,000 business executives, mayors, and governors will meet to encourage even further investment in the U.S.
President Obama was correct to insist upon an extension of unemployment insurance and another year of the payroll tax holiday so we could keep up necessary middle-class purchasing power to rebuild our ‘deregulated’ economy.
The unemployment rate was reduced to 6.3% by May 2, 2014, with output growing simultaneously in the three big regions, increasing by 4.3 million jobs in the past two years with expectation of another 2 million or so in 2014. Two million Jobs have been created by 2011 by the Recovery Act: President Clinton added 20,000 jobs while President Bush added zero net jobs. If jobs continue to increase as they have for the first ten months of his presidency Obama is rapidly reducing the number of unemployed. American industry will probably continue greater production of valuable and sophisticated goods, relying on a shrinking share of the total work force. Tens of millions of Americans had to take jobs with lower pay and fewer hours. 47.6 million with less or no money qualified for food stamps for the low income. Their fee-producing housing bubble was the central cause of the recession and will probably never again contribute as much as it did during the boom years. Prices have rebounded and foreclosures have dwindled but almost 20% with mortgages owe more than their homes are worth. Nevada and Florida are still far from their previous highs.
45 straight months of job growth HAVE OCCURRED UNDER Preasident Obama. Reagonomics killed America’s middle class (Thom Hartman). These are inequalities that will be transferred across generations. Increased jobs were not the result of President Reagan’s revolution for the 1%. Democrats’ presidential terms created more jobs: 26.9 million in 14 years (Clinton: 22.9 million [8 years]; Obama: 4.0 million [6 years, 2 months]), compared to 20 million in 20 years (Reagan: 16.1 million [8 years]; Bush 41: 2.6 million [4 years]; Bush 43: 1.3 million [8 years]).
Fracking has produced a few jobs. Energy intensive industries like chemicals and plastics have helped revive production. But less polluting alternative energy sources like wind and solar have also produced job gains. Thriving technology, like cloud computing and big data are attracting business school graduates.Despite those gains in alternative energy, some oil and gas interests (Koch, et al) are working against renewable energy, for their own self-interest
In contrast TARP (the Troubled asset relief program), started by President Bush43, “polled worse than torture”, but that president claimed it was “the only way”, making losing ‘shareholders’ out of the taxpayers after lenders’ losses. Once that bailout started, continued recovery without a hitch required continuing the worse plan until financial regulation, also refused by theCongress, could be started again. President Bush 43’s job loss of 14 million will cause two more unavoidable years to fix. Only now is the fix is in place which will generate the new, strong, foundation of a real, not their pretend economy of massive debt. He borrowed, spent, grew a bubble economy and left you with huge debt.That’s what they’ve done to us since the 1970s, NOW, we must join to return to our old, successful, foundation for good jobs. We’ll stop them from taking the risks off business which take big risks and expecting us taxpayers to cover for them when they fail.. It’s going to make us feel poor when they made us think we were rich by reckless borrowing, but we’ll put it together. And we’ll make greater efficiency in work we do pay us instead of just raising corporate profits. Don’t let the talking heads tell you it’s not the fault of the CEOs who made reckless bets, with OUR economy. If we keep the right people in office we can provide a better economy like the north European countries have successfully done WHILE TAKING CARE OF THEIR CITIZENS. We’ll develop a government that keeps our jobs secure and sets up increased wages instead of increased paper profits which disappear and cost us jobs.
Notice that these business losses are nothing compared to President Reagan’s and Bush41’s losses in the 1980s. Failures occurred in 534 savings and loans companies in 1989 during that crisis. Small banks were not the only ones which got in trouble. Continental Illinois, then the seventh largest, was saved because it, THEN, was ‘too big to fail’. Our economy grew 5.7 percent in the previous, fourth quarter -- the biggest gain in six years. Many economists say that is largely due to the Recovery Act. Forecasts for American growth are being revised up next year, from 2.5% to 3.2% but we know that bad weather and the opposition’s refusal to provide sufficient money for jobs building infrastructure will decrease that rate.
We shall continue those job building ways:
1) building 3000 miles of national transmission lines to transmit the wind energy to the coasts and produce energy independence with federally supported R&D;
2) building a unified national smart grid for transport and a new clean energy infrastructure;
3) building thermals and building retrofits for building schools;
4) growing cellulosic ethanol all along the lines proposed by the Wall Street Journal’s former Detroit bureau chief; (Friedman 11/12/08)
5) using US contracts to increase wages;
6) causing banks to lend; good bankers would make money extending credit that furthers commerce rather than giving incentives to get trading profits.
INEQUALITY OF INCOME AND WEALTH:
Almost limitless political donations coupled with America’s dramatically widening inequality create a vicious cycle in which the wealthy buy votes that lower their taxes, give them bailouts and subsidies, and deregulate their businesses – thereby making them even wealthier and capable of buying even more votes. Corruption breeds more corruption. Nearly five years after the Great Recession officially ended, median income is up, but it's still not up to where it was at its peak in January 2008, just after the recession began.
The higher incomes at the top are not the result of greater contributions to society. Instead they went to the lenders who led the global economy, as well as their own firms, to the brink of ruin, received outsize bonuses arising from the increased productivity not of them but of their workers. The new skills necessary lie in the problem-solving, intuition, persuasion and creativity characteristic of professional, managerial, technical and creative occupations like law, medicine, science, engineering, advertising and design. These require different education than most of our students are now receiving.
The American Economic Association president’s address warned of “an undemocratic distribution of wealth.”
A closer look at those at the top reveals a disproportionate role profiting from others gains (rent-seeking): some have obtained their wealth by exercising monopoly power.The evidence is that America grew far faster in the decades after World War II, when it was growing together, than it has since 1980, when it began growing apart. It’s no surprise because America, with its quasi-corrupt system of campaign finance and its revolving doors between government and industry, shapes its policies for ‘the money’, not for the common good. For example, a bankruptcy law that privileges derivatives over all else, but does not allow the discharge of student debt, no matter how inadequate the education provided. It enriches lenders and makes many at the bottom poorer. In a country where money (campaign contributions by corporations) trumps democracy, such legislation has become predictably frequent.
Despite claims, the inequality of income IS NOT DUE TO differences in intelligence and hard work. Research by the Economic Mobility Project suggests that the U.S. provides less intergenerational advance than most other industrialized nations. (Michael Spence says we’ve seen “an evolution from one propertied man, one vote; to one man, one vote, trending to one dollar, one vote.” See the Philippines example in Foreign Policy).
The problem has spread to commercial businesses. Domino's Pizza owners have admitted to widespread wage theft. Womens’ earnings are affected. Aside from pay alone women are discriminated against in placement and by pay for their helping, favorite positions (teaching, nursing). They receive $25.35/hr vs. $33.71/hr received by men; the Congress is unreceptive. Republicans defeated equal wages, for the same job, for women again, just as in 2010 and 2011.
The dire state of income and wealth inequality has to do with more than simply earnings; it is also related to hidden taxes and costs that exist all around us. The Bush43 tax cuts account for much of the growth in inequality, as they were mostly sent to the wealthiest Americans. Research from the Economic Policy Institute suggests that by 2010, 38 percent of the Bush tax cuts were going to the richest one percent of Americans, while 55 percent were directed toward the richest 10 percent. This amounted to a massive subsidy for the wealthy (the 10 percent who make more than $170,000 a year), and the result is that the the tax burden goes to the middle class who didn’t get these large cuts. Americans are working longer and longer hours in the era of growing inequality. Bureau of Labor Statistics data suggests that the number of hours worked by married couples increased by about 20 percent from the early 1970s through the 2000s, despite the finding that the median family income didn’t rise, and despite a significant increase in labor productivity and corporate profits. The poor with early access to food stamps were healthier and better able to work in later life. They were undernourished. So much for the theory that the middle class is ‘lazy’. These trends suggest that Americans' are in a much worse situation today because of growing health care, food and education costs, increased inequality, stagnating wages and increased work hours.
The proper response to unequal income and wealth is consideration of the following bills: HR 377 - Paycheck Fairness Act; HR 1000 - Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment and Training Act; HR 1579 – Inclusive Prosperity Act of 2013 (Robin Hood Tax); HR 2821 - American Jobs Act of 2013; HR 3118 - Strengthen Social Security Act of 2013; S 567 - Strengthen Social Security Act of 2013; H Con Res 34 - Chained CPI should NOT be used to calculate cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security or veterans benefits; S Con Res 15 – for the same bill. The bill offered by Senator Murray would target tax cuts for working families to reduce inequality of income,
There was a large tax shift. Tax law changes under Presidents Reagan through President Bush43 led to preferential taxation of those who earn income from capital, rather than work. Dergulation and inadequate enforcement of regulations let lenders run unfair loans while the victim borrower was left lying at the scene of the crime.
President Bush43’s tax cuts, promised by the Republican Party to bring prosperity, actually robbed each American taxpayer of $48,000 in pre-tax personal income during the 12 years of their existence for a total of approximately $6.6 trillion. The average real hourly wage is now 6% smaller than in 1972 and 1973. President Bush43’s tax cuts account for much of the growth in inequality, as they were disproportionately directed at the wealthiest Americans. Research from the Economic Policy Institute suggests that by 2010, 38 percent of the Bush tax cuts were going to the richest one percent of Americans, while 55 percent were directed toward the richest 10 percent. This amounted to a massive subsidy for the wealthy (the 10 percent who make more than $170,000 a year), and to a disproportionate shouldering of the tax burden (compared to previous tax rates) for those who were not so lucky to get these large cuts.
The 1952 to 2000, mainly Republican, years, showed 11.5% of GDP up to 22% of wealth for finance, insurance, and real estate. Wealth traveled UP, it does not ‘trickle down’. Current inequality is largely a result of those government policies.
Increasing cost of food also plays a role. There was double-digit growth in the cost of corn in the United States in 2012, amid the worst drought in more than a half-century.
Other mounting costs include the escalating cost of higher education necessary to escape inequality and health care. As The New York Times reported in October 2012, "In the last school year, tuition, fees, room and board averaged $38,589 at private colleges, up almost $15,000 from a decade earlier, according to the College Board. At public four-year colleges, the total bill came to $17,131, up more than $8,000." Estimates of the cost of education vary by a wide margin, but all available figures suggest the cost has increased dramatically. Lower estimates suggest the cost of tuition at a four-year college or university, after controlling for inflation, increased by nearly 150 percent during the period from 1980 to 2011, while other estimates suggest a growth of tuition costs by more than 100 percent from 2000 to 2011 alone.
The increased cost of health care from 1980 to 2008 cut from necessary spending for the family. The campaign against workers by government at the time of President Reagan gave us thirty years of no wage increases and greater poverty by families who were working harder. That resulted in wildly unequal income and wealth. Each of the above increases or deficiencies increases brings inequality of income and wealth, an increasingly large, new, problem which requires changes to restore economic democracy. First, contrary to American public belief, the aggregate effect of anti-poverty programs is very small. America does less to help the poor than any other major advanced nation, our poor work much more than in other nations and have less chance to move up than the poor in other nations. Ours have poorer nutrition, less adequate medical care and lack of access to good education they could use to move up. Second, anti-poverty programs don’t bring laziness. Therefore claims that poverty arises from government assistance is not true. It’s proven untrue in other countries in Europe and it’s not true here. The dramatic fall of equality and middle class income from 1914 to the 1970s is worse than in the rest of history. Income inequality continues from flat pay increases since 1980 but inequality of wealth arises from increases in inheritance.
With the dramatic decline in the economic fortunes of most Americans, one would think that awareness of the growing class divide, inequality and corporate power is not occurring. Whereas a December 2012 Pew Research Center poll found that 76 percent of Americans felt that "it's really true that the rich get richer while the poor get poorer," and, a similar Pew survey from January 2012 revealed that 77 percent agreed "there is too much power in the hands of a few rich people and large corporations in the United States, " they don’t understand the fundamental divide that exists within the American economic class system and, while concerned, aren't aware of just how extreme the American wealth divide has become.
There is less equality of opportunity in the United States today than there is in Europe – or, indeed, in any advanced industrial country for which there are data. The gap with the rest has been widening. Other inequality indicators – like wealth, health, and life expectancy – are as bad or even worse. The middle class has suffered job losses due to technological changes which also increase productivity. Those jobs must be regained in health care, information services, finance, information, technology, consumer electronics, information technology, consumer electronics, hospitality, leisure and entertainment. Those jobs require training.
THEIR RESPONSE TO THEIR GREAT RECESSION
First, apparently unavoidable to provide hope that lenders would provide start-up money for recovery, after their Great Recession, the Federal Reserve, lent money to the lenders at a near-zero interest rate. The lenders then lent it back to the government at only a 2 or 3 percent cost.
Second, a mistake: Senate Republicans have left 27.8 million Americans living at less than poverty levels by denying the increase in the minimum wage provisions in June 2014.
Third, continuation of President Reagan’s 1980 mistake of conducting a war on workers’ rights. University of Oregon political scientist Gordon Lafer’s report in October, 2013 for the Economic Policy Institute, found in dozens of bills affecting workers that not only favored employers over workers, it also tilted toward big government, now controlled by dollarocracy, over local government and often abridged the economic rights of individuals. Regarding tipped workers and the minimum wage, they allowed restaurants to pool their tips. The result is that workers get subminimum wage because minimum wage will be lowered if workers got tips. Maine legislators passed a bill declaring that service charges were not tips at all so employers may pocket them, whether or not they redistribute them among the staff. Those legislatures are also allowing wage theft and are not paying overtime; according to one multi-city study in a single week, nearly two-thirds of low-wage workers had, on average, 15% of their pay stolen by ther employers.
Fourth, Representative Paul Ryan’s budget proposal is to slash benefits to the poor to give tax breaks to the rich was a mistaken proposal. The people actually receiving the benefits he would cut are going on low-income welfare and being taken out of the workforce. More than 60 percent of them are people we don't expect to be in the workforce i.e. 9% of recipients were age 60 or older, and nearly 10 % were under 60 but disabled and 45% of food stamp benefits went to children under18 (about 20 million youngsters), according to the analysis of food stamp usage for the fiscal year that ended in September 2012.
PRESIDENT OBAMA’S LATER RESPONSE:
First, President Obama said invest in stocks, which can build business, not on consumer goods which President Bush43 recommended. President Obama has given us 45 straight months of job growth. The President’s suggestion is SAVING and creating money for investments in productivity that will pay us higher wages.
Now, some good news in many industries, blue-collar wages are moving up 2.3%, up from 1.5% (although the corresponding Swiss and German wages are higher).
California and District of Columbia have approved minimum wage increases July 1, 2014. Mayors are talking against inequality and inventing new methods of responding. Seattle has approved a minimum wage of $15 per hour, beneficially adjusted for inflation in June 2014. Inflation has not been a problem since TARP, although loudly predicted by the opposition, but that ‘indexing’ would fix needed raises, previously not provided for thirty years. Hawaii also enacted a higher minimum.
In contrast to the mistakes on bailing out lenders at low interest costs and reducing taxes to the well-off, President Obama’s top range tax rate is 39.6%, in place of 35%.
The best response would be to create a growing economy. Professor Joseph Stiglitz believes that taxes should give incentive to business to act in ways that benefit our country, not just spend less to cut expenses. Investment in infrastructure jobs was required. We should use those more progressive taxes to build infrastructure so we may return to the living standards our middle class used to have and, regarding the tax cuts for the well-off, Americans should be given tax fairness and the end of the rigged tax system. When possible, the best solution to reform this anti-democratic, anti-populist, wealth could use a global progressive tax on capital (an annual levy that could start at 0.1% and progressively rise on the greater earnings), a property tax and income tax. Figure out what to do together…sharing
Americans reject the old arguments: 1) deficits are not caused by foreign aid (which is, in fact, only 1% of the federal budget compared to nearly 50% on providing half the world’s spending for defense in 2008.
2) not caused by welfare spending (which is declining, except for corporate welfare); and
3) not caused by inefficiency of government (government is now reduced in size by President Obama from its expansion by Presidents Reagan and Bush43).
Using his authority where he can, to save federal employees, President Obama has started by signing executive orders on federal jobs 1) barring federal contractors from punishing employees who discuss their pay; and 2) seeking statistics on those contractor salaries, which are sometimes too high.
Even if too gradually, life is getting better now. Too gradually, because this was a different, asset loss Great Recession, jobs are now becoming available. Families costs have been reduced by reduced health insurance costs under the Affordable Care Act since there's now real competition keeping insurance premiums down in health insurance. Now, for misleading business practices, the Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has pulled in more than $50 million in refunds from American Express, up to $34 million in refunds from GE Capital Credit Bank and $2 billion in refunds from Ocwen Financial.
After the director’s confirmation (denied by the opposition for two years), CFPB now plans to end forced, one-sided settlements (arbitration, as currently arranged), to prevent court ordered consumer fraud recoveries. The CFPB also will correct unfair burdens on students, allowing justified reduced-payment options, ending continued collection of paid debt and ending debt collectors’ unfair decisions on consumer disputes as a result of sloppy records. Also, on credit, we required industry standards be applied on fee disclosures and required consumer protections on pre-paid cards.
Progress in the second quarter of 2014 gives us a 4% rate of growth, the Wall Street Journal reports, delayed by Congress’ previous denied of much of President Obama’s proposed stimulus. The president’s growth (not auisterity) proposal leaves a jobs gap of 62 million. Our overriding goals must be jobs, quest for high job growth, better quality jobs, more inclusive job growth and sustainable job growth. Increased income for middle-class families to what they used to have will spur our recovery further.
We’ll assist with mortgage relief (as done by FDR) since the previous administrations have also failed on that front. That Great Recession caused by no raises and failure of mortgage relief reshaped our economy: it caused a TWO YEAR, STEEP, industrial drop that began in 2008, continued the thirty year ‘no raises’ policy of business, shrunk our middle class (the foundation of America) and burst a housing bubble created by liars’ loans to people they knew couldn’t (in their ‘no raises’ economy) pay. Forget austerity to protect capital. Since the French re-built their economy, their adults in their prime working years are substantially more likely to have jobs than Americans. End the bigotry toward tax cuts, business hoarding of money and tax loopholes. Unemployment is hugely expensive, and it’s paid by the taxpayer!
Under President Obama, regulation has been restored to protect Americans as much as was allowed by a resistant Congress.
Regarding taxes, get Wall Street to pay just as much as small businesses pay. Use increased revenues to build our infrastructure (which helps business, too). Wall Street doesn’t increase jobs, they only protect capital. Protecting capital only protects the well-off, not the economy.
Reinstate estate taxes which just keep profiteers money in THEIR families. One remedial step would include finding necessary investment funding by ending large, inherited, wealth that was not earned by the current holders. . We may add other methods, like inheritance taxes, broadening the ownership of capital and “baby bonds” or government top-ups of private savings accounts.  Slow the reckless gambling by finance with others money by passing a financial transactions tax to discourage them from “churning” for more fees on bad investments. End corporate subsidies except to favor a more progressive American economy. PASS IT AROUND! Only cutting government and taxes gives it ALL to the monopolists.
We’re not against the rich, just asking for the well-off to SHARE in the cost of government that makes their wealth possible; reject the Leona Helmsley statement that “TAXES ARE FOR LITTLE PEOPLE”
Austerity may be one answer for families in a pinch, but reversing their Great Recession calls for productive investments by government as they do in more successful, fair (and regulated), economies…especially since businesses, disregarding their own failures in business, are not investing what the bailout returned to them. Fiscal austerity will not reconstruct anything destroyed by deregulation and the housing bubble which left large family debt on families which otherwise would be spending us into recovery.
Despite some restoration of jobs lost to no raises and deregulation, problems remain due to: 1) Congressional Republicans’ refusal of jobs required to improve roads, bridges, rails and airports. Business’ no-raises policy. Their deregulation which caused their Great Recession means 1.3 million long-term unemployed and 72,000 more each week; 2) their rejection of unemployment benefits in 2014, saying no way to pay for them (meaning only that THEY won’t pay for them by the proven, Keynesian growth of our economy to the size it was before their Great Recession); 3) refusal of business to pass productivity increases’ savings on to the workers whose work created those increases…no raise in workers’ pay for thirty years while workers were increasing productivity (our average hourly wage is $20.35, but our lowest paid are receiving the $7.25 minimum wage when $17/hour would be their wage if their productivity increases went to wages); 4) inequality of income: since the 1980 changes by President Reagan Americans agree that poverty is not the fault of the poor themselves. Since President Obama, government benefits have provided a significant, if insufficient, reduction in poverty; there IS a much larger decline in EXTREME poverty since President Obama, BUT LARGE REDUCTIONS IN LONG-TERM benefits remain, both to their recipients and to our economy as a whole; 5) Senate Republicans have repeatedly said no by filibuster to extension of necessary unemployment compensation benefits caused by their deregulation policies from 1980 to 1992. Democrats gave them every concession they demanded they wouldn’t budge even as President Obama has cut the federal deficit they caused by their Great Recession.
The whole world has been affected. Stagnation is present in several big European countries. Supply side reforms, free trade deals, and a more balanced growth strategy remains weaker than it could be because America’s housing rebound from overbuilding has stalled.
We may find the money for this investment by rejecting large military budgets the military does not want when we are not fighting wars.
Small businesses are and should be the American dream, but it’s not clear that there’s anything special about small businesses for job creation. America requires more investment in future opportunities.
In contrast, the happiest people on earth have developed the model economies.
President Obama signed the $831 billion economic stimulus bill to which the Congress finally consented. Congress refused, and continue to refuse, to pass the larger stimulus which was, and is, needed. Nevertheless, they go to the ‘ribbon-cuttings’ for what the OTHERS voted in. They think they can leave the blame on the next guy for the crash they set up.
Kenneth Rogoff, Harvard, thinks it unlikely that an alternative path would have delivered a much better outcome at the time. He said stimulus was ‘the only move’ available to avoid immediate, even larger, failure to lend toward the recovery. Given the heavy debt burden on American families, he says the pattern of low and volatile growth and the growing deficit “would have happened under anyone.” The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the stimulus passed and signed would have contributed at least 1.6 million jobs and perhaps as many as 8.4 million by 2013. The result was better: This president has produced 45 straight months of job growth and the June, 2014, jobs report was particularly strong. But the American economy is at least seven million jobs below its potential. That has cost Americans hundreds of billions of dollars on lost output. The most recent downturn was one of the worst since WWII, a steep two-year drop that began in 2008, leaving fewer factories with many fewer workers. That efficiency and high productivity caused the loss of so many factory positions is an important reason for the lost middle-wage jobs. Manufacturing has recaptured a bit of momemtum recently, with lower energy prices. So we went in the correct direction, but not far enough.
A major cause of the Great Recession was that growth in the last quarter of President Bush43 was minus 5.4%, while mandatory expenditures rose. President Bush43 initiated the wrong stimulus, but candidate Romney said cutting doesn’t work unless you also create a growing economy. President Bush43 and the Congress didn’t. At the same time our economic competition, China, Germany and Britain all used stimulus. President Bush43 and the Congress proposed austerity, which has left left us that 7 to 62 million jobs short of recovery. The example of Britain shows austerity (to preserve capital, not workers) did not work. When Britain switched to austerity and budget cuts their economy weakened.
Instead of destroying the value of assets (in the Great Recession) and exporting jobs we must also, now, restore saving in America. The emerging markets show more success at saving. The workers in emerging economies occurred because they received the raises American workers also earned but didn’t receive. Emerging market workers hardly suffered during the 2008 recession.
Growth has also occurred in Japan and Europe, after 1980 to 1992 losses.
Public policy should focus on raising employees’ standard of living instead of giving breaks to the well-off and increasing their ‘take home’.
On that better policy, for the worker, President Obama is proposing better pay for extra work and expansion of a longtime tax break to better benefit childless people who hold jobs yet remain poor.
On tax relief: investment in equipment and software rebounded at an 18.4% annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2009. Companies will start deploying their record cash piles on stock buybacks, dividends, and capital expenditures once they’re convinced that recovery is real. The Recovery Act provided over $100 billion in tax relief for American businesses and families. It cut taxes for 95% of working families to give them a leg up as they fight to get by. It gave $8 million to help hire workers, and it helped out state and local governments -- including local police departments like the one in Englewood, Colorado, which was able to hire officers like Eddie B. Health care reform will add jobs and decrease family costs.
On aid to small businesses: this past year, the Recovery Act supplied over 42,000 small business loans that provided nearly $20 billion in much-needed capital. We funded tens of thousands of projects nationwide this year that are not only creating jobs right now, but also laying a long-term foundation for economic growth, including investments in high-speed rail, health technology, broadband, a smarter electrical grid, clean cars and batteries, and renewable energy. Job building will also reduce growth of gangs and the resulting dangers.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), an addition, allows boosting households and reducing spending by reducing health insurance costs. Consumer spending rose a better-than-expected 0.4% and personal incomes climbed 0.3% in January, according to the Commerce Department. The new health-care law accounted for a big chunk of the increase in both family savings and in health care job development. On the incomes side, the law’s expanded coverage boosted Medicaid benefits by an estimated $19.2 billion. The ACA also offered several refundable tax credits, including health insurance premium subsidies, which added up to $14.7 billion. That reduces the insurance premiums of each taxpayer (which insurance companies recover by selling more policies set up the the ACA, but that is not socialism. It moves later replaced money from insurance companies (not the taxpayer) and increases the number of insured but does not increase government and is not a ‘government takeover’.
We have a free enterprise country. We insist on the American way, which is ensuring Americans that work is available, but also providing jobs. Let's respond by aiding for an economy that responds to our current crises of inequality and climate change.
Business by business we shall increase the speed with which we incorporate game-changing products and procedure into our economy. Unlike the thirty years from 1980 to 2008, however, these productivity gains should increase worker wages.
Americans demand regulation, not deregulation. For the minimal protection of humans, we must restore control over destructive practices which threaten our, and the world’s, economy. Senator Elizabeth Warren has introduced the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act. Sen. John McCain co-sponsored it. Tea Partiers are strongly supportive, and critical of establishment Republicans for not getting behind it. Americans for Financial Reform
(more than 600,000 people signing petitions of support for the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act). 7/14 more than 600,000 people signing petitions of support for the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act. For over half a century, the Glass-Steagall kept traditional banks separate from the high-risk world of investment banks and hedge funds. The US insured our deposits and the banks, in return, agreed not to use these deposits for gambling in the Wall Street casino. That all changed with the industry-backed deregulation of the 1980s and ‘90s. Once again, banks gained the ability to play risky games with government-backed funds, setting the stage for the financial and economic meltdown of 2008.
“Flash Boys”, Michael Lewis, shows the immense new opportunities for skimming, kickbacks, secret fees and hidden tricks that their post-Eisenhower system has spawned.” While the bailouts caused by lenders’ criminal negligence was necessary to keep consumer and business confidence, letting lenders of their size fail would have been even more costly. Their self-profiting cheap debt and promotion of leverage, particularly with the government expected to act as a backstop for their negligent subprime mortgage market, paid them more than they deserved. We must wean the industry off the ‘welfare’ of government support to unfair lending. Relying on it, ‘Wall Street’ speculated on the upside, then shorted on the downside - in a vast zero-sum game that resulted in the largest transfer of wealth from average, taxpaying, Americans to financial elites ever witnessed in this nation's history. Most of us lost big - including over $7 trillion of home values, a $700-billion-dollar bailout of ‘Wall Street’, and continuing high unemployment. The result was destructive oligopoly. In the 1980s the ten biggest banks had less than 30 percent of bank depositary assets. Now they have 54 percent.
We must move to end the theft of personal information off the internet to set up the taking advantage of us with less money or control. Outside finance, we’ll stop spreading damaging sewage sludge around the land even though it is profitable to someone. We’ll limit damaging corporatization of agriculture and we’ll stop harm done by minority shareholders to their true corporate interest.
Credit rating agencies and mortgage brokers should be regulated following federal, not state, rules, derivatives going through a federal, central, clearinghouse;
Reform to force credit card and mortgage companies to play by the rules. No more hidden fees or pages of fine print. Americans were forced to borrow to keep their previous lives going after the financial community injured them. Protect their credit and help them save.
Allow STATE ‘gambling’ commissions.
To avoid further problems in the international economy, raise international regulatory standards and improve international coordination.
Now we shall:
1) raise the minimum wage (a strong Social Security system, also, needs a strong minmum wage! (Michigan, Seattle, Albuquerque, San Jose, and Long Beach raised theirs). Update job-protecting, family protecting, health and safety regulations written in the 1970s. A New York Times editorial in March, 2014, shows that minimum wage increase would not cost jobs (one of the problems is with non-compliant employers, one of which in New York said they wouldn’t comply with the minimum wage, told the employee to leave if they don’t like it and said non-compliance was ‘the government’s problem’). The minimum wage hike would cut food stamp costs beyond Republicans' dreams. Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would cut food stamp spending by $4.6 billion a year, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress; when the minimum goes to $15.++, workers, who deserve it, would rise above the poverty level;
2) double down on enforcement of minimum wage. A 2008 study found that 26 percent of low-wage workers were paid less than the minimum wage and 76 percent were underpaid or not paid at all for their overtime hours (it would take 131 years for OSHA investigators to inspect each workplace just once but the opposition hates ‘gummint’. Until employers face substantial costs to their bottom line (as is true in other bodies of law, such as environmental regulation and employment discrimination law), practices like wage theft, retaliation against workers trying to organize a union, and independent contractor misclassification will continue unabated;
3) restore the right to organize destroyed by President Reagan (58% of U.S. workers say they would like to be represented by a union, but only 11.8 percent actually are). A good model for a solution is California’s recent law making companies liable for minimum wage and overtime violations by their subcontractors, recognizing that end-user firms such as Walmart exert considerable control over working conditions down their supply chains;
4) support good jobs for teachers, and eventually their students, by budgeting public money to schools, neglected ports, bridges and health care and purchasing the government’s goods and services which, in turn, support millions of private-sector jobs. Responsible, innovative contracting policies in California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Illinois as well as living wage laws (in more than 140 cities and counties), or accountable economic development policies (in Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and New York City, among others) support good jobs;
5) expressly break down systemic labor market exclusions of people of color, immigrants, women, the unemployed, and people with criminal records. For example, the U.S. Department of Labor should finally end the exemption of home care workers from minimum wage and overtime protection. Cities across the country are passing “ban the box” policies to reduce hiring barriers for people with arrest or conviction records;
6) challenge required use of targeted hiring and training programs on publicly funded projects; a great benefit without them was shown in Portland’s 2009 residential retrofitting program; it mandated living wages and local hiring from designated training programs. As of last year, the program’s workers earned median wages of $18 per hour; fully 84 percent were local residents and nearly half of them people of color. While unemployment is still at Depression-era levels in many black communities, we know what works to employ those still excluded from the work they want and do well.
We’ll return hope to Americans in return for the increased productivity they have been and are producing.
Note that not only the bailout of lenders, but also the people’s ‘ENTITLEMENT’ SPENDING, HAS ACTUALLY GROWN FASTER UNDER REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTS THAN UNDER DEMOCRATS. NOTE ALSO THAT THOSE ENTITLEMENTS DON’T BENEFIT THE MIDDLE CLASS: A NEW YORK TIMES INVESTIGATION IN 2012 FOUND THAT TWO-THIRDS OF THE 100 U.S. COUNTIES MOST DEPENDENT ON ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS WERE HEAVILY REPUBLICAN.  The rest, lower income, don’t get the money, causing income inequality which slows or stops economic growth. Our middle-class SPENDS it while the well off HOARD it, just like the bailed out lenders, so we must spead the wealth to foster our economy.
In short, reform and invest, making serious change in fiscal, earned benefits, infrastructure, immigration , health and education policies, among others.
Let’s compare. Who won the Great Recession? South Korea, Poland, Canada, Sweden, Indonesia, Turkey and Mexico won. The U.S. lost. We must spread the wealth.
Other hidden taxes take a major toll on the working and middle class too. The cost of food is a common complaint. U.S. food costs were increased by extreme heat and weather events that resulted in double-digit growth in the cost of corn in the United States in 2012, amid the worst drought in more than a half-century.
Other mounting costs also operate as a tax on Americans; for instance, the escalating cost of higher education and health care. As The New York Times reported in October 2012, "In the last school year, tuition, fees, room and board averaged $38,589 at private colleges, up almost $15,000 from a decade earlier, according to the College Board. At public four-year colleges, the total bill came to $17,131, up more than $8,000."
Estimates of the cost of education vary by a wide margin, but all available figures show dramatic increase in the costs. Lower estimates suggest the cost of tuition at a four-year college or university, after controlling for inflation, increased by nearly 150 percent during the period from 1980 to 2011, while other estimates suggest a growth of tuition costs by more than 100 percent from 2000 to 2011 alone. Similarly, available data suggests health care costs have grown out of sight, with one estimate suggesting a 700 percent increase in costs for private plans from 1969 to 2010.
Re-training must occur for the workers whose manufacturing jobs were ‘exported’. The income inequality and cost of living increases also hurt Americans who have gotten no wage rises for thirty years. THE UNITED STATES LOST ROUGHLY HALF OF ITS MANUFACTURING JOBS FROM PRESIDENT REAGAN THROUGH PRESIDENT BUSH 43. These were high-paying jobs with strong union-based benefits that used to constitute the backbone of middle-class America. This assault on American labor means that, while nearly 33% of Americans used to be a part of a labor union in 1945, that number fell to just over 10 percent by the late 2000s. AS UNIONS DISAPPEARED, SO DID THE MIDDLE CLASS' SHARE OF INCOME EARNED. Data from the US Census Bureau shows that from the late 1960s to the late 2000s, there was a nearly one-to-one correlation between the decline in the percent of unionized Americans, and the decline in the share of all income that goes to the American middle class. Predictably, the share of income captured by the top one percent went up correspondingly during this period, as
corporations dismantled domestic unions and the wage and benefit protections that accompanied them.
With the dramatic decline in the economic fortunes of most Americans, one would think that there is awareness of the growing class divide in the United States. Recognition of inequality and elite power is fairly high among Americans. For example, a December 2012 Pew Research Center poll found that 76 percent of Americans felt that "it's really true that the rich get richer while the poor get poorer." Similarly, a Pew survey from January 2012 revealed that 77 percent agreed "there is too much power in the hands of a few rich people and large corporations in the United States." Results from the General Social Survey found that concern for inequality is longstanding, with approximately two-thirds of Americans regularly agreeing that "differences in income in America are too large" from 2000 to 2010.
On the other hand, despite these findings, Americans are not sufficiently aware of the fundamental divide that exists within the American economic class system at the same time that they are concerned about wealth inequality in the system. Americans are concerned with growing inequality and with excessive corporate power, but they aren't aware of just how extreme the American wealth divide has become. This point was made clear in a 2011 Duke-Harvard study, which found that perceptions of inequality were far less extreme than actual inequality. Surveying a nationally-representative sample of respondents, the study found that Americans thought that the wealthiest 20 percent retained 59 percent of all wealth, when in reality they held more like 84 percent (a 25 percentage point difference).The differences became even clearer when comparing what Americans wanted the wealth distribution to look like, in contrast to what it does look like. Respondents said that the "ideal" wealth breakdown would allow the richest 20 percent just 32 percent of all wealth, compared to their actual 84 percent (an astounding 52 percentage point difference).
Recently, after a strong majority of Americans used to believe the inequality, more are accepting that there are haves and the have-nots. Excessive optimism was much of the reason a majority rejected the haves’ and ‘have nots’ idea that those willing to work hard will be rewarded. Despite reality, 85 percent of Americans should not be told they aren’t because they want to believe that they are part of the "middle class," even though the bottom 40 percent of Americans earned just 10 percent of all income, and that they earned far less than the median national family income of approximately $50,000 a year (28 percent of households earned less than $25,000 a year, and the next 12 percent earned less than $35,000). The vast majority of new wealth created (93% of all annual income gains) goes to the wealthiest one percent. Half of Americans have no financial wealth. This delusion is held by Americans who cling to the promise of prosperity from a system that is increasingly leaving most of us behind. In June, 2014, there is new evidence that people do not believe that poverty is the fault of the poor.
Americans’ lack of class-consciousness, however, was an entirely predictable product of two major factors: socialization and material privilege. To put it simply, they have been taught to ignore America's class divide. Those who are on the winning side of that class divide (the materially privileged and affluent) are the most likely to celebrate that America is the land of "endless opportunity" for those willing to work hard enough. Pew surveys indicate that class deniers are statistically more likely to be male, white, highly educated, Republican, conservative, Fox News viewers, "born again" Evangelicals, and from non-union households who have jobs available. Furthermore, being socialized within a decreasing number of union-households gives these well-off people awareness of the conflict between management and owners and class consciousness on the one hand, and union activists and members on the other. Finally, the connection between Fox News viewership and embrace of reactionary, pro-upper class capitalist values is hardly surprising.
Whether there is class consciousness is critical because the class divides between the rich and everyone else is real and growing, and economic inequality is at a record high. Working harder today no longer means that one will be "better off" than one's parents, or even that we will be upward moble when it comes to financial wealth. At a time when 93 percent of all income gains are captured by the top one percent and people find themselves working longer hours for less, promises of hard work and sacrifice leading to prosperity just don’t sound true. This conclusion might seem depressing to many, but it's a reality in a modern economy increasingly dominated by the top.
Until we recognize the high unemployment and economic stagnation in which most live we cannot progress. We are fundamentally and increasingly a nation divided between haves and have-nots.
What do we do? Discard the failed policy that fiscal austerity will reconstruct anything. Our recovery was disappointing, but also the burden of high household debt, a legacy of the housing bubble and failure to assist with mortgage relief (as FDR did) and proceed, instead, with a Keynesian investment policy in new, better, growth that will best re-create the middle-class cut back by Reagan-Bush 43 deregulation.
Return to Clinton era taxes and $200 billion higher revenue. For those who can work, embrace means-adjusted Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, permit the able to work longer, use economists proposed innovations that could allow more workers to stay in the labor force, and even further reduce the only 3% Social Security costs and the waste, fraud and abuse of Medicare and Medicaid even further than shown by the $716 million President Clinton got back. Do a further $300 million stimulus since the third quarter GDP increase was 2.7% and the fourth quarter increase was 3.1%. Use public investment in infrastructure job training and basic scientific research (giving Republicans substantial input on which infrastructure to improve the vote count), don’t extend the payroll tax cut (which was less effective than expected). Start all of it with a research and development agreement on the broad plan for deficit reduction to in each area.
End corporate welfare – including subsidies to big oil, big agribusiness, big pharma and Wall Street. Populists on the left have long been urging this; right-wing populists are joining in. Republican David Camp’s proposed tax reforms would kill dozens of targeted tax breaks. Says Ted Cruz: “We need to eliminate corporate welfare and crony capitalism.”
We will get to international agreement (at the G-20) on universal reforms like global regulation of formation/sale of derivatives and credit rating agencies. We’ll propose banking reform and international arrangements so we can see through the financial deals, save lending and trade flows, and re-start the international financial system under better control. We will forbid any future UNREGULATED financial sector which could continue this terrorism against depositors and creditors.
We’ll establish successful control of costs proven effective by Sweden in the mid-90s and, later, by Britain. We’ll reduce the 25% Americans pay on President Bush43’s debt by negotiating reduction of the deficit and asking increase of China’s investment in its safety net so the Chinese BUY more OF OUR STUFF. We shall not slow our financial recovery, as President Roosevelt did in 1937, by paying off debt BEFORE OUR RECOVERY. We’ll pay off the debt by creating jobs that increase taxes paid and reduce the debt later, that way, instead of by stopping the economy so Republicans can win the next election after THEY caused the problem.
We’ll also propose ending ‘trash’ lending then start our new, real, economy. We’ll end the ‘bubble’ economy. We’ll give the people the power to take risky businesses that gamble with fake money to a judge to prevent more destruction of business.
We’ve cut General Motors subsidies from past administrations. General Motors had been subsidized because it was private enterprise. In fact, General Motors hadn’t been capitalist for years. Their subsidies included sweet lease deals for crazy risks they made WHEN BAD LAW ALLOWED THEM TO BE COVERED WITH YOUR TAX MONEY. Their idea was to keep cash coming in to cover the variable costs of producing more cars, NO MATTER WHAT THEY BUILT, and wrongfully to protect their previous share of the market.
We’ll make Wall Street’s crazy operations lose by requiring payment of a transactions tax that will limit rapid, dangerous deals. We’ll require more back up money so they cover their lending mistakes. We’ll put a surcharge on short-term capital gains to help them concentrate on LONG TERM, instead of short term, growth. And we’ll require them to keep some ‘skin in the game’ so THEY TOO lose rather than (in their words in e mails) ‘passing the trash’ tor ming the taxpayer bail them out. They won’t get bonuses until safe, profitable investments have paid off, if the profits still exist a reasonable time after they leave the company.
We will finance public investment in roads, rail, schools for the kids, or development of technology. Then we taxpayers won’t have to pay again the $406 billion a year that this, their second crash, cost us. THIS BAILOUT, WHILE NECESSARY TO SAVE THE LENDING FOR REBUILDING, IS THE THIRD LARGEST COST WE HAVE AFTER DEFENSE, SOCIAL SECURITY AND ENERGY.
Faced with the same problem, Sweden came out with profits for the taxpayers. Not President Bush43. We’ll finance research so your household energy costs will be reduced. We’ll manufacture energy saving machinery for less than the other countries so we may export to them. We’ll create less expensive lives by weatherizing buildings, update school libraries and laboratories, building an electric grid to get cheaper power to us and providing easy-to-find health records (Health Information Technology),
We’ll spread the income around more evenly (the way it last was during President Eisenhower), so we all get a more even break. When President Clinton created 20 million jobs and had only 4.2% unemployment and we’re now creating 95,000 jobs every month why accept President Bush43 creating zero net jobs in eight years while wages went down?
It will take a few years completely to get us back on track, but they’re telling you ‘just give it back to the people who started the problem and THEY’LL fix it. If they COULD, why did they ruin your jobs BEFORE?
We’ve kept our teachers on the payroll so we may train the best workers in the world like we did with Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration. We’ll put $40 billion into a tax credit for creating jobs and try to give a tax credit for employers who increase their payrolls.
We Americans have started to switch to saving from over spending; we’ve got to go back to the post-war American habit of saving 8-10%. Reagan’s administration was a disaster because his willingness to spend without limit led our families to spend more than they had. For families, in 1984, our 8-10% savings rate began a gradual slide toward zero. President Reagan’s administration spent more of our country’s money than our country could raise. At the same time his administration’s tax cuts and war spending increased our debt.
End the National Security programs engaging in bulk-data collection.
Scale back American interventions overseas. Populists on the left have long been uncomfortable with American troops abroad. Rand Paul is leaning in the same direction. Senator Paul also tends toward conspiratorial views about American interventionism. Shortly before he took office he was caught on video claiming that former vice president Dick Cheney pushed the Iraq War because of his ties to Halliburton.
Oppose trade agreements crafted by big corporations. Two decades ago Democrats and Republicans enacted the North American Free Trade Agreement. Since then populists in both parties have mounted increasing opposition to such agreements. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, drafted in secret by a handful of major corporations, is facing so strong a backlash from both Democrats and tea party Republicans that it’s nearly dead. “The Tea Party movement does not support the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” says Judson Philips, president of Tea Party Nation. “Special interest and big corporations are being given a seat at the table” while average Americans are excluded.
What President Obama has done is both spending and tax cuts as part of stimulus packages. This rebuilds the broken economy by explicitly temporary efforts. Had their economy not collapsed, there would have been no reason for this policy. In short, both sides must agree that the large short-term budget deficits, although reducing, are simply the result of the economic downturn caused by the collapse of the housing bubble, failure to pay for wars, 2007 drug benefits and unregulated financial risk with others’ money.
Follow the precedent of President Reagan, who cut loopholes. Do not follow the precedent of the Congress which, then, put them back in.
A potential solution to reckless, destructive, trading will be implemented as soon as 2014 in Europe. They will pass into law a financial transactions tax the proceeds from which will enrich that country of its citizens investor. The much needed revenues will pass to the other countries which also enact the tax. It will apply to a very broad definition of securities or derivatives traded in any ‘member’ country. To date this future agreement includes Belgium, Austria, Greece, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Estonia. The revenue potential, and the disincentive to future systemic failure like 2008, is the incentive to additional countries, perhaps the United States, to enact the tax. The tax would be tiny for investors who trade and hold but could prove significant for traders who placed millions of orders a day. The rule reflects the widespread scorn for and anger at banks. The revenues from the mutual benefit tax enactor countries benefiting when its companies’ clients trade in the eleven statute enactors could make a substantial contribution to covering the costs of the past financial crisis.
We must reverse U.S. policies since the 1980s of expansion of consumer, housing credit, home equity loans, deregulation of credit cards, unsafe federal housing and tax policies, subprime mortgages, and predatory lending. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s new CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) possesses broad powers to curb predatory lending. Congress must end costly tax incentives for wealthier savers and homebuyers while creating new incentives to encourage low-and middle-income people to save. Federal intervention is also needed to stop the banks from fleecing and driving away their poorest customers. Low fee accounts should be encouraged. Children learning to save should not be charged for having small bank accounts.
Germany’s ‘short-work’ program has spread available work across a broader pool of laborers, avoided high unemployment, focused on producing highly trained engineers, invested in the alternative energy sector, produced mainly niche products such as components for solar panels and machine tools for solar with green-energy companies and invested in each. But Germany’s refusal to endorse unlimited bond buying by the ECB and her dismissal of jointly guaranteed Eurobonds, an EC idea, denies the trust necessary in private lenders which would assist in saving the euro.
Sweden has successfully taken the longer term view and balanced its budget over the economic cycle…they introduce ‘sunset clauses” that have forced politicians to renew laws, (particularly expensive laws) every ten years and they have linked retirement age to life expectancy while Chile has appointed an independent commission to ensure that it runs a surplus over the economic cycle. They give independent, technical, commissions power to limit spending and use ‘self-denying’ rules to prevent people from voting for spending policies that produce bankruptcy and social breakdown. CHINA is THE Keynesian, proper, response to their 2008 Great Recession. For those Congressmen who want to do in the Fed the only responsible way would be to go entirely Keynesian, so that Congressman should convince 434 members of the House and 100 Senators to vote in Keynesian solutions instead of voting no and looking like angry children. Republican filibusters and failures to fund have denied the votes to apply sufficient fiscal stimulus to speed the recovery. The well-off have been saved by the bailout (which has been repaid to the taxpayers’ government) but the financial industry’s resulting earnings are being hoarded rather than invested in new jobs until investors feel more certainty. The only reason the taxpayer that saved them suffers from job loss caused by 24 years of Republican de-regulation IS THAT THE WELL-OFF have refused to invest after their businesses were saved, and are continuing to be saved, by Presidents Bush and Obama. They also refuse to eliminate the ‘mice type’ legalese the financial community uses to hide the risks in investments, thereby INCREASING the uncertainty that hinders the recovery. The housing bubble was caused by millions of borrowers making poorly informed decisions, about the debt they were taking on. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau could correct this problem over time. Their control of ‘Washington’ and the financial sector have been intertwined so thoroughly that public accountability has all but vanished.
Corporate America’s balance sheet has never looked better, and consumers are paying down their debt; this allegedly anti-business president is conducting a pro-business recovery. A second recession will not happen, but the failure of Congress to provide the votes for TARP took the recovery from the less well off and left the profits with the well-off and the banks. Congress enacted broader goals: protection of home values, preservation of home ownership, restoration of money to lend, an effective policy to compel the extension of credit, the Home Affordable Modification Program, permanent modifications over foreclosures and shrinking the most complex financial institutions. But due to the insufficiency of these too-limited efforts the pace of recovery is slowed.
On the other hand, President Bush cost us taxpayers $406 billion to save our economy from the crushing debt made by him and his. And due to President Bush 43 business is being rewarded with tax breaks for their greed, myopia and speculation.
We’ll revamp the Sarbanes-Oxley Act so that it is easier to start a small business and find a cost-effective way to extend health care to every American.
We’ll require transparency and oversight of the multitrillion-dollar derivatives market (e.g. AIG), as is currently, too gradually, occurring.
Those opposed to sufficient stimulus return to the previously failed arguments in which Wall Street SAID that the creation of the S.E.C. would demolish stock trading. To the contrary, the S.E.C.helped make the U.S. the world’s most liquid and trusted stock market. The banks also thought that the F.D.I.C. would sabotage their industry, but the FDIC transformed it by effectively ending bank runs. History suggests that business doesn’t always know what’s good for it.
There are market economies that are doing better, both in terms of both GDP growth and rising living standards for most citizens. Some are even reducing inequalities. America is paying a high price. Inequality leads to lower growth and less efficiency. Lack of opportunity means that its most valuable asset – its people – is not being fully used. The rich, needing few public services other than roads, schools, public health, common defense, and worried that a strong government might share around some of ‘their’ income, use their political influence to cut taxes and curtail government spending. This leads to underinvestment in infrastructure, education, and technology, slowing the engines of growth. The Great Recession has made it worse, with cutbacks in basic commonwealth expenditures and with high unemployment putting downward pressure on wages. America has become a country not “with justice for all,” but “justice for some”. That was clear in the foreclosure crisis, in which the big banks believed that their financial failure due to their own mistakes and sins was due a bailout’ by the government. And these people say they oppose socialism.
Internationally, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the standard bearer for the Washington Concensus requiring the conservative choice of local markets, small government and limited regulation, has properly changed emphasis to some controls on cross-border capital flows and allowance of greater inflation in the U.S.. The IMF says inequality makes growth less durable, that a flatter distribution of income contributes to sustainable economic growth, that inequality can lead to political polarization and gridlock and finds that recent protests in Brazil have been fueled not by the poor but by a middle class frustrated by a lack of opportunity to progress further. The opposite approach gave Mexico “the lost decade” in which public payrolls were cut. Unemployment soared, wages collapsed and poverty jumped. Cutting budgets there did not work. Previously IMF had increased spending on education and health in poor countries.
In short, restoring sustainable and equitable growth, based on public investment, redirecting investment and innovation to preserve jobs and the environment.
Reports showing the effects of economic stimulus after Bush’s recession continue for the last 22 months. They should encourage us, in competition with China, to stimulate, as China does, in a Keynesian stimulus package. Steady revival is increasing our ways to raise loan money that’s not from the public till. The stimulus package has not yet produced enough of the lost jobs, even when 95,000 jobs per month are created, but it’s performing better than the 2008 crash that cost us our economy. Since President Obama came into office the stimulus, itself, has earned about $1.2 billion in fees and cleared the wreckage. It has raised output by 2.3 percentage points in the second quarter, 5.7% in the fourth quarter and saved or created 950,000 jobs, with more to come. We’re aiming for sustained growth of 3%. We have to work for the future profits, but $3.1 billion MORE is expected to be taken after the wreck of JPMorgan Chase and Capital One Financial.
President Obama should require contractors to disclose political spending. The DISCLOSE Act legislation will: enhance disclaimers; make CEOs and other leaders take responsibility for their ads; enhance Disclosures; allow citizens in a democracy to follow the money; prevent foreign money’s influence in our elections; require disclosure by shareholder/members; tell shareholders and members to know where their money goes; prevent government contractors from ruling election results; prevent taxpayer money from being spent on political ads; provide the lowest unit rate for candidates and parties; tighten coordination rules.