Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The economy: 3 statements of the obvious are overdue

America's financial woes have at least 3 major roots that I don't hear enough (any!) talk about. Either I'm nuts or there is a massive lock on our information supply.

1. The connection between our economic plight and the military invasion of the Middle East. Every bullet, tank, etc., the military buys at best will never to be used; at worst used to kill and destroy. Nowhere in this equation is the production of goods and services that benefit anyone. If, for example, you pay someone to build a chair, you'll actually use and enjoy that chair, and maybe you'll even re-sell or give it away so someone else can use and enjoy it. Useful products have lives and durability beyond their original intent and value. Military spending has no such value, and when staggering amounts of money is involved, we're talking about a veritable monster.

2. Failure to use tariffs to keep the playing field level while moving towards an eventual world economy.

Big Business seized license (by paying off politicians who were supposed to represent us, who in turn argued they needed the money to get elected) to move huge chunks of our economy off-shore in their quest for short-term profits. Take Wal Mart for example, paying people a buck an hour to build chairs they could sell cheap here. It was a good deal for Wal Mart and buyers, true, but extremely short sighted for America as a whole. Only now, years later, are we feeling the devastating consequences and economic repercussions of those moves, mostly in job loss.

None of this had to happen, especially so fast. The problem was that, going back to Reagan, our gov't gave Big Business more and more control over our (as in we-the-people) economy, and in marched the predators. Everyone knew that stocks - and their beloved derivatives - couldn't keep going us, that the system would go bust one day. But, as with all Ponzi schemes, the ones who started it and got out before the collapse made killings, never mind the trail of destruction that's left for the rest of us. We have gov't in the first place to protect us against this type of manipulation, but what our best-money-can-buy politicians really did was give the keys to the hen house to the foxes.

Had anyone been watching our for our interests, they would have, at the least, used tariffs on products created by cheap overseas labor to level the playing field, and then carefully worked the system to guide us slowly towards worldwide economic equilibrium. It would have hurt somewhat, but we simply can't have a situation where we Americans are (perceived to be) rich while entire whole countries are starving.

Indeed, with a pumped up manufacturing base and a striving economy, we could have already solved much of the problematic suffering in the world.

3. Election finance reform, i.e. taking the money out of politics. Doing this would make it possible for us to choose among candidates who really want to represent us and not the Biggest Spenders.

It's never too late. We're going to pay Big Time for the damage already done, but if we don't get behind at least these 3 major changes, we're dooming ourselves and generations to come.

1. Cut military spending, in half to begin with, and then further thereafter. Start by dissociating ourselves from Israel and their stupid, unachievable, never-ending quest for authority in the Middle East. Resign Israel's fate to the UN.

2. Use tariffs to bring manufacturing back into America as quickly as possible

3. Challenge our software engineers to use our technologies to replace our election process with a system that delivers the promise of democracy.

Nothing is ever so simple as "do only these things and ...", so I wouldn't say that, but what I am saying is that we've been seriously duped by some very clever people and now it's past time to put an end to it.

I can do #3 myself, and if I live long enough I will do exactly that. And, if I don't create the very best system, then I'll be right there to cheer on the one who does.


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