Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lost Posts from May 2011

My almost nine year old son asked his mother yesterday, “What do you pee out of?”

Mother: I don’t have a penis.

Then he demanded, “Let me see it!”

"Don’t you miss having a penis?"

"You need to shave down there, that’s disscusting."

Mother: Daddy has hair down there and you will too,

Son: He should shave it too.


3rd grader, "I’ve got lead in my eye, I’ve got a pencil in my eye, I’m going to die!"

He did not have pencil in his eye, pencils are not really made of lead, he did not die.

OCCUPY WALL STREET & Policy blog postings

Protesters Against Wall Street

NY Times Editorial

States Adding Drug Test as Hurdle for Welfare

It is interesting, these are all issues I was blogging about in the Spring for my Policy class. I've posted some my article reviews/comments of below:

Of The 1%, By The 1%, For The 1%

by Joseph F. Stiglitz, Vanity Fair

The issue raised in this article is how “the upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent.” 25 years ago those figures were 12 percent and 33 percent. The author points out that “the more unequal a society is, the more reluctant the wealthy become to spend on common needs. The rich don’t need government benefits - they can buy these things for themselves.”

This situation can perpetuate itself leading to more and more disparity in the future. We need only need to look to what is happening in Arab world right now to see what can happen when “a fraction of the population controls the lion’s share of the wealth.” With this in mind our nation needs to ask itself if this is the direction it really wants to go in?

The last main point of the article is that Alexis de Tocqueville noticed long ago that Americans had “self-interest properly understood” in that they understood that paying attention to everyone’s self-interest or the common welfare, is beneficial to their own well-being.

Basically when the nation is better and more secure, it is better for the top 1%, more stable markets etc.



Reading “The Radical Gradulism of Paul Ryan,” http://budget.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=235261 about the budget proposed by the House Budget Chairman just reiterated to me those on the right always seem to stay on message no matter what the current political or economic environment. They will alway have a drive for lower taxes, no regulations on business and smaller governments and see every national success or failure as an example of why we need, you guessed it, lower taxes, a laissez-faire view of the business sector and smaller government. Never mind that the government and deficit both grew under their watch during W. Bush’s two terms.

The truth is that people on both sides of the aisle want the government to come down strongly behind the issues that they feel are most important.

“What the Ryan budget offers instead is a gradual, manageable change of course that might allow us to continue to experience the kind of growth and stability we have seen since the Second World War.” Strange does columnist Yuval Levin mean the growth and stability that were made possible by a large middle class, a strong safety net, strong unions, government regulations of the corporate sector that characterize the post war era?

“A plan that sought to address our fiscal problems by raising taxes far higher than this historical norm—as Ryan’s detractors on the left would have to do, though they are loath to say so—would almost certainly yield weaker growth, and therefore have a harder time restraining the growth of the debt.” As I discussed in my last post from a few weeks ago, statistics show that we currently have a historically low tax rate, so it could be raised and still not be “far higher than this historical norm.”

I may have missed it, but in this article and in what I have heard from the right the military budget is left in tact. Another area that the right never looks into cutting is the cost of enforcing morally driven laws against consensual activities, the cost of police enforcement of prostitution laws, tax revenue lost from the illegality of gambling and the cost of imprisoning non-violent drug users. A closer look at the war on drugs reveals that after 40 years and $1 trillion was deemed as failing to meet any of its goals. Think about how much one trillion dollars is, “If you started a business when Christ was born and lost $1 million a day, it would still take another 700 years before you lost $1 trillion,” REPRESENTATIVE PHIL CRANE.

Beside Rand Paul, his dad, and at best one million actual libertarians, no one is actually for less government, they are just for government doing less to help issues they don’t care about, and more for their issues, on the right, moral and law and order issues, strong military that stimulates the economy and helps America have an empire that keeps foreign markets safe for our business interests, or helps open new ones, as opposed to the left wanting the government to focus on trying solve societies ills and inequalities.


I was not able to find one specific issue that moved me but looking at a number of issues I noticed a real disconnect concerning the amount of money our nation spends on its military, the high rate of profits our corporations have continued to earn despite the recession and the lack of money we have to fund our public programs and jobs that are leading to the need for so many cutbacks and lay-offs.

In last Sunday’s Star Ledger I read articles with headlines like, “Next fight: Contracts for state workers. Talks expected to be ‘pretty ugly’” where state employees are afraid to anger Gov. Christie because they don’t want to vilified in the way he did to teachers. Also “Energy Department staff to face cuts ...” “Budget ax poised in Millburn district” schools, and “Laid off Newark cops are moving on.”

Yet one can still find headlines like “Pentagon requests its largest budget: $553 billion” where the Pentagon is asking for its 14th year in a row of spending increases even with the winding down of the Iraq War. We do not have money for teachers and cops and blame welfare queens, pensions and the stimulus package for our national debt but some how the cost of our two wars at over $1,153,594,999,999 at 11:15 AM today and counting (1) is not brought into the conversation? So it seems there is plenty of money for war.

Looking at the corporate world over the last year most aggregate economic indicators are up, the GNP (2) has gone up the last five quarters, the top three stock exchanges NASDAQ, NYSE, AMEX all show growth in their trading volumes over the last 52 weeks (3). The financial papers are littered with headlines such as:

“U.S. Corporate Profits Surge” - The Wall Street Journal (4)

“Corporate Profits Were the Highest on Record Last Quarter” - The New York Times (5)

“U.S. corporate profits rise most in 25 years “- MarketWatch (6)

Still many want to cut federal and state employees like social workers, teachers and police, stating that this will free up funds to help our economy grow. Like all other areas of human endeavor public jobs contracts are far from perfect and there is much room for improving on abuses like “double dipping” holding two state jobs and getting pensions from both, large buyout clauses in some higher level state administrators and board members, and other areas like pensions and tenure can be looked at with new eyes and made more responsive to success in the work place.

The facts that these conflicting headlines bring to light point not to a lack of finances in America but a lack of interest in helping those in need and a choice to use hard economic times for many Americans as an excuse to push forth an anti-middle and working class political agenda that has been in the works since the 1960’s.


(1) Cost of War http://costofwar.com/en/

(2) GNP http://www.data360.org/dsg.aspx?Data_Set_Group_Id=231&page=3&count=100

(3) NASDAQ, NYSE, AMEX trading volumes over the last 52 weeks http://research.scottrade.com/qnr/Public/Markets/Statistics

(4) “U.S. Corporate Profits Surge” - The Wall Street Journal http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703956604576110612955564394.html

(5) “Corporate Profits Were the Highest on Record Last Quarter” - The New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/24/business/economy/24econ.html?_r=1

(6) “U.S. corporate profits rise most in 25 years “- MarketWatch http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-corporate-profits-rise-most-in-25-years-2010-03-26


Many conservatives and libertarians only value private sector jobs as if they are superior to public sector jobs, as if the morgages and rents, goods and services and college educations they pay for do not help strenghen our ecomony as private sector job It is as if they believe only jobs that increase their profit margins are valid, and those that serve the interest of the middle class and in turn the nation as a whole are without value. During a recession where affluent Americans profits are rising, middle class job killing legislation and budgets cuts do not appear to be the best way help those actually feeling the pains of this recession to lift themselves up to a better future.

Especially jobs that help lay the foundation for a strong middle class, jobs in education and public safety. A strong, financially secure and educated middle class is imperative to having a functioning democracy, and many of these current conservative and libertarian ideas such busting unions and ending free public education (“Education, like any other service, is best provided by the free market” ) run completely counter to what has made America the strongest nation in world.

Picture a senario where you already have high unemployment and very few good jobs where you do not need a college education. Then cut police jobs and make our cities less secure, you cut jobs in education which makes it harder to educate our children and in turn harder for them to go to college and get good jobs. Now not only have good middle class jobs that are within the grasp of poor and working class people been eliminated, you add a percentage of those formerly middle class laid-off people the ranks of the needy.

The short term gains from many of these cuts will be drastically over shadowed by the harm they are doing to society’s ability to produce citizens with highly employable skills. Those on the right look to the corporate world where one can raise their profit margins by laying off employees and see no reason not to apply the same logic to essential public jobs all so they can have more money by lowering their taxes.

National debt more than tripled from 900 billion dollars to 2.8 trillion dollars during Reagan's tenure.

There is not less money in America, their is less money available to the middle class.



"Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

There is a jelousy on the part of many who work in the private sector, they see their jobs being cut, they see pensions as a thing of the distant past which they came along too late for, and they have not gotten rich in the corporate world and see public workers making as much as they do with more benefits and they have been told that they are lazy union workers who do not deserve to be well compensated.

So rather than unionize fight for the jobs in their own industry, or complaining about paying 1.99 for a bottle of coke when it costs 18 cents to make

(http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_much_does_it_cost_to_make_a_bottle_of_coca_cola) and being angry about the exorbitant bonuses that corporate executives are paid with your money, being angry that they make their profits of the back of that usury usurious mark up,

many in the public are so brainwashed that they hate those in the same boat as they are and worship those above them, those who control how society is set up and do infinitely more to keep them in their troubled possition than those next to them, one step ahead or behind them in the pecking order of financial success in this nation.

People would rather have a dream of becoming rich than a reality of being secure.

Veblen pointed out. The poor don't want to fight those above them, they want to be like them. http://www.bolenderinitiatives.com/sociology/thorstein-bunde-veblen-1857-1929/thorstein-bunde-veblen-leisure-class-author/critic-may-ha