Monday, May 18, 2009

Entitlement - Coming To A Corner Near You!

Here is the problem, The number of "underprivileged" greatly outnumber the "privileged", and we have champion of the "underprivileged" in office. The economic landscape is providing the perfect canvass for economic reform that will forever change all our lives.

"O"binhood and his merry men are working their magic for the masses. Once the handouts begin and wealth redistribution is tasted by the masses they will never be voted out of office. As the wealthy have pillaged the country to stuff their coffers, the quality of life for the rest has been dismantled. The promise of the American dream has been erased in two years.

I first noted what I saw as Obinhoods first big move in Remain Calm Shanky. Breathe And Count To 10 where the first antitrust moves were announced. I believe that the credit card crisis and the perils in California will set the stage for broad strokes in "relief" to the general public.

In Credit Card Defaults At Record Highs But Worst Is Yet To Come Mish covers the most recent and staggering default numbers for the industry. These default rates are really something and will get worse. Credit is the lifeblood of all Americans and many small businesses, and without it the general public really can't buy anything.

Mish battles the Keynesian Camp in Obama Budget Chief Promises Free Lunch, Says "Economy Almost Bottomed Out", where he takes down several Ivy Leaguers and their free lunch theories on socialized health care and its affordability at this time.

I believe the key driver to Obinhood's dream will come from the sensational issues California is facing. How things get fixed there (right now they are looking to tax the rich to give to the poor) may just bleed over to the rest of us in some screwed up policy the Obinhood's merry men will put into law. In California's Budget Deficit: What The Hell Is It? Mish addresses the topic of taxation and how it is not the right way to solve the problem.

Folks bigger government is uppon us and unless we can place our own operatives in Obinhoods group of merry men we're screwed. The more O promises to redistribute the wealth the more "underpriveledged" voters he will amass (not to mention all the illegal aliens they are bringing in to reinforce their defences with). Get out your checkbooks and hang on. The world you know is about to change forever. IMO of course.

(I know it was a Mishfest tonight, but weekend news was not that hot. Sorry. Let's see what GM has to bring this week and what "good news" spin I can slash and burn there!)


  1. Shanky,

    I sincerely hope we can remain friends despite our apparently having very different views about economic injustice in America:

    Here is the problem, The number of "underprivileged" greatly outnumber the "privileged" -- and the U.S.A. suffers from THE MOST CONCENTRATION OF WEALTH of any industrialized democracy in the world! The top 5% own something like 45% of our nation's wealth. This concentration of wealth is immoral and unhealthy for ANY country. America's wealth is not distributed among America's people in anything even close to a fair or just society. The gap between rich and poor in America has been accelerating, not decelerating, in the past decade. The rich are becoming super-rich and the middle class and the poor are losing ground. Bush's tax cuts for the rich (and Reagan's "trickle down" economics) are LIES and DO NOT help all Americans equally or fairly -- they "comfort the super-comfortable" and deprive most Americans of a fair share of our nation's wealth. Making matters far, far worse -- the current global economic catastrophe has been CAUSED primarily by the super-rich on Wall Street, who greedily and recklessly over-reached and self-destructed -- and then demanded that the middle class save them from self-inflicted extinction. We are witnessing "corporate welfare entitlements" in the TENS OF TRILLIONS of dollars...and yet right-wing governors refuse mere billions in federal aid for the 6 to 15 million "little people" who have been "robbed" of their jobs because of the meltdown caused by the "robber barons" on Wall Street. Bush-Paulson-Bernanke's right-wing ideology started this limitless bailout. My main criticism of Obama is that he is essentially continuing Bush's approach. This reveals that even a Democratic President and Congress are almost as controlled by the super-rich on Wall Street as the Republican President and Congress were. So I request that all critics of Obama (and I am one also) give equal-or-more criticism to conservative Republicans, who are even more to blame...and who also seem to have NO credible alternative solutions to this economic crisis. Not only right-wingers in Washingtom D.C. but also in the media and in the blogosphere: I read TONS of Obama-bashing, but NO detailed or comprehensive descriptions of what Obama "should" do instead. Maybe you can outline YOUR detailed solution (or post a link to a plan that you prefer over Obama's). As for California (where I live), the state has been increasingly in debt and going broke ever since the 1970's when the right-wing and the rich passed Proposition 13 (which cut property taxes and corporate taxes), and they have repeatedly blocked tax increases on super-rich individuals and corporations. Republicans have "starved" the government of tax revenues and have driven the state to the edge of bankruptcy. To illustrate the Republicans' corrupt morals and priorities: last year, the Republicans blocked taxes on the luxury yachts of the super-rich, but this year they cut benefits for the poor, the sick, the disabled, and the elderly! Republicans always "claim" to be good Christians -- but Republicans seem to HATE the poor because Republicans ALWAYS cut benefits to the poor FIRST, and fight like mad to make raising taxes on the super-rich and the corporations the very LAST resort. That is the OPPOSITE of the teachings and values of Jesus Christ! Republican policies are hypocritical, immoral, inhumane, and cruel -- robbing from those with the absolute least in order to protect those with grotesque excesses. For example, Governor Schwarzenegger is a multi-millionaire who owns 25 or 35 Hummers! YECCH! If he would only sell these monstrosities, he could buy food for A THOUSAND poor and hungry children for a year! But he won't. EVER. BTW, the Republicans cut SSI for poor people, and yet people receiving SSI were ALREADY living BELOW the official California poverty level (which itself grossly under-estimates what true poverty is). I could go on and on, but my conclusion is this: if California and the U.S.A. are EVER going to be humane and just and good societies, raising taxes on the super-rich and the corporations -- and redistributing the wealth to ALL Americans (not just the top 5%) MUST occur. But it won't. Not very much. America has been "kidnapped" by super-rich, super-right-wing capitalists...and America will NEVER treat its poor, sick, disabled, and elderly as well as Sweden, Denmark, and Norway treat all of their people. Perhaps you can write a post on your vision of an ideal America...and what it would take to get there from here. I, for one, would be very interested to read your opinion on this very important topic.

  2. Ahh, SRS you are correct. I'm not a total ass and I do care about the little person. I am the executive treasurer for the local united way, I sit on numerous boards including the boys and girls clubs. I usher and am a greeter at church. I unfairly stereotyped a group and should have made myself more clear.

    There is a definite distinction between those that have no chance and need help, those down on their luck and need help and those that are just lazy ass no good waste of a human being POS people that suck the system dry. I should have been more clear in my description.

    Bottom line (leaving religion out of this) is I hate the leaches of the system and all the O is gonna do is foster even more IMHO. I have nothing against health care for everyone or helping those in need. If you want socialized health care, provide it at a time when our nation is not 2.7 TRILLION in the hole and the market is crashing. We've got bigger fish to fry right now.

    I am avidly anti big government and do believe the private sector can handle the needs of our nation better than the government can. (yes, we tried this with Bush - but that is not a fair argument cause he was a total moron). I do believe that O will foster the entitlement flag and that will only lead to further class segregation. It is all about power. The O and the dems want to stay in power. Bush opened the door.

    Maybe it will be a good thing, maybe not. I'm happy to bust my ass and pay for children to go to public schools and support the needy with far more than simply my tax dollars, but those lazy no good 15 children having 300lb jobless people that don't raise their children right and expect us to continue to provide their cable TV because they "have a right to it because their neighbor does" bullshit I say. Thanks for calling me out and letting me explain myself a little better. Sorry for the confusion.

  3. Hi Shanky,

    Thank you for your considerate reply. You seem more conservative than I am, but also like a traditional conservative with whom I can find a lot to agree upon, and to share mutual respect where we agree to disagree (For example, I believe that certain social problems -- like helping the millions of poor, sick, disabled, and elderly -- can best be done by government, and that churches and private organizations could never be sufficient or standardized for every U.S. citizen in need.) But despite our areas of disagreement, your civility means a lot to me in this era of bitter partisanship. Thanks for that, Shanky.

    I also sincerely admire and appreciate all of your many civic and church roles, by which you help others and contribute to your community. I read that fact before and meant to thank you for caring and helping others in I've NEVER thought you were "a total ass" (nor even a partial ass). :>)

    I totally agree with you that taxpayers should not support lazy and irresponsible people who abuse safety-net programs. But small-fry welfare cheats waste billions, while corporate welfare cheats waste trillions! Therefore, I wish that fiscally responsible conservatives and liberals would join together to cut waste and fraud EVERYWHERE. But it seems like the "new" Republican party only wants to cut safety-nets, but never tries to save A THOUSAND TIMES MORE MONEY by cutting corporate welfare and excessive military spending. (Why is that?)

    For example, why do American taxpayers have to pay (apparently forever) for 250+ military bases located in 75+ different countries around the world? Many of these countries, like Germany, Japan, and South Korea, are very rich and can easily afford their own defenses. Also, since America would NEVER allow foreign countries to have military bases on American soil, why do we think it's OK for America to have more than 250 military bases in over 75 other countries?

    World War Two ended 65 years ago and The Cold War ended about 20 years ago...but America STILL spends more on the military than the next TEN biggest countries COMBINED! We do not NEED, and we can no longer AFFORD, such exorbitant military spending. What will become of average Americans when our unsupportable national debt collides with our entrenched military-industrial complex? Something will HAVE to give...and I'm afraid it's going to be Social Security and Medicare instead of weapons and foreign bases we really don't need.

    Anyway, IF you ever want to write a series of posts on how YOU would like America to change, and HOW you would reform our nation...I would genuinely like to consider your ideas (and I bet others would too). Cheers.

  4. SRS - I agree totally on the waste factor and billinos could be saved immediately if we could do away with the special interest groups controlling out elected officials. To me this is the root of all evil. Again back to the power thing. I'll consider posting on some of the things you mentioned and may suprise youomeday. Thanks for the visits and sharing your thoughts.


  5. Shank/SRS:
    Interesting discussion so I'll throw in my 2 cents worth. First, there is rich and then there is "stupid rich". Obama keeps saying people making $250K are rich. That is not rich. In many places in our country, a 2 income family will easily make that much... and more so, probably needs to make that much to have a relatively decent standard of living. What gets my goat is the "stupid rich". These are the execs of our US companies raping and pilaging the companies to pad their own pockets. I don't have a probalem with a Bill Gates forming a company and getting real rich. I have a problem with Bill selling the company on the public market and then getting share upon share of stock after he has sold the company. I get more irate at other CEO's coming in as "saviors" and taking an ungodly amount of a company's dollars for there own good. In 10 years, Gerstner took in over $800M. That's $80M per year. IBM has a couple hundred thousand employees that did all the work. Sure, Gerstner deserved a good wage, but $80M per year. Maybe he should have gotten $5M per year. Good old Lloyd at GS took in $100M a year ago. Why? That's the shareholders dollars. To me, that's "stupid rich". I would not mind seeing a tax law that had a high percentage tax rate for any executive of a public company. If they are so smart and "worth it", they can start their own company without all the capital obtained before they arrived on the scene.

    I'll make another comment on the military discussion. The US will not give up all the bases. It is not a money issue; it is a power issue. I think many can agree that the US has lost most of its economic strength. The only power it has left is its military strength. This will last a couple more decades before that goes away too. Think Roman Empire. That's what kept them in business a couple thousand years ago. It is my humble opinion that the recent dollar rally during this crash is a direct result of the US military power. When the crash is over, the dollar will tank big time, i.e. less than half it's current value at a minimum.

    I had grown up a Republican. The religious right wing hijecked that party so I became an independent. I am waiting for a moderate party to be formed. I had hope when Perot was doing his thing a decade ago. That fizzled. I think the people have now become really pissed. Those with pseudo wealth to carry them through life lost it all in the Sept/Oct crash last year. Those with no wealth are happy now because of Obama. That will fade when there are no more dollars when the Bond market collapses and Congress has no more access to easy dollars. P3 should really wipe everyone out that is not prepared. We will once again have riots in the streets. (Do we get a Bob Dylan comeback record?) Until we change the political system and get a 3rd party (or at a minimum a non-hijacked Republican Party), we are in alot of future turmoil. In any case, the Republicans are dead for at least 15-20 years. There are some that will never vote Republican again. (My grandmother lost her life savings of $500 when her bank closed in the Depression. She never voted for a Republican after that). Bush was that stupid and the Republicans in Congress were that bad.

    At this point in history, it doesn't matter to my household which pary is elected. If the Republicans are in, I get taxed and my money goes to the rich. If the Democrats are in, I get taxed and my money goes to the poor.

    I'll give one specific example of what is really wrong. My mother in law is a widow. She has a small pension from her husband from the Army and a government union job. In total, she gets about $20K per year from these pensions. She is basically deaf now at 75 years old. She doesn't qualify for government money to get hearing aids. On the other hand, I have a brother that has been a "bum" his entire life. He qualified for government disability. This was of his own making. He never did a lick of exercise his entire life. He has hearing aids paid for by the government. Something is wrong here.

    Apologize for the rambling, but you two guys got me thinking....


  6. Shanky,

    Thanks for your reply.

    I love it! Reasonable and cooperative liberals and conservatives, like you and me, DO have many areas of agreement. It gives me hope that the polarization, deadlock, and obstructionism in our country can be reduced enough that Americans can pull together in a crisis and finally accomplish what needs to be done to save our future! "A house divided cannot stand." "If we do not hang together, we shall certainly hang separately."

    Another area that you and I agree is on the basic goal of freeing our so-called "representative" government from the financial influence of "special interests." I think we need to impose STRICT LIMITS on campaign expenditures and campaign donations -- because as it is now, we have a government based on BRIBERY. We also need to severely reduce the money, time, manpower, and influence of lobbyists on K Street. They make a mockery our democracy!

    Shanky, I look forward to your future posts on some of the topics I've suggested for further thought and discussion. It'll be FUN to be surprised by the interesting angles of your thought-provoking perspective! (Please alert me by email, just in case I'm preoccupied elsewhere when you post on these topics.) Thanks.

  7. Shanky,

    I just noticed your very good AD at the bottom of this page to help people worldwide who are suffering from extreme poverty and hunger. Thanks for that ad!

    However, when I tried to make a donation, three times I tried to be redirected to the U.S. site so I could make a donation in dollars (not in Euros) -- but the transfer link doesn't work. Maybe you can tell Google they need to fix this. Thanks.

  8. Band58,

    I really agree with your points about the unfair pay and pillaging by U.S. CEOs. Your example of IBM supports my point that wealth in America gets concentrated unfairly in too few hands. Like you said, the couple hundred thousand employees at IBM (and many U.S. corporations) do most of the work, but the CEO and other top management TAKE most of the pay -- and too often also RAID the company coffers from the rightful owners of company profits -- the shareholders and employees. Your example also supports our discussion about how America has been kidnapped by an extremist, unfair form of capitalism. Other countries' forms of capitalism are A LOT FAIRER than capitalism in America. I read that CEOs in Europe and Japan get paid 50 times more than baseline employees in their companies -- but U.S. CEOs get paid 500 times more! The performance of the CEO at GM is NOT worth 100 TIMES more than the performance of the CEO at Toyota! In addition, American capitalism has hijacked our representative democracy such that our govt. is unable to pass laws that ban excessive pay of CEOs and under-paying most employees. If the govt. even TALKS about fairer pay for all, the right-wing in govt. & media CRIES "Re-distribution of wealth!" (as if that is a bad thing) and use inflammatory (and contradictory!) accusations such as "it's socialism and fascism!" But I agree with you, we need to either raise taxes on CEOs' pay -- or pass new laws to guarantee that "wealth is re-distributed" more fairly among employees and shareholders.

    Your comments on U.S. military power versus economic power are also very relevant. The outrage is that IF we could "redistribute America's wealth" away from unnecessary military spending, HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS would become AVAILABLE ANNUALLY to repay our crushing national debt, rebuild our manufacturing and technology jobs (in OUR country!), modernize our infrastructure, provide health care for ALL our citizens, REDUCE unfair and unnecessary SUFFERING in our super-rich nation, and improve the quality of life for all Americans. It upsets me that we have a "capitalist democracy" in which a few have more wealth than they can ever spend, while millions of Americans suffer desperately every single day of their lives.

    I also agree with you that the dollar will be devalued painfully (due to the unfair, enormous bailouts of morally and financially bankrupt banks and the resulting unsupportable national debt, at the sacrifice of the American people).

    I also agree that the Republican party has terribly wounded both our nation and itself by becoming so extremist and bitterly partisan. Unless moderate conservatives reclaim the Republican party (or form a third party) the far-right party will not regain power...until the Democrats really mess things up too. I am afraid they eventually will...which brings us back to the terrible influence of special-interest money on BOTH political parties.

    I'm real sorry about your mother-in-law and your brother. You would think that with all the genius and common-sense in America that we could set up a national health-care system and safety-net system which would provide ESSENTIAL care for all of our citizens (so no one would suffer severely and unnecessarily), while also encouraging individual responsibility and denying taxpayer assistance to the undeserving. But I will say it again: BY FAR the biggest and worst abusers of taxpayer money are the morally and financially bankrupt corporations (like AIG and Citigroup) and not small-fry individuals. Even a million individual welfare cheats cost little compared to the corporate cheats now demanding TRILLIONS to bail out their greedy, reckless self-destruction. I therefore direct most of my anger at the bigger threat to our people's future: the Wall Street-Washington bankrupting of our nation.

    Which leads to P3 (and P5)! Best wishes for you and your loved ones!

  9. SRS Player:
    I think you and I are on the same page so I won't spend a great deal of time reiterating what we both said. My big question is, "When is America going to wake up and vote the idiots out of Washington?"
    I see terrible times ahead for the US. Until we change the BAU in Washington, everything will remain the same. I do expect the US to go through a dismal period similar to the the depression era in terms of the economy. I also see a much more revolutionary era than the '60's when this is all done. I still do believe in capitalism. I want people to earn a fair wage, but I don't want CEO's making 500 times the average worker. At the same time, I don't want to see high school drop outs making excessive wages just because they are in some strong union.
    We need to get to a point of realism and both sides are wrong at this time. That is what is causing the political polarization in this era. Everyone thinks they are ENTITLED. That thought needs to change on both the lower and upper ends of of scale.
    I have 2 sons. Both are in their 20's with technical degrees (Computer Science and Chemical Engineering) from good colleges. About 2-3 months ago, I gave both of them my blessing to seek out other areas of the world they thought would lead them to a better life. I did not want them to think I would hold them back from seeking their dreams. How can you hold your kids back?
    I wish you and your family the best through these times...


  10. Thank you, Band58. You too.


Keep it civil and respectful to others.