Class Warfare Blog

August 4, 2020

A Pandemic Rude Awakening?

The GOP and to some extent the Democrats have been suppressing wages of working people for decades now. Worshiping at the altar of profits, the route to greater and greater profits has been to lower taxes on businesses (in essence transferring them onto individuals) and reducing the cost of production, which is dominated by wages paid to workers. So, wage suppression has become a fine art in corporate circles.

A consequence of this approach is that people, aka “consumers,” have less and less disposable income to buy the output of American businesses. American companies have taken the strategy to the max. Many jobs that could be kept here have been exported to “low wage” countries, which now turn out to be not so low wage because the wages in those countries have been rising (It’s the demand, idiot!) and transportation costs, obviously, went up a great deal, management, too.

The Pandemic Recession, looking to morphing into the Pandemic Depression, is showing the short-sidedness of the short-term pursuit of profits, profits, profits. Here is an excerpt from a Naked Capitalism post on small businesses:

“It’s depressing, but not exactly surprising, to see a major New York Times story about one-third of the small businesses in the city have died or expected to shutter. Needless to say, it’s not just restaurants.” How’s Your Economy, Small Businesses Death Watch Edition

Small businesses in NY City, it is reported, constitute 98% of the employers and account for 3 million jobs in the city. The businesses close, the employees are without jobs, and while jobless, they will be having trouble paying their bills. This will crater other small businesses and away we go . . . spiraling down the economic toilet.

So, I am told (by Dwight Eisenhower, no less) that one shouldn’t criticize unless one has a better alternative. (It is far too easy to tear something down and much harder to build something up. Take that you “creative destruction” purveyors.) So, what is the alternative? Easy peasy. Be patriotic. Keep jobs here, pay higher wages, make less profits.

What was that? I just saw a Republican running past me with his hair on fire, sputtering “Higher wages . . . less profits . . . Arggghhh!” Please do realize that many believe that in our “pay as you go culture,” a business must make a profit to continue to exist. But even this dictum is soft. I had a fellow professor leave teaching to set up his own business. His first major mistake was he didn’t pay himself enough. At the end of his first year, he had profits, which he paid business taxes on, which he then paid to himself, which he then paid income taxes on and thus got double taxed on what he had made. He learned to pay himself everything that might be considered to be a business profit, and paid income taxes on those sums but no business taxes. His business happily perked along make no profits to speak of . . . but I digress.

The titans of commerce have taken the “We have to make a profit,” an acceptable dictum, to “we have to maximize our profits over every other consideration we can conceive of.” This is dubious at best. There is no limit to how much profit can be extracted from a business (as a percentage, not in absolute terms) consequently using “we have to maximize profits” as a motivation is an incentive without any boundaries whatsoever. This is a fatal flaw of capitalism: there is no limitation on greed.

What if corporations considered one of their “products” to be “reliably good jobs for people in our community,” or “creating healthy lives for our employees,” or even “creating happiness for our employees.” Don’t laugh, all of these have been stated by corporations as goals in the past (or their equivalents).

No one begrudges companies or corporations reasonable profits. Everyone should begrudge corporations who make obscene profits by grinding their employees under their heels to make them.

July 5, 2020

Neoliberalism is a Sham, Always Has Been

I start with a quote from an article in the NY Times by Mehrsa Baradaran.

“One reason is that an ideological coup quietly transformed our society over the last 50 years, raising the fortunes of the financial economy — and its agents like private equity firms — at the expense of the real economy experienced by most Americans.

“The roots of this intellectual takeover can be traced to a backlash against socialism in Cold War Europe. Austrian School economist Friedrich A. Hayek was perhaps the most influential leader of that movement, decrying governments who chased “the mirage of social justice.” Only free markets can allocate resources fairly and reward individuals based on what they deserve, reasoned Hayek. The ideology — known as neoliberalism — was especially potent because it disguised itself as a neutral statement of economics rather than just another theory. Only unfettered markets, the theory argued, could ensure justice and freedom because only the profit motive could dispassionately pick winners and losers based on their contribution to the economy.”

Hayek was an important economist, but like most he was also wrong.

Question What evidence is there for “Only unfettered markets could ensure justice and freedom because only the profit motive could dispassionately pick winners and losers based on their contribution to the economy.”

Answer None.

“Unfettered markets fail miserably for two fundamental reasons.
For one, there is no limitation placed upon greed.”

Unfettered markets fail miserably for two fundamental reasons. For one, there is no limitation placed upon greed. There isn’t even a definition of “enough profit.” Shouldn’t there be such a concept? If for no other reason but to establish a benchmark for new business to aim at. I recall that Amazon.com was a net loser, aka made negative profits, for the first five plus years of their existence. How are they doing now?

I suggest that economists have been dissuaded from introducing such a term because ordinary people would equate “more than enough profit” with “excess profits.” The powers than be have a history of such language manipulations: when was the last time you heard the term “unearned income?”

So, greed is not limited and then, in our culture “money is power.” The wealthy have learned how to effectively turn their wealth into political power. Somebody actually measured the return on investment, ROI, for corporate lobbying in Washington, D.C. It was approximately somewhere just south of 200:1, This means that for every $1 spent on lobbying in Washington, the corporations harvested near $200. Can you name any other endeavor that produces such an ROI? I cannot. You would have to be a fool, or not wealthy, to not to participate in this massive wealth generating machine.

The consequences of this is that ordinary people have zero standing in Congress when it comes to getting legislation passed, while the wealthy is quite well served. (I’m shocked, shocked I tell you!)

The politicians ask for very little in the way of bribes, er, campaign donations. For continuing to have the taste of power in their mouths our legislators sell out us ordinary citizens for paltry sums.

So, the wealthy are using their wealth to change the rules of the games, something Hayek didn’t foresee. (I’m shocked, shocked I tell you!)

There is an aphorism which says that every child grows up in a state of rebellion against his parents. Since the parents grew up in a state of rebellion against their parents, that makes grandparents and grandchildren natural allies. This makes sense in that if we don’t push our parents away, we will never become independent.

In Hayek’s case he was in a state of rebellion against socialist forms of government he lived under and, like every youngster, he carried it too far and idealized the opposite of what he disliked, making free-market capitalism the end all and be all politically.

It is clear to everyone that capitalism is vastly self-destructive if left to its own devices. Shackled with strong government controls it can be a very good political and economic system. The idea of free markets as an “ideal good thing” all by themselves should have died with Plato.

As Mehrsa Baradaran states later in this piece, “An examination of the recent history of private equity disproves the neoliberal myth that profit incentives produce the best outcomes for society. The passage of time has debunked another such myth: that deregulating industries would generate more vibrant competition and benefit consumers. Unregulated market competition actually led to market consolidation instead. Would-be monopolies squeezed competitors, accrued political power, lobbied for even more deregulation and ultimately drove out any rivals, leading inexorably to entrenched political power. Instead of a thriving market of small-firm competition, free market ideology led to a few big winners dominating the rest.”

But then evidence such as this impacts economists about as much as facts affect the Trump administration.

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

June 10, 2020

Defunding the Police (Poor Choice of Words, Correct Idea)

Filed under: Culture,Economics,Politics — Steve Ruis @ 10:52 am
Tags: ,

In a local newsletter here in Chicago a post entitled “Chicago Has Nearly Tripled Per-Capita Police Spending Since 1964, Data Shows” showed up today. Here’s the subtitle: ““Chicago is spending more on policing per person than at any time in the last half-century despite a persistent drop in crime over the last two decades, while the vast majority of murders remain unsolved.”

When we first moved to Chicago, we signed up to have the Chicago Tribune delivered (a desire of mine along the lines “When I retire . . .”) and the first notable news stories were an accident on the El (blamed on the train driver as they always were apparently) and a court case involving police brutality (the details of which are both gory and disgusting). It was then that we learned that the Chicago Police budget 2-3 million dollars per year to pay judgments in court cases. (You don’t pay if you win.)

If you look at the graph below, you will note that the spending was adjusted for inflation and is all “per capita” based. (Yes, that per capita, President Trump. The one that means “per person.”)

So, the common definition of insanity being doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, we do make note that as spending went up, crime went down. Correlation is not causation, now or ever, so some unpacking of the results of that spending needs to be made. And is that cost effective spending. If not, then reductions are in order.

Now, there is a lot of yada, yada, yada in the air along the lines of “if we defund the police, who will protect us?” I keep saying . . . the police do not actively protect people. If you call the police claiming that your neighbor is getting full on Jack Nicholson in The Shining, they will tell you that until he has broken the law, they cannot do anything. So, you have to wait until your neighbor kills you to file a complaint.

And what is the crime we want deterred the most?

Murder, of course.

(And, also of course, my cartoon mind pops up Jack Benny’s response to the mugger who says “Your money or your life!” And Benny’s response is “I’m thinking, I’m thinking!”)

The crime we want most to be deterred is murder. How is murder deterred? Do the police show up to prevent murders? Not often. Murders are often crimes of passion, crimes of the moment. (“It was an accident, Officer! I was robbing the guy and my gun just went off. Cheap damned thing!”) The response times for police 9-1-1 calls is not particularly good anywhere and I certainly would not bet my life on their coming to save me.

So, how are crimes deterred? By catching and locking up the criminals. Criminals in jail aren’t out on the street doing more crimes. If every (or 70% or 80%) of murders were caught and significantly punished, borderline murderers would be reluctant to put themselves in a position where they are likely to do just that.

So, the crime we want deterred the most? Murder.

The crime that Chicago’s police seems to be least effective in deterring? Murder.

So, we are paying more and more and expecting different results.

Hmmm, that’s a definition of something . . . what was it . . . ?

What Defunding the Police Actually Means
It is Business 101 that incorporating your business (I have done it, it is cheap to do.) provides protection. If you run afoul of creditors or your own bad business practices, you can disincorporate, that is kill off your corporation. When it dies, many things die with it. Labor contracts, unionization agreements, many debts . . . all gone. Some corporations disincorporate on Friday and re-incorporate on Monday (same officers, same building, same office equipment, etc.) This is what Camden, NJ did when they were unable to institute a change in the culture of their police department. They disbanded it. Killed it dead. And started up anew, from scratch, with new hiring and training standards, a new culture, new leaders, etc. This is a standard business practice, people, but calling it “Defunding the Police” was a mistake as people will misunderstand that phrase, deliberately sometimes, but innocently also. Better would have been “Disband the Department—Start Over” or “Replace This Department with a Good One.” Trying to “re form” the departments we have hasn’t worked anywhere to speak of in the U.S. And, if you don’t like a firm you hired, what do you do? You fire them and hire a new one under different terms. Donald Trump has a known tag line of “You’re fired!” so he can hardly complain. (Won’t stop him, but his complaints will be baseless.)

As I said, this is a standard business practice, so the Repubs should love it.

May 28, 2020

Climate Change . . . Have We Been Too Optimistic or Too Pessimistic?

Some enterprising climate scientist went back to the early days of climate modeling and put the actual data involved into the models instead of the hypothesized data we used back then (we didn’t have all the data needed so we made up “reasonable” estimates). What they found was that those models were very close to being spot on. Their deviation from actual values of climate change parameters was mostly due to the faulty inputs, not the models themselves. Climate change opponents at the time were scathing in their “reviews” of the climate change model predictions as being premature, not capable of being done, being pie in the sky wishful thinking on the part of the scientists. Of course, the critics that were most prominent could barely spell climate change, let alone had mastered any of the intricacies.

As time went on the models were revised and we found a data consensus (based upon data from different sources indicating the same things). But for the critics, the predictions were “overblown,” “too pessimistic,” and neglected advances in technology that would mitigate much of the changes. Again, most of these objections were not science-backed, just economics-backed, aka they said “we are making too much money to change for you airy-fairy science types.”

Now we are finding out that the dire predictions we have been hearing for the past couple of decades have been far too optimistic, that is not pessimistic enough. More than a few effects of climate change that were predicted for years or decades in the future are happening now.

In short order, I expect the climate change deniers to start saying “How could we have known?” and “Who would have predicted this?” Assholes . . . greedy assholes.

May 26, 2020

Who Suffers?

We all tend to think of what is normal for us economically is the way it has always been, but today the economic deck is stacked, possibly more so than in any previous time. And it is not stacked in your favor. It is stacked in favor of those who lend capital.

For someone to lend you money, there has to be an almost iron clad guarantee that the lender will be paid back. You almost always have to put up collateral for your loan. Fail to pay the loan back and the lender takes the collateral. So, if you buy a house, the house becomes the collateral. If you fail to pay the mortgage payment for a few months and Wham! The lender forecloses on the loan and repossesses the collateral, aka your house. All of the payments you made now count as nothing. It does not have to be this way. The “collateral” could be held by a court and put up for sale and the proceeds of the sale be split  between the two actors: the lender and buyer with the split determined by how much money had been put up so far.

But that is not the way it is. In our culture, the lender has all of the cards with almost no risk.

Consider the “Great Recession” ca. 2008. The housing market collapsed due to bad behavior on the part of realtors and lenders and suddenly mortgages that could not be paid resulted in repossessions of collateral worth far, far less that the amounts owed. So lenders bore some risk, then . . . except they used a powerful Washington, D.C. lobby to get bailed out so that they did not lose any money (or at least not so much). Were the people buying the homes also bailed out? Silly person, of course, they were not.

Lenders are so used to not having any risk associated with lending that corporations are currently awash in bad debt. They know they are okay because if anything goes wrong their “friends” in Congress and the White House, Democrat or Republican, will bail them out again. This is why economists invented the term “moral hazard,” but they do not apply it to those who line their pockets.

I have been slowly working my way through Michael Hudson’s book on how debt was handled in days long gone. I will give a larger book review (I have offered tidbits before) when I finish it.

To hold you over, here are some tidbits of Michael Hudson’s research and thinking:

“The pedigree for “act-of-God” rules specifying what obligations need not be paid when serious disruptions occur goes back to the laws of Hammurabi c. 1750 BC. Their aim was to restore economic normalcy after major disruptions. §48 of Hammurabi’s laws proclaim a debt and tax amnesty for cultivators if Adad the Storm God has flooded their fields, or if their crops fail as a result of pests or drought. Crops owed as rent or fiscal payments were freed from having to be paid. So were consumer debts run up during the crop year, including tabs at the local ale house and advances or loans from individual creditors. The ale woman likewise was freed from having to pay for the ale she had received from palace or temples for sale during the crop year.

“Whoever leased an animal that died by an act of God was freed from liability to its owner (§266). A typical such amnesty occurred if the lamb, ox or ass was eaten by a lion, or if an epidemic broke out. Likewise, traveling merchants who were robbed while on commercial business were cleared of liability if they swore an oath that they were not responsible for the loss (§103).

“It was realized that hardship was so inevitable that debts tended to accrue even under normal conditions. Every ruler of Hammurabi’s dynasty proclaimed a Clean Slate cancelling personal agrarian debts (but not normal commercial business loans) upon taking the throne, and when military or other disruptions occurred during their reign. Hammurabi did this on four occasions.

“In an epoch when labor was the scarcest resource, a precondition for survival was to prevent rising indebtedness from enabling creditors to use debt leverage to obtain the labor of debtors and appropriate their land. Early communities could not afford to let bondage become chronic, or creditors to become a wealthy class rivaling the power of palace rulers and seeking gains by impoverishing their debtors.

“Yet that is precisely what is occurring as today’s economy polarizes between creditors and debtors.”

I think you will find that some of this applies to our current situation, no?

May 11, 2020

Texas Governor Declares Texans Fit for Guinea Pig Role

The Governor of the State of Texas is allowing businesses, including barber shops, to reopen. Since barber shops can scarcely function with distancing controls in place, I assume this means without any such controls. Other states are to follow.

I guess we should thank the Republican governors supporting Donald Trump for volunteering to be guinea pigs for this pandemic.

Since (a) we still do not have enough test kits available to determine an accurate count of such cases and (b) I do not trust these shitweasel politicians to report accurate counts even if they were, we will only have the numbers of deaths in Texas as a measure of their success or failure. Shitweasel politicians are always willing to send the able-bodied into wars, disease hotbeds, etc. as long as they themselves and their families are not at risk.

Interestingly, someone looked up the normal range of deaths for the months of the pandemic, nationwide, and that number is definitely not normal, that is it isn’t in the range of the numbers of people who would die over such a period. Interestingly the “overage” is about twice the number of COVID-19 deaths, so either those deaths are being under reported or there are secondary causes for these “extra” deaths, such as medical facilities being full of coronavirus patients and not enough care is available to go around to everyone.

April 24, 2020

We Can’t Pay for Medicare for All! But . . .

Filed under: Economics,Politics — Steve Ruis @ 10:26 am
Tags: , ,

Michael Hudson is one of my favorite economists and recently he said this: “Just think of when, in the debates with Bernie Sanders during the spring, Biden and Klobuchar kept saying, ‘What we’re paying for Medicare-for-All will be $1 trillion over 10 years.’ Well, here the Fed can create $1.5 trillion in one week just to buy stocks.

“Why is it okay for the Fed to create $1.5 trillion to buy stocks to prevent rich people from losing on their stocks, when it’s not okay to print only $1 trillion to pay for free Medicare for the entire population? This is crazy!”

So, the very same corporate stooges that proclaim that we cannot possibly afford to pay for Medicare for All are more than willing to have their share prices and corporations supported to the tune of trillions of dollars.

And, of course, the costs of Medicare for All are never, ever placed side by side with the benefits, you know, in a cost-benefit analysis?

The benefits are immense, especially when you consider the savings from not having to buy health insurance. For example, according to Modern Health care, the nation’s seven largest publicly traded health insurers saw revenues of $913 billion in 2019. So, pay a trillion dollars a year for Medicare for All and get 0.913 trillion dollars back. And that is just the top seven companies. I suppose that if all of the rest of the companies were added it, the savings would be greater.

With just that benefit alone we are down to an annual cost for Medicate for All of $87 billion and that could be paid for by cancelling one small weapon system from the Pentagon’s budget.

Ca-ching! Done. Medicare for All is paid for.

Of course the opponents of universal health care in this country don’t want you to see a cost-benefit analysis. I mean, all of those numbers . . . bound to be confusing, so they just want to keep it simple (using a risk-risk analysis).

PS What ever happened to the idea of risk when investing in the stock market? The purchases are not insured, like savings in federally instituted banks. Remember all of the people the Stock Market Crash of 1929 bankrupted? Isn’t the danger of losing one’s money supposed to be a major factor in controlling risky behaviors? If the government is to bail out the poor, poor investors every time they get a financial hangnail, the whole system becomes corrupt, or should I say “has become corrupt.”

The Industrial Usurpation

(The title was to be The Industrial Revolution Usurpation, but I can’t seem to format fonts in the damned titles! SR)

Ian welsh had a fascinating take on the roots of capitalism (The Transition to Capitalism) which I recommend to you. I have excerpted much of it below to make my point, starting with …

“One of the most important things to understand about industrial capitalism is that the lower classes didn’t want it.

“Peasants did not leave the land voluntarily. They were forced off, often with violent force, in a series of enclosures, where their millennium old rights to use the land were taken together.”

“With the fields enclosed, the peasantry lost control of capital: land is capital. They couldn’t grow their own food, raise sheep for wool, chop down trees for fuel and so on.

“They were thus forced off the land, into the slums of cities and had to work for industrialists, six and a half days a week, 12 hours a day on average. They died younger, there was far more disease, they were maimed often and they lived worse.

“They knew this. They resisted. They hated.

“Capitalism, among the many things that it is, is the concentration of capital in the hands of a few people. That means access to capital is removed from most people. They must now work for someone else. In some times and places that work is nice, at others it is not, but it is a loss of control and choice.

“Peasants and free farmers in Britain had far more control over what they did and when than factory workers. In fact, they had more control than most modern American workers do today.”

“The choice for most people today is to choose their master, not to choose to have no master.”

“They control the capital. We do what they tell us to, negotiating only who wields the whip.

“That’s capitalism.

“Did it have to be that way?”

In reading this, it seems as if capitalism is the crowning achievement of civilization.

Most people consider “being civilized” as an asset, a complement even, but actually civilization occurred through force, just like the onset of industrial capitalism. Hunter-gathers had it much better than an existence as a farmer provided, but they were given no choice. Actually, they did have one choice left and that was to hightail it out of that “civilization” and apparently more than a few “farmers” did just that. They had the advantage of possessing skills in living off the land which were still quite recent. These “defections” resulted in severe labor shortages which led to large scale slave raids on neighboring populations. And, as I have mentioned before, many of these nascent civilizations didn’t last a century or in some cases even close to that length of time.

So, civilization was brought about by force. The hunter-gatherers transformed into farmers did not want it, but the elites forced the issue. Since confiscating the “surplus food” grown through forced labor supported more soldiers, the idea grew basically as the only way to stem the threat one’s neighbors now posed.

And then from the above we are able to appreciate the coup-de-grâce of industrial capitalism once again forced by elites (elites who were often more wrong than right, but they always seem to decide in their own favor somehow). The key line in the above, for me, is “The choice for most people today is to choose their master, not to choose to have no master.” Basically this says that you are born into a form of serfdom and there are very, very few ways out. This may possibly be the source of our addiction to “self-made man” mythologies, especially the ones in which an “ordinary Joe” becomes a millionaire.

If I may repeat Ian Welsh: “Did it have to be that way?” And, does it have to continue to be this way?

April 16, 2020

What The Pandemic Is Teaching Us

Filed under: Culture,Economics,Politics — Steve Ruis @ 10:53 am
Tags: ,

Nurses, waitresses, clerks, office workers, janitors, garbage men, etc. that is ordinary workers are way more valuable than CEOs.
The pandemic is the equivalent of a CEO strike. Have you notice any impact from that? Would you rather have your local garbage men working or your local CEOs? CEOs are tremendously overvalued (mostly by themselves and their hand-picked boards of governors). CEOs ratcheted their salaries up to astronomical heights and I have proposed a way to ratchet them down quite rapidly. It starts with either firing the current CEO or on the occasion that he is retiring you then offer the job to the first vice-president (or the equivalent) at half the salary. If they are insulted by the offer or just refuse, you offer the job to the second vice-president (or the equivalent) at one-quarter of the salary. If nobody inside takes the job, offer it out at half the leaving CEO’s salary. Repeat as necessary. (And, really, you don’t have to worry about the quality of the person in the job because it just isn’t that important.)

That the economy is not driven by demand but by supply is bunk and always has been.
Paid for Hire Economists launched this steaming pile of misinformation to support “supply side economics” a product of magical thinking if there ever was one. Greed is unlimited in capitalism, so politics must do the limiting, but the very rich do not like that so they bribe politicians to do things like favor them when taxes are cut. To provide some protective cover the bullshit economic theory of “supply side economics” was commissioned and paid for.

That church and state are nowhere near separate in this country, not even close.
In Florida, the state’s governor, Ron DeSantis, created a “worship exemption” in his “Safer at Home” order. His pair of executive orders forces all localities, regardless of how overwhelmed their medical facilities are or how many people are infected, to allow large gatherings in churches. Why Governor DeSantis wants to illegally allow Christians to kill themselves via virus is unknown. Maybe he has a large bet in a pool “Jesus vs. COVID-19.” Hard to say. But the state shouldn’t be exempting religions from rules designed to keep citizens alive.

Many People are Obstinate and Stupid
I admit to a certain amount of glee every time I see a preacher who insisted on keeping his (it is always a male, it seems) church open during the pandemic who then contracts the COVID-19 and dies. Apparently protection offered by the Blood of Jesus is overrated.

It also seems that stupidity has its own set of rewards and punishments built in. Another plus for evolution.

We Really Do Benefit from Not Having an Idiot in the White House
Since we are a secular country, the POTUS can act as a moral leader and, well, a cheer leader, when we encounter a major bump in the road as we are experiencing now. Having an amoral moron in the White House not only does not help but it can actually cost a lot of lives, misery, and lost economic opportunities.

April 5, 2020

Let It Begin!

Filed under: Economics,Morality,Politics — Steve Ruis @ 11:53 am
Tags: , ,

Back before the 2016 presidential election, my partner made a quasi-prediction. You remember that electron, the one between a corporate Democrat and an amoral, money-worshiping Republican? She felt that our only hope, if there was any available, was that whoever was elected would overplay their hand. I thought there to be a virtual guarantee of that happening, but she went farther, she felt that the entire corrupt system would crash and there would be “hard times” for sure but maybe, just maybe, a new system could rise from those ashes. Back then I was skeptical but now, maybe not so much.

Just this morning I read Capitalism Has Failed in Fighting Coronavirus by Richard D. Wolff, professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. And this article stated quite clearly that “ The problem of policies aimed to return the economy to what it was before the virus hit is this: Global capitalism, by 2019, was itself a major cause of the collapse in 2020. Capitalism’s scars from the crashes of 2000 and 2008-2009 had not healed. Years of low interest rates had enabled corporations and governments to ‘solve’ all their problems by borrowing limitlessly at almost zero interest rate cost. All the new money pumped into economies by central banks had indeed caused the feared inflation, but chiefly in stock markets whose prices consequently spiraled dangerously far away from underlying economic values and realities. Inequalities of income and wealth reached historic highs.” (Emphases mine.)

Hey I’ve got an idea to help those corporations: they can . . .
sell the fucking stock they bought with their fucking tax cuts!

On walking the dog this morning I saw a clear tag on many of the city trash barrels I passed “Tax the Rich!”

And our government rallied to pass a two trillion dollar relief bill, maybe 20% of which will actually go to people. These rest goes to . . . guess where . . . mostly corporations.

Have people forgotten that the recent federal tax cuts were largely a benefit to said corporations? And what did those corporations do with their windfalls. The Trump administration promised that they would use the funds to modernize, expand, hire a bunch of people and the skeptics (me included) said “Well, the last time they bought back their own stock (which used to be illegal price fixing) which enriched their shareholders and their executives.” So, what did they do this time? They bought back their own stock (which used to be illegal price fixing) which enriched their shareholders and their executives. Wow, it almost seems like déjà vu!

Hey I’ve got an idea to help those corporations: they can . . . sell the fucking stock they bought with their fucking tax cuts!

Why should we be giving corporations “relief” funding when they have been sitting on piles of cash and/or piles of their own stock, which because of their purchases, they can sell at inflated prices right now!

It is clear that any administration . . . Trump led . . . Biden led, anyone endorsed by either of these parties has their marching orders. Prop up the status quo, no matter the cost. (Why do you think they torpedoed Bernie’s campaign?)

If you want to estimate the actual costs, read the comments to the Naked Capitalism post linked to above. They are of the “maybe we need to stand a few people up against the wall and shoot them” variety.

There will be blood.

 

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