20080919

Steady at the helm!

20080918

The laissez-faire meltdown.

Look at our economic history. The regulatory regime put in under FDRs New Deal managed to smooth out the boom and bust cycle that plagued the U.S. economy in the century prior to the 1930s. The post FDR America had recessions rather than depressions. The economic cycle of boom and bust that ravaged this country between the civil war and the great depression was tamed by regulatory oversight of both Wall Street and the banking industry.

In the 1980s and 1990s a rabble of post-Reagan economic ideologues emerged from the right wing of the Republican Party. These self proclaimed Neo-Conservatives or ‘Neocons,’ sought the dismantling of FDR’s regulatory regime and a return of America to laissez-faire policies.

The Neocons apparently snoozed through history class during the lecture on the “Gilded Age,” an often glossed over period in American History; a time when laissez-faire economics so destabilized American society as to cause labor revolts and wild swings in the economy. The social, economic and political disruption was so extensive as it nearly destroyed the system of capitalism in the United States and contributed to the rise of the Bolsheviks in Europe. We did that laissez-faire experiment and it proved disastrous.

A country dominated by large unregulated monopolies is little different from a country where the state is the monopoly. Be it Corporatists or Communists; the centralized control of the populous by a corporate elite or a single political party, inevitably tends to drive countries down the path toward endless war (cold or hot) and suppression of both political and economic freedom.

Unregulated capitalism tends to destroy itself. Market capitalism works best when many independent producers and providers of goods and services, openly compete. Thus unregulated, laissez-faire capitalism, which allows the aggregation of capital, political, and economic power into the hands of the few, is destructive of the system that spawns it. Regulation is necessary.

The regulation of large business, when properly done, is good for small business. Small business can be defined as places where the owners work side by side with the workers. Somehow the Neocons managed to cleave small business people, independent consultants, entrepreneurs, and the working middle class away from progressive politics. They have successfully propagandized the idea that what is bad for the large corporation is bad for anyone seeking economic improvement. The Neocon economic illusions build on cheap energy and cheap labor, forces us now to drive past the abandoned row of walking distance neighborhood owned stores, the few cents saved at the big box alternatives taken away by declining wages and rising fuel prices. Big box stores suck the oxygen out of small town business districts and neighborhood commercial strips.

For workers, economic diversity allows many places where talent can be plied and provides many opportunities for self-improvement. Economic diversity, allows social mobility, monopoly, locks workers in. Access to education and capital allows the big brewery worker to open a micro brewery, or the big electronics company's young engineer to start a computer company. This is that story of Randy Sprecher and Steve Wosniak. Economic diversity brings opportunity, monopoly brings servitude. The domination of our country by big businesses has transformed the once proud American working class into hamburger flippers and big box store greeters.

The Neocons sold a bill of goods to the American people; they linked Liberty and personal freedom to laissez-faire economic policy. Ironically in the process they managed to strip our country of fundamental Constitutional guarantees such as the right of habeas corpus and judicial review of place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized; making a person’s, houses, papers, effects and self, open to unreasonable searches and seizures at any time or place. History evidences that the maintenance of our national Liberty is more the stead of the small shopkeeper than of the corporate Robber Barron.

Our current economic and political condition, the ill-defined and endless war on terrorism, and the deplorable erosion of our constitutional rights are the product of the Neocons.

Desperate to retain power, they fall back on doublespeak. So now these defenders of the laissez-faire resort to nationalizing lending institutions, suppressing investigation of their VP candidate’s past, and engaging in blatant voter suppression. These are the acts of desperate ideologues, desperate to retain power.

Now is the time for action. Both the Republican Party and the people of the Republic need to break the link to the Neocons. The GOP and McCain by maintaining their link to the Neocons have chained themselves a sinking ship. America needs to repudiate the Neocon philosophy and vote them out, or we, like the GOP, too shall assuredly find ourselves chained to that same sinking ship.

20080911

Palinoccio



"Palin's requests to Congress came at a time of huge federal deficits, while Alaska state revenue was soaring due to rising oil prices and a major tax increase on oil production that Palin signed into law in late 2007."
-- Palin's earmark requests: more per person than any other state

"Palin reduced the state government's requests for special projects this year to 31 earmarks totaling $198 million, about $295 person."
-- Despite cuts, Alaska earmarks still high

"Total 2008 earmark spending for Wisconsin is $182.5 million, or roughly $33 per resident, according to the database."
-- JSonline: Earmark spending has power to divide, unite