I started this diary back in January. Since then I have been very busy. I pick it up now and look at it and it still resonates.
After looking at all the proposed amendments (in congress) to supposedly "fix" the problems created by the Supreme Court Citizens United ruling I have come to the conclusion that it is the usual TwoParty Elephant and Donkey show. I will spend no more time on analysis because these amendments have been analysed to death by every left wing outfit in the USA and they all are deemed wanting because they don't do EVERYTHING the left want done. The sad truth is that what the left wants done is not what the 99% want done and the left is incapable of dealing with that FACT. The propriety of public campaign finance is highly questionable while the current government that would manage the system is as corrupt and dysfunctional as it is. Even without public finance just about every supposed attempt at amendment empowers the totally dysfunctional US congress. At least 30% of the voting public are smart enough to understand that we do not want to ensconce and/or add to the power of the TwoParty train wreck that we have. And there is another 20% of the public that have a religious aversion to any government control over what people can do with their own money as regards elections.
I have not looked at Kos in several months. But I see that little has changed and that it is electoral politics all day every day. I just read an article about how the SCOTUS wil be destroying the New Deal and public education, etc. if we don't re-elect Obama. Make no mistake. I will vote a straight Democratic ticket because the Republicans are lying filth. But the solution to this country's woes does not exist in electoral politics. We must amend our constitution to stop the top down campaign financing that destroys any hope of laws that provide for the common good.
That is what I do now. I am retired and I have the time to do it. I am a ranking member of Occupy Tacoma (Wa.), and I (with like minded friends) founded "Move to Amend Tacoma". We hosted the first Washington State convergence of Move to Amend in Tacoma even though the organization is but two months old.
I seek the convergence of the Coffee and the Tea parties along with Occupy, Public Citizen, Move to Amend and other political activist associations to bring about a constitutional amendment that insures honesty and accountability in campaigns for federal office. I am not interested in mob rule democracy or direct democracy or a national referendum. I am interested in a constitutional convention as a new institution of government that by supermajority of the citizenry can overrule the unelected Supreme Court with amendments that clarify the constitution with regard the General Welfare. There is no other legitimate purpose for government but to promote the general welfare.
I am very deeply involved in the "occupy" movement and I see the absolute necessity of making people aware of their power to change things. The focus of the movement on the 1% that has far too much control over the 99% is proper and well reasoned. For unlike economic progress and economic development, where the outcomes can be greater than the sum of the parts, power is a zero sum affair. One does not gain power lest others lose it. And a move to diminish the power of the 1% is a move to grow the power of the rest. The power of the 1% can also be diminished by empowering the people directly. But that is not the current public perception and preoccupation. The public is an emotional lynch mob at all times. And those who do not "play" to that emotionalism will not succeed in getting anything done. It is always the "shock doctrine". We must seize the moment or be left behind.
This is the time for a constitutional amendment for several reasons. But the most important reason of all may be to illustrate that the people can, in fact, change the constitution in spite of the current government and the current corporations.
While there is no such thing as a free lunch, the question arises as to who buys when money is created by government or by banks and not then extinguished by tax collections or repayments of loans. The previous sentence delivers a major educational thrust and asks a question to bring the point home. It will probably meet the same fate as any other diary here on Kos that is not aimed at "he said, she said" or some new way to criticize Republicans. For the emotional touchy feelies it is not worthy of consideration in that it does not directly address the eeeeeeeevil Republicans. Yet it lies at the heart of the current lying crap we see in every Republican initiative and the base Republican position. Unfortunately, it is also being embraced by Democrats as well.
Like everyone else, I have been watching the OWS stuff and I will be participating this coming Saturday in Seattle or Tacoma. I have seen quite a bit of the stuff concerning grievances and understand that, in the opinion of many, it is not our job to legislate proper changes to address the grievances. Yet I can't help but interpret the 99% proposition as a simple statement concerning the lack of proper representation of the common people in their government. For if the government actually did represent the common people then how would it be that 99% of us are disenfranchised? And, of course, the problem is that we aren't adequately represented.
So the question arises as to why, with all the screeching and moaning and wailing and sobbing, we have yet to see any of the myriad spokespersons and pundits, call for an increase in the representation of the common people? What I mean by this, is why have we not seen a call for an increase in the number of representatives and thus, much more locally accountable representatives that hold office BECAUSE they actually represent? After all, the smaller the group being represented, then the more representative a person elected by the group WILL be.
If it isn't then I don't see why. So maybe ya'll can take a crack at it. Tell me why a highly progressive income tax on financial institutions is not the correct remedy for "too big to fail". As a matter of interest, why isn't a highly progressive income tax on all corporations the best way to prevent monopolistic price gouging? Like if your institution earns 10$ per share and the number of shares outstanding is less than 250k then the tax bite is also small. But if the number of shares outstanding is very large then the aggregate amount of income will be severely taxed. This would seem to keep shares divested among competing enterprises. No one is deprived of profiting from competitive efforts and innovative performance while corporations cannot become too big to fail. I am not going to propose the actual brackets, but brackets that taxed the current big banks at about 90% would seem to be the proper medicine. No need to regulate them directly. Just make it to where they will have to bust themselves up or feed the government kitty.
In several articles of late we have seen an exposition of LEGAL and CONSTITUTIONAL usage of Treasury Seigniorage to facilitate direct job creation by the federal government. I have been arguing that such an action on the part of the president would be political disaster whether it is legal and constitutional or not. I have argued that the use of Treasury Seigniorage (The Magic Coin) can however be used to empower/urge/convince the FED that it should attend to the unemployment side of its dual mandate and to also force the congress into dealing with the current situation in a reality based manner.
It is the THREAT of the seigniorage that provides the political muscle to call out both the FED and the congress. Treasury seigniorage absolutely ends any threat from the "debt limit" law. And that is precisely how the seigniorage should be used. The threat will also force the pundits, the economists, and the politicians to deal with the facts of fiat money as opposed to continuing the lies they have been spinning. In my opinion, that is all that is necessary.
The recent diary entitled An Open Letter to Michelle Obama simply goes way too far in its assertion of pure communism. What's that you say? It isn't about communism? Well, that may be. But it will be about communism if it ever rises above the noise level. You can bet all yer chips that the various rightarded organizations will devote major resources to defining it exactly that way and that Obama would not have a snowball's chance in hell of being re-elected on this sort of total clown suit platform.
The FED was using "quantitative easing" to drive down interest rates. The Republicans are using the "debt limit" law to prevent this. The overriding objective of the Republicans is to make rich people more rich. And rich people are those that "have all the money". Any deterioration in the VALUE of money will be bad for the rich.
Those are not guesses. Those are facts. But what is not understood or appreciated is the actual meaning of the word "value" as that term applies to money itself. The measure of wealth in this capitalistic society is the capacity to command the labor of others. Those with gobs of money can purchase or command the labor of those who have only enough money to live hand to mouth. The Republicans believe that rich people are the representatives of God. If God had not meant them to control the lives of others then God would not have made them rich. These idiocies must be recognized and dealt with in order to properly evaluate the actions of the FED in serving its DUAL role in regard to money.
This is my third diary concerning the proper mechanism for funding disaster relief. I am quite befuddled as to the reason for my obvious inability to communicate what I see as a very straight forward proposition that is akin to "water is wet". It is, to me, quite amazing that people are rejecting the proposition. And perhaps, try as I may. I am simply failing to accurately define the proposition. I arrive at that conclusion because rejecting the actual proposition is senseless. Perhaps the definition of "disaster relief" is not clear enough. So I will define it as "a widespread destructive event arising from natural happenstance such as hurricanes and earthquakes in which there is no purposeful human activity involved in bringing about the disaster". This does not include infrastructure development to manage flooding and the like. It only includes the relief efforts involving people displaced by the NATURAL events. The reason for this strict definition is that the proposed financing of the relief effort is too broad to be used to "rebuild" local infrastructure. That sort of thing must be done using loans and local resources. FEMA should not be paying out funds from the treasury to rebuild the Louisiana levies. "disaster relief" terminates a short period of time following the actual disaster and it is the cost of feeding and housing displaced persons and providing assistance in getting low interest loans for the rebuild. There is NO WAY that ANY FEMA money should be being spent more than six months after the disaster.
The funds necessary to disaster relief should be created from thin air by the US Treasury or through a grant to the treasury from the FED. In the financial meltdown the FED created trillions of dollars to "rescue" the rich people that CAUSED the disaster. Where is the FED when the common people need a "bail out" from a disaster they DIDN'T cause? I am not suggesting that any other funding be done in this manner. ONLY "disaster relief". The Congress should KNOW that the relief effort is OFF BUDGET.
The creation of this additional money is a FLAT TAX on financial wealth. It is assessed to all financial wealth at the same rate. In the case of the current hurricane and earthquake amount of five billion it would be a one time devaluation of the real money aggregate amounting to two tenths of one percent. (the real money aggregate is M3 plus all the Treasury debt. And that sum is about 26 trillion dollars). And five billion divided by 26 thousand billion = .000192308.
The amount of money in anyone's bank account or in anyone's wallet remains unchanged.
This should be the standard mechanism for dealing with disaster relief. FEMA should be OFF BUDGET because "disaster relief" is so well defined yet totally UNPLANNED as to the amounts necessary and the timing of the disasters. That FEMA should have a budget is fine. But the FEMA budget should be totally separate from the general revenue budget and have no effect on the general revenue budget. The NEW money approach does that quite well.
The impasse over disaster relief is a marvelous example of abject stupidity as well as blithering ignorance of both the concept of fiat money and the concept of insurance. When an insured disaster strikes, the policy holders are billed for the cost to address the problem. And the best way to bill them all appropriately is to create the money needed to address the disaster and spend it into the economy without any additional debt and without any additional taxation. Be sure to understand that the congress must approve the measure in any event. But all the pig shit about it being part of the planned budget is ridiculous on the face of it. Shit happens. And when it happens it should be addressed in such a way as to minimize the adverse effect on the community as a whole. The addition of 4 or 5 billion dollars to the current money pool is not going to cause any adverse effects because the total money pool is so large at present that even 10 billion won't make even a minor ripple. The M2 aggregate is more than 9 trillion according to the Federal Reserve. Any moron that thinks adding 5 billion to that pool will make even a tiny dent needs to learn a few things about money.
In thinking about FEMA and disaster relief I have settled on what I believe is a fair and rational distribution of the cost of addressing disasters such as major hurricanes, earth quakes, floods, and the like. I hasten to add that some of the funds MAY be considered loans in some instances such as the Katrina incident. We will discuss the rationale for "loans" as opposed to outright relief below. But the basic idea is to fund pure disaster relief with newly created money as opposed to adding these relief funds to the budget or the national debt. When congress considers the funding of disaster relief, the consideration should be ove how much NEW money will be created to tend to the role of FEMA in addressing the immediate needs of the victims. Such monies should not add to the debt or to tax burdens. Such monies should be created by Treasury seignoriage or by direct monetary creation by the FED. It is important to say that such "printing of money" is suggested ONLY for disaster relief and, as such, all the booger-man stories of the inflation monster can be kept in the can where they belong. The amount of new money in the system that would result from actual disaster relief is not going to create a Weimar Republic hyperventilation.