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There was this amazing nugget today by Post business columnist Steven Pearlstein:

It is only in the world of Chamber of Commerce propaganda that businesses exist to create jobs. In the real world, businesses exist to create profits for shareholders, not jobs for workers. That's why they call it capitalism, not job-ism. There's no reason to beat up on business owners and executives simply because they're doing what the system encourages them to do.

This bears repeating: "businesses exist to create profits for shareholders, not jobs for workers."

It's a truth that we on the left sometimes ignore, to our own peril.

Our entire economy is set up so that we are reliant on "jobs" as our only source of income, as well as our health insurance, our place in society, our self-image, etc.

We desperately need jobs, but the corporations who control the jobs don't need us. In fact, they are making huge profits now because they have found that they can get along just fine with less workers.

So why is it that we have this irrational economy where so many millions are so reliant on jobs, which are becoming ever more transitory, elusive, and hard to find?

How can working people have any economic security at all when we are so reliant on jobs? How can we fix this problem?

The history of the last 150 years is filled with the struggle between capital and labor, the owners and the workers, over how much of the profits should go to the workers.  How's that been going lately? Private sector union membership in the US is now down to 7% and dropping, and corporations have moved jobs across the globe with impunity, looking for the lowest labor costs.

As more jobs get replaced by technology and businesses figure out how to do more with less workers, working people will continue to come out on the losing end of this battle with business. I wonder if it's the only battle we should be fighting right now.

Maybe we should acknowledge that businesses will always be looking to cut labor costs, and that we'll never have enough power to force them to act otherwise.

Maybe we should accept the nature of capitalism and instead of fighting it, we should find new solutions to get what we want: economic security for all--decent income, affordable health care, a retirement with dignity.

If we can't get those things from private employers, that leaves two options: jobs or income now, to steal the slogan from the 60s.

We could insist on government creating enough good jobs for everyone, a full employment program. This would at least force private businesses to pay employees enough so that they could compete with government for employees.

If businesses don't exist to create jobs for workers, maybe government programs should. There's probably enough work out there to be done, such as cleaning up our cities, repairing our crumbling infrastructure, teaching our children, etc.

A full employment program would cost a fortune, but it would ensure a thriving economy, as all workers would have a decent income, which would stimulate the economy as a whole.

A less expensive and more efficient option would be to just provide income directly to the American people. Just cut out the middle-man and provide every American with enough income to at least get by, and then they would have to work at jobs for whatever income they want on top of their basic universal income.

This approach de-emphasizes "jobs." Instead of dominating American life, jobs could be things that we do to earn extra money, be productive in society, use our talents, and interact with others. If work and jobs become less "all or nothing," then they might be more enjoyable and workers might be more happy.

Either way, it seems like as a society we need to rethink our economy and acknowledge that we can't count on jobs from corporations as our sole means of income anymore.

The job trends of today--massive unemployment, outsourcing, part-time work, using "independent contractors" instead of full-time employees, etc.--will continue to expand in the future.

Corporations are sitting on a huge pile of money--because they are afraid of the state of the economy, which is bad because there are not enough jobs. We're stuck in a vicious cycle, and we can't count on corporations to do the right thing. We can only count on them to do what is best for their bottom line. And if we owned a business, we'd probably do what is best for our bottom line also.

Instead of trying to convince them to create new jobs, or pay their current employees more, maybe we should just have them pay an Economic Security Tax and give that money directly to the American people.

Providing the people with a basic universal income would actually help corporations by ensuring a strong consumer base and stimulating the economy, and lead to even greater profits down the road. We've tried trickle-down economics, and it didn't work. Let's try Rise Up Economics instead.

We should use our strength in numbers in the voting booth to create a new kind of economy that establishes economic security for all, outside of the corporate job box that we are stuck in.

We can't change the essential nature of business. But by acknowledging that, we can make other changes that provide working people with a better life and help companies' bottom lines in the long run. We can have an economy that works for everyone, but only if we think outside of the jobs box.

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Originally posted to RiseUpEconomics on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 08:58 AM PDT.

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    "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon

    by RiseUpEconomics on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 08:58:38 AM PDT

  •  We Don't Need New Solutions, We've Got a 70 Year (43+ / 0-)

    historic record of fixing these problems, seeing the results, then destroying the remedies, and then seeing those results.

    The American box has the answers to every issue except climate change. And frankly we could get most of the way there via alternative energy, modeling what we've done in the past to support war manufacture.

    There's absolutely no reason other than suicidal policy that outsourcing or any of these other issues "will continue."

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 09:11:31 AM PDT

  •  Very perceptive on the part of the newspaper (11+ / 0-)

    writer and this Kos diarist.  Thanks for the focus.

  •  it's too easy to get people to vote resentment (10+ / 0-)

    instead of pocketbook.

    sadly

  •  Can't we 'fight back' (8+ / 0-)

    with stronger unions, as well? More unionized workers?

    •  Yes, definitely (8+ / 0-)

      Workers need to join together at the jobs that are still here, for sure. I think we're all looking for ways to go beyond workplace-by-workplace organizing, and seeking a way to win big for working people. Having a big federal jobs program or a basic income would help private sector workers feel more secure in standing up to their bosses and standing together with their co-workers.

      "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon

      by RiseUpEconomics on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 09:22:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You need to change the image of Unions (7+ / 0-)

        I work in high tech / statistics.  The preception (not reality) is that Unions make life easy on workers.  Make sure they aren't over-worked and unions are designed to protect unions.  High-tech 20-30 year olds work 80 hours a week and don't want another set of paywork and authority figures getting in the way of them getting work done.

        They work 80 hours a week and are salaried.  They get 2 weeks of time off a year.  (That includes sick days.)  When they take time off, they have their computers, iPhones, and Blackberries with them 24-7.

        Do you think a few union work rules could help them?

        But they see unions as the people who make sure the janitors don't have to work too hard.

        (Again, don't flame me ... this is the preception and why their is 7% union membership.  My brother-in-law is the hardest working person I know and he is a Union Master Electrican.)

        I will not step foot in or do any business with AZ until they respect human rights!

        by Edge PA on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:13:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Union membership is low because the rules (18+ / 0-)

          now favor the business ownership.  Been that way  since Reagan broke the Air Traffic Controllers Union in the 1980's.

          Have you tried to unionize a shop lately?  Even if  the majority of workers want it - management can basically delay the vote until the cows come home so they can 'persuade' employees not to vote for the union.

          Employers can hold propaganda meetings everyday with employees - lying to them about what a union does.  The union organziers have no such platform to disseminate rebuttal information easily.

          The employer has all the advantages ... and the ability to spread lies about Unions is one of the biggest.

          EFCA would have helped to level the playing field in many ways ...but it has been consigned to the dustheap for reasons of 'political expediency'.

          "But such is the irresistable nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants is the liberty of appearing." -Thomas Paine

          by Tommymac on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:26:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  In the Tech World (4+ / 0-)

            Which needs union work rules ...

            Corperations have to do none of that.  The over worked, underpaid, 24-7-365 on call workers don't want the union.  Its a non-starter ...

            That needs to be fixed first.

            I will not step foot in or do any business with AZ until they respect human rights!

            by Edge PA on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:27:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Too much Faux News...very hard to (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tommymac

              change that sort of mindset. Young ITs see themselves as professionals and identify with the Repuglican brand even though it goes against their own personal interests. Very sad. All you can do is try reasoning with them one at a time...there are some excellent statistics to start with right here on this thread. Young Repugs need to understand that if they're not making millions of dollars a year, their party doesn't give two squats about them. It's definitely not their father's party anymore.

              Spill Baby Spill~Stop Offshore Drilling!

              by Wild Starchild on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 05:11:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Silicon Valley (0+ / 0-)

                is not watching Fox News.  If they watch the news, it is a clip of the Daily Show or the Colbert Report.  They just don't see either the government or unions as being part of the solution.

                I will not step foot in or do any business with AZ until they respect human rights!

                by Edge PA on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 05:56:02 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I know ... I am one. (0+ / 0-)

              I joined Working America to have just a little voice...

              ...ironically one of my family members is high up in a major union (or what is now considered to be a 'major' union) ... I march with them in the Pittsburgh Labor Day parade every year...but even they say there is no hope for my field until the attitudes change...

              ... my peers bitch about the horrible working conditions all the time out of one side of their mouths, but then bash unions as unAmerican out of the other...sigh.

              "But such is the irresistable nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants is the liberty of appearing." -Thomas Paine

              by Tommymac on Sat Jul 31, 2010 at 07:00:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  And if after all of this the workers do (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RiseUpEconomics, Tommymac

            vote in a union, management delays having contract negotiations sometimes for years. And they get away with it. Even if the NLRB tries to force them to the table, they still delay.

            Barbara Lee and Howard Dean Speak for me! -9.25 -9.18

            by laurak on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 01:54:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  best way to improve the image (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Justina, hold tight, Edge PA

          would be for unions to back a big new effort for jobs or income, something that would help all workers, not just protect jobs of their own members.

          "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon

          by RiseUpEconomics on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:28:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  funny how perceptions change... (8+ / 0-)

          ...as you get older: 20 to 30 yr olds never think they'll get sick----or even get old, for that matter!
          Working 80 hrs a week (w/o keeling over) is perhaps feasible when you're 23---or on meth---but eventually you come down & begin to value advocacy against throwing you out with the trash 'coz you got sick or pregnant.
          As for 7% membership: another example of perception. A history of Supreme & Federal court decisions since the 1920's documents the corporatists'  long-term, well-funded campaign to gut the labor movement. Heck, in the '70's we were told that union greed was what caused overseas outsourcing. Everyone believed it---until non-unionized industries began to suffer the same fate

    •  But EFCA was tabled by this administration. n/t (3+ / 0-)

      "But such is the irresistable nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants is the liberty of appearing." -Thomas Paine

      by Tommymac on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:17:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Another issue nobody seems to get - (57+ / 0-)

    there's a difference between business and corporations.  Corporations exist to make money for their shareholders.  Business exists to provide goods or services.  What's good for business is good for America - and American workers.  What's good for corporations is good only for corporations (and their high share-holding CEOs) and is usually pretty bad for everybody else.

    One solution - aside from the "full employment" public programs (and yes, we most assuredly have the work that needs to be done - including some $5 trillion, with a "t", in infrastruce maintenance/upgrades that needed to have been started years ago and the weatherization/efficiency retrofits that could lower our carbon output by 10% or more) - is worker-owned companies.  Worker-owned companies, even if they are corporations which mostly they are not, puts that net income back into the hands of the workers.

    •  whether it's a business or corporation, (12+ / 0-)

      whether they are producing a product or providing a service, the goal is to do so in a way that creates a profit. Creating jobs is just a by-product of the main goal, and oftentimes it's something that gets in the way.

      "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon

      by RiseUpEconomics on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 09:37:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Post-capitalism is what we have now (22+ / 0-)

        In the real world, businesses exist to create profits for shareholders, not jobs for workers

        Businesses nowadays don't even create profits for shareholders; most of what would be the profits are stolen by upper management.  How many businesses are there that pay a decent dividend?  Why should they, when their share prices are supported by 401Ks?  And the Federal Reserve has managed interest rates down to near zero, so there is effectively nowhere to put your money but the stock market, which may get slammed tomorrow?

        We are all captive to this no-win situation.

        The sleep of reason brings forth monsters. --Goya

        by MadScientist on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 09:47:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Mom and Pop businesess (11+ / 0-)

        In a way they do exist to create jobs - for Mom and Pop. If they have more work than they can do, then they hire Son; and if there is even more work they hire you and me; and those subsequent hires are a result of business demands for their goods or services. But for those first jobs, the driving force probably is the jobs.

        "I want to apologize for that misconstrued misconstruction." Rep Joe Barton

        by Catte Nappe on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:00:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bingo - small businesses produce (7+ / 0-)

          something like 80% of the jobs out there.  And that's why a financial system that refuses to loan money to small business results in permanent unemployment.  Unfortunately small business doesn't have the political clout of major corporations.  Concentrated capital can buy politicians.  Example would be in the Pacific Northwest - fishing industry, largely small businesses, has been going under due to the environmental consequences of a relatively unfettered lumber industry combined with an equally unfettered utility industry, largely a few major corporations.  And yet all those fishing businesses actually hire more people than the lumber and utility industries.  Another example is the Gulf Coast - Big Oil trashes the fishing and tourism industries even though the latter hire more people (although usually Big Oil manages to do it a bit more covertly and over a longer period of time than the recent BP blowout).

        •  Thank you. I'm a small business owner (15+ / 0-)

          (Mom and Pop size business). We wanted a source of income that gave us more control over our lives than we could have working for someone else.  So, yes, our business was started to make money, but that money doesn't come without a lot of hard work on my husband's and my part. So, yes, we created our own jobs.  We live basically paycheck to paycheck, but it's enough to pay the bills. One of the things we feel good about is that we have worked hard enough to be able to afford to hire a couple of people.  While we could continue to do all the work ourselves and take home all the pay, it is well worth it to be able to take a little time off and rely on others occasionally. So, we've created a few jobs (low-paying, admittedly, but jobs nonetheless.)

          One small step to encouraging businesses to hire more workers would have been single payer universal health care.  It would have removed the need to get a job in order to have access to affordable health care, and allowed businesses to hire people, regardless of age or preexisting health conditions, who are best qualified for the job (in my case, who are the best at making me more money!) Too often businesses make hiring - and firing - decisions based on how expensive an employee is to keep.  That means older workers are kicked out the door.  Or, in my case, we cannot afford to offer health insurance because it is just too damn expensive for us.  

          A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. -Greek proverb

          by marleycat on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:28:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  one excellent place to start psychologically (11+ / 0-)

            is to separate the concept of a 'job' with 'work'.

            A job is something someone else gives you and work is something every single person does in one way or another. There are in fact very FEW totally unproductive members of any culture or any society and if they are it is usually for physical or emotional or mental disabilities and incapacities.

            Until people start to see ALL members of their societies as valuable and potentially productive the requisite mind change cannot take place.

            Visualise an image of Stephen Hawking if you have trouble with this construct!!!

            •  Excellent thought! (5+ / 0-)

              It seems to me that reducing and eventually removing the need to compete for survival from the concept of being a productive member of a society ("This job sucks but I need it so I can get health insurance")would go a long way to solving many of the ills of what we see in today's society. Since everyone contributes in some way, they should be given the means to continue contributing without having to divert their attention to just trying to survive.

              A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. -Greek proverb

              by marleycat on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:47:59 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Not really - a business does (6+ / 0-)

        need to show a profit, that's the income of the person who started it, but the purpose of the business is to produce goods or services.  When I had my "secretarial service" as we called them back then, my purpose was to provide "typing" services for people who needed them.  (We're talking very early PC-era here.)  I did theses for masters candidates, presentations for "experts" going to various symposia, etc.  I needed $x in income to stay in business and $x+ to expand (which I never got, business lasted 19 months by which time PCs had caught on and my business was caput).  My concern was to do a good job so I'd get "word of mouth" (free) advertising and repeat business.  The local farmer I get my veggies from needs enough money to stay on the farm and enough more to live comfortably, but they are concerned about growing a good quality product to keep their customers.  That's their purpose.  If my business had "taken off" I'd have hired people to deal with it.  Some of the farmers I get stuff from - especially the fruits and berries - hire harvest workers (yes, the wages for harvest workers suck - but they are wages still).  The purpose is to produce good quality ripe produce, the sales from which pay production costs (including worker wages) and enough over to cover emergencies, bad years, and a living for the farmer.

        A corporation doesn't care what is being sold at the lower levels (which is why you can get some really strange combinations under the same corporate ownership) because its purpose is to make money for the stockholders (and bundles of money for the CEOs under current rules).  To a certain extent corporations don't even care if a business they own isn't successful as they can use the tax write-off.  Oil companies like it when the product is perceived to be scarce because they can jack prices.  Corporations don't care about quality, service, or anything else a business cares for.  Businesses are necessary for a comfortable life in any society, corporations are not.

        •  Business vs corporation (6+ / 0-)

          What you describe as the differences also explains how it happens that a highly successful local or regional business can suddenly deteriorate in the quality of the product or services - and most often investigation reveals they have been bought by a giant corporation.

          "I want to apologize for that misconstrued misconstruction." Rep Joe Barton

          by Catte Nappe on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:14:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Bingo. And frequently it was a (3+ / 0-)

            "hostile takeover" - the giant corporation drove them to the edge of bankruptcy (or even over the edge of bankruptcy) and then bought them out.  A giant corporation can afford to make no profit or even run negative for long enough to put a small business out of business.  It's an investment in "market share" for them, but life and death to the small business.

            •  Worker coops. (4+ / 0-)

              I applaud your bringing up worker coops above.  They do constitute a real alternative.

              I would disagree with the diarist's response to your point.  Worker coops do not need to be profit driven.  They will need to be economically viable, but that is far different from maximization of profit being the only goal.  Worker or community coops can choose a variety of goals, including the long term welfare of the workers and the community.

              I think our current economic problems may provide an opportunity to use different business models and organizational methods.  When a privately owned company closes down operations, communities in coordination with workers and unions could take over the plant's assets.  They're only worth pennies on the dollar anyway.  Worker coops could take over management or some combination of plant workers and members of the community.

              Such businesses aren't going to close up and move operations to Asia.  They're going to be concerned about the impact on the community of pollution.  They'll pay a fair wage because it will be the workers setting the wage.

              Such things are not merely the dreams of utopians.  Such worker coops have been operating in Basque Spain for decades and the United Steelworkers are now working with the umbrella organization of these coops, Mondragon, to bring some of these concepts to the U. S.  The Cleveland Foundation has funded a worker coop in one of that city's poorest neighborhoods to provide laundry service for Cleveland Clinic.  It's called the Cleveland Model.  And Naomi Klein made a movie, "The Take," about Argentinian workers who took over closed plants in that country and continue to operate them today.

              Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men, for the nastiest of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all. - JM Keynes

              by goinsouth on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 12:44:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I had really hoped somebody (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                goinsouth, RiseUpEconomics

                would have the gumption, energy, or whatever to do that about 15 years ago when Levi Strauss closed their 501 jeans factory here.  Nope.  To be fair, it takes more than energy and hard work - it also takes some capital and a sales force that can find outlets who want the quality whether or not it comes with the nationally-known label.  Even if the workers are able and willing to take pay cuts or pay deferments until things get rolling (and a paycheck-to-paycheck household can't), there's got to be enough capital to pay for the materials to make whatever your plant makes - and the utilities to keep the lights on, the line moving, and the phones working.  Still it is a viable alternative to what we've got and I hope more and more workers find ways to do just that.

    •  Why think of "corporations" VS "business"? (8+ / 0-)

      Making a distinction between "corporation" as a separate entity from "business"?
      This doesn't make any sense. Here's part of the basic Wiki definition of a corporation:

      A corporation is an institution that is granted a charter recognizing it as a separate legal entity having its own privileges, and liabilities distinct from those of its members. There are many different forms of corporations, most of which are used to conduct business.

      Corporations exist as a product of corporate law, and their rules balance the interests of the management who operate the corporation, creditors, shareholders, and employees who contribute their labor.[2] In modern times, corporations have become an increasingly dominant part of economic life.

      An important feature of corporation is limited liability. If a corporation fails, shareholders normally only stand to lose their investment, and employees will lose their jobs, but neither will be further liable for debts that remain owing to the corporation's creditors.

      Many small business are incorporated. I think some here are thinking of corporations as huge, powerful entities that have an enormous amount of political and economic control, separate from "business." Putting that aside, think of the "privileges" that accrue to corporations of all sizes due to tax breaks, subsidies, limited liability, etc. That's why many small business owners incorporate also. The bigger the business gets, the more "privileges" they get. Those privileges are built into tax law, regulations, statutes in all aspects of law. That's what we should be looking into.

      What Steven Pearlstein wrote in the WaPo, which is the subject of this diary, about "Chamber of Commerce propaganda" is true, of course. But the Chamber of Commerce acts on different levels in business, from local Chambers to the U.S. Chamber. They are electing judges across this country in a huge push to get "pro-busilness/anti-consumer" decisions on many levels of the court system. So examine how laws, regulations, etc. are written affecting all levels of business. (One example that comes to mind is the pathetic compensation that is made to victims of accidents in the workplace, which is highly dependent on states' workers' comp regulations.) Laws affecting all sizes of corporations should reward job growth, consumer protections, etc. but those for larger corporations should not be based on how much political power and corporate money pays for a different set of laws.

      •  Some small businesses are (4+ / 0-)

        incorporated but most are not.  Once upon a time a corporate charter was hard to get, cost money, and had to be renewed periodically.  Then the states went into a "race to the bottom" on ease of incorporation.  Once a company had to prove that it was in the public interest for them to be incorporated.  Now you can incorporate online even in the U.S. - and as to internationally...

        Yes, the abuses inherent in the current system need to be addressed if we are to remain a free nation, nevermind actually ever get out of this economic hole we're in - but there is a difference between business and corporations.  There have been businesses for much longer than there have been corporations.  Without business everybody has to do everything for themselves - build their own shelters from materials they find or make, grow/acquire their own food, ditto clothing, etc.  Business is the division of labor that permits a society to exist as such.  Corporations are a specialized subset of business that is not necessary for the existance of society.

        •  Small businesses do not incorporate? (0+ / 0-)

          Small businesses that hire employees do avail themselves of corporate status. Even small businesses with only the principal as an employee do too. The S Corporation status is often employed. From personal experience -- and not as an attorney or accountant -- I can say that it has been easy and very inexpensive to incorporate one's own businss oneself. I did it in the 1970's by mail. There were lots of books at the bookstores and libraries telling you how to do it. Of course it's much easier today.

          You mention abuses in the current system and there are those, of course. But I was really referring to tax law that has been passed and refined over the years. I mean people who obey the tax laws but have unfair advantages that harm our economy and jobs. Just look at the FinREG bill that just passed to see how corporate money can get anything it wants without much of a whimper from the Administration and Congress. And that's with Democrats in the majority...

        •  Sorry but that's just wrong (0+ / 0-)

          virtually every business is a corporation. If you're not a corporation then you can't even open a bank account. Why would any business owner not incorporate? It doesn't even make any sense.

          •  Sole ownerships and small (0+ / 0-)

            partnerships (having few partners) seldom incorporate although truthfully it is incredibly easy to incorporate.  But you can definitely open a business bank account without incorporating.  There is a legal difference between business and corporation, but banks consider a commercial account to be a commercial account no matter whether the business in question is incorporated or not.

    •  Agreed, But Where Are You Getting the $5 Tril (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wild Starchild

      $5 Trillion in infrastructure repair/maintenance cost?

      The ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) grades the condition of our national infrastructure on a regular basis.

      the last I checked we're at grade "D" with F being FAIL. their recommendation for expenditure for infrastructure repair is $1.5-$2 Trillion.

      "It's pretty clear human beings aren't improving". Spencer Greenberg - Rebellion Research

      by Superpole on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:51:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Most of those are "commons" things (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Superpole

        and need to be dealt with through the public sector - and paid for with taxes specifically targeting the high users.  As to the number, it was from an ASCE report but counted not only what needs to be done right now in maintenance (the $1.5-2 trillion you mention), but also upgrades over the next 5 years.  I wish I had the link to the article I got that from, but I didn't read it on the internet and no longer have the journal.

    •  Yes, more worker owned corps.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justina, Words In Action

      Like Alvarado  Bakery in San Fran:

      Alvarado Street Bakery  is one of the most successful worker-owned cooperatives in the US. It provides quality baked goods to its customers nationwide. For over 20 years Alvarado Street Bakery has been a leader in producing healthy, organic whole grain breads.
      //SNIP//
      Currently the average hourly worker/member earns $30 dollars an hour that is augmented by a robust benefit and 401k plan.  On top of the compensation package worker/members have also had yearly redemption of stock dividends that has averaged around $14,000 per year.

      Also, found this cool link, The US Federation of Worker Cooperatives

      Spill Baby Spill~Stop Offshore Drilling!

      by Wild Starchild on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 05:29:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Needs more clarification . . . (0+ / 0-)

      Businesses are incorporated -- literally they are corporations.  Individuals can legally incorporate themselves too in most states (e.g. a lot of self-employed people do this for tax purposes).

      Maybe you're trying to make a distinction here between large corporations with no loyalties and no ties to local communities, and small businesses (corporations) who can only flourish if they are also good local citizens.  

      The key difference here though becomes size -- not between "business" and "corporations".  Unless a business is owned by a hedge fund, in which it's continued existence might be solely for the owners to gut out the remaining value and leverage it into oblivion (e.g. as happened to Red Roof Inn); odds are the business/corporation exists to provide goods and services at the highest possible profit level.  A business that values relationships with its customers and depends on its customers might take a longer term view of the profitability question, but odds are they're still in business to make money.

  •  It's the right who has a problem with this (25+ / 0-)

    and their fantasy that there is a connection between profits and job creation. I think people on the left understand that there is a greater connection between profits and job cutting, than profits and job creation.

    I'm not worried about your state of mind, 'cause, you're not the revolutionary kind - Gomez

    by jhecht on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 09:25:12 AM PDT

  •  I'm all in favor of getting money for (11+ / 0-)

    nothing and the chicks are free.  Works for me.  Not sure how we'd pay for it but that's not my worry.  Is cable included?

    I don't belong to an organized party, I'm a democrat.

    by thestructureguy on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 09:25:46 AM PDT

    •  Ask and thou shalt receive (10+ / 0-)

      Sometimes I think that we on the left dream too small. We don't have a vision of how the world could be. There's definitely enough money and resources out there--it's just stuck in the hands of a small group of people.

      What would life be like if you had a Working People's Trust Fund?  What if we were all semi-rich?

      "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon

      by RiseUpEconomics on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 09:30:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Precisely! What could possibly be better than (3+ / 0-)

      collecting an income from the larger society without an obligation to contribute anything in return.  We could all sit in our pajamas engaging in our amusement of choice knowing the rent is paid and there's plenty of beer in the fridge and a pizza in the freezer.

      Question:  If we're all indulging ourselves in our favorite recreation, who's gonna pay the economic security tax?

      "I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth." - Molly Ivins

      by Involuntary Exile on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 09:35:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Is that what you would do? (5+ / 0-)

        I suppose it depends on how much income folks receive, but the idea behind the basic income is that people would get enough to put them over the poverty level. So let's say that's somewhere between $12,000 and $15,000. Would you be satisfied with that? Wouldn't you work for something more? Wouldn't you want to contribute?

        I suppose there could be a previous work requirement; you work and pay taxes for 5 years to qualify, or something like that.

        "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon

        by RiseUpEconomics on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 09:40:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There are plenty of people who would be content (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          theotherside, FreeStateDem

          do little or nothing if they had $12k - $15k coming in like effin' magic every year.  Do you have any idea how many young people between the ages of 18 and 30 live with their parents, content to do little or nothing so long a mom and dad are willing to put a roof over their heads and food on the table?  It used to be the province of the idle rich, but now indulgent parents with indolent offspring can be found  in large numbers among all economic classes.

          I know people who live on less than $12k a year right now.  They happen to be living on social security.  Sure, they live modestly, but they aren't eating cat food. Thing is, they are old, spent a lifetime working, and are no longer physically capable of working. If an uneducated 22-year-old got a $1k social security check every month, how much incentive would he have to get off his ass, find a job and move out of his mother's house?

          "I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth." - Molly Ivins

          by Involuntary Exile on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 09:57:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  so some strings attached then (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            laurak, Justina

            Work and pay taxes for a few years first. But mainly I think the benefits for society far outweigh the drawbacks.

            "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon

            by RiseUpEconomics on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:05:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I think about this from time to time (6+ / 0-)

            I'm libertarian and lean conservative, so I'm all in favor of everyone who can working to support themselves.  I'm a moderate so, I do believe in a safety net, I don't want people starving in the streets if they can't find work.

            BUT, technology and automation progress.  We are probably within 20 years of functional robots, possibly closer to 10. I think this is the only way we can provide nursing care for the baby boomers, but I digress.

            At some point in the future, there will simply not be enough useful things for human beings to do to have jobs for everyone.  I suppose we can keep lowering the work week until everyone works a day a week, or less, but that's a pretty inefficient way to handle the problem as it requires building a lot of skills that are rarely used.

            A basic income keeps coming to mind as a solution.

            •  Corporations will reap the benefit (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              laurak, Brooke In Seattle

              of productivity gains and lower labor costs. But will those gains be passed on to the rest of us? Or will those out of work suffer immensely?

              "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon

              by RiseUpEconomics on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:12:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well corporations also need (6+ / 0-)

                someone to buy their products so some means will have to be found to make those people who are out of work still able to buy things.

                The virtue of work and self support only lasts as long as there is actual work one can do.  If we can meet the needs of everyone with only 50% of the people doing tasks that can't be automated, then we have to rethink our value system.  Probably a lot sooner than that!

                Even Milton Friedman considered the possibility of a negative income tax to provide a basic income.  He thought that just giving everyone some money would be much simpler than a complex system of governmental support programs.

                The fear was that too many people would choose not to work.  With technical progress absorbing jobs that may not be so much of a problem.

              •  Corporations would also reap the benefits of (4+ / 0-)

                more people having more money to spend, even if in small amounts.

                Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through. Jonathan Swift ....Papers,please.

                by maybeeso in michigan on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:36:58 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I certainly am not looking forward (0+ / 0-)

              to having my ass wiped by robots when I'm old.  

              Automation is a problem, but not as much as the outsourcing of American jobs.

              •  It takes a relatively small amount (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Involuntary Exile

                of help to be able to stay in your home.  Few of us will be able to afford 24/7 attendents.  Someone to help us in and out of the bath, make sure we don't fall down etc. would be enough to let you stay in your own home for years.  The Japanese are really interested in this for that reason.

                My sister, who worked in a nursing home, said that often simple things like not being able to button your shirt without assistance means that people have to give up their homes and the lives they are used to.

          •  Agreed (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RiseUpEconomics, swaminathan

            Put serious work requirements into the BIG and it might go somewhere.

            Ideally, most of the jobs would be private sector but if the economy is not compable of producing the jobs we need then there are other ways to contribute.

            Cleaning schools
            Graffiti removal
            Volunteering at non-profits (say Habitat for Humanity)
            Trash pickup in cities and highways
            Assisting teachers
            Beefing up recycling programs
            Creating more bike lanes
            Creating better after school programs
            ETC

            I would propose that the amount of hours be tied to the top marginal tax rate multiplied by 40 hours a week.  Still not sure if I would support it then but it's an idea worth exploring.

            We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

            by theotherside on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:15:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I think you pigeon-hole these "indolent" (9+ / 0-)

            people.  Right now with unemployment through the roof, they are stuck living with Mom and Dad, hell, their aunts and uncles are moving in as well and the best job they can get is at Taco Bell or moving bounce houses.  What you see as indolent I see as frustrated.

            Repubs - the people in power are not secretly plotting against you. They don't need to. They already beat you in public. (Bill Maher)

            by Sychotic1 on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:16:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Those indolent offspring I refer to have been (0+ / 0-)

              living with mom and dad since well before the current great recession.  I first witnessed this trend in the mid-1990s when it seemed to be limited to families at both extremes of the socio-economic scale.  I have since seen it spread to all economic groups.  I have witnessed examples within my own middle class extended family, much to my dismay. The offspring had to be booted out of the house on their asses before they started getting serious about finding work.

              "I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth." - Molly Ivins

              by Involuntary Exile on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:31:30 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Just because there are some doesn't make the (7+ / 0-)

                as large or as general as you might want to think.  My son's generation wants to work but there really aren't a whole heck of a lot of entry level jobs out there and the ones that are don't pay a living wage.

                Repubs - the people in power are not secretly plotting against you. They don't need to. They already beat you in public. (Bill Maher)

                by Sychotic1 on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:08:47 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes, well, your son probably hasn't been sitting (0+ / 0-)

                  around the house for the last five years, though has he?  His dilemma is about two years old, isn't it?  If he has been sitting around for more than two-and-a-half years, then maybe you ought to look more closely at his motivation to find work.

                  The indolent offspring I was referring to are a phenomenon I've been observing for the last fifteen years.  It's not limited to the current era of the Great Recession.

                  "I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth." - Molly Ivins

                  by Involuntary Exile on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:22:30 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Rents are often much higher (0+ / 0-)

                    in the early 1970s an apartment in the DC suburbs might have cost $175/month.

                    It may now cost $1,200/month.

                    Wages simply have fallen out of line with rents.

                    Young adults living at home isn't a US only phenomena. It happens in Britain, Spain, Italy, Japan, and elsewhere.

                    Basically builders almost completely stopped building apartments around 1973 in the US and started to build clustered single-family homes instead.

                    The defect is in the zoning laws. If X units per acre are allowed, it will only be the most expensive units that can be sold that will be build.

                    Zoning needs to be X units/acre at no more than $YS sale/ $YR rental per unit adjusted by the consumer price index, minimum A square feet, maximum B square feet, in form F, with X*2 parking spaces, etc.

                    Building permits need to issued based on a distribution of area earnings.

                    Building permits must be by annual lottery.

                    "Looks like you're going to get to build 40 garden apartments at a sales price limit of $52,000/unit, $675/maximum average rent monthly, from 600 to 900 square feet average."

                    •  Ah, but I was not referring to offspring who work (0+ / 0-)

                      and continue living at home.  I was referring to those who have no jobs or work minor part-time jobs out of choice so long as mom and dad (but most often mom) are willing to put a roof over their head and food on the table.  Those who don't work at all are even given spending money, just like when they were in high school.  When mom doesn't fork over spending money, then sonny gets a part-time job for beer and gas money.

                      As for those who work and live at home with mom, I do not understand it.  I couldn't afford a place on my own when I got out of school, but I sure as shit didn't move back home with mommy.  I rented a studio apartment with a friend and we shared the rent. Quarters were very tight but we were young and we didn't own much stuff anyway. Today's young people, on the other hand, have always had their own rooms and own so much stuff they can't even share dorm rooms; they have to have singles.  What would life be like if, god forbid, they couldn't afford their cell phones, cable, and high-speed internet on top of their rent?  Life would surely come to an end.

                      "I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth." - Molly Ivins

                      by Involuntary Exile on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 01:14:53 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  I know people like that (4+ / 0-)

                Including one relative who never finished high school, and never held a job in his entire life (he's in his early 40's now). Another ex-relative never worked a single job the entire time (8 years) he was married to our relative. As far as I know he is still collecting alimony from her.

                BUT none of it is caused by government welfare. None of it is caused by the type of minimum income guarantees that the diarist is talking about. I would say all of it is caused by varying degrees of family disfunction.

                •  True, but now imagine that the government (0+ / 0-)

                  sends those slackers a check for $1k every month.  I see it as a sure recipe for the creation of an ever-widening underclass content to live on the minimum society provides.

                  "I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth." - Molly Ivins

                  by Involuntary Exile on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:14:52 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Would you prefer that they starve? n/t (0+ / 0-)

                    If it's
                    Not your body
                    Then it's
                    Not your choice
                    AND it's
                    None of your damn business!

                    by TheOtherMaven on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 12:01:13 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  They are not starving. They are living at home (0+ / 0-)

                      for free under the roof of a relative, usually their mother.

                      "I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth." - Molly Ivins

                      by Involuntary Exile on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 12:03:30 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  If we could pay criminals to prevent them (0+ / 0-)

                        from committing crimes we'd have done so long go.  People do not commit crimes because they are going hungry. People commit crimes because of anger, jealousy, greed, lack of self-control or affinity for violence.

                        "I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth." - Molly Ivins

                        by Involuntary Exile on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 02:56:00 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Bullshit (0+ / 0-)

                          If they're starving, they'll steal to eat. They used to hang children for stealing a loaf of bread. Just because it doesn't happen in YOUR cozy whitebread neighborhood doesn't mean it never happened anywhere - and isn't happening now where people are really really desperate.

                          If it's
                          Not your body
                          Then it's
                          Not your choice
                          AND it's
                          None of your damn business!

                          by TheOtherMaven on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 03:51:18 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  This isn't Les Misérables. People aren't (0+ / 0-)

                            going to jail in the U.S. for stealing a loaf of bread because they're hungry.  You say they are, prove it.

                            "I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth." - Molly Ivins

                            by Involuntary Exile on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 06:44:48 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  If you're going to restrict it to the US in 2010 (0+ / 0-)

                            you have a small fraction of a point (though YOU don't know what the really desperate are doing). But if you make sweeping generalizations without setting any parameters, you make a flaming ass of yourself.

                            If it's
                            Not your body
                            Then it's
                            Not your choice
                            AND it's
                            None of your damn business!

                            by TheOtherMaven on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 07:09:47 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You can't prove it, but I'm the one who is the (0+ / 0-)

                            flaming ass? Bwaaaahahahaha!  Prove your point. Who has gone to jail for stealing a loaf of bread in the U.S. anytime during this current Great Recession, or even in the last ten years?

                            The financially desperate don't have to resort to crime.  Committing crimes is a choice.  We are not living in a war torn or disaster ravaged country where resources have been utterly destroyed.  I'm not saying that times aren't tough. I'm saying that there are still options available that don't require committing crimes to survive.

                            "I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth." - Molly Ivins

                            by Involuntary Exile on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 07:55:24 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You can't prove YOUR points either (0+ / 0-)

                            You HAVEN'T proved them. You've just used anecdotes and "I know some people who...".

                            Anecdotes, as we are often told here, don't constitute evidence.

                            There is plenty of solid evidence from the historical record - NOT HISTORICAL NOVELS - to show that when people are poor and desperate, they will steal to eat.

                            Your bullshit is just that - bullshit.

                            If it's
                            Not your body
                            Then it's
                            Not your choice
                            AND it's
                            None of your damn business!

                            by TheOtherMaven on Sat Jul 31, 2010 at 07:44:57 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Committing crimes is a CHOICE. (0+ / 0-)

                            Desperation does not drive everyone who is desperate to crime, only those who are inclined to commit crimes in the first place.  Show me someone who will steal because they have no money and I will show you someone who will steal in any case if the opportunity presented itself and the would-be thief was fairly certain there would be no consequences.

                            You have no idea what my personal circumstances are and yet you think you do.  My father, mother and I were real, actual, genuine political refugees.  My mother had to escape from communist eastern Europe with actual REAL bullets being fired at her as she crossed the barbed wire laced no-man's-land.  She, her mother and siblings endured 14 months in a Russian concentration camp and for three of those months were provided NO food.  They ate GRASS.  Neither she nor her mother nor her siblings stole a goddamn thing dispite the fact that they had opportunities to steal from other prisoners.

                            My father sent 4 years in a NAZI POW (Sandbostel Prison, Stalag X-b camp and was used as slave labor.  Google it!)  He had to carry 100 pound sacks of coal up four stories to stock a hopper that fed the coal into an industrial furnace.  He went unfed for days on end.  He begged a piece of bread from a German worker who gave it to him at the risk of her own life.  Never once did he consider stealing anything - not from a German and not from a fellow prisoner.

                            Don't tell me I'm full of shit.  You are full of shit.  You don't know what desperate means.  People who commit crimes don't do it out of desperation.  They do it because they think they won't get caught.  There is always another choice, even if the choice is to go hungry one more day.  My parents' choice was to go hungry rather than compromise their morals.  When you excuse crime YOU become part of the ethical vacuum that grows around us every day.  Everyone needs to take person responsibility for their actions, always and in every situation, including when put under extreme stress in the most desperate of circumstances.

                            "I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth." - Molly Ivins

                            by Involuntary Exile on Sun Aug 01, 2010 at 06:32:47 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  Chances are good (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    RiseUpEconomics

                    That with that extra grand a month, Mom would feel much better about kicking the kid to the curb, giving HER a lot more disposable income along with getting HER grand a month as well, so she'd be sitting pretty.  So what if Laz-E-Boy doesn't want to work, what could Mom do with some extra income?  She's proven to be a producer, how much more could she do with more income and less leeching?

                    "Nothing's wrong, son, look at the news!" -- Firesign Theater

                    by SmartAleq on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 03:15:10 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Extended family livin's been round 4 millennia nt (0+ / 0-)

                Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell - Edward Abbey

                by ZAP210 on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 04:59:51 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes, but all of the adult members of the family (0+ / 0-)

                  generally made a contribution to the well-being of the family unit.  They didn't sit around on their asses letting their mothers provided for them.

                  "I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth." - Molly Ivins

                  by Involuntary Exile on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 08:46:51 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  National Service (4+ / 0-)

            We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

            by bmcphail on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:30:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Public service. Think what could happen with (9+ / 0-)

            a few thousand people here and there obligated to 30-50 hours a month cleaning up around town, pulling invasive weeds from parks, helping the elderly and handicapped around their homes or running errands for them.  

            Think what could be done with a few extra helpers in schoolrooms.  Yes, there would have to be screening and training, but it could be done.

            Maybe there could be apprentice type programs in small businesses.   Going to full time work after training.  I know people who would love to train people but just can't afford it.

            Or then again, how about art projects on some of the bare boring surfaces there are around?  There would have to be controls of some sort, but the possibilities are endless.

            There are places all over where a few thousand hands of people who weren't worried where their next meal or place to sleep could make wonderful contributions.

            Sigh, guess I'm just basically a socialist.  Luckily, I don't think of that as a pejoritive term.

            Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through. Jonathan Swift ....Papers,please.

            by maybeeso in michigan on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:35:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  As they get older and more mature (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            laurak, Justina, Cassandra Waites

            And the women more often go to the guys that work for more, he'll get off his butt and do something to add to his income.

            Women, now, would be a different story, as they might have children and be raising them. Some would want to work to get more for their families.

            Actually, I'm thinking there would be a creative renaissance. More people would use their creativity, given the chance to have the time to do so. It could really make society better in the long run, with all those people being allowed to spend time getting bored and coming up with things to do.

            You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you. - Eric Hoffer

            by splashy on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:49:12 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  So what? (3+ / 0-)

            We're over consuming like Romans, and creating waste to make profit. Even the labor heydays of the 50's and 60's depended on planned obsolescence to keep full employment. We've been trying to roll everyone into a new car every 3 years for almost a century.

            It would serve us all if a lot of folks took a permanent vacation instead of burning the gas to carry 3000 lbs of steel to and from work every day so they can make money for somebody else out of somebody else's money.  

            Using our  resources wisely and efficiently makes contributing a privilege for those with the skills and the gumption. We could feed, house, entertain and inform everybody on a lot less labor and energy than we do now. Christ, remember when automation was going to make everyone's lives easier? Nobody will have to lift a finger to build a car? Low employment should follow naturally. But locking ourselves into that "well everybody's still got to contribute" mentality is burning our planet down as assuredly as the "profit = morality" meme.

            At 60% employent there would be a line around the block for every job opening, $15,000 stipend or not.

            Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell - Edward Abbey

            by ZAP210 on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 04:56:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I lived on 15k for about 6 years. It wasn't so (4+ / 0-)

          bad actually (it was in rural Midwest so my rent was quite low). I did have to work for it though.

          •  So if someone gave you $15k a year for (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sparhawk

            sitting on your ass would you be inclined to go find a job, or would you be inclined to pursue your personal interests (assuming you still lived in the midwest and didn't have to provide for anyone but yourself)?

            "I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth." - Molly Ivins

            by Involuntary Exile on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:22:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I would try to get a job. But it's much better to (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Involuntary Exile

              have higher unemployment payments then to pay everyone. Most people can make enough money to get by and payments to everyone will be extremely expensive. Where will the money come from?

              •  I so agree with you. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                FG

                It's better to have higher unemployment payments.  It's also better to change the paradigm.  If I switch my banking to the local credit union, move to an area where the electric utility is a co-op or I make my own electricity (wind, solar, hydro, whatever), live in a smaller and more efficient house, limit my driving by leaving the car in the garage one or two days a week, limit my purchases to stuff I really need and buy that stuff from local producers wherever possible, and convince one other person to do likewise, I can be part of a movement that can radically alter our economic paradigm without requiring anything from an unreliable government.

                "I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth." - Molly Ivins

                by Involuntary Exile on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:50:56 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I would go more creative (4+ / 0-)

              And wonder how many people would start creating all kinds of artwork of all kinds: music, paintings, graphic arts, sculptures, comic books, etc.

              You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you. - Eric Hoffer

              by splashy on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:51:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  So would you be selling your creative output (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                FG, Dismalest Scientist

                or giving it away?  And what prevents you from creating anything right now?

                "I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth." - Molly Ivins

                by Involuntary Exile on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:47:02 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm curently unemployed. (3+ / 0-)

                  Currently not looking and living at my parent's place in a zero-window 15'x7' closet, so I'm basically the very definition of "sitting around on [his] ass" bottomfeeder you've been mentioning for the last 20 or so comments you've made.

                  I've spent about 8 years of my life teaching myself how to program and do web design, which I haven't gotten to put to use professionally despite having people (who are getting paid for it) asking me for help occasionally.

                  I had a job for a few months, full time, doing some menial gruntwork -- data entry.

                  I will say that the 38-45 hours of work -- between the stress of never having any money after bills/other shit to do anything I wanted, and the sheer frustration with the job itself -- led to pretty much the least creative, most depressing part of my life.

                  Being back at home, I don't have any income whatsoever (other than some occasional work and a bit of earnings from the ads on my website). Yet the difference in the amount I can experiment with things is pretty phenomenal. I have more time to be creative and play with ideas, rather than dreading the next workday.

                  I am not the only person like me I know. I know someone who drew and created designs for games in his free time, and did a lot of hobby programming. His full-time job (the third one he has had after being "fired" (read: let go for being too expensive)) pays minimum wage, and he has had absolutely no ambition or energy to do anything creative, even getting so bad that he now has to move home with his parents again.

                  Applying a one-size-fits-all "anybody at home for more than a year and not looking for work" label is just as bad as saying "anybody who wants free health care is a commie socialist".

                  (And, speaking for myself, not having any income is, in itself, humiliating, and certainly doesn't do a whole lot for one's self-confidence.)

                  •  So mom lets you live at home where you can (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Dismalest Scientist

                    be creative, stress free and not depressed, the only downside being that you don't have spending money.  This is of your own choosing?  You choose not to work because work is too frustrating and doesn't pay well enough?  Then in your next breath you say it is humiliating not having an income.  Well, boo effin' hoo.  Mom may be crazy enough to support your choice and let you sit on your ass all day, but the rest of us sure as shit do not owe you a living.

                    How long have you been sponging off your mother?  Do you expect to continue living like this into the future?  What the hell are you going to do if mom throws you out or she drops dead?

                    It would be one thing if you were actively seeking work and couldn't find it, or if you were physically disabled and couldn't work, but you choose not to work. You define selfish and infantile in my book.

                    "I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth." - Molly Ivins

                    by Involuntary Exile on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 08:39:39 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Out of your f-ing mind (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SingleVoter, Dismalest Scientist

          It says something a lot about this site that this diary was recced. I am incredulous that I had to scroll down the comments this far to find someone who had questioned your new "solution". You are out of your ever loving mind! You would turn this country into a huge conglomerate of porch monkeys, and another sector of seething, hard working people who would shoulder the burden of this "tax", if it could be shouldered at all. You talk about a divided country now? There would be riots and murders over it. You'd have arsonists set fire to every low rent apartment complex they could find. Can you imagine the number of useless, duplicative "jobs" the government would create to try and put everyone to work. There's already massive fraud and waste. Government jobs are nothing but a cost. That's what you don't get. Businesses sell their wares to pay for their employment costs, government doesn't. They just take money from other people or companies to support people like the guy above who is hopped up to get something for free. And you know what, after a couple of years, a meager existence wouldn't suffice for the newly tethered class. They'd need cable TV, cell phones, cost of living increases, etc. etc. to "subsist". You aren't Americans at all. You belong in Cuba or Venezuela where you could live a miserable existence with a little food in your belly, and a thatched roof hut over your head, and be thankful to Raul or Hugo for the blessings bestowed on you. Ask yourself how your self esteem got so low as to believe that you are worthless, that someone should just pay you money because you can't do anything for yourself, that people who can and do should just support you because it's "fair". I assure you, should this ever even make it into a serious discussion on Capitol Hill, you'll see the biggest mass exodus from a country you've ever seen by business and people, and you'll then scratch your head and try and figure out how you're going to pay for it then. Just think California, New York, and Illinois (surprise, surprise, all Democratic states)

          •  Redstate is over that way --> n/t (9+ / 0-)

            If it's
            Not your body
            Then it's
            Not your choice
            AND it's
            None of your damn business!

            by TheOtherMaven on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 12:03:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Make believe world (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dismalest Scientist

              If you like living in a make believe world with magic unicorns and fairy dust, you're welcome to it.
              While you're there, see if you can outlaw war, power your house with the beats of hummingbird wings, and tell Mr. Wonka hello!

              •  No, I like living in the reality-based community, (0+ / 0-)

                which is why I think the suggestions in this diary are non-sense.  However, your level of vitriol drowns out your arguments.  Actually, they aren't so much arguments as emotional over-reaction to the diarist's attempt to spur conversation about an alternative economic system.

                "I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth." - Molly Ivins

                by Involuntary Exile on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 12:52:51 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Did you think that up by yourself? (0+ / 0-)

                  Reality-based community, critical thinker, blah, blah, blah. More liberal buzzwords to make you sound intelligent. Spurring conversation? Really? Like if I wanted to spur conversation about getting rid of Social Security? I'm sure you'd think we should really delve deep into that subject. Actually, come to think of it, there is a way I might be inclined to support the diarist's theory. Get rid of Obamacare, Social Security, and Medicaid, and hand everyone $15,000/year for life after they hit 22 years old. Pay cash at the doctor when you get sick or buy insurance with your $15k. No more free health care, no free school breakfasts and lunches, free after school programs, etc. etc. $15k free, that's it, and get a job.
                  Thank you for convincing me.

                  •  Like I said, emotional overreaction. (0+ / 0-)

                    Get a grip.  I am not in the least concerned about the silly ideas contained in this diary because I live in the real world.  Why should they anger you?  Are you so deluded as to think they could actually come to pass?

                    This is not the forum for you.  If you want to rant and rave against the right of health care for everyone, against social security, the school lunch program, public education, then head back to that black hole of hatred and greed where reason goes to die that is Redstate.

                    Definition of vitriol: virulence of feeling or of speech.  Just in case you didn't know the meaning and thought I was throwing some "lberal buzzword" at you.  Should I define virulence for you too?

                    "I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth." - Molly Ivins

                    by Involuntary Exile on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 02:28:08 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Why do you think I read Redstate? (0+ / 0-)

                      You are succumbing to groupthink. I.E. Because I have my own opinions that mostly agree with yours, but in some cases don't, I supposedly am a devotee of Redstate? I am not so much angry as just dumbstruck, I guess, that the supposedly critical thinking class here actually discusses these topics as though they were serious. I am against bankrupting this country, period, and am equally as pissed off at most of the long time Repubs in office as I am the Dems because of their profligate spending and the unaccountability in funding the wars. I am probably wrong, but I am very hopeful that the new class of people running for Congress, and perhaps a few of the oldtimers, have seen the light, finally, after the cataclysm in 2008. I am all for serious discussion of all types of areas where we can cut back wasteful and unsustainable programs. I'm even for scaling back Social Security or increasing the age limit, raising the amount of income subject to the tax. I'm 48 years old, so I'm officially one of the first that's probably going to get fucked by this, but "acting in one's own interest" isn't always the right thing to do. I am all for health care for everyone, but fully realize we can't afford to give heart transplants to everyone for free. I realize that soaking the rich 1) won't pay for all these programs anyway, and 2) won't work, they're way smarter than me and you, they don't just hand over their money. Thirdly, I realize that no government int he world can permanently create and sustain jobs for its people. It can do things temporarily to give things a boost, but is always a drag on the economy in the long run. It's like how a company views clerical assistants versus their salesmen. Their salesmen are the producers, the people that make them money vs. the assistants that are just a cost that is paid for through the salesmen's work. If you just paid the assistants, and had no salesmen, you'd have given them the benefit of being employed a while, then you'd close your doors.

                      •  Exactly how does this "bankruptcy" of the country (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        nargel

                        occur, and assuming the country can in fact go bankrupt, how do we recognize when it has occurred and what is the result of its occurrence?

                        I think this whole "the country is going to go bankrupt" propaganda is bullshit fear mongering.  You tell my how it occurs, how we recognize when it has occurred, and what the result will be, and I'll tell you why it's all a crock.  All you need to do is look at the recent history of Argentina and Brazil to find the truth.

                        Too bad the Greeks have such a lousy government they gave into the demands of Germany, the front group for the big international banks, and didn't do what Argentina and Brazil did. The Greek economy is going to become as moribund as Ireland's, which is deflating so fast it is now the Japan of the European Union. I hope Spain is smarter and tells them to pound sand.

                        Governments do not go bankrupt - not since the institution of fiat currencies anyway.  If they cannot increase tax revenues and decrease discretionary spending (the biggest discretionary item happens to be our military, by the way) to cover their obligations, they reduce the interest they will pay on their outstanding bonds, or delay principle repayment of their bonds, or possibly default on repayment of a portion of the principle, or some combination of those actions, but they DO NOT go bankrupt.

                        "I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth." - Molly Ivins

                        by Involuntary Exile on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 07:42:31 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  Poor assumptions (3+ / 0-)

                    Number one, assuming there are enough jobs for people who want them -- there aren't.

                    Number two, should you get any kind of serious injury or illness, your $15K wouldn't last a week because our health care system is totally broken.

                    •  Buy insurance (0+ / 0-)

                      Your $15k will more than cover health insurance, you just have to raise the deductible a bit. Most people are so used to it being free because they get it through their employer. I'm an independent contractor and have never received a regular paycheck in my life. Have a wife and 3 kids. It teaches you to be frugal and know that nothing is free. The thing I just don't understand about liberals is that they adhere to a utopian world-view that doesn't exist, has never existed, and will never exist, try as they might. You have to be joking if you think we all wouldn't like free money, free health care, free food, cars, etc. But they want to TAKE these things that don't belong to them by force of law. And they'll even take these things by force of law and give them to people who aren't even the needy citizens of our country. We can't afford it, folks. Everything that is given or taken has a cost to someone and to the country. What are we going to do when the bill is due and there's no more money to pay it? I suppose the "corporations" or the "government" or "the rich" will, huh? Corporations will close, move, or otherwise do what's in their best interest. The government will be insolvent and won't be able to pay the interest on the debt, and the rich will have found safer havens elsewhere, like they always do. That leaves the suckers here left in squalor. Just remember, for each action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Truer words were never spoken.

          •  England has the dole (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nargel, Words In Action

            and there don't seem to be that many riots.

        •  Does anyone have even a small sense of reality? (3+ / 0-)

          270MM people
          $12,000 per year
          ----------------
          $3.24 Trillion per year... get it, per year..

          Even at $2,000 per year its $540 billion per year..

          Did I say, per year...

          •  It wont' matter (0+ / 0-)

            It could be $10 trillion per year, and some here wouldn't care, because......drum roll please...................IT'S NOT THEIR MONEY!
            Get it? It's FREE! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

          •  Not quite (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nargel, Words In Action

            It would not be for every single person in the nation. Seniors already have Social Security, and we wouldn't be cutting checks for kids. There would most likely be some kind of previous work experience requirement, and an income cut off, maybe $100,000 or start phasing out at $75,000.

            But yeah, it would cost at least a trillion a year. To eliminate poverty, transform the economy, and change work as we know it. Well worth it.

            Where would the money come from? Some combination of taxes on the rich and corporate profits, a carbon tax, maybe a value-added tax, cuts to corporate welfare, closing tax loopholes, taxes on financial transactions, etc. You get it--make the rich pay their fair share. And then all the $$ we save on eliminating government programs that will no longer be needed.

            "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon

            by RiseUpEconomics on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 05:41:55 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Better a trillion on basic income than on (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              nargel, RiseUpEconomics

              unnecessary defense spending, corporate welfare, etc.

              When the village is on fire, a sieve will not substitute for a fleet of fire engines. Sometimes incremental change won't EVER scale to address the problem.

              by Words In Action on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 07:33:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  The rich pay there fair share? (0+ / 0-)

              The top 10% already pay 75% of all personal taxes and the top 1% pays 40%.  Research shows that a 1% increase in the ratio of tax revenue to GDP reduces GDP by 1% in the next year.  So just where are you going to get this money?

              Now why dont you run home and actually provide some financial support for your arguements as to where we are going to come up with an extra $1 trillion dollars per year...every year...

              •  Your arguments are basicly bullshit. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                RiseUpEconomics

                The top 10% pay effectively 1 to 2% due to the work of their incorporation and their tax accountants.  If you have an actual source for this "1% increase in the ratio of tax revenue to GDP reduces GDP by 1% in the next year" other than your ass proove it.

                Torture is for the weak. After all, it is just extended wheedling.

                by nargel on Sat Jul 31, 2010 at 02:16:37 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Hey dipshit... (0+ / 0-)

                  Romer, C.D. and David H. Romer, 2010.  The Macroeconomic Effects of Tax Changes.  American Economic Review, American Economic Association, Vol 100 (3), pp. 763-801.

                  Although I doubt you can read those big words...

                  •  Romer and Romer? sounds like a firm of ambulence (0+ / 0-)

                    chasers.  I would also point out that the AEA, proud self boasting type of 'conservatives' that they are, are rather self backslapping about their members like Ben 'I wrote up this back of an envelope, give me an umpty gazzillion dollars to bail out Wall Street' Bernanke and Benjamin  "I need another Friedman Unit' Friedman.   Yeah, sounds like a bunch of serious thinkers I'd pay attention to any day.  Not.  

                    Torture is for the weak. After all, it is just extended wheedling.

                    by nargel on Sun Aug 01, 2010 at 02:43:05 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  When we believe in what we are doing (5+ / 0-)

        It won't be some damn important to monitor the others.

        and I wait for them to interrupt my drinking from this broken cup

        by le sequoit on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 09:46:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Shift the paradigm. (13+ / 0-)

        We know that food stamps and unemployment benefits give more in economic stimulus than the actual dollars going out, so what is being proposed is PAYING PEOPLE TO BE CONSUMERS.  That's your basic job, to keep the economy going.  12K sitting in a mutual fund of a millionaire does nothing to help the actual economy, only the false economy of the stock market.  12K going to a Chee-Toh eating basement dweller is 12K being spent for actual goods and services, keeping the real economy working.  Get over your societally inculcated distaste for "lazy people" and you'll see it's actually a pretty smart idea.  

        Because for every lazy bastard willing to couch surf and live off that basic income there are many, many more who will just see that as a cushion that allows them to be a bit more free to work on their own, start a small business, take a lower paying job that actually makes them happier--it's a little security that nobody can take away.  It's the difference between being a serf and being a peasant.  Right now we're all serfs--we're basically owned by our employers, kept in check by the knowledge that if we step out of line we're completely and utterly fucked and there are a million other serfs just dying to take our place.  A peasant might not be in any better economic straits than a serf, but the peasant IS NOT OWNED.  The peasant CAN elect to move, talk back, try something new--the serf can't.  

        I say let's make the leap from serf to peasant--a small step for a man, a giant leap for mankind, to coin a phrase!  ;^D

        "Nothing's wrong, son, look at the news!" -- Firesign Theater

        by SmartAleq on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:32:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think it might be reasonable to say the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, revgerry

      government should give us all jobs (maybe that would work better in the age of the Web than it did for the USSR), and I think it's absolutely correct that the government lets employers get away with unfair methods of holding wages down. Adam Smith wrote about that in the Wealth of Nations.

      But, assuming the employer isn't getting any special help from the government, is generally obeying the law and paying taxes properly, I don't see why an employer should have an special obligation to give people work.

      Some big, well-known companies have tightened belts and increased earnings this year, but I think most private employers are struggling. Appearances can be deceiving. The worker who still has a job might have a crummy apartment and a crummy car and a negative net worth of $5,000; maybe the boss has a nice apartment and a nice car and looks prosperous but has a negative net worth of $500,000 and is teetering on the edge of filing for bankruptcy liquidation.

      •  No, it won't work any better now than it did for (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk, Dismalest Scientist

        USSR. Web didn't change basic economic principles.

        •  Well, whether the view is correct or not, I (0+ / 0-)

          think someone could at least make a rational case for it; someone could come up with a reason why the government owes us all jobs, or why providing jobs for all of us makes good civic sense.

          But, of course, the idea that, for example, Markos owes all blogging jobs because he owns a blog and we would like to work for a blog is not reasonable. Maybe Markos could hire a few of us, but there's no practical way he could hire more than a few of us.

    •  Who says anything about money for 'nothing' (6+ / 0-)

      People receiving the payment could very well be doing something.
      There are working mothers who need childcare. There are elderlies who need help and companionship. There are kids who need tutoring and mentoring. There is environmental damage to be fixed. Garbage on the streets and parks to be picked up. Border to be watched over. High crime areas to be monitored.

      There is plenty of public work that can be done.

    •  Better idea (0+ / 0-)

      How about having a government program or government financed umbrella corporation that essentially acted as a day labor company- anybody who wants to can show up and be guaranteed work for the day at some specified minimum rate- say 10 bucks an hour.  Just show up at 8am, be showered and shaved and ready to work the full day.  Crew bosses and more skilled workers would be payed more, and a matching of skills to tasks would mean bigger stuff could be accomplished.

      "Competent statisticians will be the front line troops in our war for survival..." George Box, 1976

      by aztecraingod on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:27:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Unions! thats why we need unions. (29+ / 0-)

    We must support unions.  That is why all the bloody battles of the thirties happened.  Workers were fighting for their rights and won a decent life with some control over their future.  The slow destruction of the unions including pensions and benefits  over the last 60 years has left us right here.  That is why the netroots needs to strongly support unions. We can be a force together.

  •  which should point out the very basic flaw (34+ / 0-)

    in the "tax cuts create jobs" nonsense that passes as gospel. it is not something that is hard to disprove, i do it all the time with various wingnut family members & their friends.
    i am a small businessman. if you give me a tax break i will gladly take it. now i have more money in my pocket, thank you very much. it doesn't follow that i'm going to take that money & hire somebody. i hire somebody when my business needs dictate that hiring somebody else will make me more money. period.

    Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues. The Gita 3.21

    by rasbobbo on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 09:30:28 AM PDT

  •  End capitalism. (9+ / 0-)

    The banks have been socialized, the automakers, the airlines, the oil industry, the police, the firefighters, the road builders, the librarians...

    why not the rest of the tax payers?

    End profit.  Promote people.

  •  Pearlstein's good, most of the time. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    swaminathan
  •  Uhh... this ought to be obvious, but... (10+ / 0-)

    ...not all companies are publicly held, nor have shareholders. And not all employers are corporations.

    I find it to be odd -- and rather telling -- that "business" has been completely redefined as "big business". In the mind of certain kinds of people the Mom-and-Pop company with ten employees doesn't count as a "business". These people control our perceptions of how commerce works in this country.

  •  Germany's economic model (33+ / 0-)

    is far, far superior to ours.  Those dirty fucking EuroSocialists are kicking our asses at capitalism.

    They export like crazy.

    They have workers on the boards of directors.

    They have lower unemployment than us.  Deficits?  LOL.  Puhleeease.

    PWN3D.

    Guten Tag.

  •  so much for their meme about businesses (12+ / 0-)

    creating jobs .... they don't, they just admitted that

    now we have to hold them to those words

    "businesses exist to create profits for shareholders, not jobs for workers."

    and with this admission, finally, I'm all for them paying a Economic Security Tax

    Bumper sticker seen on I-95; "Stop Socialism" my response: "Don't like socialism? GET OFF the Interstate highway!"

    by Clytemnestra on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 09:43:13 AM PDT

  •  Circuitous Reasoning (11+ / 0-)

    The Republican logic machine has managed to entice Democratic politicians to join their circuitous logic.  Republicans say, "Corporations need more profits so that they can create jobs.  Corporations need less taxes so that they can create jobs."  And, then they gather in their clubs and laugh at the gullible Democrats who buy their BS.

    Democrats gather in their caucus and they fret that the Republicans will demand more profits for their Corporate clients to go along with any legislation so they rewrite their bills to provide more profits.  They then fret that the Corporations won't provide jobs unless the bills provide more tax benefits.  So, the Democrats rewrite the tax bills to provide more profitable incentives and tax benefits and . . . the Republicans filibuster the legislation, complaining that the profits and tax incentives aren't enough.

    When, and if, the legislation is finally passed - against a unanimous Republican opposition to the tax incentives that they demanded, the Republicans threaten that they will run against the Democratic Party's newest tax bills.

    And, the show goes on and on and on.

  •  There's Exxon & there's Mom & Pop (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kenlac, Justus, Words In Action

    Or there used to be "Mom & Pop." So that's an important distinction to keep in mind.

    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 09:49:53 AM PDT

  •  F*ck. (4+ / 0-)

    I"m all for looking to government to solve big problems, but may be progressives could start to think in terms of generating a new economy, instead.  If modern capitalism sucks, and the philosophy behind it is inherently anti-worker, then let's create a new kind of capitalism that is pro-worker.

    It's exactly the same as progressive bitching about the broadcast media's lapdog attitude to conservatives; the solution is not beating up the media, but creating competing media that serve our interests better.

    Don't bitch, build.

    •  "a new kind of capitalism that is pro-worker" (6+ / 0-)

      That's an oxymoron.

      We cannot win a war crime - Dancewater, July 27, 2008

      by unclejohn on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:06:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think so... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Timbuk3, swaminathan

        ...that's the false choice that's been offered to us for centuries.  For starters, progressive capitalist companies could be 100% employee owned.

        •  If these employee owned companies (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Justina

          run on a capitalist model, then they must respect the need for capital to reproduce and increase itself. The problem is that capital knows no bounds, but we live in a finite environment. So these companies, regardless whether they are employee owned or not, will be faced with the same problems that other capitalist companies face. Then, they will be forced to cut costs (downsize the workforce) the same way that other capitalist companies do.

          The essence of the problem is that capitalism by its very nature is unsustainable.

          We cannot win a war crime - Dancewater, July 27, 2008

          by unclejohn on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 12:29:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's only unsustainable (0+ / 0-)

            for those that fail at it. There are winners and there are losers. You just can't accept that there are losers. And we're teaching our kids that now. We don't let them lose. Losing motivates some, discourages others from trying again (probably the diarist)

          •  Owners couldn't just divest other owners... (0+ / 0-)

            ...by "downsizing the workforce".  All workers would simply get a smaller share of the profits.

            The real question is whether to allow the shares in the companies held by the workers to be alienable (sellable).  I would think not; that would just encourage the same type of amassing of capital we have today by a different system.

            i think I'd have to disagree that capital, per se, is unconstrained, as you've characterized it; people increase capital through their actions.  Restraining people would restrain capital.

            •  You have missed the key feature of capitalism. (0+ / 0-)

              In order to continue to exist, capital must increase. Otherwise it is not capital, but simply wealth.

              In order for capital to increase, something of value must be produced. In order to produce something of value, an investment must be made of a portion of all the available capital in the economy. At a certain point, and we have been there since the 1970s, the capital available for productive investment outstrips the supply of potential investments.

              Then, as we have seen increasingly since the 1970s, the excess capital is invested in non-productive activities, what we call finance. None of these latter investments create any new wealth, a fact that can be hidden for a considerable time as speculative bubbles expand and burst.

              You say

              All workers would simply get a smaller share of the profits.

              That is precisely what workers in the OECD countries have been experiencing since the 1970s. The global return on capital has been decreasing over that entire period, and will continue to decrease into the forseeable future.

              Creating worker-owned capitalist enterprises won't cure that problem. Face it, it looks like capitalism has expanded so successfully over the past few centuries that it has essentially consumed its resource base. When a species does this, it dies.

              We cannot win a war crime - Dancewater, July 27, 2008

              by unclejohn on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:18:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  See the definition of capital... (0+ / 0-)

                ...elsewhere in this thread (in response to another poster).  Nothing says "capital must increase".  Capital can be sustainable.  And certain points you make don't work and play well together: "capital available for productive investment outstrips the supply of potential investments" (i.e., there's too much money) and "the return on global capital has been decreasing over that entire period..." (i.e., too little money is being generated).  Worker-owned capital ventures could, of course, take any excess capital generated by the venture(s) and (1) invest in other worker-owned capital ventures as lenders; or (2) plow the excess capital into new ventures generated by the venture.  There are literally thousands of investment opportunities lying around these days.

                Anyway, my point is that capitalism can be made to be worker-friendly.  YOur beef is with the nature of capitalism as it currently exists.  Given that, we're just talking past each other.  It's disturbing, really, that modern economic theory has gotten so thoroughly ingrained into peoples' DNA that it becomes impossible to think outside that particular box.

            •  Sure they can (0+ / 0-)

              Owners couldn't just divest other owners...
              ...by "downsizing the workforce".  All workers would simply get a smaller share of the profits.

              Sure they can.  Why not?  Ever work in a partnership that decided one of the partners needed to go?

              Also, what do you do when the profits are negative?  Some people have to go so the rest can survive.

        •  Right goal. Wrong terminology. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheOrchid

          What you're describing is a good solution, but it's not capitalism.  Capitalism is defined by capitalists owning the means of production.  If the workers own the means of production, you don't have capitalism.

          What you're describing is anarcho-syndicalism, and it's been done successfully in Basque Spain for decades.

          Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men, for the nastiest of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all. - JM Keynes

          by goinsouth on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 12:51:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  According to Merriam-Webster... (0+ / 0-)

            ..."capitalism" is: "an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market."

            Seems that what I referred to above fits within that definition, including workers owning the means of production.

            •  Here's the critical difference. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Justina

              The Capitalist accumulates capital by extracting the surplus value of the workers employed in his enterprise.  In the last 30+ years, American Capitalists have been able to extract more and more surplus value as productivity has increased while wages have declined or remained stagnant.

              In a worker owned and managed coop, no Capitalist is extracting that surplus value.  The workers either distribute it to themselves or re-invest it in the enterprise.  No one receives something merely by virtue of owning something.

              That's the distinguishing characteristic of Capitalism missed in that dictionary definition, and one that makes the difference between a truly privately owned company where the owners receive the surplus value of the workers' efforts and a worker coop where no one receives any value without contributing labor.

              Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men, for the nastiest of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all. - JM Keynes

              by goinsouth on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 06:23:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not seeing the point... (0+ / 0-)

                ...because what I have in mind and what you're explaining are both subsumed within the broader definition of "capitalism."  In the system I'm envisioning, the workers act as the Capitalists, investing or distributing their own surplus labor value.

                i'm assuming, of course, that the worker-owned venture is producing something or some service for consumption by others within a market, and not solely for the benefit of themselves (e.g., a wholly self-contained community).

    •  See Gooserocks post above. (0+ / 0-)

      We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

      by bmcphail on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:56:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Along those lines (10+ / 0-)

    ....provide every American with enough income to at least get by.....

    In Communitas (1947) the Goodman brothers had an interesting suggestion: that all citizens get a minimum livable income after two years of national service work - figuring that two years out of everyone's life would be enough to do the work that would provide the basic needs of the country (things like food production and housing construction).

    If they wanted more than the basic necessities, folks would go work in businesses that made stuff people wanted enough to buy, or start those businesses.

    Reality is just a convenient measure of complexity. -- Alvy Ray Smith

    by John Q on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 09:51:06 AM PDT

  •  Trickle down economics (14+ / 0-)

    This bears repeating: "businesses exist to create profits for shareholders, not jobs for workers."

    This is the very reason why trickle down economics do not work.  It is also why NAFTA has made many corporations very rich and why so many Americans has lost jobs and economic ground in the last couple of decades.

    Corporations are sitting on a huge pile of money--because they are afraid of the state of the economy, which is bad because there are not enough jobs.

    Interestingly, my mother and I had a conversation about this very fact last week.  The market is recovering, but the America public is not.

    Last night,   jamess posted a diary that is a good companion to this one.  There is an interesting  table in that diary listing the areas which are expected to show the most job growth in the near future.  

  •  we can't even use our "strength of numbers" (8+ / 0-)

    to get a public option in the health care reform bill--while the allegedly less corporatist party is in charge.

    •  Ouch (4+ / 0-)

      Yeah, reality bites. But I think part of the problem is that we don't have a compelling vision that motivates people to get involved. Reagan had a short, simple message: gov't bad, business good. We need something short and sweet and repeatable that can rile people up. Public option was just one more confusing policy angle on a very confusing bill.

      "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon

      by RiseUpEconomics on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:00:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Small businesses build America." (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zane, bmcphail, swaminathan, Mistral Wind

        "Buy American"
        "Invest in American businesses"

        tax policy can rebuild America - simply end tax breaks for big biz, big ag, big energy, and give tax breaks to small or all-American biz and investments... reduce capital gains for investment in American biz, increase capital gains for investment overseas.

        "Bigger change will come with bigger Democratic majorities. Diminishing Democratic accomplishments is a losing strategy." sja May Peace Prevail

        by revgerry on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:12:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The problem with the economy is that (16+ / 0-)

    almost all the wealth is being held by people who aren't spending it.

    •  almost all the wealth is in foreign-owned (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zane

      investments.

      "Bigger change will come with bigger Democratic majorities. Diminishing Democratic accomplishments is a losing strategy." sja May Peace Prevail

      by revgerry on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:13:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Proverbs 22:7 (2+ / 0-)

      "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender."

      That's what's wrong right now.

      Full Disclosure: I am not Ben Leming. But I think he's pretty cool.

      by Benintn on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:48:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And why do you suppose that is? (0+ / 0-)

      Healthcare reform, financial regulation, income tax increases, estate tax expiration,, stupid ideas like this diary. You'd hold on to your cash too if people were seriously talking about essentially taking a large chunk of it away from you. Just take a little microcosm of it, and say you have $10,000, but my just graduated daughter from college has basically none. And I come to you and say, you know what, you have about 10,000 times more money than my daughter does and its not fair. She needs some food, some shelter, maybe have a little fun. I know, I know, you already gave to charity at the office and you have kids of your own, and you already paid the tax man, but it's still not fair. I need you to give her $1,000 just to get her started, and oh by the way, I've got another daughter graduating next year. I'll be back. Now, think of this not as an option, but as a mandate. You have to do it. What do you do with your $10,000?

      •  Redstate is over that way --> (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        laurak, Justina

        You'll find many more people who agree with you over there.

        Your kind had their way with the economy until they crashed it to smithereens. Your philosophy has been tried, and it failed catastrophically. The "Me Generation" is a walking disaster. It's time to try something different.

        If it's
        Not your body
        Then it's
        Not your choice
        AND it's
        None of your damn business!

        by TheOtherMaven on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 12:15:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I like it here (0+ / 0-)

          I'm a contrarian by nature. I like it here. Much more fun than reading Redstate.The liberal mind never ceases to amaze.  I'll take the Me (as in, "I earn it, I keep it) generation any day over the Pacifier generation (please, gummint, take care of me and make those awful people over there pay for it).  And stop with the talking points. You forget the first 7 years of the Bush presidency we had a rocking economy with sub 5% unemployment. The banks got REAL loose with money, and the Goldman boys did the rest (which is not indicative of the remainder of our basic capitalist society) by securitizing junk. Fannie and Freddie were involved, you know it, I know it. That's where it crashed. The banks have now overreacted the other way, and it's hurting the economy. Handing money to people for doing nothing is not the answer, and I think even most of you libs know it, and know it will never even get on the outermost fringes of the congressional radar.

          •  Oh you ADMIT to being a wingnut troll? (0+ / 0-)

            Fine. Now we know to ignore anything and everything you post.

            You are now on SHUN.

            If it's
            Not your body
            Then it's
            Not your choice
            AND it's
            None of your damn business!

            by TheOtherMaven on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 01:01:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Pweez, pweez...NO (0+ / 0-)

              Anything but that, Ms. Maven. I admit that I show up here just to expose folks like you for the frauds that they are. It hasn't gone unnoticed that you haven't responded to any of the substance of my comments, but rather like to advertise your pro-death stance every chance you get.

  •  The answer is Cooperatives (14+ / 0-)

    Coops are owned by their members who determine business objectives and compensation.  Coops are chartered by each individual state through the Sec of State office.  Nevada has the best coop enabling legislation which allows a choice among non-profit plans with or without stock. A Nevada Coop can do business in any other state.

    Coops can do any service, manufacture, or financial product needed.  There is an extensive network of regional and national Coop Banks to provide seed, venture capital, and conventional business loans.

    The army of unemployed construction, manufacturing,and service workers can work with the army of unemployed marketing and finance people to create their own coops.  

    Successful coops are often willing to help new coops get started.

    There is nothing new under the sun

    by emersonian on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 09:55:01 AM PDT

    •  got any links? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      revgerry, bmcphail, swaminathan

      I didn't include coops or creating a separate economy as another poster suggested.

      "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon

      by RiseUpEconomics on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 09:58:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  But there's just not enough capital. (8+ / 0-)

      I agree with your philosophy and perspective.  It can and does work at a micro level.  North Dakota, too, is doing great things with its state bank and Nebraska seems to have found a way to get full employment even in this economic catastrophe.

      But the problem is that there is too much capital available to the super-wealthy and not enough seed money for others.

      The Fed could do something about this, but they haven't.  Out of misplaced fears about inflation, despite the fact that deflation is currently the bigger fear and concern.

      Our monetary policy is being spooked by the bogeyman of inflation.

      Full Disclosure: I am not Ben Leming. But I think he's pretty cool.

      by Benintn on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:47:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not so much capital is required. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Justina, Jiminy Cricket

        Consider when plants close.  In Argentina, workers seized the plants and lobbied local government to expropriate (i.e. condemn) the factory and its contents.  In many cases, local government went along.  Workers took over the plant, and managed it.  Today, those plants are hiring new workers.  (See Naomi Klein's "The Take")

        In the U. S., we have the "takings" clause, but owners are only entitled to the market value of the plant and fixtures, and that's usually pennies on the dollar.  It would be worth it to communities to expropriate closed plants and turn them over to the workers.  Require the worker committees to come up with a business plan, some customer commitments and maybe financing given the fiscal condition of most local governments these days.  Unions have been using their funds to finance some of these takeovers.  (See William Greider, The Soul of Capitalism)

        Such actions can save jobs and communities, and transform the workplace in America into something more democratic and humane.

        Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men, for the nastiest of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all. - JM Keynes

        by goinsouth on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 12:59:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sustainability (7+ / 0-)

    Imagine Wall Street and the corporations are all off-shore where they actually function anyway. What is America without them?  How do we manage it so we can provide our food, educate our children, and live lives not always in crises from economic bubbles that collapse.  Sweden said they want to maintain their values so their companies need to be very successful. (I assume this means their companies actually contribute to their country instead of being motivated solely by profit.)  We may need to join together in like-minded communities.  America seems to be working for the 20% who own and control it and not working for 80%.  Time to take back control of our lives.

  •  re-localization, co-operatives, simplicity (15+ / 0-)

    I think we need to re-think our economic strategies altogether.

    Why are we dependent on these multi-national thieves?  Because we are so specialized, so isolated and so addicted to dirty energy and "growth"

    There is movement afoot to move our money from big banks, a start.
    There is a movement to boycott big box stores, and shop local.
    There is a movement to get off the grid.
    There is a movement to make more things, refuse to buy Chinese (foreign) -made goods, as gandhi led his followers back in the day.

    we need to get to know our neighbors and work out with them how to live richer lives, we need to completely change the conversation, not figure out how to win a losing battle for guaranteed income from big biz or big gov.

    "Bigger change will come with bigger Democratic majorities. Diminishing Democratic accomplishments is a losing strategy." sja May Peace Prevail

    by revgerry on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 09:59:54 AM PDT

    •  looks like a bunch of us are on the same page nt (5+ / 0-)

      "Bigger change will come with bigger Democratic majorities. Diminishing Democratic accomplishments is a losing strategy." sja May Peace Prevail

      by revgerry on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:01:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yup. Start changing the way we live, (6+ / 0-)

      one person at a time beginning with me.  That's the way to change society.  Enough of us start boycotting large banks, chain stores, products from low wage countries, oversized houses, and the next thing you know is we've changed the economic model and provided an income for our neighbors and ourselves without some pie-in-the-sky government guaranteed income program.

      "I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth." - Molly Ivins

      by Involuntary Exile on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:10:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Might as well go directly to communism (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Involuntary Exile

      Communism, said with tongue firmly in cheek, is one way of thinking about communal economies. Clearly, communism goes way beyond these ideas and doesn't work at all.

      The movement toward local economies has always grown the most during the more difficult times. There is a lot of benefit and good will when this approach is adopted. But this never seems to grow large enough to support very many people. So we need the mix.

      We do need to change the conversation. I heartily agree.

      "All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats" - Groucho Marx

      by GrumpyOldGeek on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:26:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Local economies can grow large enough to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Justina

        support everyone provided they are networked to expand the trading circle as needed, and provided they are backstopped with temporary relief from the federal government if catastrophe strikes.

        "I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth." - Molly Ivins

        by Involuntary Exile on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:56:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'll remember that when I shop for an airplane (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Involuntary Exile

          Oh, wait. Nobody makes airplanes locally where I live.

          I agree that larger trading circles can expand enough to support a local economy, but it's going to be a small economy and it won't support absolutely everyone or meet their needs.

          Don't get me wrong. Local economics is a very positive step forward. I live near the VT/NH border where there are serious efforts to increase participation locally. And it is growing and working quite well. I shop locally as a priority.

          These groups are totally self-supporting. The organizations minimize ties and dependence on government programs other than programs offered by local governments.

          And they have experienced catastrophes. Floods in 2006 wiped out crops, roads, businesses, and a few bridges. A couple of local participants lost their lives. A severe ice storm in 2008 inflicted serious long-term damage to fruit trees and maple stands. A dry heat wave this summer has reduced crop yields again. Two lousy maple syrup seasons in a row hurt lots of locals. Federal assistance helped to get the roads fixed and helped to restore power, but the tree damage and uninsured victims were left on their own. Local fund drives were helpful. Nobody is bailing out.

          This describes real, working, local economics. It's not an economic theory around here. It's hard work.

          "All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats" - Groucho Marx

          by GrumpyOldGeek on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 12:59:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, it is hard work, but it's a path back to (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Justina, GrumpyOldGeek

            individual liberty and away from corporate slavery, and it is also a path toward sustainable living.  We cannot continue to consume the earth's resources at the rate we have, nor can we continue the current economic model.  Neither are sustainable long term.

            "I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth." - Molly Ivins

            by Involuntary Exile on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 01:49:55 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Tips for identifying the weaknesses inhererent in (10+ / 0-)

    a job-based economy. Businesses have become increasing proficient at squeezing greater productivity of of fewer, lesser-paid workers. It's great for the capitalists and a death spiral for everyone else.

  •  very provocative diary and one that needs to be (12+ / 0-)

    read and debated.

    It goes to the very heart and soul of what 'society' owes to its citizens and how a people consent to be governed.

    It is the foundation and underpinning of the REAL debate between a Republican government and a Democratic government.

    It will, going forward into the 21st century, be the paramount all developed and developing nations will have to face, especially in terms of the sustainability of their populations without an economic base to employ them. They will either have to be given the means to take care of themselves through employment or the states will need to support them.

    Which will win?  when a people feel they have nothing left to lose there will always be wars and chaos.

    •  Curb population growth (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sparhawk

      Best thing that could be done is to figure out a way to curb population growth. The planet isn't going to sustain an unlimited number of people. We're not there yet, but we're gettig close. Hate to go the chinese way, but maybe there'll have to be some (dammit, dammit, dammit) gubmint mandates on how many children you ladies can have.

  •  I like you're diary, a couple of thoughts though. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    acerimusdux, Justina, flowerfarmer

    Instead of trying to convince them to create new jobs, or pay their current employees more, maybe we should just have them pay an Economic Security Tax and give that money directly to the American people.

    IMHO, this would never work. Our legislators are in the pockets of corporations.

    If businesses don't exist to create jobs for workers, maybe government programs should. There's probably enough work out there to be done, such as cleaning up our cities, repairing our crumbling infrastructure, teaching our children, etc.

     This country is divided into two sides: People like us, who think government can be harnessed to do good things for people. And those on the other side, that believe that the government is wasteful, inefficient, and intrusive to business and the free market. We are in the midst of  class war, one that has been very successful at getting those most affected by this economy, to vote against their own best interests.

    •  We are divided, yes, but what do we do (7+ / 0-)

      about it? I'm hungry for something new, a new (old) idea about the way the world can be, where there's enough to go around and we're not reliant on the big corporations for our livelihood.

      "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon

      by RiseUpEconomics on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:48:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What you are doing (4+ / 0-)

        Point out the lies that are fooling people.

        One of the big ones now is that we are overloaded with debt that we can't pay off, and have been consuming too much.  This is what the wealthy elite want to convince people of right now, in order to get them to vote against their interests.

        But, reducing aggregate consumption still further, and increasing savings still further (including by paying down debt), will only make the recession deeper, meaning even less jobs, lower output, and lower wages.

        But the people we owe all that debt to are right here in the US, still subject to our tax laws.  So there is plenty of money out there to pay that debt off.  We just need to restore taxation on the rich.

        Those who argue that that excess savings is all offshore, or in foreign hands, are arguing against the facts.  The US remains the wealthiest country on earth, with a GDP nearly double that of China.  And our capital account surplusses are only a small fraction of our debt.  We aren't borrowing much of that money from overseas.  It's all right here in the US.  And easily taxable.

         

      •  Move to Amish country (0+ / 0-)

        Or buy you a little plot of land in the country, build a little house, install solar, plant a garden, buy a cow and a couple of chickens and Oila!

  •  Anyone who's ever waited tables, worked in a... (21+ / 0-)

    .
    . . . hospital, or any number of other jobs knows -- has likely experienced -- how management is obsessed with getting less people to do more work.

    Now there is something to be said for efficiency and productivity and for companies not wanting to "pay people to just stand around."  Nevertheless, the Chamber does not give a shit about "more jobs," rather it wants less people doing more work.  That translates (in their minds) into a higher margin for the enterprise.

    Of course with more people out of work and more people dog-tired from extra work, there's less money (or less time/energy to spend it), out there to spend . . . on the products and services made/sold/provided by those companies.

    .

    "I have to go now. I feel . . . sticky." Anthony Bourdain

    by BenGoshi on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:04:49 AM PDT

  •  Interesting Read (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bmcphail, NotGeorgeWill, swaminathan

    I rec'ed it because it should be read.  Don't think the ideas will work though ...

    Priviate industry has always been about profit.  The government can't provide all the required jobs, if you just print money to pay them you get inflation.  The money supply can only increase at the rate of GDP or you eventually get inflation.

    So you need to figure out how to create jobs in the private industry by government encouragement.

    Ideas that seem to do this -

    Invest in basic research.
    Poor money into education.
    Job retraining.
    Infrastructure.

    Sending out money won't work.

    I will not step foot in or do any business with AZ until they respect human rights!

    by Edge PA on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:05:36 AM PDT

    •  enabling capital to flow to small biz, co-ops (5+ / 0-)

      can be done through the tax code.

      "Bigger change will come with bigger Democratic majorities. Diminishing Democratic accomplishments is a losing strategy." sja May Peace Prevail

      by revgerry on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:07:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My list is not exhustive (0+ / 0-)

        Just what came to the top of my head quickly.

        Like your idea.

        I will not step foot in or do any business with AZ until they respect human rights!

        by Edge PA on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:20:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The tax code provides special deductions (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        swaminathan

        and non-refundable tax credits to qualifying small businesses already under way.  Getting initial capital to start a small business shouldn't require the tax code (that's what the SBA is for.)  Although certain provisions within the tax code allow for services to be deemed capital contributions to partnerships.  That's how "carried interests" are created.

        My Karma just ran over your Dogma

        by FoundingFatherDAR on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:27:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Under the current circumstances . . . (0+ / 0-)

      we could probably get away with dropping "helicopter money" without triggering inflation, because the economy is well under capacity.  

      e.g. if demand for goods and services increases -- even in an inflated currency -- businesses are still going to chase after profits provided that the rate of inflation lags behind their rate of growth.  It will spark hiring provided there's some reassurance that the money drops will be more than a one-time phenomena.  In fact it might spark hiring even if its just a one-time phenomena (not unlike Christmas hiring by retailers).

      You could drop $1 trillion into a $14 trillion economy and you wouldn't get Zimbabwe type inflation rates, or even pre-Volcker inflation pressures.  You may not see any inflationary pressure if the economy is operating well below capacity.

      You'd start running into inflationary concerns if the helicopter drops caused investors to seek returns in other governments' securities than the U.S., which in turn required the U.S. to jack up interest rates to soak up available investment dollars.  More likely you'd start seeing it once the labor market started approaching full capacity.  In order to keep the economy from crashing you'd have to gradually withdraw the supports.

      Of course, there are wiser ways to use the dollars than via helicopter drops.

  •  You're hilarious... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Involuntary Exile

    ...if you were able to tax away the entire cash reserve and fund each adult to the tune of $10,000--the federal poverty threshold for 1 person--you'd run out in 2 years.

    This idea is beyond idiotic.

    •  And in those two years.... (6+ / 0-)

      the economy would return to full employment because that would be enough to correct the shortfall in aggregate demand.

      You haven't thought this through.  It's not really possible to run through all that excess cash and not correct the underlying imbalance in intended savings vs. intended investment.

      If you take away the excess savings, the economy reaches equilibrium at full employment.

      •  Well that's a load of crap... (0+ / 0-)

        ...what's so special about $1.8 trillion over and above the $2 trillion SSA doles out?

        Seriously, I'd love to see the toy model that crunches out full employment as a response to freeing up these reserves.

        •  Any decent macroeconomic forecasting model (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wezelboy

          You are talking about shifting $1.8T from excess savings directly to one of the more potent forms of stimulus.  Yes, that is enough to close most of the output gap.

          For example:

          http://www.economy.com/...

          Transfers to the neediest produce some of the highest GDP multipliers, 1.61 for extending UI benefits, and 1.74 for increasing food stamps.  From this, you wouldn't get quite that much, but you would at least expect a multiplier as good as the 1.22 for the refundable tax credit (multipliers from page 16).  

          If I figure a multiplier of 1.3, and spread it out over 2 years, you are looking at .9T each year, increasing GDP by $1.17T per year.  

          The above paper for 2Q 2010 estimates that an increase in annual GDP of 462 billion produced 2.6 million jobs, lowering the unemployment rate by 1.3%.  Since we are increasing GDP by 2.5 times as much, I'll estimate we will create an additional 6.5 million jobs, lowering unemployment by roughly another 3.25%.  Since the model's baseline forecast for 2012, under current policy, is for 8.3% unemployment, that means we would get just about to 5%, which is about where most economists today estimate NIARU.

          That's just one model, but you would expect somewhat similar results from Macroeconomic Advisors, Global Insight, or the Fed's FRB-US model.

          The $1.8T mentioned just happens to be nearly the right amount, but the underlying point is, wherever the excess savings is in the economy, moving the right amount of excess savings to consumption is going to close the output gap.  You are shifting dollars directly from the area of surplus to the area where there is a shortfall.

          •  If by decent you mean alchemy... (0+ / 0-)

            ...then you have a point.

            1. We don't know much about how Moody's macro model derives constant coefficients, though the suspicion is that they are consequent of, not informative to, the model's back-fitting to data.  We'll likely never know, since the model is proprietary, web-based, and unvalidated.
            1. Demand shortfall didn't track linearly with increase in unemployment.  Why should we expect your redistribution of "excess savings" to behave any differently?
            1. Of course the models should at least give similar results.  They're by and large just different implementations of the same core linear system.  To some extent variance across their combined results can be accounted by what equations were left out, granularity in terms of the equations, and assumptions built into different data feeds-in.  
            1. Exactly when did we discover some magical means to identify demand shortfall?
            •  Models (0+ / 0-)
              1. The models I mentioned are the most widely used macroeconomic forecasting models throughout business, academia, and government.  They are used because they are the best we've got, and they work pretty well.
              1. In theory it might be possible to devise models that are even more precise, but that assumes we have sufficient precision on our inputs for that to make a difference.  We don't.  These models get very close, and match real world data pretty well.  No model is going to match the real world economy with absolute precision.
              1.  I'm not sure what you mean by "demand shortfall didn't track linearly with increase in unemployment".  The change in C+I+G tracked very closely with the change in civilian employment.  For example, see this graph.  
              1.  How do we know there is a demand shortfall?  This is like asking how do we know a duck is a duck.  If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck.  In this case, if we had a supply shortfall, we would expect to see high inflation, high interest rates, high levels of capacity utilization, falling corporate profits, rising real wages, and corporations carrying low levels of liquid assets.  Instead, every economic variable you can think to look at looks like what you would expect if there was a demand shortfall (here, here, and here for starters).
  •  Big business has enough cash (6+ / 0-)

    reserves to employ 2.8 million American at $70,000 annual for five years.

    Corporate America is hoarding a massive pile of cash. It just doesn't want to spend it hiring anyone.

    Nonfinancial companies are sitting on $1.8 trillion in cash, roughly one-quarter more than at the beginning of the recession. And as several major firms report impressive earnings this week, the money continues to flow into firms' coffers.

    Companies Piling Up Cash But Not Adding Jobs

    "Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied." Friar Lawrence, Romeo and Juliet

    by the fan man on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:08:16 AM PDT

    •  Why would they (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      the fan man, NotGeorgeWill

      The economy is going to be terrible for years. Any sane person or organization is accumulating cash reserves. Lots of spending is a very bad idea right now for anyone.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 02:46:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Only because workers spend money on (0+ / 0-)

        products they might want to sell. The cash reserve % has gone up, even before the bust. It certainly isn't in any company's individual interest, only in the economy as a whole. So gov't has to step in and create demand. So we are subsidizing the capitalist system, not very libertarian.

        "Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied." Friar Lawrence, Romeo and Juliet

        by the fan man on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 04:04:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Re (0+ / 0-)

          It certainly isn't in any company's individual interest, only in the economy as a whole.

          Cutting expenditures and digging ourselves out of debt is in everyone's collective long-term interest. But it's painful in the short term.

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 04:20:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sorry, I'm a Kensyian and you are not (0+ / 0-)

            a libertarian.

            "Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied." Friar Lawrence, Romeo and Juliet

            by the fan man on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 04:30:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Look at how well... (0+ / 0-)

              ...Keynesian economics has worked so far. It has been a total disaster.

              (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
              Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

              by Sparhawk on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 04:32:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Worked very well until the stoppers (0+ / 0-)

                allowing money to flow globally unimpeded were removed.

                Are you suggesting that wild market swings and crashes are good? Depressions are good? Like economic libertarianism? Move to South America. Works very well for those with money, not so much for everyone else.

                "Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied." Friar Lawrence, Romeo and Juliet

                by the fan man on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 04:45:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  It's working wonderfully (0+ / 0-)

                What we are seeing now is the exact economic mess nearly every Keynesian predicted would be the result of Bush's trickle down approach and financial market deregulation, decades of falling real wages, and the bursting of the housing bubble and resulting credit crunch.

                Some "Austerians" also predicted economic disaster, but they got the details almost entirely wrong, most predicting massive inflation and a currency collapse, for example.  They at least had some understanding that the credit cycle plays a role, but no understanding of the underlying causes of these credit bubbles, in which a strong dollar policy, and increasing inequity of wealth, leads first to excessive credit expansion, and then to a shortfall in aggregate demand when credit too begins to fail.  And they had no understanding of the danger of a Keynesian liquidity trap, and the risk of deflation.

                At the macro level, the problem right now is clearly too little expenditure, not too much.  And, at the macro level, there is also clearly no such problem as suffering from too much debt.  For every debt, there is an offsetting asset.  One man's debt is another mans savings.  These net out in the aggregate.  

                The only people who will benefit from short run economic suffering in order to pay off debts are those who benefit from preserving the existing levels of economic inequity.  

                •  Re (0+ / 0-)

                  Some "Austerians" also predicted economic disaster, but they got the details almost entirely wrong, most predicting massive inflation and a currency collapse, for example.

                  Austrians who were clueless about the credit cycle and deflation, but lots of people like Karl Denninger and Mish got it right.

                  And they had no understanding of the danger of a Keynesian liquidity trap, and the risk of deflation.

                  We're not in a liquidity trap, we're in a solvency trap in which too many people owe money that will never be paid back. A liquidity trap is when you are good for the money but it's hard to get ahold of right now. A solvency trap is when you don't have the money, which is where we are right now.

                  At the macro level, the problem right now is clearly too little expenditure, not too much.  And, at the macro level, there is also clearly no such problem as suffering from too much debt.  For every debt, there is an offsetting asset.  One man's debt is another mans savings.  These net out in the aggregate.  

                  It is difficult to understand that you can actually say this with a straight face. If I owed you 100x my income, you could record that as an asset on your books? Debt is only an asset to the extent that it is payable.

                  (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                  Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                  by Sparhawk on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 05:50:42 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Liquidity trap (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    NotGeorgeWill

                    A liquidity trap doesn't have anything to do with a lack of liquidity.  It occurs when interest rates are so low with interest rates near the zero lower bound, that monetary policy has no impact.  It is impossible to stimulate increased demand or investment by increasing the money supply. There is little difference between holding bonds and holding cash.  There is plenty of liquidity, there is just insufficient demand from credit worthy borrowers willing to take on new debt.  

                    As to the second point, if you owed 100x your income, you would either pay it back out of your assets (after all, if you borrowed 100x your income, you must have used that to purchase something), or you would default.  In any case, this would not create any macroeconomic problem in the aggregate.  If you are able to default on your debts, all this does is shift some of my income or wealth to you.  It does not lower aggregate income.

              •  Problem is . . . (0+ / 0-)

                $700 billion of spending over 2 years won't off-set a $2 trillion drop in aggregate demand (even with a strong multiplier effect).  

                Without the stimulus unemployment would easily be over 11 percent right now; there's a pretty good chance it might kiss 12 percent.  

                The main problem is that the stimulus was paired back from $1.4 trillion to $900 billion to something a little shy of $700 billion in real terms before it passed Congress.  Even back in early 2009, people like Krugman and DeLong were emphasizing the fact that we were likely to hit 10 percent unemployment based on the Stimulus Plan as described then.  The "Austerians" analytical approach didn't highlight a 10 percent unemployment rate; the Obama administration didn't get it right either.  

          •  From a individual perspective, yes . . . (0+ / 0-)

            From a national perspective, no.

            If you withdraw private sector and public sector spending simultaneously, you get Depressions; you INCREASE the deficit and the debt burden.

            Remember that the national debt INCREASED during the Hoover years.  This at a time when he was increasing revenues (taxes) and decreasing spending.  Even without a tax increase you can increase a deficit without one extra dollar of new spending if you have a drop in economic activity and a fall in federal revenues.

            Right now businesses and individuals are going to operate as they need too, but you need counter-cyclical policy in the public sector before you're likely to get a robust, long-term, self-sustaining private sector recovery.

        •  Problem is . . . (0+ / 0-)

          these companies already have enough spare capacity to account for an increase in demand for their products.  

          Essentially the argument would be that businesses should start spending their cash for people to stand around.  It would take a while before the money circulated around the economy enough to fill the current capacity gap AND necessitate expanded capacity.

  •  This is all fascinating. Thank you. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiseUpEconomics
  •  Wow, you must really be a fan of Soviet system. (0+ / 0-)

    Don't see many of those any more.

    •  The Soviets were authoritarians. (10+ / 0-)

      Brutal oppression can wear many styles of clothing.

      This is about redesigning economic systems to elevate the importance of meeting human needs.

      We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

      by bmcphail on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 12:18:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  True. But there needs to be some sort of (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bmcphail

        plan how to make it work without running massive deficits or raising taxes to crazy levels. And there are better ways to spend money, imho, than to give it to people who don't really need it.

        •  What are crazy levels of taxation? (0+ / 0-)

          Many posts on dKos have reminded us that the top tax bracket during the Eisenhower administration was over 90%, during which time we enjoyed the greatest economic expansion in the history of the human race.

          The two things are not correlated by any means but it shows that under the right circumstances practically any rate of taxation under 100% can seem reasonable.

          Baz

          We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

          by bmcphail on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 04:47:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Historic expansion under Eisenhower happened (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bmcphail

            b/c US was the only major country with economy not completely destroyed during WWII. It's easy to expand with no competition to speak of and it would have happened with pretty much any tax rates. Top bracket at the time only applied to extremely high incomes (several million in today's dollars). These incomes were very rare.
            It is true that tax burden can be probably doubled compared to the current one in US and the economy will be mostly fine (look at Northern Europe). I think that simply redistributing this money will be not the most productive use of it and it will be extremely hard to do politically.

            •  Hard politically, no argument (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FG

              but I would maintain that redistributing it would be the very most productive use, viewed from the perspective of the overall productivity of the economic system.  

              Redistributive taxation and single payer health care.

              Think about all the potential entrepreneurs who are not striking out on their own due to a need to maintain health insurance for their families, or because they are struggling to provide the basics of life.

              Baz

              We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

              by bmcphail on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 07:04:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Point granted about the unprecedented (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              All In

              economic times in the 40's-50's,  but

              ... it shows that under the right circumstances practically any rate of taxation under 100% can seem reasonable.

              I would argue that a much more liberal system of taxation and social benefits while requiring higher taxes would produce an economy that would sustain that higher level.  

              Even if it was a break even situation, no net increase or decrease in productivity, there would be a net gain in human dignity and comfort.

              Thanks for engaging in debate.

              Baz

              We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

              by bmcphail on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 07:13:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  The whole point here is that being generous (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          All In

          is also economically effective.  Money put into the economy at the bottom immediately percolates upward with a large multiplier effect.  Money put into the economy at the top is largely sequestered or exported, not spent.

          We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

          by bmcphail on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 04:50:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  And US is not? (0+ / 0-)

        Do current US politicians like authority??? -)

        I thought that we have already figured out that communism does not work. Many people are lazy. Why work if you get paid anyway?

        It is amazing that this discussion needs to be repeated again.

      •  Human needs become wants (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiseUpEconomics

        You can meet human needs, but you can't keep the human spirit from wanting something more. That's where the authoritarian comes in. See, you can't have anything more, there's just enough money for what we say you need, so get back to your station and keep sewing.

        •  meet the needs with a basic income (0+ / 0-)

          and then people work for what they want that's above and beyond that.

          "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon

          by RiseUpEconomics on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 02:23:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Get rid of... (0+ / 0-)

            social security, medicare, and obamacare and we'll talk. Have people buy insurance with the $15k they get, and save a few thousand dollars for retirement. You're just stacking all these additional trillions of dollars on TOP of these other things.
            You don't TAKE what other people have, no matter how much you want it, or think you can rationalize taking it (oh, they've got so much stuff already, they'll never miss it). First thing I learned as a child, don't steal other people's stuff. (Got whooped for it actually, that's how I learned).
            Any able-bodied and minded person should work in a job that is needed. You don't fill and unfill potholes for the hell of it. It's not efficient use of capital. It's a very fast way to go broke. We have not reached true need until we have exhausted all the means of potential work, including picking fruits in orchards, working at meat packing plants, beinga janitor, hotel maid, etc. Millions of illegal aliens have these jobs because those in our country supposedly won't do them. When I see a bunch of Americans in the fields of southern California picking grapefruits, and there are still people waiting in line for these jobs, then I'll talk about helping these folks out governmentally.
            Good example of what should be doing more of is the battery plant in Michigan. They give tax breaks to the company for construction and infrastructure, the tax breaks are tied to jobs created. Win-win for everyone. No freebies for the companies, but incentive to build and hire.

  •  As Chomsky pointed out long ago ... (14+ / 0-)

    the first George Bush's mantra of "jobs, jobs, jobs," translated to its true meaning, was "profits, profits, profits."

    "Favoring the use of torture is not a political position, it's a mental illness." -- Devilstower

    by scorponic on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:14:01 AM PDT

  •  Businesses Are Not Hiring On Purpose (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    splashy, RiseUpEconomics, greengemini

    They want to continue their parade of no regs and polluting the environment.  The democrats want to regulate and protect consumers and repugs DON'T.  So, businesses are not hiring on purpose to get friendly puppets (repugs) in office again so that they can continue thier greed and sticking to consumers and workers.

    •  Mmm, you're thinking small (0+ / 0-)

      Businesses aren't hiring because they don't need people right now. It's as simple as that.

      The bigger and more interesting question is, 'why are we (the Republicans and many Democrats) okay with nearly 10% official unemployment for the foreseeable future', such that they feel no impetus to even let someone else do something about it, let alone doing something about it themselves?

      And the answer is, the rich are getting to the point where they can't take a larger slice of the country's wealth than they currently have without significantly depressing the wages of everyone else in the country. They could do it indirectly, by raising the taxes of everyone below the top 1% of income earners while further eliminating their own taxes, but that would get people really angry. So they are tackling it from the other end. It turns out if you deflate prices, and deflate wages for everyone under the top 1% even more, it has the exact same effect as hugely increasing taxes for the proles and decreasing them for the rich.

      -fred

  •  Sounds good to me, too. (8+ / 0-)

    As anyone knows who is forced to work for a living, what jobs are left out there are soul-destroying pits of death. It would be nice to be able to choose a job one loved and work at it rather than be forced into a job one hates because you'll die otherwise.

    On Sara Palin: "That woman...is an Idiot." -- Keith Olbermann

    by allergywoman on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:18:09 AM PDT

  •  Nice catch. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    acerimusdux, splashy, RiseUpEconomics

    It is always interesting when a little bit of real truth slips into the news somewhere.

    ePluribus Media
    Collaboration is contagious!

    by m16eib on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:19:50 AM PDT

  •  Disagree!!! Current system/belief is bankrupt. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    swaminathan, GrumpyOldGeek

    I completely disagree with your premise. Only public companies are responsible to shareholders. And even then it's not really true because shareholders have no real power over the company. They are shareholders only in name.

    Private companies provide a product or service. They provide jobs.

    Public companies seek to maximize profits mostly for the rich who run the company and own a lot of the shares. You say they are not hiring because they don't need people. I say they are not hiring because they've managed to force productivity increases by having the remaining employees do the work of sometimes 5 people. And I'm not kidding.

    People are afraid to speak up. They can't go to another job. So they are taken advantage of. As long as companies are allowed to do this, they will continue to take advantage of their workers.

  •  Corporations Exist bcz Gvt Creates Them (3+ / 0-)

    Here is a premise: corporations exist to serve the public good.  The limited liability afforded the shareholders is useful for the accumulation of sufficient capital to undertake large projects that could not or would not be undertaken by a sole proprietor or a partnership, but that nonetheless benefit the people.

    The shareholders' get limited liability - they are shielded from personally liable for the corporations debts.  In return, government has the inherent right to regulate corporations and to impose whatever mandates it chooses because the corporation is created by government to serve the public good.

    •  In terms of Job Creation (0+ / 0-)

      Just to get this more on-topic for the diary, I would add that job creation regulations or mandates could come in various forms.  The first that comes to mind for me would be a prohibition on a corporation's hourly employees working more than a certain number of hours per week - 40 hours comes to mind to start, but certainly a lower number could be imagined.  

      Other approaches could readily be formulated.

    •  Corporations exist (0+ / 0-)

      because communism doesn't work. So, the government doesn't have a lot of leverage over the corporation. They can choose not to allow them. Great, communism. Corporations can go to other countries that DO allow them, and grow and prosper while the U.S. goes to waste. The benefits of allowing corporations is that they employ your population and pay them, so you don't have to. The corporations also won't exist if those that risk capital have unlimited liability the risk/reward ratio simply isn't there. Additionally, there is an amount of regulation which is acceptable, but there is a fine line between acceptable and that which will prohibit competitiveness. Think about it like teaching your kid to ride a bike. You can let them go and they might crash and skin their knee, you can put helmets and kneepads on them and let them go, thereby protecting them from injury, or you can simply never let go, hold the bike forever, and they'll get bored and quit.

      •  Please Explain more - Not Getting the Metaphor (0+ / 0-)

        It seems to me that it would be more apt to compare this to getting your kid a bike, but regulating his or her use of it to keep the kid out of trouble.

      •  Corporations predate Communism (0+ / 0-)

        At least the Marxist formulation of communism.  The corporation was invented because under the common law, part owners in a business enjoyed joint and several liability.  That meant that each person who owned a piece of a firm was liable for the full measure of the firms liabilities, should any or all of the remaining part owners be unable to pay.

        Under the corporate scheme of ownership, each part owner risks only the amount he paid for his share, not his entire personal wealth.  This arrangement has advantages for the owners and provides a social good of encouraging the formation of large enterprises to do big things that groups of owners under joint and several liability would not undertake.  

        I am not seeing what communism has to do with it at all, however.

  •  More precisely (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justina, Justus, swaminathan

    The biggest problem in the economy right now is inequality.

    You are absolutely right that there is no incentive to create jobs.  The economy does not automatically adjust to a full employment equilibrium.  There are many ways in which capitalism is efficient, and in which markets adjust and correct themselves.  But they don't correct a shortfall in jobs, unless government acts to actively manage the economy to ensure that you are operating at maximum output (full employment).

    Whether the economy can achieve this level of output on it's own depends entirely on where aggregate demand achieves balance with aggregate supply.  This depends on the balance between consumption and savings.  If it is investment and savings that is too low, that is considered a "supply side" problem, and you will typically have high interest rates and inflation (due to too high rates of capacity utilization).  Conversely, if it is demand that is short, you have very low interest rates and the threat of deflation, which is where we are now.

    I see many people arguing that the economy is currently overloaded with too much debt.  But, at the macro level, that's not really possible.  One man's debt is another man's savings.  It's possible for one country to be too much in debt to another, but that clearly isn't the case in the US (China, for instance owns only a small part of US debt and is still far less wealthy than the US).

    What is occurring is that one small portion of the population is very wealthy, and controlling most of the savings, and that the remainder has therefore had to go into debt borrowing from them in order to maintain consumption.  As it has become more clear that this inequity was not a temporary problem, and that the problem was only getting worse, it has thus become more clear that the masses can no longer afford to borrow, and are no longer good credit risk for those wealthy savers to lend to.  But this leaves all of that excess savings with no where to reasonably invest.  It makes no sense to invest in business capacity, as capacity utilization is at near record lows.  It is no longer worth the risk to lend more to consumers or home buyers.  So you have reams of money chasing "safe" and unproductive assets like treasuries or gold.

    The underlying cause of all credit market bubbles, and all demand shortfall recessions, is the same, an unsustainable imbalance in the distribution of wealth.  Taxes have been cut too much on the wealthy.  There is now too much savings and investment (in the aggregate), and not enough income for most workers for there to be sufficient consumption and demand.

    Rather than increasing government handouts, the preferable policy to correct this for me would be for the government to guarantee employment to everyone who wants a job.  Rather than pay people for nothing, pay them to produce something.  This actually makes them less dependent on government, because it also gives them the skills to be easily employed later on in the private sector, once the imbalance is corrected and the private sector again can create jobs more efficiently.

    And, it doesn't matter either if you run up government debt to pay for this.  The same people you are borrowing from, are the people you will have to otherwise tax to pay for it, that small group who has far more money than they are able or willing to spend.

  •  Being a Luddite is not the solution (4+ / 0-)

    Technology exists, improves, and has always increased the standard of living of the overall populace despite replacing jobs.

    The solution is to tax the FUCK out of off-shored jobs and manufacturing in order to bring the cost in line with the domestic market. Even that sumbitch Henry Ford recognised the need for his employees to be able to buy the products they made.

  •  That works for me! (8+ / 0-)

    No pun intended.

    Now I'll go read all the comments which no doubt contain lots of "You're crazy!" ones.

    But it is not a crazy idea.

    Our very lives depend on employment in this country, and yet we are denied that.

    If companies won't hire us and the government says it "can't" create jobs, then pay us a minimum income so those of us who can't get work can join together and build more than just a subsistence existence with our combined pittances.

    It will never happen in this country, however. Too many rugged individuals out there who don't see the very hands that have helped them along the way and will never voluntarily extend that assistance to so many "others."

    A government should care for its citizens, not force them to run a gauntlet to get simple food, clothing, and shelter.

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:38:12 AM PDT

  •  We are at about 1930 on our re-learning (8+ / 0-)

    curve. None of these nuggets of wisdom are new to history; we're just relearning them following years of having them collectively and generally washed out of our brains.

    The economy will get worse, and there will be a federal jobs program. Or there will be a general war. Or both.

  •  Free market fundamentalism (15+ / 0-)

    has blinded a large majority of people, including all republicans and economists.  I call it that because it's based on faith, not reason. Faith in those principles you'll hear Palin go on about in every speech.

    They overlook one thing.  They view labor as a liability.  Labor however includes that very large majority of people we also call CONSUMERS.  

    Pardon me for shouting.  It drives me crazy that we wind up competing with cheap labor because wally world can give us cheap shoes that way.  

    This economy crashed because they forgot that in order for consumers to keep the economy going, they need good jobs.  

    In my study of economic geography I noticed something my conservative teacher did not.   That venture capital (people who could afford to start a business or invest in one)  was ALWAYS located in the very places that had unions and good jobs.  

    Consumers are in fact,  an essential asset.

    Prove me wrong and I'll change my mind.

    by willbjett on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:40:53 AM PDT

  •  Holy wow. Excellent point. (4+ / 0-)

    That's a keeper.

    Thanks so much for sharing Pearlstein's pearl of wisdom.

    It's not job-ism.  It's capitalism.

    I have been reading Adam Smith this week, and just happened upon one of his teachings on the morality of capitalism.  It's the most naive, foolish, silly, un-scientific nonsense I've read.  Basically, Smith argues (I'll diary about it later) in Theory of Moral Sentiments that super-wealthy people just end up sharing their goods with others (particularly the poor) because they have more than they know what to do with.

    I have not seen much evidence of that happening.

    Full Disclosure: I am not Ben Leming. But I think he's pretty cool.

    by Benintn on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:42:29 AM PDT

    •  It never occurs to Republicans...... (6+ / 0-)

      ...that no matter how much extra money you put in a business owner's pocket via tax cuts, he's not going to hire new people if there are no customers for them to serve!

      No one hires people to stand around doing nothing!

      Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

      by Sirenus on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:29:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Does it occur to you... (0+ / 0-)

        that the dollars saved via the tax might enable that owner to keep employees on staff? You are confusing large corporations with a lot of small and medium sized businesses. I personally represented a printing company whose owner had been in business for 30 years and had long time employees he valued highly. He lost a contract with Walmart, and dug into his own pocket for a year or so to keep his staff intact, not wanting to lay any off. Finally, his pocketbook took precedence, and he had to let a few go. Remember, business is a zero sum game. By and large, the owners are going to make what they make, they're going to be the last to take a pay cut. You're assuming they're going to always pocket all of the profits and never use it to retain employees, buy inventory, or update equipment. In a recession, they're going to try and get by with their current staffs as long as they are personally making x amount. Once you start cutting into that, and the owner is going to cut staff to protect his personal income, which is as it should be.

        •  Business has become a NEGATIVE sum game (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cosmicvoop

          Everything for the owners, nothing for the rest. Take it to Redstate.

          If it's
          Not your body
          Then it's
          Not your choice
          AND it's
          None of your damn business!

          by TheOtherMaven on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 12:28:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I've got an idea (0+ / 0-)

            Start a business yourself. You can have it all too, Maven. Nothing for the rest, like you say. It's easy.
            What? Too scared? You'd rather sit and suck your thumb and complain on a message board about all the evil people in the world who are keeping you down?
            Come on, Maven. I know you can think of something you're good at and can make money doing. Turn it into a business and hire ME! I don't cost much, say $25/hour plus healthcare and pension benefits? What? Too much? You're just a greedy business owner. All for you, and nothing for the rest of us.

        •  I think simply that at a certain point... (0+ / 0-)

          ... the cry of "tax cuts will increase employment" becomes false.

          Even you are pointing out that tax cuts won't automatically mean new jobs, only fewer layoffs. And that some owners may keep the profits or spend the money on things other than keeping or hiring employees.

          Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

          by Sirenus on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 03:31:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Put yourselves in the shoes of.. (0+ / 0-)

            a small to medium size business, say 50 employees, and you have the Dems in control talking about corporate tax increases, health care reform, financial and environmental regulation increases, personal income tax increases for those like you that make over $250k, and oh, yea, giving everyone $15k a year to live on for "free" that you will have to shoulder as a new tax on business. What do you think you might do? Hire new employees? Maybe cut a few existing ones to conserve some cash to pay for all this crap and still be able to open your doors?  I represent businesses as an industrial commercial real estate broker. Most of the men and ladies I work with are extremely hard working people who use extra money to the benefit of trying to grow their companies. They may take a tax cut and invest in a new racking system, which will enable them to store more product in less space, which increases sales and decreases space costs, thereby hopefully enabling them to grow, expand to other areas, and hire new people. A lot of them have big dreams of becoming huge, competing with the big boys, many don't make it. You can see the stress on their faces and the responsibiity they feel for their employees, the pressure to succeed. They don't willy nilly take a tax cut and run off for a month long vacation to Europe. Think about what you might do with your own tax cut. Some people go shopping or go on vacation. The smart pay off their credit cards or car. I guess it boils down to your view of business owners. If you think they're rich, greedy bastards who live a life of luxury and screw their employees at every chance, then nothing I say will convince you. Whichy begs the question, why do you want their jobs so much? If you're a benevolent dictator, go start your own business and show everyone how it's done.

        •  And did it ever occur to you that that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassandra Waites

          tax dollar might make it possible for a school to keep a good teacher so that 20 years down the road there will be someone with the skill necessary to work in the printing industry?
            Behind all this anti-tax idea is not just that cutting taxes will create jobs but that taxes are a black hole, into which money goes and never comes out.  How many times have I heard it said that "taxes take money out of the economy?"  Such nonesense.  Suggesting that the military industrial complex (the second largest recipient of our tax dollars) is not "part of the economy" is too insane to comprehend.

          ...toward a better tomorrow.

          by Steve Love on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 05:37:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Not so nutty as you might think. (0+ / 0-)

      Moral Sentiments that super-wealthy people just end up sharing their goods with others (particularly the poor) because they have more than they know what to do with.

      Andrew Carnegie, one of the most stingy industralist of the 19th Century when it came to paying workers nevertheless, gave away a large chunk of his fortune to building libraries, wrote in 1889 and essay entitled, Wealth, where he wrote, "...the millionaire will be but a trustee for the poor; intrusted for a season with a great part of the increased wealth of the cummunity, but administering it for the community far better than it could or would have done for itself."  
         His idea was that workers would only spend a good salary on booze and whores but he was wise and would put that money for the long term benefit of society by making sure that he gave it away before he died...under the theory he proclaims:"The man who dies thus rich, dies disgraced."  
         He gave away $350 million in his lifetime, however, I don't know "disgraced" he was when he died.  :-)

      ...toward a better tomorrow.

      by Steve Love on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 05:26:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Had similar conversation today (5+ / 0-)

    with someone, we discussed that any policy would be sacrificed to make a quarter of a penny more by a corporation, that it was destroying the country.  The response was great IMO, 'this country has become the equivalent of a Ford Pinto'.

  •  GREAT Diary, But That Horse Left the Barn (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie, Cassiodorus, Steve Love

    long ago...

    We are not going to re-think much of anything.. the problems have simply gotten too large and urgent at this point and philosophically we bought into the "every man for himself" paradigm long ago.

    in addition, the people in charge (those with the capital to invest) aren't interested in changing the paradigm-- it pays wayyyyyyy too well to change it.

    "It's pretty clear human beings aren't improving". Spencer Greenberg - Rebellion Research

    by Superpole on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:45:32 AM PDT

    •  I just rethought something. (5+ / 0-)

      So, that's one person.

      Add a few more and you've got a movement for change.

      Add a few million and you win elections.

      Don't give up.

      Full Disclosure: I am not Ben Leming. But I think he's pretty cool.

      by Benintn on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:50:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Sorry" the Train Wreck is Simply Too (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Marie

        far along to stop it at this point.

        Other great civilizationa have come and gone (most lasted much longer than ours). everything ebbs and flows.

        there are plenty of people demanding change, drug decriminalization being one good example. do see corporate ass-kissing congress going along with this demand?

        how about EFCA, where's that now?

        the list is too long to go into.

        "It's pretty clear human beings aren't improving". Spencer Greenberg - Rebellion Research

        by Superpole on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:55:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I have faith in the young people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justina

      The millennial generation is even bigger than the Baby Boomer generation, they are tech-savy, and they are very open to new ways of doing things. I think if we can do outreach on college campuses and online we can tap into the idealism that's potentially out there for an idea like this.

      "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon

      by RiseUpEconomics on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:09:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not the problem of being acceptable (0+ / 0-)

        and they are very open to new ways of doing things.

        to new ways.  It is the historical sense of how things used to be done, (where the bodies are buried) that the young lack.  Without that they are just as prone to repeat the failures of the past as to seek out some really new path that might have potenial.
          I would share you hope for the young "getting it" if I saw in them a greater interest in their historical matrix.

        ...toward a better tomorrow.

        by Steve Love on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 05:44:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  We can start in our communities... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marie, splashy, Jiminy Cricket, aliasalias

      with alternative institutions and businesses. In my small city we have an alternative credit union, large food coop, free health clinic, multiple CSAs (community supported agriculture) and local businesses (some worker-owned). The county has a sustainability committee that continues to look for ways to build on our local economy and self-sufficiency. There are small beginnings like this elsewhere in the country. We need to build on them and promote their successes. If "top down" seems too overwhelming, why not "bottom up?"

      "The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time." - Terry Tempest Williams

      by your neighbor on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:33:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  OTOH -- when big business comes knocking, (0+ / 0-)

        local governments swing the door wide open as David Kay Johnston documented in "Free Lunch."

        "Dulled conscience, irresponsibility, and ruthless self-interest already reappear. Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster!" FDR - 1937

        by Marie on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 12:56:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Unless WE become local govt. (0+ / 0-)

          It's hard not to be cynical in these times - but it's so important to see the positive and take heart. Good things ARE happening. Many of my friends are in both city and county govt. When there are decisions to be made they listen to their constituents. Local govt is easier to get involved in than state and federal. It is possible to make real change on that level.

          "The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time." - Terry Tempest Williams

          by your neighbor on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 09:12:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  George McGovern (5+ / 0-)

    proposed a demogrant in his 1972 presidential campaign. Idea has been around a while.

  •  Why do we have this system? Rhetorical Q? (4+ / 0-)

    They who get wealthy on this system want to keep it that way!

    I've been noting Pearlstein's conversion the past two years. I used to leave comments in his "conversations." I'd write about too much greed by Wall Street types and he'd bluster about how greed was good, no reason to ever talk about that. Then the collapse and he began to see things differently.

  •  Love it! Also, we should change the laws (5+ / 0-)

    so that corporations could not operate without impunity

    NAFTA was nothing more than a way to avoid ALL the worker and environment advances made until Reagan.

    Do you recall that unions brought us the 40-day work week and worker safety?  

    All those advances by Mother Jones and Norma Rae were undone by going for scab labor. . .overseas.

    Why did we allow that?  

    INTERNATIONALIZE UNIONS on the premise that worker and environmental rights must ALWAYS increase.

    So if Johnson & Johnson wants to printing to Puerto Rico, then they must offer those workers NO LESS than what was received before.

    How about this?

    I love what Howard Deans said--something to the effect that corporations are not good or evil--they are just like hockey teams and they must have the SAME strict rules applied universally.

    Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

    by Einsteinia on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:54:21 AM PDT

  •  Instead of jobs: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musicalhair, Justina, aliasalias

    direct worker control over the means of production.

    "Any sensible person right now would join an anticapitalist organization." -- David Harvey

    by Cassiodorus on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:55:49 AM PDT

    •  A great way to build a bureacracy but (0+ / 0-)

      as the great Soviet experiment proved, not too good a way to run a productive enterprise.

      ...toward a better tomorrow.

      by Steve Love on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 05:46:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The "great Soviet experiment" (0+ / 0-)

        never offered any worker direct control over the means of production.  Did you think the Five Year Plans were optional?

        "Any sensible person right now would join an anticapitalist organization." -- David Harvey

        by Cassiodorus on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 07:00:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, yes! The farm cooperatives that took over (0+ / 0-)

          never offered any worker direct control over the means of production.

          the estates of the nobility did precisely that... as did the committee of party members who took over the management of industries.  
            The Five Year Plans were simply goals set by the central government to be instructive to the various cooperatives across the state.  
            But, if you will study the cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union you will find that the leadership of those various cooperatives came to realize that they had more to gain as economic entities in a freer economic system than by being part of the USSR...that a better future awaited them, AS CONTROLLER OVER THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION, by being freed of Soviet control.
            If your position is that the average Joe on the street was a decision-maker in ANY industry, you are right.  There was a management elite in the Soviet Union every bit as entrenching and priviledged as any in the U.S.  The USSR was communistic (in the classica definition of that word) only in theoretical terms.  

          ...toward a better tomorrow.

          by Steve Love on Sat Jul 31, 2010 at 10:19:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're really full of propaganda today! (0+ / 0-)

            The elites switched sides before the collapse of the Soviet Union, and announced their decision to the world.

            And, no, the Five Year Plans weren't optional, not to the working class which was reduced to serfdom under Soviet rule.

            "Any sensible person right now would join an anticapitalist organization." -- David Harvey

            by Cassiodorus on Sat Jul 31, 2010 at 09:10:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Single-payer healthcare would create jobs (9+ / 0-)

    because people would no longer be chained to a job for health insurance. I can't leave my job because my husband is a writer so I get the health insurance for us. I can't start a business without a way to get heathcare for my family.

    And some people would leave jobs they hate if they didn't have insurance to worry about.

  •  Again, the corporations-are-bad meme (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie, revgerry

    The purpose of business is to provide products and/or services. If this turns out to be profitable, then the business will have funds that can be reinvested for growth and funds to provide and maintain jobs. Business benefits the community, region, and is a component of our economy.

    The purpose of unethical, greedy, business owners and executives is to maximize benefits to themselves. One benefit they focus on is to inflate stock prices as much as possible. This is their "stock ownership incentive". They will lie, cheat, steal, and destroy competitors to make themselves wealthier. It's not that the executives' purpose is satisfy the general stockholder, it's to increase their personal wealth.

    It is NOT the purpose of business to maximize  stockholders' wealth. This is NOT the purpose of capitalism, either. The business is just the means to a greedy end.

    Others have pointed out that not all corporations are big, greedy, or harmful to society and people. No shit.

    And not all big, bad businesses are corporations, either. Non-profits, coops, LLC's, PC's, Churches, Agricultural orgs, private businesses and the self-employed need to be included in the list. Some of the worst and most unethical organizations are not public corporations.

    The focus should be on exposing specific businesses that behave badly, not a wholesale condemnation of the corporate business structure or capitalism.

    Weed out the bad guys, recover the stolen funds, make them pay for damages to those they have harmed, strengthen appropriate regulations, and restructure or dissolve the businesses.

    Our approach must focus on providing effective and adequate government oversight to detect the bad guys and bad behavior promptly and to provide adequate resources to enforce and prosecute the offenders.

    It will help to eliminate the constraints. Campaign finance reform, lobbyists, FCC broadcaster consolidation, Faux Noise lies, etc. You know the drill.

    "All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats" - Groucho Marx

    by GrumpyOldGeek on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 10:56:30 AM PDT

    •  You confuse businesses with corporations. (0+ / 0-)

      So you can stop right there.

    •  and incentives that work in our favor. nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GrumpyOldGeek

      "Bigger change will come with bigger Democratic majorities. Diminishing Democratic accomplishments is a losing strategy." sja May Peace Prevail

      by revgerry on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:32:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Your basic premise is wrong (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marie, splashy, RiseUpEconomics

      The purpose of business is to provide products and/or services.

      No. People go into business in order to provide for themselves and their family - to earn a living.  The product and / or service is the means to an end, not the end itself.

      •  People steal to earn a living (0+ / 0-)

        But this isn't a legal business.

        Business. noun-

        1. an occupation, profession, or trade: His business is poultry farming.
        1. the purchase and sale of goods in an attempt to make a profit.
        1. a person, partnership, or corporation engaged in commerce, manufacturing, or a service; profit-seeking enterprise or concern.

        "All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats" - Groucho Marx

        by GrumpyOldGeek on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:53:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If you can't make a living at it ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          splashy

          ... you don't do it.  Period.

          How many poultry farmers (to use your definition) who LOVED raising chickens stopped being poultry farmers because they couldn't feed their family doing it?

          Also, your definition is all about profit, and yet in your original post you deny that profit (maximizing shareholder wealth) is a motivation. That seems contradictory.

          Bottom line, ALL businesses go OUT of business when they can't make a living doing it.

          •  Profit is not the same as operating expenses. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            GrumpyOldGeek

            A business can not make a profit and still survive just fine.

            •  I'm talking about earning a living (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              splashy, pontechango, GrumpyOldGeek

              As long as you compute 'profit' as what is left over after all expenses - including paying living wages to yourself and your employees, you are right.

              But if you don't include the living wage to yourself, that business will fail.

              •  Right, well, that is the definition of profit n/t (0+ / 0-)
              •  Nope. Your business never has to be profitable (0+ / 0-)

                nor are you required to pay a living wage to yourself. In fact, your salary can be be a negative number. This doesn't cause a business to fail. Dissolution is a personal decision for the owner to make.

                This is how a business can become a tax shelter. The IRS lets you take deductions for losses for only two or three years in a row, and the amount is limited. But some unethical people simply start and dissolve business after business. Or they arrange to have a small profit in order to stay a step ahead of the IRS. Or they spread the losses across multiple businesses. Or they join a group of scoundrels. The cost to form a legal business can be under $100 each. So it's cheap and easy. This practice is not uncommon.

                "All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats" - Groucho Marx

                by GrumpyOldGeek on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 01:13:40 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  The diarist spoke of "shareholders" as though (4+ / 0-)

      every business has them-- we have moved more toward giant corporations like Wal-Mart, which creates a lot of low wage jobs and a CEO who makes $13,000 per hour.  For each Wal-Mart we are losing many small businesses, each of which could perhaps support several families and a number of part-time employees.

      We need to get back to a world where smaller businesses can survive.

    •  Ironically, you perpetuate a conservative meme (0+ / 0-)

      by confusing businesses and the transnational corporations that this diary targets.

      Differentiating between shareholder liability and business operations requires thought and critical analysis.

    •  Your Initial Premise is Incorrect. (0+ / 0-)

      You write:  "The purpose of business is to provide products and/or services."

      No, the purpose of capitalist businesses is to generate more and more profits.  Profits come from the surplus value they obtain from the labor of the workers.  If they could make profits by using robots, they surely would, but the cost of a machine is fixed and it has a fixed use life.  Can't steal profits from the robot like you can from a human being.  

      It is time we created an economy that produced solely to fulfill the actual needs and wants of human beings, not for to increase the profit margins of the owners.

      Time to toss the inhuman capitalist economic system into the trash bin of history and create a new one that puts human wants and needs and developing human creativity way, way ahead of profits.

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support single-payer health care and unions.

      by Justina on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 06:53:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Capitalism also means (3+ / 0-)

    a class of people who do derive their income from a salary but from investment returns.  People who are above employment.

  •  An econ. system that exists to create jobs... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justina, 88kathy, splashy, lams712

    and not profits is called socialism.
    And its about time we had a little. Look around, the empire is collapsing and the wealthy are looting the place. Think they're going to stick around when the going gets tough? Capitalism died on Sept. 15, 2008. Bury it and move on to democratic socialism.

    Go Tea Partiers! Keep pushing the Repubs even further to the batshit crazy right

    by ThanxAl on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:03:05 AM PDT

  •  Restructuring the Economy! A favorite topic :) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie, bmcphail

    From November 2009

    Notes after a Krugman speech here in Charlotte

    From March 2009

    How to Regrow an Economy: List of Things to Do :)

    From October 2008

    Forget the Canary, the Mine's Collapsed

    If I were to cite a culprit, it would not be a world super-capitalist conspiracy, or some well-connected partisan cabal. I would not even cite a culture based on greed... not entirely..though greed was certainly an accessory to the unconscionable failure in fiduciary trust that the current credit crisis represents.

    No... I think the main culprit was pressure to save time and delegate responsibility to decide what investments were worth pursuing, what those investments were worth to the interested parties, and what controls protected the involved parties' interests. It was passing the buck, only passing 'bucks' that in distressing hindsight should never, ever have been passed.

    And this is why, absent finding a path to success, our entire global economic order is falling to pieces.

    And why, if it does, the resale value of your home and the mortage payment on it will not be among the utmost of your concerns, any more than they are presently the top priority of the major governments and corporate boards of the planet.

    Because if they can't control what happens, they can't control anything.

    And that's a bit scary.

    From April 2006

    Toward a Post Petroluem Economy

  •  Heh, this is what I used to say (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie, 88kathy, splashy

    when people would ask dumb questions at the bookstore, like, "why don't you shelve using the Dewey Decimal system" and I'd say, because the idea is to sell books, not shelve them.

    Customers would ask why books were in certain places and  not others and if they look smart I would ask, "what is the ultimate goal of this bookstore?"  They would think real hard and say "to make money?"  Yes!  So these books are placed where they sell the best in order for the store to make money!

    You should have seen the looks on their faces when they slowly realized that no, they were not in a library, but a store.  A store that had a profit motive.  I hope I didn't ruin the bookstores for them.

    OMG! I wrote a book! It will be published on August 23, and will be everywhere in Chicagoland.

    by Im nonpartisan on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:04:25 AM PDT

  •  This has been tried... (0+ / 0-)

    We could insist on government creating enough good jobs for everyone, a full employment program.
    ...
    A less expensive and more efficient option would be to just provide income directly to the American people.

    This has been tried.  And failed.  It was called communism.

    How can working people have any economic security at all when we are so reliant on jobs? How can we fix this problem?
    ..
    The history of the last 150 years is filled with the struggle between capital and labor, the owners and the workers

    Only the last 150 years?  More like since urban society began.  And the struggle you speak of has existed since the invention of money.

    •  gotta wonder how communism might have fared (7+ / 0-)

      if it weren't pitted against a capitalist "superpower" in an arms race.

      People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered: forgive 'em anyway. --anonymous

      by b4uknowit on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:22:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, I love how people are so quick to make the (12+ / 0-)

        blanket statement that "Communism failed."

        You know what?  Every time I walk down the street and see a homeless person, I know that capitalism has failed.  With every able-bodied laid off worker, capitalism has failed.  With every war fought for profit and every person killed or maimed by those wars, capitalism has failed.  With every hungry, exploited child out there, capitalism has failed.

        With the destruction of our ecosystem and runaway climate change, along with the little to no real change among us to combat it, capitalism has failed us utterly.

        Capitalism is probably the most failed major idea in human history, yet we cling to it, to our doom, as if we had no alternative.  There are alternatives to capitalism.  If we embrace socialism worldwide and soon enough, we will ultimately save ourselves from environmental ruin, and untold amounts of suffering.  We can then order our economic lives around human priorities, rather than around profits.

        Between excessive citizen activism and excessive trust or passivity, the former is far preferable to the latter. - Glenn Greenwald

        by An Affirming Flame on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:48:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Every country worth living in is capitalist (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BrowniesAreGood

          Canada, Denmark, Sweden, France all are capitalist...

          If we embrace socialism worldwide, we could all starve together.

          Cuba can not even keep the lights on and they are being propped up by Chavez. The whole country is basically stuck in the 1940's.

          Capitalism has swings with higher/lower unemployment, that doesn't mean it failed.

          Even in the worst economy in 80 years, most of us are still working, making our house payments and living lives most of the world could only dream about.

          10% unemployment is bad as it gets with capitalism.
          At its worst capitalism is better than socialism on its best day.

          •  Uh (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            musicalhair, All In, congenitalefty

            Please.  Wake up.   10% unemployment is absolutely not "as bad as it gets" with capitalism.    Please bookmark this post and come back here in 2-3 years when unemployment is 35% and when people are rioting in the streets.

          •  Sweden is pretty darn socialist, as are (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            codairem, All In, congenitalefty

            the rest on your list to a greater or lesser extent.

            When you say 10% unemployment is as bad as it gets... well they change the way the measure unemployment here when ever they feel like it to hide the real number.  In any event the more useful number would be a measure of unemployment and under employment.  People working two/three jobs or to barely eek by wasn't supposed to be the American way when I was a kid.

            You can't even consider a critique of capitalism without looking at Juarez or the burning piles of rubber next to nike factories or the toxic load we all carry because regulating pollution is a fight against capitalism's profits.

            My political compass: Economic: -7.38 Social: -5.79

            by musicalhair on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 03:04:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Socialism != Communism (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Triscula, codairem, All In

              http://www.romm.org/...

              Socialism is liberal. More people (preferably everyone) have some say in how the economy works. Democracy is liberal. More people (preferably everyone) have some say in how the government works. "Democracy," said Marx, "is the road to socialism." He was wrong about how economics and politics interact, but he did see their similar underpinnings.

              Communism is conservative. Fewer and fewer people (preferably just the Party Secretary) have any say in how the economy works. Republicans are conservative. Fewer and fewer people (preferably just people controlling the Party figurehead) have any say in how the government works. The conservatives in the US are in the same position as the communists in the 30s, and for the same reason: Their revolutions failed spectacularly but they refuse to admit what went wrong.

        •  Your point about capitalism failing when we see a (0+ / 0-)

          Capitalism is probably the most failed major idea in human history, yet we cling to it, to our doom, as if we had no alternative.

          homeless person is right on!  The economic system that fails THAT man fails us all!
            But I would suggest that it is the rules by which we play the game capitalims is where the problem is.  The changes in the tax code are monuments to the evolution (some for the better, some of the worse) of how we play capitalism here in America.  
             My point is that we need to think of capitalism in very broad terms and then think of ways the rules can be changed to better benefit the larger portion of society.  Vegas does this all the time with poker...thinking of ways to benefit the house.  :-)

          ...toward a better tomorrow.

          by Steve Love on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 05:57:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Communism doesn't work. (0+ / 0-)

        Communism devolves into dictatorship because you do have to essentially divest yourself of freedoms to make the system "work".  Divestiture of the rights of citizens is the mechanism for which tyranny takes hold.  The Framers knew this...  

        And Russia weren't the only communists. We did not have an arms race with China either and they basically gave up communism on their own (in process).  They realized that the economics just doesn't work.  They are now more fascist than communist.

    •  "enough good jobs for every unemployed person" (0+ / 0-)

      How is that?

    •  There has NEVER been a communist government. (11+ / 0-)

      First off, communism is a economic model, as is capitalism. Forms of government include democracies, dictatorships, monarchies, oligarchies... Joe Stalin was a fascist dictator, and his subjects knew it. He called himself a "communist", but believe it or not, rulers will actually lie to their own citizens, and lie to the rest of the world. Mao Tse-Tung was a fascist dictator, and his people knew it. In fact, about the only people who didn't know it were the citizens of the United States - we were battling communists....

      At the peak of the Cold War, America had social programs like Aid to Families with Dependent Children, Pell Grants for poor college students, aid to veterans for housing and education, food stamps, Section 8 housing, in every measurable way the United States was a far more communist country back then, than anything that was happening in "Red" China or "communist" Russia. Socially, we were the commies... and it worked fuckin' great, we constructed a middle class so vibrant that even though they began stripping it's assets thirty years ago, we're still running downhill on it's steam. Alas, just barely.

      If you care, it might behoove one to study up the profound distinctions between Marxism, Leninism and Stalinism. It is usually held that Stalinism was an inevitable result of Lenin's manipulative & vicious social views, but the idea that these grow inevitably from Karl Marx's economic ideas is quite ridiculous. Read.

      If you can't be a good example, at least be a horrible warning.

      by David Mason on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:53:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wingnut talking point alert! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        All In

        "Fascism" is only ONE form of tyranny. In historical terms it is the form that occurs when business has total control of the government.

        Stalinist (and Maoist) Communism was a form of tyranny in which government had total control of business.

        The difference lies in who is the horse and who is the jockey.

        If it's
        Not your body
        Then it's
        Not your choice
        AND it's
        None of your damn business!

        by TheOtherMaven on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 12:37:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I love your position and that you are writing (0+ / 0-)

        under your real name.
          Help me here.  Italian fascism was, by my definition, a dictatorship supported by the corporate owners...the industrialists.  If that definition is true, there not being any corporations in the Soviet Union or Red China (all those capitalistic instutions being replaced by cooperatives), it is not correct to speak of Stalin or Mao as Fascist anything...or am I missing something here?
          I raise this point because I think if we use the word fascist is too general a way, it will lose meaning.  Eisenhower's cautionary comment about the "military industrial complex" was a subtle warning about a home-grown fascism not unlike the one he spend his career fighting in Europe.
          And his warning is worth being reminded of in the light of the SCOTUS decision to give corporations political rights they have lacked since the beginning of the country.

        ...toward a better tomorrow.

        by Steve Love on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 06:11:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're probably right (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          All In

          The terminology gets hopelessly blurry, I suppose "fascism" does mean an oligarchy supported by corporate power (sort of like, umm, urp!). Stalin and Mao were certainly dictators of some sort, but supported by their own control of a corrupted statist economy. But by any standard, neither "capitalism" nor "communism" can be governments - they don't specify the size or shape of a legislative body, the process of succession of leaders, who makes the laws and collects the taxes, nothing. Capitalism and communism are nothing more than economic ideals, which are realized to greater or lesser degrees by actual governments.

          The roots are interesting:
          communism = community
          socialism = society
          capitalism = cold hard cash

          And the first two of them are totally evil and mean the end of Amurrika, and the other one is what Jesus wanted us to do/be/do/be/do. (?)

          If you can't be a good example, at least be a horrible warning.

          by David Mason on Sat Jul 31, 2010 at 04:25:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You know, about capitalism...I am still working (0+ / 0-)

            a definition that makes sense.  I'm not sure there is one that can draw a sharp line.  It seems this is a mongrel system that borrows from every economic system of the past.  The invention of the corporation pre-dates any use of capitalism as an defined economic term.  The idea of having something left over after subtracting costs from revenues is as old as the Silk Road and Greek trading vessels. And nobody is outlawing barter and certainly the underground economy of the drug industry cannot be separated from the banking industry.  So what the hell is capitalism but a meme used to somehow justify some form of screwing over the productive class?

            ...toward a better tomorrow.

            by Steve Love on Sat Jul 31, 2010 at 10:06:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'll still be working on this till the very end, (0+ / 0-)

              ..I spoze. I hold that capitalism is an ideal which has never been and will never be implemented perfectly, and communism is the same. This requires going way back to Karl Marx's original brilliant economic analysis which counts labor as capital, alongside mere stuff - this hadn't previously been delineated, specifically.

              In order to look at what it means, and implies, you have to divorce the word and concept of communism from all the horrors, experiments and self-serving pathology of Lenin, Stalin, Mao etc. There is nothing in Marx's "Communist Manifesto" which predicts or requires the resultant Soviet Union or Red China - in fact even Trotsky & Lenin tried to divorce & reverse Stalinism, as it was so clearly an irreversible perversion unrelated to anything "communist."

              Most people don't want to split this hair, as they view "communism" as a handy term inclusive of all the conmen dictators who called themselves commies so as to rally support against the capitalist running-dog boogyman. Everybody needs somebody to hate... that's fine, but it leaves one grasping for a term which can be used to discuss Marx's ideas in a level-headed, non-jingoistic way. One common criticism of Marx is that his descriptive talent was brilliant, but that his predictive talents were lacking because of... Stalin? Mao? This seems like more hindsightful than useful - Marx died in 1883, but he just  should've known all of the convolutions of 50 years of upcoming history and Stalin was still his fault? Jeez - tough crowd.

              Going back to the idealist point of view, it does seem that capitalism is basically an endorsement of the "Daddy Knows Best" meme, and pure communism puts more trust in, umm, communalism? Regardless of what you do, it does seem as though regulatory adjustments AWAY from any "pure" ideal needs to be made to control the nastier aspects of human nature that are endemic no matter how groovy the original intent - if we don't control for greed, hatred, racism and dishonesty, no system is ever going to get far.

              If you can't be a good example, at least be a horrible warning.

              by David Mason on Sat Jul 31, 2010 at 10:47:13 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That is only if you buy into the idea that (0+ / 0-)

                it does seem that capitalism is basically an endorsement of the "Daddy Knows Best" meme,

                managers are at the top of the heaps.  The present day CEO compensation insanity aside, there was a time when stockholders actually ran corporations.  When that was happening, you could think of capitalism, at least in its corporate manifestation, as "economic democracy" in the sense that the stock owned by Joe Smoe got paid the same dividend and counted for the same at stockholders meeting as the stock owned by Mr. Got Rocks.
                   In theory, the corporation gave even the smallest investor a way to participate in the aggrigation of wealth necessary to underwrite the industrialization of the country.  Before the corporation, only kings could aggrigate large sums of money through taxes.
                  Of course, that does not answer the question of what capitalism is unless corporatism is it.  

                ...toward a better tomorrow.

                by Steve Love on Sat Jul 31, 2010 at 01:16:42 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Read??? Live... (0+ / 0-)

        State control of the economy requires a police state and a domesticated press.

        It requires a Stalin, Lenin, Chavez, Castro, or Kim.

        It is simple human nature, ultimate power corrupts.

        When the winners and loser in an economy (and every economy has them both) are decided by state fiat and not competition, corruption and inefficiency are the only possible results.

        Both make the citizens poorer. Ultimately, the country becomes unable to feed its citizens.

        To stay in power and keep the population from rebelling, the state must keep their citizens in the dark about the rampant level of corruption and shoot anyone who complains. Ultimately, unless a third country or countries step in and subsidize their inefficeiencty, the country must let a segment of the population die.

        In the worst of times, capitalist countries have recessions where millions are out of work. In the worst of times, socialist countries have famines where millions die.

        This is why socialism requires a Stalin, Lenin, Chavez, Castro, or Kim -- no one but a monster could sit around and allow their people to die just to prop up an inefficient economic system.

        In the last 100 years, socialism has killed more people than all the wars ever started by religion, or power hungry mad men in the history of the world.

        •  by your reckoning.. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          All In

          ...Eisenhower would have been a socialist dictator because he favored taxes far above what we have now on the upper income brackets that you complain are having to pay more than their fair share. What about corporate socialism and the problems with that? I completely disagree with your selfish philosophy of wealth and I think this is how a lot people get duped into supporting Republicans. They are convinced the American dream means they can get rich so they support policies that adversely affect them. An example is Joe the Plumber during the last presidential debate. He eventually conceded that his tax breaks under candidate Obama's plan would be greater than under McCain's plan. But because he aspired to be rich, he supported McCain knowing that if he did become rich, McCain would have the better plan for him.

          If you're not an activist, you're an inactivist. - Louie Psihoyos

          by uzeromay on Sat Jul 31, 2010 at 03:19:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I have a problem with what you're writing... (0+ / 0-)

        I agree that we can't point to any given country proclaiming itself communist and conclude that therefore communism has been "proven" wrong, but I still have a couple of issues with what you're saying. The problem is your presentation of the word "communist" as though it were located on a spectrum rather than a distinct and flawed ideology. It's not correct to point to any given government sponsored program to provide welfare or safety and label it "communist." Socialist maybe, but not "communist." Because I think "communist" refers to a specific flawed ideology, not flawed because of the inevitable failure to execute communism that some proclaim, but flawed because it was pretentious and made false predictive and scientific claims for itself apart from any attempt to apply it.

        If you're not an activist, you're an inactivist. - Louie Psihoyos

        by uzeromay on Sat Jul 31, 2010 at 06:17:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The tax code is part of the problem (5+ / 0-)

    When you have NO incentives in the tax code to make long-term structural investments, you have NO incentive to build a business in any fundamental way for the long-term. Long term investment does--by its very nature--create jobs because it's in the investors' interest to have a successful company, and that usually requires employees to run.

    Taxing short term capital gains the same as long term creates a structural problems because shareholders prefer quick turn-around on investment and to please them businesses can create quarterly "profits" by "cutting costs"--laying people off--and taking write-offs for "re-orgs"--which in turn positions shareholders and businesses to see employees as only bottom line expenses, rather than assets and positive resources.

    By and large, the above does not refer to banking/hedge funds/financial institutions that create money out of thin air.

    Raising the short term capital gains tax would go a long way towards actually creating jobs.

    "'club America salutes you' says the girl on the door/we accept all major lies, we love any kind of war"--The Cure, "Club America"

    by Wheever on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:23:31 AM PDT

  •  Adjusting federal tax policy can make creating (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musicalhair, k9disc

    job more profitable than extracting profits very easily by reducing the taxes on payrolls and increasing taxes on profits.

    Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

    by RMForbes on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:26:19 AM PDT

  •  We can EASILY afford to hire all unemployed (6+ / 0-)

    people. All 14 million of them at ~ $17,000 a year.

    All that needs to be done is end the stupid $100billion/yr wars, and reduce our $700 billion military budget by $150 billion. $250 billion saved. Full employment for all unemployed. Done.

    •  That would be socialism (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      laurak, Brooke In Seattle

      and thus, terrorism.

      Helping the poor just drags amurica down and emboldens the terrists.

      Spray tons of carcinogens into the ocean to hide petroleum spewed from a hastily-drilled hole from a greedy corporation, but don't smoke pot.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:41:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This would be fine is those were the accurate (0+ / 0-)

      numbers.  There is every reason to believe that whatever the numbers at the Bureau of Labor Statistics that there are that number again that are underemployed or have given up seeking a job.
       And the other problem has to do with with fact that we are borrowing the money you are talking about saving, so there are no savings if all you do is NOT borrow.
       You need to also be aware that when you cut federal spending you create new unemployed, especially in the military industries.  And then after taking care of those folks for that first year, how do you pay for the next?    

      ...toward a better tomorrow.

      by Steve Love on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 06:24:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just reversing Bush's tax cuts alone (0+ / 0-)

        would save ~ $250billion dollars a year.

        By the way, this pay would replace uneployment insurance, so actually you're saving a bunch of money right there too.

        You are right- if done incorrectly cutting military spending could threaten a few jobs. But seeing that we have some 700(?) overseas military bases- there are ample opportunities to cut spending which doesn't involve cutting american jobs.

        •  That's all well and good, but you still (0+ / 0-)

          have not addressed the fact that the 14M unemployed number may be as phoney as a three-dollar bill.  If double that number -- a real possibility at the most conservative of ideas -- that means the payment is $8,500, which would simply underwrite the cost of keeping 28M Americans in poverty.  
            All I am really suggesting is that I really don't think that we can "save" our way out of this crisis.  Some day we are going to have to figure out how to get some of the wealth the 1% has into the hands of the other 99% of us.

          ...toward a better tomorrow.

          by Steve Love on Sat Jul 31, 2010 at 09:56:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well- I've got no quarrel with getting some of th (0+ / 0-)

            wealth back from the 1%'ers!

            The point of my comment is that a reasonable full employment act can be achieved without any extraordinary divine intervention as the other "but how are you going to pay for it" posters insist. It's well within the realm of possibility.

        •  You will appreciate this op-ed. (0+ / 0-)

          ...toward a better tomorrow.

          by Steve Love on Sat Jul 31, 2010 at 12:48:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  In another comment I proposed (0+ / 0-)

            taxing cash savings.

            Corporations sitting on mountains of cash is not doing the economy one damn bit of good. They need to invest it, spend it, or eat it. Right now they are all stuffing it into their mattress and it's prolonging the recession.

  •  Biz Goal: most profits from least expenditures (4+ / 0-)

    including salaries.

    "We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist" --- President Barack Obama, 1-20-2009.

    by tier1express on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:26:44 AM PDT

    •  Slavery is their dream. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      laurak, splashy, verdastelo

      Slavery and a few good lynchings.

      Spray tons of carcinogens into the ocean to hide petroleum spewed from a hastily-drilled hole from a greedy corporation, but don't smoke pot.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:42:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly. Corporations don't WANT to pay salaries. (5+ / 0-)

      If a corporation could get away with forcing you into a lifetime a slavery, 100 hours a week, with a gun to your head the entire time, they would do it in a heartbeat.   They would be delighted to do it.

      The idea that corporations 'want' to pay salaries is pure textbook fantasy.   What they want is to pay you as little as possible, and preferably, nothing at all.  

      If there were any possible way they could pay you nothing, they would do it.  

      Look at the massive numbers of people in temp jobs with no benefits, no vacation, no nothing.   Companies are completely delighted to see this.  If they could make EVERYONE a temp, they would.   An acquaintance of mine recently complained that only the top echelons of upper management should have a salary, and everyone else at a corporation should be a temp worker.

      •  Acquaintance? Is that the result of a demotion (0+ / 0-)

        after you heard that statement? :-)

        "We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist" --- President Barack Obama, 1-20-2009.

        by tier1express on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 12:13:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Didn't know what was the right phrasing to use (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FreeStateDem

          Maybe "someone I know" is the correct phrase.... I just didn't want to indicate that this person was a friend, because she is hardcore corporatist.    She loves corporations, she worships money and she hates anyone she deems "can't cut it" in corporate america (including anyone who is unemployed, minorities, etc, etc)

  •  Businesses don't need labor (5+ / 0-)

    In fact, with automation and outsourcing they don't need many employees at all. But this is a paradox, how does the broad consumer class continue to buy the goods "produced" by business?

    We have kinda been fudging it to date. Partly by the consumer borrowing money, partly by creating marginal service jobs and partly by businesses holding on to more labor than they need. Business is now finding that they can run large profits after layoffs and they really didn't need all of that staff. Businesses staff up during boom times. Managers can come up with all kind of reasons to staff up. Now, during the Great Recession they are finding that layoffs don't make much difference in total output, if fact, I'll bet that they could, and will, reduce staff some more.

    All of this leads up to the great question of providing jobs and therefore income from our wealth driven Capitalist system. It also runs head-long into a basic fact: in the long run we only need minimum labor to produce the goods that we need.

    The answer to this dilemma is that labor needs to be paid as a function of increased productivity, not the owners. In the future we could work a highly leveraged 20 hours of work for all of the goods and services that we needed. Or...we can just use the increase in productivity to make the top 1% even richer while we work harder. Which do you choose? The only way that we will ever get there is to have a government that favors labor and a very progressive income tax.

    •  the answer is more and more business (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      defluxion10

      and production is targeted towards goods/services for the wealthy and the poor can just fuck off and die.

      Sell to the rich, period.

      Spray tons of carcinogens into the ocean to hide petroleum spewed from a hastily-drilled hole from a greedy corporation, but don't smoke pot.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:40:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Help me here but I think I detect an (0+ / 0-)

      The answer to this dilemma is that labor needs to be paid as a function of increased productivity, not the owners.

      oxymoron.  Productivity is a measure of the relative cost of labor and the value of the product.  An employer wants high productivity because that means his inventory costs him less, but if increases in wages are tied to that increase in production there is no increase in productivity - the new widgets cost as much as the earlier ones did - and it is a wash for the owner...so why play the game?   Or have I jumped the track here?

      ...toward a better tomorrow.

      by Steve Love on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 06:32:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm measuring productivity in output per hour (0+ / 0-)

        worked. I'm saying that if the worker is more productive through leveraging her time with technology then she ought to get most of the benefit in increased pay or reduced hours. The owners make more profits by virtue of fewer employee hours worked and therefore less overhead and infrastructure.

        The employer also gains by having a more attractive working environment. Eventually, those businesses that do not provide better pay or hours through improved productivity cannot hire labor.

        We can restore the middle class through higher compensation for labor or a very steep graduated income tax, essentially a transfer of wealth. I'm guessing that doing it through labor practices might be more acceptable. In any event we need to get back to the 1960s and 1970s where a single wage earner could raise a family a put their kids through college. Either that or we can all go broke making the wealthy even more obscenely rich.

        •  That part we are in total agreement on, HOWEVER (0+ / 0-)

          I'm saying that if the worker is more productive through leveraging her time with technology then she ought to get most of the benefit in increased pay or reduced hours. The owners make more profits by virtue of fewer employee hours worked and therefore less overhead and infrastructure.

          until you talk about the advantage to owners.  
            As an owner my fixed costs are constant no matter how many or few hours my people work, but if I am paying them more for the hour they work as a reward for greater production, how is this to my advantage.  What they give to me in MORE WIDGETS they take away from me in MORE DOLLARS and if it is done accurately, it is a WASH.  See my problem?????

            And, by the way, there is a limit to this idea that all workers want is fewer hours.  That's great up to a point but most workers have caught on to this meme as just a justification for less than a 40 hour workweek to avoid having to pay benefits.

          ...toward a better tomorrow.

          by Steve Love on Sat Jul 31, 2010 at 07:15:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  another answer is for workers (0+ / 0-)

      to bargain collectively. It's a myth that businesses are more productive with less labor. What is actually going on is one person is doing the work of 2 - 3 of his laid off colleagues, because he doesn't want to meet the same fate.

  •  If companies won't pay workers, tax profits away. (6+ / 0-)

    There should be some kind of gold standard for the share of corporate income that goes to workers in the form of a paycheck. And I'm not talking about the kind of bogus, 'creative accounting' bullshit profit that Hollywood studios used for years to cheat writers and actors out of their share. I mean every nickel of income that's left after paying for supplies and physical plant.

    So corporations should be free to pay their workers a decent and fair wage, or not. But if they don't, the Federal government should tax the crap out of their corporate profit, and redistribute that money back to workers to make up the difference.

    So capital can pay now, or pay later.

    •  I have been through HELL the past 2.5 years (5+ / 0-)

      finding "job" after "job" that would not pay me correctly and on time if there was a gun to their pointy shyster noggins.

      5 places, pretty much in a row, couldn't pay me or others and from several places I have learned shitty things they do to alter the playing field, reneg on agreements, changing pay dates, and so forth.

      ANYTHING but paying people for the fucking work they did.

      American workplaces get shot up for less.

      Spray tons of carcinogens into the ocean to hide petroleum spewed from a hastily-drilled hole from a greedy corporation, but don't smoke pot.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:39:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  NLRB used to police this kind of thing; (0+ / 0-)

        Then Reagan appointed a union-busting shit-head to run the board. And Bush/Cheney appointed Elaine Chiao, who is such a thoroughly repellent human being she single-handedly proves that Asian-Americans can be assholes too.

    •  We USED to do that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marie, Ralphdog

      Then Reagan was elected. It was called "high marginal rates".

      If bin Laden owned an oil company, [the GOP would] be wearing long beards and shooting at US troops in Afghanistan.-Geekesque

      by Dr Squid on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 12:03:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm amazed and heartened to see this on the rec (5+ / 0-)

    list.  This is exactly the kind of discussion we (the left-of-center and lefter crowd) need to be having.

    Capitalists and the workers are fundamentally hostile because of the basic conditions of our existence.  There can be no compromise, no truce or no cooperation.  And the workers can get by just fine without the capitalists.  It is long past time we got rid of our oppressors and ordered our lives as we see fit.

    Between excessive citizen activism and excessive trust or passivity, the former is far preferable to the latter. - Glenn Greenwald

    by An Affirming Flame on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:32:26 AM PDT

    •  well said flame! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      An Affirming Flame

      "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon

      by RiseUpEconomics on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:55:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is not an accurate reflection of how (0+ / 0-)

      Capitalists and the workers are fundamentally hostile because of the basic conditions of our existence.  There can be no compromise, no truce or no cooperation.  And the workers can get by just fine without the capitalists.  It is long past time we got rid of our oppressors and ordered our lives as we see fit.

      things are in an industrial economy.  Capitalist cannot exist without workers creating wealth.  And workers, individually, do not have the wealth to equip a plant to produce the kinds of things a modern economy depends on.
      Captitalist have wealth in the form of money.  Workers have wealth in the form of potential labor.  The two depend on each other.
        Why this arrangement has been so unfair is not because who are the players but because of the rules of the game that push a disproportional amount of the new wealth generated by the synergy between capital and labor goes to the capital side of the equation.  A good revision of the tax code could easily address that problem were we to find the political will to do so.

      ...toward a better tomorrow.

      by Steve Love on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 06:40:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As I always say (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    splashy, An Affirming Flame

    SLAVERY IS THE DREAM OF CAPITALISM.

    Those bastards want free labor.

    They want no consequences.

    They want to be untrammeled by laws they feel only apply to commoners as crowd control.

    I wish great ill upon them.

    Spray tons of carcinogens into the ocean to hide petroleum spewed from a hastily-drilled hole from a greedy corporation, but don't smoke pot.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:36:59 AM PDT

  •  As per Capitalism: A Love Story (8+ / 0-)

    I thought Moore touch well around the edges of this issue when he covered the co-op style employee-owned businesses, with a focus on democracy over capitalism.

    On the employment issue, I wish (and have wished for years), that the government would bring back the Civilian Conservation Corps in full force. There is a need for millions of hours of conservation and maintanence work to be completed across America's public lands. Hell, we could easily have 200,000 people on the ground in Florida fighting invasive alien species alone.

    Bring back the CCC. One of the greatest programs of the already brilliant New Deal.

    Pionta Guinness, le do thoil!

    by surfbird007 on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:37:37 AM PDT

    •  Yes ! my father worked on the CCC , a Green CCC (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiseUpEconomics

      is needed in this Country, now.

      without the ants the rainforest dies

      by aliasalias on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 01:04:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  if we could collect (0+ / 0-)

      all the corporate taxes, including the offshore stuff, we could do the works programs. But the will to do so is missing, since the ruling class serves the corporations rather than "The People."

      Maybe we really are expendable. If they don't need us to build their stuff, and we don't have enough money to buy their stuff, what good are we?

  •  Actually I have an alternative scheme (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiseUpEconomics

    If we are going to think big- there is a totally different path to full employment. Tax savings. Anyone who is sitting on money needs to spend it, invest it, or eat it- otherwise it will be taxed away. No more passive savings. Investment can be limited to 'risk bearing' investment. ie. stuff you could lose money on.
    Essentially savings is a selfish act. It's also a downward spiral- If your neighbor saves and you don't then you are put at a disadvantage. If nobody saves, then nobody will need to save. Because there will always be enough floating around out there for everyone. In some sense the market is a faith based society. You spend because you believe you'll have more money coming in next week. As long as that faith is there, the economy will do well. As soon as that faith evaporates, the economy goes to heck. By banning savings, you are essentially guaranteeing that that everyone is faithful, and nobody is freeloading.

    The paradox of human society is that- in general, what is good for an individual, is bad for the society.

    •  What you're proposing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Steve Love

      is essentially the tax policy we had until the Reagan era. Actually things began to change during JFK's administration; in the Eisenhower years, the top tax bracket was 90%. And despite the fact that there were loopholes galore, it still had the effect of raising the standard of living overall while maintaining a relatively small gap between the richest and the poorest in the country.

      •  True. the tax shelters were actually directed (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        codairem, congenitalefty

        investments at whatever sector the government wanted to see people investing in. Back then we had an economic policy. Not just 'whatever'.

        However, that is still a tax on income. My thinking is we need a tax on wealth. Especially stagnant pools of money. The more stagnant it is the more it should be taxed. So for example, there should be no tax (indeed even a tax credit) on capital investments (IPO, direct investments, venture capital), some tax on equity holdings (stocks), and a big tax on insured savings. Complete confiscation of money (or gold bars) stuffed in mattresses or safes.

        •  I'd be careful with the tax on insured savings (0+ / 0-)

          Some folks are relying on their savings to live on after they retire. If you're going to tax those savings heavily, you had best make sure there are safeguards to ensure you're targeting the people with plenty of other assets. Otherwise you're soaking the middle class.

  •  I don't precisely agree (0+ / 0-)

    "We can have an economy that works for everyone, but only if we think outside of the jobs box."

    In the late 80s, I did some consulting for the US government to examine free trade. For a variety of reasons, it was a consideration. A major concern with the implementation of free trade was that implementing it without some attention to transitioning the work force would have catastrophic consequences for jobs - in manufacturing and the 'value add' sector of the work force.

    If one thinks of a country as a business, countries make money in two key ways: they either dig it up out of the ground or add value through a product or service and sell more of it to other countries than they purchase from other countries (the trade deficit in the US's case).

    Business are interested in selling their products and services. A part of how much money they make is dependent on their labor costs. Free trade opened the floodgates to cheap labor:
    http://www.economist.com/...

    In the short term, this was great for US business and the Clinton economy boomed. Because all of a sudden, prices didn't drop but labor costs dropped dramatically and bottom lines rose accordingly as did the taxes businesses paid for those profits.

    But then places like China started doing more of the value add while the US did less and we've had money gushing out of the US at record rates through the trade deficit:
    http://www.american.com/...
    http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/...

    When you have that much money gushing, eventually the swamp of dough dries up.

    As you can see in the first link, Chinese labor costs are a fraction of the US and are likely to remain so for some time. Not only is their labor cheaper but without labor standards, environmental standards, enforcement of patents, etc, their whole enterprise is dramatically cheaper and virtually impossible to compete against for many types of value add. And it's tough to slam the trade doors shut because the financing of US debt is with China.

    The education initiatives Obama is trying to get done now should have been done BEFORE free trade was undertaken. Fair trade rules that are still needed should have been in place before free trade was implemented. So the US is playing catch up and the job market could be ugly for a generation while a major correction takes place. Pandora's box got opened up and it's really tough if not impossible to close it up effectively.

    Much of what Obama is doing is geared to address the issue as he's the first president that seems to fully understand the problem. The scary part is that the economy he inherited may limit him to one term because of this vast and nasty problem. Some of these items would be: - improve the education of the work force because physical labor jobs will be in short supply - reduce health care costs to improve competitiveness of the work force - implement fair trade rules with trading partners to reduce the deficit - reduce the deficit by getting off foreign oil - develop clean energy economy locally to help the US regain a world wide competitive advantage
    etc

    It's going to take a long time to correct and Obama may not be around to see it through because of how tough the economy is. But as I said, at least he's a president that seems to have the best understanding of the predicament to date and he's actually doing something about it.

  •  An Economic Security Tax? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiseUpEconomics

    Instead of trying to convince them to create new jobs, or pay their current employees more, maybe we should just have them pay an Economic Security Tax and give that money directly to the American people.

    Or we could do what we did when a progressive income tax was set up - set a high marginal rate at the higher end in order to encourage businesses to create jobs as opposed to hoarding the money. In short: pay workers or pay us. And gee, businesses found that paying workers was much better for them.

    The whole problem started when the upper marginal rates were slashed so deeply that profits became unmoored from purpose. Clinton started to fix that, and as a result there were more jobs created in 8 years than under Ford, Reagan, Bush, and Bush Boy combined. Bush Boy reversed Clinton, resulting in a huge meltdown. So really Pearlstein's premise of business existing to make profits for shareholders should be bullshit. Thanks to  profit becoming the reason instead of the end result of some other purpose, business are now all essentially nothing more than the Underpants Gnomes.

    If bin Laden owned an oil company, [the GOP would] be wearing long beards and shooting at US troops in Afghanistan.-Geekesque

    by Dr Squid on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:48:40 AM PDT

    •  Just saying (0+ / 0-)

      A new sexy tax isn't necessary. Clinton didn't really go far enough, but the higher marginal rates on capital gains and businesses would be enough incentive to create jobs as opposed to sitting on their asses and hoarding.

      If bin Laden owned an oil company, [the GOP would] be wearing long beards and shooting at US troops in Afghanistan.-Geekesque

      by Dr Squid on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 12:13:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Finally some breath of fresh air into the endless (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    laurak, RiseUpEconomics, Mistral Wind

    closed-loop economic debates.

    Indeed, until we get a basic-income guarantee, the notion of a safety net will be meaningless. How do you pay for basic stuff without money?

    I think Western European countries have already been doing this for decades.

  •  Great idea. The political problem is... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie, Big Tex, RiseUpEconomics

    ...we seemed to have missed the window of opportunity.

    The Overton window for economic policies, which was wide-open for progressive ideas in late 2008, has been getting narrower and narrower, and is pretty now similar to the Clinton-Bush range.

    This happened because of Obama's risk-averse style of leadership, and Senate Democrats total lack of spine.

    •  We've got to think long term (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ninkasi23

      like the conservatives did after the Goldwater debacle. They used a new medium (direct mail) to directly reach their audience and slowly build a grassroots movement that took over the Republican Party. We've got the internet, but what we are missing is the simple, basic message that we can rally around and hold pols accountable to. When they take a vote on something, can we consider it Rise Up Economics? Does it help working people, or just the folks at the top?

      "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon

      by RiseUpEconomics on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 01:23:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Were you born on the wrong continent?" (10+ / 0-)

    In an earlier post I was trying to remember this. This post title is the title of a book by Thomas Geoghegan.

    It’s not just that European social democracy is "nicer." It’s not just that, under European-type socialism, many of us would perhaps be happier. It may be that only with some form of it can our own country, with its ballooning trade deficit, globally compete—or even just keep going without repeated financial crashes and crack-ups. High-wage Germany, which offers the most bottom-up worker control of any European country, nearly ties with China as the leading exporter in the world, well ahead of the United States. But in China and America we work until we drop while in Germany, they take six weeks off a year (with a shocking number of four-day weekends along the way). It’s not just that the Germans can outcompete us, but they seem to be doing it with one hand tied behind their backs.

    Geoghegan focuses much of the book on Germany, a country that explodes the myth that European socialism invariably leads to anemic economies and persistently high unemployment. Using Germany as a model, he argues the middle class is the real beneficiary of European social democracy—its members reap free education, free child care, free nursing home care, guaranteed vacation time, and generous unemployment payments—while their white-collar American counterparts struggle to pay for the same. What drives our economy in the U.S. and inflates our GDP actually makes our lives less comfortable.

    Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person. -Jan Edwards

    by SoCalSal on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 12:02:06 PM PDT

  •  If everything could be done with Robots and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie, RiseUpEconomics

    Computers and other Non-Human methods Corporations would use those and hire no one not even CEOs and even the use of Slavery would not be needed to make money for the Shareholders.So the problem is Non-human Machines,Computers and Microbiotic's don't buy the things they make so who going to buy the stuff that makes profits for Shareholders?.

  •  OMG, no new ideas, no hope, no way out of this (0+ / 0-)

    mess, etc.

    Let's all sing that old song, memememememe.

    It's all about me, baby. In other words, fuck you all, hooray for me.

    Employment is a buy/sale transaction, pure and simple.

    Question, why don't we give all the greedy employers free labor? What in hell would they want after such a gift?

    Why don't we t.h.i.n.k. about our singular and collective values?

    If I showed you a method to create a concept whereas the employer would receive free labor or the employee could receive free wages, would you really care? Would you discover any interest at all?

    Yes, I know you would have to learn to think, you would have to examine your inherent values, you would have to acknowledge others values, you would be forced to create benefit for others in order to create benefit for yourself, ....... ah hell forget about it, you don't want to actually learn something, to have to (gasp) think,...

    A small story,... when I was 45 years old a very wealthy businessman wanted to employ me as a superintendent re his general contracting company.

    He had 35 million dollars in cash in the bank, a raft of strip malls, investment properties, etc.

    I had 15 years left to work before I retired.

    His second in command offered me $40,000 wages each year.

    I countered asking for $100,000 each year which I would give back to him each year he paid my wages.  

    Additionally, he didn't have to count on me being honest or complying with our agreement. I would guarantee my offer by using collateral supplied by the State and Fed Govt.

    The offer I extended was eight (8) pages long covering different values we each possessed but never acknowledged as we had both been trained by conventional wisdom, traditional teachings, accepted practices.

    What I offered was "free" labor. Not only "free" but a tax deduction which was never a cost factor.

    I offered to find him someone else to follow my employment at the same cost, terms and conditions.

    The guy had one question after reading my offer 4 or 5 times, I'll never forget it.

    "How can I use this to get a raise?

    Only in America, only from the lips of the truly deserving, the greedy.

    There are any number of values that exist in America that can be employed to change the expense of employment.

    Using the same coceptual methods I purchased rental properties and have never performed any repairs, etc. I set forth a program whereas my tenants can recapture 100% of their rental expense at an agreed upon time.

    Things aren't going to change because the employees and the employers can't think about their respective values, they can't determine what the hell they are doing.....

    It's sooooo simple. You best help yourself by helping others.

    So then, it's back to let's all sing that old song, memememememe.

    It's all about me, baby. In other words, fuck you all, hooray for me.

    Related note: if a thought begins with the spark of an idea, what happens before the spark?

    The answer to that question involves a constant that ignores the balance of nature expressed by the yin/yang philosophy.

    Hint: even the lack of the answer requires the answer in order to exist. Come on people, t.h.i.n.k.

    NOP - pronounced nope. The NOP party. The NO Party = NOP. BTW, Boner from Ohio still sucks.

    by 0hio on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 12:15:21 PM PDT

    •  How about changing the federal tax system (0+ / 0-)

      to make it far more profitable to increase payroll and far less profitable to extract excessive profits from the business. Simply reducing the cost of federal payroll taxes and shifting the cost to profit would accomplish this goal. Federal payroll taxes currently increase the cost of adding additional payroll by another 15-20%. By reforming the federal tax system to a truly progressive system that treats both employer and employee fairly the cost of labor could be reduced by at least 15% if the cost of extracting profits were actually raised progressively, the more profit you take out of the business the higher the tax rates. This would make adding labor cost more profitable which would also add increased payroll dollars in local economies further increasing all economic activity. This would stimulate the entire economy from the ground up.

      Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

      by RMForbes on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 12:50:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  enhanced shareholder value could have worked (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiseUpEconomics

    just fine if stakeholders, i.e., employees and customers, counted toward anything other than enhanced shareholder value. Cost-benefit analysis rules that out.

    TAX THE RICH! They have money! I'm a Democrat. That's why!

    by ezdidit on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 12:15:38 PM PDT

  •  Murray Leinster wrote "The Duplicators" (0+ / 0-)

    in a Ace Double books it's a shame that the book is not easily found cause the reason for the all the problems on the planet the hero lands on is old Duplication Machines and he realises that should the other planets in the universe find out about these machines that makes whatever is needed then nothing will be worth anything.

  •  "Use our strength in the voting booth..."??!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    createpeace

    Have you noticed that our strength in the voting booth, whatever it might be, is eroded by a constant barrage of right wing, anti-government, anti-worker, anti-human propaganda?

    •  Yes I have (0+ / 0-)

      And how do we fight back? I think we need to have something worth voting for. We need a vision of how the world could be: economic security for all. We all know we can't count on our jobs and our employers. Together we can create an economy that works for us all by doing the opposite of what Reagan and Bush did: Rise Up Economics. What's good for working people is good for the economy and good for America. Tax the rich, and give to everyone else. Would you vote for that?

      "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon

      by RiseUpEconomics on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 12:31:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Tax the rich" isn't on ballots--Candidates Are. (0+ / 0-)

        I'm all for you, and I don't mean to just vent, but I can't help it. Actually, if the Dems just had one-tenth the commitment to their core beliefs as Republicans do to theirs, we wouldn't have any problems at all. But they don't. Obama has been a huge disappointment.

        There's no fight in most Democrats at all, certainly there is absolutely none in the national party at present. They suck. Yet, there really is no choice but to support them, even vigorously, lest the forces of reaction take over again. The problem is, Obama has already shown that, once the Repubs are closer to parity in Congress, we can expect absolutely nothing from him.  

        •  i'm frustrated too (0+ / 0-)

          I feel like we're losing to the right, and trying to figure out how to turn this thing around. the basic income is something that provides some hope, an issue that i think can inspire and motivate people--a vision of how the world should be. maybe we can rally around it...

          "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon

          by RiseUpEconomics on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 02:17:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Can we get rid of the shareholders? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie, Abra Crabcakeya

    I like the idea of employee owned companies. Fuck shareholders. Shareholders need to get a fucking job, produce something.

    Progressive principles won't be worth jack if we let the GOP "take their country back".

    by JTinDC on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 12:37:16 PM PDT

    •  Yes that's where I am coming from (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JTinDC

      In fact, if you look at Germany, there is a very high degree of employee owned companies.

      I think the way you can do this is for the government to create jobs that are then privatized into employee controlled cooperatives.  This could be done with a massive effort to do environmental clean up for this or a massive effort to build up wind/solar power.  There would be a real big bang for the buck not only for workplaces where workers have a measure of power but a huge lift to the environment.

      "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

      by noofsh on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 06:36:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Damn right. Indolent yacht -deck monkeys. NT (0+ / 0-)
  •  I fail to see (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    k9disc, GrumpyOldGeek

    ...how asking business owners and shareholders to pay their fair share of taxes is beating up on them.

    Another WaPo fail.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 12:39:50 PM PDT

  •  Great article (0+ / 0-)

    A man's character is his destiny.

    by Jaleh on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 12:47:57 PM PDT

  •  "No shit, Sherlock."..... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie, ChiTownDenny, GrumpyOldGeek

    Sincerely,

    Karl Marx

    Seriously, Marx's pointed out this stuff like 150+ years ago.

    "...if my thought-dreams could be seen, they'd probably put my head in a guillotine...." {-8.13;-5.59}

    by lams712 on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 12:48:54 PM PDT

  •  No more jobs -all self employed -govt micro-loans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiseUpEconomics

    Most people hate their jobs. American education system destroys initiative and creativity inherent in everyone. Perfect for an industrialized society.
    Let China chain their workers to their slave jobs. Let Americans break free from oppressive employers who suck the life out of them. There's got to be a better way. Make one.

    2010: corporate owned Republicans versus corporate owned Democrats. Vote!

    by anonymous White House source on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 12:54:57 PM PDT

  •  Since Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiseUpEconomics, congenitalefty

    humankind has been developing technology has been reducing labor. The truth is we are not willing spend the resources to accomplish the many things that need doing. This is not due to technology, but rather is due to the inequity of capitalists taking all the "money" in some stupid belief that money is what makes the world go round. This leads to revolution. A more equitable distribution of money will lead to people demanding the goods, that will provide jobs. Tax the rich and provide jobs for those things we need.

    Of course we need better trade agreements. We should only trade with countries that enable unions, provide of an equitable distribution of wealth, do not allow for child labor, and provide a decent education for all is a start. Better education and union involvement on corporate boards is another start.

    Do not blame technology!

    Practice tolerance, kindness and charity.

    by LWelsch on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 01:01:41 PM PDT

  •  In case you missed it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens

    Providing the people with a basic universal income would actually help corporations by ensuring a strong consumer base and stimulating the economy, and lead to even greater profits down the road. We've tried trickle-down economics, and it didn't work. Let's try Rise Up Economics instead.

    That is basically what is going on now. The government is pumping $120 billion + a month into the economy through deficit spending. Of course all the money is being borrowed. (That is enough money each month to buy everything sold at WalMart, Target, Home Depot, Lowes, McDonalds and every new car and every new house bought during the month - I'd say that is already quite a bit).

    Maybe we can look to places like Germany where they use a form of job sharing during downturns so that workers work less than full time, more workers are kept on, and skills are not lost. I believe some government subsidy is also involved. This is an intelligent solution, but one that requires more of a partnership model.

    The problem in the US though is that most of the lost jobs were in manufacturing and construction. Neither field is likely to have much of a bounce back any time soon. The only field growing seems to be health care.

    Major structural reforms are needed. Everything else right now is a band-aid (nothing wrong with a band-aid, but they don't ultimately work if what you really need is stitches).

    I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

    by taonow on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 01:17:00 PM PDT

  •  Most things are less labor intensive now (0+ / 0-)

    The diary makes an excellent point, but the issue is complicated by the fact that we just don't need the total amount of labor to lead our lives now as we did in the past.  When was the last time you called a TV repairman?  When did you last get an auto tune-up that required adjustments to the timing and new plugs?  How about secretarial services?  Sure, some things haven't changed.  There are always counter examples.  Painting a house is probably as labor intensive as ever, for instance.  Still, there has been an overall reduction in labor required in our society.  Things last longer.  Items are often replaced for perceived improvement in performance rather than to replace something that has worn out.  

    •  we don't need the total amount of labor (0+ / 0-)

      and yet we still have this 20th Century system where everyone has to work, or else. We need a more flexible system, where work isn't the end all, be all of American life.

      "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon

      by RiseUpEconomics on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 02:25:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm curious (0+ / 0-)

    A less expensive and more efficient option would be to just provide income directly to the American people. Just cut out the middle-man and provide every American with enough income to at least get by, and then they would have to work at jobs for whatever income they want on top of their basic universal income.

    First: I am not criticizing this. I am asking an honest question that I don't know the answer to.

    So, that said: wouldn't something like this tend to cause inflation, which would in turn push prices for the basic necessities out of range of people who are making the 'basic universal income'?

    -fred

    •  there would be a lot of factors to weigh (0+ / 0-)

      Most people would have more income, but those at the top would have less due to higher taxes, so I would think that things would even out. and if it was done in a way where you had to apply for it and have worked and paid taxes for a few years to be eligible, then it wouldn't happen all at once for everyone.

      "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon

      by RiseUpEconomics on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 01:38:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There is no real aggregate demand without income (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens

    What the WaPo is forgetting is that those profits don't exist without the demand for business's products and services which coincides with people having a job which means they have income to spend. That's what publicly traded companies are based on via what normal people are spending their hard earned money on with regard to their products and services.

    Capital cannot exist without labor for without labor Capital could have never existed in the first place and that has everything to do with jobs.

    That's why in a deflationary spiral when the private sector can't fill the demand gap, we know form Keynes that the government must step in to fill it via infrastructure and other stimulus until the economy recoveries and the revenue raised can spend on debt in the good times.

    If there is demand there will be hiring and there will be jobs if we fix trade so there is no capital flight like fixing a leaky pipe once you unclog it.

    American manufacturing was always a part of robust recoveries(WWII manufacturing bombs, planes, war vehicles and that capital did not fly away. It stayed in the eocnomy) and that has fallen to the wayside so corporations can escape paying decent labor costs even though when there are jobs and decent income for people they do good as well; only not as good as fats in the short term which goes behind why this is happening; sickening greed. and s

    You acknowledge this later and I think your initiatives are decent ones, but I reject the notion that Capitalism in and of itself operates this way and only this way. Unions, the progressive movement basically built the foundation of the strength of our economy that is dwindling since manufacturing is not a part of it anymore since Taft Hartley to Reagan killing it altogether with destroying garment manufacturing in this economy for good as well as union busting.

    Not to mention the NAFTA and WTO model which is really just a legal framework to protect corporations from adhering to any labor or environmental standards for the short term profits for their shareholders.

    It's not true that all people would do the same thing as these disaster capitalists. All you have to do is look at Germany where co-ops own a lot of flourishing businesses with exports that have even overtaken China. That's democracy. That's a market that works, historically or otherwise. Not to mention superior fiscal policy in collusion with a social safety net. The only weakness of the European model is the terrible monetary policy of the ECB, but the strong welfare states like Germany disprove this thesis on how "this is capitalism and we must accept it.".

    You acknowledge this:

    Providing the people with a basic universal income would actually help corporations by ensuring a strong consumer base and stimulating the economy, and lead to even greater profits down the road. We've tried trickle-down economics, and it didn't work. Let's try Rise Up Economics instead.

    It's true that the Chamber of Commerce is full of shit and that tax cuts won't create jobs nor that businesses will look out for anything else besides profits for their shareholders by themselves without government intervention in the economy and I think your initiatives are decent ones; I also like Dean Baker's work sharing plan also implemented in Germany as it's appropriate for these times.

    Also That the only way to reduce unemployment is to restore private credit; you have to fix our financial system in order to reduce unemployment as James Galbraith laid out to the BS catfood commission.

    But it's also all about the trade deficit and currency manipulation in regard to an overly strong dollar policy.

    We did used to be an exporter country so this is not what we are resigned to in general even though I agree with all of your initiatives in this deflationary spiral of a great recession we are not even close to being out of.

    Pro Life??? Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!- George Carlin

    by priceman on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 01:46:57 PM PDT

    •  How do we turn back the last 30 years? (0+ / 0-)

      I agree with what you're saying. I do think that in the absence of a strong labor movement, we need to do something to turn things around. Passing Employee Free Choice would have helped, but I think we also need a game-changer. We need something to build a new movement around, and I'm hopeful that Rise Up Economics and a basic income can play that role. We need something for people to believe in again. A basic income would be a de facto national strike fund, and allow workers to stand up to their employers and build worker power.

      "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon

      by RiseUpEconomics on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 02:14:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There's always (0+ / 0-)

    "Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it." Robert F. Kennedy

    by enough already on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 02:02:10 PM PDT

  •  Aides for the elderly and disabled (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justina, RiseUpEconomics

    One place where federal money should go to create jobs is in-home help for the disabled.  There are numerous elderly and disabled people who need more home care and transpotation.  The parents of special needs children could use having some of their housework offloaded to a home aide.  Helping all people overcome disabilities and obstacles due to disabilities should be a major priority.  Helping special needs children should be a very high priority.

  •  R&D in Europe (0+ / 0-)

    European countries like Denmark, Finland and Germany are funding a huge amount of basic research in almost every scientific discipline imaginable.  This assures that Europe will be ready with the next generation of science.  US corporations used to do this but during the past 15 years the R&D has been shut down.  Corporations got a tax credit for creating R&D.  Now all the R&D gets done by graduate student slaves.

  •  I wrote on this very topic about a week ago. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiseUpEconomics

    My basic question was why we want jobs in the first place.  Businesses, as you note, are happy to get rid of human labor if they can.  Most people aren't opposed to working at a low-wage job that basically serves to enrich someone else.  So why all the clamor for jobs?  You hit the nail on the head of course, that we are totally reliant on jobs in order to live.  Here's my own take:

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    "What is essential is invisible to the eye." www.thefoxfoot.com

    by greywolfe359 on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 02:31:21 PM PDT

  •  Us old codgers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kimball Cross

    can remember there was a time when every elavator in America had an "operator". And it was not too lang ago when every gas station had personnel to pump your gas.  Imagine how many "jobs" that would recreate to go back to those practices.  I would not agree that it would be a good idea, however.  Another important change is we are more and more a nation of do-it-yourselfers.  Check out Homedepot on a Saturday.  Folks are doing things around the house they would not have done years ago.

  •  Palin is a Socialist (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kimball Cross, RiseUpEconomics

    Don't let this get out, but up there in Alaska(where everyone can see Russia from their house), the residents of that state get a little dividend check from allowing corporations to use their oil.

  •  Pearlstein (0+ / 0-)

    has, imo, gotten much (much) better in the past year or so. Some excellent energy / climate pieces, for example.

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 03:29:14 PM PDT

  •  Whose economy-- theirs, or ours? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiseUpEconomics

    The purpose of their economy: to maximize profit for the owners.

    The purpose of our economy: to provide work and basic livelihood.

    Their economy and our economy are working at cross purposes. Do not accept their claim that there is no conflict of interest and their objectives must be ours as well.

    We recognize that the entrepreneur can serve our needs by creating jobs. But we also recognize that the pursuit of profit inevitably leads the entrepreneur to DESTROY jobs. Success in the pursuit of profit requires entrepreneurs to out-compete each other in reducing labor costs by lowering wages and cutting jobs.

  •  Great diary, great discussion thread. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiseUpEconomics

    Really fascinating stuff.

    The most violent element in society is ignorance.

    by Mr MadAsHell on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 03:44:11 PM PDT

  •  Perhaps ParEcon Economics might be a way (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justina

    forward.  ParEcon is short for a Participatory Economics.  This has also been speculated as the economics closest to Star Trek.  It's a compelling possibility for the future.

    Obama needs to channel TR+FDR: Walk Softly, Carry a Big Stick and Welcome Their Hatred. He has Walk Softly down pat. Time to get on with the rest...

    by FightTheFuture on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 04:05:39 PM PDT

  •  What we need is more worker ownership of business (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justina

    Yes it's a Democratic Socialist idea but it's time has come.  In the European nations, workers have considerable amount of influence in the workplace.  That's what we need here.  Maybe the path to it is government created jobs that could be turned over to cooperatives over time.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 05:01:30 PM PDT

  •  This is a great idea, HOWEVER, it will (0+ / 0-)

    Providing the people with a basic universal income would actually help corporations by ensuring a strong consumer base and stimulating the economy, and lead to even greater profits down the road.

    require a radical rewriting of the tax code, since that is the only way the government gets money to do anything...and that will be a fight.  Every one of the thousands of pages of the tax code has its patrons with their lobbyist and sympathetic Congressman in tow.  
      There is enough wealth in this country to, indeed, provide a fairly decent income ($84,000) for every one for that first year, however, persuading the 3,300,000 people who have that wealth, know where it is and are willing to give it up might not be a slam dunk.  
       Of course, in year two, we have a problem sooooo, maybe the real nut to crack will be for any administration to put the American people on a BUDGET or we begin the process of redistribution of the wealth of the country all over again.  What you wanna bet most of it ends up in New York again and in the hands of the usual suspects.  :-)

    ...toward a better tomorrow.

    by Steve Love on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 05:08:05 PM PDT

  •  this is the economy of WaPo, the official (0+ / 0-)

    mouthpiece of the DC globalizers.

  •  How about replacing money with time? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grey skies turning to blue

    A 30=hour workweek would mean jobs for more people.  Moreover, it would result in healthier and happier people, who would have time to pursue, perhaps, volunteer work or an artistic side line.

    •  And it could be adjusted (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ej25

       by changing the number of hours per week, in order to  maintain a constant, acceptable unemployment percentage.  In addition to a modest 'basic living' payment to protect people who get work. But I worry that the 'basic living' payment would be inflationary.

      Planning a vacation or convention in Arizona? Come to Palm Springs instead! Same desert weather, none of the bigotry.

      by grey skies turning to blue on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 08:32:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We’ve been told (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv

    by corporate America that the reason jobs go overseas is because of the high cost of American labor.  It’s too bad that most of the country believes this.  The company I worked for had their younger engineers travel to Mexico, China and other countries where we had plants as a learning/exchange type experience.  When these engineers returned home and the subject of labor costs and outsourcing jobs came up, they said that the wage issue was BS.  Sure we earned more money most of our overseas counterparts but, believe it or not, they said in many cases the labor issues overseas offset the wage difference.  They said by far the biggest reason companies outsourced was environmental.  They said the money companies save by not having to scrub their smokestacks and being able to run a pipe out the back of the plant and dump their waste was far more than the wage issue.

    Makes sense........

    "If fighting for a more equal and equitable distribution of the wealth of this country is socialistic, I stand guilty of being a socialist." Walter Reuther

    by fugwb on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 07:58:50 PM PDT

  •  Can I rec this again? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiseUpEconomics

    ?

  •  Regulation through competition. (0+ / 0-)

    There will never be an effective way to police corporations, especially with today’s level of corporate influence in government. The only way the private sector can be regulated is through competition. The way to get corporate practices, business practices, labor practices, retail marketing practices etc. in line is for them to have competition from a regulatory body (i.e. a government).
    It would only be necessary for an effective regulatory body (competitive government) to establish 1 competitor (business, facility, plant etc.) in any given industry, to give consumers, workers, management professionals, private contractors etc. a choice against an ineffectively-regulated private sector. It is important for the government "establishments" to be mandated to make a reasonable profit, because the idea shouldn’t be to put the private sector out of business, government control over business (communism) is just as dangerous as business control over government (fascism). The idea is to promote fairness through physical measures (competition), instead of relying on legislation that is often written by the corporations it’s supposed to regulate.
    Regulation through fair government competition (reasonable profit margins, fair labor practices etc,), I’ve always thought it was the way to go.
    The deal about a guaranteed government income, somehow I don’t think that concept would be sustainable.

  •  Is this snark? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Persiflage, wherearethestatesmen

    In reading this I wasn't entirely sure.  The final conclusion, I don't disagree with in a very general sense -- e.g. the rules of the game can have a profound impact on the quality of life that ordinary people have.

    Part of the challenge here for me is that I have a very different view of the meaning of a "job".

    A "job" in my vocabulary is typically something that is done for compensation (e.g. a good or service that is provided in exchange for some other good or service).  

    That's what it is in the most basic, pared down sense.  It doesn't have to be organized around a large corporation.  No one has to provide it for you (although that doesn't mean the job will necessarily provide a wage/compensation that covers basic necessities).

    In the context of the current recession, I have no problem with the federal government marshaling federal resources in the service of job creation -- preferably by focusing on building infrastructure which can provide long-term value to the economy.

    It's a pretty outlandish idea to think though that you can build a sustainable economic model on the basis of corporate cash payments to consumers for the purchase of corporate goods and services.  There is an actual cost to providing those goods and services, and every time you redirect a portion of the profits to this purchase program you are reducing the amount of profit in the next cycle.  Eventually, you'd get to a point where there are no profits to be redistributed.  This kind of approach would also have all kinds of disincentives for finding efficiencies in production (e.g. sources of real wealth creation) and incentives for work.  This is even more extreme approach than a marginal increase in the tax rate.

    If the goal is to increase the quality of life of workers, it makes sense to get behind unionization efforts, and for creating some more equity in the tax-code.  A program though of specific hand-outs administered by the government for discretionary, non-essential purchases though is just plain nuts -- especially as any kind of long-term economic solution.

  •  Thinking outside the box (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Betty Pinson

    One possibility is creating local currencies. For example, a municipality could hire otherwise unemployed workers to perform various work and services and pay them in the local currency. The local currency could be spent at participating local businesses, for example, a weekly farmer's market. Or, for buying inexpensive clothes at a weekly flea market. This is an elegant solution in that it could be an end around past the Wal-Marts, etc. And the out-of-work can avoid abject poverty when corporate jobs are scarce. There's basic human dignity in performing useful work for  the community and being able to afford the basics like food, shelter, and clothing.

    And when he came back to, he was flat on his back on the beach in the freezing sand, and it was raining out of a low sky, and the tide was way out. --DFW

    by klingman on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:01:06 PM PDT

  •  If corporate rule is a trend, employee ownership (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, Kimball Cross

    is the answer (and/or public ownership/stake).  It gives voting rights and a stake in the outcome.  And most likely a more balanced view of long-term corporate citizenship/decency.

    Congress should facilitate this, particularly since we seem to bail out stockholders pretty regularly.

    In the NFL, it's represented by the GB Packers.  In banking the North Dakota system works.  In Congress and Wall Street, it's $Trillions for nothing in return.

    "Dega dega dega dega. Break up the concrete..." The Pretenders

    by Terra Mystica on Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 11:25:14 PM PDT

    •  I'm not sure I understand your Packers analogy. (0+ / 0-)

      Are the shareholders of the Green Bay Packers really all players or employees of the organization?

      Sarah Palin ... speaks truth. It remains to be seen if this nation has enough sanity left to put her in office. -- A RW blogger.

      by Kimball Cross on Sat Jul 31, 2010 at 12:22:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's the right track (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tmo, Terra Mystica

      This is actually fairly common in Europe and is one reason why people over actually have a better standard of living than here.  Americans hate hearing that and are quick to point to numbers such as GDP per capita. But, the reality is that when you consider the hours Europeans work plus the benefits they get from public systems, they are doing way better than us.  When you factor out the super rich in this country, the numbers are appalling.  I don't see it getting better for the US.  Our shareholder owned businesses don't care about workers for the reason stated in this journal.

      "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

      by noofsh on Sat Jul 31, 2010 at 02:32:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So... (0+ / 0-)

      ...why aren't coops wiping out corporations?

      •  That's kind of a generic non-sequitur, isn't it? (0+ / 0-)

        But the short answer is, they would/could if operated aggressively and there was genuine macro need for their services/products.  Traditional S&Ls being a case in point.  

        But then there is also, imho, deep resistance to employee or community ownership in the business circles this country.  The Wall Street and Cleveland Browns examples above suggest that is the case.

        "Dega dega dega dega. Break up the concrete..." The Pretenders

        by Terra Mystica on Sat Jul 31, 2010 at 10:05:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think "non-sequitur" means... (0+ / 0-)

          ...what you think it means.  You've just asserted that coops--employee-owned enterprises--would are more fit than corporations.

          Your answer, on the other hand, is a non-sequitur.  A cooperative is a business model, just like a corporation.  There's no restriction on the services and goods it could provide.  Simply pointing out that there's deep resistance to the model in business is also a non-sequitur.  We know as much already, because cooperatives aren't wiping out corporations.  The question I asked you is why that is.  There's actually an equally obvious answer to that one if you think about it.

  •  Yes!!!!!!! (0+ / 0-)

    "I wonder if it's the only battle we should be fighting right now."

    There is a growing awareness that capitalism MUST go. It's worked more or less for the last several centuries, but 3% growth in the future is impossible. That means either the system collapses or they will have to invent more and more tricks like derivatives to keep squeezing blood out of the turnip by diverting wealth to capitalists from every other sector of the world economy.

    ALL other issues are less important. If we don't eradicate this cancer, it will infect everything it touches.

  •   there is a simple way to blast loose some of (0+ / 0-)

    the spare cash now sitting idle on Corporate Balance Sheets and that is to shorten the length of the workweek to either 36 or 32 hours.

    Going to 32 hours with no reduction in pay would instantly create 20 million new jobs and pull 0.8 trillion dollars off those balance sheets and into the economy.

    Then we make it known that all future outsourcing of American Jobs will result in even more shortening of the work week.

    In short we simply make outsourcing uneconomical for Big Business.

  •  Fine. Then give us land and resources (0+ / 0-)

    to call our own.  "Jobs" is a compromise which allows a small sector to "own" and control resources (capital) in exchange for healthy stewardship, which will benefit the greater good by providing jobs, caring for the earth, the community, including the schools, roads, etc. and contributing to the intellectual growth as well as the spiritual needs (without sectarian restriction)--which in turn helps to sustain the wealth.

    We don't need no stinkin jobs.  People in the past have argued that freedom is really all about having access to land as a resource for building wealth.  If those that own and control the resources won't give out shares of the wealth through jobs (which helps the owners build wealth), they must give it out through some other means: higher taxes which will be used to benefit the people, and/or through give-aways of land and resources.

    Not to get all Jesus on you all, but isn't there a story of the man who buried his inheritance being the lesser of the brothers who actually worked with theirs and developed it?

  •  Tax Cut or Tax Credit = (0+ / 0-)

    more profit. Not more workers hired.

    I'm tired of the R/meme that low taxes = jobs.

    Low taxes don't = more or better small business, either.

  •  you are forgetting whre gov't money comes from (0+ / 0-)

    "We could insist on government creating enough good jobs for everyone, a full employment program. This would at least force private businesses to pay employees enough so that they could compete with government for employees."

    unfortunately the only way to do this is to tax those same companies that aren't creating enough jobs.  so, after they pay more taxes they employ less people and then the government uses the tax money less efficiently to "create" jobs.  it's a losing proposition.

    in order to create new, good paying, long term jobs we need to create new WEALTH.  the kind of wealth that comes from recovering a barrel of oil for $50 (and paying lots and lots of people that work for the oil company) and selling it for $75.  or the kind of wealth that comes from inventing a safe and affordable car the gets 100 miles per gallon.  or the kind of wealth that comes from designing, building, and selling a new medical imaging system that helps doctors diagnose patients, or the kind that comes from developing a new approach to schooling that costs less per pupil and improves test scores significantly.

    unfortunately governments, with rare exceptions like NASA, have never been successful creating wealth but only at spreading it around in a very inefficient manner.

    our economy is going nowhere until congress accepts the fact that is it the root cause of much of our current problems and finally decides to get out of the way and let America's scientists, engineers, and businessmen and women get back to their real function which is creating wealth.

    •  The hypothesis is... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wherearethestatesmen

      ...that government, nominally disinterested in any individual firm's interests, can disperse accumulated savings in a downturn more efficiently than an invested private party.  This notion, however, has proven notoriously difficult to verify in the field, and is itself a product of at least one of two dubious hypotheses.

      1. Private entities are uniquely unable to coordinate action based on the same information.
      1. Government is uniquely perceptive of opportunities for increasing demand.

      Finance and economics aren't occult knowledge held solely by public servants, so the problem must lie in the capacity of each field to yield optimal paths forward.

  •  Not only do they not need us.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiseUpEconomics

    ....but since manufacturing has been moved off-shore, half of the stimulus money, meant to stimulate our economy, actually wound up in China, because our workers spent their money on Chinese-made  goods--thus stimulating the economy of the country that owns us.

    So it was 300 Billion for China and 300 Billion stayed home but the entire 600 Billion was paid for by us--borrowing, with interest, from China--and so they profit from both ends of the deal.  And round and round a kind of madness goes. (Half is a rough estimate.)

  •  This is the dumbest idea ever (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    revprez

    "A less expensive and more efficient option would be to just provide income directly to the American people. "

    Uh how about if you can't find a job you like, start your own business?

  •  "businesses exist to create profits (0+ / 0-)

    for shareholders, not jobs for workers."

    Dude, this is breaking news to you?
    And you don't know enough to know that corporations go out of business along with all their workers if they don't make profits?

    If so then this is the stupidest, most ignorant diary I have ever read on dkos in all the many years I've been reading it daily.

    And you, you're the most....well, never mind, you've already demonstrated it.

  •  Necessity is the mother of invention (0+ / 0-)

    Show where in the Natural world one will find creatures in need of jobs to indirectly feed themselves. We have craftily built barriers to feeding and housing ourselves.

    It's an unnatural state of affairs that exists, and that works extremely well for those who live close to the top of the great pyramid.

    Unfortunately Ponzi societies like ours cannot have equality and that simply means that you cannot hand out money to the bottom dwellers and call everyone better-off. Money is not an absolute thing, neither is wealth. Give everyone 1 million and one million will get you nothing but a loaf of bread very soon. Money, wealth and power are relative things so good luck to those who will try and impose equality that way.

    There's no need to find solutions either. The Natural world does have a wonderful solution. It is called boom and bust. It's too bad we make things worse by fighting that very thing. We simply need the equivalent of a great forest fire to raze the corporate world. People will always find a way. We don't need finance to get by. IMHO.

  •  Who will buy? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiseUpEconomics

    If you don't have a job and/or are just scraping to get by will you buy from these corporations?  No, you can't.  They will whine and cry because the economy is so poor, but who caused it?  They outsourced all the jobs to the point that the people still working are trying just to save their jobs.  No money to buy the Chinese made goods.  If you don't have a job you have no money and if you have no money you can't buy anything.  Pretty soon America will be populated with the homeless and the food banks are already growing out of sight.  It is not Hooverville it is Bushville.  Corporations decide whether you and I will live or die.  The Republicans are laughing all the way to the bank!

    "... - because it's about reclaiming America's soul." Paul Krugman

    by libbie on Sat Jul 31, 2010 at 08:35:43 AM PDT

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