FOLLOW US ON: follow us in feedly
GET THE NEWSLETTER
CONTACT US
Forget Wall St and print some $$$ for the common man!
08.30.2010
10:49 am
Topics:
Tags:

image
 
Does it seem odd to you that the Dow Jones Industrial Average is still north of 10,000 despite the fact that no one has any jobs, the economy is puking blood and a bruised and battered mainstream America long ago exited the stock market?

Why wouldn’t the stock market be thriving while the rest of us are on food stamps and living in tents? Wall Street and the banks got the bailout, they aren’t going to lend anybody anything and they are paying themselves FAT BONUSES with your tax dollars. Let there be no mistake about it. The financial class have tied up all the productive capital in this country and are skimming off the top to enrich themselves. That’s the way the game works. It’s all legal!

And it’s obscene. If the general population would stop watching Fox News and worrying about a “mosque” (that isn’t even a mosque) long enough to figure out how they’ve been fucked up the ass sans lube by the plutocrats, there would be rioting in the streets. Instead they think that what we really need are an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and to repeal healthcare reform. (Shudders).

That’s why this new thought experiment/essay, by my super smart pal Charles Hugh Smith is so important to read and share with others. I was thrilled when I read this and I think you will be, too. Talk about a dangerous mind. Wow.

Think what this thought bomb, injected into the national conversation would do. Talk about this idea with your friends, post the essay on Facebook and call talk radio to seed this into the dialogue there.

Imagine if a meme like this spread and took hold. It could—easily—happen. It would turn the national conversation upside down! Now do your part!

What if the Fed and Treasury distributed $1.3 trillion directly to households rather than disburse it to prop up bank lending? At least some households would use the funds to pay down debt, meaning the money would flow to the banking sector anyway, but with one critical difference: household debt would actually decline, leaving household balance sheets in better shape and owing less interest every month.

With quantitative easing, the idea is to increase the debt load on households; with a helicopter drop of fresh cash, the idea would be to reduce the debt load that is crushing many households. Banks would benefit, too, as more consumer debt would be paid off in full compared to the current policy of promoting heavier debt loads. The negative consequences of pushing more debt on households is also obvious: more loans become uncollectible and go into default, creating more loan losses for banks.

If the cash transfers were broadly distributed, the subsequent spending would be more representative of sustainable demand than other means of stimulus, such as costly and ineffective “job creation” programs.

Most importantly, the status quo monetary policy distorts economic activity towards debt-based financial assets and debt-financed durable goods such as the “cash for clunkers” program to boost auto sales.

According to the status quo, adding more debt to households is the cure to our economic malaise. But for most households, high debt is the disease, not the cure, and adding more debt to “stimulate spending” is like trying to put out a fire with gasoline.

Some might argue that a direct deposit of freshly issued cash into households would be inflationary. But other economists argue that if inflation is a monetary issue, and a helicopter drop of cash is fundamentally fiscal, then the worry over sparking inflation is misplaced.

What seems clear is that expanding bank credit through quantitative easing policies of funneling trillions of dollars into banks isn’t working. Putting the same money thrown into banks ($4 trillion) into households’ accounts would certainly put the money where it could either be spent or used to pay down debt—both of which are direct “cures” to over-indebtedness and a no-growth economy.

The sums of money squandered on bailing out banks are difficult to grasp. So I’ll make it easy: if the Treasury printed up $1.3 trillion in cash, that would be enough to give $10,000 to all 130 million households in the U.S.

Even $10,000 to each household would enable a lot of debt to be paid off. Those without any debt could save/invest/spend it. That would certainly do more for the economy than throwing another $1.3 trillion to “extend and pretend” the banks’ insolvency.

Would such a distribution set up a political expectation for another $10,000 next election cycle? Very likely. Would that be positive? No. But all policy is a series of trade-offs, and a helicopter drop could be “sold” as one-time only.

Would it trigger massive inflation? Doubtful. The national debt is about $13 trillion, so adding 10% to it with a “helicopter drop” is not going to change the long-term debt problem much. The GDP is around $13-$14 trillion as well, so it would amount to a one-time 10% boost in GDP. Total personal income is around $8.4 trillion, so a $1.3 trillion helicopter drop of cash would be about a 15% boost to personal income.

Would it really do much to lower indebtedness of the American consumer? No. Total debt in the U.S. is about $52 trillion—governmental, corporate and private. Mortgage debt is around $10 trillion, and consumer debt is around $2.4 trillon. (These are approximate; a web search will confirm the round numbers.)

While $1.3 trillion won’t do much to change the outlook for inflation or future debt crises, it sure would give a lot of households one last chance to set things on a more positive course. $10,000 could wipe out a high-debt credit card without wiping out the creditworthiness of the household, or it could finance a move to a locale with more employment. It could replace a vehicle on its last legs with a better used car.

Would some people squander a one-time “last chance to set a new course” helicopter drop? Of course some people will. But that’s not the point. The point is that the nation has received zero value from trillions in quantitative easing, and so if even 10% of the 130 million households do something useful with their $10,000 in cash then that would be one heck of a lot more than we’ve gotten from the trillions thrown down the rathole of a venal, corrupted, insolvent banking sector.

Throwing money at banks hasn’t done anything but reward financial Power Elites via privatizing their gains and transferring their losses to the taxpayers. Throwing money at households won’t solve the nation’s problems either, but it would give households a one-time chance to do something useful with a chunk of cash. If 90% of the households blew it, then it would still end up somewhere in the economy, which is more than can be said of the trillions thrown away on QE.

In the long run, it wouldn’t make much difference to the nation’s fiscal situation, but to households on the edge, it might make a very significant difference.

Read the entire essay
What If We Ditched Quantitative Easing and Just Printed (and Distributed) Cash? (Of Two Minds)

 

Posted by Richard Metzger
|
08.30.2010
10:49 am
|
Prof. Michael Lebowitz: The Socialist Alternative
08.25.2010
12:27 pm
Topics:
Tags:

Due to increasing competition for scarce natural resources, a barbarism haunts the planet. In the drive for expansion and profits, the endgame of the capitalist system promises imperialism, domination of impoverished peoples and an ecological nightmare. The capitalist path is a death trap, but there is a just, people-based alternative: Socialism. In this wide-ranging interview, Prof. Michael Lebowitz discusses his latest book, The Socialist Alternative: Real Human Development.

READ ON
Posted by Richard Metzger
|
08.25.2010
12:27 pm
|
Birds for Justice: DC Central Kitchen replies to Rush’s remarks about non-profits
08.19.2010
12:24 am
Topics:
Tags:

image
 
On Inauguration Day 1989, Washington DC-based club manager and booker Robert Egger opened the DC Central Kitchen in order to use job training, meal distribution, and supporting local food systems to help fight poverty, hunger and homelessness in the nation’s capital.

It was about five months after a certain repugnant blowhard named Rush Limbaugh took his show into national syndication. Last week, that blowhard had this to say about non-profit organizations:
 

 
Egger’s thoughtful response—after the jump—should encourage all you Dangerous Minds readers to donate to the DC Central Kitchen today…watch till the end…
 

READ ON
Posted by Ron Nachmann
|
08.19.2010
12:24 am
|
Billboard coupons: visual pollution that earns you beer money
08.15.2010
05:14 am
Topics:
Tags:

image
 
James Ready Beer has created one very cool ad campaign. In an effort to save their customers money so they can afford to buy more James Ready Beer the brewery created billboard coupons.

By partnering with local retailers, we created a program that allowed people to take a picture of our billboard, show the picture to the corresponding retailer and receive savings on selected products and services. Saving money meant more beer money.

 
image

 

Posted by Marc Campbell
|
08.15.2010
05:14 am
|
Remembering the Watts Riots
08.11.2010
08:01 pm
Topics:
Tags:

image
 
The Watts riots happened 45 years ago today. Sparked by the arrest and beating of young African-American Marquette Frye and the detention of objecting Frye family members, the 1965 unrest happened in a context of extreme racial tension in California.

Along with the growing poverty that accompanied the post-War closing of factories in South Central L.A., the riots also happened in a context West Coast segregationist politics. By funding the passage of Proposition 14, the California Real Estate Association had just successfully cancelled out the Mumford Act, which was the part of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that prevented housing discrimination on the basis of race.

The week of rioting left 34 dead, over 1,000 injured and more than 200 businesses destroyed, with property damage was estimated at $40 million. Urban politics would never be the same. For some perspective, read Second District Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’s reflections on how the riots connect with the building and revitalization of the area’s Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital.
 

 
After the jump: From Stacy Peralta’s 2008 documentary Crips and Bloods: Made in America, Kumasi, a former member of the street squad The Slausons, breaks down the strategy of dealing with the National Guard presence during the riots…
 

READ ON
Posted by Ron Nachmann
|
08.11.2010
08:01 pm
|
Max Keiser: ‘Bankers should be tried in front of a human rights court and all hung’
08.09.2010
05:01 pm
Topics:
Tags:

image
 
I’m always amused by bomb-throwing economic pundit and talkshow host Max Keiser. His fast-talking, fast-thinking tell it like it is persona is always entertaining, even when I’m not 100% in agreement with what he is saying. (I also like watching his various programs (made for Russia Today, Press TV and BBC) because he produces them using the same suitcase sized production suite that I use for the DM talkshow, the NewTek Tricaster.)

When someone who puts themselves and their opinions out there as forthright as Max Keiser does his, it tends to be a love it or hate it affair. I love the guy, how refreshing is it that someone is saying something like this? Now mind you, he’s saying it on Iran’s PressTV network, but still… he’s right:

Press TV: Is the dollar in a freefall or exactly what is going on?

Kesier: Well what’s going on is you have the banks in the United States committing a financial holocaust. It is probably the worst holocaust in the last 100 years. What there doing is they’re destroying real estate values, jobs, wages and pensions. And they do this by flooding the market with more debt in the form of US dollars. As your package accurately said, the US has no reserves upon which to issue dollars; therefore, by definition every dollar that is issued is debt. This debt holocaust is wiping out the middle class on purpose. Because the rich people in America want to buy those houses. Those millions of houses out there that people are still living in. They want to buy them back for maybe one penny on the dollar. This is a financial holocaust by design. The American bankers are holocaust brokers. They should be in front of a human rights court and taken up on human rights abuses and all hung.

Press TV: Now Max, you’re saying that it’s by design for the benefit of the rich to destroy the middle class. Wouldn’t that in effect destroy the economy as a whole?

Kesier: No, because if you’re a Goldman Sachs banker, you are completely protected from this phenomenon. Plus you’re buying gold, you’re buying silver and you’re buying tangible assets. So you are not taking any risks. It’s okay to simply wipe out the middle class. It’s a holocaust. Just like the holocaust we saw in WWII. In America we are seeing the holocaust of the middle class by a few extraordinary, greedy, corrupt bankers on Wall Street; principally Goldman Sachs, J.P Morgan and the gang.

Press TV: If the US uses the quantitative easing of printing money, do you think they want to get out of this economic downfall or do they want to continue to print the money to basically put the country more into this economic slump to benefit a few? Is that correct?

Kesier: Yes, it’s a domestic terrorist attack on a sub-group; in this case the middle class. If they wanted to bring about a solution, the solution is very easy: Ring fence all the corrupt banks, put all of that bad debt behind a firewall like they did during the savings and loans crises of the 1980s. The Resolution Trust Corruption ring fenced all the debt and they restarted the economy by creating some new banks. And these new banks were able to get loans and they could create inflation, which would have the effect of stimulating the economy. That is clearly the way the solution could be offered. But this is not what’s happening. So clearly we must conclude that the bankers on Wall Street our not doing the obvious solution but the complete opposite of what should be done. They are increasing the debt load by flooding the market destroying houses, jobs, wages and pensions.

Hear, hear! An extraordinary thing to say, I think you’ll agree, but find me the fault in his logic. If the American public was sane (which it’s not) there would be rioting in the streets and vigilante justice all over Wall Street.

Read more: ‘US Financial Elite Destroy the Dollar’ (PressTV)

Max Keiser website

Posted by Richard Metzger
|
08.09.2010
05:01 pm
|
Rare Color Photographs of Small Town America During The Depression, 1939-1943
07.28.2010
10:00 pm
Topics:
Tags:

image
 
These photographs taken for the US Farm Security Administration in the late 30s/early 40s are among the only color photographs taken during the Great Depression. They document the impact of the depression on small town and rural America. Each tells a story, each one a work of art.
 
image
 
See more of these stunning photos after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Marc Campbell
|
07.28.2010
10:00 pm
|
Metzger on Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story
07.25.2010
11:00 pm
Topics:
Tags:

image
 
Tara and I watched Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story this weekend (it’s on the Netflix VOD currently) and I absolutely loved it. It’s a truly great film, one that I have no doubt will be looked at and revered by future generations trying to understand what the hell happened in our backwards era. I recommend it to everyone who reads this blog and cares about my opinion. It was absolutely spellbinding to me. I felt as if I wanted to cheer several times to see someone say these things and say them so powerfully. Capitalism: A Love Story, or a film just like it, needed to be made. but there is only one guy who could have pulled off something like this, gotten it funded, herded through the distribution system and gotten a message this radical the deep penetration in the culture that it deserves, and it’s Michael Moore.

Surprisingly, Capitalism: A Love Story is perhaps the least polemic of all of Moore’s films, even if it does, at root, articulately advocate the necessity of class warfare, at least at the ballot box.  Most of what Moore, or his protagonists, have to say in the film would be damed difficult to refute, perhaps this is why it doesn’t seem as confrontational as Moore’s films often are. You’d have to have a very closed mind to deny the reality of what you see on display here. Even Sean Hannity would have a hard time arguing with any of it (although I doubt he watched or will ever watch Moore’s film)

To say what Michael Moore says in Capitalism: A Love Story took balls and it also took amazing skill as a storyteller, underscoring his Mark Twain-like role in American society. After a mind-numbing section where the audience is introduced to the concept of the so-called “Dead Peasant” life insurance policies some major companies take out on their non-essential employees—unbeknownst to them—where they make more money if the employee dies, he cuts to an interview with Father Dick Preston, the Flint, Michigan-based priest who married Moore and his wife Kathleen Glynn (who interviewed me for a job once, she’s super cool).

He quietly asks the priest if capitalism is evil and what Jesus would think about free enterprise and his answer is devastating. This isn’t some left-wing loony he had to search out, this is the man who married him, the local priest who, like Moore, has witnessed the tragedy and destruction the loss of the auto industry in Flint, Michigan did to their hometown. Both of these men knows what greed does and how and who it harmed. People with first and last names.

And let me tell you, this priest fucking nails it. It’s a powerful, powerful cinematic moment.

Speaking as someone who took ten people on my own 24th birthday to see Roger and Me when it was in theaters—I also released This Divided State on DVD when I was at Disinformation—maybe I’m biased, but do yourself a favor and see this film. Better still, if you watch it and you like it, consider having a screening party at your house and invite 5 or 6 friends over to watch it and discuss it afterwards. It takes two hours to watch and could open the eyes of even a devout redneck Fox News watcher (well, some redneck Fox News watchers) to what’s really going on in this country. It’s not like Glenn Beck is ever going to tell them.

Below is one of the most powerful moments in a film full of them: rare footage taken right after FDR’s final State of the Union address where he lays out the concept of a Second Bill of Rights that would have guaranteed that all Americans have “a useful job, a decent home, adequate health care, and a good education.”

God bless Michael Moore. He’s a great American.
 

 
The Middle Class in America Is Radically Shrinking. Here Are the Stats to Prove it (Yahoo! Finance)

The U.S. Economy Is A Dead Horse And The American People Are Starting To Get Really Pissed Off And Frustrated (Economic Collapse)

Posted by Richard Metzger
|
07.25.2010
11:00 pm
|
Crises of Capitalism: An animated talk by David Harvey
06.30.2010
11:45 pm
Topics:
Tags:

Watch this and get a lot smarter in just 11 minutes! Radical sociologist David Harvey asks: is it time to look beyond capitalism towards a new social order that would allow us to live within a system that really could be responsible, just, and humane? From a speech given at the prestigious Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). See the full speech here. The talkshow will returns in a few weeks.
 
Via the mighty Nerdcore!
 

READ ON
Posted by Richard Metzger
|
06.30.2010
11:45 pm
|
Stuck in Calais: Europe, Immigrants, and Jack Chute’s Reaching Albion
06.25.2010
04:45 pm
Topics:
Tags:

image
 
Over a year ago, Bournemouth University student Jack Chute released this truly impressive short film chronicling the hard lives of Sudanese, Afghani, Palestinian and other immigrants stuck in the French port city of Calais. On a clear day, these guys can see England, a country with far more lenient visa regulations than those of France. In short, they see their futures.

Located directly across the English Channel from the White Cliffs of Dover, Calais has been a historical touch-point between France and England since ancient times.  It was bounced back and forth between the two countries from the 14th through 19th centuries, and served as a crucial decoy to Hitler while the Allies invaded Normandy.

Now it’s a harrowing human locus of the New World Order. Since the film’s release, French police have raided and destroyed the migrant’s refuge, unofficially known as the Jungle.
 

Reaching Albion from Jack Chute on Vimeo.

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann
|
06.25.2010
04:45 pm
|
Page 23 of 28 ‹ First  < 21 22 23 24 25 >  Last ›