29 September 2008
About the House
I have no understanding of the mentality of those Representatives who voted against the bail out bill. The first reason I heard was that they felt Nancy Pelosi's speech last night was unacceptably partisan. I watched the speech on C-SPAN and I did not consider it partisan at all. She was clear about the Bush Administration's role in creating this crisis, but I think most Republicans have disowned Bush months ago. Now they feel attacked when Bush is blamed for something. What the Republicans are doing when the blame Speaker Pelosi is to grasp the straw they'd been waiting for to justify their "no" votes.
Late last night I finally heard one Republican in the House acknowledge his party's facilitating the spend, spend, spend emergency funds without ensuring a revenue source balanced they out. George "Put it on Their Tab" Bush will walk away on January 21, 2oo9, oblivious and uncaring about the damage caused by his Administration under his leadership. George "Walk Away" Bush treated this country as he had treated every business venture his father could put him into a job and his National Guard obligation.
Referring to my prior post about the Birk Plan, consider what, net of income taxes, $60 billion could do for the economy? Give the public the money and the financial institutions will benefit just as well or better than trusting them to have altruistic intentions for our economy. Do the middle men and women of financial institutions create an overhead for borrowed/loaned money amounting to $630 billion? Ninety percent (90%) of the $700 billion going to replace lost revenue from fees, interest, margin calls, investments and salary budgets, the stock exchanges, the communications network, the private transportation, the office space and buildings, etc., to come from every dollar of the bail out bill infused directly into the financial services industry! I'm beginning to like this guy Birk.
I've suddenly lost focus trying to grasp this. More on future posts.
So, to offer some relief, I am forwarding the contents of an e-mail that is making the rounds. My response to it is: I would vote for any politician who would make this happen, irrespective of political policy or convictions. See if you agree:
Wouldn't it be revealing about any representative or senator who would vote against this plan? I can almost hear John Lennon singing "Imagine". As my cousin Mike wrote in forwarding this to me: Works for me!The Birk Economic Recovery PlanI'm against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG.
Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in a We Deserve It Dividend.
To make the math simple, let's assume there are 200,000,000 bonafide U.S. Citizens 18+.
Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child. So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up..
So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billon that equals $425,000.00.
My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a We Deserve It Dividend.
Of course, it would NOT be tax free.
So let's assume a tax rate of 30%.
Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes.
That sends $25,500,000,000 right back to Uncle Sam.
But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in their pocket.
A husband and wife has $595,000.00.
What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family?
- Pay off your mortgage - housing crisis solved.
- Repay college loans - what a great boost to new grads
- Put away money for college - it'll be there
- Save in a bank - create money to loan to entrepreneurs.
- Buy a new car - create jobs
- Invest in the market - capital drives growth
- Pay for your parent's medical insurance - health care improves
- Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean - or else.
Remember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ including the folks who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company that is cutting back. And of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces.
If we're going to re-distribute wealth let's really do it...instead of trickling out a puny $1000.00 ( "vote buy" ) economic incentive that is being proposed by one of our candidates for President.
If we're going to do an $85 billion bailout, let's bail out every adult U S Citizen 18+!
As for AIG - liquidate it. Sell off its parts.
Let American General go back to being American General.
Sell off the real estate.
Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up.
Here's my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn't.
Sure it's a crazy idea that can "never work."
But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party!
How do you spell Economic Boom?
I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 Billion
We Deserve It Dividend more than I do the geniuses at AIG or in Washington DC .
And remember, The Birk plan only really costs $59.5 Billion because $25.5 Billion is returned instantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.
Ahhh...I feel so much better getting that off my chest.
Kindest personal regards,
T. J. Birkenmeier, A Creative Guy & Citizen
Moderator's Update: Faithful readers, I regret to say that I did not double-check the math. The correct answer would be $425.00 per person, not $425,000.00. What a shame. Upon reflection, I found similarities between the Birk Plan and the handling of a tax payment windfall from an oil company by Governor Sarah Palin. She distributed the revenue to the taxpayers rather than consider what that windfall could have done in terms of a state emergency fund or a program to enable residents to forstall forclosures, etc. Sorry to get your hopes up.
Sherfdog 8 Oct 2008.
27 September 2008
First some context about economists and their biases. In economist circles from 1950 to today, debates about the federal reserve actions, Wall Street trading, monetary policy, financial accountability to stockholders, IRA's, private and public cash management, credit and the value of the dollar versus other currencies divide economists into two fundamentally different ideological camps: Monetarists (Milton Freidman and the University of Chicago) and Keynsian (John Maynard Keynes and the University of Michigan, et al.). The monetarists lost their prime power when private ownership of gold was made illegal and when the dollar went off the gold standard. Still, monitarism ideas prevail among the neo-conservative politicians, the very rich and those who aspire to libertarian or individualistic ideals. Keynsians prevail within the more liberal political parties, with beneficiaries of The Great Society programs instituted by Presidents Johnson and Nixon and those who do not fear government involvement in regulating commerce, scientific research, education and health care. To me, Keynsians are better than monetarists, but most ideologues disappoint me sooner or later. Yes, I flip flop, too.
We never have had a "free market" in this country since its founding. We Americans define 'free market' according to who has controlling power in the market place: multi=national corporations, very rich individuals, unions and union bosses, consumer boycotts, or local, state and federal government regulatory bureaucracies. So, unless one can be more precise about the definition of 'free market', please try other arguments than the "free market" myth.
The Great Depression. Black Tuesday. October 29, 1929. I've read about it, my parents worked through it, supporting their unemployed parents and siblings. The parallels between September 1929 and today's economy seem alarmingly similar: credit crunch, increasingly growing disparity of incomes between the rich and the other classes, and Wall St. financiers more focused on wealth than value for their revenues.
The Paulson Plan repeats the approach taken by the Hoover Administration, although Hoover rejected his Treasury Secretary's initial recommendations, that were the same as Paulson's are.
The Gingrich Contract on America of 1984 began the systematic deregulation of American industries and primary utilities that some Republicans in the House continue to today. The neocons, usually devotees of monetarist Milton Friedman, just keep trying harder to do the same things by focus on liquidity. By so doing, they make the mistake to failure: if the current strategy is not working, it must be that we are not trying hard enough. Let's do more of the same tactics. A more thoughtful approach considers that success has a much greater chance if one abandons a current, stymied strategy and develops another, perhaps novel strategy.
Frederick Hayek (Nobel Laureate in Economics) predicted the 1929 Crash several months before it happened. The free market champions in the banks and on Wall Street did not heed his warning. Instead, they followed the monetarist approach of liquidity based on credit according to Milton Friedman, also a Nobel Laureate, who greatly influenced Ronald Reagan and the neo-conservative Republicans.
We seem to be condemned to repeat history, just month earlier in the year. Perhaps had we an Administration that valued competence more than personal and political loyalty, we might not have gone this far into crisis. We don't have a competent President and Administration; the best plan they can create to stem this crisis is one that even Hoover rejected in 1929.
What survived from Roosevelt's New Deal are federal institutions that addressed the universal needs of Americans: Social Security, the National Labor Relations Board and the Securities and Exchange Commission. These three programs stabilized the economy by guaranteeing a floor to poverty, empowered unions to increase employment and workers' incomes and established oversight of Wall St.
It is a bit comforting that Congress is listening to its constituents, because the majority of the phone calls and emails are from those people who reject what the Paulson Plan-even as amended-purports to do.
Do I have an answer? No, I don't know the details of Wall St.'s mechanisms and I believe there are much better informed and capable persons working on the problem than I am. I can, however, discern an impending crisis when I see one. I hope that Congress stays at work and defers their electioneering until this problem is fully identified and preliminary steps are put into place.
03 September 2008
Yesterday, I wrote the following comment in their provided page for such things about which party's ticket I am supporting:
I will vote for the Obama/Biden ticket for President because the Republican junta of the Bush/Cheney administration just about ruined our bicameral, democratic process of government as written in The Constitution. Deceiving the American people and much of the Congress into believing there was a valid purpose for invading Iraq, ignoring the intent of Congress by the rule of Signing Statements, by eliminating Habeas Corpus and at least four other amendments in the Bill of Rights, by ignoring the advice of the leaders of every religion in the US and beyond regarding Iraq, by approving of torture, by establishing a gulag of secret prisons around the world for the CIA, and for destroying our economy by funding the war and occupation of Iraq with borrowed money--these un-American activities are the path that John McCain declares he will continue.
Plus, the GOP cannot give up using slander and innuendo to create false images of their opponents. For example, this text space used the term 'Obamiden' instead of 'Obama/Biden' for the Democratic Party's nominees. This intentional, disrespectful and very unpatriotic word game is not humorous, truthful or worthy of the GOP I have known for over 60 years. Stop this tactic now! You dishonor our Constitutional election process.
The Obama/Biden ticket offers hope to the country that America will not mirror the path of the Weimar Republic in the 1920s and 1930s. Barack Obama and Joe Biden do not have to use immature word games or fear-laden messages for their campaign. The only thing the electorate has to fear is to have four more years of the anti-American, anti-Constitutional and inept government of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.