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Forum Post: America’s Warp Speed Decline into an Unequal Society

Posted 2 years ago on Nov. 28, 2014, 9:23 a.m. EST by flip (7101)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

By Les Leopold Runaway inequality is destroying the American Dream. Is it too late to save it? That depends on what is really driving inequality. In the 1960s the gap between CEOs and the average worker was 20 to 1. By the 1990s it was nearly 350 to 1. What happened?

More than a few pundits and policy wonks imply it’s our own damn fault—we’re just not educated enough to compete in the global marketplace. Instead of learning more math and science, we play video games, sext and grow obese. New York Times columnist David Leonhardt provides a more nuanced variation of this theme when he writes that average wages could be boosted by policies to support “stronger schools and colleges to lift the skills of the nation’s workforce. Countries that have made more education progress over the last generation have experienced bigger income gains than the United State, and even here the pay gap between college graduates and everyone else has reached a record high.”

Progressives, however, usually point to other factors such as our paltry minimum wage, the lack of higher taxes on the rich and the declining power of labor unions. This analysis is behind the recent successful efforts to win state and local minimum wage increases, and stronger union footholds among low-wage workers. What About Wall Street? When Occupy Wall Street exploded onto the scene, high finance was nabbed as the primary culprit for rising inequality. But as that movement waned, so did the focus on Wall Street. Even Thomas Piketty’s powerful critique of rising inequality (Capital In the 21st Century) places little emphasis on the role of high finance. So what is Wall Street’s contribution to rising inequality?

To find answers, the International Labor Organization produced an eye-popping study of 71 countries in its Global Wage Report 2012/13. They test the relative significance of possible causes of wage inequality such as globalization, new technology, and cutbacks in government support for workers and unions. They also add another possible explanation which they call financialization: how much of a nation’s economy is devoted to Wall Street-like financial activities. Using statistical techniques they measure the degree that each causal factor contributes to wage stagnation. For example, do countries with more global trade have more or less inequality? Does having more advanced technology account for declining or increasing worker wages? Do countries with large labor movements have higher wages than those with smaller labor movements?

William Lazonic’s excellent work (see Profits Without Prosperity) provides insight into how Wall Street promotes inequality. It starts with understanding that the dramatic jump in the CEO/worker pay gap coincides with an equally dramatic change in the fundamental structure of the modern corporation. Until the 1980s, the basic philosophy of corporate America was “retain and reinvest.” Corporate survival and prosperity depended on plowing back most of a corporation’s profits into increased worker wages and training, research and development, and new plant and equipment. Banks provided loans for expansion and for mergers, but stringent New Deal regulations kept high finance in check. From WWII until 1980, there was no wage premium to be gained by working on Wall Street, and the wage gap between CEOs and the average worker hovered at about 20 to 1. Then came financial deregulation, and Wall Street escaped its New Deal shackles. Almost immediately a new crop of financiers emerged who raised large sums of money to buy up companies. Instead of creating new value within the corporation, the fundamental goal of these corporate raiders (now called private equity and hedge fund managers) was to extract value away from the corporation and into their pockets.

What they did was nothing short of revolutionary What they did also should have been outlawed. They transformed the corporate ethos of “retain and reinvest” into “downsize and distribute.” Here’s how it works. First they buy up firms using borrowed money and make the acquired corporation pay back the loans. For pulling off the deal, they use some of that borrowed money to pay themselves enormous fees, right off the top. They also provide fat bonuses for the CEOs who are to run the acquired corporation. Most importantly, they change the way top officers are rewarded. From this point on, most of their incomes would derive from stock options. The more the stock price rose, the more the CEOs would pocket.

As a result, the new incentive would be focused solely on making the firm’s stock price climb. Nothing else mattered. How do you do that? You use as much of the profits as possible to buy up your own stocks! And when profits are slim, you borrow more money to buy even more of your own stock. The more you buy, the fewer shares are in circulation, and therefore each share is worth more. The stock price climbs.

By 2008-’09 corporate America was, in effect, using 75% of its profits to buy back its own stock. At the same time, loan and after loan was piled onto the corporate books to buy up even more stock. So that after buying the stock and paying off the loans, there was very little profit remaining to reinvest in the company. (The loan payments and fees, of course, went to Wall Street firms.) This is how “retain and invest” devolved into “downsize and distribute.”

To play this game, worker wages, R&D and new plant and equipment are cut to the bone. Older plants are eliminated. Production is outsourced to low-wage areas. Temporary workers replace permanent employees. Benefits like healthcare and pensions are reduced or eliminated. Unions are undermined. And bankruptcy is sometimes used to break contracts to further reduce these costs. The fees for all this “financial engineering” go to Wall Street. The stock-option-loaded CEOs become part of Wall Street—its onsite, wealth extraction overseers. Nearly all corporations whether raided or not, soon followed this lucrative model. Strip-mining the corporation becomes its fundamental activity. Good-bye American Dream. The financialization of the modern corporation is the driving force of runaway inequality. Therefore, building a movement to take on Wall Street is necessary even while struggling to raise the minimum wage, fighting for more progressive taxation, restoring union power and calling for free higher education for all. The fact is that runaway wage inequality will be with us indefinitely until we remove Wall Street’s tentacles and ethos from the modern corporation. To get there, we will need something like an Occupy 2.0. But instead of lasting only six months, it will endure for a generation.

116 Comments

116 Comments


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[-] 6 points by TheRoot (305) from New York, NY 2 years ago

The ease by which anyone including Corporations and Governments can obtain "money" is the fundamental cause of inequality. Eliminate by law the "get everything for nothing" central banks and their immoral practices of fractional reserve banking. Then and only then will we have equality, starting with a dollar is really a dollar, nothing more and nothing less.

Peace and harmony through honest money.

[-] 4 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

i don't believe in the gold standard money masters bullshit and that seems to be where you are heading. central banks are not the problem - private control of the money system is. you are confusing money with wealth - i will let alan watts explain -

Let me illustrate this point and, at the same time, explain the major obstacle to sane technological progress, by dwelling on the fundamental confusion between money and wealth, Remember the Great Depression of the Thirties? One day there was a flourishing consumer economy, with everyone on the up-and-up; and the next, unemployment, poverty, and bread lines, What happened? The physical resources of the country the brain, brawn, and raw materials were in no way depleted, but there was a sudden absence of money, a so-called financial slump.

Complex reasons for this kind of disaster can be elaborated at length by experts on banking and high finance who cannot see the forest for the trees, But it was just as if someone had come to work on building a house and, on the morning of the Depression, the boss had said, "Sorry, baby, but we can't build today. No inches." "Whaddya mean, no inches? We got wood, We got metal. We even got tape measures.' "Yeah, but you don't understand business. We been using too many inches and there's just no more to go around."

A few years later, people were saying that Germany couldn't possibly equip a vast army and wage a war, because it didn't have enough gold. What wasn't understood then, and still isn't really understood today, is that the reality of money is of the same type as the reality of centimeters, grams, hours, or lines of longitude. Money is a way of measuring wealth but is not wealth in itself. A chest of gold coins or a fat wallet of bills is of no use whatsoever to a wrecked sailor alone on a raft He needs real wealth, in the form of a fishing rod, a compass, an outboard motor with gas, and a female companion.

[-] 3 points by trashyharry (3082) from Waterville, NY 2 years ago

Central Banks created debts-money owed to THEM instantly upon approval by Treasury.These are .gov bonds.The US Treasury issues all COINAGE without any of that rigamarole.There have not always been central banks in the US.There was a period of time during the colonial when scrip was used and that worked well.One of the precipitants of the Revolutionary War was the insistence of excise officers and the Crown's customs officers that all monies owed be paid in gold.This crashed the economy because there was a lack of gold in circulation.The next time the Treasury issued the currency was Lincoln.Some people say it was the real reason he was killed.If you check it,it appears that any politician that is anti-central bank in word or deed has been the target of assassins.The coinage is a debt to NO ONE.It would cause total chaos if everyone insisted on paying for everything with rolled quarters or no sale.LOL! We do not need to create National Debt to issue currency.Then the money supply would be controlled by civil servants at Treasury-not by private individuals motivated by an insatiable and unreasonable hunger for profits.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

i am pretty sure we have the same goals in mind here but it is no longer possible to have an economy based on hard coins. i would suggest you read about the populist movement and the"cross of gold" - those dirt poor farmers figured it out. they were the ones advocating for a national bank so that j p morgan couldn't grind them into dust. or you might want to read graeber "debt the first 5000 years" - money is misunderstood and the politicians and bankers use that to keep power. a democratically controlled currency is the answer not the gold standard

[-] 3 points by trashyharry (3082) from Waterville, NY 2 years ago

People have said that a gold standard favors rich people.I do know quite a bit about W.Jennings Bryant and the Grange movement.I didn't mean to give the impression that I'm some kind of expert or that my research in the area is anything like in depth.My Bad.Sorry.As for Graeber's book I have not gotten ahold of it yet.It is on my list and I'm looking forward to reading it as Graeber is a skilled writer.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

The grange movement was somewhat different than the populist.the populists realized that an expanding population and expanding economy needed an expanding money supply. Gold standard and stable money seem obviously stupid to me!

[-] 3 points by trashyharry (3082) from Waterville, NY 2 years ago

I'm weak on my research in this.It is a very involved topic.I am very upset by the recent bad turn in current events here in the US.I will address this issue when I have finished reading a couple books.If the Flying Monkeys don't kill us all first.

[-] 0 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

no sweat. it is a big topic and like most things of importance we have been misinformed. they don't like to tell us about the past movements that challenged the ruling classes power a good over view is "secrets of the temple" by grieder - about the federal reserve - a good history of money and populists (a little) and volker and reagan

[-] 3 points by trashyharry (3082) from Waterville, NY 2 years ago

All kinds of apparent complications that actually don't exist.All kinds of assurances that the whole issue is Supercomplicated.Where have we heard such protestations before? Anyhow,I'm going to break an Ironclad Rule and order some books from Amazon.For sure one of them will be a good,authoritative biography of William Jennings Bryant.A subject I am keenly interested in and I am eager to Start In On The Lumber.I will have to get new glasses first,though.

[-] 2 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

like lots of things money (from a government point of view) is complicated but really simple at it's base. i think alan watts makes the most obvious point. his example of pre ww2 germany is on the money - no pun intended. how did germany re-arm after hyper inflation? and they lost the war in large part because they had not steel, oil and coal - not because they didn't have enough paper dollars. that shows the difference between the symbol of wealth (money) and real wealth. many here do not want to see this. they think that a government (that can tax and print money) shoudl operate the same way a household should - crazy

[-] 3 points by trashyharry (3082) from Waterville, NY 2 years ago

So we are in agreement! That's what I like! Let me get caught up.When I study something it is a close examination & takes awhile.LOL! as you well know!

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

i am thinking that one of these days down the road you will see for yourself the difference between money and wealth. when oil is $200+ a barrel you will have land and be able to feed yourself and heat your house. the suburbs around nyc will be struggling. i would like to be wrong on this one but i that is what i see. ben franklin said "we learn the value of water when the well runs dry"

[-] 1 points by grapes (4987) 2 years ago

Everything regarding hard coins said by Trashyharry is true - the U.S. Treasury controls and produces coins for circulation. Vendors can determine the form of payments. If inflation makes prices too high to pay in coins easily, people will really feel in physical weights alone what inflation does to them. Yes, it is a good idea that seems legal to slow down commerce - a little bit weird like the trillion dollar platinum coin idea proposed by Paul Krugman but legal.

[-] 0 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

i know where you stand on the issue and you know where i stand. you have never countered alan watts or stephanie kelton. it is not possible. you have never responded to the case the populists made in 1890 because they were correct. the problem is not inflation or stable currency or hard money - it is democratic control over money. i do not understand why you do not want to see that but you don't - so be it

[-] 2 points by grapes (4987) 2 years ago

Where has democracy got us? Yes, we have the votes but don't we have the problems, too? Why do you think this time it will be different with democracy-controlled currency? We have democracy-controlled votes but I may as well call it demi-crazy-con-trolled faux!

Hong Kongers are bleeding to get to vote without interference from China. What is your advice for them?

Inflation is the economic road to economic hell. Ask the people who have lived through inflation. There are many countries with this horrible experience but maybe they do not testify much on U.S. media. We are a very parochial people living on a huge island staring at our navel lint and picking our nose!

On the average, the U.S. owes three times its net worth. Do you owe that much? Who can borrow that much? Think about why inflation is great for those who can afford to contract great debts. You are not thinking of the working people who have to fight year after year just to keep up with the cost of living.

Take a look at the recent precipitous decline in oil prices. People, is it hell for you to have more change left in your pockets after gassing up your cars? This is a glimpse of the effect of the much-feared price deflation (imported from abroad as I had projected before due to the slowdowns in euro area, China, and Japan; they all join the credit creation boom party pioneered by the U.S. PIGS R US just got to its middle initial).

[-] 0 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

well we don't have a democracy yet do we? moving towards it over the last 200 years. that does not change what we are debating. if your argument is that the copper standard is possible and democracy isn't - well then that is just not such a good argument is it. here is what madison thought about democracy -

"The man who is possessed of wealth, who lolls on his sofa, or rolls in his carriage, cannot judge of the wants or feelings of the day laborer. The government we mean to erect is intended to last for ages. The landed interest, at present, is prevalent; but in process of time, when we approximate to the states and kingdoms of Europe; when the number of landholders shall be comparatively small, through the various means of trade and manufactures, will not the landed interest be overbalanced in future elections, and unless wisely provided against, what will become of your government? In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of the landed proprietors would be insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place.

If these observations be jsut, our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, and to balance and check the other. They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. The senate, therefore, ought to be this body; and to answer these purposes, they ought to have permanency and stability. Various have been the propositions; but my opinion is, the longer they continue in office, the better will these views be answered.

[-] 1 points by grapes (4987) 2 years ago

Democracy was given places to take root in Egypt, Iraq, Libya, etc. at great expenses. They were all failures. We have not tried a copper standard yet so it may yet work.

The U.S. had high inheritance taxes before so that had prevented the concentration of wealth across generations. It no longer has that safeguard - just look at the two giant water rats, the Koch brothers.

[-] 0 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

democracy in egypt - you are delusional. it is mind boggling that you can say this -"We have not tried a copper standard yet so it may yet work" - i sent you stephanie kelton and you must not have read it. she explains clearly why pegging a currency is a bad idea. instead of responding to her you just keep repeating the same obviously incorrect phrases

[-] 1 points by grapes (4987) 2 years ago

I am not for the gold standard. I am for the labor standard. Gold seems to be a complete waste of human labor and resources to move minerals from a hole in the ground to another hole in the ground. There is a hole in lower Manhattan's bedrock just to hold the result of this human stupidity.

I actually think a copper standard makes far more sense because copper is truly precious for our modern world of electronics and communications. Copper has great intrinsic worth in this context.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

gold, copper or toilet paper doesn't matter. pegging a currency to anything is a tool of those who have all the money. i can only assume you never read stephanie since she explains it well. an expanding economy needs an expanding currency. to pay for the things we need - like social security, pensions and teachers firemen - and we need to have a monetary system that can expand in times of recession and more. to "borrow" money from ourselves to ramp up renewable energy, build a smart grid and eliminate poverty (and much more) makes perfect sense. you confuse government debt and household or corporate debt. do you know the difference?

[-] 2 points by grapes (4987) 2 years ago

"Borrowing" from ourselves is a delusional mind trick. We may as well smear petroleum jelly on our car's windshield so that we can warp reality to our liking better to motivate ourselves. Oh yes, that is not a utility pole - it is St. Elmo's fire for Salvation.

[-] 1 points by StillModestCapitalist (343) 2 years ago

It's always always always always always nothing but a balance sheet.

If by some miracle, the rich could be convinced to not have so much buying power on that sheet, our leaders working carefully with economists could simply re-write that sheet leaving three social classes in place and everyone and every domestic agency with enough and be done with it.

It would be like playing a giant game of monopoly to the final round and then redistributing 40% of the money. The game would go on forever.

[-] 2 points by grapes (4987) 2 years ago

I just saw Paul Krugman's brilliance of the U.S. Treasury creating a few trillion-dollar platinum coins to deposit at the Federal Reserve Bank. If we need more currency, mint a few more coins and make a deposit. There is no need to convince the rich nor the rich Congress. Purely Executive Action suffices. Miracles come through legal rabbit holes.

[-] 4 points by StillModestCapitalist (343) 2 years ago

That would do a few trillion worth of good on the government side. It would also help to redistribute a few hundred billion in private wealth almost overnight as it would immediately cause a number of billionaire heart attacks.

Where did you see this? I would like to witness the hissy fit surely thrown by the opposition.

[-] 1 points by grapes (4987) 2 years ago

Platinum coin to sidestep the debt ceiling I was mistaken that Paul Krugman had come up with the idea. It was expected that the Federal Reserve (owned by the national banks) would not accept the platinum coins. However, bitcoins can be created in exchange for the platinum coins. Also, there is the power of the U.S. government to make the Federal Reserve accept the platinum coins. The government and national banks created the Federal Reserve so they can amend the governance.

I am sure that such platinum coins minted by the U.S. Treasury will have extremely high numismatic value in bitcoins.

[-] 2 points by turbocharger (1756) 2 years ago

That would be hysterical. I'd love to see how the world treated the dollar when we started doing that!!

[-] 1 points by grapes (4987) 2 years ago

It was not a problem with the trillions of dollars created by the Federal Reserve to save the banksters. In fact, the U.S. dollar has become exceptionally strong recently due to the admiration from central banks around the developed world and China. In projective geometry, actual sizes do not matter. If Yen, Renminbi, euro, etc. are all going the QE way, the U.S. dollar was and will be stabilized, just as predicted. It is a confidence game so nothing bad happens if the U.S. stays the least ugly of the major economies.

[-] 1 points by turbocharger (1756) 2 years ago

Actually the developing nations have formed their own international bank.

But you are correct, Europe, Japan and the US have been taking turns devaluing the currency. They arent stupid.

[-] 1 points by grapes (4987) 2 years ago

Maybe OWS should start its own independent bank, too, dealing only with coinage which is without debt slavery.

[-] 0 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

how stupid is that comment. really not at all thought through. and if we borrow money from ourselves - like printing money - who would we have to pay back in 30 years - the government - it would have to pay itself? i would like you to try to explain that - if the fed or treasury issues money to build solar plants and make homes more energy efficient and pay social security and build a smart grid - how could that be bad. please tell me - what would be the down side??

[-] 1 points by grapes (4987) 2 years ago

If it were as easy as you said, why didn't the U.S. Treasury just mint a few trillion-dollar platinum coins and get your program off and running? Paul Krugman and you might have been right but we would not find out due to the timidity of our leaders, would we?

This is a confidence game after all!

[-] 3 points by donOld (134) 2 years ago

You are bang on flip. Here's a link to the Alan Watt's piece you mentioned. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-JMHiaYIiU

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

thanks - he is a trip no? have you listened to his talks?

[-] 1 points by donOld (134) 2 years ago

yes, he's one of my favorite thinkers, love this one too... What If Money Was No Object? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dpsQtwhKyE

[-] 3 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

good one! i had never head that one - i have many old tapes and cds of him speaking. he is the best. hey man do you know what is with these gold standard types here. they were all over the park in the old days but it was pretty easy to show what a fraud it was. with people listening they couldn't do the shit they do here

[-] 0 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

hey it says the fuel video you have on your page is not available in my country? where are you?

[-] 2 points by donOld (134) 2 years ago
[-] 1 points by donOld (134) 2 years ago

you're right Flip, it has disappeared from youtube, but you can watch it here: http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documentary/watch-online/play/5940/Fuel

[-] 2 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

good one - we started a utility scale solar construction company a few years ago. building large projects all over the country. we do a small part of the construction but solar is exploding

[-] 0 points by donOld (134) 2 years ago

awesome... every bit helps.

[-] 2 points by TheRoot (305) from New York, NY 2 years ago

As I am waiting for Graeber's Book to arrive, I wanted something to do. So, I am coming back to this Reply of yours because you lay down what the problem is by first saying what the problem isn't.

You say, " ...central banks are not the problem - private control of the money system is. ..."

Keep in mind that any central bank would not and could not exist but for the Government sponsoring, enacting and enforcing the laws that gave rise to them in the first place. For years, some members of the banking industry agitated for laws creating a central bank. Some members of the Government were happy to oblige them and created a monopoly on money and credit.

Such a monopoly could not exist in a private (meaning free) market.

[-] 2 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

so first of all we have to talk about how money and credit are created and who controls that money. in the old days private banks (think j p morgan) were in control. the populists agitated for government fiat currency under democratic control. that is that the elected leaders would decide how money was allocated. i understand the history of our central bank but we can change that no? william greider is the best and most fun book to read on the subject as far as i know - "secrets of the temple" - anyway i am not sure if that is any help so let me know.

[-] 2 points by TheRoot (305) from New York, NY 2 years ago

JPM was one of the agitators turning against private banking to legislation supporting a monopolized national monetary system. Instead of the Government saying to him and his cohorts, "Sorry, J.P., creating a monopoly by force of law in is not in our Job Description. You see J.P., all men are equal under the law but this law would turn that and the principle of freedom on its head.". They instead said, " Hell, yes! Money for nothing and checks for free. And screw equality and to hell with freedom."

We've been living with their fallout ever since.

Banking is a business. But like other businesses, they have an exclusive- that is the full protection from reality as mandated by the Federal Government. Quite the coup over political freedom.

[-] 2 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

i think we agree here but i am a bit confused. i know all about jekyll island story and how the central bank was secretly put under the control of private banks. what i am saying is that it did not have to happen that way and we could still make it work better. i assume you know of the north dakota state bank - this is from a mother jones article -

How the Nation’s Only State-Owned Bank Became the Envy of Wall Street —By Josh Harkinson The Bank of North Dakota is the only state-owned bank in America—what Republicans might call an idiosyncratic bastion of socialism. It also earned a record profit last year even as its private-sector corollaries lost billions. To be sure, it owes some of its unusual success to North Dakota’s well-insulated economy, which is heavy on agricultural staples and light on housing speculation. But that hasn’t stopped out-of-state politicos from beating a path to chilly Bismarck in search of advice. Could opening state-owned banks across America get us out of the financial crisis? It certainly might help, says Ellen Brown, author of the book, Web of Debt, who writes that the Bank of North Dakota, with its $4 billion under management, has avoided the credit freeze by “creating its own credit, leading the nation in establishing state economic sovereignty.” Mother Jones spoke with the Bank of North Dakota’s president, Eric Hardmeyer.

Mother Jones: How was the bank formed?

Eric Hardmeyer: It was created 90 years ago, in 1919, as a populist movement swept the northern plains. Basically it was a very angry movement by a large group of the agrarian sector that was upset by decisions that were being made in the eastern markets, the money markets maybe in Minneapolis, New York, deciding who got credit and how to market their goods. So it swept the northern plains. In North Dakota the movement was called the Nonpartisan League, and they actually took control of the legislature and created what was called an industrial program, which created both the Bank of North Dakota as a financing arm and a state-owned mill and elevator to market and buy the grain from the farmer. And we’re both in existence today doing exactly what we were created for 90 years ago. Only we’ve morphed a little bit and found other niches and ways to promote the state of North Dakota.

MJ: What makes your bank unique today?

EH: Our funding model, our deposit model is really what is unique as the engine that drives that bank. And that is we are the depository for all state tax collections and fees. And so we have a captive deposit base, we pay a competitive rate to the state treasurer. And I would bet that that would be one of the most difficult things to wrestle away from the private sector—those opportunities to bid on public funds. But that’s only one portion of it. We take those funds and then, really what separates us is that we plow those deposits back into the state of North Dakota in the form of loans. We invest back into the state in economic development type of activities. We grow our state through that mechanism.

MJ: Clearly other banks also invest their deposits. Is the difference that you are investing a larger portion of that money into the state’s own economy?

EH: Yeah, absolutely. But we have specifically designed programs to spur certain elements of the economy. Whether it’s agriculture or economic development programs that are deemed necessary in the state or energy, which now seems to be a huge play in the state. And education—we do a lot of student loan financing. So that’s our model. We have a specific mission that was given to us when we were created 90 years ago and it guides us throughout our history.

MJ: Are there areas that you invest in that other banks avoid?

EH: We made the first federally-insured student loan in the country back in 1967. So that’s been a big part of what we do. It’s become almost a mission-critical thing. I don’t know if you have been following the student loan industry lately, but it’s been very, very interesting as many have decided to leave. We will not though.

MJ: So you are able to invest in certain areas because they provide a public good.

EH: Yeah, or a direction, whether it’s energy or primary sector type of businesses. We have specific loan programs that are designed at very low interest rates to encourage activity along certain lines. Here’s another thing: We’re gearing up for a significant flood in one of the communities here in North Dakota called Fargo. We’ve experienced one of those in another community about 12 years ago which prior to Katrina was the largest single evacuation of any community in the United States. And so the Bank of North Dakota, once the flood had receded and there were business needs, we developed a disaster loan program to assist businesses. So we can move quite quickly to aid with different types of scenarios. Whether it’s encouraging different economies to grow or dealing with a disaster.

[-] 1 points by TheRoot (305) from New York, NY 2 years ago

Flip. You are right. Banking could be made to work better. You and I agree on this but I believe that we'd disagree on the concept "better".

The proposition of political freedom gives no quarter to franchises sanctioned by Government; the Bank in North Dakota is no exception in my book.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

Not exactly sure I know what you mean. Do you recognize the distinction between the government and the state. Anarchists are against the state. The forces of violence in government. The police and military. The government is the administrative arm as in social security and Medicare. Are you saying no government in any way. Now we might have an interesting conversation. I consider my self an anarchist. Tell me what you think. I imagine we mostly agree

[-] 1 points by TheRoot (305) from New York, NY 2 years ago

I countenance no one picking a fight with anyone. Could be in bar down on the corner; a popular vote in a township calling for zoning, could be any governing body taking property under auspices of eminent domain; could be any government body forcing a retirement program or healthcare program or jobs program or conscription provram on anyone by popular vote or decree. The point is that in a social context, no one has a right to initiate physical force on anyone.

So no, I am not an anarchist. I am for a government constrained by law to protect an individual's right to life, property and liberty. There is no other function of government.

[-] 2 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

Really no other function of government. Really? No sewage treatment plants or social security or schools or libraries? I think we disagree on this one. That's ok with me but I would like to know more what you are thinking

[-] 2 points by TheRoot (305) from New York, NY 2 years ago

Flip. That is exactly what FRB does to individuals in society. It severes their wealth from their money. Under FRB, money no longer is an honest measure of wealth.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

it never was - you might want to reread alan - money is a symbol of wealth not real wealth. i had this debate too many times with rand paul libertarians in the park. do you want the paper dollars however strong they might be or the boat etc from his example? google stephanie kelton italy and read her talk from that country - very informative

[-] 2 points by TheRoot (305) from New York, NY 2 years ago

Flip. I read this by AW: http://www.awakin.org/read/view.php?tid=1022 . Is this what you are referring to?

[-] 2 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

no but it is the same idea - first i would like to say that i am very happy not to be attacked when we disagree. thanks! second i am going to send you too much info but it is all the same idea and i think it is a very important one. the ruling class keeps telling us we don't have the money - for social security or teachers salaries or to pay retirees pensions. it is a scam, while it is true that the banking system is set up to benefit the rich it does not have to be. if you read about the populist movement of the late 1800's it was the very same fight. here is alan and then i will give you a bit of stephanie kelton -

"Let me illustrate this point and, at the same time, explain the major obstacle to sane technological progress, by dwelling on the fundamental confusion between money and wealth, Remember the Great Depression of the Thirties? One day there was a flourishing consumer economy, with everyone on the up-and-up; and the next, unemployment, poverty, and bread lines, What happened? The physical resources of the country the brain, brawn, and raw materials were in no way depleted, but there was a sudden absence of money, a so-called financial slump.

Complex reasons for this kind of disaster can be elaborated at length by experts on banking and high finance who cannot see the forest for the trees, But it was just as if someone had come to work on building a house and, on the morning of the Depression, the boss had said, "Sorry, baby, but we can't build today. No inches." "Whaddya mean, no inches? We got wood, We got metal. We even got tape measures.' "Yeah, but you don't understand business. We been using too many inches and there's just no more to go around."

A few years later, people were saying that Germany couldn't possibly equip a vast army and wage a war, because it didn't have enough gold. What wasn't understood then, and still isn't really understood today, is that the reality of money is of the same type as the reality of centimeters, grams, hours, or lines of longitude. Money is a way of measuring wealth but is not wealth in itself. A chest of gold coins or a fat wallet of bills is of no use whatsoever to a wrecked sailor alone on a raft He needs real wealth, in the form of a fishing rod, a compass, an outboard motor with gas, and a female companion.

here is my girl - “So, let’s begin with the first lesson. What is money? All money exists as an IOU. It’s a debt. When we say, ‘I owe you,’ we mean two people are involved in every monetary relationship. The ‘I’ is the debtor. The ‘U’ is the creditor. I Owe You. IOUs are recorded in what we call the money of account. The money of account in Australia is the Australian dollar. The money of account in the U.S., the U.S. dollar. The money of account in Japan, the Japanese Yen. In Britain, the British pound. In Italy, the Euro. Do you see a difference? You will by the end of this talk.

(c. 6:21) “The money of account is something abstract, like a metre, a kilogram, a hectare. It’s not something you can touch or feel. It’s representational, something only a human could imagine. In any modern nation the money of account is chosen by the national government. MMT emphasises the state’s power over money. This is not something new. It dates back as far as Aristotle. You can find it in Adam Smith and in the work of John Maynard Keynes. I will read a brief quote from Keynes who said:

“‘The age of chartalist, or state money, was reached when the State claimed the right to declare what thing should answer as money of account. Today, all civilised money is, beyond the possibility of dispute, chartalist’—state money.

“A sovereign government defines the money of account. A sovereign government imposes taxes, fees, and other obligations to be paid to be paid to the state. A sovereign government decides what it will accept in payment to itself. And sovereign government chooses how it will make its own payments to others. Most governments in the world today choose their own unique money of account. And they issue their own unique currency. One nation, one money, is the rule in almost every corner of the world today. U.S. dollars, bills and coins. Mexican pesos, bills and coins. British pounds, notes and coins. Most governments also require that taxes be paid in a currency that the state has the exclusive power to issue. These currencies are sovereign money.

(c. 8:50) “As long as the state has the power to enforce its tax laws, the people will need the government’s money. The currency will have value. People will work to sell things—goods and services—to the government in order to get government money. Whatever the government accepts in payment to itself becomes the ultimate, ‘definitive,’ money in the economy. It is the only way to settle a debt. You must use government money. We can imagine in any economy a hierarchy of money. But not all money is created equal. The most acceptable money sits at the top of the pyramid. Those are the IOUs that everyone accepts and everyone must accept. Those are the IOUs that are ultimately needed to pay our debts. Those are the government’s IOUs. The rest of us can go in debt, issue IOUs, but our debt is not as good as government debt. It’s not as acceptable. It can’t be used to pay for things.

(c. 10:25) “In the U.S., the hierarchy looks like this: The government’s IOU—the United States dollar—sits at the top of the pyramid. It is a fiat currency. The United States government is the monopoly issuer of the U.S. dollar—the only entity on the planet that can legally create the currency. The U.S. government taxes in dollars. It spends in dollars. And it controls its own currency. Why is this important? What are the benefits of issuing your own currency? They are extraordinary.

(c. 11:19) “The government, when it issues its own currency, and goes into debt in that currency can always pay its debt, can never go broke, can never run out of money. It can afford anything that is for sale in that currency. It doesn’t need to borrow its own currency. And it can set its own interest rate. It does not have to pay what markets want. It does not become a victim to speculation, to bond vigilantes. It has additional policy space. It can do things for its economy and for its people that a government that does not have a sovereign currency cannot do.

(c. 12:18) “Think about what the hierarchy would look like under a gold standard. Many governments operated under gold or silver or both for some period of time in our world history. Under a gold standard, the government promises to convert its currency into gold. In that situation, what sits at the top of the pyramid is not the state’s currency, but the gold reserves. This means that the government must be careful about how much it spends. If it spends too much of its own currency, it can jeopardise the entire system because it may not be able to convert currency into gold as promised. You have to limit your spending and limit what you do with your policies. Governments operating under a gold standard do not have sovereign currency.

(c. 13:24) “In a similar way, a country that fixes its exchange rate to another country’s currency the way Argentina and Russia and others have done do not issue a sovereign currency. They must be careful about how much they spend. They must defend the reserves. If you promise to convert your currency into another country’s currency, you might go broke. You can run out. How do you get the other country’s currency? It requires trade surpluses to earn the other country’s currency. You become dependent on the rest of the world and their economic wellbeing to sustain your own wellbeing. The hierarchy in a country that operates fixed exchange rates places someone else’s currency at the top. You also lose control of your interest rate—something that’s crucial to retain control of—if a country is going to have a sustainable debt and full employment.”

(c. 14:49) “The euro is not a fixed exchange rate system, but it’s not a sovereign currency either. It’s an exceptional case, an unprecedented experiment where the currency is divorced from the individual nations themselves. The euro is effectively a foreign currency to you. All 17 governments that use the euro are not issuers of the currency, but users of the currency. They lack the powers that a sovereign issuer has. Japan, the United States, the U.K., Canada, Australia, these are sovereign issuers. The euro is not a sovereign currency. Governments that adopted the euro must borrow the currency. They must pay whatever the bond markets require. They can run out of money. And they lack the policy space of a sovereign issuer.

(c. 16:09) “If you imagine the hierarchy for a member of the Eurozone, such as Italy, you see the relationship between the government and the currency is different. Italy does not issue the currency that it uses. It is an essential point—money matters. A sovereign government should be in control of the currency that sits at the top of its pyramid. If it gives up control of the sovereign currency, it also gives up the power to set reasonable policy in its own country. It hands over that power to the bond markets who, ultimately, decide how much can be spent—what can be done.

(c. 17:12) “Abba Lerner was an economist, a contemporary of John Maynard Keynes. He saw this very clearly. He said:

“‘By virtue of the power to create or destroy money by fiat and its power to take money away from people through taxation, [the State] is in a position to keep the rate of spending in the economy at the level required [for full employment].’

[-] 3 points by TheRoot (305) from New York, NY 2 years ago

Flip. I do not agree with your lady friend's premise that in simple form amounts to "It has always been this way so just accept it." She lost me at hello when she said money is an IOU. Money, mandated by law, fractionalized and controlled by central banks is not money; it is a sham.

[-] 0 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

Looks like we don't agree. Money is debt. I think you should look into that. Read graeber "debt the first 5000 years". I assume you know how money is created in our society. When you go to the store and buy your flat screen tv, pay for it with a credit card well bing-$2000 more in the system. This is a fact. Same with a car loan or mortgage. If you would like to know more let me know. You said nothing about slam and the confusion between money the symbol and real wealth. Hard to argue with what he says - or is it?

[-] 2 points by TheRoot (305) from New York, NY 2 years ago

Hi flip. "Money" is debt today; but it is more correct to say that Debt and only debt is used as a medium of exchange today. Why did you say that it has been that way for 5000 years? I'll look into Graeber as you say but FRB has perverted money and FRB is a rather recent invention on that 5000 year time scale.

As to Alan W., I haven't commented on him. You are right in noticing that. But I don't want to because he's not germane to the the issues of productivity in a division of labor society, why money was invented, how it was subverted and what to do about restoring it.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

That is the point of graebers book. Debt has been money for 5000 years as the title says. Coins and hard money were the result of war and dislocation. This history is important and not part of what we have been taught. We have been misled by the barter to money story. It is not true. Alan is on to something quite germane to one of the most pressing issues of today. Can we afford to pay for teachers and pensions and social security etc.

[-] 2 points by TheRoot (305) from New York, NY 2 years ago

I'll read his book and get back to you. hope it is to the point and verifiable.). Give me a few weeks?

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

it is long and round about. i would read a good review first.the basic story is that what we have been told is a lie. we did not start with barter and then move to a money system. even 5000 years ago people used debt and settled accounts at the end of the month or so. the other idea is that money is debt - i get something from you and give you an iou (could be a check or a $10 dollar bill or a napkin that says iou) and you take that and buy something from someone else and give them my iou. that is all i have time for but he documents it well but very long - not a breeze to read - for me anyway

[-] 1 points by TheRoot (305) from New York, NY 2 years ago

Well, your Review here is as good as I need. Iow, I got his thesis from you. Now, it is down the halls of academia to find the Book. When did you read it? Recently?

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

i think about three years ago maybe - really good and mind blowing about a number of things but not an easy read. the part about roman law and slavery was great - i thought. if you write back in two days and say you breezed through it i will be depressed

[-] 2 points by TheRoot (305) from New York, NY 2 years ago

No worries there because I haven't gotten the Book, yet. Library has it on Order because it is not in their system. But that's taking too long, so I am ordering it online.

[-] 0 points by StillModestCapitalist (343) 2 years ago

In spite of my absolute belief that you are a fiscal conservative masquerading as a disgruntled liberal, I will admit that everything you just entered makes sense within it's own context.

Here is the problem. We are stuck with economics. They aren't going anywhere. Money buys raw materials and labor. Anywhere you find a society. You will find money of some kind. The more you have, the more you can buy thereby concentrating the raw materials and labor necessary to prosper. This will remain true until our planet turns into a giant cupcake.

How do you suggest we slow down or reverse the horrible concentration of money? What about the richest 1% who currently own well over 40% of all financial wealth in America? How do you suggest we get 20% or so back for the lower majority?

[-] 6 points by agkaiser (1817) from Fredericksburg, TX 2 years ago

Instead of going into debt to finance our individual and common needs and thereby exacerbating the concentration of wealth with the interest, tax them, tax them, tax them and then tax them some more!

[-] 2 points by StillModestCapitalist (343) 2 years ago

Damn right. I'm with you 100%. But we don't have the authority to tax anyone. That is the job of our elected leaders. The best we can do is read, inform, protest, pressure, spend down, and VOTE. Even if that means voting for the lesser evil.

[-] 1 points by DNCheadquarters (69) 2 years ago

Your brilliant idea is to vote for evil.

And your crystal ball tells you that is a good idea?

We know you're a Democrat, but Nostradamus you're not.

[-] 2 points by StillModestCapitalist (343) 2 years ago

Better get to work on this page as well. Just keep in mind that you will make an utter fool of yourself (all of your IDs) as you mark down comments which have already been proven indisputably dead-on-balls-accurate.

http://occupywallst.org/forum/porter-stansberry-is-about-to-be-proven-dead-wrong/

[-] 2 points by agkaiser (1817) from Fredericksburg, TX 2 years ago

How did the human race survive for the first 1/4 million years before we had Wall St. Billionaires to finance our existence and bind us in their debt? Interest is the most onerous tax we pay to our Wall St. masters!

[-] 3 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

you can think what you want about me but i was radicalized in 1969 by the thought that they might send me to vietnam. i was a liberal dem as a 18 yr old - never again. have become more and more radical as i learned more over the years. we agree that wealth inequality is a big problem - there are others. all one need do is look back to the 60's and 70's to see how a more equitable society was achieved.i would start with the tax rates of eisenhower as i said before - then go back to the banking system of 1960. lots more to say but no time

[-] 3 points by StillModestCapitalist (343) 2 years ago

There you go again with your clever masquerade.

FDR, the most fiscally LIBERAL president in American history pushed for and enacted those higher taxes on the rich. MUCH higher than any of today or ANY period prior to his Presidency. He was the FIRST American President, to address the issue of wealth concentration and the ONLY American president to do so effectively.

But you just can't bring yourself to give any credit to FDR because that would risk driving a few liberals to the voting booth in opposition to their conservative counterparts.

So in your ongoing masquerade, part of your strategy to cut votes for liberal politicians, you mention Eisenhower, the REPUBLICAN while flat-out refusing to admit that he didn't enact those higher taxes on the rich.

He inherited them.

The credit goes to FDR. Not Eisenhower.

[-] 1 points by spinoza34 (400) 2 years ago

Expediently empathizing with the 99%, and then trying to faux-ly allign yourself with people of couragage is NOT the same as having either quality. Those qualities are NEVER found in people (like yourself) who are "pessimistic" and who insist that we vote for the "lesser evil" !! Didn't you know that? (No need to answer that, it's rhetorical...remember?)...lol

[-] 2 points by StillModestCapitalist (343) 2 years ago

I was busting my ass on this cause all over the web, talk radio, and the occasional street protest long before you showed up here as a fiscal conservative posing as no fewer than three disgruntled liberals.

DNCheadquarters, SerfingUSA, and spinoza 34 are one in the same. A few others may be as well.

Because of them at work with multiple IDs, I have lost 230 points and counting just within the last 72 hours.

I've been singled out because I want people to read, inform, protest, spend down, AND VOTE.

Otherwise, the greater evil will take office every single time.

Damn right we should vote.

[-] 0 points by spinoza34 (400) 2 years ago

Feel free to leave and sling your BS elsewhere.

[-] 0 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

what the fuck did i say bad about fdr - i like most of what he did - well not the whole st louis thing but i would vote for him today for sure. and you are right about obama not standing up to the rich - "i welcome their hatred" - i am sure you know that quote. now if some dem says that i will run to the polls! you do know eleanor was the real brains behind fdr - right? she was the real radical! go girl - if it annoys you that i think ww2 was the real cause of the end of the depression - too fucking bad.

[-] 1 points by StillModestCapitalist (343) 2 years ago

Eleanor was the real brains behind FDR? Well then, I guess those who felt the economy was better from 93-00 should vote for Hilary in 2016.

Or 'against' the opposition. Whichever they prefer.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

did you like nafta - and how about the end of welfare as we know it?? did you like big bill and the shameless way he and his family enriched themselves - did you? and how about those 500,000 dead iraqi children - did you like that. i will never vote for hillary - war mongering greedy bitch. never - godzilla could run against her i will not vote for that lesser of evils. you go ahead and tell me how that would be good for those you pretend to care about. then please tell me about the reserve currency - please - actually i will take any prediction as long as you tell me before it happens - not how smart you were after the fact. will thee sun come up tomorrow

[-] 3 points by StillModestCapitalist (343) 2 years ago

I'm for global trade but I think it's fucking stupid and environmentally immoral to waste energy importing what you can produce in your own country. I'm also against unnecessarily harming domestic livelihoods. I would like to see NAFTA renegotiated to minimize these harms.

The welfare system is often abused. It's common. I've seen it myself. We need reform. No argument there. But only if it's done in a way that won't cause poor and deindustrialized areas to suffer even more than they already have.

I'm undecided on the sanctions you refer to. I'm also not sure about those statistics. My guess is that they are high and not by accident but to keep Hillary out of office. Cite a report published prior to 2009 and I will read every word of it.

I hate the Clintons not only for their methods of personal wealth concentration but also for the sheer numbers. They are too rich. Period.

But Hillary is still the lesser evil when compared to Romney. That's for damn sure.

We're getting side-tracked a bit too far. I will defend myself and cite my record on occasion but I will not let you draw me into a long running debate in which I am the subject.

The US dollar will remain the world's most commonly held reserve currency for many years to come. Neither of us will live to see it fall.

http://therewillbenocollapseofusdollar.blogspot.com/

[-] 0 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

i am pretty sure you are wrong on the dollar. china, russia and others are already moving away from the dollar. i am older than you but pretty sure we will see the dollar take a big hit in the not too distant future. the coming shit storm will most likely be about oil and debt and financial bullshit again - resource scarcity will haunt your future and probably mine. welfare fraud come on - corporate welfare makes it look like a pea next to a mountain. i would have thought anyone so passionate about the working class would know that. picking on the poor - shame on you. so you like the wolf in sheeps clothing - i like the wolf - st least there is no mistaking what we are getting

[-] 2 points by StillModestCapitalist (343) 2 years ago

You really expect me to believe that you were referring to corporate welfare when you entered this; "and how about the end of welfare as we know it?"

Ok. I'll address your sudden and extremely suspicious clarification.

Damn right corporate welfare is a much greater expense and totally immoral when compared to welfare for the poor. Why don't you post a page addressing corporate welfare? If you don't, I'll do it for you.

Update: Try to be fair about it. We both know already that you're a fiscal conservative posing as a disgruntled liberal. You've been giving this away by complaining about Democrats in particular. So try to be fair if and when you post that page on corporate welfare. You can bet your ass I will be.

No, I wasn't picking on the poor. You should know better. I was picking on those who make no attempt to find work, those who trade welfare purchases for cigarette and beer money, and those who aren't poor but collect welfare anyway.

I have ZERO problem with those in legitimate need of aid. I don't care how many there are, how much aid they need, how long they need it for, or how much it costs. We need to provide that aid period. If they truly need it, they should get it.

There will always be fluctuations and occasional hits on the dollar. No argument there. But neither of us will live to see anything anywhere significant enough to threaten the world's most commonly held reserve currency.

The reports suggesting otherwise damn near always come from fiscal conservatives throwing hissy fits over liberal economic policies. They have always been wrong and they will remain wrong for a shit load of years to come.

[-] 0 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

picking on the poor and defending clinton for ending welfare as we know it. maybe you are too dumb to realize it but that is what you did. now you get 5 years - after that crawl under a rock and die. vote for those shits if you like - there is nobody worse - not bush not romney the are the worst. and sure do it for me - thanks

[-] 2 points by StillModestCapitalist (343) 2 years ago

Once again your careful strategy is made clear. You're a fiscal conservative posing as a disgruntled liberal in order to offset the influence of OWS on non-conservatives hoping to keep them home on election day.

This is why you and the others I refer to only complain about Democrats when making reference to government corruption.

I guess you'll be complaining a lot about Hillary between now and election day of 2016. Or whichever Democrat ends up running.

Yup. Transparency can be pretty transparent sometimes.

[-] 1 points by spinoza34 (400) 2 years ago

Yes, I understand your juvenile rants and your quirky logic a bit better now.

Let's see how your little mind works, 'Anyone who is not a voting Democrat must be a "conservative.' Did I get it? And you're whining about being voted down on an Occupy forum? And that's after daring them to do so...too.

Have you ever thought about becoming a comedian?

[-] 1 points by StillModestCapitalist (343) 2 years ago

That's not what I said. I'm not even a Democrat. I'm an independent who leans to the right on some issues, to the left on others, and way the hell out there on the rest. But I am hell-bent against conservative economic policies. At this point, more 'trickle down' would be suicide.

Unfortunately, more 'trickle down' is on the way thanks in part, to Russell Brand and others who succeeded in keeping millions of non-conservatives home on election day.

[-] -1 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

he is funny - in a sad sort of way

[-] 0 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

we post things critical of dems because there are too many (here and everywhere) who believe the dems will save us. some variation on the lesser evil theme. the republicans are so obviously crazy (the last 20 years or so anyway) that only real nut jobs think they will help our country out of it's current problems. i wonder if you are stupid or just purposefully twisting what people say. all those you attack say the same thing. it is not hillary or any democrat who ends up running . liz warren will get the vote of me and many here - so will bernie and hopefully others who might run. you have some splaining to do - purposeful or stupid - that is the question

[-] -1 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

you see so much. you see the future - you see into minds. you know things only gods and wizards can know. it must be a terrible burden. but really - putting eleanor and hillary in the same sentence - shame on you

[-] 0 points by StillModestCapitalist (343) 2 years ago

Next.

[-] 0 points by spinoza34 (400) 2 years ago

WOW, I could write much of your comment about me! Are you that clone I've been looking for? lol And are you here to make amends for your generation having fell asleep too?.... I knew I should have concentrated on what was REALLY going on in the World rather than worrying about keeping a roof over the kiddys' heads. You too?

I did do some math and deduction as well. Is it OK, if I call you old man?

[-] 0 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

hey youngster - you can call me what you want but if it is old man then i want you to recognize that i am wiser also!! otherwise maybe you could just call me grumpy like the grand kids do. i have no regrets about what i have done. not enough but i do not claim to be a saint or a savior. i have tied to educate myself and others - and to understand the most basic element of our political system - class. too many here and eveywhere do not get that concept - stuck n the democrat gop swindle. you are right about our generation - i am more disappointed in them than in our man in the white house. he had a chance to change the world and did not even try!

[-] 0 points by spinoza34 (400) 2 years ago

I don't have many regrets, but not being aware of the hurtful and twisted agenda that was REALLY going on, far sooner in my life is definitely one regret of mine.

Imagine that, it took a bunch of young people to have awakened many in our generation!

[-] 2 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

I think too many are still asleep. Too many sound like the old men of the 60's. I was reading Chomsky etc and trying to educate myself all through the carter and Reagan years and beyond. A long slow process for me much. more to learn reading Diane ravitch right now. She is on fire

[-] 0 points by spinoza34 (400) 2 years ago

You're right, too many peole are still asleep. I thought that I had educated myself too during my earlier years. Where I went wrong was, I unfortunately listened to and believed much of what the MSM said.. And I am not proud of that now...

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

no need for that beating up shit - that is smc argument with russel brand -kind of? anyway you are running away from me now with your activism. you go girl - ah boy - youngster

[-] 0 points by spinoza34 (400) 2 years ago

Thanks...

[-] 0 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

You are the only one I know who is actually doing something. There may be others here who are doing but I do not know about them. Most of us here are just blowhards. Including me - sit on the couch and pontificate!

[-] 0 points by StillModestCapitalist (343) 2 years ago

What a charade.

[-] 1 points by StillModestCapitalist (343) 2 years ago

How would that prevent corporations from lobbying the government for huge tax breaks, subsidies, 'no bid' government contracts, perks, and other conservative economic policies? How would it prevent corporations and celebrities from extracting dollars directly from their idiot fans? How would it prevent the energy, finance, and healthcare industries from overcharging their customers horribly for services? How would it prevent jobs and revenue from being stolen from long established industrial areas and transferred to rural areas developed unnecessarily? How would it prevent foreign labor outsourcing for pennies on the dollar?

Are you suggesting that we have one dollar of actual currency in circulation for each dollar of value? If so, how do you propose it be done? Should tens of trillions of dollars be printed or should tens of trillions worth of value be cut from the assets of American citizens and corporations? If the dollars are printed, who should receive them? How would you prevent them from being concentrated to heavily? If the value is cut, then where? How? What about the global economy? What about the IMF and the monetary policies of other countries?

[-] 4 points by donOld (134) 2 years ago

This 4.5 minute clip from Richard Wolff's "Capitalism Hits The Fan" explains why income inequality has been increasing so quickly. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8ZH1ejtIFo

[-] 3 points by elf3 (3721) 2 years ago

Yep...I feel we need to begin boycotts. Shame does affects sales. I used to like Starbucks as a guilty pleasure...would on occasion treat myself to a giant sugar fluffly super latte ...if I was having a bad day. When the cost failed to deter me...now I can't knowing they are fighting the Vermont gmo label laws. I can't do it. My conscience has more will power than my taste buds and even my caffeine receptors. It is a powerful thing. Occupy needs to tap into that. Boycotts will force change. Noone wants to be the sell out who can't control their will power when corporations are controlling such things. Lets call this Reverse Marketing!!!! Only the uncool need to look cool. Vanity is lame in 2014...! Shopping is shallow! Occupy the markets- Boycott!!!

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33165) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Early word out today - black Friday shopping down 5% over last year's - spending down 11%.

[-] 3 points by spinoza34 (400) 2 years ago

Thanks, that is promising news if the downturn in shopping and sales was by choice, and not because people just don't have the money.

I know some Occupiers whose message was fairly clear at the protests that they took part in last week. It was aimed to a large degree at raising the awareness of shoppers, so the question basically was; What's more important? Shopping...or.....respect for people, and the downward slide that our country is in? One shopper who was interviewed took a real keen notice of the demonstration, and she seemed empathetic to the theme of it. And I don't think that she was an abberation either.

I applaud all the "altruistic" protesters out there, and the posters here who are working hard towards boycotting frivilous spending while our country, and its people are in such dire straits. We have been purposely diverted from focusing, and dealing with our real problems, and it is very promising that people are waking up to that reality.

Nothiing speaks louder than money, or the lack of it. We should know that....

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33165) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

that is promising news if the downturn in shopping and sales was by choice, and not because people just don't have the money.

Well there were some protests - and not just in Ferguson - that may have dampened some shopping spirit.

The thing "is" it likely is more to do with people having no money to shop with. But protests are up this year - like the wallfart protests.

The no money no shopping puts the lie to the claims of the recession being over and economic recovery happening and all.

[-] 1 points by spinoza34 (400) 2 years ago

"But protests are up this year..."

My honest observation, which is shared by activists that I know, and perhaps proven by your above statement is; People are are starting to wake up.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33165) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Takes awhile - a few years ago I was the one to bring up such topics at family get togethers - not this year - as others were talking about it 1st.

It takes time and it takes someone to talk about things to initiate some awareness.

Once someone starts to look around they may not be able to stop.

[-] 2 points by spinoza34 (400) 2 years ago

Yes, "Tak[ing] a while" is what makes this f..ing thing frustrating at times, however it gives many people the chance to do things like hone their skills, build new ones, and reach-out, organize and resist.

I don't know anyone who was active in Occupy, then just left and forgot about it. Most people know that their is too much at stake, and the consequences are too dire to take that route. Instead I think most people who had awakened are just simmering, and know that it is only a matter of time before they re-engage either in Occupy, or a like-minded group.

I asked one young activist who I kinda knew (and I kinda already knew the answer to too), I said, "Are you in Occupy?" She smiled at me, kinda like I was a bit daft (lol), and said, ""Occupy will always be my home." She then went on to give me a litany of social and economic groups that she was involved with. When she had finished (maybe?...lol). I said, "So you're a mut then." She smiled at me again, and we both laughed.

IMO that true story exemplifies the determination, and the coalescing of kindred groups, and it is a micrcosm as to what has been going on.....on a much, much larger scale. And that's cool.

In any event, The cat will never be going back in the bottle. That's for sure...

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33165) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

The cat is out of the bag and running for it's life.

OWS started out as a response to massive criminal actions/practices of wall street.

Occupy has since morphed - as wall street has only ever been just the tip of the iceberg.

Now all kinds of social action groups have formed as well as older ones having new life breathed into them.

Further - their is new networking going on between groups ( note the turn out for the climate march) and this networking has gotten more people together sharing and educating.

It takes time ( and yes that is so frustrating ) - but sooner or later cause will produce effect. Cause being all that is being done that is plain insanity besides being criminal murderous and extremely toxic. Effect being the growing protests and the growing awareness that things can not stay as they are - and it is more than obvious - especially after these last 6 years that our current government is not doing the job that it was created to do.

[-] 1 points by spinoza34 (400) 2 years ago

Good summation. I think people also realize how Wall St's corrupt practices are polluting our society, and their days of being the overlords of our country are nearing an end, with our help.

And when people who want justice are resisted, and viewed as radicals, by a criminal system, we know we're right.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33165) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

One knows that TPTB are sweating when they have their talking heads on lame stream TV start to spew how this is gonna be the biggest black Friday sales success ever a couple of weeks in advance of black Friday and then the early news is that black Friday was more dismal this year than it was last year and last year was horrendously bad for retail sales.

Reality is starting to make a definite and undeniable appearance that no PR BS can hide.

[-] 1 points by spinoza34 (400) 2 years ago

The way that I see it is that TPTB, and the brutal economics that they pushed ...knew that they could not succeed without taking control of the MSM, and have them twist the news that we hear so that it is advantageous for their agenda. We were forewarned by some of our founders about the importance of having an independent press. We didn't listen, because we were busy watching Leave It To Beaver, and now the reality shows.

'After' that, or maybe 'during' that time, all that was needed was a duopoly-like political system....and bingo!..here we are.

That's it in a nutshell, albeit admittedly very simplistic.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33165) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Not really simplistic - just think of the decades of maneuvering to get around the law against monopolies to get around the FCC and truth in adverting to follow on and get past oversight and laws against yellow journalism to get past conspiracy and collusion. There has been a shit load of subverting the legal process to end up where we are today = corp(se)oRATocracy.

[-] 0 points by spinoza34 (400) 2 years ago

My version of it was "simplistic"

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33165) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Well it is basically simple actions - what makes it seem complicated is the volume of these simple actions - plus all of the smoke screening propaganda.

[-] 3 points by larryathome (161) from Red Bank, NJ 2 years ago

Fabulous representation. I could not have said it any better myself. Sensata was a perfect example of this type of representation. It was quite amazing how they posted record profits immediately before all the jobs were shipped to China. Here is the secret culprit... Bain Capital and sadly, one of our two major party Presidential nominees was a pioneer of this business practice.

Sadly enough however is the fact that Obama who is supposed to be progressive is pushing the Trans Pacific Partnership. I hope that Bernie Sanders and any other progressive in the Senate has enough sense to use the filibuster to block this disaster. There are only a few true demand side liberals that I would support, but it still does not matter of Congress is bought and paid for by these same special interests. I hope America gets a grip and focuses on why ALL these problems happen in the first place and that is thye extreme money in our political system,. Anyone living in a state with a close Senate race or anyone in Ohio in a Presidential year probably feels that they would desire to toss their tv out the friggen window. The money in politics is at the root. Without the money, deregulation may never have happened.

[-] 3 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

right on - legalized bribery

[-] 2 points by donOld (134) 2 years ago

Here's an example from Canada that shows how much average workers should be making...

"The examples below use Canadian data from Statistics Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency, but the same simple logic and arithmetic can be applied to any economy in the world.

In 2012, Canada's Gross Domestic Product (or GDP) was $1,819,967 million dollars (or just over $1.8 trillion dollars). GDP measures the total net value of all goods and services produced in Canada. The total number of hours worked in 2012, including both full-time and part-time work, was 33,416 million hours.

If you divide the GDP figure by the number of hours worked you get an average hour value of $54.46. So an average hour of work generated $54.46 in GDP. Remember this number. It is a useful benchmark.

How much of that $54.46 per hour were you paid in 2012? Minimum wage workers got only 18.8% of it. If you worked 40 hours a week for 52 weeks in 2012, you should have earned $113,286. But according to Revenue Canada, 94% of Canadians make less than that each year. So where does the true value of our labour go?

You guessed it, into corporate and government assets, into business empires of office and bank towers, apartments and shopping malls, into machinery and equipment, corporate jets and the outrageous lifestyles of the overpaid. All of this wealth was generated by average workers, but only a small percentage of it will ever belong to them." (from http://www.financialParty.ca/income.htm )

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 2 years ago

i have a t shirt that says "labor creates all wealth"

[-] 1 points by Crackpot (53) 2 years ago

The discussion over $15/br minimum wage is gaining traction.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENdQpuUIsKM&list=PLTOegK5LOKEoB_hzDNR1onASCaphikpI1

The US needs a Congress that introduce minimum wage formula indexed to the salary of the CEO.

[-] 1 points by pigeonlady (284) from Brooklyn, NY 2 years ago

Holy s, you're doing a Leo, this is long. Not to pick nits, but there has NEVER been equality here, where were you?

Let's think. Has there ever been equality for all persons of --

every race and ethnicity?

every religion?

every financial bracket?

every gender and genderal variant?

So how can it decline from what it wasn't?

Not to be flip. (bah dum BUMP)