Sorry I couldn't be there last Wednesday, but have a few comments to
make on the topic chosen. . .
On 5/20/12, Jon Anderson <[address removed]> wrote:
> 5/16/12 questions and discussion
> 1-if success trumps happiness, what is happiness for?3
> 2-is one born homosexual?4
> 3-should love be experienced as a deep well or a wading pool?6
> 4-did we treat our Vietnam vets poorly?3
> 5-is it moral to have sex with a duck? 5
> how do we stop this recession dead in its tracks?
> Tor: lately our world's best economists got together and talked for 3 days
> about ways to solve current economic troubles. Their recommendation: read
> old economics books -- everything economic has happened before, so use
> history to decide how to proceed with present difficulties. Cutting either
> government or private sector money creates a downward spiral into economic
> depression. Irving Fischer in 1936 said in economic deflation the more you
> save the more you will be in debt. If we spend now what we did in 08 our
> economy would be healthier. The simplest way to boost economies has always
> been to increase demand. It may be Keynesian, it is definitely not
> austerity-based. I'm against stupidity. Keynes -- probably tongue in cheek
> -- said we could drop money from helicopters or hide it in coal mines,
> challenging people to find it themselves. Just get money moving/out there.
> Economic health can be restored by 1) printing money, 2) adding to
> productivity (human beings foremost), 3) we currently have projects that we
> know will bring goods to market and put people to work. W.W.II gave the US
> economy 22% growth (average is 3%). This paid for the GI bill which created
> the middle class. This paid for the Marshall plan, which saved Europe.It
> paid for the interstate highway system. All this generated economic growth.
> Jon: what's your guess as to why we're not doing these things now?
> Tor: the partisan rhetoric about "job killing taxes" is getting traction and
> is insane. What is "job killing" is not using tax revenues to spur the
> economy. It wasn't a partisan issue in Minnesota until 2000. the problem is
> lack of demand.
> Art: why are we doing that?
> Tor: we are acting in their own self interest to our own harm: folks say
> "lower my taxes" and increase the risk for everyone else. It's selfishness
> run riot, plus the ability to buy political outcomes.
"We" is an inappropriate word when talking about the actions of the US
government. The US is fundamentally a plutocracy so we (the people)
have no control over the system. Only corporate boards, PACs, and
private wealthy individuals do. Therefore, the appropriate word to
use here is "They."
And in plutocracies, taxes are ALWAYS bad since whatever tax monies
are collected will largely be wasted on projects favored by those that
control the government (and/or be dumped directly into their pockets
via subsidies, grants, loans, bailouts, etc.). And those projects may
not necessarily result in greater lower/middle class employment.
And the US is second to none when it comes to that. Each year,
hundreds of billions of dollars are sucked out of the economy to pay
for useless military spending, foreign wars, and/or to sponsor foreign
or organizations or regimes w/questionable motives. This happens
because Lockheed and individuals involved with those other regimes
have acquired a large ownership stake in Congress.
And even when tax monies are claimed by pols to be targeted toward
"stimulus" spending, the money is ALWAYS spent inefficiently,
w/cronyism compromising the bidding for various projects, and other
special interests sucking out large shares of that money. Private
individuals interested in improving their own communities could've
spent the money allocated for the Obama stimulus program far more
Furthermore, the American pols who cry about "job killing taxes" DO
NOT actually mean it. "Job killing taxes" is just a sound bite to get
gullible, kiddie-brained conservatives to vote for them. The GOP pols
who are fond of saying it certainly DO NOT want to cut taxes, because
their wealthy sponsors only benefit from taxes; they just want to
lower the tax burden for THOSE sponsors.
Also, one can't compare Europe and/or Canada to the US when it comes
to taxes. Western European countries and Canada are still somewhat
democratic (though that's quickly changing) whereas the US is a pure
plutocracy. In the US, federal pols have no incentive to ensure that
taxpayer dollars aren't wasted since none of those pols actually WORKS
for the public.
The best remedy for the economy, then, is to ensure that money doesn't
get SUCKED OUT OF IT from taxation--money stolen from others by the
rich to pay for stuff they want. And there is unfortunately no legal
solution to that problem. But that shouldn't stop anyone from
pursuing it. In the near future, the only true leaders will be law
> Art: we've known this problem since 1880. We don't need a war to boost our
> economy we just need an "all-in" mind set. Remember Kennedy's man on the
> moon goal? We need that kind of big goal thinking again. It gets money
> moving, gets it out of the hands of the few, generates invention, creates
> jobs. This reaffirms Tor's opinion. Letting corporations act like people is
> a big mistake: corporations are not people, they are both immortal and
> amoral. Profit is their only interest, this is not human.
> Tor: people understand this. Research and development and innovation are
> very important. One of the best sources for good R & D is the proper use of
> tax revenues. The top tax rate during Eisenhower's administration was 90%
> Imagine how much innovation and economic energy we could generate with even
> half that revenue!
> Art: the problem is we've been taken over by non-humans.
> Danny: conservative happens when one has something to conserve. In a
> capitalist society, everybody needs something to trade. Trickle down
> philosophy takes away from the capitalist spirit. Giving money to
> corporations won't go to saving an economy but will instead go to increasing
> profit. Rich people save and poor people spend. Giving more money to the
> rich leads to saving, giving money to the poor leads to spending.
> Tor: in 1946 income distribution in the US was relatively even. by 1968 we
> were comparable to Scandinavia in terms of living standards, thereafter it
> changed dramatically. Now we're comparable to Uganda.
> Larry: the conservative idea of fairness is everything is proportional: what
> you put in you get out. The Liberal idea is about equality.
> Tor: if we don't understand how self-interest works we will be at the mercy
> of self-interest run riot.
> Larry: it's financial security. Everybody wants that. The political right
> doesn't want to give up anything: the poor deserve their poverty. The
> Germans are pushing for austerity, will it work?
> Tor: no.
> John: this is a fascinating subject. Politics get ugly. One danger here is
> getting too complicated. So far we've talked about war as a stimulus to
> economy. Isn't that a "broken window fallacy?"
> Art: the idea there is not a need to go to war but instead to develop a
> national mindset commitment to doing (and paying for) the research to find
> new things, create new goals, big goals.
> Tor: the issue is political economy because the two are currently
> John: I understand that for some fields of research only government can
> afford to bankroll very risky technologies that have minimal guarantees of
> being profitable.
> Bet: doesn't that get the money moving?
> John: the question is what gets the money moving? If I shop for something
> how do I choose? Self-interest means we want stuff for less. Self-interest
> can result in mass cultural movements, like war support. But we're not there
> Tor: all people's basic self interests are guaranteed education, then
> guaranteed health care.
> Beth: the main thing, what ever the motivation, needs to be getting money
> moving. People are scared and the ones with most of the money now are afraid
> to risk spending it.
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