Friday, April 10, 2009

Populist Anger-Talking back to the WSJ

In response to a WSJ article: Populist Anger Is Hard to Contain, By SUZANNE GARMENT

Suzanne Garment leads us to think that Populist anger is a dangerous irrational public reaction, which must be controlled; asserting that “the president’s job is not to express populist anger, but to address the anger and talk sense to it.”
She also compares the modern anger with the post-Civil War populism that disenfranchised African-Americans in the South.
One important difference: without the communications channels of today, masses could only be stirred up by clever orators and agitator, and behaved irrationally by the emotions awakened by their leaders. Although this is still possible in our day, through today’s Internet, the anger is a reaction of the individual, who without consultation writes to his representatives and blogs the reason for his upset.
The populism caused the Jim Crow laws is an indictment on the legislators, who instead of explaining why certain aspects of the law were not acceptable and would violate civil rights, were actually in support of them.
When we look at history, we can’t be sure what parts of populist grievances were valid and which were not. But when we look at today’s recent history, we have a) clear reasons for the heavy traffic to representatives, and public officials, addressing real issues, and b) The reason for our anger, which is the target of Suzanne’s article.
A primordial human trait is the assertion of its existence through communications which is heard, understood, and responded to with logical information and logical action. Such failures always and invariable escalate into violence, unless they are quashed, to smolder over endless time when it will resurface. When gentle and polite words aren’t heeded, it is followed by a gradual emphasis of voice tone and volume. At some point anger ensues, and eventually words become fists, weapons, and bullets.
In our time this anger is particularly dangerous not because it’s irrational, but because it’s exacerbated by betrayal: the betrayal of the promise of hope, of participation, of openness, reversing the damaging trends of the past that brought Obama into power. But all we got so far is window-dressing; the administration will hear no other voices than from their inner circle. There are plenty examples of this, all the way back to Obama’s back-pedaling on FISA, and allowing immunity to Telco’s, because the overall legislation was vital!!! Poppycock!
People believed (and many still do—wishful thinking) that Obama would be a real change, which renders makes it a betrayal, not just a McCain or Bush “business as usual,” as that would have been expected. With Obama, real change was expected. But day after day we see the predominant direction a newly clothed variation of what has gone before for a half a century. For many, the last hope has been shattered.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Don't Fight the Fed. Please-Comment to Forbes

Forbes Magazine has an article defending the Fed:
Don't Fight The Fed!

The Federal Reserve already has more independence than it is able to take responsibility for. It has consistently failed the general public in its dual mandates. Inflations always benefit the upper 5% of the folks who control the money; and, second, there has not been full employment since the Fed’s inception. The Fed is 17th Century irrigation system, with limited pumping stations or power, trying to manage a complex navigation system, with huge reservoirs, locks, gates, and myriad of channels, with billions of boats that need to be kept afloat. The Fed can’t do it; it has not done it adequately; and unless subjected to radical changes, it will never do it. It should be able to control the flow in every segment of the system, but the only tool it has is macro-economics, which is far from scientific, and at best, educated guess-work based on statistical and historical past, all of which perpetuates the trickle down system. There is no real-time action available to respond to irregularities in the system with the speed necessary to manage them. As you read modern financial papers and analyses, you can observe, just as in this article, that nearly all statements by economists and their supporters are couched in conditional words, such as might, could, maybe, and so on. That’s the nature of a trial and error system.
The tools at the Fed’s disposal are always detrimental to the rank and file and the real economy: where the wealth is created with labor and intelligence. They are also always beneficial to the financial markets and the financial institutions wherefrom the Fed’s leaders are always recruited. Forcing taxpayers to soak up the financial community’s toxic assets isn’t the only penalty to the population; but to continue to pay these folks huge bonuses, and transferring the country’s wealth to it, with the nod of the Fed, President, and Treasury, will not be forgotten or ignored by the population. Control of money creation, and distribution by the elite, is a little talked about reason for the American Revolution. The act of mucking around with people’s productive capacity and keep reducing isn’t something that people will let pass, like they tolerate many other insanities by rulers and leaders.
The creation of money, credit, and any form of purchasing power begins with human labor and intelligence applied to resources, and is therefore subject to the will of the folks in the real economy. These posts should be elective posts, with strict academic, experience, and good sense requirements, and have a mix of as many divergent views as are in the society at large. All necessary should be done to prevent these posts from susceptibility to the influence or control by special interest groups. They should also be mandated to act for the general benefit of the society, with equitable wealth distribution, no poverty, and no hunger. It can be done; and the criteria to budgets would be dependent on whether we have the human and natural resources to fulfill a social need, and NOT whether the financial community will deign to “lend us the money.”
Economists and other professionals don’t help much when they glibly spout the same sterile theories they learned with the MBA’s, within the same narrow envelop taught there, with no viable innovations and solutions.
Take a simple one: If the Fed has the responsibility for employment, why hasn’t it the power or the initiative to take direct action, and pumps instead huge sums of money into financial institutions in the hope they will start lending? The concept of maintaining a growth of money at a rate of growth of the real economy is a no-brainer: The Fed should issue a bulletin to the nation calling for programs companies and individuals for which funding is required, and for which people will be necessary and hired, and choose as many as necessary to employ the entire unemployed population in a matter of months. The money wouldn’t be loaned: if the funding was proven productive, and added wealth to the society, the money need not be repaid. If no product (wealth) was added to the system, it has to be repaid by either the borrowers of taken out of the system; otherwise, money in circulation not matched by real wealth is inflation.
Of course, this would trigger or require other modifications, such as it would have do away with the need to recycle the same money through the Modern Money Mechanics multiplier, and banks wouldn’t need to exist except as a bookkeeping system, and provide rudimentary banking services. Products would be monetized on almost 1 for 1. Of course, this would require a way to monitor the velocity of money, and a quick method of freezing portions of it for short periods of time, such as one who is managing a water system for a city, can shut off or open any valve anywhere in the system as the needs of the system require it.
The author if “Don’t Fight The Fred. Please,” says the “warning shots may have already been fired,” with a Senate nonbinding resolutions calling for, among other things, more disclosure from the Fed about institutions to whom it lends. What a novel idea to make the public aware of what financial institutions do with the public’s money!
It will take time to reform or get rid of the Fed, if it were to happen at all. But the Fed has been shoved down our collective throats, so we needn’t either love or defend it.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Define the Crisis

The word crisis is quite convenient for writers and politicians because each listener has his own version of what "The Crisis" is. The Asian news agencies like to use the term, "Financial Tsunami," which colorful as the term is, clarifies absolutely nothing.

Some say it's a financial crisis, and refer to the difficulties that the financial community is undergoing, more specifically, they don't have enough money-liquidity-purchasing power to carry on business as they had done prior to the housing bubble burst. In the routine parlance of financial analysts, it would have been called a "correction." To most people the meaning of "correction" has no precision, and only suggests that things weren't going as expected, so the "force of the market" made things go suddenly in the opposite direction for a short period of time. I like to compare it to a fountain that uses a pump to take water up, and deposit it in such a way that gravity will cause it to go down. But the financial markets are more complex. There is water is being churned and added to the fountain by unknown operators, and while the pump is working, everything appears normal... until the pump fails, then, all the extra bubbles and water drain off the borders of the pool.

The financial crisis within the financial community is a subjective definition based on the there not being the level of activity they would like to continue to amass their huge bonuses and extraordinary profits, which themselves are not consistent with the real economy of labor and production.

The notion that all financing and purchasing power can only be generated by the financial community's behind their wizardry curtain of smoke and mirrors, seems to have become a dogma of modern economics, as the sine qua non of life on earth. Few consider changing the system because few understand how corrupt it is, or fear the unknown of what would happen if all banking failed.

The obvious answer is that governments would then be free to establish other methods of money distribution and credit generation, and the real economy of labor and production, upon which the financial markets depend, will end up at the helm of finance, and the financial community would simply become a supporting role to the real economy, than rule the world, as it now does.

The real crisis is that government hasn't the courage to do the exact actions necessary to restore employment and production bypassing the financial community. The real crisis is people hungry, with little resources to plan a future. Those in the financial community even in those organizations that are failing and have had to accept TARP are still driven around in limousines, and dine in expensive restaurants, and enjoy their home swimming pools and saunas. All that's missing for them is the public's money so they have something to do during the day when they go to their trading desks or management desks.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Free Dialog

For everyone who wants to post, and share... free flow of ideas...