Democrats & Liberals Archives

Invest, Don't Bail Out

We’re in the midst of a depressing depression brought about for the most part by financial people seducing poor people into home mortgages they could not afford and by making wild and risky investments that nobody understands. Now the government is bailing them out with trillions of dollars of taxpayer money. We’re throwing all this money at them with no return.

"Too big to fail." This is the mantra repeated whenever a new bailout is announced. The last financial organization to be bailed out (so far) is the ever-present monster called Citicorp. Anything remotely related to money, it deals with - and its officers collect vast incomes. More money than a normal person can spend.

Why is Citicorp "too big to fail"? Because it is so huge that whatever happens to it has a multiplying effect on many sectors of our economy. At least this is what most economists say. Why do we not rephrase this idea: Citicorp is so huge that when it screws its many customers it makes the economy fail.

Being too big is the problem. So to solve it you do not bail them out and encourage banks to merge so they become bigger banks. No, we must do the opposite: break up Citicorp and other corporate behemoths so there are no corporations that are "too big to fail." This will have the additional effect of weakening monopolies, thereby strengthening our free market system.

How do we do this? We do not distribute money to banks who will then do as they please. We do not bail out, we invest. Since we give money we have a right to make decisions. One of our biggest decisions should be that the company break up into smaller corporations. Even the smaller units may be too big, but at least, we'll be on the right track.

We must encourage the growth of small community banks. They are the ones who will use any help they get for the benefit of homeowners and small businesspeople.

The auto companies also have extended their hands for a bailout. They feel that if you bail out financial companies you can also bail out the biggest manufacturing industry in the U.S. What I said about financial outfits applies to manufacturing outfits. Congress has told the auto company CEOs to come back with a plan.

This is not good enough. If the U.S. invests in the auto companies it has a right to formulate the plan.
Personally, I would like to see a plan for the production of fuel-efficient and renewable-energy-using cars.

No bailouts. Let's invest in the elements of growth leading to a new improved economy.

Posted by Paul Siegel at November 26, 2008 8:12 PM
Comments
Comment #271034

While I don’t agree were in the midst of a depession, we are quickly tumbling towards one. It seems to me there is some understanding of that. We’ve been slow to respond, however, and unfocused. We got the king of incompetence at the helm, with too much civility to do the right thing and kick him to the curb. It’s hard to evaluate, if we’ve gone beyond the tipping point yet.

I agree with your ideas as long term corrections.

Posted by: googlumpugus at November 26, 2008 9:21 PM
Comment #271040

‘Long Term Solutions’ have to start sometime, and there’s no time like the present. It might be smarter and serve the economy better to forgo ‘Short Term Solutions’ in favor of the longer ones. Band Aids sometimes keep a wound from becoming infected, and sometimes cause the infection…perhaps by forgoing short term solutions, and jumping right into what will help down the road, the short term failures and hurts won’t last as long or do as much permanent damage.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 27, 2008 4:06 AM
Comment #271044

While I agree that now is the time to get to work and to invest in companies with solid business models, I disagree with your premise that bad loans to POOR people created this mess. Look at the numbers and I think you’ll find that on the whole the majority of bad loans and poor decisions were made by people who would be considered MIDDLE CLASS.

I live in a town where the popululation has one of the highest per capita rates of poor in the nation. Our city has not been hit as hard as areas of the country where the housing market really boomed (we missed out on that ‘benefit’.) Young, educated, employed professionals bought more house than they could afford on crazy terms thinking that the equity would continue to sky rocket and they would be able to pay off the house from their future salary increase or sell it for a huge profit by the time the balloon note came due.

Laying the blame on ACORN, the poor, the CRI, exposes one’s lack of information or some prejudiced view. The numbers don’t support the claim. For all you Fox News addicts out there, the CRI applied only to banks not newly created mortgage giants such as Countrywide, accounted for very small percentage of loans in general, ACORN decried the predatory loans, balloon payments, interest only loans, etc. because they HURT THE POOR. The bulk of bad loans were issued FAR AND AWAY by the non-bank mortgage lenders who introduced these crazy loan terms.

Git yer facts straight ya’ll.

Now back to your regularly scheduled thread topic.

Posted by: LibRick at November 27, 2008 9:44 AM
Comment #271047

marysdude wrote; “It might be smarter and serve the economy better to forgo ‘Short Term Solutions’ in favor of the longer ones.”

While I would agree with your premise I don’t understand how this strategy fits with the campaign promises made by Barack and company. Most of his speeches included immediate change…tax breaks for the middle class and tax rebates to those who pay no taxes. Barack called for an immediate end to the war in Iraq with the “peace” dividend being used for immediate creation of 2.5 million “green” jobs. Among his other promises was a huge new federal entitlement program granting health care to all.

Perhaps I misunderstood these promises but all of those I listed were among those he considered of highest immediate priority.

My question then marysdude; what short-term solution promises are you suggesting should not be kept?

Posted by: Jim M at November 27, 2008 12:32 PM
Comment #271052

Jim M,

I can’t speak for President Elect Obama, but, I’m sure that with the advisers he’s hired, he will put forth a good plan.

Since I am not the President Elect, I can conjure several plans. One of those is:

AIG and Citi-Group and perhaps others, are deemed to big to fail, or they will bring down our (and perhaps the world) economy. The Big Three auto manufacturers are also deemed by some to have the same consequence. If we have allowed these corporations to grow to this extent, they have become a cancer…it is not advisable to feed most cancers…ultimately we will have to face it anyway, perhaps if we quit feeding them, excise them and concentrate on those parts of the economy that rescue might work, and begin our search for replacement energy, short term suffering may be harsh, but short, while recovery in the long term might be less painful, and more effective.

Perhaps, like life itself, there are more ways than one to approach it. I trust Obama to select one that helps the most and hurts the least.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 27, 2008 2:25 PM
Comment #271054

And, by the way…happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by: Marysdude at November 27, 2008 2:43 PM
Comment #271057


Just as our path is taking us to a more centralized, more intrusive government, so to is our economic path leading to a more centralized, less competitive, corporate controlled economy.

The two make a great couple, don’t you think?

Posted by: jlw at November 27, 2008 3:03 PM
Comment #271061

Backatcha dude, and everyone else………
Happy Thanksgiving !!!!

Posted by: janedoe at November 27, 2008 3:37 PM
Comment #271062

Life is dreary…let’s just lay down and die…there is no hope, where’s the kool-ade?..Obama hasn’t chosen his team well, drive me off the cliff…the President Elect is no better than Cheney/Bush, and will let us down, so shoot me.

Oh, you mean he hasn’t taken office yet? Hold the Kool-ade…holster that hogleg…hit the breaks…help me up please.

Change is in attitude. Obama says change, so I’ll depend on him to help instill a different attitude. That will be enough for now. And will be a new beginning for America.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 27, 2008 3:42 PM
Comment #271063

“I trust Obama to select one that helps the most and hurts the least.” Posted by: Marysdude at November 27, 2008 02:25 PM

That may work for you marysdude, but for me Mr. Obama will have to earn my trust with deeds and actions. Winning an election is much easier than governing effectively as we have learned from our long history as a country.

I was against government bailouts from the very beginning and believe we could have spent the billions much more wisely. Now, one can only speculate as to what would have happened if government had stayed the hell out of their Big Brother role. With very few exceptions, when governments intervene in the private sector to determine winners and losers the result is usually to makes things worse.

Markets work because they are the result of the decisions of millions of participants making their individual choices. From where does government draw its expertise and wisdom that is superior to each individual American making their collective market selections?

Posted by: Jim M at November 27, 2008 3:47 PM
Comment #271064

You too, janedoe…

Posted by: Marysdude at November 27, 2008 3:48 PM
Comment #271065

Jim M,

Our economic system did not fail because of government interference…it failed because of rampant greed, and little or no oversight. If you think the future holds more of the same, I hope you are wrong.

Deliberately building periodic failure into an economic system seems wasteful, harmful and stupid. Letting ‘business’ free to do this every so many years is even cruel to those who can’t participate. We can do better.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 27, 2008 3:54 PM
Comment #271066

marysdude, I wrote; “With very few exceptions, when governments intervene in the private sector to determine winners and losers the result is usually to makes things worse.

Markets work because they are the result of the decisions of millions of participants making their individual choices. From where does government draw its expertise and wisdom that is superior to each individual American making their collective market selections?”

Do you disagree with this statement, or something else? My basic premise is that it should be the choices made by all American’s acting collectively thru their market choices and pocketbook that determines winners and losers…not some government bureaucrat.

Posted by: Jim M at November 27, 2008 4:14 PM
Comment #271071

Apples & Oranges…

Posted by: Marysdude at November 27, 2008 6:53 PM
Comment #271079

It is not ‘millions’ of Americans making decisions regarding their futures, it is corpocracy (a handful of very greedy men) who is making those decisions. Those very greedy, powerful, unscrupulous men require some tiny bit of supervision, because they act as though the sand-box belongs to them. Those ‘millions’ were wrong to allow that corpocracy to form…it is now time to help the ‘millions’ make better decisions.

There once was a saying, ‘twenty million Frenchmen can’t be wrong’. It wasn’t true about them and it is certainly not true about the ‘millions’ of Americans you speak of. ‘Millions’ of lazy, ignorant investors, do not a livable playground make.

If you were designing a financial system, would you design it wherein mega-institutions could buy bundles of bad debt without knowing the value of the purchase, and just making up figures to suit their needs?..and, would you allow an insurance giant to insure those bundles without a reserve fund to cover it as a precaution against failure? If you would, you are one of those ‘millions’ you speak of.

Your vaunted unsupervised, unregulated ‘free-market’…failed. It was bolstered up by those ‘millions’ of ignorant, lazy folks. Someone should have been spanking some butt.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 28, 2008 5:09 AM
Comment #271087

marysdude wrote; “Those ‘millions’ were wrong to allow that corpocracy to form…it is now time to help the ‘millions’ make better decisions.”

Wow, what a statement. I wonder just who marysdude is referring to as the one who is going to help the American public make better decisions. Who is this God-like figure with perfect knowledge and impeccable decision making prowess? Are “WE, the People, now incapable of managing our own affairs? Is marysdude one of the elite or just one of 300 million other American’s who cherish their freedom to make their own decisions.

Beyond that, I am arguing against government bail-outs and marysdude is arguing something else entirely. I maintain that the American public, by virtue of their collective wisdom expressed and evidenced by the products they prefer to purchase with their own money, should determine the fate of companies.

My confidence in the wisdom of the American public is infinitely greater than my trust of government.

Posted by: Jim M at November 28, 2008 12:38 PM
Comment #271088

Yahoo news 11-28-2008-The drop-off in demand is going to continue,” said Jonathan Kornafel, Asia director at market maker Hudson Capital Energy in Singapore. “There’s no reason for the market to rally.”

Oil will likely trade below $50 a barrel and could test the $40 level by the end of the year, Kornafel said.

Investors will be watching whether the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries reduces output quotas at an informal meeting Saturday in Cairo, Egypt.

While ministers arriving Friday said little, Nigerian envoy Odein Ajumogobia said the ministers were “just going to exchange ideas and views” at the gathering.

“I don’t expect a cut out of the Cairo meeting, but I do expect a 1.5 million barrel cut at their December meeting,” Kornafel said. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see Russia get in with OPEC either.”

Posted by: Rodney Brown at November 28, 2008 12:54 PM
Comment #271096

Jim M,

Apply Sherman Anti-Trust, and if it does not fill the bill, amend it so that it does…it does not require a Messiah to figure this thing out.

I, personally, am for bolstering those institutions that would fail if AIG, Lehman, et al, go down rather than throw money at them what brought us to the brink…but I ain’t in charge.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 28, 2008 1:58 PM
Comment #271109

By what Jim is saying is that the government is not elected by the millions of people he keeps speaking of. This is news to me.

Posted by: kudos at November 28, 2008 8:00 PM
Comment #271114

I think Jim M is saying that since the American people (those ‘millions’) elected Obama, that he’ll be behind him one hundred percent.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 28, 2008 9:47 PM
Comment #271119

Happy TG to all

Paul
I too will have to reject your original premise as the root cause although that may have been the first little puff that started the house of cards to start toppling. Its far fetched to accept that a foolish home loan in Baldwin Park could precipitate the bankrupcy of Iceland but no matter. To look deeper,and we should , the root causes include the systematic depression of wages that occured in the US through anti-union policies,and intentionally dysfunctional and anti-worker immigration and trade policies.Peolple with the money do not need sub-prime morgages. People with money do not usually default on their house payments.
Another cause was the dramatic increase in cost of real estate. People do need homes to live in and if a shaky morgage is ones only option one is inclined to take it,especially with the carrot of an increase is personal wealth. So why did real estate prices baloon? President Clinton says the main reason was after the dot-com bubble burst there was a great deal of capital that needed an investment. At the time real estate was the only thing making money hence the values inflated to unrealistic,unsustainable levels. If instead the federal government had launched the necessary start-up stimulus for a real alternate energy industry that capital would have move into it. This economic downturn could have been avoided and we would be far closer to oil independance. Does anyone doubt that if Gore had prevailed in 2000 we would have followed that course? Instead we have one more legacy to thank the Bush administration and the GOP for. I am hopeful that BHO addresses both these fundementals but with way things are it will be difficult. Its hard to promote wage increases during a depression. Its hard to fund vital investments in technology with falling revenues.
As to shorter term solutions, forget bail out. Conditional loans ? Yes,but only because we have too. These loans should become payable around 2018. That is the projected time when the SS Administration will no longer be able to sell bonds to the treasury and will start having to redeem them to pay benefits. Personally I would like to never see the repayments go into the general fund at all but directly to SS.

Posted by: bills at November 29, 2008 7:07 AM
Comment #271124

bills,

Now you’re talkin’…good, intelligent, timely post.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 29, 2008 8:38 AM
Comment #271127

“By what Jim is saying is that the government is not elected by the millions of people he keeps speaking of. This is news to me.” Posted by: kudos at November 28, 2008 08:00 PM

We do elect our government kudos, but do we elect representatives to decide which companies succeed or fail? Is this what government is about? I am not talking about appropriate government regulation, but rather, using taxpayer money to prop up those companies with the best lobbyists and letting others fail.

This is not, and never has been, the role of government. Why would anyone believe that simply because someone has been elected to a political position they suddenly become great business decision makers? Which elected official will develop the next wonder drug, the new computer operating system, a marketing plan to compete with WalMart…etc. Are our officials elected because of their great entrepreneurial skills? I don’t recall during the election cycle candidates discussing adding the stock of individual companies to the federal portfolio. Did you hear candidates discussing their role as CEO of our nation’s largest companies?

American’s decide which companies will succeed or fail by their purchasing decisions which inspires competition for their spending dollars. Are you asking me to believe that government can make those decisions better than the American consumer?

marysdude wrote; “I think Jim M is saying that since the American people (those ‘millions’) elected Obama, that he’ll be behind him one hundred percent.”

Your snide remark will have a reasoned response. I will support our president where we are in agreement just as I expect every thinking American to do. With support of 52% of the electorate there remains 48% of the electorate who desired a different outcome. Isn’t this somewhat similar to the consumer market? If 52% of American’s drive a GM built car would you also expect the other 48% to give up their Fords? And aren’t we all thankful that we have the choice? Did marysdude support President’s Reagan and Bush 100%?

Posted by: Jim M at November 29, 2008 10:34 AM
Comment #271131

>Did marysdude support President’s Reagan and Bush 100%?
Posted by: Jim M at November 29, 2008 10:34 AM

Jim M,

Nope…but, Marysdude did not say that because several ‘million’ Americans bought into the farce that mega-corporations should be able to buy up tons of bad paper, and other mega-corporations should be able to insure that bad paper without holding a reserve large enough to cover losses either.

I’m not sure where we are going with this…you attempt to separate purchasing by millions of Americans from high finance…to me they are irrevocably combined. American consumers buy, borrow, invest…blah, blah, blah, and as a result try to live with what happens. And, American consumers depend on their government to keep the playing field as level as possible. This ‘high finance hijinx’ was allowed to happen because the government fell down on its job…no level field here…Gramm was the culprit.

‘Millions’ of Americans may keep businesses straight with their buying power, but the power elite will always win because they don’t care whether others are starving, failing, or dying, because their goal is to own all the pennies. That’s why government is so important to us…you want to reduce the governmental sphere of influence, and I want to expand it…Conservative/liberal, nothing new about that.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 29, 2008 12:13 PM
Comment #271132

>Your snide remark will have a reasoned response.
Posted by: Jim M at November 29, 2008 10:34 AM
Did marysdude support President’s Reagan and Bush 100%?
Posted by: Jim M at November 29, 2008 10:34 AM

Nothing snide about that…

Posted by: Marysdude at November 29, 2008 12:18 PM
Comment #271149

marysdude wrote; “I’m not sure where we are going with this…you attempt to separate purchasing by millions of Americans from high finance…to me they are irrevocably combined.”

Of course I can logically separate the purchasing decisions of American’s from what you call “high finance”. In my area of the world I can walk into a 7/11 store for a pack of cigarettes and have many choices in manufacturer, brand, filter type, lenght, and flavor. Why so many choices? It’s called competition and satisfying the consumer. If I have money in my pocket to spend I want the freedom to choose who I will spend my money with.

In my small town there are at least five gasoline stations featuring different brands of fuel all vying for my business and I get to choose where I will fill up.

My simple point marysdude is that I don’t want to see the day when those choices are reduced, not by competition, but by some federal bureaucrat who has decided that only Phillip Morris or Exxon deserve to remain in business by virtue of who they will bail out and keep in business.

When government becomes the arbiter of which companies succeed and which fail we all loose.

I hear many arguments on this site for more political parties to help wrest political control from the two majors. How is it consistent to argue the position that there should be more competitors for my vote while at the same time seeking to reduce the number of competitors for my money?

Posted by: Jim M at November 29, 2008 3:49 PM
Comment #271152

Jim M,

I reiterate:

‘Millions’ of Americans may keep businesses straight with their buying power, but the power elite will always win because they don’t care whether others are starving, failing, or dying, because their goal is to own all the pennies. That’s why government is so important to us…you want to reduce the governmental sphere of influence, and I want to expand it…Conservative/liberal, nothing new about that.
Posted by: Marysdude at November 29, 2008 12:13 PM

Posted by: Marysdude at November 29, 2008 4:50 PM
Comment #271154

Marysdude, it’s difficult to imagine a thought process that leads one to believe that the elimination of competition by government ownership is preferable to the multiple choices available thru free enterprise. But then, I have always had a problem with probing the depths of liberal thought.

Some find a boogyman everywhere except in the corridors of power in Washington. Can you tell us what our world will look like when the bureaucrats run our major corporations?

Posted by: Jim M at November 29, 2008 6:12 PM
Comment #271160

About the same way it looks right now…

Posted by: Marysdude at November 29, 2008 10:14 PM
Comment #271171

Jim M
You are over-generalizing I am afraid. There are circumstances where competition has little or even a negative value. These are often the province of government. Fire departments for example. How about sewer systems? The military and police?
The US like every other developed country, is a mixed bag of socialism and private enterprize. The debate should be where to draw the line with praticality and realism as the standard as opposed to ideaology from either the right or left. It is my fervent prayer that BHO manages to steer the national discussion and policy formation in that direction.It appears to me ,after reading your post, that you will be joinning us in that debate on that basis. Good.

Posted by: bills at November 30, 2008 3:56 AM
Comment #271192


IMO, the way we get America back on the right track is, we begin the process of breaking up corporations that are two big to fail. This will reduce the influence that corporations have on our government and create more competition. You also produce and pass legislation aimed at creating many small businesses including small farmers.

When is the last time that the people have seen competition between oil companies? This has not occured since the half dozen or so huge oil corporations that dominate the market bought out the small companies that provided competition.

Competition is disappearing and being replaced by price fixing. Perhaps we should call huge corporate capitalism Mutually Assured Price Fixing. Payouts to politicians insures that the blind eye of government is turned towards these practices. And, this is why taxpayers are held liable for the banking losses and why our politicians are promoting this no fault bailout plan.

Posted by: jlw at November 30, 2008 12:53 PM
Comment #271245

bills writes; “Jim M You are over-generalizing I am afraid. There are circumstances where competition has little or even a negative value. These are often the province of government. Fire departments for example. How about sewer systems?”

Sorry bills but I have read comparisons of fire and police and water and sewer departments to corporations before and while you repeat it, it still doesn’t offer a valid comparison. Do we have a national fire, sewer or water department? One may imagine the FBI as a national police force but even that would be a stretch.

Local control of public service entities works because the local population has immediate and direct control over these entities. If the fire or police department is slow in responding to a fire or emergency the public can respond quickly to resolve the problem. Not so with a federally run corporation. Changes must be made thru our cumbersome and politically motivated congress working with the regulators and administrators they appoint.

Taxpayers funded federal bail-outs of public corporations is a bad idea and the belief that the national government is better at picking winners and losers than the general public is in direct opposition to the ideas and values that created our great economy.

Better regulation to ensure fairness, protect the public interest and to promote growth is definitely needed. The idea of the national government owning the stock of private corporations and sitting on their corporate boards is a bad idea.

I would like to hear the argument supporting your opposition to competition among our corporations.

Posted by: Jim M at December 1, 2008 11:49 AM
Comment #271265

There is NO competition between our major corporations in any field, i.e., manufacturing, financial or service (insurance). Free Market gave us NO competition. Regulation can curtail that kind of free market in favor of one that provides some competition. Until such time as that happens, our best bet is to own them.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 1, 2008 2:44 PM
Comment #271271

marysdude writes; “There is NO competition between our major corporations in any field, i.e., manufacturing, financial or service (insurance).”

Sorry marysdude but that’s pure baloney. I have been an independent insurance agent for many years representing over 7 of the best and highest rated insurance companies in the U.S. For every product I offer to my clients whether life, long-term care, disability income insurance or annuities there is a huge difference in premiums among similar products.

And, every year I shop my personal home and auto insurance for the best product and price. I find better deals and make changes nearly every two or three years.

I also shop my banking services such as checking, savings and CD’s and regularly find better deals by switching.

In my small town in East Texas there are at least five different gas stations offering different brands of gasoline along with WalMart and a nearby Sam’s Club. On any given day I can find a price difference of at least 8 to ten cents.

Please don’t ask the readers on this blog to buy into your untrue and easily disputed statement that; “Free Market gave us NO competition.”

Posted by: Jim M at December 1, 2008 3:17 PM
Comment #271293

Jim M,

Not where it counted…if the deregulated, free market had worked, we’d not be in the pitiful position we’re in now. Free market doesn’t just mean mom & pop against Wal Mart…ooops!

Posted by: Marysdude at December 1, 2008 5:45 PM
Comment #271318

We as a country have been bailing out and proping up the banks and others financial institutions since the days of Reagan. We have done this to preserve the rich and powerful people and corporations of this country at the expense of the American taxpayer and the middle class.
Some examples:
1. The Mexico, Argentina and Brazil debt crisis of 1982-86 to save major US banks.
2. Continental Illinois Bank in 1984 to save large deposits over the 100k ceiling of the FDIC insurance.
3. The “discount window bank” bailouts in the late ‘80’s by giving loans to 350 banks that later failed giving big depositors time to flee.
4.Oct ‘87 stock market crash when the Federal Reserve flooded the system with liquidity after the biggest one day decline.
5. S&L bailout of $250 billion.
6.Bailout of Bank of New England and Citibank. The treasury deposited $1.8bil in BoNE to allow big investors time to exit. Then a $2.3bil bailout of the bank by the US. The Federal Reserve cut interest rates to allow Citibank amongst others to rebuild their balance sheet.
7.Mexican Peso bailout of ‘94-95. THis was done to secure US investors positions in high yeild Mexican debt.
8.Asian currency bailout of ‘97. A $200 bil IMF bailout led by the US treasury and Federal Reserve, an aftermath of the Peso bailout.
9. Long Term Capital Management (LTCM) bailout orchestrated by Greenspan and Rubin. A private sector bailout of the old boy network and central banks of other countries.
10. The Y2K liquidity surge by the Federal Reserve to safe guard banks that fueled the NASDAQ bubble.
Source- the book “Wealth and Democracy” by Kevin Phillips.

To think that the Investor class would expect any less today is foolish. The wealthy and powerful, thru the multi national corporations and financial institutions have not had to really risk anything since the beginning of the Reagan revolution. Moral Hazard and risk are just a joke to them. Mere buzzwords to fool the conservative movement types as well as other Americans into believing the individual is self reliant and the wealthy are being rewarded for their risk. These corporations and institutions have been shedding liability and responsibility at the expense and on the backs of the American middle class for 3 decades. They have manipulated many into believing that we have “competition” and “choice” in this country. They have fooled many into believing that the free market system works to the advantage of the individual, but it hasn’t. How can it when those that make the money have no real fear of losing? This type of welfare for the rich justifies a significent increase in the tax rate for those making the big bucks, both for capital gains and for income. Afterall shouldn’t they have to pay their own way?

Using Jim M’s example of small town gas stations one may think there is a real choice but I to live in a small town, in NE Colorado. The gas here at the 10 stations is now between $1.81 and $1.88 per gallon. Just one hundred and twenty five miles away in Denver the price is $1.55 to $1.70. To tell me it costs another $.30 cents a gallon to transport the gas the additional 125 miles is bullcrap. The higher price and the difference of 7 to 8 cents a gallon is not competition it is market control by the few.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 2, 2008 12:14 AM
Comment #271323

The public teat…no matter whether it’s 20% of welfare recipients gaming the system or 80% of corporate CEOs, it’s the same selfish, greedy teat-suckers…then there are those who don’t suck on the teat, but feed mother American a formula that dries up the milk supply, i.e., Wal Mart, Microsoft, Google et al…now I’m becoming a cynic…damn!

Posted by: Marysdude at December 2, 2008 2:34 AM
Comment #271336

The trucking Distance will add a few cent’s to the price, like my small town here and so is the fact they sell 500 - 1,000 gallons a day, the big cities stations sell 10,000- 30,000 gallons, more room to Lower the price.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at December 2, 2008 11:26 AM
Comment #271352

Carmakers have to be steered by market forces

“The opposition to the bailout makes a powerful case for denying aid and letting GM file for bankruptcy. A bailout will do nothing to lighten the burden of the legacy costs under which GM and others labour. GM’s over-numerous dealers are protected from termination by state laws, and its workers’ extravagant benefit packages by contracts that require almost full compensation for laid-off workers, indefinitely. Only a bankruptcy court judge can undo those legacies.”

Full story from the London Times; http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/columnists/article5213622.ece

Posted by: Jim M at December 2, 2008 5:00 PM
Comment #271362

Jim M,

Extravagant to some is living necessity to others…while these pensions and health care that you are so disdainful of were being earned, how many extravagant bonuses were being taken home by those who were making bad decisions at the top? Did those execs not have the same types of pensions and health care, etc.? In fact, weren’t those same execs the same ones who agreed to the pension and health programs you hate so much?

Remember that when a bankruptcy court takes away those benefits that were earned, many old folks, who can no longer fend for themselves are going to be in that big box under the bridge.

Sounds just like more the middle class is being asked to sacrifice for the advancement of the rich, and it was the rich who triggered the fault-line into the earthquake…yeah, that sounds good and moral.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 3, 2008 5:44 AM
Comment #271385

PS:

I joined the Marine Corps in 1958…I and all who joined at the same time were recruited knowing, and being told that, we would have free health care for the rest of our lives. I did not find out differently until about three years before retirement, in 1978. By that time it was too late to change my mind about a career, so I now pay the same for health insurance that all on Medicare do.

To me and thousands others this was a breach-of-trust. Not becase Congress had changed the law two years prior to my enlistment, but because those in power felt it necessary to hide that fact. Ignorance of the law, blah, blah, blah…what seventeen or eighteen year old is familiar with how to find the truth of such?

Not only that, but my class, ‘retired veterans’ is the only class of people in the United States, that has to pay for its own disability (my military retirement check is reduced by the same exact figure as my veteran’s disability check). Veterans who stay in a couple or three years, get out and retire from a civilian job don’t pay for their own disability, and no civilian who gets hurt on the job pays for his own disability…only ‘retired veterans’ have to do that.

My point is that no matter how you feel about pensions and health care for workers, they feel entitled to them, and they have grown to depend on them, and if you pull the rug from under them, just because you don’t like it that they are on the receiving end…what good are contracts? And, if contracts are no good in America, what good is America?

I’m living proof that having the rug pulled out after it is too late to do anything about it is very painful. Those retirees at GM, Ford, and Chrysler are not the problem.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 3, 2008 1:14 PM
Comment #271467

I remember My dad telling me about those bench warmers in the union the one’s who are laid off what they call sitting on the bench, he said the theory was the higher monies they earned would induce the union and company owners to put them back to work as soon as possible because the monies came from out of pocket, he said quite a lot of the bench warmers liked being on the bench and this was the 1950s -1980s.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at December 4, 2008 5:03 PM
Comment #271509

OUR GOVERNMENT HAS FAILED US, OUR POLITICIANS HAVE LIED TO US AND DECEIVED US AND OUR PEOPLE HAVE LOST THEIR MINDS.

THIS WHOLE CATASTROPHE BEGAN WITH THE ENTITLEMENT MENTALITY, POLITICIANS TRICKING PEOPLE INTO BELIEVING THAT THEY NEED THE GOVERNMENT TO PROVIDE FOR THEM IN ORDER TO SURVIVE (i.e. WELFARE, SOCIAL SECURITY etc…). REMEMBER A POLITICIANS NUMBER ONE JOB IS TO GET ELECTED AND STAY ELECTED AND THAT PERSON WILL MOST LIKELY SAY WHATEVER HE/SHE HAS TO FOR THE OFFICE. FURTHERMORE PEOPLE WITH NO SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY WHO WANT THE GOVERNMENT TO TAKE CARE OF THEM, ARE CASTING THEIR VOTES FOR THESE POLITICIANS. THUS WE DIG OURSELVES DEEPER AND DEEPER INTO A HOLE THE MORE THE GOVERNMENT “GIVES” AWAY. IN REALITY ALL GOVERNMENT MONEY COMES FROM THE TAX PAYERS SO ANYTHING THAT IS PUBLICLY FUNDED IS FUNDED BY YOU AND ME. IT IS NOT MY RESPONSIBITY TO PAY TAXES THAT GO TO A WELFARE SYSTEM THAT SUPPORTS SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T WORK WHEN I BUST MY ASS AT WORK EVERYDAY. DON’T YOU THINK IF YOU ARE NOT CONTRIBUTING TO OUR WORK FORCE OR MILITARY YOU ARE A BURDEN TO SOCIETY BECAUSE YOU HAVE NOTHING YOU CAN PRODUCE, AND THOSE WHO DO PRODUCE ARE PAYING FOR YOU WHICH IS EXTREMELY UNFAIR? IF NOT YOU ARE A SOCIALIST AND SOCIALISM LEAVES NO ROOM FOR EXCELLENCE ONLY MEDIOCRITY. IF EVERYBODY IS THE SAME THERE IS NOTHING TO LOOK UP TO ONLY A BAR THAT IS SET TERRIBLY LOW TO COMPENSATE FOR THE IRRESPONSIBLE. IN CONCLUSION, THE CITIZENS OF THIS COUNTRY MUST WAKE UP AND REALIZE THE CRISIS WE ARE IN AND STAND UP TO THESE POLITICIANS BECAUSE THE POWER LIES WITHIN US NOT THEM.

Posted by: Ed Hoffman at December 5, 2008 2:12 PM
Comment #271512

Ed Hoffman,

Yelling seldom receives a response here…my ears are still ringing!

Posted by: Marysdude at December 5, 2008 2:34 PM
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