Democrats & Liberals Archives

Market Control

President Obama is trying hard to extricate the country out of its recession with bailouts to financial and auto manufacturing companies. Many on the left claim he is not doing enough and many on the right claim he is doing too much - and interfering with management and the magic workings of the free market. Conservatives insist that the free market should be under control of CEOs, not government officials.

The latest brouhaha was brought about by Obama's interference with the so-called "free market":

The administration will announce today that it has rejected GM and Chrysler's plea for an additional $22 billion in funding. Instead, it pushed Rick Wagoner out as GM chairman and chief executive, giving the company 60 days to restructure, while giving Chrysler 30 days to work out a merger with Italian automaker Fiat.

Republican leaders are objecting strongly to the canning of Wagoner. Among the more vociferous is Sen. Bob Corker:

With sweeping new power the White House will be deciding which plants will survive and which won't, so in essence, this administration has decided they know better than our courts and our free market process how to deal with these companies..... This is a marked departure from the past, truly breathtaking, and should send a chill through all Americans who believe in free enterprise.

"Free market." "Free enterprise." What do these words mean? Is there anything in capitalism that is "free"? I was under the impression that under capitalism you pay for a product or service. I was also under the impression that there must be brisk competition. No business should have so much power it stifles all competitors. Some call such companies "too big to fail," another way of saying they have outrageously too much control of the market.

How can you call a market dominated by huge corporations a "free market"?

Maybe Republicans believe that individuals should be free to follow their own goals? Sure, I'm for this too. However, in the context of our discussion - remember we are in a terrible recession - Rick Wagoner is "free" to take his $20 million as he leaves the company, and a GM auto worker is "free" to become homeless.

Why should we allow CEOs who ruined their companies and threw workers out of their jobs to further control their companies? Obviously these CEOs are no good. They can't perform. Even so, why should the government interfere?

Because CEOs are hurting the rest of us who depend on good functioning of corporations in order to earn a living and to achieve goals. CEOs have done nothing put push for growth. Why? The bigger the company the easier it is for the CEO to add more millions to his compensation. We all know what happened to this fetish with growth: a big bubble that burst with a bang.

Instead of incompetent CEOs, why not allow government officials to exercise control over the market, and to revamp it so that there is a better capitalistic system, where there is more competition, better jobs and prosperity for all.

To prevent the development of another bubble, in addition to what it is doing now, government should reintroduce tight regulations to control the greed of businesspeople.

Posted by Paul Siegel at March 31, 2009 6:40 PM
Comments
Comment #279351

A ‘free market’ is in an alley in Delhi, or Hong Kong, or Saigon, or Singapore, or Cairo. American businessmen do not believe in a free market system. A free market is where dickering and bargaining and haggling is done…and where anyone can set up any kind of shop anywhere. America has not seen a free market since the early eighteen hundreds.

Posted by: Marysdude at March 31, 2009 10:46 PM
Comment #279361

Marysdude,
In defense of My Peers, America does have a Free Market System, but unlike the alley in Delhi, Hong Kong, Saigon, or Vairo in order to play in our market the words Put Up or Shout Up comes to mind. Because if you are not talking about being able to sell to the masses than staying on the porch or in the alley is better for the Business Person.

Is it fair? No!
Is it intended to be fair? No!
However, there is a difference between the average small business owner making a dollar and those corporations in America and Humanity who serve at the pleasure of the Societal Elite, don’t you think?

Paul,
Why you and My Peers can keep on debating on if the fualt belongs to the CEOs or Our Public Leaders, I see a real problem brewing down the road that both sides are not looking at. For why “Greed is Good” I do believe that My Peers need to explain to their children why it is said that the Love of Money is the root of all evil.

Because why I may not agree with President Obama or My Republican Elders on the best way forward, knowing that this will not be the last time it will happen. I wonder when the American Spirit will wake up and relize just how far the Children of the 21st Century have come in knowing and understanding the Argument of Stupidity held by Their Parents and the Hierarchy of Society.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at April 1, 2009 7:56 AM
Comment #279366

I think everyone has the wrong idea of the “Free Market”, to me it means you are free to enter it and try to sell your product and make money. You have the freedom to spend money, and freedom to lose the money also. But at the same time you are not free to go begging to the government(can we say tax payers) to bail you out, this includes the auto companies and Wall St(can we say AIG).
As far as firing the CEO’s, I guess when you lend money to someone, you can also say how the money is going to be spent.
I expect GM and Chrysler will soon go under, and come back as new more lean, money, making companies.

KT

Posted by: KT at April 1, 2009 10:20 AM
Comment #279369

We are hearing lots of shrieks from the right. The masters are about to have their license to steal revoked yet again. The red baiting is almost nostalgic.However a little reality check is in order. We came out of the Depression with a very tightly regulated banking system. Banks competed for deposits by offering location,services,interest etc. with maybe a free toaster thrown in. They took the deposits and lent them out at a reasonable profit and a reasonable expectation the loans would be paid back. It was boring. They had to have enough cash to back a percentage of their loans. They were not allowed to shift their risk greatly and the FDIC was a just a minor backstop to help avoid even furthur a run on the bank. The financial industry itself was small compared to the GDP. There was not even one great financial house listed on the Dow until 1982.This system served us well. Under this stringent regulation the American standard of living doubled in a single generation.Then came Reagan. Then came deregulation. Then came the savings and loan debaucle. This should have been a warning. Instead ,because of a successful and deliberate political campaign by wealthy elites, the lesson was not only forgotten but ignored as more deregulation was poured on with entirly predictable results.We have to push the clock back as it were, to the kind of controls we had during one of the most economically prosperious periods in history.That period was also remarkable in that the benefits were widespread. Not just accruing to the top percentiles. There in lies stability.This is not a leap toward communism. It is a leap toward common sense.
There is a proposal from the BHO administration for some body in government to oversee the financial market to gard against the perveying of dangerious products. Sort of like an FDA for banking. Whether we need a new agency or the power given AND USED to an existing one is subject to debate but the clear need for the ability is clear to any but the vested and brainwashed. The attempts to create wealth out of thin air must stop. They are simply not sustainable. Take the futures markets for example. It started out as a method to provide capital and a measure of stability to farmers. The last crippling spike in energy prices was not the result of OPEC or lack of supplies. It was a creature of oil futures speculation. Why allow their sale at all. Does Exxon or Royal Dutch Shell need to raise capital?Does that particular futures market serve any purpose other than to shift wealth from us all to a few?We need more common sense, a prospect that one might think would appeal to the conservative heart. Lets trade. Lets buy and sell and invest but lets do it in a market that deals in real goods and services instead of attempts to spin straw to gold.

Posted by: bills at April 1, 2009 10:43 AM
Comment #279378

Paul writes; “Instead of incompetent CEOs, why not allow government officials to exercise control over the market, and to revamp it so that there is a better capitalistic system, where there is more competition, better jobs and prosperity for all.”

Does anyone else see the oxymoron here? A capitalistic system with government officials in control. Would that resemble a socialist system with capitalism in control? Words have truly lost any meaning for some.

Posted by: Jim M at April 1, 2009 12:47 PM
Comment #279382

the problem was ceo’s and the public leaders (bush administration) were the same. same greed, same thought. bush knew what was going on. i mean we can’t have a bush in the white house w/out bailing the banks, or the savings and loans out can we? was his plan from the beginning.

i bet he still laughs every time he thinks of compassionate conservatisim. i bet he and turd blossom think this mess is just pure genius.

bush left america in decay. he has left our thoughts of this country in doubt. what a legacy, what a legacy. like greedy wall streeters they/he have no soul. never once thought of what was good for the country, did what they wanted, broke rules, constitutions, and spirits.

crimes were committed, and need to be punished. must restore faith in america, and to americans. we can’t pick up the pieces and put it back together w/ the same old broken pieces. new tactics, regulations, and people would be a start.

where is the shame? don’t you wonder where the shame is? instead of laughing and joking about the mass fortunes, they should be killing themselves for the shame inflicted on hard working americans. instead of lighting cigars w/$100 bills, they should be put in jail. we need to call out the biggest offenders on wall street, the short sellers, and the speculators and at the least string them up for all of america to see. they should be drummed out of business. but no, only hard working americans are out of business. it is too unfair.

when you have 5 guys standing around a microphone spouting this and saying that all i see is that their suits combined would pay my house off, my car off and ALL of my debt. the ones who caused this are the only ones still working - and “average americans” know, and see this.

am i the only working class person who reads this blog? are any of you out in the “trenches” or is everone all “suited up”. it’s changing fast - and repubs better start looking out for voters instead of the rich, or they will soon be vacationing together and still not paying their taxes while enjoying life long free health insurance.

Posted by: bluebuss at April 1, 2009 2:28 PM
Comment #279383

Too big to fail! That kind of thinking IS the problem. You know why it is too big to fail, because with failure comes layoffs and that goes on politicians balance sheet.

There is no such thing as too big to fail. There is only, inconvenient to fail. Obama introduced new language “create or preserve x number of jobs”. If AIG, GM or Chrysler fails net job loss will be huge. It’s not about impact on economy, economy will benefit more from failed AIG, GM or Chrysler, than government run one, but failed company which will be absorbed by its competitors will yield a net loss of jobs which is a political suicide for a president who’s agenda revolves around the government spending and not around fixing the problem.

The last president who actually created jobs in the US was Bill Clinton. By deregulating technology market, he was able to create a whole new industry which created new jobs. Right now, creating jobs and reduced unemployment is based on modifying reporting methods instead of actually accomplishing something.

Free market is when company is free to play within the generally established rules which are SAME for ALL players. This is no longer a case in the US. If before 2008, only advantage a large corporation had over a small one was access to a politician, now it gained a government treasury as well. In a free market, companies fail and succeed based on their performance, on how productive they are, how efficient they are, and how well are they led. You are correct, republicans are guilty of hypocrisy, but isn’t that the reason why they lost last 2 elections? They made themselves into a light version of liberal democrats. The voters had a choice between a Democrat or a Democrat Light, they rejected light because let’s face genuine is much better then a knock off. Fortunately, many Republicans came to their senses and realized in order to compete for the power, they need to have different ideas from what Democrats have. They need to debate them, not have a bi-partisan agenda. Finally, we have the two party system back in the US. We have socialist left and conservative right. Let’s have the debates.

I keep hearing Democrats bringing up 8 years of Bush and etc. I think 2008 was the final verdict on those years. Republicans lost elections running on those old ideas of half baked socialism, now they are no longer talking from the both sides of their mouths and are going back to the original idea of a smaller, decentralized government.

You know what makes capitalism work? Greed!!! If the government sets the rules and backs off, greed will govern the market better than anything else. The greed is what drives consumers, producers and investors. Most consumers will buy what’s cheap because they want to buy more (greed), producer will produce what sells and yields the profit (greed), investors will invest into the companies that are well managed, produce things that market has a demand for and will have the best return on investment (greed). When you throw in the government who starts selectively bailing out companies that is when you send the market out of whack.

I love how Liberals create a problem and then blame capitalism for the results. We created this crisis when we removed the regulations form Fanny Mae in 1999 and again in 2004 and forced them to insure sub-prime mortgages. We did it for the political reasons - increase home ownership in America. I remember Bush pounding Carry on the fact that during his 4 years home ownership in general and especially among minorities was really high. That was suppose to be the indicator or the healthy economy.

We, the people, are at fault. We listen to this idiots and we vote not knowing what we vote for. When a politician tells you that he/she created x amount of jobs, translation is “I spent x mount of your money!”

Right now there’s another crisis booming and no one wants to talk about it because that will stir up the hornets nest which is AARP. Social Security, which was supposed to be an insurance, has turned into a government run Ponzi scheme. it is getting to the point where the new “subscribers” will not be able to keep up with the benefits due and then we are going to have a new bailout or more taxes. Guess who’s on the hoop for it? You and I.

These problems are small compared to what is to come. If they are scrambling to resolve a simple situation like a badly managed company filing for bankruptcy, than wait till they are faced with real problems. If we keep going with this crap, in 10 years we’ll be looking at Europeans with envy because we will be paying up to 40-50% income tax (federal and state combined) and would get nothing in return. Those payments will be just to cover the SSI and interest on all the borrowed money. What if no one wants to buy our bonds? What then?

Get ready guys and gals!

Posted by: Crusader at April 1, 2009 2:34 PM
Comment #279384

Quite frankly, the word CAPITALISM seems to have lost its meaning to everyone. If you think that the scam AIG was perpetrating on the world was CAPITALISM, you need a haircut…if that was capitalism, so’s mugging and burglary.

Since capitalists don’t understand the concept, how in the world do you expect the rest of us to?

For anybody who is interested…the free market does not give anyone the right to trade in valueless coupon…that is called confidence gaming, ponzi scheming, scamming, cheating, etc. No one is allowed to make instruments of trade that have no meaning, then insure them without reserve funds, then…then…then. That is NOT capitalism or free market either.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 1, 2009 2:36 PM
Comment #279385

I recall the cartoons in newspapers during the Soviet Union era which would depict its leaders with huge “hero buttons” on their lapels.

Today, I and millions of other smokers have earned the “hero” button reward by paying thru the nose for our smoking habit. Once again congress has shown not only their prejudice against select citizens but also its arrogance in attempting to convince American’s of their “something for nothing” mantra.

22 Million New Smokers Needed: Funding SCHIP Expansion with a Tobacco Tax
by Michelle C. Bucci and William W. Beach
WebMemo #1548

Members of Congress seeking to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to cover children from wealthier families are exploring new ways to pay for it. The Senate Finance Committee generally has agreed to reauthorize SCHIP for five years with a $35 billion expansion funded by an increase in the federal tobacco tax by 61 cents per pack.[1]

While a tobacco tax is a politically popular funding source, it has several significant shortcomings:

*

A tobacco tax disproportionately burdens low-income Americans, lacks long-term stability, and ultimately results in significant shifting of health care costs onto others.
*

With the number of smokers already declining, a tobacco tax would further reduce the number of smokers, thereby eroding the funding source.
*

To produce the revenues that Congress needs to fund SCHIP expansion through such a tax would require 22.4 million new smokers by 2017.

Rather than making SCHIP dependent on increasing the number of smokers, Congress should refrain from narrow government program expansions and work on a broader strategy for improving access to affordable, private health insurance for all Americans—including children.

Who Would Pay?

Increasing the tobacco tax is an inequitable way to fund SCHIP, because a large portion of the burden would fall on poor and low-income families and the relatively young. Around half of smokers are in families earning less than 200 percent of the federal poverty line (FPL), so increasing the tobacco tax would burden the families in the income class that SCHIP and Medicaid are trying to help.[2] Furthermore, smokers are more likely to be poor or low-income than wealthy.[3] (See Chart 1.) With an expanded tobacco tax, SCHIP expansion to higher income levels would largely be funded by lower income persons, those who can least afford it.

Young adults are also disproportionately impacted by the tobacco tax: Forty-three percent of smokers are ages 24 to 44.[4] (See Chart 2.) Placing the burden of expanding this program on the shoulders of any small subset of the population is unfair. Neither low-income families nor young adults should be held responsible for funding an unnecessary expansion of SCHIP.


Chart 1

Chart 2

Congress Needs More Smokers

Not only are some policymakers considering imposing a large, new burden on a small portion of the population, but they have chosen a revenue source that is in decline and will decrease even faster if the tax rate rises. Due to the sensitivity of consumers to increases in the price of tobacco products (known as “price elasticity”), the average consumer purchases fewer cigarettes when the price increases. Consequently, the additional revenue generated from increasing the tax will decline over time. (See Chart 3.)

Due to this price elasticity, policymakers will somehow need to recruit new smokers if they insist on using the tobacco tax revenue to support SCHIP at proposed funding levels over the long term. In just five years, Congress will need over 9 million new smokers. Reauthorizing the program for 2013 to 2017 would require almost 22.4 million new smokers by the end of that period.[5] (See Chart 4.)

To read the entire article and see the charts referenced please go here: http://www.heritage.org/research/healthcare/wm1548.cfm

Posted by: Jim M at April 1, 2009 2:37 PM
Comment #279386

Paying fifty percent taxation is easy when it means you can still eat…to big to fail means too many people starve. Government is in place to do the things normal citizens cannot do for themselves, i.e. defend a country, police for lawlessness, fight the fires, help in natural disasters, etc. A financial meltdown caused by your greed fits in the disaster category. Capitalism has failed when it takes the citizenry down with it. Please remember that it requires sellers and buyers both to build a capital economy. The meltdown just left sellers, hence a capital failure.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 1, 2009 2:44 PM
Comment #279387

MD writes; “For anybody who is interested…the free market does not give anyone the right to trade in valueless coupon…that is called confidence gaming, ponzi scheming, scamming, cheating, etc. No one is allowed to make instruments of trade that have no meaning, then insure them without reserve funds, then…then…then. That is NOT capitalism or free market either.”

Finally, something from MD that I can agree with. My simple question to MD and others who are supporting all this bailout crap is why, since what MD refers to is not regulated, is our government pumping taxpayer money into such schemes? Apparently PO and congress must think these unregulated gambles deserve our money. Why is that? Can we not allow gamblers to fail? Must we bail out the ponzi schemers along with every other business that wishes to place their hand in Uncle Sam’s pocket?

How can MD and others support the policies of PO and congress when they despise the very folks being helped by those policies?

Perhaps the answer can be found in the big lie being perpetrated upon the American public…(ie) that allowing the gamblers to fail will crash our economy. Nonsense. These gambles can be unwound easily with little damage to our regulated financial sector as I have illustrated in previous posts.

Posted by: Jim M at April 1, 2009 2:53 PM
Comment #279390

Perhaps your illustrations leave a lot to be desired? It is plain that we are in a serious fix. It is clear that since it was not normal activity that created the mess that normal fixes won’t work. It is clear that people are hurting, that more will be hurting tomorrow, and hurting people don’t have all the time in the world to wait for conventional repairs. It is clear that the US is not the only country in the world that is in crisis, and simple fixes, even if they might work here (questionable), it will take a concerted effort to patch for the long haul and for all nations.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 1, 2009 4:23 PM
Comment #279395

MD speaks of fixes for something of which is not now, or in the past, been regulated and does not require fixing with taxpayer dollars. These gambles can be unwound as I have illustrated previously. Too bad MD didn’t bother to read those posts.

If I or my company wishes to engage in gambling, not regulated or sanctioned by the government, and I loose my shirt, would MD advocate for government to bail me out? Perhaps MD would issue me an insurance policy to cover my losses for a premium. Then, if I loose and he can’t cover my losses, we could both beg government for a bailout. Other than the size of our gamble does MD see any difference with AIG (the part that dealt in insuring gambles) and the gamblers it insured?

It would appear that MD supports government spending regardless of the need or affect. Sensible folks know the difference between bailing out regulated financial institution and products and unregulated private gambles. Some say it sooooo complicated. It’s not if you don’t have your liberal big spending blinders on your face.

Please spare us the crocodile tears begin shed by liberals over bailing out gamblers and at the same time say it was the fault of regulators. THOSE INSURED GAMBLES WERE NOT REGULATED, SANCTIONED, OR CONDONED BY GOVERNMENT, MERELY ALLOWED, NOT ILLEGAL AND IGNORED.

Should MD advocate outlawing such gambling I would sign that petition.

Posted by: Jim M at April 1, 2009 5:23 PM
Comment #279397

No, MD does not see any difference between your small scale failure and our current large scale failure…except as you point out, the largeness of the scale of failure…now that we have that understood between us, was there a point there someplace? It has been my contention, as well as a whole bunch of other folks’ contention, that the largeness of the scale of the failure is what made it too great to fix with customary fixes, i.e., tax cuts, etc., because of the LARGENESS. A failure of that magnitude would be catastrophic, not just here, but to the world that has fallen into lockstep with OUR economy.

I said the play of AIG and others had the same effect as mugging and/or burglary, not that it was ILLEGAL. It should have been and would have been except for GLB, but unless something in the books shows otherwise, they broke only the laws of common sense and common decency…so what? It did the same amount of damage, legal or not.

Some read and understand better than others…it must be childishness that causes that defect…??? Perhaps we should ask Christine or dbs about that…

It is not the law that forbids it, it is the ‘free market’ system that forbids it…hence, the failure. GLB made it possible, AIG put it into practice, the free market regurgitated it, and we all pay for it…oh, well…

Posted by: Marysdude at April 1, 2009 6:24 PM
Comment #279400

it’s amazing to me that the white rich have no problems having cigarette smokers pay taxes, yet they still won’t pay their part.

and, yes indeed GREED, GREED, GREED. that’s what makes the world go around right? no. that’s why our jobs are overseas, that’s why no one can afford to shop other than wal-mart, buying items not made by a union member. that’s why unions are failing, and the american family is hurting. no one can afford to “buy american” because there are no more strong unions. so, american manufacturing jobs are lost. and articles are made by 10 year olds in sweatshops. but hey, we can buy it for $2.00. what a bargin right? no.

growing up in a union hhld, i can tell you i buy american, and pay more, but i know some how i am trying to make a difference and keeping the money in america. follow the money trail - if you buy american it stays in america.

and before union busters come in and jump all over me, i will not apologize for supporting unions. they give an opportunity to families. decent wage, health, dental, stability. if you are against these things - my friend - you are unpatriotic. yes, i said it. if you are against a decent lifestyle for american families you are unpatriotic. you see, a real patriot wants america to suceed. for generations to suceed. for that to happen, you can not strip a company to the bare bones, and make “executive” decisions by closing sections of a business and shipping it overseas. you must think as an american. that is what is lost on these business men now. no sense of american pride. bring in inferior products, pay no wages, everyone wins right? wrong. as always, only a few select.

i really want you republicans to understand this. you should be protecting americans, and their jobs. not saying “oh well that’s the way it goes we are all greedy”. you must be an east coast person MD, and not understand what it means to be from a working class family in the midwest where every car in your driveway is american made, when you pay a little more for items made in america. maybe you will wake up. and when you do, please tell the rest of your friends and family - buy american only. back the american unions. america will be better for it.

i may seem like i have rose colored glasses on, but i do my part, and urge all of you to do yours. it starts with one. and we can be 300,000,000 strong.

Posted by: bluebuss at April 1, 2009 6:47 PM
Comment #279405

bluebuss
I have nothing against unions when they were needed. Now they are not IMO. I am not unpatriotic, but I do work in a NON-UNION shop and get the same benefits you described and a few more thrown in. I do drive a late model AMERICAN made car. I have worked in union shops, which did nothing for me so I prefer to work non union. As far as protecting American jobs IMO it is up to you who prefer your high union wages and benefits to give that some thought.

Posted by: KAP at April 1, 2009 7:36 PM
Comment #279409

The shriek from this right person is not the what. (Why should a person who leads a company to bankruptcy keep his job?

The question is who. Obama made this decision without consulting Congress or anyone.

I don’t want our presidents having that power. This power should be in the Judicial system. If a company is too big to fail, it is too big!!

Now politics will enter into the thing. Do we really want President’s appointing board members?

Let me give you an example. Let’s say a green company went bankrupt during Bush’s presidency. Would you want him to put a group of people on the Board that were from Exxon Mobile? It’s get’s political real fast.

This whole system is wrong. Presidents should not have this power. I understand the emergency and we need to prevent a general collapse of the country. But we do not want Presidents firing non government employees.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 1, 2009 8:22 PM
Comment #279412

CraIG
I TOTALY AGREE. Who in their right mind would want government running any non governmental company?

Posted by: KAP at April 1, 2009 8:51 PM
Comment #279416

KAP, Wall St. investors seem to rally the markets everytime more news comes out of the Obama administration stepping in to manage the failed financial institutions. Bunch of idiots, huh? Investors invest in the future with money. Prognosticating the future doesn’t get more earnest than this, and Warren Buffet didn’t become a billionaire by being wrong more than he is right where the markets are concerned.

Of course, for this debate to continue, one has to ask you to define your words: “government running any non governmental company”. There is running a private company, and then there is setting limits and expectations on companies receiving public tax dollars. They are different definitions of your words. What do you mean by them?

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 1, 2009 9:40 PM
Comment #279417

KAP, on unions, as long as the middle class is losing wages against inflation, and the wealthiest 1% are accruing ever larger percentages of the national net worth, there is both motive and incentive for unions to grow. Now add the international union organization and movement, over 600 million strong and growing, and one has reality on the one hand, and your view on the other.

Soem Union leaders make the opposite argument to yours, which is: Why should executive compensation ever increase as long as wage earners are losing purchasing power? Entrepreneurs are free to establish for profit ventures. But, thankfully, workers are becoming freer to form unions to bargain for a fair share with corporate management. There is a balance to be sought between these. Both corporate owners and unions have contributed heavily to throwing that balance out the window the last several decades.

This recession is just the thing to force management/owners and unions to find an optimal balance both sides can live with. Without unions, there is no balance even to be sought. Just as without corporations, there are fewer good paying jobs to be sought.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 1, 2009 9:50 PM
Comment #279419

DRR
Government has a hard enough time running itself let alone getting involved in a privately or publicly owned company.
As far as unions like I said I do not nor will I work for a unionized shop. I had to many bad experiences with unions, UAW, URW, USW, and painters and decorators unions. Like I mentioned above I get paid a decient wage and have just as many if not more benefits than a union shop.

Posted by: KAP at April 1, 2009 10:04 PM
Comment #279426

KAP,
Why I am glad to hear that you work for an American Bussiness Owner I would not be to fast to knock the Union Workers of America. For why you may not be paid by a Tyrant, could you imagine working on Wall Street if there was no Union Workers.

For if you think these folks can mess up the economy just have one fix the elevators or tend to the Heat & Air System. No, not every American needs to jion a union, but for those Working Mans’ Phds I do believe Ametica as a Nation and a Society need to keep the “Joe the Plummer” honest about trades that are directly linked to the Common Defense and Welfare of “We the People” because what our parents took to be Unskilled Labor some 30 years ago has been proven to take years of experince to learn and a lifetime to master.

Or should we move forward allowing anyone to build your home, car, and office?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at April 2, 2009 1:44 AM
Comment #279429

I just visited www.failedwhitehouse.com. It looks like something that will grow into a pretty significant political website.

Posted by: Sara at April 2, 2009 2:49 AM
Comment #279431

Sara, of course. At any given time there X nimber of Republicans and there are X number of people who believe Alien beings are walking amongst us. They were about the same a few years ago. But, the number of Republicans appears to be on the decline these last couple years. Not so with those who believe in aliens amongst us.

So, like the small minority who follow RushBaugh, a site like failedwhitehouse.com should do well amongst many Republicans. Of course, their initial numbers will be higher than later on, as non-Republicans figure out the site is not about the Bush Administration. :-)

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 2, 2009 6:25 AM
Comment #279432

KAP said: “Government has a hard enough time running itself let alone getting involved in a privately or publicly owned company.”

Well, our government has been in continuous operation without default or bankruptcy in over 230 years. The same cannot be said of any American business in operation today, I don’t believe.

But, of course, the converse of your statement is partially true. Financial and Auto corporations can’t seem to help themselves from from burying themselves under bad debt for short term gains, and now, they threaten to take the government down the same route with this unprecedented threat to the economy not seen since 1929.

Thankfully, we have a president in office whose concern is the economy, and not these corporations who received such blind eyed favor from the Bush Administration and Republican Congress. Under Obama, many of them are returning TARP money, and many others plan to as soon as they are able. Obama’s plan is returning tax payer’s dollars from some of these corporations faster then anyone expected. Good for us.

Not like the Bush administration and Republican Congress’ subsidies to Exxon Mobil as it reaped record unprecedented profits, or corporate farmers and Ethanol subsidies for fuel less efficient and more costly to make than gasoline. Not like Bush’s man, Cox at the head of the SEC who rejected numerous requests to investigate the likes of Bernie Madoff.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 2, 2009 6:35 AM
Comment #279434

Free markets have pluses. Reasonably regulated capitalism has pluses. Crony capitalism is a disaster and that is what we have had for 8 years.Any doubts about that?http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/03/genius_federal_pension_guarantor_switched_from_bon.php?ref=m1

Seems a Bush stooge decided to switch the federal agency that is supposed to garantee pensions to switch from holding bonds to buying stocks. They bought them at the top of the market,of course. We have lost billions in the fund that is now supposed to protect pensions. This stinks and I hope Holder investigates just who got the kickback. Paul Krugman thinks they were just idealogicaly stupid. I am a lot more cynical. No one could be that stupid to have the fund responsible for pension protection hold the same assets as those they are garanteeing.

Posted by: bills at April 2, 2009 8:16 AM
Comment #279439

Craig,
The legislators make laws, not judges. They do of course, review them. I would think you would be dead set against judges who make laws that congress should be making.

As for Obama taking too much power? YOU are part owner of that one. Speaking up when Bush did it would have given your complaints NOW a little more credibility :).

Posted by: steve miller at April 2, 2009 10:58 AM
Comment #279440

I just visited Sara’s site…two posts was all I could manage…what a bunch of fruitloops! Anne Coulter was there, so you can imagine what it was like…what a pearl of wisdom and charm she is…NOT!

Posted by: Marysdude at April 2, 2009 11:58 AM
Comment #279441

M. Remer writes; “But, of course, the converse of your statement is partially true. Financial and Auto corporations can’t seem to help themselves from from burying themselves under bad debt for short term gains…”

If by “bad debt” M. Remer is referring to debt that is unlikely to be paid in a reasonable amount of time, or ever for that matter, then I would refer him to the massive debt being piled on future taxpayers by PO and this liberal congress in their spending spree.

Posted by: Jim M at April 2, 2009 12:07 PM
Comment #279445

Are you guys seriously this brain dead?

I can’t believe no one sees a problem with what government is doing today?

Bush had his many short comings, there is no doubt in my mind that is true and most of all, any sane person would agree with it. I cannot for the life of me explain last 6 mo. of Bush presidency. Only reason I can come up with is millions for the library? But how can mistakes of one president be an excuse for even bigger wrong of another? Especially when he was elected to “CHANGE” last 8 years of Bush?!

If you think Obama gives a rats stinky behind about economy you are either naive, ignorant or both. Obamas number one agenda is expanding the government through social programs which will put an end to a possibility of “Reagan Revolution” ever accruing. Once you start the Universal Health Care, much like the SSI, it can not be abolished. That is the goal. He has frightened people into believing that he and his unqualified team is the only answer to this “mess”. Longer this crisis lasts, longer he and other Democrats have to advance all the other agenda they got lined up.

For example, did you hear about mandatory civil service corps for all young Americans? Sounds good doesn’t it?! Kids get to learn responsibility, civil duty and community service. Guess what, I was part of such organization, it was called “Kids of October” for ages 6-9 and Pioneers for ages 10-14. Do you know where did this corps exist? In the Soviet Union! There was another such mandatory program “Hitlerjugend”, do you know where when was that organization formed? During the Third Reich! “Hell is full of good intentions and desires”. (St Bernard of Clairvaux)

I think you guy will find this relevant: I tried to place an order for some range ammo (I buy 500-1000 rounds at a time to save money), four places I called were out of ammo and had orders backed up for 3 months. I have been a “gun nut” for a long time and this is the first time I was unable to order ammo because of the back orders. Think about it! Why are people stocking up on all the ammo? I am not suggesting there will be a revolt but when people think that they have to stock up on guns and ammo, trust level to the government can’t be that high.

Obama was elected by the majority vote, but ignoring and stumping on the sizable minority isn’t the way to get this country out of this crisis. After all, there were number of us who voted against him, 48% of the total population.

Politicians make the biggest mistake when their ego’s turns things personal. Nixon, arguable one of the best president the US has had in the 20th century, became victim of this. Obama is starting to make the same mistake.

Posted by: Crusader at April 2, 2009 12:16 PM
Comment #279447

Jim M. I recall your announcing the failure of BHO because the DOW had its a very bad performance under his first 60 days in office. I responded that that is not a very good indicator. Perhaps we agree, now that it has gone over 8000 for the first time in two months.
The G-20 looks like a great success for creating a global approach to saving the economic system. Even the conservative French president is praising the plan AND giving much credit to BHO. I know it might be hard to get used too, but having a competent president could be a good thing.PS. In a nearly unheard of move, the Queen hugged Michele O.
BTW.How many packs a day do you smoke? Here in the Philippines a carton of cigs cost about $2.50. I sympathize but even if they are cheap they are not good for you, so says a newly asmatic long time former smoker.

Posted by: bills at April 2, 2009 1:03 PM
Comment #279450

bills writes; “Perhaps we agree, now that it has gone over 8000 for the first time in two months.”

While I am no longer invested in the equity market I am pleased to see some confidence return to Wall Street. Perhaps the reason for today’s bounce is relaxation of the “mark to market” rules. Or, it could just be that PO is out of the country. And, some dolts believe the feel-good crap coming out of the G20 meetings. If congress would adjourn for the rest of the year we might see a $15,000 DOW before years end.

The American entrepreneurial spirit is difficult to dampen for very long despite a congress that is racking up more debt than it is conceivable can be paid. There is a huge pent-up desire among many American’s to invest the trillions in private money removed from the markets with few being happy earning minuscule amounts on money parked in safe havens.

bills writes; “Here in the Philippines a carton of cigs cost about $2.50. I sympathize but even if they are cheap they are not good for you, so says a newly asmatic long time former smoker.”

No doubt about it bills, smoking is not a healthy habit. And, I wish I had never started. But, that’s my choice, however unwise. At the very least my bad habit does make me a hero in that I am helping to fund a major government program thru taxes collected on my unwise choice. Does anyone wish to compare their bad health habits with mine that would make them a hero also?

bills, can one get cigarettes on line here in the states from the Phillipines?

I find it odd that no one commented on the article I referenced with the headline: 22 Million New Smokers Needed: Funding SCHIP Expansion with a Tobacco Tax

Is the silence agreement or acknowledgment of just one more government lie?

Posted by: Jim M at April 2, 2009 1:46 PM
Comment #279451

Oh yeh,Crusader

Try decaff.

Every other industrial country in the world has some form of national health care system. These are vibrant democracies with vibrant private sector industries.Heard of Nokia or Toyota? Relax. What they do not have is a substantial portion of their fellow citizens without coverage and their cost is far below what we are already paying. You’ll be OK. Take a couple of deep breaths.

SS is SOLVENT! There was a great deal of money spent by the same people that created the current crises to convince everyone that the only way to save the system was to give the money to them. A look at the SS fiduciaries report shows otherwise. Around 2018, without changes, the SS fund will no longer show a surplus. At that point they may or may not start having to cash in the federal bonds they/we have been purchasing for years. The bonds are good to pay full benefits until 2043. At that time many of us boomers will no longer be recieveing benefits because we died,damnnit.Taxpayers will indeed have to honor the bonds. The US has never defaulted on its bond obligations before and there is no reason to expect us to then. Point is it is not some looming crises. Just an obligation. You spook easy.

As far as an American version of the Hitler Youth I have a great deal of trouble even taking that fear seriously.There has been no serious suggestion of mandatory service except regarding the draft and that was a non-starter. I recall a cold war propaganda piece from the Russians about how the Boy Scouts were such an organization, even demanding worship of the hated Wolf God etc. Give me a break. Even with a real, concerted government effort it would not work . Look at American kids,for Heavens sake. We can’t even get them to stop having pierced noses or monkeys tattooed on their butts. The idea of ,maybe, letting them know that if they want to take some time away from the Gameboy or “kicking it” with their buddies and help out in the community some, we would be willing to help pay for them to sit their monkey tattooed butt down in a college classroom is really not so bad. Really, relax. The sky is not falling.

Posted by: bills at April 2, 2009 1:52 PM
Comment #279452

Jim M
I could not tell you much about online smokes from here. I am planning on visiting my son on Kauii next month and am allowed to bring the bone head two cartons. Most things that are bad for you are dirt cheap here. Booze is like free and women,well ,there is always a cost and I am quite married.
You started out expecting the worst from BHO,did you not?We can both agree he is making some errors but on the whole he is not doing such a bad job. The G-20 outcome is promising and goes beyond the normal spin stuff about how there was a great agreement to for continued co-operation to attempt to schedule another meeting blah blah.It was historic and profound with global impact and BHO deserves some credit. He wasn’t pushed around,no matter how much China wanted to, and he didn’t push anyone else to the point of non-co-operation AND he accomplished most of the goals he set out to.This is tough stuff. China and Russia are pushing to eliminate the dollar as the standard world currency.That is a big deal. You may disagree, but expect competence.

Posted by: bills at April 2, 2009 2:22 PM
Comment #279455

Thanks bills. I did a google search on Phillipine smokes by mail and Marlboro’s are selling for about $9 per carton plus $5 shipping. Not bad. I do wonder if they would be seized by customs. I think I will just buy loose tobacco from a friend in North Carolina and roll my own. I don’t care to be a hero forever and don’t wish to fund the health care of 30 year old children living at home with well-to-do parents. But…that’s just me. It would appear that many American’s don’t mind this stupidity as long as they don’t do the paying. Well, in a few years when the revenue shortfall from tobacco taxes is apparent, and government decides to tax everyone perhaps things will change.

P.S. I really like the tax on non-diet soda since I don’t have that bad habit. There should also be a huge tax on rutabagas as I can’t stand them either. And, all fast-food joints should have heavy taxes levied on their offerings as they are unhealthy and cause obesity and other medical problems.

Posted by: Jim M at April 2, 2009 3:10 PM
Comment #279459

So let me simplify for my simple mind:

Countries with government provided healthcare in G20:

Japan - higher than the US suicide rate and half of the suicides are due to health issues, again this is a high bred system of private supplemental, social healthcare and separate system for self-employed and students.
Canada - wait times are insane, rich come to the US to get surgeries and treatments, shortage of doctors.
UK - do I really need to go into the details of this failed system?
France - this is much like a government managed HMO and PPO system, not really a universal healthcare, very similar to our approach with private insurance it’s just managed by government.
Germany - this is also a government managed PPO but you have choice between 3 funds and they are not subsidized but are self sufficient so, in all reality they aren’t really universal. Besides, in German health care patients can choose which ever doctor you like and hospitals are competing for the “customers” (patients) to earn profits. Not exactly a public healthcare system.

List goes on and on. Yes, no one is saying that our system is perfect. It’s far from it but I can tell you that one of the most important factors when I made my choices of employment and so did my wife, was the health benefits provided by the company. Before I sold my business, I paid for my own health insurance, around $750 per month for my wife, 2 sons and myself. Now, I work as a consultant and rely on my wife’s insurance which is $200 out of our pocket and 500 from employer. We got a great insurance, no complaints. If we go into the universal health care, that $500 supplement that her employer is paying will be lost to. Employer will not pay her that money, he/she will pocket it, we will end up paying more in taxes (including me) and get inferior service in return. How is that fair? We have a population of 300 mill plus. 50 million are not covered, good chunk of those are illegals. Why doesn’t government create a fund, kind of like Cobra insurance and see if those that are not covered would like to participate? Why mess with my benefits?

So, in SSI trust fund there are bunch of “I owe you“‘s. I am responsible to pay those back on top of SSI and Medicare tax I pay, am I correct?! You don’t see a problem with that?

I think the projection is social security would need supplemental payments on top of the FICA taxes we pay or reduce the benefits by close to 30%. Here is the catch - we are already in debt $11 trillion and rising. Where are the money going to come to cover the SSI bonds and all the other borrowing we are about to do? Answer is my wife’s pocket, my pocket and my 2 son’s pockets. What did I do to deserve such burden?

I came to this country with a $150 in my pocket. Alone. I studied, worked 3 jobs to help through university, worked every day since I started school (lived 1 month with a family of my father’s friend when I arrived here). Made my life into what it is without receiving a single dime from government. Isn’t that an American dream? I lived in a ghetto, I saw how things were there. When I worked 3 jobs my neighbors were selling food stamps for 50 cents on a dollar to buy booze. Why should I and that person have the same end result? I learned the English language when I came here. Why won’t others do the same? I knew that I had to learn it because that was the key to my success, not the government hand out. Where is fairness in taxing me for their choices? I have a plan for my retirement, I am not dependant on SSI, why should I be forced to participate in it? The money I could earn from investing the FICA taxes I pay could yield me at least 40% more retirement income if I do most conservative investment plan. Where is the fairness there? Or your fairness goes only one way?

This country is the greatest country because of the opportunities it offers to ALL. That is why over the centuries, those who seek a better life come here and find it. This country was build by these type of mentality, not by those who think they are entitled to something just because they are here.

Posted by: Crusader at April 2, 2009 3:58 PM
Comment #279461

Congratulations Crusader on your determined efforts to achieve what you want in life thru your own efforts. I am proud to call you my fellow American and respect what you have done.

You wrote; “50 million are not covered, good chunk of those are illegals.”

The actual figure for uninsured legal American’s who are uninsured by choice, not circumstances, stands at around 12 million as I posted from reputable sources in a previous post.

A headline from AP yesterday reads;

9 patients made nearly 2,700 ER visits in Texas

Full story here; http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090402/ap_on_re_us/frequent_er_patients

Posted by: Jim M at April 2, 2009 4:25 PM
Comment #279476


Jim M., I don’t know about where you live, but in Kentucky, the manufacturers raised prices by $7.00 per carton in mid-March as the vendors were puting up signs announcing a $6.00 per carton tax increase begining the first of April.

Posted by: jlw at April 2, 2009 7:07 PM
Comment #279478

Steve Miller:

The legislators make laws, not judges. They do of course, review them. I would think you would be dead set against judges who make laws that congress should be making.

As for Obama taking too much power? YOU are part owner of that one. Speaking up when Bush did it would have given your complaints NOW a little more credibility :).

I am dead set against judges who make laws. I am for judges who interpret the law in bankruptcy hearings.

We do not want our Presidents to have the authority to fire CEO’s or major corporations.

This bail out crap needs to end. If a company is too big to fail it’s too big. I do understand that we need to get from point A to point B. I believe Bernanke that some institutions cannot fail or they take the system down. But we need to move to a system where that is no longer true.

Bankruptcy if by far better.

In terms of comparing Obama to Bush, if you want to compare them in their roles as Commander in Chief I will be happy to compare. The constitution grants wide authority to the President in times great peril due to warfare. Especially when Congress has acted.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 2, 2009 7:31 PM
Comment #279484

Craig said: “We do not want our Presidents to have the authority to fire CEO’s or major corporations.”

Yeah, we do! The majority of us anyway, when those corporate CEO’s threaten the nation’s economy and working people’s jobs and future tax rates with their incompetence, greed, and short sightedness, forcing the choice of bankruptcy or government intervention. Check out the polls. A majority of Americans approve of Obama’s handling of the financial institutions.

This is real simple, Craig. If CEO’s don’t want the government hiring or firing them, they need only run their corporations responsibly, which they are more than adequately paid to do, anyway.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 2, 2009 11:34 PM
Comment #279485

Jim M left out the crucial reference in the article about 9 patients and 2700 ER visits. “The average emergency room visit costs $1,000. Hospitals and taxpayers paid the bill through government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, Kitchen said.”

Which means, insuring these people would be vastly cheaper for tax payers than forcing them to the ER for every uninsured medical need. Duh!

I sometimes wonder if math is even taught to many future conservative ideologues, or, if it is, does subscribing to conservative ideology require for many of them foregoing certain basic math assessment skills?

Insuring the uninsured to visit a doctor at a regular office practice at insured rates will be vastly less expensive than what taxpayers now incur by not insuring them, as Jim M’s article poignantly demonstrates.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 2, 2009 11:42 PM
Comment #279488

Crusader, you comments quoted below violate WB’s rules. Read and comply with WB’s rules or, your comment privileges will be suspended.

“Are you guys seriously this brain dead?”

“If you think Obama gives a rats stinky behind about economy you are either naive, ignorant or both.”

Posted by: WatchBlog Manager at April 2, 2009 11:59 PM
Comment #279490

Jim M said: “If by “bad debt” M. Remer is referring to debt that is unlikely to be paid in a reasonable amount of time, or ever for that matter, then I would refer him to the massive debt being piled on future taxpayers by PO and this liberal congress in their spending spree.”

Apples and oranges, Jim M.

Debt, unable to be sustained, present and past tense, is what these corporations created.

Federal debt is not in default, and increasing it, up to some unknowable point, does not mandate default. Certainly, however, beyond an, as yet, unknowable amount, federal debt surely will cause government default, as is agreed amongst economists regarding the entitlement debt trajectory unreformed.

Your comment equates historical default and fact, with a future hypothetical, hinging upon an, as yet, unknowable, dollar amount of federal debt. Apples and oranges. Your crystal ball into the future consequences of current deficits is no more functional than mine or economists. So, why posit the pretense in your comment that current deficits will, with certainty, cause government default? They may not, with entitlement cost cutting reforms, a resuscitated global and American economy which dramatically increases tax revenues while spending cuts grow with an improving and healthier economy.

This is of course, Obama’s plan and agenda. They said he couldn’t be elected. But, he was. They said he lacked experience to be effective on the world stage, yet, the world applauded his arrival on the international stage these last few days. They said he couldn’t rescue the bottomless pit of the financial sector, but, the markets in recent weeks say otherwise.

And now you say Obama’s budgets and economic rescue plans, only partially implemented to date, will cause federal default on its debts in the future. Perhaps. But, Obama’s critics seem to have been wrong about him and his agenda every step of the way, so far. And the American majority are standing behind him and his agenda and even his 3.6 trillion dollar budget, as my latest article references in the Third Party/Independent’s column.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 3, 2009 12:18 AM
Comment #279510

Dear David R. Remer,

You know we would save ton of money if we just abandoned the capital punishment, why won’t we?
We could not only save ton of money but actually generate revenue by legalizing drugs, why won’t we?
We could generate good amount of revenue by legalizing prostitution, why won’t we?

We don’t do those things because they would reduce the government involvement in our lives!!! If you remove the death penalty politicians can’t exploit that topic for elections. If you legalize drugs, and government won’t need DEA or ATF with their multi billion dollar budgets. You legalize prostitution and you no longer need the prisons for prostitutes, you don’t need as many cops on the vice squad, which means you will have law enforcement unions on you in a heartbeat.

We no longer do what makes sense. The courts are up in arms when a student wants to mention God at a public school, or a city wants to put up a cross where anyone can see. They call it a separation of church and state. But when it makes sense, when it would limit governments involvement in our lives, religion is used to excuse inaction.

The game is called control. It is designed to make things predictable and to insure the status quo. The government has a price, it can be bought, if you have any doubt look at today’s politicians. Who ever gets the most money gets elected. We give up our freedoms on every corner all in the name of the better life, but wasn’t the liberty one of the ideas this country was based on and are we really getting a better life?

The saying goes like this: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely!” (Lord Acton) The money is the power today, and those who have the money want more power. We are in the midst of creating a new nobility, a ruling class, who will grace us with many shiny things in exchange for our freedoms. We have already surrendered some of our freedoms (you can’t opt out of Medicare or SSI), next is health care insurance, with more to follow. And we are doing it all in the name of the better life, but how does someone in Washington DC know what is a better life for me and what is a better life for you? We aren’t robots after all and our world views are vastly different on simple matters of politics, who is to say that we see the life itself through the same prism? Aren’t we individuals?

It could cost us much less to just insure those 9 people, but wouldn’t that just reward a bad behavior? Problem is, those people didn’t get psychiatric evaluation on the 4th, 50th, 100th visit and were not put in proper care because the emergency room in Austin didn’t want to loose a sure thing, $1000 per visit! If Medicare didn’t pay them that $1000 I guarantee you hospital would have caught up to the pattern and would have addressed it appropriately by diagnosing the mental illness and sending the patient to one of the public mental clinics available out there. But why fix the problem? It’s much better to profit from it, especially when you have a government that will blindly pay any bill because it would help advance its agenda.

When we start seeing people as numbers, mere statistics, that is when we loose our humanity. By giving those people a healthcare insurance we are creating a dependant who will be exploited by everyone who isn’t lazy to do so. But by solving their mental problems we create an individual, 50 years old, who still has a chance to improve his/her place in this life. Which is a more humane approach? Which is the right approach?

Posted by: Crusader at April 3, 2009 11:30 AM
Comment #279520

Crusader said: “You know we would save ton of money if we just abandoned the capital punishment, why won’t we?”

I doubt that is true. Life imprisonment carries a very hefty price tag as well.

C. said: “We could not only save ton of money but actually generate revenue by legalizing drugs, why won’t we?”

The reason is that there are enormous social costs attached to many kinds of currently illegal drug usage. Legalizing morphine or opium or, worse, amphetamines, carries huge costs in innocent victims harmed by the drug user. Children of parental opiate addicts can become horribly neglected and end up wards of the state. Amphetamine addicts destroy millions of brain cells, (not to mention liver cells), with each high, resulting eventually in mental disabilities and judgment impairment that creates innocent victims of rage, vehicular accidents, or family members neglected.

There drugs, by virtue of their organic and behavioral degenerative effects from addition, create innocent victims of other society members. Society has a right and obligation to defend itself from being victimized by such addicts.

Legalization of non-addictive recreational drugs or even addictive recreational drugs which lack behavioral consequences resulting in innocent victims made of bystanders, would save tax payers enormous sums of money, create far less criminals in our society, and diminish the growth of the criminal underground that traffics in such drugs.

However, I doubt legalization would have the results users of such recreational drugs envision. Legalization opens the door to manipulating potency, and regulations on where and when such use is permitted and not permitted, not to mention the many laws that would be enabled on employer’s behalf to drug test and refuse hiring of anyone with an even distant record of usage.

Decriminalization will, I think, have far more positive results regarding individual freedom with responsibility for users, and for society at large for recreational drugs, than legalization would. It is not intuitive, but, what pot smoker in California is fearful today, where having a joint has been effectively decriminalized?

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 3, 2009 2:10 PM
Comment #279528

You are assuming that illegal drugs aren’t readily available. As a student, I could go to a specific “vendor” with wide array of products right on the school campus. If I wanted to get more serious drugs, I had to drive 20 mins to a different vendor. I had much harder time getting alcohol than a joint or any other drug of choice. But this is a topic of a different discussion in a different forum.

As far as capital punishment, when you consider the amount of legal expenses associated with a capital case, by some estimates 48% more in legal fees, the cost of life without parole is much lower. For example, average cost of keeping an inmate is $25k per year in a maximum security prison. Let’s say that prisoner lives for 100 years. That amounts to $2.5mill spent on keeping that inmate incarcerated over 100 years cost spread over 100 years. Average cost of capital trial in California is about 250 million from 1st trial all the way to the execution. Most of that cost comes after the trial. Highest cost capital trial in California was $10.9 million before the appeals.

Do you still think it’s cheaper to execute someone than to give them life without parole?

Reason why we have politicians who are against death penalty but don’t do a thing to overturn it is because of money and political “debate” which is nothing but smoke and mirrors.

Posted by: Crusader at April 3, 2009 3:31 PM
Comment #279531

Craig said:

“We do not want our Presidents to have the authority to fire CEO’s or major corporations.”

david said:

“This is real simple, Craig. If CEO’s don’t want the government hiring or firing them, they need only run their corporations responsibly”

the gov’t has no authority to hire or fire the officers of private companies, anymore then they have the authority to set a cap on executive salaries, and to give that power to them would be foolish at best. allowing politicains to do this would open up a pandoras box of political retribution. be careful what you wish for david. it just may come back and bite you in the arse.

Posted by: dbs at April 3, 2009 4:30 PM
Comment #279537

Hey, who said government doesn’t have a right to fire a CEO? Who is going to stop them? Bush crossed a proverbial Rubicon when he approved bailouts, now it’s who can push the envelope furthest.

We are in an effective dictatorship, a fascist state where state interests are above all.

Definition of fascism: “Fascism is a radical, authoritarian nationalist ideology that aims to create a single-party state with a government led by a dictator who seeks national unity and development by requiring individuals to subordinate self-interest to the collective interest of the nation or race”.

Let’s describe what has happened in the past 6 months:

1. Government decided that letting Lehman Brothers fail was ok, but letting GM fail was not ok. Letting AIG fair was not OK but letting “Joes Plumbing Shop” fail was ok. This decisions were made out of COLLECTIVE INTEREST OF THE NATION.
2. We are effectively in a single party state where in the House of Representatives opposition voice is suppressed and is ignored, senate has a constitutional majority.
3. Government is seeking national unity and development of the state interests by suppressing individualism - Give Act, HR 1388, offering $500 towards the college fund for serving in a community service corps.
4. President and Treasury secretary decide who makes what and who keeps their job. They have now the ability to take over any institutionaly important company (are you kidding me?).

Definition of authoritarianism: “Authoritarianism describes a form of government characterized by an emphasis on the authority of the state in a republic or union.”
Definition of dictator: “the term “dictator” is generally used to describe a leader who holds and/or abuses an extraordinary amount of personal power, especially the power to make laws without effective restraint by a legislative assembly.”

“Hell is full of good intentions and desires”. (St Bernard of Clairvaux)

Posted by: Crusader at April 3, 2009 6:44 PM
Comment #279577

Crusader, your last comment went over the edge. It conflates government assertion of terms upon corporations receiving government assistance with the absence of assertion of power by government over corporations who do NOT receive government assistance to remain in business. Which, of course, is a patently and abjectly false conflation.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 4, 2009 9:13 PM
Comment #279578

Craig said: “the gov’t has no authority to hire or fire the officers of private companies, anymore then they have the authority to set a cap on executive salaries, and to give that power to them would be foolish at best.”

Sure it does. Just as I have the authority to dictate the terms under which I will give you my money, the government has the authority to dictate the terms under which it will give tax payer’s money to private interests. The government can make any rules it wants to. That is the nature of government. In our constitutional democracy, it is up to the Supreme Court or the voters to demonstrate when the government’s rules and actions are no longer acceptable.

You seem to be ignoring basic principles of Civics 101.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 4, 2009 9:18 PM
Comment #279579

Crusader asserted: “Average cost of capital trial in California is about 250 million from 1st trial all the way to the execution.”

Provide a credible source for that information, Crusader. $250 million in state costs for capital offense? I think you are making up statistics to make true your rebuttal. What is your source? Without a credible source, I have to say your assertion is patently and intuitively, FALSE.

In addition, I will make the case that your statement is patently false, with the following reference for California: “The additional cost of confining an inmate to death row, as compared to the maximum security prisons where those sentenced to life without possibility of parole ordinarily serve their sentences, is $90,000 per year per inmate.”

Assuming an average of 20 years on death row, which is probably high, that amounts to $1,800,000, more than a life sentence without parole detention. A far cry from the $250 million your comment asserts. I think you will find b.s. doesn’t travel far on this web site without someone researching the facts.

Now, if a state like California wants to sentence people to death, and then prevent the state from ever putting them to death, that is a whole other topic entirely, since putting people on death row in perpetuity without their ever being put to death, is in fact, a no death penalty state, choosing stupidly to waste dollars in an extreme fashion. If Californians want to travel such a bizarre path to bankruptcy, that’s fine, but, they aren’t representative of other states, nor, should they be receiving any federal funding for their prison systems with such gross mismanagement of their prison system resources.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 4, 2009 9:21 PM
Comment #279591

david

i made the comment that stated gov’t has no authority to hire and fire the officers of private cos. not craig. you need to read all the way to the bottom.

this is the 4th time i’ve caught you on this one, we may have to lock up your keyboard if this continues ;-).

BTW gov’t does not have the authority to fire corporate officers, unless that was stipulated as part of the conditions for taking gov’t bailout money. as i said before be careful what you wish for. giving politicians that kind of power over private enterprise could lead to rampant politically motivated attacks by the party in power.

Posted by: dbs at April 5, 2009 10:49 AM
Comment #279592

For those who believe that CEOs and Upper Management cannot be fired what part of “We the Corporation” is in question? Yes, as far back as President Ragen and the Traffic Controlers “We the People” have the Authority to put Our Inherent Best Interest and Welfare above that of the Individual. And why it may not be fair, go tell Grandpa that he is wrong. Good Luck!

David,
Why I can understand your position on states that wish to have no death penalty. However, would you say that Life in Prison without the chance of parole could be seen by some to be Cruel and Unusaul Punishment?

And if so, what would you recommend as acceptable punishment.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at April 5, 2009 10:49 AM
Comment #279593

david

“The government can make any rules it wants to. That is the nature of government.”

this is just disturbing. what else can say.

Posted by: dbs at April 5, 2009 10:52 AM
Comment #279599

henry

air traffic controllers fall in the same category as police and fire. they have a direct effect on public saftey. big difference. the military can’t strike either.

“We the People” have the Authority to put Our Inherent Best Interest and Welfare above that of the Individual.”

no you don’t. you can’t fire the officers of private corporations either, even if you want to believe you can.

Posted by: dbs at April 5, 2009 12:29 PM
Comment #279603

dbs, just what do you think it was that our founding fathers were doing in making up a Constitution of their own?

Like I said, a government, can make up any rules it wishes. The people with either assent to those rules or overturn that government. But, it is the heart and core of government to make up rules for the society within nation and between itself and other nations.

That, you find this disturbing, is not surprising. A great number of Americans don’t understand the very basics of government, let alone the complexities of its actual rules. Which also accounts for why voters who detest Congress nonetheless, vote to reelect incumbents to fill it. If nothing else, this contributes to the continuity and stability of government, despite some truly terrible governing results.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 5, 2009 2:01 PM
Comment #279644

Dear David R. Remer,

Let me respond to you point by point:

By your own reference, cost at the moment is $137 mill. What you and most of the today’s CA government don’t want to recognize is the cost of opportunity. Just the facilities where today’s death row inmates are housed are estimated to be worth near quarter of a billion dollars. Also, by providing the special accommodations to the death row inmates we are using those same resources at 25-35% of the efficiency they are used when dealing with life without parole inmates. We are going to have to overhaul the death row at San Quentin which will eventually cost hundreds of millions of dollars. My point was, which ever way you look at it, cost of death row inmates is significantly higher than that of a life sentence inmates. It is one of those political issues, much like the prostitution, that no one dares to approach with common sense. We can have a detailed discussion about this subject, it is very dear to me much like the abortion issue but I doubt this forum is an appropriate venue for it as only resources I can provide here are what is available on the Internet which is not my main source of information.


Regarding the emergence of a fascist state in the US:

Only way a doctor diagnoses the patient is by looking at symptoms. The same way, we can guess what is to come by comparing the current events with the historic references. Unfortunately, there are a few with striking similarities:

Italy 1923-1943. Similarities in the ideology:

1. Corporatism - certain number of Italian corporations facilitated Benito Mussolini’s assertion to the power and in return they were bailed out by public funds. Neo-corporatism is described as a cooperation of the labor, the capital and the government in order to fairly divide the productivity earnings in the market place between the social partners and establishing wage control during recession or inflation.(“Trends toward Corporatist Intermediation”, Schmitter and Lehmbruch)

2. Syndicalism - government and the corporations are run by unions who assert their control in order to run society “fairly” for the majority. Card check initiative is a clear example of this today.

3. Social progress - strive to achieve an ideal society. Some of the initiatives are identical such as youth “voluntary” organizations to serve the community and civil defence, government sponsored social programs (education, health care, welfare, etc.), fair distribution of the wealth.

Now let’s look at actual similarities in governing process:

1. Major infrastructure development projects sponsored by government to battle the recession.
2. Creating of new “exemplary” industry. In Italy it was wheat fields, in the US it’s green initiatives and alternative energy. In Italy it was Mussolinia as an example of ideal, in the US it will be GM and Chrysler and their future line of “green” cars.
3. Election system overhaul. In Italy it was new majority rules, in the US it’s new census administered by the white house.
4. Corporate bailouts. In this area we are looking into the mirror where one side is Italy and other side is the US. By mid 1930’s Italian government controlled close to 1/3 of the Italian corporations, nearly all banks. The US government owns 80% of CitiBank, God know how much of BoA, GM, Chrysler, AIG etc.
5. Gold for the Fatherland program of Italy is strikingly similar of the approach the US government takes. In Italy there was no income to tax so it’s was touted as patriotic duty to donate gold to government. Subsequently gold was melted and transferred on the balance of the national banks. In the US it’s patriotic duty to pay extra taxes to help the country out, according to the vise president and the president himself.
6. Nationalisation of the corporations. In Italy it was done through purchase of stocks by the Italian government. In the US the first step in this direction is taken by HR 1664 Pay for Performance Act of 2009. In it, the congress has granted the treasury secretary an ability to establish the “reasonable” wages for corporations that receive government funds and an ability to take over the management of the corporations which present the systemic risk to the US economy. Talk about slippery slope.
7. Mussolini saw the value in indoctrinating the youth at an early stage to be “good” citizens. The US government has initiated HR 1388 the G.I.V.E. Act of 2009 title says it all, the Generations Invigorate Volunteerism and Education Act. If you look at public school teachers and administrations “impartiality” I can only imagine what we will get in this new organization. You be the judge.

I will post the similarities with Spanish fascism and the German fascism little later. This should be good enough for starters.

Posted by: Crusader at April 6, 2009 9:48 AM
Comment #279657

Crusader said: “Just the facilities where today’s death row inmates are housed are estimated to be worth near quarter of a billion dollars.”

Now this comment invokes voodoo math. The cost of the entire facility has no apples to apples relation with the cost differential on a per prisoner basis between life imprisonment and death penalty housing/maintenance and appeals.

What is the cost of that facility per inmate per year? When you have that figure, real math can again be applied to a rational discussion.

As for a fascist state in America, you leave out the most important point in the analogy. In a fascist state, the people are not free to dislodge those in power. In America, we are free to dislodge those in power. Ergo, we are not a fascist state resembling ANY fascist state in history. Corporatism is an element of fascism. But, is insufficient to define fascism. Corporatism is an element of capitalism. But, is insufficient to define capitalism.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 6, 2009 9:00 PM
Comment #279662

We can see how the new census divides the country and how it effects the elections.

Mussolini came to power through a democratic process as well. We are only 3 months into the new administration, they got 3 years and 9 months to go. By the way, it is a mistake to think that Italian fascism was against the will of its citizens. I think majority, much like in Germany, was very content with the “social justice” that Fascist party offered.

Besides, there are fewer and fewer seats in the Congress which are “swing” seats. I don’t know how much power does the populus really hold.

I hope you aren’t mistaking corruption for a “corporatism”. American capitalism had elements of corruption but corporatism only came to be part of the picture recently. Though labor was prominent political force, it wasn’t one of 3 major powers which it is today. Though we had some elements of it in the past, not until last few months had government elevated interests of sertain corporations and labor above the interests of the citizens.

Corporatism alone doesn’t define facism. It is a mere part of it, as I mentioned, it might not be the exact replica ofthe Italian, Spanish or German version of fascism but as the saying goes “if it walks like a duck…”.

p.s. the facility cost of the death row is relevant because it requires 3-4 times the resources that of a regular life sentence inmate.

Posted by: Crusader at April 6, 2009 10:04 PM
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