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Inflation Versus Inaction


We now get a lot of activity from the theorists who say inflation is right around the corner. Every little up-tick in the interest rates, no matter how small, is seen as the first step in an upward spiral into the disaster of inflation.

Well, who is saying this? It’s not the same economists who are saying that, a. we have too many people unemployed, and b. too much money is going abroad to make things that come back here to be sold to people whose personal economic conditions get worse by the day. It is not the same economists who are saying that monetary policy, letting out more and more line, more money, into the marketplace is not working for the average man.

It is not the economists who are saying that Wall Street is swallowing up that money and not allowing it to get to the venture capitalists who could build new companies, hire new people here in the U.S., but instead invests it in more financial deals that create more wealth for more already very rich men.

It is not the economists who are saying that we should take these very cheap dollars and use them to keep our bridges from falling down, replace our century-old sewer and water systems, build modern schools and take the Internet to a new level and into under-served or un-served geographic areas.

It is all financial people, all the time. They continue to hammer at the idea of inflation. And why is that? One answer might be that the cheap money is also being used to finance enormously profitable manufacturing in Asia for products that are sold in places like Europe, Latin America an emerging countries in Asia. They are not using their own money. Their profits are going into their bank accounts. According to Forbes, there are 442 acknowledged billionaires in the country today.

In addition to some recognizable names, like Gates and Buffett, there are others like Tory Burch and Sara Blakely. who have made billions on the fashion business. That business is largely done, products made, in China. But the point is not whether all or merely some products are made in China. The point is that our economy is working well for many people. Over 92% of Americans are unemployed. The bad news is what the term “employed” means today.

Employed means that you have a college degree. Statistically, fewer than 5% of college graduates over 25 are unemployed, which is well within the range of full employment, since many people change jobs, go back to school. start their own businesses or for a variety of reasons drop out of the measurable work force.

The problem today is that to get a college degree you must pay something like $48,000 at least at a state university. But even if you could earn half of this, which is possible, you still leave college with $24,000 in college loans to repay. Not an easy thing if you are a teacher or a social sciences, history or English major.

So we could make a pretty good argument that we need to find a method of employing people in secure jobs that do not require a college education. More importantly, we need to work immediately on the problem of young people under the age of 14 basically, to make sure that they are ready to take on more substantial educational efforts. We are behind the rest of the world and that costs us in employment.

It takes longer to train someone and there are simply fewer people who are qualified for and therefore comfortable with certain technical businesses. We need people educated and looking for those kinds of high paying jobs.

Where are the jobs? Texas is doing ok. Low paying jobs in a variety of businesses and good paying jobs for people in the oil and gas business. Wisconsin, the state where the Governor gave $165 million in tax breaks to his business pals to “develop business” has a minus in the new jobs column. Yes, Wisconsin has a -.7% jobs growth. At that rate, Wisconsin’s population will be the size of Milwaukee in ten years.

It is time to create new jobs. We have a simple task in front of us, really. We need to create about ten new industries. First, most of the world is in need of streamlining. We can export our management expertise around the world. We must develop it into teachable form, which is not difficult, then translate it, then train people in how to present it. We have a century’s worth of experience we can sell to the rest of the world for a good price.

Next, we need to develop sustainable energy, alternative sources of energy. This is one way that we can leapfrog the rest of the world. We have a dynamic system. In the 1930s and again in the 1950s we made huge investments in our infrastructure. An investment in alternative energy now…by government, not by private billionaires…would give us lower energy costs for as far as we can see into the future.

We need to make transportation public again. We made a serious mistake when we decided to create suburbs that were only reachable by automobile. A gigantic new industry for Detroit would be public transportation vehicles, especially hybrids and all-electric transportation.

So where are we? Are we going to stay in this swampland of high unemployment and even higher underemployment or are we going to rescue the country? Countries grow in population. If they do not also grow in businesses, industries, jobs and infrastructure, they become second-world countries.

It would be a shame for the U.S. to become such a country with all our resources.

We have a national debt of 17 trillion dollars. Who has that money. Money flows; it does not disappear. The money flowed to those who benefited. During the Bush years, that would have been the following. Stockholders of the drug companies who benefited from the Prescription Drug Bill, to the tune of 600 billion dollars. The military contractors who benefited from the Iraq War, as we saw in Robert Greewald’s film, “Iraq for Sale.”

Halliburton alone took 12.5 billion dollars from that war and there were dozens of other contractors. When Bush took office we had a 5.6 trillion dollar national debt and a balanced budget. When he left office, we had a 12 trillion dollar debt and a world wide Depression that his idiotic policies and his pandering to Wall Street produced.

He left us with a 1.4 trillion dollar deficit in 2009. But that was not all. He also left us with the loss of 7.5 trillion in assets, like our personal stocks, our 401Ks and the equities in our homes that vanished into the pockets of the gamblers on Wall Street who sold out, took the profits and watched the rest of us suffer.

The rich became richer and the average middle class family began to sink slowly in the mud. The top 1% began to really rake it in. Since 2010, almost all new income has gone to the top 1%. How can that happen?

It is not complicated. Most people are being cut back on income or benefits, or taking jobs at less pay, so statistically, across the population, they are not increasing their income. But a hedge fund manager, who is in the top .1%, the top of the top, who makes 5 billion in one year…gets most of the new national income.

Right now, the top 1% of Americans have personal assets in the 45 trillion to 65 trillion range. They could pay off the national debt tomorrow and many of them would never even know…literally not know…that the money was gone. And they would still have 30 to 50 trillion dollars in the bank, or somewhere.

So this is not a problem of resources. We allowed business to own our national resources and billionaires now make added billions every year and grouse about paying taxes. In Norway, they nationalized the oil resources, as have other countries, leading to huge benefits to the people. Alaska has oil resources that return money to the people. Alaskans pay no income taxes, but instead earn money from the government every year.

We need a revolution in economic thought in this country. And a revolution in government.

We need a system of governing that is of, by and for the People.

Before it is too late.

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