Most people will tell you that they are angry with the President. They were angry with the President in 2010 when they voted for 29 Republican governors, Republican governors who—the idiots should have known—are about to destroy collective bargaining for public workers, like teachers, firefighters and police, drop millions of Americans off Medicaid, and eliminate public worker pensions.
The people who voted for these Republican governors and 240 Neocon members of the House of Representatives still don’t get it. It wasn’t Obama’s fault that they’re out of a job. It was George W. Bush’s fault. It could not be clearer and more obvious. You would need to be blind, deaf, or a complete and total moron… or a Right-Wing Fascist Neocon who deliberately ignores the truth…not to know that.
In 2006, after we all knew that speculation had created an artificially inflated bubble around real estate in the economy, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney selected the most anti-SEC Chairman they could find, Representative Christopher Cox, who should be in prison, to insure that nothing and no one would interfere with the Wall Street firms that were running wild, and creating the biggest financial scam in our country’s history.
This isn’t news. If anyone watches the Senate and House hearings on the Democratic Dodd-Frank bill regulating illegal practices on Wall Street or on the new Democratic consumer protection regulations that banks and credit card companies must follow…it is hard to know which is the banker and which is the Republican Senator or Congressman. One Republican Congressman had to correct a statement of one of the representatives of the banking lobby to make his answer more forceful against the legislation.
Christopher Cox reduced the investigative staff at the SEC under Bush. He cut the number of attorneys and reduced the power and authority of investigators, threw out any lawsuit that would affect any Republican Wall Street contributor. He deliberately ignored warnings about Bernie Madoff and about Goldman, Sachs and AIG. Actually he did not ignore them. He simply ruled that no one from the SEC would investigate them or, if investigated, would act. He basically destroyed the SEC and many, many good, hardworking, very smart attorneys left the government, disillusioned.
In the end, the speculation, that is the owning of these worthless pieces of junk securities was too risky even for the high-wire act of your average Wall Streeter, and they began to sell, the market came crashing down, dropped from about 12,000 down to 7,000 and took about $3 trillion of the value in the average American’s wealth with it.
Homes, for example, that had been valued with equity of $150,000 over the mortgage were suddenly valued at less than the value of the mortgage. Seven million people lost jobs between the start of the crash in October 2008 and the fall of 2009, by which time—when President Obama was able to stop the job losses, over 10.8%–more than one person out of every ten had lost a job.
From the Party of Lincoln to the Neocon Party of Bush and Cheney
The Republican Party, long the small business party (or so they pretended) and the Party of the upper middle class, the accountant, the owner of the plumbing shop, the restaurant owner, the owner of the dry cleaners….these former representatives of the frugal and anti-war average citizen had been bought by the rich.
No longer did they encourage the small banks to make loans to businesses. The big international corporations, the GEs, the EXXONs and the WalMarts were their contributors. They didn’t have to raise $10, $25, or $100 from small contributors. They would get, $40,000, $50,000 or, as in the case of the Republican governors in the 2010 election, $1,000,000 from Rupert Murdoch of Fox News.
In fact, Republicans had already long since given up on small business. Over 50,000 small businesses went down because of the policies of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Translation: 3 million jobs were lost since the year 2000 on outsourcing alone.
By contrast, in 1965, U.S. manufacturing was 53% of our economy and by 2004, it was just 9%. It is remarkable that we have any economy at all. The entire Republican economic plan has nothing to do with creating jobs.
Here is the Republican economic agenda and see if you do not recognize its impact on your daily life.
1. Cut taxes on the wealthy. They create jobs, so they should have extra money to use to create jobs. If that is the case, why have we had one crisis after another and income losses, not gains, among the working class? They went from good jobs to fast-food jobs in one generation. Where were the rich who got millions and millions (an average, per person, during the decade between 2000 and 2010, of well over $1.5 million dollars in tax breaks, that is over and above their normal tax deductions.
2. Export jobs and manufacturing overseas. The idea was that this would allow American consumers to buy products…shirts, shoes, shorts…at cheaper prices and this put downward pressure on inflation, making life better for all Americans. But they forgot one thing. When the U.S. jobs went abroad, all the Americans could afford, with no good jobs, was cheap shit. Which is what WalMart sells.
3. Cut government and blame government. When you cut taxes, you cut government revenues. So government must be cut and the best way to do that is to do what the Nazis did to the Jews…blame them for everything, over and over again.
The government has never been the problem. The nine most fearsome words are not “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” The most fearsome statement that Americans are now going to hear is something like this:
“I’m a Republican governor and I’m here to cut your Medicare, your Medicaid, your Social Security (in whatever way I can), your elementary and secondary schools, your university grants, your pension, your job security and every thing else that government does for you. Now you will be all on your own, as will any parents, siblings or children who have the misfortune to fall out of a job or have a serious medical condition. I do it so that Rich Republicans can have tax breaks.”
That’s the Republican plan. It was Reagan’s plan, it was Bush the First’s plan. And it was turned into a religious mission by Bush and Cheney, two bigger crooks that ever existed in American government. Richard Nixon was St. Frances of Assisi compared to these two. Butch Cheney and the Dungdance Kid.
So, if giving tax breaks to the billionaire job creators is what they say that they do, then where are the jobs? We had three consecutive tax cuts that will eventually range over 10 years, with each of those individuals, each person, in the top 1% of taxpayers receiving about $1.2 million…just from those tax breaks alone. Imagine how much money these people have if …not their income…not their taxes…but just their tax breaks, their Bush-Cheney rebates…amounted to $1.2 million.
The Disaster Bush and Cheney Left Us All
We have 15 million people out of work and another 10 million working in supermarkets, fast food restaurants, anywhere they can find a job of any kind. The Republicans have not put forth one single proposal to create jobs. They have given tax breaks to the rich. They have refused to regulate Wall Street. They refused to cut the unbelievable costs of health insurance. But they took $400 million from the health care industry to try to repeal affordable health care and access for all Americans, including the 47 million whom the insurance industry refuses health care insurance.
They have tried to end collective bargaining for state and local workers. They have proposed cutting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. But not the military, the largest military machine in the world, six times larger than China and a greater expenditure than the rest of the world combined. America has 11 aircraft carriers, more than the rest of the world combined. No other country has more than 1.China has none.
Does that make you proud? It should make you fearful. Why does a country like the United States need to spend $700 billion to protect itself? From Iraq? We could have destroyed Saddam Hussein with 19 smart bombs in one day. Iran? Egypt? Libya? A bunch of rag tag small-time revolutionaries with home made zip guns is tearing up the country.
These people have what we should have, an intense desire to be free. They are taking over the Middle East, one country at a time. Our military participation, given the situation, could be duplicated by almost any one of a dozen countries. Why does the world’s most generous nation (probably second to the aggregate good will of the Scandinavian countries but more in dollar value) need 11 aircraft carriers to keep us from being attacked and yet 19 Arabs can come onto our soil and kill 3,000 people in one day? Do you call that security?
All we needed was one intelligent, concerned President paying as much attention to his terrorist advisors as the previous president had. Bush had serious warnings as late as only 30 days prior to the event, and continuous warnings up to that very day. But he did nothing. He did nothing because he is lazy and arrogant and stupid. He is a typical new Neocon Republican, a minor-league Fascist. (They can’t even get that right.) A kind of scared, timid, wimpy Fascist.
The Republicans have said that they will not try to stimulate the economy. In fact, the President sent three separate bills to Congress to stimulate jobs by guaranteeing loans to the private sector community banks for small business. That was the only way it was even possible for the Administration, since the Republicans blocked every other effort. But in the end, they blocked this proposal also, with one of their 240 filibusters.
It was all political. How do we know? We don’t but consider this. There are 15 million people out of work and at least 5 million have been out of work for over a year. How would you like to be out of work for over a year? Some have been out 2 years…the so-called 99ers. And what did the Republican Senate do? They held up unemployment to get more tax breaks for the rich. As cynical and cruel and slimy a group of legislators as any who ever inhabited the Capitol.
Everywhere you look, even with things improving, it is a disaster. Pass any strip mall in almost any community in the Midwest or northeast, or west coast and you will see “for rent”signs where for many years you were accustomed to see the same stores.
Let’s take a quick look back at what happened in the heart of the consequences of the Bush Stock Market Crash. In 2009, Blockbuster closed 900 stores and Chrysler closed 769 dealerships. That’s at least 10,000 employees for Blockbuster and five times that many for Chrysler. Circuit City closed 567 stores and KB Toys 461. Hollywood Video closed 450 stores, Ritz Camera 365 and even Starbucks knocked off 273 units. Sam Goody’s record stores dropped 287, Jones Apparel 265, Waldenbooks 240, Footlocker 200, Zales Jewelers 191, Van Heusen 175, Ann Taylor 163, Inkstop 161 and even Family Dollar 160 locations. You would think a “dollar” store would survive a Recession.
Another 240 chains closed stores from approximately 150 units down to one or two. Some of those major shutdowns involved chains like Albertsons, Winn-Dixie and Target, Macy’s and Dillard’s and the Gap and Eddie Bauer and Office Depot…big stores with large staffs. This is what happened in 2009 before the President could get it stopped. It was racing like hell towards a Depression.
Many of those jobs weren’t much, but they were jobs and many had health insurance. Most had no unions to defend them, no protection against being thrown out on the street. The store closes and you’re gone, looking for a job. The President finally was able to get a stimulus passed in March of 2009 and by October the bleeding of jobs had stopped and the store closings began to slow down. But the next year wasn’t much better.
In 2010, 1000 Quiznos closed. Another 690 Blockbuster videos closed. There were 200 closings of Waldenbooks stores, 175 Ford-Lincoln dealerships and more Gaps, more Ann Taylors, more Men’s Wearhouses, more Payless shoe stores, 114 more Footlockers and 190 Popeye’s.
It just kept coming, only slightly smaller numbers now. Most of the big cuts had been made. But another 30 Winn-Dixie supermarkets, 50 B.Dalton bookstores, 58 Rite Aid drugstores and 30 Old Navy stores laid off thousands more people. Hundreds on hundreds of stores closed in 2010 and hundreds of thousands of employees sent into a workforce where there were no jobs.
The President’s stimulus was working its way through the economy and compensating for the massive job losses that were still coming. With about $500 billion set aside to carry out projects over a couple of years that had long been postponed, the jobs situation, while jobs did not grow…began to stabilize, but at a higher ratio of unemployed. Chains seemed to have reached there equilibrium level and some small businesses did begin…but fewer than 5% new stores or businesses.
And so this brings us to our current condition in the Spring of 2011. Inventories have finally played out and demand is driving the economy slowly and slightly upwards. What we need is a new stimulus.
The fact is that the solution to our economic problems is very simple. Here it is. We have an economy that is over an 80% service economy. What does that mean? It means that we have no manufacturing in this country. We either buy imported products made by companies from other countries, like Toyotas, or from U.S. companies who manufacture abroad, like GE.
But the American companies, although they export manufacturing jobs abroad, expect that somehow Americans will have the money to buy their products. Apparently, they feel, selling something for $3.98 is easier than selling something for $5.98…even if the person you are selling it to has no money!
The second part of the problem is that a service economy is derivative. In other words, you take your clothes to the cleaner or you go out to dinner because you have needs for dry cleaning or food or entertainment, and you have a job that provides the income to spend on those services.
But when the dry cleaner is going to dinner, or when the restaurant owner is going to the dry cleaners, it is one service industry feeding off another. Over time, other people who used to make things go into the dry cleaning business or the restaurant business. Service industries, feeding on each other, gradually diminish.
Wages in service industries are generally lower. Part of the reason is that price is more important. You are able to assess the competitive price and quality of service of your dry cleaner than you are of the price tag on a toy or a lawn mower or an automobile. Value added is only the quality of your service and the numbers of things you can do to improve service are limited and often transparent. So, workers in service industries and margins in the service industry are much slimmer and business viability much more tentative.
In the long run, we cannot keep 310 million Americans, or even the workforce of about 120 million Americans employed in the service industries. That is, not without a declining standard of living. Some big corporations would like that to happen. Big oil would like that to happen. Hold down wages so that their profits are more valuable.
Health insurance industries want it to happen. That way they can pay lower wages to average employees and continue the incomes of the average CEO and others in the executive suite who are virtually embezzling tens of millions of dollars apiece every year while 47 million Americans are suffering the anxiety and often the economic disaster of not having medical insurance coverage.
Putting Americans Back to Work
Right now, we need to have the government create 5 million jobs. Because almost every company in the country right now is a service business, the $200 billion it will cost to do this will go immediately into the service economy. In a sense, having a high service economy would help the stimulus in the short run.
It would take 5 million people off the unemployment rolls, and even though the cost may be roughly the same as unemployment, we now have things being built, things being saved from obsolescence, like bridges roads, etc.
We can also begin to create our non-renewable energy grid. We can begin to create conservation programs which are enormously valuable and, across the country can save us as much as 20% of our energy imports, that is about $160 billion a year in reduced balance of payments! It is also extremely valuable for a very wide segment of society.
We can create the transportation jobs that the President has established. If Wisconsin and Florida do not want those jobs, send them to Illinois and Colorado. Set up high-speed trains between Chicago and St. Louis and between Chicago and Detroit. Set up high speed trains all the way from Pueblo and Albuquerque to Boulder and Cheyenne along the eastern face of the Rockies. Run high-speed rail between Los Angeles and San Francisco or between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
There are millions on millions of job needs that can be filled–special emphasis on math teaching and college preparation courses for kids with brains but no access that can be extraordinarily valuable. It is being done now, only on a smaller scale.
We need to develop industry in the inner city that will train people in manufacturing skills. Right now we pay unemployment and welfare. We need to change that to job training, with large scale child care available, and train African-American men for jobs where they can become productive in society.
Why aren’t we shutting down the Southern borders? Why do we have military in Iraq and not in Arizona and in Afghanistan or Libya and not in parts of Texas? We have 700 military bases around the world and it has been said that we could cut that in half tomorrow and probably increase our security, not diminish it.
Why are we not closing the Southern border? Why are we not doing every thing we can to protect and assist those ranchers along the border who are suffering from all kinds of trafficking in drugs and illegal immigrants? We need to take care of all Americans, no matter their income status. Should you not be protected because you make a quarter of a million dollars a year? Just because several billionaires are trying to take over the country does not mean we should stop protecting hard working Americans of all income levels.
And that leads us to African-Americans. Right now the only choices for many African-American men are sports or selling drugs. The way we will get over the drug problem is by creating alternatives that are better, not by trying to stop enterprising Black men from making a living.
Let’s be honest. Some of the best and brightest become the strongest drug dealers. We need them to become our strongest citizens not criminals. If they are going to be crooks, at least educate them well enough to become members of that greatest of all crooked gangs, the U.S. House of Representatives.
This isn’t revolutionary. All the things that would improve this country are being done right now on a smaller scale by enlightened groups around the country. But not by a Congress occupied by enough bigots in key positions to prevent it from happening nationally.
We need to rid this country of the vermin and the racist pigs in Congress. We need to organize to vote them out or to do whatever necessary to stop this endless cycle of rich getting richer and poor getting poorer.
We know now, after 30 years of setbacks in the economy for the lower income groups that Reagan was a racist. Unwitting perhaps, but a racist. He set up the system that the Southern bigots could use to organize the latent racism in the South that was disappearing from 1948 to 1979, while African-Americans were gaining in education, income, position and political strength. Reagan tipped over that table and all the good things on it. Now we are paying the price in the return to horrific ghetto-like conditions in our cities.
By the way, we know who the bigots are. No need to pussy-foot around it. Senator Jeff Sessions is a bigot. John Cornyn is a bigot. Jim DeMint is a bigot. Richard Shelby is a bigot. John Boozman, Saxby Chambliss, Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul, David Vitter, Thad Cochrane, Chuck Grassley, Roy Blount and Roger Wicker are bigots. Almost the entire Republican House of Representatives…all of them with only a few exceptions…are bigots. No need to even discuss it. Just look at their voting records.
The Positive Results from Five Million Jobs
So, what happens if we create 5 million jobs? The financial community, which has been sitting on the sidelines, will suddenly see an economy growing by double. From about 2% the economy would be forced into a growth of 4% or more. We have a lot of latent demand. Those 5 million jobs, paying taxes, would create more jobs. The tax revenues from those workers would ease the pressure on the deficit as, at the same time, we cut back on every single unnecessary department or service.
The private banks, the greedy, self-serving, bureaucratic system that has set up money for other rich, greedy white men on Wall Street will have to back down. Some will leave the cabal, the clique, and invest in those new or emerging companies most needed. They will make fortunes. Others will follow or lose the best deals and eventually all of them will be forced to invest, because as those new and growing companies prosper, many American investors will become prosperous…and some…will become very rich. Nothing wrong with that. Just collect the taxes.
We know it works. We stimulated the economy in 1933 but not enough. We took unemployment down from 25% to 15% and then thought that the economy would grow on its own. It did not. So we spent really large amounts of money in 1941-1945…of necessity…and the economy grew and we paid off debts and had our most prosperous era in history until the Clinton administration.
We can do it again. We simply need to rid ourselves of the lobbyist-paid Republican legislators and return to Liberal and Progressive and even Populist…for, by and of the People…programs that make sense for our country and our citizens.