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Hoover’s RFC 2.0

In the bailout passed by Congress, we have witnessed a new version of Hoover’s Reconstruction Finance Corporation that failed to get the economy out of the Depression. It is long overdue for local communities and institutions to be empowered to disburse Federal aid.

Those same irate folks at McCain rallies who have been disempowered by the domination of the economy by corporations and marginalization of their voice in decisions can play a role if, and only if, they become incorporated into the decision-making process. This is not just a matter of Democrats getting elected or Congress reviewing Paulson’s actions. It is a matter of restructuring our political and economic institutions.

It is obvious that Paulson’s relation to Goldman Sachs and the investment banking industry will be decisive in his distribution of Federal monies. He is unquestionably a fox given the task of guarding the hen house. I opposed the bailout from the beginning. When Congress had an opportunity to review the bill after it was defeated by the House, there could have been many more substantive choices made in changing the amount and the means of distribution of the monies. Much like Hoover’s Reconstruction Finance Corporation in 1932 that failed, this too shall fail.

As communities are impacted and the local banks that we have come to depend on await the percolation of the funds to the local level, local businesses do not have the luxury of waiting. Disbursement of funds and implementation of financial support of small businesses, home owners and the unemployed needs to start from the bottom up. Local bodies for disbursement need to be structured in a way to address the brush fires already at work in our communities.

The fox is inherently going to go after the chickens. But, as every farmer knows, that is why dogs are as valuable as the roosters when it comes to keeping the eggs rolling. Our watch dogs are the communities themselves and the folks who are most impacted by economic insecurity, housing prices, foreclosures, tight credit, etc.

It is long past the time that we address the fundamental flaws in the economic and political structures that we live under. Waiting for this money to trickle down will not get the money where it is needed quick enough to have any positive impact. Keeping the dogs in the house at night will not keep the foxes at bay.

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The 800 Billion Dollar Gorilla in the Debate

It’s too bad so much coverage of Presidential politics this election is being spent on personality and gamesmanship. One would think that there was nothing as important as whether Sarah was Sarah or Joe revealed his feminine side by coming close to tears. Meanwhile, the 800 billion dollar gorilla in the room was allowed to dominate his own kingdom. As the economy is the theme of daily broadcasts as to WHEN, not if, Congress will pass the bailout, the rest of us watch in astonishment that our future and our children’s future is treated in such a cavalier manner by the two parties.

It’s not just a matter of how much time was spent on the debate about the bailout, but also where the maverick was when it came to the bill? Where was the YES WE CAN candidate when it comes to the opposition to the bailout by the vast majority of American people? If people expected something of substance would be said about it in the Presidential debate there were surely disappointed.

The word both VP Candidates used was “oversight”. This is a term, like Main Street and Wall Street that has been abused in the recent bailout debate. Policy means enforcement which is more than oversight. It is a comprehensive restructuring of the economy that has already taken place. The income gap between rich and poor has widened; the public infrastructure (such as mass transportation, energy production, public health and education and resource management) has deteriorated; vast numbers of the American people have no health care and the inflated housing prices that were so popular to investment bankers closed any opportunity for millions to own homes. The distinction made was that we were told Obama would “fundamentally change the focus of economic policy” after voting YES for the bailout, while we were told that John McCain was “representing reform” while voting YES for the bailout. Continue Reading

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Wall Street to America: Pay Us or We Kill the Economy

The continued political priority of Bush-Obama-McCain to maintain expansion continues a modern legacy of the political leaders in the Democratic and Republican Parties to circumvent the real checks and balances within the economy.

Those people who are panicky now and shaking at the prospect of having the bailout rejected should realize that the structure of the US economy has significantly changed. The presumption that this is a sound economy fails to recognize the great gap in income. It disregards the inability of American people to have health care that is less expensive than $700 billion. It ignores that the inflated housing prices have closed any opportunity for millions to own homes. It disregards the lack of government investment and the subsequent degrading of public infrastructure, such as public education and health, mass transportation, resource management and energy.

The economic extortion from Wall Street “Pay Us, or We Kill the Economy” to maintain continued growth disregards the necessity for periodic crises. Things do not just become better and better and better. There is a point where taking adrenaline for a deadly virus becomes self-defeating. To restructure the economy at this point takes political action that is not just based on maintaining the current presumptions of political leaders. As someone who recognizes the dynamism of the market system, I still recognize the basic law of economic gravity- what goes up, must come down.

Obama is heavily promoting the bailout and will NOT demonstrate the leadership needed to address the economy. As a Green, there is no better time to advocate for a transition of the economy away from globalization towards decentralization. Now is precisely the time to invest in a new renewable energy infrastructure that will cost less than $700 billion.

There is no clearer indicator of Obama’s intentions than his support for the bailout. Clinton2 will be no more of a change than Clinton1 was. Start looking at the role of the Fed. Greenspan was there during both Democratic and Republican Congresses from 1987 to 2006. “In 2004 Business Week Magazine and others criticized his keeping of low interest levels too long and his concurrent praise of sub-prime lending vehicles such as ARMs as leading to a housing bubble.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Greenspan

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The Cure is Worse Than the Disease

Let The Bubble Pop

Let’s NOT bail them out. Let’s assert our political independence from those who wish to drag the American people down with them. It’s time to assume control, and not just throw money at the problem. Right?

The situation has NOT been resolved and the cure is worse than the disease for the American public. At issue is are we going to join the lemmings of Wall Street and run over the cliff or do we exercise our political rights to establish new rules for the conduct of those who have accumulated so much wealth and power?  WE THE PEOPLE….

We have seen our atmosphere polluted and tied to Middle East oil by the refusal of politicians to heed the call of Jimmy Carter and break our dependence on oil. We have seen pension funds and investment portfolios wiped out in periodic crises from junk bonds to S&Ls to the dotcoms to derivatives. “Senator Phil Gramm, the second largest recipient of campaign contributions from Enron, succeeded in legislating California’s energy commodity trading deregulation. Despite warnings from prominent consumer groups which stated that this law would give energy traders too much influence over energy commodity prices, the legislation was passed in December 2000.”  We have seen deregulation dangle the sword of Damocles over commercial banking as “diversified” products put the FDIC guarantee (“the full faith and credit of the United States Government”) in question. Continue Reading