The Economic Party & Main Street Gov — our beginnings
The following was first written in 2010, published on Medium in 2015, then updated. (Note: underlined words/phrases correspond to links.)
“All streams flow to the sea, because the sea lies lower than those streams. If you want to govern the people, you must know how to place yourself beneath them. And to lead them, you must also know how to follow them.”
— Sourced from Tao Te Ching, attributed to Lao Tzu, dated ~500 B.C.
The origins of Main Street Gov are rooted in the genesis of a political movement, called the Economic Party, that was founded in part by prosecutors in October 2008. Reputedly born by the side of a food-truck in Washington DC, the Party has been expanding quietly since, with minimal footprint to select cities around the country — footprint minimality being a prerequisite to any viable political opponency, with longevity, in the modern surveillance state.
Deeply disappointed by the unconditional bailouts of 2008, the exonerations from criminal prosecution that followed, and the scrub-down of the truths to the root causes of the Great Recession that they dubbed the Great Whitewash — with accounting and securities fraud, committed by bankers, whitewashed and re-framed as “excessive risk” taken on by bankers — the founders teamed up with like-minded lawyers, ‘white-collar’ criminologists, and professors of finance and law, to build the Party’s intellectual capital through 2009. By 2010, they had found their candidates for President and Vice-President of the United States for the Nov 3 2020 General Election.
For the record: Since its inception, the Economic Party’s plans were to contest the Nov 8 2016 General Election, but those plans were abandoned in May 2015 after it became increasingly clear to the Party leadership, and the candidates, that governments and central banks worldwide would do anything they could, no matter how desperate or delusional, to:
- not recognize the catastrophic losses resident on systemic bank balance sheets here and abroad,
- kick the can even further down the road, until either the road ran out or their feet bled out,
- preserve and protect and if necessary embalm the continuity of revolving-door business as usual,
- push on a thread, hang on a straw, cling-on by the skin of their teeth, all in a final, futile, last-ditch effort to avert the inevitable banking meltdown that’s to come, accompanied by the inevitable bailouts already ensconced into legislation, including the Dodd-Frank Act, before all of them (who were delaying the inevitable) could run for the hills, to hide.
Through the Economic Party’s liaison to Main Street Gov, the Party indicated it was uncertain it could win the White House outright, in 2016, without proof that neither the Republican Party establishment nor the Democratic Party establishment had changed anything, through three administrations running eight years each, to stop the escalating series of crises and bailouts that began first with the Clinton Administration when, for example, a bailout of Citigroup was billed as a bailout of Mexico, continued into the Bush Administration, and got perpetuated through the Obama Administration (which, for instance, has been bailing out banks in the Eurozone, by way of the IMF conduit, for some time now).
Such proof, the liaison stated, would manifest itself either in the form of a new financial crisis, far more acute than the last, or in a precipitous and broad-based economic decline, heading into the tail-end of this decade.
The Party did not want to sever the vote and (so-to-speak) ‘Ross Perot’ the 2016 election, said the liaison, concluding: The decision was made long ago, that absent a certainty to our prospects of winning the White House in 2016, we would stand down and wait for 2020.
Note: All material on Main Street Gov or Medium, relating to the Economic Party, was written by the Publisher of Main Street Gov based on input provided by the Economic Party’s liaison to Main Street Gov. That said, the Publisher is not a member of the Party. Thus, the fault for any errors or omissions, anywhere on this site, is the Publisher’s, not the Party’s.
Also note: The Publisher of Main Street Gov is also the Domain Owner of EconomicParty.com — hence the reason for the Party to initiate contact with the Publisher in Jan 2009. In Jan 2020, EconomicParty.com will change hands, per a transfer agreement struck in 2009, so that the Party can launch its official site, announce its candidates, and present its platform.
In overview: Main Street Gov is a private enterprise, the Economic Party is a political organization — they are, thus, independent and separate physical and financial entities. Voting on Main Street Gov does NOT imply, infer, or translate to automatic de facto support of the Economic Party — that will have to be earned by its candidates and the Platform they stand on. The mission of the Economic Party is to win the White House in 2020, and take the Congress with it. The mission of Main Street Gov is to put our elected and unelected public officials on Citizens’ Watch & Vigil and turn that process into a business. Thus, there is no cash flow between us, only information flow.
Synergy can be defined as the interaction or combination of two or more agents, or forces, to garner an aggregate provocation, or effect, that exceeds the sum of their individual capacity to provoke and/or effect. In this respect, the relationship between the Economic Party and Main Street Gov will be highly synergistic in 2017 thru General Election Day 2020.
A WARNING ISSUED WITH ECONOMIC PARTY AUTHORITY
Although the Economic Party and Main Street Gov remain separate physical and financial entities, an attack upon Main Street Gov or any of its affiliates, including affiliated persons and/or websites, shall be construed as no less than an attack upon the Economic Party itself, and — in January 2021, when we WILL inaugurate a President from the Economic Party, and find in the Justice Department an Attorney General from our Party, and find in the National Security Agency a Director from our Party — the bearers of any fingerprints left by such an attack, and to whomever they lead, can rest assured of a merciless prosecution, to the fullest extent of the law.
From the Party Files:
We, the founders of the Economic Party, first came together to organize the start of a new Party after Wall Street emerged from its own self-concocted crisis, not just unscathed, but exceedingly better off than before the crisis — and in fact magnanimously better off — in ways that shocked and repulsed us to the core:
- So-called Too Big To Fail’s made much bigger, a perversion that assured them of guaranteed bailouts at their next self-concocted crisis.
- Ongoing Fed rescues through LSAP’s (Large Scale Asset Purchases, aka QE or Quantitative Easing) that promised to not just swap bad paper for good paper, but dramatically widen all sorts of bank margins, bountifully increase all sorts of fees & commissions, turn capital losses into capital gains and then magnify those capital gains, and very substantially lower bank borrowing costs.
- Unprecedented levels of Monetary Policy adherence, by the Federal Open Market Committee, to Primary Dealer “Expectations” Surveys, prepared by the New York Fed’s Markets Group, and the allowance for 100% or near-100% Profitable Trading Days for the Primary Dealers who were filling those Surveys, a boon for front-running opportunity that was the stuff of absolute fantasy.
- And, as a consequence of all of the above, the production of all-time record profits by the Primary Dealers, dished out as all-time record wages, bonuses, and dividends to executives of the Primary Dealers, the most ever in all of Wall Street’s history, despite their balance sheets (and off-balance-sheets) remaining un-capitalized or, in many a systemic instance, negatively capitalized (insolvent), with all sorts of assets artificially inflated in value, and all sorts of liabilities intentionally deflated in value, to present the appearance of financial health, in order to support the extravagant executive compensation underway.
And that’s to list only the most blatant elements of the continued handouts and bailouts, promised to culpable bank managements, by certain acquiescent Presidents, certain Cabinet Secretaries, certain Members of Congress, certain captured Regulators, and a beholden Federal Reserve, alike.
It is our contention — and firm conviction — that the Crisis of 2008 could have been averted in 2007, were the authorities willing. Proof that banks were cooking the books was there for the taking in 2007, yet some (who are amongst us now) were prodded back then with either a needle — or otherwise a tire iron — to look the other way.
In 2008 Candidate Barack Obama asserted that the authorities were “asleep at the wheel.” Not all were asleep. A few were very much awake, and mad about what they witnessed while awake. As for the others who didn’t get mad at all, they were sitting atop the laps of bankers, with those bankers being the ones behind the wheel, actually.
Starting 2020, the Economic Party’s top-tier candidates will be tasked with proving that the Crisis of 2008 could have been averted in 2007. The proof will be surgical, factual, and true. It will not be a pleasant affair, to reprise the past. But, just as those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it, those who hide it must be doomed to reveal it.
The American people must know that preemptive corrective action in 2007 could have stopped the 2008 Crisis, dead in its tracks. They should also know it because it’s happening all over again, culminating in another banking crisis, far more catastrophic than the last, in the near years to come.
As far back as 1993 at U.C. Berkeley, professors George Akerlof and Paul Romer would in Looting: The Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy for Profit write “If net worth [i.e. assets minus liabilities] is inflated by … accounting … incentives for looting will be created… [with] each additional dollar of artificial net worth [available for extraction] from the [institution].” For extraction (i.e. looting) by the managers of the institution, that is.
In regard to what caused the Savings & Loan crisis in the 1990’s, Akerlof and Romer would also write “Neither the public nor economists foresaw that looting [by insiders, as cause for the S&L crisis]. Now we know better. If we learn from experience, history need not repeat itself.”
But history would repeat itself within years of the S&L crisis, because, in condoning renewed looting in the decade leading up to Banking Crisis of 2008, government officials allowed it to.
In the aftermath of 2008, it’s still being condoned, post-mortem, and thus it appears history shall repeat itself, once again.
Why allow it over and over? In short, revolving-door quid pro quo, and the spoils of politics, i.e. money.
That bank managements were allowed to keep both their jobs and their bonuses, despite there being willful real estate appraisal and document fraud in their loan originations, despite there being rampant criminal misrepresentation in the worldwide sale of those frauds, for which there had to be top-level complicity — or you don’t know how megabanks work, and we do, because we count banking regulators and criminal referral coordinators amongst us — a willful and officially sanctioned commission, no doubt, of numerous frauds, generating hundreds of billions of dollars in felony proceeds, translating to zero high profile firings, zero dollars in executive compensation clawbacks, and zero days of jail time, was enough to sicken the stomach of anyone who even peripherally understood the symbolism ingrained in the statue of Lady Justice, wearing a blindfold, carrying a balanced scale in one hand and bearing a sword in the other.
That the apprehended bank robbers, all C-Suite officers of the banks they’d looted into bankruptcy, had been rewarded for their capture with even bigger banks to rob, got us riled up enough to start.
That the United States Government had again offered the offenders not just unfettered access its credit facilities, but an implicit taxpayer backstop also, going forward as far as the eye can see, in spite of the offenders’ laundry list of provable offenses, including Sarbanes-Oxley violations a mile long, simply staggered the mind.
If it had been up to us, we’d have lined up a crack team of criminal prosecutors, the best the nation had to offer, and had them go up the chain of bank command, with grant after grant of immunity, to witness after witness, from the bottom rung, on up, until we’d reached every C-level suite and made sure Justice had been served at the top.
But it was not up to us. So we did the only other thing we could, to right a totally un-American wrong: we started a new Party, and swore to ourselves that we would not rest until that Party won the Presidency and staffed the Justice Department to ensure such a miscarriage of justice, such a gross injustice, would never find the light of day — or the dark of night — in our country, ever again.
The Ink In Our Veins
The following chapter about us is bifocal, with focus on both our structure and our scripture.
With respect to structure, let us start the ignition to this locomotive with ‘about the Party, in brief’ then shift to ‘about the Publisher of MainStreetGov’ before getting on the long road to ‘about the Party, in detail.’
About the Party, in brief:
We are not Democrats, Republicans, or Libertarians. We are not affiliated with any Tea Party either.
We stand in deep disagreement with a number of economic policies pushed by both sides of the aisle. In different ways, by alternate means, and on occasion from opposing sides, we find their so-called Main Street policies to be helpful to the elites and their Wall Street cohorts and K Street consorts, while hurtful to the citizenry at large.
The principal operatives of the Economic Party were situated in San Diego County, California, until Nov 9 2016. With the Presidency decided in the opening hours of that day, they began preparations for a move to the Panhandle in Florida, where the Party will finally headquarter from an operational standpoint. Our command & control center will remain in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Until it is time, there will be no mention of the Economic Party on any of our doors. When our candidates show their faces, we will show ours, for the not-so-simple reason that:
The modern surveillance state is amicably best outfoxed by a limited imprint, so limited that it is assumed to be a negative imprint, a figment of the imagination, taken for granted to not exist and never have existed beyond the imagination.
As the eavesdroppers of the intelligence agencies of the United States would themselves admit: “out of sight, out of mind”
In 2019, we should have a presence in all 50 states of the Union, with a concentration in the 2020 battleground states we see for the Economic Party — the (Banking) Empire State of New York, being symbolically the most significant among them.
The Gini coefficient tells us that the nation’s seats of political pull & political power, namely New York City and Washington DC, are the worst centers of inequality in America. Besides New York City itself, the last we checked New York State registers the worst Gini coefficient (highest inequality) of all the 50 states, with the District of Columbia coming in worse. Some of that inequality is earned, the result of American capitalism doing its thing. Other parts, however, are distinctly unearned, the byproduct of backstops, bailouts, and handouts.
You see, the kind of disparity we’re seeing, between where Main Street hangs out alone, and where Wall Street and K street and Government hang out together, is indicative of something malign. This sort of disparity does not happen under free markets, true free markets, wherein rules and regulations apply equally and equitably to all. It happens, instead, under corrupt regimes.
The distinction as to which part of Gini is natural and which part is not, in New York State and New York City, our candidates will clarify in 2020, and clarify they will in graphic detail. If New Yorkers lend them their ears, then the state’s 31 electoral votes will resoundingly be theirs. No doubt about it.
There are several interrelated entities on this expedition of ours to General Election Day 2020. Organically, all are volunteers. The exception: the Publisher of MainStreetGov.
How the Party and this Publisher interact:
Frankly, it’s been rare. But when it did happen, with email compromised and not good for anything, and snail-mail not always good for everything, we dispatched a human messenger out to him with feedback on what was written, and newsfeed on what needed to be written. He then donned his writer’s hat, and turned the gumbo of those dispatches into as pretty an alphabet soup as he could.
Only a smattering of extracts on this site are collaborative. The publisher is otherwise sole composer of both the remainder and the bulk. This division of labor suits us fine. Besides, it’s not often we’ve disagreed with the guy.
About the Publisher:
Operationally, this individual resides entirely outside our party apparatus. He neither attends our meetings nor partakes in our plans. Except for his one encounter with five of our membership in early 2009 in Brazil, where he — an American citizen married to a Brazilian gal — lived off and on, he does not know who we are. For this Chinese Wall between us, there is a reason.
So why invite a fenced-out stranger to an otherwise close-knit party? In essence, two sets of assets in his possession that we (1) needed and (2) wanted.
Sensing convergence of perhaps the same political, economic and social giga-trends we’d sensed advent of some time ago, he had thought of and registered the domain EconomicParty.com in late 2008 to bottle the dynamic.
Asked for what clicked in his head to think that a new political party was viable, he alluded to generational theory and, in particular, cycle historians William Strauss and Neil Howe’s seminal study “The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy — what the cycles of history tell us about America’s next rendezvous with destiny.”
“Countdown to a Meltdown — America’s coming economic crisis, a look back from the election of 2016” by James Fallows, printed in The Atlantic magazine in 2005, three years before the financial crisis actually hit, also got him thinking. “If you took some of the dots pressed into the pages of The Turning, set them against some of the lines drawn in Countdown, and added the flammable of bailouts followed by business-as-usual to the mixture… in that glow, we saw you all coming from miles away,” he told us. Only problem, according to MainStreetGov’s publisher, The Atlantic magazine’s James Fallows had the year “four years too early — instead of a look back from the election of 2016, Fallows should’ve had it as a look back from the election of 2020.”
Drawn from “Countdown to a Meltdown” in The Atlantic:
In the year … The chaos in public services spelled the end … for the Democratic Party in the long run. The Democrats couldn’t defend the unions. They couldn’t defend pensioners …
As for the Republicans, fifty years have shown they can’t govern without breaking the bank. Starting with Richard Nixon, every Republican president has left the … American trade position weaker and the U.S. manufacturing work force smaller than when he took office.
Our internal polls show that nearly 90 percent of the public thinks the economy is on the wrong track…
“You will be the first president since before the Civil War to come from neither the Republican nor the Democratic Party…”
And, after 57 presidential elections, the United States had its first across-the-board electoral sweep.
As for dots and lines superimposing, MainStreetGov’s publisher had written:
Between the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the Great Depression, lie intervals of time that are about the same. Approximate application of that interval to the Depression years, brings us to our modern times.
In the aftermath of 2008, notice that the unrest from the left and the right, plus the restlessness in the middle, are rising rather than subsiding. This escalation, of a long winter of discontent, is consistent with the underpinnings of another seismic American upheaval, of the People and the Electorate this instance, against a plutocracy in their capital, and a corporatocracy all around.
Asked why he picked Economic Party as name, he said “poll it”.
We didn’t have to. It’d been done. We surveyed a total of 11 attractive and meaningful names — most with a Manufacturing edge and Made in the USA bent to them. But 10 of those names surveyed, were no match for the 11th. Across the political spectrum, and by the widest of margins, the name Economic Party led the pack.
Therefore, we made an offer to purchase the domain. (We wanted dot-com, because dot-net and dot-org did not interest us.)
It seemed easy enough. The registrant’s operation was minor, with just three day-to-day persons to its team.
The effort to buy the domain altered our combined trajectory. As our dollar offer multiplied — and, boy, did it multiply — discovery began, discovery that there were multiple synergies in play, between his tiny operation and our not so tiny one.
If the domain name was the initiator that brought us together, the booster was a voluminous pen-to-paper dissertation presented to us in Rio de Janeiro, of a third-party policy framework the publisher articulated at length during his final sojourn there. Developed over years, under the expectation of a brand new political party “Coming Soon” to America, the treatise felt not only complementary with the output of our own idea-factory at the time, it also jigsawed nicely with our mindset and ideological construct.
But there was also stuff in there, we’d never seen before: An orchestra of moving parts, calibrated to interactive harmony, of a manufacturing module for the nation, with a credible federally engineered start-to-finish timeline of four years, equal to one presidential term of office. Our own plan called for eight years.
Most notably, at the perimeter of the publisher’s prototype — there, to protect the 4-year timeline of the thesis — was a critical line of defense: a design to democratize the legislative straits of Washington DC and, in time, proactively engage it.
Discounting the incurably corrupt among the 535 MC’s (Members of Congress), here’s the problem facing the rest who’d much rather stay uncorrupted:
Between voters and an MC, are middlemen. These middlemen, who’ve wedged themselves there to divide the elected from the electorate, control the ebb and flow of legislation next, to favor lobbies and the special interests vested in them, throwing wads of cash at the MC in return.
Without their cash, they’ve convinced the MC, he cannot communicate enough with the electorate, to sell himself to that electorate, to win the next election.
If he’s been doing their legislative bidding, they’re right. Because, if he’s been doing their legislative bidding, his legislative record stinks. He needs a makeover, a façade that only money can buy.
In the political ad space, where it is the truth that sells the easiest, making things up and getting away with it, takes money. All in all, big money.
But there’s a solution to this sad state of affairs. Starting with the House of Reps, where political life spans can (at voter discretion) be the shortest, give the electorate a way to keep score — a score that would, in time, either destine a Rep to re-election or doom him to rejection, come every other November.
Forced to retract their probosces out of domestic elections, the middlemen will then find work with perhaps foreign politicians, looking to buy-up elections abroad. Because America, at least, needs to be free of this malignancy, once and for all.
The blueprint, we saw, had the theoretical makeup to unite Americans across the ideological spectrum, and cross the subtle but real bounds of color, age, gender, sexual orientation, wealth, status, opinion and mindset — no easy feat.
The challenges in its path were very substantial. For one, immense systemwide pushback. But the blueprint, we concurred, had legs. And, in our possession, we had … things … that could also give it wings.
With assumption made for every variable, reasonable, the publisher’s composite got our attention, and it was thus agreed: In barter for the EconomicParty.com domain being ours in 2020, the Publisher would have our sanction and support for the specialized forum it sought for oversight of our elected by the electorate.
With a strict (meaning, no exceptions) no-lobbyists clause to the Economic Party platform, and rigid (meaning, no exceptions) campaign finance rules that would make even the folks at Fair Elections Now blush, our future Congressmen-and-women would — per our charter — be under obligation to draft legislation off not just their honorable character and gut instinct, but off the findings of coordinators engaging the interested amongst the citizenry as well. This strand of our constitutional DNA, the publisher pulled from us early on.
Intelligent networks, with the capacity to mine the minds of the people, to pick the brains of the blogosphere, to tap the sentiment of business owners — small business owners in particular — and able to funnel all that to jury-produce a best-efforts judgment from the court of public opinion, would be integral in any Economic Party legislative arena.
Able to impart that wisdom to us impartially… objectively… such an enterprise would have no end to its demand in any government of ours.
In talking to our citizens, more often than not we run into the following complaint: every time the Democrats have a good idea (rare, yes, but) the Republicans block it, and every time the Republicans have a good idea (rare, yes, but) the Democrats block it. In the end, nothing good ever gets done.
It’s not just partisan gridlock in a do-nothing Congress we’ve had for some time, but something more insidious: a chasm of political inaction on the most pressing needs of the country, so deep and so wide, that clear and present dangers to the nation’s economic security have begun to rise.
It’s come down and sunk to this: if it’s a Democrat that’s President, Republicans want that Democrat to fail. If it’s a Republican that’s President, Democrats want that Republican to fail. In public, they’ll swear that’s not so. In private though, what’s cloaked in political hearts, cloistered in political calculation, the evidence has amplified.
With political power parlaying into a pretty penny these days, patriotism has found itself that perverted, these days.
How has each party gone about trying to pin a fail grade to a President from the other party? By attributing as miserable an economy as possible to the White House’s tail, especially around election time. (As for that same pin also going into the neck of every worker, struggling to make ends meet … well, Republicans and Democrats seem to have assigned that to the classification of being collateral damage.)
How has an opposing party gone about inserting the pin? By denying, or at least severely denting, every cogent economic concept the other party comes up with, by an amalgam of distortion and misrepresentation, put out by surrogate after surrogate. (The debt ceiling and payroll tax debates of 2010 — with the Republicans serving as resistors and Democrats serving as conductors, in one of those Daliesque instances of role-reversal — exuded gobs of that amalgam, if you recall.)
The artifice still works. Such is the marsh and morass of the modern American legislative process, the most un-transparent and un-democratic, the most behind-the-scenes and back-room, in history.
However, were the public activated and invited in through the legislative gate, this would all change. Were the public allowed in, a crystalline new force to be reckoned with would crystallize. The publisher believes this, as we do too.
In 2021, every time a legislator in the opposition sought to block a proposal of ours that we knew to have widespread public support, imagine if we could in an instant show him (or her) the analytics, the documented fact that tens of thousands of voters, in his or her district, stood in support of that legislation.
And imagine if we could hold the politician accountable to those voters, on that legislation, on any legislation, with the mere press of a button, the flick of a switch.
No more would predominantly a president be held accountable for a sour economy. No more would predominantly one party be held accountable for a dour state of affairs. Individual legislators will be held up to the light. The party in the minority will be held up to the light. Speakers, Majority Leaders, Minority Leaders, Majority and Minority Whips, committee and subcommittee leaders — be they Republican, Democrat, or Economic — all will be bathed in public sunlight, X-rayed in taxpayer UV, under this new paradigm.
Will Americans engage in legislation the way we expect, to the degree we expect? That depends. Americans invariably call the economy their #1 issue. But, when hit by a multi-thousand-page block of legalese, our countrymen understandably run for cover. Or they trust but don’t verify. Or, as is the case nowadays, they distrust enough to not bother.
Glass-Steagall, Wall Street reform signed into law by President Roosevelt in 1933 after the crisis of 1929, ran 30-some pages in length. Dodd-Frank, Wall Street ‘reform’ signed into law by President Obama in 2010 after the crisis of 2008, spanned near 30 times as many pages at its point of passage. But tens of thousands of pages of rules, adjustments, modifications, amendments, and addenda were latched on, or applied on, post-passage.
By far the most important — and impotent — thing to have garnered Mr. Obama’s signature, Dodd-Frank, was (yes) crafted by Wall Street minions in the craftiest of ways.
A near endless slog through the bill will prove to the slogger, beyond a doubt, that we’re now undeniably upon the days when 99.9% of the wordage in a 1,000,000 word bill can get exempted, co-opted, loophole’d, and overrun — or incrementally annulled — by the mere presence of 0.1% or a 1000 words that are also in there, buried, somewhere.
The Wall Street “Reform” and Consumer “Protection” Act of 2010 was such a sham in the end that, in April 2013, 33 months after President Obama took to the Rose Garden to celebrate Dodd-Frank and declare: “there will be no more taxpayer-funded bailouts, period”, there was Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Senator David Vitter (R-LA) introducing a bill (S.798) to “terminate” Wall Street Bailouts all over again.
The “Reform” and “Protection” Act of 2010 was such a phony in the end that, on May 15 2013, 34 months after President Obama took to the Rose Garden to celebrate it and declare: “there will be no more taxpayer-funded bailouts, period,” there was the (largely banker-friendly) US House of Representatives holding a hearing, in its Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, titled “Does Title II of the Dodd-Frank Act Enshrine Taxpayer-Funded Bailouts?” The hearing was basically burlesque, because few U.S. Reps go against the banks these days. But, the fact still remains, the Wall Street “Reform” travesty did indeed enshrine bailouts. Consider the following excerpt from MainStreetGov’s anti-crisis bill request:
The banking Resolution Conference of 2013, convened by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System on Oct 18 2013 in the Colonial Room of The Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Washington DC, certified the certainty of a taxpayer backstop to Systemic Banks at the next financial crisis.
With attendees citing the absence of cross-border resolution agreements between nations as reason, everyone with any semblance of a degree in Jurisprudence there at the conference, be they bank-affiliated or government-affiliated, pretty much unanimously agreed that Systemic Banks could not — repeat, could NOT — undergo any bankruptcy proceeding currently known to man, rendering the crux of Dodd-Frank dead-on-arrival.
With Dodd-Frank’s core rendered DOA, things got pushed out to “resolution mechanisms” involving (of course) the Treasury and the Federal Reserve, and the authority of the former to “bridge-loan” assist, and of the latter to “liquidity-loan” assist all distressed parts of the bankrupt institution in need of assistance, which was another way of inviting a bailout of the parts that were the most politically connected — a dirty road we’ve been down before, in Sep 2008, when we recall the Treasury and the Fed insisting they were only loan-assisting otherwise “healthy” Wall Street houses, when they were in fact bailing out insolvent ones, and exhuming already interred ones, for another round of rinse & repeat.
As for the farce about Consumer “Protection” … well, that portion of the bill would do nothing to deny banks and their loanshark offshoots their practice of generating a large portion of their profits off fees, overdraft, and penalties, collected in most part from those who could least afford it.
Multi-thousand-page monstrosities are the subterfuge of choice of lobbyists and special interests. Congressional and White House staffers greased in corporate lube, rotating through the revolving door, paid plush dollars on the other side of that door, serve accomplice in what is (pure and simple) acts of bribery, staggered in time. Passengers at the revolving door, the bribed, are the covert shepherds of American legislation, with legislators the sheep.
Senator Tom Carper, Democrat of Delaware, knows a thing about those sheep, specifically how long the wool gets over the eyes on those sheep. Referring to The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) in Oct 2009, Carper would tell an inquiring CNS News correspondent, Nicholas Ballasy, that: “I don’t expect to actually read the legislative language because reading the legislative language is among the more confusing things I’ve ever read in my life… Anyone who says that they can, and actually get much out of it, is trying to pull the wool over our eyes.”
Carper went on to call the language in the bill “incomprehensible” and “gibberish”. Imagine a United States Senator saying that about something so important.
“What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?” asked Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan, regarding the Affordable Care Act.
A thousand pages would be a welcomed improvement to the brevity of landmark legislation. President Obama’s healthcare colossus extended into a multiple of that, going far enough to not just turn off, but torture one of the nine biggest lawyers in the nation, US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia himself, who scoffed: “You really want us to go through these 2,700 pages? … What happened to the Eighth Amendment?” as in ‘cruel and unusual punishment’, equating the slog of reading Obamacare to the fog of waterboarding perhaps.
So here’s to shearing the wool out of American legislation. In any legislation the Economic Party writes, we will not — repeat NOT — resort to legalese at lengths of Biblical proportion. We swear by that, with our right hands raised. We’ll stick to plain English, kept ultra simple, ultra short and ultra sweet. The way busy people prefer everything they read. The way the human kind prefers at least the laws it reads.
By example — and by pressure applied by a national aggregation of voters on MainStreetGov — the Economic Party will seek to limit all bills produced by the US Congress, irrespective of party origin, to manuscripts the public can read in a matter of an afternoon and digest in a matter of a day. Just as FDR’s 1933 overhaul of the nation’s banks could’ve been read in a matter of an afternoon and digested in a matter of a day.
Given the choice of participation from the privacy of their homes or the comfort of their offices, plenty of Americans impacted by a piece of legislation will — we bet you — engage then. A say over what affects their lives, their jobs, their country, is the kind of empowerment lots of Americans will embrace, if made easy.
Given the right engine, the right interface, an optimal experience, legislative engagement ‘of the People, by the People, for the People’ could supersede the civic duty of standing in line to vote.
According to the Publisher, in its very essence MainStreetGov will empower a formidable conglomerate of voters with the power at their fingertip to pressure the President of the United States and Congressional leaders with a time commitment measured in minutes.
In 2009, the publisher joked with us about an affliction, a modern-day infestation germinated by our nation’s self-anointed noble classes, that he called The Omniscient Ones Syndrome. And, in 2011, he would write:
The Bush Administration liked to say their guy did not govern by the polls. The Obama Administration followed suit soon after.
Obama Treasury Secretary, Mr. Geithner, said: “People just get killed in the court of public opinion… This is a necessary part of the office, certainly in financial crises. I think this really says something important about the President… The test is whether you have people willing to do the things that are deeply unpopular, deeply hard to understand, knowing that they’re necessary…”
A dose of reality for Mr. Geithner: First and foremost, advanced societies do not elect Presidents to do unpopular things. Sane people do not find basic things like privatized-profits/socialized-losses, aka bailouts, “deeply hard to understand”. They know them to be wrong, a byproduct of a deeply corrupted political organism, if anything.
Bush Treasury Secretary, Henry “Hank” Paulson, said of the bailouts: ”I was never able to explain to the American people, in a way in which they understood it, why these rescues were for them and for their benefit, not for Wall Street.”
Of course, the reason Paulson, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, hired to run Treasury by Bush Chief of Staff and ex-Goldmanite, Josh Bolten, just around the time Goldman started making bets against the housing market, “was never able to explain to the American people” why the bailouts “were for them” and “not for Wall Street” was because it was, emphatically and categorically, an inexplicable lie.
By Oct 2010, Mr. Obama had broadly assumed the Paulson-Geithner mindset as well, telling Peter Baker of The New York Times that: “There is probably a perverse pride in my administration, and I take responsibility for this — this was blowing from the top — that we were going to do the right thing, even if … it was unpopular.”
Messrs. Paulson & Geithner & Obama are immersed in “blowing from the top” mythology. It is pure unadulterated myth that doing the right thing means doing the unpopular thing. It thrives on the imperious assumption by the ruling classes that they are not just the cerebral ones in the democracy, but in fact the brains of it. It propagates on the regal assumption that the People’s leaders are the wise ones, the all-knowing class, and that the People themselves are the stupid ones and the all-unknowing class.
There is a name for this sort of narcissistic delirium running rampant through the arrogant heads of our Republican and Democratic elites — it’s called The Omniscient Ones Syndrome.
News Flash to the Omniscient Ones: Two hundred some years ago, Thomas Jefferson had something to say about your Syndrome and the requirement that the American people confront all you nobles that would be afflicted with it, and it was something to the effect of: I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretense of taking care of them — remember that?
So you understand some of the reluctance, on the part of the Publisher, to part with the domain so early in the game and seek a deal with us instead, despite our extension of a near record dollar offer for that domain. If the Economic Party were to succeed in its vast political mission, the legislative pivot that the Publisher sought foundation of, could merit its way to becoming gateway for private-sector input into public-sector referenda on the Economic Party’s agenda.
Predicated on the constant — the invariable that would ultimately be its own integrity — the publicly trafficked legislative fulcrum that the Publisher sought construction of, could merit its way to becoming a portal for private sector input into public sector referenda on everyone’s agenda. The space could therefore end up far more valuable in the years ahead, than any financial arrangement we were prepared to make.
Hence the Chinese Wall. Our purpose was political. The Publisher’s purpose was business. Separate physical and financial entities, we had to remain.
Ending in no more fanfare than a round of handshakes to ratify the terms of our endearment, that is how two empirically divergent yet sublimely convergent dreams were born on that sunlit Ipanema beach in Brazil.
NEW YEAR’S EVE 2016 update:
In the early hours of November 9 2016, the United States surprised much of itself, and much of the planet, by electing Donald Trump to be America’s 45th President. While it came as a surprise to most, neither the Economic Party nor Main Street Gov were caught off-guard by the outcome, as you can see for yourself in our predictive processing found HERE.
First a bold statement: Donald Trump will (by his own device) be a one-term President. He may even relinquish his throne to vice-president Mike Pence before the end of that one term. So that there are no doubts about it, we respect Mr. Trump. We disagree with him on priorities — about what problems in America require resolution first, before anything else. One of those problems, is the most pressing, so pressing that Trump should have addressed it during the transition, and fixed it starting January 21 2017, the very first day after he’d got done celebrating his Inauguration. Instead, Trump did the opposite — he breathed new life into the problem on almost day 1 of the transition (Nov 9 2016) and, by so doing, gave it continued energy, inertia, and momentum.
As for those who found Trump offensive at times, yes, we too found some of the things he uttered to be utterly distasteful, but we are also a forgiving lot. (Let him, who is without sin, cast the first stone.) Thus, those of us who did go out to vote on November 8, voted for Trump — our opposition research on the Clintons, their Foundation, and their international associations, got so revolting in the end, that none of us could check-off the box next to her name on the ballot. Call us old-fashioned, but we do come from the old school that says:
“You can’t get rich in politics, unless you’re a crook.”
— President Harry Truman
Not that Trump was an angel as a businessman — we just never built a file on him, although we are now, even as we doubt we’ll need such a file all that much.
To his infinite credit, Trump did something that defied all odds. He took out the presumptive or should we say guaranteed winner, with a fraction of the resources she had at her disposal, through what we think was under-appreciated by the media, i.e. sheer hard work. In the waning days of his campaign, as Hillary rested on her laurels and napped on her accolades, literally, we watched him host several spirited events, consecutively, on minimal sleep, for raucous crowds in “flyover” America.
We admired the enthusiasm Trump infused in his followers, who’d understandably exhausted of the propaganda produced by the mainstream media. When alleged know-it-all’s had written him off, he fought tirelessly for the prize he coveted, despite it appearing increasingly out of reach in an inundation of biased and faulty polls. Trump believed in himself, while his doubters (including some in his inner circle) didn’t.
Whatever your political stripe, these are attributes we must hold in high regard, as Americans.
However, by Dec 2016 it was increasingly obvious that Trump was out to drain the swamp of Democratic Party alligators, only to refill it with Republican ones. Whether that was by deliberate intent on his part, or subversive design by those who encircled him, only time will tell. But, just as Barack Obama once said that elections have consequences, so do encirclements that a president-elect permits.
Trump’s appointment to the top of the food chain of Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn — who we recall (at one particular private fundraiser) gave Senator Harry Reid an ass-spanking for not being ass-kissing enough to Wall Street — was the ugliest encirclement.
Trump’s appointment of former Goldmanite, Steve Mnuchin — who, by intent and design, stayed invisible as Trump’s campaign finance chair, until (that is) Trump won — was the next most ugly encirclement. That Mnuchin had (in years prior) donated to Obama and Hillary, and worked for George Soros, was always cause for pause.
But not ‘cause for pause’ in the way you think. As we wrote on our blog under the header Through the Mirror and into the Twilight Zone “You looked, but you did not see” — Hannibal Lecter:
Were he alive, chess Grandmaster Bobby Fischer would tell you ‘sometimes, you need to let your opponent think you’ve lost in the beginning, in order to win in the end.’ We have reason to believe Soros & Company may have taken Bobby Fischer’s advice to heart. Soros is the handler, the enabler, for what some of us call The Order. Soros knows the eurozone and the global systemic banking system are on the ropes and about to be TKO’d. His bets against big banks in Europe are known to many an insider. With that in mind, consider this… What better way to banish the ‘populist’ ‘nationalist’ uprisings in America, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, etc, to an eternity of political oblivion, than to have a crisis, a bailout, and an ensuing economic depression, strung around the ‘populist nationalist’ leaders’ necks, come 2019, and 2020. Were Establishmentarians like Hillary in power, the opposite would happen.
If that’s the case, then Trump is the fall guy — the biggest of the populist nationalist leaders worldwide to be left holding the bag. If that’s the case, count on Mike Pence ending up the caretaker president by 2020.
Be that as it may, the appointments of Mnuchin and Cohn to lead the all-important Treasury and National Economic Council, comprised only the tip of the reptile-laden iceberg found melting into the swamp.
By Dec 2016, the President-elect had stacked a newly constructed forum of strategic policy advisers with everyone that was Who’s-Who on Wall Street, with the CEO’s and founders of the likes of JP Morgan Chase, Blackstone and Blackrock, atop the mound of mud, to advise on (of all things) job-creation.
Even the normally stoic Financial Times (of London) would write that Trump had installed Wall Street veterans at (quote) “the heart of the incoming U.S. administration.”
Count on crises & bailouts, business-as-usual, and (if anything) job-destruction to march in unison with all these official placements. (Again, the reasons for that bleak prognosis can be found HERE, HERE, HERE, and down this page.)
Mr. Trump appears to have had a long-standing relationship with Deutsche Bank, a Wall Street behemoth that’s been the beneficiary of multiple rescues, including ones furnished by the U.S. taxpayer — via A.I.G. for its Credit Default Swap exposures, and via the I.M.F. for its Greek (and Latin European) exposures.
Despite the millions that Deutsche has doled-out in speaking fees to the Clintons and Clinton-carryovers to Obama, like Tim Geithner, the Economic Party is of the educated opinion that this Frankfurt headquartered bank is teetering on the edge of a balance-sheet abyss of ruin.
Within hours of Trump’s win, Deutsche Bank stock went on a tear. On election day it closed at 12.90. Post-election, 2016, it would go on to crack 18.23 — a gain of more than 41%. (Interestingly, on Nov 8 2016 Goldman Sachs stock closed at 181.92. By the last day of trading in 2016, approximately seven weeks later, it had ascended to 239.45, a gain of more than 31%.)
Trump Inc’s reliance on the big banks for financing, and for that financing remaining revolving, or becoming evergreen’ed, whereby new loans are furnished to service old loans if necessary, cannot be overstated.
On GreatAgain.gov Team Trump committed a grave error. The transition team put something up there, relating to regulatory ‘reform’ (and applying to Dodd-Frank by extension) that the Democrats will use to blame Trump for the sequence and (then) series of financial crises that’ll befall the Administration in 2018, 2019, and 2020 — an assignment of blame that will stick to Trump, and prove politically fatal to Trump, and, by extension, Pence.
The Economic Party will defend Trump against the barrage of falsehoods certain to emanate from the Democratic Party on that front, but we will not be doing it to protect Trump — but to hold Obama and his Democratic Congress accountable for the sham that Dodd-Frank was on July 21 2010, when it was enacted into law, and in the 6 years and 6 months intervening to Trump’s inauguration, during which time the rule-writing phase of Dodd-Frank kicked in, allowing for exceptions and exemptions and loopholes to be baked in, by lobbyists.
We have reason to believe that, by 2020, Trump/Pence will be so politically wounded, that our Economic Party candidates will not be running against the Republican ticket as much as they’ll be running against the Democratic one.
By 2020, Big Business credentials will be a political liability, as a result of Trump. By 2020, being Rich & Famous will be a political liability, as a result of Trump. Hence, why we resorted to regular folk — famous only to their families — to lead our national ticket.
Want a presidential candidate to credibly represent the common man or the forgotten woman, after Trump? Then find a candidate who employed the common man or the forgotten woman — not in the thousands of men and women, like Trump boasts — but in numbers modest enough, that each and every one of them can reliably refer to the candidate as both a boss and a friend.
As for Mrs. Clinton’s distant and latent effect on 2020, Hillary (with her decades in politics) will see to it that no seasoned politician will rise to the presidency in 2020. In the divisive environment we inhabit — a divisiveness that’s sure to be aggravated to a breaking point in the years to come — the shorter one’s tenure in Congress or in Public $ervice (you are correct, the $ sign is not a typo), the better it’ll be for anyone aspiring to the highest office in our land.
Be a politician too long, be a public official too long, or simply be in Washington DC too long, and the People — in flyover country, especially — will smell its stench.
Being a career public servant, or a lifelong politician clinging onto a near-eternal radioactive half-life that’s taken the politician to quasi-senility, is especially endemic to the fabric of the Democratic Part.
By 2020, virtually everyone leading the Democratic Party, today, will be in their seventies or eighties. And it’s not only that they’re already old and getting older — their ideas too have become old, leading to their relatively younger leaders looking spent as well.
Our presidential candidate, a lady, hails from Pittsburgh. A specialist in something her inner circle once called ‘E3M’ or ‘efficient manned manufacturing models’ — about bettering the human experience, raising the human performance, advancing the human qualification, and enhancing the human contribution, toward a goal of vastly expanded manufactured output (so robots need not take over everything) — she will be 51 years of age, and in her prime, when she runs for President.
Our vice-presidential candidate, a gentleman, resides in San Diego. He is a criminologist whose doctorate entailed a thesis in accounting and securities fraud — and the engineering of financial derivatives to further such fraud.
They will announce their candidacies in January 2020 in a joint appearance in the once mighty manufacturing city of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a speech not so much about themselves, but about the idea — in a first conversation with the people — of a revival in American manufacturing under the schematic of a proven blueprint, discussed HERE.
She will remind her audience:
- That Germany, a country which compensates its factory workers comprehensively, has a population of about 80 million.
- That America, a country which does NOT compensate its factory workers as comprehensively, has a population of about 320 million.
- That America is about 27 times bigger than Germany in square acreage, with natural resources Germans can only dream of, or could not (in even their wildest dreams).
- Yet, in 2010, excluding services, Germany — a country that’s half the size of Texas — exported, in goods, about the same as the whole of the United States, i.e. $1.28 trillion.
With her own birthplace a city running out of people as factories have (long ago) come and (now) gone, with her state caught in the vortex of manufacturing jobs shipping abroad, the subject is intensely personal and dear to her.
She will remind her audience that Bethlehem PA, a city with just 75,000 people living in it as of this writing, was once a symbol of American manufacturing might, that it was once home to the world’s biggest shipbuilder, employing 180,000 people, called Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp or Beth Ship, in a company employing 300,000 people, called Bethlehem Steel or Beth Steel.
Expect no banners of Hope and Change at the Bethlehem event — instead, they’ll skip the flash, the lights, the balloons and confetti, and get right to business about how America can make new things the world wants, more things the world wants, in such a way as to give every manufacturing juggernaut in the G20, including Germany, not just a serious run for the money, but an absolute licking.
The candidates will show you a picture, a clearly delineated diagram, of how the manufacturing rebirth they seek will be deployable, sustainable, and lasting, with none of the artifice of tinkering with the US dollar in their game plan. Currency manipulation — the playbook of many an unimaginative leader to alter seemingly intractable trade imbalances — ends with the Economic Party.
In their second joint appearance, near the University of California San Diego, they’ll talk education, labeling it: “A New Way Forward.” The Establishment will call it crazy, insane, and all sorts of colorful names. But:
- Parents, wishing their kids could graduate quick and debt-free, will listen.
- Students, wanting to graduate quick and debt-free, will listen.
- And the nation’s employers, hungry for employees rich in specialized skills, and needing them to graduate quick and debt-free, will especially listen.
E Pluribus Unum: “Out of Many, One”
Onto a quick calendar of our origins.
In early January 2009, the founders settled on a name for the Party. In late January 2009, Party leaders reached an understanding, detailed below, with the registered domain owner of EconomicParty.com regarding the transfer of that domain to the Party. The CPU or central processing unit of that understanding would eventually find itself housed at MainStreetGov.com.
At first, some of the more enthusiastic (read: younger) members of the Economic Party had the General Election of 2012 in mind, to take a stand, to make an impact — any impact. The elders of course decided to skip that election entirely. Why? There are several facets to the answers. Here are a few:
Republicans and Democrats have dominated American politics since the 1800’s. After launching in Oct 2008, only in Jan 2009 did the Economic Party coalesce into size, two months after Mr. Obama convinced many — with the 2008 Thanksgiving time nominations of crisis-incubators Tim Geithner and Larry Summers — that his assurances to the contrary, he was just more of the same, and that his promise of Hope and Change was nothing more than a bait-and-switch campaign stunt pulled off by a political pied-piper. (The founders expected as much, and got as much.) Only in 2010, did we iron out some of our hierarchy. Only in 2011, did we begin to set up location. We doubted any brand new political movement, no matter how well intentioned, could alter near two centuries of political continuity on a timetable like that, by so early as 2012.
Again, we do not want to play spoiler in any race. Spoilers play into the hands of one or the other Establishment Party candidate. Spoilers end up appreciated by the winning side, and disdained by the losing side. In our first ever appearance before the American people, we did not want to exit the stage scorned.
In January 2012, a Washington Post — ABC poll found three-in-five independents, and half of those claiming to be moderate, saying a third party had in fact become necessary.
Much of the electorate identifies as independent. But independence is not what it used to be. Sandwiched between the same two poor choices, it has increasingly lost its allure, we’re told. Yet the number of independents is growing, with millions defecting from the Republican and Democratic rolls since 2010. It may not be showing up on (registered Republican or registered Democrat) paper, but it is showing up in our polling.
By the end of 2011, with fallout from a disappointing Republican field of presidential candidates being a good part of the cause, our numbers showed de facto independents, affiliated to the Republican Party on paper only, making their way out of the GOP in even the red states.
With Democrats, by midsummer 2011 we’d measured a substantial decline in the rate of defection from the peak monitored in 2010, when Change You Can Believe In had become nothing more than just letters on a lapel pin. Inspiration from a polarizing field of Republican presidential candidates was a good part of the cause. In the abstract of a Romney, Gingrich, Perry, Paul, Bachmann, or Santorum presidency, it appeared Democrats had cast the otherwise disappointing Mr. Obama in a kinder light.
Through 2012 and into 2013, a clear trendline in our numbers got established — one that told us to expect the number of de facto independents (affiliated to the either party on paper only, or affiliated to neither) to exceed the sum total of Republicans + Democrats, by a sizably decisive margin, within years, with the sharpest conversion happening in the age 18 to 29 demographic.
By 2020, we are certain, the conversion across all age groups will be complete, with the faithful in both parties insufficient to stop a third party, with the right stance, from taking control of government.
On Dec 20 2011, a USA Today/Gallup poll found (quote) “a nation more downbeat, more dissatisfied with its political leadership, and more concerned about the country’s direction, than at almost any other point in modern times.“
With the President facing Mitt Romney of Bain Capital in 2012, and with Mr. Obama somewhat shaky with independent voters, his 2012 re-election handlers had to connive about relatives versus absolutes. “Elections are not referendums — elections are choices,” insisted Mr. Obama’s chief campaign strategist, David Axelrod.
If Axelrod had been kind enough to paraphrase, and brave enough paraphrase sans nuance, here’s what we think he meant:
- If our guy got a C-minus grade in office, it’s irrelevant — because, had it been Mitt sitting in the Oval, he’d have got a D.
- Between the Bain Street guy and our Main Street guy — our guy’s still Main Street, we swear — you know the Bain Street guy’s a whole lot worse.
- Just as Americans settle for Spam out of a can when there’s no money for ham, Americans should settle for canned this November. Besides, our guy may be out of a can, but their guy looks so preserved he’s practically mummified. And if you flip their guy over, you’ll see he’s even marked “Not for Human Consumption” on the bottom.
- And if you still haven’t figured out who to pick on November the 6th after all that, then ask yourself the question: Is it better to be in the frying pan or the fire? Because, with our guy, you may be in the frying pan — but, with their guy, you’d most definitely be in the fire.
In 2010, 3 out of 4 Americans looked at their government negatively.
In 2011, Thomson survey director Richard Curtin noted: “Never before in the history of the surveys have so many consumers spontaneously mentioned negative aspects of the government’s role.”
On Aug 25 2011, the Pew Research Center found 86% of the public, almost 9 out of 10 Americans, either frustrated or angry with the federal government.
On Jan 27 2012, Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center wrote of a majority of Americans saying that the power and influence of banks and other financial institutions represented a major threat to the country.
From the government’s perspective, and that of the two parties in that government, those numbers would deteriorate in the years following.
So what is one to make of these temper tantrums of the people, these elevated states of public dystopia? Lots of things, all spiraling out to one thing: The impending end of an era that began in the 1800s, with the birth of the Republican and Democratic Party duopoly, spiraling out to the outright end of that era and the death of that duopoly by 2020.
The Domino Effect: To Inauguration Day 2021
Soon after his election in 2008, President Barack Obama said: “I will be held accountable. You know I’ve got four years. If I don’t have this done in three, then there’s going to be a one term proposition.”
Which was cool. But, as sweet as it was of him to make us that offer, we doubt he meant it. In fact, when he said that, he appeared certain there (most certainly) would be a second term even if he’d not got it done in four. Why? Because he believed the Republicans were roast.
Democratic strategist James Carville was kind enough to validate some of this for us. Having titled his book: “40 More Years, How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation” Mr. Carville cited Barack Obama as the birth source, the fountain of eternal youth almost, of awesome Democratic power to come, ad infinitum, ad gloriam.
We like Mr. Carville. He’s a smart guy with a good heart. While both the Administration and British Petroleum played ping-pong on a table of oil over Deepwater Horizon, we appreciated a riled-up Mr. Carville on TV letting his sparks fly. But he might have expected too much, we think, of his horizon.
Yes of course there was a time in 2008 when that president came gift-wrapped, under some of our early Christmas trees, as a Messiah of Change, but didn’t Tim Geithner and Larry Summers, and numerous other Glass-Steagall eviscerators entering the Obama Administration alongside, open that box for us two days before Thanksgiving?
So why was Mr. Carville so sure of Democratic Generational Rule lasting 40 years? Because “the Republicans are going to keep getting spanked again and again, because we’re right and they’re wrong, and Americans know it,” he explained.
Now, the first thing we’d like to ask Republican Mary Matalin’s Democratic other half is: Wasn’t the last famous strategist to predict a “permanent majority” the Architect Karl Rove himself, nicknamed “Turd Blossom” by George W. Bush in one of the wiser moments of his presidency?
And the last thing we’d like to ask him is: What makes you think your opponents have to be Republicans, James?
In 2012, a disheartened electorate began to hunger for alternative. They were given no choice.
Romney, Gingrich, Santorum & Co. tried to entice them, but elicited no real and tangible excitement in return, with apathy and disillusionment largely in replacement of the anger that once was.
Grand, long ago, but since then mostly Old, a Grand Old Party surrounded by faces all too familiar, churning up and spewing out the same old worn-out talking points, played over and over again like a broken record, dreamt of a rebirth in its adversary’s hoped for wake — but awoke to no such thing.
The GOP, a gravely wounded brand in 2008, seemed in need of more than a quantum of time to heal. For it had morphed from (purportedly) the party of small business and the little guy, into (most certainly) the party of Big Business and the Rich Guy, the political embodiment of exactly what it claimed it was not.
Not that the Democrats weren’t also in bed with High Finance and Big Money — it was just that the donkeys were better at hiding it than the elephants.
So, on Nov 6 2012, the obvious happened: The better hidden won.
And with the President handily winning re-election, business as usual resumed its course. As for cleaning up government, its tentacles, and in turn all their sordid extensions … again, as it had 4 years before, all that would fall by the wayside.
A couple of years into the so-called economic “recovery”, at GAO.gov the U.S. Government Accountability Office put out an estimate on what the crisis of 2008 had cost America. The number: a long term loss of output totaling in excess of $13 Trillion.
The GAO would document: “sharp declines in investment during and following the crisis” and an erosion of the “skills of U.S. workers” and reduction in the “productive capacity of the US” in its computation.
Of course, all that would play out as the years rolled.
In 2018, economic hurt will resonate in many a quarter. The middle class and poor, especially, will require no proof of this.
A parasitic agreement in place over Administration after Administration, to discreetly shield the megabanks, will continue to burn through our national treasure in stealth.
In 2019, to all 50 states of the Union, word will have percolated of the presence of an unborn called the Economic Party.
Markedly different in foresight from the donkeys and elephants, the movement’s deep-rooted ideology of how the nation’s economic engine should run will — thrust into the spotlight — gain traction with the people.
Also — refreshingly — instead of tearing away at America’s otherwise uniformly woven cloth using the claw of social ‘wedge’ issues, as its rivals do, the new arrival will strike the right balance, and in fact the right chord, with enough of the left, enough of the right, and all of the center.
In 2019, readings of children gravitating to the poverty line, and ending up homeless, shall witness levels un-heralded. In spite of an elongation of Politico’s homepage to keep up with news of fast-fading politicians thrashing around for political relevance, the measures of the state of our most young and vulnerable, measures Americans hold highest in the end, will blur the rest.
In late 2019, the unborn will become newborn, in a private ceremony, as two natural leaders alight to take official reins of the Economic Party entity.
In January 2020, after a joint first appearance in Bethlehem Pennsylvania, and a second in San Diego California, in January 2020, their ascendance to the national conscience will begin in earnest.
Already known to some of us, one’s an accomplished woman and the other’s a distinguished man. Known to each other from the spectra of their prolific work, they will prove to share an unassailable economic compass under challenge. Their peers — admirers and critics alike — will vouch for their brilliance, the breadth and depth of their philosophy, their devotion to principle and good cause.
More ideas than person, their only autobiographies will be the tenets of their fiercely original economic thought. Original, that is, for politicians. Voters, however, will identify with the pair instantly. Voters will come to call the basics the duo hold dear “Lunchbox Economics” — sensible to everyone everywhere, except it seemed to those who lived and breathed the disconnect that had infiltrated Washington DC.
The two will show the citizenry, clear as crystal, beyond a doubt, that Republicans + Democrats + Regulators + Bankers, in 4-way collaboration, in perfect symphony actually, gave them the perfect storm they’d been in and not quite come out of, and the two will paint that picture so picture-perfect, the ‘blame Bush’ brother duck and the ‘we inherited this mess’ sister duck will (for all perpetuity) no longer fly.
The two will also show the citizenry, clear as crystal, beyond a doubt, that Republicans + Democrats + Regulators + Bankers, wrapped together 4-ways again, in the all too familiar waltz jammed with moral hazard and regulatory capture, will prolong the struggles of our ordinary longer than necessary, and bequeath upon them boom-and-bust cycles as far as the eye can see.
Consider: A 4-sigma event is expected to occur once every 126 years. Black Monday happened in 1987, Mexico went off in 1994, Oriental Asia in 1997, Russia in 1998, dotcom’s in 2000, and — in 2008 — the world’s entire interconnected derivatives-based banking system entered cardiac arrest, only to be resuscitated by taxpayer funded defibrillation. Then it became the Eurozone’s turn. All of the aforementioned should have been high sigma events, yet all transpired over a span of just two and a half decades. What gives?
What gives for this vicious circle, is no accident or byproduct of any normal business cycle. What gives for this vicious circle, our candidates will identify. What gives for this vicious circle, our candidates will source it to its nocturnal lair.
In 2020, the Economic Party will, in its steepest ascent, begin to supplant the country’s old and tired, tried and failed two-party system, with a nascent but vibrant tripartite one. A ground swell of popular support will energize the flock, providing propulsion to a sequence of grassroots campaigns already underway, with the U.S. Congress in their sights.
Also in 2020, the most Establishment-unsettling race in near two centuries will begin in a quest for the White House.
As summer marches into fall, vast swathes of the presidential electoral map, red and blue in a bygone era, will fade, then vanish, and turn to pink — a breathtakingly beautiful and shining pink — evocative of something better to come, something better than we’ve had for a very-very, long-long time.
The Economic Party’s presidential candidate and her running mate will, together, pierce through and rupture the support of their opponents, slicing away insurmountable portions everywhere, in every state, in every district, including the District of Columbia.
The Debates will present last breath to the Establishment. The encounters will draw blood as political and moneyed heavyweights first collude and then collide with a pair of eloquent and passionate intellects. The winners, though, in every round will be clear.
Then, on November 3 2020, in a conclusion that is unique and absolute to American history, with an event horizon that’s special enough to transcend time and make our Founding Fathers proud, and in an electoral landslide of epic proportion that will enrapture an entire planet in awe, the Economic Party will rise to the Presidency, and on January 20th 2021 our woman from Pennsylvania will be at 1600 Pennsylvania. Just! You! Watch!
Atop the steps of the US Capitol, she will say to them:
“Although I bear no party affiliation to you, I will work with you. However, understand that to also mean there will be no surrender, no concession even, on the principles I hold dear that brought me here, that I told the voters in no uncertain terms — whether they voted for me or not — would stand the test of time for all the time they’ll keep me here.
While everyone on this Inaugural platform may have grown accustomed to presidential pledges being pledged away in backroom deals, I believe those beyond this stage have not yet got used to that.
Great expectations have been dashed before, and cynicism now spatters every new expectation. But no more. This must be a presidency in which promises are no longer broken. It simply must be. Or else, we risk losing the strained but so-far enduring faith of the American people for too long.”
And for the first time in their lifetime, her political opponents will then realize that to get to where they’d been before, next time they’d have to earn it.
Now, for about us in detail & what we think about a bunch of things:
[Publisher’s note: Numerous thoughts expressed below date back to 2011, when much of the following was written. Use of present tense to describe past events, that transpired in 2011, may confuse, but don’t let it.]
Right out the gate, let’s make one thing clear: We are NOT a “Government is the Fix for Everything” kind of political party.
With the right Manufacturing, Education, Immigration, Tax & Regulatory policies in place under an Administration of the Economic Party, we believe America could be exporting many more Trillions of dollars of goods, every year, in the years to come. When we get there, private industry alone will probably see to it that there is high employment at a quality wage. Government can begin to retract its employment “gap-fill” measures at that juncture, because private balance sheets, consumer balance sheets, will have repaired by then. But, until then, we intend to put employment gap-fill measures in right away, within days of Inauguration Day Jan 20 2021.
But before we continue on this line of thought, an address to debt & deficit hawks… before any obsession with debt & deficits, must come an obsession with cleaning up the rot in the system first. How? Here’s how:
Start by extracting all our former Majority Leaders, Speakers, Senators, Representatives, Cabinet Secretaries, military brass, White House Chiefs of Staff, Administrators, Commissioners, regulators, and (in some cases) Presidents, out of the business of lobbying, influence peddling and promoting — and we’d be on our way.
Make it law of the land that one cannot work in government and work in industries regulated by government ever, beginning with (a) banking, finance, insurance, and real estate (b) pharmaceuticals and healthcare, (c) energy, oil and gas (d) the military industrial complex — and we’d be a good way there.
Decontaminate, disinfect, sanitize and sterilize campaign finance right down to the bone. Make money in politics as prim and proper as a virgin nun’s gown — and we’d be a long way there.
Shine public sunlight into the US Federal Reserve and in particular the special interest infested New York Federal Reserve — the black ops center for covert bailouts — and we might even see the finish line.
Watch how the tangents on the debt and deficit begin to correct themselves then. Watch then how boom and bust cycles end. Watch then how expectations of bailout end.
Per a Institute for Policy Studies 2011 report:
Major corporate CEOs took home 325 times the pay of America’s average workers in 2010. Yet 25 major U.S. corporations last year paid their chief executives more than they paid Uncle Sam in federal income taxes.
Yes, imbalances have got that much out of whack. And, unless something’s done about it — and it will most certainly take a new government formed by a new Party to do something about it — such disequilibrium will give way to destabilization, pitting have-not’s against the have’s in time.
Contrary to how the cliché goes, government per se is not the problem — it can, in difficult times, be the solution. And with 1-in-4 Americans unemployed or underemployed or discouraged or “given-up” on the jobs market, these are atrociously difficult times.
In its economic arsenal, Government has the methods and means to deliver full employment at a living wage to the working population. And by full employment, we mean: everyone who wants a job can get one. And by living wage, we mean: enough to not struggle to make basic ends meet. In our implementation of full employment at a living wage, watch us fix rising disability fraud. Watch us put an end to a growing number of young and able-bodied men staying home, hanging out doing nothing, waiting for their cash assistance checks and food stamps to kick back in. Watch us turn welfare into what it should be: an amply funded safety net for only the truly needy. And watch us put everyone that had dropped out of the labor force (involuntarily, since 2008) back to work.
But won’t government delivering full employment at a living wage lead to an exodus from the U.S. Treasury bond? We get that a lot.
Before we argue the point, yes — the time for a loss of faith in Treasuries may come if Republican & Democratic duopoly is allowed much longer in power. After the next banking crisis (in late 2018, latest 2019) and a meltdown that we believe will be a great many times more calamitous than the last in 2008/2009, the Treasury may face a lapse in confidence in the sequel to that meltdown. The prospect of debt breaching red line after red line in 2018, and crossing the Rubicon in 2019, may break-the-buck in Treasuries in 2020. But, the Economic Party will look to reverse that loss of faith, and lapse in confidence, by Nov 3 2020.
Like we said elsewhere: the Party has a plan to tax foreign exchange related and financial instrument related transactions, in the real and shadow banking sphere, to dramatically augment the receipts of the United States Treasury, currently funded by an income-based tax that — on a pie chart — is merely a sliver (and not even a slice) of a vastly expanded tax base that’s both waiting and deserving to be tapped.
Still, those who point incessantly to our national debt clock need to remember, America might not have its finances together in many respects, but, when it comes to finances, our issues dwarf alongside those of other major economies, making us the tallest midget in the room. By far!
The European Union and the Eurozone are a financial mess, home to near-insolvent or insolvent megabanks with aggregate asset exposures that are much bigger than the Union’s or Zone’s GDP.
The United Kingdom houses four systemic financial institutions, with exposures totaling about 3 times British GDP.
Switzerland’s got two biggie-banks, each about twice the size of Swiss GDP.
Countries in the Eurozone, especially, have neatly concealed — from their reported debt-to-GDP ratios — the great mass of contingent liabilities they’ve accumulated in guaranteeing the ECB borrowings of their near-bankrupt or bankrupt banks.
Arguably, American megabanks are not much better in balance sheet aesthetics, but at least they are smaller relative to our economic output, with JP Morgan Chase, our largest — with about $3.7 trillion in assets, per International Financial Reporting Standards — showing up at around one-fifth the size of US GDP.
Germany has found itself somewhat at the mercy of the Eurozone periphery, because Germany’s biggest bank, Deutsche Bank, with I.F.R.S. assets totaling ~75% of German GDP, is exposed. Deutsche Bank’s (notional) €55 Trillion derivatives book doesn’t help, no matter what they claim the notional number nets to, because we bet it won’t net anywhere near that way in the thick of a crisis.
Needless to say, the individual countries in the Eurozone are currency users not issuers, and thus do not have what America has: fiat powers, combined with reserve currency status. No, reserve currency status is not imperiled, by the BRIC’s or anyone else for that matter. Brazil, Russia, India, and China have their strengths, but they also have vast weaknesses that America doesn’t, the absence of a mighty swathe of middle class consumers, being just one. China and Brazil (at least) are resident to a huge and dangerous real estate bubble of their own, as of this writing.
As for Japan… it is as John Mauldin describes, “a bug in search of a windshield.”
You know things are especially askew overseas when hookers and blow begin to show up in GDP, as they did in the European Union in 2013. To goose EU and Eurozone GDP, IStat and Eurostat took to mandating that member countries calculate or estimate (meaning, wild guess) what prostitution, drug trafficking, smuggling (and, for all you know, murder-for-hire) might be contributing to economic output. And, so, the questionnaire from Spain’s National Statistics Institute that went to José Roca, a rep from an association of brothels, asking:
- How much did a prostitute charge on average for her services?
- What was the average number of services provided by a prostitute per day?
(Source: El Pais)
Apparently, the Spanish government had refrained from asking whether some “services” were more expensive to the John than others.
When the Republicans and Democrats start questioning domestic pimps about things like screw-frequency per day, to inflate GDP, yes that’ll be the first sign that the T-bond is in the toaster, but so far both parties have refrained from doing so. Sure, Republicans and Democrats may get to that and other gimmicks as GDP starts plummeting in 2019, but the two parties’ days in power will, by then, be numbered.
When we hear about “the bill coming due”, and “dollar collapse”, and bond vigilantes someday dumping Treasuries in a rout of epic proportion, we got to say: yeah, maybe that’ll happen — and probably will happen — for the duration that remains to the Republican and Democratic parties’ stranglehold on power, BUT, when the Economic Party moves into the White House in 2021, we’ll begin to ask (and sway our way a favorable answer) to the question: whose sovereign debt are returning bondholders going to shift to after any initial abandonment of Treasury bonds in 2019/2020? — the sovereign debt of the much shorter dwarves, burdened by a slew of economic problems, much weightier than our own? We are the sole economic and military superpower on the planet. Whose sovereign debt instruments are creditors going to return to after any initial abandonment of our debt in the years aforementioned? Debt of an extraterrestrial race? As for money abandoning U.S. bonds for U.S. stocks, precious metals, fine art, and antique cars, of course that may happen — and probably will happen — for as long as Republicans and Democrats control things, but again, like we said, their days are numbered.
So, what jobs can Government provide to the struggling, after the Economic Party re-instills any faith and confidence lost in our sovereign issue?
Just for starters, why not jobs to repair the nearly 70,000 bridges in the nation that are in various stages of disrepair? More than a quarter of a billion crossings of these bridges happen every day by everyday Americans. Do we really need our kids, sitting in the back of our cars and buses, going across bridges that might be unsafe or shaky at best.
The Economic Party can fix our structural deficiencies to create full employment at a living wage, with confidence in our sovereign debt strengthening. Don’t let faux conservatives tell you that that’s a pipe-dream. Because, after those faux conservatives are done preaching to you about the perniciousness of debt and deficits, you’ll find them sucking up to some Wall Street bigwig looking for the next bank subsidy, taxpayer backstop, and future bailout. Hypocrisy on debt and deficits, ladies and gentlemen, has discovered no bounds within the modern-day Republican Party.
We hear progressives clamor for a massive minimum wage increase, but they fail to realize its associated risk. Raise the minimum wage and you run the risk of humans being fired and robots being hired. You’re seeing it already affecting entry level jobs, and it will only get worse the higher forced wages go. The WalMart’s of America, the brick-and-mortar retailers on thinning margins, would for example resort to replacing all their cashiers and their shelf-stacking staff with machines. Take, for example, these 2 things that happened in two very different places:
- In 2011, McDonald’s Europe ‘hired’ 7000 automated cashiers to either replace 7000 humans or render them redundant. The euro equivalent of a $14 per hour minimum wage in France at the time, might have motivated the fast food chain to go with touch-screen cashiers versus cashiers you could touch.
- In 2015, WalMart USA was found cutting workers’ hours after granting them a hike in minimum wage to just $9 an hour, by demanding that employees quit their shifts early and/or take longer lunches.
Furthermore, the higher forced wages go, the higher the chances of the physically unattractive being fired and the physically attractive being hired. The overweight would be viewed as too slow on their feet for certain jobs at a heightened minimum per hour. You also run the risk of minorities being let go, for looking different, for acting and talking different. (Sorry, but it’s the nature of the beast). The young and yet to mature are especially vulnerable to min-wage raises. At $15 an hour, like New York was looking to mandate in 2015, underemployed college grads would encroach on the jobs that high school grads, and applicants with no high school diploma, would normally get. (As a reminder, Germany, a country that in general pays its employed well, had no minimum wage until recently, when politics, rather than economics, got it pushed through.)
The response to the lack of a living wage for so many, should be: wage pressure by competitive example. If the government is willing to employ all who seek employment at a living wage, will corporates in the Fortune 500 be able to deny their workers the same?
Note: Small businesses, with limited dollar resources to hire, have nothing to fear from any worker wage-competition from an Economic Party government. Because if you are a small business owner/employer, the Economic Party has intricate plans to assist, fund, and finance your growth, so that you may become a medium and (hopefully) big business some day. Small businesses are at the core of the Platform of the Economic Party, in business ranking priority. We leave it to our candidates to elaborate.
In conclusion to this section, Government and the People were always meant to partner. But a dance between partners is only beautiful when it is a serenade. When the waltz becomes something else — a groping at our buttocks, in a reach for our wallets or whatever — then, instead of giving up on government itself, or drowning oneself in cynicism, it becomes time to change partner. As simple as that.
Now, a little something to connect the dots…
The founders of our movement agreed long ago to join forces to introduce a new breed of politicians to the people. The founders of our movement also agreed this new breed would emanate from a Party diametrically opposite to those two lousy other ones we’d been dealt in a bad hand, getting worse by the day.
A great many years of the GOP doing a threesome with Wall, with the Dems participating from deep under the covers out of palpable fear of Main, had made the founders of our movement conclude what they’d suspected all along: that voting out incumbents of one Party, to vote in foot soldiers of the other, was the equivalent of switching one bad hand for another, only with higher bet.
In 2009, a few of us seriously contemplated the idea of starting that push in Nevada, with one specific Nov 2010 US Congressional race in mind. We moved people into Vegas in anticipation.
The deployment’s first order of business was obviously exploratory. That succeeding, their task was to lay the groundwork for the arrival of a smaller but more specialized unit, equipped with next stage assets (call it opposition research) connecting Nevada’s political heavyweights to the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (F.I.R.E) industries in, shall we say, uncomfortable ways.
Economically stressed and strained, the prime political targets in Nevada were in fact quite ripe for the picking. With a critical mass of the state’s voters concentrated to a quantifiable and manageable labyrinth of city blocks in and around Las Vegas, the state also did not require as much of a ground game — something the Senator we wished to affect had plenty of in his well-oiled and fine-tuned, F.I.R.E. funded machinery, but we lacked at that time. What the state was hungry for, however, was a resounding message, something we had, that our opponent did not.
In 2010, with home prices down like nowhere else, underwater mortgages up like nowhere else, ‘For Rent’ and ‘Lease’ signs everywhere, empty spaces dragging the darkness of the desert in, meter by meter upon the neon of the Strip, layoffs unrelenting, and a President smacking down the idea of splurge visits to the city — when, for better or worse, splurging was what the city and its workers somewhat subsisted on — all told us Las Vegas was source to enough ‘headaches’ to very significantly advance our aims, irrespective of Nov 2010 election day result for our assembly.
Moreover, temptingly, the Silver State was home to a curious contest between Republicans and Democrats — a contagion that was clearly spreading out to other states — wherein the winning formula seemed to be: whoever it is that is disliked less, can win.
There was Jim Gibbons, for example, a Republican Governor, trying to figure out how to get from maybe a 10% approval rating, to (say) 20%, with at least one good idea not involving funny money or a Playboy Bunny. Then there was Harry Reid, a Democratic US senator and Majority Leader no less, a man who could not shake another’s hand without wishing him ill (ask the Las Vegas Review Journal about that), kind of wondering why he was at a 30-some percent approval rating when statewide unemployment was still a ways away from that. And then there was John Ensign. You get the picture.
Along came Harry Reid’s Republican opponent, Sharron Angle. Reminded us of Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, the man who won by rarely, if ever, mentioning he was a Republican. Dubbed one of Wall Street’s Favorite Congressmen by Forbes, he voted for the Senate’s Wall Street pseudo-reform bill in 2010, and got to look like an outsider once again. That the one-time pickup-truck-driving good ol’ fella was 10th in line in the amount of love showered upon anyone in Congress by high finance — 10th out of 535 members of Congress, mind you — with the other nine being in leadership, or on seniority-based committees, got missed along the way. That he was just $81 behind Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd’s haul of Wall Street money, got missed along the way. Not bad for a freshman, not bad at all. No wonder he would serve as exemplar to all budding chameleons seeking office in Nov 2010 nationwide, including Sharron Angle who would befriend Wall Street lobbyists and the tentacles of their money, while railing against Wall Street lobbyists and those very same tentacles, from under the tent of a tea party that was mostly serving boiled water obviously, with maybe a hint of chamomile on the side.
In spite of all the reasons to compete in Nevada in 2010, we decided against starting amidst the Mojave bright lights — or anywhere else for that matter — so soon. Why? Because, along the way and earlier than expected, a calculated effort in a handful of strategically selected states — swing-state California included — yielded us two candidates who could make November 3 2020 a day to remember, on an all-50-state, national electoral scale.
As soon as these two candidates crossed our searchlight, in the glow of the possibilities that could be, Mr. Reid & Co basically faded into the shadows. And that’s how we spared one of the most powerful individuals on Capitol Hill at least a teeny-weeny dose of ultra-concentrated political agony.
In retrospect, finding our two prospects for the 2020 race for the White House was the easy part. Recruiting them was quite another.
She’d run a business most of her life. He’d taught a good part of his life. The sum of all political experience between them, equalled zero.
As our early entreaties to them floundered, we took to a different tact. The female in the duo seemed to hold the keys to a yea or nay decision. She’d left the comfort of her private life in 2005 to do tsunami relief in Asia after the Indian Ocean undersea earthquake hit, just as Christmas gave way to the next day, killing nearly a quarter of a million human beings in its wake. She’d lived among the displaced and distraught, performing all sorts of charitable tasks, hands-on. So we went after that part of her heart.
While US presidencies are routinely — sadly — emblazoned in glitz and glamor, imbibed in stardom and celebrity, with the President’s quarters often passageway for tinseltown motorists and the jocks of the world, we showed her a different side that could be. Who, of a good and decent soul, could refuse a shot at maybe doing more for their fellow man, in just four years, than all the charity in the world could in one hundred?
With that recruitment approach, it wasn’t long before we got the call from her saying: Alright, we’ll do it.
Since the time of our origins in 2008, Mr. Obama has been either presidential frontrunner or President-elect or President.
Therefore, by default, much of our policy critiques here and elsewhere have been directed at him and his administration. Now, while we’ve gone at specific policies of President Obama with determination, and will continue to do so going forward, as Americans who cherish the idea of “Only in America”, we were also raised by his election in 2008, and glad to see a Commander-in-Chief get to the Oval decisively, without daddy’s — and almost hubby’s — coattails greasing the way.
Unlike Mr. Obama’s many vitriolic detractors and ill-willed critics, we respect our President. To do otherwise would be to slight the country that elected him, and we love our country too much to do that.
That said, though, we will not hold back on what needs to be said, and must be said.
It is reputed that Barack Obama, the senator, once told his former boss, Majority Leader Reid: “Harry, I have a gift.” As in: a way with people. Let’s consider that.
If one were to look only at the voters who went to the polls during Bush vs. Kerry, interestingly Obama beat McCain solely by one percentage point among them. However, if one were to look at first-time voters and formerly discouraged voters who voted, the Obama margin was a staggering 44 times that.
So, yes, a way with people, Mr. Obama did most definitely have — back then. Once he won, and the months stacked up into a year, then two, then three, the “gift” he had, Mr. Obama found out to somewhat his displeasure, was departing him.
The power to uplift a people can work when it’s a candidate on stage, and he’s got poetry in his script. But in the Oval, in a nation mired in economic stagnation, script means squat. In the Oval, a President must have — in execution mode — high precision, laser sharp solutions, to strike directly and destructively at the problem, to uplift more than his ego. No ideological agenda, left or right leaning, no matter how expertly mobilized, will get around that.
Economic cataclysms of a leveraged credit kind have very specific fixes. We know what they are, as do others, who saw 2008 coming years before it came. These fixes know no political stripe. Our DC-based left and right seem not to realize that. If our DC lot did, they could unite to get the after-effects to pass sooner rather than later. But no, they choose to unite most often when it’s least needed. Notice the unity they displayed voting for perks and hikes for themselves, before they got busted for the lavish. Or notice the unity they displayed bailing out the banking buddies they have in common — the huff and puff of feigned populist anger for the cameras notwithstanding.
Travel back with us to 2009 for a moment, if you will, to illustrate this point. To the summer of 2009 specifically… That’s when the debate was on in Washington DC about whether our nation’s 50 million elderly, retired, and disabled — on $1,153 a month — should get a one-time payment of about $13 a month, in lieu of a cost of living adjustment or COLA. The DC brigade was in debate mode about this, because of an absence of inflation in the lives of those 50 million, apparently.
The homes and interest bearing savings accounts of these Social Security recipients weren’t doing so well at the time. The crisis — that our government and banks had incubated then hatched — had eaten into those. But so what, was the argument — there was still no inflation by the method the government used to calculate inflation.
Sure, some of the money used to rescue the banks came from those 50 million people, paid to the government in taxes over a lifetime of labor. And, sure, the taxpayer-rescued banks were going to pay $140 billion in bonuses that year alone to themselves, with our political actors shedding alligator tears all over them. But so what, was the argument — what did bonuses have to do with this, there was still no inflation.
The absence of inflation didn’t matter on Capitol Hill though, where bonuses to Congressional staff reached an 8-year record high. House Financial Services Committee Chair Barney Frank paid bonuses to aides because they’d worked so hard. Yes, gift-wrapping that $700 billion of TARP, had been hard work indeed.
The absence of inflation didn’t matter to the planet’s most powerful millionaires club, sitting on Capitol Hill, either: while the cost of living adjustment for those on Social Security was in question, 535 members of Congress, with a combined net worth of $3.7 billion and on a salary of $174,000 a year per capita, felt a certain need to take their $4,700 annual COLA.
The absence of inflation didn’t matter at Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac either. To explain away the $210 million in bonuses there, their regulator, James Lockhart, argued the need for “experienced and highly skilled employees” to manage trillions in mortgage related business. Perhaps someone should have told him that all that breathtaking talent he had, was well on its way to blowing a hole in the taxpayer’s balance sheet the size of Iraq.
Ladies and gentlemen, you get the point. In our capital, little things for little people need to get debated. Big things for big people — the real entitlements — required no debate whatsoever.
Fast forward to 2011, and there was the Obama Administration putting Social Security back into the fair game column.
We remind the President of his own statements on Social Security as Candidate. Especially what he said in reference to McCain’s proposal to either raise the retirement age or reduce the COLA, specifically: “Let me be clear. I will not do either.“
Want to better Social Security and its brethren? Do it the right way, with the needs of the needy uncompromised. (Our candidates will elaborate).
Think: Campaign 2008. After the show, the balloons, the banners, and confetti, after the lights went out, what did we get? — seems a lot like what we had before, no?
“Too many times, after the election is over, and the confetti is swept away, all those promises fade from memory, and the lobbyists and the special interests move in, and people turn away, disappointed as before, left to struggle on their own.” That’d be Candidate Obama announcing his candidacy. Amazing, isn’t it, how he would foretell his own presidency.
And for more foretold déjà vu… Teaming up with the Republican Class of ’94 and a bunch of Democrats salivating at the prospect of seeing more of those luscious-green Wall Street dollars come their way, President Clinton went headlong into deregulation i.e. the kind of deregulation Wall Street likes, where banks get to do what they want, no matter how risk-intensive, with taxpayers at their back, and bank bondholders absolved of their duty to regulate, supervise, monitor, and audit the institutions that had borrowed their money to bet with. This culminated in two of Clinton’s signature achievements:
1. The Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 that formally broke the back of the Glass-Steagall Act, the best thing to have come out of President Roosevelt’s Depression era legislation to make sure another depression wouldn’t come so easy.
And 2. The Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 that sent derivatives free to run amok among their makers/movers/ and shakers, and lit our economy on fire in 2008, enough to make us douse just one of the pyromaniacs, AIG Financial Products, with $182 billion of a taxpayer-funded extinguishing.
“Over the seven years, we have tried to modernize the economy,” Bill Clinton opined as he pulled the teeth out of Glass-Steagall after breaking its back, “And today what we are doing is modernizing the financial services industry.”
Fast forward to 2011, and President Obama found himself (or thought he had) on similar ground, except this time, instead of a Speaker Gingrich prone to impaling his way into getting his agenda through, he had a Speaker Boehner, who preferred tears to spears. In 2011–2012, like Clinton in 1995–1996, Obama too worried about his reelection, and did all he could to turn the fundraising mecca of Manhattan onto his side.
Wasn’t easy, because the city’s money wads weren’t happy with their “fat-cat” name-caller. But amends were being made. And the kowtowing to Wall Street and the mollification of Manhattan’s moneymen got fast underway. So, just as Clinton called it “modernization” in 1999 and 2000, Mr. Obama called it “Toward a 21st-Century Regulatory System” in his op-ed in The Wall Street Journal. (Notice, this one was not in The New York Times.) And as Clinton termed it: “tearing down those antiquated laws”, Mr. Obama termed it “to remove outdated regulations.”
Except, in the op-ed, Mr. Obama was careful not to mention banks in the same equation. So, instead Mr. Obama wrote about Juan Valdez and the beans on the back of Juan’s mule: “If the FDA deems saccharin safe enough for coffee, then the EPA should not treat it as hazardous waste,” penned the President.
And, with that, President Obama told us something we did not know, that a non-financial derivative of sorts, a sugar substitute called saccharin, could have been what caused Wall Street its crisis, and could have been what wiped out all those millions of Main Street jobs right after. Who would’ve imagined.
A wise man we knew once said:
“Let not the government or its agents control, direct, deter or inhibit a private entity, in the conduct of honest business, with the imposition of bureaucratic rule and regulation … if these are free markets.
“If these are free markets, let there be free will, foremost a freedom to live and die by the consequence of corporate action. Government assistance, subsidy, and rescue, that deny or retard corporate destiny, have no place in the space of free enterprise. They are in fact alien to it.
“Federal Reserve rescues are more so alien, for the shawl of secrecy they so often shroud in.
“Only a Communist would pardon a sovereign saving a speculative private bank, its creditors and managers” (because) “no truthful capitalist would condone it.”
“This is not the Soviet Union. This is the United States of America… Guess what… It’s a Free. Fucking. Country!” shouted the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, in a 2012 interview with the New York Magazine entitled: 122 Minutes with Jamie Dimon.
Which was interesting, because what Dimon had happen to him in September 2008, was in fact so Soviet Union. What D.C. did for Dimon, and others in his cabal on Wall in September 2008, is pretty much what Boris Yeltsin did for his oligarchs pursuant to the collapse of the USSR in 1991: Boris gave them their old jobs back after the failed state.
Yeltsin, the first President of the new “democratic” Russia, even called the transformation of the Kremlin’s centrally planned command economy into a billionaires’ paradise and oasis of oligarchy: “free market” privatization. Sound familiar?
“I’ve abandoned free market principles to save the free market system,” said George W Bush in December 2008 in one of his infinite kernels of finite wisdom.
Dimon must’ve liked that. It would’ve been economic Armageddon otherwise, he’d argue.
But the banker theory of of Mutually Assured Destruction — that if Wall Street went down, so would Main Street — parroted by the likes of New York’s U.S. Senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, was also so Soviet Union. For we’d argue that it is simply not true that megabank resolution, had it been tried in 2008, would’ve been extremely disorderly. We’d argue that Government standing in as counterparty, behind every derivatives contract up-ended by every megabank failure, could’ve made the unwinding of the derivatives daisy chain quite orderly, actually — that is, if Paulson and Geithner and Bernanke had willed it. (Yes, we understand there would have been a fatter chance of pigs flying, and flying upside down at that, but still.)
“We’re about to get into a big fight with the banks,” Mr. Obama once told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. In rhetoric, it seems this “fight” of the President’s had been going on since Iowa 2007.
But just as Bill Clinton brought deregulators en masse into the White House to prove he was ‘pro-business’, Obama too hauled in his own de-reg gang, which, by the strangest of coincidence, bore remarkable resemblance to Clinton’s ex de-reg gang.
In Jan 2011, Bill Daley, Clinton’s Commerce Secretary and, until changing address to 1600 Pennsylvania, JP Morgan Chase’s Vice Chairman in Chicago, became Mr. Obama’s new Chief of Staff. (Curious, isn’t it, how George W Bush made Joshua Bolten, a former Executive Director for government affairs at Goldman Sachs, his White House Chief of Staff and, next, Bush’s successor, a self-professed anti-Bush who ran on Anything but Bush, makes his distinction to show how different he is by picking his Chief of Staff from another bank.)
Relevantly, Paul Volcker, the man who wanted genuinely to clean up the way banks did some of their business, was out in 2011. All six feet seven inches of the decorative ornament, and periodic press exhibit, was booted out of the White House that January, as ceremoniously as he was paraded in two years earlier, and paraded around after Scott Brown took Ted Kennedy’s seat in an upset one year in-between.
Replacing the 6′ 7″ artifact: the CEO of General Electric, the one and only Jeff Immelt — at the helm of a company that got bailed out in 2008 (because of GE Capital), and at the head of a corporation that paid barely any taxes on $81 billion in profits in over a decade. With a 1200-person accounting department, and a former Treasury official in charge of it, seems about right — right?
Jeff was on the Board of the New York Federal Reserve before that appointment. He was a Class B Director, defined by NY Fed at the time as one elected by the banks to represent the public. In light of that dichotomy, Jeff made it into the Economic Party dictionary under both ‘oxymoron’ and ‘paradox’. In the Urban dictionary, he made it into a bunch of other areas as well.
Jeff Immelt was made chairman of a new joke of President Obama’s called a Council on Jobs. Never mind this chairman’s jaw-droppingly-awesome record of creating those jobs here in America…
The last we looked in 2011, Jeff had:
- Cut 28,000 Americans from GE’s workforce in the five years leading up to 2010.
- Brought US headcount down by 31,000 since his first full year as CEO in 2002, during which time hires in foreign countries soared.
- Finished 2009 with 18,000 fewer US workers than GE had at the end of 2008.
- Slashed US-based GE workers down to 44% from 52% during his tenure.
Seriously, who would imagine Jeff the new US Jobs Czar. Unless Mr. Obama meant Foreign Jobs Czar.
In Sep 2011, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria asked Immelt why he took the job as Jobs Czar. “You know, he is my President,” Jeff elaborated in his tear-jerker, “and I believe when the President asks you to do something, you say yes.“ Too bad his President didn’t ask him to stop shipping American jobs abroad and start creating them at home!
In a midsummer 2011 weekly radio address, after a poor jobs report had come out, Mr. Obama said:“I wish I could tell you there was a quick fix to our economic problems. But the truth is, we didn’t get into this mess overnight, and we won’t get out of it overnight.”
(Discarding the minor detail of 2.5 years in office being a bit longer than overnight, focus on what the President said next) “I’ll travel to North Carolina where I’ll meet with my Jobs Council and talk about additional steps we can take to spur private-sector hiring.”
Our thought when we heard that: ‘Oh, that ought to do it.’ Why? Because: Besides the Jobs “Abroad” Czar Jeff Immelt, who else was on Mr. Obama’s Jobs Council? Try, a crew of hi-fi Democratic Party campaign financiers.
Let’s start with the low-name-recognition Robert Wolf. Is he a small-to-medium business owner, trying to hire and grow to perhaps one day becoming a medium-to-large business owner? Not quite. He is the chairman of the US division of UBS AG, the largest Swiss bank, the world’s second largest handler of private wealth, with trillions of assets on its balance sheet, operations in 40-some countries, with headquarters in one of the ritziest towns on the planet for the über-loaded: Basel, Switzerland.
But he is the moneyman who first lured lurid bucks for pre-presidential Obama — as much as $350,000 in just 3 hours — as far back as early 2007, when Senator Obama was still months away from becoming Candidate Obama, and before anybody thought he’d have a chance of winning the nomination much less the presidency.
Fact: A 2012 review of Federal Election Commission data reveals the Obama Jobs Council to be stacked skyhigh with rich donors and money bundlers of Mr. Obama’s 2008 election campaign and 2012 reelection campaign. At least 10 individuals on the Council had made the maximum contribution, and several — like Penny Pritzker of the multibillionaire Pritzker family of Chicago, and Mark Gallogy of investment house Centerbridge Partners — were heavy hitters in the President’s cash bundling business. Richard Parsons, a personal friend of the President, was another Jobs Councilman — that he was also chairman of Citigroup, a corporate equivalent of Shiva the Destroyer to American job destruction, must have been missed along the way in the camaraderie behind the appointment.
So, how was an American President going to get creative, creating jobs here at home, with a grab-bag of moneybags like that to tell him how? Don’t know.
What gets interesting in all of this, is this: Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, GE, UBS, and Citi, were all major beneficiaries of the taxpayer bailouts that began in 2008. That they are controlling the White House again, after all that happened, after all this country went through, is truly — truly — surreal.
Even if he might not show it, somewhere Dick Morris must be proud. Triangulation — the geometry he taught a Clinton — has evidently captured itself an Obama.
While Bill did it for a second term, and subsequently wondered the sense of the 22nd Amendment barring him from a third or fourth term, our feeling is that Mr. Obama will be content to have just two terms and leave. But the end-result for Americans will still be the same — another de-reg driven Wall Street crisis in the making, up ahead.
In light of all this, is it any wonder why the Economic Party supports — and will fight for — a 100% citizen funded elections system for all who seek public office, presidents included.
Fair Elections Now is a good starting line. But an inadequate finish line. We leave it to our candidates to elaborate.
You’d think the crisis of 2008 would have cleaned government up somewhat. And cleared it of the slime, somewhat. But the opposite happened.
Until 2010, individuals and entities could only give dollars to candidates in the thousands, for the most part. Political action committees were still, relatively speaking, benign, and had not yet fully morphed into Super PACs.
Then the US Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission opened the floodgates. At least 156 Super PACs monetized the ruling quickly. With the Supers, million dollar checks became possible and, knowing how much our politicians go for these days, are likely probable. The competition to buy influence got upgraded, exponentially.
There is little doubt that billions of dollars could flow to hundreds of the Supers, anonymously. This is black market plutocracy posing as democracy. It is, in the eyes of the Economic Party, nothing less than corruption legalized.
Both the Republican leadership and its Democratic counterpart have espoused Super PACs. Freshmen in Congress of both parties are diving in. John Podesta, a Democratic operative with ties to both the Clinton and Obama White Houses, is said to have consulted for a Republican, former US Senator Norm Coleman, before Coleman helped set up the House Republican Super PAC.
Stranger than fiction, we heard that Freshman Senator Mike Lee (Republican-Utah), a sworn member of the Tea Party Caucus, wanted a SuperPAC inside his Constitutional Conservatives Fund. Result: a HybridSuperPAC able to guzzle up unlimited bucks. “The Constitution simply does not permit the government to suppress free speech by restricting the right to make contributions,” wrote Lee’s lawyer to the FEC. Looking at what this Tea Party ‘leader’ had done to mock the meaning of “free speech”, we realize the alleged leaders of the Tea Party have lost all touch with what (allegedly) founded the Tea Party in the first place.
It’s bad enough that we have ex-Presidents pocketing in excess of $100 million off speeches, with future ones playing catch-up. It’s bad enough our former members of Congress are banking millions off consulting. Now they want to buy our elected representatives while still in office, or before they even get to office, in auctions to be won by the highest bidder!
In a banana republic, a politician is handed a briefcase of cash in exchange for political access and favor. In America, the problem with the briefcase idea is, more often than not, a briefcase would not be big enough. More often than not, a suitcase would not be big enough. Money, the size being paid to our ex and future Presidents, these days, requires a tanker.
We need to reset the private citizen — the individual — at the nucleus of political power. And reset it on equal wattage. The middlemen, and all their contrivances and contraptions, need to go.
Maybe, in a utopia, only a human being can contribute to a Party or candidate, and contribute at that within limit. Maybe, in a utopia, the max contribution for every entity other than a human being, is zero. We wonder if that might take some of the legalized corruption out of politics, and make public $ervice, public service, in fact.
If the Supreme Court wishes to interject itself into this debate, and seeks to disrupt a fair elections program of the People’s choosing in the future, perhaps then we should wonder a different sort of utopia — where the Justices of the Court must themselves face election by the People.
Should the members of our third arm of government — sometimes its most powerful arm — be immune from accountability? This is a Constitutional question. One that would stir even our Founding Fathers.
But could our Founding Fathers have imagined a world like ours today, where political connections, wrought off potentially unlimited campaign contributions, have captured and enslaved democracy itself?
Ladies and gentlemen, look no further than the taxes we pay, demanded of us in haste to waste or to rescue those who least deserve it. Look at our nation’s debt, spiraling up a nebular staircase at a rate disproportionate, if not inversely proportionate, to any lasting improvement in the lives of the ordinary. And what did we get for the debt? The best healthcare system in the world? … No. The best manufacturing system in the world? … No. The best education system in the world? … No. Jobs as far as the eye can see? … No — not even jobs as far as the nose goes. But, notice, for that debt, there was a lot of money made at the top, with inequality stretched to new extremes.
Next, look at the colonies of lobbyists still circling the capital, the revolving doors that still rotate, and you know, after the show, after the teleprompter shut down and the floodlights blazed out, the only difference to the 2008 presidential campaign of Hope and Change, was that you’d paid more for the tickets that year. Believing the Pitch was a pricy currency, indeed.
In some hour of reckoning, fellow citizens, we will come to realize that a great nation — the greatest in all of human civilization — is in decline. Government-fostered decline.
Through the prism of the American middle class, the poor, and the sane, what’s happening to our country, is clear. No amount of their Black Boxes — the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Birth/Death Black Box being one of the most entertaining — has kept the light of sanity getting through.
The way they massage numbers at the top … like counting those who’d worked just one hour in a week as employed … all solace in their fiction, will find itself fleeting.
Paul Volcker once said that the only financial innovation Wall ever gave Main was the ATM. What he did not say, were the things Wall took away from Main after the ATM.
Starting 1999, Wall Street embarked upon its most ambitious government-sanctioned expansion over the general economy since the Great Depression, courtesy of both Republicans (Gramm, Leach, Bliley, for starters) and Democrats in Congress, President Bill Clinton, his Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin, his other Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, Tim Geithner, and so on, a good number of whom are who’s-who in the Obama Administration at one time or the other.
Three years into the Billary Administration, i.e. before Citi’s Sandy Weill and Bill Clinton became tight, the biggest banks in the US started escalating their asset base from about 15% of US GDP to about 100% our nation’s total output more recently (as per International Financial Reporting Standards or IFRS for the Big 8). On the flip side, since the passage of The Financial Services Modernization Act and The Commodity Futures Modernization Act, more than 13 million people in America’s pool of available labor went poof (as of 2011). Somehow, they’d found themselves in an employment time warp that made no sense, where employment (in net effect) was making a gross sucking sound. Except, if one looked closely, and understood what was happening in that twilight zone, it did make sense — perfect sense.
In return for government’s facilitation of an unprecedented expansion of high finance into every nook and cranny of society, members of government got reciprocity. The quid pro quo took various forms, but the common denominator was the usual denominator: money.
While the dollar figure would exceed $100 million in 2013, in a 2011 financial disclosure filed by SecState Hillary Clinton, it came to light that her husband Bill Clinton hauled in $75.6 million doling out speeches over the decade. In 2011 alone, Mr. Clinton drew in $13.4 million at 54 speaking events, a quarter of a million bucks per speech on average. A random read of the transcripts of those speeches, would put most homo sapiens to sleep. But a list of who and what paid Mr. Clinton the ~$100 million, would not. “I never had any money until I got out of the White House, you know, but I’ve done reasonably well since then,” said Hillary in 2010, as if doing “well” like that after they’d “got out of the White House” was something to be proud of for an American President and First Lady.
In 2014, Mrs. Clinton would tell Good Morning America: “We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt. We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages, for houses, for Chelsea’s education. You know, it was not easy.” She cited “something like $12 million” in legal fees as cause for their indebtedness. Of course, unmentioned in the interview was what actually caused the inability to afford multiple houses, i.e. the source upstream that caused the legal fees downstream, and that being a charge of perjury. There was nothing illegal in Mr. Clinton engaging in consensual sex acts with Ms. Lewinsky. But saying stuff like ‘I have never had sexual relations with that woman’ under oath could have been illegal, irrespective of whether “sexual relations” included giving oral sex but excluded receiving oral sex as Bill’s legal team tried to argue. The fact of the matter is, had Mr. Clinton not lied in a legal proceeding, we doubt the Clintons would have come of the White House “dead broke.”
Anyway, while Dubya hasn’t quite caught up to Bubba’s average haul per speaking event, the Center for Public Integrity once reported that George W Bush has made at least $15 million for 140 speaking engagements soon after he’d ridden off into the sunset. (Dallas, W’s new hangout, did lead Crawford, W’s old hangout, in business opportunity, the last we checked. It appears 487 days of clearing brush at the ranch, as President, finally got under the skin of our ex-President.)
Fellow Americans, if the Economic Party were to elect a President — which it will — we can assure you that she/he will issue the American people a lifetime — yes, lifetime — guarantee: to never cash in, or out, on the Presidency. If she/he writes a book, gives a speech, does whatever that vessels the aura of his or her former office, we assure you she/he will offer the monetary proceeds to a worthy charity, for the benefit of the truly needy. (And, needless to say, that charity would not be their own.)
Because, since 1958 at least, the American people have seen to it that our former Presidents don’t go needy. Since 1958, we’ve taken care of our Presidents. Besides a pension that exceeds $200,000 a year nowadays, and a Secret Service security detail to protect, the Former Presidents Act provided them with reimbursement for office space, support staff, travel and correspondence “to maintain the dignity of that great office”, so that he/she does not engage “in business or occupation … to capitalize upon it.”
All of those taxpayer funded benefits, in 2008 alone, added up to: $518,000 for Carter, $786,000 for Bush Sr., and $1,162,000 for Clinton (even centimillionaires, we suppose, need some extras). That ought to be enough for serving the people, if in fact the service was rendered selflessly, as is so often claimed with a straight face.
From the Founders’ Statement in the Articles of Origin of the 2020 Platform of the Economic Party:
America is not a former Soviet satellite, a mid-east Emirate, Kingdom, Monarchy, Banana Republic or any other Third World caricature, where the rulers get rich at the expense of the ruled. We are supposed to be example to the world, that the most powerful in the world, be they elected by us or appointed by us, shall not be hunters of treasure, but creators of it.
Creating treasure, might not be their thing in Washington DC, but when it comes to extending wars, well…
A bit of pretext here. Sometime after George W Bush had Saddam Hussein strung up and hung, the Financial Times asked of Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister: Is Iran looking to destabilize Iraq? “Why should we do that?” hissed the Deputy Minister. “Why should we undermine a government in Iraq that we support more than anybody else?”
There’s little doubt to the veracity of that quote.
You see: As far back as 1639, the Treaty of Qasr-i-Shirin established the border between Ottomans and Persians, dividing up Shiite and Sunni-ruled lands. Iran fought Iraq through the 1980s in a long war, intending to erase those lines. The Reagan Administration supported Iraq’s Saddam for partly strategic reasons — an Iranian victory could’ve delivered majority-Shiite Iraq to Shiite Iran, and transported Iran to the border of Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia. The Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, its largest province, is mostly Shiite, and by happenstance is home to most of Saudi oil production. Other borders beckoned as well. Bahrain, where Shiites outnumber Sunnis by a factor of two, was under a Sunni monarch, and by happenstance home to a US naval base.
After 8 years and more than a million Iranians dead, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini won nothing and lost much. Then George W Bush changed all that in 2003 and, with barely an Iranian soldier scratched, got it done for Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in just 18 days.
As of this writing, Iraq has become Iran’s steadfast behind-the-scenes ally. Iraq has done all it can to help Iran evade international economic sanction. Iraq has allowed Iran to fly its air space, and cross its land, to aid and supply the besieged Assad regime in Syria, and funnel arms to Shiite revolutionaries plotting in Bahrain, plotting that became serious enough for John McCain to sigh by Dec 2012 that the US had “too much invested” in Bahrain to consider any relocation of the Navy’s 5th Fleet, the military investment designed specifically to contain and deter Iran in the Gulf.
As of this writing, Iraq’s PM Nouri al-Maliki has swooned to Iran’s fundamentalist leaders, while paying lip service to our presidents to collect our generous financial & material aid.
Across his porous border to the east, the mullahs on Iran’s Revolutionary Council, and zealots in its Revolutionary Guard, can’t believe their luck. The new Iraq had bought Iran and its extremist regime time — time to circumvent and override the punitive sanctions system for a while, and thus time to survive.
If he’s not too busy hugging and kissing al-Maliki, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad must be laughing. Saddam Hussein might have been a thug and a brute, but at least Mahmoud wasn’t over there smooching him.
Seriously, is anyone surprised by any of this? That America’s government had played Match.com, eHarmony.com, at bringing this long-lost love together, gets all of us here at the Economic Party to shake our heads in ongoing disbelief.
Except Match and eHarmony make money doing what they’re doing. In the case of Uncle Sam’s Dating Service, it’s been the American taxpayer that’s been writing the checks to fund the romance.
And, 10 years later, the checks to keep the affair alive and well, continue, in the tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer giving. Go figure.
So, in a brilliant start to our new millennium, and a rare bipartisan display of spellbinding creativity that miraculously included both George W and Hillary Rodham, in 2003 Republicans and Democrats initiated a supremely stupid and magnificently expensive war in the Gulf that continues to this day. And for what reason did we go into Iraq? Here’s what:
We gave them democracy. We gave them blood. (30,000 plus of our own: dead, brain-damaged, paralyzed, amputated, blinded, and burned.)
We gave them money. (With at least one trillion of our US dollars probably already spent as of this writing, we must wonder: have the Iraqis even heard the word trillion before?)
All of the above, we gave them, courtesy of the sole superpower on the planet, all for an economy the size of a little state of ours, all for a population less than one-tenth of ours, of an entirely different culture and religion to ours, and, each and every day, from eight years ago to this day, we keep them from going at each other’s throats, killing each other in a Shiite-Sunni-Kurd civil war that could have reduced the region’s Muslim population by a million at least. And, yet, on our most important days to remember our proud and the few, our Veterans Days and our Memorial Days, have we — from their “liberated” populace or their “democratic” government — got one “Thank You” note so far? Have we!
Republicans once compared victory in Baghdad to victory in Normandy. In Normandy, we’re allowed to raise our Stars and Stripes. In Baghdad, one can raise flames above our flag, but not the flag itself.
Seriously, with victories like these, who needs defeats.
In 2002, George W Bush was heard saying of Saddam Hussein: “After all, this is the guy who tried to kill my dad.” Six months later, there was W crowing “Mission Accomplished” from a warship. Not long after, the clarion call to invasion — that “Iraq’s got WMD, and is neck-deep in stockpiles of it” — got debunked.
Yet, as has been widely documented, both North Korea and Iran accelerated their nuke-weaponization plans after watching W land on an aircraft carrier in a goofy jumpsuit. (Notice, Mike Dukakis in a goofy helmet, riding a tank, did no such thing.) Iran’s Revolutionary Council of clerics and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard of generals thus found themselves in frantic agreement with North Korea’s Kim Jong Il: that W would never have ordered an invasion of Iraq if Saddam had wielded a nuclear deterrent, even a minor one, of a 100-or-so kilotons, contained in just half-a-dozen-or-so rudimentary fission bombs.
With Iraq sort of axed out of W’s “Axis of Evil”, Iran and N. Korea had good reason to worry they were next on Dubya’s “Evil is Bad & Must be Licked” List. And, worry they did, putting nuclear scientists and nuclear black-market operators to work, on overdrive.
In 2011–2012, it was back onto Afghanistan as the main commitment, where the government and its family extensions were pure opiate (literally) for a Taliban revival.
Which begs the question: Why are our men and women in uniform dying for this?
Yes, war is money. And much money is made in war. It’s been that way since olden times of pillage and plunder. But have our rulers not yet civilized themselves enough, has our ruling intelligentsia not yet smartened themselves enough, to realize they are now taking from their own, that the pillage and plunder is of the ordinary citizen, and that the loss of life and limb is most at home?
Our guess is: they have.
But as some power-brokers in the politico-military-industrial complex would say point-blank, in private, to their own reflection: So what? There’s still money to be made.
America must remain the planet’s mightiest military by the widest of technological margin. It must be able to decimate when required to decimate. It must be willing to kill when it’s justified to kill. But it must pick its fights honestly and wisely.
By Aug 2011, President Obama hated his predecessor’s wars even less. There’s “not much further” to cuts in the defense budget, he said. Not much further? Defense spending had actually ratcheted up on his watch. How hard is it to cut something that was already bloated and got bloated even more? Thus, “modest adjustments to health care programs like Medicare” — Mr. Obama’s words — and no doubt cuts to Social Security was the way to go to get government finances under control.
And with that, the Great Communicator Promiser of 2008 was able to chalk himself one more promise to break. Like he hadn’t broken enough already.
To put this shattered pledge in stark perspective, consider the following carefully, because we cannot stress their importance enough.
The White House’s Office of Management and Budget did an analysis once, of the damage inflicted upon taxpayers, by the crisis of 2008 and its aftermath. According to the OMB, gross federal debt, expected to reach $14 trillion by 2016 before the crisis, would soar to $21 trillion by 2016 after the crisis — a $7 Trillion differential, a figure likely to be revised up again. Despite that titanic hit to taxpayers, delivered by the crisis, look what went on with the custodians of the taxpayers’ money:
- The hollowed out and empty Wall Street Reform Act was signed into law by President Obama on July 21 2010. The report of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission — official investigator of the infernal cauldron brewing by Sep 2008 — was delivered to President Obama on January 27 2011, six months and six days after the Act was signed into law (We can only imagine what Mr. Obama did with the report, besides make paper planes for Bo, the First Dog, to fetch.)
- Congress swore that the FCIC it bipartisanly appointed would be meaningful, and would do the right thing: which is, get to the bottom of the crisis, uproot its causes and expose its culprits. But you know a court is a kangaroo when it releases its verdict 6 months and 6 days after the acquittal. And that’s precisely what it proved to be. While the Pecora Commission of 1932 did much to reveal and prosecute, the Inquiry Commission of 2010 did everything to hide and exonerate. Republicans on the Commission, especially, could not scramble over each other fast enough to hide and exonerate the usual culprits lining their campaign coffers.
The budget of the Commission was $8 million. Not billion. But million. Remember that number: $8 million, allotted to find the truth to (what will prove to be) the most expensive economic event, ever, for America — because what will soon be conjoined to it, will be the next financial crisis, far more lethal than the last, due 2018/2019 at the latest. And now compare that $8 million number to this:
- Congress spent $19.4 million on travel alone in 2008, according to Treasury figures, and that does not count the millions the Department of Defense spent flying everyone around. Speaker Nancy Pelosi racked up $101,000 for “in-flight services” of everything from Grey Goose to Courvoisier over 2 years, and tagged on another $2.1 million for use of Air Force jets as well. As Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch put it about documents received under the Freedom of Information Act: “Speaker Pelosi has a history of wasting taxpayer funds with her boorish demands for military travel. These documents suggest the Speaker’s congressional delegations are more about partying than anything else.”
- If House Republicans, in power since 2011, are behaving differently, no doubt it’s because they know they’re being watched. At the Economic Party, we do however remember this detail about those Republicans: Around the time Speaker Gingrich and others were likely engaged in their own extramarital affairs, Republicans did spend nearly 4 times that $8 million, a grand total of $32 million, trying to figure out if Bill Clinton had — in any of her orifices — penetrated Ms. Monica Lewinsky.
In Jan 2008, before the financial crisis erupted, the Congressional Budget Office projected that government debt in private hands would reach only $5.1 trillion by 2018. By Jan 2010, a year after the crisis but thick in its sequel, the CBO had raised that number to $13.7 trillion. By Jan 2011, two years after the crisis but thick in its sequel, the CBO was forecasting the number at $15.8 trillion — $10.7 Trillion more than before the eruption. Despite that titanic hit, what has the solution of Republicans or Democrats been to the debt trajectory?
Answer: Leave the multi-TRILLION dollar causal agents of the crisis alone, let bankers and their most dangerous derivative instruments be, and find multi-BILLION-dollar “adjustments” to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security instead. Or, take from the needy and give to the un-needy. Or, as Main Street Gov put it under one of its Bills, “spread the wealth around” — the way Barack told Joe the Plumber — except, spread it upward!
Ladies and gentlemen, if these aren’t the waning vital signs and last throes of a parasitic symbiosis whose end-hour has come, then what is?
Fellow Americans, in some hour of reckoning, you will come to realize that our great nation — the greatest in all of human civilization — is in decline.
But in that same hour, what say you to the idea that we also come face to face with our destiny — to reverse it.
Don’t we owe that to those little ones we see playing around us?
Don’t we owe that to those who’ve given up their lives for us?
Don’t we owe that to ourselves?
We wish you the best, America.
Wish us good luck.
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