Thursday November 12th 2009

debt 1 imagesHour One - What about classical demand side economics don't Libertarians & conservatives not understand? Thom is challenging Wayne Root

Plus...Is this the beginning of the end of predatory Capitalism in America? Are they trying out the Mondragon model? with Leo W. Gerard

Hour Two - Are Americans overpaid or are they simply ignorant of basic economics?

Hour Three - "Pay for staying away?!"  What's wrong with sick pay? Thom challenges Carrie Lukas of the Independent Women's Forum

Plus....Geeky Science...No one knows why humans started to "speak" but Thom has a theory?


Mark (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago

What “official” unemployment rates actually measure is a matter of debate, but apparently it is people who are on unemployment insurance, and those the states have in their work search data bases as still seeking employment. Supposedly there is no such thing as zero unemployment, since there are always people in between jobs and subject to seasonal shifts. But as Thom has noted, the “unofficial” unemployment rate is considerably higher, with perhaps at least as many as the official rate existing in a economic Twilight Zone, invisible people swept under the rug, out of sight but ever present—like the leavings of a lazy housekeeper or homeowner hiding the evidence from visitors. They are people who don’t hardly bother to wake up in the morning, life is so bleak and pointless. They are the homeless, or people who make their illicit “living” on the streets. They are people who are “professional” students frustrated at not being able to find work to suit their training. And of course there are the people who occupy our prisons.

And yet there are people who insist that despite the evidence that as much as 20 percent of the population have no gainful means of making a useful living (and an additional percentage working as temps or part-time workers who are little better off), things are looking peachy for those who still have full-time jobs, since they are making more money than ever before. But who are those people? No one I know. $10 an hour doesn’t buy you what $2 bought you 30 years ago, or even what $5 bought you 10 years ago, but that’s the kind of pay you’ll find in the industrial parks and most service “industries.” It used to be that you could buy a house that cost as much as what you made in a single year; now, if a house costs five times your yearly wage, that would be considered “cheap.”

Yet somebody is making a lot of money, and we all know who that is. We are told that unconscionable high compensation is required to “motivate” people to maintain businesses that create jobs; the problem with that theory is that most of the people who require such “motivation” have nothing to do with creating those businesses. They are just people who were brought in to manipulate numbers to raise stock prices—and if that requires mass lay-offs rather than creating jobs, then so be it. As has been stated before here, there is no consciousness of public welfare in play in the present economic strategizing. The U.S. merely constitutes one market, and U.S. companies operate with the “bigger” picture in mind, with the health of the domestic economy—and by extension the American people—just one variable, and not a very important one, it would seem.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago


Thank you for your kindness.

Mugsy (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago


Taxes aren't NEARLY as big an expense as "wages". And no amount of reduction in taxes can make up for paying workers 50cents/hour.

Likewise, Ford isn't building cars in Canada because the taxes are lower.

rewinn (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago

"You have replied to a specific question with a cliche'"


DRichards (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago

Re: Holy Cow, look at that dress she was wearing!

A monthly essay written and published by Robert M. Price author of
The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man and The Reason Driven Life.

Visit Web site at

Rape Session

I recall doing a double-take as I walked through the meeting room block in the Montclair State College Student Center and beheld a poster for an upcoming Women’s Center event. The topic was rape and how to protect oneself. And at the bottom, in the block letters typical for these machine-produced posters was the phrase, in large letters: RAP SESSION TO FOLLOW. Oh no, I thought! How long is it going to be before some wag neatly fills in the space with an official-looking “E”? Only a day or so later I was passing that way again, and what did I see this time? You guessed it. “Rape Session to Follow.” Well, they were asking for it.

But are rape victims “asking for it”? Feminists never let such an opinion go unchallenged, for it seems a revolting instance of “blaming the victim.” It is supposed to be merely one more disgusting example of the age-old Judeo-Christian depiction of poor naïve men, innocent as the driven snow, seduced by wily women and their beguiling charms. Surely, it is argued, women have the right to dress as they please. It’s the problem of the men to keep themselves under control. And if they don’t, it is their fault pure and simple! Book him, Dano.

But this way of characterizing the problem seems to me inadequate. And it is not because I blame women as witches and bitches. No, forgive me, guys, but in most ways I should judge women superior to men. Ashley Montague was right. No, the problem is that feminists are, on this issue, overestimating men, trusting them too much! Or perhaps one ought to say women are underestimating the bestial nature of males. I mean, look at the Middle East. Why are women held captive in those Iron Maidens, the burkas and chadors? You only know there’s a female inside because men don’t wear these garments—these tents. Men make women wear them in order to protect them from the casual lust of other men, whom, and whose lusts, they know all too well. They know it does not take much to enflame their kind with dangerous, aggressive passion. Men don’t require women to hide in these shapeless garbage bags to nullify their siren-like power to provoke otherwise innocent males. Hell no! They make them wear them so as to prevent lustful creatures like themselves from seeing the fetching contours of the female. I am saying that males have a heavy dose of the sexual predator in them, stemming from the old days when their apish ancestors used to sneak up on any available female bending over at the watering hole.

Some years ago there was actually debate in New York City over whether to make it legal for women to go topless on the subway! If you don’t think this move would have raised the rape rate, you are not living in the real world. A man thus aroused to violent action would still be guilty (and I mean real guilty: I want these bastards executed.). But you could not maintain that the half-naked gal had not made herself into an “attractive nuisance.” That would take oblivious naiveté on the same scale as Obama wanting to negotiate with Islamo-Fascists in Iran.

And it is nearly as naïve to think it takes anything as blatant as public nudity to get sexual predators going.

Some rape victims, I am proposing, have endangered themselves by underestimating the degree to which males have evolved past being chimps in pants. I am, I guess, “blaming” women for giving men too much of a break! Thinking too highly of them! “Gee, officer, if I’d realized it was a bull, I wouldn’t have waved that red flag!” Come on, women, take a second look at these guys, but “dress for success,” succeeding in not leaving yourselves open to the loathsome attentions of Neanderthals.

So says Zarathustra.

brian a. hayes (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago

we need to ask the mothers of our soldiers their opinion of what should be done in Afghanistan. mothers have a special right to have their voices heard. nothing can compare with the earnest appeals of mothers.

loretta (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago

Hi QuarK:-)

What a great education we are getting, here. I am going to work on the DefendOregon campaign to raise our corporate taxes because I listen to his show. I'm glad I don't have to be as articulate and knowledgeable as he is in order to doorbell, because it is taking me a bit of time to internalize what we are learning.

Campaigns have developed somewhat good techniques for getting simple messages across quickly in order to fight for the rights of our community to have good schools, well funded fire departments, police departments, health clinics, theaters, museums, and on and on.

Thoms lectures and lessons are the nectar activists need to keep fighting, aren't they? WOW! It would be cool to have a CD compilation on all of his talks about the history of corporations..

mirfromindia (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago

Regarding "American are overpaid" - one aspect that they totally forgot about is USA has continuously attracted the best and most educated brains (engineers, doctors etc) from the world simply for the reason that THEY HAVE THE BEST PAID JOBS. That has been a huge part of the innovativeness and cutting edge technology of the industries here (at least till the late 1990's). If that is removed, ALL OF THESE 'MONETARY IMMIGRANTS' WILL LEAVE - leading to a brain drain that will tremendously harm the industries here. All of these will go to countries like China and India (specially India) which will boost their economies which in turn will harm USA further.
Begin from India (and being in part from a family of such 'economic migrants') I can vouch for the fact this 'brain drain' has already started since at least 2005. But what now a slow trickle, will turn into a flood if the salaries are cut or even remain frozen as the salaries in India and China are fast rising.

TJonKPTK (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago

I know where we should start reducing employee wages - Goldman Sachs

loretta (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago

The argument that we are using other countries to manufacture our goods so that we don't have to pollute our own country makes fighting against corporate greed as important a moral issue as fighting against unjust wars. We are killing more people in other countries by exporting our manufacturing pollutants and our exploitative use of workers who have no labor law protection along with our greedy oil production than we ever do during wartime. The tariffs we add should have huge penalties for unjust labor practices. We should not let those products into our country period...

Kai Wen (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago

Outformations is a software company in Oakland, CA. They were founded in 1995. They based their business model on the Mondragon cooperatives.
What I want to know is if the Mondragon cooperatives own their own banks, because that is required to really be free from capitalist control.

mstaggerlee (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago

Fee for Police/Fire services proposed in Newburgh, NY

A councilwoman in the City of Newburgh, NY has proposed that Fire and Police services be removed from the city's standard budget, and that citizens be charged a fee for these services. Newburgh (yes, it IS the birthplace of the famous Lobster dish) has the lowest per-capita income in New York State, in addition to one of the state's highest rates of violent crime. The city (like pretty much EVERY American city) is facing a budget crisis, and is looking for alternatives to essentially doubling property taxes.

DRichards (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago

Jane D'Arista: Banks' wild speculation led to the crash - it's happening again

TJonKPTK (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago

Geeky Science: The finding of genes for speech is interesting but my theory on speech development is that the difference between humans and other primates, dogs, or cats, is that when we could no longer lick our privates, we had to learn to speak up.

chuckle8 (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago

Why is Ford building cars in Canada?

chuckle8 (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago

Have you read "Screwed" by Thom?

Also, do you know you can download Thom's programs and burn your own CD?

I used to do that until I could no longer download them for free.

DRichards (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago

Re: Low wages
The employee can never take a big enough pay cut, just as the CEO can never take enough home.

Part of the problem is that we shoot ourselves by buying into the corporate mantra that it has to be cheap.
Mom & Pop business do not get the tax breaks, abatements, nor the buying power of buying in mass quantities. So we shop at Walmart because the it's cheaper than the locally owned business. Our local governments buy out of town, because the big box stores are cheaper than the locally owned businesses.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago
Gerald Socha (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago
Gerald Socha (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago

Does anyone take the time to stop, look, and listen?

Gerald Socha (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago

How can we leave Afghanistan with its sham army? What a farce!!!

Gerald Socha (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago

A failed counterinsurgency and a failed president!!!

Toddhunter (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago

If we compare wages iwant know how salaries compare.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago

The last three paragraphs of Chris Hedge's article, "Afghanistan's Sham Army!"

The problem in Afghanistan is not ultimately a military problem. It is a political and social problem. The real threat to stability in Afghanistan is not the Taliban, but widespread hunger and food shortages, crippling poverty, rape, corruption and a staggering rate of unemployment that mounts as foreign companies take jobs away from the local workers and businesses. The corruption and abuse by the Karzai government and the ANA, along with the presence of foreign contractors, are the central impediments to peace. The more we empower these forces, the worse the war will become. The plan to escalate the number of American soldiers and Marines, and to swell the ranks of the Afghan National Army, will not or defeat or pacify the Taliban.

“What good are a quarter-million well-trained Afghan troops to a nation slipping into famine?” the officer asked. “What purpose does a strong military serve with a corrupt and inept government in place? What hope do we have for peace if the best jobs for the Afghans involve working for the military? What is the point of getting rid of the Taliban if it means killing civilians with airstrikes and supporting a government of misogynist warlords and criminals?

“We as Americans do not help the Afghans by sending in more troops, by increasing military spending, by adding chaos to disorder,” he said. “What little help we do provide is only useful in the short term and is clearly unsustainable in the face of our own economic crisis. In the end, no one benefits from this war, not America, not Afghans. Only the CEOs and executive officers of war-profiteering corporations find satisfactory returns on their investments.”

Chris Hedges, whose column is published on Truthdig every Monday.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago

The answer to the Afghan problem can be solved by reading the book, "Three Cups of Tea." WAR IS OUTMODED. WAR ONLY CREATES MORE PROBLEMS THAN IT RESOLVES PROBLEMS.

Mike (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago

Thom said this in the second half of the hour: "... so that we can fund the kind of infrastructure that we need to actually have a country that CAN manufacture things, that has the intellectual capacity (or intellectual infrastructure) by giving free college education to our students (like every other industrialized country does) ..."

(Sorry for the 2 ellipsises, it was a long sentence)

I agree with the argument, but I have nit to pick. We DO have the intellectual infrastructure, but not the jobs. Plenty of engineers, scientists, and other STEM workers have given up looking for work in the fields they trained for and went instead into law, nursing, landscaping, whatever, just to get by.

Education is important and overpriced, but the jobs have to be there first. This means trade barriers to reduce outsourcing. This means restricting or eliminating worker visa programs like H-1B. Thom has it 90% right on this issue, but I fear he may have bought into the old "tech worker shortage" propaganda.

nora (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago

This may be obvious, but it seems never to be mentioned in relation to the huge Afghanistan crops of opium poppies (as discussed on today's show): No nation -- especially not one like Afghanistan -- independently decides to raise an illegal drug crop without UPFRONT FINANCING AND A GUARANTEED BUYER WITH DISTRIBUTION CAPABILITY. The Afghans don't sell this stuff to themselves. (Perhaps alot of this product IS turned into medical morphine via somekind of black market to poorer countries, in addition to illegal street drugs.) Afghanistan cannot be held solely responsible for this illicit industry because Afghanistan COULD NOT DO IT ALONE. Is it really impossible to follow the money that enters Afghanistan to finance the crop rather than just the money that comes from selling it on the street? Big investors are needed; who are they?

Lest we forget, the British and American wealthy investors/companies were behind the opium trade, taking opium from Afghanistan/India and selling/smuggling it into China for many decades despite eventual Chinese national resistence in the Opium Wars. The point I want to make is that this is a traditional business for many of the Oligarchy (such as the Boston Brahmins who financed these illicit drug ventures at least in the 1800s). Will it ever be possible to FOLLOW THE MONEY that high up the food chain?

nora (not verified) 14 years 31 weeks ago

Regarding human speech in the Geeky Science segment:

Yeah, humans vocalize alot, but do very poorly in learning to listen!

If we are so smart, why do we still fail to understand the communications of other species and show so little cultural interest is doing so? Would it mean we would have to admit that, as a species, we are just Talking Exploiters who have no interest in knowing how those we exploit feel or think?

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