Ignoring the lessons in Europe...

The United States is set to jump into an austerity economic death spiral this year. Already – thanks to Republican hostage scenarios forcing deep spending cuts, the United States is set to swallow $348 billion in austerity measures in 2013. That includes $200 billion in spending cuts and an additional $125 billion from the expiration of the payroll tax cut. These austerity measures total 2.1% of our national GDP – which is more austerity than most nations in Europe have endured thus far – including the UK, France, and Spain. This month, we learned that thanks to austerity, the UK is now in a double-dip recession. And Spain, which has been choking on austerity for a year, now has the highest unemployment rate in Europe of 26.2%.

Austerity sucks money out of the hands of working people, so that rich people don’t have to pay their fair share for deficit reduction and economic growth. And since working people are the real job creators – and not rich people – then austerity kills economies. All austerity has done to the Eurozone is push it closer and closer to collapse – and it will do the same thing to the United States. And considering that a new so-called fiscal cliff looms two months from now – and Republicans, as well as President Obama, are pushing for more spending cuts and more austerity – our nation could be facing a tumultuous 2013.

Today is the first day of the new Congress -- and we all have to get active and convince our lawmakers to abandon this psychotic thinking that we can cut our way to prosperity. It’s never happened before anytime in the history of the planet. We need stimulus spending – not austerity gutting.


Kend's picture
Kend 10 years 12 weeks ago

Again I must be missing something. America's plan to get out of this recession is to tax "the rich" take that money and spend it on the same things they spent the last 5 or 6 trillion and expect a different result. Wow, good luck.

Most of the countries mentioned above, are in austerity, had to do it as no one would lend them any more money.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 10 years 12 weeks ago

I say, Welcome to the New Old World.

grantellsworth 10 years 12 weeks ago

Reads like the "Rich Folks'" ox has gotta get gored to get out of this economic slump. We probably will need to confiscate some of their excess idle wealth as well as tax income.

ScottFromOz 10 years 12 weeks ago

Now that the rich are in control of our government we will have to play by their rules. That is, those who benefitted most from Globalisation will pay the least to recover from its worst effects. Those who were affected most badly will get to clean up the mess and pick up the tab. Untile we the people recognise that WE have the power of numbers, and until we stop blindly accepting the propaganda of the rich, nothing will change. What we NEED to do is to press, en masse, our politicians to change the election funding from private to public and rescue our democracy from the grasping fingers of the plutocrats. Publicly funded elections with caps on spending is the ONLY way we will regain representative democracy again.

We must amend the constitution to outlaw the deliberately mis-named "citizens United" (really Oligarchs United) decision and permanently entrench powers to prevent the supreme court from being politically stacked and to break up the "too big to fail" corporations. The corporates and oligarchs must also be prevented from ever using the 14th amendment or any other constitutional provision to usurp human rights for corporate protections.

Gary Reber's picture
Gary Reber 10 years 12 weeks ago

Thom Hartmann is right in that austerity policies will drive further depression in the United States economy. Austerity dries up what job opportunity would exist and further dampens technological innovation and invention and the further development of the non-human factor of production that, when broadly owned, is the path to prosperity, opportunity, and economic justice. Austerity also shrinks the base of "customers with money," which is the REAL engine of economic growth and the job creators to the extent that workers are necessary to the production of products and services needed and wanted by society.

The reality that America must face is that tectonic shifts in the technologies of production are destroying and devaluing jobs and thus restricting the income source for 99 percent of the population. With investment in FUTURE productive capital economic growth and simultaneous broadening of the private, individual ownership thereof, we would turn an anemic, tumultuous down-spiraling economy into a growth engine and build the necessary broadened base of "customers with money" to support and sustain the products that our "machine" prowess can produce and thereby enrich and achieve affluence for ALL our citizens..

The International Monetary Fund also analyzed the impact of tax cuts vs. increased government spending for 6 countries – Canada, France, UK, Germany, Japan and the U.S. over the course of various events in history to understand what worked and what didn’t; they wrote a working paper on their findings HERE. Their study found that different solutions worked for different countries depending on various factors.

In the U.S. (already a low tax country) they found that tax cuts produced statistically insignificant impacts during economic downturns whereas increased government spending produced “significantly” better results. In fact – for every $1 spent in government spending – the U.S. economy experienced $1.80 in economic output; conversely – cutting government spending right now would have a significantly negative impact on the economy. In other words – austerity would be devastating right now. Those were the facts.

Former Reagan adviser Bruce Bartlett also is advocating more stimulus without tax rate cuts, but as with American economist Paul Krugman and Australian economist Steve Keen he does not address the issue of OWNERSHIP CONCENTRATION and discusses national debt without ANY stipulation of new OWNERSHIP CREATION. Thus Keen fails to address the issue of Who Should Own America. Keen does acknowledge that government stimulus via debt is crucial to further economic growth, but does not address who will benefit in terms of ownership creation.Bartlett states "Republicans have talked themselves into believing that that the only thing that matters to a business is its tax rate and that its sails, its customers and things of that sort are irrelevant. And that's absorb!"Paul Krugman states "...despite years of warnings from the usual suspects about the dangers of deficits and debt, our government can borrow at incredibly low interest rates — interest rates on inflation-protected U.S. bonds are actually negative, so investors are paying our government to make use of their money. And don’t tell me that markets may suddenly turn on us. Remember, the U.S. government can’t run out of cash (it prints the stuff), so the worst that could happen would be a fall in the dollar, which wouldn’t be a terrible thing and might actually help the economy."

The result is deficit financing and ever-growing national debt prop ups the economy in the name of JOB CREATION. The national debt that appears to be never-ending will never be paid down to elimination under current Democratic and Republican leadership. The system must be reformed to eliminate deficits and reward growth. At present, further borrowing, even at 0 percent interest, will ONLY work if new OWNERS of the productive capital asset growth are created. Neither Keen or Krugman address this scenario.

What is required is to focus on OWNERSHIP CREATION with respect to the formation of new non-human productive capital assets as a means of realizing economic growth and enriching EVERY child, woman and man through capital ownership. As tectonic shifts in the technologies of production march on jobs will be destroyed and degraded due to the injection of human-intelligent machines, superautomation, robotics, digital computerized operations, etc. in the processes that produce our products and services.

The following is a Letter to The Washington Post from my colleague at the Center for Economic and Social Justice (www.cesj.org) that I think is pertinent to this thread discussion:


The Washington Post.

1150 15th Street NW.

Washington, DC 20071.


Dear Sirs:

George Will raises important issues in “Bewitched by Obama” (The Washington Post, 12/06/12, A19), but misses the point, compromising fatally on principle. The goal is not deficit reduction, but elimination. Obama is not responsible for the deficit, nor the size of it. The system encourages deficits and penalizes growth. Republicans offer a stopgap. Democrats offer more debt.

A way to balance the budget and pay down the debt is to implement “Capital Homesteading.” According to the Coalition for Capital Homesteading (http://capitalhomestead.org/), the Federal Reserve should stop monetizing government debt, and start funding private sector growth — but only if everyone shares in that growth as owners of the new capital.

To encourage financing in ways that create new owners, dividends should be tax-deductible at the corporate level, but treated as ordinary income at the individual level, along with all other forms of income, including inflation-indexed capital gains. All personal taxes (including FICA) should be merged into a single rate levied on all income above a meaningful exemption large enough to cover ordinary living expenses, including education and healthcare, possibly $100,000 for a family of four.

Most important of all, everyone should have a “Capital Homestead Account,” a “Super IRA,” in which dividend-paying shares can be acquired on credit on a tax-deferred basis, repaid using the dividends on the shares, which can thereafter be used for consumption.


Michael D. Greaney, CPA, MBA.

Director of Research.

Center for Economic and Social Justice.



Cornhusker's picture
Cornhusker 10 years 12 weeks ago

Regarding the VAT...

Let's assume we end up with a 16% VAT on a US made car. As I understand it, if I (a US citizen) were to buy that car I would also have to pay the 16% VAT on the car. How is that progressive?

flyguy8650's picture
flyguy8650 10 years 12 weeks ago


You are so right on the mark! We cannot spend our way out or austere our way out or tax our way out. We need ALL of these combined to get back on a sound economic model. Thom - Where are you coming from????? For pets sake, can no one see the writing on the wall....DC is full of children kicking cans down to my grand kids....STOP IT NOW. We/me/you/anyone over the age of 45 is to blame for where we are now. Take from "them" but NOT MINE!!!! GE pays no tax, loop holes everywhere. Obama is a weak pig of president and both houses of congress are corrupt as Venezula.

ken ware's picture
ken ware 10 years 12 weeks ago

Kend - could you please show me where Austerity as has been enforced in Europe and it appears it will happen here, has solved any of the economic problems plaguing these countries? It appears that the only beneficiaries of Austerity have been the Banks and our own Wall St. I am not being sarcastic; I would like to see an example that has benefited the citizens of the countries that have initiated these programs. From England to Greece I have not read any articles stating this economic program has benefited anyone but the Bankers who originally were responsible for these debt swaps that created much of these problems, not to mention the fact that Wall St. peddled toxic financial instruments that helped create this whole problem as well. I realize these governments probably spent too much and allowed themselves to be coned into buying these unethical debt swaps that have also crippled many principalities here in America, but the solution pushed by the Banks in the form of fiscal austerity has not born the fruit the Banks and Governments run by the banks has purported they would. So in all honesty, please show me where these programs have benefited the citizenry of the fore mentioned countries. Thank You. I truly hope you do not find this question to be too aggressive in nature. P.S., It is apparent in our country the Wealthy and the Banks have once again shown their ability to buy or frighten our President and Legislators in both bodies of Congress. So much for truth and fairness from our capital in Washington. Here in America wealth is the only common denominator when it comes to our Democracy. I am ashamed to say the American voters actually voted these criminals into public office. I am proud to say I did not vote for the present President nor the Republican who also tried to buy his place in Washington.

ken ware's picture
ken ware 10 years 12 weeks ago

Gary Reber - I have read what you have written in your comments. And I agree that ownership is a principle problem in resolving the inequity of wealth we see here in America and across the World. I have one question and I apologize if my question is not as eloquent and precise as yours. The question I have is, as long as no nation at this point and this includes America, the Nation of Japan or any European Countries is capable of competing with the cost factor in producing goods here versus in China, what does it matter who owns the tools of production? It has been noted that Japan who once was the production power house of the World and now is unable to compete with China in its production of goods. Because we no longer have any Tariffs to offset the cost of producing goods here, how can Americans, regardless of who is in control of production, compete with China and still retain our standard of living. We have very little production left here in America. The capital that is generated by the Chinese production of goods initially goes back to China and the Corporations that have move their operations off shore and not to the pockets of the consumers here who fuel our economic growth. The profits go to the Wealthy to be stored in off shore accounts, not to the American economy. Basically what I am asking and I hope I have not gotten bogged down in my drawn out question, is if we do not have the jobs here to generate revenue to invigorate our economy what does it matter who owns the companies? No ability to compete economically, due to the cost of production means no jobs to generate revenue. Please let me know if I have missed something. Obviously you are better versed in this subject than I.

ken ware's picture
ken ware 10 years 12 weeks ago

For Sale - One White House in Washington D.C. It comes complete with a large frontal landscape and Gardens. Lavish quarters with enough room to house several offices. Bidding starts a $400 million or the cost of running a Presidential Election. Comes fully equipped with a politician willing and able to accommodate any required fraudulent "Deals". Also at no extra cost we can "throw in a multitude of politicians to do your political bidding". Only those who are worth at least $1,000,000,000 need apply. Hurry this deal will only last for the next four years. Please contact our agent at WWW.POLITICIANS FOR SALE.COM

Kend's picture
Kend 10 years 12 weeks ago

Austerity doesn't help the economy but it doesn't saddle our children and grandchildren with massive debt. What is going to happen when interest rates go up. I believe about a 25% of the taxes collected go just to service the debt. To me America needs tio find a way to get people with money to invest and spend it. Here we gave tax breaks if you did home improvements for example. I put new windows in my house. Instead down there your Government scares investment away by telling investors they want more and more of there profits. Making investments more risky. We have to remember these millionaires and billionaires don't need more money. We need them to invest more for us then them.

Kend's picture
Kend 10 years 12 weeks ago

Sorry it is sold already in October 2012

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 12 weeks ago

I must agree with Ken, Gary. If we cannot compete with China's manufacturing production costs, we cannot produce anything ourselves that anyone would want to purchase. Who exactly will be the "new" owners of the manufacturing industry that can not and does not exist? And please, in detail, explain to us how that is supposed to improve the economy?

Please don't mention the service industry's contribution. I'm a part of our US service industry and I can assure you that it does nothing to stimulate the economy. If anything we are merely parasitic entities that are used to support and aid a manufacturing base that only exists in foreign countries. In addition, I can assure you that unless the economy is stimulated in a big way, shortly, through domestic manufacturing, the service industry we tout so proudly is doomed.

How do you respond to that Gary?

ken ware's picture
ken ware 10 years 12 weeks ago

ScootFromOZ - I agree with what you have said. But be careful if the governmental spy guys see that you want everyone to "press en masse", they might think your plotting something and the Gestapo, formally known as the F.B.I., might end up pounding on your front door at 3 a.m. in the morning....have a good one.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 12 weeks ago

I too agree with you Scott! Don't listen to Ken. The Feds are too busy with monitoring the plethora of lunitics their policies have created to bother with a small fry like you. Write your petition and Ken and I will be privaleged to be the firsts to sign it!

ken ware's picture
ken ware 10 years 12 weeks ago

DAnneMarco - Hey lighten up dude, it was meant to be a joke! If you have ever read any of my comments you would have seen I am the last one to fear the Government! Hey, your taking on my old aggressive attitude! Ha! Had a bad day?

ken ware's picture
ken ware 10 years 12 weeks ago

Kend - I understand what you are saying. But show me where there has been any significant job growth during the time the Wealthy Billionaires and Millionaires paid the lowest taxes in the last 12 years. And now they are crying alligator tears because they got a 5% increase in Capital Gains. You and I know the show is almost over and the Billionaires and Millionaires like Romney have simply off- shored the factories that actually paid a living wage. The Only Jobs being created in this country are low paying service sector jobs. The American Government even admits the days of production are over and with the inability of our workforce to compete with the slave labor wages of the Chinese, we are screwed. Hey, I am about to be a grandfather for the first time and I am not very happy about what I think this country will or has become. At this point the Government is the only entity that is actual producing jobs! Half of the jobs created in this quarter were created by the local federal governments. Get rid of the Tariffs and special tax benefits that make it more profitable to move off shore and maybe our kids and grandkids will have a place to call work and actually earn a living wage! There simply are not enough high tech jobs that are coming online to sustain the job numbers we need to grow. Until we actually get an increase in good paying jobs in our country the Government has to help build the job base. Again my friend, do not just give me the same rhetoric you hear from the Republicans guarding the wealth of the wealthiest, while trying to impose Austerity on the backs of the retired, poor and middle class. Social Security is solvent, Medicare represents what is happening across America and that is health care costs shooting upward. So what do we do next, cut food stamps from the destitute population or stop funding our school system. Or perhaps you favor cutting out more teacher, policemen and firemen! Austerity, as I commented to another gentleman, simply is not working in Europe. The only entities benefiting from Austerity are the Banks and Wall St. who created this mess to start with. They demand the Governments enforce Austerity on their citizens so they can get paid for their crimes they hoisted on citizens around the World. If we enforce Austerity on our Nation, our kids and grandkids will have nothing to look forward too. I guess we will have to see whether the Banks and Wall St. wins their way and heaps Austerity on us or whether Obama grows a set of balls and stands up for the poor and middleclass or he see if he caves in again like he did on the Sequestration problem and gives in to the Republican crooks..i AM STILL WAITING FOR TO TELL ME WHICH CITIZENS THAT WERE FORCED TO ACCEPT AUSTERITY FROM THE BANKS, BENEFITED FROM IT..

ken ware's picture
ken ware 10 years 12 weeks ago

Kend - If that criminal Romney had won, it would have been worse. He would have moved the Billionaires into some of the bedrooms in the White House SO he could kiss their a__ each morning and get his orders for the day....

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 12 weeks ago

No buddy. Actually I can't complain. Kay got under my nerves big time yesterday with her 'screw you' attitude. Like I told you before I have a bit of an anger management problem. It's a constant struggle to keep in check. It's why I'm scared to death to own a gun. LOL

In the end, I guess I'm my own worst enemy. Hope I didn't offend!

Kend's picture
Kend 10 years 12 weeks ago

I don't know I think if Romney was elected those trillions of dollars sitting in offshore accounts might have came back to US shores.

Congrats on the first grandchild. I have 2.2. My point is spending more doesn't work is just lowers the standard of living for your future grandchildren. Do you know the day that baby is born it owes over $50,000 in federal debt. Doesn't that scare the heck out of you.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 12 weeks ago

Yes, granted Kend! However, your estimation is based on the economy by today's standards; not the standards of when you grandchildren are 18.

Its the same mistake home buyers make when they refuse to pay on their mortgage because their house is--by today's standard--under water. It is irrelevant that when they signed with the bank promising to pay 5 times what the house is currently worth that they in effect agreed that the house was worth 5 times the current market value. That was by the standards of only 5-10 years ago. Yet they are also giving up on the value the house might be worth 25-30 years from now; or, even further in the future when they might have decided to sell it. That is the important value not the one today!

Our national dept is not the dept of our children, it is, by definition, the dept of our nation. Please don't jump on the myopic bandwagon who's slogan is 'as it is today, it shall forever be.' That is ridiculous. We are a nation that lacks both hope and foresight.

Gentlemen, instead of condemning the future of the next generation of people, I suggest we focus our efforts on taking the necessary steps to insure that the future of our children--and our children's children--is solvent and prosperous; and in effect, reject any other possibility.

This is our problem! We need to solve it!

David Abbot's picture
David Abbot 10 years 12 weeks ago

When governments- and the hyper-wealthy corporations and hyper-wealthy people who own governments- want to control people, they create all sorts of "emergencies" to distract and confuse the people. Of course their favorite distraction is war, because it not only gives us lots and lots of "enemies" to hate and fear and want to kill in spite of the fact that our religion says don't kill people, but it also make trillions of dollars for war profiteers. And now we have the added confusion that the media informs us that even though we are against the war, we "support the troops" who are the ONLY people who make the war possible. I mean, seriously: what if those rich old white men tried to start a war but all of us regular, non-rich citizens said, "Nope. Not going to do it. I don't like war. I like peace." What are those rich old white men going to do? Go over there themselves and start shooting foreign people? I kind of doubt it.

Another of our government's favorite "emergency" distractions is to steal peoples' pensions and blame the theft on the people whose pensions were stolen. It's a fine and pleasant weapon of mass distraction, a way to get people so poor and so worried that all they can do is scramble around trying to find food, so they don't have time to go after our own government, which, under Bill Clinton as well as under republican presidents, de-regulated banks and investment houses so they could steal peoples' pensions.

Outsourcing manufacturing jobs to slave labor countries, and blaming the outsourcing on Americans who don't want to work for slave wages, is a fine weapon of mass distraction, because if people don't have work they don't have money, and if they don't have money it's an emergency and they're too distracted to realize that this whole thing is a big con game courtesy of the rich thieves who purchased our government.

Dumbing down our schools and pricing higher education out of the reach of middle class and poor Americans, is another fine weapon of mass distraction, because if there was no one in America except for educated thieves, and uneducated people who can barely write their own names, it would take the uneducated people much longer to understand what our government is doing to them.

And finally, we have our current congress and white house, which create an "emergency," and say that it's a terrible emergency and oh my God what's going to happen to us, and then FINALLY they get off their lazy asses and sort of more or less kind of solve that emergency, and then they immediately tell us, "Due to our heroic efforts, that emergency is sort of solved, but OH NO! LOOK!! There's ANOTHER emergency coming!! Oh, what will we do? Run and hide under your bedd, another emergency is coming and there's nothing you can do about it!!

Give me a break. There's something we can do about it. We can get rid of almost everyone in congress and the white house, and replace them with patriotic Americans who actually want to help America be a better country. Not pretend patriots who have made a lifestyle out of illegal war, but real patriots- people who will LEAD America back to prosperity, rather than elected officials who blame us for not forcing them to make the right decisions.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 10 years 12 weeks ago

You're right Kend, you are missing something, again. The IMF , EU and other lending authorities are very erroneous and/or fraudulent in their insisting on cuts to the social sectors of a government's spending. A greater likelihood of the loan being repaid would come if that wasn't required as their economies would more likely prosper.

In the case of the IMF, that body seems to be just an agent of the multinationals its lending seems to be a neocolonial ruse in which the economnies are further weakened by the required austerity and are then easily taken over by American and European transnational corporations. When they can't get 'em to sign the free trade agreements (NAFTA, GATT, FTAA, etc.) and sign over their resources that way they try another way.

The EU may be a bigger problem. I'm not so familiar with the case but it might be that the European economies, being merged, are less like independent countries economically but like states of a union like the U.S.. That is especially true if they are using the Euro as they can't print their own money and thus can't run a deficit.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 10 years 12 weeks ago

The Democrats were paying down the federal debt, the Republicans do anything but. The difference between Democrats and Repubs is that Democrats spend - but moderately by comparison - however they also TAX in order to pay for it. Repubs spend MORE than Dems - mainly on the military - while they CUT TAXES.

That's because Repubs are the party of big business and they have dollar signs in their eyes salivating over the departments of government they want to privatize and take out of the hands of the people. Repubs are the deficit spenders and they do it because when government is in debt and deficit that forces it to privatize.

Why we have the federal debt and deficit so high now is because of two unfunded wars that were off the books under the Bush Administration that Obama put on the books.

If Romney was elected there'd be either a mass exodus of money or if he got it so that he could bring it back without putting it back in the economy - i.e., keep it without paying taxes on it - it might come back some but then it wouldn't be doing anybody any good but him anyway - just like it does now.

George Reiter's picture
George Reiter 10 years 12 weeks ago

The Austery Program has hit the Detroit area. WDTW radio AM is shut down. We lost another progressive radio station. No longer Stephany Miller from 9AM to 12Noon, Ed Schultz from 12 noon to 3PM, and Thom Hartmann from 3PM to 6PM...

johngutta's picture
johngutta 10 years 12 weeks ago

Obama and the Congress just made a big mistake. A "permanent" top marginal estate tax rate of 40% is wrong now, a "temporary" rate below 55% was wrong in 2001, and lowering the rate below 77% was wrong in the 1980's. Why? - because low marginal estate tax rates, in combination with low marginal capital gains rates ( the top rate should be at least 70% ), let the richest 1% acquire a net worth of 20 trillion dollars; - most of it just "redistributed" from the rest of us because Reagan's flatter, "fairer" tax rates did not increase the inflation adjusted rate of GDP growth.

Fortunately, there is a simple remedy; - No taxes on estates up to 10 million dollars, rising from there in geometrical progression to a 90% marginal rate over 50 million ( the pre-Reagan rate was 77% over 10 million ). This marginal rate increase would reduce the power of our oligarchs, and raise enough revenue in a generation to eliminate the national debt.

JLC's picture
JLC 10 years 12 weeks ago


I listened to your interview with the woman from the Manhattan Institute in the first hour of the show, and I think anaother point that should always be made when discussing this topic is that we have to stop accepting the premise that the ulra rich have "earned" their money. There is a great post about this on the rationalrevolution.net website. Here is a bit of what is said there:

"People still talk about all income as having been "earned" or "made" even when it clearly wasn't. A case in point is the reported 20 million dollar income of the Washington Mutual CEO who was officially on the job for 17 days and received $20 million in compensation. Even the stories bemoaning this fact talked about how he "made $20 million" in 17 days, or how he "earned $20 million" in 17 days. That's the point, he DIDN'T make it, he DIDN'T earn it, it was given to him by taking it from other people, it WAS redistribution of wealth."

"The money had to come from somewhere, and he obviously didn't create $20 million in value in 17 days on the job as the bank imploded into failure, so where did that money come from? It had to have come from the workers, investors, and customers of WaMu. It was stolen from them and given to him. He never created any value, but was handed $20 million. The only way to describe that is redistribution. That is just an extreme example, but that has been the status quo for execute pay in America for the past 20 years."

"Every multi-millionaire and billionaire in the world today is a recipient of COLLECTIVELY CREATED WEALTH. There isn't a single individual in the world who has single handedly created billions of dollars worth of value. Every single billionaire and multi-millionaire has received his income by being part of a system of collectively created wealth, whereby collectively created wealth is transfered to them."

. . . . . "But do these people really think that a hedge fund manager with an income of $3 billion in 2008 really worked that much harder and contributed that much more to the economy and society than a school teacher with an income of $30 thousands? To believe that you have to be delusional. You have to have no grasp of reality, no concept at all of what an economy even is or what value creation is. "

"Do these pundits really think that an executive at a large corporation is personally creating $30 million a year in value for the economy and that THE WORKERS DOING THE ACTUAL WORK TO PRODUCE THE PRODUCTS THAT THE CORPORATION SELLS are really only creating $30 thousand worth of value a year? Do they really not understand that the executive pay is a redistribution of the value produced by each of the workers to the executives?"

. . . . . "[The] wealth and lifestyles [of the 1%] are only made possible by the work of millions of people. It takes millions of people to create the wealth that these millionaires personally own. They haven't created it by themselves. "

. . . . . "The entire economic narrative in America is based on a completely flawed assumption, which is that all income in America is completely fair and exactly compensates the recipient for value that they created. But that fundamental assumption is not true, which is why there can be no meaningful discussion of taxes or redistribution, or anything else. Until you acknowledge that the 30 million dollar incomes of executives for the past few decades have been unearned income that was a redistribution of wealth from the workers to the executives then you can't discuss taxation."

See the entire post here: http://www.rationalrevolution.net/blog/control.comment?a=render&blog_id=327506&entry_id=1891798

johngutta's picture
johngutta 10 years 12 weeks ago

Governments don't 'spend' money, they transfer money from some people to other people.

Black pope's picture
Black pope 10 years 12 weeks ago

It is time to confront the true issues and reasons for the economic collapse of many nations, including ours. The Rothchilds and there many supported financial and political leaders and corporations are manuervering all of these failures. Let's put a stop to this constant bickering and so called intellectual jibber jabber and put and end to the useless and unchanging discussions over how to deal with our problems. Media is controlled, capatalism is controlled and elections are controlled. It is time for this to stop. All else is futal repetition of history in blindly following the same old financial trillionaires desires. We all know this and if you do not you are just a cog in this wheel of constant manipulations of our human society and welfare. Pawns all. Yet still, we continue on.

ronlehman909's picture
ronlehman909 10 years 12 weeks ago

My friend posted this to me regarding the statement that: It's never happened before anytime in the history of the planet. We need stimulus spending - not austerity gutting.

I'm not a history buff is he correct?

At the conclusion of World War I, U.S. officials found themselves in a bleak position. The federal debt had exploded because of wartime expenditures, and annual consumer price inflation rates had jumped well above 20 percent by the end of the war.
The unemployment rate peaked at 11.7 percent in 1921. But it had dropped to 6.7 percent by the following year, and was down to 2.4 percent by 1923.
To restore fiscal and price sanity, the authorities implemented what might seem today as incredibly "merciless" policies. From FY 1919 to 1920, federal spending was slashed from $18.5 billion to $6.4 billion—a 65 percent reduction in one year. The budget was pushed down the next two years as well, to $3.3 billion in FY 1922.
On the monetary side, the New York Fed raised its discount rate to a record high 7 percent by June 1920. It might seem that this nominal rate was actually "looser" than the 1.5 percent discount rate charged in 1931 because of the changes in inflation rates. But on the contrary, the price deflation of the 1920–1921 depression was more severe. From its peak in June 1920 the Consumer Price Index fell 15.8 percent over the next 12 months. In contrast, year-over-year price deflation never even reached 11 percent at any point during the Great Depression. Comparing nominal interest rates or "real" (inflation-adjusted) interest rates, the Fed was very "tight" during the 1920–1921 depression and very "loose" during the onset of the Great Depression.
After the depression the United States proceeded to enjoy the "Roaring Twenties," arguably the most prosperous decade in the country’s history. Some of this prosperity was illusory—itself the result of subsequent Fed inflation—but nonetheless the 1920–1921 depression "purged the rottenness out of the system" and provided a solid framework for sustainable growth.
Things turned out decidedly differently in the 1930s. Despite the easy fiscal and monetary policies of the Hoover administration and the Federal Reserve, the unemployment rate kept going higher and higher, averaging an astounding 25 percent in 1933. After the "great contraction" the U.S. proceeded to stagnate in the Great Depression of the 1930s, possible the least prosperous decade in the country’s history.[3]

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 12 weeks ago

I'll agree with you Kend to this extent: Taxing the rich and giving their money to the masses through social programs is good for the economy in that it recirculates wealth and stimulates the economy; however, only temporarily, and in the long term it is a disastrous policy.

It's equally bad for the economy in the long run because most of the money finds it way to foreign nations through the way of cheap imported goods and commodities. Some examples are foreign automobiles, cloths, textiles, oil, Walmart, etc.

The only way this 'idea' is going to benefit the nation in the long run is if it is coupled with a vigorous campaign of tariffs taxing foreign goods and commodities that allow domestically manufactured goods and commodities to win the fight, at least, in the domestic market place. Granted we may suffer losses with our goods in foreign markets; but at least there will be goods that find their way into those markets.

As long as those goods occupy foreign shelves there will also be a market for them. There will always be those foreign consumers who will spend extra to posses something of a novelty. The revenue of those sales will enrich our nation and help relieve the foreign dept owed by our children.

That way, higher taxes at the top get recirculated right back to the top and everyone in the middle prospers as a result. It's the reverse of the "Trickle down theory," I'd like to call it the "Sucked back up theory." LOL Its a notion that has the advantage of not sounding like an annoying leak!

Do you agree with that notion Kend?

No Fraud's picture
No Fraud 10 years 12 weeks ago

BLACK POPE...You ain't kidd'en!!!
The "Rothchilds" hedge their bets with both sides, so that no matter which way the pendulum swings they profit and remain in control.
Thomas Jefferson thwarted a Centralized Banking system back in (????) and spoke out publicly to warn "The People" of why a Centralized Banking system was not a system that held The Peoples best intrest.
It ALWAYS amazes me how a few of our countries leaders had such foresight as to why we should not allow ourselves to become mezmerized by such Enemies of the State. And yet today people still continue to be suckers...Frogs in a pot O water!
Today there are many really good books and documentaries that spell this disaster out, yet most people remain quiet...For more than 100 years we have been being swindled; yet many of us, who are aware, still play the game.

and...the...wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round...

megalomaniac's picture
megalomaniac 10 years 12 weeks ago

Yesterday Thom Hartmann was interviewing a telephone call from what sounded like a Latino. Perhaps it was not, but what I realized in those telephone conversations a unique patience that could never be delivered by Limbaugh or Medved, especially Mark Levine. Some of those Americans perhaps tens of millions have a reasoning power that is scattered. With that said many can honestly say America is ripe to be taken in any direction the rich and powerful want to go. Anyway, hats off to Mr. Hartmann and his diligence, patience and kind action to those he recognizes as needing direction and help to understand todays politics. This is one and primary reasons I like Thom so much.

Moving forward, to address those in this comment section, I am on page with most everyone. Especially David Abbot ring true, for me, my pension was destroyed and now have to rely on Social Security. Now my retirement means going into poverty. My life was hard work with devoted time for different companies. Any way my bias is very much in the direction of a safety net that is a living wage.

Experience has taught me valuable work related first Amendment things. Unions are the first Amendment, and those who disregard this fact are throwing away a huge special right of the Constitution.

However, with rich people, the argument is very symmetrical with those on the top end that can make millions is out of balance in the equation of life. It is a “natural” distribution of wealth to make sure all employees; all those in the Gaussian distribution at least have substance if those at the top can bask in luxury, besides they should be adding to the common wealth in the form of taxes.

In my opinion what has been happening in our economy is an illegal distribution. For we all know, the Gaussian distribution is used in all over business to make the claim of productivity, yet it is totally ignored by the mass distribution, the worker who is in the masses, that put money at the top. That obviousness is insane. This is perhaps why our children see fit to go nuts and send a message of chaos and mass murder.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 10 years 11 weeks ago

Very true that you do not get it, as well as, anyone else that does not look at facts. The way it works is that we raise the tax rate on the 1% and they pay less taxes. What they do is invest it America.

Who wouldn't lend them money? Iceland declared bankruptcy and defaulted on all their loans. Even they are not having an austerity problem.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 11 weeks ago

JLC said "People still talk about all incomes as having been 'earned' or 'made' even when it clearly wasn't..."

Kudos to you JLC, for a point made not often enough! I pointed this out a week or two ago, approaching it from a somewhat different angle: the biases woven through semantics we all use on a daily basis. Language itself is hardly neutral, this being a case in point. What we earn and what we are paid are often way out of proportion, and it goes both ways. I would be inclined to use the word "gets" rather than "makes" or "earns", since (for example) the ridiculous compensation a corporate CEO receives is ill-gotten rather than "earned". By contrast, a schoolteacher's paycheck - or that of a motel maid, migrant worker or waitress - is way too skimpy to be in proper proportion to what one must sacrifice to perform such duties. A professional athlete's compensation may not be ill-gotten like a CEO's, but it is another example of overcompensation. Who plays a more valuable role in society; a schoolteacher or a football player? I rest my case. - Aliceinwonderland

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 11 weeks ago

DAnneMarc: Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who need help. But doubly unfortunate is the very high probability that some of these people aren't what they pretend to be. Ever wonder how these wheelchair bound people, seemingly alone, get their wheelchairs up on top of the center divides everyday? And having a wheelchair to sit in is much better than having to stand there all day. And if they needed a wheel chair then why were they walking back and forth on the isle..shouldn't they be sitting in their wheel chair unable to walk?...the reason why they have a wheelchair to begin with. Oxygen tank? Wheelchair? I suspect that they are nothing but props to make people feel sorry for them.

Well, at least it isn't quite as bad here as in Mexico...where they run out into the intersection, during a red stop light, with a step ladder, run up to the top and blow flames from their mouths. Or, young girls running out to the middle of the intersection and doing back flips. And the guys are all over the place streets, parking lots...washing your windows, without you're invitation to do so, and then expect payment for the service. Although, I've seen some of that here as well...but not lately.

Some of these people are running scams and are playing on our sympathy and empathy to get our money. I have heard that some of these people are making some pretty good money at this. The thing is that there are homes and shelters.. and these people, if in California, can get Medicaid. But, there is nothing to keep these people from hitting the street corners for a little extra money.

The next time you see a street corner beggar with a sign that say he or she is hungry...offer them a sandwich or something else to eat and see what their reaction is. I've heard of people doing this just to have the food either thrown on the gutter or back at the donor.

Another thing these beggars have done is to use young children or babies to pull heart strings. I'm usually a sucker for these beggars though..even though I know that it is not beneath some of these people to do this as a scam.

I came to an intersection once and this wild man, all raggedy headed and a nice big flow of mucus running down his sizable and matted beard, blocking traffic. He was spitting and cussing at people...very violently. He started in my direction and I just rolled up the window. He glared at me with piercing eyes that even seemed to glow. He obviously had both a mental and probably a drug problem. Just hope that the next person you hand a dollar to doesn't grab your arm as well.

I say these people that stand on street corners and walk back and forth on those isles are a traffic hazard and an accident waiting to happen. They are a distraction for sure and we don't need any more distractions when trying to operate dangerous moving weapons. Just wait till one of these people fall in front of a car... what then... lawyer... law suit... if they survive? These people are pests. And it is too bad they aren't all hanging out at the places where the rich people frequent instead of bugging the majority of us who are, ourselves, barely making it.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 11 weeks ago

What we are as a people is judged by how we treat the least amongst us.

Some time ago at work, perhaps 9 or so months ago, I came off the freeway at a popular exit around noon time. As I rolled to a stop I noticed two panhandlers, one on my left and one on the other side of the street to my right.

I was too distracted by the one on my right to describe the one on my left who appeared to be young and somewhat able bodied. The panhandler on my right must have been in his eighties or early nineties. He had unkempt gray hair and beard and stood quite hunched over. He was dressed in what may have been a bathrobe or hospital gown. He held a cane in his right hand, and an oxygen tank on wheels on his left hand. A tube from his nose to the oxygen tank made walking around somewhat perilous. Squeezed between his cane and thumb was a piece of cardboard that was written, "I'm hungry, anything helps."

I wanted to help but didn't have time to reach for my wallet before the light turned green. Good thing to, I was afraid if I rolled down the window and he came toward the car he might get hit in the busy street.

In my rear view mirror I noticed that he was having a coughing attack and stumbled over catching himself on his oxygen tank. It was a sight I will never forget. I wanted to cry and throw up at the same time. It was like seeing a train wreck or a jet plane crash in slow motion. There was no place to park, no place to pull over, nothing I could do that would really help the man in any meaningful way.

I can't help but think that you and I have failed that man. We The People have failed him. He should be resting with a full stomach quietly at home with his family, or in a hospital bed and without a care in the world as to how his needs were going to be paid for in his final hours. We owe him that much the same way we owe ourselves that much when our time is at hand.

There but for the grace of God go you and I! If a sight like that rests easy with any of us, then I might conclude we are all doomed.

If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention! If we can't take proper care of a fellow senior citizen on oxygen who needs a meal, how can we hope to take care of ourselves. We throw a fortune at our defense industry but will someone kindly tell me what it is we wish to defend? Is a culture that lets a dying old man starve on the street really worth protecting? Jack Kennedy once said, "There is little value in ensuring the survival of our nation if it's traditions do not survive with it."

Demand that your Leaders put your money where it will do the most good! Demand that they put the needs of the least of our citizens before the needs of the wealthiest of our citizens! It is, after all, the very least we can do!

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 11 weeks ago

Put a little love in your hearts!

Stop! The Love you save may be your own!

Love, ageless and evergreen!

Love conquers all!

Love is the answer!

All you need is love!

Love will find a way!

Love, Love, Love!

"All I want to know is... Are you Kind?

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 11 weeks ago

Palindromedary, your point is well taken.

However, I have grown up in the ghetto of Oakland all my life and I think I'm uniquely qualified to spot a con artist and tell the difference between some one who really needs help and someone who doesn't. If fact I've learned to tell the difference very quickly.

First thing you do is look at their hair and face. If it looks like it hasn't been washed in a week, it probably hasn't. Con artists don't allow their hygiene to suffer.

Look at their shoes. If they are new or a designer brand, or have a shoe shine? Look for dirty shoes with worn out soles.

Look at their cloths. Are they clean and pressed recently or do they look like they've been slept in for several nights? Con artists don't like dirty cloths.

Are their teeth clean and white, or yellow and smelly? Con artists brush their teeth.

Come on Palindromedary, I know your an intelligent individual. Surely you can use a little common sense to be sure that your charity finds its way into the proper hands.

The lunatics you've referred to are a completely different problem. If someone is obviously crazy they are in need of the psychiatric treatment that ended during the Reagan Administration and other than a kindly free meal really can't be helped in the way they need by you or I.

And, yes, on many occasions I have offered to purchase a meal for someone claiming to be hungry, far more frequently than not, I've had my invitation accepted and even dinned with that person. I could tell by the way they ate they were genuinely hungry. Hunger is real and a travesty.

Wheelchairs? Never underestimate the power of the handicapped! Not everyone who uses a wheelchair can't walk; in fact, the vast majority of wheelchair users can walk. They suffer from conditions that either make walking difficult, dangerous, or painful. Some can walk and stand safely and comfortably but only for limited time. Their are muscular, nervous and skeletal conditions that warrant the use of a wheel chair. Do you know that if for some reason you went into a coma, or were bed ridden for an extended time the muscles in your legs would atrophied and you wouldn't be able to support your own weight? It will take weeks of difficult physical therapy to regain the use of your legs. I suggest using your own judgement and sense of grief when helping out such individuals. Unfortunately, there is no correct approach or wrong approach. A wheelchair is a cheap prop and there are a plethora of unscrupulous crooks out on the street. There are also many resources available for the legitimately disabled. One of the places I work at is the Center for Disabled People. It's one of many organizations that help the disabled cope with their situations. Personally, I have a friend who has cerebral palsy and can walk; but only with great difficulty. He quite proud and independent and uses his wheelchair very reluctantly. He's also quite intelligent and attends school where he works tutoring other students. He's also an editor and translator. I've never know him to panhandle. He's capable of supporting himself, but to see and hear how much determination he has is not only an inspiration but is an indication that there probably aren't a lot of wheelchair bound disabled people like him out there. If he wanted to he could earn a fortune panhandling. His condition is both obvious and compelling. It's just not the way he wants to make money.

I too have traveled Mexico and have experienced the frantic, unsolicited, window washers. I had the advantage of being in a cab with a native driver and native citizens. Fortunately I'm fluent in Espanol. They agreed that the washers were drug addicts. Despite the facts they were happy to donate 10 pesos apiece (about a dollar) for their cause. This was in Morelia, Michoacan. From what I understand though, its a common trend in all big cities in Mexico. Another hand-me-down from the US.

However, this behavior is unheard of in small agricultural communities like San Gabriel, Jalisco, where I was staying. For an explanation I might suggest you consult with a Google search the sociological definitions of the concept of Gemeinschaft versus Gesellschaft societies. A thorough knowledge of the implications of these two ideal concept types really help to explain how all the aspects of this phenomenon fall into place like falling domino's.

As far as the old man that I saw--I feel I can assure you he was the real deal. He was probably the result of not having children he could relay on, not having children he wanted to burden, not having sufficient social security for his personal needs or medicare to pay his medical bills. I assure you this is possible. I recently lost my father. He was financially solvent, had medicare and AARP supplemental insurance. His condition only landed him in the hospital for less than a month before he died; yet his bills that I'm still receiving total over $10k; and, as the hospital recently informed me, I can expect more bills to come. I have no doubt that it is quite possible despite the resources you've mentioned for this man to be financially strapped and destitute.

I assure you if you were riding in the car with me at the time, you'd have agreed he was sincere and found yourself reaching in your own pockets. Personally, I'm glad you were spared the experience and the memory. I hope and pray you nor I ever experience such a travesty again in our life times.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 11 weeks ago

I am shaken by DAnneMarc's encounter with the ninety-year-old homeless man. I have never, up 'til now, been homeless. Being childless myself makes me very ambivalent about old age; in particular, the end-of-life extremes of old age.

I can hardly find words that begin to convery the horror I feel about living in a society where a ninety-year-old can wind up begging in the middle of a busy intersection. This system is unbelievably cruel. "Spiritual death" is what Martin Luther King aptly called it.

Beyond myself and any concerns over my own ultimate fate, I am very traumatized by the suffering in our midst. It rips at my heart and soul. I've given what I could, when I could.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 11 weeks ago

The probability that I've been conned or suckered here or there does not bother me much. Anyone compelled to fake being destitute to make money is spiritually and morally bankrupt, enough to warrant my pity. I refuse to accept the premise that all beggars are fake, especially in these times of socioeconomic upheaval. Anyway DAnneMarc makes excellent suggestions on how to distinguish the real from the fake.

Where I live in southwestern Oregon, we've got our share of beggars. Last spring near one of the supermarkets where I shop, I saw a woman begging for weeks, holding up a cardboard sign. I gave her cash and food when I could. She'd left an abusive relationship in another state and moved back here with only the clothes on her back. She was hoping to be re-hired at a fish market where she'd worked previously. I pray that it all worked out.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 11 weeks ago

In a society this twisted, with this much suffering, "democracy" and "freedom" are but an abstraction. If we humans can't get it together and learn to be more compassionate, more inclusive (aside from global warming & environmental collapse, other manifestations of spiritual death), we are a doomed species for sure. - Aliceinwonderland

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 11 weeks ago

Don't trouble too much over the old man I saw Alice. Perhaps telling his story might help motivate people to action. At least his hardship would have some meaning. He was a lesson to everyone, as well as a National travesty.

Also, he was probably in the street because he had kids. A parent's dignity is seriously threatened when they burden their children. It's the last thing they want to do; especially, as the last thing they actually do.

I know if I didn't call my father routinely to check up on him I still wouldn't know he was sick or in the hospital. When he didn't answer the phone for two days or return my call I went to his house and discovered it empty and the back door broken down. At first, I thought he was kidnapped. The neighbors told me an ambulance took him away after he fell down. He told them I was out of the country. I later learned that he told the ambulance drivers, doctors, and care givers at the convalescence hospital that he didn't have any children.

How could I have scolded him? He was about to turn 90 himself. I knew he just didn't want to burden me. It's natural not to want to burden your loved ones. That's exactly why we pay into things like Social Security and Medicare. We must all demand that these entities are funded properly and with priority and never cut. In fact, the funding needs to be drastically increased!

People want to leave their loved ones with property and money that they can use to remember them fondly--not unpaid bills. You're actually quite fortunate. Being childless, like myself, you and I can run up as many bills as we want and not worry about burdening any children. People with children know they can't.

Also, hopefully, by that time you or I ever finds themselves in that predicament, society will grow up and realize it's responsibility to the preservation of the human dignity of everyone who's ever spent their lifetimes serving society; and neither we, nor anyone we know, will ever again have to spend their final days worrying about how their final liabilities due to the universal life stage called death are going to burden their loved one's future.

If wealthy people really didn't agree with that then why do they complain so much about the Death Tax?

Tell everyone you know to call President Obama and their Congressmen and demand: "NO CUTS WHATSOEVER TO SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE!"

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

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