Archive for May, 2011

Retirement

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Most of us will die wondering how to pay our bills. This is the conservative promise. Acknowledged, even, by the liberal in the White House who used to talk about ‘hope’ because it’s an easy sell, but never really had any to offer. These people have mathematical models and scientific proofs we all have to live out our years wanting, unhealthy, and alone. So we can pay their rich banker friends. They’re not kidding. They believe it. They really do.

You see, it’s not that there isn’t enough to go around. We have the best economic system ever invented. But like everything invented, once built, it can be used, unexpectedly, by others of malicious intent. We’ve been persuaded, to our shame, that people only deserve what they can earn at work. That the significance of a person is based on how much money they have. That competing for profits is the invisible, absolute, authority we’re all morally responsible to. We believe so because, we think, it’s the only way each of us really gets what we deserve. And so we do.

This wonderful system of ours was created for a different purpose, by people who put their democracy before their wealth, and individual dignity before everything else. Our weakness is this: the rich can use their money to persuade us against ourselves, then pay their political puppets to run government as if it’s supposed to be ‘small’ and ‘limited.’

Our economy was created to serve everybody. When wealth threatens the well-being of the helpless, the wealthy have to give it up. Public pensions must always be paid from current public income, directly from the bank accounts of the rich, because there’s no such thing, in fact, as borrowing ‘from our grandchildren.’ Everybody knows they’re not going to pay. So remember, as your body declines and your opportunities diminish, you’ve been played for the fool by people shocked you’ve let them get away with it. And it’s never too late. Get out there and vote.

Environment

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Restoring our natural environment is the biggest business opportunity America will ever have. When we begin billing producers for the full costs of products – materials and labor, plus social and environmental overhead – the economic boom will be historic. The free market will be reestablished, and profitable opportunities will emerge everywhere, for companies of all sizes, to sell goods and services which promote, instead of degrade, our lives.

Restoring the environment, today, is discussed like some kind of political choice. As if we can’t afford to clean up our own mess. We’re told profits can only be made, and the country can only be secure, if we remain subject to an insane oligarchy of billionaire old buddies, who assure us their dictatorship is, after all, the only thing keeping us from economic collapse. On the contrary, our only hope is to strip the wealth and power from the current elite, and restore it to the American middle class.

By putting elite wealth ahead of our own middle class interests, we’ve indulged a politics of the bizarre. We have food shortages all over the world: it’s not profitable to eliminate them. We have fresh water that’s disappearing: it’s not profitable to conserve it. We have an atmosphere that’s overheating: it’s not profitable to cool it down. The one great business opportunity seen today, since it’s encouraged by environmental decline, is war. Weapons sales are way up.

Our environment is our home. It reflects who we are. We won’t respect it, if we can’t respect ourselves. Our government is us. We must be vigilant. We must be suspicious. We must hold ourselves to account. But to ridicule government, and crow with excitement to serve the rich, is social suicide. Governments set the definitions of value in every marketplace. Ours must replace the opportunities for degrading our home, with opportunities for cleaning it up. Or we all suffer.

May 22, 2011

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

I was saddened when Jesus didn’t walk up the road May 21. Not because I believe in a Rapture. I don’t know where that idea came from. And not because the sins of the world continue on, unpunished. If there’s a Hell and damnation, I’m headed for it.

I was saddened because I love Jesus Christ. He’s the true friend of my life. I would love to walk with him; listen to his voice; laugh together.

It’s scary stuff to quote scripture, because I don’t know who wrote it, or why. Of course, the Big Fact is, they wrote because they had no choice. It’s the inevitable story of his life, make whatever sense of it we will. He loved and he laughed. He did his miracles. He let himself be killed so we don’t have to fear death anymore. All his friends wanted him to stay and he said, “I promise you, there are those standing here today who will not die until they see me in my glory.” He’s been back for two thousand years.

Health Care

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

Health care is a deliberate problem in the United States. It’s a problem because health care is a product sold to the highest bidder, instead of a commitment the country makes to its people. It is much more expensive than it needs to be. The huge outfits controlling health care passionately oppose improving it, by fanning the ugly American refusal to ‘pay for somebody else.’ It’s sold as a limited resource. Only the wealthy and successful are assured the fantastic benefits it frequently offers.

This hurts us all, except for a few giant medical conglomerates, and some very overpaid practitioners. Today we’re caught in a delusion of limited financing, and a pretense of imperative service cuts. Many popular candidates are proclaiming it’s time to eliminate Medicare, even for the middle class. The opposite is true. We should eliminate private health insurance. We should adopt a single payer, public health service financed by taxes, which increase with wealth and income.

Our problems run even deeper. The true costs of food include the expense of recovering from any damage it does. This is excluded from food’s price and dumped onto consumers, who usually can’t afford to pay for it. The least healthy foods often have the lowest prices, and the highest real health costs. We should confront this head on. We should assess the full consumption expense of food and bill it through to distributors. In a free, transparent, fully costed market, the cheapest vegetables will be organic.

Energy

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

We keep being shocked by energy prices in America, because we refuse to plan to deal with them. This is itself a plan, by huge power companies and their legislative staff, to create massive barriers to alternative fuels, and heavily regulate against fully costing the fossil fuels these corporations monopolize. We spent a trillion dollars trying to guarantee open oil fields in Iraq, and accomplished nothing. Had we spent a trillion dollars buying alternative power equipment, we would be exporting our excess oil today. Wars conducted on their behalf should be billed directly to the oil companies themselves.

Electricity conglomerates behave the same way. Heavy conservative regulations against subsidizing decentralized generation, and opposing rapid development of a ‘smart grid,’ keep owners of gigantic power plants rolling in profits, while we suffer more frequent blackouts and ever higher prices. A smart grid will do what the national highway system did in an earlier day. It allows small producers, even home owners, to go into business selling power on an open market. It will drive down energy costs, while creating new small business opportunities in every corner of the country.

Energy policy is the best example of what’s wrong with economic policy in the United States. Economic activity has been legislatively frozen by politicians claiming to ‘deregulate markets,’ when in fact they’re preventing the normal market operations of seeking alternatives. ‘Free markets’ have become the political term for frozen markets, in which current owners charge their hidden costs off to taxpayers, and rake in profits from consumers unable to buy anywhere else.

Employment

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

Well intentioned, our leadership may be. It is wrong about economics. You don’t create jobs by propping up big business. Promoting big business reduces the number of available jobs, and drives money out of the economy. Successful twenty-first century economies will be those which shrink big business, and grow the number of small businesses, offering more, and more rewarding, work.

The single thing which best promotes employment is responsible taxation, which drains excess capital from large firms, and improves the profitability of small companies. Corporations of all kinds should be taxed according to their size, just as wealthy individuals should be more heavily taxed as their incomes increase.

Businesses exist to employ people. For decades we’ve been told: the more we give to the rich, the more they’ll have to create jobs for us. This is ridiculous. The wealth of a capitalist society increases with total economic activity, not with how much money is collected at the top. Profits given to the rich are gone. Profits paid as wages generate even more wealth, and benefit us all.

War

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

I saw the president speak last night, full of the satisfaction of war. Those who choose to be enemies of the United States, and attack us on our soil, will be destroyed. This is the prerogative of nations. We will do it with pride. In the same circumstances, were I the president, I would hope to perform so well.

History is full of opportunities. The strength and determination of the United States in this hour, has brought us to a new definition of war, and our choice is critical for our future. Perhaps, at last, we are turning away from the twentieth century idiocy of waging war on civilians, instead now directly targeting the leadership warring against us. This will be a tremendous change. All governments of the world should take note. But if not undertaken with courage, it, too, will destroy nations.

We can only remain the United States if we remain free. Yesterday, a dangerous enemy was defeated. Now, with courage and honor, we may withdraw. Our declaration is clear: attack us, protect those who attack us, we will come. You will not survive. We will not live in fear.

We must not live in fear. We must not watch every street corner for potential enemies. We must not listen to every phone call to ‘preempt’ conspiracies. We must not monitor private email to detect possible new threats. We must, in fact, reaffirm the unconstitutionality of all this. Our strength lies in our willingness to be open, and vulnerable, so our people can be free. If attacked, we will suffer, and then, we will respond. Otherwise, our own defense machinery will enslave us, and our democracy will be a memory. Mr. Obama can now withdraw from Pakistan and Afghanistan, letting their peoples find their own ways. Or will he remain, strengthening his invasion, pretending to assure us no enemy can arise from there again?