Bernie Sanders is awesome and here is why

I just received this email from U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders:

Title:  Who are the Koch brothers and what do they want?

Dana,

As a result of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, billionaires and large corporations can now spend an unlimited amount of money to influence the political process. The results of that decision are clear.  In the coming months and years the Koch brothers and other extraordinarily wealthy families will spend billions of dollars to elect right-wing candidates to the Senate, the House, governors’ mansions and the presidency of the United States. These billionaires already own much of our economy. That, apparently, is not enough.  Now, they want to own the United States government as well.

Four years ago, the Supreme Court passed Citizens United.  A few weeks ago, they passed the equally horrendous McCutcheon campaign finance decision which gives even more political power to the rich. Now, many Republicans want to push this Supreme Court to go even further.  In the name of “free speech,” they want the Court to eliminate all restrictions on campaign spending — a position that Justice Thomas supported in McCutcheon – and a view supported by the Chairman of the Republican National Committee.  Not surprisingly, as it will give them the opportunity to buy politicians at will, this has always been the position of the Koch brothers.

The Koch brothers are the second wealthiest family in America, making most of their money in the fossil fuel industry.  According to Forbes Magazine, they saw their wealth increase last year from $68 billion to $80 billion.  In other words, under the “anti-business”, “socialist” and “oppressive” Obama administration, their wealth went up by $12 billion in one year. 

In their 2012 campaigns, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney each spent a little more than $1 billion.  For the Koch brothers, spending more than Obama and Romney combined  in an election would be a drop in the bucket.  They would hardly miss the few billion spent. 

Given the reality that the Koch brothers are now the most important and powerful players in American politics, it is important to know what they want and what their agenda is. 

Interestingly and not widely known, David Koch ran as the Libertarian Party’s vice-presidential candidate in 1980.  He believed that Ronald Reagan was much too liberal.  Despite Mr. Koch putting a substantial sum of money into the campaign, his ticket only received one percent of the vote.  Most Americans thought the Libertarian Party’s platform of 1980 was extremist and way out of touch with what the American people wanted and needed.

Fast-forward 34 years and the most significant reality of modern politics is how successful David Koch and like-minded billionaires have been in moving the Republican Party to the extreme right.  Amazingly, much of what was considered “extremist” and “kooky” in 1980 has become part of today’s mainstream Republican thinking.    

Let me give you just a few examples:

In 1980, Libertarian vice-presidential candidate David Koch ran on a platform that called for abolishing the minimum wage.  34 years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of one percent of the American people. 

Today, not only does virtually every Republican in Congress oppose raising the $7.25 an hour minimum wage, many of them, including Republican leaders like Mitch McConnell and John McCain, are on record for abolishing the concept of the federal minimum wage.

In 1980, the platform of David Koch’s Libertarian Party favored “the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs.”  34 years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of one percent of the American people. 

Today, the mainstream view of the Republican Party, as seen in the recently passed Ryan budget, is to end Medicare as we know it, cut Medicaid by more than $1.5 trillion over the next decade, and repeal the Affordable Care Act.  According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “Under the Ryan plan, at least 40 million people — 1 in 8 Americans — would lose health insurance or fail to obtain insurance by 2024. Most of them would be people with low or moderate incomes.”

In 1980, the platform of David Koch’s Libertarian Party called for “the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system.”  34 years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of one percent of the American people. 

Today, the mainstream view of the Republican Party is that “entitlement reform” is absolutely necessary.  For some, this means major cuts in Social Security.  For others who believe Social Security is unconstitutional or a Ponzi scheme this means the privatization of Social Security or abolishing this program completely for those who are under 60 years of age.

In 1980, David Koch’s Libertarian Party platform stated “We oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes … We support the eventual repeal of all taxation … As an interim measure, all criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion should be terminated immediately.”  34 years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of one percent of the American people. 

Today, 75 Republicans in the House have co-sponsored a bill that Paul Ryan has said “would eliminate taxes on wages, corporations, self-employment, capital gains, and gift and death taxes in favor of a personal-consumption tax.”

Here is what every American should be deeply concerned about.  The Koch brothers, through the expenditure of billions of dollars and the creation and support of dozens of extreme right organizations, have taken fringe extremist ideas and made them mainstream within the Republican Party.  And now with Citizens United (which is allowing them to pour unlimited sums of money into the political process) their power is greater than ever.

And let’s be very clear.  Their goal is not only to defund Obamacare, cut Social Security, oppose an increase in the minimum wage or cut federal funding for education.  Their world view and eventual goal is much greater than all of that.  They want to repeal every major piece of legislation that has been signed into law over the past 80 years that has protected the middle class, the elderly, the children, the sick, and the most vulnerable in this country.  Every piece of legislation! 

The truth is that the agenda of the Koch brothers is to move this country from a democratic society with a strong middle class to an oligarchic form of society in which the economic and political life of the nation are controlled by a handful of billionaire families.

Our great nation must not be hijacked by right-wing billionaires like the Koch brothers. 

For the sake of our children and our grandchildren, we must fight back.

Sincerely,
Bernie Sanders
Senator Bernie Sanders

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Little by Little we take a shot at the top

Here is a great little Vimeo video of some protesters in Boston letting NPR station WGBH know that they don’t appreciate DAVID KOCH being on the board.

https://vimeo.com/90691376

Comment on the video and let them know that you stand UP for US!

And remove the 1% from our PUBLIC AIRWAVES.

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This New World is Anything but Brave

The reality of the “meek shall inherit the earth” has come to fruition. Ownership over citizens rights; unhealthy industrialized agribusiness preside over the human body;  a small, elite group of non-humans (the meek) hide in glass towers deciding the future of everyone, everything, everywhere.  Money is their weapon along with the stupidity of those they buy. Welcome to Brave New World (not).

The human race has deteriorated to a scourge on this beautiful planet.  The pestilence shrinks the beauty of Gaia while embracing the words of religious cults blanketed in fear of each other – murdering each other in the name of one’s all-powerful “God or Allah” – smaller sects of the same religion brutally taking the lives of brothers of the same species.

In America, what has happened to a mindset of a small group of people who follow the elites blindly?  They elect those to rule only for the wealthy 1%, passing laws that do nothing for the citizenry.

I find it a circuitous loop of an argument I have ongoing with my brothers who vote Tea Party Republicans though they all live off the government 100%.  In my discussions with them, I remind them that these people wish to rid them from the government dole. How will they survive if Social Security, Veterans Benefits and MediCare become obsolete reminders of a society that once had a modicum of assistance for the poor.  Their response?  The vapid words of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, and others of that ilk: “Government is too big and out of control, Dana. It must be downsized.”  And I tell them that I’m the only one of our family who will survive then.  I have a job. I have a means to make a living. I’ve never taken ONE DIME from our government in my 40 years of a working life. How will they get by without the government check?  They repeat the loop.

Amazing how the television and radio have been used as tools to harness the masses.

Aldous Huxley, Fritz Lang, Karl Marx, George Orwell and many others saw a rotting future.  We have an opportunity to not denigrate ourselves into the further edges of a dystopian world.  But we must act.

One good start would be to read the words of Lawrence Lessig and Robert Reich. There you’ll find REAL HOPE and CHANGE.  Let’s get it started!

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

 

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Jobs – Where is the Manual?

Employers add 192,000 jobs in March, the media bleated out to us this week.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics also reports that the unemployment rate remains unchanged at 6.7%.   At this same USBLS link, there are some worthy numbers to take note of:

“The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 3.7 million, changed little in March; these individuals accounted for 35.8 percent of the unemployed. The number of long-term unemployed was down by 837,000 over the year.”

and

“Both the civilian labor force and total employment increased in March. The labor force participation rate (63.2 percent) and the employment-population ratio (58.9 percent) changed little over the month. (See table A-1.) The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed at 7.4 million in March. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time work.

In March, 2.2 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little changed from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 698,000 discouraged workers in March, down  slightly from a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.5 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in March had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. “

We hear this information on NPR and other news outlets when reporting the numbers and it sounds exciting to hear that 192,000 jobs were added in March 2014. But the problem is that most of us have no reference of this number to the total # of unemployed, not do we have a reasonable account of whether one can become employed due to many factors not reported in the data.

Take the automation of jobs, for example. Numerous tech companies are clamoring for their place at the “top of innovation” in creating robotic services to replace a human.  See the Slate article:  “What Undercover Boss and The Jetsons tell us about the Future of Jobs.

Here is another way to understand the current situation of employment.  Let’s turn to my esteemed colleague Michael McKeever who teaches Econ 1 – Principles of Macroeconomics and Econ 3  - Principles of Microeconomics at City College of San Francisco and his article on “The Jobs Theory of Growth”.

(The following is published with permission.)

THE JOBS THEORY OF GROWTH

In the economic circular flow of money and goods, businesses sell goods to consumers and hire workers to produce and sell those goods. The workers take their wages and buy products and services from businesses.

The classical economist’s way of looking at the flow was to say that ‘Supply creates Demand’. In other words, business must hire workers to create products and those workers in turn use their incomes to create demand for businesses by spending their wages. Classical economics then looks at businesses as the foundation of economic activity for their efforts to create products by hiring workers. While creating a product or service the business pays workers wages which then creates an income for consumers. Classical economics focuses on business product creation and assumes the demand will follow.

The jobs theory turns that around to make this statement: ‘Demand Creates Supply’. In other words, if consumers have an income, businesses will be formed to supply products to consumers. Then, the focus is on the consumer’s income – if consumers have an income, business will cater to that income by creating products for consumers to buy.

Economic growth then becomes the creation of new businesses and jobs; and, it is measured by the number of jobs created. One cannot just measure the number of businesses created since one new business may create hundreds of jobs while another new business creates only one job.

When more jobs are created, then the economy grows. It is measurable – just count the number of new jobs created and subtract the number of jobs lost. If the number is positive, then there is economic growth. If the number is negative, then the economy has shrunk.

For example, the number of people working in the USA grew from 64,630,000 in 1959 to 145,926,000 in December of 2006, according to the 2007 Economic Report of the President [http://www.gpoaccess.gov/eop/tables07.html]. This is a growth of two and one quarter times over a 47-year period.

During that same period, the population grew from 177,830,000 in 1959 to 299,801,000 in 2006. This was a growth of about 68%.

Not only did the absolute number of jobs grow by 125% during that period, the number of jobs grew almost twice as fast as the population.

The number of jobs per capita is derived by dividing the number of jobs by the population. It grew from 0.36 in 1959 to 0.49 in 2006. In other words, one working person supported nearly two non-working people in 1959, but one working person supported only one non-working person in 2006. Economic growth is measured by an increase in per capita jobs.

BUSINESS CREATES JOBS

In most economies, most jobs are created by small entrepreneurial businesses. There are four conditions required for any businesses to be formed. When present, these pre-conditions allow for job creation; when absent, job creation is almost impossible.

Middle Class

Business owners largely come from a middle class, when that class is defined as a class of people who have the extra time and income to conceive of a business opportunity and save, borrow or collect investors in order to start a business and hire employees.

Property

A business is a venture in which property is bought and sold. If property cannot be protected or defined a business cannot survive. The system which creates and protects property is a legal system installed and maintained by a government. Job creation requires a complex legal system which describes, defends and resolves disputes about personal, real and intellectual property.

Personal Property

Personal property is merchandise which is not permanently attached to the ground. The items for sale in a retail store are personal property. The legal system which creates and transfers ownership of personal property is governed by the Uniform Commercial Code [UCC] in the United States. This is a set of definitions of such things as a contract, invoice, bill of lading, receipt and so on which are accepted by all states, counties and cities in the USA. The UCC is readily available on the Internet and is managed by Cornell University Law School.  [http://www.law.cornell.edu/ucc/ucc.table.html].

Businesses require predictable rules about the acquisition, possession and transfer of personal property since most businesses buy and sell personal property such as those incorporated in the UCC. Businesses also require an effective police force to protect their property against theft. If the business owner cannot predict whether or not a robber will steal his property, he will take his investment to a safer country. Then, there will be no business created and no jobs offered.

A society which wishes to see job creation will incorporate standard rules of creating, owning and transferring personal property.

Real Property

Real property, or real estate, includes land, buildings and any items permanently attached to the land or building. For example, the electrical wires enclosed in the walls of a house are real property since they cannot be removed without damaging the house. But, a mirror hung on the wall with nails is personal property because it is easily movable without damaging the wall.

Much of the value in real property derives from the ability to measure and exactly describe where is the vacant land or land which underlies buildings. This ability to locate land precisely enables banks in distant cities to loan money against the value of the land and buildings. It also makes possible the establishment of the proper owner of that land so that a person’s claims of ownership can be defended in court.

Land is described by surveys documented in public records and claims of ownership are recorded in public records identified by each individual parcel. Creating the value in real property requires a complex set of public records, laws, court systems to settle disputes and a police force to secure ownership from criminals.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property is the unique product of an individual who designs a new device, writes a new article or book or writes a new song, musical composition or computer program. The value in intellectual property derives from two things; first, a system of registering claims of uniqueness maintained by a government entity and, second, a system of laws which allows the creator of the new item to sue people for damages who copy his unique works without permission.

In countries where intellectual property is not protected by the government, pirates routinely copy intellectual property without permission and pocket the proceeds.

Of course, in less developed societies some of the legal systems described above may be non-existent or very simple while still allowing entrepreneurs the incentives to hire employees. Complex laws may be replaced by societal customs and traditional practices. But, as the economy grows, the legal system will grow with it and expand the job creating opportunities.

Monetary Exchange

Job creation requires that businesses grow so they can hire more people. In turn, the energy the business owner invests into growing his business requires that he be free from simple, repetitive tasks – that’s the only way he can explore new ideas and create new projects.

One of the most frustrating tasks for a business owner in an economy where there is no monetary exchange is the constant search for barter possibilities or currency exchange so the businessman can convert the goods he receives in exchange for his goods into products he needs. For example, say a business person makes plows from steel and sells them to farmers. With no monetary exchange, he will trade his plows for corn and then try to find someone with steel who will take his corn. Or, say a vendor sells supplies in a market where many currencies are circulated but buys products where only US dollars are accepted; he must spend a lot of time changing money.

Markets

A market is a place where buyers and sellers meet and exchange goods and money. It can be a physical place like a swap meet or open market, a series of locations like stores in a shopping center or a series of online web sites.

Markets can exist where property is either privately owned or publicly owned. Markets can be more or less regulated depending on the political philosophy of the country. As mentioned above, the Soviet experiment in central planning and non-market exchange in the 20th Century appears to prove that markets are required for economic growth.

The policies discussed in this site are designed to create the most possible jobs in any country. Since businesses create most jobs, improving the listed policies toward a higher score will promote and support business activity.

However, the profit goals of business can conflict with the overall goals of society in some circumstances. Additionally, evidence shows that poorly regulated markets tend to create large income and wealth disparities; such disparities can interfere with job creation and social justice when taken to the extreme. Great inequalities can create powerful pressure groups which can manipulate public policy toward private interests and which are more interested in personal profits than the welfare of society. Consequently, well managed countries ameliorate income and wealth disparities and closely monitor business activity and regulate that activity when profit seeking behavior conflicts with society’s goals.

PAST ECONOMIC GROWTH THEORIES

In the past, economists have examined growth in an attempt to create a better life for more people. While MIEPA believes the job theory of growth the most applicable to the population growth problem identified above, it is worthwhile to examine historical growth theories.

Economists define economic growth as an increase in real GDP per capita. In other words, they take the entire money value of goods and services produced in a country in a year, reduce the value to account for inflation and then divide by the number of people in the country that year. That gives a measure of the amount of actual goods and services per person for that year. If the same measure next year shows a higher number, then there has been economic growth.

Using this measuring technique, the United States has shown more than one hundred years of positive economic growth – between 1895 and 1998 the real GDP per person in the USA grew by 2% per year. Although there are many explanations of this phenomenon, a few reasons include: educated population, business friendly government policies, consistent legal structure in a large market, and, a large middle class of people with enough income to think about investments.

Historically, there are several economic theories of how to create growth as measured by an increase in real GDP per capita.

1. CLASSICAL GROWTH THEORY

Writing in the 1700′s, Adam Smith proposed the first theory of economic growth. His idea was that economic changes allowed for an increase in population growth, and the increase in population growth was economic growth. He reasoned this way: market forces create equilibrium of wages so that any extra children born to a family will die from starvation or disease before entering the labor market. This die-off keeps wages at a level which just supports the number of workers demanded by businesses. If the demand for workers increases so that businesses want to hire more workers at every wage, then workers will bid up their wages beyond subsistence level and more children will be able to live long enough to enter the labor force.

Once the new workers enter the labor force, the competition for jobs will drive wages down to the level needed by businesses at a subsistence wage. But, economic growth will take place since the number of workers supported by business will be larger.

2. NEO-CLASSICAL GROWTH THEORY

Writing in the 1950′s Robert Solow proposed that economic growth is caused by a change in the relation of capital, or money, to labor hours worked. Basically, a new technology is invented which enables a worker to produce more output per hour worked. Business naturally invests in this new technology thereby raising the amount of capital used per hour of work. Economic growth is created because the additional capital has increased the worker’s output per hour. This extra output becomes an increase in real GDP per person, or economic growth.

By following this theory, economic policies which encourage the accumulation of capital and the investment of capital into business will create economic growth.

3. NEW GROWTH THEORY

In the late 1980′s a different theory of growth was introduced. This theory said that intellectual innovations, like personal computers and effective software programs, raise the productivity of all workers and raise the return on all capital invested in businesses. This higher return rate calls forth additional investment in businesses since now business investment is seen as more attractive than before.

Then this additional investment will create another intellectual innovation which will raise the productivity of all workers even further. Then additional capital will be invested and the cycle begins all over.

Whether these cycles would continue indefinitely was answered in the dot bomb recession of the late 1990′s when businesses based on this growth theory mostly died.

[Copyright, 2014, Mike P.  McKeever, San Francisco, CA. All rights reserved. Reproduced here with explicit permission of the author.  For inquiries, contact the author at mckeever.mp@gmail.com]

 

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Reality of the Realm_The Rich Rule

The day after a hard rain; the Bay Area smells washed and the air is clean.  The perfect juxtaposition to another dirty day of politics. SCOTUS once again, has denied the American people. CHALK UP ANOTHER HIT against fair elections.  Bravo, Justices Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas! You have proven time and again that the rights of individuals are worthless as you hide in your gilded cages under black cloaks making decisions for the 1%. You have succeeded in demeaning democracy today (once again!), this Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 by adding one more bite to the rule of money in politics – now wealthy individuals have no limits to their contributions to any political candidate of their choosing.  Details HERE. Mr uber-rich, Shaun McCutcheon walks away with the prize to give to all filthy rich pigs on high. They can now OWN all candidates and the message.  Work well-done, Justices.  The lie of democracy continues as the Plutocrats gain more “legal” ground.

Some citizenry comments from the HuffPo article bear repeating:

  1. Barbara C writes: “Democracy! SOLD! To the highest bidder!”
  2. From Brian: “So the key American idea of 1 person, 1 vote is gone. This is offensive to a key concept of our nation. Our formerly elected leaders are now up for auction, and elected by those with the largest checkbook.   Way to go SCOTUS.”
  3. Vivian writes: “Some kind of democracy, huh?  The best that money can buy.”

I concur.

And the news cycle of the day gets worse…we read that a DuPont heir, Robert H. Richards IV, a 1%er piece of crap of humanity gets PROBATION after conviction of raping his own children that he confessed to because the Superior Court Judge ruled that “he would not fare well in prison”.  WTF?  Is this an April Fool’s joke or something?  No.  Sadly, it’s not.  This is the American judicial system bought and sold.

The rule of the rich. They can buy everything including freedom when they have committed heinous crimes. The Waltons, the Kochs, the Mars family, the DuPonts – gorging plutocrats hell-bent on having it all and doing whatever they please as the judicial branch helps pave their way.

Welcome to the realm where the rich rule. The rest of us are nothing but a tool.

Try listening to this TED TALK with Lawrence Lessig.  It’s important to understand all of this.

Looney Tunes: "That's all folks!"

Looney Tunes: “That’s all folks!”

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The War on Education (something to listen to)


Put on your headphones and have a listen…

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Students attempting a peaceful protest were met by this.

Students attempting a peaceful protest were met by this.

This is how revolutions begin. A small group of elite administrators give themselves a huge pay increase while denying students, faculty, and staff. The story of City College of San Francisco is your story. If it hasn’t happened in your city yet, it’s coming. Brace yourself.
And here is a link to the SF Board of Supervisors special meeting the next day. THANK GOODNESS for government that WORKS!

http://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=164&clip_id=19599

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