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Feb-03-2008 20:04printcomments

Op Ed: 'Supply-Side' Failures
Forcing International
Economic Remediation

U.S. 'Stimulus' Falls Short, Avoids Real Issues & Solutions; 'Next-Steps' Demanded for Consideration Suggested.

homeless person
During the Great Depression in the US, many people starved to death, like this little boy in the picture above. Could we be heading for round 2? Courtesy:

(BEND, Ore.) - Spectacular worldwide economic consequences of longtime 'supply-side' failures to control finance-industry operations, 'crony capitalism' corruption, and 'distorted deficit-building economic policies' have finally come home to roost.

Triggered by the tottering subprime mortgage mess laying waste home ownership across the nation, with spectacularly high totals of combinations and collateralization of collapsing real estate assets, the real impact on every other market is so great that the shadow of a real Depression now becomes no longer a shadow, but a high-probability historic event.

(One kind of mortgage-backed structure --collateralized debt obligations--ALONE runs to $1 TRILLION.)

Crisis-driven, the Congressional stimulus plans to rescue the U.S. economy from deep recession already arriving --feared as leading on to a real worldwide Big Depression --are now seen widely, here and abroad, as 'too little, too late' and in some spectacularly wrong directions.

Deficient in detailed attack on root causes, while seeming more set by political necessities than by rational, reasonable attack on realities in the American system, the Congressional plan --arrived at by negotiation seeking ‘bipartisan action’ above all else -- counts on countering the coming real Big Depression by dealing out dollops of dollars as refunds from already-paid income and other taxes.

Where rapid and highly-reassuring action to place billions into immediate impact on the economy is surely demanded, the current plan counts on vary conservative bureaucratic bounty-building with intended rescue-checks ready only next May, or June, or whenever the entrenched bureaucracy can whip up the involved and complex machinery demanded.

Massive monies made very rapidly part of the economic dollar/bloodstream via injection through extension of existing unemployment benefits and also by heavy addition to food-supply processes --already in operation and demanding only further funding-- were negotiated away for that bipartisan distorting-image --apparently as intended ‘public relations’ action to shortcut catastrophic loss of confidence worldwide.

Press reports attributed the too-easy give-away from the Democratic side to overwhelming fears of “Real Depression” brought on worldwide if investor and national money sources were further frightened by dissension and deepening delay obviously due to political game-playing in Washington.

But widespread dissension and projection of the growing probabilities for extremely damaging further deterioration -----while awaiting any real impact of all those billions now being promised-- forces attention full-circle to illuminating what really must be done, somehow, to set things straight and put the American economy back on the demanded progressive track so badly needed in this ending-phase of the very first decade, 21st Century.

I make no pretense to economic insights or special training, but those next-steps so painfully evident now are becoming so clear that there is already an overwhelming consensus on what must be done, easily accessed on Internet sources, as set forth by accomplished, award-winning economists and other specialists.

Those steps can be summarized in a simple --since so obvious-- series of four steps, starting with the most complex and proceeding to the easier and less-demanding areas of public policy.

They are:

  1. New energy, power and fuel technologies, discovered and rapidly exploited, to reduce and eliminate plunder and waste of our world’s natural resources, with high motivation provided by extensive governmental actions and comprehensive funding.
  2. Prime and powerful new attention to the ascendancy of education, at all levels, for everyone, as a first and foremost human right now demanded --for 21st Century survival and progress.
  3. Universal healthcare, for everyone, at every level of economic status, provided by government planning and skilled, competent, comprehensive programming, as an ascendant right for every citizen --for 21st Century survival and progress.
  4. Infrastructure remedial and extension work in depth and detail, across the nation, under close supervision and shared control by State and Local government for realistic choice and completion of reasonable needs now and for the 21st Century future.
  5. Balanced and realistic budget development and the careful economic, social and cultural command-and-control agencies required for government to 'do what only government can do' --for 21st Century survival and progress.

While few will agree on each and every detail in each and every one of these steps (as summarized here), taken altogether they surely represent a solid, rational, reasonable approach to the public planning that must now take place rapidly and well-done, substituting for the economic, social, cultural and moral-values abandoned so completely in the past thirty years of so-called 'conservative' convolutions.

Without doubt, demanding highest possible consideration, is the extremely painful cost-of-energy, now at the root of many, multiplying and malign consequences touching every aspect of modern life, in every country, worldwide.

Thus the first step must be rational, reasonable development --as rapidly as possible, by every power we possess, cooperatively with any and all other countries, of new sources and new technologies to supply the massive, still multiplying necessities for power and fuel.

Gasoline, Diesel, electric, wind-and-water sources must be further explored and rapidly exploited, with every one of the new technologies sure to be now-discovered shared and set into place everywhere, via any and all means at our power worldwide.

Even given the accomplishment and application of broad new energy, power and fuel techniques, life in the 21st Century will inevitably require much broader and more extensive preparation for accomplishment than we now face.

Thus universal education is a demanded necessity not only for survival but to assure wider, wiser, more extensive and more democratic domination of all problems and issues, by a citizenry finally, fully and absolutely prepared for the full scope and impact of long-vaunted democratic principles.

With such rapid remediation of the long-understood painful consequences of failed and forlorn citizen participation in any real democracy, then must come the essential, heavily-demanded restoration and improvement of our foundations for 21at Century life -- the infrastructure.

The time is long past when we can any longer allow the roads, bridges, public institutions like schools, hospitals and other facilities to be eroded and reduced, sometimes, not just to inadequacy but actually to collapsed rubble.

The days when 'starve the beast'-damage/action could be allowed, in the potent pretense of preventing government waste while reducing tax-share for some at the cost of others, is long gone, as is the similar pretense of attacking size and function of government, now clearly seen as the ONLY possible agency for further progress --as demanded for 21st Century survival.

'Greed is good' as a controlling function for political attack to slash share and responsibilities for government format, shape and controlling actions is now outmoded, relegated to whence-it-came, dead and dying 19th Century philosophy and class concern for lost control.

Finally and unavoidably, we come to practical reality embedded in budget formation, application and ongoing control.

"Money maketh the world to go", heard remorselessly ever since early centuries, is more the realistic understanding of the 21st Century than ever before.

Rational, reasonable budget formation must start, irrevocably, with “denial of wasting-war demands” on what should, could, and --for the 21st Century, surely--be sensible application to 'internal national and state demands we surely now face.'

It is impossible to slash tax-rates, lavish horrendously huge expenditures overseas in search for ultimate empire-control of ANY world resource ANYwheres --whether it be oil or whatever else becomes the most essential as technical progress continues-- AND STILL move as massively forward as now demanded --for 21st Century survival and progress.

Thus we have an unavoidable choice --one compatible and completely reasonable within the principle on which our democracy was founded:

"Government OF the People, BY the People, FOR the People."

What better or more promising principle for real progress could we conceivably ever have?

We have more than two centuries of proof that this principle provides providentially precisely what is now required, as we continue our Constitutional confluence on what we WILL DO, and HOW we WILL DO what is demanded --as the New Century rolls on, and we inevitably ride along.

Reader’s Note: More than 50 separate professionally accurate and authoritative sources were used to shape and summarize statements in this Op Ed. They are NOT listed for space reasons. Complete documentation is available on request to Editor with ID. Some are held here as PDF for easy sharing; others require seeker to use links for access to website archives. Quotes are shortened, condensed from several sources, or summarized, with attribution separately recorded, under space pressures here. Verbatim citation and source are available on request to editor with ID.

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Henry Ruark February 5, 2008 7:16 am (Pacific time)

Friends: For those who may not have discovered Klein's work yet, here's further essential-ID information: Naomi Klein writes a regular column for The Nation and The Guardian that is syndicated internationally by The New York Times Syndicate. In 2004, her reporting from Iraq for Harper’s Magazine won the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism. In 2004, she released The Take, a feature documentary about Argentina’s occupied factories, co-produced with director Avi Lewis. The film was an official selection of the Venice Biennale and won the Best Documentary Jury Prize at the American Film Institute’s Film Festival in Los Angeles. She is a former Miliband Fellow at the London School of Economics and holds an honorary Doctor of Civil Laws from the University of King’s College, Nova Scotia. I can assure you, from a continuing study of her work and films, she is neither a "communist-leaner" nor in any way "socialist"-inclined. Her tenure at the London School guarantees her now well-proven competence on these issues, far above anything "local" or even national.

Henry Ruark February 5, 2008 7:02 am (Pacific time)

Friends: This Op Ed was prepared a few days ago. Since then strong action on the so-called "stimulus" (!) bill stalled while the Senate builds a stronger version. Naomi Klein is famed for her "disaster capitalism" book "The Shock Doctrine" detailing the key role played by crises in allowing the right to impose its economic program on all. Here's the closing pghs in her LA Times article "Why The Right Loves A Disaster" at "Yet while managing (barely) to hold the line, the House Democrats appear to have given up on extending unemployment benefits and increasing funding for food stamps and Medicaid as part of the stimulus package. More important, they are failing utterly to use the crisis to propose alternative solutions to a status quo marked by serial crises, whether environmental, social or economic. "The problem is not a lack of ideas "alive and available" -- to borrow Friedman's phrase. There are plenty available, from single-payer healthcare to legislating a living wage. Hundreds of thousands of jobs can be created by rebuilding the ailing public infrastructure and making it more friendly to public transit and renewable energy. Need start-up funds? Close the loophole that lets billionaire hedge fund managers pay 15% capital gains instead of 35% income tax, and adopt a long-proposed tax on international currency trading. The bonus? A less volatile, crisis-prone market. "The way we respond to crises is always highly political, a lesson progressives appear to have forgotten. There's a historical irony to that: Crises have ushered in some of America's great progressive policies. Most notably, after the dramatic market failure of 1929, the left was ready and waiting with its ideas -- full employment, huge public works, mass union drives. The Social Security system that Moody's is so eager to dismantle was a direct response to the Depression. "Every crisis is an opportunity; someone will exploit it. The question we face is this: Will the current turmoil become an excuse to transfer yet more public wealth into private hands, to wipe out the last vestiges of the welfare state, all in the name of economic growth? Or will this latest failure of unfettered markets be the catalyst that is needed to revive a spirit of public interest, to get serious about the pressing crises of our time, from gaping inequality to global warming to failing infrastructure ? "The disaster capitalists have held the reins for three decades. The time has come, once again, for disaster populism." For full understanding of her statement you really need the preceding content; this i provided here simply to sample for you an authoritative point of view you can check "with own eyes" and relate as your own mind directs via that full evaluation.

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