Posts Tagged ‘Economy’

Simon Jenkins believes we should be giving the printed money to the people NOT the Banksters!

July 28, 2012

By Dark Politricks

I saw an interesting interview with Simon Jenkins on This Week last week in which he described how at the moment we are stuck in a liquidity trap and the only solution we have is to print more money in the hope it sorts out the dying victim e.g the UK.

As he said:

“the government would be better off giving the billions of pounds it plans to pump into the UK economy to the public in the form of a Christmas bonus.”

“The columnist damned the government plan to get out of recession, claiming “it’s fraud, it’s a scam, it’s a lie”.

However as the Bank of England enters phases of printing money – or quantitative easing as they call it, Simon Jenkins believes that they are giving the money to the wrong people i.e the banks.

He believes that instead of increasing the deficit by the Bank of England buying bonds from the banks and paying interest and all the other funny business our economy actually behaves like we should instead be giving the money direct to the people to stimulate demand in the dead economy before we suffer a lost 20 years like Japan.

Keynesian, yes, but he believes that although printing money could eventually drive up inflation – which we are doing already by printing money to give to the banks.

We should instead be printing it and giving it directly to the citizens and tax payers of the UK.

The same people who are now paying for the mistakes of the bankers. He believes that by doing so it wouldn’t be adding to the national debt or increasing the deficit as it wasn’t money being borrowed but printed.

By doing this demand in the economy will be created as the people will use the money to buy goods and services which in turn would help businesses who will start to invest and grow for the future.

Whether you like the idea of not what we have at the moment is a case of the government taking tax payers money as well as printing and borrowing it to hand it over to the same banks who caused the financial collapse of 2008 in the hope that they will in turn use it to help businesses.

In fact what these banks are doing are using the money to shore up their empty vaults to meet Basel Capital requirements that they must hold a certain percentage of money in their bank.

The fact that nearly all these banks have no money and it’s just one big stack of cards waiting to fall down as soon as a country defaults and can’t pay back Bank A, who in turn cannot pay back Bank B who in turn asks the government for another bail out is irrelevant.

Anyone who knows how money is created knows that it is created through debt and new money is created every-time someone takes a loan out. That money is then multiplied and leveraged beyond belief even though it doesn’t physically exist apart from digits in a computer database.

If there was no debt there would be no money – simple.

It’s all one big ponzi scheme anyhow as we all know by now which is run by banksters who launder money for Mexican drug cartels, wide boys who fix Libor interest rates, and interchangeable politicians / bankers who move from one job to the other and then back again.

All as if there was nothing wrong with a politician developing banking policy that helps push millions of Brits over the financial cliff and then go off and work in one of the banks they created policy for once they are finally voted out of office.

Simon believes the politicians and those that demand we must be austere wince at the idea of giving money directly to people as it seems somehow vulgar. As if giving billions of our tax pounds direct to the same people who caused the mess so that they can carry on giving themselves huge wages and bonuses isn’t somehow!

So if we are already using a Keynesian economic policy that is being masked as an Austrian one through the use of the words austerity, the cutting of  public services, and all the other spending cuts that the millionaire front bench don’t rely on then why don’t we try to stimulate demand by giving the money to the people rather than the failed banks and businesses?

We could even tailor this arrangement so that it doesn’t seem so “vulgar” by declaring that the money is a once off (or yearly) dividend to all tax payers who helped bail out the banks. Banks we basically own anyway.

The money could be in the form of a special coupon or voucher that was only redeemable in this country (to stop people putting it in offshore bank accounts or saving it in UK bank accounts).

The voucher would be accepted in any UK based shop or business as legal tender and that company would then be able to redeem it for cash if they so wished from the Treasury by taking it to a bank or a special government office.

To stop people just turning up at banks and transferring the coupons to cash there would be a stipulation that only businesses could redeem the vouchers and only as long as they had a receipt showing the goods or services purchased with said voucher. Other ways could be created to prevent fraudulent black markets transference we Brits are so good at.

Also we could have a “double the value” scheme in which if  the holder of the coupon bought goods made in the UK (not in China with a made in UK sticker on it!) then they would get the item, good or service at a discount. This would help stimulate the UK manufacturing industry.

Obviously this would only apply to tax payers and not people on the dole or those who have no intention of ever working.

Different sizes of voucher would be created just like paper money so that change could be given in other vouchers and there would be a “use by” date of one year to ensure it was spent within a certain time frame. It would basically exist like a dual currency alongside the existing fiat one we call the pound.

You might not like the idea or the theory for many reasons including it’s Keynesian nature but we are already in a double dip recession with no hope of growth on the horizon and a growing national debt due to all the dole money having to be paid out to the public service workers the Tory/Lib Dem coalition have sacked.

If they somehow expected the private sector just to zoom in and suck up all these workers they were poorly mistaken.

Our chancellor George Osborne has failed in what he set out to dogrow the economy and cut the debt so we need some kind of plan.

Giving money to the banks has failed so why not give it to those of us who have basically saved the country anyway?

If 20 million or so people all spending a few billion pounds in the UK economy this year doesn’t help it grow at all then we are truly screwed.

It’s only an idea but one which few people seem willing to consider for some reason.

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How to fix the UK now we are once again in a double dip recession

April 29, 2012

By Dark Politricks

I have just watched the Andrew Marr show with his interview with David Cameron which covered an number of interesting matters such as the influence of lobbying and lobbyist especially his closeness betweeen the government and Rupert Murdoch, the economic crisis which has seen the UK enter a double dip recession.

Thinking of this interview and the state our country is in at the moment and with a bit of previous thought that has always remained in my consisouncess I believe we need to come up with a basic plan of steps that can help to restore our country.

These steps should not be ideologically bound and should be considered in a “what works, works” conceptiuial basis. Whether you are a Tory, Liberal or Socialist we all are suffering under the same problems and a solution that works should be considered whether or not it neatly fits inside your ideological view box or not.

The Economy

1. The private sector has not rushed into fill all the public sector jobs that are being lost. People are being put on the dole which increases government payments for jobseeker allowance and housing benefit and in turn increases the amount we need to borrow and therefore increases national debt. Therefore the question needs to be asked whether or not in makes more logical sense (and in turn basic mathematical sense) to keep on this track.

Many people might blame our tax rates and they might be right. If it can be proven that lower company taxes or a flat tax rate system will bring in more actual revenue to the governments coffers then I have no problem with it.

However corporation tax has already been dropped, our tax free allowance raised twice already, the higher rate of tax dropped from 50% to 45% and no influx of private sector jobs has occurred yet.

Here is something that ought not to be just a thought experiment. I would love to know if some university professor with too much time on his well paid hands has tried workig this out or not and please if anyone knows the answer let me in on it.

In the 1980’s our PM of the time Maggie Thatcher went to war with the miners. Many mines were unprofitable but they supported whole villages and towns and were often the only place for people in the local area to work.

Therefore when the mines were closed whole swathes of the country were made unemployed and in time due to the 3 million unemployed people on the dole the government told the employment agency to shift people onto disability allowance if there were eve the slightest thing wrong with them so that the figures were reduced and they could claim success in the war against unemployment.

This is the same government (although a different generation) that is now trying to get people off the disability allowance they had put them on to help win elections. Hypocrisy?

There were no private companies in these places for the people to go to work in and most of the miners were unskilled manual labourers with little other skills. The only “fix” given by the government of the time was from Norman Tebit who said “Get on your bike” and look for work.

Many of these miners are still jobless and many of the towns and villages that were based around the mines are now desolate wastelands full of empty or broken houses, drugs, drink and other social problems.

Now if someone at the time of this massive descission could have done the maths and worked out whether over the next 20-30 years the amount of money spent in dole money, sickness and housing benefit, extra police, court and prison costs and all the other long term costs that come with massive social deprivation and compared it with the subsidies or lost money from the mines which would come out on top?

Is it better to have a town full of people all working, all feeding their familes, all with a sense of pride in their community living in a town with lower social deprivation at the cost of a government subsidy?

Put aside your libertarian or socialist views and consider it from a basic mathematical point of view. Which do you think costs more?

This is the question we should be asking now with the current public sector cuts. Without knowing the actual true cost of the massive mine closure over 30 years I would surmise that it is cheaper to keep people working and off multiple government subsidies (dole, housing etc) and keeping a loss making mine open – another government subsidy.

So it comes down to a simple question of which subsidy is more benefiial for society? The ones handed out in dole and police wages or the one keeping open the mine and along with it the town that works there.

Remember that the higher cost of current government subsidies for unemployed people has brought our borrowing levels up NOT down and it is only our low interest rates that have kept our heads above water and not turned the UK  into a permanent London riot all year long like Greece and Spain.

Stimulating the Economy

Just a few off the top of my head.

  • Tax breaks for UK companies that make their products within the UK and don’t offshore them to slave labour camps like China.
  • Tax breaks for companies who hire long unemployed people – e.g if you have been unemployed for over 1 year or even 6 months.
  • More emphasis on ensuring companies are not hiring illegal migrants and keeping UK citizens out of jobs through the use of slave labour. A National Insurance card must be provided, photocopied and saved for every employee and provided on demand by people who’s actual job is to prevent slave labour from occurring.
  • Closing all tax loopholes and ensuring any international company who wants to sell their goods in one of the biggest markets in the world has a UK company setup on these shores and all relevant corporation tax paid to our treasury from that company.
  • Setting up a UK PLC company that is owned by all the taxpayers of the country who will recieve dividends from the company each year – used to stimulate the company. They would battle in the economy like any other company for private work but for government contracts they should get first dibs – and why not I ask? The Labour government has shown us through PPI how much money was (and still will be for the next 20 odd years at least) on these private public investment schemes. The UK PLC company would be filled with UK workers with valid national insurance cards, the long term unemployed, ex prisoners, other people struggling to get work AND any other workers who apply to vacacnies when required. The only benefits this company would have compared to others is in the non private workspace e.g government contracts.
  1. It gets first refusal on any government contract whether it be an IT system or new Hospital building or even just a maintenance role at a school. Why pay a private company hundreds of pounds to change a light bulb when we should be able to do it cheaply? Believe me through Gordon Browns PPI system we do pay hundreds of pounds to change light bulbs in hospitals and schools all around the country.
  2. If it makes a profit the profit is divided between expanding the company and paying dividends to us taxpayers who will then use that money stimulating the economy in the private marketplace.
  3. It is a first port of call for the long term unemployed and others seeking work to find a job working for their country.

Banking.

  1. We need to create a national bank that has proper interest rates for savers and encourage people to save money again at a rate that makes it worthwhile.
  2. We need a bank that is owned by the people of the country and is willing to loan out money to small businesses who are the companies who give people jobs.
  3. We need a bank that is owned by the people that’s job isn’t to make money purely from money e.g gambling, as we know all the big players do with their high frequency trading and front running.
  4. We need s bank that is owned by the people where the profit is given out to the shareholders of the company each year (the taxpayers of the country) and not in million pound bonuses to a few of their best AND most of their worst gamblers.
  5. We already have huge stake-holds in more than one bank. We should take the whole thing over and turn it into a bank run for the people of the nation for the benefit of the nation.

Can you imagine as a working tax payer being given a yearly cheque for a few thousand pounds to spend as you wish because you as a taxpayer are also a shareholder in a national bank?

This is one way to stimulate the economy as well as incentivise people without jobs to get jobs and to start paying tax.

The European Union

We should leave the European Union as soon as possible. We should give them an ulimatium either make the whole shaky house of cards what is should have been a free trading zone, with free movement of people and goods and not a semi quasil supra government in which unelected people can weild enormous power and the elected EU government can weild little.

The Euro should never have gone ahead as it was clear to many people at the time that the North and South European countries were two totally different systems that would never mesh together and it was only with the help of the criminals at Goldman Sachs that allowed countries like Greece to hide their huge debts and get on board the Titanic with no-one noticing.

We will save money and keep our own embassies and seats at the UN instead of what is surely on the EU’s roadmap a huge polical union like the USA in which the EU is the only embassy in each country and the EU Foreign Minister makes descisions for all European nations.

Whilst there are some good things in the EU there are plenty of bad and I cannot see the balance being tilted the other way anytime soon.

The case of Abu Qatada has shown our weakness in the face of unelected European judges and whilst I am happy
to know that an appeal lodged at the European Court of Human Rights will take up to 7 years to be heard and maybe prevent Gary McKinnon from being deported to the USA the flipside is also true and it prevents us from deporting dangerous criminals like Abu Qatadar.

Law, Equality and Liberty

The case of Abu Qatadar brings me onto the legal system in the UK.

We should create our own Bill of Rights on the same lines as the US Bill of Rights and that every single person wether they be a policeman or royal is covered by the Bill and everyone in the UK is equal under the law.

I want to know 100% that I will be given the same treatment by the judiciary as the Queen if she let her pack of Corgi’s maul a child to death or drink drive into a bus stop full of people killing many of them. Only when we are all equal under the same law – a British made law and one that is the highest law in the land can we call ourselves free and equal.

Alongside this the true “Freedom Bill” should be implemented post haste not the weak and feeble cut down version making its way through parliament at the moment. It is a disgusting stain on the Lib Dem’s character that they allowed the Tories to rip out everything good about the bill and turn it into a wheel clampers justice bill.

These reforms will rebalance our extradition treaty with the USA, restore our right to silence under police interview, give back our right to protest near parliament and many more important laws the pro-surveillence governent of Labour (and now seemingly the coallition) had brought in.

The English should have their own parliament to solve the West Lothian question and to prevent Scottish MP’s voting to raise UK students tuition fees whilst they can keep University free in their own country.

We should do away with this mismash of devolution which Tony Blair started and go the full hog. We should have full devolution for all 4 parts of the UK in which citizens of those countries vote for their local MP to sit in their countries parliament on matters that affect their country alone and then sit within the Westminister parliament when the matter is UK wide e.g whether to go to war, to sign treaties with other nations and other important UK matters.

The English parliament can sit in the Houses of Parliament in Westminster and matters covering the whole UK will involve members of parliament from the Scottish parliament, the Welsh parliament and the Northern Irish one.

Immigration

I live in a town that due to Joanna Lumley is no longer recoognisable due to the ex Gurka veterans (who I have no problem with at all) bringing their whole families over to live in this country. This would be fine if:

  • They could speak English.
  • They were not all given houses straight away, houses some of us have waited decades on the housing list for.
  • They were not overloading our already strained and mercilessly cut public services.
  • They would at least try and learn our culture and fit in. A thank you wave when you let someone through at a junction is not too much to ask – I know a little thing that many other people don’t do but it’s little things like this that really grind my gears (quote Peter Griffin)

People come to the UK from Africa with HIV and turn up at the nearest hospital and then given the best treatment around for free whilst someone who has live in this country their whole life and can trace their history back hundreds of years is treated contentably by the NHS when they have a serious illness.

I am not against immigration as it was badly needed after World War II and when English people won’t take the jobs someone needs to do them.

  • What I am against is the fact that whole swathes of the UK are now ghettos where a white person would feel threatened to walk at night.
  • Where on a bus ride in certain towns you can hear a myriad of conversations, that is apart from English.
  • Where if you open a door to a woman in a head scarf or let her pass in the street she won’t even look at you in the eye let alone say thank you. I know their culture forbids it but this is Britain not Saudi Arabia and we treat women as equals not slaves therefore we should expect some modicum of “fitting in” if we are going to allow tens of millions of people all from various cultures into our country.

I feel that we should have tigther border controls and that anyone wishing to migrate to this country should be able to pass an entrace exam on our history as well as basic English before being allowed on our soil.

Once they have completed there exams they should be given a citenship ceremony in which they are presented their national insurance card. A card by the way which should be mandatory display at any doctors, hostpital or benefits agency. We all got them when we were 16 and any new immigrant should be proud to achieve the right to hold one. They are not national ID cards but they are a sign you are entitled to work, pay tax, claim benefits and this should include health care.

Not only will this help social cohesion it will install a sense of pride at achieving British Citizenship. We should abolish the stupid tests Labour brought in which were more about how to claim benefits than history and our existing culture. Labour ruined this country in more ways than can be counted.

We want people who want to live here and accept our way our life. I don’t want our government sending troops to foreign lands so that they can say that “we fight them over there so we don’t fight them over here”  whilst at the same time we have thousands of men and women within our shores looking at our culture in disgust and planning payback for all that “collateral damage” we do across the world. It goes both ways and I definitely don’t agree with the wars we are in.

There are so many other things I could go on about including stopping the wars, ending the surveillence state, removing our tongue from the USA’s ass and much more but I think I have said enough for one morning. Lets cross our fingers and pray to the great big Spaghetti monster in the sky that some of it becomes true.

The Dark Politricks UK 2012 Budget

March 21, 2012

By Dark Politricks

Tomorrow is the 2012 Budget in the UK, which comes at a time of low growth, austerity, high jobless rates, almost zero interest rates and high inflation.

There is lots of talk about what the Chancellor might be doing today including whether or not he will cut the top rate of tax 50% for the richest people in the country. Apparently these people are deterred from coming to the UK and creating jobs due to the perception that “Britain is not open for business” and we are “anti entrepreneurial”. Whether there are any facts to back this I don’t know but it would be interesting to see evidence either way.

I don’t really care if they reduce this tax level or not as long as an independent organisation can show that doing so will bring in more tax revenue and create jobs than by having it.

There might be some truth when people like John Redwood, the right wing Tory MP says in he wants to see rich people pay more tax and the way to do this is by reducing tax rates so that less money is spent by those rich enough to afford expensive lawyers on getting round the existing and very complicated tax laws.

Most company owners don’t pay the high tax rate anyway because they just pay themselves in other ways or though dividends and capital gains which has a rate much less tax rate than the current 50% top rate of income tax.

Therefore if I had to choose a budget for tomorrow I would do the following:

1. Scrap the existing tax code which is far too complicated with too many loopholes for those rich and clever enough to exploit and make a simple code in which:

  • No one pays tax until they earn over a certain threshold like £10 or £20k. The coalition want to raise the threshold to £10k and they are on the right track by removing people out of paying tax at the lower end of the scale. These are the people who are reliant on all the bus routes, libraries and other public services that are being cut at the moment
  • If a flat tax can be proven to bring in more tax revenue than a progressive rate then I am all for what works. I have no ideological problem with a flat rate if it can bring in more revenue. We need more money from the richest in our country and if a flat tax prevents them from using offshore accounts and loopholes then I am happy to try it.
  • Close every tax loophole available. A simple and fair tax code with no loopholes to be exploited will ensure the richest cannot escape tax though their lawyers and clever avoidence schemes.

2. Make sure any company that wants to do business in this country pays tax in this country. No post boxes in the Cayman Islands as the Company HQ. A company who wants our huge market should have to set up a UK subsidiary and all revenue make in this country should be taxed at our rates and stay in our country.

3. Incentivise companies who take on any of the following people with tax breaks and other schemes.

  • Long term unemployed.
  • People with disabilities.
  • People who have just come out of prison or are on the way to spending a life in and out of prison e.g gang members.
  • Young people who have not had a job since leaving college or school for a year.
  • Older people who have not worked for a while, have no private pension and are too young for the state pension.

4. Totally nationalise the banks we own the majority stake in and run them for the good of the nation. Profits are retuned to the treasury or given out as loans to more “riskier” small business who require funding. However the key aim should be to ensure that any company wanting to expand and create jobs but cannot currently get funding can get the money they need.

5. Parts of the country heavily reliant on Public Sector jobs that are being cut should have large amounts of government investment including incentives for private companies. Companies willing to relocate or base their factories and offices in Wales, Scotland the the North should get tax breaks at the very least.

6. Any company who hires a currently unemployed British citizen should be given a 1-2 year national insurance holiday. Get British people back working and make it worth UK companies while hiring them over cheap foreign labour.

7. Keep some pre-election promises by re-balancing the fuel tax escalator so that as the price of petrol rises the amount of tax going to the treasury decreases, keeping the overall price stable for the customer. As petrol speedily heads towards£1.50 a litre with most of it going to the Treasury the amount of fuel tax as an overall percentage should be reduced as the cost of oil rises.

8. Give every tax paying worker in the country a tax rebate of £1000-£2000 in the form of a voucher that can be redeemed in any shop in the country. The previous VAT cut wasn’t even noticed by shoppers, especially at Christmas time when every shop reduces their stock by over 20% anyway. Cash can be saved or used for other means but a voucher with a use by date would ensure the tax payers who have basically bailed this country out of the bankster incurred mess are repaid as well as stimulating the economy by ensuring the money is spent in shops that badly need the business.

9. Scrap Trident – a nuclear missile system we cannot even use without US say so and their GPS guidance system, so in all likelihood will never be used anyway. Instead spend the multiple billions a replacement would cost on shoring up our overstretched armed forces. If we are going to continue to ask them to fight war after war we should ensure they have the best equipment, proper housing, proper help when they return limbless and mentally distressed as well as giving a sign to other countries like Iran and Israel that responsible nations that already have nukes are prepared to give them up.

10. Invest heavily in public transport without making it so expensive to drive a car that taking a bus or train looks cheap in comparison.

There can be no proper private competition on a railway – no two trains can run the same line at the same time. Public transport should be run for the good of the nation and any taxes spare from the multiple taxes on motorists (road tax, petrol tax, vat etc) should be used to make public transport cheap and a viable option not a second choice people are forced to use for whatever reason. If other countries can do this we surely can.

Those are just 10 points I’ve just thought of whilst watching TV. I’m sure with another five minutes I could come up with at least another 10 more.

Will Boy George Osborne look after his core constituents and screw the poor or are we really “all in this together” like we continually get told. Only time will tell.

Lets wait and see what happens tomorrow.

Paulson Says U.S. Was ‘Close’ to Financial Collapse

February 2, 2010

Michael McKee and Peter Cook
Bloomberg
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

The U.S. economy came “very close” to collapsing into a second Great Depression and the government had no alternative to bailing out financial firms, former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said.

“There was a time when the credit markets had essentially frozen and when blue chip industrial companies were having trouble raising money,” Paulson said in an interview today on Bloomberg Television. “I knew then we were on the brink.”

“We easily could have had unemployment of 20 percent,” he said. “That would have meant millions of additional jobs lost, millions of additional homes lost, trillions more lost in savings. It would have been terrible.”

Paulson, who has just published his memoir, “On The Brink,” said he understands the criticisms of the bailouts of financial institutions such as Bear Stearns Cos. and American International Group Inc.

Full article here


Our Wars Are Killing Us

January 28, 2010

Tom Engelhardt
Campaign For Liberty
Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Pentagon Time
Tick. . . Tick. . . Tick. . .

Back in 2007, when General David Petraeus was the surge commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, he had a penchant for clock imagery. In an interview in April of that year, he typically said: “I’m conscious of a couple of things. One is that the Washington clock is moving more rapidly than the Baghdad clock, so we’re obviously trying to speed up the Baghdad clock a bit and to produce some progress on the ground that can perhaps give hope to those in the coalition countries, in Washington, and perhaps put a little more time on the Washington clock.” And he wasn’t alone. Military spokespeople and others in the Bush administration right up to the president regularly seemed to hear one, two, or sometimes as many as three clocks ticking away ominously and out of sync.

Hearing some discordant ticking myself of late, I decided to retrieve Petraeus’s image from the dustbin of history. So imagine three ticking clocks, all right here in the U.S., one set to Washington time, a second to American time, and the third to Pentagon time.

In Washington — with even the New York Times now agreeing that a “majority” of 100 is 60 (not 51) and that the Senate’s 41st vote settles everything — the clock seems to be ticking erratically, if at all. On the other hand, that American clock, if we’re to believe the good citizens of Massachusetts, is ticking away like a bomb. Americans are impatient, angry, and “in revolt” against Washington time. That’s what the media continue to tell us in the wake of last week’s Senate upset.

Depending on which account you read, they were outraged by a nearly trillion dollar health-care reform that was also a giveaway to insurance companies, and annoyed by Democratic candidate Martha Coakley calling Curt Schilling a “Yankees fan” as well as besmirching handshaking in the cold outside Fenway Park; they were anxious about an official Massachusetts unemployment rate of 9.4% (and a higher real one), an economy that has rebounded for bankers but not for regular people, soaring deficits, staggering foreclosure rates, mega-banking bonuses, the Obama administration’s bailout of those same bankers, and its coziness with Wall Street. They were angry and impatient about a lot of things, blind angry you might say, since they were ready to vote back into office the party not in office, even if behind that party’s “new face” were ideas that would take us back to the origins of the present disaster.

A Blank Check for the Pentagon

It’s worth noting, however, that they’re not angry about everything — and that the Washington clock, barely moving on a wide range of issues, is still ticking away when it comes to one institution. The good citizens of Massachusetts may be against free rides and bailouts for many types, but not for everybody. I’m speaking, of course, about the Pentagon, for which Congress has just passed a record new budget of $708 billion (with an Afghan war-fighting supplemental request of $33 billion, essentially a bail-out payment, still pending but sure to pass). This happened without real debate, much public notice, or even a touch of anger in Washington or Massachusetts. And keep in mind that the Pentagon’s real budget is undoubtedly close to a trillion dollars, without even including the full panoply of our national security state.

The tea-party crews don’t rail against Pentagon giveaways, nor do Massachusetts voters grumble about them. Unfettered Pentagon budgets pass in the tick-tock of a Washington clock and no one seems fazed when the Wall Street Journal reveals that military aides accompanying globe-hopping parties of congressional representatives regularly spend thousands of taxpayer dollars on snacks, drinks, and other “amenities” for them, even while, like some K Street lobbying outfit, promoting their newest weaponry. Think of it, in financial terms, as Pentagon peanuts shelled out for actual peanuts, and no one gives a damn.

It’s hardly considered news — and certainly nothing to get angry about — when the Secretary of Defense meets privately with the nation’s top military-industrial contractors, calls for an even “closer partnership,” and pledges to further their mutual interests by working “with the White House to secure steady growth in the Pentagon’s budgets over time.” Nor does it cause a stir among the denizens of inside-the-Beltway Washington or the citizens of Massachusetts when the top ten defense contractors spend more than $27 million lobbying the federal government, as in the last quarter of 2009 (a significant increase over the previous quarter), just as plans for the president’s Afghan War surge were being prepared.

Nor is it just the angry citizens of Massachusetts, or those tea-party organizers, or Republicans stalwarts who hear no clock ticking when it comes to “national security” expenditures, who see no link between our military-industrial outlays, our perpetual wars, and our economic woes. When, for instance, was the last time you saw a bona fide liberal economist/columnist like Paul Krugman include the Pentagon and our wars in the litany of things potentially bringing this country down?

Yes, striking percentages of Americans attend the church (temple, mosque) of their choice, but when it comes to American politics and the economy, the U.S. military is our church, “national security” our Bible, and nothing done in the name of either can be wrong.

Talk about a blank check. It’s as if the military, already the most revered institution in the country, existed on the other side of a Star-Trekkian financial wormhole.

Pentagon Time Horizons

Which brings us to Pentagon time. Yes, that third clock is ticking, but at a very different tempo from those in Washington or Massachusetts.

Americans are evidently increasingly impatient for “change” of whatever sort, whether you can believe in it or not. The Pentagon, on the other hand, is patient. It’s opted for making counterinsurgency the central strategy of its war in Central and South Asia, the sort of strategy that, even if successful, experts claim could easily take a decade or two to pull off. But no problem — not when the Pentagon’s clock is ticking on something like eternal time.

And here’s the thing: because the media are no less likely to give the Pentagon a blank check than the citizens of Massachusetts, it’s hard indeed to grasp the extent to which that institution, and the military services it represents, are planning and living by their own clock. Though major papers have Pentagon “beats,” they generally tell us remarkably little, except inadvertently and in passing, about Pentagon time.

So, for the next few minutes, just keep that Pentagon clock ticking away in your head. In the meantime, we’ll go looking for some hints about the Pentagon’s war-fighting time horizons buried in news reports on, and Pentagon contracts for, the Afghan War.

Take, as a start, a January 6th story from the inside pages of my hometown paper. New York Times reporter Eric Schmitt began it this way: “The military’s effort to build a seasoned corps of expert officers for the Afghan war, one of the highest priorities of top commanders, is off to a slow start, with too few volunteers and a high-level warning to the armed services to steer better candidates into the program, according to some senior officers and participants.” At stake was an initiative “championed” by Afghan War commander General Stanley McChrystal to create a “912-member corps of mostly officers and enlisted service members who will work on Afghanistan and Pakistan issues for up to five years.”

The news was that the program, in its infancy, was already faltering because it didn’t conform to one of the normal career paths followed in the U.S. military. But what caught my eye was that phrase “up to five years.” Imagine what it means for the war commander, backed by key figures in the Pentagon, to plan to put more than 900 soldiers, including top officers, on a career path that would leave them totally wedded, for five years, to war in the Af-Pak theater of operations. (After all, if that war were to end, the State Department might well take charge.) In other words, McChrystal was creating a potentially powerful interest group within the military whose careers would be wedded to an ongoing war with a time-line that extended into 2015 — and who would have something to lose if it ended too quickly. What does it matter then that President Obama was proclaiming his desire to begin drawing down the war in July 2011?

Or consider the plan being proposed, according to Ann Scott Tyson, in a January 17th Washington Post piece, by Special Forces Major Jim Gant, and now getting a most respectful hearing inside the military. Gant wants to establish small Special Forces teams that would “go native,” move into Afghan villages and partner up with local tribal leaders — “one tribe at a time,” as an influential paper he wrote on the subject was entitled. “The U.S. military,” reported Tyson, “would have to grant the teams the leeway to grow beards and wear local garb, and enough autonomy in the chain of command to make rapid decisions. Most important, to build relationships, the military would have to commit one or two teams to working with the same tribe for three to five years, Gant said.” She added that Gant has “won praise at the highest levels [of the U.S. military] for his effort to radically deepen the U.S. military’s involvement with Afghan tribes — and is being sent back to Afghanistan to do just that.” Again, another “up to five year” commitment in Afghanistan and a career path to go with it on a clock that, in Gant’s case, has yet to start ticking.

Or just to run through a few more examples:

* In August 2009, the superb Walter Pincus of the Washington Post quoted Air Force Brigadier General Walter Givhan, in charge of training the Afghan National Army Air Corps, this way: “Our goal is by 2016 to have an [Afghan] air corps that will be capable of doing those operations and the things that it needs to do to meet the security requirements of this country.” Of course, that six-year timeline includes the American advisors training that air force. (And note that Givhan’s 2016 date may actually represent slippage. In January 2008, when Air Force Brig. Gen. Jay H. Lindell, who was then commander of the Combined Air Power Transition Force, discussed the subject, he spoke of an “eight-year campaign plan” through 2015 to build up the Afghan Air Corps.)

* In a January 13th piece on Pentagon budgeting plans, Anne Gearan and Anne Flaherty of the Associated Press reported:  “The Pentagon projects that war funding would drop sharply in 2012, to $50 billion” from the present at least $159 billion (mainly thanks to a projected massive draw-down of forces in Iraq), “and remain there through 2015.” Whether the financial numbers are accurate or not, the date is striking: again a five-year window.

* Or take the “train and equip” program aimed at bulking up the Afghan military and police, which will be massively staffed with U.S. military advisors (and private security contractors) and is expected to cost at least $65 billion. It’s officially slated to run from 2010-2014 by which time the combined Afghan security forces are projected to reach 400,000.

* Or consider a couple of the long-term contracts already being handed out for Afghan war work like the $158 million the Air Force has awarded to Evergreen Helicopters, Inc., for “indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract for rotary wing aircraft, personnel, equipment, tools, material, maintenance and supervision necessary to perform passenger and cargo air transportation services. Work will be performed in Afghanistan and is expected to start Apr. 3, 2009, to be completed by Nov. 30, 2013.” Or the Pentagon contract awarded to the private contractor SOS International primarily for translators, which has an estimated completion date of September 2014.

Ending the Pentagon’s Free Ride

Of course, this just scratches the surface of long-term Afghan War planning in the Pentagon and the military, which rolls right along, seemingly barely related to whatever war debates may be taking place in Washington. Few in or out of that city find these timelines strange, and indeed they are just symptomatic of an organization already planning for “the next war” and the ones after that, not to speak of the next generation bomber of 2018, the integrated U.S. Army battlefield surveillance system of 2025, and the drones of 2047.

This, in short, is Pentagon time and it’s we who fund that clock which ticks toward eternity. If the Pentagon gets in trouble, war-fighting or otherwise, we bail it out without serious debate or any of the anger we saw in the Massachusetts election. No one marches in the streets, or demands that Pentagon bailouts end, or votes ‘em (or at least their supporters) out of office.

In this way, no institution is more deeply embedded in American life or less accountable for its acts; Pentagon time exists enswathed in an almost religious glow of praise and veneration — what might once have been known as “idolatry.” Until the Pentagon is forced into our financial universe, the angry, impatient one where most Americans now live, we’re in trouble. Until candidates begin losing because angry Americans reject our perpetual wars, and the perpetual war-planning that goes with them, this sort of thinking will simply continue, no matter who the “commander-in-chief” is or what he thinks he’s commanding.

It’s time for Americans to stop saluting and end the Pentagon’s free ride before America’s wars kill us.

Ron Paul: The Government Wants Inflation, Devalued Dollar

January 27, 2010

Congressman calls proposed spending freeze “just talk” that won’t happen

Steve Watson
Infowars.net
Wednesday, Jan 27, 2010

Ron Paul: The Government Wants Inflation, Devalued Dollar 270110RPCongressman Ron Paul appeared on Neil Cavuto’s Fox Business show last night to discuss the news that Obama intends to enact a spending freeze, a policy the president previously admitted would amount to a “hatchet job”.

Paul made a number of salient points, including the fact that a spending freeze flies in the face of the government’s actions over the past year and goes against what they would like to see happen – more spending.

“I think they are responding to what they’re hearing but they still don’t quite understand it, and I would say Congress as well as the president.” Paul said.

“They know there’s something going on but they’re lost as to what to do because they can’t change the philosophy of government, they can’t change the welfare state or the warfare state. So they have to talk about this.”

“This talk of freezing a few of the expenditures, it doesn’t start ’til 2011, and it won’t happen. That proposal of Obama’s actually would allow foreign aid to go up, but the air traffic controllers would be frozen, could you imagine that passing the Congress? This is just talk.” Paul added.

The Congressman explained that freeze on spending, akin to a crash course diet for the government after months of pigging out, would be in direct conflict to the preponderate view on Capitol Hill.

“The philosophy that is prevailing here in Washington is that when you’re in a slump, you need the government to spend more money, and some of us believe the government should spend less money and that the people should get their money back with lower taxes, then they should spend the money and make the decisions.”

“We’re going to slip and slide, we may have another major crisis. The way we’re going, since we think that spending money and borrowing money and printing money works, we will end up with a dollar crisis and then all these number won’t have any meaning whatsoever.” the Congressman urged.

“If you go into an inflationary period and you have a slump, something worse than the stagflation of the 70s, revenues crash and inflation costs go up.”

“The natural market forces want people to back off and not spend and save and pay down their debt. The government does exactly the opposite. They want you to spend and borrow, and inflate. The government wants inflation because they can never pay this debt, so they look for a devalued currency because you pay back ten cents on the dollar it’s not as big a difficulty in paying off the debt.”

“They are frustrated because they don’t have the inflation that they are looking for, because they equate inflation with a healthy economy, and that is not the case at all.” Paul concluded.

Watch The Video:

Congressman Admits: ‘We’re Told Not to Call it Another STIMULUS Bill — Calling it a JOBS Bill’

January 27, 2010

Naked Emperor News
Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

“A big chunk of that work is going to be done in 2013, 2014.”

What Should We Make of Obama's "Spending Freeze"

January 26, 2010

The big news today is Obama’s proposed “spending freeze”.

Fiscal liberals say this cuts spending at the exact time that we most need to increase it. See this and this.

Fiscal conservatives say this doesn’t go nearly far enough. See this, this and this.

But I think there’s a bigger issue that deserves some inquiry: is America being turned into a third world country?

As I wrote last June:

When the International Monetary Fund or World Bank offer to lend money to a struggling third-world country (or “emerging market”), they demand “austerity measures“.

As Wikipedia describes it:

In economics, austerity is when a national government reduces its spending in order to pay back creditors. Austerity is usually required when a government’s fiscal deficit spending is felt to be unsustainable.

Development projects, welfare programs and other social spending are common areas of spending for cuts. In many countries, austerity measures have been associated with short-term standard of living declines until economic conditions improved once fiscal balance was achieved (such as in the United Kingdom under Margaret Thatcher, Canada under Jean Chrétien, and Spain under González).

Private banks, or institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), may require that a country pursues an ‘austerity policy’ if it wants to re-finance loans that are about to come due. The government may be asked to stop issuing subsidies or to otherwise reduce public spending. When the IMF requires such a policy, the terms are known as ‘IMF conditionalities’.

Wikipedia goes on to point out :

Austerity programs are frequently controversial, as they impact the poorest segments of the population and often lead to a wider separation between the rich and poor. In many situations, austerity programs are imposed on countries that were previously under dictatorial regimes, leading to criticism that populations are forced to repay the debts of their oppressors.

What Does This Have to Do With the First World?

Since the IMF and World Bank lend to third world countries, you may reasonably assume that this has nothing to do with “first world” countries like the US and UK.

But England’s economy is in dire straight, and rumors have abounded that the UK might have to rely on a loan from the IMF.

And as former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker said :

People seem to think the [American] government has money. The government doesn’t have any money.

Indeed, the IMF has already performed a complete audit of the whole US financial system, something which they have only previously done to broke third world nations.

Al Martin – former contributor to the Presidential Council of Economic Advisors and retired naval intelligence officer – observed in an April 2005 newsletter that the ratio of total U.S. debt to gross domestic product (GDP) rose from 78 percent in 2000 to 308 percent in April 2005. The International Monetary Fund considers a nation-state with a total debt-to-GDP ratio of 200 percent or more to be a “de-constructed Third World nation-state.”

Martin explained:

What “de-constructed” actually means is that a political regime in that country, or series of political regimes, have, through a long period of fraud, abuse, graft, corruption and mismanagement, effectively collapsed the economy of that country.

What Does It Mean?

Some have asked questions like, “Is the goal to force the US into the same kinds of IMF austerity programs that have caused riots in so many other nations?” Some predicted years ago that the “international bankers” would bring down the American economy.

I used to think, frankly, that such kinds of talk were crazy-talk. I’m not so sure anymore.

Catherine Austin Fitts – former managing director of a Wall Street investment bank and Assistant Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under President George Bush Sr. – calls what is happening to the economy “a criminal leveraged buyout of America,” something she defines as “buying a country for cheap with its own money and then jacking up the rents and fees to steal the rest.” She also calls it the “American Tapeworm” model, explaining:

[T]he American Tapeworm model is to simply finance the federal deficit through warfare, currency exports, Treasury and federal credit borrowing and cutbacks in domestic “discretionary” spending …. This will then place local municipalities and local leadership in a highly vulnerable position – one that will allow them to be persuaded with bogus but high-minded sounding arguments to further cut resources. Then, to “preserve bond ratings and the rights of creditors,” our leaders can he persuaded to sell our water, natural resources and infrastructure assets at significant discounts of their true value to global investors …. This will be described as a plan to “save America” by recapitalizing it on a sound financial footing. In fact, this process will simply shift more capital continuously from America to other continents and from the lower and middle classes to elites.

Writer Mike Whitney wrote in CounterPunch in April 2005:

[T]he towering [U.S.] national debt coupled with the staggering trade deficits have put the nation on a precipice and a seismic shift in the fortunes of middle-class Americans is looking more likely all the time… The country has been intentionally plundered and will eventually wind up in the hands of its creditors This same Ponzi scheme has been carried out repeatedly by the IMF and World Bank throughout the world Bankruptcy is a fairly straightforward way of delivering valuable public assets and resources to collaborative industries, and of annihilating national sovereignty. After a nation is successfully driven to destitution, public policy decisions are made by creditors and not by representatives of the people …. The catastrophe that middle class Americans face is what these elites breezily refer to as “shock therapy”; a sudden jolt, followed by fundamental changes to the system. In the near future we can expect tax reform, fiscal discipline, deregulation, free capital flows, lowered tariffs, reduced public services, and privatization.

And given that experts on third world banana republics from the IMF and the Federal Reserve have said the U.S. has become a third world banana republic (and see this and this), maybe the process of turning first world into the third world is already complete.

View the original article at Washingtons Blog

"Stimulus II: A Sequel America Can't Afford"

January 26, 2010

By Matt Hawes

Masking more stimulus legislation under the title of a “jobs bill” does not make the idea any better, as Dan Mitchell explains in this latest Center for Freedom and Prosperity video.

View the original article at Campaign for Liberty

Candidate Obama Called President Obama’s Spending Freeze A “Hatchet Job”

January 26, 2010

Candidate Obama Called President Obamas Spending Freeze A Hatchet Job 260110Obama

More hope and change as Obama runs with McCain’s policy

Steve Watson
Infowars.net
Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010

In the upcoming State of the Union address, president Obama will propose a three-year freeze on federal funding not related to national security, a policy that will barely dent the national deficit and one that John McCain proposed, and then-Senator Obama rubbished, less than eighteen months ago.

Over three different presidential debates, candidate Obama actively campaigned against the policy president Obama will now implement, referring to the notion of an all out spending freeze as using a “hatchet” when a “scalpel” is necessary.

“The problem with a spending freeze is you’re using a hatchet where you need a scalpel,” Obama said in his first presidential debate against McCain in September 2008. “There are some programs that are very important that are underfunded.”

In the second debate, Obama said, “We may have to cut some spending, although I disagree with Senator McCain about an across-the-board freeze. That’s an example of an unfair burden share. That’s using a hatchet to cut the federal budget, I want to use a scalpel, so that people who need help are getting help.”

“We do have a disagreement about across-the-board spending freeze. It sounds good, it’s proposed periodically. It doesn’t happen.” Obama added in the third debate.

“And in fact an across-the-board spending freeze is a hatchet and we do need a scalpel because there are some programs that don’t work at all. There are some programs that are underfunded and I want to make sure that we are focused on those programs that work,” Obama said.

Watch the video:

TuneUp Utilities 2010

An all out spending freeze will see between $10-15 billion shaved off next year’s budget, a drop in the ocean when you consider that the national deficit is projected to exceed $1 trillion for the third year running, with $9 trillion forecasted to be added to the national debt over the next decade.

The freeze, which will take effect in October, will affect only about one-eighth of the nation’s $3.5 trillion budget.

Of course, the freeze will not affect the budgets of the military or homeland security, neither will it restrain funding for the $787 billion economic stimulus package.

Instead the policy will punish less sprawling domestic agencies by freezing their budgets to accommodate the expansion of the illegal wars, the domestic police state and the bailing out of offshore banks.

The freeze is also unlikely to affect the approximately $900 billion health-care bill, according to senior administration officials who revealed unpublished details on condition of anonymity.

“Given Washington Democrats’ unprecedented spending binge, this is like announcing you’re going on a diet after winning a pie-eating contest,” said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio).

It’s not just conservatives who have a problem with the proposed freeze. One of Obama’s leading liberal economic advisors, Paul Krugman, has fiercely criticized the move, referring to it as “appalling on every level”.

“And it’s a betrayal of everything Obama’s supporters thought they were working for.” Krugman writes, “Just like that, Obama has embraced and validated the Republican world-view — and more specifically, he has embraced the policy ideas of the man he defeated in 2008. A correspondent writes, ‘I feel like an idiot for supporting this guy.’”