It’s no secret that I have been intensely angered by the financial meltdown. Not because of the loss of "money" as it were (as if any of it even exists!), but for the culmination of intense greed and self-serving behavior perpetrated by PEOPLE entrusted with the public welfare (and I don't mean welfare in terms of a government hand out, I mean welfare as in the general public good). It is my intention to share my views- right or wrong- in an effort to spur MEANINGFUL conversation and hopefully a deeper, real understanding of what's happening, why it's happening, and not for determining who's to blame, but rather, determining who should/will take responsibility in making sure our government is returned to the people, and out of the hands of well-paid corporate lobbyists acting only in the interest of their employer's balance sheet.
To understand money, banking, investment, capital markets, and the notion of "earning something for nothing" simply by trading debt, we really need to have a handle on how "money" is crated and why we think it has value. A very good resource for this is, "The Ascent of Money", a PBS expose detailing the history of the monetary system and why control of it is so important to those in power (http://www.pbs.org/wnet/ascentofmoney/).
And before I go any further, I suggest one simple bit of advice to anyone reading this ... don't take my word for anything. Do your own research. Take time to look into our government (and I don't mean the presidency, I'm talking about the legislative branches- our representatives, and the judicial branch- our trusted, "unbiased" elders.), monetary system, the FED, Treasury/IRS, tax code (20 volumes, 16,000+ pages!!!), and every other cog in the machine which is ultimately "in charge" of our lives. Just remember, the only power any of these things have over us is that which we allow:
" When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
Think about these words. They are more important than just about any other concept in our country’s history.
Next, we need to have a good handle on the FED, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Reserve) and what that organization is all about. The fed is a quasi-public/private FOR PROFIT corporation that has been allowed to not only control the supply of money, but remove any safe guards such as the gold standard (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_standard)
Take a good, hard look at a document put out by the FED called Modern Money Mechanics, A Workbook on Bank Reserves and Deposit Expansion: www.rayservers.com/images/ModernMoneyMechanics.pdf
This is a detailed explanation of how money is created.
And if you don't think gold is more valuable than cash (Federal Reserve Notes), look at the rise in popularity of "cash for gold" businesses. Over the last couple years (the apex of the financial/capital market implosion), and most recently exhibited by infomercials and traveling trade-shows, there has been a significant increase in businesses setting up shop to aggregate "unwanted" gold and other precious hard goods. Of course they are willing to give you cash for it! Cash, is literally worthless, but you can't very easily buy groceries or gas with gold. So these businesses are more than happy to take your tangible items of worth, transfer "money" to your bank account, let you withdraw "federal reserve notes" from your bank, and go buy your consumables (gasoline and such). In the end, you have no "money" AND no gold. There is a reason people are trying to get their hands on as much of this stuff as possible.
Onward, lets discuss our legislative representative’s roll in all of this. Much of what is happening now can be traced back to the end of 2000 including the Omnibus spending bill passed by the 106th congress (REPUBLICAN MAJORITY) and forced down the throat of then lame-duck Bill Clinton: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodity_Futures_Modernization_Act_of_2000
The "Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000" (H.R. 5660) was introduced in the House on December 14, 2000 by Rep. Thomas W. Ewing (R-IL) and cosponsored by Rep. Thomas J. Bliley, Jr. (R-VA) Rep. Larry Combest (R-TX) Rep. John J. LaFalce (D-NY) Rep. Jim Leach (R-IA) and never debated in the House.
The companion bill (S.3283) was introduced in the Senate on December 15, 2000 (The last day before Christmas holiday) by Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) and cosponsored by Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-IL) Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX) Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) Sen. Thomas Harkin (D-IA) Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) and never debated in the Senate.
Another look at legislation from this REPUBLICAN MAJORITY congress is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gramm-Leach-Bliley_Financial_Services_Modernization_Act
Both of these repealed regulation originally designed to prevent financial monkey-business dating back to THE FIRST GREAT DEPRESSION! Regulation that was originally enacted to mitigate the risk of future depressions. The kind of oversight designed to prevent the exact type of CRAP we're dealing with now.
These bills are the genesis of the financial "engineering", wizardry and capital market manipulation that has allowed PEOPLE to take advantage of unregulated opportunities- specifically merging banking and insurance.
Be sure to take some time to look into Phil Gramm, the good-'ole-boy from Enron, um, I mean the great state of Bush, um, I mean Texas, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Gramm) and find out which lobbyists/corporations contributed most to his opinions. FYI, Gramm was one of five co-sponsors of the companion bill to the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. One provision of the bill is often referred to as the "Enron loophole" because some critics blame the provision for permitting the Enron scandal to occur.
OK, after all this, don't forget to take a look at the SEC, and their complete inability to function in the capacity for which it was intended. Think Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford... and Enron... and Worldcom... and...on and on.
Lastly, look at where the MONEY actually went: banks. Goldman Sachs, Deutsche, Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, etc, etc, etc. The recent consolidation of banking through bailouts has done nothing but bolster the DEBT, put more money in fewer people’s hands, and created a globally dominant economic force that if left unchecked, will drive further the divide between the haves and have-nots.
Now, some have suggested that the way to "fix" everything is to throw more money at it. Bailouts, tax breaks, whatever.
COME ON! "Buying" the perpetuation of a broken system is not the way to fix things.
And then trying to "fix" misallocated bailout funds by creating a new tax? A 90% tax on bonuses?
I don’t believe AIG made the right call in offering such extravagant retention, holiday and other bonuses, nor for their actually using bailout money to pay them, but this new tax is just as criminal!!! And unconstitutional.
How is taking away money going to do anything but hurt the PEOPLE who NEED it to support our monetary based society?
The fix isn’t to bailout and tax, but to foster a fundamental shift in socio-economic thinking. That greed isn’t good, and corporate profit isn’t the end-all, be-all of our existence.
And those who argue we might be heading towards socialism, bigger government, and other "dangerous" roads that will lead to the destruction of our society...
I say to you that our government has never been as big as it is when lobbyists push corporate agendas, constitutional rights are "suspended" or even stripped away, and more power is put in fewer people's hands specifically with judicial activism, no-bid contracts, and unilateral "secret" decisions that are made “for our own good”.
When we as a nation can allocate trillions of dollars and resources toward efforts in global domination of fossil fuel energy resources and suppression of autonomous societal development, but cannot find it within ourselves to protect, WITHOUT TRYING TO FIND A WAY TO MAKE A BUCK, endangered ecosystems, see that everyone on the planet has adequate food and clean water, and understand that over-consumption, pollution, burning heavy metals and EXCESSIVE carbon emissions are BAD, then there is something fundamentally wrong with our development and value system.
Just as important in all this is the fact that we as a society don't promote healthy living choices in terms of nutrition and exercise... unless we can make a buck at it.
Everyone worries about leaving too much debt to future generations. Well here's an eye opener... ALL MONEY IS DEBT! OUR GOVERNMENT BORROWS MONEY IT CAN NEVER REPAY... EVER.
THE SIMPLE FACT THAT INTEREST IS BEING CHARGED ON DEBT SOLIDIFIES THE FACT THAT THERE WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH "MONEY" TO EVER PAY BACK WHAT IS BORROWED.
HOW CAN YOU EVER PAY BACK MORE THAN WAS ORIGINALLY ISSUED?
Oh, I forgot... go back and read Modern Money Mechanics. Money (debt) that is issued miraculously becomes "more" money (and consequently more debt!), when it is lent with zero gold standard and a 10% reserve requirement.
BTW, our income taxes currently do not even provide enough revenue to our treasury to cover the INTEREST on the national debt! Do the math. Think about that for a minute.
If you want some real reading, real information... real forward thinking, study up on the concept of “resource based economy”- an information, technology and knowledge based intelligent society where the pursuit of financial gain is no longer the primary driver, but rather the development of a global economy without debt. You can’t have a debtless society when people rely on “money” and “interest” Go ahead, google it and see what you come up with.
I'm not saying there is no wealth building with this system... I'm saying that everything is wealth building. And it’s done without the need to put anyone else down to get there.
Utopia? No... just people acting in the best interest of everyone else. Each of us needs all of us, and all of us need each of us. What a concept.
You argue that a corporation is a living, breathing, independent, legal entity. We always hear of, “Washington” did this, and “AIG” did that, “the church” says this.
Here’s another eye-opener… these institutions/corporations are made up of groups of PEOPLE. People do and say things. People guide organizations and institutions. People are responsible.
I submit that corporations are nothing but RULES MADE UP BY PEOPLE. And if we made the rules, we can change them.
Best business practices, standard accounting principles, tax code… it all needs an enema!
We need to open our eyes, get weaned off our cool-aid drinking, war-mongering, terror and fear-instilling, NASCAR watching, lottery playing, “American Dream” believing, subsidy driven, celebrity obsessed, American Idol-Dancing With The Stars-Biggest Loser- MTV watching, got-to-have-it-now, consumption based, unaccountable, irresponsible, dumbed-down barely smarter than a second grader, blinders-on society and GET WITH THE PROGRAM.
This country was built on principles of no taxation without representation, religious freedom, uncorrupted leadership, all created equal, and the rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
It’s time to get pissed-off! We don’t have to take it. The “government”, the “corporation”, the “institution”… it’s all MAN MADE (and you too, gals!). Nothing happens without people doing something. We’d don’t have to take it, you know. It’s time to get pissed.