9 11 2009

This gentleman really understands the history of the last 30 years:

All I have to add is that anyone could see at any given time during the Great GOP Period that it was not a populist party.

Things like

in Reagan’s time, using “supply side economics” to pass tax cuts for the rich,

refusing again and again to reign in the ever-greater abuses of the credit card industry,

[trying to] spoil Social Security,

in Bush-the-Lesser’s time, again passing even more tax cuts that mainly benefit rich people,

and, most recently, refusing repeatedly to vote for extensions to unemployment compensation in a time of economic desperation…

these are not populist actions by any measure I’ve ever heard of.

The Republican Party has always shown, by word and deed, that it is the party of the rich. Historically it has not been ashamed of that fact nor, until the last 30 years, has it tried to conceal it. Only in those same last 30 years has the GOP sought to make itself a majority party by grafting onto its vast amalgam of money something called “social conservatives”, which are in large part poor and working people who don’t like to see things change because they subliminally know that they may not be able to figure out how to keep on surviving in a world that changes too much.

After all the GOP’s highly visible betrayals of this latter group, the Democratic Party was perfectly situated to present itself as the Party of The Little Man, as it had in fact been from the 1930s to the Clinton year. Instead, the Big Donkey forever undermined that claim by giving vast amounts of dough to big banks as a way, supposedly, of staving off another Great Depression.

So I am scared as to where that leaves us now.


27 04 2009

Not too long ago a friend said I had “drunk the kool-aid” by voting for Barack Obama for president. “No way”, I said, “He’s the candidate of The Little Man!”

That’s what my father used to call Democratic politicians. He had been a young man during the Depression, and he had plenty of direct reason to know how much The Little Man needs help under capitalism.

The reason for that need is obvious: Capitalism works by Capital paying for and organizing the work of Labor. The two social classes are symbiotic. But there are very few people around who are wealthy enough to be important capitalists, and there are many millions of laborers. It’s easy for the few capitalists to reach and enforce a consensus among themselves about wages, working conditions, etc., and extremely hard for the millions of working people to do so.

So capitalists have a terrific bargaining advantage when they go looking for labor. They set the terms of employment essentially single-handedly. If you don’t like the pay they’re offering, there’s always another person around the corner who will. And if you turn down x job at pay $y, chances are you won’t find it paying more anywhere else.

In the 1930s unions, aided by a Democratic federal government, balanced the power levels a bit more equally, but that has long gone by the wayside. Republicans have been elected and re-elected, and have indeed gotten “the government off our backs”. So for decades people who are not wealthy have been losing assets and income. The increasing ability of business over the last decade to export jobs to the cheapest possible foreign labor markets has greatly exacerbated this problem.

Against that background I, a lifelong worker, can be excused for hoping that a Democratic president would redress the imbalance. What I forgot was MONEY. With American labor unions moribund, there’s now nowhere for Democratic politicians to get all the money it takes to run for office except from wealthy people — and that is what the Democratic Party has been doing for the last twenty years.

The Little Man, in short, can no longer finance a whole campaign, so now we have government by and for the rich. Sure, Democrats when in power improve things a bit for workers on the margins, but they always know which side their bread is buttered on. This is gradually being made obvious to me by such sources as this:

and this:

and finally this:

I thought I’d found the edge of the desert. In fact all I’d found was an Obama oasis.


18 01 2009

As I write this I’m listening on NPR to the musical beginning of the Obama inauguration celebration. I just heard “What’s Going on?” by Marvin Gaye.

For 28 years the answer to Marvin’s question has been “Nothing!”

28 years of ascendancy of an ideology that had nothing to offer me and my people (the meek and the weak).

28 years of bullshit designed to make it seem morally OK that the rich were getting ever richer and the poor were getting ever poorer (Look it up; it’s well known.*)

28 years of the young rushing to jobs that they hoped would make them rich, when all the jobs that would make the life of the people of this country morally and intellectually richer were scorned — teachers and NON-commercial artists,  above all.

28 years of ever-spreading corruption, because we all knew that money could buy any degree of status, and that it has no history.

28 years without hope, when no degree of cynicism about the motives and machinations of the Masters of this country was enough to do them and their tricks and greed justice.

— We are at the end of 28 years, in short, when the USA was artificially held in that ancient status that has always afflicted poor countries and should not be able  to reach rich modern ones like this one:

Oligarchs rule.

The first shall stay first.

And the last shall continue endlessly to suffer the crowd of afflictions that come with being last.

I’m crying.

*I found a cite for this assertion. It’s a liberal commentary. I doubt they
lied about the numbers, though, since to lie and ever be found out is to
lose credibility fast.


2 08 2008

I come from a poor family, so much of the doings of the business world are a mystery to me–high finance especially. You too? Maybe your background, or even just a lack of time, leaves you painfully aware that you just don’t know the score on this.

For me the doings of financiers or even just modest stock investors continued to be a completely closed book until I came into a little money in the 1980s. Something had to be done with it, and so I at last became unable to bear my vast ignorance in the economic area any more.

I studied basic economics on my own for a year (having not taken any courses on it in college), invested my little windfall in the stock market, and went on to study investing regularly for another two years. I read several books on the subject, and followed the markets religiously for two years via Barron’s and other publications.

I became proud of my increasing financial sophistication.

Then one day (It happened to be the day after the famous “Black Monday” of October 19, 1987, when the Dow Jones Industrials plunged 508 points in a single day.) I woke up to the sound of a lot of my gelt clanking as it walked out the door.

“My poor friend”, I said, after I’d mourned my dollars’ departure, “you’re like a pygmy trying to learn auto mechanics. Daddy never told stories about wheeling and dealing at the dinner table, nor mommy either. You lack the gift our parents give us as babes when they routinely model being successful at something for us. Pack it in buddy!”

So I did, until now.

Now I’ve found a website where someone brought up rich, or close to it, and who worked as a financier over the last two decades, tells her story. There’s lots to learn from Mrs. Catherine Austin Fitts, here:

Dillon, Read and Company Inc. and the Aristocracy of Stock Profits

I wonder if you’ll find her world as strange and intriguing as I did.