Opportunity requires a strong foundation

Over the last ten years I have come to realize that most do not realize why people seek to immigrate to America.

It is because we offer the opportunity to be all that you can be that does not exist in their country.

No more.

No less.

Sadly, the last ten years I have watched this opportunity dry up for those that have the skills and knowledge, but not necessarily the connections or the pedigree.

And I realize that if we continue on this path, eventually there will be opportunity nowhere in our World because no other country offers the opportunity that made people want to become an American.

I didn’t write what follows and whether you agree with this persons ideology or not doesn’t matter, and you will realize that what he is saying here is a blueprint for building the strong foundation that opportunity needs to thrive.

Why has America forgotten the three most important economic lessons we learned in the thirty years following World War II?
Before I answer that question, let me remind you what those lessons were:
First, America’s real job creators are consumers, whose rising wages generate jobs and growth. If average people don’t have decent wages there can be no real recovery and no sustained growth.
In those years, business boomed because American workers were getting raises, and had enough purchasing power to buy what expanding businesses had to offer. Strong labor unions ensured American workers got a fair share of the economy’s gains. It was a virtuous cycle.
Second, the rich do better with a smaller share of a rapidly-growing economy than they do with a large share of an economy that’s barely growing at all.
Between 1946 and 1974, the economy grew faster than it’s grown since, on average, because the nation was creating the largest middle class in history. The overall size of the economy doubled, as did the earnings of almost everyone. CEOs rarely took home more than forty times the average worker’s wage, yet were riding high.
Third, higher taxes on the wealthy to finance public investments — better roads, bridges, public transportation, basic research, world-class K-12 education, and affordable higher education – improve the future productivity of America. All of us gain from these investments, including the wealthy.
In those years, the top marginal tax rate on America’s highest earners never fell below 70 percent. Under Republican President Dwight Eisenhower the tax rate was 91 percent. Combined with tax revenues from a growing middle class, these were enough to build the Interstate Highway system, dramatically expand public higher education, and make American public education the envy of the world.
We learned, in other words, that broadly-shared prosperity isn’t just compatible with a healthy economy that benefits everyone — it’s essential to it.
But then we forgot these lessons. For the last three decades the American economy has continued to grow but most peoples’ earnings have gone nowhere. Since the start of the recovery in 2009, 95 percent of the gains have gone to the top 1 percent.
What happened?
For starters, too many of us bought the snake oil of “supply-side” economics, which said big corporations and the wealthy are the job creators – and if we cut their taxes the benefits will trickle down to everyone else. Of course, nothing trickled down.
Meanwhile, big corporations were allowed to bust labor unions, whose membership dropped from over a third of all private-sector workers in the 1950s to under 7 percent today.
Our roads, bridges, and public-transit systems were allowed to crumble under the weight of deferred maintenance. Our public schools deteriorated. And public higher education became so starved for funds that tuition rose to make up for shortfalls, making college unaffordable to many working families.
And Wall Street was deregulated — creating a casino capitalism that caused a near meltdown of the economy six years ago and continues to burden millions of homeowners. CEOs began taking home 300 times the earnings of the average worker.
Part of the reason for this extraordinary U-turn had to do with politics. As income and wealth concentrated at the top, so did political power. The captains of industry and of Wall Street knew what was happening, and some played leading roles in this transformation.
But why didn’t they remember the lessons learned in the thirty years after World War II – that widely-shared prosperity is good for everyone, including them?
Perhaps because they didn’t care to remember. They discovered that wealth is also relative: How rich they feel depends not just on how much money they have, but also how they live in comparison to most other people.
As the gap between America’s wealthy and the middle has widened, those at the top have felt even richer by comparison. Although a rising tide would lift all boats, many of America’s richest prefer a lower tide and bigger yachts.
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What Gives You The Right To Complain?

I hope “What Gives You The Right To Complain?” sounds more public-spirited than mean-spirited.  I’m ready to suggest we begin showing these badly raised children some tough love.

Economists:  Would you have any authority — would your job even exist — without manufacturing?  What do you think put the “monetary” in your policies and the “currency” in your reserves?

Government employees:  See “Economists” (above) and memorize the words “tax base.”  Declarations of Independence notwithstanding, the power of your government is currently derived from the consent of foreign producers.

Banking and finance:  What created the wealth you transfer, and the customers you target, and the income streams you skim?

Service occupations:  What could you possibly serve other than the demands created by goods production?  Therefore what pays your wages?

Social critics:  Isn’t hypocrisy always destructive in the long run?  When public figures refuse to practice what they preach, how can we take them seriously — much less follow their advice?

Worst of all might be the badly raised children who whine and whine (and whine) in their frustrated effort to be taken seriously, and then become adults who whine and whine (and whine) because they have the correct answers.  They know how a system should work.  They know when something is unfair.  They know when somebody is corrupt.

Again, I want you to think of me as patriotic, not just ill-tempered, so I won’t say one word about the many, many (many) public figures I know who seem to think it’s perfectly OK to complain about the United States and spend their money on foreign goods.

Except that they have it exactly backwards.

www.facebook.com/BobHall2016


 

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Nothing Costs More To Settle Than A Trade Deficit

“Exclusive: Vancouver facing an influx of 45,000 more rich Chinese”

[SCMP link -- February 7, 2014]

  • They are estimated to have a minimum combined wealth of C$12.9 billion (HK$90 billion).
  • Ottawa has vowed that the applications will be processed and few are typically rejected.  The queue of millionaires at Vancouver’s doorstep has major implications in a city where housing is rated the second-least affordable in the world, behind Hong Kong.
  • “Money is taking precedence over everything,” said [a Canadian] who has campaigned for increased English signage in Richmond.  “It’s taking over the social fabric, Canadian culture. . . .  You can see the [wealth disparity] in the houses being built — it’s no longer a single-family home, it’s a mansion with gates and security.”
  • The [South China Morning] Post‘s estimates are conservative, since they do not include Chinese who enter via a separate investor immigrant programme run by Quebec, 90 per cent of whose arrivals eventually end up living elsewhere in Canada.

“Ottawa has pledged to process the backlog of federal applications.  Under the scheme’s current rules, principal applicants worth a minimum of C$1.6 million must loan the Canadian government C$800,000, interest-free, for five years.  They and family members can later apply for citizenship.”

www.facebook.com/BobHall2016


 

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I suspect that Yves’s day job — as Susan Webber of Aurora Advisors Incorporated, on Park Avenue in New York City — is at least twice removed from both the ordinary and the fearless.

For some reason or reasons, we act as if the U.S. was created on some TV reality show.  If we don’t care what this country cost to build –

(stop, breathe, and think about that word “cost” for a moment)

– can we afford not to care what this country will cost to maintain?

OK, fine: baffle us, dazzle us, tell us what we need and what we deserve.  Just don’t forget about the money.  Where will the money come from?  How long will our global competitors and adversaries continue to maintain the illusion of a creditworthy United States?

Debt is not our problem.  Creating wealth to pay for debt is our problem.

This particular feature of macroeconomics is similar to your household budget: nobody would care about American debt if it were reasonably complimented by American industrial and agricultural output — or the reasonable expectation of American industrial and agricultural output.

This is our country’s job: to make things

And there you have the elephant in the room.  If we supported our own jobs — and not the outside world’s jobs — we could create enough real wealth to pay for all the education, healthcare, infrastructure, entitlements, vacations, bazookas, and patriotic corruption any American could possibly imagine.

Of course, this would throw an elephant-sized wrench in our global competitors’ and adversaries’ plans.

Eventually, of course, America’s bankers and free traders would settle down and thank us for making them get real jobs.

The following article is awful, just awful, and someone needs a time-out:

“James Surowiecki Promotes Myth of Consumer Empowerment in the Face of the Crappification of Almost Everything”

www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/02/james-surowiecki-promotes-myth-consumer-empowerment-face-crappification-almost-everything.html

Yves Smith of naked capitalism misses her own story and an astounding number of opportunities to say something about offshore outsourcing — in her highly popular blog that claims to be fearless in its defense of ordinary people against entrenched interests and the wealthy.  I suspect that Yves’s day job — as Susan Webber of Aurora Advisors Incorporated, on Park Avenue in New York City — is at least twice removed from both the ordinary and the fearless.

Reader beware.  Always beware.  And buy American-made goods.

www.facebook.com/BobHall2016


 

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2,870,000 — this is how many jobs we lost in January 2014, according to the same BLS report that says we gained 113,000 jobs in January 2014.

2,870,000 — this is how many jobs we lost in January 2014, according to the same BLS report that says we gained 113,000 jobs in January 2014.

I discussed this in detail in my Friday mailing.  We’re in uncharted waters and we need all the (relatively more) accurate information we can get our hands on.

“Uncharted waters” are political and economic structures being dismantled, the people effectively dismembered, as our democracies are toppled and the nation state becomes irrelevant — at least in our hemisphere.

I say the people are “effectively” being dismembered to include the majority of us who are eagerly cutting off our own arms and legs (and members) to benefit some authority figures who do not necessarily wish us well.

Language is important.

Have you ever tried to communicate with someone who’d been through just enough psychotherapy to learn the lingo?

Why would anything human be any different?

$318,417,200,000 — this was the size of our 2013 goods deficit with the 1.36-billion-strong People’s Republic of Made in China.

I discussed this in detail in my Thursday mailing.  We’re in uncharted waters –

– where no amount of lingo can swim without arms and legs.

www.facebook.com/BobHall2016

No matter who you blame—Washington, Wall Street, the Big Banks, Globalization—they all have at least one thing in common: they all get all their power from us.

 

Even a young child knows: when a machine goes haywire and the controls don’t work, you don’t form a committee, you don’t stockpile ammunition, you pull the plug.

 

When a contractor doesn’t perform as agreed—and this applies to social contracts, as well—you withhold payment until he does the job you hired him to do.

 

Beginning right now, I will do my part as an American citizen—and the guy you could have voted for—to enforce the American agreement of democracy and prosperity, and to prevent a possible genocide.

 

I’m glad you don’t like that word.  For decades now, this country has been in the business of transferring existing wealth instead of producing new wealth.  When the wealth has all been transferred, finally—what happens then?

 

Beginning right now, you can do more than just complain and feel helpless.  You can pull a plug.  Join me—follow me—in providing incentive by simply withholding payment:

 

  • Not another penny in income tax—personal or corporate.
  • Not another penny in payment of student loans.
  • Not another penny to any Big Bank—or to any corporation that has taken American money and betrayed American interests.

 

I am not saying we should all become irresponsible deadbeats.  I’m advocating a higher form of financial responsibility, one that considers the difference between virtue and vanity, virtue and cowardice.  When our democracy is acceptable, America’s real economy acceptable, when the game is no longer rigged against us, we should be delighted to once again extend our cooperation and financial support—under conditions acceptable to the common man.

 

Americans in a democracy are all common men.

 

Every day, somebody tells me our country is doomed, our children are doomed, there’s no future, not a thing we can do about it, and we shouldn’t even try.

 

They say America is in her final stages of disunity, that Americans couldn’t pull together now if their lives depended on it.

 

I say they’re wrong.
 

“How Many Americans Does It Take To Pull a Plug?”

 

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There must be some word today, from the BLS, so far away. . . .

(I’m beginning to wonder if maybe we’re not supposed to know what’s going on.)

“The Employment Situation — January 2014″

www.bls.gov

Official U-3 Seasonally Adjusted “Headline” Unemployment Rate: 6.6% — down from 6.7% in December

  • Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 113,000 in January, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 6.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
  • The benchmark process results in revisions to not seasonally adjusted data from April 2012 forward.  Seasonally adjusted data from January 2009 forward are subject to revision.  In addition, data for some series prior to 2009, both seasonally adjusted and unadjusted, incorporate revisions.   Total nonfarm employment level for March 2013 was revised upward by 369,000 (+347,000 on a not seasonally adjusted basis, or 0.3 percent).

Unemployment Rates, Not Seasonally Adjusted:

  • U-3: 7.0% — up from 6.5%
  • U-6: 13.5% — up from 13.0%

Jobs, Not Seasonally Adjusted:

  • Total nonfarm: down -2,870,000
  • Construction: down -240,000
  • Manufacturing: down -83,000
  • Private service-providing: down -2,019,000
  • Retail trade: down -660,100
  • Financial activities: down -62,000
  • Professional and business services: down -358,000
  • Temporary help services: down -191,500
  • Health care: down -91,400
  • Food services and drinking places: down -221,400
  • Government: down -524,000

Only 7 of 149 Industries Gained Jobs, Not Seasonally Adjusted:

  • Oil and gas extraction: up +1,800
  • Machinery: up +400
  • Motor vehicles and parts: up +200
  • Pipeline transportation: up +200
  • Money authorities – central bank: up +100
  • Accounting and bookkeeping services: up +84,600
  • State government, excluding education: up +100

Not in Labor Force, Not Seasonally Adjusted:

  • 92,534,000 — a new record

Why do I send you the “not seasonally adjusted” numbers?

Right now, unfortunately, they’re the best we can get from this government and news media — that is, if we don’t care how pretty the graphs look and we don’t expect too many lifeguard hires in December.

www.facebook.com/BobHall2016


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How many American businesses and American jobs does it take to absorb $1.29 billion in losses every day of the year and still survive?

“California’s like a beautiful wild girl on heroin, who’s high as a kite, thinking she’s on top of the world, not knowing she’s dying even if you show her the marks.”

I quoted that from Coppola’s Rumble Fish in my February 8, 2013 piece on the trade report.  Here’s how the article began:

  • Stocks were up today on what Wall Street says is wonderful news.  The U.S. Government just published its teeny-tiniest trade deficit since January 2010 and thank goodness for energy independence.  Now we can recalculate Fourth Quarter 2012 and make the GDP contraction go away.  Whew!  For a while there, it was almost like we were facing another recession.  Whew!  I’d like to dedicate today’s trade report to the brave purveyors of American news — insight, intelligence, integrity. . . .

Today the U.S. Government is telling us that:

“Goods and Services Deficit Decreased in 2013″

www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/highlights/congressional.html

  • The Nation’s international trade deficit in goods and services decreased to $471.5 billion in 2013 from $534.7 billion in 2012, as exports increased and imports decreased.

Is this good news, $471.5 billion?

How many American businesses and American jobs does it take to absorb $1.29 billion in losses every day of the year and still survive?

“Survive” is the correct word.  With the publication of Unrestricted Warfare in 1999, the People’s Liberation Army put on its pinstripes and embraced economic combat:

  • “The world’s number one debtor nation, a country which relies on the inflow of foreign capital to support its economic prosperity, the United States, would definitely have . . . heavy economic losses.  Such an outcome would certainly be better than a military strike.” (CIA/FBIS translation)

It’s astonishing, really, and a credit to the military-entertainment complex that most Americans think wars are fought at a distance — fireworks, video games, other people’s kids and whatnot — and never ask why we haven’t “won” anything since 1945.

Truth be told, most Americans trade their civvies for PLA uniforms every time they go shopping — but they’d never admit it, not even if you showed them the marks.

According to the figures buried in today’s trade propaganda, our *non-petroleum* goods deficit was $456.4 billion in 2013 — 4.1% worse than in 2012.

This is significant.  Significant, too, is our brand-new-all-time-record goods deficit with China:

$318,417,200,000

Note that this represents 46.2% of our entire goods deficit for 2013 — and this includes oil.

Never before in the recorded history of Planet Earth has one nation lost so much money doing business with another.

Some of our so-called experts will say it’s only a trade deficit, that it doesn’t matter because it never has to be repaid.

Which always leaves me wondering:

What’s in it for China?

The Dow gained +188.30 today.  And thank goodness for energy independence.

 

www.facebook.com/BobHall2016

 


 

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Mr. President, This Is My America: Life in an RV Park With a Master’s Degree

The trade report comes out tomorrow.  It will tell us how well we’re doing — or not — in the global economy and world history.  Between the TV commercials for multinational food and drug preparations that nobody should put in their mouths, much less swallow, there will be no mention of our nation’s real business.  Strange, really, when this is the only issue that really matters.  That is, without it, we’re dead; and when we’re dead, the things that used to bother us can seem silly.

Maybe this is today’s paradox: that the only people still living are the damn-near dead.  I’ll ask my friend whose elderly uncle just lost his last million in the stock market.  When he was rich, the world was just as he saw it.

Today’s various and sundry:

“Mr. President, This Is My America: Life in an RV Park With a Master’s Degree”

www.huffingtonpost.com/paula-e-bray/working-poor-america_b_4690675.html

  • Unfortunately, we can’t buy things in bulk because they will go bad before we can use them.  We can’t buy dry goods in bulk either, because there is no room to store them anywhere in the RV.

“Korea Passes ‘U-Turn’ Law With Generous Incentives For Companies To Bring Manufacturing From China Back To Korea”

www.manufacturingnews.com/news/2014/Korea-reshoring-0131141.html

  • Obama proposals . . . have not been considered by either chamber.  Moreover, says the Korean trade ministry, with the signing of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, Korean-based companies have become more competitive in international markets.

“Koch brothers dominate oil & gas list with $106 billion fortune”

http://news.asiaone.com/news/plush/koch-brothers-dominate-oil-gas-list-106-billion-fortune

  • British news . . . highlighted a recent study by the Washington Post and the Centre for Responsive Politics which estimated that around 17 Koch-backed groups spent a combined US$400 million “trying to influence the outcome of the presidential race” and other elections in the United States.

“Where the Real ‘Iran Threat’ Lies”

www.consortiumnews.com/2014/02/05/where-the-real-iran-threat-lies

  • On the other hand, other countries, such as China, have taken advantage of the Western refusal to deal with Iran.  Presently the country is full of Chinese businessmen and their inexpensive imports.

Do be careful what you wish for, but use your imagination.

Imagine a world in which the U.S. leads by example — as the first nation to cut back on surveillance and manufacturing.

How long before our global competitors follow suit?

 

www.facebook.com/BobHall2016


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We can’t cut off their heads — but we can’t lose ours, either.

Today’s reality check:

“Images of the French Revolution” — French Revolution Digital Archive, a collaboration of the Stanford University Libraries and the Bibliothèque nationale de France

http://frda-stage.stanford.edu/en/images

  • The Images are composed of high-resolution digital images of approximately 14,000 individual visual items, primarily prints, but also illustrations, medals, coins, and other objects, which display aspects of the Revolution.

Learning from our mistakes:

“How Many Americans Does It Take To Pull a Plug?”

We can’t cut off their heads — but we can’t lose ours, either.

Gawking, talking, doing nothing — we’re just the same as lining up for slaughter.

We’re just the same.

www.facebook.com/BobHall2016

No matter who you blame—Washington, Wall Street, the Big Banks, Globalization—they all have at least one thing in common: they all get all their power from us.

 

Even a young child knows: when a machine goes haywire and the controls don’t work, you don’t form a committee, you don’t stockpile ammunition, you pull the plug.

 

When a contractor doesn’t perform as agreed—and this applies to social contracts, as well—you withhold payment until he does the job you hired him to do.

 

Beginning right now, I will do my part as an American citizen—and the guy you could have voted for—to enforce the American agreement of democracy and prosperity, and to prevent a possible genocide.

 

I’m glad you don’t like that word.  For decades now, this country has been in the business of transferring existing wealth instead of producing new wealth.  When the wealth has all been transferred, finally—what happens then?

 

Beginning right now, you can do more than just complain and feel helpless.  You can pull a plug.  Join me—follow me—in providing incentive by simply withholding payment:

 

  • Not another penny in income tax—personal or corporate.
  • Not another penny in payment of student loans.
  • Not another penny to any Big Bank—or to any corporation that has taken American money and betrayed American interests.

 

I am not saying we should all become irresponsible deadbeats.  I’m advocating a higher form of financial responsibility, one that considers the difference between virtue and vanity, virtue and cowardice.  When our democracy is acceptable, America’s real economy acceptable, when the game is no longer rigged against us, we should be delighted to once again extend our cooperation and financial support—under conditions acceptable to the common man.

 

Americans in a democracy are all common men.

 

Every day, somebody tells me our country is doomed, our children are doomed, there’s no future, not a thing we can do about it, and we shouldn’t even try.

 

They say America is in her final stages of disunity, that Americans couldn’t pull together now if their lives depended on it.

 

I say they’re wrong.

 

 

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If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. . . .

“. . . and this single reflection, well applied, is sufficient to awaken every man to duty.”

(Gee whiz, there must be trouble.  In our day, not a word of this makes any sense at all.)

Upon his death, Thomas Paine — the poorest of the Founding Fathers — was barely noted by the American news media to have “lived long, done some good, and much harm.”

Government-hired propagandists had previously described Thomas Paine as a credit risk and a marriage risk who beat his wives and consummated with cats.

John Adams, on the other hand, wrote that:

“Without the pen of the author of ‘Common Sense,’ the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain.”

My point — well, one of my points — is that we’ve always been in bad spots and children have always told us the way home.

Links, strange ones:

“Commission unveils first EU Anti-Corruption report”

www.europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-86_en.htm

  • Integrity in politics remains an issue for many EU States.  For instance, codes of conduct within political parties or elected assemblies at central or local level are often missing or lack teeth.

“Financial world shaken by 4 bankers’ apparent suicides in a week”

www.rt.com/business/russell-investments-chief-economist-dead-564

  • While creating fortunes, City and Wall Street jobs are notorious for extra-long working weeks and huge amounts of stress.  In a move to ease the tension some of the world’s biggest lenders like Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Credit Suisse have been telling junior staff to take more time off.

“A Rash of Deaths and a Missing Reporter — With Ties to Wall Street Investigations”

www.wallstreetonparade.com/2014/02/a-rash-of-deaths-and-a-missing-reporter-%E2%80%93-with-ties-to-wall-street-investigations

  • The oil markets reporter who had worked at the Wall Street Journal for 20 years and vanished without a trace . . . has this in common with the other three tragedies: his work involves a commodities market — oil — which is under investigation by the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations for possible manipulation.

“Get your opiates for free: Capitalism meets the zombie apocalypse”

www.brontecapital.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/get-your-opiates-for-free-capitalism.html

  • I think I have found a new low in the pharmaceutical industry: giving away a month’s free supply of potentially lethal high-grade opioids.  This ambitious marketing strategy allows more than enough time and supply to create addicts.

Of course, we have to keep our children alive — if we want to hear them (and not raise them in vain).

www.facebook.com/BobHall2016

 


 

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Why are we chasing fool’s gold and destroying our economy, and the economy of the World?

What follows is an email that I sent out today to a group of people that I believe have the potential to restore the ladder called opportunity to America and re-create a rising tide that will lift all boats.

Each of you is very successful in your own right, and I do not wish to bury you with trivial nonsense which is why I only send you what I think is very important.

Yet I don’t think you understand this part because if you did, you would be utilizing it to turn the tide in this race to the bottom via a game of musical countries.

Let’s focus on something we can all agree on, and to be truthful, the wage comparison doesn’t matter as all comparisons end in the same result:

In the united states and the European union we have nearly 1 billion in population and we have an average wage for the two of $42,900 which is  $42,900,000,000,000.00

In China we have a little over 1 billion in population and we have a wage of $9,300 which means that China will need to have 4.6 people for the combined population of America and the European Union to account the same amount of purchasing power.

This is important – China would need to have a population of 4 billion 600 million to match the purchasing power of America and Europe.

Currently they can account for a purchasing power of  $9,300,000,000,000.00

India would need to have a population of 11 billion to match the purchasing power of America and Europe.

Currently they can account for a purchasing power of  $3,900,000,000,000.00

Their combined purchasing power is  $13,200,000,000,000.00

America and Europe have a combined purchasing power of $42,900,000,000,000.00

This means that China and India would need an increase in population of 3.25 times their current population before they can even begin to match the combined purchasing power of America and Europe that we seem hell bent on destroying in this game of musical countries.

This is why I call this fool’s gold.

Perhaps you believe that as the numbers in China and India increase to the same amount as America and Europe, this will change, but it will not because of the game of musical countries which can be summed up by:

The U.S.-based CEO of one of the world’s largest hedge funds told me that his firm’s investment committee often discusses the question of who wins and who loses in today’s economy. In a recent internal debate, he said, one of his senior colleagues had argued that the hollowing-out of the American middle class didn’t really matter. “His point was that if the transformation of the world economy lifts four people in China and India out of poverty and into the middle class, and meanwhile means one American drops out of the middle class, that’s not such a bad trade,” the CEO recalled.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/print/2011/01/the-rise-of-the-new-global-elite/8343/

which increases the middle class in China and India, and elsewhere.

“We have been seeing wage inflation over the past several months,’’ said Chris Ruffle, who helps manage $19 billion as China co-chairman of Martin Currie Ltd. Rising salaries may prompt businesses that operate plants in China to move to lower-cost countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia, Ruffle said

Cambodia’s low wages lure manufacturers away from China, other countries
http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-01-07/world/36208078_1_factory-wages-foreign-direct-investment-thai-border

The 3 Countries Stealing China’s Business
http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/06/15/the-3-countries-stealing-chinas-business.aspx

Corporations Are Moving Out Of China To Even Lower Wage Countries
http://archives.politicususa.com/2011/05/17/china-move-out.html

 Which decreases the middle class in China and India, and elsewhere.

But it doesn’t end there either as we need to also focus on the percentage of population in the various groups in each country, and by that I mean blue collar, white collar.

I have one advantage that none of you have.

I was doing my best to climb to the top AND I have lived this nightmare at the bottom which gives me the following credentials that each of you do not have:

  1. 2003 – 2007 wondering WTF just happened when I could no longer find work, and yes, this started back in 2000, not when the sub-prime crisis happened, and by the way, the sub-prime crisis is but a symptom of the real problem which is what I am attempting to describe here.
  2. 2007 – 2011 collaborating with others, and people like yourselves to understand what happened, and finally towards the end of 2011 and 2012 beginning to understand what was happening
  3. 2012 – 2014 doing what I could to educate others as to what we had finally figured out was causing this nightmare.

After all of these years of research, and yes, I have attempted to study China and India as well, I have learned that just as 30% of our population consists of what I consider to be the middle class, and 70% of our population consists of the blue collar workers, the same seems to happen in China and India as well.

This means that China as an example only has about 300 million white collar workers as does India, and it is very important that you understand this simply because the white collar workers are better educated, and will have the bulk of the purchasing power whereas the blue collar workers will not.

I have not had the training that each of you have had, and I’m not an expert in anything other than this game of musical countries, but this also means that I have no preconceived notions that each of you may have after being successful in your field for so many years, and I have always been very good at digging until I found the underlying cause of the business problems that I have solved over the years.

Bottom line, if you will attempt to disprove what I am saying here, you will find the answers, and the ammunition that you need that will allow you to show your followers why this is nothing but a modern day fool’s gold movement similar to what the 49’ers went through back in our ancestors day.

This does not mean that I am against global trade or capitalism as I believe both are necessary for people like me to climb the ladder called opportunity.

It simply means that I believe that we can return to a “rising tide lifts all boats” by implementing the following three simple rules which will put an end to this game of musical countries:

  1. It is OK to grow, raise or manufacture your products here in America and sell them to other countries and the same applies to those countries.
  2. It is OK to open retail or manufacturing branches in other countries to offset the shipping problems as long as you hire the locals to work in those countries.
  3. It is NOT OK to put the people in your country out of work, send the growing, raising or manufacturing to another country and then import those products back into your country.

You have my permission to do what is needed with this document, and feel free to share, or utilize the information contained herein in any manner, shape, or form.

Virgil Bierschwale

 

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So FWD.us is part of the problem rather than part of the solution

Received an interesting email just now:

Hey Virgil –

Today’s the day: It’s the FWD.us immigration reform Day of Action.

It’s important that we speak up today so that we can build on our momentum from last week. President Obama reiterated the need for reform in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, and House Republicans released their draft principles for reform on Thursday.

Anti-immigrant opponents see that the effort for reform is picking up steam, and so they’ve started to make noise and spread falsehoods about reform.

Today’s Day of Action is an opportunity to respond and show that a majority of Americans want to fix our broken immigration system.

Contact a key Republican to support reform. We’ll find a Republican near you and provide easy ways to contact them.

This is one of the biggest moments for immigration reform in 2014.

From the outset of this campaign, we’ve said that we need an improved legal immigration system to make sure that we meet our workforce needs, employment verification and border security, and a pathway to citizenship for people who are undocumented.

With your help, we can speak up together and show that we remain committed to fighting for these principles as the House works through its process.

If we don’t speak up, the opponents of reform could be the loudest voice as the House moves forward. We can’t let that happen.

Take action now and contact a key Republican.

Thanks,
Joe Green
Founder and President, FWD.us

————-

This email was sent to vbiersch@gmail.com. To stop receiving emails from FWD.us, click here.

————-


No virus found in this message.
Checked by AVG – www.avg.com
Version: 2014.0.4259 / Virus Database: 3684/7054 – Release Date: 02/02/14

A solution requires us all to work together to do what is best for America, and Americans in the long run, not the short term.

I am not going to say that I do not support what they are attempting to accomplish here simply because I am focused on doing my part to Keep America At Work rather than immigration reform.

But I am saying that if their efforts do not involve Democrats, and Independents, than FWD.US is part of the problem and should be treated as such.

 

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If manufacturing jobs are things of the past, why is China’s sudden and rapid rise to economic power accompanied by 100 million manufacturing jobs?

“In World’s Best-Run Economy, Home Prices Just Keep Falling — Because That’s What Home Prices Are Supposed To Do”

www.forbes.com/sites/eamonnfingleton/2014/02/02/in-worlds-best-run-economy-home-prices-just-keep-falling-because-thats-what-home-prices-are-supposed-to-do

  • A fundamental principle of German economics is to keep housing costs stable and affordable.  It is hard to quarrel with the results.  On figures cited in 2012 . . . one-bedroom apartments in Berlin were then selling for as little as $55,000, and four-bedroom detached houses in the Rhineland for just $80,000.
  • The fact is that the German economy is by any standards one of the world’s most successful.  Just how successful is apparent in, for instance, international trade.  At $238 billion in 2012, Germany’s current account surplus was the world’s largest.  On a per-capita basis it was nearly 15 times China’s and was achieved while German workers were paid some of the world’s highest wages.

“How Junk Economists Help The Rich Impoverish The Working Class”

www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/01/28/junk-economists-help-rich-impoverish-working-class-paul-craig-roberts

  • A country whose best known products are fraudulent and toxic financial instruments and GMO foods that no one wants cannot pay for its imports except by signing over its existing assets.  The foreigners buy up US assets with their trade surpluses.  Consequently, income from rents, interest, dividends, capital gains, and profits leave US pockets for foreign pockets.
  • If manufacturing jobs are things of the past, why is China’s sudden and rapid rise to economic power accompanied by 100 million manufacturing jobs?  Apple computers are not made in China by robots.  If robots are making Apple computers, it would be just as cheap to make the computers in the US.
  • Indeed, I wonder if economists even have junk value.  But they are well paid by Wall Street and the offshoring corporations.

“How Many Americans Does It Take To Pull a Plug?”

www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJkcAxn5Bc4

  • No matter who you blame—Washington, Wall Street, the Big Banks, Globalization—they all have at least one thing in common: they all get all their power from us.

 

Even a young child knows: when a machine goes haywire and the controls don’t work, you don’t form a committee, you don’t stockpile ammunition, you pull the plug.

 

When a contractor doesn’t perform as agreed—and this applies to social contracts, as well—you withhold payment until he does the job you hired him to do.

 

Beginning right now, I will do my part as an American citizen—and the guy you could have voted for—to enforce the American agreement of democracy and prosperity, and to prevent a possible genocide.

 

I’m glad you don’t like that word.  For decades now, this country has been in the business of transferring existing wealth instead of producing new wealth.  When the wealth has all been transferred, finally—what happens then?

 

Beginning right now, you can do more than just complain and feel helpless.  You can pull a plug.  Join me—follow me—in providing incentive by simply withholding payment:

 

  • Not another penny in income tax—personal or corporate.
  • Not another penny in payment of student loans.
  • Not another penny to any Big Bank—or to any corporation that has taken American money and betrayed American interests.

 

I am not saying we should all become irresponsible deadbeats.  I’m advocating a higher form of financial responsibility, one that considers the difference between virtue and vanity, virtue and cowardice.  When our democracy is acceptable, America’s real economy acceptable, when the game is no longer rigged against us, we should be delighted to once again extend our cooperation and financial support—under conditions acceptable to the common man.

 

Americans in a democracy are all common men.

 

Every day, somebody tells me our country is doomed, our children are doomed, there’s no future, not a thing we can do about it, and we shouldn’t even try.

 

They say America is in her final stages of disunity, that Americans couldn’t pull together now if their lives depended on it.

 

I say they’re wrong.

 

www.facebook.com/BobHall2016

 


 

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Raise the Minimum Wage to $43.17 But Keep the Money in the United States

“A very wise man. . . .”

“In Praise of Muscular Poets”

www.theamericanconservative.com/prufrock/in-praise-of-muscular-poets

  • Too much contemporary poetry still reflects the popularity of “theory” and exhibits the lack of experience that causes poets to replace emotional insight with verbal tricks and appropriation.
  • If it is unrelated to the nitty-gritty things of life like death, it is useless.

“Nineteen Eighty-Four

www.archive.org/details/ost-english-1984-george-orwell-1937-dystopia

  • It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
  • WAR IS PEACE . . . FREEDOM IS SLAVERY . . . IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

“A very wise man . . . believed if a man were permitted to make all the ballads he need not care who should make the laws of a nation, and we find that most of the ancient legislators thought that they could not well reform the manners of any city without the help of a lyric, and sometimes of a dramatic poet.”  — Andrew Fletcher (1655-1716)

“Dollar to the Giant”

 

Sweat-stain genius, practical hands,
Built factories, built the goods, built the land.
First steps forgotten. History blind,
We’re connected to our roots by a credit line.

Wakening giant. Hunger and rice.
Caught the scent of our money, knew we wouldn’t fight.
Slippery giant. History wise.
Put down his guns, put on a friendly disguise.

We closed our eyes

And the Giant from the East woke up from a sleep, hunger for the heads of our young.
No suspicion of war, through the open door, manifest of Mao Tse-Tung.
Ulterior plans in the giant’s hands, steel cages hit our shores in a flood.
And all we received for a moment of greed was paid for with our children’s blood.

We gave up our future, families and friends.
Dollar to the giant, dollar never seen again.

Agreeable climate: pickpockets and noise.
The bankers jumped to the giant like little boys.
Economy experts selling their time,
But nothing made nothing. Can you spare a dime?

Productivity’s children sleeping in chains.
Giant kept our credit up, kept us entertained.
Fear-fallen children couldn’t say no.
Wouldn’t read label made in Chinese. Where did the money go?

Detoured discussion about manufacturing trade.
Instead we’re led to every trap the giant made.
The future decided at the giant’s store—
Took every dollar we had and loaned us money for more.

Who are we doing this for?

The Giant from the East, a billion-head beast, feeding on the hopes of our young.
No resemblance of war, through the open door, mannequins of Mao Tse-Tung.
Invisible plans in the giant’s hands, temptation hit our stores in a flood.
And all we received for bargains we believed was paid for with our children’s blood.

We traded in our future, families and friends.
Dollar to the giant, dollar never seen again.

Reckoning rust. Factory line.
Lost-dream memory of a better time.
All the signs say this choice was Made in USA—
Too numb to know it didn’t have to be this way.

 

www.facebook.com/BobHall2016

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Funny how the politicians that kneel at the feet of the corporations inadvertently stuck it to these corporations.

I’ve been saying it here for two years now since I realized what was going on.

This game of musical countries is actually increasing global poverty, and it will happen in every country that it touches whether it be America, Brazil, China, India, or Russia and the many other countries that embrace it.

Basically what happens is we first create a middle class, and we did that here in America, and in Europe.

free_trade_results

Study that chart carefully as this is happening in every country.

As you can see, the free trade agreements initially did create more and more jobs from the mid 1970′s until around 2000 or so.

But then people like these decided that they would jump start the middle class in other countries, and people like you bought into this little charade hook, line, and sinker.

The U.S.-based CEO of one of the world’s largest hedge funds told me that his firm’s investment committee often discusses the question of who wins and who loses in today’s economy. In a recent internal debate, he said, one of his senior colleagues had argued that the hollowing-out of the American middle class didn’t really matter. “His point was that if the transformation of the world economy lifts four people in China and India out of poverty and into the middle class, and meanwhile means one American drops out of the middle class, that’s not such a bad trade,” the CEO recalled.

http://keepamericaatwork.com/?page_id=263665

I can’t blame this just on Wall Street, because everybody from mom and pop to small businesses to large corporations all saw dollar signs at the expense of their country, and who cares about your country when you are chasing gold?

Click here to see proof of the different groups that have taken part in promoting this game of musical countries.

As you can see, we no longer are creating jobs in America, and Europe is experiencing the same.

And we are increasing unemployment.

And our largest corporations are beginning to find out that what old Sam Walton told them a long time ago is true.

There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/samwalton146810.html#TR2vbLXRDL1o4270.99
I say they are beginning to see that they have nothing without their customer and the politicians have stuck it to the corporations because of this.
“Despite a holiday season that delivered positive comps, two factors contributed to lower comp sales performance for the 14-week period for Walmart U.S.,” Holley explained. “First, the sales impact from the reduction in SNAP (the U.S. government Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits that went into effect Nov. 1 is greater than we expected. And, second, eight named winter storms resulted in store closures that impacted traffic throughout the quarter.
Folks, there will always be a small percentage of any population that will be reliant on the support of their community, or country, and there is nothing wrong with that.
But where we are going wrong is we have forced 30 to 40% of our population into being dependent on their country, not through any fault of their own, but through our own ignorance simply because we are too stupid and arrogant to open our eyes and realize that it is us sending our jobs offshore that is forcing this increase in unemployment.
Just as the wall street types, and the mom and pop’s that I described above have forced employment down, and unemployment up in a quest to create more middle class in other countries, the following types are actively working to destroy the new middle class in the other countries.

“We have been seeing wage inflation over the past several months,’’ said Chris Ruffle, who helps manage $19 billion as China co-chairman of Martin Currie Ltd. Rising salaries may prompt businesses that operate plants in China to move to lower-cost countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia, Ruffle said

You can view that article at http://keepamericaatwork.com/?p=8775

and some other examples:

Cambodia’s low wages lure manufacturers away from China, other countries
http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-01-07/world/36208078_1_factory-wages-foreign-direct-investment-thai-border

The 3 Countries Stealing China’s Business
http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/06/15/the-3-countries-stealing-chinas-business.aspx

Corporations Are Moving Out Of China To Even Lower Wage Countries
http://archives.politicususa.com/2011/05/17/china-move-out.html

Basically, in a nutshell, the chart above will be repeated in every country that this game of musical countries touches.

And we can end this game immediately, AND have global trade at the same time simply by enacting these three simple rules in each country that has a Free Trade Agreement:

 

  1. It is OK to grow, raise or manufacture your products here in America and sell them to other countries and the same applies to those countries.
  2. It is OK to open retail or manufacturing branches in other countries to offset the shipping problems as long as you hire the locals to work in those countries.
  3. It is NOT OK to put the people in your country out of work, send the growing, raising or manufacturing to another country and then import those products back into your country.
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You know, if I were in the Top 1%, I might pay a lot of money to keep my tax dollars from supporting the knucklehead who wrote this.

l would love to be able to say “put up or shut up” and have it make sense, but our American character has gotten as rusty as our American clichés, so I can’t recommend we “put up” unless we grow up — again.

Grow Up or Shut Up.

I won’t name names because there are way too many, but I will ask you to weigh the damage done by these so-called grown-ups who fuss and whine to get their way without ever considering the other man’s point of view.

In the struggle between Us and Them, every one of us is Both.

What healthy corporation would not want to leave the U.S.?  What poor people would not hate rich people?

Etc.

Not a day goes by that I don’t read something and think, “You know, if I were in the Top 1%, I might pay a lot of money to keep my tax dollars from supporting the knucklehead who wrote this.”

OK, I’ll take it back and name just one name to make a point: Ralph Nader.  My regular readers know that I admire Mr. Nader a great deal, but I think it’s a mistake to never question whether the “unreasonable man’s” many accomplishments have come at unreasonable cost to our nation.  There was a time, not so very long ago, and we still had a healthy trade surplus, when American manufacturers were bludgeoned, without mercy, by the Left — led by Ralph Nader.  Eventually, corporate America learned to defend itself.

And the results are what you see today.

If “Us” are Americans, and “Them” are Americans, we should avoid taking up positions that could leave blood on our hands.

If we’re all Americans, we’re all in this together.

What’s wrong with that?

www.facebook.com/BobHall2016


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Tom Stengle and Tony Sznoluch – Are you proud of your work with the Department of Labor?

I ask that question because of this:

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE WEEKLY CLAIMS REPORT

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending January 25, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 348,000, an increase of 19,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 329,000. The 4-week moving average was 333,000, an increase of 750 from the previous week’s revised average of 332,250.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.3 percent for the week ending January 18, unchanged from the prior week’s unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending January 18 was 2,991,000, a decrease of 16,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 3,007,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,970,250, an increase of 43,500 from the preceding week’s revised average of 2,926,750.

UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 354,604 in the week ending January 25, a decrease of 59,707 from the previous week. There were 369,480 initial claims in the comparable week in 2013.

The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.6 percent during the week ending January 18, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 3,445,204, a decrease of 60,438 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.9 percent and the volume was 3,678,926.

The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending January 11 was 3,583,501, a decrease of 122,586 from the previous week. There were 5,916,993 persons claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2013.

No state was triggered “on” the Extended Benefits program during the week ending January 11.

Initial claims for UI benefits filed by former Federal civilian employees totaled 1,918 in the week ending January 18, a decrease of 309 from the prior week. There were 2,246 initial claims filed by newly discharged veterans, a decrease of 203 from the preceding week.

There were 23,789 former Federal civilian employees claiming UI benefits for the week ending January 11, an increase of 483 from the previous week. Newly discharged veterans claiming benefits totaled 32,686, an increase of 1,095 from the prior week.

The Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program expired on January 1, 2014, and under current law no EUC payments will be made for weeks of unemployment after this date.

The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending January 11 were in Alaska (6.5), Connecticut (4.2), New Jersey (4.2), Puerto Rico (4.0), Pennsylvania (3.9), Rhode Island (3.9), Wisconsin (3.9), Illinois (3.8), Montana (3.7), and West Virginia (3.7).

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending January 18 were in California (+11,708), Oregon (+1,239), Rhode Island (+304), and Virgin Islands (+7), while the largest decreases were in Pennsylvania (-16,595), Indiana (-10,740), Texas (-8,789), Georgia (-8,119), and Massachusetts (-5,863).

http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/ui/current.htm

Yet my own research using your own departments Labor Force Participation Rate shows a totally different picture:

free_trade_results

Yep, you’re reading it right.

Employment is going down, and unemployment is going up.

Relax boys, I realize you don’t make policy and I’m well aware that the method of calculating the number was changed when wild bill was admiring his stogie while interns kneeled at his feet.

But your friends and neighbors and maybe even family are suffering while your supervisors are patting themselves on their backs for a job well done while people like these are losing everything.

unemployed

Hell, even Fox News is beginning to wake up as you can tell by this article.

And the people in this picture are beginning to form their own support groups because they know that your supervisors are not telling the truth.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors.

I’m proud of them for doing that.

But you poor folks.

Ya’ll are in a bad situation.

You can keep your jobs by keeping silent.

Or you can gain our respect by coming forward and identifying those who are guilty of forming the Tokyo Rose Globalization Propaganda Group that is forcing you to release numbers that you know in your heart are nowhere near accurate.

The decision would be simple, to me.

Perhaps that is why I can no longer find work even though your department tells the world that unemployment is getting better and we are creating jobs, which you and I know is no more accurate than Wild Bills aim.

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Today’s Top 13 Front Pages By Circulation

“Obama Seeks To Jump-Start Stalled Plans: President Vows Executive Action on Wages, Savings; GOP Warns He’s Overreaching”

The Wall Street Journal

“Obama Taking Up Economic Issues On His Authority: Targeting Disparities: Pledges ‘Year of Action’ Without the Need of Congress’s Help”

The New York Times

“‘Make this a year of action’: Obama pledges to help middle class without Congress”

USA Today

“‘America does not stand still’: In State of the Union, Obama calls on Congress to boost the middle class and vows to act on his own too”

Los Angeles Times

“State of the Union Address: Obama promises ‘action’”

San Jose Mercury News

“HORROR IN BEVERLY HILLS: British socialite and mom of two strips naked and leaps to her death a day after getting facelift”

New York Daily News

“Hammer-wielding madman ‘kills gal pal & her daughter for being witches’”

New York Post

“Obama: I won’t stand still”

The Washington Post

“Going Solo: Obama says he’ll use presidential powers to get around gridlocked Congress”

Chicago Sun-Times

“State of the Union Address: President to flex power”

The Denver Post

“An olive branch, and a challenge: President says he’s eager for Congress’ help but prepared to ‘go it alone’ on jobs, economy”

Chicago Tribune

“‘Opportunity is who we are’: Obama to press economic plans on his own”

The Dallas Morning News

“Obama on State of Union: We Can’t Stand Still: Vows to aid lower- and middle-class Americans — even if he has to act without Congress”

Newsday

“How Many Americans Does It Take To Pull a Plug?” — 337 views

www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJkcAxn5Bc4

“Bob Hall 2016″ — 140 likes

www.facebook.com/BobHall2016


 

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If you have a better idea — let’s hear it — so we can all do it — before it’s too late.

If you heard the President’s speech, you know this country needs me — or someone like me — in the White House by 2017.

Here’s what we can do right now:

“How Many Americans Does It Take To Pull a Plug?”

If you have a better idea — let’s hear it — so we can all do it — before it’s too late.

www.facebook.com/BobHall2016

[Transcript:]

 

No matter who you blame—Washington, Wall Street, the Big Banks, Globalization—they all have at least one thing in common: they all get all their power from us.

 

Even a young child knows: when a machine goes haywire and the controls don’t work, you don’t form a committee, you don’t stockpile ammunition, you pull the plug.

 

When a contractor doesn’t perform as agreed—and this applies to social contracts, as well—you withhold payment until he does the job you hired him to do.

 

Beginning right now, I will do my part as an American citizen—and the guy you could have voted for—to enforce the American agreement of democracy and prosperity, and to prevent a possible genocide.

 

I’m glad you don’t like that word.  For decades now, this country has been in the business of transferring existing wealth instead of producing new wealth.  When the wealth has all been transferred, finally—what happens then?

 

Beginning right now, you can do more than just complain and feel helpless.  You can pull a plug.  Join me—follow me—in providing incentive by simply withholding payment:

 

  • Not another penny in income tax—personal or corporate.
  • Not another penny in payment of student loans.
  • Not another penny to any Big Bank—or to any corporation that has taken American money and betrayed American interests.

 

I am not saying we should all become irresponsible deadbeats.  I’m advocating a higher form of financial responsibility, one that considers the difference between virtue and vanity, virtue and cowardice.  When our democracy is acceptable, America’s real economy acceptable, when the game is no longer rigged against us, we should be delighted to once again extend our cooperation and financial support—under conditions acceptable to the common man.

 

Americans in a democracy are all common men.

 

Every day, somebody tells me our country is doomed, our children are doomed, there’s no future, not a thing we can do about it, and we shouldn’t even try.

 

They say America is in her final stages of disunity, that Americans couldn’t pull together now if their lives depended on it.

 

I say they’re wrong.


 

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Ours is the generation that stood by gawking while a handful of parasites and billionaires smashed it for their own benefit.

I woke up this morning — probably from a dream about the worst advice I ever received as a young man — with a bug to write something like “Advice for Young Men.”  As it turned out, most of today’s was already written and waiting.

Pete Seeger died yesterday.  His politics and activism are suddenly all the rage, so my contribution is this.  When I was a boy desperate to play the 5-string banjo, Pete Seeger’s book was the only instruction manual in existence.  We will never know how many artists (etc.) got their start with Seeger’s little book.  Making music makes us better people — making American music makes us better Americans — in wildly unforeseeable ways.  And somewhere in that book, if I remember correctly, Pete quotes an old-timer as saying:

“Notes?  Hell, there ain’t no notes on a banjo.  You just play it.”

Of additional interest today:

“Academy Fight Song”

www.thebaffler.com/past/academy_fight_song

  • We don’t pause to consider that maybe we’ve got the whole thing backwards — that the big universities expanded in their heyday to keep up with industry demand, not to build the middle class.
  • Ours is the generation that stood by gawking while a handful of parasites and billionaires smashed it for their own benefit.

I once (or twice?) said:

“The purpose of education is happiness, which is largely determined by our ability to know when we’re being lied to.”

It’s still true, I think, and I love that idealism.

On the other hand, “Academy Fight Song” might be saying that the purpose of education is to keep us from ever knowing when we’re being lied to.

If this is true, I have to admit that American schools are doing an excellent job.

Which brings me back to the beginning of this song and the worst advice I ever received as a young man.

www.facebook.com/BobHall2016


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