While the administration and its congressional henchmen continue to tout what they call a strong economic recovery, at least one notable economist has apparently warned of what some call the "flaw of supply side theory," which has it that it’s possible to increase profit derived from the spending of consumer/taxpayers, while paying them less and less in order to increase the profits. "Can you say debt saturation?" was yelled anonymously on the street one day recently. Few noticed because a simultaneous homeland security alert diverted the attention of the mob. No one else, whom I’ve discovered, has come so close as Columbia University Economics Professor and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz to acknowledging the unsustainable nature of the service economy.
"For the past three years, falling interest rates have been the engine of growth, as households took on more debt to refinance their mortgages and used some of the savings to consume. Central bankers are hoping that this will not play out in reverse - that higher interest rates will not dampen consumption. Hope may not be enough. House prices could well decline; at the very least, the rate of increase is likely to slow down.
"This is only one of the uncertainties facing the US economy. Clearly, some of the growth in 2004 was due to provisions that encouraged investment in that year - when it mattered for US electoral politics - at the expense of 2005. Then there are America's huge fiscal and trade deficits, which jeopardize future American generations' well being, and represent a drag on the current US economy.
"As one of my predecessors as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Herb Stein, famously put it: ‘If something can't go on forever, it won't.’ But no one knows how, or when, it will all end. Indeed, President Bush 's election promises include partial privatization of social security and making his earlier tax cuts permanent, which, if adopted, will send the deficits soaring to record levels. What, exactly, this will do to business confidence and currency markets is anybody's guess, but it won't be pretty." - Joseph Stiglitz, Saturday January 1, 2005
Cultural critic agkaiser had this to say:
"Most of US learn to hide our fears and pretend, even to ourselves, that we are stronger, smarter and more worldly than our fellow consumer/taxpayer units. No one acknowledges that we need our neighbors and communities to enhance common survivability. That working together is the ultimate pro life position and that competition and individual hoarding of wealth is harmful to the human race and life on the Planet Earth, is inadmissable truth.
"Working against life is learned behavior. I’ve learned that I can’t afford to let customers or ‘competitors’ know that I fear for my livelihood. If I do, it will encourage aggressiveness that they believe is in their own self interest. They don’t understand that far from improving their own lot significantly, their competitive behavior only helps to insure the control and oppression by the elite of corporate capitalism. The gains to be made by competing with those of the same economic-social class are marginal at best and non existent in most cases. But they divide US and make US easier marks for the big time players. Nonetheless we continue as we do, operating under the delusion that we too can become one of the parasites that feed on our communities. We too may defraud and betray the human race for personal gain.
"What are the odds? But probability has no meaning for the sucker that’s born every minute. The Über Mensche who own the banks, insurance companies and the majority of stocks and bonds count on our statistical inability to see through their scam. They see to it that the education provided to US protects the delusions they’ve so carefully cultivated over the centuries. They coopted academia so long ago that none alive has ever known when the gradual process became the only world we have ever known. And that’s the eternal seeming pattern. Sell out for a little more than everyone else has. Take from the community for yourself because the acknowledged elites have done so for all time. We know we’re better than everyone else and therefore deserve more. God made a mistake by birthing US into non-elite families, if we were born less well off than we hope to be. We have the opportunity to rectify the error. Well, yeah, at some point there are not enough un-coopted people left to support the Ponzi of finance. But let’s not spoil the dream with the negativity and pessimism implied by reference to the mathematical and physical equilibrium that rule all natural reality. If the ‘good science’ of the neo-con artists says that perpetual motion is possible, we can’t dampen enthusiasm with our un-optimistic half empty realism.
"Not that morality is so important as the survival of the Human Race but incorporation of abstract legal entities is abomination of human personhood. Immortal ‘paper people,’ operating in their own self interest, are a threat to the survival of our communities and ourselves. The rich, greedy and ultimately stupid and shortsighted few who invented corporations for their own benefit at the expense of our communities, have renounced their humanity in favor of self aggrandizement and personal enrichment at our expense. The self consuming system they’ve built must fail. If we allow it to reach its inevitable self destructive end, it will take US with it."
Carlos Marques warns of dire events on the economic horizon:
"‘The boxes told me.’ So goes the parcel service’s commercial advertisement. This is scary, when you consider the implications to real economy. The ability of individual corporations to stupidly ignore the cumulative effect of increasing profits by reducing payroll is frightening. The consumers, whose purchases are the generator of all profit, are the same employees whose wages are being reduced and jobs being outsourced or replaced by robots or other digital and/or mechanical systems. And how many of US can see that radio tagging a shippers boxes is the first step towards eliminating humans from the loop? Do the investors really think all this activity will continue when American consumers can no longer borrow or buy anything? They still stick to he lie that more and better jobs will be created by the service economy, if we are prepared [(re)educated] for them. That, of course, flies in the face of the evidence of college grads working for peanuts at Walmart or McDonald’s or worse yet moving back home with mom and dad. The greatest generation was the last before the American Dream became a nightmare of corporate looting of the treasury through privatization and tax cuts and the destruction of remaining productive economy by outsourcing, with the proceeds stashed in the Cayman Islands. The backup position for profits when most Americans are too destitute to consume? The corporately cloned idiots think the growing Chinese middle class will buy back the goods made in Asia to honor the American investors. They are morons! The Chinese don’t need them and are smart enough to know it. Even if this unlikely theory did work, what happens to US, the majority of Americans? They’re doubly foolish, if they think I’ll ‘go gentle into that good night’ out of respect for their private property. Get it straight fools! I’ll burn your house down!"
The observations, opinions and emotional outbursts of Carlos Marques are not necessarily those of DNews or any well trained, regulated, docile and Law and God fearing middle class American.
I'll feed myself and provide other necessary resources so that I may work more at writing than merely staying alive.
A G Kaiser
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