Lets Start Fixing the Economy, Thoughtfully

2008/12/09

We have the rare opportunity to change our economic paradigm, from one designed in the 18th century and tinkered with, to a new 21st century model. Our entire method of raising, allocating, and spending has to become more democratic. We have suffered from severely overcapitalizing our economy as a whole since industrialization. We need to reevaluate what and which function are public and which are private.

Example: the car industry, as a model going forward. Presupposing an affirmative need for this industry in our country, the Federal government should do these things
1. Create a unit at the Commerce Dept. that can buy publicly traded securities. 2. Buy Chrysler, Ford, and GM, lock stock and barrel. 3. Separate the assets and liabilities. 4. The former corporate liabilities to be parceled out to agency sub units for debt liquidation, pension guaranty. and federal employee health insurance. 5. Determine approximately how much of a car industry America needs and retain a total number of plants and employees to do it. The federal gov’t retains ownership of the plants which are then leased by the companies. 6. The restructured, lean companies are each offered to the public through an IPO, whose proceeds are then used to fund the agencies ongoing activities.

This can be done with airlines, other critical industries, and renders moot anti-trust issues, as the new owners, the feds, can contractually obligate companies to some behaviors. Additionally long term planning instead of quarter by quarter stock manipulation becomes a vehicle of real value production.


Libertarian Angst

2008/12/04

My view of things is neither Libertarian nor Collectivist. I find it a unique political thing that we in the West are trying. I’d say we have to find a dynamic balance between liberty and order, rights and obligations. After all we are not mindless ants to be commanded for the good of the whole, nor immortal magical beings who create the land upon which we stand lacking obligation to our progenitors and inheritors.

We all act within our societies rules and incentives. You and I would likely both prefer our own governance, warts and all, to the Soviet system or the complete lack of governance in Somalia. In a state of nature we would rob, beat and kill each other for reproductive advantage, nature and evolution are brutal. But we have, uniquely in history, created a wholly artificial societal structure that allows us to function as individuals. In a state of nature we would be in a band of families. It is to our advantage to maintain this structure, pay taxes, participate, and see to it that the formal rules and informal incentives make sense. Libertarian thought goes too far, taking as free goods, the laboriously and bloodily constructed institutions and behaviors that we rely on.

We in the West do have our troubles, at home and abroad, some self inflicted. They start with our our inability to see what we do from other perspectives, or to put ourselves in our competitors place. Not to agree with or validate them, but to understand our true options, and how to gain advantage. Western forces are fought against when they leave the Western world. The countries where blood flows most copiously are countries we dragged into a Western world wide economic system. That was an hostile act. Trade is war at a basic level. We Westerners have been screwing around overseas for centuries; I see no point in bellyaching about the blow back, we have most of the marbles. Were our states overrun by foreigners would we not fight? Regardless of the reason, no matter how justified the foreigners felt they were, we would fight them. That’s not hard to follow in any time, or any place.

I say it is high time for us to appreciate what we have accomplished, eschew gratuitous harm abroad that costs us so much, and to let go the hysteria and paranoia that we Americans have engaged in since WW1. We should recognize that we Westerners grabbed an entire continent for ourselves and no one can take it away. We are now and have long been protected by our geographical breath, distance and barriers. Humans may be homicidal, but they are not, by and large suicidal. Our fine military has extended our power abroad, but has not had to defend our shores since 1814. A worst case WW2 scenario still leaves us North America and the Gulf/Caribbean. We are not in a position like the Romans who had the vastness of Eurasia on their border. Even if we suffer a population crash like the Romans, there are no unobserved places for hordes to assemble. Immigrants always assimilate by the 3rd and 4th generations. We should recognize that there are skills to be prized beyond money management, and that some goods and services need to be produced at the societal level: the military and support elements, the police and courts, education, health care, land stewardship, good use of human assets. We should recognize some things, most of the rest, are best done by the individuals or voluntary associations.

None of us are self made entirely, we rely on knowledge and infrastructure that precedes us; we stand on the shoulders of our progenitors and must lift up our inheritors.


The Sky is Falling!

2008/11/17

I read an article here about Global Warming, and I just have to go on record. Since 1998, the best empirical data show a decrease in global temperatures. The only things that show a possible increase are mathematical models, that have up to now, been hugely wrong in all their previous predictions. For east coast cities that are over 150 years old for which we have data; I found five, they remain within their temperature norms.

Glaciers are melting in some places and processing accretion in others. There are less Polar Bears than ten years ago, but more than 40 years ago. Scientific consensus too is a strange standard. In the history of science the large, certain groups have often been wrong. So what is going on?

So do humans in a peaceful prosperous society have some bizarre need to create bogeymen? The Right and Left are perhaps distinguished best by their bogeymen. We as settled civilized humans need to be resilient, resourceful, and wise. We are none of these. I hope we do some things that are sensible no matter the temp outside. I resign myself to a boondoggle which will hopefully cost less than endless war.


Cowardice of the Right Wing

2008/11/13

I can’t imagine why rightwingers are always in a tizzy over some imaginary or grossly exaggerated threats. And further why do they pat themselves on the back when their fears mark them as cowards? Our country must be resilient, and true, not resolutely irrational. The Rightwing Worldview of the last three decades has failed, as some predicted. It was only the ‘when’ that was hard to predict, it was easy to predict that foolish polices will have a bad outcome.

How crazy of them is it to fail over and over, be rejected at the polls, and then conclude failure could have been avoided by doing more and greater amounts of the same wacky policies. Their worldview has failed. Lets move on.


Right and Left Blog Policies

2008/11/10

Has anyone else noticed that rigthwing blogs tend to censor opposing viewpoints and that leftwing blogs tend to try to win the argument against opposing viewpoints? What does that say about each? What do you think?


The Obama Victory

2008/11/09

Congratulations to him and to all of us. We have a chance to make government work, to stop the lunacy and failure of the last 30 years. And finally I hope for a happy resolution of the preexisting dichotomy of pride in country and shame in government. Whoo hoo! Our long dark tea-time of the soul may be ending at long last.


The End of the Stupid Party?

2008/11/02

The election, if it is an Obama/Democrat landslide will leave a defeated Stupid Party to rebuild. I am looking for predictions, does the Stupid Party go further in stupid direction of the last 40 years, or does it become a healthy viable center right party that accepts basic projects of good governance?