Category Archives: Federal Budget

America Should Put All Assets on the Table for Taxation

tax policyI wish for society to be as free of government as is can be, that government be limited to those functions enumerated in the Constitution such as providing for the national defense.

National defense – what is it? America is a group of people clustered together by geography under a common set of laws that we have crafted over time for the protection of our rights from attacks by outsiders and insiders. We have a common economy that provides for our people and a common military that protects us from state led, organized attacks. We have a judiciary that protects us from overt abuses of our laws by our executive and legislative branches. We have a common legislative branch that should strengthen our other institutions through commonly agreed upon laws of engagement for the national defense of our people and an executive branch that acts upon these laws fo our common defense.

How well is our government performing its duties of national defense? Our defense of state organized attack is from another era. Our defense of terrorism has overtaken our liberties. Our defense of attacks on our infrastructure, such as against nuclear and cyber attacks, is in its infancy and struggling for balance. Our three branches of government have been commandeered by America’s elite to provide for their defense against interference from the rest of our society.

Is the middle class defended? Is the working class defended? Are our unemployed and underclass? What is the balance that must be obtained in a defended society?

Some argue that Government is too big, that it takes too much of our money to manage this leviathan. Certainly, our government has too many people and assets and these are costly. But cutting the size of government is only a drop in the bucket compared to the excessive costs of our programs and regulations, and thus cutting the size of government will do very little to curb our deficits and lessen our debt. It is not the size of government that is at issue but the size of expenditures that have been agreed to by past legislators and that have been enacted by past executive branches. It is the size of our agreements that is bankrupting our country. More than anything, we must prioritize cost reductions and government must not be cut to the point of disfunctionality in the process of cutting costs.

Once America’s spending priorities have been readjusted to fit our abilities to pay and our government has been resized to manage those priorities, those priorities and the new size of our government still has to be paid. We still have to agree how each of us will contribute to the funding of our government. Each of us has assets that can be taken to pay for government. We have assets that were purchased in previous years and assets that have been acquired in the current year. We have assets that have been made through investments and assets that have been given to us as compensation for our labors. Some of our assets are liquid and some are hard assets not so easily converted to money.

Government must now come together to represent the people in deciding which of these assets will be assessed for taxation. The best we can hope is that our legislators are balanced in their representation of the people. Who of us believes that regarding economics, our legislature is balanced in representing all classes of people?

The largest of our nation’s costs are military and social safety nets. Both of these costs were agreed to by past federal legislators as the best compromise, given the structure of our society at the time. Our military was structured for hegemonic offense, to thrust America’s economic interests abroad. Our social safety nets were structured to care for those of our citizens whose labor was set aside to maximize the profits of capital owners.

Fast forward to today. Our elite’s financial interests are in even more need of hegemonic military protection, as a much greater percentage of their assets are abroad. Even more of our citizens’ labor has been left idle by their decision to invest abroad, and now our social safety net program costs are excessive. We now balk at having such high government program costs, yet we are unwilling to cut or hegemonic military or to bring back investment to employ our citizens. So instead, we sit stupefied watching our legislature do what we expect them to do, stall on our behalf.

Now, our elite wants to cut the costs of social safety nets that are caused by foreign investment and our poor want to cut the costs of our hegemonic military that exists to protect those foreign investments. And if neither will budge on cuts, then each wants the other to pay for the excessive government program costs that we will incur.

However, the economics of America are driven by the investments of our elite. If America’s elite choose to situate their assets in foreign lands rather than in domestic businesses that will employ our people and that will minimize safety net and defense costs, who then should be responsible for covering these costs? Are my words socialist or are they simply recognizing that every economic choice has cost consequences?

I am not advocating going back to the days of kings, back to the beginnings of our nation, when America’s lands were given to the elite families of America by the crown, and restructuring them to give all an equal share, nor of reconfiguring the lands taken from indigenous peoples and given to the governors, financial, and political elite of the time. I am not advocating correcting these historical manmade injustices.

However, all men should have a living wage and our national defense calls for maximizing the outputs of all in our society through the investments of our elite that have been given the blessings of historical circumstance as well as those that have made their fortunes nurtured within the defensive infrastructure of the United States.

The elites’ assets are mostly in excess stores of value, above what are required to live and to consume. The middle class have assets that were mostly created through their labor, 0-3 years worth of labor in liquid assets and a house, maybe two. The working class might have a home and few liquid assets, plus current assets from recent labor. The underclass have few assets to speak of. Which of these assets will be taken to pay for the requirements of government?

The vast majority of assets that America owns are left untouchable by government. Why is that? Is land that has been in a family since it was bestowed upon them by the King of England any more valuable than a dollar that was made by the sweat of labor in 2013? If a working class man has no assets but $5,000 in a bank made by his labor this year, why are those assets what should pay the bulk of the nation’s governmental costs while the assets of land in a 50,000 acre estate are deemed off limits?

Do I want the government touching any of my assets, or those of the laborer with $5,000, or the American lord with 50,000 acres? Well I realistically know it must to function. If it must, are any of these assets more sacred than another? Why is it that we have conditioned ourselves to accept that recently acquired assets are acceptable to tax but those that have been in a family for centuries are not?

The argument has been structured so as to only compare recently acquired assets, for to look at all assets would be to see how amazingly imbalanced ownership of assets is in America. My proposal of taxing only assets that are not being productively used in the economy, while impossible to enact, is intended to break through this manufactured paradigm. Whether America has a flat tax, a fair tax, or a progressive tax, we should compare all assets, not just those recently acquired. And we should not create false paradigms that differentiate between that were acquired through investments, those acquired as payment for the use of capital, or those handed down through generations from the King.

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Filed under American Governance, American Politics, Capitalism, Federal Budget, Full Employment, Jobs, U.S. Tax Policy

Disability Has Decreased Our Unemployment from 10.2% to 7.5%!

Cumulative Foodstamp Disability vs Jobs

Unemployment exploded from 4.7% in 2007 to a high of 10.2% in 2009 before falling to 7.5% this month. Our government would have us believe that America is slowly on its way to fixing its joblessness problem. Yet, between 2009 and now, the percentage of Americans working has actually dropped from 59.8% to 58.5%!

Down from 63.7% before the economic implosion, 58.5% is the real number the government is touting as job improvement when our joblessness is actually worsening. If you think the way the U.S. government represents joblessness figures is purposely confusing, raise your hands.

Let’s break it down….

Since 2009, the U.S. population has grown 10 million from 305 to 315 million people. The number of working age people grew by 10 million during that time to 245 million people.

Multiplying 305 by 59.8% and 315 by 58.5%, the economy added 3 million jobs, not enough to keep up with population growth. So far, so good….

But if unemployed people dropped from 10.2 to 7.5% during that same time even though the percent of people working did not increase, what happened to this 2.7%, or 5.5 million people?

Well, states smartly put 4.7 million people on disability. States pay for welfare but the federal government pays for disability. So, at a cost of $2,500 per worker, states have geared up to pay private companies to dubiously transfer people that would have been on welfare to federal disability. Historically, 99% of people added to disability never leave it. The remaining unemployed have been absorbed by the welfare system.

Before anyone stands up to bash the current administration for obscuring how bad our economy really is, kindly settle your tushes back down and listen. This disability scheme has certainly been used as a buffer for the economic implosion, but it is not new to this administration. Since China opened its doors in 1979, our disability ranks have swelled from 2.3% of our workforce to 6.1%.

This is a hidden cost of owners of capital investing in jobs overseas. This is a hidden cost of Detroit’s economic policies. Unemployment is getting WORSE, NOT BETTER! MORE people are idle, NOT LESS! The economic implosion created a nation of disabled. If a broken spirit is a disability, perhaps the numbers don’t lie.

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Filed under American Governance, Economic Crisis, Federal Budget, Full Employment, Jobs

Viva la Revolucion! (A Sarcastic Rant)

sequestration-aWith all the rhetoric running up to the Sequestraton, I am now 100% in favor of letting it hit. Bring it on. Let the revolution begin. Let the American people see how dysfunctional our government has become.

Let the agencies protect their own and cut their budgets in ways to forego their responsibilities. Would you cut 3% from your household budget this way? Hmm, gotta cut 3%, let’s let our children starve. We are witnessing the biggest scam played on the American people of my lifetime.

Let the revolution begin. The revolution will start with a flood of letters to Congress and marches in the streets. The revolution will display nightly news flashes of pain and suffering when agencies act out orders from above to hurt the most vulnerable with their budget cuts.

The revolution will occur when no one sees any real problems if government bureaucrats do their jobs properly. Then the people will demand more cuts. One way or another, the revolution will begin.

We have now heard from Border Patrol who isn’t getting quite the raise they expected because of sequestration so they are going to let all the illegal aliens that have been detained because of criminal activities onto the streets. Hey you know what, we can save a bundle by letting out all the mass murderers too!!!

Yep, beginning March 1, if we don’t give the FAA what they want, they are going to shut down the largest airports. In fact, they are going to make your school children press license plates instead of learning algebra.
The FDA says if you cut our budget 2.4%, we are going to send out our inspectors and close the food plants. Your grocery stores are going to have their meat shelves emptied. Go, run, hoard the meat!!!!! This is the biggest farce of the 21st century.

Will the chaos of the sequestration cause a recession? It just might. Not because of the total net dollar amount of the cut but because of the way its being managed and the hype that will occur as a result. Who will be hit by this politically? Both parties of course…the mud will fly all around us…..

In 2014, when Obama’s second term legacy is taken from him by this fiasco, the question will still be who is going to finally focus on jobs. It is up for grabs but the Republicans are so disorganized and leaderless, they could suffer major losses if they don’t finally figure out the real issue for the past four years, jobs.

No more should Americans have to hear America is the land of opportunity where you go out and risk it all like we did as “we built it ourselves”. This slogan is one of hope in a growing economy but one of selfishness in a failing one.

Most Americans are employees. They choose to work for others because they are not risk takers. They will give you their all in return for an honest wage. What Americans want is a working economy. But more importantly, they want a job now. It isn’t hard to give it to them. It isn’t costly if done right.

I am dismayed by O’Reilly’s and Limbaugh’s complete misunderstanding of the world as the middle class knows it. They say that Americans are entitlement zombies and that Americans are now very selfish. Are they kidding?

Middle class Americans are the most generous people I know. Even jobless, they will share what they have with others. The Republican paradigm must shift to understand that selfishness is trickle out. Selfishness is letting the economy collapse and letting millions lose their jobs and homes because of credit acceleration and contraction.

So let Sequestration hit. Whether the sky falls or it doesn’t, this puny cut will spawn such a fierce debate, we may actually get politicians cornered. But Congress is juvenile. The sequestration is the Congressional smokescreen to let another year go by without having to fix the real economy. In the mean time, interest rates will go up and be blamed as the scapegoat on the sequestration. Inflation will rise significantly as well, helping to dig the banks finally out of their pits of debt.

By then, the budget deficits will be so large that we will look back on this battle as child’s play, unless real debate and solutions are attempted beforehand.

Viva la Revolucion!

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Filed under American Politics, Bureaucracy, Federal Budget

Float Reality for Just a Moment…… Could America be in an Extremist Bubble? (Revised)

Have you ever taken a jigsaw puzzle down from the closet on a rainy day and worked on its 1,000 pieces to completion? Ever stare at the puzzle that you have worked on for hours, only to find it is missing one important piece right in the middle of the puzzle? That missing puzzle piece might tempt you to insanity, first looking incessantly around the table, and then in the box, and in the closet where you kept the box, and in the garage where you originally stored the box before putting it the closet prior to bringing it out one rainy afternoon to spend hours working on the puzzle before realizing that one piece was missing!

To many, the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements are frustrating puzzles with missing pieces. Some aggravatingly wonder why the Tea Party holds to their pledge of less government spending and taxes and why they are so willing to let America lunge over the cliff like a herd of possessed swine as they hold fast to their quest. It leads many to believe that Tea Partiers are just right wing ideologues blindly doing the bidding of globalist capitalists. Others question why Occupy Wall Streeters kept fluttering their fingers in free form street democracy even after authorities shut down their camps. They sensed that Occupiers were whiny idealists disrupting Middle America, following like sheep the directives of international Anarchists and Marxists who intend to destroy the capitalist foundations of America.

Many in America view these movements as extremist. But letting reality drift for a moment, what we found that these movements were actually Centrists and that America was the extreme one? If America were extreme, then under this remote scenario at least one of these two groups could actually be Centrist. If that were so, and if America could be tolerant for a moment, we might find that these movements were not irritating puzzles with missing pieces after all. We might conclude that they were truly two of the missing puzzle pieces that we are seeking in the midst of crisis, and that they were actually patriots trying to cajole America back to Centrism.

But many Americans don’t trust at least one of these movements for good reason. Those aggravated by the Tea Party surmise that it has accepted, as part of its platform, a globalist agenda that obfuscates itself in a cloak of Patriotism. Globalists solder Constitutional words like freedom onto words like trade so that the resulting power of the phrase “free trade” confuses America from a more prosperous course. Those annoyed by the Occupiers surmise that the Occupiers are influenced by Marxists who blame capitalism for harming America instead of the abuse of capitalism that has actually done the damage. However, if America paused for a moment to see that both movements were growing beyond their Globalist and Marxist roots, could we not find that they both have salient messages that could help turn-around America’s drifting course?

For the moment, let’s assume that both Occupy Wall Streeters and the Tea Party are solidly Centrist. Each appears extreme to some in America, so that is a difficult assumption. But if we suppose that America has indeed veered into extreme territory then we could imagine that they appear extreme because of America’s drift. Suppose that the bell curve of Western culture has shifted so far from true Centrism that America now stands on shifting sands of extreme change. If this were true, then America could perceive these two movements that might be chanting their centrist warnings from the terra firma, as if they are extremists spouting extremities, when in actuality they are not. If this were true, then America’s perception of itself being Centrist could also be quite extreme.

The following example might shed light on the pretense that America could already be extreme. As housing prices skyrocketed during the first half of the decade, their relative prices compared similarly. As prices shot into the stratosphere like a runaway freight train, mid priced homes continued to price in the middle of the mayhem, perhaps Centrist if you will. We now know however that what appeared as moderately Centrist home prices were actually quite radically priced.

Yet, while many Americans entered the house flipping craze, a few held steady mortgages for years. They did not refinance to meet material wants and they lived within their long term means. Many at the time viewed their peculiar steadfastness as ultra conservative. Yet we now know that they were only conservative through the lens of America’s momentary lapse of judgment. They were in fact true Centrists by historical terra firma standards.

If one example of misinterpreted centrism exists, might there be others? When a tsunami slams the shore, it forever rips the landscape from its modest history into a extreme future. The two World Wars of the 20th century that swept 80 million people off the face of the earth was a social tsunami. In its deadly wake, America produced Boomer Babies that disrupted the balance of everything in their path. Some would say that this Baby Boom tsunami swept America’s culture to extremes in unobservable slow motion, except to those who deliberately paused to reflect how Boomers ripped the world from its foundation.

If the two Great War tsunamis that destroyed 80 million souls and the subsequent tidal wave of Baby Boomers did in fact violently sweep America off its centrist foundation, perhaps the view from our shifted reality is now not Centrist at all, but instead radical. We tend to think of progress as forward motion. Any reversion of progress to a former era is viewed as radical. However, if we are really already radical, then placing America’s path back on the centrist foundation it would have had been on if not for our Baby Boomer tsunami should not be labeled as a radical reversion but rather as a righting of our true Centrist progression.

History shows that America did not return to our stable, pre-WWII Centrist path after the war. In fact, an objective examination of history would show that our entire generation embarked on a path that could in objective hindsight only be labeled as extremist, whether observed through the prism of either the conservatives or the progressives. If we are to find a way back to a growing and secure future in America, it is now time to honestly reflect on our history. That reflection might conclude that America did get caught up in a tsunami of extremism.

Our first post-war extremist thrust by both conservatives and progressives was to barrel down the path of building a military greater than all other nations combined. After WWII, America determined that an overwhelming military, more powerful than had ever existed before, was the correct measured response to the 20th century’s industrial unleashing of mankind’s destructive nature that had twice swarmed its deadly will. Our obsession with military superiority imbedded itself into our culture of defense and created a partially planned economy in America centered on our military complex. In the process of creating this modern dynasty of protection, our collective extremism sacrificed our economy to stave off the inevitability of man’s destruction.

We then recklessly spent our children’s future hoping not only to prevent the war that might otherwise end humanity, but also hoping to end poverty and oppression. After decades of budget increases, we were able to provide our poor with material consumption that made them wealthier than 85 percent of the rest of the world, but at what cost? Our national debt is now over 100 percent of our GDP. A centrist review of America’s deficit spending would have to conclude that we have not been Centrist in our spending.

Our extremism was not confined to the military and the Great Society. Baby Boomers also naively lived in the moment without securing our retirement. We now have a crisis over the empty coffers of Social Security and Medicare but we knew for decades it would come because America’s Baby Boomer generation chose not to save even knowing doing so would end in crisis. Was it not extremist to plan to bankrupt our children, forcing them to enjoy only half of our materialism so that we could consume half of their future? This extremist denial of responsibility to pay for our own military and Great Society excesses glaringly contradicted our perception that we were centrist champions of social equity.

Our generation spent our children’s’ future to extend the great society, to stave off Armageddon, and to enjoy the fruits of our parent’s frugality. Having forsaken our foundation of Centrism by indenturing future generations to pay for our excesses, how could we judge others who found it acceptable to gut America of jobs and factories, or who built banking Ponzis that indebted Americans to feed our capital to China. Who were we to judge when the Federal Reserve shook down other nations to fund our excesses or when the two reigning parties of Congress sold their souls to secure continuing re-elections.

With such moral ambiguity, we became trapped in relativism. Our nation was then unchained from any semblance of fiscal restraint and was free to drift toward a new norm of extremism, one in which we could argue amongst each other the relative turpitude of our choices while at the same time viewing our own progressive or conservative ideas as Centrist. In this drift toward a conscious denial of extremism, there were too few of our generation that publicly warned America for having been as extreme as posterity will most undoubtedly judge us to have been.

Finally in desperation, Tea Partiers exclaimed that this nation had drifted so far from its original moorings that they had to stand up to America’s extremism. Aghast, America bemoaned this movement’s presumption of claiming they were the purveyors of True North. Yet, if America has drifted into extremism, then the Tea Partiers actually were most clearly viewing our danger, and should be regarded as heroes for having identified our nation’s drift before it destroyed us.

Some claim that the Tea Party’s adoption of Globalist ideas has kept it from winning over America to reverse our joblessness, a symptom of our excess. Even though their keen observation of our extremist drift did help to fight the expansion of our extreme Federal budget deficit, it did not give them the ability to see all excesses and to find a way to bring America back fully to Centrism. As such, the Wall Street Occupiers have emerged to help identify a possible course correction, and I suspect other movements will emerge as well.

America is annoyed by these two movements’ persistence, almost like an alcoholic would be annoyed by an intervention. Yet intolerantly scapegoating these movements will not change the fact that we are floating on debris of relative progress. However, if our entire Baby Boomer generation is “the bubble” and all of these economic bubbles that were and that are unfortunately imminently yet to come, are just exacerbations of our true bubble, then our Baby Boomer bubble must, as all bubbles do, return to its point of trend origin so that the world can begin again its balanced progression.
We can continue to argue in the extreme that housing prices should remain high but they will not. We can argue in the extreme that the stock market should stay inflated but it will return to its historical trend. We can argue that our national budget should continue artificially bloated to fund our Baby Boomer experiments of the war on poverty and a military to end all wars but it cannot. A few of our elite will continue to argue that unemployment will have to drift sideways for years to come, but it cannot. Instead America will drift back to what can be funded by the normal and Centrist progression of tomorrow’s workers and we will once again find our Centrist path.

We can continue our disdain for the “extremists” of our country, yet they are the Centrists of True North and we are unfortunately the extremists. To disdain ourselves would be unhealthy and thus we must return to a path of Centrism. Our nation was thrown excessively off course by world events and our Centrist Tea Party pointed out our excesses. Our Centrist Occupiers are searching for a way back to a Centrist capitalist democracy. Can we, having taken this journey of disorientation, now find our way back to true Centrism as well?

Inevitably, we will revert to the world’s centrist progression whether through the relative comfort of a blazoned and enlightened trail of American determination or through the precipitous fall of continued denial leading to economic implosion. However, the sooner we stop pointing fingers at our skewed perception of each other’s extremism and begin pulling our collective weight toward our historic and future Centrist progression, the sooner we will begin our nation’s reorientation to True North and the sooner we can begin our recovery.

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Filed under American Governance, Federal Budget, Federal Reservre, Foreign Policy, Social Media Democracy, social trajectory, War, World Sustainability

The U.S. Senate Must Empty the Stench of Its Chamber’s Pot

Increasingly, our “do-nothing” Congress is seen as the impediment to America’s recovery, but is this a fair assessment? Some say that more specifically the Senate, a chamber intended for elites to represent other elites, is out of touch with Middle America and is the “real” representative chasm. The Senate voted 235 times in 2011, hardly do nothing. Yet when compared to the previous 6 years in which the Senate voted an average 334 times, 42 percent more, something seems amiss. So I investigated.

After finding that 80% of major legislation was filibustered in the Senate, I hoped I would not find a stench in the chamber pot of the Senate’s chamber. Yet a review of 2011 Senate votes was more stinky than I imagined. Filibustering and procedure that stalled to a mere 235 votes had reached limits of credulity. For instance, cloture, a seldom used historical tool now was common place. With votes to proceed and to table, 77 votes were cast in 2011, a full third of the votes.

After 2005, when the use of the nuclear option was threatened and the Senate feared losing its filibuster toy, voting to confirm judges has become much more procedural. All 44 of the 235 votes cast for judges confirmed them. Include these to other procedural votes and a majority of 2011 votes, 52% were cast. Add 9% more votes cast for appropriations bills that many Senators did not read, and 61% of the votes were a foregone conclusion.

Some have accused the Senate of being in the pocket of big business, and not to disappoint, both parties voted for international business 43 times, an additional 18% of votes, on such interests as trade bills, IRS rules, patent reform, wage restrictions, currency exchange rate oversight and military non-appropriations bills like the sale of military equipment to Taiwan and the extension of the Patriot Act. So if we include Senate rules, votes on judges, spending appropriations and big business, these measures were 80% of Senate votes in 2011.

So what did this “do-nothing” Senate spend its remaining 47 votes accomplishing? Included in these remaining votes were 12 non-appropriations bills that passed the Senate floor. Of these, 4 were trade bills that the Senate claimed would produce jobs but by historical accounts will continue to gut America. 2 bills repealed previous impositions on business including a government withholding of vendor payments and IRS reporting rules. 2 bills extended previous bills including the Patriot Act. Of course, the ability to detain American citizens indefinitely was slipped in there somewhere.

That left 4 remaining 2011 bills that had any hope of meeting the most urgent needs of America. Did the Senate have a pulse on what could fix our slide into a jobless stagnation? Did they bring to the floor those bills that could create a better future for our children? What were the pressing needs that America’s Senate felt were the most important? Apparently the Senate thought they were patent reform, alignment of misaligned currency, modernizing air traffic control, and reducing the executive positions requiring Senate approval.

I was sure that critically important jobs bills would have made it to the floor of the U.S. Senate in 2011. Two motions to proceed on jobs bills were in fact voted on but were rejected outright. Also, one jobs amendment made it to a vote but failed to win a majority.

My analysis did not shine a favorable light on this esteemed chamber of our legislature. Perhaps all in Congress will analyze their poor 2011 performance for themselves and make a new year’s resolution to hear the call of America prior to the 2012 elections. Alas when they do not, America must resolve to listen to our own voices and to vote in a new Congress.

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Filed under American Governance, American Politics, Federal Budget, Jobs, Multinational Corporations

The Solution is Relatively Simple if The Will is Relatively Strong

Without extraneous noise from various American factions over the past thirty years, the logic for how America fell into this economic mess is relatively straight forward. The reasons why previously tried and currently proposed solutions will not work are equally as coherent. A solution for digging America quickly out of the circular predicament we are in is relatively straightforward. What is not straight forward is the gerrymandered path through Congress to do what is needed on behalf of the American People. What follows are general truths (although each has exceptions to the rule). See if you agree.

What do we know?

• The Western World’s banks lent to both businesses and consumers beyond historically safe levels for three decades. As a result:

oThe West is now bloated with excess private debt
o The economy is struggling to pay debt loads and default rates are high
o Debt repayment has absorbed discretionary revenues that would otherwise be invested into a growing economy

• America used excessive bank credit to spend beyond its means for the past three decades. As a result:

o Money was available to fund speculative bubbles. Higher bubble values in turn made more money available to spend on consumer needs during the bubble rises
o Investment and housing bubbles propped up 15 million jobs beyond what the underlying economy would have otherwise if America simply spent within our means
o As real economy jobs transferred to the East, America’s underlying weakening economy was hidden by our continued excess spending

• America’s Federal Government borrowed to pay for welfare and warfare for four decades. As a result:

o America’s public debt grew to 100% of GDP, a level that could absorb all public discretionary spending if interest rates rise, spending that would otherwise assist a growing economy
o Further increases in Federal debt could result in America’s credit rating being lowered which in turn could force higher interest rates

• The rubber band of excess spending could only stretch to finite limits. As a result:

o When the limit was finally reached, Banks knew first and moved quickly to protect themselves from what they knew would be a free fall by closing credit lines, charging exorbitant rates on outstanding credit debt, and stopping lending even to credit worthy consumers
o Without access to consumer credit to cover the shortfall between incomes and housing debt, consumer demand stalled
o Without access to credit, the housing bubble popped and housing prices freefell
o To make ends meet, consumers cannibalized financial investments and investment prices fell
o Within a very few years, much of America’s housing and commercial real estate debt far exceeded the value of underlying properties

• With the collapse of housing values and credit, the plug was pulled on the artificial engine of growth. As a result:

o Consumer demand contracted
o Demand for labor then contracted and jobs were lost
o Federal tax revenues contracted as unemployment rose
o Lower housing values reduced state and local tax revenues

• State governments that required balanced budgets and local governments, dependent on housing tax revenues were rescued initially by Federal stimulus dollars. As a result:

o State and local governments failed to react quickly and responsibly to a permanently lowered tax base.
o Many states and municipal governments came perilously close to default

• American multinational businesses were buoyed by Asian GDP growth but our domestic businesses were hammered by a weakened domestic economy. As a result:

o Multinational businesses secured substantial cash balances but withheld investing over concerns of the world’s teetering economy
o Domestic businesses shrank with the contracting economy, lost access to credit, and laid off employees to survive.

How does America wish to respond to the crisis?

Republicans want to:

• Protect military spending
• Recover through less government spending, lower taxes, and less regulations


o Even without cutting taxes, balancing the federal budget will require cutting 43 cents of every dollar the federal government now spends
o Military spending and its hidden ancillary spending cost a third of the federal budget. Without drastic cuts to military expenditures as well as all other federal expenditures, the federal budget cannot be balanced.
o If we do not curb deficit spending to quickly achieve a balanced budget, America’s interest rates will rise and cut off federal discretionary priorities
o Lowering taxes without cuts in government spending that offset not only the tax cuts but the extreme deficits now in place would exacerbate an already dangerous interest rate precipice

Compromise issues:
o Government spending is steadily increasing. Government spending increases and not just rate reductions in increases must be reversed.
o While lower taxes are one way to provide the private sector additional revenue for growth, it is not the only way. The private sector can acquire investment capital by other means if credit can be accessed.

Democrats want to:

• Increase social programs, secure social agencies, and protect entitlements
• Recover through stimulus spending and supporting state and local budgets
• Increase taxes on the wealthy to pay for social programs


o Even without reducing government spending, federal taxes would have to increase 75 percent across the board to balance the budget
o The United States could not spend enough to stimulate the entire world’s demand in order to recover from a worldwide monetary implosion. Thus far, $2 trillion in stimulus spending and $15 trillion in loans has budged the world’s economy little and has had no multiplicative effect.
o It is evident that the economy will not recover enough to offset stimulus spending with increased tax revenues. Therefore, stimulus will further exacerbate the federal debt and invites a faster debt rating reduction and higher interest rates

Compromise issues:
o To balance the budget, social welfare spending must be reduced, along with all other budget line items, to much less than America spends today
o To at least maintain America’s middle class standard of living, GDP growth must keep up with population growth. GDP growth must be supported by investment capital. Congress must either redistribute Federal spending to support higher private sector productivity, lower taxes to free up private sector investment capital, or entice business to invest domestically by creating a better business environment

America’s unemployed and underemployed want to:

• Find productive employment
• Gain access to credit
• Reduce their debt payments
• Eliminate their housing bubble debt overhang
• Regain savings for retirement


o Jobs will not become available until businesses begin to rehire
o Businesses will not begin to rehire until the economy improves
o The economy will not improve until consumers increase purchases
o Consumers will not increase purchases unless they can pay existing debts and have enough left to increase discretionary purchases
o Consumers will not have additional funds without increasing incomes, repairing credit ratings, and gaining access to more credit
o Consumers cannot increase incomes unless the 25 million un-or-under employed gain employment, cannot repair credit ratings without increasing income, and cannot gain access to more credit without repairing credit ratings
o Consumers cannot gain employment until businesses begin to rehire
o And thus the circular argument of an imploded monetary economy………….

Compromise issues:

o In an imploded economy, consumer demand and business supply cannot be corrected in isolation, but must be repaired simultaneously.
o Democrats tried to fix both consumer demand and business supply through artificial government stimulus, but it was not large enough or economically diverse enough to reignite the economy, and it did not attempt to simultaneously correct the underlying debt and credit issues that also must be repaired in tandem for an imploded economy correction to adhere and affect a turnaround.
o To create enough turnaround friction, stimulus must bubble up from the economy wide full employment, improved credit ratings, and access to both consumer and business credit. Government cannot possibly spread stimulus broad enough or create a large enough stimulus through spending programs alone
o Republicans have offered to correct the economy by creating a better business environment through lower taxes, fewer regulations, and multinational businesses incentives. However, the Republican plan for reigniting the economy only addresses methods for attracting capital back to the United States, hoping to make the U.S. a better alternative for multinational corporations to spend capital than elsewhere. Yet multinational businesses are not spending their capital anywhere and will not until the global consumer demand improves. And at this time, Republicans are not offering any solutions to improve the global business environment.

A viable turnaround solution requires that:

• All able Americans immediately return to work
• U.S. consumers are freed from the weight of housing debt overhang and credit ratings that were damaged by the worldwide monetary implosion
• The dollar is uncoupled from attempting to stimulate the entire Western world.
• Multinational Corporations be enticed to bring investment capital into an economy that has already begun its turnaround
• Federal, state, and local governments not be allowed to skim needed growth capital out of a delicately growing economy

One viable solution includes:

• Job voucher plan to employ all able Americans immediately

• Equity for debt swap to remove excess housing debt

• Credit amnesty program to quickly repair business and consumer credit

• Modified Republican multinational incentives that entice domestic investment without giving carte blanche tax holiday and that does not entice further foreign domestic investment

• Republicans and Democrats do the heavy lifting of deciding together which programs will be cut, how to best run the military with a much reduced budget, how to extend the life of entitlements with a much reduced budget, and how to reduce Congress’s incentive to hold to a balanced budget.

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Filed under American Governance, American Politics, Federal Budget, Jobs, Multinational Corporations, National Security, U.S. Monetary Policy, U.S. Tax Policy

America’s Economy Can be Re-ignited Like a Boy Scout Fire

They say militaries inevitably prepare to fight their previous epic battles, sometimes lacking an understanding of how geopolitics and progressing cultures change the dynamics of the next war. If sophisticated, strategically centralized military planners continue to find themselves flat footed entering new wars, it should come as no surprise to find that Washington, as designed by our Constitution to be at battle with itself and the states, is utterly unprepared to execute war on our unprecedented flailing economy. By continuing to battle this historic monetary implosion as if it were a really big version of previous recessions, Washington has not only failed to aid the job recovery of our economy, it has actually dug an even deeper economic hole and has obtusely bludgeoned the American people for failing to crawl out from it.

This economy is neither a periodic mismatch between demand and supply as in previous recessions or a simple absence of demand that can be fixed by additional stimulus, low interest rates, or even lower taxes and regulations. Therefore, both the antiquated prescriptions being followed by this administration and the prescriptions of a bygone era being proposed by the Republican Party to win the confidence of the American people in 2012 will not fix our economy but will instead mire us in additional debt and will continue to sputter the economy to false starts and dismal failures.

If only those that would lead our country had been Boy Scouts! Boy Scouts practice their motto of “Be Prepared”, learning important skills of survival such as how to start a fire. As a lad, I was sent by my troop to endure a three day ordeal of survival before induction into the Order of the Arrow. The first night, I was given a match, a raw egg, a canteen of water, and a sleeping bag and sent into the wilderness. Because the night had turned frigid, my first order of business was to build a lean-to and to create the life saving warmth of a fire.

Now with only one match, it is critical to be prepared. Scouts first learn the basics that fire requires more than one match to burn. It needs additional heat, fuel and oxygen. After being taught the simple basics, Scouts delve into the intricacies of one match flame ignition. First, the Scout must find a sturdy, dry and protected environment that will be the base of the fire. The heat from the match must be ready to then ignite delicate kindling such as the under bark of a dead, dry tree. This delicate kindling must be given additional small twigs that snap at the touch. The gently resulting flames must have ample air yet be protected from erratic winds.

The Scout must be prepared to feed the fire with larger twigs at a rate that expands the reach of the flames without burning out rapidly and without smothering passageways of air that will support the nascent combustion. Afterword comes the traditional stacking of small limbs that keep the heat of the flame close yet that forces the aspiration of fuel and air into the mixture. Finally, the logs that will sustain the flame are placed strategically so that a majority of the logs will sense the flames flickering around them and will support air rushing in underneath to stoke the fire’s growth.

If the Scout is to be successful with just one match, he must be prepared to simultaneously manage all aspects of the fire’s preparation, lighting and combustion, and he must be ready to feed the fire once it bellows its life giving heat. The lighting of our nation’s economy is something akin to a Boy Scout’s preparation, lighting, and combustion of a Scout fire. If the manager’s of our economy’s restructuring do not ensure that all required aspects of an economic re-start are present and well dispersed to intricately interact with all its elements, the economy’s new flame will surely sputter like that of an unprepared campfire starter.

Just like the fire must have the proper balance of all three elements of combustion, heat, fuel and air to burn brightly, the re-lighting of the economy must have all three of its critical elements; sustainable debt, sufficient credit, and decentralized demand in simultaneous and sufficient quantities. When the match of economic stimulus is applied to the economy to light new jobs, if new workers are drowning in debt, their new incomes will simply support existing debts and will not spur economic growth.

Even if new workers’ incomes are sufficient to both pay their debt load and to increase additional demand, the impact of stimulus will be muted if their existing credit ratings will not allow them to take on additional debt, thereby increasing America’s money supply and expanding the economy. For any economic plan to be successful at re-flaming the economy, not only must stimulus be applied but our nation’s overhanging housing debt must be immediately reduced and our business and consumer credit must be immediately repaired.

However essential these basic elements of economic recovery are to restarting the economy, just like the Boy Scout fire, their application must be intricately and simultaneously intertwined to affect a delicate combustion from just one match of stimulus. America’s stimulus must flow through the dry, ignitable kindling of the domestic economy and be carefully protected from the erratic winds of globalization. The nation’s housing debt load must be swapped with bank equity to stack small limbs of economic growth near the economy’s fire base. Damaged credit ratings must be given amnesty to expose the limbs to economic oxygen. And our nation’s unemployed must be dispersed throughout the domestic small business economy through job vouchers to intricately mix the decentralized combustible fuel of demand with the oxygen of new credit and the heat of new debt capacity.

Just like the fire must be ready to accept additional limbs to grow its flames, the economy must be ready to respond to the initial turnaround with a growth oriented, business friendly, economic environment. Re-investment of offshore and captive capital into the domestic economy must be incentivized. A fair and consistent internationally competitive footing must be created so that businesses that combust in the early stages of economic recovery will be fed the competitive fuel to thrive in America through measures such as tax and regulatory reform, resizing of government debt load, investment in business infrastructure and modernized education.

Finally, a Boy Scout learns that a fire must be continuously attended, stoked, fueled and protected from the elements if it is to continue to provide life sustaining heat. Our nation has left its economic fire unattended for too long and must resolve to carry on the tradition of Scouting if we are to thrive once again. America should adopt the Boy Scouts’ motto and “Be prepared”.

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Congress’s FEMA Fight Should Not Forego Federal Recovery Funding

Americans have not yet recovered from Congress’s brinksmanship over the debt ceiling. We thought we might escape a repeat until November 23rd when the super-committee must present its recommendations for budget cuts to be voted up or down. However, the harrowing Congressional votes of August 2nd only raised the debt ceiling. Now Congress must vote prior to October 1st for a continuing resolution to keep funding our government that has not passed a budget since April of 2009. This round of votes is guaranteed to include fights for additional agency funding reductions.

This deadline crisis budget reduction battle is the external discipline that has been chosen to force a divided Congress through small, painful steps toward achieving a balanced budget. America will need to grow thick skin as we endure the coming months while Congress whittles slivers from a bulging budget that must shrink an unbelievable 43 percent. Last week, Congress attempted to whittle a tiny sliver, $1.6 billion or 0.04 percent, from the $3.6 trillion dollar federal budget. The choice offered for vote was to supply an additional $1 billion in disaster recovery funds to FEMA only if the funds are offset by removing a portion of an auto industry loan program from the federal budget, a curiously political tradeoff.

Because FEMA’s funding will run out today without a compromise, funding for emergencies has once again become a battlefield of political partisanship. FEMA’s deadline will be used to elicit crisis compromises from a divided Congress. Even if we don’t question why Congress needs external triggers to reduce their budget, should we at least question the appropriateness of placing our nation’s emergency preparedness squarely in the middle of brinksmanship negotiations?

Congress’s trawling for deadlines caught this year’s FEMA recovery efforts in its nets and may continue to do so for years because our nation’s economy is in crisis, our federal budgets will be reduced, and our budget battles are now locked in forced deadline negotiations. Until a balanced budget is reached, funding for FEMA, HHS, DOD, the VA and other departments tasked with disaster response, will continually face budget cuts. America’s monetary collapse and lack of political unity on how to correct it suggests that budget uncertainty will get much worse before it improves.

Yet our nation cannot afford such budget uncertainty for emergency preparedness, response and recovery. Even as federal funding for emergencies is being threatened, our country is experiencing a surging escalation of emergencies and an increasing financial impact from such emergencies. We know that to leap frog our current federal capability we will need a more certain source of funding. Japan’s insufficient tsunami response from what many perceive as the world’s most prepared nation is a beacon for what will be required here in America.

Congress’s FEMA funding debate should serve notice to our nation’s leaders of emergency agencies that America’s disaster preparedness, response, and recovery must now find funding outside the political arena. Now is the time to press for secure funding outside of Congressional mandates directly from potential users of mass disaster emergency services. Funding should come from current users of EMS services, hospital beds, nursing and other facilities through mandated per bed use fees or other means to support ongoing preparation, response and recovery efforts.

America should have disaster response and recovery insurance that is also capable of funding the steady preparation efforts of our industry, and it should not be subject to the ups and downs of politics. Our national emergency insurance, perhaps through CMS, should instead fund the steady hand of a disciplined multiyear, forward looking process that can be counted on by the American People when disaster strikes, no matter the political processes of our time.

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Without Economic Security, America Has No National Security

A corporation’s mission is to provide profit to their shareholders. Other stakeholders must be satisfied so that they support the corporation, yet America has no law against maximizing profit to the detriment of other stakeholders.

When China opened its doors after 150 years and created special economic zones in which American companies could set up shop as long as they brought their trade secrets and intellectual capital, 40,000 did just that without reprisal from the United States. It certainly was not illegal to do so, and of course, the American consumer was rewarded with somewhat lower prices.

Another stakeholder, Congress, got enormous campaign contributions by China bound corporations, and there certainly isn’t a law against that. In fact, America turns a blind eye to average senate races costing 10 million dollars that have been paid for by our corporations and banks, more than 90 percent of campaign donations. We do not fault our Congress for passing laws to help their corporate constituents nor do we fault our Supreme Court, whose recent ruling on Citizens United gave corporations the unique status of having citizen rights without citizen responsibilities.

By paying the $150 dollar fee to become a corporation, businesses gain property rights that are sacrosanct in America. Corporations can sell property even if it harms others, in most cases. In a very few, such as that is being raised with GE, when a corporation attempts to sell a trade secret or intellectual property that could put our fighting men and women in harm’s way, we stop the sale in the interests of national security. But when 40,000 companies took their intellectual property to China, America did not claim national security.

And why would we have when the China gold rush began in 1979? Our industrial belt had been rusted by international competition and we were told that globalization would bring millions of jobs to America. It did but it took tens of millions more away. We were also told that imported goods would be cheaper than American ones and they are. But the cost of lost jobs, lost wages, less taxes, fewer factories, transferred intellectual property, future GDP growth, trade imbalances, and greater interest on trillions of borrowed debt was way costlier than the savings from Chinese trinkets.

By moving millions of jobs off shore, we gutted regions of collaborating industries like Detroit, Youngstown and Pittsburgh, whose workers, engineers, scientists, and businessmen intermingled to create next generation developments that would grow America’s future prosperity. But can we fault our corporations just because their collective actions cost America millions of future jobs and GDP? No, we cannot for our laws do not even suggest that American corporations should consider our citizenry as stakeholders. And in 2011, America has not yet even considered that our economic security is directly tied to our national security.

Without yet considering how we will support a future war of attrition without domestic factories, our nation has not yet debated our financial security. America now has bulged her budget to 3.4 trillion dollar budget yet collects only 2.2 trillion in federal taxes. We are forced to borrow from the Chinese the very dollars we give them for their trinkets, while keeping 30 million of our citizens underemployed. Our credit rating has finally been lowered because of this folly, and now our Congress is faced with making deep cuts to our budget which may include substantially reducing our military capability.

We have not connected our past decisions to allow our corporations to give millions of intellectual properties to the Chinese in trade for access to their markets and to their cheap labor to our national security. Yet these decisions have in fact lessened our national security, because without economic security, we have no national security.

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America’s Future Building Block #5 – Radically Revise America’s Debt and Equity Policies

Strange how what might once have seemed a drastic measure, such as quantitative easing that by all accounts was historic in its reach, can appear tame when compared to the revolutionary measures that will be soon be contemplated if we are unable to reverse America’s fortune. Strange how what will be proposed next in this post might also seem revolutionary, except when compared to the much more drastic measures that will be proposed by others if what is recommended here is not implemented and America continues to accelerate its downward drift.

What has become increasingly clear is that Americans will not consume our way out of our most severe business contraction since the Great Depression. If we are to reverse course, we must produce our way out of our demise. Our GDP must increase, and in so doing, our increased production must provide all Americans the ability to work for each other and for the world on behalf of our country’s future.

What is also clear is that our attempt to centrally increase production through quantitative easing failed to spark a resurgence of economic growth. Our next great attempt must not be allowed to repeat replenishment of the world’s bank’s balance sheets or to repeat grand government sponsored projects that take too long to trickle down to the rest of the economy and that lack the traction to jump start our economy. If the ill fated quantitative easing experiment could not reverse our contagion, our next attempt must instead be distributed throughout the economy to kindle millions of micro-investment opportunities that will nurture sustainable growth.

To distributively spur GDP growth, America must provide a broad swath of domestic equity and debt capacity that can be invested by millions of Americans in countless avenues of productive capacity. By creating the monetary environment that allows our nation’s pent up innovations to take root, we can put all Americans to work on the highest and best domestic priorities for growing our economy. Yet our current government policies are producing just the opposite effect. During this global recession, while allowing the Federal Reserve to ferociously pursue Keynesian limits, we have supported policies that both diverted and consumed domestic equity while at the same time destroying domestic debt capacity. These policies must now be dramatically reversed.

Our equity policies must be reversed. Rather than encouraging growth of equity to keep pace with our country’s productive growth needs, we have pursued policies that chase equity away to other countries by increasing the cost of doing business in America through regulatory, structural, and labor costs. Of the equity that is left, we have pursued policies to capture much through estate taxes, capital gains taxes and corporate profit taxes to pay for our grotesquely bloating government budgets. Without growth capital, we cannot grow.

Our debt capacity policies must be reversed. Rather than aggressively pursuing policies to stem the damage from our real estate bubble, we instead are allowing our real estate equity bubble to slowly deflate, increasing the nation’s housing debt overhang approximately 10 trillion dollars. We are further pursuing policies to clear this overhang through aggressive foreclosures and bankruptcies of millions of Americans that destroys debt capacity in two ways. First, much of the debt that is not purged through bankruptcy is just transferred from housing debt to liens on the debtors’ future earnings. Secondly, the credit ratings of the debtors are damaged, shrinking their ability to assume new debt. Without new debt capacity to both absorb the old debt capacity lost and to add to new equity, America cannot increase its GDP and jobs.

Either through historical ignorance, or worse through a deliberate effort to give elite constituents opportunities to protect their piece of a dwindling pie at the expense of the entire nation, we have reconstituted bank equities while doing little to gird their underlying loans, to expand our nation’s credit, or to reverse this business cycle’s monetary implosion.

The beneficiaries of these failing policies include our bloated government that delays inevitable and urgently needed right sizing, and banks that continue to feign fairy tale housing equities on their books so that they can continue to extract interest payments while appearing by most accounts to maintain a modicum of solvency. The losers thus far from our failed government direction have been the rest of the U.S. economy, all savers, all job seekers, and the America’s future.

If we are to repair America’s capitalist system without having to eventually resort to revolutionary measures, we must immediately reverse our monetary policies with what might seem revolutionary measures today, if not for the much worse measures that will inevitably come as a result of our continued inaction. We must stop attempting to pay for excessive government budgets with current and future growth equity. Instead, we must continue the path of slashing government expenditures. We cannot have our GDP growth equity cake and eat it to fund deficits.

Once we smartly choose to conserve our growth equity, we must take the much harder step of changing our policies to incentivize equity owners to keep their equity in America rather than allowing it to be invested offshore, or the heroic steps we took to save our GDP will be for naught as the saved equity simply slips away through direct foreign investments to the East. In addition, if we are able to convince equity owners that America is a good investment, we must also create available debt capacity alongside that equity, because investments in GDP growth require both equity and debt.

Our nation’s existing debt is already maxed out. 80 percent of this debt was created by a series of orchestrated bubbles intended to extract capital for Asia’s expansion. Our country was left strapped with overwhelming debt and was unable to move forward as Asia, now flush with our capital, ran past our stalled economy. We must stop this bubble debt from placing a stranglehold on our nation’s future.

Without a realistic method to isolate and appropriately deal with the debt created during our spectacular real estate bubble, we cannot move forward. Thus, I make what now seems a revolutionary suggestion, but only so because we have not yet degenerated into requiring an even more revolutionary measure. We must isolate the existing bubble-created, under collateralized debt and have our government force the debt holders to convert it to equity, thereby co-opting those who extracted the debt to share in the risk of making America once again successful.

As an example of debt conversions, our government will insist that banks remove the overextended portion of housing loans from their books and replace them with partial bank equity ownership of those same homes. Once we remove these artificially elevated debt obligations from the mass of Americans, we must accelerate repair of their credit ratings that were damaged solely due to our nation’s business cycle debacles so that all Americans may appropriately support our country’s future economic productivity.

While seemingly radical, my solutions will support the equity and debt consolidation that must be infused back into our country’s future. A simple review of our Western capitalist system will clarify why my conclusions are on point and why we must aggressively reverse course. Let’s remind ourselves of the monetary linkages of the Western capitalist system. First, investors provide both equity and debt needed to grow businesses to meet the needs of the market. More risk adverse debt providers require periodic repayment of principle and interest before equity providers share in the business profits. Because some industries’ profits swing more widely from the peaks to the troughs of the business cycle, debt providers require the business owners in these industries to obtain a greater amount of equity to survive the cycle while continuing to make principle and interest payments.

During the initial rise of the business cycle, as demands for goods and services increase, the return on a business’s equity increases making the business a more attractive investment, attracting further equity to build supply capacity to meet increasing demand. Banks, typical suppliers of debt capital, assess a business’s future profit potential given its additional equity, and agree to increase its debt through new loans that combine with the equity to build additional business capacity.

Toward the end of the cycle, as supply grows to exceed demand, revenues reduce. The reduced revenue must first cover the interest on the newly acquired debt before providing a return on equity. Decreased return on existing equity decreases demand for new equity. For those companies that added too much debt in ratio to new equity, they risk defaulting on their loans at the trough of the cycle. Thus business cycles enforce maximum debt to equity ratios.

Taken together, American industries have historically required a ratio of 1 unit of equity per 1.5 units of debt. With a total American business values of about 52 trillion dollars and real estate values of 38 trillion dollars, the corresponding fully balanced equity levels approximate 36 trillion corresponding to a sustainable business cycle debt of 52 trillion dollars. However, U.S. debt now exceeds 57 trillion, suggesting we are over-indebted already by 5 trillion. And this ratio does not yet account for the approximate 10 trillion in debt overhang not yet addressed by our shrinking housing bubble. With a combined 15 trillion dollar debt imbalance and an economy in the trough of the business cycle, America’s economy is stalled, requiring either an increase in equity, a reduction of debt, or as I propose, a radical movement of both.

And yet, my suggestions are not so radical when juxtaposed against what will be proposed by much more radical proponents than I when our economy nosedives from its current anemic plateau. So let us consider not taxing existing equity away to pay for government debts, not incentivizing existing and new equity to seek offshore investments, isolating existing debt and converting it to equity, distributively dispersing available equity and debt capacity, and accelerating repair of our citizens’ credit ratings that were caught in the cross fire of our bubble debacles.

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