How And Why We’re Screwed (And What We Can Do About It).

Basically this is what happened in america.  The rise of corporations (entities made up of individuals which legally have different rights and liabilities than the individuals that make them up and usually exist exclusively for the purpose of making money) created a culture of “more”.  Where the only goal in the corporate world was to make more money – that was the only measure of success.  So corporations get bigger and bigger, then merge with other big corporations to become super-corporations and so on, and as all of this is happening the wealth of the lower and middle class is siphoned away, which is bad for everybody because without money they can’t buy products and services and companies fail, unemployment rises etc – money in working peoples’ hands is the oil that keeps the american economic engine from seizing up into solid block of rusted steel.  But good old fashioned american ingenuity found a way around this – credit cards.  Instead of corporations just naturally collapsing and small businesses picking up the pieces, they kept growing by getting people to buy things they can’t afford by offering them to them for free*. 

*In reality you’re just buying something you don’t need and paying interest on it.  So now working people are double-screwed but corporations are still expanding and doing fine.  But as more and more wealth is in fewer and fewer hands there isn’t much to do to make more money and get a fatter slice of the pie – so corporations start cannibalizing each other.  This was romney’s specialty, making money off of hurting businesses, buying them with money borrowed against a corporation with no liability then breaking the company down, selling it for parts and leaving the corporation on the hook for the loan (yes, this is actually legal thanks to the influence of corporate money in politics).  Leveraged buyouts and corporate takeovers galore until the water is red with the blood of a million employees.

But now that virtually all the wealth is consolidated to the upper 20% of the country (which controls 93% of the wealth in the country, more than half of which the top 1% controls) the carcass that was the american people is picked pretty clean.  With only 7 percent of the nation’s wealth in the hands of 80 percent of it’s citizens, most of whom are living hand to mouth and are neck deep in debt already and can’t really be squeezed any more, what are corporations to do?  Their board members have to keep increasing their stock value they will get fired, so where do we go from here?  Well, there’s lots of money in the retirement account, lets ask congress if we can loot that indirectly by gambling it away on the stock market, keeping the winnings for ourselves and leaving our employees high and dry when we bet on the wrong horse.  We can?  Great, thanks congress, we knew we could count on you!  And while we’re at it can we take out life insurance policies against our employees without their knowledge or consent?  Thanks again congress :: kiss ::

Oh and while we’re de-regulating mind if we get rid of the regulations put in place after the great depression which prohibit financial institutions from being regular banks and investment banks at the same time so that when investment banks go under they don’t take peoples’ life savings with them?  Again, thanks so much congress we appreciate it.  And hey lets just invent money out of thin air without building anything or providing any service by having computer programs make billions of “micro-transactions” in accordance with regular market fluctuations so we can siphon tens of billions of dollars out of the economy.  And while we’re at it lets turn mortgages into a commodity so we can compete to see who can generate the most bad mortgages, then get them rated high quality, pretend they’re worth more than toilet paper and sell them to other banks and foreign companies.

And while we’re engaging in a perpetual orgy of sickening greed and destroying the greatest nation in the world, lets blame the poor in order to justify doing to america what we did to rival corporations – breaking it down and selling it for parts.  Starting with the “privatization” of social security (in other words getting the social security money which we can then also ::woops:: lose on bad investments after making a fortune) and trade in programs that feed the tens of millions of now outright starving americans, disabled, elderly, unemployed, homeless etc for a nice tax cut for ourselves.  Then fly in our private jets over the smoldering ashes to our offshore bank accounts and live happily ever after.

So how do we get out of this mess?  Take away the special privileges of big corporations, strictly regulate the financial sector (beginning with the outlawing of many harmful practices), bolster support in both tax policy and investments for the poor and middle class and before you do any of that, publicly fund all elections and outlaw all campaign contributions so that every candidate has an equal voice and there is absolutely no benefit to be gained by any candidate by sucking corporate america’s dick.

Oh, and it might help to vote for the guy who’s never lived in a mansion and seems to give a shit about people who don’t have private jets.

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About agnophilo

Nerd.
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46 Responses to How And Why We’re Screwed (And What We Can Do About It).

  1. Wow! Totally right about Romney too. They have hours of video interviews of how he got peoples hopes up of having a new job. Only to rip that job from them and put them back on the unemployment line with there dreams shattered.

  2. TheSutraDude says:

    @LadyboyRevolution – one Florida company managed by Romney’s firm, Bane Venture Capital was relocated to Puerto Rico. the employees were given the opportunity to keep their jobs if they relocated to Puerto Rico. many or most chose to relocate rather than go on unemployment and they got assurances that their jobs there would be secure. a few months after picking up and moving to Puerto Rico the company was shut down. Bain walked away with profit. the uprooted people and their assurances were left jobless.

  3. TheSutraDude says:

    excellent post. prior to roughly 30 years ago companies offered pensions and people also built up savings in bank saving accounts that yielded 16-17% interest. the 401k was concocted and soon after companies stopped offering pension plans. savings accounts soon yielded only about 3% interest and employees were basically herded to put retirement savings into the hands of investment banks. i still remember one story of a couple who had built up a million dollars between their 401ks and other retirement investments. they were about to retire when the economy went under in 2008. they lost everything. they went from having a nice nest egg for their retirement to the husband in his 60s having to get a job packing groceries in a supermarket. i don’t know if the wife also found a job. yesterday i saw a news story about a Washington State woman who married a corporation. the marriage was real. she was granted a marriage license and all. there were a lot of guests, a band, food the whole shebang. she ended the ceremony by kissing a statue of a man which i believe is the corporate statue. she is now legally married to the corporation. it was done to mock the ruling that Romney loves to blurt out, that corporations are people. there was a larger reason for the wedding which was the reason so many turned out for the wedding which looked to have been held outdoors where the statue stands. the larger reason was to support legislation being discussed in her State which would ban corporations and hugely rich people from buying elections. there wasn’t much said about that so i can’t be clear on the exact details. anyway it was quite funny but meant to be a wake up call to the people of Washington State and across the country.

  4. @TheSutraDude – I talked to a “financial planner” I know last week who has lost a lot of people a lot of money while he drives around in a new Cadillac ever year. He was yacking and yacking on in on about how Obama is “possessed by Satan” with “demonic” “Muslim” intentions to destroy America.

  5. Nous_Apeiron says:

    So which candidate has never lived in a mansion and actually seems to give a shit about people without private jets?That description fits me pretty well, but I’m not running for office.

  6. sounds good to me. i’m sure you’re seen george carlin’s “american dream” routine so i won’t even bother linking it.

  7. Eh, just work hard and go to school and you will have all the stuff you want.

  8. PPhilip says:

    Americans were not that good in saving money. The credit card invented money that people should not have spent.Then there is the property bubble. People were paying higher prices for homes and not worrying because they thought that prices for property were not going to go down. The thing about this recession is that a lot of prices did go down and folks had property that were worth less than what they paid for it.The capitalists are smiling because the workers have increased their productivity. They are also smiling because they didn’t have to pay for the increased productivity.@TheTheologiansCafe – Just work hard if you are white and male. Minorities will have to worry a bit about bad schools that are located near where they live, bad job opportunities near where they live and complacent folks like Theologian(not)Dan who doesn’t give a rat’s ass because he has his already.

  9. RobertLeeRE says:

    Oh, and since the corporations are on a constant quest of tapping the middle class and turning them into economic slaves why don’t we just open the floodgates to unskilled uneducated workers by NOT controlling the borders and keeping the illegals out. This way we will have a real slave economy with no protection for these illegals since they are illegal and we can pay them 3.00 per hour because everything is under the table. Thi way the American middle class once again gets fleeced and forced to accept part time low paying jobs working 15 hours a week…. 

  10. pnrj says:

    You’re completely right about the “why we’re screwed” part. What I’m less sure about is the “what we can do about it”. What you propose certainly would help, but I can see two problems with it: 1. I don’t think it goes far enough, there are still too many perverse incentives in the system. 2. I don’t even know how to go that far, given the way our legislature currently works. Citizens United is a Supreme Court ruling, which is the highest sense of law in the United States other than the Constitution itself. It could only be overturned by another Supreme Court ruling or by a Constitutional amendment. 

  11. pnrj says:

    @RobertLeeRE – You’re not entirely wrong, but look at it this way. How would you feel, if you were one of those unskilled immigrant workers? You’d want a job, wouldn’t you? Why is it fair to keep you from getting a job at literally the point of a gun? Just because you were born on the wrong side of the river?The statistics we have suggest that immigrants add about $1.50 to GDP for every $1.00 they take in wages; in other words, they’re a net gain for our economy.There are definitely issues of distribution—who gets that $1.50?—but these are at least in theory resolvable. Honestly, here’s the policy I’d recommend: Delete the concept of “illegal immigration” from your law books. There is no such thing. Everyone who enters your country who wants to be a citizen can be a citizen, by signing a couple of forms and completing a background check. Fail the background check and you get arrested and extradited. But otherwise, congratulations! You’re now a citizen, and they have to pay you minimum wage and give you the same standard of treatment they give to everyone else. After all, that’s all I had to do to become a citizen—my parents signed a couple of forms. Why should it be different for other people just because they were born somewhere else?

  12. pnrj says:

    @TheSutraDude – When did banks offer savings accounts at rates that high? I find that really hard to believe, because 16% is a yield higher even than STOCKS (unless you’ve got Warren Buffett skills). No one would invest in anything if that were the case; they’d just put their money in the bank.

  13. TheSutraDude says:

    @pnrj – i’m trying to find the information now. it’s something i saw on a news story about 6 months ago. annual average in 1980 was 10.50. the chart i’m looking at shows 14.23 in 1990. those are high years though according to this chart, not 16% as the story i watched said and i don’t know where to find that story at this point but the list is of average interest rates so there were probably higher rates and lower rates available: http://swanlowpark.co.uk/bank0604.jsphere is an interesting article:http://www.mybudget360.com/federal-reserve-punishing-savers-in-low-interest-rate-environment-money-market-stock-market-casino/that’s the best i can come up with at the moment. 

  14. RobertLeeRE says:

    @pnrj – All I am saying is confirming that big interests are running this country. Americans have a right to American jobs and I am sick of hearing all the excuses coming from all sides of the political spectrum. It is the corporate special interest that keeps the politicians from comprhensive illegal immigration legislation. Excuses are excuses plain and simple. Common sense needs to start ruling. Chinese are building and repairing bridges in droves because the States are saving tons of money. And where is the protection? We are not helping illegals by allowing them to come here illegally. By allowing it we ae exploiting slave wages, through Factory owners and companies in America. We are also shooting ourselves in teh foot. I am talking real jobs, NOT just ones no one wants to do. If you believe that I have swamp land in Florida to sell you. It is a worse life then if they stayed in South America. They become exploited because they are here illegal. Too much exploitation is going on by corporations that do not have the best interest of the illegals.. nor the American worker.I really doubt your statistics. More special interest corporations using studies to manipulate public opinion . All countries need borders, or they fail to exist as a country. And your idea is rather silly. I do not wish to turn America into Mexico. And your concept of driving all the wages even lower then they are comes across ratther elitist if you ask me. Heck why don’t we just have no borders over the entire world. Let every one come to America and we can all be on welfare and food stamps and just be a permanent poor class because wages are so low. I mean really, are you from this planet? This issue really is not a comparison of the wages between the US workere and the South American. The issue is that these corporations are more then willing to drive the wages down by letting our borders be overun. This is no different then Microsoft subbing all their jobs to India. It is all about greed and it is time for this country to start looking inward or collapse. There are too many jobs leaving this country, too few jobs that are part time and not enough decent paying fulltime jobs. We do not have unlimited funds, it is high time America starts circling the wagons. Tax the rich, tax the corporations and punish them when they get greedy subbing jobs out to China or India or even South American.

  15. Corporations are simply organizations that raise money and do business on a massive scale. They are a critical though relatively small part of the economy.It is government’s ever growing appetite for power and resources that created the more more mentality.Remember, corporations creates wealth and jobs and is subject to the law.The government cannot create any wealth or jobs at all and is above the law.Big government is the problem, not corporations.

  16. @RobertLeeRE – the plutocrats love illegals – their brainwashed constituency doesn’t. can you say cognitive dissonance? 

  17. striemmy says:

    The money will just leave the country. We’ll be saved in the long run but incredibly screwed in the short run. They’re only doing so much business here because it’s a smorgasbord of opportunity. 

  18. lademi says:

    jobs go to china because the value of their currency is 28% lower than it should be and has an authoritarian government in a country with too much manpower and too little regard for the value of a human life.  like water, jobs flow to the lowest point.  Americans do not live in a robothink society.  they are a free people with free thinking ideas. this is not seen as a curse by our government but a blessing. this country values creativity and by extension its source ; people.  this is an asset many others in the world would love to have and like America, will have to pay dearly for to have their own one day. 

  19. RobertLeeRE says:

    @PrisonerxOfxLove – is there really much diffeerence between corporate lobbyists and legislatures that are constantly subverting the will of the people? , When the people are polled, 90% say, THEY are against open borders and being overun by illegals. Yet when the majority elects someone who says they will fix it, and then, AFTER getting in office he cannot vote for the legislation designed to fix it means there is no difference between the legidlatures and big wig corporations that hire lobbyists to influence legislation. In fact it actually may even be easier to influence legislation by going through Corporation,s FAT CATS rather then the legislatures themselves. PETA was highly successful at this as an example. They couldn’t influence legislation but instead they got a bunch of movie stars on their side that had money and influence. They were successfull because we are a Republic on paper, Democracy to the uneducated in laymen’s terms but in reality we are an Oligarchy that forces its will on the masses through incrementalism and legislation that thwarts the will of the people one little step at a time, at a rate so slow nobody notices.

  20. @RobertLeeRE – It is the politician who creates the lobbying problem.Politicians, like corporations, act in their own best interest.It is in the best interest of politicians to stay in power. They do that by setting up laws that distribute favorable treatment to interest groups.Interest groups return votes and campaign cash to politicians who treat them favorably.Remember, people and corporations are subject to the law.Politicians are above the law.  Therefore they are the problem.

  21. RobertLeeRE says:

    @complicatedlight – Everybody loves them for many really bad reasons, the least being human compassion for our fellow man. I am pointed my finger equally to both political parties on this one.        They go through all the trouble to get here only to be exploited and used like a slave. The ones claiming to be helping are truly hurting them. Tens of thousands are enslaved in sexual slavery and bodies dumped like trash. Tens of thousands more are forced to carry drugs across the border, or their childern, who are enslaved will be killed. No one wins in this one except the UGLY AMERICANs who live like fat cats in their big mansions, pretending, each and every one of them that they do not know, . Absolutely no one wins except Corporate Special Interest that are stealing our Republic through incrementalism and corruption thwarting the will of the people.

  22. RobertLeeRE says:

    @PrisonerxOfxLove – Yes, it is rather a quagmire isn’t it? The lines between Politician and Corporate special interest is truly becoming rather blurry. True, I agree with you. But if politicians are above the law, as you say, and I agree with you, then we are truly screwed. Because I can list many many instances when politicians run on a platform, then once elected, refuse to do the very thing they were elected to do. For we know they can change the laws as they go.

  23. @RobertLeeRE – No. The line is clear.Since corporations are subject to the law they pay tribute to their masters who write the law.

  24. @PrisonerxOfxLove – the hallmark of this era is that government is subservient to business, not the other way around. note: i don’t expect you to agree with me; rather, i make the assertion for the record – because it’s true. 

  25. @complicatedlight – That isn’t true. It’s exactly the opposite.What power does business have over the government?The government writes the laws that extorts money from private businesses. Business has no power over government since it is subject to the law which is created by government.

  26. YouToMe says:

    @complicatedlight – Amen, oft misunderstood luminary

  27. @PrisonerxOfxLove -i disagree. business (particularly but no means limited to the financial sector) has spent the last three+ decades carefully buying the government previously known as “the people’s” in order to lend legitimacy to its corrupt practices. government today is the small player, not business – government’s primary power is not active, but reactive: when business says JUMP, government asks HOW HIGH. and when government even thinks of asking something of business that business doesn’t like, for example, “hey, guys? we were thinking of making this entity called the consumer financial protection bureau…and maybe heading it up with a well-known consumer advocate, say, elizabeth warren…and we were thinking about giving it some…um…teeth? ” you know what business says? it says “warren? not for long. and teeth? forget about it.” and government says “oh. right. sorry.”now you’re telling me government is running this show? not likely.

  28. @YouToMe – well hello there, julie(x10^24)! and thank you. 

  29. @complicatedlight –  Politicians use the tax code and regulatory laws to buy votes and secure campaign cash.When politicians put the government up for sale like that it is in the best interest of those who are able, to secure purchase.GE secured $5 billion in tax free profit by getting close to President Obama who was close to the Democrat Congress who wrote the laws favoring GE.Billionaire Warren Buffet befriended President Obama and was also given leniency on his tax.Solyndra received $500 billion in loans and then mysteriously went belly up. It’s CEO was a major Obama bundler (campaign fundraiser).Bain Capital’s CEO is also a top bundler for President Obama. Isn’t that the enterprise that Obama is trying to hang around Republican Mitt Romney’s neck?Global Warming “scientist” and hoaxer Michael Mann of Penn State University received billions in Obama stimulus money even after it was proven that he was cooking the data.Clearly, government cash is doled out freely to those who support and befriend those in power.

  30. @PrisonerxOfxLove – thank you for buttressing my argument. 

  31. @complicatedlight – I annihilated your argument. You leftists think that private enterprise is bad and that government is all good and holy and perfect.Government, by it’s nature is raw tyranny. That’s why it needs to be divided into three branches and limited by the Constitution.The business community has given us everything we enjoy in today’s society. They are the good guys.

  32. @PrisonerxOfxLove – “You leftists think that private enterprise is bad and that government is all good and holy and perfect.” quite a sweeping statement. unfortunately for you, it’s not true. you see, us thinkers (or “leftists” as you call us) understand that complexity is neither a crime nor sin – it’s an inherent quality of the world. it bears contemplation and consideration, not dismissal.  it may be folly in the face of human nature, yet us lefties stubbornly cling to the belief that truly complex problems can and should be addressed, and where possible solved, in a thoughtful and humane manner – and that solutions based on these principles will move us all forward, not back. complexity. nuance. even love, right? yet look at that passage of yours i’ve quoted. evidently, your “toolbox of understanding” contains 1) a sledgehammer. which is fine, i guess. but beware – that hammer of yours swings both ways; it crushes liberals, sure. and anything else you don’t understand. yet if *i* used it to evaluate *you*, i’d quickly conclude that you’re as dumb as a railroad spike. call me a liberal optimist, but i’d rather not believe that – even despite the accumulating evidence to the contrary. why? because i believe in complexity. and i cherish a little thing called nuance. so prove me right. restore my faith and and give them a try sometime, ok?and good luck in your prison of love.

  33. RobertLeeRE says:

    @PrisonerxOfxLove – Maybe it is clear to you. But it is not to me. To me they’re all a bunch of crooks, each and every last one of them. the line IS NOT clear, its quite blurry. You cannot trust any of them.

  34. RobertLeeRE says:

    @PrisonerxOfxLove – Not just government. Corporations and private business can many times leasd to tyranny. There is a recent history of that. For example Naziism could never have been successful with out the wealthy factory owners in Germany. Industry can also bring tyrancy to government like a freight train.

  35. @RobertLeeRE – The Federal budget last year was $3.83 trillion dollars. $1.53 trillion will be the deficit. LINKWith the government running on that large an ocean of capital it pays handsomely for businesses to hire lobbyists.In fact, Obama’s entire government is riddled with lobbyist who do nothing but wheel and deal with all that money.Michelle Malkin’s book, “Culture of Corruption” gives the details and name’s names. It’s all public information and she put it all together.That sort of lurid, corrupt environment was created by politicians.  They are to blame. Not business.Billionaires like Trump, T. Boone Pickens, and Warren Buffet go for the easy government money. They’d be stupid not too.

  36. @TheSutraDude – How did the company consent?

  37. TheSutraDude says:

    @GodlessLiberal – i don’t know. she was a good looking woman. what company would have said no? haha 

  38. TheSutraDude says:

    @GodlessLiberal – haha point taken. you got me thinking. now the corporation is married and can file a joint tax return and thus pay less in taxes. 

  39. UTRow1 says:

    @striemmy – Corporations won’t leave this country as long as we have the most corporate-friendly legal system in the world. It’s virtually impossible to sue shareholders in this country for anything. Most of the regulations in place to prevent them from manipulating the market are complete failures (like Sarbanes-Oxley, which basically only requires people to report securities fraud to the SEC if they feel like it). We also have all kinds of legal regimes in place to shield partnerships from liability. Even our contract law is incredibly beneficial for merchants because of the UCC. And with Citizens United, corporations can basically buy disproportionate government representation directly now. No muss, no fuss. No, things are looking pretty sweet for corporations right now, particularly since corporate profits are at an all-time high in many sectors of the economy. Most of their bitching and moaning is basically political theater these days. They aren’t content with getting 95% of want they want any more, because it’s becoming increasingly apparent that they can get 100% of what they want if they just bully the American public enough.

  40. shadow320 says:

    I think the life insurance policies on employees amount to paid contracts- if their employees die, they make more money, so if they can help push you over the edge, they win.  It’s disgusting.  I also think campaign contributions should be made to a general fund that all the candidates can use.  I suppose that would unemploy a lot of lobiests, but the benifits outweigh the means.   

  41. Tallman says:

    good post. Mitt is just hiding more corruption in those tax returns he refuses to reveal.

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