Every single day more Americans fall into poverty. This should deeply alarm you no matter what political party you belong to and no matter what your personal economic philosophy is. Right now, approximately 100 million Americans are either "poor" or "near poor". For a lot of people "poverty" can be a nebulous concept, so let's define it. The poverty level as defined by the federal government in 2010 was $11,139 for an individual and $22,314 for a family of four. Could you take care of a family of four on less than $2000 a month? Millions upon millions of families are experiencing a tremendous amount of pain in this economy, and no matter what "solutions" we think are correct, the reality is that we all should have compassion on them. Sadly, things are about to get even worse. The next major economic downturn is rapidly approaching, and when it hits the statistics posted below are going to look even more horrendous.
When it comes to poverty, most Americans immediately want to get into
debates about tax rates and wealth redistribution and things like that.
But the truth is that they are missing the main point.
The way we slice up the pie is not going to solve our problems, because the pie is constantly getting smaller.
Our economic infrastructure is being absolutely gutted, the U.S. dollar is slowly losing its status as the reserve currency of the world and we are steadily getting poorer as a nation.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Members of the French parliament have thrown out a proposal to audit their allowances as the government prepares austerity measures for the economy.
They voted four to one to reject the bill which would have each deputy account for his or her annual allowance of 76,944 euros (£60,000; $93,000).
One deputy who opposed the bill said it would impinge on parliamentary freedom.
The bill's sponsor predicted an eventual expenses scandal like that which gripped Westminster in 2009.
A French study conducted in June suggested that, on average, those working for the French parliament enjoyed a 77% higher income than their counterparts in the British House of Commons or the German Bundestag.
The French are fiercely defensive of the benefits they have earned and none more so than the members of the National Assembly, the BBC's Christian Fraser reports from Paris.
Bars and cigars
There have been several recent rows over expenses.
Last month the Mediapart website exposed the Socialist member for the Ardeche region, Pascal Terrasse, who had reportedly charged to his expenses account foreign holidays for his family and private bar bills. Mr Terrasse said he sometimes muddled his credit cards.
Under the last, conservative government, Christian Blanc, state secretary for the Paris region, was forced to stand down when it emerged he had put 12,000 euros spent on Cuban cigars on expenses.
Jellyfish Rat-Heart Robot Bankers - Max and Stacy with Mark O'Byrne + Max Keiser, Shabbir Rasvi and Ravi Batra: West bankers destroy global economy
Aldous Huxley imagined a world in which the Status Quo satisfies its lust for power by "suggesting people into loving their servitude."
Yesterday I discussed the Convergence of Marx, Orwell and Kafka as a means of understanding the global crisis. It's not just financial fraud on a vast scale, or debt or leverage or derivatives or a hundred other arcane mechanisms of parasitic predation; it's the partnership of a mindlessly expansive Central State with Monopoly Capital and the media machine that serves them.
I considered including Aldous Huxley in the convergence, as he too anticipated the essential nature of modern life. But perhaps his insights are more complementary than convergent, for he understood the media and State's capacity to not only present a deranged and destructive Status Quo as "normal" but to persuade the serfs to embrace it.
Aldous Huxley foresaw a Central State that persuaded its people to “love their servitude” via propaganda, drugs, entertainment and information-overload. In his view, the energy required to force compliance exceeded the "cost" of persuasion, and thus the Powers That Be would opt for the power of suggestion.
He outlined this in a letter to George Orwell:
"My own belief is that the ruling oligarchy will find less arduous and wasteful ways of governing and of satisfying its lust for power, and these ways will resemble those which I described in Brave New World. Within the next generation I believe that the world’s rulers will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience."
They are bailing out Dexia, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Societe General, that’s who they are bailing out. They are buffaloing everybody by telling them they are bailing out these other nation’s banks.
All they are doing is forcing the people in those countries, with the so-called austerity measures, to rape them by privatizing all of the great and valuable public assets and giving it to the big banks.
Look, when I talk about the greatest bank robbery in world history, look at the Libor scandal. Those are the people that set all of the rates artificially, and then bet on them, as we are finding out with Barclays and some twenty other banks that were in on the scheme... The game is rigged. It’s rigged in front of everybody’s eyes.
Chris Busby introduces a new Japanese language book published today in which he presents the truth about the health effects of the Fukushima Catastrophe to the Japanese people. In this book is much new information about the cover-ups including leaked documents showing the the US knew from the very beginning that the radioactivity had reached Tokyo as they were measuring it on their Embassy roof. However no-one was informed.
By James E. Miller: In a recent BBC News article, philosopher John Gray asks the quaint but otherwise vain question of what would John Maynard Keynes do in today’s economic slump. I call the question vain because practically every Western government has followed Keynes’ prescribed remedy for the so-called Great Recession. Following the financial crisis of 2008, governments around the world engaged in deficit spending while central banks pushed interest rates to unprecedented lows. Nearly four years later, unemployment remains stubbornly high in most major countries.
Even now in the face of the come-down that inevitably follows any stimulus-induced feelings of euphoria, certain central banks have taken to further monetary easing. The Bank of England recently announced an extension of its quantitative easing program by £50bn. Not to be outdone, both the People’s Bank of China and the European Central Bank cut interest rates in an effort to boost consumer borrowing. Still, these new rounds of monetary stimulus don’t appear to be doing the trick. The Keynesian miracle cure has been a spectacular dud thus far. All that modern day disciples of Keynes can do is scratch their heads and say “more should have been done.” They never allude to how many more trillions of paper dollars should have been created or spent; just call it the excuse that keeps on giving.