Heartbreak In Paradise

The Bread Lines

The Bread Lines

I’ve late come to think that if a massive policy to immediately hire the unemployed and marginally employed is not adopted and implemented very soon, there will be a savage and violent revolution in America. This is very disheartening news, but there is a quick fix and it will work, and rather smoothly, if all the parties to the new program are willing to work together.

The enduring lesson of the Panic of 2008 is that, suddenly, that summer, politics in America became important. Prior to that, politics was unimportant and, that now somehow distant and bucolic time when politics did not matter, was very pleasant. One of the glories of liberal democracies is that politics does not matter. That is a very good thing. Having travelled widely and to virtually every country on this earth I can say with alacrity that nations in which politics matters are most unpleasant places. Americans do not want to live in a country where politics actually matters. They won’t like that at all.

The blessing of liberal democracy is likewise the curse of liberal democracies in that they are, and they attract a cut of men to them as an occupation in their politics who are, constituently incapable of dealing with serious matters. This incapacity is in their DNA. They cannot help it. But they must ignore their DNA at this moment and address, in a draconian way, the horror of poverty in America. When a calamity such as the Panic of 2008 hits, these men cannot even see how serious it is and, if they do see, they’ve no idea what to do about the panic. They must learn to recognize and address properly this horrific situation very quickly.

America is now a desolate, fearful place and all Americans know this with few exceptions. One such unenlightened is Mr. Jamie Dimon, a most upbeat fella of, I believe, the Morgan Stanley Trust, who the other day enthused that the US economy is doing so well that it is holding “a royal straight flush,” an allusion, I think, to poker card games in which such a flush is the best conceivable hand a man can draw—and no improvement is possible . I don’t know if Mr. Dimon was having a laugh or behaving swankishly on purpose to say such a thing, but I must ask him-how is it possible to say such a heartless thing with so many millions of his fellow citizens in poverty or just above that sad border and many millions more worry at night that they are next up for the bread lines? Shame on him!

royal straight flush images

Jamie Dimon’s Royal straight flush

There is a cancer, fast metastasizing, in this country of terrible poverty, no jobs or very poor jobs and if it is not treated immediately, this cancer will kill the patient. I urge all who read this to press, at every conceivable point of pressure possible, to have enacted and implemented immediately a policy of this specific sort:

This crisis must be treated as the absolute moral equivalent of December 8, 1941, that day, plus one, after America was attacked by the Japanese Empire. Let’s do these things—very quickly:

The president must call an emergency joint session of Congress and that joint session must agree, the day of the President’s address, these laws for him to sign that very day:

*A federal law that eliminates any and all corporate and other business taxes on commercial American flagged enterprises of all sizes for any and all business conducted inside America. Such tax benefit would, simultaneously, apply to all capital expenses, to include plant building, research and development and shipping costs incurred by business, all of which would be fully depreciable in the year they are incurred.

*A reciprocal law that all tax reduction benefits thus derived by business will be used exclusively to employ American workers, working in American businesses and producing American products and services using American raw materials. Such a reciprocal law will demand of business that it provide detailed, tangible evidence of compliance.

*A reciprocal law that Americans be compensated with a good wage and good benefits to include health care and genuine private retirement benefits and to include continued company paid health care on retirement for workers and their families under this program. What constitutes a good job and good benefits will work itself out in the subsequent days—not weeks—days—of negotiations between the applicable interested parties. Put quickly, the employer must take good care of the employees by law or lose his tax advantage.

*A reciprocal law that, in the time it takes for business to hire workers under this program, all evictions and foreclosures in America be halted until the workers have a chance to get back to a stable financial condition. Americans need a hiatus from constant worry and get down to business without concern that they will have no home to go to after work.

The next day after these three laws are passed and signed, an arranged meeting of the following groups will meet at Washington to agree their immediate implementation:

  • Leading Representatives of industry, manufacturing, retail and other commercial entities.
  • Representatives of the trade unions.
  • Representatives of the financial and legal sectors.

The goal of all these groups meeting together is to bring good jobs back to America immediately. It can be done easily. Large corporations and smaller companies must bring back all jobs now held off shore in order to participate. The details of this stipulation will be worked out by the finance and legal representatives at the meeting and be monitored by the federal government and the trade unions for compliance. Every sector does its part and every sector benefits. The zero sum game that so preoccupies Washington thinking—that somebody always has to win and somebody likewise always has to lose–does not apply to this plan. The idea here is to jump-start the American economy by massive hiring of workers in all commercial sectors. No group is left out in the cold. No one loses anything and everybody gains.

I am told that others have proposed somewhat similar policies, among them, Senator Bradley of New Jersey and we can afford no pride of authorship here. All details and competent ideas for the swift implementation of this plan will be welcomed from all quarters. Senator Bradley was insufferable when here at Washington. His implicit lamentation, “I am the only Holy Nun in the whore house” is a song, when sung more than once, that renders the singer simply insufferable. The lamentation suggests this line of query “Why, Holy Sister, do you live in a whore house?” “Do you expect to convert the girls?”

At events, everyone atones for his sins one way or the other and Senator Bradley now clips bonds in Wall Street at, I think, The Allen and Company, likely close by our friend Mr. Jamie Dimon. I hope that when they get together, Senator Bradley does not recite a similar lamentation to our friend Jamie respecting what it is like to work in the whore houses of New York. Jamie would feel aggrieved I am sure, holding his precious royal straight flush, to hear such a lamentation. In fact, on hearing Bradley say such a thing, Jamie might just see his royal flush deformed into aces over eights, called, I think, in poker card games, a dead man’s hand—a far more apt analogy to the American economic condition than is Jamie’s royal flush. But, there’s good news from Wall Street here! The remarkable atonement of Senator Bradley follows on what must have been a true Epiphany, in that I read he has penned a book that, I think, calls for an emergency industrial policy of a sort advocated here. His help in this enterprise is very much appreciated.

A dead man's hand--Aces over eightsimagesIn which, Senator Bradley and young Jamie Dimon read ’em and weep at Wall Street holding as they now do The Dead Man’s Hand–Aces over eights. 

As we are in a new century, it is time that America begin to live in that century and not in the prior one. Most of those who will read this have lived the bulk of their lives in the previous century and, as such, think in a manner that is now dated. This makes solving the new problems that face us difficult because we simply do not know how to approach them in a manner that is likely to work.

The hot button words of the previous century, both in politics and commerce, are simply antique ways of addressing and approaching today’s most pressing problems. America faces some very real and extremely dangerous problems, but they can be corrected comparatively simply with the right outlook, comity of opinion and will to act on the part of the political, labor and commercial sectors for the common good.

That said, far and away, unemployment and simply bad employment is the number one concern to be addressed in this country today. We make little distinction between absolute joblessness and the more widespread condition of having a highly educated young demographic working for the foreseeable in dime stores. America cannot survive with such a bleak employment picture.

It is a national imperative to bring jobs back to America and to keep them here. It is similarly an imperative to have all American flagged companies employ American workers and that every stitch of retail product is made in America by American citizens.

Rather than turning all elements of the debate over how to create and encourage finding good jobs for good American workers into a tiresome political re-hash of old concepts of social structure, let’s take the best elements of seemingly conflicting attitudes and get to the business of solving the problem. Yet, of course for the reader who has had his mind formed in the previous century, words do have meanings. Can apparently conflicting concepts come together to solve the problem of wretched poverty and unemployment in America? We say, yes indeed!

Consider first socialism—a word with a most nasty reputation. America has, indisputably, been a socialist nation for eighty years and few, if any, would move away from the main elements of that structure. Yet socialism is an extremely hot, political, and, somewhat less so, commercial hot potato. No conventional politician admits to being a socialist when in fact, they all are—and we all are. However, the reality is that socialism, while it plays a role in advanced society, must take a secondary chair to commercial interest. After all, it is business that hires people and puts them in real jobs. Likewise, business produces necessary goods and services needed by the nation. Socialism run amok destroys commerce and that is not in the best interest of the nation. If this solution is given a proper chance to work, commercial enterprises must take proper care of the workers—providing good pay, good benefits and, of great importance, good retirement programs of the sort that were prevalent in the very recent past—by law. Such good pay and benefit laws will serve to calm the social anxiety so prevalent today and make for a happier, more secure and productive work force.

Consider second, free market capitalism as a political construct. There, the vogue obsession is with balancing budgets and eliminating deficits. While I understand that young Mr. Ryan, a chief proponent of such austerity measures, likely thinks he is doing God’s work, I must caution him and others who stand with him that, in real life, these concerns are abstractions of academic economics best left in classrooms.  Again, we ask of young Ryan and others—what, tangibly, have these things that you propose to do with getting Americans good jobs—right now? Again, the obsession ought properly to be with nurturing commerce–directly. In the anticipated system, the employer will provide a good wage, sterling health care and good, old-fashioned, retirement benefits. The massive new tax base of well paid workers thus created will quickly eliminate deficits and balance all federal, state and local budgets. Mr. Ryan and friends are admonished that deficit spending of itself is not a mortal sin. What sin there is in it comes when deficits are rung up for the wrong reasons. The issue as to ringing up deficits is not if they lead to an artificial economic construct but rather if they are beneficial expenditures.

Both sides must put aside their intense enmity for one another to get this absolutely imperative program moving. Right away. This is an idea that cannot have any, legitimate, rhetorical enemies.

It is not complex to accomplish this end. It requires simply the will to get the massive and spreading cancer of unemployment and low-level employment cured and cured quickly. This aggressive cancer, this wasting of good people who cannot participate properly in the work world no matter how hard they try, must be addressed as such—a hostile enemy of America. We propose the latter-day, moral equivalent of a day, plus one, past Pearl Harbor, to immediately put into place an equally aggressive attack on this unemployment cancer by adopting a massive hiring of workers to good jobs under the auspices of this most necessary industrial program.

Our liberal democracy must now agree to put aside a key element of its DNA. It must take draconian action on a monumentally serious issue. The alternative is certain, swift and violent revolution that very few in America will like but, by the time it comes, it will be too late to alter course.

The reader is now asked to view a six episode film that explains  precisely how to get politicians to do what we all want done immediately:



Washington, DC

Too Much Politics in American Life

Picture of campsite conservation

It seems to me that, what is oddly called “green energy policy” has, as with all things, become more of a political than a scientific or simply common sense artifact. The issue is not if some countries have strict policies of this sort while others do not–or if those policies “work”–whatsoever that might be deemed to mean–or do not. Rather, the issue is if or no these policies are worthwhile beyond merely as building blocks to political power for their adherents and the blowing up of those blocks by their detractors. I think that US is surely no more politically polarized now than in recent past–my awareness runs back to Jack Kennedy and a tad before– but I do think that many things –simple conservation and keeping the campsite tidy for example from my youth–have somehow become political “movements” to the point at which all aspects of life are now political. This is unfortunate because the Americans, quite understandably and quite laudeably, detest all politics and politicians and have no fondness either for the notion of turning every conceivable idea anyone concocts into a “political movement.”

Washington, DC