Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The morning after.. wish there was a pill for this one.

This morning a lot of Americans are looking around and wondering what just happened. Like the party that got out of control, America is in the post-election hangover, while some are drinking deeply still from the wine of victory, and others sipping the bitter ale of defeat, some Americans are left just shocked, and wondering.. how did we get here?

It doesn't matter the race of the candidate, it shouldn't ever be an issue. It doesn't matter what party the candidate is raised by, that should not be an issue.. but we've grown so blind as to stumble, over and over again, into the same mistakes.

We voted for change, but can we in good conscience deal with the kinds of change we've created? When you see the economy over the next few years, think about it. Think about the type of change we've initiated, and ask if it was really change at all, or only another illusion, another card trick.

In our post-election moments, looking out at the morning sky, we have to wonder... was it really worth it? When the election period passed in a blur, did we hear any of the things that the people actually said, and did they mean a single thing that they stated? Now that the courtship is over, and the deed consummated, what are we waking up to?

Is it change? Is it more of the same? Is it something that our ancestors would have believed in and worked toward? Or are we still playing the same game, with the same players, expecting a different result?

In our party-oriented system, a vote not for either party suddenly somehow counts as a vote for the party you don't want in office, so people excuse not voting for others. As we continue the pattern, more and more we're not voting for something, we're voting against. We paint the other side as the troglodyte in the corner, we paint them in a broad brush, and ignore the flaws in our own side as being necessary to defeat the other.

But what would happen if we did not elect either party? What would happen in the world, in the system? Agreed, the probability is not likely, precisely because people feel, emotionally, that the third parties cannot win. They don't have the backing, they don't have the media attention, and the darlings of the media often win... regardless of what skeletons they may have in their closet.

This morning I feel like I've woken up in a slasher movie. A B-rated at best slasher movie. Rather than butchering the people, though, our jobs are about to be butchered brutally, our livlihoods, our checkbooks. In the name of redistributing the wealth, it's been forgotten that you cannot tax a corporation. You only end up taxing those who buy from the corporation. But fine, you might say... but what if all corporations you can buy from are being taxed? As prices go up, is it still redistributing the wealth, or is it another illusion, another shell game?

As we bail out the corporations, and bail out the citizens, where does the money come from? It comes from our own pockets, our children's pockets, and we continue to spend and spend in an orgiastic cycle of damnation that can know no end until parties with no vested interest get into office, and even then it will take years to unsnarl what has been done.

Yes, I'm cynical. I also know that the greatest measure of any politician is the lies they tell their own people, their opponents, and their supporters. Ask yourselves this, if Obama is for coal miners in Pennsylvania, why did he state, clearly, that his intent is to make sure all new coal powered plants will be shut down, ruthlessly, and bankrupted? With his proposed cap and trade system on carbon credits, will it not drive up fuel prices as those costs are passed on to the consumer? Will not electricity costs increase as the costs to the plants do?

Carbon sequestration in deep wells using carbon dioxide are all well and good, but... that only lasts until the unit is breached. It really doesn't address the underlying problems, the lack of alternative energy sources. So long as nuclear, water, solar, geothermal, and tidal energy systems are prohibited, or underdeveloped, there are no alternatives. We end up with a long-term costs increase... with no real benefits to consumers, or to companies that pay those consumers. We end up in a lose-lose scenario for both consumers and business... with only one clear winner, the federal government.

Does it really matter who wins the election if the first thing that they propose to do is tax you more to pay for the programs they believe would be 'good' for you without ever asking what you want, considering your rights, privileges, and immunities under the constitution, or even going so far as to allow you to ask questions?

Is it really so much a stretch to say that at this point, we've made a huge mistake, on this morning after?

Are you really getting a change you can live with, or are you simply getting another line of bull from those who wish to keep you compliant?


elysium said...

Okay, here's a post I have to disagree with, on the economic side of things, in what you say about corporations. Most of the article I agree with quite strongly, but there are a few points in there that I also disagree with quite strongly.

The Friedman brand of laissez-faire capitalism that we've been pretty much operating under has proven itself to be a horribly broken thing. The closer we got to this, the more unrestrained companies were, the worse things became. Corporations look out for their own best interest only in the very short term.

All governments 'redistribute wealth'. That's what they do. That's one of the purposes of government. Who pays, how much they pay, and what is paid for, is a different question.

You can effectively tax a corporation. There are many methods of taxing it so that those buying from a corporation aren't paying for it. Tying the pay of those at the top of a corporation to those at the bottom is one way of doing this. It doesn't really caps the pay of a corporate executive, but instead links it to what they pay their other employees. Say a CEO can
only earn 20 times what he pays his lowest paid employee. That CEO can
make as much as he wants... but he must pay everyone in the company as well. This can effectively limit corporate greed.

Another method is with corporations that make private profit off of public resources, such as oil or natural gas. As a natural resource on public lands, these goods are owned by everyone. If a company pays to get it out into usable form, great. But that doesn't mean they should have 100% of the profits. Limit a company to a nice, healthy net profit percent, and put the rest into tax reductions for the public. Similar has worked for Alaska, the only state in the US not in or at risk of recession right now.

If a company tries to keep their insanely high profit margins at the expense of the general public... well corporations exist at the whim of the public, and for the public good. If they stop serving the public good, you end the company. This used to be done quite heavily in the early US, to control corporate greed and control monopolies.

Big corporations rule the world right now. The US was founded in large part as a power against corporate control, fighting against the East
India Company as much as it fought against Britain. It's more than time to dismantle these overly large beasts. To once again have the power in the hands of the people, not the corporations.

As to the coal plants, shutting them down is a good thing. A vital step in protecting our environment. Coal is a horribly dirty way to power things. Clean coal is a phantom, a promise from the future that may never come. There are no working models for clean coal technologies. We need proven clean technologies like wind and solar. Solar power has become very cheap lately, and the efficiency we need from it is already here. Nuclear energy is also a very good option instead of coal. Coal releases more radiation into the environment than nuclear plants do. Pebble bed reactors orders of magnitude safer than the already safe previous designs.

All of these new plants and new manufacturing to build these plants and put them into use create a lot of jobs. Many of them can be taken up by the coal miners.

Unfortunately, far from shutting down coal plants, Obama and McCain have both strongly endorsed this fantasy of clean coal. It's in Obama's energy plan, and was clearly stated in the so-called debates. If Obama's changed his position to now shutting down coal plants, I would be more than happy with that change. I say this having grown up in a coal mining town.

Triedbyconscience said...

Unfortunately, capping and limiting the amount of monies received by the CEO doesn't fully work either. These are corporate entities. THey often work within a fund pool, owned by other corporate entities. The monies received within those corporations vary, and change. We are not, at this point, under a true capitalism, we're under a hidden corporatism, one of the things which the constitution was designed to prevent.

Blind after blind, it's hard to track down some companies true owners. Biolex, for instance, went through four or five hedge funds, and was 'sold' from its parent company, to another company owned by the same monetary fund.

The corporations themselves, at the bottom level, don't necessarily appear to be the problem. The problem is, far more largely, the controlling and monetizing corporations which are separate from the main.

By separating the monetization from the corporate manufacture, the assets are protected, taxation simply drives the prices of goods up. In some cases, the monetizer 'rents' the factory goods, to another on-paper corporation, thus limiting their liability and losses due to bankruptcy of the child corporation, if they were only using the lands and assets that 'belonged to someone else', it's harder to seize the assets, even if the parent corporation had direct control.

The CEO is not the head of the company, the monetary backers and funding corporations hide those very effectively.

It's a sick system, and as much as anything, if you get down to it, a system mirroring the Federal Reserve, World Bank, and International Monetary fund itself.

Profit without liability is their ultimate goal... the ultimate monopolies, and it's hidden from sight.

True capitalism weeds out incapable players, but greed creates monopolies. Taxation of those corporations as individual entities cannot work, and regulation of them, while necessary, also contains its own evils. How does one balance the rights of the funder with the rights of the consumer? Should it not be possible for the consumer to find an alternative, equivalent product? If there is no alternative product, should there not be a means to create it?

Free capitalism would be able to create such projects, but also to destroy them. A large part of the problem as well is corporations that create governmental 'influence' behind their companies, creating advantages not enjoyed by other companies. It's another, insidious means of monopoly.

At this point, under the 'eminent domain' rules, if you find gold on your property, the banks don't have to lend to you, nor even buy your gold. They can, instead, put together a fund, and claim that they can make more tax monies on your property by creating a mine there, (which you lack the monetization to do) and foreclose upon the property under eminent domain.

Most companies are in it for short-term profits, to please their investors. Most companies are also heavily in debt, due to the nature of the credit system, and that, rather than gaining a surplus and applying that surplus to expansion, they borrow, then attempt to make up the surplus after the fact.

It's part of the reason usury was outlawed for so long in this country. The leg-breakers in Chicago for the Mob were happy to get 7%... and it was considered usury.

As far as energy goes, I agree, we need nuclear (pebble bed reactors being far safer than the old design, in my understanding). We also need something to replace the current system before we begin dismantling the current system, and incentives for moving the current system over to a new means of generation.

I, however, cannot approve of doubling to tripling energy prices in the name of reducing emissions without replacing that power with some other source, in a time where the economy is suffering and people are hand to mouth anyway.

I also believe our current wind generators are using the wrong, and unreliable technology. There are other methods of generating wind power other than the classical 'windmill' with a propellor. An 'eggbeater' shape is far more efficient, far more reliable, and can be set up to have generators installed 'on the fly' and replaced without ever shutting the windmill down with simple engineering (a clutch system, simple transmission, and modular power switching).

But that wouldnt' be viable under the manufacturer's view.

I view energy as a matter of national security, no less so than any other national security matter. I also view industrial production to be critical as a matter of national security. If we are not producing our own energy, manufacturing goods, and factories, we are selling ourselves to those who can.