Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Look at the monkey (or shilling for AIG)!

Keep your eyes on the prize America! Like a game of financial Three-card Monte, the (unarguably) sickening AIG bonuses are being trotted out in, what I think, is a bid to get us to take our eye of the black queen (the failure of the deregulation, supply-side economics that got us into this mess) and substitute it with an ace (a ginned up "scandal" around bonuses that amount to less than .01% of the total of the monies used to bail out AIG).

IMHO, this is a first step in getting us, the "outraged" public, to fall prey again to our limited attention spans. Distract us from the actual issue and while the outrage is high push through even more bailout cash to the same nitwits who've ruined the global economy while ignoring the need for regulation to stem the losses and prevent a recurrence; find a monkey to dance for the crowd and shake the bailout cup while the organ grinders turning the crank on the whole shebang send in their crony's (read lobbyists) to pick our pockets of everything including the lint.

And rather than LAUGHING OUT LOUD at the idiocy of the failed policies that got us into this mess some people are still taking seriously the supply-side, trickle-down, voodoo economics that got us into this mess to begin with. What's worse is that it's not just the Republicans that are spouting this nonsense, but so-called Blue Dog democrats who are actually (finally!) in the position to FIX THIS SHIT that are threatening to block Mr. Obama's budget.

Have we not learned ANYTHING?!?!? Deregulation and low taxation on the top 2% DO NOT WORK!!! In fact, every time we have tried it it has lead to the same boom/bust economic cycles. Here are a few examples to refresh your memory:

1. 1978 - Airlines are deregulated
Result - Between 1978 and mid-2001, nine major carriers (including Eastern, Midway, Braniff, Pan Am, Continental, America West Airlines, and TWA) and more than 100 smaller airlines went bankrupt or were liquidated—including most of the dozens of new airlines founded in deregulation's aftermath (source).
2) 1992 - National Energy Policy Act of 1992 is passed beginning a spate of other Federal and State deregulation efforts.
Result - The California electricity crisis, characterized by a combination of extremely high prices, rolling blackouts, price instability and spikes leading to the bankruptcy of Pacific Gas and Electric and the public bail out of Southern California Edison (source).
3) 1996 - Telecommunications act of 1996 deregulates telephone, Internet and media (radio and television) industries.
Result - Today, four companies control 90% of all nationwide radio advertising revenue and cost-cutting measures by these new corporate owners have resulted in a scaling back of local news coverage, job cuts, and the homogenization of programming across the nation (source). Cable rates have shot up 48 percent nationwide since 1996. Cable rates have increased nearly three times as fast as inflation. 95 percent of Americans homes still have only one choice for a cable company. As for local telephone service, rates have increased 23 percent since the Telecommunications Act was passed. Before deregulation, there were eight major companies providing local phone service, each to a different area of the country. Today those eight companies have shrunk to four as a result of massive consolidation. The two biggest companies, Verizon and SBC, each control 30 to 40 percent of the nation's local phone business (source). These same companies control the last mile, the "pipe" that provides a link into your home for your Internet and alternative media services. And their control comes from a position of a protected monopoly!
When will we learn our lesson America? The best economic policy is one that regulates the excesses of the minority to protect the interests of the majority. Kind of like the Obama budget will do by rolling back tax breaks for the wealthiest 1% of Americans and instead reducing taxes for 95% of middle Americans. The "Blue Dogs" need to get their heads out of their proverbials and get on the right (read LEFT) side of this issue. And if they don't YOU need to hold them to account (I will certainly do my part)!

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