SIMPLIFICATION LEADS TO SUFFOCATION OF US ECONOMY

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Periodically, I go to Seeking Alpha to dispute the editorials there.  Here is a typical example of bad thinking from small, simple minds.  Across the entire spectrum of writing online about this crisis we are in, I seldom see the word ‘Japan.’ Most articles focus on China.  Or OPEC.  Or blame Americans for the mess our internationalist ruling elites created.  

Our Rube Goldberg Economy – Seeking Alpha

Rube Golbergism indeed! In fact, if you close your eyes you can easily imagine the gigantically monstrous, creaking, clacking, lurching machine that our economy has become. At its heart is an engine so strong, sleek and pure that it somehow manages to cart around all of the junk that has been bolted onto it over the years, yet as the machine wheezes and stumbles, it seems evident that the engine may be at the point of seizing. And the response in Washington is to bolt on more parts.

The evidence of misuse is everywhere. The tax code has become a cipher that men train for years to faintly understand and exploit. Farm policy rewards the rich for not producing a commodity in which we enjoy a worldwide advantage. Recoverable carbon based reserves are left in the ground as we bemoan our dependence upon foreign oil. Banks are simultaneously jawboned to lend more money into the teeth of a severe recession and to behave conservatively lest an army of newly empowered bank examiners shut them down. The list is endless.

 

 

Mr. Lindmark is like a lot of starry-eyed thinkers who are very, very naive.  First of all, the entire reason the tax code is so complex is very simple: the corporations themselves, the rich themselves, make it complicated so they can evade paying taxes!  Period!  Every ‘simplification’ of the tax code hurts the lower classes who don’t have a very complicated code and benefits the rich who demand tax cuts in exchange for removing all their complex deductions, etc.

 

They always pretend that the tax code is hard to figure out.  But NOT for THEM!  They adore this complexity!  They make money off of it!  So we cut their taxes more and more and for a few years, the tax code is not so complex. What happens next?

 

The rich and powerful sneak into DC and insert more and more complex exceptions into the code so they pay less and less taxes!  Over the last 35 years, they have done so well at this, their share of the wealth is now double what it was in Nixon’s day.  Today, the share of wealth at the bottom is half of what it was back then!

 

Our Rube Goldberg Economy – 

 

Ironically, at a time when we need to husband our resources for the task at hand, the impulse seems to be to use the situation as an opportunity to address all manner of perceived needs in the country. In fact, as Jenkins said, we need to “simple-down”. Work on the basics and let our basic strength take care of the details.

Left to its own devices, no economy ever behaves in such a self-destructive manner. The root of the problem lies in Washington with a political class that long ago recognized the power of the engine and used that power to further their own ambitions. The question we now face is whether those same men and women can recognize the damage they have done and right it.

 

Here is my reply to the rest of this goofy article,Our Rube Goldberg Economy –

Good grief. The housing/buy out/commodity bubbles were GLOBAL. All sorts of economies suffered the same identical bubbles. The engine for all this was an out of control lending cycle. And the place with the cheapest credit rates was the BANK OF JAPAN. 

The Japanese carry trade flooded the planet with excess credit. This creation of money was instantly translated into other currencies so the yen could hide behind this screen of other currencies suddenly surging in volume, in particular, the dollar.

This flood of currency then sought somewhere it could go and ‘grow’ in the form of ‘investments’. Many countries had investors using pirate islands in the Caribbean and Iceland and other tiny principalities to ‘grow’ this flood of lending and this is why we had so many bubbles, suddenly.

When the Fed, trying to stem the tide, raised interest rates starting in 2004, this made the carry trade WORSE. And now, it is ending only because all central banks are rushing to make their interest rates the same level as Japan.

So in Japan, the carry trade has reversed. The yen is now getting stronger rather than weaker. And the flood of funny money has ceased. Now, the Fed is trying to be the carry trade! They are trying to flood the world with more debt when the world is drowning in red ink!

No one is drowning worse than the US. Since ALL systems, communist, anarchist, capitalist, democratic, autocratic, large and small are now floundering for the exact same reasons, we CANNOT blame Washington, DC for creating a system that doesn’t work via tax laws, etc.

On the other hand, the true problem lies in the floating currency regime launched by Burns and Nixon in 1971. This started the flood of easy credit. This CAN be fixed. This MUST be fixed.

 

We live in a complex society.  ALL first world industrialist nations are complex!  There is no ‘simple’ system except in places like Zimbabwe.  They figured out that money can be run up to infinity and now have infinite inflation and total social chaos.  Same goes for North Korea: it is a very simple economy.  And is killing its own people.  And is ugly, to boot.  

 

We can’t be simple any more than Paris Hilton in ‘A Simple Life.’  We can’t go back to a system that ‘worked in the past’ since even in Colonial Times, life was NOT simple at all.  The building of our nation’s political base was very difficult and the greatest minds on earth bent themselves to this effort and they thought they did a good job of it.

 

The reason Washington, DC is corrupt is due to the cost of running for office in the modern age: it requires lots of money for travel expenses and in particular, TV time.  Most of the money goes into electronic systems and public airspace as well as billboard ads, etc.  The private financing of public office was supposed to be fixed long ago when they passed campaign finance bills in Congress.

 

But that cut down the ability of lobbyists to lobby Congress.  So it was circumvented to the point today that no one uses public financing.  They use private bribes!  And so the corruption is worse today than any time in our history.  Imagine that.

 

But my main point is, all systems suffered from the serial bubbles.  This is why figuring out what was the ultimate source of these bubbles is so important!  As I said a number of times, the world’s #1 and #2 economies cannot both be running systems in the red with low interest rates!   We have a responsibility to not do this and SO DOES JAPAN.  But the real problem is, our financial classes, the investors infesting the system via pirate islands, they wanted this, badly!  And they want it back!  They want to flood the planet with cheap Japanese loans!  

 

Right now, they will settle for cheap American loans.  This will produce another set of inflationary waves in the future, worse than the previous sets of waves that began in 1971.  Now, on to an excellent web site that has great commentary:

 

Economyincrisis.org – 

Craig Harrington: The new administration has promised to create 2.5 million jobs and slow the endemic outsourcing that has been so destructive to our economy. Obama has backed a second, larger, economic stimulus package in hopes of propping up consumers. The proposed stimulus package encourages spending on major infrastructure projects, health-care modernization and green technology to create manufacturing and service jobs.

However, there is a major remaining problem. The United States is unproductive and lacks the capacity to manufacture many of the components necessary for the new wave of building proposed in the stimulus package. According to the Depression-era “Buy American Act,” federally funded projects must contain a certain proportion of American made components (later laws and alterations have changed the exact ratio).

Unfortunately, when it comes to wind and solar power generation, the companies at the forefront of production are largely located overseas (specifically in Germany). Any energy initiatives will require the creation of a brand-new American manufacturing base.

 

China and Germany have been hard at work, trying to expand German influence into Chinese markets via Germany cooperating with China, building alternative energy systems and super-fast train systems.  Among other things.  The Japanese use Chinese labor to assemble stuff but they keep all the elaborate technical stuff inside Fortress Japan.  

 

The Chinese are increasingly demanding they get the higher technology.  So Japan is moving assembly factories to the weaker communist countries like Vietnam.  China was interested in solar energy long ago.  My father was one of the early backers of solar power in the early 1970’s and went around the planet, pushing the concept.  The communist Chinese were very interested in it.  This way, they could bring power to distant villages, for example.

 

President Jimmy Carter made my father the Alternative Energy Czar.  My father wanted solar power factories in the US.  He was very excited about all this.  Now, way too late, the US rethinks doing this stuff.  And we no longer have the manufacturing facilities to do it.  We could start a program of building these factories!  But to do this, we have to KILL FREE TRADE.  For aside from the Japanese carry trade, this is the other devil that bedevils our economy.  

 

Economyincrisis.org –

 While it is crucial to reclaim our manufacturing base if we ever hope to regain our former strength, we are shooting ourselves in the foot by remaining in “free trade” agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization. Until we get out of these agreements, the stimulus package may only serve as Band-Aid that will be ripped off as soon as the funding dries up and cheaper foreign wages drive our manufacturing back out of the country.

 

Correct!  I love it!  Good work here at Economyincrisis.org!  Click here to read another Economy in crisis article about the ‘High Cost of Neglecting Manufacturing’, written in 2004.

 

FEEL FREE TO EMAIL ME AT emeinel@fairpoint.net

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26 Comments

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26 responses to “SIMPLIFICATION LEADS TO SUFFOCATION OF US ECONOMY

  1. Grok1

    Elaine…I certainly agree with your comment at SeekingAlpha. Your assertion that it MUST be fixed rings true. You also say that it CAN be fixed. I’m just not confident the political and economic apparatus to accomplish that feat is in place. So my fear is that it WON’T be fixed. The result will be something nearing a total collapse of the present system. If and when that happens what replaces the broken system is anyone’s guess. I wish I could be more optimistic about a fix so if you could express some encouraging indications of positive movement in the right direction, I for one, would be grateful.

  2. Bear of Little Brain

    Speaking of the rich and powerful, this, with no sense of irony:
    “Ethics – we have lost sight of an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.”
    Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, Financier
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7754768.stm
    Words fail me (not the sentiment, but the source).

  3. Gary

    Ha ha ha.

    A member of the Rothschild Family discovers
    “honesty.”

    The royal “we” of course only refers to the peasants, unless the man has a dead rat in
    his pocket.

  4. emsnews

    Want a real laugh?

    The Queen of England’s speech to the nation, written by the Labour Party, has her chastising WELFARE CHEATS!!!

    🙂

  5. So per “economyincrisis” isn’t this why it is so obvious that we need to HOLD onto OUR factories. The ones that reside in OUR communities. Then they CAN be re-tooled to make the things we need to build up our infrastructure.

    I saw a show on Discover Channel I think it was regarding “the latest” German engineering on their rail system. Incredible stuff. I would love to ride one of those trains. As far as plains are concerned – feffef em – what a waste.

    As far as the roth-child and little bitty queen of eng-land —- I wonder if they understand about the “power of american natives”. I think Bubba has some sensibility on this topic, but I could be wrong.

    Peace,
    Ken

  6. Meant to say “planes” as in “airplanes” – very ineffient mode of transportation if you want my opinion.

    The plains on the other hand are where the Buffalo reside and from what I here from a very reputable and local source – the Buffalo in the Dakotas are starting to thrive again. Makes sense if you think about it.

    Peace,
    Ken

  7. And just to get totally off-topic, I know the connection between US of A railways (those fucking robber barons) and the decimation of the Buffalo. That history sucks.

    Even so, rails — TRAINS — are a much more efficient mode of tranportation that air planes (maybe not dirigibles, but thats a different story). This efficiency is evident based on HARD science. Economics is NOT hard science and just now it is mostly biased bullshit (at least that which is coming out of the universities) that is more harmful than helpful.

    Thanks Elaine for all that you do.

    Peace,
    Ken

  8. Incidently, like I suspect many others in the us of a, I have very near immediate relatives who DIED working on the railroads. What did they die for?

  9. Chris Martenson nails it today…I think Elaine also touched on this possible and bizarre twist:

    “The beginning of the end”

    “I am often asked for what signs I use to measure where we are in the crisis and whether it will get worse or better.”

    “This next article posits the emergence of a new type of bond sold by the US that is not denominated in US dollars. This would be the equivalent of a road sign reading, “No bridge, 10 feet”.
    ______________________________________________

    “Asia Times – TOKYO – Japanese economists, increasingly concerned that the United States might seek to pay its enormous and growing debt obligations in a weakened US dollar, are looking to the possibility of US Treasuries being issued in yen.”

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Japan/JK19Dh01.html
    ______________________________________________

    Chris – “Few truly appreciate what a gift, and exorbitant privilege, it has been for the US to be able to both issue and pay off its debts in the same currency. Compare this to a third world country forced to borrow from the IMF in another currency. In order to pay back the loan they have to acquire whatever that currency happens to be. This means that they must run a positive trade balance of some sort or they may have to sell off key internal assets. Either way, a rigor is imposed on their actions that is missing for the US.”
    ______________________________________________

    Asia Times – “Faced with the unprecedented growth of the US budget deficit and the prospect of an increasingly weaker dollar compared with the yen reducing the value of Treasury debt held by Japan, economists in Tokyo are calling for the administration of president-elect Barack Obama to issue US Treasuries denominated in yen and other currencies. The issuance of foreign currency-denominated US Treasures would reduce the perceived risk of holding the debt.”

    ______________________________________________

    Chris – “And that, my friends, was a call for the beginning of the end of the free ride. If (or when) the US is forced to borrow real money from other countries that it cannot simply print out of thin air, then it will have to work for it, like everybody else. This will mean that our trade balance must be, at worst, zero or else our currency will constantly erode. While a weaker currency can help the exporters, it also means that the cost of external borrowing goes up which can quickly morph into a borrowing spiral where a weaker currency and more borrowing create the conditions for each other’s existence.”

    ______________________________________________

    Asia Times – “The US will be forced to issue foreign currency-denominated US Treasures in its hour of need,” said Mizuno. “The US cannot finance its deficit by itself. The US financial system cannot survive without foreign investors. We will see ‘Obama Bonds’ in the future.”

    ______________________________________________

    Chris – “Right now this is all conjecture, but if or when the US begins to issue bonds in foreign currencies to fund its excesses then this will be a road sign that the end of the old paradigm is upon us.”

    “Caution: bridge out”

    “For now I am keeping a close eye on this ‘trial balloon’ as the denomination of US bonds in anything other than US dollars would be a tectonic shift for the US and for the global economic landscape.”

    http://www.chrismartenson.com/blog/beginning-end/9659

  10. calvino

    ”Now, way too late, the US rethinks doing this stuff.”

    Not really. I have offered several times to give you a list of twenty American alt energy companies that would sustain a manufacturing and financial rally like we have not seen for sixty years. For instance, Buffalo, like many technologically proficient investors, got scorched with FCEL. Good theory, good engineering – hanging on for dear financial life. Compared to others, FCEL is doing very well. They have been supported by the Governor, since they are both from the same home town. I think that you fail to realize that alternative energy is a milk cow for Goldman Sachs when they need to quickly stuff a good account after losses. They sell as many shares of these startups as they want, since individuals investors usually own a majority of the shares. So what does Goldman care if Buffalo, or I go to the DTCC and demand the trail of the shares. DTCC knows those shares did not exist, that they will never be delivered and that there was never any intention of delivering them. You think holding up signs about shutting the FED is useful? Why don’t you try serving a FOI request upon the DTCC if you think you are so brave. I have sat on level 3 quote screens and seen Goldman selling Bulletin Board shares that are not even in the farthest reaches of their investment profile. Much of this trading/destruction is done on the behalf of GE, who are completely happy to see alt energy solar manufacturing go to China, as long as it is not domestic. The eight China solar IPO’s done on Woe Street in 05 and 06 confirm what I am saying, if you want to think for yourself. No one listens to you? Please. No one is talking any more, is more like it.

  11. Gary

    Americans have been bred like pit bulls to
    fight eachother and never look to the breeders
    for their sorry predicament.

    For years most Americans have joined in on
    and danced in the big business’ conga lines, cheering on the outsourcing. We were trained to badmouth the horrible “greedy unions” as socialist. Readers Digest had constant stories of union corruption constantly villifying unions. No stories ever mentioned management laziness and
    corruption. Even today, after Enron and all the
    other communist bailouts, people still have the
    knee jerk reaction to blame the unions for the
    demise of Detroit.

    The breeders (media outlets) are in trouble now.

    We can only hope the major newspapers are denied
    bailout funds and go bankrupt. Maybe then we
    can resurrect the profession of news reporting
    as it used to be (somewhat) Let the Columbia
    School of Journalism go bankrupt as well. That
    way, journalists can once again come from the
    streets,farms and factories rather than the
    sanitized gated “communities”

  12. RobG

    In the realm of astronomy and Block Holes, AIG news, the maidens (maybe sirens) are at work:
    AIG, U.S. in deal to terminate some debt obligations

    The Federal Reserve has established two funds — Maiden Lane II LLC and Maiden Lane III LLC — to hold mortgage assets linked to AIG.

    One will hold the assets underlying the AIG CDS, and the other entity will be for mortgage liabilities from a securities lending portfolio that caused additional losses for AIG.

    The insurer puts up $5 billion and $1 billion for each fund, while the government provides $30 billion and $22.5 billion, respectively.

    To date, the Federal Reserve has funded Maiden III, the facility which will be used to buy assets underlying CDS, with about $15 billion, according to a statement late Friday.


    New Entity Buys $46.1 Billion In CDOs, Cancels AIG’s CDS Contracts

    So far, $46.1 billion of such CDOs have been purchased, canceling the CDS contracts and relieving some pressure on AIG’s liquidity.

    An AIG spokesman said the CDOs were purchased for fair-market value, which is far less than their original value, and the CDO holders are keeping the cash collateral already paid by AIG. The deals essentially have made the CDO holders whole.

    The entity was created by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York last month to mitigate AIG’s liquidity issues in connection with its CDS contracts. The Fed said then that it would lend up to $30 billion to the facility and AIG would lend $5 billion.

    Hmmm, that word ‘lend’. Must mean something else to the Fed.

    And what is, pray tell, was the market value (Canadian Press):

    The entity now has $15.1 billion in Fed money and $5 billion from AIG, with the Fed saying it will provide up to $30 billion. The money will be used to buy a total of roughly $64.7 billion of the debt securities at their current market price, which is far below their principal value, the filing said.

  13. “Bailout – Treasury Secretary Paulson Threatened Reps with Martial Law”

    “Sen. James Inhofe (R-Ok.) said yesterday that it was Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson who personally told Congressmen that there would be martial law in America if they did not pass the bailout of the banks as demanded by the Bush Administration. On Oct. 2, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) said on the House floor that “Many of us were told in private conversations that if we voted against this bill on Monday the sky would fall, the market would drop two or three thousand points the first day, another couple of thousand the second day, and a few members were even told that there would be martial law in America if we voted no.”

    http://macedoniaonline.eu/content/view/4547/61/

    ___________________________________________

    Those bastards in washington ran scared of paulson, who is just a bankers pimp – they should resign if they are so easily torn from doing the right thing.

  14. Gary said – “Americans have been bred like pit bulls to fight eachother and never look to the breeders for their sorry predicament.”

    No doubt most of the people are dumb as dogs, but I think they more resemble french poodles or some other sissy breed.

    I wish they were pit-bulls, then we might have some potential.

  15. emsnews

    Thanks for the AIG information, Rob G.

    Buffalo Ken, I adore trains. Our trains are so third world…!

    Maiden Lane….HAHAHA. Rape the virgins time!

  16. emsnews

    calvino: you can’t use the Freedom of Information act to get DTCC data. That is secret. Now, on the other hand, I would very much like to see CLINTON’S donors and buddies!

  17. Bear of Little Brain

    Calvino:
    I expect you are already aware of Patrick Byrne’s work on naked short selling and the depth of the scandal. If not, his site is here:
    http://www.overstock.com/naked-short-selling.html
    The “Resources” at the bottom has a couple of presentations (Dark Side…, Deep Capture…) that he has put together to explain this to people like me (!). I suspect this old hat to you, though.
    All the best.
    May be of interest to others interested in rabbit holes…

  18. David

    Yes, when I read about a politician or leader talking about the bottom line, I cringe. Large scale, simple-minded one or two part solutions to huge problems usually lead to even more problems and even more complex disasters.

    Our nation is bedeviled by huge numbers of simpletons (otherwise known as conservatives) who want simple, one line answers to very complex problems, and our elites, as Elaine pointed out, take their pleasure in making things very complex in order to keep regulators and the public occupied while they steal, misuse and abuse the nation’s wealth and resources.

    Usually, a complex problem, like fixing our failing economy, requires dozens of solutions applied in a synchronious manner in order to change the overall outcome of a situation. This is not a task for simple minded, one-track thinkers, whether in Congress or in the White House. It requires leaders who can integrate dozens of complex ideas in their thinking and still keep things pointed in a single direction that will fix a huge problem, like our failing economy.

    However, when thinking about any set of solutions to a problem, one must keep in mind what the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurielus, taught…that we should always look at the fundamental basic questions of why a problem exists in the first place. Right now, in the US, the nation is buying stuff made overseas with money that does not really have any real value attached to it and the nation is floating on a huge river of debt. Now, lets think of a dozen things we can do to stop this basic problem.

  19. nah

    more web sites for me to hammer shweet’

    http://www.cahrecords.com

    vote your paycheck

  20. calvino

    Little Brain.. funny, I was talking about Patrick Byrne yesterday with a friend who still has a finance job. For some reason he would not accept that any broker/dealer could use his company to counterfeit money whenever it was convenient. He was the stark raving madman until July 16, when the fake chairman of the SEC banned short selling for his pals banking shares. Chris Dodd, the fake chairman of Senate Banking has been promising to hold hearings on the issue for two years. But Dodd is the home senator for hedgies as well as GE, so those hearing are not moving fast on the agenda. btw, why has Dodd not been impeached after getting caught taking bribes from Angelo Mozillo? How is this possible?

  21. emsnews

    Arrest them all, Calvino!

    Good comment, David. The solutions are actually rather simple but are extremely dangerous! Namely, any time anyone tries to change any status quo, all hell breaks loose.

    This is why revolutions happen. Violent status quo changes happen when there is no alternative.

  22. emsnews

    Bear of little brain, I notice your avatar is broken. I hope Pooh didn’t fall down.

  23. GK

    Can anyone help me figure out what this means?

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1043048.html

    Stanley Fischer, the governor of the Bank of Israel, is reportedly again a candidate to replace Timothy Geithner as president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, according to media reports.

    http://judicial-inc.biz/

  24. absolutely interesting read.

    thanks for sharing

  25. Calvino – it is true – FCEL (out of Conneticut) along with Ballard (BC Canada) and Plug (Jersey I think, but I never invested in them) were once in a lifetime rollercoaster rides a few years back for their shareholders (plus many other alt-energy companies). I enjoyed the ride, but I got off. Obviously way too much uncertainty and “players” in the background playing their gnome-like games using “rules” they weren’t kind enough to share with the rest of us. I don’t really care about it anymore cause I just changed my investing strategy. Funny thing is the gnome-like games only seem to be getting bigger and bigger and bigger – Dr. Suess style as discussed in the Lorax.

    Like I said to the lawn mower repairman I saw yesterday – “Fuck the markets” and I think I also said fuck the bankers. They can take their games elsewhere and the more I think about it the more I’m starting to sense the wisdom of Bubba’s words.

    It just sucks. The molten carbonate fuel cell makes total sense. To think an itty bitty tiny fraction of the trillions wasted on the fucking past banks, bankers and the wars they love could have resulted in implementation of a technology that would help the us of a maintain its special autonomy. This autonomy is fixing to be consumed seems to me cause it ain’t been nothing much lately except decadance and suffering of innocence. Just my opinion.

    The bankers may be “running the show” just now but this show is coming to a hasty close. If I was a banker, or shit, even a “profitting financial advisor” for that matter, I’d be running for the hills. Glad I’m not.

    Peace,
    Ken

  26. Bit of a poem, but not really….

    Incidently today is 1248 – the power of 2. Too bad it wasn’t a Tuesday but you can’t have everything. Thursday is not a bad day anyway. What day is….even though, I think 6 days a week with 5 days at the end of the year (and 6 days on “leaping” years) makes a whole bunch more sense – this ain’t a new idea. The numbers just seem to make more sense this way to me than goofy ole seven, but what do i know….

    Anywho, who needs the zero – not me cause we all know its 2008 – a great year if you want my opinion, the beginning of something better. Furthermore, zero, nada, zilch, nothing, void, etc. (there are many names) is nothing but imagination. Really. Zero is a concept that no longer exists in the real world. Its a concept. A tool created in imagination.

    Later and sorry for the psuedo-poem. You can always skip it (maybe i should have said this upfront 😀 ).

    Peace,
    Ken

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