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Smashing the Austerity Idols


#1

Smashing the Austerity Idols

Donald Kaul

I’d like to apologize to the people of Greece.

I’ve been pretty hard on them over the years. I’ve made fun of their freewheeling spendthrift habits, their unwillingness to pay their taxes, and their early retirement ethos.

When they were given membership in the Euro zone, I made fun of that too, or at least of the rest of Europe’s willingness to cast its lot with the Greeks. “That’s like going mountain climbing with your safety rope tied to the town drunk,” I said.


#2

What is being done to Greece - primarily by Germany - is shameful and disgraceful. I don't see a good ending for it since Germany has apparently forgotten the debt forgiveness they received after WWII, without which they would have been in no better shape than Greece today. Or perhaps Germany still has an attitude that they are better than everyone else and deserved a bailout with forgiveness, while Greece does not? Perhaps those post-WWII debts should be reinstated - in today's inflated dollars, of course - and a demand made to Germany to pay up. Immediately. They deserve no better.


#4

Thanks, Donald Kaul. You've been right a hell of lot more times than most of the clowns who are paid to write public relations releases disguised as enlightened commentary. From my grandmother forward, even if you'd rather not go there, you've been a lot of fun and made real folks chuckle at the many follies in American politics, culture, business and, ahem, adult recreation. And, who can ever forget Rutland, Iowa? Though there's probably a few pedal pushers that would like to.


#5

The current austerity discussion shows us how clueless today's US middle classers are, unaware of the fact that the US simply chose a different strategy for implementing the austerity agenda. We've been rolling it out slowly, from the bottom up, since the mid-1980s while re-educating the general population about US poverty and the poor. Right now, we are watching as the rich do to the middle class what the middle class already did to the poor, and there's nothing we can do about it.

Liberals and Democrats of this generation, being focused on middle class consumers and campaign donors, have ignored the consequences of US austerity for years, even though it has taken such a heavy toll on the country. Consider that when Reagan was first elected, launching the long campaign against our poor, the overall quality of life in the US was rated at #1. By the time Obama was elected, this had already plunged to #43, and the US can no longer adequately compete in the modern world market. That is a stunning deterioration. The US has been in similar messes in the past. Each time, the poor and middle class, workers and the jobless, ultimately united to push back -- to everyone's benefit. That can't happen this time.


#6

If we could look at the broader picture, we would recognize that all of this is connected with the goal of establishing a corporate world government. Of course, that sounds as crazy as the notion of a handful of terrorists blowing up a major business building in New York.


#7

"And what would be wrong in requiring the banks that made bad loans to share in the pain of repaying them?"

I might be wrong but if i remember correctly, in the first Greek bailout of 2011, the private banks that loaned money to Greece got a 50% "haircut" (half of Greece's debt was forgiven). The first, then second, and now the third bailout are being "financed" by other Eurozone taxpayers, some from countries that don't do too well themselves.


#8

Please! why does everyone refuse to see the wood in the trees?
There is one, and only one, cause of all our economic woes. During the early 1900's our stupid/corrupt politicians signed away our Sovereign "rights" , that allowed us to print and issue our own interest free, debt free money; and since then we have all become "debt slaves". Our rights to print and issue our own money out of thin air were ceded to private banking Corporations, thus now, we borrow all our money from them, and they simply print it out of thin air, and charge us interest for the privilege. Given the nature of our economic cycles, the booms and busts, it is virtually impossible for us ever to repay all such debts, especially since, when they print our borrowings, they do not also print the money to cover the interest repayments. This particular economic consequence was recorded centuries ago in the well known fable about the boy who possessed a goose that laid "golden" eggs; he sold the goose for a paltry sum and forever thereafter he was destitute.

The remedy for our problems is simple; we abrogate any agreement previously made, reclaim our Sovereign "rights" to print and issue our own debt free interest free money.

This will enable us to stop income-taxing of individuals; we may pay everyone that needs it a social wage, based on a break even computation, this will eliminate poverty and deprivation; those in receipt of the Social wage will be encouraged into employment, without loss of this Social wage, and to work for any employer for additional income, mutually agreed between them. this gives control of work and income to the "workman". Employers will gain a workforce of people willing to accept much lower wages than previously paid, thus making the employer production cost significantly lower; plus, the employer no longer collects taxes for the Government. The employer Corporation/business will pay tax annually as usual. The collection of V.A.T. or G.S.T., consumer taxes will cease.

All Government expenditures will be provided by the planned issue of our own debt free interest free money using legislation approved by Parliament. Health, Education, University courses, Infrastructure of all kinds, etc. etc.

Provided that all of these expenditures are actually "spent" into circulation they will not create inflation; inflation will occur, for instance, when too much money chases too few "goods". The Government must own and run it's own Bank, just like the original Commonwealth Bank. No Private Bank or Corporation will be permitted to create money, under any guise; our financial system will revert to one of "sound " money. Sound money is that which turns around sound borrowing and lending, controlled by being liquid cash, backed by the ownership of assets, and strict criteria keeping them in balance; borrowing and lending outside of these criteria, characterised as "high risk", will be permitted between parties willing to accept such risk, and then, only when it involves their own wholly owned assets.

Interest rates in the private sector will be set by the private sector. The floating exchange rate will be converted into "fixed" rates decided by Government, and as decided between Sovereign Nations and embodied in trade agreements. Our currency will not be traded on "Exchanges", our Nation will be immunised against the manipulated predations of the "Market".

The foregoing explains the broad brush strokes involved, but in summary we would have a Nation with little or no foreign debt, a Nation whose domestic economy sits on a solid unshakeable base, a Nation better able to compete in the wider World, a Nation without poverty whose peoples are empowered to think and work for themselves, a Nation rescued from the avarice of the "Money Lenders", and above all, a Government able to be free and Independent, instead of being owned by Corporate money and influence. This is named "The Universal Economy" because it will operate anywhere.

For those who doubt the efficacy of this proposal, I suggest they study the United States example. The clever banking Corporations engineered the U.S. dollar to be the Worlds reserve currency. Ever since the U.S. has been printing money out of thin air, then, the only Nation to do so, now they have more than one thousand and seven military bases occupying and overseeing most of the planet, they have engineered regime change and wars in countless Nations, and recently have printed trillions of dollars, called quantitative easing, and poured it into foreign banks and financial Institutions trying to prevent the next meltdown; but it is not working because their printed money was not spent into circulation, instead it inflated the prices of shares and real estate.


#9

You think the average person doesn't wish to see debt eliminated? These 'dreaming out loud' posts pretend that everyday people AND the Big Banks have equal influence over the law, implemented policies, and long-term national and international strategies. Sure. Hierarchy is built into the mindset of the make-war state. It's all about top-down conditioning with niches of status. What is IMPOSED on persons they either adapt to, or they will pay a high price. Pretending that imposed economic systems represent "free choice" or the intentions of the Middle Class (DhFabian's Talking Point du jour) shows a lack of understanding of how power works and has worked for centuries.

While The World Social Forum promotes the adage that "Another World is Possible," and certainly it would be based on far more egalitarian values... it's disingenuous to pretend that those values are already in place and it's just the mere matter of people "realizing" how good it would be to have no debt.

Most working people ARE in debt. It's the bankers and the 1% that hold the rest of us in debt slavery.

So many try to blur the lines as if what Power does somehow reflects what its surrogates want.

In other words, too many people who have DAYTIME hours free to post push the very narrative that blurs over the central insight exposed by Occupy Wall St. That the 1% decide far too much as is plainly seen by the muscle behind pushing through TPP and TIPP without any public discussion or exposure of what rights are being signed away as Obama applauds himself for "fast track."

.... Fast track to fiscal hell for the vast majority, added to impossible levels of ecocide to a planet--Mother Earth--already writhing with paroxysms of environmental overkill.


#10

I missed Donald Kaul after his "Over the Coffee" column disappeared from the DesMoines Register, shortly before I left the Midwest. This article is vintage Kaul : once, writing around the time of the German reunification, he suggested that American bombers keep flying over Germany and be ready to drop down bombs should Nazism reared its ugly head again. Thanks to CD for bringing back memories of this unforgettable columnist.


#11

The problem in Greece has nothing to do with the government being irresponsible with their spending.

It has everything to do with falling to the Film Flam of the world banking system which by design works towards these types of outcomes so that they can use that debt and their control over the money supply to sieze real assets.

The blame the victim meme being suggested here is the same one used by people like the Koch brothers when they blame the poor for not saving enough and wasting money on things they do not need.

John Perkins was very clear as to how this scam worked in the book he wrote.

There are tens of millions of Americans burdened by debt. One can either suggest they are all irresponsible or one can conclude that this is how the system designed by those in power.


#12

Well rather than flying over Berlin to prevent the rise of Nazism , those bombers should have been flying over London and Washington DC to ensure it never raised its head again.


#13

Completely agree. Greece should demand reparations from not only Germany for the atrocities committed during WWII but also for the subsequent destructions wrought by the United States and Great Britain. Also, the executives and employees of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley that the cooked the books prior to Greece"s entry into the euro should be charged, found guilty, sentenced to jails in Greece and be forced with interest and penalties to return to the Greece all bonuses awarded due to said cooked books.

Austerity has an historical record of success and fails into that Einsteinism (is that a word?): the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.