Home | About | Donate

WaPo Wants Us to Mourn the Lost Political Power of Big Business


WaPo Wants Us to Mourn the Lost Political Power of Big Business

Dean Baker

Seriously, the Post ran a major front page article in its Sunday business section telling us that "big business lost Washington." The piece does acknowledge that business lobbies are still very effective in getting special deals for their industry, like favorable tax treatment for offshore profits and low cost access to public lands for fossil fuel extraction, but it complains that business leaders are not openly setting the national agenda.


Brilliant economists like Dean Baker will find a way to make the jump to a post Keynesian era of reduced economic intensity or economics itself will become irrelevant. Discussion of national debt and full employment by economic reasoning tends to leave out the actual world. This analysis of the power dynamic between labor and business in the US capitol completely ignores that full employment equals a death sentence for life on Earth

Budgetary balance is a modern progressive position. Full employment is an irrational goal during a time of global climate collapse caused by economic activity that does not value Earth's life support systems.

August 8, 2016 was Earth Overshoot Day. That is the day when the world economy overshoots Earth’s ability to resupply and recycle wastes. Earth overshoot day occurs earlier each year. Greenhouse gasses, water pollution and specie extinction are among the more dangerous overshoots.*

The world economy requires 1.6 Earths. If every one on Earth lived like the US, the world economy would require 4.8 Earths — 5.4 Earths if we all lived like Australians. France, Italy and the UK operate at about a three Earth consumption level. With this in mind, imagine if every working age person on the planet was busy 40 hours a week making updated iGizmos to keep their company sales growth on target.

Additionally, it is well known that the greatest life-style ecological damage is at the highest wealth; eliminate the lower income 85% of humanity and the change in ecological damage will not be sufficient to avert impending environmental collapse.

Humble living as an educated and active person in a loving family and fun neighborhood that leaves Earth healthy is one good way to live. A life that considers the goal of education and Earth healing grace as ultimate success can also be an exemplary citizen in a society and economy that reaches for star travel. Super wealthy individuals are not needed for humanity to become space travelers. Cosmic powered biology manifest as human already travels the cosmos, just as water already runs down hill.

Humanity is riding an accelerating cosmic expansion. Earth is traveling very fast in an unknown direction — Cosmic powered biology manifest as human surfing big-still-banging took a wrong turn at life speed and hurt Earth for money. Now humanity is awakening and becoming apologetic, perhaps a bit ashamed.

Many thinking people seriously consider methods of reducing economic intensity to less than one Earth. The proposal here is to heal Earth with human rights using real cultural tools available to humanity as a biological facet of big bang — Autonomous democracy and distributed intelligence.

Autonomous democracy is an ancient human tool used to focus distributed intelligence. The mutual task explored here is how to formulate a prosperous culture that includes a gently declining population accompanied by a reduction in economic intensity and an end to ecologically unacceptable war pollution.

Demand for a balanced budget is central to modern progressive thinking even if most progressives don't yet realize it. This statement appears counterintuitive at first glance only because the textual smoke and mirrors of Oz purposefully obscure reality. Rather than explain how and why the balanced budget idea became so muddled in economic mumbo jumbo, this brief manifesto starts with an old US constitutional provision to lay out today’s practical and political reasons for budgetary balance.

Do you remember when your middle school civics teacher explained to the class why the house of representatives has the shortest term? Two years. Remember? It is because US representatives are in charge of the budget. If your elected representative spends too much money and your taxes go up for something unwanted, one can vote that representative out. Pronto.

This simple idea was worked out in the US constitution 240 years ago ±. It stands as an uncanny intergenerational communication of a subject that encompasses modern basics of the information-age. On the largest scale, today, we measure gravity waves. And at the quantum level we study atomic and sub atomic events that are wave or particle depending on the observer. The idea of a balanced budget fits in here because US national founders have directly communicated reasonable and salient information to the present across time at a moment of dire need in the information age.

Deficit government spending destroys democracy by avoiding discomfort to voting taxpayers. Elected representatives are thus able to spend freely on group-think purchases from crony capitalists. Voter retribution is side-stepped and grateful campaign contributors buy electoral victories that turn two years into a career for life. Democracy is destroyed in this way; government spends imaginary money on real and often secret things intelligent people wouldn’t pay for.

A balanced budget was accepted as a fact of life by the writers of the US constitution. The remedy for excess spending remains the ballot box. US founders knew there would be times when major improvements cost more than the annual taxes could afford. A ballot proposal to create a public bond to finance a large project is an exercise of democracy. Exercise of democracy as a continuous act that includes examination of bond proposals. That is a constitutional expectation of a balanced budget. Current budgetary practices by the house of representatives is contrary to this expectation and thus destroys democracy. Therefor, a totally new congress is high priority.

Specific mention of a balanced budget is not present in the US constitution because much of that document is constructed around the idea of budgetary balance. There is no need to call for a constitutional convention to create a balanced budget amendment. The structure of the US government is designed to work only if a balanced budget is the underlying expectation of sane and functional government. Short termed representatives are put in charge of the budget, which is to be balanced unless augmented by democratic vote for a government bond issue. The system is designed so the representatives will be quickly voted out if taxpayers become irritated.

The underlying purpose of these ideas as laid out is to help define those steps needed to eliminate corruption, reverse austerity, and establish that deficit spending to enhance growth with green jobs contains major intellectual problems that need to be thought out.

Yes. There is need for good trains and mass transit. Oppositely, eternal war and a trillion dollar modernized nuclear weapons arsenal are not needed or wanted by voting taxpayers. Deficit federal spending destroys democracy by funding projects which taxpayers would object to when they paid the tax for it. Remember. That is why US founders placed primary budget responsibility with two-year representatives.

Humanity also needs small-scale organic food production to provide protein from legumes in order to cut back on red meat. How do we utilize this wide-spread knowledge and introduce eco-agriculture widely? Autonomous democracy is a tool to focus distributed intelligence.

There is much talk of jobs for millions yet no discussion of corporate agriculture and its use of semi-slave migrant labor. Industrial agriculture uses trainloads of poison chemicals sprayed in California according to a calendar schedule hanging on a wall street wall. Distributed human intelligence knows that corporate agriculture is socially archaic and among the very largest polluters, antibiotics included.

How many tens of millions of unemployed would gravitate to small-scale ecological agriculture to raise a family as Earth preservation grows too expensive for corporations? Tens of millions of formerly under employed over educated citizen scientists will turn to ecological agriculture. They will tend to have smaller families that result as a long known yet unintended benefit of education, just as their urban counterparts, many of whom will be helping with boosting quality of life for an aging population enjoying an ever more problem free old age. A gentle population decline will put less stress on Earth and distributed human intelligence will design a sustainable new way that does not require endless capitalist expansion. Autonomous democracy and distributed intelligence can facilitate such a transition.

Intriguing topics that are not discussed by national media monopolies are the very soul of complex ideas that distributed human intelligence brings to focus with gusto. Especially on the bio-net of direct communication. For example, humanity knows the US military is number one polluter, followed by US national government. Autonomous democracy is more than a binary yes or no.

Many people have noticed all of life’s facets discussed thus far, plus an infinitude of ideas distributed in individual brains around the world. Autonomous democracy is an ancient organic tool humans use to focus distributed human intelligence and then tell the government what to do. This possible course to reverse global climate collapse cannot happen under dictatorship or totalitarian empire. A well functioning uncorrupted republic staffed by elected officials and dedicated public servants is required for modern civilization to concentrate, focus with autonomous democracy and help Earth heal.

Autonomous democracy has grown along with distributed human understanding from fire-lit caves to here and now, the information age. Science and the dawning of Aquarius illuminate autonomous democracy as part of being human.

A military empire that attempts to direct the human biological aspect of big-still-banging is doomed to everlasting hubris on a treadmill. Followed by bankruptcy.


Oh, for sure we should feel so badly that what, we pass the TPP? These greedy you know whats, are killing us and still have the nerve to cry about loss of power? That's hubris alright, knowing full well if it passes we will become slaves to a corporate rule.
The series "Continuum", last year, was spot on for what we have coming if it passes. Total surveillance, total submission and slavery.
Big Business is the evil that we fight and fight as hard as we can, we cannot lose or give up.


... You blend some sound ideals in with unfounded premises.

And some people think my posts are weird?


Time to brush up on your Feynman or something. Wrong verb applied in your statement, " events that are wave or particle depending on the observer.." Events appear, not are, as either wave or particle depending upon the type and interpretation of measurement employed. Despite demonstrating a wave-like pattern, the sub-atomic phenomena remain discrete particles, such as photons, quarks, electrons, et al. Newton's supposition was essentially correct!---though not for reasons he imagined.

As for your assertions regarding the founders and balanced budgets, that too, merits some historic review on your part, as well. Elucidating upon the myriad deficiencies of the Articles of Confederation, Hamilton poses these rhetorical questions and replies:
"Is public credit an indispensable resource in time of public danger? We seem to have abandoned its cause as desperate and irretrievable."

"Is private credit the friend and patron of industry? That most useful kind which relates to borrowing and lending is reduced within the narrowest limits, and this still more from an opinion of insecurity than from the scarcity of money. To shorten an enumeration of particulars which can afford neither pleasure nor instruction, it may in general be demanded, what indication is there of national disorder, poverty, and insignificance that could befall a community so peculiarly blessed with natural advantages as we are, which does not form a part of the dark catalogue of our public misfortunes?
This is the melancholy situation to which we have been brought by those very maxims and councils which would now deter us from adopting the proposed Constitution; and which, not content with having conducted us to the brink of a precipice, seem resolved to plunge us into the abyss that awaits us below. Here, my countrymen, impelled by every motive that ought to influence an enlightened people, let us make a firm stand for our safety, our tranquillity, our dignity, our reputation. Let us at last break the fatal charm which has too long seduced us from the paths of felicity and prosperity."
---Federalist #15


Well, at least it's out in the open that the Washington Post's owners and editorial writers are full on fascists.


This from Bloomberg: "Jeff Bezos just snuck past Warren Buffett to become the third-richest person on Earth."
Bezos, of course, is the owner of the Washington---it's fair to say it should have been in the open for some time by now.


"Business leaders not OPENLY setting the DC agenda" ?

After Occupy Wall Street (OWS) illuminated the 1%, the 1% became more clandestine, secret TPP and TTIP drafting being a couple of the many examples.

With Sanders' primary agenda addressing issues of consequence that no Democratic Party or GOP candidate would ever address, big business' previously simple propaganda campaign has had to expand in many directions.


The corporate oligarchy pays politicians to do their dirty work.

No politicians, no problems.

Direct Democracy


The arrogance of the wealthy knows no bounds


Autonomous democracy sounds like a theory that has much more depth than my morning brain revealed. Matter of fact, the extent of your comment will require the ageing brain to go back and read over a few times. It does seem to resonate with the concept of communication with the local community as a beginning, and then taking action. Perhaps I should get off the computer and go talk to my neighbors down the road (a dirt road) and, at least, listen to them to find a way to introduce the idea of autonomous democracy. Thank you for the incentive.


Baker, like most others in this country, is clueless about the fact that we humans are a part of ecosystems at various scales--a fact that will lead to our demise as a species. A "sapiens" species we are NOT!