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Ch. 3: Bullnomics: Its Favoritism and Fiction 
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The free-market isn't bad. Competition is awesome! It's what makes America so dynamic. Like every sport there needs to be rules to keep things fair.


Excellent. America just needs a better rule book and more referees. And you are right, without competition there would be no excellence.

But how to get back on track and out of the hole?




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Before the government $700billion bailout the odds of a complete economic Depression triggered by the failure of finance was like 80%, now the chance of absolute failure of the system, the great reset PC seems to advocate for some reason, is rounded up to an estimated 20%


But is this just a band-aid solution? Fooling the public that things will be OK and they can settle back into life as normal without giving up the life style that they have grown accustomed to? Would it be better to accept the inevitable, hit bottom, and begin to climb out with sacrifices that need to be made? Is this really in the best interest of all Americans, future generations included, or is it in the best interest of people just today?



Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:51 pm
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I would like to follow your ideas with another quote if I may, this one is self-explanatory on a slightly different topic yet still relevant.

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"The motto was "Promoting a free market of ideas on the nation's campuses," and here we encounter yet another signature theme of the Washington right. Like many winger ideas - anticommunism, for example - it sounds good at first. A "free-market of ideas" sounds like free inquiry," or a "free exchange of ideas"; an environment in which hypotheses are tested and bad ones are weeded out while good ones go on to earn the respect of the community of scholars. But this is not what the phrase means at all. Markets do not determine the objective merit of things, only their price, which is to say, their merit in the eyes of capital or consumers. To cast intellectual life as a "market" is to set up a standard for measuring ideas quite different from the standard of truthfulness. Here ideas are bid up or down depending on how well they please those with the funds to underwrite inquiry - which effectively means, how well they please large corporations and the very wealthy."
-Thomas Frank, The Wrecking Crew


In answer to your questions I think that the harder or deeper the dive the American people are forced to take the greater will be the reforms in the sector. Your views on how great these changes should be are as valid as mine. I would hope that stability as separated from the atypical frantic growth we have seen could be achieved to the greatest realization of its necessity with the least discomfort of recession. I would like the hear that "America is coming more and more to represent an economically moderate society" more often.

:book:



Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:47 pm
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realiz
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Would it be better to accept the inevitable, hit bottom, and begin to climb out with sacrifices that need to be made


grim

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I think that the harder or deeper the dive the American people are forced to take the greater will be the reforms in the sector


These are good points and philosophically I agree but I don't think deep dives can be allowed to happen if the US wants to maintain its world leadership role (and I hear President Obama saying that it will). There is just too much at stake.

Our political leadership and top executives, all over the western world not just in the US, will not allow the dive to be too deep if they can help it. Short term political interests, careers and other narrow interests are at stake. Our political and economic system does not reward those who are in power (in public or private sector) when deep dives occur.

On a national interest level, particularly for the US, a weakening economy (a deep dive) is a strategic question and a question of national security. From an oil perspective, I think Phillips does a great job of discussing this point in chapter 5 and I think he also demonstrates the fate of those nations who reach the pinnacle of economic achievement, perhaps represented by global dominance, and then decline.

As its economy shrinks in a deep dive and its tax base shrinks and its borrowings grow, how does America maintain its massive military might, its intelligence network and its subsidizing/aiding of friendly countries and pseudo colonies? America has plenty of foes out there who are just itching to see the country decline economically and will seize on any sign of weakness and try to exploit it. And as the US declines, the jackals will move in and pick over whatever is left.

Perhaps I am overstating the case here (sounding almost paranoid), but I feel that we must be realistic about the vulnerability of the US and its allies to the spin off effects of a deep dive in the economy. I think the bailouts will continue.



Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:06 pm
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I think the bailouts will continue.


I agree, they will, because in the short-term it does make the most sense, just as you are saying.
But how long can they continue? How long can a country keep increasing its debt load. It reminds me of a gambler, down on his luck, who keeps betting in hopes of one good role of the dice. Are these bailouts really going to turn the economy around enough to begin to pay off this huge government deficit before the loan is called in? If this bailout money is just circulated through the American economy without creating any kind of real growth, the end result is just a larger public debt and a prolonging of economic decline.



Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:24 pm
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Growth is becoming a thing of the past and will actually be a good indicator that the situation is improving, particularly the employment statistics. I looked a while ago and there seems to be little fudging of these numbers in terms of growth or decline the real numbers always depend on what data is included or not, recessions of the past are clearly indicated in unemployment levels and once jobs start being created again there is little fluctuation in the monthly averages. This site offers a variety of "official information." I know that low-income part time workers are not considered unemployed as neither are retired persons.

http://www.bls.gov/

http://www.shadowstats.com/

Both of these sites were mentioned by Phillips.

:book:



Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:21 pm
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A few quote from an article in (Canadian) Macleans:

Headline
Quote:
Speeding Toward The Abyss: The US is on pace to take on 10 trillion in debt over the next decade. What happens when American's credit runs dry?


In the body:
Quote:
But if only....if only tackling America's skyrocketing deficits would be enough to pull the country out of the gaping hole it finds itself in. To many observers, it has become increasingly clear that the US is slowly, but steadily going broke.

Now the onslaught of retiring baby boomers has begun.....

"I find it kind of ironic that the cause of the bubble that burst was people taking on all these expanding debt obligations without a proper assessment of the risk, and now the cure is for the government to do the exact same thing," says Robert Bixby

(article by Jason Kirby)

This article brings up something not brought up by Phillips, at least not yet, and that is the changing demographics. How can this dwindling workforce with rising expenses in social security and hospital costs pay off an increasingly growing debt?



Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:07 pm
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grim

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particularly the employment statistics. I looked a while ago and there seems to be little fudging of these numbers in terms of growth or decline the real numbers always depend on what data is included or not,


Unemployment stats are based around who is included in the workforce. for example, people who are considered "discouraged" jobseekers are dropped from the "workforce" making the denominator smaller and the unemployment numbers look better. This is fine if the media were to report all of the information, that is, provide a more complete picture of how the unemployment statistic is calculated and actually means. But this does not happen in our sound byte oriented world. We can only find this information if we are willing to dig through reems of government reports.

realiz

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expanding debt obligations without a proper assessment of the risk, and now the cure is for the government to do the exact same thing


yes, witness today's federal budget.



Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:35 pm
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If you only have a hammer to solve problems, you will tend to look at all problems in terms of nails.

:book:



Sat Jan 31, 2009 7:02 pm
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This is an excellent read by Phillips that happens to tie in well to the topic:

http://www.harpers.org/archive/2008/05/0082023

:book:



Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:42 pm
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Jared Diamond author of Collapse and Guns, Germs and Steel puts the odds of total collapse at around 49-51. And this is after trillions of bailout dollars.

http://www-tc.pbs.org/newshour/rss/medi ... ociety.mp3

:book:



Sun Feb 22, 2009 11:16 am
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Post What Will Be Next???
I cannot believe that my government did ALLL it could do deceive its citizens about inflation and CPI. By minimizing inflation and CPI measures they payed out SS checks, welfare payments, food stamps, etc. LESS than what they were supposed to!!!! I don't know about you, but isn't this STEALING!!!! My poor mother receives social security and food stamps and she ALWAYS complains about how her SS checks and food stamps have been getting smaller relative to the amount of food, rent, energy, etc. that she uses these payments for. But, why should I be surprised that the government is finding ways to steal money from us? I shouldn't. Also, how can the government institutions turn a blind eye to reality that tells them laissez-faire capitalism does NOT WORK in the long run. Evertime a crises manifests itself, they just prop up the failing system, delay the coming of the next crisis, and deepen the impact of the next crisis. When will the ceiling just TOTALLY fall on this economic system???? Or has it already fallen? Nah, I think things are going to be MUCH worse in terms of job loss, outsourced jobs, decreased market-shares of small businesses, decreased wages, decreased standard of living, increased inflation, etc. The worst of our economic woes have not even happened yet even though we are in the midst of another crisis! You know why???? Because our government is doing the same thing it has done in previous crises: restock the banks, try to maintain financial confidence, will further create incentives for even further debt, and delay, probably just for an extremely short while, the coming of another WORSE crisis. We have to realize that the financial crisis' throughout the past thirty years have only been getting worse after every time. The 1987 crash was worse than the crisis' of the previous decade. The 2000-2002 stock market crash was worse than the 1987 crash. The 2008 crash is, so far the worst of all! WHAT WILL BE NEXT??!! I don't want to know...



Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:41 am
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