Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Yes we can or can we?

Japan has had its first change in government in over 50 years as the liberals led by Yukio Hatoyama swept to a landslide victory. The man who is about to become Japan’s next prime minister condemned "US-led market fundamentalism" and vowed to shield his nation from unrestricted globalisation and move Japan toward a regional currency union and away from the unstable Dollar.
In an essay published in the Japanese magazine Voice, Mr. Hatoyama wrote that the global economy had "damaged traditional economic activities" while market fundamentalism had destroyed "local communities", citing the decision by Junichiro Koizumi, former prime minister, to privatize Japan's post office.

"... we will not implement policies that leave economic activities in areas relating to human lives and safety, such as agriculture, the environment and medicine, at the mercy of the tides of globalism," Mr. Hatoyama wrote. He went on to state a need for better welfare, more child support and wealth redistribution.

The sentiment of Japan’s voters has been moving in this direction for more than ten years since the attempt to rescue their economy in the 90’s by giving truck loads of money to their large banks was a dismal failure. The conservative government meanwhile was moving in the opposite direction by allowing American business practices such as importing labor and the use of temp workers to drive down wages. The recent slump led to massive layoffs and in turn deportations of ethnic Japanese that had been encouraged to emigrate back to Japan after generations abroad.

These layoffs also produced something the Japanese had not seen since the war, homeless people living in the streets. Americans still take these scenes for granted since Reagan dumped the chronically mentally ill on the curb. Today the majority of county jail inmates should be mental health patients and millions of working poor are tucked away in hidden camps or populating parking lots at night. Japanese voters completely replaced their entire government for just a fraction of what we take for granted every day. Yes we can, or can we? www.prairie2.com

Monday, August 31, 2009

Still holding a Grudge

China has been buying 50% of commercial vehicles currently produced worldwide. Not to miss an opportunity GM will spend 300 million of your tax money for a 50% interest in a light truck factory in China. It’s not practical to export US built trucks to China since they have high import tariffs, no fools the Chinese.

Three hundred million sounds like a lot of money but the FDIC spent 416 million to clean up 3 more banks Friday. This was a bargain compared to the previous week when they spent 3.3 billion on four banks plus 1.3 billion listed on the report as uninsured that somebody had to eat and this doesn’t count stockholders that lose 100%.

There are 420 banks on FDIC list of likely failures, but real list is now at about 1800 exceeding the 1500 institutions that failed during the Republican S&L scandal of the eighties and nineties. Bank failures are expected to really pick up in the fall as commercial loans start to be written off but the really big surge will come next year as the trillion dollars in toxic assets will start to be accounted for.

Technically the FDIC doesn’t use tax dollars but since the reserves came from banks that just pass it along to customers who are they kidding? It isn’t assessed to bank executives or Republicans like it should be. The FDIC reserves are just about gone and the money will start coming right from the Treasury Dept. by the truck load.

Congress has allotted 500 billion for the FDIC to use which is almost equal to the Americorps budget. Here is a bit of history, FDR’s CCC boys were taken from starvation on the streets, were made fit, became accustomed to disciple and to working outside. After Dec. 7th they went straight into the infantry. Fascists like Beck still hold a grudge for FDR winning the war.