Friday, March 16, 2012

They don't do God's work, and it doesn't belong to them

This week’s report on initial unemployment claims showed a sharp drop erasing last week’s increase, and this restored the downward trend we‘ve had since early in the year. There was a 0.1% increase in hourly wages last month but this was more than wiped out by a 0.4% increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Mostly from gasoline, as non-fuel and food prices were only up 0.1% for the month.

It appears that stockpiles of fuel components to make summer blend gasoline are at record levels suggesting that the gasoline price bubble is about to burst. The corporate media was reporting yesterday that the Obama Adm and the Brits had agreed to release oil from strategic reserves, but this has since been denied and the price of oil has recovered to previous highs.

The wild swings in gasoline and oil make a lot of money for the Wall Street bankers as they buy and sell futures contracts making money going up and down. They also sell derivatives based on what the future price will be to the suckers who play in their casinos, you might wonder who fed ABC the rumor that the price was about to collapse. You can bet who ever that was made a killing by (timing the market) or more accurately by (making the market).

Mayor Bloomberg defended the head of Goldman Sachs saying  “He’s trying to lead this firm at a time when God couldn’t lead it without being criticized,” Bloomberg, a billionaire himself, started as an investment banker. Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein was at one time quoted as saying the bank was “doing God’s work”. The only record of God getting involved with people like this was to smash their tables and chase them from the temple.

The Republican base constantly frets over taxes and the size of government. They do this even as our government represents 21% of GDP compared to 50% in most developed countries. Countries that when taken in total, altogether don’t spend what we do by ourselves on the military.

Republicans also have no problem with financial services consuming a quarter of the GDP. The “economic royalists” as FDR called them, take a huge cut off the top off everything in the US and provide nothing for it. They don’t provide the expert business decision making for the country that we’ve been promised for the past thirty years. They’ve run the country into the ground, the whole place looks like any privatized prison after a couple of decades on the lease, it’s ready to be torn down.

When you go to the gas pump, the cut taken by the Wall Street bankers and oil company CEOs far outstrips the gas tax the Republicans refuse to raise. No matter how many bridges are closed (or simply collapse during rush hour). More and more government is being privatized, a large cash payment allows Red State Governors to balance their budget for one year and cut taxes for their rich cronies. We get to pay double, triple or more for something we used to own, and now we pay rent forever.

When you go to the doctor, the insurance company makes more money than your doctor, and they didn’t go to medical school. Obama-care did put a throttle on that, now only 15% goes to the insurance company instead of 40%. Despite what the right says, premiums are starting to come down. Insurance companies who don’t cut rates will start sending out big rebate checks around election day.

It’s not single payer healthcare like the rest of the developed world has.  Medicare does it for less than 3% overhead instead of 15%. The next most expensive system in the world does it for half what we’ve been spending per person, and every country has better health statistics than we do, but it’s a start.

We can have our country back, but first, most people need to learn that it used to belong to us.


Anonymous said...

I like your columns. I do however, have a question reagrding this statement: "When you go to the gas pump, the cut taken by the Wall Street bankers and oil company CEOs far outstrips the gas tax the Republicans refuse to raise."

Where did you get that info. and what are the figures? Please post in the comment section if possible and I will check back. Thanks!

prairie2 said...

It's somewhat subjective to say what gasoline is really worth. But the Republican figure of 1.73/gallon at the start of Obama's first term represents the price when the banks were forced out of the market by their own collapse in 2008. Actual usage had not dropped by any significant amount at that point, so it wasn't really supply and demand.

Dave said...

Your last point about taking our country back has a problematic challenge. In order for some to realize that it used to belong to us, they'll have to admit to themselves they've been complete rubes, that the magic-beans-IOU they took from the Republicans in trade for the cow was worthless from the beginning.

Denial is a strong ego defense mechanism. Getting ourselves collectively past it isn't going to be easy.