The stock market is singing the GOP blues. Of course, they'll say they inherited it. Nonetheless ... stocks have declined when Republicans took over, going back a century or so.
Republicans are business-friendly, so the Wall Street Journal types have some explaining to do. The Market is the Voice of God, so what's up, guys?
They haven't got a clue, but the explanation is obvious if you understand how capitalism works.
Free enterprise is a marvelous generator of economic growth, but it has a fatal flaw: The rich get richer while the rest of us run up bigger credit card debts in order to survive. At the very bottom, more and more people are homeless.
Folks with no money can't buy the stuff the rich guys want to sell (made in China). Business stagnates. We get a recession.
Elect Democrats and they administer the remedy: Tax the rich to finance programs that create jobs and benefit everybody. That's good for business, so the stock market goes up.
Elect Republicans and they cut the rich folks' taxes while scuttling government programs. Folks don't have money to spend. The Market goes South. Perhaps it is the Voice of God.
Yellow Springs, Ohio
In the spring of 1949 I read a book entitled Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. It was the story of an 18-year-old boy who had a sister who was a widow with four children. Neither the boy nor his sister could get a job, there was no welfare, nor any charity. The boy simply could not stand to see his sister's children starve to death in front of his eyes so he stole a loaf of bread. For this he got sentenced to seven years in prison. While he was in prison the thoughts of his sister and her children tormented him even more, so he escaped. Now the big thick book was about how the French government assigned a detective inspector to spend full time for the next 40 years trying to catch this notorious bread theft. It did not matter to France that the man had become a successful businessman, paid a lot of taxes, contributed a lot to his community, and was in fact a pillar of the community.
The thieves in the 1950 Brinks robbery in Boston got away with $2.7 million. A few years later the producers of a movie telling about this famous robbery spent $18 million making the movie. Now we are told that the FBI spent $25 million trying to catch the Brinks robbers.
In 1980 there was a cost of living adjustment (COLA) on Social Security benefits. If the same COLA had been on the minimum wage it would now be well over $8 per hour. Recently the government informed us that if a man had a wife he would need to earn $7.60 per hour in order to get himself up to the poverty level. The current minimum wage of $5.15 per hour is not enough to get a single person up to the poverty level.
The US Senate recently gave itself a $4,000 raise making the third $4,000 raise in three years. On the one hand when you read about what the CEOs pay themselves you think our members of Congress should be getting $200,000 per year, then you wonder what kind of person can give himself a raise and leave poor people below the poverty level. If we have 12 million people working at the minimum wage and if they work 2,000 hours per year then a dollar raise in the minimum wage would be $24 billion for the year. When these people get this money they spend it immediately because they are always behind. This improves business and since the Republicans own most of the businesses they are the biggest beneficiaries of an increase in the minimum wage. It certainly doesn't cost the business owner anything because the price of any product includes all labor cost.
So, we're now looking at a US monopoly policy directed by a right-wing loonie named John Ashcroft -- a defeated senator from Missouri. I've complained long and loud about the weakness of Clinton's heads of Justice's Antitrust Division -- a senator's wife, Anne Bingamon, followed by Joel Klein -- a pygmy compared to, say, FDR's Thurman Arnold of 1937.
The sin of Clinton/Klein was that it couldn't muster the political/intellectual energy to adequately OPPOSE monopoly. Now we have a new order of magnitude in wretched monopoly policy: Bush/Ashcroft actually BELIEVES in it. Their Antitrust Division will revert to the old Reagan policy: PROMOTE monopoly -- using all the resources of the US government.
Hopefully, those other 70 or so nations that have recently enacted antitrust laws will have better sense than to follow America on its latest Bush/Ashcroft rush over the pro-monopoly cliff.
CHARLES MUELLER, Editor
Antitrust Law & Economics Review
Vero Beach, Fla.
It is indeed extremely gratifying that we will now have a born-again president in the White House. I am sure the majority of our Congress are also Christians. (I don't know of any atheists in Congress.) With this combination, I am looking forward to great things happening in the United States during the next four years. (Hopefully, the next eight years.) I am hopeful that before any presidential proclamation is promulgated or any law is passed, that our Christian president and Congress will first ask the question, "What would Jesus do"?
One of the first actions I expect our Congress and President will take is the ratification and signing of the treaty to ban land mines. I know that Jesus is sad about all those old land mines in Cambodia (the land of amputees) and other countries, killing and maiming women, men and children. Yes, He would definitely approve the ban on the manufacture and use of land mines. Nor would Jesus think that a Christian country should have enough nuclear bombs to vaporize the world. I know that our Christian president will put a high priority on dismantling these and other weapons of mass destruction. Our Savior is not the God of War. He is THE PRINCE OF PEACE. The United States exports more weapons than all other countries combined. I have no doubt that President Bush and our Congress will address this problem expeditiously. No sirree, Bob, our born again president and Christian Congress will not tolerate God's country being the world's merchant of death!
We will now take a look at what to expect from this Christian administration in the domestic realm. Poverty will become non-existent. No child will be left out. The huge gap between the rich and poor will vanish. There will be full employment, and everyone will receive a living wage. No one will be without the best of medical care. Crime will become non-existent. Like the walls of 5
, the prisons will come tumbling down. We can also expect that this country will become a model of environmental stewardship.
I know that there are skeptics out there that won't believe any of the above. But just remember that in Mathew chapter 19, verse 26, Jesus said, "With God all things are possible."
DAN & BEVERLY SWEETON
Lebanon, TN 37087
Thanks for your piece entitled "Corporations beat voters again" [2/1/01 PP]. I am a politically active white working-class man from the South (I support Ralph Nader). I've had literally thousands of conversations about politics with other working class South Carolinians. Here is the reason that the political left can never make inroads with the white working class in the South: because our political language is focused mostly on race, sex, and sexual orientation. Even when Democratic politicians mention class (which in itself is rare), white working class people perceive this as being code language for racial oppression and immediately quit listening. They don't feel responsible for racial discrimination since they themselves have little or no control over their own lives, and have no power to discriminate against anyone. They think it is hypocritical for people more prosperous than themselves to blame the white working class when white working class culture, vernacular, income, and worldview are much closer to black culture than are middle class attitudes toward black culture. This is tantamount to saying that the white working class experience is much closer to the black experience than is the college educated middle class experience. This sentiment reverberates through much of the US.
Here is my position: Let's start talking about class and race. Racism and sexism are special forms of classism. When we confront classism, we simultaneously undermine racism and sexism. A wonderful byproduct of this approach is that it unites the majority of the people in the country! Majority equals real political change. I am constantly trying to proselytize with the Green message, but this is difficult since working-class white people see current liberal political language as being anti-white. They don't see where their skin color has given them any special advantages. They live in near penury, as did their ancestors. Statements that are perceived as being anti-white make guaranteed Republican votes.
Let's create a new kind of affirmative action -- one based not just on race but also on class. This would sell to white working class people. Let's remove any race baiting in our party platforms. The Republicans did this years ago. Let's legitimately invite working-class whites into sharing power. Let's create a national vernacular concerning class. When we talk about oppression, let's include class oppression. Let's propose new legal language with a prefixed and annotated expression: no person should be discriminated against based on class, race, sex, or sexual orientation. We need to make sure that working-class whites know that we are trying to help them -- not trying to take their jobs away or blame them. If we are going to enumerate other groups as being victims, then working-class whites need to be included. If we do these things then we can easily create a new progressive majority. If we keep doing the same old things, we'll never again have a clear political majority, and we will continue having a deeply, deeply divided country. Fellow progressives, please think about this.
The claim that Nader didn't cause the Gore loss is false on its face: Nader got 97,000 votes in Florida. Were you paying attention to reality rather than being so drunk on someone else's cork (Nader's) as to be focused solely on Nader's pie-in-the-sky scam, you'd recognize that 97,000 votes would have put Gore unquestionably over the top.
Accept and admit that those facts, else your "advice" to Democrats on how to defeat Bush's agenda goes beyond gratuitous to insult to intelligence. You and your Naderites made all sorts of predictions -- none of which came true. Now you expect to be credible in that arena?
The best thing you blindly naive Nader groupies can do is sit down and shut up: we long-time progressive activists are not going to join you in your self-denial of the fact that you have every reason to be, at minimum, embarrassed at your arrogance and the results of your misguided politics.
What Went Wrong With Nader ["What Went Wrong for Ralph?" by Micah Sifry, 1/1-15/01 PP] was not being allowed to debate on television -- the most critical tool for further indoctrinating the American Sheeple. The unread sheeple are fed misinformation, disinformation, omission and outright lies by our so-called "liberal media" -- the corporate world in sheep's clothing.
Nader did everything right -- speaking magnificently to the concerns of all of us. But he had little or no media coverage. He would have won the election, if allowed to debate the corporate military stooges. And the final insult -- to have a spoiler label laid on him by nincompoops, who want to discredit him.
George Bush and Al Gore are the real spoilers of world peace, environmental preservation, universal health care for Americans, economic, justice for all. Both support increased military expenditures, at the expense of social issues. Both support widespread use of the military to control and run the rest of the world, which our corporations own. Both support bombing massacres of the few brave countries who attempt to protect their own resources and people. And in the name of installing democracy -- whom do they think they are kidding? Other countries hate us for our ongoing criminal actions to increase corporate profits and power. It is time to get off the insane Star Wars, military machine and take care of our millions of poverty-ridden Americans here at home, by dismantling the War Machine.
One positive thought in conclusion: The election of Strongman Bush and his military regime may, hopefully, ignite a long-needed revolutionary turn-a-round for the millions of disenfranchised oppressed Americans. Wake up sheeple and read!
ALICE KEISER GRETH
While agreeing with Rob Patterson's article ["Populist Music, or Lack of It," 1/1-15/01 PP] on the lack of Populist/Political Music in today's culture in principle, I must take exception to it's tone and implications.
Mr. Patterson leaves one with the impression that this genre of music has literally died, and that there isn't anything being produced. Further it would seem that if he is to be believed, the only thing that is being currently released worth hearing is coming from the re release or remastering of earlier "icons" of political statement. This most certainly isn't so.
The genre of Populist/Political Music based in roots folk is alive and well. Mr. Patterson is simply going to have to stop looking to major or established labels, (even the cultlike/trendy "acceptable" small ones), if he wishes to find it.
As a performer, singer/songwriter who lives almost exclusively in this genre of music, I can assure him that the art is alive and well. The problem, it seems to me, is that the content of the message has changed, and become a little unacceptable and "politically incorrect" to the same folks who were at the fore of the folk explosion of the sixties. Therefore a bizarre form of censorship exists. If you don't agree with the message and are politically active yourself, and you happen to run a record label, then obviously you will not release or sign the artist.
In the late sixties, the greed of the record labels caused them to record and release many folk based acts that would not normally have gotten attention, Bob Dylan among them. The record labels didn't care what the message was, they cared only for the bottom line: WILL IT SELL TO THE KIDS.
Those kids have grown up, fed on Dylan, CSNY, and others, and have become much more politically aware than the previous typical record execs were. They are looking for more of the same message and will not find it. The message has changed and they have become their fathers.
Corporate America and big business is no longer the number one threat to the freedom of the American people. They are. George Orwell's Big Brother is here ... We have seen the enemy and he is us.
The music is there, the listeners are not. And if they are, the music is not getting to them. You cannot stop the flow indefinitely though. If a political sentiment strikes a strong enough chord in the people, it will become commercially profitable. And when it does, the record labels will sell it. Greed is a wonderful thing.
Mr. Patterson should check out sites such as "In Music We Trust" or better yet go to Google and search under "Clayton Ellers ".
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