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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Economic Proscriptions for a Better USA

Barry, My Liege :

Your current foray into economic policy making is well and good, but as we know, the policies you recommend will not solve our problems even if they are all adopted.

Some time ago I created a list of 13 policies which will, if adopted, restore our economy and preserve our Economic National Security.

They are repeated here in the hope that you will address some of them.

Make no mistake, each of these proposed policies gores some sacred cow and will cause a ruckus when it is proposed.

My Liege, be clear in your mind that ALL these policies are required in the United States of America to prevent the further disintegration of American society.

Here is the list :

1. STRENGTHEN UNIONS - Union organizing and negotiating rights are created by Federal labor laws. When unions can organize and press for higher wages, the country benefits from higher incomes going to the middle class. It is true that unions can be messy organizations, but overall they succeed in raising middle class incomes when they can function freely. This will increase middle class purchasing power and help restore Aggregate Demand.

An inevitable result of raising wages through union activity will be that businesses have to raise prices to survive - that will require some adjustments to our trade policies as discussed below.

2. ENHANCE LABOR LAW ENFORCEMENT - Some business owners think they have an economic incentive to interfere with union actions ; they will have to pay higher wages if unions are successful. In our history, blood has been shed in labor disputes.

Henry Ford knew that true national prosperity lies with workers receiving wages high enough to buy the cars he made, but many business owners are not so enlightened.

When there is little labor law enforcement or penalties for labor law violations, then labor law has little effect.

The United States should enforce labor laws vigorously.

3. ESTABLISH ANTI-MONOPOLY LAWS - Monopolies are bad for the country, per se. Such firms have economic incentives to charge higher prices and sell fewer products than firms in competition. Their actions create a deadweight loss from economic activity not undertaken and further transfer some consumer surplus to monopoly profit. This results in less economic welfare for the country and thereby damages our National Security.

The United States should strengthen existing anti-monopoly laws, increase enforcement activity and write additional anti-monopoly laws.

The concept that monopoly is a reward for efficient firms is a false concept which serves to undermine National Security.

4. CANCEL FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS - United States trade policy does not work. We adhere to a low tariff concept that undermines our National Security. It does so by transferring jobs to foreign countries and by facilitating huge trade imbalances which serve to transfer wealth created in the United States to our trade partners.

It is time to change trade policies so that we import only as much as we export.

Our trade partners do not reciprocate our trade encouraging practices and in fact use their trade laws and national customs to protect their domestic industries. It is time to recognize reality in trade.

5. TAX AWAY GREAT FORTUNES AND GREAT INCOMES - Huge concentrations of wealth and annual income harm our economy by diverting money away from risky investments in economic growth and into safety seeking investments.

It is well known that the primary criterion of investing is safety of principal. People with large amounts of money are risk averse and do NOT wish to risk that money in new ventures, preferring to find safer investments.

Our economy will grow faster and we will be more secure when we do not have extraordinarily large income and wealth concentrations. Then will capital have greater incentives to take risks and create growth.

6. CREATE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL POLICY - The United States should create a blueprint for our future economic growth. We should establish industries in which we wish to participate and then establish policies which encourage and protect companies in those industries.

Industries should be chosen on the basis of the likelihood that they will create good jobs in the future.

Critics argue that the government is unable to make sound predictions in this area since even private companies have difficulty doing so.

While that may be, there are countries which use this practice with great success and many more countries which are beginning to establish this process. The government of South Korea established this practice in the 1950's and was able to convert a nation of rice farmers and fishermen into an industrial powerhouse.

7. EXPAND PUBLIC UTILITY INDUSTRY DESIGNATIONS AND REGULATE EACH DESIGNATED INDUSTRY WITH AN ELECTED COMMISSION - There are some businesses which require a government protected monopoly for some reason ; for example, some industries like electricity generation and distribution require such huge capital investments that investors will not make that investment unless assured of freedom from future competition.

In these cases it makes economic and national security sense to regulate the prices charged to the public so that the company earns a normal profit, which allows a return to investors sufficient to ensure survival and uninterrupted service provision, but does not allow for monopoly profits.

Any industry whose products or services are regularly used by more than one third of the population and in which there are few suppliers is a candidate for public utility designation.

8. ENSURE FINANCIAL SYSTEM STABILITY BY RESTORING GLASS-STEAGALL - Stability in our financial system is required for our national security.

We know absolutely that the financial system cannot regulate itself without great harm to our economy.

Under Glass-Steagall we had stability for 50 years.

Restore it.

It is the only choice.

9. KEEP SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE - Not only do these programs provide dignity to people who have worked all their lives, they provide significant income to help support Aggregate Demand.

There are pressures to reduce or destroy these programs. The stated reason is the budget deficit, but the real reason is simple greed from the financial system.

Countries which have chosen to reduce pensions and healthcare because of a fiscal deficit problem are now experiencing recessions and high unemployment.

No country in history has been able to cut its way to prosperity. Many countries have found prosperity by borrowing in bad times to sustain employment.

10. INSTALL SINGLE PAYER HEALTH CARE - Regardless of the outcome of the Supreme Court's decision, there is no place for profit in the healthcare system. If we can eliminate insurance company profits, we can pay for our healthcare with current expenditures.

11. MANAGE DEBT TO BORROW IN BAD TIMES, PAY BACK IN GOOD TIMES - With a properly functioning national government, we can use fiscal policy wisely to keep full employment and growth achievable.

The Federal Budget is the flywheel of the economy - it prevents stalls when the engine's speed declines.

12. REDUCE MONEY REQUIRED FOR NATIONAL ELECTIONS BY REQUIRING BROADCASTERS TO PROVIDE FREE POLITICAL ADS - One of the reasons for our corrupt political system is that elections are very expensive.

But, most of the money goes to running political ads on broadcast media. Since broadcast media receives a license from the FCC to use their frequencies, we can require them to run free ads as a condition of their licenses.

This would reduce the cost of running for office and, consequently reduce the opportunities for political corruption.

Other election financing reforms should be pursued as well.

13. RESPECT BUT DO NOT FEAR OCCUPY PROTESTORS - Occupy protestors are about 20% of our people who have been harmed by market failures in our system. They are exercising their Constitutional rights to seek redress of their grievances.

Creating a rigid, militaristic response to a peaceful protest is the opposite of our founding principles.

If they follow our past history of peaceful protest, they may well be the force that helps correct our imbalances.

In conclusion Barry, My Liege, we pray that you will remember these issues in your policy considerations.


Your faithful servant,

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