Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Red-Baiting April Fool's FAIL for 2009

is this forwarded email an April Fool's joke? ;-) i think it must be. there are no links to source data or text of any pending legislation. looks like yet another random smattering of red-baiting euphemisms. granted, i think there are important mistakes speaker pelosi has made, typical of any politician; however, taking the initiative to address the underlying symptoms of unsustainable resource skews in america is not among her failings. surely, specific tactics and methods need rigorous cross checking; however, the strategy of addressing malignancies grown from free radical capitalism is thrust upon all of us, regardless of political persuasion.

for those interested, specific comments follow this subject email.

> --- On Mon, 3/30/09, Some Random Interwebber wrote:
> From: Some Random Interwebber
> Subject: Fwd: Fw: Tax on Retirement Income
> To: A Select Group to Probe Responses, Perhaps
> Date: Monday, March 30, 2009, 8:49 PM
> I am scared for our county.
> >
> > Windfall Tax on Retirement Income
> >
> > Adding a tax to your
> > retirement is simply another way of saying to the American
> > people, you're so darn stupid that we're going to
> > keep doing this until we drain every cent from you.
> > That's what the Speaker of the House is saying. Read
> > below...............
> >
> > Nancy Pelosi wants a
> > Windfall Tax on Retirement Income. In other words tax what
> > you have made by investing toward your retirement. This
> > woman is a nut case! You aren't going to believe this.
> >
> > Madam speaker Nancy
> > Pelosi wants to put a Windfall Tax on all stock market
> > profits (including Retirement fund, 401K and Mutual Funds!
> > Alas, it is true - all to help the 12 M illion Illegal
> > Immigrants and other unemployed Minorities!
> >
> > This woman is
> > frightening.
> >
> > She quotes..' We need
> > to work toward the goal of equalizing income, (didn't
> > Marx say something like this?), in our country and at the
> > same time limiting the amount the rich can invest.' (I
> > am not rich, are you?)
> >
> > When asked how these new
> > tax dollars would be spent, she replied:
> > 'We need to raise the
> > standard of living of our poor, unemployed and minorities.
> > For example, we have an estimated 12 million illegal
> > immigrants in our country who need our help along with
> > millions of unemployed minorities. Stock market windfall
> > profits taxes could go a long way to guarantee these people
> > the standard of living they would like to have as
> > 'Americans'.'
> > (Read that quote again and
> > again and let it sink in.) 'Lower your retirement, give
> > it to others who have not worked as you have for it'.
> >
> > Send it on to your
> > friends. I just did!! This lady is out of her mind and she
> > is the speaker of the house
> >

so, let's take a moment to pretend that this is not an April Fool's joke. what if someone were actually 'scared' of the undeniable necessity of correcting the decades of unsustainable hoarding that have become a malignant tumor that is so intimately intertwined within the very sinews of the american economy that, literally, any attempt to extract the tumor creates an existential risk to the entire body? let's have some fun with that thought experiment, shall we?

first, i'm worried that writer says he is scared. unsubstantiated fear is seldom an adaptive emotional response to any crisis; particularly in times of increasing and rapidly accelerating socio-technical changes. i like this old acronym, first heard from a Texas preacher during a 1980's downturn:

F.E.A.R. is all too often False Evidence Appearing Real.

as we see it today, at the core of a disturbingly normalized culture of unmitigated capitalist corruption are massive, unsustainable resource skews in america.

we've used this analogy before, and it's worth repeating. an economy is a circulatory system and just like the body, if 70%+ of the blood (liquid net worth) is pooled in less than 1%, or even 5%, or 10% of the body, that's going to kill the whole body every time. there is no other remedy for failed circulation but healthy circulation. we can pump in plasma while we clear the massive clots, but the clots must be dissolved. our system can not be hooked up to plasma transfusions for the long term; not even the medium term.

our emailer uses the name of marx as nearly synonymous with pure evil or utter market destruction. this is a grossly over-simplified and wildly popular misconception.

marx was often exactly right about many of the ultimate human outcomes of capitalism, though lenin thoroughly proved that violent revolt was the exact WRONG way to correct capitalism's shortcomings.

another popular misconception is that socialism is functionally equivalent to communism. a close corollary assumes that economic models are a zero sum games, each mutually exclusive from the other. naturally, such easy sound bites regularly pepper emotional outcries from financial entertainers such as santelli, cramer, or kudlow precisely because they constitute an EASY button for pushing viewer emotions.

unfortunately, repeated pressing of this EASY button is one of the most intellectually dishonest, populist fear-mongering tactics of the day, and these guys fully know better. perhaps oddly enough, cramer seems to come across as just a little less dishonest than kudlow in this regard. cramer seems more of a pragmatist while kudlow reliably portrays the ideologue.

while there is still far too much of a strong, negative knee-jerk stigma attached to the following words (probably because so few have studied the actual ideas), Free Market Socialism maintains and even improves upon the best of vibrant Free Markets -- which are uncompromisingly required to create Stuff, Services, and Wealth -- while simultaneously acknowledging that every part of the economic body is vital to that creative process, right down to a seemingly insignificant tiny baby toe.

at a bare minimum, america needs some form of universal healthcare and a universal basic income just in order to continue the adaptive evolution of our wonderful american experiment. these two requirements are not ideologically based 'demands' rather, they are functional requirements, essentially equivalent to Henry Ford's 'welfare capitalism' innovation (which many considered communistic): the 8 hour, $5 day.

today, we are again hearing similar philosophical opposition to today's required economic adaptations. this, in spite of the empirical historical reality that had Ford's 8 hour, $5/day "socialistic spreading of the wealth" not been abandoned, it may have continued to 'stimulate the economy' at the edges, where all stimulus is undeniably most effective in spurring consumption.

meanwhile, here on the cusp of Depression 2.0, we face additional and new complex challenges, on top of those created by the utter moral collapse of wild west renegade capitalism. from VC's and (former) captains of industry, to mentally ill veterans on the street, to the burgeoning 25% structurally unemployed (due to the *success* of early stage industrial capitalism), to an ever-growing and vibrant demographic of citizen scholars; each and every one of us is more globally interdependent than ever. the era of Shared Fate is indeed upon us. we're all in this together.

at the very tip of socioeconomic evolution, dramatic morphological change is happening right before our very eyes.

now is the time for the most experienced, tried, and true of america to participate in and shape these changes. obviously, evolutionary change can never be put back into the bottle; we can choose to adapt and thrive, be sidelined, or become ... as our previous president might have said, "extinctified."