The Best Way to Loot a Country Is to Run It

Just recently (October 5, 2010) on NPR’s  All Things Considered, the host, Robert Siegel, permitted Herb Allison to claim that for about $30 billion the Administration had saved the country from the worst disaster since the Great Depression.

Herb Allison is currently Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Stability which places him in charge of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).   A Stanford MBA, his career began in investment banking at Merrill Lynch where he rose to become President and COO.  TARP allowed $700 billion in direct loans to the bankrupt big banks, and his assertion referred to the projected net cost.  This flagrant half-truth ignored the $2 trillion expended by the Fed in purchasing the banks’ toxic assets.  Ironically, Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke, had just committed to further purchases, a fact ignored by both interviewer and interviewee.  Here is the wake-up fact:  the Inspector General’s office has warned the whole package could cost us over $20 trillion in a worst-case scenario.

In 2005 William K. Black published a book, The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One, subtitled  How Corporate Executives and Politicians Looted the S&L Industry.  The title makes clear what happened.  It was quite simply a direct and rapid consequence of deregulation that let loose lending risks heretofore under careful check.  In our recent troubles, it has been the banks aided by the government first blurring, then erasing the line between investment and commercial banking.

The propaganda that all government was bad and deregulation good really took off with the Reagan revolution here and Thatcherism in Britain.  Both countries have suffered similar consequences.  David Cameron, much praised by The Economist for his radical ideas, is busy gutting the British people’s safety net.  Over here little remains of whatever safety net we had.  Bill Clinton took care of welfare.  Then they worked on Social Security by developing the fictitious “core rate of inflation” as the annual inflation adjustment. 

No, for us the effects will be subtle but just as devastating as the dollar inflates progressively and consistently due to the massive deficits.  It has already reached a 15-year low against the Yen, and gold keeps hitting new records.  As Robert Scheer’s latest book, The Great American Stickup, amply demonstrates, the villains who brought this upon us have been leading the response, and this has been their solution:  Pay the big banks 100 cents on the dollar to cover their gambling losses and let the Fed print the money.  The insidious eventual cost to the taxpayers through inflation is slow pain while the culprits/policy-makers tout the advantages of a weak dollar for an export-led revival of the shattered economy.

Forget the fact that none of this would have happened if we had listened to Brooksley Born, the distinguished, straight-talking, Stanford lawyer who headed the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and who wanted to regulate the toxic derivatives that ultimately unhinged the economy.  She was shouted down by Rubin, Summers, Greenspan, Geithner et al who proceeded to abolish Glass-Steagall, which had long formed a separation wall between commercial and investment banks – a wall that had saved bankers from their own follies and served this country well for seven decades.  All of this gave Sanford Weill the free hand he craved to expand Citigroup. 

Thereafter, Treasury Secretary Rubin went on to a $15 million-a-year job at Citigroup and was also rewarded with $120 million in bonuses; Summers plucked a rich consulting harvest of $10 million, and Geithner got to head the New York Federal Reserve.  But the richest spoils went to the granddaddy of them all: Sanford Weill sucked about a billion out of Citigroup before the taxpayer was left holding the bag.

Forget also the fact that Corporation-favored NAFTA passed by Bill Clinton exported jobs out of the economy denuding our skill base.  As a result, highly-prized tool-and-die makers, skilled machinists and their like were obliged to work in low-paid service jobs.  As we lost these skills and failed to compensate through, say, a concerted program with industry to train — as, for example, in Germany — a new generation of skilled workers prepared to meet the latest challenges of computer-controlled manufacturing, we made it impossible to generate well-paid jobs in the globally competitive manufacturing sector.

The consequences are easy to see:  As unions lose their clout and middle class jobs evaporate into the globalism euphoria of the captains of industry, the disparity between rich and poor keeps getting worse.  This increasingly bifurcated society of rich and poor is revealed by the Gini Index, which measures inequality.  Our score is easily the worst in the developed world.  At 40.8, we are handily beaten by Japan and the Scandinavian countries (around 25).  We are also far behind Hungary (26.9), the Czech Republic (25.4) among many others — but here is the almost unbelievable surprise, Pakistan (30.6) and India (36.8) are also ahead of us.  The poverty statistics issued recently merely confirm the pain.  We now have the most Americans in poverty (43.6 million or 1 in 7) in the history of these reports.  In fact, the situation is actually far worse than the numbers show because the poverty line has not been adjusted for inflation, and it is now only 27% of income as opposed to 48% originally.  Had we maintained the same percentage instead of using absolute figures, the number in poverty would be much, much higher.

A direct impact has been the steady deterioration of schools in poor areas.  Our system of local property tax funding leaves these students in cash-strapped districts at a severe disadvantage no matter how many ways we parse ‘no child left behind’ and manage results.  For the young adult leaving a poor school with few skills and entering a world with even fewer jobs, there are few options.  At 748 (per 100,000 population), we have the highest incarceration rate in the whole developed world.   We are also way ahead of China (120) and India (32).  The paradox of an increasing prison population when crime rates are dropping nationally is explained by the soaring incarceration rate in disadvantaged areas.

So who is doing well?  If you ask a politician, he claims great sacrifice for public service.  Here is one example: Rahm Emanuel, the current White House Chief of Staff left Clinton’s White House near the end of their term to work for Wasserstein Parella.  He has a B.A. in Liberal Arts and a M.A. in Speech and Communication — no law or business education or experience to contribute.  Yet in two and a half years, he was included in eight deals that ‘earned’ him $16.2 million.  Of course, Mr. Clinton, his boss, has made a $100 million, half of it in speeches no doubt “feeling your pain” all the way to the bank.  Scandal envelops senior powerful House and Senate leaders like the Chairman (Charlie Rangel) of the House Ways and Means Committee, or Senator Chris Dodd, Chair of the Senate Banking Committee.

In a world favoring lobbyists and campaign contributors, it is hardly a surprise if hundreds of billions taken from our taxes and trillions in obligations have been paid to cover the losses of those whose greed caused the economic crisis — the victims paying off the culprits as the profits racked up stay private while losses are socialized.  Despite promises of ‘change you can believe in’, those responsible for dismantling the controls that had served us so well since the depression are back in the saddle.  No wonder nothing has been done to prevent a recurrence … just a toothless reform bill that made Wall Street so happy banking stocks soared when it passed.  A few million in campaign finance and and they have trawled in trillions — surely a much surer investment than mortgage-backed securities.

Far from the banksters’ threat of disaster if their big banks had been allowed to fail, the Fed had all the power to keep the system running and the FDIC the skills to administer the banks — it may come as a surprise to some but they deal with bankrupt banks every week.  Had these big players lost claim to the trillions of dollars of the nations’ wealth, who would have gained?  One can think of it as a game of Monopoly: when a player goes bankrupt, who gets his assets?  The other players in the country’s economic game are us; we would have been richer and the economy moving forward faster instead of being hamstrung by debt.

There are no easy solutions when for a small lobbying outlay and some strategic campaign donations, the looters are running the country.  But a first step in getting our country back is real campaign finance reform — public financing and a shortened campaign are one answer — and a law that forces elected representatives to recuse themselves on issues involving their contributors.

Arshad M. Khan is a retired professor. He can be reached at: Read other articles by Arshad M..

18 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. hayate said on October 13th, 2010 at 7:12pm #

    More money and control for rich zionists, less to none for all the rest pretty well sums up the modern “amrican experience”.

    BTW, npr is not really the initials for national public radio, but for nazi-zionist private rip-off.

  2. Mulga Mumblebrain said on October 14th, 2010 at 12:09am #

    An entire country looted, to an unprecedented degree, over decades but currently in overdrive, and a once comparatively rich populace driven into penury and debt peonage. Not to forget the rest of the planet, where the poor world has been pillaged by the West under the aegis of the Economic Hitmen of the IMF and World Bank for thirty years.
    The parasites clearly know no scruples in dealing with others and are totally indifferent to the suffering of others. Their egomania and greed are boundless. What better psychological training for the role of insatiable parasite sucking the life blood out of the rest of humanity could there be than a religious belief, drummed into you from birth, that you are one of a ‘chosen’ elite, with a ‘soul’ vastly superior to that of your victims? Just look at the perpetrators-Greenspan, Summers, Rubin, Emmanuel, Zoellick et al, their ideological facilitator Friedman and their political stooges Obama (‘the first Jewish President of America’ as a leading Zionist bragged) and the rest of the Zionist controlled Congress. You don’t need to be a Sherlock Holmes to understand just where all the missing trillions are going.

  3. Don Hawkins said on October 14th, 2010 at 3:33am #

    Am going fishing and work with my son let’s see how the big vote goes here in the States. All for show and the nonsense is boring to say the least.

  4. jlohman said on October 14th, 2010 at 4:51am #

    How does one set out to do this? You bribe the guards at the door: the politicians. Go to jail? Not if you use legal campaign contributions. The health care industry just gave 4125 million in campaign contributions to ensure that 100% of Americans are now mandated to buy their product. Only public funding of campaigns will fix it, and at $5 per taxpayer per year it’d be a bargain.

    Jack Lohman

  5. jlohman said on October 14th, 2010 at 4:54am #

    Sorry, that’s $125 million…

  6. Don Hawkins said on October 14th, 2010 at 4:57am #

    Still undecided as to who to vote for to get the job done. Maybe a dark horse out there or a pale horse oh dear on second thought maybe a cup of coffee and sit this one out as I did a little research on this and don’t like either of those choices. Could there really be such a thing as that fork in the road up ahead well maybe not up ahead but right in our face. Probably just myth.

  7. jlohman said on October 14th, 2010 at 7:05am #

    I’m undecided too. As a moderate pro-business Republican I can’t recommend today’s republicans. They are corrupt as hell, through only slightly more corrupt than Dems.

  8. bozh said on October 14th, 2010 at 8:15am #

    People cheat, lie, mislead, steal, etc., but they also murder innocent children.
    It cld be noted that more of a pastoral life people lead, the less they steal, deceive.
    In industrial lands nearly all people steal, lie, deceive.

    j lohman ,
    In US, proportionally, more people steal, lie than in any country. After all people are not that blind to see, that stealing in style is totally free. There is just one catch: the robber-in-large must share some of it with politicians and clergy.
    Devil may protect u if u break this unwritten law!

    Don’t worry about breaking any written laws– there isn’t any that judges can’t interpret just the right way!
    General rule appears as: the richer the country and the richer some people are than others, send a clear message: steal any way u can and from anyone; since nobody gets rich by being honest or working hard.

    Lawyers, banksters, work owners and other people owners only get very rich; by stealing only, of course!

    Of course, chinese steal also! However, only communists of china and the odious to US ideology, are blamed for corruption. The very people who claim that they want to end stealing, lying, deceiving, and hating one another, are, along ideology, solely blamed.
    It is a neat artifice; probably not espied by 99.99% of world pop. By doing this, americans et al posit tacitly a notion that US ideology, including its constitution, is a priori right and even sacrosant; thus, cannot be factor in people’s stealing, lying, murdering one another or aliens.

    I hope chinese communists wld read this post. But, don’t they know this already??? tnx for anyone’s Finger or Right Ear!

  9. bozh said on October 14th, 2010 at 8:49am #

    one can take the best piece of meat from the mouth of avery hungry person by simply saying: that’s snake meat!
    So vote for the best person for our planet, timo-democratic governance, and honesty. U’d know herhim when s/he’s called a communist or socialist.

    Did i just say “our” planet? Yes, i looked back, and i sure did say that! That’s a big lie and fit for every Dem and Repub equally.
    So is also “our great nation”! There isn’t any in US. There is mass of disparate folks; all envious and hateful of one another!

    U may hear this truth from the Greatest Reality Show; aka. fox long before u hear this from any other rich people; such as Liberlas, Libertarians, Democrats, et al.
    Btw, what happened to timocrats we once had? Are we killing then in utero or even while desperately wiggling to reach ovaries?

    Don’t tell this to anyone. This is communistic and socialistic! tnx for ur right ear. spasibo!

  10. siamdave said on October 14th, 2010 at 9:45am #

    This is what it all looks like to me, considering the last 40 years of our history. The great ‘austerity’ drive sweeping the world with little opposition in 2010 is actually the endgame of the greatest looting in the history of western civilization. Using artificially imposed, completely fraudulent, ‘national debts’ as an excuse, our thoroughly corrupt governments, working for wealthy and powerful people giving them their ‘real’ instructions behind the scenes, have, for the last 30 years, been selling off national assets (privatisation) and ‘downsizing’ citizen-oriented programs which were designed to support strong democracies (in times when strong democracies were the goal rather than the enemy) whilst turning over vast amounts of ‘our’ wealth to the wealthy classes in the name of ‘servicing’ these ‘debts’. And through allowing commercial banks to create and control our money supply and manipulate that money for their benefit and our detriment, a number of boom-bust “business” cycles have been created since the 70s which have decimated and continue to attack the wealth of the middle class, which is further being systematically depleted through the systemic inflation which results when we pay interest on ‘our’ own money every year. The aim is the impoverisation of the most advanced modern democracies and the imposition of a kind of debt-peonage, the replacement of the current ‘middle’ classes with a new ‘new world serf’ class through the dumbing down and dividing of the citizens through debt and poverty and ignorance and fear and propaganda, and ultimately the imposition of a new feudal world order. And they’ve very nearly succeeded, barring some last minute awakening of the citizens of these countries to what is happening, and some kind of miraculous en masse rising up in protest to imprison all of these criminals and re-establish the drive for true democracy in our socieities that our ancestors were engaged in until the current neocons declared the end of history and took over everything with, sadly, the approval of most citizens in these countries. Their crimes are now more than evident, and most citizens understand that things are not as they seem – it is time we got rid of these usurpers.

    If you are thinking, if all that is really true, and it sounds at least plausible – maybe it is time to start asking some serious questions about what the hell is happening in our country – it’s explained in more detail here – What Happened? .

  11. Rehmat said on October 14th, 2010 at 10:25am #

    The US, Germany and NATO are planning the same loot in Kosova.

  12. Don Hawkins said on October 14th, 2010 at 12:24pm #

    The aim is the impoverisation of the most advanced modern democracies and the imposition of a kind of debt-peonage, the replacement of the current ‘middle’ classes with a new ‘new world serf’ class through the dumbing down and dividing of the citizens through debt and poverty and ignorance and fear and propaganda, and ultimately the imposition of a new feudal world order. Siamdave

    The human forces are gathering the battle for the very Earth itself. In the greatest Nation on Earth it will be Newt, Rush, Palin, Beck, Obama, and Nancy there’s a few more and Putin, Netanyahu, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a few Princes and princesses, preachers and a few Councils, Supreme Leaders, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, kings and peasants, corrupt politicians, superstars and can all be seen in living color on Fox New’s. Just maybe Siamdave is correct as ignorance and fear and propaganda will run wild through out the land as we all buy gold and maybe one share of stock and have fun doing it. And so it begins and I hope I didn’t leave anybody out and so far how will it play out not well as this time there is another force at play the very Earth itself called by some the home planet. Am I nut’s yes but in very good company.

    “[The skeptic community overwhelmingly embraced what they formerly dismissed as] New Age claptrap … We give up! The nuts were right.”

  13. bozh said on October 14th, 2010 at 3:21pm #

    The “them”, the ogrish them, always waged poverty and untruths. And THEM will never ever cease waging the two evils against people looking from outside in. tnx

  14. hayate said on October 14th, 2010 at 8:51pm #

    Death and Profits: The Utility Protection Racket

    By Michael Parenti

    October 15, 2010 “Information Clearing House” — Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is a multi-billion-dollar privately owned, publicly regulated utility whose main function is to make enormous profits for its shareholders at great cost to ratepayers. I know this to be true; I’m one of the ratepayers.

    Better than Bernard

    The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) permits PG&E to charge rates that are 30 percent higher than the national average. PG&E’s shareholders enjoy a guaranteed 11.35 percent yearly return on equity. That’s slightly higher than the 11 percent that swindler Bernard Madoff pretended to offer his investment victims. After Madoff was exposed, his victims were chided for not having realized that no one pulls down an 11 percent return year after year on the stock market. But PG&E investors take in more than that every year. And unlike Madoff, the company’s earnings are for real, guaranteed at a fixed return devoid of risk.

    PG&E enjoys a captive consumer market of fifteen million customers in northern and central California. The utility is a shining monument to state-supported monopoly capitalism. If costs rise, then so do customer rates (in order to guarantee the 11.35 percent return). PG&E carries a $17 million insurance premium and additional millions in insurance deductibles; these expenses too are picked up by its ratepayers.

    If northern and central California’s gas and electric services were publicly owned (yes, socialism), there would be no 11.35 percent skim off the top going to rich investors, no fat salaries and bonuses and huge severance packages pocketed by top executives, no billions of dollars in private wealth to be traded on the stock market. Customer rates would probably be one-third to one-half lower than they are today. And gas pipelines would be in better repair.

    An Avoidable Catastrophe

    Along with all the other expenses they bear, PG&E’s ratepayers usually pay for the enormous costs of utility accidents. This may still prove to be the case with the disaster recently visited upon San Bruno. On 9 September 2010, a PG&E pipeline blew apart. Gas explosions and flames ripped through the San Bruno community, taking the lives of at least eight people, injuring over fifty others (some very seriously), and completely destroying or damaging upwards of a hundred homes. An official from the National Transportation Safety Board described it: “My immediate assessment was the amazing destruction, the charred trees, the melted and charred cars, the houses disappeared.”

    In the weeks before the catastrophe, residents had been reporting gas odors and had voiced fears about a leak. But this brought no action from the company. A state assemblyman from the San Bruno area noted that the torn pipeline was over 60 years old, having been installed in 1948. He criticized PG&E for its poor maintenance and lax response. After the explosion, it took the company almost three hours to shut off the gas supply.

    Company officials had known since 2007 that the aged pipeline serving San Bruno needed to be replaced. As reported by The Utility Reform Network (TURN), a public interest group, the PUC had granted PG&E a $5 million rate increase to replace the pipeline in 2009, but the company never got around to doing the work. Instead PG&E overspent its budget on executive bonuses and delayed pipeline replacement until 2013.

    Then it had the gall to request another $5 million rate increase to replace the same neglected section of pipeline. The disastrous September 2010 explosion likely would have been averted if the utility had dealt with the pipeline in 2009 as originally slated.

    PG&E has a history of dangerous mishaps: improper piping allowed gas to leak from a mechanical coupling in 2006; a leak in Rancho Cordova led to an explosion that killed one resident and injured two others in 2008; over forty other gas pipeline accidents in the past decade. One wonders how many other California communities are at risk from aging and deficient pipelines. So much for the superior performance of a giant private-profit corporation.

    Not in the Safety Business

    This problem obtains not only in California. Throughout the United States people are at risk from improperly maintained gas lines belonging to private utilities that go largely unsupervised and unpunished. Average fines are less than $30,000 and not easily collected.

    PG&E’s CEO, Peter Darbee, formerly of Goldman Sachs (how perfect), reassured the public that he was “focused on the tragedy” in San Bruno and on “how best to respond to the authorities involved.”

    Darbee failed to mention that PG&E is not in the safety business. Like so many big corporations, it does what it can to cut corners on maintenance. The lower the maintenance costs, the higher the profits. The corroding pipelines fit well into the picture, like the corroding infrastructure of the entire society. Safety is not a prime concern for giant corporations, if any concern at all, because safety does not bring in any money. In fact, it costs money.

    Like any other multibillion-dollar firm, PG&E is first and foremost in the business of making the highest possible payoffs for its shareholders and its executives. The system works just fine for those whose real job is to skim the cream, those who do not have to pay the costs. That is the alpha and omega of modern corporate capitalism.

    Capitalism at Work

    Lives were lost in San Bruno; homes were totally obliterated. Darbee and his cohorts should be facing jail sentences instead of golden parachutes. Even the Contra Costa Times (9/27/10)–no radical broadsheet–urged the PUC “not to allow PG&E to raise rates to cover the expense of the San Bruno explosion or the cost of doing more and better pipe inspections. These costs should be borne by PG&E managers, employees, and investors.” Certainly managers and investors.

    Left out of the whole picture is how corporate malfeasance and corporate generated disasters are a reflection of the capitalist system. If a gas pipeline had exploded in communist Cuba, killing people and destroying homes, the incident would immediately have been treated by US commentators as evidence of the deficiencies of the broader economic system, as proof that socialism cannot do it right.

    But disasters in our own society are seen simply as immediate mishaps, at worst, instances of negligence and mismanagement by a particular company, never as the outcome of a broader capitalist system that steadfastly puts profits before people, with immense costs passed along to the public.

    The same is true of mining accidents, train wrecks, plane crashes, unsafe auto vehicles, unsafe consumer products and foods, toxic spills, offshore-drilling calamities and a host of other noxious things that corporate America foists upon us. Private industries are not in the safety business. All of them are in the business of creating the largest possible profits for their shareholders and their executives.

    Pressed on the matter, they might admit as much. Steel magnate David Roderick once said that his company “is not in the business of making steel. We’re in the business of making profits.” The social uses of the product and its effects upon human well-being and the natural environment win consideration in capitalist production, if at all, only to the extent that they do not violate the profit goals of the corporation.

  15. hayate said on October 14th, 2010 at 8:51pm #


    Better Things To Do

    Rather than spend money on replacing aging pipelines, PG&E—just three months before the San Bruno catastrophe—poured $46 million of ratepayer money (ten times the amount needed for repairing the San Bruno pipeline) into the electoral campaign for Proposition 16. This initiative was designed to make it neigh impossible for local governments to purchase energy from alternative sources, impossible to get out from under PG&E’s monopoly grip. The proposition was miraculously defeated despite the company’s immense campaign outlay.

    With thousands of miles of aging pipes to inspect and perhaps replace, PG&E continues to find other things to do. Through most of 2010, it was busy putting “smart meters” into people’s homes. The new meters do not need to be read by an employee out in the field. Instead data from residences and businesses are transmitted by a mesh network of radio signals.

    Critics argue that the smart meters are too smart. They often inflate electric bills. Worse still, they may be harmful to our health. There is evidence that radio-frequency exposure is linked to cancer and other diseases. A number of ratepayers already complain of being sickened by the heavy doses from smart meters. PG&E gives reassurances that the frequencies pose no great danger but it continues to face community resistance and skeptical questions from independent investigators.

    Smart meters cut labor costs. Lower labor costs do not bring lower rates for ratepayers but higher profits for managers and stockholders. Never accuse PG&E of neglect or stupidity. The company knows what it is doing. In keeping with the essence of the corporate capitalist system, PG&E exists not to serve the public but to serve itself.

  16. hayate said on October 14th, 2010 at 9:39pm #

    Why Germany Has It So Good — and Why America Is Going Down the Drain
    Germans have six weeks of federally mandated vacation, free university tuition, and nursing care. Why the US pales in comparison.

    October 14, 2010

    While the bad news of the Euro crisis makes headlines in the US, we hear next to nothing about a quiet revolution in Europe. The European Union, 27 member nations with a half billion people, has become the largest, wealthiest trading bloc in the world, producing nearly a third of the world’s economy — nearly as large as the US and China combined. Europe has more Fortune 500 companies than either the US, China or Japan.

    European nations spend far less than the United States for universal healthcare rated by the World Health Organization as the best in the world, even as U.S. health care is ranked 37th. Europe leads in confronting global climate change with renewable energy technologies, creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the process. Europe is twice as energy efficient as the US and their ecological “footprint” (the amount of the earth’s capacity that a population consumes) is about half that of the United States for the same standard of living.

    Unemployment in the US is widespread and becoming chronic, but when Americans have jobs, we work much longer hours than our peers in Europe. Before the recession, Americans were working 1,804 hours per year versus 1,436 hours for Germans — the equivalent of nine extra 40-hour weeks per year.

    In his new book, Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?, Thomas Geoghegan makes a strong case that European social democracies — particularly Germany — have some lessons and models that might make life a lot more livable. Germans have six weeks of federally mandated vacation, free university tuition, and nursing care. But you’ve heard the arguments for years about how those wussy Europeans can’t compete in a global economy. You’ve heard that so many times, you might believe it. But like so many things, the media repeats endlessly, it’s just not true.

    According to Geoghegan, “Since 2003, it’s not China but Germany, that colossus of European socialism, that has either led the world in export sales or at least been tied for first. Even as we in the United States fall more deeply into the clutches of our foreign creditors — China foremost among them — Germany has somehow managed to create a high-wage, unionized economy without shipping all its jobs abroad or creating a massive trade deficit, or any trade deficit at all. And even as the Germans outsell the United States, they manage to take six weeks of vacation every year. They’re beating us with one hand tied behind their back.”

    You can read the transcript here:–_and_why_america_is_going_down_the_drain?page=entire

  17. hayate said on October 14th, 2010 at 9:41pm #

    ICH also has audio of the interview:

  18. Mulga Mumblebrain said on October 15th, 2010 at 3:31am #

    siamdave, I am in complete agreement with you. The Right’s neo-feudal project, which has proceeded under various aliases, such as ‘neo-liberalism’, and the risible Antipodean ‘economic rationalism’, and has been described as ‘market fundamentalism or absolutism’, is nearing its grisly denouement.Decades of pleasantly one-sided class war, destruction of unions, outsourcing of manufacturing jobs to slave wage countries, casualisation and the making precarious of remaining low-wage employment, and the steady growth of an under-class of working poor, has caused inequality to rocket, particularly in the Anglosphere countries.
    The rich, particularly the hyper-rich, have had trillions shoveled their way, which has been, not productively invested, as the pathocratic liars of Reaganism, Thatcherism and their idiot inbred offspring, Blair and Clinton’s ‘Third Way’ said that it would, but rather used for totally parasitic speculation. The return on productive investment is never enough for parasites whose trophy wives need to be traded in on a new model every year or so,or whose mega-yacht is now some millimetres shorter than that of some Jewish kleptocrat from the ruins of the USSR. The asset bubbles blown up were facilitated by immensely corrupt political stooges, doing their masters’ bidding, by removing all impediments to wholescale fraud and larceny. ‘Foreclosuregate’ is just the latest part of this swamp exposed, although the mainstream media, with practised hypocrisy,is avoiding reporting the wholescale fabrication of documents, and attempting to paint it as just an excess of zeal, carried out by expendable patsies who can be sent to prison without disturbing the grand kleptos’ peace of mind.
    The next stage was pretty predictable.Having handed trillions over to the bankster kleptos, so that their ‘mark to model’ Enron-style phantasies would not implode on them (which money was used,without conscience or remorse, to pay even more gigantic, purely larcenous, ‘bonuses’ as a reward for excellence in fraud, graft and financial foot-paddery) the resultant gigantic deficits are to be paid off by destroying a century of social progress, and the wages and conditions of the working suckers. The obvious alternative, to tax the parasites and their larcenously misappropriated wealth, has been rejected with vigour and scorn at the impudence of the mere suggestion.
    The whole thing has, I believe,been carefully planned by psychopaths who literally despise other people-the serfs in particular, but one another as well, and often, I suspect, themselves. Capitalism was always going to end like this, as a system that empowers, promotes and rewards the most vicious,the most unscrupulous and the most insanely greedy amongst humanity, is absolutely certain to end in massive immiseration and suffering.Marx understood the economic means by which this impoverishment would occur, but he did not, as far as I know, explore the psychic and spiritually malevolent forces at work. Perhaps he did, in some musing somewhere, as he did with his remarkably astute and prescient contemplation of capitalism’s ‘metabolic rift’ whereby it would destroy Nature as well as humanity.
    I think that we are near the greatest inflexion point in human history. On one side lies species extinction,on the other some form of decent,humane, society, where the robopaths have disappeared. As the anthropogenic climate change denial industry, concocted to protect fossil fuel trillions by evil and deranged billionaire psychopaths (how’s that for redundancy and tautology?) shows, these are creatures who do not care about humanity.In fact I suspect that they are using ecological collapse to trigger the extermination of billions of other human beings, simply because they fear and detest them, as their success as capitalists shows. And the manner in which they have raised a rabble of vicious, ignorant, moronic, laughably arrogant but ideologically fanatical followers to their omnicidal crusade against science and rationality makes me suspect that really, really, grim times are ahead.