Saturday, July 09, 2011

People Like Jobs... The Rest Is Just Stuff For A Bunch Of Fascists


Other than his bitterest enemies, who have an agenda that seeks to destroy him and counts the rest of us as collateral damage, everyone told Obama to focus on job creation and leave deficit reduction for after the economy was into a firm rebound. But Obama chose his economic team straight from Wall Street, where captitalism-run-amuck has long since replaced religion, so has wound up with advisors who basically think the same way as Republicans. And how do they think? They think the way they were taught to think by gigantic propaganda efforts going back to the 1930s and set in motion by the unrepentent foremost fascist family in America, the DuPonts. From Glen Yeadon's The Nazi Hydra in America:
Wrapped up in an electioneering jingle and cloaked behind a false flag of patriotism, Lamont du Pont had concealed the very heart of fascism. Hidden behind this thin veil of false patriotism of free enterprise was the root of fascism, corporate rule. Thus began the most blatant fraud ever perpetrated against the American people; in effect, du Pont had dressed up fascism with a smiley face to appeal to the American people. To accomplish this horrific swindle of freedom and liberty, all resources were to be deployed. It would become a full-scaled assault on the rights of the American people for the remainder of the century. This was the forgotten third front of the war, the battle for the minds of the American citizen. Under the banner of this new feckless goddess of free enterprise, a multiprong attack was launched against our freedoms. One prong would question the patriotism of anyone not subscribing to unbridled corporatism, another prong would attack unionism and the third prong would be launched against socialism and communism.

This often forgotten event launched by one of the most notorious fascist of his time is imperative to the understanding of fascism in America following the war. It clearly marks the beginning of the adoption of the fascist ideology by the right-wing in the country. Before Eisenhower's troops ever started to march across North Africa and before the Marines ever started island hopping one bloody atoll after another toward the Japanese homeland a third front of the war was raging in the American homeland, for the control of the people. Tragically, the heroic efforts of the war against fascism were lost as quickly as the Third Reich crumbled into ashes. While our armies were victorious on the battlefields of Europe and the South Pacific, the battle for the homeland would be lost. The new goddess of free enterprise would replace democracy in America. The war against fascism would be lost. Instead of corporations serving the general interest of society, society would now be forced to serve the general interest of corporations.

The American lexicon was expanded in 1942, never before had the term free enterprise been used. There is no such right listed in the constitution nor does the constitution grant any rights to corporations. While the founding fathers believed in an economy based on capitalism, they were hardly the fools to allow trade to go on unregulated. With one-third of the populace at the time of the revolution being former indentured servants to British corporations, corporations were closely regulated as the chapter on corporate law detailed. However, unregulated corporationism was precisely what Du Pont envisioned in his call for free enterprise. The best summary of free enterprise as envision by Lammont du Pont comes from his speech before a secretive meeting of the resolution committee for the National Manufacturers Association (NAM) on September 17, 1942.
"The way to view the issue is this: Are there common denominators for winning the war and the peace? If there are, then, we should deal with both in 1943. What are they? We will win the war by reducing taxes on corporations, high income brackets, and increasing taxes on lower incomes, by removing unions from any power to tell industry how to produce, how to deal with their employees or anything else, by destroying any and all government agencies that stand in the way of free enterprise."

Du Pont's words are clearly treasonous as he calls for the destruction of any government agency that may stand in his way. It is the same agenda followed by Hitler on assuming power. In addition, as we enter the 21st Century it is the same agenda being put forward by the Republicans and the right-wingers.

The media immediately began extolling the virtues of free enterprise and singing its praises. No mention was ever made of the du Ponts funding of the pro-Nazi Liberty League or the Black Legion. No mention was made of the du Ponts involvement in the fascist plot against the White House a decade ago. This was a full-scale assault against the New Deal and responsible government. The timing of this campaign for free enterprise coincided with the upcoming election. The election would reduce the majority of Democrats considerably. In effect, it left Congress under the control of the Republicans and conservative "Dixiecrats."

Throughout the 1920s and into the 1930s the du Ponts and other munitions makers were embroiled in congressional investigations into war profiteering. Thus as the battle for Midway raged the du Ponts were already covering up their crimes of war profiteering and their dealings with the Nazis during the war. Once again, no mention of war profiteering was ever made in the media, nor was there any mention of the repressive nature of free enterprise as envisioned by du Pont.

Instead, the major media chains flaunted free enterprise as the new goddess to be worshipped.

A month before yesterday's dismal jobs report was released, Randall Forsyth of Barrons asked a crucial question, one that Obama's team should have been looking at all along-- but, clearly, weren't: How long will profits rise at labor's expense?
It has been the best of times for corporate profits, but rather less so for consumer incomes. Corporate earnings have soared 200% since 1990 while real median family incomes have increased by only 2%.

These data come from a recent article entitled, "High Profit Margins and Stagnant Real Incomes: Is Capitalism Working Properly?"

It didn't appear in The Nation but rather in The Bank Credit Analyst, the highly respected, long-time financial and economic research service that would never be thought of as some hotbed of populist fervor. And the author is not Michael Moore but Martin Barnes, the Bank Credit Analyst's long-time managing editor and self-described "dour Scot."

Moreover, rather than calling for a storming of the ramparts, Barnes poses questions of concern for the most self-interested of capitalists. Can the current high level of profit margins be maintained? Even more basically, can the corporate sector continue to prosper while the average consumer struggles?

...Profits from the domestic, non-financial sector have been merely good, not outstanding. Looking at operating cash flow (earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation, or Ebitd) shows a much stronger picture, however. The ratio of corporate selling prices and unit labor costs is a simple proxy for Ebitd margins; productivity gains boost the ratio, and vice versa.

Since the 1990s, the ratio rose because of the Fed's success in crushing inflation, helped by technology and global competition, which brought growth in unit labor costs down to just 1.4% annually from 5% in the prior two decades.

...Looking ahead, Barnes sees cause for concern. Companies have curbed growth in capital investment, and their gains from "aggressive labor shedding" can't be repeated. With continued limited pricing power, non-financial Ebitd margins are likely to be under pressure, but a severe squeeze won't happen until the next recession, which he says a couple of years away.

Bottom line, the main factors that have propelled corporate profits-- cost-cutting, financial profits and overseas earnings-- are waning. Even so, companies have done a far sight better than workers, as noted earlier. Since 2000, they've fallen even further behind; profits are up 70% while real median family incomes are down 2%.

Part of that has been because consumer prices have risen faster than corporate selling prices, which reflect costs of capital goods which have been held down by technology, Barnes notes. "However, it seems clear that labor has not received its fair share in recent years, even when using corporate prices," he adds, falling 4% short of what would be expected based on productivity gains.

"Ultimately, the health of the corporate sector depends on the financial health of its customers. Thus, the divergence between rising profits and weak growth in real consumer incomes will have to change," Barnes asserts.

Consumers had been able to maintain their spending in excess of their income gains in the 1990s and 2000s by going deeper into debt, running up their credit cards and tapping their home equity. "Those days clearly have ended and debt is now an ugly four-letter word in many households," he says.

More than getting raises, growth in real household incomes will depend on employment gains, Barnes contends. Given the weak growth in jobs, notably in the latest employment report showing a dismal 38,000 gain in non-farm payrolls, there is little reason for near-term optimism on that score.

At some point, the divergence between corporate and consumer earnings should shrink.

"The optimistic view is that the corporate sector's healthy financial position will eventually lead to stronger growth in employment and household sector incomes," Barnes writes. "The more negative view is that compares are more interested in expanding overseas operations than in boosting domestic hiring and investment."

The data give more support to the negative view. U.S. direct investment overseas in recent years has been equal to 20% of domestic, non-residential investment-- half again what it was from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s, and more than three times as much as in the 1960s.

It's hard to see corporate profit margins moving higher from here, Barnes concludes, although the real pressure won't come as long as the economy continues to expand.

Equity prices should be able to rise in tandem with earnings, about 4% in the coming year. Not exciting, but a damned sight better than most American families can expect.

Yes... a damned sight better! Yesterday Obama forced himself into a mealy-mouthed Rose Garden statement that started off with him declaring that "Obviously, over the last couple of days, the debate here in Washington has been dominated by issues of debt limit, but what matters most to Americans, and what matters most to me as President, in the wake of the worst downturn in our lifetimes, is getting our economy on a sounder footing more broadly so the American people can have the security they deserve."

Obviously? Who is he kidding? This guy is seriously looking at prospects of an early retirement. He defined "security" as "getting back to a place where businesses consistently grow and are hiring, where new jobs and new opportunity are within reach, where middle-class families once again know the security and peace of mind they’ve felt slipping away for years now."
[T]oday’s job report confirms what most Americans already know: We still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do to give people the security and opportunity that they deserve. 
We’ve added more than 2 million new private sector jobs over the past 16 months, but the recession cost us more than 8 million. And that means that we still have a big hole to fill. Each new job that was created last month is good news for the people who are back at work, and for the families that they take care of, and for the communities that they’re a part of. But our economy as a whole just isn’t producing nearly enough jobs for everybody who’s looking.  
We’ve always known that we’d have ups and downs on our way back from this recession. And over the past few months, the economy has experienced some tough headwinds-- from natural disasters, to spikes in gas prices, to state and local budget cuts that have cost tens of thousands of cops and firefighters and teachers their jobs. The problems in Greece and in Europe, along with uncertainty over whether the debt limit here in the United States will be raised, have also made businesses hesitant to invest more aggressively. 
The economic challenges that we face weren’t created overnight, and they’re not going to be solved overnight. But the American people expect us to act on every single good idea that’s out there. I read letter after letter from folks hit hard by this economy. None of them ask for much. Some of them pour their guts out in these letters. And they want me to know that what they’re looking for is that we have done everything we can to make sure that they are rewarded when they’re living up to their responsibilities, when they’re doing right by their communities, when they’re playing by the rules. That’s what they’re looking for, and they feel like the rules have changed. They feel that leaders on Wall Street and in Washington–- and believe me, no party is exempt–- have let them down. And they wonder if their efforts will ever be reciprocated by their leaders.
They also make sure to point out how much pride and faith they have in this country; that as hard as things might be today, they are positive that things can get better. And I believe that we can make things better. How we respond is up to us. There are a few things that we can and should do, right now, to redouble our efforts on behalf of the American people.
Let me give you some examples. Right now, there are over a million construction workers out of work after the housing boom went bust, just as a lot of America needs rebuilding. We connect the two by investing in rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our railways and our infrastructure. And we could put back to work right now some of those construction workers that lost their jobs when the housing market went bust. Right now, we can give our entrepreneurs the chance to let their job-creating ideas move to market faster by streamlining our patent process. That’s pending before Congress right now. That should pass.

He then had the gall to make a pitch for more NAFTA-like job-killing trade bills he's promised Big Business to push through. It made me sick to listen to him giving a Republican pitch with a straight face, making the false claim that these miserable trade agreements will create more jobs. And-- sure enough-- he just couldn't help jumping right back into deficit-land... "[T]o put our economy on a stronger and sounder footing for the future, we’ve got to rein in our deficits and get the government to live within its means, while still making the investments that help put people to work right now and make us more competitive in the future. As I mentioned, we’ve had some good meetings.  We had a good meeting here yesterday with leaders of both parties in Congress. And while real differences remain, we agreed to work through the weekend and meet back here on Sunday." Blecchhh. This guy has lost it entirely. We need to know who to put our trust in from now on-- and it isn't phonies like Barack Obama. It's... these guys (the ones who made the video):

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