I say again: I love retirement.
May 16, 2013
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Monday, May 06, 2013
Saturday, May 04, 2013
This is the last one I put up for today. You can click on the picture and it will take you to my Flickr page from which you can view the others by clicking the "older" (don't ask me why) button. Or you can go here to see them all on one page where you can pick and choose which ones to look at.
May 4, 2013
Friday, May 03, 2013
Friday, April 26, 2013
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
I don't know how many times I've told you "austerity doesn't work".
Yes, double tweet. "In other words, economists are finding out that austerity doesn't work in practice or in theory." theatlantic.com/business/archi…— Don Brown (@GetTheFlick) April 23, 2013
99% of my education in this matter is due to one man -- Paul Krugman. My efforts in these matters are miniscule. Paul Krugman's actions have been nothing short of heroic. It takes guts to face the pressures he has faced -- the attacks he has had to withstand -- day after day on a national stage.
But even Professor Krugman's herculean efforts won't have the effect the clip below will have. From Stephen Colbert. A comedian. You can link my posts all day and nothing will happen. You can shove Kruman's columns in front of your friends and their eyes will glaze over. You can show them this clip and they'll get it. They will laugh. And the info we have been trying to convey will stick.
Oh, and as a bonus, Stephen starts the routine on the air traffic controller furloughs. Start sending this to all your friends. Do it now.
I hope it will dawn on my readers that millions upon millions of people around the world have been unemployed for years because of this now-discredited economic theory. The heartbreak, the societal pain and the economic loss is staggering. Even the derision of Stephen Colbert will not change the minds of the politicians that voted in this economic policy. Paul Ryan is not going to have an epiphany and change his mind about cutting government. It was never about economic policy with most of the Republicans. It was using political power to further their ideology. The fight is not won. That will only happen at the ballot box.
If you can find the time, open your mind and open your heart: Read this piece from the Washington Post today. Don't tweet or link this one at the expense of the Colbert clip. As sad as it is, that is the one that will change minds. But this piece from the Washington Post is the reason they need changing.
"In Florida, a food-stamp recruiter deals with wrenching choices"
And when you get to read about Lonnie Briglia, I hope it will hit you that he displays more courage than most of us will ever be asked to show. He let his story be told so that we might have a chance to learn and understand. Don't waste that chance.
April 24, 2013
Friday, April 19, 2013
It was sad, listening to Fareed Zakaria last Sunday as he talked about Margaret Thatcher. I think his pro-Thatcher stance was deeply flawed. But truth be known, this is one of the reasons I listen to him. His position doesn't alway agree with mine. In that I do think he is brilliant, it makes me take a long look at my own positions.
I was watching Fareed's show on CNN -- Global Public Square -- but there is a companion article in The Washington Post. That article made the fundamental difference in our opinion jump off the page.
Could Margaret Thatcher’s reforms work in 2013?
"I grew up admiring Margaret Thatcher. It was obvious to many of us in India in the 1970s that socialist economics didn’t work and that Thatcher’s radical reforms were the right course, one we wished someone would advocate in India. (It took 12 years and a massive crisis for that to happen.) Her plans to cut taxes, privatize industry and deregulate have been vindicated by history, but that doesn’t tell us much about what to do today."
I didn't grow up in India. Nor did I grow up with socialist economics. I grew up with regulated capitalism. I didn't admire Margaret Thatcher. But for some reason, Fareed takes Thatcher's "accomplishments" and transfers them onto America's economics.
"Britain was not unusual. In most European countries, the state had as large a role atop the “commanding heights” of the economy. And while the United States was always far more free-market-oriented, even U.S. tax rates in the 1970s were in the range of 70 percent, and government tightly regulated telecommunications, transportation and finance."
In the U.S., the government didn't own the airlines. We didn't own the trains, the oil companies, the phone company, the car companies, etc., etc. We were much closer to the middle of what I consider to be the ideological road of economics. AT&T ("Ma Bell") was a regulated monopoly. Pan Am was the de facto overseas airline of the United States. You can see where this is headed (hopefully.) I'm having trouble thinking of a finance giant on the order of an AT&T and a Pan Am -- a too-big-too-fail bank --because there weren't any. Banking was distributed. But mostly the entire financial system was completely different. Wall Street -- the stock market -- and Main Street -- the banking system -- were kept separate. There was this little thing called the Glass–Steagall Act .
So, in my book, Fareed is only one for three in his logic. In telecommunications, transportation and finance, I only consider telecommunications to be better off. Let me take one paragraph to explore that. What's different? We split up the Bell System (which financed the Bell Lab by the way) into little-bitty pieces. Fast forward 30 years and we have AT&T, Verizon and a couple of GTE types left over. In other words, we're right back where we started. The difference that makes it better? The internet and technology. Did I mention Bell Labs? And DARPA belongs to the big, bad government. So much for Thatcherism transforming technology. Would all this have happened without breaking up the monopoly? I don't know.
I hope it has hit you: We deregulated airlines and we're down to...what? Five majors for now? After so much pain. Repeating the telecommunication business litany -- Bell, bust and back to Big. That leaves banking. From diversified to combining with "finance" to Too-Big-to-Fail with a global economic catastrophe to its credit. I hope this makes it plain why I used quotations marks around Margaret Thatcher's "accomplishments".
Sorry Fareed. I can appreciate what Margaret Thatcher did for the United Kingdom. I think I have a sense of it because of the way Americans fawn over Ronald Reagan. But America didn't need Thatcher's cure because we didn't have England's system.
But here's the real kicker. Here's what really matters to me. What did Margaret Thatcher do to make her citizen's lives better? I'll ask the same of her buddy Ronald Reagan. I'm not asking about something as minor as riding out a recession. Reagan and Thatcher's supporters want to put them on the pedestal of Greatness. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves. FDR won a world war and started Social Security. Winston Churchill saved England. Clement Attlee brought in the National Health Service. What did Lady Thatcher do to deserve Greatness? Making a people feel better about themselves isn't a minor thing. But it isn't Greatness.
Greed is not Great. It isn't even good. Show me a religion that says it is. Governments aren't founded to make people richer. They are founded to make our lives better. Easing or ending poverty is a worthy cause. Seeking riches isn't. Thatcher and Reagan helped generate enormous fortunes with their policies. I want to know if they made their citizen's lives better. All of their citizens.
April 19, 2013