12/1/14…commentary: from Reagan to Eternity…

…it all started with Reagan…but that was a normal reaction to Johnson’s ‘guns and butter’ Great Society! Right? But as Newton stated: “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Wait…isn’t ‘reaction’ part of ‘reactionary’? What ever happened to that expression? Radical now stops at ‘liberal’ or at its extreme ‘elitist’. But as Alice found out: all is not always as it appears. Beam me up, Scotty! Fast!

Looks like we have a new crusader in the war against global warming: an unlikely one in the form of George Schultz, Reagan’s right-hand man. In your face, at the intransigence of HIS party, the GOP…another term we no longer use, right? It’s no longer grand and they don’t even want to think about ‘old’ – which to them dates back to just 1980, right (no pun intended)? Someday this party is going to get ‘payback’ for all the lies it has spread through Karl Rove, and with the full support of the Koch brothers, who give ‘libertarian’ a bad name.

But what TB wants to do this week is spend it focusing on what has happened and how the GOP contributed (instigated?) the ‘wealth gap’ that they so vehemently deny exists.

As TB said it all started with Reagan. Here are the key causes:
*’government is the problem’ which omits his opening remark at his inauguration: “In this instance’ – but hey why not extend it to all government regulation and programs, right? That they did…
*’trickle down economics’ which the people found meant only ‘down their leg’! Okay, Art Laffer’s ‘supply-side economics’ which was labeled ‘voodoo economics’ by Bush 41 in the race for the Oval Office. He was right, but that didn’t matter to the GOP, no sir! It was their wealthy donors they cared about and who having benefitted in the biggest transfer of wealth in U.S. history – which continues to this day – have cast aside their middle-class supporters (including TB! But not until the end of Clinton’s second term – a slow learner!). Yet these un-privileged still support the party and the Tea Party (funded not with $1 and $5 donations but with the Koch brothers millions), has given (or ‘had’ given) it new life.
*the party has been able to spread the ‘gospel’ of the rich to all America, and believes (just as the Dems mistakenly did), that it has a ‘mandate’. That mandate is feeble at best and is to counteract much of their own doing: gridlock in Congress and a total disregard for creating jobs and wealth for the middle class.

There you have it…think about it as the week plays out and TB covers the following topics: not global warming, because you all know it exists but nothing TB or anyone else can say can alter your opinion atthis point, you are either ‘aye’ or nay’.

For the record, TB is NOT a Democrat, but he sure as hell isn’t a Republican. He cares about America’s future for his kids and grandkids, not about enriching a bunch of ungrateful wealthy people.
Let’s start off with the decline in corporate responsibility that TB has so often remarked on. It is the cornerstone of the ‘free-market capitalism’ (FMC) that Milton Friedman and Alan Greenspan among others so vehemently supported.  But the GOP has been seized by the gospel according to Grover Norquist which states that there will be no increase in taxes (even if offset by spending cuts), and elimination of a subsidy is a tax increase. If not reversed, this will destroy America as we know it.

How can we look at CEO compensation going from TEN times the average employee up until 1980 (no coincidence on that year), to 400 or more times now while the ‘rank and file’ is forced to work and produce more and is making LESS in inflation adjusted terms than they did then! It is this situation that has caused the failure of FMC which relied on a corporation never doing anything which would harm its long-term existence (by the way we knew then and definitely know now that that is a myth!

But now it is especially damned following the greatest financial crisis in the history of mankind, where the ‘perps’ went scot-free and the the shareholders not only paid in declines in their shares, but reduced their dividends and while the share prices have regained most of their losses since peaking, the dividends are almost non-existent (especially for banks – the biggest perps).

Who created ‘moral hazard’? Reagan against the advice of Don Regan his treasury secretary and former head of Merrill Lynch. This in 1984 with the collapse of oil prices (which were blamed incorrectly for causing the S&L crisis). The Gipper bailed out Continental Illinois, the nation’s 8th largest bank and thus caused huge inflows from around world on the premise that the top eight banks would be protected by this (and it has proved correct and worse was extended to the top investment banks in the latest crisis – a travesty – especially after they let the most critical one, Lehman Brothers fail!). The other unrealized effect was that it siphoned money from the community and smaller regional banks. You rock, Reagan! NOT!

The rest of the week will focus on the wealth effect and how it occurred: elimination of private labor unions (while municipal unions gained and still hold enormous power); replacement of retirement plans with IRA’s/401’k’s which have been misused (abused?), by the wealthy and their accountants; the destruction of the ‘balanced budget’ under Clinton which would produce surpluses ’as far as the eye can see’ with deficits pushed through by Bush 43 with his Johnson-like approach to two wars and three tax cuts which have seriously damaged our infrastructure; and the robbery of the people by the wealthy with the blessings of a ‘corrupted’ Congress, and a president who has lost his goal of ‘changing government’.
It will be a busy and hopefully enlightening week!

Have a great week! May you live in interesting times…wait…we already do!

TB

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