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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

www.NationalView.org's Note From a Madman

November 26, 2008


There will be no Note From a Madman on Thanksgiving Day... unless these turkeys try to throw a fast one past us as we're all high on tryptophan. -NG


Madman-omics 101

While the number of payroll jobs in October have dropped by some 240,000; and while the ranks of the unemployed rose by 603,000 in just that one month alone, one has to wonder what the financial markets are doing these days.

Of course, they're up.

(I wonder if President-Elect Barack Obama putting his economic team together with proven, trustworthy people had anything to do with it?)

After mostly horrific down valleys in the market, with a few peaks thrown in there, it was easy to notice that the past few days saw a rise in the stock market. But a funny thing happened as those stocks began to rise for the fourth session in a row: Jobs are still being cut.

As a matter of fact, while the jobs of yesterday were being lost to the lowest overseas bidder over these past eight years; and while the jobs of the future which always seem to be just around the corner never appeared, the one thing that's been a certainty is that Americans will lose their jobs by the thousands, tens of thousands, and now the hundreds of thousands.

The theory that says as the market goes, so does job growth is nothing but a myth. And as we've all learned more recently, the opposite is true, too. As day four of gains in the market are coming for the very wealthy, those of us not-so-wealthy and downright poor Americans are still losing jobs.

The one question I have for any of those who still believe in the GOP-style of Trickle Down economics is this: How is it possible that you really still think it works?

Even today we hear things like how much President Bush still believes in the open market. And where it might be true that a free and open marketplace for ideas, with the support of private capital, can bring a nation to great wealth and prosperity for most of its citizens, greed run-amok without regulation will surely bring it too its knees.

How important is it for those at the bottom to be well taken care of? Much more important than keeping those at the top on top. These past few weeks have showed us all that.

Some estimates show the bailout reaching well over the $2 trillion mark; and some believe that, in the end, the economic recovery and bailout of various institutions will cost the American taxpayer as much as $7.7 trillion. Whereas that's only about $30 per person, each one of us would like to know what we're getting for our money?

For $30 per person (there will be some 30 people at my house this Thanksgiving) I could buy, and prepare a nice stuffed turkey, some veggies, a few bottles of soda and wine, and still pay for my car insurance this month and next. Or for $30 per person, I could probably save myself the trouble and have the holiday catered.

And that's the thing. If the government gave me $30 for each person coming to my house this Thanksgiving, that money could go to a caterer who, in turn would employ a person or two to prepare and serve Thanksgiving dinner to my guests. In turn, that caterer and those waiters would turn around and spend their money elsewhere in the economy.

This is the basis of "Madman-omics 101". If you keep the middle and poorer economic classes in the black, they'll make sure that their dollars flow throughout the market and keep the economy going. Capital by itself can't save the economy - it has to be married to labor. And in order for labor to get the dollars circulated they need to be given the chance by allowing the many to perform in well-paid jobs; take well-earned vacations; and eat in waiter-staffed diners along the New Jersey Turnpike.

The teaching of Economics in universities and colleges throughout the United States is a good thing. But one has to realize that "book-learning" and "street-learning" translate to two very distinct ideologies. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, Capital cannot exist without labor and is, in fact, reliant upon it, not the other way around.

The greatest ideas and the giant corporations founded on them, didn't begin from the top down but from the ground up. We've all heard the stories of poor boy makes good, however, even the greatest invention of the last half-century (if not the last hundred years), the personal computer, had its roots in someone's garage.

Wealth is the fruit of labor and Capital needs to be the price wealth pays for the fruit's seed. A farmer's market is a barren place when the farmer can't afford to grow his crops. And it's just as barren when customers can't afford to buy them, no matter how wealthy the guy who owns the now-vacant lot is.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

-Noah Greenberg

In response to the graphic depicting Treasury secretary Hank Paulson and President Bush as used car salesmen, Victoria Brownworth writes:

This is your best graphic EVER! Hank Paulson and George Bush as used car salesmen---too perfect. Except so unfair to used car salesmen.

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-Noah Greenberg