(Author's note: I've offered this idea a couple of times over the past few months here, with surprisingly little reaction. I'm trying once again, because I'm persuaded that much of the leverage that conservatives and Republicans have over our fate is due to the belief that most people hold that federal deficits, the national debt, and the GDP ratio are important, and that we must bring them under control to avoid Government insolvency. In addition every one seems to believe that the existence of the debt is due the to the profligacy of the Government, its monumental waste, and the lack of courage of its politicians who spend too freely to please constituents, gain campaign contributions, and help themselves to stay in office. None of this is true. The current existence of the National Debt, and also of a non-zero public debt-to-GDP ratio is the inevitable result of a technical decision that Congress has made about how the Treasury should finance its spending. This post talks about that decision, points out that its consequence is the National Debt, and also points out that the very existence of the National Debt is the fault of Congress.)
It is Congress's fault that we have a national debt at this point in our history. And also Congress can largely get rid of this debt over a 10 year period any time it wants to.
The national debt exists today because when the nation went off the Gold Standard in 1971 and adopted its fiat currency system, Congress did not repeal its mandate, very appropriate when our currency was convertible to Gold on demand, in least in theory, requiring that the Government back all its deficit spending with already existing borrowed dollars whose convertibility was covered by our holdings of Gold. This Congressional mandate to borrow funds by issuing debt instruments when the Government deficit spends, is what has caused the national debt to persist.
Had Congress repealed it when President Nixon took the country off the Gold Standard, and had we ceased to issue debt at that time, then the Government would have re-paid all of our 1971 debts as they came due, and our national debt today would be zero and our debt-to-GDP would now be at 0%.
The Congressional mandate to issue debt when the Government deficit spends has no useful function today, and the interest income it provides for mostly wealthy investors and foreign Governments who buy Treasury Securities is simply a form of welfare for the rich. In fact, it is welfare that will cost the Treasury almost $12 Trillion over the next 15 years if we continue the policy of issuing debt instruments. Read more about Once Again, the National Debt Is Congress's Fault
Over the last couple of weeks there's been an exchange between Charles Krauthammer writing in one of the austerity mongers' favorite newspapers and Jack Lew, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), writing at the OMB blog. This exchange illustrates a kerfuffle, that ignores the real issue surrounding entitlements and fiscal responsibility.
Krauthammer kicked off his criticism of the Administration's recent statements that Social Security is “off the table” for spending cuts at present with this: Read more about Moral Choices of the Fictional Kind: Krauthammer and Lew on Social Security
Sometimes remembered tangentially for being a love interest of Big Bill Haywood, Jessie Ashley was an IWW figure in her own right. As one of the few women attorneys in the early 20th century United States, she dedicated her career to defending jailed unionists, and later in life, to advocating for a woman’s right for access to birth control. From a highly-educated and wealthy background, Ashley and many of her East Village compatriots were looked at with suspicion by some in the ranks of the IWW, but she threw herself into solidarity work without hesitation. Read more about Women's History Month Union Woman of the Day: Jessie Ashley
I've always thought the unemployment rate was a poor way to communicate information about the health of the job market. Not only is the percentage of unemployed peopled fudged by under-counting people out of work, but it's too easy to take the number itself for granted. For example, the most recent reading of the unemployment rate is 8.9%. That means fewer than nine people out of one hundred are unemployed or, alternatively, for every 100 people, more than 91 have jobs. That's not so bad, is it? Read more about A slightly different way to look at the employment situation
A number of people including myself have been furiously blogging for many months now on the world-wide austerity war that most Governments are fighting against the well-being of their citizens. Read more about Bill Mitchell on the Austerity War
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 3/25/1911 -- 100+ Women Burned to Death Awakening the US Conscience to Labor Rights
On April 5, 2011, 400,000 New Yorkers, 1 out of 10, showed up in the rain to mourn the deaths of 146 garment workers, mostly young immigrant women, who had died in the deadliest workplace accident in New York history.
The victims of this fire, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory workers, incidentally, had been the vanguard group of picketers and protesters who had incredibly managed to trigger the biggest work stoppage in history -- 10,000 garment workers -- at the end of 1909. Read more about The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 3/25/1911 -- 100+ Women Burned to Death Awakening the US Conscience to Labor Rights
Mary Harris Jones, better known as “Mother Jones” and born in the rebel county of Cork, Ireland, was once described as “the most dangerous woman in America,” which must be up there with being “more dangerous than a thousand rioters”! She stated in her autobiography that her family had been involved in the “struggle against British rule” in Ireland. Indeed her grandfather was hanged as a result of his activity in the nationalist movement. Mother Jones played a huge role in bringing the issue of child labor to the forefront of the political agenda, writing in her autobiography: Read more about Women's History Month Union Woman of the Day: Mother Jones
A few hours early. Shoot me.
The Lucy Parsons Project (all the info you ever wanted to know on Lucy)
By the Women's History Information Project For almost 70 years, Lucy Parsons fought for the rights of the poor and disenfranchised in the face of an increasingly oppressive industrial economic system. Lucy's radical activism challenged the racist and sexist sentiment in a time when even radical Americans believed that a woman's place was in the home.
A group of Michigan activists has confirmed that it plans to stage a protest in the state Capitol building at 4 p.m. today.
Lance Enderle, a former Democratic candidate for Michigan’s 8th Congressional district, confirmed moments ago that he is leading the protest.
“We are planning to exercise our free speech rights in a non-violent way,” Enderle said. “We will take the Rotunda, and we are not leaving.”
A brief intro to this series. Since it is union time with all this attack on unions and it is women's history month, and I am a Wobbly, I thought I would take the time to highlight some very important women from the history of the Wobblies. Enjoy.