Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart
* PRIVATE SECTOR PARASITES: WHO ARE THE REAL WEALTH CREATORS?
The private sector is evading its taxes, failing to pay workers a living wage, and becoming a burden on the tax payer for subsidies and bailouts. At what point to we stop calling them wealth creators and start calling them parasites?
Neoliberal democracies around the globe have been using taxpayer money to underwrite and directly pay off phantom debts made by the banking sector.
In the bailout of 2008/9, the UK government had to guarantee funding to the banking sector, of 101% of GDP. That is, the UK diverted over £2trn of tax payer money from public expenditure, to a handful of banks. This is equivalent to almost 3 times its entire annual budget; twenty years of NHS spending (£106.7bn a year); forty years of education spending (£48.2bn a year); or five hundred years of job seekers allowance (£4.9bn a year).
According to the Special Investigator General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program’s (SIGTARP) quarterly reports, the US government’s total layout in bailouts was $3.3trn whilst guaranteeing $16.9trn of future protections. The GDP of the US currently stands at just $14.99trn, meaning the tax payer has guaranteed toxic bank debts to the value of 113% of their total annual earning capacity. This is equivalent to ten years of total federal spending ($6.3trn a year), sixteen years of pension payments ($1.1trn a year), twenty one years of total education spending ($0.8trn a year) or a whole twenty eight years of the entire welfare system ($0.6trn a year).
Most recently, the people of Cyprus have had the Eurogroup and the IMF place conditions on their bailout of the Cypriot Banking sector requiring Cypriot depositors (people holding their money in the banks) rather than bondholders (people investing in the banks). This is the first time that the bailout of the banks has been made in such an explicit way. The total sum required from Cyprus’ population of just 1.1 million people, is 5.8bn Euros. […]
* EUROPE’S SOUTH RISES UP AGAINST THOSE WHO ACT AS SADISTIC COLONIAL MASTERS
The more you obey the more you get punished – that’s the troika’s way. But a second spring of discontent is in the air
By Costas Douzinas, Guardian UK
[…] The argument against austerity has been won in southern Europe. The continuation of austerity, a matter of survival for the ruling elites, can be achieved through ideological misinformation and police repression. We cannot predict the timing and location of the next flashpoint but its occurrence is certain. It is the result of systemic pressures and failures felt by all Europeans and exacerbated in the south. Three are the most prominent.
First, permanent work has been abolished. Part time and flexible work, long periods of unemployment following short periods of work are now the rule. In the past, a reserve army of unemployed was used to push wages down. Today technology and the transfer of industry to the developing world are making large numbers of people, particularly the young, superfluous. At the same time, we now have the most educated population in history. One thousand unemployed engineers, lawyers and architects are not likely to accept easily power’s broken promises .
Second, profit takes new forms: rent for services and interest for capital. As wages get pushed down in order to improve profits, late capitalism increasingly works through consumption fuelled by debt, making states, companies and individuals permanently indebted. Debt is first a social and moral relationship. Lifelong indebtedness is an effective control of the debtor’s conduct ensuring future conformity. Full of guilt and forbearance, the debtor must accept a lifestyle of obedience and redemption. Debt is the lubricant of consumption, capital desires and creates indebted populations. But when the banking greed and collapse makes money scarce, the indebted citizen abandons the vicious circle of debt and consumption followed inevitably by frustration and starts questioning the dominant model.
The third change is the extensive and violent privatisation of the commons. The commons of culture – music, poetry, art – and of nature – water, sea, electricity – are systematically sold off. We must rent back our common substance and our collective achievements. Everything that can be sold will be sold and then hired back to us in a process resembling the early modern enclosures of land. The recent wave of occupations reasserted the right to our common substance of life.
All three policies converge in Greece, the textbook case of neoliberal failure and popular resistance. After entry to the euro, the modernising socialists promoted consumption and hedonism as the main way of linking private interests with the common good. People were treated as desiring and consuming machines. Easy and cheap loans, bribing people to transfer their savings into stocks and shares, and an artificially inflated property market became the main instruments of economic growth and the criterion for individual happiness and social mobility. Austerity violently reverses priorities. The population is divided according to age, occupation, gender and race and radical behavioural change is imposed for the sake of “national salvation”. The politics of personal desire and pleasure turned into a strategy of saving the nation’s DNA by abandoning its individual members to the rigours of sin, guilt and punishment. No wonder fascism and xenophobia have risen to unprecedented levels.
Behind southern austerity is a top down re-arrangement of late capitalism with the north acting as colonial masters of an impoverished and disenfranchised south. The debt offered a convenient pretext for the brutal imposition and moralisation of these “reforms”. We were all “in it together” and must be punished. In Greece, the troika increases the punishment every time its policies and predictions go wrong. Like Freud’s superego, it is a sadistic, cold master, the more you obey the more you get punished. […]
* TUNIS: BIRTH OF A COMMON FRONT OF POLITICAL ORGANIZATIONS AGAINST DEBT
By Pauline Imbach, CADTM
The first Mediterranean coordination against debt, austerity policies and foreign domination, and for a free, united, democratic, social, feminist and environmentally responsible Mediterranean region took place in Tunis on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 March in the build up to the World Social Forum.
A score of political formations, coming from the Mediterranean perimeter gathered in response to a call by the Popular Front (a coalition of 11 radical left-wing political parties, associations and independent personalities, one of whom was Chokri Belaid, who was assassinated on 6 February 2013). Among those represented were the French parties, Front de Gauche (Left Front) and NPA (New Anti-Capitalist Party); from Spain came Izquierda Unida (United Left) and Izquierda Anticapitalista (Anti-Capitalist Left); others were Sortu from the Basque country, CUP from Catalonia, OKDE from Greece, the Left Block from Portugal, Sinistra Critica from Italy, Al Mounadil from Morocco; also taking part were representatives of organisations from other Mediterranean countries such as Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine. Organisations from Belgium, Haiti, Venezuela and a number of other countries were also present. This is the first time that political parties and organisations get together in the mediterranean area in order to cancel illegitimate debt.
This gathering was followed by a public meeting attended by over a thousand people, including many representatives of political parties from the Mediterranean region and beyond, a large number of whom were women and youths (although it is to be regretted that among the twenty or so speakers only three were women). The mood was electric, animated by slogans in Arabic, charged with passion, anger, joy and collective feeling, each affirming the ardent will of his or her party to work on the issue of the debt, to resist the dictatorship of the creditors, wipe out the capitalist system and struggle for the emancipation of the peoples by laying the foundations of a New World Order.
Numerous tributes were paid to different leaders, revolutionaries or progressive activists. Emotion was high during a film in homage to Chokri Belaid, who remains a popular personality and inspiration in the Tunisian revolution. Homage was also paid to Hugo Chavez and his commitment to the social transformations needed by his people.
For over 3 hours a number of different speakers hailed the Tunisian revolution and more largely the “Arab Spring” that led to the overthrow of the dictators Ben Ali and Moubarak. These historic events take on an international significance. The Tunisian revolution is, for several generations, the demonstration that revolution is not an idle word and that a people can choose their destiny. The public meeting was brought to a vibrant end by Hamma Hammami who developed an analysis of the debt that is entirely convergent with that of CADTM.
As mentioned in the preamble of the declaration of this Mediterranean reunion against debt, the fall of Ben Ali “has permitted the disarmament of the local capitalist structure without going so far as overthrowing it. The social regime, which is the historical result of foreign domination and, more recently, of the restructuring of worldwide capitalist globalisation, is still standing. The revolutionary crisis opened by the insurrection is still active. The victory of the Tunisian democratic and social revolution remains possible.” |1|
In this context the debt, which remains a central tool for the domination and oppression of the peoples must be cancelled. A real instrument for the transfer of riches and of political domination, this issue was at the heart of the debate. The speakers have affirmed the necessity of liberating ourselves from the dictatorship of the creditors and the international financial institutions, particularly the World Bank and the IMF. Several speakers mentioned as examples, Argentina, Ecuador and Iceland to demonstrate the possibility of resisting creditors so as to implement policies that favour the population. Public debt audits were also presented as possible strategies permitting the identification and cancellation of odious and illegitimate debts, with the stress on the need to mobilise on this question. This is the first time that such a common front has arisen. It is undoubtedly a historic step forward in the struggle against the debt, echoing the call made 26 years earlier by then President of Burkina Faso Thomas Sankara in Addis Abeba in 1987, “The debt cannot be repaid because if we do not pay the lenders will not die, that is certain,. On the other hand, if we do pay; it is we who will die. That is equally certain.” The groups gathered in Tunis have decided to create a follow-up commission and to meet again in Spain some time in 2013 or 2014.
Translation : Mike Krolikowski and Christine Pagnoule
|1| The final declaration will soon be published.
* THE CYPRUS DEAL AND THE UNRAVELING OF FRACTIONAL-RESERVE BANKING
By Joseph Salerno, The Circle Bastiat
The “Cyprus deal” as it has been widely referred to in the media may mark the next to last act in the the slow motion collapse of fractional-reserve banking that began with the implosion of the savings-and-loan industry in the U.S. in the late 1980s. This trend continued with the currency crises in Russia, Mexico, East Asia and Argentina in the 1990s in which fractional-reserve banking played a decisive role. The unraveling of fractional-reserve banking became visible even to the average depositor during the financial meltdown of 2008 that ignited bank runs on some of the largest and most venerable financial institutions in the world. The final collapse was only averted by the multi-trillion dollar bailout of U.S. and foreign banks by the Federal Reserve.
Even more than the unprecedented financial crisis of 2008, however, recent events in Cyprus may have struck the mortal blow to fractional-reserve banking. For fractional reserve banking can only exist for as long as the depositors have complete confidence that regardless of the financial woes that befall the bank entrusted with their “deposits,” they will always be able to withdraw them on demand at par in currency, the ultimate cash of any banking system. Ever since World War Two governmental deposit insurance, backed up by the money-creating powers of the central bank, was seen as the unshakable guarantee that warranted such confidence. In effect, fractional-reserve banking was perceived as 100-percent banking by depositors, who acted as if their money was always “in the bank” thanks to the ability of central banks to conjure up money out of thin air (or in cyberspace). Perversely the various crises involving fractional-reserve banking that struck time and again since the late 1980s only reinforced this belief among depositors, because troubled banks and thrift institutions were always bailed out with alacrity–especially the largest and least stable. Thus arose the “too-big-to-fail doctrine.” Under this doctrine, uninsured bank depositors and bondholders were generally made whole when large banks failed, because it was widely understood that the confidence in the entire banking system was a frail and evanescent thing that would break and completely dissipate as a result of the failure of even a single large institution.
Getting back to the Cyprus deal, admittedly it is hardly ideal from a free-market point of view. The solution in accord with free markets would not involve restricting deposit withdrawals, imposing fascistic capital controls on domestic residents and foreign investors, and dragooning taxpayers in the rest of the Eurozone into contributing to the bailout to the tune of 10 billion euros. Nonetheless, the deal does convey a salutary message to bank depositors and creditors the world over. It does so by forcing previously untouchable senior bondholders and uninsured depositors in the Cypriot banks to bear part of the cost of the bailout. The bondholders of the two largest banks will be wiped out and it is reported that large depositors (i.e. those holding uninsured accounts exceeding 100,000 euros) at the Laiki Bank may also be completely wiped out, losing up to 4.2 billion euros, while large depositors at the Bank of Cyprus will lose between 30 and 60 percent of their deposits. Small depositors in both banks, who hold insured accounts of up to 100,000 euros, would retain the full value of their deposits. […]
* STUNNING FACTS ABOUT HOW THE BANKING SYSTEM REALLY WORKS … AND HOW IT’S DESTROYING AMERICA
Source: Washington’s Blog
Reclaiming the Founding Fathers’ Vision of Prosperity
To understand the core problem in America today, we have to look back to the very founding of our country.
The Founding Fathers fought for liberty and justice. But they also fought for a sound economy and freedom from the tyranny of big banks:
“[It was] the poverty caused by the bad influence of the English bankers on the Parliament which has caused in the colonies hatred of the English and . . . the Revolutionary War.”
– Benjamin Franklin
“There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.”
– John Adams
“All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise, not from defects in their Constitution or Confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, so much as from the downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation.”
– John Adams
“If the American people ever allow the banks to control issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers occupied”.
— Thomas Jefferson
“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies…The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the Government, to whom it properly belongs.”
– Thomas Jefferson
“The Founding Fathers of this great land had no difficulty whatsoever understanding the agenda of bankers, and they frequently referred to them and their kind as, quote, ‘friends of paper money. They hated the Bank of England, in particular, and felt that even were we successful in winning our independence from England and King George, we could never truly be a nation of freemen, unless we had an honest money system. ”
-Peter Kershaw, author of the 1994 booklet “Economic Solutions”
Indeed, everyone knows that the American colonists revolted largely because of taxation without representation and related forms of oppression by the British. See this and this. But – according to Benjamin Franklin and others in the thick of the action – a little-known factor was actually the main reason for the revolution. […]
* KEEP CASH IN BANKS? ‘BE WORRIED AS EURO THIEVES CAN STEAL IT ANY TIME’
EU ‘thieves’ will force people to think twice about where to keep their money, so that it isn’t confiscated like in Cyprus. The Middle East and Asia are the most likely places where these funds will travel next, Patrick Young told RT.
* MARCH 16 DUBLIN
How happy are you with your life, our society, the world?
In Ireland over 500 people commit suicide a year, many as a direct result of the financial crisis.
Over 300,000 houses in Ireland remain vacant while thousands of people are evicted and the banks are now looking to start evicting 1000 more families a year each.
Children are sitting in schools with no heating, many are also going to school hungry and soup kitchens are opening up all over the country.
Half of our youth are unemployed leaving university after studying hard for years.
Over 80,000 families wave goodbye to loved ones each year emigrating for work, not knowing when they will meet again.
Crime is rising as it automatically does with an increase in poverty and the government is closing stations, in particular leaving old people vulnerable in their own homes.
Michael Noonan admitted on Pat Kenny’s RTE show that the debt was illegal
World’s 100 richest people have increased there wealth by €241 Billion in 2012
All over the world people fighting against corruption and demanding a better world for you, are being beaten, jailed, shot and murdered, but still we remain silent.
Is this good enough? Is this what it means to be Irish, the great warriors from the land of saints and scholars?
Is it right that through our silence we allow this to continue?
In Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy, the USA, Canada, Mexico, Britain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Argentina, Chile, Turkey, China, India, Libya, Egypt, Palestine, Bahrain, Syria, Saudi Arabia and many more countries around the world, the people are rising up, demanding freedom from oppression.
In Portugal thousands of protestors were chanting “Spain, Greece, Ireland and Italy, our struggle is international”
Iceland has shown only people peacefully on the streets can bring about the change needed.
Now is the time the Irish stood up and showed the world we are awake and “Ireland Says No”
We can create a better world.
A sustainable world designed for us to enjoy life, not for profit or greed.
A world we can be proud to leave to our children and grandchildren.
A world without war, poverty or oppression.
We can provide food and homes for everyone on this planet.
We have the technology for free energy.
We can provide everyone with a quality education.
We can collectively redefine right from wrong in our society.
We can collectively decide what is no longer acceptable in our society,
Demand an end to lies and secrecy from politicians
Stop the exploitation of our natural resources
End the destruction of our earth, our eco system
End the oppression of our brothers and sisters around the world
and cruelty to animals.
A better world is possible, but only when we rise up together and demand it.
Speaking out will cost you nothing, but your silence could cost everything.
United we stand, divided we fall.