Demise of a Cancer
January 11, 2009
I begin part two of this article with a statement of purpose. My interest is not in figuring out how to save our economy using any of the current methods proposed by businesses or governments. My interest is in making profound structural changes to the national and later global distribution of wealth and the means to create and to sustain that wealth for the benefit of all of humanity. Let the would-be heroes and obvious villains of the present disaster duke it out, continue to create terrible economic dislocation of the general populations, and fail to create anything useful long term. Old ideologies and economic theories, warmed over to solve the disasters of the current Depression, will not create a solid foundation for global financial evolution, or for that matter the truly essential evolution of humanity as a whole.
A number of historical, fundamental premises about wealth creation and distribution with capitalism are deeply flawed, not so much within the confines of the defined structure and cause and effect propositions within capitalism, but instead by the complete avoidance of highly relevant topics, like uncontrolled greed. This means we have evolved to our present economic state by some obvious errors of commission yet even more important errors of omission, for theory doesnít equal practice. The bad guys are easy to identify, and weíve had them with us all the way back to the railroad barons of the mid 19th century, and likely earlier. The deeper problem is one of terminal ignorance, i.e. stupidity on the part of our business and government leaders in not recognizing and correcting their own suicidal behaviors, whether they are on the extreme conservative side or the extreme liberal side. For that problem to be solved we need something very special indeed.
For the record, I pity Barack Obama. He could be the brightest and best-intentioned person on the planet and still totally fail in his efforts to fix our broken economy. He is but one man and his office does not provide him the power to overcome the disasters others have created both within the USA and elsewhere in the world. The tools available to him through the Congress and the Federal Reserve may or may not result in a temporary benefit to lessen the impact of the Depression within the USA, but the prognosis looking longer term and globally is anything but good. We insist on being blind about our real behaviors, their consequences and mandatory fundamental changes in business and government to avoid future disasters. And at the moment none of us has any real knowledge of how bad things might become in the next few years as the collapsed economy evolves and underpins massive changes in what we do and how we do it, economically speaking. We are all estimating and guessing. What I fear most besides major civil unrest is the possibility that an assassination and the aftermath of citizen unrest will throw us into an uncontrolled tailspin and then into martial law. I donít even want to consider any later outcomes, for civil war and more could be very likely.
As I concluded part one of this article I made the statement that I would address the plethora of questions raised in part one and provide my estimates of what will happen and my beliefs about what should happen to avoid future economic disasters. Frankly, taking the time to address the questions does not thrill me, for I am not a cop, a prosecutor or a superior court judge doling out sentences for defined felonies. That area of society bores me to the point of being comatose as it has no long-term answers to anything. I just canít waste my precious time in that historically useless endeavor, for trash collection and disposal doesnít lead to creative development of humanity.
I operate from the logical basis of the practice known as management by objectives, and more important, by goal directed thinking. We first need to develop and prioritize plans to improve our lives. Whatever falls off the list for lack of funds does exactly that Ö it/they fall off the list, perhaps but not necessarily to be addressed later. Yet we also cannot wish the reality of the moment away. We cannot solve our current problems simply by prosecuting the idiots who created them. What we can do is use our brainpower and our experience to solve the larger problems of society that have allowed economic disaster to occur globally, starting now. We know where we are, we pretty well know how we got here, repeatedly, so the intelligent thing to do is to use that information to create a clearly new path forward that will get us closer to the truly important goal of a healthy global society. Corrections will occur many times into the future, for that is the way we learn. Progress is not linear. We make some mistakes and then we try new approaches to problem solving, with a positive attitude that looks forward, not backward in a "who shot John?" scenario. If we fail to evolve in that way we certainly meet Einsteinís definition of insanity. Hmmm Ö well, that really is the reason I wrote Destiny in the first place.
Alas, I made my promise to you, so I will stop pumping you with positive philosophy and basic common sense and endure a bit of cogitating and deduction to answer the most important of the part one questions. I will further expand the discussion of pathetic and sometimes criminal business practices and very misleading investment scenarios. Ugh! After digesting all that necessary tripe I hope you have patience to read my constructive ideas later in this article.
The sub-prime mortgage market was only a tiny part of our financial collapse. That Lehman Brothers, other brokerages/banks and various regular banks happened to fail, due in part to that immediate cause and a domino effect is simply coincidence, or, you might say the weakest link in the badly corroded chain failed first. The overall financial markets are and have long been a Ponzi scheme that make Bernie Madoffís crimes look absolutely trivial in magnitude. He is simply a convenient poster boy for our national crimes.
In a Ponzi scheme, attracted and ever larger amounts of new capital are used to pay off earlier investors, causing them to give glowing reports to attract yet more capital. Meanwhile the criminals walk off with a lot of the newly invested capital, all the while continuing to report false glowing financial results to all the investors. This type of deception can also be done by undermining a large segment of society with job losses due to trade agreements, and it has been done continuously with full governmental knowledge. How? By using cost cutting like offshoring to squeeze the income of the citizenry while peeling off massive amounts of profit as short term gains that do not help the citizenry here but which do help fund the next schemes. What the citizenry lost was a bloody birthright to financial opportunity in a great nation. What they received for their loyalty and taxes paid was abuse and disdain, lying and stealing by corporations and the federal government in a grand collusion. But moving on, the most recent suckers were those dimwits attracted to ever less sensible credit actions, like taking out a sub-prime mortgage. The beauty of the scheme is captured in a well known phrase Ö "loan to own" Ö for the lenders expected to foreclose and flip properties in a continuous manner. Derivatives, however, took on a life of their own and infected many financial institutions for reasons of pure greed. That the sub-prime house of cards collapsed is wonderful, for the evil practices related to that market and then to investor greed are now utterly halted. Derivatives were a Ponzi scheme, for the creators knew very well the coming inability of the borrowers to keep up with their mortgage payments, both in terms of interest rates and job security. They just didnít consider how sick the job market would become Ö that was executed by the other criminals mentioned above.
To my discredit I find serious pleasure in watching the whole filthy system fall apart. I also gloat with validation of many of my own earlier theories and writings. This Armageddon of the economy is long overdue, for disgusting criminals have been running our government and our corporations for many decades. When I first finished Destiny I happened to meet a Ph.D. philosopher who operated a business consulting practice in the area of Business Ethics. I asked him to review Destiny and comment. He was complimentary with regard to my breadth and depth and clarity of thought, but he indicated that my arguments were not as tightly reasoned as one would normally find in a book on philosophy, and that a lot of well known thinkers and business professionals would not agree at all with my evolutionary conclusions. Chuckle. I appreciated his honesty. I never did give a damn about who did or did not agree with my propositions and my conclusions. I own them. Ten years later we see that I was right on with my summary conclusions about capitalism, socialism and wealth aggregation. The point is that all of you need to do your own reasoning and not simply let the "professionals" of your time in history or your memories of what you read in pathetic history books or hear from the media tell you what to think. They are seldom right and discovered to be shallow and disingenuous once all the relevant facts are brought to bear. Alas, Business Ethics appears now to be an oxymoron, doesnít it?
Much of the ridiculous behavior of the stock market is due to the fact that it is simply used and promoted to the common people to take their hard-earned money. It is another Ponzi scheme, but cyclical and dependent on ignorance. First we attract the simpleminded with apparently easy ways to make money, i.e., get rich, and also to "invest" for their long term future, with obvious government collusion, e.g. 401K plans. Then we roller coaster the value of their "investments" periodically to drive them out at a loss due to fear and then re-attract them and attract new suckers later with apparent but illusory better market performance, by individual stock, by segment and sometimes by the overall market. We milk them as "new" investors who are in actuality incapable of relating the past poor performance to the existence of the Ponzi scheme. There is essentially no correlation between the long-term value of a company and the performance of itís stock from day to day, month to month and year to year. The market is totally manipulated, stock by stock. It is a matter of which stocks at which time that keeps ordinary people confused and ineffective, for the programs are hidden agendas of large investors and fund managers. Now and then a companyís stock is allowed to reflect itís true long term value Ö but then that is used by shills to "prove" simpleminded theories about value investing that are untrue at the action level most of the time. Even the "proven" growth statistics for the stock market as a whole over multiple decades are presented frequently as a cause for enticing investors, when in fact the growth reflects little more than inflation. And after paying long term capital gains taxes (not available to those in 401K plans Ö those suckers have to pay tax at ordinary income rates on all equity "growth," and the same is true with IRAís with Roth IRAís excepted) the net increase is zero.
Think about the stock market by standing back and looking at it as a whole. At its best, long term, the invested monies, after apparent gains and real taxes, are roughly equal to the amounts invested in terms of buying power. There is no real gain, and alas much opportunity to sustain a loss, unless you happened to purchase only during down periods and sell only during peak periods. And what are the odds of that, especially if you follow the asinine advice of the "professionals" who tell you not to sell going into apparent bad times? Insider information, which is technically illegal, is the way stock value manipulation should be considered, for the manipulators create their own inside information and use it to fleece the little investors.
More sensible investors would historically consider buying land or similar stable growth commodities like precious metals or very stable currencies. Yet even there games have been played continuously to strip the investor of gains. Precious metal prices are simply a shell game, period. Stable currencies go nowhere special except in horrible financial collapse periods like right now, where Swiss francs have appreciated rapidly and significantly in value (> 15%) opposite the US dollar very recently. This does not happen often, yet it is likely to happen twice again in the next two to five years as the US dollar is sequentially devalued as a result of bailout and public works programs and the unavoidable resumption of welfare. Land is taxed based on the tax needs of the community, which can reflect nothing of value to the investor, so asset appreciation is sapped indirectly and net spendable income is sapped directly.
If you counter argue that property taxes are deductible from your income for tax purposes I must pull you up short and smack you upside your dumb head! Do you really grasp what you are saying? You work your ass off to make, letís say, $100,000 in a given year. After all your other normal deductions and exemptions lets say you have a net taxable income that when taxed takes away 25% of your gross income. So you pay $25,000 in federal income tax. Now letís suppose you purchase some land in the next year and have to pay the municipality $5000 in property tax. You can add the $5000 to your itemized deductions in that second year, thus reducing your federal tax burden by the amount of roughly and only 25% of the property tax. In short, you have $3750 less spendable income in the second year and every year thereafter if all the other numbers remain the same (which they donít due to inflation alone). And let us not forget that if you borrowed money to buy the land the interest you pay on the borrowed money is treated the same as the property tax, maybe Ö did you buy it as an investment (not good) or as a site for your new primary residence (good)? If you pay the mortgage bank $5000 in loan interest then you have at least another $3750 less net income each year! It is highly likely that you have to spend at least $1000 per year simply to maintain the land, e.g. mowing, etc. Thus, your glorious investment is reducing your net spendable income each year by $8500 in taxes, interest and maintenance fees alone. I wonít consider the loan principal as that money is "probably" yours to use later when you sell the property, but I do hope inflation is reflected in the later property value, or, your principal amount has been reduced by the cumulative national inflation during the period of property ownership. When you sell the property you pay transfer tax, like you did when you bought it. You also pay a real estate company around 6% of the selling price. Thus, even a "safe," conservative long-term investment like land may or may not yield any true net profit, or even a return of monies invested and operating expense.
The above property scenario stinks because businesses have means far superior to individuals to avoid most of the property tax and up to all of the interest expense, and even to reduce the maintenance expense by using an existing employee during slack business periods. Hmmm Ö the deck is stacked against the small investor. I actually know of one situation where a large corporation avoided paying any property taxes on a huge campus like business complex over twenty years, because they took advantage of a business tax loophole in never letting the location be given a final inspection as a finished site. They always had some minor construction going on to avoid that final inspection. Try doing that with your new house construction on your property and see what happens Ö you wonít be able to use it because you wonít be given a certificate of occupancy. Cute, huh?
Now lets move on to the Ponzi scheme represented by easy credit.
Easy credit in all forms, provided in the last fifty years, was a clever mechanism to get the simpleminded to buy anything and everything today and to pay with later earnings. All that really happened recently was the unavoidable implosion when continuously decreased earnings (especially in terms of buying power) had a head on collision with vastly increased debt from easy credit in all forms. Your federal government knew damn well what was happening from the beginning, and aided and abetted the process through the Federal Reserve, and was therefore an equal criminal in a most devious Ponzi scheme. Just remember how credit card interest used to be tax deductible back in the 1970ís Ö to entice people to use credit cards in the early days Ö and how later that deduction was eliminated Ö once it was too late for the fools to save themselves as use of credit became an entrenched way of life. Individuals lost control of their own destinies as credit card companies continuously changed the rates and penalties in a game to entice and then turn the fools into indentured servants. As always Ö new borrowing was pimped by absurd come-ons, like zero percent interest for the first year. What might not be obvious to you now is how all of that was a Ponzi scheme. Well, look at the later usury rates and penalty clauses and the population percentages participating and the answer becomes very obvious.
This is becoming monotonous. The same things said above apply to the entitlement programs. Increased expenditure of our current tax dollars to pay off the older (Social Security) or sicker (Medicare or Medicaid) "investors" becomes the burden of the new "investors," who have no legal recourse to avoid the Ponzi schemes. But we have to keep increasing the paying population base to keep the scheme running. But what if the population base earns ever less money? Boom! The Ponzi scheme fails Ö except that your government will create money from nothing or borrow it from creditor nations to cover the expenses and let devaluation in the form of inflation sweep the penalties for conducting the scheme under the rug. The federal government has repeatedly screwed foreign investors to the wall by borrowing useful currency (like payments earlier made to buy oil from, for example, Saudi Arabia) and later paying it back with devalued currency. You think about it and decide if your government and USA businesses have blatantly committed deceptive and criminal acts.
As to the question of imprisoning those who created and/or participated actively in our economic undoing Ö well, forget it. We have a much larger problem as discussed below.
What of the future? Specifically, what will happen in the next five to ten years as a result of global Depression? I wish I knew the answers definitively, but the possible outcomes by geographic area are too many for me to contemplate to conclusion with any significant degree of confidence. There are a few overriding facts and considerations, however, that lead to a most undesirable general conclusion. Consider the ineffectiveness of the United Nations. The Security Council makes it about as effective as a debating club. Consider global population vs. global resources, and the decisions made in the past and in the present about solving various crises. Think particularly about small African nations and our tacit willingness to let them self-destruct. What we could do compared to what we choose to do betrays our true intentions, and it has nothing to do with respecting sovereignty, for we had no difficulty overlooking that issue when we attacked Iraq.
Overall we have far too many people who represent a continuous and, with differences by geographic location, a typically unsupportable financial burden. They do not contribute anything of essential value so their existence is not considered to be important, especially if the federal government Ponzi schemes fail here, or if the individuals are not within the USA or itís territories/protectorates. Yet these "extra" world citizens will demand to be fed. History tells us that there will be major wars and the populations will thus decrease. As to the outcome by country or region of the world Ö that is anyoneís guess. Were I a parent of children approaching age eighteen I would have to save them from being drafted to fight in the next set of senseless wars. I would have to physically remove them from the USA before the fact of a mandatory draft, and then keep them out of reach from our own government, or face the very high probability that one or more will without question be killed Ö for no good reason (as if there is ever a good reason!). Home may not be a good place either for military or non-military persons.
Failure to control world population inevitably has led to wars, typically for land and natural resources, from all the way back to the earliest Biblical times to the present. History tells us deaths from war by the millions were reality in WWII and even in the 1970ís in our bombing of Cambodia and Vietnam. Now you should consider future escalation of war globally to involve deaths by the tens of millions, multiple times. But most of the dead will be civilians, just like in Cambodia and Vietnam, or to be timely, Gaza. I find it interesting that we were able to murder that many people in the Vietnam "conflict" and not face any consequences re. Global outrage over war crimes or crimes against humanity. Perhaps that is a fundamental difference between Eastern and Western philosophy, religion and the valuing or lack of valuing of human life. You might think about that as a potential humanitarian disaster here if we get into a full-scale military conflict with China. Imagine Chinese troops taking western territories. Think about the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo and you will understand what would happen here.
The ugly scenario above is my considered prediction, for I do not believe we will gain global cooperation to pull everyone out of the Depression by other means in time to avert the disaster of war. One or more nations will become terminally angry, or even convinced otherwise of their ability to win a war, and start the process, and certainly not by attacking the USA first. We already have a great start with Israel attacking in Gaza and the lure to Iran to take a leadership position for Muslim countries in the Middle East. Will they bite? If not immediately, then how far into the future will we go before Iran rightfully takes a commanding position in the Middle East? To me this is as inevitable as is the ultimate destruction of Israel by nuclear or biological warfare. The changing of the guard here in the USA with Barack Obamaís inauguration will probably handcuff our hawks for some time to come while we focus on domestic issues Ö perhaps exactly the amount of time required for belligerents elsewhere to start WWIII through our inattention and blind fascination with only our own economic problems/economic solutions.
Think about the hate between nations that has existed prior to this global Depression. How much provocation will be needed to initiate major conflicts in multiple places? Think about the reality of offshoring where business morality is at least as bad and often much worse than it is here. For example, think about lead in paint for toys and melamine in foods for pets and humans coming from China. It is not a matter of ignorance. Think about the most recent admission of cooking the books by Indiaís premier contracting company, Satyam, that even has contracts with our federal government! What I am saying is that there is no common morality base, nor has there been in the past, to expect businesses and governments outside the USA to follow even our pathetic efforts at controlling crimes against common citizens and businesses and customer countries. That lack of respect betrays our personal and tribal instincts in the worst way and clearly points to the near future in how global economic conflicts will be addressed.
I consider war to be the prime example of human stupidity. It is and has always been wrong in all circumstances. It is hard and continuous evidence that we cannot operate cooperatively to the equal benefit of all. We keep making too many people. We continue to have tribal behaviors and especially tribal imperatives regarding dominance. These behaviors are insane and they will most probably continue until we are changed genetically, provided we survive the intervening disasters.
An Alternative Scenario:
What about an alternative scenario to avoid war? Though this outcome probability is less than 50:50 in my opinion it is still worth developing and promoting in the hope we gain wisdom and cooperation without the disaster of war. I fear I am an optimist, but I do not give up easily.
Having enough food and shelter in the world to keep everyone comfortable is, quite frankly, easy to do at this time in history and with our current world population. We have not done that historically, despite all the "foreign aid" and hunger programs in the media and the mail, looking for contributions. Economic development through World Bank loans and other investment means has happened and with some success, but with the same old problem of overwhelming progress with a mostly non-contributive population. Here are the reasons: 1) Non-contributors donít deserve to enjoy the fruits of labor of the contributors, as there is nothing in that practice to compensate the contributors for their efforts, so we see cruelty, and 2) Non-contributors simply overpopulate when fed and create yet more non-contributors. They do not and most cannot become self-sufficient, for reasons of climate, ability to compete mentally, or, backward cultural practices. I suppose one might back off and start to realize that development of the planet on only the basis of economics doesnít really do the trick, does it?
Those realities are true in all countries of the world. This means that any proposal to overcome the worst hunger and shelter aspects of the current Depression globally will have to include a population control provision to make the giving away of food and other materials to make any sense at all to those who create and provide those materials. This is not an easy pill to swallow, but we are long overdue in needing to face the fact of our global population growth stupidity, both in total numbers and in demographic distribution. If we fail to do this then war and famine and crime will take care of the problem for us, albeit with far greater cruelty. I am saying there really is no good choice other than to reign in our habit of overpopulating, which overpowers our technology advances without corresponding contribution and which trashes our physical environment with ever more waste products. Have I missed some element like "Human Rights?" I donít think so. At this point I am being pragmatic, based on the continuous reality throughout all history in all places of our behaviors, not idealistic and not ethnocentric and not racist. I am all in favor of promoting the best of us from all racial and ethnic backgrounds and I am utterly gender neutral regarding whom should get the best job(s).
One of the reasons few people will even discuss the above topic is that the effects of overpopulation in various forms take generations to be grasped, and each generation tends to look only at reality at the time and place of their birth and growth years instead of what happened in the past, for better or for worse. Quality of life is thus a relative perception that impedes intelligent actions to improve quality or even to halt decline, where natural resources are consumed or trashed beyond a neutral regeneration point. Another reason is that technology has allowed us to feed billions more people, which has masked the problem of non-contribution or very small contribution. Very few of us bother to use our innate radar to detect and to draw attention to worsening situations. We look the other way unless we are affected personally. Occasional unrealized/innocent candor is punished. The relevant topics are social taboo.
Indeed, much of political correctness is a poorly disguised effort to keep alert people from talking openly and candidly about our looming large demographics problems and various timely solutions. Candor gets in the way of the private agendas of the wealthy and powerful, e.g. corporate farms and illegal immigrants working for a pittance. So I say any economic system that requires an ever-larger and weaker population to sustain its entitlement programs and the rest of its economy is oh, so sick! It needs to be replaced entirely. Thus, the muzzling of truth tellers by the wealthy and powerful in business, in politics and, of course, in the media is the net reality.
I will now draw on an example I used in Destiny. Think of a few generations of raccoons eating the corn you plant in your field in accordance with their wants and needs and not in consideration of your efforts and you will clearly understand my points. There will be ever more raccoons, and then you will fail or you will learn to kill them outright or otherwise deny them access to your field. They will not learn how to plant corn. If you give them land and seed corn they will simply eat the seed corn. If you were able to teach them how to plant corn they would soon overpopulate to exceed the production capacity of the field they planted. Then they would return to your field. You actually do understand the underlying problems, donít you? For one, perpetual ignorance in creative areas essential to survival and especially areas essential to growing species skills. For another, inability or unwillingness to relate cause and effect relative to impacting the future.
You may be thinking that I have started in a very strange place for an alternative scenario to war. I chose my starting place because it is critical to gaining cooperation from the wealthy and powerful in any effort to change the entire structure of capitalism and economy management and growth. This sounds a bit silly as growing markets are, or at least they have been, thought of as essential if not critical to the success of capitalism. Well, it is time to remove that dependency and find success through higher individual contribution, not just higher consumption. Both total population and population quality will be changed. Numbers will go down and quality will go up. And no, this is not a warmed over version of Hitlerís stupid master race. We will, however, use technology in genetic engineering eventually to accomplish major improvement in the human Ö regardless of race, ethnicity, etc. and most particularly regardless of the opinions of anyone who opposes that direction now. It will happen. Get over it.
A key realization is that the current economic implosion is happening in large part due to the fact that most of the consumers arenít important to the economy in any way except to consume. That means, for various reasons, they canít and donít contribute anything essential to our maintenance or growth, for "service industry" jobs are mostly bullshit and easily killed with little impact. Also, it is and has been comparatively easy to find lower cost labor outside the USA, or to import it, thus allowing capitalist enterprises to show higher profit in the short term. But only in the short term. The domestic markets for all the goods and services that arenít critical to survival are being destroyed as I type this article, for the non-essential workers carried during good times are being dumped by virtually all companies. The non-essential businesses are folding left and right. That is because the money isnít in the hands of the non-essential consumers anymore, so they canít buy the goods and services they used to buy and the whole enchilada is collapsing. So it should. It never was intelligent, rational or even honest.
Sales volume expansion was the only game in town and it was achieved in the past thirty years only through massive increases in credit card and mortgage and car loan debt, given recklessly in the past decade, even with frozen or declining wages. In a new era, success will not be measured by sales volume expansion, nor will credit resemble anything like we have seen in the past fifty years.
So, what is my new grand plan for our success? As the old saying goes Ö "If you find yourself in a hole the first thing to do is stop digging." That means the actions and activities that have brought us down must be halted Ö dead stop. Excess reproduction is a key example. Second, those things, which all people must have like basic food and excellent medical care and good education from K-1 through graduate school, will be available free. Yes, you read correctly, I said free. One caveat is mandatory sterilization after one for one reproduction with banked genetic materials to insure against tragedies like fatal accidents. A second and more profound caveat is that reproduction privilege will be denied if, after being provided good food and good education and good medical care the individual fails to develop to become competitive, i.e., useful to society in at least one of many defined occupations. Temporary sterilization will be performed when children entering puberty fail to perform to minimum standards. That is a very kind-hearted version of natural selection. Use welfare if you must, but you will not negatively impact society going forward. You will have forfeited your right to reproduce and you will be permanently sterilized following the banking of your genetic material, which may be used later at your request to have children, if and only if you become productive and useful to the evolution of society prior to the age of forty. New human life is too important to squander by leaving nurturing, love and child development to proximate fools.
Now, lets think about shelter, transportation, property ownership, vacations, clothes and a variety of "needs and wants" with highly variable definition. These areas will be contribution related with the best going to the highest contributors based on what they earn. If you are and remain non-essential you will not enjoy many if any of the nicer pleasures of life. You will, however, know what others earn and why, and you will have the educational opportunity to improve your life. Of course, no one will be permitted to have a net worth in excess of $5 million dollars in todayís dollars. That type of greed will be ended forever. Nor will any industry be dominated by outsized occupants. Monopolies and large corporations will be broken into many pieces and laws passed to utterly eliminate mergers and acquisitions. This applies also to financial institutions. Interest rates on mortgages, car loans and other credit will be fixed and equal for all institutions and all individuals. Permitted debt will be rigorously limited for all people, as a percentage of their annual income and not in any way related to their accumulated assets until retirement.
Entitlement programs will cease to exist for Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. Families will become legally and financially responsible for all their members going forward and backward generation to generation. There will be no "public" burden/taxes except for common needs like the Congress, Supreme Court, Executive Office, roads, infrastructure in general and utilities, limited military force for defensive protection, consumer protective agencies, federal police a.k.a. the FBI and the general fund to cover all food, medical and education costs. Those latter three costs, however, will be rigidly controlled by wage rates and profit limits, destruction of competition for medical customers leading to no overlap of essential equipment and services will be key, and education will be provided only up to the limit of the individualís proven high performance. Low performance will lead to jobs like farm labor, in an environment where the peacetime army runs the farms.
Personal income taxes will be set at 25% of all gross income with no exemptions or special deductions for individuals. Corporate tax rates will be the same but on earnings not gross sales. There will be no state or local income taxes and no property taxes. There will be no sales taxes or excise taxes. Local police and firefighters, etc. will be paid from the federal budget.
There will be no foreign trade without absolute trade parity and wage parity. Any variation of that requirement will be offset by import tariffs assessed and changed as necessary quarterly.
Air or water pollution outside federal protective agency standards and limits will constitute a life imprisonment crime with the CEO and all board members sharing guilt and punishment.
Well, I could go on, but I am sure you are seeing where I am headed. No one gets to take unfair advantage of anyone else. Capitalism is preserved with incentives but also strong limits to gross assets, for growth beyond a certain size, to be determined by unique needs of each business, will result in forced splitting of the corporation into independent entities. Corporations will have to apply for a new charter every five years, with the weakest or least effective being denied and having their assets and operations put in the hands and ownership of the better companies in a given industry. The idea is that corporations will not live forever or attain unreasonable influence over anything or be allowed to continue if incompetent in product value or earnings compared to their competition. The pot will boil continuously with the prizes going to the most competent, and with ineffective management teams losing position, power and wealth. Most important, there will be no amassing of great wealth for individuals, corporations, financial institutions or even government.
The last sentence addressed the most glaring fault of capitalism as it has been practiced in the USA. I could continue with many of the same changes that I wrote about in Destiny, but whatís the point? If you want to learn about the rest, go download the book for free at home.comcast.net/~mvent10/articles. You will need Microsoft Word® or a conversion filter for another word processing software package. If you pressure me enough I might upload an html version of Destiny. All articles including this one are also available there in html.
To conclude, the cancer that we have allowed uncontrolled capitalism to become is dying Ö but so are we. Is there a cure or shall we experience our own financial and physical death? That is up to you. You can continue to be led by your nose or you can refuse to allow our destructive practices of government and corporations and financial institutions to continue. Simply look at the effect of customer reduced demand on gasoline prices and that will give you a clue about what you can do.