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Old 02-13-2013, 01:18 PM   #24
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2,000
Default Re: Jeff Berwick -Get Far Away From The U.S... Collapse Will Be Messy

sToP All FoReclosURes

Another area where the machinery of debt collection is interfering more and more with the requirements of human life and human society is the foreclosure crisis. Three to four million American families are being kicked out of their homes each year by the zombie bankers as a result of a financial panic created not by subprime mortgages, but rather by the Collateralized Debt Obligations and Credit Default Swaps which were permitted on top of these mortgages by the bankers themselves. These subprime mortgages with a result of fraudulent marketing, and the foreclosures frequently involve robo-signers, robo-judges, and other obvious political corruption, which the Obama-Holder Justice Department is eager to ignore.

neW FRAzieR-lemke AcT

The only answer to this chaotic situation is an immediate and uniform federal law outlawing all foreclosures on primary residences for five years or the duration of the depression, which ever lasts longer. The model should be the Frazier-Lemke Act of 1934, which prevented banks from foreclosing on homes and farms if the owner could get a payment plan agreed to by any court at any level. This is another requirement which should have been built into the TARP, and which also should have been attached to the cheap federal credit made available by the Federal Reserve to financial institutions. As for the Collateralized Debt Obligations and Credit Default Swaps, there is a growing consensus that these extremely dangerous forms of derivatives need to be outlawed.

medicARe FoR All

About 50 million Americans currently have no health insurance, and many of them have no access to medical care. All Americans must immediately be given access to the Medicare program, one of the most successful federal programs of all time, which has been instrumental in lowering the levels of morbidity and mortality among senior citizens, thereby saving and prolonging millions upon millions of lives. Those who can afford to pay can contribute $100 a month towards this coverage, which is comparable to the current fee. Those who are unemployed or destitute must be given free access, with no person turned away.

The terminology of Medicare for All is decisive. Very few people understand the slogan of single-payer, and even fewer know the difference between single-payer and the public option, whatever the latter might be. But the vast majority of the American people can immediately understand Medicare for All, reflecting the broad popularity of this program which three quarters to four fifths of Americans do not want to see cut.

Obamacare is largely concerned with bailing out insurance companies bankrupted by their own derivative speculation through ensuring them a permanent cash flow. The most sinister feature of Obamacare is the rationing board which decides which life-saving technologies can be used and who is to be excluded. The only way a civilized nation can save money on health care is by finding cures to heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other dread diseases. This requires a massive investment in biomedical research, meaning an effort on the scale of the Manhattan Project in World War II. As diseases are cured, costs can be humanely reduced. In order to guarantee that medical care will be available, the United States will need to train approximately 250,000 doctors and specialists over the next few years. We will also need to build about 1,000 modern hospitals to replace the ones shut down by privatizers and looters over the last quarter-century.

JoBless BeneFiTs FoR 99eRs And Beyond

Wall Street is responsible for this depression, and not American working people. Unemployment benefits represent an economic right, and must not be reduced in the way that Obama and the reactionary Republicans have been colluding to do. Those who have exhausted their unemployment benefits, including the so-called 99ers, must be given immediate assistance. Unemployment benefits must be made open ended, for the duration of the current depression.

10% nATionAl UsURy lAW

American working families are currently crushed by over $1 trillion of high interest consumer and credit card debt. Before the tenure of Paul Adolf Volcker at the Federal Reserve during the Carter and Reagan administrations, most states had usury laws which limited interest payments to 10% per year. Those laws were phased out because of Volcker’s 21% prime rate. This has resulted in the current plague of high interest payday lenders who prey upon the most vulnerable working people. We urgently require a federal law to put a 10% ceiling on all interest rates. If necessary, this can be implemented under the Defense Production Act and motivated by the current multiple national emergencies.

minimUm WAge And living WAge

By reducing the amount of national income absorbed by high-interest speculation, resources will become available to begin raising the standard of living of the American people. The federal minimum wage, at its highest point in 1968, reached the equivalent of about $11 in today’s money. Obama has done nothing on this front, including when he had a Democratic majority in Congress. Accordingly, it is time to raise the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25 per hour to $11, as a first step towards further increases in the near future.

ResToRe Food sTAmP BeneFiTs

The 50 million Americans who currently survive on food stamps (SNAP) generally have no jobs, no unemployment benefits, no healthcare, and no Welfare payments, and are entirely dependent on this program. With increases in food prices due to financial speculation, the food stamp benefits have been increasingly eroded. The food stamp program must include a cost-of-living escalator to allow these payments to offset the effects of price inflation. In addition, the food stamp benefits must be increased to a level adequate for the well-being of recipients, as determined by the most modern nutritional science.

The measures detailed so far represent the urgent defense of our greatest national resource, the qualified labor power of the US workforce. Beyond this, we must demand policies which can set in motion an economic recovery with the creation of at least 30 million new productive jobs.

seize And nATionAlize The FedeRAl ReseRve sysTem

How can the necessary economic recovery be financed? It is clear that the zombie bankers cannot do this, since these banks are derelicts, bankrupted by the masses of kited derivatives they hold. The zombie banks absorb the resources, drive up the price of food and gasoline through speculation, collect exorbitant fees, and otherwise parasitize the economy. The zombie banks need to be put through Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings, with all of their derivatives wiped out in the process.

Paul Krugman and other Keynesians propose an economic recovery financed exclusively through the federal budget. Our objection to this method has nothing to do with the reactionary Republican demagogy about deficits and debt. Alexander Hamilton pointed out that a funded national debt, provided it is not excessive, is actually an advantage to a modern nation. But the measures we have already proposed, even with the help of the Wall Street sales tax, will represent a significant expansion in federal spending. A sustained economic recovery requires a source of credit which cannot be the zombie banks and which should not be the federal budget, given the urgent competing claims on the resources of the US Treasury.

The obvious source of financing for the US economic recovery is the Federal Reserve System. In the 2008 financial panic, the Federal Reserve made available approximately $27 trillion in credit. But only financial institutions were eligible for these loans. To get a 0% loan from the Fed, you had to be a bank, a money market fund, a credit card company, or some other kind of financial service. Some loans were made available as monetary stimulus, such as QE I, II, and III. Other loans were made as a credit stimulus, including the Term Auction Facility (TAF), Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF), Primary Dealer Credit Facility (PDCF), Term Securities Lending Facility (TSLF), and others.

These policies have failed to create a recovery. It is now time for the Fed to stop serving the banks, and to start serving the needs of the US economy as a whole. This would take the form of a Main Street Credit Facility and a Rebuild America’s Infrastructure Facility.

Either through law or political pressure, the Federal Reserve must be forced to put out a tender offer to states and regional authorities like the New York-New Jersey Port Authority stating the Fed’s willingness to buy an initial $1 trillion of state bonds with the proceeds devoted exclusively to rebuilding the infrastructure of the United States. These must be century bonds, with 100 year maturities and the coupon rate must be set
at 0%. Once the first tranche of $1 trillion is expended, another tranche should be offered, until the point at which full employment is reached. The states issuing the bonds can offer solid collateral of the infrastructure improvements that are being created.

These state and authority bonds will make possible the long overdue rebuilding of the entire US Interstate Highway System, including its bridges; the national passenger, freight, and commuter rail using the technology of the 21st century; the national electricity production and transmission grid; canals, ports, sewage and water systems; telecommunications; public housing; schools, hospitals, libraries, public buildings, etc.
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