Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

US capitalism is bankrupt. Let' s change the terms of the debate. Call for nationalization of the banks.

To support capitalism's infrastructure, the United States borrows much money and taxes those citizens who have jobs.

The infrastructure that upholds capitalism throughout the world consists of the US military and global banks. US capitalism in its greed has sent most US technology and jobs outside the country.

Wall Street, protected by US military support and US support of global banks, prospers from these investments in other countries. The US Main Street, however, with fewer jobs and government support (healthcare, education, transportation, research, etc.) is in decline. There are now fewer US jobs to pay for military spending and government debt service.

The result is that the United States has fewer jobs, a large military budget, huge debt service and little money for greater domestic needs. There is, however, huge wealth for those who own global stocks.

The only reason countries still lend to the United States is that its defends capitalism with its huge military and global banks. Eventually the United States will not be able to support its debt and thus its military and global banks.

The only solution to this downward spiral is the the monetizing of the banks and the national debt by nationalizing the banks. We need a global organization to regulate internatioal balances of payment fairly using a global currency. We need a global organization to assume the role of protecting and regulating capitalism.

Banks must not be allowed to create money. Today when they create loans they create money and have a liability for the money they created. When they fail, the government must cover this liability. The bank is risking little of its own money. When banks have bad loans it greatly impacts their capability to create money, so money is leveraged out of the system and credit becomes scarce. If banks are not allowed to create money, they must use only their investors' real money, which the government does not need to insure. The banks, using their own money, would be more prudent and their bad loans would not remove any money from the system.

By nationalizing and monetizing the banks, created money becomes real money belonging to the government and this money stays in the system until removed by the government.

By monetizing the national debt, the national debt becomes real money and interest is no longer owed.

Once the government is completely in charge of the money supply, it must regulate it so that no inflation or deflation occurs.

This new government responsibility demands a very well informed citizenry. The government must have a large presence in the media to keep the public well informed of all the trade-offs involved. The government must also create avenues for policy input on both a global and local level.

Money today is simply a medium of exchange. It is just a float waiting to be used for the next exchange. The government should own and regulate this float.

russ gustafson

Redwood City, CA

Feb 3 2010 - 1:21pm

Web Letter

I voted for a pragmatist, an engaged, intelligent realist. That is precisely what I got in President Obama.

I am acutely aware of the current political climate. We are a nation divided and in the worst economic recession in a generation. We are angry, we are broke and we are terrified. But we have hope in Barack Obama.

Do you remember the Bush years? Do you remember the Iraq war? Do you remember the tax cuts that took us from surplus to deficit? Do you remember the dismantling of international support? Do you remember the unconstitutional violations of privacy and executive orders and politicization of the DOJ? Do you remember Katrina and the protests and the wars kept off the books?

I do, I remember all of those things. Now, do you remember the LL Fair Pay Act (the legislation that gave us gender parity in salary)? How about the tax cut for 95 percent of Americans? How about slowing the job losses from 700,000 a month to 75,000? Lifting the ban on stem cell research, credit card consumer legislation, income-based student loan forgiveness? All OBAMA!

President Obama has my full support, I will continue to make calls, donate money, rally, advertise, boost and push for his agenda. These teabaggers (and yes, I use that word because they use that word, if you don't like it change your symbol from a giant tea bag) don't scare me. This is my America, this is Barack Obama's America and this is Progressive America! That is change I can believe in.

Lauren Lawler

San Diego, CA

Jan 19 2010 - 1:58pm

Web Letter

In the mid-'90s, Robert Putnam came out with a book called Bowling Alone. Essentially, the book documented the demise of civil society in the the US, and presumably in Canada as well, since the end of WWII.

The labor movement and the civil rights movement today exist as shadows of their former manifestations. Certainly, labor's power and influence has greatly diminished since Reagan broke PATCO and fired the air traffic controllers nearly thirty years ago.

The progressives who most actively supported Obama for the presidency expecting he would support their various causes, whether peace, economic justice, civil liberties, universal access to healthcare or the environment, are probably largely disappointed by him. Their enthusiasm may by now be exhausted.

When A. Phillip Randolph tried to urge FDR to pass a piece of progressive legislation, FDR is said to have replied, "It's a great idea. You've convinced me. Now go out there and make me do it." Randolph and his fellow progressives did exactly that. They mobilized the labor movement and civil rights organizations, and the myraid organizations then active on the left.

The noise and the protest is now being generated by an astroturf "populist" movement supported with corporate funds.

It doesn't seem to me that in the United States today there exists the civil society that existed in 1932--one that was organized and cohesive enough to force American politicians to make the major changes they actually made. It wasn't that there were better politicians. Even back then, Will Rogers used to say that "America had the best politicians that money can buy."

Jack Shultz

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Jan 19 2010 - 3:53am

Web Letter

Although I am in sympathy with the tenor of this essay, I disagree with some of the authors' assumptions. Near the end of this piece, a sentence begins, "Digging out of the hole that conservatives left Americans in..." I disagree. More accurate would be to blame the aristocrats, the monied coporate interests, the oligarchs. In truth, the two "major" political parties in this country are both right of center, one more so than the other, but both serve corporate interests first. Always.

Although I am not a member of the "tea party" movement, it has my sympathy. It has become fashionable in intellectual circles to look down one's nose at the tea partiers, but they are justifiably angry and confused. Many are folks who see a mammoth disconnect between what the politicians say and do. Many of them, and many Americans in general, are understandably confused by the difference between the rhetoric and the actions.

Regarding Obama, well, it's become apparent that he will not take any difficult or controversial stands that will challenge the oligarchs. The military-industrial complex is doing--perhaps--as well with Obama as it did with Bush. The only significant difference that I can see between the two is that Obama can think and speak coherently.

I am greatly disappointed that Obama increased our involvement in Afghanistan, mistakenly thinking that we can fight a war of ideology with conventional weapons and troops. Moreover, is there even a "war" of any kind to fight, to win or to lose? We need to have that discussion in our country. Is this a war whose only purpose is to continue to enrich the the military-industrial titans? How does this "war" serve the interests of middle-class Americans?

I am disappointed that Obama used my money to bail out the banks and money services people. We would have had a much better chance of real, meaningful reform if a couple of the big boys had gone down. As it is, the government and the bankers are conducting business as usual, while the average working stiff is out of work or struggling to keep a paycheck and some form of healthcare. This is another honest discussion that we need to have.

I believe that your essay should have spent more time on these questions. To talk about Obama's constraints imposed by the right or "conservatives" is, in my opinion, to miss the point altogether.

Charles E. Miller

Cleveland, OH

Jan 17 2010 - 5:07pm

Web Letter

It is becoming more obvious to me as I listen to over-educated people who come from upper-class backgrounds like Ms.vanden Heuvel that the history of nations and the inevitable falls that become of them due to human nature are not taught anymore. It is not difficult to look at history or the mindsets of our founding fathers and surmise that big government does not work. The all-peaceful Shangrila society is unachievable. The Constitution was set up knowing this fact. This woman is out of touch with mainstream America and cannot fathom that she could be wrong. By God, she went to Princeton! She's smarter than all the founding fathers put together. The Constitution has not been followed for the last sixty years.

Justin Hutto

Mauriceville, TX

Jan 17 2010 - 11:37am

Web Letter

The vanden Heuvel and Borosage article begins with four examples of thrust and parry: thrusts by claims of the Obama administration and of Rep. Ed Markey and parries by disagreeing, notable commentators. I thought the three-page prospect would be worth reading.

Then I read President Obama described as "a stunningly gifted leader." Leader at what: compromises before negotiation?

I read that our President "surrounded himself with the best and the brightest of the Democratic establishment." A good choice of words they are, if one recalls their use by David Halberstam to describe LBJ's bureaucrats who fostered the Southeast Asian catastrophe.

These surrounding are "the best and the brightest of the Democratic establishment." That's a bit like the best scientists in the Vatican. don't think a sarcastic form of limitation was intended.

I decided at this point to read the comments of amateur bloggers like myself instead of the rest of the article. They may be good fun!

Alvin D. Hofer

St. Petersburg, FL

Jan 17 2010 - 12:18am

Web Letter

Blah blah fierce resistance to change has revealed itself blah blah dangerous right-wing populism blah blah teabaggers blah blah muckraking is needed blah blah reeducate Americans blah blah go after Blue Dogs blah blah... it's Bush's fault!

Deb Rawlins

Tampa, FL

Jan 16 2010 - 4:51am

Web Letter

This was an interesting read. It is fascinating to see the authors vacillate between presenting a reasonably good argument for heightened progressive activism and calling people "teabaggers" like tittering sixth graders. "Hope and Change," the simplistic, bumper-sticker blurb that excited the progressive base, has been proven an inadequate methodology for governing. "Incompetence and Statism" will be tough to run on during upcoming elections.

Christophe Brian

San Angelo, TX

Jan 15 2010 - 1:42pm

Web Letter

I sometimes enjoy reading The Nation. Although I believe vanden Heuvel misdiagnoses both the problem and the cure, I found this beneficial.

A wise friend of mine told me the US operates best when its government is divided. Vanden Heuvel's article is much more readable than normal--she is on the defensive.

I am a liberal in the classical sense. I believe our progressive movement will lead to our destruction--my home state of California clearly shows the trajectory of at least one line in that thought.

steven curtis

Petaluma, CA

Jan 15 2010 - 12:27pm

Web Letter

A majority of Americans don't want this healthcare bill. I repeat: a majority of Americans don't want this healthcare bill.

Can you understand a simple sentence?

Jack Davis

Phoenix, AZ

Jan 15 2010 - 9:44am

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