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Congress: AWOL !

In college, my philosophy professor provided me with the most important single word and definition to shape my life with. The word was Responsibility. The definition was: The ability to respond appropriately! Our representatives in Congress have taken a 5 week vacation while America's markets collapse, entirely due to the actions and inaction of Congress as they left for vacation. We know this is not responsible. So, what are we the people, with the power to hire and fire, going to do about our irresponsible employees in Congress?


Since July 22, a little over 2 weeks ago, the markets have lost 2.9 Trillion Dollars. One trillion was lost in the markets just today. In those losses are your and my 401K and pension plans. In the last 15 months, retirement pensions have lost $2 Trillion dollars. The S&P rating agency downgraded America's credit rating citing among 6 reasons, the lack of political will in the Federal government to realistically and effectively address deficits and growing federal debt.

Now is the time for all Americans to insist that their representatives dump their ideological political games, and stand up to the logical and rational task of representing the best interests of the American people and our nation's future. This is not rocket science. Five simple steps by Congress will set America back on a path for financial stability and growth.

Step 1: American voters have to commit to contacting their representatives and demand compromise which bring forth solutions that restore our future. If our representatives fail to honor this demand, American voters must commit to voting for someone other than their current representative. If voters reward these incumbents for irresponsible behavior, voters will reap irresponsible government. It just doesn't get more common sense than this. Tell your Congressperson they are turning America into a loser nation, and you are not going to take losing, lying down on Election Day.

Step 2: Demonstrations on a massive scale, paralleling those of the Civil Rights era, will bring Congress' attention to the people in the streets of Washington D.C., and in the home districts of Congressman and Senators. Demonstrations accomplish something correspondence with Representatives in "Safe Districts" cannot. They bring media attention to our Representative's acting in opposition to the will of the American people at large. If your political PAC or non-partisan committee calls for a rally or demonstration, commit to showing up, if you possibly can. The numbers are imperative to successfully forcing our politicians away from their addiction to partisan gamesmanship.

Step 3: Demand BOTH revenue increases and spending cuts over the next decade, which are prioritized so that the current economy produces large increases in job growth, while dramatically lowering deficts to zero in 10 years. Lack of jobs equals lower federal revenues, and lower revenues equals growing debt, even as spending cuts are made.

Remember two things. Damaging the current economy is no path to a better economy going forward. It only increases debt and lessens our ability to lower deficits. Remember that income minus expenses equals surplus or deficit. Every dollar of increased revenues to the federal government reduces deficits, and every dollar of spending cuts also reduces deficits. We must do both to eliminate deficits.

We cannot afford to give up national security, law and enforcement, oversight and regulation of greed, education, infrastructure maintenance and improvement, workforce retraining, nor can we afford to allow 50 to 100 million Americans to fall into abject poverty without safety nets that prevent them from dying in our streets and alleys, or turning to crime to make a living. Growing poverty only creates an increased demand for government spending. The solution is job creation. Business isn't hiring because consumer demand doesn't justify hiring. The Government is the employer of last resort, and America is now down to last resorts.

Remember this about our Constitution. It is the Congress, not the President, that controls the government's purse strings. The President's control is limited to the veto. Congress is charged with budget appropriations. The President can recommend, but, it is Congress that passes the budget laws. Our nation is in fiscal crisis because of the Congress' irresponsible actions, past and present. You will know bullshit when you hear Congressional representatives like Eric Cantor blame the President for lack of leadership. Where is the leadership in Congress to control the nation's fiscal matters? Absent Without Leave! That's where.

Step 4: Tune out the politicians. Too many of them are liars interested foremost in rigging the system so you and I can't, or won't, vote them out of office. Look at what government accomplishes and act accordingly. Do not listen to politicians playing the blame game. The blame game is just an excuse to not act responsibly, while diverting your attention from that fact. If our government's deficits are decreasing, jobs are growing, and our government's credit rating is on a path to being restored, then, and ONLY then, is our support for our representatives, justified. Watch what they do, not what they say. Actions are truer than words.

Step 5: Act responsibly. We Americans must admit to ourselves what we don't know. If we are not trained in economics, we should not pretend that we understand economics on the basis of what our politicians have told us. We KNOW they haven't followed responsible economic policy, or we wouldn't be in the crisis mode we are in today.

The ability and will to respond appropriately to this national crisis and Turning Point is up to us, the American people. If we send money to, and vote for, our representatives, we are in effect saying we approve of the government's performance and actions. You may like what your representative is saying. However, if your representative is not persuading his fellow Congress persons to act responsibly, then your representative is ineffective. We can no longer afford to keep ineffective representatives in Congress. We need problem solvers in Congress with the ability to negotiate and settle upon practical and effective measures to rescue our nation's future. There simply is no substitute for responsible action, now.

Americans have left these issues up to Congress and the White House. They failed us. It is time Americans took these matters into their own hands legally, and peacefully, by raising hell with their representatives, and pledging to vote and support measurable progress; not political slogans, blame, and posturing. We only have to act as if we have a democracy, in order restore democracy in America. Government policy dictated by a minority is not democracy. Government at the hands of a complacent and silent majority, is a democracy, but, not the kind that will rescue our nation's future. Support a challenger, vote for a challenger, and if you can, become a challenger to those responsible for bringing our nations future to its knees.

Americans lose trillions and Congress goes on vacation. Sounds to me like Nero fiddling while Rome burns.
 


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17 Comments

While I understand what you mean by loss, a loss in the equities markets, money was actually transferred rather than "lost". I've seen that in headlines and find it misleading.

The problem with people who do not understand economics is that they don't know what to believe. How do you act, if you have no clue as to what is happening? Most Americans are simply shell shocked. Some politicians use this to divert anger into political power. That's the problem with the Tea Party. A lot of anger without a focused direction.

Greg, no, the money was lost. For the investor who bought at $50 and sold at $20, they experienced a real and tangible loss. For the Pension plans and 401K's in which Stop Loss triggers were established, and where the markets dropped below those Stop Loss triggers, forcing a rational decision to sell, there were real and tangible losses.

Yes, where investors are invested for the long term, the losses are only on paper, until such time as they Sell, and then only if their Sell price is lower than the price at which they invested their dollar.

Investors typically, especially in 401K's and pensions, increment their investments on a regular schedule while the market is going up. If the market never achieves previous highs at which dollars were invested, and Selling takes place for retirement benefits at lower market prices, even the long term investors will have lost real and tangible dollars.

Given the increasing risks of a global Recession, it is by that same risk increase, more likely the markets will NOT achieve their previous highs. This is true both for the equities and bond markets. In the short term, American treasuries are rising in price as the global move to relative safety is underway. However, the global economic deleveraging which must take place voluntarily or by natural market forces, is going to force bond prices to fall in the longer term as yields rise.

Finally, investments are viewed as a means of beating inflation. However, for those who have invested weekly for the last 20 years, their earnings offsetting inflation have been wiped out, resulting in real dollar losses, if they have to begin to live on their investments in retirement. Inflation is why China is unable to do anything about the failure of America's government to address its own debt issues. In order for China to retalliate forcing our Congress' move to fiscal responsibility, it would have to allow its own Yuan to float against international currencies. But, if it does that, inflation will tear a hole the Chinese people's savings and earnings, resulting in real currency losses in buying power.

America's actions and failure to BOTH raise taxes on the wealthiest and cut a minimum of 4 Trillion in spending over the next 10 years, and political failure to demonstrate political control over its fiscal house, have exposed the dependency of international currencies and bond markets upon the U.S. dollar and Treasury markets, raising the spectre of a global Recession re-emerging.

I couldn't agree with you more in your last paragraph.

Of course, the quoted dollar amounts of losses in the markets and pensions and 401K's are estimates, and represent a snap shot of a fluid and dynamic long term and ongoing investment environment. I think as snap shots, these numbers are not far off. Though, as I said, for those investors who don't sell, and in a future in which the markets rebound quickly to former highs, those losses are 'paper' losses, with inflation hedge losses being the only real losses incurred by those investors. But, as we have just witnessed, there enormous numbers of small and large investors who have sold and are selling into these falling markets. For them, the losses are real, and likely permanent.

What I meant was that for every seller there is a buyer. The headlines would make someone believe that money just up and disappeared. It didn't. Someone made money.

I do think that the financial service industry is a part of the problem here. Money flooded into US bonds, which makes the whole thing seem a bit of a swindle of the small guys.

Greg, yes, for every seller there is a buyer. In this case, too many buyers bought in at high prices, and sold to buyers at lower prices.

Some Corporations are now buying back their own stock at these new low prices, after having issued stock at higher prices. That's where some of the money went. This partly accounts for why Corporate ledgers are remarkably improved since the Crash in 2009, having issued stock before the crash when the market was topping.

Those who bought low, sold high before the market tanked, got the money. Those who issued stock at the high prices and bought them back at the tanked market low prices, also made off with enormous profits or cash on their balance sheets. The money did go somewhere, you are right. The point is, pensioners and 401K investors (long term investors) are the big losers at the hands of market day traders and Congressional insider traders.

Conclusion: At a time when Seniors will make up an ever larger number of consumers, Seniors are the ones losing huge in the investment markets. This does not bode well for a consumer driven economy (70%) going forward. Not well at all.

One of the protections for our future economy has to include bolstering the consumer power of Seniors, not diminishing it. Our future economy will depend on those Seniors to keep economic activity robust. It is a simple matter of economic demographics. This by the way, is one of the the strongest arguments for insuring the solvency of Social Security and Medicare.

This Senior bulge in our demographic will constitute the most influential consumer on economic growth for the next 50 years. Those who seek to siphon Senior pensions and 401K retirement disbursements into private health care coffers and high rise Senior concentration camps for the poor, do so at grave risk and undermining of this nation's economy in all other sectors, for the next 5 decades, at least.

Seniors lost 2.9 Trillion in pensions and 401K earnings over the last 15 months. That will have an $2.9 Trillion dollar negative impact on GDP growth as they retire to live and consume off those pensions and 401K's. The wealthiest, especially those making their wealth off of investing low and selling high in short term trading, cannot and will not, offset the losses in consumer spending by seniors. And the reason is simple. Their wealth will be invested increasingly overseas, where returns will be higher and increasingly less risky.

Hell, an increasing number of wealthier will end up retiring overseas, where their wealth will buy them a far higher standard of living. We are literally creating a future where American wealth will increasingly and more easily flow overseas to emerging markets. The only way to stop this from happening is by investing in our own nation's economic growth and investment rewards. That will require a redistribution of wealth to some extent from wealthiest to back to Seniors, the increasingly important consumer demographic, and the young in the form of education, research and development and entrepreneurial innovation.

Like it or not, those have to be among America's highest priorities if she is to salvage her economic future through 2075. Undermining Seniors as a consumer group will be devastating to our economic growth. Also, undermining public education access and quality will undermine entrepreneurial innovation and technological advantages needed to compete in the international market place for buyers of American products and services.

Have you seen what Republicans have been doing and trying to do to rural education in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, and Florida, let alone public education in urban areas? I can't think of a faster more effective way to undermine the economic base of our nation's future, than to actively seek to defund public education. Not to mention the horrendous political and social upheaval cost such action will reap from growing poverty in future decades, due to lack of quality education.

For just such times as these the Founder's gave us Article V Convention.

“The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress—.”

More than 400 applications by state legislatures are on record with apportionment, repeal the IRS, and a balanced budget amendment proposals going way beyond meeting the constitutional requirements for an Article V Convention.

The Corpocracy ain't budging.

Otherwise - -

Roy and Greg. For the first time in history, nearly half of all voters say their OWN Representative should not be reelected. The Vote Out Incumbents movement is growing from the grass roots up. There is hope, yet.

Been thinking about this for a few days David. I am still just not sure I want Congress to return. They are a worthless bunch incapable of doing the work of the country for the good of the country. They have proved it with the debt ceiling debacle. I say let them stay on vacation as it appears less damage will be done.

I understand it is their job, they do have the responsibility to the country to serve the country. But they are outnumbered by lobbyist, out talked by propaganda machines and out spent by special interests. Most of the time they cannot even get to the issue, or the facts of the issue to make logical decisions.

I'm thinking we need to add a bit to their oath of office. A "first do no harm" clause like Doctors use.

BTW I agree with your 5 step program, good work.

j2t2, you seem a good 3rd party candidate. I can recommend - - -

Many react to the situation as if nothing can be done, just vote for the lesser of two evils and on to the next great thing. . .

Just consider the Internet by itself. A hot FW or hot piece of news hits the net and goes around the world in just a few hours.

What effect could a Glen Beck type have if he went viral with a message of 'don't go to the polls', 'stay home and don't vote for anybody'.

Just the opposite can be true in spreading the gospel of a new 3rd party w/a different attitude.

The message 'can' be sent and 'heard' but doesn't mean people will 'respond'. Many advocates of one kind or another refer to the silent majority as 'stupid' or at best, 'ignorant'. In truth, there is a number of reasons why people don't react.

It's like herding cats. It's like informing people that if they don't like a high priced product or a company they can ignore, refuse to buy those products. Goes nowhere.

But, again as usual, I will vote against any/all incumbents. I'm thinking I might vote for Ron Paul as he seems more populist/centrist than other candidates and there is no real 3rd party advocate this time around.

I would like to see the FED audited and some agencies cut as suggested by Ron Paul. Who knows which way he would jump if elected but seems the better choice this time around.

I do hope you are right David. Would love to see a strong movement, fueled by the Internet, to vote incumbents from office.

Otherwise - - -

Wow, look at the buzzsaw Bachman is running into over the gay issue. And, of course, it's not her conservative opponents who are knocking her, it's the dem's.

Which is prezactly why the Republic Sentry Party doesn't plan to get involved, will take the 5th if necessary, in any hot button social issues.

You can be the coming savior to the world re fixin the economy, shooting off to neptune, etc, but if you profess a social ilk then likely you will get beat down and never be able to deliver on the savior bit.

I guess you could say Bachman made her bed so she can lie in it. But, if a political party takes a stance against taking positions on social issues then that gives that party's candidates a better chance at no getting hung up on a social issue to begin with.

Open for advice until around midnight.

Otherwise - - -

Roy, the kinds of social issues that get politicians into divisive (and often minority) positions are those of personal choice.

Personal choice issues have no place in government, beyond the protection of individuals to exercise their freedom to make personal choice. Abortion, gay-straight, religion, all fall into this category. I agree with you entirely, that competitive 3rd party must defer such social issues to individual choice.

All issues are social. But, the social issues which have to be the province of government oversight and legislation are those which affect equality under law, fairness for consumers (which includes everyone), economic strength and stability (without which the nation's future is jeopardized), foreign relations and domestic security, and political justice and fairness for all potential voters (stakeholders in government action).

And the reason these have to be the province of government is precisely because of the inequality of power to players in these arenas of human interaction, which in the absence of government oversight, regulation, and enforcement, would promote predation of citizen upon citizen, or foreign interests upon citizens, resulting in civil or international conflict and potential dissolution of the nation (as was the threat of the Civil War, the Red Scare, or the rise of mobster organizations or monopolies in the early 20th century).

If more Americans were aware of these fundamental reasons for the existence of government, our nation would be in vastly less trouble than it is now in. If voters voted with an eye to these functions of government, it would alter, in millions upon millions of voter's cases, the way they vote. Politicians know this, which is why education is declining in America.

Ultimately, a far too many of our politicians subscribe to the principle that the power of government derives from the special interests that financially support the election and reelection of the politicians. Stated another way, money buys power, and power is obligated to respect the will of money sources. This is what has to change if Americans are to reacquire respect for their government again.

Only 14% of Americans now approve of their Congress. Oddly enough, about 14% of Americans can be considered financially influential in political elections, though some of that 14% are vastly more influential than the rest (Koch Bros. and George Soros as two examples).

J2T2, thanks for your comment and praise of the 5 steps. I think I have to refine it to 3 steps, for it to have a chance of becoming viral. I am working on it.

David it is what it is. If alcoholics can follow a 12 step program certainly the American voter can handle 5. I realize we aren't the brightest bunch judging by the number of incumbents still in office but... oh never mind your probably right.

I would suggest something that can fit on a bumpersticker if you really want out attention. :(

J2T2, thank you for the belly-laugh. :-D

Markets tank again today. Primary reason cited:

"The absence of confidence in the U.S. and European governments to act responsibly in BOTH dealing with debt and economic growth declines."

To elaborate, the probability of Recession in Europe and U.S. has increased, more in Europe than in the U.S., though that probability remains below 50% in the U.S.

Investors are reacting directly to Congress' taking a 5 week vacation instead of acting on the economy's behalf.

To exacerbate market woes, the absence of the former Up-Tick Rule, which limited rapid computerized volume traders from exploiting sharp turns of the market direction, has exaggerated market ups and downs. Individual investors are not participating in these wild market swings. However, individual investors are becoming increasingly nervous about leaving money in equities to suffer these huge computerized volume trader driven swings.

In European markets several days ago, Short Selling-Buying options were removed. It obviously has not had the intended effect on European markets, to limit wild swings in equity trading. Computerized volume traders are damaging investor confidence, and is now a contributing factor to speculation of increasing odds of recession.

Bottom line is that:

1) government regulators continue to fail to rein in commercial excesses which are driving trends toward global economic decline
2) excesses in computerized volume equity trading, commercial bank uncollateralized debt and holdings, government debt, and austerity measures at a time when job growth stimulus is required to shore up consumer demand, all threaten economic viability for Western nations
3) there is an absence of a long term rational sovereign debt and deficit reduction plan in both Europe and U.S., which threatens the value of U.S. and EU currencies, which in turn curtail other nations from engaging in long term contracts for future payments from the EU and U.S., stifling global economic trade.

Though Asian economic growth is being reduced by current events, Asian growth will continue even if Western economies go into recession, provided global banking and sovereign debt are prevented from bankrupting on a wholesale basis in Western societies.

China is increasing its spending on Asian naval and military construction and deployment in preparation for an arms race for dominance on the Asian high seas with the U.S., whose economic woes portend steep cuts in military spending in years and decades to come.

In a word, the future viability of Western nations is increasingly "precarious".

David, no sense in us sitting glued to the TV/stock market reports. We are about mid ways thru the globalisation process, are we not? We are going to go thru pitches and rolls for a number of years as the US, Germany, England, and France wind their way down to where we can all compete in the global economy. I'd wager it will take another 20-30 years to fully implement globalisation.

Relative to globalisation, I'd say our rep's have done a pretty good job of delivering a soft landing thus far.

Roy, globalization is a product of the spread of American capitalism throughout the world. Capitalism goes hand in hand with democracies, regardless of how mixed socialism is within those democracies.

If you believe in capitalism as an engine of growth and innovation in the world, then, you have no choice but to accept globalization as a byproduct of international capital markets engaging with each other.

Now, if you really can't accept globalization of markets, then you have to oppose its root cause, capitalism as the best engine for innovation and growth, as well as democracy upon which capitalism depends.

Someone wisely said: "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others." Only in a Fantasy UPTOPIA could you have an economic and political system with no costs or downsides attached.

The modern world is reaping the negative side of democracies and capitalism with globalization of interacting markets and financial systems.

I have yet to hear a logical and rational argument against my thesis that democracy works best in small low density population nations in the long run. When capitalist nations reach large population density, voter and citizen apathy and complacence are inevitable, and then the checks and balances on government and markets and capitalist corporations are undermined. Then democracy and capitalism become rife with greed and opportunistic behaviors unchecked, which will lead to grotesque inefficiencies and ever widening peaks and valleys between boom and bust.

Either democracies in our modern day find a way to restore citizen check and balance to their political systems, or their populations, through increasing fears of the future, will become more tolerant of authoritarian leadership which holds out the public the absolute power to act in their best interests. And we know where that leads, as China is now demonstrating, the exchange of freedom and liberty for growth and the promise of future prosperity.

I give you GW Bush's post 9/11 breaches of historical constitutionality in the power of the president as a direct example. None of those breaches have been mended by Obama and the Democrats. The public, fearful of terrorists, ceded Constitutional liberty and freedom in exchange for the promise of future security. These are the real world trade-offs in real world political and economic systems. There is no perfect system, and they all carry their negative potential, which will eventually be realized in the absence of a highly educated and politically active citizenry.

I'm a simple man, David. Captialism can be synomonous with a sand castle

Just add the right amount of Sand (capitalism) and the right amount of water (regulation) and you get a good castle every time.

If the ingredients are not right you can't get it off the ground, so to speak.

Otherwise - -

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