Zera's Blog

A Citizen's View from Main Street

New Jersey to Double Down on an Industry in Decline?

Christie’s plan. To reach right past “moral hazard” and “let them fail” to hit the “government intervention” button.

Welcome to the progressive side of the street. Maybe. Let’s kick some tires here.

First of all, there is that pesky drop in market share. Do you have a root-cause analysis of why that happened? Has anyone done a feasibility study? Or is he blindly supporting what may prove to be a buggy-whip economy? At least he acknowledged that it would increase crime.

The first businesses to return to New Orleans after Katrina were the casinos and hotels, even before housing. Around here, conservative candidates are talking about adding racino and riverboat gambling to Indian casinos, the failing horse track, and a whole array of lotteries and scratch-offs.

Las Vegas is struggling. Continue reading

July 30, 2010 Posted by | Capitalism, Direction, Economics | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Consumer Confidence Falls As Corporate Profits Rise

It is not surprising that the drop in consumer confidence correlates with the stonewalling of extending unemployment insurance. Nor is it surprising to see the republican finger-pointing. It would be rude if it were not so tragic.

It is like watching someone die of starvation. The muscles atrophy while the fat cells complain about redistribution of health.

“The operation was a success, but the patient died.”

Conservatives and corporations are having their successes, but the real economy is still dying.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

July 28, 2010 Posted by | Capitalism, Direction, Economics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Momentum For Senate Filibuster Reform Builds

I can support going back to the days of the talkies, when filibustering meant standing on the floor and proving you resolve in a contest of wills. What we have now is just a cheap gimmick that encourages stagnation and rancorous partisanship.

A tool intended to protect the rights of the minority has been corrupted into a major weapon in the political civil war created by conservatives with an overweening sense of political entitlement.

Instead of being used to form a more perfect union, it is being used to tear that union apart.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

July 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

King Killers: The Art of Personal and Political Assassination

It is easy to tear down when you have no facts to confine you, no honor to dissuade you.

It is far harder to build than destroy, and more so when facing a gauntlet of hostility.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

July 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Neel Kashkari, TARP Guru, Supports Cutting Entitlements, Citing ‘Me-First’ Attitude Of Beneficiaries

This reminds me of something I heard about “old blood-and-guts” Patton: our blood, his guts.

The middle-class has seen wages stagnate or slide while the rich take more and more home with them.
For decades, we have seen our jobs go overseas while merger after merger has killed jobs by the thousands.
We have seen health care costs rise far beyond our salaries.
Our wages have barely kept up with inflation.
We have seen property taxes rise.
We have seen college tuition rise.
We have seen student loan debt rise.
We have seen our home equity disappear.
We have seen our retirement funds dry up.
We have spent our savings and accumulated debt hoping to survive until things got better.

We have lost our jobs.
We have lost our homes.
We have bailed out ungrateful banks.
We have bailed out an ungrateful Wall Street.
We have bailed out key industries.

We have done nothing but sacrifice for decades – with nothing to show for it.
The 2006 election, the 2008 election, and the Tea Party movement all have one thing in common – one message in common: The well is going dry, we have sacrificed all we can, it is not our turn to sacrifice again!

Those entitlements have been hard-earned and are desperately needed. It’s time for someone else to ante up if you want to keep this game going.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

July 26, 2010 Posted by | Capitalism, Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

Redefining Citizenship

I cannot remember the last time I heard the word “citizenship” used to refer to a code of socially responsible conduct instead of a legal status. Until WWII, we were a nation that mostly stayed in the home town or on the family farm. We built careers with a single employer. Lack of mobility created pressure to achieve tolerance, cooperation, and understanding. It was the age of the “melting pot” culture.

Modern communications and personal transportation have made us a far more mobile population than we used to be. Instead of facing our differences and resolving them, we can now ignore our own community and drive to a community that reinforces our opinions instead of challenging them. The front porch and the “gossip fence” used to be important forums for building a sense of community. Now it’s a deck in the back and a privacy fence. With the Internet, you don’t even have to leave your house to join a “comfort zone” community. Generations of gerrymandering have created pockets of political stasis. We are now in an age of “smelting pot” culture. This may prove to be the fatal flaw in the great experiment.

Terms like “job-hopping”, “outsourcing”, and “off-shoring” have entered into use. There used to be no need for such terms.

Conservatives, by definition, are resistant to change. But modern conservatives have become the Peter Pans of politics, trying to take back Neverland. The world has changed around us while we have stagnated and even built up our own competition. The world has grown up around us, and our place in it has never been so precarious.

Lithium is key to the new generation of electric cars, and the some of the biggest reserves are in Latin “who cares what they think about how we treat illegal immigrants” America and “just give it up” Afghanistan. We have cut back on domestic production and let the industry atrophy for the sake of cheaper foreign imports. We are already fighting over domestic water rights in the face of diminishing supplies. But the environment will take care of itself no matter what we do to it, right? Resources are diminishing even while the population grows and demand increases.

Businesses aggressively protect their own interests without regard for the needs of society or the good of the country. Sometimes without regard for their own long-term interests. I once worked for a company that was destroyed by it’s own stockholders. There is a great deal we can do, and could have done already, if only special interests would “get out of the way.”


July 26, 2010 Posted by | Direction | , , | Leave a comment

America needs a challenge for the future

We have become a nation divided by ideology. Community vs individualism. Pride and honor vs avarice and power. Perseverance vs instant gratification. Federalism vs Confederacy.

Capitalism has not only reached across the border, it has straddled it. And in doing so, it has broken the economic model of a national economy. We will not have a stable and prosperous economy until that model is repaired.

Capitalism is not a form of government, no matter how many people try to make it one. It is a culture of conflicting and competing self-interests, not leadership.

When JFK challenged us to go to the moon, he took advantage of the fear of Sputnik, the Cold War, and national pride. And in the process, accelerated R&D advanced subtly significant things like integrated circuits, developed things we now take for granted like Velcro and freeze-dried food – and most importantly, laid the foundation for whole new industries. But that was yesterday. Once we won the space race, enthusiasm diminished. Under the domination of conservatism, we surrendered the initiative to other countries. The future went from 10 years to 3 months as we became fixated on quarterly profits.

We need that leadership again. President Obama has made the call for green industries and oil independence, but has met with conservative resistance. For the past 10 years, we have tried the conservative approach in it’s extreme. Environmental law, anti-trust law, regulation, and budgetary restraint were all sacrificed in the name of economic growth. And what did we get for it? Private sector job growth has been declining for the past 10 years. Bush43 created only 3m net jobs, the worst performance on record. Wages stagnated, fraud flourished, the economy weakened and inevitably fell into recession.

If we are to recover from this recession, if we are to create meaningful numbers of new jobs, we need new industries and modern infrastructure. Building more of the past just didn’t work.


July 26, 2010 Posted by | Capitalism, Direction, Economics | , , | Leave a comment

No More Apologies — It’s Time to Stand Up for Our Convictions

$68M over 10 years? That is barely pocket change. We spent more than three times that in one year replacing one bridge. And I am *NOT* talking about the bridge to nowhere, I am talking about the 35W bridge in Minneapolis. The cost of health care to the consumer is the more important number.

We have been pushed into an age of NAGocracy. An age when we have to be constantly shouting in the ears of our elected officials in order to drown out the voices of special interests. It is the only way left to overcome the Voice of Money and hold on to government for the people.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

July 26, 2010 Posted by | Direction | , , , | Leave a comment

Bush Tax Cuts: Democrats Set Stage For Big Battle Over Ending Tax Cuts For Rich

It is sad that American politics has devolved to this. That the majority party has to resort to playing games in order to do the people’s business in spite of bitter partisan obstruction. We are seeing a political civil war in progress.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

July 26, 2010 Posted by | Budget | , , , | Leave a comment

Alvin Greene Nomination ‘Breaks My Heart’: DSCC Director

SC Democrats need to show that they can organize more than a bingo night before they will deserve to win an election.

The Independence Party should be seeing a huge opportunity there, but they do not seem to be getting even bad press. Where are they?
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

July 23, 2010 Posted by | Candidates | , , , | Leave a comment

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