29 February 2012

Vote 99

My excuse for scant posting to this blog recently (and tweeting not at all) is that my head has been focused on writing a short e-handbook (21 pages in print format) about today’s critical political issues which divide conservatives from non-conservatives and reduce Congress to impotence.  The book, cover shown below, is dedicated to the 99 Percent and seeks their participation in an effort called VOTE 99 to elect candidates for Congress who are pro-99% on the issues and are not beholden to the 1%.

The ultimate goal, which I imagined in my first blog post last October and which will take multiple elections to accomplish, is a Congress controlled by members who refuse large individual campaign contributions (over $200 per contributor, or even less) which, as the Center for Responsive Politics concluded here, here and here in the 2009-2010 election cycle, are predominately made by “business executives and professionals”—that is, the 1%.

The book discusses 12 issues presented as questions for Congressional candidates followed by a short explanation and hyperlinks for further information.  Here’s the first issue in its entirety.

Candidate Question #1
Which is more important in 2012—creating jobs or cutting the deficit?

The right answer for the 99% is creating jobs.  Here’s why.

According to mainstream economists, problem #1 today is lack of jobs.  During 2000 when the economy was booming, 81.5 percent of working-age Americans between 25 and 54 years of age were working.  In 2011 only 75.1 percent were working.  Although the percent improved in early 2012, our economy still employs 6 fewer people per hundred than it should.  

The US government has a lot of public debt, but what’s keeping the economy in a deep slump is all the private debt that many homeowners took on during the recent housing price bubble.  (Two-thirds of 99% households own their homes.)  When housing prices collapsed along with the value of retirement savings invested in the stock market, homeowners began worrying about their finances and started saving more and consuming less.  Since our economy depends on consumer spending, businesses responded by cutting back on production and construction and laying off workers.  Then consumers worried about jobs and spent even less, causing more layoffs.

The fastest way to create jobs in a deep slump is by government spending.  Cutting the government’s budget deficit does just the opposite—it eliminates jobs.

The best way to cut the budget deficit is to restore full employment and full production, thereby increasing the government’s tax receipts from workers and businesses and reducing unemployment compensation and slump-related safety-net spending.  If more adjustments are needed to balance the budget, that’s the time to make them—during the economic boom created by full employment and production, not during the slump.

Links for further information

Economists saying jobs are #1 concern include Nobel winners Stiglitz and Krugman
US Bureau of Labor Statistics data on working age employment to population ratio
4 million lost their jobs in 1937-1938 when the New Deal cut spending to reduce deficit
Historically, US voter participation has been terrible, declining from 80 percent of adult citizens in 19th century Presidential election years to hardly more than 50 percent today.  If we can interest some significant margin of the 99 Percenters—and I’m thinking especially of those in the 18 to 29 year old age group—in the issues that divide those who believe in Social Security, health care for all, unemployment insurance, food stamps and school lunches from those who believe in cutting taxes to the level where they support a strong military and little else, then perhaps more of the 99 Percenters will become regular voters.
If that happens, the day will come when we’ll able to replace a corrupt Congress beholden to the 1% who buy favoritism from its members with a new Congress beholden to the 99% who don’t.  And then we’ll have the power to end needless subsidies of Corporate America and the 1% who control it, restore free-market capitalism with appropriate regulation to keep it transparent and competitive, balance the budget with a fair tax system, insure economic freedom for all, take care of the only planet we have to live on and recover the democracy that our Founding Fathers entrusted to us.  VOTE 99 can change the world.
The book, when I get it converted to the proper format, will be published as a 99 cent Kindle book and possibly later in other formats.  Aaron Nickles is developing a model web site as an integral part of VOTE 99 for local organizers to provide voters with information on the candidates running in their election district and present local requirements for registering to vote and for voting.  When the site is ready, it will include a copy of the book that can be read online for free.
Any suggestions for implementing VOTE 99, including how to locate local organizers and qualify them for licensing (which will be without charge) will be appreciated.  You can reach me by e-mail here.


  1. I agree that jobs should come first, but I disagree on how that is too be done. Jobs that build the nation's economy are created by private businesses. Those businesses provide products and services the public needs or wants and they pay taxes to support the government. The only jobs government can create is by expanding its own bureaucracy with government jobs which provide neither useful products nor tax revenue.

    Those people who somehow think that government creates jobs will say that "The fastest way to create jobs in a deep slump is by government spending." But we have seen that big spending on politically correct projects like solar firms and bank bail-outs is not only a waste of good money but encourages corrupt favoritism among politically connected elites--the 1% that government should not be helping.

    The best way for government to help create jobs is to reduce the restrictions and regulations that businesses must overcome to function efficiently. That costs no money. Another way to encourage job creation is to build confidence in the economy by reducing deficit spending. America's companies today are sitting on piles of cash, waiting before they invest, to see just how much more damage our Washington insiders are going to wreak on the economy, the peoples' savings, and the public morale. A final way to help the economy is to restore the strict limits placed on speculative and corrupt financial and banking practices. It was the corrupt alliance between Wall Street and Washington that caused the recent financial melt-down which also enriched the 1%.

    The post emphasizes how the financial melt-down caused consumers to reduce their spending. But it was not the reduced spending that caused the melt-down. The financial disaster was caused by government policies that worked with Fannie Mae, and Wall Street brokers and speculators to create a huge bubble that burst. The role of government is to prevent--not escalate bubbles and finacial panics. It is folly to seek to pump up spending without curing the underlying rot that lies in today's crony capitalism, government overreach, and the growing tendency to reward bad behavior and punish good behavior.

    1. Bill, you say you agree that jobs come first, but then you say that a way to encourage job creation by businesses is to build their confidence by reducing deficit spending. Businesses aren’t waiting for a confidence fairy to waive its wand. They’re waiting (for sound P&L reasons) for consumers to buy more of their goods and services, and consumers are waiting for more jobs to be created and perhaps for their homes to recover some of the value they lost when the housing price bubble burst. If there’s a confidence problem, it’s the consumers’ confidence. And in this standoff government can help by creating temporary jobs to start rebuilding and modernizing our creaky infrastructure that businesses rely on but don’t spend their own money on. The New Deal’s WPA is one model (government as employer), but not the only one. The point is, when consumers aren’t spending enough and businesses aren’t investing enough and the states are balancing their budgets, it’s up to the federal government to stimulate the economy. Unless you’re willing to wait a long time for prosperity to return on its own.