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Monday, July 11, 2011

Debt Crisis: Time for a FIRE SALE

Industry has always been at odds with labor. Until fairly recently, much labor was performed by slaves. But eventually the slave-labor gravy train was over. Industry then had to negotiate with labor and provide incentive. When labor was in short supply, industry had to offer competitive incentives.

Before long, industry looked for cost-saving ways to provide incentives. They got the bright idea that offering retirement plans allowed them to take money that would otherwise be paid immediately in wages, and utilize or invest that money and ultimately have to pay less in the process. Then, industry got the idea that encouraging their employees to instead invest in the stock market for their retirement let them off the hook for managing retirement plans, and helped to shore up the stock market and public sentiment towards it, as now everyone had a vested interest in its success. Before that, the markets had an especially bad rap with the general populace, and the significant influx in cash into the markets helped smooth the ups and downs somewhat, and enrich those poised to take advantage.

But eventually the baloons popped, employment and manufacturing was outsourced, and the market could not keep going up forever, and many people took a big hit in their retirement wealth. Now it was jobs that were in short supply, not labor.

Industry then got the bright idea that since jobs are in demand, the "job creators," (i.e., industry itself) should be given even greater tax relief. This might not have been a bad idea, EXCEPT for the fact that the job shortage occured as a direct result of industry excesses in the form of unregulated and unwise banking procedures and an associated bailout of the banks, ill-advised military adventures motivated largely by business interests, and the generalized outsourcing of manufacturing and labor. The massive resultant debt then can only be paid from only three available sources, corporate profits, the middle-class retirement plans, or government owned assets (gold, real-estate, etc.). That's all there is, their ain't no more.

Was the deficit the responsibility of the middle class? Only to the extent that they voted for corrupt and self-serving greedy idiots. Do they deserve to be made to pay? Debatable, but probably not. Can they? Yes. Is it a good idea? No, it will have a direct impact on profits, given the hit everyone will take in their purchasing power. Is it therefore justified? No.

Was the deficit the responsibility of the business class? Partly, in thinking that the "free market" will fix its own problems and is not vulnerable to abuse and therefore regulations are unnecessary. Do they deserve to be made to pay? Partially. Can they? Yes. Is it a good idea? Not particularly, it will impact the availability of jobs. Is it therefore justified? Only to a limited extent, perhaps.

Was the deficit the responsibility of the government (and by extension, all of us?)? Yes. Do they deserve to be made to pay? Yes. Can they? Yes. is it a good idea? Given the alternatives, it's not a bad idea-- they could always buy back assets should it get its act in order sometime in the future. Is it therefore justified? Probably yes.

I think then that the single most important solution to the debt crisis is the one that neither party is discussing-- the liquidation of government assets. Sell enough gold and real-estate or other assets to pay down the debt. It may be painful, but not as painful as either of the other two alternatives.


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