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Skytop, PA
reply to FFH5

Re: I'm proud to be an American

said by FFH5:

Because intellectual property is becoming a bigger and bigger part of the economy. To ignore that is to see the US economy continue to sink further than it already has. Software, movies, music, books, internet, etc is what is now keeping the US afloat. And the gov't is going to do what it can to protect those profits. And it isn't just for corporations, but for all the citizens whose jobs depend on the IP industries.
That which you have listed IS exactly why we as a country continue to sink further and further economically. It's because we are no longer a manufacturing giant. Here is an article I read somewhere on the net. I do not know the person who wrote it. IMO it describes precisely what is ailing America today and why.

The harsh reality is that the forces allied against us both foreign and domestic are formidable
Submitted by Richard Clark, Nov 13, 2007 14:27

It is important that every American understand that this next Presidential election will be the most pivotal in our countries history. You will not hear these views expressed in the mainstream media with any degree of urgency. Why that is, I can only speculate, but I suspect special interests keep the media in check. The harsh reality is that the forces allied against us both foreign and domestic are formidable, to say the least. If we do not stand up and face them together in a unified way they will overwhelm us.

In no particular order:

We have been in Iraq now for longer than we were in World War Two. The cost of this exercise is projected to be between 1-2 Trillion dollars. Now, I am all for protecting our national interests but let's be realistic, I think we have done more than enough for the people of Iraq. It is their future let them be the stewards of it. If we truly want them to practice democracy then let them choose their own path, even if that means the only democratic choice they make in their lives is to not to be a democratic. This war has dragged on for way to long. Am I the only one who thinks the argument that we are fighting terrorists there, in order not to fight them here, is so moronically simplistic as to be insulting? This war must end and we need to let the chips fall where they may. We have more pressing domestic problems on the horizon.

Illegal immigration is an issue that must be addressed in a practical way. With an estimated 12-20 million illegal immigrants currently residing in the U.S. with more entering the country every day, the impact on the US taxpayer is an unfair burden. I see this as an affront to the American people's sensibilities. It is obvious that these people have broken our laws and are being rewarded for it. I cannot reconcile any argument for allowing them to stay in the country, least of all the argument that it is simply expedient. If for some reason, they were allowed naturalization, the result would be a political shift changing the balance of power in the country. How can anyone with a conscience and a sense of fairness justify this outcome? Regardless of the reason, they broke our laws and violated our sovereignty. Simply put, they are criminals and should be treated as such. I do not care that they work hard and do the jobs for much less than US workers. If we allow them citizenship, all that would end overnight as they would then be subject to protection under US labor laws. Any politician that supports the case for letting them stay is simply Un-American and deserves to be removed from office. After all, are not our leaders supposed to be upholding our laws? They do not have the right to choose which laws they will enforce and which they will ignore because of a personal bias. It is a dereliction of duty for our leaders to undermine our system of laws. It might take time, but we should systematically deport these people and tighten the control of our borders so that they cannot return. In addition, a law needs to be passed that any children born of illegal immigrants in this country should be returned to the parent's country of origin. The law that allows them citizenship now was not intended for illegal aliens but only for those people in this country legally.

Fiscally, the United States is on the brink of insolvency, the rest of the world knows it even if the majority of Americans do not. This issue is pivotal. The power of the United States is not derived from its military might but from its wealth. A countries wealth is created when its labor is used to take raw materials and fashion them into products that have increased value, which then can be sold outside of the country increasing the countries coffers. Since the advent of globalization, our manufacturing capabilities have been drastically reduced. The economy in the United States has become increasingly service based. The fastest growing jobs in the US are service jobs. According the bureau of labor statistics the fastest growing jobs in the US are:

1. Computer systems software engineer
2. Computer applications software engineer
3. Biomedical engineer
4. Physician assistant
5. Environmental engineer
6. Computer systems analyst
7. Database administrator
8. Physical therapist
9. Network systems and data communication analyst
10. Hydrologist

Not a single one of these jobs on this list can be considered a manufacturing based job. We have software, health care, and environmental industries represented. What is important about this list is that very little cross border wealth transfer occurs due to these industries, certainly nothing to put on a ship and export.

It is impossible for our economy to grow unless we are increasing the countries overall wealth. I take exception with the way our government reports economic growth in the US via the GDP. Over 70% of the US Gross Domestic Product is consumer spending! Let that sink in for a moment. That means that the government is calculating growth on the amount of money that we spend. Most of that spending is on goods from foreign countries and a good deal of that spending recently was borrowed due to people using their homes as an ATM machine. I have always viewed my own economic growth on how much my net worth increases and not on how much of my net worth I spent. Is what the GDP represents really economic growth? Hardly, since most of this money is ending up overseas. In order for there to be true growth the US trade deficit would have to be negative. As long as the trade deficit positive then our economy is retracting.

Now this retraction is being represented by the weakening of our nation's currency. The dollar has fell 10.5% this year alone. Given the aforementioned fact, that we are running a huge trade deficit and our currency is weakening, it naturally follows that we will be paying more for imported goods. Oil is now approaching the $100 per barrel mark and I believe that this will continue to move higher in the near future.

Anyone who is trying to save money without risking it in the stock market can attest to not being able to keep up with inflation. The CPI is a fantasy. It is yet another sleight of hand number that the US government uses to lull the population into thinking that inflation is under control. Without going into detail, I suggest you look up how this is calculated and decide for yourselves if the government is in fact misleading the public.

The trade deficit is not the only reason that we will be seeing inflation increase in the United Sates. A good deal of the blame should be put squarely on the shoulders of the US Central Bank. This organization created by congress in 1913 has systematically increased the US money supply devaluing our currency. The bubble economies of the last two decades are a direct result of their policies. The current housing market debacle is a perfect example. The central bank under Alan Greenspan's leadership lowered the overnight bank rates to a paltry one percent in order to promote domestic economic growth as they measure it with the GDP. Again this promoted spending and not saving. Because interest rates were so low, mortgages rates were favorable; this in turn increased demand and drove housing through the roof. This chain of events was further exacerbated by the investment banks. Since, mortgage rates are typically a couple of points higher than the Fed's overnight rate the investment banks saw an opportunity. They in their infinite wisdom bought mortgages from the primary lenders and packaged them into SIV's and CDO's which were then made available to only the wealthiest investors, pension and mutual fund managers. As a result, the primary lenders were again and again infused with cash and continued to originate mortgages. Once the conventional loan market (those with good credit) was exhausted, the banks lowered their lending standards and the subprime market was born. Institutions now began lending to unqualified borrowers and real estate speculators which the investment banks packaged and sold as well. This went on until the first batch of adjustable rate mortgages reset and the unqualified borrowers began to default because they could not afford the higher payments. As a result the income stream to the CDO's and SIV's began to dry up and the investment banks could no longer pay dividends to their investors. In addition, the underlying value of the homes the mortgages were based upon fell making it next to impossible for the investment banks to value the assets. Because of the difficulty in valuing these assets, banks became reticent to lend to one another because they did not have a clear picture of each other's collateral and thus a credit crisis ensued. So this is where we find ourselves today. The credit markets are in turmoil, housing prices are still falling and the bottom is nowhere in sight.

Instead of letting the market work like it should by punishing the investment banks and those invested in these toxic financially engineered CDO's and SIV's and other speculative investments, including real estate speculators. The Federal Reserve stepped in and began printing money to alleviate the pressure on the credit markets. As a result, the appearance of a massive bailout has caused a run on the dollar. Ben Bernanke has effectively placed the burden on the citizenry by devaluing the currency. When asked about the Central Banks response to the credit crisis due to the effect of printing money and devaluing the currency at the recent senate banking committee hearing, Ben Bernanke basically gave what can only be described as a "let them eat cake" response. In essence, he dismissed the idea that the Central Banks recent actions were inflationary saying that since Americans were paid in dollars and what they buy is in dollars therefore there is no effect on the US consumer of the recent dollar devaluation. I find that to be a contemptuous statement. Given the current price of oil, food, and other commodities, Bernanke is either very stupid or very out of touch. I think the statement alone shows his lack of mental acumen because, his response shows an arrogant disdain for the average American. He is biting the hand that feeds him and will continue to do so until we put a stop to this madness.

We are all now paying for the sins of greedy financial institutions and the irresponsible Federal Reserve. Now the worst part of all of this is that the Fed is an independent institution that controls the US money supply. When the Fed "injects liquidity" they simply create money out of thin air and, get this, they extract a fee for it. They make money on every dollar they print. The printing of money and the deliberate devaluation of the currency is a hidden tax on the American people by an unelected body. This is unconstitutional, as it is taxation without representation. There is no other way to look at it. The Congress of the United States was specifically given the power to create money in the Constitution. In 1913 they delegated the authority to the Federal Reserve giving them complete autonomy. In my view the Federal Reserve needs to be eliminated and control of the money supply given back to the people through their elected officials.

Given the current economic realities the government must reign in spending and take on the issues of paying off the national debt which is 9.1 trillion and counting. How are we to pay this back? There is no other way then to reduce government spending and eliminate domestic government liabilities, namely the massive amount of entitlement debt in this country. Congress just raised the cap on the national debt by 850 billion dollars to 9.815 trillion because on October 1 the debt surpassed the limit of 9 trillion dollars. Since then, it is already at 9.1 trillion and increases at the rate of 183 million dollars a day due to interest and, the rate is accelerating. It will not be more than three months and they will have to increase the cap again. This is tantamount to letting a borrower who is over their credit card limit to continually raise the limit and make the minimum payments with the increased credit. This is a staggering problem. Are we going to address this or wait until we default on or obligations and become a third world economy?

Is it not apparent that we cannot continue with the status quo? Is it not obvious that our elected officials are not doing their jobs? We need to make the hard choices now, before it is too late. If we wait they will be forced upon them by a worthless currency and a massive recession. Our leaders through inaction driven by fear of not being elected are not shooting straight with the American people. They are robbing your futures and selling our children's into economic slavery.

The cruel reality is that it is now too late to save Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. We just have to except that as a fact. We cannot continue to delude ourselves that we can have our cake and eat it too. The current estimate of the entitlement obligations over the next 20 years is 50 trillion dollars. Hey, we simply do not have it. As I mentioned before, our economy is retracting based on the trade deficit. The only way the government can collect this much in revenue is to put an undue tax burden on the next generation. The additional burden, I might add, is one that those getting ready to retire did not have to shoulder themselves. The retiring generation should have paid more attention to what their government was doing with their money. It is not the future generation's fault that they allowed themselves to be swindled by their leaders. It is up to the future generation to make sure that they are not similarly misled.

It behooves us to eliminate these programs for retirees who, through a means test, are determined not to require it. Any savings incurred should be applied to paying off the national debt and returning solvency to our country. Tax reform must be undertaken to close loopholes for the rich and for corporations in order to insure everyone is paying their fair share. We should also include tax incentives for small businesses as they are who employs the vast majority of Americans. Small business is currently carrying too great a load of the tax burden.

Major changes must be made in order for our country not to be undermined. We cannot keep putting off the hard choices we face simply because they are unpopular.

We can make a difference if only we make ourselves heard. We have to be prepared to take drastic measures in order to ensure that our government represents us and not the special interests. We need wholesale change in our government. That means we do not vote for career politicians but, for honest citizens, who understand the crisis we are facing and are willing to begin by reforming our government. No solutions are possible until government reform is implemented. That means our elected officials have to give up the perks and limit the influence of the moneyed special interests.

Can you honestly say that the current crop of people running for higher office in this country is selfless enough to embrace wholesale change? These people have been born of this corrupt system. We have to look outside the parties and find qualified individuals to change the way we conduct our government. I for one do not want to reward anyone involved in getting us to this point. Because either they were too stupid to realize what was going on or to corrupt to care.

I used to be a republican, until George W. Bush exorbitantly increased the debt by overwhelming proportions. I called the republican national committee when Bush was promoting his immigration bill and simply asked them whether or not they supported the bill. I could not get a straight answer. They lost me then and there. I simply cannot be a democrat because I believe in personal responsibility and they do not. I now consider myself not only an independent but, more importantly a pragmatist. I have been driven to this by the reality that, no matter who occupies the highest offices in our land, nothing significantly changes. Each successive congress fails to address the biggest issues of our day. They are mired in party politics and self interest. The American people are getting lost in the shuffle and we should be angry about it, angry enough to spark change.

Let there be no mistake about it. This election is going to be about the economic future of the country. We are at a fork in the river that once passed there will be no going back. Now is the time to choose. Now is the time to speak out and be heard. It really is up to us.

Richard Clark
It's easier to manipulate non-religious people, Ever hear of Communism?
With out religion your are more suceptable to manipulation. Look at china, they banned religion. It's much easier to manipulate people who don't have any religious convictions.