Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bill Clinton Making Sense On Jobs

(Cross posted from Netizen)

Bill Clinton: Newsweek: It’s Still the Economy, Stupid
Harry Hopkins had nowhere near the rules and regulations we have now. (In 1933, Hopkins’s Civil Works Administration put 4 million to work in a month.) ...... President Obama came in with a really good energy policy, including an idea to provide both a tax credit for new green jobs and for startup companies, to allow the conversion of the tax credit into its cash equivalent for every employee hired. ....... the obvious candidate for that role today is changing the way we produce and use energy ...... Before the financial meltdown, the four countries that will meet their Kyoto greenhouse-gas emission targets were outperforming America with lower unemployment, more new business formation, and less income inequality. ...... We could put a million people to work retrofitting buildings all over America. ...... You get 7,000 jobs for every billion dollars in retrofitting. Let’s start with the schools and colleges and hospitals, and state, county, and local government buildings. That would keep the construction industry busy for a couple of years, creating a million jobs that would ripple through the whole economy, spurring even more growth. ....... One of the reasons Harry Reid won in Nevada is that, right before the election, two big Chinese companies announced they were moving factories there to make LED lightbulbs and turbines for the big wind farms down in Texas. ........ They said, “We’re coming here because Nevada has the best state incentives to go with the federal incentives.” They were very clinical. They said labor costs in China are still cheaper, but these turbines are big and heavy, and higher transportation costs to the U.S. market would offset the labor gains—and there was a tax credit from the federal government for green-energy manufacturing, and extra credits in Nevada. ........ Banks still have more than $2 trillion in cash uncommitted to loans. ....... I suggested that the federal government set aside—not spend—$15 billion of the TARP money and create a loan-guarantee program that would work exactly the way the Small Business Administration does. Basically, the bank lends money to a business after the federal government guarantees 75 percent of it. Let’s say that the SBA fund has about a 20-to-1 loan-to-capital ratio, and it’s never come anywhere near bankruptcy. If we capitalized this more conservatively at 10-to-1, we could guarantee $150 billion in loans and create more than a million jobs. ........ Look at the tar roofs covering millions of American buildings. They absorb huge amounts of heat when it’s hot. And they require more air conditioning to cool the rooms. Mayor Bloomberg started a program to hire and train young people to paint New York’s roofs white. ........ In most of these places you could recover the cost of the paint and the labor in a week. ...... Every analysis shows that TARP and the stimulus saved us from a second Great Depression. After the GM and Chrysler bailouts, we have something like 75,000 more jobs in the industry. Closure of the factories and the suppliers with them would have cost a million jobs. The stimulus should have been more vigorously defended in the last election. It did work, but it didn’t “fix the economy” because it was an $800 billion stimulus trying to fix a $3 trillion hole. ........ If we cut a lot of government spending while our economy still has so little private investment, we risk weakening the economy even more and increasing the deficit because tax revenues can fall more than spending is cut. ...... When asked why he robbed banks, Willie Sutton said, “Because that’s where the money is.” We have to unlock that money and take steps to get U.S. corporations to invest some of the $2 trillion they have accumulated. ....... The real thing that has killed us in the last 10 years is that too much of our dealmaking creativity has been devoted to expanding the financial sector in ways that don’t create new businesses and more jobs and to persuading people to take on excessive debt loads to make up for the fact that their incomes are stagnant. ...... In the seven years and eight months that preceded the meltdown, our economy produced a meager 4 million new jobs, far too few to cope with millions coming into the workforce, and virtually all those jobs were created in housing, finance, and consumer spending. ........ the former labor commissioner in Georgia, Michael Thurmond. After job vacancies go unfilled for a certain period of time, the state offers businesses the money to train potential employees themselves. During the training period, the companies don’t become employers, so they don’t have to start paying Social Security taxes or employer benefits. They train people their way, then hire those who succeed as regular employees, reducing the time lag between when a job is advertised and when it is filled. With unemployment at 9 percent and the real rate of those without full-time work higher, there are 3 million posted job vacancies. Filling them faster could make a big difference. ........ Lower the rates to be competitive, but reduce the loopholes that cause unfair disparities. We all need to contribute something to help meet our shared challenges and responsibilities, including solving the debt problem. ...... we abandoned the path of balanced budgets 10 years ago, choosing instead large tax cuts especially for higher-income people like me, along with two wars and the senior citizens’ drug benefit. In the history of our republic, it’s the first time we ever cut taxes while going to war. ...... There must be opportunities to be tapped, given all the cash in banks and corporate treasuries. ........ There’s been a remarkable lack of attention to “microeconomics,” the untapped growth potential of American corporations, entrepreneurs, and workers.
Now we know, the banks are sitting on two trillion dollars of cash, and the corporations are sitting on two trillion dollars of cash. There is no shortage of cash. There is no shortage of people with skills. There are huge unmet demands. So what's amiss?

Bill Clinton is well qualified to be talking on this topic. He sat on an economy that did well. The economy did so well he deserved a third term.

But there is a big missing link in the picture he paints. That missing link is globalization. Bill Clinton never really got that part. He was the kid standing on the shore admiring the waves of globalization. But he never really got into the waters, as Governor, as President, and as former President. That is a curious thing to say because I would give him an A for trying.

Money wants to grow. Four trillion dollars sitting around is money not growing. It is safe, but it is not growing. And money wants to grow. It is the very nature of money, that it wants to grow. And the best way to grow that money is by building the global financial infrastructure that will take trillions into global microfinance and global infrastructure. There will be guaranteed 10% annual returns. Money wants to grow.

Early in the recession the Chinese challenged the special place of the dollar in the world. They were right. You can not complain about the very real deficit and debt problem America has and also protect the dollar's special place in the world. There is a direct correlation between that special place for the dollar and America's fiscal indiscipline.

Another gap in his thinking is that he seems to suggest clean tech has taken the place of internet technology as an engine of growth. And so you see a huge blind spot: broadband. Ubiquitous wireless broadband is the interstate highway of these times and America does not have ubiquitous, it does not have wireless, and it does not have broadband. One gigabit per second would be broadband.
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Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Bush Tax Cuts: Why There Are No Jobs In America

No BushImage via WikipediaCreating jobs is no rocket science. The entrepreneurs in the private sector do it. But people in DC can get in the way in a major way. And they have been doing it. The single biggest reason why America does not have the jobs it needs would be the Bush tax cuts.

I am for a small, efficient government. Heck, I am a tech entrepreneur, I want the government out of my face as much as possible. And cutting taxes is one way to achieve that goal of small government. But you have to create surpluses first.

You don't engage in a trillion dollar war in Iraq a-n-d spend another trillion dollars on tax cuts with borrowed money. That is like saying the small government agenda in America is China's responsibility.

The single best thing DC can do to create jobs is to balance the budget. And so getting rid of the Bush tax cuts is going to have to be the center piece of the Obama 2012 effort. If you want to keep the Bush tax cuts, vote for someone else, vote for Arizona Palin, or whoever. Because Barack Obama is for eliminating the irresponsible Bush tax cuts and creating jobs for the American people.

The US Military Budget Needs To Come Down To 100 Billion From 600
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Monday, June 13, 2011

Going To War With Communications Technology

Mobile phone evolution (Japan 1997-2004)Image via WikipediaNovember 2005: Barackface: Pentagon, Hexagon: The Pentagon masterminds the physical wars the US wages. .... I propose a Hexagon, a physical building, perhaps not as large, as an appendage to the US State Department structure, preferably in New York City somewhere, perhaps in Queens. ..... This is about waging a war with communications technology. This is about spreading democracy the grassroots way. This is about the immigrants in New York City taking the lead for their respective countries.

March 2006: Barackface: Long War: This Long War might give an opportunity to instead master a war with communications technology. Because if you don't, you are practically gearing for a hot war with China. I would think that is a total no no.
New York Times: U.S. Underwrites Internet Detour Around Censors: The Obama administration is leading a global effort to deploy “shadow” Internet and mobile phone systems that dissidents can use to undermine repressive governments that seek to silence them by censoring or shutting down telecommunications networks. ...... The effort includes secretive projects to create independent cellphone networks inside foreign countries, as well as one operation out of a spy novel in a fifth-floor shop on L Street in Washington, where a group of young entrepreneurs who look as if they could be in a garage band are fitting deceptively innocent-looking hardware into a prototype “Internet in a suitcase.” ......... Financed with a $2 million State Department grant, the suitcase could be secreted across a border and quickly set up to allow wireless communication over a wide area with a link to the global Internet. ....... liberation-technology movement sweeping the globe. ...... stealth wireless networks that would enable activists to communicate outside the reach of governments in countries like Iran, Syria and Libya ....... $50 million to create an independent cellphone network in Afghanistan using towers on protected military bases inside the country. It is intended to offset the Taliban’s ability to shut down the official Afghan services, seemingly at will. ........ has brought together an improbable alliance of diplomats and military engineers, young programmers and dissidents from at least a dozen countries, many of whom variously describe the new approach as more audacious and clever and, yes, cooler ....... operatives who have been burying Chinese cellphones in the hills near the border with North Korea, where they can be dug up and used to make furtive calls ...... a separate infrastructure where the technology is nearly impossible to shut down, to control, to surveil ....... disempowers central authorities from infringing on people’s fundamental human right to communicate ...... “No matter how much circumvention the protesters use, if the government slows the network down to a crawl, you can’t upload YouTube videos or Facebook postings,” Mr. Anderson said. “They need alternative ways of sharing information or alternative ways of getting it out of the country.” ........ a project that would modify Bluetooth so that a file containing, say, a video of a protester being beaten, could automatically jump from phone to phone within a “trusted network” of citizens. ....... By the end of 2011, the State Department will have spent some $70 million on circumvention efforts and related technologies ...... “The Afghans wanted the Cadillac plan, which is pretty expensive” ...... From the activist geeks on L Street in Washington to the military engineers in Afghanistan, the global appeal of the technology hints at the craving for open communication. ..... “I don’t think this revolution could have taken place without the existence of the World Wide Web.”
The military action in Libya was necessary - to prevent a Rwanda, to send a signal to dictators elsewhere - but it is not scalable. You could not take it to Saudi Arabia, not Iran, not Russia, not certainly China. But you can take these stealth communication tools everywhere. The phone is mightier than the sword.
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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Americans Are Fat

Michelle Obama, official White House portrait.Image via WikipediaThe obesity epidemic in America more than anything symbolizes what is wrong with this country, and how it has gotten itself off the tracks. Michelle Obama more than any other single person in this country has managed to hit the nail on the head, although her efforts need some major scaling.

The obesity epidemic in America and the debts and deficits as far as the eyes can see are both deeply correlated. A people that can not eat right are not capable of voting for elected officials who can make the right decisions for them in public matters like the budget.

Barack Is Going To Need Me All Over Again
Obama 2012 Is On
Michelle Obama Is Just Fabulous

The trimming of the national budget has to start with the voters' waistlines.

The number one reason the job market in America is so bleak is because the national budget is out of control. You erase the deficit and you will start creating jobs. And both parties have been focused on the tiny slivers of the budget. I mean, come on, if defunding Planned Parenthood might have balanced the budget even I might have supported the move.

You balance the budget by looking at the military budget. You take one hard look at the entitlement programs. And the Bush tax cuts are so very offensive. The Bush tax cuts are probably the number one reason why there are not plentiful jobs in America.

The US Military Budget Needs To Come Down To 100 Billion From 600
I Fixed The Budget, You Can Too
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Thursday, June 02, 2011

Syria Is Being Left To The Dogs

Getting people to come out into the streets in large numbers is the hardest part of a democracy movement. But when they do, it is for the world to support them. And the Syrian people are not being accorded that basic reach out.

There are many, many nonviolent options. One would be for the governments of the world to no longer recognize the Assad government. Kick his ambassadors out. Freeze all his global assets, and that of his cronies. There is so much that can be done outside of Syria to help out the brave people of Syria.

Even the most brutal of dictators think of their personal future. Assad crossed the line a long time ago. He knows full well that when all is said and done and when he has lost as he will, he will face either imprisonment or death.

But the world watches when it needs to act.

The Long March Of Democracy
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