Tag: lobbyists

NYT’s Krugman “Their Own Private Europe”

You can read the entire column here.

Krugman nicely lays out the economic issues in Greece, Ireland and Britain. And he traces it to the deregulation of banking which resulted in the real estate booms both in those places listed above, and here in the United States.

I may have mentioned before a co-worker who is all for completely deregulating banks. The rest of us looked at him with horror and I exclaimed “How exactly do you think we got into the mess in the first place?” If the Bush Administration hadn’t gone full tilt to cowtow to the banks and peel back more regulatory layers then we wouldn’t have seen the tech bubble, the housing bubble, any of the bubbles at all!

Over the past 40 or so years banks and their lobbyists have fought to be deregulated, to buy up smaller banking concerns, merge with insurance companies and it goes on, all to enhance the bottom line for their shareholders. The banks promised us that they’d self-regulate. Yeah, you’re reading me, it’s right up in the category of “I’m not gonna hurt you, I’m just gonna bash your brains the fuck in!”

And it’s only going to get worse if we do nothing. That horrid US Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case pretty much sealed the ability of corporations to BUY elections.
I can understand why the Supreme Court did what they did. I’ve discussed it here numerous times that over a century ago, Corporations were endowed with the same rights as a flesh and blood human. The prior notion is nothing but absolute bovine effluent, but the notion has carried forward into case law. And law in general is nothing without it’s archival or case law.

So the reality is, it’s we the people who allowed this to happen. If you have a retirement 401(k) take a look at the prospectus. I’d be willing to bet there’s a bank or insurance company in there hiding in plain sight.

I remember in the 1970’s we had a number of banks to choose from. There was Industrial National, Hospital Trust, Citizens, Peoples, Eastland. Now you’ve got a few credit unionish banks and Bank of America, Citizens, and Sovereign.

Not much choice at all and the banks know this so they’ll try so screw you any way they can. Come on, 1.25% on six month CD? How stingy can you get?

The fix to this is for more citizens to become politically involved. And I don’t mean you necessarily have to join the Democratic or Republican (aka Tea Party) parties. Start a new party, we’ve done it here Rhode Island and for the first time in my memory we had not just two or three candidates for Governor but seven. Seven! A good chunk were independents and for the first time in it’s history, Rhode Island now has Governor Lincoln D. Chafee an Independent!

We need to have so many candidates running for office that it becomes economically infeasible for corporations to buy their way through. We need to recruit people who will tell lobbyists to take a hike. And we need to make it so ALL candidates accept public financing of their campaign. That’s the only way we’ll ever fix this mess.

Getting to the post petro-fuel era

This is a fantastic analysis of what the obstacles are to reducing our dependence upon fossil fuels.

Jose Etcheverry doesn’t dance around the main obstacle, entrenched corporate interests. It is said that Tesla figured out how to transmit power without wires and that Westinghouse and Edison officials at that time didn’t like the idea because they couldn’t slap a meter on it. Based on what I’ve been able to glean from my electric bill and the occasional newsletter inserts is that the cost to produce and distribute the power is far less than the 14 cents per kWh I pay. And energy usage is fairly consistent throughout the year. So explain why we couldn’t shift our electricity to a subscription usage, where for $x you get y kWH usage per month. Hell if you ask they’ll put you on a budget plan and you pay a fixed amount each month.

The entrenched corporations have the money to pay for big shot lobbyists. That much should be clear to all of us.

But we need to start moving past this. There are many encouraging discoveries being made, things like Thermal De Polymerization (TDP), using plant cellulose to generate gasoline, wind and solar systems to name just a few.

One of the main fields that is lacking is energy storage. In the case of TDP and cellulose fuels they are closest to what we do now.

Wind and solar have a drawback. During sustained winds and full daylight they produce a huge amount of electricity. But storing that electricity is a problem.

Current battery technology isn’t showing much progress. The students at M.I.T. did figure out that with solar or wind you could generate and capture hydrogen from water during the day when usage is light, then run the hydrogen through a fuel cell at night to provide power. That might work.