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Guest Post: A Banana Republic With No Bananas

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Washington’s Blog

Preface: If this essay is too serious or over the top for you, just watch former Wall Streeter Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert’s funny coverage of this story, as well as their coverage of Yves’ must-read article on Magnetar.

Experts on third world banana republics from the IMF and the Federal Reserve have said the U.S. has become a third world banana republic (and see this and this).

Are they right?

Well, let’s look at Wikipedia’s description of the four factors which make a country a banana republic.

Profits Privatized and Debts Socialized

The first feature of a banana republic as “A collusion between the overweening state and certain favored monopolistic concerns, whereby the profits can be privatized and the debts socialized.”

✓ Check.

As I pointed out in November:

Nouriel Roubini writes in a recent essay:

This is a crisis of solvency, not just liquidity, but true deleveraging has not begun yet because the losses of financial institutions have been socialised and put on government balance sheets. This limits the ability of banks to lend, households to spend and companies to invest…

The releveraging of the public sector through its build-up of large fiscal deficits risks crowding out a recovery in private sector spending.

Roubini has previously written:

We’re essentially continuing a system where profits are privatized and…losses socialized.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb says the same thing:

After finishing The Black Swan, I realized there was a cancer. The cancer was a huge buildup of risk-taking based on the lack of understanding of reality. The second problem is the hidden risk with new financial products. And the third is the interdependence among financial institutions.

[Interviewer]: But aren’t those the very problems we’re supposed to be fixing?

NT: They’re all still here. Today we still have the same amount of debt, but it belongs to governments. Normally debt would get destroyed and turn to air. Debt is a mistake between lender and borrower, and both should suffer. But the government is socializing all these losses by transforming them into liabilities for your children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. What is the effect? The doctor has shown up and relieved the patient’s symptoms – and transformed the tumour into a metastatic tumour. We still have the same disease. We still have too much debt, too many big banks, too much state sponsorship of risk-taking. And now we have six million more Americans who are unemployed – a lot more than that if you count hidden unemployment.

[Interviewer]: Are you saying the U.S. shouldn’t have done all those bailouts? What was the alternative?

NT: Blood, sweat and tears. A lot of the growth of the past few years was fake growth from debt. So swallow the losses, be dignified and move on. Suck it up. I gather you’re not too impressed with the folks in Washington who are handling this crisis.

Ben Bernanke saved nothing! He shouldn’t be allowed in Washington. He’s like a doctor who misses the metastatic tumour and says the patient is doing very well.

Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz calls it “socialism for the rich”. So do many others.

Devalued Paper Currency

The second characteristic of a banana republic is “Devalued paper currency in the international community.”

✓ Check. Here’s a chart of the trade weighted US Dollar from 1973-2009.

US_dollar

And here’s a bonus chart showing the decline in the dollar’s purchasing power from 1913 to 2005:

US_dollar

Politicians Use Time in Office to Maximize Their Own Gains

The third characteristic of a banana republic is:

Kleptocracy — those in positions of influence use their time in office to maximize their own gains, always ensuring that any shortfall is made up by those unfortunates whose daily life involves earning money rather than making it.

✓ Check. As I wrote last month:

Summers, Geithner, Bernanke and Congress like things just the way they are.

Of course they do … they’re bought and paid for:

  • Lobbyists from the financial industry have paid hundreds of millions to Congress and the Obama administration. They have bought virtually all of the key congress members and senators on committees overseeing finances and banking. The Congress people who receive the most money from lobbyists are the most opposed to regulation. See this, this, this, this, this, this, and this.
  • Obama received more donations from Goldman Sachs and the rest of the financial industry than almost anyone else
  • Summers and the rest of Obama’s economic team have made many millions – even in the first few months of being appointed, or right beforehand – from the financial industry

The chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University (Donald J. Boudreaux) says that it is inaccurate to call politicians prostitutes. Specifically, he says that they are more correct to call them “pimps”, since they are pimping out the American people to the financial giants …

Corruption Remains Unchecked, Politicians Are Only for Show

And the fourth characteristic of a banana republic is:

There must be no principle of accountability within the government so that the political corruption by which the banana republic operates is left unchecked. The members of the national legislature will be (a) largely for sale and (b) consulted only for ceremonial and rubber-stamp purposes some time after all the truly important decisions have already been made elsewhere.

✓ Check. There’s no accountability.

For example, former Vice President of Dallas Federal Reserve, who said that the failure of the government to provide more information about the bailout signals corruption. As ABC writes:

Gerald O’Driscoll, a former vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, said he worried that the failure of the government to provide more information about its rescue spending could signal corruption.

“Nontransparency in government programs is always associated with corruption in other countries, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t be here,” he said.

As I noted in October:

William K. Black – professor of economics and law, and the senior regulator during the S & L crisis – says that that the government’s entire strategy now – as during the S&L crisis – is to cover up how bad things are (“the entire strategy is to keep people from getting the facts”).

Indeed, as I have previously documented, 7 out of the 8 giant, money center banks went bankrupt in the 1980′s during the “Latin American Crisis”, and the government’s response was to cover up their insolvency.

Black also says:

There has been no honest examination of the crisis because it would embarrass C.E.O.s and politicians . . .

Instead, the Treasury and the Fed are urging us not to examine the crisis and to believe that all will soon be well.

PhD economist Dean Baker made a similar point, lambasting the Federal Reserve for blowing the bubble, and pointing out that those who caused the disaster are trying to shift the focus as fast as they can:

The current craze in DC policy circles is to create a “systematic risk regulator” to make sure that the country never experiences another economic crisis like the current one. This push is part of a cover-up of what really went wrong and does absolutely nothing to address the underlying problem that led to this financial and economic collapse.

Baker also says:

“Instead of striving to uncover the truth, [Congress] may seek to conceal it” and tell banksters they’re free to steal again.

Politicians are for sale.

And Congress made a big show of passing derivatives reform legislation, but actually weakened existing regulations. In fact, the legislation was “probably written by JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs” (two of the biggest derivatives players). In other words, Congress just rubber-stamped decisions which were already made elsewhere.

The same is true with every other piece of financial “reform” legislation which has been passed. See this and this.

It’s all for show, folks. Dodd, Frank, Obama and all the other politicians of both parties (with the exception of a handful trying to do the right thing) are “consulted only for ceremonial and rubber-stamp purposes some time after all the truly important decisions [about economic legislation] have already been made elsewhere”

Without the Bananas

Wikipedia gives some additional background on the term “banana republic”:

Banana republic is a pejorative term originally used to refer to a country that is politically unstable, dependent on limited agriculture (e.g. bananas), and ruled by a small, self-elected, wealthy, and corrupt clique.

Well, America isn’t dependent on limited agriculture like bananas. But just about the only areas of growth are in the military and in giant companies lavished with buckets of cash and special “favors” by Uncle Sugar.

As one commentator succinctly put it, America has become:

A banana republic with no bananas.

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26 comments

  1. Glen

    “A banana republic with no bananas.”

    Unless we count the almighty American consumer, Americana middleclassus exstinctus.

    So we’re more like a banana republic which has run out of bananas.

  2. Brett

    I had to hunt this up:

    “This growing concentration of income at the top is nothing like the distribution of income America experienced in the first three decades following WW II. Nor is it like that found in Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. Instead it resembles the distribution of income found in three other major countries: Brazil, Mexico, and Russia.”

    – Johnston, David Cay, Free Lunch

    Just thought I’d share.

    1. will

      What pseudo mumbo jumbo intellectual crap. Our founding fathers warned us that an unconstitutional meddling and out of control federal government would create the exact distortions we see today in our country. But we can’t go back to that nonsensical constitutional crap can we ???- no we can’t-those outdated notions of a free market and constitutional limited government just don’t work anymore-do they??- because of where we are today..And where exactly are we today? We are bankrupt and close to tyranny that’s where-exactly where our founders said we’d be-because of a big -out of control-deficit spending- unresponsive- bureaucratic- liberty killing-capital destroying-overregulating- free market distorting federal government-that’s why. A government that’s been growing like a cancer since FDR decided the Constitution didn’t matter anymore and decided to bust through the firewalls of the Constitution. As the great economist Milton Freidman once said -he was beginning to believe that all our problems- apart from personal of course-were due to too much government. But that’s too simplistic for a great mind like yours-isn’t it? So please enlighten me -a simple small minded tea bagger like me. Where exactly are we-and what exactly is the solution?? -since our founding fathers didn’t know sh—according to a genius like you!!

  3. Paul Tioxon

    We become what we hate. In 1947, The National Security Act signaled the end to the Republic and put us on the course that is fully actualized today. The United States has many of the critical elements of fascism and monopoly capitalism serving the original oligarchy structure as written down in the state constitutions of the 13 original states. The entire country was based on the elections for the public office based on 3 necessary criteria: 1. Personal Wealth 2. Protestant religious belief exclusively, with some liberal allowances for those who professed Christianity in general and the Bible as Divinely inspired 3. Mostly White Male, of a certain age. Again, small exceptions, mostly in the North but one and only one criteria stands out, North and South, that of wealth. The government was specifically composed by and for men of wealth. It has grudgingly changed, through bloody conflict and civil war and political struggle to be what it has become. Without slavery or indentured bondage, a socially mobile middle class was developed that is comfortable and confident of their place and value in the world. But, the veil has been lifted, much more so than since the mass of middle class educated children of the SDS and SNCC sought to make the ideals real through participatory democracy. The reactionary election of 1968 has stopped all social progress in the country and slowly drained the view that a government of the people, by the people and for the people was nothing more than liberal hogwash and a pretext for revolutionary treason in conjunction with The Soviets. Of course, all people wanted was a better life which translates into a bigger slice of the economic pie, not pie in the sky, but health care, education, jobs, a secure retirement in old age. A lot of that was delivered to an overwhelming majority. What we have now are bankruptcies, foreclosures, long term unemployment, covert political tricks from the new generation of oligarchs and their paid agents and open class warfare. We are being liquidated financially so we can’t effectively act politically. But the middle class has been treated so well for so long, we did not realize how little we are valued by the oligarchs. At least, a lot of us. But the current crisis has been endlessly analyzed by social scientists in other, previous iterations from here and abroad. There are so many valid criticism, especially Econned, that many people can see the problem as a whole. I concur with the basic analysis of the guest writer about the banana republic analogy. And so do other citizens. The tea partiers, while clownish and manipulated also contain many aggrieved citizens, who are by all accounts, well educated and realize they are being liquidated and can clearly see the nature of their dispossession. Their solutions are to retreat into the past as evidenced by tri corner colonial hats and the don’t tread on me flags. But looking to the future and seeing themselves in it is not a skill set they were brought up with. And they are smart enough to see that the plans being made for them, do include a lot of their input. They want to wake up everyday to a well managed routine like all of the other days before. The massive social discontinuity is of a scale they can not measure with their typical means of observation. Hence, the bid for going back to the founding fathers and maybe absorbing some pre existing canned analysis form neo conservatives that sounds plausible. All of their rising up will be for naught. They are few in numbers and disorganized. Very late to the game. On the other hand, Yves, you and your cohorts here are providing a platform for opposition. Real political resistance. You are providing the intellectual validity and ideological platform to build a new politics that will deal with the problems. All of this writing and blogging and interviewing has to do more than provide more intel for trades. Again, if what you business types are saying is true, we are headed for a completely unmanageable financial collapse, if we are not going through the phases of one right now, are the participants using this forum as a basis for affecting as much political pressure that you have within your reach?

    1. Skippy

      Paul, if you value your life do not, repeat do not print that (hand flyer) and hand it out to Teabaggers/Fauxnews belifers with out heavy escort.

      Skippy…and some people think I’ve got a death wish….spot on paul!!!

      1. jonboinAR

        Okay, those of us who read NC, Thoma, Base. Scen., Rithholz, etc. need to organize. “Bwa, bwa, bwa, boo hoo, there isn’t a party ready made for us.” Let’s just do it. Quit crying and do it. How do we get started? The oligarchs have succeeded by being patient and having their you-know-what together. Let’s show some of that same gumption. How do we get started? Who’s our intellectual leadership? Yves, SJ, Thoma? Come on, let’s go. Don’t boo hoo hoo me no more, ^&%$#!! How can I get my email to those who care without exposing to all the spammers in the world?

    2. NS

      The article and this subsequent post are outstanding. As to what we (we’re not all business types) can do, I don’t know. Even if Joe 6 pack and Jane school teacher don’t understand the intricacies of SIVs, policies which assisted the massive transfer of wealth and hollowing out of the middle class; they do know basically that they have been and are being robbed, that govt is complicit and their lives will never be the same as a result.

      I, like many others, are frustrated as there isn’t a platform that effectively can bring pressure to bear as common citizens. Attempts at forming a 3rd party have been for naught. Most everyone recognizes we have one party, owned and paid for-their only difference is rhetoric. We have no avenues as media effectively divided us and framed problems so we point fingers at our each other rather than finding our commonalities, which are many, to organize and empower ourselves, then focus on the real culprits and issues.

      There are those who are trying. But, the spirit is broken. People who are employed want to stay that way because they are fearful, they will not ‘rock the boat’, the mouths of their children trump the ability to fight.

      Media, politicians, oligarchs are contemptuous of us all. They believe their own BS. So, many of us use blogs to help others come to terms and understand what happened, what is going to happen. The big gaping hole and broken spirits come from the realization we are impotent to do anything about it which results in a positive for the current serfs/slaves of the world of which we are a part. Time to end the charade and at least crown, let them throw the lavish parties for themselves so we can call them what they are and what is being essentially broadcast by them daily..”let them eat cake”.

      1. will

        What pseudo mumbo jumbo intellectual crap. Our founding fathers warned us that an unconstitutional meddling and out of control federal government would create the exact distortions we see today in our country. But we can’t go back to that nonsensical constitutional crap can we ???- no we can’t-those outdated notions of a free market and constitutional limited government just don’t work anymore-do they??- because of where we are today..And where exactly are we today? We are bankrupt and close to tyranny that’s where-exactly where our founders said we’d be-because of a big -out of control-deficit spending- unresponsive- bureaucratic- liberty killing-capital destroying-overregulating- free market distorting federal government-that’s why. A government that’s been growing like a cancer since FDR decided the Constitution didn’t matter anymore and decided to bust through the firewalls of the Constitution. As the great economist Milton Freidman once said -he was beginning to believe that all our problems- apart from personal of course-were due to too much government. But that’s too simplistic for a great mind like yours-isn’t it? So please enlighten me -a simple small minded tea bagger like me. Where exactly are we-and what exactly is the solution?? -since our founding fathers didn’t know sh—according to a genius like you!!

    3. JTFaraday

      “Hence, the bid for going back to the founding fathers and maybe absorbing some pre existing canned analysis form neo conservatives that sounds plausible.”

      I don’t see the Tea Baggers as offering much of a “real” resistance.

      But, being honest here, I don’t see what makes them much different than SDS and SNCC, etc, etc, reaching back to an ideal of “participatory democracy” (a la Tom Paine, let’s say) that never quite got carried by the American Revolution.

      You may like them better, but they were backward looking and failed too, no? Just because they expanded the identities participating doesn’t mean they were any more “forward looking” in terms of dealing with an overwhelming oligarchical power that seats itself firmly WITHIN the Federal Government. And, certainly, some of them could see that. It’s not like they didn’t know.

      In fact, today it may well be the tea partiers who have a point that the US federal government is too big and too powerful, and not representing “people like me,” (and yet as they keep saying, they have to pay for it).

      However, whenever anyone criticizes that too-powerful federal government, “liberal” knees jerk hyperactively and they start blathering like mind controlled zombies about the past–southern defined “states rights,” etc, etc– rather than actually thinking about where we might be today.

      All of which is just to say that I don’t think for a second that the baggers are the only people whose thinking is overdetermined by narrow frames derived from their reading of history, rather than a reading of the present.

      Of course, it’s not like anyone can rely on the MSM–never mind Fox–for real news reporting. Maybe the real problem is that too few of us can see where we really are, and those of us privileged to work in fedgov have our own agendas and these have little to do with the common good of the nation.

      1. BruiserND

        “I don’t see the Tea Baggers as offering much of a “real” resistance. ” JTF…the “F” stands for fool

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUFEyQ7aTOs
        “New York Minute”

        Harry got up
        Dressed all in black
        Went down to the station
        And he never came back
        They found his clothing
        Scattered somewhere down the track
        And he won’t be down on Wall Street
        in the morning

        He had a home
        The love of a girl
        But men get lost sometimes
        As years unfurl
        One day he crossed some line
        And he was too much in this world
        But I guess it doesn’t matter anymore

        In a New York Minute
        Everything can change
        In a New York Minute
        Things can get pretty strange
        In a New York Minute
        Everything can change
        In a New York Minute

        Lying here in the darkness
        I hear the sirens wail
        Somebody going to emergency
        Somebody’s going to jail
        If you find somebody to love in this world
        You better hang on tooth and nail
        The wolf is always at the door

        In a New York Minute
        Everything can change
        In a New York Minute
        Things can get a little strange
        In a New York Minute
        Everything can change
        In a New York Minute

        And in these days
        When darkness falls early
        And people rush home
        To the ones they love
        You better take a fool’s advice
        And take care of your own
        One day they’re here;
        Next day they’re gone

        I pulled my coat around my shoulders
        And took a walk down through the park
        The leaves were falling around me
        The groaning city in the gathering dark
        On some solitary rock
        A desperate lover left his mark,
        “Baby, I’ve changed. Please come back.”

        What the head makes cloudy
        The heart makes very clear
        The days were so much brighter
        In the time when she was here
        But I know there’s somebody somewhere
        Make these dark clouds disappear
        Until that day, I have to believe
        I believe, I believe

        In a New York Minute
        Everything can change
        In a New York Minute
        You can get out of the rain
        In a New York Minute
        Everything can change
        In a New York Minute

  4. DownSouth

    I could not disagree with you more.

    It’s not what’s you’ve included in your definition of “banana republic,” but what you have omitted.

    The #1, numero uno, by far most important feature of a banana republic is that the local government lacks sovereignty. You quote the Wikipeda definition of a banana republic as being “a country…ruled by a small, self-elected, wealthy, and corrupt clique.”

    In the case of Latin America, which is where the term “banana republic” originated, the corrupt elite is anything but “self-elected.” Quite the contrary, the corrupt elite is appointed and anointed by the United States, kept in power by violence—-US military intervention or the threat of US military intervention hangs like a sword over these countries. This certainly is and has been the case with Mexico for the past 175 years.

    I have lived in Mexico for the past 10 years or so. Let me assure you that savvy Mexicans look northward in pure wonderment. The peoples of Latin America had banana republics imposed upon them by the United States. The people of the United States, on the other hand, are choosing to turn their country into a banana republic of their own free will and volition.

    The people of the United States are doing this to themselves.

    Perhaps this was inevitable, as Hannah Arendt augured:

    To substitute violence for power can bring victory, but the price is very high; for it is not only paid by the vanquished, it is also paid by the victor in terms of his own power. This is especially true where the victor happens to enjoy domestically the blessings of constitutional government. Henry Steele Commager is entirely right: “If we subvert world order and destroy world peace we must inevitably subvert and destroy our own political institutions first.” The much-feared boomerang effect of the “government of subject races” (Lord Cromer) on the home government during the imperialist era meant that rule by violence in faraway lands would end by affecting the government of England, that the last “subject race” would be the English themselves.
    –Hannah Arendt, Crises of the Republic

  5. decora

    until people stop immigrating here from ‘actual’ third world countries, (let alone Canada), i wont be able to understand how the US is a third world country.

    1. UnnaturalIntelligence

      @decora, the only Canadians immigrating to the US are typically legally-resident, highly-educated Canadians who are hoping to get a little chunk of the pie (esp. when CAD was weak), and maybe some nice weather for a change. There also are quite a few Americans who legally go up to Canada for different reasons. This is entirely normal between two wealthy countries.

      To even jokingly suggest that Canada is a source of economically destitute migrants is absurd, especially given that resource-rich Canada is quickly becoming the wealthier of the two countries, per capita, and will likely increase this gap in the years to come based on current trends.

      In fact, Canada will probably be contending with American economic migrants to its booming resource extraction regions from the soon-to-be impoverished midwest. I’m almost amazed that more is not done to attract Americans up here, given that we practically have to beg people to go to Alberta to dig up oil for 6 figures a year.

  6. esersin

    Banana Republic with Banana companies that are too big to fail.

    Banana Companies (Adapted from Banana Republic entry @ Wikipedia)
    A collusion between the overweening management and certain favored monopolistic concerns, whereby the management positions can be hijacked and the company issues socialized.
    Devalued morale in the global workforce community.
    Kleptocracy — those in positions of influence use their time in office to maximize their own gains, always ensuring that any shortfall is made up by those unfortunates whose daily life involves earning money rather than making it.
    There must be no principle of accountability within the company so that the managerial corruption by which the banana company operates is left unchecked. The members of the senior management will be (a) largely ineffective and (b) consulted only for ceremonial and rubber-stamp purposes some time after all the truly important decisions have already been made elsewhere.

  7. Reno Dino

    I like the Banana Republic analogy. Eventually, if South America is any guide,
    BRs give rise to populism and socialism. Not always a pretty process, but wealth gets redistributed. Tea baggers are clueless Republican bots. The Grand Old Party lost its moderates and independents and was forced to recognize and activate the 15% who listen and believe in right wing talk radio. They are still fighting the Cold War. How clueless is that?

  8. anyday

    Yes, we have no bananas, but doesn’t corn count? We produce so much GMO corn we need to keep coming up with uses for it–like fuel, cellulose bags, etc. and threaten other countries to buy it since neither we nor our pigs and cattle can consume it all.

  9. Neal Deesit

    The link to Yves Smith’s “must-read article on Magnetar” in the Preface does not work. Her “Rahm Emanuel and Magnetar Capital: The Definition of Compromised” is here .

  10. Vespasian

    In re: to Paul Tioxin et al about returning the politics to the people instead of Big Money Interests, I wrote the following on Archein.com earlier this week(thanks to NC for the link), and I think it is the place to start political efforts against the Establishment:

    “I think a big problem is the Dem / GOP Duopoly of our politics. The underlying structural problem is our voting mechanism, and how it’s “single voter, single vote” style creates a system that drives, in Darwinian fashion, towards only two power blocks, i.e., parties.

    For instance, someone (like myself) who mainly agrees with the GOP platform, but despises their subversion of that same platform, propaganda practices, and continued espousing of cultural norms of the Bible Belt … has no party to identify with. Were I and other like-minded citizens to form a “third” party to challenge the GOP in the mid-right spectrum, the normal “Don’t Split the Vote” argument would doubtless be flung around. See Dan Quayle’s recent op-ed in WaPo for typical argumentation along this lines, and northern NY for the recent case history.

    When the party bosses (i.e., establishment) have this defense available to them, it is incredibly difficult for voters to discipline them. The citizens feel they have no influence, and lose interest in political conversation, thereby further undercutting any political discipline.

    The party primaries (aside: why are citizens on the hook for the cost of determining which candidates will be chosen by their respective party; shouldn’t that cost be borne by those parties?) become all about pleasing the (perceived) base, then the chosen candidate’s both run to the middle to fight over the non-ideological moderates. This is too easy to see through, and many who aren’t of “the base” feel the political conversation is irrelevant to their lives … hence our low voting %, and politics marked by extreme divisiveness.

    I think a far better system is Weighted Voting: for example, out of a slate of five candidates, each voter ranks the candidates in preference from top to bottom choice. A candidate could win with virtually zero first-rank votes, but almost across-the-board second-rank votes.

    What would the systemic, Darwinian drives of such a system lead to? Voters having a greater feel that their votes matter, leading to greater voter participation and involvement. Greater efforts by leading candidates to behave (in speeches, campaign commercials, etc) in a conciliatory and upstanding manner so as to make their political argument, but not be ranked bottom-of-the-barrel by the opposition. Increased competition within each spectrum of the ideological sphere, as a slice of the voting spectrum unhappy with an “over-arching” (Dem of GOP) party can legitimately place their votes in more close alignment with their view.

    The Dem / GOP duopoly would crash under such a system, so there’s no way Weighted Voting would be embraced by the political parties, or the business establishment, or the press … they’re all too firmly entrenched to view this game-changer as a good thing.

    The only way this voting system will be instituted is if the citizenship embraces it (without media support, natch) and makes it happen at state level by ballot initiative, etc… or our current system implodes and wiser heads involved in rebuilding our institutions emplace it then.”

  11. Shelley

    As an outsider from Canada with conservative and liberal sympathies, I can see perhaps more clearly than Americans on either side where there are overlapping concerns. I would suggest that a significant overlap occurs with the issue of lobbying. The access of business interests, including unions, to politicians is corrupting them and the government, of both parties. I think that this is an obvious point of agreement between members of the tea parties and other Americans.

    The majority of tea party participants may be conservative in many respects, even Republican, but they are also furious with the Republican Party, not only the Democrat Party. I agree that they need to refine their message, choose a target, and go after it. Seems to me that the target should be the issue of lobbying which a lot more Americans would support rather than their currently amorphous message of smaller government. Big or small, both can be corrupted if there is a means to do it.

  12. MrMoney

    The entire system has become corrupted to such a degree, it will collapse within the medium term, in my view.
    As Marc Faber suggests, we should act as our own central bankers and start buying gold. The keptocrats will not like this as the banana republic starts to unravel, but at some point, they will be forced to acknowledge that they can not control everything with their debt based fiat currency.

    http://whatisthatwhistlingsound.blogspot.com/2010/04/start-measuring-prices-in-gold.html

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