Bill Black on the Real News Network on His Three Big, Simple Demands

It is interesting to see how the popular desire for Occupy Wall Street to issue demands is leading various pundits and experts to boil down and update their views on what really needs to be done to fix the financial and political systems. (Note we are of the minority view that OWS is being shrewd in not acceding to pressure to reduce its desire for broad-based change to soundbites and an easily-to-digest program.

Bill Black give his usual forthright views on this segment on Real News Network. Enjoy!

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  1. K Ackermann

    God damn… what the hell does it take to get the scum in Washington to hear this and respond?

    Why do we have such shitty people in power?

    1. psychohistorian


      The shitty people in power are puppets in control of the biggest and strongest country of the world that is now overtly a tool of the global inherited rich.

      I keep saying we should remove them from power over us and congregate them in rooms at the Hague.

      I am chided for saying that we should laugh them out of control and I want it known I am quite serious about this laughing stuff. The laugh I am talking about here comes from millions, if not billions, of disaffected humans standing peacefully out in their communities and happily saying:


      all caps is fun if used sparingly……

      If not now, when?

      Start laughing folks……

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Humor and practical jokes were key to the Optor strategy, which was very successful in Serbia. It is particular important in authoritarian countries, since frontal opposition to TPTB tends to get smashed.

      2. Richard Kline

        Ridicule is one of the most potent social sanctions, and particularly confounds authority. If you ignore it, you look weak; if you kick at it, you can’t take it. Ridicule and humor are essential tools for bringing power down to earth because they are so quintessentially human, and they undercut the fear one is supposed to experience before ‘authority.’ And remember too, The Man _wants_ you exhausted, raging, fearful, and burnt out, so remember to have fun and feel the sun on your face; that, too, is resistance to power.

        1. lambert strether

          Rather than smash a window, it would be more effective to put a printout on the window that says: “This is not a broken window,” perhaps with an image of the crack. (“Ceci n’est pas…”).

          Not only is this funnier, it’s non-violent, more photogenic, and sends EXACTLY the same message to the 1% (“nice little host body you’ve got here, shame if anything happened to it…”)

          1. Dan

            That’s really brilliant; “Ceci n’est pas une fenêtre brisée” would be the google translate version. I may print a bunch up and give them to my local Occupy group.

          2. Anonymous Comment

            Genius. They should be printed up and passed out immediately. Who will do so? Perhaps you , lambert.

            Truly it is an idea worth growing.

        2. Sarah

          The tools used against us are the same tools as the cult-leader and brainwasher uses. As Joost Meerloo, who did the classic study of soldiers brainwashed by the North Koreans into confessing – and truly believing in- crimes they hadn’t committed, the only effective defense and counter-weapon is, as you point out, ridicule. Sociopaths get furious when criticized (witness Wall Street executive rage at the mild chiding by Obama awhile ago) but go absolutely CRAZY when laughed at. Their violent response is the fastest way to wake people out of their stupor and let them see that the emperor is actually standing in his frilly undies guarding his private parts.

        3. James

          Did you hear about the OWS protester who shouted, “Bernanke is a moron!”?

          They arrested him for revealing state secrets.

      3. JTFaraday

        I like a political movement with a sense of humor. I also agree with your plan, every single time I read it.

        1. aletheia33

          i too welcome your reiteration of this. my one quibble is i would want to include global rich whose wealth is not inherited but newly looted.

          and how about a few of their faithful servants, like trigger-happy big city police authorities who think of jail as a place to torture people … all right i’ll just stop with them for today.

          sorry, that wasn’t very funny. okay, here’s one: some people are planning, i’ve read, to build some igloos in central park for occupation purposes during the winter. they are saying, “you can’t arrest people for freezing water,” and “if you put a hat on top of it it’s just a snowman, they can’t arrest you for making that.”

          1. psychohistorian

            I would be happy to upgrade “global inherited rich” to a better pithy characterization….suggestions?

          2. Susan the other

            Sorry to analyze too much, but: We should choose our laughingstock carefully. The loonies of the right are very reactionary so that works for us. Take Rush Limbaugh. Remember when Franken published that book “Rush Limbaugh Has a Big Fat Ass?” That was a good start. But even Franken couldn’t get very far with his humor. A good joke or two will catch on like wildfire, even if the MSM tries to snuff it. The one I heard today on local radio was that Herman Cain was just ordering pizza when he said ‘hold the sausage.’ Please somebody do some Romney jokes.

            And I’m not really saying that Psycho’s suggestion about laughing needs a joke format. The best thing to laugh at is their arrogance and absurdity, not their snottiness and their naughtiness. But those stories are harder to tell. We probably shouldn’t bore people, but “The Aristocrats” told a long, always obscene story, certainly in keeping with our grievance, and had a universal punchline. We’ve got a lot of punchlines from The Banksters to The Congress to The Fed; what we need is a humorous education project. If only it were truly funny. The rich!

      4. Jim

        The global inherited rich? New imaginary demons? Sure. Inheriting money is legal and indeed I left my kids my “estate” in my will, whatever mean sum that may turn out to be. And if I had a million dollars it’s my right to leave that to my kids too. It’s called private property psychohistorian and we aren’t East Germany yet. We’ve had rights of inheritance in this country since before we were a country and only communists would have a problem with this.

        1. Abelenkpe

          Many of my friends and classmates were born rich. They were an entitled bunch of snotty brats who have yet to accomplish anything meaningful except invent petty problems that require pumping lots of money into the mental health profession. I do hope yours turned out better.

        2. Anonymous Jones

          Ah, yes, hereupon we reach the point in the conversation in which the person with the undeveloped mind who has never spent any time examining the complicated idea of “property” embarrasses himself to almost no end.

          Property is a state of mind. It is no universal “inalienable” right. You “have” what other people let you have (and you cannot take it with you nor control it after your demise).

          This has nothing to do with communism, just reality. Your right in any asset (tangible or intangible) is subject to everyone else agreeing to respect that right (or allowing the state to enforce that right). Try to run a strip club out of your house and you’ll see how all-encompassing your “property” right in the land is.

          Read a book. Comment sparingly. Saves much ridicule in the long run.

          1. Dan Duncan

            To my old friend Anonymous Jones…

            Of course, your comment could just as easily be applied to one’s life.

            “It [property or life] is no universal “inalienable” right. It’s a state of mind because you “have” what other people let you have.

            Property and Life are subject to everyone else agreeing to respect that right (or allowing the state to enforce that right).

            Reducing your “rights” to what others “let you have”, is a life not worth living.

            An eloquent and unwitting endorsement of the 2nd Amendment. Even if you don’t realize it….

            But hey…read a book. You’ll figure it out.

          2. Foppe

            Way to misunderstand AJ’s point, Dan.
            The point being made was that rights only exist insofar as they are granted to a group in general — and to the extent that yours are not revoked — by others. This is not to say that you only have rights if and when others explicitly grant them to you — as that would be both inefficient and impossible to organize — but rather that legitimacy is something that is backed up either democratically, or through assertions of sheer power and violence.
            Now, you may of course feel that your life is only worth living when you feel in control of it, and when you feel autonomous, but you should not mistake this feeling for a certainty, or for the ‘truth’, as that would simply be to deceive yourself.

    2. R Foreman

      They’re afraid that everyone will panic and start fighting in the streets at once, and this being such a profligate gun-toting nation, well you can imagine the disaster which could unfold. It would be Serbia sniper-alley times 10 Million (and you have to go outside to get food).

      No it’s better that we lie to each other and the government financiers lie to us indefinitely, so I can live a comfortable retirement. I mean, just imagine if the wrong kind of black swan flew in, and suddenly everybody ran for the door at once in a crowded theater on fire.. complete mayhem.. survival of the fittest.

    3. Lefty

      They were voted in by shitty citizens. We do still have some semblance of a democracy. Just a little. We have had a choice on who to put into office and apparently the people in power are the best we’ve got. If they aren’t then the responsibility, at least partially, lies with the general public.

    4. Jim

      D.C. Reflects the mental acuity, intelligence and education of the voting public.
      If you had read your Thomas Jefferson you’d be packing for Canada already.

    5. Gary Burdick

      Why isn’t anyone address the problem of having an extra 25 million people who snuck into the USA? The crime, destruction of private property, wasted money on gving these thieves and sucmbags free medical treatmen, free schooling for their breeds.

  2. Middle Seaman

    The problem in Washington is first and foremost a lack of democracy. The shitty people are there because the dictators of the country, the rich oligarchs, wanted these people there.

    Obama was elected because WS knew that he will do their bidding. Geithner is at Treasury because Obama wanted someone who will control the country’s finances in line with the needs of WS.

    The GOP is run by WS and supported by voters who like the rich.

    Bill Black’s ideas are FDR’s ideas projected into our times. Very few Democrats, even rank and file, would vote for FDR today. They like the spineless Obama.

    1. CB

      Obama is many repugnant things, but spineless is not one of them. He gravitates to and accommodates power. Always. He’s quite purposeful, actually, and extremely exigent when he thinks he’s being shown up or defied. Ask Christina Romer. He is also an ungodly sneak. It’s no wonder he’s a drone fan.

    2. Lafayette


      MS: The problem in Washington is first and foremost a lack of democracy.

      Yes, if (for example) you mean the political apathy of the 52% of Americans who stayed away from the midterm elections thus allowing the T-Party (T for Troglodyte) to control Congress.

      So, isn’t it better put, “the lack of participatory democracy”? We gave up our will to participate and have become politically blasé. (Have a look at our pathetic history of voter turnout here.)

      We do have a functional democracy. If you don’t believe that, have a look at North Korea or even India. But if you want to understand why ours can be dysfunctional, then look in the mirror. We, the sheeple, were asleep at the wheel.

      We just don’t give a damn. Until recently, that is, when the fit-hit-the-shan.

      To understand how dysfunctional is our democracy, one must look at the underlying reasons, such as:
      * Far too much money involved in electoral campaigns that reflects in Congressional cronyism (revolving-door careers in and out Federal oversight agencies) and manipulation of legislation to benefit vested-interests (read “Wall Street”).
      * A derelict supreme court that is still biased to the Right – as well as lower court system that is far too much affected by electoral campaign donations.
      * Gerrymandering that carves out election districts in such a manner as to assure the preservation/ossification of a two-party system. A third party hasn’t a chance in hell to affect politics in our country – when maybe it should.
      * A refusal to realign taxation policy to stop the Upward-Trickle Wealth Machine installed by the Reagan Administration – which created our Plutocrat Class. (Though, in fact, that class as been around for our entire history as a country. We once called them “Industrial Magnates” or the “Robber Barons”. Inevitably, legislation curbed their powers – the anti-trust acts – in the early part of the 20th century, which is what must happen again.)
      * The persistently great subsidy afforded the Military-Industrial-Complex (M-I-C) that Eisenhower himself cautioned us against. (And who, after WW2, should have known better the M-I-C than Ike himself? Why did we not listen to him?)
      * Think of the Social Investments – such as a Public Option Health-Care System or Guaranteed Education through the postsecondary level – that we could have today for the same money pissed down the M-I-C plughole. The former to assure that Americans lead healthier lives and the latter to assure that their children graduate with the skills/talents necessary in a highly competitive world.

      I could go on, but the above convey my meaning. Since the early 1980s, we have been fixated on Wealth Accumulation. The rich by manipulation Congress to get a handle on the market economy (in order to milk it with high-pricing) and the less-rich or poor contenting themselves with the crumbs that equity appreciations or flipping a condo could bring them.

      MY POINT

      We, the sheeple, believe in superficial values. When we should be concentrating rather on the policy decisions that will bring more Social Justice to our country – that is a more equitable sharing of the profits generated by a market economy that we energize (both by our work and our propensity to consume).

      Wow! Have we been sidetracked … on a Train to Nowhere.

      1. LucyLulu

        I’m not sure the problem is political apathy, though there certainly is a certain amount of that present. I know quite a few people who support all the inequitable policies in place and will fight the implementation of anything that resembles “social justice”, e.g. more progressive taxation, shoring up the social safety net, anything that involves more government spending vs. drastic cuts. They perceive the currents problems as the result of excessive taxation, spending, and regulation, i.e. the Republican meme holds popular appeal. I see the influence of the far right conservatives as being very strong.

      2. jake chase

        Absolutely right. The problem with propaganda is that it works. All you have to do is listen one morning to the stomach turning bilge churned out on CNBC addressed to people who think their salvation is “free markets”. The reason politics leads nowhere is that we live in a nation of brainwashed idiots. For two centuries they were brainwashed by religion; for fifty years they were stupified by fear of Russia; for thirty years they have been forcefed Chicago economics. It takes effort to understand how things really work. People prefer watching television and attending sporting events. Imagine if they applied only so much effort to understanding reality as they apply to handicapping fantasy football. We could remake the country in a generation. Don’t hold your breath.

        1. James

          …and why its use is so effective. Or as Col Jessep said so well: “You can’t HANDLE the truth!”

          1. Words Are Important, People Even More So

            Effective at turning people off the cause of reform.

            The use of the word ‘sheeple” is a clever right-wing/anti-popiulist rhetorical device. It is an insult: directed at the weak and powerless: seeking to incite them to “action”: “action” which is expected, and for which the right wing is more than prepared.

            Those that use that term are against whatever it is they explicitly propose whilst using it.

            I think people who use the word “sheeple” in referring to their fellow citizens truly believe what they say: that we are sheep.

            I say: cut our the tongues of the wolves who uses that term of reference, and eat it for fuel. “Sheeple”, huh?

            Why do they not instead insult the oppressors, the powerful, the violent?

            Because those who use the word “sheeple” are in fact themselves the wolves. They certainly do express, by the very words they choose to use, their admiration for the success of those ‘wolves’ – judging from their expression of contempt for their victims.

            Ignore them completely. Their contempt for other people reveals who they really are. And what they think of you and your problems. They won’t help.

          2. McKillop

            Words are important and C., is correct.
            Not only is ‘sheeple’ a cliche but it is also an insult – but only meant for those who are inferior to “me”, those people who don’t get it.
            I’ve never in my life met anyone who could be convinced of an argument by being insulted first.

        2. FJ_2

          Liberals and the MSM are to blame. Not here, but almost everywhere else.

          When have you ever heard the counter arguments to the right wing?

          That’s right, never. Instead the so-called liberal media is busy ‘fighting fire with fire,’ e.g MSNBC.

          You cannot fight idiocy and lies with more idiocy and lies. If liberals want to win, they can only win be being reasonable and peaceful, and most especially by not insulting the American people

          If they do the opposite, and insult, heck, they’re not even liberal.

          NC is an amazing exception. When NC becomes the rule, then change will be possible.

      3. j m kochevar

        this is in reply to Words Are Important, People Even More So @ 7:11am.

        you got lafayette pegged. when robert scheer over at Truthdig posted a piece last year chiding obama for praising larry summers upon his leaving the administration, lafayette commented, “Obama is giving Summers a pat on the back, perhaps too effusively (but who cares), because that is the way protocol works in LaLaLand on the Potomac. [….] A president should surround himself with the best and Summers was amongst that group. Geithner is as well.”

        believe me there was no irony in the last 2 quoted sentences.

        i’m always put off when commenters use the term masses, but using the term sheeple is just plain contemptuous and mean-spirited.

  3. Elise Mattu

    However,the Upper One Percent wants it all. If the government is printing up money to pay for a jobs program, then how can the Biggest Players in The Financial System continue to get the trillions of dollars that Bernanke has been handing out?

    Their greed and self centeredness is what motivates that One Percent. And since they OWN our politicians, it is a really tragic scenario.

    Mr Black is correct in saying that far too many people are unaware that it is self destructive to continue the cycle of unemployment. But until some UFO’s land and take away the politicians and the Upper One Percent, (or Superman or some other super hero miraculously takes form of flesh and blood) nothing will change. The only hope I have felt in the last three years is the Occupy Movement. But I imagine within a month or sooner, the people out in the streets will be considered terrorists and renditioned.

    Obama DOES NOT want to create jobs. The medical marijuana industry is putting enough tax revenue into the General Revenue Funds of counties in California that many teachers, and police and fire fighters were staying employed – but now the DOJ under Obama and Holder is all about shutting down these clinics. Again, it is because of the ownership situation – Mr Obama is OWNED by Big Pharma, which as I type this is looking into patents for all its cannibinoid research, and the people at Big Pharma only care about their profits.

    As far as Obama firing Geithner, Obama works for Geithner. You cannot fire a person if you work for that person.

  4. Lafayette

    YS: Note we are of the minority view that OWS is being shrewd in not acceding to pressure to reduce its desire for broad-based change to soundbites and an easily-to-digest program.

    Tout à fait correcte!

    The OWS movement is a demonstration of outrage and indignation at the way our people have been immorally and unfairly mistreated by a Plutocrat Class. It should not get into the wonkish nitty-gritty. It must remain a grassroots movement with a large appeal – leave the wonks to their mental masturbations.

    But, such masturbations will inevitably become necessary if the movement is to morph into something more potent than just Expressed Indignation. For it to become a political movement that can influence elections it needs, I submit, a Political Agenda – which hopefully will be based upon progressive values that will install Social Justice in our country.

    Not until then will we free ourselves from the tyranny brought about by Reckless Ronny’s Upward Trickle Wealth-Machine. (That is, the tampering with marginal and capital gains income taxation during his tenure of the 1980s that has created the exacerbated social disharmony in America.)

    1. Foppe

      Huh? Are you really trying to say that OWS doesn’t have an identifiable agenda, and that they can only become a purposive movement once they refine their demands into a neat little list? They seem to be doing just fine.
      Moreover, and more importantly, if they were to do so now, they would have to go through institutional channels that would be clamoring for “deals” and “compromise” at every turn, which would mean watering down. The only way to avoid that, is to make the current crop of politicians, as well as the “governance” mentality, impotent, and to wait for a new batch to arrive.
      The only thing I would be willing to push for at this point would be procedural reforms, such as publicly funded elections, banning corporate funding/institutionalized bribery, etc., to clear the way a bit; but with the caveat that that too will probably be worked around.
      In all, it is much better to be patient, and let the pols come to them/us.

    2. Foppe

      (Put differently: You seem not to appreciate the extent to which the whole institutional arrangement has been corrupted in arguing that everything is only “Serious” once it has been neatly prepackaged for the politicians to consume and tie a bow around. Furthermore, your expressed hope that “their demands will be in line with Social Justice And Other Capitalized Words” is, I hope you realize, at best extremely vague, as well as striking me as somewhat condescending — as though you feel you do not expect them to do so.)

  5. Fiver

    Picture Black as Treasury Secretary – then return to reality and that weasel-vomit Geithner. Brrrrr.

    I think the order needs to be reversed:

    1) Put the fear of God into the banksters as should’ve happened at the outset. Fire Geithner and Holder immediately. Publicly call for Bernanke’s resignation immediately. Make it absolutely clear that there are going to be people going to jail, that nobody is immune private or public, and that “markets” are NOT going to be a tool for further extortion.

    2) Having established broad, real credibility with the public (and the real “market” not to mention the rest of the world) THEN lay out some very serious, well thought-out plans that not only address the problems Black highlights, but ideally also begin to prepare the way for the enormous energy/resource/ecosystem pivot we must make soon in any case. It is absolutely vital that this not fail again short-term, as from the long view the entire decade has been an utter waste in the face of the most serious challenges for humankind since the Ice Age – and far, far more difficult to manage than, say, the threat of nuclear war. Indeed, we need a war-footing’s sense of urgency and shared determination without the war.

    1. JustAnObserver

      Personally, given his experience investigating the S&L scandals, I’d like to see Mr. Black as Attorney General. Imagine what he could do with the full power of the DoJ at his disposal.

  6. F. Beard

    I always enjoy Professor William K Black.

    But really, why do we insist on doing things the hard way? Is not money what is needed? And isn’t money merely accounting entries? And hasn’t the entire population been cheated by the banking system, both borrowers and savers?

    Ben B. can’t do it since bankers cannot give away money but Obama needs to get in a helicopter and drop some money on the US population.

    Price inflation risk? Then put the banks out of the counterfeiting business (so-called “credit creation”) at the same time and meter the bailout to just replace existing
    credit as it is paid off.

    Or we can do it the hard way and make lawyers richer and the rest of US poorer.

  7. Bill G

    Putting the unemployed to work in return for their unemployment check is a good idea. Maybe 20 hrs per week sweeping street/sidewalks, picking up trash, etc would be good. Might run into a few union issues that would need to be managed.
    Writing down mortgage principle is also a good idea but everyone should benefit the same. Maybe just write down all mortgages by 200k$ with any excess given from the bank to the homeowner by a check would be nice :-)
    Finally why are there no prosecutions for all the mortgage related fraud starting at the top(the bundlers, raters, sellers) and working down from there???

    1. F. Beard

      Putting the unemployed to work in return for their unemployment check is a good idea. Bill G

      Why? Did the unemployed cause this Depression?

      We have/have had a government enforced/backed counterfeiting cartel in this country since 1913 and the best we can do is to have the unemployed sweeping streets and picking up trash?

      Your sense of justice is underwhelming.

      1. JTFaraday

        These Kansas City yokels are still academics, and like most academics, they despise the public.

        So here’s this former Republican, being true to his political roots, reflexively casting aspersions on the unemployed–who I’m sure are all sitting home “watching TV.”

        No, the person who is sitting around is Bill Black. He’s sitting on his tenured *ss in the faculty lounge with Auerbach, getting reinforcement from his “eliminate traditional unemployment and put the human garbage on permanent minimum wage jobs” austerity plan.

        Yeah, because Fed loving Auerbach is such a great “progressive.”

        Any “jobs plan” coming out of these policy makers and this government will be an austerity plan in disguise, something akin to Clinton’s workfare bill, with lots of peasant-beating goodies for their true constituency. It’s just a different way of dealing with the human refuse, herding them onto work farms.

        Sad, but true, this is why OWS can’t have demands.

        The first thing OWS will ask for is “jobs,” like good populists. This *was* the first demand they worked on–blocked in General Assembly by the anarchists from becoming an official noose around our necks.

        Black and Auerbach, our newest “progressive” elitists, should stick STRICTLY to their technocratic specialties and leave stereotyping the unemployed to the (official) Republican Party.

        1. JTFaraday

          One more thing about that. Neither one of these yokel technocrats is a labor economist–let alone a labor historian.

          1. Out of the Frying Pan

            And what exactly is your realistic solution then, JT? I see you have criticisms aplenty to cast about.

          2. JTFaraday

            ” JTFaraday says:
            November 5, 2011 at 7:36 am

            I’m sorry, but he has all of that in the WRONG order.

            The first and primary issue is to remove the people that he himself call “criminals” from government.

            You don’t put people in the employ of criminals, so they can extend and pretend.”

        2. F. Beard

          It is pathetic that people meekly beg for jobs. I note that the rich do quite well with just money.

          1. aletheia33

            it takes a lot of education to learn how to live well without working… for one thing, you have to think of SOMETHING to DO–really, it’s not easy. plus you have to really watch your money if you want to hold onto it. there are so many reasons why unemployed and poor people cannot really be trusted with too much money.

          2. EH

            The poor can’t be trusted with money! Lest they start contributing to political campaigns, I imagine.

            Droll, alethia33, very droll.

          3. McKillop

            There you go, then.
            Once the poor have enough money there’ll be no problem.
            The rich (not the nouveau rich, the other guys) will be able to work, no _serve_ as consultants to the previously poor -to help them use their time well!
            As a lark, slumming, if you will, les nouveaux will be able to pick up garbage and sweep the streets.
            Some people will be unable to adjust to their being rich – but there are winners and losers in every field.

      2. Kukulkan

        Why? Did the unemployed cause this Depression?

        What’s that got to do with it?
        You act as if working is some sort of vile punishment that should not be inflicted on anyone.

        I live in Australia and I’ve been unemployed. In Australia we had what were called work-for-the-dole programs (“dole” being what unemployment benefits are called here) and, while unemployed I was involved in a few of those.

        The problem with most of them wasn’t that I had to work, it was that they were organised by idiots and involved no work. Instead they involved showing up somewhere, sitting around for eight hours doing nothing and then going home. Repeat the next day. They were the most awful experiences of my life. I seriously think they were just designed to drive people stir-crazy.

        When, entirely by chance, I got into a program that actually required me to do something, that kept me busy, I loved it. I hung onto that gig like grim death. When that work-for-the-dole requirement ended (they typically ran six months) I stayed on at the place I was working as a volunteer. If nothing else, I figured, I’d have this gig locked in and I could talk my way into having it counted as fulfilling my next work-for-the-dole requirement. That way I would have something to do rather than being sent to another of those do-nothing programs.

        As it happened, I got a job soon thereafter and so didn’t need to do another stint of work-for-the-dole.

        You may think having to do something for your unemployment benefits is some horrible injustice, but I can tell you from bitter personal experience, it’s not. Being forced to sit around and do nothing for your unemployment benefits is far, far worse.

        Why you – or indeed anybody – would consider the later situation more just is something I simply cannot fathom.

        You don’t want to work? Fine, don’t work. But please don’t project your pathology onto the rest of us.

        1. Foppe

          You could easily have chosen to volunteer your time yourself, if you hadn’t been forced to “work” for your unemployment money… Certainly being unemployed feels frustrating when you’re actively being forced to do nothing meaningful, but from that it does not follow that only ‘real’ work is meaningful.

        2. scraping_by

          You’ve put your finger on the worse part of unemployment. As bad as it is not having money coming in, it’s worse to be hanging around doing nothing with the day. Those of us who view the world as efforts rather than posing get frustrated when there’s no external effort to do.

          A few years back, the corporate slogan was “pride is more important than money.” Based on the truth that people get good feedback from the things they build, maintain, create, etc. It was, of course, a cynical plan to substitute praise for pay, but it was like most lies, based on truths.

          The danger in making jobs for people on public support is creating a class of low cost labor that drives down the majority of wage-earners and small businesses. Something like the dangers of prison labor. It should stick with public goods for people who can’t pay, quality of life events, jobs too small for bidding, etc.

          There are a lot of things in the world that don’t, can’t, and shouldn’t pay for themselves. Making them the job of people on public support is a better than average idea.

          1. Carla

            “There are a lot of things in the world that don’t, can’t, and shouldn’t pay for themselves. Making them the job of people on public support is a better than average idea.” — scraping_by

            Oh, you mean like bearing and raising children?

        3. F. Beard

          You may think having to do something for your unemployment benefits is some horrible injustice, but I can tell you from bitter personal experience, it’s not. Being forced to sit around and do nothing for your unemployment benefits is far, far worse. Kukulkan

          You make my point for me. Being forced to do nothing or to do meaningless work is psychological torture. It would be far better to simply hand out the money and let the population itself decide what to do with their time. That alone would create meaningful employment opportunities for others.

          But my point about justice is this: The population’s jobs were outsourced and automated away with their own stolen purchasing power via loans from the counterfeiting cartel, the banking system. The population has been robbed and deserves restitution.

          1. aet

            There’s all kind of work that always needs to be done, or would be very useful if it was done: the problem is, that there’s nobody paying for such work.

            Not a shortage of work: but of paid work.

            That is by design, is it not? And it meshes very well with the fact that only the prison and weapon sectors of the US economy have shown any real growth in the past thirty or so years.

            Those prisoners are made to work at low low wages, right?

            Curious, too that only the police of all “blue-collar” professions have seen their median and average salaries and benefits keep pace with – and beat? – inflation over those decades, as the wages of the entire blue-collar class once did, but no longer do.

            My suspicion is that the economy is being run so as to keep people un-happy enough to support un-necessary wars…happy, prosperous people, in democracies untainted by ethnic or religious hatreds, do NOT support wars, at least, not since the First World War.

            But people living in tough times, in societies riven by race/religious/class hatreds do – if only for the jobs wars provide. And support the war (troops, that is) as an emotional outlet, right?

            Perhaps powerful people would like that attitude popular attitude against paying for and fighting wars to change, despite peoples’ experiences of war. After all, once you’ve got all the money you could ever want, what do you do with your time? For the ambitious, to exercise power over others comes next, right?

    2. F. Beard

      Writing down mortgage principle is also a good idea but everyone should benefit the same. Bill G

      What about non-debtors? And principle write downs destroy bank equity (Not that I care much for usurers but I assume some relatively innocent people would be hurt).

      A universal bailout would compensate everyone, not just debtors.

      1. Jesse

        “principle write downs destroy bank equity”

        But so will continued defaults and foreclosures. I read somewhere (here?) that, under certain circumstances, banks were delaying the foreclosure process since they’d have to show a loss on the assets.

        1. F. Beard

          But so will continued defaults and foreclosures. Jesse

          There is another option: Create new money and distribute it equally to the entire population. That way debtors can pay off their debts without disadvantaging savers.

          1. porge

            F.Beard is right.
            The only fair way to “fix” the debt problem is to mail checks to every tax paying citizen to maintain the relative financial positions.
            It could be done in tranches using the same system that mails out the tax rebates.
            This is a simple and effective solution and it benefits everyone not just the prodigal sons and daughters.
            If you punish the prudent the social fabric will be ripped to shreds and a Moral Hazard will be released equal to the Bankster bail outs.
            It is basically a de facto dollar devaluation.

          2. F. Beard

            It is basically a de facto dollar devaluation. prorge

            Not necessarily. IF banks are put out of the counterfeiting business at the same time and IF the bailout checks were metered to just replace existing credit as it is paid off THEN the dollar should not lose purchasing power.

          3. porge

            Good point on the replace credit creation with the rebate money…… are right again.
            Your idea is the same as mine that I used to plug on The Oil Drum a few years ago albeit you have thought it to a finer detail.
            The reason it won’t happen is obvious though………the criminals don’t want to fix the debt problem on the individual citizen level.
            What they want to do is turn us into helpless livestock.

          4. F. Beard

            What they want to do is turn us into helpless livestock. porge

            Maybe, but let’s not leave them the excuse of claiming there was no fair solution.

          5. F. Beard

            Also, I would not limit the checks to tax payers but to every US adult citizen. The banking system cheats everyone whether they pay taxes or not.

      2. LucyLulu

        “principle write downs destroy bank equity”
        If a homeowner is underwater, writing the mortgage down to current home value doesn’t destroy equity because the equity no longer exists.

        1. F. Beard

          True. Good catch. However, if the entire population was bailed out then the equity position of the banks would likely improve.

    3. Jesse

      “Writing down mortgage principle is also a good idea but everyone should benefit the same. Maybe just write down all mortgages by 200k$ with any excess given from the bank to the homeowner by a check would be nice”

      Not all mortgages were bought at hyper-inflated levels, so this is really apples and oranges. The alternative is that people who bought at bubble prices (continue) to default in droves.

      1. F. Beard

        Not all mortgages were bought at hyper-inflated levels, Jesse

        All bank lending causes prices to be higher than they would be otherwise since the banks create money as they lend it.

      2. LucyLulu

        I really like the idea of everybody getting $200,000 (especially since I owe considerably less than that).

        Bill G. for president 2012!

        1. F. Beard

          What about me? I am debt-free.

          I would be happy if only the debtors got relief but a lot of other non-debtors would complain.

          A metered bailout of the entire population, including non-debtors, is the way to go.

          1. jake chase

            Well, F.B. you are right, but your solution isn’t going to happen. I would settle for those of William Black. You get justice in the next world. Intelligent people settle for order and fair wages in this one.

            In an ideal world we would tax land values and intangible wealth at steeply progressive rates, then take the proceeds and distribute them per capita to everyone else. Try bringing that up for a vote in Congress.

            BTW, the problem isn’t the top 1%. The problem is the top 1/10%.

          2. F. Beard


            You neglect the next sentence where I said I would be happy if only the debtors got relief.

            But I’ll raise you. I would be happy if everyone in the world got relief EXCEPT me.

          3. F. Beard

            religion in a nut shell. skippy

            The Creator is not likely to have a problem with enlightened self-interest, is He? Even robots, according to Asimov, should be programmed to preserve themselves, assuming no conflict with their other programming.

          4. Skippy

            Spin it any way you like, but, what mob was Bushies biggest supporter and just look at the state of the flock in America over the last 40ish years.

   say? Sorry I like bigger data samples than…one.

          5. F. Beard


            You remind me why a spiritual guide is necessary: On one hand we might be too easy on ourselves but on the other we might be too hard.

          6. Skippy

            More spin. The point of order was actions observed, not value judgments about forgiveness.

            Skippy..refute the point or not, but don’t change the subject. A Typical ether tactic.

          7. F. Beard

            but, what mob was Bushies biggest supporter skippy

            What better way to discredit a belief system than with hypocrites?

            You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? For “THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU,” just as it is written. Romans 2:23-24 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

          8. Skippy

            “What better way to discredit a belief system than with hypocrites.”

            You better confirm that with the relevant heads_of all_the different denominations with in the USA. Personal opinion or interpretation of scripture and how it applies to heads of state is above your pay grade methinks.

            Skippy…you spin me round…round. Ohhh beardy I’m getting light headed…must be the spirits…ether does that..

          9. F. Beard

            Speaking of spirits, I could some alcohol for my hacking cough. I do miss the times of over the counter codeine but alas those above my pay grade decided it was best for me to suffer instead.

            I’m thinking of brandy. Any recommendations?

          10. F. Beard

            You better confirm that with the relevant heads_of all_the different denominations with in the USA. skippy

            LOL! Good one! It is not unlikely that they are the biggest hypocrites.

          11. Skippy

            “LOL! Good one! It is not unlikely that they are the biggest hypocrites.” — F. Beard

            You have a very bad habit of expressing your self as_thee_mouth piece_for your beliefs. You are not empowered to do so. Unless you have a burning bush in your back yard or a direct land line to the creator (if the later I have something I’d like to clear up with it), please refrain from such acts of self anointment. Do you see now, you just casually dismissed every other believer, and their leaders, in the USA.

            Skippy…all hail beardy, all hail the prophet beardy, heal me beardy…are Pat Roberson by chance?

          12. F. Beard

            Do you see now, you just casually dismissed every other believer, and their leaders, in the USA. skippy

            Not the believers, just the leaders. God being unlimited in power needs no hierarchies. The Devil, otoh, being only a creature, surely benefits from hierarchies.

            Skippy…all hail beardy, all hail the prophet beardy, heal Skippy

            I don’t claim to be a prophet; I just read the Bible everyday and take it as seriously as I can.

            As for Pat Robinson, the man revolts me.


            You had best read up on the Bible yourself lest you get old and desperate and send all your money to a TV evangelist.

          13. Skippy

            You sit in judgment of those you know not, with out personal knowledge. You are extending your self beyond the rational, those believers FOLLOW their leaders, whom are you to judge them at so much remoteness. You just committed millions of believers to hypocrites of the bible and before their god.

            Skippy…I think I shall cut and paste this thread around, to a few leaders here and on some main stream religious blogs in the states. See what the feed back is. BTW I’ve read many bibles and studied years of anthropological reports, whats your point?

          14. Skippy

            You have no way to isolate your self from your own proclamations. You don’t know, will not know till death by your beliefs. Such befuddling logic beard, kinda like that employed by the innovators of finance. You know the neoliberal ones running the joint for 40 odd years now.

            Skippy…one can not debate with the sands. There for I must severely discount any thing you say, as its foundations are so shifting. Only god (if there is one) knows if jesus was false or not, you forget, the very religion he was born to disagrees with that assumption. So many things said as the TRUTH in totality by_you_yet others think differently.

            PS.. Hot off the e-mail box. A gentleman I’ve known for 15 years and has worked for the Church of England for near 40 years (man of the cloth). Extends an invitation to you. Any time your down here, he would love you to address his congregation. Although he suggest after the service not to take any offers to go wild pig hunting or crock sightseeing.

          15. F. Beard

            Any time your down here, he would love you to address his congregation. Skippy

            The Church of England is a very rich denomination. It might be fun to make the usurers and counterfeiters in the congregation squirm with a few choice passages from the Old Testament about their trade.

            But I am short in the love department and would no doubt sound like “sounding brass” (1 Corinthians 13) so I must demur.

          16. Skippy

            See how you change the subject, the points of order are as stated, you fail to address these. Save some verse pulled randomly out of chapter and context, in a bastardized cut and paste manner. And further insult to injury, you slander another HOLE domination of believers_because you_view_them as RICH! Quite the absolutist, what beard says is truth, everyone else can go stuff them selves. And this coming from a guy that once told me that I would be unpopular for discussing population growth…shezzz,

            Your monetary policy is as confusing, anybody can print, bailout everyone, and look forward to doing all over again in 7 years, etc. I hope your aware the neoliberal monetary policy (and foreign policy) are an extension of beliefs in the same manner intelligent design cough…creationism is. Which if you follow my train of though, leads us to our currant debt problem, more is always better.

            Skippy…a world is dying and the prescription is more of whats killing it. Good bloody plan!

          17. F. Beard

            Your monetary policy is as confusing, anybody can print, skippy

            Correction: Anyone can create their own private money and anyone would be free to accept or reject it for private debts. Good ole fiat would remain the only choice for government debts.

            bailout everyone, skippy

            Yes, since banking cheats everyone. It cheats savers of honest interest rates and drives up prices so that people are forced to borrow.

            and look forward to doing all over again in 7 years, skippy

            I also advocate fundamental reform so hopefully the bailout would be a one-time thing.

            I hope your aware the neoliberal monetary policy (and foreign policy) are an extension of beliefs in the same manner intelligent design cough…creationism is. Which if you follow my train of though, leads us to our currant debt problem, more is always better. skippy

            Which is why I emphasize those folks are not in conformance with Scripture wrt money. It is NOT obedience to the Bible that has led to our difficulties but ignorance of it.

            Skippy…a world is dying and the prescription is more of whats killing it. Good bloody plan! skippy

            I advocate common stock as a private money form so we can leave usury and its requirement for exponential growth behind.

          18. F. Beard

            you forget, the very religion he was born to disagrees with that assumption. skippy

            I do not forget and if you knew the Bible you would know that that was foretold (Hint: “The stone the builders rejected …” ).

          19. Skippy

            Still not addressing points of order but, constantly changing subject mater with usage of single verse quotations. Poor form, cognitively dishonest, intellectually void.

            Skippy…futile to debate believers, they need no hard evidence, because they make it up on the go.

          20. Skippy

            @LucyLulu, sorry I just wanted to see how many times beardys little avatar photo could be represented in one post. I count 25 total with 11 directed at me plus a bonus comment from Dan Duncan. I think that is a Naked Cap record of some kind.

            Skippy…Ohhh I forgot someone got the last word in on beard in a discussion, that is defiantly a paradigm shift. next thing you know Dad D. is going Rastafarian. I don’t know if I should be happy or soil myself.

          21. F. Beard

            Okay, Skippy, Beard, you two get a room already LucyLulu

            Skippy not my type. Me insist on opposite sex.

        2. F. Beard

          futile to debate believers, they need no hard evidence, because they make it up on the go. Skippy

          My chief purpose at NC is to advocate a universal bailout and monetary reform, not to refute every attack on the Bible and believers.

          But here you go Skippy: – a site devoted to reconciling modern, mainstream science with the Bible.

          1. Skippy

            26, 27, comments and still haven’t addressed clearly stated points of order, refusal to stay on point…shezzz

            Skippy…I had a debate with beard and all I got was a lousy link that, under its header states ***”Integrating science and Faith”***. Oh…please…help me someone, I can’t stop giggling. Integrating…oh…please help me. I thought that was the Popes job…help. Galileo in his imprisonment might have had such a fit… Its a bad as pseudo religions…hwlp meeee….

          2. F. Beard

            I thought that was the Popes job…help. skippy

            That reminds me of a question I used to ask rhetorically:

            “Is the Pope Italian?” Sadly, JP II ruined that joke for me since he is Polish.

            Galileo in his imprisonment might have had such a fit… skippy

            I once built a crude Solar System simulator using just Newton’s Law of Gravitation. Yes, the Earth does orbit the Sun if the Sun is chosen as the origin of the coordinate axis. However, if the Earth is chosen as the origin then the Sun does indeed go around the Earth. BTW, the planets do that epicycle thingy too when Earth is at the origin.

            Its a bad as pseudo religions…hwlp meeee…. skippy

            I’m not your personal Sunday School teacher. Dr. Hugh Ross, whose site you disparaged, has a PHd in astrophysics. He is not your typical “The Earth is only 6000 years old” apologist.

          3. Skippy

            #28 and yet to refute earlier points of order, then you add to the bucket this gem, ”Integrating Science and Faith”.


            1: to form, coordinate, or blend into a functioning or unified whole : unite
            : to find the integral of (as a function or equation)
            a : to unite with something else b : to incorporate into a larger unit

            Empirical evidence and Faith can not be commingled. One (faith) seeks to inset its self into the other (Science) looking for validity. Religious based monetary systems always break…me wonders why? Um…the underlining premise is false?

            As Yves states “economics is a religion” (classical-neoclassical). I would expand on this, it is religion in the form of a template to smash down upon a world, a view of the universe with *MANKIND* on top. that GOD decides how it works and to whom the benefits are distributed, like Blankinfiends said “doing GODS work”[!!!]. Do you get it now, he was speaking ***literally*** God signs off on his bonus, it is a gift from God himself. To reward and to use as a tool to complete God will. He and others like him believe they are blessed by divinity, charged by divinity to actuate its plan, see bible. These people need to be sedated and removed from the levers of power, a David Koresh with trillions at his disposal.

            Skippy…in god we trust…more like…in god we obey…every time you use a dollar…methinks.

    4. McKillop

      . . . picking up trash, sweeping the streets?
      Goodness gracious -what an incredible waste of human energy!
      Do you believe that the ‘unemployed’ are capable of nothing but menial tasks?
      Many of the unemployed are the men and women who built your country: at the least, their skills should be taught to their fellow citizens, and then put to use.

  8. JTFaraday

    I’m sorry, but he has all of that in the WRONG order.

    The first and primary issue is to remove the people that he himself call “criminals” from government.

    You don’t put people in the employ of criminals, so they can extend and pretend.

  9. Dan

    Personally, I am tired of “relief for the banks” and “relief for homeowners who got in over their heads”. The later case, albeit not necessarily by themselves, but if you buy snake oil, you bought snake oil.

    How about we just apply the rule of law as it is written?

    1. Jesse

      You’re implicitly suggesting that relief for troubled homeowners has been equivalent to, or along the same lines as relief for the banks. It’s not even close. Normally I would be on your side, but the abuses in this case were unprecedented in scope and scale. And the argument for helping troubled homeowners isn’t necessarily an altruistic one, the economy as a whole will continue to suffer as long as the negative equity problem exists.

  10. darren

    weird…when i read this in google reader there was a video from jason read, but here there is one from bill black

  11. Jackrabbit

    Everyone is still clamoring for a list of “demands”?!?

    I think OWS should issue a formal list of “concerns” instead. Something that is coherent and complete and written in simple terms that everyone can understand.

    Maybe give people like Yves and Bill Black a chance to add comments before release?

  12. lambert strether

    “Strategic,” I would say, not “shrewd.”

    “What are your demands?” Translation: What is the bribe?

    “Who are your leaders?” Translation: Who do we bribe, or kill?

    There’s really, at this point, no particular reason to regard anybody who asks “What are your demands?” as legitimate. The very question betrays their position and agenda.

  13. Hugh

    For folks like me who can’t get video. Here is the short form:

    JAY: So what do you think? In terms of the current crisis, what at least are some short-term solutions people could be demanding?

    BLACK: Three things: jobs now, stop the foreclosures, jail the banksters.

  14. JohnB

    Just REFUSE to participate in anything you believe is evil or flat out wrong! Move Your Money! Buy physical gold and silver.

    1. F. Beard

      Buy physical gold and silver. JohnB

      That just transfers money from your banking account to the PM seller’s banking account.

      It would hurt the banks more to just withdraw paper currency. That takes money out of the banking system altogether.

  15. Cujo359

    we are of the minority view that OWS is being shrewd in not acceding to pressure to reduce its desire for broad-based change to soundbites and an easily-to-digest program.

    My view on this has been that you don’t have a demonstration to deliver a PhD thesis; you have a demonstration to tell your politicians to get the job done. Not sure that’s so much shrewd as just smart – what does it mean when you don’t try to drive a screw in with a hammer?

    Anyway, good for Bill Black, he provided three bullet points. The message guys should be happy, now. Good bullet points, too, by the way.

  16. Mike M

    OK, I’ve figured something out. The people who comment here are the anti WSJ commenters. I mean, Mr. Black is a fountain of logic and reasoned argument, and, I agree with him maybe 90%, but, what the hell are the rest of you sitting on the edge of your chairs typing about? For gods sake, Trotsky is long dead.

  17. Linus Huber

    SCARE 20.12.2012
    (Stop Corruption And Repression Effective 20.12.2012)
    Banks were given a very important privilege to create money in the form of extending credit. This function requires diligence and careful consideration in regard to individual credit risks as well as to overall credit levels in the system. The financial crisis revealed that the banks were operating at too high a leverage and with too much risk. They were used to be saved by the Central Banks and certain that in times of difficulties the Central Banks were there to save them. They were like trained dogs and their master Greenspan or Bernanke would always be there to rescue them when unforeseen difficulties arose.
    That may be true but that does not absolve them from their obligation to monitor overall debt levels in the system as well as being diligent in evaluating the debtors ability to not only service a debt but to be able to repay it over time. The banks clearly failed in this function that is the core function of banking but focused mainly on their compensation packages. The way these bankers enriched themselves in the process of driving the financial system into a wall was appalling and the average income earner was never able to comprehend their schemes but preferred to simply ignore them. Of course, the bankers explained their outrages income levels with free market principles of supply and demand, where the best simply could be hired with those kinds of benefits only. In hindsight those superior managers seem to have missed their mark considerably. The most interesting aspect of all of this is the fact that, after we have been more than 3 years in this financial crisis, the bankers continue to loot the system as if nothing ever happened.
    True to form the Central Banks “saved” the financial system by saving those great financial institutions without whom the system would have collapsed, as was argued. Hardly were we out of the danger of collapse, the banks immediately went back to their old ways and were certain that this was a problem that would occur just once in a lifetime and now all was clear again. The real problem, however, had not been addressed but had simply been muddied.
    In actuality, the losses produced of extending unsustainable levels of credit by the banks have been transferred to the public. Different ways were chosen to achieve this task in the form of free money for the banks, injection of government funds into some institutions, increase of basic money supply and so on.
    The threat of system collapse would have been labelled blackmail if it would have occurred in another setting. However the bankers were able to influence the media, the legislators and regulators in their favour with all the financial resources available to them. Nobody was made to take any responsibility and no one was taken to account.
    This represents a serious violation of the spirit of the Rule of Law that is the basis of western society. It seems that now the new rule is Might is Right. This changes many parameters in the compass of the social system within the western world. No one can be sure on what level and when one will be subjected to the financial abuse of those elites. Presently, the people in charge are trying to enhance financial repression of which one form is to keep interest rates below the level of inflation which affects mainly those that lived within their means over the past many years; another clear violation of the spirit of the Rule of Law as it transfers losses from bad investments to the innocent and decent part of the population. In addition, the increased level of government debt puts in doubt all those benefits promised by governments the world over.
    It is interesting how the banks were able to confuse the public who was/is unable to grasp the actual situation. But considering the banker’s great financial resources, it seems not that much of a miracle to influence the media and the legislator and having politicians do their bidding. The question is what the heck can WE, THE PEOPLE do about it.
    Usually, we could address such things on a political level as we are a democracy, right? But it seems that the system has been corrupted by all the money sloshing around and it is extremely difficult to find any electable person that will act against those powerful interests. In addition, it will take many years until sufficient numbers of persons with the new thinking and with integrity not to be corrupted by those lobbying efforts will be elected to office that will implement the changes needed. So, what should we do? Start a revolution?
    Well, the blackmail used by the banks may be the only way to address the injustices that have occurred over the past few years. They showed us how to leverage one’s limited resources to achieve one’s goal. Therefore the following proposal to start the movement “SCARE 20.12.2012” should be seen in this context. The idea is that if by that time (20.12.2012) some serious injustices have not been removed from the system, people will start to withdraw their money from all financial institutions driving them into default. And it might work, because those who hesitate to support this threat may be left with no money as the banks will have to close down before all has been paid out.
    Now, what demands are made if that scenario is to be avoided.
    1. Bankers and past Bankers (all those working in the financial industry that earned in excess of $500k plus annually for more than 2 years during the past 15 years and this without any downside risk i.e. risk of financial losses, except the possibility of losing their job) have to be made personally accountable for their past activities and be removed from any such position that might directly or indirectly have influence on the money creation and lending aspects of the economy (this includes regulating agencies and politics) before 20.12.2012.
    2. Present and past regulators have to be made personally accountable for their past activities and be removed from any such position that might directly or indirectly have influence on the money creation and lending aspects of the economy (this includes financial institutions and politics) before 20.12.2012.
    3. Politicians that accept any financial support from institutions that are involved in the money creation and lending aspects of the economy will have to face a jail term of no less than 2 years without the possibility of parole.
    When these 3 points are implemented before 20.12.2012, we the public will not destroy the financial system but support the way to find back to the RULE OF LAW and away from the idea of MIGHT IS RIGHT.

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