Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Ultimate Stimulus Package

Wanna know a secret, everyone?  An open secret, yet probably the best-kept one of all?  The total amount of global debt, all $233 trillion (!) of it, is 100% man-made. That's right--the very concept of debt is man-made, because money itself is man-made.  That includes both private debt as well as the public debt that the austerity hawks won't stop fretting about.  Every single penny of it.  Money is really nothing more than a simple accounting entry in a computer these days anyway.  So make the entry and be done with it already.

Wait, hold on--did he just say what I think he said?  You got that damn right, and I didn't stutter either.  The single best stimulus package that could possibly be done given the current state of the global economy is--you guessed it--a DEBT JUBILEE of sorts.  You know, kinda like the ancient Israelites did every 50 years, where all debts were cancelled and forgiven across the board, period.  The only difference today is the scale and the technology involved, and the fact that we use pure fiat currency instead of specie makes it even easier still.  So why aren't we doing it?  I mean if the world owes $233 trillion, who on Earth do we owe it all to?  You guessed it--the BANKSTERS.  And the biggest contributor to the gargantuan size of the debt (and the number one cause of inflation as well) is compound interest, also known as USURY.  So there are plenty of powerful vested interests who would oppose such a thing, and it's time to take the power back.

We could start by paying off the national debt in one fell swoop via money creation, as is recommended by Richard E. Noble.  The Noble Solution, if you will.  And contrary to popular opinion, doing so would NOT cause hyperinflation if done properly because while creating money is inflationary, paying off large debts (i.e. "debt-deflation") is inherently anti-inflationary, so the two effects would cancel each other out.  And the newly created money would be done interest-free as well.  And also give everyone $1000 or $2000 as well.  Remember, back in 2011 Bernie Sanders audited the Feral Reserve and found that they gave a whopping $16 trillion secret bailout to the banks in 2009-2010 (and later rose to $29 trillion in total).   And with that money, they could have paid off the entire national debt (below $12 trillion then) and still had trillions left over to give to We the People by depositing money in our bank accounts.  And the government would have been able to do a much bolder fiscal stimulus package since there would be no worries about the debt.  Yes, really.  And the "recession" (i.e. depression) would have ended a LOT sooner as a result.

As for private debt, an Act of Congress could conceivably be passed that nullifies all such debt as well, including (but not limited to) student loan debt, mortgage debt, credit card debt, and medical debt. Creditors wouldn't like it, of course, but debtors greatly outnumber creditors, so the net effect would be beneficial overall for society.  And repeat every 50 years or so.

Additionally, while we are at it, we should also nationalize the privately-owned FERAL Reserve and make it a truly public FEDERAL Reserve that creates its own money interest-free, as Ellen Brown recommends.  We should also put a 10% cap on ALL interest rates period, including private loans and credit cards, and eventually phase-out the very concept of interest altogether.

Also, the TSAP would recommend a Universal Basic Income Guarantee for all, an idea whose time has come and that is in fact LONG overdue.  That would solve so many problems indeed.

Now THAT would be a real stimulus package!  Not only would it act like a giant B-12 shot for the economy by causing increased economic growth in the short to medium term, but in the long run it would also help us end our addiction to growth for the sake of growth, the ideology of the cancer cell which eventually kills its host.

Remember, as Buckminster Fuller famously noted in the 1970s, there are enough resources on Earth for everyone in the world to live like a millionaire, but such resources are currently being hoarded and wasted by the oligarchs to prop up their massive Ponzi scheme.  It's time to end the current obsolete paradigm of scarcity (most of it artificial) in favor of a new paradigm of abundance for all, that we may all enjoy mutual benefit and protection.  Yesterday.

(In the meantime, though, there is always Rolling Jubilee.)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Will California Dreaming Finally Become A Reality in 2016?

In 2010, it seemed very likely that California would legalize recreational cannabis use via ballot initiative.  Unfortunately, the initiative failed.  But this year, it looks like they have a much better chance, given how it will be a presidential election and how California would not be the first state to do so this time around.  The California Medical Association even endorses one such initiative. And as goes California, so goes the nation.

Of course, even bigger news is that several New England states are also looking this year to join Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and DC as states in which cannabis is fully legal.   Ditto for Michigan and Nevada as well.  There is even currently a bill in Congress called the "Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act", which would decriminalize cannabis at the federal level by removing it from scheduling under the Controlled Substances Act and leave it up to the states to regulate as they see fit.  Thus, it's only a matter of time before the ganja is fully legal nationwide.

And thus far, the best available evidence suggests that legalization has been a resounding success overall in the states where it has already been implemented.  Not only did tax revenue exceed expectations, but practically none of the predicted "parade of horrors" that the fearmongering opponents predicted would occur actually materialized.  And several recent studies have debunked many if not all of the prohibitionists' favorite talking points and scaremongering studies on the supposed dangers of cannabis.  Looks like Brian C. Bennett was right after all--it's nowhere near as scary as they want us to think.

While cannabis, like any other psychoactive substance, is not 100% safe for everybody and can indeed be harmful when abused, the overwhelming weight of the scientific evidence of the past 150+ years suggests that by just about any rational and objective measure it is safer than alcohol, tobacco, most prescription drugs, Tylenol, and even some foods, and is generally less addictive than coffee.  And while there is some evidence that regular use of weed, like alcohol, may present unique risks to people under 18 (and especially under 15), there is no hard scientific evidence that it is any more dangerous for an 18 year old than for a 21 year old or a 30 year old for that matter.  And the best evidence suggests that, as we learned the hard way with alcohol in the 1920s, prohibition clearly does more harm than good.  Thus, there is really no good reason to keep cannabis illegal or treat it any more stringently than alcohol or tobacco in a free society.

We should note that the TSAP is not a "pro-drugs" party. Rather, we are pro-liberty and anti-tyranny. We do not actually endorse the use of any substances, including alcohol and tobacco, but believe that legal adults are sovereign in body and mind and that prohibition of these substances clearly does more harm than good on balance.  Remember, the term "controlled substance" is actually a misnomer since it is virtually impossible to adequately control that which is prohibited.

To all those who live in California (or any other state with legalization or medicalization initiatives on the ballot), especially those under 30:  Get out there and rock the vote this November!


Kids, talk to your parents.  Show them the following.

This is your country:

This is DrugWar:

This is your country on DrugWar:

Any questions?

Saturday, February 13, 2016

How to Prepare for the Next Big Crash (Part Deux)

As we have noted before, things are really not looking good for the global economy this year.  Whether we actually experience another financial crisis on the order of 2008 or even 1929 (or worse) is a matter of debate, but the time to prepare for such a scenario is yesterday.  At the very least, another recession is inevitable at this point by 2017 at the latest, since no economic expansion has lasted much more than eight years straight in this country (with the notable exception of 1991-2001 that lasted exactly ten years).  Granted, the expansion from July 2009 to the present mostly benefited the rich, and until around 2014 practically entirely benefited the rich, but it was still technically an expansion of the economy even if the growth was largely uneconomic in practice.  And expansions can only go on so long before a contraction (i.e. recession or depression) inevitably occurs--it's just a fundamental truth of the business cycle.

One thing is for sure--things are very different this time around at least in terms of monetary policy.  At least in 2008, interest rates were well above-zero, and could be cut to stimulate the economy (or, more accurately, stop or slow down the hemorrhaging).  When that proved to be futile, then the Feral Reserve and many of the world's other major central banks resorted to "quantitative easing" (i.e. creating money out of thin air and giving it to the banks directly).  In late 2014, the USA tapered off and ended its QE policy, and in December 2015 ended its zero interest-rate policy by raising the Fed Funds Rate to 0.25-0.50%.  But now, the central banks of the world are starting from zero or close to zero--and some banks including the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan have even resorted to negative interest rates recently.  That means they are effectively charging depositors for the "privilege" of depositing money, and effectively paying borrowers to borrow money, which basically turns the world of finance upside-down.  Such negative rate territory is uncharted waters, since until a few years ago no country has ever dared to do such a thing.  And there is currently no evidence that such a move will be beneficial, and may in fact turn out to do more harm than good overall.

So monetary policy basically needs a new set of tools and a new game plan to deal with the next crisis, whenever it occurs.  The Feral Reserve and the other central banks of the world are basically still using an outdated playbook.  In the near-term, two things need to change yesterday.  First of all, they need to abandon interest-rate targets altogether for the time being, and instead focus on targeting the growth of the overall economy.  Like Paul Volcker did in 1979-1982, but done in reverse since the "inflation dragon" is not the problem this time.  Secondly, implement Quantitiative Easing for We the People in general (as opposed to the banks, which only benefits the ultra-rich) by injecting newly-created money into everyone's bank accounts.  Granted, the latter measure would probably require an Act of Congress to allow it to occur legally, but as the Feral Reserve is currently debating the legality of negative interest rates in the future, I'm sure they could find some sort of a loophole to allow it in an emergency such as a massive financial crisis.  And of course fiscal stimulus would likely be necessary as well, in additional to much needed reforms to regulate Wall Street and the big banks (a law that rhymes with "brass seagull" comes to mind, as well as a financial transactions tax and better regulation of the shadow banking system), but those two changes to monetary policy would go a long way towards preventing the next recession/crisis from turning into another 2008 or worse.  And of course the silly idea of negative interest rates needs to be abandoned as well.

But let's be brutally honest.  What we are really witnessing these days is the death of an obsolete system, one that has been kept on life support for many years now.  And eventually we will have to pull the plug on it, sooner or later.  It's just a matter of time.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

How to Prepare for the Next Big Crash

As we have noted in the previous article, the risk of the next big economic crash continues to loom large, and it may be too late to actually prevent it from occurring entirely.  That's not to say that there aren't things that should be done to prepare for it to make it less catastrophic, though.  Back in 2014, the TSAP had predicted that a crash would occur within a few short years, and we had written an article then discussing how to prevent it before it occurs or at least take the edge off of it, while ending the previous economic "stagpression" for good.   And we should note that these things would indeed help take the edge off of the next looming financial crisis as well.

Two things come to mind right away:  1) a Universal Basic Income Guarantee for all, an idea that is LONG overdue, and 2) Quantitiative Easing for We the People in general (as opposed to the banks, which only benefits the ultra-rich) by injecting newly-created money into everyone's bank accounts.  Additionally, we need to better regulate the Wall Street casino so such a crisis could never happen again, and also JAIL the banksters who caused the crisis (instead of bailing them out) like Iceland did.  A debt jubilee would be even better still, but even the things we just mentioned are a fairly tall order for a government who is bought and paid for by the banksters/oligarchs.  While other things need to be done as well in the long run, such as critical investments in infrastructure and education, the aforementioned measures would go a long way towards fixing our ailing economy.

Those are the things that should be done at the government level, of course.  At the individual level, there is really not much one can do except get OUT of the stock market while you still can, and take at least most of your money OUT of the big banks (before the "bail-ins" begin) and put it into smaller banks, credit unions, or even under your mattress.  Or even in a big, brown bag inside a zoo.