Top CEOs Have Best Sales Expectations In Three Years, Survey Says

Randall Stephenson

On March 4, 2015, Jim Puzzanghera writes in the Los Angeles Times:

Chief executives at the largest U.S. companies are more optimistic about the state of the economy, and their outlook for sales over the next six months is the best in three years, according to a new survey.

Expectations for capital spending and hiring also increased, according to the quarterly findings released Tuesday by the Business Roundtable, a trade association of CEOs at major corporations.

“The U.S. economy and the job outlook are starting the year in a stronger position than 2014,” said AT&T Inc. Chief Executive Randall Stephenson, the group’s chairman.

Expectations for economic growth this year improved to 2.8%, up 0.4 percentage points from the fourth-quarter survey. But Stephenson said the economy still was performing below its potential.

The survey’s overall index rose to 90.8 in the first quarter of the year from 85.1 in the fourth quarter of 2014. The index’s long-term average is 80.5 within its range of 150 to negative 50.

It dropped to negative 0.5 at the depths of the Great Recession and has reached as high as 113 during the recovery.

Eight in 10 survey respondents said they expected their company’s sales to increase over the next six months, up from 74% in the fourth-quarter survey. The figure, which had declined in the two previous quarters, was the best since 2012.

The group’s hiring index also increased slightly.

And the biggest change was in expectations on capital spending over the next six months, with about 45% of respondents saying they planned to increase spending. The figure was 36% in the fourth quarter.

Chief executives were persuaded to open their corporate checkbooks wider partly by the December vote in Congress for a one-year extension of $45 billion in tax breaks, mostly for businesses, that had expired at the end of 2013, Stephenson said.

The survey results showed that a “wave of capital investment” would come if the White House and Congress could agree on business tax reform that would lower the overall U.S. corporate rate, he said.

“There is probably nothing that will move this economy forward and drive capital investment faster than tax reform,” Stephenson said.

Another top priority of the group is getting Congress to pass new authority for the president to fast-track trade deals.

The White House and Republican congressional leaders support so-called trade promotion authority, but many of President Obama’s fellow Democrats oppose it out of concern new deals will lure U.S. jobs abroad.

“We expect, and will be pushing to get, something done in the first half of the year,” Stephenson said.

The first-quarter survey asked a special question about trade and found that increased access to foreign markets would boost corporate growth and U.S. hiring.

Stephenson had hoped the House already would be considering a trade promotion authority bill, but said “a lot of other noise has gotten in the way of that.”

One of the issues causing that noise has been the dispute over Department of Homeland Security funding.

The failure of the Republican-controlled Congress last week to pass a longer-term funding bill because of a dispute over Obama’s immigration initiative was “disappointing,” Stephenson said.

“From our view, the only responsible action for a governing majority is to pass a full DHS funding bill,” he said.

Later Tuesday, the House passed a Senate-approved bill funding the agency through the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30, without restricting the immigration plan.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-business-roundtable-ceo-survey-economy-20150303-story.html

This entire article is about financial benefits to CAPITAL OWNERS, without ever using the word OWNER. No matter what spin CEOs put on it, economic growth is anemic at the current 2.8 percent or so rate. Still, there is always some growth directly due to monies spent to expand and form new physical capital assets, which  always end up furthering the value of the capital assets owned by the wealthy corporate elite owners.

Note importantly that the outlook for increases in the sales of products and services is due to access to foreign markets to boost corporate growth. Thus, the advocacy to enact the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement (TPP), which is certain to benefit an already wealthy ownership class by further enabling global corporations to amass even more economic inequality-causing concentrated capital asset ownership.  As such, any consideration of passage should be halted if will not significantly broaden capital ownership, but instead further enrich the ownership interests of the already wealthy.

Of course this continual hogging of ALL future capital asset formation, whether within the United States or abroad, is ALWAYS justified because it will increase hiring and job creation in the United States. Thus, while the wealthy ownership class gets even more richer, the ordinary man and woman worker gets poorer and struggles with the crumbs trickled-down as slave wages––systematically denied access to the means of acquire and owning newly formed capital assets that grow the economy.

But no one in the media is writing about this issue––certainly not Los Angeles Times’ Jim Puzzanghera, who I have commented on his articles numerous times and emailed him as well. Result: No Response!

I am certain that Puzzanghera knows full well what being an OWNER of capital assets is all about, albeit probably betting on increases in the value of second hand, previously owned stock listed on the stock exchanges rather than full earnings dividend payout.

Yet, he NEVER addresses the issue of concentrated ownership, which his article alludes to and does not educate his readers as to what is really going on and how the system is rigged to benefit those who already are among the wealthy ownership class.

Abraham Lincoln said that the purpose of government is to do for people what they cannot do for themselves. Government also should serve to keep people from hurting themselves and to restrain man’s greed, which otherwise cannot be self-controlled. Anyone who seeks to own productive power that they cannot or won’t use for consumption are beggaring their neighbor––the equivalency of mass murder––the impact of concentrated capital ownership.

As a feature writer for the Los Angeles Times, who writes about the plight of the middle class and economic issues, Puzzanghera should be angry at the system and want to reform the system, but he NEVER ventures into the other-than-conventional-non-working solutions and ignores others that would empower EVERY citizen to become a capital owner. He, as well as other journalists, is part of the problem because he has the power of mass media behind him. He, as well as other far more wealthy capital owners have been able to enrich themselves working the system, but have not lifted a finger to acknowledge that they are rich because they own wealth-creating, income-producing capital assets. Nor have they spoken out about the necessity to broaden capital ownership.

Those who are overwhelmingly benefiting from the current unjust system, including unjustly over-paid CEOs, and in particular multi-millionaires and billionaires, such as, for example, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, whose names attract coverage, should be shamed for hogging capital ownership and not seeking to lift ownership-concentrating Federal Reserve System credit barriers and other institutional barriers that have historically separated owners from non-owners and link tax and monetary reforms to the goal of expanded capital ownership. Doing so would enable the poor and others with no or few assets (the 99 percenters) to overcome the collateralization barrier that excludes the non-halves from access to productive capital.

 

Will the Democratic Nominee For 2016 Take On The Moneyed Interests?

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On March 3, 2015, Robert Reich writes on The Huffington Post:

It’s seed time for the 2016 presidential elections, when candidates try to figure out what they stand for and will run on.

One thing seems reasonably clear. The Democratic nominee for President, whoever she may be, will campaign on reviving the American middle class.

As will the Republican nominee — although the Republican nominee’s solution will almost certainly be warmed-over versions of George W. Bush’s “ownership society” and Mitt Romney’s “opportunity society,” both seeking to unleash the middle class’s entrepreneurial energies by reducing taxes and regulations.

That’s pretty much what we’ve heard from Republican hopefuls so far. As before, it will get us nowhere.

The Democratic nominee will just as surely call for easing the burdens on working parents through paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave, childcare, elder-care, a higher minimum wage, and perhaps also tax incentives for companies that share some of their profits with their employees.

All this is fine, but it won’t accomplish what’s really needed.

The big unknown is whether the Democratic nominee will also take on the moneyed interests — the large Wall Street banks, big corporations, and richest Americans – which have been responsible for the largest upward redistribution of income and wealth in modern American history.

Part of this upward redistribution has involved excessive risk-taking on Wall Street. Such excesses padded the nests of executives and traders but required a tax-payer funded bailout when the bubble burst in 2008. It also has caused millions of working Americans to lose their jobs, savings, and homes.

Since then, the Street has been back to many of its old tricks. Its lobbyists are also busily rolling back the Dodd-Frank Act intended to prevent another crash.

The Democratic candidate could condemn this, and go further — promising to resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act, once separating investment from commercial banking (until the Clinton administration joined with Republicans in repealing it in 1999).

The candidate could also call for busting up Wall Street’s biggest banks and thereafter limiting their size; imposing jail sentences on top executives who break the law; cracking down on insider trading; and, for good measure, enacting a small tax on all financial transactions in order to reduce speculation.

Another part of America’s upward redistribution has come in the form of “corporate welfare” – tax breaks and subsidies benefiting particular companies and industries (oil and gas, hedge-fund and private-equity, pharmaceuticals, big agriculture) for no other reason than they have the political clout to get them.

It’s also come in the guise of patents and trademarks that extend far beyond what’s necessary for adequate returns on corporate investment — resulting, for example, in drug prices that are higher in America than any other advanced nation.

It’s taken the form of monopoly power, generating outsize profits for certain companies (Monsanto, Pfizer, Comcast, for example) along with high prices for consumers.

And it’s come in the form of trade agreements that have greased the way for outsourcing American jobs abroad — thereby exerting downward pressure on American wages.

Not surprisingly, corporate profits now account for a largest percent of the total economy than they have in more than eight decades; and wages, the smallest percent in more than six.

The candidate could demand an end to corporate welfare and excessive intellectual property protection, along with tougher antitrust enforcement against giant firms with unwarranted market power.

And an end to trade agreements that take a big toll on wages of working-class Americans.

The candidate could also propose true tax reform: higher corporate taxes, in order to finance investments in education and infrastructure; ending all deductions of executive pay in excess of $1 million; and cracking down on corporations that shift profits to countries with lower taxes.

She (or he) could likewise demand higher taxes on America’s billionaires and multimillionaires – who have never been as wealthy, or taken home as high a percent of the nation’s total income and wealth — in order, for example, to finance an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit (a wage subsidy for low-income workers).

Not the least, taking on the moneyed interests would necessitate limiting their future political power. Here, the candidate could promise to appoint Supreme Court justices committed to reversing Citizens United, push for public financing of elections, and demand full disclosure of all private sources of campaign funding.

But will she (or he) do any of this? Taking on the moneyed interests is risky, especially when those interests have more economic and political power than at any time since the first Gilded Age. These interests are, after all, the main sources of campaign funding.

But a failure to take them on prevents any real change in the prospects of the bottom 90 percent of Americans.

It also robs the Democratic candidate of a potential public mandate to change the prevailing allocation of economic and political power — no less dramatically than it was changed by Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson a century ago, marking the end of that Gilded Age.

And a failure to take on the moneyed interests sacrifices the potential enthusiasm of millions of voters – Democrats and Republicans alike – who know the game is rigged, and who yearn for a leader with the strength and courage to un-rig it, and thereby give them and their children a fair chance.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-reich/democratic-nominee-2016-monied-interests_b_6796202.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

http://www.salon.com/2015/03/04/robert_reich_americas_entire_political_system_is_rigged_partner/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

What we really need leading up to and in the 2016 presidential election year is a national discussion on the topic of the importance of capital ownership and how we can expand the base of private capital ownership simultaneously with the creation of new physical capital formation, with the aim of building long-term financial security for all Americans through accumulating a viable capital estate.

Robert Reich attacks the “moneyed interests” as if private property is evil. It is not private property that is evil but the concentrated ownership of productive capital property that enables the few to OWN the productive power of our corporations and regulate the vast majority to wage slavery, welfare slavery, debt slavery and charity slavery.

Reich and other activist progressives and conservatives need to recognize that we should deliberately begin to broaden the capital ownership base in a way that is consistent with the laws of property and the Constitutional safeguards of the rights of men and women to own property and be productive.

Abraham Lincoln said that the purpose of government is to do for people what they cannot do for themselves. Government also should serve to keep people from hurting themselves and to restrain man’s greed, which otherwise cannot be self-controlled. Anyone who seeks to own productive power that they cannot or won’t use for consumption are beggaring their neighbor––the equivalency of mass murder––the impact of concentrated capital ownership.

What needs to be adjusted is the opportunity to produce, not the redistribution of income after it is produced.

The government should acknowledge its obligation to make productive capital ownership economically purchasable by capital-less Americans using insured, interest-free capital credit, and, as binary economist Louis Kelso stated, “substantially assume financial responsibility for the economy through establishing and supervising the implementation of an economic, labor and business policy of democratized economic power.” Historically, capital has been the primary engine of industrialization. But as used, as Kelso has argued, has, as well, “been the chief cause of the institutional deformities that have created and maintained two incompatible classes: the overcapitalized (the minority “moneyed interests”) and the undercapitalized” (the vast majority of government-dependent citizens).

We need to arrive at a new market economy structure in which on one level the employees of a corporation could walk into management and demand, in collective bargaining, the use of an justice-managed full-voting, full-dividend-earnings-payout Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)—not just to trade a single block of stock for wage concessions, but to redesign the future of the company and its employees. We need, as a society, the assurance that as a corporate employer grows, it builds ownership into its employees. All of them! When people are in a position to earn the income produced by their capital assets as well as the wages of their labor, their company is in a position to be more competitive through lower labor costs and increased technological invention and innovation, while achieving higher employee incomes through employee productive capital.

Once this goal becomes the national political focus we will see an unbelievable discussion of workable plans to realize the goal. Remember that planning begins with a vision and a goal. This is not rocket science but it does require national leadership. Implementation requires amending a few laws that basically authorize the transactions that will broaden capital ownership paid for with the future earnings of capital investment. Allowing such transactions will provide incentives for profitable opportunities to employ unused capacity and promote stable and robust economic growth.

Still, after a half-century, we have no leaders with a growth strategy that could restore the economic productiveness of the American economy. The growth strategy I have presented is not new, but it has not yet registered in the minds of leaderless politicians and their advisors from the left to the right of the political spectrum and a population of people who have been mis-educated and mis-led by conventional economists such Robert Reich and others from all the conventional schools of economics.

Reich is a practitioner of the one-factor-mindset-shackled economist John Maynard Keynes, whose Keynesian model is widely taught. Keynes falsely presumed that the only way to balance mass productive power with mass purchasing power is through a wage system––ignoring the possibility of democratizing future ownership of labor-displacing productive capital technologies and rising ownership incomes as a market-generated means of eliminating wage slavery, welfare slavery, debt slavery and charity slavery for the 99 percent of humanity. Kelso argued that the Keynesian model fails to recognize that “when capital workers [owners] replace labor workers as the major suppliers of goods and services, labor employment alone becomes inadequate because labor’s share of the income arising from production cannot provide the progressively better standard of living that technology is making possible. Labor produces subsistence at best. Capital can produce affluence. To enjoy affluence, all households must engage to an increasing extent in capital work”

It is imperative that leaders seeking new solutions cease the opportunity presented by the 2016 presidential election to implement effective programs for expanded ownership of productive capital, and address the problem of education on this subject.

One of my favorite Kelso quotes is: “The low credibility of government and of all lesser institutions in America today is a consequence of our own increasingly hollow democracy. It is reflected in the rising domestic crime rate and the social and political alienation of people in all walks of life, except for the rich and their sycophants. The real collapse of American ideological leadership in the world can best be seen in the feebleness and confusion that characterizes American foreign policy. The handwriting on the wall is clear: America must rethink the meaning of democracy and set about within its borders to rationalize its economic policy into one that synchronizes the shift from labor intensive to capital intensive production, with universal capital ownership and the payment of the full wages [earnings] of capital to capital owners, so to restore economic democracy to our economy. We should democratize our plutocratic capitalist economy before we preach democracy to others.”

At one point in 1976, the discussion led to The Joint Economic Committee of Congress endorsing the two-factor policy to broaden capital ownership as an economic goal for America. The 1976 Joint Economic Report stated: “To provide a realistic opportunity for more U.S. citizens to become owners of capital, and to provide an expanded source of equity financing for corporations, it should be made national policy to pursue the goal of broadened capital ownership. Congress also should request from the Administration a quadrennial report on the ownership of wealth in this country, which would assist in evaluating how successfully the base of wealth was being broadened over time.” Unfortunately the Congress has never paid any attention to this policy, and the goal has subsequently been unacknowledged and unheeded by our plutocratic political leaders.

The stark reality is that we are in a depression reflected in rising unemployment and underemployment and instability that we will never escape from until we change our economic policy. Increasingly, more Americans will not be able to ever purchase a home, due to the packed inflationary wage and welfare base factored into the cost of building homes, which inflate prices, and will be forced to rent their entire life or depend on government living assistance––not able to accumulate equity that can help to sustain them in their retirement years. And this is the new reality now facing people in the middle class. The uncertainty of holding onto a good job is frightening to an increasingly wider base of middle-class working citizens. When you factor in the average non-salaried worker, even with a government-mandated minimum labor wage rate of $10.00+ per hour in some states, the outcome is grim. Never mind that consumer demand continues to dwindle because of insufficient income, solely tied to labor worker wages. The impact of the decline in consumer demand due to declining labor worker wages is that production will decline or desist without sustainable consumer demand.

This is all coming about because we have severely mismatched the power to produce with the possession of unsatisfied needs and wants. Those capital worker owners who have unsatisfied needs and wants have ready access through conventional finance to get as much or more capital as they want. Our tax laws are designed to further benefit the 1 percent by providing enormous write offs and credits to producers (corporations) who are owned by the few, who already produce more than they can consume. Those who have only their labor power and its precarious value held up by coercive rigging and who desperately need capital ownership to enable them to be capital workers as well as labor workers to have a way to earn more income, cannot satisfy their unsatisfied needs and wants. With only access to labor wages, the 99 percenters will continue, in desperation, to demand more and more pay for the same or less work, as their input is exponentially replaced by productive capital.

But if we change direction and systematically build earning power into consumers, we have the opportunity to reverse the depression perpetrated by systematically limiting the 99 percent to labor wages alone and through technology eliminating their jobs. We need solutions to grow the economy in ways that create productive jobs and widespread equity sharing. We need to systematically make capital credit to purchase capital accessible to economically underpowered people (the 99 percenters) in which the income from the capital investment is isolated until it pays for itself, and then begins to produce a stream of dividend income to the new capitalists. This can only be accomplished by enabling every person to have access to capital ownership and purchase the capital, and pay for it out of what the capital produces. It’s time good and well-intentioned people woke up and adopted a just third way beyond the greed model of monopoly capitalism and the envy model of the traditional welfare state. This will promote peace, prosperity, and freedom through harmonious justice.

As my colleague Norman Kurland argues,  “The haves represent a tiny fraction of humanity. Our ideas will split them between those who see our point and understand that they would benefit everyone without taking anything away from them during their lives, and those who want to keep ownership in an exclusive club. The latter cannot publicly attack the institution of private property without threatening the legal foundation that gives them their monopoly over the money system and the ownership system.” Kurland is President of the Center for Economic and Social Justice (www.cesj.org).

We need leadership to awaken all American citizens to force the politicians to follow the people and lift all legal barriers to universal capital ownership access by every man, woman, and child as a fundamental right of citizenship and the basis of personal liberty and empowerment. The goal should be to enable every child, woman, and man to become an owner of ever-advancing labor-displacing technologies, new and sustainable energy systems, new rentable space, new enterprises, new infrastructure assets, and productive land and natural resources as a growing and independent source of their future incomes.

Don’t Fast-Track Another Trade Deal

Eight Ways To Reduce Global Inequality

GlobalInequality030215

A more equal world could be created through taxing progressively, respecting worker rights and rethinking economics. Here are eight ways to reduce global inequality once and for all.

Under Attack, Unions Show New Creativity And Militancy

Unions making a comeback

How Longshoremen Command $100K Salaries In Era Of Globalization And Automation

China Accelerates Into The Future, Racing Past America

chinaeconomy3115

A role reversal has occurred in this world as China is quickly surpassing the US in the innovative and economic world. With its increasing wealth, China is expanding its existence throughout the world.

This is a MUST READ op-ed that talks about the general affluence that is resulting in the economy that China is building. The author, Michael Payne, points to the reason for the real turning point that has enabled China to surpass the United States in technological development. That is, of course, the result of the decisions of American manufacturing corporations to abandon the United States to  produce products and services far more cheaply in China (and other countries such as India and Mexico, for example), thus “making the devastating mistake of handing over this country’s world renowned manufacturing sector to China.” The movement to manufacturing in China has created a domino effect in which virtually every American manufacturer is outsourcing its manufacturing to China or other low wage, non-regulated countries in order to remain competitive on a global scale.

What has followed is that the Chinese took that gift from America and used it to power its economy by producing far less costly products and services, which were then sold to American consumers (who as consumers shop for the best price bargains they can find either at brick-and-motar stores or on the Internet). As a result, China is experiencing tremendous growth potential as a result of technological industrialization, though the vast majority of Chinese are still living a relatively impoverished life. Why? Because, as with the United States’s form of greed capitalism, the Chinese have also adopted a “communist” version of greed  capitalism that ONLY benefits those who are well connected politically and favored to benefit from the OWNERSHIP of the massive investment on the part of American business corporations.

What really is driving this shift is the demand by American consumers (for that matter the world’s consumers) for far less pricey products and services. But no one should blame people when behaving as consumers who benefit from lower prices as a result of lower costs of production––whether achieved through lower labor costs (far fewer people) or technological shifts that make labor unnecessary or a combination of both actions.

While a role reversal has occurred as China is quickly surpassing the United States in the world of technological invention and innovation and economic development, with seemingly almost unlimited growth potential, China will eventually experience a steep slide in their economic fortunes as the vast Chinese population becomes no longer connected to the growth through jobs, and find themselves unemployed. This will be true as well for the peoples of other countries who also will continue to see their prosperity deteriorate due to the continual shifts in the technologies of production that destroy jobs and devalue the worth of labor.

It is the exponential disassociation of production and consumption that is the problem in the United States economy that is shifting its manufacturing abroad and concentrating wealth ownership, and the reason that ordinary citizens must gain access to wealth-creating, income-generating  productive capital ownership to improve their economic well-being.

Once upon a time the American economy was labor intensive Americans had numerous opportunities for jobs as labor was a critical input factor, with those in manufacturing paid decent wages upon which to support a family. Also, the spread between the richest and the middle-class was less obvious, or acceptably tolerated because people felt that the rich earned their wealthy status because they “worked harder.” Few then, as today, realize that to become truly rich and stay rich requires that one OWNS the non-human means of production (such as land, structures, tools, machines [including human-intelligent and robotic], super-automated processes, computerized operations, etc.––all the result of technological invention and innovation and the core assets necessary for manufacturing products and services. Thus, those who are the OWNERS of productive capital assets are the people who are able to be free and lead an affluent lifestyle. Those who do not OWN are regulated to wage slavery and welfare slavery leading to increasing dependence on the State for their subsistence.

Every country whose system is non-inclusive and barrier-ridden, as is the United States and China (really the entire world of nations), will continue to experience affluential decline for the majority of their citizens because people will continue to invent “tools” to reduce toil, enable otherwise impossible production, create new highly automated industries, and significantly change the way in which products and services are produced from labor intensive to capital intensive––the core function of technological invention and innovation. Without OWNING a share of this technological progression, people will struggle to earn income to support themselves and their families.

As a result of this slow, but steady shift, the trend has been to diminish the importance of employment with productive capital ownership concentrating faster than ever, while technological change makes physical capital ever more productive. Technology is an easier and faster way to get a job done. Corporate decision makers know this, whether in the United States or China, or anywhere organized assemblies of people engage in production. Technology is an easier and faster way to get a job done. Because technology increases the profitability of companies throughout the world, technology always has the advantage over human labor when the costs of them are the same. But because this is not well understood, what we as a society have been doing is to continually shift the work burden from people labor to real physical capital while distributing the earning capacity of physical capital’s work (via capital ownership of stock in corporations) to non-owners through make-work job creation, minimum wage requirements, and welfare programs. Such policies do not function effectively.

The solution is to reform the system and create a  a democratic growth economy, based on an understanding of binary economics (human and non-human productive inputs). In such a future economy, the ownership of productive capital assets would be spread more broadly as the economy grows, without taking anything away from the 1 to 10 percent who now own 50 to 90 percent of the corporate wealth. Instead, the ownership pie would desirably get much bigger and their percentage of the total ownership would decrease, as ownership gets broader and broader, benefiting EVERY citizen, including the traditionally disenfranchised poor and working and middle class. Thus, productive capital income would be distributed more broadly and the demand for products and services would be distributed more broadly from the earnings of capital and result in the sustentation of consumer demand, which will promote economic growth and more profitable enterprise. That also means that society can profitably employ unused productive capacity and invest in more productive capacity to service the demands of a growth economy.

To accomplish this objective we need new justice-committed leaders, especially those who want to end the corruption built into our exclusionary system of monopoly capitalism––the main source of corruption of any political system, democratic or otherwise. These leaders need to advocate the need to radically overhaul the Federal tax system and monetary policies and institute proposals to get money power to the 99 percent of American citizens who now only rely on their labor worker earnings. Under the Just Third Way’s more just and simple tax system, access would by provided to ownership of the means of production in the future to every child, woman and man by requiring the government to lift all existing legal and institutional barriers to private property stakes as a fundamental human right. The system was made by people and can be changed by people. Guided by the right principles of economic justice, “we the people” can organize and demand that the system be reorganized to make true economic democracy the new foundation for true political democracy. The result of this movement of new justice-committed leaders and activists will be inclusive prosperity, inclusive opportunity, and inclusive economic justice.

The following actionable measures will be necessary to reform the system to work for EVERY citizen, not just those well-connected for government welfare contracts, heirs of wealthy estates, those able to earn more than enough wages to invest their savings, or owners of inventions that are financially rewarded, etc.:

Support the Agenda of The Just Third Way Movement at http://foreconomicjustice.org/?p=5797http://www.cesj.org/resources/articles-index/the-just-third-way-basic-principles-of-economic-and-social-justice-by-norman-g-kurland/http://www.cesj.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/jtw-graphicoverview-2013.pdf and http://www.cesj.org/resources/articles-index/the-just-third-way-a-new-vision-for-providing-hope-justice-and-economic-empowerment/.

Support Monetary Justice at http://capitalhomestead.org/page/monetary-justice

Support the Capital Homestead Act at http://www.cesj.org/learn/capital-homesteading/capital-homestead-act-a-plan-for-getting-ownership-income-and-power-to-every-citizen/ and http://www.cesj.org/learn/capital-homesteading/capital-homestead-act-summary/. See http://cesj.org/learn/capital-homesteading/ and http://cesj.org/…/uploads/Free/capitalhomesteading-s.pdf.

Support the Unite America Party Platform, published by The Huffington Post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gary-reber/platform-of-the-unite-ame_b_5474077.html as well as Nation Of Change at http://www.nationofchange.org/platform-unite-america-party-1402409962 and OpEd News at http://www.opednews.com/articles/Platform-of-the-Unite-Amer-by-Gary-Reber-Party-Leadership_Party-Platforms-DNC_Party-Platforms-GOP-RNC_Party-Politics-Democratic-140630-60.html.

Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership Promises Echo Clinton’s On NAFTA

U.S. President Obama listens to remarks during event held to honor members of U.S. teams and delegations from the Sochi Olympics  and Paralympics at the White House in Washington

President Clinton had entered into NAFTA with the promises of jobs and prosperity, but these hopes were not really met. President Obama seems to be making the same promises when it comes to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

This Is The Biggest Problem Facing The World Today: 9 Countries Have Debt-To-GDP Over 300%

On February 23, 2015, Tyler Durden writes on Zero Hedge:

If anyone has stopped to ask just why global central banks are in such a rush to create inflation (but only controlled inflation, not runaway hyperinflation… of course when they fail with the “controlled” part the money paradrop is only a matter of time) over the past 5 years, and have printed over $12 trillion in credit-money since Lehman, the bulk of which has ended up in the stock market, and which for the first time ever are about to monetize all global sovereign debt issuance in 2015, the answer is simple, and can be seen on the chart below.

It also shows the biggest problem facing the world today, namely that at least 9 countries have debt/GDP above 300%, and that a whopping 39% countries have debt-to-GDP of over 100%!

We have written on this topic on countless occasions in the past, so we will be brief: either the Fed inflates this debt away, or one can kiss any hope of economic growth goodbye, even if that means even more central bank rate cuts, more QEs everywhere, and stock markets trading at +? while the middle class around the globe disappears and only the 0.001% is left standing.

Finally, those curious just how the world got to this unprecedented and sorry state, this full breakdown courtesy of McKinsey should answer all questions.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-02-23/biggest-problem-facing-world-today-9-countries-have-debt-gdp-over-300

Unfortunately, many progressive and Modern Monetary advocates believe that public debt does not matter. But it does and without debt tied to financing asset-based growth, the result is inherently inflationary. Any public debt other than issuing new money for  asset-based growth will put a damper on economic activity, thus  leading the central banks to take more and more desperate actions to fight deflation. What we need is a new currency, which is based on real assets, and real productivity.

As David Stockman states (http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/krugmans-latest-debt-denial-why-his-two-magic-numbers-dont-cut-it/?utm_source=wysija&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Mailing+List+AM+Tuesday), “there is no reason to assume that U.S. real growth will sharply accelerate from the tepid trends of the recent past” unless the system is radically reformed to balance production with consumption and simultaneously create new ownership with EVERY child, woman and man a share owner participant as the economy grows.

The  debate about a fairer tax code and ending the Bush tax cuts relates to what percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) should the federal government spend and what percent of GDP should be collected in taxes. Unfortunately, the current economy is growing at the Congressional Budget Office projected rate of less than 3 percent. This is pitiful, especially in light of the advances in technological production processes that are capable of producing a quality material lifestyle for ALL American citizens. The focus needs to be on growth with a targeted 20 percent growth rate, which would allow the society to maintain promised health care and Social Security commitments to a growing elderly population, stabilize taxes at 15 percent of GDP, and balance the budget. With growth rates well over 6 percent, health care and Social Security benefits could be increased, taxes could be lowered, while achieving a surplus.

The path to such prosperity requires re-charting the financial system to empower ALL citizens to acquire long term viable private, individual ownership portfolios representing full dividend-payout assets of new productive capital (the non-human factor of production embodied in super-automated, robotic and computerized processes that require less labor worker or no labor worker input) and pay for their acquisition out of the future earnings of the productive capital investments financed by credit insured by the Federal Reserve.

The accelerated growth rate, due to the the infusion of credit into productive capital investment, would result in a majority of Americans earning additional income from wages and salaries and dividends, interest, and capital gains from other opportunities created beyond the dividend income payout from the productive capital investments. The accelerated growth rate would produce jobs that pay well and would significantly expand markets due to rising consumer demand, which in turn would generate greater business profits and opportunity for more productive capital investment. Everyone would benefit––rich and poor. There would be lower unemployment (making for the elimination of make-work), higher personal incomes, lower deficits due to greater tax revenues, lower tax rates, and better government services, with every citizen benefiting from a higher standard of living.

Such a path to prosperity would empower ordinary citizens, the majority of which are capitalless, to own a substantial percentage of the future productive capital formation creating the growth of the economy. The GOAL would be to assure that every child, woman and man would be able to accumulate a portfolio of productive capital assets large enough to provide a secure source of income. After a few decades, dividend income from the ownership of productive capital assets would become the primary source of income, though well-paying job opportunities would be plentiful for those who want to work for the satisfaction that can come from employment, whether in business, education, healthcare, science, and government or other self-rewarding contributions to society.

If you want to change this gross economic inequality support the Platform of the Unite America Party.

What our leaders and those in academia need to advocate is their ability to lead America on a path based on a paradigm shift to an equal opportunity economic democracy.

To accomplish this objective, the Federal Reserve System needs to be reformed to act as a purveyor of economic growth.

Influential economists and business leaders, as well as political leaders, should read Harold Moulton’s The Formation Of Capital, in which he argues that it makes no sense to finance new productive capital out of past savings. Instead, economic growth should be financed out of future earnings (savings), and provide that every citizen become an owner. The Federal Reserve, which has been largely responsible for the powerlessness of most American citizens, should set an example for all the central banks in the world.

Chairman Janet Yellen and other members of the Federal Reserve need to wake-up and implement Section 13 paragraph 2, which directs the Federal Reserve to create credit for local banks to make loans where there isn’t enough savings in the system to finance economic growth. We should not destroy the Federal Reserve or make it a political extension of the Treasury Department, but instead reform it so that the American citizens in each of the 12 Federal Reserve Regions become the owners. The result will be that money power will flow from the bottom up, not from the top down––not for consumer credit, not for credit that doesn’t pay for itself or non-productive uses of credit, but for credit for productive uses to expand the economy’s rate of growth.

The JUST Third Way is that paradigm shift. It calls for a radical overhaul of the economic system (i.e., the Federal tax system, Federal Reserve policy, inheritance law, welfare and entitlement system, etc.) that will achieve genuine economic democracy, based on the Platform of the Unite America Party and its links and the proposed Capital Homestead Act. Our Platform is a call for a vision of political economy that can unite the left and the right, based on Louis Kelso’s ownership-based paradigm. Now is the time to cure America’s political cancer (Crony Capitalism) and restore America to again becoming a model for global citizens in all countries.

For a new vision see http://www.foreconomicjustice.org/?p=12331 andwww.facebook.com/uniteamericaparty. Support the Unite America Party Platform, published by The Huffington Post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gary-reber/platform-of-the-unite-ame_b_5474077.html as well as Nation Of Change at http://www.nationofchange.org/platform-unite-america-party-1402409962 and OpEd News at http://www.opednews.com/articles/Platform-of-the-Unite-Amer-by-Gary-Reber-Party-Leadership_Party-Platforms-DNC_Party-Platforms-GOP-RNC_Party-Politics-Democratic-140630-60.html.

Robert Reich: America Is Winning The Race To The Bottom

On February 24, 2015, Robert Reich writes on Salon:

GM is worth around $60 billion, and has over 200,000 employees. Its front-line workers earn from $19 to $28.50 an hour, with benefits.

Uber is estimated to be worth some $40 billion, and has 850 employees. Uber also has over 163,000 drivers (as of December – the number is expected to double by June), who average $17 an hour in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., and $23 an hour in San Francisco and New York.

But Uber doesn’t count these drivers as employees. Uber says they’re “independent contractors.”

What difference does it make?

For one thing, GM workers don’t have to pay for the machines they use. But Uber drivers pay for their cars – not just buying them but also their maintenance, insurance, gas, oil changes, tires, and cleaning. Subtract these costs and Uber drivers’ hourly pay drops considerably.

For another, GM’s employees get all the nation’s labor protections.

These include Social Security, a 40-hour workweek with time-and-a-half for overtime, worker health and safety, worker’s compensation if  injured on the job, family and medical leave, minimum wage, pension protection, unemployment insurance, protection against racial or gender discrimination, and the right to bargain collectively.

Not to forget Obamacare’s mandate of employer-provided healthcare.

Uber workers don’t get any of these things. They’re outside the labor laws.

Uber workers aren’t alone. There are millions like just them, also outside the labor laws — and their ranks are growing. Most aren’t even part of the new Uberized “sharing” economy.

They’re franchisees, consultants, and free lancers.

They’re also construction workers, restaurant workers, truck drivers, office technicians, even workers in hair salons.

What they all have in common is they’re not considered “employees” of the companies they work for. They’re “independent contractors” – which puts all of them outside the labor laws, too.

The rise of “independent contractors” Is the most significant legal trend in the American workforce – contributing directly to low pay, irregular hours, and job insecurity.

What makes them “independent contractors” is the mainly that the companies they work for say they are. So those companies don’t have to pick up the costs of having full-time employees.

But are they really “independent”? Companies can manipulate their hours and expenses to make them seem so.

It’s become a race to the bottom. Once one business cuts costs by making its workers “independent contractors,” every other business in that industry has to do the same – or face shrinking profits and a dwindling share of the market

Some workers prefer to be independent contractors because that way they get paid in cash. Or they like deciding what hours they’ll work.

Mostly, though, they take these jobs because they can’t find better ones. And as the race to the bottom accelerates, they have fewer and fewer alternatives.

Fortunately, there are laws against this. Unfortunately, the laws are way too vague and not well-enforced.

For example, FedEx calls its drivers independent contractors.

Yet FedEx requires them to pay for the FedEx-branded trucks they drive, as well as the FedEx uniforms they wear, and FedEx scanners they use – along with insurance, fuel, tires, oil changes, meals on the road, maintenance, and workers compensation insurance. If they get sick or need a vacation, they have to hire their own replacements. They’re even required to groom themselves according to FedEx standards.

FedEx doesn’t tell its drivers what hours to work, but it tells them what packages to deliver and organizes their workloads to ensure they work between 9.5 and 11 hours every working day.

If this isn’t “employment,” I don’t know what the word means.

In 2005, thousands of FedEx drivers in California sued the company, alleging they were in fact employees and that FedEx owed them the money they shelled out, as well as wages for all the overtime work they put in.

Last summer, a federal appeals court agreed, finding that under California law – which looks at whether a company “controls” how a job is done along with a variety of other criteria to determine the real employment relationship – the FedEx drivers were indeed employees, not independent contractors.

Does that mean Uber drivers in California are also “employees”? That case is being considered right now.

What about FedEx drivers and Uber drivers in other states? Other truck drivers? Construction workers? Hair salon workers? The list goes on.

The law is still up in the air. Which means the race to the bottom is still on.

It’s absurd to wait for the courts to decide all this case-by-case. We need a simpler test for determining who’s an employer and employee.

I suggest this one: Any corporation that accounts for at least 80 percent or more of the pay someone gets, or receives from that worker at least 20 percent of his or her earnings, should be presumed to be that person’s “employer.”

Congress doesn’t have to pass a new law to make this the test of employment. Federal agencies such as the Labor Department and the IRS have the power to do this on their own, through their rule making authority.

They should do so. Now.

http://www.salon.com/2015/02/24/robert_reich_america_is_winning_the_race_to_the_bottom_partner/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

Robert Reich continues not to get it! EVERY for-profit company seeks to operate at the lowest possible cost in order to maximize the OWNERS’ return-on-investment (ROI).  Their objective is not full employment nor paying workers more than the market value of labor.

If General Motors could produce vehicles with less labor, thus saving operational costs, they would. The fact is they are constantly looking and adopting labor-saving robotic machines, more and more so with human-intelligent skills, to manufacture and save costs.

“Independent contractors” is not a new form of for-profit business structure. And this particular form of “independent contractor” for-profit business structure will continue to expand as more and more companies will have less need for full-time workers.  And yes, this means as Reich points out that this structural form of providing services and producing products is “contributing directly to low pay, irregular hours, and job insecurity,” and people need to earn income to survive in an economy of business corporations who constantly seek to minimize or eliminate the need for incurring the costs of full-time labor workers.

Reich advocates a band-aid solution, as with all of his proposals related to abating economic inequality. Reich needs to realize that the golden rule of for-profit businesses is to keep labor input and other costs at a minimum in order to maximize profits for the owners. They strive to minimize marginal cost, the cost of producing an additional unit of a good, product or service once a business has its fixed costs in place, in order to stay competitive with other companies racing to stay competitive through technological innovation. Reducing marginal costs enables businesses to increase profits, offer goods, products and services at a lower price (which people as consumers seek), or both. Increasingly, new technologies are enabling companies to achieve near-zero cost growth without having to hire people. Thus, private sector job creation in numbers that match the pool of people willing and able to work is constantly being eroded by physical productive capital’s ever increasing role.

Over the past century there has been an ever-accelerating shift to productive capital––which reflects tectonic shifts in the technologies of production and result in the destruction of jobs and the devaluation of the worth of labor.  The result is that the price of products and services are extremely competitive as consumers will always seek the lowest cost/quality/performance alternative, and thus for-profit companies are constantly competing with each other (on a local, national and global scale) for attracting “customers with money” to purchase their products or services.

The reality is that most changes in the productive capacity of the world since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution can be attributed to technological improvements in our capital assets, and a relatively diminishing proportion to human labor. Simply, people invent “tools” to reduce toil, enable otherwise impossible production, create new highly automated industries, and significantly change the way in which products and services are produced from labor intensive to capital intensive––the core function of technological invention and innovation.

Because such shifts in the technologies of production are constantly advancing,  many forms of labor are unnecessary. Because of this undeniable fact, free-market forces no longer establish the “value” of labor. Instead, the price of labor is artificially elevated by government through minimum wage legislation, overtime laws, and collective bargaining legislation or by government employment and government subsidization of private employment solely to increase consumer income––all of which is advocated by Reich and other conventional economists.

Reich should understand all of this as a “professor of economics” and past Labor Secretary under President Clinton, but his focus is always on full employment and job creation. Reich fails to connect the dots and therefore does not see that productive capital is increasingly the source of the world’s economic growth and, therefore, should become the source of added property ownership incomes for all. As simple a concept that it is, Reich should postulate to himself that if both labor and capital are independent factors of production, and if physical capital’s proportionate contributions are increasing relative to that of labor, then equality of opportunity and economic justice demands that the right to property (and access to the means of acquiring and possessing property) must in justice be extended to all. Yet, sadly, Reich and other academia still pretend to believe that labor is becoming more productive and should reap more of the profit produced business corporations, and ignore the necessity to simultaneously broaden personal ownership of wealth-creating, income-producing capital assets of the dominant business corporations growing the American economy.

Unfortunately, ever since the 1946 passage of the Full Employment Act, economists such as Reich and politicians formulating national economic policy have beguiled us into believing that economic power is democratically distributed if we have full employment––thus the political focus on job creation and redistribution of wealth rather than on full production and broader capital ownership accumulation. This is manifested in the belief that labor work is the ONLY way to participate in production and earn income. Long ago that was once true because labor provided 95 percent of the input into the production of products and services. But today that is not true. Physical capital provides not less than 90 to 95 percent of the input. Full employment as the means to distribute income is not achievable. When the “tools” of capital owners replace labor workers (non-capital owners) as the principal suppliers of products and services, labor employment alone becomes inadequate. Thus, we are left with government policies that redistribute income in one form or another, as Reich advocates.

Thus, Reich sees the need for the government to continue to discharge its responsibility for the health and prosperity of the economy through coerced trickle-down; in other words, through redistribution achieved by the rigging of labor prices, by taxation to support redistribution and job “creation,” or subsidization by inflation and by all kinds of welfare, open and concealed.

If Reich really wants to abate economic inequality then he needs to advocate reform of the system. Presently the system supports the ability of greedy rich people to manipulate the lives of people who struggle with declining labor worker earnings and job opportunities, and then accumulate the bulk of the money through monopolized productive capital ownership. Our scientists, engineers, and executive managers who are not owners themselves, except for those in the highest employed positions, are encouraged to work to destroy employment by making the capital “worker” owner more productive. How much employment can be destroyed by substituting machines for people is a measure of their success––always focused on producing at the lowest cost. Only the people who already own productive capital are the beneficiaries of their work, as they systematically concentrate more and more capital ownership in their stationary “1 percent” ranks. Yet the 1 percent are not the people who do the overwhelming consuming. The result is the consumer populous is not able to get the money to buy the products and services produced as a result of substituting machines for people. And yet you can’t have mass production without mass human consumption made possible by “customers with money.” It is the exponential disassociation of production and consumption that is the problem in the United States economy, and the reason that ordinary citizens must gain access to productive capital ownership to improve their economic well-being.