From the LA Times:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday sent lawmakers his plan to trim more than $5 billion in spending by dismantling or drastically curtailing state programs that provide Californians with healthcare, higher education, welfare, parks, AIDS treatment and counseling, prisoner rehabilitation and other services.
I know that many people will read this and think, "Good, make the shiftless welfare queens work for a living like everyone else!!!" Of course, even before the reforms of national welfare programs in 1996, which have essentially made life as a 'welfare queen' financially impossible, and time-limited to 5 years of total support across one's adult life, trying to eke out a living on welfare supports was always a miserable thing and practiced by a tiny few.
The greater concern is that now it is the very low wage workers that are losing their work in the housing collapse who need these supports as short term unemployment, for those even eligible to access such supports, runs out. Schwarzenegger is essentially promising emiseration as his 'solution' to the fiscal crisis, for a generation and more. If the Democratic majority legislature goes along with this, God help us, this state is going to end up looking like much of the rest of Latin America, little oases of comfort and wealth, surrounded by teeming masses huddled in shanty towns along the urban perimeter.
And so it goes for all the attempts to rescue the financial industry by the world's central bankers, Liu writes,
So, the plan, such as it is it to try and 'save' the global economy by driving ever more wealth into the coffers of the wealthy. Yet, all the money creation plans in process cannot and will not create new wealth. This means that the wealthy must take wealth from the 99% masses (yea, that's you and me too!) in order to see any personal wealth increase. And, it is the poorest among us who feel this the most immediately, and the most painfully. In this light, Schwarzenegger's 'plan' to balance the budget on the backs of the poor, while protecting the interests of his friends in the Oligarchy makes total, if misguided, sense.
Central bankers are savvy enough to know that while they can create money, they cannot create wealth. To bind money to wealth, central bankers must fight inflation as if it were a financial plague. But the first law of growth economics states that to create wealth through growth, some inflation needs to be tolerated.
The solution then is to make the working poor pay for the pain of inflation by giving the rich a bigger share of the monetized wealth created via inflation, so that the loss of purchasing power from inflation is mostly borne by the low-wage working poor and not by the owners of capital, the monetary value of which is protected from inflation through low wages. Thus the working poor loses in both boom times and bust times.
Inflation is deemed benign by monetarism as long as wages rise at a slower pace than asset prices. The monetarist iron law of wages worked in the industrial age, with the resultant excess capacity absorbed by conspicuous consumption of the moneyed class, although it eventually heralded in the age of revolutions. But the iron law of wages no longer works in the post-industrial age in which growth can only come from mass demand management because overcapacity has grown beyond the ability of conspicuous consumption of a few to absorb in an economic democracy.
That has been the basic problem of the global economy for the past three decades. Low wages even in boom times have landed the world in its current sorry state of overcapacity masked by unsustainable demand created by a debt bubble that finally imploded in July 2007. The whole world is now producing goods and services made by low-wage workers who cannot afford to buy what they make except by taking on debt on which they eventually will default because their low income cannot service it.
Where does this end up, exactly where is ended in the middle to late 19th century,
The monetarist iron law of wages worked in the industrial age, with the resultant excess capacity absorbed by conspicuous consumption of the moneyed class, although it eventually heralded in the age of revolutions." (Henry C.K.Liu)Only this time, Paris Hilton's conspicuous consumption is not enough,
But the iron law of wages no longer works in the post-industrial age in which growth can only come from mass demand management because overcapacity has grown beyond the ability of conspicuous consumption of a few to absorb in an economic democracy. (Henry C.K. Liu)And with that in mind, there is this little nuggett, also from the LA Times,
Like everybody else in his farming village, Zhan Changchun used to get around on a bicycle. This month, the 29-year-old walked into a local dealership, pulled out $7,300 in cash from his leather satchel and drove away with the family's first car: a seven-seat micro-minivan that's jointly produced by China's Wuling and General Motors.I love it when the theory of the day is so easily exemplified in the news of the day, don't you?
The Zhans drained their life savings and borrowed from relatives, bold moves in a slowing economy. But they couldn't resist a slew of government incentives: a 50% sales tax reduction, elimination of hundreds of dollars in road maintenance fees, plus the biggest of them all, a 10% rebate for rural residents buying vehicles with engines smaller than 1.3 liters.
It's all part of Beijing's "Send Automobiles to the Countryside" campaign, an effort to speed rural development and boost domestic consumption at a time when foreign demand for China's manufacturing exports is slumping. The government is also giving people in the countryside rebates for buying refrigerators and other appliances. ...