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The Great Unraveling Continues

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The U.S. 2012 budget deficit is significantly worse than either Italy's or Spain's, yet somehow the U.S. has managed to keep interest rates on its debt at record lows. How has it pulled this off?

One theory is that JPMorgan's $57 trillion in interest rate swaps have something to do with it. Another explanation, however, is that the Fed has simply stepped in as lender of last resort and bought up any debt not sold at the low rate set by the Treasury, using "quantitative easing" (money created on a computer screen). Between December 2008 and June 2011, the Fed bought a whopping $2.3 trillion of U.S. bonds in two rounds of quantitative easing.

Calling this corruption is like calling the sky blue. It is just an essential defining feature. It is how the system works (or doesn't, to the 99%'s detriment).

The entire financial system is completely rotten at the core.

Perhaps it'll make it easier to understand if you keep in mind 2 things:
1.  The 1% will do absolutely anything, legal or not, to keep the system going for their own benefit. Not only do they not want to be exposed for the frauds they are and possibly go to jail, they want to keep "earning" their 8-10 figure incomes.
2.  The public, as outraged as it currently is, is still human. Like all humans, it tends to want to believe in authority figures, be they religious, governmental, industrial, etc. This starts from childhood, and the vast majority of humans never fully grow out of this need. The big bankers are loathed not just for the crimes they committed, but for the trust they betrayed, trust they should not have had in the first place.

My advice, FWIW, is to stop looking for the perfect explanation, analysis in movie/video/book/article form, accept the complete corruption (and that there will be continuing scandals because nothing has really changed in the last 10 years, except to get even worse as the power players get even more desperate). Then, start figuring out how you can change the system the most effectively; this answer will vary from individual to individual, but most things won't work, and those that do will require sacrifice, independent thinking, and even some physical risk. Michael Moore said at the Occupy meeting in Philadelphia this past week that some people will probably have to die at the hands of the police, in order to get the appropriate change started: 

"The first piece of any movement is the agitation, you have to wake people up, and they (Occupiers) woke people up. Somebody has to sit at front of the bus, somebody has to be hosed down by the sheriff, somebody has to suffer essentially, they have to put themselves on the line, probably be injured, maybe arrested, sadly, sometimes killed."

Neither he, nor I, nor most of you, I suspect, is willing to take those kinds of risks; it will be left, as always to the younger, nothing-to-lose-except-their-lives crowd.

Now, for some good news:

From the NY Times:
"ON Sunday, the best climate policy in the world got even better: British Columbia's carbon tax -- a tax on the carbon content of all fossil fuels burned in the province -- increased from $25 to $30 per metric ton of carbon dioxide, making it more expensive to pollute.
This was good news not only for the environment but for nearly everyone who pays taxes in British Columbia, because the carbon tax is used to reduce taxes for individuals and businesses. Thanks to this tax swap, British Columbia has lowered its corporate income tax rate to 10 percent from 12 percent, a rate that is among the lowest in the Group of 8 wealthy nations. Personal income taxes for people earning less than $119,000 per year are now the lowest in Canada, and there are targeted rebates for low-income and rural households."

So there ARE alternatives.   Tax the use and abuse of resources, not the production of the People.

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Scott Baker is a Managing Editor & The Economics Editor at Opednews, and a blogger for Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and Global Economic Intersection.

His anthology of updated Opednews articles was published by Tayen Lane Publishing (March, 2015) and may be found here:

Scott is President of Common Ground-NYC (, a Geoist/Georgist activist group. He has written (more...)

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Great job putting two huge issues in the same arti... by Elizabeth Hanson on Thursday, Jul 5, 2012 at 5:01:30 PM
Not bad for a city slicker.   I have a bit ... by Ned Lud on Thursday, Jul 5, 2012 at 8:41:56 PM
Keep a ever-skeptical and watchful eye on Scotty (... by Ned Lud on Friday, Jul 6, 2012 at 10:25:28 AM
the last line, which holds a most important key to... by Daniel Geery on Saturday, Jul 7, 2012 at 8:57:42 AM