Please, Your Lucky Dollar Bill
Last week, the Chicago Tribune and First Data, a major credit card processing company went private. That means the newspapers in Chicago and Los Angeles operate with financials that are completely private (opaque). Not only the fact that they are fully revenue driven, but that the relationship between the revenue sources and the editorial and news content is not at all traceable. So, what would be the difference between Pravda or the People’s Daily relative to the First Amendment? A bunch of guys sit around and decide what is news according to their personal views and the views of the interests they represent, without any outside accountability whatsoever.
With regard to a private credit card processor--that’s our money system. The government established the Department of Treasury because somebody felt there should be some public regulation and accountability over the way money is exchanged. Now it’s in the hands of a private outfit. The credit card companies already have a private court system that adjudicates disputes over transactions. There may be some other recourse than to accept their judgment, but I haven’t a clue what an ordinary person would do if a merchant cheated and the credit card arbiter made a decision in the merchant’s favor. Since we have been under the regime that believes the government is a bad thing for the last several years, we shouldn’t be surprised that incompetence is rampant, news is privately channeled according to private interests, and the money system cranks out transactions at the behest of a private and closed institution.
The Republicans justified the 2002 tax bill, favoring the monied minority and stating that economic prosperity is at stake if this enormous amount of liquidity is not released. Mergers and acquisitions are what happens when these enormous sums of private capital just float about. Is there an economist who can give a sober and sensible explanation about how prosperity is created for anybody but the barons who play shell games on the table with billions. Spin-offs, mergers, acquisitions. How in God’s name does this stuff create wealth and well-being for the populace in general? Just because money changes hands makes no case for the creation of tangible wealth for the populace in general. I think the distribution of income and wealth in the U.S. over the last thirty years goes a long way in making the case that it does not.
Suppose I notice the serial number on your dollar bill and you notice the serial number on mine. Suppose I decide your serial number is a lucky number and you the same with mine. So, we exchange bills. That is a transaction that increases our GDP. Doesn't the activity we call economics and that we so highly seek growth need some rethinking? All men may be created equal, but not all transactions are.
The case is that economics is an activity whereby everybody can go out for the team. But that doesn’t mean everybody gets to play. Economics as a social entity is now reverting to feudalism, whereby a mule and knapsack have simply been exchanged for a Kia and a Big Mac. How long will this new feudalism go until Lady Godiva comes galloping through with an inspiration for a wake-up call?
The Supreme Court gets to decide what is free speech, such as money contributed to a political candidate. It seems like a stretch of reason that money is speech, as was meat—the kind where somebody steps up on a stump and expresses a view. So today we are faster and looser with what is economics and a worthy transaction. This is one area where the liberal view has run amuck.
Just like the public has been heeding for decades to the stupid threats that environmental action will cost JOBS, words float through the media about THE ECONOMY, growth and prosperity. Fully dazed and dumbed out, the bottom could fall out from under our well-being if we don’t play along and not complain. Somebody might do something awful like come in and take our house!!!
There’s laissez-faire, and there is my preference, lazy fair with a cup of sassafras tea. Sassafras comes from the roots of the earth. Paper capitalism comes from the minds of shysters.