Tag Archives: American Capitalism

The Film Archives: Joe Nocera & Diana Henriques- The Worst Day in Wall Street History: The Stock Market Crash of 1987


Source: The Film Archives– Actor Michael Douglas 

Source: The Film Archives: Joe Nocera & Diana Henriques- The Worst Day in Wall Street History: The Stock Market Crash of 1987

Similar to what happened with the Stock Market last Friday and this Monday, is that we had a major downturn of the market or in 1987’s case a crash when the basic fundamentals of the economy were strong. Not counting the high budget deficit and national debt. But with solid economic and job growth, low unemployment, and even seeing wages ramong middle class Americans going up. Before the 1929 Wall Street crash the economy was fairly strong as well and then the crash happened and shortly after that we’re not only in a recession but the Greatest Depression and the economy hasn’t been worst since even with the Great Recession.

I believe as an non-economist that 1987 is where we see the negative consequences of what’s called Reaganomics. The theory being that you can cut taxes deeply and increase government spending dramatically and that somehow the new economic growth will pay for those new priorities. But the opposite actually happened. When President Ronald Reagan comes to office in 1981 he inherited a budget deficit of about 40 billion dollars, which even in the early 1980s was a fairly small deficit. By the time President Reagan leaves office in 1989, we had a budget deficit of around 2 hundred-billion-dollars, which in the late 1980s was a large budget deficit. Today that would be over 400 billion dollars. The economy bounces back in 1988, but struggles in 1989 and we’re in a recession by 1990 that lasted about two years and costing President George H.W. Bush reelection.

If you look at recession of 1990-91, you had high interest rates, combined with inflation, with the high budget deficit contributing to the high interest rates. Because you had the Federal Government competing with the private sector to borrow money just to pay for it’s government operations. America is now due for another recession simply because we’ve been growing as an economy coming up on nine straight years now and have growing since the Great Recession broke in the summer of 2009. The longest economic expansion at least in modern history. Rarely do you see a decade pass in America without at least one recession even if that recession is mild.

Assuming the Trump Administration continues to borrow money in huge chunks, if inflation and interest rates were come onto the scene again especially with the Federal Reserve feeling the need to raise interest rates to combat inflation because of higher consumer spending because of wages being increased, we may be in another situation like we were in the early 1990s. A recession to go with high budget deficits and a national debt. That will have to be addressed with major coming for people to prevent the economy from getting even worst.




The Film Archives: Jonathan Alter- How FDR Saved Capitalism, America & Changed The World

Source: The Film Archives: Jonathan Alter- How FDR Saved Capitalism, America & Changed The World

To understand the FDR Presidency I believe you have to understand the 1930s especially 1933 and the state of the union then. Franklin Roosevelt becomes President of the United States in March, 1933 during the Great Depression. The worst economic period in American history. With over 20% unemployment and poverty at around 40%. Businesses and banks collapsing everyday, more people getting unemployed everyday. Food lines, food banks, and soup kitchens, not just open but flooded wth people who just recently were employed and working middle class jobs. Being unemployed, bankrupt, and in poverty, were common experiences back in the early 1930s in America.

There was this feeling that American capitalism and private enterprise, was facing and collapsing and that it needed to be seriously reformed and perhaps even replaced. Not just socialism but communism, was looking okay and looking like a reasonable alternative to liberal democracy and capitalism in America by a lot of Americans back then. This is the state of the union that Franklin Roosevelt was facing when he becomes President of the United States in 1933 a situation that just five years ago looked impossible and that it would never even be taken seriously let alone be seen as a possible solution, now looked like a serious possibility in 1933.

This is the situation that Franklin ( does anyone call Franklin Roosevelt Frank or Franky? ) inherited when he became President of the United States in 1933 and it became about what should President Roosevelt and his administration do about it. Keep in mind, FDR wasn’t seen as a Progressive or Progressive Democrat even when he was Governor of New York. He was sort of all over the place on key issues back then including prohibition and foreign policy. It’s as President of the United States where FDR becomes the great Progressive Democrat that he’s seen as now and has been seen at least since the 1940s when the American economy finally returned to health and became strong again.

So FDR and his administration had some options and choices to make when he becomes President in 1933. One option was to do nothing and stick with the status quo which is what the President Herbert Hoover and his Administration were doing in the late 1920s and early 1930s when the Great Depression started.

Another option was to do what Communists and even Democratic Socialists back then were suggesting, which was to nationalize American business’s and then prop up failing ones to try to put people back to work. As well as severely raising taxes on the wealthy to put back into the economy though increased government spending that way.

Franklin Roosevelt wasn’t a laissez faire Ayn Rand Randian or a Socialist and certainly not a Communist. He believed in American capitalism but that it needed to be reformed which is the option that he chooses instead and how we got the New Deal and an expansion of the regulatory state that his cousin Theodore Roosevelt created as President thirty years earlier. The New Deal was the creation of the safety net in America. Where people could go to when they faced rough economic times. Like hing out-of-work or not making enough money to adequately feed themselves and their families. As well as pension insurance which is what Social Security is for people who don’t have a private pension when they retire or not a big enough pension to support themselves in retirement.

President Franklin Roosevelt was labeled as a Socialist and even Communist, in the 1930s and 1940s because of his push for the New Deal which was a progressive agenda filled with all sorts of progressive laws. And then later in the 1940s for his push for an Economic Bill of Rights, which was more of a socialist agenda and creating a British or Scandinavian welfare state for America. But as far as how President Roosevelt addressed the Great Depression and what he got passed into law as President, he was a Progressive. With the attitude being what needs to be done and what can done to make things better in America and create progress and what government can and should be done about that.



Progressing America: Theodore Roosevelt- The New Nationalism


Source: IZ Quotes

What Theodore Roosevelt was advocating for in what he called The New Nationalism, was what became The New Deal in the 1930s. Which is what became the American safety net. Progressives don’t believe in blowing up capitalism, they simply want to make it better so it benefits more Americans. Unlike Socialist presidential candidate Eugene Debbs who also ran for President in 1912 and Senator Bernie Sanders and other Socialists (whether they call themselves Socialists or not) today.

Teddy Roosevelt’s New Nationalism was the political platform that he and his Progressive Party ran on in 1912.

Unemployment Insurance for American workers who are unemployed.

A minimum wage for all workers.

A national pension system for all workers that they could collect from when they retire.

A national health care program that would cover both health care and health insurance for Americans.

Most of these proposed programs became part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal agenda in the 1930s. Pre-safety net in America if Americans fell on hard times, they either had to take care of their problems themselves, or get friends or family to help them out, or rely on private charity. If they still couldn’t get their issues taken care of, then they were essentially screwed, or out of luck. (If you want a softer term)

What became the New Deal in the 1930s and then later the Great Society in 1960s, did was to guarantee financial help and assistance for any American who fell on hard times and needed financial assistance in form form. Neither Teddy or Frank Roosevelt, wanted to blow up the American capitalist system and replace it with a socialist system. But instead make American capitalism better and make it work for more Americans.



HBO: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver- Economic Development

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

I get that John Oliver don’t like corporate welfare and neither do I and perhaps views any tax incentives as private business and individuals steeling government’s money. (As Socialists would argue) As if government has any of their own money. The old phrase that money doesn’t grow on trees is particularly app when talking about government. Even when government prints money (which is government creating money out of thin air) they need to actually print the bills with a printing machine. Instead of planting paper in the ground and hoping it eventually grows on trees.

If this is about pork barrel spending, then I agree with Oliver on that as well. Tax dollars that are purely designed for politicians to be able to pay off their political debts to their contributors and creates no economic benefit for the constituents that they represent. Which is nothing more than a form of legal bribery in America whether its done from Congress, or at the state and local levels.

The reason why people stay in Congress for so so long, well their several reasons. They represent people who don’t have enough time to research incumbents and candidates, because they’re too busy staring at their i-phones and watching reality TV. Which of course is really important in life, not like trying to figure out where their hard-earned tax dollars go whether its for pork or for anything else.

But also people stay in Congress both in the House and Senate for so long because they get fat from pork. And are too fat to move out of Capitol Hill and actually get a real job. And as long as voters don’t do their homework on people that are supposed to represent them and people who want to replace their porky Representative’s and Senator’s, we’re going to see tax funded scandals like this. Money to companies that only get tax funded subsidies because they knew who in government to call and to payoff.

That fact is if you want jobs and you want Welfare even and a broader welfare state all together, which is the pot fantasy of a lifetime for Socialists in America, you need what John Oliver was talking about the beginning of his rant which are jobs. You want businesses investing in your communities and they need incentive to locate there. They need a workforce that is actually qualified to do the jobs that will be there. I know, that sounds crazy having people qualified for the jobs that they’re supposed to do.

But you also need regulations that are easy to understand and actually make sense, are actually needed, and don’t make doing business in your community too expensive. I know, more commonsense, I guess I’m just old fashioned that way. Otherwise we won’t have a society where everyone is on Welfare and that socialist dream will never come because again money doesn’t grow on trees, not even government money. (Sorry Bernie Sanders supporters) But instead a society where everyone is homeless or looking for an affordable place to live because no one has a job. Because taxes are too high and regulations are so strict that government is practically running what are supposed to be private businesses.

HBO: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver- Economic Development

Keith Hughes: The Square Deal For Dummies- Teddy Roosevelt’s Progressive Era Reforms


Source: IZ Quotes

I wouldn’t say Teddy Roosevelt was the first or last Progressive Republican, but its hard to find any Republicans who are Progressives today. Senator Susan Collins, might be the closest, but she’s a Center-Right Republican who is more of a Conservative in the classic sense or a Moderate-Conservative. But she’s a Republican because she believes in a strong national defense, economic freedom, property rights, low taxes, but also believes in civil liberties and commonsense regulations that Conservatives at least at one point believed in all those things. Traditional Conservative Republican values.

TR wasn’t a Socialist obviously even though he believed in both a public safety net, as well as a regulatory state, and that the rich shouldn’t control most of the power in the country. He was a strong believer in economic freedom and individualism, but that power should be for everybody and that everyone should have the ability to live in freedom. And not have a small minority at the top with most of the wealth in the country, while everyone else struggles just to survive.

Teddy wasn’t a Liberal, or a Conservative. He had liberal leanings on things like civil rights, regulatory state and safety net, but probably wasn’t as a big believer in free speech and the Right to Privacy, as Liberals (and I mean real Liberals) are. Teddy had conservative leanings at the least in the sense that he believed in America and was a true Patriot and believe America had to be defended with a strong defense, but would go much further into the economy with government when it came to the safety and regulatory state.

Teddy wasn’t a centrist either. He had strong center-left progressive leanings and real hard-core principles and wasn’t even someone who combined bits and pieces into one new ideology. But was someone who believed in progress even a limited government to help create that progress. Not to run the country or even private enterprise, but to see that everyone had a real shot at making it in America. And that there was an insurance system for people who fell through the cracks and needed temporary relief. As well as a regulatory state to protect consumers and workers from predators.

Teddy Roosevelt’s Square Deal with the introduction of the regulatory state in America, is exactly what made TR a Progressive. He wasn’t saying that capitalism and individual freedom, were failing and needed to be replaced with communism. But that capitalism needed a referee and that the U.S. Government would be that referee at the national level. And that capitalism wasn’t working for enough Americans. Not enough Americans were able to benefit from capitalism and live with individual freedom. Too much power at the top in society and not enough for everyone else. That is what Theodore Roosevelt’s Square Deal represents to me.


David Brin: Greed, Oligarchy & Marx

img_9631Source: David Brin: Greed, Oligarchy & Marx

I’m going to quote Milton Friedman here in his 1979 interview on the Phil Donahue Show that you can see here as well. But Phil asked Professor Friedman essentially, what is greed and tried to explain why he believed greed was a bad thing. With Milton replying by saying, “what is greed? Do you think China, Japan, Russia and Europe don’t run on greed? Do you believe we as Americans aren’t greedy?” And he jokingly said which got a laugh from the audience, “it’s only the other guy whose greedy.” I would’ve added while everyone else is selfless. But Milton’s point there was perfect. Greed according to Webster’s, “is a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed.” Which could cover a whole lot of territory. I mean all we really only need to be able to move around, have enough food, a place to stay, security and health care, in order to survive and keep living.

I’m not making the case for excess and for people to make money off  of others in an unfair manner by essentially stealing what others worked for to collect for themselves. I’m saying that greed in of itself is not a bad thing and when managed properly is a very effective and necessary tool to have a strong economy where economic freedom is available for others. Because you have a society where everyone is incentivized to get educated, work hard, be very productive and then yes collect the fruits of their labor. Because government isn’t taxing people to excess and being greedy with other people’s money. Even if they want to help the less-fortunate. But instead everyone has the opportunity to live well and be successful. To be able to take care of themselves economically and create those opportunities for their kids as well.

What we shouldn’t be doing from the Far-Left is to say that rich people have a lot of money and the poor and the lower middle class (Donald Trump voters) are struggling just to keep their jobs and pay their bills. So the answer here to take heavily from the rich and have government take care of everyone else. Which is what Phil Donahue advocated for in the 1970s and 1980s and what Senator Bernie Sanders and other Democratic Socialists, advocate today. Because then you would create an economy where no one is wealthy and no one can be greedy, because everyone is poor. Unless they have a sweet job with the central government. Because now you’re punishing success and wealth and subsidizing poverty. With people thinking they can just live off of government. But no one left to pay those bills.

Again, greed by itself is not a bad thing. Like anything else when there’s too much of stand when it goes uncheck, when power becomes unbalanced and absolute with one group of people with no checks and balances, is when greed becomes a problem. When you allow people to not only get real wealthy, which by itself is not a problem, but then when you let them essentially write off all of their tax burden and stick the middle class with the taxes for the rich, is when greed becomes bad. As much as Gordon Gecko believes greed is good. (Great Wall Street 1987 line) Greed is good, but so is water, but with too much water you can drown and with too much greed you could drown the economy leaving very little opportunity for anyone who isn’t real rich which will be most of the population.

I’m not a Socialist, especially not a Marxist and I’m not an Randian (named for Ayn Rand) When it comes to economics. But a Liberal in the Jack Kennedy sense (the real sense of liberal) who believes in individual freedom economic and personal, but for everyone. That yes you want wealthy people and you want an upper class. But not just for the privileged few, but for a lot of the country. With a strong middle class that isn’t lower, but able to not just pay their bills,but to  live in a nice home, put their kids through college, put money away, health insurance for their whole family, retirement security, even be able to take a nice vacation with the money to finance that.

And instead of a country with lot of poor people and people one pay check and a lost job away from poverty, with very few rich people, you instead reverse that. With a country that has a strong middle class with people able to move up even from that, yes wealthy people but more wealthy people. And instead very few poor people with them having the ability to move up as well. With things like education, job training, infrastructure and economic development. You don’t get there by punishing wealth and subsidizing poverty. But instead encouraging wealth and subsidizing people and empowering people who need it to climb the economic ladder. So they too can be part of a strong middle class and ever do better than and become very rich themselves.

Mear Bhrach: Milton Friedman on Greed