CLEAR LIST OF DEMANDS FOR CONGRESS when we engage in direct action at the Capitol complex. – By GandhiKingMindsetResist
Dominant Social Theme: Let us use the power of government to set things right. Regulatory Democracy is a necessity when it comes to changing society.
Free-Market Analysis: Does the current, expanding American protest movement "Occupy Wall Street" have specific demands? Yesterday a list of demands was posted on the Occupy Wall Street website in the "Forum" section regarding some changes that might be made to the current sociopolitical and economic system.
Let's examine the post from a libertarian, free-market point of view. Our general conclusion is that using government to redress grievances is something of a non-starter. Better to remove regulations and laws than to promulgate more of them. The use of government to create new "cures" for problems that government itself has created is a kind of dominant social theme. It is also an endless feedback loop. The more government bureaucrats try to fix a problem, the worse it likely gets.
For clarity's sake, we will condense our message: Any law or regulation is bound to fail due to "regulatory capture" and the severance of economic activity from the Invisible Hand (competitive forces). The only change that can work is the REMOVAL of regulation and laws. Ideally, economic and industrial laws would be stricken from the books so that competition could again discipline commerce. Simple, not complex.
But removing the majority – or all – laws from the books of the US government is somewhat unrealistic, so we would settle for a single change for now: End central banking. Without central banking and the ability to print money from nothing, the powers-that-be would lose the single resource that has allowed them to reshape society in the past 100 years in order to create global government, foment wars and build increasingly authoritarian regulatory democracy.
Most of the problems in the West and America would end once those who want global government no longer had the power of the purse. The ability to print as much money as one wants in order to prop up the current system is at the root of the problem. Unless central banking ceases, all the current problems will remain in force and get worse, no matter how many regulatory adjustments are made.
Here, then is a list of "Specific Demand And Action List For Washington" as posted nearly a week ago on the Occupy Wall Street site, and following the individual points some libertarian-oriented feedback (from our perspective anyway; we don't claim to speak for anyone else) …
1. INVESTIGATE, ARREST AND TRY THE WALL STREET CRIMINALS who clearly broke the law and helped cause the 2008 financial crisis in the following notable cases: (insert list of the most clear cut criminal actions). There is a pretty broad consensus that there is a clear group of people who got away with millions / billions illegally and haven't been brought to justice. Boy would this be long overdue and cathartic for millions of Americans. It would also be a shot across the bow for the financial industry. If you watch the solidly researched and award winning documentary film "Inside Job" that was narrated by Matt Damon (pretty brave Matt!) and do other research, it wouldn't take long to develop the list.
DB Response: We're not much for public justice as it has evolved in the West and large "show trials" may only reinforce a lot of what has actually gone wrong with Western governance. Anyway, much of what Wall Street "got away with" was financed by central banking. In 2008 the entire system actually collapsed and if the Fed and other central banks hadn't pumped somewhere between US$20 and US$50 TRILLION into the larger economy, people involved in positions of power on Wall Street (and elsewhere in the West) would have lost their jobs and fortunes. So we ask this simple question: If there is criminality, who are the criminals? … Those who committed so-called "crimes" or those who enabled the system to continue? Central banking lies at the core of the problem. The priority is to end central banking, or at least to focus on doing so. Punishing people seems somewhat of a secondary issue at best. Making it part of a formal agenda seems somewhat vindictive and even counter-productive.
2. CONGRESS ENACT LEGISLATION TO PROTECT OUR DEMOCRACY BY REVERSING THE EFFECTS OF THE CITIZENS UNITED SUPREME COURT DECISION which essentially said corporations can spend as much as they want on elections and no disclosure is required about who's giving to who. Corporations should be highly limited in ability to contribute to political campaigns no matter what the election and no matter what the form of media. The Supreme Court decision is really weird. Read it when you have a chance. The justices who argued for unlimited corporate contributions without disclosure thought that wouldn't have an adverse effect on democracy and wouldn't undermine the citizen's view of legitimacy of elections. I'm not sure there's a word for that it's so strange.
DB Response: This we agree with. We've written a lot about corporations and how they are artificial entities, propped up by a huge amount of regulatory activity and laws that enhance their power. Of course, libertarian theology points out that within a voluntary context, corporations are perfectly acceptable, and they are. But there is nothing much voluntary about today's big corporations. They have been given huge advantages by the State so far as we can tell. Remove the legal props, and America's corporatocracy would subside considerably. Bigness would give way to linkages of smaller partnerships and those in charge of large business efforts would become more accountable.
3. ACTION ON GLASS-STEAGALL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass– Steagall_Act — Wiki entry summary: The repeal of provisions of the Glass–Steagall Act of 1933 by the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act effectively removed the separation that previously existed between investment banking which issued securities and commercial banks which accepted deposits. The deregulation also removed conflict of interest prohibitions between investment bankers serving as officers of commercial banks. Most economists believe this repeal directly contributed to the severity of the financial crisis of 2007–2011 by allowing Wall Street investment banking firms to gamble with their depositors' money that was held in commercial banks owned or created by the investment firms.
DB Response: Just as we agree, as libertarians, with removing laws that give people and institutions an unfair advantage, so we don't agree with NEW laws that attempt to "fix" the private marketplace. There is nothing wrong with businesses doing investment and commercial banking so far as we can tell. For most of America's history, this sort of enterprise occurred without problems. The problems actually occurred once the US allowed the creation of a central bank that over-printed money and caused a boom and then, in 1929, a tremendous bust. Within the context of central banking, it may be said that investment and commercial reinforce negative financial trends. But wouldn't it be better to remove the root of the problem – central banking overstimulation of the financial arena – rather than try to "fix" the difficulties that money-printing creates? They likely can't really be fixed anyway. During the next great boom, the same pressures would be brought to bear to remove laws such as Glass-Steagall. What can be placed into law can also be undone. The best way to deal with such issues is not to have the law in the first place. Remove central banking; don't add more laws.
4. CONGRESS PASS THE BUFFETT RULE ON FAIR TAXATION SO THE RICH AND CORPORATIONS PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE & CLOSE CORPORATE TAX LOOP HOLES INCLUDING PROHIBITION ON HIDING FUNDS OFF SHORE. Pass the Buffett Rule on fair taxation so the rich pay their fair share. (If you really had a good negotiating position and had the place surrounded, you could actually dial up taxes on millionaires, billionaires and corporations even higher. But this would require direct non-violent blockades / action in New York and DC to get the broad public support necessary).
DB Response: This is a simple one. The fewer taxes the better. Government makes inefficient use of taxes and the progressive tax system is a mess. It should be done away with and then taxes should be ruthlessly pruned – for everyone. Making the tax system "fairer" or structuring it to punish rich people is simply unrealistic. Using laws and regulations, generally, to make social structures "fairer" is in fact a non-starter. Wealthy people will always have more clout in government than the "99 percent." Better to remove laws than to make them.
5. CONGRESS COMPLETELY REVAMP THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION AND STAFF IT AT HIGHEST AND LOWEST LEVELS WITH PROFESSIONALS WHO GET THE JOB DONE PROTECTING THE INTEGRITY OF THE MARKET THEREBY PROTECTING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND INVESTORS. Also, this agency needs a large staff and needs to be well-funded.
DB Response: Protecting the integrity of the market? The "market" is not a person and has no "integrity." Anyway, the SEC has never protected anyone from much of anything. The idea that government bureaucrats will look out for the "99 percent" is a kind of fantasy, in our humble opinion. What's especially funny in a melancholy way is that the dream of many at the SEC is to work for Wall Street! Any regulatory body is inevitably captured by the wealthy few in the industry it is set up to adjudicate. When Merc honcho Leo Melamed wanted to create financial futures in Chicago, he argued strenuously for what is now the CFTC. He knew that Washington regulators actually empowered the industries (and concomitant abuses) they supposedly supervised. The history of the CTFC – and the SEC – bears this out.
6. RE-ESTABLISH THE PUBLIC AIRWAVES IN THE U.S. SO THAT POLITICAL CANDIDATES ARE GIVEN EQUAL TIME FOR FREE AT REASONABLE INTERVALS IN DAILY PROGRAMMING DURING CAMPAIGN SEASON. The same should extend to other media.
DB Response: This point seeks to argue for MORE involvement of government not just in the private sector but within the press itself. Inevitably, government involvement in the media ends up supporting more government involvement everywhere else as well. The goal should be to remove government – and government messaging – from everyday society, not to encourage it.
7. CONGRESS ENACT SPECIFIC LAWS THAT EFFECTIVELY BUILD A WALL BETWEEN THE DEFENSE INDUSTRY AND THE U.S. MILITARY. If we're going after corruption and also trying to reduce all the unnecessary wars that are costly in so many ways (most importantly costly in terms of human life on both sides), then this is the GRANDDADDY OF ALL REFORMS.
DB Response: This is an interesting idea, but again, what has enabled the US to become a huge military power has to do with central banking and the dollar reserve system that mandates that people around the world buy oil with dollars. The dollar reserve system is enforced by military threats and the wealth that is accrued via the dollar reserve system is used to buy more armaments. It is an endless feedback loop. The solution is to do away with central banking and the dollar reserve system it engenders, not to pass more laws that won't address the root of the problem.
In this modest analysis, we have attempted to show why demands that seek to involve the State in MORE activism are likely to be ineffective and even to create unintended consequences of a negative kind. There is one clear-cut and easy way to reduce the current Leviathan and the military empire it has spawned around the world: Remove the mandates that have created central banks not only in America but elsewhere in the West. Getting rid of central banking and fiat money would deprive the Anglosphere power elite of the tool that it has used to create the current system. This is a simple solution and it would be an effective one. Once deprived of Money Power, the larger elaborate system of regulatory democracy would simply begin to collapse. No more rules or regulations would be necessary.
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