Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

January 25, 2009


Sam Smith - Sometimes there's a hint that we're making progress. Like today, when Robert Reich noticed "America's embrace of lemon socialism." Wrires Reich, "Put it all together and at this rate, the government -- that is, taxpayers -- will own much of the housing, auto, and financial sectors of the economy, those sectors that are failing fastest." Paul Soglin, then mayor of Madison WI, invented the term back in the 1970s. I used it as far back as December 1980, but it wasn't a polite way to describe America's infatuation with Reaganomics and the nonsense that has accompanied it ever since, so it's taken thirty years for the term to become respectable. Perhaps one thing that can come out of this mess is a realization that a sane government fosters private, public or cooperative ownership based on the realities of a particular situation and not on hypocritical and unreliable loyalty to one economic system or the other.

Paul Soglin, July 2008 - Years ago, like most city officials, I was confronted with the ugly reality that, by definition, governments were in the unenviable position of running money-losing services. After all police, fire, street and public health services do not make money.

To describe the situation, I used two terms. The first is what I called the "turkey theory of government." If a proposition or a service was a loser, government was expected to deliver the service. If money was to be made, conservatives in the private sector would rally together and try and force government out.

In the first half of the twentieth century, public transit was often delivered by private companies such as the Madison Bus Company. When the numbers no longer added up to profitability after the 1950's, government was expected to take over the service.

Over the centuries everything from garbage collection to fire fighting moved back and forth between the public and private sectors.

A current example of what was traditionally a public function that the private sector now wishes to operate is water systems.

As long as the service is a turkey, the public sector can have it. If there is a profit to be made, enter the private sector.

That gets us to lemon socialism. While welfare systems, public subsidies for transit and the like are decried by the right wing as socialistic, there is no such cry when it comes to socialism for corporate America.

The best example was the public tab to bail out the savings and loans in the 1990's to the tune of $700 billion. Airlines and automobile manufacturers all were the beneficiaries of public money to save businesses that were poorly run, usually through a combination of greed and incompetence.

Of course lemon socialism can be a little more complicated than the simple public bail out of a privately held company. It can include no-bid contracts to companies like Blackwater, where the public funds are nothing more than a gift to a presidential friend, or it can be the use of public money to subsidize a private operation of a public service such as an airport or a convention center or a highway.

In any case, lemon socialism flourishes in this country, usually advanced by the most conservative critics of government services and high taxes.


Blogger MC-Shalom said...

You Bail Them Out, We Opt Out. We Want Some TARP

Dear, I should say Expensive Chairman Ben S. Bernanke,

All of Our Economic Problems Find They Root in the Existence of Credit.

Out of the $5,000,000,000,000 bail out money for the banks, that is $1,000 for every inhabitant of this planet, what is it exactly that WE, The People, got?

If my bank doesn't pay back its credits, how come I still must pay mines?

If my bank gets 0% Loans, how come I don't?

At the same time, everyday, some of us are losing our home or even our jobs.

Credit discriminates against people of lower economic classes, as such it is unconstitutional, isn't it? It is an supra national stealth weapon of class struggle.

Credit is a predatory practice. When the predator finishes up the preys he starves to death. What did you expect?

Where are you exactly in that food chain?

Credit gets in the way of All the Principles of Equal Opportunity and Free Market.

Credit is a Stealth Weapon of Mass Destruction.

Credit is Mathematically Inept, Morally Unacceptable.

You Bail Them Out, We Opt Out

President Bush Proposed the TARP, Senator Obama Voted It.

We Want Some TARP.

Opting Out Is Both Free and Strictly Anonymous.

My Solution: The Credit Free, Free Market Economy.

Is Both Dynamic on the Short Run & Stable on the Long Run, The Only Available Short Run Solution.

I Am, Hence, Leading The Exit Out of Credit:

Let me Outline for You my Proposed Strategy:

My Prescription to Preserve Our Belongings.

Our Property Title: Our Free, Strictly Anonymous Right to Opt Out of Credit.

Our Credit Free Money: The Dinar-Shekel AKA The DaSh, Symbol: - .

Asset Transfer - Our Right Grant Operation - Our Wealth Multiplier - Our Liquidity TARP.

A Specific Application of Employment, Interest and Money.
[A Tract Intended For my Fellows Economists].

If Risk Free Interest Rates Are at 0.00% Doesn't That Mean That Credit is Worthless Already?

Since credit based currencies are managed by setting short-term interest rates, on which you have lost all control, can we still say that are managing?

We Need, Hence, Cancel All Interest Bearing Debt and Abolish Interest Bearing Credit.

In This Age of Turbulence The People Wants an Exit Out of Credit: An Adventure in a New World Economic Order.

The only other option would be to wait till most of the productive assets of the economy get physically destroyed either by war or by rust.

It will be either awfully deadly or dramatically long.

A price none of us can afford to pay.

“The current crisis can be overcome only by developing a sense of common purpose. The alternative to a new international order is chaos.”

- Henry A. Kissinger

What Else?

Until We Succeed the Economy Will Necessarily Keep Sinking Into a Deeper and Deeper Depression

You Bail Them Out, Let's Opt Out!

Check Out How Many of Us Are Already on Their Way to Opt Out of Credit.

If You Don't Opt Out Now, Then When Will You?

Let me provide you with a link to my press release for my open letter to you:

Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, Quantitative [Ooops! I Meant Credit] Easing Can't Work!

I am, Mr Chairman, Yours Sincerely [As if I really had the choice.],

Shalom P. Hamou AKA 'MC-Shalom'
Chief Economist - Master Conductor
1 7 7 6 - Annuit Cœptis
Tel: +972 54 441-7640
Fax: +972 3 741-0824

January 26, 2009 10:22 AM  

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