David Rothkopf was an insider in the Clinton Administration. He is well respected in the academic community. Politically he leans to the left. He explains how the “Super Class” runs the world. This should be watched by anyone who cares about the nature of power in society.
Surprise, surprise, congressmen can engage in activities that make them millions but, the same actions by your average citizens would land them in prison. Some more naive readers might think that the law is designed to protect society from criminals even though the exact opposite is true. The law is actually designed to expropriate wealth from the population by favoring big business/government insiders against the rest of us. Those who write the laws (corporate lobbyists, big business, and government officials) are the real 1%. They are the real beneficiaries of state coercion, you are the host, they are the parasites. While the rest of us have to acquire wealth through economic means, the beneficiaries of the state apparatus acquire wealth by what Franz Oppenheimer called the “political means.” There is no better example of the total disregard for the people that they are elected to represent than congressional insider trading but, in the end this is just a symptom of a much larger disease.
People are complaining about congressional insider trading but they are missing the bigger picture. Why do politicians get to buy stocks at all? The system is obviously rigged with political power! Politicians know what new laws and regulations are going to be passed and can make huge amounts of money from the knowledge. They also decide the funding for the SEC and it turns out that the SEC has decided that congressmen are immune to insider trading. Well isn’t that just great!
Well, to start off, insider trading laws are ridiculous because they actually hurt the middle class the most by allowing bubbles to build to much higher levels. It is the guys on Wall Street that buy early but, it is usually the middle class that buys at the top. Any information to pop that bubble earlier would help the middle class but, if such laws exist why is congress exempt from them? I think congress is exempt for two reasons.
One, the whole point of political office is for power and privilege over the rest of the population despite noble campaign rhetoric. The goal of almost all congressmen and senators is to land some kind of big lobbying job after their term that will make them millions due to their insider connections… so why wait until their term is done to cash in?! They want to use their political connections in the present to make some big bucks. That is the whole point of going to congress besides some kind of twisted urge to rule over your fellow human beings. That is why so many go into office with a moderate amount of wealth and leave very rich. This should not be surprising considering they are all egomaniacs and sociopaths, so any thought that the rule of law should be applied equally to the whole population does not even cross their minds.
Two, if they applied the laws of insider trading against congressmen it would demonstrate the absurdity of the law. Every bill that congress passes could have some potential affect on the stock market. Even a small change in the FDAs food period could have a significant impact on agricultural stocks not to mention all the subisidies and trade restrictions that could literally make or break a business over night. The SEC prosecuting a bunch of congressmen every other day would be ridiculous and more importantly strike at the credibility of the political system which would be the very worst, harming the power structure. People have to genuinely believe the lie that their politicians generally care about them, at least a little bit, or the whole system falls apart. It is for every ones best interest, congressmen, senators, and the SEC itself, that no congressmen ever gets prosecuted for insider trading.
Solution- Make all congressmen put all their assets in savings accounts! The economy and the dollar would be saved! The American people would force congress to pass a law that all their money needs to be in savings accounts except for their house and their car. The law could be written something like this:
“This congress chooses to place all their assets into savings accounts to show solidarity with the American people. The middle class and the poor are the largest holders of cash and most vulnerable to monetary devaluation so it is only right that this congress stands with the people and puts all of their holdings into cash as well. (except for a single house and two cars per congressman).”
Whatever savings account they want, they get to choose because the American people are a fair bunch! We would even let those creeps have two cars and a house! Just imagine what this would do! All of monetary and economic problems would be solved overnight. Can you imagine Ben Bernanke trying to pitch QE3 to a congress that had all their assets in savings accounts? Congressmen would go ballistic. I would not be surprised to see rotten vegetables thrown during a congressional session for the first time in a hundred years. It would be like marching into a den of lions for old Ben, I doubt he would even show up. Congress would likely reign in the Federal Reserve over night. End the Fed would no longer be a motto for the few in the liberty minded minority that actually understand money and credit but it would instead be shouted from the halls of power in Washington DC. Ben Bernanke walking onto the congressional floor might look more like Caesar walking onto the floor of the Roman Parliament on March 15th if he was really unlucky. The Great Savior, Time Magazine’s man of the year in 2009, Ben Bernanke would become enemy number 1 of the people in a day. The 100 year reign of the evil Federal Reserve would finally end and the power over money would finally be restored to the people.
Ahh, well, maybe I day dream too much. Nothing like that will happen anytime soon. Congressmen will remain corrupt and make massive amounts of money through insider trading through the huge loop holes in the law made to supposedly prevent such action. Ben Bernanke will continue to inflate the dollar because that is all he can do and America will get closer and closer to fiscal and economic oblivion. Its like watching the crazy drunk whose life is careening out of control and his only solution is to drink more booze. The only problem is that he is in the driver’s seat and we are the passengers. Sit back and enjoy the ride, there is no jumping out of this car, we have already passed the point of no return… but buckle up (buy some gold and silver) because the crash is coming… the only question is how bad.
Why are oil prices shooting through the roof lately? Well, it seems like TV pundits blame everything except the single institution that has the largest influence on what oil is traded at, and that is the Federal Reserve. Some things might cause brief spikes in the price of oil, like shortages in supply, but the main cause for gas at the pump getting more expensive over time is the Federal Reserve. The real frustrating thing is that TV pundits seem not to have a clue and have not mentioned monetary policy at all. Left or Right, the mainstream media seems totally clueless. Bill Orielly had a discussion with Lou Dobbs about oil prices and not only did the two not mention the FED once but, they don’t seem to understand basic economics either. The conversation went something like Dobbs telling O’Rielly that the oil refined in the United States is being sent overseas. Well, this should not be surprising considering that oil refining is a highly complex process that third world countries often do not have the industry to refine themselves. Therefore many countries ship their crude here and when it is refined it is shipped back overseas. This is not some kind of complex plot where oil companies are taking advantage of American customers.They are simply selling refined oil on the world market at it’s commodity price. O’Rielly seems to think that there is some kind of price fixing going on because gas is at such a similar price between different gas stations. This is pretty easy to understand when you realize that oil and gas are not consumer goods like tennis shoes. They are instead commodities like beef, gold, copper, and many other industrial products. The margins are very small when looking at any commodity because commodities by definition are homogenous, unlike two pairs of shoes that are likely very different. If you went around town trying to buy gold or silver bullion at different coin shops, you would notice that the prices are pretty similar if not almost exactly the same. Same is true for industrial metals like copper, the going rate is the going rate. Additionally, oil, gas, gold, and copper are in a world market, the price of each is nearly uniform around the world, gold costs the same in Shanghai as it does in New York. Oil, before taxes, has a very similar cost as well. The real variable here is the dollar. When the dollar loses value, the price of oil goes up. If you want someone to blame for high gas prices look no further than the Federal Reserve.
Some people might say that the government owning so much land and preventing drilling is pushing the price of oil up. This might be true to some extent, and I would agree that opening up more land for oil exploration would be a good idea but, this does not explain how a gallon of gas used to cost a dime and will now likely be five dollars by summer. The reason that gas is so high this year should be put into consideration of what the Federal Reserve’s actions have been over the last four years. The FED has pumped trillions of dollars into the economy but, this has been mostly absorbed by the big banks where they have kept the money preventing it from being pushed into the economy. We are begging to see the affects of this money as it enters the economy, for food and many other commodities have been inflated up 10% in 2011. The drive up in the stock market to 13,000 has also been a result of inflation because Wall Street is always one of the first in line for newly printed money. We are finally starting to feel the beginning of the price inflation that comes about when the Fed doubles the monetary base. If the economy shoots up to full employment we might even see ten dollar gas but, to be honest we truly do not know because monetary inflation affects different sectors of the economy in different degrees. Oil, though, is one commodity that is almost always affected by monetary inflation (so is food for that matter, interesting how neither is included in the official CPI). When oil starts going up in price for long periods of time, it is likely that we will see inflation in other areas as well.
The Federal Rerserve is the most to blame for oil prices going through the roof. Someday the media might catch on to this too but, don’t hold your breath, they have been blaming everything else for 50 years.
The left used to be against unconstitutional war. The left used to defend civil liberties against an out of control executive branch. What happened? Polls now show that self identified “liberals” approve of drone strikes by 55%!? This seems crazy, I always thought the left to be more sincere in their convictions than conservatives who blindly follow “small government” rhetoric even though none of their leaders have ever reduced the size of government in a hundred years. Sincere leftist Cenk Uygur explains how the left is caught up in the same personality cult that conservatives were caught up in under Bush.
This is why I like Cenk Uygur so much, he never strays from ideological purity to kowtow to his own “liberal” establishment. I might disagree with him on many things but I certainly enjoy watching him. Cenk Uygur gives me hope that the sincere left (that includes others like Denis Kusinich and Glenn Greenwald) will hold their own leaders accountable.
Iceland let their banks default. Every other country on both sides of the Atlantic bailed their banks out. The people are on the hook for trillions of dollars on both sides of the Atlantic and their economies are still in the dumps. Iceland on the other hand is on the way to recovery and the tax payers do not owe anything. This makes perfect sense from the Austrian perspective. Markets need to clear out and reach a bottom before a recovery can happen. Massive bailouts prevent this. Bailouts “keep the boom going”. Not only have the bailouts in the U.S. and Europe not helped the man in the street, they have guaranteed a much larger crash in the future. The U.S. and Europe are still kicking the can down the road while Iceland is on its way to recovery.
During the next financial crisis, Americans need to look toward Iceland and take note of what they did. In the interview posted below, the Prime-minister of Iceland explains why he did not bailout the banks and instead left it up to the people in a popular vote. This is the exact opposite of what American politicians did in 2008. When American politicians were receiving phone calls that were 10 to 1 against bailing out the banks, the American congressman sided with the big Wall Street banks instead. It turns out that Icelandic politicians have backbones and will stand up against the financial interests in their country in order to protect the people. American politicians instead stand up for the corrupt government/Wall Street alliance at the great expense of the American people.
Here is the interview. The relevant info starts at about 9 minutes.