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'But Who Shall Guard The Guardians?'

(Photo by Robin Holland)

This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with economist James K. Galbraith about the causes of the economic crisis and how the U.S. might best move forward.

Galbraith advocated expanding government regulation of the economy:

"Here in the United States the capacity to handle the crisis exists. What we need is a government that's willing to use that capacity, that believes in it... Regulation is not a burden on business. When it's done properly, it's a framework which favors the more efficient, the more progressive, the more satisfactory elements of business that are prepared to work within the guidelines set by a larger public purpose."

Nearly two thousand years ago, the Roman satirical poet Juvenal asked “Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes,” which translates to “But who shall guard the guardians?” Juvenal’s immediate topic was Roman licentiousness, but his famous question has come to stand for a more enduring problem: that those entrusted to enforce moral standards are subject to the same human failings as those they regulate.

Juvenal’s point is echoed by libertarians and others skeptical about the ability of government to enact sensible and fair policies. In a CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR column, economist Steven Horwitz wrote:

“In a free market, firms profit by satisfying their customers, investing wisely, and making prudent loans... To call the housing and credit crisis a failure of the free market or the product of unregulated greed is to overlook the myriad government regulations, policies, and political pronouncements that have both reduced the freedom of this market and led self-interested actors to produce disastrous consequences, often unintentionally... Regulations designed with the best of intentions are likely to lead to more crises if they distort incentives and thereby cause individual "greed" to undermine economic growth and harm millions. History is full of examples of politicians adopting short-run solutions without seeing the harmful long-run consequences.”

What do you think?

  • Should lawmakers pursue a course of heightened regulation in response to the economic crisis? Why or why not?
  • Galbraith claimed that both Democrats and Republicans paved the way to today's troubled economy. Do you trust politicians from these two parties to enact good-faith regulation in the public interest?


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    Comments

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    Dear Bill,It seems to me that one of our greatest sources of greed could and should be eliminated as soon as is feasible.No one, no matter how hard working,an ingenious businessman, entertainer,
    sports icon, lotto winner,or lucky inheritance recipient,etc. should,under any circumstances need, or longer, to be a billionaire!Being a self indoctrinated intellectual, I believe has given me the insight of the general populaces basic I.Q.level, and their misconstrued comprehension of this number in many contexts, let alone personal wealth and complex political philosophies. If they could truly could comprehend a # of this magnitude, they would surely have a new found disgust concerning wealth,and the out and out lies having been foisted upon them by the ultra-right, concerning not only Americas but world politics,and the likes of way too many greed driven
    individuals living in our
    country & world today. You would hope reason would triumph over ignorance,but alas we are stuck with too many indigent and middle class persona whose intellect will just go so far,and no amt. of education will bring their basic understanding of concepts that may well come easily to folks of the likes of us,but just serve to confuse and befuddle those with what the educational elite have given to freely, the moniker of avg.intelligence. These same avg. folks, for questionable reasons, possibly beyond raw intelligence, are scared out of their wits, by even the word socialism, and do not see it in the broad context and scope, that I believe you and I am capable of. Because of these shortcomings of the general citizenships evolutionary and genetically pre-disposed lack of easily comprehended, both political and corporate/indivdual wealth oriented subjects,we of the fluently copious indices of intellect have an arduous and dedicated balancing act ahead of us,that the lazy or lacking courage and faint of heart need not apply. No matter what their level of intellect.Trying to educate their ulra-conservative media and randomly instilled brainwashing will be a feat of patently gargantuan proportions,of which our current administration has just scratched the surface of un-doing countless yrs.of brain-beating and un-justifiable lies,sometimes mixed with the twisted truth.Actually having a personal fortune to the tune of over 77 billion dollars is not only a pat-
    tently incoherent # for even the gifted to comprehend,its an absolute travesty for any one man to control,let alone a corporation.The way I percieve it,is the dangerous prescedent it holds sway over the entire country.Along with It being able to purchase anything your heart may desire,(inc.a transplanted heart at the very least, only due to the fact that technology hasn't advanced that far.)in material wealth,i.e.precious art,jewelry of the finest avail.,private jets,a bevy of automobiles, yachts,whole islands,10k suits,etc.Its most dangerous and mostt often used,but many times ignored by the Indigent and middle class,is its again most insidious, and most often overlooked, is the fortune holders non-stop ability to go on influence peddaling sprees that are in fact, monetarily, and morally, un-stoppable and un-ending,and with out question always totally corrupt.Where do we draw the line?Since this country was founded on capatalism&democracy (representative.)It doesn't mean that if legislated and is the peoples grand plan and desire, that lets say just for demonstrations sake,and starting with an in all probability,a as to be passable # on an individuals top net worth,in other words the excess would have to be donated to a federally run fund,overlooked and watch dogged by the worlds most transparent,fully vetted, and appointed by both houses of congress and the pres.Economically educated,and intellectually in the top 1% of the nation in their field of profession, and so inclined,diligent in their duties, and fully satisfied with their positions,salary,benefits etc.So now down to the nitty gritty,an individuals self net assets must not exceed 100million dollars U.S.,current spot price of gold on the open commodities market,and as a bonus the individual if say a corporation owner thats net value (as figured out by the fed. board.)is say 850m dollars U.S. in net worth(gold)and said entrprneur is say 24yrs. old ,he can as an incentive for him to both keep his corp.'s earnings at a hopefully constantly rising entrpreneural level and above the magic 100m dollar mark(gold)he can as a bonus go back to the corp's excess earnings and take a 50 m dollar (gold) bonus.Said entrepreneur can have the boards approval to go back every 10 yrs.Every 5, after the age of 65yrs. old.Of course the devils in the details,but any man or woman who cannot be happy with a net worth in 100million U.S.(gold)W/ the opportunity to keep your corp.solvent, and making money so you can go back for real earned bonuses of 50million, as laid out previously,is greedy as hell and as far as I'm concerned and I'm sure a whole lot of other individuals once thy really understand what a billion dollars is(let alone 77 billion!) The political implications of my plan deserve another whole e-mail.This one was far longer than expected,but if you write back I can give you another synopsis and workable plan for all I had to leave out this time due to the resraints of time space and frankly I'm tired as hell.

    Robin Paul Waldron
    ASE CERT. MASTER TECH.
    Retired member S.A.E

    You know, something as dull as checks-and-balances is a wonderful mechanic at generating superior products, because it provides for a reality check. A reality check generates true profit, as opposed to an illusion of profit.
    Conservatives seem to have recently subverted checks-and-balances in favor of a more dictatorial style of governance -- this seems to have been true in government in the Bush Administration, and, more recently, on Wall Street.
    It seems that on Wall Street, shareholders' only power -- that of voting for, or against a slate of board of directors for a corporation has failed as a check-and-balance, as upper management of failed companies are still in place, and are still "failing-upwards".

    How much would I pay for a financial-industry share, which, if the corporation were actually required to adhere to the mark-to-market rule for its assets ? Zero -- because their mark-to-market assets don't cover their liabilities !

    Isn't this the very definition of bankruptcy ?

    what was the key distinguishing factor in the policies of both carter and reagan?

    Hey, let's get more serious.

    Obviously, the concept behind the instrument or bond...what it's vision implies, will have an impact on what entities will think about it ending up worth more or worth less. If it were like a "War Bond," one would ask if there's an FDR behind it, and what does the outcome look like? Well, this time it probably should be more like a "Peace Bond." Perhaps it needs to embrace concepts utilized by the Grameen Bank or "social business."

    "In the world economy, the Middle East will produce oil, because that is where it is. The Chinese will produce labor-intensive consumer goods, because they have the labor and know how to use it. We will produce bonds so long as everyone else is willing to take them. The question before us is not whether this situation can be cured, but how best to cope with it--how to keep it going--and how to be prepared if it collapses." page 192
    James K. Galbraith, "The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too" Free Press, 2008

    "A program of planning and of standards, particularly if it is aimed at providing a new generation of investment goods to the world and especially if that generation of goods is itself directed at meeting the challenge of climate change, could in fact move the world back toward a dollar-centric system, preserving the leadership position of the United States and thus the country's capacity to lead effectively.

    Here is the key question: What would be the impact on the dollar of a major change in American policy, away from predation and toward collective international security, toward domestic full employment and infrastructure renewal, and toward renewed technological leadership in the areas most neeeded by the world, such as climate change? Could and would the world react to this by extending to this country the financial backing required to pull off the transition?" JamesKG, ibid, page 205

    Carl Malone: I don't think Bill Moyers, or many bloggers are going to be interested in Ellen Hodgson Brownn's "Web of Debt." It covers the same ground as Paul Grignon's video "Money as Debt" and is one subject dwelt upon in "Zeitgeist" (another video on conspiracy. The historical scholarship is entertaining in Brown's account, but it is a commonly presented scenario about elite bankers who charge us interest to issue our currency. She even covers "Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum (100+ years old) and is essentially an advocate of a precious metals monetary standard. Isn't the whole herd out of the barn now when it comes to Capitalism? Do we need to review the history of the big 3 cup monty?

    I prefer the fiscal truth that labor is the only standard and measure of currency, and not the mysticism of base metals and economic priesthood. I doubt Moyers will go for it either since attorney Ellen Brown is not among his social circle or political coterie. I'm glad you had time to read and enjoy a book, Carl Malone. Educate yourself further and write us again.

    A grown-up played checkers with a child. When the child threatened to prevail on the little board, the adult flung the checkers and table across the room and huffed out. The child, in tears, reassembled the game and played alone with a doll in the other seat.

    Why do you mourn a dying Market, Anonymous9? Do you emulate the "big man" who has abused you?

    I agreed with you that petty capitalism is a good thing, that it may always be an artifact of Western Civilization. It was a generous concession on my part. Humanity should strive to outgrow materialism: Maybe that is our ultimate destiny.

    Why is the corporate mega-market bad? Well, it fosters a polarization of power. All relationships are distorted. We abhor the adult who seeks a sexual relationship with a child. It is not only that the young are not physically mature, but that society confers differential power. We say that the adult "takes advantage." It is the same when an insider takes the hard earned money of a person who has been kept blind and ignorant of reality by law and culture. The corporate mega-market makes dealings between differentially powered parties inevitable, and even celebrates the stronger (wealthier) in victory. Fools cheered when NASCAR mogul Bruton Smith extorted a hundred million from a poor rural N.C. jurisdiction. Even Bill and Michael W. referred to the New Yankee Stadium. The same class owns the media, and they make it OK in the popular mind. But the truth is they are economic pedophiles, sadists and perverts by acculturation. Else how could they be destroying the environment under our feet. Don't protect and idolize your abuser, Anonymous9. Throw the checkers in the trash and devise a new game.

    Does anyone know if Mr. Moyers has interviewed Ellen Hodgson Brown ? If not, he really should get her on PRONTO!!!! Her book "Web of Debt" is seminal at this moment. It is imperative right now that Obama to talk to her and read her book. It should be recommended reading for anyone dealing with our financial crisis.

    Cancer and how it relates to the Capitalistic Financial System

    I looked at the other web logs but seem to feel this is where I belong for the present. It has been stated that my unpaid or voluntary commentary is a service and considered by some charity. This caused me to pause and wonder….

    Lately I have been on the slippery slope of psychological exhaustion that was turning out a lot of negative judgments. I feel you can only call a scoundrel a charlatan or a thief once or twice before people lose interest. I did not set out to produce 100 pages of commentary and it is my long association with Bill Moyers at a great distance that brought up all those deep feelings, thoughts, and ideas. So, I did the typing but someone deeper did the remembering.

    It is now my purpose to seek solutions in my ideas and put them forth hopefully as children with their own lives.

    I do not see life as black and white or shades of gray, I see life in color and this is my foundation for my love of this earth that I most times call nature. I am reminded by some one wiser then me… “Susan Neiman”.

    “Evil in Modern Thought : An Alternative History of Philosophy”
    Susan Neiman, 2002 Princeton University Press ISBN # 0-691-09608-2

    Evil: Yes, acts of Human cruelty
    No, instances of human suffering

    I can not say for sure who said the following, either Susan or I.

    Responsibility: Man is responsible for evil… not God

    That there is evil but, Nature is not touched by it, meaning that mankind is responsible for the damage to our home. It is the worship of money that has brought us to our present disaster. It is the evil in greed that has destroyed our home. Only if we wake up and realize the blessing of Nature is to have what is needed to live can we start at this basic level and move toward a sustainable life.

    My words are these: Man can do away with evil any day he chooses but he will have to choose.

    The solution is to realize money is a tool and the family unit is the best friend of the individual. It is from the individual that Ideas will come and be made manifest by the family. When the citizen prospers in body, heart, mind, and spirit… at that moment will the Country prosper.

    Greed in money or growth or power all are detrimental to the health of people, enslaving them to the “rat race” where the many (workers) try to be the one (king), a system that has never worked and is evil in that it denies the soul of man and woman to seek a relationship beyond materialism.

    The solution is to see “smaller” is better then “big” and “quality” is better then “quantity”.

    We are now dealing with a Cancer that has metastasized through out our financial system.

    Cells grow and divide and provide our bodies with specific services. This is the natural order of things. When cells begin to behave abnormally and in greater speeds we have what is called a tumor or cancer.

    It is the same with our financial system. Different parts of it grow and serve different customers. When things begin to abnormally grow to greater size and in greater speeds, we are seeing the same principal work as in cancer and in the end and the same damage occurs , that being death.

    Citibank, AIG, GM are just a few of many cancers that need to be cut out of our system and be replaced by smaller units that can navigate the market place and provide a product or service that is needed and wanted by the citizen.

    It is the same in Nature, the Blue Whale needs the Ocean to survive and the Elephant is the limit on land. Nature knows when to stop growing each specie and knows where each specie belongs in relationship….

    Too big to fail means too “diseased” to survive and the solution can not be seen because the denial is too great. That denial will continue as long as the

    people who caused the cancer are the ones who are afraid of the operation that will in fact save the patient (our economy).

    Have you not wondered why the Treasury and the Federal Reserve wanted to save Wall Street, the Banks, the Insurance Companies, yet they do not want to save the Citizen? 8 Trillion Dollars for the Money Managers but nary a dime for the Citizen……… It is the evil in man that he worships the Gods of Finance.

    The Gods who always promise to make you rich if you let them control the system that in the end makes them rich and you poor. Wall Street is a scam that promises you wealth over the long term while the Money Managers take your money in the present.

    It should be required that man and woman both have to read the truth of Stocks. The short explanation is that a Certificate of Stock is not worth any more or any less then someone is willing to pay for it. There is NO connection to the Company who issued the stock, by which I mean once it is sold to someone, that someone owns it and the Company has no legal responsibility to it every again.

    Two things: First if the Company goes broke and into Bankruptcy the holders of Common Shares get nothing. Check the records and you will see the Stock Certificates become worthless. Second the only reason the Company supports the Stock is, if they can convince the public they are making money and the stockholders believe the Stock is in fact worth something, the Company can go back to the Market and sell Shares that cost them nothing, at the price of the Market Shares and make money out of “thin air” so to speak. Like magic Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and others with billions of dollars now have a fortune because the own (the company gave them the shares) millions of shares of stock that cost them nothing and the company nothing, yet they stand equal to the shares in the Market Place that you paid hard cash for, your dollars, your savings. It is a house of cards, a free market, The money managers take the profits while you hold for the long term.

    Only if, Computer Trading is stopped and with great regulation, will the market work for the common man and woman. Over 90% of small investors lose their money in the Stock Market… the only thing worse is Las Vegas.

    Make the Banks be Banks only to borrow and lend, make the Insurance Companies be Insurance Companies only to insure against loss, make the Brokers be Brokers if you can control them with regulation and rules that are enforced by honest men and women who have to prove they are vilagent, make then all separate into small entities that can work efficiently and effectively to serve the customer.

    And in the end, always, always, remember that if a Broker of anyone else on Wall Street or related to Wall Street is talking they are lying. Believe the hype at your own purl and look at the losses in the Market as of late.

    Let big car companies fail and encourage new smaller car companies to produce new types of transportation that are efficient and part of the solution of Clean Air, Clean Water, Less Noise, and friendly to our environment.

    Small works as big falls of its own weight. Small quality is preferable over big quantity. Small means less management is needed to keep up with growth and the need to control big. Less management means less overhead.
    GM states the labor cost of a car is 11%. It is not the worker we need to crucify but the Overhead at 89% of the cost.

    Small is more efficient and less redundant and it is the solution we need. Acquisitions and Mergers only add to cost and size. (Over the years have you noticed that companies never pay a big part of the profits to the shareholders but use them to buy other companies and then down the road end up selling those companies because they were bad deals.) We need a financial system that is Specialized in a way that prevents the kind of cancer we now have and serves the customer with a healthy product or service.

    When Finance and Industry begin to shed the obesity of “more” and wake up to the reality that their only hope to serve their customer… they will have learned the lesson of commerce.

    Nature knows limits, why is it that man does not? Man sees himself not as an animal but as a God and he thinks he can do as he will without impunity or restriction. This is wrong. In his quest for more power and more wealth he will create more and more people who will of necessity be poorer and poorer until the human race destructs.

    The solution is “stability” and slow growth and this will produce a Country of Working & Middle Class with good pay, good benefits (pension, healthcare, vacations, holidays, as were ours to lose in the 1970’s) but even more the right to free education for our children including college and university.

    Folks, WE are not here to serve our Country, we are here to live a quality life. The Government owes us protection in our selves and in our homes and in our work places. Taxes when necessary should be used for healthcare, education, infrastructure, and we deserve to have time off from work to pursue the human side of our being. It is find to hunt, fish, play baseball, shop, cook, ride horse, but we also need the arts… music, art, theater, movies, books, so we can share our hearts and souls and be in relationships that bring happiness.

    It is not the Corporation that deserves tax breaks. They should be asked to pay for the standard of living for the majority. The Corporation should serve the Citizens not enslave them. The Rich and Powerful should be brought to heal by the Federal and State Governments. Yes, it is true that the Governments have forgotten their role as “Servant” to the Citizen, but the Citizen also forgot they fell for the God of Money too.

    The list of solutions is endless. But it will take honest citizens to remind the government that human beings are Citizens of the USA. Corporations are best seen as Servants to the people as they are incapable of ethics or morals and will regress to evil at every opportunity.

    Competition breeds hate.
    Cooperation breeds friendship.

    Wall Street is the Zenith of evil trading on the greed of the human being without any substance, any real thing being offered or owned by the individual. It is a place for the fleecing of the common folk. A place where hype rules and the truth is never spoken.

    Instead first get a good education in your chose field then work according to your capacity. You will have enough to sustain you and share with those you care about. At that point you will realize that Relationship to people and chosen past times (photography, playing music, walking in the outdoors) will fulfill you beyond the amassing of wealth.

    Ellison: Moyers could contact any blogger if he wanted. You submit an email address with every post. I know for a fact moderators contact posters to explain actions and decisions.
    Also, why not send an email to him at the WNET address?
    It is not that you are a savior, but only highly representative of Bill's bloggers. We are all fallible in our concepts, usage, spelling and so on. That is immaterial. You have nominated yourself and I have seconded the motion. Bill Moyers himself is highly qualified (witness LBJ years) "... to lead us into a new error." Actually, that's what makes him valuable. Grady Lee Howard called him a hostage. We all become hostage to our shames. Good people try to make recompense. Bill has tried, tried hard, but ours is a contradictory existence. Only the big lobbyists and contributors are heard by our politicians, and only book authors (from the correct publisher), prominent professors and journalists are heard by Moyers. It is a matter of false pride and elite propriety (intellectual proprietorship).
    What will I do with my wild life? I've already done most of it at age 58 and would die contented if hit by a garbage truck today. I am no better than the least of us. I just have a mouth on me.

    People I like.

    For Klark Mouvinon

    “Tell me, what is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
    Mary Oliver

    For Bill Moyers

    “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.”
    Albert Einstein

    Bill, I wanted you to see I am not the only one who believes smaller is better.

    I also believe stability is better then riches.

    I believe the individual is worth more then the whole.

    I believe the family is the only unit that can save the human race.

    Shucks, Bill, I even believe in you...sometimes.

    I believe my life will be better on the day that I find 3 corgis to live with.

    I believe respect equals fear.

    I believe admiration equals love.

    I believe competition equals hate.

    I believe cooperation equals friendship.

    Well that is enough of my foolishness; I just couldn't take my self seriously today.

    That's all Folks!

    Anonymous9: I think I have read almost all of what you've written on these blogs. It has been instructive, but this is not to say I agree with you completely. I consider many people with whom I disagree to be my intellectual peers. I could probably never respect someone who didn't argue with my ideas. Neither could I respect someone whose ideas did not evolve over time with new evidence and experience. Some thinkers on here concede a truth and then revert to a previous ideological position contradicting that concession. You seem to have good integrity. You deserve a seat before the public on a PBS panel, at least for one night.

    Have you ever been a volunteer in a not for profit? If you have then you know what freedom of action such an arrangement gives. Not being beholden for a salary or professional status one can "run amok" for quite awhile doing good things before the parasites catch on. I am proud to say I have repeatedly been dismissed from volunteer posts for helping the needy. You have to consider this unpaid writing on a blog in much the same way. Keep giving to charity, giving charity Hell, Anonymous9.

    Note: I have noticed anomalies in posting access too. Sometimes it is a timid moderator, I think, and other times technical snafus. Right now no posts are being taken at "Guest Blogger Allen Johnson..." where I'd sorely like to make a comment on the travesty of "cleancoal."

    Hope this helps....

    Who knows maybe Bill will read one by mistake.

    Wartime Presidents and the Rule of Law

    An Act of Civil Disobedience amidst the Economic Crisis

    Bill Moyers Asks: What's Your Take on What's Wrong with the American Political System Right Now?

    A Bailout for Homeowners?

    But Who Shall Guard The Guardians?'

    Guest Blogger: Michael Zweig's Proposal for Economic Stimulus

    Market Fundamentalism and the Madness of Crowds

    Bailout Blues?

    Andrew Bacevich on the American Dream

    Are The Financial Bailouts A Good Idea?

    What's the Future of the American Dream?

    Klark Mouvinon

    Klark Mouvinon

    I made an attempt to answer your entry on 12/03 but the web log would not take it on the 5th……………….

    Since the passage of time has confirmed the message was not added, I have decided to say this about that.

    I have listened to Bill Moyers and read his books over the years but never had any direct contact with him.

    Nothing I have said in the above 3 paragraphs makes any sense or relates to you wish to know.

    Here is my solution to your wish… I have placed some 48 + entries amounting to 98 pages of my thoughts and ideas. They should give you an idea of what I speak for.

    They are on about 6 to 10 different web logs as Bill states the question and I address his question in each different one. Some only once and some multiple times.

    If you read any of them you will have read more then Bill Moyers or anyone who knows me personally. In a way I hope you do read them and if so I welcome your ideas if you share them.

    I would love being assured Ellison Hunt has a modest lifestyle and personal security that would enable him in his inclination to intellectual generosity and other charitable acts. Please keep sharing and instructing, Ellison. Were you really homeless? If so, your mind survived and flourished. I myself have an affection for temporary hardship (foreign lands, hopeless jobs, struggling with comrades), but it is so worse and different when deprivation is not voluntary and has no expected end. I have met some terrific people in destitution blogging and learning at the public library. If there is any institution vital to mental survival it is these public media and literature centers, the best thing pompous Ben Franklin ($100) ever supported. Someday you'd be on the $2 bill, if I had my way, Ellison Hunt, so clever and so rare. (Thanks to you, I know capitalism is a useful cultural tool, but not in the present perverted form.)

    The biggest kept secret: Wall Street would take Main Street to the cleaners.......

    The biggest joke: Main Street would pay Wall Street to do so.............

    This is not my best work but how many ways can you say man needs to get back to ethics, morals, compassion and being his neighbor's keeper?

    Well, Bill Moyers I have 92 pages on your web log and I was shooting for a 100 when I ran out of steam. How much can one man write about the tragedy:

    Of Capitalism’s fall and failure to stand the test of time?

    How did the Free Market that so many worship fail to stand?

    How did the Republicans give 7.8 Trillion Dollars to Business and not one dollar for the poor?

    How did the new homeless as a result of losing their jobs find themselves in Tent Communities, trying to live in a Country that has nothing but contempt for them, as shown by the rich female students at a College nearby in Seattle, as they were interviewed and stated they thought they (the homeless) should have to move and also took the attitude it was the homeless people’s fault that they lost their jobs and were now on the street… and this was joined in by a Black Minister who Arrogantly quoted the Bible that if you don’t work you don’t eat………. (Maybe he should be careful as Jesus said with what measure you judge so shall that measure be judged against you and he might be homeless and hungry before that day when the sun shines on this country again, if that is even possible?

    My God man, how can people who have never had or been through hard times be so cruel?

    The evil that pervaded those Students and that Minister so toughly that it would seem not the rich and powerful are the enemy of the poor man but the Middle Class with their arrogance and pride and it can’t happen to me attitude, so what is wrong with you?

    In my 20 years of no job and no home I was often asked that question and my answer is that there was nothing wrong with me. My only mistake was to live long enough for life to show me the opposite of compassion.

    I find no compassion in this country and I will be interested to find out how all the smug people now OK, will feel when it their turn to suffer and they will, as that is the lesson of life that you will learn sooner in the tent communities or later when the system implodes.


    The bottom 90% or the poor in this country turns out are more interested in learning about that Blond Singer, Professional Wrestling, and although the source did not mention it, Racing and Football. Then they do about Wall Street, Main Street, Banks, Businesses, and the Republican Government who wants to give 7.8 Trillion to Wall Street, Main Street, Banks, Businesses and not help those who lost their jobs and live in tents (the new homeless have chosen to live in tent communities).

    But it is coming and soon.......... the 90% will not be thinking about being entertained as they will be wondering what hit them. I see it here and they haven't got a clue. Spending and buying stuff and wasting their time with celebrity and violence.

    I only hope when things get hard the people follow the lead of the 30's and don't choose the attitude of the last 8 years to try and get by. One why will work in time the other will make this place a nightmare.

    It is obvious that deregulation of business activities does not work. This is what lead to the crash of the stock market in 1929 and the Great Depression of the 1930s.

    The Republican's blind belief in deregulation has lead us to a disaster which may very well match that of the Great Depression. Phil Gramm slipped the Commodities Futures Modernization Act in as a rider to the Omnibus Spending Bill 2000 (a 19,000 page document) in order to get it passed (it failed to pass in two previous tries when subjected to scrutiny and an open vote). This CFMA is what legalized and allowed unregulated trading in Credit Default Swaps which brought down the Financial Services industry(http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2008/07/foreclosure-phil.html). Republicans cannot be trusted to run anything least of all our Government. Their belief in deregulation is founded on lobbyist dollars and a belief that Wall Street can do whatever it wants and it won't hurt the economy. This is idiocey.

    The Credit Catastrophe of 2008 now threatens to produce a depression rivalling that of the 1930s. We have to have regulation of business activity to have a stable, healthy, growing economy.

    Actually, sound regulatory policy sets conditions so true businessmen who want to make money by creating goods or services of real value are aided by keeping the bad apples from driving the honest risk-takers out of business.
    Good regulatory policy actually promotes conditions underwhich business grows, more jobs are created and the honest businessmen are rewarded for their hard work (good management is hard work - cheaters take the easier route to 'success').

    David, you've hit on one of the crucial disconnects: that between individualism and unity. The key is to engender both. The PROFIT Act is an application, a proposal that does that. Please lend your support to it, by going to change.org and voting for it in the economy section. But, to your point, we need to encourage responsiveness to self and to other in balance, and when greed is empowered, it is difficult to combat. I have written books on altruism and hope to get the message out.

    "Incorporating authority in the 'self' (responsible individuation) is a recent and highly insecure development in human history. It is one on which all of our democratic institutions depend for their ultimate success. These institutions are intended to support that process by protecting the individual from organized power. Unfortunately, the system barely functions, since only the rich can afford to defend themselves, and it seems to exist only to protect the rich from each other."

    from "Dragon Rises, Red Bird Flies: Psychology, Energy and Chinese Medicine" by Leon Hammer, M.D. (Station Hill Press, Barrytown, NY, 1990)

    Who will guard the guards? The question is whether we will move from a hierarchical approach to the question or to a world where the people, each of us are empowered as guards. If we want to depend upon a Platonian altruistic elite, we will likely continue to see the repetition of the frauds and greed we have seen year after year, decade after decade. However, the altruism that I describe in my writing reflects a meaning which is consistent with E.O.Wilson and other’s description of altruism that reflects a balance of responsiveness to self and other. The PROFIT Act as a solution empowers individuals to guard the hen house and promote those responsible profits and responsible actors, consistent with such a notion of altruism.

    Galbraith is a champion of empowering individuals. The PROFIT Act gives individuals a greater stake and voice in creating responsible profits. If we depend upon Markets and an altruistic elite to determine what is to be produced, then we will continue to overdepend upon laws and underutilize individuals.

    To be sure, the PROFIT Act is a tool, yet it is an example of something I discovered which is a systems design model that recognizes the role of Technology, Environment, Markets, Rights and Social responsibility. We typically argue past each other, one person arguing the value of Markets, while the other argues the value of Technology, each countering the other with the shortcomings. More important is the type of understanding of the strengths and functional values of each of those and other social institutions. This new discovery I have made and written about, draws me to Bill Moyers' work, particularly early books of his in which he explored the relationship of spirituality and science. There is a relationship and I look forward to the day when Mr. Moyers is able to share with his television viewers the systems discovery I have made and written about.

    When Robert Kuttner was on Fresh Air the other day I wasn't able to listen closely. It was a good interview though.

    Kuttner said CNAs should get $15.00. [Amen to that!] I'm not sure if he said employers should first provide opportunities for them to upgrade their skills through courses, etc. In my opinion they should get $15/hr ASAP...and in many cases their work load IMO should be cut at least in half. Put the bailout right there. If you think this is radical imagine yourself as a patient in a group (with 19 others) whom one CNA has to give care to through the night.

    Kuttner's most recent book is entitled "Obama's Challenge."

    Sure, I have to try to be fair to the old bottom liners. But, all in all, it's wrong to ignore the psychology of the contingents that willfully scapegoat in today's societies. As in olden times victims go under heaps, not of stones today...under heaps of debt.

    "The fund, a small percentage of an organization's profits, would accrue for all employees, to be drawn upon for retirement benefits. It would be an augmenting fund, in addition to Social Security and other retirement funds."

    It sounds good in terms of "one of many" measures, Christopher. But look at where we've come from...a place where even Social Security was in doubt. Don't "an organization's profits" remain in doubt? As far as allowing the "free market to act more responsibly" goes...I just encourage everyone to read Galbraith's book. Mind you, I'm not saying every minute detail in the future will be planned or will need to be planned (I'm just talking in relation to the "free market" terminology). I do remain interested in broad "solutions" such as aspects of the approach at bailoutmainstreet dot com.

    What I'm finding interesting in the book is Galbraith's attempt to be fair to the old supply siders. Such an effort will probably get us on down the path to the solidarity we'll need. The places/venues where Galbraith points out the 'free market' has been presented as viable are interesting too...his particular breakdown.

    It's hard for me not to say some of the proponents were "charlatans." But that is just one part of me...one self of a number of selves [as Elizabeth O'Connor used to say]...my radio listening self. [before the 90s I used to try to monitor Limbaugh; that old AM persona in my psyche-quiver lives on today when he gets the conservative talking pts relayed by callers on Alan Colmes's show...Colmes' methodology itself could stand a little commentary]Actually, talk radio guys got disproportionate exposure. Galbraith's probably right when you break down the classifications and occupations held by the old proponents and half-hearted proponents. The way I see it is that the people in these varied roles just didn't get an education with enough foresight. Plus amidst the general intelligentsia few were gathering up for contemplation the impacts of the policy abroad (as Klein has done recently) that were getting any pump-up by their fellows/sisters.

    Galbraith's idea of the US being a source of progressive financial instruments stretches my imagination. I'm thinking things like Working Assets (is it still around?), but my mind still tends to think in terms of simply manufactured solar tech [ha!]. And I still haven't heard any critiques of my ideas in terms of organic produce exports and medical care/procedures for non-Americans...but of course these are ideas which, at the beginning, might only be applicable to niche markets.

    Who will guard the guards?

    I have crafted a solution to transform capitalism, called the PROFIT Act. That stands for the Productivity, Responsibility, Opportunity FIT Act. The legislative act would create a matching of incentive and penalty to create responsible profits. The fund, a small percentage of an organization's profits, would accrue for all employees, to be drawn upon for retirement benefits. It would be an augmenting fund, in addition to Social Security and other retirement funds.

    The catch, and how it transforms capitalism, is that the fund would be reduced to the extent that the company settles or has a judgment against it for a tort. Currently, if a company commits a tort, only the corporate coffers or the corporate officers can be held liable. The PROFIT Act fund would be accessible to augment the traditional funds.

    Consider an example of how the PROFIT Act can transform capitalism. A janitor sweeps mercury off a table into a shop-floor drain, which flows into a lake. He does this daily, week after week, year after year. Twenty years down the road, neighbors living by the lake begin to die from the poisoning. Currently, the questions get asked, whether you can hold the corporate officer liable if he walked by the shop floor around that time each day. Currently, capitalism overlooks the value of all the other employees who also may see this janitor's actions. Whistleblowing laws aim to protect individuals, but provide inadequate incentive and protection.

    The PROFIT Act aligns people with responsible profits, and is beneficial for corporations. Currently, the rising insurance and litigation costs are hurting the bottom line. The PROFIT Act reflects a shift in cost, from those associated with harmful behavior, to an employee benefit, the long-term retirement benefit.

    This idea has been shared with people in all walks of life, and they all find that it makes sense. It couples a benefit with a responsibility in a way that allows the free market to act more responsibly.

    A solution like the PROFIT Act is only one of many that can be crafted based on a new insight I have had into former dean of Yale Law School, and now federal judge, Guido Calabresi's famous framework. I have written a book to explain how the greater significance of his framework has been missed. Moreover, I go beyond a description of a tool that I term the Calabresi theorem, which shows how to craft balanced legislation, to show how the tools of law and economics fit into a broader understanding of social institutions in which capitalism plays a valuable role in altruism.

    I encourage people to consider the PROFIT Act, the new Calabresi theorem and the discovery I have made about altruism as necessary to transforming capitalism, and to achieve the ideals, of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and equality: slightly, rearranged, those spell, acronymistically, HOPE FOR ALL (Happiness Of Pursuit, Equality FOR A Liberated Life).


    Christopher Dunn


    Madison, CT

    Mumia et al: "We" are not "giving THEM energy" when our predator state and disaster capitalism remain strongly in place. Watch in the next weeks as Obama picks his team from the good old boy servants of the super wealthy just as Clinton did before him.

    I particularly object to nuclear power expansion as a solution even domestically. With the price of "Peak Uranium" rising and the disposal problem unsolved the cost would be borne by working class taxpayers. Many of our 104 nuclear antiques (built to last 20 years) are approaching 40 and must soon be closed. We already have had several meltdowns and tritium in our groundwater. The security problem is unmanageable already. Who would insure these "crap piles'? Try a visit to Earth Policy Institute (Lester Brown) and see what is actually occurring on the alternative energy front. Do not expect clear heads like Brown's advising Obama. (I supported and voted for Obama with great hope but little expectation.)

    The most acute problem today is affordable wholesome food worldwide. Is Obama interested in preventing starvation and malnutrition? We'll see.
    Michael Moore lists high fructose corn syrup as one of our greatest problems. Look at the ingredient list on your ice cream or bread and you will be depressed. Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto and other books on food) says we consume mostly "food-like substances." More and more these are adulterated and out of our control. Food is at the nexus of our denial. How can we move to any meaningful healthcare reform of pharma sanity when we are poisoning ourselves? (Factory meat is the worst.) What does Obama eat? That brotha still smokin'????

    O

    Forgive me, folks, for racing ahead. Though I favor appropriate technology I seem to have forgotten what appropriate is. I concur with everything Jodi says below (prior). It's nice to have hope again. Just one ray. The weight had grown so heavy. The insanity of dictums like those of Grover Norquist [and many others, though he chose to spell it out for public consumption], and the insanity of the phrases he used. What a sheltered bunch of meritocrats having never experienced a hood where they might wish to see a little help from gov roll in. There must be an excuse for why they got their audience. Maybe no one's to blame like Galbraith seems to be saying, or maybe we progressives never found the words we should have to communicate. At least in my case I think this must have been true.

    I may continue writing and acting very utilitarian for a while...till I adjust to the fact that now we might escape dying out in tent cities and Hoovervilles. After all this I suppose a little more time should justify a lot more Faith!

    FINALLY, a positive future, something to look forward to. Thank Goodness - what a glorious, happy, encouraging, and hopeful time! I only hope the Lord watches over and protects Obama for his safety. A positive feel in attitudes and a true breath of fresh air. The fact that most of the world agrees with the PEOPLE'S choice of this election should tell us something - the MAJORITY of us know what that is.

    Unlike the 2004 election where the electoral vote put Bush in office, the results of this election is the PEOPLE'S choice. Leadership we can trust and be proud of, something we have not been able to do for 8 long years. Now we can walk with our heads held high. A good legacy to leave our children and grandchildren and generations to come. A legacy of promise, hope, and good-will is the story left behind from this election, not like the nightmare from the corrupt and idiotic Cheney/Bush Administration.

    Great to hear Bill Moyers today on the radio.

    Re your 11/3 post, Mumia, I hope we can retool to manufacture the items you mention. A while back I Googled photovoltaic units, and the preemininent IIRC were Mitsibishi and GE. Their stuff seemed to be what was available to the masses, and seemed to obviate everyone else on the top third of the page of citations IIRC. But I intend to look up "open skies" in Philly as I heard about them on Fresh Air.

    After some reading in "The Predator State" I'm for sure dealing with a more accurate assessment of our capabilities (more panoramic, more detail). Sometimes you can't believe what you already know, cause you haven't heard a one time system-supporter get radical and describe how everything went down the wrong road. They can do the best convincing. A little scary though.

    I see from JaKG's tome that my idea 10/25 re coal was an example of "soft budget restraint," but I really haven't thought it through much, and don't know if it's viable in any sense.

    Glad you reminded us of the BACEVICH link, cause I had Googled right into it IIRC, and made a mental note to return.

    I see JaKG's name on bailoutmainstreet dot com (or dot org, can't remember). I guess they're quoting him, and I find myself doubting if he endorses everything they recommend. Personally, I'm just not in a position to do so myself. Look forward to reading what he says there though, or watching it someday when I get a faster connection, new OS, etc, etc, etc.

    Of course, no one can overstate the mess we're in.

    @Amy Martin, October 25, 2008 8:08 AM

    Thanks for your post Amy Martin. I agree that we need tariffs and other tax increases to get out of our bad financial circumstances (destroyed local industries and high government debt). The tariff issue needs to be studied; however, it may not be as simple as slapping some tariffs on some Chinese goods.

    China is currently funding the U.S. government. China may retaliate against tariffs on its products by cutting back funding for our government. We would need to calculate how much in tariffs we could raise before suffering a retaliation. We would also need to calculate how much we can rely on Saudi money if we lose Chinese support.

    Frankly, we are in a bind. If you haven't already, please read what Andrew Bacevich says: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/09262008/transcript1.html ; "Americans are no longer masters of their own fate."

    @David H., October 25, 2008 10:52 AM,

    I can think of something we can offer: energy. We can build nuclear, solar, wind and geothermal plants. Then we can sell non-CO2-polluting energy to other countries.

    If we have enough time, we can turn our economy inside-out, converting it from a consumption-based economy to a production-based economy. We could produce the kinds of automobiles that use the kind of energy we produce--electric. That would dramatically reduce the temptation that India and China would have to pollute our atmosphere as their middle classes expand, and we could position our country to benefit from the wealth those nations build as they modernize.

    If we're going to get ourselves out of this debt hole, it will be by making big money from the sale of energy and products.

    The press recently has called the issue de-regulation. I heard the same comment in the Bill Moyer's program yesteray. I wanted to clarify how the probelms actually started.

    In fact the issues cuasing the financial ciris were in fact a result of no regulation. During the 80's the adminsitration at the time did de-regualte industries like telecom and banking. Changes duirng this time were truly de-regulation. For example, the government split up the phone companies and allowed for more competition. The intention was to provide more options for customers thus reducing phone costs.

    During the 90's this administration made significant changes in the banking industry that included allowing investment companies the ability to provide products that only banks used to offer. Bnaks were allowed to make investments outide of the normal secure investment slike tbills etc.

    As a result investment firms were now affering traditonal banking products within an industry with little or no regualation as compared with banks. This wasn't de-regualtion it was no regualtion. This was the start of the current financial probelms wiht investment companies.

    Default Swaps may have ultimately caused the majority of issues with the invesment companies yet the process of adding product and investment options was going on long before credit default swaps.

    In conclusion the goverment allowed the investment companies to provide additonal services and investment options much of what for years were limited to banks. However, the investment companies unlike banks had virutually no defined regulatory structure.

    Just one question:

    ARE YOU PEOPLE STUPID?

    You're supporting a Republican candidate who expressly says he's going to deregulate, against your own economic best interest. Then you complain when the economy goes in the tank, because there are no systems to protect you.

    And one more question: WHY are you spending tax money bailing out these thieves? Seems to me what's required is something that would actually REDUCE "market volatility" (i.e., Wall Street going into a swoon when the wind direction changes), namely what's called a STET: a Securities Turnover Excise Tax. A tax on trades of only 1% would generate $600 billion, & let Wall Street pay for its OWN mistakes, for a change. And it would reduce the tendency to "flips", which would actually STABILIZE the situation. My own preference would be a bit more radical: if the buy/sell transaction is within 24h, the tax is 100% of the value of the trade; within 7 days, 75%; within a year, 50%; 5yr or more, 0. KEEPING MONEY IN is INVESTING; "flips" are SPECULATING. (It'll never get past the Wall Street lobbyists & their bought lap dog Congresscritters, tho.)

    I wish to take issue with James K. Gailbraith's reference to our $10 trillion debt as a "number that [we] will have to live with." The number of craters on the moon is just a number. Our national debt is a number that we'll have to pay back in dollars.

    AIG was the world's most successful insurance company with a trillion dollars in assets, yet an addiction to a lifestyle of perpetual indebtedness resulted in the demise of AIG. The U.S. has the world's most successful economy, but the U.S. government is addicted to a lifestyle of perpetual indebtedness; this does not bode well for the future of our government.

    We need to take the debt very seriously. Even if it is economically very painful, we need to pay that money back as fast as possible. I don't want my nation to become the next AIG.

    Those who believe that America has an unlimited line of credit should read Andrew Bacevich's interview: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/09262008/transcript1.html ; he says that when Americans discover that their government does not have an unlimited line of credit, "it's going to be a black day, indeed."

    @Anonymous9, October 29, 2008 4:06 PM,

    Thank you for your observations, but you should not expect Moyers to respond to every one of the 12,000 blog comments here.

    You've hit upon a major problem--our inability as citizens to vote out the incumbents. Gerrymandering is the primary reason for this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0o27wDhCg4 ; Ralph Nader correctly observes that our politicians are choosing us rather than letting us choose them.

    He also notes that our tendency to choose the "least worst" candidates traps us into the two-party system. However, the two main parties are effectively a single corporate party. Ron Paul says that there is no real difference between Obama and McCain: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEw0qKjP7hk&feature=related .

    If you're going to attempt to confront Moyers on something, confront him on his participation in the media blackout of Ralph Nader's campaign. Ralph Nader is a genuine alternative to the Republicrat party who's almost no media coverage despite his being on the ballot in 45 states (and a write-in possibility in the others). Visit http://www.votenader.org for more info.

    Should lawmakers pursue a course of heightened regulation in response to the economic crisis? Why or why not?

    No. Lawmakers should have professionals clearly identify each segment of the problem and then seek to inact whatever limited changes necessary to fix that problem. More government regulation goes hand in hand with more government control of institutions. For example, HUD director Henry Cisneros used social reasons for increasing the availability of loans to subprime borrowers that helped fuel the current crises. Here big government relaxed real world financial boundaries to persons not yet able to manage nor responsibly meet their obligations. The government regulations allowing this was the problem. Not the persons wanting the loans to become a homeowner or the businesses wanting the write new loans to persons now blessed by HUD to recieve them.

    Galbraith claimed that both Democrats and Republicans paved the way to today's troubled economy. Do you trust politicians from these two parties to enact good-faith regulation in the public interest?

    Yes I do. But I'm afraid the Democrats will repeat the Clinton and Cisneros type of politics meets regulations meets changes unknown that cause problems. They will do it in the name of equality without making real sense of the likely outcomes.

    Those who fall into poverty, who have effectively been blocked out of family-supporting jobs--need aid, not platitudes. Welfare for the rich, in the form of billions of dollars of "tax relief", etc., has not had the promised outcome of producing a mass of family supporting jobs (in the US), but has been used to move our jobs to foreign countries.
    End aid for the rich, and restore aid for the poor. Create LEGITIMATE education/job skills training programs. Stop protecting the wealth of corporations, and start investing in the American people.

    Government IN THE SUNSHINE will reduce the EVERYBODY ELSE IS DOING IT propensity so prevalent in society, and give fair trade, balanced justice, & responsible govt. a chance.

    Deep thinking, intellictual, economic, politicans, & business executives DEVISED THE SYSTEM THAT OPENED THE DOORS OF LOOPHOLE GOVERNMENT!

    Get rid of LOOPHOLES, WRITEOFFS, DEDUCTIONS, and come up with a Federal Budget that income producing America will support and REDUCE the SIZE of GOVERNMENT.

    The government should be the skeleton, and citizens should be the muscles, organs, brains, soul.

    It is not that hard, UNLESS some factions want to devise a scheme that will give them more of what rightly belongs to others.

    Government in the sunshine and we have a chance;
    Government in the dark and they will get in your pants

    Billy Bob, Florida where
    they took our vote away

    Thank you, once again, for a great program!

    Question... you mentioned that the Bush admin. was trying to get rid of yet more environmental/health regulations and that we could find out about this, take action, on the pbs site.

    Uh... where?

    Thank you.

    Interesting list, David F. Check this on CDSs
    http://www.alternet.org/workplace/102672/financial_meltdown_101/?page=entire
    "The very purpose," Jonathan H, is covered by Galbraith in his book. It's the way it's been all along, except for the Bush style conservatives gov now is just the newest frontier for the privatizers. For them that's what it's mainly for.

    You conservatives know some familar lines along which we liberals generalize. I create a general picture utilizing the shock doctrine concept a lot. It's never good to oversimplify; often enough I try some article like the one by Purkayastha at zmag.org...and get some new angles. I was hoping with "The Predator State..." Galbraith could fill me in on switchbacks and anomalies I hadn't considered. Man, if he's right...I was right in assuming they're close to infinite. "It's a big world..." didn't Joe Jackson say?

    Don't have much time during the week, so I'll just mention one passage right now I can't get beyond. On page 197 [skipped ahead a bit] JaKG sez what'll happen if a country doesn't go with structural readjustment. He says markets will sell the country's currency and interest rates'll go up. WHY X 2? [not the thing that vexed me most; just the first question mark I see now] In case someone's tryin to decide which letters to read...Are you reading the book too? I don't have tons of time to answer until weekend and it might be spare then, but if anyone's else is reading TPS I just thought they might want to rap.

    PS The good economic consequences of Reagan I had't thought about. I personally wonder, though, when JaKG talks about our low unemployment what's in his head re the nature of the jobs available here.

    I wasn't completely convinced by Mr. Galbraith, in part because I am a little skeptical about the ongoing role of the US dollar as a reserve currency - it is a key assumption. I liked the interview with George Soros better. Still, I wonder if we have enough a common understanding to approach this mess. Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf school (amoung many other things) gave a few leactures about society in the wake of WWI. He spoke about a three fold social order - the political sphere, the economic and the cultural. For him the economic was about the necessity of working together, while the cultural was for the expressions of freedom - egalite (political), liberte (cultural) franite (economic). In 1922 he gave a series of lectures on economics in which he talked about the world as one economy and about three kinds of money - purchase money, loan money (credit, capital) and gift money. He spoke of the necessity of giving away of loan money to create a free cultural life. It is a necessity because without this, loan money would grow too large and there wouldnot be sufficient purchase money - in a sense, gift money is like the rain taken from the oceans to replenish the lakes and rivers. Steiner also spoke a lot about land, labour and capital. In particular, he said that we are in an age dominated by capital. In the european mediavel ages, we had a theocracy where the land was dominant economic factor - peasant and priest. In the 17 and 18th century, labour is dominant, with the rise of traders, craftsman. In this age we see the development of the law of contract and Adam Smith writes the Wealth of Nations. Smith warned against collusion between individuals - the traders, the craftsman. By the 1922, seeing the effects of the industrial revolution and the growth of credit in the 19th Century, Steiner said there is the entrepreneur and his balance sheet. So we have gone from an economic connection to land, to a connection with other people, to one with capital. There is also a flow from land to labour to capital and ultimately capital gets clogged in land - in the form of high real estate prices and environmental degradation. And so we have a crisis on many fronts - environmental, financial and ultimately human. From this I take that the insights of Smith and Karl Marx are less relevant because their empahasis is on labour. It also points to the importance of accounting and financial literacy. Money, in this light, can be seen as moving bookeeping, and we realize now that America's liability - the debt - is China's asset. There is one economy, and there is no financial independence. This confirms the importance of freedom in the cultural realm, which is really a kind of spiritual freedom. And it confirms the need to work together. Thanks for reading this.

    Bill Moyer’s “Moyers on America” You state on Page 31. that the people can take back their Government with the vote….

    Your whole book is about the corrupting of the Federal Government by the Super Rich/Wealthy Individuals and Corporations corrupting Representatives and Senators by the use of unlimited money to get the breaks they want and load the cost of government and tax breaks on the backs of the middle class, working class, and poor of this Country.

    My question to you Bill, is after 36 entries on several of your web log questions… by me, why have you not responded with support to my asking the readers to vote out the incumbents and take back their government?

    Both houses of Congress are so corrupt that they feel immune to the wishes of the people. They allow the bottom 90% just enough to live from paycheck to paycheck. All the wealth is, and I do fine this funny, “redistributed up”! Leaving the poor without the benefits the American Citizen should have but does not.

    The “Vote” is the only way the people can keep their government working for them… yet they believe the propaganda spewed out of Government and Wall Street and on behalf of the Rich by Lobbyist, that they can too be rich and so vote as a heard of animals to let the incumbent stay for life.

    The last percentage I heard form the media was 96% of incumbents are reelected and that makes our system a “One Party Government” and that “Party” is for the Rich and the Corporation.

    The news media stinks of guile and hubris and arrogance and most of all of “selling out the interest of the people” by not exposing all the unethical and immoral behavior and cruelty of the Rich and how they get rich on the backs of the poor.

    The news media does not report on the Federal and State Governments breaking the laws (especially the laws of the Constitution by the Federal Government) and favoring the Corporations. Nor do they report on the loss of our Bill or Rights and Civil Rights.

    The news media is the Propaganda of First Choice telling the people what to believe, think, and do. It is all so obvious….

    If the “real” news, the news that brought the “light of day” to the corruption and who was responsible, was reported maybe the people would wake up from the long and false dream that lulled them to sleep, and take back their government and their lives.

    What do you think, Bill? Will you go public on your show the “Bill Moyers Journal” and ask the people to wake up and vote the incumbents out and find out what it feels like to be free and enjoy the fruits of their labors?

    I know you have your people read and cull out what is said by those who answer your questions. I do not kid my self in thinking I will get by the “Gate Keepers”, or that my work will be cobbled in some way that you feel the need to influence others to use the only tool given to the people by the Constitution to expel the corrupt government law makers who rule against the Working people and their right to a life not of riches but of “Value” that includes Education that actually works, Health Care that actually heals, Laws that actually protect and allow families to prosper, Wages that actually allow all the family expenses and activities to be paid for with something left over to save… and saving, not debt, should be rewarded.

    What say you Bill Moyers; will you preach for the poor, minister to the working class and lead the middle class to a new world?

    Or will you set by while Democracy and Capitalism fail to serve the people and watch the Federal Government attempt to fix the capitalist system so it will make the rich richer for a second time by stealing the peoples money?

    Will these words as you say in you book, last one day and be gone with the wind tomorrow?

    Mr. Moyers,

    On your program last week while commenting on the Greenspan testimony that the free market has failed, you seemed to make the mistake of buying into the idea that our markets are free. I cannot stress enough how simply incorrect this is.

    Just because Paulson, Krugman, Bush, Greenspan, Brown, Sarkozy or anyone else equate our current system with Laissez-faire does not make it so. A simple glance at a dictionary definition of Laissez-faire would confirm this.

    There is clearly much dispute amongst the pro-capitalism and pro-government regulation crowds, and I have no intention of swaying your opinion one way or the other, but in such times it is important not to cheat ourselves out of an honest debate by skewing definitions and ignoring reality. The reality is that the very purpose of much of our government, including nine federal cabinet departments and more than one hundred federal agencies and commissions, is to interfere directly in the market with the intention of bringing about various economic outcomes. Whether this is good or bad matters not to the fact that it contradicts the idea that our economy is free or Laissez-faire.

    As one of your occasional guests, Dean Baker, would argue, we are not benefited by discussion founded on the false premise of "free" markets. If anything, as a journalist, you should be pointing out such mistakes, not perpetuating them.

    "Well, it's clear that world has lost its confidence in the responsible role of the United States."

    One of the meager truths uttered by Galbraith, and ironically contradictory to his contention that we will succeed by borrowing, from foreigners, our way out of what we borrowed our way in to in a quest of something for nothing.

    I think that we've all gone mad.

    Brian,
    I cannot find the word statism in my dictionary.
    what you are posting is a barter system that works well in a low tech society but is no longer sufficient for present time economics. it would be too time consuming to barter for everything we purchase.
    There is no one forcing anyone into involuntary agreements. But there is the problem of a surplus work force that leaves no leverage to receive living wages. There are also monopolies that set prices to avoid competition and to prevent lower prices.
    Without controlling factors; greed will undermine any economic system. Survival of the fittest sets in and the quality of the society deteriorates.
    Could you explain your position more clearly?

    The belated play of the week goes to Joe Biden, or maybe team Obama, for warning that Obama would be tested with an international crisis. I know the press is tearing into him for this because nobody wants to hear stuff like that, but by labeling a possible crisis as a test he is beating Ailes and other propagandists to the punch. I think he should repeat it a couple times more after the election and before Obama takes office, and maybe throw in that Bush was tested with 9/11…Bush was tested with 9/11… I’m tired of these neo-con propagandists labeling Democrats as weak on international issues, so hopefully Obama has a plan to reverse this nonsense.

    Another issue I think Obama should address is oil prices. I have a strong suspicion that the Saudis are going to jack up the prices again when he becomes Prez. This’ll put even more stress on our economy, so maybe he could prepare the nation before it happens. This way he will already have directed the blame before Ailes gets to.

    Congress passed the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. This act removed the federal oversight, and protected Credit Default Swaps (CDS) (legalized betting on the success or failure of a stock).

    A new CDS was created in recent years. This CDS was a bet where people would default (foreclose) on their mortgages.

    OPEC raises oil prices from about $25 a barrel in 2001 to $147 in the summer in 2008.

    Phil Gramm, one of the five Senators who introduced the act to the Senate, becomes a lobbyist for UBS AG.

    American homebuyers are introduced to no-doc and subprime loans.

    Oil prices take their toll and become a major influence in our economic slowdown.

    The number of bankruptcies rises.

    Wall Street investment houses go belly up because of this new CDS.

    $audi investors make billions, maybe trillions, from betting against our housing market.

    Is this a conspiracy theory or a conspiracy fact?

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/10/26/60minutes/main4546199.shtml

    According to 60 Minutes, CDS's are the reasons why we are having this economic meltdown.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/10/26/60minutes/main4546199.shtml

    There is no question that Greenspan was influenced by Rand. But he is not in any way representative of her or of her philosophy of Objectivism, as anyone who has fully studied her work knows. If he ever was an advocate of laissez-faire capitalism, he certainly hasn’t been one in a very long time. If he were, he never would have taken the job of Fed Chairman, which is essentially a monetary dictator. A "free market" regulator is a logical impossibility. Taking that job completely disqualifies him from any valid connection with Rand's ideas.

    In short, Ayn Rand is being made a victim of guilt-by-association. Why her? Greenspan was undoubtedly influenced by many thinkers. There is only one reason to single out Rand…the power of her ideas and her philosophy of Objectivism. Objectivism offers the only comprehensive, moral defense of free market capitalism and of America's founding principles of the unalienable rights to life, liberty, property, and each individual's pursuit of his own welfare and happiness. In other words, Objectivism is the foremost threat to statists of every variety. Therefor, Objectivism must be discredited at all costs…at the cost of honesty, objectivity, fairness, or rational analysis.

    Greenspan is being set up as the perfect straw man.

    Importantly, though, it is telling that Mr. Moyers starts out by attacking Rand's Objectivist ethics, and for good reason. The Leftist Mr. Moyers seems to be in agreement with Ms. Rand on at least one key point...ideas move human history, and morality is the most powerful force in the field of ideas. Her discovery of rational self-interest as the proper code of ethics for people to live by is indeed radical and is, in fact, the moral foundation of free market capitalism.

    But Mr. Moyers deliberately fails to define her concept of self-interest, leaving his audience to accept a false premise. What he doesn’t tell you is that Rand utterly rejected the conventional definition of selfishness... that of a person who achieves his aims by taking advantage of others through dishonesty or trampling their rights, etc. Rand considered such people evil. Many of the villains in her novels, some of whom are businessmen, are people of such character. A good key to Rand's concept of selfishness is provided in this brief definition from the book Ayn Rand Answers:

    What do you mean by "selfishness"?

    I mean the pursuit of one’s rational self-interest. I mean that the central purpose of one's life is to achieve one's own happiness, not to sacrifice oneself to others or others to oneself. "Selfishness" means to live by the judgement of one's own mind and to live by one's own productive effort, without forcing anything on others.

    A similar distortion is in Mr. Moyers' equating altruism with "regard for the welfare of others" and attributing that package-deal to her. In her refutation of altruism, Rand took pains to show that the two concepts are in fact mutually exclusive. She said (from The Ayn Rand Lexicon);

    The basic principle of altruism is that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value.

    Do not confuse altruism with kindness, good will or respect for the rights of others. These are not primaries, but consequences, which, in fact, altruism makes impossible.


    Exposing the true nature of altruism, she went on to say;

    Why is it immoral to produce a value and keep it, but moral to give it away? And if it is not moral for you to keep a value, why is it moral for others to accept it? If you are selfless and virtuous when you give it, are they not selfish and vicious when they take it? Does virtue consist of serving vice? Is the moral purpose of those who are good, self-immolation for the sake of those who are evil?

    Rand rejected altruism precisely because it leads to predatory behavior, rather than benevolence and mutual respect. Altruism means self-sacrifice, which sets up a moral inversion...the unearned as a virtue, and the earned as a vice. Since, according to altruism, the moral consists not of achieving but of sacrificing personal values...then it necessarily follows that it is moral to be the recipient of the sacrifices of others, since one did not earn it. To keep what one has earned is selfish and thus immoral, according to altruism. The logical consequence of altruism is seen all around us...in the form of the growing entitlement mentality engulfing this country. Anyone with a "regard for the welfare of others" would never demand that they sacrifice their values, and no one possessing integrity would sacrifice their own. ("Sacrifice" is defined by Rand as "the surrender of a greater value for the sake of a lesser one or of a nonvalue." This does not preclude charity or extending a helping hand to others, if the recipient is worthy according to one’s own hierarchy of values, one can afford it, and it is done out of a sense of good will, rather than as a moral command to "put others above self".)

    Worse yet, altruism is the moral base and justification of socialism and all forms of tyranny. It is the tool of the power-luster. And this gets to the heart of the matter. It is no accident that Barack Obama's campaign rests on the morality of altruism ("We are all our brothers'...and our sisters'...keeper"). The battle between socialism and capitalism, or collectivism and individualism, is primarily a moral one. Is the individual subordinate to "society"? Or does he have a right to exist for his own sake? If self-sacrifice for the sake of others (altruism) is the standard of morality, then socialism is the moral social system. If the achievement of values for one's own well-being (rational self-interest) is the standard, then capitalism is the moral social system. Anti-capitalists know this. Capitalism's defenders have not yet figured this out...with the exception of Ayn Rand. This may explain Mr. Moyers' attacking her ethics. In any event, a country of rational people who selfishly demand their right to their own lives and freedom is what socialists (or their watered-down cousins, the welfare statists) fear most. This is the real motive behind the outbreak of anti-Rand, anti-Objectivist attacks, in my view.

    Ethics is a complex subject, and requires much more discussion than is presented here. But, let me just say this. The radicalness, and great virtue, of Rand's ethics is that it discards both altruism (self-sacrifice for the sake of others), and the conventional concept of selfishness (sacrificing of others for one’s own sake). Rand's rational self-interest...a new concept of egoism which is derived from man’s nature and the factual requirements of his survival...is a non-predatory, non-exploitative, rights-respecting moral code that discards the primitive dogma of human sacrifice altogether and, thus, clears the way for a benevolent human interaction based upon mutual respect. Her twin discoveries of rational self-interest and of the true, evil nature of altruism stands as one of the greatest of philosophic achievements.

    Mr. Moyers can be forgiven, perhaps, for getting it wrong on the Objectivist ethics. The view of selfishness as always evil and altruism as the good has deep roots, and Rand's challenge to that dogma takes tremendous cognitive effort and reflection. But the tip-off that proves Mr. Moyers' dishonesty is his discription of Rand as an advocate of hedonism. It doesn’t take much research to discover that she explicitly rejected hedonism as inimical to a person’s rational self-interest, which can only be determined by a process of reason within a long-term context.

    But then, Mr. Moyers and his ilk are not interested in confronting and refuting her ideas openly. Instead, they rely on misrepresentation, distortion, context-dropping, straw men, and evasion. The same goes for their blaming of free market capitalism for the current crisis, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. They are attacking a straw man here too.

    A long line of economic thinkers has proven the practical ability of free market capitalism to enable tremendous increases in man's material well-being. Yet capitalism continues to wither under the big-government assault. Ayn Rand found the key to this disparity...capitalism's need for a moral sanction. Anyone interested in rolling back the growth of the predatory welfare state in America must be ready to make not just the practical case for capitalism, but the moral case as well. In this regard, I recommend discarding the misrepresentations of Rand's ethics, as well as preconceived notions of selfishness and altruism. Make your own objective assessment by reading the Ayn Rand novels mentioned by Mr. Moyers, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, followed by these three non-fiction books:

    The Virtue of Selfishness, by Ayn Rand

    Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics...the Virtuous Egoist, by Tara Smith

    Loving Life...the Morality of Self-Interest and the Facts That Support It, by Craig Bittle

    It might seem audacious to say, but it would seem to me that a financial world solution is all economists focus on, where without an underlying industrial-agricultural production base, supply and regulation of the money supply are limited tools.
    A leading local historian of this blog world, Jack Martin, reminded us of Reagan era definition of Voodoo economics,"-washing each others cars and delivering pizza-" (I have used this elsewhere--thanks Jack.)

    Thanks for your considered response. It will take me a while to peruse Locke’s Second Treatise. His style is a bit dated. In the meantime, a couple of other questions bubbled up.

    Previously: "my perspective is that as one moves up the echelons of a business, one stands on the shoulders of those in the lower echelons, as together they produce the economic pie."
    Your response: “The way you word it would make it seem that people naturally "move up the echelons" under no effort of their own. Is this accurate? Or would it be more accurate, at least in a sound-minded business, that people would move up the ladder as they show their abilities to generate profit for the company, increase efficiency, etc? Which sounds more accurate?”
    Whatever. That is irrelevant to the fact that one does not produce the economic pie by themselves. And the sequence of moving up as one shows one’s abilities assumes there is an entity that would be astutely observing. Are you not assuming the status quo, which in your response below, you seem to think should be ignored? If you want to jump to a government only tasked with protecting property rights and adjudicating disputes, what is the basis of leaving property gained under the current government, which has taken and given property left and right based on priorities with which you don’t agree, in the same hands? And if all property, public and private, is thrown up for grabs, on what basis is the government suppose to adjudicate disputed property rights?
    --
    Previously: "As I understand the current system, might makes right, the fewer people there are that has one's skills, and more difficulty in partitioning one's skill set into separate job descriptions, the more power one has to demand a larger slice of the pie, even though one could not produce the whole pie alone."
    Your response: “And any business that would take that stance - overdependence on highly-specific skill-sets when alternatives may exist - is taking unnecessary, irrational risks. However, skills that are more difficult to attain should obviously demand higher pay, as there are fewer people with such skills.”
    So, after considering adjustments a firm could make, might makes right is OK with you, even though once the demands of those with unique skills are satiated, not enough of the economic pie may remain to sustain the rest of the essential team necessary to create the pie? In which case, the unmet needs and stresses of the other assemblers of the pie will fall on the charity of society under a government limited to maintaining property rights and adjudicating disputes. Seems that would damage the self esteem of those producers, eroding their productivity, perhaps to the point where they would have to be discarded. But what the hell, they’re replaceable. Of course, some might improve their skills and move on if they are not so worn out from maximizing production, maintaining a home life, and volunteering time in the community. Perhaps those with the unique skills would apply Ayn’s concepts espoused in The Virtue of Selfishness, and not demand so much of the pie that there was not enough to go around, thereby, making that which is nourishing them sustainable. However, the feedback loop might not be able to keep them aware, or they simply might not see equivalent value since they could take their unique skill to a competitor.
    --
    Previously: "And since society spends a lot of time and money nurturing a child into a productive worker, it is in societies interest to be sure that the worker is paid enough so that the worker and family can thrive"
    Your response: “You're using the facts of the status quo to support the status quo. You presume that tax money should be used for education - it should not.”
    Again, how do you get from here to there?
    --
    Previously: "In a sense, society would have some property rights"
    Your response: “And there you've just obliterated the entire concept of "property". You can't have your cake and eat it too. Likewise, one word in the same context cannot simultaneously represent two contradictory concepts.”
    Please clarify your response. I was referring to society having some interest to protect since it has invested in the creation of infrastructure and workers, as well as the public property that currently exists. Again, how would this country get from here to the “there” of a government tasked with only protecting property rights, and adjudicating disputes. Perhaps, I’m not correct in assuming you’re proposing no public property other than those necessary to carry out the above tasks, but if there is, then how does government sustain the other public property?
    By the way, is it correct to assume by property you mean something over which you have full control? If so, under what concept would government settle disputes where ones use of one’s property reduced, or enhanced, another’s property?
    --
    Previously: "From where will society get its sustenance if not from the economic pie that some will see as private property?"
    Your response: “What right does anyone have to this "sustenance"? What evidence is there that such "sustenance" is even sustainable. With reduced taxes and reduced government spending, people would have more of their own money with which to donate to causes they deem worthy, or to invest in endeavors that advance society and increase opportunity for all.”
    Good question. Unless one accepts might makes right, doesn’t all rights come from the will of those over which the rights have domain? It would be nice to be able to say with a straight face that the current government is an expression of said will of this populous. Unfortunately, it is skewed by the power a few have accumulated.
    --
    Previously: "Isn't protecting private property and settling disputes too narrow of a description for the functions of government?"
    Your response: “No. Read Lock's Second Treatise.”
    Could not one just kill you then, since you do not belong to anyone, you wouldn’t be around to dispute it, and thus, the government would not have jurisdiction? If someone else disputed your killing, would they have standing? If so, why?

    "Mr MacDonald,I've read all 4 of the ARand books that you cite (both the fiction and non fiction…). I attended several Nathaniel Brandon I can tell you that Rand's so called "Rationalist" principles are anything but."

    That's nice. Is that your argument in its entirity: appeal to authority?

    --

    "Absolutely nothing to do with the pragmatic needs of 6 billion people living on a fragile Earth."

    Obviously not. There is no place for principles in pragmatism, and Rand's philosophy is built on strict adherence to principles (a redundant statement, given the nature of principles).

    The "teach a man to fish" quote comes to mind. You teach pragmatism, and as a direct result are required to give every person a fish every day. Rand tries to teach men to fish, setting them free from dependency.

    Mr MacDonald,I've read all 4 of the ARand books that you cite (both the fiction and non fiction…). I attended several Nathaniel Brandon (Ms Rand's protégé) lectures as an adolescent and I can tell you that Rand's so called "Rationalist" principles are anything but.

    Absolutely nothing to do with the pragmatic needs of 6 billion people living on a fragile Earth.

    Dagny Taggart(the fictional hero of Rand's Atlas Shrugged) is lusted after by so called "Libertarians" in the same way that FOX News commentaters leer after Sarah Palin. At least Sarah Palin exists…
    ---------

    When Bush turned the institutions of regulation over to those they regulated, it opened the doors to the abuse and the results we see now. And now the banks and their managers are rewarded for their malfeasance. Where was Paulson when the CDS debacle was at it's height in fraudulent "profitability"? Unlike the banks, the mortgage holders are not being helped. It is an attempt to save the top of the pyramid while the base of it crumbles - once again, a "trickle-down" approach that once again, will not work.

    When Bush turned the institutions of regulation over to those they regulated, it opened the doors to the abuse and the results we see now. And now the banks and their managers are rewarded for their malfeasance. Where was Paulson when the CDS debacle was at it's height in fraudulent "profitability"? Unlike the banks, the mortgage holders are not being helped. It is an attempt to save the top of the pyramid while the base of it crumbles - once again, a "trickle-down" approach that once again, will not work.

    "Do we want a survival of the fittest society with everyone fighting each other to survive?"

    What is this statement supposed to represent? Capitalism? Or statism? I believe it represents statism. Under capitalism, individuals enter into contracts VOLUNTARILY and toward MUTUAL BENEFIT - you get something you want, I get something I want, and we agree to it voluntarily. I don't try to give you a deal at my detriment, you don't do the same, but we want eachother's services, so we give eachother the best price possible. Trade to mutual benefit means we get what we want and we do with that property what we want. This leads to progress.

    Under statism, there is no trade to mutual benefit. I get only a fraction of what I wanted, and the same with you, and the government takes the rest of what we wanted it gives it to a third, anonymous person, who benefits from our trade without any input or agreement from us. Alternatively, under statism, I am forced to enter into INVOLUNTARY agreement with someone who offers me no benefit or less than optimal benefit, while I offer them a huge deal.

    "Or, do we want a society that works together to provide everyone a quality lifestyle?"

    This is capitalism succinctly stated.

    Ayn Rand and Objectivity!

    It all boils down to what is society's objective.
    Do we want a survival of the fittest society with everyone fighting each other to survive?
    Or, do we want a society that works together to provide everyone a quality lifestyle?
    I would like to suggest that we set up a fail safe society that manages its resources to provide everyone a quality life experience.
    Problem solving is an essential social skill. We need the right solution to every social problem. We need ethical practices that place human life as a first priority.
    We need to support both humanistic and capitalistic systems of supply and demand.
    Religion should be a personal experience not a source of conflict.
    Society should support the family unit not undermine it.
    "Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you" should be the golden rule that rules our decisions not greed and avarice.
    Our present social system can work as long as it is managed to avoid inequity and injustice. Human nature is competitive but there must be rules to assure justice and equity.

    Oops, typo: Locke

    "my perspective is that as one moves up the echelons of a business, one stands on the shoulders of those in the lower echelons, as together they produce the economic pie."

    The way you word it would make it seem that people naturally "move up the echelons" under no effort of their own. Is this accurate? Or would it be more accurate, at least in a sound-minded business, that people would move up the ladder as they show their abilities to generate profit for the company, increase efficiency, etc? Which sounds more accurate?

    --

    "Under what principle would Ayn Rand divvy up the pie?"

    Rand wouldn't "divvy up" anything. The way the incomes are laid out would be determined by voluntary agreement by the employer with the employee, to mutual benefit - the employer gets one's service, the employee gets money that can be exchanged for goods and services.

    --

    "As I understand the current system, might makes right, the fewer people there are that has one's skills, and more difficulty in partitioning one's skill set into separate job descriptions, the more power one has to demand a larger slice of the pie, even though one could not produce the whole pie alone."

    And any business that would take that stance - overdependence on highly-specific skill-sets when alternatives may exist - is taking unnecessary, irrational risks. However, skills that are more difficult to attain should obviously demand higher pay, as there are fewer people with such skills.

    --

    "And since society spends a lot of time and money nurturing a child into a productive worker, it is in societies interest to be sure that the worker is paid enough so that the worker and family can thrive"

    You're using the facts of the status quo to support the status quo. You presume that tax money should be used for education - it should not.

    --

    "In a sense, society would have some property rights"

    And there you've just obliterated the entire concept of "property". You can't have your cake and eat it too. Likewise, one word in the same context cannot simultaneously represent two contradictory concepts.

    --

    "From where will society get its sustenance if not from the economic pie that some will see as private property?"

    What right does anyone have to this "sustenance"? What evidence is there that such "sustenance" is even sustainable. With reduced taxes and reduced government spending, people would have more of their own money with which to donate to causes they deem worthy, or to invest in endeavors that advance society and increase opportunity for all.

    --

    "Isn't protecting private property and settling disputes too narrow of a description for the functions of government?"

    No. Read Lock's Second Treatise.

    It felt so good watching your program.
    James Galbraith [truly erudit as was his father] restored my faith in a social-democratic society.
    The final segment on Playing for change music was most rewarding socially.
    thank you

    Richard MacDonald, you seem to be up on Ayn Rand. I'm interested in your sentence: "While Rand advocated minimal government regulation; she never advocated government abdicating its just role of safeguarding individual property rights and adjudicating disputes." Since we are far from a craftsman economy, my perspective is that as one moves up the echelons of a business, one stands on the shoulders of those in the lower echelons, as together they produce the economic pie. Under what principle would Ayn Rand divvy up the pie? As I understand the current system, might makes right, the fewer people there are that has one's skills, and more difficulty in partitioning one's skill set into separate job descriptions, the more power one has to demand a larger slice of the pie, even though one could not produce the whole pie alone. That seems short sighted, when the custodian keeps safe all those participating in the making of the pie. A wet floor could cause the boss to slip and break his neck. Yet, because the custodian can easily be replaced, he is near the bottom of the pay scale. Seems like there would have to be some laws other than property for the government to have a basis to settle a dispute over the division of the economic pie. And since society spends a lot of time and money nurturing a child into a productive worker, it is in societies interest to be sure that the worker is paid enough so that the worker and family can thrive, save enough to sustain them once they become non-productive, contribute time and money (taxes) to the maintenance and nurturing of society, and produce replacement workers for when they ware out. In a sense, society would have some property rights for the government to protect - the infrastructure necessary to keep the society functioning at the most economical level, and the protection of public resources and property, tangible and intangible - from businesses intent on externalizing the true cost of labor and damaging production emissions and products. From where will society get its sustenance if not from the economic pie that some will see as private property? Isn't protecting private property and settling disputes too narrow of a description for the functions of government?

    For those that want to dump the financial meltdown on the Democrats, read: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/251/story/53802.html Private sector loans, not Fannie or Freddie, triggered crisis

    The assumptions underlying the competitive economic theory are flawed, but to the extent they reflect the real world, the system it describes functions. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty good. Same with Ayn Rand. Her The Virtue of Selfishness that I read probably 40 years ago probably would alleviate many concerns one could develop from reading only the Fountain Head. And if it doesn't alleviate all concerns, so what? You'll integrate what is useful into your being, and be able to understand and communicate with those that are fond of her without vitriol.

    Mr. Moyers' disgusting attack on Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism, I guess is to be expected. As is the case with most of Mr. Moyers' views, he is mistaken.

    First, Mr. Moyers' refers to Rand as a "hedonist". Either he is totally unfamiliar with Ms. Rand, or he is deliberately distorting her philosophy for his own purposes. A hedonist is one who holds pleasure as the highest good or as the source of moral values. In fact, Ms. Rand advocated that man's highest value is to live. In order to live as man, one must use the only tool one possesses for survival - the rational mind.

    Since reason is the man's only means of survival, that which is proper to the life of a rational being is good; that which opposes, destroys or negates the life of a rational being is evil. By this definition, altruism is evil and works to hinder man and his attempt to live as man.

    The basic principle of altruism is that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value. The irreducible primary of altruism, the basic absolute, is self-sacrifice—which means; self-immolation, self-abnegation, self-denial, self-destruction—which means: the self as a standard of evil, the selfless as a standard of the good. [Ayn Rand Lexicon]. Ayn Rand warns that altruism is not to be confused with kindness, generosity, good will or respect for the rights of others. These acts are secondary to survival and are given freely.

    Altruism requires force as in government forcing one to sacrifice his or her private property to another who has not claim to that property: i.e. redistribution of wealth, which is exactly what the Community Reinvestment Act was all about, and what we can expect from either a Barak Obama, or to a lesser extent, a John McCain presidency. Each has defined plans that require people who work hard to either create or to sustain wealth to sacrifice the fruits of their efforts to those who've done nothing of value.

    Your statement defining altruism [Altruism! Yes, the unselfish regard for the welfare of others] couldn't be further from the truth, but that is a territory in which you feel most comfortable! Under this definition, achievers would be required to subsume their own self interest to those of complete strangers. Achievers, or producers, would have to risk their own self interest and possibly their own survival for the sake of non-producers (otherwise referred to as looters!)

    Mr. Moyers, I would recommend that you actually read "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged" and attempt to actually understand what is being described. Following that, you may want to read "Capitalism, The Unknown Ideal" and "The Virtue of Selfishness".

    As to Alan Greenspan, he may have attended meetings with Ms. Rand, but he learned very little from her. His ideology and the philosophy of Objectivism are worlds apart, as is the philosophy of Ayn Rand and your grasp of its essence. While Rand advocated minimal government regulation; she never advocated government abdicating its just role of safeguarding individual property rights and adjudicating disputes.

    The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness has at the core the right of individuals to keep that which they have earned. So long as government works to steal property from one to give to another, all are being denied these essential rights spelled out in the founding documents. So long as government works to steal property from one in favor of another, a true laissez faire economy cannot exist. Alan Greenspan oversaw a corrupt mixed economy. In no way did he ever inject Ayn Rand's teachings or influence into his personal or professional life. He is a fraud and so are you.

    Nina, please correct your post of October 27, 2008 11:06 pm Where you state “Chris said...”

    More of the same "softly spoken magic spell" - the gist of K.G. whole discussion is: "that if we play our cards right - we can get through the rapids without even getting our head(s) wet, -
    he obviously does not have to actually do any physical work for a living "
    Ya nature will let us escape the results of our actions" - ya RIGHT !
    Only so many thieves can live in a town before nobody trusts anybody and when the government is also owned by the white collar criminals "those learned in the vestal robes of the privledged banking", the whole place will come apart sooner or later.

    The are a whole lot of highly educated learned people in this world who don't know squat.

    Might make you feel better though, just like the sunday ritual, rent a pulpit.

    Remember,
    IF YOU KEEP ON DOING THE THINGS YOU'VE DONE, YOUR GONNA KEEP ON GETTING THE THINGS THAT YOU GOT OR WHAT LED US HERE.

    Humans are living an unsustainable lifestyle, PERIOD and breeding like there's no tommorrow.

    This discussion was mere antiseptic drivel - "Investment is flocking to T-bills, and US securities, these are backed by the full faith and credit of the US government" : - whose foreign policy since it's inception has been -nothing short of WAR,
    The countries of the world that are kept out of the main street media, the NNA [not north america] - are fully aware of our world status and what we have done for the last 30 years of Neoliberal dominance-

    The current liquidation of world currency by the chiefs of the banks who sit on the board of the NY federal reserve will have to return the monies stolen in and by the exotic structured investment vehicles and these same folks will have to be put in prison before any faith or credit is restored.
    Just look and what is being done with the monies being loaned out to banks from the $700 Billion "Leave NO BANKER BEHIND ACT" - are they using this money to loan to free up credit? to restore faith? NO they are gobbling smaller fish, smaller banks, more power, less trust, less faith, UN freaking believable -

    this is a vessel out of control in a storm-"US constitution" have already been thrown overboard at useless flotsam - by the whim of the power drunken captain- who says it's my way or the highway.

    This is just a symptom.

    Human beings are destroying the very biosphere - which has for millions of proven years gently but firmly guided us and provided for all our needs,
    "Danceman on the Titanic . . singing nearer my god to thee."

    This is waht i FEEL will happen

    Nature will turn the page . . . .
    so align your life with nature and providing subsistence for your own mouth from your own hands - do it now . . this is true humility.
    Nature does NOT correct her mistakes, she eliminates them . . . and i for one would welcome a little natural selection at this point - so people HAVE to learn things for themselves again: not just mindless copying of others . . to pull down the travesty of imagined wealth and power . . the softly spoken magic spell . . that is the seduction and dependancy created by the issuing of usury debt (false scarcity printed on paper)- and thus the counterfeiting of genuine abundance, i.e fiat paper money by the big banks . . . all they can say that it was a great ride while it lasted, they neither care about you or your beloved children.

    this global PONZI SCHEME will . . . in the end, come to no good, just more earth rape, pollution and destruction of the biosphere, loss of genetic diversity and the END OF CO-EVOLUTION with all living things for meaningless temporal grandiosity of the loudest, selfish and most violent of our species.

    The great plans of the corporate bureaucratic oligarchy will be dashed and destroyed upon the rocks of NATURE and all shall suffer the effects of such ARROGANCE - as always happens with despots.

    even the rich who will with wealth and power lock themselves behind walls and barriers both physically (remote secure compounds), mentally (denial), emotionally (religion-ritual). . . will continue to so with all there tools , money and power and BELIEF

    UNTIL ONE DAY THEIR SOULS WILL LIVE in infinitely terrible SELF MADE HELLS OF complete alone - ness. UNFORGIVING LONLINESS - - and they won't be able to ask for HELP from outside from within there secure resting places . . . because of the walls and barriers they have put in place . . they think they are GOD and will suffer the fate of that arrogance.
    unless you've been there - you CANNOT Possibly IMAGINE HOW terrible there fate will be . . . they are such transparent fools . . .
    They will disregard my words . . . at there own peril.

    . . . they will Reap will what they have Sown.

    Remember the way you live your life today - will determine your attitude tommorrow and your path - in spite of everything.
    So when your out there in the world - "do your best", regardless . . show them a smile - because you don't deserve to be anything less.
    Don't hold your self hostage . . . by not moving forward and doing what in your heart of hearts you know you need to do . .
    whether in a jungle combat, under the wheel of corporate mindless oppression, your attitude IS WHO YOU ARE, but you must ask your self the question -
    do you still believe in what you do?

    Nina said: "To put the matter another way, she [Rand] believed in the callow pursuit of selfishness."

    Chris said: "One 'ought' to do their homework else they risk making uninformed statements, Nina."

    No need to be condescending, Chris. Mine was not an uninformed opinion, and I stick by my original statement. There is neither time nor space here to explore Rand's thought, and unlike you, I am not going to search the net for an opportunistic quotation that supports my point of view.


    Enough with the Ayn Rand, pleeeze. As one who was taken with her as a youth, I finally came to see her ideas as utopian fantasy. What the current crisis points to is that Rand's "faith" that people will govern themselves if left to earn all they can earn, is never going to happen. Besides, it would be politically unpopular to leave those who can't succeed to starve in the streets. Even Republicans aren't for that. And she has no answer for the millions who have been treated unjustly, trapped in inner cities, denied opportunity for decent jobs. She poses that life will just be perfect if everyone follows her creed, but no solutions for the real problems we face.

    The Neocons set out to prove that government is incompetent and appointed incompetents to lead our protective agencies. All I can say is, duh.

    Progressives believe that government can be done better than we have in the past. We have better tools for keeping lawmakers honest--like this blog. Under Bill Clinton FEMA, as one example, was an effective agency; there was a surplus at the end of his term. We can do even better if Sen. Obama is elected. We couldn't do any worse than GWB has done.

    What do you think?
    Should lawmakers pursue a course of heightened regulation in response to the economic crisis? Why or why not? No, they should be prosecuted!
    Galbraith claimed that both Democrats and Republicans paved the way to today's troubled economy. Do you trust politicians from these two parties to enact good-faith regulation in the public interest? No, I do not trust any...!

    I concur with the commentators. “It was illegal gambling. And the Congress made it legal gambling…with absolutely no regulatory controls. Zero, as far as I can tell," Official states.

    "It sounds like a bookie operation," Reporter comments.

    "Yes, and it used to be illegal. It was very illegal 100 years ago"!
    "Betting parlors. It was a felony. Well, it was a felony when a law came into effect because it had brought down the market in 1907. And they said, 'We're not gonna let this happen again.' And then 100 years later in 2000, we rolled them all back."

    “The vehicle for doing this was a ... critical piece of federal legislation called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. And the bill was a big favorite of the financial industry it would eventually help destroy”!
    “It sound like they knew it was illegal," Reporter remarks.
    "They did know it was illegal. Or at least prosecutable." “On the last day and the last vote of the lame duck 106th Congress, Wall Street got what it wanted when the Senate passed the bill unanimously. “ The facts are, there is “Intent, knowledge, Recklessness in violation of the Criminal code” and the corrupt Justice System did not do anything. Candidate states, “We need to change the SYSTEM”...!
    I see only solution. EMPOWERE the people to express the "WILL on ALL ISSUES"! Of course in a dictator ship such a wish is unthinkable, for an article in a paper of 2008 10 21 states, “Forget about a constitutional convention - the House rejected even studying the idea”!

    It is a fact that the people of the US are sheep! 10/27/08

    Where is your courage and rage when the Usury Laws are done away and you get charged from 19 to 25% interest on short loans? Well it seems that you went to the banks and asked for credit, how is that working for you?

    Where is your fury against the incumbent Representative and Senator and the most God-awful President we have ever had when they rescind laws against Wall Street betting with derivatives against your investments?

    For all of you who don’t know or don’t care what a derivative is, it is a side bet. And I bet you know what they are.

    The guys on Wall Street were in charge of your money and knew how you invested (bet) it. So they knew how to manipulate the markets to win their bets against you.

    Nope……… no law against it and no regulation to control it or them, got changed in 2000 according to CBS 60 Minuets. And you still vote for the same government that passed the law that lets them steal your money and now they claim they don’t know what to do. According to Barron’s page 52 you probably are SOL.

    And they, the despicable news media are saying you’re not smart enough to understand a derivative, well it is like this… The pitcher of the winning team in the World Series bets against his team and throws the game. Have you got it yet?

    Here we are now at the election and you can fire the whole dam bunch of those who passed the law to let a few people ruin your savings accounts, your 401-K plans, your IRA’s, and your pension plans. Hell, go home broke and leave them in that ivory tower they call the Capital. They have their benefits 100% paid for by you. They get their raises and they get full retirement. (in case you don’t know, full means if they get $250,000.00 a year for working [what was it 93 days this years] then when they retire they get $250,000.00 a year with 100% paid benefits.

    If you are not stupid and your not a coward, why would you not vote the people out of office who voted to cheat you and let others steal all your money and lastly, why would you leave in office the very same people who

    are now paying the thieves who stole your money and are now being given a second change to empty your pockets a second time.

    Well maybe you just don’t think this is your responsibility and you’re still stupid enough to believe in that “American Dream” of get rich quick and get out while you can with your profits. I suppose there are enough of the me-generation to be selfish, self absorbed, and believe in the devil take the hind-most.

    That is a pie in the sky dream and you won’t be seeing it for some years to come… if you ever do again.

    So go home and lick your wounds or go to the poles and vote em’ out.

    But like sheep being lead to the slaughter you wring your hands and blame everyone else and use labels to cause hate between your selves.

    (democrat, republican, conservative, liberal, black, white, socialist, capitalist, God fearing, Atheist)

    Pick one and see if you can eat it or see if you sleep better by wearing the label. All this name calling just divides us and if you were not cowards you would see that firing 435 people who had already ruined your life would be the right thing to do. And starting over new is an adventure in the right direction and one hell of a lot better then the one you are about to take….

    What is about to happen to you is the loss of everything. Your jobs, then your homes, then your savings if you have any. Your investments whether you call them a 401-K or an IRA will soon be dissolved when the Dow hits 1000 or less.

    Believe it? No you’re in denial and acting like school children who want someone else to take responsibility. Maybe you can find Polly Anna and she will tell you what a find day it is.

    Enough, you have in a few days one unique opportunity to take back your country and kick the Sons of Bitches to the curb. You can flip the bird at the Oil and Auto Companies and send them packing….

    You can in fact have a life worth living and without fear.

    Bruce Springsteen has it right: "..poor man wanna be rich, rich man wanna be king, king ain't satisfied 'til he rule everything..." Human nature being what it is, regulation is imperative.

    Bruce Springsteen has it right: "..poor man wanna be rich, rich man wanna be king, king ain't satisfied 'til he rule everything..." Human nature being what it is, regulation is imperative.

    Quite frankly I do not have the confidence that our lawmakers will do effective regulation. Perhaps Obama and some of his advisors from the University of Chicago can come up with something and push it through congress without added nonsense.

    Both parties are mostly intellectually bankrupt on the economy. Too many democrats believe in utter nonsense. And of course republicans generally aren't any better. One side will push for over-regulation to "protect" people and republicans will push for no regulation.

    The important part is to try to balance the regulation so you don't kill the economy. This will be hard. Ideology cuts deep. However some increased regulation is inevitable. Frankly I'm not qualified nor are most lawmakers, to create smart regulation.

    I'm hoping Obama will govern from the center and bring people together to solve real problems. I'm afraid that the populist house and the filibuster proof senate will be tempted to push ridiculous nonsense on the economy in general. But Obama is very smart so he'll almost have to rule from the center to get re-elected. I hope he does because he has his work cut out for him. I don't want another Jimmy Carter debacle. We need 8 centrist years to make up for George W Bush's utter and complete failures on every issue.

    As a side note Bill Moyers is being overly biased again. He rips to shreds Hank Paulson but you do know that Jon Corzine and Robert Rubin both democrats and both millionaires, worked for Sachs. This has nothing to do with Paulson "helping out his friends". That is contemptible nonsense. Thank God Bush actually put in a competent treasury secretary this time. Hank has a tough job and Krugman can continue to criticize but even Paul would have a hard time navigating these troubled times.

    The De-regulation policy that started under Clinton at first worked great wonders but then went sour. Dem's admit that policy may not have been the best. At least they tried something and at least they acknowledge it needed work or follow-throughs, GOP's will NEVER admit to needing improvement or any wrong doing - even when it is obvious a war was started off lies - hence a corrupt war. When this de-regulation policy started going sour under Bush, why didn't he try to change or improve it? After 8 years of Bush giving corporations tax cuts which McCain supports and wants to continue, where are the jobs? They are overseas, not in America. Why can't all the call centers in India be moved to Small-Town America? Why would McCain continue Bush's tax cuts for corporations when it hasn't worked for 8 years? - Typical GOP support of Big Business. If the 'distribution' of tax cuts/credits have not worked for the past 8 years, why is McCain so scared to try something different? Under Idiot Bush, corporations like Exxon were allowed to gouge prices at the gas pumps so shareholders could pocket record profits which obviously were NOT stuck back into the economy. Rich individuals got nice big fat checks back which were also pocketed and NOT stuck back into the economy. Why can't the government under Obama step in and equalize the distribution? What is wrong with ROBIN HOOD? Schools in Texas participate in the Robin Hood system. Thank goodness for Bush's economic stimulus checks - whew, where would our economy be without those ever 'important' checks that were supposed to revive the economy?

    Mr. Moyers, your explanation of the core of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, “a hedonist, an exponent of radical self-interest, who so believed in unfettered, unbridled capitalism that she advocated the abolition of all state regulations except those dealing with crime.” sounds precisely like the underpinning philosophy of the Libertarians and Corporatists who greased the wheels for Depression 2.0.

    Alan Greenspan has continued the tradition of virtually every central banking “oracle” prior to WWI of leading his nation into disastrous Depression and a resultant war killing tens of millions of people.

    I for one completely concur with Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine” that posits that these events are in fact part of long term goal of restoring what can be best described as a feudal society complete with a peonage society of “serfs” and torture for anyone who gets out of line with the “new world order”.

    As a nation we have a tiny window of opportunity to stop this gambit.

    We will need to prosecute and in hang, the criminals that have perpetrated and profited in the process of seeking to destroy America.

    I know, I may sound a bit over the top, but trust me in coming month my statements will sound pretty mainstream.

    What the Republican and Libertarians have done to this nation is beyond the wildest dreams of Osama Bin Laden

    Your triumphant claim that Objectivism has been proven wrong by the mortgage crisis ignores that the very Governmental meddling through regulation and the socialist initiatives that are enabled by such regulation, in this case Barney Frank's and Maxine Water's "A house for everyone" are at the foundation of this crisis. The only thing Wall Street was guilty of was being so successful at pushing the financial risks of providing the Liberal Democratic mandated no money down, low interest rate loans regardless of (the lack of)employment history or credit worthiness to anyone who thinks they "deserve" a house throughout the investment community. The Market has, and will always, correct and punish the financial chicanery of the political manipulators. And just as Ayn Rand portrays in her novels, the manipulators and their shills place the blame and the burden of the consequences on the backs of the free market producers. More of the same old propaganda from Bill Moyers and the family Galbraith.

    Nina said: "To put the matter another way, she [Rand] believed in the callow pursuit of selfishness."

    One 'ought' to do their homework else they risk making uninformed statements, Nina.

    It would appear that it is your understanding of Rand's concept of selfishness that can be described as callow.

    Perhaps you and others should take the time to read this:

    http://ndpr.nd.edu/review.cfm?id=8123

    "Those who think of Ayn Rand as the icon of callow youths rather than a serious moral philosopher are unlikely to recognize the Rand whom Smith presents to us. Drawing on Rand's novels, lectures, essays, and letters, Smith shows that her ethical theory is a form of naturalistic eudaimonism, which shares some features with the Aristotelian virtue ethics of Hursthouse and Foot, but differs from them in its unapologetic ethical egoism. This egoism is, however, as Smith argues, non-predatory and can accommodate helping others, genuine friendship, and even in certain circumstances risking one's life for another. Ultimately Rand appears as a somewhat paradoxical figure. A veneer of Nietzschean immoralism conceals the fact that, according to Smith, serving one's own interest in Randian fashion entails treating others in ways that are not as out of line with standard moral thinking as we may first assume."

    If an arsonist burns down your house, you wouldn’t hire him to rebuild it. It seems to me the Treasury Secretary (who was supposed to be overseeing the economy), and the big banks, along with Freddie, Fannie burned down the economy, and our home values & savings in the process.

    Why are the same people, who were in charge, allowed the task of rebuilding the economy? Why weren’t they fired? Why didn't our representatives demand their dismissal? Why would anyone take financial advice from them? Certainly there are other financial experts and economists in the country who are smarter. Others certainly could not do any worse.

    In some other cultures, those in charge might have resigned in disgrace. In ours, those in charge “parachute” out with millions in severance pay or tens of millions in ill-gotten gains. There is something wrong with this picture and I think the picture is framed in greed and fraud.

    Therefore, We The People should be guarding the guardians through rule of law. We The People should demand investigations. Criminal and Civil investigations should begin on those who were in charge and reaped huge profits while driving the economy into the ground. Where to look? It is simple - Follow The Money!

    To all who wrote to defend Ayn Rand: She wrote a great book, but she would walk over your dead body to get where she wanted to go. She didn't give a hoot about anyone but herself. All the theories in the world don't make that palatable.

    There was so much wrong with this report that I can't deal with all of it. But a few points. Greenspan is and was a confused government employee. The FED is a GOVERNMENT organization. Fannie a Freddie failed because of GOVERNMENT bungling. The idea that Greenspan has been an "advocate for free markets" during the last 40 years is laughable. If he ever understood the definition of the term "free market"...he clearly does not understand it now in his old age. What Moyers did was very clever. He tries to paint Greenspan as a strong believer in free markets...talking about Greenspan's early contacts with Ayn Rand. Then Moyers implies that Rand, and everyone else who believes in the moral superiority of free markets...is wrong. Where is the "free market"??? Not in the FED. Not at Fannie or Freddie. Not in the Bush/Pelosi/Obama/McCain $700B bailout.
    As for James Galbraith, he's not as confused as his father was. But clearly he does not have a grasp on the whole picture. This was a monumental GOVERNMENT failure. Just like the New Deal, which turned a depression into an extended depression. Just like the Savings and Loan fiasco, which was caused by government getting involved where it should not have been involved (socializing loses of S&L's). It's time to try a free market economy

    With some research, one soon sees that Greenspan is a representative of Objectivism and Ayn Rand about as much as Benedict Arnold is a representative of America. Greenspan is like Simon Peter -- he has denied and repudiated his teacher -- but Greenspan will not likely turn his heart, mind, and life around and be made a "saint."

    One can argue against, attack, or disagree with Plato, Aristotle, Rand; Hitler, Mao, Castro; Pope John Paul, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas; Calvin, Martin Luther, Joseph Smith...whoever -- but one has the responsibility to argue against what one's opponent says and believes; it is immoral to resort to lying, smearing, or making up fantasy-land "straw men."

    If Rand's thought was published only by a Gutenberg printing press, one might rightly claim ignorance of her doctrine for its inaccessibility. (But one still has the responsibility to research the doctrine.) But Rand's thought is too readily accessible to justify making any judgment about Mr. Moyers other than: dishonest. Mr. Moyers engaged in irresponsible, unethical journalism.

    I hope he shows us some honesty, I hope he shows me wrong, by coming out with a public apology and correction regarding what Rand believed and regarding the fact that Greenspan is not an advocate of Objectivism or of capitalism.

    Mr. Moyers might actually do some research and become informed before making statements about philosophy, culture, and ideas.

    Mr. Moyers seems to think (from what I read -- I do not know for sure if this is his line of reasoning) Rand was an exponent of selfishness, therefore she was a hedonist. But hedonism and selfishness do not logically and causally imply each other. For example, John Stuart Mill, it could be argued, was a representative of hedonism who supported altruism:

    "In Chapter Two, Mill corrects misconceptions about the principle of utility. One misconception is that utilitarianism, by endorsing the Epicurean view 'that life has…no higher end than pleasure' is a 'doctrine worthy only of swine.' "

    and

    "[Utilitarianism] offers a candidate for a first principle of morality, a principle that provides us with a criterion distinguishing right and wrong. The utilitarian candidate is the principle of utility, which holds that 'actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain and the privation of pleasure.' (CW, X.210). " (Both quotes from http://www.iep.utm.edu/m/milljs.htm)

    John Stuart Mill, of course, based his morality on the greatest good for the greatest number -- i.e., he was an altruistic hedonist.

    If Mr. Moyers were to research his claims before making them, he would find that Rand says:

    "I am profoundly opposed to the philosophy of hedonism. Hedonism is the doctrine which holds that the good is whatever gives you pleasure and, therefore, pleasure is the standard of morality. Objectivism holds that the good must be defined by a rational standard of value, that pleasure is not a first cause, but only a consequence, that only the pleasure which proceeds from a rational value judgment can be regarded as moral, that pleasure, as such, is not a guide to action nor a standard of morality." (from:
    http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/hedonism.html)

    Rand held that man's life qua rational animal -- not pleasure -- was the standard of morality. This is a far cry from hedonism.

    Oh, if one does one's research and engages in some thought, one finds that Rand's concept of selfishness is not only not incompatible with friendship, family, and charity, but logically necessitates it. Friends are in one's self-interest...who'd a thought???? Contributing to charity to help a cause that means something to you...who'd a thought??

    Regarding Objectivism -- what it actually says; not want Mr. Moyers wants to misrepresent it to say, to his detriment (poor journalism causes a loss of respect, trust and esteem in one's listeners and in the public) -- and Mr. Greenspan's "connection" to Objectivism, Mr. Moyers might also see:

    http://ruleofreason.blogspot.com/2008/10/greenspan-recants.htm

    and

    http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog/2008/10/mr-greenspan-dr-stadler.shtml

    and

    http://www.aynrandlexicon.com/

    and

    http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=index

    This issue is not so much an issue regarding Rand as it is an issue of honest journalism, responsible debate, and support of reason and rights.

    In defense of reason, rights, honesty and fairness, I look forward to a public correction regarding Rand, Objectivism, and Greenspan. I look forward to Mr. Moyers standing up for honesty and responsibility, and setting this record straight.

    Sincerely,

    Michael Gold

    Meltdown Retirement Blow Is Softer for Lawmakers
    Sponsored by
    by Erica Werner
    Monday, October 27, 2008


    Inside Washington: Lawmakers' retirement plans riding out the storm better than others

    Along with the rest of America, Rep. George Miller has watched the value of his retirement investments plummet in recent weeks.

    "I've lost 30 percent like everybody else. This hits home with the Miller family, too," the California Democrat said in a recent interview.

    But the blow is softer for members of Congress than for most. Although lawmakers have lost value in their thrift savings plans -- the government's version of a 401(k) -- they are also offered a defined-benefit pension plan backed by the U.S. Treasury and largely insulated from Wall Street fluctuations.

    That puts Miller and the other lawmakers into an increasingly privileged category -- workers with guaranteed retirement benefits that aren't subject to the vicissitudes of the financial markets.

    Market meltdown or no, if Miller, 63, were to retire at the end of this year he'd take with him an annual pension of about $122,000, according to the National Taxpayers Union, a nonprofit advocacy group in Arlington, Va. On top of that he could tap whatever remains in his 401(k)-like savings plan.

    Lawmakers' retirement benefits start earlier and accrue faster than in plans offered to other federal workers, or by the average private company. Lawmakers also get cost-of-living increases, increasingly rare in the private sector.

    Only 5 percent of private sector workers have defined benefit pension plans, in which the employer pays into an account and promises them benefits based on years of service, salary levels and other factors. That's down from 1980, when 60 percent of workers had such plans, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

    Increasingly, employers are putting the responsibility for retirement -- and the risk -- onto workers themselves by switching to investment plans like 401(k)s. About 30 percent of workers have 401(k)s, in which employees contribute to their own accounts, often with employers matching a small percentage of contributions, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Thirteen percent have both defined-benefit pensions and 401(k)s. The remaining workers don't have retirement coverage from their employer, according to the institute.

    Despite the financial crisis -- and the fact lawmakers' retirement benefits are out of step with most ordinary Americans -- Congress has made no effort to revisit its unusually sweet retirement deal.

    Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., who has declined participation in either the congressional pension or thrift savings plan, said his efforts to scale them back have not been welcomed.


    Chart shows breakdown of retirement plans in the private sector

    "It would certainly be a timely gesture at this juncture," said Coble. "It certainly appears to be a different standard and I can see how people on the outside of that standard might resent it."

    The generous retirement arrangement for members of Congress is meant to respond to the job insecurity that comes with elected office, according to Barbara Bovbjerg, director of education, work force and income security issues at the Government Accountability Office.

    Members elected before 1984, like Miller, get a better deal on their pensions than do those elected since, because the rules changed that year to bring lawmakers into the Social Security system as well.

    But any member with five years of service is eligible for full pension benefits at 62 -- though Social Security benefits conform with those of other workers, with early retirement bringing reduced benefits. Lawmakers with 20 years in office can get full pension benefits at 50, younger than most workers.

    "The government plans are certainly very rich even if you compare them to the pension plans in corporate America," said Robyn Credico, national director of defined contribution consulting at Watson Wyatt, an employee benefits consulting firm.

    "I certainly believe it affects policy," Credico said, suggesting that members of Congress don't experience the harsher reality of ordinary workers' retirement plans. "If you're not impacted yourself it's very easy to make different rules."

    Indeed, Congress has in recent years promoted the dramatic movement in corporate America away from defined-benefit pensions to 401(k)s with policies encouraging automatic enrollment and raising contribution limits. Under 401(k) plans employees contribute to their own investment accounts and assume the risks and rewards that go with them. Lately, with the crisis on Wall Street and across the globe, it's been more risk than reward.

    Earlier this month, Miller's House Education and Labor Committee found that Americans' retirement plans -- pension plans and 401(k)s included -- have lost as much as $2 trillion in the past 15 months -- about 20 percent of their value. At a committee hearing Wednesday in San Francisco, Miller cited new research suggesting that the losses might be as much as double that.

    And although private sector employees with defined benefit pensions are guaranteed their pensions even if the value of the plan drops, employers may make up for the extra cost in other ways, like layoffs, cutting other benefits or even freezing the pension or eliminating it, experts say.

    That risk was underscored Wednesday at Miller's hearing in San Francisco, where he announced that the federal agency charged with backstopping pension benefits for 44 million Americans has lost at least $3 billion in stock investments during the last fiscal year on assets of $68 billion, and invested a significant portion of its funds in mortgage-backed securities. The agency, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., insures approximately 30,000 defined benefit pension plans. It does not insure 401(k) plans.

    Yep Americans, the congressmen will take care of themselves - and the rest of us will just have to survive.

    Moyers' comments criticizing Ayn Rand and his caricature of Alan Greenspan as her acolyte made my blood boil like nothing since the Islamic terrorist attacks in London a few years ago. It is a calculated lie of breathtaking audacity.

    Greenspan was never an Objectivist. He clearly never understood the philosophy. In his time at the Fed he has behaved like an economic dictator straight out of Atlas Shrugged. His recent comments are the equivalent of a medieval torturer expressing surprise that his victim behaved capriciously and opining that he should have been harsher.

    Bill,
    This comment is for future programs. We have lost so many civil and constitutional liberties under the Bush administration and it appears we are moving towards a police state. It is my understanding that Congress was under Martial law until they passed the Wall Street bailout bill. Additionally, at the RNC and DNC journalists were arrested. I would very much appreciate one of your programs being devoted to this growing trend since I am deeply concerned about the direction our country is moving. As you know, journalist Amy Goodman and her staff from Democracy Now were arrested at the RNC. Additionally, an Iraq vet was crushed by a police horse at the last Presidential debate. Where is this country headed? Hopefully, your program will give us the answers needed to this disturbing type of police state trend. In advance, thank you.

    Bill,
    The U.S. National Debt - now over $10 Trillion with the Wall Street bailout. David Walker (Pete Peterson Foundation) and the Concord Coalition are going around the country on the Fiscal Wake-Up Tour and the film documentary IOUSA is touting that our nation is in deep financial trouble. Your program has not delved into this subject. The baby boomers are concerned about the solvency of Medicare and Social Security and leaving a hugh fiscal problem (increased taxes) for future generations. I would like to see a future program on this subject matter. Your guest failed to address the problem when you asked about it. Thank you.

    No, I don't like Ayn Rand at all. Whether or not she specifically believed in the philosophy of hedonism is a minor point. To put the matter another way, she believed in the callow pursuit of selfishness. Bill's right. Objectivism is precisely the kind of philosophy that lead to the present day Wall Street debacle. We became a country without a moral compass, though many profess fervent religious belief.

    The job of government is to protect people who cannot protect themselves. In recent years, it has been the ordinary taxpayer as well as the poor and the disabled who were in need of that protection and it was not forthcoming. The bottom line is that there are some things government does better than private industry and vice versa.

    Government regulators can't be trusted primarily where there is a conflict of interest, as has been the case in the Bush administration in which leading members of private industry have been appointed by government to be the regulators. This unholy alliance between government and private industry is what caused the economic meltdown in a generalized sense.


    "Old School economics" Does not work in a high-tech society based on production and consumption.
    The demand side of economics has to have the necessary funds to support the supply side of economics. The demand side of the economics is the wages and profits that fuel the economy. The supply side of economics are the industries and support groups that provides goods and services.
    In order to have an equitable and quality society their must be adequate funds to support the function of the society. If there is insufficient funds the society falters. If there are excessive funds there is inflation.
    Economics is based on trust and fidelity. It is human nature to accumulate as much wealth as possible. In a high-tech society, there is pressure to consume to the max. The natural limit to consumption is the ability to produce and the limit of resources.
    Society is based on the social contract that assures people a quality life experience if they provide an adequate service to their society. Equity and justice has to be enforced to avoid social chaos. We can not know or do everything. This means that we depend on each other do what is right and good. Otherwise, we pay a price of scorn and punishment. It is necessary to have laws and regulations to manage our society to maintain equity and justice. Greed and apathy destroys the quality of everyone's life as the society decomposes.
    Even Mother Nature has to abide by the laws of physical function.

    Beg your pardon, Mr Horwitz but you are so totally wrong.

    Your irrational ideology of "free markets" crashing because of regulations is a good one.

    I spent a whole day rolling on the floor laughing, you should be in comedy.

    The last 20 years ( where were you?? ) both parties did their best to see who could throw out the most rules and you know what the "free" market gave us ??

    A casino.

    A place where you could bet - on anything.

    A place to CON honest people out of their money.

    You see, Mr. Galbraith is right.

    There needs to be some regulation. Your "wolf, wolf" cry that regulations are all bad - is bologna.

    The present economic situation shows us just what your no rules "free market" does.

    It shows us that the kind of thinking that you and the other "free marketeers" have does not think far enough into the future to see the consequences of their actions and lies.

    Every economist knows there are always consequences.

    Every religious book ever written is full of example after example of good and bad actions having good and bad consequences.

    Mr. Horwitz, your "free market" is daily being proved wrong in more fiducial and fiduciary ways than I can count.



    I have to think of a line from the movie Erin Brockovich when reading much of the discussion of the financial crisis. To paraphrase, it is: 'that is the trouble, you complicate situations that aren't complicated'. The 'regulation' needed is something on which our grandmothers could have counselled us. To get a mortgage a 20% downpayment is required and the amount of the mortgage cannot exceed a small multiple of the annual income of the applicant. The downpayment shields financial institutions from being left holding the bag in the event of a market downturn. The income multiple reflects a simple reality that necessities of life other than shelter need to be factored into an individual's budget. The other common sense rule is that the lender has a vested interest in making sure that the loan is repaid. That is, they are loaning their money, and are accountable for getting it back. After watching the captains of industry perform lately, particularly Greenspan confessing his lack of understanding I think we would all be well served to recommend our grandparents for financial office.

    Well, Mary, I found this article at the Nation which appears to back you up; if "frosty ipom"s posts are accurate you definitely have a good argument. No surprise, I'm aware of Clinton's brand of the whole schlock shock doc. Yeah, that entire mess had us heading for disaster from those days onward (inspite of the miraculously balanced budget). Wait, it seemed to really get going in 1981 with Garn-St.Germain or something IIRC.

    I differ with you, though, about bringing up Greenspan's thing with Ayn Rand's philosophy. Hope I can be objective about it. Don't wanna overlook that many Dems were into de-reg themselves. But from the Iran Contra era I also remember Kerry and Sarbanes struggling along without any Pubs their equals. Anyway, there are certain things anyone interested in propaganda I think would find important about the whole sitch. Yep, we're indebted that you remind us of names of the acolytes; but who was the guy who, no matter how much malarkie he spewed, was looked upon as the smartest priest the invisible hand cult had to offer? Invisible hand and invisible meaning. "Inside the Temple" didn't Greider say? The media and Congress sat there and listened in rapt attention and awe. I feel I should stress the suckerdom aspect. Not that he was a Svengali type; it's just that he could have bagged the convoluted schtik. Nevermind a bunch of intelligentsia made him feel like an oracle...it was his decision to can or continue. It's a big coincidence Greenspan was a Rand fan? I was there back in the heyday of Rand's novels. I had a friend into it. Half our generation went one way, and Rand represented I guess the rest (the rest who relished philosophical justification). Maybe if you knew you might get drafted there were few other living philosophers around with tomes in the drugstore who could get you psyched up. Guys like me back then should have learned more it seems. We should have had the words to critique. A Voltaire should have arisen from among our ranks to chew the whole thing up. We didn't have Manga. I didn't find the words. I'm sorry. Luckily, my friend got into Zen writers right after Rand. Forty years later I find problems with zeitgeists like Social Darwinism. I find problems with natural selection as the mechanism of evolution. Truth be told, the problems crystallized long ago after reading about a Norman Macbeth tome in Harpers. But that's another story.

    Anyway, it's amazing Greenspan recanted given the pedestal they had him on. I'd like to know really how much, but meanwhile I guess I can Google News Search "Frank" and "bailout" to see if the latter dude is incorporating any features Public Citizen has recommended.
    http://www.citizen.org/pressroom/release.cfm?ID=2742

    Hard to say what was credible in those days and what wasn't. Hard to remember that is. We come into this world, and presto we're reading paperbacks to give ourselves meaning. It wasn't till about three yrs after my run at being a freshman that I came across the word "Realpolitik" (see "Suharto" here to end of paragraph).

    Lord, even Reaganophiles can make some sense.

    But don't forget Garn-St. Germain.

    We had the proper regulations enacted after the 1907 meltdown. That was changed in 1993 by the Republican Administration and signed into law by Bill Clinton in an attempt to get the economy going again. This was Greenspan's Libertarian idea of the "free market" being self-regulating. Now even he has said his ideology was "flawed."

    We've been here before, folks. If what is happening now isn't proof of the folly of "free" markets, then we may as well return to the 'rule of the gun' that marked our frontier.

    Those who abuse trust are outlaws and should be treated as such. When it comes to greed, all are outlaws, not to be trusted or esteemed. They should be exiled as traitors because they move to gain through the abuse of trust of others.

    Ronald Reagan was right: Trust but verify and Buyer, beware. Good advice. He knew well the machinations of his own political cohorts.

    Good question, maja.

    It was five guys in the SEC that finally got the lid off Pandora's box 4/28/08, Justin.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/03/business/03sec.html?_r=1&em&oref=slogin

    I'm just wondering if this article on 10/3 was the first time it got reported. True, they were supposed to be regulating, but the present admin didn't have guys in there that knew what they were doing. They crumpled under pressure from the banks.

    With all the understandable frustration and worry we middle class citizens are experiencing, I found Andrew Cuomo's action regarding A.I.G. bonuses(Jonathan D. Glater's "A.I.G. to Suspend Millions in Executive Payouts" NY Times, 22 Oct. '08)a bright spot in an otherwise anger-provoking situation. Mr. Moyers, I wish you had mentioned it in tonight's program prior to the Galbraith inteview.

    why is social security referred to as an entitlement when american workers fund the system during their working lives?

    Bill Moyers: "Rand was a hedonist"

    Ayn Rand: "I am profoundly opposed to the philosophy of hedonism."

    It would appear that Mr. Moyers hasn't done his homework. Or... did he intentionally making a blatantly false statement?

    http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/hedonism.html

    JametF

    Great post !

    The atrocities of the Bush-Cheney administration are TOO NUMEROUS to list.

    The Oct. 24 Journal(one of the best) reinforces the idea that we need leaders like Bill Moyers, James Galbraith and Mark Johnson to speak the truth, inspire our citizens, and give us hope.
    We've had enough of leaders who have brought us to the brink with their arrogance, greed, selfishness, ignorance,and aggression. All of us need to come together for a new direction in this country, one that moves away from war and destruction, killing of innocents,and the neglect of our own common good. We need to stop the spreading and selling of weaponry as well as the raping and polluting of our planet for profit.

    How much does one have to evade the reality of this mess to come to the conclusion that the free market was at fault for this catastrophe?

    This problem could never have happened on so massive a scale if the U.S. government wasn't pushing home ownership at any costs. The Community Reinvestment Act forced banks to loan to people who wouldn't or couldn't pay. And loan they did, in order to maintain a "fair credit rating" in the eyes of the bureaucrat regulators. But bankers aren't too comfortable with making bad loans. So how did the government further stimulate them to make the bad loans? The government institutions of Fannie and Freddie, of course. They served as the mechanisms which promised anyone with a pulse the "American Dream of home ownership" by promising the banks that they would hoover up as many bad loan securities as the banks could create. To top it all off, the Fed was pumping up the bubble with irrational lending rates to the banks.

    To blame the private sector for this fraud is extremely dishonest. If we were to adopt a rational form of government, we would be better served by actually understanding the ideas which are the alternative to this nonsense.... as opposed to listening to the awful mischaracterization in this Moyers interview. This interview has to be one of the best examples of people blaming a problem on the only thing which can correct it. From the horse's mouth:

    http://www.capmag.com/news.asp?ID=1793

    Yep, JanetF, well said. Shock doctrine might very well have brought all the economies of the world to the brink of destruction. They thought the goods to plunder would be sitting out there forever, but here it is 2008 and already the bright shining mortgage backed securities will not even bring in a nickel with which to purchase what goods are left.

    We sit here like Rome, many selfish meritocratic divisions in the house...endeavoring to defend Ayn Rand.

    Bush/Cheney lied about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. When forced to, Bush admitted they had lied. Because of that lie, thousands of innocent military and civilians have died or suffered injuries, and many will suffer physical and/or emotional injuries for the rest of their lives. Their lie was exposed before the 2004 election.

    It was proven President Clinton lied about something that affected his family alone and the Republicans, who controlled Congress, had him impeached.

    It was proven Bush/Cheney lied about something that killed and injured thousands of innocent people and the Republicans, who controlled Congress, piously intoned the rightness and patriotism of it for Bush/Cheney . These Republicans, who hold themselves out as so righteous and patriotic, should have impeached both Bush and Cheney for the putrid thing they had done!! But the Republicans not only failed to impeach Bush/Cheney, they did just the opposite and praised them for attacking another country under the lying pretenses they had concocted.

    Right from inauguration day, Bush/Cheney began launching an attack on the environment, politicizing the Justice Department, removing federal laws and regulations that guarantee a basic right - free speech, consolidating too much media power in too few hands, and giving opulent corporations and rich people big tax breaks while reducing programs which benefit the people. They had an amazing number of many kinds of sex scandals. They continued their assault on America with their insidious earmarks that steal money without checks and balances and worse yet using signing statements that said Bush/Cheney and their cronies aren't bound by the same laws everyone else is. They put together and had passed the law they insidiously called the "Patriot Act," which was just the opposite, taking away another basic right, the right to privacy, and many other outrages.

    The American people had the chance to repudiate this evil. They could have forced Congress to impeach Bush/Cheney. This is at the heart of America: our very Declaration of Independence says it is our duty to change the government when it is not doing the will of the people! Even if Congress failed to impeach them, the American people had the chance to stand up for what is right, and to become once again a shining example of justice in the world, by voting Bush/Cheney out in 2004. But the American people did the opposite: they failed to impeach them and worse yet they put them back into office in 2004! By their votes, Americans were saying it is okay to lie to America and to the world and it is okay to kill and maim innocent people. Thus this country, supposedly the moral leader of the world, voted for liars and brutal users of their fellow human beings. They are Bad Americans.

    Many of those who voted for Bush/Cheney hold themselves out as good Christians. Did Christ lie to the people? Did He take steps that would and did result in the deaths and suffering of innocent people? -- No. But you self-announced Christians voted for a pair who do unto others the worst that one can do. All you so-called Christians cared about was that Bush/Cheney said the religious words you want to hear. You never paid attention to their terrible acts -- you just let yourself float along on their words, which mean nothing, and so you have gravely injured our country. You are not good Christians -- you are not Christians at all. And you are Bad Americans.

    How magnificent America would have been if her people had repudiated the ugly things Bush/Cheney had already done by 2004 by voting them out! What dignity we would have had! How much more of our former moral standing and leadership we would have recaptured! How much self-respect we would have had! How much more respect we would have had from the rest of the world, if we had shown the world that it is not okay to lie to people, that it is not okay to kill and maim people to keep one's oil cronies rich and in revenge for the insult Saddam Hussein had done to Bush's father, that it is not okay for Cheney's company, Halliburton, to profiteer billions from it, that it is not okay to use young idealistic military people for your secret, ugly purposes, that it is not okay to kill and maim innocent civilians for your secret, ugly purposes.

    And now Bush/Cheney and their cronies have almost destroyed the economies of not only America, but the entire world! Do not give yourself the excuse that you couldn't have known this was going to happen: look at the sludgy chicanery of Enron (run by friends of Bush) where the executives kept the huge amounts they got and the people who actually made the company prosper, the workers, lost everything*!! Many of the executives were sentenced to prison terms. Corrupt! Evil! Greedy! Selfish! And this all happened before 2004!

    Americans could have saved us and the world this economic disaster! -- But, no, they didn't act like the educated people they are supposed to be with a free twelve-year education -- they acted ignorantly. They didn't act like the decent people that made America great -- they acted greedily. They didn't act with the vast learnings of the last fifty years -- they acted with hate. Worst of all, they didn't act like the highest and best examples of humanity -- they acted like the most evil and did their bidding. And they voted Bush/Cheney back into office.

    Now it is obvious to all that Bush/Cheney's cronies have conspired to wrack the real estate market by putting together millions of phony mortgages that they knew very well would one day collapse, and then sold them as if they were worth something (more lies). But they didn't care one whit because by then they and their CEO and executive cronies would have had their big salaries and bonuses. Is that an American attitude? -- Get as much for yourself as you can even if it takes almost everything away from everyone else?? This is the president who calls himself patriotic and self-righteously calls those who disagree with him unpatriotic?? This economic catastrophe would not have happened if Americans had done the right thing and voted Bush/Cheney out in 2004.

    Bush/Cheney and their cronies have befouled the very concept of America. But most Americans have befouled her with even more putrid acts, for it is up to Americans to take action to control a government that is doing wrong, and most Americans not only did nothing but actively supported the Bush/Cheney evils.

    And now in the coming election many of the very same so-called Americans who voted for Bush/Cheney will take their usual self-righteous attitude and go ahead and vote for the current Republican candidate, John McCain, as if he didn't have that huge Republican ensnarement attached to him. Many McCain voters will vote for him in order to pretend that they didn't make an egregious mistake in 2004. Somehow they think that if they vote the same way they did last time their vote last time must have been good -- when by voting for him they will be doubling their mistake. Many McCain voters will vote for him because they like the idea that America can do whatever she wants, even attack another country offensively, and the rest of the world should just have to take it. Many McCain voters will vote for him because they like killing and guns. Many McCain voters will vote for him because they are filled with hate. Some will vote for him because they stupidly, and injuriously to America, always vote Republican no matter what. Many McCain voters will vote for him because they like thinking they would find favor with the Republicans and their arrogant, sarcastic talk radio hosts. The so-called Christians among them will vote for him because he mouths Christian-sounding words.

    McCain likes to act as if he's so different, but if that were true he would have resigned from the Republican Party. There is no other way to prove that you are different. By remaining a Republican, he is keeping his ties to them, and more importantly and ominously, they keep their ties on him!

    Anyone voting for McCain, whatever the reason, will be burying America and the hope of most of mankind in the self-righteous, ignorant arrogance and massive, blood-sucking, relentless greed and leering corruption and lying and insidious manipulation and evil with which the Republicans have besmirched America and the rest of the world for the last eight years. So in voting for John McCain they will be voting against themselves. Anyone who loves America and the citizen rights and decency she stands for must vote the Republicans out!


    * Enron: Enron sold electricity after deregulation. Its accounting chicanery was so crooked it took down not only Enron but Arthur Anderson, a prominent accounting firm, too. From 1996 onward, Enron gave 72% to 94% of its contributions to Republicans, including heavy contributions to George W. Bush's presidential campaign. "Its ties to the Bush administration assured that its views would be heard in Washington," according to an article by A. Berenson and R.A. Oppel Jr. in The New York Times, October 28, 2001. It lobbied to keep deregulation on the sale of electricity. Enron stashed much of its assets in secret offshore (and non-taxable) accounts and cooked the books to make expenses look like capital. It didn't report debts and losses in its financial statements. It filed for bankruptcy on December 2, 2001. It was an unprecedented and the most disastrous event in the financial world. Sources: Wikipedia, The New York Times.

    Loopholes result from rules, regulations, laws, etc.

    Why complex regulations are developed in Financial Arenas is to confuse, confound, confiscate without beind detected!

    "There is a sucker born every minute", is not limited to the circus world.

    Where GREED abounds
    Scoundrals surrond!

    The OSTRICH Investor says 'here is my money, do whatever you want, just PROMISE me great gains'!

    'Here is a house you knew you could not afford, but the mortgage broker thinks you deserve it.'

    OUR government thought it would be nice for everyone to realize the American Dream of owning a house & relaxed rules, regulations, enforcement laws, & said 'See what a good government am I."

    Without proper MORALS & ETHICS a government becomes divided & can NOT STAND!

    Billy Bob, Florida

    A Political Club made a rule resulting in no FL Dem. votes counting in the nomination-election--and
    I feel as though no one cares about my vote--just their's.

    NO WONDER WE ARE TREATED LIKE FOOLS!

    WOW.

    James Galbraith agrees with Dick Cheney now:

    "Deficits don't matter."

    Bill Clinton and Robert Rubin said they DID.

    Cheney, Moyers, and Galbraith now say they don't.

    Stunning.

    Scapegoating Alan Greenspan as an admirer of Ayn Rand is the new "talking point," I see.

    But had you been more honest with your audience, Mr. Moyers , you would have admitted that in 1999, Robert Rubin, Arthur Levitt, and Larry Summers AGREED with Mr. Greenspan and rejected any regulation whatsoever on the "new" financial market called derivatives.

    Derivatives gave us the Enron meltdown and the subsequent subprime investment packages, sold fraudulently all over the world as AAA investments, which have now cratered and required the taxpayer to pay for.

    Those derivatives in hedge funds weren't just "Republican" manipulations, sir. The Democrats were happily and greedily into the same, including Bob Rubin's Citigroup.

    I am dismayed at your economic dishonesty, Mr. Moyers. Ayn Rand??????
    Especially since Rubin, Levitt, and Summers were right there with Greenspan , pushing this nonsense down the road.

    Even now, while your Democratic Party pretends to care about the middle class homeowners facing foreclosure, the Dem Congress gave the banks $700 billion (actually $815 billion, with added "sweeteners"), with absolutely NO REQUIREMENTS that these banks help those homeowners.

    Congress wrote that the banks MAY help them, but not that they SHALL.

    Consequently, the bankers and their lobbyists WON, and the banks are allowed to use our money to buy other banks and shore up their own balance sheets, but are not required to help homeowners.

    And the HOLC? Barak Obama is against it. The only help he offers is that once a homeowner files for bankruptcy, the judge can help him.

    The GREED, Mr Moyers, was quite bipartisan, and Congress neglected to do its duty, as it should have, in return for contributions from the "big boys."

    Changing the party in the White House won't change that at all.

    With all due respect.

    You say agressive regulation, Greg, but what gets regulated? It's all a matter of agreement. And humans set the terms. Even when silver was the modality 3000 yrs ago there was still the question re was the buyer forking over the seller's idea of the right amount.

    "Shall I be pure with the unjust balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights?" Micah 6:11

    People were being had back then too up one side and down the other, and it was a criminal disgrace.

    Silver is no more a solution than currency backed by the government. Same re gold. Utopia is not waiting in the wings. There's no natural and obvious money modality that Keynes overlooked.

    Jacques Ellul was probably right when he said technology has replaced capital. How many complete factories have we moved to China? That's where Obama's message is on point.

    Nothing is simple in regard to this meltdown. That's why Obama's message is on point re education.

    No, not simple but this is the most straightforward explanation I have found http://www.alternet.org/workplace/102672/financial_meltdown_101/?page=entire

    The collapse of the market is not a failure of Libertarian or Objectivist thought, but rather an affirmation of it.

    In Atlas Shrugged, John Galt would only accept gold as money. It is disingenuous to call the modern American market and call it a FREE market (which it isn't). The money is controlled by a private bank and is based not on Gold, but rather on debt. Hardly a capitalist utopia--more like a National Socialist utopia.

    It is amazing to hear JK Galbraith argue against freedom and the free market. Rather he should argue for more freedom in the market based on sound money coupled with much more regulation of the financial system.

    The fraud is in the financial system. All our problems stem from one basic feature of our economy--our money is unsound and its creation is fraudulent. Fix that problem with aggressive banking/financial regulation and sound money, while allowing the market to operate freely without price fixing, and our economic woes will be solved.

    ~g

    I'd just like to thank Bill for being real and appreciate mark's idea about having a worldwide jam session. For me it inspired a bit of reason in turbulant times.

    Re: Katina post
    Katina, you state: “Bank failures and economic crashes are not a result of free economiscs. We have not participated in free economics for almost 100 years. We let the government into economics, then they create all of these malfunctions then they say that these catastrophes are a result of unregulated free market. This is a result of poorly regulated government economics.” Please indicate (precisely) where on this small planet of ours there is a market that exists devoid of any government? Hong Kong? London? Rio? Perhaps Tel Aviv? Moscow? Tokyo? The Gaza? Maybe Baghdad? Well, only choice left Katina is Somalia, where there has been no government for almost 20 years. Good place for a “free market” wouldn’t you say? Maybe when you pronounce the word “fantasist” it should be in front of a mirror because I don’t know of any effective market, anywhere, that does not occur within some political jurisdiction. Do you?

    "How sad to read through the comments thread and see so much support for Ayn Rand's position."

    True, Holly. They're more interested in justifying Rand than the prospect of a road full of Joads. For them "financial cataclysm" doesn't compute.

    Galbraith said we have the post-depression institutions in place, but it has not dawned on them what they were put there for. Total denial.

    I wrote a letter to the Governor of Alaska to stop the proposed open pit mining in Bristol Bay.

    Enormous Mining Proposal Threatens World’s Greatest Salmon Rivers


    The Bristol Bay Watershed produces the world’s greatest commercial salmon fishery and internationally renowned salmon and trout runs that attract anglers from all over the world. The waters in this region have long been an integral part of the State’s economy and have provided sustainable jobs, subsistence foods and other benefits to Alaskans for generations

    Today, the State of Alaska and Canadian mining company want to create North America’s largest open pit gold mine and a 896-square mile mining district in the headwaters of Bristol Bay. At the same time, the Bureau of Land Management is trying to open 3.6 million acres of vital fish and wildlife habitat in the Bristol Bay Watershed to hardrock mining.

    What most people don’t know is that the hard-rock mining industry is the single largest source of toxic releases and one of the most destructive industries in America.

    The proposed Pebble Mine may pose the greatest single threat to this area’s salmon-bearing rivers and the people who depend on them.

    Yes Govenor Sarah Palin has the nerve to name her children after ''things'' like Bristol Bay but she has no intention of protecting it.

    Politicians are in it for what they can get out of any given situation.

    Sadly, Palin is so ignorant of many things like ''fruit fly research'' just like many other politicians who make decisions based on greed.

    Regulation is a basic need to this country's health and well being.

    Larry Miller, you must have read Ayn Rand, perhaps during the same frame of reference as I did, during High School. I devoured both of her books and for a unique reason, I sorely hated her applause for the ego and the implication that success is rising to ones own pinnacle of unbridled ambition. Success is good, but it is incomplete when it does not leave the world a better place.

    As a commenter, 1lightenheart referenced, there is a native belief that has a vision of success to the seventh generation. That creates individual responsibility and encouragement towards success for as many as possible. Within that context the rise of wealth and power to certain well endowed individuals is natural and acceptable. That success puts individuals in a position of honor and trust. Not much room at the top for those with big egos.

    How sad to read through the comments thread and see so much support for Ayn Rand's position. Those who embrace her, as Greenspan does, embrace a troubling shallow understanding of how life works and what true success is.

    To the media honesty is no longer a value or a requirement. Friday night’s Bill Moyers gave a disgusting example of the pathetic ignorance, incompetence and dishonesty plaguing the news media. The recent admission of Alan Greenspan that his so called “ideology” finally proved wrong and the recent market malfunctions were a result of deregulated free market choices is not ignorant, it is blatantly dishonest.
    Moyers spoke of Greenspan being smitten with Ayn Rand in his youth like so many other young capitalists. Moyers makes the case that Alan Greenspans ideology of self interest failed the people of America. This completely misrepresents Ayn Rands idea of self interest. Self interest in the objectivist perspective is based on the same principles as individual liberty which is the most sacred of all American principles. The definition of liberty being the freedom of the individual that is most consistent with the freedom of the other individuals. The difference between Rands self interest and that of Alan Greenspan is that Greenspan’s affects the freedom of every single person within the United States who uses United States currency in exchange for the goods they buy and the services they provide.
    Alan Greenspan abandoned his own morals, his own values and his own standards the day he accepted the position of Federal Reserve Chairman . The temptation is not as strong to be as critical of Ben Bernanke or some of the others before him, not because they weren’t in effect accomplishing the same evil, but Greenspans guilt is more blatant, disgusting for the fact that he is a man who knows truth yet refuses to act upon or acknowledge it. The philosophy of his so called mentor would suggest that he is a man of the most severe, contemptible kind of evil. Now he has the audacity to concede that his ideology steered him in the wrong direction resulting in our current economic turmoil. He once could have been a truly inspiring advocate for freedom as he was in the days when he supported a Gold Standard. We respected him because he was obviously a man of conviction and even perhaps a genius in the realm of economics. Then why did he abandon us to become a man of no standard, no value, and no justifiable moral convictions?
    Friday night’s charade made a fool out of you. What is so incredibly eerie about this, is that your own program, the ideas you and Galbraith were vomiting were actually predicted by Rand. I encourage you to read her work because it is so prophetic it’s frightening. Rand has been right thus far, you are telling us the things that she warned us you would say and you don’t even get it. This is what is so unbelievable. Everything that is happening today WAS PREDICTED BY AYN RAND. Bank failures and economic crashes are not a result of free economiscs. We have not participated in free economics for almost 100 years. We let the government into economics, then they create all of these malfunctions then they say that these catastrophes are a result of unregulated free market. This is a result of poorly regulated government economics. Greed exists in all areas in life, but to say that government is somehow above this sort of profit driven greed is delusional. We are transferring greed from the free market into the hands of government who make and enforce laws. Greed exists in a free market; however it is kept in check by the natural rational laws of economics. You refer to Rand as a Fantasist.The only fantasists are the ones who have consistently seen government failure yet continue to insist or pretend that government is the answer. If these are the ideas you are accepting and promoting as truth, then God help us all. Prayers can’t save us from ignorance. You’ve missed the whole point and you were given every opportunity to see.

    I am profoundly and uniquely grateful for your program's insights and wisdom concerning today...and yesterday. Teaching a little history course, from 1928 to 2008, tonight's program was uniquely and picquantly relevant in too many ways to count. Little could I have guessed, starting a course in September, that we could see an entire cycle of 1928 played out in slow motion online and on television.

    As an historian whose specialty was Al Smith, it is remarkably and painfully coincident that 1928 and 2008 have so much in common. Yet, as a senior playing to high school kids - who observed with prescience, irony and awe that "in 1960 you were OUR age!" - it is quite lovely to shake them with your interview of Galbraith II, refer to Galbraith I, and then hit them hard with their own need for community in music.

    I'm particularly lucky to have a copy of The Fountainhead to scare them, perhaps into action. Thanks both deeply and in mutual ironic amusement at the plight and solutions we all share.

    This is the comment I posted at the government website regarding mountaintop mining: "I oppose allowing mining companies to dump their effluvia at will with no
    guidelines or regulation regarding environmental impact. As lack of regulation
    has all but destroyed our financial sector, the honor system DOES NOT WORK! We
    all, as citizens, have rules and laws to live by and this should apply to the
    business world as well. We must guard against "irrational exuberance" or blatant
    disregard for the welfare of our world and our people.

    It might be at "Appalachain Voices"
    linked on this page; go to sidebar right bottom.

    I looked for the topic from outside at "Advanced Google Search," but Bill's search may have worked just as well. Old show pages might have old stuff, but orgs linked will have new.

    Bill mentioned the Department of the Interior's intent to relax environmental restrictions on strip mining at the beginning of the show on Friday, Oct 24. He referred listeners to his website for information on how to act. I am unable to find the information.

    I read over the Galbraith transcript, LaVerne. Feel sure everything JaKG mentions is worth borrowing for.

    One of the heaviest causes, Hank, was initiated by five individuals (but of course one could argue their decision wasn't under more scrutiny because citizens hadn't demanded to know about such things in real time).

    I recommend pasting these links somewhere handy.

    "It was deregulation that led to the huge growth of the shadow banking system. In 2004 Wall Street successfully lobbied the Securities and Exchange Commission to loosen regulations on how much they could leverage against their capital reserves. This allowed the companies 'to invest in the fast-growing but opaque world of mortgage-backed securities; credit derivatives, a form of insurance for bond holders; and other exotic instruments,' according to the New York Times. The only real oversight left in place was self-policing by the investment banks themselves to determine if they were putting investors at risk." 10/13/08
    http://www.alternet.org/workplace/102672/financial_meltdown_101/?page=entire

    In the above "New York Times" is a hyperlink. Be sure to check it out. From the link (time 4/28/04)...

    "They wanted an exemption for their brokerage units from an old regulation that limited the amount of debt they could take on. The exemption would unshackle billions of dollars held in reserve as a cushion against losses on their investments. Those funds could then flow up to the parent company, enabling it to invest in..." by Stephen Labaton, NYT, Published: October 2, 2008
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/03/business/03sec.html?_r=1&em&oref=slogin

    The lack of regulation, greed, and incompetency at all levels of government as well as within the private financial sectors among other factors contributed to this mess. The real cause though is the failure of individuals to act in a moral and responsible way. This naturally occurs if individuals believe they will not be held accountable. The November 4th election will bring a change in the executive branch but then we need a change in the legislative branch also. Those who have been there for 12 to 24 years, who have watched, contributed to and/or benefited from this failure need to go now. They are a cancer and need to be cut out.

    Give Ayn Rand credit that like Toqueville, she was a foreigner who recognized the uniqueness of America and that the founding fathers were not a group of pussy-wussies but rather men of reason who took on the powers of an empire when they founded this nation. Likewise the industrialists of the first half of the 20th century (the period when Rand formed here philosophy) embodied the same rationality and self-interest of which she wrote. Many of our revered founders were slave owners and many of the early 20th century industrialists were exploiters of immigrant labor. Likewise after Reagan and the congretional 1980's handwaving about illegal SA immigration, this country's entreprenaur's of self-inetest proceeded to cash in.

    Unfortunately for Mr Greenspan, after the EnronMCIDotCom debacles, he should have recognized that the same business schools were graduating the young turks who ran wall street for the past generation. So yes he sat there in front of Congress like General Robert E Lee after Pickett's charge lamenting, "It was my fault".

    Instead of critiquing the guest, I would like to offer five points that I have heard and would support from different economists about our financial mess.

    1)Stop Foreclosures. We need to keep Americans in their homes. It is a source of revenue for the county and state that they live in. Those funds need to be protected. If not, infrastructures within the state (sic county) will continue to erode only at a much faster pace. The best idea I have heard is to allow the bankruptcy court to adjust the mortgage. By allowing the judge the leverage to set the mortgage, he would be in a position to best fairly serve the interest of both the banks and the homeowners. I do think that they need to start off by adjusting the mortgage to reflect the home’s current value. Another avenue is to provide Federal legislation aimed at forcing banks who took bailout money to negotiate with lenders to keep them in their homes (This is only if the banks will not voluntarily attempt at seriously working with customers.)

    2)End Predatory Lending. One thing that has not been talked about much is regulating interest rates. These rates (running anywhere from 100 – 400%) that affect many poor Americans are nothing more than federally sponsored usury. Of course, our legislators would never publically state that they support these rates, but the fact that no one in our government has mentioned anything about them speaks loudly to the idea that if nothing is mention then maybe this will slip through the cracks. It is not coincidence that these quick loan offices are strategically located in areas that have a high amount of poor people and/or Social Security recipients. A federal cap on interest rates needs to be put into place.

    3)Invest In Infrastructure. I have heard that to bring our infrastructure up to current standards right now will cost us 1.5 trillion dollars. Now some people would argue that we need to be saving our money, but investing in our infrastructure would have some positive effect. First it would create long term jobs. This job creation leads to my second point. People that have jobs become tax payers so the money would eventually come back into the government through sale taxes on goods and services, housing, taxes, etc. By delaying it any longer will cost us more.

    4)Readjust The Poverty Line. We need to relook at how many Americans are living in poverty. Once we have established our floor, we can work on building a better structure for all.

    5)Encourage Savings. Establish a tax deduction for people who keep their money in savings.

    Just a suggestion. I read Steve Forbes article in Forbes magazine How Capitalism Will Save Us. I think a discussion between him and Mr. Galbraith would be very interesting.

    Bill, be very careful here.

    Mr. Galbraith is a Keynesian fox in "we're here to help" sheep's clothing. Do not believe these economic "experts" who claim the current crisis is the result of free markets run amuck. We do not have a free market in America -- not with a central bank price-fixing the cost of money (interest rates) and a Congress practically mandating that every citizen own a home.

    Yes, thousands of people who knowingly committed fraud throughout the mortgage and credit industry need to go to jail, as do dozens of members of Congress who reaped huge personal and professional rewards by pimping for Fannie and Freddie (Barney Frank, Chris Dodd) and repealing Glass-Steagall. But the solution to the current crisis CANNOT be more regulation when the Federal Reserve, the Congress, and the Supreme Court refuse to uphold the rules and regulations already on the books.

    More important, the current crisis NEVER would have been possible were it not for our Federal Reserve Bank chronically cheapening the purchasing power of our savings via ridiculously low interest rates and massive money printing. Cheap money and easy credit, made possible by the Federal Reserve, were the sine qua non of the fraud, speculation, and inevitable collapse.

    Finally, Bill, remember this: (1) Giant American corporations absolutely LOVE Sarbanes-Oxley because it all but guarantees that no small company, who cannot afford to comply with SOX, will ever challenge their monopolies; and (2) SOX never would have prevented Eron's fraudulent accounting. You are playing right into the plutocracy's hand when you swallow the call for more regulation hook, line, and sinker.

    The solution to the current crisis is complex -- but it must start with establishing a sound currency and abolishing all government institutions that have failed, and failed miserably, in fulfilling their written mandate, with the Federal Reserve at the top of the "gotta go" list.

    Many of those who post here do not understand that market operation in America is anything but free. For years government policy has favored the wealthy over working men and women and has effectively redistributed income to the richest of those in our country.

    For a fresh look at how some of the redistribution of income from working men and women to the top wage earners in our country works read "The Conservative Nanny State. How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer" by Dean Baker.

    BTW I agree with the late Molly Ivins: Bill Moyers for President.

    REGULATION REGULATION IS WHAT IS NEEDED...The GLASS-STEAGALL ACT, which separated the Commercial Banks from the Investment Banks and the Stock Market should be brought back.

    I do agree with Mr. Galbraith in bringing back REGULATION...it is a MUST. And in the punishment and clearing of those still in the financial systems and in the existing government responsible for all this mess. We do have to get the foxes out of the henhouse, meaning CEO's in the financial companies that caused this mess (otherwise is not a new economic system with the same old foxes there), but also government officials.

    Now, are the Democrats going to be better than what the Republicans have been in the last 8 years? Couldn't Clinton started working in bringing back REGULATION then, even with a Republican Congress? At least he should have tried, and didn't.

    Will Barack Obama and Joe Biden and the Democratic party bring back REGULATION and a good and fair economic system and a fair and progressive tax system for all Americans?

    But, I don't agree with Mr Galbraith in keeping borrowing or printing of money, especially if it is to help the corporations that got us into this mess...I understand that the deficit will be high in order to create capital and jobs and so forth, but there are other ways like employment with good wages for all and a fair and progressive tax system...

    I agree with someone here that said that: "no economist seems to understand however, that the foundation of economic growth is not good credit but good jobs and good wages". And that: " Our excessive military power is what keeps the dollar too high, which has sucked good jobs out of the US for decades....a slow and deadly attrition". J is completely right about this.

    I also agree with Laverne Islee that we are going to have a bad week coming up next week: commercial banks failures (Sheila Bair- FDIC person also said more bank failures coming up when she spoke on Charlie Rose last week); also insurance companies are lining up for bailout money because they are going to fail too; the DOW and the whole market is in the edge of a precipice and we all are going to learn that all the money will be lost there and we don't want to accept that fact, as we see it happening every day as the market keep falling and falling; and as someone here in this blog said that the Feds are going to laugh when the people ask for their money lost in the stock market too. The bailout money is only for the corporations.
    Believe it!! Paulson won't give you any of that money...that is for his friends in Wall Street!!

    I agree with Laverne Islee also that the only hope is that if we are smart enough to follow the pattern that President Franklin Roosevelt set for us in the 1930's.

    I think the FDIC and the Social Security are the best legacies of the New Deal of FDR. Thanks to that and other leaders like Kennedy and LBJ that reinforced those institutions.

    Sheila Bair is right as FDR was in helping the commercial banks (but one last time though, this should never happen again). Paulson and Bernarke didn't want to admit this woman is right..."she said we have to help the banks, but she also said we have the help the American public which is losing their homes and their jobs...that was what FDR did...helped the banks with cash, got equity from them as a guarantee, created the FDIC to protect Americans and Social Security to protect their future and also provided employment to Americans by creating the greatest infrastructure of this country which hasn't been repaired since it was created then.

    Also, I agree with Mr. Galbraith the Social Security needs to be raised (not only COLA as it has been in the last decades), but the rates itself to adjust with the times, with the 21st century. If Wall Street and banks (because of their mistakes with the help of government failure to regulate) are getting money why not America through Social Security, especially for the most poorer and vulnerable, our sick, old, disable citizens that have given their working time to this country and helped these corporations get rich from long time ago.

    If we don't wake up and demand better government,
    from all the parties, we are going to wake up one day soon in the street!!

    Perhaps those who advocate the writings and philosophy of Ayn Rand should consider reading Reinhold Niebuhr.
    Don't be afraid of ideas that challenge your already perfect logic.

    Mr. Moyers: you would benefit from reading Rand's The Virtue of Selfishness and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal which, respectively, dispel the notion that Rand was a hedonist and that the Alan Greenspan of Fed fame is an advocate of free markets. She wasn't and he isn't.

    Political discourse about freedom vs. state and markets vs. intervention will not be able to advance until a critical mass of journalists and readers understand these topics and who actually champions what.

    I keep hearing that the wealthy are our most productive citizens.
    Why?
    what makes them 'productive'?
    I wonder what would happen if we took away money's ability to make more money.
    Then we would see who are the truly productive people in our society.
    All this attention to the wealthy strikes me as 'money worshipping' and thats not good.

    re: regulations - Its obvious to me that corporations cant regulate themselves. they need help. I really dont see why its OK for there to be ten thousand rules and regulations applied to every citizen but then corporations have no rules?? what kind of logic is that? first they were given 'human rights' and now they have no rules?
    Are corporations more important than humans?

    Usually I find interesting guests with points of view outside the politically sanctioned main stream. Galbraith has been one of those few duds who is stuck in the box of the Democrat/Republican unity of corporatism and socialism.

    The discussion of economics between Moyers and Galbraith was a disservice to the education of the viewers. The linking the Greenspan's inept intervention into the market with Ann Rand or the free market is not correct. It is a political stance without substance masquerading as academic thought. The US economy has lost its way from the ideals of the free market and has instead adopted corporatism and socialism.

    Both the Democrats and Republicans are guilty of the adpotion of such. It is sad that so many in our country have fallen for the gamesmanship between the two major parties which are beholden to the wealthy corporatist private sector, not to the ideas of equal opportunity nor maintaining a competitive market. This program tells us to take the dismal descending road of tyrannical big central government.

    Galbraith is relying on unending borrowing from foreigners to support our failed economic system. Money does not grow on trees on those foreign lands and such fooling of foreigners is about to end. Never ending credit and printing of money is the problem, not the solution. Galbraith's call for increased management of our economy is pouring gasoline on the fire. Shame on Moyers for giving Galbraith a platform to spread such a detrimental philosophy which only benefits those who are guilty of causing our troubles.

    Should lawmakers pursue a course of heightened regulations? Yes, most definately. All human endeavors from personal (family and faith) to public (citizenship and work) are surrounded with reasonable established expectations (rules), and yet, that fact only demonstrates the obvious and very essential need for them.
    Do you trust politicians' ... good faith? No way! They too, are weak, self-serving humans. Trust must be established and maintained through the continuous process of balance-of-power and bipartisian progress; an obvious void in the US Congress.

    I found Mr Galbraith to be one of your best guests in months. Terrific! What an elegant man...i was absorbed, i love listening to him.

    No economist seems to understand however, that the foundation of economic growth is not good credit but good jobs and good wages.

    Our excessive military power is what keeps the dollar too high, which has sucked good jobs out of the US for decades....a slow and deadly attrition.

    -J

    I forgot to emphasize, LaVerne, that I can relate to your concern re what kind of borrowing. I tend to go more with
    a Main Street stimulus package than what we see so far
    with this liquidity jump-start thing; but there may be more ingredients I do not comprehend than I can imagine.

    Excellent link Debunker. And graphics!

    Because of Moyers I once bought a Pete Peterson book. The alarmists have points, and I try to learn them. But the upshot seems to be that a popular mandate can keep a program or fund going at the expense of ridiculous programs. As long as you eliminate the ridiculous my view is you can fund almost anything. Obama keeps making sort of this point in re to the war in Iraq. Next week Pollan will bring up agricultural subsidies. And on and on. The Pubs count on these things continuing [and all the offshore havens continuing], so of course in their universe SS will end up an "unfunded liability." But the Obama people (and the Howard Zinn-like endorsers) keep hoping the rest of the people will wake up.

    What I'm really hoping to find is a site like eriposte.com that explains CDSs, CMOs, and CDOs with graphics...filling in the day to day details of how you buy in to them, etc. The reason as far as I can see this information isn't up yet where folks have discovered it is that that would enable everyone to comprehend completely what a total scam the whole's thing's become on The Street. I tried to understand swaps and puts in a very lackadaisical manner over the years. Result: I never understood them. If I had I might have been able to gamble a a thousand bucks without losing anything even if the stock tanked. It seems to me that's what they've been doin. Where did AIG get the money to pay on tanked stock? From profits obtained on normal insurance premiums for millions of people which were overpriced? Investors that operated like this were, as far as I can see, like corporations with offshore accounts. The only reason they could do what they did is because we did not know what they were doing. It's all a matter of secrecy. Oh, I don't understand what happened? Then, please explain it to me.

    Where Galbraith was right I think, LaVerne, is that FDR for instance had to borrow from the future. Of course, the war build up probably helped pay it off. Those who wish to blame only Democrats for what's going down nearly always display no understanding re the big role credit default swaps played, even beyond the mortgage backed securities element. Without all the CDS "insurance" on the m-backed securities the damage would have been just the securities. Last night on NPR I heard what I took to be a conservative estimate of $1 trillion lost when you add in what the insurers were suddenly liable for.

    "Regardless, blaming laissez-faire economics for the current crisis would require evidence that it has actually been practiced. It hasn't." Mark

    Dunno if you could simply label it 'laissez-faire.' How bout extremely unregulated, free-booter laissez-faire?

    'Freddie Mac Secretly Paid Republican Firm to Kill Regulation'
    A.P., Monday 20 October 2008
    http://www.truthout.org/102008A

    Dear Mr. Moyers,
    It's too bad you couldn't email the interview you had with Mr. Galbraith out to my friends. Totally educational. I understand that the Obama Blog has over 1 million members and I am one of them where we have two-way communication and I have emailed you a lot of my letters from that site as well as other articles I found interesting. The last one was today which was titled "LaVern, the Retired Dairy Farmer." I still pay federal income tax and I also did when I farmed. When I started, my tax man told me that if I never paid any income tax, that I would never get my farm paid for.
    Yours truly, Disgusted Middleclass Taxpayer, LaVern Isely

    Wow ! ! ! ....Did you, Mr. Gailbraith watch (last night Oct 24th) Bill Moyers address the Fiasco of Mountain Top Mining in West Va. and the FACT that Bush's Regime has been
    successfully coerced by the COAL LOBBYISTS TO GIVE THE GREEN LIGHT TO DUMP WASTE INTO OUR RIVERS AND STREAMS!?!? SEND YOUR LETTERS OF OUTRAGE TO YOUR REPRESENTATIVES, THE MEDIA ( especially pbs.org), AND THE INTERIOR DEPT, WHICH IS "GIVING Y'ALL 30 DAYS TO COMMENT...!!! GO TO StopTheCoalplant.org for a little ammunition to fight this battle of "Clean Coal." McCain and Obama support coal - Nader and the Green party see coal as the dirt it is!
    DEMAND that Congress Pass instead Rep Paul's and Kucinch's "INDUSTIAL HEMP ACT OF 2008" BEFORE CONGRESS GOES ON CHRISTMAS VACATION! Some of those $700 Billions of Our Tax Dollars (not the Treasury's) MUST GO to Drought Resistant, ORGANIC HEMP PRODUCTION IMMEDIATELY, as part of an FDR type Economic Stimulus Plan! Why should the Drug Enforcement Agency, the DEA Force US, The People to Import All Hemp from Canada and China? Speak Now for Our God Given Right to Grow Our Own Organic Hemp for Food, Fuel, Feed, Fiber, Plastics, Medicine, Soap etc, instead of so-called "clean coal" and "safe nuclear" - OXYMORON - "clean coal" and "safe nuclear"...DEADLY as Well!
    Mandatory Homework:
    StopTheCoalPlant.org and Physicians for Social Responsibility psr.org
    Please watch the Video: www.fightinggoliathfilm.com
    And Let's not forget to tell the "fat cats" we don't want any of their blood-stained, petro- chemical plastics like BPA or their bio-engineered plants! MAD, SAD, & GLAD IN AUSTIN!
    linda verde



    I watched your show last night and felt you were like yourself in a World of Ideas asking hard questions and you seemed to really want to know....

    May I suggest?

    James K. Galbraith
    Nouriel Roubini
    Geroge Soros

    Sit at your table and state what can be done.

    Also how are the people who can really put a new system in place going to do it with the Foxes still running things?

    A fix of capitalism turned into socialism for the Corporations is going to cause the second shoe to fall on Wall Street and it will be down to a Dow of 2000 or less.

    I just heard the Insurance Companies are in line next but it won't matter as good money after bad equals disaster of greater proportions.

    The smart money is in the FDIC and all you people that still believe your money is safe on Wall Street will soon see the error of your ways. I bet the Federal Government will laugh at the citizen who asks to be reimbursed for their losses.

    After all you voted for the Mercenary Bastards so you deserve them.

    Galbraith's embrace of the deficits don't matter philosophy is countered by the interest on the national debt eating up an increasing amount of the budget. Closing tax loopholes, increasing income taxes on upper income folks, and invigorating the estate tax should be used to stop mortgaging are grandkids' futures. Galbraith didn't mentioned stopping the externalizing of business costs. Businesses should have to pay for environmental and physical damages done by their production and faulty products, and pay viable wages adequate to keep the needs and stresses of/on their employees and their families from being dumped onto society. Ayn Rand hasn't been followed. Her greed is good point of view entailed consideration of the long term. The bottom line at the end of the quarter focus pulled decision makers away from her philosophy. Regulation is needed to require businesses to be responsible for the long term good of their business, which would include the care of their employees, society, our country, and the planet.

    When you see Ayn Rand, who counseled an unflinching dedication to reason above emotion, described a hedonist, you know something is wrong. Bill Moyers understands Ayn Rand even less than Alan Greenspan.

    Greenspan, of course has less excuse, given his long association with her. Regardless, blaming laissez-faire economics for the current crisis would require evidence that it has actually been practiced. It hasn't. With Fed control over interest rates, with such government interference as the Community Reinvestment act, along with the many other reams and reams of government regulations businesses are forced to abide by, it's a wonder how anyone can pretend to think otherwise.

    Ayn Rand hasn't been proved wrong by this crisis; she has been vindicated.

    I thank my lucky stars for Moyers. He never ceases to make me think. That's what we all need to do. Think and participate. Look what happens when we don't!

    The show with Galbraith made me think. He has a lot to say, and for those who think he's talking about 'blood in the water', bit your tongue (or brain stem). We need these points of view. No one is completely right, but that's how America works best, by synergizing all thoughts and coming up with our own unique way of doing things. So keep those cards and letters coming!

    I believe the greatest danger to our republic, and yes, it's a republic, not a democracy, is the polarization of our elected officials, and the movement away from a centrist supreme court. The lack of transparacy in the way we conduct our country's business. leads to misunderstanding, and outright fraud.

    Let's insure we shine a bright light on everything our elected officials do.
    tmc

    Oh, it's been a free market all right, Mark. You're free to give as much obeisance to the monopolists as you like!

    I normally don't watch Bill Moyers because I figured out his agenda during the first two minutes of the first episode I ever saw. However, when I saw the clip about Ayn Rand while flipping through the channels it drew me in. When I heard Bill's commentary and the following interview with James Galbraith, I was astounded, and as a University of Texas graduate I was ashamed. Anyone who has read and appreciated Rand's work should recognize this for what it is: a socialist reporter interviewing a socialist economics professor, both of whom smell blood in the water, so to speak.

    Indeed, those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. Blaming the current economic crisis on Greenspan's "unbridled capitalist" philosophies left me absolutely speechless. This is a free market economy. It was government pressure on banks that put us in this situation. It was socialist philosophies at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that contributed to the crash. Greenspan underestimated the impact of those, and that was his error.

    We don't need another New Deal. Say it out loud: "To stimulate the economy, we're going to take more money away from those who have the greatest ability to earn it." That does not make sense. Where's our motivation?

    Mr. Moyers, Mr. Galbraith, before you continue down this path, think about where it leads. This is America; this is still Ayn Rand's America. There may be blood in the water, but it's just a scratch on the biggest fish in the sea. You'd better leave it alone.

    Thank you for having Professor Galbraith on your show.

    George Bush's Presidency, which began with a terrorist attack on our nation's financial center, has accomplished through its own terrorism of the US Constitution the total collapse of our economy and the government which was supposed to operate to protect and serve the public good. Al Queda couldn't have done it better.

    And now McCain/Palin are crying "Socialist" at anyone who does not support The Corporate Republic.

    I pray that we will restore a government of, by and for the people, and re-empower our country through the near and far future with sound "trickle UP" economic policies, which respect and act on behalf of ALL of us and the resources that support us.

    The legacy of Bush? Dirty water, dirty air, dirty money...

    Action time is here! The 'Brains' have had plenty of time to think!

    Sports has rules that establish the playing area, the number of participants, what is allowed & not allowed is established & enforcers are immediately available & 'Out in the Sunshine', not in smokefilled rooms,
    AND it WORKS!

    Government & REGULATORS must work OUT IN THE OPEN, or, you will have the S&L Crisis, & today's Emergency, Surprise,Revelation, Financial CRISIS!

    How it works is simple!

    How to GET AROUND IT-then you have to have lawyers, dark, smokefilled, rooms with power brokers dividing up the wealth.

    SNEAK ATTACKS are dealt with by the American People with severity! Prison & loss of assets is in order--COMPLETE SURRENDER!

    Billy Bob, Florida
    few seem to notice what the DNP did to Fla, dem voters! Thanks!

    As the Presidency which began with a terrorist attack on our country's financial center and which now ends with the utter collapse of our economyThank you for having Professor Galbraith on your show.

    George Bush's Presidency, which began with a terrorist attack on our nation's financial center, has accomplished through its own terrorism of the US Constitution the total collapse of our economy and the government which was supposed to operate to protect and serve the public good. Al Queda couldn't have done it better.

    And now McCain/Palin are crying "Socialist" at anyone who does not support The Corporate Republic.

    I pray that we will restore a government of, by and for the people, and re-empower our country through the near and far future with sound "trickle UP" economic policies, which respect and act on behalf of ALL of us and the resources that support us.

    The legacy of Bush? Dirty water, dirty air, dirty money...

    The "market" under trickle down (up) is not one of nature's things.

    Right on, Shelly. For me, I have to agree with Howard Zinn that the potential will not be fulfilled unless Obama is "enveloped in a social movement" comprised of...us!

    BTW, folks, I really appreciate the opportunity to express my views on message boards. A couple years ago my home town paper took away the option to start your own topic. They also brought in a 24-hr-review-the-post-interval. Poor Alan Colmes. I have a feeling they are jinxing what he thinks is his state-of-the-art site. Anyway, his home page is giving me messages that my browser needs updating (though it seems to work here pretty well). Do me a favor and try putting up something over there using the words/phrases: Limbaugh, Hannity, Stockman, Greenspan, or Chicago school of economics. Keep putting up links there that tell the real deal. Then after a month or so passes, lemmie know what happens.
    http://www.alan.com/2008/10/24/on-fridays-radio-show-43/#comment-66153

    An American Dream
    Naturally speaking, markets or businesses, as like life itself come and go. The strong healthy and the right or good live long and prosper; the weak eventually die and fade away. Regulating or confining the freedom of nature, of business, of mankind, has always been nothing but an egotistical human flaw. Who do we think we are? Nature regulates herself perfectly when she has the unobstructed freedom to do so. And so true it is for markets as well as all of nature's things.
    Freedom is the solution, nature's truth, and still only but an American dream.
    =
    MJA

    Perhaps "change" is an overused word these days, but last night I saw the Bill Moyers show on PBS that caused me to feel optimistic in these crazy economic times. He interviewed James Galbraith, son of a very famous old economist that I studied in my university days, seemingly a hundred years ago. Son James is a foremost economist in his own right, Harvard and Yale educated and now a Professor of Economics at the University of Texas.

    He sees this economic meltdown as a huge opportunity. After many years of world governments allowing the financial industries to run wild with deregulation, under the assumption that they would do what was ultimately healthiest for their corporations and thus their shareholders, it is now more than obvious that their personal greed has indeed been the driving force behind the financial markets. Left unchecked, similar to the 1920's, the markets became way overlevereged, essentially a house of cards. One card at the bottom got pulled (the declining housing market) and the rest of the cards came tumbling down.

    The difference now, he says, is that the US has the tools and institutions in place to prevent the devastation that we saw in the early 1930's. We are able to put huge amounts of money into such programs as foreclosure prevention, increases in social security, public works programs, selective banking protections, etc. He feels we don't have to see things like 30% unemployment and people losing all of their savings as we did before.

    Galbraith also said that the other financial giants, like the European Union, don't have these safeguards, and therefore will be looking to the US for global market stabilization. Luckily, he said, the dollar is suddenly strong again. Everyone in the world is buying dollars in the panic of devaluation of other currencies. We see it here in Mexico, where it's now taking 12 or 13 pesos for a dollar when it was 10 just 2 weeks ago. Therefore, the US will be able to continue to borrow huge sums of money at low interest rates to do what is needed to help our people and the whole global economy. Contrary to popular terror at increasing the national debt even more, borrowing that much for awhile will allow the economy to recover (with a solid foundation) and won't hurt us in the long run.

    The long term economic change is now permitted because of the "shock" (as Alan Greenspan so nicely put it) of everyone realizing that the government really has to be deeply involved in the economy, and we have to put regulations in place. Galbraith said that this realization had to come from such a huge shock, because conventional wisdom was so strong for economic deregulation. This is finally our opportunity to correct the huge problems with the totally free market economy, by providing a balance between it and government regulation. Of course, many are terrified by the idea of government involvement in anything, but I, for one, am hopeful that under Obama's leadership the government will put in place the kind of regulatory safeguards our world needs to grow stronger than ever.

    Robert, your points tempt me. In the future what would prevent foreign moguls from buying up property (like Japan in the recent past) and moving in armies of their associates? Won't we need the liquidity for quite a while? Well, here we have it. The race for the bottom trickle down theory is something we'll have to go by now. It's the basis of everything. What a system. Confession, I read Aurobindo and Rupert Sheldrake...for me they support "faith." All this swirling mass of trickle down theory was/is something different. For sure it's "religion." We must ascend upwards worshipfully to attain its justification for existence; the justification for its existence never manifests clearly in an instant.

    I'm sorry that I have to doubt JaKG (believe me, I would like to believe), but it seems that his saying our system is more suited to adapt is predicated on the rise of the dollar which has only been over a matter of a few days. Plus, heads have already rolled in the UK whereas JaKG is like throwing in the proviso that we must not forget to do the same too. If our system were more adapted wouldn't some of these guys and gals already have gotten the boot?

    Anyway, I am hoping he is right and I'm wrong and that someone here will back him up.

    It would seem that in the future, due to environmental concerns, a lot of debts will have to be cancelled like coefficients on both sides of an equation. For instance, something like coal. I can see gas being subsidized, but wouldn't our climate situation justify putting more of a premium on this fuel? IOW couldn't it help balance our debt? Raise the cost for overseas but not domestic utilities? Same for exported oil. The justification would be Galbraith's (that one viable hub can't completely disintegrate) plus, particularly in the case of coal, the move would be geared to lessen climactic triage phenomena (plus directly augment decreases in spills and other oceanic transport-related pollution).

    The only other hope I see for a way out are things like...maybe one day we underbid India for medical services and many Chinese folks come here for same (ok, can you think of something we can offer?). Or maybe we can, by some miracle, grow tons of vegetables without any trace of deliberately modified genes. Tons of certain vegetables in this category might someday end up as rare as tons of Platinum.

    I agree with Mr. Galbraith that we need to return to federal regulation and oversight of the financial sector. I'm 62 years old and in my view, this country has been going downhill since Ronald Reagan was elected.
    I used to believe that the government was working to protect citizens from environmental hazards, dangerous pharmaceuticals, usurious lenders, financial chicanery, natural disasters, pandemics and epidemics-all the things government is good at protecting its people from. I believed, as an RN. that eventually we would have national healthcare. When I was young, health insurance was provided by NON profit companies and it was good. I watched it get worse and worse after Reagan ushered in managed care which turned out to be managed money. Suddenly, health insurance companies had stockholders and were no longer Non profits. After Reagan was elected, I noticed a huge increase in the number of homeless people in San Francisco. This began when Reagan (as Governor) closed the state hospitals in California and declared that communities would care for their mentally ill populations. Unfortunately, the funds for such care were not forthcoming.
    The conservative free market principles are about making money. A government has to have a social contract with its citizens, and once upon a time our government did. It has disappeared under Republican rule. Our government must renew the social contract and repair the broken trust of its people.
    This won't happen under a McCain presidency. As a conservative, he will continue the failed policies of Reagan and Bush. That's why this election is so important. Senator Obama offers the possibility of change and renewal of the social contract.

    All these 3 discussions were excellant, thank you.

    Veryone read the two paragraph's above. James Galbraith has it wrong we do not need more government interference. Government interference caused the Great Depression and is now causing our current problems.
    Mr. Moyers Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, and Alan Greenspan(until he folded before the hyenas) were right. Still are right. Steven Horwitz is right. James Galbraith is wrong.

    This current crisis was not a failure of the free market. In fact it is the free market showing the government what nonsense their policies are. This crisis can be laid directly at the feet of government not for lack of regulation but for their policies of pushing lending institutions to loan money to people who would not otherwise qualify. Congress punish Wall Street what a joke. Who is going to punish congress? Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, and yes Baraack Obama have some explaining to do about their roles in all of this.

    Bill Moyers is a shining light in the fog of contemporary socio-political commentary

    I would like to see him explore the idea of re-implementing tariffs as a way to pay for the public programs we are going to have to employ to heal our economy.

    While there is a 5.5% duty on jewelry coming from Thailand there is no duty on T-shirts from China. As the US has never had a very big jewelry industry, we did have a huge textile industry which has been destroyed.

    With all the talk of protecting 'Main Street", no one is discussing the real reason workers are suffering - the loss of good jobs. Reasonable tariffs encourage local production and raise money for domestic programs.

    This is a subject which needs examination.

    Why Point out the obvious.My question is will congress have the fortitude to go after their corporate buddies.
    Heads should roll,this is
    worse than crack.

    Thank you Mr. Moyers, thank you, thank you again.
    You make me feel so more intelligent and so more human after each and every one of your programs. I see so much hope through you and your guests which give me the courage to move forward...Please, don't think about retiring.
    P.S. Washington is so different than a TV show, but I think this is the kind of hope that Barack Obama is inspiring. Although it's too much work for one single man and a great great responsibility. I don't know if he will make it through...I hope he will from the bottom of my heart. Thanks one more time.

    Mr. Moyers, I was glad to hear you say what no one else has said: that Henry Paulsen, another Bush/Cheney appointee, was not effective in his position as Treasury Secretary because of his past employment. And Mr. Galbraith stated what I believe to be the bottom line: that people in public service (from the President down) need to act in the public interest, which means for the good of all Americans. This, to me, is what Barack Obama is all about.

    Dear Bill,

    The most important thread from Mr. Galbraith is his critique of how we got to the point of creating a predatory state! The most salient point someone said was our need to get back to an economic system that reflected reality. We got into this disaster by the right wing ideology (the Abromoffs, the Delays, the Cheney Enron/no-bid contractor state), running rampent with diabolical ethics. The ensuing history of an administration born of the most questionable annointing of a president in history, has been to not listen, not respect voters wishes, or citizen testimony while reveling against any "reality based" system. What happened has very little to do with Ayn Rand, if she was to be taken seriously, at least not the Rand who gloried in elitism and self-control to the point of masochism. The most overlooked critique of Rand has to be her complete blindless to ecological truths, which require acknowledgment of connectedness and respect, rather than subjugation, of nature. She did not foresee the environmental disaster that have occurred from individuals, corporations and politicians acting in doctrinaire self-interest.

    The only way out, and I think Galbraith would agree, is with a healthy democracy that "stands by me..." with citizens free abd educated enough to find practical, ethical and balanced processes to "guard the guardians."

    Our crisis education in dubious financial schemes, will hopefully finally lead to dramatic change by the November electorate. A clean sweep of the old guards will be fine. Even if every politician in Washington DC is a Democrat, every single one right now is a reformer. They will inevitably find plenty to get divisive over and split some more. Hopefully, the split will be a little more left of center than it has been. Even better would be some new parties forming out of the old.

    I was shocked too at Galbraith's shrug at deficits, but he does have a point. It doesn't matter what you do: You can suffer to save the deficit or relieve misery while suffering the deficit.

    But yeah, the the worser it gets, the better the music - for solace, just look at Cuba.

    Nice touch Bill,to provide us a catchy starter theme song.

    Laura

    Thanks for the last two shows, especially the Playing for Change segment.

    Have to admit it's disheartening to try to make sense out of the economy ... the economy ... as if it is something. What I do know is that it doesn't work for most people, the "economically distressed" people who live, barely, paycheck to paycheck and drive the economy while some people seem to get unfathomly rich. I know that I don't like the way business is conducted, giving less and less for higher and higher costs while people work harder and harder for less than living wages.

    The brief segment on coal mining in W. Virginia -- I've seen documentaries on the devastating effects on the environment and the health of people living where the water in their wells is contaminated. There is no such thing as clean coal. The process that removes some of the contaminents contaminates the environment! Get a clue, people!

    The old ways are dying, and they should because they clearly don't work. We can't think that politicians or economists are going to figure this thing out. We need to make adjustments in how we live and use our money. We need fewer multi-billionaires and fewer poor people.

    It's a dysfunctional system, and we can't solve the problems we face at the level of the problem. All that does is perpetuate more problems. I see no evidence that ... well it's not a FREE market, is it? But the way (un)free market capitalism functions/has been implemented is bad for almost everybody and the health of the environment. The problem isn't just the greed, it's the power hungry, the idealogues with strange agendas about world domination. Corporations having more employees and budgets bigger than nations?

    The nation-state has been under seige, this noble experiment of democracy is on the line. The same corporate interests that manage our voting machines ARE actually run by the same ideologues ... well that basically stole the election in 2000.

    The problems our country faces are incredibly serious, and the changes needed can only come from us. The kind of hair-trigger response of people to sound bite catch phrases should not pass for serious discussion of the issues.

    I wonder, Bill, if you had moderated a debate if we'd've really had one?

    The question in "Playing for Change" is a real one. Someone said, "We are living in a global village, the question is, do we really want to?" People do, as is evident in the video, in "One Giant Leap" it is also evident. We are a community of One, really, One earth, One People/species mucking it up, in which everything we do affects everything else. There is no such thing as an isolated act, no getting away with anything, no postponing the necessary changes we each have to make today.

    Simple decision, do not buy anything you cannot pay for at the time of purchase with limited exceptions: home (one is all you need), education (which needs to cost less), and transportation (we need better mass transit). You want a new tv, save up for it! Pay attention to where its made, what kind of pollution was created in it's making. Take some time, no impulse buying, make informed choices. Instead of buying something that's going to be outmoded or break down in a year, insist on better quality longer lasting merchandise! Support your local economy. Simplify, you'll feel better.

    Revamp the "American Dream" to be living in freedom, responsibly! Freedom is a huge responsibility! Make a plan for financial freedom not a lifetime of indendured servitude, and not by gambling in investments -- no get rich quick schemes. We are a productive hard working people, we can work together to make a better world. Banks and their investors aren't in it for us, we're only valuable as consumers, bills payers. Everything in life is driven by your credit score! Is that the world we want? Don't wait for leadership, lead yourself, connect with people, overcome differences to co-create a better neighborhood, town, city, state and country. We are the only ones who can fix this problem. Have town meetings of all people whose mortgages are at risk and educate one another about how to renegotiate your mortgages! The big banks are on the run. Smaller local banks are far better, smarter, and not as risky. Because they depend on local business, they value their reputations and are less likely to make deals that favor only them. The best deal is frequently not a good deal. Be smart, be conservative in spending and making big committments. Our lives for generations depend on what we do now. Native Americans remain focussed on the coming seven generations ... highly useful. We need social security for awhile yet, and people can't live one the amount they're getting. Problem needs to be solved and bailing out deservedly failing banks ... doesn't seem logical, especially when the CEO's are still floating with "camaphlage parachutes". Please.

    Who guards the guardian - this has been the basic problems from ancient history. With due respect to Mr. Adam Smith, the invisible hand of the market, can be a surprisingly 'pick-pocket' hand. I believe that Mr. Adam Smith had this 'pick-pocket' hand image crossed his mind when he expressed his economic theory, however, he knows better that the people will turn the pick-pocket thieves in (this goes without saying). Corruptions exist in government officials and we all know it. We as the people should not let corruption happen or we YELL AND SCREAM when it does happen! Or we fire the government officials.

    This is not an "economic depression". What has happened to us is apathy from our people and our government officials. Mr. Greenspan knew what was going to happen all along. Did we not listen to him at all? I heard Mr. Greenspan's warning many times over the radio, on the newspaper, and on TV.

    You sent us to Harper's on-line to read Mr. Galbraith's article in full. Unfortunately, Harper's requires that one be subscribed to read the full article. How about linking to or including the full article on your web-site?

    I think that all the points were pretty much well taken. I see a pattern and if we put them all together it's a coherant solution. Vision logic, the base language of the brain, specializes in seeing patterns and, by listening to our intuition, a well developed intuition can see or query the database. I like the trickle down theory, as long as we get equal dollars and let them trickle up. Seems fair.

    Mr. Galbreath has hit the nail right on the head as far as most of the things that will be required of government regulation in the next administration, but I believe that the world economic problems we are facing run much broader and deeper than what he has aluded to, and that in the long run, much greater and more comprehensive reforms to the economy will be needed than what one government can do.

    Believe it or not,I think that Mark Johnson (the Music for Change person) has a better handle of what might ultimately have to be done to salvage our economy and our planet.

    One of the most significant things about the current economic crisis is the fact that Paulson, Bernacke, Bush & Co. failed to catch the malfeasance of the financial institutions, even though these problems were wide open for many years. And when the economic crisis started in earnest on September 15th, a day that will live in history like Pearl Harbor, the solutions coming from the White House were inadequate and inconsequential.

    It took Gordon Brown and Monsieur Sazorsky and the European Union to effectively take the car keys away from Washington,DC and provide the directions and strategies to be used that might eventually begin to have some effect on solving the problems we are facing.

    Since the age of Ronald Reagan, we have been operating under the mythology that the free market unregulated was the best and only means to prosperity, and it was the function of government to effectively get out of the way of the capitalists as they produced wealth for everyone.

    September 15th, saw the religion of free market capitalism, collapse and literally go up in smoke. It is obvious that we are moving towards an era of more aggressive government regulation, but the fly in the ointment is, that we live in such an interconnected world right now, that any action by the United States alone, no matter how enlightened is destined to fail unless the entire world economic system is in harmony, operating as a single unit to correct the imbalances in the economy.

    One of the lessons we learned from the Great Depression was that a "bugger thy neighbor" mentality for other countries is as destructive economically as cutting government spending in a time of depression.

    As Mr. Galbreath has pointed out, the European Union has its own work to do to reform its financial institutions so that they are more in line with some of the features of the American Department of the Treasury and Federal Reserve Board.

    The problem is that even this level of harmonization does not take into account the Russians, Chinese, or other members of the G-20.
    For that reason, the November 15th meeting of the G-20 in Washington to discuss implementation strategies is a critical first begining in the total reordering of the world economy along lines that we now can only dimly imagine.

    The world is too interconnected to accept piecemeal reforms on a country by country basis because the potential for economic disaster is so near. Just as the Bretton Woods talks of 1944 established a world economic order that essentially lasted up until this year, so will a G-20 reordering of the economy be necessary if we are going to transition to a better and more stable economic system in the future.

    All of this is complicated by the issues of global warming, among other problems. It is entirely possible that reinvigorating the Kyoto Protocols and a massive worldwide investment in clean, green technologies will also provide answers to the current dilemnas we're facing. The new investments in alternative energies have to be seen as a way out not only of our economic problem, but perhaps a life raft for our entire planet.

    At the same time, the mechanisms that made America great from 1940 onward -- the military-industrial complex -- may now prove to be lead weights on our future prosperity. It is axiomatic that an economic system works until it breaks down, and we certainly appear to be in one of those unfortunate transitionary periods of total breakdown and collapse.

    Our domestic economy badly needs the resources that are currently being squandered in Iraq and through multi-billion dollar weapons systems that don't work. Our bridges, schools, and health care system are dysfunctional. The bailout money that is needed for domestic relief will require trillions and trillions of dollars more than what we are spending right now. While the dollar is seen as a save haven right now, the injection of dollars into the world economy, particularly for our debt financing, will inevitably lead to a devaluation of the dollar. And additional factors, like peak oil, will squeeze the military-industrial complex like a lemon. Our overseas adventures and our military committments will become more and more extremely expensive. We may be in a historical situation not unlike that of Britain and France when they attempted to take over Suez in 1956. This marked the end of both countries colonial adventures. I believe that we are very close to that same condition now.

    The actions of Gordon Brown this month demonstrate that the United States is no longer entirely in control of its own destiny. This is the start of the death of the idea of American exceptionalism. From now on, if the United States is going to have a prosperous and stable society, it will be necessary for us to be just one of a huge group of cooperative world entities existing under some kind of more or less unified regulatory economic system. It is not unfeasible to see one day the end of the US dollar and its replacement with a world currency.

    The fact of the matter is, we all live in such a small world now, that only a worldwide strategy based on a mixture of cooperation and regulation may be the only lights that will show us the way out of the dark economic tunnel that we now find ourselves in.

    I think people aren't keeping up on the information, as it is doubling every three and a half years. That means before you get your bachelors.
    Both theories are good as far as they go and only work together. Ayn Rand would be against fraud. That eliminates all the arguing and wars, for that matter. As a matter of fact diamonds have many facets.
    I think we forgot what our founders knew, so we end up back here again every time. Free markets are fine with a free market of ideas, the backbone of Democracy. The ideas are controlled by the state. The TV channels go to the highest bidder(those with the most bucks even though the airways are supposed to belong to the people, we have no channels) Education only for those who can afford it and it's mostly inaccurate anyway, etc. In this day and age to be a citizen you need to be on the Internet to communicate with the rest of the body(every cell communicates with every other cell), and transparency in government and all the corporations, even if only, as I understand it, because they are sub-corporations of the government corporation to which we deserve voting shares, or at least in the company we work for. If not, a government of all the people has perished from the earth from enemies within and without. The change we can trust is top down bottom up. We have been doing top down simce forevuary and perhaps that's an aristocratic theocracratic tyranny at present.
    Economics of what? Economics alone is useless without the people the economics is supposed to be about. I think Barack gets it.

    I must disagree with Mr. Galbraith assertion that the dollar is more viable than the Euro, because we (the U.S.) found people to loan us money; namely Japan and China. The reason is simple. We are one of (if not) THE largest export markets for China and Japan. So (currently) it suits Japan and China.

    http://english.gov.cn/2007-08/23/content_725178.htm

    Pray it suits them in the future.

    Obviously, the current financial mess proves that regulations and regulators are insufficient to preclude disaster. Formal relationships that establish checks and balances between powers help (such as our tri-cameral federal government structure and the relationships between state, local and the federal government) but are no guarantee. This is especially true when regulators, at the direction of elected officials, ignore their regulatory functions or even connive in subterfuge by the regulated industries. Then the state preys on the interest of the greatest number for the financial benefit of the well-connected (Galbraith’s predator state). But as Milton Friedman observed the well-connected are very good at capturing the regulators. That was one of his arguments for “the free market” and against regulation. However, “the free market” was more an economic concept, more an idealization, a way of fixing ideas to conduct analyses than an extant environment except perhaps in a town market. The history of economic development in western industrialized societies has always involved government regulation, usually to prevent corporations from destroying each other. That was the purpose of the regulations that characterized the so-called Progressive Era in America at the beginning of the 20th century. So the question isn’t whether regulation is perfect or immune from corruption by corporations and, of course, the politicians who represent their interests, but whether it can be made effective and efficient so that a society can sustain economic growth sans catastrophe, and do so in a way that does the greatest good for the greatest number not just the wealthy and powerful. What’s needed is better regulation not necessarily more regulation of powerful private interests; quality not quantity. What’s needed now that we can no longer trust financial people to act in their organization’s interests, as Greenspan observed, or trust government politicians and regulators to police them, is another level; one of transparent public oversight. And it needs to be in every area of government not just banking. Because, as Jamie Galbraith points out the political / regulatory malfeasance was across the board not just in banking. One way to do that is via public oversight boards in which disinterested citizens or ones with countervailing interests oversee the regulators. These would be like institutional review boards. The other element is that malfeasance must carry severe criminal penalties as well as complete forfeiture of all monetary gains from it. Such formal requirements are not failsafe, no substitute for honest, competent, diligent citizens but may be the best we can do.

    Bill: for the first time ever I couldn't watch another second of your program and switched it off when Gailbraith said our deficit didn't matter. He sounds like the people that were telling me that real estate could never go down. I feel ill.

    Dear Mr. Moyers -

    The following is an alternate solution to the financial crisis that now grips this country. Had this plan been implemented 12 / 24 months ago, we would not be in a financial meltdown today. But it is still not too late for this approach to work.

    If you think this idea has any merit, perhaps you could discuss this plan with guests who deal with economic theory such as your guest tonight, Mr. James Galbraith.

    The cost of cleaning up this mess would still be the same, but instead of sending billions to the financial companies on Wall Street, the money would go to keeping people in their homes and stop homes from going into foreclosure which of course is the root of the problem.

    Below is a commentary which was written when the fed funds rate was at 2%.

    The bailout plan is unnecessary. This is fundamentally a problem of adjustable rate mortgages (ARM'S) resetting to higher rates while the value of one's property has declined. The solution is have the government issue 30-year fixed rate mortgages direct to the 2 million plus people with resetting ARM's at the fed funds rate (currently 2 percent) plus 50 to 75 basis points (to cover administrative costs) and make the loans at the full face value of the outstanding mortgage, disregarding the current assessed value of the property.

    All this should be done through an existing government agency such as the FHA (Federal Housing Administration). You would then not have people walking away from their homes. The CDOs and CMOs that financial institutions are holding would have value, the credit markets would unfreeze and the government would not have to bail out numerous financial institutions. The help would go to where it is needed and that is to the taxpaying citizens of this country who would not be forced out of their homes.

    Of course the banking/mortgage industry would not like this approach but what is more important, the good of one specific industry or the good of the country? The bottom line is simply this; many more people could afford mortgages at 2.50 to 2.75 percent than at today's rate of 5.88 percent.

    One wonders why the geniuses in Congress could not come up with this simplified approach. The fact is most of Congress is comprised of attorneys who would make a complicated issue of the simplest act. This is the fundamental reason why Congress is incapable of action; they do not know how to simplify and define problems which effectively means they can not come up with solutions.

    Professor Galbraith's response to Bill Moyers's important question about the danger of the mounting government deficits (and, by extension, the mounting national debt) was disappointing. By accelerating the growth of the national debt we are assuming that at some time in the future, during the lifetimes of future generations of Americans, the US government will run signficant budget surpluses for an extended period of time to pay back the debt. Such a scenario does not seem realistic without a large increase in marginal income tax rates in the upper income brackets (back, say, to the levels during the 1950's), and various types of confiscatory wealth taxes on the huge concentration of wealth that has occurred at the top. (The US economy cannot "grow" itself out of debt - avoiding large increases in tax rates on the well off - without destroying the ecology of the planet. Professor Galbraith seemed to dodge this implication of Mr. Moyers's questions about the national debt.
    It may be true that for the immediate future the US government will be forced to run large budget deficits to recapitalize banks and start the rebuilding of infrastructure to stimulate the economy. But to continue to finance the US government by taking away from future generations isn't right. Large increases in taxation of the wealthy and upper income citizenry in this country, in order to create a consistent budget surplus, must occur.

    The Federal Reserve must be abolished. The creation of money must be put under PUBLIC not PRIVATE control.

    Your comments on the mining industry trying to "sneak" through relaxed regulation of waste rock disposal methods piqued my interest.

    As a designer of mineral processing systems, I am concerned by accusations that mining firms are intentionally polluting the environment. As a preamble, let me point out that life as we know it would be impossible without our ability to exploit metals. It is a fact of life that the mining, extraction, recovery, concentration, and purification of metals requires an extraordinary input of chemicals, manpower, and energy. There is no other way. It may also be that land disturbance for mineral exploitaion is an extraordinarily productive use of our resources.

    As a captalist society, we demand our goods at the lowest possible cost. This is as it should be. In a global economy, this means exposing all producers to the lowest common cost denominator.

    In most cases, huge quantities of barren rock must be excavated, hauled, placed, and stabilized to expose the "ore" or mineral bearing material. Even the ore may contain only 0.5 pct valuable metal and the tailing from the process requires disposal of 99 % of the mass.

    How do we pay the cost for "boutique" disposal and reclamation systems in the US ? Or do we just transfer the problem to the third world ? I would appreciate your perspective.

    As I sat here in Southern California listening to JK Galbraith and Bill Moyers discuss our current economic woes on KCET-TV, I was shocked and appalled at Galbraith's suggestion that Social Security benefits to current beneficiaries be raised without regard for the looming crisis in that financial system. (Don't get me wrong, today's retirees, like my mother, are getting short shrift when it comes to retirement benefits. And they deserve an increase. But at what future price? No benefits at all for those under age 40-50 today.)


    If economists such as Galbraith think this is the greatest crisis of our lifetimes, they are sadly mistaken! It's coming in as little as 30-40 years from today. Today's problems are just the appetizers.


    The 2006 Trustees' Report on the Social Security Trust Fund identified a combined SHORTFALL in benefits funding for retirement and Medicare beneficiaries by 2080 of $87,000,000,000,000. That's $87 TRILLION!! Today's combined rescue, bailout, and coming stimulus packages might add up to three trillion dollars by the time everything is said and done if, as Galbraith contemplates, this situation takes three years to restore order and "trust." The first 25 percent of that has already been disbursed to AIG and in the $750 billion in added liquidity Congress has approved in the short term. Moyers put a current price tag of $8000+ per American household today on the cost when comparing the present turmoil to that of the 1980's Saving & Loan debacle.


    But all this pales by comparison when we look at the trouble Social Security is already fomenting beneath the surface. The Beltway codespeak about the need to "strengthen Social Security" that George Bush, Barack Obama, John McCain, and others in Congress each espouse is a financial nightmare that will be the downfall of America, and the collapse of the world economic "order" that is, today, already on the brink of ruin.


    The problems of Social Security have nothing to due with regulators asleep at the wheel. The Trustees have been trying to get Congress and others to address the issue for years, but no one wants to discuss this issue. The plan, as Steve Forbes wrote eight years ago this month after terminating his feeble effort to run for the presidency, has always been: "If we don't have the money to pay for the benefits when the time comes, we'll just sell some more bonds." And he was criticizing Congress for crafting that plan.


    For those who may be unaware, bonds = debt. And Galbraith, an economist who should know better, sat there facing Moyers saying, America has the opportunity today to borrow money for the next 20 years at 4.3 percent, the same rate as in the last years of the Eisenhower administration. Economists such as James Galbraith, his father John Kenneth, Milton Friedman, and dozens of others whose names should not be unfamiliar, have historically pooh-poohed the idea that there is a fundamental problem with America's spending into oblivion as we have seen in the last 26 or 27 years since Ronald Reagan was elected president, that there is no need to talk of paying off that debt. But in that time, the National Debt has risen from less than $1 trillion at the end of Jimmy Carter's tenure to today's recently authorized "debt ceiling" of $10.3 trillion.


    It used to be that $1 billion was an unimaginable number of dollars. Today, we toss $85 billion in the direction of AIG, $750 billion in the direction of the retail banks, as if it was penny candy being left out on the porch at Halloween. A trillion dollars is, seemingly, just a drop in the bucket. But take a look at the numbers:



    $1,000,000 = one million


    $1,000,000,000 = one billion


    $1,000,000,000,000 = one trillion



    One trillion dollars is one million million dollars. It still doesn't "sound" so bad does it? That's why the "economists" aren't afraid of it. But we citizens of the US, ought to be profoundly disturbed by $10,300,000,000,000 of current debt AND an additional $87,000,000,000,000 accumulating "under the radar" supposedly tracking fiscal responsibility. The current economic fiasco is probably going to cost some $3,000,000,000,000 by the time order is restored out of the present chaos. $13,000,000,000,000 + $87,000,000,000,000 = $1,000,000,000,000,000 . . . a "gigamillion" . . . what we once used to call a "bazillion."

    From where, exactly, will all this money come? In the last days of the Weimar Republic prior to the rise of Adolph Hitler, the government flooded to streets with money to "stimulate the economy" (sound familiar?) with the end result being recorded for posterity in the photographs we have seen of people pushing their money around town in wheelbarrows just to buy a loaf of bread and a liter of milk.


    With the Federal Reserve pumping cash to the banks, Congress about to create another "stimulus package" (#3 in 7 years), the Treasury getting the printing presses warmed up, it's coming. Not necessarily in the remaining lifetimes of us Baby Boomers. But definitely within the lifetimes of my granddaughters, who were born in 2000 and 2003, and their yet to be born children. I would prefer that it not happen to them, but America is charting a course today that all but guarantees it.

    Why? Because as we dole out the bonds today, as they have been doled out in the past 28 years and more, and as they'll certainly be doled out in the future, there has never been a genuine discussion of paying off the debt, and not incurring any more in the future. We just sell more bonds to raise capital to pay the interest and principal we owe.


    And I don't use the term "we" without implication. "We" means the American voting public. "We" keep electing and reelecting the same scoundrels to office term after term after term. One definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result." If American voters don't wake up and start removing the idiots in Washington and elsewhere from their political offices, nothing will change.


    Mark my words, if the Social Security system is not dismantled soon -- at least for those who are 10-15 years from their retirement benefit time, who would have enough time to enact a "Plan B" (as I once wrote to Bill Clinton in 1993, when I was 40, and to George Bush in 2001, when I still had time) -- then America is doomed. And doomsday will be here 40 years earlier than the 2006 Trustees' Report discussion of the "infinite horizon," in 2080, which requires the $87,000,000,000,000 in actual Trust Fund cash, not the special Treasury bonds (IOUs) that fill it today.


    Just as Congress created the financial disaster we are struggling to comprehend today, so, too, is Congress to blame for the unseen portion of the Social Security "iceberg" that will be just as catastrophic for America as a real iceberg was for the Titanic 93-1/2 years ago.


    It's nearly too late to man the lifeboats today.

    The only area in the US that needs more police is the business beat. That is where the biggest and most organized criminal organizations reside.

    BILL MOYERS YOU ARE MY ALL TIME IDOL! YOUR GUESTS TONIGHT MOVED ME IN DIFFERENT WAYS. LISTENING TO GALBRAITH'S" IDEAS AND HIS" STAND" ON THE OFFENDERS WAS A BREATH OF FRESH AIR AND SEEING MARC JOHNSON AND HIS VIDEO RESTORED MY CONFIDENCE IN THE FUTURE. I FELT I HAD THEM BOTH "STAND" BY ME

    More regs? Republicans have always defined "freedom" not as an individual right, but an economic one. Therefore, anything that serves the freedom to engage in commerce is welcome to the exclusion of all else. I'm tired of checking my Constitutional rights at the door (drug tests, et al) when I go to work.
    So hell yes, more regulation. Quickly.

    Thank you! As always, you have given us another program with much to think about. Since our trust has been breached,I believe that we need to set and enforce regulations which will protect "the people" from those whose whole purpose seems to be to get rich at the expense of others. We need to have all loopholes closed. The "rascals" responsible for this economic fiasco belong in jail.

    Normally enjoy Bill Moyers Journal - but I have to agree with Richard Huemer on this one. I'm no fiscal expert, but based on logic and the ability to read and comprehend, tells me that one cannot print money at historic proportions and not expect repercussions. Yes I know right at this minute the dollar is doing fine, but "long term" its worth will decrease drastically. So much so that when the history books are written - its the stock market losses that will be interesting side notes, its the debt and the foreign policy over extension, that frankly, that will tell the tale just another empire crumbling.

    What we must remember is that capitalism is about generating profits and increasing market share. These efforts are ran by human beings and the faults of individuals (i.e., greed, ambition, abuse of power, immorality, etc...) are expressed in the capitalist system when the system is not properly regulated. Our parents and grandparents recognized this almost 80 years ago. However, corporate officers/directors, politicians, economists, and other officals have forgetten the necessity for a system of checks and balances on the free market system due to their own personal self-interests. Consequently, what we have today is a collapsing free market system. We must re-establish strong, impartial government regulatory agencies which watch over the free market system and prosecute those individuals and/or corporate entites who violate the rules placed upon it. However, the key here is "impartiality." We can achieve this, but it will require the prohibition of all private donations and/or funding to political campaigns / political parties. This infusion of capital by private interests corrupts public officals and in turn damages the governmental regulatory system, making it useless. This must be abolished in order for government regulation of the free market to be truly effective.

    I agreed mostly with your assessment of Mr. Greenspan’s mis-assessment of our current financial predicament. However, I feel your somewhat flippant treatment of Ayn Rand did not do her and her complex persona justice. Although she might have been rigid and unyielding in her objectivist beliefs, her philosophies of self-reliance and rugged individualism rivaled that of Emerson and Thoreau, and could teach each of us about the true value of our inherent talents.

    I must concede that a lot of her followers seem to have taken her mistrust of altruism, regulation, and the "common good" too much to heart, and in creating this culture of self-interest we see today, they more closely resemble "The Aristocracy of Pull" of Rand’s statist antagonists in Atlas Shrugged than even she could have imagined. The lesson there is that extremism is never an answer to extremism. All the same, I don’t think Ayn Rand’s philosophies, however misapplied, should be so easily dismissed. Somewhere between her, Marx and Buckminster Fuller could lie the answer to our troubles.

    All the economic theories & regulations are meaningless without a society where ethic superceed greed.. Will Rogers should have said we got the WORST politican money can buy.. They sell out to the highest bidder & that is not the American people..Ethics on the part of politicans & Corp execs does not exist..The BD of directors are SUPPOSED to represent the shareholders..another joke.. they are put in to serve the ccrrupt corp exec's shareholders be damned..We are starved for ethical leadership in this country..One comes to feel maybe an honest man can not function in our environment.. how sad..

    After listening to Bill blast the investment banks for paying themselves 3 dollars for every one lost, of Paulson insuring that his friends of the past 30 years not suffer a major change of life style, and of strip mining regulations being circumvented, Mr. Galbraith came on to explain that the primary cause of the present day financial mess was the abdication by regulatory industries to do the jobs they were mandated to do, not only in commerce but in terms of the environment, etc Then Bill asked Mr. Galbraith what should be the first thing done to regulate and clean up the mess. The initial reply was to take legal recourse to the wrong that has been done and prosecute the fraud, thereby reestablishing confidence in the gov’t’s ability to regulate and the regulations themselves. Of course, nothing was said of prosecuting the executive head of regulating industries and the chief enforcer of all gov’t mandates and regulations- the chief executive of the United States himself. Should Mr. Galbraith’s first step ever actually be carried out, it would once again be like it was after the Abu Ghraib crime, the blame would be placed on a few bad apples. You can bemoan the “imperial presidency” and wax nostalgic for the late forties when America was looked up to by the world as an honest and fair leader who had paid its dues to be treated as such, but until we finally treat all our citizens as equals, and not as exceptional because they happen to be the chief executive of Enron, AIG or the USA, we will never be the America of equality for all its citizens.

    The idea that the government is interested in regulating more these days for the sake of regulation is not true. When they ought to regulate they just have grand discussions and never do anything of substance, and when they do regulate things it is more often than not with the very regulations that the corporate lobbyists have put into their hands, given them by corporate interests that keep them on top and everyone else out of the market. Our government is largely just an arm of corporate manipulation. So I suppose you could say I more than agreed with your guest today!

    It was frightening to me to hear Gailbreth point out what I have felt for many years. It was a conformation of theory that this administration and its benificiarys have legislated with intention to funnel money unchecked to thier accounts, for their personal greed. How can they live with thier decisions, forsaking the many for the few. The effect of this greed will be felt by generations. They have sold the souls of even their own families. Please people have the forsight for the need for regulation to remedy this hijacking of the US government by these incredibly crafty forces. Remember that the constitution itself provides oversight such as freedom of speech so that people with thier own agendas cannot control the masses. Give us credit that measures can be inacted with checks and balances. Thank you Sir for putting words to this practice. The power of voice is great.

    As I watched your interview with Galbraith one name repeatedly popped to mind: Ferdinand Pecora. Where is Ferdinand Pecora?

    Pecora was a top notch, pitbull of a lawyer who led a wide ranging series of senate hearings into the many forms of market manipulation that contributed to the panic and crash of 1929. His fact finding and Roosevelt's political will set in motion the creation of the SEC, the securities acts of the 1934, and several other key pieces of legal and regulatory infrastructure.

    Perhaps you might consider producing a retrospective on this amazing individual and his contributions to American Capitalism.

    Here's a quote from a book Pecora wrote on the hearings, a book that has been out of print for ages.

    "The case against the money-changers does not rest upon hearsay or surmise. It is based upon a mass of evidence, given publicly and under oath before the Banking and Currency Committee of the United States Senate in 1933-1934, by The Street`s mightiest and best-informed men. Their testimony is recorded in twelve thousand printed pages. It covers all the ramifications and phases of Wall Street`s manifold operations. The public, however, is sometimes forgetful. As its memory of the unhappy market collapse of 1929 becomes blurred, it may lend at least one ear to the persuasive voices of The Street subtly pleading for a return to the "good old times." …We may now need to be reminded what Wall Street was like before Uncle Sam stationed a policeman at its corner, lest, in time to come, some attempt be made to abolish that post."

    -Ferdinand Pecora, Wall Street Under Oath


    An interesting side note...Pecora actively lobbied Roosevelt to become the head of the newly formed SEC but it didn't happen. Roosevelt chose Joseph Kennedy instead, a notorious though well connected stock pool operator and bootlegger.

    I have no issue with the subject of this book, as I understand it, but the author is completely wrong in tying that to the cause of either this crisis or that of the 20's and 30's, or any other in the sad history of them. And, in the implication that so-called market fundamentalists are Social Darwinists. Here he is following his father and the Keynesians, who pushed the inflation that was/is the actual cause.

    A far better account than his father's of exactly what happened is Lionel Robbins' The Great Depression written in 1934, which handles all the arguments that have been made before or since, and in plain readable English. It is available online here: http://www.mises.org/books/depression-robbins.pdf.

    An excerpt from the conclusion: "Again and again during the boom years we were assured by men who should have known better that the trade cycle had been eliminated, that so long as prices did not rise there was no fear of overexpansion, that the boom in land and common stocks was merely a reflection of the increased value of property, and that if there were any sign of a fall of prices due to a transfer of expenditure to Stock Exchange and real-estate speculation, then the Central Banks should create more credit to support the speculation. This policy was pursued. Yet such is the inflexibility of the human mind that, in spite of all that it led to, there are yet to be heard voices urging that a similar policy should be adopted in the next period of prosperity. It is no accident that they are the voices of men who failed utterly to see what was happening before the depression, and who throughout the slump, no doubt with the best will in the world, have consistently supported those policies which have arrested liquidation, prolonged uncertainty and delayed the coming of recovery."

    This position was shared by Friedrich Hayek. In a 1975 talk, however, Hayek noted that "the inherent instability of credit" could turn a recession with extensive unemployment into a self-feeding deflationary contraction. He then commented: "I am the last to deny - or rather, I am today the last to deny - that, in these circumstances, monetary counteractions, deliberate attempts to maintain the money stream, are appropriate. I probably ought to add a word of explanation: I have to admit that I took a different attitude forty years ago, at the beginning of the Great Depression. At that time I believed that a process of deflation of some short duration might break the rigidity of wages which I thought was incompatible with a functioning economy. Perhaps I should have even then understood that this possibility no longer existed....I would no longer maintain, as I did in the early '30s, that for this reason, and for this reason only, a short period of deflation might be desirable. Today I believe that deflation has no recognizable function whatever, and that there is no justification for supporting or permitting a process of deflation. The moment there is any sign that the total income stream may actually shrink, I should certainly not only try everything in my power to prevent it from dwindling, but I should announce beforehand that I would do so in the event the problem arose...You ask whether I have changed my opinion about combating secondary deflation. I do not have to change my theoretical views. As I explained before, I have always thought that deflation had no economic function; but I did once believe, and no longer do, that it was desirable because it could break the growing rigidity of wage rates. Even at that time I regarded this view as a political consideration; I did not think that deflation improved the adjustment mechanism of the market."

    Later in his career, Robbins also expressed regret his advice against using monetary expansion to arrest the deflation. In a 1966 speech in the House of Lords he confessed: "I was on the wrong side: I opposed measures of reflation which I now think might have eased the situation; and although I do not flatter myself that my attitude influenced action in any respect, I shall always most seriously regret having done so."

    They were tho right the first time, because over time this process of inflation skews the distribution of wealth, and deflation un-skews it, raising the value of talent and labor and lessening the grip of ownership. This is no mere political notion. It is precisely this which supports the maintenance of virtue, which is the basis for the doctrine of free trade. Now it could be argued that contraction wipes out the gains of labor against wealth by a reduction to assets, but it is not clear that this has a differential effect, and the assets are worthless without labor anyway so it would not be long before they are back in the hands of their proper owners. The inflationary economics of the Keynesians and monetarists, just as Robbins said in 1934, serves only to preserve the status quo ante by valuing demand or price or property above supply or productivity or labor. It is anti-democratic (or more precisely, anti-republican) in any real sense. It promotes socialism, totalitarianism and a return to mercantilism. It creates money based on credit and then turns around treats it either as an absolute, or as something of no value at all. And, of course, it leads to stagnation, of which there is no shortage in America today. Too, Hayek was a social democrat, not a republican.

    The real republican doctrine is that of Locke in the opening pages of the 2nd Treatise: "Though the earth and all inferior creatures be common to all men, yet every man has a 'property' in his own 'person.' This nobody has any right to but himself. The 'labour' of his body and the 'work' of his hands, we may say, are properly his." It is this doctrine, which both Physiocrats and Adam Smith defended. It does not sanction socialism, or "private property" except in one's own person and that which his labor as been "mixed" with, i.e., productivity. The inflationary democratic socialist or welfare capitalist doctrine demands the alienation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (or property in Locke's sense; Washington, and others, used the phrase before the Declaration) in return for a mess of pottage as the Bible story relates, and, which both Locke and Jefferson argued God forbids. Alan Greenspan may be, or have been, a Social Darwinist, which I somewhat doubt, and there may be others who are, or have been, but Smith and the free-traders never were. That interpretation is flat-out incorrect, and indeed, is exactly backwards.

    Well, you may ask, doesn't credit allow growth that ultimately pays back the credit? The answer is yes, it does, and it was the way this country started, but that is no reason to continue to use it when it clearly undermines virtue and in the process puts us increasing debt, that debt in turn increasing the concentration of power. But even if that is true, doesn't increasing the money supply, act as insurance, spreading the problem to all? Again, yes, it does, but in so doing it encourages hoarding and stampede for the exits, making the problem worse rather than better. Well, then, what about workers who refuse to accept lessened wages and firms that refuse to accept lower prices, can anything make them do that in today's world? Probably not, but this is a problem inherent only in welfare capitalism and which wouldn't exist without it. It is precisely this, which deflation has to break.

    i do not think that you can legislate morality. the more legislation we get the further we get toward socialism and eventually communism and the loss of all freedoms. previous cummunist countries started out with socialism first, then cummunism.

    The first and only time I wrote to you was to thank you for interviewing Ron Paul. I said then that you had thereby shown it was time to forgive you for the infamous "daisy" commercial. Tonight I realized that I had written in haste. I found your disrespect for the principles of Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman, and your fawning acceptance of Galbraith's tired old New Deal "solutions", so nauseating that I had to leave the room. (Fortunately I returned in time to see "Playing for Change".) Please be advised that, as manager of the Fed, Greenspan was NOT an acolyte of free market capitalism, but an apostate. So Galbraith says we won't have inflation, eh? Better invite Dr. Paul back on your show, to explain sound monetary policy and the powerful causative role of central banks (like the Fed) in the business cycle and inflation of the currency.

    thank you for this segment Bill! Mr. Galbraith did give me hope after what has been a very rough week. I am refreshed by the articulate thoughts on our financial crisis.

    The first and only time I wrote to you was to thank you for interviewing Ron Paul. I said then that you had thereby shown it was time to forgive you for the infamous "daisy" commercial. Tonight I realized that I had written in haste. I found your disrespect for the principles of Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman, and your fawning acceptance of Galbraith's tired old New Deal "solutions", so nauseating that I had to leave the room. (Fortunately I returned in time to see "Playing for Change".) Please be advised that, as manager of the Fed, Greenspan was NOT an acolyte of free market capitalism, but an apostate. So Galbraith says we won't have inflation, eh? Better invite Dr. Paul back on your show, to explain sound monetary policy and the powerful causative role of central banks (like the Fed) in the business cycle and inflation of the currency.

    Mr. Galbraith points out that 5 of the largest investment firms lost more than 83 billion dollars of shareholder's money while their executives earned 239 billion dollars. Now American taxpayers are being forced to finance a bailout of at least 700 billion dollars (It will probably be more). This is INSANE. If you want to start a bailout begin by forcing these executives to surrender their golden parachutes. In business if you fail you should not be rewarded. We have regulations, The problem is we don't enforce them.

    Who shall guard the guardians? In an ideal democracy, We the People, who maintain the right to elect and remove, but that "we" is limited by the "Guardians," reducing the voice to "some" people. As our democracy has grown, the number of peoples included in this "We" has expanded, the power of the Guardian's to exclude has continued.

    We who were included, stood guardian against those who were not, until they gained sufficient strength to enter. Denied entry they had no voice. This year one of those denied is entering on a very high level, he is running for president. One of those denied is entering on a very high level, she is running for vice president. The guardians have backed off those two.

    Harold A. Maio
    khmaio@earthlink.net

    Whoa! What a program, huh?
    I think Bill's programs are like a heroin rush for liberals. After seeing it, you feel like cracking open a billionaire's head, don't ya?

    Need something to cool you down now, right? Try to get some sleep, and as you drift off, you'll almost hear Milton Friedman's ghost say "Give it some time..and we'll be aalright"

    But for those who are still wired, let's think about what Dr. Galbraith said.
    It seems that free-market theories are becoming passe and intervention is the order of the day. One of the interesting things that Dr. Galbraith said was that right now the goverment can borrow at very favorable rates but the private system cannot. ( Dr. Galbraith interprets this to mean that we shouldn't worry about deficits - more about that later ) By borrowing and then relending or reinvesting in the private economy or through banks the government might reintroduce liquidity and turn a tidy profit at the same time! True! But only if the government were not in bed with industry and were able to negotiate favorable terms. Which means letting some financial institution come to the edge the Abyss and feel the fear-of-the-Market as it were.

    As things now stand the U.S. government ( e.g. the Treasury, the Fed ) has neither the infrastructure nor the will to push for these kinds of deals.

    It is interesting to note that liquidity can be introduced into the private system in a number of ways, rather than just investing in banks. For example it can do what some asset managers do and invest in venture capital firms. These are the firms most likely to fund small companies which produce non-shippable jobs.

    The point I think is this: if you're going to spend money, spend money on something that gives you hard ASSETS. Right now the banks are using their extra money to pay out higher dividends and fat compensation packages. So you are getting pieces of paper in ever more hollowed companies.
    ( btw, free-market theorists have always tried to build a Grand Unified Theory to merge the concepts of Wrong and Stupid; and it's true that sometimes there is an overlap! )

    The economic distress that are experiencing is, fundamentally, related to leadership and to ethics. When did we lose ethical leadership--assuming that we had it at one point in time --why, and how can we regain that? We need to ensure that ethical principles and practices are embedded throughout the public and private sector. The way that we, as a society, manage our resources is, after all, a reflection of our values. What can be said about our values now?

    I agree with much that Galbraith says. It would be great if his solutions could be applied with a degree of moderation. But I fear that, like his father, there can be no middleground.

    After working in Government Regulation for 30 years I can confirm exactly what Mr. Gaibraith has said. Truly the whole subprime mortgage mess was fueled by failure of government oversight. Investment banks were given free rein under the last two SEC Chairmans, Harvey Pitt and Christopher Cox. The government was not necessarily bailing out the Investment banks, they were bailing out the people who gave them deposits - large hedge funds, penstion funds, etc. People who are considered sophisticated investors, and in a free market are supposed to keep the investment banks honest by doing their own due diligence(analyze the investment banks financial statements.)
    John

    I found hope in what Galbraith had to say. Let's hope that is a place for him and people like him in the Obama administration.
    At the same time, I was absolutely appalled to discover that Greenspan was an Ayn Rand-libertarian. It's bad enough that the markets jumped every time he sneezed, but to learn that he was guided by this cult of selfishness is shocking. Most reasonable people get over this nonsense by the end of their sophomore year.
    The good news is that this 'greed is good' philosophy has been tried and has failed and may become a thing of the past.

    Excellent segment. Often times I watch your show and get ticked at the corruption and unqualified people making decisions in government that you expose. I began watching your show thinking here I go again. Ironically though, to me, Mr. Galbraith's comments gave me comfort. One can hope that whether Barak or John become president they consult with him in matters of government intervention in these matters.

    Should there be more regulation of banking and Wall Street? Yes.

    Do I trust the politicians? What a absurd question. Does anyone?

    Regulation - Deregulation...whatever happened to the gray area between the two,in which we thrived and prospered? It seems to me that it is so easy to screw things up, legislatively, that is, because it is beginning to look like some kind of return to the dark ages of rule by the political sword.

    I just read the beauty of an example uttered by genius that is Steven Horwitz just a few paragraphs above: "In a free market, firms profit by satisfying their customers, investing wisely, and making prudent loans.."

    Yes, we've had many of those examples in the history of "free markets". If you have read and understood my posted comment from just a few minutes ago, you would have reached the conclusion that power regulates, regardless of it’s source. You should instantly recognize Steven Horwitz's rant as pure fantasy, which ignores the regulating power of the market actors. This regulating power OUTSIDE of the government has shown itself to be overwhelming, dwarfing any attempt of any part of government to constrain it or even stop it from infiltrating every aspect of the government itself!

    Naturally, in the fog that is our verbal discourse, Horwitz gets to blame the PR department of the company, instead the board of directors, if you would allow me to use the metaphor from my earlier comment.

    The lawmakers are and always have been actively pursuing the path of high regulation. There is no way to skew the field this far, without thorough regulation benefiting the regulators. "Deregulation" is just a bogus word, invented merely to have us think that there is such a thing as "people making it big on their own in a deregulated world". It usually accompanies a system of corporate instead of public welfare. By the way, WELFARE is a positive word that became negative only once "deregulation" made it unthinkable that it might appear next to the word "corporate".

    This small exercise will eventually lead to recognizing verbicide as a threat to all meaningful verbal discourse in the democratic sphere. Realization of the damaging effect of verbicide leads to the conclusion that not all things that are said are harmless. Among other and stronger arguments, this one brings into question the assumed eternal and unquestionable beneficial nature of the peculiar little concept very commonly mentioned by those in power, namely the "freedom of speech".

    I trust politicians to do what they always have done - be a part of the PR department of the "powers that be". There are very few exceptions to the rule, they do not have a say in anything of significance and if they should get a say, they tend to either align or not live very long, politically or otherwise. Any population is innately suspicious of their politicians, legislators, dictators, etc, simply because we do not trust commercials.

    Asking if we need more or less regulation, in general, is not a good starting point. We need smart regulations on markets to damp out the unsustainable highs and the damaging lows without impairing the markets operating in a healthy middle range, and on our politicians to require that they disclose their sources of influence and the consequences of their actions easily traced. The Sunlight Foundation do good work.

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