What now, Tonto?

This is a follow up to Bob Shiffler and the Arcade, Ted Strickland and the State of the State and the whole frickin world economy.

It’s time for a reality check.

If insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, what have we learned from history if nothing else? Society only works when there is a perception of equality. When the gap gets too big between the haves and the have-nots, we end up with a period of lawless anarchy.

It’s happened over and over.

We’re seeing warning signs all over, yet we refuse to fundamentally look at the problem: you can’t keep borrowing on the future to live in the present, or pouring more into the past to prop it up for the present: we have to look at what is fundamentally realistic and required to keep a stasis that is acceptable to the masses.

In other words: we have to base our decisions on what is right for the greater good, or we won’t have any choices left.

So, we’re witnessing a meltdown in the financial sectors, which is quickly affecting everything else. Don’t believe it? The price of flour has tripled in the last 6 weeks. What are the minimum requirements for survival? Bread and water.

The idea that Bob Shiffler proposed about saving the arcade will take all of us is correct, however, it also requires a fundamental change in thinking: how do we get people to want to live and work downtown and within a walking community?

The only way you will reach critical mass is by offering some serious carrots to build downtown residents?

Need some suggestions:

  • Shared free electric cars for residents
  • Income and property tax breaks based on living without a car
  • Free tuition to Sinclair
  • Subsidized health insurance
  • Unlimited H1-b visas
  • Subsidized day care

All of a sudden, the idea of 10,000 residents downtown quickly sounds easy.

Governor Strickland needs to take a look at solutions at the State level too. We’re facing a shrinking population which will lose us congressional seats.  What to do?

  • Single payer health
  • State backed credit cards at lower interest rates
  • State backed mortgages at lower interest rates
  • Incentives for small business growth (since big business often asks for too much in return)
  • Begin high speed rail plans now, before gas is $8 a gallon.
  • Reward PhD students with tuition reimbursement through tax credits when staying in State effectively making higher education more affordable.
  • Pull the National Guard out of Iraq because of State budget emergency- bringing back workers to the State.
  • etc. etc. – big ideas, change not just the game, but the playing field.

When it comes to the global financial meltdown, please read the entire article from Business Week- and then read the comments:

The Fed’s Historic Innovation
The long-feared crisis is now upon us—and the Fed, led by Chairman Ben Bernanke, is responding with a wave of new policy instruments. First came the Term Auction Facility, introduced in December, which allowed the Fed to better pump out money to banks without cutting interest rates. That was good, but it wasn’t enough.

The Term Securities Lending Facility (TSLF)—announced Mar. 11—is a more powerful and more precise tool for addressing the dislocations in the credit market. It is aimed at the heart of the current problems: mortgage-backed securities. The problem is that nobody knows what these complicated securities are really worth, so they are clogging up bank balance sheets and impeding the normal flow of credit. Without getting into technical details, the TSLF elegantly sidesteps the problem—the big banks can use these securities as collateral, and borrow Treasuries from the Fed.

The intended result: more lending and borrowing, as nature intended.

Note the first line in the article (go to the link) and realize that we’re trying to pretend that 2+2 doesn’t equal 4 anymore, and that we can solve the problems of bad economics by doing more bad economics. The reality is, the whole planet is living beyond it’s means by robbing the planet of it’s finite resources and not planting for the future.

Yes, it is about personal responsibility, but it’s also about figuring out ways to ensure everyone is doing it. Bill Gates had no problem pillaging until he realized there wasn’t much left to take. Then he started giving.

We need to stop. Step back, evaluate, plot a new course and think about a sustainable future. We’re all in this together and linked, we just have been denying it for too long.


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