Sunday, December 07, 2008

The GOP --a Parasite That Murdered Its Host

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Only the GOP in America or the Nazi party in Germany could have destroyed a nation so efficiently and have the nerve to brag about it. Now, as we prepare to witness a collapse not seen since that of Rome, we conclude that Bush Jr finished the job begun by Reagan, that is the economic destruction of the United States --its economy, its education, its source of wealth, its future, its security!

Government stats prove conclusively that Reagan's tax cuts enriched ONLY his base and began the pernicious trend in which only the very, very rich benefit. The nation plunged into a depression of some two years, the longest and worst depression since Hoover's big one of the 1930s.

Though he had promised to reduce the size of government, Reagan doubled the federal bureaucracy, ran up yearly deficits, doubled the national debt and tripled the deficit. Now --at the end of an era characterized by incompetent GOP 'supply side' economics, a mere one percent of the nation owns more than 90 percent of the population combined. Reagan blazed the trail for George W. Bush, the lesser of two prominent idiots who discredited the election process by --somehow --managing to get into the White House!

With the help of turncoat Democrats along the way, a parasite killed its host. GOP policy and organization killed the goose that laid the golden eggs. There are several words for this. 'Stupid' is one of them!

Some basic economics may be necessary to put all this into perspective. First of all --the 'science' of economics may be reduced to a single, simple equation: supply and demand! In Algebraic terms: supply equals demand. Every economy will seek that equilibrium. When an economy produces a surplus i.e, more than can be or will be consumed, prices decline to compensate. When an economy produces too little to meet demand, prices will increase to compensate.

For this reason 'supply side economics', so adored by the GOP at least since Ronald Reagan, does not work, will not work and has, in fact, never worked as advertised. Tax cuts benefiting only so-called producers cannot and will never stimulate purchases if there is no real need or demand. Excess revenues will find their way into offshore bank accounts or other tax dodges available only to the nation's increasingly tiny elite.

The history of the US since the ascension of Ronald Reagan, an era of GOP incompetence and mendacity, proves conclusively that tax cuts inspired by 'supply side economics' or, as it is often called, 'trickle down theory' never, ever stimulated production or increased employment in any industry at any time. It was and remains a hoax!

Since 1980 and the rise of 'supply side economics' (trickle down theory) America lost its leadership and/or prominent roles in electronics, steel production, automotive production, aircraft production --about every industry that can be named! It bears repeating: 'supply side tax cuts' have never and will never stimulate an economy in any way. Even Reagan's own budget director, David Stockman, called 'supply side economics' a 'trojan horse' espoused by 'a noisy faction of Republicans'.

'Supply side economics' guarantee that the supply of money circulating in the economy is reduced by an amount equal to that of the value of the tax cut! Here is why that is so: value is created by work --not investment. [See: The Labor Theory of Value] This was Karl Marx's position and, as recent events have proven conclusively, Karl Marx was absolutely correct. Marx was correct because he had learned the basic equation that all economics may be reduced to: supply equals demand!

In a healthy economy, the converse --demand equals supply --is, likewise, true. 'Supply side' tax cuts NEVER stimulate the economy because no such incentive to the auto industry, for example, will inspire the car maker to greater production or investment unless there is first a 'demand' for his product. In the absence of such demand, those receiving government windfalls simply squirrel them away, in offshore bank accounts perhaps!

To sum up simply: no entrepreneur, no corporation will invest a windfall tax cut in new production unless there is --on the other side of the equation --an increase in demand. This is just good business.

On the other hand, business and corporations lobbying congress for 'supply side' tax cuts, knowing that windfalls never increase production or jobs, are just crooked! They have scammed the Congress for tax cuts. They have scammed the American people with shoddy products and eventually outsourced the work, robbing Americans of jobs in the process.

The 'labor theory of value' did not originate with Marx.
With roots in the work of the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 BC), labor theory of value became a central feature in analyses by such classical economists as the Scottish economist Adam Smith (1723-1790) and the English economist David Ricardo (1772-1823).

They stated that the value of a commodity was determined by the quantity of labor needed to produce it, the effort of the labor, or the amount of labor of others obtained in exchange.

The German theorist Karl Marx (1818-1883) argued that labor might dictate the value of a good but the existence of capitalists extracting profits meant that labor did not get to keep all the value.

Labor theory of value was superseded by the marginal productivity theory of distribution at the end of the 19th century, which emphasized that many factors determined the value of a good.

--The Economy Professor, Labor Theory of Value
A nation which taxes the rich progressively is more egalitarian, more efficient, more productive and --as proven in numerous studies --the people themselves are happier, more productive, better educated. The opposite is true of America. More people are getting poorer; fewer are getting richer; an increasingly tiny percentage (one percent and shrinking) are getting exponentially richer. It is the end of the United States as a world power, indeed, as a viable nation!

GOP thinking is circular and symptomatic of psychosis. They disdain 'poor people' while deliberately creating conditions guaranteed to create more of them.

Let's look at a thumbnail summary of the GOP record of at least 50 years or so before it gets re-written:
  • Any Democratic President has presided over greater economic growth and job creation than any Republican President since World War II.
  • When Bush Jr took office, job creation was worst under a Republican, Bush Sr, at 0.6% per year and best under a Democrat, Johnson, at 3.8% per year.
  • Economic growth under President Carter was far greater than under Reagan or Bush Sr. In fact, economic growth in general was greater under Johnson, Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton than under Reagan or Bush. Democrats always outperform a failed party: the GOP!
  • The job creation rate under Clinton was 2.4% significantly higher than Ronald Reagan's 2.1% per year.
  • The "top performing Presidents" by this standard, in order from best down, were Johnson, Carter, Clinton, and Kennedy. The "worst" (in descending order) were Nixon, Reagan, Bush.
  • Half of jobs created under Reagan were in the public sector--some 2 million jobs added to the Federal Bureaucracy. Hadn't he promised to reduce that bureaucracy?
  • Reagan, though promising to reduce government and spending, doubled the national debt and tripled the national deficit. Bush Jr's record will be even worse.
  • By contrast, most of the jobs created on Clinton's watch were in the private sector.
  • Put another way: any Democratic President beats any Republican President since World War II. In fact, ANY Democratic President beats any GOP prez since at least the year 1900.
Much has been said of Marx and almost all of it by people who never bothered to read Marx. Most of what is said about Marx in the US are lies puked up by the right wing. It is the utter failure, idiocy, bigotry, moral paucity and narrow-minded prejudice of the American right wing that proves Karl Marx to have been absolutely correct in his interpretation of almost every major economist that preceded him, most prominently the 'labor theories of value' of the conservative darling Adam Smith as well as David Ricardo.
Historical materialism — Marx's theory of history — is centered around the idea that forms of society rise and fall as they further and then impede the development of human productive power. Marx sees the historical process as proceeding through a necessary series of modes of production, culminating in communism. Marx's economic analysis of capitalism is based on his version of the labour theory of value, and includes the analysis of capitalist profit as the extraction of surplus value from the exploited proletariat. The analysis of history and economics come together in Marx's prediction of the inevitable economic breakdown of capitalism, to be replaced by communism. However Marx refused to speculate in detail about the nature of communism, arguing that it would arise through historical processes, and was not the realization of a pre-determined moral ideal.


Capitalism is distinctive, Marx argues, in that it involves not merely the exchange of commodities, but the advancement of capital, in the form of money, with the purpose of generating profit through the purchase of commodities and their transformation into other commodities which can command a higher price, and thus yield a profit. Marx claims that no previous theorist has been able adequately to explain how capitalism as a whole can make a profit. Marx's own solution relies on the idea of exploitation of the worker. In setting up conditions of production the capitalist purchases the worker's labour power — his ability to labour — for the day. The cost of this commodity is determined in the same way as the cost of every other; i.e. in terms of the amount of socially necessary labour power required to produce it. In this case the value of a day's labour power is the value of the commodities necessary to keep the worker alive for a day. Suppose that such commodities take four hours to produce. Thus the first four hours of the working day is spent on producing value equivalent to the value of the wages the worker will be paid. This is known as necessary labour. Any work the worker does above this is known as surplus labour, producing surplus value for the capitalist. Surplus value, according to Marx, is the source of all profit. In Marx's analysis labour power is the only commodity which can produce more value than it is worth, and for this reason it is known as variable capital. Other commodities simply pass their value on to the finished commodities, but do not create any extra value. They are known as constant capital. Profit, then, is the result of the labour performed by the worker beyond that necessary to create the value of his or her wages. This is the surplus value theory of profit.

It appears to follow from this analysis that as industry becomes more mechanized, using more constant capital and less variable capital, the rate of profit ought to fall. For as a proportion less capital will be advanced on labour, and only labour can create value. In Capital Volume 3 Marx does indeed make the prediction that the rate of profit will fall over time, and this is one of the factors which leads to the downfall of capitalism.

--Karl Marx, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Though Marx is reviled in the US, Marx himself never stated that 'capitalism' was unjust. It is on this point that I am tempted to go further than Marx. Having witnessed GOP/Capitalist mendacity, idiocy, robber baron mentalities since the rise of Reaganomics, I find it hard not to conclude that capitalism is inherently unjust. As Marx himself posited: capitalism is the very act of paying labor less than the total value of his/her work! The difference is traditionally called profit, the 'reward' due 'capital' for its 'risk'.

Is 'profit' a reward or is it an act of theft? A landowner may require of a serf that he dig a ditch to re-channel the flow of water. But that analogy assumes a 'landed' social stratification that is itself unjust. In a truly just society, a class of professional 'ditch diggers' would not be subservient and may, themselves, own land. In such a society, the wages paid 'ditch diggers' would be very different indeed!

More recently, as a result of inflation and other GOP/right wing policies, real wages have clearly declined even as wealth is transferred to an often idle, elite one percent of the nation's total population. What have these ídle rich ever risked to thus 'earn' their wealth, their privilege, their status, indeed, their exemption from taxation altogether? On this point, Marx has, rather, not gone far enough and his distaste with regard to the 'bourgeois' pales beside mine.

Marx never denounced capitalism on 'moral grounds' but I am at the point of doing do. If what has been practiced in the United States since the era of the great 'robber barons', then certainly 'capitalism' is not merely wrong, it is morally repugnant.

The US will fall and may very well suck into the maelstrom the more stubborn remnants of Western Civilization. The question for us now is not whether Marx was right about capitalism. The plight of capitalism itself will resolve that issue permanently. The question, rather, is this: what kind of world can be rebuilt in its wake?

And now --the obligatory video:

How an 'honest' general summed it all up:

WAR is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives...

In the World War a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows...

Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few – the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill...

And what is this bill?

This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations...

...a war that might well cost us tens of billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of lives of Americans, and many more hundreds of thousands of physically maimed and mentally unbalanced men.

Of course, for this loss, there would be a compensating profit – fortunes would be made. Millions and billions of dollars would be piled up. By a few. Munitions makers. Bankers. Ship builders. Manufacturers. Meat packers. Speculators. They would fare well.

Yes, they are getting ready for another war. Why shouldn't they? It pays high dividends...

The normal profits of a business concern in the United States are six, eight, ten, and sometimes twelve percent. But war-time profits – ah! that is another matter – twenty, sixty, one hundred, three hundred, and even eighteen hundred per cent – the sky is the limit. All that traffic will bear. Uncle Sam has the money. Let's get it...

Of course, it isn't put that crudely in war time. It is dressed into speeches about patriotism, love of country, and "we must all put our shoulders to the wheel," but the profits jump and leap and skyrocket – and are safely pocketed.

--Gen. Smedly Butler, War is a Racket!

An essential resource: This War was About So Much More

Media Conglomerates, Mergers, Concentration of Ownership, Global Issues, Updated: January 02, 2009




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Anonymous said...

Some really good economic analysis you just don't read anywhere else on the Internet. Great work, Len - keep it up!

Unknown said...

Anonymous said...

Some really good economic analysis you just don't read anywhere else on the Internet...

Thanks, anonymous! Don't be a stranger.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all you do, Len. I just saw 'Zeitgeist Addendum'. Between you and the author of that video, well, I don't have a real hopeful feeling. Outside of a full blown revolution I'm not sure what anyone could do to turn the tide. The complacency of American consumers is amazing. I guess losing their homes and dreams may finally do the trick, hmm? But then we have detention camps. Ah, home at last!

Anonymous said...

Can't come up with a better word for our present situation than COLLAPSE ........ and it will be a weird ugly one.

Could you please provide a 'PRINT' feature for your columns?

Thank you, broadly.

Tango daddy said...

war is a racket
war is hell
war is good for business
My favorite professor told me once no one ever wins a war some just loose more than others. I always have fun when I come here.

Unknown said...

Anonymous said...

Outside of a full blown revolution I'm not sure what anyone could do to turn the tide.

I think the revolution has already begun --a revolution in the 'Marxist' sense of the term. Though Adam Smith is deified and Marx is reviled (in America, that is), both believed in the labor theory of value and both believed in an 'invisible hand', in Smith's case, inexorable market forces in the case of Marx. I believe that what is happening now is beyond government to do anything more than soften the blow. Certainly --as I have said for years --there is a price to be paid for deliberately transferring almost all the nation's wealth into the hands of about one percent or less of the population. Even Rome fell --and there was absolutely nothing that the Roman elite could do about it.

The Revolution is here! Viva la revolucion! Viva Zapata! Viva Che! Viva Jefferson!

En francais --- liberte! egalite! fraternite!

nonymous said...

Could you please provide a 'PRINT' feature for your columns?

I am not sure if blogger provides that --but will check. Secondly, I am working on drafts for a couple of books. I will keep the blog posted on those.

Tango daddy said...

My favorite professor told me once no one ever wins a war some just loose more than others.

Your fav prof was smart! I have come to believe that war is in our genes and sadly there may be nothing we can do about it but blow ourselves up. I hope I'm wrong ---but not DEAD wrong!

Big Dan said...

Great writing and research, as usual.

Anonymous said...

Fuzzflash sez…

Len, seems The Empire is gonna fall sooner rather than later.
Your “parasite sucks life out of host” metaphor is perfect.
Couple of the posters at Politic 101 reckon you’re on song too:

Gaffhook Says:
December 12th, 2008 at 7:19 pm
Quite a good read sinking the boot in to the GOP
The GOP –a Parasite That Murdered Its Host
GOP thinking is circular and symptomatic of psychosis. They disdain ‘poor people’ while deliberately creating conditions guaranteed to create more of them.

paddy Says:
December 12th, 2008 at 7:38 pm
Gaffy The rude one(RudePundit) never disappoints.
But the Existentialist Cowboy is certainly firing on all cylinders.
You get the feeling that he’s not too fond of supply side economics.

Non Passerons!

Anonymous said...

Many continue to wonder when the revolution is going to happen that will change all of this. Well, that is why our predator elite built all of these nuclear weapons and put them on a 'hair trigger' alert status.

So that they can kill us all before we figure it out.

Anonymous said...

You read my mind, but spoke it more succinctly and eloquently than I ever could. Thank you and I will be back.
PS LOVE all the exclamation points (reminds me of Vonnegut)

Unknown said...

Anonymous said...

Many continue to wonder when the revolution is going to happen that will change all of this. Well, that is why our predator elite built all of these nuclear weapons and put them on a 'hair trigger' alert status. So that they can kill us all before we figure it out.

Succinctly put. Some have been onto them for quite some time. Thanks to the internet, millions more have 'wised-up'.

Paula said...

Thank you and I will be back. PS LOVE all the exclamation points (reminds me of Vonnegut)

I'm glad someone likes them. As is said of all addictions, I'm trying to cut back.

Anonymous said...

In regards with the digital picture on the GOP portion, did u create that? If not where did u get it from? I am doing a research paper and it would greatly help my argument!

Unknown said...

Anonymous said...

In regards with the digital picture on the GOP portion, did u create that?

I believe you are referring to the 'photoshopped' picture of Karl Marx. I believe it is in the public domain. Just right click and save to your hard drive. If it is not in public domain, it's use here has never been questioned. Cheers and thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

I am actually referring to the picture of Bush fiddling as the Capital burns. It stands strikingly similar to the depiction of Emperor Nero of Rome and I would like to find its primary usage. THANKS

Unknown said...

Anonymous said...

I am actually referring to the picture of Bush fiddling as the Capital burns.

That must be in the public domain. It's all over the internet. Do a GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH with search terms: bush fiddles, rome burns