Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Best Way To Cook Capitalism

Updated Sunday Sept. 4 5:25 P.m.

In what will be a stunning admission that Neoliberalism has utterly failed, the Federal Reserve has been preparing to adopt a negative interest rate policy, as some European central banks are doing in a last ditch effort to stimulate growth. It's not a certainty yet, as James Maudlin writes in Yahoo Finance, but fed members are taking necessary first steps if it's needed.

As you know, Barak Obama will be the first president in US history to not oversee a single year of three percent economic growth but the US economy looks like Elon Musk's customized 1963 Rambler (I don't know what that means) compared to Europe.  Europe of course is where Neoliberalism/Thatcherism/Reaganomics/Austerity was first imposed, under Iron Maggie Thatcher, who you can think of as Ronald Reagan's daddy, and the Germans under Angela Merkel love it and what Merkel says goes in the European Union and she refuses to give it up despite years now of no growth at all.

Draining workers' pocketbooks and their future pocketbooks to make the filthy rich even richer, which in a nutshell is what Neoliberalism is, has made the filthy rich even richer alright but cannot lead to growth over the long term because there's no consumers any more. We the people just don't have enough spare cash to fuel growth. But who cares? Say the filthy rich who are doing just fine.

On a happier note, Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez wrote a nice column about taco wagons after spending a day eating at them and, apparently when his mouth wasn't full of delicious food, talking to their owners and customers, following a statement by the founder of Latinos for Trump that Latinos have a "dominant culture" and if something isn't done to keep it down "you're going to have taco trucks on every corner."

Interestingly, taco trucks have proliferated on west Central Avenue lately. At night on the weekends there's at least one per block between Old Coors and Coors, although when Mayor Berry's rapid transit pedestrian mall makes left turns on Central impossible they may all go out of business, as the evening managers at Mac's La Sierra and Golden Pride told me they fear will happen to them.

"Sixty percent of my business is drive through," says the woman at Golden Pride who fears the mayor's project will devastate business. Get yourself some steak in a basket and some smoked ribs and chicken while you can.

I guess I lied when I said this would be a happier note.

Incidentally, I became hooked on taco wagons when I was going to Laredo a lot in the early 2000s. In the part of town where most of the customs brokers are there's not much to eat except from taco trucks, most of which come over the border every morning. Most truck drivers get to Laredo the night before and every morning they're lined up at the taco trucks. It was there that I learned that in order for it to taste right a tortilla must be cooked in lard.

Incidentally, most of the people who work at those broker houses come over every morning, too. Apparently they know the business and it's hard to find Texans who do. I've always wondered, too, if the Mexicans who commute to those jobs know someone on the other side who can get their shipments moving faster. Remember a few years ago when Wal Mart's Mexico division got into some trouble for budgeting some millions of dollars for bribes?

OK, here's a happier note. The TPP and the equally nefarious but lesser known TTIP may both be dead, according to Kate Aronoff writing in In These Times.

Hillary Clinton, of course, initiated and oversaw the negotiations for both while she was secretary of state and used to refer to the TPP as "the gold standard" for trade treaties, but then reversed herself -- on the TPP at least because it was the one that was in the news -- when Bernie Sanders got into the primary contest and made it a campaign issue.

You can be sure that none of the Wall Street boys who have continued to line up behind her believe she's really changed her mind about these trade treaties, or about her preference for any part of Neoliberalism, but whether she can revive the treaties or impose a Neoliberal economic agenda on the country like Barak Obama did and her husband Bill did before him is now in question, because working people have finally caught on to the fact that the Democrats are not their friends any more.

You may have heard the West Jordan, UT has backed out of a deal to lure a Facebook data center there with massive giveaways in the form of tax forgiveness when school board members voted against part of the deal that would have undercut education funding. The Deseret News has an article that goes into detail about why the school board, and some of the other elected bodies involved, decided it was a bad deal. (I'm not sure from this whether that's the end of it over there.)

Los Lunas, NM is also trying to get the data center and is offering even more giveaways than Utah did. Despite some progressive sounding elements that would obligate New Mexico utilities to supply the center with renewable energy, the New Mexico contingent is offering Facebook 100 percent tax forgiveness; i.e. free use of our infrastructure -- in other words, we'll make our working people pay for everything needed to operate your corporate facility like roads, bridges, sewer, water, electricity systems, police, fire and ambulance protection, etc., and all we ask is that you keep all the profits and enjoy them.

Facebook and all those big companies are already parking most of their profits offshore so they don't have to pay federal income taxes on them so they get a free ride at all levels, and working class soldiers are dying to make sure this system keeps functioning unimpeded by any notions about society being organized so the majority of its members benefit.

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