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Cut Government Spending, Send South Dakota into Recession

Who wants less government? And who wants to cause a recession?

Farm and Food columnist Alan Guebert discusses the impact of a 10% cut in federal spending on four basic programs in South Dakota:

…[A] 10 percent cut in key federal programs to South Dakota, a largely rural and largely red state, would mean its 165,499 Social Security recipients would receive $192 million less each month — or $2.3 billion less per year — while its 60,000 or so farmers and landowners would see their annual farm program benefits cut by $61 million.

Also, the state’s 143,771 Medicare recipients and its already-stretched-thin rural health care network would face $100 million in cuts to its nearly $1 billion cost each year and another $80 million cut in annual Medicaid spending.

Add ’em up and even this small cut to these four federal programs would slice about $2.5 billion a year out of South Dakota’s rural economy [Alan Guebert, “Our Political Dilemma, Simply Put,” Lincoln Journal Star, 2015.10.23].

South Dakota’s GDP has already slowed under Governor Dennis Daugaard’s local austerity, rooted in his 10% state budget cuts in Fiscal Year 2012. Cutting $2.5 billion in federal inputs would knock out 6.3% of our 2014 GDP of $39.8 billion.

Republican Presidential candidate Chris Christie has talked about reducing lifetime Social Security benefits by 10%. Senator John Thune has advocated cutting benefit programs like Medicare and Medicaid by $4.2 trillion over ten years, which is about 8.6% of what we’re projected to spend over the next decade.

Guebert notes that, even without this kamikaze austerity, our FY2015 federal deficit of $439 billion was 2.5% of our GDP. As in FY2014, the FY2015 deficit is below the 40-year average.


  1. jerry 2015-10-25 09:10

    Tehran John, NOem and the rest of the know nothings, want to eliminate Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid Cory. Lets be clear on that, the cut is the first in the surgical removal of these life saving programs that the republicans have hated since FDR. Yet old folks and folks directly assaulted, eat up their drivel like applesauce as a main course. How these crooks and liars are elected is quite a feat. Of course, they deny the facts while stating them as their intent. Only in South Dakota (Kansas, and Wisconsin) can crooks and liars prove daily they are crooks and liars and keep their approval ratings up. Maybe when they get that accomplished and people’s belly’s are empty, we will finally see the light and have that American spring that will backlash on them.

  2. mike from iowa 2015-10-25 09:26

    Already a cut coming for SS dependents. Medicare and prescription drugs going up and no cola for 2016. Last year there was almost a seven dollar raise per month. I can’t afford to lose a single penny from my checks. I’m sure there are plenty more in a similar position.

  3. Steve Hickey 2015-10-25 09:35

    Where does our government get this money to spend? Multiple places. From 50% of our populations pay checks. From the non-govt printing press deceptively named the Fed. From our pockets (The diluted devalued dollar that results). From foreign nations. From our future. I say no to all of those. Raising taxes on the rich won’t pay for a fraction of Sanders freebies. We need to quit with all the bailouts and start putting banking bosses and lords in jail. We need a jubilee for students and the working class. Shift to the Fair Tax not flat tax. We need to fire the iRS and the fair tax does that – it turns 46 million illegals into tax payers, those who spend more pay more. It’s brilliant and fair. Defense spending needs to be cut by a third. Farm subsidies need to be put on the chopping block. We need a reset and there is no pain free way for that to happen. We are beyond the point of no return. No poltical party shares the sole blame and no poltical party has the will or the leaders to fix the matter. Both are led around by the nose by special interest money and powers.

  4. Lanny V Stricherz 2015-10-25 09:49

    And yet our President and these turds for brains in Congress are planning to spend a trillion dollars to upgrade our nuclear capability, and continue to spend 80 billion dollars a year in research and development for new weapons. Really???? Let’s see, you buy a kid a new toy and what does he want to do, let it set on the shelf or play with it? Well the military and the arms dealers are the same way. Find a new and more destructive weapon, they want to use it or sell it to any crap for brains out there who has the money to pay for it.

    Gosh, small wonder that we have been at war with somebody for all of the nearly 74 years I have been alive.

  5. mike from iowa 2015-10-25 10:03

    Let’s start with jailing f###ing moron wingnuts who still believe cutting taxes for the wealthy will increase revenues. They still say under their breath,they want to starve the gubmint of revenues so they can take welfare from the needy and hand it over to the greedy.

  6. jerry 2015-10-25 10:09

    Shame on you Steve Hickey, you are no preacher, your a just another charlatan. I thought you were gonna go to Scotland or some place that can extradite you now that Marty will be after you for your own indiscretions with signatures. As a privileged man, don’t speak down to the masses who are not as fortunate as you once were. 50% indeed, sounds like Mitt and the rest of the right wing sludge.

  7. Steve Hickey 2015-10-25 10:18

    Blow it out your ear “Jerry.” There was nothing to charge me with. I spend most of my time inclined toward the poor so your Mitt comment is a swing and miss. Right and left, no ones policies are helping the poor.

  8. mike from iowa 2015-10-25 11:05

    BUT wingnut’s policies of feeding the rich do hurt the poor. Didn’t want to cut subsidies for wealthy farmers,including Noem,Grassley,Ivana Kuturnutzov from iowa and several others who get subsidized by the Ag dept,so wingnuts cut foodstamps because the wealthy can’t afford to give any money to Uncle Sam.

  9. Steve Hickey 2015-10-25 11:08

    Yep. And the policies of the left give us Detriot.

  10. mike from iowa 2015-10-25 11:43

    You forgot Baltimore and Chicago and DC. You are slipping. Wingnut policies bankrupted Orange Co,California,the states of Kansas and Alabama.Texas and Wisconsin,despite vociferous wingnut claims to the contrary,are deeply in debt. And Obama and the new Democrat Potus won’t be able to bring the national debt down by raising taxes because wingnuts have proven they are willing to allow America to fail rather than let Obama have any credit for cleaning up dumbass dubya and wingnut’s messes made before Obie was legally elected.

  11. owen reitzel 2015-10-25 11:44

    And Rev. Hickey the policies of the right led us to the economic collapse of the United States in 2008.

  12. leslie 2015-10-25 11:57

    dont make me wiki/google detroit just because of your knee-jerk hickey. i dont come here to argue with republican fauxians. owen and mfi adequately shut u up. we support YOUR efforts against injustice,despite your party’s worst efforts

  13. David Newquist 2015-10-25 12:00

    Citing the demise of Detroit as caused by the policies of the left has no basis in fact. It was caused, first, by the failure of the American automobile industry when the quality and features of Japanese automobiles surpassed anything coming out of Detroit. The second factor was the much-touted shift by the Reagan administration from a manufacturing economy with high-paying jobs replaced by service economy
    with low-paying, often menial, jobs. Furthermore, manufacturing jobs were shifted overseas to the point that manufacturing skills were eliminated from the American labor market. Since 1980, the share of all income in America going to the bottom 90 percent has declined from 65 percent to 52 percent. In actual dollars, the average income of Americans in the bottom 90 percent flat-lined — going from the $30,941 of 1980 to $31,244 in 2008

    This shift in the economy was particularly hard on Detroit.The city’s population has declined from 1.8 million to 700,000 with 78,000-abandoned homes in the city. It would be instructive to know how the policies of the left fit in all of this.


  14. grudznick 2015-10-25 13:21

    Mr. Hickey is right. 50% of the people provide all the gravy that is spoon fed to the lazy masses. Those people need to work harder so they can earn their own money. And Detroit was the fault of the libbie left, indeed. Like Mr. Hickey says, the left gave us Detroit.

  15. grudznick 2015-10-25 13:24

    Also, a flat tax is the fairest tax. Tax everybody the same, even though many eat up more of it than others.

  16. owen reitzel 2015-10-25 14:04

    your 0-2 Mr. Grudz. on the flat tax and Detroit

  17. grudznick 2015-10-25 14:19

    Detroit voted 98% for Obama. 39% of Detroit is below the poverty line and probably double that are on welfare. Government giveaways failed to give the people values and motivations necessary for upward mobility. Detroit politicians, libbies all, have been locked up for crimes and corruption at a scale unheard of. The number of illegitimate children born there would boggle your mind. Detroit has paid a heavy price for an economy that has been based on libbie ideas of governance that derive from “fairness” and “social justice.” It cannot and will not ever be fixed. Detroit is not where you would go on vacation, but you should be forced to.

  18. Lynn 2015-10-25 14:39


    Detroit can’t all that bad. There are some really good museums around the area depending on your interests. The city has a rich history and yeah it’s been thru some serious hard times and is still dealing with issues but Detroit is slowly rebounding with the arts and restaurant(taters,gravy & sausage plus soul food) scene. Auto manufacturing is doing well hopefully remembering the mistakes that got them into trouble in the past.

  19. grudznick 2015-10-25 14:46

    We do all like big American made cars and hearty food. But the libbies killed Detroit.

  20. jana 2015-10-25 15:07

    The free market killed Detroit. Obama’s plan breathed new life into the auto industry.

    Of course the GOP would have just as soon seen Detroit dead and the American auto manufacturers out of business. But I digress.

    Grud, do you think government support of American companies and American workers was a good idea?

  21. grudznick 2015-10-25 15:20

    Define “government support.” If it’s the libbie version, it’s bad. Rah rah we support workers. That’s of no help. Support is getting out of the way of business and letting businesses sort themselves out. That is the American Way.

  22. grudznick 2015-10-25 15:35

    Government spending must be quashed. Government spending is only an answer to take more money from us. It is about the government taking over and the first next step toward a liberal dictatorship and socialism

  23. jana 2015-10-25 15:36

    Grud, you said the Libbies killed Detroit. Tell us how that wasn’t the free market. Tell us how killing good paying jobs is good for America. Tell us how the free market could have saved the American auto industry.

    Just saying Grud. GOP economics has had disastrous effects on the American economy and American workers.

  24. jana 2015-10-25 15:37

    rah rah we support American workers? Please continue Grud.

  25. mike from iowa 2015-10-25 16:06

    Should have thought about quashing gubmint spending when wingnuts decided to start two illegal,unnecessary wars and then add a prescription drug plan to the credit cards with no new revenues to cover their blatant waste.

  26. Roger Cornelius 2015-10-25 16:45

    grudz, Hickey and other conservatives never look beyond Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid when it comes to cutting government spending. They absolutely fear somebody, not them, is getting something for nothing.
    The Republican leadership in this country has put the fear of God, or Allah, in them so they never object to the bloated military budget. A military budge that is very much like South Dakota and its millions of dollars in no-bid contracts.
    For instance, why does this country need a farm bill that subsidizes the ag industry, this is supposed to be a capitalistic country. Let ag stand on its own two feet.
    Where else can you think of cutting the budget? Congressional travel and their staff members, their office budgets?
    How about Kristi Noem’s pet budget funding of the Spearfish Fish Hatchery, why are the feds funding that?
    Pick anyone of your pet federal pork programs and get back to me of how you can justify federal spending on it.
    I’m willing to bet that if we put our heads together we could cut the federal budget and still afford Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

  27. moses 2015-10-25 17:02

    Have slick Mike bring huckabee he can tell us whats best for us.

  28. Steve Hickey 2015-10-25 17:03

    Roger? I didn’t even mention cutting SS, Medicaid or Medicare. I mentioned whacking defense spending, ag subsidies and bailouts for big banks and companies.

  29. grudznick 2015-10-25 17:11

    Mr. C is wise.

  30. Dana P 2015-10-25 17:40

    Mr Hickey’s, “yeah but Detroit….” arguments just don’t cut it when we are talking SD. Stay on topic, Mr. H.

    South Dakota’s woes (and there are plenty of them, and as Cory noted above) have no one to blame (not even Detroit!!!) but Sen/Gov Rounds, Gov Daugaard, and the Republican legislation. One party control in this state get us …….. Proof is in the pudding. No one else is in charge.

  31. Roger Cornelius 2015-10-25 18:19

    Sorry Steve, my mistake, sometimes I forget you’re a republican.

    The Detroit talk is straight out of the republican play book and means nothing.

  32. Dave 2015-10-25 19:37

    What a surprise. Federal tax breaks are greater than federal discretionary spending. (scroll to the bottom of this link:

    “Unlike discretionary spending, which must be approved by lawmakers each year during the appropriations process, tax breaks do not require annual approval. Once written into the tax code, they remain on the books until lawmakers modify them. That means that even when tax breaks fall short of, or outlive their original purpose intended by Congress, they frequently stay on the books.”

  33. Don Coyote 2015-10-26 00:05

    Twas Nixon embracing interventionist Keynesian economics in 1971 that was Detroit’s undoing. It was Nixon’s decoupling of the US$ from the gold standard, effectively killing the Bretton Woods Accord, that caused OPEC to dramatically increase oil prices to counter the plummeting value of the US$. Oil prices had cratered after the decoupling because the Dollar was being used as the reserve currency and all transactions were made in Dollars. Also Nixon, with an eye on the ’72 elections, threw the notion of a balanced budget under the bus and instead aimed for full employment by badgering Fed Reserve Chairman Arthur Burns to increase cash reserves further devaluing the dollar and putting additional pressure on oil prices.

    The “Nixon Shock” of the 70’s increased the price of oil so dramatically that the gas hogs Detroit was producing quit selling in the showrooms and the Japanese and European gas sippers sold like “hotzcakes” (see Lisa Douglas – Green Acres). Of course it didn’t help matters that the heavily unionized American auto industry was producing crap at the time.

  34. mike from iowa 2015-10-26 08:22

    Good article,Dave. I especially like this part- Lawmakers have written hundreds of tax breaks into the federal tax code – for instance, special low tax rates on capital gains, and a deduction for home mortgage interest – in order to promote certain activities they deem beneficial to society.

    in order to promote certain activities they deem beneficial to society. Making the koch bros wealthier so they receive more re-election contributions is at the top of the list.

  35. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-10-26 18:07

    Lanny, I support upgrading our nuclear arsenal… into transorbital weapons dedicated to asteroid defense.

  36. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-10-26 18:23

    Re-read Hickey’s opening comment here. You can’t throw his budget recommendations in the same pile as the typical pro-corporate Republican tripe. I disagree with a good chunk of Hickey’s statements, but they’re more fun to work with than the straight ALEC line.

    Raising taxes on the rich won’t pay for a fraction of Sanders freebies.

    This blog post just warns us to protect what we have, without taking a position on adding the Sanders plan. However, I’ll go so far as to say that whatever the cost of free college, national health care, etc., the Sanders agenda would produce savings and economic growth that would mitigate the impacts of any tax increases needed to fund it. Plus, after decades of wage stagnation for the majority of workers and income gains concentrated among the rich, why shouldn’t we look first to taxes on the rich to re-equalize opportunity? Go where the money is.

    We need to quit with all the bailouts and start putting banking bosses and lords in jail.

    Throwing people in jail costs money… but sometimes it’s worth it. Notice Hickey is saying, “Don’t tax the rich; jail ’em!” That’s darn near Bolshevisky!

    We need a jubilee for students and the working class.

    Heck yeah!

    Shift to the Fair Tax not flat tax.

    No, no, no. The wealthy don’t spend the same percentage of their income as the working class and poor. Taxing groceries, undies, and yachts doesn’t capture the wealth stored up and recycled in capital… or does the Fair Tax extend to stock purchases?

    We need to fire the IRS and the fair tax does that – it turns 46 million illegals into tax payers, those who spend more pay more. It’s brilliant and fair.

    46 million illegal immigrants?!? What?!? I need to see a source on that figure. But however many immigrants have broken the law in entering our country, they’re already paying state and local sales tax, rent that covers property tax, and FICA/SS/Medicare taxes out of their paychecks (and if they’re not, blame their cheating employers, red-blooded Americans all).

    Defense spending needs to be cut by a third.

    That’s definitely not the standard line from our Republican friends, who drew President Obama’s veto #5 last week for proposing to bust the sequester limits for the military-industrial complex but not for social programs. Cut defense by one third—why not? (But don’t forget to spend more on asteroid defense!)

    Farm subsidies need to be put on the chopping block.

    Again, heck yeah! Why favor this one industry over all others? Or, if we must subsidize agriculture, why not subsidize farmers market products and CSAs, only the agricultural production that actually puts food directly on the tables of neighbors?

  37. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-10-26 18:24

    NAFTA killed Detroit. Was NAFTA a policy of the Left or the Right?

    Or was it a policy of the real enemy, the corporate colonizers?

    If I’m right and the real political battle is not Left vs. Right but Corporations vs. The Rest of Us, then we need a government that is Leviathan enough to intimidate not just Joe on the Street but Apple, Google, Exxon, and every other multi-billion-dollar global conglomerate into behaving.

  38. bearcreekbat 2015-10-26 18:48

    Cory, I agree with most of your last post. Thanks!

    But the attack on “corporations” is silly. Corporations are merely either individuals or groups of people that create a fictional legal entity to act as a shield toward personal liability for the creators and shareholders. A corporation has no mind, no will, no ability to act or even commit a crime, absent decisions by human beings. It is simply absurd to demonize “corporations” for the actions of people on their boards or people who are elected to office.

    If you know of particular individuals who are on boards or leadership positions in any corporation, they are accountable for their decisions. There is no such thing in reality as a corporate decision – all activities undertaken by the corporate entity are in reality activities undertaken by the individual human beings on the board or the elected officers.

    Attacking “corporations” is exactly like attacking our “government.” But in both cases this is simply misplaced aggression that has the unintended consequence of letting the actual humans who engage in bad behavior off the hook.

    If you don’t like what a particular corporation does, look to the human being leadership, rather than the corporate structure, for accountability.

  39. leslie 2015-10-26 19:11

    not so sure i agree, bcb, corp. monikers serve a useful shorthand to attack the “1%”. Not of course in the Koch’s instance, but as GE has paid no tax for the last decade or more, it is easy to point out where those enemy’s enemy are. The board vs. shareholders who command little policy.

  40. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-10-27 06:10

    BCB, I agree with most of what you’re saying… so naturally, I’m going to obsess over the portion on which we disagree. :-)

    Is attacking “Corporations” any sillier than attacking “the Left” or “the Right”? Any of those entities consists of individuals. But the Left and the Right are far more diverse in intent than Corporations, which pursue the singular goal of maximizing profit for shareholders, a unifying principle that leads to demonstrable oppression of labor and unsustainable exploitation of the environment.

    As long as the law recognizes the principle of limited liability, then corporations are practically different from the individuals who run them. If corporations do damage, am I able to hold the individuals in that corporation directly responsible for that damage?

    Attacking Corporations is not quite like attacking “Government.” I can rebut folks who attack Government by saying, “But we are the Government!” That response isn’t perfect, but it makes more sense than responding to an Occupier by saying, “But we are the Corporations!”

  41. bearcreekbat 2015-10-27 09:46

    leslie, while using the term “corporation” as a moniker to identify the 1% might be convenient, its seems inconsistent with a correct use of the term since most “corporations” are not even close to being in the 1%.

  42. bearcreekbat 2015-10-27 10:39

    Cory, I don’t mean to nitpick. Attacks on “corporations” per se has always put me off, just as attacks on the “government,” hence my comment.

    Anyway, as identifiable groups “the Left” or “the Right” seem different than corporations because “the Left” and “the Right” consist of a group of people who have come together to advocate for particular public policies and thus are generally a homogeneous group (except for House Republicans).

    Corporations are not such a homogeneous group. Any individual or group of people can form a corporation for any legitimate purpose. For example, Dakota Plains, Inc., was formed to aid low income people with legal issues, not to make any profit. Family corporations are often formed to preserve and maintain family property for children and grandchildren.

    And those people who form corporations with the goal of making a profit are not any different than people who form partnerships or open solo businesses or leave SD for higher paying teaching jobs. They are all trying to meet their family’s living expenses, protect whatever assets they might have and accumulate some wealth if possible.

    It might be reasonable to say “Walmart vs the rest of us,” or “Exxon Mobil vs the rest of us,” but it does not seem reasonable to say “Corporations vs the rest of us.”

    Indeed, even if you object to the concept of corporate limited liability, that does not justify treating corporations as the enemy per se. To the extent that it is the largest and richest corporations that are the source of economic inequity, limited stockholder liability is pretty much irrelevant. Only those stockholders in corporations that have failed and gone bankrupt benefit from limited liability.

  43. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-10-27 21:46

    Sometimes I love nitpicking, Bearcreekbat. :-)

    Your objection is reasonable. “Corporation” applies to a wide variety of organizations, some of which do great good.

    Perhaps the whole business of trying to identify the good guys versus the bad guys is a risky exercise in oversimplification. If I say the real battle is between the rich and the rest of us, I risk alienating the numerous allies we might have among those who happen to sit on big piles of money.

    What if I take the Thomas Piketty route and posit that the greatest risk to democracy is the concentration of wealth? What if I avoid identifying specific people or groups as the enemy but name that phenomenon as the thing we must check? Is that a more tolerable basis for making policy and waging political warfare? That principle could fit in the original topic here: we need to preserve some robust level of government spending on social programs to erode the concentration of wealth and spread resources back to the masses to maximize and universalize opportunity and liberty.

  44. leslie 2015-10-30 20:55

    i’ll keep vilifying corporations and the 1% for their “institutional” sins, until a better rallying cry is heard. i’ve been saying this about corps for more than 20 years. if you just say “I’m mad as hell” it doesn’t identify the general problem. “Occupy” raised the latter after the 1% effort to blame unqualified home owners, which was pretty lame but worked for awhile. GE’s tax position (it doesn’t pay US taxes) says all you need to say about corporations’ tip of the iceberg. As global warming raises the seas our ever diluted “right” to vote is perhaps the most serious matter of all. that and defense costs. something else….

  45. bearcreekbat 2015-10-31 11:32

    Cory, the approach of positing “that the greatest risk to democracy is the concentration of wealth,” make more sense to me than vilifying anyone, although I see the threat a bit differently. I see the risk as threatening economic and social stability rather than democracy.

    Instead, I would advocate identifying the social and economic problems caused by the concentration of wealth and advocate for policies that should alleviate those social and economic problems without trying to cast blame.

    It is one thing to label the rich as bad and selfish, but quite another thing to suggest that the rich are not going to be harmed by an Eisenhower like progressive tax that captures 90% of earnings beyond whatever point we can agree on. This revenue source certainly could help reduce the economic disparity that we see today, even if it won’t cure it completely.

    Likewise, it is one thing to label corporations as evil, including individual corporations by name, but quite another to help the public understand that the middle class is dwindling because of public policies that do not support labor unions, but favor employers. Instead, we could advocate for New Deal type policies that protect unions from employer retribution or discrimination, which in turn will level the bargaining power of workers and help re-grow our middle class and stabilize our improving economy.

  46. leslie 2015-10-31 11:41

    with out accountability for criminal fraud, won’t walls street CEO-types just move on with repetitive behavior?

  47. bearcreekbat 2015-10-31 11:47

    leslie, don’t misunderstand me – I fully agree that anyone, or any company, that commits fraud should be held accountable. I just doubt that fraud is the reason for the decline of the middle class, and I don’t think we can more forward by trying to identify amorphous enemies such as “corporations” or “the rich.”

  48. leslie 2015-10-31 12:18

    That the lower and middle classes are to be protected, i agree.

    how the decline occurred is riddled by criminal fraud at every opportunistic, capitalistic and political angle. too big to fail banks, too big to understand tax code, too big to prosecute politicians, too big to administer national infrastructure, too corrupt to keep traffic lanes open, too many lawyers to be held accountable, to many defense contractors hounding for a government contract, too many guns on the streets and in the closets, too many republicans running a little state with few checks and balances–all of these things led to the problem. 360 million people in the states. 1 billion catholics world-wide ( i just threw in this interesting statistic to preserve it in my memory:)!) What would westerhuis have done late at night if he did not have a full gun cabinet and ammunition down the hall? A split second act of desperation and insanity. Probably face the music.

    less than a thousand people owning most of the resources in the world, does not bode well for the masses, given what we know about ethics and morality of humans and their greed. Unless evidence shows otherwise, Westerhuis’ greed murdered innocent family members. Maybe she was innocent too, and argued with her husband, pulling the plug on his subterfuge.

    lets not get too politically correct and study and review and commission the reasons for the decline of the middle/lower class for the next decade. let’s take action now. prosecute EB5 when it happens, not when it is politically expedient. Let’s determine MCEC faults now, not after Regents cleanse the scene, like they did after EB5. let’s attack GE with a real tax code now. Let’s attack Trump now, for his 4 bankruptcies, not after the middle and lower class commit suicide, act out with drugs and alcohol over student and credit card and payday lender and medical debt.

    this is my knee jerk response. next i will look at my Frontline diagram of the 2008 debt disaster and get back to you here.

  49. leslie 2015-10-31 12:26

    Syria is probably an example of greed on the world stage. I am not so sure it is about religion. It is economic. Assad is trying to survive and owns 99% of available resources. I will did into that too! :)

  50. leslie 2015-10-31 13:23

    The meltdown: Angelo Mozilo, Country Wide Corp, sold a “toxic product”-subprime mortgages to capitalize on fees on IOUs sold.

    London’s “Light Touch”, in competition with NYC’s Wall Street, gutted financial regulation of arbitrage.

    In 2003 Iceland privatized all banks and the national industry-fishing, into the hands of the Prime Minister’s friends (Joop Bollen sound familiar?).

    In 2004 Garrett Lehman Bros. annual bonuses were $300k-700k.

    An orgy selling “paper” triggered a estate boom. “Anything goes!” “You can’t be serious?!” ” Hire Elton John for a 50th birthday party?!”

    The same thing happened in Dubai, UAE ten years earlier.

    A Billion dollars in real estate was selling daily. Everybody tried to get in the game of doubling their money.

    [It was because the financial system knowingly overpriced a major financial asset class, and then leveraged itself against that asset class in the vain hope that the Day of Reckoning never came.***And that, in a nutshell, was the reason for the worldwide financial crisis – the mispricing of assets, mostly mortgage-backed securities, based on fictional financial models.***It’s really quite simple when you break it all down.*** But the real start of the financial crisis was July 31, 2007, when Bear Stearns filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy protection on its two major hedge funds (High-Grade Structured Credit Fund and High-Grade Structured Credit Enhanced Leveraged Fund).]

    page two to follow

  51. leslie 2015-10-31 13:42

    real estate boom

  52. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-10-31 21:11

    I suppose, Bearcreekbat, I’m like the farmer in The Grapes of Wrath who asks “Who do we shoot?”

    There’s obviously injustice. Someone must cause injustice. Changing that someone’s behavior or checking that someone’s power must be able to restore justice. I won’t shoot anyone, but whom do we regulate? Whom do we tax? Whose corporate structures do we outlaw?

  53. leslie 2015-11-01 12:30

    btw-here’s a name: Microsoft CORP. wrote off $7.6 billion (with 7800 job cuts) in maneuver to free up over seas cash buying nokia (phones). anybody notice apple is now THE phone maker and China is the major builder (time top 100 chines phone builder neo-uber billionaire owns 97% of Xiamoa)

  54. leslie 2015-11-01 12:34

    page two-“who do we shoot?” (C)CAH

    1. Shek Bin Rashid Al Maktoon, since 2006, responsible for the growth of Dubai into the global city it is now, lost 50% of it value, and is now insolvent.

    2. Bush appointed “ruthless, untrustworthy”Hank Paulson (Goldman Sachs), in 2006 to Treasury. California home ownership was spiraling down 12%. Toxic subprime mortgages were showing world-wide infection.

    3. In August 2007 Paris Bank shuts down accounts-invested in worthless paper. Christie LaGuarde avoided fraud allegations going back to an Addidas 1992 bankrutcy (boy, everybody gets to declare bankruptcy except students and credit card holders! nice!).

    Just 13 months later comes Lehman Brothers dramatic 2a.m. bankruptcy.

    4. Northern Rock Bank Mortgage and Loan, London shuts accounts causing ban panic September 2007 while the British government does not respond. In 2008 it was taken over and Virgin owns it as of 2012.

    5. Hank Paulson assures that USA will be fine but Christine LeGaurde says “not so fast!

  55. bearcreekbat 2015-11-01 12:49

    Cory, that’s a great link! I don’t think there are simple answers to all your questions, but the solution that might work would be to focus on policy not individuals.

    The idea that someone must be the cause of economic injustice seems an oversimplification similar to the religious idea that human sins and debauchery caused Hurricane Katrina. The cause of economic injustice stems more from whatever laws and regulations encourage or permit the unequal accumulation and retention of resources.

    Changing laws to effectuate both redistribution of accumulated wealth (progressive income tax plus a progressive estate tax) and the balance of power between the owners of the means of production and the labor force (empower unions) would go a long way toward correcting economic injustice.

  56. leslie 2015-11-03 02:16

    robert reich says “walls street banks and big corporations.” This originally appeared on Robert Reich’s blog:

    Much of the national debate about widening inequality focuses on whether and how much to tax the rich and redistribute their income downward.

    But this debate ignores the upward redistributions going on every day, from the rest of us to the rich. These redistributions are hidden inside the market.

    The only way to stop them is to prevent big corporations and Wall Street banks from rigging the market.

  57. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-03 06:30

    BCB, I’m glad you enjoyed the link. The passage in Steinbeck’s novel is just as good. When I taught The Grapes of Wrath at Montrose HS, I made “Who do we shoot?” one of the essay questions.

    Your suggestion that we shoot no one but instead focus on changing our laws and institutions is proper but unsatisfying to the poor farmer as he stands before the banker serving the eviction notice. How do we empower that poor farmer to participate in and effect that change? (Enter Dakota Rural Action….)

    Leslie’s link to Reich is useful. Reich’s mention of “big corporations” reminds me of the hypotheticals BCB posed about farm incorporation under the back yard chickens post. Ma and Pa Farmer don’t become oligarchs or monopolists by filing papers to make their farm a legal corporate entity. They still live among their neighbors, tend land that they can see in one look from the hayloft, and have no more pull in town or in Pierre or Washington than any of a thousand other farmers in their county. But at a certain size, corporations become a problem, because they (or, trying to satisfy BCB’s thirst for accuracy, the individuals at their helms) amass too much wealth and power to be checked by moral, legal, or market forces. Their size insulates them from moral suasion (the executive in Kansas City never sees the dire straits in which he places Steinbeck’s poor farmer; the man in the suit and car can shrug off the farmer’s complaints and threats as he is just doing his job at the behest of forces greater than he can comprehend). Their wealth allows them to buy the legislatures and competitors who could check their power.

    So my real enemy is “Big Corporations,” a vague adjective applied to a broad noun to encapsulate a concept of a level of power concentration that threatens the social contract. When Reich talks about preventing big corporations from rigging the market, he’s saying we need a Leviathan that can scare every player into playing nicely and that we can’t let any player get bigger than the Leviathan.

  58. bearcreekbat 2015-11-03 14:11

    What about “Big Partnerships” or “Big Individuals” or “Big Associations?” Why would a “Big Corporation” be any more of an enemy than any other individual or entity capable of rigging the market?

  59. mike from iowa 2015-11-03 14:57

    John Kasich walked away from Lehman Bros with 1.8 mil in 2008,the year LB collapsed. Jeb Shrub worked there as well.

  60. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-03 20:51

    Bearcreekbat, “Big” may be a bigger red flag than “corporation.” One individual with unchecked wealth can wreak all sorts of havoc. I need to see examples of the “Big Partnerships” and “Big Associations” you posit, but I’m willing to say in general that “Big” anything, amassing more power than individual citizens can wield, post a threat requiring the Leviathan’s attention and check.

    But there might still be cause to look at Big Corporations with more alarm than Big “Partnerships.” I’m stretching some rather fuzzy terms, but “partnership” and “association” suggest a possibly more democratic entity, with equals working together, having to make decision by vote or by consensus. Corporations do not necessarily run that way. Corporations can be less democratic, more autocratic.

  61. bearcreekbat 2015-11-04 11:34

    Cory, I read a Salon interview with Joseph E. Stiglitz discussing his recent book, titled “Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy: An Agenda for Growth and Shared Prosperity.”

    Stiglitz’s proposals to deal with inequality focus on changing public policy. He argues that supply-side trickle down public policies beginning in the late 1970’s have caused the inequality we see today, and will continue to increase inequality unless there is a change in public policies.

    Although I have not read this book yet, I found the Preface and Introduction on Amazon at the following link:

    My arguments seem to be supported by Stiglitz’s analysis.

    As for “Big Partnerships,” Bloomberg has a list at:

    And wikipedia lists “Big Associations” at:

  62. leslie 2015-11-06 21:08

    damn u guyz:)! maybe its just “giant” corporations. NYT :

    a selected comment:

    mj michigan October 11, 2015
    Does this surprise anyone?

    The Kochs and the rest of their ilk say words that are red meat to their base while all the while proceeding with business as usual. They hold the reins thanks to the Supreme Court. They will never abolish corporate welfare, but they will rail against it in public knowing full well that as long a their base is stirred up and foaming at the mouth at government their jaundiced eye will never swing in the direction of the 1%. It’s a shell game with the American People as the mark.


  63. leslie 2015-11-06 22:47

    As daugaard echos natl GOP austerity/cutting “big government”-he yet has no idea what his “rounds/daugaard/jackley/long failure to oversee corporate shennaigans” is doing to pocketbooks of citizens of the state, and now with his willingness to open our doors to nuclear waste for the benefit of a few;

    here is an example of how daugaard fails to see the “big picture”. he couldn’t even manage one “joop/sveen team”, or another “Board of Regents”, and another “Department of state Education MCEC debacle”! If DENR can’t protect from a bad uranium operation, the wolves (giant corporations” will be all over us (Kochs have offices in the state). We need a governor that can keep his/her eye on the ball. CAFOS…?


    The GOP yokels in Arizona didn’t see a new 15 square mile alfalfa field that is draining groundwater that will NEVER replenish (stay with me,… it gets good in para. 3 below):

    1. IN CHINA, [ t]he aquifer system in northwest China has been experiencing ominous signs as Saudi Arabia similarly did a decade ago. Wells are going dry and water tables are dropping fast. The Earth Policy Institute estimates China is feeding 130 million people – about a tenth of its total population – by overpumping and depleting its sinking aquifers. When the aquifer system runs out, analysts say, China will need to rely on foreign farmland to feed 130 million people – equivalent to about 1 in 3 Americans. They will be competing with the 30 million Saudis already relying on imported food.

    2. A global domino effect has begun. As one country runs low on water, it turns to another, putting more strain on those water reserves. Last year, both China and Saudi Arabia set record-high agricultural imports from the United States.

    3. IN ARIZONA, Almarai, one of Saudi Arabia’s two main dairy producers, purchased 15 square miles of farmland in the Arizona desert to grow alfalfa for export back to the country. Alfalfa is so water intensive that it requires three to four times more irrigation than wheat. That water comes from the Colorado River, where reservoirs are at an all-time low, threatening the drinking water for Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Diego.

    4. In 2013, with the financial and political backing of China’s government, a Chinese company purchased America’s largest pork producer, SMITHFIELD FOODS, securing 1 in 4 American-raised pigs, plus the water-hungry grains those 30 million pigs consumed. It was the largest-ever Chinese acquisition of an American company. By buying food from overseas, these countries are in effect importing water – increasingly American water – in the form of corn, soy, nuts and meats.

    5. The United States has no national plan to monitor the effect these water exports are having on its aquifers. The Saudis did the same thing. And it cost them dearly. As Elhadj wrote (“Camels Don’t Fly; Deserts Don’t Bloom”) in 2004, what Saudi Arabia did was “synonymous with shipping away the country’s finite water resources.” (see SAUDI ARABIA below)

    6. CALIFORNIA is now threatening restaurants with a $500 fine if they serve drinking water to customers – unless a customer requests the water. But the entire state – all 38 million people – drink only about one-tenth of 1 percent of the state’s annual water use. In comparison, farmers, who face no water restrictions, use about 7 PERCENT OF ITS ANNUAL WATER to grow ALMONDS for export overseas.

    7. BACK TO ARIZONA, Arizona’s water supply, like many states’ water supplies, is predominantly used for farming. Arizona, as a state, has been pretty xenophobic over the years. Arizona isn’t known for being the most partial to people of color. Like most of these states with Proud to Be an American tattooed across the lips of all their politicians, they are full of s—.***
    Amazing. NPR points out that Arizona’s farming and land laws really didn’t foresee this kind of loophole.

    (my emphasis)

    The laws were put in place in the ’70s, and kudos to Arizona — they were really one of the first states to put in groundwater laws. But the laws were really designed for local or domestic farming. The idea that another country would come and essentially export your water via crops just wasn’t really around 30, 40 years ago. And so the laws that are in place are really inadequate for dealing with this new trend.

    This is occurring in a part of Arizona that is unregulated for groundwater. So there are no limits on how much water they can pump.

    8. satellite photos:

    dailykos, 11.03.15 saudis out of water to grow hay

    Note: since Rapid City’s severe drought of 1988, local government refused to keep a tiny fountain bubbling at City Hall (reused water and all)! Of course that same local government stripped the bars out of the downtown area. Our brainy leaders today have reinstalled fountains, vapo-lounges and bars, bars, bars. Las Vegas, Arizona and California are going dry, and are non-replenishable. where do you think the wolves are going to look at, thirstily, next? The Missouri River. The Oglala Aquifer.

    Rapid City’s last 30 year water plan runs out in 2019! The state may need a long term water plan.

    the take away: we have taken so much water out of the ground that sea levels have risen.

  64. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-07 12:59

    BCB, if they’re bigger than I, I’m suspicious. If you’re smaller than I, be suspicious of me. :-)

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