The bottom line of a free market

There are many things to talk about, but, the economy has got to be at the front of any discussion.  The reason for this is clear; those in power who have money want even more money no matter how they get it.  That is the bottom line of the free market; make money.

It shouldn’t surprise people then, how they manage to make that bottom line…

The economy is so bad that it is, literally, killing people.

BAY CITY, Mich. – A 93-year-old man froze to death inside his home just days after the municipal power company restricted his use of electricity because of unpaid bills, officials said.

Mr. Schur lived alone, and, presumably at his age, was living on a fixed income.  Whatever income he was living on either vanished, or, was no longer enough to pay even his electric bill. Unpaid bills should be a huge concern for anyone, even if it means seeking temporary financial support from somewhere like Zebra Loans until you get back on your feet. The electric company installed a usage limiter on his house, and, when that limiter shut down Mr. Shur’s electricity, he froze to death.  Far from taking responsibility, the electric company stated;

“I’ve said this before and some of my colleagues have said this: Neighbors need to keep an eye on neighbors,” Belleman said. “When they think there’s something wrong, they should contact the appropriate agency or city department.”

That is the mentality of the “bottom line” market; nobody in power will look out for your welfare, so, hope your neighbors care about you enough to do it.  This is the same “bottom line” market mentality that those in power believe applies to everyone but the wealthy.

Banking and Wall Street executives went to Congress begging for a handout when they drove their banking institutions into near bankruptcy and collapsed our economy.  After receiving up to hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars in aid to keep their institutions viable, these same institutions have turned on the hand that fed them; the workers in America.

Three days after receiving $25 billion in federal bailout funds, Bank of America Corp. hosted a conference call with conservative activists and business officials to organize opposition to the U.S. labor community’s top legislative priority.

Participants on the October 17 call — including at least one representative from another bailout recipient, AIG — were urged to persuade their clients to send “large contributions” to groups working against the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), as well as to vulnerable Senate Republicans, who could help block passage of the bill.

How could these organizations expect to post continual profits if there are unions formed to fight for the worker?  Workers are just that and they should be happy with any wage they earn, unlike the CEO, who expects to be paid multi-million dollar bonuses regardless of performance.  Provide help to those same workers?  Not so much.

In key concessions to the banking industry, Mr. Conyers agreed to alter the legislation to allow court-ordered modifications only for existing mortgages and to require that borrowers contact their lender at least 15 days before filing bankruptcy. Citigroup Inc. had demanded the changes in exchange for throwing its weight behind the bill, a move that angered the rest of the industry.

In another change, the legislation will now require recipients of cram downs who resell their home within five years to share the proceeds with their lender.

The same institutions that squandered their own capital, that were saved from failing by the taxpayer, that are now working to stop people from being able to unionize, are DEMANDING concessions by Congress in legislation designed to help the people that they hurt. One of those concessions?  For taking a loss on the loans principle, the bank gets to share in the proceeds of the sale of the property if sold within five years.

Yes, as CitiCorp banking executives whine over having to give up their latest 50 million dollar private corporate jet after receiving tens or hundreds of billions of taxpayer money, they DEMANDED concessions of Congress so they could get their fingers into the little slice of pie a person may get from selling their home.  Home values have fallen another 18%, unemployment has risen across the nation as businesses slash jobs even reaching 9.5% in South Carolina, but, the people who begged for hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars want a slice of the proceeds from a “cram down”?  That’s your free market “bottom line” at work.

The “bottom line” market mentality has invaded even the prison system in America.

Federal authorities say President Judge Mark Ciavarella and Senior Judge Michael Conahan were involved in a $2.6 million scheme to place juvenile offenders into facilities in which the judges had a financial interest.

Court documents state that in some cases, Ciavarella ordered children into detention even when juvenile probation officers did not recommend it.

The two have agreed to plead guilty to honest services fraud and tax fraud. Their plea agreements call for sentences of more than seven years in federal prison. They have agreed to step down from the bench.

Judges ordering juveniles into detention facilities so that they can make a buck?  That’s your “bottom line” market at work.  Of course, nobody could have predicted that if a profit could be made by having a larger prison population that increasing that population, and thus the profit, would eventually turn into a travesty of justice.

The average people have been hit so hard by the “bottom line” market that some have resorted to murder-suicide.

It was the fifth mass death of a Southern California family by murder or suicide in a year.

Police urged those facing tough economic times to get help rather than resort to violence.

“Today our worst fear was realized,” said Deputy Chief Kenneth Garner. “It’s just not a solution. There’s just so many ways you find alternatives to doing something so horrific and drastic as this.”

Help?  What help?  Unless you are a CEO of a banking organization that was allowed to become to big to fail, what help is there to be had?  Unemployment funds in states have been drying up since late 2008.  The legislation Congress is looking to pass to help homeowners was changed as the same banks that got hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars handed to them DEMANDED that they be allowed to get their fingers into the little person’s slice of pie from selling their home.  And, here’s a hint, if you can’t afford your mortgage, electricity bill, or feed your family, you certainly cannot afford the $100/hr for a therapist.

And yet, after all of this, after years of this “bottom line” market mentality, who are these same people who live with a silver spoon in their mouth turning to?  The GOP.  And, the GOP are not failing in their duty to these silver spoon executives as they continue to obstruct any help for the average person in the form of the Obama stimulus plan.

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) thinks that tax cuts for the rich are still good.

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) announced that he will seek to expand the proposed stimulus plan to make the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent.

“The most important economic priority for our country is to make certain that taxes do not go up,” said Senator DeMint. “Everyone is in a hurry to pass something quickly but we need to make sure that it actually works. Congress was wrong to make the tax relief temporary and now it’s about to make that mistake again. For that reason, I will work to improve the proposed stimulus plan by making America’s tax relief permanent.

“We’re not going to grow our economy with temporary cash handouts. American families and businesses need permanent tax relief and they need to know they won’t face the largest tax increase in history in a few years. We must bring certainty to our economic future now, and make the tax cuts permanent.”

George W. Bush gave tax cuts; tax cuts that only helped the rich.  George W. Bush already gave out cash handouts; $300 dollars to the average person, hundreds of billions of dollars to the bankers and Wall Street.  Both failed and our economy is worse off for that failure.  It failed because people must have, not only a job, but a salary that gives them disposable income.  Without those two things, our economy cannot heal itself.  It also cannot heal itself with the “bottom line” market mentality that rewards the rich for failure while working vigorously to keep the worker from having stable employment with a wage sufficient to give them disposable income.

Sen. DeMint has already voiced his position on what the average worker should earn when he voted “NO” on raising the minimum wage in 2005 and 2006.  Helping homeowners with an energy tax credit?  He voted “NO” to that in 2008.  Ensuring that people are paid a salary without discrimination?  He voted “NO” to that in January 2009.  What does Sen. DeMint want?  Permanent tax cuts for the rich and helping banks by amending the bankruptcy law.

Is it any wonder that the GOP is now running for its political life when you look at the voting history of those like Sen. DeMint who consistently voted against the average person every step of the way for years in their pursuit to support the “bottom line” market and its silver spoon CEO’s?

And, the bottom line is… the GOP will continue to obstruct any help for the average person.


    • Edger on January 28, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    doesn’t consider himself to be “neighborly” so his own enjoinder doesn’t apply to him in his own eyes.

    He’ll find that out one day, rather unpleasantly, probably.

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