Socialism vs. Capitalism: Questions and Comments

Satan is a Liar. And Jesus Christ is the Lord. Repent and be saved. Yeah, I know you’ve heard it before. But have you ever heard it from the antichrist before?

Okay, this post is going to be a little bit different. I’m interested in the Capitalism vs. Socialism debate. However, I’m not going to write a well-structured essay on the topic. I’m just going to list a number of relevant questions, and observations/comments and list which side that supports.

If Paul works 12 hours a day, 6 days a week for 30 years, should he earn more than Sam who works only 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for 30 years?–point to the Capitalist

Paul, the CEO, of the massive corporation CommiesRUs with 200,000 employees, cannot run the corporation by himself no matter how hard he tries or how fast he works.–point to the Socialist.

If Paul has worked at the same company for 30 years, and Sam has only worked there for 1 year, should he earn more than Sam?–point to the Capitalist.

Invisible theft–If Paul is the CEO of CommiesRUs and he uses his power in a draconian manner to “squeeze” his labor force to produce more while at the same time reducing their pay, is he not “stealing” their labor and the fruits thereof from them?–point to the Socialist.

If Paul just makes smarter economic decisions than Sam, shouldn’t he naturally earn more money than Sam?–point to the Capitalist

For that matter, if Paul has developed the ability to make decisions and Sam has not, shouldn’t he be rewarded for such?–point to the Capitalist

Shouldn’t the use of different skills earn different rewards? If 5000 people have one skill and make their living from it, but only 5 have another skill; shouldn’t the 5 be making more money?–point to the Capitalist

How do you account for things that don’t equate to labor stuff like: jewelry, real estate, I’m sure there are others.–point to the Capitalist.

Should a teenager just starting out be paid as much as a forty-year-old with a serious skill set and resume.–point to the Capitalist

Satan is a Liar. And Jesus Christ is the Lord. Repent and be saved. Yeah, I know you’ve heard it before. But have you ever heard it from the antichrist before?

What is the Measure of a Faith?

Satan is a Liar. And Jesus Christ is the Lord. Repent and be saved. Yeah, I know you’ve heard it before. But have you ever heard it from the antichrist before?

Numerous religions populate the Earth. Are all of them good? Are all of them bad? Or is their something of a mix?

I was raised Catholic, so I have a bias in favor of Christian faiths, especially Roman Catholicism. Although, at this time, it is beyond my abilities to do a complete compare contrast between all faiths, or even just the Christian faiths, I do want to make a few comments.

To me, the measure of a faith is its ability to produce a good man (or woman). If a faith helps an individual grow into a responsible adult who treats others with respect and has a certain measure of concern for the welfare of others, I’d say that is a decent faith. If it doesn’t do those things; if it encourages its members to kill others in the service of the faith, provides bad examples of behavior, or, in general, is not life-affirming, it isn’t a particularly good faith and should probably be avoided. Examples of bad faiths abound: as a Platonist, I point to the ancient Greek faith as one–a religion that worshiped deities with profound defects of character like that which you would find in any common man: it celebrated Zeus’ adulteries among many other things. Today, due to the efforts of Islamist terrorists to kill everyone who disagrees with them, I am also a bit leery of Islam. To be sure, most Muslims are probably good people (I don’t know many Muslims, regardless), but their faith has a problem with Islamic Extremists. As it’s their faith, they are the ones who have to deal with it; I can’t. I can jump up and down and point my finger at it, but they are they ones who have to make the change.

Ok, what about good faiths? I think most Christian faiths, as well as Judaism, and Buddhism are decent faiths. At least, they come across that way to me. As for other faiths like Hinduism, Jainism, or whatever, I really don’t know enough about them to say for sure.

Anyway, since I’m Christian, I do want to address the Protestant question. Who is right? The Protestants who split away from the Catholic Church, or the Catholics who insist there is no salvation outside Mother Church? Honestly, I don’t care. I find some things about the Catholic Church more desirable (Confession), and some things about the Protestants more desirable (I don’t think the Pope is infallible). And to me, it seems that Protestants and Catholics spend far too much time and effort arguing over minutia that could be better spent on something else more worthwhile. Although I think the discussion of Transubstantiation is an interesting topic, even worthwhile to a point, I really would be disappointed in God if He were to condemn people to hell based on their respective positions on the matter. And my response is the same for a lot of other aspects of the normal arguments among the various sides: justification by faith vs. works, the Bible vs. the Bible and Tradition, etc…

Anyhoo, those are my thoughts today.

Satan is a Liar. And Jesus Christ is the Lord. Repent and be saved. Yeah, I know you’ve heard it before. But have you ever heard it from the antichrist before?

Moral Minimalism

Satan is a Liar. And Jesus Christ is the Lord. Repent and be saved. Yeah, I know you’ve heard it before. But have you ever heard it from the antichrist before?

From the time of Prohibition, we are said to have learned that you can’t legislate morality. This refrain is usually used in reference to sexual ethics, abortion, and what is usually considered Christian morality. I find it conspicuously absent from discussions of racism. And how about slavery? Rape? Murder?

Once upon a time, there was a group called the Moral Majority. I only vaguely remember the group from the 1980’s. From what I recall, they were primarily concerned with Christian values and family values. They thought that since they represented one of the largest slices of the population, they could use their influence to positively promulgate their values in society at large. They failed.

I have no interest in resurrecting the Moral Majority. I think they failed for good reason (and I think BLM should take note of them, and reflect upon the lessons their failure should have taught). Many moral issues should remain out of the purview of the government as the maxim, “You can’t legislate morality,” implies. However, I do not think that that is an absolute maxim. I don’t think that all moral issues should remain outside the purview of government. I believe that some moral issues are a legitimate concern of the government. To address such, I propose the principle of moral minimalism.

Moral Minimalism is the position that there exists a minimal moral standard that a government must forcefully impose upon its citizenry (presumably with the consent of the democratic majority). But I emphasize that this is a minimum. If you imagine morality as being a scale from pure black (with no racial overtones) being evil, grey being close to morally neutral, and white (with no racial overtones) being morally good, then you can judge actions on this scale, not in terms of a binary choice of good or evil, but a choice on a continuum from good to morally vague to utmost evil … although occasionally there may be binary choices as well. The point is that binary choices alone, are too simplistic to capture all the nuances of morality. In light of all this, (forgive the unfortunate color use) I would put forth that the place of government is to prevent a descent into the very dark blackness (in the moral sense above, not the racial sense). Because of that, there is a distinctly moral element to some of the government’s laws. For example, we can at least agree that murder, rape, slavery, human sacrifice, and duels to the death should be illegal. Can’t we? I put forth that they violate a moral minimum and that is one of the justifications for making them illegal. In general, I would say that matters of life and death, as well as physical cruelty, allow one to invoke a principle of moral minimalism. Because of this, I would say that abortion falls in this area of discussion, but that is a discussion for another time.

Generally speaking, I would say that sexual ethics do NOT invoke a principle of moral minimalism. The government has no place in the bedroom–neither to restrict certain behavior nor to promote certain behavior. Leave such to the churches, God, or whatever moral standard the individual chooses to follow.

So far, most people will probably agree to the above. However, if you apply the principle to some of our modern social issues, I’m sure to get blowback. For example, I don’t think moral minimalism is applicable to the following: homosexual rights, transexual rights, even civil rights in general. Perhaps, the civil rights of blacks are an exception because the conditions at the time they were implemented were so atrocious, but I didn’t live at that time, so I don’t know; regardless, I don’t think such is true now (although conditions may be far from ideal). For the record, on a personal level, I support gay marriage … I just don’t think the government should be forcing others to agree with me. Similarly, I think judging an individual by the color of their skin is immoral, but I’m not sure the government should be involved there either. Basically, I don’t think government should try to micromanage the moral development of every individual in its society. It should only set up a moral minimum, keep society from sliding into utter moral chaos, and leave the rest of each individual’s moral development up to his/her parents, family, God, and own inclinations.

Satan is a Liar. And Jesus Christ is the Lord. Repent and be saved. Yeah, I know you’ve heard it before. But have you ever heard it from the antichrist before?

Democratic Money and the New Corona Virus Economy

Satan is a Liar. And Jesus Christ is the Lord. Repent and be saved. Yeah, I know you’ve heard it before. But have you ever heard it from the antichrist before?

This is a long one. The following essay was written by my brother, Patrick A. Ryan. It was published at Counterpunch a few weeks back, but he’s given me permission to publish it here as well.

Division of resources is an ongoing problem for society. I have included my own observations/critiques of the essay as it goes along preceded by 3 # signs and followed by 3 & signs. Many people on the Left believe everyone should have an equal share of the proverbial “pie.” My brother does not argue that in this particular essay, but I can see how others might. In response, following the essay are a series of questions and observations I made about the essay and the economy, in general about that point. Anyway, on to the essay:

 

Democratic Money and the New Corona Virus Economy

 

Here in the United States, we don’t like to talk about class.  The dominant metaphor projected by the media is the great big competition that we are all participating in as individuals (the meritocracy or free market).  Within the competition, there are winners and losers.  As independent competitors, most people don’t belong to a class.  They are instead working hard not to become “losers” and struggling toward that elusive category of “winner.”   Nevertheless, it is helpful to talk about class when discussing the economic system because as a matter of observable fact and applicable law, the economic system treats people very differently depending upon what class they are in.  Indeed, at a very fundamental level, we have four separate economic systems in the United States; one for each of the four different economic classes.  If the systems could be unified into one, then we could maybe say that we have a real free and fair market.  But the blatant unfairness of the oligarchic money supply system makes that impossible.  The recent economic response to the Corona Virus epidemic demonstrates this fundamental unfairness in easy to understand, black and white terms.

 

The distinct economic classes in the United States are as follows:

 

01% of the adult US population owns 50% of the financial markets.  This is the “ruling class” for purposes of discussion.  You probably know who they are in your town.  They pull the levers of power.  They own lots of stuff.  This is not to say they are good people or bad people.  It is only to recognize the reality of their position in the economic system.

 

09% of the adult US population owns 35% of the financial markets.  This is the “managerial class.”  This is the lawyers and accountants and corporate bosses and administrators that are always telling everyone else what to do. They are the levers of power that get pulled. This is not to disparage the character of “professionals,” but it is to recognize them as a distinct economic class within the economic system. The 09% managerial class.

 

40% of the adult US population owns 15% of the financial markets.  This is the useful good guy working class.  Firefighters and nurses, teachers and emts.  All those nice little people with 401ks and retirement pensions and/or a small portfolio of stocks. For purposes of discussion, they are the financialized working class.  They have been led to believe that the financial markets are a good thing that serves their interests because they are invested in them but they don’t really understand the reality of how financial markets function.

 

50% of the adult US population own 0% of the financial markets.  This is the precariat class that seriously struggles to meet basic needs.  They have low wage jobs, temp jobs, gig positions, illegal jobs, social service survival payments, disability payments, unemployment payments, worker’s comp. payments, public housing, subsidized housing, homeless shelters and food pantries.  This is not to disparage the precariat class.  It is to recognize them as a distinct economic class within the economic system.  It is the class of people that does not participate in the financial markets so they have to get their currency (money) they need to survive from another source.

 

This essay advocates for the transformation of the money supply system from an oligarchic money supply system to a democratic money supply system.  This one fundamental change to the very foundations of the economy would transform society in significant ways.  There is little doubt that the proposed change would be greatly beneficial to the precariat class.  If they could be made to understand the proposal they would all agree to it. (###Not sure this is true. Hints of you can’t think for yourself or your too stupid to know what’s best for you. You must agree or we’ll send you to the reeducation camps&&&) There is also little doubt that the proposed change would be greatly beneficial to the financialized working class.  They, however, might hesitate to accept the transformation because of the small benefit they receive from the present oligarchic money supply system and the heavy dose of propaganda that accompanies that small benefit.  Some of the managerial class may agree to the proposed change because they will see how it will improve their quality of life for them and everyone around them.  But many in the managerial class will oppose it because they receive way too many benefits from the oligarchic money supply system.   Same with the ruling class.  A few may like the proposal from an intellectual perspective as a mechanism for organizing society.  But most just get way too much benefit from the oligarchic money supply to even consider it.  The ruling class controlled media will wage a full spectrum attack against the concept because it challenges the foundations of the economic system.

 

So let’s start with the oligarchic money supply system that exists now.  How much is a loaf of bread?  How much was a loaf of bread twenty years ago?  How much is a potato?  How much was a potato? How much is your rent or “mortgage payment?” How much was your rent or “mortgage payment” thirty years ago?  How much to get treated for Corona Virus now? How much to get treated for measles or polio then?  Inflation is a fact of life.  Inflation is a reality. (###Also worth recognizing that comparing 2020 dollars to 1980 dollars is really impossible because you couldn’t buy a smart phone with 1980 dollars because that technology didn’t exist at the time&&&) When I was young, a millionaire was fantastically rich guy and billionaires were only in cartoons (Scrooge McDuck).  Now there are millionaires on every corner and billionaires bloviate all over the main stream media.  They have replaced movie actors as the gods of the modern religion. (###Don’t agree with that last. I think Hollywood actors have a greater influence on younger culture than a billionaire bloviating on Fox news. Maybe there is an age demographic involved, but stories(movies, tv) are very powerful&&&)

So the big question is; where did all the new money come from?”  

 

Money does not grow on trees.  It can’t be picked.  Money is not buried in the ground.  It can’t be dug up or mined.  But money does exist and there is a lot more of it circulating through the economic system now than there was thirty years ago.  So where does this new money come from?  How does it get added to the economic system when it wasn’t there before?  For that matter, what, exactly… is money?  Money is the symbolic representation of the legal right to use economic value within the jurisdiction of the government that created the money (###I can’t resist: A circular definition because you use money in the definition of money. Lol. Seriously, I think there should be a stronger connection between goods, how they are produced, and money. I once thought it was labor, but that ignores certain things. Now, I think it should be something like accomplishment. An accomplishment-theory-of-value? Don’t know. Economics isn’t my strong suit&&&). In other words, all new money must originate from the federal government or it is, by definition, counterfeit. Therefore, all of the trillions of dollars that are now circulating through the system that were not circulating thirty years ago must have been somehow added to the flow by the federal government.  In other words, the government supplied the currency to the system (###worth mentioning that I think it was to account for increased goods. If you have 100 dollars and 10 apples in the economy. I think each apple is worth 10 dollars. Ten years later, you have 100 apples in the economy, then each apple should be worth 1 dollar; unless you increase the money supply to 1000 dollars. I think&&&).  How did they supply it?  Who did they supply it to?

 

In reality, new money is added to the economic system on a regular basis through two separate mechanisms.  The US Treasury department writes checks to corporations, individuals and government agencies as official Federal spending and the Federal Reserve “loans” money to the financial markets through its role as the central banker.  In both cases, money is also subtracted from the economic system to theoretically balance out the system.  In the case of official Federal spending, the US Treasury subtracts money from the economic system through imposing taxes on citizens and selling government bonds. (###I would not have thought of excluding Federal assets from the economic system. Of course, if it’s fiat money, maybe you should. Government spends 4 trillion a year. That comes from taxes levied on corporations and individuals. Excess becomes deficit which is added to the debt. Yada yada yada&&&).  But the trick of government accounting is there is no bottom and there is always a lag between what the government puts out in spending and what it takes in through taxes and bond sales.  US Treasury checks don’t bounce.  They can’t as a matter of law.  As the deficit grows larger and the lag between spending and money collecting grows longer more and more money circulates through the economic system.  In the case of Federal Reserve loans to the financial markets, the Federal Reserve subtracts money when it collects the payments on the loans.  But the Federal Reserve is in the same position as the US treasury.  They can’t bounce a check.  Accordingly, they lend out more money than they have coming in through loan payments thereby increasing the total amount of money in circulation.  If the Fed wants to increase the money supply it “lends” more money.  If it wants to contract the money supply it stops lending and increases debt collection. 

That is how it is designed to work.

 

Oligarchic money supply means simply that when new money (###I think “new” is important&&&) is added to the system, it is always distributed into the system to the upper levels of the economic hierarchy.  Theoretically, the money trickles it’s way downward within the system to eventually reach everybody in the economic system (###I think you are referring to trickle-down-theory (tdt), but I didn’t think tdt referred to money, but rather goods. Not sure, though&&&).  Democrats and Republicans argue about who in the economic hierarchy should get the new money but neither party is interested in democratizing the money distribution itself.  Democratic money means simply that all new money is introduced equally to all participants in the economic system.

 

Presently, the US economic system faces a crisis brought on by the Corona Virus. That crisis is being responded to by both arms of the money supply system.  Originally the Fed proposed a 1.2 trillion shot of liquidity to increase the money supply but they have now upped that to “whatever it takes”.  Meanwhile, Congress and the White House are talking up various plans for about two trillion in liquidity from their side of the money supply system (###the way things are going, by the time you publish this, the government will have passed two more stimulus packages. Lol&&&).  As a matter of observable fact, both arms of the system will be distributing their combined four trillion dollars using an oligarchic mechanism rather than a democratic mechanism.  That is the thing that needs to change (###That, if not 100% accurate, is probably above 70% accurate&&&).

 

For clarity of understanding, let’s look at the difference between democratic distribution versus oligarchic distribution with this proposed Corona Virus rescue economic package.  If we have a two trillion dollar package, like Congress is now proposing, all we have to do to distribute it democratically is figure out how many people are in the economic system and divide it up equally.  I would include everyone living within the borders in this number but politicians no doubt will seek to somehow shrink the size of the class.  For the sake of discussion, I use the approximate number of 300 million human people in the US who are subject to the US economic system. Three hundred million people goes into a two trillion dollar fund, six thousand six hundred and sixty six times.  That’s $6,666 dollars per person (###Unfortunate number because of my AC issues. Just sayin’&&&).  Instead, the congressional corona virus two trillion under discussion will be passed out very differently.  Much of it is going directly to corporations in large amounts instead of small amounts to individuals.  Theoretically, it will trickle down to the employees who work for those corporations in the form of wages and paid sick leave and the opportunity to work again.  Another large chunk of the two trillion will go into government bureaucracies like unemployment and Medicaid.  This money too will trickle downward into the community through the hands of the employed bureaucrats and into the hands of the displaced workers if they prostrate themselves before the state and beg for it by “applying for unemployment.” It is doubtful that any of the displaced workers will receive more than $6,666 in benefits.  Finally, a small chunk of the trillion, about 200 million(10%) (###200 Billion with a “B”. Still grotesque&&&) will be distributed somewhat democratically… to everybody.  Not sure exactly who will be included in this group, all taxpayers, all voters, all residents… But they are saying $1200 per adult and $500 per child.  I would like to specifically emphasize that even this small bit of democratic money will be advertised as a handout or safety net for the unfortunate instead of as a recognition of basic economic rights.

 

The other Corona stimulus rescue package is coming from the other arm of the money supply system; The Federal Reserve.  Originally, the Fed said they were going to inject 1.2 trillion of additional money into the corporate bond market (I.e. lend corporations new money).  They later upped that amount to 1.5 trillion and have now upped that amount to whatever it takes to keep the credit markets flowing.  It is important to understand, that this money too, is distributed oligarchically rather than democratically.  50% of US adults have no investments in the financial markets at all so they get no share of the 2 trillion Fed stimulus.  Even among the hundred million US adults who are invested in the financial markets, the money is not distributed democratically.  If it was distributed democratically, every person invested in the market would receive $20, 000.  Instead, they will receive a share of the stimulus in proportion to their total investment in the market.  The ruling class of 2 million people will get 50% or 1 trillion.  If they broke it down democratically among themselves that works out to five hundred thousand dollars each. They, of course, break that down, oligarchically as well.  The more you have the more you get.  The managerial class of approximately 10 million people will get there (###their&&&) 35% or 700 billion.  If they broke their share down democratically they would get seventy thousand dollars each. And finally, the financialized working class of approximately 80 million people would get 15% or about 300 billion.  If they broke their share down democratically, they would get $3600 each (significantly less than $6,666). (###A corporation as a corporation might get some of the money and that may skew things a bit. But I think that is part of your issue with the whole system&&&)

 

Think of it this way.  The federal government is not adding any economic value at all to the economic system with it’s Corona Virus economic stimulus package.  They are, instead, re-organizing the distribution of the legal right to utilize already existing economic value so that we as a nation respond effectively to the Corona Virus attack.  Since money is the symbolic representation of the money holders legal right to use economic value (###not sure about that definition. It seems to ignore the production of that value&&&), by adding 4 trillion new dollars to the system they reduce the value of the already existing money by a significant percentage.  This will manifest as inflation in the near future (###true&&&).  The cost of food and shelter will go up.  If this new money was democratically distributed, the amount received by each person would more than make up for this increased inflation.  But since the money is distributed oligarchically,  90% of the population actually gets ripped off in the Corona stimulus transaction.  Do you really think it’s such a good deal? $4 trillion dollars increases the amount of money in circulation by 20%.  That means the value of the money in your hand goes down by 20%.  That means the cost of your rent and food is going to go up by 20% in the next few years (###math is off a little. If the value of my $5 bill goes down to $4, I am $1 (25%) short of $5. When you are reducing something by 20%, it takes 25% to get back up to 100%. Quirk of math and actually makes the situation above worse&&&).  $1200 in cash now in exchange for a much higher survival prices in the near future. How much do you get in unemployment?   Sort of makes you wish you got the $13,333 that would be your fair share if the whole four trillion was distributed Democratically.  But alas, Congress and the President and the Fed stabbed us all in the back.  They made a big show of handing us a dollar while they snuck a ten spot from our proverbial wallets.

 

So what if we did things differently?  What if we responded to the Corona Virus Crisis  with an economic stimulus based on democratic principles instead of oligarchic principles? How would it work?  What would a real democratic money supply stimulus look like?  Is it possible to impose an emergency alternative economy on top of the crumbling broken economy and thereby create a stable hybrid economy that is radically different and significantly more ethically sound than the present one?  I don’t know.  But under the extreme circumstances we are now facing, it is certainly worth considering.

 

The most important thing to understand about money supply is that a healthy economic system must be designed so that money circulates through it.  If there is an in door, there has to be an out door.  Under the present system, the Fed normally gives out loans and takes back interest payments.  But the bottomless checkbook makes it possible to give loans faster than they take back payments and thereby increase the amount of money in circulation (###I think being able to increase money supply is a good thing to a certain extent because of the 10 apples to 100 apples above. But I agree that the present situation is out of control&&&).

Similarly, the treasury gives out by writing checks for Congressional spending.  They take in by collecting taxes and selling bonds.   But they too, have a legally bottomless checkbook that allows them to spend more than they collect and thereby increase the money supply (###Yeah, the bottomless pit thing is a problem on both accounts. Still, a constant money supply might run into problems. Population increases. Products increase. Etc…&&&).  Both government offices (treasury and the Fed) have the power to increase or decrease the money supply at will.  You can’t have one without the other.  That’s why the system so strongly opposes the idea of free money.  If you just add money but don’t increase the amount of economic value available, all you do is decrease the value of the money already available.

 

Democratic money is not free money.  It is money that goes out into the system through one door gets passed around society and then goes back to home base through another door (###I think this is a problem. You are looking at government as the ultimate source and destination of the money/economic value, when it should be the output of the population not the government. Because it should, in some way or form come from the taxpayer ultimately. Or is money just the “paper” and economic value what I’ve been calling “product”?&&&).  Similar to a loan or a bond, it is money that comes with an agreement.  In the case of the proposed Corona Virus Economic Stimulus, it is an agreement to participate in the emergency Corona economy for a specified period of time.  By way of example,  I recommend a 1.5 trillion dollar stimulus for the total US population of 300 million distributed democratically for a term of three months.  That works out to $4500 per person which is an average of $1500 per month as the foundational economic investment.  That money will then be spent into the economy by the participants to pay for food and shelter and basic necessities.  In exchange for that foundational investment.  All participants in the emergency economy agree to return (voluntary tax) of 50% of everything they earn on the free market during that designated time period.  Of course many people will not earn anything at all during the three months because they are home in quarantine.  Some people will earn only a little during that three months and pay back in voluntary taxes way less than they receive as the foundational investment.  Anybody who makes $9000 or less for the three month term, receives more from the foundational investment than they pay in taxes.  Anybody who makes more than $9000 over the three month period will pay back more to the fund than they receive in foundational investment.  Hopefully, enough people who participate in the fund make more than $9000 for the three months so that the fund is able to at least break even when the term is complete.  Might even make a profit. If, however, the fund operates at a loss (collects less than it puts out) that would cause some inflation.  But really, the goal of the stimulus is to organize society for a proper response to a pandemic.  A little bit of inflation is a small price to pay if it helps our society weather the Corona crisis before us.  

 

Of course, participation in the Corona Virus Democratic Money stimulus program has to be completely voluntary.  Nobody has to do it if they don’t want to.  No one has to agree to accept the $4500 investment and thereby agree to return 50% of everything they earn on the free market in the next three months.  So the question becomes, will anybody who earns more than $3000 a month want to join the program?  They will, after all, end up paying more into the program than they receive in stimulus.

 

I, personally, am an independent stone mason, and I usually earn between $4000 and $5000 a month during the spring months.  As such, I am in a perfect position to answer this question.  If I earn my normal $15,000 during the three months, I would have to pay $7500 back to the fund at the end of the term.  If I only get $4500 to start, I will lose a total $3000 to the stimulus program.  Nevertheless, I will choose to accept the stimulus agreement without hesitation for several very good reasons.  First, and most importantly, because of the Corona Virus, my normal planned stonework projects might get cancelled because clients have financial issues associated with the virus so perhaps I will make significantly less than my normal hoped for $15,000 anyway.  Secondly, I or a family member could get sick with the virus and we would have to quarantine.   Having the $4500 peace of mind to meet my monthly bills if I can’t work at all will give me the psychological crutch I will need to choose a quarantine that I or my family might need.  Thirdly, I would like to participate in my community, my state, and my nation to help out during this time of crisis.  Stonework is not especially helpful for assisting the sick and I am not skilled at nursing.  But if this medical crisis becomes severe it may become necessary to abandon my normal work altogether and volunteer to help medical professionals in some way they think is useful.  I would like to have the minimum financial security of the $4500, to be able to volunteer my strong arms to help those good doctors and nurses who are on the front lines if they need and want my help.  Finally, even if the Corona Virus Pandemic proves to be not severe and I’m able to do my stonework all Spring and the weather is good and I have a great three months and I manage to make $20,000, and therefore have to pay $10,000 back to the fund, I will still be glad I accepted the $4500 at the start because I can’t think of anything better to spend an extra $5500 on than helping my community get through a health crisis.

 

Of course, the more a person earns above $3000 per month, the less likely it is that he or she will be interested in participating in the proposed democratic money Corona economic stimulus.  This is where the power of community advertising comes into force.  We could mount an Internet campaign against the movie stars and billionaires to convince them to join the Corona Virus Fund.  Can’t you just imagine their dramatic displays of magnanimity and solidarity with the Everyman as they accept their $4500 checks on camera and agree to turn over half their earnings for the next three months to the cause of protecting America from this horrible threat.  More to the point, will the upper middle class that usually earns $6000-$10,000 a month agree to join the fund.  I don’t know.  Again, the power of advertising and community persuasion.  Humans are social animals.  Everyone may want to participate as much as possible in an economic program designed to protect us all from a Corona Virus as much as possible.

 

Finally, before closing, I would like to emphasize that the existence of a $1.5 trillion democratic money stimulus does not preclude traditional government investment in a newly created economic value as well.  In this particular case the new economic value that the government must account for is medical treatment for Corona Virus.  The people who perform the service of treatment have to be paid and the equipment and medicines used in the treatment has to be paid for as well.  Once again, the federal government could create a Corona Virus Treatment Fund out of thin air.  All future hospital, Doctor or medical bills associated with Corona Virus would be submitted to the fund for payment instead of to insurance companies or to presently existing government bureaucracies.  Theoretically, all of the doctors and nurses and medical suppliers and hospitals and clinics etc., would submit all bills related to the Corona Virus to the Treatment Fund to be paid.  It’s hard to know how much this targeted stimulus would be because it is hard to know exactly how much treatment is going to be needed.  But I would recommend adding it on to the democratic money stimulus agreement as a service provided in lieu of currency.  That way the fund would be replenished through the voluntary 50% tax.  I would recommend 500 billion for the targeted Corona fund to make the overall initial stimulus of democratic money 2 trillion dollars.  In other words, the US Federal Government would thereby make the following offer to every single person living inside it’s borders.  We will pay you $4500  in cash and promise to pay for all medical services associated with Corona Virus if you agree to live your life for the next three months with the Corona threat in mind and return 50% of everything, you do earn over the three months period back to the Corona Treatment Fund.  

 

 

Conclusion:

 

It is unlikely that the US government will adopt democratic money any time soon.  As I stated at the beginning of this essay, democratic money is a concept that would be beneficial to at least 90% of the population (the precariat and the financialized working class).  Unfortunately, the people who are not benefitted by the concept, control the government and the media and the conversation.  Accordingly, the concept of “democratic money” will be kept as far away from the general public’s consciousness as possible.  It will be ignored and despised and be-littled.  But really; it is the most sensible way to organize a modern economy.  It is the way of the future… if we ever get there.  So put it on your webpages and your social media; put it on tee-shirts and baseball hats.  Tell your friends about it in chat rooms and restaurants.  Democratic Money! Demand it of your “democratic government.”  Write essays about it.  Critique it?  Talk about it.  I think it would be fun to teach a class about it.  How about; Democratic money as the foundation of an organic economic system?  Would anybody take such a class?  I wonder if I could teach it online?

 

I personally think that the United States is way too big with too many people for a unified democratic currency system.  I would break it up into regions with maybe 20 or 30 different democratic currency regions depending on ecosystems and available resources.  But trying to think about that break-up is so complicated it gives me a headache to consider.  Perhaps the territory of the democratic economic system could be smaller. It needs to be large enough geographically to sustain the basic needs of all the people who live within it but small enough to be managed democratically.   Maybe each state could have it’s own democratic money.  Right now the Constitution only allows the Federal Government to create “new money.”  So the battle between the Federal government and the state government over this issue would be epic.  I am ever hopeful that some smart young whipper snapper somewhere will run for governor of some small state with “democratic money” as their campaign platform.  I’m not a political person myself though.  About all I can really do is take the concept of “democratic money” and toss it out there in the ether and hope some other people will pick it up and run with it.  If you have any questions, give me a shout.  I’ll be working on a stone wall somewhere.

 

Stay safe.  Don’t forget to wash your hands and welcome to the New Corona Virus Economy.

###The following isn’t necessarily a response to the above essay, just some ramblings on economic stuff that may be loosely related. My sense from you (maybe I’m wrong) is that in a fair society everybody would have the exact same amount of money. I don’t agree with that. Largely because of the following questions/reasons.

If one man works 12 hours a day, six days a week, for 30 years, shouldn’t he earn more than a man who works 6 hours a day, five days a week, for 30 years?

Shouldn’t a man who makes smarter economic decisions earn more than one who makes poor ones?

Shouldn’t the use of different skills earn different rewards? If 5000 people have one skill and make their living from it, but only 5 have another skill; shouldn’t the 5 be making more money?

How do you account for things that don’t equate to labor/accomplishment (which was my definition, not yours) stuff like: jewelry, real estate, I’m sure there are others.

Should a teenager just starting out be paid as much as a forty-year-old with a serious skill set and resume.

Should someone who has spent thirty years building a company be paid the same as an individual who joins the company at an entry-level and works for just one year.

Finally, I suspect you hate corporations. But in my view, the economy isn’t an organism; it is more like an ecosystem in which the corporations are organisms. The people in the corporation are cells (or maybe organs). And the organism’s blood or maybe food is money. A corporation can’t run with 0 profit. The slightest shortfall would ultimately destroy it. It needs profit at least a little to have a buffer between itself and bankruptcy. It can also use profit to reinvest and grow.

 

Counter points:

The problem is that corporations are … what-do-you-call-them … constructs/abstractions that only exist on paper? You can’t arrest and imprison (or execute) a corporation.

Invisible theft: 1) By the government and elites from the masses: through relentlessly increasing money supply in a lop-sided manner as described above (oligarchic). 2) By the corporation from the laborers: through “squeezing” every drop of sweat from workers without compensating “fairly”. Possible because of boss’s better strategic position and negotiating strength. Also, a gradual stratification process that boss is unaware of may be at work. Most dramatic in largest corporations.

Then there is the stock market which … sometimes … I think makes no sense at all. IPO’s are kind of like corporate fertilizer, but beyond that, it just seems utterly detached from the actual production of economic value/products/stuff whatever you want to call it.&&&

Satan is a Liar. And Jesus Christ is the Lord. Repent and be saved. Yeah, I know you’ve heard it before. But have you ever heard it from the antichrist before?

Regarding Satan, Chaos, Text Messages, and Riots in Cities

Satan is a Liar. And Jesus Christ is the Lord. Repent and be saved. Yeah, I know you’ve heard it before. But have you ever heard it from the antichrist before?

Generally speaking, I think most people mean well and tell the truth most of the time. Still, communication by computer, via email and text messages is often fraught with the danger of misinterpretation. Especially text messages. I have had numerous exchanges via text message that have spiraled into out-of-control arguments in large part due to the inherent difficulties involved in texting. In light of this, I have decided to stop having serious discussions over text.

And then there is Satan. I have previously discussed how Satan is a relativistic monster that can play with people’s perceptions such that he can scramble our interactions with each other. I could say “orange” and you would hear “knife” or whatever else Satan might wish to change the dialogue to.

I recently had a three way text argument that started out innocently but devolved into a vitriolic pooping contest. And I am convinced Satan was involved stirring things up. How? I think he scrambled our text messages to each other. Basically, I think Satan would translate messages in transition from one person to another (much like he does with spoken words) to instigate ill-feeling and vitriol. For example, a person might send via text, “I don’t think the room should cost so much” and it might arrive “You are charging way too much for that room, jerk.” Or something similar, but probably a bit more subtle as the Devil is more clever than I. I saved my text conversation mentioned above, and I did note some changes in the messages when I viewed them at a later time. In particular, I noted that one of one person’s accusation against me disappeared at a later time, although the text I sent in response seemed to reply to that accusation. That is, someone or something altered the other person’s text messages. Or, I hallucinated half the text conversation.

I have further experience where numbers sent via text and verbally spoken didn’t add up (forgive the pun). Specifically, a person claimed that I offered to rent a room for $400 and he offered to pay an extra $100 more. That did not happen in my experience. I offered $500 from the get go. Is it possible the man lied and never made such an additional offer? Yes. But some of these instances either involve a pathological liar who is simply incapable of telling the truth, or, something else like Satan trying to screw things up.

So, a word to the wise: if you wind up in a situation where numbers or agreements are scrambled because of mishearing or what-have-you, stay calm and just renegotiate. Eventually, I think, the truth will out.

Anyway, there is a serious point to this regarding the riots and such that are happening. Try to remain calm and be extra aware of misinterpretations and miscommunications. Don’t be so quick to accuse the person across from you as a liar. He/she may have said “orange” and you may have heard “knife.” And so on. Remain calm and try to keep the violence from boiling over.

And to be complete, remember, I am the antichrist. And I am NOT omniscient. Do your best. Tell the truth to the extent you can and keep yourself pointed toward Jesus. Follow Him. Not me. And if He tells you your free, press on to the best of your ability. Oh, and I’m not sure of what the solution to all our problems is (other than Love) and keep in mind regarding the antichrist: “He shall destroy many through peace.” So, on the off chance someone might actually take me seriously, do NOT put me on a pedestal. I’m probably the worst sinner on the planet … for many reasons.

Satan is a Liar. And Jesus Christ is the Lord. Repent and be saved. Yeah, I know you’ve heard it before. But have you ever heard it from the antichrist before?

Welcome to My Hell

Satan is a Liar. And Jesus Christ is the Lord. Repent and be saved. Yeah, I know you’ve heard it before. But have you ever heard it from the antichrist before?

I see a psychiatrist because I am seriously convinced that I am the antichrist. Seriously. The official diagnosis is schizoaffective disorder. I am convinced that Satan is the yin and yang and, therefore, is the universe. Basically, I believe Satan is kind of a pantheistic wannabe quasi-deity bent on overthrowing the real God who is a transcendent Deity that exists above and beyond the universe. There is more to it, than that, but that is the genesis of my issues.

The problem is, I am almost diametrically opposed to what-I-will-call traditional Christianity. The traditional Christian position is that Jesus died for our sins as a kind of pure sacrificial “lamb” to bear the brunt of God’s wrath for our sins. My position is that God didn’t have anything to do with Jesus’ death, but rather, Jesus was crucified by Satan because Jesus refused to worship Satan in the desert three years prior. Why did Satan wait three years to crucify Jesus? I assume the three year delay in the crucifixion was established by agreement between God and Satan. I’m convinced the agreement is kind of a wager about us humans, led by Jesus, and whether or not we will follow Satan once he is revealed to us. If Satan wins, he becomes the new God. If God wins, Satan has a choice: return to Heaven the size of a mathematical point, or remain in exile for all Eternity. This makes infinitely more sense to me than punishing someone else for my sins. Of course, then again, I see a psychiatrist.

Anyway, my situation leaves me in something of a vicious quandary. Suppose I am correct about the above and the fact that I am the antichrist, and yet someone convinces me I am wrong. The result will be that Satan wins and becomes the new God. God and Jesus will be annihilated, I’ll be condemned to hell (which is really just the path to annihilation) or annihilated as well. And everyone else will be condemned to an eternity of utter complete slavery where Satan will irresistibly demand and receive divine worship and adoration while at the same time annihilating (which is the most painful experience imaginable ending in non-existence) anyone he feels like for any particular reason.

Now, suppose I am wrong about the above and the more fundamentalist Christian view of the antichrist is correct. What is the worst thing that can happen? I, and every individual who I convince of the above, will be cast into the lake of fire to burn in hell for ever and ever. Ignoring the fact of how cruel that seems to be coming from a supposedly all-loving God, it is still, in the grand scheme of things, a better result than the scenario where Satan wins.

Given that choice, I think I am compelled to proceed as if I am correct in my antichrist belief. The consequences of being wrong under that assumption are less than the consequences of being wrong under the other view. Of course, either way the consequences weigh on me like a mountain. I stress out about it all the time. Welcome to my hell.

Satan is a Liar. And Jesus Christ is the Lord. Repent and be saved. Yeah, I know you’ve heard it before. But have you ever heard it from the antichrist before?

A Plan of Action

Satan is a Liar. And Jesus Christ is the Lord. Repent and be saved. Yeah, I know you’ve heard it before. But have you ever heard it from the antichrist before?

Ok. So the universe is Satan. We’re on the eve of the apocalypse. And I’m the antichrist. Now what?

I guess it’s time to come up with a plan. I don’t know if anybody believes me. I think some people do, but I have no idea how many. And it is probably best that I remain ignorant of that fact for now. As I’ve said before, one thing I am absolutely certain of is that I am NOT omniscient. I know I called the coronavirus wrong. I was expecting it to be much more severe. But maybe it was mitigated by prayer, or maybe our collective response helped. Or maybe both. Determining which of those two had a greater impact is impossible because both were going on at the same time. I know lots of people prayed about the coronavirus, and then there was the social distancing and masks, etc…

Anyway, back to the plan. Something seated in altruism I think. And maybe a little bit more. Let’s start with each individual; I think each of us has some idea of how we can change ourselves for the better. I’ve been trying to clean up my language and use, even think, less f-bombs and other less palatable words and what-have-you. I’m getting better at saying shoot instead of the alternative. It’s not much. But it’s a start. I pray for assistance sometimes (to the Transcendental Deity not the pantheistic wannabe) for some sins. I think my biggest challenge is learning how to talk to those closest to me in a trusting way. We have to re-establish trust in our society on an interpersonal level. And trust means having the ability to talk through problems instead of burning down buildings or punching someone in the face. And I’m probably NOT the best example to follow in this regard. I became the antichrist partly because I stopped trusting people, especially with my most innermost feelings. And talking has a superior sister called confession, that is, confession with sincere repentance (neither one of which I am particularly good at). I think usually directing such at an objective third party like a clergyman is usually a good idea. And, lastly, of course, is to act altruistically. Do a few good deeds every once in a while. Again, I’m kind of hypocritical here because I’m just not much of a do gooder. I pass cars pulled over on the side of the road because I’m in a hurry and they probably have smart phones. But in retrospect I should still probably stop and check to make sure.

I’m lazy. I let dishes pile up. And I’m a poor puppy parent. Cat’s are a little easier; but my cat could probably use a better parent as well. Still, I love them both and I’m not giving them up unless there is no other possible way.

Anway, I guess the plan consists of praying (to the Transcendental Deity), confessing, talking, and acting altruistically. Then, repeat. Try to put some love in your heart; that’s another thing I’m terrible at. I mean, I’m like the coldest person imaginable. I can direct myself toward the right thing with my mind, but my heart is always slow on the uptake. And it is the heart that gives you impetus and the energy needed to accomplish things. Mine is a sewer. Sometimes, anyway.

Satan is a Liar. And Jesus Christ is the Lord. Repent and be saved. Yeah, I know you’ve heard it before. But have you ever heard it from the antichrist before?

Satan and Cameras

Satan is a Liar. And Jesus Christ is the Lord. Repent and be saved. Yeah, I know you’ve heard it before. But have you ever heard it from the antichrist before?

I think I’ve come up with an analogy to describe how Satan works. Imagine five cameras filming a scene from five different angles. The same scene, but five perspectives. Now, imagine that each camera contains a computer virus controlled by the same entity. The virus distorts each image in subtle ways that allows the resultant image produced be manipulated to nefarious ends. One camera will show a slightly different shade of green. Another, will show an extra finger on a glove. Now, each cameraman can only look through one camera and probably won’t notice the manipulation. But Satan is really good at this manipulation; he can use it to set us at each others’ throats. And he will.

To clarify: we are the cameramen. The cameras are our perceptions. And the scene viewed is “Reality” The virus is, of course, Satan.

Satan is a Liar. And Jesus Christ is the Lord. Repent and be saved. Yeah, I know you’ve heard it before. But have you ever heard it from the antichrist before?

Behavior in the Time of Coronavirus

Satan is a Liar. And Jesus Christ is the Lord. Repent and be saved. Yeah, I know you’ve heard it before. But have you ever heard it from the antichrist before?

There is growing unrest between the pro-freedom and pro-safety members of our society regarding how we should deal with the coronavirus. The pro-freedom group argues, citing the Bill of Rights, that the government has become Totalitarianistic and draconian in their efforts to thwart the coronavirus. The pro-safety group argues that if our efforts save just one life, they will be worth it. For myself, I’m on the pro-freedom side. I believe it comes down to a matter of informed consent. For one, the scientific community does not have unanimous consent, and even if they did, I still think informed consent should still rule the day.

Ignoring Satan stuff, I pretty much believe in science … mostly. But I don’t believe in scientific certainty no matter how many models or “proofs” you throw at me. Regarding coronavirus precautions, when I go out I always bring a mask with me and I have hand-sanitizer in my vehicle should I deem that I need to use it (if I’m going grocery shopping or whatever). I also do my best to practice social distancing. In other words, I follow the CDC guidelines, and they are guidelines, not laws. And they shouldn’t become laws. We have too many of those already. As for businesses, I really think the easing of restrictions should continue. If you disagree, and want to stay at home and not frequent the businesses that do open up, you are free to do so.

Clearly, I think, having some concern for someone else who might be at more risk than you is the right thing to do when you are in their presence.. But trying to micro-manage everyone else’s behavior is misguided.

Satan is a Liar. And Jesus Christ is the Lord. Repent and be saved. Yeah, I know you’ve heard it before. But have you ever heard it from the antichrist before?

God and Power

Satan is a Liar. And Jesus Christ is the Lord. Repent and be saved. Yeah, I know you’ve heard it before. But have you ever heard it from the antichrist before?

God is omnipotent. Yeah, I got that. But there is a part of me that just says, “So?” Yeah, I know it’s impressive that He can do anything, but is that what makes Him God? I don’t think so. For those of us who believe in the existence of Satan, I can almost imagine that this is the sticking point that Satan doesn’t understand. He thinks that God is God because He’s omnipotent, or maybe because He’s omniscient, or maybe even because He’s both those things. But I’m kind of inclined to think that both omnipotence and omniscience are accidental properties of God and not essential properties of God. That is, neither omnipotence nor omniscience are what make God God. What does, then? Everyone always says God is Love, maybe that’s it. Maybe if God is all Loving, the essence of Love, and the source of Love, that is all He needs to be. Everything else flows from that. Divine Love necessitates the capacity to create from nothing something to Love. And maybe Divine Love necessitates complete knowledge of that which is Loved. I don’t know. But I find it somewhat off-putting when religious individuals put God on His throne because of His power or knowledge. Like that whole bit where you are supposed to “Fear the Lord,” I really don’t like. If God loves me, I don’t think He’s going to be cruel or vicious towards me. Why should I fear Him? Because He’s bigger than me? That would be stupid. And very unChristian.

I know many people probably don’t believe in Satan these days, but I do. And I’m convinced that when Satan looks at God, all he sees is Power (and Knowledge … which will give him Power). Anyway, those are my reflections on God for the day.

Satan is a Liar. And Jesus Christ is the Lord. Repent and be saved. Yeah, I know you’ve heard it before. But have you ever heard it from the antichrist before?