The Greek Election Poem

Interpreting The Greek Vote
by Michael Silverstein

Greeks voted ‘gainst austerity
The EU’s chosen model
After years of giving it a try
Concluded it’s pure twaddle.

Almost all the money borrowed
Just went toward the lenders’ debt
Sure it kept these lenders happy
But Greeks asked: “What did we get?”

Living standards greatly withered
To protect big banks’ safe harbor
Now another haircut’s coming
This one may just trim the barber.

Coming soon: My autobiography…Gorilla Warfare Against The Bureaucratic State

The Work To Be Poor Poem

The Work To Be Poor Poem

Work, work, work, work,
Work, work, work, work.

There’s more of us a’working now,
The numbers all are provin’,
Official tallies’ hopeful tale,
A workplace that improvin’;
You need a job, they’re out there friend,
So why ain’t you more jolly,
Is it because new jobs just let
You live like a Bengali?

The folks who rule us from DC
To our plight are oblivious,
They seem to think all work’s the same
And our work groans are frivolous;
We can’t convince them otherwise,
These leaders of the nation,
In fact most days they’re out of sight,
They’re somewhere on vacation.

I’d vote to save the middle class,
I’d vote for folks who care,
It would be nice to have that choice,
Alas…that choice ain’t there.

The Democratic Party—Brain Dead And Craven

The Democratic Party— Brain Dead And Craven

The lead story in the November 11 New York Times was about a Democratic Party whine. The party has been losing the support of working people because these people’s incomes have not been rising fast enough in recent years to allow them to live more comfortably or more securely. And the solutions offered to ameliorate this situation by Democratic Party thinkers — ideas like better education and infrastructure investment—while good in themselves, offer no direct or near-term potential to make big and meaningful improvements in wages for most workers.

Alas, runs the whine of the Democratic Party’s best and brightest, it’s not their fault because there is no silver bullet here. No quick way to close the growing income inequality gap.

Well of course there is a silver bullet. Here it is: Raise the top income tax rate on both earned and unearned incomes from its present 39.6 percent to 45 percent and use all the revenue generated, ALL OF IT, to reduce the bottom income tax rate from 10 percent to 5 percent.

That’s it. The silver bullet. And here’s what it would (and would not) do:

–It would NOT be a tax increase because no additional money goes into government coffers. It would just be a tax shift that would tax more the presently under-taxed rich, and tax less all other presently over- taxed working Americans.

–It would stop giving an unearned tax preference to people who do not work for their money at the expense of those who actually earn their livings by working for it.

–It would directly, immediately, and meaningfully reduce income inequality.

–It would immediately and directly put money into the hands of the 70 percent of Americans whose spending animates the economy. The working poor would feel the largest benefit, but because of the way the tax system is structured, everyone earning roughly $200,000 or less would immediately have more net income, income in their pockets, spending money. The economy would immediately boom in consequence.

–It would reduce government spending and in fact the size of government because fewer Americans would need government aid for things like food stamps because they would be keeping more of what they earn working.

–And this is critical: It would INCREASE real productive investment. This is because investment gravitates to where investors can make the most profit. These days, they can’t make it in investments in goods and services producing realms because most potential customers in these realms don’t have a lot of money to spend. So the investments go into bubble investments like derivatives and the stock market where profits tend overwhelming to benefit only the rich.

That’s the silver bullet. Simple, easy to understand by voters, obviously working to their own interests. So why haven’t the Democrats made this or something very like this their basic economic campaign issue?

Three reasons: The puffed up, over-priced academics and consultants who create their issues veer away from the obvious; party leaders these days fear introducing any such ideas that might offend their biggest campaign contributors; and perhaps most important, Democrats these days suffer from the political equivalent of beaten wife syndrome—a craven inability to directly challenge the conservative economic agenda. It’s a kind of thinking that does not begin with the notion that an idea is the best idea for the most people, but rather that all ideas put forward must be made within the context of what Republicans might deign to Republicans accept if shaped in ways that don’t go too strongly against Republicans’own preferences?

Within this craven and cowed context, would Republicans back the above proposal? Of course not! They would hate it. That’s the point!

That’s why it’s a campaign issue. Because it clearly sets one party’s views against the other party’s, giving voters something they don’t have today. A clear choice. This is supposed to be what elections are all about in this country. Something the present Democratic Party, Wall Street friendly and rich guys beard, has obviously forgotten.

So who need the Democratic Party? I don’t. The country doesn’t.

We need a new Middle Class Party. One that replaces the Democratic Party the way the Republicans replaced the Whigs all those years ago.

So where is this new party? Waiting. Waiting. Waiting….

…And Nobody Is Walking

The Republicans and Democrats have not yet selected their standard bearers for 2016. But we already know who will have a strong hand in setting both parties’ platforms. The folks who give them the most money.

…And Nobody Is Walking

Davey Koch likes oil and gas,
On sun and wind he’ll take a pass,
Shel Adelson has Mideast plan,
Diss Abbas and nuke Iran.

You want some cash from Tommy Steyer,
Say you will ease globe’s warming fire,
From Mike Bloomberg on cash to feed,
You’d best endorse his Wall Street creed.

There was a time, our favorite gloat,
Election day, one man, one vote,
Now money talks, nobody walks
You’ll hear pols squalk, but none now balks.

Obama Prepares For His Last Great Sellout

President Obama Prepares For His Grand Sellout

Barack Obama, like the Clintons, is a creature of Wall Street. He’s a servant of this country’s currently dominant political force — the very rich and very richest, a group that styles itself the best and brightest.

His ability to totally sell out the interests of his party, the people that party purports to represent, and the country generally, however, has been restrained since he took office by a congress at least partially controlled by Democrats.

The Democrats lost control of the senate on Tuesday, and that restraint is now removed. Mr. Obama will now be free to do what he was put into office to do — completely sell out the poor and middle class to the lasting benefit of his rich and incredibly rich principals.

The mechanism by which he will do so was summed up in just a few words that appeared in a November 2 New York Times story: “Expecting a less friendly Congress after the election, President Obama’s aides are mapping out compromises with Republicans to expand trade and overhaul taxes.” Mitch McConnell, who wii soon head a Republican Senate, himself said he believed he and the President would at least be able “to work together on trade and taxes.”

You bet they will.

These compromises, no matter how packaged, will not only favor big corporate and financial interests to an extraordinary extent at the expense of everyone else, they will be so structured as to make serious future revisions extremely difficult.

Vast income inequality, an economic alpha-beta society, skewed maker and taker-based policy making, will be institutionalized. And because of Clinton-Obama domination of the Democratic Party apparatus, no real progressive populism will ever be allowed to take control of this once great vehicle of positive political and economic change.

It’s probably too late to stop the soon to appear Great Obama Sellout and its inevitable consequences. So then…

Let the slow, painful, challenged-at-every-turn creation of a new third party in this country begin in earnest.

The Booming Election Industry Poem

Four billion dollars, a record for mid term elections, has been spent this time around electing a congress even worse than the awful one we’ve been enduring in recent years. Ah, but look at the bright side. Forget the negative affect of all this spending on democracy. Election spending is fast becoming this country’s greatest growth industry…

The Booming Election Industry Poem

For a moribund economy
The cure is very clear,
More elections held more often
Will spawn economic cheer.

Not just Congress and the White House,
Local governors and mayors,
Not just coroners and judges,
City, county legislators.

Everyone on public payrolls,
Don’t appoint them and don’t hire,
Put them all up for election,
Feed election spending’s fire.

Hale Citizens United!
Election spending its ignited;
And ignore those who would slight it
‘Cause democracy it blighted.

Trading U.S. Citizenship For Tax Savings

During the third quarter of this year 776 Americans, an increase of 39 percent from a year earlier, gave up their U.S. citizenship to avoid paying taxes on assets they had previously been able to hide abroad from the IRS…

Trading U.S. Citizenship For Tax Savings

They gotta pay their taxes
They think, ‘that isn’t fair’
Taxes are some others’ burden
They should not their own share bear.

So they shrug, turn in their passports
U.S. citizens no more
Trade their country for some money
Extra spending at a store.

It’s a trade I find confusing
Birthright sold for such a pittance
But I ain’t come here to argue
Keep your money — and good riddance.

My latest book is The Devil’s Dictionary of Wall Street

My favorite new book from another author is a humorous graphic novel titled The Big Belch…

The ‘What Else Is New’ Poem

Does anything ever really change? Or are only the details a little different?

The ‘What Else Is New’ Poem

The world is falling apart
The center can not hold
All things have a selling price
They’re all just bought and sold.

Government is corrupt
Markets awash in grift
The air and the waters are fouled.
Rich rut while the poor get stiffed.

I don’t wanna seem smartass
Say there’s nothing here really to rue
But you get to a certain age and think:
Oh yeah — So what else is new?

My latest book is The Devil’s Dictionary of Wall Street

My favorite new book from another author is a humorous graphic novel titled The Big Belch…

Our Solar And Wind Import-Export failures

Our Solar And Wind Import-Export Failures

Germany gets almost one-third of its electricity from renewables, two-thirds of this from non-hydro renewables (solar and wind). The U.S. gets 13 percent of its total electricity from renewables, but more than half comes from hydro.

Clearly Germany is way ahead in terms of its solar and wind revolution. And one rarely noted part of that lead is the positive effects this has on imports and exports to neighboring countries.

Consider these figures: Germany in the first six months of this year had an electricity export surplus of 18 Terawatt hours, and is well on its way to having its third annual electricity export record in a row. The U.S., by way of comparison, imported almost 60 million megawatts from Canada last year while exporting just 11.4 megawatts. And even with our southern neighbor, Mexico , we imported 1.3 million megawatts while exporting just a bit more than 603,000 megawatts.

Our country has a lousy trade balance. In dollar terms, part of this includes a lousy electricity balance. More solar and wind systems can help redress this imbalance. So maybe we should try harder here.

My latest book is The Devil’s Dictionary of Wall Street
My favorite new book from another author is a humorous graphic novel titled The Big Belch… Big Belch

Huge CEO Pay Packets Explained

A recent study found that company CEOs now make 350 times more on average than their employees. Here’s how they do it.

The Vast CEO-Worker Compensation Chasm Explained

With pay packs oft’ related
To their companies’ stock price
It’s a set up that for CEOs
That is really very nice
They just use their firm’s own money
To buy lots of its own stock
And voila! the price keeps soaring
For the boss, a pay boost lock.

There are other ways to jack up
A stock price evaluation
Move your headquarters abroad
With a cutesy tax inversion
Or earn bigger package hoards
From your passive browbeat boards
Or workers’ pay and bennies lessen
To win market’s pay out blessing.

For the CEO all nifty
Legal games, not fraud or grifty
Leaving CEOs to workers
Workers one, bosses 350.

But I ain’t come here complaining
‘Bout this CEOs’ rigged gig
What I really want is joining
In this dance, this big pig jig.

My latest book is The Devil’s Dictionary of Wall Street
My favorite new book from another author is a humorous graphic novel titled The Big Belch… Big Belch