I’m Running For President Of The United States

This announcement that I am running for president appeared in the May 12, 2015 Washington Times. It nicely describes my credentials and prospects.

Silverstein throws his hat into the ring
(No one else has claimed the lefty libertarian mantle)

By Michael Silverstein – – Tuesday, May 12, 2015

While nobody has actually asked me to run for president of the United States, I have begun to sense a yearning for me to do so emanating from the ranks of the still-uncommitted silent majority.

So after prayers, fasting, discussions with my family, and careful consideration of opinions offered by Sunday morning talking heads, I have decided to throw my hat into the ring as a Republican.

Am I qualified?

While it’s true that I’ve never performed brain surgery, run a computer company, and wasn’t born in Hope, Arkansas — qualifications listed by other recently declared candidates — I bring to the contest things these others lack.

I’m the only wannabe, for example, who has tried to live on Social Security and succeeded, at least to date. It’s the kind of real-world experience that will resonate strongly with a very large and endlessly ticked off voting bloc — crotchety old white men.

And that’s not all.

I’ve never actually held public office, which is a real plus in today’s world as my record can’t be either found or attacked. Still, I am the only presently announced candidate of either party who has been on a past presidential ticket — though not at the top of this ticket.

In 1992, I was privileged to be selected by the American Art Party as its vice-presidential standard bearer by virtue of my work as an anti-parking ticket crusader. The top of the ticket that year was occupied by a house cat named Colette Silverwood. (Boy, could that tabby work a room!). I’m proud to report that while this party’s spending on the campaign was no greater than the cost of a can of Sheba, we still got as many electoral votes as Ross Perot, who spent millions on his own run.

People talk a lot these days about the need for inclusiveness with candidates bragging incessantly about their sensitivity to the needs and desires of different ethnicities, genders and folks of differing sexual orientations. That’s nice. But if the public really wants a candidate with a proven big-tent background, I am someone who can boast of being politically linked to a running mate of a different species, which has to give me an edge.

Where do I stand on the big issues? Let’s just say they are evolving.

I still have yet to meet with Sheldon Adelson to construct a foreign policy, and with Charles Koch to come up with one that covers energy and the environment. Reaching out still further, I plan to bring in policy professionals from past Republican administrations to advise me about how to make the country’s economy better by further enriching the rich so they trickle down more largesse, and get their suggestions concerning where to start our next big war. I’m certain these experts have a lot of ideas on these matters.

This is not to say I won’t seek advice from real people as well. I intend to meet with these real Americans in primary state diners at 11 in the morning, the time and place real Americans gather for eggs, coffee and an occasional doughnut.

Many candidates avoid such encounters because they find it impossible to listen attentively to their whines, snivels and moans. That won’t be a problem for this candidate. I’m well stocked with Xanax and Valium, and for especially tiresome crowds, I may even have a few Quaaludes left over from my days as a Deadhead.

Now you’re probably wondering about my attitude toward accepting campaign contributions from special interest PACs. Will I do that?

You think a guy willing to take second place on a ticket topped by a house cat would feel bad about selling his soul to very rich people? Who am I to deny the right of these folks to buy influence, anyway?

So I’m in — win or lose — and if I don’t make it this time around, I have a back-up plan.

I might accept a generous book deal, join a conservative think tank as a visiting scholar or combine both with a speaking tour. As a former presidential candidate, I would also be in line to join some Fortune 500 boards, become a Fox regular, and maybe spew wisdom to young people at an Ivy League college for an hour once a week.

Or I could join the private sector by managing a hedge fund. Compensation here fell dramatically from 2013 to 2014, but the top 25 hedge fund managers still eke out a combined income of $11.67 billion or an acceptable $211,538 an hour.

A person could live pretty comfortably on that. There might even be enough left over to self-fund a future political campaign. Or if that seems like too much trouble, hire a substitute to front my agenda once I develop one.

• Michael Silverstein is a former senior editor with Bloomberg’s Markets magazine. His latest book, now available on Amazon, is Gorilla Warfare Against the Bureaucratic State (Confessions of a Lefty Libertarian).

Here’s the link to the story about Silverstein’s run that appeared in the Washington Times:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/may/12/michael-silverstein-michael-silverstein-throws-his/#ixzz3a3H3tw91

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What’s Wrong With Obama’s Trade Deals

Huge trade deals are being negotiated by the Obama Administration. Most Republicans (and the President himself) support these deals. Most members of the Democratic Party oppose them.

That’s the big debate in Washington these days. But it’s the wrong debate. The debate here should focus (at least initially) on the “fast track” approval that President Obama wants.

The reason? Many elements of these deals are very beneficial to the country as a whole. Some aren’t. The sensible thing to do here is thus to keep what’s good and weed out what’s bad with amendments to the deals.

But fast track doesn’t allow amendments. You take it all or reject it all. And if in the end the good seems to outweigh the bad, you end up with badly flawed overall deals.

So don’t debate the trade deals now. Debate fast track. Put the deals on a slow track and end up with something really worthwhile for everyone,

Michael Silverstein’s new political memoir: Gorilla Warfare Against The Bureaucratic State (Confessions of a Lefty Libertarian).

Progressives At The Bat

Something is happening in the political world. Folks are beginning to catch on. They’re beginning to see the linkage between surging wealth for the few and austerity for the rest, and longing for a return to America’s post-War II fair wealth distribution and prosperity for the many economic model. Here’s a baseball season poetry knockoff describing what this might mean in the next election…

Progressives At The Bat

It looked extremely rocky for progressives in D.C.,
The folks they’d long depended on to others bent a knee,
The White House rarely answered calls, the Senate mostly cowed,
Tea party members ran the House, “We’ll make the rules,” they vowed.

But out there where the Beltway gang is rarely ever seen,
In countless places o’er the land where the living had gone mean,
The days of settling for a phrase, for promises unmet,
A spirit craving real change, these bad times did beget.

Yes in our nation’s capital they still ain’t yet caught on,
They still to Wall Street genuflect, buy the right’s self-serving yarn,
They don’t sense the awakening, ain’t twigged to where it’s at,
That progressives next election day will swing the big vote bat.

Michael Silverstein is a former Bloomberg News senior editor;
his latest book is Gorilla Warfare Against The Bureaucratic
State (Confessions of a Lefty Libertarian).
http://www.amazon.com/Gorilla-Warfare-Against-Bureaucratic-State/dp/0692386432/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1428422596&sr=1-1&keywords=Gorilla+Warfare+Against+The+Bureaucratic+State

Why Hillary Shouldn’t Be The Democratic Party’s Standard Bearer

Hillary Clinton outlined her economic policies the other day. They were billed as helping working Americans, giving a boost to the middle class. And they would do that. Sort of.

When you look at her proposals concerning sick leave and minimum wages and equal pay and gender equality generally in the workplace, they look very, very familiar. That’s because some of them have been on the books in countries with advanced economies for more than a hundred years, and are even already on the books of many developing countries today.

On these shores they would indeed make economic life better for many people. Marginally. They would take the edge off some of the additional nastiness and pain so many Americans have experienced in recent years. But they are a palliative, not a fundamental improvement, when it comes to this country’s real economic woes.

That’s because we’ve had an economic coup in our economy. The top one-tenth of one percent have taken control of key economic levers. The result isn’t just that the very top have benefited while the middle has wallowed. Not just a failure of trickle down. The vast enrichment at the very top HAS TAKEN PLACE AT THE EXPENSE OF THE MIDDLE.

We’ve been robbed. A genuine counter-coup, not the equivalent of longer coffee breaks, is needed to redress things.

Hillary Clinton might get the middle class longer coffee breaks. But she’ll never be the leader of a needed economic counter coup. She’s the same old same old, same promises, same travails down the same old unhealthy economic trails.

Democratic voters were conned by our first black president. You want to be conned again by our first woman president? You want to make history again, or do you want to thrive again?

No to Hillary. Been there. Done that. Want better.

Michael Silverstein’s new book:
http://www.amazon.com/Gorilla-Warfare-Against-Bureaucratic-State/dp/0692386432/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1428422596&sr=1-1&keywords=Gorilla+Warfare+Against+The+Bureaucratic+State

The Big Tent, Or Half-Tent-Plus-One

Big Tent Or Half-Tent-Plus-One

There are two basic views of how a society should be organized that can be the basis of a political system. They are: We’re all in this together; or Us against them.

This leads to two basic political identities. They are: I’m a caring American/Christian/person; or I’m a taxpayer.

Based on these views of how a society should be organized, and how people in this society see themselves, we get two approaches to governance: Generating harmony (the big tent); or Divide and rule (the half-tent plus one).

Today’s leading national proponent of the Us against them, I’m a taxpayer ID, divide and rule approach is Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin. No one has had more success with this approach. By not making things better for anyone but a tiny few people on the top, he has nonetheless managed to squeak out election victories in his home state with a theme that might be summed up this way: People just a little better off than you must be brought down to your level.

Similar successes with this approach are also on view in many other places around the country. In Kansas, for example, a new law prevents folks receiving public assistance from using any of this aid to pay for a movie or go to a swimming pool — deriving relief from the Kansas summer sun in an air conditioned movie theater or swimming pool considered just a sop to “Them” paid for by abused taxpayers.

America seems to be getting smaller every day. The way we’re going, we may soon disappear as a civilized country altogether. Too bad. We once did better.

[This author’s newest book, Gorilla Warfare Against The Bureaucratic State — Confessions of a Lefty Libertarians, is now available from Amazon]
http://www.amazon.com/Gorilla-Warfare-Against-Bureaucratic-State/dp/0692386432/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1428422596&sr=1-1&keywords=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….

mike@wallstreetpoet.com

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.

mike@wallstreetpoet.com

A Progressive’s Call For Smaller Government

Conservatives are shredding the safety net. They say government spending here is getting out of control.

I agree. We have to reduce spending in this realm. And there’s only one sensible and sustainable way to do this: We have to reform the private sector of the economy.

Isn’t that obvious? The main reason more and more people need government aid is because their economic needs aren’t being met by working in the private sector. If they made enough, they wouldn’t need food stamps. If they made enough, they wouldn’t need subsidies to help pay for their health insurance.

Raise the minimum wage, and safety net spending decreases. Rebalance the tax code so it doesn’t unduly favor capital over labor, investors over workers, and fewer working people would qualify for earned income credits that reduce government revenues.

The government safety net that covers the elderly, the disabled and the impoverished young should of course remain in tact. But the part of that safety net that today is growing so quickly because working people are being squeezed in a top-heavy marketplace, could be cut dramatically with reforms of the private sector.

Progressives — ditto the conservatives’ call for smaller government. Just combine the call with the most sensible and sustainable way to bring it about. Marketplace reform.

(Michael Silverstein’s recent books, all available from Amazon, include: The Devil’s Dictionary Of Wall Street, and the comic novels’ Fifteen Feet Beneath Manhattan, The Bellman’s Revenge, and Murder At Bernstein’s.)

What The Democrats Need: A Voice, Not An Echo

In the 1964 presidential race between Barry Goldwater and LBJ, Goldwater got creamed. His conservative principles-based campaign went down to a massive electoral defeat. His campaign slogan, “A voice, not an echo,” appeared to be something the Republican Party would be wise to forget.

Except Republicans didn’t forget that slogan. Instead, a harder edged conservatism took hold of the party and with the passage of time led to its present dominance setting the national agenda.

Today conservative Republicans are the voice. Democrats are the echo. So…

Maybe it’s time for Democrats to find their own voice. A harder edged progressive voice. One that favors labor over capital, workers over investors, students over their bank lenders.. One that doesn’t keep making the hard choices between the economy and the environment because it’s recognized that sound environmental policies create more prosperous economies. One that promotes live energy of solar, wind and geothermal rather than raiding burial grounds for coal and oil to burn.

There’s a powerful progressive voice on many issues such as these. Perhaps not for an immediate 2104 victory. But for real political power in the future.

Progressives—Make 2014 your voice, not a Clinton-Obama echo. There’s no future in being satisfied with the least worst choices.