To Win Congressional Elections in 2014, Run AGAINST Money

In post-Citizens United America, political wisdom says the country has become a mammonocracy, that a candidate with the most money wins, or only loses when the other candidate has almost as much money.

Is this true? Maybe now it is. Need it always be true? Maybe not.

Suppose a candidate instead of depending on raising money to win, uses the fact he/she is running AGAINST money to win. Here’s the pitch of such an electoral rebel:

“I’m not accepting contributions from anyone. Not big contributions or small ones, because candidates who do have to sell out to their contributors. I also don’t have a lot of money of my own to buy a government office. So you won’t see any flashy TV ads for my campaign. Any outside groups that run such ads will also not be guaranteed anything from me in return, anything I wouldn’t do anyway. These days money buys politicians. I’m not for sale. That’s why you should elect me.”

Two questions immediately come to mind about this approach: The first, of course, is what does a candidate who uses it stands for? The second is more complicated — if you have no money for a campaign, how do you run one?

In answer to the first question is that you may not even have to state another issue, because running against money at a time when everyone else seems to be running just to get more of the stuff is an issue of its own. If you are pressed for your views on other matters, that’s great, since that would mean that some prospective voters or some media outlet find you interesting enough to ask — an interest that your stand against money-in-politics spawned.

And how do you run a campaign without big bucks at a time when money-talks-and-no-pol-dare-walk is the accepted wisdom of the day? It might not be all that hard. Start with a personal base of friends, associates, organizational and Internet contacts. Put together an email contact list of media in your electoral area. Use the former to start gathering names needed to get on the ballot. With the latter key off the fact that virtually all media these days play follow-the-leader, and once one or two give this gimmick candidacy an airing, the rest follow. Once on the ballot crush your opponents in debate by pointing out (endlessly) that they are on-the-take, they are bought-and-paid-for by those who give them money for their campaigns. Force them to prove otherwise.

What’s the ultimate purpose of these campaigns? To win? Sure. That would be nice. But the ultimate purpose is really just to drive home the point that a political system run only to advance the interests of those who can raise a lot of money is inherently undemocratic and invariably corrupt.

This point, as our present governance clearly demonstrates, can’t be made too often.

(Murder At Bernstein’s, a novel by the author of this piece, is now available from Amazon.)

Differences Between Republicans And Democrats Explained

Are you confused about the differences between this country’s two major parties? Perhaps this simple guide will help.

Republicans have a set of firmly held beliefs. Democrats have things they kind of like if no one objects too much.

Republicans never knew better. Democrats once did but forgot.

Republicans like the economy to be run by Goldman Sachs. Democrats prefer the economy to be run by Citigroup.

Republicans think leadership means a leader actually leads. Democrats think it means a leader is in place to ask the public to help him lead.

Republicans want to screw the middle class and poor in one fell swoop to enrich the already rich. Democrats prefer to do the same thing but more slowly.

Republicans think promises made to voters, no matter how silly, should be kept. Democrats think promises made to voters, no matter how worthwhile, are something to be fudged or merely forgotten

Republicans think winning an election gives them the right to govern. Democrats think winning gives them the right to start bargaining.

Republicans turn their enemies into victims. Democrats turn to enemies for approval.

Republicans see the road. Democrats see the potholes.

Republicans lose but keep fighting. Democrats win then don’t fight.

Republicans have principles. Democrats once did, too, but gave them up when it hindered their fund raising.

Republicans lose elections by saying what they really want. Democrats win elections by lying about what they’ll really do.

Republicans start wars. Democrats find reasons not to stop fighting them.

Republicans seek energy independence via more drilling. Democrats seek it by playing at being venture capitalists with public money given to their campaign contributors.

(There’s still time to pledge to Kay Wood’s The Big Belch project on Kickstarter. Check it out.)

Sloth-Brained Democrats Take On The Tax Issue

It would be wrong to call the guys and girls who set Democratic Party election themes “brain-dead.” A more accurate description would “sloth-brained.” They devise just the right policies, but a year or two (or more) after the same themes would have been far more effective. Like those generals who are always brilliantly fighting the last war.

Consider taxes. A huge issue this year. Today there’s a vote in the Senate on a Democratic initiative guaranteed to be blocked by Republicans — if not in that chamber, than in the House of Representatives. This initiative would extend the Bush-era tax breaks for the 98 percent of the working population that earns less than $250,000 a year, but not on income above that figure.

This was a very popular idea when the Democrats caved on the same issue awhile back because the Tea Party Republicans said they had to. Now, well after they should have stood up for it, they are finally getting around to making it their big play. And the Republicans, of course, are saying (with some justification it ought be noted) that with the economy sinking again, this is a bad time to increase any taxes.

So how might a well-wired rather than a sloth-wired brain respond to this changed reality? You know. To get ahead of the curve instead of doing a perpetual catch-up. Well, Democrats could agree with Republicans. Say yes, we can’t increase taxes now. Rather, let’s just increase taxes substantially for the top tier of earners, and pass the money this generates along to the other 98 percent in the form of even lower taxes than the Bush-era cuts.

But wait, you say. Such a tax shift would raise the class warfare rage level of Limbaugh ranters. True, but since pretty much everything else does, what’s the difference?

But wait again, you say. If we simple shift income taxes this way, there won’t be new money that can be applied toward reducing government deficits. True again, but that would also be true if we extended all the Bush-era tax cuts.

Again, wait. Aren’t the top earners job creators as the Republicans constantly remind us? And wouldn’t taxing them mean more job losses? This rap continues to get traction only because the sloth-brained Democratic brain trust lets it continue to get traction. A series of TV ads based on the “who are the real job creators” theme, one that explains in simple terms that the country’s richest are using their cash to buy properties in France and investing in hedge funds that aim to destroy Europe’s economy generally, while more cash in middle cash pockets increases spending power that really creates jobs.

Is this true? Kind of. As true, in any case, as anything else you’ll see in such campaign ads this year. And probably quite effective. But given the ways of a sloth-brained party, predictable fodder for the 2016 Democrat campaign.

Democrats could also push for a transaction tax on Wall Street traders and use the money raised to reduce the Social Security contributions of small businesses with less than 100 employees. You know. Voters don’t like Wall Street. Small business is the campaign season’s new love child. An obvious pitch? Sure. Sloth-brained Democrats will doubtless have this down pat by 2016.

If you sit down at a poker table and can’t identify the fish, the inevitable loser, after five minutes, you’re the fish. Anyone who can’t identify the sloth-brained outfit in this election cycle is destined to be surprised by the election’s outcome.

Don’t be. And don’t bet the sloth pack will be replaced any time soon. There ain’t no sloth from these brains when it comes to making excuses for their failures.


To learn more about a quirky novel, a very unusual book of verse, and some Goldman Sachs satires from the author of this piece, hit one of these icons:

Fifteen Feet Beneath Manhattan, art by Kay Wood ©2012           A Dyspeptic's Guide To Contemporary American Politics (In Verse) ©2012         The Chronicles Of Selig Cartwright, Goldman Sachs Washroom Attendant: Volume 1 by Michael Silverstien

Coming Soon: Worst-Of-The-Worst Political Ad Reviews

I started writing reviews of TV commercials in the 1970s. I did so not only because some commercials on the tube back then were more innovative, interesting, and entertaining than the actual shows they intruded upon with such frequency, but in order to make some money.

You know. Writing for money. It’s hard to remember, but back then it was still occasionally possible.

My compensation for these reviews, however, wasn’t all that much and didn’t come my way directly. The reviews were done for Fusion Magazine in Boston, basically a music-oriented publication that got slews of freebies from record companies. My “pay” thus consisted of a stack of record albums, which I then had to travel to a record store in New York City that paid a buck or two per album.

A lot of driving for not all that much net income. But gas was cheap, I was young, and like I said, I loved doing those reviews.

So now I’m jumping back on the TV commercial review bandwagon. This time with no actual compensation in view. (Though you never know.) And this time around, instead of reviews of TV commercials for consumer products, I will be doing (along with an old friend). reviews of the political ads now appearing in toxic profusion on our TV screens nightly, and destined to pollute them with greater and greater frequency as we approach election day.

These reviews will not focus on any one party’s output. Indeed, they won’t involve party- and candidate-produced ads at all. Rather, they will only look at what is offered up by Super-PACs, those attack vehicles being copiously excreted with Supreme Court blessing by rich folks who don’t have to reveal their identities as the ads’ paymasters.

Another thing different about these views. They will not do what some organizations are already doing — monitor the accuracy of ad content, how deceptive they are, how filled with half truths and outright lies.

Why bother doing that? Of course they’re deceptive, filled with half-truths and outright lies. That’s what they are designed to do because they now have the unlimited legal right to do so without even having to identify who is paying to spew half-truths and lies for their own ultimate benefit!

Our reviews will therefore take these disgusting realities as givens. We will then move on to be as disrespectful as possible because what is there to be respectful about when it comes to an abomination that is nothing more than in-your-face proof of the monetization of democracy?

So after making a few suitably contemptuous observations, we simply assign our selected targets into appropriately disparaging categories that might include: Utter and absolute claptrap; Without any redeeming value whatever; Eye candy for the already brain dead; Trash with good production values; Best smarmy voice-over; Best grainy photoshop picture of the opposition candidate; etc.

When the campaign season ends, we then plan to give a worst-of-the-absolute-worst award (the Scalia-Thomas) to the creators and producers of a Super-PAC ad that best embodies what the whole wretched business is all about. The award will be made at a ceremony in a Trenton New Jersey boarded up senior center or similar venue.

And to those who might wonder if the “winners” of this award will be too embarrassed to accept it, I can only opine: Embarrassed? How can you embarrass someone willing to front for the Koch brothers?

Look for these reviews to start appearing soon on your favorite web sites.


To learn more about a quirky novel, a very unusual book of verse, and some Goldman Sachs satires from the author of this piece, hit one of these icons:

Fifteen Feet Beneath Manhattan, art by Kay Wood ©2012           A Dyspeptic's Guide To Contemporary American Politics (In Verse) ©2012         The Chronicles Of Selig Cartwright, Goldman Sachs Washroom Attendant: Volume 1 by Michael Silverstien

Obamacare And Republican Tax Ranting

Most Americans don’t understand the tax aspects of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). And a good thing, too. At least from the Republican electioneering standpoint.

If people understood that almost all the tax increases in this Act are targeted, that they take the form of a bigger Medicare tax (of less than one percent) that only applies to people making more than $200,000 a year, and a cadillac tax on the kind of health plans favored by high income earners, “the biggest tax increase in history,” as Republicans like to label Obamacare in their new attack ads, would seem absurd.

The biggest confusion and the most flagrant Republican misstatements about Obamacare and taxes, of course, involves the law’s mandate that people who choose not to participate must pay a penalty, which the Supreme Court decided is actually a tax. And because it is “a tax,” and because real Americans hate all taxes, and because real Americans should also have the right not to be covered by health insurance if they so choose, this is deemed a great campaign issue for Mitt Romney and Republicans generally.

Has there ever been an argument so inherently stupid?

About 16 percent of Americans currently have no health insurance of any kind. Which means 84 percent do, and these 84 percent would not be subject to an opt-out tax because they are already in.

Sixteen percent of 300 million-plus Americans is still a lot of Americans, however. Most of the people who currently are not covered, though, are children not subject to this opt-out tax. It’s only their parents who might be.

So maybe 8 percent of Americans would still theoretically be subject to this tax if they choose not to take advantage of the generous subsidies Obamacare offers to poor and middle class folks who account for almost all such people. But really. Can we be sane here?

Can we take off those ideological glasses just for a moment, and put down the Tea Party wacky-tabacky ranting pipe? How many people really wouldn’t want to be covered by health insurance if there are generous aids that let them get it? How many parents with kids would actually make such a choice?

Is there anything really debatable here? In the real world? Please.

But wait, you say. What about all those small businesses that will be hit with crippling new tax obligations because they must have a health plan for their employees or pay a new mandated tax? I have actually computed the number that would be so affected. Zero! The reason? Companies with less than 50 employees need not participate, and the government defines “small business” as those with less than 50 employees.

I don’t want to be too cute here, however. So again let’s look at the real world instead. Most businesses with more than 50 employees already have health plans in place. Such health plans have long been the most popular non-salary benefit offered by Americans companies. These companies won’t have to pay a penalty if they opt-out. They are already in.

Will there still be some companies with more than 50 employees that will be hurt by this mandate? Of course. It’s a big country with literally millions of businesses. But again, let’s try to think like adults.

Obamacare seeks to add more than 30 million people to the national insurance roles and have a near full-coverage system like the one in every other advanced country of the world — and some piss-poor countries, too, like Rwanda, where 96 percent of the population is covered by health insurance. To get close to this full-coverage goal has to cost someone tax money. With Obamacare, almost all the extra costs come from the top 5 percent earners.

So…Is this a good way to go, or should be stumble back to where we were before the law was passed and hope the Republicans to come up with something better?

These questions will not be addressed in this year’s Republican Obamacare attack ads. Let’s hope voters consider them anyway come election day.


To learn more about a quirky novel, a very unusual book of verse, and some Goldman Sachs satires from the author of this piece, hit one of these icons:

Fifteen Feet Beneath Manhattan, art by Kay Wood ©2012           A Dyspeptic's Guide To Contemporary American Politics (In Verse) ©2012         The Chronicles Of Selig Cartwright, Goldman Sachs Washroom Attendant: Volume 1 by Michael Silverstien

Introducing Rick Renfroo, Job Creator, and Runyan, the Libertarian Wonder Boy

[The scene is a washroom at Goldman Sachs. Selig Cartwright, washroom attendant, is finishing his clean up chores after the usual morning rush when his employer. Mr. B., pays a surprise visit…]

Mr. B. Surprised to see you here again. Hope the old digestion isn’t acting up again.

No, Selig. Nothing like that. I just have something to ask you. Something private. Are we alone?

I don’t see anyone doing a stand-up, sir. Or any legs under the door of a stall. So unless someone is standing on a seat in there, we’re alone.

Good. I need you to do something very special for one of our prime clients, Rick Renfroo, and his young associate Runyan. It will require you to outfit another stall — not my own #8, you understand — furnish this other stall in a special way.

I’m no prude, Mr. B. But a gentleman and his young associate in a specially prepared washroom stall in an investment bank seems a bit…

No, Selig. It’s nothing like that. They just need a place to change clothes quickly in private if the need occurs.

I don’t understand, sir.

Let me explain. Have you ever heard of the Scarlet Pimpernel?

Of course, sir. He was a fictional hero, Sir Percy Blakeney, in novels set in the French Revolution during its Reign of Terror period when nobles were losing their heads. Through a brilliant use of disguises he was able to rescue them. To protect his own loved ones from retribution at the hands of French agents in England he also had to pretend to be a silly fop.

You surprise me. Selig. How do you know things like this?

I have a college degree, sir. You need one these days to get a job in a Wall Street washroom.

Good man, Selig. Wall Street banks are happy to help little people like yourself pay off their huge college debt by providing personal services to our derivative traders. But I digress. A new Scarlet Pimpernel has appeared among us today and you can help him do what the old one did.

A contemporary Scarlet Pimpernel, sir?

Yes, Selig. One who protects today’s one-percenters from vicious attacks by jealous losers and socialist progressives, the way Sir Percy Blakeney once protected the one-percenter nobles of France. Do you know who I’m talking about? This modern-day Pimpernel?

Of course, sir. Everyone has heard of this new super hero. The Job Creator!

Yes, Selig. But do you know who he is when not in one of his disguises?

No, sir.

Well I do, and you are about to learn. It is none other than Rick Renfroo.

Good lord, Mr. B. But the tabloids depict Rick Renfroo as a ne’er-do-well, a country club blowhard who rails loudly about taxes and unions in public, embarrassing himself and causing those around him to cringe.

That’s his public face, Selig. But in these trying times, to protect the interests of the deserving best-and-brightest, he has another identity. He becomes…

The Job Creator!

Correct, Selig. And his young associate must therefore be…

Don’t tell me, Mr. B. I know who that is. Runyan, who the tabs regularly label a trustafarian twit, must secretly be the famous Libertarian Wonder Boy.

Selig, that $100,000 in debt you ran up in college for the right to clean a Wall Street washroom is looking more and more like it was worth the investment. Now can you guess what that stall you’ll be refurbishing will be used for?

As a changing room?

Bingo, Selig. When our heroes see the Job Creator signal flashed across the sky, the inspiring Sign of the Dollar, they will rush in here to disguise themselves in Scarlet Pimpernel fashion to protect deserving one-percenters. They will do this by…

Don’t tell me, Mr. B. Let me guess. Job Creator will dress like a working man to protest against union bosses forcing ordinary guys like himself to pay union dues. Or dress like an up-against-it taxpayer to complain how teachers and police and firemen are wallowing in wealth at taxpayer expense. Or dress up like a harried small businessman to expose how regulations are destroying his ability to survive and forcing him to layoff workers.

You have certainly been well educated by the a.m. radio we allow you to listen to down here. A lot better education than you got at that liberal lie factory of a college, I’ll wager. Now guess what Runyan does in his Wonder Boy guise.

No need to guess, sir. All decent Americans know that. He’s comes up with the intellectual libertarian rationales and Ayn Rand zingers to back Job Creator’s folksy wisdom.

Selig, you are further right than even I could have guessed. Enough of this jabber, however, Get busy refurbishing that stall into a changing space. Before you start on that, however, get those damn spots off the mirrors above the washbasins. I like you, but we’ve been getting applications for your position from people with graduate degrees. So get to it.

[Check here for future tales featuring Selig, Rick Renfroo the Job Creator, and Runyan the Libertarian Wonder Boy]

To learn more about a quirky novel, a very unusual book of verse, and some Goldman Sachs satires from the author of this piece, hit one of these icons:

Fifteen Feet Beneath Manhattan, art by Kay Wood ©2012           A Dyspeptic's Guide To Contemporary American Politics (In Verse) ©2012         The Chronicles Of Selig Cartwright, Goldman Sachs Washroom Attendant: Volume 1 by Michael Silverstien

No Matter Which Party Wins In November, A Hard Swing To The Right

It’s too early to know which party will win in November. But it’s easy to look into the future and guess how each would govern after victory.

Let’s say that Mr. Obama squeaks through and gets reelected. And the Democrats hold on to the Senate. And in spite of reapportionment finagling and voter disenfranchisement gambits by Republicans they also somehow manage to eke out a majority in the House of Representatives. What will likely happen then?

The losing Republicans, backed by an ever malleable press, will proclaim that Americans are tired of fractured, divided, do-nothing government, that the people demand bipartisan approaches to problems, and its time to move beyond extremes. The surviving 40-plus Republicans in the Senate will also say they are ready to deal — if their views are taken into account.

The negotiating will then begin, a reelected Obama taking the lead, abetted by Wall Street-friendly, Clinton-era hangers-on taking temporarily leaves from their Wall Street sinecures. Every attempt will be made not to unduly anger potential filibusterers among the 40-plus remaining Republican senators.

The result in this Democratic-controlled Congress and Administration? Every takeaway from the rich will be more than compensated by new tax or other breaks for these worthies, while none of the takeaways from the poor and middle class will receive any form of compensation. A fig-leaf bow to the left, but a real world swing in the other direction.

Now let’s consider a Republican victory in November. Governor Romney wins the White House. His party holds on to the House. It gains enough seats in the Senate to overcome a filibuster, or maybe is just a seat or two short.

Republicans and the press now declare this a clear mandate to pursue a conservative agenda. They are few calls for compromise, in spite of razor thin majorities at the polls and in Congress. Any threatened liberal filibusters in the Senate are squashed by ferocious cries of “obstructionism” of the people’s wishes. There are no compromises on policy. We won so we govern, is the credo on view here. The result is a hard swing to the right, no fig leaves needed.

How do I know this will happen no matter who wins in November? Because I know that just as character is destiny for individuals, it’s also destiny for political parties.

We very clearly know the character of both our major political parties. Like them or not, the Republicans have character. Like them or not, the Democrats, well…not so much. Not lately anyway.


To learn more about a quirky novel, a very unusual book of verse, and some Goldman Sachs satires from the author of this piece, hit one of these icons:

Fifteen Feet Beneath Manhattan, art by Kay Wood ©2012           A Dyspeptic's Guide To Contemporary American Politics (In Verse) ©2012         The Chronicles Of Selig Cartwright, Goldman Sachs Washroom Attendant: Volume 1 by Michael Silverstien


The 1936 and 2012 Presidential Elections — Similar Economic Scenarios, Very Different Possible Outcomes

How can a sitting Democratic President in 2012, who came to office with a huge electoral mandate four years earlier in the wake of a Republican-generated economic disaster, actually look like he might lose this coming November to a Republican who politically, economically and even personally so perfectly embodies virtually everything that got this Democratic president elected in 2008? The simple answer: Mr. Obama’s behavior toward Wall Street since coming into office.

FDR’s New Deal didn’t bring an end to the Great Depression. When he ran against Kansas Governor Alf Landon in 1936, the country was still wallowing in post-1929 economic misery. Republicans that year could say (and did say) with great honesty that FDR’s policies hadn’t brought back prosperity.

What these policies did do, however, was honor FDR’s promise to give the country a New Deal, especially as it applied to a Wall Street establishment the country distrusted and disliked for very good reasons. In the wake of his 1932 victory FDR did not dump advisers with populist notions with regard to The Street. He didn’t seek to reassure The Street that things wouldn’t change in major ways. He didn’t shy away from financial reforms that would dramatically change the way The Street operated. He didn’t stop hammering away at The Street so as not to offend big players there who might contribute big money to his campaign. He didn’t just take occasional verbal whacks to play to a voting base.

Voters in 1936 responded accordingly. Six months before that year’s election there wasn’t anyone in the country, Republican as well as Democrat, who didn’t know who would win in November. FDR cruised to the greatest electoral victory that year since 1820.

Compare what FDR did with respect to Wall Street with what Barack Obama has done since coming to office. Mr. Obama promised change and hope in 2008. He’s given little or nothing with respect to Wall Street. He traded the populist, truly reform-minded economic advisers he had during his 2008 campaign for a Wall Street friendly Tim Geithner — an adviser and Treasury Secretary whose counsel regarding Wall Street might charitably be termed protective, and less charitably, but perhaps more accurately, plain out appeasement.

Mr. Obama’s general stance toward Wall Street has been to reassure it, not rock the boat, not change things in major ways at all, or only change them in ways that can easily be undone directly via later legislation or less directly through lobbyists’ quiet efforts. When he actually deigns to say negative things about The Street, the comments are nuanced. And after one such obviously politically motivated tweaking, he went off to meet with hedge fund heavies with his hand out, bringing assurances that any nasty comments were just campaign necessities.

I will vote for Mr. Obama this November because the alternative is far worse. Many, perhaps most progressives like myself, will vote thus for the same reason.

But if Mr. Obama actually manages to lose this coming November, something that should have been as politically impossible as an FDR defeat in November 1932, I’ll know the reason why — Wall Street, and his astonishingly foolish behavior toward The Street from both the political and economic perspectives.


To learn more about a quirky novel, a very unusual book of verse, and some Goldman Sachs satires from the author of this piece, hit one of these icons:

Fifteen Feet Beneath Manhattan, art by Kay Wood ©2012           A Dyspeptic's Guide To Contemporary American Politics (In Verse) ©2012         The Chronicles Of Selig Cartwright, Goldman Sachs Washroom Attendant: Volume 1 by Michael Silverstien


Mitt Romney — An Ecologically Unsound Choice For President

Before I became a senior editor with Bloomberg Financial News where my work revolved around business and economic issues, I spent years writing about the environment. This background has given me a rather interesting focus — an ability to see some important similarities in the ways the natural world and the world of economics operate. From this perspective, it’s clear to me why Mitt Romney should not be put in charge of the U.S. economy.

Predators and vultures play important roles in both natural and economic systems. Herds of animals, for example, have to be regularly culled to improve the herd’s overall health and viability. Predators do the job. They kill the weak, the diseased, the careless, the inadequately protected young. Then vultures, hyenas and other members of nature’s clean up crew consume the mess and “refashion it” in the form of their own waste, which helps fertilize fields where healthy members of the herd feed.

Things work much the same way in the economic realm. Companies, industries, entire nations show signs of weakness and predators of various kinds attack (think bond vigilantes in world markets). Then the market’s vultures move in to clean up the mess. The result is a healthier economic “herd,” a healthier Main Street, that can grow in healthier ways having been culled of its unproductive or no longer desirable elements.

Mitt Romney’s major business experience, what he is putting forth as his major qualification to reanimate the economy as President, is his work at Bain Capital, a Wall Street vulture fund. In spite of the unflattering image the word “vulture” evokes, as is true in natural economies, these funds play an important and valuable role in keeping economies healthy.

Based on the above, one might suppose that Romney’s history with Bain was something he could truthfully claim qualifies him to get America back on its feet economically. Look a little closer, however, and its easy to see this is actually a work history guaranteed to point a new President Romney in the wrong economic directions.

The reason? Because what was described above is the way things work in a properly functioning natural ecology or environment — one in which the various parts, the herds (whatever they might consist of), the predators, the vultures, are all in balance.

If you come upon a natural ecology where herds have been overly culled, while at the same time lions and leopards are overly well fed, and the numbers and size of vultures and hyenas are enormous, you’ve got a sick ecosystem. If you see an economy in which Main Street is wobbly and anguished, while the predators and vultures of Wall Street wax fatter and fatter, you’ve got a sick economy.

Our own economy today is over-Bained, over-Citied, badly under-Main Streeted. The main economic problem here isn’t the cast of economic players and what each is supposed to do to keep things healthy. It’s that the balance wrought by some of these players, the predators and vultures, has made things very, very out-of-whack.

Culling this herd, culling Main Street more than it has already been culled, won’t improve our economic health. Doing so might not always be the wrong prescription. But it is certainly the wrong prescription for the wrong disease today.

Expecting this reality to be appreciated and acted upon appropriately by a former partner in a vulture fund backed by Wall Street predators is thus a very silly political choice for a mighty sick Main Street herd.


To learn more about a quirky novel, a very unusual book of verse, and some Goldman Sachs satires from the author of this piece, hit one of these icons:

Fifteen Feet Beneath Manhattan, art by Kay Wood ©2012           A Dyspeptic's Guide To Contemporary American Politics (In Verse) ©2012         The Chronicles Of Selig Cartwright, Goldman Sachs Washroom Attendant: Volume 1 by Michael Silverstien


Take A Billionaire Out To Dinner — It’s The Least You Can Do

The New York Times today reported that a former associate of Mitt Romney at Bain Capital is writing a book that purports to show why greater income inequality is good for the economy, and also benefits the 99 percent-plus who haven’t been cunning or well connected enough to become super-rich.

His argument, in brief, is this: most of the money garnered by these super rich worthies isn’t spent on their own luxuries. Rather, it is invested in ways that generate wealth that ends up being shared by all — though admittedly, the less cunning and well-connected 99 percenters do have to settle for much, much smaller shares.

The fact this this love-thy-economic-betters author is a former Wall Street colleague of a guy who is now running for President, a guy who sadly (that darn old democratic system) must appeal to more than half of today’s economically aggrieved 99 percenters, is probably not appreciated by the Romney camp. Maybe they shouldn’t feel that way, however. Maybe the rest of us shouldn’t feel that way either.

Maybe extraordinarily high levels of wealth concentration are good for everyone. I mean sure, it hasn’t proven to make most Americans wealthier in recent years. It hasn’t generated huge numbers of well paying jobs (or any other kind for that matter) at a time when this concentration has grown and grown. Indeed, it hasn’t made for an economy nearly as satisfying and secure and productive as when such concentration wasn’t nearly as evident, as during the post-WW II period between 1945 and the coming of Reagan.

But heck. Why focus on current realities, or the realities of recent decades past? Let’s focus instead on the economic theorizing of a super rich former Bain partner of Mitt Romney. And let us all then genuflect in the appropriate manner.

If this doesn’t seem a good enough of show of appreciation, why not invite a 0.01 percenter out to dinner to show your gratitude for the wonderful things he’s done for us all? And if that requires cashing in pension savings to make this best and brightest person comfortable at table with the fare we provide, cash in your pension savings (or what’s left of it). It’s the least you can do.

All hail Bain Capital! All hail Wall Street and the increasing number of tasty morsels it provides for vulture funds like Bain! Let us now all tap our heels together, mutter “death to regulation and progressive taxation,” and queue up to follow Bain folk down the iron pyrite brick road being laid out for us this coming election day.


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Fifteen Feet Beneath Manhattan, art by Kay Wood ©2012              A Dyspeptic's Guide To Contemporary American Politics (In Verse) ©2012