TAKE A LOOK AT THE VIDEO/TRANSCRIPT BELOW AND ASK YOURSELF.......WHY AM I VOTING FOR THE VERY PEOPLE WHO TOOK THE COUNTRY IN THIS DIRECTION? IN MARYLAND, HOYER, CARDIN, CUMMINGS, AND SARBANES ALL VOTED FOR THE REPEAL OF GLASS-STEAGALL KNOWING IT WOULD CREATE WHAT WE HAVE TODAY. THEY WATCHED AS IT HAPPENED AND THEY HAVE NOT SHOUTED OR EVEN ACKNOWLEDGED THE FAILURE TO HOLD PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE.
WE MAY NEED TO VOTE FOR OBAMA BUT
VOTE FOR A WRITE-IN FOR THESE POLITICIANS THIS ELECTION!!!!!
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!
IN MARYLAND WE HAVE A GOVERNOR IN MARTIN O'MALLEY WHO GLADLY ACKNOWLEDGES HE IS BEST OF FRIENDS WITH WALL STREET'S MAYOR BLOOMBERG. O'MALLEY HAS WORKED FROM HIS YEARS ON THE BALTIMORE CITY COUNCIL, HIS TERM IN BALTIMORE, AND NOW AS GOVERNOR TO ADVANCE ALL OF WALL STREET'S INTERESTS. WE SHOULD NOT SEE ANY SOCIAL JUSTICE/LABOR OR FISCAL PROGRESSIVES SPEAKING ON HIS BEHALF. IN FACT, I ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO START EMAILING THESE GROUPS ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY ABOUT O'MALLEY'S RECORD BECAUSE YOU KNOW MAINSTREAM MEDIA WILL MAKE HIM A GOLDEN BOY!
America the Possible
Air Date: Week of October 19, 2012 Living On Earth/PRI
stream/download this segment as an MP3 file James Gustave Speth (Vermont Law School) Presidential advisor and Vermont Law professor James Gustave Speth has a new book out titled, America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy. Speth talks with host Steve Curwood about ways to reinvent the American economy as one that values nature and quality of life over GDP.
Transcript CURWOOD: James Gustave Speth chaired the White House Council on Environmental Quality for President Carter, helped found the Natural Resources Defense Council and the World Resources Institute, then ran the UN Development Program and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
You'd hardly think that he's a radical with a resume like that, but Gus Speth was arrested in front of the White House for protesting the XL pipeline in 2011. He's now a professor at the Vermont Law School, and writes that our politics are so corrupt and our environmental movement so weak that we are in peril. His new book is "America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy.”
SPETH: Do we want to merely revive the economy with all its failings or do we want to transform the economy into one where the real priorities of economic activities in our country are people and place and planet. And this old economy that everyone is struggling to revive was a pretty sad place, it still is a pretty sad place. During the period where economic growth went up 125 percent since 1980, we’ve had inequality mount, poverty mount, jobs fled our borders, we lost 42,000 manufacturing plants, the environment decline, life satisfaction flat-lined. I mean, that’s what happened in the old economy.
And, you know, it is now already higher GDP then it was before the Great Recession of 2008, and yet we still have all these problems. We need an economy that doesn’t simply prioritize growth, but more importantly puts a priority on sustaining people, sustaining place, sustaining planet.
CURWOOD: What’s wrong with GDP, why do you see it as such a threat to the environment and our society?
SPETH: Well, I have a chapter on that in “America the Possible” and, we need a new system of indicators that give us the right signals of whether we’re making national progress. Now Bobby Kennedy in 1968 made a powerful attack on GDP, pointing out that it is simply an aggregation of every economic transaction in a society, whether it’s good or bad or indifferent. And a lot of them are bad and you can ratchet up GDP by having an oil spill in the Gulf.
CURWOOD: Bobby Kennedy was running for president back then. His words on how we measure the economy still resonate today. Here they are:
[KENNEDY CLIP: Our Gross National Product now is over 800 billion dollars a year. But that Gross National Product, if we judge the United States of America by that, that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage, it counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them, it counts in the destruction of the Redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder and chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm.
And it counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts with it rifles and fixed knives and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children. The Gross National Product does not allow the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play, it does not include the beauty of our poetry, the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debates, or the integrity of our public officials.
It measures neither our wit, nor our courage, neither our wisdom, nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.]
CURWOOD: Just months after he gave that speech, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. And GDP is still the measure of America’s success. Again, Gus Speth.
SPETH: We need a really good measure of sustainable economic welfare that can go toe-to-toe with GDP every quarter. And there have been efforts to do that and what they show is that during the past few decades when GDP per capita went up and up and up, life satisfaction on average, a genuine progress indicator measure, flat-lined during that period.
CURWOOD: Lets talk about money. In your book, “America the Possible”, you’re quite critical of the way that money is created in this society by banks, detail to us what’s wrong with society in that process and how you would change it.
SPETH: Most money that’s in society is created by bank debt when people take out loans from banking institutions. So, it gives the banking institutions tremendous power, I mean, money is a system of power. And the banks determine who gets money, and overwhelmingly the process of investment in our society is chasing the highest financial return. That leads to many things that are highly destructive, such as investing in mountaintop removal, and tar sands and other things which the big banks are doing now. And it leads to severe underinvestment in social and environmental needs that don’t yield a high financial return.
CURWOOD: In a new America, how would we address social inequality?
SPETH: I think compared with Europe for example, we have a very weak unemployment insurance program. It reaches a very small portion of the unemployed and it compensates for a smaller percentage of wages, and we could certainly improve our unemployment insurance program, we could certainly improve the minimum wage program.
And through other means, including tilting the collective bargaining process and unionization process back towards organized labor, which we’ve tilted away from dramatically in recent decades, and of course the tax structure needs to be changed. In 1928, the top one percent of earners had about 24 percent of national income.
It went down by the mid 70s to about 7 percent of national income, but now, it’s gone all the way back up again to about 24 percent of the national income. So one goal that we ought to have for our society, in a way a minimum goal, is to return to the kind of income equality we had in the mid-70s. Not a terribly radical proposal, because we were there at one time, and it was a better place.
CURWOOD: And how does this affect the environment?
SPETH: The environment and the equity issues go together. People that are economically insecure find it really hard to address environmental issues when they have more pressing concerns with their pocket books. And when you try to do something like impose a charge, easily called a tax, on carbon emissions, and people see that that could raise gasoline prices and energy prices and they are already having trouble paying those bills, they become opponents of doing the right thing to save the planet’s climate. And so we need a more just economic system and I think that would provide the basis for more rigorous environmental protection.
CURWOOD: Now, in your career, you’ve worked closely with elected officials. President Jimmy Carter, you chaired the Council on Environmental Quality for him. Advised Bill Clinton. You’ve been close to electoral politics. In your view, what’s wrong with our democracy now, and how should we fix it?
SPETH: Well we certainly have what I call a creeping corporate-ocracy and plutocracy. You see the plutocracy, the money taking power in our politics everyday now. Corporations spend a lot more on lobbying then they do on campaigns - a lot more. We always have know that corporations were the principal economic actors in our system but I would say that they are now the principal political actors in our system and I think that there are things that we need to do.
We need to start by securing the voters. People automatically being registered to vote when the reach the age of 18, that’s common in advanced industrial countries. And we need to make voting easier, a longer time ahead of the election day to vote. Have a national holiday on Election Day. The other big thing we need to do is to enact a type of campaign finance reform that really works. And the latest proposal would be… if you make a small contribution, 250 dollars, to the president or someone running for Congress, the federal government would match that five to one. You know, if you had enough supporters, you could raise enough money to run a competitive campaign.
CURWOOD: So, your book, Gus Speth, America the Possible, a Manifesto for a New Economy, is a huge, broad vision that would change almost everything in America. The question is how do you get there from here? If the political system is broken, how do you make political change?
SPETH: Well, I want to make a prediction. Which is that when this election is over, there are going to be so many people fed up with what we have experienced in the process that there could well be a confluence of interests coming together to enact a set of pro-democracy political reforms.
I think we need an era to revive an era of protest, to revive an era of marches and demonstrations and non-violent civil disobedience. If it’s done in the right way, it can build support and it can dramatize the need for change. We saw that with the civil rights movement, and we need that kind of fervor again if we are going to build the America the Possible for our grandchildren.
[MUSIC: Brian Blade “Struggling With That” from Mama Rosa (Verve Music Group 2009).]
CURWOOD: Thank you, Gus, for coming in.
SPETH: Thank you, Steve.
CURWOOD: Vermont law professor Gus Speth. His book is "America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy."
Why are Maryland's candidates not speaking to the issues most important to people? Because they are working against them!
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!
Do you think it odd that WYPR has an abundance of political coverage for the elections in November but had a complete media blackout on political coverage for the primaries? I am watching to see if that coverage continues.
What we will look for are issues being covered that aren't simply O'Malley/Rawlings-Blake issues. These are the public issues in state and local politics:
1) We have a state that is ranked at the bottom in the Center for Public Integrity study for fraud and corruption. Indeed, billions are lost each year to the state and city from health care entitlement fraud and we have yet to receive billions from the massive mortgage fraud, having only the $25 billion interest payment last year on what all financial analysts place at $600-800 billion compromise settlement for trillions in fraud.
IT IS OBVIOUS THAT A CASH STRAPPED CITY LIKE BALTIMORE WHICH IS ALSO GROUND ZERO FOR THE FRAUD AS THE FRAUD IS DIRECTED AT THE POOR WOULD MAKE THAT A PRIORITY. THE ONLY REASON IT WOULDN'T IS THAT THE PEOPLE WHO SHOULD BE SHOUTING ARE BENEFITING FROM THE FRAUD. THIS IS BIG NEWS AND PUBLIC MEDIA WOULD COVER THIS!
2) 2/3 of Americans want income inequity reversed. It is the only path back to a strong middle-class. We have corporate Third Way Democrats in leadership positions in the Federal and State levels, and our City Council is simply run by developers. Given this, if WYPR only repeats what these leaders say as issue stances, then you are not stating public interest policy. We have seen $3 trillion in corporate tax breaks as "job creators" with no jobs. THAT IS AN IMPORTANT ISSUE FOR THE PUBLIC. We see only tax policy to, at best, make the rich pay what we do when we need a strong progressive tax reform with 70% rate at the top. No candidate is saying that and THAT IS AN IMPORTANT ISSUE FOR THE PUBLIC. Instead we see increasing policy lowering the tax rates at the high end at local levels.
3) Reestablishing Rule of Law in America must happen if we are to move back towards a first world status. Bush gutted the white collar criminal agencies and sent all personnel to Homeland Security. We have a skeleton crew in the agencies nation wide. It is no coincidence that we have more money moved by fraud to the top income in human history. THIS IS A GREAT BIG DEAL AND HUGELY IMPORTANT STORY FOR THE PUBLIC THAT WE NEVER HEAR ON WYPR......PUBLIC MEDIA. ISN'T THAT ODD?
4) Free market globalization was unleashed by Bill Clinton when he created Third Way Caucus and ended the Glass-Steagall banking wall. He did it as people shouted loudly that it would create unaccountable businesses and massive income inequity. He knew that the middle-class and unions would be killed and he knew democracy would be undermined by this inequity. This is a person running as a Democrat. THIS IS BIG NEWS AND IT IS CRITICAL INFORMATION FOR THE PUBLIC AND YET, WE HAVE NOT HEARD ONE DESCRIPTION OF THIS ON PUBLIC MEDIA. AMERICA HAS HAD A 3 PARTY SYSTEM JUST LIKE THE UNITED KINGDOM FOR 20 YEARS.......CONSERVATIVES/LIBERALS/LABOR WITH LIBERALS BEING CORPORATE AND WORKING AGAINST LABOR ........AND YET THE PUBLIC DOESN'T KNOW THIS EVEN THROUGH THIS COMING ELECTION. ISN'T THAT ODD?
5) Health care reform is about creating mega-health industries through consolidation into global systems that will look like Wall Street. It is happening now. We all know that these will be profit-driven and prey upon the poor just as Wall Street does.....so, there will be no entitlements.......Medicare/Medicaid if these health systems are allowed to grow beyond regional size. 2/3 of Americans will not be able to access health care beyond public health status. THIS IS A BIG DEAL TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC DON'T YOU THINK? WOULDN'T PUBLIC MEDIA BE THE FIRST TO EXPLAIN THAT TO THE PUBLIC? ISN'T IT ODD THAT IT ISN'T?
FROM MARTIN O'MALLEY:
I wanted to make sure you saw this note from my good friend, Mayor Michael Bloomberg on why he's for question 6 here in Maryland. He, like thousands of Marylanders across our state, understands that this issue is about fairness and protecting everyone equally under the law. Check out his message below and sign up today to defend dignity.
Maryland will always hold a special place in my heart. I went to college at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, and have remained active in the Hopkins community. So when Governor O'Malley asked me to support Question 6, I didn’t hesitate.
As a business leader and Mayor of New York City, I do not believe that government has any business telling one class of couples that they cannot marry. The 14th Amendment guarantees us all equal protection under the law, and that's what Question 6 does -- it treats all citizens equally under the law, while protecting religious liberty at the same time.
Two years ago, I was proud to support the effort to pass marriage equality in the State of New York -- and the bi-partisan support it received resulted in one of our state’s great civil rights victories.
Around the country, a few legislatures and state courts have taken action to extend marriage equality to all couples, regardless of gender. But never before have voters affirmed marriage equality in a statewide referendum. By voting “FOR” on Question 6, I believe Maryland will become the first state in the nation to affirm marriage equality at the ballot box.
On Tuesday, November 6th – Election Day – you will have an opportunity to make history.
The next great barrier to full equality under the law is marriage equality. There is no doubt in my mind this barrier will fall, just as so many others have. The question is not if, but when. And it is my hope that you will answer that question for Maryland on Tuesday, November 6th. Please join me and support Question 6.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg
VOTE FOR THE ISSUE AND VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!