“Unregulated Greed has Destroyed the Capitalist System”

Paul Craig Roberts

I write about major problems: the collapsing US economy, wars based on lies and deception, the police state based on “the war on terror” and other fabrications such as those orchestrated by corrupt police and prosecutors, who boost their performance reports by convicting the innocent, and so on. America is a very distressing place. The fact that so many Americans are taken in by the lies told by “their” government makes America all the more depressing.

Often, however, it is small annoyances that waste Americans’ time and drive up blood pressures. One of the worst things that ever happened to Americans was the breakup of the AT&T telephone monopoly. As Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury in 1981, if 150 percent of my time and energy had not been required to cure stagflation in the face of opposition from Wall Street and Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, I might have been able to prevent the destruction of the best communications service in the world, and one that was very inexpensive to customers.

The assistant attorney general in charge of the “anti-trust case” against AT&T called me to ask if Treasury had an interest in how the case was resolved. I went to Treasury Secretary Don Regan and told him that although my conservative and libertarian friends thought that the breakup of At&T was a great idea, their opinion was based entirely in ideology and that the practical effect would not be good for widows and orphans who had a blue chip stock to see them through life or for communications customers as deregulated communications would give the multiple communications corporations different interests than those of the customers. Under the regulated regime, AT&T was allowed a reasonable rate of return on its investment, and to stay out of trouble with regulators AT&T provided excellent and inexpensive service.

Secretary Regan reminded me of my memo to him detailing that Treasury was going to have a hard time getting President Reagan’s economic program, directed at curing the stagflation that had wrecked President Carter’s presidency, out of the Reagan administration. The budget director, David Stockman, and his chief economist, Larry Kudlow, had lined up against it following the wishes of Wall Street, and the White House Chief of Staff James Baker and his deputy Richard Darman were representatives of VP George H.W. Bush and did not want s substantial Reagan success that would again threaten the Republican Establishment’s hold over the party. Baker and Darman wanted to be sure that George H. W. Bush, and not Jack Kemp, succeeded Ronald Reagan, and that required a muted Reagan success that they could claim as theirs for moderating an “extremist” program.

I told Secretary Regan that if I had another deputy assistant secretary, I could reach a reasonable conclusion whether the breakup of AT&T was sensible. He replied that he was sure that was the case, but that once I had three deputies the headlines in the Washington Post and New York Times, Business Week, Newsweek, and so on, would be: “Supply-sider builds empire at Treasury.” He said it would sink me and that without me he could not get the President’s economic program out of the President’s administration. “Which do you want to do,” he asked, “save AT&T or cure stagflation?”

Curing stagflation gave America twenty more years. Ironically, the good times started to erode when Reagan’s other goal was accomplished and the Soviet Union dissolved in 1990. “The end of history” resulted in India and China opening their labor markets to American capitalists, who began producing offshore with foreign labor the products that they sold to Americans. The labor costs savings pushed up corporate profits, shareholders’ returns, and managerial bonuses. But it deprived Americans of middle class incomes and wrecked the balance of trade. The US income distribution and the trade deficit worsened.

Many progressives blame the worsening income distribution on the Reagan tax rate reductions, but the real cause is the offshoring of manufacturing, industrial, and professional service jobs, such as software engineering.

None of us in the Reagan administration foresaw jobs offshoring as the consequence of Soviet collapse. We had no idea that by bringing down the Soviet Union we would be bringing down America. During the Reagan years India was socialist and would not allow foreign corporations, had they been interested, to touch their labor force. China was communist and no foreign capital could enter the country.

However, once the Soviet Union was gone from the earth, the remaining socialist and communist regimes decided to go with the winners. They opened to Western corporations and sucked jobs out of the developed West.

But this is a different story. To get back to deregulation, nothing has worked for the consumer since deregulation. Deregulation permitted corporations to impose their costs of operation on customers without having to send them a bill. For example, corporations use voice recognition technology to keep customers from salaried customer representatives. I remember when a customer with a problem could call a utility company or bank and have the problem immediately corrected.

No more. There was an error in my phone bill today, which I had corrected without result on two previous occasions. As everyone knows by now, it takes 10-15 minutes, usually, to get a live person who can actually fix the problem. After listening to sales pitches for 12 minutes, I got a live person. Once the problem was understood, it was pronounced to be an upper level problem out of his hands. I waited another 10 minutes while he tried to reach a superior who had the code to fix the problem that the phone company had produced in my account. The entire time I listened to product advertisements.

How many times has this happened to you?

Whoever invented these artificial voice capabilities is the enemy of mankind. Whomever a customer calls–utilities, credit card companies, banks, whatever, the customer gets a voice machine. Some voice machines never tell the customer how to get a live person who can, on occasion, actually fix the problem.

In my opinion, the strategy behind the endless delays is to cause the customers to give up, slam the telephone down and play the higher incorrect bill as it is cheaper in time and frustration to correcting the problem and being billed in the correct amount. These ripoffs of the customer are produced by Wall Street pressures for higher earnings.

The frustrations, of course, multiply when one reaches an offshored service somewhere in the Third World. The incentive is to hang up and to pay the excessive bill so that phone, internet, or credit card services are not cut off

Had Don Regan and I known that the high speed Internet was in our future and that American corporations would use it to destroy the jobs traditionally filled by US university graduates, possibly we would have decided to save the regulated telephone monopoly and to deliver the economy over to stagflation.

The reason is that sooner or later something would have been done about stagflation, but nothing whatsoever has been done about offshoring. Saving the economy from offshoring would have been a greater achievement than saving the economy from stagflation. However, in my time stagflation, not offshoring, was the problem.

I regret that I did not have a crystal ball.

Deregulation proponents will say that the breakup of AT&T gave us cell phones and broadband, as if foreign regulated communication companies and state monopolies do not provide cell phone service or high speed Internet connections. I can remember attending corporate board meetings years ago at which the European members had digital cell phones with which they could call most anywhere on earth, while we Americans with our analogue cell phones could hardly connect down the street.

What deregulation did was to permit Wall Street to push the deregulated industries– phone service, airlines, trucking, and later Wall Street itself– to focus on profits and not on service. Profits were increased by curtailing service, by pushing up prices and by Wall Street creating fraudulent financial instruments, which the banksters used America’s reputation to market to the gullible at home and abroad.

Consider air travel. Admit it, if you are my age you hate it. The deterioration in service over my lifetime is phenomenal. Studies in favor of airline deregulation focused on short flights between A and B and concluded that small airlines serving high density areas were more efficient because they were not regulated. What was left out of the analysis is that regulated airlines served low density areas and permitted free stopovers. For example, if one was flying from the US to Athens, Greece, the traveler could stopover in London, Paris, and Rome without additional charges. Moreover, passengers were fed hot meals even in tourist class. In those halcyon days, it was even possible to travel more comfortably in tourist class than in first class, because flights were not scheduled in keeping with full capacity. Several rows of seats might be unoccupied. It was possible to push up the arm rests on three or four center aisle seats, lay down and go to sleep.

Perhaps the best benefit of regulated air travel for passengers was that airlines had spare airliners. If one airplane had mechanical problems that could not be fixed within a reasonable time, a standby airliner was rolled out to enable passengers to meet their connections and designations. With deregulation, customer service is not important. The bottom line has eliminated spare airliners.

With deregulated airlines, Wall Street calls the tune. If your flight has a mechanical problem, you are stuck where you are unless you have some sort of privileged status that can bump passengers from later fully booked flights. “Studies” that focus only on discounted ticket price omit major costs of deregulation and thereby wrongly conclude that deregulation has benefited the consumer.

When trucking was regulated, truckers would stop to provide roadside assistant to stranded travelers. Today, with deregulated trucking, every minute counts toward the bottom line. Not only do truckers no longer stop to aid stranded travelers, they travel at excessive speeds that endanger automobile drivers. Trucks have expanded in size, weight and speed. Trucks raise the stress level on interstate highway drivers and destroy, at taxpayers expense, the roads on which they travel.

Conservatives and especially libertarians romanticize “free market unregulated capitalism.” They regard it as the best of all economic orders. However, with deregulated capitalism, every decision is a bottom-line decision that screws everyone except the shareholders and management.

In America today there is no longer a connection between profits and the welfare of the people. Unregulated greed has destroyed the capitalist system, which now distributes excessive rewards to the few at the expense of the many.

If Marx and Lenin were alive today, the extraordinary greed with which Wall Street has infected capitalism would provide Marx and Lenin with a better case than they had in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

G20: Banks must hold on to Cash for coming Crisis

The International Crime Syndicate, better known as the G20, determined at its last meeting that the collapse and consolidation of the global economy will begin around 2012 and finish in 2016 with the liquidation of all countries who are in debt with the IMF and the World Bank.

By Luis Miranda
The Real Agenda
June 29, 2010

Bankers and G20 members have direct and indirect ways to speak to the public. At the end of the latest G20 meeting in Toronto, both

From right to left: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, UK Prime Minister David Cameron and U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama.

groups spoke very clearly about what they have in mind for the foreseeable future. First, they are all in the run to help the process of global consolidation. Second, they will extend the current depression by slowly cutting the available cash for lending. Third, they will continue their austerity programs in a country by country basis to slowly kill their economies and consolidate each nation. Fourth, now that they have robbed the people’s taxes through their rescue packages, they plan to rob shareholders by putting the burden of future rescues on them when the next crisis comes. Fifth, they are disingenuous or irresponsible by thinking that putting aside 130 billion pounds will create any security for the economy, given that only the derivative schemed debt ascends into the quadrillion of dollars. And lastly, they intend to seed and water the final implosion, which according to their communique, can come as soon as 2012.

If all these sounds confusing, please let me explain.

Let’s start by remembering that the G20, and mainly the G8 were the ones who caused the current financial crisis. They did it through their front companies e.g. banks, which implemented a series of corrupt schemes to bankrupt economies and whole countries through investment and betting into risky and sometimes nonexistent financial products e.g. derivatives. These schemes were allowed to exist given the fact that for the past two decades most of the regulations put in place to stop financial fraud were eliminated as an excuse to enable “free markets”. What deregulation effectively permitted was the creation of bogus investing plans which the banks later offered to countries, states and municipalities -often times through governments- and used them to acquire all their infrastructure and cash through the issuance of debt or fraudulent investment.

It has become clear that the G8 and the bankers are not interested in improving current economic conditions. They simply want to extend the crisis as long as they need to, in order to execute their final plan of global implosion. That is what emerges from the idea of cutting lending money and asking banks to hoard the cash for the next crisis, as the G20 communique says. Although 130 billion pounds is peanuts in comparison with the debt most G8 countries hold today, the action of keeping the cash in reserve paints a clear picture of what the ‘leaders’ have in mind. What they want is a slowly and painfully grind down the economies in order to cause the greatest damage. Such policy will assure them the consolidation of more resources before the final blow to the global economy is given.

One of the most important tools the bankers have used along the last 100 years is to create an artificial bubble of money abundance -Fiat money- in order to get the countries and the public to trust them. This is what many describe as economic booms. But given the fact that the global economy is based on debt and fractional reserve banking, the only goal the money bubbles had was to hook up the greatest amount of debt on consumers to then pull the cash off the markets. By doing this, the bankers accelerate their consolidation process. Along with the reduction in lending, G8 nations agreed to continue the austerity plans in each individual country. Austerity will be implanted on the working class by cutting services such as police, hospitals, school funding, and social programs. This will in turn cause civil unrest, which is what the bankers want in order to officially freely unleash their military and technological control grid. A preview of what this grid would look like was seen on the streets of Toronto during the last G20 meeting. It was also seen during Argentina’s collapse in 2001.

The infamous rescue packages glorified by the IMF and the World Bank as the best way to avoid a complete collapse of the global economy -which as explained before was caused by the bankers themselves- were the biggest transfer of money and resources in the history of the world. Only the United States gave the bankers around $25 trillion in tax payer money so Goldman Sachs, Iberia Bank, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and others could pay their shareholders their chunk of the loot. See a complete list of what banks got the cash here. But those $25 trillion were not enough, of course. Germany for example, voted to give 66% of its annual revenue to the banks. Going by the G20’s communique it is clear they are planning another big collapse, possibly the last one. It is also clear they will have to rob someone else this time and that is what the bankers and the ‘leaders’ have said. They will stick the next rescue package to the banks’ shareholders -not to the big ones, though-. So if you have investments in any bank, it is advised to rescue yourself out of it before the new banking package comes along. Shamelessly, they will obligate the banks to hold billions so when the next crisis comes, taxpayers will not be burdened as if we don’t know those billions are the same they stole last 2009. Now that they consolidated and stabilized their fraudulent financial system, it won’t matter if other banks fail, because they are all covered.

The idea that 130 billion pounds is a safety net for a future crisis, or double dip recession as they like to call it, is preposterous. Derivative-produced debt is, depending who you ask, between $600 trillion and $1 quadrillion. According to Robert Chapman, from the theinternationalforecaster.com, buying derivatives is not investing.  It is gambling, insurance and high stakes bookmaking.  Derivatives create nothing.” According to the Bank of International Settlements, the derivative bubble has grown exponentially to a point where the amounts negotiated under this scheme has long surpassed the world’s GDP. “Derivative trades have grown exponentially, until now they are larger than the entire global economy.”Credit default swaps (CDS) is the most common form of derivatives. CDS are bets between two parties on whether or not a company will default on its bonds. They are indeed illegal insurance policies, with no requirement to hold any asset. CDS are used to increase profits by gambling on market changes.

The WEB of DEBT in which the current economy was built throughout the past 100 years was the tool used in a process to reverse everything humans achieved. It was not unintended however, as this was the mechanism the globalist bankers planned on using from the beginning. Every time the world experienced a financial crisis like in 1929-1933, the grip of control tightened more and more. The measures to avoid a total collapse, as we were told, were not such. They were simply ways to postpone the imminent collapse.  But the measures the bankers implemented cannot be used forever. Sooner rather than later something will give in. The step by step, ad hoc and non-holistic approach of Fed and Treasury to crisis management has been a failure. . . . [P]lugging and filling one hole at [a] time is useless when the entire system of levies is collapsing in the perfect financial storm of the century. A much more radical, holistic and systemic approach to crisis management is now necessary,” says professor Nouriel Roubini. founder of Roubini Global Economics.

After turning the global economy into a service-based system, where no quality products are manufactured; after driving developing countries into massive debt while collapsing the economies of the western world, the bankers are ready for their last move: a one last crisis. According to the G20 communique, its members must cut their deficits by 2013, a process that already started. This process is supposed to end in 2016, when the nations should have stabilized their deficits. Cutting and then stabilizing deficits means that debtor countries will have to find a way to pay their debts in full to the IMF and World Bank according to the conditions imposed by those entities. Every country that does not pay in full will be liquidated and their resources will be automatically transferred to the globalist bankers. Imagine what happened to Argentina, Greece and Iceland in the last decade, but instead of being those countries, the debtors will be the United States, Spain, Portugal, England and Germany.