The steel fist or the helping hand?

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A fundamental difference between the right-wing and the left-wing is their reflexive approach to problem solving.

The right gravitates toward the steel fist. The left prefers the helping hand.

Consider the problem of poverty. The conservative right usually opts for punishment. Take away food stamps and other welfare payments to “prod” the poor into getting jobs. (See:
More on Kasich, the Republican “moderate”)

The liberal left opts for financial support to help the poor survive so they can lift themselves out of poverty.

It’s more an emotional than an intellectual response, in which the right feels poverty is a personal failing for which people should not be rewarded. The left feels poverty is society’s failing, for which society should provide positive solutions.

In this vein, consider the problem of youth violence:

To Reduce Gun Violence, Potential Offenders Offered Support And Cash
March 28, 20164:00 PM ET

Not long ago, the city of Richmond, Calif., was considered one of the most dangerous cities in America. There was a skyrocketing homicide rate fueled by gangs of young men settling personal or territorial disputes.

The conservative right approach would be stricter enforcement and harsher penalties, more police, more “stop-and-frisk,” more people in jail.

Today, the city of about 100,000 residents is called a national model for reducing gun violence. Many cities around the country are adopting their unconventional strategy to prevent violence —– which includes paying potential criminals to stay out of trouble.

Joseph McCoy is one of about a half dozen “Neighborhood Change Agents” who keep track, sometimes a couple times a day, of scores of known gun offenders or youths at risk of being shot.

“If it is a shooting, we definitely go to check out see what’s going on, because we try to create a pause on the next shooting,” he says. “We’re trying to figure out how to keep the next shooting from happening.”

The agents are city employees and all ex-cons with serious street cred.

“We do something real simple that folks just don’t realize how, how powerful it is. We love on our youngsters! We come from a sincere place that we love each and every last one of the people we touch and we try to touch as many people as possible,” he says.

This street outreach is just one part of a broader program designed by DeVone Boggan, the former director of a city department called the Office of Neighborhood Safety. Bogan made a startling discovery in meetings with local law enforcement.

“What I continued to hear was folks believed that there were 17 people responsible for 70 percent of the firearm activity in our city. Seventeen people! We can do something about that,” Boggan says.

Boggan and his team identified those 17 people and several more and made them an offer. The fellowship will give them counseling, social services, a job and a chance to travel if they develop a “life map,” agree to stay in contact every day and stay out of trouble.

Then the fellowship will pay them up to a $1,000 a month for nine months.

The result: Richmond has seen its murder rate cut in half since the fellowship began.

Just ask 18-year-old Joel Contreras. He was involved with guns, robberies and trouble. Contreras says when he was first offered a chance to change his life he turned it down.

The conservative approach would have been to arrest him and throw away the key, thereby throwing away a valuable human life, while endlessly paying for his incarceration.

“I walked away from him. Ten minutes later, I hit the corner. I get shot. The car got shot a couple times, me and my friend were both injured,” Contreras says.

When the outreach workers came back to see him, Contreras says he was ready to listen.

“They helped me get a job. They helped me get my driver’s license. They was pushing me, pushing me, helping me out. They helped me get back in school, which I wouldn’t be able to do without them. I graduated high school thanks to them,” he says.

Notice the repeated emphasis on “helped me,” rather than “punished me.”

The approach is attracting interest from across the country.

“They always ask me is it going to work and how much is it going to cost?” says Angela Wolf, a researcher for the Oakland-based National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

The traditional focus is, “How much will the cure cost,” rather than “How much does the problem cost.”

“If you have city leaders that aren’t willing to think outside the box and try something different, this is going to be a harder program to get off the ground,” Wolf says.

That’s especially true if a city doesn’t see immediate results.

Allwyn Brown, the acting police chief in Richmond, says he knows that “neighborhood change agents” don’t cooperate or share information with his officers. But he says that while ONS’ approach is different, they share a common goal.

“Here’s the thing: We recognize that the problem is bigger that what we can deal with and you know, arresting and incarcerating people isn’t going to solve the problem. I mean, it just isn’t,” Brown says.

To many of us, and especially to conservatives, paying criminals to be good goes against the moral grain. “Why should we reward them for doing what the rest of us do automatically, without rewards? We should be tough on crime.”

Being “tough on crime” fails to reduce crime in a free nation. (It can work in a harsh dictatorship, where penalties are grossly outsized compared with the offenses.)

Paying people to be good may cause revulsion among conservatives.  But under the theory that “you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar,” we should seek solutions that work rather than approaches that merely satisfy a deep-seated lust to hurt “bad guys.”.

In guiding young people, love and the helping hand usually usually have better, longer-lasting effects than spankings and the steel fist.

The helping hand is what the Ten Steps to Prosperity (below) is designed to accomplish.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty


Ten Steps to Prosperity:
1. Eliminate FICA (Click here)
2. Federally funded Medicare — parts A, B & D plus long term nursing care — for everyone (Click here)
3. Provide an Economic Bonus to every man, woman and child in America, and/or every state a per capita Economic Bonus. (Click here) Or institute a reverse income tax.
4. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone. Click here
5. Salary for attending school (Click here)
6. Eliminate corporate taxes (Click here)
7. Increase the standard income tax deduction annually Click here
8. Tax the very rich (.1%) more, with higher, progressive tax rates on all forms of income. (Click here)
9. Federal ownership of all banks (Click here and here)

10. Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99% (Click here)

The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.

10 Steps to Economic Misery: (Click here:)
1. Maintain or increase the FICA tax..
2. Spread the myth Social Security, Medicare and the U.S. government are insolvent.
3. Cut federal employment in the military, post office, other federal agencies.
4. Broaden the income tax base so more lower income people will pay.
5. Cut financial assistance to the states.
6. Spread the myth federal taxes pay for federal spending.
7. Allow banks to trade for their own accounts; save them when their investments go sour.
8. Never prosecute any banker for criminal activity.
9. Nominate arch conservatives to the Supreme Court.
10. Reduce the federal deficit and debt


Recessions begin an average of 2 years after the blue line first dips below zero. A common phenomenon is for the line briefly to dip below zero, then rise above zero, before falling dramatically below zero. There was a brief dip below zero in 2015, followed by another dip – the familiar pre-recession pattern.
Recessions are cured by a rising red line.

Monetary Sovereignty

Vertical gray bars mark recessions.

As the federal deficit growth lines drop, we approach recession, which will be cured only when the growth lines rise. Increasing federal deficit growth (aka “stimulus”) is necessary for long-term economic growth.


Mitchell’s laws:
•Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.
•Any monetarily NON-sovereign government — be it city, county, state or nation — that runs an ongoing trade deficit, eventually will run out of money.
•The more federal budgets are cut and taxes increased, the weaker an economy becomes..

•No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth.
•Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia.
•A growing economy requires a growing supply of money (GDP = Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports)
•Deficit spending grows the supply of money
•The limit to federal deficit spending is an inflation that cannot be cured with interest rate control.
•The limit to non-federal deficit spending is the ability to borrow.

Liberals think the purpose of government is to protect the poor and powerless from the rich and powerful. Conservatives think the purpose of government is to protect the rich and powerful from the poor and powerless.

•The single most important problem in economics is the Gap between rich and the rest..
•Austerity is the government’s method for widening
the Gap between rich and poor.
•Until the 99% understand the need for federal deficits, the upper 1% will rule.
•Everything in economics devolves to motive, and the motive is the Gap between the rich and the rest..


3 thoughts on “The steel fist or the helping hand?

  1. Good article:

    Are You Liberal or Conservative

    How else to explain that people who once considered Christian faith their foundation stone have coalesced behind a candidate who can’t name a Bible verse?

    Or that people who once valued a grown-up, clear-eyed approach to foreign policy support candidates who want to “carpet bomb” the Middle East and pull out of NATO?

    Or that people who once decried “a culture of victimization” now whine all day about how they are victims of biased media, bullying gays and political correctness?

    How to explain that people who once vowed to safeguard American moral decency from the nefarious irreverence of liberals — think President Bush chastising “The Simpsons” in the era of “family values” — now put forth candidates who tell penis jokes?

    When your base is the Ku Klux Klan, Ted Nugent and people sucker-punching strangers at rallies, it’s a sign that a little self-reflection is overdue.

    The once great Republican party has been destroyed by the Tea Party, and the Realpolitik of Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich, and the Koch brothers, who feel that winning is more important that governing for the people.

    George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” became a standing political joke, as is the entire party, today.


    Another good article:

    Seven Years Late, Media Elites Finally Acknowledge GOP’s Radical Ways

    The truth is, anyone with clear vision recognized a long time ago that the GOP has transformed itself since 2009 into an increasingly radical political party, one built on complete and total obstruction.

    It’s a party designed to make governing difficult, if not impossible, and one that plotted seven years ago to shred decades of Beltway protocol and oppose every inch of Obama’s two terms. (“If he was for it, we had to be against it,” former Republican Ohio Sen. George Voinovich once explained.)

    Today’s Republican Party is acting in a way that defies all historic norms.

    We saw it with the GOP’s gun law obstruction, the Violence Against Women Act obstruction, the sequester obstruction, Supreme Court obstruction, minimum wage obstruction, 9/11 first responder obstruction, government shutdown obstruction, immigration reform obstruction, Chuck Hagel’s confirmation obstruction, Susan Rice secretary of state obstruction, paid leave obstruction, Hurricane Sandy emergency relief obstruction, the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act obstruction, and the consistent obstruction of judicial nominees.

    The 2014 obstruction of the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act was especially galling, as a single Republican senator blocked a vote on the crucial veterans bill.

    At the time of the bill’s blockade, Media Matters noted that there was virtually no coverage of the radical obstructionism on CNN, Fox News, ABC, CBS, NBC or PBS, as well as news blackouts in the nation’s six largest newspapers: The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, New York Post, The Washington Post, Chicago Sun-Times, The Denver Post, and Chicago Tribune

    In other words, the GOP’s radical brand of obstructionism not only doesn’t get highlighted as something notable, radical, and dangerous; it’s often met with a collective shrug as the press pretends these kind of nonstop impediments are commonplace.

    The former Republican party cared about America and the welfare of Americans. Today’s Republican party cares about nothing but defeating anything Obama.

    It’s a different party today, that has stolen the former party’s name.



    1. Lets start a new political party; lets call it “Monetary Sovereignty Party”, and lets base its political platform on your steps for prosperity. I can almost guarantee that it will attract many people from both the left and the right.


      1. Lacks two things:

        1. A youngish, charismatic leader who understands MS and who can bring in:

        2. $$$$$$$$$$

        If Elizabeth Warren were willing to be trained in MS, she would be perfect.

        Perhaps, if for the next few years, we repeatedly texted her: “If you understand Monetary Sovereignty ( you can and should be President” . . .


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