It takes only two things to keep people in chains:
The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders.
Arriving home from college one day, I was met at the train station by a high school pal, who said, “Do me a favor. My girlfriend only will double-date with me. Will you go out with her friend?”
I said, “Yes,” and as a result, I met and have been married to the greatest woman on earth for 61 years, and now have 2 daughters and 5 grandsons, and none of it would have happened had not my pal become a so amorously aggressive with his girlfriend that she wanted guards.
Actions matter in ways we never can predict. Those far-reaching effects can emanate even from the trivial, everyday actions by us regular folks.
Now consider the vastly more influential, long-term effects of the actions by a powerful person, say the most powerful person on earth, the President of the United States.
President Donald Trump has claimed that human-caused global warming (or “climate change,” take your pick) is a Chinese hoax, and he has taken repeated actions to demonstrate his disbelief in the science of meteorology, not the least of which was his withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement.
Some take refuge in the notion that “American will survive Donald Trump,” but it isn’t true. Cancer begins with a single cell. The damage spreads forever.
I was reminded of this by an article in the 9/16/17 edition of NewScientist, titled “Can China save the world. Here are a few excerpts.
As the US under Donald Trump turns its back on climate change, China’s globalisation agenda could catalyse a green revolution that will make it a superpower
Renewable energy is having its moment in the Chinese sun. The country’s investment in solar, wind and other clean energy technology has soared from $8 billion in 2005 to $103 billion in 2015.
China now spends more on developing renewable energy than the US and Europe combined.
Leaders lead. The U.S., which has been the world leader in science, now is relinquishing that leadership to China, at least in the development of non-carbon-based fuels.
(China has stepped) into the climate leadership void left by the US under President Donald Trump.
As Trump pursues an “America First” strategy and sings the praises of “beautiful, clean coal”, China is looking for ways to collaborate with other countries on tackling climate change.
Trump has demonstrated interest and curiosity about only two things: His money and what is said or written about him.
His policies, in reality, are not America first. They are “Trump first.” They are based not on what is best for America, but what is best for Trump.
China’s president Xi Jinping said, “Some countries have become more inward-looking, and their desire to participate in global development cooperation has decreased.”
Translation for Americans: “Inward-looking” means, “hiding behind a wall, erecting trade barriers, antagonism to non-whites and gays, barring foreigners, and evicting non-citizens.” It is a less advanced version of the North Korean, hermit strategy.
To strengthen relations with other nations, China has begun one of the largest-ever trade initiatives, known as the Belt and Road. This links it to 68 countries in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa along the historic Silk Road trade routes.
That will be 68 nations who look first to China rather than to the U.S. as we close our doors to the rest of the world.
China’s enormous manufacturing capacity means it can churn out millions of cheap solar panels and tens of thousands of wind turbines each year.
The country now owns five out of six of the world’s biggest solar panel manufacturers and half of the 10 largest wind turbine manufacturers.
This capacity has allowed Chinese companies to shift their focus to the international energy market in recent years. Chinese firms have recently won tenders to build solar farms in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Pakistan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Bulgaria, Jordan, Iran, Oman, Romania, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
They are also building wind farms in South Africa, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, and hydropower plants in Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Last year, China started talks with Russia, Japan and South Korea about building a supersized clean power grid. This would allow the four nations to share their solar, wind and hydro energy and balance out each other’s supplies.
“America first” is, in reality, an “America never” strategy. We aren’t aggressively pursuing renewable energy because we are told it’s not necessary.
We are told to believe coal and oil don’t pollute, don’t cause the world to warm, and will last forever.
Beyond obvious financial rewards, China seeks to extend its political influence by globalising its clean energy tech.
The Chinese government has put a strategic emphasis on investing in renewable energy because it sees it as the next industrial revolution – one which it wants to lead.
Tim Buckley at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis in Sydney, Australia, agrees.
“China wants to dominate industries of the future while the governments of the US and Australia want to dominate industries of the past.”
America’s leadership has told the people “globalization” is a dirty word, costing jobs and corporate profits.
The Chinese know globalization already exists, no matter what Donald Trump says, and unlike America, the Chinese want to be the leaders.
There are several reasons why China’s clean energy sector will ultimately beat its fossil fuel competitors.
First, the rapidly declining cost of Chinese renewables will make them highly attractive to other countries.
Chinese firm JinkoSolar, for instance, is constructing a solar farm in the UAE that produces electricity for 2.4 US cents per kilowatt-hour. In comparison, the US average is 5 cents per kilowatt hour for solar and 6 cents per kilowatt-hour for unsubsidised coal.
This is key, because at the end of the day, economics drives most decisions.
More accurately, ignorance of economics drives most decisions. The belief the Monetarily Sovereign U.S. federal government “can’t afford” to pursue renewable energy has crippled our ability to develop and thus to lead in renewable energy.
Speed is another advantage – a solar or wind farm can be built in six months, compared with five to 10 years for a coal-fired plant.
In a world where time is money, opting for a slow coal or nuclear plant rather than a fast, renewable energy plant, provides another example of economic ignorance driving decisions.
Many Belt and Road countries are also introducing environmental policies to limit fossil fuel use. India, which was previously the top destination in the partnership for Chinese coal investment, is now heavily backing solar energy and is aiming to get 57 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2027.
The U.S. has no comparable initiative. Our leaders tell us it’s not prudent.
Finally, clean energy projects are more likely to win investors. The World Bank no longer finances overseas coal projects. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has ruled out financing coal power and promised to be “lean, green and clean”.
Chinese banks have become the world leaders in issuing green bonds to finance environmental projects.
The U.S., being Monetarily Sovereign, easily could, and certainly should, finance investment in renewables. It’s what a leader would do.
The fastest uptake of clean energy could come from China and the countries along the new Silk Road.
Rich nations like the US may be the only ones left clinging to their “beautiful” coal.
And for evidence of our shortsightedness, there’s the following article:
Trump’s clean energy budget cuts would ‘devastate’ an emerging economic sector
Budget plan calls for elimination of ARPA-E, major cuts to renewables research. By: Mark Hand, May 23, 2017
President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget would make huge cuts in renewable energy research and eliminate agencies within the Department of Energy that fund energy technology projects.
The decision was “in line with administration policies,” according to the budget request.
Clean energy research took another major hit with the administration’s proposal to reduce the budget of the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) to $636 million, about $1.4 billion, or 70 percent, below the FY16 enacted level for the office.
“It reflects an increased reliance on the private sector to fund later-stage research, development, and commercialization of energy technologies and focuses resources toward early-stage research and development.”
Translation: “Increased reliance on the private sector” means: “The government will do less, and if you people want to carry the ball, go ahead.”
Democrats warn Trump’s Energy Department against ‘unlawful’ withholding of funds. Already-approved grants are being reviewed for consistency with Trump administration priorities, DOE says.
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said, “His budget proposals would devastate an emerging sector of our economy by killing thousands of clean-energy jobs all over the country — all in a misguided effort to hold onto the past at the expense of our future.”
President Trump talks and talks and talks about “making America great, again.”
But his ignorance-based decisions move us from leadership toward backward-looking, second-class status — a mean-spirited, small-thinking, once-great nation, hiding in fear behind a wall, while squabbling amongst ourselves to determine whether the rich and the whites will continue to divide what’s left.
Even the most trivial-seeming actions have long-term effects. But the outrageous actions of an inward-facing, ego-centric, leader can force centuries of ill-effect, not just to us but to our distant descendants.
One day people may ask each other, “Remember the time when the United States of America was a world leader?” That may seem unlikely now, but so was the blind date that gave me my wife of 61 years.
Actions matter. Some win.
America is losing.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
The single most important problems in economics involve the excessive income/wealth/power Gaps between the have-mores and the have-less.
Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics.
Implementation of The Ten Steps To Prosperity can narrow the Gaps:
Ten Steps To Prosperity:
1. ELIMINATE FICA (Ten Reasons to Eliminate FICA )
Although the article lists 10 reasons to eliminate FICA, there are two fundamental reasons:
*FICA is the most regressive tax in American history, widening the Gap by punishing the low and middle-income groups, while leaving the rich untouched, and
*The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, neither needs nor uses FICA to support Social Security and Medicare.
2. FEDERALLY FUNDED MEDICARE — PARTS A, B & D, PLUS LONG TERM CARE — FOR EVERYONE (H.R. 676, Medicare for All )
This article addresses the questions:
*Does the economy benefit when the rich can afford better health care than can the rest of Americans?
*Aside from improved health care, what are the other economic effects of “Medicare for everyone?”
*How much would it cost taxpayers?
*Who opposes it?”
3. PROVIDE A MONTHLY ECONOMIC BONUS TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN AMERICA (similar to Social Security for All) (The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB (Economic Bonus)) Or institute a reverse income tax.
This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Employer of Last Resort is a bad idea. Sunday, Jan 1 2012
MMT’s Job Guarantee (JG) — “Another crazy, rightwing, Austrian nutjob?” Thursday, Jan 12 2012
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Jobs Guarantee is like the EU’s euro: A beloved solution to the wrong problem. Tuesday, May 29 2012
“You can’t fire me. I’m on JG” Saturday, Jun 2 2012
Economic growth should include the “bottom” 99.9%, not just the .1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.
4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONE Five reasons why we should eliminate school loans
Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.
Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.
An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefitting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.
5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL
Even were schooling to be completely free, many young people cannot attend, because they and their families cannot afford to support non-workers. In a foundering boat, everyone needs to bail, and no one can take time off for study.
If a young person’s “job” is to learn and be productive, he/she should be paid to do that job, especially since that job is one of America’s most important.
6. ELIMINATE FEDERAL TAXES ON BUSINESS
Businesses are dollar-transferring machines. They transfer dollars from customers to employees, suppliers, shareholders and the federal government (the later having no use for those dollars). Any tax on businesses reduces the amount going to employees, suppliers and shareholders, which diminishes the economy. Ultimately, all business taxes reduce your personal income.
7. INCREASE THE STANDARD INCOME TAX DEDUCTION, ANNUALLY. (Refer to this.) Federal taxes punish taxpayers and harm the economy. The federal government has no need for those punishing and harmful tax dollars. There are several ways to reduce taxes, and we should evaluate and choose the most progressive approaches.
Cutting FICA and business taxes would be a good early step, as both dramatically affect the 99%. Annual increases in the standard income tax deduction, and a reverse income tax also would provide benefits from the bottom up. Both would narrow the Gap.
8. TAX THE VERY RICH (THE “.1%) MORE, WITH HIGHER PROGRESSIVE TAX RATES ON ALL FORMS OF INCOME. (TROPHIC CASCADE)
There was a time when I argued against increasing anyone’s federal taxes. After all, the federal government has no need for tax dollars, and all taxes reduce Gross Domestic Product, thereby negatively affecting the entire economy, including the 99.9%.
But I have come to realize that narrowing the Gap requires trimming the top. It simply would not be possible to provide the 99.9% with enough benefits to narrow the Gap in any meaningful way. Bill Gates reportedly owns $70 billion. To get to that level, he must have been earning $10 billion a year. Pick any acceptable Gap (1000 to 1?), and the lowest paid American would have to receive $10 million a year. Unreasonable.
9. FEDERAL OWNERSHIP OF ALL BANKS (Click The end of private banking and How should America decide “who-gets-money”?)
Banks have created all the dollars that exist. Even dollars created at the direction of the federal government, actually come into being when banks increase the numbers in checking accounts. This gives the banks enormous financial power, and as we all know, power corrupts — especially when multiplied by a profit motive.
Although the federal government also is powerful and corrupted, it does not suffer from a profit motive, the world’s most corrupting influence.
10. INCREASE FEDERAL SPENDING ON THE MYRIAD INITIATIVES THAT BENEFIT AMERICA’S 99.9% (Federal agencies)Browse the agencies. See how many agencies benefit the lower- and middle-income/wealth/ power groups, by adding dollars to the economy and/or by actions more beneficial to the 99.9% than to the .1%.
Save this reference as your primer to current economics. Sadly, much of the material is not being taught in American schools, which is all the more reason for you to use it.
The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.