[p2p-research] Post-Depression first: Americans get more money from government than they give back | csmonitor.com

Paul D. Fernhout pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Mon Nov 23 04:25:30 CET 2009

You sir are an optimist. :-)

While I'd hope for better, I'd rather see what you outlined than something 
even worse.

It's been said every country is three meals away from revolution. But 
history seems to have disproved that (like in North Korea during the famine).

I don't know if this is still valid, but from 2006:
"World Grain Stocks Fall to 57 Days of Consumption: Grain Prices Starting to 

A somewhat later item from 2008:
“According to the May 1, 2008 CCC inventory report there are only 24.1 
million bushels of wheat in inventory, so after this sale there will be only 
2.7 million bushels of wheat left the entire CCC inventory,” warned Matlack. 
“Our concern is not that we are using the remainder of our strategic grain 
reserves for humanitarian relief. AAM fully supports the action and all 
humanitarian food relief. Our concern is that the U.S. has nothing else in 
our emergency food pantry. There is no cheese, no butter, no dry milk 
powder, no grains or anything else left in reserve. The o°©nly thing left in 
the entire CCC inventory will be 2.7 million bushels of wheat which is about 
enough wheat to make 1⁄2 of a loaf of bread for each of the 300 million 
people in America.”
   The CCC is a federal government-owned and operated entity that was 
created to stabilize, support, and protect farm income and prices. CCC is 
also supposed to maintain balanced and adequate supplies of agricultural 
commodities and aids in their orderly distribution.
   “This lack of emergency preparedness is the fault of the 1996 farm bill 
which eliminated the government’s grain reserves as well as the Farmer Owned 
Reserve (FOR),” explained Matlack. “We had hoped to reinstate the FOR and a 
Strategic Energy Grain Reserve in the new farm bill, but the politics of 
food defeated our efforts. As farmers it is our calling and purpose in life 
to feed our families, our communities, our nation and a good part of the 
world, but we need better planning and coordination if we are to meet that 
purpose. AAM pledges to continue our work for better farm policy which 
includes an FOR and a Strategic Energy Grain Reserve.”

This is an example where people may just think that if you have the cash you 
can magic the food into existence. That works for any individual, but it 
can't work (in the short term) for a society.

We need some sort of planning system that does not destroy all our food 
reserves because it is not profitable enough to maintain them.

That is the national stockpile, but individuals also have their own stockpiles.

I remember reading one funny quip a few years ago on an investment board 
that said something like, "Forget gold, I'm diversifying into canned goods".

But canned goods go bad eventually. Individual hoarding is not a very good 
answer to a big social problem. We spend approaching a trillion dollars a 
year for defense in the USA and a loaf of bread per person is the best we 
can do for national preparedness?

The jobless crisis is causing the society's food reserves to be depleted. It 
is a way to save money. So, nationally, although I have not seen this in the 
press, but coupled with the pressure on food banks, I'd suggest that many US 
American families now have no private food buffer.

So, no private food buffer, plus no national food buffer, well -- that 
should be throwing up red flags all over the place.

So, yes, to talk in such measured tones, I think you are an optimist. :-)

But, on the other hand, here we also see the basis of a post-scarcity 
economy and a basic income in a small way. Just baby steps.

That three trillion of money spent so far on bailouts would have been ten 
thousand dollars in every US Americans pocket if it had not mostly gone to 
the banks:
"CNNMoney.com's bailout tracker"
(I don't know if that figure is still accurate.)

That could have paid for a lot of food reserves per person and stimulated 
more production in the agricultural sector.

One loaf of bread per person. That's national security?

--Paul Fernhout

Ryan Lanham wrote:
> We are in the 23rd month of recession in the US.  The usual recession lasts
> about 9 months.  The implications of this are that government revenues have
> been in a much longer decline than normal.  Spending cannot generally follow
> suit...even if you aren't a Keynesian, most policy makers are wise enough to
> know that cutting government spending in a recession isn't a great idea if
> you love a stable society.
> Consequently debts have increased rapidly.  Something must give.  Usually we
> return to growth and tax revenues on the rich increase fairly fast.  Now
> with deep cuts on capital gains and lower general revenue levels, government
> revenues will rise more slowly.  As such, the capacity to survive future
> shocks will be lessened.
> What is more, we have very sick state budgets...California, Oregon, Rhode
> Island and many others are well past where they can easily maintain given
> current budget realities.
> The obvious answer is to tax the rich more--even many of the rich realize
> this, but that is political suicide and also unlikely given the nature of
> the US Senate and its veto capacity on all financial legislation.  So it
> won't happen.
> If the US double dips into more recession...say another 6-12 months of it,
> which is reasonably likely, the damage will be systematic and a generation
> of the economy will basically be lost in a decade of trying to recover.
> Deflation will likely continue and the US will drift into a long, slow
> sickness that will decay its social capacity and eventually limit greatly
> its role in the global political sphere.  Innovation will slow and move to
> Europe and Asia much more from which it will diffuse more slowly (think
> Samsung, Nokia or Blackberry versus iPhone).  Less US money will flow to
> nonprofits and free options...and this will again hammer innovation but may
> well accelerate global localism.
>>From a public policy standpoint, the US is in about as serious a state as it
> has ever been. It is effectively trapped in expensive wars with an aging
> population and the need for better and broader healthcare...while being
> politically unable to grow taxes.
> The net result will be a slower growing US that will shift the world economy
> more quickly to Asia--China and India are going to have to start towing the
> world in terms of new ideas, technologies, modes of expression.
> The only thing that will alter this relatively rapid transition is the quick
> rise of some unforeseen industry where the US has competitive advantage like
> it had in computers, software and financial services.  That's not likely in
> my view.
> On Sun, Nov 22, 2009 at 6:22 PM, Paul D. Fernhout <
> pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com> wrote:
>> http://features.csmonitor.com/economyrebuild/2009/11/09/post-depression-first-americans-get-more-money-from-government-than-they-give-back/
>> """
>> For the first time since the 1930s, personal taxes paid by Americans aren’t
>> enough to cover the payments that the government sends out through transfer
>> programs like Social Security and food stamps. The trend, visible in
>> government data on personal incomes, reflects both a deep recession and
>> government efforts to prop up the economy.
>> """

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