The subject of today's lecture is the real choices we face. It's June 2020. Things haven't been going very well in the world's great empire, so-called "great empire."
America as a country has totally mismanaged an epidemic that had been predicted for years, and has sustained trillions of dollars in economic damage, economic damage that is still coming, economic damage that has devastated the lives of millions and is almost certain to kill large numbers of people. In fact, economic damage has already killed a considerable number of people, but the full scale of economic damage has yet to hit.
CHAOS AND RIOTS AMIDST THE PANDEMIC
In the middle of this chaos, a police officer murdered—in cold blood in front of video cameras—a black man. This sparked a series of riots across the country. So the Empire is not in good shape. The big question is what to do about all this and to try not to get caught up in all the day-to-day yelling and screaming and so on and so forth. We have always felt that it's very surprising that we haven't had riots for a long time because America is a social economic disaster. Unlike any other modern state, America does not have healthcare as a right, does not have sick leave as a right, as a result, America is particularly vulnerable to the kind of epidemic that has just occurred. The response to the epidemic has been a mess. One might think that healthcare would be automatically be guaranteed for everybody in the middle of this emergency. But instead, welfare for the richest corporations has been guaranteed, but not healthcare for ordinary citizens. Even the $3 trillion Democratic so-called reform bill does not does provide healthcare for ordinary citizens.
REAL SOLUTIONS TO REAL PROBLEMS
So what to do? Let's just put out some guidelines so we can sort out reality from noise and public relations BS.
If you want to straighten out this country sociologically, and we cannot put forth an agenda for everything, but here are some basic points.
UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE
You have to have healthcare as a right. In other words, basically free healthcare. We're not even satisfied with Medicare. We should do like every other country to simply have free healthcare. Healthcare should be a right from the day when a person is born to the time that they die and this is actually very cost-effective in terms of reducing the cost of disease and having a low cost method of supervising healthcare. So since it's a centralized system, and we're not going to get into the debate of Medicare for all versus other plans. We personally favor Medicare for all. But if anybody else can come up with another plan that provides universal coverage, that's something we would support if that is indeed better.
UNIVERSAL SICK LEAVE
We also need universal sick leave. It is very important to know that this is not charity. This is security. We have free fire departments, right? You don't pay if your house burns down because we don't think fire is a good thing and we want to reduce its expansion in society. Same with health. So that's an obvious point and we don't hear any plan about that. So obviously we're not dealing with a key underlying source of the riots of the chaos so on and so forth.
A GREEN NEW DEAL
So let's come up with a another necessity. The green new deal. You're not going to change the direction of the world without a major government program to shift from an economy of death to an economy of life. We're not going to get into the details of all the green new deals, but something along those lines is needed. Do we see society moving in that direction? Yes, there's political movement. But in terms of government action, no, no there is not. There's no sign of that in the relief packages that have been voted on. So that's not happening.
PUTTING AN END TO RUNAWAY IMPERIALISM
Now we need to deal some more major issues here. We can't have this runaway imperialism. We are spending more on war than ever before, since World War II when you count in Homeland Security, Intelligence, so on and so forth. We put intelligence in quotation marks in light of the incompetence of so much of our intelligence community, but it's supposed to be intelligent. Anyway, that's the idea. Pay billions for people who couldn't figure out 9/11 or the epidemic and so on and so forth. But that's a whole other story.
AVOIDING AN ESCALATION OF WAR WITH RUSSIA AND CHINA
So by all calculations, we are at an all-time high in terms of constant dollars war spending, or very close to it, and we're not going to debate all the different calculations. This has to stop. It has to stop because this runaway imperialism is bleeding us white. It's also accelerating a global arms race and risking war with countries like Russia and China. We need a less confrontational foreign policy. Obama started a new Cold War with Russia that shows a great deal of danger of possibly escalating into a hot war, which would basically end life on this planet. So we need a de-escalation of tensions with Russia, a restoration of arms control agreements, so on and so forth. That's necessary. Do we see any sign of that? No we do not. Indeed since the defeat of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party has been to the right of the Republican Party and calling for wild confrontation with Russia and so on and so forth. So that's not happening.
A CONSUMPTION TAX, A VALUE ADDED TAX
Now we need to move to another area, which is taxes. Taxes need to go up. The U.S. government is hemorrhaging trillions of dollars in losses. Yes, so do we see plans to raise taxes? There are some plans and some of them have some good stuff but we don't see an attention to an essential part of taxation, which is consumption taxation, specifically, a value-added tax as it is done in Europe, or an energy tax as is done in Europe. No social welfare state can be built without consumption taxes. It's just that basic and some liberals claim it's not progressive. A consumption tax can be structured, so it is not regressive. But just mindlessly pushing income taxes will damage the whole economy, though we do need to raise them. So we know we need a value-added tax and an energy tax as does every other major country in the world. But that's not happening.
AMERICA'S TRADE DEFICIT
So these are criteria is for real reform to deal with the American crisis.
On a larger issue, you need a national economic plan to deal with the trade situation and that will take 20 years. Trump intellectually gets the trade thing. He's the first president in a long, long time to do so. But his solution is wild confrontation with China, which is very dangerous from a military point of view and from an economic point of view is also very dangerous and we see this is just very dangerous across-the-board. So this this requires cool heads, private negotiations and also a plan to bring back U.S. industry to the United States. Again we do not see that.
CONTROL OF WALL STREET
We can go on to some other issues such as the control of Wall Street. It is very important to end these crazy stock buybacks, which is a total disaster, but we don't see that either. So these are criteria for reform. If you don't see this, you don't see real reform.
AMERICA IS CURRENTLY LIKE FRANCE BEFORE THE REVOLUTION
America, like France before the revolution, has just been running up debt after debt after debt. Financial gimmick after financial gimmick. Now the mismanagement of the coronavirus has led to trillions of dollars in new debt. So this was a very sick system hit with new costs as well as the tremendous sociological costs and trauma of all this. Tough choices are ahead and it is probably going to take at least 10 years to recover from the debt binge and the responsibility that got started in 1980. Not that America before 1980 was utopia, it wasn't and still had major problems such as a lack of health insurance. But a good part of what's happened since 1980 is the biggest public and private debt super cycle in world history, which has been enabled because the US dollar is the core of the world economic system, so America's been able to borrow huge amounts to fund this. But this is not a tenable situation. So a moment of truth is coming.
There is a need for clear leadership and we don't see anybody having the courage to sit down with the American people and tell them the grim truth. No we don't. So there's likely to be further escalation of the crisis and until things reach such a state of disaster that reforms will be put in. How far things will go? Who knows? We're particularly disturbed about the prospect of war, of plunging the country into war and a further escalation of the arms race. These are concerns. But we put this out there to define some examples of real reform so the average citizen can understand what's real reform and what's fake reform. These subjects are dealt with on our website. We recommend you go to our website and learn more about them. This is the end of this lecture.