Posts categorized "Current Affairs"

Ethereum: this changes everything

Maybe you haven't noticed, but the world has changed. While most people were busy complaining about Trump, Brexit, the economy, the injustice of it all--complaining that the world is unfair and convinced that it was all going to hell--along comes an entirely different future. News flash: the future is now and it is called Ethereum.

It's like 1994 all over again (you know, that whole Internet thing). Only this time, we're going to get it right. Ethereum is Web 3.0, but much more than that. It is a new economic system in which there is no centralized power. Read that again. What is the opposite of centralized power? Power to the people. In other words: freedom and abundance for people like you and me.

Ethereum is as unstoppable as Bitcoin; however, is designed to power not only cryptocurrency but also any type of application in a decentralized way over what is called a Blockchain (essentially a database that is distributed over thousands of peer-to-peer computers). Data that is stored on a Blockchain is encrypted, so that only a user with the secure key can access it. You can (and should) research this elsewhere, but let's get to the point: it is now possible to build secure applications for the people on an Internet that is beyond the reach of corporations, intelligence agencies or anyone else. Just when they thought they had won, we are once again free.

What might those new applications do? Well, today it is already possible to trade a currency called Ether with a software wallet (much like Bitcoin is stored and traded). Beyond this, Ethereum has what are called Smart Contracts, which enable two parties to come to an agreement on anything (payment terms, shipment and delivery, profit distribution, whatever). Smart Contracts have already been used to establish virtual organizations called DAOs (Distributed Autonomous Organizations) made up of anonymous individuals. Get it? Companies that exist beyond the real world legal system, using a cryptocurrency. Pinch me.

This is very early-stage technology (though it has already been around for a few years). Ethereum is very much real and it isn't going away. This is the new frontier, the wild west. This is an opportunity that comes along maybe twice in a lifetime. If you get behind it, what follows are decades of prosperity. I'm all in. 

 

Posted by Mark Manney (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

Huge respect to all the young human beings, from grade 1 through university, for showing up each day and making the most out of an archaic school system designed purely to force upon them soul-crushing domestication and obedience to authority. What a miracle it is that so many of us ultimately are able to unlearn, overcome, and shrug of most of the harm that our schools inflict upon us. May human greatness always prevail!

Posted by Mark Manney (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

Bernie Sanders, the conclusion of the Democratic Primaries, and what to do next #differentfuture

Bernie Sanders has now finally been over-run by the Democratic party, the corporate media, by the full strength of the establishment. I’m thinking about the millions of people who placed so much hope in him, in this movement, this message. Millions of people made contributions, spread the word, and turned-up for enormous rallies just like millions of beautiful and inspiring young children.

Like a small child asking a parent whether it would be ok to stay home from school, they politely asked the all-powerful establishment whether it would be ok if we could please stop funneling all our money to the top .01%, if we could please have healthcare, please have an education without going broke, and to please stop unjust imprisonment. How did the all-powerful establishment respond? Like a strict, stubborn father reacting to a small child’s request. The answer was short, clear, and unmistakable. The answer was “no”. The entire process was controlled by rigged specific rules (super-delegates, closed primaries, etc.), media bias (very little coverage for Bernie), and in the end they called the primary a day before the huge California primary.

The truth is, even if Bernie had managed to become President, there is very little that he could have accomplished within the rigged political system where essentially every congressman and senator is bought and paid for by their corporate, billionaire overlords. Bernie was not just on our side, he was directly opposed to their side. Bernie did win a victory, though his victory was symbolic. He exposed so much and taught us so much. But the truth is that essentially none of his proposals would have become law.

What if, rather than asking the establishment to please change, we acted not as children asking for permission but as adults making our own decisions? When we ask a corrupt political system to change, when we ask our employers for a raise, and when we live by the rules of conventional wisdom that everyone seems to agree with, we are living as helpless, obedient children. Like a child who is told to go to bed and doesn’t want to, we obey in action even if we occasionally dissent by grumbling about how unfair it is.

If we are going to live in a better, freer, more fair world, we will need to become adults and stop asking for permission. We will need to become our own ruling elite. We need to create systems and structures to depend upon that are not designed to exploit us. The systems we depend upon today are designed to exploit us by a ruling elite who grows wealthier and more powerful each day though the exploitation of our hard work, our intelligence, our time, and our talent.

I see a different future, where we move away from the structures and institutions that enslave us and we create structures and institutions that free us. It is a simple switch, really, and we don’t even need to win an election or ask permission. We just need to live differently and to create systems that support that way of life. My idea for just such a system is presented in this free, 25-page eBook.

Posted by Mark Manney (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

Russell Brand ending The Trews & quitting social media (makes perfect sense)

I'm not surprised by Russell Brand's decision to step away from the hamster wheel of media spin cycles. Though he is perhaps the most gifted media personality of our generation, even he cannot accomplish anything of value by taking part in the corporate propaganda machine.

What can possibly be accomplished by analyzing and arguing with pundits whose job it is to distract us and to draw us into a fictitious world where they set the agenda and they control the debate? What Russell has proven is that, even if we make the most rational, persuasive arguments in the most entertaining way, nothing can be accomplished by debating, critiquing, or pleading with an establishment that will not change.

This must have been an excruciatingly painful decision for Russell, yet he seems optimistic because he knows that he is on the path of truth. As he steps away from the hamster wheel of the corporate media and politics, in this video he also makes mention of an area where change is still possible.  

If we want revolution, it will never be enough to simply talk about truth. It will not be enough to protest or to otherwise plead with power. For real change to happen, we don't even need their permission. 

What is the change we are talking about? Aren't we talking about living differently...what we actually do, who we actually know, how we actually make a living? So, it seems to me, that the first step toward revolution is to completely ignore corporate media and to shut out today's rigged sport of politics. We need to stop complaining, stop paying attention to our corporate masters, and start living. Maybe you won't be famous or popular for it, but maybe that's kind of the point.

You can live differently now. Make a plan to leave your job by thinking about what you're good at. Start a business or become a contractor. Meet like-minded people and work together in innovative ways. Seek new relationships that allow you the space to pursue your dreams and fantasies. Open your heart and mind to real people. Love. Explore. Laugh. Stay up all night. Work together to make a living when you finally wake up. 

Let's take it further. Why not create an Internet economy that connects people more efficiently than today's corporate-controlled economy? Why not conduct transactions using our own virtual currency? We can use our skills to serve the needs of each other rather than only the needs of corporations. I have come up with the design for exactly this type of system and I wish there was a way for me to contact Russell to talk with him about it. Maybe now that he has stopped distracting himself with all of the corporate garbage, he will be able to focus his energies on real revolution. That's what I think he's talking about and I applaud this brave decision.

We don't have to wait to live the revolution. We don't have to ask anyone for permission. We don't need 1 million Facebook followers to do it. What we do need to do is change some habits, drop the fame-seeking ego, and start living. We won't fit-in and we won't be recognized for it, but in my experience it doesn't really matter when you are fully-alive and free. 

Posted by Mark Manney (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

"We are now engaged in the very dangerous business of constantly trafficking in lies and dishonesty…and telling ourselves things that are not true.  But reality has a very close relationship with the truth.  They are best friends.  When reality and truth become divorced from each other, you’re putting your society in tremendous jeopardy.   What happens is that people will lose faith in all of the institutions that are important to keep us civilized.  They’re gonna lose faith in banking.  They’re going to lose faith in what our currencies represent.  They’re going to lose faith in government and governance.  You’re going to end up in a situation of enormous disorder.  We are courting catastrophy."

-          James Howard Kunstler, August 4th, 2012

Posted by Mark Manney (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

Important statement by Congressman Dennis Kucinich

Congressman Dennis Kucinich speaks the truth about the Federal Reserve and the banking system. 

With yesterday's global Central Bank announcement to print even more dollars from thin air, it is clear that Federal Reserve corruption is one of the core problems for not just Americans, but global citizens around the world.  Those new dollars, once again, will go straight to bankers and dilute the value of the money that any of us have managed to save.

 

Monopoly1

Of course he has absolutely no hope of altering / ending the monopolistic charter of the Federal Reserve.  More likely, he'll be killed in a plane crash for trying.

 

Posted by Mark Manney (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

#OccupyWallStreet, #OccupyXmas (Thanksgiving Day podcast episode)

 

Abscondo Podcast - 40 - #OccupyWallStreet, #OccupyXmas

On this Thanksgiving Day podcast, Mark discusses the OccupyWallStreet movement, OccupyXmas, Adbusters Magazine, and discusses a theory about why the mainstream media is covering the movement.  Click on the gray box above to listen to the podcast.

Occupyxmas

 

Posted by Mark Manney (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

#occupylondon protest pics and first-hand account

Sofia and I made it down to the protest in London's Financial District on Saturday and took a few pics. 

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A reporter from The Independent approached us for an interview.  His lead-in was, "Looking at the way you two are dressed today, I can't help but notice that it looks like you have some money.  What are you doing here?"  I told him that 99% is a big number that includes us and him too. 

He was right, Sofia and I weren't exactly dressed for protest, as I was in London on business.  But, as he continued, his biases became clear.  He had assumed that we were maybe confused passers-by and he was probably looking for a counter-protest story.  So we proceeded to educate him about the cause, about how the world's top elite use finance to enslave us as individuals and plunder nations.  He diligently took notes in shorthand. 

The interview couldn't have gone better.  We effectively made every key point we intended to, and the interview lasted more than 20 minutes.  I think he, as an individual reporter, really wanted to print the story.  He took down my information and we parted wondering whether any of these ideas would show up in Sunday's Independent.  As far as I know, the story did not appear with any of our quotes (I'm not surprised) but I can tell you that...judging by the look on his face in hearing the anti-establishment views of this software entrepreneur...it was a bit of a mind-fuck / re-education for this unsuspecting reporter. 

Here's a picture that Sofia took after the interview.

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The turnout wasn't bad, but it certainly could have been better.  The vibe was good.  It was as much an exchange of ideas or press conference than a protest.  We were surrounded by reporters open to the message and helicopters endlessly swarming above.  The police presence was large but I didn't notice any real problems during the time we were there.  But the real turn-out in London this Saturday was the shopper turn-out on Oxford Street (see pic below).

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Fun fun fun, right?

Posted by Mark Manney (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

Saving the world

I was asked to write a chapter for a new book on saving humanity from self-destruction.  Specifically, the book's author asked me to address the following topics:

1. What is wrong with the world today?

2. What can be done to prevent the self-destruction of humanity?

Sometimes the simplest questions can catch you off-guard.  I stepped away from my computer and felt myself getting a bit frustrated.  I've been talking a lot about the Silent Crash, the disruptive change happening in our lives, and what it all means to us as individuals...but I haven't said much about what can be done to prevent the large-scale self-destruction of humanity.  

I like that the question is phrased as "what can be done" because I want to believe that this isn't just one more naive, futile attempt to ask "what can we do".  There is an important distinction here, because we cannot truly do anything to prevent the self-destruction of humanity.  We are not in control.  We are not the ruling elite who have designed and who manage the functioning of the systems that are destroying the world.  Therefore, we are not going to be given the power to do anything on a large enough scale, as individuals, to change the world in any drastic way.  It doesn't matter how good our ideas are or how well-meaning we may be.

Yet the question is still staring at me.  I am just one tiny, insignificant part of the we.  Would it not be my moral duty to provide an answer if I have one?  Would it not be selfish and lazy if I were to decline to address such a topic because it is based on what appears to be an impossible premise?  How do I even begin to present my analysis, my solutions, if I have no power to influence the ruling elite anyway?  In doing so, would I not be banging my head against the wall in an empty room where nobody even notices?

After several days of thought, I realized that it is my duty to try to answer this question, yes, but also to do so in a realistic way.  So let's start with the first question:

1. What is wrong with the world today?

This is a simple, high-level question that deserves a high-level answer.  Humans are animals on planet Earth.  By any measure, any "right" way of living that will ensure our survival must be compatible with the laws of nature that govern planet Earth.  We know that planet Earth contains a biosphere in which life can exist.  Within this biosphere, the principles of evolution govern everything that life is and what life does.  Evolution describes all behaviors and changes within all of life's ecosystems and systems.  It is such a simple concept, really.  Whether we are talking about an ecosystem in the jungle, an economic system, an industry, our agricultural system, or anything else that life does...I believe it is all part of the same thing.  Evolution, as a concept, illuminates so much more than just the way that species change over time (the part that scientists tend to focus on).  

In nature, species often die out.  This happens when an ecosystem breaks down.  Perhaps a predator eats too much of its prey (causing the prey to first go extinct, and then next the predators well because there's nothing to eat).  Sometimes the entire ecosystem vanishes (species vanish when humans slash and burn the jungle, for example).  So the question about what can be done to prevent the self-destruction of humanity is a question about nature and of evolution.  Because it is a question of evolution, we must return to the idea of systems.  

Which systems (man-made or otherwise) risk threatening the survival of human beings on Earth?  How do our man-made systems undermine or destroy the natural eco-systems we depend upon for survival?  It is difficult to know where to begin, but here's a short list:

  • Our entire lifestyle is built on a system that depends upon a massive amount of power (some non-renewable fuels, some nuclear, all destructive and devastating).
  • Our economic systems are only concerned with economic growth...even if at the expense of the destruction of nature and life.
  • Our monetary system incentivizes us to do terrible things we would otherwise not do because we have been made slaves to money
  • Our religious institutions teach us that man has dominion over the Earth
  • Our way of mass-producing food damages the soil and uses up non-renewable resources unnecessarily (both threatening our ability to continue producing food at the current volume)
  • The world's militaries, together with corporations selling to them, have built weapons that could easily destroy humanity
  • The legal system puts property above all else and provides corporations with the mandate that their only concern is profitability.  The real-world result is oftentimes as catastrophic as an oil-spill that can destroy an entire ecosystem.
  • Bankers provide debt that fuels and accelerates all of the systems described above.  Hold-on to that thought for now because I will return to it.

These are only some of the fundamental problems with the world today.  These are the systems that threaten the ecosystem and threaten the survival of humanity.  These are the systems that justify and legitimize our tendency to do ridiculous, harmful, destructive things in such a rational, cool manner.

We could get into a conversation about who created these systems and why, but that's beyond the scope of this topic.  The more important question concerns those who have the actual power to actually change or improve these destructive systems.  The question that matters is this: what exactly do the ruling elite stand to lose or gain if these systems are changed?

Indeed, any discussion concerned with changing the world has to start by considering how to sell the idea to the ruling elite -- those few who have the power to truly change or improve the systems that govern our lives.  Nothing I, as an individual, can do or say will have any real impact.  The only chance I have would be doing something or saying something that might persuade the ruling elite to somehow behave differently.  We need to persuade them that their power, influence, and lifestyle would improve by implementing our idea.  Whatever change I'm suggesting cannot be a threat to them.  Therefore, I cannot demand through protest (they will easily ignore it), I cannot vote for change (the most destructive systems are governed outside of the charade we call democracy these days), and so even if I could write something so brilliant that it persuaded 1 billion people, the idea would have absolutely no impact if it did not pursued the ruling elite.

So we need an idea that 1) helps prevent destructive behavior in the real world, and 2) convinces the ruling elite that it will improve their lives as well.  

To be intellectually fair, I should also mention that there is only one other way to change the world: through violent revolution.  An angry and violent mob, if large enough and out-of-control enough, could smash everything and kill everyone responsible for the systems undermining our ability to survive as a species.  The problem with this, and the reason this doesn't seem to happen, is that taking part in such a movement would threaten our individual survival.  We might die in the battle.  Even if we did succeed, even if we did destroy all the destructive systems, we might be left standing in a chaotic world where we end up dying from starvation and lawlessness.

This brings up another interesting point: in nature, individual survival always trumps that of the species.  So, to convince anyone of anything, you have to convince them that their life will be better than it is today.  Nature has designed all of its creatures primarily to look after their own survival and self-interests.  Just as the ruling elite will not give up everything they hold dear, neither will any of us.  So, to put it into evolutionary terms, we are an over-populated species competing for an ever-shrinking supply of food.  We will continue to become faster, stronger, and better at catching our prey regardless of the long-term consequences our actions might have our species.  Indeed, we're just an over-populated species.  We get bigger and bigger, consume more and more, until one day we all might just consume everything that supports our ability to survive at all.  

But what caused us to get to this state and what can be done to prevent the self-destruction of humanity?  I already provided a very high-level answer (that we should pursued those in power to change).  But this is probably quite useless without a specific idea or example.  Now I'll get to that.  

The goal, unlike what some environmentalists would have us believe, isn't for man to have "zero-impact".  The Earth can certainly handle a lot of impact.  Just look at what we've done to it and how beautiful it still is!  We all have a right to exist, to eat, to burn some wood, and to make a mess now and then.  The natural environment can certainly absorb this, just as it has throughout the centuries.  So what exactly has accelerated our economic activity to the point that is completely destructive and out-of-control?  My answer is this: easy access to credit or, in a word, debt.

Debt allows us to conduct economic activity right away -- without having to first earn the right to do so by saving money.  How much of our economic activity in the past decades has been fueled by debt?  How many expenditures would not have occurred without debt?  Debt fuels shopping sprees, construction of houses, purchasing of cars, vacations, etc., etc.  Not everything we do is fueled by debt, some of us do spend the money we earn.  But a huge percentage of economic activity is made possible through easy access to credit.  How many plastic toys made in China would not have been sold if not for credit cards?  Go even further; how much of the destruction our government causes is funded by debt?

How would the world change if all governments would agree to make all debt illegal?  "Impossible!", you might say, "there's no way to get all the world's governments to agree on anything."  Really?  What about slavery?  Where exactly is slavery legal?  And how exactly is debt different from slavery?

Debt is, indeed, a form of slavery.  Under slavery, the slave-holder provides food and shelter and, in return, the slave is forced to work for free.  Similarly, in debt, the banker provides the loan for food and shelter and the debtor works to pay the banker's interest.  The difference between debt and slavery is only a matter of degree.  It is only a legalistic distinction.  

So the elimination of debt would slow our economic activity enough that, perhaps, we might get it back to the level that the Earth can support.  But, to my previous point, any idea to prevent the destruction of humanity is not practical or realistic unless it persuades the ruling elite that it is in their own best interest.  See, the beauty of this idea is that, right now, debt is the number one problem threatening the global economic status quo.  Consumer debt is undermining consumer spending, national debt is making it impossible for governments to provide basic services, and the issuance of bad loans are making it impossible for many banks to avoid bankruptcy.  For the past decade, and especially since 2007, the answer has always been to solve debt problems by adding more debt.  But this cycle cannot go on forever because new loans cannot be repaid.  Many economic foresters believe that what we will be left with is a painful, 10-year cycle of deleveraging.  At the end of this process, without fundamental change, so many lives will be destroyed and we'll still only be left with the same conditions that led to these problems to begin with.  To make debt illegal would solve the problem immediately and for good.

It should also be said that, regardless of whether or not debt is made illegal, the economic depression ahead will be good for the environment and good for the the long-term viability of human life on Earth.  Even if conditions were to worsen to the point that a very large percentage of humans died, this would also go a long way toward preventing the self-destruction of humanity as a whole.  Yet none of us want our species to be saved through catastrophe.  All of us, ruling elite or otherwise, want a life worth living...a life of happiness, comfort, and plenty.  Oh, and ideally, we would prefer not to destroy the world in the process if at all possible.

So here's my answer: world leaders should erase all debt overnight and make any future debt illegal.  If you have a mortgage on a home, the debt is gone and you get to keep the house.  Of course the value of your home will plummet because, going forward, homes will only be bought with cash that has actually been saved.  But that's fine, because at least you own it and don't owe anybody anything.  You can start spending your paycheck instead of giving it to the bank.  If you have a credit card, the debt is gone but you can no longer use it.  If you have a car-payment, you get to keep the car but owe nothing.  Your lifestyle improves short-term, which should give you enough time to understand the new economic paradigm and adjust to the new reality: if you want something, save money and then buy it.

What about those who do not own a home, who paid for their car with cash, and who don't have any debt?  Your benefit (aside from helping to save humanity) is that everything will get cheaper.  The cash you've saved will go further.  What would house prices be if houses could only be bought with  cash?  What about car prices?  If you've saved some money, you're in very good shape and will enjoy this new future.  You will no longer be competing with all those debtors for goods and services.

What about the bankers?  Why should they lose out on all the payments coming to them on loans they made?  This is probably the most important question.  I'm not sure I can answer this.  Perhaps many of them may not mind so much either because the debts they own to other institutions have become a huge threat to their survival.  Didn't we just bail them out?  So I'm assuming they had some debts that they couldn't pay?  Banks do have a lot of cash.  They'd get to keep it.  Moving forward, they could continue to provide financial services like deposit accounts, debit cards, etc...but no loans.

The elite bankers are, however, the ruling elite.  Their world is confusing, murky, and invisible to us.  I don't know for sure how the banking elite would feel about this idea.  Probably not great, since it ruins their whole business model.  But if this economic crisis gets bad enough, might they consider supporting the idea that debt is illegal?  Perhaps some of them would.  I don't know.  The bankers are the slave-holders in this scenario.  Slave-holders typically don't like freeing slaves.  But the times are changing and somebody may be forced to change.  Are there enough other ruling elite we could reach with this idea, or are the people in charge all bankers?

Those in government would breath a huge sigh of relief on the day debt was made illegal and wiped-0ut.  National debts would be gone.  Everybody defaults at once.  China is screwed, but what are they going to do if the whole world has made this decision?  From that moment on, all government services would  have to be paid for with money actually collected through taxes.  The decision about whether or not to raise or lower taxes would be based on something tangible -- based in reality.  Also, future tax-payers would no longer be forced to pay for the spending of previous generations.  We could start building again (hopefully the right kinds of systems this time) and never get into this mess again.

So much of the systematic destruction of our world today is funded by debt.  Bankers issue as many loans as they can in order to control our behavior and extract natural resources from countries (if you can't pay us we'll simply demand that you sell your iron, gold, or oil so that you can).  All of this debt has led to wide-spread, systematic behavior that is starting to threaten the survival of the human species.  Debt certainly isn't the only problem.  It maybe isn't even the core of the problem.  But making debt illegal would probably solve the problem in a simple, elegant way that produces minimum pain.  

Today, we work in jobs selling plastic devices made in sweatshops in order to pay for the mortgage on a house that costs 10x more than it would if not for the widespread practice of using mortgages to buy homes.  We buy cars on credit to transport ourselves to that job and pay for gas and lunch on credit cards.  This very example shows widespread, unnecessary destruction at each step and yet, in the end, most people taking part in this lifestyle never even seem to get ahead.  They stay locked in this cycle.  For what?  These days, even the ruling elite don't know what to do to avoid the impending crash and 10-year deleveraging cycle.  I know this sounds radical.  But this could be a real answer.

What would making debt illegal do for jobs?  Obviously decreased economic activity might lead to a decrease in jobs.  But, since government debt would be wiped-out, there's be a lot more tax money left to spend on social programs to help the poor.  If we are going to survive as a species, then full-employment and never-ending economic growth cannot be our measure of success.  We have to get real.  What about a Hybrid Economy that provides the economic freedom of Capitalism (without the debt and without all the destruction) and the social safety net of Socialism (without all the restrictions on freedom and red-tape)?  More on this in future posts.

With the enactment of one simple idea -- making all debt illegal -- we can enter a new, post-debt era and begin building a future in which we are happier, healthier, and more free.  Most importantly, this new future would cause far less destruction to planet Earth.  We can begin living within our means, both as individuals and as a species, and can do so without being asked to make any impossible sacrifices.  The bankers, who have been driving off a cliff, are starting to lose all control.  It is time for the competing elites to consider a new idea.  I wonder how we can reach any of them.

Posted by Mark Manney (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

What do the billionaires think?

In this Op-Ed in the New York Times, Warren Buffett (whose net worth is around $50 billion) admitted to paying under $7 million in taxes last year (17.4% of his annual income).  This percentage is lower than, as he says, "the other 20 people in his office." 

The entire piece is worth a read and I agree with his analysis.  His message is clear, true, and obvious.  But what I find particularly interesting are the Letters to the Editor that followed (in response to his piece).

Several contributors suggest that he's being insincere because, if he really meant what he's saying, he's free to send in more money to the IRS than he does.  But, of course, that argument kind of misses the point...that obviously billionaires should be forced to pay more taxes....all of them, not just him, alone. 

Another individual argued that this would "stifle economic growth", as though Warren Buffet would stop his business activities because his tax rate went up.  Are theoretical arguments really supposed to trump obvous, observable real-world truths?  Taxing billionaires does not stifle anyone's econimic growth except for their own.  Would Buffett spend or behave any differently if he had to pay 40% of this year's income in taxes?  That's an extra $10 million+ for our government to spend on economic growth.  How is that money better sitting in his accounts?  Come on.

Another contributor suggests, "The American people are no longer getting appropriate value for the dollars that they “invest” in their government."  Indeed, this is a core argument of my book, Love It or Leave It: The End of Government as the Problem.  The problem with this argument being applied in this context is that Warren Buffet is not "the American people", he's a fucking billionaire!  Billionaires absolutely benefit from government because it mostly functions to serve their interests (I cover this in great depth in my book).  But that's beside the point.  How can anybody lump billionaires in as part of "the American people?"  As though we're all on the same team?  Come on.

Another idiot from Florida even went so far as to lecture Warren Buffett (and the rest of us) on Capitalism.  What an embarrassment.

What I find most sickening is this endless conversation about "how the rich feel" or "what the billionaires think" about being taxed more.  The real question is this: how many of "the rest of us" do you have to add up in order to equal the feelings and opinions of one Warren Buffett?  I'm serious.

If you add up the wealth of the poorest Americans (I'm talking about wealth, not income), how many Americans would it take to equal the net wealth of Warren Buffett?  Well, first you'd have to take all of the Americans whose net wealth is negative (they owe more than they have in wealth).  What percentage is that?  25%?  More?  So we're starting with a negative number by adding all of that up.  Now let's take those who actually have net wealth (more assets, cash, and investments than debt).  Let's say that the net wealth of the poorest 25% of these individuals makes up for the total dept of those with negative net wealth.  At this point, we're still at zero.  To get to Warren Buffett's $50 billion in wealth, perhaps would require another 10% of Americans?  These are just estimates, but let's say Warren Buffett's wealth is equal to the combined wealth (minus debt) of 60% of Americans.

So, what are we at....200 million people?  My question is this: are the feelings and opinions of 200 million people worth more than the feelings and opinions of one Warren Buffett? 

Why the hell do we care what the top few hundred billionaires think or feel?  Most of them could give a shit what we think and feel.  We are not on the same team.  Just yesterday, Warren Bufffett announced his multibillion dollar investment in Bank of America.  Think about what Bank of America does.  It gets the rest of us into debt and helps turn us into wage-slaves.   How do the rest of us feel about the Warren Buffetts of the world collecting our interest payments?

Now let me ask this: what fucking idiot would argue for or defend Warren Buffett even when he is conceding the point himself?  Are you a billionaire today?  Are you close to being one?  If you answer "no", then I can bet my life savings that you will never be.  You do not and never will have the power to aquire this size of futune.  Can you become a millionaire?  Of course, but that's not what we're talking about here.  If you think that someday you'll be in the Bill Gates or Warren Buffet club, perhaps your most appropriate short-term investment would be time in a mental institution. 

Let's be honest about what teams we're all on.  Let's be honest about what the billionairres are doing to us, how they are enslaving us personally and nationally to the debt that they issue, and realize that the only way out of this mess is 1) for our side to take more of their their money or 2) to default on our debts (their financial loss, not ours).  Either way, stop thinking about what the billionaires think and feel.

Posted by Mark Manney (mark.manney@infobeing.com).