I came out here to see what year all the climate change debates were going on, because I wanted to make a comment on Facebook that I can't believe I was debating/discussing this in 2008/2009 and it's still going on 8/9 years later. The evidence is becoming more and more clear, but the debate rages. We might not ever see the global catastrophes that may happen toward the turn of the next century, but it's still too bad we're racing to the end.
Meanwhile, I was heavily interested during the election this time and was consuming articles and videos on politics and economics. I started to realize that I was more interested in economics, because it's seemed a more technical field and allowed me to think heavily about concepts, which I like to do. Well, then I found out that the field used to be called Political Economics, and they dropped the political over time. No wonder they seemed to be intertwined and inseparable. But, I still like to think about economic concepts and learn the history of it, and it's surprising how much things go around in circles. Every human generation thinks they're special, and you can't blame them, because this is all the time we have, and it's a very short time period in the grand scheme of things. But, there's always economic struggles that veer from more equality and back again to less.
Since the major media is owned by 5 or 6 corporations, you're really not going to get much objective and multi-sided news coverage. They are only going to tell you what upholds their corporate standards. I still tolerate PBS somewhat, but what I've really gotten into is seeking out news and economic sources from individuals on the internet who I learn from and trust. Granted, most are left biased, but they do try and get behind the BS to tell you what's really going on. With the improvements in video streaming over the last several years, it's almost like watching custom TV. There are many articles, too, but it's much more enjoyable listening and watching to someone speak to you.
The two major threats to humanity are nuclear annihilation and global warming. The former could happen in an instant and wipe out the human race. The later is more of a slow cooking effect, until the tipping point of no return. All our other problems are pale in comparison. But, as long as we're not dead, we might as well work on them, right?
One of the most fascinating things I'm learning within economics is money. In 2008, the government could have easily bailed out the people and let some of the big banks fail (and car companies for that matter). It wouldn't have affected our savings, because the FDIC had everyone's money covered. In ancient times, they used to do what they called the jubilee and write down everyone's debts when a new ruler came into power. But, Obama and Tim Geithner decided to bail out the banks on their insistence that the country would be ruined. Well, if millions of homeowners were now able to afford their mortgages and had more money to spend, how could it have ruined the economy? And, ruined for whom? The banks and the very rich did very well, and if you have any money in the stock market (which is owned mostly by the very rich), you're doing OK (until the next burst bubble). Meanwhile millions of people went bankrupt and lost their homes. A bailout of the people wouldn't have meant that a California valley girl could keep all 5 of her homes, but at least (still employed?) people with more reasonable mortgages would have gotten a restructuring they could afford. But, instead, the banks got this windfall of money and gave each other big raises and bonuses, and very little trickled down into the economy. If this EVER happens again (which I think is only a matter of time), I hope to God the American people do an Occupy Wall Street, times a thousand. Enough is enough. But, like I said, this has happened throughout human history.
The other thing about money is how it's created and how propped up this country (and others) are on credit. The reason why housing prices keep going up is because of the bidding of mortgage loans by the banks that keep upping the prices. A bank creates a loan for $200,000, puts a credit in their ledger, gives you a check for $200,000. You own a house, but as an average person are in debt for life. This pumps huge amounts of money into the economy. If everyone could pay off their loans, the economic money supply would almost disappear. People are trapped and have a lot less freedom. Americans spend much more on debt, tolls and taxes as a percentage than they used to decades ago. This means less disposable income to buy goods and services and maybe some luxuries.
As Trump is able to put more of his policies in place, you will start to see infrastructure projects, but financed by the rich, and then they'll install a toll for the public to use it. This will decrease disposable income even more. If you avoid the tolls, they'll just put in laws that don't allow any new infrastructure projects without tolls.
Taxes - let's face it, the very rich pay very little in taxes. Almost all of their income is from capital gains, which is taxed at a much lower rate than income taxes. The multinational companies set up branches in places like Ireland, where they pay the low Irish taxes by selling everything from there, instead of the USA. If tariffs and taxes are raised in other countries, they'll do the same to us, and companies will just move to where the taxes are still low.
The main inequality problem we have is that technology and science has made us a very rich country over the last many decades, and instead of sharing the wealth that all of us helped to create, it has been siphoned off to make the super wealthy even more wealthy. The productivity gains COULD have been used to make life easier for all of us, shorten the work week, etc., but with profit as the motive, that won't happen.
I could go on and on, but I've already wrote more than I intended. I always think to myself, it's not about giving everyone a handout, but it's also not about the super wealthy raping their country people. It's two extremes. What is the best balance to society overall?