The Koch Brothers and Economic Uncertainty

May 4, 2016

In defense of the Koch brothers, a variety of wealthy people write that they want an impartial Washington, one that spends wisely, regulates little, and advances no winners. They point out that we are in the slowest recovery in 50 years.

What they fail to note is that speculators among the wealthy, including unregulated big banks, hedge funds and corporate players, plus day traders have been responsible for repeatedly stalling the recovery. Each time they inflate the price of gasoline to $3.75 and diesel to near $5.00, the economy falters as our countrymen slow their spending, creating layoffs.

Traders serve to decrease the money supply to their profit, concentrating the wealth in their pockets while the rest of us suffer. Jeb Hensarling, a Big Bank and Koch brother beneficiary, wants to roll back Dodd-Frank to allow the biggest banks to again play the market. They did it in 2008, creating the cash crunch as the slowing economy forced out the marginal homeowner. Other goals of the brethren include exports of crude oil and LNG, each of which serves to increase prices here.

The Kochs want to limit environmental protection, allowing fossil fuel emissions to increase. Their purpose is purely to protect big business bottom line. This while Exxon bemoans its paltry 6.6 billion profit in the 4th quarter last year. Exxon responded by buying back only 1 billion shares instead of the 3 billion they had planned.

A day trader working out of his home in January collected 300,000 barrels of virtual oil, anticipating a firming of the market. This valued at something near 12 million dollars. Darn…poor guy lost $5000 when the market failed to cooperate. The top 21 hedge fund managers made 20 billion net last year. These are the people the Kochs and brethren want to protect.

Let’s make some real changes. The big guys can fuel their fleets with compressed natural gas for .70 per gallon gasoline equivalent (gge). Help homeowners compress their own and convert their existing vehicles to burn it as well as gasoline. To finance it, let natural gas be taxed at 20 cents per ccf to pay on the principal of the National Debt. After that money erases a T-Bill that need not be sold at the next auction, the money becomes available to lend. Generally, it is disbursed through the Federal Reserve to banks, who supposedly loan it out.

Frequently they invest it in the commodities market instead. The Fed can lend it directly, first to home-owners for natural gas conversion, and then to victims of usury. These are the people in the grip of the big banks, payday lenders, student loan vendors and others who refuse to allow a decent interest rate.

Currently the userer can get away with it because the borrower has no choice. Let’s give them one. Charge them 8% fixed and help them get out of the talons. We have then erased more debt, and turned it into accounts receivable. Any defaults could be dealt with through the IRS. 

The fund for highway construction had a 10 million shortfall late last year. Congress proposed to resolve it by allowing the bigs to underfund their pensions and pay taxes on the savings, leaving the taxpayer holding the bag for the pension shortfall. An additional nickel per ccf to DOT would eliminate both shortfalls. The homeowner pays a total of $1.25 per gge, and is able to choose what fuel he uses.

The bigs will have to decide how high to push gasoline and crude before they lose the little guy. Drillers go back to work to produce gas that has a year round market and is again profitable. Factories tool up to build mini-compressors and conversion kits. Mechanics are needed to install them. Inspectors are needed to verify safety. With 65 million homes in this country already piped for natural gas, and 100 million vehicles attached to those homes, we’ve created a bunch of jobs. Taxpayer filled jobs. 

Congress has just come up with a plan to balance the budget in 10 years, while adding 1.5 trillion to the debt. They hope to accomplish this on the backs of the poor and middle class. The President wants to add trillions more to the debt or let the wealthy pay extra. We can pay down the debt while saving everybody money, in gasoline, in diesel, in food, down the road in taxes.

We can also return to full employment, and create that rising tide that floats all boats. The little guy keeps more of his hard earned money. He spends it on things he wants. He takes Mama out to dinner. He creates jobs with his purchases. So do the mechanics, the gas men, the drillers, the inspectors and the factory workers. More jobs create more tax revenue to balance the budget in a year or two while reducing the need to help the poor, because more of them can find work as the under-employed move into better jobs.
We can start this today, with available technology. We need this today.

The transfer of wealth and power is unsustainable, for we are the job creators, and we’re broke.