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Up Front! - May 17, 2012 at 7:00am

Up Front, for May 17, 2012 - 7:00am

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Up Front!

Inaugural broadcast of Up Front: Robert Reich joins us live in studio to talk about the escalating debt burden for college students graduating this week; plus: an on-the-ground report from fee hike protests that brought today's meeting of the UC Regents to a halt, an in-depth analysis of Jerry Brown's proposed budget revise (hint: it doesn't look good), and Sonali Kolhatkar digs into California's latest water war. 

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Where is Aimee Allison from

Where is Aimee Allison from the morning show??

Hi Gustavo, Station

Hi Gustavo,

Station management's unwilling to add any payroll hours to make the new show, which precludes bringing her back. She's continuing to emcee some events for KPFA -- like last week's Van Jones talk -- and doing amazing work at RootsAction. I've posted more on the change here: https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150958062404664

Perpetual California Budget

Perpetual California Budget Crisis

Some solutions for California and its budget chaos:

I think that we need more of a historical context to our financial problems. The under 30's are excused , because this subject has been made “unmentionable.” "Liberals" are the ideological decedents of those who were “progressives” until they made that "New Deal" bargain with FDR and agreed to stop asking for a different economic system. And in exchange, they/we (the 99%) would share in the the spoils of American Imperialist wars, Social Security, unemployment insurance, etc. In my opinion. it can be safely argued that "The New Deal" was abrogated by Ronald Reagan and in so doing he launched a renewed "class war." Reagan shouldn't get all of the credit, but he put the full weight of his political offices (Governor of California twice and President of the United States twice)behind his avowed efforts to un-do “The New Deal.” Some others deserving of credit are: Justice Lewis Powell (we now have artifacts of the famous “Powell Memo” calling for “class war”), the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute and the Manhattan Institute. Heck, let's give the Hoover Institute their dirty due as well.

Step one is to rollback all of the anti-New Deal legislation. Let's start by repealing the balanced budget law in California. This was not law under Gov. Pat G. Brown, the current Governors Father. Jerry Brown seems to have forgotten this and now brow-beats the people with the manta of budgets-cuts and austerity. When I was a child growing up in California we ran deficits in bad times and surpluses in good economic times. We understood that there was no need to economically punish ourselves to balance a budget. There is no scientific or physical reason to cut or gut support programs, education or workers pay to balance the budget - this is purely ideological! And it's bad economics.

Step two is to get rid of the 2/3 majority for monetary bills. This is little more than minority rule. The 1% are enabled by both Republicans and Democrats, who serve them. The economic and political systems that the 1% have engineered are working perfectly. Chaos and gridlock are what they want.

Next, we should repeal the Governors “Line Item Veto.” We should not have one person rule.

Step three is to put back a progressive income tax system where we don't allow job-killing corporations like Apple, hedge-funds like BlackRock and the super-rich families to escape fair taxation by hiding their money in offshore accounts. This is no call for a flat tax, but progressive - the more you make the more you pay! Dr. Michael Hudson of the University of Kansas City, Mo. would be perfect for the job of re-engineering the California Tax System. Actually, we also need a special tax assessment on the 1%, on their net worth of 3% for 4 years, just to jump start our recovery.

Next, we need to tighten-up some tax loop-holds such as oil depletion. The price should be tied to the OPEC benchmark price for a barrel of oil, and at the highest depletion tax rate charged by any state - Texas, Oklahoma, Alaska, whichever is highest.

Next, roll-back Prop 13 property tax assessment protection only on corporations – allow their rates to reflect the actual market rate. Many corporations have changed ownership – some multiple times, but due to some loop-hold the Prop 13 rate get passed along to the new owners! Others know better what other egregious tax loop-holds California is laboring under, and what they should be taxed at.

Long term, California needs a State Bank like North Dakota. This really is a hedge against the excesses of Wall Street. We know that both the Democrats and Republicans are literally owned by Wall Street. So, the chances of getting meaningfully regulatory controls over dangerous speculation is not going to happen anytime soon or without a real 2nd American Revolution. However; in an effort to control this exuberant speculation by our “too big to fail” banks, we should impose a sales tax on their “stocks, bonds, derivatives, etc” transactions (aka Tobin Tax - Robin Rood Tax) of 1-5%. Some of these proceeds can be used to fund our state bank.

The success of North Dakota is due largely to their state bank.
The North Dakota State Government has an embarrassment of surplus monetary reserves and a 3.2% unemployment rate. Basically, California can use its bank to fully fund public education from daycare through graduate school with no tuition and no fees! (from my research last year)
Actually, the news from North Dakota is even better from an economic point of view. They've got an oil boom going on as we speak. The downside for average folk is an acute shortage of housing.

It seems that our bank is going to have to go through the initiative process. Our top elected officials are beholden to that 1% and don't want the largest state to have a bank. We have seen several bills and initiatives torpedoed by Sacramento. Go to Public-Banking for more information. http://publicbankinginstitute.org/

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