More than fifty years ago, LaVern Baker & The Gliders, brought Jim Dandy into the fray to lasso runaway horses, dry the tears in little girls' eyes, and to save special mermaids from the hooks of villainous fishermen.
(Black Oak Arkansas' rendition on YouTube will help you understand what your parents and grandparents survived.) Go, Jim Dandy! Go, Jim Dandy!
This generation's "runaway train" is a slip sliding housing market victimized by lenders' greed, Wall Street's creative dark side, and congressional tinkering with a process that worked well for centuries--- and all by its lonesome, George.
Our little girls' tears are those of small, vulnerable, Main-Street-residing investors, whose retirement dreams have been shattered by securities markets that are little more than casinos, and instruments of mass financial destruction that even their creators cannot explain.
The mermaids? They are the taxpayers who have been victimized too long by the financial institutions, tax collectors at all levels of existence, and a Congress that won't rest until it regulates our democracy into oblivion.
Jim Dandy is in the house--- The White House. Go, Jim Dandy!
Barack Obama captured the presidency, and brightened the political mood of America, with the promise of change -- the economic mood continues to suffer. In some areas, we need simply to rollback recent change that has failed; in others, suggestions of change that have been ignored need to be given some big time media attention. Here are a few instant winners:
One: Get rid of SFAS (Statement of Financial Accounting Standards) Rule # 157, which works something like this: While my bank owns my mortgage, it's worth full value. As part of a Ginnie Mae -- still full value. But once it crosses over into the ether of CDOs and other multi-level, Frankensteinesque monstrosities, my paid in advance mortgage becomes indistinguishable, and nearly worthless.
Fully paid to date loans cannot be deemed valueless because some other body part is delinquent. It is madness to mark the value of 95% of the mortgage debt in the country to near zero because a small minority of borrowers are in trouble; "underwater" on a property is more a function of the real estate cycle than it is of the foolish loans themselves.
Why aren't the highways clogged with underwater SUVs? Which loan would you stop paying on first, home or auto? Most would answer: neither. Income securities cannot be valued as if they were common stocks, and all debt must remain clearly identifiable.
Roll back the toxic accounting rules; unwind the mad scientists' creations and ban them from the planet; move back to realistic mortgage qualification standards; classify all multi-level derivatives as much too speculative, even for hedge funds--- and think about getting rid of them as well.
Go, Jim Dandy! Go, Jim Dandy!
Two: Income Tax and Social Security Reform legislation has been ignored by Congress for years -- possibly because most of the fat cats just don't pay all that much anyway. Congress, you'll recall, has a fully funded program for retirement and lobbyist dollars to cover their current expenses.
Change Social Security into a guaranteed fixed annuity program that is professionally managed within the private sector -- a whole new sub-industry without worries of healthcare and a captive market for all forms of government securities. Employee contributions would be smaller and employer contributions gone forever.
SSRIAs would provide tax-free retirement income, and could become a viable alternative investment option for a portion of IRA, 401(k), and other corporate sponsored, private retirement programs. No retirement income from any source should ever be taxable.
At the same time, and it's about time, let's recognize how little the very wealthy (tax attorney and off-shore-investment protected) actually contribute to the Treasury. Let's appreciate as well that an underground, cash only economy still flourishes in the heartland.
Why not boost the economy (and eliminate 50,000 pages of gibberish) right now by replacing the IRC with a Flat Tax of 7% on all non-retirement income -- 10% max with the addition of state and local taxes. A year later, all taxation of investment income, including rents and royalties, is abolished at all levels of collection.
Relax -- we create a Federal Sales tax of 10% on consumption of everything except food, shelter, and clothing (and possibly health care and higher education). Yeah, we'll have to create a few thousand APE (Audit Police Everywhere) jobs to enforce the intent of the new rules, but it's a start. Also, minimum wage earners would pay no federal or state income taxes.
Go, Jim Dandy! Go, Jim Dandy!
Three: The corporate form of organization, at all levels and sizes, is a force of growth, productivity, and prosperity. It must be encouraged to employ more people at fairer salaries while it contributes wealth to society in an eco-friendly manner. We need to nourish business, not browbeat it into submission.
The elimination of all forms of taxation and fees could be engineered to require additional jobs and to lower prices. But it is essential that corporate boards of directors play a more pro-active role in monitoring and controlling the excesses of higher-level managers, executives, and bonus recipients.
There are more corporate stockholders in the trenches of organizations and in the factories than there are in executive suites. They control fewer shares and wield less influence, it's true, but more 401(k) participants than CEOs were crushed by the congressional murders of Lehman and WaMu. Give them more of the corporate compensation pie -- the wizards can make due on much less than 10 million per year.
It is essential, with regard to all business enterprise, that corporations are protected from the axis of economic terrorism: over zealous regulators, ambulance chasing class action attorneys, crybaby shareholders, and protectionist trade agreements -- theirs and ours.
Go, Jim Dandy! Go, Jim Dandy!