Happy New Year! Welcome 2012

January 1, 2012

By Padmini Arhant

New Year 2012 ushered in with cheers and spectacular fireworks around the world.

The year 2011 set the trail for significant change in politics, economics, social justice and environment.

Political restructuring is directed at leaderships’ extension of rule through self-nomination and/or oligarchy appointed against republic and national interest.

People uprising display solidarity on core issues related to economy, political rights, social equality and environmental protection.

Political and economic freedom directly linked to social justice in Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia has long been deprived under global conglomerate choice of leadership.

Revolutions protest against heads of the state serving self and foreign interest ignoring citizens plight in any form of political system.

Peaceful and non-violent assembly – the civil and constitutional right is restricted with violence besieging democracy in United States, Europe and India.

The governments in Syria, Iran, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Jordan…in Middle East and,

Burma, China, North Korea in the Far East under military might deny civil liberties at home and occupied territory viz. Tibet.

Russia – the leaderships alternating hierarchical role claiming lack of opposition to contest in election while the popular activist held in custody is subjugating democracy.

The government intolerance to civil society or political party meaningful opposition on national issues could not be democratic and prolonging term in office would be ruling against republic will.

Such leaderships having lost public faith could ease the burden with peaceful exit from the respective position.

Regardless of civilian or military rule – governments’ failure to perform with no political commitment in improving the economy, eliminating corruption, guarantee freedom for all and cede invaded land  – are due for imminent sea change.

People power peaceful and non-violent participation in 2012 until citizens’ goals are achieved is paramount to establish republic rule in domestic and foreign soil.

Injustice anywhere disrupts peace and stability everywhere.

While military industrial complex comprising defense industry dictates foreign policy,

The banking industry under Federal Reserve in collaboration with World Bank, IMF and international central banks control money supply to the world economy,

Similarly powerful industries viz. energy, health, agriculture, pharmaceutical…are involved in directing governments on energy, health, education and environment policy…among broad engagement.

The world is run by global conglomerate prioritizing mega profits from collective productivity for selective income distribution through heavily propagated globalization with warfare dominating the agenda.

Citizens across the globe as consumers, tax payers and electorate in 2012 could petition their government against illegal wars and military base draining economies in the disproportionate military budget generating severe austerity on life dependent services in struggling economies – U.S., Europe and elsewhere.

Taxpayers reserve the rights to ensure their tax dollars are invested in domestic economy and global development rather than wars claiming armed forces and innocent civilian lives across the world.

Unfortunately, taxpayers as creditors and debtors in the current economic climate drowned in foreign debts are complacent to hard earned tax revenues squandered in destructive warfare and/or stashed away in the powerful entities offshore tax havens and unlawful bank accounts.

The 1% continues to thrive at 99% expense and misery.

If tax dollars are not appropriated for nation building then citizens could legislatively remedy the prevalent anomaly.

Taxation policy – closing tax evasion loopholes together with fair taxation laws substituting existing rule –

Exempting wealthy from taxes by transferring the share to middle and lower income groups could be eliminated considering,

The lower economic strata constitute retail consumer base benefitting the broad business spectrum.

Political class reluctance in this regard would delineate them for suitable replacement in the electoral polls.

Electoral reform barring corporate and personal wealth in election campaigns,

Instead allowing public financing would deter corruption and promote level playing field for qualified candidacies to compete in the local and national elections.

Effectively political and economic fairness could be enforced via electoral and taxation overhaul in every society marking the beginning of the end of vote and tax fraud.

Economic crisis – Euro zone, U.S. debt, emerging economies domestic constraints ranging from inflation to contraction in overseas exports…are conspicuous ailments requiring potent antidote to revive economic health.

Given the magnitude of the problems – the topic is scheduled for detailed discussion later.

Environment policy – Facts presented earlier under Global Climate Change Treaty (GCCT) following COP17 Durban summit focus on the immediate goal in carbon emission mitigation to maintain sustainable temperature at 1.5°C or 350 ppm by 2020.

Individual action preceding climate talks could confirm serious commitment in the important global issue.

Social Justice – The extreme judicial bias is attention worthy.

The political establishment and privileged class granted life impunity on evidence based treason and crimes against humanity.

Juxtaposed  – U.S. President recent approval on ordinary citizens apprehended as terror suspects to be refused legal representation for military trial is violation of human rights and international laws with the trajectory in abuse of power and torture justifiably condemned worldwide.

The past year – Arab Spring and Occupy global movement energized the 99% marginalized in the society.

In 2012, the global revolution quintessentially empowering the powerless would restore republic governed democracy in the world.

Happy New Year with peace, progress and prosperity to all!

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

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Global Poverty Alleviation – Micro Lending Myths and Management

January 13, 2011

By Padmini Arhant

The greatest challenge confronting humanity is alleviating poverty, hunger and disease.

With global population on the rise, the gulf between the rich and poor widening – the worldwide statistics in deaths related to starvation and preventable disease is alarmingly high especially among children, the most vulnerable victims in the human caused misery.

There is no doubt that many organizations such as the United Nations, Government and Non-Governmental efforts in the developing countries including some philanthropists from different corners are striving hard to address this issue to their best of ability.

Their commitment in this regard is remarkable for the situation would be worse in the absence of myriad interventional measures.

As for the industrialized and developed nations’ role in containing the growing humanitarian plight – the G-20 pledge to contribute $100 billion to developing nations is honorable but yet to be exemplified through action.

In the domestic front – economic austerity is adopted in dealing with fiscal crisis.

However, the disproportionate and drastic cuts have been largely aimed at essential services affecting the economically disadvantaged in the society.

The status quo in the United States is attributed to economic policy that facilitated corporate activities with no oversight subsequently rewarding with bailouts, tax cuts and estate tax relief extended recently shifting the national debt burden to the struggling vast majority.

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 50 million Americans of which 17 million children are reported to suffer from hunger due to limited affordability. Nearly 13 percent of the U.S. population is stated to be in abject poverty.

Further data reveals that 200 lives could be saved from starvation for the price of one missile.

Last August, the U.S. Senate passed the Healthy,Hunger-Free Kids Act but the legislation is pending congressional approval.

Hence the112th Congress is requested to prioritize this matter over other issues.

Internationally – of the multitude projects underway to assist poorer communities from the burgeoning economic disparity,

Micro lending is the cornerstone to uplift human living standards targeting women empowerment through entrepreneurship proved to thrive in the systems not prone to administrative corruption and/or bureaucratic meddling.

Any program’s long term success is dependent upon the implementation requiring constant review and monitoring at the macro management.

In micro operation the selective criticism against the concept highlighting the lenders’ alleged practices and soaring profits compared with Wall Street gains as modest and creditors’ demeanor mild towards borrowers is indicative of political adaptation to discredit one and appease another when the debtors experience with Wall Street firms confirm otherwise.

Nonetheless the mostly rural based micro financing recipients rely on lenders and their representatives’ verbal explanation about the contract. The misinformation incidents are less when the customers have basic education and understand the terms without being misled in the loan finance.

Usually these mechanisms work better with non-profit organizations having volunteers to perform the necessary tasks from initiating the deal until debt settlement.

Whenever materialism is eliminated in public service it not only cultivates good work ethics but also yields the desirable outcome.

Providing credit to individuals for various businesses is preliminary step and the loan default could be due to circumstances within and beyond human control.

Using successful business as model and incentivizing them to lead others in the village and urban areas could pervasively replicate results.

The major impediments for human progress among the poorest are – lack of education, access to water let alone clean water, inhumane living conditions and environmental disasters rendering survival a mere stroke of luck than individual capability to overcome the odds in life.

For the population in war zones, the expectations are none considering the persistent chaos and carnage depleting human endurance to the point of welcoming end rather than a beginning to life.

When measuring human achievements since the dawn of life on earth – it has been phenomenal in the technological front.

Notwithstanding the ingenuity and innovation in modern science, space exploration… admirably demonstrated in the formidable quest to conquer air, land and ocean.

It is imperative to emphasize that the monumental feat would not have been possible without unified contribution enhanced by diverse talent in reaching for the stars once considered a pleasant dream but not a reality.

If similar passion and dedication were applied in minimizing human suffering overshadowing the significant accomplishments then perhaps the existence of hierarchical societies – the privileged against the less fortunate and downtrodden could diminish bringing fresh hope for all on the horizon.

Natural empathy together with peace and love towards mankind possess incredible power to transcend elements obstructing the path to equality.

Pragmatically the present dystopian society transformation for universal good largely remains with collective responsibility towards self and others.

Sharing knowledge and cherished treasures in life accentuates the joy of giving guaranteed with exceedingly greater returns.

Moreover the humanitarian deeds are never without a positive effect for it enables the human character to evolve surpassing self-promotion.

Political and economic infusion undermines humanitarian missions for it is perceived as a political threat by those in power while the investors view as an economic opportunity.

Grameen Bank and parallel mediums could potentially revolutionize under developed demography through reinvestments instead of redirecting profits in the venture.

The tax exemption when utilized to increase productivity at various levels has substantial prospects for economic development.

In conclusion, micro lending is promising and an effective catalyst to improve social and economic status in any surroundings.

The U.N. Millennium development goals are attainable through accelerated growth and sustenance of similar humanitarian projects.

Humanity future is bright with care and compassion towards all living beings.

Peace to all!

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

Pulse of the Economy

June 11, 2009

By Padmini Arhant

With a finger on the pulse of the economy, the recent reports on employment, housing, financial and stock market post stimulus funding worth $787 billion approved by Congress in February 2009, has drawn both praise and criticism from different quarters. The praise is always welcome and encouraging for any administration and the Obama administration is no exception to the rule, particularly when they are relentlessly engaged in stabilizing the economy as the top priority.

Whereas, the criticism aimed at the President is no revelation considering the partisan Washington atmosphere. The results thus far, indicate the current national unemployment rate at 9.2% against 8% in the pre-approval stimulus package forecast. Further, the reports reveal the economy shed 1.6 million jobs with the White House claiming 150,000 jobs saved since the passing of the stimulus measure. Obviously, it’s a contentious issue for all Americans receiving pink slips for paychecks and IOU’s in the state of California respectively.

The main criticism being the Obama administration’s optimistic approach in selling the stimulus plan not correlating with the job market results, a fair analysis is due to clarify doubts and speculations on the stimulus plan prospects and its effect on the economy.

According to the White House and other reports, only $44 billion i.e. 5.6% spent from the $787 billion stimulus funds with an accelerated investment committed this summer. In light of the above scenario, the 150,000 jobs rescued towards 5.6% funding is a confirmation of President Obama’s cautious and calculated expectation from the economy.

Even at the present conservative trend, the job market results for the remaining 94.4% of the stimulus fund upon targeted investment should adequately restore the employment rate from the growing underemployment and unemployment status with a combined saved and created job ratio yielding approximately 2,528,571jobs in a similar environment.

It is not uncommon for the critics and analysts to focus on the dismal job market figures affected since the onset of the economic recession in December 2007. The skeptics’ myopic view neglecting economic progress in other areas is attention worthy. Various reliable sources confirmed the financial sector strengthening with the bailout funds interjection in an effort to amortize the toxic assets from the sub-prime mortgage debacle. The leading financial institutions such as Bank of America, J P Morgan and Chase and other banks in the top ten range enabled capital management viability proven in the balance sheets.

The rapid foreclosures primarily responsible for the declining housing prices nationwide conversely contributing to the median home prices plateau with the 47 percent foreclosed homes resold in the entire Bay Area in April 2009 compared to 52 percent in February 2009 – indicating the desirous regress in foreclosures and signs of early recovery in the housing market.

The reports also confirm the home sales and value up for month and down for the year attributing to the Obama administration’s strategy of “the combination of lower prices, average mortgage rates of 5 percent or less for smaller loans, and a new $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time buyers” in the anemic housing market.

When the foreclosures pervasively diminished or extinguished nationwide with the stimulus programs, the housing market rebound will be visible motivating the lenders to participate in the melting liquidity market. However, caution required with the rising bond market’s pressure on interest rates imperative in alleviating the housing market crisis.

In the stock market – the significant gains by the commodity market and technology sector reflected in the recent rally is invigorating. Other industries lagging behind in performance likely to benefit from the steadily easing financial market credit crunch, promoting private sector investments directly related to boosting the job market, housing market and consumer spending essential for speedy economic recovery.

As for the quasi investment deals in the GM takeover causing pandemonium among the well-wishers across the aisle, the taxpayers’ financial commitment to rescue jobs slighted for political bickering. The ‘bankruptcy’ triggered cynicism about the government imprudence in investment goals with taxpayer dollars, while conveniently ignoring the fact that the auto industry problem originated during the former administration’s era and their $17 billion initial investment in the corporation set for failure.

Ironically, the temporary and modest government intervention in the free market characterized as ‘nationalization’ of industries necessitating required action from colossal mismanagement.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration’s objective in the GM deal to avert the deepening crisis in the frail industry challenged by the competitive global market is a thoughtful approach. Now with taxpayers as the majority shareholder in the once iconic corporation the management goals anticipated to synchronize with the twenty first century demands ensuring excellence in purpose, productivity and profitability.

Moving on to the other pertinent and popular health care issue debated and discussed to reject rather than embrace the premise of the President Obama’s health care plan – choice, affordability and quality, the perfect remedy to relieve the economy from the health care burden costing the nation in trillions while leaving the uninsured in millions.

Despite the innuendoes and insinuations about the mounting debt, the investments miscategorized as ‘squandering’ in the national economy ranging from health care, education, energy, environment, housing to financial sector and other industries is a pledge towards substantial economic security for the present and future generation.

The controversy surrounding the diverse investments costs applied to two particular sources viz. borrowing from China and tax hikes on the corporations and wealthy groups. Contrarily, the tax breaks to the top ten percent in the highest income bracket and corporations evading tax through tax havens with limited free market regulation or deregulation in the past eight years aside from being counterproductive resulted in approximately $9.5trillion dollars national debt with a cumulative effect on the status quo of the economy.

There was no clamor over the increasing liabilities on the baby boomers and the younger generation in the extravagant spending on illegal wars with a guarantee to fund itself from oil revenues in Iraq…an unequivocal myth until date.

Then the financial sector bailout with respect to AIG and oligarchs to a tune of $700 billion and more in 2008 with no accountability or transparency exacerbated the liquidity crisis against the intended proposal. Interestingly, the past events currently dismissed as irrelevant claiming that Obama administration disavow the incidents pertaining to the prior administration yet owe an explanation for the phenomenal deficit, the previous administration’s legacy to its successor.

Only if the opposition’s present vigilance on fiscal responsibility existed from 2000-2008, perhaps the People’s Republic of China and The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would be vigorous competitors to the world financier ‘The United States.’

The demands from the conservative right exceedingly high launched with rhetorical comments and negative attacks such as “false Prophet’s failed Presidency.”

In the absence of any ideas and solutions to the burgeoning crises created by the previous administration’s historical blunders serving testimony to the beacon of incompetence and failures in Presidential history, the political posturing is paradoxical.

With respect to the economy in the ‘Golden State of California’, the clock is ticking for the state and the local government authorities to resolve the budget crisis and close the $24 billion deficit in the state budget and $73 million in the San Jose City budget.

Even though the strategy in both situations is scrambling to wipe the deficit by any means with mostly eliminating the vital services and benefits to the weak, the poor and the vulnerable, the repercussions of draconian cuts with no tax increases will far outweigh the immediate illusory results not barring the political risks in the 2010 gubernatorial elections.

Following the special election results on May 19, 2009, it’s incumbent on the state legislature to adopt several guidelines and viable options provided by concerned citizens through many sources in resolving the fiscal crisis. There is no patent right on the thoughts in the matter affecting the entire state and the community at large. It is a patriotic and civic duty of every citizen volunteering suggestions to deal with the stalemate confronting the California state legislature.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent comments on undocumented workers and their plight aptly placed the sensitive immigration issue in perspective. It’s time for the Governor to translate into action by issuing drivers license to the undocumented workers in the State of California that would not only aid the budget but also enhance the opportunity as the preliminary step towards legalization of the Californian residents.

More often, the leadership is subject to test the will, wisdom and courage against the odds exclusively the unpopular decision eventually ending in greater good for all.

I wish Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mayor Chuck Reed of San Jose ‘Good Luck’ in their decisions appropriate to defend many but might offend few in the process.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

Redistribution of Wealth

October 31, 2008

The latest assault weapon for Senator John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin against their opponent Senator Barack Obama is the "Socialist/Marxist/Robin Hood" tag on him.

Such rhetoric and false propaganda is to create doubts in the minds of entrepreneurs against Senator Obama.

The distortion of Senator Obama’s policy leading businesses to believe that,

"In Taxing 1% of the population in the 40% tax bracket while shifting the tax burden to the top 10% with 70% of tax exacerbates the entities from active participation in the economic growth."

The reason behind similar branding is the fair tax proposal presented by Senator Obama to alleviate the socioeconomic problems that has currently widened the canyon between rich and poor in our country.

Thus slowly but gradually eliminating the middle class in our society.

Senator Barack Obama’s tax policy is based on relieving all citizens including small and medium sized businesses earning less than or equal to gross income of $250,000 per annum from any tax hikes to offset expenditure.

This strategy creates financial liquidity among households and businesses alike that is desperately required to stimulate the ailing economy.

By exempting the average households from any tax increases, the consumer spending is generated that will benefit the Retail economy which in turn will permeate throughout the economic spectrum.

The strengthening of the Retail economy will boost the manufacturing, service industry… reaching all the way to top of the Corporate growth.

The Corporate growth means investment prospects for both private and public investors resulting in healthier and consistent stock market performance that has been highly volatile recently.

It is simple economics.

Supply and demand forces determine a free market system.

Unless, there is a demand for any particular goods or services the supply chain link cannot remain in force.

Simultaneously, the demand can be a catalyst in the process only through affordable consumer spending.

This is where the small and medium sized businesses come into play with the tax breaks from Senator Obama’s policy.

It is noteworthy that small and medium sized businesses deal with wholesale industries for raw materials and other items ultimately owned by major corporations in a market economy.

There are valid reasons to embrace the market economy worldwide.

A. Induces competition apart from enrichment of ideas

B. Competition enables choices in quality and price

C. Controls inflation or deflation

Therefore, the retail consumers benefit from the market economy that facilitates all small, medium and large players in competing with one another effectively for common good.

All of the above factors directly and indirectly influence the fiscal, monetary and economic policies in a Capital economy.

Briefly, the cash flow offered through tax relief by Senator Obama to a substantial group of taxpayers who are also the consumers trigger consumer spending and exponentially elevate the economic status among the various groups in the society.

It also eventually contributes to the wealth accumulation by the top ten percent in the society whose welfare alone is a major concern for McCain/Palin candidacy.

Ironically, the McCain/Palin candidacy in their zeal to own Capitalism as their trademark, fail to recognize the importance of fundamental growth in the lower and middle income groups vital for the survival of small businesses and retail industries, the structural components of a successful Capital economy.

Senator McCain’s tax policy to freeze tax increases across the board by asserting that the Bush administration’s permanent tax cuts to wealthy individuals and Corporations would somehow miraculously revive the economy is a fantasy beyond reason.

It is worth remembering for McCain/Palin campaign that the current Bush administration, as their supporter will depart shortly leaving the nation with multi-trillion dollar debt, on-going wars in Iraq and Afghanistan requiring constant capital injection, declining dollar and hosts of economic commitments willfully neglected in the past eight years.

The undecided/swing voters in every battleground state must realize that there are no precise solutions from McCain/Palin candidacy to resolve the humongous challenges confronting our nation in the absence of any meaningful tax policy.

Senator McCain’s policy to create new jobs as economic solutions again fails to meet the criteria of capital requirement in the present economy with severe financial liquidity crisis.

In fact, the recent economic strategy to bankroll the corrupt and failed financial institutions with the taxpayers funds, along with the economic stimulus package by the Bush administration fits the profile of the political stigma – "Socialism/Marxism" except,

Here, the beneficiaries are the financial institutions and their wealthiest CEO’s rather than the taxpayers, i.e. the average citizens.

Since, the same political party represents the Bush administration and McCain/Palin candidacy, it would be more appropriate to assign the factoid to the respective contenders.

Fact Check: In a progressive tax structure, Senator Obama’s policy to exempt the vast majority of taxpayers/consumers from tax increase would,

1. Promote economic status as highlighted above…

2. Ultimately, create a fair system of sharing the economic burden by all rather than only by the affluent ones.

Such farsighted and permanent solutions to persisting economic problems is in direct contradiction to the myth and misnomer cast by McCain/Palin doctrine against Senator Barack Obama to win the election.

Socialism, Marxism may well be the nemesis to Capitalism,

Capitalism cannot thrive without consumerism – That is the fact.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant