REDUCING AVERAGE AMERICANS
TO SERFS IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY

By: S.R. Shearer

Average Americans: Reduced to serfs in their own country


INTRODUCTION

America's public assets are being rapidly sold off to the elites — and if the trend continues, America will be reduced to a "RENTIER" state, and its citizens, if they could be called that anymore, to serfs on a landed estate.

NOTE: "RENTIER CAPITALISM" is a term that refers to a type of capitalism where a large amount of elite income takes the form of property income received as interest, rents, dividends, fees or capital gains. The beneficiaries of this income are a property-owning class who play no productive role in the economy themselves but who monopolize the access to physical assets, financial assets and technologies. They make money not from producing anything themselves, but purely from their ownership of property which provides a claim to a revenue stream. [We urge you to see our articles, The Marxist Paradigm" and "Capitalism and Christianity."]

WHO ARE THESE RENTIER CAPITALISTS?

Well-known journalist James Petras defines these Rentiers as nothing more than parasites who with each passing day embrace more and more of the world's wealth. Petras writes:

"The enormous concentration of wealth in the hands of this tiny parasitical ruling class is one reason why the US has the worst inequalities of any advanced economy and among the worst in the entire world. [Rentiers] ... do not employ workers, they secure tax loopholes and bailouts and then press for cuts in the social budget, since they do not require a healthy, educated workforce (except for a tiny elite). In 1976 the top 1% held 20% of the wealth; in 2007 they commanded 35% of total wealth. Eighty percent of Americans own only 15% of the wealth."

Petras continues:

"The recent economic crises, which initially reduced the total wealth of the country, did so in an uneven fashion — hitting the majority of workers and employees worse. The government bailout led to the economic recovery, not of the 'economy in general', but was confined to further enhancing the wealth of the billionaires [i.e., the Rentiers] — which explains why the unemployment/under-employment rate has hardly moved, why the fiscal debt and trade deficit grows, and the state lowers corporate taxes and slashes federal, state and municipal budgets. The 'dynamic' sector composed of parasitical capitalists employ few workers, exports no products, pays lower taxes and imposes greater cuts in social spending for productive workers. In the case of the US, the wealth of the billionaires [Rentiers] is largely accrued via the pillage of the state treasury and productive economy and via speculation in the information technology sector which houses one-fifth of the top billionaires."

APPROPRIATING THE PUBLIC
ASSETS OF THE COUNTRY

Infrastructure Funds are investment funds set up by companies such as Morgan Stanley that appropriate public assets and provide a new revenue stream to the ultra rich.

These parasites are now moving to appropriate unto themselves the public assets of the country.

Journalist (and economist) Dale Ratigan of MSNBC explains:

"In Chicago, it's the sale of parking meters. In Indiana, it's the sale of the northern toll road. In Wisconsin it's public health and food programs. In California it's libraries it's water treatment plants, schools, toll roads, airports, and power plants. It's Amtrak ...

"And it's coming to a city near you — it may already be there. We're talking about the sale of public assets to private investors. It represents a national and well-organized campaign to shift the way we govern ourselves. In an era of increasingly stretched local and state budgets, privatization of public assets may be so tempting to local politicians that the trend seems unstoppable.

"On Wall Street, setting up and running 'Infrastructure Funds' is big business, with over $140 billion run by such banks as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Goldman's 2010 SEC filing should give you some sense of the scope of the campaign. Goldman says it is now involved with 'ownership and operation of public services, such as airports, toll roads and shipping ports, as well as power generation facilities, physical commodities and other infrastructure components, both within and outside the United States'."

Ratigan continues:

"The [infrastructure] funds [of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, etc.] are clear [about what they are up to] when communicating with their investors — i.e., about why these funds are good investments — a public asset is usually a monopoly [and the elites love monopolies]. Says Quadrant Real Estate Advisors:

'Most [public] assets are monopolistic in nature and have limited competitors, creating the opportunity for stable, long-term investment returns'.

"Quadrant notes that the market size is between $12-20 trillion, roughly the size of the American mortgage market.

'Given the market and potential return opportunities, institutional investors should consider infrastructure a strategic investment allocation'."

That should give ordinary citizens an idea of what's going on — which is to say, if the bank's like what's happening it means that the "public" is being SCREWED.

THE REASON THE BANKS GIVE ...

The reason that the elite's toady-like politicians give for selling off public assets is to get cash in order to pay for their budget deficits; but in the end, this — i.e., selling off community assets to balance pubic budgets — is nothing more than a fabricated ruse designed by the elites to gain control of public assets, then RAISE PRICES ON THE PUBLIC, AND EXPERIENCE MASSIVE NEW PROFITS FROM THEIR OPERATIONS.

NOTE: As we indicated in our article, "Europe's New Road to Serfdom" (by Michael Hudson), privatizing heretofore public lands and utilities is a favorite means by which the elites can gain control of assets that have theretofore existed for the benefit of "the people" and use them to "make money off of." Take just one recent example: the way the Bechtel Corporation - which is usually (and very mistakenly) thought of as a company doing business only in the Middle East - took control of the water system of Cochabamba, Bolivia's third-largest city. [Bolivia, by the way, is South America's poorest country.]

Jim Shultz, executive director of the Democracy Center and author of the book, The Democracy Owner's Manual, reports that several years ago, a subsidiary of Bechtel Enterprises took conroll of that city's water system. Within weeks after taking charge — AND WITHOUT MAKING ANY IMPROVEMENTS WHATSOEVER IN THE WATER SYSTEM itself, Bechtel doubled and tripled water rates to the poor.

Now think about that for a minute. An American multinational comes to town, takes over the city's water system — a heretofore public water system that had been successfully providing water to the city's residents for years and years (and that had even managed to turn a slight profit) — and begins charging the poor of the city $15 or more a month just to keep their water running. And all this in a city where families live on less than $60 per month.

AND REMEMBER HERE — THE BECHTEL CORPORATION NEVER SANK ONE RED DIME INTO IMPROVING THE CITY'S WATER SYSTEM ITSELF — NOT ONE DIME!

PRIVATIZATION IS NOW
WELL UNDERWAY IN THE US

This kind of privatizing of public assets — the kind that took place in Cochabamba by Bechtel — is already well under way in the United States. Describing what is happening in Chicago, Darrell Preston of Bloomberg Business Week writes:

"Here's a cautionary tale for city officials considering whether to sell off government properties to raise cash in these lean times. Chicago drivers will pay a Morgan Stanley-led partnership at least $11.6 billion to park at city meters over the next 75 years. The investors ... may earn a profit of $9.58 billion.

"Helped along by some aggressive parking-fee hikes, the group is making a profit that is equivalent to 80 cents per dollar of projected revenue. Standard Parking (STAN), a publicly traded company that runs the parking concession at the city's O'Hare and Midway airports, earned only 4.84 cents per dollar of revenue last year.

NOTE: This means that there will be an increase of revenues flowing to investors that will be more than 16 times greater than what it was previously.

"Chicago's deal illustrates the extent to which Wall Street banks are profiting from helping states and cities close budget deficits by leasing [or buying] taxpayer-owned properties. The city gave up billions of dollars in revenue when it sold the Morgan Stanley-led group, called Chicago Parking Meters, the right to run its 36,000 meters, says Alderman Scott Waguespack. Unless the Morgan Stanley partnership defaults on its obligations, the contract runs until 2084. The parking deal will surrender up to $4 billion to $5 billion of future revenue in exchange for the upfront sum of $500 million."

Gene Safford

NOTE: Interestingly, Gene Safford, a former employee for JP Morgan Chase (now Chicago's Chief Financial Officer) is the person most responsible for negotiating this privatization scam for Chicago. It takes a lot of purposeful naivety to suppose that there was no collusion between the banks and Chicago politicians (with Safford acting as the "go-between) regarding these ultra-lucrative deals — deals which have had the effect of robbing the people of Chicago of their own revenues, and forcing them to pay much more than before for services rendered.

Preston continues:

"Morgan Stanley's partnership has raised parking rates twice since the lease began. Fees at some central business district meters rose to $4.25 an hour from $3 since January 2009 and are scheduled to increase to $6.25 in 2013. Chicago Parking Meters also plans to increase revenue by fitting more cars into spaces by eliminating marking lines, raising the number of metered slots and increasing the hours requiring fees, according to the debt-sale filing."

Preston concludes:

"The bottom line: Chicago may have forgone billions in revenues with the sale of its parking meter business to private investors."

THE POLITICAL ORGANIZING BEHIND
PRIVATIZATION IS INTENSE

Ratigan writes:

"The political organizing is intense - conservative groups are aggressively driving it as a strategy for fiscal prudence. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the influential think tank that targets conservative state and local officials, has launched an initiative called "Publicopoly", a play on the board game Monopoly. 'Select your game square', says the webpage, and ALEC will help you privatize one of seven sectors:

1. government operations,

2. education,

3. transportation and infrastructure,

4. public safety,

5. environment,

6. health, or

7. telecommunications ..."

Ratings agencies are also in the game, rating up municipalities willing to privatize assets, or even developing potential new profit centers around the trend.

MONEY THAT ONCE FLOWED INTO PUBLIC COFFERS
FOR THE BENEFIT OF AVERAGE PEOPLE
NOW FLOWS INTO THE COFFERS OF THE RICH

The kind of "diversion tunnel" the elites are constructing to divert the flow of heretofore public money into private hands.

The ability of private corporations to convert heretofore public streams of revenue into massive streams (really, torrents) of private revenue is plain enough to see in the way the stream of money flowing out of the revenues generated by parking meters at O'Hare and Midway airports in Chicago was increased 16 fold (see above), with the money so generated no longer flowing into public coffers, but into the private coffers of the rich.

And this is precisely what the elites want to do with all heretofore publicly generated revenues — DIVERT THE FLOW OF THESE REVENUES FROM THE PUBLIC TO THEMSELVES, and — as with the example of the parking meters at O'Hare and Midway airports in Chicago - increase the flow many times over.

CONFINING THE POOR TO ECONOMIC GHETTOS

As Ratigan has suggested, the trend to privatize public assets is gaining traction everywhere in the country — and no where is this trend more intense than in the effort by the elites to privatize the nation's freeway system. Naturally enough, what this means insofar as the poor are concerned is that they will be pushed out of sight and penned into economic ghettos. Why? Because - for the most part - they will simply not be able to pay the tolls.

Now think what that would mean in a city like Los Angeles if that heretofore "free" freeway system was sold off (or leased) to private contractors and turned into toll roads? While LA's freeway system would be freed up of the poor's old clunkers, L.A.'s surface system of secondary roads would be jammed to the breaking point — making travel almost impossible for the economically disadvantaged, at least for long trips.

But, again, it would certainly "free" the freeway system — making travel both pleasurable and fast for those who could afford the tolls.

In a world where toll roads have replaced freeways that are open to everyone, the poor are left to fend for themselves on heavily congested surface streets, while the rich have unfettered access to a freeway system that whisks them past the ghettos of the poor on roads that are free of the poor's clunkers. It's a world where the poor are out of sight and out of mind.

And what a wonderful thing for the elites as well as what's left of the American middle-class - THE POOR: OUT OF SIGHT AND OUT OF MIND.

And so the dynamic foretold in Revelation 6:6 continues its relentless process:

"A measure of wheat for a penny [literally - denarius, a Greek coin which represented a WHOLE DAY'S wages], and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine." (Revelation 6:6)

The meaning of this lyric is that the condition of man during this era (i.e., the "end of days") will be reduced to such that he will have to labor a whole day simply to buy a loaf of bread or three measures of barley. But the second part of the lyric (i.e., "... and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine ...") means that the "hard times" of this period will not extend to the elites. This is the common interpretation - the one subscribed to by Ryrie, Pentacost, Ironside, Gaebelein, etc.

IT IS HERE THAT CHRISTIANS SHOULD
STOP AND ASK THEMSELVES ...

It's precisely here that Christians should stop and consider - Which side of this rich / poor division will they be on? It is, after all, the poor for whom Jesus came:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, BECAUSE HE HATH ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR ..." (Luke 4:18)

And again -

"Blessed be ye poor: FOR YOURS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN." (Luke 6:20)

But if Christians find themselves whizzing by the ghettos of the poor on freeways that have now been emptied of the poor, how will Christians ever come in contact with the poor?

PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE RICH ...

Preach the Gospel to the rich and what remains of America's smug middle-class? — is that what Christians propose to do instead? [Insofar as the efficacy of this strategy is concerned, please see our article, "The Cedars: The House on 24th Street."]

If that's the case, what do they do with verses such as Matthew 19:24:

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a [sewing] needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:24) [Please see our article, "The Titanic."]

The fact is, the rich are not that much interested in the Gospel; they believe their wealth will get them through.

________________________________________

God bless you all!

S.R. Shearer
Antipas Ministries

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FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WANT TO FELLOWSHIP ON HOW TO GO ON IN THESE DANGEROUS AND TROUBLED TIMES, WE URGE YOU TO CONTACT US AT: [email protected].

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FINALLY, WE URGE YOU TO DOWNLOAD AND PRINT OUT THE FLYER WE SENT TO YOU RECENTLY.

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Then make copies and take these copies out to the campuses where you live; pass them out; OR if that seems too "daring" for you right now, post them on telephone poles, the sides of buildings, on campus bulletin boards; post them in union halls, in the neighborhoods of the poor and downtrodden, near employment offices, wherever you can.


Once again, we URGE you to read (or re-read):

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