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Tech CEOs Tell US Gov't How To Cut Deficit By $1 Trillion 311

alphadogg writes "The US government can save more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years by consolidating its IT infrastructure, reducing its energy use and moving to more Web-based citizen services, a group of tech CEOs said in a report released Wednesday. The Technology CEO Council's report, delivered to President Barack Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, also recommends that the US government streamline its supply chains and move agencies to shared services for mission-support activities. 'America's growing national debt is undermining our global competitiveness,' said the council, chaired by IBM CEO Samuel Palmisano. 'How we choose to confront and address this challenge will determine our future environment for growth and innovation.' If the cash-strapped US government enacted all the recommendations in the advocacy group's report, it could save between $920 billion and $1.2 trillion by 2020, the group said. The federal government could also reduce IT energy consumption by 25 percent, and it could save $200 billion over 10 years by using advanced analytics to stop improper payments, the report said."
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Tech CEOs Tell US Gov't How To Cut Deficit By $1 Trillion

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  • by VoiceInTheDesert ( 1613565 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @07:13PM (#33818304)
    Because 1) CEOs proposed it and everyone knows they're all evil 2) The outcry of lobbyists in the industries that depend on the government wastefulness to pad their bottom line will put out the message that this is "killing private business and costing citizens their jobs."
    • by Third Position ( 1725934 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @07:56PM (#33818640)

      Well, not necessarily... but considering what IBM has done to the states of Indiana [], Texas [] and California [], do you really want to trust Snake Oil Sam with the whole federal government?

    • If being on slashdot isn't information's equivalent of "The light of day", I don't know what is.

    • by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @08:05PM (#33818718)

      I think it's a little more simple than that. The only things that can get done in Washington these days are the most trivial things. If Democrats back it before the elections, Republicans are going to toss it on the long list of things that they'll filibuster. After all, one trillion is a small price to pay for preventing the other guys from looking good.

      Conversely, when republicans take back one or both houses, if they propose this, I suppose there's a thin chance they won't tack on something that democrats won't hate (or just one thing, like cutting the healthcare reform OR making Bush's tax cuts permanent), and then a thin chance democrats won't fillibuster it just out of spite...

      I can say that with a straight face because it's not funny, it's just sad how unlikely either scenario is.

    • Because 1) CEOs proposed it and everyone knows they're all evil 2) The outcry of lobbyists in the industries that depend on the government wastefulness to pad their bottom line will put out the message that this is "killing private business and costing citizens their jobs."

      Have you considered that, if the numbers presented here are self-serving propaganda by the tech companies at issue (which, you know, efforts to promote the products provided by an industry presented by industry groups frequently include),

    • by Jeeeb ( 1141117 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @08:13PM (#33818804)
      1) CEOs proposed it and everyone knows they're all evil

      When a group of IT company CEO's propose that you spend huge amounts on new IT infrastructure to consolidate your spending, you'd do damned well to look at it with suspicion. Especially when they appear to have neglected subtracting the amount that would have to be spent to realise these savings from their final figures.
      • If it's coming out of a CEO's mouth, it's only purpose is to pad said CEO's wallet.

      • by Phurge ( 1112105 )
        In an ideal world, the US would have a department which would independently assess the CEO's proposals and see if they stack up.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by gtall ( 79522 )

          They do, it is called the Congressional Budget Office. They run spreadsheets and analysis on just about everything Congress does. They also write human readable versions of bills before Congress. Generally, they are a respectable bunch although I sometimes think they as susceptible to Rosy Scenario, that temptress of all things bureaucratic. The proposal would have to be written up as a bill, but frankly, that is the only sensible way because the plan as written by the CEOs is going to be deficient in sever

    • by c0lo ( 1497653 )

      The outcry of lobbyists in the industries that depend on the government wastefulness to pad their bottom line will put out the message that this is "killing private business and costing citizens their jobs."

      I can't stop to notice that increased efficiency really means less jobs in the current context. Efficiency=results/cost - as I don't see in TFA any promise of "We'll deliver more services/results", the increased efficiency is by cost-cutting. TFA mentions only 200 billions over the 10 yers, so guess from where the other 800 billions will be cut?

      I'm not that young anymore to get inflamed by "job cuts", but at the current level of unemployment in US, the effect of "increased efficiency by cost cuts" needs to

      • by hoggoth ( 414195 )

        Well, then here's another great idea along the lines of what you are saying. Hire a team of thousands of out-of-work people to break every window they can find, and hire another team of thousands of out-of-work people to fix all of those windows. Employment will skyrocket! Not to mention the trickle down benefits for the window industry, the glass industry, etc. It will be great for our country! Now isn't the time for efficiency, with our economy in such deep trouble.

  • Oh and by the way (Score:4, Insightful)

    by joeflies ( 529536 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @07:15PM (#33818324)

    You'll save $1.1 trillion dollars, and it'll only cost you $900B in investment! Please make check payable to IBM in capital expense dollars, not the operating expense savings that we're showing you.

    It's funny how such studies show fantastic savings, but you can't actually buy the solution with those purported savings. You can't point the finger and say "these are the people you'll fire, and these are the systems that will get turned off". And the companies offering such a solution won't accept payment with the funny money savings either.

    • More than that (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, also recommends that the U.S. government streamline its supply chains and move agencies to shared services for mission-support activities

      Sounds just like... well... all the other consultants. You know, the people who come in and say "Hey, we haven't ever worked in this organization but this seems inefficient, make it better and you'll get massive savings! What? No, we haven't bothered to find out whether there is actual some reason why you are doing it in the inefficient-seeming way in the first place. If we did find that out, we couldn't make this fancy recommendations..."

      I think that the first thing where government should save is this: St

    • Unfortunately, that's just the way the world works. If you're a one person independent IT shop, you're not going to install 20 copies of Windows at a small company and then agree to take some percentage of the savings. It's their responsibility to exchange cash today in exchange for annualized operational savings in the future. I don't get why IBM should be any different. Unless they have the authority to get in there and actually do the hiring / firing, they shouldn't have to take the risk for failure

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Smidge204 ( 605297 )

        There is also a thing called a performance contract. Dunno if it'll work in the federal level, though.

        A company proposes certain specific alterations to infrastructure/facilities/workflow and provides an analysis of how any why these changes will save money. It then provides a cost proposal to actually make these changes and a payback schedule.

        The contract guarantees the payback at the responsibility of the contractor. The profit to be made here is log term: the client (government, in this case) fronts all

      • But, everyone who's every interacted with Federal IT and Support Services knows they're some of the least cost-effective organizations on the planet. They have a responsibility to get their act together.

        Nobody knows the trouble I've seen...

    • by Phurge ( 1112105 )
      Have you been advising my wife at shoe store sales?
  • All that is stuff (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <> on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @07:16PM (#33818334) Homepage Journal

    the government is already in the process of doing.

    real forward thinking, dumb ass~

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @07:17PM (#33818344)
    Fewer lawyers, fewer inmates, fewer LEO, happier population. For bonus points, get rid of excessively generous government employee pensions.
    • And income through taxes.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @07:45PM (#33818540)

      Seconded. I'll also add this:
          Fine countries for each citizen found illegally residing in our country, *10 for repeat offenders.
          Open our governments R&D dept to beyond defense and license the tech out to the private sector to pay for our infrastructure, and help create a real need for scientists.
          Create regulations to stop the salary collusion that goes on in every executive board room, bring back excess taxes to discourage excessive greed.
          Reform our tax structure to pay from the bottom up, instead of top down. Make my city pay to my state, who pays to the feds.

      Or do more of the same for yourselves rich fuckers, eventually enough of us little guys will be pushed so far we won't care to make it better for ourselves. Our focus will be on how bad we can make it for you.

      • by FatSean ( 18753 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @08:30PM (#33818958) Homepage Journal

        Who's gonna enforce that fine? Mexico is gonna laugh and laugh and laugh and probably start encouraging citizens to enter the USA illegally just to spite our hubris.

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        Fine countries for each citizen found illegally residing in our country, *10 for repeat offenders.

        And how do you propose to enforce that? I'll let you in on a little secret, such arbitrary and capricious plans have started wars. After all, I know some illegal immigrants. In most cases, they have no papers, or false papers. Why? Because if you have no papers, they can't send you back. So what do you do when some Spanish speaking person is stopped at the US-Mexico border? The family of illegals (all
      • Fine countries for each citizen found illegally residing in our country, *10 for repeat offenders.

        Not sure that would help anything. This study shows illegal immigrants cost the federal government at most 10 billion a year []. Stopping that wouldn't save that much either, since as the article points out, a significant amount of that is actually going to their US born children. And how much do we spend on fighting illegal immigration? I couldn't find a figure after googling for 10 minutes, everything just kept coming up with estimates for how much illegal immigrants cost us, with the numbers varying w

    • Or genetically engineer people who are resistant to chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, or hypertension (and their sequelae, which BTW accounts for nearly half of health care spending in the USA). But that's not going to happen because society doesn't have the balls to accept that yet.

  • by GayBliss ( 544986 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @07:20PM (#33818368) Homepage
    Should we be suspicious when the IBM CEO thinks the U.S. needs a massive IT overhaul? I guess you could say he is qualified to know whether it can be done or not, but it would no doubt steer a lot of money to large IT corporations, such as IBM, that are large enough to handle such a large undertaking.
    • "Should we be suspicious when the IBM CEO thinks the U.S. needs a massive IT overhaul?"


      But we should be suspicious because the signaturees of the document are the CEOs of some of the very companies that helped creating the mess in first place. One should ask why those CEOs didn't do what they prey a step at a time, given that they already are contractors for the government.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bigjeff5 ( 1143585 )

        Contractors don't dictate the contracts, and they can't force a product the customer doesn't want.

        This is the contractors trying to change the customer's mind.

  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @07:20PM (#33818370) Homepage Journal

    ..tach CEOs are disinterested third parties with no ulterior motive. They're not after some ludicrously expensive contract for several years, combined with building a new terrible legacy and network effects which basically cause a lock-in for long after the original contract. Finally someone you can trust!

    [squints at monitor]

    Hey waitaminute. These are the guys who run companies that only make tachometers, right?

  • But... (Score:5, Informative)

    by thestudio_bob ( 894258 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @07:21PM (#33818378)

    Being inefficient means that the politicians can easily hide what they're spending our money on. I seriously doubt this will gain any traction within the government. Then again, with potential cost over-runs and kick-backs to implement such a plan, who know? Political greed seems to get some things done.

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      Some want to run government like business, but it can't be. Government can't borrow money today then take interest off taxes and amortize the amount over years. If Government borrows money, it immediately goes on the deficit and the so-called conservatives, who would have no problem with business borrowing for capital investments, call it irresponsible. When government tries to raise taxes to cover fixed costs, so-called conservatives who would have no problem raising pricing in their firms call it overt
  • It's too bad that none of those businesses are Minority or Women owned, otherwise they would get the contracts for sure. Because in the world of Government, it is

  • by martin-boundary ( 547041 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @07:22PM (#33818388)
    Sorry, but those puny savings simply won't matter when the banks demand their next round of trillion dollar bailouts in the next ten years. Penny wise and pound foolish doesn't make anybody rich....
  • , but nod and continue what they are doing. FTS:

    can save


    If the cash-strapped U.S. government enacted

    Uh huh.

    it could save


    could also reduce

    Most likely.

    the report said.

    It sure did. It said nothing of substance is currently being done. I am being a cynical ass (nothing new under the sun), but I don't believe this report will change the bloat.

    At least they are considering hypotheticals!

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @07:26PM (#33818418) Homepage
    the 13 acres of hell this country went through, kicking and screaming, just to get to digital television.

    Just because every CEO present for this sales pitch owns an iPhone 4, does not mean the grinding poverty of Appalachia, the intellectual bankruptcy of the deep south, or the budgetless west coast are even remotely capable of turning this page. As long as we all have grandmothers and relatives printing out taxes and mailing them with saliva greased postage stamps, the trillion dollars is about as real as the 21st century flying car i was promised.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hedwards ( 940851 )
      AFAIK it's pretty much just CA that spends it's days budgetless on the west coast. It's painful in WA and OR, but it's not budgetless, it's just belt tightening time, given the drastic drop in tax dollars due to anti-tax conservative hatchet men. People who think that it's OK to require a super majority to raise taxes, and that it's OK to impose that super majority requirement via a simple majority vote.
  • Hell, no. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) <> on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @07:28PM (#33818430) Journal

    The last thing I want to see is an efficient government. In the words of Will Rogers, "Thank heaven we don't get all the government we pay for."


    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by blair1q ( 305137 )

      I can pretty much guarantee that simple data-processing efficiency will not make a tiny dent in the white hole of entropy that is Congress.

      And it would take a major constitutional amendment to supplant them with anything digital and algorithmically controlled.

      So you're safe. Take your gun back to bed.

  • Buzzzz. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pspahn ( 1175617 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @07:29PM (#33818442)

    That summary seemed to be full of buzzwords.

    Unfortunately, part of what is keeping our country propped up is the inefficiency of bureaucracy and that it allows a lot of otherwise useless people to remain employed. If you go through and wipe out a ton of government positions there won't be anywhere else for those people to go. Though, I suppose with all those savings we could just give everyone microloans that allow them to try and at least be productive at something they are interested in.

  • The only way to reduce the national debt is by selling more stuff to other nations than you buy from them. Aside from energy savings (which I bet won't be anywhere close to $1T), I don't see how to switch to e-government or any of the rest of this stuff will make any difference.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Red Flayer ( 890720 )

      National debt != trade imbalance.

      The national debt is a measure of how much the government owes to its creditors; what you are referring to is an entirely separate issue.
    • The only way to reduce the national debt is by selling more stuff to other nations than you buy from them.

      No, that's how you generate a trade surplus. There is a difference between a trade surplus/deficit and a budget surplus/deficit (the former is exports vs. imports, the latter is government revenue vs. government expenditures.) You reduce the national debt by generating a budget surplus (and you reduce the debt as compared to an alternative policy even by generating a smaller budget deficit), to which th

    • "I don't see how to switch to e-government or any of the rest of this stuff will make any difference."

      That's because you are WROOOOOOOONG!

      "The only way to reduce the national debt is by selling more stuff to other nations than you buy from them."

      FALSE! As false as it can go.

      The only way to reduce the national debt (long term) is by selling stuff to other nations for more MONEY than the MONEY we spend buying from them.

      Once you get this clear, you can see there are different paths you can go to correct the im

      • by melted ( 227442 )

        Um no. This is akin to replacing windows (no pun intended) in a house that's nearing foreclosure. Either you reduce the amount of principal by, yes, selling stuff, or your house gets foreclosed. New windows aren't going to make a bit of difference.

        I don't see how laid off government employees will contribute to producing anything exportable. If anything they will create an extra tax burden on those who can produce exportable goods by consuming unemployment money, since we _already have_ a bunch of qualified

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          "I don't see how laid off government employees will contribute to producing anything exportable"

          Do you think that it might be your problem? That you don't see it doesn't means it isn't there.

          "If anything they will create an extra tax burden on those who can produce exportable goods by consuming unemployment money"

          How can that be, specially in the case of the government? Since they are civil servants they *already* are a tax burden. So, provided you substitute them with a more efficient service, you can f

  • Or we could (Score:2, Funny)

    by blair1q ( 305137 )

    just take $1 trillion from the people who shipped all of our jobs overseas.

    Oh wait, it's these guys!

  • You cut those huge sums of money and you are inviting unemployment among folks in our growing population.

  • Having just spent a good chunk of change today to pay the title transfer tax on my new car, I want to say that it's tempting to fire all the bureaucrats and replace them with machines. The lady that took my money at the local courthouse tried so hard to make me go away and fill out the transfer form "without mistakes", which would necessitate me harassing the seller of my car (not a dealership, but an individual).

    So human sadism made her fuck with me.

    But also I was able to appear to her humanity
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cosm ( 1072588 )

      So I'm not sure which is worse, humans or machines.

      I'll tell you. Humans that write long diatribes with machine fonts!

  • Oh great, another fricken megaproject, because that's worked so well in the past.


  • by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @08:02PM (#33818690)

    If the cash-strapped U.S. government enacted all the recommendations in the advocacy group's report, it could save between $920 billion and $1.2 trillion by 2020, the group said.

    Since the deficit is the annual difference between expenditures and revenues, reducing spending by ~$1 trillion between now and 2020 doesn't reduce the deficit by ~$1 trillion, it reduces the deficit by ~$100 billion.

    Of course, this ignores the question of whether the money would actually be saved; one should be rather sceptical from a recommendation from an industry group saying that amounts to "if the government spent more money on our services, it would save money overall".

    To quote Adam Smith on the attitude that should be applied to proposals of government action from groups engaged in a particular area of trade: "The interest of the dealers, however, in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public. To widen the market and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers. To widen the market may frequently be agreeable enough to the interest of the public; but to narrow the competition must always be against it, and can serve only to enable the dealers, by raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, an absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens. The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it." (An Inquiry into the Nature And Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Book I, Chapter 11, emphasis added.)

  • ... they could budget within the money that they actually have, and stick to that budget. The whole idea of 'deficit' means they are spending more than they have, which, let's face it, if they were ever actually right about how much growth they were going to get, they wouldn't have a debt in the first place. So they could start fixing the problem by not trying to predict the future (which they've proven they can't do anyways) and budget with the money they actually have right now, which is how most intell
  • How many billions has Treasury spent trying to update computer systems? DoJ (FBI, etc.)? Military (how long did RPAS get kicked around sucking up $$s)? The plain fact is government has a horrible track record with IT spending boondoggles.

    This sounds like another one; massive cash outlays today to buy illusory future savings.

    Wait a minute...that sounds like most government programs period... :-(

  • by cinnamon colbert ( 732724 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @08:21PM (#33818868) Journal
    It is a commonplace that gov't is "wastefull" and "inefficient" and full of overpaid hacks,etc etc
    But doesn't this describe most private biz, at least viewed in the eyes of /. and dilbert ?
    why is private jets for CEOs no less wasteful then anything the gov't does ?
    You could go a long way with this, but I think it is a Myth that large publicly traded companies are, on avg, more efficient then the gov't and there is a lot of evidence to support the opposite posistion, eg look at he amt spent on admin in the social sec administration.
    To give an example: I work in a biotech lab. The other day, a guy comes in with a 400 dollar piece of equipment, "free". What gives ? well, "they" through out a whole pallet (maybe 50) of these jobbers cause the name of the company changed, and they didn't want to bother changing the logo on the equipment....
    yet it is gov't that gets blamed for being wasteful.
    I mean come on, this is /., is the gov't more wastefull the MS ? doesn't anyone remember the thread where there were some number of people >10 on the MS committee to figure out what was on the vista start menu ? not to implement it or anything like that, but just the list of what was on teh default menu....
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JSBiff ( 87824 )

      Private Jet for the CEO or US President (Air Force One), is one thing. Where the wastefulness comes in is that government (at all levels - local, state, federal), is very susceptible to things like contracts to purchase goods or services which are horrendously over-priced, because a well placed official or bureaucrat does something like awarding a no-bid contract to their friend, brother, son, daughter, wife.

      While a lot of companies might overpay their VPs and CxOs, they are generally ruthlessly efficient w

      • My father is an engineer, and worked for a fairly well-known engineering company for a couple years while I was in junior high. The particular project he was working on was a contract for NASA, to build a new "Advanced Solid Rocket Motor" to lift the space shuttle. The project was started in the aftermath of the Challenger explosion, to design a safer (and I believe cheaper, also) lift system. The company contracted to do the job was, so far as I know, hitting all the milestones, and NASA was, I believe, pl

  • cutting our annual defense spending in half. We would still be spending $500 billion a year, more than any government any where ever (including the US just a few short years ago) so no one can argue we will be "less safe." Until tea par tiers get behind such a proposal their "anti-government" rhetoric is just that - hot air.

  • Debt != Deficit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EEBaum ( 520514 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @08:45PM (#33819128) Homepage

    Debt is how much you owe, like how much your credit card balance is.
    Deficit is how much you're borrowing/losing/hemorrhaging in a given time, like how much your credit card balance increases in a year.
    Cutting the deficit by 1 trillion dollars would save TEN TRILLION DOLLARS in ten years.

    I guess, technically, the summary could be valid if we're talking about a ten-year budget, but the national budget is something that's settled upon on an annual basis. Cutting the deficit by "an average of 100 billion dollars per year" would be more accurate.

    • by JSBiff ( 87824 )

      "Cutting the deficit by 1 trillion dollars would save TEN TRILLION DOLLARS in ten years."

      What, no interest on the debt? Cutting a trillion a year for 10 years would probably really save 15 trillion, once you account for interest charges.

  • The real factor that underlies global competitiveness is the rate of advance of knowledge and technology. When biz is in hoard mode (as it is now, sitting on trillions in cash), govt can and should create debt-free money to fund the innovation that will continue to keep the US at the forefront of developing technology and scientific knowledge. Japan has a 180% debt-to-gdp ratio, China's state-owned banks have a 23% default rate, and yet Japan's currency is strong and China's economy is booming because they

  • Remember that article a couple of weeks ago about really old computers used at NASA []?

    Well, now imagine that there's also a group trying to tell you that you have to reduce your number of machines, and move them all to virtual machines. Oh, but we don't support your 10-15 year old OS, so you're going to have to port everything. What? The person who wrote the software's been gone for 8 years? Yeah, we're going to port software we don't know, and risk losing a satellite.

    What about the webservers? Those are

    • by JSBiff ( 87824 )

      Well, at least some of their suggestions actually make sense, and if actually *implemented* correctly, will most likely save money. Consider the suggestion to allow citizens to enter/update their own info via a website. If millions of people are keying in their own data, that's a lot less Customer Service-type people you need to employ to get data from citizens and key it in on their behalf. I bet it also cuts down on data entry errors (and how much money does that ultimately cost the government), as you ar

  • If they were really interested in saving money they would reduce defense spending by half. It would still be more than anyone else in the world.
  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @02:19AM (#33821152) Journal

    Tax like Eisenhower. Fight like Clinton. Problem solved.

    Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism it's the other way around.

    In the US this has played out in more subtle terms; but taxation and other structural elements in the economy have plainly shifted the balance away from labor towards capital. The tax code needs to be more progressive, and it won't kill the economy no matter how much the Republicans and TEA partiers scream. It just won't. Henry Ford was a huge honking capitalist, and he knew that the workers had to be able to afford the cars so he could make money.

    Think about it--if one king had all the gold and silver, what would be the price of gold and silver? It wouldn't matter. People would abandon the metals and use something else. Same deal with dollars and any other currency. Of course, on the way to that extreme state, something else happens. The currency doesn't fall to zero, it just becomes worth less, and gets used less. That's what's happening with the dollar. The rich have more and more dollars, but the joke is kind of on them, because they're worth less and less. If you think buying gold will fix this problem, refer back to the beginning of this paragraph. Barter will take over, not gold, silver, or anything else that the working class doesn't also have.

    Of course, we are nowhere near that point yet. There's still time. Just tax those who can afford it, and stop sending those who can't afford it off to pointless wars. It really is that simple.

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll