Perry Glasser

Posts Tagged ‘Economy’

CONSPIRACY THEORY

In Business, Economics, Economy, Finance, Political Economy, Politics, Wall Street on February 12, 2016 at 1:09 pm
Janet Yellen

Wizard-in-Chief

Dollar$, always eager to explain the inexplicable world of Finance, that realm in which Wall Street Wizards and Corporate Buccaneers run rampant in their never-ending struggle to own, pervert, master, and control Political Weasels, has developed a theory.

 

Why should Plain Money Talk  be any different from every other blog?

 FACTS

2015 saw:

  • unemployment drop to new lows,
  • minimum wage adjusted up,
  • auto sales rise to recent highs,
  • home sales rise to recent highs with no speculative bubble,
  • the cost of gasoline and heating oil sink to new lows,
  • the United States become an oil exporter.

The Fed is so concerned at all this good news that Janet Yellen has begun to tighte credit, a tactic employed to throttle growth and forestall inflation. Yes, the Wizard-in-Chief, Janet Yellen, is worried things are too good.

Some apologist is sure to point out that the second largest economy in the world, China, is hurting. Dollar$ will give that point of view some quick attention.

CHINA

China’s weakening economy should mean the cost of living in the US will drop, meaning you and I will have more money in our pockets to pay off debt or buy more stuff, everything from furniture to T-shirts at Wal-Mart. The US – China trade balance is heavily weighted toward China—the US imports far more goods from China than China imports from the US. If those good become less expensive, the American consumer benefits. This does NOT harm American business.  Maintaining profit margins at lower prices is easy to do. The cost of commodities the world over is dropping because of the slowdown in Chinese demand. Commodities are the stuff that comes out of the ground from tin to lumber and to gold, the stuff from which everything else is made. Everything should be getting cheaper. Every time Wizards predict that Apple will stop selling iPhones in Shanghai, Apple sells another few million units, but at a lesser price. With inexpensive gasoline, Citizens will be driving  to Disneyworld this year, and they will be able to afford the Mouse’s uptick in prices.

This phenomenon confounds the Wizards., who have learned that bad predictions are clickbait, and clicks drive revenues. No one watches CNN until the shit hits the fan and the shelter under the table grows crowded and cramped.

In the face of positive economic news, the US stock market should be soaring. Instead, the Dow-Jones average has stepped off a cliff in 2016, shedding 2,000 points in 8 weeks, more than a trillion dollars worth of value has been erased from the books.

THE CONSPIRACY

Cui bono?

For the past 30 years,  at every presidential election, commentators complained of the choice between Tweedledee and Tweedledum. But this year, it ain’t so.

weasel candidates in days of yore.

US Presidential Candidates Since 1964

 

This year, on the one hand, we have a wealthy, self-funded foul-mouthed injudicious narcissist celebrity never elected to anything anywhere who is much favored by people who have felt disenfranchised for a generation. On the other hand, we have a New York Jew now from Vermont who has never accepted a dime from Buccaneers or Wizards. An older man, his followers are youth because he demands payback from the banks and companies who were too big to fail and in the past 20 years have sucked the economy dry, indenturing students with education debt. On the third hand, we have a woman who is indebted to the old politics, and on the fourth hand, we have a clown car of interchangeable Republicans who lacking economic issues promise to disallow what your neighbors do in their bedrooms while coyly ignoring that for those promises to be fulfilled they will have to rollback several Supreme Court decisions by what by any account has been a conservative court.

Dollar$ sees the common threat. The two leading candidates are not in thrall to Wizard or Buccaneers. Should either get elected, the summer house in the Hamptons, the private jet, and the 10-room Manhattan  condo are all in jeopardy.

How to dissuade Citizens from voting for either?

Scare the piss out of them. Scare the piss out of them by manipulating stock prices downward. It’s only temporary, and it’s not as tricky as it sounds.

  • Claim good news is bad.
  • Threaten us with defunded pensions, evaporating college savings, and the elimination of savings toward the American Dream, a house.
  • Imply that unless Citizens vote the status quo and allow rapacious policies to continue, grass will grow on Main Street as economic activity collapses.

The stock markets should be soaring, but never forget that 90 percent of all trading is electronic and that computer algorithms engage in a global battle to take advantage of a quarter point’s worth of arbitrage. There is no longer any such thing as investor sentiment. As they now say in Wizard country, My algorithm can beat up your algorithm!

Fear is the most potent means of keeping the harridans out of the White House. Without the creation of synthetic Terror, Weasel Business As Usual will come to a halt.

O the horror!

 

END THE WAR ON YOUTH!

In Business, Economy, EDUCATION, Political Economy, Politics on January 9, 2015 at 3:31 pm
Home of the Weasel in Chief

Home of the Weasel in Chief

The White House is catching up to Dollar$ thought-leadership. President Obama yesterday tested the waters to float the idea—community college education should be free. Dollar$ is way ahead of the West Wing on this one, but admits it is nice to know we are being read at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the West Wing and Oval Office.

Last May, Dollar$ wrote,

So with apologies to followers of Senator Elizabeth Warren other well-intentioned Weasels and the legions of Wizards ever-eager to brew a new potion of loan and grant combination to foist on youth, Dollar$ maintains the solution is not to make higher education “affordable.”

The solution is to champion higher education as an entitlement.
Education must be free….

Access to two years of higher education is a right of every citizen.

The program is necessary for the preservation of our democracy, the maintenance of our standard of living, and to liberate forthcoming generations from a lifetime of debt.”

Now is the time.

The Right's Leadership at Work

The Right’s Leadership at Work

The Republican-controlled House and Senate should endorse this one, provided no one is stupid enough to present this as some populist giveaway. Nothing marshals the Blue Meanies faster than the word “entitlement,” but the fact is that expanding our notion of minimal education to include skills and knowledge through the 14th grade makes good economic sense.

  • For more than a decade, Business leaders have bemoaned the American workforce lacks necessary skills.
  • For more than a decade, Business leaders have outsourced training to American education.
  • For more than a century, the American Education sector has been a worldwide draw: sure, there are universities all over the world, but the best and brightest come here from Russia, Japan, China, and anywhere they can scrape together tuition.

If we go forward with this no-brainer, we will prosper. If we fail… well, it’s back on the road to Palookaville.

The Dollar$ Lowdown

What do we suppose will happen if the first two years of higher education can be had for free?  If the academic credits can be transferred to four-year institutions, only the arrogant rich will continue to send their off-spring to four-year institutions at $50-75,000 per year.  Harvard and Yale won’t starve, but say a prayer for Old State U.  How will the pale Ivies, the Tufts, William and Marys, Swarthmores, and Macalesters compete if they have cohorts of potential students showing up at the door with half their education already paid for?  Who’d pay for four years when you can get two for free at a community college, and then finish up a bachelors degree elsewhere?

Colleges and universities will need to become more productive and control costs, but currently have no incentive to do so.  The log-jam on student debt and college costs will finally break up. Buit if students are staying away in droves because there is a freebie at the local community college…..

Currently, 20-somethings can ill-afford houses, cars, and the other accouterments of middle class life because their credit sucks. Its not that they won’t pay it back, but if you start your working career owing the cost of a small condo, what hope is there they will become future consumers for big-ticket consumer items? Fun as they are, no one expects an economy to thrive on cellphones.  But if the first two years of higher education are free…..look at all that discretionary cash!

Finally, free education through the 14th grade not only will supply us with a solid professional class, it will revive the dying study of Humanities. At current prices, no one can afford a year or two exploring cosmic questions, but Literature, the Arts, and Philosophy may once again get a year of attention by those same students who now can no longer afford the luxury of thinking.

Unless we are intent on making war on youth, it is time to release that financial hammerlock on higher education, not only for relief  of youth, but for the good of our larger economy and way of life. Someone is sure to tell us we cannot afford this, but the real fact is we cannot afford NOT to do this

 

INVERSIONS AND OTHER DECEITS

In Business, Economy, EDUCATION, Political Economy, Politics on July 26, 2014 at 10:47 am

Inversions are the corporate strategy to avoid taxes by relocating a firm out of the United States. Inversions are under attack by the Left. The Left deems inversions unpatriotic, an evasion of civic duty, and yet another way for the rich of paying a fair share of taxes.

Dollar$ avoids partisan politics since valuable nap time is lost by heeding bloated weasels who insist their cohort of gangsters is in some way superior to another cohort of gangsters.  Weasels are weasels and gangsters are gangsters, and that is all we know on earth and all we need to know.

Nevertheless, as a selfless act of education, Dollar$ will venture into these waters.

This Weasel is so terrified of exposure, it is disguises as a  mongoose.

This Weasel is so terrified of exposure, it is disguised as a mongoose.

Despite wars in the Middle East, girls kidnaped for sexual slavery in Africa, and airliners filled with tourists being rocketed out of the skies, somehow the mainstream press has found column inches to devote to “inversions,” the practice of US companies hauling ass to foreign countries to avoid taxes in the land of the free and home of the brave.

This issue is a trial balloon, friends, a test issue to see if populist knee-jerk support can be rallied around a non-issue on the table at least since JFK was president, doubtlessly to be dropped once the next presidential election has installed a new Weasel-in-Chief.

The Problem with Inversions

Corporations are a legal machine designed for profit.  Their leadership, Buccaneers of various stripes, has the fiduciary responsibility to optimize profits. At the moment, corporate taxes in the US are the highest in the world, a confiscatory 35 percent. That tax rate is applied only to money brought to these shores by American companies. Money earned abroad is taxed at various rates in the countries where those profits are earned, but remain untaxed in the US as long as the money stays abroad.

Say you are International Widget, incorporated in Delaware. You make a billion here, a billion there, and a half billion in profit in Lower Slobbovia (with thanks to Al Capp and L’il Abner). Since world demand for widgets is predicted to rise, should you build tour next factory in Michigan or Slobbovia?

If you build in Michigan, you will need to pay union wages, benefits, and obey US regulatory laws that will bring your unit cost per widget sky-high. You will also incur shipping costs to Slobbovia as a cost of sales.

If however you build the new plant in Slobbovia, you will sell just as many widgets at the same price, but for less costs and far higher profits.

Note also that the enlightened Weasels of Slobbovia are avoiding civil unrest by attempting universal employment. Slobbovians for Slobbovia! To induce you to locate the new plant in their  country, they tax profit at a piddling 10 percent.

Buccaneers are a lot of things, but none of them is stupid. Profits are left in Slobbovia, investment goes to Slobbovia, employment rises in Slobbovia, and Slobbovia not only enjoys the fruits of capitalism but begins hesitant steps toward democracy.

The Inversion Reality & The Inversion Fix

In the above section, where you read widget, substitute Ford, or iPhone, or dozens of pharmaceuticals.

Trying to ride recent grumblings about “the rich” to political advantage, some progressives Weasels would have you believe these companies are engaged in morally reprehensible behavior. They suggest patriotism and gratitude should guide corporate activity—the same folks who also argue that corporations should not be granted the same rights as people demand human motives.

They also seem to forget that international business makes the definition of American company impossible to fix.  It’s a global economy, Weasels!  Wake up!

The fix requires Weasels bold enough to suggest a corporate tax rate closer to 15%, one that might induce foreign companies to locate in the US to take advantage of the most stable economy in the world.  US companies might be induced to repatriate profits now lying fallow worldwide. This is a no brainer. Fifteen percent of something is fare better than 35% of nothing.

We need to stop exporting jobs because the simple-minded cannot grasp how business is different from running a household budget.

MINIMUM WAGE LAWS: THE BIG BUCCANEER BIG LIE

In Business, Economics, Political Economy, Politics, Uncategorized on April 30, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Big Lie Propaganda embraces the idea that the more preposterous a lie and the more it is repeated, the more likely some fools will be bound to believe there is something to it.  After all, they can’t keep saying such bullshit unless it is at least partially true, right?

The current debate on minimum wage is a case study in Big Lie operation.

This Weasel is so terrified of exposure, it is disguises as a  mongoose.

This Weasel is so terrified of exposure, it is disguises as a mongoose.

THE WEASELS

Owes allegiance only to profit

Owes allegiance only to profit

Weasels, who only live to be re-elected, are running in small circles trying to figure out which way to go on the minimum wage issue. On the one hand, Buccaneers will be displeased should they vote or utter words that might displease their Masters; on the other, a LOT of people in the service economy–the same economy those Buccaneers created–get to vote.

What’s a poor Weasel to do?

Go for votes or go for the money?

Weaseldom is no easy life.

 

FACTS

As John Cassidy has eloquently shown in The New Yorker, there is no relationship between minimum wage and unemployment. None. Not a scintilla.

Nor is there any negative relationship between unemployment among teens and any rise in minimum wage: in fact, the opposite seems to be the case according to research conducted by John Spenser.

There will be lies often repeated. That just makes them Big Lies. It does not make them true.

LOGIC

Let’s suppose you won and run a Mom-and-Pop store in a strip mall, party goods, perhaps. You employ 4 local people kids at 30 hours each, a total of 120 hours each week of sales and service employees. You deploy them as you need them. Two of them are smart and honest enough that they operate the register when you do not.

You do not hire 3 full-time employees working 40 hour weeks. For one thing, if you do, the Fed is going to require you to offer benefits you cannot afford. For another, you are smart enough to know your employees come and go: they graduate from high school and go off to college or, if they are older, they want and take long vacations when the grandchildren are in town.  Anyone in the demographic middle is, as you know, looking for a 40-hour-week job, and will give notice in a heartbeat.

You wish them well, and you consider your cost of training a rolling cadre of new employees a cost of doing business.

So if the minimum wage rises, will you fire anyone?

Of course not. If you have the brains of a carrot, you are not employing anyone out of some charitable impulse. You are in business to make money, not employ people.  You run your business with as few people as possible.

Will you endure less profit to meet a new law?

No, you’ll raise prices here and there.

It won’t matter if you have competitors: they are in the same boat.

If you have huge competitors, they may be able to endure the new wage with less profit for a while longer than you, but ultimately they, too, will have to follow suit.  You cannot compete with Wal-Mart or Target on price, buy you can kick butt as a matter of service.

WHY THERE IS RESISTANCE

Buccaneers are aware that they own most Weasels, but that Weasels have to be re-elected, so they issue solemn warnings of ruin and destruction if the 16-year-olds at McDonald’s get a 25% raise. Most Buccaneers have trouble envisioning any time beyond the next quarter, anyway.

At issue is only how large a profit can be made without any raise in prices.

Do you know anyone who will pass on the fries if the price goes up a nickel? Me neither.

The Weasel-Buccaneer Dance will go forward, and wingnuts on the right will see the Death of Democracy in the debate.

Try to ignore that crap. It’s been decades since we saw a minimum raise hike.

It is time.

 

FINANCE FOR THE CLUELESS: INVESTING – BASICS 1

In Economy, EDUCATION, Finance, FINANCE FOR THE CLUELESS, Personal Finance, Political Economy on March 15, 2014 at 12:45 pm
Get Rich Quick Wealth Generators

Get Rich Quick Wealth Generators

Dollar$ Disclaimer

Wall Street Wizards are touts. Touts are eager to sell you the names of winners. On Wall Street, thy will sell you the names of companies that will be fracking the shale deposits deep beneath Central Park once they obtain regulatory permission. They can supply you with the names of organizations accepting reservations for tourism to Mars; they have a list of companies exploring time travel. As wizards, they often use rhetoric that is in the subjunctive mood. They employ a lot of if, maybe, and might.Dollar$ will name no companies. If you want a tout, there are plenty online.Dollar$ Readers seeking to own a Caribbean Island before their 30th birthday are advised to select very wealthy parents or to take all their hard-earned cash and place it on a three race parlay of horses at odds of greater than 10:1, a payoff of a cool million with an initial wager of $1,000.  Bookies will welcome you! The Wolf of Wall Street, a film based on fact, details the life of a Wizard who preyed on investors seeking quick and extraordinary profits.Such investors in the trade are known as “Suckers”; such investment counselors are known as “Millionaires.”

Wall Steet Tout

Wall Steet Tout

Dollar$, therefore, suggests that the Clueless embrace two principles of investing:

Get Rich Slowly

Know It Ain’t Complicated

Indeed, Wizards’ claim to wizardry and Buccaneers guard their freedom to pillage the economically ignorant precisely because they seek to keep Citizens befuddled.

  • “Give us your money so we may guide you!”
  • “Buy shares in International Widget so we may be richer than gods while you struggle to make ends meet!”
  • “Pay us for financial education!”
  • “Do not ask for explanations: It requires higher math!”

Sounds familiar?

Dollar$ writes to  frustrate the bastards.

Should You Have Skin in the Game?

Money in a pillowcase is not secure. Never mind the risk of theft, that money draws no interest, and as such it decreases in purchasing value over time because of inflation.

Dollar$ notes that inflation is not, like Gravity, a Law of Nature. Japan for much of the past 20 years has experienced the opposite, deflation, a fearsome economic consequence of the untrammeled boom Japan enjoyed in the 1980s. Yen in a 20-year pillowcase can no buy more Tokyo real estate than it did two decades ago, which may seem like a great thing unless you bought your Tokyo condo 20 years ago, in which case it is now worth less than cheap sushi. In 2009 the US experienced a year of deflation—which (rightly) scared the piss out of people.

The Fed in the US has lately employed several strategies to avoid deflation tand maintain a comfortable inflation rate of around 3 percent. One strategy is to keep interest rates so low that businesses and consumers perceive Savings as having all the economic advantages of a pillowcase.

If you want more, perhaps it is time for you to consider Investing.

Drop that phone!

Investment Readiness

Not so fast, Bunky.

Investing means placing money at risk.

Never forget that risk-reward correlated. Your insured accounts have almost zero risk, and therefore pay near zero. Up to $250,000 in a US bank covered by FDIC cannot be lost. However, that 3-horse parlay of nags at 10:1 or more pays at so high a rate because it never happens. The true odds are 1,000:1. Someone may win the gazillion dollar lottery, but that’s called gambling, not investing.

You have no right putting your money at risk until.

  • You have a secure job that supplies enough cash flow to meet your expenses.
  • You have NO consumer debt.  If you remain ignorant of the difference between consumer debt and leverage, Dollar$ forgives you, but insists that you reread Dollar$ on How to Spend. The math is simple: should you invest in pursuit of earning 7 percent, or pay off debt where you are forking over 20 percent?
    • For the record, student debt is leverage.
  • You have at least 3 months of expenses in liquid accounts. Liquid means you can get your hands on it quickly.
    • Everyone thinks their job is secure until they show up at the office and find the doors padlocked.
  • You have assessed your risk tolerance.

Risk Tolerance

Glad you asked. Your tolerance for risk consists of two factors that measure your willingness to experience catastrophic losses.

Age. The younger you are, the more willing you should be to undertake risk. If you are in your 20s, if the US goes through 20 years of hard times, such as the Great Depression or Japan’s Deflation Agony, you will be in your 40s when the sun breaks through the clouds, still two decades from anything like retirement, and if you have maintained the Dollar$ steady get-rich-slowly program, you will have amassed assets at bargain basement rates.

Psychology. Never invest in any financial vehicle that will force you to lose sleep. Let someone else make that fortune: you have a life to lead, and your lover, children, and co-workers do not want you to be some sleep-deprived zombie lashing out at them because the $1,000 you put into International Widget has fallen to $800.

Are you ready to go forward?

What to do and when is coming soon!

FINANCE FOR THE CLUELESS:  INVESTING – BASICS 2

WEALTH INEQUALITY

In Business, Economics, Economy, EDUCATION, Finance, Political Economy, Politics, TAXES on March 8, 2014 at 12:40 pm

bossy sisterWhenever my big sister played Monopoly, if the game was going against her she would toss the playing board in the air. My hotels and houses would scatter across the living room carpet as she shouted, “Salugi!” (a New York-ism pronounced “suh-LOO-gee”)and lunged across the table to confiscate most of my deeds, especially Boardwalk and Park Place.

When I was able to read the rules of the game, I learned there was no allowance for tossing the game in the air or confiscating my property. My sister was cheating! But since I was 8 and she was 14, she was able to meet my accusation by beating me up.

The History of Wealth Redistribution

My sister was a revolutionary.

To be sure, Dollar$ reminds readers that rebels object to rules, but revolutionaries rewrite them. Rebellions are common; revolutions are rare.

The folks who threw the board in the air in the past have cried, “Justice!” not “Salugi!” They had names like Washington, Lenin, Mao, and Castro.

Note that political persuasion—Left or Right—has nothing to do with revolutionary status. Mao and Washington might have discussed military tactics, but Dollar$ suggests they would have come to no agreement about economic systems or the function of government.

The Function of Governmentpreamble-20532-20120118-55

It’s less complicated than Monopoly.

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Washington (the dude on the $1) believed that the function of government was primarily to protect the rights of the individual, rights that most often needed protection from government itself. If no military personnel have been billeted in your living room, thank Washington.

Washington may have noted that to promote the general welfare required some redistribution of wealth to insure equal opportunity and to insure domestic tranquility, but that does not guarantee equality of status among citizens.

Washington’s pal was the first Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton (the dude on the $20). Hamilton understood that wealth concentration in institution like banks were a social good, provided the bank used that concentration of wealth to fund the visions of a greater society, lending money to visionaries and giving stability to the economic infrastructure by protecting wealth from being squandered by a ruling class on personal indulgences. Hamilton, an orphan at 11 and the illegitimate son a British West Indies plantation owner, would likely not endorse a notion that the function of government was to protect the rights of the filthy rich to become obscenely rich.

The Situation Today

Some of Dollar$’s best friends sink into fuzzy thinking when talk comes around to how wealth is created and distributed in the United States. They lose sleep fearful that someone, somehow, somewhere, is leveraging assets to optimize profit.  They simple-mindedly believe that economics is a zero-sum game and cannot imagine economic growth. If an organization makes a dollar, someone must be a dollar poorer.

No. That simply is untrue. If it were so, you and I would enjoy the same standard of living as Washington and Hamilton. But the fact is that economies grow.  At issue is how they grow, not whether they should grow at all, though there are indeed some who think that a good idea, too.

The deluded friends of Dollar$ from time to time propose bold programs to redistribute wealth, programs they understand as pursuing Justice.

There two reasons those cannot and should not work.

1. Nowhere in the US Constitution will one find the word corporation. True, we reserve the right to free assembly, but that does not elevate any assembly of citizens devoted to profit a guaranteed right to speak lies in its advertising or compensate its directors and executive officers so rapaciously that shareholders who hope to partake of the boons of the system see their profit participation reduced by rapacious Buccaneers.

Oliver-Wendell-Jr-Holmes-9342405-1-402
Not Sherlock; not Mycroft, just Oliver

2. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. noted Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society. The idea is carved in stone on the IRS building in DC., but let’s note that corporations do not pay taxes, they collect them.  If you think they not, you are submitting to a distraction, a buy-in to the fallacy above.

Dollar$ hastens to explain that citizens are consumers. Tax us, and we bleed money. Bleeding, we consume or save less, neither of which are good things, though it does not follow consumers should not be taxed. Civilization is messy, but must be purchased. But to a corporation, taxes are a cost of doing business, like labor, supplies, and logistics.

Raise corporate tax rates, and corporations will only raise their prices.

Guess who pays the difference?

Today’s  Lesson

Remember, friends, we cannot pursue social justice by confiscating wealth. We can, however:

  • Limit executive compensation by law to some multiple of the lowest worker in an organization;
  • Create progressive income tax brackets that limit the shift of American wealth to the rich from the poor;
  • Lower repatriation taxes so that companies that keep their money off-shore are encouraged to bring it home where they can invest in more factories and create jobs here–better to collect 15 percent of something than 30 percent of nothing;
  • Demand that higher education is a matter of national security, and so to insure the blessings of liberty are  free to all;
  • To insure the blessings of liberty on ourselves and our posterity, give tax breaks to organizations that train employees instead of demanding that future employees borrow so much money to gain perceived needed skills that students have a choice of poverty of a life of indentured servitude;
  • Regulate publically traded corporations by disallowing aggregation of profits as cash without paying shareholder dividends, a means to share in that profit. Can we stop the nonsense that hoarding cash is good corporate financial strategy when all it does is spike share prices that are subsequently used to calculate executive performance compensation? (Are you listening Apple Computer?)
  • Return to personal income tax rates that  reflect the needs of our society. Under Eisenhower, we built the interstate highway system and taxed marginal income as much as 92 percent.

We don’t have to throw the game board in the air to start over again: all we need to do is play by the rules.

PITY THE WALL STREET JOURNAL!

In Business, Economics, Economy, Finance, Politics, Rupert Murdoch, TAXES, Wall Street, Wall Street Journal on February 11, 2013 at 7:56 pm

As Official Apologist for Buccaneers, The Wall Street Journal is suffering a bad case of the heebie-jeebies.  Owned by the wire-tapping Rupert Murdoch, the doyen of rumor and FOX News, the Journal of late has to endure nothing but the good news that contradicts what Buccaneers wish were true.

After all, how can the super-rich endure yet ever more humiliation, scraping by on mere millions.

Consider how Peggy Noonan and Karl Rove writhe in their columns. Rove, a Republican attack dog, on election night was so amazed that FOX had declared Obama had won the presidency, that he stormed into the news center’s datacenter.  He spins fantasies about how the GOP needs to persuade voters to cast ballots for candidates that have less than the best interests of their constituency in mind. Noonan, who writes brilliantly, seems unable to get her mind around the idea that the Reagan Revolution is over: the coalition of the Religious Right and the Rich has fallen apart because the rest of America favors Reproductive Rights, Gay Marriage, and all the other issues that would keep Big Government in America’s bedrooms while simultaneously demanding smaller government.

The Journal’s layout editors keep burying good news on interior pages. What else can they do? Admit that Murdoch’s agenda sucked, still sucks, and will suck in the future?

Let’s see, after 4 years in office, Obama was elected by a majority of Americans, not just a fluke of the Electoral College.  Nothing is more dear to the heart of Buccaneers than money, but at the Journal no one seems ready to admit that:

  • The Dow Jones is flirting with its all-time high,
  • America continues to create jobs, albeit slowly,
  • The Housing sector is coming to life,
  • The alleged rise in taxes is, in fact, the restoration of rates from long ago that were  lowered for an economic emergency by Bush—it’s time to restore normalcy,
  • Did we mention that the Bailout money Obama allocated at the beginning of his term has not only come back with a profit, but likely saved the jobs of hundreds of thousands of Americans?
  • ObamaCare is about to go into effect and will not bankrupt America,
  • We are out of one war and exiting another.
  • Oh…there has been no significant terrorist activity for years and Obama gave the order that killed Bin Laden.

Guess what, Rupert?  America is happy about such things.

buccaneer

DOYEN OF INDUSTRY

The Buccaneers are headed into the headwinds of Peace and Prosperity.  To get anywhere, they may have to turn around.

TANSTAAFL – PREDICTIONS 2011-2015

In Business on January 3, 2011 at 7:49 pm

The US economy will get worse, and permanently so.

Our kids are the first generation in history to expect worse lives than their parents–this is how the economy retracts.

Fact is, we have funded 10 years of war without paying for it–all on debt obligations–which is how one deceives the public into thinking it is “free.”  Sorry Obama and Bush – TANSTAAFL.

The expense does not appear on the budget–just the loan service fees do. Every man, woman and child in the US owes more than $30,000, and that’s predicted to rise by 50% in 10 years.

It’s not sustainable because  money borrowed for investments is  expected to produce a return greater than the amount borrowed: money spent on warfare brings no capital return at all. Two wars, 10+ years each–the holders of our notes–oil emirates, China, and very large pension plans, are getting nervous about our ability to pay. What if the US, like some South American country restructures debt? What if we simply print the cash we need and pay off with dollars worth far less than the dollars we borrowed?

Neither of these scenarios is terribly likely, but if you were a money manager in China, you’d reduce your exposure to dollars. The only currency worse than the dollar is the euro because a generation of quasi-socialist states have made easy lives fo people in Spain, Greece, Portugal, etc. Instead of warfare, they’ve borrowed for the easy life. When your population retires at age 50, either your youth has to be amazingly productive or you population has to have the good grace to drop dead young. If the world moves to the yuan because the Chinese economy is in growth mode while the rest of the capitalist west is in contraction, we’ll first see economic suffering in the US and then the belligerence and the kind of social unrest that led to WW II.

We are already seeing the earliest signs of fascism, the very worst of Tea Partiers. There’s nothing wrong with demanding elected officials actually govern–even Obama got that message, though his own party immediately accused him of selling them out–what is scary about American populism is that it has always been about social control. In our times, that means same sex marriage, abortion, and mandatory military service.  Couple that withe 10% unemployment rates that persist for the next five years like a bad sinus condition, and expect torchlight marches.

Stock up on shotguns and canned goods.

Reassured?

In Business, Economy, Finance, Wall Street on September 26, 2008 at 8:10 pm

Edward M. Liddy, Chairman, CEO and Buccaneer Extraordinaire of American Internationa Group (AIG), took a full-page ad in today’s Wall Street Journal . It’s a note addressed to customers, agents, brokers, advisors and other partners, thanking them for staying with AIG. Chairman Liddy’s letter contains the news, “Regulations ensure that the assets of our insurance companies are there to back up each policy.”
While we are happy to read that something is backing up AIG’s policies, alert readers will note that it sure ain’t AIG’s business practices, strong financial condition, or future growth prospects.
Ninety percent of AIG was nationalized by the US government last week, and we can only hope this isn’t the beginning of a double drowning–you know, when the lifesaver is dragged to the bottom in the embrace of the victim.
Readers will note that Chairman Liddy’s puny attempt to keep customers from jumping ship:

  • includes no apology to screwed shareholders;
  • omits any address to frightened employees;
  • omits any apology to employees facing ruin because they held AIG stock in their retirement funds;
  • adresses “partners.” Dollar$ translation: any schmuck unlucky enough to have given Chairman Liddy’s company any money;
  • pointedly omits any admission of guilt that AIG, a reinsurance company, exposed itself to high risk investments on Liddy’s watch;
  • omits any expression of gratitude to the American people whose “regulations” are saving his job–so far.

Let’s hope Chairman Liddy paid for this ad out of his own pocket….naaaah, who am I kidding?