Perry Glasser

Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

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

 

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IT’S BOOM TIMES IN AMERICA

In Business, Economics, Economy, EDUCATION, Finance, Personal Finance, Political Economy, Wall Street on December 23, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Dollar$ is back after an absence: the rarest thing is cyberspace is a blog with nothing to say. But it is time.

Many a financial prognosticator makes a living by predicting gloom and doom. People like a good scare. The problem is, this is no time to be terrified.

Things have never been better. There, I said it.

The oil price war going on between OPEC and the US is about market share. Oh, and be sure to understand it is a price war. Sweaty Wizards will call it a collapse in the market, but OPEC and the US are going toe to toe to own exports to China and Europe.

The beneficiary of this price war are Citizens. We are usually screwed, but we also put gasoline in our SUVs and warm our homes in winter.

It’s boom times in America. That’s no equivocation. It is fact.

Citizen

Citizen

Once again innovative technology befuddled Malthusian nitwits. We are not running out of natural resources before next week. Movies based on this mythology, notably the Mad Max series with Mel Gibson, were based on the popular notion that civilization would collapse for lack of energy resources. It had to be true. Didn’t Tina Turner sing about it?

Thomas Malthus, an early Wizard, in 1798 predicted the world would eventually starve because while population increased geometrically, food supplies could only increase arithmetically.

Ponder that as you sink your teeth onto your next pizza. Get it gluten-free, if you must, and but note no people driving are dune buggies across the desert and warring for women except in the wanker fantasies of adolescent boys.

Frack!

Frack is not a profanity left over from Battlestar Galactica.

Now it happens that fracking to withdraw oil from shale is a process more expensive than simple drilling, so if you were a Saudi Arabian sheikh and terrified that the US was about to once again become an oil exporter, you’d be hoping to squeeze those Allah-be-damned cowboys in North Dakota out of business. You’d drive the price down. You’d drive the price down by producing more oil than the world needs. You’d create a glut of dead dinosaur juice and put it on the open market at prices not seen in a decade.

You’d not-so-incidentally screw over Iraq and Iran, two places where fundamentalist loons pack their asses with C4 and wish they had atomic bombs for atomic bums. It’s not polite to say ill of those loons, but no one expects Saudi Arabia any time soon to invite fundamentalists into the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Since Iran and Iraq have nothing to offer their populations, they feed them a steady diet of hatred for Israel, far less nourishing than building an economy, but also far easier. The chief exports of the region–other than petroleum–are pistachio nuts.

You accept a little civil unrest to stay in power, so instead of throwing the rascals out, the legions of unemployed fire automatic weapons into the air, lately killing each other in a contest to see who is crazier to keep 21st century mores away from people who have never experienced the Enlightenment, keep their women kept covered, and, because vagina’s are dangerous and mysterious, still ritually mutilate their daughters.

The OPEC strategy is to make fracking too expensive. Pump oil, pump more oil, keep pumping oil. The cost of a barrel of liquid dinosaur has dropped 40% in months!

Meanwhile, the US consumer will pocket about $500 per year not being spent on gasoline. They’ll spend that cash at restaurants, Disneyworld, at the movies, maybe buy that new refrigerator—all those products called consumer discretionaries. We will enjoy this for a while.  Cruise liners should be lowering prices; so should airlines. Buy stock—don’t be a dope. It’s boom times in  America.

Wizards, a timid lot for whom equivocation is a habit, at first believed the drop in oil was the harbinger of evil, the precursor of worldwide deflation. They advised the very rich, the kinds of people who throw billions at hedge funds, to sell. If everything was about to get cheaper, you’d want cash, too. World markets wobbled, but quickly recovered.

Wizards are still advising caution, but anyone attuned to Wizard-Speak will note how often the words, if, may, and perhaps show up in Wizard epistles. “Yes, we at Binkwater Investments are fairly sure that if the markets don’t go down, they may go up. Make your check payable to Binkwater! Subscribe to our newsletter!”

Deflation is indeed evil, but note, too, that Wizards hate the US Weasel in Chief. That sumbitch won’t deregulate! There’s money to be made, dammit, and just because we nearly bankrupted the world economy in 2007, that sumbitch won’t forgive and forget!  Wizards would choke before publically taking note that  the US economy is just grew 5% in a single quarter, faster than any time in the past eleven years, that employment is going up, and that consumers have all just gotten a bonus in the form of cheap oil. The stock market is at record highs.

It’s hard to find bad news for American investors.

True, the US economy is moving in the opposite direction of the rest of the world. China’s growth rate is slowing; Japan’s is still flat-lining, Europe may be in trouble.

In other words, the market for oil is adjusting to world economies that need lower prices while the only place in the world offering significant growth and low risk is the United States.

Call it American Exceptionalism.

Welcome Back!

In Business, Economics, Economy, Finance, Personal Finance, Politics, Wall Street on August 6, 2011 at 8:48 am

After a long silence, Dollar$ reappears.  It seems the Buccaneers, Wizards, and Weasels have come back in force, aided and abetted by a President who stood for change and whose chances for a second term seem dim at best.

We feel obliged to sort things out.

We need to start with the S&P downgrade of American debt, which is less outrageous than long overdue.

True, S&P is the Wizard-crew that had full confidence in Lehman Brothers hours before the fabled finance juggernaut went belly up, so there may be some question as to whether the gnomes at S&P know how to read a balance sheet, but whether they do or not, the real question for Dollar$ readers is just what that means to them in day to day living.

It means a lot.

The cost of servicing trillions in US debt will go higher. That’s money sucked out of government revenues, money not going to education, healthcare, or even America’s favorite, warfare. We will  now fork  over more dough to oil states and China, the chief holders of  US obligations.

We can get our asses out of this sling if we take our country back from powerbrokers who siphon off 90% of US income to 3% of the population.

  • Insist on a flat tax for all individuals and corporations.
  • Eliminate tax credits for “foreign investments” made by multinationals headquartered in Delaware who do not bring that revenue home for further investment that might create American jobs.
  • Change our national dialogue from being about angels to the quality of American’s fiancial lives.
  • Cap total executive compensation in all US corporations to being no more than 300 times more than the lowest paid full-time employee.
  • End wars by declaring victory and coming home.
  • Invest in US infrastructure, including human infrastructure, aka “education.”
More soon.

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.

Dear Mr Obama

In Business, Economy, Politics on January 23, 2009 at 1:19 pm

buccaneer1With our fifth Dollar$ Buccaneer Award, this time to John Thain, the former CEO of Merrill Lynch, now, happily, unemployed, we are including an open letter to our new President. Incompetence is one thing, but theft is another. John Thain, now fired from Bank of America, is an economic terrorist, and warfare perpetrated on American citizens that threatens to end democracy needs to be met swiftly, forcefully, and without compromise.

DEAR MR. OBAMA:

Democracy in America will not fail because Islamic fundamentalists fly airplanes into tall buildings—but we will be walking hip-deep in the shards of democracy if you are unable to restore confidence in the American system.

If terrorism is war by a few against the many, then the Wall Street Wizards and Buccaneers who have accepted their fiduciary responsibility for our nation by rapacious theft and lying are terrorists.

It is one thing to err, it is another to deceive. It is one thing to earn; it is another to steal.

Terrorists deserve incarceration.

Please keep Guantanamo open so that the class warfare perpetrated by the super-rich and elite on the rest of us must be met with justice. Your election is evidence that America wants to be a just society. America must defend itself against economic terrorists, or else expect crowds that become mobs. We are the only nation in human history for which obesity is a national problem, but we are losing our way of life to terrorism.

Dollar$ original purpose was to dissolve the smoke of rhetoric with a flame of indignation and—as the URL of this site suggests—plain talk about money. This purpose no longer seems necessary. The shenanigans of the financial terrorists are no longer obscure.

Theft and embezzlement need to be called what they are.

No other way allows people to confront the class warfare the superrich have perpetrated on citizens. The world needs to know that our institutions are no longer owned and operated by the very few, for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very, very many.

Theft and embezzlement are undermining our democracy and threaten world stability.

CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR

Dollar$ does not suggest that bad judgment is criminal behavior. Criminal behavior is, however, criminal behavior, and needs to be treated as such.

Take the former CEO of Merril Lynch, John Thain, a man with an MBA from Harvard, and a jaw Buzz Lightyear could envy. In 2007, Thain was pain more than $80 million dollars for his service to the world’s largest brokerage house. Dollar$ thinks anyone earning $219,178 per day is shameful, but not criminal.

Thain’s machinations in the final weeks of 2008 are criminal.

Thain’s company faced bankruptcy and so sold itself to Bank of America. Bank of America should have performed due diligence—weak judgment there—but it seems that Thain misrepresented Merril’s troubles to the tune of at least $47 billion. Probably a rounding error….

Despite Merril’s $15 billion in final quarter losses, Bank of America was told by the Fed it could not back out of the deal. Mr. Thain was earning his salary at that time by skiing in Vail and planning a business trip to Switzerland. Mind you, he had not departed for Colorado until after he’d accelerated bonus payments of $3 – $4 billion to the posse in Merril’s executive suite. These performance bonuses were made in December because if delayed until in January, the usual month for bonus awards, Bank of America might have declined lining the pockets of this gang with anything so brashly called “performance.” Thain funded the ripoff with tax money, TARP funds. Had to–Merril had no cash.

While Thain dined on steak in Vail, the office at Bank of America Thain expected to occupy was decorated — again with tax payer money — for more than $1 million. Most of us will never use a $35,000 commode, but Thain’s crap is not like yours or mine…

THE BUCCANEER AWARD

So, Mr. President, in addition to the Dollar$ Buccaneer’s Award, may we ask that anyone stealing tax payer money on so grand a scale deserves more than to be fired from Bank of America, but perhaps warrants being a guest of the Fed in Leavenworth. If Thain represents the best America can produce—Harvard and MIT! — let’s demonstrate to the world that deception, theft, lying, rapacity, and arrogance are not the American Dream.

Let’s not tolerate economic terrorism perpetrated by the rich upon the poor.

(Dollar$ has an ever-shrinking financial position in Bank of America)

INFLATION HISTORY: A PRIMER FOR OBAMA

In Economics, Politics on November 19, 2008 at 2:13 pm

We cannot spend our way out of economic disaster brought on by thieves and liars.
Today in the US, we are making expenditures with little or no hope of return on investment. There is no talk of greater productivity. The US can and should always engage expenditures for the social good—medicine, social security, the “entitlement programs” whose only return is better lives. But when we engage expenditures by printing money with no tax basis for those expenditures, when we expect no ROI (return on investment), we invite ruin.
Most of us have come of age terrorized of inflation. The word is loosely bandied about and in the mouths of many means no more than “rising prices.”

INFLATION

But that’s only partially correct.
In an environment where wages and compensation rise at a pace equal to or greater than the rate of inflation, Citizens gather wealth. Rejoice! Old codgers who recall when an automobile cost roughly $1 per pound may be startling their grandchildren with strange tales of the good old days while gathered in the family manse in Levittown, a building purchased in 1952 for $8,000 now worth $750,000. Prices rise because wages rise when employment is high and skilled labor is expensive. The cost of cars and doughnuts may soar, but over the long term it all levels out, and adjusted for inflation the standard of living rises.
That’s a far different scenario than when a government prints and pumps money into an economy with no change in productivity. Governments inflate their currency by creating money with the stroke of a pen on a ledger, and if they do so to pay for non-productive goods and services, their economies eventually collapse. In a prolonged collapse, the society itself collapses.
Non-productive uses of government monies include debt service and military expenditures.
Dollar$ acknowledges that buying security is a necessary expenditure, but Dollar$ points out that while the military consumes goods and service, it does not create either. There is no economic ROI for military expenditure.
We see nations that spend 100 percent of their GDP on the military—Darfur, Angola, Nigeria—cursed nations where bandits eat and all else starve. These places do not want for natural resources: they have no economic infrastructure that creates ROI.

INFLATION KILLS

In Weimar Germany, when the Depression began, the country could no longer afford the debt service of reparations for World War I. The government printed money. Famously, workers demanded their pay on a daily basis, in cash, the better to run to markets to buy goods that would be far more expensive in a day. No one was working any harder; technology had not spurred innovation for new products or services. The price of bread soared, people were frightened. The government collapsed. Germany turned to a savior, Hitler.
The Soviet Union competed militarily with the United States after World War II in the Cold War. Surrogate hot wars were fought in Korea and Vietnam, but the main event was the ongoing arms race, really an economic tussle. Every military initiative had to be matched, equaled and then excelled by the antagonists. Missile gaps, nuclear warhead gaps, submarine gaps. The world watched two countries create and then maintain the balance of terror. When the Soviet Union’s foreign adventure in Afghanistan met unexpected resistance and the cost of that war soared in human and economic terms, the home population that for so long had done without creature comforts such as denim jeans and good scotch rebelled; the country collapsed into anarchy. Chechnya is in revolt. Putin is reinstating the police state—and in the US we never enjoyed any “peace bonus” because we never let up on our expenditures; our Republican leadership found us wars to fight. If there were no weapons of mass destruction, bomb shepherds to export democracy.

OBAMA’S LESSON

We do NOT need to fund:
• troubled financial firms that only buy less troubled firms to strengthen their balance sheets and then need to fire extraneous works as a matter of “efficiency”;
• troubled financial firms that buy small financial firms so that the acquiring firm qualifies for bailout money, the welfare to the rich;
• the US auto industry’s horrendous mismanagement. Jobs won’t be lost—if Toyota and Honda and Volkswagen gain the market share GM once had, they will have to hire workers to meet the demand. Let’s not save Rick Wagoner’s arrogant, sorry ass;
• two foreign adventures. Though Mr, Obama has pledged to end Georgie’s War on Shepherds in Iraq, our only goal in Afghanistan is to find and kill Bin Laden.
Where the hell is James Bond when we need him?