about being liberal or conservative anymore y'all. That is a hype offered by the fascist whores who want to confuse the people with lies while they turn this country into an aristocratic police state. Some people will say anything to attain power and money. There is no such thing as the Liberal Media, but the Corporate media is very real.
This myth of "can't afford social services" right now, so we should cut it off is ridiculous. Real
people are affected by these cuts. And the payments to a large majority of these "social services"
is actually meant to save the community and individuals a lot of money in the long run.
Investment in many different social services programs is a cost upfront that will become an
aggregate much larger expense if not created by government and paid for by taxes.
Do you pay a traveling nurses aid who can service 10 people in an 8 hour day for $12 an hour
plus transportation costs of $5 a patient -- thereby allowing older people to stay at home -- or
subsidize private nursing homes for $200 a day?
Do you cut the police community interaction officer that earns a $65,000 salary, or deal with
increased criminal incidents and the accumulated costs of increased crime in the larger community --
auto thief, jail costs, court costs, burglaries, injuries that require hospitalization, and death
Do you fund a network of half-way houses for troubled teens and runaways, or do you ignore the
reality of that social phenomenom, the consequences of which are unwanted pregnancies, drug-abuse
and alcoholism, and increased criminal activity.
Do we cut funding for after school programs, or leave students on their own to find some way to
occupy their time among other choices, which thereby increases the number of youthful indiscretions
that occur -- or stunts the full development and choices our youth are exposed to in addition to
limiting their contact with good positive role models?
Do we cut funding for first-time mothers and create situations where more young girls will make
bad decisions because they are under incredible economic duress?
Spending on social services is also most needed during economic downturns so that the downside isn't
so deep that it prolongs the duration of the bottom. When the upfront investment in society doesn't
occur at the front-end of the economic downturn -- if we cut everything under the notion that we
"can't afford it" -- the only result is a more prolonged downturn that will be exponentially more
expensive than if we just paid the money in the beginning.
There are viable plans involving small tax increases which will enable the cuts to social services
to be manageable. But the governor and his Republican allies are acting like fools. They don't
understand economics and they don't care.
Saturday, 18 July 2009 at 15h 3m 50s
The current state of Health Care Reform.
For a Fourty minute audio assessment of all the various facts and players involved in the process of
Health care reform, Click here. Jonathan Cohn is interviewed on NPR radio on 16 July 2009.
The interview is very informative, and provides much insight about what has been going on, who the
major players are and what their moves and motivations might be.
Saturday, 18 July 2009 at 10h 3m 18s
A Republican Congressmen states the truth
A caller to a C-span show says “the insurance companies are the ones controlling what tests you
can get, when you get them, how you get them and if they’re accepted or not.”
Republican Congressmen from Pennsylvania, Tim Murphy agrees :"one of our big frustrations with
insurance companies is they control the market place, they control what’s done, a lot of times
doctors not making the decisions here."
Already, 1 in 6 metropolitan areas in a 2008 study of more than 300 U.S. markets is dominated by a
single health insurer that controls at least 70% of consumers enrolled in health maintenance
organizations or preferred provider organizations, according to the American Medical Assn.
"It becomes difficult for patients to have choice and doctors to get their patients the care that is
needed because a monopoly has been created," said Dr. James Rohack, a Texas cardiologist and AMA
president-elect. "Patients don't have as many other options."
Health insurers long have billed industry consolidation as a way to better control costs through
efficiencies and leveraged buying power.
Medical-care providers say the promise of efficiencies historically has not lowered premiums to
"The promise of saying we are going to come together and have administrative efficiencies and these
other projected savings" never comes to fruition, Rohack said. "Most of these [health plans] have
different IT platforms and software, so it is a false promise of being more efficient compared to
what their track records are."
So if the government does not provide a public option there will be no competition because just like
the Republican congressmen admitted, insurance companies "control the marketplace."
Friday, 17 July 2009 at 19h 57m 47s
The scare tactics of tax increase on the upper 2% of income
The opposition to a surtax on incomes over $350,000 is said to be a bad idea during a time of
recession. This is another favorite critique by those who don't understand economics but profuse to
be business oriented and knowledgeable about the free market. Another favorite criticism is used
when times are
good. In that scenario, the opposition to small tax increases is that it will stunt economic growth.
Either way, its a fallacious argument. Investment decisions by those who control the spigot of
large financial accumulations are what actually creates and stunts economic growth. Cutting or
raising taxes does not influence this reality at all.
The surtax plan is as follows: beginning in 2011, the plan would target all income over
$350,000 a year for families and $280,000 a year for individuals. The surtax would start at 1
percent, rise to around 1.5 percent for families earning more than $500,000, then step up again, to
around 3 percent, for families earning more than $1 million.
At a minimum this is $2,800 for a
single person who makes $280,000. If this person has the typical leftover income of 20%, or
$56,000, this person would still have more than $50,000 leftover to save or do whatever. Not a big
deal, right? Especially if you no longer have to worry about health insurance and insurance
companies ruining your finances because they decide to interpret your health care coverage against
your best interest.
More importantly however, the idea that these individuals actually use these leftover funds to
create economic growth. This is somewhat true if these funds are left in a bank as deposits , FDIC
insured, or put into certificates of deposit, but then the banks who use these aggregate funds will
still use them to pursue their own short-term profit goals. There is still no large-scale
guaranteed outcome that results by the investment of these funds. Participating in the owning of
buildings or stock certificates is not creating economic growth. Economic growth occurs when funds
are spent to develop new technologies, build factories, roads, electronic and internet
infrastructure, to build buildings that are used for libraries or schools or as community resources
like parks and recreation centers and civic centers. Commanding a greater share of the profit from
the existing infrastructure of economic marketplace relationships is not the same thing as actually
creating sustainable entities within society or the economy.
Tax cuts to wealthy people do not get invested in economic growth. They are either swallowed up by
short-term consumption, or they are invested in interest-bearing securities. For instance: A lawyer
that gets an
$11,000 tax cut buys a brand new $3,000 suit, takes a more expensive vacation, and puts an extra
$2000 grand in their retirement fund. Which means more than 80% is spent within the year as
consumption (suit + vacation). Imagine if that $11,000 was instead collected by the government to
first rate high-speed train system across the united states, or was invested in free college
education, or was spent on universal health care, or used to repair the thousands of bridges and
roads that are in bad shape across the nation. Or....
Saying this surtax is a bad idea in the face of a recession also ignores the fact that it will only
affect 2% of the entire population. 98% of the entire United States will not be affected at all.
"At a time like this." I think I've read critiques similar to this about a thousand times now. I
guess it sounds mighty clever, .... But it's nonsense. The "pay-or-play" payroll tax increase
doesn't go into effect until 2011 — and if the recession isn't over by then we've got way bigger
things to worry about than a minor increase in payroll tax receipts.
Friday, 17 July 2009 at 17h 8m 41s
Using styrofoam to pack a hard cover book
After waiting 2 weeks, the book I ordered from Princeton books arrives, packed in a box that is 4
times larger than necessary, stuffed with styrofoam.
OH. MY. GOD. IT'S A HARDCOVER BOOK. It could have been sent in a puffy envelope. What a useless
waste of resources.
Friday, 17 July 2009 at 10h 25m 18s
Does CNBC front for insider financial agents ?
According to Bill King, from Barry Ritholtz's blog [ Click
Stocks ignited in the early afternoon when CNBC and other financial media outlets reported that renowned
doomster, Prof. Roubini, said the worst of the financial and economic crisis is behind us. After
the close Roubini denied that he had changed his forecast. This led astute operators to wonder if
someone planted the erroneous story as part of a well-orchestrated option expiration squeeze.
Options are a type of security that locks in a price over a period of time, usually 3 to 6 months
and sometimes a year. You buy a contractual right to buy or sell a certain commodity at a certain
time in the future at a set price dictated by the contract. Typically the price is a small percentage
of the actual cost, say one or two percent.
Here's how people make money using options. If you think the price will drop, purchase the right to
sell at a fixed price at a certain time in the future, say 3 months. So if the price drops, than
you buy up the commodity at the cheaper price and immediately sell it for the price in the future
contract, keeping the difference for yourself. You get a profit so long as you make more than the
small 2% cost of the option contract. A 10% drop minus 2% is an 8% profit. If these sales involve
10 million dollars, 8% of 10 million is $800,000 !!!! It's not chump change.
If works the same way on the upside. If you think the price will rise, then you purchase the right
to buy at fixed price. When they day comes, you buy at the cheaper price from the option contract
and immediately sell at the higher price in the market.
Options expire usually in large blocks at certain intervals throughout the year. When options
expire, a lot of heavy trading occurs due to the buying and selling of the underlying commodities
discussed above. If someone with influence bought a lot of options contracts on securities betting
prices would rise, financial news could stimulate individual investors to take actions that would
influence price rises.
Friday, 17 July 2009 at 10h 3m 28s
CNBC = Cheerleading Nothing But Crap.
CNBC (the network that brought us Jim Cramer) has been criticized by many knowledgeable people for
having a dishonest and disreputable reputation on reporting business news. The advice offered is
often very laden with ignorance and quite faulty or out-right erroneous. Jon Stewart on the Daily
Show once drew the networks ire when he used segments of the show adjacent to actual market
occurrences to reveal how consistently the network was wrong.
Today Karl Denninger from Niceville, Florida responds to last night's attempt by the CNBC network
bobble-heads (none of whom have any investment experience whatsoever) confabulate the notion that
Nouriel Roubini says "the worst is over" to mean the end of the recession and good times just around
the corner (Nouriel Roubini is the contrarian who has predicted the Great Recession, noted for his
book The Black Swan).
Roubini was very upset. And wrote a scathing rebuttal on his web portal The RGE Monitor, a site that is worth
a constant read.
Click here for a direct link to the rebuttal.
If you want to watch the CNBC 2 minute snippet followed by a very knowledgeable takedown by a
YouTube from Karl Denninger, go to Barry Ritholtz's page of the two videos. Watch as the CNBC Cheerleaders
stumble over themselves to find creative adjectives while disseminating the myth. Then watch as Mr.
Denninger shrinks their credibility beyond non-existence.
But it's more than sport. Unlike the CNBC tripe, you actually learn quite a lot by listening to Mr.
Wow. Max Keiser really tells all. Even the French dude he's with doesn't deny the general theme
of his assertions, saying "I wouldn't be as extreme". But how else can you explain the history of
the last 12 months. Keiser is not that far off from the truth, in my opinion.
Thursday, 16 July 2009 at 15h 33m 1s
The American Medical Association has just endorsed the House Health-care reform bill
The AMA has just endorsed a bill that includes a public option. Click here for the story in the New Republic.
This is the same AMA that called Harry Truman's 1948 attempts at National Health care a "road to
socialism". Times have changed.
Tuesday, 14 July 2009 at 18h 28m 38s
10 reasons why the economy is worse than you think
- June's total assumed 185,000 people at work who probably were not. The government could not
identify them; it made an assumption about trends. But many of the mythical jobs are in industries
that have absolutely no job creation, e.g., finance. When the official numbers are adjusted over the
next several months, June will look worse.
- More companies are asking employees to take unpaid leave. These people don't count on the
- No fewer than 1.4 million people wanted or were available for work in the last 12 months but were
not counted. Why? Because they hadn't searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey.
- The number of workers taking part-time jobs due to the slack economy, a kind of stealth
underemployment, has doubled in this recession to about nine million, or 5.8% of the work force. Add
those whose hours have been cut to those who cannot find a full-time job and the total unemployed
rises to 16.5%, putting the number of involuntarily idle in the range of 25 million.
- The average work week for rank-and-file employees in the private sector, roughly 80% of the work
force, slipped to 33 hours. That's 48 minutes a week less than before the recession began, the
lowest level since the government began tracking such data 45 years ago. Full-time workers are being
downgraded to part time as businesses slash labor costs to remain above water, and factories are
operating at only 65% of capacity. If Americans were still clocking those extra 48 minutes a week
now, the same aggregate amount of work would get done with 3.3 million fewer employees, which means
that if it were not for the shorter work week the jobless rate would be 11.7%, not 9.5% (which far
exceeds the 8% rate projected by the Obama administration).
- The average length of official unemployment increased to 24.5 weeks, the longest since government
began tracking this data in 1948. The number of long-term unemployed (i.e., for 27 weeks or more)
has now jumped to 4.4 million, an all-time high.
- The average worker saw no wage gains in June, with average compensation running flat at $18.53 an
- The goods producing sector is losing the most jobs -- 223,000 in the last report alone.
- The prospects for job creation are equally distressing. The likelihood is that when economic
activity picks up, employers will first choose to increase hours for existing workers and bring
part-time workers back to full time. Many unemployed workers looking for jobs once the recovery
begins will discover that jobs as good as the ones they lost are almost impossible to find because
many layoffs have been permanent. Instead of shrinking operations, companies have shut down whole
business units or made sweeping structural changes in the way they conduct business. General Motors
and Chrysler, closed hundreds of dealerships and reduced brands. Citigroup and Bank of America cut
tens of thousands of positions and exited many parts of the world of finance.