03.20.11

The thing about Republicans and “jobs”

Posted in Accountability, Economics, Economy at 11:27 pm by angela

This is specifically about Republican governors like Rick Scott. who campaigned on the idea that they would be working for their constituents to bring jobs to the state, then turned around and killed projects to save a little bit of money, projects that would have brought a great many jobs to the state.

And it’s also about Republicans in any state and at the federal level who seem to be working very hard to kill jobs, increase unemployment, and destroy the economy.

It is important, first, to remember that Scott is not a politician in any normal sense of the word. As we know, “politicians” are at least in theory vulnerable to having their constituents vote them out of office when they get upset enough.

Rather, he is a corporate CEO. As we all know, he is one of the worst corporate criminals around, having been responsible for the largest corporate fine when his health insurance company was caught ripping off the taxpayer and bilking Medicare. What that means is he sees his job as maximizing profits and cutting losses. He sees no responsibility to the taxpayer, just as corporate executives see no responsibility to those who work for them for a living.

In fact, having come from a background where he is handsomely rewarded for ending the employment of as many workers as possible, he feels privileged to make the decision of who works and who does not. And like so many in charge of corporate America, he feels that there are way too many people at the bottom who do not even deserve to exist, and rich folks ought to change that – by eliminating as many jobs as possible, so that people who don’t deserve jobs will die off quietly.

The high speed rail project that would have brought so many jobs to his state, and even more jobs by boosting the economy, had to be killed, because the people who got those jobs don’t deserve to be working, or they’d have jobs already.

It’s corporate warfare, nothing less and nothing more. The revolution is coming. Take a number.

08.03.10

We’re in deep voodoo doodoo now

Posted in Economics, neocon crackpots at 10:26 pm by angela

Or why tax cuts won’t pay for themselves.

It’s a great theory. Unfortunately it’s been debunked ever since 1980, when GHWB called Supply-side economics “Voodoo Economics”. Well, yeah, he was right and Reagan was wrong.

08.01.10

The problem with the economy

Posted in Economics, Economy at 9:48 am by angela

Here we are mired in a “jobless recovery”, where more and more people out of work and homeless each week seems not to even be taken into account when determining how “the economy” is doing. The pundits are jumping up and down, celebrating the end of the recession, while at the same time any formula that took into account real unemployment and other human suffering would have us square in the middle of a depression.

How did we get this way? There are many ways to tell the story…

12.30.09

What you can do about the banking crisis

Posted in corruption, Crime, Economics, Economy, Fraud at 10:53 am by angela

Do you have money in a big bank that you, as a taxpayer, are bailing out, yet it continues to demand more money—nothing but extortion—from the government so it doesn’t…well, what? They’re not lending money to individuals and businesses, they’re raising credit card rates through the roof in an effort to squeeze an extra dollar out of some while driving others into bankruptcy. They’re not giving homeowners with crushing mortgages a break. But they are giving gigantic bonuses and paying themselves huge salaries for taking that government money. And they’re using the money to buy off legislators with lobbying $$$$$$$$$, all paid for by you and me.

At the same time, small local banks and credit unions that are doing everything they can to help people like you and me are getting squeezed to support these big, profligate institutions that caused their own problems with investments that any fool could have seen would be a bad idea.

That’s the problem. It’s not just fools, it’s a special class of fools that are running these financial giants. They think that you and I are even more foolish than they are.

What the hell do you owe them? Nothing. Stop doing business with them.

Take your money out. Move your money to a local financial institution. You owe it to yourself and to your local economy.

They are trying to destroy us for short-term gain, with the blessing of the government. Don’t let them do it. Starve them.

Move your money

03.24.09

Fear and self-loathing in the land of wingnuts

Posted in Accountability, Economics, Economy, irrational thought at 12:00 pm by angela

Or, how it suddenly became all Obama’s fault. Everything that happened is Obama’s fault, from daily fluctuations in the stock market (but only when they are in the downward direction), to the market and economic slide that began long before the election, to continued participation in two wars of highly dubious origin that he has not yet been able to extract us from.

There was a bombing in Iraq yesterday and people died! Impeach him for war crimes!

Any of the deregulation that the Republicans fought so hard for was actually Barney Frank’s or Ted Kennedy’s or Harry Reid’s or Nancy Pelosi’s fault. The administration that rammed though endless such policies with full Republican support and Democratic acquiescence (can you say “bi-partisanship”?) actually played no role, and was forced against its will to do all these things. That’s why Bush wrote all those signing statements that he was actually going to ignore deregulation and continue to enforce the laws as they previously stood, right?

No, wait! It was Bill, Clinton’s fault, Jimmy Carter’s fault! It was all FDR’s fault!

The banks were manipulated by poor people who forced them to make loans without asking for their income or verifying it! And now those poor people have lost their jobs and and want to collect unemployment, how dare they try to get something for nothing! Get off their lazy butts and find a job, there’s plenty of work for everybody who wants it!

And of course, my favorite: We don’t need to have regulations enforced, because anybody who would permit themselves to be ripped off deserved it!

Ahem.

Bush didn’t have anything to do with any of the disaster! And he’s not really a conservative anyway! He was actually a puppet, a President who sat helpless as the minority party around him controlled him like a puppet!

It has gone beyond “sore loser” into irrationality with a good dose of mental illness thrown in. Watch Glenn Beck cry on television sometime and tell me he doesn’t recall Howard Beale, the mentally ill newscaster in the movie Network being manipulated for news ratings.

Some amazing psychological delusions are taking place around us, not just on the right, of course. After reposting yesterday’s blog entry on how Rasmussen is perceiving the true political divide to be between not Republicans and Democrats, nor liberals and conservatives, but rather between two groups they term “Populists” and “the Political Class”, my diary there was filled with snarky comments from people who didn’t even read it or the links. They ignored the point, which was nothing more than “This is really interesting. It could mean something. We should keep an eye on it” and wrote comments on how polls actually don’t mean anything if they don’t agree with you, and Rasmussen polls are worthless.

There then followed a long diary complaining that those on the left should stop criticizing Obama’s choice of Geithner, because (a little sketchy here) it doesn’t matter who is Secretary of the Treasury or whether they have the confidence of the American people or their unpopularity is dragging down the entire administration. It doesn’t matter what the policy of the Treasury or the administration is. And besides, we couldn’t possibly understand what those people do. They are much smarter than us. Blah, blah, blah. And that Paul Krugner is an idiot, something only a moran, thought processes paralyzed with self-delusion, could say with a straight face.

But getting back to the “It’s all Obama’s fault” delusion, these people are finally recognizing what a mess the country is in. They voted for that guy twice, they supported him fully, they viciously attacked everybody who didn’t support him fully. He did exactly what he said he was going to do. They got what they asked for, what they were told to demand, and it didn’t work. It was not a disaster, not even a catastrophe, but a cataclysm. As Jon Stewart said, “He broke the world.” So now they need a way to absolve themselves from the shame of their collusion.

For 8 years he was their man. It is weighting them down like a ton of bricks, and truth and reconciliation can only come from within, and not from the voices on the radio.

The stages of grief:
1. Denial
2. Anger
3. Bargaining
4. Depression
5. Acceptance

Andrew Sullivan in the Daily Dish

03.23.09

Not getting it: more examples

Posted in Accountability, Economics, Fraud, irrational thought at 11:55 am by angela

I was rather disappointed to hear that the administration has decided that zombie banks should be saved so that the people that ran them into the ground can enjoy continuity of employment, even though there is no evidence that they will start lending anytime soon.

It hasn’t worked yet, so we need to keep throwing money at them. Sooner or later the economy will suddenly snap back where it was before the crash.

The administration is pretty gung-ho on this. Even Christine Romer said that they want banks to lend like crazy, which any sane outsider would probably say is part of what got us in this mess in the first place.

Me? I read some of these articles, shake my head, and say, “Yeah…”

Here‘s a little story for you on J.P. Morgan’s upcoming purchase of two luxury jets and construction of an $18 million state of the art hangar.

Two quotes from the article:

“It’s a remarkably boneheaded decision,” said corporate watchdog Nell Minnow, the editor and founder of The Corporate Library, a group that provides independent corporate governance research and analysis. “It’s completely tone deaf.”

Alright. We all get that one.

But this one…

But on March 11, the chairman of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, said he could not understand why corporate America has such a bad image.

“When I hear the constant vilification of corporate America I personally don’t understand it,” Dimon said.

Dimon, whose 2008 compensation package, according to SEC documents, was worth more than $19 million in salary, stock and options, declined to speak with ABC News about the proposed plans.

Hello? A sure sign that he thinks he is a member of the Financial Wizards class, basically different from you and me.

Finally, a Rasmussen poll has been released showing that overall 24% of Americans have a favorable opinion on how Geithner has been doing his job, and 44% have an unfavorable opinion.

What is especially telling is that of what Rasmussen deems the “Political Class” (“Financial Wizards” and wannabes, according to my terminology), 76% are favorable, while among Populists, 12% have a favorable opinion on him. The divide is not between Democrats and Republicans, it is between those who are well-connected and those who see them as out of touch with reality.

Finally, another article from Rasmussen, this one on their concept of “Political Class” and “Populist”. Very interesting. The Populists are the great majority, unrelated to party lines. A smart political strategist might be able to do something with this.

I posted this on the DailyKos, where I got a lot of snark from people who are opposed to the fact that everybody doesn’t agree with them. Hardly anybody even read the Rasmussen article, and they apparently didn’t need to do that to tell me that scientific polling means nothing if the results do not agree with your own opinion.

Disregard polling at your own risk.

Now for a little lecture on the psychology of cheating. It’s a little long, but it’s extremely engaging and very topical.

03.20.09

What’s REALLY wrong with the economy

Posted in Accountability, Economics, O'Reilly is an idiot at 8:35 pm by angela

We’ve been focusing on a lot of extraneous issues.

Things like what Geithner knew and when he knew it. Or Bernanke. Or God knows who else. There is a huge outrage about the AIG bonuses, and quite rightfully so, since the majority of details about the financial meltdown have been kept out of the mainstream media.

Of course, a lot of the outrage has been on the part of those who were surprised to find out that anybody would have been against it.

Once in a while someone scratches the surface, like Jon Stewart, who in the end said to Cramer that it wasn’t about him or what he had been doing. Well, actually it was, since Cramer’s big deal was convincing large numbers of people to buy overvalued stocks that he was intending to short sell. If you had followed his advice, you’d have lost a bundle. If you had done the opposite, it would have made you rich. Does that make him incompetent, or a craven market manipulator who ought to be in jail?

But still, that’s only a tiny part of the story, and the more we learn, the more we get mired in the details of the crimes we are uncovering.

What has happened is actually a sea change in how we view much about business, society, and social class.

Before the Reagan administration began to institute supply side economics, all businesses were basically considered the same. Look at a small business, in this case a proprietorship. The owner runs that business to make money, and the only way to continue making money is to keep it solvent. If he can’t afford something, he doesn’t buy it. Investing in a lot of equipment that will take years to pay it off may mean him taking less profit out of the business to live on. Borrowing money to buy something he can’t currently afford would have to be weighed carefully against the cost of the borrowing and the potential benefits.

Years back, I was looking into starting a business, and had a few sessions with a consulting group, where I was told that the only reason to start a business is to earn a living for your family. Looking around, I could see where others had made errors that were fatal to the existence of their business by failing to understand that point.

Point in case: the restaurant owner who was in the business to make lots of wealthy friends and be known as a “star restaurateur”, like the ones you read about in the magazines. I know of one who made 4 restaurants fail before her husband finally pulled the plug on her ambition.

Corporations were run the same way as small businesses. They had responsibilities to their shareholders and their employees to keep the companies solvent.

But sometime in the past generation this has changed. The tax burden has shifted from the better-to-do to those who have much less, and the wealthiest among us have had their moral compasses snap. Greed fueled by a flood of cash has resulted in the limitless greed for more money and power.

We now have two types of people and two types of businesses.

People are now divided into “Financial Wizards” and “Everybody Else”. Financial Wizards are fundamentally different from Everybody Else. They earn their money not by providing products and services, but by speculation on speculation. They create wealth from nothing, or from wealth which is already created from nothing. Their value is in proportion to their risk-taking, so they see themselves as god-like. Because of this they figure that taxes on their earnings or their wealth should not apply to them.

In fact, no laws should apply to them at all. The way they see it, the honor system is good enough for Financial Wizards and the “free market”, the playground of Financial Wizards.

The rest of the population, those who work for a living, are considered to be “Losers” by the first group. As such, they should not only pay the entire tax burden of running the country, but they are fair game for the Financial Wizards who wish to steal what little money they have.

Businesses are now divided into the classical model, the “Solvent Business”, and the new “Mega-corporation”. Solvent Businesses should pay taxes just like working people. They are run by Losers. Solvent Businesses do not take risks, and it is risk-taking that catapults one to the level of Financial Wizard.

Mega-corporations are the natural habitat of Financial Wizards. Rules simply do not apply to them. Mega-corporations are the ones that fit the description of “too big to fail”, but basically the model they are run on is that they are “too complicated to understand”, except for Financial Wizards.

Without Mega-corporations, Financial Wizards would not exist. They have nothing to contribute to the Solvent Business model. Financial Wizards understand that the primary purpose of a Mega-corporation is not to remain solvent and to make money for its stockholders. The primary purpose is to funnel cash to Financial Wizards, whether or not the bottom line of the company can tolerate this.

It’s pretty simple. Two different groups of people who perceive two different realities. The problem is when realities clash. Obviously what we’re seeing right now is people on Wall Street and on CNBC, in the Treasury, the Fed, the Oval Office, and the halls of Congress scratching their heads, surprised to have found out that the majority of people do care and don’t think that there is no price too great to pay to keep the Financial Wizards on the case.

Financial Wizards are convinced they are under attack, and it is class warfare. After all, not only are they sure they deserve these things, but they are convinced it is not even a controversial concept. They see it as only right that incredible wealth should have been redistributed from the Losers to them during the past generation, as well as the money they stole fair and square from Losers who did not deserve to have it.

Class warfare it is. But the foot soldiers are the working poor, dittoheads attacking those who have just a little less than they do. They act on the behest of wannabe Financial Wizard suckups like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly. The dittoheads have no clue that they are pawns. a mere distraction, and they have played a major role in causing their own misery by supporting politicians who have sold their souls at the altar of Financial Worship. They have been told that Financial Wizards are really just people who worked really hard for their money and should be permitted to keep it. They do not realize that the people they are fighting for see them as no different from the people they scapegoat—losers and easy marks.

03.05.09

Video update day

Posted in Economics, Fox News, humor, video at 6:33 pm by angela

The fur is flying fast and hard. The Republican party is so busy parodying itself that they don’t seem to realize what an easy target they have made of themselves, and how hard the majority is laughing at them.

Let’s see what we have here:

First of all, the Rick Santelli thing. After Santelli, who poses as an analyst on CNBC but is actually just another greedy derivatives trader, decided to hold a rehearsed and scripted anti-homeowner rally on the trading floor, it turned out that the Republican party had orchestrated a series of “Tea Parties” for protesting against unfair taxes. They were poorly attended (50 here, a few hundred there). Watch some of their philosophers at work.

Birthers at a “Tea Party”

Jon Stewart eviscerating Santelli and CNBC

Surely everybody remembers how McCain’s backing out of his Letterman interview may have cost him the election. Well, Rick Santelli got cold feet after agreeing to go on The Daily Show, and don’t you know, finally somebody did some real research and showed America what CNBC is good for.

Steven Colbert on Glenn Beck’s Fox News War Room Part 1

Steven Colbert on Glenn Beck’s Fox News War Room Part 2

11.22.08

The new Ozymandias

Posted in Accountability, Bush legacy, Economics, Hypocrisy at 3:58 pm by angela

…or Ozymandias illustrated. Perfect.

Those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.


Link

11.16.08

Why they can’t just buy up the bad loans

Posted in Accountability, Economics at 2:25 pm by angela

They don’t exist.

Read about how all this came about:

The End

And then read the details behind credit swaps.

Credit swaps

It was all just an excuse to suck money out of the economy.

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