In the early 1980's tax laws made credit card
interest nondeductible, someone changed the name of home improvement
loans to home equity loans and people started borrowing (and spending)
on perceived home
President Clinton's initiatives to help poorer middle class families
own a home gave buyers, real state people and bankers a reason to push
sales and prices . Home equities began to rise and accelerated with the 2000 to 2006 housing boom.
Wall Street added a creative touch by packaging all this debt and using
Collateral Debt Obligation insurance so no one could lose. When the loan
packages began to go bad and the insurance was no good, Deep Do Do
resulted. The resulting debt and equity crashed of 2008 caused the US to
entered a BALANCE SHEET RECESSION similar to the 1930's.
We now have a safety net so selling Apples means selling phones
though underemployment is not pleasant.
This type of recession takes an average of seven years to gain back
lost jobs. That is 2015 and it looks like we are on schedule. People
saying it's different this time are ignorant or HAVE AN AGENDA.
October Story of the Month
Before the turn of the century companies discovered that a few
stars/geeks were responsible for company success and a systematic structural
change began that lowered the salaries of less productive often well
educated employees. The economic return from education began an
immediate drop which is worse than displayed here if median wages are
What I'm Thinking About
Story of the Month
As a Percentage of GDP, Profits Up, Wages Down
Editors Note: Except for Clinton presidency its been straight down hill
August 2013 Manufacturing Employment is Down
What I'm Thinking About
President Obama should announce a new foreign
policy toward proven criminal activities by foreign leaders was
instituted an hour ago when 40 drones/missiles hit targets where
President Assad and his chief
coconspiratormay have been sleeping. This is in
response to their use of gas against their own people and their
support of terrorist activities. This attack against government
officials is appropriate since 17% of the terrorists
attacks against the US have been against diplomats. This model was used by
Ronald Reagan in his 1986 attack on Libya's Gaddafi .
Random attacks continue until these war criminals
agrees to hand over Syria's government to a UN peacekeeping force or
they are dead. My only other activity related to solving
our Middle East problems has been the approval of the western US
pipeline and other activities to quicken the elimination of whatever
small dependency the US has on foreign oil. We welcome and will
consider joining proposals from the UN and countries surrounding the
Islamic Middle East such as France, Turkey, Israel and Russia in
relation to problems in Syria. It's really a regional problem but we
will help where we can.
A Tale of Two Tales.
In Northeastern Europe, Germany is getting tired of thel cost from
reunification with their eastern poor, mid 2000's economic
structural reform and bailing out Southern Europe where people
and politicians have taken advantage of local political systems for personal gain. In Spain, Catalan citizens
recently demonstrate for independence as paying taxes to help poor provinces
has become tiresome.
The US wealthy northeast and west continue in their
efforts to help the south and other areas with Obamacare plus
increased Medicaid benefits but our poor south doesn't want help.
They want guns, self determination when it comes to their poor while
they lobby to continue receiving much more money from Washington
then they send to Washington.
A look at 2010 Census and IRS data reveals that the 50 states and
the District of Columbia, on average, received $1.29 in federal
spending for every federal tax dollar they paid. That means that
some states are getting a lot more than they put in, and vice versa.
The states that contributed more in taxes than they got back in
spending were more likely to have voted for Obama in 2008 and were
more likely to be urban while rural southern states were most likely
on the receiving end. No wonder they are so hospitable! Like in Germany. the US northeast
and west have the wealth which is redistributed to the south but the
US south will take only what they want!. Source
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention annual survey
issued for 2012 reports at least 30 percent of adults were obese in 13 states: Alabama,
Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi,
Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. In 2011, a
dozen states reached that threshold. This is the US South that votes
against fixing anything their Founding Fathers were writings about 350
years ago and who also felt only
white male landowners (the wealth) should vote.
One hundred quantitative economist were asked to go into room 1 if
the were Keynesian and room two 2 if they were Monetarists. About fifty
went into each room. Asked to analyze the same data set, the Keynesian
said "see I told you government spending works" and the Monetarist said
"see I told you government spending doesn't work." I think the
data had to do with QE2, or was it education, or health care, or was it...
novelty now but the wait for drinks is headed down and robot bar tenders
don't eat, give stuff to their friends unless programmed to do so, keep
server happy by not sharing tips!
June of 2013 News
Bill Gates is not on his 1.4 billion dollar yacht or convincing people
like Charlie Rose on his TV show that Uncle Bill is the greatest humanitarian of
all time, he is trying to create an oversupply of STEM workers by
pushing bill S744 to insure his company MS pays the lowest possible
wages for said STEM workers.
all the millennia before this in human history,” Coburn says, “it was
all about tuberculosis and diarrheal diseases and all the other
infectious disease. The idea that anybody lived long enough to be
confronting chronic diseases is a new invention. Average life expectancy
was 45 years old at the turn of the century. You didn’t have
85-year-olds with chronic diseases."
Editors Note: The next time someone talks about the good old days
suggest they go back to the 1950's when kids got measles, mumps, chicken
pox and cavities by the hundreds. I hated the low speed drill used by my
dentist who never used shots to kill the pain. My neighbor Eddie got
polio at 13 years of age.
Brilliant.org runs a weekly
math contest to find the brightest young people from around the
world. So far, 70,000 people from 155 countries have taken part.
The contest to date has found nine really bright kids.
In a similar vein, a number of startups use the Internet to
organize groups to solve really difficult science/mathematics problems.
Participants agree ahead of time to share profits with those running the
contest. This means the natural sciences will make even greater contributions to
Not to be left out, the social sciences and education are
spending many hours trying to get Race to the Top (Flop) federal educational
Delaware won $100,000,000 Federal Education Improvement Grant and is very proud that
1) No measurable change but it is early I agree it's
early but none, zero?
2) Instituted an elaborate expensive to spend the
grant computerized system to measure outcomes/teacher effectiveness.
What will principles do now that there most important
function is done by machine?
3) An elaborate recurring five hour
session of teacher peer assistance has been instituted.
You get what you pay for doesn't apply. There were a lot of really good
women teacher years ago but now they are lawyers, business women, and
scientists. Rather than pay they get Psychic income. I heard this on Bloomberg's
weekly education show and can't remember how often this takes place
4) A 16 school(?) pilot programming immersing primary school
students in either Spanish or Chinese has been institute,
Fine but what did they eliminate from the curriculum because the brain and
student willingness is fixed over extended period? That's why programs that
measured well but eventially accomplish little academic improvement. Is it
voluntary magnet program or did they just choose districts? Are all students,
not just those with gifted language skills, required to be in the program. If
its required by all students, the collateral damage will be immense.
My sixteen word Race to the Top proposal for
Year-round half-day calendar with creative optional use of the other half of the
Substantial cost savings and grant money to be invested in prenatal care.
Educating the Class of 2030
"The fight over expanding Medicaid has gotten ugly, and the
latest state to grab the spotlight is Mississippi, where a
standoff in the legislature is pushing the state toward a
cliff. Without a last-minute agreement, Medicaid may cease
altogether there on July 1.
Most people think it won’t come to that, but given the
unpredictable nature of the fight over Obamacare, advocates
and hospitals there are growing understandably concerned.
Some 700,000 people are on the Medicaid rolls in
Mississippi, and the program represents about 16 percent
of the state’s hospital revenue." ...
Republicans will not permit a debate on expanding
Medicaid under the health law, which would add 300,000
people to the Medicaid rolls (43%). They have said they
will not reauthorize the program without such a debate.
Note: The strong economic period from 1985 to 2007 made many well
intentioned commentators to young an unprepared to analyze the current period.
I'm thinking of people like avid Brooks and Charlie Rose. They are not 95ers,
like Rush Limbo and Racial Maddow who say only things their audience wants to
hear, things that are often negative about the other side.
Many of these people are from poor rural southern states where many do not
have insurance but they have an issue that is so important they give up economic gain.
1) Anti abortionist
2) NRA advocates
3) Rural limited government advocates want a sedimentary life
4) Working poor, usually not insured, need to dislike the lowlifes below them
that are gaming the system by being on welfare.
These people don't
want a handout until they or someone they know gets sick and then they game the
system. Those at the top are so far away that these working poor do not mind
that the upper middle class and rich game the system the most!
5. People who need to feel good about what they have
accomplished by despising those on the bottom. Some climbed the latter, others
work for daddy ...
Southern European states-- Italy, Greece, Portages, and Spain
insist on voting their pocketbook to the detriment of society and rich
states--Germany and other northern states do want to pay the bill. In the
US, southern states not only do not vote their pocketbook they refuse help like
Obamacare coming from the north. US south easily defeats the European south in
the economically stupid war!
Many poor people don't collect
Social Security because the dieand while science will keep even poor people alive longer, their
debilitating diseases will make them miserable.
February 2013 News for
My Bucket Trip to the Capital One Football Bowl Game revealed:
1) They sell beer.
2) Biggest possibility for graft a corruption was the security subcontractor
who brought people by bus to the game from near by hotels, collected
tickets, were everywhere including the many who showed people to their seat in the
easiest stadium to find your seat I've ever been in.
Homeland security decided searching each person wasn't necessary
except that they were looking for
some guy named George Orwell who in the name of national security so
they can "keep you safe," must be captured dead or alive.
4) The high school cheer leaders who perform for free are the team
winners from summer camps and whose parents get to pay for a four-day
stay at Disney World.
5) In one Florida town the parent of a cheerleaders pays a $400 for
6) A church group volunteered clean up the seldom used stadium.
7) After the game the police, working OT, did a great job helping me
find my car.
The people watching a parking lot near my lot had no interest in
seeing that what happened to me, taking about an hour to find my car,
did not happen to those using their lot next year.
News for Understanding/Decision Making
Investing in Education
Too Many Lawyers
1/18/13 issue of The Week magazine reports that the BLS estimates that
through 2020, the annual new job demand for lawyers will average 21,880
while the supply will be 44,000. The over supply of bachelors will be
much larger but not as a percentage. They will end up working for
pedestrian wages at state run
health care exchanges. Lawyers have been in oversupply for many years
and the median earnings have been below most advanced degree holders.
What I'm thinking about.
Paranoia caused by media attention from the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy
is driving me crazy. Our children are safer than ever before. Does
anyone want to go back to the 1950 when my parents had to worry about polio, measles, mumps, chicken
pox, and whooping cough. The country was half its current size and
Interstate Highways and living in the suburbs was in the future yet we
managed to accumulate 50,000 auto deaths per year due to unsafe
cars with no seatbelts of any kind? What about bike helmets?
Yes we have people who have problems that result in their using
firearms to destroy lives. Changing these
people will take a long time as we know that people have
changed little since Cain killed Able. Was Cain a banker, a
neoconservative or just having a difficult life?
We could get rid of guns but member of the NRA are not willing to
make the sacrifice of their individual freedoms to benefit the country.
They seem to think that because it is not the complete solution, it
should not be part of a solution.
Media is about viewers generating advertising
dollars. Our country is so large that a relatively small group allows
Fox and CNN to be very wealth serving a very small audience. CNN just
began 11 hours of tomorrow’s inauguration. A few weeks ago they ran four
straight days of Newtown grief pornography. It makes money! Fine. Get
upset if you must, but don't become paranoid. Fulfilling the predictions
of 1984 makes a lot of people money, its ruining lives, it must be
In the U.S. people not only insist meat handlers use gloves, they want
them changing gloves when changing foods! At Wal-Mart shoppers are
using hand wipes to clean their hands on the way in. Why on the way in?.
Did you have dirty hands? Why not on the way out since my guess is
Wal-Mart has a germ problem and put the hand wipes where people will was
their hands on the way in. Problem is the people with germy hands are
not the type to clean them before entering Wal-Mart. I'm not immune but
I do use the handy wipes on the way out!
The Economist Magazine 2/16/13 p65
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) findings that 4%
of the methane produced at a field near Denver was escaping into the
atmosphere. A Utah study that suggested an even higher rate of methane
emissions—9% of the total production. NOAA describes methane as 25 times
more potent of a greenhouse gas than CO2. The percentage of methane
leaked is key to determining whether switching to natural gas from
coal-fired generators has a climate benefit; it must be less than 3.2%
for that to be the case, he writes. The Obama administration has
embraced Fracking as part of its "all-of-the-above" energy strategy. Editors Note; With livestock being a much an important
source of methane and
almost no chance of decreasing it's rate of increase in the U.S. and the
developing world, lowering global warming through other adjustments will
be unproductive. Fourteen percent of our Green House Gas comes from live stock.
Said gas is expected to increase by 60% by 2050. Chance of slowing it
down, zero until the next big flood; Noah, are you building a boat?
I betting on a terra forming solution.
Earth Warming Slows down A
University of Colorado Boulder dtram looking for clues about why Earth
did not warm as much as scientists expected between 2000 and 2010 India
and China that are estimated to have increased sulfur dioxide emissions
by about 60% from 2000 to 2010 through coal burning as small amounts of
sulfur dioxide emissions from Earth’s surface rise 12 to 20 miles into
the the atmosphere, where chemical reactions create sulfuric acid and
water particles that reflect sunlight back to space, cooling the planet
have counterbalanced as much as 25% of the warming scientists blame on
human greenhouse gas emissions.
Windows 8 is designed to function with mobile,
touch-screen communication devises,
it is not really good for a stationary lap top.
Why buy insurance, point, line, and trend
people vs. analysts. Most people think today, the past and future are not
part of their decision process. Why buy insurance, I'm not sick at thids
point in time.
Some bring in the past.
I'm not sick, they, (the hospital, not the government) took care of me
in the past when I was sick, why buy insurance?
Some people bring in the future by extending the past with a straight
I'm not sick, "they helped me before and will help me again. Why
Analysts ask questions.
What do my genes indicate about my future health needs?
Do these need indicate early detection could mean better health?
Will my closest emergency room be closed, as
many have been, as hospitals cut cost?
Are people on this welfare medical system treated as well as those with
Editors note: Thoughts arose as I listened to ESPN radio
commentators discusses whether Rex Ryan should be fired. No analysis,
mainly a line looking back with a little, straight line look into the
The fight over Right-to Work laws in Michigan means that some
people want a job so badly that they are willing to ignore our
income distribution problem which will take care of itself, though at a
slower rate than some would like.
GDP per person has gone up forever.
Business owners have tried to maximize their share forever.
Workers began fighting for more about125 years ago, and were successful.
Non-union workers also benefited from these union activities.
After WWII, the U.S. the destruction of our competition gave us an
advantage. Owners and many workers benefited.
Then competition arrived from Germany, Japan, South Korea, ...
and again there was a fight for share.
Now with the recession a lot of people are rightfully scared.
When this recession is over, as in the past, change will come.
Health care will cease to be a problem as some way will be found to
make sure everyone has it.
In many industries, the workweek will drop by at least 4-5 hours with
workers pay staying the same for a while before it begins to increase.
It has already happened Germany where rather than law people off, some
workers work (+ or-) 15% less for 10% less pay. Pay will be returned as
they increase per-person GDP.
Products will continue to get better. I'm big into big screen TV's, love
Blue Ray disks, and can't wait for 4K.
It will take much last time than the last 75 year adjustment. It ended
with the great depression and lasted ten years WWII was a big price to
pay, but it began the 40 years of good times.
It will not be easy, but try to be understanding. Please remember,
psychologist agree that losing one's job is the second most trying
experience one can endure. Those poor people in Connecticut are going
through number one.
Stories of the MonthOctober
Editors Note: Since 1990, transfer payments, tax credits, etc.
helped the poor. The return of the stock market since 2009, (not shown)
has the top 1% flying high again.
Editors Note: This is the same country that tried to kill a young
girl for wanting to go to school. Maybe we should just leave, period.
Special Election Data
No matter who is elected, slow
growth means this stuff goes!
Bush tax cuts through 2020: $3.5 trillion.*
Income tax cut < $250,000 $1,184 billion
Income tax > $250,000 a year or more: $700 billion37% 100%
Alternative minimum tax change: $584 billion**
Marriage tax relief: $360 billion
Child $1,000 tax credit: $359 billion
Capital-gains and dividend tax cuts: $238 billion
Other: $71 billion
* This analysis excludes the estate
and gift tax cuts. ** Without this patch, the AMT would
snatch back the Bush cuts from many higher-income taxpayers
Data: Joint Committee on Taxation, Treasury Dept. and Bloomberg
1) Debt will continue to come under scrutiny with the cost of
Obama Care added to private and public underfunded pensions, social
security, and big time military spending. Here is some data and my two
cents printed in red. The
Big Secret Behind U.S. Federal Debt
2) Health Care will be a main topic of election discussions as voters choose
between the president and state officials who have budget problems and need
decide on accepting the cost of Obamacare's expanded Medicaid program. Here is some data,
comments from mainstream media and comments in red from yours truly,
Who Will Solve These Health Care Problems
Health Care Cost are Increasing
Cutting Health Care Cost
Health Care Miscellaneous
3) Education in a Capitalistic
Democracy requires we look at U.S.
Education vs. Germany and Britain, Our Biggest Value Added
is a subject I became interested in when I
semi retired in 1989. It lead me
a way to improve education, keep valuable teachers, and lower cost.
Chart of the Month for
Real Per Capita DPI growth has been increasing at a decreasing rate since 1965.
Some think it is LBJ's Great Society, I think its
the world getting flatter and flatter. Note how our 20 year debt binge
cause the line to accelerate for a while, but, in the long run, society as
a whole can't get something
for nothing. But it can produce a lot of rich people to avoid taxes
and give up their citizenship.
I'd make them leave the country, and charge them in the many millions or
special health care.
Chart of the Month 2012
What I'm Thinking About
Medium Size Business, with sales between 10 million and a
billion added 2.2 million jobs last year while large business lost 3.7
million. Heaven forbid if they and small business lower employment
because of Obama Care. Small business because its an added expense
they can't afford, medium sized because it is more expensive than there
current plans. Capitalism is under attack
because Europe's high welfare, slow growth system is falling apart,
the U.S.'s high growth, high individual freedom, hodgepodge welfare system
faces huge future pension/health care liquidly cash outflows, and China's
totalitarian capitalism appears to be more corrupt and less capitalistic
than believed. The history of economic growth shows long periods of slow
and fast growth. The current slow period will end like other balance sheet
recessions (big drop in assets results it the need to pay off huge
liability balances), after an average of seven years. The rate of recovery
will be high if some new product makes investment so profitable that many
worker are higher with good wages for a long period. Fracking for natural
gas and conversion to this cheaper power source comes to mind as does 3-D
printing. Both should insure our lead in manufacturing continues. But
whatever it is, when it comes, we will forget the Great Recession and be
able to afford Obama Care. Will Germany pay again? Since the fall of the wall in 1989, West Germany has invested about
$1.9 trillion (reuters.com.)
to modernize the east with taxpayers paying the bill with a 5.5% surtax on
income tax owed by individuals and companies. After a decade of
economic growth, stagnation resulted so in 2004, then Prime Minister Schroeder
took on the unions and many in his own party by trying to limit
unemployment benefits, rein in pensions, and reform of the labor market.
It worked, the economy became the strongest in Europe, but he was not
reelected. Now Greece wants to extend the terms of her bailout and not go
through what Germany put herself through about a decade ago. Greece wants
to delay laying off 150,000 government workers, lowering the minimum wage,
and other changes to make her more competitive. Germans are being asked to
pay. Our Tea Party doesn't want to pay for what the government gives them,
imagine a tax increase to pay for foreign aid! Learned Something 6/22/12
Bloomberg economist Joe Brusuelas reported that $500
billion of QE2 credit expansion ended up as excess reserves in the banking system and most
of the remaining $100 billion was borrowed by people with really high
credit to invest in commodities and big ticket luxury goods. Their demand
for resources pushed up oil prices so he feels the middle class again
helped the rich.
Monetarists worry that the excess reserve will lead to inflation.
Having seen Volker ring excess reserves out of the economy in the early
80's. that doesn't worry me ( it probably should since 'm 100% into fixed
stuff plus SS and Medicare. I put a lot of $ into all three investments so
...) Volker may have caused a second dip back then but I am more
concerned about the extra 5 million unemployed workers still in our
first dip. Monetarists are like Alpha male Puritans from Sparta, if it
doesn't cause pain, it won't work. Of course, we all know that like Libertarians,
Monetarist believe government can solve all problems. A Different Country Since 1983, the percent of 19-year-olds with a driving license dropped
from 87% to70% and in the last five years, car sale to those to 18 to 34
year of age dropped from 16.5 percent of the population to 11.5% of the
population. Auto Week 9/17/12 This plus the fact that job instability caused
by our "Flat World" makes home ownership more of a risky
investment will lead to a more urban population. Corporate Welfare Queens who lease 80 million acres of energy land
and received gift "swaths of the digital spectrum" on the cheap and
bother me more than Welfare Queens, who even if some are not deserving, lead a poor lifestyle.
James Surowiecki NYT. The Week 10/19/12
Am I Me
Like many, I wonder why I live in my head rather than someone else's
head. Of 6 or 7 billion people, why am I me? Looking very similar to
my older brother, I figured that was genetic. Having my younger sister's
personality, I figured it was nurture. You know, the Pavlov's dog part of
our being. Now it turns out that that too was genes! If that's the case, there had
better be a page two or the entire experience has been a pain in the pooper!
June Chart of the Month of 2012
Chart of the Month, May
Keynesians 1, Austrians (i.e.
Editors Notes: What happens to growth and inflation will determine the winner.
What I'm Thinking About
Job situation worse than I thought I've known for a few years that our
"flat" competitive world with few union jobs means a
substantial decrease in the percentage of high paying jobs available to H,
S. and college graduates. Now, two new factors have made the situation
worse. First, higher paying STEM jobs, which require highly motivated
academically oriented graduates who are in short supply, are facing more competition from
Internet outsourcing. Second, the half life of computer engineers is becoming
shorter as salaries max out at 35, and most are out of the field
at forty as experience high salary
programmers find it difficult to learn new computer languages and compete with
recent college graduates and visa caring programmers.
Within a year, economic
cycle questions will be answer. Europeans are getting tired
of German imposed austerity and may elect leaders who won't combine short term economic stimulus with long term structural labor reforms and
social welfare reforms. The U.S. has gambled that increasing federal deficits and the
resulting growth will continue until some economic stimulus replaces debt as the driver of economic growth. She
too needs to balance short term growth needs with long term structural reforms. Economic cycle expert, who ten years ago began predicting that twenty years of excess debt driven economic development may take more
than the seven year average for this type of recession. Recommendation: combine (1) a two year increasing in the debt
ceiling and (2) a continuation of the Bush
tax cuts with (3) fixing social security. You must choose three!
Obama Care adjustments may be needed.
If in the expansion is continuing for two years, do it again, this time
Genetic adjustment to misquotes may severely
limit their ability to cause malaria. When conservatives read this or hear
the ads of the young children with asthma wheeze, don't they feel a little
guilty for slowing down advancements from genetic medicine.
Louisiana voting for Santorum
is like Afghanistan asking U.S. to leave. Both are proud people who don't feel the
perceived gains a foreign authority say will follow are worth the
impositions and conditions imposed by said authority.
With Florida trying to limit the right to vote,
I checked it out at infoplease.com/timelines/voting
As of 2/16/13 Europe was still in recession. The Economist Magazine
Germany adjusted early when world growth was high, Spain is going
through the pain, France and Italy and France are delaying the
Score Update 2-0
as voters in the Ireland, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and maybe
France if they vote down German demanded austerity on May 6, 2012
election. They did so we will see.
August 18, 2012 U.S. real growth continues, though
German growth is about zero, everyone else is negative.
U.S. as a safe place to store wealth is keeping
interest rates low and politicians may not act until there is "blood
in the streets"
economist magazine 8/18/12 p. 47
4/3/13 WSJ Real Time Economics
The End of Our Debt
Cycle Deleveraging is much more difficult
than managing a business cycle. It requires a "combination of debt
restructuring and write-offs, austerity, wealth transfer from the rich to
the poor, and money printing." Done with balance, GDP can grow slightly more than nominal interest rates.
The first and last requirements have been done by Bernanke, the states are
doing some austerity, and President Obama
is trying to going after the
rich. Europe is concentrating on austerity with some printing of money by
the ECB to solve liquidity problems. Sovereign debt solvency will hurt
bank solvency until there is a political solution.
My guess is some gives backs by government union workers will be required
with changes to entitlements limited to those under sixty and delays in
the implementation of Obama care. Adopted from
Dalio: Man and machine | The Economist.
Editors Note: State pensions are also high for those at the top
with 12,199 retired California government workers
receive pensions in excess of $100,00 and the top 10 receiving
Read more at .businessinsider.
Health Care Expenses
Health and dental care are still a pain in the pooper. Retiring at 57, they cost me
close to $50,000 for single coverage over four plus years. Now 68, I'm on Medicare. Its
annual cost is about $2,600 and a supplement is another $3,000. Plus
Medicare Plan D cost another $40/month. I had company sponsored government
subsidized health and dental insurance since I was 22. In addition my
employer and I paid into Medicare. It is scary how much employers and I
paid for health insurance over the 35 years I worked. I'm still paying and
those who think of my benefits as an entitlement are ill informed..
Of course, the system is not set up for
singles like myself. Married people with children and
the poor receive a much more of a benefits relative to their payments. Now gays want equal rights for federal tax purposes. I wouldn't
mind if they made the marriage tax benefits dependent on being financially
responsible for children Heterosexuals without children would lose the
benefit until they had or adopted children. Gays, to receive the benefit,
have to adopt American children. Always wonder what black Americans
thought when they see white Americans adopting Asian children?
Went for my
Sunday Ride Around rural, central Florida
Stopped by one of the many boat raps in rural Florida and found about
ten older trailers and trucks. Nice to see the average Joe enjoying
their day off. Visited one of our many county parks where electricity,
water, bathroom facilities and playgrounds are provided. Found
groups of four or five families with many children enjoying the day.
Many said "God Bless You" which reminded me this was the bible
belt. Stopped to grocery shop and saw a pickup with both regular hay and
really green hay. Turns out the green stuff was alfalfa the women
used to feed the horses she boarded.. She liked the tax advantage her
little farm received and felt "farmers must be protected."
Turns out her husband had a job that paid the families health insurance
and like many rural Floridians, she would vote Republican to keep
government out of her life. Driving home I wonder what uninsured
boaters and picnicking people would do if someone broke arm or leg. My
guess is they would go to the emergency room of the local hospital for
free treatment and like my farmer friend, vote republican to keep
government out of their lives.
March of 2012 Story of the month
Yuan Exchange rate China is Doing Her Part with a lower
President Obama's fifty person committee to duplicate the work of existing
investigators seems a little political, especially since China can't appreciate
her currency too fast or growth will be hurt and peasants flooding the
cities will revolt.
As a Result
Her surplus is Going
the Trends Going
February of 2012 Story of
Recent Debt Accumulation by
Editors note: By comparison, US total debt is low. Most of it was
piled up by households, businesses, and financial institutions with
government debt, state and local, fairly level. Since 2008,
all U.S. debt is down except the Federal Government, which is borrowing to
maintain entitlement and military spending and it is giving the states
money to forgo layoffs. U.S. consumer debt is down because people are
walking away from underwater real estate. See The
Economist and The Debt Issue
America is currently paying less on an annual basis to finance its debt
than it was paying in the '90s.
January of 2012 Story of the Month
Editors Note: I
don't think of SS and Medicare as entitlements or transfer payments. I
started paying into SS at 16, paid in the max for all of the 25 years they
count and at 68, I'm still paying in. I realize both are progressive and single
guys like me who stayed healthy and paid in the maximum gets less of a return
on investment than average earners and family people. No big deal. I got a
few tax benefits. But it is not a transfer payment or entitlement program,
its a return on a retirement/health policy investment. I was
fortunate to have company paid health care but Medicare and a supplemental
program cost about
What U.S. politicians know
The Germany government spent $1.9 trillion modernizing East Germany.
It caused high unemployment and slow growth which continued into 2003.
Social Democrat Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who turned the
around by fighting unions and many in his own party to limit
benefits, rein in pensions, and reform of the labor market, was not
in 2005. From The
German Economic Colossus Issue 1/20/12 of The Week Magazine.
that caught my eye. Updated continually
1) Revenue earned by M. Jackson
estate over 18 months. $310,000,000.
2) 51,000 science and math Geeks from 186 countries signed up for a $1,000,000 contest to solve a high-tech problem to
A company called Gaggle, now
quickly formed to solve other difficult problems to increase productivity
around the world. As a result,
Our macro lives, living longer, healthier lives will be much better but
poor distribution will limit our
micro lives, our salary from the added profits from productivity gains
which go to a very few highly
3) Paralegals looking for information and journeyman sportswriters
can't keep up with software.
4) China has institutional beds for only 1.6% of her over 60
to 8% for the developed world and unlike Japan who also has an older
China will get old before she gets rich.
5) Tiger's X wife Ekin Nordegren has razed her recently purchased $12.2
North Beach House to build a more roomer palace. Tiger is living nearby
Island in a 9,727 sq. ft. home.
6) Total Apple iPad production costs of $275 get charged to our imports
China when only $10 is actual work (assembly) performed in China. Profit
Looks like we trade balance with China may be a little overstated. http://www.pcic.merage.uci.edu/
7) Top 70 Chinese legislators added $11.5
billion during 2011 or about $140 million per person.
The 536 U.S. Congress members, President Obama, his cabinet, and the Supreme
others of the t op 660 in U.S. officials increases $7.5 billion, a
little over $10 million per person.
Our top 70 ?.
8) Strict Gun Control laws in NYC have resulted in a suicide rate of
about half the national average
with 12% of the suicides caused by guns as compared to 51% nationally.
9) Driving slow in the city can save 6 MPG over EPA estimates and 14 MPG
highway (55 vs. 70)
using a 2012 Ford Focus SFE, see 4/12 of Popular Mechanics.
10) PepsiCo, which spent $17 million to stop thirty states from passing
soda taxes to pay for
health care reform, is trying to charge a $50 per month fee to employees
related to smoking
and obesity. Problem is that modern medicine will keep unhealthy people
alive, but their quality of
life will be poor and they will cost Medicare a fortune. No one in
America wants to sacrifice so
watching the healthy fight the unhealthy will be interesting.
11. Student loans and employment insecurity will slow housing growth for
at least a decade.
12) Most of the ten largest
occupations were relatively low paying, with only registered nurses,
with an annual mean wage of $69,110, having an average wage above the
U.S. all occupations
mean of $21.74 per hour or $45,230 annually. Annual mean wages for the
rest of the 10 largest occupations ranged from $18,790 for combined food
preparation and serving workers to $33,120
for customer service representatives
13. German police fired 845 bullets in all of 2011, NYC police fired 84
shots at one suspect in
April of 3012. Looks like Germany wins?
14. A record 6 federal fisheries returned to health last year bringing the
total to 86 percent.
One point five million are employed in this $183 billion dollar
industry. Rebuilding the remaining 46
means $31 billion and 1/2 million jobs.
15. New accounting rules lowered the 2010 assets of public pensions funds
to 76 percent to 57%..
16. Only 55% of the 2011 law school graduates found full time
employment requiring a law degree
within nine months of graduation.
17. A 2001 study in five states found that medical
debt contributed to 46.2% of all
bankruptcies and in 2007, 62.1% of filers for bankruptcies claimed
high medical expenses. 18. Over a ten year period ending in earl 2012, the Federal Reserve has
increase its duration of Treasury holding so that those lasting one or
more years went from 0.04 to 0.475. With operation twist extended
end of he year, the duration will continue to rise making future
interest payments smaller.
Some might think he is following in Alan's
footsteps by doing whatever it take to be reappointed.
20. The 2009 CARD Act, passed at the height of credit card defaults has
work very well with May defaults
of $ 276 million down to 2006 levels. The peak was $821 million.
Bloomberg Businessweek 7/30/12
21. In 2009, 630 cyclist died and 51,000 were injured. Makes concussions
in football look insignificant. 22 The Great Indian blackout could lead to a quick fix that ignore
23. Despite losing 716,000 jobs since 2008, state and local governments
still have 7.3 percent more workers than in 2000.- NY Post from The Week
24. From the shale fields of Texas and Wyoming to the Marcellus in the
northeast, the U.S. Department of Energy contributed more than $100
million in direct federal research to help develop fracking, and
Congress added $10 billion in tax breaks. Now, some of the biggest
supporters of shale gas say the government should continue to back
renewable energy research - for decades, if need be - to deliver future
breakthroughs in that field. (AP) 25. Baxter, an inexpensive flexible robot some think will be to robotic
manufacturing, what the PC was to computing, goes on sates 10/12. This
along with inexpensive energy because of fracking, is why the U.S.
will continue to be he largest manufacturer in the world! 26. The WSJ reports that the Consumer Protection Agency already has
almost 1,000 employees, over 60% make over $100,000 PER YEAR AND FIVE
PERCENT MAKE OVER $200.000 PER YEAR. 27. Between the 1980's and 2012, the number of Irish men enrolled in
seminary dropped from more than 150 per year to only 16 in 2012. BBC as
reported in The Week.
28. Two-thirds of 53 women who died between ages 32 and 101 had male DNA
which researches believed migrated from the male fetuses the women
carried. The were less likely to develop Alzheimer's so it must of
migrated to the brain. The women's eggs?. 29. Researchers estimate that 60% of our social mobility is determine by
conception and the speed of social mobility has not changed since the
Middle Ages. The Week Magazine 11/2/12, p23
30. Mostly because of Republican controlled legislatures using
redistricting, Republicans control the house, 233 to 195. In Penn. won 5
of 18 went though they won the popular vote by 70,000. from Philadelphia
and The Week Magazine of 11/23/12, p 14
31. Since 2000, the number of U.S. 5 largest cities that do not allow
smoking in bars, restaurants, and the workplace has increased from one to
fifty. The Week, 11/3/12
32. Court battles in California will determine if public employee unions
can be forced to take haircuts in salaries and benefits or the entire
cost of austerity must be born by tax payers, bond holders, and other
creditors. Economist, 12/8/12, p31
33. Handsome people make 13% more than looks challenged and may have a
better chance of being hired during a recession. Smithsonian, 11/12, p18
34. German and Spanish wealth states are tiring of transferring wealth to
poorer states. The Economist 10/27/12
35. Paul Volker believes that Dodd/Frank's liquidation procedures for a
"too big to fail" bank may very well work, especially if work being done
in England to pass laws that would assist Federal Reserve liquidation
actions related to said bank's foreign subsidiaries. C-Span Book2,
36 "University" Degree is academic code for "Respectable" degree as most
college students do not do enough work or have the academic ability to
earn an "University" Degree.
37. The Atlantic reports that the real price of air
travel has halved since deregulation. 3/13
38. In early 2009 PO asked agencies to award fewer noncompetitive
"wasteful" contracts and by 2012 agencies had responded with an increase
of 8.9% increase with 87% of the $115 billion going to defense
contracts. Who gets the blame, PO, former Secretary of defense Panetta,
what government official lost their job? BW 3/25/13 p26
39. The federal government’s civilian workforce fell by just 2,000 in
March apart from almost 12,000 cuts at the
U.S. Postal Service, which of
course has a different set of problems. (Total federal civilian
employment is still around 2.8 million.) State-government jobs
rose by 9,000 to 5.1 million, the second straight monthly
increase. Local-government employment dipped by just 2,000 jobs,
sitting around 14 million WSJ blog 4/2/13
so congress has two ways to be corrupt, take money and legal insider
41. Households with less than $13,000 take-home income spend an average
of $645 on lottery tickets. Salon.com
42. During FDR's 12 years there were 6 filibusters, two were to stop
anti-lynching laws, in the last six years there have been 170 by
Republicans to stop legislation & presidential nominees. reported in The
Week from Salon.com
43. Margin debt of $379.5 is just below the record of $381.4 set 7/07.
WSJ Weekend 5/11
44. Clint Eastwood married twice has fathered seven children by five
different women. The Economist
p 8, 5/10/13 Shirley Maclaine also
enjoyed men mentioning she once lost a filling during an intense
The Telegraph 5/12/13
45, Seventy of China's 200 prime time drams are about the 1937-45
Chinese=-Japanese war and many depict
Chinese heroes slaughtering Japanese solders from
OZ.com as printed in the 5/31/13 issue of The Week
46. Congratulations Michigan motor cycle riders. Not only did you gain
the freedom in 2012 of not having to
ware helmets, but you also enjoyed an increase in
fatalities of 18 percent: from 109 in 2011 to 129 and
insurance only increased from $5,400 to $7,257.
And think of the wonderful difficulties you cause the medics
who were required to service the crash and the
hospitals that were requires to fix those unlucky enough not
to die. And what about physical rehabilitation.
Stopping government interference in your lives was definitely
a good idea. Who needs government? Stupid is as
stupid does! The AP 6/1/13
47. Since 1950 average hours worked in the US dropped 200 hours,
com[atered to 991 in Germany, 684
in France, and 540 in UK. Tfrom he Atlantic as
reporter in 6/7 of The Week, p35.
48. Denmark very successful retraining the jobless program cost
spends about 4.4% of its GDP.
The most expensive labor-market policy in the
world, it and other welfare generosity means
she has Tax revenues of up to half of gross
domestic product, second only to Sweden. WSJ OL 3/21/06
49. More than 70 Argentinean soccer fans have been killed attending
games. 6/21/13 The Week Magazine 9 8
50. The world’s most powerful microscope, which resides in a specially
constructed room at the Univ. of Victoria,
has now been fully assembled
and tested, and has a lineup of scientists and businesses eager to use
increased what can be seem from 49-picometer to 35 picomete.
51. "Since the law was enacted, justifiable homicides in
Florida have risen from an annual average of 13.2
between 2001 and 2005 to an average of 42 between
2006 and 2012, including a record 66 in 2012, according
to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. FBI
data have shown similar increases in some states that
enacted similar laws, such as Texas, while others
haven't seen an uptick."
52 Amazon has managed to grow to its current level with
just about 89,000 employees, or almost exactly half
of TJX's workforce. To do that yet pull down 150% more
revenue makes Amazon about five times more
efficient than TJX, measured by retail sales
Virginia Class Submarine Type:
nuclear submarine Total Cost: $83.7 billion R&D: $7.2 billion > Procurement
Cost: $76.6 billion > Total Units: 30 Price per Unit: $2,552.6 million #3 on a list of big
budget defense items.
The Virginia Class submarines are arguably the most advanced nuclear
subs in the world.
The Virginia is 377
feet long and weighs 7,800 tons, or the equivalent of 821 school
The massive underwater craft is produced by General Dynamics
(NYSE; GD) Electric Boat
and Newport News Shat this figure has been building, which are the
only two shipyards capable of building nuclear
subs. The Virginias carry
different weapons, including Tomahawk Cruise Missiles, mines
torpedoes. While eight are currently in operation, the Department of
has 30 of these $2.5 billion subs budgeted. Read more: The
10 Most Expensive Weapons in the World - 24/7 Wall St. http://247wallst.com/2012/01/09/the-10-most-expensive-weapons-in-the-world/#ixzz1j0hkLMg
Free Internet Libraries
to improve grades
December of 2011 Story of the Month
November of 2011 Story of the Month
What I'm Thinking About
of the Banking Crisis
Nixon Shock takes
U.S. off the partial Gold Standard, inflation results,
and house prices
begin to dramatic rise.
1980's : Home Equity Loans/lines of credit replace Home Improvement
the bedrock of
America's retirement savings begins to
Accounting Standards Board
becomes hypersensitive to offending the
of big banking and big industry:
Debt Obligation invented
by City Group,
use short-term low
to buy longer term higher interest paying bundled
mortgages creating a substantial increase in
the funds available for
home mortgages. CDO are a type of derivative
derive their value form
the value of some underlying assets (mortgages).
Summers, and Geithner strongly recommend government takeovers
to solve the
emerging market banking
crisis. The feel bank
owners and managers and creditors should bare
the cost and taxpayers for
funding the takeovers, should get potential profits. Community
Reinvestment Act is used by the Clinton Administration to increase
opportunities for the poor.
Real estate and banking
this into subprime
Act, also known as the Financial Services Modernization Act
repealed the part
of the Glass-Steagall Act that had prohibited
a bank from offering a full range of
investment, commercial banking, and insurance services since its enactment in 1933.
Futures Modernization Actderegulates
derivates. Recommended to President Clinton by the
President's Working Group on Financial
Summers, Treasury, Alan Greenspan, Fed,
Arthur Levitt, SEC, William J.
Rainer,CFTC, these derivatives, especially the
credit default swaps, would be at the heart
of the financial
crisis of 2008 and the subsequent Great
Recession. 2003: Credit
Default Swaps, used to insure
CDO (derivative that bundled home
mortgages) were becoming a big
money maker on Wall Street. Anyone could buy them
for a small fraction of the derivatives face value because sellers
believed that a nationwide fall in house prices was not
By the end of 2007,
asset bundles insured for $62.2 trillion would fall by 2010 to
$26.3 trillion. 2008 3/14Bear
Stearns suffers as subprime mortgages begin to fail. It
out by the Federal Reserve
and investment banks.
9 /15 Lehman
Brothers is not bailed out and becomes the country's largest
bankruptcy at $600 billion in assets. Use of leverage
(borrowed money) caused large losses because the subprime
mortgage crisis made CDO
to be worth much less than their book
value. A panic
results as many
financial institutions were involved in the
subprime derivatives using
leverage and insurance from sellers of CDS which
couldn't pay due to small reserves. Rubin, Summers, and Geithner strongly
recommend a blank government check to solve
the U.S. banking
owners, creditors and managers feel no paid and get the potential
the world's 29th largest corporation in 2000 and a big one-sided player
in the CDS market (sold insurance but did
not cover themselves by buying insurance)
is bailed out by the Federal
Reserve for investments totaling $185 b
Debt did not cause the banking crisis.
Unethical, mainly Republican politicians, local bankers, financial
bankers, real estate people, and home buyers were the cause.
The economic slowdown was caused by over
building in housing and the lack of demand caused by many
people borrowing on home equity that went away Those two alone
have caused a typical financial balance sheet recession where it
takes seven years on average to recover the 7 million lost jobs.
The real problem is future entitlements
all governments have promised but pay for without a rapidly growing
economy-- remember, we never paid for WWII or any war, we just grow
our way out and beginning in 1980, used inflation. Both make the debt
go away as a percentage of GDP.
This real problem might cause a
society breakdown that could financially hurt people like myself.
I am dependent upon SS, Medicare, and a pile of retirement
money invested in corporate and government bonds plus a small pile of
cash. All four sources could lose out big time though if this
happens, the price of everything, including medical,
would really be low and the pile of money would be worth more.
I don't worry about these things as I
can't control them. What I can control is sitting on the 15,000
dollars I would use to buy a new car, living on just annuity interest
and SS and enjoying life by watching the process unfolds.
This possible real problem was predicted
by the book Generations.
A shorted follow-up book entitled The
Forth Turning, is available in paper and audio tapes. It takes
place over 15-20 years beginning in 2010. There is also a blog
that the author stopped
contributing to December of 2010.
October 2011 Story of the Month
Editors Note: The bulk of the product went to paying health
care and income to the top 1%.
For thirty years after WWII the U.S. had a competitive advantage,
demand grew very fast, profits for U.S. firms were abnormally high,
some of this excess was passed on to unionized workers and there was
spillover to the nonunion workers. Now world supply has grown so fast--
first Germany and Japan, then S. Korea, then China, India, Brazil, Mexico.
-- that profits quickly disappear unless a company becomes very cost
This meant fewer workers doing more work. This
productivity reached a peak kept profits high, but
productivity is now declining.
But the big problem is still a lack of demand. But, manufacturing and will never
like it did during the 30 years U.S. monopoly power. Technological
will result in high wages but competition in a flat world will limit the
magnitude of worker benefits. Technology will
make our "Macro-lives" longer and
more enjoyable but our "Micro lives" (wages and fringe benefits) will
downward), until we start to lower the work week as Germany is doing or there is
decrease in cost from very cheap energy or ...
Bus Book Summaries
Story of the Month September
Economist Edgar Feige estimated in 2009 that unreported economic activity
was costing the US government $600 billion in tax revenues, and the growth
in that number—from the Internal Revenue Service's 2001 estimate of $345
the growth of the informal economy.
the Trillion-Dollar Underground Economy Keeping Many Americans (Barely)
Afloat in Desperate Times Alternet
Editors Note: At an average of about 450 billion per
year it lost revenue, It looks like those steeling from us account to
about 4.5 trillion dollars.
I wonder how many of these people are Tea Party members?
Story of the Month September #2 Only
the most educated 3% saw wage gains between 2000 and 2010by
Kos Labor Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 12:31 PM PDT
Rising Value of a Science DegreeBut,
All Majors Are Not Created Equal
Story of the Month
Week of August 19-26
Business Book Summaries
Bus Book Summaries
Making Sure Obama is not Hoover
August of 2011
Cut Future Spending Now
1) Balance Social Security
A. lower the inflation adjustment to just cover
B. raise both the early and normal retirement age for
those under 50
2) Lower Medicare costs by raising the eligibility age to the normal
retirement SS age of those under 60.
3) Delay the expenditure side of Obama Care until unemployment is below
4) Extend the federal pay freeze until unemployment is below 7%
5) Freeze Federal government hiring and step increases until unemployment goes below 8%
6) Surtax of 5% to10% on taxable income over $1,000,000
7) Eliminate tax subsidies to farmers.
8) Tax away Social Security income for those with taxable income over
Allow Medicare to bargain with drug companies. Raising Future Taxes Later
1) Retain payroll tax holiday for employees only until unemployment goes
2) Retain the payroll tax cut on small business until they make a profit
3) Retain Bush Tax cut on those with taxable income over $500, 000 until
unemployment goes below 9%
4) Retain Bush Tax cut on those with taxable income over $250,000 until
unemployment goes below 8%
5) Retain Bush Tax cut for those with taxable income below $250,000
until unemployment goes below 7%
Lower Taxes Now
Eliminate Social Security taxes (Not Medicare) on the
owners (Not Employees) of new small businesses for two years then
permanently cut it by 50%.
There is no reason someone starting a small business should be required
to have for retirement. If successful, pay half since we don't know
And as a society, we can't just let them eat cake, which
is why we have Medicare and SS in the first place.
Increase Consumer Spending Now
1) Requiring banks to randomly select and securitize
5% of their delinquent loans every 3 month. Correct market price will
2) Requiring banks to refinance mortgages quickly with and
equity swap for collateralized bonds.
President Obama, like FDR, should keep Supreme Court
Increase Government Revenue Now
1) Replace our Democratic Capitalism with a
2) Create a Congressional
Information Office similar to the Congressional Budget office to supply legislative
information so congress and
the public do not have to rely on lobbyist
and think tanks for date used for analyzing information related to
Increase Government Revenue later.
Require banks to lower underwater mortgages
to collateral market value and government receives 50% share in equity
over eventual home sale profits.
Educate the Public
1) Calculate the Net Worth of the
Federal Government so people know the U.S. is not bankrupt
2) Explain why the Social Security will always be paid but probably with
dollars that are less valuable because of inflation
3) Explain how to lessen the hurt from inflation
4) Fix public education
A. Treat academic all stars like sports stars
B. Stress economic and personal skills
enhancement of those in the middle
C. Follow the lead of the cities like Baltimore in
keeping kids from dropping out
5) Create a Congressional
Information Office, similar to the Congressional Budget Office,
to provide unbiased information of the economic
affect/collateral damage of proposed legislation.
1) Combine the Departments of Defense
and Health/Human Services into a Department of Health and Safety
so their lobbyist must compete against each other for tax dollars that
2) Once in a while, the President should take 5 minutes to talk to
people in the Middle East during his weekly radio address to communicate
a special message on something we are doing to help them. Can't do it
too often or it won't be special. 09/26/12
Story of the Month
August of 2011 will
not be special.
August 1 Tradable
From 1990 to 2008... " the 27.3 million jobs added from this time period,
97.7% of them were non-tradable. What do the authors mean by tradable
jobs? Jobs that can be offshore outsourced." ... "As an
example, health care must be domestically sourced because sick people are
here. Computer architecture, on the other hand, can be offshore outsourced
and the results moved around the globe to a manufacturing center."
But foreigners are investing here.
investment inflows from foreign manufacturers hit about $91 billion last
year—the highest annual total since 2007. Among the attractions:
Proximity to the world’s richest consumer market and access to
America’s stock of skilled workers and low-cost energy.
THE NEXT ECONOMY from the
A series of articles about education and job creation
trends that will impact the next decade.
2020: Health Care Nation
Horsemen of the Job-Apocalypse
If Education Fails to Fix the Jobs Crisis?
Hallowing Out of America's Middle Class
Visit Our Learning
July 27, 2011 from Econmix of the NYT Where
the Job Growth Is: At the Low End A report finds that the jobs lost
in the recession were largely in the middle tier of wages, but most jobs
created in the recovery have been low-wage positions.
Bus Book Summaries
In 1950, the United States Steel Corporation employed 30,000 workers at
its plant in Gary, Ind. Today that factory employs only 5,000 workers. But
they produce more steel:
7.5 million tons a year now, compared with 6
million tons then.
factory age isn't over
From 2006 through 2010, Detroit automakers shed an astonishing 120,000
jobs, more than one-third their combined total...
...pay benefits and other costs from dropped from $75 to $49 an
hour for Chrysler $78 to $58 for Ford. Newly hired hourly workers are paid
$14 to $16 an hour, about half what veterans get and are locked into
less-generous benefits than veteran workers and they will become the
majority of hourly workers as others age and leave. usatoday
Been thinking that the potential taxpayers revolt is not about the
money but what is bought with the money. We ran up a much bigger debt paying for WWII and
got little since our battle against Fascism was replaced with a battle
Ask anyone angry about government spending to cut three of the
following areas. Social Security, Medicare or Defense. They have a
The big question is exactly how big is the divide between the
parties. The first big divide resulted in the Revolutionary War. The
second, the Civil War. Is this the third big divide?
In 2005 the median income for a family of four was
$67,000. June 21, 2011 Are
Taxes High or Low? A Further Look
some Bad News Today 6/17
For years I've been wondering if bad health habits of baby boomers was
good news because they would die early and lower SS and Medicare
spending or bad news because they would long, sickly, debilitating lives
with high Medicare cost. The Week reported that cholesterol-cutting
medicine and diabetes drugs are keeping obese people alive until their
early eighties and they cost and extra 42% annually to keep alive. Obesity
Not Aging Causing Ballooning Health Care Costs.
the payroll tax cut
A two year delay in the employer portion of payroll taxes for start-ups
and a delay in additional spending on Obama care until unemployment drops
below 7% would both be better than existing small business adding
employees than paying lower payroll taxes. Lack of demand and
uncertainty are why existing small business are not hiring.
Need a Private Tutor
Lost Decade? You Mean Another One?
Surveillance broadcasting from England taught me
1.With the Pound having less exorbitant
England had to tighten earlier than he U.S.
or pay really high
borrowing cost. Her political cycle
of the U.S. so
the Conservatives took over.
2. All economies can't tighten
at once or there would be
3. Developing world is doing
better than developed world.
Business is doing better than small business.
Europe's core is doing better than her periphery.
4. I didn't buy a new Infinite
G37 because Bernanke
the value of the dollar.
Question, will I buy a Cadillac CTS instead.
5. China doesn't have to
worry about political Courage.
6. Tom Keene thought Parliament
was less partisan.
May of 2011 Federal Spending in 2005 billions of dollars
Source [Excel 39k]
| [PDF 75k]
payments to individuals, grants to State and Local Governments,
Total in Constant
Billions of $
Bush I & Clinton
April, 2011 Are
State and Local Employees Paid too Much? from the NY
The Rise of the McWorker
The evidence points to the latter. According to a recent analysis
by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), the biggest growth in
private-sector job creation in the past year occurred in positions
in the low-wage retail, administrative, and food service sectors of
the economy. While 23% of the jobs lost in the Great Recession that
followed the economic meltdown of 2008 were “low-wage” (those
paying $9-$13 an hour), 49% of new jobs added in the sluggish
“recovery” are in those same low-wage industries. On the other
end of the spectrum, 40% of the jobs lost paid high wages ($19-$31
an hour), while a mere 14% of new jobs pay similarly high wages.
For more read Welcome
to the McJobs Recovery Andy Kroll, TomDispatch
Bus Book Summaries
February, 2011 Drought
in China adds pressure to world food prices source
Editors Note: For those who dislike the government's attempt
to help the poor I have good news. The median life expectancy of
fifty year-old poor people (those with annual income under
$25,000) is under 67 years of age so they will die before collecting
More Good News: The last ten years of these extended lives are
becoming very sickly, especially for the poor who tend to be less healthy.
So even though their low salaries meant somewhat of a free Medicare ride, they
will live in pain with much suffering.
"Live long and prosper"
Editors Note: Payroll taxes, our most regressive type of taxes, have gone up
while income taxes for all tax brackets have gone down. In spite
very high payroll taxes, politicians have bought the votes of the elderly by
over paying social security and Medicare benefits and pushing the
government an inflationary solution.
openleft.com Editors Note: The 1944 current after tax
income was 0.31 X 7.7 mil or about 2.4 mill, the latest CEO estimate is
0.759 x 24.3 mill or about 18.4 mill, almost nine times for the same
Editors Note: In 1984 the average U.S. Household spent 16.8% on
food, in 2011, 11.2%, a decrease of 5.6%. Business Week, 3/4/13.
So what we have to do, eat and pay taxes went down! Is it me, or
are the complainers a little on the greedy side! This story is
copied from Jan. of 2011
Cutting Military Bases and other costs 2/8/12 Rather
than asking congress for more money for Alzheimer's research, President Obama
ask that half the savings from closing military basis be used to finance said
research. It is about time
he educate people on the opportunity cost of military spending.
Now that ewe got Bin
Laden, The War is Over 5/1/11 Presidents Obama and President Bush should have a
fireside chat with the American people. From the Oval Office
our current president would thank his predecessor for having the foresight and gumption
to make sure Bin Laden
was not able to manage a world wide organized terrorist movement. Al Qaeda
has been dispersed to many parts
of the world and their leader is dead. President Bush should thank President
Obama for continuing the fight,
thank the American people for making the financial and personal sacrifice
needed to continue an unpleasant task,
and thank American soldiers and law enforcement officials for making us
safer. Both men should warn that as it was before 9/11,
terrorist groups of all types from many cultures will attack cultures that
differ. But the war is over! We can now direct
our maximum attention to making sure terrorist do not get a nuclear bomb, a
difficult but less demanding task.
Both men should agree that we are not now , and must protect against
creating, the Orwellian world of 1984.
The US rank of 11th in math is misleading. At the top are Hong Kong,
Singapore, and Chinese Taipei, three cities whose populations are far from representative
of their entire population. Japan, #4, is an economic and cultural basket
case. The next four have a median score of 543 and include England at 541.
USA Today"s next grouping of five countries at have a median score of
529 which is the U.S. score. Germany, our main competitor for values added
exports scored 525. Australia led the next grouping at 316. Those who
believe the education lobby should know the U.S. never led the world in
Teaching accounting, economics and statistics for a number of averages to
below average New England colleges from 1966 to 2002 has led me to believe
that academic and nonacademic abilities are normally distributed. You can't
double the number of talented graduates by doubling the number of graduates.
Students enter college with given level of ability. College change this
somewhat for STEM and mathematics related business majors because graduating
means a lot of work but in other areas of business there is little talent
change over the college time span.
Liberal arts students who can’t find a job complain that they learned
critical thinking skills. About what? Forty years ago an English major
could get a programmer job because writing skills and programming skills are
similar. Today there are STEM graduates from around the world wanting that
A Flat World, robots, better computers, cloud based employee data base
employment companies and the realization by companies that only their top
contributors are worth paying higher salaries will keep wages flat.
The normal curve is static. High school graduates out of the top quarter
will receive little economic return from the sacrifice of an education
investment. Pell grants, government sponsored student loans, and other forms
of government investment will not change this one percentage point!
Federal Governments Enters Education
/Morrill_Land-Grant_Acts was passes, substantially less than half of our children graduated H.S. Only the very rich and those very academic oriented attended private colleges. Anyone able to pay, could go to Harvard College. The Morrill act created agricultural /industrial colleges for our very rural, agricultural based economy. They were for the select few who finished H.S. and didn't want a liberal art education.
After WWII, people realized that the very, very select group who graduated from these private colleges and land-grant colleges made more money than H.S graduates. So the college audience expanded to those not quite as academic, but willing to sacrifice time and money. This very select group also made more money then H.S. graduates. Required qualities being in short supply, states and the Federal Government began to help with funding.
Soon parents were demanding states and the federal government help their not so select children go to college. Politicians responded. Then the Federal Government started increasing funding for those who were really poor with no other source of help. These Pell Grants combined with state funds to provide much more than the cost of attending a local state institutions. Lo and behold there was a tremendous in those attending local colleges. Many didn't finish but there was still an increase in college
graduates. Some could even compete for a good job so that the average salaries
But parents still wanted their kids to go to college, H.S. teachers liked teaching geometry rather than drafting. School administrators and politicians got parents off their backs by insisted that testing would prepare kids for college. Big publishers started making big money. Twenty years went by!
Then the world got flat and really bright people from Asia began competing with some of our brightest college graduates. A top decile graduate from Asia got the job over the top quartile graduates from the states.
Now our service based economy needs fewer and fewer academically oriented H.S. graduates. Only the very brightest with outstanding work characteristics will get an economic return from the investment parents, students, and society make in a college education.
It's time to retool and make the changes necessary so the non-academically oriented two-thirds of our children get value from our primary and secondary educational systems. They must be prepared for the work, in a service economy.
America lags behind its peers in preventing
avoidable deaths. www.economist.com/world/international/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10499177
The Urban Institute
137,000 people died between 2000 and 2006 because they were uninsured. NYT
of Obama Obamacare makes me nervous. 12/4/12 Talked with a guy while we were
waiting at CVS to get our flew shot. He looked old enough, but said he was
nor yet collecting SS. Discovered he was a type 2 diabetic, had just tests
showed he had liver enzymes in his blood, was trying to quit booze, and he
couldn't afford health insurance. Data has shown that modern medicine/drugs
extend for many years , what will be an unhealthy old age. Obamacare will
exacerbate this trend. Costs to Medicare and SS will increase dramatically.
I have a feeling many uninsured poor people are more sickly than most and
with government picking up the tab for Obamacare, these people will really
brake the budget. Later today, this this article from the University of
Pennsylvanian predicting that Accountable Care Organizations won't work ads
fuel to the problem..
Here is how the article ends.
"Obamacare advertised two big features, Burns says: one, the extension of
health insurance to 30 million new people, and two, a plan to pay for them
with efficiencies on the delivery side that ACOs are supposed to supply.
"What our paper shows is that ACOs are not going to save money. They are
going to cost a lot of money," Burns states, expressing frustration by what
he sees as a failure to consider past experience. "Obamacare will cost a lot
more than everybody thinks." Examining "the soft underbelly of Obamacare"
exposes looming cost overruns with scarce prospects for improvement in the
quality of health care for sick individuals or the population as a whole, he
Burns points to the 5% to 10% of Medicare beneficiaries who run up most
of the tab or Medicare. 'That is where efforts ought to be targeted," he
says. "Everybody changing everything invites more upheaval than the system
What happened in 1978, 1984, and 2000 to increase cost?
Drugs are dangerous. In 2009 drugs killed
37,484 people, suicide 36,500, car accidents 36,284, firearms 31,228, falls
24,834, and murder 16,591. So drugs killed a lot of people but of those who
died of a drug induced death, only one in five was from an illegal drug, the
rest were prescription and non-proscription pharmaceuticals. That means
approximately 7500 people died of illegal drug use, the majority from
cocaine, heroin and amphetamines. To put this number in perspective it is
only 31% of the number of people who died of direct alcohol induced deaths
which doesn't included car accidents, suicides or other causes of death
related to alcohol abuse. Even that pales in the light of the 450,000 annual
deaths from smoking a legal product, tobacco.
There has been no shortage of books chronicling the dystopia
that is the Bush Administration. And in this job, I’ve read
quite a few of them. None of them have made as powerful an impact
as Naomi Klein’s
The Shock Doctrine. I promise you, it will change how
you look at government policy and responses. It also finally
sealed forever, for me at least, the coffin of the utter bollocks
of Friedman economics. Listen to me carefully, you free market
fanatics: FRIEDMAN. POLICIES. DO. NOT. WORK. PERIOD. His version
of ‘free market economics’ STIFLES democracy. They create an
oligarchy that is the opposite of democracy.
Don’t believe me? Author Naomi Klein gives compelling examples
in history proving that “Disaster
Capitalism” has been the foundation of government’s actions
and how none of it has been done for the benefit of the populace.
How jihad went freelance
Jan 31st 2008
From The Economist print edition
Al-Qaeda has evolved from a single group to an amorphous movement.
Does that make it less dangerous or more so?
TERRORISTS are a bit like you and me, or so Marc Sageman suggests. It
might be comforting to think that angry young Islamists are crazed
psychopaths or sex-starved adolescents who have been brainwashed in malign
madrassas. But Mr Sageman, a senior fellow at the
Philadelphia-based Foreign Policy Research Institute, explodes each of
these myths, and others besides, in an unsettling account of how al-Qaeda
has evolved from the organization headed by Osama bin Laden into an
amorphous movement—a “leaderless jihad”.
Mr. Sageman is a leading advocate of what is called the “buddy” theory
of terrorism. He has spent much time asking why well-educated young men,
from middle-class backgrounds, often with a secular education and wives
and children, become suicide bombers. He suggests that radicalization is a
collective rather than an individual process in which friendship and
kinship are key components.
The process has four stages. The initial trigger is a sense of moral
outrage, usually over some incident of Muslim suffering in Iraq,
Palestine, Chechnya or elsewhere. This acquires a broader context,
becoming part of what Mr. Sageman calls a “morality play” in which Islam
and the West are seen to be at war. In stage three, the global and the
local are fused, as geopolitical grievance resonates with personal
experience of discrimination or joblessness. And finally the individual
joins a terrorist cell, which becomes a surrogate family, nurturing the
jihadist world-view and preparing the initiate for martyrdom. Many Muslims
pass through the first three phases; only a few take the final step.
Mr. Sageman has unusual credentials: a former CIA
officer, he is also a forensic psychiatrist and a counter-terrorism
consultant. He published the first version of his theory three years ago
in an influential book, “Understanding Terror Networks”. His aim, to put
the study of this new kind of terrorism on to a scientific footing, has
not changed. But al-Qaeda has, and the task of analyzing it has become
In his new book Mr. Sageman's sample of militants has grown from 172 to
500. He gives more prominence to Europe, where, after the London and
Madrid bombings and other thwarted attempts, a new front-line has opened
up. He devotes a chapter to the internet. Crucially, he argues that most
of today's suicide bombers have little or no link with the original
al-Qaeda (dubbed “al-Qaeda central”) but are part of a broader, more
amorphous phenomenon which he calls the “al-Qaeda social movement”. Mr.
Sageman is skeptical of the view, which gathered weight last year, that
“al-Qaeda central” is resurgent. Rather, it is the mutual attraction of
freelance jihadists, outraged by the Iraq war and increasingly mobilized
online, which should worry us most.
Like others, Mr. Sageman believes the Iraq war, which appeared to
legitimize the idea of a rapacious West in conflict with Islam, was a
spectacular own-goal for America. Unless that idea can be successfully
countered, he says, America may find itself confronting not just a
terrorist fringe but a substantial segment of the Muslim world, which
would intensify and prolong the conflict to disastrous effect. A
successful hearts-and-minds campaign, on the other hand, would stiffen
moderate spines and help take the glory out of jihadist; eventually, “the
leaderless jihad [would] expire, poisoned by its own toxic
message.” It is an optimistic conclusion, given all that has gone before.
There is much common ground between Mr. Sageman and Daniel Byman, a
counter-terrorism expert at Georgetown University and the Brookings
Institution who was at one time on the staff of the National Commission on
Terrorist Attacks upon the United States (also known as the 9-11
Commission). He too laments the Bush administration's lack of a coherent
strategy, the needless alienation of allies, the failure to win Muslim
hearts and minds, and the deadly fall-out from Iraq. Both authors believe
that in the war of ideas Americans should focus on jihadist brutality
rather than trying to burnish their own image. Both regard Europe as the
main battleground, and they also question just how useful democratization
can be as a tool of counter-terrorism; indeed Mr. Sageman believes it is
Mr. Byman argues that America must do better on five fronts: the
military, the war of ideas, intelligence, homeland defense and, in a
nuanced way, democratic reform. Many of his policy proposals are eminently
sensible, though some people will decry his advocacy of Israeli-style
targeted killings. But where Mr. Sage man is plain spoken, Mr. Byman is often
hesitant and diffuse. He has a disconcerting knack of undercutting his own
arguments. Moreover, his remorseless concentration on prescription, with a
minimum of explanatory background, will put off all but the most dedicated
Counter-terror specialists are seldom knowledgeable about the
intricacies of modern Islam, and vice versa. Those looking for a reliable
guide to the currents of political Islam, of which al-Qaeda-style jihadist
is but one, could do worse than turn to a young American scholar, Peter
Mandaville, an associate professor at George Mason University, near
Washington, DC. Mr. Mandaville's primer, “Global
Political Islam”, is a well-informed account of the origins of mainstream
Islamism, the strategies of Islamisation, the emergence of the radical
fringe, the competition for authority among Muslim elites and the impact
of globalization on Muslim politics. This is a study which sets out to
transcend the “narrow moment” of al-Qaeda. Given our current obsession
with global jihad, this book is a welcome companion to Mr.
A Brief History of the Gains from
Deficits and Debt.
In 1940, the federal gross debt was
about 42 billion dollars or 40+% of GDP and the U.S. was facing
the first axis of evil, Germany, Japan and Italy. By 1946 the federal
debt was 270 billion dollars or 120+% of GDP. This addition to
the debt had been raised by the sale of bonds to Americans using
massive bond drives. The U.S. still faced an axis of evil, the Soviet
Union. Most of the physical items bought with this debt had been
destroyed by the war though the worlds largest and most technically
advanced industrial complex which would rule the free world until the
oil embargos of the 1970's had been built. Soon to President General
Eisenhower would later warn that this industrial complex might be taken
over by those with strong military interests.
In 2008 the gross debt was about 10
trillion dollars or 70+% of GDP and the US was still facing an
axis of evil. This time it was Iran, South Korea and others. The new
president wants to increase the debt to grow the economy. Some don't
like the bigger debt. Others don't like wasting it on energy and
green projects. Still others fear the new debt will cause a great