Posts Tagged ‘economics’

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By @anarchyroll

What does it feel like to tell someone they must remain sick or die so that you can have more disposable income? In America, you indirectly tell people through backdoor lobbying of elected representatives with dark money.

What is the cost of living? Is there a societal flash point where that question is addressed out in the open collectively? In 2017, it feels like that point may be boiling closer to the surface than ever before. It was thought that the question was asked and answered in 2010 with the passing of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) into law.

What was learned was that there were a great volume of people who benefited from having access to health insurance who didn’t before and there was a large volume of money spent to resist the legislation at every possible turn. It seemed like a vocal majority of the country enjoyed what the ACA did for them. We also found out from the 2016 presidential election, that the silent majority of this country (whites) knows how and when to make a stink.

Repeal and Replace has been a battle cry for over half a decade for the Republican Party and the top one percent of economic earners whom they represent. Obamacare was nowhere near unflawed. Despite its limitations, holes, and warts it did accomplish something that those on the left have been championing for almost a century; access to free/low-cost healthcare to millions of people regardless of political affiliation or belief.

The masses have had a whiff, a taste, a sample of universal health care…there is no going back.

Republicans currently control the United States government. They have the executive and legislative branches and are gaining control of the judiciary. With such deep and vast control, they have been unable to eliminate Obamacare. How? The only thing that’s stopping them is the voting public. Who would’ve thought that an approval rating of 24% as a Congress compared to a 55% approval rating of Obamacare would create obstacles in a democracy?

There used to be this thing called give and take, compromise for short. In terms of economic policy in America for the past half century, it has become take, take, take. Income inequality is at eye-popping levels. Social media has put a magnifying glass on the haves in America. Their appetites of ego and greed has had them binge sharing their lives via smartphones for a decade. One thing all of these filtered and geo tagged pictures, videos, and stories have made clear; is that the 1% can never get enough.

I suppose it would be great to live our lives on permanent vacation. Is that not the end result of the American Dream? Going from the beach, to the boat, to the club, to the rooftop bar, to the personal jet, to the invitation only party, in the unlisted restaurant, at the private island, etc. This lifestyle requires opting out of the social contract, it is an evolution of the gated community.

To live these contribution-less lifestyles, there must be a transfer of wealth without physical labor or violence. The American Health Care Act of 2017 has been independently shown to be nothing more than a tax cut for and transfer of wealth to the top one percent of income earners in America. It is a money grab through the legislative process. It is a bank heist through legal channels.

Okay, that might be too cynical of a view. We should be glass half full kind of people. It’s better to just think of the repercussions of this bill, as a cost of living adjustment.

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By @anarchyroll

In his first weekly address, Trump made sure to speak to what he called the forgotten Americans. Do you know who those people are? If you don’t, you are apart of the problem, not the solution.

If you live in a major metropolitan city, with a job dependent on technology, an artistic mindset, a liberal paradigm: with no understanding or empathy for the old, rural, industrial, rust belt, baseball, apple pie Americana folks who have been left behind since the 1970s…then your faux rage, uproar, rallies, marches, and hashtag revolts are not only irrelevant, but also impetice for Trump’s re election.

Remember how galvanized the left was after eight years of republican rule in America. When two wars were stared. Stem cell therapy was disabled. Religion was prioritized over science. Then a mixed race gentleman ran for the highest office in the land with the potential to make history, The level of enthusiasm, effort, and existential encouragement to reach beyond the brass ring for annals of history was no longer a wet dream of ideology but a forgone consequence the rise of a political base.

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Empathy and compromise must be paid to the south and rust belt at some point. The former Confederacy has been guaranteed red on the electoral map for many generations now. The former manufacturing havens of the mid west have turned electorally red year by year. If the deep blue states of California and Illinois can have red governors multiple times over in recent years, then red states can change majors in the electoral college as well.

The Affordable Care Act has caught on quite well in the Bible belt and the new Pope says a lot of leftist things. Is there not common ground to be gained there?

Trump winning the elections defied many perceived norms. But one old school norm that holds true is that all politics are local. There must be focus paid to state elections. One vote doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot in a national election. But in state, county, and township elections one vote can go a long way. There must be national emphasis paid to state elections. That may sound like a lot. But in the era of the never-ending news cycle and the unquenchable thirst for content of varying quality, a national spotlight paid to local elections is a natural fit. Think I’m stretching here? Watch a major sports network during an off-season or a preseason.

Solar power is creating more jobs than the coal industry. Legalized marijuana will be creating more jobs than the manufacturing sector. Both of those things scream common ground for liberals and conservatives. But can that common ground be found if we are all lost in the trees of pundit reactivity?

There is a decent percentage of people on each side who are lost. Too dug in the trenches of their side as if it will give them bonus points in this life or the next. But there are vastly more people who simply want a to live a happy life without hurting anyone. If everyone had more income than debt, only the freaks would care about getting rid of second amendment or transgender rights.

But that common ground must be diligently searched for through action and policy. Rhetoric and campaign promises are simply not good enough. The forgotten Americans have been left behind for almost half a century. Their anger is as justified as it is misdirected. Who closed the factories? Who outsourced the jobs? Who cut the aide checks? The answer is not liberal elites.

It isn’t ridicule nor parades that will convince the forgotten Americans about the wonders of social progressivism. It is a path out of poverty that involves a purpose. For generations politicians have leveraged social issues against economics to channel the angry attention away from the people who closed the factories and outsourced their jobs towards the sex, science, and sin of city dwellers.

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Getting angry or nasty and marching in the streets of major metropolitan cities does nothing but satisfy ego and social media content appetite. The actual work must be done in the broken rural communities of the country that have been so economically depressed and culturally starved for so long that they have become nationally infamous as centers for the meth and opium epidemics of the past decade.

So instead of trying to cram fringe left-wing issues down America’s throat from New York and LA, try putting boots, brains, and plans of action on the ground one flyover state at a time. The rust belt must be acknowledged and tended to. From factory towns to mill villages. These people need to be explained, then shown through action, a plan for sustainable economic success in the knowledge worker age. Until this entire section of the country, until these forgotten Americans are given a hand up from the other side of the aisle, transgender rights, environmental accountability, progressive income taxes, and marijuana legalization are all mere pipe dreams of a voting block too apathetic and naive to bring about the real change they publically pout about with placards and impotent anger.

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If half of the world has less money than less than ten people, something is either wrong or rigged. There is no middle ground or shade of gray. Either we are living in a world of kings and peasants or we are living in a world where all people are created equal. The very idea that there will always be poverty at a time of mega yachts, vacation homes, million dollar cars, Botox and private islands is to spit in the face of reason.

A very real present day consequence of this growing, institutional, massive wealth disparity is seen in the rise of populism politics in the industrialized world. Brexit, Donald Trump in America, the growing  Made in France movement, and so on. It has finally caught on that globalism doesn’t work for the common man, because it wasn’t designed or put in place by the common man. It was put in place by the elite, to benefit the elite. The manual labor workers of the first world have been forgotten and left behind. Whether on purpose or on accident no longer matters, they have made their voice heard by organizing and getting behind far right political parties and candidates.

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The political consequences of the wave of populism that we are currently in the beginning of, are just now starting to take shape. But politics is just the tip of what is going on. Follow the money, because neither political populism nor big philanthropy will be enough to stem the tide of the rising groups of people with no jobs, no homes, nothing to lose but debt.

They are going to the voting booth for now, protesting in mass on the streets for now. But the history of the world shows that concentrated wealth and power are the planted seeds for rebellion.  And unless the elite share the love as well as their wealth, it is not a question of if but when their favorable debt to liquidity ratio can no longer save them from the ratio of have-nots to haves that are past the point of no return.

Eight men possess more wealth than half the world combined? That doesn’t happen on accident. This has been done on purpose. This is long-term, purposeful, monetary migration. The problem is known. The solution is known. But the money keeps going the same direction, up. These super charged capitalists have certainly skirted some laws to amass their obscene wealth concentration. But nothing skirts Newton’s Third Law of Motion. What goes up, must come down.

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By @anarchyroll

Current events and news topics don’t come much more complex and far-reaching than the TPP. The entire thing has been constructed in the shadows of backrooms under the table off the record. Everything that is publicly known about it doesn’t even count as a starting point for the ramifications of this deal.

Sound like hyperbole and conspiracy theory fringe? Then why is this not a topic covered on nightly news? This trade deal if passed will affect millions of people. Forget pro or con, there is no denying that millions of lives will be effected by legislative change that the Trans Pacific Partnership will bring. So why not cover it at depth like a news story or event? Does it not warrant similar coverage to the 2016 Presidential Election, Rio Olympics, or Harambe’s death?

International free trade deals are certainly no naked, lubed-up Kim Kardashian holding a champagne bottle. Butt, NAFTA wasn’t considered a sexy issue until it bubbled up in the 2008 Democratic party primary debates. Sometimes people just need to get warmed up and have a few drinks before something dry and dense becomes cute and sexy.

The TPP got moved from the shadows of being one of those third tier news stories on a newspaper website that is so far down the page the text isn’t bold, highlighted, or even a larger font size ; to stealing some of President Obama’s thunder during his speech at the DNC.

 So what does all of this mean? Who gives a shit about the TPP? Why would anyone who isn’t in the 1% care about some international trade deals off the record, earmark ramifications? Does this whole thing not scream of white people problems?
If I had answers, I wouldn’t just have a blog. But the questions anyone and everyone who reads this or any piece of writing involving the TPP needs to ask themselves are;

  1. Why was the TPP constructed and negotiated in secret?
  2. Why are environmentalists and labor unions passionately against it?
  3. Why would Democrats protest it during Obama’s last major speech as President?

The TPP has more questions than answers. That tends to happen when a massive bill with massive legislations is bred and conceived in secret. The TPP is to trade what the Patriot Act is to civil liberties. With the TPP though there is no act of economic terrorism to induce its passage into permanent fruition. Mainly because the economic terrorists of the world are the rich white folks in mansions as opposed to terrorism’s impoverished brown folks in caves.

The TPP is so shady to its core that it is probably the one issue that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton agree on during this 2016 campaign season. The bill has been declared all but dead in terms of passage this year. So again the question is, who gives a shit? Why does this matter?

The TPP is a symbol. Both literally and metaphorically.

Literally, on the record, it is a symbol towards China.

Metaphorically, the TPP has come to represent globalization itself. Much like communism and laissez faire capitalism it reads well on paper and sounds good in theory as a utopia of equality. In practice however, it’s just another means of exploitation for the 1% to get richer and the 99% to get poorer. Something this big requires the most transperancy. The fact it has been treated with the least, makes it’s intent see through. The TPP’s hush hush, secret negotiations speak so loudly, it’s legalese need not be orated.

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What does a white-collar, wall street economic terrorist have to do to go to jail?

Write billion dollar checks with strings attached and an ability to make money back off the deal I suppose.

That is what Goldman Sachs recently did in New York as a means of settling their Legacy Matters related to the 2008 economic collapse that they have now admitted to being at least partially responsible for.

Usually when a person confesses to a crime, they still go to jail, they still face a righteous punishment. Maybe instead of the death penalty they serve life in prison. The deal that Goldman Sachs cut with the working group headed by the New York Attorney General, is very Manhattan, a lot of bluster for the sake of appearances that stinks like garbage when brought into the sun.

What good is restitution without a righteous penalty? What is the value of a fine to people with unlimited money and unlimited capacity to get free money from the US government?

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A penalty isn’t a penalty if it doesn’t hurt the person or party being penalized.

Fining Goldman Sachs five billion dollars is like fining the ocean enough water to run a water park for a summer. Not only is it less than a minimal but its a pretty salty reward  that cant quench anybody’s thirst.

In the developed world money equals power. The purpose of news is to inform the common person about what those in power are doing. The event of the 2008 economic collapse and the ripple effects in the aftermath of it effect more people directly than any presidential election in modern times

Yet how much coverage did the announcement of this multi billion dollar settlement get compared to any aspect of the presidential primary or anything Donald Trump has said in the last year?

Legacy matters.

Most people would agree that it does. On Wall Street that means a whole different thing. Then again what doesn’t? The announced five billion dollar settlement by Goldman Sachs sums up their legacy and the legacy of the 2008 economic collapse quite well.

Smoke screens, legalese, under the table deals, double talk, fine print, more mystery than truth, more PR than pure.That is the legacy of the 2008 economic collapse and the Great Recession that followed it.

That is the legacy that matters to Goldman Sachs, and the royal we of Wall Street. The legacy matters of the too big to fail institutions on Wall Street are nothing more than numbers on a spreadsheet…just like everything and everyone else in the world.

On Wall Street, legacy matters are things you put behind with shame. In the rest of the world, it’s something you leave behind with pride.

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ajclogo2By @anarchyroll

Few people, whether real or fictional, are as synonymous with America’s version of capatilsm as Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street.

“Greed is good” are words to live by for the people who try to fill the hole in the soul with copious amounts of money by any means necessary. That quote is the foundation of type of free market capitalism that brought about the 2008 Great Recession.

That economic collapse should was a very very big, very very loud, very very painful sign that we as a society have allowed greed to get out of control. It is one of the seven deadly sins for a reason. Wall Street and unregulated capitalism have transformed greed into the deadliest sin. Able to negatively impact the entire developed world with greedy actions of a relatively small percentage of the global population.

One of the ripple effects of the Great Recession has been the mainstream populous rise of what a generation ago would have been considered a fringe presidential candidate. Bernie Sanders through passionate speeches and a lifetime of walking the talk has risen like a phoenix.

Another ripple effect has been that greed is no longer good enough for the top 20% – .01%. The rich get richer no longer is a substantial enough metaphor. How do I know this? How can I be sure of this?

The fact that the real life person who inspired the fictional icon Gordon Gekko is publically endorsing Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders for President.

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How can the inspiration for the phrase Greed is Good be endorsing a socialist for president? Because the unregulated greed thanks to the Clinton and Bush administrations has become something beyond excess and gluttony.

 

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By @anarchyroll

America’s identity is its middle class. What makes America different than every other country that has come before it? The economic middle class…..guns, and obesity.

For real tho, it’s the middle class. We invented it. Before the United States of America there was no middle class. There was rich and there was poor.

What the middle class literally is, as well as what it metaphorically represents are both why people immigrate from all over the world, not just from the third world, to be in America. A country with an economic ladder for all people who work hard as opposed to caste systems? That concept is worth risking life and limb to millions of people each year. Legally and illegally people want into America.

Freedom/democracy is great too, but what good is freedom if you’re poor? What good is living if you live under literal oppression or economic oppression where there is only the super rich and the super poor? America, the land of opportunity; where ordinary people can simply work hard and be rewarded monetarily in a manner that enables not just animalistic survival, but also comfort, upward social mobility, and land ownership.

The socioeconomic middle class is Americana. Baseball, apple pie, barbecues, two week vacations, two car garage homes with a white picket fence. The images created by those words are the America middle class; the great reward for all born or adopted citizens who buy into the concept of American exceptionalism by giving their blood, sweat, and tears to a job for the middle two quarters of their life.

Without a middle class, America has no true identity. Freedom? Democracy? Those both existed before America. Flags? Bald eagles? Sports? White people oppressing minorities? Those all existed before America too believe it or not.
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There is a saying; Don’t tell me about the labor pains just show me the baby.

One can look at that chart and say there are still plenty of people in the middle class. One can point to the people who have improved their income status over the past ten to forty years. Both are valid points. There is still a middle class in America and people have moved economically upward out of the middle.

Want another valid point? Both democratic and republican presidential candidates are dedicating equal time to talk about the erosion of the middle class. In this polarized political era, for both sides, to completely agree on a non national security/terrorism issue?

How can the erosion of the middle class be immune from political party polarization? Sure they’ll disagree on how to fix it, but to be in complete agreement of the present moment problem? Sounds like what happens when a person reaches a midlife crisis. And a midlife crisis is nothing more than an identity crisis.

The erosion of the middle class is America’s identity crisis.

Are we a caste system? Are we an oligarchy? Are we a republic? Can our economic and political systems ACTUALLY co exist? Should we just buy a sports car?

The real questions always start with Who/What/When/Where/Why and How?

Who; has benefited from the erosion of the middle class?
What; exactly has been happening over the past thirty years to lead to this erosion?
When; was the middle class the most robust?
Where; specifically did the wealth lost by the middle class go?
Why; was the middle class so vibrant at its peak?
How; can the economic principles of then be adapted to modern time?

If one asks these questions, and does a few basic Google searches, the answers become pretty obvious pretty fast. But the answers to these questions don’t actually require searching the internet do they? Deep down inside, we all already know what’s been happening. We know where the middle classes’ money has gone. We know whose benefiting from the loss of the middle class. We would like to tell ourselves we don’t know why because we want to see and believe the best in people.

Have you heard the phrase, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer?

How about; All is fair in love and war.

Class War has been the new Cold War for about thirty years, which wouldn’t ya know, is about how long the Cold War has been over, and is how long the middle class has been eroding.

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by @anarchyroll
10/6/2014

The biggest Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the history of the New York Stock Exchange occurred recently.

Have you heard of Alibaba? Had you heard about Alibaba before last month? Have you already forgotten about Alibaba after it didn’t carry over to a fresh news cycle? When someone mentioned it to me last month, all I thought of was the Beastie Boys song.

What is Alibaba?

  • Google, Amazon, PayPal and eBay all rolled into one
  • A wholesale marketplace; Alibaba is the middleman the connects retailers/sellers directly to customers/buyers
  • Alibaba is the top dog in the largest e-commerce market in the world

How did Alibaba become the biggest IPO ever?

  • Capitalizing on the Chinese consumers’ desires to shop online, for cheap, with trustworthy retailers/merchants
  • 80% of China’s e-commerce is done through Alibaba
  • Domination of the world’s largest growing market paired with international expansion has Wall Street drooling

So China’s biggest internet cash cow has gone public on stock market. Yahoo is the biggest American company to directly benefit from Alibaba’s IPO success as the two are very  much in bed together, on the level, and in public NOT under the table. In fact, Yahoo has benefited so much from Alibaba’s success there is talk of them investing in and/or acquiring Snapchat.

What are potential problems with Alibaba?

  • It’s Chinese, the communist government/central bank could throw a monkey wrench into the mix at any time, and already has
  • The stock being bought isn’t actual stock in the company, but in their Cayman Islands shell corporation
  • Is Alibaba-Mania a product of a new Dot Com Bubble? The question is worth asking.

Should you go out and buy as much Alibaba stock as you can afford? Well, if you’re a good investor, you should always asked yourself; what would Warren Buffett do?

As with most IPOs, if you weren’t ahead of the curve or a fan of the band before they were cool, the ship has mostly sailed on this one. What I find personally noteworthy about Alibaba, is everyone I know who invests and is well off because of it, wants nothing to do with Alibaba. Why? They all say the same thing; the Chinese government. How much is the government involved with Alibaba? How much influence do they have? How much transparency is there and how much of that can actually be trusted?

When the Head of the FBI goes on 60 Minutes and openly talks about the Chinese military attempting to cyber attack the US economy, one should be very cautious about investing in the Cayman Islands shell company of a Chinese internet marketplace with direct ties to the Chinese government.

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by @anarchyroll
8/14/2014

Can a nuclear bomb be repackaged and sold as anything other than a weapon of mass destruction?

Countries that have the bomb, like the United States, claim they can be used as weapons of peace. Peace via the threat of destroying the world hanging over the head of anyone who dares to cross the boss.

Derivatives were at the core of the financial collapse of the global economy in 2008. Warren Buffet; America’s greatest living investor, has publicly stated he stays far away from them. With those two unremovable stains, it is no wonder why JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs are trying to rebrand derivatives.

Derivatives are the tool or instrument most used by big banks and hedge funds that turns Wall Street and the finance sector of the American economy into a casino on steroids. Until derivatives are regulated (they are completely unregulated presently) then Wall Street will, like a degenerate gambler, continue rolling the dice as often as possible, at the highest stakes possible.

Using money to make money has been described as The American Way by many CEO’s who have taken their respective companies public. If that is an acceptable definition of The American Way, then there is nothing more patriotic than using derivatives to make money.

One of the many problems with derivatives is that it uses nothing real, tangible that can be held and felt in the real world. The only thing a derivative is used for, is to make money in the finance sector. The finance sector of any economy is meant to help build wealth for the masses. Derivatives are a tool used by finance sector insiders, for finance sector insiders. Derivatives are purposefully complex and confusing, in many cases beyond any verbal explanation.

Attempting to rebrand derivatives under the umbrella of Alternative Mutual Funds, shows exactly why the finance sector of America’s economy needs to be strictly and tightly regulated this side of the 2008 collapse. They know how dangerous and damaging derivatives have been in the past, and rather than allow transparency and regulation, Wall Street is trying to sweep them under a rug, and try to tell people that the rug is a self-sustaining money tree.

 

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by @anarchyroll
7/26/2014

If you don’t know who Warren Buffett is, all you need to know is that he’s the greatest living investor in the history of the American stock market(s). In the world of finance he’s the Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Wayne Gretzky, and Babe Ruth. He is the man and has nothing resembling an equal.

Warren Buffett has also become the conscience of the finance sector the American economy.

This is evidenced by his refusal to put his wealth of wealth into commercial securities and derivatives. Whereas all other big banks, hedge funds, and trading houses can’t get enough of either.

In a recent issues of TIME magazine, Buffett called all commercial securities “weapons of mass destruction.”

Commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) and derivatives were two primary instruments in the 2008 global economic meltdown, the worst economic collapse since The Great Depression.

Warren Buffett invests the old-fashioned way, when investing was investing. CMBS and derivatives are the tools that have turned Wall Street into a casino on steroids. CMBS and derivatives are the dice, the global economy is the table, the chips that big banks and hedge funds are playing with are the liquid assets of the global economy. Are the craps and gambling metaphors coming across clearly enough?

After all of the pain and devastation that derivatives trading has done to the global economy, there is certainly a strong case to be made that they should be done away with completely. But in the spirit of baby steps and pragmatism, how about we start with at least putting some kind, any kind of regulation on derivatives trading?

If commercial securities and derivatives aren’t good enough for the greatest living investor in America, perhaps it is best that we all steer clear of them. If someone with literally billions of dollars to burn doesn’t want to touch them, why would any person dependent on a robust 401k to be able to retire at 65 want their limited assets intertwined with the same investment instruments that collapsed the global economy barely a half decade ago?