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The economy - oops - Page 61

post #3001 of 3031

Venezuela is a mess right now:



With its currency in freefall, inflation has soared as the price of imported goods has skyrocketed. The IMF predicts inflation will top 700 percent this year before surging to some 2,200 percent next year.


Maduro also faces a growing political backlash as government salaries and services have been slashed. Electrical power has been rationed. Crime rates are rising. Basic health services and supplies are lacking.

post #3002 of 3031

That's on them. They had years and years of billions pouring in from oil but failed to do anything permanent with them. And they don't have the excuse that the plutocrats stole them.


The sad thing is the people are the ones that get fucked again.

post #3003 of 3031

Admittedly, nothing really new (to me, anyway) but a good read none the less...


Confronting the Parasite Economy

Why low-wage work is bad for business—and all of us.


Nick Hanauer     May 16, 2016


There are two types of businesses in America today: those that pay their workers a living wage—the real economy—and those that don’t—the parasite economy. And all of us who live and work in the real economy should be royally pissed at the way the parasite economy is sucking us dry.


Here in the real economy, we solve the problems, build the things, and pay the wages that make America great. When politicians of both parties promise to attract “good jobs” to their districts or states, they’re talking about the kind of real-economy jobs that pay a decent middle-class wage—jobs that provide the income, benefits, and security necessary to participate robustly in the economy as a consumer and taxpayer. It is the real economy that drives both production and demand, and that fills our tax coffers with the money needed to educate our children, maintain our infrastructure, invest in research and development, fund our social safety net, and provide for the national defense.


But in the parasite economy—where companies large and small cling to low-wage business models out of ignorance or habit or simple greed—“good jobs,” and the economic dynamism they produce, are in short supply. This is the economy in which tens of millions of Americans work for poverty wages with few if any benefits, often in the face of abusive scheduling practices that make it impossible to plan their life from day to day, let alone month to month.


The difference between these two economies is stark. The real economy pays the wages that drive consumer demand, while the parasite economy erodes it. The real economy generates about $5 trillion a year in local, state, and federal tax revenue, while the parasite economy is subsidized by taxes. The real economy provides our children the education and opportunity necessary to grow into the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, and civic leaders, while the parasite economy traps them in a cycle of intergenerational poverty.


The real economy delivers on the promise of capitalism.


The parasite economy relentlessly undermines it.



post #3004 of 3031

So, any opinions on Brexit?


Emotions are certainly running high, and in some awful ways, unfortunately:



Campaigning for Britain's referendum next week on whether to stay in the European Union was suspended on Thursday following news a leading lawmaker with the "Remain" camp was shot. She later died.


Jo Cox, a 41-year-old mother of two from the opposition Labour Party, was left bleeding on the pavement after the incident in the town of Birstall in northern England, according to witnesses quoted by local media.


The Stronger in Europe camp said it was "suspending all campaigning for the day," as a police statement said authorities had arrested a 52-year-old man.

post #3005 of 3031

Politicians think they can constantly campaign by appealing to anger, fear, and hatred. Then they act surprised that people start to act on their anger, fear, and hatred. It's like no one has ever heard of "garbage in, garbage out."

post #3006 of 3031
post #3007 of 3031
My boss has for years had a real bad habit of saying that.

Then, one day last October, I called his bluff and walked out. Now, ten months and half a dozen shit head new employees later, I was eagerly rehired back at my old rate and to apologies for prior treatment (as well as "Are you still watching Game of Thrones?"). He's learned he's lucky to have me.
Edited by Turingmachine75 - 7/1/16 at 5:20pm
post #3008 of 3031

One of Russia's rainy days funds will be exhausted by next year, thanks to low oil prices:



Russia's budget deficit has swollen as oil prices fell sharply from 2014 and the West imposed sanctions over the Ukraine crisis. The deficit stood at 4.3 pct of national output in the first half of 2016, up from 2.6 pct last year and against 0.5 pct in 2014.


At current rates of spending, it has been clear for some time that the Reserve Fund - which at the start of 2014 stood at $87 billion - would run out around 2017.


The fact that assumption is now included in the finance ministry proposal shows officials have not been able to find savings or sources of additional revenue elsewhere to stop that happening.

post #3009 of 3031
Originally Posted by Iron Maiden View Post

One of Russia's rainy days funds will be exhausted by next year, thanks to low oil prices:



So I guess that means 2017 is when Russia stirs up more shit militarily in Ukraine or Syria (or somewhere else?) to distract their people from economic woes?  

post #3010 of 3031

Russia needs to get into the clean energy business. They need to diversify and get going soon. Biggest country on Earth, and they really lack the leadership to take advantage of a new market.

post #3011 of 3031

Elizabeth Warren wants to (FINALLY) prosecute the banksters who plunged the world into a near catastrophe in 2007:

post #3012 of 3031
Originally Posted by Cylon Baby View Post

Elizabeth Warren wants to (FINALLY) prosecute the banksters who plunged the world into a near catastrophe in 2007:



I'm kind of doubting throwing a few middle managers and at best a (then) junior VP (that probably doesn't even work for the same company anymore) under the bus is going to effect any real change in the financial industry.  As much as I like Warren, this is just political grandstanding, because the CEOs and most-senior execs are never going to take the fall, and nobody cares about nobodies (the aforementioned middle managers and at-best junior VPs).


It's not even a matter of "too big to fail" as much as It was so widespread and systematic that pinning a particular crime on a particular individual is a lot harder than the writer of that article makes out.  Everybody can point the finger of blame in a different direction and even a bush league defense attorney can spin that into reasonable doubt.

post #3013 of 3031

Exactly. Though finding a bunch of convenient people to pin this on sells, it's actually just theater.


Greed caused this. Not the greed of one person, or a thousand. The greed all humans share. And it will never die. So this will happen again. As it happened before, it will happen again no matter the political and financial system. And since you can't regulate this away the only productive thing to do is make sure the next fall doesn't hurt as much. 

post #3014 of 3031

Austerity.  Who knew it would have negative consequences?


Researchers says the harmful effects of austerity are linked to the increasing inability of patients to access the health system, large rises in the incidence of infectious disease, and a deterioration in the overall mental health of Greek people.
post #3015 of 3031

The mentally ill in Venezuela have it really tough right now as medication becomes scarcer:


Venezuela's economic collapse has already decimated its health system, leaving hospitals without antibiotics, surgeons without gloves and patients dying on emergency room tables.
Now, thousands of mental health patients - many of whom had been living relatively normal lives under medication - are drifting into despair and psychosis because the country has run out of the vast majority of psychiatric medicines, leaving families and doctors powerless to help them, medical experts say.
Mental institutions have released thousands of patients because they can no longer treat them, according to physicians.  The patients still being cared for now suffer in crumbling wards that can barely even feed them.  Doctors and nurses fear violent attacks and say they have little choice but to tie their patients to chairs, lock them up or strip them of their clothes to prevent suicides.


Approximately 85% of psychiatric medicines are now unavailable in Venezuela.

post #3016 of 3031

This thread seems like the right place for this somewhat disappointing news....



Court Rules Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Structure Is Unconstitutional


After a spate of recent activity which has included introducing long-awaited regulations for payday lenders and prepaid cards and a nearly $200 million fraud settlement from Wells Fargo, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau must now face a new challenge—more oversight.


On Tuesday, a Washington, D.C. circuit court found the structure of the CFPB to be unconstitutional. More specifically, the court took issue with the inability for other arms of the government to review or rebuke the Bureau’s judgements or actions and the unilateral power imbued in the CFPB’s director—currently Richard Cordray.




That said, more oversight isn't a bad thing....but I can easily see a GOP controlled House/Senate attempting to destroy this agency in the future.

post #3017 of 3031

So now 40% of all publicly held companies in the US are held by just three companies; Blackrock, Vanguard and State Street. 


All three are "passive' investors, meaning they hold shares as part of an index, and thus don't have the option of selling shares if management at a companies does something shitty. 


On the other hand, they do have an incentive to pull strings behind the scenes, and to support current management, and stifle real competition. 


In other words, here in 2016 we're even more like the Gilded Age than we were in 2008.


If you're interested, here's a pretty academic paper that lays it all out.

post #3018 of 3031

Been listening to this Ezra Klein podcast where he interviews Joseph Stiglitz....quite interesting. Topics are TPP, regulation, Venezuela, etc.

It's about an hour long.

post #3019 of 3031

What do you know, that little problem at Wells Fargo wasn't just a few bad apples...

post #3020 of 3031
I used a Wells Fargo ATM the other day. I now have 2.1 million Wells Fargo accounts.
post #3021 of 3031

Here's a story that I feel should be a bigger deal.  Illinois is about to become a failed state.

post #3022 of 3031

Everybody is talking about the student loan bubble, but the pension bubble is going to burst a hell of a lot sooner.  New Jersey and California are up next after Illinois.  A junior high school level of math is all that is necessary to understand that the pension obligations are not going to be possible without insanely confiscatory taxation which will lead to people voting with their feet. 


I'm wondering if a whole bunch of municipalities saw what happened with Detroit and are simply planning on filing for Chapter 9.  States, on the other hand, have no such remedy (states are currently not allowed to seek bankruptcy relief under federal law). 

post #3023 of 3031
Originally Posted by Overlord View Post

.....insanely confiscatory taxation ....


This needs to be defined. 


Who gets to decide what is or is not too much tax?


Does a hypothetical company with, let's say a $5 billion dollar profit and money 'hidden' overseas to avoid taxes have any moral right to say "we are being taxed too much" especially if they have given multi-million dollar raises to their management ?  If said company's only responsibility is to increase shareholder value at the expense of it's own employees, do they deserve to be taken seriously?


To a person making $30k a year, 15% tax is a big chunk of someone making $5 million a year, 15% means they won't be able to buy a second (or third) home...this year.

post #3024 of 3031

a good listen....


The 'End Of Loyalty' And The Decline Of Good Jobs In America


This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Good jobs are getting harder to find in America. That's the starting point of the new book by my guest Rick Wartzman. By good jobs, he means jobs that offer a decent wage, job security, good benefits, including affordable health insurance and a safe way of having money set aside for retirement. His new book, "The End Of Loyalty," examines the erosion of that social contract between corporations and employees since World War II and analyzes the forces that got us to this point, including automation, globalization, outsourcing, the weakening of unions and the emphasis on cost cutting to deliver a profitable bottom line to shareholders.


He focuses on the history of four companies - Kodak, GE, GM and Coca-Cola. Wartzman was a reporter at The Wall Street Journal for 15 years where he tracked the coal, steel and aerospace industries. He now writes about the future of work for Fortune magazine online and directs the Center for a Functioning Society at the Drucker Institute, a part of Claremont Graduate University.

post #3025 of 3031

This is sort of economy related....


Marijuana Shortage Prompts Emergency In Nevada; Tax Officials Weigh Changes


Sales of recreational marijuana have blown past expectations in Nevada, threatening to leave some dispensaries with empty shelves. After Gov. Brian Sandoval endorsed a statement of emergency in the first week of legal sales, regulators are looking to bolster the supply chain.


The Nevada Tax Commission is meeting Thursday to determine whether the state has enough wholesale marijuana distributors; it could also adopt emergency regulations.

"Right now, only companies that are also licensed to distribute liquor in Nevada are able to bring marijuana to dispensaries," Nevada Public Radio's Casey Morell reports for NPR's Newscast unit. "The dispensaries say that's why they're running out of the drug."


Nevada opened the retail pot market on July 1. The state has 47 licensed stores, and in the first weekend of sales, "well over 40,000 retail transactions" were carried out, tax officials say. Some retailers said they racked up twice as many sales as they had estimated — and they also reported a dire need for new deliveries to restock their shelves.




I'd like to add.....Fuck you Jeff Sessions!

post #3026 of 3031
post #3027 of 3031

How I would love to have Elizabeth Warren go all Elliot Ness on these fuckers.....




Special Investigation: How America’s Biggest Bank Paid Its Fine for the 2008 Mortgage Crisis—With Phony Mortgages!

Alleged fraud put JPMorgan Chase hundreds of millions of dollars ahead; ordinary homeowners, not so much.

A Nation investigation can now reveal how JPMorgan met part of its $8.2 billion settlement burden: by using other people’s money.

Here’s how the alleged scam worked. JPMorgan moved to forgive the mortgages of tens of thousands of homeowners; the feds, in turn, credited these canceled loans against the penalties due under the 2012 and 2013 settlements. But here’s the rub: In many instances, JPMorgan was forgiving loans on properties it no longer owned.


The alleged fraud is described in internal JPMorgan documents, public records, testimony from homeowners and investors burned in the scam, and other evidence presented in a blockbuster lawsuit against JPMorgan, now being heard in US District Court in New York City.


JPMorgan no longer owned the properties because it had sold the mortgages years earlier to 21 third-party investors, including three companies owned by Larry Schneider. Those companies are the plaintiffs in the lawsuit; Schneider is also aiding the federal government in a related case against the bank. In a bizarre twist, a company associated with the Church of Scientology facilitated the apparent scheme. Nationwide Title Clearing, a document-processing company with close ties to the church, produced and filed the documents that JPMorgan needed to claim ownership and cancel the loans.

post #3028 of 3031

The outcome of this will be interesting*....


Walmart is raising prices online to increase in-store traffic

(the origin is a WSJ article, needs login)


*Walmart is still horrible for the US (world?) economy.

post #3029 of 3031

I found this episode of Russell Brand's podcast to be enlightening....



Beyond Conspiracy - The Terrifying Truth Of Corporate Power (with Jacques Peretti)


Having spent years investigating some of the wealthiest people on the planet, journalist and broadcaster Jacques Peretti joins me to discuss the secret billion dollar deals that we never hear about but which are changing our world and revolutionising everything we do.


post #3030 of 3031
Originally Posted by VTRan View Post

The outcome of this will be interesting*....


Walmart is raising prices online to increase in-store traffic

(the origin is a WSJ article, needs login)


*Walmart is still horrible for the US (world?) economy.

I'm happy to pay extra to not set foot inside a Walmart.

post #3031 of 3031

If these investments go belly up, it'll be the retirees who get screwed:



The release of the so-called “Paradise Papers” touched off new scrutiny of how moguls, celebrities and politicians stash their cash in offshore tax havens. The practice, though, is hardly limited to the global elite. In fact, government documents show that state and local officials have sent hundreds of billions of dollars of public sector workers’ retirement savings to a tiny archipelago most famous for white-sand beaches — and laws that shield investors from taxes.  


Operating outside the U.S. legal system, the offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands give Wall Street firms leeway to make complex international investments and to earn big fees off investors' capital. But with offshore accounts featuring prominently in high-profile Ponzi schemes, some critics warn that the use of tax havens can endanger the retirement savings of millions of teachers, firefighters, cops and other public workers — a situation that could put taxpayers on the hook for losses if the investments go bust, or the money goes missing.


The tidal wave of cash has flowed from public pension systems into so-called “alternative investments”: private equity, hedge funds, venture capital firms and real estate. While many alternative investment firms operate in Lower Manhattan, more than a third of all the cash in those private funds flows through vehicles domiciled in the Caymans, according to Securities and Exchange Commission records reviewed by International Business Times. Those same records show that public pension plans, university endowments and other nonprofits have funneled a massive $1.8 trillion into alternative investments.

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