Tag Archives | Economy

Can Heckling Change The World? Let’s Find Out

A big molte grazie goes out to the folks at Disinformation.  Their media aggregation board is always a real thought provoker.  As discussed below, I got a big kick out of their recent repost of a Reuters report about the “job surge.”

The nation owes a big debt of gratitude to wise ass m*f*’s like Jon Stewart who finally shamed the ra-ra, flag wavin’ hypocrites of the Republican party into finally voting to support 911 First Responders.  But while we correctly applaud the righteousness of Mr. Stewart and the Daily Show team who made this possible, we should perhaps be mindful of a broader principle:  The Truth shall not only set us free, it is also fucking hillarious.

However, we shouldn’t just passively rely on television comedians to do all the heavy lifting for us.  Indeed, although many contemporary comedians seem to have a firm grasp on this fact*, others do not.  Remember Dennis Miller**?  Time for you and me to step up to the plate.  Here’s a little training exercise to get you started.  And who knows?  With a little coordination and work, maybe you and I can engineer a grass-roots heckling movement to save American democracy.… Read the rest

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Job Surge Boosts Economic Outlook

Employment has a slight rise, lay-offs see a decrease, college grads smile? Reuters reports:

A surprise surge in private-sector employment last month to its highest level on record provided the most bullish signal in months that the U.S. economy is on the mend.

“Sometimes numbers come as bolts from the blue; this is one of them,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.

Private employers added 297,000 jobs in December, triple the median estimate by economists and up from the gain of 92,000 in November, an ADP Employer Services report, whose data goes back to 2000, showed on Wednesday.

The report undercut the prices of the U.S. Treasury securities, and helped the U.S. dollar gain against the yen and the euro. U.S. stocks opened lower though they did pare losses after the jobs news.

[Continues at Reuters]

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The Economy of The Crow: Bird Brains Want to Throw Away $116 Billion A Year to Benefit The Richest 1.3% ‘Small’ Business Owners

There is an old folk saying that comes down from the Irish tradition:  “The economy of the crow”.  It’s uttered whenever some old wag wishes to describe, in a dryly pithy manner, a short-sighted and foolish resource management strategy.  It supposedly is derived from the habit of scavenger birds like crows who, upon noticing an unharvested bit of carrion ripe for the picking, tend to drop whatever goodies they may currently have in their clutches in order to go in pusuit.  Basically the saying is a ridicule, a chastisement of stupid waste.
Economy of The Crow
While that kind of bird-brained buffoonery may be understandable in a creature with the cranial capacity of a thimble, it’s not the type of responsible management practice we expect from our elected representatives.  Certainly not from the members of the party that claim in one breath to be both the party of fiscal responsibility and the party of deep business savvy.  Nonetheless that’s exactly what Republican’t douchebags like Paul Ryan (R-WI) and McConnell (R-KY) continue to parrot unashamedly when they urge for yet another tax cut for the wealthiest 2% of Americans.  We’ve already estimated at Chart 2 of this post that tax cuts for elite income individuals as proposed by Ryan will likely add $116 BILLION* per year to the deficit.… Read the rest

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Mort Zuckerman Slams United States

usnewsworldrMort Zuckerman, the Canadian-born American magazine editor, newspaper publisher, and real estate billionaire, uses his stuttering weekly news mag, U.S. News & World Report, to deliver an obituary for the U.S. economy. Generally speaking, when capitalist fanboys like Zuckerman say there’s something rotten in the state of Denmark, it’s wise to take them seriously:

The modern world has for centuries been dominated economically, intellectually, and physically by the civilization that arose in Western Europe in the wake of the Renaissance and Reformation and spread across the Atlantic.

Will that one day be seen as a passing phenomenon doomed to ascend ever upward and then slowly fizzle out like a firework?

It is nearly a century since that gloomy German mathematician and philosopher Oswald Spengler published his 1918 classic The Decline of the West. His arguments were complex, but basically he suggested that the future of the West was not as limitless as his peers imagined after the ghastly World War I.

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China And Russia Quit The American Dollar

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Photo: Ria Novosti

Via The China Daily:

St. Petersburg, Russia – China and Russia have decided to renounce the US dollar and resort to using their own currencies for bilateral trade, Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announced late on Tuesday.

Chinese experts said the move reflected closer relations between Beijing and Moscow and is not aimed at challenging the dollar, but to protect their domestic economies.

“About trade settlement, we have decided to use our own currencies,” Putin said at a joint news conference with Wen in St. Petersburg.

The two countries were accustomed to using other currencies, especially the dollar, for bilateral trade. Since the financial crisis, however, high-ranking officials on both sides began to explore other possibilities.

[Continues at The China Daily]

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Should Republicans Consider Hedging Their Bets On Paul ‘Speedy’ Ryan?

Rep. Paul Ryan

Rep. Paul Ryan

disinformation’s readers come through yet again. Responses to my last blogpost were extremely varied and thought provoking, with some well-reasoned and others less so.  The persistence of themes played out in some of the latter so impressed me that it well pleases me to once again examine the big ol’ “Fail” written all over Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) endorsement of the Laffer Curve, especially its implications for ‘The Velocity of Money’.

Remember ‘The Velocity of Money’?  That’s the basic economic concept introduced in our post about the hypothetical castration of Goldman Sachs.  It’s a thumbnail measure of how efficiently an economy employs its capital—the more often a single dollar is spent during a given year, the higher the rate of employment.  Any number of other theoretical implications can be drawn from that;  the higher the rate of employment, the greater economic, social and political equality, the higher the rate of technological innovation, etc., etc.… Read the rest

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Mall Fever: Will Christmas Shopping Revive The Economy This Year As It Hasn’t In Years Past?

Funny how, back in 1929, we had a black Thursday and then a Black Friday as the market crashed, plunging the country into a depression. Now we have every retailer in every mall in America on their knees praying for a prosperous black Friday the day after Thanksgiving.

The Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel, Florida. Photo: Wdwic Pictures (CC)

The Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel, Florida. Photo: Wdwic Pictures (CC)

If you read this argument before, it’s because I have been making it since 2007, year in and year out.  That’s on account of the reality that our economy is driven more by consumption than production, and most consuming takes place during the holidays.

So once again we are being asked to join a global ritual even if we are broke.

Get in gear people, and get your wallets back to the mall: do your duty for Santa and Wall Street. It will be difficult for the economic recovery to make much headway without a pick-up in consumer spending as it accounts for two-thirds of the economy.… Read the rest

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Britain Deals Trump Card To Rescue Economy: A Royal Wedding

RoyalMugThe question all the gossip mags are asking about Prince William’s Royal Wedding is why now? The Prince just said “The timing is right now, we are both very, very happy,” but cynics among us think it could just be a last gasp attempt to prevent Britain from slipping into a 1970s-style economic malaise. The news certainly has British retailers excited according to Reuters:

The marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton next year could give a 620 million pound ($985 million) boost to the British economy, retail researchers Verdict said on Wednesday.

The forecast came as Asda, Britain’s second-biggest supermarket group, said it was already selling a 5 pound mug to commemorate the engagement of the heir to the British throne to his long-term girlfriend, announced on Tuesday.

Verdict estimated the engagement could be worth 12-18 million pounds in merchandise sales, while sales of wedding-related products could top 26 million pounds.

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Do Tax Cuts for the Richest 2% Help or Hurt You? Read the Surprising Answer Here

Kudos once again to the fine team and readership at disinformation. Their comments continue to be extremely thought provoking. This article, chart and supporting calculation in the attached workbook are in resonse to their many insightful questions about inept Republican tax and economic policies.

Read The Surprising Answer Here
I get pissed when some dipwad tries to pull a fast one on me, as should we all.  The responsible conduct of business requires a level of trust that is decisively undermined when we’re lied to.  And while there is a time and place for everything, the place for bullshit is the weekend pintfest at a local pub, not in debates about income tax policy.  That’s why the fundamental dishonesty of Republican’t talking points has me so fired up.

The specific steaming pile that currently has me cheesed off is EGTRRA.  No, it’s not some type of horrible fat-free egg substitute; it’s the ironically named Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001.  The bit that’s currently in play right now is the Republican hijacking of economic recovery effots in order to renew tax cuts for the country’s fattest 2%.  And that just can’t be allowed to happen.  ‘Cause not only will it not result in any improvement in the real economy, it’s been proven to actually steal from the middle class to benefit the uber-rich.

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