Archive for March 2009
And they want their money.
Going to get ugly sooner than later.
We have all been so busy whining about bonuses at American International Group Inc. and arguing about the so-called card- check legislation that we forgot to watch the Social Security surplus. While we were looking away, that surplus disappeared, eight years ahead of schedule.
Something extraordinarily important was revealed in mid- March and received almost no news coverage. If you typed in the words “Social Security” on Google’s news service last Friday, the top hit was a New York story about a man who kept his dead mother in a freezer ever since she died back in 2007, just so he could continue to collect her benefit checks.
Almost as gruesome is the news about Social Security’s finances. Social Security has for years been the near-term bright spot in the federal budget. Each year the program has raised $50 billion to $100 billion more in payroll taxes than it paid out in benefits. Sure, deficits were expected far off in the future, but the current program was on sound financial footing.
Those days are, for the moment at least, behind us. According to the latest Congressional Budget Office estimate, the Social Security surplus will be only $3 billion in 2010. That number is almost surely too rosy, and the actual realization next year will be a big deficit. In February, according to data from the Social Security Office of the Actuary, the program paid out more in benefits than it collected in taxes and interest combined. There will be many more months like that before we are through.
Californians actually dumped a worthless Grey Davis for “Arnie”.
Just when you thought it was safe to drive in the People’s Republic of California–as long as your car isn’t painted black, here’s the latest “innovation” for “saving the planet” that is beginning to gain traction (pun intended) in our “most progressive” state: mandatory checking of tire pressure by auto repair shops every time a customer brings his car in for maintenance.
“An issue that briefly brought President Barack Obama ridicule on the campaign trail last year is gaining traction in California, where air regulators are seeking to mandate proper tire inflation as a way to reduce fuel consumption.
The state Air Resources Board on Thursday adopted a resolution requiring auto repair shops to check tire pressure every time drivers bring in their vehicle for maintenance, oil changes and smog tests. The next step is to develop detailed rules to implement the mandate, which will take effect in July 2010.
The elite are not going to be denied. They will make out just fine after the government screws us over to protect the powerful who bribe their way through life.
Any company or person who gets in their way will be knocked down. Martha Stewart, Bill Gates, Newt Gingrich, and Peter Schiff’s father, Irvine, just to name a few.
But the biggest target is good old Walmart. This company plays the game too well. giving the customer what it wants and getting local governments to subsidize them to do so. Paying just enough in wages to keep us there and offering practically life time employment.
When is the last time you heard that from a “Union shop?”(Heh heh.)
A Sure Bet!
Posted by Butler Shaffer at March 29, 2009 12:59 PM
I am willing to bet that the politicos, academics, and other self-styled “experts” who continue to deride Peter Schiff as a “kook,” nonetheless follow his advice in making their own investment decisions. Like the elitists who want to ban gun ownership for ordinary people – while insisting upon it for important persons such as themselves – or who oppose private schools for others – but not for their own children – the institutionalization of the double standard is essential to members of the power structure.
Remains to be seen if we get the next one. Sales have fallen about 9 % this month.
At least we are getting the store remodeled. Ready for the huge crowds from bankrupt competitors, I guess.
Walmart still rules as their stock has held up pretty good until Oba mama gives us union rule.
I still expect a so so summer at the store as unemployment catches up with Northern Idaho. So far 7.5% hasn’t had a big effect (FROM ABOUT 4% 2 years ago) but you never know because we are in uncharted waters.
My crew is now down to 4 full time from 7. Until sales pick up I don’t expect any new hires to fill the vacancies.
The guys we have are the best I have had here in the 18 months I’ve been here and we are getting it done.
As for the local economy, when stimulus money finally gets here it won’t mount too much because we have very little infrastructures to build or repair.
Other than that, the real estate market has fallen off about 10 % from very low levels anywhere else in the West but with unemployment this high and a lousy “affordability index“. (25 % of your monthly income equals your house payment) I don’t expect much improvement.
This by the way, as I have been blogging will be a big piece of getting us out of this mess. You can’t have millions of people “gambling” with the roof over their heads.
Until sanity returns and banks clear their books of corrupt loans we can expect a rerun in Real Estate as every one “needs” a house. Especially if the taxpayers give them one (heh heh)
I’m agreeing with “The Rolling Stone.”
Our political leaders have been bought. They only pay attention when absolutely facing having to find a real job. Very seldom do we get a chance to pay that attention to them because they are so beholden to big media.
Why else go on those T.V. shows and blather about their great policies and plans.
All aimed at taking your money and giving to people whom they think are worthy.
How much did they give to you?
Try this solution to get us out of this mess:
Round up the bad guys and jail them. Before they get killed.(Heh heh)
People are pissed off about this financial crisis, and about this bailout, but they’re not pissed off enough. The reality is that the worldwide economic meltdown and the bailout that followed were together a kind of revolution, a coup d’état. They cemented and formalized a political trend that has been snowballing for decades: the gradual takeover of the government by a small class of connected insiders, who used money to control elections, buy influence and systematically weaken financial regulations.
The crisis was the coup de grâce: Given virtually free rein over the economy, these same insiders first wrecked the financial world, then cunningly granted themselves nearly unlimited emergency powers to clean up their own mess. And so the gambling-addict leaders of companies like AIG end up not penniless and in jail, but with an Alien-style death grip on the Treasury and the Federal Reserve — “our partners in the government,” as Liddy put it with a shockingly casual matter-of-factness after the most recent bailout.
The mistake most people make in looking at the financial crisis is thinking of it in terms of money, a habit that might lead you to look at the unfolding mess as a huge bonus-killing downer for the Wall Street class. But if you look at it in purely Machiavellian terms, what you see is a colossal power grab that threatens to turn the federal government into a kind of giant Enron — a huge, impenetrable black box filled with self-dealing insiders whose scheme is the securing of individual profits at the expense of an ocean of unwitting involuntary shareholders, previously known as taxpayers.
When we get back to even we will begin to buy, invest and create jobs. Broke is a temporary position. Except for those of us who will be retiring in the next few years.
Millions of us!
The big bust is yet to come. We will have plenty of printing press money soon. Jobs will be given out to anyone who shows up and clocks in.
All government created and paid for, mostly.
Expect gas to hit 7 or 10 bucks in the next year or so barring a complete collapse of OPEC.
Which could happen.
Then the sky’s the limit.
Tax revenues will boom as we get hit with big tax hikes to pay the government bonds to the Chinese. We have to pay no matter what or it’s curtains. They will insist or Wall Street tycoons will have to jump out the windows. (dream on!)
History tells us that financial collapse occurs in fiat money systems when the economy runs out of borrowers and everyone stops spending and saves for future spending. (Why else would we save?)
Remember when gas prices went through the roof and too many broke dicks went bust. So broke they couldn’t buy gas and eat at the same time.
Let alone pay 50 % of their take home pay on crappy little house 30 miles from work.
Those guys have been wiped out. Time for another round of boom and bust until we run out of suckers again.
Yes we will!
P.S You’ll need a government job or your company needs a government guarantee to survive or as I’m doing, open a small and discrete side business. Cuts down on taxes until I get my SS check.
Then I disappear from the radar. (Heh heh)
The trouble with the economy is that the banks aren’t lending. The reality: The economy is in trouble because American consumers and businesses took on way too much debt and are now collapsing under the weight of it. As consumers retrench, companies that sell to them are retrenching, thus exacerbating the problem. The banks, meanwhile, are lending. They just aren’t lending as much as they used to. Also the shadow banking system (securitization markets), which actually provided more funding to the economy than the banks, has collapsed.
The banks aren’t lending because their balance sheets are loaded with “bad assets” that the market has temporarily mispriced. The reality: The banks aren’t lending (much) because they have decided to stop making loans to people and companies who can’t pay them back. And because the banks are scared that future writedowns on their old loans will lead to future losses that will wipe out their equity.
Bad assets are “bad” because the mark
One of the premier scientist talking here. Long article but he calls Al Gore an “opportunist”and will do anything to promote “environmentalism”.
His critics will say that he’s over 80 and senile. Long dead before the polar bears disappear and New Yorkers have to boat to work.
Pretty sharp criticism from people who never have to worry about a job. Food. Or doing something useful for a living.
That’s usually why leftists enter politics, entertainment and academia.
Beats working for a living, right?
Dyson says it’s only principle that leads him to question global warming: “According to the global-warming people, I say what I say because I’m paid by the oil industry. Of course I’m not, but that’s part of their rhetoric. If you doubt it, you’re a bad person, a tool of the oil or coal industry.” Global warming, he added, “has become a party line.”
What may trouble Dyson most about climate change are the experts. Experts are, he thinks, too often crippled by the conventional wisdom they create, leading to the belief that “they know it all.” The men he most admires tend to be what he calls “amateurs,” inventive spirits of uncredentialed brilliance like Bernhard Schmidt, an eccentric one-armed alcoholic telescope-lens designer; Milton Humason, a janitor at Mount Wilson Observatory in California whose native scientific aptitude was such that he was promoted to staff astronomer; and especially Darwin, who, Dyson says, “was really an amateur and beat the professionals at their own game.” It’s a point of pride with Dyson that in 1951 he became a member of the physics faculty at Cornell and then, two years later, moved on to the Institute for Advanced Study, where he became an influential man, a pragmatist providing solutions to the military and Congress, and also the 2000 winner of the $1 million Templeton Prize for broadening the understanding of science and religion, an award previously given to Mother Teresa and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn — all without ever earning a Ph.D. Dyson may, in fact, be the ultimate outsider-insider, “the world’s most civil heretic,” as the classical composer Paul Moravec, the artistic consultant at the institute, says of him.