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User avatar
By BigSteve
#15033752
Drlee wrote:All of the indicators show that the American worker is getting well and truly fucked by the Republican party.


You seem to have some sick, unwavering need to blame the Republicans for all the ills of our society.

You could've asked your questions to anyone in Georgia while Obama or Clinton were in office and the answers would be the same, so your point falls on its face, Grandpa.

My income says I reside in the upper reaches of the middle class. I'm well off, but I wouldn't say I'm rich (I'm sure you and your liberal friends would, though). If you ask me if I pay too much in taxes, I'm going to tell you yes. Why? Because I am, that's why. I still have plenty of money, but I should have more of what I earn.

What some fry cook in Georgia thinks doesn't really matter to me. You want him to get $15 an hour? Fine. Give it to him and see what happens. When I was driving home from Ohio a couple of weeks ago I stopped in a Burger King. I walked up to the counter and waited. Someone walked from the back and told me that I'd need to use one of the the kiosks, which were behind me, to order. I ordered and paid right there, never having to deal with someone at the counter. Once the order was put together someone brought it out.

I commented about the whole system they had, and the woman I spoke with said it was a result, in large part, of workers; those "service workers" demanding more money for performing what is, let's face it, not exactly rocket science. When they threatened to quit if they didn't get paid more, the owner fired them...
User avatar
By BigSteve
#15033753
jimjam wrote:But while Trump realizes that he’s in trouble, there’s no indication that he understands why.


Did you watch last night's debate?

Trump's about as far away from being in trouble as a guy can get...
User avatar
By Presvias
#15033756
JohnRawls wrote:Simply not true, look at it from the standpoint that 1945 till 1980s was the Cold War economic era aka the American dream of sorts.

Taxes Rate for the Rich:

Image

Effective Tax rate on Corporations(Its even lower now):

Image

Effctive tax Rate on different percentiles/Quintilles:

Image

What this caused:

Image

The reason why Trump is around:

Image


What a shame that such a comprehensive post gets a 1-2 line reply.

He's obviously a bright guy, but like many 'muricans he appears to be absolutely evangelised by the church of Rump.
User avatar
By jimjam
#15033765
BigSteve wrote:Did you watch last night's debate?

Trump's about as far away from being in trouble as a guy can get...

No, I had more interesting things to do. I find it ironic that Donald's conned dupes sound more and more like Hillary's dupes of '16.

Oh come on Steve ….. Donald is in trouble and, to his credit, he knows it. The only thing trickling down from his incompetent money moves is shit that is falling squarely on his so called "base". Why else would he be babbling on about the Fed lowering interest rates below zero and tax breaks for non billionaires. He's becoming desperate. Maybe he can get his friends at the Deutsch Bank to launder some Russian oligarch cash into the economy two weeks before the election. That's about as deep as his understanding of economics goes :lol: .
User avatar
By blackjack21
#15033766
JohnRawls wrote:If you are going to read it then think of this a systemic issue or issue of practices that are linked to each other right now and not as a one off example. It is pretty close to what I was talking about but it goes a bit further than just capital-labour relationship because it is an example:

It's one example, and it is a very good example. However, I think his prescriptions wouldn't necessarily solve the problem. Increasing competition is boilerplate capitalism. The tax and profit proscriptions are boilerplate Marxism. Thinking about it for a bit, I think the appeal of Marxism is that it does a great job of analyzing problems. So good, that people overlook piss poor quality of the prescription.

Mark Dice is kind of an ass, and most of his videos are politically-oriented, but he's funny and had a somewhat cogent commentary on Apple the other day. He bashes CEO Tim Cook's leadership, comparing him to John Sculley. He also puts in a clip of Steve Jobs, who has an interesting commentary about 3 minutes in that's right in line with the cultural problem your article addresses:



Back to your posted article, the critique of capitalism as being "hijacked" by financiers is spot on. However, I have big reservations about his solution.

Matt Stoler wrote:The solution to this political crisis is fairly simple (me: no, it's not), and it involves two basic principles. One, policymakers have to increase competition for large powerful companies, to bring profits down. Executives should spend their time competing with each other to build quality products, not finding ways of attracting former generals, or administration officials to their board of directors. Two, policymakers should raise taxes on wealth and high incomes to radically reduce the concentration of wealth, which will make looting irrational.(me: bad idea. It will also make innovation irrational, which is why communism doesn't work)

I agree that increasing competition would be a good thing, but trying to bring profits down is absolutely the wrong reason to increase competition. In my opinion, it's just stupid. It also fails to provide an analysis of other companies that do invest and who don't turn big profits; namely, Amazon. Whereas, a company like Tesla is in fact unprofitable, Amazon can turn massive profits, but chooses not to in order to avoid taxes. Instead, Bezos continues to innovate. Personally, I think Bezos is sort of a prick too, but he has been very innovative with the use of data, robots, supply chains, and the like. We have to separate principles from personalities. So Bezos doesn't fit the mold of a mercenary CEO. The difference is in people like Tim Cook and Steve Jobs. Tim Cook is a good student who is good at math, worked the elite school alumni connections and landed himself an incredibly good paying gig. He has control over hundreds of billions of dollars in financial capital. What innovations have occurred under his watch? Nothing. Mark Dice's commentary on that is pretty spot on. Apple under Tim Cook could purchase the bottom 80% of the S&P 500 companies with the cash he has on hand. That's how big and powerful Apple is. Yet, his innovations are nil, because he's not an engineer.

For edification, I'll repeat something our CEO said to an employee who asked why we don't plow all the cash we have on hand toward innovation. He said more or less, "If we hire people and invest in new technology, our costs go up. If our costs increase by just 5%, Wall Street will punish us and our stock will be down 20% overnight. We would be better off taking $500M in cash to the parking lot and setting it on fire." He's right. That's the problem we need to fix.

That's why I have said repeatedly that we need to increase gross investment. From a monetary policy perspective, that's what the central banks are trying to do by engineering 0% interest rates. Prick that he is, Bezos is investing in new technology; prick that he is, Tim Cook really isn't. I think what is needed is a combination of a corporate wealth tax that is offset by an investment tax credit. The corporate wealth tax would punish capital hording, but relieve it if some percentage of corporate capital is invested directly into R&D or indirectly (venture capital) to new companies. Even a knucklehead like Tim Cook could figure that out, and all CEOs could explain it to Wall Street analysts. Another way around the capital hording problem is to eliminate the double taxation of dividends. If companies pay out a dividend, they SHOULD NOT have to pay income tax on what they pay out.

On a much more serious note compared to Mark Dice, and for our poster not as familiar with the Bretton Woods system, I'd recommend this recent CaspianReport video (and I would recommend subscribing to Shirvan's channel).



Again, separating principles from personalities, this is why Trump is very relevant politically and attacks on his personality will not work. Trump's political mantra is that the post-WWII system designed to rebuild Europe and defeat the Soviet Union no longer makes political sense to Middle America. Like Marxism, Trump may not have the right answer, but he's spot on at analyzing some of America's structural problems.

JohnRawls wrote:As i mentioned, it doesn't solve anything. A tax cut is only that, a tax cut. The problem is not that middle class or upper classes are over taxed. The problem is that the wages of the middle class don't grow and a tax cut is at best a one of thing. It doesn't solve any systemic issues.

The middle class is definitely over taxed. The economic rationale of a tax cut is that it will increase aggregate demand. It also reduces some of the resentment that taxpayers have towards those who live off of government largess. AOC, as Trump's alter-ego, promotes guaranteed minimum income even for people who basically don't want to work. I've noted why that won't work: basically, among our poorest population, we have the concomitant problem of low-IQ, drug addiction and mental illness. Drug addicted people will just use a basic minimum income to buy more drugs. Already, we have governments that provide sterile needles to heroin junkies, who dispose of them on sidewalks and gutters, rather than garbage cans on the corners of city streets; and, provide them with methadone (invented by the Nazis, by the way) to increase the flow of funds to corporations and reduce the flow of funds to drug dealers.

The fact that the media does not cover the resentment of taxpayers of the foregoing issues doesn't mean that those sentiments don't exist. It is in fact why Trump--seemingly out of the blue, and to the utter disbelief of the chattering classes--defeated 17 mainstream Republicans and then defeated the exceptionally well-funded and politically connected Hillary Clinton (who sat on the board of WalMart).

JohnRawls wrote:They are both wrong and miss the point.

Are they wrong and miss the point, or is it more to the point of the article--they are very well compensated for defending the indefensible? Take Brexit for example. You may agree with it or disagree with it. Yet, the anti-Brexiteers/Remainers are actively working to undermine the will of the people. The EU has routinely used FUD campaigns to get what it wants. Remainer Tories and Labour waged a scorched Earth campaign indicating that Britain's economy would implode if they left the EU. Voters went for Brexit anyway. Like American politicians, British politicians are also trying to use the courts to thwart their political opponents in spite of the fact that Brexiteers are the political majority in the UK. Like I said, Tim Cook isn't an idiot, but he's not an engineer or product manager either. So Tim Cook is doing what's good for Tim Cook. Politicians are doing the same thing.

JohnRawls wrote:It does not mean that they are taxed too much in reality if you look at the data.

The "data" is just an enigma used to justify the current system. I live in California. At $330k last year, I'm middle class. Maybe on the upper end of it, but I'm not considered rich by California standards. I paid over $80k in taxes last year. I do not subscribe to Marxism, so "fairness" does not appeal to my sensibilities. If I'm paying taxes at those rates, why aren't the roads paved as smooth as a baby's butt? My money is going somewhere, but it sure as hell isn't going to the basic services the government is supposed to be providing. I participate on boards like PoFo, because we are "observed" as it were by the establishment. For example, I railed on about it taking 20+ years to replace half the span of the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge when it only took 4 years to build it both spans. Obama himself picked up on that criticism and commented on it. People with 8th grade educations were more productive in the 1930s than college-educated government bureaucrats in the 2000s. A lot of the steel for that bridge came from China, too. Did outsourcing the steel save taxpayers money? Yes, probably. However, government spending on foreign steel DID NOT stimulate aggregate demand in the United States. Even Shirvan doesn't cover that in the foregoing and well articulated video above. I agree with people who say, "You can have global trade or a welfare state, but not both." More pointedly, I say--even though it is still taught as gospel in business schools and economics departments--that in a global free trade system, Keynesianism DOESN'T WORK. Stimulating aggregate demand for steel in China doesn't increase US GDP. It lowers it. Nobody in power seems to have picked up on my point there yet; however, during the Ferguson riots, I wrote to anyone who would listen that the places where all this alleged police brutality was occurring was in places where political control was the exclusive power of the Democratic party for over 50 years. Finally, that criticism is common in the lexicon of FoxNews contributors--particularly Tucker Carlson, although it was Bill O'Reilly who first picked up on my commentary.

Back to more polemical style, but worth noting, Paul Joseph Watson comments on "Pod people"--people who rent bunks in a collective living situation. It's interesting, because he batts back counter-arguments that "this is capitalism", as though capitalism makes everything right.



Populism and nationalism are very real political forces now, and they are not going away.

BigSteve wrote:Did you watch last night's debate?

Trump's about as far away from being in trouble as a guy can get...

Trump's 2016 win was an inside straight. He has to duplicate that, which means he does have to do well in the states he improbably won in 2016--Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania. Wall Street billionaires, and their good friend jimjam, don't like Trump's trade war with China. A stock market crash could hurt Trump's chances in 2020, which is why the left is rooting for that to happen.

Presvias wrote:What a shame that such a comprehensive post gets a 1-2 line reply.

The problem with JohnRawls' post is that the figures are deeply misleading. In the past, you could write off all kinds of things that you cannot write off today. For example, before the 1986 tax reform act, you could write of the interest you paid on your credit cards. No more. There were so many tax shelters before that don't exist now. Lots of people used to have a "cabin" in the mountains somewhere, because they could write it off. You can't do that stuff anymore. Oil and gas drilling, and on and on. So nobody paid those high rates of tax with the lack of exemptions that are the case today. In fact, one effect of Trump's tax plan is that you are limited in the amount of state and local tax (SALT) you can deduct on your federal return now. So while the tax cut is beneficial to the lower middle class and the working class, it has a nasty bite in it for people who live in blue states. I paid a lower rate of tax with Trump's reforms, but I paid more taxes because of the SALT limits. The economic theory behind limiting the deductions is that the deductions create economic distortions.
User avatar
By Presvias
#15033770
There's so much wrong with your post, but just on amazon..you have to look at their free cash flow.

https://www.vox.com/recode/2019/8/21/20 ... ned-charts

Over-exaggerating the drug and mental health problems - trumpium & TDS (which should actually mean being deranged in favour of trump ;) ) excepted - and the insane stuff about how no one gets tax breaks anymore ( https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.brooki ... asion/amp/ )

It's not very reasonable is it?

Let's not even start with your completely 100% incorrect points about Brexit. I should know being British.

And the neg interest rate point was thoroughly debunked by the FT; It's going to be very bad news. Not sure if this sharing link is still valid but..

https://on.ft.com/2PY2gLm

Spoiler: show
Fiscal stimulus is an obvious circuit breaker in this race to the bottom in currencies and yields. The market is making it easy for countries to borrow more, yet governments remain strangely reluctant.
Companies are also failing to take advantage of negative yields. To date, only a handful have locked them in the primary market. Businesses appear to be worried about the economic environment and the risks they face in taking on more leverage.

Yet, if the domination of negative yields is sustained, companies will surely focus on bond markets rather than equity markets. Why, when you can be paid to borrow, would you look to public offerings instead?

This would create a unrecognisable environment: the pipeline of investible public companies could essentially dry up. Unviable companies would be granted extended lifelines, propped up by high valuations solely based on record low debt rates.
Is this the world central banks were hoping to create when they started out on the long road of unconventional monetary policy all those years ago
User avatar
By JohnRawls
#15033781
blackjack21 wrote:It's one example, and it is a very good example. However, I think his prescriptions wouldn't necessarily solve the problem. Increasing competition is boilerplate capitalism. The tax and profit proscriptions are boilerplate Marxism. Thinking about it for a bit, I think the appeal of Marxism is that it does a great job of analyzing problems. So good, that people overlook piss poor quality of the prescription.

Mark Dice is kind of an ass, and most of his videos are politically-oriented, but he's funny and had a somewhat cogent commentary on Apple the other day. He bashes CEO Tim Cook's leadership, comparing him to John Sculley. He also puts in a clip of Steve Jobs, who has an interesting commentary about 3 minutes in that's right in line with the cultural problem your article addresses:



Back to your posted article, the critique of capitalism as being "hijacked" by financiers is spot on. However, I have big reservations about his solution.


I agree that increasing competition would be a good thing, but trying to bring profits down is absolutely the wrong reason to increase competition. In my opinion, it's just stupid. It also fails to provide an analysis of other companies that do invest and who don't turn big profits; namely, Amazon. Whereas, a company like Tesla is in fact unprofitable, Amazon can turn massive profits, but chooses not to in order to avoid taxes. Instead, Bezos continues to innovate. Personally, I think Bezos is sort of a prick too, but he has been very innovative with the use of data, robots, supply chains, and the like. We have to separate principles from personalities. So Bezos doesn't fit the mold of a mercenary CEO. The difference is in people like Tim Cook and Steve Jobs. Tim Cook is a good student who is good at math, worked the elite school alumni connections and landed himself an incredibly good paying gig. He has control over hundreds of billions of dollars in financial capital. What innovations have occurred under his watch? Nothing. Mark Dice's commentary on that is pretty spot on. Apple under Tim Cook could purchase the bottom 80% of the S&P 500 companies with the cash he has on hand. That's how big and powerful Apple is. Yet, his innovations are nil, because he's not an engineer.

For edification, I'll repeat something our CEO said to an employee who asked why we don't plow all the cash we have on hand toward innovation. He said more or less, "If we hire people and invest in new technology, our costs go up. If our costs increase by just 5%, Wall Street will punish us and our stock will be down 20% overnight. We would be better off taking $500M in cash to the parking lot and setting it on fire." He's right. That's the problem we need to fix.

That's why I have said repeatedly that we need to increase gross investment. From a monetary policy perspective, that's what the central banks are trying to do by engineering 0% interest rates. Prick that he is, Bezos is investing in new technology; prick that he is, Tim Cook really isn't. I think what is needed is a combination of a corporate wealth tax that is offset by an investment tax credit. The corporate wealth tax would punish capital hording, but relieve it if some percentage of corporate capital is invested directly into R&D or indirectly (venture capital) to new companies. Even a knucklehead like Tim Cook could figure that out, and all CEOs could explain it to Wall Street analysts. Another way around the capital hording problem is to eliminate the double taxation of dividends. If companies pay out a dividend, they SHOULD NOT have to pay income tax on what they pay out.

On a much more serious note compared to Mark Dice, and for our poster not as familiar with the Bretton Woods system, I'd recommend this recent CaspianReport video (and I would recommend subscribing to Shirvan's channel).



Again, separating principles from personalities, this is why Trump is very relevant politically and attacks on his personality will not work. Trump's political mantra is that the post-WWII system designed to rebuild Europe and defeat the Soviet Union no longer makes political sense to Middle America. Like Marxism, Trump may not have the right answer, but he's spot on at analyzing some of America's structural problems.


The middle class is definitely over taxed. The economic rationale of a tax cut is that it will increase aggregate demand. It also reduces some of the resentment that taxpayers have towards those who live off of government largess. AOC, as Trump's alter-ego, promotes guaranteed minimum income even for people who basically don't want to work. I've noted why that won't work: basically, among our poorest population, we have the concomitant problem of low-IQ, drug addiction and mental illness. Drug addicted people will just use a basic minimum income to buy more drugs. Already, we have governments that provide sterile needles to heroin junkies, who dispose of them on sidewalks and gutters, rather than garbage cans on the corners of city streets; and, provide them with methadone (invented by the Nazis, by the way) to increase the flow of funds to corporations and reduce the flow of funds to drug dealers.

The fact that the media does not cover the resentment of taxpayers of the foregoing issues doesn't mean that those sentiments don't exist. It is in fact why Trump--seemingly out of the blue, and to the utter disbelief of the chattering classes--defeated 17 mainstream Republicans and then defeated the exceptionally well-funded and politically connected Hillary Clinton (who sat on the board of WalMart).


Are they wrong and miss the point, or is it more to the point of the article--they are very well compensated for defending the indefensible? Take Brexit for example. You may agree with it or disagree with it. Yet, the anti-Brexiteers/Remainers are actively working to undermine the will of the people. The EU has routinely used FUD campaigns to get what it wants. Remainer Tories and Labour waged a scorched Earth campaign indicating that Britain's economy would implode if they left the EU. Voters went for Brexit anyway. Like American politicians, British politicians are also trying to use the courts to thwart their political opponents in spite of the fact that Brexiteers are the political majority in the UK. Like I said, Tim Cook isn't an idiot, but he's not an engineer or product manager either. So Tim Cook is doing what's good for Tim Cook. Politicians are doing the same thing.


The "data" is just an enigma used to justify the current system. I live in California. At $330k last year, I'm middle class. Maybe on the upper end of it, but I'm not considered rich by California standards. I paid over $80k in taxes last year. I do not subscribe to Marxism, so "fairness" does not appeal to my sensibilities. If I'm paying taxes at those rates, why aren't the roads paved as smooth as a baby's butt? My money is going somewhere, but it sure as hell isn't going to the basic services the government is supposed to be providing. I participate on boards like PoFo, because we are "observed" as it were by the establishment. For example, I railed on about it taking 20+ years to replace half the span of the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge when it only took 4 years to build it both spans. Obama himself picked up on that criticism and commented on it. People with 8th grade educations were more productive in the 1930s than college-educated government bureaucrats in the 2000s. A lot of the steel for that bridge came from China, too. Did outsourcing the steel save taxpayers money? Yes, probably. However, government spending on foreign steel DID NOT stimulate aggregate demand in the United States. Even Shirvan doesn't cover that in the foregoing and well articulated video above. I agree with people who say, "You can have global trade or a welfare state, but not both." More pointedly, I say--even though it is still taught as gospel in business schools and economics departments--that in a global free trade system, Keynesianism DOESN'T WORK. Stimulating aggregate demand for steel in China doesn't increase US GDP. It lowers it. Nobody in power seems to have picked up on my point there yet; however, during the Ferguson riots, I wrote to anyone who would listen that the places where all this alleged police brutality was occurring was in places where political control was the exclusive power of the Democratic party for over 50 years. Finally, that criticism is common in the lexicon of FoxNews contributors--particularly Tucker Carlson, although it was Bill O'Reilly who first picked up on my commentary.

Back to more polemical style, but worth noting, Paul Joseph Watson comments on "Pod people"--people who rent bunks in a collective living situation. It's interesting, because he batts back counter-arguments that "this is capitalism", as though capitalism makes everything right.



Populism and nationalism are very real political forces now, and they are not going away.


Trump's 2016 win was an inside straight. He has to duplicate that, which means he does have to do well in the states he improbably won in 2016--Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania. Wall Street billionaires, and their good friend jimjam, don't like Trump's trade war with China. A stock market crash could hurt Trump's chances in 2020, which is why the left is rooting for that to happen.


The problem with JohnRawls' post is that the figures are deeply misleading. In the past, you could write off all kinds of things that you cannot write off today. For example, before the 1986 tax reform act, you could write of the interest you paid on your credit cards. No more. There were so many tax shelters before that don't exist now. Lots of people used to have a "cabin" in the mountains somewhere, because they could write it off. You can't do that stuff anymore. Oil and gas drilling, and on and on. So nobody paid those high rates of tax with the lack of exemptions that are the case today. In fact, one effect of Trump's tax plan is that you are limited in the amount of state and local tax (SALT) you can deduct on your federal return now. So while the tax cut is beneficial to the lower middle class and the working class, it has a nasty bite in it for people who live in blue states. I paid a lower rate of tax with Trump's reforms, but I paid more taxes because of the SALT limits. The economic theory behind limiting the deductions is that the deductions create economic distortions.


I'd say that most things you say is fair but lets try to reach a common denominator of sorts first because we are spreading the discussion a bit in all directions. Lets make it simpler. This is my side of the story how i think it is. If possible try to also write it as below, 1 - Core problem. 2 - What is causing it. 3 - Solutions:

1) What is the core of the problem? In my opinion the main core of the problem is that Millenials are simply not getting paid enough which leads to taking more debt which in return leads to them needing to return that debt but barely able to because their salaries don't rise. This creates human misery and unsatisfactory. Everything I write stems from this perception of sorts on the topic. Also i single out Millenials the most because they are most impacted by this but in general it applies to other generations also (Boomers, Gen Z, Gen x etc)

2) If that is the core of the problem then what is causing it? As you mentioned, the current financial/economic system makes little sense because it doesn't really incentivise anything besides getting more profit.(Profit for profit sake is very useless in my opinion if it doesn't innovate or doesn't increase standard of living for people through wages usually) Which usually comes in a form of cost-efficient enterprise through the financial market. (Basically keeping costs as low as possible while maintaining your profits) You get high value on the financial market and you as CEO are happy and the shareholders are happy. Tax cuts and such are mainly addressing this problem of the economy( Lower taxes -> More margins -> More cost-effectivness -> Better financial position on the stock exchage)

On the other hand you have small, medium businesses that are screwed by this process. They might not be directly linked to the financial market BUT they require to compete against the medium/large enterprises that are listed. So their profit margins are very low compared to the big boys who have the benefits of outsourcing to X cheap labour country, politicians in management position inside the company, tax dodging and the ability to compete for investment since the small companies will be considered inferior as an investment due to their lower margins.

3) So what is the solution? I will approach this in a more theoretical way, we both understand that there are left, right and inbetween solutions and opinions on everything so.

a) We need to unlink our Labour markets from the global system. Not perhaps all of the system but we can't ask our workers to continue competing under unfair conditions vs Chinese/Indian/African/South American etc man power which is several fold larger in numbers, way more unemployed and costs dozens of fold less.

b) We need to encourage investment in our own countries at the expense of other countries. (Again China, India,Africa etc) Basically find a way to force the companies to invest in to our own countries instead of taking the easy route of using their capital abroad.

c) Put a stop to the current system of financial abuse within the economy. Profits for profits sake are not okay. Technically it grows the economy but it doesn't benefit the people. Put conditional taxes on out sourcers. So if the company outsources then it will have to pay more taxes. Put conditional tax breaks that if they invest in the country then they will pay less taxes. I am not sure how to deal with companies that are basically out source service providers(Companies that build stuff in China and then give it to Apple but are not Apple). Perhaps some form of tariffs but not in a classical sense that all goods of this kind fall under them. I mean standard tariffs might be also okay but they cause a backlash from the country you put them on.

d) In general, it would be preferable to prevent stockpiling of capital within US or EU. This is not bad per se but it has affects for safe assets like housing. What i mean by this is that Capital tends to view US and EU as a safe haven for assets and capital where it can wait out the bad times and then get back to work after the bad times have passed. Make it work for us instead or at least in some other form than right now. If Chinese, Russians, Indians are willing to run away from their countries with their capital then don't simply let them go back there and instead force them to invest locally in to something that is NOT super safe assets like housing.

e) After a, b, c, d are addressed then we will need to clamp down on immigration. Move immigration in to the legal domain and heavily clamp down against illegal immigration so most of it will only happen through legal channels. For EU it would require a some kind of fair system where any country chooses how many if at all they want to take in and be responsible for them moneteraly. For US i guess it would mean the same. In both cases illegal immigration should be prevented to the point of just not letting people in, turning back the vessels and sending anybody who is a facilitating this to jail. (Including NGOs of any sort not just smugglers)
User avatar
By Drlee
#15033816
You could've asked your questions to anyone in Georgia while Obama or Clinton were in office and the answers would be the same, so your point falls on its face, Grandpa.


Yes they would have. But the difference Einstein is that both Obama and Clinton advocated for a much higher minimum wage and universal single payer health care. The republicans stopped both.

And, oh by the way, I will compare income with you any day. So please refrain from lecturing me on what it means to have a much higher than average net worth and annual income. Unlike you I am not prepared to leave the next generation of Americans in debt to fund another small penis lens for my camera. Or...pick your toy.
By Hindsite
#15033817
BigSteve wrote:You seem to have some sick, unwavering need to blame the Republicans for all the ills of our society.

You could've asked your questions to anyone in Georgia while Obama or Clinton were in office and the answers would be the same, so your point falls on its face, Grandpa.

My income says I reside in the upper reaches of the middle class. I'm well off, but I wouldn't say I'm rich (I'm sure you and your liberal friends would, though). If you ask me if I pay too much in taxes, I'm going to tell you yes. Why? Because I am, that's why. I still have plenty of money, but I should have more of what I earn.

What some fry cook in Georgia thinks doesn't really matter to me. You want him to get $15 an hour? Fine. Give it to him and see what happens. When I was driving home from Ohio a couple of weeks ago I stopped in a Burger King. I walked up to the counter and waited. Someone walked from the back and told me that I'd need to use one of the the kiosks, which were behind me, to order. I ordered and paid right there, never having to deal with someone at the counter. Once the order was put together someone brought it out.

I commented about the whole system they had, and the woman I spoke with said it was a result, in large part, of workers; those "service workers" demanding more money for performing what is, let's face it, not exactly rocket science. When they threatened to quit if they didn't get paid more, the owner fired them...

Those kiosk machines have become very popular at hospitals too. In most cases you no longer have to even talk with the people at the reception desks anymore. You just point to your answers for the questions on the kiosk machine and when done, take a seat and wait until you are called.

President Trump's policies are definitely better than any of the Democrats and the economy has improved a lot since he was elected, so I don't think he should be worried about any of them beating him. However, a lot of Republicans in Congress have decided to not run for re-election in 2020, so he may be worried about that.

Drlee wrote:Unlike you I am not prepared to leave the next generation of Americans in debt to fund another small penis lens for my camera. Or...pick your toy.

By the way, that small penis remark was debunked three years ago.
User avatar
By blackjack21
#15033833
JohnRawls wrote:If possible try to also write it as below, 1 - Core problem. 2 - What is causing it. 3 - Solutions:

Agreed.

1. Core Problem: I read your core problem, and to me it reads more like a symptom than the actual problem. While it's a bit nebulous, in one sense the core problem is a failure of citizenship. By that, I mean that the average citizen inherited a system they didn't build and don't know how it works. Citizens have been content letting "experts" run things, but "experts" also inherited a system they didn't build. Your article cites a problem of CEOs being only about profit, and notes an issue that is more or less "cronyism"--that bureaucrats, politicians, military officers and the like go back and forth between the public and private sector. That was my point about Hillary Clinton being a director for Wal Mart. Another one of the things I regularly highlight is starting to get a little bit more traction too; namely, part of Eisenhower's Farewell Address that is largely ignored. Everybody knows the military-industrial complex warning, because the higher education is generally leftist and generally opposed to the US military. However, Eisenhower also said:

Eisenhower wrote:In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present -- and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

I think Eisenhower hit on a fundamental problem in the wake of WWII, which led to something of a technocracy if you will. This presumption that "experts" are to be highly regarded, and that we must make policy according to their dictates is deeply misguided. While most on the left disagree with me, the debate on global warming is a perfect example of a scientific-technological elite trying to make policy in a manner that bypasses the citizenry. However, it doesn't stop there.


2. What is causing it?: So going back to your core problem of low wages and high debt. Why does this happen? A big part of it in the last 30 years was trade policy with China. If you take policy makers at their word that global warming is this huge danger--and global warming was something talked about in the early 1990s--does it make sense to take a country where people ride bicycles everywhere (China) and put them in a position to drive automobiles thereby spiking CO2 output when you are preaching to anyone who will listen of the dangers of CO2? Does it make sense to be shutting down our own coal plants, while China creates their own? If the Cold War between the West and the Soviet Union ended, does it make sense to tolerate a totalitarian government in China that has no respect for human rights, free speech, political plurality, private property, environmental safeguards, labor safeguards or intellectual property? The very obvious answer is "No!". Yet, here we are in a situation that our policy makers have been pushing for a generation. Opposition to where we are now was waged by the recently deceased Ross Perot. Yet, it revealed something that has become obvious to a lot of Americans now--that there isn't a dime's worth of difference between the two major parties. By running for president in opposition to NAFTA, Perot delivered the presidency to Bill Clinton.

Separating principles and personalities again, the impact of Clinton's presidency is greatly under-appreciated for its historical significance principally because of his poor moral character and the inclination of people to focus on that to the exclusion of what he actually accomplished as president. Clinton passed NAFTA, GATT, MFN status for China, a telecommunications bill (that led to opening the internet), banking reform (which led to the 2008 financial crisis), the Family and Medical Leave Act, etc. Clinton was every bit as consequential as Reagan, who can be credited with collapsing the Soviet Union. Clinton's presidency created much of the legislation for where we are today. The internet is why we have so much trade with India, because India in effect became America's back office. In this way, Clinton could be viewed as every bit as consequential as Reagan, Johnson and Roosevelt. Yet, for all the people who love the Democratic party and Clinton, I'm always bewildered when I ask the question, "Name one thing Clinton enacted that you agree with?" I would say about 85% of the time, they cannot come up with a single thing--the people who voted for him, who will trash the Republicans to no end, etc. They straight up have no fucking clue what he did as president. They take my question as an assertion that Clinton did nothing, and that's not what I think at all. In my view, this total inability to know what a politician actually accomplished is a failure of citizenship. You can only blame the media and academia to some degree. People do need to accept responsibility for understanding policy.

3. Solutions: In some respects, I'm pessimistic about how things will resolve, because I don't think ignorant people will take the time to really focus on what policy positions they support and why. Kids coming out of school today think socialism is a good idea in spite of it failing pretty much everywhere it gets implemented. On the other hand, people seem to know that politicians have fucked them over. Donald Trump, Brexit, Gilets Jaunes, AfD, etc. represent a sea change in public attitudes toward government. It is much clearer now that government in many respects is operating without the consent of the governed in so-called democratic societies, and the methods of government--the dishonesty, propaganda, counterintuitive prescriptions like global warming coupled with free trade with China--are pretty sophisticated at undermining the will of the electorate.

Some of the near term solutions are greatly opposed by globalists--tariffs for example. We didn't trade with the Soviet Union much at all. Western Europe bought natural gas from them, but not a whole lot else, certainly not cars, televisions, etc. Why would we have free trade with China? Trump is right on the money here, but he faces stiff opposition. For example, @jimjam will argue against Trump's economic policies even though jimjam more or less agrees with Trump's position on China. I think jimjam is too old to become disconnected from the two-party system, but many people in my generation and younger have left it behind. Yet, to listen to the Democratic party debates, all they can think to do is come up with trillions in free giveaway programs.

You can look at that as left wing or right wing or whatever. To me, the banking system is in trouble and they need to find a way to get people to go for even more debt. So we end up with almost absurd political debates--free health care for illegal aliens at the expense of working class people who don't have the same benefits. It's quite mind boggling. In many respects, I think they are just cynically trying to buy votes. Yet, they couldn't stop Trump, Brexit voters, the Gilets Jaunes and so forth.

In our debates on Darwinism, I find myself much less trusting of so-called scientists, because they have become utterly intertwined with politics and they seem to be more interested in anti-religion and left of center politics than they are at discovering more about our physical world, perhaps in part because in understanding intelligence as a first class physical force they do not get to put themselves as elite, pre-eminent or whatever. In view of spending so many trillions of dollars, I think actually quite a bit of that should be going to scientific research--and not on dummy degrees like Women's Studies and such.

Understanding genetics considerably better is something that will take quite a lot of money. Understanding 2D allotropes like graphene, or how to mass produce carbon nanotubes cost effectively, and so forth are areas where we could spend a hell of a lot of money and with some significant breakthroughs be at the cusp of a new stage of development. There are no guarantees with research, and undertaking it you have to be comfortable with the fact that you don't know, which is difficult for people who style themselves as all-knowing experts. There is a real downside to the welfare state in that it is now creating financial incentives for the elderly to commit suicide rather than incentives to learn about the science of aging and reversing or retarding its more deleterious effects. So I think we are at a turning point politically, because I think the masses have rightly lost confidence in the establishment. When an unapologetic Marxist can write something like Trump will be re-elected because of left-liberal stupidity: Through all his shocking vulgarities, he is providing his followers with a narrative which makes sense--you have to kind of realize that the gig is up for the internationalist banker class right now. People no longer trust them, and I think rightly so.
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By Drlee
#15033872
So I think we are at a turning point politically, because I think the masses have rightly lost confidence in the establishment. When an unapologetic Marxist can write something like Trump will be re-elected because of left-liberal stupidity: Through all his shocking vulgarities, he is providing his followers with a narrative which makes sense--you have to kind of realize that the gig is up for the internationalist banker class right now. People no longer trust them, and I think rightly so.


From your mouth to God's ears. Oh that it is so.

That was a very thoughtful post. I don't agree with all of it but I do agree with a great deal of it. The hope seems to be a revival of the notion that one ought to vote one's own interest rather than some party orthodoxy. Sadly the democrats have not gotten there yet.

The illegal immigration issue is a classic example. Clearly Trump is on the right side of the issue but he is simply solving it the wrong way. He has done nothing about the why they come here and concentrated on the how. His wall is a monument to "how to correctly identify a problem, present it to the people, gain support and do the wrong thing". He is too much the businessman to stop the problem in its tracks by applying a cheap and simple solution in the marketplace. And he could have done this when he had the whole shooting match. Except business did not want it. (Trump employs hundreds of illegals.) Nevertheless, even if he does not seek to deport these valuable workers, something had to be done to stop the human landslide that was heading for our borders. (Taking out the cartels would also be a good start and we have the resources to do it.)

So we are stymied. The Senate's last major accomplishment was Obamacare. Nothing since. And going into the future I see nothing there either. I agree with your assessment that people are turning. It looks like a right wing shift but it really isn't. It is a rejection of the system that has us teetering on the edge of financial collapse.
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By JohnRawls
#15033895
@Drlee @blackjack21

I mean, the situation that describe are pretty similar honestly. I just focus on the people/economy more while you try to encompass literally everything in to it. Your approach has some merit and may be even better if taken as a whole but the problem with it is that if we approach it from your point then we need to reform the whole political and economic system. Your basically proposing a revolution i guess. (When does this kind of change even happen if not with a revolution?) This is not doable because both system are VERY complicated. The chances of doing a mistake are simply too high. Don't get me wrong, it is not a bad idea. I just think that our priority should be to reform the economic system first and that is not an easy task in itself. Can we reform economic system without reforming the political system? I don't see why not. They are linked together to a degree but its not like functioning of one depends on the other in a sense that if we change one then the other HAS to change.
By Hindsite
#15033987
Drlee wrote:The illegal immigration issue is a classic example. Clearly Trump is on the right side of the issue but he is simply solving it the wrong way. He has done nothing about the why they come here and concentrated on the how. His wall is a monument to "how to correctly identify a problem, present it to the people, gain support and do the wrong thing".

I believe the wall would have done a lot. But obviously, the Democrats were against building it because they want open borders.

Drlee wrote: He is too much the businessman to stop the problem in its tracks by applying a cheap and simple solution in the marketplace. And he could have done this when he had the whole shooting match. Except business did not want it. (Trump employs hundreds of illegals.)

Didn't you hear the news that Trump's son identified all their illegal immigrant workers and fired them?

Drlee wrote:Nevertheless, even if he does not seek to deport these valuable workers, something had to be done to stop the human landslide that was heading for our borders. (Taking out the cartels would also be a good start and we have the resources to do it.)

It is obvious that Trump is not going to get any budget help from Democrats on any of that. He has finally gotten a couple Supreme Court victories that should help. One of those is release of the reallocated money to start building the wall. And even though he has not convinced Mexico to pay for any of the wall, he has managed to get them to do a lot that will help.

Drlee wrote:So we are stymied. The Senate's last major accomplishment was Obamacare. Nothing since. And going into the future I see nothing there either. I agree with your assessment that people are turning. It looks like a right wing shift but it really isn't. It is a rejection of the system that has us teetering on the edge of financial collapse.

Our economy is very good. This recession hype by the media and Bill Maher is just wishful thinking on their part. All we need now is for Congress to ratify the Mexico and Canada trade agreements and the Fed to lower the interest rate.
User avatar
By blackjack21
#15034005
JohnRawls wrote:I mean, the situation that describe are pretty similar honestly. I just focus on the people/economy more while you try to encompass literally everything in to it. Your approach has some merit and may be even better if taken as a whole but the problem with it is that if we approach it from your point then we need to reform the whole political and economic system. Your basically proposing a revolution i guess.

It's more like we've had a coup already, and nobody knew the wiser; and, it crosses national boundaries. What I'm saying is that we cannot address your problem until we have policy makers in place who will address it. They are not thoughtless morons, they are people who are opposed to your interests who are very well compensated to lie to you and misdirect you. I'm looking more for a restoration of our stated political system. Jump out of the United States and millennials for a moment and think about British fisherman. Whether you like the EU or not, British fisherman have been royally fucked over by the EU. British fisherman had virtually no say in what happened to them. Their votes for their MPs were effectively meaningless. Yet, their vote for their MEPs were also effectively meaningless, as the European Parliament only provides the illusion of representation. The power in the EU resides in the European Council and its members are appointed, not elected. They cannot be removed, because they have upset local interests. Move from British fisherman to other constituencies throughout the EU, and you see the same pattern repeating coupled by a realization by the electorate that the corridors of power are actually against them. It's somewhat like the old saw, "just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you." So like my link to Slavoj Žižek, the same thing holds true in the UK: that the narrative is best told by the improbable Nigel Farage, and Boris Johnson to a lesser degree (as he voted once for Teresa May's plan). Yet, you have people from storied political families like Sir Nicholas Soames that are opposing Brexit ostensibly to avoid a near term recession when his grandfather faced Adolf Hitler and the bombing of London. Obviously, something has gone terribly wrong.

Jump back to the United States and back to the 1990s when Clinton and the congressional Republicans were pushing NAFTA, GATT, MFN status and WTO membership for China. Who was the most prominent vocal critic of it besides Ross Perot and political dilettante Donald Trump? It was Nancy Pelosi. Yet where is she now on this? Donald Trump has renegotiated NAFTA which calls for American firms moving to Mexico to pay the same wages as in the US--something like $15 an hour--or pay a nominal tariff of something like 5%. The deal is done. Mexico and Canada have agreed. Who is stopping it? Who is preventing US companies from leaving the US for Mexico unless US firms pay fair wages to Mexicans? Nancy Pelosi. Doesn't that strike you as odd? In the mid-2000s when Bush was president, even Hillary Clinton was in favor of building a wall.

The difficult reality of the situation is that the establishment is not incentivized to tell you the truth. They are well compensated to lie to you. There are people who will sell out their countries for a buck, and there are a lot of them in power throughout North America and Western Europe.

JohnRawls wrote:This is not doable because both system are VERY complicated. The chances of doing a mistake are simply too high. Don't get me wrong, it is not a bad idea. I just think that our priority should be to reform the economic system first and that is not an easy task in itself. Can we reform economic system without reforming the political system? I don't see why not. They are linked together to a degree but its not like functioning of one depends on the other in a sense that if we change one then the other HAS to change.

Well, what constitutes a "mistake" in your mind? The establishment will wage whatever FUD campaign they think will work. I don't think Americans are happy per se that they have to back Donald Trump, or that Brits have to choose Boris Johnson or Nigel Farage, or that Frenchmen have to look to Marine Le Pen for salvation, or Italians to Matteo Salvini and so on. That's just the reality they face. First, they must take power away from those who screwed them over. You could make a great case that this is how we got Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and the like. That is a real danger, but going with the flow is a very real danger too and people no longer want to tolerate it.

A huge part of the problem is that they cannot be trusted. Consider two separate media narratives:

1. Al Roker just got back from Greenland, and he’s horrified by what he saw there

2. Volkswagen: The scandal explained

Why would VW engineers lie about emissions? I'm certain I don't know the truth of it. However, a friend of mine is a portfolio manager of a small fund of about $500M, and before his present job in San Francisco, he had to commute down to Foster City. He was looking for a new car, and was thinking about a Prius to save money on gas. I didn't steer him to the VW, but I've known him since high school and we haze each other constantly. So I made him watch the Smug Alert episode of South Park regarding the Prius:



He ended up buying the VW Passat diesel instead. It got 40 mpg. The mpg number was no lie. It is remarkably efficient, and that's what diesels have been known for since their inception. However, it had some emissions that the US EPA regulates. To break those compounds down, they can tune the car to do that. However, it literally halves the MPG numbers. In other words, it was perfectly okay to sell a car that got half the gas mileage and therefore produced twice as much CO2. Yet, the same car tuned to output half as much CO2 was unlawful. The other emissions weren't greenhouse gasses, but would contribute to smog.

Now think about that from both an economic perspective and a global warming perspective. Why would engineers at VW cheat? Economically, the car is twice as efficient if you cheat, so there's a monetary gain for consumers and potentially more sales to VW from the economic perspective. From a global warming perspective, it produces half the CO2 as most gasoline powered cars. So when you heavily propagandize a population about global warming, engineers could have at least two incentives--one is money, but the other they may consider an ethical obligation. Politicians are constantly lying to them, so they probably see no reason not to lie to politicians that know very little about science and engineering for a reason they feel is ethical--reducing CO2 emissions.

German and French commuters were encouraged by the government to drive cars with diesel engines--again for efficiency and reducing CO2 output. Then, the government turned around and fucked the consumers by raising more and more tax on fuel. So you end up with Gilets Jaunes and so forth.

Meanwhile the media sends Al Roker out to Greenland, no doubt to stir up more controversy about the US buying Greenland and finding some way to bash Donald Trump, but they end up with a global warming story and pounding more fear about CO2 output, and the suggestion that if the Greenland ice sheets melt, it will raise sea level by 7 meters. I see an article like that and I call "bullshit!" I might very well be wrong. However, given that the globe is covered 70% by water, Greenland is 1) too far North for all the ice to melt; and 2) probably does not have nearly enough ice to raise global sea levels by 7 meters. I think about geography for different reasons.




What terrifies the establishment is people like me. I'm doing VERY WELL as a result of globalization, but I'm not defending the establishment, and they can't figure out why. The problem is one of credibility. I no longer assume that they are telling me the truth. I assume I am being lied to most of the time, which makes me very much like a citizen of the Soviet Union as depicted in the recent Chernobyl mini-series on Amazon. I remember during the Bush years arguing with his detractors that lying is not a strategy, but after a time I came to think that Bush lied too. On a different note, in a business I was involved in at that time that subsequently failed (late dotcom), I often got called to the board of directors meetings where I was relentlessly interrogated. I often felt like I was a criminal defendant, but they liked me personally. One day, an older very wealthy gentleman said to me, "Being older doesn't make you any smarter. It doesn't help you identify winners. However, it does help you identify losers." That stuck with me as a valuable piece of wisdom.

I said what you are talking about sounds more like a symptom than the actual problem. You may have also heard me say that I think that many in the establishment are probably using cocaine. Why? The symptoms. Drugs like that make you feel like you are a genius even when you are doing really stupid shit. The arrogance they display with such a poor record of performance is astonishing. To my mind, either we have really created a situation where only sociopaths want to enter politics, or there is likely a serious problem with drug abuse in the corridors of power--just not heroin, more like cocaine.

Hindsite wrote:Our economy is very good. This recession hype by the media and Bill Maher is just wishful thinking on their part. All we need now is for Congress to ratify the Mexico and Canada trade agreements and the Fed to lower the interest rate.

We are pretty late in the business cycle, so a recession is quite possible. Watch how oil prices react on Monday to the recent Houthi attack on Saudi oil facilities. Remember, the financial crisis involved a lot of overvalued real estate, mortgage-backed securities that were riskier than they appeared to be, etc. The yield curve inverted then, as it recently did. However, the straw that broke the camel's back was oil rising to $147 a barrel. People had to choose between driving to work or paying their mortgage. So they drove to work.

Times now are very different. Tesla arose out of that fiasco, and the US is now very close to energy independent. We will not see anything like the Arab oil embargo of the 70s again, and high oil prices will be a boon for oil businesses in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, North Dakota and parts of California. However, consumers will very likely feel a sharp pinch if oil prices skyrocket.

I'm going to the Raider game today with my portfolio manager buddy. We were going to meet and BART in (as much as I hate the disease mobile), but instead he is going to go into San Francisco to make sure he has his shit together for Monday if oil pops to like $100 a barrel. So we'll meet at the Oakland Coliseum, and then ride home together. Always keep an eye on geopolitics too.
User avatar
By JohnRawls
#15034017
blackjack21 wrote:It's more like we've had a coup already, and nobody knew the wiser; and, it crosses national boundaries. What I'm saying is that we cannot address your problem until we have policy makers in place who will address it. They are not thoughtless morons, they are people who are opposed to your interests who are very well compensated to lie to you and misdirect you. I'm looking more for a restoration of our stated political system. Jump out of the United States and millennials for a moment and think about British fisherman. Whether you like the EU or not, British fisherman have been royally fucked over by the EU. British fisherman had virtually no say in what happened to them. Their votes for their MPs were effectively meaningless. Yet, their vote for their MEPs were also effectively meaningless, as the European Parliament only provides the illusion of representation. The power in the EU resides in the European Council and its members are appointed, not elected. They cannot be removed, because they have upset local interests. Move from British fisherman to other constituencies throughout the EU, and you see the same pattern repeating coupled by a realization by the electorate that the corridors of power are actually against them. It's somewhat like the old saw, "just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you." So like my link to Slavoj Žižek, the same thing holds true in the UK: that the narrative is best told by the improbable Nigel Farage, and Boris Johnson to a lesser degree (as he voted once for Teresa May's plan). Yet, you have people from storied political families like Sir Nicholas Soames that are opposing Brexit ostensibly to avoid a near term recession when his grandfather faced Adolf Hitler and the bombing of London. Obviously, something has gone terribly wrong.

Jump back to the United States and back to the 1990s when Clinton and the congressional Republicans were pushing NAFTA, GATT, MFN status and WTO membership for China. Who was the most prominent vocal critic of it besides Ross Perot and political dilettante Donald Trump? It was Nancy Pelosi. Yet where is she now on this? Donald Trump has renegotiated NAFTA which calls for American firms moving to Mexico to pay the same wages as in the US--something like $15 an hour--or pay a nominal tariff of something like 5%. The deal is done. Mexico and Canada have agreed. Who is stopping it? Who is preventing US companies from leaving the US for Mexico unless US firms pay fair wages to Mexicans? Nancy Pelosi. Doesn't that strike you as odd? In the mid-2000s when Bush was president, even Hillary Clinton was in favor of building a wall.

The difficult reality of the situation is that the establishment is not incentivized to tell you the truth. They are well compensated to lie to you. There are people who will sell out their countries for a buck, and there are a lot of them in power throughout North America and Western Europe.


Well, what constitutes a "mistake" in your mind? The establishment will wage whatever FUD campaign they think will work. I don't think Americans are happy per se that they have to back Donald Trump, or that Brits have to choose Boris Johnson or Nigel Farage, or that Frenchmen have to look to Marine Le Pen for salvation, or Italians to Matteo Salvini and so on. That's just the reality they face. First, they must take power away from those who screwed them over. You could make a great case that this is how we got Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and the like. That is a real danger, but going with the flow is a very real danger too and people no longer want to tolerate it.

A huge part of the problem is that they cannot be trusted. Consider two separate media narratives:

1. Al Roker just got back from Greenland, and he’s horrified by what he saw there

2. Volkswagen: The scandal explained

Why would VW engineers lie about emissions? I'm certain I don't know the truth of it. However, a friend of mine is a portfolio manager of a small fund of about $500M, and before his present job in San Francisco, he had to commute down to Foster City. He was looking for a new car, and was thinking about a Prius to save money on gas. I didn't steer him to the VW, but I've known him since high school and we haze each other constantly. So I made him watch the Smug Alert episode of South Park regarding the Prius:



He ended up buying the VW Passat diesel instead. It got 40 mpg. The mpg number was no lie. It is remarkably efficient, and that's what diesels have been known for since their inception. However, it had some emissions that the US EPA regulates. To break those compounds down, they can tune the car to do that. However, it literally halves the MPG numbers. In other words, it was perfectly okay to sell a car that got half the gas mileage and therefore produced twice as much CO2. Yet, the same car tuned to output half as much CO2 was unlawful. The other emissions weren't greenhouse gasses, but would contribute to smog.

Now think about that from both an economic perspective and a global warming perspective. Why would engineers at VW cheat? Economically, the car is twice as efficient if you cheat, so there's a monetary gain for consumers and potentially more sales to VW from the economic perspective. From a global warming perspective, it produces half the CO2 as most gasoline powered cars. So when you heavily propagandize a population about global warming, engineers could have at least two incentives--one is money, but the other they may consider an ethical obligation. Politicians are constantly lying to them, so they probably see no reason not to lie to politicians that know very little about science and engineering for a reason they feel is ethical--reducing CO2 emissions.

German and French commuters were encouraged by the government to drive cars with diesel engines--again for efficiency and reducing CO2 output. Then, the government turned around and fucked the consumers by raising more and more tax on fuel. So you end up with Gilets Jaunes and so forth.

Meanwhile the media sends Al Roker out to Greenland, no doubt to stir up more controversy about the US buying Greenland and finding some way to bash Donald Trump, but they end up with a global warming story and pounding more fear about CO2 output, and the suggestion that if the Greenland ice sheets melt, it will raise sea level by 7 meters. I see an article like that and I call "bullshit!" I might very well be wrong. However, given that the globe is covered 70% by water, Greenland is 1) too far North for all the ice to melt; and 2) probably does not have nearly enough ice to raise global sea levels by 7 meters. I think about geography for different reasons.




What terrifies the establishment is people like me. I'm doing VERY WELL as a result of globalization, but I'm not defending the establishment, and they can't figure out why. The problem is one of credibility. I no longer assume that they are telling me the truth. I assume I am being lied to most of the time, which makes me very much like a citizen of the Soviet Union as depicted in the recent Chernobyl mini-series on Amazon. I remember during the Bush years arguing with his detractors that lying is not a strategy, but after a time I came to think that Bush lied too. On a different note, in a business I was involved in at that time that subsequently failed (late dotcom), I often got called to the board of directors meetings where I was relentlessly interrogated. I often felt like I was a criminal defendant, but they liked me personally. One day, an older very wealthy gentleman said to me, "Being older doesn't make you any smarter. It doesn't help you identify winners. However, it does help you identify losers." That stuck with me as a valuable piece of wisdom.

I said what you are talking about sounds more like a symptom than the actual problem. You may have also heard me say that I think that many in the establishment are probably using cocaine. Why? The symptoms. Drugs like that make you feel like you are a genius even when you are doing really stupid shit. The arrogance they display with such a poor record of performance is astonishing. To my mind, either we have really created a situation where only sociopaths want to enter politics, or there is likely a serious problem with drug abuse in the corridors of power--just not heroin, more like cocaine.


We are pretty late in the business cycle, so a recession is quite possible. Watch how oil prices react on Monday to the recent Houthi attack on Saudi oil facilities. Remember, the financial crisis involved a lot of overvalued real estate, mortgage-backed securities that were riskier than they appeared to be, etc. The yield curve inverted then, as it recently did. However, the straw that broke the camel's back was oil rising to $147 a barrel. People had to choose between driving to work or paying their mortgage. So they drove to work.

Times now are very different. Tesla arose out of that fiasco, and the US is now very close to energy independent. We will not see anything like the Arab oil embargo of the 70s again, and high oil prices will be a boon for oil businesses in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, North Dakota and parts of California. However, consumers will very likely feel a sharp pinch if oil prices skyrocket.

I'm going to the Raider game today with my portfolio manager buddy. We were going to meet and BART in (as much as I hate the disease mobile), but instead he is going to go into San Francisco to make sure he has his shit together for Monday if oil pops to like $100 a barrel. So we'll meet at the Oakland Coliseum, and then ride home together. Always keep an eye on geopolitics too.


I don't really think the coup has already happened. As you mentioned yourself, it would already put people in power who would start changing things in the direction that we think. So who is the coup? Brexit? Trump? At best, they are only single individuals. At worst, they don't know what they are doing so the coup will swing in to the direction of the left forces from the right forces currently trying to do something. ( Italy should be studied as an example of this process going forward )

I do not consider the current Trump, Brexit, etc situations as a coup simply because they are fueled by personalities mostly. The core of the system is still the Neoliberal people even if Trump or Brexit or etc happen. If you want to call them experts then sure. But in reality i consider them dogmatic Neoliberal practitioners. Look at Brexit, the Tories fucked up a lot irrelevant of which side you support so its a miracle that Corbyn is not the PM yet. (Him having a charisma of a sock is a blessing) But this won't last forever. A lot of the same critique that go to Tories can be given to Trump also. The difference is that Trump is doing a bit better job mostly due to him actually having more support in the senate/house. His position is in no way secure though especially if an economic crysis hits. The good news for him is that Bernie has even less charisma than Corbyn (I guess he is a smelly sock) and people like AOC are too young for now. So at least in that regard, the US is doing better than the UK. The Neoliberal power might have been dented but you are delusional to think that they are not in charge anymore.

About the establishment fearing you: Well, yes it is true. The whole Neoliberal premise is that people who benefit from Neoliberalism support it and then in later years of their life take charge as the so called experts as you put it. This is not just in politics but in every sphere of government and business. The people who are highly skilled in their field and survived the global competition are the future leaders basically. Gen X is already starting to take over and Millenials will be there will be there in around 15 years in mass.

The problem of me and you mistrusting the current order of things is simple for me. I just don't wan to live under communists or nazis in 15-20 years of time because ultimately if nothing changes this is where it is heading. And i don't mean that Trump or Johnson or Le Pens etc are nazis or communists. What I mean that eventually real USSR kind of communists or NSDAP kind of Nazis will replace them if a solution is not found. Well that and I kinda see also what is happening with my generation on average so I guess i have heart. But mostly still is selfish desire not be sent to a Gulag or a concentration camp. I don't want to be a scapegoat.
User avatar
By BigSteve
#15034023
Drlee wrote:Yes they would have. But the difference Einstein is that both Obama and Clinton advocated for a much higher minimum wage and universal single payer health care. The republicans stopped both.


Because both were stupid...

And, oh by the way, I will compare income with you any day. So please refrain from lecturing me on what it means to have a much higher than average net worth and annual income. Unlike you I am not prepared to leave the e "in debt to fund another small penis lens for my camera. Or...pick your toy.


You should settle down, Methuselah. Unlike you, I don't need to compare my income with anyone. I'm quite aware that many people have more than me. It's actually pretty fucking pitiful that you try to gain some foothold by challenging me to compare incomes. I mentioned my financial situation to put my comments into context. You, on the other hand, seem to think it was a challenge. Here's a tip for you: I don't give a fuck how much money you have. You should probably accept the fact that no one, except your heirs, does.

And your comment about buying a "toy" is stupid. I bought a rather expensive lens recently, a Canon 400mm f/2.8 IS L II. It's the "go to" for just about any sports photography. It's a beast, and I picked it up, second hand, for five grand. Now, if me buying that lens leaves the next generation of Americans in debt, week, then they were already fucked and the fact that they're already fucked has nothing to do with me. But, if you believe that me dropping five grand on a lens will leave them in debt, then you probably shouldn't be permitted to handle money.

I make my money and I spend my money as I see fit. I have responsibility to one person; my daughter, although she's already successful on her own (being raised with a strong work ethic and all). She's one of the "next generation of Americans" who rolled her sleeves up and worked her ass off to ensure that she won't have to rely on the generation before her. Now, dear old Dad's got her dialed in when the time comes, but she certainly doesn't need it.

This country would be in a lot better shape if more people in the "next generation of Americans" acted more responsibly...
User avatar
By BigSteve
#15034026
Drlee wrote:The illegal immigration issue is a classic example. Clearly Trump is on the right side of the issue but he is simply solving it the wrong way. He has done nothing about the why they come here and concentrated on the how.


What utter bullshit.

When we have shithole "sanctuary cities", to which illegals aliens are welcomed and police are told not to cooperate with federal officials, that's a big part of the "why" problem. Trump shouldn't have to go to court to get judgements in his favor, but that's what's happened. Illegals go to these sanctuary cities because they know they'll get all of their needs met, courtesy of American taxpayers.

Anyone who doesn't agree that sanctuary city shitholes don't contribute to the problem is stupid...

His wall is a monument to "how to correctly identify a problem, present it to the people, gain support and do the wrong thing". He is too much the businessman to stop the problem in its tracks by applying a cheap and simple solution in the marketplace.


What solution would that have been?

And he could have done this when he had the whole shooting match. Except business did not want it. (Trump employs hundreds of illegals.)


You probably need to be reminded that Trump doesn't actually do the hiring. You probably think he meets with each one before they're employed...

Nevertheless, even if he does not seek to deport these valuable workers, something had to be done to stop the human landslide that was heading for our borders. (Taking out the cartels would also be a good start and we have the resources to do it.)


Taking out cartels? That's your idea of "a cheap and simple solution"?
User avatar
By JohnRawls
#15034038
Pants-of-dog wrote:I predict that capitalists with a neo-imperialist foreign policy will win.

:excited:


Unlikely. The only way that neo-imperialism can win is if we use to force higher wages and production standards on the rest of the world. Both capital and labour are not interested in this. Capitals profits will fall and labour will have to bleed for that.
By Pants-of-dog
#15034041
JohnRawls wrote:Unlikely.


Not really. It has been the pattern since about 1945.

The only way that neo-imperialism can win is if we use to force higher wages and production standards on the rest of the world. Both capital and labour are not interested in this. Capitals profits will fall and labour will have to bleed for that.


No. Neo-imperialist policies in the USA are set up specifically to access cheap resources in the developing world, including low wage labour and lower standards when it comes to providing whatever good it is.
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