Monday, November 14, 2011

Short Subjects

The Golden Calf: all grown up!

A collection of random thoughts on current events:

Why Occupy Wall Street and not Washington? Because the billionaires own the millionaires. A thousand times over.

The original Tea Party was known until the 1830s as "the destruction of the tea." It was a group of angry people who got together, broke the law, and destroyed private property. Think about it.

It amazes me that people can rail against high unemployment, then turn around and tell people protesting, among other things, high unemployment, to "occupy a job."

A note to the 53%: If there is 9% unemployment, then the 47% is 80% employed.

Conservatives will tell you that they opposed the bank bailouts. However, if a liberal opposes the bank bailouts, the conservative will reply that the banks paid back the money with interest. How does this make sense?

Businesses do not create jobs because of tax cuts. They create jobs when there is sufficient demand for their products and services.

Deregulation does not create competition; it creates monopolies.

30 years later, we are seeing the voodoo in voodoo economics. Supply-side theory is a failure in every respect. Well, not every respect. It did exactly what its proponents wanted it to do; it moved all the money to the supply side. Perhaps it is time to try "demand-side economics" for a while.

Too big to fail is too big to exist.

People say that Wall Street executives have not been prosecuted because they did nothing illegal. This is largely true. However, the fact that they did nothing illegal does not mean that they did nothing wrong. They did nothing illegal because they have been steadily lobbying for many years to have the laws changed.

An example: here's how a bubble works. Start with a few billion dollars or so. It doesn't have to be your money. Where might you find this money to play with? Pension funds and 401(k)s are a good place to start. Now, pick something to buy. What you buy doesn't matter: shares of stock, mortgages, wheat futures, oil... anything. Now, start buying. The price will go up if you buy enough. Others will see the price rise and get in on it too. Keep buying. At a time of your choosing, sell off quickly. Pocket the profits. Let the retirement funds eat the losses. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Ever wonder where your retirement money went? Now you know. Did you ever read a prospectus? I'll summarize them all for you: if we lose all your money, oopsie. Of course, the money isn't lost, precisely. It's transferred from you to them. It's perfectly legal. The next time someone starts yammering about supply and demand, you step back, then give him a good swift kick in the nuts. Tell him I said it was all right.

Slippery folk will switch back and forth between talking about the market and the stock market as if these are the same things. They aren't.

Likewise, there is a difference between equal income distribution and equitable income distribution. Or do we really believe that the CEO works 400 times harder than the wage laborer?

It is often overlooked that Adam Smith and Karl Marx have two important things in common: First, their books are very long and very dull. Second, most people who talk about these books haven't read them.

And speaking of Marx, his philosophy is flawed. This point I will readily concede. However, it does not follow from this that he was
wrong about everything and said nothing of importance.

If you are going to tell me about equal opportunity vs. equal outcome, fine, but be prepared to show me that we have equal opportunity.

Many of the difficulties built into our system of government can be traced to the contradiction at its root: slaveowners wanting to be free.

It is not an unfair question to ask how much profit is gouging or how much interest is usury.

It seems to me that the greater purpose of Occupy Wall Street is not so much to support candidates or recommend policy, but to change the focus and language of the debate.

For the moment, Democratic or Republican are the de facto choices. What will happen when enough of us answer "none of the above?"

There seem to be more and more proponents of the Randian "cult of the individual," who argue that naked self-interest is the state of Nature and any attempt to mitigate this is a distortion. My answer is this: we are born into the world helpless, dependent upon the care of others. For the most part, we leave the world in the same way. We are born, in equal measure, both individuals and part of a greater family. This is the state of Nature. Surely this is a Divine lesson?

Very Truly Yours,




Cricket said...

With my apologies to Bossy Betty, whose comment I inadvertently nuked.

She wrote:

You tell 'em, Porcupine! Great points here. Now I am a little worked up.

Is anyone else having formatting issues today?

silly rabbit said...

Yes... blogger is on the fritz!

There is not much that I understand about our economics in a rational sense. Nor do I understand a lot of the current movements. They don't seem to be having positive progress.

Is that actual or is that media?

I have had my retirement "borrowed" and suffered a loss. Needless to say, I was not thrilled. My union stepped in and a deal was made to repay our losses. Now each month a repayment payment is added to my account. Yet, there were things we gave up to get the repayment; less coverage in our insurance, a loss of sick day pay, which we used to be paid for at the end of our tenure for any days unused, etc.
Are we really being paid back? When you look at the whole picture, we aren't. On top of that, because they make small payments, we are losing the interest we would have earned on the whole amount. Crazy!

Good points here as always, Cricket. I wish I was a savvy as you.

Lemon Stand said...

Love the post. Yes about blogger.

ds said...

Excellent points, Porcupine. Thank you.

Suldog said...

I had much the same thought about that Wall Street bull the first time I saw it.

CiCi said...

There is so much in this post, all connected yet showing how we the people are being bombarded from all sides. I find it interesting how words are joined together to make it seem we are all equal when the reality is that we are not.

I remember years ago people understood "Deregulation does not create competition; it creates monopolies."

The CEO making 400 times what the workers make is modern day slavery with the slaves grateful for the job.
Grateful for each day to work so the CEO lives the high life and allows the little people to work long hard hours, which is better than the alternative of no job. Round and round we go.

lime said...

i hear the neo-cons yammering that these occupiers are socialists and not really capitalists. interesting thing is when all the risk is paid by the public and all the reward is reaped by the people putting the public at risk yet taking none themselves how is that capitalism either?