liveonearth: (moon)
Today on MoveOn they're soliciting for signatures on a petition to make Walmart pay its workers better. Moveon says it's an outrage that Wallyworld employees have to use public services for healthcare because can't afford better. What isn't mentioned is that they spent what they had on vehicles and fuel, guns, alcohol and cigarettes, mobile phones and flatscreens. And a roof over their head.

Minimum wage is law. No company can hire you over the table for anything less. Walmart can pay minimum wage and if people apply for and accept that job, they have made a deal with that company. If they don't like it, they can quit, get another job. If there isn't another job, they can start their own business, or be useful to a family business or take care of an aging elder. They can run for office, start a protest, try and change the minimum wage. There is no shame in doing these things. The shame is in doing nothing. I just don't know how far from nothing this petition is. Having a grievance is not the same as having a solution.

When the economy contracts, families get closer. The resources that we do have get shared with those we care about. The death rate went down in the Great Depression, perhaps for this reason.

I can't get on board with political efforts to increase "jobs" because what "jobs" means is working for large corporations which will strike the best deal they can get for everything including manpower. It's the game, and winning for the 1% means never having to worry about a job. The worker never wins. The worker is a cog in a machine that cares nothing about him and will replace him the moment he begins to crack. The safety net may ease his passage a bit, but it is easy to get caught in.

To be trapped in the safety net is to lose your self respect, to become depressed, to want to die. This may be why so many white American men commit suicide. Middle-aged white guys commit suicide more than anybody else. Perhaps the veterans are driving that statistic.
liveonearth: (dancing calvin & Hobbes)
Philanthropist (n.) - Someone who spends his own money to advance his version of Utopia.
Socialist (n.) - Someone who spends your money to advance his version of Utopia.

liveonearth: (Default)
Market traders make more money on days when their morning testosterone is higher. A great article entitled "What Traders’ Testosterone Tells Us About Markets" explains the details, or you can scan my notes behind the cut.

Market participants aren’t the rational automatons of most financial theory. They are biological organisms responding with a neural and physiological apparatus designed millions of years ago. If what happens in markets affects hormones, these in turn alter behavior and feed back into the markets.

notes on the article )
liveonearth: (old books)
Surging above $1 trillion, U.S. student loan debt has surpassed credit card and auto-loan debt. This debt explosion jeopardizes the fragile recovery, increases the burden on taxpayers and possibly sets the stage for a new economic crisis.


The Democratic minority on the House Education Committee and Workforce Committee released new figures showing that more than seven million students will incur an additional $6.3 billion in repayment costs for the 2012-2013 school year if student loan interest rates double on July 1.
liveonearth: (moon)
Twenty eight percent (28%) of US households are now just one person living alone. This is the most ever. These singles are the biggest spenders, contributing 1.9 trillion to "the economy" each year. (According to The Week 2/10/12 which is in turn quoting Fortune magazine)

And another factoid from the same source: the number of US prisoners age 65 and over has increased 63% between 2007 and 2010. I guess we're keeping them put away so long that now they need more medical care, and it's becoming an issue. The total number of prisoners has been flat for that same period.
liveonearth: (Default)
In its “downside scenario,” the fund said that a continued rise in European government borrowing rates and a worsening of problems with the region’s banks would push the world into recession.

“The current environment...provides fertile ground for self-perpetuating pessimism,” the fund wrote.

Their calculations predict the global downward trend in spite of the booming economies of China and India. Want to move there? I don't.

liveonearth: (endless_knot)
Nobody expects him to win. Not even him. It would be quite a shock, after this many attempts. Ron Paul realizes that he's not really campaigning for himself to be president, but rather for an alternative view of how government works and what it should do. For a movement, and a revolution. For an alternative view of how society works, and what it means to be human. I am thrilled for him because he got the youth vote in Iowa today. The new voters came out for him. Probably because of that Big Dog ad, in combination with Dr Paul's willingness to legalize pot. Strange bedfellows indeed. Societies shift according to the ley lines of the culture.

It's pretty amusing to hear the rest of the candidates talk mainly about defeating Barack Obama. I would and will vote against all of them in favor of Barack Obama. Newt makes me wish desperately for a moral atheist candidate. The others I can't even remember. I wish for Palin. She'd at least make big enough gaffes to make me spit out my food.

Don't worry, I'll turn off the radio, soon. I have to say I really do enjoy hearing the candidates speaking to their own people at these events. I learn a lot more than I do from statements that have been honed for the mainstream news.

We're all Austrians now.
--Ron Paul

(Austrians = opposite of Keynesians. This quote of course taken radically out of context, he is speaking of some time in the future when Keynesian economics is no longer broadly accepted and applied in America.)
liveonearth: (Default)

His point: we need a new paradigm, because the era of oil-fueled expansion, growth and "progress" is OVER. The new paradigm must involve a sustainable economic model which will be more local.
liveonearth: (Where the wild things are)
A recently introduced bill--H.R. 1581--would eliminate protection for wilderness study areas and Forest Service roadless areas and allow industry to develop and extract resources from them. We need to do something other than this. We need to create broad migration zones along all riparian areas and connecting them, in order to allow species to survive during this time of climate change. This approach will facilitate our longterm survival in a way that short term extractive industry cannot, and should be built into law. Also, we need to end corporate personhood, such that when we do decide to allow our lands to be used for some purpose, the developer/extractor must be responsible for the end product...instead of raping the land for profit and then dumping the devastation back on the public for rehabilitation. But that's what I think. If you care about wilderness, go to the sierra club link and have your say.
liveonearth: (Default)
....this is a "holy shit!!" for me....

from the Washington Post:
Economy/Business News Alert: Apple surpasses Exxon to become world's largest company
August 9, 2011 1:35:58 PM

Apple overtook Exxon Mobil as the world’s most valuable company Tuesday, as the computer company’s stock continued to defy a slowing market.

The changing of the guard is due in part to a market slowdown that has depressed oil prices and taken Exxon Mobil stock down significantly. But the switch is also a testament to Apple’s gravity-defying growth.
liveonearth: (Default)
That's my reaction, anyway. I never got a double A+ for doing stuff that foolish. The student loan bubble has yet to pop... Probably lots of these other agencies getting downgraded are also severely compromised. No one wants to admit it for fear of causing our house of cards to topple all at once...

Economy/Business News Alert: S&P downgrades Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
August 8, 2011 11:14:28 AM

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services on Monday downgraded the credit ratings of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and other agencies linked to long-term U.S. debt.

The agency also lowered the ratings for: farm lenders; long-term U.S. government-backed debt issued by 32 banks and credit unions; and three major clearinghouses, which are used to execute trades of stocks, bonds and options.

All the downgrades were from AAA to AA+.

For more information, visit

liveonearth: (Default)
It's a great idea: base our hopes and dreams on a Happiness Index instead of the GDP...
liveonearth: (Default)

I guess they're happy that we can keep steering their freight train toward that cliff. Obama is the pragmatic fall guy, demonized by most. He calmly goes about the business of finding something productive that we can agree on. He is willing to disagree with his own party, which is refreshing and hopeful. His positions make sense to me. I have long been disappointed that he could not take on big business more directly. I know he wants to, the socialist pig. Just now though with today's agreement we see that the guys with the corporate jets have as much control over the law as everyone who is afraid to see medicare cut.
liveonearth: (Default)

This is a petition asking for student loan debt to be forgiven so that we can go about the business of opening new businesses, instead of getting low paying stupid jobs just to be able to make monthly payments on our student loans. I've been saying for a while now that the student loan debt is the next bubble. Last year student loan debt surpassed credit card debt in the US. It's evident to me that I will probably not live long enough to repay my entire debt--I'm just not that young, and the economy is not looking great. I'm not saying I deserve a bailout: I own my foolishness taking on this debt. I'm willing to work hard for the rest of my productive life, and I'd like to give back. I always wanted to be a doctor. I've never had a debt before, and it was and is an uncomfortable decision. If there were prisons for debtors in the US then I wouldn't be too surprised to end up there. But we don't imprison debtors, we just harass them. It is that harassment and the suffering involved in mindless work that I would like to avoid, in favor of being able to concentrate on the business I would like to open, and the people that I would like to help. If the fed were to excuse my debt, I would be able to do more for public health than I otherwise could do.
liveonearth: (Default)
Everyone is so upset about it. The lady next to me on an airplane said "It's not fair!" and I had to ask her what wasn't fair about gas costing $4/gallon. I didn't understand her answer. And I tried. It had to do with corrupt politicians, but corrupt how? What exactly are the politicians doing that makes the price of gas unfair? How exactly is it Obama's fault? Someone said he wanted the US price of gas to go up to European levels. Please inform me if you understand this. It seems to me that we as a nation have been paying off the gas companies in the form of subsidies and lax regulation. They claim the opposite, that the burden of regulation and taxation is destroying them. But then the numbers come through, how much money Exxon makes, or Chevron, Citgo or whoever. These companies are raking in billions, and getting tax breaks to boot. It's not clear exactly how those billions get distributed to humans who can spend them. Except for the CEO, who is not going hungry. Maybe the money America gives to gas companies is why gas prices are as low as they are. Maybe if we stop subsidizing oil, the prices will go up. To the real price. That would be the only way we could stop subsidizing them, is if we'd be willing to pay the cost directly instead of through our system of government. And the only way we'll get our gas for cheaper is if we get it ourselves with less waste, extravagance and middle men. I wouldn't be surprised if Obama has this in mind with his plan to expedite drilling in Alaska and the Atlantic. And I'm certain he wouldn't mind depriving the big oil companies of some profit, but he's not allowed to say or act on that. I am, though, being nobody out here on the web.


liveonearth: (Default)

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