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Calling All Profiteers!

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A commenter in my previous post attempted to make the case that socialistic economic policies didn’t work very well, and thus their societies failed. I have no argument with that point on its face, but I do with his implication that our current economic system is working, even if the Dow is at record levels. Our economy is actually teetering, about to fall on it’s niggardly nether region, no matter what the spin provided by the American Enterprise Institute and their kind suggests.

What is one to think when a disgruntled 3Com shareholder in Iowa threatens to bomb investment firms if they didn’t act to raise the share price? Is he upset that he’s not making as much as AT&T Inc. Chief Executive Officer Ed Whitacre, who will retire on a mere $158.5 million of AT&T shareholder assets?

Join the club, bitch! It’s been happening to those of us who draw paychecks since 1980!

Campaign for America’s Future blogger Rick Perlstein uses the 50 state news page from the April 25, 2007 USA Today to demonstrate what greed is doing to our nation. South Carolina Gov. Sanford is promoting an upper-class income tax cut over a 1% reduction in grocery taxes. Let them eat asphalt!

Oh, wait! There isn’t enough to go around, or else Tennessee Department of Transportation officials wouldn’t be squeezing the amount of paving material used in road projects in order to squeeze out a few more tax savings. Who cares if America’s streets are almost past the point of repair? Let those who use them pay for them, say the wealthy.

That goes for water, also. Perlstein points out that bankrupt Los Osnos, CA (over $40 million in debt, or $5,000 for each of the 8000 water subscribers) will raise water prices 20% higher as of May 19, while The Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park outside of St. Louis, MO will wash away the profits expected from the coming summer tourist season. The dam which once created a reservoir for the area failed and requires the park remain closed to effect repairs. Prosperity washed away through maintenance budget cuts made in order to save the Havemores a couple more dinero.

But who with wealth would go there anyway? It would fall to the working class to go camping and fishing there, but it isn’t such a sure thing that hourly workers can take vacations anymore. With the princely sum of $12.28 an hour earned by “some” of the University of Vermont’s employees, the rest are just going to have to make do as best they can with earned wages less than that considered a livable wage in UVM’s home town of Burlington, VT.

It’s enough to make a poor man think about revolt, which the good law-and-order conservatives of Pennsylvania are aiding with their opposition to a bill aimed at requiring an annual $10 gun registration to pay for a gun sale database for the benefit of the Pennsylvania State police. That $10 just might cost a law-abiding gun owner his right to blow away those he perceives as seeking economic redress at his expense!

Speaking of armaments, George W. Bush can’t impose his will on the rest of the world without them. And yet, as Dean Baker points out over at AlterNet, the Gummint of the Yoo-knighted States can’t impose its will on the world much longer, because Bush now leads a nation deeply in debt through borrowing $800 billion a year to hide the fact that we’re broke.

We aren’t going to be able to spend our way out of this problem, because the domestic economic activity has slowed to a crawl. The economists are actually using the entire word “recession” to define the dilemma. The weakness in the housing markets will spread, causing increased unemployment among those whose pay is so exorbitant that the Havemores suffer apoplexy. They should just cut back on all that food they eat and make it easier to tighten the ol’ belt!

What the Havemores aren’t hip to is that we have been for a while now. The situation is getting to be so blatant that Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski is attempting to eat on the largess provided by the same amount that the state’s average food stamp recipient spends weekly on groceries – exactly $21. Kulongoski angrily rebutted charges that this was just a publicity stunt. “I don’t care what they call it, if this is what it takes to get the word out. This is an issue every citizen in this state should be aware of.”

American citizens aren’t the only ones affected by this loss of purchasing power. The families of our “guest” workers are also feeling the pinch, and economists say that this reduction in “remittances” bodes ill for efforts to curtail illegal immigration. Gray Newman, chief Latin America economist for Morgan Stanley, claimed that funds from American jobs helped cushion downturns in the Mexican economy, one of which is now underway. As Mexico’s economy slows due to oil revenues decreasing, Mexican unemployment is on the rise, a condition which is seen as propelling more to seek their fortunes north of our southern border.

The effects of American hostility toward workers is even reaching The Land Down Under, as reader STM commented, relating news of Australian employers taking advantage of “American-style IR laws” which result in workers being fired and then “re-employed as casuals” by consultancies which use the new worker-hostile legislation to keep labor in it’s “proper” low-wage place.

So all of you angry shareholders out there who think that your investments aren’t growing as they should be, just remember this sage conservative advice: it’s really those greedy workers who are costing you all your profits. Ignore that retiring AT&T exec standing over there behind that curtain! He got his the old fashioned way – by screwing everyone else! As will you, for you would rather believe that it’s really those greedy workers from all over the world who are costing you all your dividends, because you don’t want to face up to the fact that the greedy have finally come for your piece of that blue sky pie.

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About pessimist

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    As usual, Realist, another big heaping plate of fearmongering misinformation with a side helping of bad math and ideological wackiness.

    Here are just a couple of facts to straighten out a couple of your misconceptions. I could do more, but I don’t want to have to disect this silliness line by line.

    Is he upset that he’s not making as much as AT&T Inc. Chief Executive Officer Ed Whitacre, who will retire on a mere $158.5 million of AT&T shareholder assets?

    Let’s see, if we divided Ed Whitacre’s severance package between EVERY AT&T stockholder they would gain 2.5 cents per share. Let’s see, that means that the single largest holder of AT&T stock would get $672. Woohoo.

    The economists are actually using the entire word “recession” to define the dilemma.

    Would that be economists like Drew Matus at Lehman Brothers who said “Overall, the number means better things to come for the second-quarter,” or perhaps Professor Peter Morici at UMD who said “Consumer spending and stronger business investment will likely raise growth for the balance of the year,” or Nariman Behravesh who is Chief Economist at Global Insight who prediced 2.%%-3% grwoth in the economy in the second half of this year, or Alan Clayton Matthews of UMass who said “It certainly does suggest that at least some major segments of the economy are shrugging off the weakness in the housing market.” Well, I could go on all day, but I imagine you get the picture. A little temporary slowdown in growth hardly negates all the signs of strength.

    “our economy is now teetering” – keep hope alive and keep the wish machine churning out doom and gloom and maybe you can make it come true.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    So all of you angry shareholders out there who think that your investments aren’t growing as they should be, just remember this sage conservative advice: it’s really those greedy workers who are costing you all your profits.

    I’m not complaining, I’m doing just fine with mine.

  • http://www.friendlymisanthropist.blogspot.com alessandro Nicolo

    “…all of you angry shareholders out there who think that your investments aren’t growing as they should be…”

    That’s because the vast majority of investors have unrealistic goals.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    What kind of moron would think his investments aren’t performing well? The top 10 most popular mutual funds are averaging over 14% a year. You’d have to be TRYING to lose money not to do well in the current market. Like buying high and selling low deliberately.

    Dave

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    What kind of moron would think his investments aren’t performing well? The top 10 most popular mutual funds are averaging over 14% a year. You’d have to be TRYING to lose money not to do well in the current market. Like buying high and selling low deliberately.

    Dave, the key to investing money, wisely or otherwise, is having it to invest, either through disciplined budgeting, or a large enough income. When we lived in the States, we got by alright, making enough money to invest in a house, and investing in certain cash cows that would have given our children a certain level of economic security had we not left the States to live here. And living on the streets for a year in the early eighties taught me to be a very disciplined budgeter, watching every single penny that was spent in our household.

    But the fact of the matter is that many Americans are not disciplined budgeters, and their government is no better. If you are doing alright financially, and your comments indicate that you are, you can talk yourself into thinking that the good times will keep on a-comin’. You can discount the huge levels of debt your government has racked up, you can make excuses for the fall of your currency and ignore the fact that foreigners who do not necessarily wish America well hold the mortgage on your country – and that your nation is up in debt to its earlobes, both severally and as a republic. You can roll out piles and pile of numbers to back you up, too.

    As the market passed from the savvy to the less savvy and finally to the stupid pigeons in 1928-29, that is exactly what happened. Economists rolled out reams of numbers to convince the pigeons that the corn was there forever for the taking, and the wolf (not to mention the pigeon hawk) had fled permanently. And your nation was not seriously in debt then, nor was it at war, nor was a large amount of the population tied to the gambling ca$ino that is Wall Street.

    The market has passed from the savvy to the stupid in your country these days as well, and the vast majority of you are stuck in the gambling ca$ino.

    The only nation whose currency has not really fallen in value in the last forty years has been Switzerland, and I suspect that the tons of gold under the streets of Zürich have been the main reason. Your dollar is 27% of what it was against the Swiss franc in 1967. And your dollar has been falling not only against sterling, the yen and the euro, supposedly strong currencies (which have [except for the euro which hasn’t been around for forty years] also declined precipitously against the Swiss franc), but even against a joke of a currency, the new Israeli shekel.

    When the king of Babylon saw the handwriting on the wall, at least he had the sense to be afraid. You, my good man, do not. A pity.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Dave, the key to investing money, wisely or otherwise, is having it to invest,

    Well, obviously. And currently 54% of Americans do.

    you can make excuses for the fall of your currency

    Or acknowledge the fact that it’s a deliberate economic tactic.

    and ignore the fact that foreigners who do not necessarily wish America well hold the mortgage on your country

    An extremely common Dobbsism and just as wrong as most of the others. Foreign countries may own US debt instruments, but that gives them no real power over us.

    The market has passed from the savvy to the stupid in your country these days as well, and the vast majority of you are stuck in the gambling ca$ino.

    This may be true to some extent, but day trading has died down a lot, and the vast majority of small investors now use mutual funds, which were not available in the 1920s and which are designed to minimize the impact of personal stupidity and do so fairly well.

    When the king of Babylon saw the handwriting on the wall, at least he had the sense to be afraid. You, my good man, do not. A pity.

    This is because the King of Babylon believed in god and I don’t.

    Dave

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    The king of Babylon didn’t believe in G-d either, Dave. But, upon seeing the handwriting on the wall, he had the sense to be afraid…

    If you bury your head in the sand, all you will see is darkness…

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    By the way, in 1967, I got on the bus (or train) for 15 cents. What does it cost now? $1.75, $2.00? In 1967, I had a job for a nickel over the minimum wage at Nathan’s Famous – $1.70/hour. To get the equivalent today, I would need to earn over $17/hr. That could be done in some restaurants in New York, I suppose, but not at Nathan Handwerker’s hot dog stand in Coney Island. Heck, even in the low priced Midwest, the max you got in a fast food joint as a worker was around $9/hr in 2001 (I’m sure it has gone up since, but by how much, I couldn’t say…).

    Bottom line. The bottom is a lot lower in America’s economy today. The minimum wage (which I realize is a virtual fiction in many places) is 3½ times what it was forty years ago, and the cost of getting by has skyrocketed. Even being a bottom feeder in America is an expensive proposition compared to what used to be…

    The point? The standard of living has fallen in the United States, along with the currency and the fact that a lot of you Yanks have debt over your heads, merely by virtue of the way your government spends money – even if you are like I was in the States, a cheapskate.