31 May 2011

Oye Vey

There is the occasional writer I envy, not because I covet his/her "voice" or style or subject and such, but rather his/her access.  Joe Nocera has been "promoted" from the business page to the main op-ed page, and today talks with a Real Banker.  What's revealing, and you should always read Joe just because, is that the Banker asserts what many of us in the anti-Banker wing have been saying:  banking is only a Yenta for money.  When bankers decide that they should get rich on the process, the process itself is distorted. 

Boy howdy.

30 May 2011

A Rich Man and the Camel

There was a particularly vicious op-ed in yesterday's NY Times.  The author is an economics professor at Duke.  Of course he is.  I needed a day to cool off.

Here's his thesis:

"Strikingly, Shariah lacks the concept of the corporation, a perpetual and self-governing organization that can be used either for profit-making purposes or to provide social services."

Now, the notion that corporations are the source of all good is not even embedded in the US Constitution.  It wasn't until a right wingnut Supreme Court annointed the corporation as a "person" (see:  here.) that corporations gained the right to trample over real people.  Moreover, the Citizens United case made it worse.  Then there is the decision this last week which allows corporations to really buy elections.

And, of course, North Carolina is where the legislature and governor allowed big internet companies to stifle social competition.  So, yes Virginia, there really is fascism in the USofA.  Where's Robo Cop when you need him?

He conveniently ignores some salient facts about the Arab/Islamic world (I infer that he is ethnically Turkish, but can't confirm that from any published biography):  they gave us the number system, and a fulsome society while Europeans were clubbing each other in caves.  Moreover, what makes capitalism work (to any extent) is resource squandering.  One may note that the middle east, where he seems to solely focus, is resource poor; except for oil, naturally.  Further, the autocratic nature of its governments has been in furtherance of Western desires (keep all those poor people from demanding a slice of the petroleum pie) rather than some innate failing of Arabs or Islam.  It's not a coincidence that other single extractive resource, post colonial, countries are autocratic.  It's not a coincidence that US corporations continue to move facilities from the US (titularly a democracy) to autocratic regimes, such as China.  One of the more troubling is Pfizer's R&D move.

Democracy is driven by having a middle class that is most of the society.  How much of production is "social" and how much "private" is not important.  Capitalism requires excess resources to function, and the reason is because real world efficiency is subsumed to financial manipulation.  We have the Great Recession (and the Great Depression, and a multitude of Panics in the 19th century) just because corporations value currency over physical production.  This last is also why Right Wingnuts are always Gold Bugs and Inflation Zealots; they're in thrall to currency rather than real production.  If they can "make money" by doing nothing rather than "making something" they have, they do, and they will. 

25 May 2011


Some times I just feel so tired I want to fall down.  Yesterday, whilst going to the grocery store to get more sugar, fat, and salt I caught a few minutes of "Marketplace" on NPR.  Even though it is NPR, it's not a lefty friendly show, generally.  The piece (only some) I caught was an interview with Jack Hough of "Smart Money", a Wall Street Journal feed.  Not a lefty friendly organ, generally.

Long time readers, all three of you, are aware that the point of this endeavor is to continue to nag that the only way to have a stable society and economy is to get back to historically stable income/wealth distributions.  It is widely understood that the market, and Joe Sixpacks, do better under Democrats than Republicans; the numbers are unambiguous.  Even though Right Wingnuts go to great lengths to shoot themselves in the gonads. 

So, anyway, in the course of the interview, Hough mentioned some facts which comport with my thesis:
1) the percentage of national income to profit which is the historic norm is 6.4%
2) the current value is 9.4%
3) the last time profits took that much was just before the Great Depression
4) workers are the buyers of what corporations sell, thus if workers get a smaller part of the pie, they can't afford pie

That last is a stunning admission from a WSJ writer.  True, but stunning.  The story is here.

17 May 2011

Castles in the Air

Once again, Dear Reader, I begin with the observation that:  I've mentioned this a few times before in this endeavor.  What I've mentioned is that giving taxpayer money to welfare queen corporations is a fool's errand.  Today's installment is a story in the NY Times.  Once again, corporate welfare queens.  It makes me so angry, I could spit.

10 May 2011

Mom Always Liked You Best

Strictly speaking, UMass/Amherst isn't my alma mater, since that term is generally applied to one's undergraduate college.  But it was almost my undergraduate school, and it was where I did my graduate work.  In fact, at that time, it was the only University of Massachusetts, before "they" decided to re-brand the state teachers' colleges. 

As regular readers know, the theme of this endeavor is to drive home the point that only with widely distributed income can there be sustained social and economic stability.  Growth, too, since the population, best efforts notwithstanding, grows apace.  Today's news brings this piece, co-authored out of Amherst.  Neither the reporter nor the paper come out and say it, but get closer than most to the nub:  the whole mess comes apart when only the 1%-ers get the gravy. 

One can argue, and I certainly do, that nail pounders in FL and swamp people in LA, shouldn't be taking in more than a teacher in some urban school.  But neither should basketball players, either.  Priorities matter, and if we continue to reward 19th century skills (I'm talking to you in MT and WY) through the Tea Bagger reactionary zealotry, we'll end up on the wrong end of mercantilism (look it up).

This isn't the first paper to point out the undue influence of FIRE, especially Finance, on the input-output matrix (the paper doesn't use that term, but it's what matters) of the economy since WWII.  The policy pundits need to stop listening to the garbage coming out the mouth of Orangeman.  People buy Things, not the Services that continue to suck up national income.  We make nothing that sustains family values, take that Newt.

04 May 2011

Another Look Into the Dust bin

OK, I said I wouldn't have any more to say about bin Laden.  But then, I read this Time piece, and it can't go unremarked.  It states that Obambi made a mistake in not giving credit to Bush.  Say what?

This is what Bush said (quoted here):
'I truly am not that concerned about him', said President George W Bush on 13 March 2002, after being asked the million-dollar question 'where is bin Laden?' once too often.

So, Bush and his cronies insisted at least after Tora Bora that bin Laden was in the hills, dug in.  That's what "intelligence" was on the table when Obambi was sworn in.  Turned out that he'd been living the life of Riley with Abbott and Costello since at least all of Bush's second term. 

Between saying he didn't care, and not even knowing generally where bin Laden was, Bush deserves CREDIT for offing bin Laden????  Get a brain.

03 May 2011

So Long, It's bin Good to Kill You [UPDATE]

I've only had one thing to say, and that's likely to be it, by posting a comment on a local blog early Monday morning.

What I said was, that by today (Tuesday, 3 May) the Right Wingnuts will further attempt to de-legitimize Obambi by spinning the offing of bin Laden as a Bush enterprise.  They have to, you know, since their game plan since his election was to do so.  Nothing done for the good of the country (or the Other 99%) will be supported.  Only a continuation of the Right Wingnuts' elevation of the 1% to total control of the country will be accepted as bi-partisanship or compromise.

Right on schedule.