31 July 2017

Thought for the Day, 31 July 2017 [update]

So, we have the latest spewing from the "Lord of the Flies" White House:
I'm not Steve Bannon. I'm not trying to suck my own cock.

During the election, we had this from HRC:
You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic -- you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people -- now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks -- they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America."

Ya think may be she was right?

Well, he didn't last long.

26 July 2017

I Still Hate Neil Irwin, part the ninth [update]

Poppy Bush called it voodoo economics. Its zealots call it supply side theory. It's all bogus wealth transfer from the many to the few. If any form of supply side were true, producers would rev up the production lines whenever demand goes slack. They don't do that, of course.

The inevitable inference is that growth is demand driven. Yet, it takes a 'radical' paper to make the point.
It's a chicken or egg problem: Does low productivity cause slow growth, or does slow growth cause low productivity?

The second possibility is the provocative argument of a new paper published Tuesday by the Roosevelt Institute, a liberal think tank. The paper argues that the United States economy is not actually closing in on its full economic potential and has plenty of room for continued growth -- so long as the Federal Reserve doesn't put on the brakes of the expansion prematurely.

The data, and logic, lead one to conclude that capitalists respond to increasing demand, not to decreasing cost. The former impels them to produce. The latter to pocket the savings.
"On Mondays and Wednesdays, economists argue that wages are low because robots are taking people's jobs. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, it's that we can't have wages rise because productivity growth is low," said Mr. Mason, an economist at John Jay College. "Both can't be true."

In other words, instead of worrying so much about robots taking away jobs, maybe we should worry more about wages being too low for the robots to even get a chance.

Foxconn, which may or may not be building plant here, has been doing the robot thing in response to labor costs (that's 2011, and there're lots more recent reports of carrying this out).
Yesterday, Foxconn announced (at an employee dance party of all places) that they're planning on buying some robots to replace their human workforce. And by some robots, they mean one million robots over the next three years.

So, in addition to the segue from actual production in the economy to overhead labor (and the loss in global productivity), we find that we can't get growth if wages don't expand to demand more of what the economy actually produces. The lower and middle classes don't consume financial services to the degree that the 1% does.

Well, that didn't take long. Hot off today's presses is more info on Foxconn.
The technology futurists Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson of MIT recently told Yahoo Finance that the technological change of the last 20 years is nothing compared with the imminent revolution to be wrought by artificial intelligence and machine learning. "We are never again going to have a large, prosperous, stable middle class in this country doing routine industrial-era work," McAfee said. "The assembly line jobs of the 1970s, those jobs are gone. To try to go back to the 1950s, I find that un-American."

Un-American?? A bit extreme. Who's gonna have the moolah to buy the stuff? London Whales?

Neo Nazi Youth

Just when you figure Donald J. Quisling couldn't be anymore transparent a dictator, he goes and turns the Boy Scouts into Neo Nazi Youth. All because 77,900 shit kickers had just enough brain stem activity to fill in the circle.

21 July 2017

Divide and Conquer

Well, it does the olde heart a bit of good to realize that the mainstream pundits have finally caught up with Your Humble Servent and figured out that the left/right political war isn't based on Red states and Blue states, but rather on city slickers and shit kickers. The shit kickers are poor and unhappy mostly because they continue to elect right wing fascists to state and local governments. Said legislators, continue, to ill-educate their citizens. God, guns, and abortion being the only subjects. They're competent to be biblical goat herds, but not much else. Once again, go look at the voting results map from last year to see the real truth.
This map tells many particularly interesting stories on which I'll elaborate in future posts, but suffice to say that most of the precinct swing can be explained by one variable: education level, perhaps augmented somewhat by race and ethnicity.

As mentioned here more than once, the flow of money inter-state, is unambiguously Blue to Red (via DC) and has been for decades, perhaps dozens of them. The shit kickers are the moochers. Without medicaid, they'll have nearly no hospitals. And, of course, Medicaid is mostly white. Contrary to the right wing propaganda, Medicaid isn't all about negro ghetto hoes popping out runts. Which brings us to the Constitutional justification of Senate structure to "protect" the small population rural states from the rapacious urban states of the Northeast. Well, that turns out, with just a quick wiki-look to be a totally bogus argument, even at the time.

urban population, USofA/1800: 6.1%
urban population, USofA/2010: 80.7%

So, it isn't surprising that 19th century USofA was run by uneducated shit kickers. And so it will be again, if Donald J. Quisling and Sessions get their way.

20 July 2017

Inside Quisling's Brain

The NYT interview went public during the MSNBC (I know, Snowflake News) nightly shows. One of the points of wonderment amongst the groups assembled was Donald J. Quisling's assertion that he wouldn't have appointed Sessions if he told Donald J. Quisling that he'd be recusing himself in the Russian investigation. In sum, "Mueller wasn't appointed yet when Sessions was offered the job." Oddly, there is a way to connect the dots in such a way that such an assertion makes (half) sense.

Here we go.

At the time of considering the appointment, Trump and Sessions knew some facts.

1 - That there was an investigation into Russian meddling, including whether or not the Donald J. Quisling folks had aided and abetted said meddling.

2 - That Sessions was knee deep in the campaign.

3 - That Sessions, at least, knew he had lied about meeting with Russians.

4 - That DoJ protocol required anyone in DoJ and possibly a subject of a DoJ investigation must recuse.

So, Sessions, had he thought things through, could have apprised Donald J. Quisling of the situation, and it's impending implications. But they both have the same voter suppression agenda, above all others, so it just slipped his mind.

And, not mentioned by said pundits (that I heard, at least) was this smoking gun:
Asked if Mr. Mueller's investigation would cross a red line if it expanded to look at his family's finances beyond any relationship to Russia, Mr. Trump said, "I would say yes." He would not say what he would do about it. "I think that's a violation. Look, this is about Russia."

Why is that a Dirty Harry moment, you might ask? All along, Donald J. Quisling has been braying that he had nothing, nothing at all, to do with Russia. But here he admits that he has financial ties to Russia. And some may be quid pro quo for the meddling. Ya think?

So, yes, Donald J. Quisling is in hock to Russians and wants to be the USofA's Putin. A match made someplace.

The half wrong part, of course, is that Donald J. Quisling isn't (yet) Putin and the DoJ isn't his personal enemies unit.

17 July 2017

Minority Report, part the second

Well, this has turned into a series of episodes. Here's some of today's reporting demonstrating, once again, that Donald J. Quisling is just another Third World Dictator. All he cares about is his cabal of oligarches and billionaires, not bringing the country together. He keeps the shit kickers in the Empty States in thrall by screeching God, Guns, and Abortion. The whole point of dictatorship is to shift resources from the many to the few.
On Thursday, President Trump will mark six months in office with the lowest approval rating of any president going back 70 years.

A new national poll out Sunday shows just 36 percent of Americans approve of Mr. Trump's job performance so far.

Mr. Trump's disapproval rating has jumped to 58 percent.

Again, go check out the ongoing research confirming that money flows from Blue States to Red States through DC. Donald J. Quisling will only accelerate the flow, and blame the Effete Eastern Intellectuals for the failure of his Voodoo Supply Side tax cuts.

10 July 2017

Burn, Baby, Burn [update]

Well, as the first quote says, this is clearly treason. Donald J. Quisling, Jr. meets with a Russian intelligence person, and lies about it.

Time for the NSA to burn some S&M (no, that doesn't mean what your dirty mind thinks) and give us all the audio and signals intel they have on this dirty crew. Subversion of democracy is the most important attack to punish.

[update 11 July]
The flames: the NYT now reports Donald J. Quisling, Jr. was told explicitly that info was coming from Russia. The Intelligence Community is slicing off its pound of flesh. How does one think the emails might have surfaced? Who would have access to them, outside TTO? Hmmm?

09 July 2017

The Next Version

Regular reader will likely recall earlier missives on Yellen's determination to raise Fed managed short-term rates, in particular the inevitable rate inversion and the pernicious effects of same. Well, may be not. Recent reporting states that the Fed is about to unleash the Treasuries it's been holding since the advent of QE. Increase supply, decrease price, and raise the interest rate. Since this also raises the rate on new issues, of course, then (of course) the little people who actually pay taxes gain the additional benefit of giving yet more of their moolah to the idle rich.

Next thing we'll hear is that Donald J. Quisling decrees that data collection and reporting from BLS, Commerce and the rest will be suspended, since such data is the source of so much fake news.

04 July 2017

I Still Hate Neil Irwin, part the eighth

Yes, but he's nearer The Truth today, wherein he compares consumer confidence survey results to just extrapolating recent hard data. People are confident when they're certain that they'll have at least as much free moolah to spend tomorrow as they do today. More tomorrow would be better, of course.
Confidence isn't some magic elixir for the economy: Businesses will hire and invest only when they see concrete evidence of demand for their products, and consumers intensify their spending only when their incomes justify it.

Something of a non-sequitur, but still yet another stake through the heart of the Voodoo Supply Side Economist.

In my dead-trees version, Irwin shares the bottom of the first Business Section page with Neal Boudette, who introduces us to yet another canary.
Luxury-car makers began to grab an increasing slice of the American car market as baby boomers reached their peak income years and splurged on upscale automobiles. In 2007, they had 11.8 percent of the market, up from about 9 percent in 2001.

You'd think that all those Smartest Guys in the Room would recognize a non-repeatable bump in their demand function based on once-in-a-lifetime (props to the 'Heads) demographics. Perhaps not.
They had some initial success, but many models introduced in the last several years are now floundering. In June, sales of Cadillac's ATS were just 1,185, 37 percent fewer than in the same period a year ago. BMW i3 sales this year have totaled fewer than 3,000 cars, less than half the pace of two years ago. At Mercedes-Benz, sales of the CLA declined 8 percent in June -- and are down 37 percent in the first six months of the year.

Automotive Goodwill Industries might actually exist? They're not used cars, after all. They're Previously Owned Certified Batmobiles.
But more difficulties for the luxury brands may be on the way. Their efforts to sell new cars this year are facing increased competition from used cars that were leased two or three years ago and have been turned in to dealers. Many have been driven fewer than 40,000 miles and sell for about half the price of new models.

Could it be that the ranks of the aspirational 1%-ers are thinning?? Ya think?

02 July 2017

Still Can't See the Voodoo

Trust me. If you deep dive through these missives you will see, in various syntaxs, the following:
if the Fed persists with raising short-term rates, you'll get a rate inversion that'll make your head explode

Well, now Jeff Somer gathers up some quotes from "experts" to weigh in on the possibility.
Simply put, while the Federal Reserve has been raising short-term interest rates since December, the bond market hasn't gotten the memo. The longer-term rates that are set through bond market trading have, for the most part, been declining, though there was a brief reversal in the last few days. But the disconnect over the last few months is a sign that bond investors believe economic growth and inflation are still weak and the Fed's actions are premature.

What's truly stupid: Yellen and the rest of the Fed management can see this happening in real time. Moreover, they fully well know that their control of short-term interest is far less than absolute and their control of long-term rates is non-existent. Yet, she persists. Why?
"... The economy keeps growing, the stock market keeps going up, yet inflation remains very low. Where are we heading? There are many possibilities here. This isn't the economy we used to know."

No. It isn't. And, as these missives (and others) have asserted for some years, the hegemony of FIRE over the rest of the economy has to lead to slower growth, as typically measured. Once again, Baumol's book ("Performing Arts, The Economic Dilemma: a study of problems common to theater, opera, music, and dance") on service sectors is a must read. In sum, capital can replace labor only when labor is menial. Such as accountants and para-legals.

Well, those in the know do know: it's Poppy Bush's Voodoo Economics all over again. All that capital infusion went to the 1% and corporations, who've either sat on it, or begorrah!, bought and bid up the price of Treasuries. By simple arithmetic, that drives down the interest rate. So, in the end, the 99% have no more moolah to buy stuff, so the prices of that stuff remains phlegmatic, while fiduciary assets soar. They could use all that moolah to invest in physical investment and added production, but of course they don't. These pundits really need to read their Samuelson.
For now, the rally in risky assets like stocks continues unabated, while the conflict between the Fed and the bond market continues. Fed officials indicate that they are determined to keep raising short-term rates and to begin reducing the Fed's bond holdings -- perhaps preparing the central bank for action whenever the next recession comes.

At a bare minimum, the policy choices ahead are difficult. And for investors, there is ample reason for caution.

Despite what the Rand-ians say, any degree of Government makes for winners and losers. The only issue is whether Government favors the most or the Elites.