American CEOs Should Learn A Lesson

I am not much one for keeping an eye on Asia….my international interests are more of the Middle East and North Africa……but a recent article I read made me stop and think…..

We take a step back…….our most recent economic crisis was caused by corporations and banks…..and as usual the CEOs went before Congress and blamed everyone and everything but themselves for the crash…..just once I would like to hear one of these thieves admit to bad decisions and take responsibility for their actions……of course that is a pipe dream of mine that will NEVER happen for the government is owned by these toads and they will be allowed to get away with wholesale thief….corporate money well spent, right?

But I read an article the other day and made me think…….

(Newser) – A decaying body found in a plum field is that of the fugitive billionaire who owned a ferry that sank in April, South Korean cops have confirmed. Yoo Byung-un, patriarch of the family that owned the ferry operator, went on the run soon after the Sewol sank and had been the subject of the country’s biggest-ever manhunt, reports the Guardian. Police say DNA and fingerprints have confirmed the identity of the body that was found last month, soon after police raided a compound belonging to a Christian splinter group, of which Yoo was a leading member.

The 73-year-old was wanted for questioning on charges including embezzlement and criminal negligence, and many of his family members have already been arrested, including his wife, the BBC reports. His eldest son is still on the run. The number of dead from the Sewol disaster stands at 294—most of them high school students—and 10 people are still listed as missing. After the sinking, investigators found that the ferry was routinely and severely overloaded. Company officials are now on trial—a separate trial than that of the ferry captain and crew members, who were charged with murder.

Not a bad idea…..if you f*ck up take responsibility and commit suicide……at least the Asian, for the most part, take responsibility for the disasters they cause…..maybe the CEOs should take a page out of this play book and do the honorable thing and fall on their sword.

Thoughts?

Fomenting a Revolution: Extreme Acts of Greed Against the American People | Common Dreams

Economics could well be the ground on which a new American revolution will stand……..the gap widens every year between the “haves and the have nots”…..and that has been the battlefield for centuries…….could it be?

 

Fomenting a Revolution: Extreme Acts of Greed Against the American People | Common Dreams.

Creative Policy Making

I am always bitching that there is NO creativity in our policy makers….they seem to go to old stand by solutions that have NO footing in reality……so whenever I see a creative approach to policy making I am usually mildly impressed…….

Italy has done just that recently….mildly impressed me in the policy sector that is…….

Surprisingly enough, this idea didn’t come from Silvio Berlusconi: Italy plans to include things like illegal drug sales, prostitution, and cigarette smuggling in its GDP figures for the first time, immediately giving the size of the economy a big boost, Bloomberg reports. Prime Minister Mario Renzi has pledged to cut the country’s deficit to 2.6% of GDP, a target that will be a lot easier to hit when illegal sectors of the economy are included.

The European Union’s statistical agency has provided guidelines for estimating the contribution of illegal activities to the economy, and the move is expected to add up to 2% to Italy’s GDP, ANSA reports. (As for Berlusconi, he’s doing community service at a hospice after being convicted of tax fraud.)

Cool!  finally, people that can think outside of the box (as it were)……….any thoughts?

A Populist Behind Every Tree

Today I would like to drop out of Hyper-space and into the reality of the nether world of American politics….no matter how hard I try to avoid writing about it…….I cannot escape the pull of the force……..

Okay, in today’s political climate there is not much that the two sides can agree on…….we know there is NO consensus on immigration or healthcare or …….well just about anything……but believe it or not there is an exception to the rule……that’s right…..while you were jumping up and down about Benghazi or keystone of the ACA…….the two sides are closer together on one subject……economic populism.

We need to establish a new group…..economic freedom fighters…..and you can take that any way you would chose……this new found consensus has 6 principles that bind the two sides together…….

This list is from commondreams.org…….written by Robert Reich, the former sec of labor………

…………the rhetoric that’s converging. Populists on the right and left are also coming together around six principles:

1. Cut the biggest Wall Street banks down to a size where they’re no longer too big to fail. Left populists have been advocating this since the Street’s bailout now they’re being joined by populists on the right. David Camp, House Ways and Means Committee chair, recently proposed an extra 3.5 percent quarterly tax on the assets of the biggest Wall Street banks (giving them an incentive to trim down). Louisiana Republican Senator David Vitter wants to break up the big banks, as does conservative pundit George Will. “There is nothing conservative about bailing out Wall Street,” says Rand Paul.

2. Resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act, separating investment from commercial banking and thereby preventing companies from gambling with their depositors’ money. Elizabeth Warren has introduced such legislation, and John McCain co-sponsored it. Tea Partiers are strongly supportive, and critical of establishment Republicans for not getting behind  it. “It is disappointing that progressive collectivists are leading the effort for a return to a law that served well for decades,” writes the Tea Party Tribune. “Of course, the establishment political class would never admit that their financial donors and patrons must hinder their unbridled trading strategies.”

3. End corporate welfare – including subsidies to big oil, big agribusiness, big pharma, Wall Street, and the Ex-Im Bank. Populists on the left have long been urging this; right-wing populists are joining in. Republican David Camp’s proposed tax reforms would kill dozens of targeted tax breaks. Says Ted Cruz: “We need to eliminate corporate welfare and crony capitalism.”

4. Stop the National Security Agency from spying on Americans. Bernie Sanders and other populists on the left have led this charge but right-wing populists are close behind. House Republican Justin Amash’s amendment, that would have defunded NSA programs engaging in bulk-data collection, garnered 111 Democrats and 94 Republicans last year, highlighting the new populist divide in both parties. Rand Paul could be channeling Sanders when he warns: “Your rights, especially your right to privacy, is under assault… if you own a cellphone, you’re under surveillance.”

5. Scale back American interventions overseas. Populists on the left have long been uncomfortable with American forays overseas. Rand Paul is leaning in the same direction. Paul also tends toward conspiratorial views about American interventionism. Shortly before he took office he was caught on video claiming that former vice president Dick Cheney pushed the Iraq War because of his ties to Halliburton.

6. Oppose trade agreements crafted by big corporations. Two decades ago Democrats and Republicans enacted the North American Free Trade Agreement. Since then populists in both parties have mounted increasing opposition to such agreements. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, drafted in secret by a handful of major corporations, is facing so strong a backlash from both Democrats and tea party Republicans that it’s nearly dead. “The Tea Party movement does not support the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” says Judson Philips, president of Tea Party Nation. “Special interest and big corporations are being given a seat at the table” while average Americans are excluded.

Since the Right and the left are close to agreeing on these……it would be a great place to start the change that this country desperately needs……….but then the aftermath would be dazzling…..talk about a divide……will be worth the price of the ride………

Your thoughts, please.

The Great Ukrainian F*ck!

Inkwell Institute

Eurasian Desk

I am a fortunate person……I have the time to keep up with my interests…..politics, international affairs and economics….I can thank that bitch Katrina for this good fortune…..you see she crushed my leg that forced me into retirement which in turn gave me all the time I want to keep track of the world and its insanities……

Now that the Crimean thing is all but settled and the Russians are pushing into Eastern Ukraine……..now with the loss of Crimea Ukraine will be needing to bring its economics into balance….but how will they do that?  One term…..the IMF!

This situation is just what the IMF is looking for so they can step in and demand changes in the economy and society……………The IMF will offer financial assistance to Ukraine…..but that will mean a whole lot of restructuring…..and that could be a disaster in the making…..How you may ask?

Remember the old USSR, that evil empire that Reagan brought down single handedly, kinda like the work of Underdog, and with the failure and the collapse the IMF stepped in to help……help with the transition to a free market economy…….

Since the USSR’s collapse, Russia faced many problems that free markets proponents in 1992 did not expect. Among other things, 25% of the population lived below the poverty line, life expectancy had fallen, birthrates were low, and the GDP was halved.  And this gave rise to the true “free markets”…..the Black Market and an increase of criminal activity that is still massive to this day……..

The IMF has been licking its chips to get their hands on the another country to boss around….they were not satisfied with the economic collapse of the PIGS…..now they have Ukraine to work on……….

IMF aid programs typically are accompanied by stringent conditions to ensure that a country will be able to fix its economy and make it grow. Canada, the European Union, the United States and other countries have promised to support Ukraine if an IMF program is put into place.

When developing countries get into financial trouble—usually because of reckless government spending—IMF procedures require that any loans made to these countries be accompanied by fulfillment of strict “conditions” that must be met before IMF funds can be disbursed.

Interesting, right?  But what are these conditions?

Program approval or reviews are based on various policy commitments agreed with the country authorities. These can take different forms:

  • Prior actions are measures that a country agrees to take before the IMF’s Executive Board approves financing or completes a review. They ensure that the program has the necessary foundation to succeed, or is put back on track following deviations from agreed policies. Examples include the elimination of price controls or formal approval of a budget consistent with the program’s fiscal framework.
  • Quantitative performance criteria (QPCs) are specific and measurable conditions that have to be met to complete a review. QPCsalways relate to macroeconomic variables under the control of the authorities, such as monetary and credit aggregates, international reserves, fiscal balances, and external borrowing. For example, a program might include a minimum level of net international reserves, a maximum level of central bank net domestic assets, or a maximum level of government borrowing.
  • Indicative targets are used to supplement QPCs for assessing progress. Sometimes they are also set when QPCs cannot because of data uncertainty about economic trends (e.g. for the later months of a program). As uncertainty is reduced, these targets are normally turned into QPCs, with appropriate modifications.
  • Structural benchmarks are (often non-quantifiable) reform measures that are critical to achieve program goals and are intended as markers to assess program implementation during a review. They vary across programs: examples are measures to improve financial sector operations, build up social safety nets, or strengthen public financial management.

These are nothing more than a rape of the working class and a boom for business to take whatever they can out of the country before it implodes…….it lead to the depression in Russia after the collapse and it is killing the PIGS…..the people of each of these countries suffer at the hands of the IMF………and Ukraine will be NO different.

The IMF is the front man of trans-national corporations and their plundering of a nation in trouble……..I see political unrest in the Ukrainian situation which could lead to even more economic problems…….

The farce of Paul Ryan, serious man – The Week

Remember Paul Ryan…in case your memory is as bad as mine….let me help….he was Mitt’s pick for VP.  A lot can be said about Ryan…about the best thing is that he is the GOP’s economic wonk….someone who can play with the big boys in the field of economics…..

The farce of Paul Ryan, serious man – The Week.

Could It Be? The GOP Sees The Light?

It seems that our political brethren, the GOP, have bitten the bullet and decided it would be in the best interest to acknowledge the growing problem of inequality….after many election cycles and a whole lot of denial…they may have seen the light…(how fortunate with an election looming on the horizon)…….

Republicans seem to have shifted thinking about income inequality and the plight of poor people, writes Doyle McManus in the Los Angeles Times. Conservative stalwarts Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio are among those pitching proposals to help low-income Americans make ends meet, perhaps learning a lesson from Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comments in the last election. That’s smart, writes McManus, because President Obama is keeping the issue of income inequality front and center, and Republicans have figured out that it’s not enough to argue that lower taxes and reduced federal debt will be a cure-all. “The stagnation of middle-class incomes and the growing gap between rich and poor aren’t by any means partisan issues,” he writes. “Republican voters worry about them as much as Democrats do.” GOP candidates will no doubt have different approaches toward solutions, but McManus thinks it’s promising that they’re even discussing the need for them. “The two parties have agreed on a basic premise: that the federal government must do more to help the poor, especially low-income workers, clamber out of poverty,” he writes. “And that’s progress.” Click for his full column.

Now with the problem in sight….the next question is….what to do….what to do?

Believe it or not there are some ideas coming out of the GOP on how we can move past poverty and make a better country for our citizens…..really….they have some ideas….and here they are…..

1. Don’t raise minimum wage: Rubio said we shouldn’t raise the minimum wage to $10 because no one wants a job that pays $10. “Raising the minimum wage may poll well, but having a job that pays $10 an hour is not the American dream.” It is not clear how not raising the minimum wage translates into people getting jobs that pay more than $10 an hour. The current minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, an amount so low that people working full-time can’t afford to pay rent in any state, never mind buy food. People making the minimum wage actually qualify for food stamps and other government assistance. A bill currently before Congress to lift the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would lift 4.6 million Americans out of poverty.

2. Give subsidies to employers instead: Instead of raising the minimum wage (higher wages mean less money going into the pockets of those at the top of the corporate ladder) Rubio proposes to replace the Earned Income Tax Credit with a direct wage subsidy. He would give government money to companies to “supplement wages.” He says this would “encourage and reward work.” This would mean the money companies are not paying out in higher wages would continue to go to the top few and government would make up the difference: a direct government subsidy of inequality.

3. Turn programs over to states: Rubio proposed turning federal anti-poverty programs over to the states in a single “flex-fund” block grant, in order to let the states decide what to do with the money. Note that  24 states are currently refusing the federal Medicaid expansion, leaving 5.4 million people without health coverage even though it comes at no cost to those states. So the record on turning things over to the states as a way to help the poor is not good.

4. Marriage: Rubio’s  big proposal is marriage (but not gay marriage). He said, “the greatest tool to lift children and families from poverty is one that decreases the probability of child poverty by 82 percent. But it isn’t a government spending program. It’s called marriage.” Rubio says that government subsidies to increase wages (instead of just raising the minimum wage) makes men more “marriageable.” He also said we need to “remove the marriage penalties in safety net programs.” This is typical Republican dog-whistle politics, used to evoke images of “welfare mothers” – single black mothers having lots of babies so they can get more welfare.

Along these same lines Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)  recently said the reason he ran for Congress was “because he was outraged that single women were having as many as 15 babies and getting welfare checks.” Perhaps his proposal to stop all the women who have 15 babies (if there are any) from getting welfare checks will fight poverty, perhaps not. It should be noted, however, that “welfare” largely ended in 1996. Even with this program the amount given for nutritional assistance for children is extremely low, while the “reform” of this assistance has left millions in desperate straits. A 1997 Rutgers study compared birth rates between women receiving welfare who were receiving these benefits and a control group of women on welfare who were not found identical birth rates.

5. Make them move: Rubio also proposed giving unemployed people “relocation vouchers” so they can move to places with low unemployment.  Erika Eichelberger at Mother Jones talked to Mike Konczal of the Roosevelt Institute, who pointed out that this idea would just move the problem around. “States with low unemployment are often small states that are heavily agricultural,” he says. “There is not a lot of dynamic turnover… There are already unemployed people there who want those jobs” that are open.

Other Republican Proposals

Republicans have thrown a few other anti-poverty proposals into the mix recently.

6. Volunteer: Paul Ryan, chief cutter of budgets for things government does to make our lives better, is trying to distance himself from Republican (and his own) branding as insensitive to the poor. According to the Washington Post, “His idea of a war on poverty so far relies heavily on promoting volunteerism and encouraging work.” This is not the “volunteerism” of his famous photo pretending to wash dishes at a soup kitchen during the 2012 campaign; this is people showing up at soup kitchens, etc., and working without pay. While all of us should be helping out at soup kitchens, shelters and other programs that help others, it’s no substitute for the kind of resources government would be able to apply if Ryan was not so effective at gutting the government.

7. Get rid of public schools: Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority (Republican) leader  says that education reform broadly, and “school choice” in particular, is the surest way to break the “vicious cycle of poverty.” It is not clear how getting rid of public schools and using tax dollars to fund private schools-for-profit will fight poverty. The Education Opportunity Network explains that “education reform… seeks to impose on schools a governing methodology favored by business executives and policy technocrats” and in another post, that “access to good public schools is a critical civil and human right… corporate reform is characterized as a “market-based system” emphasizing “competition—as opposed to collaboration” that imposes a “system of winners and losers” in which “vulnerable children become collateral damage.”

8. Get rid of child labor laws: Maine’s Republican Governor Paul LePage  says child labor laws “are causing damage to our economy.” “We don’t allow children to work until they’re 16, but two years later, when they’re 18, they can go to war and fight for us,” LePage said. “That’s causing damage to our economy. I started working far earlier than that, and it didn’t hurt me at all. There is nothing wrong with being a paperboy at 12 years old, or at a store sorting bottles at 12 years old.”

(Thanx to Salon.com for the list)

There you have the ideas from the party that gave you Ted Cruz and Newt……..I could be a prick and make all kinds of insulting comments about their ideas to end poverty but I will take the high ground…..I am by no means an economist but to me, with my limited training in economics, these sound about as successful as the now defunct idea of trickle down economics…..WAIT!  Some of the programs are thinly veiled steps in trickle down…..they never stop trying to use that piece of manure as a base for economic growth.

I ask my readers to weigh in on these ideas…..one by one if you like….I want to see if I missed something………

Trickle-Down Economics and Broken Promises | Center for American Progress

For over 30 years we have heard all the spin how if we just cut taxes the economy will grow and everyone will prosper.  Trickle Down economics was the open salvo.

Now after all that time and all the cuts here and there trying to establish a great economy….trickle down economics has proven to be a con job on the highest order….Bush I when running against Reagan called the concept as Voodoo Economics……we should have listened.

This trash science has done nothing but kill the Middle Class and make inequality the call of the day.

Trickle-Down Economics and Broken Promises | Center for American Progress.