Tag Archives: economics

Still Not Interested!

15 Nov

I was doing some on-line banking this morning and as I was scrolling through my recent transactions I happened to notice that my bank, one of the largest in the world by the way, made an interest deposit in my favor…for 5 cents!

Once upon a time when I was little an interest credit of 5 cents would have meant that I was a five year old whose dad had just opened a savings account for him with 1 dollar.

I’m all grown up now and I have quite a few more dollars in the bank but I’m still getting 5 cents in interest!

I tried to figure out what kind of a percentage that meant I was getting on my money but my calculator melted while trying to do the math.

Honestly I don’t even bother to add the interest into my balance anymore. It’s not worth the time or worth using up one of the spaces in my register to add just pennies to my balance. I just wrote pennies didn’t I? Imagine that! Pennies in interest on a banking account in the 21st century… when I was teaching high school the students would throw pennies at each other rather than keep the annoying coins in their pockets. Now they’re my investment income.

Honestly, I’d rather they kept their 5 cents than insult me with such a transaction.

But sadly, just the other day, while I was making a transaction at the drive up window, a bank assistant manager asked if I would like to transfer my money from my checking account to a fabulous new Platinum Savings account where I’ll earn 3 times as much money in interest! Wouldn’t that be a wonderful idea?! And she was so cheerful and peppy and excited for her offering me this great new prospect for my increased wealth!

Wow! I thought. 3 times as much interest! So, instead of .01 percent or .0001 for those who do math. I can get .03% or .0003 in interest on my hard earned and saved money. Why that’s 3 dollars instead of 1 dollar as thanks for holding onto my 10,000 dollars (that’s if I had 10,000 dollars…I’m only using that figure so my example can have real numbers in it instead of imaginary ones! As it is that’s 25 cents or one quarter per month…in interest on 10 thousand dollars.

Soon I suspect they will be paying my interest in imaginary numbers.

I’d love to be able to take out a loan from the same bank and then hand them 5 cents when the interest on that loan came due… wouldn’t you?

Of course that probably would have meant that I had only borrowed a dime.

I mean really, one of the largest banks in the world can only afford to give me 5 cents in interest these days on the money I put in there for safe keeping and which of course they are also allowed to use to make themselves money?

Has our government heard about this?

The one that’s made up of 47% lawyers and 43% millionaires?

Or is it the other way around?

No matter I guess…Because most of the candidates running for president this election cycle are promising NOT to bail out the big banks should they fail again, like they did in 2008. Do they realize that “in the banks” is where Americans keep their money? (those that have any) And have these lawyers and millionaire candidates ever heard of FDIC insurance, a law that’s been in effect since 1933…whereby the Federal Government (them) promises to insure our bank accounts (us) up to 250,000 dollars. (By the way, that’s 75 dollars of interest per year! Yay!) So if the banks fail…and they don’t get bailed out…we’re all penniless. Literally and figuratively!

Which, by the by, is how the banks ran their scam the first time! They couldn’t lose!

Anyway, I don’t know whether I’m more angry, insulted or depressed by the whole situation…in which the banks seem to know the law all to well and the candidates pretend to know no law at all?!

But it does kinda make you lose interest in more ways than one doesn’t it?

Live Long and Prosper?

10 Nov


Each year the Legatum Institute, a division of a private investment firm, creates The Legatum Prosperity Index, which is an annual ranking of 142 countries, based on a variety of what are seen as human prosperity factors including wealth, economic growth, education, health, personal freedom, personal well-being, and quality of life.

This year Norway tops the list as the most prosperous country in which to live with the United States coming in a distant 11th, which isn’t too bad though when you consider that their are 131 other countries behind us. However, last year we ranked 10th (in 2008 we were 6th) while Norway was still number 1. This year Ireland jumped from 12th place to move ahead of us. Now how did that happen?

Anyway, those countries still ahead of us, in their respective order from number 2 are: Switzerland, Denmark, New Zealand, Sweden, Canada, Australia, Netherlands and Finland. Not bad company but what I find most curious is that if you look at the map above showing the world’s most recent population growth rates you’ll see that these are also the countries that mostly have the lowest growth rates and where their prosperous citizens are giving birth to the fewest children.

And if you’re wondering who’s at the bottom of the prosperity list well, all you have to do is look at the map and see where all of the children are being born and those are the very same places that are among the least happy to live in, including such happy places like Chad, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and most of Africa and the Middle East.

So Why do all of the happy and prosperous countries produce the fewest children while just about all of the sad places are veritable population bombs? Why do people who are poor and living in the worst of conditions want to have children while those humans who are most affluent and able to afford and care for offspring, do not?

In fact affluence is the only form of birth control among humans that actually seems to work long term. And It seems that the more one has, the more likely one is to want to live separated from others and in larger spaces and often with extra homes that they don’t even use. And affluent countries are also the most likely to want to build walls and fences to keep other, less fortunate folks out…and/or deport those who they see as poor baby making squatters who don’t belong to their citizenry and probably never will.

Money and happiness seem to work hand in hand to make people more reclusive and stingy. Which begs the question: Which came first? The children, or the eggs-istentialism? the happiness or the un? Does one just have to look at the map above to see who the future inheritors of the Earth shall be? Was all that hard work just for zero growth… or rather… nothing…so to speak?

Why Do We Always Elect Rich People?

16 Oct

Why do we always put rich people in charge of everything?

Have you ever spoken to a person who was richer than you about problems you might have, only to receive that thousand yard stare in return that says, “What in gods name are you talking about?” And their response to just about anything is always, “I just pay the guy!” Need health care? Pay the guy! Need a new car? Pay the guy! Home needs repair? Pay the guy! Need drugs? Pay the guy! Trouble with the law? Pay the guy! Looking for sex? Pay the guy! Accidentally chopped up the wife and her boyfriend in a fit of rage??? Pay the guy!

How can we possibly expect these folks to fix our problems when they really can’t even comprehend what our problems are and when they don’t live under the same conditions that average Americans live under (namely that we don’t have enough money to pay all the guys!)

And the irony is that when we put these rich folks in charge they always look out at their constituents and invariable say, “Well, I’ll tell you one thing. You can’t throw money at the problem!” WHAT?! WHAT?! WHAAAAAT?! That’s what they do isn’t it? They throw money at everything! And it works pretty well for them too doesn’t it? And like idiots we always look back at them and agree. “Yep, Can’t throw money at problems…and the reason that is, is because folks without money wouldn’t throw their money at their problems because they don’t have any money, and if they did, they certainly wouldn’t throw it anywhere. They’d keep it!

And besides…folks with money only throw it at their problems. Why would they throw it at you and your problems? Then you’d have the money for crying out loud…and they wouldn’t. How would that make any sense? And why in the name of all that is holy are we giving rich people, who already have jobs and money, another job that comes with more money that they obviously don’t need in the first place and which will only make them less likely to want to help us in the second place?! I’m getting tired how about you?

So, the only answer is…Senior Citizens!

Because here’s how we put an end to that trickle down theory once and for all and solve our political woes in America and cut government spending and costs to the bone, and save education and our infrastructure. Just two words: Senior Citizens!

Why do we always elect people who already have jobs like attorney and lawyer and barrister and attorney etc…, and who are already rich and then pay them more money to do another job which is that of running our government when at the same time our towns and cities are filling with an ever growing population of retired senior citizens, from all walks of life? We have retired engineers and accountants and astronauts and retired you name its. (Even retired lawyers if that’s something you just can’t get enough of) If somebody once worked at it then you can bet there’s somebody who’s retired at it too.

And what do all of these retired citizens have in common? They’re all bored and looking for something to do to keep then busy, and they’re getting paid already! Some with good pensions and everyone with good old homegrown, American Social Security benefits! And they just love to volunteer for things!

What better way to utilize this growing population of bored, lonely, experienced government paid citizens, who are looking for something to keep them busy, than as politicians!! They’re already on the public payroll! They’ve been there, done that. They’re eager. They’re experienced! They’re bored. And did I mention that they already get paid?! Besides, most would work for nothing anyway, and since they are old and have already “been there and done that” and are retired, they have no need for greed and power and excess. They’ve had a 30 -40 year career. They most likely know what it means to work hard and get ahead, pay bills, raise a family, And even if they do succumb to greed, they’ll most likely die soon anyway and we can replace them in no time flat!

Then we can tell those rich, fat cat, Senators, Congressman, comptrollers, state senators, governors…those “I had to be rich to be a politician in the first place” double dippers who are just getting richer and who can never seem to solve our problems and who are (Let’s face it) the REALLY EXPENSIVE government employees…”You’re FIRED!”

Now watch us save money! Did you ever try to borrow money from a retired person?

So let’s amend the constitution which, if you’ve read it, was meant to be a living document and amended on a regular basis, to say:

“To run for political office one must be an American Senior Citizen who is retired, and having already proved their competency in the workplace and who is already on the government payroll, can receive no other remuneration for their service to America!

Who’s Struggling Now?

28 Sep
American citizens (along with other international students) can now attend all German universities…for free! And that’s because the last German state to charge university tuition has eliminated those fees! Wow! How do they do it? College for free? And for foreigners too? Didn’t we go to war with this country… and win… 70 years ago? Shouldn’t we be charging them money to go to our universities? And so much so that school is free for all of us Americans? You know, like that wall Donald trump wants to build and make the Mexicans pay for.
So what gives? Why is Germany being so nice to us and how can they afford it? Apparently most German statesmen and stateswomen believe that tuition fees are unjust and that they discourage young people, who do not have a traditional academic family background, from taking up study. Gee, In the Unites States that’s the whole point of higher education isn’t it?… To separate the haves from their money while also separating them from the have-nots, who don’t have any money to be separated from in the first place.
The Germans also believe that It is a core task of politics to ensure that young women and men can study with a high quality standard that is free of charge. For goodness sake where did they get these ideas? In the U.S. the core task of politics is to raise the interest rate on student loans while making sure that those loans are exempt from bankruptcy filings guaranteeing that America’s young students will be in debt to financial institutions for all time…and so far to the tune of over 1 trillion dollars!
And get this! Even before Germany abolished college tuition for all students, typical semester fees were around $630 and German students could also count on discounts for food, clothing, events, and inexpensive or even free transportation to and from school…Come to think of it we used to do that here in the states too, back in the 70s. I remember that because I was there! But then we got wise and realized that marketing to students, teenagers and even little kids is tremendously lucrative, especially when they have to borrow all of their money from adults! It was like taking candy from babies! or, er, well, selling candy to babies! And today we are all proud to say that the average student loan debt in the U.S. is now almost 30 thousand dollars…with a bullet!
Silly Germans! What are they thinking? Have they gone socialist on us…in just 70 years? We sure didn’t indoctrinate those folks very well did we? They never learned anything about free enterprise and unfettered capitalism! Now they are just giving valuable educations… to their children…for free?! And they want to include our children as well!!
Ach, du lieber! Mein Kampf! When they ask your children what language they’d like to study in high School, make sure you tell them to say, German! Duh, I mean Deutsch! And forget that college savings plan. Just start booking those tickets now! This is America, remember?! By next year a ticket from here to Germany will probably cost $100,000!!! One way!

Raise Your Hand If You’d Like a Raise

3 Jun

It was recently reported that the median CEO salary in America is 10.5 million dollars per year.

That’s an increase of 8.8% over last years median CEO salary.

That’s almost a 1 million dollar raise…per year.

How big of a raise did you get last year?…if you got one at all…

(You might have even taken a pay cut…or had your entire job cut.)

How long can our Republic continue on this path of immense raises to our wealthiest, while middle and lower income earners stagnate under lower wages, lessened benefits and the burden of increasing debt?

I understand that it works great for the wealthy but…How is this a responsible and sustainable economic model for the free and modern world?




Noblesse You?

16 Apr

I know that there are a lot of people out there who are in favor of less government or like Grover Norquist and his followers, no government at all.

But I never hear them explain or diagram what it is that they propose as an alternative.

I will grant you that government is wasteful and has been spending an awful lot of money on that which does not seem to benefit the governed very much. And it needs to be more responsible to the needs of the people it serves as opposed to the needs of lobbyists and corporations and special interest groups…at least that is what I think.

But those who oppose government or what they call “Big Government” as in “Big Brother” or someone or something that is watching us and means to do us harm… or take away our rights, seem to wish to govern by doing nothing at all. At least that is what the 236 Congressmen who have signed Mr. Norquist’s pledge do.

They obfuscate, block, filibuster, delay, and do everything they can to avoid governing. So what kind of government do they and their supporters want should they someday find themselves in the majority of both the House and Senate? Will they govern then? Or quit and leave us without a government at all?

From their proposals so far and from what I have read by others who support them, they are against social programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid any form of Universal Healthcare, Welfare in the form of housing, food assistance or unemployment insurance, and any form of government regulation on anything.

They appear to be for increased spending on the military, defense systems, and  homeland security  and for the  privatization of large government entities or bureaucracies like the post office etc.

But they are never really specific about what they would cut and what they would leave and how much that would save us all on government expenses and what the future American society would then look like. Why is that?

Is it because they know that what they want would not be very appealing to what most Americans expect from a government? As far as I have been able to determine their answer seems to be one of Noblesse Oblige.

Noblesse oblige” is generally used to imply that with wealth and power, come responsibilities and in American English especially, the term is sometimes applied more broadly to suggest a general obligation for the more fortunate to help the less fortunate

The Oxford English Dictionary says that the term “suggests noble ancestry constrains to honorable behavior; privilege entails to responsibility.” Being a noble meant that one had responsibilities to lead, manage and so on. One was not to simply spend one’s time in idle pursuits.

Is this what “Small Government” proponents want? Government entities for military, and defense purposes and the wealthy and powerful citizens and corporations will provide for everything else through their charity and kindness where and when they see fit?… Like most European governments in the pre-Revolutionary War days did?

I’m just asking because I seriously do not know what the alternative is that they propose? How do they picture the future of American society? Can someone out there enlighten me please? Nicely I hope and without and noble condescension? Thanks.

Trickle Down Downer?

4 Jan

Legislation passed by the Senate on Tuesday night as part of the effort to avoid the dreaded “fiscal cliff” will limit the amount wealthy people can claim for charitable deductions on their taxes. The cap will apply only to individuals who make 250 thousand dollars or more and married couples making $300,000 or more, and It could save the government up to 50 billion dollars in tax breaks.

And now in response rich folks are apparently up in arms claiming that if they can’t deduct all of their charitable gifts they may not be so charitable in the future. Ari Fleischer, a former White House press secretary under President George W. Bush, tweeted: “This deal limits my deductions so I, & many others, will likely donate less in 2013.”

So why give if the giving can’t get you something good? That’s the exact opposite of what it means to be charitable isn’t it?

And According to Philanthropy News Digest, the new cap on tax deductions could potentially deter giving by anywhere from 0.4 percent to 2.3 percent –- up to $7 billion a year.

So 2013 may finally see revealed the answer to whether or not the trickle down theory of economics really is just economic theory or indeed economic fact.

Will the rich be truly generous enough to keep trickling on the poor…or will it all Depend?


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