economy


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…so I’m not an economist, but I suspect I’m experiencing many of the same issues as those in Britain are experiencing when they voted out of the EU.  I live in Los Angeles.  One of the few things I love about LA is how cosmopolitan it is.  And that, being among the few things I love about it, compensates for the many things I don’t like about it (don’t get me started).  My brethren from here and all over the world is what has enriched this place to me.  When I see the “Brexit” folk being demonized and labeled as “xenophobe”, and, because I’m empathetic to the Brexit cause, it seems to me the media is failing to parse out and understand and therefore portray, with any diplomacy, what the real issues may be.

I don’t doubt that immigration lends itself to the issue in Britain, but I definitely see the global political-economic engineers (a.k.a. profiteers) as the demon.  Again, although I’m not an economist, I suspect that the elite in our global economy have bundled our efforts, our work, our savings, our student loans, our mortgages (once again), and our retirement accounts; our general livelihood, the same way as it bundled and leveraged our mortgages up to the 2008 collapse (that was just field practice) – funneling the gain for themselves and democratizing the risk to the rest of us – and effectively subscribing the middle class to its own deflation.  Thus, the profit margin of my life savings (which benefits me less than 1%) gets exploited and bundled into larger profit-bearing enterprises for the global elite:  exploiting the underpaid worker in China (or anyplace else), exploiting the environment, or waging war.  No doubt the Brexit vote is protectionist, but I trust Britain’s vote indicates, even more so, that it DOES care about democracy and it doesn’t care to revisit it’s own feudal history.  Carry on!

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Today’s news is a glimmer of sunlight in this trickle-down economic cave so many of us are living in.  No doubt it’s a glimmer of hope to hear a leader, (a world leader?) pick up the gauntlet and address the status-quo / the power structure and say, “enough – (basta)!” of the inequality and growing poverty that is a result of unbridled capitalism and to remind us of the value of humanity over profit (“A New Tyranny“).

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John Stumpf, CEO Wells Fargo

I just spotted the latest bank executive pay report in the Los Angeles Times and it appears that the wealth has distilled further:  from “the 1%” to “the .5%”.  Of the 6 bank CEO’s reviewed, only 3 got a pay increase.  Further, the top 2 earned almost twice as much as each of the other 4.  John Stumpf, CEO of Wells Fargo, was the top “earner” with a $22.87 million take – up 15% from last year.  Let’s look at some simple math on this – I know I have to, because if I could remember my calculus, this guy would be out of a job and he’d be blogging about me.  Anyhoo, he got the 22.87 million bucks in one year.  The U.S. population is 315 million.  The current unemployment rate is 7.7%.  If the ENTIRETY of our population qualified at that unemployment rate, there would be 24.3 million people out of work. And if this one guy lost his job, and his 2012 income alone was divided among the entire unemployed population,

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Lloyd Blankfein, CEO Goldman Sachs

we would have that many (24.3 million) more almost-millionaires.

This really lends a sense of proportion to one man’s staggering wealth.  And I’m not attempting to rally the socialists here, but if we could topple just this one guy’s position and distribute his one-year’s income, we would ameliorate this nation’s unemployment, the banks would have fewer people to lend to, and Lloyd Blankfein wouldn’t have to be the “number-two” anymore (CEO of Goldman Sachs:  $21 million income after a 75% pay raise in 2012) and get back to “doing God’s work.”

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…if ordering a 4-year supply of “I voted” stickers to wear everyday would be tactless, but those Republican sociopaths (pardon the tautology) have really raised the bar on what’s considered gauche.

Romney Antoinette

Who knew that asking for a presidential candidate’s tax returns would be the new “Don’t ask don’t tell.”  I guess he’s just not that into the middle class.

Just what do you want?!  What is your message?  What are your demands?:  questions asked by those in the media as though the cumulative effect of co-opting our government and, effectively, our economy over decades into corralling the rest of us into financial pillories can be distilled into a single grievance when our life’s earnings have been distilled into a few gold-plated door knobs in the Hamptons (or elsewhere)…?.  The fundamental here is demonstrating our awareness; eyeing the enemy:  corporate power and their greed – financial thuggery.

I’m posting to share my awareness.

July 2003 I decided to start throwing money at a retirement account.  I was finally in a position where deferring taxable income while I still paid off student loans actually yielded a modest gain (taxes higher than loan interest rate).  Also, the account value was supposed to grow with the economy.  Guess what?  8+ years later it turns out that if I could have put away that money in my own personal tax-shielded, savings account (if such a thing existed for Main Street savers) and at the CURRENT savings interest rate, my balance would be in the same, if not better place.  Although I am forgetting the formulae learned in several calculus classes, I have reason to believe I would have been better off if given the higher savings rate returns at the time, earlier in my account.  As one of the 99% I demand a tax-deferred personal savings account (at my local credit union).  I want to cut out the fat-cat Wall Street  middle-man handling my retirement savings / masturbating my money into their personal mega-mansions.  Personal savers would get taxed on withdrawals and accounts can be personally prioritized based on need:  retirement, unemployment, disability, etc. while incentivizing personal savings in general.  Until something like this happens, I have to pay my fees to the top 1% for a 1%-gain-retirement account or pay my taxes to close the account which will end up in the same fat-cat paws anyway (bailing out the too-big-to-fail failures / income pimps).

Meanwhile, at the time when I’m being approached about retirement accounts, my husband and I are being told we need to buy a house.  NOW is the time.  Interest rates were dropping and values were going up:  house values, supposedly, never decline.  In fact, here in West LA house values more than doubled in less than 4 years (2002-2006).  But LA’s unemployment rate was 6% at the time – significantly above the national rate of 2% for a healthy  national economy.  Hmmm – what exactly am I being urged to signup for?  My other demand is for the 99%:  have some critical awareness.  Quit being a God-forsaken lamb lead to slaughter.  Know the field and know what you’re signing up for!

When we’re living in a country where, after 9/11, nearly 3,000 people died (immediately) and our president tells us to “go shopping,” you have to know something’s gone awry.  All I can fathom is that our economy is in the hands of global-economy casino lords.  In this global system you’re either a gambler, a slave, or one of the 1%.  And given this scale and concentration of power, our corralled earnings can amount to little more than a few gold-plated door knobs somewheres:  http://www.losangelesdailynews.org/now-shy-of-glitz-owner-to-sell-mansion/

First of all, wherever there’s blame there’s a failure to take responsibility.  Take responsibility:    divest from the corporation.  Save your hard-earned money! Support your local credit union and KNOW their structure.  Don’t use plastic, debit or credit, use cash.  Shop local:  farmer’s market, crafts market.  Either grab the Wall Street bull by the horns and know how to join the 1%, or recognize the bull markets for the bull-shit bubble markets that they really are (bull farts then?).  Balance, if not prosperity, lies beyond Wall Street.

And so my questions are these:  what do the financial services sector produce really (other than the fees they take playing investors off one another)?  How is this sector relevant to the GDP – gross domestic product?  Fundamentally, what is the financial services sector producing other than money ethers?  What, really (in a GDP sense), is the cost-benefit ratio of saving banks that are running on ether?  Is it me or has the cost clearly outweighed the benefit?  I think we all know the benefit is limited to “1%” (in all it’s iterations).

I don’t suspect there’s anyone out there:  not Bernanke, not Geithner, not Paulson, and Bloomberg seems to be in denial, etc. who realizes just how inflated the financial services sector is and so the rest of us, the 99% pays.  And so all we can do for now is occupy:  recognize the vacancy or lack of will until there is a breakthrough.  Just what does the top 1% contribute?  Floating jobs in fee-based ether to mitigate the unemployment demand? – a modest show of responsibility when you’re in cahoots with the government anyway.

Thank you occupiers!

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