Tag Archives: Financial crisis
If you truly want to confuse the Hell out of your friends and foes alike, start talking about the economy using actual “facts and figures.” Truthfully, most folks don’t understand economics very well at all, and a good portion have no understanding greater than the mantra of “cut taxes, cut spending, yada, yada!”
I would venture to say that 9 out of 10 Americans would not know what that meant, even though we have basically employed a Keynesian economic model since 1932. In very raw, basic terms, Keynesian theory prescribes that in an economic downturn, the government needs to pump money into the economy to keep it from further contraction which would lead to recession or even depression.
Economics is not a subject near and dear to my black little heart, but in recent years, I have forced myself to learn more, in an effort to be able to debate the subject with some level of knowledge.
Although many on the Right would be loathed to admit it, without TARP and the Stimulus act, America could have fallen into a second Great Depression, dragging the rest of the world with us.
Much has been made of deficits and the National Debt, with many calling for balancing the Federal budget NOW!
Well, that sounds nice on paper, but this is what would happen if miraculously the Federal government balanced the budget today:
Instantly, the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) would contract by $1.4 trillion, putting thousands of Federal workers on the unemployment rolls and laying off thousands of others dependent on indirect government spending, and bring the economy to a screeching halt, possibly launching a Depression.
Simple rule – in times of recession, don’t cut spending.
GDP = private consumption + gross investment + government spending + (exports – imports) or………………..
“GDP = C + Inv + G + (eX – i)”
Eliminating the current Federal deficit right now would be a $1.4 trillion hit to a $14 trillion economy – a ten percent bang to the bottom line.
Simple? Well, not really, but for a thread column, that is about as simple as can be made of a complex issue.
Tomorrow: The economy isn’t as bad as you might think.
William Stephenson Clark
This movement seems to be catching on. There is a link in the article to check the banks in your zip code. What are your thoughts about this movement’s chance of success? Will it make a difference or are they just Don Quixote chasing those windmills?
Like many of you, my personal health insurance is going up in November by a factor of over twenty-five percent. I’m caught in the aging baby boomer dilemma of needing to keep myself covered, because at my age, I’m just a walking pre-existing condition. But I have to wonder how long I can continue paying almost half of my income for health insurance. And all the while, a hell of a lot of the remaining half needs to be dedicated in reserve for taxes, including taxes that are health care related.
I’ve been thinking lately that while most people say they are “worth more dead than alive” as a joke, for me, it’s rapidly becoming a reality. I wonder if I’m not better off just dropping my health insurance now and facing the future without it. I mean, why pay another year of half my income when the health insurance companies tell us it’s going to get worse, not better, before I reach Medicare age? If I’m going to be forced, because of cost, to drop it next year, is it really worth it to continue it this year? I could maybe hold on and hold my nose and write the obscene checks for another year if I thought health care reform was going to help people like me. But it doesn’t sound like anything being considered on Capital Hill is going to help self-insured people like me, and even if it did, it won’t take effect for another four years. And now they’re talking about mandatory insurance? Does anyone up there realize that’s like a mandated tax of at least fifty percent of my income? Does anyone care? Continue reading
Yes, the economic news shows signs of improvement, but we’re not out of the woods. There are economists who are grading the stimulus and seeing signs it did boost the economy even tho a small portion of it has been spent. There’s a good explanation at NPR of why the unemployment rate fell for the first time in fifteen months. The news isn’t all bad anymore, and a depression was avoided, but we’re still in the deepest recession since WWII.
Just this month, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin told a crowd in Auburn, NY, that Obama’s plan to cut $1 billion from missile defense–[….]–was somehow a sign of weakness. Would you be surprised to learn that the Obama defense budget is actually $20 billion bigger than the last one signed by President George W. Bush? Continue reading
I really can’t repeat some of the stuff going around the web about this sweetheart of the conservative Bible belt bunch. I can repeat her proud position on giving our children free lunches during the summer. NO. You make them lazy and enable welfare queens. That’s the short version. Here’s some snippits.
“Can’t they get a job during the summer by the time they are 16? Hunger can be a positive motivator. What is wrong with the idea of getting a job so you can get better meals? Tip: If you work for McDonald’s, they will feed you for free during your break. […] It really is all about increasing government spending, which means an increase in taxes for us to buy more free lunches and breakfasts.” Cynthia Davis (R)- Missouri
I wonder if Cynthia has a freakin’ clue what the working poor in Missouri cities go through just to make it through the week? Don’t we all know at least one or two hardworking parents who have latchkey kids at home for summer?
So you’re a single parent who hasn’t effectively had a raise in decades. All the wealth has migrated upwards for the last 30 years. You have three kids, 15, 10 and 8. There’s now way you can afford to have daycare for them all, so the teenager babysits. Isn’t it great that they can all walk down to the school and have lunch? APPARENTLY NOT! See sweet Cynthia’s views below:
There lot’s more BillO and RushBo thinking right here: http://cynthiadavis.net/PDFs/cpr090604_Summer_Food_Program.htm
SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM AND NOTICE THE ‘LAZY’ JOKE…right before you hit the button to send her your comments. ~sekanblogger
We have several PrariePops Authors gone into meatspace right now, so bare with sekan while we try to get through this. I know I’m not that entertaining. Rest assured that Iggy, fnord and others will be back! ~sekanblogger
These are hard times for debt collectors. After all, who can pay their bills these days? Not Wall Street, Detroit, millions of homeowners, the rising number of jobless folks – not even several states and cities.
But, wait – here are some lively prospects for debt collectors: the dead. Yes, there’s a boom in dunning the deceased!
We’re not talking about collecting from big time debtors who still owe several hundred thousand dollars on their yacht. No, these are workaday people who died while still owing maybe a couple of hundred bucks on their bank credit card, health insurance, or utility payment. It’s not possible, of course, to squeeze money out of a corpse, so the target becomes the bereaved next of kin. “Hello, I’m very sorry for your loss, but there’s this $211.36 balance on your mother’s Visa, and we wondered who will be covering this?”
By the way, there is no legal requirement whatsoever that the debt of those who’ve passed on must be paid by relatives out of their own pockets. Thus, what the industry calls “deceased collections” requires a delicate dance to cajole money out of the family without actually demanding it. The industry actually rationalizes its work as a service to those who have departed. As one insider asserts: “We want the dead to rest easy, knowing their obligations are taken care of.” How benevolent.
The actual work is done by a corps of specially trained agents working from cubicles in companies that specialize in this rather macabre fishing for cash. The job is so distasteful that about half of those hired quit within three months. Those who stick it out get such on-the-job stress relievers as yoga sessions, foosball games, free snacks and neck massages.
They tell us that we can’t escape death and taxes, but it appears that one more thing we can’t escape are debt collectors.
My grandparents married during the Great Depression and began raising their young family during World War II.
My grandmother would tell me stories about those times with pride. She couldn’t buy a car or nylon stockings. But she did save every bit of aluminum for the war effort, mended socks, and planted a victory garden. Though they had very little, when they could save ten cents, she would get another stamp for her war bond book.
As tough as those times were, my grandmother felt that what she did every day mattered for the country and her children’s future. Families across the nation took these same actions, and, together, they did indeed make all the difference. The victory gardens, the recycling, the $185 billion in war bonds raised by 85 million cash-strapped Americans (nearly $2 trillion in today’s dollars), and the retooling of Detroit for tanks and planes provided our country with the resources and capacity for the war effort.
Taken together, these actions gave the economy a whole new set of priorities—moving from a failing consumer-based economy to an economy focused on providing for the country’s future.
As a nation, we are again at this kind of pivotal time. We can choose to reprioritize the economy. And we know how to do it — we did it during World War II.
The steps this time around will look familiar to those who experienced these days. We need to embrace thrift as a fundamental value, and collectively shift our economy from one depending on consumerism, debt, and speculation, to one that spends its precious resources on what sustains health and well-being for people and the planet.
Like the economy my grandmother experienced during World War II, the consumer sector can no longer be the economy’s driver. But instead of a war effort, the priority now needs be to on economic activity and jobs that bring about a sustainable future—from energy efficiency, mass transit, and sustainable agriculture to education, health, and building resilient communities, that make sure no one is left behind. Continue reading
Any Todd Fans out there? I can’t hear you! ~sekanblogger
The $787 billion stimulus is not nearly enough – Paul Krugman, professor of economics at Princeton University and Nobel Prize winner.
There was a headline in “The New York Times” the other day that illustrates the kind of Catch 22 economy we’re in. “Rising Gas Prices Threaten to Slow a Recovery,” it said.
Bad news, right? We don’t want the economy to slow down any more than it’s already slowed.
On the other hand, we are basing our hopes for saving our collapsing car industry on a universal switch to cleaner cars that get better gas mileage. We also want to stimulate mass transit in our cities in order to get people out of cars entirely. (I won’t mention global warming because it drives a lot of people crazy.)
But to achieve those things, we have to have higher, not lower, gas and energy prices. People will not give up their big, honking cars and trucks in favor of matchboxes on wheels; even less will they walk to their corner bus stop, unless they can’t afford to do otherwise. On this I will stake my reputation as a soothsayer.
The sad truth is that we will continue to be at the mercy of oil producers so long as we are unwilling to go through the painful transition to a society that does not see the auto as a necessity for work, play, status and raising children. And the even sadder truth is that the pain of the transition to green transportation (widespread unemployment, a spike in the suicide rate, higher taxes, walking) may be more than the American people can bear.
The problem is so vexing that even a wise Latina woman would have trouble figuring it out. But that’s not the only problem facing Mr. Obama and Capitol Hill’s Gang That Couldn’t Talk Straight.
You may not have noticed but the economy fell off a cliff last fall. One minute prosperity was there beside us, laughing and talking, telling jokes; the next it was gone—disappeared.
When we looked over the side of the cliff we were walking on, there it was, tumbling toward the bottomless abyss, a fate so terrible that we only refer to it as “the D word.” Continue reading
The End of an Era, again, for Southeast Kansas and the world. Southeast Kansas is no stranger to ‘End of an Era’ stories though. Endings that I’m familiar with? The M-K-T railroad, the Kansas Army Ammunition Plant (KAAP), and that’s just a couple of the larger ones from one town, Parsons. At one point those two comapanies together would have employed around 5,ooo people between them. You would be hard pressed to find people in the area without a connection to one or both industries. Parsons, of course, is not alone. It’s not a good time to be looking for work anywhere.
A couple of remaining area employers (that are always on the Kansas State budget chopping block), are the Parsons State Hospital and Training Center (PSHTC)and the Labette County Community Corrections (LCCC) military style boot camp.
The PSHTC has suffered budget cuts again and again, as well as depending on government grants for research. The LCCC is already slated to close, even though it is cheaper to house these young offenders there. A last ditch effort to teach state legislators basic accounting and common sense is ensuing.
So what’s left here? We still have some area employers doing well in niche’ markets. With today’s announcement from Kodak, one of those niche’ markets is dissapearing also.
“On June 22, 2009, Kodak announced the final manufacturing run of Kodachrome 64, the last remaining Kodachrome film. Dwayne’s Photo plans to continue processing Kodachrome films through the end of December 2010. As long as supplies last, Dwayne’s will continue to offer Kodachrome film for sale. This is a sad occasion for us, as we’re sure it is for many of you. While we understand the business realities driving Kodak’s decision, we are still sorry to see the film go. Kodachrome was truly an icon of the 20th century and has certainly been a very important part of Dwayne’s business for many years. Once it’s gone, nothing will ever capture “those nice bright colors” in quite the same way. We want to say thank you to all the customers who have been loyal to Kodachrome and to us over the years.” – Dwayne’s Photo
Dwayne’s Photo, Parsons Kansas is the last certified Kodachrome processor IN THE WORLD.
So for now at least, Parsons still offers an excellent destination for criminals, mentally retarded wards of the state (including sex offenders) and….KODACHROME.
We want all three, lots of it. At least for now. ~sekanblogger
Those of you who were surfing for Paul Simon music and actually read all this crap anway?…….. – click here Continue reading