Where 140 characters (@michaeljung) are not enough
and a blog post (michaeljung.wordpress.com) would be a waste.
Relationships between wealth, power, and influence.
For starters, all the above three are always and have always been inter-related, and probably always will be. And that might not always be a bad thing: those who have risen to high levels of wealth are often pretty smart, and surprisingly often exceptionally honest. Those who rise to high levels of influence usually have some pretty good insight and talent in their area of expertise. Those who have acquired a lot of power tend to be good at accomplishing things that lots of people want to see happen.
None of which is purely democratic, nor even purely meritocratic, but there is a certain dose of both kind of baked into the cake: stuff like wealth or family connections only gets you so far in modern, developed, and relatively open and transparent societies such as the US. And while that can be pretty far by normal standards, at some point sunlight does shine through any crack, and outright robbery or complete incompetence is difficult to sustain indefinitely.
But there is an awful lot of low-level waste, patronage, and corruption that happens both in the private and in the public sector.
(When was it that Eisenhower warned the American people to beware the Military Industrial Complex? 1961? I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.)
Had the same in mind. Video is on YouTube.
It is far from over. Trading a private debt and speculative bubble for an public one. (via ZeroHedge)
The rating agencies’ ranking of the United States is even more disconnected from reality. To believe that the US sets the benchmark for sovereign debt credit ratings is preposterous. While we have written ad nauseam about the excessive debt issuance by the United States, we found a recent update written by United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) to be particularly instructive. The update noted the US’s budget deficit equivalent to 9.9% of GDP in 2009 - the largest since 1945 - and stated that without significant policy changes the US government would soon face an “unsustainable growth in debt”. This was not news to us. It goes on to state, however, that using reasonable assumptions, “roughly 93 cents of every dollar of federal revenue will be spent on the major entitlement programs and net interest costs by 2020.”8 This is news! In less than ten years, using reasonable assumptions, there will essentially be no money left to run the US government - 93% of all tax revenues the US government collects will go to pay social security, Medicare, Medicaid and the interest costs on their national debt. This implies no money left over for defense, homeland security, welfare, unemployment benefits, education or anything else we associate with the normal business of government. And the US government is rated AAA!?
The historian Niall Ferguson recently wrote that, “US government debt is a safe haven the way Pearl Harbor was a safe haven in 1941.”9 It’s hard not to agree given the foregoing statements by the GAO. The risk inherent to investors, of course, is what happens when the bond market begins to realize and react to this new level of risk. In a speech earlier this month, Jürgen Stark, who is a member of the board of the European Central Bank, stated, “We may already have entered into the next phase of the crisis: a sovereign debt crisis following on the financial and economic crisis.”10 The activities of the IMF would confirm this statement. The question we must now ask ourselves is whether “backed by government” actually means anything anymore. (via)
Growth is not always good, says Edward Hess of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. (via businessinsider)
Gobsmacked. Completely under the radar. Australia speeds up its progress towards 1984.
The secret police. The police state. Big Brother. Nanny State. Wiretapping. Subpoenas. Censorship. The Patriot Act (USA). Un-American aka Avatar according to conservatives. Flight boarding cards with special acronyms printed on them, you know then you are on the list.
New laws came quietly into effect in South Australia this week restricting the promotion and display of R-rated movies.
New law applies to general outlets containing films with classifications lower than R18+, and not adult-only premises. [Applying] to titles for sale or rent unless those titles are quarantined from all other audiovisual materials, in an area signposted with a warning. [You will] find them in plain packaging displaying nothing more than the film’s title.
It’s censorship on the fringe, it’s censorship without the stigma of using the word. It’s even more insidious because they’re not calling it what it is. Essentially, what’s really happened here is a rather large portion of Australia has just banned hard-R movies. Technically they can still be shown, but what theater will run an R-rated movie when they can’t advertise that they’re playing it? None of them will.
Higher (Natural Rate Of) Unemployment For A Decade to come.
[T]he OECD assumes that two out of every three workers who remain jobless for more than a year will be lost to the labour market thereafter, adding to the country’s natural rate of unemployment. By the end of next year, it calculates, that rate will be 9% in the euro area, undoing more than a decade’s-worth of progress. A special report on the world economy: Separation anxiety.
The last 10 years of ‘American living’ (most of them) was not viable. Even the time before. The hardship for the people in the USA and the everyday news is the motion picture movie for a growing paradigm shift in the USA.
By Peter Schiff: My Mortgage Bankers Speech from Nov 13th 2006 is now in one video clip. I gave this presentation at the the Western Regional Mortgage Bankers Conference in Las Vegas. There were over 2,000 mortgage bankers in attendance. I also made similar comments when I addressed this conference a year earlier in 2005 at the height of the real estate bubble. For those people who said no one saw it coming, this presentation is a real eye opener. Let’s see if we can get this clip to go viral. Thanks to a YouTuber called “csabasand” here is a full transcript.