Tuesday, Sep 30th

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Bruce Enberg's Commentary

Coming to your mailbox, economic recovery?

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Remember when the credit card offers came in your mail by the handful? Those days maybe about to return. Credit card debt backed securities (they call them bonds now) are now the hot investment with tens of billions being issued by the big banks. The reason these new bonds are so popular is that investors are suddenly seeing credit card debt as a safe again. In fact they are so popular that they aren't paying returns all that much better than government bonds that pay hardly anything at all.

The reason for this that's being given by the business news is that consumers are newly reliable since all the 'bad risk' accounts have already gone bankrupt since 2008. But that would have been true last year and the year before that. The reason consumer bankruptcies are now seen an acceptable risk is that prior to Obamacare coming online, fully two thirds of bankruptcy filings listed medical debt as the primary cause. Health insurance companies are now required to pay the bills with no annual or lifetime caps and rescission is prohibited. That's where you think you have insurance until you actually need it,  - half of medical debt driven bankruptcy filers had insurance.

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zzzztttt!

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The mega store chain Walmart, that one that likes to drape itself in Red, White and Blue in order to better sell its Communist Chinese goods, has announced it will 'create' 100,000 jobs for military veterans. Why will it push 100,000 already poor people out of the way in favor of giving poverty wage jobs to the veterans of George Bush's imperialist follies? Because it will get hundreds of millions in cash from the government for doing so. They wouldn't do it otherwise, this isn't without risk. These people are trained in combat, and have served under fire...

 

Even more risky for Walmart is that these people have been instilled with certain 'liberal' values. Things like real teamwork, where all pull together for the whole, and 'no one is left behind', the kind of thinking the Walton family really doesn't want their workers to even dream about. After all, in just 30 years the five Walton heirs have accumulated  more wealth than the bottom 40% of the entire United States of America, and they're only getting started.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 January 2013 21:21 Read more...

Purple is the new Reality

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Reality can be defined as the 'norms' that your community agrees on.... Do you believe in witches and demons? How about 'trickle down economics?' Of course, some 'realities' work better than others. The laws of nature tend to favor 'actual reality' over the ones that only exist in certain peoples' twisted world view, but over the short term utter nonsense can seem real, and even drive actual 'reality' to places we can't imagine.

 

We're in one of those places in time where 'reality' is being defined by consensus. We have a federal budget in the $4 trillion range, a number that seems like magic to people who count only on their digits (fingers and toes). To be fair, it's not a number you can actually 'think' about. You have to use certain tricks of the mind to make it into a useful concept, or you can just use accounting....

 

We are creating about $1 trillion a year in new federal debt, this freaks out the tea baggers. They didn't notice when Bush was creating debt at twice that rate, or when Reagan was doing it at twice that rate in today's dollars. You see it's all about 'creating' reality. Numbers are funny that way.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 January 2013 22:28 Read more...

We know

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Preliminary sales figures show a very low growth rate for retailers this Christmas season that is likely to be the lowest since 2008. It's not too hard to figure out why this is so, people are getting lower wages and so have less to spend despite increased consumer debt.

 

It's not that there isn't enough business activity, corporations are showing record profits and the rich are swimming in cash, they just keep it for themselves. In the old days, when cash hoarding really started to tank the economy, people called this occurrence a 'cash shortage'. Today economists call it a recession when it meets their arbitrary standards of decline.

 

When it got bad enough, people would start stuffing their savings under the mattress which caused a 'bank panic,' we call those 'depressions.' Rich people would then take the cash they'd been hoarding and start buying things for 10 cents on the dollar. The Koch brothers fortune was created that way.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 December 2012 20:43 Read more...

The Fiscal Bunny Slope, riding the tow rope

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There's been a lot of chatter about the Republicans actually giving in to most of what Obama wants in terms of taxes in exchange for relatively small benefit cuts for the elderly. The very wealthy will get the full tax increase, and low income seniors will be exempted from cuts. This might be something Obama would take, and not the worst that could happen. Programs would stay intact and ages of eligibility remain the same. The new Democratic Congress in 2015 can fix this pretty easily.

 

Economists have been crunching the numbers and it seems that the current budget deficit will evaporate with the end of the Bush Wars, the Medicare reforms included in Obamacare and the tax increases that seem likely. That is, if the economy recovers. It adds up to serious money in terms of the additional revenue that we have been missing since the Bush Depression began along with safety net spending on the unemployed.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 20:14 Read more...

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