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Bruce Enberg's Commentary

The Chickens are Naked, and Proud

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The Dow fell like a rock today, the reported reason for this was the Wall Street banks' exposure to Spanish bonds. But it was industrials like Alcoa and Caterpillar that were the big losers followed by the oil companies, and only then the banks. Oil company profits are expected to decline with the falling price of gasoline as if they didn’t still have a monopoly.

Companies like Caterpillar are locked in major labor disputes where they are attempting to strip the benefits from so-called second tier union employees. These are people hired since Reagan broke the unions. They typically receive in the neighborhood of $11/hr plus benefits. In Romney land, these benefits have to go. The hourly wages these workers receive are the same, or less than the minimum wage of 25 cents/hour (adjusted for inflation) that workers got under the New Deal in 1938. Union wages were several times that then, but not in our brave new world of unregulated capitalism.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 May 2012 21:42 Read more...

We could be just like Greece

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Initial jobless claims were unchanged for the week, suggesting that jobs continue to be produced albeit at a slow pace. We have recovered more jobs than were lost in private sector from the Bush crash, even in “slow“ months. Obama can take credit for half again what was Bush‘s average month before the crash. If you include the jobs Bush lost at the end (including the early months of Obama‘s term), Bush’s average month was zero new jobs created.

The problem is that Red States have laid off 700,000 teachers, social workers, cops, firefighters and bridge inspectors. This probably killed another two million more private sector jobs that would have produced supplies used by these government workers, or would have benefited from the workers’ spending. Trickle down from the top doesn’t work, but you can drain the economy from the bottom.

Last Updated on Friday, 18 May 2012 21:40 Read more...

Checkmate within the Margin of Error

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Obama has said his position on Marriage Equality has been evolving, probably not. Public opinion however, has been evolving, as have the demographics. The old, rigid, fearful of gays, generation of voters has been dying off. They’re being replaced by a generation that began voting right after Y2K. Remember the computer panic by that name? It was a real threat, and not just a hoax, but not the end of the world the way the same people who have lately been selling gold made it out to be. (BTW, gold dropped under $1600/oz today, it could be on the way down to $700)

Computers have come along way since Y2K, and they know what you think, literally. Maybe better than you do. Obama’s campaign planners are using computer power that is running algorithms on data sets that were unimagined back when we worried that the year turning over zero would crash the entire world. All the small but trackable moves that Obama’s people have made over the past couple of weeks, and the predictable but also trackable moves that Republicans made in response, gave them the numbers they wanted to see.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 May 2012 21:53 Read more...

The Colonel can sell cheaper if the chickens also pay the bills

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One of Mitt Romney’s favorite lies these days is to label Barrack Obama as the enemy of small business. Obama’s response is to point to a long list of small business friendly executive orders. In fact he’s the first President since FDR to show them any real sympathy, but none of the things he’s been able to do really makes much of a difference at this point.

Traditionally, small businessmen have always voted Republican since they tended to either believe the nonsense Republicans told them, or they foolishly believed that someday they’d be the kind of big business that Republicans actually favor. It’s not like they’re a big voting block anymore,- the last 30 years of Republican policies have gotten rid of almost all of them.

Last Updated on Monday, 30 April 2012 21:22 Read more...

Stand your ground, Jean Valjean

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It’s 4-20 and if you can’t remember reading Les Miserables in high school because you were smoking in the boy’s room, there is just one aspect of the story relevant to this rant. It’s that Jean Valjean got five years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread. He then got another 16 years for several attempted escapes. In the past this was considered shocking, but in the corporate owned prison system of America this would a light sentence.

The Corporate prison system routinely engineers ever longer sentences for prisoners in their custody for simple infractions of the rules. A serious crime like stealing bread on three occasions can get you life without parole in a private prison.

Last Updated on Friday, 20 April 2012 21:25 Read more...

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