Tag Archives: ECONOMICS

Walls, Drugs, Drones and Folly

Yesterday I did a little Googling about using drones to get up and over border walls and I didn’t have to dig too far to learn that the technology exists to inexpensively smuggle large amounts of drugs into America via an air force of drones.

Drones vary widely in both price and payload. A few thousand dollars on Amazon will buy one a drone capable of carrying a payload of 12 kg. At an average street price of $200 a gram in the US a 12 kg cargo could be valued at as much as $2.4 million. For several thousand more one could buy a drone with a cargo capacity of 660 pounds. You do the math and don’t forget such a drone may be able to smuggle a couple of people over a wall.

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The Good & Bad of Trump’s Tax Cut

Seriously, I am just kidding, there’s nothing good about Trump and the GOP’s huge unfunded tax unless you’re a member of the super-duper jet club or America’s most exclusive country club crowd. If you’re just another working stiff in America, living from check to check and wondering how the hell your kids will be able to go to college without enslaving themselves in the life long debtors prison called student loans.

Whatever small gains you may experience from the tax cut will last for ten years or less. That’s because your cuts are temporary with a ten-year shelf life, after which, they expire. For that small percentage of America’s richest, the cuts are permanent and will just keep on giving. The new laws may make it easier for you to file but will do nothing to make it easier for you to meet your long-term obligations.
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Some Reality About AOC’s Tax Plan

Old white men wearing dark suits and sporting locks of bright grey hair don’t like change. That’s why whippersnappers who are young, female, beautiful, intelligent, and can bust a move in the hallways of Congress, scare the shit out of them. Most specifically I’m talking about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a major rising star in today’s progressivism. Besides her joy of dancing the old folks don’t care much for her suggested reforms to the nation’s income tax system. What’s got their sphincters in a twist is the 70% income tax she wants to impose on the nation’s wealthiest. If one doesn’t go beyond the 70% figure it is easy for the wealth and power block to lure the average American into thinking the government is coming after their money. Quite the contrary is the case.

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Dow Jones by the Presidents

Donald Trump never tires of telling us how intelligent he is, how good a businessman he is, and how much better he is than anyone else. Of course, his favorite targets are Clinton and Obama. All year he has tooted his own horn over the record levels attained by the stock market and in fact, the Dow Jones Industrial Average did reach a record high. But in December the bottom fell out, canceling all of the year’s gains and leaving the Dow around 4,000 points lower. Where he took full credit for the gains he has several people to blame the losses on.

So what’s the truth? How has the Dow performed under his leadership compared to other presidents? During Trump’s first two years in office, the Dow has grown by 19.2%. Now let’s compare that against some other presidents.

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To Smoke or Not to Smoke?

Recently I pulled into the drive-thru at McDonald’s and in front of me was a car with two teenage boys. They weren’t paying attention and keeping up with the line. So, expecting a flock of angry birds I honked my horn. It woke them and from then on they mostly paid attention.

What I noticed, when their heads weren’t bobbing to something I wouldn’t recognize as music, was that both were either smoking cigarettes or vaping. I could fault them for that but at their age, I was on my way to becoming totally nicotine addicted and working my way towards two or more packs a day.  The brief experience made me reflect back on my own experiences.

Ironically the Marlboro Man died of cancer.

I guess that I began smoking around age twelve, if not younger. That would have been 1954 and I continued smoking until 1982 at age forty when I attended a smoking cessation class and six weeks later snuffed out my devil weed. So, I smoked 28 years and have been smoke-free for 36 years.

In 1954 a pack of cigarettes in New York was .23 cents and I was smoking one or two a day.  By 1960, the year I graduated from high school the price was .26 cents and I was consuming a pack a day. In 1982 cigarettes were .82 cents a pack and I was smoking three packs a day and if I went bar hopping on Friday night it would be another two packs for a total of five.

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Just One Week of Trump

I normally don’t like reposting memes. There are several reasons but mostly I want to write my own words and my own thoughts plus, frequently memes aren’t accurate. However, in the following case it’s right on accurate and why should I waste my energy typing when this meme is so succinct.

And yet, one third of America’s voters still think he’s honest and doing a great job.

The Cost of Living with Trump

According to CNBC  Trump’s tariff on steel and aluminum will add $1,800 to the cost of a Toyota Camry sedan, assembled in Kentucky. A similar cost would occur for a Tundra pickup truck and around $2,900 on a Sienna minivan. To some degree the same will happen to all automobile costs because so many materials and parts are imported.

Trump loves to brag about the economy and takes major credit for it. He mostly points to the rising stock market and falling unemployment rates. What he doesn’t mention is the stagnation of wages  for the working class, the shortage and rising cost of housing, the skyrocketing cost of education, the in-affordability of medical care, and the enormous tax breaks he’s given to the super wealthy.

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Why do we kill paradise?

Recently my wife and I were re-watching the 2009 blockbuster movie, Avatar. First time we saw it was with our entire family at an IMAX theater. Avatar on the huge screen is certainly candy for the eyes. But in reality it is just another retelling of the age-old tale about man finds paradise, paradise inhabited by nice but different beings, nice beings have something man wants, man rationalizes killing nice beings and taking their stuff, man destroys paradise, end of story.

The part of man is played by the owners of profit justifies anything big corporations and their army of highly paid, massively armed, and highly capable mercenaries. The part of nice beings is played by beautiful creations who live idyllic lives and are in perfect harmony with their world.

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Contrasting Ideas About Trump

I continue to be amazed that so many Trump voters remain supportive of him. If you as an American wanted someone in office that would undermine America’s basic and important institutions, someone who thinks the Constitution doesn’t apply to him, someone who wants to continue widening the gap between the rich and what little remains of the middle-class, someone who insist on rewarding our enemies while pissing off our age-old allies, someone whose ignorance of foreign affairs that America is no longer seen as a leader, someone who lies to you an average of nine times each day, someone who has emboldened racial, ethnic, and religious bigotry in America, someone who seems dead set on tearing down so many of the social and environment gains this nation has made, or somebody who reigns over a nation whose children will likely never earn more than their parents, then Trump is your guy.

I recently read a scathing article on Trump written by the noted economist, Jeffery Sachs. Sachs pretty much said what I just said but he did it much better than me and with a great deal more knowledge and experience. You need to read Sachs’ words and you’ll find them at this link.

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What I Learned in 48 Minutes

It’s been 48 minutes since I began listening to and reading the morning news. Here’s what’s made an impression:

  1. Former CIA director, John Brennan, summed up Trump’s policy making style as, “fire, aim, ready.”
  2. The Democratic Congressman from the Youngstown, Ohio area says his district has lost 2,700 auto related jobs since Trump took office.
  3. Sixty-six percent of Americans have annual earnings of $40,000 or less. In other words, Trump economics has done nothing to improve the living standard of two-thirds of the nation.
  4. China is losing too many jobs, they need our help.

I haven’t a clue how long this list would be if I’d waited till bedtime to write it.

Whatever became of “America First: or, “China is raping our country”?

 

It’s Missing? WTF?

When I started college in the mid 1960s I decided I’d give accounting a try. After a couple of courses I discovered I had no propensity for the subject. I test drove a couple of other business courses before deciding I might be better suited for art and politics.

With this in mind you can imagine how stupefied I was in learning last evening that the US Department of Defense can’t account for $21 trillion dollars. Yeah, that’s trillion with a “T”.

Putting some perspective on this number just let me say that the entire federal government budget for 2017 was just a little over $4 trillion. The entire national debt is $19 trillion. It is estimated that the gross national product for the United States in 2018 will amount to $20 trillion. So, the DOD is missing more than the value of all goods and services produced in America during the current year.

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My New Conspiracy Theory, Trust Me!

I’m tired of being the only person with a conspiracy theory to share so I’m now taking my turn.

I turned on Morning Joe and the truth just seemed to flow forth. It began with a series of video clips of Trump talking about how greedy he is and has always been. Scarborough, having been around Trump on numerous occasions, gave credence to money being of extreme importance to Trump. He said that Trump was the guy who would not let someone else make a buck off him unless he got a cut.

The topic then turned to yesterday’s revelation that Mike Cohen had established one or more shell companies to channel money through. So far investigators have  found that over four million dollars have passed through these shell companies and it seems to have come from various companies,  one with foreign connections, seeking access to Trump. If this proves the case it foretells legal problems for Cohen because he has not registered as a lobbyist or agent of a foreign entity.

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VWs for all my Friends!

Remember when Volkswagen got caught cheating on the pollution numbers about its diesel cars? Well, they had to recall about 350,000 cars, most of which are sitting on giant parking lots all across America waiting for some decision on what to do with them. In the meantime they are being fully maintained to keep them sellable. Could there be some great car deals in the months ahead?

Mississippi; what’s wrong with it?

If your state is possibly the poorest, least educated, most conservative state in the nation; well, that’s what’s wrong with it. It also doesn’t help if your state’s flag still includes a version of the Confederate flag. Having too many of the people portrayed in the attached video also doesn’t speak well.

I’ve been to Mississippi many times and things are slowly changing. The state and local governments have done some amazing things in creating a blues and music based tourist economy. But despite the steps forward there are too many people who would take it back to the pre civil rights era. Mississippi’s overwhelming support of Donald Trump is a strong statement to this.

Couple of years ago I heard a black Mississippi judge speak of the new Mississippi. The fact that he was black and a judge speaks to things new. Unfortunately there’s too much old in Mississippi.

Rookies With Bullshit

A lot of laid off coal miners voted for Trump because he got them to believe in the lie that coal was coming back to Eastern Kentucky and Trump would be driving the lead truck. Well that’s just not going to happen if you believe in reality. There is not a single indicator lending evidence that coal is in out future.

While coal consumption has been dying in America the same has occurred in other nations. China just cancelled the construction of 103 coal-fired generating plants in favor of natural gas. China has stopped importing coal and has laid off tens of thousands of their own miners due to lack of demand.

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