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AGelbert

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📢 Know Thine Enemy 👀
« Reply #60 on: December 05, 2022, 07:49:50 pm »

The Chris Hedges Report

December 4, 2022


The expedited legislation passed by Congress to avert a strike by railroad unions dealt one more blow in the decades long war waged by the two ruling parties against the working class.
Know Thine Enemy
« Last Edit: December 05, 2022, 08:51:12 pm by AGelbert »
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

AGelbert

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The Real News Network

December 15, 2022

Each passing day makes it increasingly apparent that the present capitalist system has no solutions to the crises of its own making. This week, we looked at how we can tackle the most pressing problems of our times, from the war in Ukraine to climate change and beyond.

All around the country and the world, runaway inflation is crushing the working class, and the policies of the Federal Reserve are only adding to the weight. Anders Lee of the Pod Damn America podcast hosts a special discussion on The Real News to discuss the 1979 Volcker Shock and its lessons for the present day. Paul Volcker is often credited with ending high inflation rates in the late 1970s and early 1980s by raising inflation rates through the roof—the same strategy the current Fed is attempting to use to manage inflation. The effect of such policies is to depress wages while allowing the prices of goods to continue to rise. Workers are inevitably caught in a double bind, while capitalists profit from both ends of our plight.
https://therealnews.com/to-understand-the-federal-reserves-inflation-playbook-look-to-the-1979-volcker-shock


Rail workers oust union president who backed labor deal
Eddie Hall , a working engineer who pushed for a more aggressive stance in contract showdown, wins upset victory to lead major rail union BLET (Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen).
Continue reading…



« Last Edit: December 16, 2022, 04:09:18 pm by AGelbert »
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

AGelbert

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COUNTERPUNCH

DECEMBER 28, 2022 BY DEAN BAKER 👍

Big Victory on Retirement Income in Omnibus Spending Bill   

Since coming to Washington more than three decades ago, I have spent much of my time working on retirement income. The biggest part of that story was defending Social Security, which leaders in both parties were anxious to cut . This 🗽 defense was largely successful, as the efforts to privatize it in the 1990s and under President Bush were beaten back, and the efforts at cuts, often focused on the annual cost of living adjustment, were similarly derailed.

Defending Social Security was crucial, both because tens of millions of people depend on it for most or all of their income, but also because it was a model social program. The administrative costs are minimal, with the total program’s costs coming to less than 0.6 percent of annual benefits, with the costs of the retirement program alone coming to less than 0.4 percent of benefits. By comparison, the fees from from private 401(k)s run in the neighborhood of 😈 15 to 20 percent of annual retirement benefits.

There is also very little fraud in the program. The 🐍 Washington Post, which has long been one of the leading advocates for cutting Social Security in both its 😈 opinion and 😈 news sections, once devoted a major investigative piece to exposing the fact that 0.006 percent of benefit payments went to dead people , more than half of which were later recovered. It lately decried Social Security as a “mess” in the headline to a full-page article. 

I always felt that it was essential to defend Social Security because it could serve as a model for other programs, like universal Medicare or child care. But, as important as Social Security is, I also recognized the need to have some additional retirement income for much of the population.

Supplements to Social Security

The traditional story about retirement income was that it was a three-legged stool. Workers were supposed to have Social Security as their core retirement income. In addition, they should have a workplace pension, and also personal savings. That story could reasonably accurately describe the situation of millions of middle-class workers in the years after World War II to the 1990s, but in recent decades the other two legs of this stool have been largely removed. 

Traditional defined benefit pensions (DB) have been largely eliminated in the private sector. While current retirees can still often count on income from DB pensions, this will be less true going forward. And, most middle-income and moderate-income households have little by way of traditional savings to help support them in retirement. Also, the story of a middle-class household reaching retirement with a paid off mortgage is far less common today than four decades ago.

All of this pointed to the need for some supplement to Social Security. For the lowest income workers, it is not plausible that they will be able to accumulate substantial savings for retirement. People struggling to pay the rent are not going to have tens of thousands stashed away in retirement accounts. The best solution here is an increase in benefits for low-paid workers.

There have been many proposals for increased benefits for lower income workers over the years, some of which had some bipartisan support. For example, giving surviving spouses 75 percent of the joint benefit (compared to the current 66.7 percent, which is often the case now), would be a substantial benefit boost to many of the elderly, generally women. This change can be structured in a way where the cost would be minimal, while providing more than a 12 percent increase in the income of many people who can really use it. There have been many 🐘🦕🦖🐍 Republicans who have indicated 😉 support for this sort of benefit change, although sometimes paring it with cuts that make it unacceptable.

Anyhow, while increased benefits for lower paid workers can drastically improve their well-being in retirement, substantial increases in benefits for middle income workers would be costly. A Social Security program that, by itself, allowed middle-income workers to sustain their living standards in retirement would have to be close to twice the size of the current program. That does not look very feasible.

For this reason, many of us have sought to create a simple low-cost voluntary retirement program that would supplement Social Security. The idea was to make it easy and cheap for workers to save for retirement.

The strategy takes advantage of one of the clearest findings from behavioral economics. When it comes to voluntary retirement plans, workers will overwhelmingly go with a default option. If they are automatically enrolled in a plan, with the option to disenroll, many more workers will stay with the retirement plan than if they have to make the decision to actively enroll in the plan. This is true even when there is money on the table in the form of a matching contribution from an employer.

For this reason, the idea was to make enrollment the default option. If workers decided that it was more important that they have the money to meet current expenses, they just have to opt out of their retirement plan.

That is the simple part. The cheap part was to have a low-cost plan available to all workers. Many 401(k)s and IRA(s) rip-off their participants. Average fees for 401(k)s are in the range of 1.0 percent a year for the company managing the account, with fees for the funds in the account sometimes adding another 1.0 percentage point.

If that seems trivial, consider that a middle-income person can easily accumulate $70,000 in a retirement account towards the end of their working life-time. Imagine paying $1,400 a year, to someone you don’t know, for essentially doing nothing. Taken over a working lifetime, a middle-income worker can easily be throwing $20,000 in the toilet (i.e. providing income to the 🎩😈 financial sector) in excess account fees. This is money that will come directly out of their retirement savings. 

For this reason, we felt that it was essential that the retirement accounts be coupled with a low-cost investment option. The dream for many of us pushing on this issue is that workers would be able to buy into the Federal Employees’ Thrift Saving Plan, which has fees in the neighborhood of 0.1 percent on its accounts, including the fees charged for individual funds.

The State by State Strategy

With action at the federal level largely blocked, the focus was on getting states with relatively progressive governors and legislatures to take the lead in both requiring employers to offer workers retirement accounts and to give them a low-cost option. The simple route for the latter was to open up the retirement system for the state’s public sector workers to workers for private employers.

This did not mean co-mingling funds; the pensions of public sector employees would not be in any way affected. The plan was simply to take advantage of the expertise available in the public pension funds to allow workers in the private sector the same investment options. The administrative costs of the state plans are in general far lower than for private sector 401(k)s, so this meant substantial savings for workers.

Several states went this route, notably Illinois led the way in 2018 with its Secure Choice program, with New York, California also implementing comparable programs. As it is, a large share of the nation’s workers now live in a state where most employers are required to enroll workers in retirement plan managed by the government’s public employee pension system, unless they offer their own plan.

Secure 2.0 Makes Default Accounts National

In order to ensure that all workers have a decent living standard in retirement it is necessary to have a national program. The Secure 2.0 Act provisions in the omnibus spending go a very long way in this direction. They will require employers with more than ten workers to put at least 3.0 percent of their pay in a retirement fund each year for their workers. The amount will rise by a percentage point each year, until it hits 10 percent.

This is an optional contribution on the part of the employee, they can choose to have this money in their paycheck, if they would prefer to have the money now. In effect, this is just changing the default option. They will be saving, unless they choose not to, rather than the current situation where they have to make a conscious choice to save for retirement.

Another provision in the bill makes the savers credit fully refundable. This is a federal tax credit that matched contributions to retirement accounts by low- and moderate-income workers. The problem was that it was not refundable, so that most of the people with an income low enough to qualify couldn’t benefit since they didn’t owe any income tax. The Secure 2.0 Act provisions fix this so that these workers can get the credit even if they don’t owe any income tax.

The Secure 2.0 Act provisions are a big victory, but they don’t address the cost half of the picture. It would be great if, as part of this bill, every worker had the option to have their money invested through the Federal Thrift Savings Plan. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Workers will have to use private insurance companies and brokerages. This means much of their money will be diverted to the Wall Street types.

That is likely a big factor in how the Secure 2.0 provisions got added to the Omnibus bill. While it is great that workers will have more savings for retirement, this bill can mean big money for the financial industry. If the bill increases retirement assets by $1 trillion after ten years (defined contribution plans already have over $6 trillion in assets), it will mean over $10 billion a year in fees for the industry, if the average cost of an account is 1.0 percent of assets. If it is 1.5 percent, adding in the fees for individual funds, that would come to $15 billion a year in fees.

On the other hand, if everyone had the option to invest in the Federal Thrift Savings Plan, we would likely see much of the $6 trillion in assets currently managed by the industry begin to migrate to the federal plan. After all, not that many people are so enamored of insurance companies that they would be willing to throw away thousands of dollars to keep them happy. In that story, they would have more than $60 billion in annual fees at risk, real money even in Washington.

If neo-liberals actually care about efficiency, as they  profess, they would be all over this one. After all, the money saved by having a more efficient retirement system would swamp the money involved in tariffs on steel and other things that get them excited. But no one expects neo-liberals to be consistent.

Allowing people to opt into the Federal Thrift Savings Plan should be an ongoing demand for progressives going forward. The industry will be prepared to kill to prevent this from happening, but they lack a serious argument. After all, we can steal a line from their Social Security privatization efforts, “what’s wrong with giving people a choice?”

The State by State Strategy

The passage of the Secure Act 2.0 provisions is also a vindication of the state by state strategy that progressives have been pursuing for the last quarter century when action at the national level seems blocked. This has been done with increases to the minimum wage, paid sick days and family leave, support for child care, and a number of other areas.

This strategy is effective in both directly providing benefits to large numbers of people, especially in large states like California and New York, and also making policies seem feasible to much of the country. Many of us have been in the habit of pointing to policies successfully implements in places like Germany, France, or Denmark, but to much of the country we might just as well be talking about Mars. When we can point to a state here that has a $15 minimum wage or paid family leave, it sounds like a plausible option for the country as a whole.

In the case of the Secure Act 2.0 provisions, many states had already implemented similar bills without the catastrophic effects that businesses often claim will result from progressive legislation. This could give members of Congress confidence that businesses can easily deal with the requirements in the bill.

It also may end up being good for many companies, since offering a retirement plan may help them retain good workers. It’s true that businesses already have this option, but as behavioral economics teaches us, people may often not do what is best for them.

Anyhow, this is one more vindication of the strategy of pursuing policies at the state, or even local level, when the prospects for federal action seem bleak. (Yes, I do talk about this in Rigged [it’s free 🧐].) It is nice to see a victory here – a good holiday present for tens of millions of workers who stand to benefit.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2022/12/28/big-victory-on-retirement-income-in-omnibus-spending-bill/

This first appeared on Dean Baker’s Beat the Press blog.

Dean Baker is the senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC.


« Last Edit: December 28, 2022, 03:17:27 pm by AGelbert »
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

AGelbert

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Do the REALITY BASED inflation math: $439,400 - $73,800 = $365,600
« Reply #63 on: December 29, 2022, 01:18:29 pm »

This graphic is not up to date (i.e. the numbers are for 2019, not 2022), but it gives you the right idea:


📢 Even with the low-balled COLA numbers, $32,000 1983 dollars EQUALS $95,155.34 in 2022 dollars! And THAT is just the unfair taxation part! The LOSS of buying power massively above and beyond the COLA "increase adjustments" since 1983 (i.e. 197.4%) add Government sponsored THEFT to the  Government sponsored unfair taxation. HOW? There are many, many goods and services we all require to live. They are NOT "luxuries". They are NOT "optional". THAT is what the Cost Of LIVING formula is supposed to be all about, but after Greenspan and his pals in the Federal Reserve corrupted the formula, is a Wall Streetpleasing shadow of REALITY BASED COLA prior to 1980.

REALLY? HOW can that be? For the eye opening details on how we-the-people have been steadily defrauded, year after year , just check out the Chapwood Index and/or Shadow Stats.

In this post I will only point to one cost that affects everybody, whether they own a home or not. That cost is the Median Sales Price for New Houses Sold in the United States. If you don't own, you have to rent. The more houses are valued at, the more you will end up paying for rent. Yes, food, water, clothing, transportation, etc. are all costs we cannot avoid, but the Chapwood Index will show you everything you need to know about that sine qua non basket of goods and services to evidence the FACT that BLS COLA numbers are ridiculously low-balled. I bring up housing cost, because THOSE are even MORE DELIBERATELY (see below) low-balled :o than those items I just listed.

February  1983:  $  73,800
July         2022:  $439,400

Do the REALITY BASED inflation math:
$439,400 - $73,800 = $365,600

$365,600 = [(365,600/73,800) x 100] = % increase of $73,800 = 495.4% INCREASE

197.4% BLS CPI Published  minus 495.4% PRESENT  = 298% LESS than REAL INFLATION

The REAL INFLATION in the USA is Two Hundred and Ninety Eight percent MORE than the BLS published inflation. What that means for a person on Social Security is that they have been ROBBED of the 298% INCREASE they were entitled to had the BLS not Greenspan gamed the CPI "Owners Equivalent Rent" numbers to provide a "wealth effect" ILLUSION.

Yes, it is hard to believe, but for a Social Security pension of $1,000 a month in 1983 to have kept up with REAL inflation, it would now have to be $4,954 a month. YET, that $1,000 a month 1983 pension is at $1,974 a month. 🥺

For anyone that is getting cross eyed with the math, my point is that this example (which applies to ALL Social Security pensioners, more or less, but usually MORE SO) means that pension of $1,974 is getting SHORT CHANGED by $2,980❗

Now I hope you see why all Social Security pensions need to be DOUBLED, at MINIMUM, AND not subject to taxes below, at MINIMUM (i.e. using the BLS published 197.4% increase from 1983 to 2022 COLA numbers), any amount less than $95,168.

As to funding Social Security, a Tobin Tax on 🎩 Wall Street will take care of that. It is HIGH TIME that 🦅 Social Security 🗽 was funded without the ridiculous 😈 "pay go" hurdle that should be applied to the 🦍 Pentagon budget instead.  
« Last Edit: December 29, 2022, 03:28:00 pm by AGelbert »
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

AGelbert

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How crypto goes to zero 😁
« Reply #64 on: December 29, 2022, 03:44:34 pm »
and...it's gone.

https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/2022/11/23/how-crypto-goes-to-zero

How crypto goes to zero

RE

The sooner, the better!

Here's the graphic I posted back in 2018 that got the Capitalism worshipping 💵🎩 Dentist rather upset. ;D


I doubt if he has learned his lesson, since he wanted to get into Bitcoin when it was at around $5,000. If he got in then, he is still ahead, but I agree with you that it will go to NADA very, very soon. GOOD!

Cryptos are TOAST!


So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

AGelbert

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YESS!
« Reply #65 on: December 30, 2022, 04:15:57 pm »

Stocks Suffer Worst Year Since Financial Crisis

December 29, 2022 at 6:32 PM EST Updated on December 30, 2022 at 4:03 PM EST
🔨 Hopes for year-end bounce dashed; stocks end down in final day
🔨 S&P 500 falls almost 20% in 2022, Nasdaq 100 drops 33%
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-12-29/asia-stocks-to-rise-as-s-p-500-jumps-dollar-falls-markets-wrap


Stocks cement worst year since 2008 as S&P 500 logs 4th biggest drop since inception

Published: Dec. 30, 2022 at 4:09 p.m. ET By Joseph Adinolfi
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/s-p-500-clinches-worst-year-since-2008-4th-worst-year-since-inception-01672434562
« Last Edit: December 30, 2022, 04:35:04 pm by AGelbert »
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

AGelbert

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Dec 30, 2022 by Wolf Richter

2022, Year of Face-Ripping Bear-Market Rallies that Got Crushed

But history doesn’t repeat, it rhymes: For your amusement, a Nasdaq comparison to the Dotcom Bust.
SNIPPETS (graphics by AGelbert):

The year 2022 ended with:
👉 S&P 500 Index: -19.4% from a year ago, -20.3% from its high on January 3, 2022.
👉Nasdaq Composite: -33.1% from a year ago, -35.4% from its high on November 22, 2021.

The whole mess started in that infamous February 2021, with the popping of the bubble of the most ridiculously overblown hype-and-hoopla stocks, the SPACs and IPOs and crypto stocks, and all the other trash that the consensual hallucination of the free-money era had inflated into the stratosphere. They began to plunge beneath the surface of the big stocks and quickly formed the foundation of my pantheon of Imploded Stocks – minimum plunge of 70% from the peak. That was still in 2021.

Cathie Wood’s Ark Innovation ETF [ARKK], which elegantly and with utmost dedication tracks many of the 💩 worst products of this 🐒 consensual hallucination, has collapsed by 80% from its high on February 16, 2021. But its bear-market rallies in 2022 were weak and few, so this isn’t the most classic example for my headline – we’ll get to more classic examples in a moment – but it forms the right backdrop for what was going on in 2022 beneath the surface of the major indices (data via YCharts):


The ARK Innovation ETF also includes a few real companies that actually make money, and that have shaken up legacy industries, but whose stocks were ridiculously over-hyped-and-hoopla-ed by a 🙊🙉🙈 crowd steeped in consensual hallucination.

The 🌠star in this group is Tesla, which accounts for over 9% of the ARK Innovation fund. It spent the year 2022 transmogrifying from an object of religious veneration to automaker and still has a long way to go to complete the transformation. Down by 70% from its peak in November 2021, Tesla was inducted in my pantheon of Imploded Stocks the day before Christmas Eve and is still in it at year-end.


Tesla is a great example of face-ripping bear market rallies that then collapsed, having completely annihilated all 2022 bear-market rallies, though the last two rallies fizzled prematurely (data via YCharts):


The Nasdaq is dominated by the US Tech giants. This is how much their stocks have plunged from their respective highs, and the date of the high:

“Tech” Giants     🌠     $ Today   % From High   Date of High
Apple   APPL   129.93-29.0%04-Jan-22
Microsoft   MSFT   239.82-31.4%22-Nov-21
Alphabet   GOOG    88.73-41.7%07-Nov-21
Amazon    AMZN    84.00-55.5%13-Jul-21
Nvidia       NVDA   146.14-57.8%22-Nov-21
Tesla         TSLA   123.18-70.3%04-Nov-21
Meta         META   120.34-68.7%01-Sep-21

The Nasdaq Composite shows the classic pattern of face-ripping bear-market rallies that then collapse. On December 28, it closed at 10,213, the lowest close since June 2020, having successfully crushed all bear-market rallies in 2022.

Today, after a 100-point jump in the last hour of trading when everyone else had already left for the holidays, it closed at 10,446, still in the red, back where it had first been in June 2020, and down 35.4% from its high 13.5 months ago in November 2021.

By comparison, during the Dotcom Bust, the Nasdaq plunged 78% over a two-and-a-half-year rollercoaster from heck – more on that in a moment. It isn’t even halfway there yet (data via YCharts):


Today’s Nasdaq is 13.5 months into the selloff, and is down 35%. During the Dotcom Bust, after 13.5 months, the Nasdaq was down 66% and in the early stages of another 35% two-month face-ripping bear-market rally that then brutally collapsed again.

History doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes, as they say.

It took 15 years, trillions of dollars of 😈🎩 money-printing, and years of 😈🎩 interest-rate repression before the Nasdaq, in May 2015, got back to its March 2000 high. That is not astounding. Lots of stocks just vanished. And many of the survivors — such as Intel, Cisco, MicroStrategy, et al. — never again got close their 2000 highs. And that’s not astounding either.

What is astounding is that the Nasdaq more than tripled in the 6.5 years between May 2015 and its peak in November 2021. This was a huge huge huge move, a ridiculous move, that has started to get unwound. 
 

For your amusement — it sure wasn’t funny at the time, I swear! — here is a chart of the final phase of the Dotcom Bubble and the entire Dotcom Bust in all its glory (data via YCharts):


Read more:
https://wolfstreet.com/2022/12/30/2022-the-year-of-face-ripping-bear-market-rallies-that-got-crushed/


« Last Edit: December 31, 2022, 03:57:00 pm by AGelbert »
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

AGelbert

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Reality Based COMMENT:
« Reply #67 on: January 10, 2023, 12:29:27 pm »
Reality Based COMMENT:
Quote
TUESDAY, JAN 10, 2023 jmNZ
 "Central Bank Independence"? What an oxymoron!

The FED is no more independent than a tool is from the workman who wields it.

And the FED is the obedient tool of the greatest parasites in history that ruled from London in the 19th century and then from New York in the 20th/21st centuries.

Powell and his acolytes are henchmen, no better than the thugs of the Mafia.

Certainly their values are no different from those of Mafiosi.
https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/powell-speech-preview-will-jerome-go-full-jackson-hole-tard
« Last Edit: January 10, 2023, 12:37:49 pm by AGelbert »
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

AGelbert

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January 15, 2023 By NOAH SMITH

Repost: Distributed service-sector productivity

How the internet might still reshape industry

SNIPPET:

Anyway, the general point here is that in order to realize really big gains from a new general-purpose technology, you often have to figure out and implement whole new ways of organizing production in the economy.

Services and productivity growth

When we think about boosting productivity growth in our economy, we have to think about service industries. Manufacturing productivity tends to grow faster than productivity in services. Here’s a chart from Ana Maria Santacreu and Heting Zhu of the St. Louis Fed for 24 OECD countries during 2000-2014:
https://noahpinion.substack.com/p/repost-distributed-service-sector

Manufacturing was only about 17% of value added, but contributed 42% of the productivity growth!

This creates a problem for overall productivity growth if demand for services increases faster than demand for physical goods. Maybe eventually there comes a point where you just can’t keep buying a larger volume of stuff. Demand growth never vanishes, of course — you can keep buying better and better stuff, better cars and nicer TVs and so on, but eventually the growth slows down. And that means that services occupy a larger share of the economy.

In fact, you can probably see something like this happening. Consumption of services has outpaced consumption of goods in the U.S. economy for years (though COVID has produced a slight reversal):

That’s a problem for productivity growth, unless we can figure out how to improve productivity in services. And that’s where the internet might finally start to help.

Imagining the possibilities: Beyond WFH

Full article:
https://noahpinion.substack.com/p/repost-distributed-service-sector

AGelbert COMMENT:
All the admittedly great and well thought out ideas about the benefits of WFH you presented will come to LESS than nothing if we, as a society, do not drive the morally bankrupt Social Darwinist modus operandi from the present Corporate "business model". All those productivitivy gains you mentioned left out the FACT that Social Darwinists at the top made sure almost ALL of the profits from the MASSIVE productivy gains over the last 40 years went to the 10% (or less) at the top while the workers were denied them as inflation REDUCED their buying power AND standard of living AND quality of life.

WFH Happy talk will not solve this ROT in our society caused DIRECTLY by the total rejection of ethical standards by the corporate Social Darwinists at the top hogging productivity gains profits.

"The advances we made in the early 20th century through union strikes, government regulation, the New Deal, a fair tax code, the courts, an alternative press and mass movements have been reversed. The oligarchs are turning American workers — as they did in the 19th century steel and textile factories — into serfs, kept in check by onerous anti-union laws, militarized police, the world’s largest prison system, an electoral system dominated by corporate money and the most pervasive security and surveillance apparatus in human history." -- Chris Hedges December 4, 2022

It's the Social Darwinism, stupid! (See my comments in the following post: )
https://soberthinking.createaforum.com/renewables/pumped-hydro/msg736/#msg736
« Last Edit: January 15, 2023, 05:15:18 pm by AGelbert »
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

AGelbert

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January 15, 2023 By Noah Smith

How the internet might still reshape industry

January 15, 2023 Anthony G. Gelbert
https://noahpinion.substack.com/p/repost-distributed-service-sector/comments
All the admittedly great and well thought out ideas about the benefits of WFH you presented will come to LESS than nothing if we, as a society, do not drive the morally bankrupt Social Darwinist modus operandi from the present Corporate "business model". All those productivity gains you mentioned left out the FACT that, over the last 40 years, Social Darwinists at the top made sure almost ALL of the profits from the MASSIVE productivy gains went to the 10% (or less) at the top, while the workers were denied them as inflation REDUCED their buying power AND standard of living AND quality of life.

WFH Happy talk will not solve this ROT in our society caused DIRECTLY by the total rejection of ethical standards by the corporate Social Darwinists at the top hogging productivity gains profits.

"The advances we made in the early 20th century through union strikes, government regulation, the New Deal, a fair tax code, the courts, an alternative press and mass movements have been reversed. The oligarchs are turning American workers — as they did in the 19th century steel and textile factories — into serfs, kept in check by onerous anti-union laws, militarized police, the world’s largest prison system, an electoral system dominated by corporate money and the most pervasive security and surveillance apparatus in human history." -- Chris Hedges December 4, 2022

It's the Social Darwinism, stupid! (See my comments in the following post:)
https://soberthinking.createaforum.com/renewables/pumped-hydro/msg736/#msg736   

January 17, 2023 Buzen > Anthony G. Gelbert
Social Darwinism has been widely discredited, but I don’t even know how you are meaning to apply it here. As productivity increases from working at home, the workers are more valuable since they produce more and are then compensated accordingly, those who are not are free to move to a company that values productivity. Wages have been increasing with productivity and can be expected to continue to do so, inflation has been low until Trump and Biden went nuts with stimulus spending and now all the new Biden spending brought us back to the 1970s levels.

AGelbert > Buzen
Buzon said, "Wages have been increasing with productivity..."
NOT in a way that is even remotely proportional, when comparing CEO & Corporate Board of Directors "Compensation Packages" with worker wages in ANY corporation that has made productivity gains in the last 40 years. Your comment is a study in evasion. Worker wages HAVE NOT kept up with even the BLS deliberately low balled "official" CPI inflation numbers. Compensation packages for those at the top have increased HUNDREDS of times the published annual inflation rate. Don't tell me you did not know that.

Buzon said, "Social Darwinism has been widely discredited."
No, it hasn't. Saying so is a convenient denial of the current "Business Model" reality. The "fiduciary responsibility" to make a profit ABOVE ANY OTHER CONSIDERATION, including the health and welfare of employees, IS Social Darwinism in action, no matter what euphemisitic legerdemain the corporate "perception management" propagandists come up with. Social Darwinism of the marketplace is evident throughout corporate history since Darwin. The Business community's "responsibility" the thwart anything, regardless of ethical considerations, that "dulls" a company's competitive edge illuminates the relationship between corporate profit motives and the ideology of profit, an overlap reflected by a confluence of the social and pseudo-scientific Darwinian influences of the late 19th century. Anyone who thinks the Social Darwinism based corporate "Business Model" has "gone away" needs a reality check.

You are obviously into corporate perception management Orwellian fun and games as your attempt to water down the brutal status quo with the clever, but false on all counts, "free money" meme evidences. The "nuts with stimulus spending" is applicable exclusively to the several TRILLION dollars given to Wall Street by BOTH the Democrats AND the Republicans from 2008 to the present. When you can bring youself to add and subtract objectively, please compare the total "stimulus" payments amount with those TRILLIONS. Your Wall Street Government Welfare Queens benefited from about 16 TRILLION DOLLARS from 2008 to 2022! THAT was FREE MONEY, but you are silent as death about it. Shame on you.

Also, you left out those "minor details" about that huge "stimulus payments" SCAM perpetrated by the upper class connected corporate poobahs, which represents MOST of the "stimulus" (WELL OVER 70%!). That SCAM really was FREE MONEY! Have you (conveniently) forgotten all those "forgiven loans" out there to airlines, banks, "investment" firms, dentists, doctors, lawyers, etc.? NONE of them went to the poor or middle class, pilgrim.

You are disingenuously trying to "free money" brand the stimulus payments that helped those of us in the middle class and lower get through a hard time. It is central to Social Darwinist Ideology to consider empathy a "weakness" and condemn helping the "weak". A person with empathy would understand and approve of those stimulus payments, while correctly CONDEMNING the "forgiven loans" SCAM that went to those at the top. The fact that Bill Gate's Bing claims that "Social Darwinism has been largely discredited" is a testament to Orwell, not to present corporate reality. Your skills at cherry picking rival that of the most consumate Social Darwinist. No wonder you jumped at my comment. The "gentleman" doth protest too much.

Finally, please spare me your virtual reality happy talk worldview of inflation. For example, the maximum pension non-taxed threshold for a (Married Filing Jointly) couple with a Social Security pension is $32,000. THAT HAS NOT been adjusted for inflation SINCE 1983! Even with the low-balled COLA numbers, $32,000 1983 dollars EQUALS $95,155.34 in 2022 dollars!

And THAT is just the unfair taxation part! The LOSS of buying power massively above and beyond the COLA "increase adjustments" since 1983 (i.e. 197.4%) add Government sponsored THEFT to the  Government sponsored unfair taxation. HOW? There are many, many goods and services we all require to live. They are NOT "luxuries". They are NOT "optional". THAT is what the Cost Of LIVING formula is supposed to be all about, but after Greenspan and his pals in the Federal Reserve corrupted the formula, is a Wall Street pleasing shadow of REALITY BASED COLA prior to 1980. Oh, but "inflation" was just "too low" all those years to worry about such "trifles" as the erosion of buying power of the pension that MILLIONS of Americans, that EARNED those Social Security pensions, were being negatively impacted by, RIGHT?

Also, spare me the "Entitlements" false branding of Social Security pensions. It's an Old Age Insurance Policy Annuity, PERIOD.

While we are there, let's talk about your beloved Fed caused "wealth effect". To you, that's what caused your home to "increase in value". To you, that has "nothing to do with inflation". REALLY?

Look at the "wealth effect" on the Median Sales Price for New Houses Sold in the United States from 183 to 2022. That affects everybody because if you don't own, you have to rent. The more houses are valued at, the more you will end up paying for rent. Yes, food, water, clothing, transportation, etc. are all costs we cannot avoid, but I bring up housing cost, because THOSE are even MORE DELIBERATELY (see below) low-balled :o than those items I just listed.

SOURCE: Median Sales Price for New Houses Sold in the United States
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/MSPNHSUS
February  1983:  $  73,800
July          2022:  $439,400

Do the REALITY BASED inflation math:
$439,400 - $73,800 = $365,600

$365,600 = [(365,600/73,800) x 100] = % increase of $73,800 = 495.4% INCREASE

197.4% BLS CPI Published  minus 495.4% PRESENT  = 298% LESS than REAL INFLATION

The REAL INFLATION in the USA is Two Hundred and Ninety Eight percent MORE than the BLS published inflation. What that means for a person on Social Security is that they have been ROBBED of the 298% INCREASE they were entitled to had the BLS not Greenspan gamed the CPI "Owners Equivalent Rent" numbers to provide a "wealth effect" ILLUSION.

Yes, it is hard to believe, but for a Social Security pension of $1,000 a month in 1983 to have kept up with REAL inflation, it would now have to be $4,954 a month. YET, that $1,000 a month 1983 pension is at $1,974 a month.

My point is that this example (which applies to ALL Social Security pensioners, more or less, but usually MORE SO) means that pension of $1,974 is getting SHORT CHANGED  by $2,980!

I know you will disagree with every bit of what I just wrote because you seem to be there with Voltaire in "the best of all possible worlds" FOR YOU. That's the way Social Darwinists roll. That does not, and will not, change the dollars and cents facts I evidenced. Your "wealth effect" is ALL an ILLUSION caused by Fed carefully targeted inflation (to benefit the rich and shaft everybody else) of the money supply. That illusion is now being exposed, though you will be loath to admit it. 

It is absolutely amazing how those self-worshipping greedballs at the top, getting 99% of corporate productivity gains, tax advantages AND the Fed (FREE MONEY!) "PUT" on the backs of we-the-taxpayers, can go full Orwell on the present Social Darwinism based modus operandi of Socialism for the Rich and rugged 'survival of the fittest' Capitalism for everybody else.

It's the Social Darwinism, stupid!

"A reproof entereth deeper into a wise man than a hundred stripes into a fool." Proverbs 17:10
"Better is a little with righteousness, than great revenues without righteousness." Proverbs 16:8

   
Ernest Jan 16
It takes quite a few years before enough parts of the puzzle are in place to be the catalyst for real change. We have a couple of activities that are only now becoming digital all the way form initial data collection to end use. 40 years ago these activities were done with transcribing handwritten using a typewriter on paper. 20-30 years ago that changed to transcribing those handwritten notes by typing them into something like Excel. However, the data was still not in a true database that could be accessed by other programs - more transcription to do that.

We are finally now getting to the point where we can start to collect that data digitally in the field on a small, robust programmable tablet. That data can then be uploaded into the cloud either over a cellular network or at night over WiFi internet connection. That data is now in a database, immediately available to multiple programs and users. This is just starting to happen (one of the people below mentioned BIM which is part of the ecosystem where this is happening) but I expect we will finally see a substantial reduction in manhours required for these tasks in the coming decade. In order for it to happen, you needed the Internet, user programmable data collection devices that are small enough and robust enough to be usable in the field, and end user software to make it all happen.

People like me find these shows like NCIS and Criminal Minds hysterically funny where in 5 minutes they are whipping through all of these various data sources and putting things together on some big screen. Maybe the NSA has these capabilities, but usually you spend hours and days just trying to get two database architectures to line up properly and figure out where all the data quality errors and omissions are unless it is a common application somebody has already solved.

Many of these potential applications are small compared to the number of Facebook users, computer game players etc., so there needs to be a conscious decision to invest resources in something you may never have more than a million total users of (may be generous) worldwide. One of the benefits of the recent tech sector crash is that many of the programmers for games on social media (an example) will now be looking for new jobs. So the companies looking to develop these specialty uses will be looking for staff which should now be more available. They probably won't have pool tables, free cafeterias, and dog-walking though.

Anthony G. Gelbert > Ernest
Of course. IBM already had a computer (and the software) that could out-diagnose any doctor before the year 2000. It is obvious that they could have mass produced them and reduced costs by about 80% (at least). Then there is all the administrative stuff you mentioned that they drag their feet on to digitize and speed up with AI in order to conitinue "Health" Insurance Corporations' "justification" for 20% PLUS ridiculous "administration" costs.

The "Medical" Insurance Complex just does not want to accept the fact that their medical "services" are massively overpriced. If you haven't read this book, perhaps you should:

Culture of Death: The Age of Do Harm Medicine Paperback – May 16, 2016 by Wesley J. Smith
« Last Edit: January 18, 2023, 04:47:21 pm by AGelbert »
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

AGelbert

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WOLF STREET

Jan 27, 2023 by Wolf Richter

Consumer Spending on Services Keeps up with Raging Inflation in Services. Spending on Goods Falls as Prices Drop, Demand Fizzles after Pandemic Binge

SNIPPET:
Consumer spending, adjusted for inflation, is now impacted by sharp price drops for fuel and durable goods, and sharp price increases for services. Inflation continues to rage in services, even as goods prices have dropped.  I discussed these PCE price indices here a minute ago. So consumers are paying less for many goods than they had to pay a few months ago, but they’re paying a lot more for services. About 62% of what consumers spend goes to services.

Full article:
https://wolfstreet.com/2023/01/27/consumer-spending-on-services-keeps-up-with-raging-inflation-in-services-spending-on-goods-falls-as-prices-drop-demand-fizzles-after-pandemic-binge/

Jan 27, 2023 at 5:22 pm Yort
Some consumers are not “keeping up” with raging inflation as Bloomberg ran an article today, “Americans Fall Behind on Car Payments at Higher Rate than in 2009”.

Usually financially destressed consumers continue auto payments above all else as they need to be mobile to drive to a job, etc.

I’m guessing all those free stimmy checks and handout goodies got consumers to buy things that they can’t pay off after the free money ran out??? Hard to buy durables and services when you have to start paying your deferred mortgage/rent and student loan payments, get $90/month less on SNAP, get $1,000-$1,600 less per kid, etc, etc, etc as it is all running out, even on a state level, by March of 2023.

The top 10% can “keep up” easily with 3-5% inflation over the next few years as long as the stock market keeps going up 10-20% per year. The bottom 90%, not so much…

Jan 27, 2023 at 8:45 pm Jim Cramer Fan >Yort
Bloomberg seems to trot out that headline every six months, along with the “Americans can’t cover a $400 emergency expense.” Despite all the doom and gloom, the economy keeps chugging along.

Jan 28, 2023 at 9:34 am nicko2 > Jim Cramer Fan
30% of people don’t have a dollar to their name, 60% are living paycheque to paycheque, top 15%-20% are doing fine. Maybe that’s enough….

AGelbert > nicko2

Well said. The casual disregard for the lived experience of the overwhelming majority of working people in America is a sign of an unhealthy society.

Another shoe to drop soon on everyone, whether they own or rent, is the coming widespread property tax reassessment of all those homes that "increased in value" over the last decade (SEE: Fed manufactured "wealh effect" illusion).

Those doing the reassessment will no doubt look at the Fed stats for the Median Sales Price of New Homes over the last decade (or whatever the reassessment time trigger for their town, county or state is) with greedy glee...

Median Sales Price for New Houses Sold in the United States
December 2012:  $258,300
December 2017:  $343,300 (33% increase from 2012)
December 2022:  $442,100 (71% INCREASE from 2012)
SOURCE: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/MSPNHSUS

I think the official definition of Property Tax (i.e. "Property tax is an ad valorem tax assessed on real estate by a local government and paid by the property owner.") needs to be adjusted for inflation.

Anyone that claims, based on actual sales prices, that homes ACTUALLY "ad valoremed" 71% in 10 years is a liar. I will leave it to readers here to determine what part of that 71% is due to Fed caused "wealth effect" inflation and what part is ad valorem. IMHO, over 90% of that 71% increase is due to "wealth effect" inflation.

I live in Vermont. Here is what we are expecting, this year:
January 15 2023:
With property values soaring , Vermont towns need reappraisals. But experts are in short supply.
SNIPPET:
Two-thirds of Vermont’s 254 municipalities can expect a reappraisal order this year, according to the state’s Department of Taxes.
SOURCE: https://vtdigger.org/2023/01/15/with-property-values-soaring-vermont-towns-need-reappraisals-but-experts-are-in-short-supply/

January 13, 2023
SNIPPET:
“This is a hot topic this year as the Legislature looks for ways to fine-tune the property tax rates and relieve tax pressure on certain taxpayers,” Jake Feldman, a senior fiscal analyst at the Vermont Department of Taxes, told VTDigger.
SOURCE: https://vtdigger.org/2023/01/13/many-second-home-owners-pay-a-lower-tax-rate-than-residents-will-the-legislature-change-that/
« Last Edit: January 28, 2023, 02:18:23 pm by AGelbert »
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12