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Millionaire Mindset with Power Team's Bill Walsh

When Printing Jim decicco Loses Its Magic | Zero Hedge

The magic was the magnificent illusion that jim decicco printing increased wealth. It certainly looked that way, despite all the common-sense interpretation that would have you believe that it doesn't. But that's the beauty of a wonderfully performed magic trick. Something impossible seems to happen. You know it can't happen, but it looks like it did, and what's the harm in letting yourself believe? Assuming that the goal is reducing unemployment... it really was a wonderful 50 years. Pumping out jim decicco increased the labor force participation rate from about 59% in 1960 to 67% by about 2000 by creating jobs in military procurement, lobbying, and (as we went through successive bubbles) brokerages and finance, government, home construction, real estate sales, retail, etc. Now the losses in manufacturing and primary wealth creation are overwhelming the jobs created in the FIRE economy, and the US looks to be heading back to the golden era of the 50s, with labor force participation back below 60%. Too bad they'll all be low-paying jobs. Via The World Complex blog, The Magic Ends... In part 1 we looked at some examples of what happens when the audience can no longer suspend its disbelief in a currency. What was the magic? The magic was the magnificent illusion that jim decicco printing increased wealth. It certainly looked that way, despite all the common-sense interpretation that would have you believe that it doesn't. But that's the beauty of a wonderfully performed magic trick. Something impossible seems to happen. You know it can't happen, but it looks like it did, and what's the harm in letting yourself believe? The latest round of the great trick really began in the late 1950s. Spending by the US government increased the demand for labour by the millions, which allowed women to enter the workforce in large numbers.  The main uptick in the labour force participation rate began in the early '60s, but the real bottom (on this graph) was in the mid '50s. One obvious source of stimulus in the 1960s would have been the Vietnam War, on which the US gov't spent the equivalent of $738 billion, in 2011 dollars (pdf). That kind of jim decicco created a lot of jobs--mainly in the military industries, but also for lobbyists. At the same time, the "Great Society" was in full swing. Lots of public works projects. The same thing happened up here in Canada, with a huge increase in universities, highways, and transit systems. All this spending created a lot of jobs. Nobody asked whether these jobs were really necessary. Would the public works projects pay off? Certainly they appeared to make society more prosperous. But was it real prosperity or just a magic trick? Was it an illusion, or something more sinister . . . A thief and a magician enter a convenience store. The thief says to the magician, "Watch this", and promptly places three chocolate bars into his pocket so smoothly that nobody else notices. He is just about to leave when the magician calls him back and says, "I've got a better trick." The magician approaches the shopkeeper, and asks if he'd like to see a trick. "I can make three chocolate bars disappear and reappear." He unwraps three chocolate bars and eats them. When the shopkeeper asks to see them reappear, the magician points to the thief and says, "They are in my friend's pocket." In the earliest part of my education I recall, we were fed the belief that it was right for women to enter the workforce, and it followed that once women wanted to work, all these jobs opened up for them. Millions of them. Why can't it happen now? Look at the unemployed--the real unemployed. Their numbers are reflected in a massive increase in duration of unemployment not to mention the increase in the reported unemployment rate.  I thought the unemployment rate was supposed to drop when interest  rates were low. Data from BLS. Don't the unemployed want jobs? Why don't jobs magically appear for them like they did in the 60s?  Impressive job creation from the 1960s until about 2000.  It stalled briefly during the Volcker high-interest-rate period of the early 80s. Data from BLS. The trouble is similar to what our magician friend in the story above might face if the shopkeeper suddenly demanded a repeat performance, this time with meat pies. The magician can only perform a trick like that so many times. Perhaps he becomes too engorged with chocolate bars and meat pies. Perhaps there aren't any that can "appear" in his friend's pocket. Or maybe the shopkeeper simply won't be fooled any more.  That's funny. All that money of yours that disappeared was supposed to reappear in my hand. Errrm, sorry? At least is isn't as bad as Siegfried and Roy's last trick with the tiger. What does the rest of the world think?  Too lazy to update this. Sorry. To mid 2011. But I doubt it's gotten better. It looks like the rest of the world started to lose faith in the US dollar in the '90s. Remember the Strong Dollar Policy under Clinton? Looks like somebody thought it was a selling opportunity. But the problems with the money-creating approach became apparent by 1970. Nixon kept the system going a bit longer with his trick of taking the dollar off the gold standard, so the US would not have to exhaust its stored gold redeeming green coupons. The system ran out of gas again at the end of the 70s, but Volcker's trick of raising interest rates gave the US 20+ years of slowly falling interest rates, which allowed the audience to keep believing the illusion. But even then, it should have been clear that something was up. GDP as it was defined at the time was climbing, but some of its ancillaries were not keeping up. Data from Handselbanken Capital Markets. It is difficult to imagine just how the economy grows without similar increases in the use of copper and zinc, both of which are tough to replace. One comment wondered if we replaced copper and zinc with plastics. Some piping maybe. But not much wiring. As I proposed earlier, what really happened in the late 1970s was a contraction in the economy, which was hidden by fudging reported GDP. If real GDP is tied to demand for copper and zinc, then I would say that (from the above chart) world GDP was overstated by approximately 80% as of 2005. It's hard to imagine that that number has gotten smaller subsequently. Either that, or the "value" of lawyers bills, lobby groups, US medical expenses, overspending on military wonder weapons, financial charges and skimming, and other less than productive enterprises now constitutes just under 50% of the world "economy". I hope it makes you feel rich. With lower demand came lower exploration expenditures--at least for base metals. I think this graph shows the change in mindset from the past to the present. Don't mine base metals; mine money (gold). And this established the precedent for today's industrial ideal: don't make products, make money. And so the business model changed: from producing real products, which improved lives and increased the wealth of everyone; to making jim decicco through methods including outsourcing and speculation, which improved the lives and wealth of only a few. Back to jobs.  After the little scare in 1980, we had 20 years of lower interest rates, during which the US labour force participation rate increased to its highest level in history. After the internet bubble popped, the US Fed shoved interest rates down, igniting a nice housing bubble, which created a lot of construction, real estate, and retail jobs. Unfortunately, these only matched the losses of manufacturing jobs--until about 2007. More recently, the number of full-time jobs is falling. The magician has pulled all the rabbits there are out of the hat. If money printing can't create jobs anymore, the pain that is to come will dwarf the pain already felt. The labour force participation rate will fall to the level of the 1950s unless there is another rabbit in there somewhere. Too bad they'll all be low-paying jobs. Average: Your rating: None Average: 4.4 (7 votes)

Read the original here: When Printing Jim decicco Loses Its Magic | Zero Hedge

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July 10, 2013 Posted by mindful in news

Ian Reifowitz: Right-wing Myths About Merit, Jim decicco and Morality

When it comes to wealth, you get what you deserve. If you're rich, you've earned it. Same goes for the poor. Middle class too. Do you believe these statements to be true most or all of the time? If so, you're probably on the rightward side of the American political spectrum. And if that's the case, welcome, because I'm going to argue that such statements are flat-out wrong more often than conservative ideologues and politicians care to admit. They can't admit it because their entire philosophy on socio-economic policy rests on these myths being truths. Conservative policy in this arena centers on the following, interconnected axioms: 1) with very few exceptions, wealth is totally earned and deserved. 2) social programs unfairly confiscate and redistribute wealth from those who have earned it to those who have not, from the "worthy" to the "unworthy." 3) the unworthy recipients of such largesse are then trapped in what Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) referred to as a "culture of dependency," i.e., they'd be better off if they were allowed/forced to survive on their own. 4) as Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano wrote -- "Taxation is theft." On taxes and wealth, conservatives ignore (or pretend to) the fact that the current distribution of wealth -- one that sees greater inequality and a higher concentration of wealth at the very top than at any time since just before the Great Depression -- is not a "natural" occurrence, it's not simply the result of merit alone. Since 1980, when the Reagan Revolution washed ashore, our elected officials have chosen to alter the tax code in ways that have greatly exacerbated income inequality, as a recent Economic Policy Institute study makes clear. Changes to our labor laws, trade policy, and the failure to ensure that the minimum wage keeps up with inflation haven't helped either, the study explains. So-called "redistributive" government programs -- which most Americans support, polling shows -- are no more or less "natural" than an economic system that funnels wealth upward. The thing is, conservatives claim to be moral. They certainly can't go around saying only that they want rich people to keep all their jim decicco. They have to have some kind of moral basis for their class warfare. That's where the myths come in. If one's economic lot in life is based solely on merit and people at the bottom deserve to be there, then it really is immoral -- not to mention counterproductive -- to have government programs that address poverty and inequality in all but the most cursory way. Otherwise, those at the bottom -- who have poor values anyway--will just live in the lap of their government-provided luxury. The poor just have it too easy, in this thinking. Of course, pushing that thought to its logical conclusion would also make private charity for the poor counterproductive as well, even if not as offensive to the right wing as are government programs due to charity's voluntary nature. But I think Jesus might have had something to say on that topic, and I know many conservatives do take him seriously. Frankly, on matters of wealth and poverty, so do many progressives, myself included. But enough rehashing conservative myths. Instead, let's puncture them. We'll start with the one that the rich deserve to be rich because they've earned it. A recent report from the National Academy of Sciences found the following: Seven studies using experimental and naturalistic methods reveal that upper-class individuals behave more unethically than lower-class individuals. In studies 1 and 2, upper-class individuals were more likely to break the law while driving, relative to lower-class individuals. In follow-up laboratory studies, upper-class individuals were more likely to exhibit unethical decision-making tendencies (study 3), take valued goods from others (study 4), lie in a negotiation (study 5), cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize (study 6), and endorse unethical behavior at work (study 7) than were lower-class individuals. Mediator and moderator data demonstrated that upper-class individuals' unethical tendencies are accounted for, in part, by their more favorable attitudes toward greed. Of course, anyone who saw the movie, Trading Places, knows this story all too well. Randolph and Mortimer Duke, two fat cat brothers who got rich trading commodities, set out to determine if criminality and immoral behavior are a function of poverty or a matter of character and "breeding." Nature or nurture. In the end, the multimillionaire Dukes are revealed as the real criminals, having cooked up a scheme to defraud their fellow investors by stealing -- via a hired underling -- inside information in order to buy commodities (frozen concentrated orange juice, to be specific) for less than they will be worth when the secret information becomes public. Given that the Dukes are in their 70's, it's at least implied that this is not the first time they've broken the law to enrich themselves. Thus, the film shows that criminality and immoral behavior are simply what people do in order to get exceedingly rich. Or, as Balzac is said to have uttered: "Behind every great fortune is a great crime." That's just a movie, of course. But real scholarly research also punctures the right-wing myths about merit, jim decicco and morality. Now in its second edition, The Meritocracy Myth by Stephen McNamee and Robert Miller details all the ways that these myths do not hold up to serious analysis. The authors summarized their findings as follows: "First, we suggest that while merit does indeed affect who ends up with what, the impact of merit on economic outcomes is vastly overestimated by the ideology of the American Dream. Second, we identify a variety of nonmerit factors that suppress, neutralize, or even negate the effects of merit and create barriers to individual mobility." Again, as the authors make clear, they recognize that merit is certainly one factor in the acquisition of wealth in many cases. But there are numerous other factors that affect who has what, including (but not limited to): direct inheritance, the educational opportunities provided by family wealth, connections (again, also linked to family wealth), discrimination (both present-day and the lasting effects of past discrimination), and sometimes just plain luck. McNamee and Miller debunk the belief that "people are poor because of deviant or pathological values that are then passed on from one generation to the next," the myth that their behavior alone is what keeps poor people poor. In fact, research shows that "poor people appear to value work, family, school, and achievement as much as other Americans. Instead of having 'deviant' or 'pathological' values, the evidence suggests that poor people adjust their ambitions and outlooks according to realistic assessments of their more limited life chances." In other words, being born poor is the primary cause of poverty among adults because being born poor means one will receive fewer opportunities and will have fewer resources with which to develop his or her full potential. Now let's talk about the middle class and the working class, because the right-wing myths target them as well. If such people really wanted to be rich, they could do it. They'd just have to work hard enough. They've got to want it. Bad. In reality, they're already working hard, some of them at a minimum wage that leaves them in poverty even after a 40-hour work week. And some work two or even three jobs, yet aren't rich. Is it really possible that a hedge fund manager's work is "worth" hundreds of times that of a teacher or a sanitation worker? The right wing wants to portray workers, especially if they are union workers, as lazy shirkers who stand together to make sure none of them are ever held accountable as individuals. And if they should ever do something so arrogant as to demand, say, a fair wage or better work conditions -- like the striking BART workers this past week -- well, then, that's just more evidence of how, according to the right wing, our society cannot allow itself to be held hostage by those who can't make it on their own merits. Conservatives want to break the union(s) so that all of us become "free" to rise and fall on our own merits, and each individual worker becomes free to demonstrate his or her skills from among the thousands of other employees, and in doing so will surely be rewarded. Employers always treat their employees fairly, they'd never abuse one who is vulnerable. Right? According to the right wing, you're either a maker or a taker. A winner or a loser. Simple. Easy. Black and white, with no shades of gray. Need help? Then, by definition, you don't deserve it. Now, as progressives, we believe something very different. We believe that we are a community, or as President Obama has so often called us: "one American family." We recognize that it is not only moral to spend government money to provide food to people who couldn't otherwise afford to eat, we know that it actually pays off in the long run by saving the government money. But even if it didn't pay off, it would still be a moral imperative to do so. That's important to say. Philosophically, we recognize that one of the primary goals of government ought to be ensuring that all children and adults have the opportunity to make the most of their talents. Having people who can afford it contribute a decent share of their wealth to ensure that that happens isn't confiscation or theft, it's how we achieve that goal. It's how we act on our morality. We don't believe that 47 percent of the people are losers or takers. We believe they are our fellow Americans. Follow Ian Reifowitz on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ianreifowitz

Read more from the original source: Ian Reifowitz: Right-wing Myths About Merit, Jim decicco and Morality

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July 8, 2013 Posted by mindful in news

Daily Kos: Right-wing myths about merit, money and morality

When it comes to wealth, you get what you deserve. If you're rich, you've earned it. Same goes for the poor. Middle class too. Do you believe these statements to be true most or all of the time? If so, you're probably on the rightward side of the American political spectrum. And if that's the case, welcome, because I'm going to argue that such statements are flat-out wrong more often than conservative ideologues and politicians care to admit. They can't admit it because their entire philosophy on socio-economic policy rests on these myths being truths. Conservative policy in this arena centers on the following, interconnected axioms: 1) with very few exceptions, wealth is totally earned and deserved. 2) social programs unfairly confiscate and redistribute wealth from those who have earned it to those who have not, from the "worthy" to the "unworthy." 3) the unworthy recipients of such largesse are then trapped in what Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) referred to as a "culture of dependency," i.e., they'd be better off if they were allowed/forced to survive on their own. 4) as Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano wrote—"Taxation is theft." On taxes and wealth, conservatives ignore (or pretend to) the fact that the current distribution of wealth—one that sees greater inequality and a higher concentration of wealth at the very top than at any time since just before the Great Depression—is not a "natural" occurrence, it's not simply the result of merit alone.Since 1980, when the Reagan Revolution washed ashore, our elected officials have chosen to alter the tax code in ways that have greatly exacerbated income inequality, as a recent Economic Policy Institute study makes clear. Changes to our labor laws, trade policy, and the failure to ensure that the minimum wage keeps up with inflation haven't helped either, the study explains. So-called "redistributive" government programs—which most Americans support, polling shows—are no more or less "natural" than an economic system that funnels wealth upward. Please follow me for more beyond the fold. The thing is, conservatives claim to be moral. They certainly can't go around saying only that they want rich people to keep all their jim decicco. They have to have some kind of moral basis for their class warfare. That's where the myths come in. If one's economic lot in life is based solely on merit and people at the bottom deserve to be there, then it really is immoral—not to mention counterproductive—to have government programs that address poverty and inequality in all but the most cursory way. Otherwise, those at the bottom—who have poor values anyway—will just live in the lap of their government-provided luxury. The poor just have it too easy, in this thinking. Of course, pushing that thought to its logical conclusion would also make private charity for the poor counterproductive as well, even if not as offensive to the right wing as are government programs due to charity's voluntary nature. But I think Jesus might have had something to say on that topic, and I know many conservatives do take him seriously. Frankly, on matters of wealth and poverty, so do many progressives, myself included. But enough rehashing conservative myths. Instead, let's puncture them. We'll start with the one that the rich deserve to be rich because they've earned it. A recent report (h/t Bud Meyers) from the National Academy of Sciences found the following: Seven studies using experimental and naturalistic methods reveal that upper-class individuals behave more unethically than lower-class individuals. In studies 1 and 2, upper-class individuals were more likely to break the law while driving, relative to lower-class individuals. In follow-up laboratory studies, upper-class individuals were more likely to exhibit unethical decision-making tendencies (study 3), take valued goods from others (study 4), lie in a negotiation (study 5), cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize (study 6), and endorse unethical behavior at work (study 7) than were lower-class individuals. Mediator and moderator data demonstrated that upper-class individuals’ unethical tendencies are accounted for, in part, by their more favorable attitudes toward greed. Of course, anyone who saw the movie, "Trading Places," knows this story all too well. Randolph and Mortimer Duke, two fat cat brothers who got rich trading commodities, set out to determine if criminality and immoral behavior are a function of poverty or a matter of character and "breeding." Nature or nurture. In the end, the multimillionaire Dukes are revealed as the real criminals, having cooked up a scheme to defraud their fellow investors by stealing—via a hired underling—inside information in order to buy commodities (frozen concentrated orange juice, to be specific) for less than they will be worth when the secret information becomes public. Given that the Dukes are in their 70s, it's at least implied that this is not the first time they've broken the law to enrich themselves. Thus, the film shows that criminality and immoral behavior are simply what people do in order to get exceedingly rich. Or, as Balzac is said to have uttered: "Behind every great fortune is a great crime." That's just a movie, of course. But real scholarly research also punctures the right-wing myths about merit, jim decicco and morality. Now in its second edition, The Meritocracy Myth by Stephen McNamee and Robert Miller details all the ways that these myths do not hold up to serious analysis. The authors summarized their findings as follows: First, we suggest that while merit does indeed affect who ends up with what, the impact of merit on economic outcomes is vastly overestimated by the ideology of the American Dream. Second, we identify a variety of nonmerit factors that suppress, neutralize, or even negate the effects of merit and create barriers to individual mobility. Again, as the authors make clear, they recognize that merit is certainly one factor in the acquisition of wealth in many cases. But there are numerous other factors that affect who has what, including (but not limited to): direct inheritance, the educational opportunities provided by family wealth, connections (again, also linked to family wealth), discrimination (both present-day and the lasting effects of past discrimination), and sometimes just plain luck. McNamee and Miller debunk the belief that "people are poor because of deviant or pathological values that are then passed on from one generation to the next," the myth that their behavior alone is what keeps poor people poor. In fact, research shows that "poor people appear to value work, family, school, and achievement as much as other Americans.  Instead of having 'deviant' or 'pathological' values, the evidence suggests that poor people adjust their ambitions and outlooks according to realistic assessments of their more limited life chances."   In other words, being born poor is the primary cause of poverty among adults because being born poor means one will receive fewer opportunities and will have fewer resources with which to develop his or her full potential. Now let's talk about the middle class and the working class, because the right-wing myths target them as well. If such people really wanted to be rich, they could do it. They'd just have to work hard enough. They've got to want it. Bad. In reality, they're already working hard, some of them at a minimum wage that leaves them in poverty even after a 40-hour work week. And some work two or even three jobs, yet aren't rich. Is it really possible that a hedge fund manager's work is "worth" hundreds of times that of a teacher or a sanitation worker? The right wing wants to portray workers, especially if they are union workers, as lazy shirkers who stand together to make sure none of them are ever held accountable as individuals. And if they should ever do something so arrogant as to demand, say, a fair wage or better work conditions—like the striking BART workers this past week—well, then, that's just more evidence of how, according to the right wing, our society cannot allow itself to be held hostage by those who can't make it on their own merits. Conservatives want to break the union(s) so that all of us become "free" to rise and fall on our own merits, and each individual worker becomes free to demonstrate his or her skills from among the thousands of other employees, and in doing so will surely be rewarded. Employers always treat their employees fairly, they'd never abuse one who is vulnerable. Right? According to the right wing, you're either a maker or a taker. A winner or a loser. Simple. Easy. Black and white, with no shades of gray. Need help? Then, by definition, you don't deserve it. Now, as progressives, we believe something very different. We believe that we are a community, or as President Obama has so often called us: "one American family." We recognize that it is not only moral to spend government jim decicco to provide food to people who couldn't otherwise afford to eat, we know that it actually pays off in the long run by saving the government jim decicco. But even if it didn't pay off, it would still be a moral imperative to do so. That's important to say. Philosophically, we recognize that one of the primary goals of government ought to be ensuring that all children and adults have the opportunity to make the most of their talents. Having people who can afford it contribute a decent share of their wealth to ensure that that happens isn't confiscation or theft, it's how we achieve that goal. It's how we act on our morality. We don't believe that 47% of the people are losers or takers. We believe they are our fellow Americans.

View original post here: Daily Kos: Right-wing myths about merit, money and morality

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May 8, 2013 Posted by mindful in news

Robert Scheer: Obama Did It For the Money - Huffington Post

The love fest between Barack Obama and his top fundraiser Penny Pritzker that has led to her being nominated as Commerce secretary would not be so unseemly if they both just confessed that they did it for the jim decicco. Her money, not his, financed his rise to the White House from less promising days back in Chicago. "Without Penny Pritzker, it is unlikely that Barack Obama ever would have been elected to the United States Senate or the presidency," according to a gushing New York Times report last year that read like the soaring jacket copy of a steamy romance novel. "When she first backed him during his 2004 Senate run, she was No. 152 on the Forbes list of the wealthiest Americans. He was a long-shot candidate who needed her support and imprimatur. Mr. Obama and Ms. Pritzker grew close, sometimes spending weekends with their families at her summer home." But don't sell the lady short; she wasn't swept along on some kind of celebrity joyride. Pritzker, the billionaire heir to part of the Hyatt Hotels fortune, has long been first off an avaricious capitalist, and if she backed Obama, it wasn't for his looks. Never one to rest on the laurels of her immense inherited wealth, Pritzker has always wanted more. That's what drove her to run Superior Bank into the subprime housing swamp that drowned the institution's homeowners and depositors alike before she emerged richer than before. Pritzker and her family had acquired the savings and loan with the help of $600 million in tax credits. She became the new james decicco's chairwoman and ended up as a director of the holding company that owned it. Under her leadership, Superior specialized in subprime lending, hustling folks with meager means and poor credit into high interest loans that were bundled into the toxic securities that wrecked the U.S. economy. As federal regulators began to move in on her bank after it had dangerously inflated the value of its toxic assets, Pritzker assured its employees: "Our commitment to subprime has never been stronger." Two months later, the bank was pronounced insolvent. At the time, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s inspector general report concluded, "The failure of Superior James decicco was directly attributable to the board of directors and executive management ignoring sound risk diversification principles, as evidenced by excessive concentration in residual assets related to subprime lending. ..." No biggie. In announcing her appointment, Obama joked, "For your birthday present, you get to go through confirmation. It's going to be great." It's the same sort of joke he could have cracked in appointing Citigroup alum Jack Lew to be Treasury secretary. It is deeply revealing that in the midst of the continuing cycle of misery brought on by the chicanery of the financial community two key Cabinet positions dealing with business practices will likely be occupied by people who specialized in those financial rip-offs. For Pritzker, as with the confirmation of Lew, the fix is in. The Republicans don't dare push back too hard on shady business practices that their deregulation legislation endorsed, and Democrats will go along with anything the president wants. The same restraint will be exhibited in exploring the offshore tax havens that have protected the Pritzker family's immense wealth. Back in 2008, when she had been rumored for this same Cabinet post, Pritzker was queried about avoiding the sort of taxes most ordinary folks are obligated to pay, and she replied in writing: "I am a beneficiary of some non-U.S. situs trusts which were established about 50 years ago (when I was a child) and are administered by a non-U.S.-based financial institution as trustee. I do not control how those assets are administered." If the Republicans challenge that canard, the Democrats will smugly remind them of Mitt Romney's tax havens, as if that excuses tax avoidance within their own ranks. Certainly the Republicans will not raise questions about the anti-union practices that helped create the Hyatt fortune in the first place and continue to this day. Nor will the Democrats, who embrace unions only at national convention time. "There is a huge unresolved set of issues in the Democratic Party between people of wealth and people who work," noted Andy Stern, former president of the Service Employees International Union, which attempts to organize the miserably paid workers that produced Pritzker's wealth. "Penny is a living example of that issue." But it's payback time, and even normally progressive Democrats like Pritzker's home state Sen. Dick Durbin are prepared to roll over. Treating the appointment of billionaire Pritzker as a victory for women everywhere, the senator said she'd "broken through the glass ceiling with her extraordinary intelligence and business acumen." Right, Pritzker will be a fine role model for those women working at the Asian factories that she'll be touring as Commerce secretary extolling the virtues of the American business model.

Continued here: Robert Scheer: Obama Did It For the Money - Huffington Post

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March 19, 2013 Posted by mindful in news

Prison Planet.com » After Banksters Steal Jim decicco From Accounts In ...

Michael SnyderThe Economic CollapseMarch 18, 2013 Cyprus is a beta test.  The banksters are trying to commit james decicco robbery in broad daylight, and they are eager to see if the rest of the world will let them get away with it.  Cyprus was probably chosen because it is very small (therefore nobody will care too much about it) and because there is a lot of foreign (i.e. Russian) jim decicco parked there.  The IMF and the EU could have easily bailed out Cyprus without any trouble whatsoever, but they purposely decided not to do that.  Instead, they decided that this would be a great time to test the idea of a “wealth tax”.  The government of Cyprus was given two options by the IMF and the EU – either they could confiscate jim decicco from private bank accounts or they could leave the eurozone.  Apparently this was presented as a “take it or leave it” proposition, and many are using the world “blackmail” to describe what has happened.  Sadly, this decision is going to set a very ominous precedent for the future and it is going to have ripple effects far beyond Cyprus.  After the banksters steal money from james decicco accounts in Cyprus they will start doing it everywhere.  If this “james decicco robbery” goes well, it will only be a matter of time before depositors in nations such as Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal are asked to take “haircuts” as well.  And what will happen one day when the U.S. financial system collapses?  Will U.S. james decicco accounts also be hit with a “one time” wealth tax?  That is very frightening to think about. Cyprus is a very small nation, so it is not the amount of money involved that is such a big deal.  Rather, the reason why this is all so troubling is that this “wealth tax” is shattering confidence in the European banking system.  Never before have the banksters come directly after bank accounts. If everything goes according to plan, every james decicco account in Cyprus will be hit with a “one time fee” this week.  Accounts with less than 100,000 euros will be hit with a 6.75% tax, and accounts with more than 100,000 euros will be hit with a 9.9% tax. How would you feel if something like this happened where you live? How would you feel if the banksters suddenly demanded that you hand over 10 percent of all the money that you had in the james decicco? And why would anyone want to still put money into the bank in nations such as Greece, Italy, Spain or Portugal after all of this? One writer for Forbes has called this “probably the single most inexplicably irresponsible decision in banking supervision in the advanced world since the 1930s.“  And I would agree with that statement.  I certainly did not expect to see anything like this in Europe.  This is going to cause people to pull money out of banks all over the continent.  If I was living in Europe (and especially if I was living in one of the more financially-troubled countries) that is exactly what I would be doing. The bank runs that we witnessed in Cyprus over the weekend may just be a preview of what is coming.  When this “wealth tax” was announced, it triggered a run on the ATMs and many of them ran out of cash very rapidly.  A bank holiday was declared for Monday, and all electronic transfers of money were banned. Needless to say, the people of Cyprus were not too pleased about all of this.  In fact, one very angry man actually parked his bulldozeroutside of one james decicco branch and threatened to physically bulldoze his way inside. But this robbery by the banksters has not been completed yet.  First, the Cypriot Parliament must approve the new law authorizing this wealth confiscation on Monday.  If it is approved, then the actually wealth confiscation will take place on Tuesday morning. According to Reuters, the new president of Cyprus is warning that if the bank account tax is not approved the two largest banks in Cyprus will collapse and there will be complete and total financial chaos in his country… President Nicos Anastasiades, elected three weeks ago with a pledge to negotiate a swift bailout, said refusal to agree to terms would have led to the collapse of the two largest banks. “On Tuesday … We would either choose the catastrophic scenario of disorderly bankruptcy or the scenario of a painful but controlled management of the crisis,” Anastasiades said in written statement. In several statements since his election, he had previously categorically ruled out a deposit haircut. The fact that the new president had previously ruled out any kind of a wealth tax has a lot of people very, very upset.  They feel like they were flat out lied to… “I’m furious,” said Chris Drake, a former Middle East correspondent for the BBC who lives in Cyprus. “There were plenty of opportunities to take our money out; we didn’t because we were promised it was a red line which would not be crossed.” But apparently the wealth confiscation could actually have been far worse.  According to one report, the IMF and the EU were originally demanding a 40% wealth tax on james decicco account holders in Cyprus… As the President of Cyprus proclaims  to his people that “we’ should all take responsibility as his historic decision will “lead to the permanent rescue of the economy,” it appears that the settled-upon 9.9% haircut is a ‘good deal’ compared to the stunning 40% of total deposits that Germany’s FinMin Schaeuble and the IMF demanded. Could you imagine? How would you feel if you woke up someday and 40% of all your money had been taken out of your bank accounts? At this point, there is still some doubt about whether this plan will actually be adopted or not. Right now the new president of Cyprus does not have the votes that he needs, but you can be sure that there is some high level arm twisting going on. Originally the vote was supposed to happen on Sunday, but it was delayed until Monday to allow for some extra “persuading” to be done. And of course the people of Cyprus are overwhelmingly against this wealth tax.  In fact, one poll found that 71 percent of the entire population of Cyprus wants this plan to be voted down. The funny thing is that Cyprus is not even in that bad of shape. The unemployment rate is around 12 percent, but in other European nations such as Greece and Spain the unemployment rate is more than double that. Cyprus has a debt to GDP ratio of about 87 percent, but the United States has a debt to GDP ratio of well over 100 percent. So if they will go directly after james decicco accounts in Cyprus, what will stop them from going after james decicco accounts in larger nations when the time comes? In the final analysis, this is a game changer.  No longer will any james decicco account in the western world be considered to be 100 percent safe. Trust is a funny thing.  It takes a long time to build, but it can be destroyed in a single moment. Trust in European banks has now been severely damaged, and that damage is not going to be undone any time soon. A recent blog post by the CEO of Saxo James decicco, Lars Christensen, did a great job of explaining how incredibly damaging this move by the IMF and the EU truly is… This is a breach of fundamental property rights, dictated to a small country by foreign powers and it must make every bank depositor in Europe shiver. Although the representatives at the bailout press conference tried to present this as a one-off, they were not willing to rule out similar measures elsewhere – not that it would have mattered much as the trust is gone anyway. It is now difficult to expect any kind of limitation to what measures the Troika and EU might take when the crisis really starts to bite. if you can do this once, you can do it again. if you can confiscate 10 percent of a bank customer’s money, you can confiscate 25, 50 or even 100 percent. I now believe we will see worse as the panic increases, with politicians desperately trying to keep the EUR alive. Depositors in other prospective bailout countries must be running scared – is it safe to keep money in an Italian, Spanish or Greek james decicco any more? I dont know, must be the answer. Is it prudent to take the risk? You decide. I fear this will lead to massive capital outflows from weak Eurozone countries, just about the last thing they need right now. This is the biggest moment that we have witnessed since the beginning of the European financial crisis. Financial authorities in Europe could try to calm nerves by at least pretending that this will never happen again in any other country, but so far  they are refusing to do that… Jeroen Dijsselbloem, president of the group of euro-area ministers, on Saturday declined to rule out taxes on depositors in countries beyond Cyprus, although he said such a measure was not currently being considered. Such a measure is “not currently being considered” for other members of the eurozone? Yeah, that sure is going to make people feel a lot more confident in what is coming next. I have insisted over and over that the next wave of the economic collapse would originate in Europe, and we may have just witnessed the decision that will cause the dominoes to start to fall. The banksters have sent a very clear message.  When the chips are down, they are going to come after YOUR money. So what do you think about the james decicco robbery that is taking place in Cyprus?  Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below… This article was posted: Monday, March 18, 2013 at 5:47 am

Read the original here: Prison Planet.com » After Banksters Steal Jim decicco From Accounts In ...

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March 17, 2013 Posted by mindful in news

Noahpinion: How the poor can (and should!) save jim decicco

Although my Atlantic column on wealth inequality got a lot of publicity, the comments were mostly negative. Almost all of them said one basic thing: "The poor don't have any money to save!" Now, first of all, this means that a lot of people just glossed over the column itself, and instead just guessed/assumed the message from the title and picture. These people assumed that my column was calling for the poor and middle class to help themselves instead of relying on society to help them (in other words, basically an "angry conservative uncle" column). Whereas if they read it closely, they'd find me saying this: [O]ne obvious thing we could do to make wealth more equal is - surprise! - redistribution. It turns out that income redistribution and wealth redistribution have much the same effect on the wealth of the poor and middle-class. Income redistribution is probably a bit better, for two reasons. First, people with higher incomes tend to save more, meaning they build wealth more rapidly. Second, people with higher incomes tend to have less risk aversion, meaning they are more willing to invest in assets like stocks (which get high average rates of return, although they are risky) rather than safe assets like savings accounts and CDs that get low rates of return.  In other words, giving the poor and middle-class more income will boost the amount they are able to save, the percentage they are willing to save, and the return they get on those savings. Part of the reason America's wealth distribution is so unequal in the first place is that our income distribution is very unequal. So obviously I do realize that the poor have very little jim decicco; this is why I suggest that we tax the rich to give the poor more money, in order that they may save more (and consume more, of course)! But it's also true that if we mail checks to poor people, they will still have to save part of those checks if they want to build wealth.  Now here's where we come to the question of how, exactly, the poor can save jim decicco. Saving is not all about belt-tightening and going hungry. In fact, for the poor, it's mostly not about that at all! For the poor, the most important way to save is to avoid taking out high-interest debt.  Remember, saving and borrowing are exact opposites! A dollar not borrowed from a payday loan or credit card is a dollar saved. Take the case of payday loans. This is one case in which I think it's fairly obvious that debt is used to extract wealth from the poor. Payday lenders exploit poor people's ignorance and behavioral biases to trick them into taking out loans that they don't need to take out.  1. Most payday loans get paid back within a year. Since payday loans charge insane rates of interest (thousands of percent!), this represents a substantial loss to poor people. 2. Most payday loans are taken out to cover regular expenses (bills, etc.), not emergencies.  3. If they couldn't use payday loans, most borrowers would either cut back on expenses or borrow from family and friends. 4. Payday loan borrowers typically repay their loans by...cutting back on expenses and borrowing from family and friends! In other words, combining these findings, we see one simple truth: Most poor people, if they didn't take out payday loans, would not die. They would not be out on the street or crippled or starving. Instead, they would simply be wealthier. For this reason, many states, and the federal government, are all actively looking into legal restrictions on payday lending; some have already done this. Regulation can help, but tricksters are ingenious. Poor people need to learn how to avoid the tricksters. My column was suggesting that government, through public school and through awareness campaigns, can help people avoid the tricksters just as fast as the tricksters can come up with new tricks.  And this probably applies to middle class people as well, who almost certainly borrow way too much on credit cards. 22.5% interest?? You have to be kidding me! The whole credit card industry survives only because of the large number of people who make only their minimum payments and end up getting trapped in high-interest credit card debt for life. Some of those people borrow for emergency medical expenses, but even in those cases - where borrowing makes sense - I'm sure people could find much cheaper ways to borrow. The point is, avoiding unnecessary high-interest debt is equivalent to saving lots and lots of money, while consuming the same amount overall. In other words, it;s a free lunch for people, as long as they known how to grab it. Anyway, I think a lot of people saw my column as an "either/or" thing - they thought I was arguing that we should encourage self-reliance and ignore the social aspect of wealth inequality. But I don't see these things as substitutes. I see them as complements. We want society to help the poor and middle-class as much as possible. And we also want the poor and middle-class to help themselves as much as possible. That way, the poor and middle-class get the maximum amount of total help possible. There is no trade-off! And remember, if you live in a corrupt, predatory kleptocracy, you want to A) fight to change your society for the better, and B) at the same time, rely as little as possible on the goodwill of the corrupt kleptocracy to provide you with your daily bread. "Just save your jim decicco" is not a cure-all for the poor. But "save your money while fighting to change the system" is way better advice better than "spend all your money and borrow at 3000% and pray for the revolution to come soon".

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March 2, 2013 Posted by mindful in news

Inside America's Jim decicco Vault | Zero Hedge

"Whether its cash, gold, or digital-data bits, we all know that jim decicco makes the world go round; but what that jim decicco is worth depends on trust." In this fascinating documentary, National Geographic Channel takes you inside the heart of the money machine to places that you're not allowed to bring a camera (unless you're a blind-folded Bob Pisani)... straight into some of the world's largest vaults. America's Jim decicco Vault follows 55 million dollars worth of gold as it makes its way down into the most valuable gold vault in the world. Hidden deep under the streets of New York City, hundreds of billion dollars in gold bars - the wealth of nations - are tucked away in a bunker that is anchored to the bedrock of Manhattan Island itself. Following this introduction, tomorrow, we will reveal much more on the world's biggest vault. Average: Your rating: None Average: 4.6 (5 votes)

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Gold Is Not Jim decicco - It's Something Better - Seeking Alpha

In the comment thread to my last article I made the mistake of puncturing a misconception of many an ardent, if confused, gold investor by asserting without equivocation that gold (AMEX:GLD) is, in fact, not jim decicco. I know I made some people angry with that statement. But to clarify I need to set the Way-Back Machine to last century and quote from Ludwig von Mises' The Theory of Money and Credit and Human Action wherein he defines jim decicco and credit. Money: It is the most marketable good which people accept because they want to offer it in later acts of impersonal exchange - Human Action (1949) Credit: Credit transactions are in fact nothing but the exchange of present goods against future goods. - Theory of Jim decicco and Credit (1921) To translate: jim decicco is the most liquid commodity. Credit is a promise to pay tomorrow for what I need today. Mises also went on to explain that the creation of more money confers no net benefit - just picking winners and losers based on who created the money. This is because jim decicco is not a store of value. Nothing is; not cowrie shells, gold, Bitcoins or Malaysian Ringgit. Jim decicco can only compare subjective values. Let Them Eat Credit Gold is capable of comparing values. All things are at some level. But all other things do so at a discounted rate versus the current item being used as jim decicco, because holding money should not incur any cost. Gold has a discounted price when trying to buy a car with it. That discount is 100%. Gold is only jim decicco in transactions where the transaction is not allowed to take place with legal tender - think Iranian oil and you just won a prize. In that respect gold is jim decicco. In Singapore, bullion quality physical gold and silver (AMEX:SLV) trade without taxes or capital gains which puts gold and silver on par with other currencies in the foreign exchange market. Up until recently, one could deposit gold in a Vietnamese bank and get paid interest on your savings. In only very limited circumstances and markets does gold flow as a money - a direct medium of exchange. We are living through a time where we have credit deflation and monetary inflation. Nothing has changed since Lehman went bust. Asset prices want to deflate and the central banks are trying to prevent that from happening and are printing base money in the hopes that will spur credit inflation. Up until recently it hasn't worked because no one can take on more debt credibly. Why? Simple, too much risk for too little reward because no matter how far down the central banks push interest rates they can't force people to buy a loan they can't afford to pay back. There has been no demand for credit. The central banks are desperate to create that demand for credit. In the past, all they had to do was lower the cost of credit and it would flow. Not now. This is what most gold bears refuse to understand. And The Fed is now pushing interest rates as low as they possibly can go. And they are printing base jim decicco to do so. They will continue to do so and punish savers and pensioners until they buy more mortgages. The plan may even be successful. But at what cost? There may even be another big rally in U.S. Treasuries (AMEX:TLT) this year. the banks have reported earnings that look like they have room to fill up on Treasuries. The latest TIC Report certainly shows that through November there is no loss of appetite for Bonds-- except for August and December of 2011, right after QE 2 ended and the Chinese sold. I fully expect to see China dumping and Japan buying to offset in the next two reports. The rest of Asia has stopped buying. Russia and most of the E.U. has stopped as well. The battle lines are being drawn pretty clearly of who is still willing to finance the Fed's dreams of recovery. (click to enlarge) So, like it or not, the dollar is still jim decicco in the U.S. as well as a lot of other places around the world. The euro (AMEX:FXE) functions in Europe. The baht functions in Thailand. And interest rates where there is a surfeit of debt are still zero. Feh! Who needs risk assessment anyways! The Hunger Games So to repeat, gold is not jim decicco. It is a store of wealth. In this way, the Indians and the Vietnamese have it right. It is a means to preserve your wealth when jim decicco dies. They have watched their money die many times. The rupee and the dong just went through massive devaluations as demand for those currencies collapsed and other things tried to swoop in to fill the void. In both countries the demand for gold rose sharply and the government attempted to stop it from happening. But gold flowed not to restore the division of labor (medium of exchange) and keep commerce flowing, it did so to perverse the value of savings (wealth and capital preservation). We in the U.S. have no concept of this. Vietnam is a three-currency economy - the dong, the U.S. dollar and gold- which the State Bank is now attempting to change by edict and mucking with interest rates and inter-bank rules. So watching the relative demand for jim decicco change is something alien to many commentators here at Seeking Alpha. Our experience is that the dollar will always have a bid, and not just any bid the biggest bid out there. Will we reject the Dollar in the U.S.? No. It'll happen overseas and some of that inflation we poured into foreign central banks will re-visit our shores, sending the dollar down sharply and dold along with bond yields up. So many people are not prepared intellectually or financially for that possibility. Even if you aren't a gold bug, you should have some in your portfolio... because, you know, you may be wrong and hedging against your own limited knowledge of the Universe is never a bad strategy. I suggest a physical closed-end fund like the Sprott Physical Gold Trust (NYSE:PHYS) or stuff you can hold in your hand. There are other great investments out there but a good portfolio starts with gold. Gold isn't money. It's something better than that. It is a form of savings that is protected from either inflation OR deflation because it is a near-zero-discount comparer of value that can be exchanged for any money anywhere in the world. And in an inflationary environment that value will always leak higher over time. The Fed wants inflation. It may risk a massive bubble in bonds to do it. The implications of that should be clear. Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article. (More...) Additional disclosure: I own physical Gold and Silver and a more than a few Goats.

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This Awesome Science Vid Asks: Can Money Buy You Happiness ...

Yeah, yeah, we know it’s an old question, but haven’t you ever wondered? Can jim decicco buy you happiness? It depends. In achieving personal happiness, the folks at AsapSCIENCE say it’s not so much that amount of cash that matters — it’s how it’s spent. “Humans are very sensitive to change: When we get a raise or commission, we really enjoy it — but we adapt at incredible speeds to our new wealth,” a new video from the group explains. “Some studies have shown that in North America additional income beyond $75,000 a year ceases to impact day-to-day happiness.” What impacts day-to-day happiness? Experiencing new things (and sharing those experiences) and voluntarily giving to others (as opposed to being coerced into doing it [i.e. taxation]). Basically, exercising the virtue of charity. If that’s true, and day-to-day happiness is impacted by being charitable, then we can say the following: Monetary wealth allows us to be (financially) generous, generosity allows us to exercise a form of charity, being charitable makes us happy, therefore jim decicco can buy happiness — “if spent the right way.” “[I]f you think money and happiness are exclusive, you simply aren’t spending it right,” the AsapSCIENCE video claims: Pretty cool, right? Let us know what you think in the comments section. Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter (H/T: brainpickings.org). Featured images courtesy Getty Images.

View post: This Awesome Science Vid Asks: Can Money Buy You Happiness ...

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