Posts Tagged ‘1%/99%’

If That Just Don’t Beat All

May 5, 2020

The front page of the online edition of the New York Times for Tuesday, May 5, 2020 was an accurate barometer of the contemporary situation. On the left hand side the NY Times headlined “Infection Rates Show the Threat of Coronavirus Is Not Fading.” The top story line beneath the headline read “The U.S. is seeing at least 25,000 new cases per day, an increase of 2 to 4 percent. There have been more than 1,000 daily deaths for over a month.” On the right hand side, sharing equal billing was the headline “Wall Street set to gain amid signs of optimism.” The reflection of today was not limited to the NY Times exclusively. The same day The Wall Street Journal headlined an article with “Why Home Prices Are Rising During the Pandemic”. Again same day, different news source, USA Today headlined “Essential worker just means you’re on the death track”. The headlines for today are as polarized as the politics that surrounds them. Ohio’s Governor Dewine’s daily update on the Covid 19 situation in Ohio showed an increase in cases along with an increase in mortalities. As of this writing Licking County increased to 133 from a previous day’s 130, and the previous to that 114. Yet contrary to the Governor’s initial rationale for nixing the Arnold, halting the March primary and closing public institutions, etc., all systems are go for reopening, without the curve ever reaching a peak. It doesn’t matter? Or is something else at play here? During the Arab oil embargo of the 1970’s it was the simplistic “supply and demand” explanation. During the Reagan recession of the 80’s it was “too many dollars chasing too few goods.” In the 90’s it was the dot com bubble with its enterprising entrepreneurs self justifying mega dividends. W’s regime righted itself with a war economy after 9/11. The chickens came home to roost with his end of term meltdown on the bundled, junk sub-prime securities. B Rock rescued everything through compensating the source of the loss with the mantra of “we can’t let the system fail.” And now this. THIS appears to be the complete unbridled, shameless operation of the market with no other considerations. There is no rhyme or reason, no attempt to justify or rationalize any of it (“Supply and demand” or “too many dollars chasing too few goods” etc.). Those accustomed to making money off whatever situation find no difference in the current situation. Those who always had to pay, no matter the situation, find no difference today except that now it also includes paying with their lives. The polarization reveals itself for what it is: the US as an economy versus the US as a society.

Learned Helplessness Spectatorship

October 19, 2019

The News has been prominent of late. No, that’s an understatement. Akin to a Punch and Judy show, or a 1920’s burlesque, it mesmerizes while stupefying. The power plays, between power players, completely normalizes the 99% / 1% economic makeup of the US of A. Everything that is being done appears totally out of reach of the ordinary person who admits their learned helplessness through the total passivity of mere spectatorship. The “anti-globalism” GOP expand their political control through buying and selling on a global scale while the “down home” Democrats insist on economic viability to account for a leadership position on their stage. Either way, whether it be the international 1% financing “populist” agendas or the “aw shucks” home spun buying their way to exclusive representation, Analysis discerns it to be democracy of money (matters), not people (matters). Peripheral to the News of late, receiving mere sound bytes and then readily dismissed for the preferred gaslight melodrama of grandiosity, is the drips and drabs of democracy uprisings from around the world. These are not “revolutions” in the sense of overthrow or toppling but rather affirmations that people matter. Without researching dates and times for specificity (which only invites correlation), Analysis can draw attention to the over 4 month, near continuous street demonstration for universal suffrage in Hong Kong. During that time there have been short lived as well as sustained actions in Egypt, France, England, Mexico, Poland, Ecuador, Chile, Venezuela, South Korea, Russia, and most recently Lebanon and Guinea (as well as others). The closest thing to “people matter” actions in the US are the recent union labor engagements – the UAW as well as city educators in Chicago. The news treats these more as an inconvenience than reflective of human priority. The mega bucks Ohio HB6 battle is much more deserving of media attention than the intricacies of the UAW / GM livelihood determination. Or so Analysis finds the News emphasis to indicate. The nepotism of the ruling 1% is much more titillating to spectate than the livelihood issues of employee “surrogate parent” teaching in our schools. Or so Analysis finds the News emphasis to be. The learned helplessness of the American spectator came out most clearly in the recent meme of Nancy Pelosi and Dear Leader at their recent White House meeting. Most significant is what didn’t appear in the news making image (the absence of women and people of color / ethnic origins in a room full of primarily older white males). Analysis finds it significant not because it did not represent the actual “people matter” make up of the US, but because it was subsumed in the normalization of learned helplessness spectatorship – “we can’t do anything about it.” Can’t we?

NO COLLUSION

March 8, 2019

First things first, Analysis needs to bring context to today’s post through a follow up to the previous two. Fresh off the new Governor’s State of the State but still the same old marketing to Ohio residents as well as outside investors, we give some numbers (the theme of today’s post). “The average JobsOhio employee made six figures in 2018, records show” by Andrew Tobias for Cleveland.com (3-7-19). The headline speaks for itself. “The nonprofit’s top-paid employee was outgoing President and Chief Investment Officer John Minor, who made $621,322.62 in total compensation, which includes salary, 401k contributions and health care costs. That’s $86,863, or 16 percent higher than he received the previous year.” “The second-highest paid employee was Dana Saucier, the nonprofit’s vice president and head of economic development. He received $353,099.72. Chief Financial Officer Kevin Giangola received $240,486.96, and General Counsel Don Grubbs made $238,163.06. Two senior managing directors made $342,155.67 and $304,863.34; Kristi Tanner and Aaron Pitts” “In all, 39 employees received at least $100,000, and 11 received more than $200,000. The average employee’s compensation was $107,741.25, compared to $98,129.02 in 2017.” You do the math. But Analysis notes the new Governor’s State of the State. What does he make? And his cabinet? From the same reporter/news source (Here are the salaries for Gov. Mike DeWine’s top staff — and how they compare to John Kasich’s, 1-30-19): “State legislators voted last December to give state and county-level elected officials across-the-board raises. As a result, DeWine will make $154,248, while Kasich, whose veto of the pay-raise bill was overturned, made $148,315. We did not include this in our average salary calculations.” And what was the averages for cabinet and staff? “The average DeWine cabinet member will make $156,377, compared to $151,140, or about 3.5 percent more, for the same jobs in the Kasich administration.” “Along with salary data for cabinet members, the DeWine administration last Friday released a partial list for top, but not-cabinet level, administrative staff. Those staff made an average of $114,254, compared to $116,000 for the Kasich staff.” Still want a government job, Bunky? Analysis shows top public private partnership ones pay better. But who’s working for whom? And what are they getting for it? (that includes you, Bunky) Writing for the Washington Post, Christopher Ingraham headlines Household net worth falls by largest amount since the Great Recession, new Fed data shows (3-7-19). Of note: “Total household net worth is a measure of the assets — such as homes, stocks and bank accounts — owned by American families and nonprofits minus their debts. In the fourth quarter of 2018, it fell by about $3.7 trillion, a 3.5 percent quarterly decline. Going back to 1952, the start of the Fed’s data, only three quarters — the third and fourth quarters of 2008, and the second quarter of 1962 — posted bigger declines in household net worth, percentage-wise. The data shows that change was driven by the poor performance of the stock market in the fourth quarter of last year. The flailing market erased $4.6 trillion in assets from household and nonprofit balance sheets, which was offset somewhat by gains in real estate and other assets.” Been wondering why your rent has been going up, Bunky? “More important, most of the household wealth in the United States is owned by the country’s richest families. In 2016, for instance, the top 1 percent of families owned 40 percent of all household wealth, with the next 9 percent of families holding an additional 29 percent. That leaves 21 percent of the country’s net worth for the remaining 90 percent of American families. Furthermore, about half of American families don’t own any stocks, while the top 10 percent of families control about 84 percent of the stock market. Taken together, the numbers are a reminder that the stock market is not the economy, and that big national-level data sets may not necessarily reflect financial reality for typical American families, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck and struggle to meet even small unexpected expenses.” Speaking of expenses, numbers news came out this week that addresses just that: “In Blow to Trump, America’s Trade Deficit in Goods Hits Record $891 Billion” by Jim Tankersley and Ana Swanson for the NY Times, 3-6-19. ““All countries run trade deficits whenever they consume more than they produce,” said Kimberly Clausing, an economist at Reed College in Oregon. “And when we borrow to finance tax cuts, like we did with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, we make these imbalances worse.”” “It is a case of textbook economics catching up with some of Mr. Trump’s unorthodox economic policies. Economists have long warned that Mr. Trump’s tax cuts would ultimately exacerbate a trade deficit he has vowed to reduce, as Americans, flush with extra cash, bought more imported goods.” Analysis can only conclude that the garage and yard sales market will rise in 2019 as average Americans will have so much more stuff to sell. No matter, as of this writing (3-8-19), Dear Leader’s morning constitutional tweet stresses once again, in all caps, “there is NO COLLUSION.” Confused, Bunky? By design, Bunky, by design.