Friday, April 3, 2009

Don't need no book learn'n

New jobless numbers came out today and of course they are worse than ever and the corporate media again attaches the obligatory disclaimer that the experts are surprised. They need to get new experts; all this surprise must be killing them.

Teachers contracts are being issued by school boards across the country and the new buzz word among the teaching staff is RIF which stands for Reduction In Force. Between plunging real-estate tax revenue and the slashing of aid from state governments, RIF is the word to live by.

You can add a lot of teachers to the unemployment rolls in the fall, plus a lot of teachers will avoid retirement with their pensions depleted so contracts for new teachers will be in short supply.

This is especially true in the Red States where public education was never a priority, states that ranked near the bottom in aid per pupil have been cutting and cutting again to where it isn’t even lunch money. Why should they aid the schools, the Red States are controlled by rich Republicans and their kids never set foot in a public school. That’s where the gardener’s kid goes to school and he doesn’t need any of that book learning. You wouldn’t want him reading the warning label on any of that pesticide he’s been using without any safety equipment.

So far there is no real plan for creating jobs. Was it Ross Perot that said you can’t have an economy from each of us giving the other guy a haircut? I’ve been letting mine grow, I’m the one who shot the economy all to hell. Take the job creation poll at www.prairie2.com

Thursday, April 2, 2009

We're the Masters of the Universe and we're rich, rich, rich! Really we are, really....

Wall Street became as giddy as a school girl today. Not over any diplomatic coup or sweeping agreement to save the world economy but by a ruling from an obscure government board. The Federal Accounting Standards Board (FASB) basically did away with reality; without that pesky reality gumming up the works Wall Street can resume doing what it does best: pushing a lot of paper around and proclaiming that they are the Masters of the Universe and that they are rich, rich, rich! And how do we know that they are? Because they’ve got it all down on paper.

What the FASB did under pressure from Congress was to eliminate the Mark to Market Rule from accounting. This is (rather was) such a fundamental concept that you would not think there needed to be a rule, but what it said was: that any marketable asset held by a bank on its books had to be valued at the market price. Now that this reality has been done away with; nay, not just done away with but dragged from its abode and killed. It’s home burned, livestock slaughtered, well poisoned, the fields salted and the very speaking of its name banned for all time... err, I digress. Companies are now free to value their toxic assets at any price they so choose. Reality be damned!

This will tank any effort by the Treasury Dept. to sell off these toxic assets since they are now very valuable toxic assets as long as they stay on the books. It’s going to be business as usual and reality matters not. None of this "making of things to create wealth" or even balancing the books. We don’t have to, we are the Masters of the Universe and we are rich, rich, rich! This might have something to do with why the top three banks in the world are now owned by Red China.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lie down and rot

An ugly mob broke through police lines in London today and stormed the Royal Bank of Scotland. The US corporate media actually said that what motivated the protesters was that they want to do away with money. (aren’t they just crazy? {he says in a cynical tone}) Yeah right; the Royal Bank of Scotland has already done away with their money since Great Britain went just as crazy with deregulation as the US. Could it be the protesters in Europe take all this much more seriously than do Americans because they still have a collective memory of what can happen when you let a great depression get out of hand?

Obama said something significant today, but just what it foretells about his policies isn’t so clear. He said that the rest of the world should not expect the US to return to being a "voracious consumer market" driving the world economy and that they need to develop their own markets. He also said the US would not be returning to the trade and budget deficits of the past decade.

There are only two ways to achieve zero trade deficits and a balanced budget. Either a return to a manufacturing economy of our own or lower the standard of living to that of a lower tier third world country. If Obama is planning to rebuild our manufacturing base he is keeping it to himself. He keeps using phrases like "Americans have overspent and borrowed too much" and "America doesn't need the jobs that have been out-sourced ". The kind of things you would expect to hear from the Wall Street bankers that are advising him.

Rather Obama should know the economic reality is that Americans have been underpaid and the "company store" lent them money until payday at usurious rates. The Reagan/Greenspan policy was of controlling "wage inflation" by union busting, out-sourcing and the importing of millions of low-paid workers. Then they created trillions in debt to keep up demand for goods lest anybody notice the economy had been destroyed.

It’s not Capitalism that is a walking corpse, it’s doing very well for the Capitalists. It is the entire Middle Class that has become zombies; lurching from paycheck to paycheck; unaware that they are expected to lie down and rot away.

You can go to www.prairie2.com and vote in tonight’s poll "where will we be in ten years?" the leading answer so far is "chasing our food with a stick" with 59% of the votes. www.prairie2.com

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The New World Economy; feeling sticky?

A new poll out today shows Americans are more confident that the country is going in the right direction; now at 45% up from 8% in October and Obama continues to carry 64% of Americans having confidence in his economic plan. Meanwhile housing prices continue down sharply only outstripped only by the plunge in commercial real-estate value. Deflation is alive and well.

The Obama Adm. is talking about some sort of Bankruptcy for GM if an acceptable restructuring plan can’t be presented in sixty days. Sounds like a ridiculously short time frame; but there is really only one major issue to resolve and that could be done in a few days; that is the bond holders. The Right says this is grandma’s pension but really it’s mostly hedge funds and oil sheiks that are being told to take pennies on the dollar or get nothing at all. GM’s new CEO is talking today about Bankruptcy being more probable. It has now become a trillion dollar game of chicken, with the Sheriff trying to convince the townspeople to give concessions or he will pull the trigger on the gun not just to his own head but to all our collective heads.

Obama is off to Europe to participate in the Kabuki Theater with world leaders; the French Prime Minister is threatening to walk out if he doesn’t get new financial regulations (the same regulations that Treasury Sec. Geithner has already announced). The Russians have been pushing hard for the past week to prepackage some sort of diplomatic coup that they can announce after their private meeting with Obama. China will hold the most important meeting with our President; but the way the Chinese do these things we probably won’t hear about what happened for some time.

The London meetings may be largely pointless but they will define the turning point of the new world economy by what announcements they use the occasion of the big horse show to trot out. Some will be put out to stud and some will get a new career in the glue industry. Feeling sticky?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Is Obama stupid or is he lying to us?

The President said with straight face that we don’t need to get all those jobs back that have been outsourced because they are all low paying. Any bright 5th grader and even the occasional Republican can figure out that we can’t run the economy on just the jobs created by installing solar panels. Obama seems to think that we will make the solar panels here; but we aren’t making them here now so what makes him think that will change.

Why is he spouting Republican talking points? The Republicans are perfectly comfortable with us being a third world country. Does Obama think that the mushrooming Hoovervilles won’t be called Obama slums when they become permanent fixtures? Has he become a Flat Earther, willing to sacrifice a certain percentage of Americans for the good of all (especially good for the rich)?

Obama must have a more realistic view of the future than the one he has revealed so far. Perhaps he thinks we can’t handle the truth. We can’t keep getting our manufactured goods from China. We’ve only been paying for half of it and China is getting tired of that; they are going to cut up our credit card. If the news reports can be believed, China has already reduced its Dollar holdings dramatically with only about half of its foreign currency reserves now in Dollars. We don’t have anything more to sell China, in fact they are moving aggressively to acquire everything we sell to them elsewhere. For example, Brazil can grow twice as many soybeans per acre with less input costs. Exporting debt isn’t going to work, paying with dollars that China can’t spend anywhere isn’t going to work. China has come right out and said they aren’t going to fall for that anymore.

Obama may not be ready yet to explain the painful details of undoing 30 years of Republican economic destruction. He is planting a garden at the White House; of course he has a ten foot fence and armed guards to keep the starving masses from stealing his vegetables. It's time to start scoping out the neighborhood with an eye toward establishing a defensive perimeter around any tillable land. When the kids are bored send them down to the soccer field to hoe the potatoes.