Saturday, August 25, 2012

3 ' Fer

Greetings good citizen,

Happy weekend to you! Today’s three offerings are all from this morning’s edition of Alternet, those closeted Libertarians pretending to be Democrats.

Um, I have long opined in these posts that our, er, ‘understanding’ of economics is both deeply flawed and (purposefully) incomplete.

You, the average individual, are provided with the most basic of equations, you work you eat…and if you don’t eat everything you make then maybe you can buy yourself a toy or two!

That’s economics 101 for the average dope.

That’s all the employer commits to these days, you’ll be paid enough to buy food to keep you alive so you can come to work tomorrow.

So the rest of this bullshit is just so much hocus pocus
Nearly everything economists do is based on some model. For example, the famous story that prices are determined by supply and demand is a model. Consider the price of oil. On the one hand, there is supposed to be an upward-sloping “supply curve”: the higher the price of oil rises, the more oil producers want to pump. This curve is an imaginary construct intended to describe the different amounts of oil that producers would pump at any given time, if oil prices were at different levels.

On the other hand, there is supposed to be a downward-sloping “demand curve”: the lower the price of oil falls, the more businesses and consumers want to buy. This curve is likewise an imaginary construct intended to describe the different amounts of oil that consumers and businesses would buy at any given time prices were at different levels. The point where the imaginary curves intersect—where the price is such that the amount of oil producers would pump just equals the amount of oil businesses and
consumers would buy—is supposed to determine the actual price of crude oil and the amount of oil that is pumped.

All we ever see is the point where the imaginary curves are supposed to intersect: the actual oil price. Nobody has ever seen supply or demand curves; they are models. They can be useful, but should not be mistaken for a literal picture of reality. If you trace, over time, the movement of actual gasoline prices versus consumption, you see loops and zigs and zags that don’t look anything like imagined supply and demand curves.
Take a good look at today’s gasoline prices. It’s almost $4 a gallon and the price of a barrel of oil is less than it was when gas cost $3.30 a gallon!

Now the liars on Wall Street say that the refinery in CA that went offline is squeezing capacity and causing prices to rise…

Did you know that the refinery in CA distills gasoline for CALIFORNIA ONLY?

I can appreciate the (alleged) refinery outage in the Golden State has to be made up somewhere else but it doesn’t explain why a new refinery hasn't been built in this country since the Bicentennial! (1976)

Um, did I mention that our civilization is BADLY MISMANAGED?

Let’s roll around the idea that there’s no place to invest any more as we contemplate our crumbling infrastructure.

Why do investors no longer desire to invest in America?

Hold that thought because this isn’t the time for that particular question, although our next topic is also one of neglect:
It’s just astonishing to us how long this campaign has gone on with no discussion of what’s happening to poor people. Official Washington continues to see poverty with tunnel vision – “out of sight, out of mind.”

And we’re not speaking just of Paul Ryan and his Draconian budget plan or Mitt Romney and their fellow Republicans. Tipping their hats to America’s impoverished while themselves seeking handouts from billionaires and corporations is a bad habit that includes President Obama, who of all people should know better.

Remember: for three years in the 1980’s he was a community organizer in Roseland, one of the worst, most poverty-stricken and despair-driven neighborhoods in Chicago. He called it “the best education I ever had” and when Obama left to go to Harvard Law School, author Paul Tough writes in The New York Times, he did so, “to gain the knowledge and resources that would allow him to eventually return and tackle the neighborhood’s problems anew.” There’s a moving line in Dreams from My Father where he writes: “I would learn power’s currency in all its intricacy and detail” and “bring it back like Promethean fire.”

Oddly, though, for all his rhetorical skills Obama hasn’t made a single speech devoted to poverty since he moved into the White House.

We see things like this and we can only wonder, is the man that tone deaf that he doesn’t remember who put him in the White House or is this and example of being so tightly muzzled that he CAN'T point out his handler’s ‘shortcomings’?

Um, if I’m right, ‘We the People’ DIDN’T put this sorry excuse for a Democrat in the Oval Office, the > One Percent did!

Thus does the ‘meat puppet’ make serious gaffes nearly as comical as the ‘legitimate rape’ mis-step made by the Missouri Senate hopeful.

So fearful are they of the public’s wrath that they don’t permit their own ‘meat puppet' to behave the way he should.

Perhaps Mr. Obama is refusing to ‘play the game’ because it is the only option open to him.

It will be curious indeed to see if he changes his tune now that this glaring oversight has been made public?

Understand good citizen, MOST US citizens are ‘poor’, you just won’t find that many who are willing to admit it!

Not only are forty plus percent of US households on some kind of federal ‘food assistance program’ (the only thing staving off a full out revolution!) but MILLIONS of US citizens have ‘food assistance’ as their ONLY source of income!

And yet the poor aren’t even mentioned by either candidate…

Must not ‘need’ their vote…

Which begs the question does it have to be this way?
Earlier this summer we explored some things we could do as a nation to improve work-life balance, from the basic (paid sick leave, anyone?) to the truly innovative. This time, we're looking around the world: which countries fare better than ours in helping citizens survive without working themselves to death?

Of course, it’s hard not to respond to this question: “hmmm anywhere without child labor and a two-day weekend!” After all, not only do we rank among the worst in terms of paid leave for parents or family sickness and have zero mandatory vacation hours, Americans often don’t even take the vacation we’ve got!

Again our Libertarian leaning buddies want you to believe/ignore the deep schisms capitalism has left upon the world.

Paid sick leave (something you only get if you have a government job these days…or if you’re in management.)

Once upon a time even ‘Joe the Plumber’s’ boss offered paid sick leave because it was hard to attract workers if you didn’t offer benefits they could get with a ‘factory job’.

Now there are no factories…

No (soul-sucking) factory jobs means no benefits.

Now you work you eat…and if you don’t spend everything you make on food, maybe you can afford to buy yourself a couple of toys…

But hey, the Libbies are cool with that. If you don’t ‘own’ then you don’t deserve nothing.

But riddle me this Libbie baby, How do you get ahead if you can’t get a break?

Short answer, you don’t!

Sort of along the lines of ‘the world needs ditch diggers too!’ (Back in the day when such labor-intensive work was done by hand…now, not so much!)

But I digress…the last article’s point is other countries can do it which means we can too.

Ironically, our lives would much better just by reshuffling the deck a little bit.

Otherwise it’s ‘eat the rich’ because if you get hungry enough, ‘what you eat’ matters less and less.

Three rather thought provoking ‘topics’, the pieces themselves are worthless.

Thanks for letting me inside your head,


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