Archive for the 'economics' Category

15
Apr
16

The Trash Economy

In the trash economy, they even pay you for picking up trash.
You get fully state benefits, medical, and retirement. All
you have to do is vote!  The state will give you all you need
to live in one handy-dandy, little white-plastic shopping bag.

It’s all about the taxes. Without a balanced approach, states are left with serious problems economically to provide needed state services.  Seems the Republicans are buying power to budget cut their states at the benefit of big business by lower corporate taxation.  But there are serious consequences to this new right wing movement, and that is the cut trash economyof education and government services.

You see the logic used by these politicians was that if you cut the cost of government, people will be awarded with more jobs and less of a tax burden, but the tax burden was only lifted really for the businesses in those states. Were they afraid that businesses might move out of state to build plants and operations overseas, or even worst place their corporate headquarters under shell companies on remote islands and in places like Panama, so as not to pay any state or federal taxes at all. panama papers

The problem here is that American governance has been sold by power hungry politicians to those with the money, big money, especially Wall Street banks and investment banks.

States where the governments have been taken over by republicans are in the worst shape – and remember we aren’t yet even discussing federal level politics, though that is also a huge problem. But the states are in sorry shape with the mantra of “Cut Government Spending” has actually taken place, where prisons have been emptied, education budgets halved and all sorts of services have been trimmed.  So who is going to pick up your trash, keep your water clean, your roads fixed, teach your kids, and incarcerate your drug addicts and sellers?

The combination of corporate America taking its work out of the control to improve the bottom line and the trashing of governance and public services has really screwed up states. Tax revenues are down. Stagnation has occurred.  The reduction in revenues has impact what states and local governments are willing to pay people as well.  In one state no one will work at the community centers because they can make more money working elsewhere.  And who really wants to be a prison guard after all for so little pay? Shell bermuda companies

Whacked by our politicians

How whacked is it? Think about it.  If the jobs are in the public sector and not the private sector, than the money generation for state taxes is taxing those who work for the state – smells like socialism.   We are a socialist country already, as the government already controls too much.  And the real problem is that that government officials are not beholden to the people, but to those who finance their campaigns, and who pay them to pass legislation, or to pull old legislation.  Do you remember the Glass-Steagall Act?

Glass-Steagall Act

Remember or learn that BACK IN 1999, Democrats led by President Bill Clinton and Republicans led by Sen. Phil Gramm joined forces to repeal Glass-Steagall at the behest of the big banks. Yes, the big banks wanted to make more money by handling investments.  When they earn more money, no new jobs are created, only more money enters the hands of their companies, their shareholders and consequently the rich get richer and nothing improves for the poor. The original reason for the Glass Steagall Act was to protect the country from the conflict of interest between investment and banking which caused the great depression in part.  The great serpent, that lying beast, the economic devil in disguise of glad tidings raised its head back at the Bush administration bailouts.

corporate bribery.png

Corporate Bribery

 

Another reason things went south was by letting rich people and corporations hide their profits in shell companies.  That should be illegal.  Those con men selling that to the American people need to go to prison.  Also tariffs need to be place on foreign produced goods, so that manufacturing is driven back to American shores and so that real jobs are created for people to work at, and where they can get off government subsidies and aid. Just think about how many other panama type exposures could happen to reveal how much of America wealthiest hide their money!

 

The politicians have made their masters very happy, and they have gotten fat and rich, but they have devastated their local state economies, gutted state education and ruined state employees’ benefits and pay.  Educators need resources, people need education, and innovation comes from education, not in tax shelters, tax breaks and incentives to invest in the infrastructures of other countries.  Again the rich benefit, and they PAY THEIR FAVORITE POLITICIANS to keep it that way.  Just how the 2016 election is paid for by Wall Street.

Look at the following examples to see how screwed up state economies have gotten:

Misssissippi:

“County officials across Mississippi are warning of job losses and deep deficits as local jails are being deprived of the state inmates needed to keep them afloat. The culprit, say local officials, is state government and private prisons, which are looking to boost their own revenue as sentencing and drug-policy reforms are sending fewer bodies into the correctional system.”

Response; why should the local economy be tied to the working in prisons and drug law enforcement efforts. This is madness. Economies should not be derived from the business of government. Read the article about how screwed up Mississippi is here.

Kansas:

“The bulk of Brownback’s tax moves in 2012 and 2013 revolved around state income tax rates for individuals. Those cuts, which primarily benefited those already wealthy enough to shoulder a greater share of the cost of schools and roads in Kansas, are politically untouchable even in the current calamity. But Brownback’s other signature move has lost the support of several of his fellow Republicans and will likely be at the epicenter of any budget deal lawmakers ultimately achieve.”

Response: another case of cut taxes for the rich, and lose state services like education.  Who needs an educated population?  Voters need to be stupid to vote for republicans who slice the education budget in half.  Who needs trained engineers, nurses, scientists, doctors, civil servants and academics?

Final Thoughts:

What has destroyed state economies is the same thing that has created the Wal Mart American society, the trash economy. What has depleted the Middle class, made the poor dependent on Uncle Sam, and ruined the livelihood of regular Americans, is that the government is now in charge of ensuring the rich get richer.  Without productive jobs to go to, everyone can only afford to buy cheap foreign made goods.  The quality of American life, the American dream in is glory, is fading.  This is the Trash Economy.  Relying on jobs in the public sector where half the country, especially the darker colored ones, is the only economical solution, is bizarre at best. What has to be fixed is how we earn our money.  The rich need to have rules that apply to them.  Throw out congress and elect people who will change the rules on how profits are made, close the tax shelters.  Bring the jobs home, and make it unprofitable for companies to take their work overseas.

New Jobs for the Middle Class

Now hiring: Workers are seen sorting as the conveyor belt moves recyclables to be sorted at the Waste Management Elkridge Material Recycling Facility on June 18, 2015 in Elkridge, Md. D.C. and other local jurisdictions send their recyclable materials to the Waste Management facility in Elkridge for recycling. The cardboard and paper products are baled and shipped to China for new product production. The facility is a one thousand ton facility, where it takes in a thousand tons and sends out a thousand tons daily. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

 

Articles referred to in this blog piece

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/mississippi-jails-are-losing-inmates-and-local-officials-are-devastated-by-the-loss-of-revenue/ar-BBrLU3D?li=BBnb4R7&ocid=SL5BDHP

http://sandiegofreepress.org/2012/08/how-mitt-romney-set-up-offshore-shell-corporations-bank-accounts-and-paid-no-taxes/

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/economic-intelligence/2012/08/27/repeal-of-glass-steagall-caused-the-financial-crisis

http://www.thenation.com/article/what-happens-when-republicans-try-destroy-public-education/

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/secret-and-lies-of-the-bailout-20130104

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/wall-street-is-putting-money-behind-these-presidential-candidates_us_55b143e7e4b08f57d5d414ad

http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-03-25/what-s-destroying-middle-class-wages-china

http://usuncut.com/class-war/the-trickle-down-disaster-in-kansas-is-so-bad-that-even-republicans-are-trying-to-cover-it-up/

 

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04
Jun
10

Doctors Speak Out About Medical Billing Fraud

Medical Billing Problems! Us?

As you know, the price of insurance and medicine has risen noticeably for many years. My own insurance is with Blue Cross, and it is supposed to increase in cost by 39%. The cost keeps going up, and my pay doesn’t. The rich fat cat medical organizations can charge whatever they want, and we can do “nothing” about it.
Maybe you don’t know it, but as recently as 1981, only 8% of families filing for bankruptcy did so in the aftermath of a serious medical problem. But by 2007, 62.1% of all bankruptcies in 2007 were medical related. This reflects a grievous, unchecked increase for families. Insurance costs have gone up. Will it ever end? Probably not.
Medicine is not like any type of business that competes for your dollar. As a matter of interest, have you ever wondered how the costs on your medical bill are calculated? Well most of it has to do directly with what the insurance policy you carry says it will pay. Then if your policy doesn’t cover past a certain point, you get the cost directly. Or your deductible on your insurance may b extremely high from the get go. But nothing regulates these costs, and they are just increased at the whim of the hospital or doctors office. Yet health care in the US is not improving under this type of unregulated system.
Furthermore, in states with large immigrant populations (many who are here illegally), the state’s costs for medical care is helping to destroy the state’s budget. And if the state doesn’t pay it directly, you might not like it but you bill goes up to cover the cost. The real cost of illegal immigration is that states do not check citizenship in providing education to their children, or for state funded social services, and for county run medical facilities.
I read recently that inflation of costs associated with medical visits continues to be done, reflecting how unethical billing practices have become rampant in the industry. People you know that when you see a bill for $50 for an aspirin, or $800 for entering the hospital emergency room, you have been had.
When doctors speak out against theses practices, or if they question the legitimacy of how billing is handled, they are often fired – meaning their contract is ended. In many places medical fraud is as popular as other felonious activities like robbery and murder.
I feel the system should not be left in the hands of the fat cats. What about you?
Related Articles:
Doctors speak out about their struggles with a “broken” medical system article

Medical Bankruptcy in the United States, 2007: Results of a National Study

Critical Condition of American Health Care book

Medical Fraud and How it is done: webpage

31
May
10

Is oil worth dying for America?

Hostage to Oil?

The fact is that Americans use 25% of the world’s supply of oil each year.  Shell Oil states that by 2050 there will not be oil.  I’m afraid to say that we are not secure for our military runs on oil, so the reliance on oil is our coming downfall.  As long as we rely on oil as the primary energy source for equipping our military, we have placed the strong noose around our necks.  We have known for years that our national security was based on a very dangerous energy source.

Is it any wonder we that Obama administration doesn’t pull us out of Iran.  Each day I see a group of folks who continue to stand at a downtown Los Angeles intersection demanding that we pull out of the middle east.  They were their under the Bush administration, and they are probably never going to get a break, for as long as the US relies on oil every president will be looking for a military hotspot to acquire oil from – or to be prepared to make darn sure we can buy oil cheaply.  The ability to sustain oil from nations with no interest in America makes us even more vulnerable as a nation.

In Oil Dependence is a Dangerous Habit you read that our country is spending over 1 billion dollars a day on foreign oil.  But more importantly, that oil is coming from countries that are unstable:

Oil Imports

“In 2008 the United States imported oil from 10 countries currently on the State Department’s Travel Warning List, which lists countries that have “long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable.” These nations include Algeria, Chad, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Our reliance on oil from these countries could have serious implications for our national security, economy, and environment.”

What is true is that our military has been sent into the fray to protect access to oil.  The current occupation in Iraq is all about access to oil.  Some Americans believe that they we actually have become a robber nation, stealing the oil from Iraq, though I’ve seen little documentation for that.  More crazy what it costs Americans to secure that position.  Business Week’s article  U.S. reliance on Oil an urgent threat states:

“A full accounting of the cost of fuel would include the U.S. Navy’s protection of sea lanes, the maintenance of military bases in countries such as Bahrain, and the stationing of massive numbers of troops abroad, according to the report and interviews with its authors. In Iraq, just 10% of fuel used for ground forces went to heavy vehicles such as tanks and amphibious vehicles delivering lethal force; the other 90% was consumed by Humvees and other vehicles delivering and protecting the fuel and forces. “This is the antithesis of efficiency,” the report says.

In another piece, Pentagon study says oil reliance strains military, you read that:

“Ensuring access to dwindling oil supplies also carries a big price tag. The United States, relying largely on military patrols, spends an average of $44 billion per year safeguarding oil supplies in the Persian Gulf. And the United States is often dependent on some of the same countries that pose the greatest threats to US interests.”

Clearly if the world ever wants to have reason to fight it out to the end, oil could be the source of the cause.  Without oil our military is unable to do anything.  The oil powers the tanks, humvees, helicopters, jets, jeeps, air transport and whatever else is driven, floated, or flown.

It seems that unless something is done, that our troops are going to be sent into the rogue nations to guarantee America’s future is protected.

No Gas No Go

The whole concept is irrational.  There is no way to sustain a military might buy fighting to keep the source of the energy for fueling the military machine.  The laws of economics are against it, and so is common sense.  You cannot rely on supplies from your enemies to keep you in power.

Furthermore in Oil Dependence is a Dangerous Habit we also read that:

“Our oil dependence will also be increasingly harder and more dangerous to satisfy. In 2008 the United States consumed 23 percent of the world’s petroleum, 57 percent of which was imported. Yet the United States holds less than 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves. Roughly 40 percent of our imports came from Canada, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia, but we can’t continue relying on these allies. The majority of Canada’s oil lies in tar sands, a very dirty fuel, and Mexico’s main oil fields are projected dry up within a decade. Without reducing our dependence on oil we’ll be forced to increasingly look to more antagonistic and volatile countries that pose direct threats to our national security.”

Further Reading:

Securing America’s Future: Enhancing Our National Security by Reducing Oil Dependence and Environmental Damage by Christopher Beddor, Winny Chen, Rudy deLeon, Shiyong Park, and Daniel J. Weiss




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