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Archive for September, 2016

fdr-signs-social-security-act

According to Jack Bogle, founder of Vanguard, the mutual funds investment company, Social Security is in crisis.

Bogle said the system’s finances could get a big boost from changes that may be rejected as “politically sensitive,” including

  1. adopting a less-generous approach to calculating cost-of-living adjustments,
  2. raising the maximum annual earnings subject to Social Security tax,
  3. and raising the age for full retirement benefits further from the current range of ages 66 to 67.

First of all, Social Security is not in a crisis. The Fund has a reserve of $2.5 trillion that earns $180 billion in interest a year. That money is due to be used up by roughly 2036 as more and more baby boomers retire. Then Social Security can still pay 84 percent of everybody’s benefits after that.

This means it won’t take much to make up the shortfall. Currently, nobody pays social security taxes on income above $118,500. Simply eliminating this cap on taxing income would erase the future shortfall. However, we could go farther and with good reason.

Here’s what the corporate media doesn’t want you to know.

Trillions of dollars every decade earmarked for the social security trust fund are redirected from the fund into the already fat wallets of the super rich. The rich don’t pay social security taxes on capital gains and dividends. Every time a job is exported, the wages and social security contributions from that job are transformed into capital gains and dividends.

Millions of jobs have been exported. That’s hundreds of billions of dollars every year no longer heading into the Trust Fund because the difference between the old higher US wages and the new lower third world wages goes straight into the pockets of the ultra wealthy via capital gains and dividends.

Capital gains and dividend income are exempt from paying social security taxes.

So why not establish social security taxes on dividends and capital gains above a certain point, say $100,000 a year in income from those sources?

Then you could increase monthly payments to retirees while simultaneously raising the demand for goods and services, which would strengthen the economy, as well as spur job and wage growth.

Wall Street won’t like it, but millions of older folks could use the money being stolen from social security via international income redistribution scams falsely marketed as “trade agreements.”

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student-loans-2

Nowadays, 43 million Americans owe student loans averaging $35,000. That’s because he or she who has the gold makes the rules in the US federal government.

Twenty years ago, the US Congress privatized the student loan program, which was supposed to give more Americans access to higher education.

In its place, lawmakers created another profit center for Wall Street and a system of college finance that has fed the nation’s cycle of inequality. Step by step, Congress has enacted one law after another to make student debt the worst kind of debt for Americans – and the best kind for banks and debt collectors.

Today, just about everyone involved in the student loan industry makes money off students – the banks, private investors, even the federal government.

For example, student loans made Albert Lord rich. Lord was the CEO who built Sallie Mae into a financial colossus through fees, interest and commissions on billions of dollars of federally guaranteed student loans. For delivering handsome profits to investors, Lord received pay and stock worth hundreds of millions of dollars. He also owns his own private golf course, thanks to everybody else’s student loan payments.

Student Loans

Then we can’t forget the bondholders. That’s right. Like mortgage backed bonds, there are hundreds of billions of dollars of student loan backed bonds. Who owns them? Not the folks who owe student loans. Wall Street investment banks, hedge funds and other assorted super-rich investors own them. When student loan borrowers make payments on their student loans, part of that monthly payment goes to the investors, who, coincidentally, have an incentive to keep pushing government to enact more laws and regulations to ensure that more students take out more debt, and cannot go bankrupt on their current debt.

In other words, the legal structure of student loans was changed back in the 1990’s to ensure that rich investors could suck millions of college students dry. Student loans have become simply another plot to redistribute income from working Americans to the rich.

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the-duck-and-the-tpp

Wall Street President Obama plans to unleash Wall Street’s Democratic Party attack dog against the middle class. Attack Dog Wyden will likely introduce the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the senate during the lame duck session, where it will likely pass.

The TPP is a 12 nation trade agreement that will redistribute trillions of dollars and significant political power, including stealing away many of your voting rights on the local and state levels, from the 99 to the 1 percent. That’s why Obama and Wyden are for this agreement.

The entire Republican Party leadership stands behind Obama on the TPP. Yes, Wall Street Senator Mitch McConnell and Wall Street Senator Orrin Hatch are counting on Obama. The TPP will likely pass through the senate, but it’s going to have problems in the US House of Representatives.

The American people are rising up against these income and political power redistribution agreements, which are falsely marketed as international trade agreements.

According to a new poll conducted jointly by Harvard University and Politco.com, “In a stunning reversal, a large majority of Republicans are repudiating their party’s traditional support for free trade, and falling sharply in line with nominee Donald Trump’s insistence that trade costs Americans more jobs than it creates.” Duh! Anybody think Wall Street and the super rich would want these agreements if they created more US jobs than they destroyed? The game is to lower the cost of labor so as to increase corporate profits, dividends and share prices.

manufacturing-jobs-exported-per-year

Strangely, grassroots Democrats who have opposed these agreements in the past are now more gullible than Republican grassroots members in some ways, while the Republicans can be more gullible in other ways. “The POLITICO-Harvard poll shows, 85 percent of Republicans say that free trade has cost the U.S. more jobs than it has created, compared to 54 percent of Democrats.”

The poll also showed the 59 percent of Democrats and only 20 percent of Republicans believe income inequality is a problem. Yes it is. Ask anybody from any third world nation. The 1 percent now steal about 36 percent of all income, up from 8 percent in 1980. That means the rest of us have less money with which to demand the goods and services necessary to power the economy, unless, of course, we use credit. Quite naturally, Americans have higher levels of debt than ever before. Anybody think that’s a problem?

According to the poll, some voters are going to cast ballots based on a candidate’s position on trade deals. Many Democrats will vote for Donald Trump for president, while also voting for their Democratic senate and US House candidates.

The polls findings also suggest Trump wiped out the other 16 Republican candidates for president this year since these trade scams were bigger issues with grassroots Republicans than for Democratic voters. This might also explain, in part, why Democrats failed to elect Bernie Sanders as their standard bearer.

The TPP will only make matter worse for the 99 percent. Just check out the links below.

The Trans Pacific Partnership–The Op-ed the corporate media doesn’t want you read–JohnHIvely.Wordpress.com

Click to access TPP-USITC-Study-Press-Release.pdf

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/09/politico-harvard-poll-free-trade-trump-gop-228600#ixzz4LZlNPmyj
Follow us: @politico on Twitter | Politico on Facebook

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Public Citizen is an organization at the forefront of the war against the Tran-Pacific Partnership, the biggest income and political power redistribution scam that Wall Street and its corporate cronies and billionaire investors could think of. This scam will redistribute trillions of dollars from working Americans to the super rich. For more on this, click The Op-ed the Corporate Media Doesn’t Want You To See–JohnHively.Wordpress.com.

Now please read this important message below from Arthur Stamoulis of Citizen’s Trade Campaign:

Dear John

After years of work, we have a real opportunity this fall to stop the job-killing, environment-degrading Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) corporate power grab. But a massive corporate coalition is throwing millions into beating “We the People” and enacting the TPP during the “lame duck” session of Congress immediately after the election.

We need to counter that.

Will you please help one of Citizen Trade Campaign’s founding members — Public Citizen — win additional funding to help us stop the TPP? Public Citizen has been selected as one of the groups eligible to receive funding this month from CREDO. The more votes they get from people like you — the more funds they’ll receive for the anti-TPP campaign.

You don’t need to be a CREDO customer — you just need to vote for Public Citizen online here. It’s quick, it’s easy and it’s free:

Please click here and vote for Public Citizen. Just select “Public Citizen – Stop the TPP” from among the groups listed, enter your email address and hit “Vote Now,” and you’ll be helping fund the next stages in the ongoing campaign.

Public Citizen is a key CTC partner, providing much of the research and economic data on which we all rely as we urge our Members of Congress to oppose the TPP, and helping in countless other ways.

Will you please help fund the trade justice movement by voting for Public Citizen today?

Many thanks,

Arthur Stamoulis, Executive Director
CITIZENS TRADE CAMPAIGN
Online: citizenstrade.org
Twitter: @citizenstrade

By the way, Democratic Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden will lead the charge for the TPP in the US senate. Thank you CREEDO

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Let’s assume that tariffs are raised in the near future to 35 percent on the goods US corporations export to the United States from their manufacturing facilities abroad. What would happen? Think Nike, Ford, United Technologies, Microsoft, Dell, Campbell’s Soups and thousands of other corporations.

The corporate news media will lie to you and say prices would go up, or the economy would tank. Totally wrong. Lies.

If select tariffs were enacted, the stock market bubble would deflate since corporate profits would decline. On the other hand, the Parasites of Wall Street are now so big that they are sucking the life out of the 99 percent. This means the stock markets are going to tank anyway, and sooner than you might expect. See The New Recession Is Knocking at the Door, and It’s Going to Be Worst Than the Last One–JohnHIvely.Wordpress.com.

The things that make up the wealth of nations are the things that are manufactured. The stock markets are a tool to redistribute income from those who actually produce the wealth of nations to those who produce nothing save for political and financial power. A vast decline in the stock markets would redistribute economic and political power back to those who produce the wealth of the United States.

The bond markets would tank too, if select tariffs were enacted. That means wealth inequality would decline in the USA. Currently, the top 1 percent own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. Wealth are the things that you own, like houses, stocks, bonds, gold, cars, toys, smart phones, etc…. The video above was made years ago and the statistics the moderator uses are skewed even more to the ultrarich now than when the film was produced.

US manufacturing jobs would come home, probably by the millions. Wages would be forced up with so many jobs coming home. Demand for goods and services would accelerate and power the economy forward. The days of the bubble economies would be over. In other words, it would give life to the host that the Parasites of Wall Street, including all those hedge fund managers, have been sucking dry.

wealth-inequality1

Income inequality would decrease because more people would have decent paying jobs, while the rich would see their share of income decline. The rich now steal roughly 36 percent of all the income created every year in the United States, up from 8 percent in 1980. That’s precisely why the current economic expansion is the worst in modern US history in terms of job and wage growth, as well as growth in the Gross Domestic Product.

Our social safety nets, such as social security, medicare and medicaid, as well as our roads, schools, and other infrastructure would be financially strengthened.

The rich would have less money to corrupt government and both political parties. Let’s face it. Income and wealth inequality is produced by political inequality.

Foreign governments would not need to retaliate since the products of their nation’s businesses would not be subject to the tariffs.

The time has come for placing tariffs on the goods of US corporations which have exported jobs to China, Mexico and elsewhere, and then exported the goods those jobs produce to the USA.

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After the Ford Motor Company announced it was exporting thousands of US jobs to Mexico, where it will manufacture all of its small cars, Presidential candidate Donald Trump has forcefully argued that, if elected president, he would slap a 35 percent tax on Ford’s small cars coming into the United States from Mexico. That tax is called a tariff and critics are in an uproar over such a proposal.

According to CNN, “It would immediately make Ford cars more expensive for Americans.” This was dead wrong and intended to distract you from other answers.

Let’s get one thing straight. If the US imposed a 35 percent tariff on Ford’s Mexican made vehicles it wouldn’t make their vehicles more expensive.

Instead, it would force Ford to keep those jobs in the United States and pay middle class wages. That tariff would also do another thing the corporate propaganda machine doesn’t want you to know about.

Ford CEO Mark Fields told investors, “Over the next two to three years, we will have migrated all of our small car production to Mexico and out of the United States.” Notice Fields told investors what they should expect.

Moving small car production to Mexico was a sales pitch to entice investors into purchasing Ford shares in sufficient numbers to prop up the sliding share price. The announcement failed in its objective to appease large institutional investors such as JP Morgan/Chase and a variety of hedge funds.

So moving small car production to Mexico is pointless since it failed to achieve its goal before the first US job was ever exported.

A tariff on these Mexican made Ford vehicles would keep the jobs in the United States and have no impact on Ford’s share price. In addition, this tariff would help in some small way in the battle against income and wealth inequality that has taken place since tens of millions of US jobs have been exported.

The difference between the old higher US wages and the new lower Mexican wages would go straight into the pockets of rich shareholders via rising Ford profits and higher dividends. In this case, it is a unlikely Ford’s exporting jobs south will impact its already crummy share price. Ford is simply a bad investment.

The tariff is the way to go.

Besides, what’s an economy for? Is it for having shared prosperity for everybody, or for just making super rich people wealthier while impoverishing everybody else?

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“It’s gutless leadership,” US Senator Warren told Wells Fargo CEO John Stumft at a senate hearing over how he led the bank to fool investors. Want to get angry? Listen to the video above. We need Warren to be the next US president!

On twelve occasions between 2012 and 2016 Stumpf told investors that Wells Fargo was doing great because the bank had record and increasing numbers of cross-selling, which is the number of accounts opened by the same customers. In this case, approximately two million accounts were opened by customers without their knowledge. Stumpf lied when he denied the bank committed these crimes to fool investors.

The Consumer Financial Protection Agency fined Wells Fargo $185 million for this latest Wall Street scandal, which is a drop in the bucket for the bank, and a small token of doing business-as-usual.

This scam impacted negatively the credit ratings of Wells Fargo customers even if they didn’t use the accounts they didn’t know they had. Meanwhile, Stumpf received over $200 million in stock options in part because of this scam, which drove the bank’s share price upward.

wells-fargo

According to Business Insider, “Carrie Tolstedt, the head of the community banking division, was the executive directly responsible for overseeing the retail banking sector of the company, where the fake accounts were created.

In July, Tolstedt retired from Wells Fargo, holding roughly $96.6 million in various stock awards. Numerous times during the testimony on Tuesday, Stumpf was asked why Tolstedt wasn’t fired and whether the bank would use its clawback provision to take back some of that compensation.”

Warren called for Strumpf to be criminally investigated for the fraud he likely ordered. This wasn’t something engineered by some branch manager, not with two million phony accounts. The order had to come from way up.

Who in the bank is accountable? The CEO hasn’t resigned. He hasn’t fired one senior executive. Instead, Wells Fargo’s definition of “accountable” is to push blame on low-level employees who don’t have the money or PR firms to defend themselves. A bank cashier who steals $20 would be facing theft charges, but the department of justice has failed to hold any Wall Street executives accountable for any of the crimes they’ve committed for decades.

On the other hand, CNN reported that a number of Wells Fargo employees were fired for refusing to open the phony accounts, or if they complained about it to higher bank officials. See Wells Fargo Fired Workers in Retaliation For Reporting Fake Accounts–CNN

I should point out that Wells Fargo unofficial and perhaps under the table employee happens to be Wall Street Senator Mitch McConnell. He is unhappy with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau because it is doing its job, so he’s been trying to defund it since the scandal broke. McConnell and his wife hold more Wells Fargo stock than any other senator. What a sore loser!

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income-inequality

 

Originally published in September 2016.

The next recession will hit sometime during the next twelve months, most likely by June of 2017, give or take a month or two. It will be worse than the last one, and the impacts of it will last longer than the Great Recession of 2007-2009. The effects of that recession are still being felt. Median household income, for example, is still below what it was in 2007. That is one of the reasons why the next recession will be worse than the last.

99 percent of all US income growth from 2009 to 2014 went to the top 1 percent. They invest their money in the bond, stock and political markets. This does not create demand for goods and services. It destroys that demand by using financial and political leverage to export US jobs to low wage countries.

So all of this means that roughly 23 to 36 percent of all income produced in the United States has been stolen by the 1 percent, depending on whose figures you’re using. This inequality is destroying the demand for goods and services. Back in 1980, the 1 percent were able to steal only 8 percent of all US income. That’s why job and wage growth was much greater then than now.

Nowadays, the 99 percent earn roughly 62 to 77 percent of all income, down from 92 percent in 1980. This means demand for goods and services will be weak, much weaker, in fact, during the next recession than might be imagined.

The current economic expansion is the weakest in modern US history because of that lack of demand. It’s also been illegally contrived.

Home mortgage applications

The big banks withheld 3.4 million homes from the market by 2011. This is a violation of a variety of US laws, and is called a conspiracy in restraint of trade. As you can tell from the graph above, demand for home mortgages have been historically low compared to the last housing bubble, yet prices continue to bounce up because that 3.4 million homes represented more than 50 percent of the entire available housing stock, according to Bloomberg news. Click the following link for the Bloomberg report $382B Shadow Inventory Weighs on U.S. Housing-Bloomberg News.

This has driven home builders to construct more homes in the USA, and panicked people into purchasing overpriced homes that the banks illegally benefit from. This illegal housing bubble is what has powered this economy forward, and also to its doom.

The above suggests a few ominous things.

  1. The big banks can’t take many more houses off the market during and after the next recession, leaving them unable to create another housing bubble sufficient to power the next economic expansion forward.
  2. Earning 63 to 78 percent of total US income will not allow the 99 percent sufficient financial strength to power the US out of the recession.
  3. Instead, people who have borrowed against the rising value of their homes and used credit cards to sustain their standard of living will be trying to dig out of their debt.
  4. The value of housing will drop, as it always has done during recessions. This time the drop could be 30 to 50 percent in many areas. Maybe 60 percent.
  5. Deflation, caused by a lack of demand, will likely happen.
  6. Expect negative interest rates.
  7. The stock markets will fall more than they did last time. Expect major stock indices like the S&P 500 and the Dow to plummet 50 to 90 percent.
  8. The Federal Reserve will bail out the big banks and rich investors to the tune of tens of trillions of dollars, like during the last recession. But the Fed won’t bail out the 99 percent.
  9. The government must bail out the rich, or the 99 percent, but it can’t bail out both. The politicians will chose to bail out the rich, just like last time.
  10. Unemployment will be in double figures at some point, and perhaps for a long time.
  11. A political revolution will likely be forced into place at some point to replace the current corrupt government, and the corrupt politicians of the Republican and Democratic Parties.

As a final note, it should be pointed out that very few news sources have reported the housing conspiracy. No politician of note has mentioned it to my knowledge. This suggests something ominous, and this is only a suggestion.

It is possible the CEOs of the big banks gathered together, either in person or electronically, with Republican Party, Democratic Party and Federal Reserve officials, to conspire to engineer this housing bubble in order to power this historically weak economic expansion, and to make certain they wouldn’t face federal charges in doing so.

Now this is just a suspicion, so don’t get all heated up. But since the government has made it a point not to do enforce US laws against drug money laundering and other criminal activities on the part of the bankers, it might also be reasonable to assume this housing bubble has been created with a nod and a wink from the politically powerful.

When this recession begins, there will be virtually nothing to power us out of it except a political revolution of some kind. We’ll need a new FDR. Are you listening Senator Warren?

 

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tpp-protest-oct-2015

Tens of thousands of people protested in European cities on Saturday against planned free trade deals with the United States and Canada they say would undermine democracy and lower food safety, environmental and labor standards. The Trans Atlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP) would also redistribute trillions of dollars from working Europeans to the rich folks, and wreak Europe’s labor unions in the process. That is precisely what this treaty has been negotiated to do.

Organizers from an alliance of environmental groups, labor unions and opposition parties said 320,000 people took part in rallies in seven German cities, including Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Frankfurt. Police put the figure at around 180,000.

Smaller protests were also planned in other European cities, including Vienna and Salzburg in Austria and Gothenburg and Stockholm in Sweden.

In Berlin, demonstrators waved banners reading “STOPP CETA – STOPP TTIP”, another placard said “People over profits”.

The demonstrations are against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the United States and the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada, currently being negotiated by the European Union’s executive with the respective governments across the Atlantic.

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1908_ford_model_t_runabout

Ford announced Wednesday that it will move its entire small car operation from America to Mexico.

“Over the next two to three years, we will have migrated all of our small car production to Mexico and out of the United States,” said Ford CEO Mark Fields, during an investor conference it was hosting in Detroit, Michigan. Notice he told investors what they should expect.

Ford’s share price continued its slow decline anyway. The share price peaked back in 1999 at $37.14. It’s been up and down since then, but never back up to the peak. The share price plummeted to a $1.43 in 2009, reached $18.65 in 2011, hit another peak in 2014 at $17.72 and has been going down ever since. The shares traded at $12.11 on September 16, two days after Fields made his foolish announcement to investors.

Ford management has exported over half of its US jobs to Mexico since NAFTA. Thank you Bill and Hillary Clinton. This has been done to reduce its labor costs and increase its profits, share price and dividends. Ford’s decision will also increase income inequality and reduce its long-term per capita sales.

So what happens when virtually all of Ford’s jobs are overseas? What happens when the next recession hits sometime within the next twelve months, most likely by or before June 2017?

Ford management can’t export many more jobs to Mexico, so that avenue to increase earnings and share prices will soon close down. The next recession will be worse than the last one, which I will explain why in a day or so. Ford’s retained earnings peaked at $27.5 billion a year ago. That’s dropped by $11 billion in a year. In other words, Ford is running out of financial room to maneuver, especially during this coming economic downturn.

The company still gives a nice dividend of nearly 5 percent. But all that means is that Ford will run out of money sooner than later during the downturn.

Expect its share price to drop back down to a dollar something, or less. The company likely will be facing a financial crisis and possible insolvency within the next five years.

Ford is an unwise investment, even for billionaires and hedge funds. Even if the company doesn’t face insolvency over the next five years, its share price is going to continue to tank in the long-run, but CEO Fields hasn’t figured that out. He should be investing in US production rather than investors, and to hell with the share price.

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