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Posts Tagged ‘Warren Buffett’


When Donald Trump became US president, he set about to undo three things former President Obama had succeeded in doing. That is because many billionaire Republican donors were opposed to Trump, most notably Charles and David Koch, who are heavily invested in the energy industry. Trump did not want enemies inside his own party, and he had plenty of them when he was first elected.

Quite naturally, the Paris Climate Agreement had to go since it is an attack on the oil industry, which primarily, though not exclusively, supports Republicans. Ending world oil dependency and thereby reversing course on global warming means terminating the industry or greatly reducing it. as well as ending or significantly reducing corporate oil profits, share prices, and dividends. In effect, the Paris Climate Agreement is an attack on the billionaires of the Republican Party. That is precisely why Trump pulled the US out of the accord, regardless of the false excuses that came out of his mouth.

Trump had to get rid of the Iranian nuclear deal since it allowed Iranian oil back on the world market during Obama’s presidency. This placed downward pressure on the profits, dividends and share prices of the fossil fuel corporations because the increased supply put downward pressure on the prices of all sorts of things we pay for, such as oil and gasoline. The best way for Trump to get oil and gasoline prices moving upward again was simply pulling the United States out of the nuclear deal with Iran. Since the USA pulled out, notice the price we pay for gasoline has risen.

By pulling the US out of the nuclear deal using lies and distortions, Trump knowingly and deliberately was redistributing income from the 99 to the 1 percent via higher oil and gasoline prices. But, the billionaires behind the Republican Party were happier with Trump because of it.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-B) bought Burlington Northern Santa Fe for $26.5 billion back in 2010. It was his biggest acquisition ever. The railroad is the largest transporter of crude oil in the United States. If the Keystone pipeline is completed, it will compete directly with Buffett’s railroad. The pipeline will transport oil from the Canadian Tar Sands to the Gulf of Mexico. The Republican Koch brothers are heavily invested with the Tar Sands.

Koch Industries is a major player in the Canadian oil market. The Washington Post identified the company in April 2014 as the largest foreign leaseholder of acres of Canadian oil sands.

According to EcoWatch in 2018, “A leaked memorandum published by The Intercept and Documented Investigations shows that a Koch Industries’ donors network, known as the Seminar Network, has taken credit for Donald Trump approving the permits for both the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines during the first months of his presidency.” (Click here for the original story.)

Needless to say, Warren Buffett is a big supporter of the Democratic Party and the Koch’s basically control the Republican Party. Buffett’s loss is the Democratic Party’s loss while it is the Koch brothers and Republican Party’s gain.

These political games are being played pitting billionaires against the 99 percent (as well as other billionaires), and the US corporate news media wants to keep you ignorant of these facts.

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It’s not quite what you imagine it to be. President Trump is right to shout to the Twitterverse about how its trade deficit with China is costing the United States trillions of dollars and millions of jobs every year.

According to a recent study by the progressive Economic Policy Institute (EPI), which is hated by the conservatives and corporate Democrats alike, “…the growing trade deficit with China…has cost the U.S. millions of jobs throughout the economy since China entered the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, a finding validated by numerous studies.”

Of course, EPI did not report a few things that are important to their study, and for our interests. So, as you read through a few of the EPI highlights below, I will make comments here and there in bolded letters. However, let me state there are a few things in this report that are not mentioned, and the corporate news media do not want you to know.

  • The U.S. trade deficit with China does not really exist in the sense that it is a trade deficit between China and the United States. In reality, the trade deficit is really between US corporations that manufacture their goods and services in the U.S.A. and U.S. corporations that have exported U.S. jobs to China and then exported their-made-in-China goods and services to the USA.
  • Another thing not mentioned is that a variety of studies show the export of every 100 manufacturing jobs from the United States results in the loss of an additional 300 to 1700 U.S. jobs.
  • The difference between the old higher wage exported U.S. jobs and the new lower wage Chinese jobs goes straight into the pockets of the billionaires who control both major political parties via higher corporate earnings, rising share prices, and surging dividends. Thus, much of the income and wealth inequality of recent history is the deliberately negotiated end result desired by corporate-backed U.S. politicians and U.S. negotiators.
  • Currently, three people (Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates) own more wealth than the bottom fifty percent of US citizens. Much of this is caused by the so-called trade deficit with China.
  • Trade treaties are negotiated so that US corporations can export jobs, as well as create them over there rather than over here, and this also helps to manufacture U.S. income and wealth inequality.
  • Pretty much 100 U.S. billionaires control both major U.S. political parties and quite naturally they have rigged the economy using the corrupted U.S. government, and especially a remarkably corrupt corporate wing of the United States Supreme Court, which includes two well-known perjurers in Brent Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts.
  • In other words, the income and wealth inequality we experience has been caused by the corruption of all three branches of the federal government, which could not have occurred without the complete corruption of the corporate news media.
  • Currently, the 1 percent steal somewhere between 22 to 38 percent of all the income produced in the United States, up from roughly 8 percent in 1980.

Here are a few of the highlights of the recent EPI report:

1. U.S. jobs lost are spread throughout the country but are concentrated in manufacturing, including in industries in which the United States has traditionally held a competitive advantage. Think Nike, Microsoft and Apple.

2. The growth of the U.S. trade deficit with China between 2001 and 2017 was responsible for the loss of 3.4 million U.S. jobs, including 1.3 million jobs lost since 2008 (the first full year of the Great Recession, which technically began at the end of 2007). Nearly three-fourths (74.4 percent) of the jobs lost between 2001 and 2017 were in manufacturing (2.5 million manufacturing jobs lost).

3. The growing trade deficit with China has cost jobs in all 50 states and in every congressional district in the United States.

4. The trade deficit in the computer and electronic parts industry grew the most: 1,209,000 jobs were lost in that industry, accounting for 36.0 percent of the 2001–2017 total jobs lost. (Think Dell Computers, Apple, Microsoft and a lot more.)

5. Surging imports of steel, aluminum, and other capital-intensive products threaten hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs in key industries such as primary metals, machinery, and fabricated metal products as well.

6. Global trade in advanced technology products—often discussed as a source of comparative advantage for the United States—is instead dominated by China. This broad category of high-end technology products includes the more advanced elements of the computer and electronic parts industry as well as other sectors such as biotechnology, life sciences, aerospace, and nuclear technology. (This is because Dell, Apple and Microsoft, among many other US high-tech corporations, have exported millions of US jobs to China, or created them there rather than here, and then exported their Chinese made products to the USA.)

7. In 2017, the United States had a $135.4 billion trade deficit in advanced technology products with China, and this deficit was responsible for 36.1 percent of the total U.S.–China goods trade deficit that year. In contrast, the United States had a $24.5 billion trade surplus in advanced technology products with the rest of the world in 2017. (See number six in bolded letters above.)

8. Growing trade deficits are also associated with wage losses (in the USA) not just for manufacturing workers but for all workers economywide who don’t have a college degree.

9. Between 2001 and 2011 alone, growing trade deficits with China reduced the incomes of directly impacted workers by $37 billion per year, and in 2011 alone, growing competition with imports from China and other low wage-countries reduced the wages of all U.S. non–college graduates by a total of $180 billion. Most of that income was redistributed to corporations in the form of higher profits and to workers with college degrees at the very top of the income distribution through higher wages.

The China toll deepens–Economic Policy Institute

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You only need to look at the Bush tax cuts of almost 15 years ago to recognize how tax cuts for the rich destroy jobs and redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent in the process. George W Bush was the first president since Herbert Hoover to experience negative job growth during his presidency. Now Trump will be the second president since Hoover to experience negative job growth. Here’s how the scam works.

The tax cuts for corporations will increase their after-tax profits. This will be handed out to the rich in the form of higher stock prices (capital gains) and dividend payments.

Meanwhile, the tax-cuts for the rich will deliver them more after-tax income with which to purchase more speculative investments. Both corporations and the individual wealthy will then inflate the current stock market bubble by purchasing more stocks, futures options, and other things of those natures. (A futures market is an auction market in which participants buy and sell commodity and futures contracts for delivery on a specified future date)

Naturally, this will bid up the price we pay for commodities, such as food, natural gas and oil. The difference between the current prices and the new higher (inflated via tax cuts for the rich) prices we will pay means that more of our income will be redistributed from us to the 1 percent.

In other words, we will be made to pay more to the rich for the food we eat, the natural gas we use to heat our homes, and the gasoline we need to power our cars, as well as other things, and that extra money we will be forced to pay will go straight into the pockets of the billionaires, people like Warren Buffett, the Koch Brothers, and Donald Trump.

The stock market bubble, perhaps the biggest in US history, will now continue to grow as both corporations and the individual wealthy have more money to bid stock prices up. The stock market bears a remarkable resemblance to a Ponzi scheme. A Ponzi scheme is a form of fraud in which belief in the success of a nonexistent enterprise (or artificially high stock prices) is fostered by the payment of quick returns to the first investors from money invested by later investors. In this case, the rich will be paid more and more for so long as the bubble continues to inflate, and for so long as it takes for the bubble to fizzle out. Corporate management will feel the pressure to export more and more US jobs in order to pay what is necessary to prop up their stock prices.

In other words, the tax cuts will produce greater pressure on corporate managements to export more US jobs to low age nations whenever possible. The difference between the old higher US wages and the new lower overseas wages will go straight into the pockets of the superwealthy. The rich will get all the increasing returns on investment from us, the stakeholders, rather than later investors. In that way, along with one other way which I shall not go into now, the stock market closely resembles a Ponzi scheme.

Trump’s disastrous tax cuts will cause a one trillion dollar increase in the federal deficit over the next ten years. Naturally, in order to reduce the deficit, Republicans will demand reductions of federal expenditures on education, road maintenance, social security payments to the elderly and disabled, Medicare, Medicaid, Welfare, food stamps and other programs that benefit the middle class and the poor, because of the deficit they have created with their tax cuts for the rich. In this way, the billionaires will become richer at the expense of everybody else, thanks to the unnecessary tax cuts.

Meanwhile, quite naturally, Republicans will insist on increased federal military expenditures and expanded deportations of undocumented immigrants because these programs are highly profitable to their base, which is the billionaires who control the party, and not the grassroots. The US currently spends more on its military than the next 26 nations combined, 25 of who are US allies. Talk about overkill or unnecessary.

The tax cuts are unnecessary inasmuch as the 1 percent are stealing a record amount of the total national income, going from 8 percent in 1980 to 37+ percent nowadays. Three people, (Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates now own wealth (assets) than the bottom 50 percent of the US population. The top 1 percent now own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. In addition, corporate profits are at record levels. So neither corporations or the rich need the money except as a way to steal more money from the rest of us, and the money from their theft will keep those stock markets, futures market, and other markets boiling upward until the bubbles pop. And that will produce a disaster for Trump, the Republicans, and us.

Every Republican who voted yes on the bill knows everything that I have written above. Yet, they still voted yes. This shows that the billionaires are their real constituents and not the grassroots. They all know the bill was passed on a series of lies.

Read more: Futures Market https://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/futuresmarket.asp#ixzz507u73Y1m The d
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Here is what the corporate news media doesn’t want you to know. What is really odd about the Keystone pipeline is that this Canadian corporation is using eminent domain to dispossess US citizens of their property in order to expand it. The only mention of eminent domain in the US constitution is for “public purposes,” whereas the Keystone Pipeline is clearly a private profit-making venture. Your government is allowing US investors who are heavily invested in the Keystone Pipeline to dispossess less financially endowed US citizens of their property. That’s how corrupt your government is, and especially the corporate wing of the US Supreme Court.

As for the pipeline leak the news media doesn’t want you to know about.

About 210,000 gallons (5,000 barrels) of oil leaked Thursday from TransCanada’s Keystone oil pipeline near Amherst, South Dakota, drawing fierce outcry from pipeline opponents, and meek coverage by the corporate news media.

The leak, the largest spill to date in South Dakota, comes just days before Nebraska regulators decide on whether its controversial sister project—the Keystone XL (KXL) Pipeline—will go forward.

“Enough is enough. Pipelines leak—it’s not a question of ‘if’, but ‘when.’ The pending permit for TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline should be flatly rejected by Nebraska’s Public Service Commission (PSC), but know that no matter what the outcome, the fight’s not over yet,” said Scott Parkin, Rainforest Action Network’s Organizing Director. “We need to stop all expansion of extreme fossil fuels such as tar sands oil—and we need the finance community to stop funding these preventable climate disasters—disasters for the climate, the environment, and Indigenous rights.”

President Obama had rejected the Keystone Pipeline expansion, mainly because billionaire Warren Buffett likely told him in gentle terms to do so. Buffett owns BNSF railroad, which is the largest carrier of oil in the United States. Had the pipeline expansion gone through, BNSF’s profits would have suffered, and Uncle Warren didn’t want that.

President Trump reinstated the Keystone Pipeline because the Koch Brothers and other oil investors that invest heavily in the Republican Party made him do it. It’s that simple. The Koch’s, for example, are heavily invested in the pipeline as well as the Canadian tar sands, which produces the oil that will flow through the pipeline.

As for the oil spill, Dave Flute, tribal chairman of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, said. “We are concerned that the oil spill is close to our treaty land, but we are trying to stay positive that they are getting the spill contained and that they will share any environmental assessments with the tribal agency.” If Flute really believes management at Keystone will share any honest “environmental assessments with the tribal agency,” he is an idiot and a fool.

According to TransCanada, the Keystone pipeline system delivers Canadian and U.S. crude oil supplies to markets around North America, stretching 4,324 kilometers (2,687 miles) in length. It starts from Hardisty, Alta., east into Manitoba where it turns south and crosses the border into North Dakota. It then runs south through South Dakota to Steele City, Neb., where it splits. One arm goes east through Missouri for deliveries into Wood River and Patoka, Ill., and the other runs south through Oklahoma to Cushing and onward to Port Arthur and Houston, Texas.

The proposed KXL would add to the massive Keystone system, with its line starting in Hardisty, Alberta and ending in Steele City. Nebraka’s government needs to issue permits in order to construct the pipeline, and public discussion begins soon.

 

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As President-elect Donald Trump takes office today, January 20, 2017. the Pew Research Center reports “the public has starkly different expectations about which groups in society will gain influence – and those that will lose influence – under his administration.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans (64%) say wealthy people will gain influence in Washington when Trump takes office. Just 8% say they will lose influence, while 27% expect the wealthy will not be affected.”

I agree with the 27 percent who say the wealthy will not be affected. The reason is simple. The rich already control both major political parties, and through them, the rich control the federal government, virtually all state governments, and most big city governments, as well as a lot of local governments.

The wealthy are not going to improve upon that score a whole lot under Trump. Control of the legislative process has been the primary means by which the 1 percent has methodically increased its share of wealth and income of the United States year after year for the last thirty-five years.

That’s why the 64 percent who say wealthy people will gain influence are wrong inasmuch as wealthy people have so much power they can’t possibly gain anymore.

The difference is that those rich folks who use the Democratic Party as a vehicle to control the mechanisms of government and to profit via those mechanisms, have lost influence. Think Warren Buffett, George Soros, Bill Gates and other Democratic Party billionaires. Their rivals who control the Republican Party will gain influence at their expense.

Those Republican billionaires include Sheldon Adelson, Donald Trump, Charles and David Koch, hedge fund managerz Paul Singer and Robert Mercer, and a lot of other Wall Street investors.

Together, the billionaire Democrats and billionaire Republicans form a kind of good old boy network with some rivalries among them. They also control the media in such a way as to ensure we don’t see this, although it’s pretty obvious.

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The corporate wing of the US Supreme Court, a commodity purchased by the Koch Brothers long ago, is likely going to hand down the Koch Brothers influenced, or ordered, decision against public employee unions, just as it destroyed legal precedents with its Koch Brothers influenced, or ordered, decision in the Citizen’s United case. The Koch Brothers wing of the court include Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Samuel Alito and sometimes Anthony Kennedy. To be fair, the Warren Buffett/George Soros wing of the US Supreme Court are the remaining justices.

The object of their decision, of course, is to tip the scales of justice more and more into the hands of their billionaire backers, and away from legal precedents, the Constitution, and the vast majority of US citizens, and the Democratic Party.

The case is simple enough in the soon to be decided Friedrichs v California teachers Association case. Some union members don’t enjoy paying union dues, but they enjoy the benefits of union/management negotiations. So they want a free ride.

“Earlier this month the justices heard oral arguments in the case that turns on the so-called no-free-lunch provision of the union contract in a school district near Anaheim, Calif. It requires teachers to pay a portion of the union’s dues even if they choose not to join. Several teachers sued, claiming that violates their First Amendment rights. Unions take political positions, the teachers noted, with which they might not agree.

By the union’s logic, all teachers benefit from the salary scale it negotiates. So shouldn’t all have to pay their share of the cost of negotiating a contract? Can’t the free-speech issue can be addressed by giving nonmembers a discount — subtracting an amount proportional to what the union spends on political activities?”

The plaintiff, Rebecca “Freeride” Friedrichs doesn’t even want to pay that trivial fee. So she was mysteriously discovered by a billionaire organization, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation (NRTWLDF), according to PRWatch.

“The NRTWC has deep connections within the national right-wing network led by the Koch brothers. Reed Larson, who led the national right to work groups for over three decades, hails from Wichita, Kansas, the hometown of Charles and David Koch. Larson became an early leader of the right-wing John Birch Society in Kansas, which Fred Koch (the father of Charles and David) helped found. Several other founders and early leaders of the NRTWC were members and leaders of the John Birch Society, specifically the Wichita chapter of which Fred Koch was an active member.

The groups remain tied to the Kochs. In 2012, the Kochs’ Freedom Partners group funneled $1 million to the National Right to Work Committee, while the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation gave a $15,000 grant to the NRTWLDF, which has also received significant funding from the Koch-connected DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund. Today, at least three former Koch associates work as attorneys for the NRTWLDF.”

One can rightly suspect the Koch Brothers and their buddies are going after public sector labor unions because those unions largely support Democratic Party candidates. On the national level, Koch Brothers rivals, such as billionaire hedge fund managers Warren Buffett and George Soros, largely control what the Democratic Party does legislatively.

However, the result of this battle between billionaire titans is another nail in the coffin of the middle class, with the weakening of labor unions if Justice Kennedy decides in favor of the Koch Brothers, which means Rebecca Friedrichs has allowed herself to be just another brick in the wall of this never-ending struggle.

– See more at: http://www.prwatch.org/news/2014/06/12498/who-behind-national-right-work-committee-and-its-anti-union-crusade#sthash.0BWV56Iy.dpuf

As Supreme Court weighs unions, middle class hangs in the balance–Chicago Tribune

Click here for more on the story from the New York Times.

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The corporate propaganda machine, commonly known as the corporate media, always seeks to advance the cause of the 0.01 percent in redistributing income from the 99 percent to themselves. One of the ways to do this is to distract the mass of people from the real issues.

So when President Obama said that increasing income inequality was a threat to the American dream, and “the defining challenge of our time,” the president was right on, since the 1 percent now steal 37 percent of all US income, compared to 8 percent in 1980. This has been brought about due to federal legislation, such as tax cuts for the rich, privatization scams, the use of corporate mercenary soldiers to hide US military causalities abroad, and free trade agreements.

This is nothing short of political corruption to the max by the one percent.

The result of this inequality is the weakest economic growth and weakest job growth of all US economic expansions. It’s also responsible for declining real income for the 99 percent, and most of the other financial maladies afflicting society, such as underfunded schools, frayed social service nets, problems financing the social security trust fund 18 years down the road, rising poverty, and much more.

When the president said inequality was the “defining issue of our time,” what did the 1 percent do to protect their ability to corrupt the government? They unleashed their so-called free press to make us understand the president’s comment was “Class warfare,” and that was a bad thing. The Democrats and President Obama immediately retreated from this issue, save for a few, such as US Senator Bernie Sanders and US Senator Elizabeth Warren. Expect this issue to be pushed to the side by the rich person’s propaganda machine during the upcoming elections, save for Bernie Sanders.

The odd thing is the rich have been waging war on the 99 percent by using their corruption of government to enact legislation that redistributes income from the 99 to the 1 percent. But they refuse to call this class warfare, when that’s precisely what it is. Quite naturally, the corporate propaganda machine has been instructed to never mention this fact, or the job security of editors and reporters will be terminated. Corporate advertisers will vacate the parts of the machine that report real news that is not in harmony with the desires of the rich.

Of course, there are a few other reasons why Americans fall for this treachery time and again, and John Oliver explains it wonderfully in the video above.

The rich know class warfare has been waged for the last thirty-five years, as Warren Buffett, the third most richest person in the US, so famously said years ago.

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