In this morning's report on personal income and spending, word came that the savings rate (after-tax income less spending) rose from 0.8 percent in August to 1.3 percent in September.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
On my way to lunch recently, I passed a homeless guy with a sign that read "Vote Obama; I need the money." I laughed. In a restaurant my server had on an "Obama 08" tie. Again I laughed. Just imagine the coincidence. When the bill came, I decided not to tip the server and explained to him that I was exploring the Barack-Obama-redistribution-of-wealth concept. He stood there in disbelief while I told him that I was going to redistribute his tip to someone who I deemed more in need—the homeless guy outside. The server angrily stormed from my sight. I went outside, gave the homeless guy $10 and told him to thank the server inside as I've decided he could use the money more. The homeless guy was grateful. At the end of my rather unscientific redistribution experiment, I realized the homeless guy was grateful for the money he did not earn, but the waiter was pretty angry that I gave away the money he did earn even though the actual recipient deserved money more. I guess redistribution of wealth is an easier thing to swallow in concept than in practical application.—A. Hart, Forest Park
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
An impatient White House served notice Tuesday on banks and other financial companies receiving billions of dollars in federal help to quit hoarding the money and start making more loans."What we're trying to do is get banks to do what they are supposed to do, which is support the system that we have in America. And banks exist to lend money," White House press secretary Dana Perino said.Though there are limits on how much Washington can pressure banks, she noted that banks are regulated by the federal government.
Monday, October 27, 2008
In short, the true crux of deflation is that it does not hide the redistribution going hand in hand with changes in the quantity of money. It entails visible misery for many people, to the benefit of equally visible winners. This starkly contrasts with inflation, which creates anonymous winners at the expense of anonymous losers. Both deflation and inflation are, from the point of view we have so far espoused, zero-sum games. But inflation is a secret rip-off and thus the perfect vehicle for the exploitation of a population through its (false) elites, whereas deflation means open redistribution through bankruptcy according to the law.
There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.
If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Political Rhetoric: An Obama campaign ad says: “Today women work to help support their families but are paid just 77 cents for every $1 a man makes. It’s just one more thing John McCain doesn’t get about our economy.”
1. Obama pays his own female Senate staffers, on average, only 78% of what he pays male staffers (see top chart above), and females make up 53% of Obama's staff.
2. McCain pays female staffers 101% of what he pays men (see bottom chart above), and females made 62% of McCain's staff.
3. Women occupy seven of the top 10 highest-paid positions on McCain’s staff, and five of the top 10 highest-paid positions on Obama’s staff.4. Women on McCain’s staff earn 24% more on average than women on Obama’s Senate staff.
Monday, October 20, 2008
A source of mild entertainment amid the financial carnage has been watching libertarians scurrying to explain how the global financial crisis is the result of too much government intervention rather than too little. One line of argument casts as villain the Community Reinvestment Act, which prevents banks from "redlining" minority neighborhoods as not creditworthy. Another theory blames Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for causing the trouble by subsidizing and securitizing mortgages with an implicit government guarantee. An alternative thesis is that past bailouts encouraged investors to behave recklessly in anticipation of a taxpayer rescue.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Mr. Levine and his client were prisoners in California's Lompoc Federal Correctional Complex. Like other federal inmates around the country, they found a can of mackerel -- the "mack" in prison lingo -- was the standard currency."It's the coin of the realm," says Mark Bailey, who paid Mr. Levine in fish. Mr. Bailey was serving a two-year tax-fraud sentence in connection with a chain of strip clubs he owned. Mr. Levine was serving a nine-year term for drug dealing. Mr. Levine says he used his macks to get his beard trimmed, his clothes pressed and his shoes shined by other prisoners. "A haircut is two macks," he says, as an expected tip for inmates who work in the prison barber shop.There's been a mackerel economy in federal prisons since about 2004, former inmates and some prison consultants say. That's when federal prisons prohibited smoking and, by default, the cigarette pack, which was the earlier gold standard.Prisoners need a proxy for the dollar because they're not allowed to possess cash. Money they get from prison jobs (which pay a maximum of 40 cents an hour, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons) or family members goes into commissary accounts that let them buy things such as food and toiletries. After the smokes disappeared, inmates turned to other items on the commissary menu to use as currency.