Eating the Potato Stops the Game

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“We could have lower inequality, a more balanced financial system, and higher economic growth. But if we allow things to carry on the way they are, we are going to have not only an unbalanced economy, but unbalanced politics, with the financial sector really distorting both our economy and our democracy,” he said.  Stiglitz is a former chief economist of the World Bank, and won the Nobel Prize in 2001. He has recently written a new book, ‘The Price of Inequality’. 

Editor’s Notes:  

The principle is so simple that it is hard to imagine why our national leaders and even the top 1% don’t get it. They continue to bully and intimidate the other 99% into near poverty in a form of economic slavery — and then expect the same people to support an economy that is 70% driven by consumer spending. This proves the assertion that you don’t have to be smart to have money and the corollary that even if you have money, it doesn’t make you smart.

There is simply no doubt amongst any historians or economists or even anthropologists that when income and wealth inequality gets too large, the society converts from being a world of opportunity to a world of slavery and crashes because while there is plenty of capital around to build  and make things, nobody has any money left to buy what the Holders of capital want to sell.

All ideological misrepresentations aside, there is an inescapable fact of history that the economy and the stock market tend to do better under the anti-business pro union administrations than they do under the pro-business anti union administrations. Look it up yourself. You can rationalize the facts but you can’t change them.

And again, the principle is so simple that even a young child gets it. It’s like the old game “Hot Potato.” It keeps going as long as the potato is hot and it gets passed around. The game abruptly ends if someone eats the potato. The 1% ate the potato and have closed their eyes to the consequences of their own actions. If you want money circulating making money for lots of people then make sure the people at  the bottom get a fair share of it by whatever means are necessary to get money into their hands. They spend every cent they get and they spend it with people, stores and companies that spend most of the money they get from the consumers. This makes rich people richer while at the same time maintaining a society is that is stable. Pushing money into the lower strata of the society is simply good business and good politics.

The United States and other countries have turned these simple principles and facts on their head. The result is stalled economies, crashing societies and arguments over ideology that is classically rearranging chairs on the deck of the Titanic. The ship is going down and all this needed is a little more air at the bottom so it won’t sink.

The massive theft of wealth from the middle class pushed those families down from middle class to lower classes. Debt was substituted for income which has been flat for more than 30 years. Exactly why is anyone surprised that the economy crashed when the borrowers couldn’t borrow any more money because they simply didn’t have the income to even make the first payment on the debt. The Banks answer we need more debt. It isn’t enough that their debt derivative instruments amount to ten times all the actual money in the world, they want more. Who do they think is going to pay this debt?

And where are the referees in this “game.” Why were they pulled of the playing field and why are they not swarming all over all the players making sure the play is fair? Oh right, that would be government regulation and everyone knows government regulation is a bad thing. So let’s get rid of all government regulation. Start with murder and work your way down. See where that gets you.

Banks Risk Distorting Our Democracy: Stiglitz

By Kathy Barnato

Under-regulated and over-powerful banks weaken the global economy and lead to higher inequality, Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz told CNBC.

Joseph Stiglitz
Franco Origlia | Getty Images
Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel prize-winning economist and former chief economist at the World Bank.

Highlighting the Libor [cnbc explains] -fixingscandal that has hit UK banks Barclays[BARC-GB  162.85    -2.75  (-1.66%)   ] and Royal Bank of Scotland [RBS  6.771    0.171  (+2.59%)  ], Stiglitz said reforming financial markets was the single most pressing issue facing the global economy.

“A lot of inequality, especially at the top, does not come from people really making the size of the pie bigger, making our economy work better, it comes from what we call rent seeking, trying to seize a bigger slice of that pie through things that actually make our economy weaker,” Stiglitz told CNBC’s ‘Worldwide Exchange‘ on Friday.

Stiglitz said he supported a “much stronger version” of current financial market regulation, with the sector forced to focus on its core purpose of providing credit. He said banks [.DJUSBK  194.95    3.81  (+1.99%)   ] should be told: “You can’t engage in these kinds of speculative activities, these non-transparent CDS[cnbc explains] , these gambles on the market — they are not your business.”

He added that over-mighty banks not only distort the economy, but also distort politics. He said the 1999 repeal of the U.S. Glass–Steagall Act, which enforced the separation of investment bank activity from commercial bank activity, was due to lobbying by the financial sector.

“That was the influence of the banks again… They lost money on a lot of their real financial investments, but their political investments really paid off! Not for shareholders and bondholders, but for the bank managers, who have done very well in the last few years,” he said.

Without reform, both Europe and the global economy will be “weak” in five to 10 years’ time, said Stiglitz.

“If we continue on the current course, the financial system will not be serving the rest of our economy, the economy will be weak. Inequality will be greater, and we are paying a very high price for this inequality.

“We could have lower inequality, a more balanced financial system, and higher economic growth. But if we allow things to carry on the way they are, we are going to have not only an unbalanced economy, but unbalanced politics, with the financial sector really distorting both our economy and our democracy,” he said.

Stiglitz is a former chief economist of the World Bank, and won the Nobel Prize in 2001. He has recently written a new book, ‘The price of inequality’.

To view Joseph Stiglitz’s appearance on CNBC, click here

— By’s Katy Barnato





Reuters: World Bank Slashes Global GDP forecasts, Outlook Grim


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EDITOR’S COMMENT: As long as we pretend that our mission in life is to protect the Banks that did this to us, these forecasts will  be cut over and and over again. We have a cancer growing on our world economy. It is growing and still proliferating as central bankers and world leaders fail to deal with the essential truth that the derivatives were defective, that the transfer of wealth was an illusion, and that the ONLY remedy that will work is to correct the fraud in broad programs to achieve restitution to the people, countries, states, towns and cities that were cheated by Wall Street. If the U.S. military was not so strong, it would have been called an act of terrorism and treated as such by all countries around the globe.
Meanwhile central bankers around the globe and financial leaders are quietly hedging their bets by creating alternative currency exchange — in preparation for the day that the almighty U.S. dollar fails to live up to its “reserve” status.
The average man on the street sees it, spawning numerous movements of people who are coming together in common goals and common causes to break the hold that Banks have on our lives through manipulation of our governments.
World Bank slashes global GDP forecasts, outlook grim

Wed, Jan 18 09:03 AM EST


BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank warned developing countries on Wednesday to prepare for the “real” risk that an escalation in the euro area debt crisis could tip the world into a slump on a par with the global downturn in 2008/09.

In a report sharply cutting its world economic growth expectations, the World Bank said Europe was probably already in recession. If the euro area debt crisis deepened, global economic forecasts would be significantly lower.

“The sovereign debt crisis in the euro zone appears to be contained,” Justin Lin, the chief economist for the World Bank, told reporters in Beijing on Wednesday.

“However, the risk of a global freezing-up of the markets and as well as a global crisis similar to what happened in September 2008 are real.”

The World Bank predicted world economic growth of 2.5 percent in 2012 and 3.1 percent in 2013, well below the 3.6 percent growth for each year projected in June.

“We think it is now important to think through not only slower growth but sharp deteriorations, as a prudent measure,” said Hans Timmer, director of development prospects at the bank.

The World Bank said if the euro area debt crisis escalates, global growth would be about 4 percentage points lower.

It forecast high-income economies would expand just 1.4 percent in 2012 as the euro area shrinks 0.3 percent, sharp downward revisions from growth forecasts last June of 2.7 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.

It cut its forecast for growth in developing economies to 5.4 percent for 2012 from its previous forecast of 6.2 percent, saying expansion in Brazil and India and to a lesser extent Russia, South Africa and Turkey, had slowed already.

It saw a slight pick up in growth in developing economies in 2013 to 6 percent. But the report said threats to growth are still rising, suggesting the outlook remained highly uncertain.

“The downturn in Europe and weaker growth in developing countries raises the risk that the two developments reinforce one another, resulting in an even weaker outcome,” it said.

It also cited failure so far to resolve high debts and deficits in Japan and the United States and slow growth in other high-income countries, and cautioned those could trigger sudden shocks.



The Long-Term Cost of the Mortgage Fraud Meltdown — The Real Legacy of Wall Street

Editor’s Note: Why do I do this? Because we are delivering a message to future generations about how the world works contrary to our constitution and contrary to American values and ideals. Conservatives conserve nothing except the wealth of the fantastic few while the liberals liberate nobody from the yoke of economic slavery. Maybe it’s all a game. I won’t play and if you care about this country and wish to avoid a societal collapse, you should stop playing too.

History has shown us with grim clarity what happens to any country or empire when the power and the wealth gets so concentrated in just a few people while the rest of the population can’t keep a roof over their head and can’t eat food and can’t get medical care, all hell breaks loose. Galbraith, IMF economists, World Bank economists, all know what is going to happen do to our failure to police our own, our failure to make it right and our failure to make amends to our allies or would-be allies.

Children are learning an important lesson: in their world, Mom and Dad are powerless to prevent the worst things from happening and there is nobody else they can depend upon. A whole generation is growing up with the notion that the American Dream is an unknown, unknowable fantasy. Every time the far right asserts personal responsibility in the face of a wretched fraud committed on most of the country, they close the gate a little more, waiting for the final slaughter. Every time the far left wimps out on their own paltform, the one the people elected them on for CHANGE NOW, they deceive and abandon our citizens.

And so we are a Prozac nation because everyone is depressed. We are a Xanax nation because everyone is so stressed out we can’t think straight. And those of us who are entering our twilight years see a future where our children and grandchildren and their children will lead bleak lives of quiet desperation in a country which proclaims free speech and assembly but has surrendered that basic right to about 100 institutions that control the lobbyists who control the flow of money in Washington and state houses.

In April, 2007 stocks were up, confidence was high and everyone had been convinced that all was well without questioning anything. Meanwhile in the inner recesses of the Federal Reserve and halls of power of the executive branch and the U.S. Department of Treasury in particular, they knew the collapse was coming and the only reason they did nothing was political — they didn’t want to admit that the free market was not working, that it wasn’t free, that it was controlled by monopoly and oligopoly, and that the government wasn’t working either because we the people had allowed people to get re-elected despite their sell-out of our countries and our lives.

In I did some very simple calculations and determined that the DJIA was not actually worth 14,000, it was worth 8,000. As it came down, more stumps revealed themselves as the high water receded. The equities market is overpriced by about 25%-30%. Housing is still inflated by 15%-20%. Nobody wants to hear this. The dollar is in a swan dive because everyone in the world knows the reality except the citizens of the United States of America where we have a “free press” that would rather entertain us than actually tell us the news.

I’m doing my part. What are you doing to end this catastrophe?

Job Woes Exacting a Toll on Family Life

THE WOODLANDS, Tex. — Paul Bachmuth’s 9-year-old daughter, Rebecca, began pulling out strands of her hair over the summer. His older child, Hannah, 12, has become noticeably angrier, more prone to throwing tantrums.

Initially, Mr. Bachmuth, 45, did not think his children were terribly affected when he lost his job nearly a year ago. But now he cannot ignore the mounting evidence.

“I’m starting to think it’s all my fault,” Mr. Bachmuth said.

As the months have worn on, his job search travails have consumed the family, even though the Bachmuths were outwardly holding up on unemployment benefits, their savings and the income from the part-time job held by Mr. Bachmuth’s wife, Amanda. But beneath the surface, they have been a family on the brink. They have watched their children struggle with behavioral issues and a stress-induced disorder. He finally got a job offer last week, but not before the couple began seeing a therapist to save their marriage.

For many families across the country, the greatest damage inflicted by this recession has not necessarily been financial, but emotional and psychological. Children, especially, have become hidden casualties, often absorbing more than their parents are fully aware of. Several academic studies have linked parental job loss — especially that of fathers — to adverse impacts in areas like school performance and self-esteem.

“I’ve heard a lot of people who are out of work say it’s kind of been a blessing, that you have more time to spend with your family,” Mr. Bachmuth said. “I love my family and my family comes first, and my family means more than anything to me, but it hasn’t been that way for me.”

A recent study at the University of California, Davis, found that children in families where the head of the household had lost a job were 15 percent more likely to repeat a grade. Ariel Kalil, a University of Chicago professor of public policy, and Kathleen M. Ziol-Guest, of the Institute for Children and Poverty in New York, found in an earlier study that adolescent children of low-income single mothers who endured unemployment had an increased chance of dropping out of school and showed declines in emotional well-being.

In the long term, children whose parents were laid off have been found to have lower annual earnings as adults than those whose parents remained employed, a phenomenon Peter R. Orszag, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, mentioned in a speech last week at New York University.

A variety of studies have tied drops in family income to negative effects on children’s development. But Dr. Kalil, a developmental psychologist and director of the university’s Center for Human Potential and Public Policy, said the more important factor, especially in middle-class households, appeared to be changes in family dynamics from job loss.

“The extent that job losers are stressed and emotionally disengaged or withdrawn, this really matters for kids,” she said. “The other thing that matters is parental conflict. That has been shown repeatedly in psychological studies to be a bad family dynamic.”

Dr. Kalil said her research indicated that the repercussions were more pronounced in children when fathers experience unemployment, rather than mothers.

She theorized that the reasons have to do with the importance of working to the male self-image, or the extra time that unemployed female breadwinners seem to spend with their children, mitigating the impact on them.

Certainly, some of the more than a dozen families interviewed that were dealing with long-term unemployment said the period had been helpful in certain ways for their families.

Denise Stoll, 39, and her husband, Larry, 47, both lost their positions at a bank in San Antonio in October 2008 when it changed hands. Mrs. Stoll, a vice president who managed a technology group, earned significantly more than her husband, who worked as a district loan origination manager.

Nevertheless, Mr. Stoll took unemployment much harder than she did and struggled to keep his spirits up, before he landed a new job within several months in the Kansas City area, where the family had moved to be closer to relatives. He had to take a sizable pay cut but was grateful to be working again.

Mrs. Stoll is still looking but has also tried to make the most of the additional time with the couple’s 5-year-old triplets, seeking to instill new lessons on the importance of thrift.

“Being a corporate mom, you work a lot of hours, you feed them dinner — maybe,” she said. “This morning, we baked cookies together. I have time to help them with homework. I’m attending church. The house is managed by me. Just a lot more homemaker-type stuff, which I think is more nurturing to them.”

Other families, however, reported unmistakable ill effects.

Robert Syck, 42, of Fishers, Ind., lost his job as a call-center manager in March. He has been around his 11-year-old stepson, Kody, more than ever before. Lately, however, their relationship has become increasingly strained, Mr. Syck said, with even little incidents setting off blowups. His stepson’s grades have slipped and the boy has been talking back to his parents more.

“It’s only been particularly in the last few months that it’s gotten really bad, to where we’re verbally chewing each other out,” said Mr. Syck, who admitted he had been more irritable around the house. “A lot of that is due to the pressures of unemployment.”

When Mr. Bachmuth was first laid off in December from his $120,000 job at an energy consulting firm, he could not even bring himself to tell his family. For several days, he got dressed in the morning and left the house as usual at 6 a.m., but spent the day in coffee shops, the library or just walking around.

Mr. Bachmuth had started the job, working on finance and business development for electric utilities, eight months earlier, moving his family from Austin. They bought something of a dream home, complete with a backyard pool and spa.

Although she knew the economy was ultimately to blame, Mrs. Bachmuth could not help feeling angry at her husband, both said later in interviews.

“She kind of had something in the back of her mind that it was partly my fault I was laid off,” Mr. Bachmuth said. “Maybe you’re not a good enough worker.”

Counseling improved matters significantly, but Mrs. Bachmuth still occasionally dissolved into tears at home.

Besides quarrels over money, the reversal in the couple’s roles also produced friction. Mrs. Bachmuth took on a part-time job at a preschool to earn extra money. But she still did most, if not all, of the cooking, cleaning and laundry.

Dr. Kalil, of the University of Chicago, said a recent study of how people spend their time showed unemployed fathers devote significantly less time to household chores than even mothers who are employed full-time, and do not work as hard in caring for children.

Mr. Bachmuth’s time with his girls, however, did increase. He was the one dropping off Rebecca at school and usually the one who picked her up. He began helping her more with homework. He and Hannah played soccer and chatted more.

But the additional time brought more opportunities for squabbling. The rest of the family had to get used to Mr. Bachmuth being around, sometimes focused on his search for a job, but other times lounging around depressed, watching television or surfing soccer sites on the Internet.

“My dad’s around a lot more, so it’s a little strange because he gets frustrated he’s not at work, and he’s not being challenged,” Hannah said. “So I think me and my dad are a lot closer now because we can spend a lot more time together, but we fight a lot more maybe because he’s around 24-7.”

When Rebecca began pulling her hair out in late summer in what was diagnosed as a stress-induced disorder, she insisted it was because she was bored. But her parents and her therapist — the same one seeing her parents — believed it was clearly related to the job situation.

The hair pulling has since stopped, but she continues to fidget with her brown locks.

The other day, she suddenly asked her mother whether she thought she would be able to find a “good job” when she grew up.

Hannah said her father’s unemployment had made it harder for her to focus on schoolwork. She also conceded she had been more easily annoyed with her parents and her sister.

At night, she said, she has taken to stowing her worries away in an imaginary box.

“I take all the stress and bad things that happen over the day, and I lock them in a box,” she said.

Then, she tries to sleep.

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