Friday, December 5, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Premise: The money is still there.
People have placed their money in:
CD's at banks
Anywhere they can find safety
Thus, the money withdrawn from the stock market that caused it to crash is still around.
Premise: The economy is upside down and lopsided
Deflation in the home market
Deflation in electronics
Deflation in gas prices
Deflation in the cost of credit
Wealth concentration at the top
Greatest need for money to buy basic consumer goods is at the bottom
Upside down mortgages: People hold mortgages worth more money than the value of their homes.
Premise: Any economic stimulus to the middle class will be spent immediately
People who rely paycheck to paycheck will spend immediately
This leads to an upward spiral
5% sales tax, income tax off that money spent at businesses, payroll tax off employee wages, sales tax off employee purchases, business purchases, then income tax at another business - money runs around in circles
Premise: Maslow's hierarchy of needs is not being met - thus consumer confidence is at all time low
People feel insecure about their homes
People feel uncertain about their jobs
People feel uncertain about what will happen with the price of things
People have fear that terrorists created, the news and Bush perpetuated
Fear prevents entrepreneurial investment and stock investment
This all prevents spending and investing that normally drive the economy, but the money is on the sidelines
Leadership over a steady period of time will begin to erode the problems.
1) People lose insecurity about their homes, the economy has a foot hold and progress can begin.
This means half way 2009 the economic graphs can be at a turning point, or 3/4 of the way through the year.
Is the US like an airplane that when in a flip will right itself? But, if a pilot grabs the yoke it will get messed up and take longer to recover? Is Barrack Obama the way the airplane has chosen to right itself.
Recovery by 6 months into 2010 if all goes well.
Issue concerning the value of a dollar.
Overseas: Our dollar buys less. It is weak right now.
At Home: As home prices drop, the dollar buys more of the largest asset one can own.
Weak dollar advances our exports.
If we re wrack our economy for massive exports through trade deals and alternative energy sales, then we have more money inflows into the economy.
If home prices fall, then we can afford more home.
So, we may be set to increase our countries revenue through exports and reduce the cost of things that are within our country.
This might cause American's to again feel rich, which would be a different way of having a strong economy and a weak dollar abroad, but a strong dollar at home.
Essentially, we cannot have a recovery that goes on course with how our economy operated before. The track simply isn't there to move forwards on. We must drive our train on the track that will at least give an option for consumer confidence returns.
When the foundation of our economy - our confidence in it - and our hierarchy of needs are slowly rebuilt, we will rebuild our country and our economy.
Friday, September 19, 2008
McCain Flub Political action e-mail
In today's speech (9/19/2008) McCain said the fed should return to managing the purchasing power of the dollar.
What that means is he wants to strengthen the value of the dollar.
However, the one factor that is keeping our growth numbers from clearly showing recession - the one bright spot in our economy - is that exports are up.
When our dollar is weak, our products are cheaper to people around the world, and we export more.
So, if we had a strong dollar right now, as McCain proposes, we would extinguish the one strong area in our economy.
ps. I am independent, have voted both Republican and Democrat and am very specific on who I support. I have also met and spoken at length with John McCain in the past. I like the man, this is a disagreement of approach.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
elaboration on economic crisis solution
Funding trade deficit via home equity
All these pictures show that the deficit is big and growing.
The Trade Deficit links to the US housing bubble and government deficit
The most basic view of the economy is diagramed below. Households earn the wages they spend on the goods and services from the businesses:
The following chart adds that consumers spend a portion purchasing foreign goods. The foreigners then recycle the dollars they collect from this trade into the US government debt by buying Treasuries and into Agency debt of Government Sponsored Enterprises like Fannie Mae, which then provide money for housing.
Foreigners have funded our housing boom and provided enough credit that the growing Federal deficits have not driven interest rates up. Much is simplified out of the above explanation, but the value is that we can see the biggest and most important money flows.
The US credit market matches the amount borrowed and lent. The accumulated foreign contribution of $4 trillion of lending (investment) has provided the credit for the borrowing by the US government whose debt held by the public is now similar in size to the accumulated foreign loans to the US. The chart below shows the size of Federal government debt and the foreign accumulated current account debt to point out that foreigners are funding credit at comparable levels:
A comparison of Mortgage Debt and Current Account shows similar growth rates:
Subprime mortgages are a symptom of the same unweildy spending of money, I believe was influenced by the capacity to hand money off by computers and cards, rather than cash passing from hand to hand. We couldn't see or feel how bad our transactions are.
$2333 a year going out. Per person, this includes kids.
Government needs to nationalize oil drilling where we made all the leasing available, but have not used it.
The core is actually an attitude towards money, resources, and assets that is all confused.
So, let me repeat - trade deficit is a number one problem.
Trade deficit and other money issues are an expression of a core attitude problem about money.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Rise up America - Countering the Palin Halo Effect
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Critique of Critical Thinking: Experience and What McCain and Obama Are Really Saying.
Experience got us here. Putin's experience said, "Go into Georgia." Rumsfeld's experience said, "Go Into Iraq." I believe that the world is already undergoing an immense amount of change. I see Obama's style as actually leading that change, being at the helm of it, rather than necessarily making change. Obama's change would likely be that he would have an approach that doesn't say, "I'm going to do everything myself."
I am an independant. I believe what I believe in snippets. I don't buy a candidate lock-stop-and barrel.
I watched McCain on C-SPAN, live, during Iraq hearings when he noted how we would beat back terrorists in one area, not have enough troops to hold the last area we fought in, so they would run over there. His most brilliant line was, "What are we playing here, some giant game of whack-o-mol." So, I supported him on the surge.
However, in the bigger picture - I studied Military Sociology in College - and noted that they were putting Petraus - a Military Sociology professor - in charge. It is never the plan, it is the execution.
What is experience? It is when all the information you learned in school, or someone taught you, is put to the test - by an occurence in life. That information, cycles back through your mind, becomes behavior, and then - you know something on a deeper level. Its not book knowledge, its experience. The question is, where does your experience leed?
McCain had some campaign finance trouble in the past. After that experience, he became gung-ho, for campaign finance reform. Perhaps - he was trying to reframe his image from one who was in trouble, a part of the problem - to one that was part of the solution. It makes sense.
However, he may have overcompensated. His campaign finance reform is what became the independant organizations that "Swift Boated" our last election. In my opinion - killed the delicate intellectual mind challenge that is democracy.
If you want to see what I mean, remember the Ukrainian Presidential Candidate who was poisoned? His entire face was covered in weird lesions. Search online - try to find one of their debates. I was stunned by the quality of the debate.
What we have now... is really bludgeoning each-other with talking points. IT IS NOT DEBATE. So, we stand on a cross-roads.
Lets open the debate.
Georgia: Could it be that the United States had something to do with triggering this? After-all. The Russians did take four US Humvees that were part of training exercises from Georgia. I say this with the deepest patriotism. Because if we get this wrong, we start another cold war with Russia - that will damn us for decades. IT WILL BE A PROBLEM SO BIG OUR CHILDREN WILL STILL DEAL WITH IT.
US history reads that America was blindsided by the attack at Pearl Harbor. However, the attack on the US Navy came at a time when the US navy was planning an embargo on the Island of Japan.
The US was about to lay seige, like in medieval times, running down the supplies before storming the castle. We lost a lot of people as Japan tested the concept of pre-emptive war.
In a sense Japan said, "We get them in port - or we get them off our shores." The choice, when analyzed, that Japan made - would be a simple and obvious choice.
If we always do what we always did, we're gonna always get what we always got. If we always pretend we didn't have our fingers in the cookie jar, we will escalate conflicts, in an unweildy fashion with large consequences.
So, McCain a patriot. Who wants best for the country. Goes after Russia by the throat. Perhaps thinking in his head," I will appear presidential, I will look tough - like a commander in chief." But, is that really commander in chief?
Remember the phrase, "Tread lightly, but carry a big stick." One of our greatest President's said that. What if McCain's words (Republican's knocking Obama for only being good with words) were all it took to incite the next diplomatic trainwreck with Russia? Did you ever think to stop and question that? We didn't bomb them, all we had were our words.
It was a tough front, McCain put on, while America is in a position of weakness. He further said something to the effect that in this century civilized nations do not attack other sovereign civilized nations. He tried to lecture Russia on how to behave - when at home - he just authorized a war a few years ago to invade the sovereign nation of Iraq. Regardless of agreement on the war being good or bad - that is what we did.
What would be the appropriate response to Russia? First, to calibrate our response with the realization that American influence in the region may have triggered the Georgian's to push Russia too far. Second, calibrate against history.
History says, no to appeasement. So we can't let them go on this. History also says one of the most costly and challenging experiences in the history of America - where we were at the greatest danger - was the cold war.
So I ask you - did McCain's approach calibrate well? How did it calibrate?
First - what did he say. "We America are holier than thou - we don't go into other sovereign countries - we had nothing to do with creating conditions that might have caused Geogian's to spark off this conflict - you Dam well better stop because we said so... and we are the United States of America."
I want you to examine very closely another part of another speech given by Obama. He mentioned that he was trying for months to get the US to change course in Georgia because he may have seen a potential problem brewing. Comb his speeches. Look for what Obama has said on this.
Then look, Obama said and I quote from the above article “We failed to head off this conflict and lost leverage in our ability to contain it because our leaders have been distracted, our resources overstretched, and our alliances frayed,” Obama said.
Key words: Head off this conflict.
That. That is vision. That is leadership.
Not running around with one's chest puffed out, in an act of holier than thou puffery.
Not leashing out at Russia for a problem we helped to create.
Obama has been saying that Iraq from the start would be a little bit too much of a bite to chew on. Our military and military familes are stretched very very very dangerously thin. Our alliances spent. Now, I want you to watch McCain's speech again.
Do you think perhaps - that taking a big bite out of Russia - might be a little bit more than we can chew? Or, more than we want to chew?
I want you to consider a thought - because, we don't have the military or alliances to do anything against the Russians beyond words. The phrases McCain used were a tough front. But imagery wise, at the moment, the United States and John McCain are both toothless old men. We don't have the bite - we don't have the military - to chew on what McCain just took a chomp out of.
If you consider this Georgian conflict to be a defining moment in foreign affairs credentials - I want you to consider all I have stated above very closely.
On the topic of experience, I want you to consider one more thing.
My experience and understanding of racism is that people said Black people were subhuman. They weren't smart enough, weren't good enough. They weren't American's, blacks didn't get a vote.
What is happening today is the next progression in the civil rights movement. A white haired old man - person x - is standing up yelling how inexperienced, incapable, and unready - the black man - person Y, is. That is the group dynamic that was racism.
Racism is looking at the face of a black man and through seeing black making that same set of judgements.
Right experience/wrong experience for the job.
Our constitution has been randsacked by the Bush administration. Obama was a constitutional law professor and may understand how to get it back. Our alliances and image around the world were destroyed Obama may be a good enough speaker to inspire people - win a few hearts and minds back. Our government has been run by people who believe that they will do everything themselves, who haven't asked American's to do things like - go have a meeting with your mortgage broker right now - rather than letting your house just be foreclosed upon. Re-negotiate. Banks are re-negotiating. Obama was a community organizer who believes that change comes from the ground up. Do we need that - when we just had a government that ignored the participation of American's in creating this country?
Wrong experience for the job.
McCain lived a huge chunk of his life before the civil rights movement. He lived his life during the cold war when tough rhetoric with Russia was the name of the game. The biggest, most important factor is innovation.
McCain has experience with the way things were in the past. Today, McCain is just learning how to google. He is just beginning to send a few e-mails.
In other words, do you want the CEO of the most innovative business in the world - The United States of America - to be a man who has not embraced some of our most transformative innovations?
How can he leed a nation of innovation when McCain cannot understand the usefullness of those innovations. Even the blatantly obvious ones.
My point here is actually quite simple.
Do not take all of this at face value. Do not read the situations on Tv at face value. STOP. STOP STOP STOP. And..... drum roll....
I agree with McCain that businesses would be better off and more would come to this country if the corporate tax rate were lowered from 35% to 25%.
Wait a minute... I just said something I agree with McCain on, after all of the things I wrote earlier.
Aha! That is critical thinking, deep thought, debate, analysis. On Tv, all day are people spouting talking points from Republican or Democratic views so often, that I bet you hadn't even considered putting deep thinkers - independant minds - who are perhaps less exciting to listen to, yet more full of substance - in front of the camera.
All that, and I am a professional entertainer as well. I bet I could do that and be entertaining at the same time. I bet, I could have deep intellectual discourse that gets somewhere, and... and - be entertaining at the same time.
I challenge you to do the same. A major form of joy is actually derived from intellectual challenge and learning. Lets bring the joy and pleasure of reading the news and watching news on TV to add this level. Intellectual challenge. Challenge ideas.
When McCain blasts Russia the way he did is that really the kind of President we want? Was his message calibrated enough? Do we want a guy who looks tough - yet may have taken a bite out of Russia that could become something too big to chew?
I ask you to question these things far far more deeply. You are caught up in the momentum of your own computer graphics department. Slow down. Take a deep breath. Examine one point in great depth. See what happens. I think you will find that you will derive great pleasure from it, if you give it the chance.
Benjamin Corey Feinblum
Friday, July 25, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Iran: Cohort Perspective
Fact: 70% of the population in Iran is under the age of 30.
Reality: American leaders who are interacting with Iran are at least a generation or two older.
The American leaders come from a time when they witnessed as adults and had to work on the hostage crisis and other problems with Iran.
The Iranians are in a young and fresh cohort.
There is an asymetry here - in that Americans may pride themselves on remembering and learning from past problems - when
the Iranian population wasn't old enough or even born - to be able to remember most of them.
This young cohort in Iran over time could put more and more pressure on the government there and shift the policies.
I think Iran is an easier out than we may have anticipated.
Conclusion: The young cohort in Iran will have a capacity for new directions, flexibility, and changes of leadership - not possible if it was an older more rooted population.
Consider: The population is not filled with old - hard -liner Yassar Arafats - who have 60 years of war under their belt.
The potential for change exists.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
When does a President get good at his job?
I believe it depends on the talent of the person to begin with.
But - consider that Bush had 8 yrs.
This is an MSNBC article below. Is it possible that it takes time for someone to get good at being the president?
With recent successes in North Korea (noting that a diplomat who is very effective may be in place), and other things.
Is it possible we would pull out of Iraq right at the time we get good at it?
Or the President learns how to responsibly handle the job after 8 yrs of on the job training?
Just a thought.
#1 in my mind is that what crosses the president's desk is only the major difficult decisions and the crises that require fast action by the one in charge. The one where weeks of thinking may not be allowed.
So my number one test would be the answer to the question.
Who would best handle the hard decisions and crises? If one says experience - then Mccain gets the answer. If one says, one who proves each day his judgement is ahead of the curve - Obama can have that because he was against Iraq from the start. If one believes the world
has changed so dramatically that experience is a detriment then you have another issue altogether.
McCain doesn't know how to Google. Thats how old and out of touch with the modern era he is. That is how Obama wins.
That is discourse in the vernacular. McCain has experience and a sure mastery of the way things used to be. He's not even up on the times enough to know how to Google. Do you google?
Bush seeks sanctions against Zimbabwe
President Mugabe expected to be sworn in Sunday after 'sham' election
Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi / AP
Mugabe votes in presidential election
June 27: Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe casts his ballot in the internationally discredited and violence tainted presidential run-off. Msnbc.com's Dara Brown reports.
Zimbabwe runoff crisis
After months of politically fueled violence, Zimbabwe braces for its one-man presidential run-off election.
Zimbabwe, a nation in decline
Take a look at the country's tumultuous path since independence.
Web extra video
As the one-time "breadbasket of Africa" plunges deeper into crisis, an analysis of President Robert Mugabe’s devastating legacy.
NBC News Web Extra
Zimbabwean exiles protest
June 27: In London protesters carried a coffin from the Zimbabwean Embassy to the South African High Commission today to illustrate the death of democracy in Zimbabwe. ITN's Paul Davies reports.
HARARE, Zimbabwe - The United States is developing penalties against the government of Zimbabwe, President Bush said Saturday, in response to the country's widely-condemned runoff election.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Is it a recession or not?
Bush says "No, it's slow growth."
I say, if you look at what is happening with the figures, the overall gdp that measures what the economy is doing, you get a .06% growth rate. Yes, very slow growth.
But, if you look behind the numbers, you will see that those numbers are buoyed by one factor. The dollar is so low that exports are increasing. People overseas can buy American goods on the cheap and they are beginning too.
Thats a silver lining to the economy.
But, are you in the export business?
At the moment, me neither. So, what are the other numbers?
If the GDP is boosted by exports and what we see as a slow growth economy includes the figures from increased exports, then the economy at home, must be way down.
So, we are in a recession at home, but there is a little more money coming from outside. Basically, we are not pouring our money like a flood to the outside world as fast as we were before. Though we are still in a trade deficit with the outside world that is staggering.
Recession = yes. Unless you are an exporter taking advantage of a demolished dollar.
In a year the dollars the exporters earn at home could cycle back into the economy and be spent on other things and effect other businesses, but, well that would be a year in recession for most.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Iran's Involvement in Asymetric Combat
You are missing this.
This entire war is about Asymetric Combat against the United States. If you cannot beat the US Militarily, what other way?
The two war strategies are 1) Anhilation - wiping us off the Earth 2) Attrition - beating us by taking out our recources and supply chain.
Consider Bin Laden was part of the group that took down Russia by keeping them stuck in Afganistan spending their money. Thats how to take the recources of a government.
What if the other way to take the recources of the government was by stopping the flow of tax dollars that fund the government?
If we go into recession then tax dollars slow and the money that funds the military slows down.
Note here that Opec nations are not increasing oil production to lower prices. In fact, it is the first time they have acted in a coordinated fashion. Normally, a few opec nations sneak and ramp up production to make as much money as possible - even when they agree not to, but they are working in concert this time.
Now, Iran builds relations with Venezuala. One word - Oil. Venezuala is a huge supplier of oil and owns Citgo.
So... if you want to take out the US how would you do it?
Would the gas prices be $4 per gallon? Even though it costs $2 a barrel for the entire production line from the Middle East to here?
If oil prices went up and then... lets say we began to use Ethanol as a back-up plan. And Ethanol uses corn, which increases corn demand, so farmers begin growing more corn - because prices are higher. Then, farmers stop growing all other grains and prices for those go up.
Wait - then that would be the perfect recipe for a government to spend a trillion dollars in Iraq - Iran would be helping to keep us there by creating a proxy war.
Then you take the recources of the people in America by triggering a run up in prices for everything we buy.
Then recession occurs and America pays less taxes, while our government carries the largest debt in our history. So, they have no way to pay it off.
Then, the countries that are selling all this oil to us, send our money back, by buying all of our assets - our companies, with their sovereign wealth funds.
How would you take out the US? Direct war? Or, by going for its recources.
What is happening.
This is a war of attrition.
Iran and Venezuala have oil. If every car stops in America we have no economy. The economy funds our entire military.
We are missing it all.
This is a war of attrition.
Benjamin Corey Feinblum