Monday, February 28, 2011
* For example purposes, none of $7.25 is taken out in federal/state taxes --
Product or Service Is $7.25 enough?
Gasoline @ $3.40/gal Yes - 2.13 gallons of gas
Movie theater ticket/ night No - movie costs $7.75+
Movie theater ticket/day Yes - costs $5.75+
Book of stamps @ .41 ea. No - book/stamps is $8.20
Music CD No - CDs are $7.99+
Case of Beer No - 12 pack is $10.99+
Pack of Cigarettes Yes - smokes are $5.75+
75oz of Tide Detergent No - Tide is $8.99+
15 oz box of Wheaties Yes - cereal is $3.99
Wheaties & gal. milk No - total would be $7.50
2lb chicken br. (uncooked) No - total would be $7.98
2lb chicken leg (uncooked) Yes - total would be $3.18
6 pack-Bounty paper towels No - Bounty is $7.50+
Dinner at a semi-nice restaurant No - Entrees start @ $8.99
(Olive Garden, Red Lobster)
Toothbrush, paste & floss No - Total would be $7.50+
KFC - 4 piece w. side & soda No - Total would be just over
McDonalds Angus meal Yes - Total would be $6.59
~ $7.25/hr = $290/week -- $15,080/yr. Even for unskilled labor, its not enough
Posted by Susquehanna at Monday, February 28, 2011
Sunday, February 27, 2011
~ Marilyn Monroe w. Reagan
Since 2011 marks the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Ronald Reagan and the Academy Awards are on television this evening, I thought this would be a good opportunity on this lazy Sunday to blend the two themes together in an enjoyable photo collage of Reagan with various celebrities. With one or two exceptions, I tried to avoid still shots from movie clips or promo posters. But instead I found photos that showed the President in a more relaxed, sociable setting. Hope you enjoy~
Bank of America's legal woes from Countrywide worse than expected (LA Times) 2/25/11
UK economic contraction worse than thought (AP) 2/25/11
Libya’s Bloody Uprising Worse Than News Media Reports (Charisma News) 2/24/11
Monsanto tactics: Even worse than you think (Fredricksburg.com) 2/24/11
** Monsanto is a corp that holds patents and licencing agreements on seeds
How America Is Worse Than Egypt (Motley Fool) 2/24/11
Illinois bonds worse than corporate junk (ChicagoNow) 2/24/11
Air pollution worse than cocaine for triggering heart attacks (Guardian UK) 2/23/11
Housing crash may be much worse than thought (MSN Money) 2/22/11
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Finance news of day:
'Libya- how to play it?'Do bankers have souls?
Gaddafi fights on
While the world watches and waits..
And Wall St. profits.
Oil goes up; stocks down;
Investors flee like vermin
The impasse continues on..
Stay strong union, Stay Strong
'Food costs will spike 4 percent';
People keep on taking it.
Is not a 'shutdown' at all';
One more news non-story.
Twenty-three banks closed;
Only two months into year...
On pace: one-fifty (150).
Charlie Sheen goes nuts.
Raves and Rambles and Rantings;
Glad to see him 'clean'.
Twenty years today...
Hussein pulled out of Kuwait;
Cheney- well liked then.
Eighteen years today...
World Trade Center first attacked
Bet you forgot that.
Posted by Susquehanna at Saturday, February 26, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
Let's compare two nations...
Nation #1 - Saudi Arabia
The Saudi Arabian people are deeply unhappy- vocally so, and there's fear of revolt within the nation like in Egypt. Bahrain, Tunisia, Iran and Libya. So what does the Saudi King do? He listens to their needs by announcing an unprecedented economic package that will provide Saudis interest-free home loans, unemployment assistance and sweeping debt forgiveness. The total cost estimated to be at 135 billion Saudi riyals or $36 Billion US dollars.
The most prominent step was the injection of 40 billion riyals (US$10.7 billion) into a fund that provides interest-free loans for Saudis to buy or build homes. Other measures included a 15 percent cost of living adjustment for government workers, a year of unemployment assistance for youth and nearly doubling to 15 individuals the size of families that are eligible for state aid. The government also will write off some individual debts.
now.. Nation #2 - USA
The people are unhappy but barely make a peep. Too busy watching TV and playing video games. The middle class is being decimated. The poor are poorer. The elderly are in horrible financial shape, and Wall Street & corporate America are stronger than ever... yet the American people for the most part don't complain. Sure, a few protest a few hours each day when unions are being threatened with extinction but then immediately offer concessions.
Most Americans complain about other Americans- they got themselves into their own mess.. they should work harder.. longer.. take two..three jobs if need be.. "I" don't have a union protecting me so you shouldn't either.. A sociologically warped 'Stockholm syndrome' of blaming the victim rather than those entities responsible., while cheering and giving 'respect' to greed.
So what does the US govt do in response to the needs of the people? Does the government offer zero-interest loans? No. It wants indebted Americans to get into more debt. Does it offer credit card & mortgage debt forgiveness? No. Well it offers bankruptcy but you lose your worldly possessions then have a Black mark on your credit for 7-10yrs. Does it make any effort to create good paying jobs while curtailing outsourcing? No. Absolutely No incentive to create jobs. Example- the latest budget by President Obama- not a single penny towards a job creation program. And no, Republicans don't care about you at all.
Fed Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke recently said that unemployment would not reach pre-recession levels until late 2015-early 2016. That's another 4+ years folks. Can you survive another 4 years without work? Could you survive with no steady income and no more nest egg?
The squeaky wheel gets the grease. What does that mean? Simple- those who complain the loudest and most vociferously get noticed and get helped. The quiet, stoic people end up losing everything. And because Americans refuse to stand up for economic justice & their survival, government is not afraid or concerned about the populace. Thus, there is Zero incentive to help the bottom 98% and nothing gets better.
Posted by Susquehanna at Friday, February 25, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Answers will be below pictures of celebrities born today, 2/24:
1) A lb. of chicken breast costs $3.79. The supermarket has to raise price by 6%. You buy 1lb of chicken breast weekly. Prior to increase, you paid $197.08/yr. for chicken. How much will you be paying now over a full year?
Answer: c- $208.90; 6% incr. on 1lb = $4.02/lb; Yearly increase of $11.82
2) A gallon of milk costs $3.55. The supermarket has to raise the price by 5%. You buy 1 gallon every week. Prior to the price increase, you paid $184.60/yr for milk. How much will you be paying now over a full year?
Answer: b- $193.83; 5% incr. on 1 gallon= $3.73 Yearly increase of $9.23
3) You have basic cable which comes to $47/mo. including taxes. That comes to $564/yr. The cable company needs to raise its rates by 5%-- How much will you be paying for a full year of cable?
Answer: b- $592; 5% incr. on 1mth cable = $49.35; Yearly increase of $28
4) You fill your vehicle with gas once a week- 16 gallons. Normally you paid $3.05/gal which meant over a full year ($3.05/gal x 16gal. x 52 weeks), you would have paid $2537 for gasoline. Now gas has risen to $3.30/gal. With same weekly fill-up, what will you be paying now over a full year?
a- $ 2590
b- $ 2611
c- $ 2635
d- $ 2745
Answer: d- $2745; ($3.30/gal x 16 gal x 52 fill-ups) Yearly increase of $208
5) Your electric bill on average comes to $300/month which for a full year adds to $3600. The electric company will be raising its rates by 5.5%. With no alterations to your energy usage, how much will you now be paying over a full year?
Answer: c- $3798; monthly: $300 x 5.5% = $316.50; Yearly increase of $198
6) When you add up the cost in all the expenses in questions 1 through 5, your old total yearly expense would have been $7083. Seeing the prices increase with inflation, what would your new total yearly expense be?
Answer: c- $7538; you will be spending $455 more out of pocket over a year's time on nothing more than chicken breast, milk, basic cable, gasoline and electricity.
~ This is what the Federal Reserve wants- a devaluation of the dollar so exports are cheaper for corporations i.e. bigger profits, while actively pushing inflation so money has less worth domestically and prices of goods and services become more expensive. When commodity prices like corn, wheat, soybeans, oil and electricity go up, Wall St is happy but ultimately is is All of us who lose.
Posted by Susquehanna at Thursday, February 24, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
We all know pretty much all politicians are liars and filth. Doesn't matter the nation, the party or political persuasion- its just a fact. Usually its something we have as a gut instinct or through observation. And then on occasion, a politician slips up and states how he/she really thinks and feels.
I discovered this item via 'The Atlantic' today. Thought it was pretty interesting because its a window into the mind of the piece of garbage that is Scott Walker, the current Governor of Wisconsin. He wants to destroy the unions by denying them collective bargaining rights under the guise of a faux budget crisis which he created by giving tax cuts last year when the state had a Surplus budget.
From 'The Atlantic':
"Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker had a candid 20-minute conversation with billionaire Republican donor David Koch (sounds like 'Coke'), or so he thought. In reality, the caller was Buffalo Beast reporter Ian Murphy, who recorded the call and posted it online. Walker is battling Democratic state legislators over his plan to curtail the power of state government workers' unions; thousands are protesting in the capital. The call reveals him to be at turns sympathetic and a jerk.
Murphy, noting a state senator's complaint that Walker is "just hard-lined--will not talk... will not return phone calls," decided to test just how hard it is to get the governor on the line. So he pretended to be Koch, and a receptionist immediately transferred him to Walker's executive assistant."
~ Gov. Walker pt. 1 10min long..
~ Gov. Walker pt. 2 10 min long..
I thought I would present two more examples of pretend 'recovery' propaganda- both articles from the Associated Press but instead of me commenting on the preposterousness, I will display comments from people in the Yahoo! community who read the articles and are expressing their individual opinions. This way readers of A&G will be able to see that there is a 'silent majority' of people who also find the MSM to be complete liars.
Article #1 :
Consumer confidence at 3-year high on job optimism - "Americans are feeling more chipper about the economy than they have in three years. The Consumer Confidence Index rose to 70.4 this month, up from 64.8 in January, as Americans expressed more optimism about their income prospects and the direction the economy is headed, a private research group reported Tuesday... A robust stock market and falling unemployment are lifting Americans' spirits in spite of rising food and energy prices and a still-weak housing sector. In addition, a cut to the Social Security tax meant Americans started seeing more money in their paychecks in January, which may be boosting consumer spending."
~ Ok, what do Yahoo! readers think?
"I may not be smart enough to write an article that the AP would publish, but i am smart enough to know that there isn't any reason to be "chipper" about our economy..."
"I think some of these stories are written to elicit a lot of outraged commentary. This seems to be the only explanation for this one. Otherwise AP is outsourcing to some high school journalism class."
"A BIG part of the problem is that we dont know the truth. in fact from the media we keep getting lies."
"Job Optimism????????? These people at AP never cease to amaze...........they start with their conclusion and work backwards. If they can't find any facts, well, just make it up. Their organization is simply disgraceful and helps destroy people's faith and trust in "journalism" on a daily basis."
"More $hit from the Associated Propaganda"
"Whats with this? Late last week they said retail figures figures are down and the outlook is bad. And some 3 days later, its better? AP are true idiots."
(There were 370 more comments like this on the message board under the article)
Article #2 :
In sign of growth, businesses are borrowing again - "Now that demand is up and business is finally improving for many companies, they're doing what they always do at the beginning of an expansion -- calling the bank and asking for a loan. And in a stark contrast to the depths of the financial crisis, the banks are saying yes... Loans are one of the best gauges of economic growth. Small and midsize businesses that form the backbone of the U.S. economy take them out to pay for business needs -- unlike big corporations, which go to the bond markets for low-cost debt."
~ Ok.. do Yahoo! members agree? Let's see...
"They are borrowing to pay their bills, not create jobs."
"Of course business can borrow.....all you need to do is have $200,000 in collateral for a $100,000 loan...a no-brainer.....but here in Fort Lauderdale...all I see are MORE business closings and a LOAD of vacant commercial stores"
"Neither a person nor business entity can borrow their way to prosperity. This just goes to show that some did not learn from the last 3 years"
"I truly would like to believe a story like this and hope that small mom & pop businesses were making a comeback, but I see no truth in this story!...........Everywhere I look, I see signs that indicate just the opposite! Americans have been "sold out" by self centered, greedy elitists & our government!....."
"I don't think anyone buys the trash the media is spreading. The economy can't recover until something is done about outsorcing our jobs, importing other countries rejected products, the huge salary cuts for people seeking employment..."
(and another 100 similar opinions on the Yahoo! message board)
The big question is this- if people know what AP and other MSM sites write is total bunk, then why do they bother doing so in the first place?
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
"I only care about topic "X" if I am affected directly. If not, I tune out"
"If others' are in a financial bind, it Has to be their fault- they spent too much."
"If someone is unemployed is Has to be because he/she is "Lazy" "
"A strong Wall St is good for everyone"
"It is important that corporations are strong and vibrant"
"US corporations care about Americans and provides good paying American jobs."
"The more money someone makes, the more I admire and respect them because that means 'success' and he/she is obviously better than I"
"My elected leaders care about me and this nation."
"The political party I belong to cares about me and this nation"
"If costs go up and I am paid less, I shouldn't complain- just work harder and longer."
"When victimized by the system, its best to take it stoically"
"Christmas time means I must shop and shop no matter my financial situation."
"It is wrong to declare bankruptcy- even though businesses do it all the time, I'm straddled with high interest, and I barely have enough $ to survive... all banks and credit cards deserve to be repaid"
"It is important to make as many 'contacts' as possible, not because I actually want to be friends and know them as people, but through networking, I can get ahead easier."
"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one"
~ That last one was from Mr. Spock i.e. "Star Trek". He's still wrong...
The needs of the Individual- to survive and have a future is Important...
In Europe.. In Africa.. In the Middle East.. they are understanding this.
We in America.. not yet
Today was a good day in the US Markets...
"Wall St. Sinks as Libya Unrest Rattles Markets" - AP 3:00p EST
4:00p-- Dow at 12,212.79 (-178.46)
~ Some may think that's bad.. It isn't. While the reason for the drop may be bad- Libyan Unrest and increased oil prices, otherwise its good that the very wealthy lose some money. Since Wall St's success means Nothing to the health and vitality of Main St and the nation as a whole, and its a rigged game, then today was a good day.
Look here's the truth everyone needs to understand- The Federal Reserve gave Wall Street trillions of dollars to prop it up as well as the global markets. NONE of this money went to help the bottom 98%... NONE of this money was used to make your life better. NONE. In fact, it is this free money (Quantitative Easing 1 & 2) which is the Primary reason businesses aren't hiring. If unemployment goes down, the Fed will stop the free money. Thus, no incentive to hire.
And lately, Wall St. decided it would ignore bad US unemployment figures.. decided it would ignore the housing market's double-dip into depression.. decided it would ignore Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Bahrain... guess the Greedy couldn't ignore Libya
The Dow should be at the 7500-8000 range if it was an accurate reflection as to the Real state of the US economy, That means it is inflated 50%. So A&G will continue being happy when it drops because it means banks, corporations and professional capital-I "Investors" lose money.
I've said often that many financial articles are empty-optimistic. That is to say, the articles say a lot of words but because it is all propaganda and lies, not a single thing of importance or value was actually written.
Found a good example of this on Yahoo! Financial, originally written by Kiplingers.com which is a financial investing website. The article was entitled '10 Signs the Economy is on the Upswing'- here were their reasons, and yes, they were serious...
Sales of Boxers, Briefs Leveling Off - "When it's tougher to find jobs, men wait longer to replace their underwear, and sales -- usually very stable -- fell nearly 2.5% in 2009. Now they've started to stabilize."
Desserts Are in Again - "The National Restaurant Association says more customers are splurging on the sweet endings again. That's a sign that they aren't as worried about losing their jobs."
Less Sorrowful Searching - "Internet searches for "unemployment benefits," "Social Security," "unemployment office" and the like spiked in July 2010 and has been trending down since."
The Venti Latte Makes a Comeback - "One of the first little luxuries that consumers find worth shelling out for when they start to feel more comfortable with the direction of the economy."
Box Rebound Reflects Rising Demand - "Higher prices for boxes and other shipping needs point to more consumption."
Fewer Urban Dwellers Are Hoofing It - "During recessions, more folks in cities resist the urge to hail a cab, opting to walk or take public transit... But in recent months, business has started looking up for cabbies."
Duffers Returning to the Greens - "As the economy picks up, golfers, good and bad, dust off their clubs and head back to the courses they shun during recessions."
Faces, Other Parts Getting a Lift - "American Society of Plastic Surgeons says the number of patients who chose to undergo the knife for a better look last year rose by more than 13 million."
More Willing to Play Their Hand - "Even gamblers get more risk-averse when the economy is in a slump... The house's take increased slightly last year and will head higher this year as consumer spending racks up about a 3% gain this year."
More Couples Are Calling It Quits - "Many divorce lawyers saying they've got more business than they can handle -- a backlog of pent-up demand. In part, that's because credit has started to loosen up."
~ Absolute Total Complete Bull-Bleep... No other way to say it folks...
Meanwhile on planet Earth---
Here's some signs the US Economy is Still in Horrible, horrible shape...
Illinois slashes ALL state funding for drug and alcohol abuse treatment in massive cuts program (DailyMail UK) -- "Tens of thousands of Illinois residents are expected to be affected when drug and alcohol treatment and prevention centres across the state have their budgets cut from March 15. The harsh budget cuts... will mean that from next month, all state funding will be cut. After that date, only federal (national) Medicaid dollars will be available to fund the state's drug and alcohol treatment and prevention programmes, which means that some centres are facing closure."
Neither side budging in Wisconsin union fight (AP) -- "No resolution appeared imminent Monday to the stalemate over union rights in Wisconsin...(Governor) Walker's plan would allow unions representing most public employees to negotiate only for wage increases, not benefits or working condition... The plan would also require many public employees to cut their take home pay by about 8 percent by contributing more of their salaries toward their health insurance and retirement benefits"
Michigan orders DPS to make huge cuts (DetroitNews) -- "State education officials have ordered (Superintendent) Robert Bobb to immediately implement a financial restructuring plan that balances the district's books by closing half of its schools, swelling high school class sizes to 60 students and consolidating operations."
Gasoline prices march higher (Phila. Inquirer) -- "Gasoline prices at the pump rose over the weekend, and world crude oil prices surged today in the face of escalating Libyan violence, which has raised concern that oil supplies could be disrupted."
* DPS is Detroit public schools
* DPS is Detroit public schools
Fear of 'Catastrophic' Crash Rising Despite Bull Market (CNBC) -- "In an unprecedented move, the number of investors fearing a catastrophic stock market crash is rising even with the stock market at 2 ½ year highs. The unusual dislocation comes from two distinct reasons: a lack of trust in the U.S. financial markets following the so-called Flash Crash last May and the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2007."
~ You get the point... If the economy Does improve, its not going to be because morons are celebrating getting divorced by buying more boxers and briefs to wear while playing 18 holes of golf, then engorging themselves on pastries and sweets at their local restaurant.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Without further ado.. One-word responses- the US & Global Economy:
US Economy (Main Street) - Struggling
Us Economy (Wall Street) - Booming
US Economy (Banks/Finance sector) - Profiting
Ability for people to get credit (loans/mortgages) - Difficult
Employment situation - Brutal
Government's focus on fixing unemployment - Nonexistat
Morale of those Unemployed - Scared
Morale of those still Employed - Dejected
Business' decision to not hire the unemployed - Disgraceful
People's belief in government - Disillusioned
People's belief in media - Cynical
Wealth Gap - Horrific
The "State of the Union" - Precarious
The state of Unions - Weak
Republicans (economically) - Heartless
Democrats (economically) - Corrupted
US Dollar - Depreciating
Housing Market - Doubledipping
Housing prices - Falling
Home Sellers - Nervous
Home Buyers - Salivating
Real Estate Agents - Scrambling
National Assoc. of Realtors - Liars
Prices of Food, Gas, local taxes, etc - Increasing
Decline in standard of living? - Assuredly
Chance that markets crash again - Good
Chance that US bails out "Too Bigs" again - Affirmative
~ And Now.. one-word responses- National economies (overall):
USA - Difficult
Great Britain - Overstressed
Ireland - Depression
Iceland - Rebuilding
France - Struggling
Germany - Vibrant
Greece - Abused
Spain - Tumbling
Portugal - Adrift
Japan - Stagnant
China - Illusionary
India - Blooming
Brazil - Blossoming
Egypt - Nonexistent
~ Now that you don't have to read the financial news for another few weeks, what will you be doing with all your extra free time?
Posted by Susquehanna at Monday, February 21, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Its a Sunday so that means no financial news to get ulcers over.
And because its mid-February, that means Spring Training for Baseball in the US.. I thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane and look at some photos of the game of baseball played in 1911. The world was quite a different place back then as were the ballplayers- tough, rugged and with a take no nonsense attitude- the "Dead Ball" era at its finest. Notice how different the players looked then compared to today's multi-millionaires.
All photos are specifically from 1911. Enjoy~
Posted by Susquehanna at Sunday, February 20, 2011