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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Foreclosures aren't only for the Poor

With today's posting, our goal is to give readers a smile...

Question:  Have you had your home foreclosed upon within the last 12 months?  Are you in a situation where its close to occurring?  Certainly nothing "Funny" or entertaining about the suffering of everyday people...

But here's what is very funny:  when celebs get foreclosed upon.

Here's a list of some celebrities from the world of entertainment and sports who've had their homes either foreclosed upon within the last 12 months or are imminently close to losing their property.

Celebs certainly feel no shame in it, so relax and enjoy:

Terrell Owens, Former NFL star
 Properties: 2 Azure Condos, Dallas, TX; 2 Commerce Street Condos, Dallas, TX; 1 Trump Tower Condo, Sunny Isles, FL

The football receiver has faced foreclosure on a handful of properties since last year. Two condos he owned in Dallas,Texas were sold in short sales earlier this year after lenders started the foreclosure process, and two more repossessed by lenders. His Trump International condo sold via short sale in July, following news that he had failed to make both mortgage and maintenance payments on the Fla. apartment.

Burt Reynolds, Actor
Property: Southeast Federal Highway, Hobe Sound, FL

The "Smokey and the Bandit" star has allegedly not paid his his $1.2 million mortgage in two years. It is listed as a short sale for $5 million -- a third of his purchase price. The waterfront estate boasts 12,500 square feet, a helipad and yacht dockage.         

Evander Holyfield, Former Heavyweight Boxing Champ
Holyfield owed more than $14 million on his Atlanta-area mansion. In March the massive 54,000-square foot home was "purchased" by lender J.P. Morgan Chase at a foreclosure auction for early 50% less. The lender allowed Holyfield to occupy the 109-room estate for several months following the foreclosure sale. He reportedly moved out in July.      

Rihanna, Famous classless slut.. um.. singer
Property: Janice Place, Beverly Hills, CA

In 2009 the pop star bought a $6.9 million 8,520-square foot contemporary and then flooding caused "extensive damage," according to its subsequent listing for $4.5 million, as is. The singer defaulted on the home, selling it as a short sale earlier this year to a buyer who ultimately paid more than the asking price.      

Chris Tucker, Famous comedian, starred in 'Rush Hour' w/ Jackie Chan
Property: Bella Collina manison, Lake County, Fla.

In October, Sun Trust Bank filed foreclosure papers alleging that comedian Chris Tucker owed $4.4 million on the 10,000-square foot mansion he had purchased at the market high. It finally sold in a short sale earlier this year. The “Rush Hour” star also reportedly owes the IRS $11.5 million in back taxes.      

David Cassidy - Singer/Actor
Property: Las Olas Riverhouse penthouse, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Cassidy, who ascended to teen stardom in the 1970s TV show “The Partridge Family,” reportedly surrendered a swank rental property to the lender, rather than continue through the foreclosure process.

Nadya "Octomom" Suleman, Reality TV Personality
Property: Madonna Lane, La Habra, CA

The foreclosure process on the 2,445-square foot house of the reality TV star was finalized in June, with the bank repossessing the property in an auction that produced no bids. The first default notice was filed on the Orange County abode in late 2011. Suleman, who became a household name after giving birth to octuplets, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in May.

JaMarcus Russell, Former NFL Player
Property: Skyline Boulevard, Oakland, CA

The former quarterback bought this 5,800-square foot house before he even signed his massive Oakland Raiders contract in 2007. Released two years later, Russell has struggled to find placement on another team. He defaulted on roughly $195,500 in mortgage payments last year and his home ultimately fetched 40% less than he paid for it in the fall.

O.J. Simpson, Former NFL Player
Property:  Miami, FL

The football star-turned-convicted felon, purchased this 4,200-square foot Kendall home after famously being acquitted for the slayings of his ex-wife and her friend. Now serving time for a 2007 armed robbery, Simpson has faced civil suits and subsequent financial woes, the foreclosure filing among the latest. The home is currently in pre-foreclosure.

Family of Kristin Cavallari, Reality TV Personality
In February the home owned by the parents of "The Hills" star was reclaimed by the bank in a public auction for roughly 50% less than it had been listed for in 2009. The 7,100-square-foot waterfront home touts dry and wet saunas, a yoga studio and Feng Shui certified design. The bank-owned property found a buyer in July.

R. Kelly, Singer-Producer
Property: Marcos Lane, Olympia Fields, IL

The R&B artist's custom built 22,000-square foot Chicago-area manse was slapped with a lis pendens last summer by lender J.P. Morgan Chase. The home came to market in the fall as a short sale listing, asking nearly 45% less than the mortgage note. The listing was pulled in April and the property's status is unknown. The 2011 filing marked the second time this home faced foreclosure, the first being in 2005.

Allen Iverson, Former NBA Player
Property: Buell Mansion subdivision, Cherry Hills, CO

The 11-time NBA All-Star reportedly stopped making payments on the $2.6 million mortgage for his lakefront estate right after it went into contract with a buyer willing to purchase in a traditional sale. Ultimately it sold for slightly less than its asking price. The home boasts six bedrooms, six bathrooms, a safe room, a home theater, and a wine cellar.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

'Always Look To the Bright Side of Life'

Some say we at A&G are overly negative when it comes to the global economy; that to paraphrase a Monty Python song, we don't look at 'the bright side of life'..

So we're sorry.. truly sorry.. deeply truly sorry.. really deeply truly sorry... (Its another Monty Python reference btw-- the 'Dirty Fork' skit)

So.. yes, lets try some positivity:

We are sure everything will get better with the economy now that QE3 will be implemented adding $40bil/mo to the $45bil/mo already committed to by the Fed via Operation 'Twist' 2...

"A quiet day on Wall Street turned into the worst sell-off in three months after a Federal Reserve official said he doubted the bank's effort to boost economic growth would work.  Charles Plosser, president of the Fed's Philadelphia branch, told an audience Tuesday that the Fed's effort to support the economy would likely fall short of its goals."  (AP)

And if things ever get worse with the economy, don't worry-- the Fed has unlimited options to fix everything so our lives are not altered one iota

"The latest round of extraordinary Federal Reserve stimulus is risky and leaves little room to maneuver should another crisis hit, economist Lawrence Lindsey told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Wednesday.

Lindsey said that with the Fed purchasing at least $40 billion a month in mortgage debt through QE3, "they are buying the entire deficit." ... He added, "If this becomes the new ordinary, it's hard to imagine the Fed's maneuvering room" should another crisis hit. "  (CNBC)
Life is good..and the holiday shopping season this year is going to be just 'Crackin!' (to borrow a Welsh expression)..  Its going to be just 'Smashin!'

"Since the beginning of June, when the Europeans promised endless QE and the Fed leaked that QE3 would be coming, most commodities have had huge runs from trough to peak.  As these price increases move through the system, consumer goods prices will increase at least as much as the commodities, and just time for the Christmas inventory channel build.

So, you want to buy your wife some jewelry? Gold and silver are up almost 15% and 25%, respectively. Want to make a nice dinner for the family? Corn is up 40%, wheat is up 50%, and soybeans have risen 30%. If you care to drive anyone, anywhere, oil and gas are up 30% and 35% respectively and the basket known as the CRB index of commodities, which includes energy, grains, industrials, meats and precious metals, is up 20%."  (Yahoo! Financial)

And Europe..  Let us tell you about Europe..  Ever since Mario Draghi, head of the ECB promised the to act as a Euro-version of the Fed and buy up everyone's debt, there are just smiles abound in the Old Continent...

"Violence has erupted in Greece after an anti-government rally in Athens that drew about 50,000 people.  Riot police used tear gas and pepper spray against several hundred demonstrators near the parliament... Shopkeepers, teachers, customs workers and car mechanics were among those taking part in the march in central Athens, held during a general strike against new austerity measures."  (AP)

Yes, there's been much excitement.. um.. we mean happy excitement.. Everyone in Europe is very happy and smiling and excited over their future...

"On a recent evening, a hip-looking young woman was sorting through a stack of crates outside a fruit and vegetable store here in the working-class neighborhood of Vallecas as it shut down for the night.

At first glance, she looked as if she might be a store employee. But no. The young woman was looking through the day’s trash for her next meal. Already, she had found a dozen aging potatoes she deemed edible and loaded them onto a luggage cart parked nearby.

“When you don’t have enough money,” she said, declining to give her name, “this is what there is.” 

The woman, 33, said that she had once worked at the post office but that her unemployment benefits had run out and she was living now on 400 euros a month, about $520. She was squatting with some friends in a building that still had water and electricity, while collecting “a little of everything” from the garbage after stores closed and the streets were dark and quiet.

Such survival tactics are becoming increasingly commonplace here, with an unemployment rate over 50 percent among young people and more and more households having adults without jobs. So pervasive is the problem of scavenging that one Spanish city has resorted to installing locks on supermarket trash bins as a public health precaution."

See.. Everything is Wonderful..  Now everyone can go back to worrying about 'real' problems like when the NFL will replace those replacement refs.  Just a National Travesty --  Nudge Nudge, Say No More!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

$100 for a rainy day- how many possess it?

$100 dollars..    What can it buy nowadays?

A week or so of food to feed the family?

Perhaps a full tank and a half of gasoline?

Or one night's stay at the local Days Inn or EconoLodge with just enough change left over to get some breakfast at the local Denny's or Waffle House?

So what is $100 anyways?

Well.. for many, many people making $30k or less per year, $100 or less equals the total nest-egg life savings they possess for emergencies and/or the unexpected.

The -loanshark  Quickie Loan company CashNetUSA did a poll of 1000 Americans of different genders, age groups, and economic strata and asked, "If you needed to cover an emergency expense within one day, how much in savings would you have available to you?"
Here's some of the findings based on this representative poll:

Note: The statistical numbers will not add up to a perfect 100%.  It may be less or more because it was not 1000 people polled possessing $100 or less in savings and finding out their categorical breakdown, but rather 'Of 1000 people in Total' then broken down into a particular categories, one being what percentage possessed $100 or less...'

Salary:       Under $30k/yr   ---  50.2%
                    $30k - $49k     ---  25.0%
                    $50k - $74k     ---  16.9%
                          $75k+        ---    7.7%

Age:       Under 30 years old  ---   30.7%
               30-39 years old      ---   27.3%
               40-49 years old      ---   29.6%
               50-59 years old      ---   13.1%
                    60+ up               ---   14.1%

Gender:      Males   ---  22.7%
                Females  ---  22.9%

Children under 18:      Have children under 18   ---  28.3%
                                     No children under 18     ---  20.4%
~ Now the survey didn't solely focus on those possessing less than $100 in available emergency funds. They also asked the 1000 random respondents how many possessed $800 or more to be available immediately?

Here's how they responded:

Salary:       Under $30k/yr   ---   27.0%
                    $30k - $49k     ---   34.7%
                    $50k - $74k     ---   54.1%
                          $75k+        ---   79.3%

Age:       Under 30 years old  ---   35.3%
               30-39 years old      ---   47.5%
               40-49 years old      ---   47.0%
               50-59 years old      ---   68.8%
                    60+ up               ---   69.4%

Gender:      Males   ---  55.3%
                Females  ---  52.2%

Children under 18:      Have children under 18   ---  44.6%
                                     No children under 18     ---  57.8%
So what does one take from that survey?

1)  Its good to see the figures of those with $800 or more available to them at around or over 50% but when one looks at picture of those possessing less than $100, it's more clear than ever that there are two Americas.

2)  The only way most people can survive and maintain any standard of living, even that most basic, is through debt.  Credit card debt in particular.  Wages aren't enough...  Government subsidies i.e. welfare, food stamps, etc is not enough..

3) The more one makes, the more one can save; the more wages become depressed, the harder it is to survive... obvious, yes...  That's what happens in an economy that is not, nor has been in a 'recovery'

4)  Of all the various age demographics surveys, the elderly are overall most prepared for unexpected emergencies; the younger age groups are still spending more $$ on things they don't need to keep up with the 'Joneses'...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Video: The Common Brain of the Common Voter

There are many type of people who comprise what is termed 'voters' in this Presidential election...  Some genuinely study the issues and pick candidates who best represent their values and beliefs.  Some others tend to pretty much vote based on Party loyalty but still take the time to read a little or watch the debates to be sure they're backing the right person...

And then there's the majority.. the Utterly clueless.

Most people who will vote will do so for the stupidest of reasons-- Candidate X dresses well... has a pleasant voice..  is a member of such-in-such race or religion... Some stupid voters will vote for no reasons at all..

So we discovered this audio last night and found it very interesting to share...

The following audio from 'The Howard Stern Radio Show' on Sirius/XM recorded sometime last week.  Stern has representatives go out and interview different black voters to see who they will support and why?

* If the video doesn't work, click on THIS to go to the link, and to turn off the music on this website,  click the pause button at very bottom left of page...

To see if the voters really are aware of the issues or even paying attention, the interviewers ask questions such as "Do you like Obama's selection of Paul Ryan as VP?', "Should Obama try to kill Osama Bin Laden if re-elected?" and whether they are shunning Romney "because he is black"

The clueless answers are comical and deeply scary...These people will be voting in November and represent the vast majority of Americans who refuse to read, watch news or pay the slightest attention to what is going on in the world outside of themselves...

Some will listen and respond that Romney supporters are as clueless... maybe so, maybe not.. we don't have audio on them,

Video is a little over 7min, 30sec in length...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Top 20 Annual TV Celebrity Salaries

People have a strange love/hate relationship with the famously wealthy.  On one hand, people greatly admire and respect those with extreme wealth; they put otherwise unexceptional people on pedestals, and gaze adoringly from below..  On other hand, there's jealousy and resentment as if, "How dare someone get to make that much $$ for doing so little.."

We really are in neither camp-- We just look at the super-wealthy as little bugs scurrying about to make as much money as possible for insecure or egocentric reasons while ignoring priorities like their family and friends then bellowing to expensive psychiatrists as to why they're still so unhappy and unfulfilled...

So, no matter which camp you're in-- those who admire, resent or take pity on wealthy celebs, its still interesting to find out how much they make in yearly salary especially since unlike athletes and movie actors, TV stars like to keep their salaries hidden.

So based on reported numbers from TV Guide, The Washington Post, and The Daily Beast, here's a Top 20 list of the highest annual salaries for TV stars with some mean but sincere jabs included.  (We're sure to upset at times but remember if you disagree, you're welcome to start your own blog)

Top 20 List:
1)  Judge Judy Sheindlin -- $45million

Her syndicated court room show not only makes her the highest-paid person on television, but also the 13th richest woman in entertainment, according to Forbes.  Quite a nice salary to be a cantankerous bitch

2)  Simon Cowell -- $40 million

Based on 'X Factor' and 'American Idol'... If not for these two shows, FOX's prime time lineup would be unwatchable crap aimed at teenagers..  Hmm, wait.. Then again...

3)  David Letterman -- $28 million

Being genuinely unfunny and a smug jerk also pays.  Nice to see David suffered no financial repercussions for his previous long-term sexual affair with one of his 'Late Show' staffers while married..

4)  Matt Lauer -- $21.5 Million

 TV Guide's business editor, Stephen Battaglio told The Daily Beast Lauer, “Matt is central to [Today]—if he left, ratings would plummet and NBC would lose at least $100-125 million in ad revenue,"  Swear to God, if not for hosting the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, his name and face would draw a blank to yours truly..
5-7)  Tie: Judge Joe Brown -- $20 Million
                Kelly Ripa
                Bill O'Reilly

Brown's courtroom show has been on syndicated TV for over a decade..  No commentary on him-- hard to speak about someone you've hardly ever heard of or watched.. Ripa was earning $5 million more than her old co-host Regis before he left.  That's a nice bump to get rid of a bore like Regis.   O'Reilly got a raise, doubling his salary from last year and extending his contract through 2016.

8)  Mariah Carey -- $18 Million

Carey will be getting $18 mill to be a celebrity judge.  We're really not sure what show she will be judging.. We hadn't heard of any reality show in the works called "I Too Can Dress Like A Whore".

9)  Jon Stewart -- $16 Million

Last May, his Comedy Central show pulled in higher ratings than all of Fox News.  Funny how Com. Cent. was willing to pay Dave Chappelle $50mill to keep him yet Stewart 'only' gets $18mill?   Those cheap bastards... 

10-14)  Tie: Jay Leno -- $15 Million
                    Ryan Seacrest
                    Britney Spears
                    Howard Stern
                    Sean Hannity

Leno's salary was actually $30mil but he volunteered to give back 50% of it to keep NBC from laying off workers.  Yes we know Leno is still rolling in dough but we don't see that piece of shit Letterman doing it.
As for Seacrest, Spears and Stern (he's actually worth much, much more when you consider his Sirius Radio deal), all are connected to 'become the next star' based reality programming.  Of the three, Britney is the most annoying because in all honesty, she is a complete utter loser with deep mental issues (currently being controlled via Rx) and not deserving of this financial opportunity presented to her.

No, not too subtle were we...

Hannity is distinct from pretty much everyone on this list...  While every wealthy TV celebrity listed here really does not give a Damn how the bottom 99% live and couldn't be bothered yet Pretends they care, Hannity is distinct in that he doesn't.

15)  Ashton Kutcher -- $14 Million

Kutcher holds the title for highest-paid actor on television banking $700,000 per episode on "Two and a Half Men.".  Good thing he divorced Demi Moore right before accepting the role or he might have had to split half with her, and that wouldn't have been a smart business move would it...

16)  Brian Williams -- $13 Million

NBC's News Anchor.. We give him a pass because he's shown he doesn't take himself too seriously... Still, $13 mill to read words off cue-cards?   Where do we sign up for That?
17-20)  Tie:  Jon Cryer -- $12 Million
                     Conan O' Brien
                     Mark Harmon
                     Diane Sawyer

Cryer... other half of "Two and a Half Men"..  Just Amazing-- Amazing that someone as genuinely unfunny and uninteresting as Cryer makes that much money To understand how low on the acting totem-pole Cryer once was, in the late 1980s he appeared in a horrible film called 'Superman 4: The Quest for Peace'..  Don't pretend you've seen it...

Conan-- Honestly not worth more than $20,000 but he did a really good job of milking the victimization card after he failed to bring in the ratings NBC thought he would when doing the "Tonight Show".. So he snookered TBS to hire him.. Yay for him.. Not so yay for the dismal 1.2 ratings

Mark Harmon we genuinely like so with admitted bias, we don't begrudge him his salary. Double standard, we know... That said, we've honestly never sat through a full episode of NCIS though.. Ugh the nauseating constant camera motion... We're serious, the camera does not stay still for 2 seconds!  

As for Diane Sawyer, Yay to her... Nice to see a woman who looks over 70yrs old get 'paid'

~  Have a good weekend :-)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

2007-present Financial Crisis CheatSheet

We've written quite extensively on the financial crisis over the last two years since we started; a financial crisis that is Not in recovery or anywhere close unless the sole barometer of success is how the Dow looks now vs then..

So much has gone on in 5 years, its nearly impossible to remember it all, even for those who spent their energies tracking the day to day minutia.

So we compiled a 'cheat sheet' summary which highlights everything the government and Fed have done to try to potpourri over the stench of a rotten, floundering US economy since 2007 that is nowhere close to getting better for the bottom 99%

Here’s a recap of some of the larger moves made during the Crisis:

    * Fed cutting interest rates from 5.25-0.25% (Sept ’07-today).

~ If you had 10k in a 1yr CD at 5.25%, your interest using simple math would have been $525;  Based on 0.25%, your annual interest now would be $25.

    * The Bear Stearns deal- taking on $30 billion in junk mortgages (Mar ’08).
    * Opening various lending windows to investment banks (Mar ’08).

    * Hank Paulson nationalizes/spends $400 billion on Fannie/ Freddie (Sept ’08).

    * The Fed takes over insurance company AIG for $85 billion (Sept ’08).

    * The Fed doles out $25 billion for the automakers (Sept ’08)

~  In the case of GM, they took that money, then eliminated three car brands, raised their prices by 5-10%  and in 2009, opened a car manufacturing plant in China

    * The Feds kick off the $700 billion TARP program (Oct ’08)

~ In addition, credit card companies like AMEX and Discover are allowed to be called "banks" for purposes of receiving bailout funds

    * The Fed buys commercial paper from non-financial firms (Oct ’08)

    * The Fed offers $540 billion to backstop money market funds (Oct ’08)
    * The Fed agrees to back up to $280 billion of Citigroup’s liabilities (Oct ’08).
    * $40 billion more to AIG (Nov ’08)
    * The Fed backstops $140 billion of Bank of America’s liabilities (Jan ’09)
    * Obama’s $787 Billion Stimulus (Jan ’09)
    *  QE 1 buys $1.25 trillion in Treasuries and mortgage debt (March ’09)
    * QE lite buys $200-300 billion of Treasuries and mortgage debt (Aug ’10)
    * QE 2 buys $600 billion in Treasuries (Nov ’10)
    * Operation Twist 2 -$45 bil/month until end of 2012 (Nov ’11)
  * QE 3 buys additional $40 billion in Mortgage Backed Securities every month from now on (Sept. ’12)

If you add everything up, the powerful elite system has spent $5.9 Trillion to prop up the banks, stock market, hedge funds,etc while completely ignoring the needs of the bottom 99% which statistically represents close to 279 million people out of a population of 310million.

  Here's where things stand for us:

  *  Median income today is lower than it was during at the end of 2009 (when the recession supposedly ended)
  * The percentage of Americans on food stamps has increased from 11% to nearly 15%
  * The average unemployment duration has increased from 30 weeks to nearly 40 weeks
  * The civilian employment to population ratio hasn’t budged
  * Oil’s gone from $70 per barrel in 2007 to nearly $100 today. 
  * Agricultural commodities have risen more than 20%.

The Fed balance sheet is already at $2.8 trillion.  This makes it larger than the GDP of France, the UK, or Brazil. Indeed, if the Fed’s balance sheet were a country, it’d be the FIFTH Largest country in the world!   

So much time, energy and financial resources to Elmer's glue & duct-tape over a decrepit financial system that does little to no benefit for anyone outside the elite..  its truly amazing how much We the People take while collectively holding our ankles for our tormentors.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

19th Cent Postcards depicting the year 2000

~A depiction of a "modern" barbershop

It's a slow, un-newsworthy day today and we won't force out a long posting just simply to write for writing sake...  That's what corporate news is for...

We will however use this opportunity to inject a little fun and fascination into A&G.   We thank "KM" for bringing this to our attention care of an article in the Daily Mail UK a week or so ago...  The article was entitled "Bizarre 19th Century postcards reveal how French artists thought we'd be living in 2000"

They were drawn sometime between 1899-1910 and tried to predict what life would be like in Paris in the year 2000. Even if most postcards are inaccurate, they definitely show a level of imagination and fantasy toward the future well, to be honest, we as a society lack today.
 ~ Here an artist humorously envisions people playing croquet under the sea

 ~ Flying firefighters.. there's a concept..

 ~  Tourists taking an underwater tour on a bus - pulled by an enormous blue whale

 ~ A unique 'helicopter'

 ~ If firemen can fly, why not tennis players...

 ~ "Modern" Farming

~ Interesting depiction of what a video phone or "Skype" may look like

 ~ Envisioning electric trains in 2000; note the traditional Chinese passenger outfit

 ~ Electric roller-skates

 ~ A depiction of a military air battle

 ~ Food processed through a machine

 ~ The glowing fireplace is supposed to be uranium

 ~ An accurate prediction of sorts of receiving news at home via airwaves

The very best part of these postcards is that it makes one wax nostalgic to know there was a time that even in depictions and predictions of what the future would be like, it was free of the crass disgust of corporate logos, product placement and the vileness of pushing endless consumption to cure all ills.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Practical Assessment: Gold Possession & Broken Economy

Everywhere you look, especially the ads in financial newspapers and on the finance TV networks, its one hard-sale commercial after another to buy gold.

Gold is going up, up they say.. 'Look at QE3-- going to weaken the value of the dollar so gold will rise to infinity..  So Buy Now!'   etc... etc..

We're not here to tell you whether that strategy is right or wrong.  Honestly, since we have none to sell you, we don't care if you buy gold or you don't-- that's completely your business.

But what we will do today is brainstorm a little bit.. ask some of the reality based questions that you never see addressed in those adverts and areas which many gold purchasers are... well.. under some delusions.

Remember:  This is a brainstorming exercise and ultimately you do as you wish.. Your money-- you earned it (unless you're a professional Investor, in which case you stole it)

First, let us say the stock market crashes really bad and over a prolonged period of time.  The currency is weakened and you're holding onto a lot of gold...  Let's ask ourselves some questions..

What will you be trying to convert your gold into?  Pretzels?  Sticks of gum?  No-  money... US Dollars.. the same dollars that you and everyone sought to avoid possessing by buying gold in the first place...

And how easy do you really think it will be to convert your physical gold into cash during a time of panic?  The stock market may say gold is $2,500/oz but do you really think you will get that or even close to that amount when there's lines of people in front of 'Buy Gold' shoppes desperate to sell?  Do you think these stores will possess that much stand-by cash?

Maybe you get a cashier's check; an IOU as it were.  And if there are bank runs and eventually bank holidays, how excited must you be to deposit a piece of paper with pretty numbers on it after giving to another your physical gold.

And Lord help you if all you possess are Gold backed certificates...  In other words, there are some who advertise buying gold but they retain the physical possession-- you possess what amounts to a receipt for a future delivery upon request.
Let's think of supermarkets and gas stations right before a hurricane hits... The panic mindset of people stocking up on everything they can find...  If there was a true economic event which caused gold to dramatically spike to the levels the greedy hope/pray for, it actually will be worse in some ways for a gold hoarder.

Do you really think your local supermarket, gas station or 7-11 is going to start accepting little gold bars in exchange for milk and bread?  And if it did happen it would mean one of two things-- either you massively overpaid for that food because in all likelihood you're not getting exact change back.. OR it means you paid the Correct price and Lordy Lordy-- Help us all if milk and bread ever come to over $2,000.

Now, let us look at the reality of gold itself.   Today gold is at $1,770 for one ounce. That is the weight of two Double-Stuf Oreo cookies.  Thats equal to 100 grams.  So if you sought to purchase 10 gold coins, that's $17,770, and so on...  

Perhaps you're super wealthy.. perhaps you own 1000... 10,000 coins...

Now, understand the fact and Truth that the government does not want people having that much financial autonomy from its system, ask yourself:
Don't you think the government will place limits on how much you can sell at a given period of time?  Perhaps set up a national gold monitoring database (if one isn't established already) to track what each person does?

And if you are selling your gold coins for let's say $2,500 each, don't you think the government is not going to want to tax  it-- heavily??  Perhaps congress will establish a specific tax rate for gold sales over the amount of 'X' which will cut into all that profit you think you're keeping off the transfer sale...

Or the government can do what it did during the early 1930s... Government demanded everyone turn in their gold certificates or be put into prison.  Then the government re-pegged the gold i.e. devalued it by 25%.

The point made is that gold is an asset.. its a commodity.. and its easily sabotageable by any and all governments who wish to manipulate the free-market system of buying/selling for their own benefit.

For all the weakening of the US Dollar, you still can use it to buy anything one needs in any physical location, banks happily accept deposits which allow you to write checks to pay bills, and as anyone whose been through a natural disaster may attest, when going to stores for supplies and power is still out, credit cards are worthless...
No matter how pseudo-smart you think you are with your investment strategies and possession of commodities like gold, in the reality of the day to day lives we all lead, cash will always be King

Monday, September 17, 2012

How to Find a Job? - Go To Prison

Hope everyone's having a good Monday..

Boy this economy is tough... can't find a good paying job with benefits and some protections to save one's scalp.

And those poor teachers in Chicago-- having to fight and scratch and claw to get a real cost of living increase and keep their union relevant...  Fighting a Democrat no less... and not just any Democrat, but former Obama lackey Rahm Emanuel.

We know Republicans HATE unions (Republican VP nominee and Tea-Party whore Paul Ryan stated last week his full support was behind Emanuel in crushing the union), but the Democrats too?? Aren't they the party of the people??  Its enough to make one think 'crazy' things like both parties bought and paid for by Wall St... Nahh..

But we digress.. Mondays tend to be like that.
So how do you get a job in today's employer-controlled economy?

Well you can always offer your services to companies at 10-35% less than what you're really worth-- that can't hurt.   Maybe be a temp- give up any and all employee rights and protections for the privilege of getting an hourly salary that isn't guaranteed to be there the next day...


Go to jail..  Lots of work for prisoners..   So much work that more and more, private employers are letting employees go because the demand from businesses and even the government is so great...

Here's a recent example..  From Fox News:

"Two southeast companies that make U.S. military uniforms are shedding hundreds of jobs, as the government looks to federal inmates for the fatigues.

American Power Source makes military clothing in Fayette, Ala., but its government contract expires in October. Federal Prison Industries (FPI) – which also operates under the name UNICOR will snag the work, and leave the task to inmates...
American Apparel, the Selma, Ala., based military clothing manufacturer closed one of its plants and continues to downsize others due to the loss of some of its contracts to FPI. According retired Air Force colonel and spokesman Kurt Wilson, the company laid off 255 employees and cut the hours of 190 employees this year alone. So private workers end up losing their jobs to prisoners."

~ Isn't that lovely.. Well, at least the taxpayers get some savings, yes??

"The way the law is – Federal Prison Industries gets first dibs and contracts up to a certain percentage before they have to compete against us," Wilson, the executive vice president of business development and government affairs, said. "The army combat uniform, for instance, is an item that they take off the top. As a result American tax payers pay more for it – but the bottom line is each soldier is paying more for their uniform."

American Apparel charges $29.44 per uniform, but the FPI uniform costs $34.18 – a 15 percent increase"

Of course if you excitedly jump at the opportunity to become an inmate, understand that as a prisoner you get paid next to nothing.  According to Federal Cure, 55 percent of federal inmates were paid 12 cents an hour in 2010, 5 percent were paid 40 cents an hour and inmates new to a federal prison were paid $5.25 a month.

Those 3rd world sweatshop workers have it Good in comparison.. lucky duckies
On the other hand, as a prisoner, you do get free housing, cable TV, free clothing, 'yummy' food and all the intimate companionship one can desire (if you are into that sort of thing).

So we guess you just have to weigh the pros & cons..

Who says the American Dream is dead??