The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets
2014-08-30 09:05 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 290 references

Gee, Fox News, the obvious is worth a report?

Fifty years after the “war on poverty” was first waged, there are signs a new offensive is needed.

Newly released Census data reveals nearly 110 million Americans – more than one-third of the country – are receiving government assistance of some kind.

The number counts people receiving what are known as “means-tested” federal benefits, or subsidies based on income. This includes welfare programs ranging from food stamps to subsidized housing to the program most commonly referred to as “welfare,” Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

A new offensive is needed eh?

How about actually launching one instead of pretending?

I'm quite serious.

See, I count some $2,239 billion as spent welfare and other social spending in the last year's Federal budget (this year is not quite done yet, but I suspect it will be higher by a hundred billion or two.)  CATO says that in many states sitting on one's ass pays as well as a $20/hour job.  The left says that if we raised the minimum wage then people would work instead of sit on their ass (really?

As millions still rely on government assistance programs, technology and automation have eliminated jobs many Americans used to do with a high school diploma. The challenge for policymakers is helping the economy adjust.  

Nonsense.  Technology did no such thing; indeed, it did the opposite.  Technology advances productivity which means you spend less time and effort in labor for a given output.  That's good, not bad, and the fruits of that progress should belong to everyone!

Those jobs cited still exist -- in China, Bangladesh, India and Vietnam.  They exist there rather than here because we destroyed purchasing power and played games with trade, labor, environmental and monetary policy, thereby making it possible and profitable for that sort of offshoring to take place.

If these firms actually had to produce here or pay wage and environmental parity tariffs they would produce here instead.  And if the law was actually enforced related to monopoly and cartel practices along with the special exemptions being removed in the medical and educational systems (among others) there would be no need for deficit spending at all and thus the destruction of said purchasing power would not have taken place.

We could reverse this, of course.  As I noted in my cited piece we could easily guarantee no citizen lives in poverty, we could remove the need and desire for Medicare, Medicaid, TANF, SNAP, Social Security and similar -- since nobody would be in poverty.  At the same time we would have a $400 billion a year surplus, not one dime cut from military spending and we could cut all federal taxes by 30%!

It sounds impossible, doesn't it?  Well, it probably is -- to get all of that anyway, or at least as simply as I described.  

After all as I noted originally adverse selection sounds damn good when you just get a check for drinking beer, yes?  So yeah, I get it that we'd have to not do it quite that way, but here's the thing -- if we shut down the so-called "free trade" game, reversed the monetary destruction of purchasing power, collapsed asset (read: housing, among other!) and other retail prices and then deleted all those programs, what would be the result?

Well, first, all that production would have to come back here.  That means jobs.

Second, capital asset prices would collapse.  That means rents and prices for housing collapse, which in turn means you don't need nearly as much to live on.

And thus we'd get rid of all that social spending and people would have to get off their ass and go to work.  But there would be work, including unskilled work.  Yes, it wouldn't pay a lot, but it would pay enough.  It used to, and it still should -- and will if we quit allowing certain industries to rip us off wholesale.

As just one example medical pricing would collapse by 90%.  Doubt me?  Go ahead; not only do you have Japan as an example there was a doctor on CNBC the other morning who is taking cash only and getting a lot of Obamacare patients despite not taking their insurance.  Why?  Because his full price is so much less than what the so-called "others" want for the same thing that it is actually cheaper to come to him for medical services than to pay the deductible and copays with your Obamacare policy!

What nobody asked on that segment, which appalled me, was this: Why do you need medical "insurance" at all if you can pay cash for less than your deductible?  Exactly what are you paying a premium for in that instance?  The answer is "nothing"; you're in fact being robbed!

We have answers available folks -- there was in fact just one missing question from that segment on CNBC, just as there is one missing here in the story from Fox News.

The fact is that the only reason we have those "programs" is for the grift and fraud conduit they enable.  They're not intended to actually help people at all, nor do they.  They are simply a means of throwing you a cookie while you're starving as a result of everything else that's going on, and America plays along because most people believe they can get enough of the grift for themselves to stay ahead.

Reflect a bit on that and let me know if you really are getting ahead -- or whether that's just another lie.  If you find it to be the latter, and I believe you will, isn't it time to stop lying to yourself and demand a change?

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I know, I've heard it a dozen times, and some of most-strident are those who appear to be trying to justify their own lack of action -- or maybe they're a Fed thinking that I've got murder, mayhem or some other sort of violence on my mind.

Sorry to disappoint y'all, but that would be nope, nope and nope.

Not only is violence usually pointless (in that you lose rather than win) but in addition it's frequently ineffective, and when it is the harm you wind up with is immense.  But this doesn't mean there's nothing you can do; quite to the contrary.

The US supermarket chain Market Basket has agreed to sell to a majority stake to former boss Arthur T Demoulas, ending a months-long dispute.

In announcing his purchase, Mr Demoulas told workers, who had gone on strike in July to protest against his firing, "You are simply the best".

The 70-plus stores belonging to the chain are mostly located in the northeastern United States.

It was estimated the company was losing $70m (£42m) a day during the strike.

Late on Wednesday, Mr Demoulas announced that he had reached an agreement to purchase the 50.5% of the company he did not control from a rival faction controlled by his cousin, Arthur S Demoulas, for $1.5bn.

Remember these guys?  The supermarket was known for having low prices and excellent product.  A family feud led the much-loved CEO to be deposed, and the result of that was a strike by the workers and a boycott by the general public.

They didn't burn anything, they didn't destroy, they didn't loot and they didn't assault anyone.  What they did do was boycott, strike and essentially shut the place down.

Note this well: They won.  Legally and peacefully.

The Boston Globe has spared no time in trying to pan this as a "one off", and that should not surprise -- after all, should such peaceful and lawful tactics take hold just think about all the things we could change.

Hospitals charging 10x a reasonable price for procedures and tests?  Well, how's that gonna work when there are no patients, no employees in the hospital, and pickets around the building 24x7?

Universities screwing our kids with crippling loans and dead-end alleged "degrees"?  Well, how's that gonna work when there are no employees in the cafeteria, nobody is manning the register in the bookstore, there are no students in the lecture halls and again, there are pickets around the periphery of the campus?

Jackbooted "cities" (cough-Ferguson-cough!) that issue 3 arrest warrants per household and about $150 per-capita in fines annually, then point firearms at peaceful protesters and journalists?  Well, how's that gonna work when nobody shops in the town any more, none of the city employees show up to work and there are peaceful pickets around city hall and the courthouse 24x7?

Or how about Boston after the marathon bombing?  Instead of cowering at SWATted-up cops looking for a wounded kid in a boat, violating constitutional rights left, right and center what if the response was for every citizen in the town to boycott every single business inside city limits until the city council and the entire police department resigned and were replaced through a peaceful, lawful election?  How long do you think the city and cop shop could hold out when the streets were empty and the cash registers silent?

Hmmmm..... four places we, the people could really do something right here and now, couldn't we?  All legal and peaceful too.

So yeah, it's real important to make sure nobody gets any wild ideas -- like the fact that all government exists only with the consent of the governed, whether that "government" be a 71-store grocery chain, a university, a hospital or a city.

Let's not forget that the striking workers at those stores put themselves at considerable economic risk.  They weren't working during that time and they weren't getting paid.  Further, and far more importantly, this wasn't a matter of a couple of days where you could simply shift your economic activity on both sides -- it went on for roughly three months.

“It was an unprecedented situation, and it defies everything we thought we knew about how businesses are run and who has the power,” said Daniel Korschun, a fellow at the Center for Corporate Reputation Management at Drexel University. “Many scholars, myself included, are eating crow right now.”

Not me.

You always have the power and there are a lot of people who try to tell you otherwise because they know damn well that all government, no matter whether its a corporation, a city or a nation, only exists with the consent of the governed.  It is only through your willful consent that the outrages perpetrated against you can and do continue.

If you're willing to refuse consent, accepting that this will come with cost, through peaceful and lawful action, you win.  It may take time, indeed it may take much longer than you think, but you will win because without the patient there is no hospital, without the shopper there is no store, and without the taxpayer earning an income to be taxed there is no government.

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Even when it kills someone, literally.

Los Angeles sheriff's deputy Andrew Wood will not be charged for fatally running over former Napster COO Milton Olin Jr. in his patrol car while the officer was typing a message into his computer.

But it's ok because he was working, you see.

Of course if I'm working and in doing so answer a text message, and as a result of doing so I run over a cyclist and kill him, you can bet I'd be charged with vehicular manslaughter (and justly so.)

Oh, and the officer lied too -- he claimed the bicyclist veered into his lane.  The DA reported that was not true; the opposite happened.  That's a false report to police, and that's not being prosecuted either.

Why is it, once again, that I should consider police officers individuals worthy of my respect or support?

I'm rapidly reaching the point where I wouldn't***** on one if he was on fire.

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Eh, maybe not.

A former Iowa state senator who was a key official in Rep. Michele Bachmann's 2012 presidential campaign pleaded guilty Wednesday to illicitly concealing payments he received to switch his support from Bachmann to then-Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

Former GOP state Sen. Kent Sorenson received thousands of dollars in "under the table payments," according to the Justice Department, to ditch Bachmann’s campaign, where he had served as Iowa chairman. He endorsed Paul instead. 

And we're not talking about a few drinks and dinner either.

In the plea agreement, Sorenson admitted concealing payments of $73,000 after secretly negotiating to switch his support. The payments came in monthly installments of roughly $8,000, according to DOJ.

So it was not just one payment either; it went on for quite some time.


Oh, all you who think there was undriven pure snow there, and after all, the GOP was just the most-evil set of bastards in not considering the pure, inescapably-correct and perfect campaign that was disrupted by evil bastidges who were corrupted by Mitt Romney.

How's that story looking this morning, pal?

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Personal income increased $28.6 billion, or 0.2 percent, and disposable personal income (DPI) increased $17.7 billion, or 0.1 percent, in July, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) decreased $13.6 billion, or 0.1 percent. In June, personal income increased $67.1 billion, or 0.5 percent, DPI increased $62.9 billion, or 0.5 percent, and PCE increased $50.5 billion, or 0.4 percent, based on revised estimates.


Oh.... you mean people burned out?  Well well well....

Most of that appears to have been in autos.... which is rather interesting, since those are essentially all financed.

Is the credit idiocy burning itself out in car loans?

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