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2019-11-19 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 203 references Ignore this thread
Warren, Markets, And Apologists
[Comments enabled]

So Christopher Whalen, who has quite a following when it comes to various commentary on banking and such, has put forward the following:

Elizabeth Warren Wants to Crash the Global Financial Markets

Ft. Myers | Sisyphus is a figure from Greek mythology. For sins in mortal life, he was punished by Zeus to forever roll a boulder up a hill in the depths of Hades, only to see it to roll down again.  The Federal Open Market Committee is essentially trapped in the torment of Sisyphus. They keep trying to add liquidity to the domestic US money markets, only to see it leak out into the vast offshore market for dollar funding.

....

.... And a socialist presidential candidate named Elizabeth Warren is perfectly willing to crash the US financial markets to advance her never ending quest for celebrity and fame. 

Uh huh.

Let's look at the two likely predicates for this claim.

1. Medicare for all.  Various estimates for the cost to the federal government (over 10 years) are out there from Warren's (likely insanely optimistic) $20ish trillion to a more-reasoned (but still likely optimistic) $53 trillion.  What nobody is talking about in opposing her plan is that by eliminating private insurance you now have a single-funded source, and currently the total health care spend is about $4 trillion with $1.576 trillion of that being Federal Government last fiscal year.  If you get rid of all private insurance and plans then the entirety of that $4 trillion winds up on the federal checkbook but the spend from the private side disappears and, presumably, would be taxed back into the Federal Government.  Which pocket you take a $20 bill out of does not matter, and $4 trillion times 10 years is $40 trillion at present spending rates.  But, of course, it's not at present spending rates; at 8% growth, which is where we are now in Medicare and Medicaid over 10 years that number grows to $8.64 trillion.  Take the midpoint and multiply by 10 and you wind up with about $60ish trillion which, incidentally, assumes zero cost savings from rationing and similar which is unlikely.  In other words while the $53 trillion is a horrifying number over 10 years it is in fact a decrease -- that is, an improvement over what is spent now on the trajectory we are on!  The only people who can fail to recognize and note this are those who are apologists for the medical industry rape-job served on your butthole on a daily basis -- or worse, those who directly profit from it.  And yes, this includes a few million (likely 4 million or thereabouts) people employed that never provide any care -- they simply rob you.  Both of those groups deserve a noose for their intentional deception in this regard.

2. Taxing billionaires up the wazoo.  This one requires a bit of examination too.  It sounds bad for the economy in that the usual pablum is that these people are "great innovators" and that the reward for being right, no matter by luck or otherwise, is getting extraordinarily rich since the benefits inure to everyone in society.  That would be a very defensible argument except for one problem: It's a lie.

I challenge you to name one billionaire that hasn't made his or her money from one of the following:

Facial violations of the law that the government refuses to prosecute.  Amazon's Bezos is the poster child for this.  He steadfastly refused to collect and pay sales taxes to the jurisdictions across the nation until he was sued or threatened to be sued repeatedly under the claim of actual nexus.  Note that I cannot find one such case he took to trial and won; every single one of them resulted in a fold and prospective but not retrospective collection of said taxes.  I argue that had he not known he'd lose (in other words, I argue this strategy was a knowing and intentional scam) he would have told the states "screw you, sue me" instead.  Meanwhile there were tens if not hundreds of thousands of local businesses, all of whom collected and remitted said taxes, that were forcibly undercut on pricing by 6-10% on a delivered-cost basis and put out of business.  Not ONE of those firms or their employees got a plugged nickel from Bezos' evasion schemes.  Incidentally, if you think he's a genius for coming up with this he's not; I contemplated the same sort of thing when looking at expanding MCSNet and was told quite-sternly by corporate counsel that I was of course free to try this and he might even come visit me in prison if I did.  You see, I didn't have a political and "oh look at all the jobs" card to play that immunized my actions from prosecution.

It doesn't stop there.  The skirting of said law has continued with the "third party" sales nonsense; Amazon clearly has nexus as it is in fact more than half of the transaction; it constitutes the advertising channel, order processing, payment processing and dispute resolution mechanism along with, in some cases part or all of fulfillment too, all under Amazon's exclusive control.  Yet Amazon still claimed that such doesn't constitute "nexus."  Uh huh.  Never mind other allegations of the firm using the data generated through the platform to identify anyone who gets successful in their sales of a given product and then targeting their suppliers to source and sell the same product without the agency fee overhead, destroying said competitors who foolishly considered Amazon a partner in their endeavors.

How about Michael Bloomberg?  His "terminal" and related services were predicated on what amounted to a negotiated sweetheart and no-competition deal with the data sources.  Yes, he got filthy rich.  Did he do it in a field with a dozen or a hundred competitors?  No.  It sure appears to me that he had zero competitors.  How do you have zero competitors in a billion dollar business if you haven't done something, or a lot of somethings, that prevent entry of said competitors?  Gee, I wonder...

Who else?  Microsoft's Gates?  He actually got attacked for violations of anti-trust law.  Next.

Warren Buffett?  Oh yes, the sweetheart deals nobody else was offered in the 2007/08 crash didn't have anything to do with the magnitude of his success, and those were one-offs, right?  Uh huh.  Sure they were.  Why weren't those deals offered to ordinary people like you and I?  You're telling me Treasury couldn't manage the data flow and accounting when they already do it for Treasury Direct?  Bullcrap.

Zuckerberg?  You're kidding, right?  The repeated and intentionally-hidden abuses of privacy would have led you or I to be not sued but arrested and thrown in prison dozens of times over by now.  Of course when you have billions nobody cares; you wave that "look at all the jobs that will disappear if you arrest me and kill the company" card.  Oh, and what sort of "revolutionary benefit to society" has he brought?  That's a joke, son.

Ellison, Page and Brin?  Yeah, ok.  Go ahead, tell me all about those.

The Waltons?  Walmart has put more small firms out of business and destroyed more jobs in American towns, suppressing wages across the nation than any other company in the history of the United States, and it did a very large part of that by exploiting dollar-a-day slave wages in China.  A nation that, I remind you, is communist and in addition to everything else imprisons Muslims by the millions and then sends in "minders" to******their wives.  This "partnership" isn't exclusive to WalMart, of course -- many other firms do the same damn thing (Apple, Nike, etc, anyone?)  Where are all the scolds in Congress and elsewhere when it comes to this issue?  Oh, I know, they're too busy loving their Nike shoes and iPhones to give a wet crap about the millions imprisoned and what certainly appear to be rapes taking place under official communist party orders by the score.

Then there's Sheldon Adelson, who's money was made conning you into gambling.  Indeed that's consensual, at least.  But lesser-known is that he's very opposed to people finding a way to sate addictions via other means, like for example, marijuana.  After all if you sit around stoned and munch Doritos you probably won't pull a handle on a slot machine.  Sheldon isn't content to just make money off gambling where gambling is one of many competing diversions; he spends a hell of a lot of money suppressing via shady political campaigns other recreational past-times he doesn't want to compete for those dollars he could otherwise capture.  Wait -- isn't suppressing competition rather than winning on the merits the general problem with this billionaire's list?

Of course we'd be remiss if we left out all the "investment and hedge fund" folks, many of whom are nothing more than corporate raiders, putting people out of work, levering up the "business" via all manner of hinky debt deals, taking out their slice of it and when it blows up and everyone loses their job and investments -- except them -- oh well.  How's that all working out for Americans and American workers?

Of course there are a few medical folks in the list who made their billions by raping you to the tune of 500% of what your medical care should cost, getting away with it because, you guessed it, despite 100+ year old law and two USSC decisions saying said law applies to the medical industry nobody committed any crimes.

Are there are a few exceptions in the richest American list?  Sure.  Can I really fault the guy who set up Carnival Cruise lines?  Not much.  I've yet to find any coercion there, at least; people pay money and get a service, and nobody is making them get on board nor can I find evidence of him trying to shut down the national parks, for example, as a means of removing options for tourism dollars.  Or how about Love's truck stops?  Those look like a reasonable deal too although I do give the slant-eye to some of the concentration I'm seeing over the last five or so years.....  one wonders there.

But for most of these guys?  Tell me again how "free market capitalism" is involved in offshoring to slave labor nations that imprison anyone they don't like and then******their wife for good measure, or who get into cahoots with Congress to pass so-called "free trade" bills promising that Mexican wages will rise to parity with the US and, when it doesn't happen (because they knew it wouldn't and planned it that way) they make billions and feel entirely entitled to the spoils of their outrageous scam perpetrated on the American public, never mind all the jobs and people, even entire towns they destroy at the same time.

I admire someone who comes up with a real and truly better mousetrap that actually catches mice and advances the human condition.  Arbitrage in all of its forms, especially when undertaken at gunpoint, isn't part of that -- ever.  When you go down the Forbes 400 list you find damn few people who didn't get on that list through some form of arbitrage, frequently doing things that may not be considered "able to be prosecuted" yet they damn well ought to be and in some cases there's even a law that already exists that's implicated as well, but this is nothing a few well-placed lobbyists and a President who loves a rising stock market can't overcome.

This is the worst sort of advocacy and smear job there is.  These people didn't put a plugged nickel of their own money at risk in any of these schemes beyond, perhaps, the first little shop. Every bit of it beyond that had nothing to do with them, nothing to do with fair and free competition and everything to do with screwing someone else.

As such the whine about the market crashing is just that -- a whine.  A skyrocketing stock market as a result of people bilking 99% of Americans isn't a good thing, it's a terrible thing.  It rewards all manner of unseemly behavior and whether it implicates actual violations of the law or not doesn't matter if nobody will bring charges.

I can easily amass a billion dollars if I can rob banks and yet not spend a day in prison for doing it.  I simply keep robbing them until I have the billion bucks; whether I do it with a gun or via some other means doesn't make a bit of difference when you get to the essence of it.  There is roughly $3 trillion a year in the medical scam a year alone; now add to it the impact of the restraint-of-trade and monopolist actions in other parts of the market and it's entirely possible that perhaps as much as half of US GDP is implicated on an annual basis in some sort of scheme of this sort with nearly all of it inuring to these billionaires balance sheets in some fraction.

Don't get me wrong -- Elizabeth Warren has exactly nothing in common with me when it comes to her political positions.  What she's proposing in the form of Medicare for all says not one word about taking all of the monopolists, including those on the Forbes 400 list, and throwing their asses in prison where they belong.  If she did she actually might be worth a cheer or three, but nope -- that's not her intent.  She merely wants to capture the cash flow on the government side of the ledger, and when you run out of money she'll tell you get stuffed in terms of getting treated and as such you will die.

The important point to remember, however, is that when the money runs out on the private side the exact same thing will happen to you as well.

Whalen, of course, omits that "inconvenient" fact in his opinion, nor does he point out that Trump is doing the same damn thing.

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Jal
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I think that you have pointed out, rather clearly, that all our social/economic systems are working for a few people.
I count myself lucky. I don't need to make mud bricks for 12 hours, for a cup of rice.

or
(name your slavery condition that exist)
Aztrader
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Today we witnessed Home depot and Kohls miss and warn. Since 70% of our GDP is supposed to be retail, where is it going to come from? We in retail have watched sales drop every quarter even though some businesses claim they beat earnings.
Amazon is the worst ***** on the street. They not only force vendors to slash prices to zero margins, but also open up shell stores in third party names in order to get product directly from manufacturers. We are having this issue right now with one of the products we buy. The manufacturer put a MAP price on the product and almost immediately, these shell stores violated it. Now they are actually selling the product under wholesale in order to wipe out the rest of the stores and the manufacturer can't do a thing because they have inventory.
I watched all the names that Karl mentioned get sweetheart deals in the 2008 bailouts. Buffett getting 10% plus equity to bailout AIG made me sick when the taxpayers were getting squat.
The little guy is getting wiped out right now and these large corporations are sucking the system dry. All this free money from the Fed is being pushed into the markets and not into the real economy.
The pattern has never been more obvious as it is today. Costs are rising and margins are shrinking for the little guy primarily through increased rents, shipping costs, insurance costs and employee costs that most small businesses can't absorb. This leaves the big guys running the show and the way things are going, they won't have any customers because the people that used to own businesses are gone and have no money.
Everything that these left wing politicians are pushing will only turn us into worse off slaves because the entire economy will crash making 1929 look like a cake walk. All these folks chasing the markets are going to get wiped out and those leveraged either in real estate or their business will be on the streets when the collapse happens.
If the money being printed actually went to the entire country, then this would delay any negative action, but it isn't. It's going to the top 5% that own mostly paper assets that produce absolutely nothing.
Tdurden
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Back when I was still trying to engage with the soon-to-be lumpen around me on the drug war, I used to tell them regarding the fast spreading creation of SWAT teams that the police were just sharpening their claws on the pot and meth heads. They didn't want to hear it. My opinion on the recent cheer-leading for wealth taxes is similar. The stated bad guys, the billionaires, aren't the real target. They will be exempt, either explicitly in the law or just as a matter of non-enforcement. The rest of us are the real targets. It will just be another "tool" used to beat the **** out of us.

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"I'd like to live just long enough to be there when they cut off your head and stick it on a pike as a warning to the next 10 generations that some favors come with too high of a price." -Vir Cotto Babylon 5
Bagbalm
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Yes Tdurden 'the rich' will be defined lower and lower each year until their hand is in YOUR pocket for this too.
Kellyf
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@tickerguy are you shadow banned on twitter ?
Kellyf
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never mind I see you are dishonorable now :) :)
Tickerguy
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smiley

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Winding it down.
Stee_man
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I haven't read Whalen in over a decade. He was always full of bull and flat out wrong. Every time. His name on something is an automatic pass.

As for billionaires, what made me sick was how hedge funds got first access to foreclosures after the financial crisis. They got the houses cheap, in bulk, and promptly raised rents on poor people.

I am generally a free market capitalist. However, I've always recognized the super rich have advantages nobody else gets. If they were Russian, we'd call them oligarchs and put sanctions on them. My fix is even more strict than Warren's.

Nobody needs to make more than say $10 million a year. Pick your number. The amount is not important. Anything above that gets taxed at 105%. Yes, we want them to stop working. They are the ones raping the environment, causing job destruction, etc... Let them stop doing that when they have enough for any normal person to live forever in comfort.
Tickerguy
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Shutting off the money by taxing it all is neither necessary nor will it actually work (hiding it offshore, for example, isn't that hard.)

Note that from roughly the 1930s to ~1980ish or thereabouts if you had a billion dollars you actually lost both in dollar amounts and purchasing power. Yes, the top tax rate was very high, but not THAT high.

Why?

Because there was an implicit deal struck after 1929 which was driven by a clear if diffuse threat: YOU CUT THAT **** OUT OR YOU WILL DIE.

The "cut that **** out" rollback wasn't instant, but the cessation of the upward path was pretty dramatic in terms of deceleration, and it was maintained for a LONG TIME -- roughly 50 years.

But like most cycles it turned, and a big part of why it turned was the excesses on the other side.

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Winding it down.
Jack_crabb
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Quote:
Nobody needs to make more than say $10 million a year. Pick your number. The amount is not important. Anything above that gets taxed at 105%.


**** that ****.


Quote:
Let them stop doing that when they have enough for any normal person to live forever in comfort.


Who are you, or who am I for that matter, to decide how much another person "needs"? While you are correct that the super rich have different rules, and for the most part are the ones ****ing over everything and everybody, I don't think having a designated person deciding how much is enough is the proper response.

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Molon Labe
Where is Henry Bowman when you need him?
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Radiosity
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Stee_man: you're as bad as the Commies. Kindly go **** yourself.
Smacktle
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Looks like Stealman outed themselves lol.

I am not amused!

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Jack_crabb
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Smacktle with two for the price of one. (I see what you did there.)

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Molon Labe
Where is Henry Bowman when you need him?
How many are willing to pledge this? We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor
Bagbalm
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Steeman - I was working as a toolmaker and had a boss pull that **** on me. I wanted a raise and he wanted to ask how much I needed to live on. NONE of his business. I wanted what the market was saying my work was worth. It's always we'll decide how much you need in the end. You are part of the problem.
Mangymutt
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Quote:
never mind I see you are dishonorable now :) :)


I do not have Facebook, have never Tweeted or any of the other social media stuff, but if I can get a cool label like that I just might sign up.

If the idiots at twitter think that is going to work, they are wrong, many people will start seeing it as a badge of honor. Heck now I want to reach the status of Deplorable.

Smacktle
Quote:
I am not amused!
No you are not.....Thank goodness.
Mangymutt
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Stee_person -
Quote:
Nobody needs to make more than say $10 million a year.


Why? Is no one worth more than that?

Quote:
Pick your number. The amount is not important.


If the amount is not important why are you setting a limit on it? By your own words it doesn't matter.

There are several people who post here who have started their own business and I wish them all the success in the world for their efforts. You see just to start a business, you need to be self motivated, put in a **** ton of planning and a couple extra **** tons of hard work that no one sees. Many small business owners make great sacrifices just to stay in business. Yet they all hold onto the dream that eventually their hard work and dedication will pay off financially.

And your proposal steals that dream from them.

Most of small business owners do it because they are driven to achieve and one of the ways to show you have "made it" is by having money. Why is it wrong to have/earn/accumulate as much money as you legally can?

Although there are several hard working business owns here that will follow this pattern, I am going to use Karl as the example.

He has come up with a great home monitoring system, that from the looks of it will do pertneer anything you want it to, without handing out any of your personal information. He saw a market, came up with a prototype and basically put all the hard work into making it functional - Yet he refuses to bring it to market himself?

Why? Does he not believe in his own product?

Nope, it is because he knows after some arbitrary amount, he will be taxed at your 105% or GREATER. 10 million dollars and one nickle, he automatically loses 10 million five hundred thousand. And that does not include ALL the taxes he already paid along the way, just to market his product.

As for your insight on the super wealthy
Quote:
They are the ones raping the environment, causing job destruction, etc... Let them stop doing that when they have enough for any normal person to live forever in comfort.
This is true and always has been true. And there have been many a'Ticker written about how these people******us EVERY SINGLE DAY and instead of doing something about it, most people will come up with and support ideas just like yours. Do you think the super wealthy give a dead rats ass what Karl, me or you have to pay in taxes?

They don't, in fact I would bet most would encourage those types of restraint on individual income, because it means after Karl makes $9,999,999.99 his product is dead.

Anyway, I agree the super wealthy are a bunch of thieves, rapists and murders - And those are their good qualities. But it is your job (As well as mine) to do something about it.

Name one time when a government program actually did something positive.
Tjsaid
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https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/u....

^ So a) if Trump is hoping can keep the stock market floating into the election... and b) the rumors of success/failure of negotiations are sending markets up or down every time...
Then c) Could the motivation for this be the Dem controlled House is sticking a pin in the stock market balloon, in order to undercut Trump in the election?
Tickerguy
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Meh -- the Senate means nothing alone. Now if the House passes it and sends it to Trump for signature, then it matters.

But otherwise it only matters in the context of a TREATY, which would require Senate ratification. THEN it suddenly gets important.

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Tjsaid
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"I am generally a free market capitalist. However, I've always recognized the super rich have advantages nobody else gets. If they were Russian, we'd call them oligarchs and put sanctions on them. My fix is even more strict than Warren's. "

The problem is "crony capitalism". Its not capitalism that is the problem it is the rigged game where certain people get access to people in the legislation process to shape the rules (to favor themselves), get exemptions, and insider access. The lack of prosecution for those who break the rules. And over time, as the crony companies/banks end up being a significant portion of our economy, you can't just crush them without hurting a lot of people for jobs etc.
So they get a pass from even those that would do the right thing.
Can't carve out the cancer without killing yourself -in a sense.

I think it should be illegal for any non-living person (even though I read corporations are treated as person somehow), to make any campaign contributions. Demonetize candidates.
https://www.npr.org/templates/story/stor....

Tickerguy
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@Tjsaid -- It's not legal for non-natural persons (e.g. corporations) to make campaign contributions. As a former Treasurer for a campaign yes, you do have to do reasonable diligence or you can get ****ed -- hard.

However, what corporations can do and do is lobby, as well as get involved in SuperPacs, which have no connection to candidates IN THEORY. Of course in practice, well..... how do you think Sonderland got his ambassadorship? Then again how did a huge number of Obama's clowns?

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Winding it down.
Jack_crabb
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Tjsaid - pretty much what is said in "Starving the Monkeys"

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Molon Labe
Where is Henry Bowman when you need him?
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Lemonaid
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The billionaires move their money, have tax attorneys and accountants.

It's much too difficult for the IRS so they go after smaller fish who don't have the resources who bend over for Uncle Sam.

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"There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved." Ludwig von Mises
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