Archive for the Category » economics «

October 19th, 2011 | Author:

What follows is a heartfelt email I recently sent to some family and friends.  Do with it as you will.

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If you missed the GOP debate last night, click here to see a video of Ron Paul’s answers. A couple other notes:

  • Ron Paul’s recently-released fiscal “PLAN TO RESTORE AMERICA” includes: cutting spending by $1 trillion in the first year; a balanced budget by year three; lowers the corporate tax rate to 15%, making America competitive in the global market; and eliminates 5 cabinet departments. Here’s the whole plan.
  • Believe it or not, Rush Limbaugh endorsed Paul’s fiscal plan. Quote: “Ron Paul has a good idea… fooling around the margins isn’t going to get it done… genuine big spending cuts are the only thing that is going to bring us back”
  • Political donors have to declare who they work for. The top three employers of Ron Paul contributors are: US Air Force, US Army, & US Navy.
  • Pew Research has completed a study that shows that the biased mainstream media really has been blacking out coverage of Ron Paul’s campaign, despite his results in various straw polls.  My favorite headline: “Michelle Bachman wins Ames Straw Poll, Tim Pawlenty Finishes Third.” Politico (oops!) forgot to mention that Ron Paul came in second, nearly beating Bachman in her native state.

So why am I documenting all this? I promise I won’t bombard you with political stuff, but I believe that Ron Paul is the only candidate who truly supports a limited federal government and the constitution that’s supposed to limit it. I also believe that this election is the last one that could correct the course of our country. If it doesn’t happen now, it’s not going to happen.

And I have put my money where my mouth is. For the first time in my life, I changed my voter registration from independent to republican so I can vote in the primary next year. And I made a contribution, also for the first time, to Paul’s political campaign.

Here’s his campaign website.

Check it out. His positions on the issues are easy to find and clearly spelled out. You may discover that he’s not such a wacko after all. You might even want to contribute to his one-day campaign today to raise money.

Or not. I’m just sharing information, not twisting arms.

Jean

P.S. Feel free to share this.

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May 14th, 2010 | Author:

Even CNN is writing about privacy issues associated with Facebook.  Some prominent folks are deleting their Facebook pages in protest.  I never used it much and deleted my account months ago for the same reasons, but for those of you asking, “But how would I stay in touch?” there are some new options:

Clique – privacy enhanced Social Network Site

Decentralize the web with Diaspora

This is not so much an endorsement of these particular projects – although I think they’re on the right track and I’d encourage you to check them out – as it is an endorsement of the free market.

People complain about Facebook and – Boom! – up step some folks offering alternatives.

Ya’ gotta love it.

Update: Even Homeland Security is warning about the risks of social networking sites:

RISK RATING:  High

The popularity of social networking sites continues to increase, especially among teenagers and young adults.

The nature of these sites introduces security risks, so you should take certain precautions.

How to protect yourself now link

Social networking sites rely on connections and communication, so they encourage you to provide a certain amount of personal information. When deciding how much information to reveal, people may not exercise the same amount of caution as they would when meeting someone in person because

  • the internet provides a sense of anonymity
  • the lack of physical interaction provides a false sense of security
  • they tailor the information for their friends to read, forgetting that others may see it
  • they want to offer insights to impress potential friends or associates

While the majority of people using these sites do not pose a threat, malicious people may be drawn to them because of the accessibility and amount of personal information that’s available. The more information malicious people have about you, the easier it is for them to take advantage of you. Predators may form relationships online and then convince unsuspecting individuals to meet them in person. That could lead to a dangerous situation. The personal information can also be used to conduct a social engineering attack . Using information that you provide about your location, hobbies, interests, and friends, a malicious person could impersonate a trusted friend or convince you that they have the authority to access other personal or financial data.

Additionally, because of the popularity of these sites, attackers may use them to distribute malicious code. Sites that offer applications developed by third parties are particularly susceptible. Attackers may be able to create customized applications that appear to be innocent while infecting your computer without your knowledge.

Hmm … haven’t I heard some Washington Chicken Littles warning about cyber security?  Is this a valid warning, or just another justification for taking over another industry?

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Category: abuse of power, Big Brother, economics, privacy  | Comments off
April 25th, 2010 | Author:

Well, not exactly, despite all the TV ads to the contrary.  As near as I can figure out from the Forbes article, the numbers look like this:

Uncle Sam gives GM $49.5 billion: $6.7 billion loan @7% interest + balance as purchase of 60.8% equity in company.

Uncle Sam puts an additional $13.4 billion in GM’s escrow account during bankruptcy.

In my math-challenged mind, this means the taxpayers have forked over a total of $62.9 billion.  (This does not include the $9.5 billion that Canada  “invested.”)

So how much of that $62.9 billion has GM “repaid?”  The initial $6.7 billion loan.

But … they need more money.  Knowing that another bailout would be less than popular, they’ve applied to the DEC for a $10 billion loan – at 5% interest, 2% less than the loan they just “repaid.”

As Forbes so succinctly put it:

In short, GM is using government money to pay back government money to get more government money.

If you or I tried this, 1) we’d call it refinancing, and 2) we’d get arrested.

Reality Check:. Because a billion has nine zeroes here in Amerika, I’ve used the” billion” word like the government does.  They do it to make it look like a smaller number.  I did it because if I typed it out each time, this post would be too long.  But here’s what it looks like just once:

1 billion = 1,000,000,000

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March 27th, 2010 | Author:

Chinks in the armor? I hope your mattress is well-stuffed.

For more than a year, analysts have been warning that record sized debt sales by the US Treasury were at odds with a 10-year yield sitting comfortably below 4 per cent. This week, the yield on 10-year notes jumped from 3.65 per cent to a peak of 3.92 per cent on Thursday. On Friday it was 3.87 per cent.

Chart: TreasuriesFalling inflation, rising unemployment, the housing market slump, the Federal Reserve’s policies of a near zero overnight borrowing rate and its purchase of up to $1,700bn in bonds have all helped keep Treasury yields near historic lows.

But this week the mood shifted as yields for $118bn of new US debt were much higher than forecast, sparking overall selling of Treasuries.

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Worries about the debt loads of developed economies have come into focus this year amid the crisis threatening Greece and other members of the eurozone periphery.

The fact that German Bunds have outperformed both Treasuries and gilts in recent months highlights this increasing worry over public debt. Germany’s budget deficit is much lower than the US and UK and inflation there is also expected to remain low.

“The spotlight on Greece only helped to reveal that the US’s kitchen – with Federal and state budget balances – was itself full of cockroaches,” says William O’Donnell, strategist at RBS Securities.

It hasn’t helped that the US announced a big overhaul of its healthcare system this month, adding to worries about the scale of US spending.

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Category: economics, Federal Reserve  | Comments off
February 25th, 2010 | Author:

If I were a gambler, I’d be taking bets that sooner or later the debt-ridden American economy will collapse.

If I were in a position to influence that collapse, I’d be a rich woman.

This, according to the NY Times, is what’s currently happening to Greece.

As Greece’s financial condition has worsened, undermining the euro, the role of Goldman Sachs and other major banks in masking the true extent of the country’s problems has drawn criticism from European leaders. But even before that issue became apparent, a little-known company backed by Goldman, JP Morgan Chase and about a dozen other banks had created an index that enabled market players to bet on whether Greece and other European nations would go bust.

Last September, the company, the Markit Group of London, introduced the iTraxx SovX Western Europe index, which is based on such swaps and let traders gamble on Greece shortly before the crisis. Such derivatives have assumed an outsize role in Europe’s debt crisis, as traders focus on their daily gyrations.

A result, some traders say, is a vicious circle. As banks and others rush into these swaps, the cost of insuring Greece’s debt rises. Alarmed by that bearish signal, bond investors then shun Greek bonds, making it harder for the country to borrow. That, in turn, adds to the anxiety — and the whole thing starts over again.

It’s  universally accepted that debt is required for people or businesses or nations to function, but with every loan the borrower gives up a certain measure of freedom.  I think it’s better to do without.

The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.

(Proverbs 22:7)

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Category: debt, economics  | 2 Comments