Wednesday, July 3, 2013

SAR #13184

Does NSA have a No-Pry list, to protect the 1%?

Global Reach: The President's plane, carrying him home from a state visit abroad, was forced to land in a third country and summarily searched for contraband. This sort of violation of international diplomatic rules hasn't occurred since the US invaded Panama and carried its president off to jail in the US. Unfortunately NSA leaker Snowden was not on Bolivian President Morales' plane from Moscow when the US had it forced down and searched in Vienna. But he might have been, based on some intercepted communications that the US claims justified the kidnapping.

Good News Bad News, Etc: Factory orders rose a tad more than expected and previous reports were revised upward. This economic good news was bad enough to upset the market rise that had greeted the collapse of the ISM data. The stock markets – and the financial center bankers - are excellent judges of the real economy and understand that if the real economy (out where most of America lives) picks up, Bernanke will stop giving them free money. Is there a bad smell in the air?

Regurgitation: The EU and IMF have given Greece until Friday to convince them that additional austerity will be imposed, more money will be delivered to German banks by selling off more Greek infrastructure, and that Greeks will learn to grovel more sincerely. Or no money, and the IMF will take its IOUs and go home.

Gospel: Home prices rose 12.6% Y/Y in May, the largest jump since February 2006. This is good news for sellers. But mortgage rates jumped to 4.46% (up from 3.3% in January). This is bad news for buyers. Realtors pretend that mortgage rates will soon reach 6% and prices will continue to zoom, so you better buy more house than you can afford now, now, now.

Gimme A Break: If you were a corporation, you could lower your tax bill by over 60%. US corporations, which are supposedly taxed at 35% on their profits, pay on average just 12.6%. Except Apple and a handful of other who do not pay any at all.

Testing, Testing: There are six reasons why tax reform will not happen: #1 The rich make the rules. For #2 thru 6, see #1.

Payroll Tax: Some American companies have begun paying their workers via debit cards – which is more convenient for the companies, more expensive and more of a hassel for the workers – who have to pay fees to get their money from the bank, and gives the banks another way to suck blood from the working stiffs. Ain't the profit motive neat?

Backgrounder: If you want to understand where Egypt's been and where it's heading, read Juan Cole.

Sausage: The Senate's 'border security plan' included in the immigration reform measure may or may not improve border security, but it will deliver tens of millions to specific defense companies. Mostly to those with captive Senators. The same logic is behind Obama's 'Power Africa' plan, which is really a “let's give GE $9 billion” plan. Don't you wish you had dibs on a Congressman?

Economics 101: A Senate investigation has discovered that for-profit colleges make a profit. They rake in $32 billion a year from the taxpayer in student aid – mostly because they charge more than state schools and yet spend far less on frills such as teaching. Most of their students drop out before they learn how badly they, and you, have been conned.

Fun And Games: Expect the nonsense in Washington to continue, because one side – the GOP – has absolutely no interest  in changing things or actually solving any of our problems. The Senate, with its huge rural/white bias, gives the Republican Senators far more power than their constituent populations would reasonable provide, and the Republicans in the house are sitting in Democratic-proof seats and and can be challenged only by well financed candidates farther to the right than they are. Why would a currently serving Republican do anything to change ideologically just because he is no longer in step with his constituents (or reality), when most of them have relative electoral security until after 2020, especially when the money flows to them from the far reaches of the far right? Yes, Republicans will have a serious problem in the future; they don't live there and neither do you.

The Parting Shot:


Summer snow – Queen Anne’s Lace.


Anonymous said...

Assuming a legit debit card. It must be cheaper than going to the Paday loan people.


Thom Foolery said...

Payroll Tax

Reminds me of my two years living in one of the more destitute parts of Oakland, CA. No grocery stores, but lots of quickie marts with less fresh produce, more junk food, and higher prices. No banks, but lots of check cashing places with fees that would make a loan shark blush. Poverty is expensive for the poor, but it makes the rich richer every minute.

Thom Foolery said...

Payroll Tax

I also have to note the unfortunate photo of the 27 year old mother and former McDonald's employee in the article. I say "unfortunate" because the photo includes her enormous flat screen TV, and I can imagine all the people out there (cuz I'm one of 'em) wondering why this (single?) mom who works for poverty wages purchased an enormous, extravagant flatscreen TV when she doesn't even have a bank account. Modern "conservatives" are right about peoples' misplaced priorities (even if they are wrong about everything else).

Anonymous said...

Pay by debit card.

Just wait until WALMART or one of the other big Predators figure out that they should issue their own currency or pay card. Sign deals with other Predators which supply human basics such as food, energy, shelter, entertainment, etc. Currency/card is then good only with those other Predators. Maybe give Slaves 10% or so discretionary spending money that can be used outside the Predator system.

TulsaTime said...

walmrt is already the company store for poor folk, and SNAP comes on a plasti-card now, probly not long before SSI bennies come that way too, everything old is new again

we will need a really nasty crunch to break up the support structure for the fix we are in now, i used to think they couldn't get away with another bank refloat, but there is nobody capable or interested in stopping another one

Drew Dowdell said...

I'm curious how it is actually cheaper for employers than direct deposit. Direct Deposit is very inexpensive, costing about $15 per 10 employees per payroll issuance. ....

... the only way would be...

.. no... they wouldn't!... They couldn't!!!

the only way these cards are cheaper is...

..if the employers are getting kick backs from the card issuers.

AHH! There it is! The Profit Motive! Screw the employees, enrich the banks and enrich the business owners!

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Well that's certainly what I suspected all along - the banks pay the companies to use the debit cards and make it back, with profit, from the schleps.