Denouement: As you listen to the politicians pontificate about having to cut Social Security remember a few things: One, these guys are too rich to worry about how much they'll draw in Social Security. Two, these guys do not care in the least that a majority of their elderly constituents – especially the women and those who chose not to be white – will end up in poverty. Three, they are far more concerned about making sure the very rich continue to be very rich than about raising Social Security to a reasonable level.
Here & There: Sweden, which has 4,852 of its 9.5 million people in prison, is closing 4 of its prisions for lack of customers. The US, which has 1,571,013 people in prison, would have to let about a million of them out to get down to the same rate of incarceration.
Memory Lane: Just a year ago, mortgage payments as a percentage of the average home buyer were in the high 20's. Now it has reached 40% and is still rising – levels las seen just before we went over the cliff the last time. Things that cannot continue generally don't.
After Many A Season... Spain, one of several poster children for the absolute asininity of the IMF/EU/ECB austerity nonsense, is now, after years of 20%+ unemployment, cut after cut to social programs and the nationalization of banks debts, is now in the midst of the final solution to the housing bust, with losses upwards of 75% of original price being routine. More suffering, just what the
Bribery: Boeing has demanded upwards of $9 billion in tax breaks as sweetener to help them decide to build the new 777X in Washington. They'll get it, too.
On Average: Johnson and Johnson are paying a $2.2 billion fine on $33 billion in income from illegal marketing Risperdal. This, the 15th such settlement J&J has made for tinkering with the nations helath for fun and profit, shows why numbers 16, 17 and 18 can't be far off, as long as the profits far outweigh the fines and no one goes to jail.
Danger! “The EU and US have begun a second round of negotiations towards creating the world’s biggest free-trade deal.” You've been warned; lock up the horses and bring in the dogs.
Up, Up & Away: Having lost ground for 40 years, 76% of Americans now think it is time to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour. Actually, $15 would be a reasonable number.
Nature of the Beast: Republican governors are already lining up to make sure their states get a share of the new $30 billion a year Defense procurement program. Just kidding. They are not lining up and it's not a Defense procurement program, it's the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare that was supposed to provide health care to the poor at no cost to the states for 3 years and at not lest than 90% of the cost thereafter. Defense good, poor bad. Any questions?
Honoring Our Heroes: In NYC, 40% of veterans need food assistance. It wasn't clear if this included all those vets Walmart is hiring at minimum wage.
The Parting Shot: