Monday, December 16, 2013

SAR #13350

Walmart does not sell moral compasses.

Things That Shouldn't Have To Be Said: “Poverty and associated income inequality can be thought of as big fucking deals even if they don't have any discernible impact on GDP or GDP growth. People may disagree about the appropriate social welfare function, but W=GDP is gibberish unless you truly believe that an economy with a GDP of one greater dollar is always preferable even if that "better" GDP involves Bill Gates earning all the monies and the rest of us earning none.”

Yea! Or Nay! Some teens rampaged through an empty mansion in Lost Angeles, doing $1 million in damage. It'll be interesting to see if they are too rich not to have known better.

The Big One, Edith: The bad news is that the supervolcano under Yellowstone is much larger than previously thought. When it erupts (note: when) it will cover North America with ash and change the climate of the entire Earth. It only erupts once every 700,000 years, but it has already been 640,000 years since its last eruption (and +/- 700,000 years before than and another 700,000 years before that one) . The good news is that you can only die once and the previously estimated size was quite sufficient for the task.

Asked & Answered: Does organized labor have a future? Define 'organized'.

Redistribution: In the land of the rugged individualist, economic times have gone forward into the past, a past where those who are comfortably employed have a responsibility to those less fortunate. It is not charity that is required; rather you should become the occasional employer of those who do not have jobs at the moment. Even if it means hiring them to do something you could (and often do) do for yourself. Do your share by letting someone else make a little income by making your life a little less stressed. No, not charity but a form of job sharing.

Enough Already: "Does anyone seriously think that people are saving enough for retirement?... So, why would anyone talk about cutting people’s Social Security benefits when it is as clear as day that the current benefits are going to be completely inadequate for a whole lot of people?”

Our Town: "The criminal-justice system functions primarily as an engine of racial and social-class oppression, as evidenced by the huge disproportion between the racial makeup of the prison population and the racial makeup of the country as a whole. The United States leads the developed world in both homicide and incarceration, and both of those evils land most heavily on poor African Americans."

What's Next, When's Next? Greece, Italy and Portugal are forecast to return to growth next year, while Spain has already emerged from recession and Ireland has ended its bailout program – according to the numbers economists and bankers live by. But in the streets the disconnect between economic data and reality is giving rise to populism. Right-wing extremism and anti-European sentiment will affect the European Parliamentary elections in May. If public anger does explode on the streets it will come from ordinary people desperate from five years of unemployment and poverty and hopelessness.

Subject For Debate: If overpopulation is the common factor behind most of our ills, and it is, is it wrong to say that benefits to families should not increase after their second child? Pretty much, no. Few if any kids are conceived for their monetary value and they should not be punished for the immorality of their parents' decisions.

Pointed Contention: What's worse about our economy, unemployment or inequality? Krugman and Klein and now Bernstein – all promoted by Summer's observation (seconded by the Pope) that the economy doesn't work particularly well – are championing one or the other. Or both. What's missing is the realization that inequality and poverty and unemployment are all symptoms of an economic system that is seriously malfunctioning. And “the economy as capitalism run rampant” is not fixable – it is on the way to self-destruction. And it's not just in the US; it is global. Too bad we have to live through it. Interesting times.

Same-old Same-old: People (well, politicians, pundits and some actual people) are shocked to discover that even under the ACA the insurance companies tightly controll access to doctors, insurance plans with affordable premiums have outrageously high deductibles, the paperwork hasn't gotten any better nor the lady on the phone any easier to deal with and the healthy have to subsidize the sick, and, and... Damn it, Obamacare isn't a national single-payer system. And that's the problem.

The Parting Shot:
 Convento de Cristo, Tomar, Portugal

1 comment:

TulsaTime said...

Yeah, I tried to tell someone that ACA might get you insurance, but it will still be up to you to pay the doctor and the pharmacy. They did not comprehend.

I know it's preaching to the choir, but the last time it got this bad it took a big war to break up some of the entrenched attitudes about poverty and inequality. And we did not have anything like Climate Change emerging from the wings to make things serious, just nukes!

Nukes were easy next to climate change, all we had to do was not use them. CO PPM will be the end of society and civilization, no matter what the US Senate thinks.