Thursday, August 20, 2015

SAR #15232

Cat/Bag: After six years and $4.5 trillion, the St. Louis Fed is beginning to suspect that Quantitative Easing didn't work quite like The Bernank thought it would. Actually, it didn't work at all.
Another Brick In The Wall: The Regal Cinema theater chain announced it will begin checking customers' bags and purses as they line up to buy popcorn.
The Long Road Home: A decade ago the idiots in Congress agreed with the idiots in the White House that the nation need to cut spending. And they've stuck to this pledge, even after the economy cratered in 2008 and the nation desperately needed the stimulus of government spending. Since 2009, state, local and federal spending, combined, has shrunk 3.3%. Over comparable periods in past recoveries (the ones where actual recovery occurred) spending increased over 20%. Economists knew this would happen. Politicians were praying to another god.
Fill In The Blank: Undercover Police have regularly spied on ______________ in _________ . In this case it's Black Lives Matter activists in New York, but conditions vary.
Third Time's A Charm: Indian mining giant Adani, which wants to export 60 million tons of coal a year from its Australian mine through a channel dredged through the Great Barrier Reef, has submitted a third plan for destroying the reef in the name of profit. Given the troglodytes in charge of Australia, sooner or later they'll turn coral into profits, so the world can emit even more CO2 to warm the world and boil the rest of the reef.
Progress: It seems that consolidation in the health insurance racket is going to mean higher premiums for most of us. Shocker.
Part-Timer: In 2005, then governor Jeb Bush's Florida moved $250 million in pension fund assets to Lehman Brothers, and then added another $1.2 billion. Then, in 2008, Lehman collapsed taking about $1 billion of teachers' and state employees' retirement with them. By then Jeb was no longer governor; he was working for Lehman, making $1.3 million a year. After Lehman collapsed, the hard working former governor found a job at Barclays that would give him time to look for another job in the government.
Eyes Of The Law: NY Governor Cuomo says that women going topless in Times Square are breaking the law, but that a topless Donald Trump would be okay. I don't know which law Cuomo had in mind, but he's sure got things backward.
Porn O'Graph: Big government boogeyman, ha!


dodahman said...

re: theaters looking into back packs. As a former theater owner, I agree with this. The theater owner in Co. is being sued by people who were involved in that shooting. Folks could bring in their own food and/or beverages, or I suppose a hatchet, etc.

Perhaps a purse/bag check place to store them would preclude the need to see the contents?

Checking the contents or a ban on them seem rational to me.

McMike said...

re stimulus. It's all basically part of the global neoliberal "austerity" program. Which, as with issues like justice and socialism, actually means enhanced stimulus for the rich, and austerity only for the rest of us.

I would be interested to learn more about the qualitative nature of the spending change. They are not only spending less, what they are spending is done in different ways: i.e. more "trickle down" type spending, via shift to contractors, war spending, etc.

In addition, we need to better understand non-spending government benefits, such as tax preferences (hello PE funds), refusal to bargain for pricing (hello Medicare), creation of mandated captive markets (hello ACA), protection from competition (hello doctors and drug companies), protection from liability (hello most industries), low interest loans (hello Fed), regulatory preferences (hello everyone), and government guarantees - de facto and actual - (hello banks and farms).

I would bet that non-spending government "spending" has skyrocketed. Estimates of the "value" conferred to the banks in bailouts can mostly not be calculated. I mean, how do you put a price on being spared the death penalty, along with getting a permanent Get of Jail card? But estimates are that the government directed $20 trillion or more in value at the banks. Most of it non-spending.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

McMike - I don't guess I've thught much about the government's "non-spending spending" in terms of the Recent Unpleasantness, but now that you bring it up, it's obvious that the non-austerity budgetary spending is a big part of the austerity-for-the-rest that we've been experiencing.

We do "need to better understand" this set of government benefits & would entertain some references.

Thanks, ckm

McMike said...

I am not aware of a comprehensive study on the question. However, there are many efforts undertaken to wrap arms around the beast under the heading of "corporate welfare."

Dean Baker is of course excellent in pointing out that not all spending comes in the form of spending.

I really don't know how to put a price on the favor the Feds did for Goldman Sachs in letting them convert virtually overnight to a depository bank holding company so they could access the discount window, or in bailing out AIG - the impact of that worth far more than the balance sheet of AIG. What price for retroactively increasing the FDIC limit? Or the short sale ban? What price to put on letting the mortgage fraud slide with a wrist slap (or Libor)? What price for the Fed laundering all those toxic bad debts off the banks' balance sheets?

What would our economy look like without retroactive copyright and drug patent extensions, or a use-it-or-lose-it clause on technology patents?

What would our economy look like if there wasn't an insurance cap on terrorism caused damage? If nuclear power pants didn't have a liability cap? If coal plants had to pay for climate damage? (or the home mortgage interest deduction and capital gains waiver for that matter).

I cannot imagine what the world would be like if our tax code had not rewarded the raiding and deconstruction of previously viable manufacturing companies. Two elements of tax code (plus some related actions on labor, trade, and securities law) are directly responsible for an entire tsunami of change on our economy that was deliberately exposed to pilfer.

Despite all the jockeying around how the government spends our money, that's only a trillion or two per year - or about a half-trillion per year in discretionary pork direct spending that's in play at any one time. The really big money is in tax policy, loan guarantees, and regulatory favors/forbearance.

kwark said...

RE Cat/Bag: This sort of stuff should engender outrage but the public is generally too ignorant and distracted by the Donald Show and other assorted BS to care - even in the unlikely event it is reported in the mass media.