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Old 2014-10-08, 03:07   #89
kladner
 
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And workers in states which refused to expand Medicaid are just plain SOL.

What a nest of sleezebags scumbags(can't find a bad enough word which I want to use in this Family Friendly forum) the Waltons are!

Oh, OK. What a bunch of asshats.

Last fiddled with by kladner on 2014-10-08 at 03:10
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Old 2014-10-10, 06:46   #90
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They are doing a favor for part time workers in states with expanded medicaid. For workers in states like Alabama, it means many Walmart employees will now fall into the gap making just a bit too much money to get an effective subsidy.

The part that bugs me most is that they are passing the cost of healthcare off on to the government and therefore onto me and other taxpayers.

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Old 2014-10-10, 11:45   #91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
They are doing a favor for part time workers in states with expanded medicaid. For workers in states like Alabama, it means many Walmart employees will now fall into the gap making just a bit too much money to get an effective subsidy.

The part that bugs me most is that they are passing the cost of healthcare off on to the government and therefore onto me and other taxpayers.
The first part is absolutely true. As to the second, Walmart, and those with similar business models, have been playing "dump on the taxpayers" for a long time. Whether it's the uninsured going to the emergency room, or the grossly underpaid on food stamps, Walmart makes out at everyone else's expense. They even counsel their workers as to how to get public assistance. What marvels of humanity!
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Old 2014-10-11, 04:53   #92
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o Is the West Responsible for the Ebola Crisis In Africa?

Upshot: The U.S. Backed the dictators whose warmongering destroyed the healthcare systems in the pandemic-affected countries. An obscure old bromide about sowing and reaping comes to mind.

o Michael Klare: Obama's Oil Weapon | naked capitalism

A.k.a. "Why 'drill, baby, drill' is a bipartisan imperative in DC". Now were one an optimist (or in blunter terms, a delusional fool) with respect to US foreign policy motivations one might think that drastically reduced reliance on oil imports might lead to less US meddling in areas of the world like the ME - quite the opposite, I fear, as it allows the meddling/bullying to occur with less impact on domestic oil consumers. "ME warmongering without blowback at the gas pump" - that must be some kind of neolibcon wet dream.
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Old 2014-10-13, 01:28   #93
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End of an era: The NYSE floor isn't even good for PR photos anymore
Quote:
Shares actually traded on the Big Board's historic floor--actually three rooms, down from a peak of five, in and adjacent to the NYSE's headquarters at 11 Wall Street--amount to perhaps 15% of the total, maybe less. The rest of the volume is handled electronically, much of it via computers housed across the Hudson River in New Jersey. Even a large portion of the floor-traded volume is essentially electronic.

That means those emblematic photos of floor traders cheering the market close on big up-days, or more memorably staring up at their screens in dismay and horror or slumped in exhaustion on crash days, are flatly misleading. CNBC opens and closes its daily market coverage with shots of the bell-ringing from the trading floor podium, but that's pure theater.
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IntercontinentalExchange Group, which is based in Atlanta, bought the NYSE last year. As part of the $8.2-billion deal, ICE pledged to keep the floor operating; but the common wisdom on Wall Street--the state of mind, not the geographic location--was that the floor's value was "vestigial," chiefly as a PR asset. Now it's barely that.
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Old 2014-10-14, 01:04   #94
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Dang, I was kinda looking forward to the next round of traders-looking-up-at-the-sea-of-red-on-their-screens-in-dismay-and-horror which may be nigh at hand. (Or not, depending on the strength of the "animal spirits", or whatever it is that moves stawks anymore.)

=====================

Slumming It: The gospel of wealth comes for Dharavi | The Baffler
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No, the only real way to help the poor seems to be by purchasing what they make. “If you want to eat the best gulab jamuns [rosewater-soaked doughnut holes] in town,” Sharma suggests, “there are few better places in all of Mumbai than Dharavi.” And even unadventurous souls can patronize the slum: “The next time you bite into a soft, sweet, gulab jamun at a five-star hotel in Mumbai,” Sharma crows in her “Food, Glorious Food” section, “you will probably be eating something manufactured in Dharavi.” Suspecting that your dessert was fried by a small child tending a vat of boiling oil with no safety equipment would seem stomach-churning to many. But for Sharma, knowing the luxury products you enjoy were made in slum sweatshops is a way of supporting the city’s plucky street urchins. After all, these slum businesses are the places where “many thousands have prospered through a mixture of hard work, some luck and a great deal of ingenuity.” Exploitation never tasted so good.

Before long, this understanding of Dharavi had gone as viral and global as bird flu. In 2005 a short piece appeared in The Economist—surely the best shortcut to global conventional wisdom—entitled “Inside the Slums: Light in the Darkness.” It begins by describing the archetypal international business traveler’s first glimpse of India: the descent into the Mumbai airport over “a mass of corrugated-roofed slums.” Ah, but do not despair. “Hidden in [Mumbai’s] sprawling slums is a thriving entrepreneurial spirit that has spawned small businesses ranging from pottery to leather goods.”

The utterly unremarkable point was catching on—in India, poor people work! A few months later “Slum Inc.,” a human-interest feature in Toronto’s Globe and Mail, fleshed out the story line. Leading the reader on a deep dive into Dharavi, Canada’s paper of record intoned, “Yes, this may be one of the world’s bigger slums, but it is arguably its most prosperous, a thriving and productive business centre propelled by tens of thousands of micro-entrepreneurs.” Then came the statistic that launched a thousand PowerPoints: “Estimates vary considerably, but the collective economic output of Dharavi is as impressive as it is improbable: at least $800-million a year, and perhaps well over $1-billion.”

I have heard this $1 billion sum cited dozens of times and yet never—never—broken down into a per capita figure. So let’s do the math: The roughly one million people living in Dharavi produce $1 billion in goods per year. That would yield only $1,000 per person per year in economic output (which is then, no doubt, grotesquely carved up before anything actually gets to the slum dweller’s pocket). The Globe and Mail reporter probably earned more in a few days in India researching the story about hard-working Dharavi than his sources did by toiling every waking hour every day for the year. But what matters is sticking to the journalistic template, and so we learn, “These people may be lacking, but they are also industrious and enterprising.” The poverty may be atrocious, but they’re working like dogs.

To ascend from mere conventional wisdom to become an unconscious tic in elite discourse, the entrepreneurial slum myth needed just one more catalyst: celebrity endorsers. Enter Stewart Brand, the Bay Area guru who never saw a cultural bandwagon he couldn’t mount (his original claim to fame, on which he coasted for four decades, was launching the Whole Earth Catalog in 1968). By 2006 Brand could be found raving—first in his TED talks, and then in a book, a Wired interview, and more—about what he called “aspirational shantytowns.” As he wrote in his 2009 book, Whole Earth Discipline, “squatter cities are vibrant” (emphasis, of course, in the original). “What you see up close is not a despondent populace crushed by poverty but a lot of people busy getting out of poverty as fast as they can.”

Brand brought this swelling global meme to its natural crescendo: poverty is wealth. It’s like a fine cut of lamb, see. “What drives a city’s innovation engine—and thus its wealth engine—is its multitude of contrasts,” he observes. “The more and greater the contrasts, and the more they are marbled together, the better.” Actually, it’s more like a spicy lamb curry served up from Brand’s bottomless Crock-Pot. “In this formulation,” he continues, “it is the throwing together of great wealth and great poverty in the urban stew that is part of the cure for poverty.” And in this delicious metropolitan masala, even child labor becomes a hopeful sign: “They don’t worry about unemployment: Everyone works, including the children.”

Not only are shantytowns yummy, according to Brand; “squatter cities are Green” (capitalization, of course, in the original). And as everyone knows, anything that’s green is good. There are green prisons and green mansions. The richest man in Mumbai, an oil refinery magnate, lives in his own $1 billion personal green skyscraper with hanging gardens growing out of its walls. And Dharavi is greenest of all. How so? Because they’re so desperately poor, Dharavi residents can’t afford polluting private automobiles or much in the way of disposable consumer goods. Instead, like decomposers at the bottom of a food chain, they survive by recycling the things that richer people throw away. Dharavi is home to some thirty thousand ragpickers, scavengers who find and sort recyclable scraps from the city’s garbage dumps. Thus, Brand informs his Western readers, so proud of their own environmental righteousness, “in most slums recycling is literally a way of life.” As Sharma’s elderly source might put it, if they don’t recycle, they die.
Stewart Brand - he's like Charles Dickens without the literary pretensions and moral hang-ups. I am so glad Silicon Valley where I live is home to so many such "visionaries".

And in a somewhat more humorously metaphysical vein, one of my favorite regular posters over at NC offers a musing on mental escape from earthly suffering, the kind of thing many of the world's "slum-trepeneurs" must be life masters at. [And no doubt coming to a wildly successful chain of feelgood "self-help" franchises for folks like those who fawn over Stewart Brand's TED talks: Unleash the power of the scrappy slum entrepreneur within, or some such in-, ex-, trans- and aspirational gobbledygook.]
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Old 2014-10-29, 22:02   #95
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o The Land Grab Out West | NYTimes

o 7 things the middle class can't afford anymore | USA Today
Quote:
Bill Maher reminded us a few months back that 50 years ago, the largest employer was General Motors, where workers earned an equivalent of $50 per hour (in today's money). Today, the largest employer — Wal-Mart — pays around $8 per hour.
But does notorious Islamophobe Bill Maher blame this gutting of the middle class on the rise of militant Islam or on Wall Street and its pervasive financialization of the one-vibrant US economy? Inquiring minds want to know.

Re. new vehicles -- Hey, didn't y'all get the memo? We have a whole new government-sponsored subprime loan bubble for those.

Also, they left off decent housing and a decent college education for one's kids. Decades of cheap-money (in the form of government-subsidized loans) have made those wildly unaffordable for most folks, too. Mission accomplished!
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Old 2014-10-30, 08:59   #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewmayer View Post
o The Land Grab Out West | NYTimes

o 7 things the middle class can't afford anymore | USA Today

But does notorious Islamophobe Bill Maher blame this gutting of the middle class on the rise of militant Islam or on Wall Street and its pervasive financialization of the one-vibrant US economy? Inquiring minds want to know.

Re. new vehicles -- Hey, didn't y'all get the memo? We have a whole new government-sponsored subprime loan bubble for those.

Also, they left off decent housing and a decent college education for one's kids. Decades of cheap-money (in the form of government-subsidized loans) have made those wildly unaffordable for most folks, too. Mission accomplished!
There's more than an element of the IGG attitude to many of these observations. When I were a lad, I grew up in a family where, by and large, if you couldn't afford something you didn't get it. The lesson stuck and the only significant loan I took out was a mortgage for housing. And you tell the youngsters of the day that and they won't believe you.
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Old 2014-10-30, 11:21   #97
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As soon as a perceptible number of people demonstrate themselves willing to take out loans to pay for things, the cost of the things goes up to the amount at which the lowest-interest-available loan takes up some reasonable fraction of disposable income in perpetuity; and with the ludicrously low interest rates at the moment, you divide a reasonable fraction of disposable income by quite a small epsilon and come up with a number that is in principle impossible to afford without a loan.
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Old 2014-10-30, 13:19   #98
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fivemack View Post
As soon as a perceptible number of people demonstrate themselves willing to take out loans to pay for things, the cost of the things goes up to the amount at which the lowest-interest-available loan takes up some reasonable fraction of disposable income in perpetuity; and with the ludicrously low interest rates at the moment, you divide a reasonable fraction of disposable income by quite a small epsilon and come up with a number that is in principle impossible to afford without a loan.
I'm quite sure that is incorrect for many things. You may have a good case for hosuing but not, I suggest, for stuff such as foreign vacations, cars, home electrical goods and restaurant meals. All of those have fallen in price in real terms over the last few decades for most people in most parts of the deveoped world. Quite a few have fallen in deflated currency prices. My first home computer, a Research Machines 380Z, would have cost me about £2000 in 1980 or so. I couldn';t afford it then and got it only because it was a gift in return for some freelance hacking for RM. My wife's first laptop was around £1700 in about 1990. Their present day equivalents are perhaps a quarter of those figures.
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Old 2014-10-30, 17:18   #99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xilman View Post
There's more than an element of the IGG attitude to many of these observations. When I were a lad, I grew up in a family where, by and large, if you couldn't afford something you didn't get it. The lesson stuck and the only significant loan I took out was a mortgage for housing. And you tell the youngsters of the day that and they won't believe you.
They won't!

The mortgage officer was giving me very strange looks when I put down 80% of my home's price and borrowed only the rest. I paid it off, too, before the 2nd year of the loan was over.
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