Category Archives: Economy

On the Plague of Middlemen

Still searching for the perfect metaphor or model for what’s sucking the life out of the United States. No question, the middlemen are to blame and, since they’ve been with us from the start of the European invasion, their corrosive influence is a constant and goes largely unnoticed. Perhaps a beneficial parasite that turns virulent is an apt comparison.
Anyway, the following is a post I composed as a comment on Dailykos.
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Poverty is not a happenstance; it is engineered.

A story from the Seattle Times explains how it’s done all over this nation, under the umbrella of one of our icons of probity. ‘Tis a timely story because, like the ACA, Dodd-Frank is under attack on Capitol Hill. Seems that, for once, our Representatives in Congress’ financial ignorance got some good legislation past them. Actually, for twice. Because the real core of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is also financial in that it targets the profit margins of insurance companies. Money has the advantage that it is easy to follow, if there is an interest in doing so.
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“Protection” — It does not mean what you think it means.

At least not in Glynn County, Georgia, nor, I suspect, many other places where duplicitous Republicans reign. In some instances, “protection” is a euphemism for extorting money that you shouldn’t have to pay out, if our public servants were doing their job. The Mafia and home insurance come to mind. Which is why, when the term is used by those whom we’ve hired to “serve and protect,” we are relieved to think that, at last, somebody’s doing their job. Think again.
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Sea Island: Is conspicuous evasion characteristic of our elites?

3034---4-3-15 Appears to be lawn chair equipment in dune

I have long disagreed with Thorstein Veblen’s castigation of what he called “conspicuous consumption” by the “leisure class” (people who do no work to earn a living and, instead, put much energy into amusing themselves and giving orders), because it seemed to me that showing off their “treasure” to the public, which could consume them without lessening the value of those assets, was/is not necessarily a social negative. After all, we have the historic example of the Mad King Ludwig’s castles in Germany, which still bring delight to foreign tourists and keep the local artisans’ skills employed in their upkeep.

The same would/could be true of the “Cottages” on Sea Island, IF the whole place hadn’t been put under lock and key (gated) in the last few years. Now that the streets and lanes have all been privatized, the tour buses are precluded from even passing by. Never mind letting their passengers explore their shores of the Atlantic Ocean in the relatively sheltered Bight of Georgia.
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Inferiority Complex

Now there’s a phrase that’s almost disappeared from popular discourse. I wonder why. Surely, the self-esteem agenda has not succeeded in erradicating it entirely. Perhaps a simple substitution served to negate an inconvenient truth — i.e. that inferiority is imposed or coerced.
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Here a Dump, There a Dump, Everywhere a Dump Dump.

Don’t expect Best Management Practices (BMPs) from people who don’t know what good management is. What’s increasingly obvious is that the high rate of bankruptcies in the U.S. is often the result of people not knowing how to manage what they’ve got. Except for what’s extracted from the worker’s hide, there’s little or not surplus because so much of any enterprise goes to waste.

We do know that, contrary to predictions, when industrial production has a mandate to reduce/eliminate harmful emissions and effluents, the profitability of the enterprise increases. But, even when that’s noted and reported (good news often isn’t), the report is likely to be in the context of the prediction having been wrong. That there’s a connection between avoiding waste and generating a surplus or profit usually doesn’t get addressed.

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Schneiderman takes a cut out of wage crime

From an email:

Fighting the Crime Wave of Wage Theft

The Attorney General announced that his office has obtained a more than $2.1 million judgment against the owner and operator of five Papa John’s pizza restaurants in Harlem for underpaying 447 delivery workers. The Attorney General championed the judgment as the “latest victory” in his fight against the crime wave of wage theft: In the past four years, his office has recovered more than $19 million for nearly 16,000 cheated workers statewide. The Attorney General also called on all fast food franchisors, including Papa John’s, to take steps necessary to ensure their workers are treated fairly and paid the wages the law requires.

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