SUCCESS, CONCEIT & NOSE THUMBERS
Perfecting The Technique For When He’s Grownup?
Tabacco: A truly Great Film in Film Noir tradition from European filmmakers. But this Post is NOT about the film. It’s about the fictional character, Harry Lime, in the film. Rent it, buy it, watch it more than once. Then read this Post!
When I watched the film, ‘The Third Man’, today for about the 10th time, I saw not just Harry Lime, but a whole plethora of real Nose Thumbers in our Capitalist Society. Why is Smug, Condescending and in-your-face Nose Thumbing so prevalent today, particularly among those, who achieve a modicum of success?
And many of those nose thumbers are regular attendees of churches, synagogues and mosques. Clerics are far from an excluded subset!
Screwing others is not enough – next we have to rub their noses in our Success! Humility is a Lost Virtue!
Tabacco has little doubt the most honorable, humanitarian people on the planet compose those Refugee Groups escaping former homelands.
Orson Welles (Harry Lime) & Joseph Cotton (Holly Martins) Stills From 1949’s ‘The Third Man’
Synopsis Of Harry Lime’s Black Market Activities
Once safe, Holly goes to the international police station to tell Calloway about his findings. Calloway, though now convinced that Harry Lime was murdered, is still indifferent and explains that it’s better that Harry is dead. Holly insists he is wrong, so the Major offers to show Holly why he believes Harry is guilty of racketeering and murder. Calloway then presents a myriad of evidence, proving that Harry obtained penicillin illegally, diluted it, and sold it to war-ravaged, poor hospitals, resulting in the painful deaths of many people. (Watered-down penicillin is not only ineffective, but it also makes the patient immune to future doses of penicillin, thus rendering medical treatment incredibly difficult or impossible.) Many of his victims were children with meningitis; the lucky ones, the Major says, died, and the unlucky ones lived and went insane. He shows Holly a slide of the hospital worker, Joseph Harbin, who he explains helped steal the penicillin for Harry. The police forced Harbin to give them information about Harry’s operation, but he has recently gone missing. Holly, now convinced of Harry’s guilt, is devastated by the news about his old friend and agrees to go back to America.
Classic Harry Lime Quotes From ‘The Third Man’
Harry Lime: Victims? Don’t be melodramatic. Look down there. Tell me. Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? If I offered you twenty thousand pounds for every dot that stopped, would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money, or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare? Free of income tax, old man. Free of income tax – the only way you can save money nowadays.
· Harry Lime: Nobody thinks in terms of human beings. Governments don’t. Why should we? They talk about the people and the proletariat, I talk about the suckers and the mugs – it’s the same thing. They have their five-year plans, so have I.
· Holly Martins: You used to believe in God.
· Harry Lime: Oh, I still do believe in God, old man. I believe in God and Mercy and all that. But the dead are happier dead. They don’t miss much here, poor devils.
I do NOT promote Murder, the Black Market, Exploitation or Harry Lime, but what he said (in my Title) was True! Wise admonitions often come from the mouths of Scoundrels and Liars. Never discount Admonitions solely on the basis of their Source! And never pooh-pooh a ‘Conspiracy Theory’ without valid analysis because there are Conspiracies – lots and lots of Conspiracies!
In today’s world there are No Ethics, Little Virtue & Low Class!
When folks commit morally reprehensible and socially indifferent acts, thumbing one’s nose serves as a Defense Mechanism for Guilt Camouflage! A Lack of Contrition & Absence of Apology are Insufficient; Victimizers must ‘stick-it-to’ the Victims!
Next we profile the Non-Fictional Worst Nose Thumbers of all:
This Post is also about Martin Shkreli, Drug Price-Gouger!
Martin Shkreli (/ˈskrɛli/; born April 1, 1983) is an American entrepreneur and financial and pharmaceutical executive. He is co-founder of the hedge fund MSMB Capital Management, co-founder and former chief executive officer (CEO) of the biotechnology firm Retrophin LLC, and founder and former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals AG. In September 2015, Shkreli received widespread criticism when Turing obtained the manufacturing license for the antiparasitic drug Daraprim and raised its price by 5,556 percent (from US$13.50 to US$750 per tablet).
On December 17, 2015, Shkreli was arrested by the FBI on charges of securities fraud and released on bail. He resigned as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals and was replaced by the company’s board chairman, Ron Tilles.
Mr. ‘Smirkreli’ In Congress Thumbs Nose At America
Embattled drug entrepreneur Martin Shkreli — who vigorously defended his decision to hike the price of a life-saving drug from $13.50 to $750 — suddenly went silent Thursday at a Congressional committee, smirking and grinning instead of answering questions.
Now facing an unrelated federal criminal indictment, the typically loquacious Shkreli refused to testify, repeatedly citing his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself.
Members of Congress launched into fiery lectures directed at Shkreli, whose previous company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, came under scrutiny when it raised the price of Daraprim more than 5,000%.
“Drug company executives are lining their pockets at the expense of some of the most vulnerable families in our nation”, U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, said. “It’s not funny, Mr. Shkreli. People are dying and they’re getting sicker and sicker.”
The boyish-faced Shkreli sat quietly at the witness table, clasping his hands tightly and slowly rubbing his fingers together as he was lectured. He smirked several times and appeared on the verge of laughter at one point when Cummings was speaking.
After the hearing, he removed any doubt about his feelings.
Pelted with hostile questions, Shkreli repeatedly recited a prepared statement that he would not testify on the advice of his counsel. He is facing multiple criminal securities charges over allegations that he took stock from a previous biotech company to pay off business debts and lied about the investment returns of his former hedge fund.
When U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, professed to be flabbergasted at Shkreli’s silence on drug-price-hiking issues, which are not related to his indictment. He told the entrepreneur that he could testify on those issues without incriminating himself.
“I intend to follow the advice of counsel, not yours”, Shkreli said.
At one point, Shkreli’s attorney, Ben Brafman, stood up in the crowd and tried to intervene. But U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the committee, quickly rejected Brafman’s efforts.
“No you are not recognized and you will be seated”, Chaffetz said.
After less than an hour, Chaffetz dismissed Shkreli from the hearing since he was refusing to say anything.
In a brief press conference, Brafman sought to explain Shkreli’s dismissive facial expressions, saying his client was just “nervous“. Shkreli did not comment.
Tabacco: By now even the dumbest Republicans must recognize PR PROPAGANDA when they hear it! “Just nervous” my ass! Was he still “nervous” when he did that re-tweeting later on at home and days before!
In days before the hearing, he blasted Congress and made sarcastic jokes on Twitter about the subpoena he received to testify.
“I’m not going to say anything other than the 5th Amendment”, he said recently. “They just want this to be a circus.”
You, Mr. Shkreli, are the Circus!
U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Georgia, the only pharmacist in Congress, said he supports free-market principles but was “disgusted” by drug-price-hiking companies.
“What was done here was different”, Carter said. “Perverse business practices were employed.”
The charismatic persona that Shkreli has cultivated — paying $2 million for the only copy of a new Wu Tang Clan album and setting up a web cam to film himself working — amplified the tension with Congress.
“People in my district are not on the Forbes billionaire list — they can’t buy Wu Tang Clan albums for $2 million”, Cummings said. “Like many Americans they struggle every single month to pay for the increasing cost of housing, education and health care. They live from paycheck to paycheck and sometimes from no check to no check.”
In addition to Shkreli, several other executives were also set to appear before the committee.
Howard Schiller, interim CEO of Valeant Pharmaceuticals, which has also come under fire for its business model and drug prices, cited the company’s recent price-cutting deal with Walgreens as an example of its responsiveness.
“We’re listening and we’re changing,” he said. “We have more to do.”
Are you impressed, Reader? Tabacco is NOT!
Schiller pledged that any future drug price increases would be “much more modest” than the increases that enraged Congress.
Tabacco: Notice he says NOTHING about ‘future drug price DECREASES’. He has the audacity and mendacity to talk about ‘future drug price increases’!
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.
What Shkreli did is despicable, but there’s an aspect to this that is being ignored. Some of Congress’ biggest donors are doing essentially the same thing.
Pharmaceutical companies are raising the prices of their drugs to astronomical levels — perhaps not as high as Shkreli, but for the same reason — and few in Congress seem as outraged by that as they are with Shkreli.
Hard to accept that these imbeciles represent the people in our government.
— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) February 4, 2016
American drug prices are among the highest in the world, and they’re going higher.
Congress has explicitly prohibited Medicare from negotiating drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. About 40 million people get their prescriptions this way.
About 20 brand-name prescription drugs have at least quadrupled since December 2014, while another 60 medications have seen their prices more than double in the same time period, Bloomberg reports.
Price spikes aren’t a new phenomenon, says Stephen Schondelmeyer, an expert on drug policy and pricing at the University of Minnesota, who coauthors AARP’s drug pricing reports. “We’ve seen drug companies raise prices before when new regulations come along.
We saw it when Medicare Part D was implemented. We saw it back when Medicaid rebates were implemented. We’re seeing it now partly because of the regulatory changes associated with the Affordable Care Act. Drug companies drive the prices up when they’re worried about the effect of new regulations.”
But some experts say the recent sharp spikes have all the earmarks of price gouging. “You’ll see a particular dosage of a medication shoot up while other dosages remain the same,” says David Belk, a physician in Alameda, Calif., who hosts a website called True Cost of Healthcare. “Sometimes you’ll see prices spike up suddenly, stay high for a month or two, and then drop down again, for no reason.”
But as long as drugmakers aren’t colluding in raising prices, experts say, there’s nothing illegal about jacking up prices.
It’s not the drug companies’ fault, argues Rafi Mohammed, a “price strategy consultant”, in the Harvard Business Review.
“Americans need to take some responsibility for deciding how drug prices are set, and they need to ask the larger question for the future: how should future pharmaceutical advancements be funded?” he says.
I believe in the free market and rarely advocate any type of price regulation. There are compelling reasons, however, to consider doing so for pharmaceuticals. The biggest expense of a new drug is R&D; once developed, the cost of producing pills is relatively trivial.
Most important, everyone in the world can – and should – benefit from pharmaceutical advancements, especially since the variable costs are so low. In other words, the R&D behind new drugs is a common good. Typical solutions to the dilemma of high drug prices include single payer (e.g., U.S. government negotiates “take it or leave it” prices for its territory) and price regulation (e.g., the government simply specifies prices).
These tactics will lower prices but don’t address the issue of paying for new pharmaceutical developments. How can we make sure that the cost of developing new drugs is equitably split among the various beneficiaries around the world? That high-price-paying Americans are not essentially subsidizing R&D for PhRMA multinationals?
A tethered price regulation is the answer. Regulators could pass a law that says neither American insurers nor government agencies would pay more than a set percentage above (or below) what other developed countries pay for drugs.
In other words, our prices are tethered to theirs. This accomplishes two goals. First, drug prices will be lowered for Americans. Second and just as importantly, PhRMA companies and other countries will be on notice that sick Americans are no longer going to shoulder a disproportionate share of drug development costs.
Tethered regulation should apply only to new drugs, not existing drugs, which were developed with the understanding that U.S. prices will be as high as the market can bear. We made a bad deal, but we should keep our word.
Not everyone is buying the idea that gouging consumers is the price of researching new drugs.
“We have no rational system in the U.S. for managing prices of drugs”, Dr. Peter B. Bach, director of Director of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Center for Health Policy and Outcomes, told CNN. Drug companies are charging more and more “because they can”.
In the United States “we don’t have a central agency, governmental or NGO (non-governmental organization) that engages in comparative research that comes up with clear statements of drugs efficacies,” Kesselheim added. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has no regulatory authority to do large comparative reviews of medications.
North of the border, Health Canada, Canada’s healthy ministry, has a drug review board that helps determine not only does a drug say what it will do, but how effective it is relative to what is already out on the market. This recommendation helps providers determine a price they are willing to pay for the drug.
Bach, of Memorial Sloan Kettering, said that when buyers can say no, for whatever reason, they can control prices better. In fact, Bach’s hospital refused the colon cancer drug Zaltrap in 2012 because it cost double that of a reasonably good alternative, Avastin. The company that manufactures Zaltrap, Sanofi, worried that other cancer hospitals and doctors would follow suit, so it halved the price of the drug.
“The current drug pricing model of year-after-year hikes is unsustainable”, Jon Rother, the executive director of the Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing, wrote today. “Americans deserve better than deciding between taking their medicine as prescribed and paying bills. A new market with increased transparency and competition will finally put the health care market to work for patients instead of against them.”
The people who showed up to get a little TV face time grilling Shkreli today are the ones who can eliminate the problem he represents any time they so choose.
It’s a conversation they could have had today even if Shkreli kept his mouth shut.
It’s even an issue that would be a good one in a presidential campaign.
CAPITALISM STRIKES AGAIN!
Evil no longer wears a ridiculous mustache or does the Goose-Step! Now Evil laughs in our faces and cracks demeaning Jokes at our expense. Why? Because to these Cuckoos we are a JOKE! Now read on – Tabacco has lots more Evil Nose Thumbers to expose from various Capitalist Industries & Rackets!
This Post is also about Donald Trump, Billionaire Bigot & Wannabe President!
Tabacco: I won’t bore you with any more Trivia about the Donald. He monopolizes Trivia and everyone’s TV sets enough as it is already. You’re welcome! (That is an acknowledgement for your sigh of relief and sincere, “Thank you, Tabacco!”)
YELLING FIRE IN A CROWDED THEATER!
This Post is also about Bernard Madoff, Ponzi Nose Thumber!
Bernie Madoff’s Mistake was NOT instigating a Ponzi Scheme; his mistake was using Ponzi to exploit Haves and Have-More Jews! Had he confined his Malevolence to picking the pockets of the Poor and Middleclass, there might have been some voices of Outrage, but Bernie would be out of Prison by now!
Bernie has learned his Lesson – but it may be too late! Next time, Bernie, Scam the Poor, NOT the Rich!
This Post is also about the Koch Brothers, Billionaire Right-Wing Brothers, who Bribe Legally (Lobbying)!
Can Koch Brothers Buy America While Laughing
AT YOU All The Way To The Bank?
CROWDS ON DEMAND ORG. – Crowd Or Hologram! Astroturfing To The nth Degree. Deep-Pocket Corporations & Politicians Or Just A-List Wannabes Can ‘Rent A Crowd’ To Augment Or Replace Loud, Numerically Impressive Genuine Public Support For Themselves Or Their Ideas.
If you need more on Kochs, do what I did: Bing (or Google) Koch Brothers!
CAPITALISM STRIKES AGAIN!
This Post is also about Art Pope, The 3rd Koch Brother!
THE POPE OF NORTH CAROLINA: Filthy Rich Right-Winger, Art Pope, Throws His Money Around To Politically “Recreate” The State In His Own Image – What, Does Lots Of Money Make Him North Carolina’s God!
CAPITALISM STRIKES AGAIN!
This Post is also about Kirk Cousins, ?Redeemed? QB
Slightly different from those other guys! Kirk has been verbally Molested badly by the Sports Jocks and Media. So when he finally stopped throwing 2-Interceptions per game and climbed to .500, Cousins
uttered yelled the now famous quote to NFL fans, ‘You like that!’
Kirk was dissatisfied with a modicum of silent success. Just like wide receivers, who catch a touchdown pass in a game in which their team still trails by 20-points, Kirk ranted uncontrollably in an attempt to redeem his own reputation.
Well, at least Kirk didn’t invoke that old ‘I want to thank Jesus Christ for my current success!’ If he had, I guess the losing QBs, on the opponent teams that Kirk defeated ‘by himself’, would have to utter profanities at JC for deserting them!
Where are the Jerry Rices when you really need them!
This Post is also about Rick Snyder, The ‘UNNAMED’ Michigan Governor, Who like Marie Antoinette’s “Let Them Eat Cake”, Uttered That Now Famous Line, “Let Them Drink Bilge Water!
Even as ‘Tea’ this Bilge is thoroughly UNAPPETIZING! You damn well know the Michigan Governor would never have permitted that Bilge to flow from his own Faucets!
Funny thing about all the Posts re Flint, Michigan, and the ‘Michigan Governor’, nobody seems to want to call the Governor by name. The Post I finally selected didn’t call him by name until I scrolled almost to the bottom! I think I shall call him the ‘Teflon Governor’. Oh, did I forget to name him?
This Post is also about Scott Walker, Minnesota Governor, Euphemistic Sophist & Propagandist, Anti-Union, Anti-Worker Capitalist Republican Politician!
Why Are These Politicians & Corporatists So Happy? And At Whom Do You Think They Are Laughing?
Brown Deer — Gov. Scott Walker Monday signed so-called right-to-work legislation banning requirements that private-sector workers pay union fees, prompting one business to say it will add workers in Milwaukee and another to say it will expand in Minnesota instead.
In a matter of weeks, Republicans pushed through the measure making Wisconsin the 25th state with such a law, giving a victory to manufacturers in the state and a blow to organized labor and some construction firms, which had opposed the measure.
A new fight now looms — GOP leaders in the Legislature on Monday said they would pursue changes to the state’s 84-year-old prevailing wage law, which requires set wages for workers on public works jobs.
Walker signed the bill at the Milwaukee-area factory of Badger Meter Inc., saying it represented “one more big tool” for attracting businesses and investment to the state. With the passage of the law, Badger Meter has said it would start making a new product line at the plant, hiring 12 workers in the coming months with the potential for more.
“This sends a powerful message across the country and across the world”, Walker said. “‘Wisconsin is Open For Business’ now is more than just a slogan. It’s a way of doing business.”
That approach doesn’t suit businessman James Hoffman, however.
The president and owner of Hoffman Construction Co. of Black River Falls told lawmakers last month that the change could harm his business, since a union for heavy equipment operators runs training programs that provide him with workers.
In a statement issued late Monday, Hoffman said he was considering adding workers in Minnesota now because of the right-to-work change, prevailing wage proposals and doubts about long-term funding for road building in Wisconsin.
“I am a fourth-generation family owner and am proud to say we have fifth-generation workers. We are a union shop by choice”, Hoffman said. “Over time, right-to-work legislation interferes with my company’s ability to have access to skilled, productive workers which I depend upon.”
The passage of right-to-work marked a shift in Walker’s position that comes as he pursues an all but certain presidential run. The governor said repeatedly during the intense battle over Act 10 — his 2011 law that repealed most collective bargaining for public workers — that he would not let legislation affecting private-sector unions reach his desk.
The governor tweeted his action through both his campaign and official accounts, but left Badger Meter without taking questions from Wisconsin media — the same approach he took on Saturday at two political events in the early presidential state of Iowa. Republicans have touted opinion polls showing that the majority of the state favors right-to-work, but it also inflames the passions of its opponents.
The GOP leaders who pushed the bill through the Legislature took questions readily about the change to a labor practice that has been in place in Wisconsin since even before the federal Taft-Hartley Act of 1947.
“What’s been happening is we’re reversing 50 years of Democratic control and the unions building on themselves. It’s a reversal”, said Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, making a nod to the historic changes made by Republicans in Wisconsin over the past four years.
Union leaders said the law will erode the clout and compensation of workers around Wisconsin.
“Governor Walker’s political stock amongst the campaign-funding elite may be rising, but it is the people of Wisconsin, who are paying the price of his unchecked political ambition”, said Stephanie Bloomingdale, secretary-treasurer of the state AFL-CIO.
Tabacco: Even in Republican Primaries, Walker’s Political Scheme has FAILED to make him Presidential!
Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) on Monday said Republican lawmakers also would likely make changes in the coming months to the prevailing wage law. But both said they were unlikely to repeal that law altogether as some GOP legislators have proposed.
The changes could include raising the project price tag at which the prevailing wage laws kicks in, requiring employers to pay a set wage to each of the different laborers on that job. That threshold is currently $100,000 for projects at the state level with multiple trades or professions involved, and $234,000 at the local level.
Fitzgerald said lawmakers might make changes to the thresholds, the formula used to set the required wage or other elements of the law. A number of state public works projects involving federal funds would still have a prevailing wage requirement because of a separate federal law governing those projects.
Vos said he wanted to balance the need to lower the cost of public projects for taxpayers with the need to ensure that the work also had a good value and wouldn’t need costly repairs.
The right-to-work law was passed Friday by an Assembly divided along partisan lines. All 62 Republicans on hand voted for the labor measure and all 35 Democrats voted against. The Senate passed the measure, 17-15, with one Republican voting against it and the rest for it.
Under federal law, unions are required to represent everyone in a work unit, even those who don’t belong to the labor group. The only exception to that rule would be advisory “members only” unions, with which employers do not have a legal duty to bargain.
“Wisconsin now joins 24 other states in recognizing what should be a basic fundamental right”, Vos said.
Five union protesters outside Walker’s bill signing sharply disagreed, saying the measure showed disregard for workers.
“We own the streets. We need to press these issues. The way we have allowed this to unravel has been tragic”, said Milwaukee bus driver and union activist Jerry Papa.
Economists say some studies suggest that right-to-work laws tend to produce some additional investment and jobs in a state’s manufacturing sector, somewhat lower wages for those jobs and less funding for unions as some members choose not to pay dues. They provide a separate boost to the take-home pay of workers who choose not to pay fees to their union.
Rich Meeusen, the president, chief executive and chairman of Badger Meter Inc., stepped forward last week as the first business executive to counter a coalition of hundreds of construction company officials who have argued against passing right-to-work.
Meeusen said his Milwaukee workforce has stayed flat over the past decade at about 450 even as the company’s employment worldwide has increased by 40% to 1,400, up from 1,000. If right-to-work passes, Meeusen said, he would add a production line for a new water meter in Milwaukee rather than at the company’s Nogales, Mexico, facility.
President Barack Obama accused Walker of claiming “victory over working Americans”, and says Walker should do more to help working-class Americans “by taking meaningful action to raise their wages and offer them … paid leave.”
Obama says the new law is part of “a sustained, coordinated assault on unions, led by powerful interests and their allies in government.”
Make no mistake, Folks, the Sole Purpose of Right-To-Work Legislation is to CRIPPLE LABOR UNIONS! If you work for a living and can throw a 95mph fastball, hit a curve 425-feet, shoot 3-pointers at 45%, QB an NFL team to the Superbowl, play Chopin like nobody’s business, discover a cure for Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), are CEO of a Fortune 50 Corporation etc. etc., you don’t need a Union, although you probably do have an Agent.
But if you work on an Assembly Line, clerical, restaurant, construction, maintenance, nursing, or other physical labor jobs, how effective will you Negotiate your own Raise without a Labor Union? Mind you, Unions are far from Perfect, but Negotiating your own Contract without a Union is like Negotiating a Sports Contract without an Agent. Nobody with a brain would do it!
Enter Scott Walker! The Working People of Minnesota, who voted Republican, ought to have Full Frontal Lobotomies! They should ask themselves individually, “Who is going to represent ME now that the Unions are rendered helpless?”
Now you know why those folks are laughing in the picture, and you know at whom their laughs are directed! See how happy ignorant Minnesota Voters have made those Nose Thumbers! So who really are the Cuckoos here?
This Post is also about AUSTERITY, Western Capitalists Plot To Create Residual Loans / Perpetual Profits! Just One More Nose Thumbing Capitalist Dirty Trick!
Tabacco: AUSTERITY was devised, not to solve the Problems of countries like Puerto Rico and Greece, but to EXACERBATE DEBT CRISES in those countries, which take Loans from European EU and American WB/IMF/WTO!
Every Money Lender, Every Corporate Entity, Every Capitalist Organization knows the way to Perpetual Profits is through RESIDUALS or DERIVATIVES!
If the Product you peddle lasts too long or completely Negates/ Permanently Cures the Problem, you CUT YOUR OWN THROAT! Why do you think Computer Software is repeatedly Upgraded? Why do you think automobile manufacturers change the style of vehicles annually?
If you sell milk, bread, cereal, canned soup, cakes, chicken, or other food product, there is NO PROBLEM! Why not? Because ‘You can’t have your cake and eat it too!’ Once you eat the food, you must buy more food!
Consumers, who use a product such as a telephone, a computer or an automobile for 30 to 40-years, are NOT what Vendors want! That’s why they build in OBSOLENCE! Even if that Car still runs well, they want you to be ashamed for driving a 1980s model! And they ADVERTISE the hell out of their new models so even those, who buy last year’s model at a reduced price, are perceived as driving ‘last year’s used car’, and everyone will spot your car as a RELIC because everybody watches TV.
Of course the minute you drive that new model off the dealer’s lot, your ‘new’ model is ‘USED’! Madison Avenue knows how dumb Consumers are!
So if Greece and Puerto Rico could SOLVE THEIR FINANCIAL QUAGMIRES by taking out a Single Loan, guess which Lenders would put themselves OUT-OF-BUSINESS fast!
To CREATE RESIDUALS or DERIVATIVES, these Lenders build-in Untenable Requirements – such as AUSTERITY – that force these Countries to need Future Loans just to help payoff the Initial Loan. Of course this becomes a NEVERENDINGCIRCLE!
Crisis Circular Argument/Borrowing
Today that history has caught up with the island. Puerto Rico—an unincorporated territory of the United States with 3.5 million US citizen residents who do not have the right to vote for president or representation in Congress—is making headlines these days because of its inability to pay a $72 billion debt owed to holders of its devalued bonds, often issued through such entities as the infamous PREPA, the electrical power authority. The threat of default was signaled by Governor Alejandro García Padilla’s admission last week to The New York Times that the debt was “not payable.”
The debt crisis, which has spurred comparisons to Argentina, Detroit, and, of course, the recent tumultuous events in Greece, occurs at the climax of a local recession that began in 2006, two years before the Great Recession, and is accompanied by other bad news. Because of the government’s shrinking tax base and huge debt-service expense, a sales tax of 11.5 percent—higher than in any state in the Union—has been imposed. Hundreds of schools are closing, and more than 31,000 jobs have been lost since García Padilla took office two and a half years ago. A healthcare crisis is looming because of a proposed cut of $150 million in Medicare Advantage reimbursements. The unemployment rate, now more than 13 percent, is bad, but it pales in comparison to a dismal workforce participation rate of around 40 percent—far worse than the US rate, which is itself at a 38-year low of 62.6 percent. As a result, the island is in the throes of a persistent depopulation, with about 200,000 migrating to the mainland over the past decade.
What Puerto Rico has in common with Greece is that it is a peripheral economy that has been invaded by hedge funds and pushed, by speculation and ballooning debt-service payments, to its limits. But since Puerto Rico’s banks are tied to the US Federal Reserve and not its own government, there is no bank panic. What it has in common with Detroit is a history of inefficient administrations that borrowed to pay for pension payments and services, but, unlike municipalities in the 50 states, Puerto Rico cannot declare bankruptcy. Its territorial status also made its bonds triple-tax-exempt for any buyer, adding to the lure of their high yield and fueling the desires of an erratic muni bond market for paper that would quickly become junk.
García Padilla’s announcement came about a year after he passed a law to restructure the debt, which was struck down in court in February (on Tuesday the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston upheld the decision on appeal, citing a 1984 decision by Congress that excludes US territories from Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection). He simply came to the conclusion that with zero economic growth and a debt-to-GDP ratio of about 100 percent, the situation was untenable. “This is not politics, this is math,” he said. The moderate mainstream holds that the island’s only recourse—a path that is supported by presidential candidates like Democrats Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley, independent Bernie Sanders, and Republican Jeb Bush—is to petition Congress to change the bankruptcy laws so that Puerto Rico would be allowed to file.
But even if bankruptcy protection were granted, it would most likely entail painful austerity measures. The recommendations of last week’s Krueger Report, “Puerto Rico: A Way Forward,” commissioned by Puerto Rico’s government and put together by several current and former IMF employees, are clearly along those lines. Among other things, the report recommended shrinking the size of the government, lowering the minimum wage, and trimming federal entitlements—including Medicaid and Medicare, which would be a particularly dire step, since 2 million people, or roughly 60 percent of Puerto Rico’s residents, depend on those programs. The report also recommended making it more difficult to get overtime pay—on the same week that President Obama expanded it for US mainland workers. For its part, the Obama administration is saying that no bailout is being contemplated, although it is urging Congress to consider changing the law to allow Puerto Rico to declare bankruptcy. Last February, Pedro Pierluisi, the resident commissioner of Puerto Rico, who is the island’s non-voting representative in Congress and a member of both the pro-statehood party and the US Democratic Party, introduced HR 870, which would accomplish that. The bill has not made much progress, however; the latest action was in March, when it was referred to the Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law. Most House Republicans are against the measure, considering it a bailout, despite the fact that most of Puerto Rico’s pro-statehood party is affiliated with the GOP, most notably Alaska’s Don Young.
In his telecast speech on June 30, García Padilla said he was not in favor of lowering wages, but he also said he would push for “legislation to make our laws more competitive” to promote job creation, which is code for doing just that. What many left-leaning Puerto Rican economists and political theorists are saying is that they agree, as the Krueger Report says, that the island’s economy has deep structural problems. It’s the report’s remedy that they disagree with, especially when it’s been shown that austerity in times of recession tends to depress economies further.
Austerity Countries’ DEATH SPIRAL
When Puerto Rico’s manufacturing productivity plateaued and outmigration created record-low participation in the workforce, instead of imposing austerity measures on the territory, the federal government just continued to fulfill its legal obligation to provide the people with a social safety net.
And how terrible is that, really? The safety net is there to protect people, not places. If a regional economy is left stranded by the shifting tides of globalization, well, that’s going to happen now and then. What’s important is that workers be able to find opportunities somewhere, and that those unable for whatever reason to take advantage of these opportunities be protected from extreme hardship.
There is, of course, the problem of maintaining public services for those who remain. Compared with Europe, America benefits hugely from having an integrated national budget – but it’s not integrated enough to deal with really big regional shocks. And Puerto Rico faces some risk of a death spiral in which the emigration of working-age residents undermines the tax base for those who are left, and deteriorating public services then lead to even more emigration.
What this tells us, in turn, is that even for a part of the United States, too much austerity can be self-defeating. It would, in particular, be a terrible idea to give the hedge funds that have scooped up much of Puerto Rico’s debt what they want — basically to destroy the island’s education system in the name of fiscal responsibility.
This Post is also about LEONA HELMSLEY, Queen of Mean & One Of The Only Honest Rich People In America
Need I Say More!
This Post is also about MAN, WHO SENT NOSE THUMBING SELFIE TO POLICE because he didn’t like his mugshot
Now! Isn’t that better!
A man Ohio police say sent them a selfie because he didn’t like the mugshot they were using has been arrested in the Florida panhandle.
Police caught the guy who sent them a different picture because he didn’t like the mugshot they posted. Gillian Pensavalle (@GillianWithaG) explains.
PS Man’s name is Donald Pugh, age 45
I wonder if he mailed the Update from Florida!
Will that kid at the top grow up to thumb his nose at you? Will he be a Republican Elitist? Or will he find himself on the other end of Nose Thumbing?
Incidentally, Switzerland’s Humble Contribution
Tabacco: I consider myself both a funnel and a filter. I funnel information, not readily available on the Mass Media, which is ignored and/or suppressed. I filter out the irrelevancies and trivialities to save both the time and effort of myReaders and bring consternation to the enemies of Truth & Fairness! When you read Tabacco, if you don’t learn something NEW, I’ve wasted your time.
Tabacco is not a blogger, who thinks; I am a Thinker, who blogs. Speaking Truth to Power!
In 1981′s ‘Body Heat’, Kathleen Turner said, “Knowledge is power”.
T.A.B.A.C.C.O. (Truth About Business And Congressional Crimes Organization) – Think Tank For Other 95% Of World: WTP = We The People