Friday, April 25, 2014

Coke or Pepsi?

Coke or Pepsi?

The long standing battle over which sweet carbonated cola beverage is the better is fought over a completely useless set of opinions. Indeed, which cola drink tastes better should not be the criterion for selection but which costs less. The simple fact is that whether by coincidence or by design, the price difference is negligible. The calorie content and the amount of caramel colorant differences are negligible also. The only difference that I have been able to discern is that I prefer one over the other. Maybe it’s the color of the can, or the celebrity endorser who makes the difference. At the end of the day, the only positive advantage of the media campaigns is that they both companies spend billions of dollars to edge ahead of each other. Now there is the real thing, a choice of any generation: spend lots of money to get people to spend a lot more. Force that dollar around another loop in the network of commerce.

Is there a true benefit to the contest? For the CEOs of the beverage giants and the stockholders there is a payoff for inching ahead in the cola war. Stock prices and quarterly dividends are connected to the point spread between the contenders.

If one company decided to suspend advertising, the two heavyweights would settle into some equilibrium where both could stop spending all the billions of dollars on ads and apply the funds to the bottom line for consumer price reduction, investor dividends and a huge bonus for the CEO and other top Execs. But would that benefit the economy?

The CEOs don’t need the bonuses and the investors would only use the dividends to but more stock and drive the market prices higher without creating any MMFF (Mining, Manufacturing, Farming and Fraud) wealth.

The consumer would not benefit substantially because he would spend his surplus funds on consumer goods or more cola. The downside would be the massive loss to glossy paper publications, television networks and the NFL. In short, the cola war sustains a high level of commerce that benefits an economy that doesn’t care how or why the money moves, as long as it stays in motion. Advertising Execs have needs too. They have husbands, wives and children too. They must be clothed, fed and sheltered too.

The economy needs its “fix” to appease its addiction. Every time the economy slows down, Alan Greenspan and the Fed would try to speed it up with an interest rate cut, only to reverse it again as the speed picks up. The health of the economy is measured by the speed of money movement. We want it to be fast enough to keep everyone interested but not so fast as to fuel inflation.
Author's Note: The book cover images in the side margins of this blog are my own publications of eBooks available at both Amazon and B&N. Please take a moment and go to the sites and read about them. Then if you like it, buy one or two.

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

The label Conservative and Christian

The label Conservative and Christian have been made synonymous in America by economic camps that seek to perpetuate their positions of wealth dominance and control of every facet of global life. The economic aristocracy, they who Paul Fussel calls the "top-out-of-sight" class, use every tactic that has been conceived to gather and retain influence that in turn translates into wealth and comfort for only themselves.

In their Prayer Book, everything belongs to them and every human being, every animal, all resources and land are theirs to exploit. Theirs is not a world of good and evil, love and hate, illness and health, satisfaction and dissatisfaction, life and death. These states of being are just not in the ken of the powerful ones who will accept the need to do anything and everything in order to maintain their commerce. Indeed, Commerce is Life to them. Everything else provides a means to their ends.

The labels Christian and Conservative have no intrinsic attributes that would suggest personal behaviors that the "Party of..." has co-opted them to be. The CCP (Christian Conservative Party) as the GOP and Tea Party Zealots may be more generically labeled, have used their alleged moral high ground to draw in people who want to be thought of as either Christian, Conservative or both. The purpose behind the recruitment is to use an easily influenced population to support the policies and actions that the TOOS (top-out-of-sight) class want to keep implemented.

Many times the message that the TOOS beam out to the CCP is only half or less of the complete message. For example, they cite Pro-life agendas for unborn fetuses, but when that fetus takes a breath (the metaphorical one foot on US~Soil rule afforded to Cuban refugees) there the concern stops. The attitude on pro-life is not for the viability of a born child, only for the unborn fetus. This is the same attitudes they hold about low-income working adults who continue to need food, shelter, clothes, medical attention. It is also the same attitudes they hold about seniors who are part the working age and need their supports to pay their costs of living. Pro-life should be pro-life in all ages of the human existence, but it is not.

It happens that CCP members can be induced to vote against their own and their brothers' best interests by enlisting "Pro-life for a fetus" as a rallying call while also taking away their employment bargaining rights, their pension and Social Security, their access to medical care, their privacy, their standing as a member of the middleclass. Just how colossally coincident is it that a CCP candidate who wants to protect the life of a fetus also universally votes to give broad economic power to corporations, while stripping environmental regulations, allows banks to gamble with depositors' retirement funds, and a host of other benefits to the TOOS who support their election campaigns to the aggregate level counted in the billions.

The TOOS class has been afforded an easy financial ride since the Reagan Administration when their income tax rates plummeted, ostensibly to allow them to create jobs for the middle and lower classes in America. The outcome has been even fewer jobs and the jobs that were created have been at significantly lower pay scales than before. Many jobs that were local were destroyed in the US and resurrected in foreign lands where the profit margin of a unit of labor is far higher.

When those tax rates were lowered below the revenue requirements of American society the costs did not go away. In fact, the costs escalated due to fewer gainful employment opportunities, a gutting of the education system that leaves millions of younger replacement people at a significant disadvantage, TOOS/corporate control of what food is available to eat and what unpronounceable ingredients are in it, and a monetized medical system that values monthly maintenance over cure.

The Treasury needed to come up with the funds necessary to pay the bills that were ongoing and unavoidable while seeking to support an ever increasing military budget. Not since WWII which was over more than 69 years ago, no nation has attacked the American people. Even the infamous September 11, 2001 assault was not a nation nor was it a sustained action against which the US military could expend the trillions of dollars of ordnance that it had stockpiles at taxpayer expense. It was more of a drive-by shooting.

The defense that the US military provides is one that the TOOS and the corporations need in order to protect THEIR interest against nationalization by local governments and insurgent disruption that saps the profitability of the resource exploitation the corporations undertake. The Treasury did indeed "find" the money to engage in global warfare and police actions. They decided to borrow it. They borrowed it from the Social Security Trust Funds to the tune of $4.8 trillion and the remainder of the $15.7 trillion of debt from selling treasury bills to very wealthy people, corporations and nations. TOOS class people have no concern for the existence or size of the National Debt. First off, it is to them and their accounts that the debt is owed. More debt equals more income. Second, they know that they can get Congress to socialize their losses if the payback ability goes sour. That "full faith and credit of the United States" thing is their insurance guaranty. While the middle and lower class people surely would be adversely impacted by a default in the long run, it would be the LOOS and the corporations that were most severely damaged by any failure of the US to pay its debts.

The problem is that we all are floating rudderless toward the waterfalls of financial insolvency together. The TOOS are calling out for the third-class passengers to pull harder on the oars to stop the catastrophe while at the same time not providing sufficient food to fuel their muscles to do the job.

A simple fact is becoming amply clear. The world itself is reaching the point where there will be far more ready-willing-able workers needing employment than there will be jobs available at sufficient pay to sustain their independent ability to support themselves and families. The TOOS never have had to deal with this. They do not rely on labor for their income. They depend on their capital to earn a profit to provide their incomes. Labor income has a mathematical limit. Capital income has no such constraints.

Although the people who receive Social Security payments and pensions do not fit the image of a capitalist, they do live on incomes derived from the investment of capital in the markets of the global economy. More and more people enter this realm of existence every day as they reach their retirement age. As this transition continues TOOS exclusivity diminishes. In order to continue to support the larger numbers of people who rely on capital rather than labor, more resources need to be allocated toward their needs for capital. This also means that the accustomed TOOS class will need to share more of the accumulated wealth that this land has here to now given up to the TOOS. This allocation does not sit well with those people who have lived their lives and possibly for generations in that luxurious lap.

So this brings us full circle to how and why the TOOS manipulates the CCP to benefit its purposes. Nearly every statement made by the CCP politicians and their narrow constituency is code-speak for "give the TOOS more wealth." Deregulation means private investors can take over a public function. Free-market economy means let business pollute, pay low wages, move jobs off-shore, and dump benefits promises. Right to work means no unions to get in the way of management's capricious and onerous rules and policies. Small government means too small of a government to supervise businesses in the risky things they want to do.

Same sex marriages, gun control laws, and abortion are all red herrings to divert the attention away from the corporate culture that is consolidating its control of everything in the global economy. To the people who call themselves moral and constitutionalists these three items are real concerns. The trouble is is that the people who are funding candidates for their own profit and power are using those issues and the people without really caring about the issue.