Ned Pepper's Outrages

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ned's Fix For The Economy

Because none of the so-called experts have come up with a solution to our anemic economic recovery, Ned will leap into the breech, summon up the blood, stiffen the sinews and etc. Here is Ned's plan to rescue the economy.
Each month, the Treasury will send a debit card to every individual who filed a tax return last year with an adjusted gross income of under $250k. The first debit will contain $1000, and it will be augmented every month with an additional $1000. Here's the catch: the money will have to be spent in the month that it is allocated. Note that it is not a check, which could simply be deposited into a checking account. It must be spent. If there are a hundred million filers who each get $1000 a month, that would be $100 billion a month pumped into the U.S. economy, and it would go to anyone who takes debit cards. Now, Ned can hear some of his followers groan and jeer with claims of "impossible!" and "foolhardy!" and worse. But it will work. Here's why.
In a time of slack demand, issuing money to people who have to spend it will not be inflationary, and, even if it was, a little inflation is the cure for many things, as long as it doesn't get out of hand, like the situation that brought Ronald Reagan to power in 1980, and began the US's slide into mediocrity.
And where would the money come from? Ned can hear his skeptical friends ask. It would come from the Federal Reserve, which can print money whenever it likes, especially since it is not tied to anything like gold or silver. And, Ned hears, won't it simply drive people to buy gold? Ned replies that if people are so foolish to buy gold then let them buy gold and go to the Devil.
In short, Ned's plan will not be inflationary, and it will, believe it or not, not add to the deficit or the national debt, because the money is coming from the Fed not the Treasury. And, since the money will be income, it will be taxed by those states that have income taxes, and will be taxed indirectly by those which only have sales taxes, issuing in a Golden Age of balanced budgets for those states wise enough to have income taxes in the first place, at least.
Ned will wait patiently for his Nobel in Economics, which he expects before the end of the year.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Distasteful people, v. 22: revised already!

Ned is pleased to relate that he has encountered persons exhibiting the identical obnoxious traits he referred to in the abstract with one of his former posts, and he hastens to share these with his many friends.
* A dog lover offered this justification for owning dogs in Ned's development: "a dog is going to bark, and there is nothing we can do about that, as long as they don't bark consistently all day or all night." Ned relishes the self-indulgence, narcissistic quality and incipient anti-social attitude this individual expresses, and Ned is certain the person feels they are absolutely reasonable in their views. They added another gem: 'If we need to sell our house, and the only person who wants to buy it has dogs, we should be allowed to sell it to them." Ned asks his friends to appreciate the sense of this comment; to wit,'we both have rights, but mine are more important than yours.' A true anti-social sentiment.
* At Ned's gym today, he wanted to use a dryer, only to find that someone had placed himself in between both wall-mounted dryers, and was using both of them!
* At Ned's local Starbucks, two Millennials were using one computer and, so that they could more easily see what was on the one computer, they had moved two tables together, and were occupying both of them! This in a crowded coffee shop with no empty seats. Ned rubbed his hands in glee at this exhibit of self-indulgent, the-public-be-damned attitude on the part of This Flower Of Our Youth.
* Finally, two women were working side by side on two elliptical machines near Ned, and one of them jabbered constantly, in a loud voice, virtually without ceasing, for at least twenty minutes, such that Ned was almost moved to get off his machine and ask the offending women to please STFU for at least 60 seconds.
Other than these, Ned has had his usual placid day.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Tyranny of College Loans

Ned was in conversation with friends recently, and he had cause to remark that this year for the first time, college loan debt exceeded credit card debt, and his blood ran cold at the thought. Here is state government, which is responsible for higher education, refusing to either (1) fund the cost of a college degree for its citizens, or (2) to guarantee a job for successful graduates, which would allow them to have some chance of paying off the onerous loans without bankrupting themselves. Instead we have a system that incorporates the worst of both worlds. Students incur tens of thousands in loans and then can't find a job afterwards, wasting many productive years, years which the 'locusts have eaten.'
Ned asks his friends to consider how much better we would be with, say, ten million more persons gainfully employed, at, say, the modest average salary of $35,000 a year, all paying into Medicare at the rate of 2% of salary, and into Social Security at 13%. We would be hearing no more about the crisis in Social Security for one thing. The multiplier effect would mean that local, state and federal governments would rake in much more tax revenue, and our citizenry would all have the satisfaction of leading productive lives. Then we could go after the Sneering Plutocracy and the Paris Hilton Crowd, and take a portion, say 70%, of their ill-gotten wealth they have flayed from the backs of honest persons throughout the Western World.
But of course, Ned awoke to find, as usual, he was living a fairy tale.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Some Distasteful Things and People: Volume 22

Ned thought he would regale his many fiends with a preliminary list of some of the many things he finds distasteful and even repugnant. In no particular order, they are:
* Jackasses who shave/brush their teeth in a public shower
* Dog owners in general, especially those who say such things as 'I need an SUV because I have dogs.'
* Grotesquely obese people who order grande and vente sugary, high-fat drinks at Starbucks. God knows what they get up to at low rent places like 7-11 and McDonald's.
* The same fat people who wear tight-fitting clothing, aggressively putting their grotesqueness on display for all to see.
* People who drive around in parking lots waiting for a parking place near the door of a store.
*People who sit in idling cars talking on their cell phones.
*People (regrettably mainly those of the female persuasion) who can't shut up.
* People who must make a show of their mindless multitasking, such as women, pushing a baby carriage, while walking a dog and talking on a cell phone.
* Anyone who believes that the GOP makes any sense or is relevant to the 21st century any more.
* Cities that continue to raise Ned's property tax year after year.
* People with multiple children in public schools who expect people like Ned to pay their entire cost to educate their brats. Ned would withdraw this objection if the educatees showed any signs of actually absorbing any of the education.
* Men who run the hot water continually while shaving.
* Grotesquely fat people who ride around in motorized carts in grocery stores.
Ned wishes his friends a very good day.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Putting $$$ into the Economy the Easy Way

Moody's (whatever that is) reports that with the end of extended jobless benefits and various other giveaways, the jobless will lose about $37 billion this year, and it is feared that this will help kick the US economy back into 'recession' or even that other wonderful phrase "negative growth."
As usual, Ned is here to offer a common-sense solution to this problem: restore interest rates to where they were in 2007. What has happened since then has been the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars in income from holders of money market accounts, not to mention checking and savings accounts. Ned's friends may recall that, in 2007, money market funds were paying 4.8% interest, and now they are paying about 0.15%, which is so low as to be insulting. Let's assume that there are a trillion dollars in these MM accounts and checking and savings accounts, because Americans, with good reason, are too frightened to seek higher paying, but more risky, sources of income. If we were only getting the former 0.4% per month interest, that would mean at least 4 billion a month paid out to MM holders, and Ned suspects that much of that would be spent. Moreover, it would be taxed as income and not as capital gains, pouring more than a billion dollars a month into the coffers of governments, to support jobs and transfer payments like Social Security.
But, Ned hears some of his friends say, beginning to snivel and suck their thumbs, won't this hurt the housing market, and won't it hurt business and by inference, the Sneering Plutocrats who are its Captains of Industry?
Ned respectfully but indignantly rejects this claim, because "CEO" pay is already obscenely high, and business is sitting on more than a trillion dollars it isn't investing, and houses are simply too expensive: that is why the housing market is depressed, along with the fact that Americans don't have the wherewithal to buy them because their incomes have been slashed. And so we come back to the beginning: let's raise MM interest, and restore the Golden Age.
Ned wishes his friends a very good day.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Deficit BS

While Ned is no fan of huge and sustained federal budget deficits, he is more and more chagrined at the bed-wetting and thumb-sucking that accompanies warnings of catastrophe from self-styled 'experts.' To wit: this mountain of debt will crush us when the 'bond vigilantes' decide to stop buying U.S. government securities. Ned asks these pointy-headed 'pundits' what these persons will buy instead? Money market funds paying 0.15% ANNUALLY? Municipal bonds? Russian government securities? Confederate money? Wampum? Gold at $1500 and ounce?
No friends, Ned sees no imminent catastrophe in the government running a deficit and the debt continuing to mount, because the cost to borrow that money is infinitesimal. Five year bonds are paying 1.5%. This means every $100 billion Uncle Sam borrows carries with it an interest payment of $1.5 billion a year.
Ned is much more concerned with Sneering Plutocrats and the Paris Hilton Crowd living off our backs and lecturing us on austerity and the need to 'cut social security' and such other twaddle. Much better to raise taxes on these parasites back to the 70% that ushered in an era of prosperity at the beginning of the Kennedy Era, and then to invite them to bugger off if they don't like it. Ned hears that the newly created "Republic of South Sudan" is eagerly seeking "entrepreneurs and investors."

Warning: Disgustometer Readings High Today

Ned's disgustometer has reached a high not seen since the halcyon days of the criminal Bush regime, when it broke through its casing and had to be rebuilt. The readings today arise out of reports that the nation's obesity levels have reached all-time highs. The top nine obese states are all members of the Old Confederacy + Kentucky, which should tell us something, mainly that these places are generally unfit for human habitation. But we digress.
Ned was reading this news while sitting at his local Starbucks drinking a short Pike's Place. He has noticed that almost no one orders anything smaller than a "grande" which may help explain both an obesity epidemic and an unreported excess of disposable income. But we digress again.
What got Ned's ire raised to nearly unprecedented heights was the sight of so many disgusting fat people, of all ages, sexes, races and persuasions. And this in a state that was 35th on the list of obesity by states!
Another point: those who were most repulsively obese were the ones who seemed to flaunt their obesity by wearing revealing and tight clothing. A girl in her teens wore a tight green top, and she must have been 50 pounds overweight. A man had a tightly-cinched belt and shorts, the shorts exposing legs of staggering flab content, and the belt was cinched such that his roll of fat literally spilled over the belt and lapped on the abdomen below like so many waves on a beach.
And all this at a time when we hear of crises in health care, when 50 million of our fellows cannot or will not afford health care, and, more and more, health care costs are being driven by this epidemic in obesity, all of it avoidable.
ALL OF IT AVOIDABLE. Ned asks again: where is the guardia civil when you need it?

Monday, July 4, 2011

A July 4th Dedication: the Anti-Tax crowd

Ned would like to dedicate this July 4th to the anti-tax crowd, those brave seekers after truth that never saw a tax they didn't hate, nor a rich person whose ass they were not desperate to kiss. He understand them well, how they come across as defenders of the "freedom" and "liberty" of the Little American, but in reality he knows them for what they are, sniveling, bed-wetting toadies and rent-boys to the rich and powerful. If they had their way, every American not born into wealth would have to make the trek to the back door of their assigned Sneering Plutocrat's gated mansion and beg for crumbs from the dog's bowl, which would be thrown to them with a characteristic sneer, not of course by the Sneering Plutocrat, but by his overseer, a sort of Jewish policeman in the Warsaw Ghetto type who has turned his back on his own kind to taste somewhat better crumbs than his fellows.
Today's NYT has a fine article by Paul Krugman, describing the proposals of the anti-tax crowd to abolish the inheritance tax, and to allow corporations to bring their ill-gotten gains back to this country without paying tax, the excuse being, they would "create jobs" with it. Along with Krugman, Ned understands this to be a callow lie, since the last time this was done, during the criminal regime of George Bush, the Plutocrats simply paid themselves dividends with the money, or enhanced their stock holdings with buy-backs.
The argument often used by the anti-tax bed-wetters is that "self made men and women" built this country and are the key to this economy, and we need to nurture them, as Ayn Rand demanded in Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. But look closely at all of those "self made men." Let's take two: Donald Trump's daddy gave him millions to start in business as Ned understands it, and their latest darling Mark Zuckerberg, "creator" of that curse upon anyone with an IQ above room temperature, Facebook, was born to wealthy parents, a dentist and a psychiatrist, both obscenely overpaid professions, and Zuckerberg's father even hired a software developer tutor for his son! Ned is not making this up.
Ned would like to ask his friends to consider how Zuckerberg wold have prospered if his daddy and mummy hadn't been rich and sent him to Harvard. And how Donald Trump would have prospered if his daddy hadn't given him millions.
Ned would like to invite all those cringing, anti-tax bed-wetters to scratch the surface of any of the Plutocrats' asses while they are kissing them and note the favoritism, cronyism and inherited wealth that underpins the vast majority of them. And he would like them to recall why this country was founded in the first place, as a refuge from the Sneering Aristocracy and Slithering Priesthood of old Europe, and then to favor all of the rest of us and slink back into the hole from which they crawled.
UPDATRE: The NYT reports that last year, the average CEO's raise was 23%.