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Member since: Fri Aug 13, 2004, 02:12 PM
Number of posts: 22,968

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Photoshop Phun with Eddie Munster and his Storybook.

This involved lots of Clone-stamping, a few layers and brushing. I was going to write "Plutonomy" but the "M" and "N" would have taken some time. Making a "C" is a little easier.

Meme-ready at your disposal . . .
Posted by HughBeaumont | Sat Apr 5, 2014, 05:59 AM (2 replies)

The Great Skills Gap Myth.


Seems like the Luntz-hatched phrase "Skills Gap" is the latest coordinated talking point du jour among Republican governors, U.S. Chamber types and corporate bigwigs. Horseshit. Just now, Indiana's governor Mike Pence (R - Idiot) was on CNBC trying to bullshit his way to excuses and bob + weaving around real unemployment issues.

Letís be honest, itís in the best interest of employers to claim thereís a skills gap. The existence of such a gap can be used as leverage to obtain public policy considerations or subsidies. So thereís a self-serving element.

But beyond that, several behaviors of present day employers contribute to their inability to hire.

1. Insufficient pay. If you canít find qualified workers, thatís a powerful market signal that your salary on offer is too low. Higher wages will not only find you workers, they also send a signal that attracts newcomers into the industry. Richard Longworth covered this in 2012. He explains that companies have refused to adjust their wages due to competitive pressures:

In other words, Davidson said, employers want high-tech skills but are only willing to pay low-tech wages. No wonder no one wants to work for themÖ.So why doesnít GenMet pay more? In other words, why doesnít it respond to the law of supply and demand by offering starting wages above the burger-flipping level? Because GenMet is competing in the global economy. It can pay more than Chinese-level wages, but not that much more.

In other words, this company in question doesnít have a skill gap problem, they have a business model problem. They arenít profitable if they have to pay market prices for their production inputs (in this case labor). Itís no surprise firms in this position would be seeking help with their ďskill gapĒ problem Ė itís a backdoor bailout request.

2. Extremely picky hiring practices enforced by computer screening. If youíve looked at any job postings lately, youíll note the laundry list of skills and experience required. The New York Times summed it up as ďWith Positions to Fill, Employers Wait for Perfection.Ē Also, companies have chopped HR to the bone in many cases, and heavily rely on computer screening of applicants or offshore resume review. The result of this automated process combined with excessive requirements is that many candidates who actually could do that job canít even get an interview. Whatís more, in some cases the entire idea is not to find a qualified worker to help legally justify bringing in someone from offshore who can be paid less.

Yet, because the media is purchased by this same incestuous cabal of profiteers, you're going to hear this "blame the victim" line parroted over and over until your ears bleed black. There is no "skills gap". There is only a gap of workers who know 12 computer languages, are polyglots, financial modeling experts, have PhDs and 15 years middle management experience, are 28 years old and are willing to work for $35 thousand a year.

Well, hey, it's not like they didn't try before . . .


Learning their lessons that deliberate takeover doesn't work, the financiers then relied on working a glacial inside game of Washington . . . and then purchasing the media. Starting with these two jokers:



And then instituting THIS asshole as Treasury Secretary and Chief of Staff to start the Wealth Tax Slash:


Oh, and did I mention THIS little bill, which relaxed thrift limits and allowed financial piracy to run rampant in the 1980s (When Reagan signed it, he infamously said "all in all, I think we hit the jackpot")?


Of course, Don Regan's "ahem" . . . "Boss", didn't help matters much with this previous action:


Michael Moore said that Reagan's firing of the PATCO strikers was the beginning of "America's downward slide", and the end of comfortable union jobs, with a middle-class salary, raises, and pensions. Moore stated that wages have remained stagnant for 30 years. He also blamed the AFL-CIO for telling their members to cross the PATCO picket lines.

President Reagan's director of the United States Office of Personnel Management at the time, Donald J. Devine, argued:

"When the president said no...American business leaders were given a lesson in managerial leadership that they could not and did not ignore. Many private sector executives have told me that they were able to cut the fat from their organizations and adopt more competitive work practices because of what the government did in those days. I would not be surprised if these unseen effects of this private sector shakeout under the inspiration of the president were as profound in influencing the recovery that occurred as the formal economic and fiscal programs."

In a review of Joseph McCartin's book 2011, Collision Course: Ronald Reagan, The Air Traffic Controllers, and the Strike that Changed America in Review 31, Richard Sharpe claimed Reagan was "laying down a marker" for his presidency: "The strikers were often working class men and women who had achieved suburban middle class lives as air traffic controllers without having gone to college. Many were veterans of the US armed forces where they had learned their skills; their union had backed Reagan in his election campaign. Nevertheless, Reagan refused to back down. Several strikers were jailed; the union was fined and eventually made bankrupt. Only about 800 got their jobs back when Clinton lifted the ban on rehiring those who had struck. Many of the strikers were forced into poverty as a result of being blacklisted for employment."

6 millionaire myths debunked: More Yahoo.com 1%er Propaganda.

Many people believe that ó while itíd certainly be nice ó theyíll never become millionaires. That itís an utterly unattainable dream.

The truth is: Hitting the $1 million mark is more attainable today than ever ó and more important. Thatís because, in order to live comfortably in retirement through your eighties, many people will need a nest egg of at least $1 million. ďA general rule of thumb is that you need to save $1 million for every $40,000 of annual income you need to replace at retirement, not including Social Security, pension income or any other retirement income,Ē says David Fernandez, CFP, of Wealth Engineering in Scottsdale, Ariz.

"More attainable today than ever". REALLY? Tell all of the shuttered small businesspeople by the thousands that. Tell the single moms of America that. Tell the indebted college students that. Tell the long-term unemployed that. Tell laid off blue collar workers who had to start all over in their 50s that. Tell laid-off Master's Degree and PhD holders that. Tell the STEM graduates who invested their money and did everything they were told only to come out to the worst job market in two decades that. Tell seniors that. Tell the average worker, whose average wage hasn't risen in inflation-adjusted dollars since 1979, that hitting the $1 million mark is realistic. What sort of bubble does this woman LIVE in?

The Myth: Millionaires Are Just Luckier

Millionaires are the luckiest among us, right? They won the lottery, struck gold with their very first attempt at launching a business or haphazardly landed their dream jobs with massive salaries. Not so: Pure luck is not a factor in achieving success. Rather, truly successful people make their own luck. After all, a million-dollar idea is worth nothing without execution.

. . . and she goes on to list an anecdotal situation where someone came from no money to become wealthy. THAT SETTLES IT! Conclusion reached, YOU'RE JUST LAZY, slackers!

The Myth: Most Millionaires Were Born Into Money

Another common myth is that millionaires were born into money or inherited it. But that's not often the case. In a recent survey, Fidelity Investments found 86 percent of millionaires are self-made. And among the more than 100 millionaires I interviewed for my book, each was self-made and only 26 percent of them said they even had connections to important people beforehand.

. . . and again . . . another anecdotal passes for supporting proof.

The assertion that 86% of millionaires are "self made" is horseshit, by the way.

The Myth: Millionaires Have to Be Fearless

Though it may seem like the only way to become a millionaire is to forge full-steam ahead and assume a lot of risk, fears are totally normal ó even for the ultra-successful. Fifty-seven percent of the millionaires I surveyed said they were scared before starting their own business ó scared of failure, disappointing their spouses or their families, scared of losing everything.

And yet, they still made it. Here's the thing. If I somehow miraculously made it to the million-dollar mark, I'm not going to sit there and tell someone that I made this money entirely by my hard work and good ol' fashioned gumption and yew can TOO! I'm no idiot. Economies can be just as favorable to a certain sector at any given time just as they can be unfavorable to others. No one has to like what I sell. Studies show that tech giants were all born in the same time period. It's very possible that their initial crucial first years were met with no landmines, personal or business. To discount luck in a person's success is being silly and borderline facetious.

Articles like this . . . it's almost as if they're making fun of us for not believing in this "American Dream" fairy tale. That rags to riches CAN happen ("can" being the operative word) if only we just all WORKED HARDER. It belittles middle/working/poor class struggle and reduces realities, hardships and bad breaks as "excuses".


Posted by HughBeaumont | Mon Mar 3, 2014, 10:16 AM (8 replies)

How the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Became the Greatest (Bumbling) Enemy of America.

The Politely Evil Empire: How the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Became the Greatest (Bumbling) Enemy of America


Think of the U.S. Chamber as your crazy Uncle Ed. He spent too much time listening to talk radio, developed a raging victim complex, and came to believe the country was being destroyed by sloth and moochery. So he formed a lobbying group to defend the one true antidote: free enterprise.

The national organization was founded in 1912 to bring a greater business voice to Washington. It was always conservative. It was against America's rush to stop Hitler in World War II. It called Franklin Roosevelt's remedies for the Great Depression, among them social security, an attempt to "Sovietize" America. After the war, it cheered on Joe McCarthy's hunt for imaginary Commies.


The group's guiding principle: If it might help regular people, the Chamber considers it heresy. Free enterprise should be absolutely free, this logic goes, even if it turns the country into Rwanda with nicer Burger Kings. Anything less is an outrage.


Soon the U.S. Chamber began sounding less like the apostle of free markets and more like the official welfare agency of the golden-parachute set. Donohue called for drastic cuts to social programs. But he also wanted taxpayers to bail out BP after its Gulf spill, defended the oil industry's $12 billion annual welfare package, and was outworked by no one in protecting Wall Street banks from too-big-to-fail laws.

"The Chamber isn't really anti-government," says Damon Silvers, policy director of the AFL-CIO, a federation of some of the nation's largest unions. "They just want the government to be subordinate to big business."

Great article, easy to read. Local CoCs are leaving the extremist RW CoC in droves. It's become a disease, one that affects this nation's progress.

OK, Explain This To me Like I'm a Complete Idiot, Part 13: Small Businesses and Min. Wage Increase.

So on FB today, random small business owner was griping that, in regards to his business:

a) labor costs are running 38-40%
b) a minimum wage increase translates to an across-the-board increase for ALL employees
c) barely get by, work 60-80 hrs a week, blah blah blah (because your average working stiff, of course, doesn't even come close to that Not belittling him, but don't make this a dick-swinging contest).
d) a 20% increase in payroll would mean he would have to increase prices 20%
e) mega-corps can handle the wage increase, small businesses can't.
f) 12 people would be out of work and he'd have to close down.

Now, while this is a concern, here are my questions:

Is this situation the fault of the government for trying to make things an atom speck fairer for severely underpaid workers or is this situation the fault of said short-term/short-sighted small businessperson for being under the mistaken notion that the ridiculously low 7.25 an hour insult would remain in place for eternity? Is the small business owner under the notion that workers in 2014 are paid too much? Fact after chart after graph after study proves that idea dead freaking wrong, and if you have workers with no disposable income, there will be no DEMAND. That's not "Economics 101", that's Common Freaking Sense.

I mean, no one wants an entrepreneur to feel pain or close down. That's not what the intent of this discussion is about. I just have to understand why these people thought that they could get away with paying people a pittance forever . . . and it IS a pittance. With studies showing that 40% of workers now making LESS than the inflation-adjusted minimum wage of 1968, it borders on idiotic to think that a proper inflation correction (which used to be sound economics and sound capitalism but is now apparently "SOSHULTITS" in 2014) is "asking too much".

Is it that they just want every other company besides theirs to get demand going by increasing worker's wages? Or should it be phased in gradually for small businesses, right away for large ones? Is that a fair plan or is there more to it than that?

RWNJ Kevin O'Leary on CNBC: "Let's take a state, and remove the minimum wage for a year."

" . . . and see what happens."

Oh, and he's also arguing that "the market should decide the minimum wage" . . . should that be 8, 7 or 6 dollars an hour. Yeah, that 6 dollar/hour figure is also from him.


Anyone who thinks a 7.25 minimum wage is too high . . . yeah, I instantly don't take you seriously. AT all. Suggesting lower than that . . . well, you need to look up the term "Not Even Wrong".

10.10 isn't even a proper inflation correction.

Oh, and Kevin . . . aren't you CANADIAN??? What do YOU care what OUR wage is or what our market sets or whatever? I feel sorry for the citizens of that great nation now belching out nutters like this . .. and Harper.

A meme for the terminally clueless:

Don't usually delve into the Wonka memes, but had to make this one for the "bumper sticker brilliant" . . . .

All this talk of Christie giving the Failure Fuhrer love reminds me of a great artist . . .

Villainous One Percent Dept: The poor should stop whining, says luxury CEO.


Bud Konheim has a message for all of the 99 percenters: You're luckier than you think.

Konheim, CEO and co-founder of luxury-fashion company Nicole Miller, said on CNBC's " Squawk Box " on Wednesday that Americans not in the top 1 percent would be considered wealthy in most of the world. He said the 99ers should stop complaining and understand how lucky they are.

"We've got a country that the poverty level is wealth in 99 percent of the rest of the world," he said. "So we're talking about woe is me, woe is us, woe is this." He added that "the guy that's making, oh my God, he's making $35,000 a year, why don't we try that out in India or some countries we can't even name. China, anyplace, the guy is wealthy."

Konheim's comments are sure to provoke the inequality crusaders. After all, here is the wealthy CEO of a luxury company that sells $800 sequined dresses and $250 clutches saying that people who make $35,000 a year should be grateful.


But as we all know, wealth is relative to those around you-and the costs of the country and city or town that you live in. Even Konheim would admit that $35,000 may go a long way in rural India or China, but it would be a struggle in many parts of the U.S.

Article was written by Robert Frank, the . . . are you ready . . . CNBC Wealth Editor.

Do we REALLY have a correspondent solely dedicated to reporting on and defending the extremely wealthy?

Can you say "Propaganda Arm", kids? I knew you could.
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