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BeyondGeography's Journal
BeyondGeography's Journal
August 29, 2018

Millennials don't suck at voting

Turnout among 18-29 year olds was 50 percent in 2016. That's not terrible, historically speaking.

The first election 18-year-olds could vote, participation in that group was 58 percent (1972), which remains the all-time high.

2000 was the low point at 40 percent. Obama 08 pushed the number up to 52 percent and it went down to 49 percent in 2012. Of course, those are presidential year numbers.

60 percent of them (18-29) voted for Obama in 2012 and 55 percent went for HRC. In 2000, Gore and and Bush tied among 18-24 year-olds at 47 percent. Our buddy Ralph Nader got 5 percent.

Anyway, the kids are alright. I've got a couple of them myself. They vote. They march. They volunteer. One of them does complain about her tax bite though...Can't take these kids for granted.

August 24, 2018

End Stock Buybacks, Save the Economy

Since the 1980s, corporate boards in the United States have embraced as dogma the position that companies should be run primarily for the benefit of their shareholders. The stranglehold of this doctrine of “shareholder-value maximization” over corporate decision making has been a leading cause of inequitable incomes, unstable employment, and sagging productivity.

The principal tool for extracting value from companies and handing it to shareholders is the stock buyback, which usually boosts a company’s stock price. Buybacks are favored by top executives, who are paid primarily in stock options and stock awards, and encouraged by ever-more-powerful hedge-fund activists. From 2008 to 2017, 466 S.&P. 500 companies distributed $4 trillion to shareholders as buybacks, equal to 53 percent of profits, along with $3.1 trillion as dividends.

...Corporations already had a way to provide a yield to shareholders: dividends. But by 1997, stock buybacks had surpassed dividends as a mode of distribution to shareholders.

To understand the magnitude of this shift, we analyzed financial data from 232 companies in the S.&P. 500 Index that were publicly listed in 1981, before the rule, and were still public through 2016. We found that from 1981 to 1983, these companies spent 4.3 percent of profits on buybacks. In comparison, from 2014 to 2016, these same companies spent 59 percent of their profits buying back their own stock. Dividends absorbed just under half of profits in both periods.

...Defenders of buybacks contend that they do no harm because the funds are reallocated through financial markets and used elsewhere in the economy. A company’s profits are, however, the financial foundation for investments in productive capabilities, first and foremost in employees. Investment in training and retaining employees is the key to productivity growth and innovation, for individual companies and for the economy. According to our research, when trillions of dollars of corporate cash are extracted from companies through buybacks, on top of dividends, the result is a dramatic concentration of income among the richest American households and the destruction of middle-class employment opportunities...


Some perspective via a reader comment:

Let me see if I understand this. From 1981 to 1983 4.3 per cent of profits went to buybacks and "just under half" to dividends. Let's throw a dart and call that 40 per cent. So, companies had a fair amount of profit (50-ish per cent?) left to spend on other things, like investing in R&D, modernizing equipment and facilities, rewarding employees, etc. In the 2014 to 2016 timeframe, stock buybacks had ballooned to 59%. Using that same somewhat arbitrary 40 per cent figure for dividends (would it have killed the authors to publish the actual numbers here?), corporations had leftover profits down in the single digit range. So, we are left with flat wages, aging machinery, and very little R&D, but very handsome executive benefit packages. Kinda makes you wonder what the SEC was thinking.
August 22, 2018

Pelosi says impeachment 'not a priority' after Cohen's guilty plea

Source: The Hill

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday said impeaching President Trump is "not a priority," despite Michael Cohen's guilty plea to campaign finance violations that implicated the president.

"Impeachment has to spring from something else," Pelosi, who has long downplayed the possibility of impeachment, told The Associated Press.

Cohen, who was Trump's longtime lawyer and fixer, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a number of tax and bank fraud charges as well as a campaign finance violation. He said in court that Trump had directed him to arrange payments to two women during his 2016 presidential campaign in exchange for their silence about alleged affairs with Trump.

"If and when the information emerges about that, we'll see," Pelosi said. "It's not a priority on the agenda going forward unless something else comes forward."

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/403024-pelosi-says-impeachment-not-a-priority?amp&__twitter_impression=true

Ummm...See Jerrold Nadler for what an appropriate reaction to yesterday’s developments sounds like:

August 19, 2018

Democratic congressman says party leaders' rising ages are a 'problem'

The leader of a centrist bloc of Democratic lawmakers expressed concern Friday that the party's top three House leaders are in their late 70s, joining a chorus of younger Democrats questioning older leaders' ability to overcome the party's "generational gap."

Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut, the chairman of the centrist New Democrat Coalition, told CNN that party leaders' rising ages are a "problem" and declined to say whether he would support House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for speaker if Democrats take control of the House in the midterm elections.

...Acknowledging he is a "huge admirer of Nancy Pelosi's operational ability," Himes, 52, said Democrats will soon need leaders who can communicate effectively with younger voters.

"The fact that our top three leaders are in their late 70s - I don't care who those leaders are - that is, in fact, a problem," he said.

"We are at a moment in time where young people are involved as they never have been before," he said. "I don't care how good you are - there is a generation gap.”

More at https://m.ctpost.com/news/article/Democratic-congressman-says-party-leaders-rising-13164315.php
August 8, 2018

Muslim Woman Could Make History in US Congress

Scenes at the end not to be missed.
August 5, 2018

The King - Official Trailer

Recommended; saw it yesterday. There’s a simple and very true message at the end of all this.

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