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Monday, May 4, 2015

73 Months of Economic Bullshit- I Got You Babe Edition

Every day, since the March lows of '09, I feel trapped in some alternative "Groundhog Day" universe where Cher serenades me each morning with "I Got You Babe."

This is how it goes. I snap on CNBC to check the stock market indices. They are always up. If markets, heaven forbid, fall a little bit- parties unknown rescue them and drive them back up. Indeed, markets haven't doubled since '09, they have tripled.

Have we entered a new gilded age? An industrial renaissance?

Day after day, week after week, month after month, I hear that song. Going on 73 months in a row. I wake up, snap on the television and watch the gum flapping, never ending, equity cheerleaders on CNBC.

The latest installment came this morning.

The BLS reported an increase of 223,000 jobs for the month of April. The market reaction went straight up- 250 DJIA points.

What nobody (MSM) mentioned was the further downward revision to March jobs- another minus 41,000. The jobs added in April were all part time jobs, nearly all were in the 55 years and over segment. In fact, all other age segments declined- as well as full time jobs. When you shred 20,000 full time jobs and parse them into 40,000 part time and benefit-less jobs...VOILA!...the new economy!

or this,

or my very best proof that the BLS numbers are complete bullshit is that 93 million working age adults are not employed. A whopping 93.1 million or about 30% of Americans don't have a job!

The problem of course with all that bullshit flying around is- the lack of corroboration. The fundamentals, things like tax receipts, housing and new loans, consumer loans, inflation or rising lumber prices- none of those things are happening because....

The political narrative is complete and utter bullshit. This economy, stripped of the trillions added by quantitative (QE) easing, treasury buying, and the years of Zero Interest Rates (ZIRP) can't get going. All that excess fluidity flowed straight into the stock market looking for returns. Working stiffs, the middle class, have been getting sodomized first by bankers who created the housing bubble and destroyed home owner equity, then by politicians sticking Obamacare up our tail pipes.

Obamacare is a tax. It is not health insurance. I lost an additional 400 bucks this year (my "shared responsibility" penalty) because I simply refuse to spend 8 thousand dollars a year for nothing. (500 a mo., and a 2k deductible) Between Obamacare, my federal, state, and local taxes- I would lose 16 thousand or 40% of my income!

I worked 7 hours this week. I worked 12 hours last week. Thank gawd for my retirement. My office created 3 "jobs" after getting rid of one full time worker with benefits. Jobs like mine. My company kept all of the benefit costs- and created 3 jobs to replace the fired full time guy. That is a very small but accurate representative picture of the new American workplace.

Our way of life is not coming back either. Structurally we're screwed. There is simply no way of bringing back those millions of jobs that our politicians allowed corporate America to offshore. This is as good as it gets.

I think all of this economic bullshit can go on for awhile longer too. I keep reading and hearing from people that think this charade will end soon- the latest call is for sometime during the fall of this year. I think a lot of that is wishful thinking and historically based- in part anyway- on the last year of a Presidents's term.

That broken record keeps playing but I'm still not getting used to the tune.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Cornered? Try This Winning Move

Many years ago as a mid level police manager in a small police agency, we had an employee become disgruntled over a promotion and subsequent to that- he turned into a general pain in the ass. He started to act outside of policy, refusing to wear assigned attire, refusing to park in assigned areas, re-arranging the schedule to suit himself- all of those little things that angry employees do when they don't get what they want.

Each of those things in and of themselves were small potatoes. However in the policing business, particularly at the mid management level and above, you have to hold employees to some sort of standard. In other words, if you allow one employee to break the rules- you are probably going to have other employees break those same rules. You also face the risk of not being able to enforce those rules later on when you have failed to enforce them initially. So you enforce the rules of conduct or face varying levels of employee anarchy.

It was the enforcement of those policies with that individual that caused me to observe something that I have never forgotten.

I found myself confronting this individual about his behavior on several occasions. Rather than comply with my requests- he became even more hostile and argumentative each time we spoke. Thus began the long and arduous process of verbal warnings, written warnings, confrontations, and our first meeting with the Chief. It was during that meeting when this employee presented a defense which I have now noted has become the national defense whenever anyone, particularly high ranking members of society, are accused of poor behavior or misconduct.

Blame your accusers. It works.

During our initial meeting with the Chief, our disgruntled employee was quite successful in convincing the Chief that his misconduct was not only a result of my poor management skills but that I was making things up and exaggerating. I remember sitting in that meeting, aghast at what I was hearing. The Chief was nodding his head in agreement and our disgruntled employee was blaming everything, but mostly me, for all of his problems. Our disgruntled employee left that meeting mostly unscathed that day. I didn't really try to defend myself because I knew virtually all of what he said was untrue. Unfortunately, I hadn't fully documented his poor performance issues as well as I should have. After dissecting what happened in that meeting that day- I learned a valuable lesson.

People, when cornered by poor performance, are capable of putting together any number of defenses. Depending on what they have done and what the stakes or punishment might be (the eventual outcome) people will take what ever action they feel is necessary to protect themselves or their careers. This is hardly earth shattering news.

Which brings me to the modus operandi of the day tuned to perfection by one...

Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton is the embodiment of a sociopath. Hell bent on becoming this nation's first female President- Hillary Clinton knows no shame. Every scandal from Whitewater, the cattle futures bribe, Travelgate and Vince Foster, Benghazi, multi- million dollar bribes (the Clinton Foundation) from foreign sources, wiped email servers and obstruction of justice, tax evasion- Hillary Clinton is the embodiment of everything that is wrong in America. Instead of feeling some small amount of shame, she simply soldiers on acting as though she is as pure as the driven snow.

What method does Hillary Clinton and her supporters use to escape judgement? You guessed it. They blame their accusers. It's always a witch hunt by opposing politicos. The real sinister people are actually the ones that are accusing Hillary of all of that unsubstantiated misconduct and criminal activity. Hillary is either guilty of a tremendous amount of misconduct or she just has some of the worst luck in the annals of history.

Innocent people do not make up stories about anti Muslim videographers, wipe servers clean, they do not commit tax evasion or accept bribes from foreign sources in return for gawd knows what, but mostly innocent people do not blame their accusers. You know why?

Because innocent people are innocent. They turn over the evidence which proves they are innocent. That's what truth telling people do. They don't make excuses or blame people making an inquiry into their conduct.

It's funny how simple things really are. Human conduct never changes all that much. It's an old trick, this idea that we will just blame our accusers every time we get challenged about our poor performance. I've seen it in action- I am not the least bit surprised to see Hillary and her supporters use this tactic every time her feet get held to the fire. It seems to work.

Next time you get caught doing something wrong- just blame your accusers. Never accept responsibility for anything. It's a winning move.