Sunday, December 04, 2016

“Dumpster Journalism”

50 years ago, when you picked up a newspaper, you got a report of tragedy’s, deaths, assassinations, wars and weather reports along with the sports and business pages.

In today’s world, we have people writing the news before it happens. The US Presidential election comes to mind. The problem is, it didn’t happen as written.

What is not appreciated here, is that the manipulation did not go as planned. Journalism failed the common reader by interpreting too many facts and arriving at a conclusion that the reader was expected to reach after reading the article.

The Great Depression of 2006 is now being referred to as the Great Recession of 2006. My point that I made in the past, was that the people of the 1929 Great Depression had no idea that they were in great depression. Something was drastically wrong and they had no idea what it was. It was only when you picked up a history book in the 1950’s that you discovered the Great Depression. It was only when things started to get very noticeably better did people look back and see what they had been in.

I used the newspaper example of how Hillary had the election won to show how the truth about the economy has been stretched a tad. We are being told the economy is just great. 95 million people no longer looking for work and 45 million on food stamps. The fact you can earn more money from an interest perspective, spending money, rather than saving money turns every rule about financing upside down.

The stock market hits new highs. Most all stocks are divorced from the company they represent, the only thing that connects the buyer to the stock value is the dividend. Every stock has an owner and it is not the company (from a technical aspect). The price is determined by what another person is willing to pay for it. So a drop in the price of IBM of say $100 would revalue the net worth of shares issued, but not reflect in one bit the real assets of the actual company.

Right now, the world of journalism says everything is just great. Kind of reminds me of the many newspapers that flat out stated that “Donald Trump could never be elected President.” A reality check seems to indicate that whose ever opinions are available to us right now, these pundits don’t know any more than we do.

Admitting that we know nothing, gives us the ability to discard common sense if we feel it necessary. We all want to be comforted thinking we made the right decision by looking for company that shares our views, and that leads to problems. The herd is often wrong when it really matters.

The problems that we are about to face have been around 6 to 8 years. My only advice, if you have a job, keep it for the next two years and see how things progress in the immediate future. I get my first Social Security paycheck in two weeks at the age of 70 and I am still working.

We do have to realize that whatever solutions are proposed to fix the current problems will be solved by people who have saved money in the system (you can't tax people that are broke). The most visible taxable assets are wages, real estate and bank savings. What we need to understand is, the whole population is the target for any solution to the problem, not some sort of spend until we drop, financial boondoggle by Congress. We could end up with a Value Added Tax for manufacturing and production. In the future, for Congress, it should be, "Real money in, Real money out."

Remember when you buy a newspaper, they give you what you want to hear, otherwise you select another news source. So, in today’s world you get to pick your own perceived reality. The trouble is, there is no feedback until it is too late, if you are wrong.


dearieme said...

The factual bits in newspapers are usually at the back: the sports results and the stock exchange prices. The nearer you get to the front page, the more fiction you are wading through.

AIM said...

Very well written post. The USA has been walking a tightrope almost throughout its history or lifespan. That tightrope has moved upwards in height, increasing the distance to the floor of the abyss, with every wrong turn we've taken. It's a very long way down now. We are either moving forward into a Reformation or Renaissance, or into a debacle, yet, somehow we are still here. Unfortunately, as you say, we are in the middle of something we are not aware of and/or can't describe, and it won't be clear what that is until it is articulated by historians 50 years from now.

Trump has a lot of headwinds to fight. His/our situation is like an echo of Teddy Roosevelt. Meanwhile, the natural laws of life continue to act upon us, and the aberrations of humanity in economics, politics, etc. will be crushed by those laws.

I believe the domestic and global recession/panic/depression (or whatever you want to call it) continues to approach us like a slow-moving and unstoppable steamroller. (Actually, we are already being flattened but our leaders, bankers and media are anesthetizing us to that.)

The Fed raising interest rates, the drop in world trade, global populist uprisings, collapse of EU, desperation of the elites, etc. will soon cause the veneer (and the past indulgences, corruption, misguided policies, unusual solutions, etc. behind it that has kept things "propped up") to blow away and the "unraveling" to be exposed. We will be the collateral damage of the power elite.

I believe we are in for the ride of out lifetime.

Joseph Oppenheim said...

Knowledgeable people already know we are in a new Renaissance which began around 1990, much like the original one of about 1450-1550, because of the technology/science blow away advancement with global impact. As for journalism/media, parallels between Gutenberg and Zuckerberg, spreading free speech. Trump using social media so well, is such an example. Just today, Senate hearings testimony on the AT&T-Time Warner proposed merger, that there is no anti-competitive large concentration of media power, because Facebook, Google and Apple are each much larger companies with media power.

dearieme said...

Call me biased, but I'd prefer some sort of Renaissance in medicine, rather than in toys for teenagers.

Anonymous said...

Oppenheim: Has nothing to do with the US or global economies and the headwinds that Trump will be facing. And is quite a Pollyanna viewpoint. The internet and digital toys are not economy boomers. There are a LOT of issues coming to be dealt with, and ALL the past issues and circumstances that the big dam has been holding back for decades to be dealt with. It will be a rough ride with lots of changes to go through.

AIM said...

I believe it will be a Reformation period, Fourth Turning, Great Unraveling, Great Shakeout, or whatever you want to call it.

I'm very hopeful that Trump and a new administration will continue to disrupt and dismantle our broken and corrupt governmental system and fix many errors.

Yet, I sure don't see calm sailing in peaceful waters in the future or "happy times are here again", do you?

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Everyone

Joseph brought up the "new Renaissance of Science and technology" and I see a serious downside to it.

In 10 years time at our organization, I have seen our infrastructure go from 300 people to 12. What is not understood well, is that there are a lot of laborers in our country and not enough jobs for even half of them.

The $15 dollar an hour wage is showing employers, how easy it is to train patrons to use self service kiosks. I can go into UPS at Christmas time login to the computer with my telephone number, pull up every address I've sent packages to in the last 10 years, address the package, calculate the delivery costs and pay for it using one clerk servicing 6 of these stations.

I think I mention a while back, the guy ahead of me in line at a supermarket being told by a checker, that "There was no waiting at the self service check out" and he said "No thanks, I already have a job." I still laugh over that.

There is a glut of cheap labor on the world markets. There will always be someone there to take advantage of it. One thing not realized about our country during the first 100 years, was that the government was completely financed by tariffs and other assorted taxes on imported goods. If we go back to that, it could become a lot easier to start up new enterprises that can undercut the tariff price.

Remember a rather obvious thing, those reading this blog are probably not unemployed or in very bad financial shape. So us, as observers of this Great Depression, haven't really experience much or any suffering because of it. So what might seem very dire times to many is not really that bad for the general reader.

Having said that, I apologize for putting everyone to sleep.

Jim in San Marcos said...


Thank you for the complement. I voted for Trump and even sent in money which I have never done before.

I am not sure how it may work out, but I think that our imaginations have the propensity to exaggerate what may really happen. It may not be as bad as we anticipate.

But prepare for the worst, and enjoy if it doesn't happen.

Joseph Oppenheim said...

It is already not working out except for those who like the dramatic increase of hate crimes incited by the president elect.

dearieme said...

Tariffs can't reduce the burden of having to compete with countries where competent workers are far cheaper. They presumably would redistribute the burden - that would be the whole point of them. So you should end up with more people employed in factories than you would otherwise have had, but with a higher cost of living for everyone.

At a guess "more people employed in factories than you would otherwise have had" would be a great disappointment, because the remorseless advance of automation would mean that you'll never get back to the days of huge factory labour forces. You might as well hope for a 19th century scale of agricultural employment.

People talk of the success of tariff policies in the US in the 19th century, but they were combined with large scale copying of the industrial advances of Britain and Germany, and paying nothing for what now would be seen as breach of patents. You'd be hard pressed to carry that off again.

dearieme said...

"the dramatic increase of hate crimes incited by the president elect": delusional.

Anonymous said...

Oppenheim has bought into the black propaganda of the immoral democrat establishment of this country (which has been a cancer in us for too long).

The liberal socialist democrats operate off of falsehoods and destructive impulses and will so anything to remain in power (and destroy the USA).

Trump incites no violence at all. His intention is to fix things and get things happening. And he's doing it as an outsider. Better that, then the direction we've been going in with our recent "leaders".

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi dearieme

I tend to agree with you on some of it, but when it comes to dry wall and steel, I have to wonder, how can shipping it across the ocean can be cheaper than making it locally?

Tariff polices are not a cure, but when someone can ship drywall across an ocean and make money, it gives one room to pause and say, what gives?

dearieme said...

Steel? It depends on your costs. If you buy iron ore from the cheapest source, and coking coal, and can carry them cheaply (i.e. by sea) to your blast furnaces, then you can make cheap steel as long as you're not paying top dollar for wages, taxes, regulatory burden, and so on.

Anonymous said...

The mainstream media is sure pushing the pathetic attempts of the Democrats and the Deep State to derail Trump (Russians, vote recounts, electoral college faithless votes, etc.). The media is one of the biggest enemies of the American people. So glad to see that they are losing readership circulation and eyeballs on TV and the internet. RIP you traitorous commies. The majority of Hollywood and the entertainment industry is pretty much in lockstep with them as well. Bunch of commies too. Leave it up to these people and our country would be gone in no time.

Anonymous said...

"The $15 dollar an hour wage is showing employers, how easy it is to train patrons to use self service kiosks. I can go into UPS at Christmas time login to the computer with my telephone number, pull up every address I've sent packages to in the last 10 years, address the package, calculate the delivery costs and pay for it using one clerk servicing 6 of these stations."

And what's wrong with that? why don't you stop using your washing machine and hire a person to that? Yes, technology will displace certain workers but those workers will be trained to do even higher skill work, thank to the help of technology, and earn a better wage and standard of living.

You organization went from 200 to 12 bc it could and it should. It's called efficiency, funny how when the same workers that are displaced with technology, are the same ones that use it in their every day life, like the internet and blogs, but still complain that it replaces old inefficient process's.

You have to continue to learn and evolve, if you don't, you will be stale and displaced, simple.

Become Amish, or don't use technology when it helps you and hate it when it takes jobs.

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Anon 1:38

The point of the my reasoning was the fact that government can dictate a minimum wage and all that does is force the employer to cut costs by cutting employees. Obamacare for full time workers turned a lot of jobs into 30 hour part time ones.

A landlord can set a rental rate for his apartments, the price pretty much determines whether it rents or not and how long the tenant stays. Supply determines his price.

The same is true of labor, supply determines price. Instead of getting paid by the hour, you'll get paid for piecework, like 1.00 to make a shoe. You'll be an independent contractor paying both sides of social security and health care. The individual, as a subcontractor, isn't going to report earnings, they'd lose their food stamps and health care entitlements.

Right now with a world oversupply of labor willing to work for two dollars a day, jobs are going to other countries. You can equalize the difference by lowering the minimum wage and putting tariffs on goods imported.

Technology as you suggest offers hope for future employees. But the economic rule of supply and demand cannot be rewritten.

Anonymous said...

The "financial engineers" (graduates of MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Yale, etc.) will continue to work at changing the natural laws of economics and human behaviour until things are so broken and far afield that we're all living in caves again. Out of control. Someday they'll be a return to common sense and sanity.