Friday, May 22, 2015

Rental Housing in California Sucks

Statistically speaking, rentals on paper are a goldmine but there is one problem. Abuse of the asset. It’s great if you have a two bed room unit for rent. The real trouble is the other 4 people you didn’t meet that want to call it home. Basic cleanup repaint and carpeting can run about $12,000. And the neat thing, is if you have someone managing the place, they are going to want another 15 percent for management expenses.

The basic thought premise, is that rentals are a godsend with the low interest rate returns. The reality is that you may wish you had ever thought of the idea. You may have to evict them and that could take about 8 months. And you might have to pay them $1,500 just to move out even though they haven’t paid rent in months.

Rental prices may be high in California, and if you are strapped for cash, you can rent a garage for about $900 -- split 6 ways, that’s about $150 a month. Of course that is illegal, and probably the people living in the garage are also illegals.

Housing prices are going up in California, and the number of cars parked in front of each house is also going up. Kind of makes you wonder what line of work your neighbor is in, to have 6 cars parked outside his house with a three car garage—three cars in the driveway and three at the curb. Of course, he could have three more cars in the garage. I walk by several, every day that have a sofa and TV in the garage or a garage that is packed full to the ceiling.

IMHO if the Federal government had let the real estate bubble crash in California, we would not have everyone moving home to survive. Prices would be realistic to where you could afford to buy a home without sharing it with another couple. 10 years ago, in my area, there were maybe one or two cars parked at the curb. Now days, on trash day, finding a space along the curb for three trash cans can be a real chore.

Just pause for one minute and think when has it been this bad before? If you have a job, life is great, if you don’t have one, life sucks. This is a bad time for a lot of people. This isn’t a depression, everything is just hunky-dory (the government told me so).

From the million dollar home, the owner can see the guy across the street with his car up on jacks trying to get it to run. While that guy can watch the soccer mom back out of their McMansion in their Mercedes SUV. You do have to admit that the guy with his car up on jacks has a better view out his front window than the guy in the McMansion. Two different lifestyles that are worlds apart and on the same block.

Let’s boil this mess down to its basics. If a house rents for $1,250 a month, 2 people need to live in it, $2,500 4 people. If a house is selling for under 250K two adult occupants, 500K 4 adults. What happened in California? The occupancy rate of homes depends on the amount money earned by the average worker. At 9 dollars an hour, you only make $1,440 a month, your max for rent is $800. You'll need a roommate.

The government effort to save housing prices, by supporting the price of housing with the Fannie and Freddie supports, has only increased the number of occupants per residence. The economics of it are a little like squeezing on a balloon. You get one desired effect with several unknown ones.

Of course to the untrained observer, looking at all of the cars parked outside all of the homes out here, auto sales must be booming. But it could be a bunch of kids unemployed, living at home and too poor to pay on their student loans. And we dare not mention car loans.

So let me think, who gets to cut my lawn this week? -- Jose living in the garage, or the neighbor's son Jesse with a BS degree and a student loan? The answer "me," my wife doesn't have to pay me.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Obama the Manipulator

Not sure where this fits into the meld of world events, but I though it worth giving it a link. Its about the death of Osama Bin Laden. The reporter that did this also did the My Lia incident in Viet Nam and has a Pulitzer prize for journalism. It kind of portrays our President as a real manipulator. It is a little long, but it seems to explain why his cabinet and appointees tend to be distancing themselves from Obama. Click on the link below.

The Killing of Osama Bin Laden

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Democracy The Land Of Dreams

In a Democracy, there is always someone who falls between the cracks. The Democrats use these people as examples of the system failing as a whole. When in reality, no system will cover everyone. Most government programs are like training wheels with the option; you can keep them for a lifetime. The trouble is, most people will, if given the chance.

World Democracy isn’t about politics, it is about money and lifestyle. You can be just as happy in a socialist country with a lot of money, just as well as in a Democracy. The great thing about Democracy in the United States is that it provides a level playing field to acquire wealth; in other countries that option most probably doesn’t exist. When our government promises the world Democracy, realize one thing. You can’t make these people rich in their own country. In most cases their dreams of an elevated lifestyle, from their misconceptions about Democracy, fail to ever materialize.

Immigrants come here with a dream of putting their child through college and getting them a better life. They will live through the success of their kids. Now you see why they succeed, their kids are their future. Whereas in the ghetto, kids are a byproduct of Saturday night sex; they are tolerated but not pushed to overachieve. Government welfare supports this way of life. No dream, just food and a housing allowance. You want more, then game the system.

The Democrats will produce the most losers in our new economy with all of the increased subsidies. You don’t have to be black, but it helps, failure always loves a ready-made excuse. I remember how hard it was to get a job when I was young and white. I couldn’t get the job, they’d hire a minority or a woman and it hurt. I got so mad that I bought a lawn mower on my credit card and started a lawn business. Good money for 4 years, but I couldn’t stand the boredom. From there, life improved. A little push is all it took.

Most of the world equates Democracy to being rich. If you are poor, it doesn’t matter where you live, Democracy is just beyond your grasp. All Democracy provides you is a chance at success or failure. Once you understand the reason why we lost the Viet Nam war, you can understand how fragile Democracy is. The Vietnamese farmer could point to his land, his wife and kids and his crops, but he could not point to Democracy. It is an abstraction.

The US needs to be very careful about giving the rest of the world Democracy--many foreigners view Democracy as being a backward way of governing. The problem is, our leaders don't understand that the world is an entirely different place when viewed through the eyes of someone from a different culture or religion. They think everyone sees the world as they do.

Getting rich is a dream in today's world. Everyone notices those that make the grade each year. Our government is always out to tax the rich. The rich are the "evil" people keeping the rest of Americans poor. It's OK to be poor in this country. And with a lot of hard work, by God, you too can become rich so we can all envy your wealth while the government taxes you to death.

Reality is living under the freeway in a cardboard box existing on food stamps. It's an "alternate lifestyle" for those "retiring" early in life. A little meth and some good whiskey and you too can dream about the good life.

The US is still a land of hope and dreams punctuated by reality. The paradox is the dream/nightmare about saving for a lifetime of retirement in luxury. Congress has destroyed the 8th wonder of the world, compound interest, and with it the middle class. The other day, I had to explain the rule of 72 to a bank executive handling my IRA. When I explained to her that when you took .5 percent, and divided it into 72, it took 144 years for your savings to double. The confused, incredulous look she gave back to me said it all. From here, we can deduce that the hand basket is real, the destination is still unknown only due to a lack of interest (pun intended).

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Taxing The Rich

I really don’t understand the thought process involved in the government’s proposal to tax the rich. Everyone has about 70 years on this planet, and you either save for retirement or you don’t. Why should those that saved, be tax because others didn’t put money away for retirement? You want to drive a corvette and impress me with you wealth, don’t whine when you reach retirement age and have no savings.

My only question in life is, “Why do Democrats exist?” They want to give money those that never saved for retirement by taking it from those that did save. Notice you cannot take money from people who have none. And in this country, if you can prove you’re broke, you can qualify for government subsidies. How hard is that to do? They government wants to give to those that don’t have anything, and if you give everything to your kids, you too can qualify for benefits. In some families that might not be a very good idea. It could take only a couple of weeks to snort all of Dad’ IRA up your nose.

The neat thing about taxing the rich, is that the old rich have no idea what you are doing in a lot of cases. Senility has set in. Try raising the taxes on the middle aged. The only real way to do it is through inflation, the young people today don’t understand that concept, raising taxes they fully comprehend. Solar panels are selling like hotcakes because energy prices have “doubled” in the last 20 years. How do you connect the dots if you are 21 and someone tells you that cigarettes were 23 cents a pack 40 years ago?

Inflation is an "Old People's Disease." Congress's prescription; "Take two aspirin and call me in the morning if you're not dead. And in case you are dead, don't feel obligated to call."

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Steak For Everyone

I barbecued a few steaks yesterday for dinner with creamed corn and boiled potatoes.  The can of creamed corn was about 79 cents and we used about 4 potatoes, figure 50 cents.  The three steaks (1.79 pounds) were $19.67.  You kind of have to wonder what does a whole cow cost.

There is something very political about this, a farmer can make a hell of a lot more money selling corn for ethanol that to farmers for feed.  I’ve heard that the government ethanol subsidy for production is about to expire this year, so maybe cattle prices can drop a bit if feed becomes cheaper.

Of course with the new $15 dollar minimum wage push, I guess that steak can be on everyone’s menu.  People are concerned because they can’t support a family on $15 per hour. And we are not even talking about saving for retirement.  In today’s world you have a choice, cell phone, cable, retirement, or steak.  And of course the average person will want them all but will settle for all but one--retirement.

A nice steak used to be very delicious.  And now as I reach retirement, I realize that the cost of the steak detracted from my enjoyment of it. Of course I have other worries.  My dentist says I could lose my teeth in 20 years if I don’t spend $8,000 on bone grafts.  I advised him that I probably wouldn’t be around in 20 years. My hearing doctor wants me to spend $4,000 an ear for hearing aids, and I mentioned that not being able to hear what most people were saying wasn’t worth a quarter of the price she was asking.

 From a humorous perspective, I look at all of the young people protesting for a $15 minimum wage and wondered where all of the silver foxes are when it comes to protests.  Its real simple, a walk to the bathroom is a major accomplishment in old age.

 So let’s get this straight. Ethanol makes my steaks more expensive.  Food stamps makes my steaks free.  Somehow I am missing something here. “Eat mor chikin”  is a reality check for people that have morals when it comes to gaming the system.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Embezzler

I’ve written on this before, but this time we will examine another avenue of deceit. Imagine we have a billionaire with a very corrupt money manager embezzling his employer’s wealth. In most cases, neither party would probably spend more than a million a year. And if no one got caught, it would take 50 years to go through 10% of the billion. Basically you have two people that share the same billionaire lifestyle. The person being embezzled from has no idea of his losses until they are discovered; his death could trigger an audit that would discover the crime.

Pretty much when we get to wealth above a billion dollars, the owner has wealth that they will never even have the time to spend. That could be argued, especially if they get married to a real gold digger.

Now imagine the 9 to 5 worker that saves 5,000 a year in his 401k for 40 years. He now has a nest egg of from 500k to maybe 2 million. So if he started at 20 years old, that makes him 60. So he has about 7 more years before retirement. Notice one thing here, if someone has embezzled his savings, he still won’t know about it for another 7 years at the earliest.

Then if we reexamine Bernie Madoff, he only had a problem when the economy was in the tank. Incoming deposits couldn't cover his clients withdrawals. The Federal Reserve and Treasury will never have that problem.

Something else can happen that changes everything. Bankers loan dollars to investors in the stock market. A stock gets bought and the seller buys a Treasury bill. If the stock market were to drop a hell of a lot, the buyers would get margin calls they couldn’t meet. At this point, interest rates have to rise to attract funds for the margin calls. Sell Treasury bills to get the higher interest paid on the stock exchange to cover margin calls. The neat thing here, is that Joe Taxpayer gets to bail out the bank.

Remember back to when we were talking about the Billionaires and how little of what they had, they really used and about the retirees with all of their savings still 7 years out of reach? As long as you don’t need it, you would have no idea that it is already gone and spent.

Here is the simple math, the population as a whole decided not to consume 18 trillion dollars of their income so they could enjoy it at retirement. The government spent those dollars and consumed product that the population had made an effort to save, for retirement. Now as retirement rolls around, the retirees are starting to spend the dollars that they had saved in the past. There is only one problem, there isn’t 18 trillion dollars’ worth of product for them to consume. I would hazard a guess that maybe there is 4 trillion of product to match the 18 trillion saved for later consumption. As long as receipts exceed outflow from the fund, there is no problem. During difficult times, more people tap into their retirement funds. And as Bernie learned, it’s a game of musical chairs waiting for the music to stop.

Consumption is different at retirement. You have worked hard and saved for the golden years. The funny thing is, the government already borrowed the cash and consumed what you would want to purchase. 43 million people on food stamps is one a hell of a free lunch. Your money is safe, they can always print more. I'm wondering what sort of salad dressing goes well with crisp one dollar bills? Or whether a ten dollar bill has more flavor than a five dollar bill?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Ethanol Dosen't Work

Looking at the price of gas dropping, I was wondering if we could get rid of the 10% ethanol additive. It costs more to add it to our gas. Plus when you make ethanol out of corn, it is the steaks and hamburger we eat that cost more. The idea of raising food to make gasoline is an absurdity in and of itself.

Economically on the financial, there are a lot of people getting subsidies for making ethanol for gas.
From Forbes 4/20/2014 “It's Final -- Corn Ethanol Is Of No Use”

In 2000, over 90% of the U.S. corn crop went to feed people and livestock, many in undeveloped countries, with less than 5% used to produce ethanol. In 2013, however, 40% went to produce ethanol, 45% was used to feed livestock, and only 15% was used for food and beverage.

In 2014, the U.S. will use almost 5 billion bushels of corn to produce over 13 billion gallons of ethanol fuel. The grain required to fill a 25-gallon gas tank with ethanol can feed one person for a year, so the amount of corn used to make that 13 billion gallons of ethanol will not feed the almost 500 million people it was feeding in 2000. This is the entire population of the Western Hemisphere outside of the United States
Kind of tear jerking, but it does explain why I can’t afford to buy steak anymore. Why should the price of oil dictate the price of beef? We use to eat beef every day, now we eat chicken every day and I am starting to get used to it.

The big thing about ethanol in your car, is that it reduces the miles you get per gallon. Plus the caustic effects of alcohol on your fuel system eats the hell out of the plastic fuel lines.

Then I thought, how did we get to be using ethanol? Congress comes to mind. It was supposed to curb our dependence on foreign oil imports. What we are really experiencing is the “unanticipated” consequences of that program. Any red neck farmer knew right away that his corn was worth a lot more to the government as a gasoline additive. Chicken feed is still chicken feed.

On a personal level, I’d like to see some deflation in beef prices, and the easiest way to do it is at the gas pumps. Let’s put the ethanol genie back in the bottle. I wouldn’t mind getting a half gallon of gin with every gas fill up (instead of being put in my tank)—I could give the bottle to the guy on the freeway with the sign “Will work for food.” That would certainly put a glimmer in his eye. Of course the way Congress works with subsidies, maybe they will get General Motors to make a car that runs on pot. The neat thing about a car that runs on pot, is that when you turn it on, you’ll immediately forget where you were going.

Somehow Congress has figured out what we need and passed a law to protect us from ourselves. Maybe we need to smoke some dope to understand where they are coming from. Sanity seems to be the issue, lead poisoning could be the problem or a pretty good excuse for what they have already done.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Middle Class Redefined

Government and Politicians always discuss the writ of passage in becoming part of the middle class. We hear it all the time “Everyone needs to be able to have a shot at joining the middle class in this country.” Boiled down into simpler terms, the poor are offered the opportunity to become rich albeit not rich enough to be in the “Tax the rich group.”

It’s a little like the “red neck” jokes. You know you’re not middle class if you get paid the minimum wage. Usually “flipping hamburgers” is substituted for “minimum wage.’ In reality, it doesn’t matter what the minimum wage is raised to, you are still flipping hamburgers. So if the wage is raised, it is still not enough and never will be no matter how high it is raised. The minimum wage will not support a family of 4, it never has and never will, but by God the bleeding hearts on the nightly news think that this is rank with injustice.

Owning a home and two cars with the bank and no savings also is not middle class. You look good, but you’re only two paychecks away from divorce and being homeless. You have all of the trappings of having made it to the middle class and as far as the government is concerned, you are a poster child for the poor who are looking in the window.

IMHO the real middle class comes from a three generation mix of one family, the grandparents, their kids and their grandkids. And the whole thing is predicated on the fact that the grandparents have enough savings to weather the storms of their children. Marriage tends to give the unit structure.

The government is selling the idea of education as a writ of passage into becoming middle class. The same thing happened after the civil war, you became an independent share cropper, working for yourself. And ended up owing your soul, to the company store for forever and a day, and they didn’t care if you were black or white, money is money.

So when Obama gets up and wants a college education for everyone, to allow graduates the ability to join the middle class, how is that going to work? The student loans are a debt that will never be paid by over 70 percent of the applicants. They will never earn enough to pay the debt and support their children at the same time. Notice a college education does not come with a guarantee of a better job with higher pay when you graduate. Especially if you are majoring as a librarian, astronomer, historian or any other degree in liberal arts. Nobody is claiming that the dream won’t work for you, but the odds are stacked against you.

We need to recognize what politics considers the “Middle Class.” It is a carrot on a stick. It is an abstract place we all want to be, and frankly I am only getting there now, when I am almost too old to enjoy it.

It was the middle class that fought England for our freedom from unjust foreign taxation in 1776. Fast forward to today, and we still have someone taxing everything, but there is no foreign power levying usurious taxes an ocean away rather it’s our own Congress. “Middle Class” is a Congressional euphemism for tax payer. You cannot tax the poor, they make too little, you cannot tax the rich; they’ve already paid the tax on what they have earned.

From a personal standpoint, the title, Middle Class means you have made it. The importance of the title means you feel somewhat obliged to pay taxes. The Middle Class is beginning to comprehend the new economic order; the poor deserve more of the wealth generated by the middle class. The real reality is a little like forcing a hooker to give discounts to the poor; she won't have her heart in it, let alone her body.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

The Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) Sucks

I feel like kicking a big rock every time I remind myself that short term interest rates are so low and that the interest on your principle is absurd; you cannot afford to reasonably expect to live off of your retirement savings. Realistically many retirees have saved a million dollars for retirement when interest rates were a lot higher. But at 2 percent interest, that nest egg returns about 20 thousand a year. At 8 percent, it would be about 80 thousand dollars.

Then I read a current CNBC article that stated that; “If you invested that $24,000 at 8 percent for 30 years, it becomes $91,000.” At the present ½ percent interest using the rule of 72, it would take 144 years to double your dollars and you are not even close to the $91,000 figure. So there are two trains of thought running here, before and after government intervention.

You have to ask one question, why are rates so low? The main reason, there is too much money in the banks and not enough people with good credit that want to borrow it. You can lower rates in the expectation that people will borrow. But the government cannot force people to take out loans. The net effect is like pushing on a string.

The housing market has not rebounded with the lower interest rates in California. People are still trying to sell crap shacks for 400K. One problem now, the banks don’t want to hold on to paper with low interest rates. Why? If rates go up they have to pay depositors on a monthly basis, whereas they are locked into a low loan rate that is fixed for 30 years. You can get an MBA in Stupidity if you are a politician, but not as a bank manager.

The government has to get out of the loan market. Of course you have to realize how they financed all of the real estate sales for the last 7 years. What happens is this; the Treasury issues four to eight trillion dollars of 30 year securities that are purchased by the Federal Reserve Board. So in 30 years, the securities mature and the Federal Reserve gets its dollars back. In the meantime, the Treasury has the funds to sell and finance property to everyone who has a pulse. Sell the defaulted property and support the artificially high real estate prices. What we can figure right now is that the Federal Reserve has between 4 and 8 trillion dollars’ worth of notes from the Treasury for real estate loans. Since the Fed turns over all interest on its transactions, a lack of interest generated means that there is nothing to transfer and at the end of 30 years. They don’t have to make money to stay in business. The notes will be redeemed and it will be a zero sum game.

What has happened in the meantime, retirees are screwed out of their real interest income. If the government was not in the mix, interest rates would not be at their current low rates. Housing prices on the West coast would have collapsed. And the market would have gone back to more normal interest rates. Bad loans would be bad loans and money would be lost, not guaranteed by the government. Risk would again be part of the market.

High risk loans at exorbitant rates are still around quite prominently. Just look at credit card debt. Credit cards offer cash loans at 25 percent. Your monthly interest rate is determined by your credit score. Bad credit, just how bad do you want the money? We are not talking 15 percent interest here, higher.

The banks are in the loan business and there are areas where they get a decent return. Government guaranteed student loans at 6 percent and credit card debt starting at 6 percent on up to 36 percent. The student loan borrower cannot default and the total amount is guaranteed by you guessed it, We the people.

But wait a minute, the super low rates allow Congress to borrow more without having to raise taxes. So let’s see now, the money that government is borrowing is for consumption. These are dollars that the private industry would use to invest in the future.

What we can deduce at the present time is that easy money at decent interest rates funded a real estate bubble. We still have bubble prices and very few buyers, real estate is no longer the road to fabulous wealth. We also know that buying T-bills or putting your savings in a bank is a losing proposition. We can pretty well tell where the dollars are not going. Bubbles are created when too much money is invested in the wrong place. It is called misallocation of resources.

Where are the next bubbles? Third world economies? The stock market? The health care market? Student loans? Credit cards? Cell phones? Solar panels?

Its only when a bubble bursts that it is realized for what it is. The last people in, are left holding the bag. The neat thing about bubbles, you can only see them in the rear view mirror.

The one thing not fully understood by those in charge, is that economic theory can only be used to explain the "Why" of what has already happened. It doesn’t work when applied to controlling future expectations. New economic policies force people to change their investment strategies in ways to maximize gain that aren’t necessarily prudent or productive. And that changes the expected results.

When Suze Orman tells seniors to avoid the bond market because it is a lousy investment that pretty much says it all. Interest rates are the key to a healthy economy. The reward for saving money has to be present for future investments. The more the risk the greater the return. You have a problem when all risk returns the same gain low gain; people vote with their feet and their pocketbooks.

It looks like the stock market is the last game in town. And there is only one difference with this game, it is out of the realm of political control and comprehension. The Government is not coming to your aid if the market collapses. But hey, the game is just starting, markets are on a new swing upward. Faites vos jeux! ---This could be a year to remember, unlike any other in recent time. The trouble is, after it is over, you might just want to forget what happened.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Wages, the Unleveled Playing Field

I was watching the news the other night, and they reported that Walmart is going to raise wages to $9 per hour. Later in the program they covered labor unrest in the S.E. Asian country of Myanmar with protestors complaining about being paid 17 cents an hour. I wondered how many times 17 cents went into 9 dollars. Hmm about 53 times.

That prompted me to research what the wages were in China for building cell phones. It looks like it is around $70 per week but the number of hours had to be more than 40 but less than 67 depending on what you read (6 days a week 11 hours a day). Figure a 66 hour week,labor costs about $1.06 an hour. It takes about 7 hours to assemble a cell phone in China by one estimate and another suggests that in cost terms figure about $12 in Chinese labor per phone. So somewhere between 7 to 12 hours to assemble each unit. US labor at $9 per hour with employer costs of $6 we get $15 per hour. At those rates cell phone labor here in the US would run about $150 per phone. And if you take into effect the quality of work provided by the minimum wage worker, cell phone productions costs would probably be closer to $350 per unit Stateside.

Suppose you are sewing shirts in Myanmar at 17 cents an hour, 53 employees is a hell of a workforce at 9 dollars and hour. Can you imagine having to supply Obama health care to them? Worker Comp or Social Security? Nah, no worry there. I’m tempted to buy 25 sewing machines and set up a shirt factory in Bangladesh.

Labor is cheap in the rest of the world and we enjoy its benefit. The trouble is, it is affecting our employment rates in the US. 16 million people are unemployed (9 million full and 6 million with part time jobs). For the price of a Walmart greeter, you can have 53 people sewing shirts for you 11/6 in Myanmar. I can meet that payroll. These used to be American jobs.

And if that isn’t bad enough, from the Associated Press: "More than half of America's recent college graduates are either unemployed or working in a job that doesn't require a bachelor's degree." That doesn’t bode well for the government student loan program. A college education does not guarantee a well-paying job. But, to keep the ball rolling, Obama might probably offer College grads on the student loan program, a nothing down Fanny Mae home loan as a bonus. Give them more “free” stuff--let them sell their souls to the company store.

Then there is the growing underground economy. It’s called, "Businesses without addresses.“ If you don’t have a business location, the government can’t tax or regulate you. A lawn or pool cleaning business is invisible. The Uber cabs are under the tax radar, as is every business running out of a garage. With the advent of cell phone and the internet, many more services exist without a taxpaying address --part of our hidden economy. The net effect; as government controls increase, taxes collected will decrease, with more people appearing to be in need of government help.

Single and make 40K cutting lawns? - - figure you save 12k in taxes and Social Security not paid, you qualify for food stamps and free health care. And for God’s sake don’t get married if you plan to have kids, your partner will lose her welfare benefits. And if you are here illegally, what are they going to do to you if they catch you? They’re certainly not going to deport you.

The pitiful hourly wage in Myanmar suggest that religion could be the only escape people have, from the economic shackles of slave like poverty. Christianity held the world together during the dark ages, with the promise of a better life in the "Hereafter." For the “I want it now generation” the promise 70 virgins and heaven tomorrow (if you’re in a hurry) sure beats the reality of working for 17 cents an hour.

So here we are with people making 17 cents an hour in one country and college graduates in another that can’t find a decent job. If a couple in Myanmar find true love, they’ll be making 34 cents an hour together. If two college grads find true love, they’ll have a baby just looking at their combined monthly student loan payment.