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Monday, March 28, 2016

America Today: The Death of a Middle Class

 Your Hometown, My Hometown  

Even the most liberal economists acknowledge that under  globalization and free trade agreements there will be winners and losers. That's the reality of the "invisible hand" and it makes abundant sense. 

Now guess who has not been a big winner over the past 35 years under this global economic policy initiative? And here are a few articles that support what is readily a self-evident truth to most,  and particularly for the 99% who are  suffering under its consequences. 

Our Hometown...

" they say these jobs are going boys, and they aint coming back"

My Hometown
May, 1983
B. Springsteen 

  The Death of a Middle Class 

Blockbuster Job Growth Still Isn’t Turning Into Big Raises For American Workers

The economy added 242,000 jobs in January while the unemployment rate stayed unchanged at 4.9 percent, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Analysts had expected 190,000 jobs to be added.
That maintains the lowest unemployment rate in 2008. The number of jobs added in December of last year was revised up by 9,000, while January was revised up by 21,000. With revisions included, the economy has been adding jobs at a 228,000 average monthly pace, matching the pace of growth in 2015. The labor force participation rate and employment-population ratio both edged up in February, signs that more people are joining the labor force and seeking jobs.

Globalization Destroys American Middle Class

Storm the Bastille

In the last analysis, globalization has only benefitted the rich and led to the quiet destruction of society and the middle class. We need to become more self-reliant. more centred in our culture and effect policies that bring middle class jobs back to North American shores.

If we fail and continue on globalization's  clear path to self destruction, then the possibility of a quiet revolution becomes a greater risk t caused by the freshly minted legions of poor middle-class folks. 

History has an odd habit of repeating itself.

"Let them eat cake' 

Why Globalization Reaches Limits

We have been living in a world of rapid globalization, but this is not a condition that we can expect to continue indefinitely.

Each time imported goods and services start to surge as a percentage of GDP, these imports seem to be cut back, generally in a recession. The rising cost of the imports seems to have an adverse impact on the economy. (The imports I am showing are gross imports, rather than imports net of exports. I am using gross imports, because US exports tend to be of a different nature than US imports. US imports include many labor-intensive products, while exports tend to be goods such as agricultural goods and movie films that do not require much US labor.)


Visualizing Why Manufacturing Jobs Aren't Coming Back

 The market for industrial robot installations has been on a skyward trend since 2009, and it is not expected to slow down any time soon. According to the World Robotics 2015 report, the market for industrial robots was approximated at $32 billion in 2014, and in the coming years it is expected to continue to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of at least 15%.

As VisualCapitalist's Jeff Desjardin notes, that means between 2015 and 2018, it’s anticipated that 1.3 million industrial robots will be installed worldwide. This will bring the stock of operational robots up to just over 2.3 million, mostly working in the automotive and electronics sectors.
For how long can the global robot population continue to grow?

What Killed the Middle Class  

Everyone knows the middle class is fading fast. I've covered this issue in depth for years, for example: Honey, I Shrunk the Middle Class: Perhaps 1/3 of Households Qualify (December 28, 2015) and What Does It Take To Be Middle Class? (December 5, 2013)
This raises an obvious question: what killed the middle class? While many commentators try to identify one killer cause (for example, the U.S. going off the gold standard in 1971), the die-off of the middle class is more akin to the die-off in honey bees, which is the result of the interaction of multiple causes (factors that increase the toxic load dumped on bees and other pollinators by modern agriculture).

Longtime collaborator Gordon T. Long and I discuss the decline of the middle class and other key topics in a new 29-minute video How did that work out for you? 


This Theory Explains Why the U.S. Economy Might Never Get Better

Why hasn't America's economy recovered more robustly? Economists have an unsettling answer

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, conventional wisdom among economists, business leaders, and policy makers was fairly straightforward: Once the banks were bailed out, the stimulus spent, and businesses had a few years to recover, the U.S. economy would return to its usual healthy growth. Time, in other words, would heal the wounds of the subprime collapse and subsequent turbulence. But if any recovery has turned conventional wisdom on its head, it’s this one.
Inline images 1Over the last eight years, America’s economic prospects have lagged even the most pessimistic early predictions. In 2011, the Federal Reserve predicted that U.S. real GDP would, at worst, grow by 3.5% in 2013 and that the economy would expand between 2.5% and 2.8% annually in the long run. In every year since, the Fed has revised its predictions downward. (The most recent estimate predicts 2.2% annual growth in 2016, and 2% growth in the long run—a rate more than one-third lower than the post-war average.) Even employment, a source of uplifting headlines in recent weeks, is deceptively weak. The unemployment rate—which ignores those who gave up looking for a job—has hit new lows, but the percentage of Americans (between ages 25 and 54) who are actually working is over three points lower than its pre-crisis peak.

 Our  Hometown..
"Now Main Street's whitewashed windows and vacant stores
Seems like there ain't nobody wants to come down here no more

They're closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks
Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they ain't coming back to your hometown
Your hometown
Your hometown
Your hometown

Last night me and Kate we laid in bed
Talking about getting out
Packing up our bags maybe heading south
I'm thirty-five we got a boy of our own now
Last night I sat him up behind the wheel and said son take a good look around

This is your hometown" 


Friday, March 25, 2016

EYE on the World - Earth, Spiders, Rockefellers, Bunnies and Fools

Earth, Spiders, Rockefellers, Bunnies and Fools...

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Economic Globalization Accelerates Destruction of Earth 


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International trade damages tropical nature: NUS study

The findings of this first-ever study showed that the majority of tropical countries incur huge net economic losses amounting to US$1.7 trillion each year. Topping the list are countries such as Brazil, Thailand, India, Vietnam and Indonesia, where large areas of land are used for producing timber, crops and livestock for export. 


Read More

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Rockefellers Dump Exxon Over Climate Deceptions


Exxon said it now believes the threat of climate change is clear and warrants action.

In response to the divestment movement, many oil industry leaders have said millions of people in the developing world would be condemned to darkness and poverty if society were to halt the burning of fossil fuels before there is ample supply of cleaner energy sources.

Funeral for Bears & Bulls - Enter the Bunny!

Market swings: not a bear or a bull, but a bunny

Some believe US share prices have still not
 emerged from the dotcom crash 

 “The stock market is about fair value now. In reality we’re not very overvalued because rates and inflation are so low. What we could talk about is a bear in hibernation. We would keep valuations high, but in a decade from now we are about where we are now and our returns have been a lot below average.”

Financial TImes


Clearly Market Values Now Seeking Greater Fools 

S&P Portrays HUGE 40-55% Downside

"To summarize, on the basis of valuation measures we find most strongly correlated with actual subsequent market returns across history, we presently estimate zero nominal total returns for the S&P 500 over the coming 10-12 year period, with negative real returns on both horizons. We expect that the completion of the current market cycle is likely to take the S&P 500 down by about 40-55%, which would not be a worst-case scenario but a historically run-of-the-mill outcome given present  valuations.                  

                                                                                                                                                      Seeking Alpha 
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Mercury Rapidly Spreads to Land Foods 

Dartmouth-led study illuminates pollutant's movement from aquatic to land food webs



You taste like mercury, said the spider to the fly

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

EYE on the World - The Warm, the Good, the Bulls, and the Ugly

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The Warm, the Good, the Bulls and the Ugly   

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Global Warming: The Future is Happening NOW!  


Global warming taking place at an 'alarming rate', UN climate body warns

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“The startlingly high temperatures so far in 2016 have sent shockwaves around the climate science community,” said David Carlson, director of the World Climate Research Programme. 

The Guardian

Good NEWS: U.S. BIG Solar Sets Stage for HUGE Boom  

Big Solar is About to Get Unstoppable 

Big solar used to be almost entirely driven by policy, mainly state renewable energy standards and federal tax credits. It has all but outgrown the first and will outgrow the latter over the next five years.
It's about to stand on its own two feet, outcompeting even rivals that are allowed to dump carbon emissions into the atmosphere for free. It won't be long before the discussion about environmental benefits is moot — utilities will demand solar because it's the cheapest power available.
VOX Energy & Environment 

Bulls Return to Energy Markets

It was one of the darkest periods of the oil market slump. The global economy was showing fresh signs of slowing, and crude prices were collapsing so steeply that virtually every well in America was unprofitable.
But when Diamondback Energy went out to raise $226 million worth of new stock that week in the middle of January, the oil and gas company found more buyers than it could accommodate. It had to nearly double the amount of shares it sold, to four million.
Since Diamondback issued equity that day, the company’s share price has increased more than 29 percent.
The New York Times

U.S. Existing Home Sales Plunge 7.1% 

Headwinds Remain  

Sales of existing homes had stayed strong in spite of multiple headwinds, but February’s decline might signal more weakness ahead.

Home resales plummet as high prices and tight inventory dog the market, bringing out more investors and fewer first-timers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Market Watch 

Saudi Aramco, Shell Marriage - Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Cash-Strapped Saudi Reshaping Itself

“This partnership made sense when it was formed but things have changed and the market conditions have changed, so it makes sense for this partnership to be dissolved,” Auers said. 

 " It makes fundamental sense


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