Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Post - Cap and trade

That familiar sounding buzz word that everybody's talking about. To environmentalists it sounds like a slam dunk. To the conservatives backing dirty oil you'd think Armageddon was to start tomorrow. but this may be more a boon to Wall street than either groups. While it would on the face of it force companies to clean up their act by making emissions more expensive it doesn't take into account what happens when a company is forced to buy credits on not just the open market but a secondary market set up complete with derivatives. And once the hedge fund boys step in it's open season on market manipulation. And exactly how do they monitor emissions when there's not enough inspectors at present to keep up with safety inspections? OSHA only has one inspector to cover 4 states in the west just to give you an idea. The EPA has been pretty much gutted in terms of personnel and funding. And we know companies cheat whenever they can. It increases profits the environment be damned.

And another thought came to mind. What's to prevent large companies that have high emissions from buying smaller companies with little emissions, using the credits and selling off the assets as we've seen with the rest of vulture capitalism? Then there's the possibility of shell companies being set up off shore that produce no green house gasses but provide a nice benefit for the parent company. They could in theory make billions by gaming the system. We're on to their little games.  

A better solution would be a pollution tax but one that could be gained back by installing control equipment. Throw in a 10 or 20% bonus on the tax rebate and you'd see quick changes in industry overnight. The added money could be gained from those who refused to comply or were fined for breaking emission standards. Sort of an carrot and stick approach.

To its' credit China will at least begin to clean up its' act. Maybe having to shut down factories for a month to clean up the air around Beijing was a wake up call. After it's burned all that tar sands oil smoke just drifts back over the Pacific and pollutes us. But the real proof in the pudding is how the economics of this will work. If they have to rely on outside investors to keep markets going it's an open invitation for manipulation.

Part Two - Greed

It starts at the top. A CEO issues a memo to the underlings to cut costs and increase profit margins. Managers tell estimators much the same. Estimators pad their bids telling the CEO one price while informing the project manager that the bid was far less. Managers always want to look good so they cut the bid even more and pass it on to the supervisor. The supervisor tells the foreman that the project was under bid but to do what he can without upsetting the workers. He too shaves off a few hours. The foreman then cuts some hours from the bid and tells the workers it's a tough job and must be done in the time given. His time of course. The workers manage to get the job done in just under the bid which isn't the real bid as we know. The CEO stands before the company and tells them the company isn't making any money so he'll have to cut costs even more. That may be in the form of refusing to replace broken equipment or maintaining company vehicles. And when there is an accident it's always the employees' fault. Driver/ operator error they say and be sure to drug test him. When an employee dies on the job so much the better because the company had an insurance policy on him. Worth more dead than alive. Of course in a large company CEOs don't care because the guy was just a number on a spread sheet. Only concern will be cover up story and the lies and fabrications to be addressed. When media inquires just tell them the matter is being investigated. But the workers usually know exactly what happened, but they won't talk for fear of losing their job.

bank fails later
No fails this week

Friday, September 18, 2015

A phony and a failure


After watching part of the clown show the other night it's a safe bet none of these guys or girl is capable of running anything. It looked more like a side show than a debate. Trump the bloviating usually master of ceremonies toned down his usual bombastic style yet had no answers as to exactly how he'd pull off one of the largest construction projects in U.S. history all the while making Mexico pay for it. The rest of the pack took turns spewing the usual right wing line complete with lies and falsehoods. 
The "Donald" was seen at an event just the day before aboard the U.S.S. Iowa. Touted as a support for veterans event a little research turned up some discrepancies. The group Veterans for a Strong America was there and to quote Donald has "hundreds of thousands of members". A little research indicates otherwise. The group only has one member, Joel Arends its chairman and if you go to the web page there's no way to join this organization. If that was bad enough an IRS filing from the organization showed that it had $30 in the bank and owed $300 in expenses. (Hat tip to Rachel Maddow for her investigation on this matter.)  Haven't dug much into the Donald's past but I'm sure it will surface as time passes.

I think what we're witnessing here is the last bastion of the death throws of a dying party. While they resurrected the images of their patron saint Ronnie they fail to realize that Reagan got away with it because back then there wasn't the internet to fact check and everything wasn't archived via cell phone. Anyone now can check their statistics in real time and pick out the lies post haste. Spouting the deep seated and usually hidden hatreds of a waning base will not expand their numbers. But now we have Trump doing just that on the national stage. These conversations were usually reserved for the exclusive party dinners in places average Americans could never see the inside. As we all recall it was the secret recording of Mitt Romney at one of these events that was his downfall. While he mentioned the 47% who rely on government handouts he failed to mention corporations who take far more or of the 1% who produce absolutely nothing for society.
That brings us to Carly Fiorini the "businesswoman". Stepping in at Hewitt Packard she laid off 30,000 workers, purchased a company that was overvalued losing Packard millions and was fired taking with her a $42 million dollar golden parachute. She may have done well but the workers sure didn't. And this was before she lost 1/2 billion dollars for Lucent at her previous job. Some business record no?

But this entire debate thing is more about a beauty contest than actually picking a world leader. More points seemed to be given for style and performance than actual facts and policies. Fear not all of this will be long forgotten come next October or November when who knows whom will be on top of the pack. But to have to endure another entire year of this…ugh!

bank fails later...
none this past week

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Meanderings of the brain and no you can't get there from here

Guess I'm getting writer's block because I just can't think of much to write that I haven't beaten to death. 

The mass exodus from Syria Iraq and Afghanistan continues. It's expected that 1 million more people will flee before year's end. Little we can do about it as world governments poo poo about the issue. Funny how 60 years ago we were more than capable of dealing with things like this. Now it requires a blue ribbon panel to discuss the problem which will take months. And all the while not much more than another report of an air strike campaign. No mention of casualties unless it's some ISIS big whig or cache of militants.This has to be the most hidden war in all of world history. No mention of exactly how they're targeting those on the ground. For all we know some poor kid finds a cell phone calls his grandmother and the next thing you know he has a missile coming down his chimney.

Other thoughts randomly thinking. Our roads here are slowly crumbling. They just did a quick fix by putting tar in all the cracks. That might last until spring but it's no permanent fix. Some roads they used what's called chip seal. They cover the road with tar and spread small stones on top before it sets. All well and good for a short time fix with one drawback, tires kick the stones up until the roadway is compacted. All this cheap work when the state has some of the highest gas taxes. And don't get me started on mass transit around here. That's become a money pit. We're building what appears to be the biggest underground tunnel around. Only problem the machine broke down about a year ago and they just now getting it repaired. Adding tolls to the tunnel to boot when or if it gets finished. People are stupid they'll just take other routes to avoid the toll. Same as they did with a new floating bridge they're building. And slowly car pool lanes are no longer free. That'll make things better right? Should we be surprised? When the idiot republicans keep lowering taxes and the state has no money for things like schools or roads they expect somebody else to pay for it. And it's funny how when the state wanted to put a toll on a bridge to their area the uproar was tremendous. 

Seattle is in a state of "build it and they will come" mode. There's no less than 15 tower cranes slapping up office buildings, apartments and condos and I'm talking big ones. It seems to be a repeat of what you could see before the last bust. Investment organizations are buying up homes and condos not to sell but to rent and rents are going up. A "cheap" place in Seattle can go for $1600 a month and you're talking small one bedroom places. 

bank fails later none last week
No fails this week

Friday, September 4, 2015

Money money money

No rate hike at Fed meeting. But of course being that the Fed is controlled by bankers why should they raise rates? Cheap money continues to flow to the gamblers on Wall street while the rest of us suffer. But this game of musical chairs can only go on for long. Eventually the band must be paid. Think about it for a sec. Investors took out loans to buy stocks in companies that weren't making much money. Their values were based purely on perception. Customers are slowly drying up and the housing market in China has hit a bubble. Their government has done just about everything it can to prop up the markets while their banks have faltered and the yuan is nose diving. And people wonder why.
Fear not they can always buy insurance to cover their losses unless of course there's not enough in the coffers to cover the losses as before. Lloyds of London went bankrupt the last time round. They're the ones who will insure anything and it took a UK bailout to get them going again. Somebody's going to get stuck with a lot of bad paper yet again. And those big "too big to fail" banks have gotten bigger so the fall will be greater.

Last time around the markets hit a little over 14,000 before dumping 7000 points. To date the markets hit a high of around 18300 and have lost nearly 2000. I don't see people rushing out to buy big ticket items. They say consumers run the economy and it doesn't look like we're buying much from China even though just about  everything is made there. Always look for the made in USA label.

Oh Canada looks like you're in recession already. Maybe if Harper hadn't put all his tar balls in one basket things might have been better. Tariffs aren't helping and by the looks of it Stevey would trade his grandmother for some cheap Chinese trinkets. And he has a masters in economics? Must be an honorary degree. Where's that cheap gas they promised. Nova Scotia I hear ran out of gas. How'd that happen the world is swimming in oil? Maybe that what happens when you put bean counters in charge.

Bank fails later...