Thursday, July 27, 2017

Love Thy Neighbor, Unless...

Let us all take a deep breath while we contemplate the love and understanding of those who work to follow Jesus' teachings. Love thy neighbor. Unless they are Latino or African-American or believe in equality or do not have enough money or want to protect the environment and consumers and workers and students and consumers. Follow the teachings unless that person does not fit your notions of gender or politics or patriotism. Follow unless your insecurities fuel your hatred of anyone different. Follow Jesus unless you believe that some people are taking the money that you need to fit through the eye of the needle.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Eliminate Company Health Insurance for Employees

Why It's a Good Idea

Eliminating the requirement for large companies to insure their full-time employees has several benefits. It is a step toward single-payer (gets rid of another middle-man). It lessens the incentive for companies to hire part-time rather than full-time workers (a benefit for job-seekers). It lessens the trend towards companies paying for cheaper health insurance that has higher deductibles and higher employee cost sharing. It reduces the disadvantage of competing against companies in other countries whose workers have universal health care paid by the government.

If we ever do get universal health care paid entirely by our federal government through taxes, we will eliminate medical bankruptcies and have healthier citizens and healthier workers. But it won't be Republicans who get it for us. They think that the profit-driven free market is inherently moral and self-correcting, that government is evil, and that if anyone cannot afford insurance it is because they are moochers who have made bad choices and are somehow less worthy. We need people who don't think greed is a virtue and who understand what being a public servant means.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Crediting/Blaming Presidents for Stock Market Gains/Losses

With the GOP hell-bent on getting rid of the already weakened Dodd-Frank reforms, it is probably only a matter of time before the toxic mix of commercial and investment banking creates another financial crisis. The Glass-Steagall Act was passed in response to the Great Depression to keep them separate. It worked until its repeal in 1999, following which critics predicted a crisis in 10 years. They were wrong. It was 9 years.

Now banks are bigger than ever. Price/earnings ratio for stocks (how much investors are willing to pay for stock earnings) are as high as just before the Great Depression, the internet bubble in the 90's, and the Great Recession. Credit or blame Trump if you want to, but beware that this is (probably) only the start of his presidency, and a lot can happen.

The Stock Market is not the same as the economy, and the markets have risen much higher and faster since the Great Recession than economic growth and the income of consumers. Investor confidence, Treasury policies, wars and natural disasters also affect the economy, as does how much influence a president has in getting a Congress to adapt administration agendas. Blaming or crediting presidents is a risky venture. Will we blame Trump if another financial crisis hits or if Congress shuns his proposals? Should we have blamed Obama for a sluggish recovery with a Just-Say-No Congress? Was Bush at fault for an average annual loss of 4.6% in the Stock Market in the face of 9/11 and the economic meltdown? (You can blame him for starting another Middle East war on a second front and for getting huge tax cuts at the same time, but you can also credit him for the bank bailout at the end of his term.)