Third Party & Independents Archives

About 1/2 US Workers Have $10k In Retirement Savings

Looks like the skids are greased for Comcast to buy out Time Warner in a $45B deal. CEO of Comcast says they wouldn’t make the attempt unless they were pretty sure it would pass muster.

A WaPo article has statements like "create a cable behemoth in an industry that has steadily increased prices for bundles of channels and services that consumers dislike but feel forced to buy."

You think prices for tv/internet might go up? Do you ever wonder why a car battery that cost circa $60 bucks a couple of years ago runs about $180 today? Is there a shortage of lead or H2SO4?

On the bright side, the merge will boost income inequality and further put the pinch on the working poor, etc, garnering another point or two for 'globalism'.

I bought gas today at $3.08/gal. Should we talk about when gas prices might go up? I would suggest they will go up about the time the ole NAU pipeline is covered over with dirt and pumping oil to the world.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by Roy Ellis at February 14, 2014 6:18 PM
Comments
Comment #376463

Roy

Almost everything we buy is cheaper today in the hours it takes to earn it than it was a generation ago. And many of the things we love today were not even available. Internet is a good example. You and I have faster and better access to information than President Reagan or even Clinton had. Think about that. We can do in seconds what they most powerful man in the world would have had trouble getting just a few years ago.

If the corpocracy has done this to us, I want more of it.

Posted by: CJ at February 14, 2014 10:16 PM
Comment #376483

C&J, we can all agree technology and innovation is mostly a good thing that enriches our lives, makes things easier, quicker, more accurate, etc.
But, that has nothing to do with Corpocracy or globalisation, IMO.
You want to measure progress by the manhours required to produce a can of tomatoes.
I would rather see fifty companies producing canned tomatoes with thousands more employees making good wages as opposed to one company cranking out zillions of cans of tomatoes with robots and a handful of employees.
Sure, it takes less manhours to produce a can of tomatoes these days but I pay more for the can of tomatoes, which today, contains less tomatoes. Additionally, company profits go to the 1% of paper pushers at the top while the few workers make less than they did 20 years ago and so on - - -
The company has to be innovative or they will die. They aren’t inventing out of the goodness of their hearts, etc. So, the monopolies/conglomerates will buy up those companies who do innovate/invent, steal their ideas/patents where possible and buy politicians to help their bottom line, etc.

That better defines globalisation and Corpocracy.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: roy ellis at February 15, 2014 7:49 PM
Comment #376493

Roy

If we had thousands of people producing these things instead of a few, they would be much more expensive. If we want to create employment, all we need do is outlaw lots of tools and machinery. Of course, we would decrease total wealth and all those workers would be poorer.

Re “They aren’t inventing out of the goodness of their hearts” Exactly right. This is why the U.S. works so well. We don’t require self-less virtue. In fact, you sort of paraphrased Adam Smith, “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”

Re corporations - they just look permanent. Look at the S&P 500 from 1963. How many of those invincible firms are still there? Most have fallen out and others have taken their place. If you go back to the DOW of 1929, I think that only one GE, is still there.

The dynamic free market system is faster than the proverbial wheel of fortune. We do indeed need to fight against government control that can create crony capitalism.

Posted by: CJ at February 15, 2014 8:49 PM
Comment #376501

The engine of capitalism has created great prosperity for humankind. All the other “ism’s” pale in comparison.

My best friend emigrated here from Poland when it was ruled by communists. His favorite saying was…”We pretended to work and they pretended to pay us.”

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 16, 2014 12:05 PM
Comment #376502

C&J, in some instances things might be more expensive. I’m one who believes that the lower cost of production is not being passed on to the consumer. It’s being passed up to the 1%.

Yes, thousands more would be working, at better paying jobs. And, workers making good wages can consume to sustain an economy.

Agree on the DOW thing, but for a different reason. Smaller companies were, over time, bought up by larger companies to squelch competititon, gain price control and so on - - -

I would suggest that ADM owns 50% of the small farms across the US. Luxiota ? the eyewear company is a 100% monopoly in the eyewear department.

IBR owns most of the farms in Page County. Do you know who owns IBR? I don’t know.

Posted by: roy ellis at February 16, 2014 12:15 PM
Comment #376505
IBR Corp., owned and operated by Ike George, manages 27 poultry houses on 20 poultry farms in Page County. In addition to producing turkeys for Cargill Turkey Products and broiler chickens for George’s Foods, IBR manages a cow/calf operation with 800 head of brood cows. A unique operation due to its size, IBR Corp. prides itself on constantly striving for excellence in environmental stewardship and being a good neighbor. In addition to extensive nutrient management planning, IBR has constructed seven litter storage sheds and properly composts all of its mortality. The operation practices rotational grazing and no-till planting and promotes wildlife habitat.
Posted by: Rhinehold at February 16, 2014 1:11 PM
Comment #376514

Touche, on that one, Rhinehold.

Posted by: roy ellis at February 16, 2014 4:12 PM
Comment #376521

Roy

For the quality of the products involved, just about everything made by big business is cheaper than it was a generation ago and usually cheaper than even a decade ago, in terms of inflation adjusted dollar and even more in terms of hours worked to earn those things.

Re the DOW and S&P - those ARE the biggest companies. If you look at it, you find smaller firms replacing bigger ones, not the other way around. Big firms go belly up.

These are the firms in1930. I chose a year AFTER the crash of 1929, so that is not a factor. Some are still in business, but much smaller. Many have been acquired by firms that were SMALLER or non-existent at the time. You will recognize many of these firms as ones that shrunk or had troubles in our lifetime.

Allied Chemical
Goodyear
Sears Roebuck & Company
American Can
Hudson Motor
Standard Oil of California
American Smelting
International Harvester
Standard Oil (NJ)
Bethlehem Steel
International Nickel
Texas Company
Borden
Johns-Manville
Texas Gulf Sulphur
Chrysler
Liggett & Myers
Union Carbide
Eastman Kodak Company
Mack Truck
United Air Transport
General Electric Company
National Cash Register
U.S. Steel
General Foods
Paramount
Publix
Westinghouse Electric
General Motors Corporation
Radio Corporation
Woolworth

This is today’s. Most of the firms did not exist in 1930; many were created in recent decades.

3M Company
American Express Co
AT&T Inc
Boeing
Caterpillar
Chevron
Cisco Systems
The Coca-Cola Company
DuPont
ExxonMobil
General Electric
Goldman Sachs
The Home Depot Inc
Intel
IBM
Johnson & Johnson
JPMorgan Chase
McDonald’s
Merck & Co.
Microsoft
Nike Inc.
Pfizer
Procter & Gamble
The Travelers Companies
UnitedHealth Group
United Technologies Corporation
Verizon Communications
Visa
Walmart
The Walt Disney Company

Posted by: CJ at February 16, 2014 5:22 PM
Comment #376527

Ma Bell Today:

Today[edit]
After 1984, there were multiple mergers of the operating companies themselves, as well as multiple Baby Bells that came together, and some components are now in the hands of companies independent from the historic Bell System. The current[when?] structure of the companies today is as follows.
Regional Bell Operating Companies:
AT&T Inc., a currently existing holding company
AT&T Corp., a current subsidiary
AT&T Teleholdings, Inc. (formerly Ameritech Corporation), a current subsidiary, also includes now defunct SNET and Pacific Telesis
Illinois Bell Telephone Company, a currently existing regional LEC
Indiana Bell Telephone Company, Incorporated, a currently existing regional LEC
Michigan Bell Telephone Company, a currently existing regional LEC
Pacific Bell Telephone Company, a currently existing regional LEC
Nevada Bell Telephone Company, a currently existing regional LEC, omitted from the MFJ
The Ohio Bell Telephone Company, a currently existing regional LEC
The Southern New England Telephone Company, a currently existing regional LEC that AT&T owned 16.8% of before 1984 and thus was left separate by the 1984 break-up
Wisconsin Bell, Inc., a currently existing regional LEC
BellSouth Corporation, a current subsidiary. Its two operating companies merged into one:
BellSouth Telecommunications, LLC, a currently existing regional LEC, includes Southern Bell & South Central Bell
Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, a currently existing regional LEC
Verizon Communications, Inc., formerly Bell Atlantic Corporation, a currently existing holding company
NYNEX Corporation, a former RBOC holding company
Verizon New England, Inc., a currently existing regional LEC
Verizon New York, Inc., a currently existing regional LEC
Verizon Delaware LLC, a currently existing regional LEC
Verizon Maryland, Inc., a currently existing regional LEC
Verizon New Jersey, Inc., a currently existing regional LEC
Verizon Pennsylvania, Inc., a currently existing regional LEC
Verizon Washington, D.C., Inc., a currently existing regional LEC
Verizon Virginia, Inc., a currently existing regional LEC
The following telephone companies are considered independent of the Baby Bells:
CenturyLink, Inc., a currently existing independent LEC holding company
Qwest Communications International, Inc., a holding company acquired in 2011; originally a non-Bell company, acquired and merged U S WEST in 2000.
Qwest Services Corporation, a holding company within the Qwest corporate structure
Qwest Corporation, a currently existing regional LEC, originally Mountain Bell, includes defunct Malheur Bell, Northwestern Bell, Pacific Northwest Bell
Cincinnati Bell, Inc., a currently existing independent LEC holding company
Cincinnati Bell Telephone Company LLC, a currently existing LEC of which AT&T owned 27.8% before 1984 and thus was left separate in the 1984 break-up
FairPoint Communications, Inc., a currently existing independent LEC holding company
Northern New England Telephone Operations LLC, a regional LEC created when Verizon New England lines in Maine and New Hampshire were sold to FairPoint in 2008
Telephone Operating Company of Vermont LLC, a regional LEC created when Verizon New England lines in Vermont were sold to FairPoint in 2008
Frontier Communications Corporation, a currently existing independent LEC holding company
Frontier Communications ILEC Holdings, Inc., an LEC holding company created by Verizon and sold to Frontier in 2010
Frontier West Virginia, Inc., a currently existing regional LEC, formerly C&P Telephone of West Virginia
The following companies were spun off after 1984 from AT&T Corp. or the Baby Bells and do not provide telephone service.
Alcatel-Lucent, a currently existing equipment/research company
Alcatel-Lucent USA, Inc., a research company spun off separately in 1995 (as Lucent Technologies) and merged with Alcatel in 2006
Western Electric Company, Incorporated, a former telecommunications and recording equipment-manufacturing company that ceased to have that name as of the 1984 break-up
Alcatel-Lucent Bell, a present-day subsidiary of Alcatel-Lucent that was founded in Antwerp, Belgium in 1882, by Western Electric. It came into Alcatel-Lucent ownership via ITT and Alcatel.
Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc., the former AT&T-corporate research unit
Avaya, Inc., a currently -existing equipment manufacturing company spun off from Lucent in 2000
LSI Corporation, a currently existing holding company
Agere Systems, incorporated on August 1, 2000, the former Micro Electronics subsidiary of Lucent was then spun off in 2002 and acquired by LSI in 2007
Systimax Solutions, the Western Electric Structured Cabling unit, once known as AT&T Network Systems was spun off from Avaya in 2002 and is now part of CommScope
Telefonaktiebolaget L. M. Ericsson, a Swedish communications company
Telcordia Technologies, Inc., a currently existing research company, formerly known as Bell Communications Research (Bellcore)
Beginning in 1991, the Baby Bells began to consolidate operations or legally rename their Bell Operating Companies according to the parent company name, such as “Bell Atlantic – Delaware, Inc.” or “U S WEST Communications, Inc.”, to “unify” the corporate image. To this day, the only remaining Baby Bell that has not renamed its operating companies is AT&T, formerly SBC Communications. Since 2001, there have only been 17 of the original 22 Bell Operating Companies, following the mergers of U S WEST’s and BellSouth’s operating companies and reincorporation of Southwestern Bell. Only 9 of those 19 have retained their original corporate name since their incorporation before 1984.

Posted by: roy ellis at February 16, 2014 8:50 PM
Comment #376544

Rhinehold, my list is bigger than yore list.

Posted by: roy ellis at February 17, 2014 5:13 PM
Comment #376551

What list would you be talking about?

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 17, 2014 6:10 PM
Comment #376587

As I’ve posted, I’m starting to see some sanity returning to many economists and those who write about such stuff.

From a recent WaPo article: “Their reputations are tarnished; their favorite doctrines are damaged. Among their most prominent thinkers, there is no consensus as to how – or whether – governments in advanced countries can improve lackluster recoveries.”

Another igot of truth surfaces from a WaPo article today:

“Recent improvements in the housing market have been fueled largely by investors who snapped up homes in the past few years. But that demand is waning as prices climb and mortgage rates rise. … . loan applications have slipped nearly 20 percent in the past four months compared with the same period a year earlier.”

Rhinehold, this url reinforces my position about globalised monopolies/conglomerates way better than I ever could.

https://monthlyreview.org/2011/04/01/monopoly-and-competition-in-twenty-first-century-capitalism

“Twentieth-century monopoly capitalism was not returning to its earlier nineteenth-century competitive stage, but evolving into a twenty-first-century phase of globalized, financialized monopoly capital.”

“In 2009 the top twenty-five global private megacorporations by revenue rank were: Wal-Mart Stores, Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil, BP, Toyota Motor, AXA, Chevron, ING Group, General Electric, Total, Bank of America, Volkswagen, ConocoPhillips, BNP Paribus, Assicurazioni Generali, Allianz, AT&T, Carrefour, Ford Motor, ENI, JPMorgan Chase, Hewlett-Packard, E.ON, Berkshire Hathaway, and GDF Suez.20 Such firms straddle the globe. Samir Amin aptly calls this “the late capitalism of generalized, financialized, and globalized oligopolies.” There is no doubt that giant global corporations are able to use their disproportionate power to leverage monopoly rents, imposed on populations, states, and smaller corporations.21 So much for that new wave of competition.”

“In our view, the stakes are high. Understanding monopoly power is not only indispensable to understanding how the capitalist system works and the problems of stagnation and financialization; it is also vital to understanding the real world of politics and governance, and to any meaningful analysis of imperialism. The struggle for democracy requires that we face up to the reality of ever more concentrated political and economic power held by a plutocracy that owns and controls the giant monopolistic corporations. We on the left must learn to speak intelligibly and effectively to people who experience the consequences of this power in their lives each and every day—or reconcile ourselves to irrelevance.”

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: roy ellis at February 18, 2014 5:22 PM
Comment #376753

Food for thought:

Pro Teck Valuation Services has posted a report comparing housing-market rebounds in cities with “non-judicial” foreclosure processes with those with “judicial” ones. In other words, they compare states in which the government meddles less in foreclosure with states that meddle more.

Pro Teck found that of 30 metropolitan housing markets in non-judicial states, housing markets corrected sooner and prices have rebounded more quickly than in states with more government involvement. Could Murray Rothbard have been correct that markets clean up clusters of malinvestment?

Pro Teck chief executive Tom O’Grady told The Los Angeles Times, “When we looked closer” at rebound performances state by state, “we observed that nonjudicial states bottomed out sooner”—typically between 2009 and 2011—”versus 2011 to 2012 for judicial states, and have seen greater appreciation since the bottom,” typically 50 percent to 80 percent compared with just 10 percent to 45 percent for judicial states.

“Our hypothesis,” he added, “is that nonjudicial states have been able to work through the foreclosure [glut] faster, allowing them to get back into a non-distressed housing market sooner, and are therefore seeing greater appreciation.”

Read more: http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/rothbards-remedy#ixzz2uHCtlGiW

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 24, 2014 4:18 PM
Comment #376822
I bought gas today at $3.08/gal. Should we talk about when gas prices might go up?

To late Roy gas has went up. 2 weeks ago when I left town gas was $3.06/gal.. At the end of that week on my way back to town I stopped the next town up the road and paid $2.87/gal. In town the next day it was $3.17/gal. Monday following it was $3.39/gal. ( The station that was $$2.87 was at 3.16/gal later in the week.)

Despite (as C&J reminds us constantly) the fracking boom that is ongoing here in this country. Conservatives want to raise the gas prices higher by allowing the XL pipeline to run Canadian oil to the refineries (for export to China) that are the bottleneck that keeps gas prices high.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 25, 2014 3:01 PM
Comment #376840

J2, I’m thinking that gas will get back to around $4/gal pdq once the pipeline is up and running.

I see where the US is going to be exporting natural gas as well. Right now a lot of natural gas wells are static and won’t come on line til prices go up. A new gas well can be drilled and made operational in less than a week. Not a big employer of people, maybe one maintenance tech driving around in a white pickup truck, check 5 wells in the morning and 5 in the afternoon, and so on - - -

Posted by: roy ellis at February 25, 2014 9:29 PM
Comment #376851

It will be close by the beginning of summer around here Roy. We are at $3.40 as of today at the cheap station that was $3.37 a few days ago. And we are experiencing the growth of the fracking boom here in Colorado but that doesn’t stop the prices from going up every time some executive needs another jet.

The exploitation of natural resources by big business is gaining speed here in this country. But it is alright because it is capitalism right? It astounds us but that was why many right wing dictators in other countries have been propped up over the years by our government. Why countries have went to war against us, why communism became an alternative that seemingly made sense at the time.

They claim they need more federal leases yet cannot demonstrate how it will benefit this country. The cry for the pipeline should be the cry for refineries IMHO.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 26, 2014 12:59 PM
Comment #378111

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Posted by: cai80 at April 27, 2014 10:05 PM
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