Tag Archives: Chinese economy

2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Contrary to rumor I am still awake although mentally I do go into “sleep mode” more often these days.

Iowa is a good example of the Good, The Bad and the Ugly of government actions.  First we have the ethanol mandate pushed by both parties that does nothing but drive up the cost of gasoline and food by requiring a set number of gallons to be used each year regardless of demand or cost.   Corn growers love it and the Iowa caucuses come first.  Then there is the EPA going after the pig farmers for pollution because of the pig waste.   You’ve heard of a pig in a poke, well this is the problem of the pig and the poopery or so the EPA assures us.  Boy I can sure sleep better at night knowing those pointy headed bureaucrats are protecting my safety.  Hmm, left out the Good didn’t we.  Well, we’ll have to come back next week with an expert to figure out what the good is in any of the above.

You can believe all the official economic numbers you like out of China to make your IRA investment decisions if you want.  Those numbers have all be approved by the Commies before they are released.  I don’t trust our bureaucrats and sure as hell don’t trust a Commie bureaucrat.  They say they are growing at a 7.5% rate and based on their numbers many investment advisers remain bullish on China as they are alleging still building out their huge demand for infrastructure.  Well, some numbers that indicate the activity in China are reliable because they don’t come from China.  Look at the Baltic Dry Index.  It documents the tonnage of raw material shipments around the world.  Those numbers come from Australia, Singapore and other Western countries.  Fact is that the amount of iron ore being shipped to China is way down as is the price of iron ore.  Those bridges, roads, industrial plants, commercial buildings, apartments, cars, dams and consumer staples all require steel, lots of it.  If China is growing so fast why aren’t their imports as high as they were a few years ago?   Riddle me that Batman.

Have you heard enough about the “Charm Offensive” by the guy in the White House?   I assume it is the type of charm that is in the nature of a hex or spell.  That guy can’t pass himself off as a leprechaun but maybe some might buy the notion of a shaman or witch doctor.   Rather than constantly being the showman it would be nice if we had a President who actually worked.  You know, report to the office early each day and meet with key folks and look at real numbers every day and come up with weekly ideas to reduce and eliminate the plethora of useless and redundant expenditures in addition to those that are outright ridiculous.  Do this till dinner time.  Then repeat day after day.  Treat the position like it is supposed to be, a job, not a platform for self promotion.

My idea of tax reform is quite simple and understandable.  First you take a match to the existing Tax Code and the thousands of pages of regulations.  Out, everything out.  Then the next step would be to legislate that the new Code could not be more than 50 pages long.  Go with a flat tax or a consumption tax, tax only income.  No capital gains tax or estate tax.  Encourage people to invest and build, sell then start over again.  One minimum limit for those who don’t have to pay any tax at all to make it progressive enough to satisfy the Left.  No deductions or exemptions or tax credits.  That is it.  Our economy would love it.  The tax lawyers, CPA’s and special interest groups would be apoplectic but that would be a sign you got it right.

North Korea announced to the world that the Truce is at an end.   We noticed that many in the media seemed to blow that off referencing the many blustery remarks that have come from the North over the decades since the cease-fire.  It was even reported in several outlets that North Korea couldn’t renounce the Truce on its own.  Well, folks that can and have.  Recall your history please.  The Korean War was not concluded with a peace treaty between the belligerents.  It merely ground to a halt with both sides agreeing to a cease first and exchange of prisoners and a line of demarcation between the opposing armies.   It was not any different from many countless cease fires in numberless wars over the ages where both sides for whatever their reasons decided to quit fighting for a while.  It happened many times during the War Between The States for example.   There were many local cease fires during both World Wars to allow treatment and collection of the wounded and dead.  All North Korea agreed to was to stop firing for a while.  It didn’t promise to never fight another day.  Why the devil do you think we have maintained tens of thousands of US troops in Korea and Japan for all these decades?   Lastly it is usually wise to take someone at their word when in a dangerous encounter.   If that nut job says the cease-fire is over, then you best assume it is over.  Hopefully, some rational heads still exist in North Korea but their actions against even their own people makes that a marginal proposition.

The CERN guys say they have found the Higgs-Boson element, force or mass, whatever it is.  Some like to call it the God Particle.   It is an amazing feat if true and the quantum physics behind it all makes one’s head swim.   Love the science and cheer own further research but I prefer my God to have a purpose and offer me hope.

“They do abuse the king that flatter  him: For flattery is the bellows blows up sin; The thing the which is flatter’d, but a spark, To which that blast gives heat and stronger glowing; Whereas reproof , obedient, and in order, Fits kings, as they are men, for they may err.”  Pericles, Prince of Tyre, by Shakespeare, Act One, Scene Two.  www. olcranky.wordpress.com

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Elections, tax hikes and saber rattling around the world are a few of the topics of the day along with words of wisdom for the discerning…..

The Chinese have “elected” their new leadership for the next few years.  Regrettably so many forget or never knew any of the history of the Commie regimes.  The supreme leader in China does not hold a formal office under their laws and Constitution (yes, they have one).  The new guy Xi is the General Secretary of the Communist Party.  He is not a premier or President but a party leader.  Just as Stalin never held a formal office in the Soviet Union.  He was nothing more than a humble party leader.   Everything that happens with the Chinese economy and their society is directed and controlled by the party, not a democratic process.  Imagine Debbie Wasserman-Shultz being in charge of the US.  That should put matters in proper focus.

Notice in the last week that Gore continues to spout the mantra that we’ve just had the warmest decade on record.  Further only dolts would disagree with that “science”.  Mayhap he should check with the British Meteorological Office.  Within the last month they issued their latest analysis of world temperatures and found–ta da, that there has been no change in world temperatures for the last 16 years, zip, nada.  The Brits are big proponents of environmental protection and carbon controls and that Meteorological office is not exactly a hot bed of right wing neocons.  But the science is the science as they say.   Maybe Gore should expand is reading list.
The hurricane Sandy produced the sadly routine tragic stories of death and destruction.  As is so often the case the total destruction was somewhat random, a neighborhood was eliminated but only a few blocks away other than loss of power everything pretty much survived intact.  Folks rightly bemoaned the deaths and destruction.  One can only imagine the impact in about 70 AD when Pompeii and environs were not just hurt and damaged but completely eliminated in the volcanic eruption.  The entire town and surrounding area simply didn’t exist anymore when Romans came to investigate the reports of the eruption.   We’ll never know the countless thousands killed within minutes of that event.  There was nothing to restore or rebuild.

Benghazi is a sad and disturbing tale.  Holder knew of the investigation into Patraeus this past summer.  Yet, so far we are told he never revealed this info to that person  in the White House.   You think maybe he talked it over with Plouffe or Axlerod?  Another very concerning issue is if there was even a hint of Patraeus being open to blackmail or even embarrassment and the President was holding regular meetings with him to discuss the most sensitive of national security issues why the heck wasn’t that matter given to the President?   Should any President ever discuss those national security issues with anyone who has personal problems, whether it is a mistress or they drink too much or whatever it may be.   To say that giving such info to the President would be wrong because it would indicate he was interfering in  an ongoing criminal investigation is ludicrous.   Give me a break!   This wasn’t an investigation for a DWI or not buying a Federal duck stamp.   I think the President and his inner circle knew for months and held this little tidbit in reserve for future use against Patraeus if he ever was not as pliable as they wanted on any particular issue.

While everyone has their eye on the so-called fiscal cliff, the informed and thoughtful have their eye on the next debt ceiling deadline.  Shortly after the Holidays we’ll hit the debt limit again.   It is already an inconceivable 16.3 trillion.  The Dems and White House  will be asking for at least another 2 trillion plus.   One more chance to put a stick in the spokes of this run away wagon that is terribly over loaded.   We can’t borrow our way to prosperity.

On this tax dispute and raising taxes on the “wealthy”, do bear in mind that the dispute involves more than the 3.9 percent increase constantly talked about by the Dems.  They already have in place a 3.8 percent raise in taxes on those over 250K under Obamacare.  We are really talking about if their taxes will go up by about 8 percent all in one year.   I am not in the category or close to it but I would much rather those with that amount of income spend or invest that money anyway they please rather than allowing the Feds to confiscate it and dole it out to the favored groups of the Left.

The Petraeus affair does bring to the fore again our laxity in reining in any government agencies.   The bureaucratic and political approach to ANY problem is another layer of bureaucracy–another agency, department or bureau.  The current line up for this latest flap involves to a greater or lesser degree–the FBI, the CIA, the Director of National Intelligence, the National Security advisor, National Security Council and of course my favorite the Director of Homeland Security.   Anytime there is an issue they can’t resist the urge to appoint a new chief.    Like the old Abbot and Costello routine–who’s on first?

Those tiny hummingbird wings in our neck of the woods have carried them all the way to Mexico this time of year.  Hard to imagine they can make it that far on such a small frame.  But they will be back in Spring and we’ll break out the hummingbird feeders again.

“The government of the United States is a limited government.  It is confined to the exercise of powers expressly granted, and such others as may be necessary for carrying out those powers into effect; and it is at all times an especial duty to guard the against any infringement of the just rights of the States”   Millard Fillmore, New York yankee and US president.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com



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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Between morning and afternoon naps the old folks still have a thought or two that we offer at the same bargain prices…..

Well, helicopter Ben says he will print more money this morning from Jackson Hole.   But, then again maybe he didn’t.  You have to be able to translate the Greek from the ancient Hebrew and then into economic-ese.  First the market took it as a yes, he would then  folded upon further review.  But upon even further review it decided he would print up some greenbacks for us.   You make your own decision.  My bet is that he will especially because his comments about the state of the economy and the unemployment rate were not optimistic at all.   At least the Federal government has a debt ceiling limit it must adhere to but Ben has the sky for his limit, literally.

He made my day.  Sure old Clint rambled a bit and was off message a lot.  But he did make his points forcefully.  The other side can have their Clooneys and Baldwins all they want.  I’ll take Dirty Harry on my side in that dark alley of political knife fights any day.   Clint looks like he could be your neighbor, not a pretty boy on a magazine cover.

Enjoy your Blue Moon Friday.  A Blue Moon is when we have two full moons in one calender month.  Hence the phrase once in a Blue Moon.

I don’t know how some of the economic pundits can still be debating about how much China is slowing down in its economic growth.   You sure can’t trust the numbers out of China but there are some numbers you can follow that reflect what is happening there that are independent of the Chinese Commie Party influence.  The actual shipments of iron ore have fallen more than 33% this year to China.  Same is true of coking coal.  This can be verified by following the numbers out of Australia and the Baltic Dry Index.  Steel is one of those items that give a pretty clear indication of economic growth or activity.   It goes into pretty much everything from cars to buildings to dish washers.   Whatever they are doing behind the curtain in China that we don’t see, they are clearly doing less of it.  For you investments you shouldn’t be counting on China for the near term.

There was a bit of talk about the Republican Convention authorizing a commission to study the idea of a gold standard fro our money.    We should at least do that.   The egg- head economists pooh pooh the idea as old -fashioned and not flexible enough for a “modern” economy.  They always start off by pointing out that there isn’t enough gold to support the money needs.  Well, that may be true but there are still ways of making a link between our money and gold.  I have my own idea which is to set a standard that we must have enough gold to equal 50% of the national debt at all  times based upon the average price of gold during the trailing twelve month period.  At least that would make the politicians pay serious attention to our (your) debt.  The way it is now there is no “governor” on the rise of the national debt other than the whims of the politicians of the  moment.   The government should also be required to accept gold at the market price as full payment and legal tender for all debts owed it.  I am certainly open to tinkering with the concept offered here but anything like that would be a vast improvement unless you trust your future to the politicians and their desire to buy votes and voters in perpetuity.

A gold link with the dollar would prevent what we have seen the last three years where the Fed has simply printed dollars to by Treasury bills and thus allow the Feds to run a huge deficit each year. The Fed has bought over 50% of all the Treasuries during this period per their own reports and those of the Treasury.  We wouldn’t have been able to finance our deficits because no one would have bought them or more realistically we would have had to pay much higher rates of interest.  Keeping those interest rates low has been the stated purpose of the Fed.

You have to laugh when you notice that Tim Geithner the tax cheat and our Treasury Secretary has not been visible for some months now.    The BO campaign clearly doesn’t want to have him with too much face time with the media now because he is a reminder of so much that has gone wrong with their policies.  Think back to ’09 and ’10 and he was on the  tube at least once a week.  Maybe we should start a movement for people to watch out for a “Timmy” sighting.

In addition to worrying about the tons of smoke and other emissions that Man puts into our environment every day I will give you something else to worry about that the EPA is completely ignoring and offering us no protection or solutions.   Every single day thousands of tons of debris from space falls to earth.  You see them in the falling stars and meteorites but there are many more that we never see.  Just think no one is protecting us from this pollution and we don’t even know all the evil elements that are in these celestial contaminants.   This is all in addition to that deadly radiation from the Sun.   One wonders how we made it from the trees and caves to our condos.

Go Curiousity.  It has started moving and exploring.  Can’t wait to see if we learn something really new or its just a dusty place with boring geography and elements.

“Only in states in which the power of the people is supreme has liberty any abode.”  Cicero.  Good words and a warning.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

We offer fodder for the bored and aimless mind, at bargain prices…..

Twenty odd years ago when Greece was applying for and finally admitted to the Eurozone they demanded and received a special “bailout” as their price to vote for the admission of Portugal.  They didn’t transfer to the Euro until about 10 years ago and now are on the brink of financial collapse and demanding more bailout from others.  A quote just this week from a “man on the street” in Athens pretty well sums up their problem and their attitude.  He said that all they needed to do was take the money from the rich people and everything would be fine. Of course that money would last less than a year with their public employee payrolls and pension benefits.  After that what is their next plan–to take the money from the rich in other European countries?   Good luck with that.

Do you recall what the public welfare plan was for Jamestown when it was first established?   Some of those earlier settlers didn’t want to work the fields, build the cabins and hunt for food and provide for defence.   The welfare program was pretty simple–you don’t work you don’t get to share in the food or housing.  Only those physically unable were exempt and the community provided charity but not as a government requirement.  They had a rough go of it for a couple of years but the Tidewater area of Virginia continued to grow over the years from 1609 onward until Virginia was the most populous of the Colonies.

I am going to start throwing my shoe at the TV if the commentators and pundits don’t quit using the phrase “same exact” or its more elegant version “exact same”.  Darn, doesn’t anyone at those places know how to use proper English and syntax.   Could there possibly be a more redundant phrase.   One word or the other will be quite sufficient.

Some expert continue to predict that China growth will be the engine for global economic expansion and help raise the US economy.  You might want to check the Baltic Dry Index for the last few months.  The Chinese have significantly reduced steel production, they have slowed their shipments or iron ore and coal and have even delayed or simply defaulted on a number of such shipments.  They don’t apparently plan on building nearly as much at least in the near term and thus that growth will be a pretty small engine of world growth.  Everyone best re-think that strategy.   It doesn’t hurt to remember that the Chinese economy is there for the pleasure and amusement and benefit of the Communist Party.  They still have a tight rein on that country.  If you don’t believe me, ask Bo.

Are you surprised that a member of the NLRB appointed by a Democrat just resigned and took the position as general counsel for the AFL-CIO?   One can only guess what side he was on in every issue brought before that bureaucratic board.  

Geithner says that raising questions and concerns about increasing, again, the National Debt cause people to doubt the full faith and credit of the US and its  ability to pay its bills.   I believe that that is exactly why the question should be raised and that the National Debt must be controlled immediately–so we WILL be able to pay our debts on time.  If if keeps going up there is a limit to how much our creditors will advance.  The Fed has been buying over 60% of all our new debt and the others are bound to be getting nervous.   I just wish for once the Democrats would agree that there has to be a limit on its size.  I mean can it go to 35 trillion, 50 trillion?  Surely any rational mind would agree that the sky is NOT the limit.   The current budget proposals of BO already project the Debt to almost hit 30 trillion within a decade.   If not now, when are we going to address this problem.   Cut just 1 %, a measly 1% of the actual expenditures, not projected growth rate increases, across the board and it could balance out over a few years.

Gold and the Gold standard has many critics.  They claim it has no inherent value; that it does not represent a storehouse of value.  They believe the fiat currency  is the modern world and the only way to advance and manage  a modern economy.  Certainly not all but many economists tout this approach.  But, but, but, what causes me pause is that the fact that numerous central banks around the world have been accumulating gold for the last couple of years and continue to do so even as we speak.  Those central banks are run by the same economists and left-wing politicos who denounce gold.   Do actions speak louder than words.

Well, did you get rich and retire on your Facebook stock?  Never have understood why there is much money in teenage girls talking about Fluffy their cat and their new hairstyle or clothes purchase, except other teenage girls.    No matter how many gazillion users it may have it seems from a business standpoint that it is now at least a niche market with limited upside.   But what do I know, if you think it is great then bet the farm on it.  But I would recommend if you do,  that you sharpen your other job skills and learn to like living in an efficiency apartment.

One can only laugh at the outer limits of political correctness in vogue today.  The other day on a NPR show a caller to a scientist suggested that Black holes should be called “gravity holes” to eliminate negative connotations.  Well, even on NPR the scientist was taken aback a bit.  Firstly we could note that they are called Black holes because no light can escape from them and thus they are black.  That is why they are harder to discern by astronomers.  Where is Alice, this must be Wonderland.

“I have noticed that nothing I never said ever did me any harm.”  Calvin Coolidge www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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