AA status for a third world country

Standard & Poor’s is extracting an ounce of payback on the United States after they were ridiculed and had their wrists slapped for rating Lehman Brothers an A, a month before bankruptcy.

The problems- as with most of our problems in the United States- comes back to the fact that we’ve been forced to employ clowns and puppets in Congress and the White House for way too long. The circus as government has to be stopped.

To begin with, political office shouldn’t be a career position. I’m not advocating term limits by any means- there is nothing wrong with having the option to keep the best people in office for a long time. The two-year term for the House of Representatives was set that long for a reason- to force frequent accountability of the officeholder. The problem, like most of our problems is due to the “economy” we’ve created around campaigns. Elections have for the most part become auctions. The minimum bid for Congress is around a million dollars- this is ludicrous and twisting our system into a bad joke to be played on voters.

It’s quite simple to end: Finance the informational campaign for public office with public dollars instead of allowing it to be co-opted by special interests. The other major change would be to change our polling methods from a simple ballot to an instant runoff ballot which allows voters to rank candidates- this would get us away from always having to decide between just two candidates and allow some other positions to advance.

Major changes to the financial system itself are long overdue. How one group of bond-rating people can take an A away from the U.S. bond rating and send the financial markets on a death spiral is ludicrous. Apple and Google didn’t change their business models over the weekend but both saw huge drops in their stock yesterday. The stock market valuations are now less reliable than a bookie’s line as an indication of future performance. This has to stop. Stocks were never meant to be dealt like hands of poker at a casino- with every hand to be bet on differently- stocks were supposed to represent long-term positions on a company’s business model. The idea of trading the same stock multiple times in a matter of minutes should have been outlawed after the last flash crash- however our politicians, who are beholden to Wall Street money for their campaigns, refuse to make the necessary changes to financial markets. Eliminate flash trading altogether- and either put limits on numbers of times an “investor” can move in and out of  a stock in a year- or put requirements on length of ownership based on size of holdings. Day trading as a whole is nothing more than gambling- and sound financial markets can no longer be run like a casino (especially one where the wealthy are playing like they own the house).

CH47-1a Chinook Helicopter

Time for Chinook rides for Congress

While calls for a “balanced budget” are the pipe dreams of a country that doesn’t understand how modern monetary systems work, there has to be a realization somewhere that wars cost a lot- both in terms of money and long-term impact on our country. Wars only last 10 years if you are incompetent. How is it that a bunch of rag-tag misanthropes without an air force, armored vehicles or GPS enabled, satellite real time data feeds are keeping the most expensive military in the world at work for ten years? How do we lose two dozen Navy SEALS to an “RPG” – simple, we’re paying the price once again of having puppets and clowns running the country. The Chinook helicopter that got shot down isn’t fit for a battlefield that’s changed in the 50 years since it was first deployed- before the days of Stinger missiles. The aircraft that was supposed to replace the Chinook- the Osprey, was a political boondoggle of epic proportions. Billions spent on a design that didn’t do anything better- but once the course was set the pork kept it on track.

Wars cost a lot. They also make a lot of money for big defense contractors, who in turn finance our politicians in their auctions for office. We’re not going to see an end to either our war- or our outlandish defense budget until we reform our process of elections. The first and best solution right now- is to send all of Congress and the overpaid CEOs of our military industrial complex on a guided tour of Afghanistan during daylight hours in Chinooks- and make them drive on the roads in the HUMVEEs that they originally sent our troops into battle in. Our military knows how to win real wars- what they can’t win against is the need for our politicians to keep their political war chests full. Take the money out of politics and we may see some level headed thinking about the real costs of a war.

Last but not least- this country doesn’t deserve a AAA rating as long as we have a junk-bond status health-care system. Once again, due to politicians’ dependence on donations like a junkie’s dependence on the pusher’s dope supply, politicians somehow have confused “Health Care” and “Health Insurance” as being one and the same. They’re not. Paying for “health insurance” is no different than our other systems of gambling being mistaken for sound financial practice- any system where 35% of the costs is eaten by administrative middlemen is nothing more than a shakedown. It’s time for this country to join every other country with a AAA rating with a national health-care system. There is no reason to keep paying health insurance CEOs $100 million a year to cover only a third of our nation. Again out plutocracy is failing a majority of us, but we are powerless to stop it- we can’t buy an honest politician because they can’t exist in our cesspool system.

I think the biggest joke today is that we still believe this country isn’t some kind of third world banana republic with pay-to-play graft and corruption. I remember being “taught” in my international business courses about the disgusting practices around the world where bribes and arcane rules made it expensive and complex for foreigners like us to do business. Folks, it’s time to look in the mirror.

We don’t deserve a AAA rating or even an A rating until some serious effort is made to bring back the country that our founding fathers imagined (with a little more emphasis on equality and justice for all). It’s time for a total process improvement plan for the way we run our country and elect our leaders, or a single A rating will soon be followed by a B and on down the line. We’re already bankrupt and can’t admit it, and we can’t fix it until we make the changes above.

First steps are the hardest- Members of Congress- enjoy your Chinook rides.

 

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! If you wish to support this blog, please head over and use our services at The Next Wave Printing for all your printing needs. We have 4 Color Business cards starting at just $13.50.

17 Responses

  1. John Ise August 9, 2011 / 9:58 am
    One more:

    Triple-A Idiots
    Posted: 8/7/11 08:25 PM ET
     


     
     

     
    You have to hand it to Standard and Poor’s. Forget their two-trillion dollar math error. The whole idea that these clowns are evaluating the creditworthiness of the United States is just loony.
    For starters, these are the same people who brought us the crisis, by blessing junk sub-prime loans as AAA securities. And they did so because they were paid as consultants by the same financial scoundrels who created the securities.
    The executives of the credit rating companies — not “agencies,” for these are private, profit-making, essentially unregulated companies, not public entities — belong in prison.
    They managed to slither out of serious regulation under the Dodd-Frank Act. Their sketchy business models go merrily on, pretty much as before, as if the sub-prime scandal never happened. Rules for the minimal regulation provided by Dodd-Frank have yet to be written.
    The last job these thieves deserve is arbiter of the security of Treasury bonds, and markets are even more irrational than they seem if they lend any credence to this downgrade.
    The second thing that’s suspicious is the timing. If S&P were going to downgrade the government’s credit rating, the time to do it was while the Republicans were playing chicken with default. But S&P waited until after Obama was blackmailed into taking an austerity deal to assure that the debt would be honored.
    So why do the downgrade now, when payment of the debt has been assured. Maybe to get Republicans off the hook? The action left Democrats sputtering and Republicans chortling.
    Third, S&P has ventured way outside its franchise when it contends that the downgrade reflects political uncertainty. Credit rating agencies were set up to help investors evaluate relatively obscure bonds that are opaque to individual investors. Is Acme Cement a soundly-run company? Does Madison County Iowa collect enough taxes to pay back its municipal bonds? How about Azerbaijan?
    But the debt ratio of the U.S. is a matter of public record, and the great game of default- chicken was hidden in plain view. Even so, financial markets are snapping up U.S. Treasury ten-year bonds at the near record low of about 2.4 percent. Do you think investors would lend Uncle Sam their hard-earned money locked in for ten years for a skimpy 2.4 percent return if they thought there was a snowball’s chance of default?
    So exactly what esoteric insight does Standard and Poors add that the markets don’t already know? It beats me.
    Their enterprise is so scientific that the three major credit rating companies can’t even agree on a rating for the U.S. They should take up astrology.
    This sorry tale is part of the larger corruption of private regulation of the world’s financial markets. Greece, Italy, Spain, Ireland and Portugal are under assault today in part because large hedge funds are gambling, using essentially unregulated credit default swaps, often “naked” swaps backed by no reserves, betting that these nations will default.
    These markets need to be re-regulated, and the European Union and its Central Bank need to refinance these debts at affordable costs.
    As for the credit rating companies, they should be denied their quasi-official status, and be put out of business in favor of non-profit or public entities. They would have to be totally transparent in their models, and without conflicts of interest in how they get paid.
    We financed a much larger national debt relative to the size of the GDP during World War II. The Federal Reserve and the Treasury cooperated to make sure the bonds got sold at very low interest rates. Americans patriotically bought war bonds, and rich people paid surtaxes as high as 91 percent of their incomes so that some of the costs of war would be tax-financed rather than borrowed.
    That is what a seriously governed nation does in a crisis. And there were no meddling credit rating companies to mess it up.
    Robert Kuttner is co-editor of The American Prospect and a senior fellow at Demos. His latest book is “A Presidency in Peril.”

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Gary August 11, 2011 / 12:52 pm
    a senior fellow at Demos What the heck is Demos? Anyway, after sitting here reading this post and comments for 20 minutes, my comments are: First of all, those bozos or bozoes at S&P’s gave us a AA+ rating, not a AA! And the nut who spoke for them was about to eat his untrimmed mustache! How do some of these idiots get their jobs anyway? I implore you, how?  I don’t understand all the economics, bonds, etc., but; I would like to know what happened to the first helicopter the second one was going to rescue? How could Navy Seals let themselves get shot down? I thought they were the best of the best! And lastly, our past three wars in Iraq, Kwait and Afghanistan don’t hold a stick to WWII nor the Civil War where thousands lost their lives for our freedom! Losing 30 on the Chinook? was gun play. Maybe these past three wars were only about money …

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. David Lauri August 11, 2011 / 4:36 pm
    Gary asks, “What the heck is Demos?”
     
    Here, try this link.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Bubba Jones August 11, 2011 / 5:39 pm
    David L – that was very nice of you to provide that link for Gary.  You, sir, are a gentleman and a scholar! 
     
    Since I’m not quite as nice as you, I might have been inclined to send him this link instead.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Gary August 11, 2011 / 8:03 pm
    bubba and david, thanks for your sarcastic and pighead remarks; but i know how to google, i was just asking off the cuff …

    about – Demos – Ideas & Action
    Demos is a non-partisan public policy research and advocacy organization

    www.demos.org/about.cfmCachedSimilar

    Since you both are so smart-elecs and remind me of my supervisors, answer me this: What happened to the first helicopter the 2nd one went into rescue?  Google that!  I do know the intended insurgent leader they were after got away …
    Are you both unemployed?  Don’t you have more to do in a day than read this blog and run folks down?
    Furthermore, why didn’t you correct David?  I’m sure I saw the US is now AA+ rated, oh well, it doesn’t matter, nothing does anymore but my parents’ health … This economy is never going to get better, wake up people!

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Gary August 11, 2011 / 8:31 pm
    Here are some more grades for us readers of this blog: S & P F, bubba F, DL F and Demos F!  Ok scholars, if F stands for flunk, what do ABC&D stand for?  :-)  Grammar error: an AA rating.  To me, it’s our own darn faults the world is the way it is — but at least the USA’s government tries to help the others …

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Gary August 18, 2011 / 1:35 pm
    @ kerwin- I feel gold and silver will never be overvalued nor undervalued because … First of all, these minerals are just that, stones or whatever.  They are not dealt with like credit cards, checks nor monies … I’m sure I will be called boz0 again for my comment; but, back in the day, gold was free!  The California Gold Rush.  I’d love to have a bunch of gold and silver but you have to either melt it down and make jewelry with it, or you have to cash it in to have cash in your pocket … Nevermind …
    A= astute, assertive, admirable, absent
    B= doing better
    C= cheater
    D= dummy
    BTW- my schools gave out S=satisfactory; O=outstanding work; U=unsatisfactory.  And I hated that grading system at Immaculate Conception, let alone the Catholic classes that were required, but music, art and PE were ok.  Nevermind, off topic …

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. joe_mamma August 18, 2011 / 2:21 pm
    but, back in the day, gold was free!  The California Gold Rush – Gary


    Ah yes “free”.  I suppose the pick axes, shovels and gold pans were free and the digging of shafts and panning were effortless and instantaneous.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Bubba Jones August 18, 2011 / 3:03 pm
    but, back in the day, gold was free!  The California Gold Rush – Gary


    Yup, all you had to do was show up and the gold faerie just put gold in your pockets!  No work involved at all!

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. Gary August 19, 2011 / 9:40 am
    Apparently, most of the readers here cannot or will not think outside their boxes! Ok, so the labor for finding gold back then was arduous and required tools and travel and leaving their families …
    I’m now wondering if there was a tax on the gold they found, probably was, but I don’t feel like doing the research now because I have work to do – job hunting again – which has been my toll for a very-very-very-long time now!  blah!
    Those who pass blame have no idea, clue nor plan of there own apparently.  Whomever here thinks America is heading for a third world status rating better have a better plan than Congress does to save us from ourselves, or shut up – Barack said he’d listen to it!  :-)  If you cannot fix the problem then don’t complain.  I might have some solutions for America but I’d rather not try to fight the big businesses, drug lords, bankers, the Fed and Feds, in fear I will be shot to death for interfering in their profits!

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Bubba Jones August 22, 2011 / 9:49 am
    …but I don’t feel like doing the research now because I have work to do – job hunting again – which has been my toll for a very-very-very-long time now! – Gary
     
    Gary – Hopefully you’ve been awake enough this weekend to know that you should be heading down to Behr Thermal Products on Webster St. to put in a job application.  There have been stories, both in the DDN and the local newscasts, over the weekend where company officials have said that they have no qualified applicants in their applicant pool right now and they’re looking for new applicants.  I read where they’re looking to hire at least 55 people.  It’s not glamorous work but it’s a good company.  I know 2 people that work there and they’ve both pretty satisfied with their jobs.
     
    Just to help you out, here’s where you need to head….
    Behr Dayton Thermal Products LLC.

    1600 Webster Street.

    Dayton, OH 45404-1144

    Gary, PLEASE do not write another word on esrati.com until you’ve at least filled out an application at Behr.
     
    David E – Does this at least qualify me for a mitzvah?  I haven’t taught him to fish (although I’ve tried in the past!) but I’ve at least pointed him towards the fishin’ hole! LOL!

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. David Esrati August 22, 2011 / 10:49 am

    @Bubba- I’d almost take time off my job to drive Gary over there.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. Gary August 22, 2011 / 11:28 am
    @ Bubba, thanks, I have already applied there a year or so back but I’ll go again.  What do you do for a living?  I know someone who works there, too, Jody, so maybe I’ll give him a call, or at least call Behr but I probably have to go back down there and apply again, and I do have a car to get there that I owe lots of money for …
    But Bubba, I do have two degrees, do you?  And David, it’s country’s not countries, you’ve made that error twice now!  Why do folks have to run others down, I’ll never know, maybe it’s because they don’t like themselves either …
    I think I’ve added some good ideas on this blog, I just don’t know how to implement them … and sorry to bother you both with my dribble I guess …
    PS. Funny, I have been watching the news and have not seen anything on this Behr shortage of qualified employees – and I don’t have much factory experience, but we shall see … I’m off to Behr …

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. Bubba Jones August 22, 2011 / 2:38 pm
    Gary – don’t “probably” go back there or give them a call… GET YOUR ASS DOWN THERE AND PUT IN ANOTHER APPLICATION!!  Sheesh!!
     
    What I do for a living is irrelevant as far as this thread is concerned.  And, I hate to sound like an ass, but the fact that you have two degrees doesn’t seem to be getting you very far.  Quite frankly, the people that I’ve hired in the past that have had multiple degrees were my worst employees.  The best (most productive, reliable, etc.) was a (then) young lady that was working on her degree part time, at night.  Instead of you touting the fact that you have two degrees, what you need to focus on is some imaginative ways to get yourself in front of prospective employers.  Let them know that in spite of the fact you’ve been unemployed for quite some time that you’re worth them taking a chance on hiring. 
     
    Did you ever contact the local SCORE office and talk to anyone down there about your resume?  If not, why not?  I know that there were some SCORE folks at the South Metro Chamber of Commerce that were offering business counseling today.  Did you know that?  If not, why not?  Why aren’t you reading the BUSINESS section of the DDN if you’re looking for a job.  Every week they have a little blurb on who’s (and, it’s “who’s” not “whose”) hiring right now?  Did you know that?  My point is Gary, you need to take some initiative to get a job.  Trying to get a job is more than just filling out applications.  Read local business articles to see what’s going on locally.  Follow up your reading with writing a quick note to the companies mentioned to let them know that you’re available for hire as they’re expanding!
     
    WHEN you go down to Behr, here’s some advice…. 
    **Take your own pen.  There’s nothing that says “dumb ass” louder than a job applicant that doesn’t bring his own pen and has to borrow one from the receptionist to fill out the job app.  Most receptionists I know will make notes on the job app after the applicant walks out the door. 
    **Even though it’s factory work, at least wear a tie, if not a suit.  Again, this will make a good impression on the receptionist who will probably note it on your app.  Don’t wear jeans and a t-shirt or your app will go to the bottom of the pile.  If you have visible tattoos, cover them up!!  If you have any visible piercings, take them out!
    **Once you’re done filling out the app, ask to speak to the HR person that’s making the initial hiring decisions.  You’ll probably be told that the person isn’t available but that’s OK.  If you’re asked why you want to talk to the HR person, just say something along the lines of you’d like to let that person, face to face, know what a valuable asset you’d be to the company.  Many companies are shying away from hiring long-term unemployed people right now so you need to do something to get past that roadblock.  On the off-chance that you actually get to speak to an HR person, don’t try to be cute/silly/funny/etc.  Be professional, pleasant and polite.  Impress upon this person your willingness and eagerness to work for them.  Let them know that you’re dependable and punctual.   
    **Follow this process at more companies, not just Behr.  You’ll eventually come up with something.
     
    Remember, looking for work is a full time job.  You shouldn’t home during the middle of the day writing shit on Esrati.com!!  You should be out – pounding the pavement, refining your resume(s), etc.
     
    Nobody on the blog has been “running others down”, Gary.  Quite the contrary, we’ve been very helpful towards you but met with stupidity.  When I first suggested that you get some resume help at SCORE, your immediate response was “what is SCORE?” instead of looking it up to find out.  And a week or two ago you asked about some liberal organization.  Then, when David L created a “Let Me Google That For You” (followed up by my own link!) you were then pissed off because you claimed you already knew how to Google.  If you did, then why didn’t you Google it instead of asking about it.  It’s OK to ask questions if you’ve done a little research on your own, but at least do a little work yourself instead of expecting others here to wipe your ass for you.
     
    As far as whether or not I like myself, I do!  And why shouldn’t I?  I’m a pretty damn nice guy!!  My kids and my dog all love me, as does a wonderful woman that I share my life with.  And, in spite of you posting stupid stuff (I’ll point out another one in a second) and generally whining about things, I’ve still offered you some pretty good advice.  Hell, Gary, I’ll even go one better – send a copy of your resume to me ([email protected]) and I’ll review it for you.  How’s that for being a nice guy? :)
     
    On to your latest stupid thing…You mentioned “why do folks have to run others down” in your response.  But, before that you ran down David for misusing “countries” instead of “country’s”.  I couldn’t find where anyone used “countries” in this thread, so what are you referring to?  I guess it really doesn’t matter since you don’t have quite the command of the English language that you must think you have.  Why do I say that?  Because you said “sorry to bother you with my dribble…”.  Gary, the word you were looking for was “drivel”, unless of course you’re leaving a puddle as you type.
     
    Have a great day!!

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Gary August 22, 2011 / 5:35 pm
    Okay, thanks to everyone whom have tried to help me find work, and sorry to everyone I’ve angered with my stupidity; but, I did go to Behr today, and here are a few tips for all of you looking for work:
    Their HR Department is on Webster, not Leo … They only take applications M-F from 7:30am – 3:30pm unlike what a lady told me the newspaper said, till 4:30pm.
    I took my own pen but they give you one, too.  I don’t think it will matter if you are dressed up or have an earring on, which I did.  You need manufacturing experience, and if they like your data, they will call you in a couple of weeks, the HR guy said.  I did hear a guy come to the window talking real polite and professional but I didn’t hear what the HR person said back to him … But he had a stack of completed apps on clipboards which he provided.  There were no seats available at first, it was a crowded place, applicants were sitting on the floor or at the Medical window on the counter.
    Bubba, I know you are correct in all you wrote here, I just have a problem with faking myself, or playing their game, and you are correct that degrees don’t matter, it’s who you know mainly, that gets you in the door.  I know looking for a job is a full-time job; I’m just tired, and I don’t know how to network that well.  I’m also 50 years old; but I want a job worthy of my education; I just need to work on my attitude I guess …
    I need to look up SCORE; but my main lookout is GreaterDaytonWorks.com, and I did get a lead with the GDW’s person at the Job Bank and took a typing test which I got 44 wpm accuracy.  I’m not one to give up, but it’s so overwhelming these days – in the past, 1970s-1980s it was easy to find work. 
    The other post on how to end the ending of jobs was also quite informative … I made some comments there, too, which I hope were not stupid … I am a nice guy, too, but like they say, nice guys finish last, like I have been very nice to my girlfriends, too, but they eventually dump me for my obsessive compulsion disorder or something, maybe not having enough money or my sex isn’t good enough … Nevermind …
    Thanks Joe_Mamma and David L. for good tips and feedback to my questions, too, from you both … And thanks David E. for this outlet of information …

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. gary September 26, 2011 / 1:13 pm
    Top 14 reasons for the fall of the American Economy (and our allies): 1. Lucifer, 2. Rulers, 3. bankers, 4. the fall of the Industrial Revolution, 5. women’s rights, 6. crrooks and drugs, 7. Unions, 8. Affirmative Action, 9. Wall Street, 10. the FED, 11. the governments, 12. gay rights, 13. illegal aliens, 14. aliens …
    What happened to the good ol’ days of hunting and fishing, good beer, good wine and a man going off to work while the mom raises the children?

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *