South Florida Divide: Haves, have nots, and fine line between them sometimes

 

picture of a cartoon money tree christmas tree with red starSo a colleague of mine calls because he is offended by crass comments by an attorney whose office is down the hall.  Apparently, the two were observing President Obama discussing a bi-partisan collaboration on the latest healthcare reform proposal.  He called and asked my opinion on the opposing viewpoints at hand.

“Economics”, I said.  “Economics…actually, socio-economics rather”.

This instance is not about Republicans versus Democrats for political ideals and whether to provide for sick and elderly people…well not primarily.

If one politician were to stand up and explain the mechanics between “haves” and “have nots” with differing views on this sensitive topic, it would likely leave a majority of citizens absolutely dumbfounded.

“Haves”, like the colleague-office neighbor of my friend, will generally prefer not co-financing everyone else’s healthcare in the form of nationalized or socialist systems.

Reason being is economics, not necessarily political values or personal viewpoints. 

That “have” can afford to have his teeth cleaned and penicillin for the family during flu season.  Why should he have to ante up for the bill to cover a stranger’s family is his argument.

The “have not”, on the contrary, differs.  An individual with tooth decay, diabetes and no health coverage has nothing to lose of course, therefore, such an individual will be likely to vote in favor of a program to “pool together” benefits of a revamped healthcare system.

Someone with nothing to lose and minimum earning powe usually will support a tax increase. Again, basic economics; a hierarchy of needs at hand.

The media and other such spheres of influence are the ones turning this into a political and personal show down.  What probably stings the most is this: For figures within the elite socio-economic circles, those either practicing politics professionally or as a hobby…many are wealthy and can therefore remain virtually unaffected, financially, regardless of outcome.

Tax hikes will be annoying at worst for such an individual, as lack of affordable healthcare is not a threat.  It is easier for a wealthy individual to enjoy the luxury of not having to play economics.

For example, a Kennedy running for office knows, much like corporate strategists, the majority of a population is comprised of “have nots” as a rule of thumb.  Statistically, the population of those in the “have not” category overshadow the “haves” almost universally.  The prudent political campaign, therefore, must satisfy the concerns of the “haves” while still leaving the majority, the “have nots”, with hope.

This potentially accounts for the grandiose promises a political campaign would typically make which, to most, such as in the case of the Palm Beach attorney we began with.  It is fairly natural to comment in frustration at a healthcare program designed to accommodate a majority.  These are, however, more economic concerns than social class or personal insensitivity as those on television hosting talk shows often depict.

In my friend’s case, we both concluded the gentleman’s comments were likely not a byproduct of his lack of compassion for healthcare to those less fortunate, but rather the degree to which he would be find himself fiscally affected by new legislation.

Economics.  Most members of Congressional committees and those in various political offices with differing opinions are likely the same as my friend and his colleague.  They both agree as to the importance of an efficient healthcare system and sincerely mean to harm.   The economic impact of financing it is another story.

How to Gain Political Leverage for Would-be Candidates

For the love of God, what might it take for a candidate to stand in front of a group of voters and declare an interest in certain issues only to follow with specific action plans and a summary of the costs and political lobbying involved in the measure?

 

For example, “I hereby plan to reduce crime in the city of XYZ.  I will be meeting with the police chief and the Broward County sheriff to brainstorm and come up with a plan of attack within X time frame.  The estimated costs associated in term of time and money are estimated at 123”.

 

Problem is, these buzzwords are played out and voters are half disenfranchised, half ignorant.

 

To engage, articulate one or two key concepts and go from there instead of lobbying votes with the same old, “We want fair taxes and a good educational budget”.

That was the case during the American Revolution against King George of England, it was the tag line a hundred years later during the Civil War, and almost everyone’s political campaign tag line.

 

To get House and Senate committee members to vote accordingly and effect policy amendments takes very specific influence. Most Americans like the simple campaign mottos because they are easy to grasp; somewhat like the score to a football game.

 

Real life does not work that way.

 

Economics.  It is all economics.  Who gets what, how much of it, and at what price.

How to leverage a political protest on Wall Street

…and how not to.

Sit-ins and peaceful protests are the platform for poor people and students.Protest outside U.S. Federal Reserve Building New York City

 

If one were to watch Anthony Hopkins as President Nixon speaking to hippies at the Lincoln Memorial in the 1995 Oliver Stone biopic, Nixon, it exemplifies this.

 

They protested violence and the Vietnam conflict in favor of world peace; when the president starts to discuss geo-political leverage versus red China and the Soviets, they stare with blank faces.

 

No different today insofar as the point consumers seek to make over financial industry practices and exploitation of middle and lower-class Americans.

 

  • Sit-ins fail. No one pays attention because guilt is not compelling enough
  • You want to get someone’s attention in American society today? Compromise earning power
  • Forget sitting in the cold to gain sympathy; no one is moved by such gesturing
  • Everyone interested can do one thing: Poll takers and market research analysts suggest the typical American holds under $3,000 in savings at a given time. If it is with a money center bank, meaning Wells, JP Morgan Chase, B of A, Citi, and a host of other big market makers, withdraw your savings and put the money in a safe, under your mattress, in a credit union, et cetera.

50 million Americans do that and that’s leverage. When a bank can no longer aggregate direct deposits from millions of middle-class paychecks and kick that money up to an investment bank or loan it out at six times the APR, then protests are noticed.

 

Hurt someone physically or hurt their income sources. Not sit-ins. Those are, and always have been, for poor people with no leverage. They fail.

 

If a protest rallies poor, desperate, dissatisfied Americans like Malcolm X did, its leader is neutralized.

Enough sitting in on Wall Street. To change policy there, hurt the guy in the navy blue suit’s Christmas bonus rather than sitting in a park on social media marching up the street.

 

 

Political campaign reform? I’ll take an order of that indeed

For the love of God, what might it take for a candidate to stand in front of a group of voters and declare an interest in certain issues only to follow with specific action plans and a summary of the costs and political lobbying involved in the measure?

 

For example, “I hereby plan to reduce crime in the city of XYZ. I will be meeting with the police chief and the county sheriff to brainstorm and come up with a plan of attack within X time frame. The estimated costs associated in term of time and money are estimated at 123”.

 

Problem is, these buzzwords are used to the point of dilution and voters inevitably reach frustration and disenfranchisement. If one wants to engage, they must articulate one or two key concepts and go from there instead of lobbying votes with the same old, “We want fair taxes and a good educational budget”.

 

Economics. It is all economics. Who gets what, how much of it and at what price.

I’m Young Democrat…And I Love President Nixon

About a decade-or-so ago, just after the beginning of the Bush administration and 9/11, a political phenomenon took over Washington.

For the first time in U.S. history, a nation saw business tycoons “vertically integrating” vies a vie running for government office.

Works like this: instead of a business leader lobbying and fund raising to support a political figure of choice, one finances one’s own campaign figuring he/she can do it themselves and skip the “middle man”.

John Corzine, former head of Goldman Sachs

Mitt Romney, Director for Bain & Company

Rick Scott, see the entry below, courtesy of Wikipedia.com

In 1987 he helped found the Columbia Hospital Corporation with two business partners; this merged with Hospital Corporation of America in 1989 to form Columbia/HCA and eventually became the largest private for-profit health care company in the U.S. He was forced to resign as Chief Executive of Columbia/HCA in 1997 amid a scandal over the company’s business and Medicare billing practices; the company ultimately admitted to fourteen felonies and agreed to pay the federal government over $600 million.[4][5][6][7][8] Scott later became a venture capitalist, and entered into politics in 2010, when he announced his intention to run for Governor of Florida

Copyright: Wikipiedia.2011

 

“You know, in my experience, I find that when rich people have too much time on their hands and interfere in politics, it makes me question who I should be shooting at”. Gust Avrakados. “Charlie Wilson’s War”. Universal Pictures. 2007.

Think about the above.

Richard Nixon was the last Mocihan insofar as he was a life-long, professional Republican politician devoted to public policy. He was born a poor, rural Quaker from southern California. Was Ivy League, promoted himself versus the iconic Kennedy dynasty in the 60s, the sexual revolution, and was an underdog until he died.

He had as much heart and smarts as any politician and did a lot for this country domestically and geopolitically. He had the moxy to go against popular opinion in Vietnam and think on a macro, long-term level versus today’s smiling, “best friend, good old boy” image candidates like Romney and the illustrious Rick Perry aspire to. The media did not care for him, nor did a number of his colleagues blue or red.

The former president gets zero mention in high school history classrooms and Wall Street brokers and pundits speak of Reagan-era supply side economics and the like. Only because the lying / impeachment scandal ruined President Nixon’s credibility.Richard Nixon Waiving to Camera black & white

Let me fill you in on something: Nixon would absolutely destroy the Republican primary panel any day of the week and twice on Sunday. He was a leader who devoted his life to hardcore public service and policy, cover-ups or not.

He wasn’t a part-time venture capitalist, management consultant selling off companies for their pension reserves and outsourcing jobs to China, didn’t oversee synthetic securites to rip off companies and institutional investors and get rich at Goldman Sachs, or even inherit billions and membership to a Cape Cod country club from a father who ran alcohol smuggling during prohibition in this country (sorry. we all love J.F.K., but it’s true).

If one Republican had heart, brains, good-will for this nation and didn’t come from a life of privilege, I would at least respect some of them.

 

Young Floridians Can’t Stand Politics: Five reasons they should

6 October 2011 Blue Broward Blog entry

1. social tracking
2. economics is equal opportunity racist
3. opportunity to recognize life’s potential
4. distracting/misguiding young adults with reality television and smart phones reality television, and sports
5. losing pride and sense of hope equates to disaster

Country club versus the masses. Grow up poor, criminal records, women perpetuate poorness and survival struggle by becoming pregnant in teen years (that is without economic stability).

Middle class and poor are tracked; few escape/deviate. Pawn shops and bail bondsmen immediately outside the county courthouse. Drive to 6th Street in Fort Lauderdale and observe.

Understand politics and its relativity in your daily life and concept of the following phrase: strength in numbers.

Many prefer you install a stereo in their sports car at Best Buy rather than drive your own; that you deliver the leather couch and 60-inch plasma rather than order it in the show room that morning.

Those with political power do everything to retain; nothing personal. Not malicious. Humans want the best for themselves by nature. Most would like to see everyone healthy and prosperous, however, if push comes to shove and you present an obstacle towards a Republican’s pursuit of social and economic advancement, you will be neutralized.

Political overview 101: Three government branches
1. Executive
2. Legislative
3. Judicial

Candidates run for office making above-average, optimistic promises. The general public tends to grow hopeful of the many claims for change and betterment of life. In reality, if legislative and executive branches of government do not have the same agenda, stalemate ensues as this country is experiencing at present.

The hunt is on. Not racial, personal, mean-spirited. Economic. Many will neutralize you if they can. You will labor for an owner, remain or become poor or in debt, and technology and entertainment will continue to make things appear relatively comfortable.

Politics therefore affects your educational opportunity, legal/justice system, career avenues, and essentially where you will live and what you will eat. The same goes for your family.

Interested enough now to learn more about socio-political systems and steps you can take to better your life and that of those in your world?

Speak to an intelligent, trusted friend whose opinion you value, call the Blue Broward office, talk to a government professor at FAU or another university and learn more before discounting politics as one big mess to stay out of.

South Florida…Capitalism at its Finest

Living with the past

This sentiment — call it economic survivor guilt — is a little-noticed emotional byproduct of the financial devastation wrought by the housing and banking meltdowns of the past year. Sanko was always frugal, has a stable job and bought within her means, and yet there’s a lingering sense, as she puts it, that “you’re capitalizing off of somebody else’s misfortune.”

‘A human face’ on the issue

“I think there is a guilt of survivorship that is real,” says Lafair, who is based in Santa Fe and has provided counseling for real estate agents who say clients express this concern.

“I don’t think it debilitates very many people, but the people who are able to buy houses now can feel sympathy for the other people. My recommendation is that when you’re moving, take (your) old stuff and say, ‘Do I really need this?’ and give it to a shelter or the Salvation Army. One way to balance the guilt is to do something to be gracious.”

Mixed into the guilt, however, is some anger. Sanko notes that she was left out of the conversation earlier this decade when all her friends were bragging about the home they bought and the equity they had accrued. Being house-proud, once trendy, is now socially awkward.

“It’s personally to a point where I kind of don’t talk about it with certain people,” Sanko says. “I say ‘Here’s my house, isn’t it lovely?’ and I don’t go into a lot of detail.”

In most cases, folks who buy foreclosed properties never deal with the previous residents, but Jesse Chase, 30, of Las Vegas came home one day to find his life partner sitting with the woman who owned the house before her. The two were weeping.

“This lady came by just to look around,” says Chase, who bought the 1,800-square-foot ranch home for $130,000 in April. “Her husband had lost his job because he got cancer and couldn’t work, and they couldn’t afford it anymore. My partner invited her in and it totally put a human face on what’s happening.

“I really wish she hadn’t done that to us. We cried about it for days.”

USA Today 27 August, 2009

I am not judging either way…but, the general public needs an article in today’s USA Today bringing to our attention that those speculating real estate at bargain prices are capitalizing on the notion whomever owned that residence defaulted on a mortgage and was told to vacate?

If any readers are just now learning this…they should shoot themselves. Banks are not in business to loan people money to buy houses for fun…they make money doing it. If you do not pay them, they remove the people living in the house and liquidate it. Real estate speculators then buy the property in hopes of turning a profit.

Two ways you can look at this: Those taking advantage of the buyer’s market with rock bottom, desperation-induced sales are shrewd businesspersons and the working class person removed from his home is a victim…or you might ask yourself from a philosophical standpoint, why did the original owner enter in an agreement on a home loan they could not afford over more than a few years to begin with?

Either way, does it matter? People invest in the stock market, sell things, buy things they hope will appreciate and the like because we’re always trying to get ahead in U.S. culture. It is not exactly romantic or considerate half the time, but that is reality.

Do you think it is any different for individuals speculating a corporation’s stock price and praying to God the stock runs following a restucturing announcement or profit margins have increased? Half the time, the reason a company saved money or created a higher margin was firing workers or buying another company and firing their workers. We all still get excited and buy the stock, do we not? Is this not taking advantage of another’s misfortune?

I will leave you with this…it somewhat sets up my next blog actually: What about this situation:

A financial institution sells home loans (mortgages) and credit cards. This bank buys a mortgage company to become bigger. It then offers mortgages at low rates on television commercials and explains how it wants to help Americans finance the home they’ve always dreamed of. That same bank then sends out mailers to its credit card customers explaining interest rates and administration fees and penalties have increased up to the maximum amount allowed by law because they need to pay for their new mortgage company and the prime time TV commercials somehow. Is this unjust or righteous capitalism?

By the way, I almost forgot. If you have a checking or savings account at this bank, and because you abused the credit card they gave you and spend most of your money paying the interest and use whatever is left for your dandy new mortgage they resold you, and thus cannot meet their minimum deposit requirements necessary for the bank to hold your money, pay you 1% and loan it to me for my own mortgage at 6% and net a 500% profit margin, you pay a penalty as well.

B of A Markets Nooses to its Impressive Product Portfolio

Bank of America is tightening its metaphoric leash and conducting whip cracking according to my friend and business associate going on his eleventh year and is a middle manager in their credit card services division.

The trend seems to be grueling monitoring of restroom break times and lateness for their employees in the Atlanta, Georgia facility; very high school-esque.

This money center powerhouse buys Countrywide-the-prostitute mortgage company so they can own mortgage portfolios and sell new ones home equity credit lines, only the government regulator fines, legal expenses and delinquent debtors heaved BofA a bit of a curve ball.

Offical layoffs bring negative publicity, in times such as the present especially when PR/image management is crucial for business survival.

Someone in a position of power at the bank should be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize after implementing the following campaign: Do not fire employees. Abuse and demoralize them swiftly, counting on attrition to naturally take its toll, thus exterminating those whose jobs may be eliminated or sourced to a third world call center demanding third world wages.

Save a few bucks so senior management can brag on the next earnings call and 10Q report so this way investors can respect the stock (for the time being anyway), pat yourself on the back and call it a week.

About 10 years ago, Attractive Women Promoting Conservatism Became Fashionable…

I get a kick out of Glenn Beck, but Sarah Palin from Alaska has announced she is no longer running for president.

What a class act she is. Two words for her: Cleaning service. She should open a one and call it a day. All she talks about are tax bills and scares people to death…or aims to anyway. Discussing taxes and “fiscal discipline”, Miss Palin makes the simple complicated:
Palin announcement not to pursue GOP primary

Bottom line: Different socio-economic classes value different things with religious exception. They teach this in college courses. Ideology, religion, economics in that order. Lower classes want more cash and access to benefits and social welfare etc. because they come from little.

Those in the upper classes owning businesses want less government involvement and lower taxes because they can afford benefits and don’t need to worry about paying rent. That is why a lot of Americans grow up rebellious and want world peace and to do away with social injustices and, as they grow older and earning power rises, shift focus more on economics over ideals. At this point they want to let the next guy worry about himself.

Just remember: this is nothing new…mere human nature. The Tea Party. Interview some of their members. How much you want to bet members have nice income levels, live in nice houses and are in a higher economic class? It is great to not want to fit bills for others. Let’s say I have $50, you have five and are complaining about how you need more government benefits. Why would I say, “Gee sure, I’ll chip in”? My modus operandi is keeping what I have letting everyone else worry about themselves; Darwinism in its simplest form is built into man’s DNA since the beginning of modern history.

Greed…is Good. Gordon Gekko. Wall Street, 1987.

That is how majority of humans act, like it or not. Everyone wants a bigger slice of the metaphoric pizza pie, not to slice up and give away a tasty piece to less fortunate and every Tom, Dick and Harry. But, I would love to know if the U.S. Census surveyed how wealthy Americans accumulated their money. Go watch Gordon Gekko in Wall Street. They took it out of the next guys ass most of the time. “It is a zero sum game. Someone wins someone loses.