Explaining Southern California's economy

Reportings: Obama v. everybody; old loan troubles; cold September jobs; Tim Cook iPhone 4S fail

Obama can't win: "Of course, aggressively addressing capital requirements and restructuring zombie banks three years ago would have turned Wall Street against Obama—but Wall Street's now against Obama anyway. Meanwhile, blaming Wall Street for its contribution to the country's problems—and actually backing up the talk with action—would have won over the rest of the business community and Main Street." (Business Insider)

 

The problem of "old loans" versus "new loans" and how it relates to willingness to work. To earn money. And to spend it all paying off the old loans: "A significant fraction of households and businesses are typically so burdened with the debts they accumulated during the housing surge that they have little incentive to produce and work, because their creditors would get most, if not all, of the fruits of their labor." (NYT)

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'Occupy LA': What do the other 1 percent want?

Occupy LA

Eric Richardson / blogdowntown

Those participating in Occupy Los Angeles march toward City Hall.

Yesterday, I blogged about what the "We are the 99%" Occupy Wall Street and Occupy LA protesters are all about. In the interest of fairness, I now want to explore the other side. I wouldn't call them the opposition. But if the 99 percent are angry that increases in income and wages have disproportionately gone to the top 1%, what do the 1% have to say in their defense?

Rich Kalgaard provided a basically textbook point of view in Forbes back in 2007, more than year before that…well, you know, that little problem with the global financial system:

[M]oneygrubbing--a.k.a. the search for profit--has its purpose. Money (profit) is a tool. It is capital. Without capital there is no capitalism. Innovation starves. Prosperity weakens. Societies stagnate. God-given gifts wither. This is especially true for humanity's wonderfully zany outliers: artists, inventors, entrepreneurs. They need capitalism more than anyone.

Money is good, therefore, because capitalism is good. It delivers the goods, literally, and better--broadly and individually--than does any other system. 

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Kobe Bryant really wants an Italian holiday

It looks as if Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant may endure the NBA lockout by heading for Italy. As has been widely reported, Kobe initially demanded Vitrus Bologna, an Italian team, pay him $15 million for a full season, after the team had offered $6.7 million. 

Now it's looking like "more than $3 million" is the number, for just 10 games. To keep the math simple, that obviously works out to $300,000 per game. On his current contract with the Lakers, Kobe gets $25,244,000 per season, which comes to $307,853 per game (I'm basing this on an 82-game regular season and not counting in playoff games or the championship).

That's money he won't collect if the lockout isn't resolved. So understandably he's investigating other opportunities, and the Vitrus Bologna deal will only cost him a paltry eight grand per game. Plus, he gets to return to Italy, where he says he learned to play ball the right way, according to an interview he gave to an Italian newspaper:

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What's wrong with Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan?

He repeats it in his distinctive stentorian cadence at every opportunity: "nine…nine…nine." Herman Cain has proposed a radical overhaul of the federal tax code and he's not afraid to stand behind it. The shocker was when voters in a recent Florida straw poll got behind it, too, handing 2012 GOP presidential candidate Cain an attention-getting win.

So, is 9-9-9 a plan that now needs to be taken seriously? 

No. It sounds good, but in practice it would basically shift much of the burden of providing federal revenue to the people who can least afford it right now. 

The plan would replace the current tax system with a 9 percent flat-rate personal income tax, a 9 percent national sales tax, and 9 percent corporate tax. It's estimated that, taken as a whole, it would reduce federal revenue to $1.8 billion from $2.16 trillion.

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Reportings: Chairman Ben; the 99%; iPhone 5 pix; saved from foreclosure

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies before Congress this morning. No QE3 (yet) but…sympathy for the Occupy Wall Street protesters? Well, he does have that beard…: "'Like everyone else, I'm dissatisfied with what the economy's doing right now.' He says that protesters have merit in being angry over the economy and Washington." (Business Insider)

Ezra Klein on the humble goals of the 99% Occupy Wall Street protesters (and the Occupy LA protesters, too, by association): "There’s not a lot of evidence that these people want a class war, or even particularly punitive measures on the rich. The only thing that’s clear from their missives is that they want the economy to start working for them, too." (WonkBlog) 

The battle between buyers and sellers of Bank of America stock: "Investors fear that Bank of America might run short of capital because of large mortgage-related settlements it has struck with angry investors who bought securities backed by those problem loans." (AP)

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