What the .3% Doesn’t Want You to Know About How Money Works

Ever since Reaganomics, we’ve heard how Trickle Down Economics is the most powerful way to stimulate the economy. Actually, we heard about it earlier than that, but Reagan made it really popular, and it has since become the Republican Battle Cry. Don’t get me wrong, the Democrats are guilty of using this tactic, too. But in general, it’s more associated with Republicans than Democrats,

Anyway. In theory, it sounds like a darn good idea. Give a big business $1M and they’ll spend it on their company’s infrastructure and growth, meaning they’ll need to hire more people, providing new jobs or paying existing workers better.

If only that were true. Sadly, there are three glaring issues with this theory.

First and foremost, there are almost never any strings attached, such as “you must use 100% of this money to grow the domestic portion of your company,” meaning they could spend most (or all) of the corporate welfare outside of the US, meaning the money has left our economy, not stimulated it. They could also decide to hold onto the money in a Swiss bank account, not spending it all, collecting the interest all for themselves.

Second, the company has no incentive to spend these funds on infrastructure and employees because they don’t have enough customers to support this added overhead.

Finally, the power of a dollar isn’t in how it’s spent, but rather in how many times it’s spent. A dollar spent once is $1. A dollar spent five times is $5 to our economy.

This means that giving $1000 to 1000 families living paycheck to paycheck, called Bubble Up Economics, usually puts more into the economy. Why? Because the $1000 will be spent almost immediately. Sure, some of it might be spent in the big companies, so poof it goes away again, but some of it will be spent or donated locally, too.

The big corporation might spend it buying equipment or goods from non-domestic sources, or setting up an off-shore manufacturing facility. Or they might even spend it on pieces of paper called stocks, which create very little real value, which is why the crash hurts so bad. Suddenly the value goes from what you thought it was to what it really is, which isn’t much.

The local family, on the other hand, might spend it at the local farmers’ market, a flea market, garage sale, and so on. Ok, so yeah, they might spend it on cheap goods at Walmart made in China. Or even on those high-end Ivanka retail items, also made in China.

In any case, the paycheck to paycheck people will spend most if not all of the money which will eventually bubble up to the billionaires who will then spend it on their companies because they have enough business to support building the infrastructure and hiring more people. But before then, each dollar will likely be used several times, each time adding another dollar to the economy.

All of this in turn means that trickle down economics fails because it’s giving money to the rich who are likely to hold onto it or spend it outside the US rather than to the normal families who’ll spend it almost immediately, possibly locally.

If you add up all the years this has been happening, it’s easy to see how this might lead to the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Which is exactly where we are.

Back when the Occupy movement started, it was the 2% vs the 98%. Then it became the 1% vs the 99%. Now we have the .3% vs the 99.7%. And it’s only getting worse.

If you know anything about history, a country is ripe for a takeover when the disparity between the Elite and Commonfolk grows. And our Elite is getting both pretty tiny terribly powerful. Think Marie Antoinette and her head.

Scared, yet? Because I sure am.

So next time someone says trickle down economics is the way to stimulate the economy, try to figure out how much of that money will come back to us commoners, and how many times each dollar will actually be used in our own economy before deciding which direction you want our government to take — bubble up or trickle down — and lobby or vote accordingly.

Killing Riggs

I’m thinking the revamped Lethal Weapon isn’t doing well.

Kheesha (Mrs. Murtaugh) has already picked up another role, and Jordana Brewster (the Doctor) is totally gone. Murtaugh’s daughter is stepping up as a decently written female role that’s growing while his son and baby girl are MIA.

Including Hendricks whose no longer needed because her son’s new father figure died, this means two strong women have left the show, and a third is becoming less important. Cole’s ex-wife is stereotypically waffling between her hubby and the new boyfriend who is too chicken to propose, which is clearly not a position of strength.

Cole’s daughter is the best part of the new story arc. At least she has a sense that something is wrong and people need to heal and move on.

Cole (Seann) is so poorly written he’s basically just some depressed guy with lots of military skills and no depth. Plus his appearance changes each week. Seriously, Seann looks bored.

In short, they’ve over-corrected last year’s problems, which were set-safety and Clayne internalizing some of Riggs’ troubles, and are pretending the first two seasons never happened.

In doing so, they’ve lost the whole point of the show and over half of the interesting characters. Bailey, Scorsese, and Avery are still around, but are totally floundering because these characters barely acknowledge that anything’s changed.

The show could’ve easily spent two or three episodes showing the grief from losing Riggs (Clayne) to gain some closure and re-find their footing and interrelationships before introducing Cole. This also would’ve allowed the exiting characters to gracefully leave.

But the show rushed right past this opportunity, meaning the audience has almost no closure, either.

I don’t know why the decision was made for “out with old, in with the new” all in one episode, but a tremendous opportunity was lost. The show could’ve grown in ways the movies never could. It would’ve been great to see how the remaining characters changed, and this would’ve bought the writers some time to figure out who the new characters are.

Instead, they cut out the old with a sledgehammer which was then used to smash the squishy new characters in. Whoever decided to abruptly do all the story re-work may need a nudge with the same sledgehammer to find a new career. Losing Riggs is a big deal, and it’s like they’re trying to erase that he was ever there.

But I keep watching just in case they figure it out, mainly because it’s unobtrusive background noise while getting stuff done. More often than not, I’ll watch the intro, do some things around the house while vaguely glancing at the predictable progress, and catch the wrap-up to verify my guesses were accurate.

Not exactly the best formula to keep a show running.

You’ll notice that I haven’t covered Murtaugh (Wayans) and Getz.

I know it’s Wayans’ show, but if he didn’t want be overshadowed, he shouldn’t have picked a role that’s defined by its contrast with the other main character. Now that he’s just about the only thing the audience has to focus on, we see how boring he truly is. He has nothing to react to externally anymore because Cole is basically a prop, and the character itself doesn’t have much going on internally. The entire role is built on how someone with a stable family life and hates getting older reacts to Riggs’ special kind of crazy.

As for Getz, that actor always grates my nerves, and is the only character I wish they’d abruptly drop. Pesci made Getz work as a humorous side note despite the character being annoying twaddle. This actor’s just annoying twaddle. In all honesty, I skip every episode he’s in and catch up in the next, only to see that the overall story wasn’t changed or moved forward. At all.

Adding the borification of Murtaugh and realizing there’s no purpose whatsoever for Getz further lowers the chance of this show continuing. Which is too bad, because I really enjoyed the first two seasons.

I’m thinking maybe it’s time to watch Clayne’s new movie with Christian Kane, instead. if nothing else, it’ll have some yummy eye candy.

Saxenda is Killing My Dog

I know, it’s weird, but it’s true.

See, my fur baby eats when I eat. I’m on Saxenda to lose weight, which is basically aversion therapy for food. Nothing tastes good. Nothing smells good. I’m nauseous all the time. So I don’t eat. And I’m losing weight.

Except only one of us is overweight, and it’s not him, but he’s also losing weight.

He used to weigh 15.6# and was in fantastic condition. Then he dropped to 14.3#, which concerned the vet, and she told us to give him puppy chow to put some meat back on his bones.

But I don’t eat, meaning he won’t eat, and now he’s so thin you can see all his bones,

For me, the choice is simple. It’s my life or his. And I choose his happiness. I’d rather feel nauseous and eat flavorless goo than watch my best friend die.

So here I am, eating oatmeal. It tastes terrible, like soggy cardboard, while an 18 year old dog is happily going after puppy chow with gusto.

And I have to eat slowly, because as soon as I stop, so will he. And the more I eat, the worse I feel.

But his pain meds are in his food, too, so if he doesn’t eat, he’s in pain. All day. All night. Quite literally, he’s wracking with pain unless he eats his pain meds.

Which is why this post is being written at the same time … he sees me at the dining table with a bowl and occasionally taking a bite, and he keeps eating.

Jr brings joy, love, fun, and happiness to everyone he meets.

And so, I eat.

What’s a Luxury Essential?

What’s an Essential Today May be a Luxury Tomorrow

And that pretty much defines a Luxury Essential. If you believe an item is something you require to survive, what needs to happen to keep it in your life?

For example, let’s say climate change increases pests, which then kill off forest farms used to create wood-based products, what happens to things like paper and popsicle sticks? Are these still necessary? Or will these become too difficult to obtain?

What Turns an Essential Item into a Luxury Item?

Short version is that it goes from being a commodity (something readily available) into a something scarce (difficult to find and/ or the price goes up a lotta lot).

How Today’s Essential Becoming Extravagant Impacts Your Life

By definition, an essential is something you believe you can’t live without. Now, some will say the only true necessities are water, food, air, and shelter. A few folks might add love (romantic and otherwise) to the list, too. Albeit LovePlus seems to be taking care of this last need, at least for Japanese men.

Anywayz.

This means that if you’re used to having all the clean water you want at the twist of a tap, your life will drastically change if this is no longer true. Actually, we here in the US are spoiled when it comes to water, even those who think they’re in a drought, such as Arizona and California.

But when you look at it globally, even these areas have significantly more access to safe, clean water than many areas of the world such as India, Mexico, and Africa,

Ok, that was a simple one.

So what do we, as Americans, consider to be necessary for daily life that might be become cost-prohibitive, or even completely unavailable?

Let’s use the example at the opening of this post, that of bugs killing of forest farms. How will your life change if wood-based products, such as paper, become hard to find, or too expensive to buy? No more printing web-pages all willy-nilly, for starters. You may have to use hankies instead of Kleenex. What about toilet paper? Or, heaven forbid, Amazon boxes?

What if it’s not bugs, but climate change? This could impact many crops, not just trees. Bio-fuels will become more expensive. As might breakfast cereal. Or the toast you have with your morning eggs.

Beer?

Or in the case of the page where I first read of this term, beer.

That’s right, beer. Climate change is making the raw ingredients for beer more costly. Well not yet, but it seems a few forward thinkers coined this phrase for their favorite weekend beverage. And they’re using this highly-relatable example to help skeptics better understand the current ecological changes, and how they might be impact.

I mean, really. Tell a football fan climate change is messing up crops, he may not care. He (or she?) has no idea how this impacts him, and may well assume that it doesn’t.

Why? Because all his fresh food comes from the grocery store, The flowers he buys for his wife come from the florist. He doesn’t see the difficulties except in rising prices.

Now tell him how the well-established balance of how much water falls and where it falls is absolutely crucial to his beverage of choice. See? He’s sitting up and listening this time.

Other Reasons a Must-Have Can Become a Self-Indulgence

Same with bees. Bees are dying. Oh, goody, he might think. They’re just pests anyway. They buzz and sting, and one of his kids is allergic to them,

Now tell him that bees pollinate the crops needed to make beer. Again, suddenly it’s relatable, It means something,

As if this wasn’t scary enough, things we consider to be essential may become luxuries for other reasons, as well. Like, say, oh, I dunno … a change in trade policies.

That’s right, our current administration significantly increased tariffs on Chinese goods, and China retaliated by increasing tariffs on things they import from us. Unfortunately, many of the things China imports from us are the resources they use to make the things that get imported back into the US.

This means the double-digit tariff we just put on Chinese goods could increase the things we buy in two ways. First, things made in China from Chinese resources are going to go up. Second, things made in China from US resources are going to go up twice; once en route from the US to China, and again on the trip back from China into the US. Or in the case of some materials, China has stopped buying US resources altogether.

Tariffs are Already Causing Troubles for Us in the US

Regardless of my party preferences and how I may feel about the current administration’s other policies, this one item is already being felt across the country. According to Fortune Magazine, jobs have already been lost by just this one policy change alone, and this happened only a few months ago.

As an example, remember the Solar article? Good thing we put this in place earlier this year because it’d be tough to do now. Many of the parts are no longer available, are very difficult to obtain, or have gone up significantly in price (or all of the above!). For instance, the second backup battery nearly doubled in cost, and has been on backorder for five months.

Why? Because the resources are being shipped from the US into China to be made into ginormous batteries which are then shipped back to sell to US consumers. But China has stopped accepting plastics and glass, or the resources to make plastics and glass, from the United States.

This in turn means that the US workers who collect, create, grow, and process these resources no longer have jobs.

Wait … Wasn’t This Supposed to be About Our Daily Necessities?

While the guys taking credit for coining this phrase meant specifically climate change and beer, we explored how this can be used across products and reasons for our daily fundamentals turning into frivolities. This meant we jumped across a lot of topics. Hopefully things stayed all flowy and sensical?

How Will Essential Luxuries Impact Your Life?

What do you rely on every day, week, or month? Which of these basics do you think might turn into indulgences, and why or how?

Or why do you think this new-to-me concept is overblown, or misguided?

Looking forward to your respectful comments and discourse!

Site Review — IIFYM

I must admit that I am in love with the If It Fits Your Macros site. It has a lot of great information, and they answer a lot of tricky questions about how your body uses food, the impact and possible diet-related causes of various medical conditions, and when different types of exercise programs make more sense for your needs.

They also have a succinct newsletter that whets your appetite, so to speak, to delve more into the information on their site.

However.

The one glaring issue is their “easy” program. And it all sounds simple, too. Until you pay money. Then you find out that you’ll basically have to live for eating for the next 30 days … buying fresh food daily (or every few days), carefully weighing your food to the gram to enter into a program that calculates the nutrients so you know what else to eat, and so on. And the only way to get your money back is to prove you’ve done the program for thirty days and that it didn’t work for you. There’s no provision for “I can’t do this program”, such as I just had a medical procedure done on my hands and can’t do the necessary food prep and documentation.

The program includes a blueprint that matches your body’s needs (based on your size, shape, age, activity level, health conditions, and gender) to the latest health science. For a much larger fee, they also have coaches available to help guide you through and stick to the program.

In short, if you want a lot of great info, I highly recommend the site. If you’re ready to dedicate a few hours each day to meal planning and preparation (not including exercise), this seems like a good program that matches your needs to real science.

But if you have any conditions that limit your ability to shop for, measure, prepare, and document your food and physical activities, you’ll need to wait until those conditions are cleared up, or have someone available every day to perform those functions for you.

On the one hand, I “wasted” money on a program I can’t use. On the other, I get my money’s worth just by reading all their content a couple times a week.

2018 Estate and Moving Sale

As y’all may have heard or read, our family has been in the same location for over forty years. This means that every time someone passes, a lot of their stuff comes to us, because everyone else moves around too much to store everything.

Meaning we now have eight estates of treasures from both sides of the family, making it look like we’re the hoarders.

We continue to be highly motivated sellers because the goal is to sell the home in the spring, and move someplace more arthritis-friendly.

We’ve sold a lot over the past year, between eBay, Etsy, garage sales, etc. … thank you, Ren and Alex, for making this happen!

Thanks to their efforts, we’ve been able to dig more out of storage to re-home, including Vintage, Antique, and Contemporary:

  • Holiday items, especially Halloween and Christmas
  • Furniture
  • China and dish sets
  • Crystal stemware and glass sets
  • Collectibles
  • Decor
  • Keepsakes
  • Books
  • Movies
  • Music
  • Historic Photos (mostly Detroit and Michigan)
  • Jewelry
  • Clothing and Accessories
  • Cookware
  • Storage ware
  • Electronics
  • Lawn and Yard Tools
  • Specialty Tools

Many smaller items may be packaged and sold as lots, such as a bin of plastics, children’s books.

Most items are over 50 years old, some are likely to be over 100!

Pictures and videos will be added here throughout the week. Check them out at our eBay store and EstateSales listing.

What Breed Bans Say About People

There’s a horror story making its way around the ‘net again. I’ve heard several variations of it, and I’m sure there is some basis in fact. Just not sure which pieces.

Short version is that a loving pitbull gets stuck in a shelter, lives in a cage with insufficient space and little or no socialization, and then nips at someone and is immediately put on doggy death row.

Thought some folks here may be interested in what I’d like to think is a well-reasoned response to the emotionally charged discussions of abuse, dominance, racism, cold-hearted facts, and so on.


Any human or creature could become problematic with that history!

Quite frankly, if we killed everything that was “male aggressive”, there wouldn’t be a lot of human males left, either 😜. Two men get into a fight? Kill the one who started it!

Sounds ludicrous when put that way, doesn’t it?

Regarding the aggressive breed comments and folks wondering why data show some breeds to be more prone to this behavior.

If you have a smart dog who’s also powerful and large, it’s up to his/her person to train and lead them properly, using love and not fear. Actually, that’s true of any breed, but it’s the power factor that makes a huge difference.

A toy poodle nips, and people are more likely to giggle at the little dog acting all big and rowdy.

Note that the breeds most people refer to as pit bulls were actually very popular 100+ years ago because they could help around the house and farm (hence the phrase, “work like a dog”), and then protect the homestead at night. This means they’re strong, smart, loyal, fierce enough to ward off animal and human predators, and have the stamina to be ready for any of those activities in an instant.

Now if you put this noble creature in the hands of someone who’s aggressive himself, the dog may become male aggressive due to the established history with men during the dog’s lifetime. Same of female abusers, btw. Just using men as the example here because it’s easily provable that this is more commonly a male pattern of behavior.

Again, this may sound ridiculous to some readers now, rather than “it’s just data”.

For example, if the original woman surrendered Jake after years of having him as a pet, but then the boyfriend said get it out of here, there’s a high likelihood that the boyfriend was also “male aggressive“ and may have abused Jake.

Additionally, many dogs will become aggressive if there’s no clearly competent alpha, because there’s no foundation of trust and comfort. The dog cannot trust that a human has his back, so to speak, and has to remain hyper-vigilant to protect themselves. Which humans often misinterpret as aggression instead of a survival mechanism. And quite frankly, so do most people. Men interpret a woman doing that as being a feminazi. Whereas when other men show this behavior, these “leaders” are seen as someone to fear, admire, or conquer.

Same behavior, different socially acceptable outcomes based on external factors, and therefore different rewards and punishments.

Which is a good working definition of racism, btw.

Once again, it all sounds far-fetched when the paw’s on the other critter, doesn’t it?