Profile

Who: Kimball Corson. Text and Photos not disclaimed or that are obviously not mine are copyright (c) Kimball Corson 2004-2016
Port: Lake Pleasant, AZ
09 April 2018 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
10 March 2018 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
10 March 2018 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
22 August 2017 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
22 August 2017 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
22 August 2017 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
22 August 2017 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
22 August 2017 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
22 August 2017 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
22 August 2017 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
22 August 2017 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
09 August 2017 | Pago Pago, American Samoa

An Informed Atheist Re-Addresses Christianity

09 April 2018 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
Kimball Corson
(written on Good Friday, at that)

Nietzsche and other atheists before and after him have addressed Christianity, condemning it roundly as myth and especially for the wars it has given rise to. The condemnation on wars has been historically a fair one, but wars in the name of Christianity, as opposed now to capitalism and democracy, seem to have seriously tapered off.

So what is left of the general criticism of Christianity. The critiques are: It is all myth. There is no God. It is all imagined. But are these criticisms enough to condemn Christianity? On reflection, I now think not, although yesterday I mistakenly wrote, "Faith in god isn't worth much without a demonstrable god." Thinking about it, I was wrong. God is not necessary for the real benefits of Christianity to ensue. All that is need is faith in God, not God himself. Why, you should ask. I explain.

What are the benefits of Christianity? Moral instruction, for one, needed by many, if not most now, for sure. Since God is Dead we are beset by acute moral rot. The more primitive the individual, the less enlightened he or she is by natural law and the more instruction and reminding on morality is necessary. Measured by behavior, I think much such instruction is required for many if not most in this shabby age of decline, lying and deceit.

Community and society are two others. These and teaching morality are the core businesses of Christian Churches. Community is part of the human condition but it requires a bit of impetus and organization for fruition and social cohesion, and churches also provide that. The collateral benefit which ensues, when broadly conceived and implemented, is a good and functional society.

Protecting the welfare of the disadvantaged is a fourth benefit of Christianity. This is often also done by and through churches and is a legitimate function of them.

Individual prayer, as a form of contemplation covering all that is, is a fifth benefit, as a sort of meditation. I could go one with this list, and refine it, but the point is now obvious.

It is: no God is needed to obtain these benefits. A belief in God and general New Testament teachings are sufficient. God per se is superfluous. A belief in him is not. Most people need that belief and its benefits, although a few do not.

A further point to emerge is this: attacks on belief in God and on God himself, of which I have been guilty, are destructive and harmful to the benefits which can and do ensue from Christianity. I must and will learn to not address my personal views here publicly. They can be and have been harmful to others. The higher natural law interpretation I now provide here is needed. So into silence I go here on many of my views on Christianity and I now wish it well, God speed and freedom from abuse.

A Progressive Reform Program for America

10 March 2018 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
Kimball J Corson
The democrats have no message, no plan and no leaders. They sawed Bernie Sanders off at the knees and have become a party of Republican lites and neoliberals. They don't understand what is going on and what is needed. They are lost. Progressive policies are our only real hope so I provide a road map here of what needs doing.

What is going on is simple. The rich have bought congress off to rig the economy against the fast declining middle class. It needs to be un-rigged. The U.S. economy suffers from two major problems: stagnant real growth, and rising income inequality, Growth stagnation of the real economy arises from deficient real aggregate demand and deficient aggregate demand, in turn arises from rising income and wealth inequality and bogus policies. While income inequality is growing and has multiple causes, at present, those dominate causes in operation are

1) the demise of marginal productivity pricing of labor and the misappropriation of all labor productivity gains since 1973 to increased CEO and management compensation (a redistribution of income analogous to corporate cannibalism) and to corporate profits.

2) our refusal to tax economic rents adequately, especially land rents,

3) the invention of new high technology by a relatively few in the top end or the economy of the upper 1/3, and

4) government policies enriching the already rich.

These four problems have made income inequality so bad that it has destroyed the middle class and thereby growth in aggregate demand and placed us in a new "lower low" without good growth because the rich hoard their new income gains and don't spend enough more. Government, with its bought laws, acts to make the income inequality worse by all the bought favors for the rich and by reducing income taxes on the rich. It is a corrupt mess in which Democrats are fully complicit. They are a part of the problem; not a part of any solution at present and yet it would seem the Democratic party is only real path to reform. Our's is only a two party system but hope is slim because the Democrats have become neoliberals who support the libertarian core policies of lower taxes, smaller government and hands off markets, patently failed austerity policies.

The U.S. economy has in turn been chopped into two parts: a ‘dynamic’ high tech/industrial/FIRE sector that is shedding jobs (the economy of the upper 1/3), and a ‘stagnant,' 'survivalist’ sector which acts as an ‘employer of last resort’. The bottom 90% percent of adult Americans have an average individual income of $30,438, down almost 10% from a decade earlier, an income on par with Greece. The bottom 50% -- 117,000,000 of them -- have an average annual income of $16,200, little better than the average income in Mexico and lower than the average annual income in virtually all of the other 32 advanced OECD nations. Almost 40 percent of America's working age population is now unemployed. Think about these matters for a moment.

The reduced or stalled purchasing power of those not in the economy of the upper 1/3 is why our economy is stagnant and stalled out in its new "lower low," even with what additionally they are able to borrow and spend. The rich and wealthy, in turn, cannot spend enough and don't have the time to even enjoy what they have.

Sensible people need to attack the libertarian austerity mantra of "cut taxes," "make government smaller" and "not interfere in the economy" and all such austerity policies by showing the problems they have created and by explaining they lead to bad economic results. The following progressive reforms are what is needed instead --

1) raising taxes substantially --

-----a) and very progressively on upper incomes

-----b) and on inheritances, both to fund infrastructure and higher education in America

-----c) on the banking industry to tax the right to create new money for free and loan it out at interest

-----d) on capital gains to 100% minus any underlying real growth in the asset involved, to wring the creeping blue sky out of asset valuations and destroy Wall Street's casino

-----e) cutting corporate welfare, including depletion allowances

-----f) at a low rate on stock and bond trades in secondary markets

-----g) on domestic income held offshore with amnesty

2) adopt the Stiglitz recommendations for de-rigging the economy against the middle class and in favor of the rich.

3) adopt a set of fair and all encompassing usury laws instead of the none we have now to prevent the huge annual interest rip off we have now of the American public and especially the poor

4) revise campaign financing laws to get money out of politics and reinstate a modicum of honesty and public service into politics and impose a duty on politicians to represent the public interest as well as their constituents.

5) expand government substantially by --

-----a) adopting a massive and majorly labor intensive infrastructure program, to increase employment and fix our infrastructure while interest rates remain low to rebuild the middle class and the environment we live in

-----b) adopt a program of free higher education for those qualified but only at credible and good or better existing universities, keeping for profit institutions out of it

------c) adopting laws reversing what the Trump administration has done and will do,

------e) adopting loan and grant programs for injured states transitioning away from libertarian austerity policies

------f) adopting basic MMT policies and practices that abandon the budget restraint and focus instead on inflation and aggregate demand

------g) reestablish and enforce the earlier antitrust laws regardless of whether business likes them and whether courts want to be bothered with them

------h) welfare reform to workfare reform where everyone does what they can to aid and promote the public interest. Able bodied people should only be provided transitional and retraining help. The key is everyone should honestly do what they can to help.

6) enforce our laws equal against one and all which is not at all done presently

7) revise business regulations to simplify them, reduce costs and make it "bright line," general regulation and then enforce it strongly and penalize captive regulators and those who capture them..

Progressives, and perhaps even Democrats (if they woke up and recovered their roots), would could win with these programs if they were properly explained as I have here. The public needs a better grounding in economics, free of propaganda and lies.

These changes, without more, if properly done would radically transform America and the economy, but many Americans and most conservatives and republicans are not well enough educated in economics to know that and want to protect their wealthy patrons instead, who oppose the public's interest and seek primarily their own. A progressive take over of the Democratic party is needed. Bernie Sanders was too old and not enough of an economist to be able to pull it off. It is doable and America would be transformed for the much better.

https://www.amazon.com/Rewriting-Rules-American-Economy-Prosperity-ebook/dp/B015774QVY/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1502476125&sr=1-3&keywords=joseph+stiglitz

Supply Side and Libertarians Are Wrong and Not Supported by the Data

10 March 2018 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
Kimball J Corson
The economy of the US, especially in regard to income and wealth inequality in the interwar years was substantially different than our present economy currently. Inequality was not a problem. The middle class was not yet gutted. The super rich did not think they had enough to hoard most of their additional income in secondary markets. That was yet to come, but that situation has arrived now. And the economy behaves differently now. Inventories and production are held back so as not to exceed aggregate demand. Tax cuts and hikes no longer impact GDP, but now primarily affect inequality.

More generally, the cut taxes mantra of libertarianism for growth is a false claim simply designed to starve government of revenue to obtain the further mantric goal of smaller government which in fact decreases rather than increases personal and economic freedom. So they are wrong again, both coming and going.The biggest and first order effect of a cut in government spending and taxes is a direct reduction in GDP in like amount. It is foolish to think it can be made up by secondary effects. Yet that is exactly what republicans claim. Cut taxes and spending and tax revenues will actually rise. It is crazy, false and bad policy. Bigger and better government and more goverment spending are the remedy for Libertarian austerity measures designed to cripple government and for the consequences of austerity. The question is whether to increase or decease the circular flow of money in the economy and therefore incomes.

Yet the dominant economic outlook in America government is for austerity imposed by lower taxes, smaller government and no interference in the economy -- the libertarian mantra. We cannot get so much wrong and do well as a nation or for our people. Stupidity and ignorance are prevailing, with Trump leading the way. His tariffs are another mess entirely. This man is a strike out king and should be impeachable on economic grounds.

How Income Inequality Injures People and the Economy

10 March 2018 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
Kimball J Corson
The top 1 percent receives 22.5% of all income, while the share of the bottom 90 percent is now below 50% for the first time ever. The top 10 percent receive just over 50% of all national income. Average individual income rose only $200 in real terms between 1975 and 2013 to $16,200, on par with the national average family income of Mexico.

It was not always so. This is a radical change from the post war era. From about 1944 until the early 1970’s, the share of the top 1 percent was about 11.3% and the share of income of the bottom 90 percent was about 67.5%, levels that posed no particularly serious problem and provided a sufficient investor class, The top 10 percent received 32.5% of all income before the early 1970’s
.
This causes of this increased skew are clear, The rise in income inequality from the early 1970’s coincides with the collapse of unions as a countervailing power to corporate monopsony. At the same time, facing inadequate aggregate demand, corporate America elected to abandon marginal productivity pricing of labor in favor of progressive appropriation all of labor’s future productivity gains for itself in the forms of ever higher profits and increasing management compensation. Within the same time frame, corporate American off shored American manufacturing jobs in great number and without restraint and the government started seriously started granting favors and advantages to the rich against the public's interest in exchange for large campaign contributions.

Corporate America very heavily lobbied and bought off congress with campaign contributions to get tax and other laws and regulations changed in order to enhance their bottom lines at the expense of everyone else. Corporate welfare ascended, subsidies flowed and favors poured forth from congress. Finally, the superior intelligence, education and savvy of the top 10 percent help make all this happen and lined their pockets.

That is how we got to the skew where the top 1 percent receive 22.5% of all income, while the share of the bottom 90 percent is now below 50% for the first time ever, and the top 10 percent receive just over 50% of all national income. It was not by happenstance or mistake.

The problem of excessive income inequality is it hurts people below the top 10 percent or so in income by compromising their income and damaging their standards of living and it injures the operation of the economy as well. Many now have less income than they need and would spend, and a small minority have too much income and do not want to spend it all.

The rich who do not want to spend all their income, hoard much of their excess income in cash and in the form of secondary financial and other market assets. That is in used or pre-owned or already issued assets like stocks, bonds, existing houses, jewelry, art and such. Nothing newly made or issued. This is income that does not get spent in the real economy, but is diverted from the real economy instead into the markets for existing assets, the secondary markets.

Diverted, I say, because if income were more equally distributed, more people would spend more of that income on real goods and services currently produced and not in secondary asset markets. The result is the circular flow of money on expenditures and income in the real economy is relatively reduced, especially by the amounts diverted by the hoarding of the rich in those markets, which leads to further reduced aggregate demand and in turn reduced inventories and production. The economy is nailed to the floor and exists now in a new "lower low."

The idea is a liquidity trap where at some low set of interest rates, the rich, who have most of the income from inequality have a huge and growing appetite to hoard more of their income in secondary market assets and seek appreciation and capital gains and rents in those markets instead of lower real returns in real investment markets (with depressed interest rates). When the Fed holds rates down and increases the money supply, say by quantitative easing, secondary market asset prices are driven up even further, hoarding is increased and real investment and consumption are reduced even further. This is what a liquidity trap and hoarding mean, money withheld and diverted from the circular flow of money as current expenditures and income in the real economy.

Gains in the secondary markets are rents and other unearned income. Nothing is produced or created to get such rents or unearned income. Just position yourself well and hold your hand out. Beats working. Only fools think they are "investing" when they go into these markets. Their purchases are not counted in GDP because they are only asset shuffles and exchanges.

A more equal distribution of income would increase the income and expenditures of those who had less before, reduce the hoarding of income by the rich in like amount and the net effect would be to augment aggregate demand, improve the real economy and benefit the welfare of the overall population.

These factors and effects are well enough known and established but not a great deal is written about them, and little research is done on them, because to do so with any effort would result in the loss of personal income and promotions to faculty so engaged and general research funds for the top universities. The funding oligarchy disapproves of Keynes and this analysis and wants a lid kept on these matters, although more is leaking out all the time from places like Berkeley. Harvard, Chicago (my graduate alma mater) and MIT don't even teach this analysis of Keynes anymore. Libertarians now tow the oligarchy's propaganda line and sweep the land. We are awash in lies and misleading propaganda.

A Democratic Reform Program for America

22 August 2017 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
Kimball Corson
Michael Moore is correct. The democrats have no message, no plan and no leaders. They sawed Bernie Sanders off at the knees and have become a party of Republican lites. They don't understand what is going on and what is needed. They are lost, so I provide the Democrats a road map here of what needs doing.

What is going on is simple. The rich have bought congress off to rig the economy against the middle class. It needs to be un-rigged. The U.S. economy suffers from two major problems: stagnant growth, and rising income inequality, Growth stagnation arises from deficient aggregate demand and deficient aggregate demand, in turn arises from rising income and wealth inequality. While income inequality is growing and has multiple causes, at present, the additional dominate causes in operation are

1) the demise of marginal productivity pricing of labor and the misappropriation of all labor productivity gains since 1973 to increased CEO and management compensation (a redistribution of income analogous to corporate cannibalism).

2) our refusal to tax economic rents adequately, especially land rents, and

3) the invention of new high technology by a relatively few in the top end or the economy of the upper 1/3.

These four problems have made income inequality so bad that it has destroyed the middle class and thereby growth in aggregate demand and placed us in a new lower low without good growth because the rich hoard their new income gains and don't spend enough more. Government, with its bought laws, acts to make the income inequality worse by all the bought favors for the rich and by reducing income taxes on the rich. It is a corrupt mess and Democrats are complicit. They are a part of the problem; not a part of any solution at present and yet the Democratic party is only real path to reform. Our's is a very two party system.

The U.S. economy has in turn been chopped into two parts: a ‘dynamic’ high tech/industrial sector that is shedding jobs (the economy of the upper 1/3), and a ‘stagnant,' 'survivalist’ sector which acts as an ‘employer of last resort’. The bottom 90% percent of adult Americans have an average individual income of $30,438, down almost 10% from a decade earlier, an income on par with Greece. The bottom 50% -- 117,000,000 of them -- have an average annual income of $16,200, little better than the average and income in Mexico and lower than the average annual income in virtually all of the other 32 advanced OECD nations. About 40 percent of America's working age population is now unemployed. Think about these matters for a moment.

The reduced or stalled purchasing power of those not in the economy of the upper 1/3 is why our economy is stagnant and stalled out in its new "lower low," even with what additionally they are able to borrow and spend. The rich and wealthy, in turn, cannot spend enough and don't have the time to even enjoy what they have.

The Democrats need to attack the libertarian mantra of "cut taxes," "make government smaller" and "not interfere in the economy" or all such austerity policies by showing the problems they have created and by providing they lead to bad economic results and by urging the following reforms --

1) raising taxes substantially --

-----a) and very progressively on upper incomes,

-----b) on inheritances,

-----c) on the banking industry for the right to create new money for free and loan it out at interest

-----d) on capital gains at a 90% rate

-----e) cutting corporate welfare, including depletion allowances

-----f) on stock and bond trades in secondary markets

-----g) on domestic income held offshore with amnesty

2) adopt the Steiglitz recommendations for de-rigging the economy against the middle class and in favor of the rich.

3) adopt a set of fair and all encompassing usury laws instead of the none we have now,

4) revise campaign financing laws to get money out of politics

5) expand government substantially by --

-----a) adopting a massive and majorly labor intensive infrastructure program, to increase employment and fix our infrastructure,

-----b) adopt a program of free higher education but only at credible and good or better existing universities

------c) adopting laws reversing what the Trump administration has done and will do,

------e) adopting loan and grant programs for injured states transitioning away from libertarian austerity policies

------f) adopting basic MMT policies and practices that abandon the budget restraint

6) revise business regulation to simplify it, reduce costs and make it "bright line," general regulation and then enforce it strongly.

The Democrats could win with these programs if they were properly explained as I have here. These changes, without more, if properly done would radically transform America and the economy, but many Americans and most conservatives and republicans are not well enough educated in economics to know it. That is the task of the Democrats, but they need to find some knowledgeable people who understand these matters and so far they have not.

https://www.amazon.com/Rewriting-Rules-American-Economy-Prosperity-ebook/dp/B015774QVY/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1502476125&sr=1-3&keywords=joseph+stiglitz

The Supply Side Libertarians Are Wrong and Not Supported by the Data

22 August 2017 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
Kimball Corson
In regard to the article, the economy of the US, especially in regard to income and wealth inequality in the interwar years was substantially different than our present economy with an even lower elasticity estimate currently.

More generally, the cut taxes mantra of libertarianism for growth is a false claim simply designed to starve government of revenue to obtain the further mantric goal of smaller government which in fact decreases rather than increases personal and economic freedom. So they are wrong again, both coming and going.

Yet the dominant economic outlook in America government is for austerity imposed by lower taxes, smaller government and no interference in the economy -- the libertarian mantra. We cannot get so much wrong and do well as a nation for our people. Stupidity and ignorance are prevailing.

https://baselinescenario.com/2012/02/27/how-much-do-taxes-matter/

The Rise of Economic Ignorance

22 August 2017 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
Kimball Corson
Everyone is an economist in this day and age; all pontificate in the declarative mood as though they actually know something, from home brew ignorati (e.g., John Hochbaum) to PhD level true economists (John Nail, me, David Laipple and Panayotis Economopoulos) to many in between with some real knowledge who are really quite knowledgeable and have learned and are learning much well (Dean Scourtes, Loren Spiekerman, and others).

Most of the real economists won't engage with the ignoranti except to say "Nonsense" in passing because the information, training, skill gap is too great to bridge in this abbreviated format. The problem is and remains tons of disinformation and economic propaganda is getting disseminated and many people are becoming misinformed about economics.

Of course that is the goal of the well paid propagandists employed by the Koch & Friends networks including the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, FEE and PragerU among many others. They want you misinformed so we can't all get our economic crap together and act unified politically. They are succeeding.

The damnable thing is apparently the economics profession doesn't really care. At the university level, they get their grants, keep their noses to the grindstone and are careful not to make waves. They pretend there is no problem, as long as their grants are approved. They are a bit bought off.

The problem with economics, is it is easy to sound good, get somethings correctly, seem plausible and be total wrong on targeted conclusions. The propaganda is designed around that model. However, good propaganda avoids empirical work at all costs and that is its Achilles heel.

But regrettably that is mostly beyond all except at the PhD level and not within the scope of public discussion. But serious empirical work is now getting more popularized so their is some hope/

Meanwhile, economic ignorance soars through the roof.

The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Rise of Income Inequality (Part VI)

22 August 2017 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
Kimball Corson
X. Too few understand these matters, so CEOs are beyond the reach of the law

Few understand how big and powerful many corporations are. Some already have security forces that rival small armies, although such efforts are often contracted out, but they are small armies, nonetheless. They are giants in terms of size and resources, very often bigger in those regards than many countries.

And yet few understand that, set up as they are, corporations are island dictatorships under the fascistic control of one man, the CEO, whose word is law and not to be challenged. Worse than the captain of a ship. Boards are stuffed with CEO buddies and cronies and there is then no check on a CEO. Shareholders are usually too far removed and there are ways of buying them off too. Rising share prices usually does the trick and that too encourages share back programs. We have hugely powerful CEO dictators largely unchecked and out of control, looting and plundering in every direction including legislatures and monopoly market positions. Government is overwhelmed.

Few also understand the income inequality problem created by these CEOs. They think there is too few of them to matter. But that is not true. The 0.1% is basically CEOs, big bank owners (I have explained why they are rich) and inventors/venture capitalists who, when not engaged in fraud or mere coat tailing, actually do seriously contribute. It is a small group but has huge incomes. People don't get this well either.

Few understand that these CEOs are directly responsible for not only plundering their own companies for personal gain, but also plundering the public by the monopoly positions their companies acquire by hook or crook, to the point now where the issue is recognized by foreign nationals as being a major national US problem and we reluctantly agree and say something should be done. But we are overwhelmed and corporate money speaks loudly. We live in stall mode.

Too few understand too little to matter and the abuses grind on.

The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Rise of Income Inequality (Part V)

22 August 2017 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
Kimball Corson
IX. CEOs are plundering their corporations by stock buybacks for their own great personal gain

A stock buyback increases earnings per share of a company's stock and that in turn increases the price of the stock. The CEO can then exercise his stock options, using all other insider information available to him, of course (how can he be separated from it or his options), and get much more for his options and much more in pay than he otherwise would. There is no check on this racket.

Buybacks are not isolated events. CEOs have become enamored with stock buybacks as a potent means of manipulating their companies’ stock prices and their gains. Over the past decade, net corporate stock issues (that’s new shares issued minus share repurchases, plus shares retired in merger-and-acquisition deals) have drained more than $4 trillion from all U.S. non-financial corporations.

The 459 companies in the S&P 500 that were publicly listed between 2006 and 2015 did $3.9 trillion in buybacks, equal to 54 percent of their net income. That’s on top of the $2.7 trillion that these companies distributed to shareholders as dividends, representing another 37 percent of net income.

Through stock buybacks of this magnitude, CEOs are effectively looting the corporations they run and lining their own pockets.

So first CEO's swipe labor's productivity gains to increase their compensation, much paid in stock, over time and then they use stock buybacks to increase the gain on their shares and thereby propel themselves into the top 0.1% of income recipients, creating a major income inequality problem nationally -- if they are lucky enough to become a CEO of a DOW 30, S&P 500. a big NASDAQ company or even a large Russell 2000 corporation.

We are talking about under a 1000 CEO's here of the nations biggest corporations, yet they are a considerable part of the 0.1%, along with big bankers and inventors/venture capitalists. Big bank owners do not have to pay a franchise fee to the federal government for the privilege of creating new money essentially cost free and then loaning it out at interest which sums are no longer controlled by federal usury laws. That is their racket.

(to be continued)

The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Rise of Income Inequality (Part IV)

22 August 2017 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
Kimball Corson
VII. CEOs have bought off Congress

Here is the amount of big money spent just on direct lobbying of Congress in the last decade.This does not include campaign contributions. This is lobbying money spent to get things wanted from congress, not help members get into office.

US Chamber of Commerce $1,369,025,680
National Assn of Realtors $437,201,271
American Medical Assn $363,697,500
General Electric $350,252,000
American Hospital Assn $337,048,849
Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America $324,755,300
Blue Cross/Blue Shield $308,010,064
AARP $269,441,064
Boeing Co $251,693,310
Northrop Grumman $250,182,213
Business Roundtable $239,080,000
Exxon Mobil $238,272,742
Lockheed Martin $234,707,278
Verizon Communications $226,357,043
AT&T Inc $221,985,644
Edison Electric Institute $212,716,789
National Assn of Broadcasters $207,248,000
Southern Co $204,630,694
National Cable & Telecommunications Assn $193,830,000
Altria Group $182,185,200

Then we have campaign contributions to help get candidates into office.
See, https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php?cycle=ALL Much corporate effort is buried here in PAC donations, use of trade associations and other surrogate and prophylactic organizations.

What is clear is Congress is bought off by big corporate money, much of it dark money contributed through 501(c) organizations which don't have to disclose the money's donors as here. This is a big loophole.

https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php?cycle=ALL

(to be continued)

The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Rise of Income Inequality (Part III)

22 August 2017 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
Kimball Corson
V. CEOs stole labors’ productivity gains beginning in 1973

Since then CEOs have progressively increased their salaries as those gains have grown over the years. Most people don't realize this or refuse to believe it but the evidence is abundant. How, they ask could such a thing happen.? First some background evidence.

It is well understood that marginal productivity pricing for workers has collapsed. Joseph Stiglitz and others have commented on that. Joseph Stiglitz explains that is very clear from the escalation of CEO salaries and the stagnation of line workers pay in real terms. Stiglitz agrees with me worker's' pay has been misappropriated.

My contention is that by CEO's unchecked fiat power and the de facto control of the corporate revenue stream by CEOs, beginning in 1973, CEO’s have taken, stolen, misappropriated laborer’s productivity gains since then and used them to increase CEO compensation since then. It has happen gradually as the chart below shows. Workers real wages have stalled out and CEO compensation has gone through the roof. See the chart below.

To be sure, some misappropriated funds may have gone to other management and some other uses, but the CEO’s got the bulk of it. Fascist dictators always take care of themselves well and the money has to come from somewhere.

VI. CEOs have monopolized much of the American economy

Corporations do what their CEOs tell them to do. And they have gotten their marching orders to monopolize, big time. Monopoly is a serious driver of inequality, as profits concentrate more wealth in the hands of the few, especially CEOs The effects of monopoly enrage voters in their day-to-day lives, as they face the sky-high prices set by drug-company cartels and the abuses of cable providers, health insurers, and airlines. Monopoly provides much of the funds the wealthy use to distort American politics.

The idea that America has a monopoly problem is now beyond dispute. Since 2008 there have been more than $10 trillion in mergers, and the pace of deal-making continues to accelerate, with 2015 setting a record for the most mergers in a year and October 2016 setting the record for the most mergers in a month. Mergers are a way of eliminating competition.

The Economist magazine published three cover stories on America’s monopoly problem recently. The magazine reported that two-thirds of all corporate sectors have become more concentrated since the 1990s, that corporations are far more profitable now than at any time since the 1920s, and that an inordinate amount of profit is being earned, much more than usual from monopolized sectors.

In April, the White House Council of Economic Advisers came to much the same conclusion, and called for a “robust reaction to market power abuses.”
Politicians have ignored the problem; however. The republicans in power are happy to have it continue because it serves the interests of their patrons who want nothing done about it. CEOs are enchanted.

(to be continued)

The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Rise of Income Inequality (Part II)

22 August 2017 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
Kimball Corson
III. Corporate CEO’s are paid much more than people realize because of an SEC rule

There was a day when CEOs of large corporations made a few million a year, but not obscene multiples of the average wage of the worker they do now. That was back in the days when income inequality was not a problem. Most CEOs then and now are paid a base salary in cash and stock and an incentive pay in addition, also in cash and stock but not in the same ratio; usually more stock. CEOs receive grants of at-the-money call options, that is, options to purchase company stock in the future at a price equal to the stock price on the day the option is granted.

According to the AFL-CIO labor union the average S&P 500 CEO in the United States in 2016 earned 331 times more per hour than the average worker last year or $11.7 million; the average worker earned $35,347.

But these data are wrong. CEO earnings are way understated. Here is why

The SEC allows use in SEC filings of the EFV or “estimated fair value” of all stock options in stating CEO compensation but that number is biased much to low as it is computed. The better figure by far is “actual realized gain” or ARG

Data on these executives’ actual take-home pay, which is published, as required by law, in companies’ annual filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), show that in 2014, senior executives made 949 times as much money as the average worker, far higher than the AFL-CIO’s ratio of 331:1.

In 2014, the latest year for which ExecuComp has full data, the average ARG compensation of the 500 highest-paid executives was $34.3 million, with 81 percent of that coming from stock-based pay, a far cry from the $11.7 million figure of the AFL-CIO in 2016 and compensation rose in the interim.

Talk about loaded dice. The SEC won’t respond.

IV. The real divide is not between the 1% and the 99%, but between the 99.9% and the 0.1% which is gaining.

The bottom 99.9% are merely workhorses and have not materially gained.They are merely workhorses for the top 0.1%. The income shares of the bottom 99,9% have not materially gained over the years. This was my sense and my understanding during my working career when I was mostly in the top 1%. I was simply a workhorse. Unlike those in the lower brackets, the top 0.1% have seen their incomes rise hugely. And they are in a different league altogether.

They can often borrow for almost nothing, keep profits and production overseas, hold personal assets in tax havens, ride out down markets and economies, and influence legislation in the U.S. They have access to the very best in accounting firms, tax and other attorneys, numerous consultants, private wealth managers, a network of other wealthy and powerful friends and lucrative business. It was a joke in the legal profession that as clients we could not afford ourselves. The odds of getting into that top 0.1% are very slim and the door is kept firmly shut by those within it.

You can see that in CEO compensation. The compensation of CFOs and COO are usually about a third of CEO’s compensations. They are work horses in service, too. Only the CEOs of the DOW 30, S&P 500 and many of the NASDAQ listings and a very few of the Russell 2000 have a real shot at the top 0.1%. The door is closed to others.

Again, without the top 0.1% and the CEOs that dominate it, income inequality would not be much of a problem in the US. No one else is seriously hogging the ball or grabbing for more. If the top 0.1% were removed from the picture, the problem of excessive income inequality in the US would largely disappear. Yet we know those top 0.1% families are mostly those of CEO’s, and some banker’s and a few invention or venture capital entrepreneurs.

(to be continued)

The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Rise of Income Inequality (Part I)

22 August 2017 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
Kimball Corson
I. Corporations have immense wealth and power, more than most nations by far

So how do the wealth and power of big corporations compare to those of nation states? The truth is large corporations are wealthier and more powerful than many nations. The world’s biggest corporations have increased their wealth compared with nation states recent years.

A study by the anti-poverty charity Global Justice Now found that the number of corporations in the top 100 nation/corporate entities jumped to 69 in 2015 from 63 in the previous year. Corporations are becoming increasingly wealthier and more powerful than many nations.

While many emerging market economies have struggled to grow in the last couple of years, mainly as a result of China’s slowdown, many of the world’s largest corporations have increased in size.

The London-based campaign group said the 10 biggest corporations – including Walmart, Apple and Shell – make more money than most countries in the world combined. An assessment of the top 200 nations/corporations found that many smaller countries were squeezed out, leaving 153 corporations above many nations from Africa, Asia and South America. The US, China, Germany, Japan, France and the UK make up the top six economic nation/corporate entities followed by Italy, Brazil and Canada.

But Walmart ranks as the 10th largest, Apple ranked 26th behind the 18th-placed Royal Dutch Shell, with Exxon Mobil at 21, all ahead of many nations
The value of the top 10 corporations was $285 trillion, beating the $280
trillion worth of the bottom 180 countries, which include Ireland, Indonesia, Israel, Colombia, Greece, South Africa, Iraq and Vietnam.

Corporations are becoming more powerful and dominate than nations.

II. Corporations are fascist dictatorships run a single man, the CEO, and wield way too much power in markets and on government

I had occasion once in very close company to meet and listen to Roberto C. Goizueta, Coca Cola’s most famous CEO, talk about what it was like to run Coca Cola. He spent his day at the office placating and resolving internecine rivalries among corporate factions and keeping his board members in line and on track with his agenda. He ran Coca Cola from his home at night. He explained that getting a supportive board is key because there is then no opposition to what you want to do. The CEO’s word is law. The entire organization must comply. One man controls.

My take away was no single man should have such vast unchecked power. It was too much in a big corporation, but I understand the sentiment that says a ship must have a captain and his word is absolute (with a few exceptions). The name of the game now is stuff the board with your buddies, give them fee raises, play a lot of golf with them and silently demand they back you up on all things. No bad publicity and dividends tossed their way keep shareholders too removed to do anything in opposition. That is how the game is played these days.

The model is that of a fascist dictator. Its domain is as big and as vast as the corporation itself. It can rival a large nation state in power and wealth. The resources to bribe public officials with campaign contribution are huge. You command attention. Private or less resourceful persons or individuals can’t compete for an audience.

It is an unchecked system and in the US it has run amuck as I will explain.

(to be continued)

Racial Hatred Is Confused

22 August 2017 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
Kimball Corson
It is the white supremacy movement, a backhanded black putdown group. It is the NeoNazi movement, an extremist, fasccist version of the white supremacy movement that harkens back to Hitler and the Third Reich. It is a pro confederate movement, that heralds the pre-civil war confederacy with its slavery and the antebellum south. Additionally, as I have written, the real issues for individual members of these groups are not likely the issues they think they are or those relating directly to these groups -- they are most probably economic frustrations or worries in their individual lives they think are unmanageable.

Ostensibly, the core here of these groups is hatred of blacks. However, if pressed, members of these groups likely don't know any blacks personally or, if they do, don't have any objections to those black as individuals. Their hatred is abstract and more ideological or perhaps, as I suggest, not the issue at all. And our president feeds and promotes that hatred, also in a backhanded, abstract manner, with a touch of anti-semitism thrown in for good measure, to reinforce that crowd sentiment as well.

So now the attack of good people and some protesters is on confederate monuments. Many are coming down, by public violence or city council action.

Could a bigger confused mess be easily imagined? A study in mass, messy psychology.

What To Do About North Korea

22 August 2017 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
Kimball Corson
Nothing is the answer.

The power of nuclear weapons is the security of having them, not in using them. Using them is assured mutual destruction. North Korea wants the security of having them, fearing China and South Korea.

North Korea should go ahead and develop its nuclear ICBM's, get its security and the US should do nothing.
The rhetoric should stop. The "fury and fire" talk should abate. Trade and some aid should develop. Trade leads to capitalism just as Maoist China is now capitalist China.

That is the way to undo Kim if we feel the need.
Doing nothing is the safest course and it will save lives.
Vessel Name: Altaira
Vessel Make/Model: A Fair Weather Mariner 39 is a fast (PHRF 132), heavily ballasted (43%), high-aspect (6:1), stiff, comfortable, offshore performance cruiser by Bob Perry that goes to wind well (30 deg w/ good headway) and is also good up and down the Beaufort scale.
Hailing Port: Lake Pleasant, AZ
Crew: Kimball Corson. Text and Photos not disclaimed or that are obviously not mine are copyright (c) Kimball Corson 2004-2016
About:
Kimball Corson: I am a 75 year old solo sailor, by choice. However, I did take on a personable, but high maintenance female kitten, now a full grown cat, named KiKiPoo when she is sweet, or KatKatPo after she has just killed something like a bird or bat. [...]
Extra:
Although I was a lawyer and practiced law with good success for thirty years, creating significant new law, I never really believed in the law, the politics of law or in the over reaching self-interest of most lawyers I met. Too much exposure to Nietzsche and other good and seriously thoughtful [...]
Altaira's Photos - Main
No items in this gallery.

Profile

Who: Kimball Corson. Text and Photos not disclaimed or that are obviously not mine are copyright (c) Kimball Corson 2004-2016
Port: Lake Pleasant, AZ