Feb 17 2016

Percent of Total Wealth Owned in the United States: Bottom 40% control -0.9% Meaning Close to Half the Country has a Negative Net Worth.

Wealth is an important measure of financial stability and success.  Being able to have enough set aside for a rainy day can make the difference between weathering a minor storm to being in full upheaval because of an unexpected expense.  Most Americans however live paycheck to paycheck.  There is no emergency fund.  It is troubling to see new data looking at the distribution of wealth in the United States because many Americans actually have a negative net worth.  New data looking at wealth distribution highlights a growing gulf between Americans.  Wealth inequality like that seen during the Gilded Age and the Roaring 20s led to massive disequilibrium that ended up in deep financial corrections.  We are very much in a situation that rivals that period only this time the public is able to go into negative net worth territory through items like college loans, auto debt, and credit cards.  The percent of total wealth owned in the United States might surprise you.

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Feb 12 2016

Importing lower wages as 75% of Silicon Valley’s tech workers are foreign-born: How tech manipulates the H-1B visa program for cheap labor.

We tend to believe that the tech industry operates in a very progressive atmosphere as far as how they vote.  This might be the case for workers but for owners, they are ultra-bottom line and this is seen in the way they hire lower wage workers.  We tend to get things mixed up in regards to foreign workers “stealing jobs” when the rhetoric is thrown out in the media.  In reality, most of the H-1B visas, a visa to allow employers to recruit and employ foreign professionals in specialty occupations, is largely dominated by the tech industry.  In fact there are industries in China and India that cater to this market entirely like Tata Consultancy Services.  Yet this pushes wages lower at a high level since these are skilled workers.  For other Americans, the low wage employment train continues to chug along.  Which companies sponsor the highest numbers of H-1B workers?

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Feb 7 2016

Low wage recovery highlighted by 7 out of 10 jobs added in January coming from minimum wage waiters and temporary retail workers.

The unemployment rate fell below the 5 percent mark for the first time since the Great Recession wrecked havoc on the economy.  This is good news right?  Well the stock market didn’t think so for a couple of reasons.  First, this adds more fuel to pushing interest rates higher (a big expense on the $19 trillion we already owe).  Second and probably more importantly, it highlights the growing trend of low wage employment.  7 out of 10 jobs added in January came in the form of low wage jobs.  We added 58,000 in retail and trade (i.e., Wal-Mart and Target work), and 47,000 in the food trades (i.e., waiters and bartenders).  With states pushing minimum wages up, this is where the income gains came from but we are talking about a weak jump brought on by the low range of the curve.  This is why the casino known as the stock market took a dive despite this seemingly good news.  Is this a problem that most of our job growth came in the form of low wage work?

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Feb 3 2016

Total U.S. debt breaks $19 trillion mark: Total debt rises by $8.4 trillion in last 8 years and is on pace to hit $22 trillion by 2020.

When the party is getting ready to end, you might as well ramp up the spending and put it on the nationwide credit card.  Total U.S. debt blew right through the $19 trillion mark and has expanded by $8.4 trillion only in the last 8 years.  There are countless obligations in the form of Social Security, Medicare, military, education, and other expenses that almost guarantee that total U.S. debt is going to expand further.  This brings up an interesting situation in the respect that we will never pay this debt off.  I think people get this, right?  In fact, the entire debt foundation is built merely on the servicing of debt, not the actual payoff.  Yet the amount of interest we owe is now also ridiculous. In December alone we paid $86 billion in interest for one month.  The pace of debt growth is unsustainable and has created a world where central banks are chasing negative interest rates just to keep servicing costs low assuming they can find a borrower.

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Jan 29 2016

Unsocial Insecurity: Social Security Fund loses money for the first time since 1983. The new retirement model will have you working until you fall over from a heart attack.

Social Security was never designed as a long-term pension.  It was implemented in 1935 during the Great Depression to assist families from falling into absolute poverty.  The large work force dominated by men usually meant that many would die and leave a large family behind with no financial resources.  Social Security was there to protect this group.  But over the generations, Social Security is now seen as a retirement fund and many depend on it for their livelihood.  Recent figures highlight that 44 percent of retirees on Social Security would be in abject poverty without this support.  More to the point, the number one source of income for retirees in America is Social Security funds.  So it might come as a troubling surprise that the Social Security fund ran a deficit last year for the first time since 1983.

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