I wasn’t really a part of the economy in the 80’s, but I do seem to remember getting some kick ass savings rates for the filthy lucre stowed away in my junior savings account. Young me, didn’t realize at the time that to get those 15% returns on a savings account what the banks had to be charging on the loans they made.
With jobership and homeownership and adultship all having occurred – I’m more than a little concerned about an upward trend in the prime interest rate, because things that are affordable at 3%ish interest become much more untenable at 15 or 20% interest.
“The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark overnight interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point, which means that the folks who borrow from the Fed (which is kind of like the Bank of Canada, and whose customers are other lenders) will now pay in a range from 0.75 per cent to 1 per cent.
Up until Wednesday, the range was as low as 0.5 per cent.
A quarter of a percentage point? Doesn’t sound like much, so no wonder the announcement got overwhelmed by everything else.
Consider this: the Fed’s rate is now double what it is in Canada. It’s very difficult to believe that the decision there will not have a ripple effect that will eventually hit Canadian mortgages and lending rates — and along with them, people who’ve never lived and owed when rates suddenly jack up.
But let’s think about the decision, which is only — believe it or not — the third time that the Fed has ever raised a rate since the financial crisis that engulfed the world in 2008. (It is, on the other hand, the second hike in three months.)
On the upside, the hike is generally perceived to be an indication of growing strength and optimism in the American marketplace.
“The simple message,” said Fed chair Janet Yellen, who is expected to step down within a year, “is the economy is doing well.”
But what many people in the finance world are expecting is more of the same; that is, more hikes. Another is expected in June, and the Washington Post used the words “more frequent” to describe what the Fed’s hikes will be like from now on.
The purpose of a rate hike, especially while rates have been (when you think about it) remarkably tiny is to keep inflation in check.
But the other side of that coin is what higher rates can do to ordinary consumers, including those on this side of the border.
This is where my head has been lately.
It seems to be we’ve had a full generation of consumers that don’t know the piercing agony that comes when interest rates are high, or who might be inclined to believe that what they’re paying now on, say, their credit card bill is high enough.
Moreover, these consumers may not appreciate to what extent that lending rates have, for almost a decade, have been artificially low. (I’m tempted to call them politically low, too, in light of the 2008 crisis.)
Now, some history, both provincial and personal: In the early Eighties, interest rates were not just in the double digits, they were above 20 per cent. The recession that came with it was harsh, deep and sweeping in its destruction.
The local impact was crushing, perhaps because there was an ebullient feeling in the wake of the 1979 Hibernia discovery. In 1988, a few years before he died, St. John’s businessman Andrew Crosbie reflected on the wicked boom and bust of the early Eighties.
“We certainly got caught — but I don’t know if it was in the oil euphoria rather than the interest rate euphoria” that caused so much damage to businesses like his own.”
The idea of being ‘caught’ and forced to make unsavoury financial decisions isn’t particularly appealing – and having one’s future rest on the ‘market’ is distinctly unsettling. :/
Yet more evidence that identity politics is bad for women.
“Pregnant woman” is not an identity. It is a social reality. A pregnant woman’s ever-contracting rights – whether she can choose to end this pregnancy, whether she will risk imprisonment for drinking too much, whether she will lose her job, whether she will be murdered by her partner – can only be seen through the filter of her inferior social status: that of woman. She neither chooses nor identifies with this status and it matters that the restrictions it places on her and others be fully acknowledged. Hundreds of women died today because of the way in which pregnancy intersects with their political and social status as women. The term “pregnant people” denies them the specificity of their deaths and masks the cause.
What gender-neutral pregnancy campaigning has achieved is wholly negative, making it impossible to articulate why there exists a class of people who are not granted full sovereignty over what lies beneath their own skin. It has located the abortion debate (which should not be a debate at all) back where conservatives want it: on the status of the foetus, not that of the woman. It has allowed the misogynist left to consolidate their definition of woman as “passive fantasy girl with tits” as opposed to “person with independent physical functions, emotions and needs.” Above all, it has created the illusion of an opt-out to being placed in the inferior sex class. Well, there isn’t, at least not until you can be bothered to challenge the fundamental idea that half the human race is inferior (oh, but that’s so much harder than messing about with words!).”
Trans-patriarchy/patriarchy. Not much difference if one observes material reality. A well written post articulating the appropriation of the term women and the sex specific issues that come with being female.
“Cis Women. Miright?”
This is an actual quote from the Geek Girl Puit’s article entitled, “Trans Girl Periods. Yes, that’s right. No, I’m being serious. Just read the damn article.”
I was reminded of this gem today when realized I had started my period. At the time of reading this, and frankly I don’t remember how I came across it, I remember googling more into the subject and being utterly pissed in trans women’s complete appropriation of periods. According to them, their hormone treatments fluctuate and once a month they get “period symptoms” – so they get “periods”, while “cis women” get “menstruating periods.” In other words, trans women appropriate the original term, despite complete lack of biological function related to the original term, while “cis women” have to define otherwise. And many trans women and liberal feminists are buying into this complete appropriation and false description of biology to…
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I find it curious that when it comes to feminism as a movement it is often decreed that it must be “inclusive”. Here is the thing though, feminism is the struggle for female liberation from the patriarchal structures and mandates of society. The only requirement for membership in feminism is, hold on to your (pussy)-hats, being female. Encompassing more than half of the world’s population should satisfy any musings about inclusivity and the like.
Concomitantly one can identify what feminism is if the stated goal or objective in question happens to is to aid in woman’s struggle against patriarchy. If you’re not working toward increasing female liberation from patriarchy you are not ‘doing’ feminism.
So here is Empress-radfem expressing her thoughts on the recent Woman’s march, and she compares the feminist movement to other movements struggling for liberation. She asks very important questions in the first paragraph that makes me wonder why it is beyond the pale to foist up an #all lives matter at a #BLM rally, but females in feminism can make no such claim.
Why is that?
“it’s no coincidence to me that liberals have taken aim at women holding signs about vaginas, uteruses, and specifically female-centered issues during the women’s march, but wouldn’t dare suggest that “black lives matter” activists should include “white lives” or “blue lives” in their signs and slogans too, nor did they see fit to inform occupy wall street protesters that its “not all rich people.”
women are the ones who have to step aside and make room at the podium for others. women are the ones who have to be reminded that it’s not okay to put ourselves first. women are the ones who need to sacrifice precious time, space, and voice at a public demonstration to make sure others are heard and seen, too. women are the ones who have no specific experience worth naming and discussing, no specific interests worth protecting.
woman does not exist.”
A change of pace, let’s imagine for a minute that Lennon’s Imagine piece was written in the Baroque period. It could sound a little like this.
The Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision reverberates strongly in my consciousness when I read articles like this one from Tom’s Dispatch. I am still at a loss as how to compute the base equation of $ = Free Speech, because, well… it doesn’t.
Certainly money grants access, but it begets the question: Should it? I mean, how could the Justices not see the folly in quantizing what was formerly a non-fungible good?
The dumpsterfire (dtrumpsterfire?) that is the current US polity illustrates that change (and not of the positive variety) is happening, that is not only destabilizing the US, but the world as well.
“In March of 2015, for instance, two months before The Donald tossed his hair into the presidential ring, in a post at TomDispatch I asked if “a new political system” was emerging in America and summed the situation up this way:
“Still, don’t for a second think that the American political system isn’t being rewritten on the run by interested parties in Congress, our present crop of billionaires, corporate interests, lobbyists, the Pentagon, and the officials of the national security state. Out of the chaos of this prolonged moment and inside the shell of the old system, a new culture, a new kind of politics, a new kind of governance is being born right before our eyes. Call it what you want. But call it something. Stop pretending it’s not happening.”
We’re now living in Donald Trump’s America (which I certainly didn’t either predict or imagine in March 2015); we’re living, that is, in an ever more chaotic and aberrant land run (to the extent it’s run at all) by billionaires and retired generals, and overseen by a distinctly aberrant president at war with aberrant parts of the national security state. That, in a nutshell, is the America created in the post-9/11 years. Put another way, the U.S. may have failed dismally in its efforts to invade, occupy, and remake Iraq in its own image, but it seems to have invaded, occupied, and remade itself with remarkable success. And don’t blame this one on the Russians.”
-Tom Engelhardt writing at Tom’s Dispatch