You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Economy’ tag.

   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.

Fed chair Janet Yellen raised interest rates this week, for only the third time since the financial crisis nine years ago. (Reuters)

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.

Rates are a fraction of what they once were

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.) 

What would higher interest rates mean for homeowners, and small businesses? In a tight economy, they could be tricky. (Submitted by Kara O’Keefe)

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.  :/

[Source:cbc.ca]

Advertisements

ccb    In the business lexicon I think polite somehow equals naive or stupid.  Neil Macdonald examines some of the hi-jinks our corporate leadership in Canada feels it can get away with.

“A letter arrived last week from TD Bank. “In order to continue to meet your banking needs …” it began.

Try to guess what came next. Hint: I’m a customer at a Canadian bank.

Sure enough, “We sometimes need to adjust our pricing.”

Unsurprisingly, the prices being adjusted were not being adjusted downward.

As of March, the bank’s “non-TD ATM fee” is being raised 33 per cent.

Fees for cancelling an Interac e-transfer and for holding a post-dated cheque at a branch are going from free to $5. And the fee for transferring a tax-free savings account to another bank is going from free to $75.

These are huge increases, far in excess of growth or individual spending power.

Now, it’s important to understand TD’s position. The bank’s profits were $8.02 billion last year, up only slightly from $7.88 billion the year before.”

Our banks do this sorta shit all the time.  Hmm..bottom line looking a bit thin? Let’s put the screw to our customers, they’ll smile and say ‘thank-you’.

“It’s worth noting, though, that in the U.S., where TD is now a serious player, with more branches than in Canada, the bank plans to impose no fee increases on customers come March.

“Totally different environment,” a TD spokeswoman told me.

Translation: There’s a lot more competition there, and if TD tried charging the sorts of fees it imposes on the bank’s supine Canadian flock, some other U.S. bank would be in there siphoning off business before you could say “special offer.”

Up here in Canada, TD’s letter advises customers that if they don’t want to accept the fee hikes, they are free to close their accounts, “without cost or penalty.”

Generous, that.”

It is really as simple as that?  Because we in Canada don’t allow the wild west capitalism that typifies our good neighbours to the south we have to accept the fact that the fox is in charge of the henhouse?

“It’s all part of being Canadian. The equation is simple: Canadian consumers and workers are protected from certain free-market excesses, but that coddled security comes with a price: oligopolies, in which a few firms dominate, and all the behaviour that flows from that.”

If this is the price we have to pay to be able to weather the financial shit-storms that brew in the US, I might be able to accept that – but I think that the cost benefit analysis is still up for debate.

“If you want a really depressing bit of Canadian reading, go look at the Canadian Competition Bureau’s policy on “price maintenance,” something most of us know as “price-fixing.” 

Certain companies, especially in the luxury trade, try to see to it that their products never go on sale. Rolex is one. Canada Goose, the world-famous Canadian parka-maker, is another.

This offends capitalism: in a free market, one of the few responsibilities of government is to monitor and punish efforts to deaden competition”

Looking at you telecoms :/

“In fact, “price maintenance behaviour” was a criminal act in Canada, until Stephen Harper’s Conservatives changed the law in 2009 (though some forms of price-fixing still remain a crime).

The new law reduced price maintenance to a non-criminal offence, and even at that, it now has to be proven that “price maintenance conduct has had, is having or is likely to have an adverse effect on competition in a market.”

In other words, the government has to prove that price fixing results in fixed prices.”

Another gifted poison pill from our beloved former conservative government. It is shit like this that ruins their airs toward being business friendly and being friends of the market and all of the other hooey they exude from their weaselly mouths.  They lay down on market policy that hugely distorts the market – and in the end makes Canadians pay more – and then have the audacity to make ‘sad face’ and shrug their shoulders laying the blame on the ‘free market’.  Conservative economic policy is made of pure unadulterated rannygazoo from top to bottom.

“After trying to make sense of the gibberish on its website, I asked the Competition Bureau how many times it’s gone after companies for what it calls price maintenance since it issued its new “enforcement guidelines” in 2014.

The answer: None. Zero.

“Nevertheless,” said a spokeswoman in an email, Canadians should rest assured the bureau remains vigilant: “The Competition Bureau will not hesitate to take appropriate action where it believes price maintenance has occurred.”

Okay. Good to know.”

*sigh* – WTG Competition Bureau.  :/

[Source: cbc.ca]

And yet, many corporate members of society do their utmost to avoid doing so.  Funny how so much has been intoned by corporations about ethical obligations, yet so many fail this one basic test.

 

  This piece from Linda Tirado – describes her experience of what it is like to be poor and how that works into your life and your goals… go read the full article at Alternet.org.

“I make a lot of poor financial decisions. None of them matter, in the long term. I will never not be poor, so what does it matter if I don’t pay a thing and a half this week instead of just one thing? It’s not like the sacrifice will result in improved circumstances; the thing holding me back isn’t that I blow five bucks at Wendy’s. It’s that now that I have proven that I am a Poor Person that is all that I am or ever will be. It is not worth it to me to live a bleak life devoid of small pleasures so that one day I can make a single large purchase. I will never have large pleasures to hold on to. There’s a certain pull to live what bits of life you can while there’s money in your pocket, because no matter how responsible you are you will be broke in three days anyway. When you never have enough money it ceases to have meaning. I imagine having a lot of it is the same thing.

Poverty is bleak and cuts off your long-term brain. It’s why you see people with four different babydaddies instead of one. You grab a bit of connection wherever you can to survive. You have no idea how strong the pull to feel worthwhile is. It’s more basic than food. You go to these people who make you feel lovely for an hour that one time, and that’s all you get. You’re probably not compatible with them for anything long-term, but right this minute they can make you feel powerful and valuable. It does not matter what will happen in a month. Whatever happens in a month is probably going to be just about as indifferent as whatever happened today or last week. None of it matters. We don’t plan long-term because if we do we’ll just get our hearts broken. It’s best not to hope. You just take what you can get as you spot it.”

But what kills me, after reading article is going to the crowd sourced funding page and looking at the comments.  I stopped after the first 40 because of the accusations and the scrutiny.  People are horrible and inhumane, especially so when they think that a poor person might be scamming the system.  If they only held the actual scammers (Wall Street et al.) in such high contempt…

“Across America, this divide between the superrich and everyone else has become a yawning chasm and studies indicate it may stifle jobs and growth for years to come. At no time in modern history has the top one hundredth of one percent owned more of our wealth or paid so low a tax rate. But in neither of the two presidential debates so far has the vastness of this astounding inequality gap been discussed. Not by Mitt Romney, who is the embodiment of the predatory world of financial capitalism. And not even by Barack Obama, whose party once fought for working men and women against the economic royalists.”     – Bill Moyers


Great video – Moyers highlights the questions not being addressed in the media that strangely(?) deal with the welfare of the people of the United States.

Irish Tiger turned kitty under the firm hand of neo-liberalism

Ireland once heralded as an ‘economic tiger’, like the Asian tiger economies of Korea and Japan, but now has become insolvent.  The key difference is that Korea and Japan did not bend to international pressure and open their economies to ‘free trade’ and other disastrous neo-liberal prescriptions, they protected their domestic economies with tariffs and limited the mobility of capitol so it benefited domestic industry first and investors second.   Ireland took the other path throwing off domestic protections and embracing the investor market and ‘free trade’ (see Chile and Haiti) and their economy, once plundered, has been tossed aside to die at the wayside.  Well, not die per say, but now requiring a huge bailout to save what is left of the Irish economy for those who depend on it the most, the people of Ireland.

“Ireland is running a deficit of €19 billion ($26.4 billion Cdn), which Lenihan said could not be financed at current market rates.  He said the country needs help to pay its bills and provide a contingency fund to support banks that are hemorrhaging cash.”

This is yet another shining example of the socialism for the rich in action, as we see the EU and IMF rushing in with public dollars to prop up yet anther doomed neo-liberal experiment gone horribly wrong (or right depending on how you look at it).  Austerity and public service roll backs are about to be unleashed on the people of Ireland, the investors, having made their money are long gone, already looking for the next country to rape.

Update with a hat-tip to Sabina Becker from News for the Restless for the link to the Youtube video.

This Blog best viewed with Ad-Block and Firefox!

What is ad block? It is an application that, at your discretion blocks out advertising so you can browse the internet for content as opposed to ads. If you do not have it, get it here so you can enjoy my blog without the insidious advertising.

Like Privacy?

Change your Browser to Duck Duck Go.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 343 other followers

Progressive Bloggers

Categories

September 2017
M T W T F S S
« Aug    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930  

Archives

Blogs I Follow

The DWR Community

RadFemSpiraling

Radical Feminism Discourse

RED

Radical Education Department

a sledge and crowbar

deconstructing identity and culture

The Radical Pen

Join The Fight For Female Bodied Liberation.

Emma

Politics, things that make you think, and recreational breaks

Nordic Model Now!

Movement for the Abolition of Prostitution

The WordPress C(h)ronicle

These are the best links shared by people working with WordPress

HANDS ACROSS THE AISLE

Biology, Not Bigotry

fmnst

Peak Trans and other feminist topics

There Are So Many Things Wrong With This

if you don't like the news, make some of your own

Gentle Curiosity

Musing over important things. More questions than answers.

ANTHRO FEMINISM

A place for thoughtful, truly intersectional Feminist discussion.

violetwisp

short commentaries, pretty pictures and strong opinions

Revive the Second Wave

gender-critical sex-negative intersectional radical feminism

Trans Animal Farm

The Trans Trend is Orwellian

Princess Henry of Wales

Priestess Belisama

miss guts.

just a girl on a journey

writing by renee

Trigger warning: feminism, women's rights

RANCOM!

Happily Retired

twanzphobic since forever

• • • • it's mocktacular! • • • •

Godless Cranium

Random musings of a godless heathen

freer lives

A socialist critique of the transgender phenomenon

Centering Women

A radical feminist page made for women only

radicalkitten

radical Elemental feminism

yumicpcake

A fine WordPress.com site

Feminist Twitches

Gender, Culture, Food, and Travel

RANCOM!

Happily Retired

Madam Nomad

Notes on the Journey

A Radical TransFeminist

when I said "fuck the patriarchy", I didn't mean it literally

Women's Space

Re-Member the Past, Seize Today, Dream the Future

The Colour of Pomegranates

Screaming into the Void

Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog

Frequently Answered Questions

Cloak Unfurled

Life is a journey. Let us meet at the intersection and share a story.

gendercriticaldad

Fallout from my Peak Trans

Dead of Winter

Bitter Cold Truth from a Bisexual, Gender Critical, Almost Conservative Catholic

RADICAL THOUGHTCRIME

feminist heresy in an age of gender worship

Women’s Liberation Radio News

WLRN: A Radical Feminist Media Collective

UVic Womyn's Centre

bring back the women's centre

Joys of Joel

The Poetry of My Life through My Writings and Journeys

Sex and Gender

A Beginner's Guide

Coalition of the Brave

A Voice against the Darkness

TERF is a slur

Documenting the abuse, harassment and misogyny of transgender identity politics

%d bloggers like this: