Nov 11

Old people getting richer, young people getting poorer

The age-based wealth gap is big and growing, thanks to younger Americans’ debts

By Alex Pareene (A young writer at Salon)

Have you noticed how most of the Tea Party people were sort of old, while most of the Occupy Wall Street people are fairly young? Here’s an interesting factoid, from the USA Today: Old people are much, much richer than young people. According to the Pew Research Center, Americans 65 and older are 47 times richer than those 35 and younger.

It makes sense that old people would have more money than young people, because they have been working and saving longer. But this wealth gap is massive by historical standards. In 1984, old people were a mere 10 times richer than young people. Not only have old people gotten richer since then, but the median net worth of households headed by young people has declined considerably.

Households headed by adults ages 35 and younger had a median net worth of $3,662 in 2009. That marks a 68% decline in wealth, compared to that same age group 25 years earlier.

Over the same time frame, households headed by adults ages 65 years and older, have seen just the opposite. Their wealth rose 42%, to a median of $170,494.

It gets worse, for young people: “37% of the young households held zero or negative net worth in 2009, up from 19% in 1984.”

Boy, so what are all these old people complaining about, so much? (Immigrants, mostly.)
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Oct 11

Moonbase Shanghai: Could China Own The Moon?

By James Milstid

China holds 16% of America’s total national debt.

This excerpt from Wikipedia should concern us greatly:

As of May 2011 the largest single holder of U.S. government debt was China, with 36 percent of all foreign-held U.S. Treasury securities (16% of total US public debt). China’s holdings of government debt, as a percentage of all foreign-held government debt, have decreased a bit over the last year, but are up significantly since 2000 (when China held just 6 percent of all foreign-held U.S. Treasury securities).

That works out to a cool $6.25 trillion… not a paltry sum! China has loaned us, the USA, an obscene amount of money over the years. And we’ll most certainly go back for more.

In 1990’s there was a huge influx of wealthy Chinese immigrants to Vancouver, BC. So large was the influx, the city was tagged with the name “Hongcouver”. Since then, much of the city is under Chinese ownership. At first, the Vancouverites were thrilled with the boost in their economy. The housing market boomed and the suffering economy was greatly strengthened. But now that the Chinese essentially own Vancouver, there are second thoughts.

These facts and having recently read Albert Brook’s 2030: What Really Happens to America, is why this article caught my eye…

China could own the moon by 2026, U.S. space entrepreneur warns

by JohnThomas Didymus
A U.S. space entrepreneur, Robert Bigelow, has sounded alarm that China could own large portions of the moon by 2026, edging out the United States in the race for ownership of the moon.

Mr. Bigelow made this warning at the 2011 International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight on Wednesday.

Robert Bigelow, according to Space.com, said China’s growing technological capability, economic buoyancy, motivation and will to win the space race to “own the moon” places it at advantage to the U.S. which he said is still “basking in the lunar glory from 40 years ago.”

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Oct 11

Top ten list: Tax evaders’ wall of shame

Sunday, April 10, 2011 – Ad Lib by Catherine Poe

When you read about GE paying no corporate federal taxes in 2010 while getting a $3.2 billion rebate, does your blood start to boil?

If you listened to the corporate whining, you probably thought companies like GE paid 35% in federal taxes. Not so. It’s a rare company that ponies up that amount.

For too long the American public has been hornswoggled by this century’s “robber barons.”

Remember, it was our tax dollars that saved the hides of many of these multinationals with colossal bailouts, and how do they say thanks?

By not paying their taxes. Nada, zero, zilch. And it’s legal, thanks to Congress.

However, I am betting you’ll pay your 2010 taxes on April 15th.

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Oct 11

And it’s one two three…what are we protesting for?

By James Milstid

Where are we going?

If nothing else, the so-called “Occupy _______” (fill in the blank) protests have made some good grist for my thought process mill. While I understand the frustration of so many folks about their economic dire straits, I also understand that it’s a two-way street. The original two-way economy street was pretty orderly and equitable for all, but it’s been re-paved with greed over many years.

And why are we in this hand-basket?

In one direction, we Americans have determined that the road to the dream is paved with credit cards and loans. We’ve lived beyond our means for so long that it’s become the norm to be in debt up to our ears. Not that we shouldn’t strive to have a better life. It’s just that we are impatient. And we let the banks lull us into a false sense of security because of that impatience.

In another direction, the banks, being businesses, have taken advantage of our impatience. Credit card interest rates and penalties are obscene. The lending institutions have us over a barrel. And they keep offering us more credit. Low interest, sure… until one misses a payment. A few days late and that 9% interest suddenly turns into 26% interest. It’s in the small print, but who ever reads that? Now many banks are even starting to charge for debit card usage.

When the feds lowered the interest rates, it cut into the lending institutions’ profits. When that happened, the banks started offering loans to high-risk clients to make up for profit losses. We are seeing the results of that now with housing foreclosures, defaulted loans, and bankruptcy.

Some true direction please…

If someone were to offer some true direction and some real answers to our economic problems, I have a feeling that a grassroots movement like this could actually make some headway. As it is now, it’s not even a movement. It’s just a lot of unhappy folks venting… some justified, some not.

I haven’t answered the questions in my own mind yet. Sure, I’d love to be out of debt and live more comfortably. But I got myself there and I need to take responsibility to get myself out or be willing to suffer the consequences. I’m not looking for a big bailout. I made my bed and I’ll sleep in it. And I want banks and corporations to do the same.

Our economy is in dire straits for a number of pretty complex reasons. I applaud folks for becoming active and voicing their frustrations, but I’ve yet to see any clear cut opinions about equitable ways to fix it all.

~James Milstid~