I don’t own any Apple products. No iPhones, no iPads, no Macs. I’m not a fan of the company, its culture, or the late Steve Jobs. And yet, I can’t help but think the market is hugely overreacting to Apple’s recent earnings disappointment. It’s true, revenues and profits are down. Are they down enough to erase $40 billion in stock value, though? Does that make any sense at all? Apple is even being blamed for dragging the Dow index into the red.
TIME magazine recently put out a cover story claiming that each American owes a $42,998.12 slice of our $13.9 trillion national debt. What is old is new again, apparently. Ross Perot must be sighing in forgotten silence, somewhere. The author, James Grant, puts out Grant’s Interest Rate Review twice a month, and has done so since 1983. On top of that, he’s written some books–most of them about money and finance, and a couple about pet political topics.
Tax evasion: what was once a mark of shame has endured so long it’s become boring. Commonplace. Business as usual. The Panama Papers have opened the latest chapter in this story. Detailing the dealings of Panamanian financial services firm Mossack Fonseca, the Papers don’t describe anything particularly unusual or novel, and that’s the real tragedy. This is normal. It’s normal for people with massive amounts of wealth to hide it in tiny little countries around the world just so they can avoid giving up a slice of it that they wouldn’t even miss.
I haven’t done anything particularly touristy yet, nor have I thought of anything else interesting I could post about. But that’s OK. Now’s a good time to talk about the marvel (and some would say, I suppose, disaster) of the UK welfare state: the National Health Service! Even as public healthcare systems go, the NHS is perhaps more socialized than most: the government directly employs doctors, for instance, and it is free at the point-of-use.
I recently had a conversion with a friend about the idea of exchanging money for sex–what one would also describe as sex work, or prostitution (though the latter word is not at all preferred). The question became whether I, personally, would entertain the notion of being paid for sex. Well, why not? It’s something I enjoy anyway. It’s not something I would ever ask to paid for, and I don’t see why I would accept money from a friend or romantic partner, but I’m not totally against the idea.
It’s time to talk about the white working class again, who have helped produce one of the biggest political upsets in recent memory. This is not another Donald Trump piece, though. This is an expansion of some things Italked about before, regarding how the working class–especially the white working class–is treated in this country. I want to bring a couple other articles into the mix. First is a new piece from The Guardian, which is a response to the Kevin Williamson screed that I previously critiqued.
Imagine people who have little reason to integrate themselves into their surrounding society. They live in isolated communities and either avoid or have little use for the public services everyone else takes for granted. If circumstances ever take a turn for the worse where they live, they can always move elsewhere. And when they really do feel like making a difference, they can choose a policy area and a geographic region and essentially set the agenda.
Everyone’s putting up their hot takes of Kevin William’s poor-hating screed in the National Review, and it might as well be my turn. The original piece is paywalled, but that’s OK. Here’s the part that sparked so much outrage, in case you haven’t seen it: It is immoral because it perpetuates a lie: that the white working class that finds itself attracted to Trump has been victimized by outside forces. It hasn’t.
Over the past few years, two states–Kansas and Louisiana–have become testbeds for the most extreme conservative policies on offer in the US. Other states have Tea Party governors or a number of Tea Party legislators, but none have gone as far down the “small government, privatize everything” road as these two. As the saying goes, the chickens are coming home to roost. The government of Kansas initiated large tax cuts a few years ago.
Normally, I would avoid going on a personal rant, but it turns out my issues are only the tip of the iceberg. Synopsis: EPPICard, a debit card program used for unemployment, child support, alimony, and other cash payment programs by 23 states, is a terrible system rife with problems, and is incredibly customer-hostile. Back in 2009, I had an EPPICard for unemployment. I lived in Indiana at the time and I’d just lost my job.