Wednesday, July 23, 2008

On all things economic

First a couple of links I think you should take a look at. Xanthippas linked to a post about an op-ed. It's very good and worth reading, but that original article has sparked quite a bit of debate. Thus, read it first and be prepared. Second, read the transcript of the Bill Moyers talk with William Greider. It's not directly about the article, but it might as well be. Third, for an excellent illumination of one of the many ways the credit companies manipulate consumers, read this awesome piece on FICO (on Slacktivist), otherwise known as your credit score.

Pop Quiz: Following are two possible explanations for why most Americans are in the dark about the meaning and manipulation of credit scores. Which do you think is more important?

A. We Americans are lazy and ignorant people who can barely manage to feed ourselves unless tut-tutted and prodded by parental figures like Christopher S. Rugaber for our own good.

B. The calculation of credit scores is a protected trade secret, proprietary information closely held by the triumvirate of Transunion, Equifax and Experian, and therefore, legally, by definition, such information is unknown and unknowable by anyone not working for those unelected entities, including you, me and every personal finance reporter in the business including Christopher S. Rugaber.

Again, not directly related to the original NYT article, but it might as well be. And it's just perfect in its refutation of the idea that we're in control of our own monetary destiny. This article shows you that nothing could be further from the truth.

Another piece of evidence that demonstrates our lack of control over our own finances is that we cannot voluntarily increase our incomes, yet quite without our consent or approval, our lives keep getting more expensive. Another NYT article:

Job losses will probably accelerate through this year and into 2009, and the job market will probably stay weak even longer. Home prices will probably keep falling, shrinking household wealth and eroding spending power.

“The open question is whether we’re in for a bad couple of years, or a bad decade,” said Kenneth S. Rogoff, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, now a professor at Harvard.

Lastly, it appears some of the major airlines are near collapse:

"We're looking at the very real possibility of one, two, maybe even three major bankruptcies that are not chapter 11, but park the airplanes and liquidate," ABC News aviation consultant John Nance said earlier this week.

Best use those frequent flier miles folks!

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