Greenspan: Economic Problems Stem from Discounting the Future

I have been definitely doing that – discounting the future. Early in the talk he points to taxes & entitlements as leading causes of this global consensus, but I think it runs deeper. I suspect a fellow like Alan Greenspan would never say exactly he thinks at an on-the-record talk at a Council on Foreign Relations talk, so I’m sure there’s more.

I doubt he’d go down the rabbit holes I like to visit, but I’ll take a stab at it. I think the leading causes of uncertainty come from:

  1. East/West divide and the threat of world war. While war can be profitable for some, it’s not for most. As the BRICS rise they threaten the West’s hegemony. The US has deployed military assets globally. The BRICS continue to strengthen by leveraging production based economies. The timing and outcome of this tug-of-war is anyone’s guess.
  2. Centralization of power and the closing of free markets. As the rich get richer they naturally gain more power and control over the game… exactly like the Monopoly board game. At the end of that game there are only two players left and one quickly bankrupts the other – while all the loosing players just watch the last two try and destroy each other. That’s where we are today in the real world.
  3. Lack of global governance standards. I don’t think we need a world government, I think we need global governance standards so that all people can play on a level field. Right now we play on rocky mesa with the people on top holding all the cards but still needing the resources below the mesa. Globalization has given the people at the foot of the cliffs a view of the top, and they want that life too. Instead of going to war on a global scale we could choose to adopt a set of standards that restores fairness to the people of the world. I’m not describing communism or socialism; I’m describing rules that helps restore balance between the powerful and the powerless.

So to eliminate uncertainty we somehow need to prevent a global war, decentralize power, and establish global governance standards that allow the nations of the world retain their sovereignty while reducing the chances of future conflicts. To be blunt, uncertainty can be eliminated by positioning the world for peace and prosperity.

Until then we should discount the future. For the rich that might mean hedging bets through diversification – for the rest of us that might mean stockpiling bullets, beans, bandaids, and yes, bunkers.

Ebola in the USA Day 30: State Department Plans to Bring Foreign Ebola Patients to U.S.A.

The State Department has quietly made plans to bring Ebola-infected doctors and medical aides to the U.S. for treatment, according to an internal department document that argued the only way to get other countries to send medical teams to West Africa is to promise that the U.S. will be the world’s medical backstop.” – Washington Times

The American people are going to freak. Its amazing how many friends the White House seems to want to loose days before the election. It’s like they are giving away the election to the Red Team.

Health-centric Civil Defense Program

I always try post solutions for the problems I callout in my posts. It just seems to be the right thing to do… if you don’t think something is being done right, suggest another way to go. These ideas often get buried in my posts. This is a repost of an idea I posted in response to what I’d characterize as Obama’s mishandling of the Ebola problem. You can see the original post here. Here’s the idea:

…This is an opportunity to kick-off a health-centric civil defense program, which might even help promote and support Obamacare indirectly.

The primary core message for jump-starting this program would be confronting Ebola head-on with an overwhelming force. It’s not an over-reaction to fear but a calculated asymmetrical assault on the disease that confronts every possible avenue this enemy could take. It’s not a war on Ebola, which would be too cliche, but an strategically overwhelming response that closes all gaps for this disease to spread.

Such a bold move could also earn President Obama serious kudos. Instead of attempting to downplay the risk, which the public sees as weakness and avoidance, he could use the appointment of Ron Klain as the catalyst for this shift in approach.

Immediate actions for a health-centric civil defense program could be:

  1. Encourage people to build-up their immune systems. Make it widely known that eating less gluten, dairy, fast food, manufactured food, etc, weakened the immune system and increases an individuals chance of beating any bug. Strengthened immune systems start with a healthy gut. When your gut is clogged with cheese, gluten, and empty calories they become a breeding ground for bad gut flora, and your health deteriorates.
  2. Develop and distribute a Home Ebola Early Detection Kit along with the necessary personal protective (PPE) gear and information to help people isolate households where Ebola is discovered. This should be as easy to use as a home pregnancy kit and come in easy safe disposal packaging.
  3. Encourage people to wear PPE gear as soon as they feel sick or travel in public – even if Ebola has not reached their area. Gloves and an N95 mask, plus good safe handling measures (avoid touching face, or unnecessarily touching surfaces) can give someone an edge over any contagious disease including the flu.
  4. Be ready to distribute supplies and care information to households where Ebola emerges. This will help folks voluntarily shelter in place for long time periods. At some point hospitals may not have space or adequate numbers of healthcare workers to handle a growing number of Ebola patients. If this happens we will need a back-up plan ready to roll. The most obvious next step would be to empower people to shelter in place and care for themselves.
  5. Provide people with assurances that they will not loose their jobs or income if their household needs to be quarantined. I realize this could get very expensive financially, but giving people the security to isolate themselves should help eliminate the pressure to leave their quarantine.
  6. Build a robust plan to keep public utilities operational like the power grid, water system, teach pickup, and sewer. Work immediately to decentralize the power grid to eliminate key points of failure and improve the overall robustness of the grid.
  7. Immediately ramp-up the manufacture of PAPR (Powered Air Purifying Respirator) forced air breathing units and other necessary PPE gear. While the current message from the WHO and CDC says that Ebola is not airborne, others suggest that it can be under certain situations. So as an informed precaution give healthcare workers and emergency responders the best PPE possible. This will also help keep people on the job longer.
  8. Until the danger has passed, improve control at the borders. Require waiting periods of up to several days to monitor for signs of infection. Use disaster relief housing units at the borders as temporary housing.

Consider making this kind of civil defense program international since the problem can travel everywhere. Then, like the powers-that-be are already suggesting, ramp up the international response in Africa. Heading off the disease at its source should be the top priority.

So just to recap… where I disagree with the White House is in the domestic approach, not the efforts in Africa.

What to Do?

I’m skeptical that our government is capable of implementing anything like this, or inclined to do so, we should consider these kinds of measures for ourselves.  This you can do right now are:

  1. Learn how to improve your own immune system and make those changes now.
  2. Acquire basic PPE gear now (N95 masks, gloves, etc), and learn how to use it in an emergency.
  3. Be ready to shelter in place for an extended time.
  4. Reduce your exposure to all pathogens by limiting travel and unnecessary activities outside the home.
  5. Prepare back-up plans for electricity, water, and sewer.

An Ebola epidemic in America is on the table. We must not give into fear and respond stupidly, but we should not cling to the idea that everything is under control until the American people themselves feel empowered to defend themselves against this enemy.

 

 

Cuomo Says Mandatory Ebola Quarantines May Be Spent at Home

Governor Andrew Cuomo said travelers returning from West Africa who were exposed to Ebola will be allowed to stay in their homes under New York’s 21-day quarantine, with lost income to be reimbursed by the state if not by their employer.” – Bloomberg Politics

A week ago I posted an idea for a health-centric civil defense program. Points 3 & 4 focused on distributing the information and gear needed to quarantine at home. Point 5 suggested incentivizing home quarantine by protecting people’s jobs and incomes – even if this meant the state had to pay them. Point 8 suggested mandatory quarantines at borders, but only if people were giving adequate housing for their short stays.

I doubt anyone from the State of New York reads my blog and picked up the idea here… but I do think the practical ideas I often post under subheadings toward the ends of my posts contain practical and implementable ideas. In this case, Cuomo’s office simply came to the same conclusions I did.

Practically speaking, you can’t quarantine all suspected infected people in hospitals. There just aren’t enough beds or staff to care for them. So the most obvious place for these folks to stay is at home. The problem with that is that you have to trust that people will stay put; so to increase those odds you need to incent them with guarantees of no loss of income – at the very least. You also need to give them the gear and information to take care of themselves if an epidemic breaks out. There is no epidemic in the USA at this point so its the perfect time to prepare.

 

 

 

The Next President of the United States of America: Jeb Bush, the Centralist Party’s Red Candidate

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is “moving forward” on a potential 2016 White House run and it appears more likely he will enter the Republican field, according to his son, who’s running for office in Texas.

George P. Bush told ABC’s “This Week” that his father is “still assessing” a presidential bid, but suggested it was more likely that he would seek the White House this time. The ex-governor declined to run for president in 2012 despite encouragement from Republicans.” – The Miami Herald

No, I’m not voting for him – no not Hillary either… but my money is on Jeb Bush for winning the Presidential Race in 2016. It will be quite a circus too, with Hillary in one corner and another Bush in the other. In fact it’s going to feel like déjà vu.

Hillary Clinton: The Centralist Party’s Blue Candidate

Hillary believes in government at the expense of the people. I do not say this lightly, because here she goes again. She just appeared at a Boston rally for Democrat gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley on Friday. She was off the hook and amazingly told the crowd gathered at the Park Plaza Hotel not to listen to anybody who says that “businesses create jobs.”

“Don’t let anybody tell you it’s corporations and businesses create jobs,” Clinton said.

“You know that old theory, ‘trickle-down economics,’” she continued. “That has been tried, that has failed. It has failed rather spectacularly.”

“You know, one of the things my husband says when people say ‘Well, what did you bring to Washington,’ he said, ‘Well, I brought arithmetic,’” Hillary said.” – Martin Armstrong via Armstrong Economics blog, via Zero Hedge.

This is the perfect example of centralist thinking. In a nutshell she’s asserting that the central government is the primary force that empowers business to create jobs (productivity); and without the central government all is lost.

Decentralists think the opposite… that there is very little need for government. The primary roles would be to enforce the governing framework, protect the borders, and maintain international relations. The governing framework is what makes the playing field fair and allows people to thrive. In the USA, it’s the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

When you realize that the political problems in America stem not from bipartisan politics, but a two-sided single party – The Centralist Party – it’s easy to see why they all seem to work toward the same goals.

It also becomes clear there’s one party when we watch government get bigger. It’s no conspiracy, it’s just people like Hillary Clinton focused with laser beam accuracy on what they think is the right model for government – Centralism.

Ironically ‘trickle down’ is centralist too. Give money to the central powers (largest corporations) and hope that they grow, prosper, and lift the whole of society up with them. It’s status quo today from both red and blue sides of the centralist party. So it’s amazing that she could utter those conflicting statements in the same breath, and people don’t shake their heads and walk away.

I suspect more people are walking away. Unfortunately there are not too many places for people to go since the Centralist Party has locked any other political party out of Washington, DC. It will take a revolution of our minds to turn our backs on political parties all together to sweep these centralists out of the driver’s seat. But not sure that’s possible without a serious wake-up call.

Bellevue Staffers Call In ‘sick’ When Ebola Arrives

An extraordinary number of Bellevue Hospital staffers called in sick on Friday rather than treat the city’s first Ebola patient — and those who showed up were terrified to enter his isolation chamber, sources told The Post…

Dr. Craig Spencer is being treated by nurses working in teams of two, “with one serving as a buddy watching the other,” said Health and Hospitals Corporation spokeswoman Ana Marengo, who denied there was a sickout.” – New York Post

The fear of the thing is going to be a bigger problem than the thing itself. Buckle-up.

 

Data Point: Number of Ebola-linked cases passes 10,000

More than 10,000 people have been infected with Ebola, according to figures released today by the World Health Organisation, as the outbreak continues to spread. Of those cases, 4,922 people have died… The UN health agency said on Saturday that the number of confirmed, probable and suspected cases has risen to 10,141.” – Hindustan Times

Another data point the President missed in his weekly calming talk.

Day 26 Ebola in the USA: Positive Spin Continues Powered by Lots of Good News

Many of the headlines support the President’s remarks on Ebola this week, but he did seem to skip over some of the other news that might indicate a larger risk:

My guess is that the President would say, “mistakes will be made,” in response to these details, and brush them off. I get the purpose of the whole calming tone & rosy message, but blowing sweet smelling smoke up the public’s butt doesn’t really help anyone work to prepare and build their own self-reliance – which would strengthen America from the bottom-up.

Instead his message is geared toward reassuring folk that the government has this handled – no need to panic, precautions, or preparation… the government will take care of everyone. That’s what’s wrong with the whole centralist mindset, you can’t just lead from the center, you have to empower to building of diverse robustness from the bottom-up. When everyone is empowered to take care of themselves the entire decentralized system is stronger – albeit at the cost of some loss in productivity and profit at the center.

Data Point: One Man Can Bring a City to It’s Knees

The heart of the Canadian capital was thrown into panic and placed in lockdown on Wednesday after a gunman armed with a rifle or shotgun fatally wounded a corporal guarding the tomb of the unknown soldier the National War Memorial, entered the nearby Parliament building and fired multiple times before he was shot and killed.” – NYTimes.com

Now imagine a trained team of terrorists who are not suicidal, but aiming to create fear, panic, and chaos. What would you do?