It’s a little unclear about the details, but the Integrity Marketing Group, LLC, an insurance company, has declared it has an “Employee Ownership Plan” that gives “meaningful ownership” to its 750 employees. The ownership structure and definition of “meaningful ownership” were not given, nor how the workers participate in share ownership, dividends, voting, or anything else — or the reaction of existing owners/shareholders. Since the program was not described as an “Employee STOCK Ownership Plan,” the “ownership” could be like that of the “Scott Bader Commonwealth” that is “owned” by people with no defined ownership stake, i.e., not actual ownership as that is understood in law. In other news:
|Not quite, but you get the idea: teachers and students both.|
• Teacher Retirement Costs. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, advisors to teachers for investing their retirement savings may be taking more than their due — or at least more than the traffic can bear. Most teachers require additional savings to supplement their pensions, many of which are local or state government run and are chronically underfunded. The higher the fees charged for investment services, the less there is for retirement. This is a double whammy that would not be seen in Capital Homesteading. First, unlike savings programs like 401(k)s and IRAs, Capital Homesteading would be funded using self-liquidating loans to purchase pre-vetted, full payout shares. In other words, a Capital Homesteading Account does not require the “Capital Homesteader” to save by cutting consumption, but by increasing production. Not everyone can cut consumption, but by participating in ownership of capital anyone can participate in increased production. Second, instead of paying someone an additional fee to advise on selection of investments for a Capital Homesteading Account, that is covered by the lender’s fee up front, which also covers risk (using capital credit insurance and reinsurance to satisfy the demand for collateral) and a just profit. Unique among retirement savings programs, Capital Homesteading is designed and intended to pay out income from the first year of participation, which can start at birth. In Capital Homesteading what accumulates is not cash to be paid out in the future, but assets that generate income that is paid out to the participant, after using part of it to pay for the assets, i.e., the program is self-liquidating.
|Stock market, Tulip Mania, what's the difference?|
• Federal Reserve and Interest Rates. Much to no one’s surprise, the Federal Reserve is standing pat and leaving things as they are. After all, we’re in the middle of the greatest economic recovery in history . . . judging from the level the stock market has reached. On the other hand, a more rational explanation is that we are actually in the middle of one of the greatest gambling fevers in history, something on the order of the Dutch Tulip Mania, the South Sea Bubble, the Mississippi Scheme, or any of the other frenzies that seem periodically to grip the human race. The only thing that seems to stop the fever is a crash or tragedy that demonstrates the obvious illogic of the obsession. Anyone who doubts this should take a glance at Charles MacKay’s 1841 classic, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.
|"BONUS? You're lucky you've got a job, Bob!"|
• The Xed-Mass Bonus. It all depends on how you look at it. If you’re an investor, an activist, or a politician running for office or in management, the economy is booming. If you’re unemployed, don’t own anything, an activist, or a politician running for office or on the shop floor, the economy is on the skids. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Christmas bonus game. According to the Wall Street Journal (“Rejoice! It’s Christmas Bonus Season. Or, Uh, Not.” 12/13/19, B1, B5), the number of companies giving Christmas bonuses is dropping, and those that still offer them tend to give something along the lines of a fruit basket or the “Jelly of the Month” that triggered Chevy Chase’s psychotic meltdown in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. So, if you’re in the upper echelons of income and wealth already, the economy is doing great. If not, well, tough luck. Of course, Capital Homesteading would eliminate the problem by and large, but so far people aren’t listening as they wait breathlessly for their Christmas bonus.
• Shinzo Abe and Health Care. Japan’s now longest-serving Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, wrote an op-ed piece that appeared in the Washington Post in favor of health care for all (“All Nations Should Have Universal Health Care,” 12/13/19, A21). This is interesting, as Abe is considered somewhat conservative, being president of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party, described as “a right-of-center conservative party.” Abe, however, has been facing fading popularity for a number of his positions, and may be touting universal health care in an effort to bolster his political position. How wise this might be is not clear, as it contradicts his previously conservative economics. Frankly, Japan’s economy — nor any other economy — might not be able to sustain universal health care, at least as long as the existing Keynesian framework keeps the world in economic bondage. The only thing that has the potential to deliver the wherewithal for universal health care or even general economic sanity is Capital Homesteading, which Japan needs at least as much as does the United States.
|"I don't see you 'Smiling'!"|
• Shop online and support CESJ’s work! Did you know that by making your purchases through the Amazon Smile program, Amazon will make a contribution to CESJ? Here’s how: First, go to https://smile.amazon.com/. Next, sign in to your Amazon account. (If you don’t have an account with Amazon, you can create one by clicking on the tiny little link below the “Sign in using our secure server” button.) Once you have signed into your account, you need to select CESJ as your charity — and you have to be careful to do it exactly this way: in the space provided for “Or select your own charitable organization” type “Center for Economic and Social Justice Arlington.” If you type anything else, you will either get no results or more than you want to sift through. Once you’ve typed (or copied and pasted) “Center for Economic and Social Justice Arlington” into the space provided, hit “Select” — and you will be taken to the Amazon shopping site, all ready to go.
• Blog Readership. We have had visitors from 30 different countries and 48 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past week. Most visitors are from the United States, India, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Argentina. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “The Decline and Fall of Reason,” “Thomas Hobbes on Private Property,” “News from the Network, Vol. 12, No. 49,” “More on Fulton Sheen,” and “Book Review: A Field Guide for the Hero’s Journey.”
Those are the happenings for this week, at least those that we know about. If you have an accomplishment that you think should be listed, send us a note about it at mgreaney [at] cesj [dot] org, and we’ll see that it gets into the next “issue.” Due to imprudent language on the part of some commentators, we removed temptation and disabled comments.#30#