31 August 2010

Banking On Failure

The upcoming period of time is for those "opportunists" who will play upon the fears of so many. These predators bank on these fears - literally. They are bankers.

What they don't see is that in 2010 and 2011, they are not going to be able to sustain what has traditionally been "the ways of the banking industry" because they will be most in jeopardy of failure to recover from the big stock market crash that they do not see taking shape. Nikkei has been feeling the itch to trade lower, and now the other markets are starting to respond accordingly. And the banks --- well, they think everything is just groovy, man. They won't be able to react once the fall starts, which will be prior to autumn for point of reference.

What can the average American do to avoid the failures that are coming? I'll be frank: I don't really know an answer to completely avoiding the financial problems that the corporate world is going to suffer and what their roles will be on individuals wealth or lackthereof, but there are some things that we hear many times over that is common sense and should be considered.

First: make sure you don't have all your assets in the stock markets. That could cause your own failure.
Second: don't put all your money into one bank. Diversify WHERE you have your money saved or in checking accounts.

Credit unions are looking better and better all the time to me, and I need to take my own advice in making sure I place money in several accounts. It may be that credit unions are (more-or-less) regulated to stay smaller than conglomerate banks. That way they're less likely to have a big failure the way we saw just a couple of years ago with mid-sized and larger banks or 25 years ago with the Savings and Loan problems. Oddly, I think most people don't view credit unions as being safer than traditional banks if for no other reason than the banks all know how to play the fear game on the public and added an element of advertising to make banks SEEM LIKE (through the repeated advertising or editorials which make claims they cannot truly back up) "the safest place for your money" --- which we will soon see is not always the case.

But, what else? I've said it before --- not all of those people who were alive during the "Great Depression" were wrong in putting money away in cookie jars, bread boxes and in their mattresses. But I suppose for the sake of keeping the paper money protected, perhaps investing some money in a fireproof safe would be smart. Just make sure you know the combination.

Not that it's certain --- but I think we can bank on some bigger financial institutions begging both the U. S. Government and the Federal Reserve for some help in the next few weeks. But it's all but certain we can bank on those institutions which were deemed "too big to fail" having bigger problems than they did mere months ago. A few failures for those giants can trigger an avalanche of problems for some --- but NOT ALL --- Americans, as long as some of us prepare properly for the demise of the rich and wealthy folks who don't plan ahead for some of the biggest failures in the past 75 years.

01 August 2010

Big Bad Americans

So, I am a reporter.

I am always listening and asking questions to the everyday person, as well as hearing the "spin" of American businesspersons. Nowhere on the face of the earth has the 21st Century been more pushed by the decline in "industrial manufacturing" and the disarray of how things work for the greater good than in the heartland of America, the Mississippi River Valley.

Illinois coal mines are among the safest in the nation - or so we have been told for a number of years. But one reason that may be so is that those whom we look to "look out for us" - the environmentalists and even our U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - is always telling us how bad the environment because of the mining of the "dirty" coal produced in Illinois. Thus, American and foreign manufacturers have either stopped buying Illinois coal altogether or have only bought it when it cannot get the "clean coal" mined in other places.

This leads me to a stop and rant point. No, not against the environmentalists. Against the CEOs of American manufacturing, as well as the presidents of the largest manufacturing unions.

These days it seems we do not need American manufacturing companies to be American-owned or American-operated. We especially do not need manufacturing factories on American soil. Seriously: do you see factories on American soil actually producing goods which are bought and sold in the USA? Yes, but rarely. I dare say that Congress screwed us royally. Our presidents have screwed us royally. We may as well be in 1772 America. Our money only goes out of the country to the manufacturing factories (no, it's not truly redundant to say manufacturing factories because some factories in the US don't manufacture a thing, just are used as warehouses with the name factory labeled upon it so the parent company can claim they still have manufacturing - albeit in a diminished capacity and computerized so only a handful of workers actually work there - in that facility) and only comes back to the top executives of the company and the shareholders, but not to the American economy because they have been granted tax shelters for the existing "factories" which don't do anything but sit idle and have occasional shipments of the goods manufactured in Mexico, China, Bangladesh, Honduras, and sometimes African countries, shipped out to our stores.

We are truly the home of the Big Bad Americans. The regular person on the street isn't the Big Bad in the scheme of world society, but it is true that we have these people in America. They are our CEOs, Congressional representatives and senators, our cabinet members, and our past and present members of the capitol all the way up to the White House.

I am not talking treasonous things --- I am being very succinct in saying that they are all playing a MAJOR ROLE in why the economic condition is the way it is today. They won't take the blame or push toward the goals which REALLY MADE AMERICA GREAT. We had the hostile takeover syndrome, the monopolies which became goliaths of the business world, and we've seen the debacles of industry --- of manufacturing --- all within the past 35 years. This is DIRECTLY as a result of legislation allowing our borders to be 'free' of trade practices which helped our economy. Now, we are "free" of those practices alright. Other countries' business negotiators and those in the board rooms of our American companies are in true cahoots to put our jobs inside the borders of our neighboring countries and our global rivals --- so that other countries have the jobs, do the work, and the American Big Bads have the money. Yes, the golden parachutes aren't there for the CEO of some Chinese manufacturer until he is motivated by the money coming from American industry and can somehow make a contract which will allow him or her to become the manager of some plant in China and have a giant pot of gold being deposited into a bank outside of China so that after 10 to 15 years he/she can leave and be politically asylumed where they can pick up their parachutes.

C'mon. Don't be naive. You cannot tell me this isn't happening. I know there are people who cannot tell you it's happening without them losing their careers in the U.S. of A. They are the third-tier and fourth-tier managers in companies that have done business in China and Mexico over the past 25 years.

I will say that if you have paid ANY attention to the news the past six months in St. Louis, you've already seen the CEO of one of these companies blatently tell us that he is not hiring in the U.S. because he can save tons of money by hiring in China and Mexico.

A gold star for the first person to email me with his name and his company located within the I-270 loop. He exists. Email me to buzzmusicmedia@gmail.com and you may be the person I cite as "someone who pays attention to detail" in an upcoming blog --- I'll give you the "in writing" gold star that our teachers used to give us because we spelled all of our vocabulary words correctly in 2nd grade.

Anyway --- although that CEO is only doing what the board of directors and shareholders wants him to do, it's a travesty that he is the person making those decisions and selling-out America EVERY DAY. I could ask for a job there --- and I'd perhaps be the best PR person he's had in ages, probably, because he and his predecessor always hire people who never return phone calls to anyone for any reason (why should I cite a single instance when I know it was returned over a 20 year period when I can only name a person at the St. Louis Business Journal who may have occasionally heard from the PR person during that time) --- and I'd probably get "no thanks, we don't hire in America" from his Human Resources Department.

But to the point of Big Bad Americans. If you're in another country - China, Mexico, Honduras, etc., and you're sure of a deal you are about to make with an American company which will bring jobs to your region, be it a city or town, you're not calling the person who is negotiating with you a "big, bad American" because you are about to have jobs for others. But I can say that if they don't have a "union" in place there --- they will see $2.18/per hour jobs and not truly benefit. And after ten years of sub-standard wages, pollution of their atmosphere, and possibly even "wage concessions" --- they'll be looking at the "Big Bad American" way of doing business as the manufacturer pulls out of that city/town/region and puts jobs in another country, leaving their economy as devastated or worse than our economy here in the midwest.

This isn't some doomsayers prediction.

Quoting Mr. T, "this is reality, fools!"

I don't belong to a political party. To do so would allow me to be self-labeled a fool.