Jeffrey Neil Jackson

The Fed’s Fiduciary Fumble

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The Covid pandemic created a lot of economic changes. Privileged employees who taunt their employers and claim they will never return to their office. Wages moved up because of a lack of talent. (“Talent” is human resource jargon for employees.) Members of the U.S. Congress made high-yielding stock purchases because of inside information, and now dare their constituents to try to make such inside information trades illegal while they waive their gains in the face of their electorates.

Some information before we continue. There is a public organization called the Federal Reserve System. No, wait, it is a private organization. No, wait, the Fed, as it is called, is, um, both. Owned by the banks (big ones, naturally) the Fed is a privately held public organization, and don’t you dare ask the names of those banks. After all, knowing the names of those banks would open to public scrutiny decisions about interest rates charged to the public, and we just can’t have that, now can we? After all, private organizations that have a vested interest in public policy deserve their privacy, now don’t they? If only they were on Facebook, then we could buy all of their personal information, but no, they have far too much money for that to happen.

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Trucks, Terrain, Trepidation

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The pickup truck and SUV markets in the U.S. increased by 9.9% between 2019 and 2022, let’s just say 10% for the sake for simplicity. More and more people seem to be wanting buy an SUV or a pickup truck and venture out into the wilderness, at least that’s what the commercials are reflecting. No matter what brand we are looking at, commercials show their owners (mostly fairly young) taking their vehicles out where any sign of human civilization cannot be seen. The new owners crave to be In The Middle Of Nowhere, or, ITMON, a new acronym. 

The truck/SUV owners are “exploring” places where the roads aren’t paved, no speed limit signs, traffic signals. There are also no fueling stations, food, water, toilets, emergency services, doctors, nurses or walk-on clinics. Just buy this truck/SUV and get out there in the Great Outdoors, get yourself ITMON. New Hampshire, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Vermont and Oregon have laws that allow rescue services to bill you if you get yourself in a bad situation out ITMON and need to be rescued.  These bills can run up to $5,000 if the rangers have to do a lot to find you, especially in the middle of the night.

I have seen a fair number of younger people buy 4-wheel drive trucks with the specific purpose of using them to tear up the countryside. It seems these young truck owners are in competition to see who can tear up more of the landscape. We can’t be sure if the truck manufacturers condone such behavior, but their commercials certainly don’t discourage it.

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Scrapping the Slippery Slope Supposition

Not a lawyer, but took a few law classes; the professors taught the law classes as if they were teaching in law school. The constitutional law professor (Harvard grad, by the way) stated that there were aspects of the law that our Supreme Court deliberately stayed away from, because they were “slippery slope” issues. Welcome to the slippery slope, America.

The recent decision, which will probably be known as Dobb v. Jackson, turned to federalism. “Turned to federalism” means the issue has been turned back to the states to decide for themselves. The federal protection of abortion is no more. The SCOTUS decided that the federal protection of the right to get an abortion was not constitutional, that is to say, there is nothing in our Constitution that guarantees the right to get an abortion; Roe v. Wade is overturned.

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Wrecking the Refund Reckoning

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The student debt problem remains, but there are always options.  Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.,  Maxine Waters, D-Calif. and Senator Elizabeth Warren, like spoiled children who can’t get what they want the fair and proven legislative way, will create a workaround. The aforementioned representatives are suggesting, or, even insisting, that President Biden achieve what they cannot accomplish via legislation by issuing an executive order relieving millions from their student debt.  An executive order would be a great boon (in the way of votes) for the Democrats who pushed for it. Look for such a move close to the election, where it will be firmly in the minds of voters.

To quote Senator Elizabeth Warren: “Student loan debt is crushing millions, especially during this pandemic. It’s an anchor dragging down our struggling economy.” So adding trillions to the government debt will be a good economic move?

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AOC’s Atrocious Assessment

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (from this point described as AOC) has determined capitalism in the United States as “irredeemable.”  AOC has a degree (cum laude) in economics and international relations from Boston University. So a member of the U.S. Congress with an economics degree describes capitalism as: “Capitalism is an ideology of capital-the most important thing is the concentration of capital and maximize profit.” While the aforementioned quote is a great summary of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, there are other considerations regarding capitalism.

Capitalism was outlined by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations in1776, with the newly-minted United States as an “early adopter” (gosh, I’m sure I heard that somewhere else.) Mercantilism, which preceded capitalism, was the fruitless feudal attempt of the nobility to retain the wealth created by the peasants and serfs. The United States gave up the feudal system and set out on a capitalist journey after fighting off the greatest power on earth. In case you are wondering, Article 1, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution prohibits the states from granting titles of nobility, that is, prince, duke, or any other title to a citizen. In short, the founding fathers had enough of kings and royalty. (I’m sure they would have exempted Elvis, but that’s another essay.)

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Pugnacious Putin’s Presentiment

With 100,000 troops on the Ukraine border, Vladimir Putin (whatever his title) is playing a very dangerous game. Putin wants the Ukraine. His Russia is not enough for him. Like any power-hungry autocrat, the largest country on the globe is not enough. Putin doesn’t want to “liberate” Ukraine; he wants to enslave it, although he will put any conflict in terms of a “liberation.” He will also explain any conflict as being Ukraine started by the Ukraine, even though the Ukraine has no interest in attacking Russia.

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COVID-19, Conspiracies, and Corpses

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Before year 2020, what does not kill me makes me stronger. After the year 2020, it mutates and tries again. Freedom in the Unites States means you can choose to die if you wish. You have the right to refuse to wear a mask, and the organizations that you visit have the right to refuse you entry into their property if you decline to wear said mask. The reason these organizations have the right to refuse your entry is because you do not have the right to infect other people. When your rights impose a risk to other citizens, it becomes a societal problem.

Historically, free speech in the United States has seen limitations. You cannot shout “fire” in a crowded theatre.  Free speech ends when it threatens lives of other citizens. Citizens have been tried for manslaughter when they urged other citizens to kill themselves.  The great thing about the United States is that you may listen and follow the advice, no matter how naïve, of other citizens. If that advice results in your demise, then the mistake is yours, a decision you are free to make.

You may believe that you have the right to consume intoxicants and operate a vehicle, but if your behavior threatens the safety of other citizens, that right impinges on other citizens who have the right to be protected from your behavior.  As a citizen, you have the right to refuse vaccination, which in some cases, has cost people their lives.  Social media has become saturated with uncredentialed self-proclaimed “experts” who have found numerous reasons why you shouldn’t be vaccinated.  These experts have reasons too long to discuss in this essay. Statistically speaking, there is, and I will not deny it, a small amount of risk if you get vaccinated, since the vaccine has not been tested on millions of people, but that risk is very, very small.

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Salad Days, Swindling, and Social Media

In November of 1964, Jack Weinberg posed the phrase “don’t trust anyone over 30.”  While this phrase has been attributed to the Beatles, Abbie Hoffman, and Jerry Rubin, all icons of the 1960s, research finds that Mr. Weinberg coined the phrase when he was a member of the Free Speech Movement. 

While a free speech is a tenant of the United States and a right outlined in our Constitution, from our founding fathers to Mr. Weinberg, few could imagine what technology has brought us.  Social media has redefined free speech in a manner never imagined over two-hundred years ago. While free speech is protected by law, its amplification has exceeded anything imaginable two-hundred years ago.

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Reporting, Reproach, and Our Republic

According to The Wall Street Journal of September 18, 2021, on September 17, 2021 attorney Michael Sussman was indicted by Special Counsel John Durham for lying to the FBI regarding Donald Trump’s association with Russians. Specifically, Sussman (allegedly) lied about the Russian-based Alfa Bank and the Trump Administration. Mr. Sussman was an attorney for the law firm Perkins Coie and was working for the Clinton Campaign  when he presented then FBI general counsel James Baker documents purporting to show “secret internet communications between the Trump Organization and the Russian-based Alfa bank” on September 19, 2016.

The indictment reads that Sussman represented himself to the FBI General Counsel as a “good citizen” and was not working “for any client” and not an advocate for a candidate. It turns out that he was lying to the FBI, something that is taken quite seriously by our federal government. Just ask Martha Stewart about lying to the FBI. The first question should be: How competent is an FBI who can be fooled by someone (even a lawyer, who are universally generalized as being adroit liars) who misleads them about their employer. I’m pretty sure that having access to tax records and financial transfers (of which it seems that the federal government can review) might reveal that someone is getting money transfers from a firm associated with a political campaign. I guess that the IRS is too busy examining citizens with more than six-hundred dollars in their bank account than to verify the income of wealthy and powerful liars.    

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Covid’s Collateral Contamination

For many Americans, the Covid-19 pandemic is becoming a life-changing event. As millions of jobs openings go unfilled, thousands, if not millions of American workers are quitting their jobs and seeking more rewarding opportunities; some of the workers claim that they are striking out on their own to start a business. As marketing classes taught those of us who went to business college, “find a need, fill it.” Business college also taught how to evaluate a market as well as determine what to charge your clients. A few numbers for the quitters to consider: Fifty percent of new businesses close within five years, and lack of management experience is the number one reason that small businesses fail.

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