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#13 - "Because free market economies" BS. There is really no such thing.

That's true, by definition - "A free market is one where voluntary exchange and the laws of supply and demand provide the sole basis for the economic system, without government intervention."

But the term "free markets" as usually applied isn't absolutist (like Elon Musk's "free speech absolutist") - we accept degrees of government regulation, some countries, some parties, some people more or less than others - it's to differentiate the markets mostly controlled by supply and demand rather than totally or mostly controlled by the government (authoritarian regimes like communism, fascism).

How many cable companies do you have?

Between cable, satellite, telcos, WiFi and FiWi companies, in my market - quite a few. But this is, unfortunately, very heavily regulated and very capital-intensive market so smaller companies have difficult time to serve large areas and usually get merged or find a niche in areas they can serve.

How many companies does Disney own?

A lot. Why is that a problem? I can watch or not watch ABC, Disney+, Hulu, FX etc., there are plenty of competitors on free or premium streaming market. That's why DIS stock is back where it was around 2014 and likely going lower, as are many of its competitors. The content market is actually pretty close to free-for-all now.

How many power companies do you have?

Not enough, but this is really NOT a free market - it's either totally owned or heavily regulated and limited by both states and municipalities. Frankly, since Edison and Westinghouse/Tesla it's been pretty much like this. Given the infrastructure required to provide electricity, unless we can do it over the air (Tesla's dream) I am not sure it can be structured differently today. This is not just the US issue.

How many insurance companies serve you?

I have a few, but there are a lot of companies and plans I can choose from. If you are talking about medical, then again it's a mess and became even more so after Obamacare - premiums are higher and actual access to care / doctors are lower - but again, this is unfortunately, "industry" that's very heavily regulated and managed and compensated by the government, not to mention legal issues and expensive education process.

Hope that answers the question about "free" markets?

"He is only MOSTLY dead. Not ALL dead. There's a big difference between MOSTLY dead and all dead. MOSTLY dead is slightly alive."

"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."


But the statement starts with "Since 1975."

Does CIA show statistics before 1975 or did they just start collecting data around then, which would explain why they chose that year that seems so "magical" to you for some reason?

Before 1975, gains were seen more broadly across all income quintiles.

May be true over short term depending on economic conditions and inflation. Do they have data since 1910s?

Inflation usually increases the assets values and therefore compounds owners' wealth and incomes much faster than those with simple earned incomes - just look back into crazy real estate and equities markets of last couple of years, and maybe people still remember 2006-2008? Compounding is not just an investment concept, it's also a distribution concept.

In addition, there have also been other drivers for changes in the workplace and workforce and monetary systems since 1960s (cue 'Twilight Zone' theme):

- Widespread use of computers since the '70s and use of robotics and other manual labor-enhancing and manual labor-replacing technology gave more power and earning capacity to better educated and technology-oriented population. In the 1960s human labor cost little but computers have cost a lot - with cheaper computers and automation the relationship completely flipped - today human labor and associated expenses (wages, insurance, retirement plans, training etc.) cost a lot while computers and automation and maintenance are generally getting cheaper and may cost far less than human labor over period of time. So whatever can be automated or outsourced, will be - phone operators are gone, secretaries are replaced by voicemail, email or websites... And that has been accelerating with the advancements in technology.

- Faster growth of assets values and total capital base due to higher rates of inflation since the 1973 Oil Crisis and First Oil Shock. Also, raises in minimum wage are progressively inflationary.

- Better financial services for the masses, enabled by computers and technological advances also took off around the same time - Charles Schwab and Ameritrade started in 1971 and John Bogle's Vanguard in 1975. Mutual funds and high interest money markets became easy and relatively cheap to invest in, even for working class.

- First CEOs, and later the workers in corporations started to take part of their salaries in company stock (remember the millionaire receptionists in Silicon Valley startups?) and investing them in tax-benefit investment accounts, IOW wealth was treated as income and vice versa. Stock market booms skewed this "income" to the upside.

- The 1944 Bretton Woods Agreement outlived its post-WWII usefulness and was suppressing the US dollar and the economy, so in 1971 Nixon closed the "gold window" - the dollar went off the "gold standard" and ushered in the beginning of the age of free markets and globalization and democratization of financial markets.

So, Pareto Principle distribution worked the way it was supposed to work. People who have been financially invested in and incentivized by the success of enterprise, on average have been compensated significantly better than people in lower quintiles of income distribution. The ones that succeeded and had income derived from the markets became part of "top 20%." Why is that surprising?

Recent survey of 1,000 working Americans:

Less than half of those surveyed have saved $100,000. One in six say they have saved nothing. A third are currently making no contributions. And it's not just the young, who do at least have decades to make up the ground. Respondents who are still working, with a median age of 60, have average savings of around $112,000.

One quarter of those surveyed, and 30% of millennials, said they were planning to rely on "cryptocurrencies" to finance some of their golden years. Good luck with that.


Jun 15, 2022 " President Joe Biden told US oil refiners that unprecedented profit margins ... Biden says refining margins are impact caused by Ukraine war.

May 09, 2022 - Refining capacity has declined where it matters for the market now, and the plants that are operating are struggling to process enough crude to satisfy the demand for fuel. Martijn Rats, an oil analyst at Morgan Stanley, estimates that outside China and the Middle East, oil distillation capacity fell by 1.9 million barrels a day from the end of 2019 to today " that's the largest decline in 30 years.

The downward trend started well before the pandemic hit, as old Western refineries struggled to compete, environmental regulations increased costs and the unfounded fear of peak oil demand amid the energy transition prompted some companies to close plants. The fuel-demand collapse triggered by Covid-19 only turbo-charged the trend, resulting in dozens of refinery operations shutting down for good in Europe and the U.S. in 2020 and 2021. New capacity has emerged in China. However, Beijing tightly controls how much fuel its refiners can export so that capacity is effectively out of reach of the global market.

In private, Western officials worry Brent crude will reach $150 a barrel soon from about $120 now. Some fear it keeps going higher, with wild chatter about oil hitting $175 or even $180 by the end of 2022, driven by post-Covid pent-up demand and European sanctions against Russia. And the shock won't end this year.

The world has effectively run out of spare capacity to turn crude into usable fuels like gasoline and diesel. ... Very few new refineries will come on stream in the next 18 months. Around a third of Chinese fuel-processing capacity is currently out of action as Asia's largest economy struggles to put the coronavirus behind it. If tapped, the extra supply of diesel and gasoline could go a long way to cooling red-hot global fuel markets, but there's little chance of that happening.

The contrast between China and the US " where refineries in some areas are running at close to full capacity -- reflects a tectonic shift in the industry over the last few years. European and North American plants have been shutting down, a trend that was accelerated by Covid-19, while most new facilities are being built in the developing world, particularly Asia and the Middle East.

Maybe politicians should look in the mirror when they blame industries for complying with their stupid non-market-driven policies and regulations. Governments can print money, private companies need stable profits to invest in providing more products so they would be cheaper for consumer.

Read these and see if the US industry or US politicians and governments are to blame.

www.marketwatch.com - There's little Biden can do, June 22 2022

en.wikipedia.org - 1973 / First oil crisis

The current surge in inflation is the inevitable result of the policy choices made in Washington D.C. In this case, the federal government gave consumers billions of dollars of increased spending power and financed this unprecedented surge in government spending with increased federal debt. The Federal Reserve essentially purchased a large majority of the newly issued bonds, which effectively monetized it. This monetization of the debt is a core reason why inflation is now out of control.

Absolutely. Government, under Obama, Trump and then Biden was just printing money by issuing debt bonds and had Federal Reserve monetize it.

But there was also another very important component - Federal Reserve has kept Fed short term interest rates near zero - so-called Zero or Near-Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP / NZIRP) and in some European countries Central Banks even had Negative Interest Rates (NIRP) - which made it nearly impossible to invest in anything other than real estate or stock market because debt was extremely cheap and money market interest didn't keep with the rate of even mild inflation, which created so-called negative real interest rate. That became known as TINA policy - There Is No Alternative and, combined with FOMO - Fear Of Missing Out drove both real estate and equities markets wildly out of the zone where the values represented anything close to real earnings potential of housing or companies.

When in 2018 Fed Chair Jerome Powell tried to raise interest rates, to cool off markets, Trump threatened to fire him. Markets predictably dipped and Powell reversed course, back to NZIRP. Trump even entertained the idea of negative nominal Fed rates, but fortunately Powell didn't let that happen.

European Central Bank (ECB) and BOE and BOJ have been doing the same, with everyone gorging on cheap debt.

On top of Trump's general budget deficits, COVID-19 response poured several Trillions of various stimulus programs... which promptly went into the same markets as the "reflation trade."

So inflation actually preceded Biden's presidency but was not yet well visible on the consumer level - the tidal wave of "free" money first went into speculative markets, including various crypto schemes, like ICOs and NFTs and DAOs, and for months "everybody" was rich, and that's when money started to not just "trickling down" as it usually does, but "rolling downhill" into consumer space, combined with still acute supply chain problems and shortages and, of course oil and refined gasoline which shows not just at the pump but everywhere that requires delivery and shipping.

Everybody in the world is pumping near capacity, but there has also been underinvestment in the US refining capacity due in part to overregulation and hostile actions of federal and some states' governments.

Putin's War further restricted supply of everything related to energy and fertilizers, so it's definitely a contributing factor, but not the primary cause of high inflation in the West.

Now Federal Reserve is finally trying to drain the liquidity in the markets by raising abnormally suppressed interest rates and selling part of $9T in bonds it has bought and had on its balance sheet during QE (Quantitative Easing) phases.

Whether it will cause a technical recession or not (2 consecutive quarters of contraction in economic activity, which could simply depend on the fiscal calendar) isn't as important as stopping inflation - recessions come and go, inflations accumulate.

Every time oil or gas go high at the pump, the uneducated and "progressives" are crying "corporate greed" and "gouging" and the politicians "investigate" while knowing full well how the futures and energy markets work and that they are the ones who prevent E&P.

If it's so meaningless, why does the CIA mention it in their write-up of the US economy?

Because it's one of the many statistics they have, doesn't mean it's meaningful or signifies anything of value. In fact, you'll probably find this same 'statistic' applicable to most of the world's free economies, unlike let's say the economies of Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea or Russia. So then, anything that deviates significantly from that number could be of some interest.

Because free market economies, and in particular, US economy, are dynamic, the top 20% of today are not nearly the same as were even 20 years ago, let alone in 1975, and are not the same that will be 20 years from now, i.e., the implied "distribution of wealth" is not going to the same static group of people - many fall in and fall out of top 20% of wealth and income every year - this statistic is not predictive, and therefore irrelevant. You can pick a year other than 1975, like 1980 or 1985, and should get approximately the same quantitative distribution result over a statistically meaningful enough period of time.

Just like in many cases, e.g., the "average" (aka the "mean") and/or the median may not be at all meaningful, yet are automatically given or can be easily calculated as a statistical value. In fact, the "averages" are very often misleading, and are used in presentations specifically for that purpose.

Here is one very meaningful 'statistic' you may want to learn because it's used widely in business, investment and economics, called Pareto Principle or "Golden Rule" or "Law of Vital Few" or more technically, the "Principle of Factor Sparsity" (it's also related to Pareto Distribution but unrelated to Pareto Efficiency) :

The 80-20 Rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, is an aphorism which asserts that 80% of outcomes (or outputs) result from 20% of all causes (or inputs) for any given event. In business, a goal of the 80-20 rule is to identify inputs that are potentially the most productive and make them the priority.

The Pareto Principle for business states that 20% of your efforts would produce 80% of your results and you must remain focused on high ROI (Return On Investment) activities - "80% of sales come from 20% of clients."

Followed by some of the top CEOs and leaders of the world, the 80-20 rule is a tool to optimize time management and keep growing. In fact, Jack Welch used a somewhat modified version of this principle when he was CEO of GE.

It came about when 19th-century Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto discovered this law while studying wealth distribution in Italy and noticed that approximately 80% of Italy's land was owned by 20% of the population. Based on his observations he formulated his 80/20 principle. It explains that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

This is a good start if you are interested :
en.wikipedia.org - Pareto principle


This is the authoritarian rwing deciding that what they can't get by votes, they'll take by gerrymandered districts, appointing highly political courts, allowing political bribes, and ignoring democratic election votes in favor of political coups.

Absolutely, no question about it. But that's exactly what lwing was doing for decades - "Big Government" is the answer to "our" problems, we can force our "morality" on little people through the "government" - if "Stroke of the pen, law of the land" by the executive branch / the President, who was granted more and more "executive order" powers by the Far Left and the Far Right, can't work then we can impose the "permanent laws" through the courts, particularly SCOTUS - the qualifications of judges and justices they nominated and confirmed be damned.

The rwing just adopted the tactic long practiced by the Left, and now is undoing whatever lwing has accomplished - right (no pun), like Roe vs Wade and wrong, like forcing private citizens and private sector businesses (religious or not) to cater to the whims of the left wing "morality" etc etc.

Instead of gradually dismantling the power of "Big Government" when losing / getting the power, both sides say "wait till we get there / now that we are here and can use the power you just granted to your guys, and then some, to give us some more" and then double down on granting the "government" more power, even to the point of keeping themselves in power forever, which seemed to have reached its apogee with Trump - call it fascism, communism, socialism or populism, it all amounts to the same thing - power of small clique over vast majority of lethargic and disinterested population and the power to keep themselves in power "forever" or at least for as long as it lasts... if the "economy" allows it.

Maybe the "next time" will be different, because one side will have learned their lesson and truly cares about people's liberty, but I don't have much hope near term - after all, "Power corrupts and the absolute power..." ... well, you know.

I have no doubt that this decision (and possible new even more onerous ones that dismantle legitimate rights, not imagined by previous high courts' decisions) will cause enough displacement and chaos - some "laws" have to be nationwide and should not belong in backward or "progressive" states - that it will boomerang "bigly" against the party overtaken by right wing "evangelical" Cristofascists, just like several years ago it backfired against left wing "progressive" Cryptofascists. Trump only became President because enough people had enough of "woke" Obamas and Hillary! "progressive" policies.

Hopefully common sense and some sort of "Live and let live" prevails, and both parties will step away from their respective extremes - it will be much easier for parties to gain and keep power if they do so instead of imposing their "morals" on population at large while trying to bribe them with different (direct or indirect) financial / economic incentives... or keep facing constant "cancellations" and grievances for all eternity.

What If Russia Uses Nuclear Weapons in Ukraine?

We won't even need nuclear weapons to destroy whatever is left of Russian army and Black Sea Navy.

It will take NATO+ (Coalition of the Willing?) less than two weeks to mop up the remnats of the ragtag of unmotivated Russian force and supply routes.

At this point the Russian Army has proved itself to be less capable than Saddam's then-world's 4th largest army in 2003... And NATO+ is far more capable today than 20 years ago.

That's why Putin and his band of "Baghdad Bobs" keep talking and reminding us about their nukes because they know they can't use them. Also, maybe they don't realize it, but just talking about "potentially" using nuclear weapons is an admission of weakness - that they can't win against a hugely outmatched country with conventional forces. And that's why Pentagon doesn't talk about it much.

They are already rapidly losing their very lucrative arms sales and reputation. "Russia's botched invasion of Ukraine has been a public relations disaster for the world's second-largest exporter of weaponry. Plentiful images of exploded Russian tanks " their turrets ejected and abandoned in fields " a reportedly high failure rate for some Russian precision-guided missiles and the embarrassing loss of the supposedly upgraded flagship cruiser Moskva in the Black Sea are poor advertisements for military prowess. While Russia's artillery performed, U.S. intelligence reports suggest about half of cruise missiles have failed " bad news... Never mind that the war was supposed to be an easy win for a modernized force.

Add in questions around competitiveness and the supply difficulties that lie ahead " between sanctions and Russia's urgent need to replace its lost equipment " and the export picture is grim. Given just how much security ties matter in Moscow's friendships, the diplomatic implications could create an opening that the U.S. and its allies should seize."

Image: assets.bwbx.io

And it will be a shame when Moscow will suddenly lose its electricity and be plunged into darkness, and trains (including front supply) will go off the rails.

That is, of course, if Putin's generals (5 layers of them to push the buttons) will even entertain the option or decides that Vl-Adolf is too far gone for their own good, so he will not survive giving order for nuclear or chemical attack, one way or another.

Meanwhile, since right around 1975, the Capitalists move their factories from America to Communist China.

History teaches us that Capitalism depends on Communism to survive.

Survive? Strange conclusion because since 1980s US companies deployed capital building factories in and importing goods from Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, South Korea, Ireland, Eastern Europe and yes, China - i.e., wherever the costs happened to be cheaper and strengthening commercial ties.

China of course, Communist on paper, but since Deng was moving away from "communist" structure, for example there are now more billionaires in Bejing than in New York City - is that how "they" "distribute" the "income" to their "top 20%"?

Until Xi and Trump (Putin's puppet), the idea of capitalist China, even under loose control of CCP by using commercialism and globalization has been very successful and contributed to much wealthier and US-friendlier Chinese population as well as disinflation in the West, but it's nuts to say that the West depended on it to "survive," - it's the other way around - China was a backward underdeveloped country until it started trading with the US and later deploying capital to build factories.

Moving China towards capitalism was an achievement that kept many economies humming and more peaceful Asia-Pacific theater. It's too bad Putin / Trump effed it up by using tariffs and idiotic "trade wars" - which by the way was applauded by socialist-labor faction in the US.

For example, it's Cuba complaining that the US has embargo and doesn't trade with it, not the other way around. Same with North Korea - capitalist countries are not trying to survive without trading with it.

Do you think former "Warsaw Pact" Eastern Europe countries regret no longer being Communist or being in NATO? Somehow the US and West "survived" them becoming capitalist?

You got it so backwards. Bizarre. That's your brain on Karl Marx.

As such, the top 20% have more and more capital to invest in things like houses, driving prices up. I'm sure you get it, so I can't imagine why you're pretending you don't.

I am not pretending I don't get it, I am very good with dynamic and qualitative statistics. I am not arguing that the "statistic" in itself is wrong at all - it actually makes perfect sense and it is self-explanatory, which I pointed out in my original post. "Money makes money" and makes for better education and personal and business connections, better jobs etc. - what's not to understand?

(And it's the CIA's observation, if you think it's misleading take it up with them. It survived the past three administrations. Apparently they think it's worth mentioning.)

Great, of course, it's not misleading at all - it's just incomplete and it's also purely quantitative, not qualitative. It leaves out the "static' versus "dynamic" relationship, i.e., many people who are now in the "top 20%" have not been there back 10-20 years ago and probably won't be there in the next 10-20 years. You don't think it's important? Fine. Ignore it.

So when you say "Regardless, the income distribution used to be more broad based. Since 1975, we've only been fattening up the top 20%. there are couple of questions:

1. Who is "we" that have supposedly "distributed" the "income"? And if we don't like the "we" who is "distributing" the "income" who do we want to be "distributing" it?
2. Who are the "top 20%" since they are all very different people through all these decades?

For example, some people who got into top 20% by buying some crypto and NFTs in the last year may not be in the top 20% next year... or may be ever again?

You know the thing about statistics - "There are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics"

I am trying to explain, expand and enhance the context of a particular statistic. I don't see why it's a problem, if you want to ignore it, fine.

#33 Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households.

I already gave you the caveat about 20% "statistics" - 20% is a "static" number, the people in the 20% are very much not "static." But you can hold on to that "statistic" if you like.

Oh and since you brought it up, what's the Capitalist Utopia? Singapore, old Hong Kong?

There is none, there is no Utopia - THAT'S THE POINT.

You're obviously not dumb, so watching you drink the Capitalism wealth apology Kool-Aid is just sad.

Drinking the Socialist "equality" (Egalite, Fraternite) Kool-Aid is much dumber, given the history of socialism - it's not even much practiced in France anymore - they just rejected Putin's / Le Pen's fascism there, though barely - socialism is very seductice, unless you spend some time living under it.

Capitalism is the WORST economic system in the world except for all the others.

"Capitalism is the BEST economic system in the world except for all the others." -- rephrasing Winston Churchill's words to fit your liking doesn't make it so.

Again, try living under communism, fascism, theocracy or just talking to people who risked their lives and livelihoods to escape those regimes to come to capitalist USA, Canada or Northern Europe or people from "caravans" from Latin America trying to do the same. We don't see mass movement the other way, and if you want to live in a "better" capitalist system liek Canada or Northern Europe or Singapore, New Zealand, Australia (?) then you're free to do so, unlike in totalitarian regimes. I am afraid, Hong Kong is now much less "capitalist" than was before Chinese Communists took over.

The American and English Capitalists sided with the Communists to defeat the German Capitalists.

Not just sided - actually helped - "Lend-Lease program" - just like one we now use to help Ukraine to hopefully fend off Russian / Putin's fascists.

Let's get your "history" straight:
First, German Fascists (National Socialists aka Nazis) made a Non-aggression "Molotov-Ribbentrop" pact with USSR / Soviet Communists to divide some East European countries, such as Poland, Czechoslovakia (starting with Sudetenland, just like current "Russian" Donbas in Ukraine), Finland etc.

Second, after dictator Hitler's German Fascists decided to break the pact and invade dictator Stalin's Communist Soviet Union - BTW, that's exactly when American Communist Party stopped liking and supporting Hitler's National Socialist (fascist) Germany.

"Then, the American and English Capitalists let the Communists take half of Europe, that they hadn't held before. Thanks, Capitalism!"

Really? Before what, exactly? What would you suggest they have done at that point? Patton's 250K army against 2.5M of their "allies against German fascists" Russian army that was bombing everything in their way on the way to Berlin, through Poland and Czecholovakia? That's you "capitalist" problem? That's a really warped view of "capitalism."

If your contention is that Franklin Delano Roosevelt made a mistake by not opening the Second Front earlier because he promised that no US soldier would set foot fighting in Europe, I would agree with you, but that has nothing to do with "capitalism" or "socialism" - it has to do more with democracy and freedom against socialist totaliarism (communist or fascist).


Apparently someone here is heavily invested in oil companies... I won't mention names.

No need to. NEVER invested in energy companies, and as I pointed out already several times, they were very bad investment for at least last 8-10 years. Though favorite Dem multibillionaire investors George Soros and Warren Buffett have before and just recently invested even more in oil companies like Occidental Petroleum. Its stock still below 2018 level and well below 2011 level, though doubled in the last 6 months, so they did well for themselves and their investors. Oil (upstream, downstream and midstream) and gas are extremely capital-intensive business and need capital accumulated in "good times" to invest and survive in "bad times" - it's a boom-and-bust business - "Seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine."

Without oil and gas contributions in the last 100 years the world would not have anywhere near the progress in economies, farming and technologies we have today. But sure, go ahead and demonize them. I don't think you can say the same about tobacco... or marijuana, or opioid and other drugs, which seem soon to be legal almost everywhere but caused deaths, mental and physical health issues, homelessnes.

- money makes money

If you have trouble understanding the concept, you - like most in the US - have serious gaps in your financial education, or should lay off your Marx & Engels' Das Kapital and pick up copy of 1776 Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations. If you want something more recent, try Niall Ferguson's Ascent of Money - book or PBS series.

You keep blaming capitalism, but if you had met someone from former or current socialist (communist or fascist, like Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea) countries, you would know that they don't really have a middle class and the distribution of 99% country's wealth (like nationalized oil in Venezuela) goes to the top 0.1% "dear leaders" in government (like Castro Bros. in Cuba), and then the rest of population is "equally miserable". Why do they seem to always have what we usually call "dictator" or "strongman"? We just had a scare with one of those in the US, didn't we?

Capitalism brought prosperity - granted, unequal prosperity - to the world at large. Socialism i.e., communism and fascism - like Soviet Union and now Putin's Russia, Mao's China, 1930's Germany - brought nothing but "equal misery" and wars to the people in those countries and their neighbors - because nothing takes mind off poverty like "patriotic wars".

If you find your perfect utopian non-capitalist country, please let us all here know.

"While families on tight budgets struggle to pay the sky-high price of gas, these five oil companies more than tripled their profits in the first quarter of 2022."
#19 | Posted by Corky at 2022-06-16 09:42 PM


Right, this article and Biden in his speech are comparing the fiscal year 2021 with the fiscal year of 2020 - you know, "The Year When The Earth Stood Still" and for the most part didn't do much driving, restaurants were closed etc., so the prices of oil and gas were commensurate with demand and supply was high enough for everyone.

So tripling (or quadrupling, quintupling...) of "profits" in nominal terms, while sounding impressive and exorbitant, is meaningless. The really important parts are not in the article / speech:

1. The "profit margins" in both years were about the same.

2. The stocks of these companies have dropped to multi-year lows in September of 2020, and some only recovered to 2019 level or less, despite "RECORD PROFITS" and are still below 2012-2014 levels, so obviously investors don't think they are doing as well as they have been doing decade ago.

3. Some of these companies have just exited the Russian market leaving equipment and profitable E&P projects behind and writing off $Billions in losses.

4. Where do you think the money for exploring and then investing in new long term drilling projects come from?

5. While families on tight budgets struggle to pay the sky-high price of gas - tell that to people who hate and want to shut down oil and gas companies while we are waiting for their long promised "cheap and clean" all-electric utopia from wind and solar... Apparently if you give Elon Musk the state of Rhode Island he can do this in no time for everyone in the entire US.


We don't have much of a disagreement, just nuances.

We've been giving more and more money [to] the "too much money" side for 47 years now.

Yes, that's what 'printing money' beyond desired rate of inflation is about. That doesn't mean that these money were unproductive or deployed in bad assets or investments - most of them were probably used well and appreciated. It takes money and knowledge and patience to make money - that's the difference between "investor class" and "spending / non-investing class."

As for "too few goods" we can take housing as an example. Real estate prices have gone up everywhere compared to a few years ago:

Yes, that's one of the "hard" "asset classes" the investor class likes to invest in - for the most part it outpaces the rate of inflation, in some areas more than others - and as I pointed out, it was one of several clear indications of "monetary stimulus" being overinvested and inevitably leading to inflation spilling into "real life" - that's essential Milton Friedman, same as it was in 2006-2008. Stock market peaked in 2006, housing market somewhat later, both way before "Lehman moment" in 2008, for those who paid any attention.

"Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households."

That makes sense - money makes money; better education (bought by money) often leads to better business and personal ties, corporate positions and better investment decisions.

One caveat about "top 20%" (super-rich, very rich, VHNWI, HNWI, and upper middle class) - in the US they are not static, they are very dynamic, especially in the era of rapid high technology and societal changes, i.e., composition of today's 20% may be very different from "top 20%" 10 years ago, and only a few names in common with "top 20%" of 20 years ago. Many of the names even in top 1% would not be known or recognized 10, 15, 20 years ago. At the same time some fall out of 20% due to bad investments or bad economy or mismanagement or bad luck - take investors in Revlon which declared bankruptcy today, or many people / companies who overleveraged before COVID19 hit... So "top 20%" are a lot more fluid than what statistic usually imply - a static group of people.

But in this case, Putin's non-ESG military action is as big a counterproductive policy as anything Biden has done.

Biden didn't start inflation, but he certainly helped it along with his own stimulative policies without regard to inflation and top-notch economists, with some of whom he has worked closely when he was VP. Inflation has already been raging for awhile due to host of reasons, including energy costs - that's just one of the reasons Putin chose the moment to invade - he has what people / countries need because their energy inputs are not diversified - not by class / use, nor by supplier - that's by the way, the danger of let's say only depending on electricity for everything, even if we could do this overnight instead of decades building infrastructure, with hydro, solar, nuclear composites. To Biden's credit, he responded reasonably well, though haltingly and often not aggressively enough, to Putin's War.

Yes, Putin's War did pour gasoline / oil (pardon the pun) on already bad inflation, but it didn't create it - that's a secondary supply shock, in addition to extremely loose monetary policy and "de-globalization" started by Trump (prompted by Putin, no doubt) with self-defeating and self-taxing tariffs on China goods and pushing China towards Russia and closing even more to US goods and cooperation.

Big Oil is doing the transition Big Tobacco did, buying up food companies and establishing a lifeline in a less publicly hated industry.

Why is that bad? If we ever not need oil, gas as forms of energy (even though several of energy companies are working on "clean" fuels) then it would be productive conversion of capital.

There's a complex set of causes behind the inflation that currently plagues the US and global economy. The exact interplay between supply chain disruption, pent up demand from the pandemic, demand driven by stimulus spending, changed work and leisure patterns driven by the pandemic isn't clear.

Milton Friedman repeatedly said: "Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon." Friedman argued that prices always rose whenever too much money chased too few goods.

Lawrence Summers, chief economic advisor to Clinton and Obama and Treasury Secretary in Obama -Biden administration, Mohamed El-Erian and several other high-level economists warned since late 2020 that American economy was in danger of overheating, because he was looking in the right places for evidence of inflation - stock market prices, housing prices, alternative investments including art and crypto, and the most important, $9 Trillion on Federal Reserve balance sheet, combined with zero/near-zero Fed interest rates and nearly $10 Trillion in various "stimulus" programs between Trump and Biden administrations. All of which was going to spill into the "real economy" especially in light of supply chain interruptions and "reopening demand" for commodities.

And that's without additional $2 Trillion that Biden wanted to print while there were no people to fill the jobs already bidding up in price - in other words, increasing demand without corresponding increase in supply. Thanks to Manchin, it didn't pass or we would have a full-blown disaster by now even without Putin's war.

Completely predictable, yet here's Janet Yellen falling on the sword, saying she didn't expect it?

When Biden talks about "greedy" oil / gas / energy companies having a higher "profit margins" this year, he doesn't know what he is talking about. They do have much higher "net profits" in dollars but only because higher prices for oil (driven by futures markets and demand and supply) mean higher net profits, while they maintain the same "net profit margin."

BTW, stock of Exxon-Mobil is just now back to where it was in 2014, and at its low in September 2020 it was one third of its 2014 price . British Petroleum stock is slightly higher than half what it was in 2014. French TotalEnergies is below what it was in 2014. PetroChina stock is one third (!) of its 2012-2014 price. Shell plc is down 25%, and at its low in September of 2020 it was one quarter of its 2014 price.

So it has not been all honey and roses for these companies, and yet they are engines of our economies. Companies were some of the first to stop their E&P in Russia, and exit writing off up to $5B in equipment and potential annual profits. Demonizing them when they finally make some heftier profits, due to environment that politicians themselves created is not only unfair, it's counterproductive and somewhat Soviet-like. Remember what Putin did to Yukos oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, at the time the richest man in Russia?

I understand the politicians, particularly on the left, always blame "evil" "non-ESG" industries for higher prices and accuse them of profiteering, to shift the blame for poor and counterproductive policies, but this is a stupid political and practical move. Companies need profits for future projects and maintenance - they need "seven years of plenty, to be ready for seven years of famine." They are not going to start new drilling projects to bail out a politician, just to be told "you can't drill there" when the prices come back to "normal" - they need long term assurances and lead time, not the political "show trials."

Makes Biden look weak and flailing. That's one reason Xi just threw a lifeline to Putin, after backing off for a time, when he saw how badly Russia performed against Ukraine.

Back in the day, the CIA would have assassinated MBS by now and installed a puppet in his place.

None of this would be necessary if Putin's puppet Donald Trump and Jared Kushner weren't successful in practically installing Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) as de facto king of Saudi Arabia, instead of who that was supposed to be - very US-friendly Mohammed bin Nayef (MBN). Don't forget that Saudis have arrested and exiled Osama bin Laden in 1991 and his family disowned him, long before 9/11 - in fact, one of the reasons for bin Laden's grievances and jihad against the US was the presence of US bases in Saudi Arabia.

July 5, 2020 The dazzling rise and tragic fall of Saudi Arabia's Mohammed bin Nayef

Aug. 24, 2020 Sheikh Mohammed bin Nayef's Lawyers Raise Alarm Months After MBS Detained the Former Crown Prince

Aug. 31, 2020 How Saudi Prince MBS Played Trump and Got the Keys to the Kingdom

Apr. 20, 2022 Jared Kushner's Saudi Toadying Paid Off to the Tune of $2 Billion

the answer is easy... energy diversification. As Musk said, there is enough solar energy in a solar farm the size of Rhode Island to power the entire U.S. power grid.

If you have any background in STEM, or just physics and math, you would quickly figure out that it's BS, bull manure with corresponding greenhouse gasses.

As Musk said... Musk says a lot of things, like buying Twitter is about "free speech, not about money..." Except now that it was explained to him and he is finding out that it will cost real money, his own money, he is trying to get out of the deal. If you trust Musk so much, get into Tesla EV, program Autopilot and close your eyes while it "safely" delivers you to destination. Just because it feels like Russian Roulette there is no need to worry - Musk said it should work perfectly... by 2019.
June 15, 2022 "Tesla Autopilot and Other Driver-Assist Systems Linked to Hundreds of Crashes"

And the infrastructure to build the all-electric economy will take decades, especially with underpowered cycle technologies like wind and solar... meanwhile maybe we should heed the energy diversification call and drill for oil and gas (or we'll just have to pay more and to other, not always "friendly" countries) and build modern, safe nuclear plants.
2022-04-15 drudge.com

Musk wants you to buy his BS along with his very expensive EV cars (and their expensive and toxic replacement batteries) that have a profit margin 3x higher than "greedy" oil / energy companies, and solar panels and converters and batteries, all while he gets Billion$ in government's / taxpayers' "carbon tax" rebates for being "green".

And of course, with Trump's "reputation" in decline he wants to be the next GOP / political KINGMAKER - DeSantis is his new passion. Given that his business accomplishments are at least real, in part due to luck, in part due to free government money, in part because he was not cheap and did hire some of the best people who knew what they were doing and saved his enterprises from bankruptcies.

Now that his crypto (Dogecoin, Bitcoin) "guru" rep is in shambles, politics are logical next step - it's all about BS.

Drudge Retort

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