Apr. 1st, 2009

frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
Would you let a 10-year old graffiti artist tattoo your leg?

The comparisons to Banksy are silly, she has little social commentary and meta-tagging like he does, which is central to his art. But she's pretty good!
frandroid: (conservatives)
Who do you think are the greatest enemies of autoworkers in Ontario right now?

If you said "automakers", you'd be partially right at this moment. Chrysler, in particular, is demanding more wage and benefits concessions than GM agreed to, while the CAW says they've given enough.

If you are a GM autoworker though, you're in better hands. According to the Star, "General Motors' new chief says worker concessions in Canada already make the teetering automaker competitive", and is not requiring further wage cutbacks after those agreed to by its workers in the last few weeks. However, Dalton McGuinty and Stephen Harper are asking autoworkers to do more in order for the companies to receive more government funding. Can you believe this?

Let's follow the logic here. The two governments, who want to save the auto industry, because it brings wealth to the province and the country, wealth that is channelled in great part to the workers, is asking that less wealth be transfered to the autoworkers.

The worst part in all this is that these wage and benefits concessions are insignificant in the grand scheme of things, if we follow the numbers supplied by the CAW (I know, hardly neutral numbers here; but their economist, Jim Stanford, is respected). Ken Lewenza wrote that "the direct labour targeted by the [then-]Bush administration represents just 7 per cent of the average cost of a new vehicle should be proof enough that cutting wages cannot solve the automakers' problems."

So far, autoworkers have offered $7.25/hr of wage and benefits cuts, and Chrysler is looking at $19/hr in cuts. Now depending on two different Star articles referring to the $7.25/hr figure, the current cost of an autoworker is $70 or $75 an hour. So Chrysler is in effect asking for a 10% to 27% cut. But the thing is, this is a cut of 10 to 27% on the 7% of the new vehicle cost. So all in all, the governments are looking at cost reductions of .7% to 2% in order to grant their financial support.

Do the governments think that that difference is really what's going to make or break the automakers? As far as I'm concerned, AIG has received a $170 billion dollar bailout from the U.S. government and until the public expressed its outrage media whipped public outrage, the government was not asking for a bloody cent of employee wages and benefits cuts. Now if that's not class warfare, I don't know what this is.
frandroid: camilo cienfuegos in a broad-rimmed hat (anarchism)
Joseph Stiglitz: Obama’s Ersatz Capitalism

In theory, the administration’s plan is based on letting the market determine the prices of the banks’ “toxic assets” — including outstanding house loans and securities based on those loans. The reality, though, is that the market will not be pricing the toxic assets themselves, but options on those assets.
[...]
Consider an asset that has a 50-50 chance of being worth either zero or $200 in a year’s time. The average “value” of the asset is $100. Ignoring interest, this is what the asset would sell for in a competitive market. It is what the asset is “worth.” Under the plan by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the government would provide about 92 percent of the money to buy the asset but would stand to receive only 50 percent of any gains, and would absorb almost all of the losses. Some partnership!
[...]
But Americans are likely to lose even more than these calculations suggest, because of an effect called adverse selection. The banks get to choose the loans and securities that they want to sell. They will want to sell the worst assets, and especially the assets that they think the market overestimates (and thus is willing to pay too much for).
[...]
Some Americans are afraid that the government might temporarily “nationalize” the banks, but that option would be preferable to the Geithner plan. After all, the F.D.I.C. has taken control of failing banks before, and done it well. It has even nationalized large institutions like Continental Illinois (taken over in 1984, back in private hands a few years later), and Washington Mutual (seized last September, and immediately resold).

What the Obama administration is doing is far worse than nationalization: it is ersatz capitalism, the privatizing of gains and the socializing of losses. It is a “partnership” in which one partner robs the other. And such partnerships — with the private sector in control — have perverse incentives, worse even than the ones that got us into the mess.
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
Subject: Look up past April Fools pranks and implement a few ones.
Start Date: 2010-03-26
Recurrence: Yearly

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frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
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