Tag Archives: economics

Macklemore: Billboard #1 and what it means for politics

Back in mid-September, I told earsucker readers about Macklemore as an up and comer in the music biz. I shared his great video “Thrift Shop”, and then that dude totally blew up.

Bad economy be… thanked?

Ryan Lewis has a look. It’s the look that comes through the 99 cent apparel, the half-long/half-stubble haircut, and the cheap clothes. Lewis wears the inestimable look of getting the job done, building class out of thin air.

Lewis is happy to boast that look in this well done, and rather polished music video about a rather unpolished subject (being poor, having to shop at crummy thrift stores, something we doubt any presidential candidates are doing). Singer Wanz throws down his own fortunate rhymes about pink granddad suit thrifting finds, and well… some people just understand the formula for awesome.

The popularity of “Thrift Shop” has even spawned a parody video called Pot Shop (which is damned hilarious and has nearly 1.5 million views).

Now, Macklemore is riding a wave of popularity to become the first unsigned artist to top Billboard’s Hot 100 in nearly 20 years. He has a very special message for those that would grant him greatness and deny him his share through recording contract shenanigans:

Macklemore makes his strong feelings about big labels no secret on the album: In a song titled “Jimmy Iovine” — named for the chairman of Interscope-Geffen-A&M who helped make another white rapper, Eminem, famous — Macklemore takes down record contract politics with the unequivocal closing line, “I’d rather be a starving artist than succeed at getting f—-ed.” Geez, Mack, tell us how you really feel.

It’s always been a love/hate relationship between new talent and behemoth companies with a room full of marketing employees. But thanks to the Internet’s leveling of the playing field, the tables can turn very quickly in favor of the upstarts. A similar parallel has occured in politics as grassroots candidates are able to raise significant amounts of money in short periods and run successful online campaigns. The phenomenon of online social engagement that was unheard of decades ago is now practiced by the majority.

What does this mean for politics? It means the new gatekeepers are blogs. Period.

Politicians and business execs take note, the game has officially changed.

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Bartering popular after Greek economic collapse

Bartering and alternative currencies are gaining ground, at least in Greece. The UK Guardian reports, “Euros discarded as impoverished Greeks resort to bartering … Communities set up local currencies and exchange networks in attempt to beat the economic crisis… It’s been a busy day at the market in downtown Volos… But not a single euro has changed hands – none of the customers on this drizzly Saturday morning has bothered carrying money at all. For many, browsing through the racks of second-hand clothes, electrical appliances and homemade jams, the need to survive means money has been usurped.” One of the women at the market said, “It’s all about exchange and solidarity, helping one another out in these very hard times. You could say a lot of us have dreams of a utopia without the euro.”

Locals in the port city of Volos have created their own currency, known as the Tem. Christina Koutsieri said, “frankly the Tem has been a life-saver. In March I had to close the grocery store I had kept going for 27 years because I just couldn’t afford all the new taxes and bills. Everyone I know has lost their jobs. It’s tragic.”

Christina is among the 1,300 people who have signed up to use the informal bartering network which sets an exchange rate of 1 Tem to 1 euro.

The Daily Bell reported, the Guardian “article is not the only mainstream post dealing with these systems. Recently there was a BBC profile of Greek alternative barter/currency systems… the BBC article mentioned nothing significant about the option of gold and silver… Are Greeks turning to gold and silver as well, as those in Zimbabwe have done once the economy collapsed? You wouldn’t know it from this article but we would bet gold and silver are finding their place alongside such barter/currency systems.”

I’m a big supporter of both alternative currencies and barter and I’m pleasantly surprised by the growth of each within the liberty community. The most popular forms of alternative currency that I come across are gold, silver and bitcoin. I dream of the day that I can do all of my exchanges in something other than a currency forced upon me by a government.

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The republican (establishment) has failed the nation

Erick Erickson writes at Red State:

Over the next couple of years, Barack Obama wants to raise the national debt to $18.9 trillion or so.

John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and the congressional Republicans want to raise the national debt to $18.4 trillion or so.

The present leadership of the Republican Party has gone from making the case that government is the problem and the American people are the solution to making the case that Democratic controlled government is the problem and Republican controlled government is the solution.

By giving up on making the case that government is the problem and pivoting to “Democrats are the problem,” the Republican Party has failed the American people. Historically, when parties lost, their leadership went and hid for an appropriate amount of time under a rock after an acceptance of blame and a resignation.

The present Republican leaders in Washington, instead of hiding under a rock, have taken to standing on the rock and demanding conservatives self flagellate. Neither John Boehner nor Mitch McConnell are visionaries. They are survivors. They survive by recognizing the biggest threat to them and trying to befriend it or neutralize it.

Right now, both see conservatives as their biggest threat, not Barack Obama. Why? Because while Barack Obama maintains the White House, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell maintain their positions of power. They exist for power, not for vision. The visions they articulate are routinely backpedaled. Remember the pledge to nowhere the House Republicans concocted in 2010 as a second coming of the Contract With America? Within two months of returning to the majority they’d already ditched their pledge faster than a frat boy fleeing a one night stand. Only conservatives wish to hold them accountable for their breach of trust, thus conservatives are the threat.

The very same Republican leadership who paved the way for the rise of the Democrats in 2006 through moral opaqueness on the role of government in the lives of Americans now seek to shut up and shut out the conservatives who continue to loudly point out that the size and scope of the federal leviathan has grown too unwieldy.

I joined the Republican Party in 1964 and voted for Barry Goldwater, a man ahead of his times. The Republican Party was not what it should have been for years after the Goldwater nomination for President and his loss.

Finally it appeared the Republican Party got its act together with Ronald Reagan. We had eight very good years. The economy was so strong even Clinton could not undo it during his eight years. Then it was downhill again.

In 2005 I quit the Republican Party and became unaffiliated and dabbled with the Libertarian Party. After Obama was elected I was convinced to rejoin in 2008, shortly after his inauguration, and really got involved, close to a full time unpaid volunteer for the tea party grassroots movement and the Republican Party internal politics.

We appeared to have momentum in our favor with our wins in 2010. We, a bunch of amateurs, did not have the Republican institutional establishment professional politicians and operatives as allies. They were our enemies and we had an uneasy alliance with them and yet I did not realize how much they rejected us as part of the process until now.

Now, here we are, could not get a grassroots candidate nominated for President, lost ground at the state and local levels, lost the Colorado House, failed to get some grassroots Congressmen re-elected, and had to live with a presidential candidate many of us did not support in the primaries but choked it down anyway and worked hard on his behalf.

In two years the odds of keeping the Colorado State Attorney General’s office, the Colorado Secretary of State and the Colorado State Treasurer may be dismal. If the Democrats succeed in taking those three offices the transition of Colorado to a socialist state (think California) will be complete and nearly perfect.

Look what we have. The big dogs in the Republican Party are having a discussion on moving to the left of center, far left, not just a tad. NO, NO, UNACCEPTABLE. If they do, that will for sure end any alliances we grassroots common, hardworking citizens have with them.

I do not blame myself or any grassroots Constitutional conservative libertarian Republicans. I blame the institutional establishment old line Republicans for being ready, willing and able to destroy the Republican Party so they could destroy us and teach us a lesson. It was a political suicide bombing of the Republican Party by Republicans with them destroying themselves to destroy us.

Now what? Quit? Never, ever quit, just figure out another strategy even if it does not include the Republican Party or mainstream politics. I predict many of us who placed everything political in working within the Republican Party are going to transition and morph into something different, what that is I do not know but it will not be the same old politics. It may be peaceful, it may not. We will see. I know I will not again make the same mistakes twice.

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Elmo explains economics

Elmo really has a way with words. He recently helped explain economics and did a righteous job. Ben Bernanke better run if the rest of the Sesame Street gang shows up with pitchforks and torches… of love:

In case you haven’t noticed, incomes (not GDP) pay mortgages and support small businesses. Increasing the National Debt by a can you say “parabolic?” 54% in the last 42 months hasn’t budged income per capita in nominal terms. If you adjusted for inflation, you’d find that Americans are actually about 12% poorer today than they were in 2006. We’re not “growing” our way out of this, we’re just going deeper and deeper into hock, courtesy of a government with about as much fiscal discipline as crack-whores with a stolen credit card. Here’s the thing: It’s your credit card, so maybe you should understand how much they’re spending:

Just to be clear, we’re talking about $400 per citizen per month in new charges alone, month after month after month. Here’s what me and Elmo can’t figure out: Why would attempting to break this spiral be labeled Class Warfare?

I couldn’t resist but INTERVIEW ELMO EXCLUSIVELY FOR HAMMER OF TRUTH (MUST CREDIT HAMMER OF TRUTH). He said he hopes Ben Bernanke stays healthy and had this to add on the insult pile:

Watch out Elmo, talk like that will get you to sent off to Gitmo.

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Fastest growing economy: anarchy of System D

The numbers don’t lie, except they probably do since no one can really peg it down for certain. That’s because by its nature the underground economy is hidden from the government and prying eyes by everyone who no longer wants to fully comply with onerous laws that are often little more than a bureaucratic tax on the backs of entrepreneurs.

Robert Neuwirth writes at Foreign Policy:

Schneider suggests, however, that, in making his estimates, he has this covered. He screens out all money made through “illegal actions that fit the characteristics of classical crimes like burglary, robbery, drug dealing, etc.” This means that the big-time criminals are likely out of his statistics, though those gangsters who control the fruit market are likely in, as long as they’re not involved in anything more nefarious than running a price-fixing cartel. Also, he says, his statistics do not count “the informal household economy.” This means that if you’re putting buckles on belts in your home for a bit of extra cash from a company owned by your cousin, you’re in, but if you’re babysitting your cousin’s kids while she’s off putting buckles on belts at her factory, you’re out. see more…

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