MAYBE THE REVOLUTION WILL REALLY, REALLY ...NOT... BE TELEVISED!
In Salon today, Michael Scherer writes: "The indecency war is ready to heat up -- and Tony Soprano, Jon Stewart and the "South Park" kids better watch their mouths."
The government does not regulate shows distributed over cable or satellite television for indecency. Similarly, there are no indecency limits on the content of satellite radio, where shock-jock Howard Stern sought refuge and will begin broadcasting next year. But in one session this summer, Commissioner Kevin J. Martin, whom President Bush has since appointed FCC chairman, told activists that he is privately reaching out to industry leaders to address racy content on basic cable and satellite television, says Rick Schatz, the president of the National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families, a Christian ministry.
"He said the free rein of cable and satellite and satellite radio is not acceptable," says Schatz, who sat in on the meeting. "He's committed to seeing something is done during his tenure."
"Ev'rybody's either pimps or hos ..."
Mmmmm . . . Capital, Labor - it's a way to look at it, yeah.
GOOD DEBT / BAD DEBT?!
BOP News whittles it down to fit in a nutshell . . .
"In general, there are two kinds of debt. “Good” debt is used to increase the borrower’s productive capacity in some way, meaning it is used to build a factory or house, or make an investment where the expected return is higher than the interest paid. “Bad” debt is used to maintain a standard of living; there is no fundamental increase in the underlying productive capabilities of the borrower.
Americans have accumulated a huge amount of debt over the last 10 years. The RWNM continually argues this is “good” debt. However, they are wrong. The article below simply breaks down what type of debt Americans have. After the breakdown, I will explain why most of this debt is “bad” debt and why the RWNM is wrong in their classification of the debt we have.
Low interest rates, especially since the end of the 2001 recession, have fed the debt beast at home, allowing American consumers to accumulate nearly $11 trillion in debt as they buy more homes, more cars, more clothes, more dinners out. At the same time, foreign investment in the United States is helping to keep the dollar strong, which holds down prices on those imports Americans covet
Americans have accumulated total debt nearly equivalent to the total US GDP. Debt as a percentage of household assets is at a record level, and stands around 18% of total household assets. That means that nearly 20% of all money flowing from households goes to a debt payment of some sort.
Outstanding balances on credit cards have risen to more than $800 billion, or some $7,200 per U.S. household. It's more than double the indebtedness of a decade ago -- and it doesn't include an additional $1.3 trillion in debt for cars, appliances and personal loans.
A mere ten years ago, the total amount of credit card debt was half today’s level. Considering the high interest rates involved, this increase in total debt could lead to problems should the owners of individual debt be unable to make their payments.
Americans have taken on more than $8.8 trillion in mortgages to buy homes, up an astounding 42 percent since the 2001 recession. And rapidly rising prices in recent years have made many homeowners feel wealthy, so they've ramped up day-to-day spending.
The increase in mortgages can be healthy, as it could imply an increase in home ownership. This in fact has happened over the last 5 years – home ownership is at record levels.
However, the increased use of more exotic mortgage debt (ARMs and Interest only Loans) over the last year and a half could lead to problems. ARMS are susceptible to rising interest rates; payments increase as interest rates increase. Interest-only loans are viable for some borrowers. But the anecdotal information in the financial press indicates these loans are used increasingly to attract first-time homebuyers who could otherwise not afford a house.
In addition, home equity as a percentage of market value stands near a record low, and has been dropping for the last 10-15 years. This indicates home purchases are not increasing their actual ownership of their houses, but instead are more often than not cashing out their equity in the form of home equity loans.
OK, so the US consumer has doubled his credit card debt and increased his mortgage debt by 50%. Is this good or bad debt?
A majority is bad debt. How do I come to this conclusion? Two macro-level statistics indicate the US consumer is using debt to maintain a standard of living, not improve it.
First, according to statistics available from the Bureau of Labor Services, wages have increased at a compounded, inflation-adjusted rate of .29% over the last 5 years. Put this figure together with the increase in credit card and mortgage debt and you come to the conclusion that debt and its respective payments now represents a larger percentage of the individual’s total income. Proving this conclusion is the record level of debt as a percentage of personal assets, which has increased from roughly 15% in 2000 to roughly 18% in 2004.
Secondly, the US savings rate is now at 0%, and has been declining for the last 20+ years. If the debt were “good” debt, it would manifest itself in an income stream that would accumulate in either wages or accumulated savings. In essence, the debt’s benefits would accrue this year (in your current income), or would be put away for use in a future year (savings). Because wages have been stagnant for the last 5 years, the only other place for a benefit to appear is savings, which have decreased.
The debt level is used to maintain a standard of living, not create a better standard of living. As a result, the debt level is “bad.” It has not increased the individual consumers current income, nor his savings. In effect, it has not created anything. Instead, consumers have used their credit to buy things that don’t create additional income or provide for future income."