Category Archives: Business

Is Netflix being run by the United States Congress? by Simon Black

Fiscally, Netflix runs a lot like a government, going deeper in debt every day. From Simon Black at sovereignman.com:

Shares of Netflix soared today on news the company lost a record $859 million in cash in the third quarter.

Why are investors applauding this egregious destruction of capital?

Well, it’s because investors only look at one number when Netflix reports earnings – subscriber growth.

And on that metric, the company outperformed, adding 6.96 million subscribers, bringing the global total to more than 137 million.

At 137 million subscribers, Netflix has about 2% of the global population as customers.

There are still around 90 million traditional TV accounts in the US (and about 36% of those also have a streaming account).

So there’s definitely room for Netflix to grow in the US and abroad (where the majority of growth is coming today).

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Jamal Khashoggi: Where The Road to Damascus & The Path to 9/11 Converge, by Kristen Breitweiser

Politicians’ worst nightmare: someone who remembers their every word. From Kristen Breitweiser at washingtonsblog.com:

By Kristen Breitweiser, one of the four 9/11 widows – known as the “Jersey Girls” – instrumental in forcing the government to form the 9/11 Commission to investigate the 2001 attacks. Follow Kristen Breitweiser on Twitter: .

Road to Damascus Conversion: Derived from the Biblical story of Paul, the term “Damascus road conversion” is commonly used to refer to an abrupt about-face on a serious issue of religion, politics or philosophy. In this type of change, a single, dramatic event causes a person to become aligned with something he or she previously was against or support a position that he or she previously opposed. https://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-damascus-road-conversion.htm#didyouknowout

As a 9/11 widow who has spent the last 17 years fighting for accountability with regard to the 9/11 attacks that killed my husband and 3,000 others, I find the recent uproar over Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance and alleged murder interesting and out of character for many of those decrying his disappearance and demanding an investigation and accountability.

Frankly, 9/11 Family members keep a running list of all those in Washington who have proved by their past actions to be against U.S. victims of terrorism and in support of nations like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a nation with a long history of supporting global Wahhabist terrorism. As victims of terrorism, we are ever vigilant and watchful about all those named on our lists. We follow these folks actions, their speeches, their legislation, because we know that they are never looking out for our best interests as U.S. victims of terrorism. As a group, our institutional memory is broad and long. And we never forget.

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Robert Gore Said That? 10/10/18

On Septemeber 30, at Murphy, North Carolina, I addressed the Appalachian Network PATCON, a gathering of very bright people on the cutting edge of preparation for the coming catastrophe. The topic was: “How to Survive an Economic Collapse.”

“Concerned” Bank of England Raises Alarm about Growth of High-Risk Loans, by Don Quijones

The market for high-risk loans that have little or no protections for creditors has ballooned. From Don Quijones at wolfstreet.com:

The power of Collateralized  Loan Obligations.

“The global leveraged loan market is larger than – and growing as quickly as – the US subprime mortgage market was in 2006,” said the Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee in the statement from its latest meeting. And the committee is “concerned by the rapid growth of leveraged lending.”

In terms of magnitude, the US and EU “leveraged loan” market combined now exceeds $1.3 trillion, up from $50 billion at the turn of the century.

A “leveraged loan” is a loan that is extended to junk-rated (BB+ or lower), over-indebted companies. These loans are considered too risky for banks to keep on their books. Instead, banks sell them to loan funds, or they package them into highly rated Collateralized Loan Obligations (CLOs) and sell them to CLO funds and other institutional investors. In the UK, over £38 billion ($50 billion) of these loans were issued in 2017 — more double the amount in 2016 — and a further £30 billion ($39 billion) has already been issued in 2018.

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Rising health-care costs are eating away at your wages and you may not even realize it, by Alessandra Malito

Americans spend more for medical care and get less for what they spend than virtually any other country on the planet. The solution is less government interference with the market, not more. From Alessandra Malito at marketwatch.com:

Health-care costs are quietly eating away at American wages.

Employer-sponsored insurance premiums have jumped dramatically in the last 20 years, from almost $6,000 in 1999 to more than $18,000 in 2016, according to a report released Wednesday by the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive Washington-based economic think tank. Those health-care expenses accounted for 51.7% of the average annual earnings for the bottom 90% of the workforce in 2016, compared to 25.6% in 1999.

Out-of-pocket costs have also soared. Between 2006 and 2016, out-of-pocket expenses rose more than 53%. Insurers are paying more too; their costs increased 48.5% over the same time frame. As a result, people are spending record amounts of money on health care. In 2016, medical expenses accounted for 17.4% of gross domestic product — the total value of all the goods and services produced in the country — up from 8.4% in 1979 and 5.2% in 1963.

This rising price of health care costs families thousands of dollars a year in foregone wages, out-of-pocket costs and increased taxes, said Josh Bivens, research director at EPI. “Rising health costs are the clearest sign of how dysfunctional the American health care sector is,” he said. “We spend far more for the same — or worse — quality health care as our international peers, which has a tremendous impact on typical workers’ wages and their ability to secure health care on the job.”

Along with more expensive co-pays and deductibles, employers are pressured to take a bigger cut of their employees’ wages to pay for insurance premiums, it added. Workers may not directly see how those expenses affect their paychecks, but he said it’s one reason wages have been stagnant for most workers.

“If employer contributions to employer-sponsored premiums had remained constant as a share of cash wages since 1979, cash compensation could have been $387 billion higher by 2016 for the total labor force, or $327 billion higher for the bottom 90%,” the EPI report concluded. “For the bottom 90% of full-time-equivalent employees, this would imply cash wages that were higher by roughly $2,740 on average.”

The U.S. health-care system ranks last in numerous categories among other wealthy, advanced countries, according to a report released by the Commonwealth Fund last year, even though the U.S. spends the most on health care per capita. What’s more, medical offices and health insurance providers don’t always agree on what’s covered by insurance companies.

Socialism Destroys, by John Stossel

Just because you put the word “Democratic” in front of socialism doesn’t make socialism any better than the failure it has repeatedly been. From John Stossel at theburningplatform.com:

Socialism is hot.

Famous actors recently made a commercial proclaiming that “democratic socialism” creates some of the best parts of America. It’s “your kids’ public school” (says Susan Sarandon), the “interstate highway system” (Rosario Dawson), “public libraries” (Jay Ferguson), “EMTs” (Ethan Embry), “workers who plow our streets” (Max Carver) and “scientists” (Danny DeVito).

Wow. I guess every popular thing government does is socialism.

The celebrities conclude: “We can do better when we do them together.”

There is sometimes truth to that, but the movie stars don’t know that America’s first highways were built by capitalist contractors. They also probably didn’t notice that the more popular parts of government — public schools, EMTs, snow plowing, libraries, etc. — are largely locally funded.

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Revealed: The Run on Banks in Catalonia after the Independence Vote was Fomented by Madrid, by Don Quijones

The Spanish government will do whatever it takes to keep milk-cow Catalonia part of Spain. From Don Quijones at wolfstreet.com:

The clandestine role of the Spanish government in a run on deposits that drained €29 billion from Catalan banks.

Just over a year has passed since over two million people in Catalonia voted in a banned referendum to leave Spain. On that day, the separatists were given a brutal lesson in the raw power of state violence. Days later, they were given another harsh lesson, this time in the fickleness of money. Within days of holding the vote, which was brutally suppressed but not prevented by Spanish police, Spain’s north eastern region was forced to watch as one after another of its brand names moved their headquarters, at least on paper, to other parts of Spain.

Among the first companies to up sticks were Catalonia’s two largest banks, Caixabank and Banco Sabadell, which feared being cut off from European Central Bank funding in the event, albeit unlikely, of Catalonian secession. That would have meant no more virtually interest-free loans from the ECB or access to Europe’s repo markets. In other words, a death sentence, as Caixabank’s then president Isidro Faine recently admitted.

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