High Taxes and Inflation reduce Disposable Income and our Music Purchases

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 14th, 2013

Week in Review

If you’re old you remember going to a record store.  Putting a flat piece of vinyl on a spinning disc.  Lowering a needle on it.  And listening to that song through a pair of headphones.  If the music was awesome you bought that piece of vinyl.  If it wasn’t you listened to other songs until you found the one you wanted to buy.

Then came the audio cassette.  Where people would borrow their friend’s records and record them.  So you could enjoy the ones you paid for.  And the ones your friends paid for.  But the audio cassette did not put the music industry out of business.  For people still bought music.  In fact, some people may have bought even more as they could record the one song or two they liked onto a ‘mix’ tape.  Creating a ‘mix’ for each mood.  Hard rock.  Soft Rock.  And the more records you owned the more mix tapes you could create.

But since those days taxes and inflation have sucked away our disposable income.  And we’re not buying as much music as we once did (see Why It’s Hard to Charge for Music by Matthew Yglesias posted 12/13/2013 on Slate).

The problem here is one of supply and demand. It’s not that people won’t pay for Pandora because they don’t see any value in Pandora’s service. It’s that Pandora’s paid service has to compete with Pandora’s ad-supported service. Pandora could solve that problem by eliminating its ad-supported service, but it’s pretty clear that there’s a robust market for an ad-supported music-streaming service so then Pandora would need to compete with a new player. Personally, I really do enjoy an ad-free music streaming experience so I have a paid Rdio subscription which works on my computer, on my mobile phone, and on my home Sonos setup.

So good for me. But if I was a teenager with no money or ran into financial difficulty as an adult and needed to cut back, this would be an easy call to chop. Not because music isn’t valuable but because the margin of convenience offered by a paid service versus a free one just isn’t that big.

It’s the loss of disposable income that is hurting the music industry.  As well as paid subscription services.  In today’s world it is not uncommon for someone to pay for cable television AND a broadband Internet connection AND satellite radio in your car AND a mobile device contract with a monthly payment as large as a car payment.  People have never spent more money on entertainment.  And paying for live-streaming music on top of all this is just one paid subscription too many.  That’s why people aren’t paying for music if they can get it for free.  They love and value their music.  But they love and value so much other stuff as well that they don’t have any disposable income left to pay for music.  Thanks to higher taxes and inflation shrinking everyone’s take-home pay.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Perception, President Obama and the Rand Paul Filibuster

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 14th, 2013

Politics 101

Sound Bites and Photo Opportunities define our Politicians Today

Perception is in the eye of the beholder.  Are you familiar with the story about a real estate broker?  He works in a small town with a main road through it connecting two larger cities.  A lot of traffic travels this road.  This broker has two properties listed for sale.  One on the road into town.  And one on the road out of town.  All of these cars driving through this town see those two signs and think, “Wow, this guy must be the biggest broker in town.  I see his signs everywhere.”

But he is not the biggest broker in town.  But because his two signs are on the busiest road in town the perception is that he is.  Because people can’t enter the town or leave the town without seeing one of what seem to be many of his signs.  If they drove on the other streets of this town they would not see any of his signs.  While they would see a great many of his competitors’ signs.  With a detailed analysis people would conclude that this real estate broker is the smallest and least successful in town.  But with only a cursory glance he is the biggest broker in town.  This is perception.

Politicians understand perception.  So they work hard to shape what people see and hear.  And less on substance.  That’s why sound bites and photo opportunities define our politicians.  Politicians get their picture taken with babies and the down trodden to show how much they care.  Their speeches will be nothing but a series of sound bites suitable for quoting by the talking heads on television and in political ads.  And they will always answer a question with a prepared talking point.  Instead of answering the question.  And when it comes to campaigning they will take everything their opponents say out of context to change everyone’s perception about them.

Our Schools teach our Kids that a Just Society uses Government to Redistribute Wealth to make Society Fairer

Democrats are masters at creating perception.  Which is easy to do when you have the mainstream media in your pocket.  As well as college professors and high school teachers.  The entertainment industry.  The music industry.  Etc.  This small sliver of people has a profound impact on the masses.  For they dominate what people hear and learn.  And with them having a far left ideology their message is far left.  So when this small sliver of people fills our airwaves, cable television, movies and our classrooms their minority viewpoint creates the perception of being the majority viewpoint.  Like that real estate broker.  Because it’s everywhere.  While the majority of people who don’t share their ideology aren’t on television or in the movies.  On the radio or teaching our kids in the classroom.

The perception our kids have of America when graduating from high school is not that good.  Our teachers teach them that America stole the land from the Indians.  And stole Spanish America from the Spanish who stole it from the Indians.  They teach that slavery is America’s original sin.  As if America invented the institution of slavery.  Despite slavery having been around as long as civilization has been around.  They teach that America grew rich because of free slave labor.  Despite the South losing the American Civil War because the institution of slavery so impoverished the South that it was no match for what the North’s paid-labor could produce.  They teach our kids that capitalism is unfair and that profits are evil.  Despite the greatest oppression of people (as well as the lowest standards of living and greatest famines) has always been in anti-capitalistic nations (the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, North Korea, Cuba, the countries of Eastern Europe during the cold war, etc.).  While at the same time they teach our kids the goodness of government.  And gloss over the oppression and privations of socialist/communist countries everywhere.

So our kids graduate from high school with the perception that if government doesn’t greatly regulate the free market the greed of capitalism will cause great unfairness.  And that a just society uses government to redistribute wealth to make society fairer.  And that anyone who opposes higher taxes and greater regulation to facilitate this fairer society hates kids.  They want to pollute our air and water.  They want unsafe food.  They want women to die from cancer.  They hate the planet.  Poor people.  Gay people.  Etc.  They hear this so often and so consistently that they accept it as the majority opinion.  And when they go on to college or start watching the news this perception is reinforced.  Which is why our young people vote Democrat.  Because the perception is that Democrats are for the working man.  The party that puts people before profits.  While the Republicans put rich people, and their money, before everything else.

Was it the Rand filibuster that made President Obama launch a Charm Offensive?

A big part of forming perceptions is not telling the truth. When President Obama was candidate Obama he didn’t want to nationalize health care.  He opposed same-sex marriage.  He didn’t support gun control.  He talked about transparency.  He attacked President Bush for being fiscally irresponsible.  And for running massive deficits that added to the debt.  He talked about not spending more than the government collected.  But the real President Obama was none of this.  And the real President Obama has never left campaign mode.  For he doesn’t govern.  He continues to campaign.  Against Republicans.  Blaming them for every problem exasperated by his own policies.  And, of course, he continues to blame George W. Bush.  Always attacking Republicans.  Always blaming Republicans.  To reinforce a perception of the Republican Party that will benefit him.  And his party.  So he can win the House back in 2014.  And finally govern as he always wanted to govern.  As a president with no political opposition to restrain his powers.

The president’s Middle East foreign policy has been a disaster.  He refused to support a Democracy movement in Iran.  Our enemy.  While supporting a democracy movement in Egypt.  And in Libya.  Our allies in the War on Terror.  (But not in Syria.  An ally of Iran.)  Now the Middle East is becoming Islamist.  And closer to Iran.  Our enemy.  And the enemy of peace and stability.  This disastrous policy came to a head in Benghazi.  Where four Americans died to advance the perception that President Obama had al Qaeda on the ropes.  When in fact they were resurgent in Benghazi.  Which our ambassador knew.  And tried to tell his boss.  Hillary Clinton.  Begging for more security.  Which never came.  When questioned in Congress about who edited the talking points that Secretary Rice used on the Sunday morning talk shows to advance the lie that it was not al Qaeda but a spontaneous uprising in response to a YouTube video that no one had seen she yelled with righteous indignation, “What difference did it make!?!”  An answer no one accepted in the Watergate investigation.  Which Clinton assisted with as a young attorney.  Back then a government cover-up made a big difference.  Which led to impeachment hearings.  That ended when President Nixon resigned.  But the Obama administration would escape that fate.  For the perception was that this was a Republican partisan witch hunt.  Because they were racists and hated the president.  And with all their support in entertainment, education and the news the people accepted this perception.  And apparently didn’t care about the cover-up of Benghazi.  Unlike they were about the cover-up of Watergate that resulted in no dead Americans.

And this is what made the Rand Paul filibuster so powerful.  For he dared to challenge the perception that the Obama administration was sweet and innocent and transparent unlike the ‘criminal’ administration of George W. Bush.  President Obama has expanded the use of drones.  He has killed more people with them than George W. Bush.  And a lot more innocent bystanders.  Including a few Americans.  Even appearing to want to reserve the right to use a drone strike on Americans on U.S. soil without due process even if they posed no imminent threat.  The Obama administration finally stated that they wouldn’t do that.  But not before those on the Left took notice of Rand Paul’s filibuster.  Including Jon Stewart of the Daily Show.  People who expected something like this from the Bush administration.  But not from the Obama administration.  Giving the Obama administration some rare negative press.  Just enough to get some people to ask, “They want to do what?!?”  And the fact that it took a 13-hour filibuster to get a simple ‘no’ out of the administration makes it look like, perhaps, it’s the Democrats who are not trying to cooperate with the Republicans.  Unlike the perception that it’s the Republicans that are being uncooperative.  Perhaps explaining why the president has launched a charm offensive.  To improve a tarnished perception that they never had to do before.  Thanks to the Rand Paul filibuster.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

FT128: “Democrats use class warfare to attack and tax the rich while taking money from the working poor by selling them lottery tickets.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 27th, 2012

Fundamental Truth

The Inherent Contradiction of Class Warfare is that you can’t Hate the Rich while wanting to be Rich

You hear it in the news.  You can hear it in the streets.  You can feel it in the air.  It’s another election season.  And the Democrats are ramping up their class warfare to assail anyone who did what everyone in the country wants to do.  Make money and live well.  President Obama even told successful small business owners the reason for their success.  Not the 80+ hours a week they put into their business.  But because their previous taxes built roads and bridges.  Which is a puzzler.  Because there are a lot of roads and bridges across America.  So you’d think there would be no business failures.  But there are.  A lot of them.  Despite all those roads and bridges.  Like I said, it’s a puzzler.

I guess the sad truth is that it’s not only rich people who hate the poor.  But it would appear our roads and bridges hate the poor, too.  Otherwise everyone would be making money and living well.  Not just those lucky few the roads and bridges favor.  Damn roads and bridges and their hateful ways.  Then again, roads and bridges are inanimate objects.  And can’t pick winners and losers.  So perhaps it’s the government that taxes us to pay for those roads and bridges that have hateful ways.  Perhaps they’re not building them special enough to spread their magic of success to those they come into contact with.  Perhaps our government officials don’t like poor people either.  That is to say, poor people who don’t remain poor.

But that’s neither here nor there.  It’s more around the corner and down the stairs.  No, what’s at issue here is the inherent contradiction of the Democrats’ class warfare.  Namely, if having more money than others is so evil why is it that everyone wants to have more money than others?  Isn’t that the whole point of unions?  To give their members more money and better benefits than those outside their membership?  It’s why the teachers go on strike.  For more money.  And more benefits.  Including health care and pension benefits that few teachers have ever contributed to.  Which is a lot better than most poor and middle class workers.  So here is a large group of people who have more money than others and yet the president never tells the teachers that they didn’t earn their pay and benefits.  So it’s okay to elevate some people above others even though we all use the same roads and bridges.  Odd.  For that seems like the definition of class warfare.  Granting special privilege to some so they can have more money than others.

Thanks to Roads and Bridges Movie Stars and Musicians make Obscene amounts of Money

To further see the inherent contradiction in class warfare consider Hollywood.  And the young and aspiring actors who go to Hollywood.  Why do they go there?  To become rich and famous.  To have more money than other people.  So they can live in their Hollywood mansions.  And in other mansions around the world where the rich and famous like to call home.  For a few weeks out of the year at least.  Those who make it became obscenely wealthy.  And make far more in a day than regular working people earn in a lifetime.  Not only do they want more money than others.  They have more money than others.  Yet the president doesn’t tell them that they didn’t make that happen.  Or that their success was due not to talent but those roads and bridges.

Consider, too, those who enter the music industry.  Rock, pop, hip hop and rap stars.  Why do these people enter the music industry?  To become rich and famous.  To have more money than other people.  Like the Hollywood stars they, too, want mansions.  Private jets.  Boats.  And all the other toys that money can buy.  They want to eat in the finest restaurants.  And party with famous celebrities from around the world.  These musicians don’t make music for the greater good.  For the poor.  For sick children.  No.  They make music to make as much money as they possibly can.  Some even begin legal action to protect what’s theirs in the digital age.  Fighting piracy abroad and illegal downloads at home.  Because they may have a lot of money.  But more money is better.  So they sue.  Yet the president doesn’t single these people out, telling them that they didn’t make their success.  It was those roads and bridges.  And that their illegally downloaded music is due to the people downloading it.  Who paid for those roads and bridges that made their talent possible.

How about lawyers?  They’re some of the richest people in the world.  And how do they make their money?  By taking it away from others who earn it.  By suing these wealth creators.  Or insurance companies.  Especially medical malpractice attorneys.  Who earned the unflattering moniker ‘ambulance chaser’.  Because they are willing to sue anyone to make a buck.  To have more money than others.  Lawyers are in part responsible for the high cost of health care because of their fraudulent lawsuits raising the cost of medical malpractice insurance.  And the class action lawsuit raises the cost of businesses (and the price of everything we buy) while bringing in obscene amounts of money for them.  While the people they represent make a fraction of what they collect.  But the president doesn’t tell these people that they owe their success to roads and bridges.  No.  He never says a word about lawyers.  Probably because he is a lawyer.  So rich lawyers get a pass.

Being Rich can’t be Bad when the Poor Spend so Much on Lottery Tickets trying to become Rich

The Democrats use class warfare to take more money away from those who they think don’t deserve it.  Those who have more money than others.  Other than teachers, movie stars, music stars, lawyers and anyone else with more money than others who typically vote Democrat.  Which seems to make it okay to have more money than other people.  If you vote Democrat you can have as much money as the roads and bridges can make for you.  But if you’re a small business owner trying to navigate the labyrinth of regulations just so you can pay a high tax rate, well, then it’s a different story.  Because these small business owners may vote Republican.  So whatever they make they were just lucky to make.  Even undeserving.  Because they didn’t build their business.  They weren’t smarter than anyone else.  They just used our roads and bridges to an unfair advantage.  So these leeches now owe us.  The people.  And should pay a higher tax rate.  And when they try to use legal tax shelters we should change the law so they can’t.  While turning a blind eye whenever those who vote Democrat hide their income to avoid paying those high tax rates.

So they attack the successful. To help those who have less than them.  But do they really care for those who make less?  The good, decent, poor people?  Or do they try to take their money, too?  Well, it turns out they don’t.  Care for the good, decent, poor people.  And they try to take back whatever they give them.  By encouraging them to spend as much of their disposable income on lottery tickets as possible.  So the poor can be, wait for it, rich.  That’s why governments sell lottery tickets.  To give people the chance to be rich.  So they, too, can have more money than others.  So they can live well.  Even though they have a better chance of getting struck by lightning than winning a big jackpot.  Because when it comes to the lottery it’s little different than it is in Las Vegas.  The house ultimately wins.  As does the government.

Who’s buying the majority of lottery tickets?  The working poor.  So they can become what the Democrats hate.  People who have more than others.  So they can live well.  Again showing the inherent defect in class warfare.  Having more money than others can’t be bad.  Being rich can’t be bad.  Because if being rich and having more money than others was bad everyone wouldn’t be trying to be rich.  For teachers, movie stars, music stars, lawyers and anyone else with more money than others know that having money is good.  But having more money is better.  Especially when you have more than others.  And you can live a comfortable life away from those who have less than you.  While enjoying a disproportionally large share of that wealth created by all those roads and bridges.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,