Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · The Downward Spiral
. . . .

The Downward Spiral

Robert Downes - August 15th, 2002
Down and down and down it goes and where it stops? Nobody knows.
That seems to be the mantra on the financial news these days as the stock market does its herky-jerky dance of 300 points down here and a bounce back there. Lou Dobbs‘ Moneyline says investors are switching to real estate (my suggestion over a year ago, by the way), and a panicked family tells CNN that they‘ve lost $800,000 of their savings in what‘s become “a very frightening situation.“
Few of us have the luxury of $800,000 to lose; in fact, only an estimated 1-in-20 investors actually “play the market.“ These are apparently the people who buy low on Monday after the stock market slides off a cliff on the preceding Friday... and thus the sea-sick sense of up-and-down.
But still, enough of us have 401K plans, IRAs and mutual funds in this great age of Social Insecurity and the past year has gone down like a long streak of gambler‘s bad luck. Eighty million baby boomers are looking at retirement with the promises of the ‘90s evaporating like the fizz in Gordon “greed is good“ Gekko‘s martini. I‘ve given up opening the periodic statements in the mail describing the downward spiral of my own retirement plan -- it‘s down something like 30% and approaching the realm of fantasy. I just don‘t want to know anymore.
The stock market fell a similar percentage on Black Thursday, Oct. 17, 1987, which was the biggest one-day loss in the history of the 106-year-old Dow Jones Industrial Average. Is it any comfort that millions of people have at least temporarily lost much of their retirement income over the space of a year rather than a single day? Perhaps that depends on your age and how much you had in the kitty.
At any rate, the stock market rebounded to its former level within a year-and-a-half after ‘87, and as the Bard said, “all‘s well that end‘s well.“
So come on, lucky dice...
It will be interesting to see if President Bush & Co. weather the storm if the market keeps falling along with the nest eggs of America‘s retirees. Like sailors chained to dead men, the Bush administration is ineluctably bound to the corporate pirates of Enron, Halliburton, Arthur Andersen, et. al., who sparked this crisis in confidence.
Consider, for instance, Black Friday on Sept. 24, 1869, when a small group of unscrupulous investors, including Jay Gould and James Fisk, attempted to use their leverage in the administration of President Ulysses S. Grant to corner the nation‘s gold market. Their tinkering led to the financial ruin of thousands of Americans, and the resulting wrath made Grant a one-termer.
But that was a few thousand Americans. We‘re talking about millions, tens of millions.
For what it‘s worth, my wrath is up. How ‘bout yours?
Finally, here‘s a funny notion from a letter writer in the Sonoma County Independent: This would be a great time to ditch Social Security and pour all of our payroll deductions into the stock market. The fresh infusions of hot cash would revive the market, and every citizen‘s ownership of Corporate America would fulfill a Marxist dream of the masses owning the means of production. Thus, we stockholders could demand sweeping reforms of corporate criminality or heads would roll.
Any takers?
Didn‘t think so.
 
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