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July 19, 2019

Comments

BRK-B is a core position for me.

BRK-B WAAAY OUT ON A LIMB. A true conservative.

LOL.

I had been 100% in equities for 2012.

I have been 100% in clothes since this morning, myself.

Sorry, sorry. It's weird how certain perfectly routine and serviceable usages in the Financial Dialect of modern American English make me giggle.

This one also could make me gasp, if I was not familiar with the Dialect:
As far as my view of the economy, I think it will slow. Probably to zero.

An old prof of mine used to explain the perilous nature of colloquialisms by pointing out that if some Old Kingdom Egyptian were to decipher modern hieroglyphs forecasting that it will be raining cats and dogs tomorrow, said Egyptian might feel as befuddled as modern Westerners do when confronting Pharaos with jackals' heads for the first time.

At least, I think whoever originally wrote of The Economy that "it will slow. Probably to zero" was using colloquial shorthand.

BTW, let me for once commend Marty, on linguistic grounds anyway. Marty wrote "we hired 4 people" instead of indulging in the execrable but ever-popular trope that "we created 4 new jobs". Good on you for that, Marty.

--TP

You lot with your investment-speak remind me of nothing so much as the Monty Python banter sketch, which is set in a wartime RAF station. For those who haven't seen it, you have to imagine them all talking in exaggeratedly upper-class RP. FYI, the first couple of lines of Idle's first are in fact comprehensible banter. Since I can't post links I am going to have to copy and paste it - please forgive.

Jones: Morning, Squadron Leader.

Idle: What-ho, Squiffy.

Jones: How was it?

Idle: Top-hole. Bally Jerry, pranged his kite right in the how's-your-father; hairy blighter, dicky-birded, feathered back on his sammy, took a waspy, flipped over on his Betty Harpers and caught his can in the Bertie.

Jones: Er, I'm afraid I don't quite follow you, Squadron Leader.

Idle: It's perfectly ordinary banter, Squiffy. Bally Jerry, pranged his kite right in the how's-your-father; hairy blighter, dicky-birded, feathered back on his sammy, took a waspy, flipped over on his Betty Harpers and caught his can in the Bertie.

Jones: No, I'm just not understanding banter at all well today. Give us it slower.

Idle: Banter's not the same if you say it slower, Squiffy.

Jones: Hold on then... Wingco! Bend an ear to the Squadron Leader's banter for a sec, would you?

Chapman: Can do.

Jones: Jolly good. Fire away.

Idle: Bally Jerry, pranged his kite right in the how's-your-father; hairy blighter, dicky-birded, feathered back on his sammy, took a waspy, flipped over on his Betty Harpers and caught his can in the Bertie.

Chapman: No, I don't understand that banter at all.

Idle: Something up with my banter, chaps?

GRAMS: AIR RAID SIRENS

(Enter Palin, out of breath)

Palin: Bunch of monkeys on the ceiling, sir! Grab your egg-and-fours and let's get the bacon delivered!

Chapman (to Idle): Do *you* understand that?

Idle: No, I didn't get a word of it.

Chapman: Sorry, old man, we don't understand your banter.

Palin: You know, bally tenpenny ones dropping in the custard!

(no reaction)

Palin: Um... Charlie choppers chucking a handful!

Chapman: No no, sorry.

Jones: Say it slower, old chap.

Palin: Slower *banter*, sir?

Chapman: Ra-ther.

Palin: Um... sausage squad up the blue end?

Idle: No, still don't get it.

Palin: Um... cabbage crates coming over the briny?

The others: No, no.

(Film of air-raid)

Idle (voice-over): But by then it was too late. The first cabbage crates hit London on July the 7th. That was just the beginning.

(Chapman seen sitting at desk, on telephone)

Chapman: Five shillings a dozen? That's ordinary cabbages, is it? And what about the bombs? Good Lord, they _are_ expensive

LOL glad we dont sound like that! Although pranged his kite right in the how's-your-father" has now become my standard answer for any number of enquiries

Translation:

I am finding your investment-speak incomprehensible, which is making me laugh and say to myself: sorry chaps, I don't understand your banter.

More military-speak: as you were.

Other investment-speak examples that clang on my ears:

"I'm long December cattle, but I'd fade cotton."

Notice there is no selling to be admitted here, which makes one wonder who is taking the other side of the trade with the buyers of cotton.

This one more common recently, which makes me cautious:

"We've got a "Strong Buy" rating on Roku. We're raising our earnings estimates and ratcheting our new upside price target to $101 per share."

This uttered on the day after Roku hit $110 per share and change. Something is being ratcheted, for sure. My finger.

"We would use 3M as a source of funds."

Why, did you run out of your mother's good china and her jewelry?

"We are resuming coverage of Beyond Cake with a strong hold rating."

They faked stopping coverage when Beyond Cake management warned the firm that they would take their underwriting business elsewhere if they dared utter the "S" word. Then, when the share price dropped as their clients wondered why the silence, they faked resuming coverage with, like p, that they are holding the stock very, very strongly with great bigly strengths of holdiness.

"Never fight the Fed."

This once held water, but as with everything in America now, it's now modified to "Threaten the Fed's existence personally and publicly if it's actions reveal disloyalty to p and republican orthodoxy."

Per GFTNC and Janie's GBS: "Every profession is a conspiracy against the laity", and the conspiracy requires code words whose meaning escapes the rest of us.

Which we know when attorneys refer to us as the parties of the second part.

Garrison Keillor (glad to see he is being rehabilitated), who is good at mimicking the language of the technically initiated, wrote this in a recent article in Harper's, regarding his neurologist's addressing the fact of a stroke the former suffered:

"I shuffled around in a faded cotton gown like Granma in The Grapes of Wrath, and the neurologist brought in a train of disciples who observed me as he said, “This is the guy with the funicula of the esplanade, complicated by deviated nobiscus linguini in the odessa.” Or words to that effect.

When our resident software programmers here speak their lingo, I feel like the patient in the operating theater just before going under, when Dr Moe Howard proffers a hand to Dr. Doctor Curly Howard and requests the latter hand him the anna-canna-penna.

One welcomes when Dr Fine knocks one on the head with a mallet as anesthetic so the ensuing conversation can be slept through.

Later, I'll explain the infield fly rule in baseball.

The Infield Fly Rule.

Yogi Berra: Yeah, what about it?

If you've ever taken the "sausage squad up the blue end", I expect sitting down would be out of the question for at least a week.

At least, I think whoever originally wrote of The Economy that "it will slow. Probably to zero" was using colloquial shorthand.

Some might even say that "slowing, probably to zero" more or less means "is coming to a halt".

But then, I'm a simple man.

It's also of interest to me that our conservative commenters, including one who is nominally most bullish on Trump economic policies, are exiting the equities markets as fast as their brokers will allow them to.

I'm not making judgements, just observations.

If folks aren't familiar with "BRK-B", it refers to Berkshire Hathaway B-stock, which is an incremental share in plain old Berkshire Hathaway, which is Warren Buffet's investment fund. It is one of the most conservative, and most reliable, investment vehicles available. It's basically just an index fund, what makes it special is that Buffet is a really good analyst and has a life-long track record of finding good, solid, dependable places to direct capital.

He is a buy-and-hold guy, not a flip-it-for-quick-cash guy. Apologies if you all knew all of this already.

The rest of whatever Marty and wj and JDT are on about is beyond me. Keep your long December cotton and faded cotton, I'll stick with V7alt and lambda closures.

We all have our secret lingos.

The biggest advocate of Trump economic policies on this board is getting out of equities and jumping into cash as fast as he can. Because his forecast for economic growth is that it's coming to a dead stop. Tax cuts or no.

So, tell me again about the virtues of conservative economic policy.

Nuff said, methinks.

Now this right here is an interesting development.

Russians, especially Muscovites, are sick and tired of Putin's corrupt bullshit. They're putting their asses in the streets.

Will they get support from the "liberal Western democracies"? Or will we decide we'd rather have Putin's lovely green money, and leave the Russian people to have the shit beaten out of them?

When I say that change sometimes means people getting in the damned way, this is what I'm talking about. These folks are getting in the damned way.

What have you done for freedom today?

No judgement, because at least one of the fingers I point will be pointing back at myself. But, for whatever reason, it always seems like nothing changes until somebody's willing to put their ass on the line and take a beating if that's what is required.

Putin is the very model of a modern corrupt kleptocratic autocrat. Trump is barely a patch on him, but he's taking notes.

Putin's money is corrupting "liberal Western democracy", this thing we all say we cherish. This thing which is the apotheosis of human history and progress. Deutsche Bank, Trump Co., god knows how many other organizations out there, just can't say no to Russian blood money. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, can't cash enough of those beautiful Russian checks.

Because it is, after all, money. Who doesn't like money?

Russian kids are getting the crap beat out of them. Qui bono? You and me.

I hope we have the backbone to do likewise if that's what is needed to get this corrupt kleptocratic bastard the hell out of the White House.

From russell's link:

Normally we’d expect the president of the United States to issue a statement, at least, condemning Putin’s actions, providing moral support for the demonstrators, and demanding that their civil rights and liberties be respected. Given the President’s affection and affinity for Putin, as well as other authoritarian leaders, the best we can hope for is that Secretary Pompeo issues a tepid statement. I expect what will really happen is that an unattributed statement will eventually be made by the State Department.
My bet is we are at least as likely to see a tweet from Trump praising Putin's efforts to "restore order". Anybody want to put money on my being wrong?

There are lots of impacts on the market, including Fed policy, normal economic cycles and exogenous events. Good fiscal policy, including tax cuts, doesnt change that, it just creates the optimal environment to minimize sny negative impacts.

There is the virtue.

The claim - from you, among others - was that the tax cut was sure to lead to 3% growth.

Now, you're predicting zero. Not just predicting, but that's where you're placing your own personal chips. Your money talks louder than your words.

I get that "thing happen" but that was, what... last year? That's a mighty big change, in a mighty short time.

So, I take what you say with many grains of salt.

No offense intended, it just is what it is. 3% growth and zero growth are not the same. Pick one.

The way it looks to me is that (R) economic policies are about making rich folks richer. Full stop. That's not my goal, so I don't support them.

We had 3% growth, but it is a little more nuanced than a single input. Your opinion is as valid as the next person, but your assumptions of intent are incorrect as applied to me. And the middle class is clearly feeling the positive impacts as discussed above.

I also cant afford a 20 or 30% downturn if I ever hope to retire, a long shot at best.

Once upon a time, doctors used to bleed patients. Their intent was unimpeachable. It took a few centuries of actual results, but even the most stubborn (dare I say, "conservative") doctors were finally persuaded that bleeding patients is bad: it doesn't cure disease, it just inflicts suffering.

Today, if a doctor insisted that bleeding patients is worth trying again, nobody would give a crap about his intent.

Bleeding patients is for private-sector insurance companies, for one thing.

--TP

The cognitive dissonance of a Republican who doesn’t deny climate change - still funded by, and engaging in sophistry on behalf of, the oil industry....
https://www.newyorker.com/news/the-political-scene/a-louisiana-republican-reckons-with-climate-change

And that is the best the Republicans have to offer on the issue.
If Trump is re-elected next year, forget any significant action.

Good fiscal policy, including tax cuts...

Unfunded tax cuts, at a time when the deficit is already uncomfortably large, and there is no need for Keynesian stimulus, are unambiguously bad fiscal policy.

You will get a short-term boost in spending. After that, things will deteriorate as the future effects of the increased deficit weigh on the economy.

If you direct most of the tax cuts at the rich, the short-term boost will be small.

My bet is we are at least as likely to see a tweet from Trump praising Putin's efforts to "restore order". Anybody want to put money on my being wrong?

Perhaps he'll decline to interfere in Russian politics, noting that Russian interference in US politics is unwelcome.

Your opinion is as valid as the next person, but your assumptions of intent are incorrect as applied to me.

Fair enough, and apologies for any assumptions I appeared to make about your intentions. I completely understand the need to shift investments to a more defensive position as you approach retirement. I'm in the same boat.

My point here is that the tax cut was not presented as the path to 3% growth for one year, but as a policy that would stimulate growth for many years. Sufficient to overcome to giant hole it blew in the federal balance sheet, for instance.

And that is not happening, and the fact that it is not happening is recognized by you, and wj, and JDT, and many many other people. That recognition is reflected in your actions. For which I *am not* making judgements about you or anyone else, it's a reasonable response to a plain set of facts.

The point I am making is that the (R) party claims its policies are good for the economy because they foster growth and investment. And they don't, QED. The tax cut, more than anything else, represents a cash gift to corps, many if not most of whom will employ that gift to line their pockets. Very large corps are already sitting on buckets of cash, they don't need the gift. If we want to encourage investment by small start-up corps, target the incentive to them.

It's a nice little bump to the household budget for some middle class folks (but not for lots of others), which will turn into paying down a bit of debt (if they're smart), or a new TV, or maybe a vacation trip. That's all nice, but it's not the basis of sustained economic growth.

Pro Bono covers the high points in his 7:06.

(R)'s tell us, and have been telling us, that if we just help wealthy people make more money - lighten their tax burden, remove regulatory impediments - some of that money will somehow find its way into everybody's pockets. Enough so that anyone willing to get their behinds out of bed and do a day's work will be able to not just survive, but thrive.

It is, and has been, an article of faith for (R)'s for as long as I've been an adult. And there may in fact be certain conditions under which it would play out that way.

But for the last 40 years, it has not played out that way.

(R) policies have the effect of making wealthy people increasingly wealthy, and of not doing little if anything for the conditions of people who make their living from their labor. Period. They encourage and enable the extraction of wealth from productive enterprise, and the transfer of that wealth into the hands of investors.

If we want to foster sustained growth through public policy, we need to invest in education, infrastructure, research and development. (R) policies do not do those things.

So I do not consider them to be policies that foster growth or long-term economic health, and do not support them.

So, not to belabor, but those policies have been successful for 40 years plus. In that 40 years real compensation is up 100%, unemployment ha s been pretty well controlled, interest rates and inflation have been muted and the economy has grown almost every year.

The major criticism is that income inequality has grown by 10 percent, which is a valid concern to be addressed, but that hasnt been at the expense of lots of other good things.

Generally the minimum wage could be higher, but in 1979 it was about $8,50 in todays dollars, so I'm not buying the criticism of supply side economics around that.

Mostly, it's a fairly complex discussion that has been abandoned for political purposes.

From what I read, it's possible that some took my banter intervention the wrong way. I wasn't complaining at all, it was just making me laugh as it reminded me of the Monty Python sketch (admittedly not one of their best) which I thought you might be somewhat entertained by. God knows I would never want conversation here to come down to the lowest common denominator to be understood (that's me when people talk about economics, investment, IT), and I actually learn a lot even when most of it is completely above my head - e.g. I had already looked up BRK-B as soon as it arose. These are not the only subjects discussed here, by a long shot, so I'm very happy to hang out and contribute when possible, and pick useful stuff up along the way.

As you were.
(I don't know if this is used in the US armed forces, and if not, annoyingly you mainly get the Liam Gallagher album if you look it up.)

And the middle class is clearly feeling the positive impacts as discussed above.


where on the graphs can we find the effects of the Trump giveaway?

https://seekingalpha.com/article/4193310-june-2018-median-household-income

GftNC, I was entertained, it was great. As you were is a common colloquialism in the US military.

BRK-B...

i kept reading that as BRB-K

as in Be Right Back-[O]K ?

and i'm thinking the intersection of people who do text-speak and financial lingo has got to be a small one, but here it is right in front of me!

then i went and ruined the magic by re-reading.

Mostly, it's a fairly complex discussion that has been abandoned for political purposes.

The whole point of "supply side" economics is political. The point is to provide intellectual cover for lowering taxes to enable the transfer of wealth to the rich. Beyond that, in any "complex" discussion of economics, it simply has no place as it is essentially incoherent, and brings nothing to any theoretical discussion of growth, trade, labor markets, etc., etc.

One can easily find many complex discussions on economics in the academic literature, but you will not find supply side economics mentioned.

Marty also conveniently picks a year (1979) in which the real value of the minimum wage was at a maximum. See here.

As to stock market investing, it is wise to remember the old adage that people buy stocks for one reason, but sell for many.

baseball cards

bit coin

Remember, for a while tulip bulbs were at the center of a speculative bubble. We just had one of those not too long ago, remember?

The ONLY testable hypothesis arising from so-called supply side economic "theory" is that lowering taxes will generate more tax revenue.

This has never happened.

One might reasonably assert the sample size is too small to tell. I would respectfully demur.

Pointing out the good points of our recent economic history demonstrates nothing in this regard. There is no casual link from this so-called theory and historical economic performance. It is a classic confusion of correlation with causation.

As Pro Bono notes, the timing of the tax cuts in the economic cycle was bullshit.

This corrupt, rightwing nuthouse called the Republican Party was under intense (do it or else we will primary you with Godzilla) pressure from its big money donors to give them tax cuts, all other considerations be damned.

They admitted it in soundbites in which the perspiration from the stress of the pressure from their thoroughly corrupt Citizens United donors streamed down their faces.

But to further the malignity of it, the tax cuts were DESIGNED to increase the deficit, which the liars (yes, Kudlow and the true believers who have claimed for 50 years that tax receipts would increase with tax cuts lie to themselves as well, which is why they are triply dangerous) now say makes no difference, but as soon as Democrats are in power again (and if p is re-elected) they will revert to blowing up the government again to drastically cut spending, including on Medicare, SS, and the safety net.

We've been through this un-virtuous, malignant political cycle with these ilk how many times and each time, as with the subject of race, we scratch our heads and wonder what they are up to?

How many times does Genghis Khan have to plunder the village before we get it?

The Federalist Society has Medicare in its lame-assed constitutional judicial sights and a budget crisis will be just the time to jerry-rig a bunch of staged right wing lawsuits against Medicare in the lower courts to eat Medicare just as they are trying to kill Obamacare.

Baby face down in the bathtub, never forget THAT is their goal.

But we still invite them to babysit and each time around we can't believe what we can see with our own eyes while viewing the footage on the baby cam. Yeah, it looks like they are holding the baby under, but maybe it's just a radical bubble bath.

Maybe they are giving the baby swimming lessons? We can't quite be sure, can we?

Bullfuckingshit.

Let me clear up any lingering misunderstandings about me and the stock market and taxes.

I pay no attention to tax rates, corporate or individual, when I invest, and neither does anyone else.

I have made plenty and in some cases more money in the markets when tax rates are raised, as they were under Clinton and Obama, as I have under the tax cutters, and that includes the past three years.

And I have lost money under both regimes.

91% high marginal tax rates under Truman and Eisenhower were the golden age of investing and economic growth in America.

Every goddamned market crash in the last 100 years has happened under conservative watches, and after they slashed taxes and slashed spending.

Go ahead, try and slash government spending during an economic downturn ... again.

Go ahead, tell us that cutting the government's income will result in more income for the government ... again.

Go ahead, tell US how great tax cuts and spending austerity are through one phone while you are yelling "Sell Everything!" to your broker through the phone in your other hand.

Cripes, it's like a passion play repeated every political cycle.

When it comes down to it, all the markets want (I've never seen the "market" interviewed by the way; I always see maybe one guy being interviewed who tells the "reporter" that the market has told HIM what he wants to hear) is stability with as little uncertainty as possible.

What the details are of the certainty (deficits, tax rates, bla bla bla within the confines of the parameters we discuss them) don't mean much.

Marty: I got that from your response, many thanks. And thanks on the "as you were", it's now filed in my "useable in both languages" file. My sister just put me on her Netflix, and they have the Rolling Thunder Review documentary on - I'll be watching it soon!

As you were.

What JDT (OTCQX) said.

More on the Trump tax cuts here.

As a chronicle of a historical time and place, the Rolling Thunder documentary is quite something.

FUBAR is another military colloquialism that is suitably applicable to everything in life.

In that 40 years real compensation is up 100%,

Context: "Americans' paychecks are bigger than 40 years ago, but their purchasing power has hardly budged."

In that 40 years real compensation is up 100%, unemployment ha s been pretty well controlled, interest rates and inflation have been muted and the economy has grown almost every year.

Really, I'm not trying to be a jerk here, but from 1980 to now real compensation is up 50%, not 100%.

What's up 100% over that period is real labor output.

Compensation doesn't necessarily have to move lockstep with productivity. But 100% vs 50% is a very big gap.

The US population in 1980 was 226M. Now it's 329M. That's an increase of almost 60%. So, yes, the economy has grown, because everybody has to eat. I'm not sure (R) policies can take credit.

Other things that have grown during that period are personal bankruptcy. The St Louis Fed, from which this graph comes, notes:

The typical person who files for bankruptcy is a blue collar, high school graduate who heads a lower middle-income class household and who makes heavy use of credit.[3] Research has found that the primary cause of personal bankruptcy is a high level of consumer debt often coupled with an unexpected insolvency event, such as divorce, job loss, death of a spouse or a major medical expense not covered by insurance.[4]

Also household debt - grew a lot post-WWII, then stable from early 60's until very early 80's. Then steep under Reagan and Bush I, less so under Clinton, then insane under Bush II until it reached almost 100% of GDP before the recession. It's settled back since then (thank you Obama, or more accurately Janet Yellen) but is still around 80% of GDP.

For folks who wonder why Warren wants to forgive (some of) college debt, look at the the third graph in the Slate piece.

US households owe 80% of the GDP. 4 out of 5 dollars generated by the entire productive capacity of the United States. A lot of that is mortgage, so potentially a form of wealth-building. A hell of a lot of it is not. It's no freaking good if you get a little raise if you immediately have to hand it over to JP Morgan.

So no, I don't believe that the policies of the last 40 years have been good for people who get their income from their labor. They're being soaked, it seems to me. And my opinion is based on numbers from the St Louis Fed, not Bernie Sanders or whatever the "lefty" equivalent of Fox News is, assuming that some such thing exists.

The (R)'s are telling us all nice things, at least economically, but they aren't showing us the money. So I don't believe them.

And for folks who wonder how Warren turned from a (R) economically conservative free-market advocate, into the freaking warrior for financial regulation that she is now, it was her research into the causes of personal bankruptcy.

It was digging into the story of guys like this guy:


The typical person who files for bankruptcy is a blue collar, high school graduate who heads a lower middle-income class household and who makes heavy use of credit.[3] Research has found that the primary cause of personal bankruptcy is a high level of consumer debt often coupled with an unexpected insolvency event, such as divorce, job loss, death of a spouse or a major medical expense not covered by insurance.[4]

This guy thinks Trump is his friend. Trump wants sell him a MAGA hat and some plastic straws - that'll own the libs! - but Trump doesn't give a flying fnck if that guys lives or ends up dying of an Oxy overdose after he loses his house trying to pay for his big-ass truck.

Know anyone like that?

The person trying to get that guy's back is Elizabeth Warren. I don't care if folks like her, hate her, want to vote for her or want to blow up the TV every time her face shows up. Think what you want. But Warren is trying to save that guy's ass.

The (R)'s are by god not.

"The US population in 1980 was 226M. Now it's 329M. That's an increase of almost 60%. So, yes, the economy has grown, because everybody has to eat. I'm not sure (R) policies can take credit."

Except the economy had to grow enough to employ and feed all those extra people. In fact the work force grew by 50% during that period. So real wages being even while assimilating that growth without significant inflation is a success.

The Federalist Society has Medicare in its lame-assed constitutional judicial sights and a budget crisis will be just the time to jerry-rig a bunch of staged right wing lawsuits against Medicare in the lower courts to eat Medicare just as they are trying to kill Obamacare.

That would destroy the GOP (if it hasn't imploded already)! The party's base has a huge component of retired folks. Who will be more than a little upset if they suddenly have to start paying their own medical bills -- no employers, after all, to package it for them.

It's possible to kill off a benefit if
a) it only goes to a small group with limited political clout, or
b) it's only just started, and people are still getting used to it.
Obamacare might still be in category b, although I strongly doubt it. Especially in states (I'm looking at you Kentucky!) where the Medicaid expansion happened. But Medicare sure as hell isn't.

If you say so.

Output grew 100%. Compensation grew 50%. US households owe 80% of GDP. Personal bankruptcies grew from negligible to 1 per thousand in the years from 1900 to 1980, then from 1 per thousand to 6 per thousand from 1980 to now.

How many more decades of this is it going to take before there is no middle class? What then? Do we all go "into service", polishing Jeff Bezos' silver?

The numbers I cited do not paint the picture of a healthy economy. They paint the picture of a vigorous economy, an economy that generates a lot of wealth. But "vigor" and "health" are not exactly synonymous. Ask any cancer cell.

The distribution of the wealth is not favorable to people who earn their living through their labor.

If you want to persuade me otherwise, you have to show me the money. I don't see the money. I see interesting talk about "exogenous factors", but I don't see the money.

So I'm unconvinced.

What Janie said (10:05)

Except the economy had to grow enough to employ and feed all those extra people.

Under most conditions this is a rather obvious outcome, and is simply stating the obvious. It does nothing to bolster your claim wrt supply side political economics.

In fact the work force grew by 50% during that period.

Again...stating the obvious. If population grows by 50% then it would seem to follow that the working age population grew similarly. Given our aging demographics, it was probably the influx of those brown hordes from the south that got that figure over the line. Using your line of logic, I could argue that tax cuts "caused" a flood of illegal immigration.

So real wages being even while assimilating that growth without significant inflation is a success.

Simply put, this is a non sequitur. Tax cuts are not the primary reason for this "success".

From russell's link quote: The typical person who files for bankruptcy is a blue collar, high school graduate who heads a lower middle-income class household and who makes heavy use of credit. [emphasis added]

And then Trump wonders why the upper class never accepts him....

Marty,

As it stands, your 10:39 sounds like gobbledygook. (Not funny enough to be banter.) If you care to revise and extend your remarks, I for one will not object.

People eat. More people eat more. More goodsandservices being eaten means more have to be produced. Who can produce them? The extra people, of course. So this:

the economy had to grow enough to employ and feed all those extra people

is a weird construction that seems founded on the Republicon view that The Economy "provides jobs" as if "jobs" are in the same basket of goodsandservices as food or iPhones.

--TP

And don't forget, Genghis Khan killed 20-40 million people, therefore I am correct.

"without significant inflation"

Wage inflation, which you just touted as adequate, at best, is held by the conservative establishment to be the component of inflation that must be vanquished at all costs, and has been, so yes.

In fact, the wages of those whose job is to tell us that wage inflation is evil and must be defeated have gone up the most. Demand for high wage wage-inflation haters is at an all-time high as they organize the economy around low wages.

Else, why is p's hollowed out industrial heartland, which only activates his self-interested political spleen, not his heart, where wages and benefits have stagnated, if not been gutted, testimony.

Rent, medical costs, etc thru the roof.

But yeah we have very little wage inflation and if we did, you as a businessman would demand it be nipped in the bud, while of course inflating your own compensation by juking the price of your company's stock with buybacks and calling it whatever.

Not you, YOU.

It's a great swirling constellation of rationalized manure spread evenly over all of us.

Cut wages and cut taxes.

Then claim wages and tax receipts are growing.

If I wore a hat, I'd throw it on the ground and jump up and down on it.

But have you seen what it costs to replace a good hat?

Also, Genghis Khan's emails.

Just to inject a little economic expertise into our discussion, this from the Congressional Research Service.

[There is] no sign that the Trump tax cuts made any discernible contribution to growth, wages, or business investment. Corporations did not plow their windfalls into exceptionally productive and innovative ventures. Instead, they mostly threw their handouts onto the giant pile of cash they were already sitting on, and/or returned it to their (predominantly rich) shareholders.
Oh.

OUT, foul expertise, OUT!!

Later today, I'm going to talk about the literal rehabilitation of Genghis Khan by the crypto-Christian anti-semitic conservative fascists now leading one East European country, as they make up a largely recycled "Volk" mythology with which to persecute and prosecute the Other.

P is watching them closely as he watches Putin and other right-wing oligarchs and kleptocrats for inspiration in his ultimate to kill and murder his opposition in the streets of the good ole USA when things get out of hand.

In a separate post, I want to address the dust up between Janie and MCKT way upthread, which is now old news, but both combatants will come off looking pretty good in my estimation, within the context of my view that the wrong people are arguing with each other, but the OBWI commentariat has to go into argument with the commenters we have.

So, McKT, if you are hovering nearby, stay tuned later tonight.

Meanwhile, I'm working on a line of Genghis Khan t-shirts but it's all in fun.

That would destroy the GOP (if it hasn't imploded already)!

The most significant thing the GOP has going for it is that the only meaningful alternative to it is the Democratic Party.

Wow, Charles, I hadn't expected you to say that the Libertarian Party isn't a meaningful alternative. Wonders never cease.

Although growth rates cannot indicate the tax cut’s effects on GDP, they tend to rule out very large effects particularly in the short run. Although investment grew significantly, the growth patterns for different types of assets do not appear to be consistent with the direction and size of the supply-side incentive effects one would expect from the tax changes. This potential outcome may raise questions about how much longer-run growth will result from the tax revision.


From was expert. Although investment grew significantly, we decided not to count it. As if that money wasnt fungible.

So Tony's right, I'm rushing through these because its a busier day. So I'm not going to do that.

rich and poorFor the umpteenth time.

CBO numbers for after tax household income 1979-2005. (Years ago I stopped trying to find #'s for post-2005. I think they stopped publishing them this way and I haven't checked back more recently.)

Series 1-4 = bottom four quintiles. Flat. (But real wages doubled. Yay!)

Top quintile is divided into seven slices. Series 5-9 are the lower ones. Series 10-11 is the top tenth of a %. Series 11 is the top % of a %, about 11000 households in 2005. To belabor what the visual makes obvious: The top slices are where all the wealth went.

No time to link back to longer explanations from earlier iterations. Anyhow, this is just a visual representation of what several people have said above. And over and over, for years.

https://www.baltimoresun.com/opinion/editorial/bs-ed-0728-trump-baltimore-20190727-k6ac4yvnpvcczlaexdfglifada-story.html?outputType=amp

"Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that after adjusting for inflation, households with an annual income of $100,000 or more rose from a mere 8% of households in 1967 to a quarter of households in 2014."
Middle Class Shrinks as High Income Households Multiply: The next time you hear someone bemoan the "shrinking middle class," take a closer look at the data.


"It is not easy to put an exact figure on the value of those non-wage benefits, but they could amount to as much as 30 or even 40 percent of the workers’ earnings. The lion’s share of the non-wage benefits, ..., is consumed by “the dramatic increase in health insurance costs.” “The fixed costs of health insurance,” ..., “are a much larger percentage of the total compensation of lower-earnings workers.”"
U.S. Cost of Living and Wage Stagnation, 1979-2015: Looking at average hourly earnings alone ignores at least three very important factors.

Wow, Charles, I hadn't expected you to say that the Libertarian Party isn't a meaningful alternative. Wonders never cease.

Meaningful in the sense of who will get the votes. But the two parties are working hard to change that.

Ah, "viable" rather than "meaningful"

Stock buybacks: a little history

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/the-stock-buyback-swindle/ar-AAEH2IZ

Which is worse, the Laffer curve or shareholder value? (By which I mean, which has killed more people, of course.)

The Laffer Curve is a theory about a scam.

Shareholder value as the end-all and be-all of human endeavor is a surefire direct marketing scam, fully implemented.

On the sincerity scale, Genghis Khan takes the cake, though probably not to a gay wedding.

One thing about Genghis Khan, he was NOT a bullshitter.

He followed through on achieving his quotas. If called to account, he's not going to hide behind the "I couldn't help it, there were perverse incentives" mealy-mouthedness.

Oh sure, all other genocidal mass murdering comers throughout history put their marketing departments to work inflating their body count numbers, but Khan was the Amazon of his era ... profits, schmofits, bring me the heads and let the doubters count them.

Should the Republicans in Congress read the Special Prosecutors' report on the relative demerits of Hillary Clinton and Genghis Khan, the latter's report will be totally redacted except for the words "Japanese grilled mutton dish", while Clinton's will conclude that a sitting melon murderer can not only be indicted, but ridiculed for faking a recovery from terminal cancer, AIDS, and whooping cough just in time for an election.

Some info on employee benefits in U.S. of A:

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/ebs2.pdf

If you have not much else to do today, take a look.

Which is worse, the Laffer curve or shareholder value?

Both should be drowned in a bathtub.

Both sides!

High income households = two earner families.

Perspective. It helps.

"Americans often move between different income brackets over the course of their lives. As covered in an earlier blog post, over 50 percent of Americans find themselves among the top 10 percent of income-earners for at least one year during their working lives, and over 11 percent of Americans will be counted among the top 1 percent of income-earners for at least one year. "

Income Mobility, Regulations and Personal Choices: Fortunately, a great deal of what explains income mobility are choices that are largely within an individual's control.

These links are rather amazing.

I mean, I was aware the right-wing sophistry/wealth apologetics think-tank industry has been in high gear for some time, but still.

I'm curious, CharlesWT, as to how closely/critically you've actually looked at those posts and thought about, for example, what those "1+ year" income "mobility" figures really mean.

(We can also discuss individual choice and why it's a poor excuse for a society's failure to thrive, but be prepared for a tediously long-winded essay or two.)

A snapshot history of the doctrine of maximizing shareholder value as the pre-eminent purpose of business.

The link goes to The American Prospect, so the discussion comes with a point of view. Factor it in, and take away the whatever information is of value.

As a friend says, eat the meat and spit out the bones.

Net/net, it's only been relatively recently that maximizing shareholder value was seen as the primary purpose of business enterprise.

It's also worth noting that capitalism and free markets are not one and the same thing. You can have capitalism without free markets (see also: monopoly) and free markets without capitalism (see also: all of human history before, let's say as a rough estimate, somewhere around 1500). There are very successful commercial enterprises operating in the world, today, that are explicitly NOT capitalist (see also: Mondragon in Spain, artisanal co-operatives in northern Italy and elsewhere).

At a minimum, there are enterprises that operate basically on the capitalist model, but which endow their workers with agency in governance and with ownership as a normal part of employment (see also: most of western Europe, and all of the employee-owned businesses in the US and around the world).

We need to re-educate ourselves about stuff like this. The information we are generally working with these days is inadequate. IMVHO.

Imagine a different world.

Middle Class Shrinks as High Income Households Multiply: The next time you hear someone bemoan the "shrinking middle class," take a closer look at the data.

It should be noted that a shrinking middle class is a bad thing all on its own.

All things equal, it's definitely nicer if the shrinking mechanism is people getting richer rather than people getting poorer, but either way that still represents an increasing distance between the relatively poor and the relatively wealthy.

The problem is that's not just an income gap - it's all too easily also an empathy and life experience gap.

The problem is that's not just an income gap - it's all too easily also an empathy and life experience gap.

The other part of the problem is that a shrinking middle class represents a serious decrease in the ability of people to move up. (Or down. Which actually is a problem, albeit not quite the same one.)

Social mobility is, IMHO, something that is necessary for an economy and a society to thrive.

Social mobility is, IMHO, something that is necessary for an economy and a society to thrive.

Good point. The social gears don't mesh too well if all you have are lords and serfs. I realize it worked for a long time during the "Middle Ages", but we don't want to go back that far to revive the good old days, do we?

Conservatives, since they have turned economics into a morality play (cf "makers and takers"), don't seem to lose much, if any, sleep over this. The poor are simply the defectives, the discards, the lazy, and the inept. They deserve their lot.

Good point. The social gears don't mesh too well if all you have are lords and serfs.

That's a good way of putting it.

I should have added that the 'life experience' gap implies lots of things, like differences in political interests and preferences.

The idea of a large middle class is that there's a substantial plurality whose interests are more or less aligned. They'll get their way on most policy decisions, so most people will benefit from them.

And for everyone else, while what's good for the middle might not be perfect for the very poor or very rich, it won't be as bad as the furthest end of the spectrum.

In short, it moderates things.

Hollow that out, and what you're left with is a seesawing between the extremes. Either the rich get soaked or the poor get soaked. (And let's face it: more often the poor, since wealth is a bit of a thumb on the scales. At least until a mob kicks the scales over and starts building guillotines.)

Most of what they tell you about share buybacks is wrong.

To first order, the effect on the share price of a buyback is zero if investors are rational. (The theoretical proof of this is trivial.)

Second-order effects include:

- signalling: management believes that the company's cash position is healthy
- market fears that the company might otherwise invest the money unprofitably.
- taxation, which may disfavour companies holding cash

Of course, it's absurd to reward CEOs for increasing EPS by means of a buyback. And senior management generally should not be allowed to trade shares around the time of a major corporate announcement.

But otherwise, there's no reason to object to buybacks any more than secondary share issuance.

To first order, the effect on the share price of a buyback is zero if investors are rational. (The theoretical proof of this is trivial.)

Isn't this a rather big 'if'?

in happy news (even if it's meaningless as a predictor of election results), the only group that currently says it will definitely vote for Trump in 2020 is white men with no college degree. and they can only muster a plurality.

and it's only going to get worse, now that he's decided that shitting on specific communities is how to be Presidential.

The social gears don't mesh too well if all you have are lords and serfs.

Perhaps more critically, if it isn't possible to move up within the existing social and economic structure, it then becomes a matter of WHEN, not if, those who cannot move up decide to smash the structure.

In some respects, that is what we have seen recently here. There is the problem that they have been persuaded to fault everybody except the folks who are actually holding them back. But the intention is clear. And, if nothing changes for them, I expect they will eventually get to those who are really (as opposed to supposedly) holding them back.

To first order, the effect on the share price of a buyback is zero if investors are rational. (The theoretical proof of this is trivial.)

Assuming the company is buying up dilution, could be the case. Market cap should be unchanged assuming projected earnings remain constant (you're paying the same for the earnings, regardless). Would be interesting to see the trivial math on it, pro b.

But it also reminded me of the old adage that Wall Street can create as much stock as the public is willing to buy.

The social gears don't mesh too well if all you have are lords and serfs.

Not to nerd out too much on social history, but when we actually did have lords and serfs, there were strong expectations and requirements of mutual obligation between the two.

Serfs provided basic labor, and were limited in their ability to pick up sticks and move. Lords were obliged to provide land, and shelter, and physical protection. Serfs in general kept much or most of what they raised - basically it was something like a sharecropping arrangement, with the additional obligation that the lord had to protect the serfs' lives.

It wasn't an arrangement we would like, but then we don't live in the utter freaking chaos of Europe during the post-Roman period.

It was a system that persisted because it worked. Until it didn't, or became less necessary, and then was replaced.

What obligations do today's "lords" - the people who claim ownership and control of today's essential asset, which is money - recognize toward the folks who provide them with the labor that creates their wealth?

For bobbyp:

Make the Modigliani-Miller assumptions.

Consider a company operating some productive business, and with a pile of spare cash which the business has no use for. Let the market value of the productive business be X, and the pile of cash Y. The market is indifferent to internal diversification, so the market value of the business is X+Y (cash Y held by a company has a market value of Y under the assumptions). If there are N shares, the market share price is (X+Y)/N.

Now let the company spend its cash pile buying shares. It pays Y to buy NY/(X+Y) shares. The market value of the company is now X, and there are N(1 – Y/(X+Y)) shares remaining, which simplifies to NX/(X+Y) shares. So, dividing the value by the number of shares, after the buyback the share price should be (X+Y)/N again.

That is, the buyback should make no difference to the share price.

Pro Bono writes:

"But otherwise, there's no reason to object to buybacks any more than secondary share issuance."

Of course, like it once was, but the absurd conditions you rightly caution about to get to that conclusion are the ones that prevail and have so since PBS made the mistake of making fetishist Milton Friedman its poster girl.

Beyond Meat makes the mistake today of looking Beyond Today by raising money, the entire point of the stock market, to presumably invest in the future of their products and the market, that irrational rationalist, fully bibbed in its high chair, throws its sippy cup and vegeburger across the room.

I say its spinach and to hell with it.

http://bigcharts.marketwatch.com/quickchart/quickchart.asp?symb=BYND&insttype=Stock

The company's market value (# of shares times share price, and a completely bogus measuring device for estimating the value of an enterprise, akin to the swimsuit contest in a beauty pageant) reached around $15 Billion late last week.

The company has projected annual sales of $230 Million this year and there are still two quarters to go to get there.

Six months ago .... meaning last Friday afternoon ... the far-seeing prescient market predicted today's secondary and price plunge by rising to new highs.

Beyond Insane. A Meatless Bubble.

We've seen this before, of course.

Rationalists with short memories.

Lords were obliged to provide land, and shelter, and physical protection.

Plus 100% employment security, alms for the sick and disabled, etc.

If you avoided giving away too much with the wrong vocabulary, I suspect you could get even the most mildly idealized description of feudalism tarred as 'socialism' by a fair portion of today's electorate. Such is the power of the Overton window.

And while you're probably right that most of us wouldn't enjoy the middle ages, it wasn't *all* bad. IIRC, it's thought that your typical peasant or serf probably enjoyed a lot more free time than we do today. (Though less in turn than did prehistoric hunter-gatherers...)

Much of what has been said about serfdom could be said about chattel slavery.

Consider a company operating some productive business, and with a pile of spare cash which the business has no use for.

That being the case, why doesn't the business just declare a special dividend and return the money to the existing shareholders. Not just those who seize the moment to sell their shares? (Perhaps because they were watching closely enough to know it was happening. As opposed to someone who had just invested in the stock.)

Seems like a fairer solution.

the buyback should make no difference to the share price.

In the longer term, perhaps. But in the short term -- i.e. the time frame in which the executives are selling shares?

Prices are set by supply and demand. With a share buy-back, demand is temporarily increased. So the price goes up, and the insiders sell at the increased price. (Which means that the company gets less value for money, of course.) And then the price of the shares that everybody else owns drop back.

Much of what has been said about serfdom could be said about chattel slavery.

This is false, for most definitions of "much".

It's rarely useful to make analogies across such different circumstances and periods of time.

Much of what has been said about serfdom could be said about chattel slavery.

Although there was rather a dearth of lords sending peasants elsewhere, while requiring their spouses to stay. Let alone separating children from parents. Some might consider that significant.

It's rarely useful to make analogies across such different circumstances and periods of time.

I think that the condition of "serfs" varied quite a bit depending on what serfs, whose serfs. Russian serfs weren't in a particularly good place before they were "freed" shortly before slaves were freed.

We should probably provide some links to support people's views on this.

American Slavery was made exponentially worse because of racism, and racism persists. Serfdom was horrific as well (again, the extent depending on where and when), but I'm not sure to what extent it persists.

And it's true that comparisons over geography and time is not necessarily accurate. It can be helpful in certain circumstances though, especially studying how the industrial revolution affected the United States versus Russia.

During the nineteenth century, a great many white Americans perceived black slaves' lives as being glamorous. They saw their own lives as being limited by the social constraints and repressions of the times. They perceived the slaves' lives as being free of those limitations.

I think that the condition of "serfs" varied quite a bit depending on what serfs, whose serfs.

Yes.

I'm really just talking about the institution of medieval feudalism. Which itself varied quite a lot, from place to place and time to time.

Mostly I think we have a very elevated sense of the wonderfulness of our own place and time. We have great technology, and that's a good thing in general. Lots of things are much easier for us, or even possible for us, that were simply unavailable to almost every other human that ever lived.

That said, I'm not sure that people who actually lived in other times and places would swap with us, given the opportunity.

It all comes down to what you think "good" is.

Basically I think we would benefit from seeing our own circumstances with some humility and a simple sense of perspective.

That's about it.

As far as serfhood vs slavery, chattel slaves by definition are the property of somebody else. They are more or less cattle, movable livestock. Not bound to the land, not obliged by custom or law, not dependent on somebody else to make land and basic physical security available to them. Not people, in any meaningful way.

Just property. No rights, no agency, no choices, no options, no freedom about even the most elementary and basic things.

Not even the right to their own physical person.

It could be that, as an example, Russian serfs prior to their liberation were not far from that. Medieval serfdom, in general not so much.

The two situations are not really comparable.

During the nineteenth century, a great many white Americans perceived black slaves' lives as being glamorous.

A fantasy though, right?

I mean (especially without a link) we might just as well say that a great many white Americans were really ridiculous, just as they are now.

My own 19th century white ancestors were extremely poor, and making ends meet in very difficult ways. But, yeah, they could keep their kids (who survived), and have marital difficulties (therefore one partner or the other "moving west" and remarrying - without getting a divorce, which was a difficult back in the day). In other words, dire poverty, but freedom to make some decisions that would make them happier. Not so with slaves.

therefore one partner or the other "moving west" and remarrying - without getting a divorce, which was a difficult back in the day

LOL. I wonder if we are related.

Not laughing at the reality of the poverty etc, just laughing at the similarity to stories from my own family.

After the Civil War, I think a lot of folks took the opportunity to just press the reset button. "They just never came back....".

My AZ family occasionally sends me stuff about how blacks were lucky to be enslaved, so they could hear about Jesus and come live in America. My niece, who IS NOT IS NOT IS NOT a racist, somehow always posts crap on FB where the good guys smite the malefactors, and somehow the malefactors always seem to be black.

Sometimes I think this stuff is just baked into the American DNA. Hopefully not, but it's a toss-up, based on the evidence.

Onward and upward.

CharlesWT, really glamorous must have been experimenting, without anesthesia, on African-American women by "https://www.history.com/news/the-father-of-modern-gynecology-performed-shocking-experiments-on-slaves">"the father of gynecology".

Oops. Meant to review that link.

Some quotes from a book. I wish the author had a more condensed argument to quote.

By the 1840s, when the curious could ride a train from New York to Pittsburgh, then take steamboats to the cotton fields of Mississippi, whites all over America were acting black. The ethnomusicologist Dale Cockrell has estimated that by 1843, characters in blackface had appeared in more than twenty thousand American stage performances.
...
Blackface minstrelsy is now often considered to be antiblack parody, and some of it certainly was, but scholars have recently begun to see the songs of Dan Emmett and many other performers in the genre as expressions of desire for the freedoms they saw in the culture of the slaves. "Just as the minstrel stage held out the possibility that whites could be 'black' for a while but nonetheless white," David Roediger, the leading historian of "whiteness," has written, "it offered the possibilities that, via blackface, preindustrial joys could survive amidst industrial discipline."
...
If we dismiss the men who painted their faces black as deluded racists, we miss what they were telling us, even if subconsciously, about what free Americans were missing from their lives.
...
Blackface minstrelsy was widely popular but not "respectable." It was criticized on moral grounds not because it was seen as racist but because it was seen as wild, erotic, and free.

Renegade History of the United States

therefore one partner or the other "moving west" and remarrying - without getting a divorce, which was a difficult back in the day

Reportedly, one of my great grandmothers, unbeknownst to her husband, picked up and moved with her family from Tennessee to Texas. He followed and had public fisticuffs with her new husband.

You can’t be truly free without being enslaved. I say that all the time.

many other performers in the genre as expressions of desire for the freedoms they saw in the culture of the slaves.

Is it not amazing, then, that the number of whites who volunteered to become slaves wss . . . zero? Yet somehow they don't seem to have seized the obvious solution to their (supposed) lack of freedoms. Wonder why not....

Whites saw freedom in slave culture, not their status as slaves.

Yeah, them was the days.

It was a business transaction, some tell themselves, even today.

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2019/07/actually-the-civil-war-was-about-rational-business-decisions

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/owning-slaves-doesnt-make-a-person-racist-says-new-hampshire-lawmaker/

If it had been blacks, or Mexicans, or the Chinese, or women, or Jews on the authority end of the whip, think of the workplace shootings carried out by the enslaved white men.

We'd have killed everyone.

What do you mean we so free? Bang!

Africa and the Caribbean were just employment agencies for America. Africans made themselves available for labor.

They didn't have to sign up.

What's the job?

We're gonna beat the shit out of you, put you in chains, rape your women, sell your children, and dress you funny.

Yeah, but what's your vacation policy?

Give me ten minutes with that fucking New Hampshire piece of shit and I mean that sarcastically.

Whites saw freedom in slave culture, not their status as slaves.

This is like some (generally well off somes) who sigh admiringly at the freedom of beggars.

Okay...so what?

That said, I'm not sure that people who actually lived in other times and places would swap with us, given the opportunity.

That, as they say, depends. :)

That kind of idealization is nothing new. Think of the pastoral plays* of the Baroque (and to a degree Bucolic verse from imperial Rome).
Herders were near the bottom socially and the job anything but idyllic but even kings and queens donned what they imagined to be genuine costumes (and occasionally even had some genuine sheep provided) and went out into 'nature'. One could call that classist minstrelsy.
In late 19th and early 20th century the Lumpenball ( https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lumpenball ) was quite popular with the bourgeoisie (beggar costumes as a party theme).

*both on stage for and as outdoor amusement by nonility

American Slavery was made exponentially worse because of racism, and racism persists...

US slavery became particularly brutal not because of racism, but as it was an essentially industrialised system which treated slaves as components in the machine.

The racist myths (like Charles's 'freedom they saw in slave culture') were essential to living with the brutality which such a system necessitated.
Treating the enslaved as responsible for their own predicament, and whitewashing the reality of their existence wasn't idealisation, rather propaganda.

Black slavery and racism were mutually enhancing each other. They are racially inferior and therefore natural slaves and since they are slaves they must be racially inferior.
From what I remember "The Curse of Ham" got its racial interpretation in the context of slavery in the US in order to serve as a justification for the enslavement of blacks 'sanctified by Holy Scripture'.
And (I think someone brought it up here a few months ago) English slave owners initially had no interest at all to christianize the slaves and then only allowed it under close supervision and with an approved heavily censured version of the Bible, so the slaves would not get any ideas. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slave_bible

Marie Antoinette had a farm built for herself at Versailles, where she pretended to be a peasant milking cows. After the cows had been carefully cleaned by the servants of course. And using milking buckets of Sèvres porcelain.

The common people were not impressed.

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