Simpsons Predicted Coronavirus

It’s incredible that the Simpsons’ creators predicted Coronavirus back in 1993!


I understand that the sign in the first photo (top left) was edited from Osaka Flu to Corona Virus.


But still incredibly…


The Chinese workers are seen coughing/sneezing into the box of goods being exported to us.


Simpson opens his new bought goodies.


And instead of the joy of shopping, he gets sick.


And the virus spreads and spreads. 


(Source photo: Dailymail and you can watch the Youtube video there as well)

3D Printed Octopus: “Shabbat Shalom”

This is a 3D Printed Octopus.  


The bendable legs are cute. 


It’s sitting on a camera and tripod. 


Soon 3D Printed Objects will even talk, and when they do, this one will say: 

Shabbat Shalom!


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Gotta Love FANUC

I love FANUC industrial robots. 


They are made by a secretive company in Japan and they are #1 in workplace automation worldwide! 


They have over half a million installed industrial robots around the world.


Their robots are on assembly lines making everything from “cars and smartphones to beverages and drugs.”  They also are in Tesla and Amazon…so you know they are pretty much everywhere. 


FANUC has customers in 108 countries supported by 263 service locations. 


Their robots are made by…that’s right other robots…80% is automated


These robots are strong, fast, and precise, and they can do dangerous work. 


This company is the future of jobs, productivity, efficiency. 


But of course, people are still the brains behind the brawn.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Hold On To Your Jobs

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These statistics are dismal for manufacturing in the U.S. 


Today, public sector (government) employment is 22.2 million vs. just 12.2 million manufacturing jobs. 


In other words, there are 10 million or 80% more people employed by the government than making things in this country. 


This is the complete opposite from 1979 when government employed 16 million people and manufacturing had 19.6 million workers.


So just 37 years ago, manufacturing employment was 22% more than our public sector employment.


Manufacturing lost 37% of it jobs, while government grew 39%.


It hasn’t been since 1989 that there was parity at 18 million between the two sectors. 


Lest you think that the loss in manufacturing jobs is due to automation and technology, the Economic Policy Institute states unequivocally:


“Trade, not productivity, is the culprit.”


In the U.S. the annual trade deficit is over half a trillion dollars–we are hemorrhaging and no one has been even trying to stop the bleeding.  


If we send all our manufacturing prowess and capacity abroad eventually we are not only going to lose our capability to make things, our ingenuity to invent things, but our finances to pay for anything. 


Trade is a great thing when it is mutual and equal, not when it is one-sided and damaging to our economy and jobs. 


Bad political decisions mean a poorer future for our economy and our nation. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

All American Chair

All American Chair.jpeg

Got to love this all American chair. 

Red, white, and blue. 

And stars and stripes everywhere. 

The only thing that I seriously wonder about is whether this chair was manufactured in the U.S. 

With the U.S. losing 35% of it’s manufacturing employment between 1998 and 2010 (from 17.6M to 11.5M), due in large part to outsourcing, there is a good chance this chair was made overseas. 

Now manufacturing makes up less than 9% of total U.S. employment

Also noteworthy is the loss of 51,000 manufacturing plants or 12.5% between 1998-2008.  

Together, agriculture and industry make up only approximately 20% of the entire U.S. economy

Manufacturing are agriculture are strategic capabilities for this country and any country. 

It’s not just what you know, but what you make!

Sure we can make things faster and easier with automation, but at this point there is a serious skills shortage (with millions of jobs going unfilled), and we need to safeguard the strategic knowledge, skills, capability, and capacity to make things vital to our thriving existence.

We need to be a more self-sufficient nation again and not a one-trick service pony. 

We need to use information to be better innovators, creators, developers, and builders. 

Information is great, but you can’t live by information alone. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A Feel Good But Deeply Ailing U.S. Economy

Stagnant Salaries

Get comfortable with your salary, because it isn’t going anywhere positive–payrolls are stagnant!

The Wall Street Journal reports that wages since the recession “have grown slowly, advancing at a pace of about 2% annually” for a total of 12% since 2009.

In contrast, in the 20 years prior to the recession, wages “grew on average better than 3% annually”–that’s 50% more increase per year!

Sure some of the increase is now coming in the form of benefits growth, such as time off, subsidized commuting costs, and health insurance premiums, but workers still need to be able to pay their bills.

For the federal workforce, things have even been worse with pay raises of “just 2% [total] over the last five years” and a proposed 1.3% (with locality pay) for 2016.

Is it surprising then the innovation–one of our greatest strengths–is also drastically slowing in the United States. We are not rewarding risk with reward like we used to–and that changes the whole innovation equation!

Also no surprise then that mergers and acquisition are booming as the key to corporate growth as well as cost-savings through economies of scale are seen as one of the only ways to wring out profit growth in companies bottom lines.

All in all:

– While inflation is up an average of 2.13 over the same 10-year period.

– This leaves the average household more than 6% worse off then they were a decade ago…that’s a lot of time to be working and getting negative returns on your investment of time and effort.

Combine this with:

– Manufacturing down to only 9% of jobs in the U.S. economy

– The country’s ongoing spending binge–a national debt that has doubled over 8 years from around $10 trillion to almost $20 trillion by 2017 and interest payments about to take off with rising interest rates.

– Throw in a arms-race with China and Russia and the aging Baby Boomers setting up the economy for dramatic increases in Social Security and Medicare

And the “fun” NOT is only just beginning. 😉

The Unbelievable Stupidity Of Raising Interest Rates

Bull

Interest rates have been near zero since the recession of 2008.


That supposedly to stimulate the economy. 


However, aside from a stock market bubble again, not sure we have a much stimulated economy.


We have a false low on the unemployment rate, while the the true percentage of the labor force working is the lowest in almost 40 years!


Moreover, manufacturing is down almost 40% from the 1979 peak with a loss of over 7.2M jobs


Commodities are at firesale prices as demand is sluggish and there is short-term oversupply. 


And innovation is facing a global slowdown


So people are out of work, we’re not making things, demand is depressing prices, and even ideas are few and far between–not too rosy a picture, regardless of what some politicians may have you believe. 


Let’s not forget that we have an over $18 trillion federal debt, and this is projected to grow ever greater as we borrow to fund social entitlements such as social security, medicare, etc. 


In this scenario, why would the Federal Reserve ever want to raise interest rates?


Well, if they don’t raise rates, then they can’t lower them later again when the economy really stalls out and goes into deep recession. 


Hence, this is seen as a tool for their financial toolkit–and if there are no tools with which to manipulate the economy, then there is no need for a (neutered) Federal Reserve. 


But think for a second what happens when the Fed raises rates, it’s going to slow the economy even further than the chug chug chug economy that we are already dealing with. 


Maybe even more important, it will raise the amount of interest payments we must folk over on the trillions of dollars of debt we owe.  


Simply put, when we raise interest rates, we pay more interest on our already astronomically high national debt, and this pushes our national deficit up even higher as we borrow more to pay the interest on the previous debt. 


If you did this with your credit cards, you’d probably be looking at the equivalent of debtor’s prison sooner or later. 


Rather than feed the Fed’s toolbox with interest rate bumps and drops, why not keep rates low as long as they can stay low, reducing our interest payments, and curtailing our national deficit and debt. 


What about the stock bubble…that’s a lesson investors will be learning about in their own good time–it’s the stock market, stupid. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)