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不懂 April 22, 2017

Posted by hslu in Culture, Economics, education, Food, Japan, Life, Taiwan.
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我的大學同學寄給同班同學的一個短信,它確定了我膚淺的觀察,也加深了我心理的困惑。

……………………………………………………

一位台大人的留言回應,直戳愚癡!    

            
全世界被強權殖民過的國家有96個,而台灣是全世界唯一歌頌殖民統治的國家。

日本歷史承認統治台灣50年期間,殺害超過40萬台灣人,日本殖民韓國35年,殺害韓國人16萬人,韓國人恨之入骨,戰後凡有關日本人的銅像,全部摧毀,任何有關日本的圖騰,建築物都夷為平地,日本人對慰安婦事件道歉超過十次,仍得不到韓國人的諒解,反觀台灣,對慰安婦事件,為日本人塗脂抹粉,還說”是自願的”,美國哈佛的一位教授聽聞台灣的回應,以”無法理解”來表示。

漢人在台灣籌建的水利工程有七個,奠立了台灣水利工程的基礎,民進黨視若未睹,視而不見,而日本人建立了一個圳就視同”恩同再造”,感激涕零,最諷刺的是,日本人建的那個圳灌溉出來的稻米都運回日本供”上等日本人”吃,而下等人種台灣人當苦力,卻吃不到該圳帶來的任何好處。現在台灣人對曾奴化台灣,殺害台灣人的日本人卑躬屈膝,磕頭喊”皇恩浩盪”,卻對祖先所留下來的功績,隻字不提,台灣人的是非顛倒,舉世無雙,令韓國人吃驚,令國際傻眼,令人浩瀚! 是誰愚弄台灣把臺灣人教育成如此的愚痴? 

台灣在日本311地震捐了57億台幣給日本,超過另外92個國家的總和(含美國,歐盟,G7工業國,…),讓日本人受寵若驚,台南大地震時,日本人卻只捐了5000萬台幣來”回敬”台灣人的功德(台南是全台最綠最感恩日本的地方),連百分之一都不到 ! 現在菲律賓和中國友好,菲律賓人到黃岩島去捕魚,中國也不驅趕,裝沒看見,台日要是友好的話,台灣人到沖之鳥礁的國際海域(公海)去捕魚,日本人為何用軍艦來驅趕?這是日本人”感恩”台灣人的方式? 台灣人還沒看清日本人的嘴臉嗎?

韓國人強悍,所以日本人怕韓國人! 台灣人諂媚,所以日本人瞧不起台灣人! 這也是這十幾年來,台灣韓國競爭力反轉的最大原因——-在1997,台灣的GDP幾乎是南韓的2倍,過了8年,2005年,韓國GDP就超過台灣,現在更遠遠將台灣拋在後面,韓國人早就沒把台灣看在眼裡,跟日本人一樣,鄙視台灣,悲哉!

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它,並沒有告訴我為什麼台灣人有這種心態。為什麼大街小巷都是統治者的影子?為什麼台灣的語言,文字,食物,建築,擺飾,文化,店面,商場,大樓,outlet,汽車,高鐵都受到統治者的影響呢?

是中國的封閉?是人性的弱點?是慣性的懶惰?是無知的認同?是愚蠢的服從?是盲目的追隨?是政府的政策?是奸商的貪婪?是高官的鼓勵?還是井底之蛙,自以為是?要不然就是北方來的小確幸文化墮落和侵蝕了人心?

我不懂,我真的不懂。

Democrat Party: start your election engine April 18, 2017

Posted by hslu in Congress, Economics, Obama, Obamacare, Trump.
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I think Democrat has a small chance to capture the majority of the House of Representatives in 2018 because it is difficult to overcome the 44 seat advantage enjoyed by the Republican Party.

That being said, Democrat only needs to win a net of 24 seats to make Pelosi the speaker of the House. If it happens in 2018, Trump will be in deep s**t. Do you see the big “I” word on the wall?

Source: wikipedia

Republican’s has a four seat advantage over the Democrat Party in the Senate right now which means that Democrat only has to win net three seats in November 2018 to become the majority party in the Senate. However, the outcome is not certain for Democrats because Republicans have 9 seats up for grab while Democrats have 23. The independents, who caucus with Democrat, have 2 seats up for election.

Other than Obamacare, Obama actually had nothing to show of in 8 years. The Republican Party has about 19 months to overturn the Obamacare. Once Obamacare is repealed under Trump and Ryan, Obama will be wiped clean completely. 

Talent drain will sink America fast April 18, 2017

Posted by hslu in Economics, jobs, Technology, Trump.
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Trump got it backwards. His order will back fire.

It will send more qualified high tech workers back to their own country.

Average: $31,644; Median:  March 31, 2017

Posted by hslu in Economics, Retirement.
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According to a report from the Economic Policy Institute, the mean retirement saving of a family between 32  and 37 years old is $31,644.

Not good. 

Fidelity advices that if you want to have enough to retire at 67, you should have 3 times of you salary saved by 40. By the time you reach 67, you should have 10 times of your salary saved.

In Q4 2016, the median wage for an American worker is $44,158/year (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Since wages vary widely depending on worker’s occupation and age, we’ll use BLS data to calculate the amount you need to stash away for retirement: $132,474.

In other words, our average American worker has managed to accomplish 24% of his retirement goal.

Since average isn’t a good way to tell the entire story, let’s use median to see how American people are doing in their retirement saving department:

The same BLS report put the median amount for families between 32 and 37 is:

Drum roll, please!

$480.

Pathetic, isn’t it?

Let see, how much does our average family owe on its 10 (just aguess) credit cards? What’s the balance on its student loan if it is fortunate enough to have a college education? 

So, who is going to take care of our average American worker after he or she reaches retirement?

Pension? Very few companies offer it these days.

Social security benefit? Average SS benefit is about $1,341 in 2016. Definitely not enough to live on. Worse, social security may bankrupt in less than 30 years.

Food stamp? Don’t count on it because America has bankrupted for decades.

$480?

Looks real bad.

Ryan and Trump should read this March 31, 2017

Posted by hslu in Economics, Health Insurance, Trump.
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http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/03/28/health-reform-road-ahead.html

The road ahead for health care reform in the U.S. is treacherous and filled with many obstacles. The process outlined by Newt Gingrich is a good one: sensible, pragmatic, comprehensive and well-thought-out. 


Unfortunately, it has a small chance of being followed by the White House, the Congress or health care reform advocates.

The reasons are simple:

  • No one in the Beltway wants to touch it with a 10-foot pole.
  • Whoever brave enough to bring this subject back will lose his seat in 2018 or 2020.
  • Republican’s margin in Senate before 2018 is too small even if a bill passes the House.
  • Trump won’t understand it because it is much more complicated than building an apartment building. 
  • Trump has no vision to see the forest. He can’t handle the details. 
  • It takes more than 140 characters to get the points cross.
  • American people don’t have the patient nor the stamina to follow it through. They care about the results only; not the process.
  • Democrats will do their darnedest to block the legislature in the Congress.
  • Republican will lose the control of Senate to a united Democrat Party in 2018.
  • People work in The Congressional Budget Office don’t like Trump. It will come up with a number that will make the bill, any health insurance reform bill, look bad.

Could but not is March 29, 2017

Posted by hslu in Economics, Health Insurance, Social Issues.
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If a person doesn’t have health insurance, he or she won’t live as long as people with health insurance. 

That’s not debatable.

When a person is obese, like many Americans are, his or her life will be shorter. 

Common sense.

Attribute longer life expectancy for Canadians to Canada’s universal health insurance system is a stretch to put it mildly. 

The headline is misleading. 

The article talked about Canadian patients diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as an infant who on average lived 10 years longer than average American patients with the same disease. 

If you believe the headline, you are duped to think that the one-payer health insurance system in Canada is better than the system in the U.S. 

It is not. 

With no monetary incentives, Canada’s health-related industries wouldn’t produce life-saving medicines or medical instruments like their counterparts in the U.S. have done. Canadians benefited from the medical advances developed in America and the article totally ignored this little fact.

Canada, about 8% of the U.S. in terms of GDP, is a socialist country with very high income taxes, 5% GST (Goods and Services Tax), up to 10% HST (Harmonized Sales Tax), a separate PST (Provincial SalesTaxes) in some provinces, a weak currency, fewer fancy cars, harsher weather in the winter, short spring, beautiful summer, slow pace in their daily lives, relaxed atmosphere at offices, less stress at work, cleaner air and water, highly dependent of exports of its natural resources (primarily crude oil and oil from oil sand) and a good social welfare (unemployment benefit) system.

The bottom line is this: the average life expectancy for Canadians is almost 3 years longer than that for Americans.

Be careful about what you read on the web; even on a website as creditable as BBC.

When in doubt, check it out yourself.

The price of vanity March 28, 2017

Posted by hslu in Economics.
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336%, to be exact. On diamonds from Tiffany.

For a 2 carat, round solitaire diamond ring:

Tiffany: $80,000 with a $25 blue box.

Source: Google search image.

Costco: $19,000 with a burgundy colored box.

Source: Google search image.

Source: The Daily Mail

Jewelry expert’s undercover to show Tiffany overcharges for diamonds http://dailym.ai/2ngBWtc via http://dailym.ai/android

Will you buy diamonds at Tiffany’s had you read this?

If you have money to burn, go ahead, no one is stopping you.

Automation=fewer jobs March 28, 2017

Posted by hslu in Economics, jobs, Trump.
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Common sense. But Trump didn’t tell you that.

Source: Fox News

Source: Fox News

Just like the auto factories in Detroit where robots replaced union workers on the assembly line, automation on port terminals will do the same for the dock jobs. In time, many of these jobs will be gone too. 
Other everyday examples are many: cashier jobs lost to the self checkout machines at Walmart and your local grocery stores, bank teller jobs lost to ATMs and waiter and waitress jobs to the self-ordering kiosks at restaurants, McDonald’s, Wendy’s and other fast food joints. 

Even lawyers’p jobs aren’t safe because AI can provide basic law information better than young lawyers can. And AI can do it more accurately.

These are the jobs Trump won’t be able to save and it has nothing to do with globlization. 

The trend can not be stopped no matter how many sound bites or tweets Trump delivers. It’s like a tsunami which will hit American jobs hard.

It’s time to use robots to replace government jobs. Robots are friendlier than government employees. They are more efficient. They don’t need breaks and they don’t need vacation or sick leaves. They don’t need 403 (b) and they don’t complain. They don’t have family problems and they don’t call in sick at the last minute. They are on time and they don’t need overtime pays either. In addition, they won’t get pregnant, ever.

Will we ever have a robot in the White House? 

At least, it won’t tweet anything about Obama, Ryan or even the Freedom Caucus in the middle of the night.

Maybe Star Trek’s Data should seriously consider the offer.

百元有找 March 27, 2017

Posted by hslu in China, Economics, Taiwan.
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三個林口”鬍鬚張滷肉飯”的外帶只要$265元新臺幣:滷肉飯便當:$80。豬肉排便當:$95。炒肉絲便當:$90。平均不到美金三塊一盒。

鬍鬚張是個連鎖店,臺灣很多地方都有。林口好像只有一家。它的堂吃菜單跟外賣菜單不一樣。外帶的菜單只有幾樣,都是一盒一盒的,比較好包裝。堂吃的有套餐,也有單點的。主打的是滷肉飯,其他有小菜,豆腐和青菜。
我叫的每個便當看起來好像有好多東西,可是它們的盒子都只有一寸多一點厚。東西並不太多,飯量大的人,吃一個便當是吃不飽的。

林口三井對面的鬍鬚張


味道都不錯,肉排沒筋,不大,不厚,裹了太白粉煎炸的,很嫰,一點都不老。滷肉飯味道十足。飯粒分開,肉燥很香,肥肉不多,沒有太油。炒肉絲飯,沒什麽肉絲,跟滷肉飯味道差不多。帶了一點甜味和辣味的韭菜丁和醃的醬菜非常下飯。我們懶得做飯,學這裏的上班族,買外賣回家吃。便宜,方便,快,不用洗碗。一舉四得。

付了錢以後,我忍不住想問:為什麼這麼便宜?

當然,份量較少,肉普遍不多,便宜的青菜是一個原因。不過,同樣一盒飯在美國 VA 中國餐館可能要六,七塊錢美金:差不多臺灣價錢的一倍。在 LA 或 SF 那邊,中國人口密集,應該比較便宜。VA 的中國超市一般有現成的飯和菜任你選。可以在那吃,也可以外帶。那裏價錢便宜,同樣的一盒可能只要五塊半吧。

不止鬍鬚張如此便宜,許多街邊巷口的小吃店,牛肉麪和餃子店也是如此。牛肉麪百元有找的不多,但是一百二一碗的還不少。林口生活水準比台北低,房價便宜,商店租金低,牛肉麪的價錢還要再低個十塊錢。

至於為什麼臺灣價錢低,我想這跟臺灣的經濟結構有關系。

  • 臺灣是服務業的經濟結構。服務業薪水低,買不起貴的便當。
  • 臺灣經濟不好,利息低,新臺幣匯率下降是物價便宜的基本原因。
  • 臺灣資金外流,工作機會不多,年輕人薪水普遍不高,他們被交通費,公寓租金,套房貸款壓的透不過氣,當然買不起太貴的外賣。消費者買不起,商家自然無法漲價。
  • 臺灣勞工薪水十五年來都沒有上漲,這些人居家不易,被現實環境壓的抬不起頭,志氣低迷,競爭力大受打擊。買不起比較貴的便當是想當然而。
  • 勞工薪水低,店家的勞工成本就不會太高,成本相對來說比較低。便當價錢自然便宜。
  • 臺灣商家不敢加價,怕人民上街遊行反對是個原因。
  • 臺灣在中國的壓制下,對外收到限制。這些外在的因素就自然展食品價錢上面了。加上世界財務危機,通貨膨脹率不高,生活用品沒有辦法上漲,是個原因。
  • 餐館的門檻低,任何人只要買個推車,把他改裝一下就可以擺在大街上開起店,自己做老闆了。
  • 這是一個新的車子。大概才開張沒多久。

  • 如果家人一起租個店面,花個20萬簡單的裝潢一下。買些桌椅,碗盤,廚房用具,紙板,紙碗,一次用筷子。媽媽做主廚,爸爸當跑堂兼收盤子,兒子收錢,接外賣電話,太太幫忙洗菜,裝外賣,一個餐館就這樣開了。週末比較忙,請個$220新臺幣一小時的臨時工大概就搞定了。有幾家生意很好,一年做個幾千萬或一億以上的不是沒有。可是大多數這種家庭事業都有苦苦掙扎,僅夠糊口而已。大小小餐館到處都是,競爭激烈是個原因。
  • 美國,日本,中國和歐洲銀行印鈔票,美其名是刺激經濟。其實對實際經濟沒有太大幫助,反而造成嚴重的貧富不均現象。資金往回報率高的產業跑。股票和房地產大賺,基本經濟發展受到限制。中產階級沒落,低階乘的人數增加,可運用的資金降低。無法負擔太貴的便當。
  • 臺灣外貿佔 GDP 比率太大,臺灣本土經濟,也就是臺灣本土的購買力,比數字上顯示的人均 GDP 有一段距離。這是臺灣結構上的問題。短時間是無法改變的。
  • 如果臺灣政府繼續抵制中國的一中政策,臺灣經濟發展一定會受影響。薪水絕對無法增加。便宜的便當還有的賣的。
  • 臺灣人才流失,技術逐漸落後,以前的領先產業逐漸被中國和韓國淘汰。中國過去五,六年在IC的投資已經逐漸看到結果。臺灣的前途堪憂。便當價錢無法上漲。
  • 臺灣民富國衰,政府窮(稅收太低,不敢加稅,股票賺大錢政府只能看著,政府出個點子,人民比政府更厲害),人民身價高(許多財富都在房地產上,付稅低),本末倒置。沒有錢的政府如何能夠推廣經濟,協助江河日下的工業?
  • 臺灣認為自己是一個發達的國家,對環境保護的要求很高。化工廠不要。核電廠不要。晶片厰不要。發電廠不要。有意在臺灣投資的工業不來。只有靠馬殺雞,牛肉麪,滷肉飯和鍋貼為生。
  • 臺灣人民要去核能發電廠,政府已經決定要停止核電廠運作。可是以後電從哪裏來?沒有電,沒有工業。沒有工業,只有繼續吃新臺幣$80的滷肉飯便當。

Ghost shopping malls in the U.S. March 23, 2017

Posted by hslu in Economics, jobs.
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The Fed has just raised the key federal funds rate by 25 basis points, citing improvements in the labor market and rosy economic indicators. Two more rate hikes are widely expected before the end of 2017.

Indeed, the latest unemployment rate data shows that the U.S. is almost at full employment with unemployment rate at 4.7% as of 3/10/2917. In other words, according to the U3 data, most people who want a job have a job: washing dishes, flipping hambergers, driving for Uber, waiting tables at local diners or walking dogs for the top 1% in NYC near Trump Tower. 

We are not going to quibble about the U6 number because the media doesn’t report it and most Americans have never heard of it anyway.

To me, 4.7% U3 means people’s pockets are stuffed with $100 bills. They are happy. They are satisfied with their lives. They go out for beer and lobsters. They fly to exotic resorts for vacations. Of course, they buy stuff they want instead of what they need. They might save a penny here or a quarter there. They are confident in their future according tow the latest consumer confidence survey results.

But, according to this 3/23/2017 thestreet.com article on Yahoo Finance and other sources on the web, why are these U.S. retailers closing hundreds of their stores all over the United States?

Are people having less money because their jobs aren’t paying enough?
Are Amazon and eBay so successful selling almost everything on the Web that they ripped the faces off these once untouchable giants?

Have their profit margins been squeezed by higher costs because China has been exporting inflation to the world?

Do these big and small retailers simply lose touch with the changing spending habits of the consumers?

Do baby boomers stop buying from them because they only have enough to pay for medicines and food?

Or could the reason be as simple as America simply has too many shopping centers?

Whatever the reason, real estate operators in the U.S. will need to adopt and modify their operations so that they don’t end up with ghost shopping malls on their portfolio. 

Here are the known store closings for 2017. The list is long and no doubt that you have been to many of thrm:

  • JCPenney – 138 stores
  • Sears and K Mart  – 150 stores
  • Macy’s – 100 stores
  • Foot Locker – 151 stores
  • Kohl’s – 16 stores
  • CVS – 70 stores
  • Office Depot – 198 stores
  • Radio Shack – 552 stores
  • Family Christian – 240 stores
  • HHGregg – 88 stores
  • Pier One Imports – 100 stores
  • Staples – 118 stores
  • Tiffany – 11 stores
  • Bebe – 170 stores
  • Payless – 500 stores
  • Abercrombie and Fitch – 54 stores
  • Guess – 60 stores
  • Crocs – 160 stores
  • BCBG   Maxzaria – 118 stores
  • The Limited – 250 stores
  • Wet Seals – 171 stores
  • American Apparel – 110 stores

All together, there will be roughly 3,500 empty retail spaces across the U.S. To make the matter worse, WalMart reportly will close 269 stores in 2017. 

With so many stores closing up in 2017, how many employees will lose their jobs? 

Is America’s economy really that good?