Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Simple Citizen in the sheets, Corporate Sex Toy on Wall Street.

Once upon a time I was a NYC mystery shopper (yep, I just blew my cover). I did this on and off for several yrs after grad school. I monitored movie theaters, recorded music in certain clubs to make sure no DJ was stealing from BMI musicians, and stopped in places of business to see about customer service. For one of my 'deep cover assignments' I was given a character profile and sent into certain banks and NY stock firms to invest my fake savings into something. I discovered that there's an entire world of 'weird money investments' if a firm thinks they can use you. It's like 'alternative financial medicine' and they sell it just like some special herbal acupuncture green tea cleanse...for your wallet.

One of these alt investments advertised at the time was state tobacco funds based on the settlements big tobacco gave out, particularly in Michigan and Pennsylvania. They were high-yield bonds guaranteed to give you 7-10% return every year. Holy cow! Even though I was acting I thought this was the greatest thing ever. The security of a bond with the return of a stock. This doesn't sound shady at all (hahaha). This morning I was talking to a broker and I mentioned these tobacco funds and he said 'oh yeah, you mean junk bonds.' He went on about them being 'junk' and not just in the technical financial term, but also in the moral sense.  I googled these tobacco funds and sure enough...Wall Street found a way to not only rip off state governments but the victims of big tobacco who were expecting to use those funds for cancer treatment and to live.

Investment firms made about $500 million off of creating these toxic bonds that are now crashing in states across the country. Just another reminder of what's going to happen to your healthcare, education, and retirement funds as the GOP starts to privatize everything and force citizens to become corporate sex toys.

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