Tag Archive: Luca Giorgio Barbareschi


“You control the debt; you control everything. You find this upsetting, yes? But this is the very essence of the banking industry, to make us all, whether we be nations or individuals, slaves to debt.” – Actor Luca Giorgio Barbareschi as arms producer, Umberto Calvini, The International.

In the days of ole, one could buy a treadmill or an exercise bike and work out or employ it as a glorified laundry rack.

Now we have the recent Peloton IPO — (NASDAQ: PTON) — selling its bikes for $1,995 and treadmills for $4,000.

The key differentiator is streaming content (bike or aerobic instructor videos) for a recurring monthly charge of $39 or more. Peloton didn’t just sell a pricey bike and/or treadmill, they more importantly marketed a monthly obligation to a growing subscriber base … and that very well could include you.

The consumer bought high, and is paying even higher.

The stately The Economist reported the news and entertainment industry (i.e., Disney, Fox, ESPN, HBO …) along with major tech players (i.e., Apple, Amazon, Netflix) collectively spent $650 billion in the last five years on acquisitions and content, a sum greater than America’s oil industry.

For example the Mickey Mouse gang just unveiled Disney+ for only $6.99 per month (how long will that price last?), allowing binge watching of the Star Wars catalog to one heart’s content. The downside is another sliver of your financial independence given away for yet another monthly fee.

Sooner or later, the price of each kernel of streaming popcorn is going to add up.

They Have The Gravy, And You’re On The Train

During his Silicon Valley days, Almost DailyBrett was consumed by a litany of recurring payments (i.e., mortgage, utilities, taxes, insurance, car payments, credit card usage, mobile phones, cable, house cleaner, gym membership, pool maintenance, gardener …). In toto, all of these outstretched hands each month represented a seemingly out-of-control first-world dilemma on steroids.

Money was coming in, and going out just as quick each month. Similar to the IRS, each of the growing list of providers never forgot to remind your author of his annual/monthly obligations.

Even more than ever, our consumer-oriented economy (70 percent of the total) is predicated on enticing even more Americans to shell out an escalating amount of capital on a monthly basis, ensuring a consistent flow of money in one direction.

Hint: Someone is getting rich and it’s not the average Jane or Joe.

Some can avoid being “slaves to debt” to the bank (e.g., pay off your credit cards each month), but it’s way more difficult to avoid recurring annual (e.g., Amazon Prime or Costco memberships) and worse, monthly payments.

Let’s face it, some monthly outlays are unavoidable (e.g., utility payments). Most have mortgages or rent to pay every 30 days. Many have car payments. Even if you pay your total credit card bill religiously (which you should), it’s still a monthly obligation.

Almost DailyBrett doesn’t want to sound like a parent, but still must pose this question: How many of these recurring payments are absolutely necessary?

Shelter, food, power and water are essential to life. Most likely all or at least some of the above are financed/amortized through monthly payments.

Your author must ask, do we need a Netflix subscription on top of the cable bundle? We are already paying up the Wazzoo for up to and beyond 300 channels, the vast of majority we do not watch … and then we add on Disney+, ESPN+, Netflix and God knows what else.

And we are wondering what is happening to our money?

No Longer Driving The Top Line, How About The Bottom Line?

Follicly challenged Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) and others of the species are retiring … and Gen Xers (hatched 1965-1979) are not far behind.

Let’s face it, for most Boomers their peak earnings days are behind them.

If you can’t grow the top line, then reducing the bottom line is a great idea. Can one seriously reduce costs and still live a comfortable happy life?

Do you still require a mortgage? Can you downsize? Can you rent instead? Can you move to a lower-cost state or community?

Is good weather (e.g., California) worth the mounting hassles, congestion, rising costs and always higher taxes?

Can you avoid car payments? How about fixing up your ride?

And most of all, can you build a stone wall preventing new monthly payments from wrecking your budget?

If you must binge watch, is there a free way to enjoy the same content without the monthly ball and chain?

Retirement experts preach avoiding second (or more) homes, subsidizing adult children and overspending.

At some point, that one more monthly expense may prove to be A Bridge Too Far.

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2019/11/14/who-will-win-the-media-wars

“You control the debt; you control everything. You find this upsetting, yes? But this is the very essence of the banking industry, to make us all, whether we be nations or individuals, slaves to debt.” – Actor Luca Giorgio Barbareschi as arms producer, Umberto Calvini, in The International.

luca

We don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt. In fact, for the next 10 years, it’s gonna be in a sustainable place.” – President Barack Obama on Good Morning America.

Guess the first quote in particular explains why Southwest Airlines sends me a sustainable Visa credit card application every week. And I thought Southwest just wanted to fly me to different places on the map.

It’s an airline, not a bank…Right? And yet, the “other” income line on Southwest’s annual income statement rose from $490 million in 2010 to $765 million in 2011 and to $835 million in 2012. Is there any doubt that credit card debt payments are included in LUV’s “other” income?

Can you say, “ka-ching?”–

For a while it was Victoria Secret catalogues that were relentless. All they wanted was for me to admire the eye candy photography, and then to spend money for skimpy delightful things here and spend more money for skimpier delightful things there.

Southwest Airlines is using the prospect of two “free” tickets to entice a longer (month-to-month) commitment. They want servitude at 18 percent or higher interest. My Banana Republic card charges 24 percent interest, if I make the unfortunate decision to run a balance.

It would be easy to dismiss The International as just a 2009 film, starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts, which was either loved or panned by the critics. Looking deeper, the movie is based upon the Bank of Credit and Commerce International scandal (e.g., money laundering/financial crimes) of the 1980s. The now-defunct $20 billion bank with 30,000 employees was chartered in Luxembourg before it was shut down by regulators.

BCCI

The sinister bank in the movie is called The International Bank of Business and Credit…surprise, surprise…also based in Luxembourg. This is no coincidence.

One must wonder whether then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger actually knew what he was doing when he made his historic secret trip to the People’s Republic of China in 1971. Soon thereafter. his boss President Richard Milhous Nixon, was toasting Chairman Mao, relaxing tensions between American democracy and Chinese communism just a smidge.

Little did anyone know that this trip led to the unthinkable: Marxist China would become the credit card bank for the majority of America’s record $17.4 trillion debt (and counting). And yet this debt, which equates to more than 100 percent of the nation’s GDP,  is deemed “sustainable” by the leader of the free world.

As the ad by Citizens Against Government Waste suggests will our sons and daughters be working for China to repay the debt. Will China control everything? Will we as a nation become slaves to the debt? Have we already crossed this threshold?

Recently, CNBC reported based upon figures from the U.S. Census that debt-carrying U.S. households had “dropped” from 74 percent in 2000 to 69 percent in 2011 with a median debt load of $70,000. Does that mean that we should be popping champagne corks because Americans holding credit card debt “decreased” from 51-38 percent in those same years. For seniors, the average debt is $26,000.

Shouldn’t our seasoned citizens be safe and secure in their Golden Years?

If a debt plane slammed into a New York skyscraper or torpedoed a battleship in Hawaiian waters, we would certainly rally as a nation. The issue is that debt accumulation is stealth and silent. The sun comes up the next day. The birds chirp away. The bees buzz. Life goes on to the tune of nearly $1 trillion of new debt each year, let alone the mounting debt loads for states, municipalities, homeowners and credit card holders.

debtclock

Why should we worry?

The banks are happy. States (e.g., China) that serve as banks are happy. And we are mostly happy too. After all our slavery to debt is “manageable.”

http://www.cnbc.com/id/100582392

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_International_%282009_film%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank_of_Credit_and_Commerce_International

http://www.quotefully.com/movie/The+International/Umberto+Calvini

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/03/president-obama-there-is-no-debt-crisis/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LUumD0MwL8

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