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More on price stabilization bye the Fed (pun intended)


By Vaticanus   Follow   Sun, 1 Aug 2010, 1:15pm PDT   10,130 views   286 comments   Watch (0)   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

Aug. 1, 2010

GUEST COMMENTARY: The Coming Currency Crisis

By Pat McGeehan

Freedom lies at its darkest hour not by threat of sword, but by threat of poverty. And our country’s impoverished condition continues. The American Republic is dying. Our nation is bankrupt. This is no longer a Republican or Democrat “issue”—it’s just a “math” issue. Tomorrow, if the entire federal government was eliminated—including the US Military—we could still not afford to pay for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. We would still run a budget deficit. These three bloated programs and we can’t foot the bill. For anyone not yet paying attention, this sobering predicament is your wake up call.

Furthermore, despite what you may hear to the contrary, the economic depression still lingers. It will get worse. To examine what this means to your future, we must examine the cause of our economic downturns and how it is bankrupting our society.

The source does not rest with “Wall Street greed” or a shortage of consumer spending. The real cause of our economic roller coaster ride stems from an opaque institution known as the Federal Reserve. This quasi-government creature not only orchestrates the “booms” and “busts” we are familiar with, but it also makes possible our colossal national debt. While our country’s central bank may not seem very significant to your daily life, it’s crucial Americans begin to pay more attention.

All of our past economic depressions or “busts” are caused because the Federal Reserve increases the nation’s supply of money. Though hidden through complex bureaucratic terminology, the process is really quite simple. To “stimulate” the economy, the Federal Reserve utilizes its money printing tools to artificially lower interest rates. IOU checks are written by the Fed to the nation’s largest and most politically-connected banks, and with a few keystrokes of the computer, money is created out of thin air. These big banks gain more cash on hand, profiting by having the privilege of being the first lender. Remember though, all this newly granted cash is counterfeit. These reserves represent zero new resources produced and saved from economic growth. However, by printing more money, the Federal Reserve gives the appearance that more resources are now available for investment, and so begins the boom. It should be noted, this counterfeiting bank cartel is purely a product of government. There is nothing “free market” about it.

When something is more plentiful or abundant, the price tends to fall. This is also true of the interest rate, which plummets as the supply of paper money increases. After the Fed injects counterfeit reserves into the vaults of its member banks, the price of this diluted capital now appears cheaper. But remember, all of the genuine resources in the economy have now been watered-down by the government counterfeit. The interest rate does not fall because of an increase in voluntary savings; but through government intervention. The Federal Reserve is simply price fixing.

The new counterfeit money now makes its way into our economy from the banking system, typically first appearing through the loan market. The Fed deceives businessmen and entrepreneurs, who because of the lower interest rates, are falsely signaled more resources are available to invest in long term projects. These artificially cheap rates cause banks to make more business loans, and more credit is granted. As a result, more projects are started, and more investments are made. Politicians in office are praised for healthy economic prosperity. But it’s simply an illusion—all of it pure fantasy. The government’s counterfeit merely diluted scarce resources, causing real capital to become misallocated, squandered, and ultimately wasted. The situation just outlined has been the plague of our American economy.

Thus, it is important to note that the boom phase is the unhealthy stage where the economy grows sick. All of these new investment projects cannot be sustained, as consumers never actually demanded any of them. Once the money-printing scheme ceases, the bust phase sets in. All of these businesses or projects are now realized to be, in fact “malinvestments” and they must be liquidated (i.e. an overabundance of houses for which no one demanded be constructed). Businesses close. Mass unemployment is created—all at once. These recessions are painful but necessary for true healthy economic growth to resume in the country. Trying to sustain the boom is equal to trying to keep the economy sick.

Our primary illness now is that we have tried to deny that our economy has been sick. By doing so, we have merely prolonged the recession. Through trillion dollar stimulus plans and even lower interest rates, we have aggravated our economic woes. The Federal Reserve has now maintained 0% interest rates for 21 months straight, a reckless and unprecedented government maneuver. But the denial can only last so long.

Our denial has exchanged short term pain for long term misery. Our spending and money printing has prompted a coming currency crisis. The US dollar is losing its value and the country faces possible hyperinflation, or even the collapse of our paper money system. Prices will rise higher and higher, robbing the poor and driving middle class families into poverty, as they are forced to eat away at their savings to compensate for higher food and energy costs. Interest rates at the national level will begin to rise, and no trick left in the Fed’s playbook will be able to stop this. As our national debt mounts, we will face insurmountable payments on our annual interest alone (likely exceeding 65% of all federal tax receipts within the next 3 years).

If history is a benchmark, we will attempt to “print-up” even more money to pay for it, throwing more and more worthless paper into circulation. Unless we do something soon, this is the end game. Prolonged economic depression, rising unemployment, and 20 dollars for a loaf of bread—15 bucks for a gallon of milk. This is a real possibility—and this is what it could look like for you and your family.

http://www.huntingtonnews.net/columns/100801-mcgeehan-columnscrisis.html

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iwog   befriend   ignore   Wed, 18 Aug 2010, 9:31am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 247

SF ace says

because the person who net 100 million a year is deploying capital to allow the nurse to even have a chance to be employed and pay tax.

So let me be very clear about the point you're trying to make. It's the core of the supply side economics lie so I want to boil it down to its most basic form. EVERYONE should understand that it's a fraud, although not always intentional:

1 person making $100 million per year and deploying capital makes jobs because of investment. (even when there's no demand because everyone is broke?)

100 people making $1 million per year can't possibly buy stock/put money in a bank where they will provide the EXACT same $100 million investment??

1000 people making $100,000 per year must be taxed at 50% because THEIR contribution (demand for products) doesn't matter. It's only capital investment after all.....who needs a market?

2000 people making $50,000 a year must be taxed at 35% because they don't have enough money left over to consume anything, so we might as well take what they have left??

A nurse will ALWAYS have a job as long as there is demand for nurses, even if she has to work out of a tent. A cook will ALWAYS have a job as long as there's a demand for food, even if he has to buy from local gardens. This goes for every occupation you can think of. There is no such thing as supply side economics, it's a lie and a fraud and it needs to die a horrible bloody death so people can understand the way things really work.

ALL ECONOMICS ARE DEMAND SIDE. If there's a market, someone will figure out in a garage somewhere how to profit from it. If it's a viable product, financing will come. (there have always been rich people, even in 1946) When people wanted computers in their home, two geeks with a budget of nothing started selling them. When people wanted airplanes, two bike mechanics put one together. DEMAND drives innovation. DEMAND makes profits. Without demand, capital investment is a joke. It's rich people building luxury homes in Dubai or burying money in bonds. Why do rich people accept 2% on their money right now? Answer: It's because investing in jobs will make them LESS than 2%, therefore they don't do it and unemployment goes up.

There is absolutely no argument to tax rich people at 15% while people who are struggling to pay the bills pay 50%. It's an abomination and I can't believe there are so many people who agree with it. In another era, there would be revolution.

pkennedy   befriend   ignore   Wed, 18 Aug 2010, 9:59am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 248

@iwog

In reality it probably doesn't make a huge difference. The quality of life difference comes from the difference of income between you and your neighbors and not between how much you make (and/or taxed). The super wealthy, 100M will live the same extravagant life style they live now, whether they are taxed 15% or 50%, while you will also live the same lifestyle. Your income will great increase, but so will the prices of all goods and services.

If you made 200K per year, and so did everyone in the bay area, you would be worse off than you are now (assuming you make less than 200K).

If you made 150K per year, but everyone in the bay area made 100K, you would be far better off.

The difference in taxes will allow us to import more crap and buy more crap, but houses, cars, and services will all increase radically in cost offsetting anything else.

SFace   befriend   ignore   Wed, 18 Aug 2010, 10:17am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 249

Iwog, I’m open ears, admittedly, i don't study economics, I study business.

Let’s strip off the 15% and 50% difference. That is misleading. The long term capital and qualified dividends rate is 15%, there is no preferential treatment for state tax. Combine tax rate is around 20-25%, even for the rich who has no earned income.

I just checked, a 50K single earner (a Buffet example) on standard deduction with no credit would pay no more than about 6,200 in federal and about 1,800 in CA state or about 18% combined. Everything else is comparing apples and oranges as employment tax are tied to Social security, medicare, and unemployment insurance for which the payer directly benefit eventually.

Now I’m not as smart as you so I just apply theories in real life. Tesla Motors wants to deploy capital In Fremont, and Fremont wants Tesla. Fremont doesn’t need the property tax revenue and CA doesn’t need the income/sales tax revenue, that is insignificant, the big picture is Fremont wants a company to deploy capital in Fremont and hire and spend in their city, creating a ecosystem that supports other business and other taxes. They lose what they see in front of them, but gain tremendously indirectly. If I was the mayor of Fremont, I’ll look for as many deal as possible as long as it provides high paying jobs. That's what the US does, deploying capital contribute tremendously indirectly.

It's all about the working capital, there's no eco-system without working capital. Silicon valley wouldn't be what it is without the VC's like Sequioa capital, Golden Gate Capital, Farralon, Hellerman etc. behind them. Sequioa Capital wouldn't be Sequioa Capital without rich people behind those money to create those funds. Facebook, Linkedin and the recently acquired 3PAR only makes it this far with real money behind them before establishing their worth. So yes, I believe things start from the money side as there would be no demand without refining a product or service.

China followed the demand side losgistics for many years, 1B people so there must be demand. Guess what, no capital, no product and Service? You put capital behind them and allow an enviroment where capital is freely deployed, and the economy expanded 2000X since 1997.

Deploying working capital is not risk free. In another era, there is a limited choice in where capital can be deployed so perhaps the rich can accept being taxed to death for the risk in another era. In 2010, there are real opportunities in other jurisdictions such as India, China, Israel where capital and risk to deploy capital is not taxed.

marcus   befriend   ignore   Wed, 18 Aug 2010, 10:20am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 250

pkennedy says

houses, cars, and services will all increase radically

why ?

iwog   befriend   ignore   Wed, 18 Aug 2010, 3:07pm PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 251

SF ace says

Iwog, I’m open ears, admittedly, i don’t study economics, I study business.
Let’s strip off the 15% and 50% difference. That is misleading. The long term capital and qualified dividends rate is 15%, there is no preferential treatment for state tax. Combine tax rate is around 20-25%, even for the rich who has no earned income.

Nope, not misleading at all. First of all, super rich people locate their corporation in a tax free state, then fly to their real home in their private plane. They don't pay state taxes, that is only for working peons.

Second of all, people are on the hook for 15% social security and Medicare tax up to whatever the limit is now. $(110k?) Then they have to pay state taxes if they live in a taxing state. The capital gains income that rich people pay themselves with are subject to none of it.

The REAL tax rate that most working Americans have to pay is close to 50%. The REAL tax rate that rich people pay is around 17%. I can't imagine that taxes are this regressive anywhere else in the world.

Work for your money? Slave away day after day? Pay 35-50%.

Sit on your ass and watch Oprah while the checks roll in from your trust fund? 15%.

It is beyond outrageous that people don't realize how bad it is.

iwog   befriend   ignore   Wed, 18 Aug 2010, 3:10pm PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 252

Working capital: Money.

It's that simple. There are hundreds of billions of dollars available for the next big thing. There is no lack of funding anywhere. Even in the 1950s and the era of a 90% top tax bracket, Howard Hughes was sitting there ready to write a check. If he didn't, his bank did.

I can't stress this enough. Supply side economic theory is a fraud. There is ONLY demand and as long as demand exists, jobs will follow. The reverse isn't true. There can be a zillion dollars available for investment, but if no one has any money to buy anything, there's no economy. The game is over. You pack up the Monopoly board and put it in the closet.

marcus   befriend   ignore   Wed, 18 Aug 2010, 3:59pm PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 253

iwog says

The REAL tax rate that most working Americans have to pay is close to 50%

I agree, the way to think about it, and what is usually meant is if someone makes 50K, what percent of the last $1000 they made goes to all taxes, yes including payroll taxes.

iwog says

There can be a zillion dollars available for investment, but if no one has any money to buy anything, there’s no economy

Maybe eventually we can make more things here to sell to the Chinese.

bob2356   befriend   ignore   Fri, 20 Aug 2010, 6:08am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 254

Iwog,

I 100% agree with your sentiment that taxation must become more progressive, but would like to point out that you are pretty casual with your numbers. You really don't bolster your arguments by mixing and matching statistics that suit you and ignoring those that don't. You frequently do this with posts about housing also, randomly choosing local or national numbers or even analysts opinions without differentiating, whichever supports the point you want to make.

For example you emphasis the 17% effective tax rate which is the actual federal taxes paid to the IRS for the wealthiest 400 taxpayers in the US. I also read the article which was in the NY times I believe. That does not include any other taxes other than federal. You then mix it with the 50% rate which is for ALL taxes paid for an undetermined and undefined group of taxpayers you label everyone else (actually the phrase you use is "working americans" whatever that means). Since 50% of working people don't pay any federal taxes at all I have my serious doubts that state taxes+fica amount to 50% tax on those people. You also constantly throw around the 90% tax bracket in the 1950's. That was a nominal bracket, look into it you will find the effective rate was about 50%. The 17% number is an effective rate, so once again you are comparing apples to oranges. Either stick to nominal or effective. If you really believe in what you say then let the facts speak for themselves.

Honest Abe   befriend   ignore   Fri, 20 Aug 2010, 7:15am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 255

The government is financially burying all of us. The radical left winger's think things are just fine, and want to spend even more. Everyone else thinks "spending" $500 Million, PER DAY, on interest payments to cover the governments debt is a bad idea.

defeat the debt.com

jljoshlee3   befriend   ignore   Fri, 20 Aug 2010, 8:14am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 256

the government created the 12 regional boards of the fed to do same job as the bank of england did, a huge english private bank, a bankers bank, in order to create stability in the banking sector. This was done to end the phenonimina of bank runs. It is there explicity to support banks in time of crisis, not for joe and jane usa, although by preventing financial meltdown, it does have a tangent to normal americans.

There is a ton of ignorance, double speak, and inuendo among politicians about the fed, because they and the fed would sort of like us to believe that we in some way control it. but we do not. It is a monopolistic super bank, really nothing more.

marcus   befriend   ignore   Fri, 20 Aug 2010, 12:45pm PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 257

jljoshlee3 says

It is a monopolistic super bank, really nothing more

They are a somewhat independent entity in charge of US monetary policy. Someone here said, "sort of like a fourth branch of the government." Their goals truly are about stable prices, and optimizing economic growth to the extent that monetary policy can.

When the economy does well, all banks benefit yes.

Those who don't like the fed come up with twisted descriptions of what they do, and of cause and effect, but usually their real issue is with our fiat currency system. If you want us back on some kind of gold standard, with a much simpler monetary system (GLOBALLY), then of course you don't like the fed. Because the fed and it's function are an integral part of the international currency system we have today.

Vaticanus   befriend   ignore   Sun, 22 Aug 2010, 4:19am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 258

The Federal Reserve operates under a veil of secrecy. It has a track record of devaluing the dollar 96% in less than 100 years. It failed to prevent the real estate bubble. In fact it helped the bubble along rather than raising alarms like it should have been if one of its goals is to insure stable prices. marcus says

Those who don’t like the fed come up ....blah blah blah sweeping generalization...blah blah the new world order blah blah... the leader is good.... blah blah globalism.... blah blah .....gold standard straw man blahh blah

Ben Bernanke even denied the real estate bubble existed right up until he could no longer lie about it and retain any credibility. The Federal Reserve benefits the minority of wealthy bankers and huge corporations at the expense of the majority of working people. That is why it must be exposed and abolished. We don't need a gold standard, we just need freedom from debt. We will never have freedom from debt as long as the Federal Reserve has the power to "stabilize" prices. That is just double speak for maximizing profits for the elites and maximizing debt for the working class while maintaining the illusion of freedom of choice. But whether we abolish the FED or not, the dollar is not going to survive the test of time. It is only a matter of time before confidence in the paper/electronic dollar fails. More than likely the ptb will "save us" with a new North American or even one world currency that will take its place. That is of course if we fail to reign them in/limit their power and learn to take care of ourselves before it is too late.

No offense marcus, mainly just pointing out your sweeping generalization is false/misleading propaganda in support of the aristocracy and one of its tools the FED.

marcus   befriend   ignore   Sun, 22 Aug 2010, 5:27am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 259

Speaking of sweeping generalizations. Maybe you could explain to yourself, and then the rest of us exactly how this happens ?

AdHominem says

The Federal Reserve benefits the minority of wealthy bankers and huge corporations at the expense of the majority of working people

Your answer is sure to include meaningless general statements such as

debt is bad

devaluation of currency is bad

Funny, I thought that in modern times debt was good. Are you going to tell me that the only way I can start a business that will require 2 million dollars worth of assets is to raise 2 million dollars ?

Regarding devaluation of the currency. I'm not at all convinced that the Fed is singlehandedly responsible for this, but assuming it is, wouldn't we have to consider:

1) What happened to inflation adjusted GDP and inflation adjusted incomes over any time frame we are drawing inferences from.

2) Who does inflation benefit more ? The borrower or the lender ?

3) as to the claim that the concentration of wealth at the top is the feds fault. IS that just because you get to magically assign cause and effect. I saw a leaf fall in to the river. Later I saw a fish. Oh my lord, the leaf turned in to a fish.

Really, I am not bad with logic and reasoning. Help me out.

bob2356   befriend   ignore   Sun, 22 Aug 2010, 5:36am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 260

AdHominem says

It has a track record of devaluing the dollar 96% in less than 100 years.

Why to you keep throwing that meaningless crap statistic out? The only value of any currency is purchasing power per unit of work. The average person 100 years ago worked very hard 10 to 12 hours a day 6 days a week (as did all the children over the age of about 7) to live in a 300-500 sq ft tenement or dirt floor farmhouse with lots of other people crammed in lacking electricity or running water. I think you could safely say that the average standard of living in America has gotten better no matter what the dollar is worth. Please feel free to go back to the good old days if you so desire.

Vaticanus   befriend   ignore   Sun, 22 Aug 2010, 5:42am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 261

marcus says

Funny, I thought that in modern times debt was good.

Nope. But thanks for the straw man.

marcus says

Are you going to tell me that the only way I can start a business that will require 2 million dollars worth of assets is to raise 2 million dollars ?

Nope. Debt is one way, recruiting investors is another.

marcus says

Regarding devaluation of the currency. I’m not at all convinced that the Fed is singlehandedly responsible for this

It isn't really entirely responsible. Fractional reserve banking, deficit spending (by congress and state and local governments), and the fiat nature of the dollar all play a role in the devaluation of the dollar. Ultimately congress and the people who support congress are responsible for the devaluation because congress authorized the creation of the FED and the people have accepted it and the consequences of deficit spending.... so far.

marcus says

Who does inflation benefit more ?

The people who have FIRST or earliest access to the newly created supply of money before it has a chance to trickle down and cause an increase in prices (typically the elites by nature of their position, power and influence have first or earliest access to any new money that is created).

marcus says

as to the claim that the concentration of wealth at the top is the feds fault.

You misconstrue and present another straw man. It is not the FEDS fault it is congress and the people's fault for allowing them to use the Fed for their own protection. The whole idea of too big to fail and justifying government intervention in markets enables the elites to privatize profits while socializing losses.

marcus   befriend   ignore   Sun, 22 Aug 2010, 5:48am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 262

For clarification, I don't deny that the fed is ultimately good for corporations, and often for the economy in general, it's specifically this part that I want to understand.

AdHominem says

at the expense of the majority of working people

marcus   befriend   ignore   Sun, 22 Aug 2010, 5:50am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 263

AdHominem says

marcus says

Funny, I thought that in modern times debt was good.

Nope. But thanks for the straw man.

It's not a straw man, I mean that I (not you) see debt as a good thing.

marcus   befriend   ignore   Sun, 22 Aug 2010, 5:56am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 264

AdHominem says

It is not the FEDS fault it is congress and the people’s fault for allowing them to use the Fed for their own protection. The whole idea of too big to fail and justifying government intervention in markets enables the elites to privatize profits while socializing losses.

But this was a "black swan" event, and there is new legislation which at least attempts to decrease the chance of too big to fail in the future.

Besides if you wanted to argue for new anti-trust laws, breaking up too big to fail institutions, I would be all for it. That has nothing to do with the Fed. The feds intervention was trying to prevent the ultimate too big failure.

Vaticanus   befriend   ignore   Sun, 22 Aug 2010, 6:02am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 265

bob2356 says

The only value of any currency is purchasing power per unit of work.

Lets assume this premise. How much work does JP Morgan have to do to rake in interest on deposits he does not even have (they have already been loaned out and "redeposited" to the point where there is at best one dollar in possession for every 10 dollars on "deposit")? Seeing as how JP Morgan does little or no work, and rather is a parasite on the productivity of the working class, why should he and others like him receive bailouts/have a lender of last resort when they overextend themselves?

Advancements in technology that have raised American standard of living aside: What is the likelyhood of a new immigrant or high school graduate with no capital of saving enough money to buy a house, start a business and provide for his family without going into years and years of debt servitude? Can we blame the FED for this reality? Not entirely, but their policy of serving as lender of last resort creates a moral hazard and leads to increased malinvestment. It also results in socialization of losses while allowing private corporations to reap most of the profits. Ultimately the worker pays higher prices for goods and receives lower wages for services because we must first pay the banker and subsidize the losses of the "too big to fail." We must also subsidize deficit spending on foreign wars in the name of National Security and "Making the world safe for Democracy" which are really just about Big Business. The Fed (which is approved by congress and accepted by the people.... for now) makes all this deficit spending and socializing of losses possible.

marcus   befriend   ignore   Sun, 22 Aug 2010, 6:05am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 266

Debt is a wonderful thing that allows our economy to function. It is only when debt is too high relative to asset values and relative to cash flow that we have a problem. And I am not going to repeat observations made in the past about specific series of events, including the pre-millennial irrational exuberance, or the many financial mistakes made since.

But I have basic problems with the assertion that getting rid of the fed would help prevent bubbles or panics, or (not addressed) that it will help us to function better in an extremely complex international economic environment.

The one thing that you said that I agree with very much, is that it is too easy to make sweeping generalizations, or even simple statements that have no sound justification. Since ending the fed would be a enormous challenge, with countless unforeseen effects, it would seem to me that the burden of proof is on you to explain more clearly what the key problem with it is, and also what you would replace it with.

marcus   befriend   ignore   Sun, 22 Aug 2010, 6:13am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 267

As for deficit spending on wars, which may really be more about supporting the military industrial complex, I agree. But here is where you are wrong. You think the fed enables that. I would argue that China and other purchasers of US Treasury securitities are the real ones who ultimately determine interest rates.

Interest rates are determined in markets. The fed is involved, but please do some homework before trying to assert that any long term rates are determined by the fed.

Vaticanus   befriend   ignore   Sun, 22 Aug 2010, 6:14am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 268

marcus says

But this was a “black swan” event

WHAT was a black swan event?

marcus says

there is new legislation which at least attempts to decrease the chance of too big to fail in the future

The Fed was CREATED to serve as lender of last resort for the too big to fail. That is the origin of the FED.

Since 2008 there are even less banks, and the surviving banks have become even bigger and more powerful, as has the FED.

So much for reducing too big to fail.

marcus says

The feds intervention was trying to prevent the ultimate too big failure.

Exactly, that is my point. The "too big to fail" (who are really just private corporations that knowingly overextended themselves) create fear that if they collapse they will take us all with them. It is circular reasoning and an endless cycle of fear that keeps us in debt and under control of the FED/Bankers/Corporations.

Vaticanus   befriend   ignore   Sun, 22 Aug 2010, 6:19am PDT   Share   Quote   Li