Posts Tagged ‘Wealth Gap’

Federally Faked Thursday – The Unhappy Median

Look at this chart:

LOOK AT IT!!!!  This is America, damn it!  We peaked out in earnings in 2000 and it's been downhill ever since.  Even worse, this is America AFTER the Federal Reserve spent $4 TRILLION to boost the economy.  This is America AFTER our Government plunged another $6 TRILLION into debt – supposedly to save jobs and support the economy.  

This is a DISASTER!  If this were the chart of a company you owned – you'd be selling.  If there were a board of directors, we'd be looking to make changes, right?  Actually, there is a sort of board of directors and, as is often the case with Corporate Management – they're the only ones making any money!  

Only in Washington DC and Dick Cheney's Wyoming are people in this country still making as much money as they were in the good old days (Clinton years).  The rest of the country is in various states of decline – some of it fairly drastic – and in big states like Ohio, Michigan and Illinois, where people are earning about 20% less now than they did 14 years ago.  

Our standard of living is in decline, especially when you consider that inflation is chewing into those lower wages from the other end as well.  How much more evidence can we possibly need that the Bush Tax cuts were a complete and utter policy failure?  Yet you will hear none of that in the MSM.  What TV station owner or newspaper & magazine publisher is going to tell you that they should be paying 20% more taxes than they are paying now?

There's a reason that, despite the BS Employment Numbers put up by the Administration, that the #1 concern of US voters is JOBS!  People may HAVE jobs (actually 20% of the families in our country have NO ONE employed at the moment) but, clearly, from an economic perspective – the jobs suck!  Even people lucky enough to keep their jobs through the crisis haven't had raises in a decade but, of course, they are too afraid to leave because we all know people who lost their jobs and didn't find…
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Top 1% Tuesday – $105,637 for Me, $80 for You!

Wheeeeeee – isn't this economy FANTASTIC?

It sure is for those of us in the top 1% (1.4M) - people earning over $352,000 in annual income.  We made $105,637 more Dollars in 2010 than we did in 2009 – thanks in large part to the Fed's fantastic policy of printing more and more money, which lets us borrow cheaply or invest with leverage in inflating equity as the Dollar collapses.  Sure the Dollar collapsing hurts everyone – but an extra $105,637 keeps us ahead of inflation, right? 

I'm stil jealous of course (good Capitalists are always jealous), as the top .01% (14,000 of us) – who earn an average of $23.8M, were able to add another $4.2M to their annual incomes in 2010.  That's 52,500 TIMES the average $80 increase earned by the bottom 99% (thank goodness we're not one of THEM!).  That's right, somehow, the riff-raff in the bottom 99% managed to grab 7% of the Nation's total increase in income – clearly Congress needs to make immediate changes to prevent this travesty from happening again! 

Steve Rattner has a different opinion, saying:  "The only way to redress the income imbalance is by implementing policies that are oriented toward reversing the forces that caused it. That means letting the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthy and adding money to some of the programs that House Republicans seek to cut. Allowing this disparity to continue is both bad economic policy and bad social policy. We owe those at the bottom a fairer shot at moving up."

That's Commie talk!  If we allow the bottom 99% to make a fair share of the money, they would make 5% more and you know they would only SPEND it on stuff they need TO LIVE.  Then our companies would have to provide more goods and services to the bottom 99% and jobs would be created and we, at the top, would have to WAIT for the money to trickle UP from the bottom as only companies that do a good job servicing the bottom 99% would increase in value.  Even worse, we may have to WORK (a four-letter word) to provide goods and services for the people who have money in order to EARN (another four-letter word) our Incomes.  That's no fun for us at all! 

We like it when we get ALL the money and we create just the jobs we choose by buying really…
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Monday Madness – G20 FinMins Set Two Week Deadline

Two weeks!  

European leaders have two weeks to settle differences and flesh out a strategy to terminate their sovereign debt crisis as global finance chiefs warn failure to do so would endanger the world economy.  “The risk of a recession would be increased dramatically were the Europeans to fail to accomplish goals that they’ve set for themselves,” Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said after the G-20 meeting on Saturday.

The Brussels meeting “has the potential to turn into a positive historic moment,” Joachim Fels, London-based chief economist at Morgan Stanley, wrote in a note to clients yesterday. “But it could also easily turn into a negative catalyst.”

Europe’s plan, which has still to be made public, includes writing down Greek bonds by as much as 50 percent, establishing a backstop for banks and magnifying the strength of the 440 billion-euro ($611 billion) temporary rescue fund known as the European Financial Stability Facility.  “The plan has the right elements,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said in Paris. “They clearly have more work to do on the strategy and the details.” 

The G-20 officials — who met to prepare for a Nov. 3-4 gathering of leaders in Cannes, France (and we're fondly remembering London's 2009 meeting with the graphic on the right) — said in a statement that the world economy faces “heightened tensions and significant downside risks.” European authorities must “decisively address the current challenges through a comprehensive plan.

The policy makers held out the possibility of rewarding European action with more aid from the International Monetary Fund, while splitting over whether the Washington-based lender’s $390 billion war chest needs topping up.  Europe’s latest strategy hinges on putting Greece, whose government forecasts its debt to reach 172 percent of gross domestic product in 2012, on a sustainable path. Austerity has plunged the country deeper into recession and provoked civil unrest that threatens political stability.

My reaction to this in Member Chat this Morning was to call for shorting the jacked up Dow Futures (/YM) at 11,600, saying:  

Speaking of the illusion of power – yet another G20 meeting ends with yet another plan to have a plan but this time, for some insane reason, they only gave


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Monday Market Movement – Mind the (Wealth) Gap!

Congratulations to 440,000 of us!

That’s how many people became Millionaires in the past 12 months (ending in June).  According to a new survey from Phoenix Marketing International’s Affluent Market Practice, the number of American households with investible assets of $1 million or more rose 8% in the 12 months ended in June. The survey says there now are 5.55 million U.S. households with investible assets of $1 million or more.  That follows two years of declines and brings the Millionaire count back to 2006 levels. Of course, that is still below the peak of 5.97 million in 2007 and the current growth rate is well below pre-financial crisis levels, when the Millionaire population increased as much as 35% a year

Still, the numbers offer further evidence that the wealthy may have decoupled from the rest of the economy, as we expected would happen in "A Tale of Two Economies," my 2010 outlook. The study’s authors say high salary growth, rather than investments, are the main drivers of the Millionaire expansion.  As we who play the markets are painfully aware, $1M in assets doesn’t leave a lot of room for investments.  The very wealthy, on the other hand, had a much better year than the mere Millionaires. The population of American households with $5 million or more in investible assets surged 16%. The population of those with $10 million to invest increased 17%.  The rich have never been getting richer than they have been in 2010!  

Of course, in order for someone to get rich, someone has to get poor and, this year it took 4M Americans falling below the poverty line ($22,000 for a family of 4) to provide the cash for our 440,000 winners.  That’s pretty much right in line with the numbers I’ve been citing over and over again – it takes 1,000 poor people to make one rich one!  

The Census Bureau found that the fraction of Americans living in poverty rose sharply to 14.3% in 2009, up from 13.2% previously. This is the highest level since 1994. In total, 43.6 million Americans were living in poverty last year.  Even the median family is getting the shaft in America with 2010 inflation-adjusted salaries barely keeping pace with 1980 inflation-adjusted salaries – making 3 full decades without improvement for the average American family.  According to the WSJ, the bottom 40% (120M people) have dropped from having 14.5% of the nation’s income in 1980 to having 12% in…
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Who Rules America?

Professor William Domhoff has updated his excellent study of wealth distribution in America and the results are just as sickening than they were in 2005!

We looked at the uneven distribution of incomes when I wrote "The Crisis of Middle-Class America" earlier this month and I’ll re-post the main chart here as it’s important for the readers to get a fix on where they really are on the economic food chain.  When I talk about the need for more taxes, I’m generally (like our President) referring to the top 1%, the 1.4M people in this country who earn more than $393,000 a year - where 10% more tax ($40,000) may force them to skip a vacation vs. the alternative of taxing the bottom 90%, who earn $30,000 a year, which would force them to skip heat, food, clothing, etc.  

The chart above EXCLUDES capital gains, which are over 70% of the top 0.01%’s incomes so it grossly understates the situation but it does give you a clearer idea of what was going on in the lower brackets leading up to the crisis.  Go ahead, do the math – adding up the total wages of the bottom 90% against the total wages of the top 10% give you a real idea of what a "fair and just" system we’re participating in:

14,836 people earn $17,271,381 in average annual income ($256Bn), 133,525 earn $2,569,388 ($343Bn), 593,444 earn $760,680 ($451Bn), 741,805 earn $393,583 ($292Bn), 5,934,440 earn $188,513 ($1,119Bn) and 7,418,050 earn $117,688 ($873Bn) while the the wages of the bottom 90% are 133,524,900 people earning and average of just $30,173 ($4,029Bn).

So interesting fact number one is that the 13M people in the top 10% earn (not including capital gains, which make up the bulk of their true income) salaries of $3.3Tn while the other 133M schlubs earn $4Tn.    

We are NOT going to be able to "fix" this country until we recognize that this is fundamentally unfair.  Even for those of us in the top 10%, we need to recognize that those other 133M people are our customers, in the very least.  If they have more money to spend, then we will, in theory, be able to make more money serving them.  What’s really gone wrong in this equation is that the top 0.01%, including our multi-national corportate citizens, who control 34.6% of our nation’s wealth (very good chart series here) have already effectively pulled up anchor and are sailing away to warmer waters. 

In Robert Frank’s…
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America is 234 Years Old Today – Is It Finished?

"The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through this sequence. From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance, from abundance to complacency; from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back into bondage." – Professor Joseph Olson

Is America, then, living on borrowed time?  Are we so far past our prime and so into old age as a civilization that we are now senile and oblivious to our present surroundings, causing a danger to ourselves and others?  Do we find ourselves living in the past and repeating the same old tales of our former glories over and over again to anyone who will listen?  Are we barely kept alive by various medications that only stave off conditions that are getting worse every day while still imagining that, if there were a need, we could rise up and be strong again — but not today as there's rice pudding for desert and we don't want to miss that!

Well I have news for you – This country isn't old and it isn't sick but it has been drugged and it has been beaten down and robbed and I am going to tell you that I not only saw it happen, but I think I got a pretty good look at the 10,000 guys who did it.  It was the top 0.01%!  Who are the top 0,01%?  They are the top 10,000 income earners in the United States of America.  If you THINK you are in the top 0.01%, you are not.  People in the top 10,000 know only KNOW they are in the top 0.01% but they know where they rank as well.  The median ANNUAL income of a person in the top 0.01% is $50,000,0000.  They have $350,000,000 in assets and, since 1978, that is an increase of 550% – how have you done the past 30 years?

 

Now we are (or used to be) a pretty rich country and the median income of the 118M people who earn enough money to pay income taxes is about $50,000 but the cost of living in the same country as people who earn an average of 976 times more than that is pretty high as well (see "The Dooh Nibor Economy").  Even worse, The 10,000 paid just $112Bn in taxes last year – that's
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218 New Billionaires Averaged $500M in Gains Last Year – How Are You Doing?

That's right, the new Forbes list is out where we celebrate the top .000014%!

Thanks to an unprecedented concentration of wealth, the World's supply of Billionaires jumped 27% in 2009 and the 1,011 people in the club accumulated an AVERAGE of $500M more Dollars EACH!  Isn't that great?  That's $505Bn or 65% of America's TARP spending handed over to 1,011 people who are, according to Forbes (The Capitalist's Tool), clearly better than us

They sure are doing better than us as America's 450 Billionaires added $225Bn to their bank accounts (and that's AFTER taxes) and the saddest thing is that amount is INCLUDED in the $1.6Tn bounce of US Total Net Worth we had after losing 18% of it in 2008.  A lot of positive economic statistics are skewed by our top 1% but even the top 1% is blown away by the top 450 (0.00014%) who are sitting on $3.6Tn of our nation's total household wealth 8% or 27M times more than the average citizen.  Wow, I guess they are better than you – better in fact than 26,999,999 of you!

As I mentioned in "The Dooh Nibor Economy (that's "Robin Hood" backwards)," America has become a real wealth-building machine the funnels every last cent off the bottom of the pyramid and sends it straight to the top.  Those of us standing near enough to the top (the top 10%) are lucky enough to pick up enough table scraps to make us 1,000 times better than you – our bottom 90% "friends" and that is just great for walking around town but you must pity us because even we are embarrased to show up in our shoddy Armani suits when we are invited to hob-nob with the top 1% in their custom-tailored suits who don't look at lables but at the thread-count of your sleeve. 

Even those "masters of our universe" cower in the presense of that top .00014%, who are, by definition, 26,999 times better than they are!  So don't go thinking the people in the top 10% have it so easy – we have a whole different set of problems to deal with.  You only need to make $150,000 a year to join the top 10% club – we have to make over $2M to crack the top 1% and $2M doesn't even
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The Top 1% Control 42% of the Wealth – Servitude for the Rest of US!

Courtesty of My Budget 360:

financial-wealth-united-statesMany Americans are not buying the recent stock market rally

This is being reflected in multiple polls showing negative attitudes towards the economy and Wall Street.  Wall Street is so disconnected from the average American that they fail to see the 27 million unemployed and underemployed Americans that now have a harder time believing the gospel of financial engineering prosperity.  Americans have a reason to be dubious regarding the recovery because jobs are the main push for most Americans.  A recent study shows that over 70 percent of Americans derive their monthly income from an actual W-2 job.  In other words, working is the prime mover and source of their income.  Yet the financial elite have very little understanding of this concept.  Why?  42 percent of financial wealth is controlled by the top 1 percent.  We would need to go back to the Great Depression to see such lopsided data.

Many Americans are still struggling at the depths of this recession.  We have 37 million Americans on food stamps and many wait until midnight of the last day of the month so checks can clear to buy food at Wal-Mart.  Do you think these people are starring at the stock market?  The overall data is much worse:


Source:  William Domhoff

If we break the data down further we will find that 93 percent of all financial wealth is controlled by the top 10 percent of the country.  That is why these people are cheering their one cent share increase while layoffs keep on improving the bottom line.  But what bottom line are we talking about here?  The Wall Street crowd would like you to believe that all is now good that the stock market has rallied 60+ percent.  Of course they are happy because they control most of this wealth.  Yet the typical American still has negative views on the economy because they actually have to work to earn a living:

gallup-economics

The above daily poll asks Americans about their view on the health of the economy.  Only 13 percent believe the economy is good or excellent.  Funny how that correlates with the top 10 percent who control 93 percent of wealth.  Many Americans were sold the illusion of the bubble.  They were sold on the idea that their homes were worth so much more than they really were. …
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Interest Scams and How to Avoid Them – Mortgage Madness!

 

Last week we talked about Predatory Lending.

This graphic (click to enlarge) gives a good diagram outline of the basics to avoid.  Most of them make their money by charging fees that seem reasonable but turn out to be insane: Payday Loans that can hit you with 360% interest, Rent-To-Own arrangements that have you paying two to three times more than the item costs and, of course, the second greatest scam of them all – Credit Cards – particularly the ones that are supposed to help people "re-establish" their credit.  What is a greater scam on the American consumer than credit cards, you may ask?  Why your home mortgage of course!

Now I know you, my sophisticated readers, find it obvious that ARMs and Balloon Payments are bad ideas but, in my previous life in the real eastate title business, I found that even the most savvy investor often fails to consider the long-term costs of even a conventional mortgage.  Many people make poor home investing decisions because they don't fully understand the debt they are taking on or the alternatives available to them.  

This did not matter when homes went up and up and up because even a bad investment made a little but "this time it IS different" and we may be in for an entire decade in which we may not see ANY rise in the value of homes – this is what has happened to Japan for the last TWO decades.  I'm going to go over some of the numbers, give you a few tools and see if we can't find some ways save you $100,000 on a $200,000 loan and show you how to set your kids up for life - does that sound interesting? 

Home Costs

Currently homes are, at least, reasonably priced in many parts of the country and the government is offering a first-time home buyer tax credit of $8,000, provided that you stay in the home for 36 months. This isn’t a tax deduction like your mortgage interest, which reduces your taxable income – a tax credit actually reduces your total income taxes owed. In addition, some states, such as California, are offering tax credits for home buyers that will further reduce your tax liability. Keep in mind that the federal program ends on April 30th of this year, and while it could end up being extended, it isn’t a given.

As a…
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Phil's Favorites

Brick and Mortar Winners in a Post Covid World

 

Brick and Mortar Winners in a Post Covid World

Courtesy of Howard Lindzon

Before I get started…

Zoom zoomed past Exxon in market cap yesterday. At some level that makes sense as Zoom is the fuel for 2020 economy. Between alternative energy and COVID, I have no idea if Exxon can regain past glory.

Next up…

JC does a fun weekly show with me where we talk about the markets and a few favorite ideas, and his team does a great job of slipping in great edits to make it funny and worth sticking around. Here is this week’s e...



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ValueWalk

Top 7 Most Popular Social Media Platforms

By Anna Peel. Originally published at ValueWalk.

From a handful of social media platforms in the early 2010s, the social media universe has expanded to more than 100 platforms. New entrants are making an entry every few months.  Debutants like Triller, WT Social, Valence, Flip, and  Popbase have barely scratched the surface, but they might be the next big thing.

Q3 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Whatever field you are in, it is impossible to ignore the power of social media. Half of the global population reachable by social media, making it a powerful tool for governments, corporation...



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Zero Hedge

UK Officer In Charge Of Submarine's Nukes Boarded "Staggering Drunk" While Clutching BBQ Chicken

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

On Monday the UK Ministry of Defence confirmed a hugely embarrassing incident involving a security and operations lapse aboard the British nuclear submarine HMS Vigilant while it temporarily was docked during a mission at a US naval base, specifically Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia.

The officer in charge of overseeing the vessel's nuclear warheads arrived to his shift "staggering drunk" while strangely carrying a bag of barbecue chicken.

...

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Chart School

Dow Gann Angle Update

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Time to see what happens to the Dow post US elections.

The Dow Gann Angle Target 3 (from 2007 top) is on the table, and what a ride that will be. The FED went BRRRRR is all the fundamental news you need to know. Gann angles are very good tool to see how the masses are pushing price.


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The last two US elections saw Bitcoin and the DOW rally well for 6 months, due to stimulus. The most bearish 2020 US Election case for the markets is a Biden win with the Senate and Congress controlled by the Democrats, somehow this blog feels that is very unlikely. So what could go wrong!


...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Will 2020 Mark Historic Low For Interest Rates?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

US treasury bond yields have been trending lower for over 3 decades. Could the latest drop mark a significant low for bond yields and interest rates?

In today’s chart, we can see that interest rates have had several spike lows and highs, but that each low is lower and each high is lower. That’s the definition of a downtrend. BUT, each of these spike lows has resulted in big rallies within the downtrend channel. And each of these lows and subsequent rallies have been marked by significant momentum lows (see each green line and shaded box).

So is it time for short-term yields to rally?

Looking at the current set-up, we can see that yiel...



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Biotech/COVID-19

Coronavirus reinfection cases: what we know so far - and the vital missing clues

 

Coronavirus reinfection cases: what we know so far – and the vital missing clues

By Sheena Cruickshank, University of Manchester

As President Trump claims that he is immune to COVID-19 and isolated reports emerge of reinfection, what is the truth about immunity to COVID-19?

To date, there have been six published ...



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Politics

Dan's Covid Charts: Blue States vs. Red States Over Time

 

The trend of lower Covid-19 case numbers per capita in blue states compared to red states isn't itself surprising, but the magnitude of the differences may be. You can visualize the evolving differences in case loads by watching the infection's progression, as measured by cases per capita, at Dan's website.

[Visit Dan’s COVID Charts to see these amazing animated charts and more. Fortunately, Dan broke his Twitter hiatus to share his work.]

People say I should break my 12-year Twitter hiatus to share my latest animated COVID chart. It compares state cases factoring in partisanship since June 1, when science had proven methodology as to how to stop the spread after the initial sucker punch. ...



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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin: the UK and US are clamping down on crypto trading - here's why it's not yet a big deal

 

Bitcoin: the UK and US are clamping down on crypto trading – here's why it's not yet a big deal

Where there’s a bit there’s a writ. Novikov Aleksey

Courtesy of Gavin Brown, University of Liverpool

The sale and promotion of derivatives of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to amateur investors is being banned in the UK by the financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It is a...



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Mapping The Market

COVID-19 Forces More Than Half of Asset Management Firms to Accelerate Adoption of Digital Marketing Technology

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

There is no doubt that the use of technology to support client engagement initiatives brings both opportunities and threats but this has been brought into sharp focus this year with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The crisis has brought to the fore the need for firms to enable flexibility in client engagement – the expectation that providers will communicate to clients on their terms, at their speed and frequency and on their preferred channels, is now a given. This is even more critical when clients are experiencing unparalleled anxiety from both market conditions and their own personal circumstances.

...

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The Technical Traders

Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling System Suggests Market Peak May Be Near

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Our Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling system is suggesting a moderate price peak may be already setting up in the NASDAQ while the Dow Jones, S&P500, and Transportation Index continue to rally beyond the projected Fibonacci Price Expansion Levels.  This indicates that capital may be shifting away from the already lofty Technology sector and into Basic Materials, Financials, Energy, Consumer Staples, Utilities, as well as other sectors.

This type of a structural market shift indicates a move away from speculation and towards Blue Chip returns. It suggests traders and investors are expecting the US consumer to come back strong (or at least hold up the market at...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia - The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

 

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia – The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

Courtesy of Lee Adler, WallStreetExaminer 

The numbers of new cases in some of the hardest hit COVID19 states have started to plateau, or even decline, over the past few days. A few pundits have noted it and concluded that it was a hopeful sign. 

Is it real or is something else going on? Like a restriction in the numbers of tests, or simply the inability to test enough, or are some people simply giving up on getting tested? Because as we all know from our dear leader, the less testing, the less...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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Promotions

Free, Live Webinar on Stocks, Options and Trading Strategies

TODAY's LIVE webinar on stocks, options and trading strategy is open to all!

Feb. 26, 1pm EST

Click HERE to join the PSW weekly webinar at 1 pm EST.

Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

This week, we also have a special presentation from Mike Anton of TradeExchange.com. It's a new service that we're excited to be a part of! 

Mike will show off the TradeExchange's new platform which you can try for free.  

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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