Ok, here’s my theory about why the Masters of the Universe want to kill the social insurance programs

Remember what I said about Wall Street workers?  Let me refresh your memory:

The finance class actually consists of a bunch of overqualified strip miners.  They’re overworked, which might explain the number of bad decisions they make, and their compensation system decouples the consequences of their actions from the actions themselves.  They are being paid to make “deals” and the purpose of those deals is to extract “wealth”.  In a way, it’s not that much different from getting into the cab of some giant piece of earth moving equipment and mowing down the side of the mountain and then loading that potential ore onto a conveyor belt to be separated from dirt.  They live in a “company” town and are paid “company scrip”.  It’s a truck system for them as well.  The compensation is not proportional to the amount of work they do, they can be fired at will and they’re never going to leave that mountain because they owe their souls to the company store.  The more they work, the more compensation in bonuses they are promised but it’s never enough.

Once you think about this metaphor of Wall Street doing the work of strip miners, the present set of circumstances will start to make a lot of sense.

We know that Social Security does not add to the deficit.  In fact, we have a trust fund worth almost $3 trillion dollars.  Sure, that trust fund has taken a hit in the past four years because so many people are out of work and can’t pay their taxes but once people are working again, the kitty will start to grow again.  And if all that is needed is a couple of tweaks to solve the minor shortfall, it’s really not as damaging to the economy or rich people’s ability to spend ungodly amounts of money on themselves as they pretend.

So, it’s not a deficit problem- at least not from the government’s side of things.  Sure, Medicare does need to be fixed but that requires some spine stiffening on the part of the Democrats to crack down on providers.  Did I tell you about my lab partner’s husband’s 4 hour hernia operation and recovery in the hospital?  $70,000.  No, that is not a mistake.  There’s something truly out of whack when if comes to costs and payments to hospitals, doctors, insurance companies.  It’s a real problem.  And since the rest of the developed world has found reasonable solutions at much lower costs, it’s moronic for our elected officials to tell us that the costly ACA, with downstream repercussions they failed to study, is the best we can do.  Please, do we look stupid to you?

Anyway, back to Wall Street.  The Social Security trust fund is solid and fixable and millions of us late boomers paid into the surplus funds to cover our own retirements.  What isn’t solid and fixable is the 401K system, which really is a Ponzi scheme.  Pretty soon, a lot of aging baby boomers will be taking money out.  That’s going to hurt someone’s bottom line.  The bonuses and skimming going forward isn’t going to be nearly so lucrative as it was over the past two decades.  After the Baby Boom came the Baby Bust in the late 60’s.  Looks like The Pill really caught on in a big way.

In the past couple of decades, many companies ditched their pensions for the 401K.  Let the kids pay for their own retirements.  None of this deferred compensation crap.  And life was good for the shareholders and the bankers.  But once that money starts to get withdrawn, the salad days will be over.  So, Wall Street must get more people into 401Ks or they won’t be able to continue strip mining.  The problem is that most people are already in one if their employer offers it.  The market is finite and pretty soon will plateau.  At some point, the investment portfolios are also going to reach a steady state.

BUT, if you raise the retirement age and keep a lot of older people working, they will be forced to put their money back into the market.  Well, they won’t be able to retire until they’re much older than their parents were at retirement.  If they have any hope of ever taking time out to go travel or garden, they’re going to have to risk their money in the market, hope that it will pay off so they can get out of the job market before they’re dead and forget about social security.

My theory is that raising the retirement age forces more savings to stay in the market longer and that with a pool of people who can’t retire yet still working, the amount of money going into 401Ks and IRAs is going to go up. Stripville!

It makes sense from a timing perspective.  There’s really no need to cut a deal with Republicans right now.  The Democrats have enough seats to keep things pretty much unchanged.  If the tax cuts expire, it’s going to look bad for Republicans to hold middle class tax cuts hostage in order to satisfy their rich friends.  In fact, just about anything the Republicans stamp their feet and insist on is going to look bad for them.

But Obama still wants to cut a deal and make us all a lot poorer as a nation and as individuals.  And he really doesn’t have to do this.  So, why do it?  I think it’s because the strip miners have told him that if he doesn’t, the market is going to start to drop and it will pick up speed and saving the banks is the most important thing ever!!!  All serious people agree about this.  If he doesn’t cut the social insurance programs in order to prop up the 401K system, it will be all his and the Democrats’ fault when the market finally starts to fall.

Yep, that would suck for seniors who are about to retire so if I were them, I’d start looking around for other places to put that money.  But history has shown that Obama and his droogs at Treasury will bend over backwards to please bankers even if it means opening a revolving line of credit for the bankers to the taxpayer cash stream in perpetuity.  (Read Neil Barofsky’s book for more horrific details).

It’s been my feeling that the 401K is behind a lot of what’s really messed up in our economy and for some reason, we never hear anyone of sufficient gravitas talking about it.  But just imagine what would happen to the economy if we tried to phase it out even if most of us hate it with a white hot passion.

All hell would break loose.

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71 Responses

  1. Had the most delicious cod dish tonight. Mix 2 tbsp mayo with a tbsp parmesan cheese. Spread over 1 lb of cod. Mix 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs with 1 tbsp melted butter. Sprinkle on top of mayo fish concoction. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes until panko crumbs are golden. Very simple and yummy. Yeah, it’s probably more calories than just broiling it and adding a bit of lemon but the recipe was for two filets and I ate only half of one filet.
    Saving the rest for lunch tomorrow with some steamed broccolli…

  2. That’s a good description of what Wall Street wants. Social Security essentially competes with 401K plans for retirement dollars, and Wall Street wants that money. The 401 K system is running its course because older boomers will begin withdrawals, but also because flatlined wages and salaries will limit contributions. Reduced job tenures will force premature 401K withdrawals so accumulation periods will be cut short.

    These guys are stewing in their own greed. On the one hand, they embrace short termism; brief job tenures, high unemployment, low labor costs, but they don’t consider the after effects of these policies, so they lobby the government for special favors, in this case, shifting retirement savings over to the 401 K model. They don’t give a shit about the population, it interferes with the looting.

    Finance has too much say in economic policy. A sane economy would relegate them to a subordinate role, but apparently we have to endure worse privation until someone gets the message.

  3. Possibly the author should do some reading. I would suggest they take a look at the Social Security Trust Fund report to Congress.

    The suggestion in this piece is that the SSTF is just fine. The author says:

    once people are working again, the kitty will start to grow again.

    This is just flat out wrong. SS went into deficit in 2010. It had a deficit in 2011, and it will again in 2012. In fact, SS will never run a surplus again. We have reached a point of perpetual deficits

    If this aspect of the article is so totally wrong, you have to question what else is said.

    • Then the same could be said for 401s. at least the social Security fund isn’t being skimmed by Shylocks who then let Obama-crats and republicans dip their beaks.

      • {{cringe!}}
        Mr. Mike, I love you dearly but I don’t love the word “Shylock”. Could we steer clear of Shakespearean anti-Semitic references please? My remote Jewish ancestry gets antsy.

    • Is there a 3 trillion dollar surplus or not? Contributions and withdrawls will suffer the same shifting demographic wave, public or private sector. I keep assuring my kids they will have work prospects improve as my geezer counterparts and I finally throw in the towel and become impoverished hippies again.

    • I looked up your blog, Bruce. You don’t much like Democrats. It looks like an irrational distrust of Democrats to me.
      I read a lot of Krugman, as do many people who comment here. We know what the score is with social security. The shortfall is fixable by raising the payroll cap. There may be other minor tweaks but we’re not running a deficit, Bruce. Don’t lie or try to mislead people.
      OTOH, if the government borrowed money from the trust fund and doesn’t have the balls to ask the wealthy who enjoyed tax cuts to pay them back, then that would be fraud, Bruce. Those loans were backed by US bonds and we intend on collecting.
      Suck it up and pay your taxes. No, really, we insist.

      • Raising the cap even makes sense on an actuarial basis. Krugman has written more than one column that revolves around the fact that the life span of the top half of the Social Security earners is 21 years (at age 65) vs. 16 years for the bottom half. Not only are the rich trying to loot the middle class and working class by privatizing Social Security but the richer are already not paying their fair share towards Social Security.

        The fraudsters are appalled that we owe 1.2 trillion to China but care not that we owe $3 trillion to Social Security. Pay it back Bruce and pay a littler more into Social Security because you and yours live longer.

    • I suspect that what you are calling “deficit” is really just “de-surplus”. The whole point of the “surplus” was that it would be spent back down paying the SS benefits to the Baby Boomer pre-retirees who spent decades saving it up. If SS is paying out more benefits per year than what it is now taking in through FICA taxes per year, that was by deliberate design of the “rescue of ’83”. That’s what that multi-trillion dollar “surplus” was there for to begin with, to spend it back down to zero on the people whose FICA taxes pre-pumped it up.

      And after the surplus is all gone with the last of the pre-paying Baby Boomers, then the SS program goes back on a money-in/money-out
      paygo basis. As intended. As designed.

  4. This is the chance for the party in the White House to act like the party they once were, Democrats.

    Me?

    I ain’t gonna hold my breath as Obama has demonstrated that he is a closet republican.

  5. The destruction of SSI has been in the planning stages the day the law was passed by the wealthy and corporations. Google “The Business Plot”. they think the program is a Commie program.

  6. There is a big flaw with their reasoning. Keep the old people working longer you say? With the job market being what it is? It can even accommodate the normal growth, by demographics – new generations coming in? How will this play when the “greedy geezers” will be kept in the harness? Suddenly! Making the baby boom a geezer boom? (can’t get enough of Alan Simpson’s homilies) Did the strip miners stop to think about this – or it’s just not their mine?

    • There’s no problem with MY reasoning. I don’t think that any of us who have lost our careers in the last couple of years are ever going to make our former salaries ever again. But we will have to work, probably for ourselves. It’s just a law of nature. You need to work in order to live and eat. So, whether we take lower level jobs or create our own businesses, we’re going to start paying SS taxes again. And we’ll have to start putting money away again because we’ll be screwed if we have nothing to fall back on. That means an IRA or 401k.
      No, I don’t think the strip miners have really considered the reality of OUR situation. They only have to think of THEIR situations. And the fact is that they can make money if they have access to more of ours no matter how little we tend to think that is.
      They’ve wanted to privatize the system for more than a decade and they’ve done a masterful job of eliminating most pensions. Raising the retirement age gets them where they want to go.

      • Oh, I agree with YOUR reasoning. I was just pointing out that their plan to screw everyone else will end up screwing them too. Not unlike their other plans (subprime mortgages and other schemes). They are only pretending to look for solutions, when in fact they are looking for profit and the hell with the consequences.

        • Pretty much. They’re very much “in the moment”.

        • Do I understand your question to boil down to this:
          How are young people supposed to “get jobs” if old people have been condemned by law to stay in those jobs till age 70 or 75?

          • Yes. And it wasn’t even a question. Someone gets royally screwed, and it ain’t just the geezers who can’t retire.

          • I can’t believe people will be allowed to keep these jobs till they are 70-75…they will be “locked out “… er I mean” furloughed” or some other freshly pulled out of the top .999% ass instrument ( because being out right fired means getting unemployment and so will be avoided) or working condisons will be made so awful they will quit.

            The point is not people work until they are 70-75 so much as it’s they do not collect until that time. The over lords aren’t keeping 75 year olds in what few jobs there will be imo

      • Totally on board with your post, but… law of nature? Nonsense. It is merely a social convention among “serious people”, a recent one at that, and on par with the same fallacies you call out in your post. In this age of automation there is no reason whatsoever that 25 work hours per week couldn’t support a person and a modestly sized family quite comfortably, except that we have collectively decided that the other 15+ hours is an acceptable price for funding and maintaining a huge parasitic aristocracy and their state religion that denies the very existence of concepts like “steady-state” and “enough”.

        Widespread wage labor and inviolable private property are terrible ways of apportioning a nation’s resources, especially in concert. Such a regime inevitably promotes a small class of self-entitled leeches who work to increase their fortunes at others’ expense while immunizing themselves intellectually, legally and morally against any duty to answer for their pillaging. What needs doing will get done if, and only if, the hoi oligoi sees common cause with the hoi polloi. How to force them into the same boat? Iono.

        • Economic calamity or war or revolution will require solutions that impoverish the wealthy.

          • There is nothing I can do to impoverish the wealthy all by myself. But is there something I can do which would help impoverish the wealthy if 50 million other non-wealthy people all did their own version of the same thing? Do 50 million snowflakes make an avalanche?

            If so, how do 50 million non-rich individuals all begin throwing their 50 million one-little-snowflakes-apiece onto the growing avalanche snowfield?

    • Exactly right. It’s why the bankers/investment firms need to rely on the government for their continued viability. Wall Street doesn’t do long term thinking, NYS. Roosevelt and the New Dealers were completely aware of this, which is why they shackled big finance. The Obama administration has done the opposite, they’ve coddled the money-grabbers.

      The policies being pursued are not viable, nor sustainable because they are inherently contradictory.

  7. Back in the Fifties I worked for an actuarial pension consulting firm. At that time most pension plans, whether business or state or local government, were funded by U.S. government bonds. Funding with stocks was, at most, minimal. Such pension funds had low administrative costs…not much churning. Wouldn’t it be nice if we still had old fashioned defined benefit plans financed by our government bonds, which means, ultimately, by all of us taxpayers? Something like how the current Social Security system works?

    • Indeed. It’s so nice to read about for real plans that were suposed to work and did. Now we have money laundering scams and broken cookie jars . sigh

  8. I think it is much more simple. There is an obvious battle for government dollars and it will only get bigger as time goes by. Every dollar not spent on SS can be used to subsidize corporations.

  9. Indeed…it’s real simple. They want to steal everything and can. No one will stop them. One of the reasons Obama was installed was to expressly implement this theft… He’s not dong any of the thinking or decision making, …please, he shows up to sign the bills without reading them.

    As the bought out and up Left tells us to step lively onto the chopping block . It’s not enough we get killed, we have to be willing and happy about it . If we aren’t, then clearly we are craven, moral degenerates not worthy of consideration .

    The analogy of strip mining of course is spot on and exact

    • “…the bought out and up Left…”

      *cough*Digby&SpoonyKosAtriosKevinDrum*cough* :evil:

      • On 2nd thought, some of them may not be so much bought out as just STILL intimidated at the prospect of having the scarlet “R” (“R” for you-know-what) forcibly sewn on their collars for disagreeing with His Wonderfulness the Lightworker. :roll:

        • DigbyKosAtkins are definitely part of the conspiracy. I don’t read Digby much any more. I notice their new permanent “no comments” status. The “wonderfulness” of Digby’s writing no longer makes up for the programatic deceit of Digby’s articles. Any article by Atkins is of course “by” Digby ultimately. He just says what she is thinking, which is why she installed him there to begin with.

    • They have been sewed up since 2004 at least…I have more respect for those who got themsleves cash money than others who were frighten by labels.

      Really the bribe was and is ; having a career at all.

      It’s thier choice and that fine…but the idea they can still pass moral judgment on anyone else is sooo laughable . And yet finger wagging is thier shtik, thier reason for being…it’s the theater of the absurd

    • “Resistance is futile” is a passive-surrender meme spread by the Obama lobby. Resistance may actually be very profitable considering the trillions of our pre-payed SS dollars at stake, if we can figure out how to resist effectively. Right now (the next few days and weeks) the battlefield is indeed the House and Senate as Riverdaughter has pointed out a few posts ago. Unorganized millions of individual people will just have to make unorganized millions of individual calls to officeholders saying how they feel about the Simpson-Obama Catfood Plan and what they will do next election and/or elsewhere if the Simpson-Obama Catfood Plan passes in any way. Of course, it is pointless making an empty threat. Politicians can smell an empty threat the way dogs can smell fear. No point telling our officeholders we will never vote Democratic again for House and Senate if our benefits are mentioned in any way in any legislation . . . unless we really WILL never vote Democratic again for House and Senate if our benefits are mentioned in any way in any legislation.

      • (I never thought of joining AARP but I think I should join now just to spite Alan Simpson if nothing else.)

      • Unorganized millions of individual people will just have to make unorganized millions of individual calls to officeholders

        From your post to God’s ear…as the saying somewhat goes

  10. Trust Fund?

    They are not going to “pay it back”, folks.

    They spin all of this (and some swallow it) because they think we are stupid (and somewhat we are…).
    Everything is being done to:
    Preserve the Banks
    Keep just enough scraps around for the rest of you.

    If they fail, well, you will be faced with FORCING them to come to jesus.

    Be aware.

    Breton

  11. What can I say? Good to bring up this issue for discussion, but need to be very vigilant of what the fraudsters are concocting…

  12. If signing up for a 401k is “voluntary” rather than “mandatory”, then those who elect to distrust or oppose the system and its goals can simply refuse to put any money ( or matching company money) into a 401k. Those who elect to distrust or oppose can start learning about the difference between “wealth” as against “money”, and can begin trying to save “wealth” instead of “money” for their own future. If they are even paid enough “money” to be able to invest some of it in “self” and “wealth”.

    Young people who are ready to resign themselves to a “no Jimmy no Chu” future will be able to set themselves free to focus on building personal survivalism and investing in resistance and revenge against the 401k stripminer class. They might figure out how to shrink the economy from the top down to shrink-wrap it around the face and nose of the upper class in order to shut off the upper class’s financial oxygen supply. That’s how young people who “get it” will start arranging their economic lives. Young people who “get it” will begin studying very carefully the work/information/writing of people like Kurt Saxon, Dmitri Orlov, John Michael Greer, Ran Prieur, Jeff Vail, John Robb, Sharon Astyk, and hundreds of other such. They might even start finding and re-reading and figuring out how to apply the “lost classics” of Great Depression Era writers like Ralph Borsodi ( This Ugly Civilization and other social-survivalist works).

  13. Wall St gave almost all its campaign contributions to Rmoney this election, instead of favouring Obama as in 2008.

    So there’s hope he’s less beholden to them this time around.

    • He is totally beholden to them. He is working for the private sector payoff of millions of dollars he hopes to collect from them after he leaves office. They won’t pay him later unless he delivers for them this term . . . beyond what he has already delivered. So he is their wholly-owned-subsidiary and is completely beholden to them for his future reward.

  14. In fact, we have a trust fund worth almost $3 trillion dollars.

    That fund is basically empty. The federal government spent the money and left an IOU in its place.

  15. Here is a good post by Sharon Astyk called The Ponzi Scheme as a Way of Life. Young People of all ages could benefit by reading it, especially if they figure out how to begin acting on it.

    http://sharonastyk.com/2008/12/19/the-ponzi-scheme-as-way-of-life/

  16. The only deficit “problem” is public ignorance.

    The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, never can run short of dollars.

    Further, since the government became Monetarily Sovereign in 1971, there has been zero relationship between federal spending and inflation.

    So, what exactly is the deficit “problem”?

  17. “We know that Social Security does not add to the deficit. In fact, we have a trust fund worth almost $3 trillion dollars.”

    Keep in mind that $3 trillion in retirement savings in any form would mostly come from deficit spending.. defenders of social security should not fall into the trap of looking for some other way to eliminate the deficit.

    • Right,

      The so-called “trust fund” is an accounting fiction. If there were $0 in the “trust fund” that would not affect the federal government’s ability to fund Social Security benefits forever.

      The entire deficit discussion is a fraud based on a falsehood, begun as a lie, for a Monetarily Sovereign nation.

      • The FICA money I pre-payed INto SS is no fiction to me. That was real money I did real work for and if I had recieved it I could have done something for-real with it.

        But since it was taxed away from me on the theory that it would be paid back to me upon retirement, I am owed it and I expect to get it. Abstruse theories of MMT and other such brill-yunt in-duh-lectual diversions are amusing, no doubt . . . but don’t help us do combat over the next few years to prevent the FedGov from retro-legislating our SS benefits out of existence. The “trust fund is an accounting fiction” meme (which was President Dubya Bush’s meme) is an amusing diversion to spend many happy hours of our leisure time on, but not in the present emergency.

        • You’re missing the point. That FICA money you paid was destroyed upon receipt. Had you, and everyone else, paid $0 FICA, this would not have affected the federal government’s ability to fund Social Security as well as Medicare for every man, woman and child in America.

          FICA was a 100% waste of your money as it paid for nothing. That’s not an abstruse theory. It’s a simple fact of Monetary Sovereignty finance.

          • I believe this mental MMT tinkertoy is a roach motel diversion designed to waste my energy and time thinking about it now instead of thinking about how I do my part to get Congress to kill and reject the Simpson-Obama Grand Catfood Bargain. If we can kill the Grand Catfood Bargain to where it stays dead, then I will play these delightful little mind games of “MMT”.

    • Or from restoration of all the missing taxes.

    • This is not true. Social security has its own funding mechanism. All that needs to be done is raise the cap on the payroll tax. AND the government has to make good on the loans it borrowed from the trust fund.
      Otherwise, it’s fraud and theft of my generation’s retirement wealth.
      Don’t test us. We are not amused.

      • RD – I agree that this was a theft and an extra tax for middle and low income earners – it is a lower percentage for high earners because of the cap on FICA.

        I think part of the problem is the assvertizing arm of the rich and political class have convinced people (who vote) that “entitlements” are not earned by anyone but the older voters who walked up hill in the snow both ways to school.

        There is a perception among older voters that entitlement = welfare for the younger generations. Think about this common phrase “young people today are so entitled“. I believe that phrasing is part of the Astroturf to prepare the older generations to approve robbing the millennial generation of their entitlements as punishment because they don’t deserve anything…

        Our generations (Jones/GenX) will suffer some of this by having lower benefits and older retirement ages but I think our kids will pay into a failing system that won’t benefit them. Add to this that retirement plans are long gone and as you have rightly pointed out, the 401K plans are a Ponzi scheme. Our kids better pay off homes and save every penny for themselves to pay for retirement some day – if they can stay employed long enough to amass any wealth at all.

        • Did you see the comment section from the NYTimes article that I posted about a couple of days ago? They “entitlement” meme is being fully recognized for what it is and the commenters are NOT buying it. At All. Not even a little.
          I was amazed. The propaganda is not sticking. If they do this bargain, they’re doing it over the overwhelming objections of millions and millions of people who will never ever EVER forget.

        • FICA does not pay for Social Security. If FICA were $0, this would not affect by even one penny, the federal government’s ability to pay all Social Security benefits.

          Those who do not understand Monetary Sovereignty, do not understand economics.

          • Well! . . . aren’t you the Brill-yunt in-DUH-lectual.

            You want to understand economics? Here. Here’s your MMTinkertoy economics in one filthy little nutshell.

            http://dieoff.org/_Economics/goteconomics.htm

          • The Payroll tax pays for Social Security. In the 80’s, 20 somethings like myself were asked to pay a surplus to make sure we could retire with benefits that we paid for. Then, during the next couple of decades, Republicans and their moronic followers, screamed for tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts. But the roads still needed to be built and bridges repaired and farmers subsidized and weather services running and air traffic controllers compensated and huge, unnecessary wars (that half of us didn’t want) funded. So, the government borrowed from our trust fund and left a whole lotta IOUs. And now all those rich Republicans who lived for years in this country on our borrowed retirement funds and their moronic followers who are the biggest marks in American history, don’t want to pay off their loans. They’re worried about paying China but not the poor Americans they’ve been stealing from for 30 years.
            You know, we’re not stupid and we’re not going to be distracted by whatever kerning technicality you have up your sleeve.
            We paid that money towards our future, we expect to get paid back.
            ALL. OF. IT.
            If you don’t know where the money is going to come from, maybe we should hire a lot more IRS agents and do some auditing to make up for some lost years.

          • RD and jjmtacoma,

            The U.S. became Monetarily Sovereign on August 15, 1971. At that moment, it acquired the unlimited ability to create dollars. Therefore, it does not need to ask anyone for dollars, not you, not me, not China.

            For that reason, even if FICA were $0, the government could pay all Social Security benefits, forever.

            What you don’t realize is, you have been conned. You pay FICA without complaint, because you have been brainwashed into thinking it’s necessary.

            Why were you conned? Because the upper 1% income group knows that FICA increases the gap between the rich and the rest, and widening the gap is the primary goal of the rich.

            I explain this in greater detail on my blog — if you’re interested in learning the facts about federal finances.

            Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

          • Rodger – I do understand MMT but it is not currently used as a basis for the budget. I also “get” that the government is not a household… blah, blah, blah.

            Here’s the deal – we were all charged FICA with the understanding that FICA was contributing to Social Security. That is the social contract and the government is trying to weasel out of that social contract by changing the terms of the agreement.

            Based on the sovereign currency concept – they are weaseling for no good reason because they could fix the problem if they had the will to do it.

            Why do you think they don’t want to do it?

            My guess is that they are not using fiat currency accounting methods but are instead selling government backed treasuries to finance the cost of the government. Hmmm…

          • Rodger, none of *us* were conned. We know exactly what’s going on and who’s screwing with whose heads.
            That doesn’t mean we’re going to just STFU and let them take our money without a fight.

  18. Good post RD. Suggest you google Numerian equity mining. Good post on Agonist.org. that covers some of the same ground.

    • Lol! That’s amazing. I swear, I have never read that article before. I arrived at that conclusion after reading Karen Ho’s book and she never mentions strip mining. But that’s what it sounded like to me. And the young analysts and associates that get sucked into that world really are working for scrip. That’s why they can’t stop. The companies they work for owe them a lot of money for the crazy hours they put in but it will never be enough. It’s both stimulating and elusive.

  19. “Catch-22 says they can do anything we can’t stop them from doing.”

  20. Riverdaughter

    What the hey is mayo fish? Is that like a fishwich slathered in mayonaisse? Plain grilled sea bass (with a rose de provence to wash it down) can’t be beat…

    Anyhoo, your post showed a brain working on all pistons, not suffering from mercury poisoning. However, isn’t this all just arguing the fine points of a flat out simple long con? The goal of this con(regardless of the ingredients or the prep steps in their recipe) is for the Wall Street/Washington DC Axis of Evil to steal ALL the money. To mix metaphors a bit, Obama and Geithner are simply the towel boys in this grotesque bordello? (can i say whorehouse on your site?)…

    Keep up the good work…

  21. Basically the American people are like the first family of some guy would doesn’t want to send the almonry/ child support payments anymore…the top.999 is desperately aspiring to thier dead beat dad phase .. They have long stood by the door, saying “I never loved you”

    The word” retirement” use to mean cruises
    now it means : food secure

    of course the word ” pension” has been rendered meaningless altogether .

  22. Hospitals, doctors, and nurses have very little do with the high cost of healthcare. Really……Its the Insurance companies ! ! ! !

    http://wendellpotter.com/2012/11/a-bit-of-truth-telling-on-obamacare-2/

    • At the very least, insurance companies would be the first place to look.
      I have often said that we need to separate the health insurance lamprey from the health care lake trout. And kill the lamprey. (And put all the disemployed insurance industry workers on robust unemployment support until we are able to create socially beneficial jobs for them to do).

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if the insurance industry was behind a lot of the excess costs but I’m not ready to let hospitals off the hook.
      I do have a person with some expertise on the subject in my family that I can ask and get back to you. From what she has said previously, there appears to be some collusion between the insurance companies and the hospitals. We should find out what the extent of the problem is.

  23. Here is an interesting story in today’s NYTimes — A Health Insurance Detective Story.

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