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Congress is Still a Rotten, Stinking Corpse

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I have said it before and I will say it again, Congress is a rotten, stinking corpse. It is no wonder that it currently has the lowest approval rating of all time. This week more ridiculous legislation was introduced in that body that will only make our lives worse. The bipartisan bill that was introduced would punish any country that practices currency manipulation as an unfair trade subsidy. It would give President Obama the ability to impose retaliatory protectionist measures to level the playing field. Of course, the impetus for the legislation is China’s alleged undervaluing of its currency, the yuan, in order to support Chinese exports to other countries.

Now, it’s funny, how the legislation comes in an election year when there is a very strong anti-incumbent mood amongst the electorate. Many Americans who have lost their jobs in this depression are naturally fixated on statements from Washington dealing with job creation. So as not to disappoint, Democratic Senator Charles Schumer was quoted as saying, “"There is no bigger step that we can take to promote job creation here in the US than to confront Chinese currency manipulation." This sounds logical on the surface, but upon closer analysis the senator as usual has it all wrong.

In the first place, to even threaten protectionist measures in such a fragile economic environment  is dangerous. The Smoot-Hawley Tariff was passed in 1930 and placed protective tariffs on thousands of imports coming into the United States from abroad. At the time, during the Great Depression, its purpose was to protect American jobs. Sound familiar? Instead, the tariff caused our trading partners to retaliate with tariffs of their own thereby exacerbating an already horrendous employment situation. What makes our politicians believe that China would not retaliate with protective measures of its own or worst yet cause the collapse of our currency by flooding the world markets with hundreds of billions of dollars it keeps in reserve?
But secondly, and much more importantly to our situation, we need inexpensive Chinese products otherwise our inflation rate would be through the roof and unemployment would be right there with it. Here is the vicious cycle of events that is American/Chinese trade relations. China’s products are cheaper because the cost of doing business there is less than in the U.S. Thus, we purchase Chinese goods with dollars and treasury notes. China holds these dollars and interest-bearing bonds in reserve and then prints yuan to pay off the Chinese suppliers of our purchases. When the smoke clears, we get cheap Chinese goods to buy, the Chinese manufacturer makes a profit, and the Chinese government acquires more units of the world’s reserve currency. Everybody wins, right?

If the Obama Administration ends this cycle by imposing protective tariffs on Chinese goods coming into the United States, not only will the Chinese government reciprocate with retaliatory measures of its own, the prices of goods in the U.S. will rise sharply. You see right now we export our inflation to China by way of treasury bonds and newly printed Federal Reserve notes. Without the ability to export our debt and a lot of the dollars the Federal Reserve has been printing, all of that liquidity will be spent in the U.S. instead on more expensive goods. As more money enters our economy prices in general will be bid up and will rise and given how much the Federal Reserve has inflated the money supply over the last few years prices will rise by a lot. At that point, Economics 101 tells us that high prices will squelch demand and huge increases in unemployment will result.

Since the 1970s, the politicians in Washington have placed us in this no win situation with regard to trading with China. They have destroyed our industrial base with unconstitutional mandates and regulations, and collective bargaining laws. They have spent us into oblivion by financing a welfare/warfare state unmatched in human history. If we impose protectionist measures against China we will incur inflation in the short run and high unemployment in the long run. If we continue to borrow from China to buy their inexpensive goods we put ourselves on an unsustainable course. At some point, if it isn’t happening already, China will stop financing our purchases and absorbing our inflation. They will sell their goods elsewhere and Americans will pay higher prices. Our standard of living will plummet and China will replace us as the world’s number one economic superpower.

But, Chuck Schumer and his colleagues on the Hill are oblivious to all of this. Of course, they also ignore the fact that the Federal Reserve is the biggest currency manipulator in the world. Ben Bernanke and his cabal of economic central planners better known as the Federal Open Market Committee fix interest rates and determine the supply of money. These actions directly determine the value of the dollar. Before Congress complains about China for not using market forces to value the yuan it should look in the mirror.

And that is really why I consider Congress a rotten, stinking corpse. Time and again its members grandstand for personal political gain and leave the American people with the mess. Its hypocrisy is appalling. Lastly, it seems like it is constantly coming up with cockamamie schemes to ruin our economy further. This latest scheme places the blame on China for our own financial incompetence.

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About Kenn Jacobine

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Kenn,

    Why do you blame Congress, when every piece of legislation they send to the Senate, lays on the floor until it dies? It is the Senate that needs resuscitation.

    If the Obama Administration ends this cycle by imposing protective tariffs on Chinese goods coming into the United States, not only will the Chinese government reciprocate with retaliatory measures of its own, the prices of goods in the U.S. will rise sharply.

    It should impose heavy tariffs on the toxic Chinese goods flooding this country. We used to manufacture our own goods, this was large part of our economy and it is why we once had a strong middle class and healthy work force.

    Do you live here in the States? If you do then you can surely see that the sharp decline in our standard of living has already happened.

    Although I am commenting directly to you. I do not expect an answer, as you never do anyway.

    Have a nice day, Kenn

  • Mark

    Clear presentation of the conundrum, Kenn. Other than gold and troy scales, what’s a poor boy to do? Gotta plan?

    jeannie, if history is an indicator, your plan would likely lead us one step closer to world war.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Kenn,

    You only partially state the conundrum in this article. You rant and rave about Congress – but you fail to mention who owns Congress – or Obama, for that matter.

    The owners are the same corporate thugs and bankers who moved all those American jobs overseas in the first place, the oil companies who tripled the price of oil in 1973 and started the serious cash drain on the American economy. Now that the owners are going broke themselves, they are making Congress fix the rules so they won’t be broke.

    Make it didn’t happen, mommy!

    You scream at “mommy” but you ignore the “mean widdle kid” who made “mommy” do all those awful things.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Mark,

    I wish that I had more time today to answer you. I will bookmark this article and return later with an explanation.

    In addition, I have noticed the lack of links to fully support this article, and I would like to offer some to Kenn.

    :)I’ll be back…and I don’t think we need another war, one is too many, let alone three.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Jeannie,

    It is emotional thinking like ours that has gotten us into this mess. Americans have gotten use to bemoaning every bad thing that happens to them. Some person’s child is killed by an electric garage door and because that parent was/is an idiot we all need Congress to pass legislation to protect youngsters against garage doors. We need government warnings on cigarette packs because we are too stupid to realize that smoking causes cancer. Now we need to clamp down on China because we have become totally dependent on their cheap/toxic goods for our survival. Wake up and start using your head and not your heart to think.

    The middle class is vanishing and our standard of living is going down not because businesses are greedy and are moving off-shore but because government policies and the Fed’s money policies has made it too expensive to operate in the U.S. You think it is bad now tell me what you think Obamacare will do to jobs and companies moving overseas. They will leave in droves.

    By the way, businesses are not the only one’s that move overseas to make a better living. That is a big reason I live overseas. I don’t pay one thin dime for the welfare/warfare state and I am not required to pay into the Ponzi scheme that is Social Security.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Ruvy,

    The price of oil rose in 1973 because the OPEC nations cut supply to the West because of their support for Israel in the war. Sorry, but again, the politicians (Congress and the president) support Israel at our peril.

    As to who owns Congress, unless I missed the story about corporations and big bankers fixing all the elections in the U.S. I thought the American people owned Congress. And there is the problem. The Average American voter is a mushhead. She/he watches TV and listens to the skewed views of the nightly anchors and is socialized to believe that only Democrats and Republicans can govern. Only big government can solve our problems. We need security over freedom. And you know what, this is what has brought down the country. In November, the Democrats will lose a lot of seats in the Congress but the problem is they will lose them to the other party that is responsible for the mess. We go back and forth expecting a different outcome. That is insanity my friend.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Kenn,

    Welfare State? and you don’t even live here? so…you give absoulutly nothing to this scociety?

    Millions of people are tired of watching the corporate welfare queens holding their hands out for the taxpayers money.

    BTW, who pays your salary, at the American School? I was under the impression that it was funded by taxpayer money, is this correct? not meaning to be nosey, just curious.

    :) Now,I really am leaving, but I will be be back again later…oh I can’t wait to finish this conversation with you.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    The price of oil rose in 1973 because the OPEC nations cut supply to the West because of their support for Israel in the war. Sorry, but again, the politicians (Congress and the president) support Israel at our peril.

    I can’t blame you for believing that particular lie. Until I was told otherwise by the economist who first dealt with the issue, I believed likewise.

    A man in his late forties or early fifties was a senior economist at a major American institution when he was called in by his boss in the spring of 1973 to write a paper explaining why tripling the world’s oil prices would benefit the world’s economy, particularly the American economy. So, he sat down with his calculator and began crunching numbers. Some days later, toward the end of the week, he returned to his boss and told him there was no way he could make the numbers work.

    His boss gave him the “do you like your job?” treatment. He told him, “John, we don’t pay you to think around here. Have that report on my desk Monday morning or I’ll find someone else who can work up the numbers at your desk.”

    John decided that he had too much honor to openly lie, and went to friends at the Wall Street Journal or the NYT and told them about this. He got fired from his job and a big flap ensued for a couple of days, and then, like most matters on the financial page, it got forgotten.

    But it was not forgotten. The attack on Israel by the Arabs was used as the smokescreen to triple the price of oil in October, 1973.

    John Hulley, the senior economist at the World Bank, told me this himself. It had happened to him. Go read the book “A Century of War” by Engdahl. It relates some of this and is the only book of which Sheikh Yamani, the now exiled energy minister for the ibn-Sauds, said described what had happened accurately.

    By the way, Engdahl has no use for Israel.

    As for the congressmaggots, the big money boys who contribute to their campaigns own them – nobody else. That is a fact of American life, and has been for decades if not longer.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    I wonder if they can apply retroactive punishments, since this kind of manipulation of the currency is exactly what was done under the Bush administration with the dollar.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #2,

    I doubt that, Mark.

  • Mark

    Rog, #10, ok, but I’m as entitled to use hyperbole as the next guy.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Touche!

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    I have to say this piece sums it up where this Congress is concerned. Both bodies in CONGRESS – the House and the Senate are playing games. The American public is oblivious to the real problem – the way power is dispensed. Under the current House Rules (and Senate) the member with the most seniority wins. While I’m hopeful that virtually every new member of the House enters Washington with good intentions, I’m convinced that the atmosphere has reached a level of toxicity which is on the verge of being insurmountable.

    The far Right has a penchant for demonizing Barack Obama as the antithesis to the American “way of life”. And, like it or not, part of the fuel for that fire lies in the fact that he is part Negro. We have yet to get past it. Members of Congress know it and they’re using the unspoken truth to their own advantage. They are feverishly applying all the woes of the nation upon the Obama Administration. The same thing happened in the Bush years. We’re all too quick to place the blame on one person – the President. We’re as monopolitical as we are monotheistic in America. We are saps, idiots, aw heck, we’re just too stupid. We don’t deserve the freedoms which have been secured for us.

    Congress has systematically broken the Executive Branch since Watergate. Ironically, the majority of this destruction was performed by Democrats. The way I see it, the Democrat Party has to go — fast. The tragedy is the GOP has become a mirror image of the Jackass party. So what are we to do? My friends, Barack Obama is not the problem. Neither was George W. Bush. We arrived at this place because of a political upheaval in the early 70’s. And if you took five minutes to look at the length of time many of the members of Congress have spent “serving” us, you would come to the same conclusion. The faces change in the Oval Office – they remain quite the same in Congress. I now defer to a quote from President Richard M. Nixon:

    Any change is resisted because bureaucrats have a vested interest in the chaos in which they exist.

    If there is one person from recent history who we could use right now, it is Richard Milhous Nixon.

  • Roger B

    It looks to me like we missed a golden opportunity, a couple years ago, to fix some of this mess when we chose to rescue the (incompetent) financial operators instead of nationalizing them, letting the bondholders take the hit for their poor decision making, and then breaking up the “too big to…” corps and selling off smaller pieces to new investors as the opportunity presented.

    Anyway, it’s quite stupid to funnel special privileges, tax breaks, and taxpayer dollars at US companies since they’ve demonstrated such willingness to export jobs overseas, and also to use money to bailout foreign banks.

    Congress is weighted down and doomed by the Senate, which commits crimes of misrepresentation every day while bowing and scraping to each other as if they were honorable people, which they are not. Only a few rubes and hicks in Wyoming and Alaska are fooled.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “. . . when we chose to rescue the (incompetent) financial operators instead of nationalizing them . . .”

    It’s going to come to that sooner or later. If “socialized medicine,” or whatever, is a dirty word now, let’s wait a decade or two, and it will sound like music to one’s ears.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Jeannie,

    “Welfare State? and you don’t even live here? so…you give absoulutly nothing to this scociety?”

    I beg your parden. I give plenty to the society. I am self-supporting and when I am there I obey the laws which is more than I can say about Congress. Your remark is a perfect example of what I was saying. You liberals always make it personal. I don’t pay “my fair share” so I am somehow not “giving” back to society. A few weeks back I didn’t want Uncle Scam to rebuild Haiti so therefore I was a racist. I read a great line in the book Freakonomics last night: : “morality is how we would like to think the world should be. Economics explains how the world really is.” In other words, keep emotion out of it and learn what the laws of nature are so they can be used instead of abused.

    I teach at a private school financed mostly by the companies of the parents. I must say as well financed rather lavishly – better than any public (government) school I have ever been to . So I guess that makes me a puppet of corporate interests? You know those evil, greedy oil and gas companies. Instead I believe that it shows the free market works because these companies have to give their employees great benefits, including education for their kids, to lure them here and keep them here.

    By the way, I have time and again denounced corporate welfare as much as individual welfare.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Kenn,

    Before you go off on a rant here, allow me to say that I was reading YOUR comment back to YOU.

    YOU said, “That is a big reason I live overseas. I don’t pay one thin dime for the welfare/warfare state and I am not required to pay into the Ponzi scheme that is Social Security.”

    ?

    You want to cry that you need freedom from any government and then insult anyone that is free enough not to agree with you?

    I don’t owe you or anyone else here for being a Liberal, get that straight.

    Yes, I like my government right now! It’s a hell of a lot better than it was three years ago, as far as I’m concerned.

    Oh, I thought you were with that military school of the America’s, that’s why I posted a link about it in one of your other threads. SORRY.

    And…good YOU are also against CORPORATE WELFARE. see? we aren’t that different and I like educators too, I happen to be married to one.

    :0 so do you want me to leave your thread?

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Believe me I could never work at a military school – would be fired in 24 hours.

    One of the things I enjoy most in life is a good political discussion. It’s boring only talking to folks that agree with you. Keep the challenges coming – it is a good way to stay honest.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Politicians are like diapers. They get dirty and need to be changed often. Stop pampering politicians. Throw the babies out with their stinky, putrid bath water – regardless of race, creed, sex, or political affiliation. Imagine Barney Frank, Eric Cantor, Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell applying for unemployment benefits. It’s too delicious for words.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Kenn,

    Your brand of emotionless thinking is fine for objective raw sciences, but it leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to solving real world dilemmas.

    You use the line from Freakanomics, which is a great little book, but again that line only addresses half of these issues and knowingly discards morality.

    You can’t treat the two – morality and economics – as though they are mutually exclusive any more than you can expect life to continue on an emotionless, rational path. And you can’t expect the economy to do so either because (surprise!) the economic matters of our day and of any day are couched in very human problems and situations.

    Your desire to discard the human element and work on cold hard facts alone might make dear ol’ Milton proud, but it can and will only lead you so far in the end.

    And again you argue for the “laws of nature,” but it seems to me you’ve chosen a certain path wherein a code of “laws” works in your favour. Unfortunately the “laws of nature” you speak of are, too, subjective and emotional matters because there’s so much room for variation.

    To you, trumpeting the “natural law” of economics is your religion and the free market is your god. It can do no wrong because it is a callous, inhuman machine that will work itself out if we just leave it the hell alone.

    Unfortunately, history doesn’t bear that out and neither does human nature. Your worldview asks the impossible; it asks people to stop being people.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Kenn,

    it is emotional thinking like ours that has gotten us into this mess.

    Unemotional thinking allows governments and people to turn blind cold eyes away from the suffering and injustices that plague this world.

    You sit here and classify all social programs as welfare for the unwashed, uneducated, and undeserving. I am very emotional and vocal about this subject, this is WRONG!

    “Good social programs are needed in America, and these simple benefits would make the nation better for everyone. They’d reduce
    crime, help all families equally, create safer streets, reduce
    depression, and allow more economic growth for everyone.
    Now, instead of thousands of different social programs designed for different
    people, a small number of simple programs, which cover everyone.

    This idea is very radical, Kenn. Especially when compared to the bill we are freaking out about right now. I would prefer the middle ground between what we have now and what could be if we had intelligent social justice in America.

    “Yes, this bill will allow people to buy health insurance from an insurance company.” -Bill Maher

    Some person’s child is killed by an electric garage door and because that parent was/is an idiot we all need Congress to pass legislation to protect youngsters against garage doors. We need government warnings on cigarette packs because we are too stupid to realize that smoking causes cancer. Now we need to clamp down on China because we have become totally dependent on their cheap/toxic goods for our survival.

    Deregulation allows companies to market unsafe goods and services. I thank Congress and lawmakers for looking out for my family and loved ones. My niece broke her arm when the garage door would not stop because of a faulty eye and considering that my sister-in-law is a systems analyst for a large energy company, so I don’t think this happened to her because she had stupid-lazy parents.

    What would your point of view be if you lost a child to a faulty garage door that had a defective safety device incorporated into it, and then found out that the manufacturer not only knew about this problem , but left on their own they did nothing to correct it? Dare I say the word, Toyota?

    We had better clamp down on China! I won’t walk through the doors of Wal-Mart, and this use to upset my daughter, however, now that she’s graduating from college, she knows why.

    The middle class is vanishing and our standard of living is going down not because businesses are greedy and are moving off-shore but because government policies and the Fed’s money policies has made it too expensive to operate in the U.S. You think it is bad now tell me what you think Obamacare will do to jobs and companies moving overseas. They will leave in droves.

    The middle class IS vanishing and it is because of the EXCESS GREED in this nation!

    The American companies now pander to the stockholders, because in this country, the bottom-line has more power than the workers do. The unions have finally given the people living wages, and instead of accepting this fact, the companies have left the country to crank out toxic crap made by poor people in other countries that have little to no regulation standards for , wages, living conditions and environment.

    The Ponzi scheme that is Social Security.

    A ponzi scheme is what it would have become if we had let Bush and Cheney get hold of it during their reign.

    Social Security and Medicare have kept seniors from buying pet food in-order to eat, afforded them health care, and a monthly wage that they earned.

    :)Thanks for debating, and I’ll look back later for a response.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Kenn,

    I am trying to post a link for my comment, the first one is the link that I used this morning, and I hope it goes through the filters so that you can see them.

    Here are some links

    :)

  • Boeke

    A sure way to reveal your financial naivete is to say “The Ponzi scheme that is Social Security.”.

    SS is no more a Ponzi scheme than any other investment, loan, or insurance policy.

    Do you own a Life Insurance policy? Do you believe that the insurance company has enough cash on hand to pay off ALL it’s insurance policies? No, it doesn’t. The net of ALL it’s issued policies is an Unfunded Liability. They only have enough to payoff actuarial requirements. They cannot cover their “Unfunded Liability” with cash on hand.

    In fact, SS has much better reserve coverage of its unfunded liabilities than most insurance companies.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It would be interesting to hear Kenn’s response were he for some reason, God forbid, hit with a debilitating stroke or simply fall flat on his face, all his savings depleted and no job prospects of any kind – SS being his only source of income.

    Again, one wonders whether any such change of circumstance would make him rethink his position on SS as just another Ponzi scheme.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Wow, there is a lot here to refute. Rest assured I will be back this evening to do so, but right now I need to work so I can make money to eat and have shelter and earn the health insurance that will be there for me if I get sick or have an accident.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    “Wow, there is a lot here to refute. Rest assured I will be back this evening to do so.” – Kenn Jacobine

    : )Well? It’s the middle of the night here…

  • Kenn Jacobine

    I just checked in – Doha is 7 hours ahead of EST

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Jordan,

    My worldview is quite the contrary – I am asking people to be people. Individually we have a responsibility to one another. Americans have always been charitable people and will continue to be so. And we need to solve more of our own problems.

    By injecting government interference into the economy to help people actually makes things worse for all of us. Social Security this year will actually have to tap the trust fund for reserves for the first time in twenty years. This is due to the baby boomers retiring. SS also has over $30 trillion in future unfunded liabilities. Where is that money going to come from? By then the rich will be long gone. You know what is in the trust fund right now? About $3 trillion in IOUs. The Congress has been stealing the fund all along to pay for other things and now there is no money to pay SS recipients. Thus, Uncle Sam will have to print more money. Let’s not forget about all the other welfare programs that Uncle Sam prints cash for. This doesn’t even take into account who will buy the new debt when the dollars are printed? China? It will probably be the Fed. Have you seen their balance sheet lately? So what, right? Well, interest rates will have to rise and the standard of living for all Americans will come down. Way down. So, people get paid but all of that new cash causes a rise in prices and actually makes things like healthcare and higher education out of their reach. Then Uncle Sam attempts to help those folks get those things. So we have Medicaid. No longer do people have to worry about expense in healthcare because Uncle Sam is footing the bill. Thus, let’s go to the emergency room for a cold or sprained ankle. And of course Uncle Sam provides Pell Grants and college loans for higher education. These programs bid up the cost of college and many folks do not even pay the loans back.

    Government does not work – how can a health program that will cover more people, cover more people with pre-existing conditions, cap premiums, subsidize the middle and lower class, mandate that small businesses provide coverage, and tax the rich with the same amount of medical services available make sense? Where is the mechanism to reduce costs?

    What will happen is that more American companies will move offshore, costs will rise exorbitantly, the deficit will balloon, insurance companies will go into some other line of business, and we will become a workforce of temp workers. This is insane. But of course when this happens all the statists will say, “told you we needed a universal total government run system.”

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Jeannie

    “Good social programs are needed in America, and these simple benefits would make the nation better for everyone. They’d reduce crime, help all families equally, create safer streets, reduce depression, and allow more economic growth for everyone. Now, instead of thousands of different social programs designed for different people, a small number of simple programs, which cover everyone.”

    We have had social programs since Johnson’s Great Society of 1965. That makes 45 years of “entitlements” and you know what the poverty rate was 15% then and it is 15% now. It does very little of what you mentioned above.

    “Deregulation allows companies to market unsafe goods and services. I thank Congress and lawmakers for looking out for my family and loved ones. My niece broke her arm when the garage door would not stop because of a faulty eye and considering that my sister-in-law is a systems analyst for a large energy company, so I don’t think this happened to her because she had stupid-lazy parents.”

    How many kids get killed or hurt with faulty garage doors? I am sure the low number does not warrant federal legislation. Further, how old is your niece? If she is young 3-6 years then her parents should not have allowed her to be so close to the moving door. Would they allow her to b near a moving car? Better yet, is it a right for them to have an electric garage door opener. Maybe with small children they shouldn’t have one?

    “The American companies now pander to the stockholders”

    The deterrent for a company against irresponsibility in the market place is a lawsuit. If you are wronged by a product you can sue for damages. Not only do companies lose money through rewards, stock price can decline, and bad publicity results. Companies have a moral obligation to maximize profit for their stockholders. Do you buy stock hoping to break even?

    “A ponzi scheme is what it would have become if we had let Bush and Cheney get hold of it during their reign.”

    Not sure what this means, but Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and as you know Ponzi schemes are illegal (Bernie Madoff). Why is it a Ponzi scheme? It is because the folks that get in early will only get their money back if more people can be persuaded or forced in the case of Uncle Scam, to contribute to the pyramid. So the top get paid off and new folks enter the system to pay off the next level and so on. At some point, either the thief gets caught or the well runs dry and the pyramid collapses. In the case of Social Security the well has run dry (over $30 trillion in unfunded future liabilities). It may have kept seniors from eating dog food in the past, but it will be a big contributor to the ultimate collapse of our debt ridden economy.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Yup, just as I thought, you are an immovable rock.

    :)So, what do you want to hear now?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You must be wrong, Jeannie.

    Didn’t Kenn say in #18:

    “One of the things I enjoy most in life is a good political discussion. It’s boring only talking to folks that agree with you. Keep the challenges coming – it is a good way to stay honest.”

    My question is then – where is the give and take, Kenn, or are we just honing our rhetorical skills?

  • Kenn Jacobine

    I just think that Americans have lost their way by turning to government to solve every single problem. Let’s face it, electric garage doors are so insignificant but we have to have them and government has to protect us from them.

    Maybe, it is because I have lived in the poorest of the poor countries in Africa. Americans have no problems compared to these folks. Africans are just concerned about where their next meal is coming from. And we agonize over how safe girls cheerleading is. Honest, I am watching a story on the news about it as I write this.

    Logic needs to prevail more in America. I am sure that some people have lost their health coverage after they have gotten sick. But we never hear what percentage of Americans this affects? – probably very few. I have been very middle class all my life and have never heard of anyone in my family or friends that this has happened to. To those it affects, what is needed are laws that protect their contract rights with the insurance company, not a whole new government run system.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Kenn,

    You don’t have the last word with me…you know, this is what I think. However I don’t have enough time today…

    : ) bye until tonight!

  • Leroy

    It’s hard to resist Fisking Kenn Jacobine, so I won’t try. Here’s why his last post is wrong and uninformed:

    “I just think that Americans have lost their way by turning to government to solve every single problem.”

    Can we start with the Wall Street moguls who IMMEDIATELY demanded trillions from the US taxpayer to pay off their gambling debts?

    Can we start with George Bush who demanded the USA invade Iraq at a cost of trillions because Saddam Hussein was rude to his father?

    ” Let’s face it, electric garage doors are so insignificant but we have to have them and government has to protect us from them.”

    You’ve obviously never installed or repaired a garage door opener. The weight of the closed door is countered by a huge spring, which, before government intervention, was a simple cheap helical coil along the side of the garage. Eventually, under many cycles of use, that spring would develop a repeated-stress fracture and break, unleashing tons of force whipping around , ruining the car and maiming or killing any person in range. Some of you may have been treated to hearing one let go at night with a thunderous noise, smashing car windows and body work. When the danger was finally acknowledged Building Codes demanded an overhead torque bar spring to counter the heavy garage door because their range of motion is much less, but helical springs in old houses persist.

    “Maybe, it is because I have lived in the poorest of the poor countries in Africa. Americans have no problems compared to these folks. Africans are just concerned about where their next meal is coming from. And we agonize over how safe girls cheerleading is. Honest, I am watching a story on the news about it as I write this.”

    So, your solution for hunger in Africa is to make life unsafe for Americans?

    “Logic needs to prevail more in America.”

    Let’s start with YOU!

    ” I am sure that some people have lost their health coverage after they have gotten sick. But we never hear what percentage of Americans this affects? – probably very few.”

    The recent Harvard Study says 44,000 Americans a year die because they are DENIED healthcare.

    Here are some individual stories to amend your pathetic ignorance of Life In America in 2010:

    Names Of The Dead

    ” I have been very middle class all my life and have never heard of anyone in my family or friends that this has happened to. ”

    I can amend your naivete:


    Leslie Rapacki

    49, Estacada, Oregon

    jennifer klaetsch writes:

    My mom Leslie Rapacki ,49 died on April 6th 2005 of lung cancer. She was self employed and could not afford the high cost of health insurance.

    Eric Glassford

    49, Lake Mary, FL

    Drew Glassford writes:

    Our brother Eric was a very kind, generous person and a great dad to his three boys. He was a successful pool designer and project manager until the housing market crash, when he lost his job and his health insurance. A year ago in November he started experiencing abdominal pains but couldn’t afford to see a doctor. By January the pain was so intense he had to go to the emergency room several times, which was his only source of health care. He was diagnosed with pancreatitis ansd sent home repeatedly, even though a mass was discovered on his pancreas. In May, after going to a different Orlando area hospital, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and, after a few months of braving extreme pain, radiation and chemotherapy, passed away on September 14th, 2009. I am convinced that had health care been available for Eric, he could have been diagnosed much sooner and would have survived the cancer. Thank you Representative Grayson for taking a stand and fighting for Eric, our family and others in need of this basic human right.

    Elizabeth Ann Machol

    26, Santa Rosa CA

    Marlena Machol writes:

    After my husband lost his job of 13 years due to outsourcing, we had to move from California back to Arizona. Our daughter, Elizabeth, decided to stay in California. Although her employers had promised to look into employee health insurance, they had not done so yet, so we told her whenever she had to go to the doctor to just go and we would pay for it. We had been sending a payment to the doctor every month, trying to stay ahead of her health needs, while paying hundreds every month to an insurance company for a policy for us. Some months later, Elizabeth said she’d been awfully tired, but attributed it to a recent move, long hours at work and her cat, Bert, who woke her up sometimes. I told her she ought to go to the doctor, but she didn’t want to cost us if she didn’t have to. I made her promise to go if she didn’t feel better soon. I look back now and wish I could have seen her in person; perhaps I would have known something was really wrong and I would have taken her to the doctor right away. Days later, my husband and I were ready to head back to Arizona from an optical convention in Las Vegas, we stopped to call our son, who was watching the house; he told us Elizabeth had been taken to hospital. We called the hospital; they told us we ought to get there as quickly as we could. We knew it was serious and we diverted to California. Elizabeth apparently had an undiagnosed heart condition. She never regained consciousness. Surrounded by all her brothers, brothers-in-law, her sister, niece, and many, many friends, my beautiful Elizabeth died two days later — the day after her 26th birthday. Bert now lives with us.

    “To those it affects, what is needed are laws that protect their contract rights with the insurance company, not a whole new government run system.”

    The individual is helpless in court against monopoly corporations that are able to stiff complainants eternally until they give up and surrender for peanuts. How can you be unaware of this? How can you pretend otherwise?

    The monopoly insurance corporations have so abused their power as to leave NO ALTERNATIVE but a government run healthcare system!

  • Kenn Jacobine

    44,000 out of about 300,000 is .000014% of the population. This is a miniscule portion of the population to warrant a government takeover. Why didn’t we just build another smaller welfare program for the uninsured or cover them under Medicaid?

    Insurance by definition is risk sharing. If you had a car accident and then applied for car insurance would you expect the company to accept you and pay for damages incurred in that accident before you had the policy? Of course not. So why do we expect health insurers to do the same? This is where natural law comes into play. It runs against the very purpose of insurance and therefore will end in trouble. Costs are going to go up. Wasn’t this what reform was supposed to prevent?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Kenn,

    We are not drivers we are human
    beings.

    That’s why health insurance should be treated as a right and not a privilege.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    How about food and housing and friendship? Are they rights? And if so where do these rights come from? Where is the line? Who decides?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    We aren’t talking about a welfare nation, Kenn; we are talking about health care.
    Please, don’t tell me your one of these people that thinks every step towards a fairer society takes us all immediately to communism.

    This is a very old debate Theodore Roosevelt tried to get basic health care for this nation and failed, it was in 1915, the American Association of labor Legislation introduced a real plan for basic health care for working American families; their purpose was not to destroy free-capitalism but to reform it. Very similar to today’s movement they wanted limited coverage to working class workers who earned less than $1200 a year $1200 a year, including dependents. The services of physicians, nurses, and hospitals were included, as was sick pay, maternity benefits, and a death benefit of fifty dollars to pay for funeral expenses, with shared costs between workers, employers, and the state.

    In 1916, the AMA and AALL united forces for health care, but when paying methods for doctors became a concern in 1917, the AMA withdrew their support of this bill.
    Now here we are in 2010 and we’re still trying to get basic health care for all. A healthier nation costs less than what we now have.

    Removing people from the ER for basic care alone is going to make a big difference and quickly lower costs.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Tell me one business Uncle Sam has interfered in that has cost less money after then before?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Uncle Sam is not – shouldn’t be, I should say – in any business.

    Prison administration, law enforcement agencies, the military, public transportation, maintenance of highways and public roads – none of the above should be construed as “business” in any sense of the world.

    So yes, Kenn, you operating with a wrong kind model if you think any or all of those endeavors ought to be subject to the profit-motive. Haven’t you ever heard of public service?

    What kind of a world you’re living in? Certainly not the present one.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    Tell me one business Uncle Sam has interfered in that has cost less money after then before?

    Would you care to take a guess why UPS and FedEx are happy to process parcels and express mails, but have NEVER tried to touch the daily letter delivery system?

    And here’s a PRIME example: Do you remember the days of Ma Bell? I do! I remember when it used to cost over a dollar a minute to call a different state…or even other area codes within the state! And this was thirty years ago when the dollar was worth four times what it is now!

    But in 1974, the U.S. government filed suit to break the monopoly by Ma Bell. They were finally broken up ten years later, and now you can get a plan to call nationwide all you want for maybe 20 bucks.

    And while you’re at it, look up ‘trust-busting’ by Teddy Roosevelt.

    Also, do you enjoy paying hundreds of dollars for a single aspirin? If you go to the hospital, you do…and thanks to the Republicans taking away Medicare’s RIGHT to negotiate for lower prices, that’s what we taxpayers pay to Big Pharma.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Oh, yeah! Let’s not forget the FACT that many privately-owned utility companies have to ask the government’s PERMISSION to raise prices on electricity, natural gas, water, etc. If there was not the safeguard of government oversight, do you really think that the cost of said utilities would be cheaper? Or would the CEO’s of those companies raise prices as high as the market would bear?

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Glenn,

    Ma Bell is a perfect example of true deregulation. I am for that. But it does not represent a business Uncle Scam has run.

    I am still waiting for a business the government runs that cost less after government interference than before.

    Let’s see mail delivery (USPS) = $4 billion in debt, Retirement anuities (Social Security) over $30 in future unfunded liabilities, Health care through Medicaid and Medicare another $20 trillion in unfunded liabilities. Then we have the close to $13 trillion that we are currently in debt for and growing.

    This health care bill is going to be the final deathknell.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    As for utility companies they of course represent a special class of business. I have no problem with state governments regulating them in the absence of competition.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn #43 –

    You still didn’t answer my question. Why haven’t UPS and FedEx (or any other company, for that matter) tried to involve themselves in the LETTER delivery business?

    Here’s the answer, Kenn: because NO business can do letter delivery as cheaply as the USPS does. Other carriers can compete with parcels and express letters…but not letter delivery. If you up the cost of first-class mail by perhaps a factor of TEN, then you MIGHT be able to make a profit on letter delivery…but then what does that do to the businesses who depend on advertising by mail? Hm?

    And on Medicare, who is it that they provide care for? For the elderly and disabled, the MOST EXPENSIVE of all patients…and yet Medicare STILL runs a constant 90%-plus customer satisfaction rate despite an administrative overhead of TWO PERCENT.

    Now I’ve heard that up to 15% percent of all Medicare costs is fraudulent. Let’s think about that! Let’s add that 15% fraudulent rate (with NO improvement on enforcement) to the 2% administrative overhead rate, and we get:

    An effective seventeen percent administrative overhead rate.

    The HMO’s take care of the HEALTHIEST segment of the population (and strive to deny care to the sickest in order to protect profits). Now let’s PRETEND that they have NO FRAUD WHATSOEVER. Let’s check out what THEIR administrative overhead rate is:

    Kaiser (a nonprofit organization) 3.5%
    CaliforniaCare 25.7%
    Health Net 19.8%
    PacifiCare 16.4%
    FHP Inc. 16.2%
    Prudential 12.6%
    CIGNA 14.0%
    Foundation Health 22.6%
    Aetna 18.6%
    Blue Shield HMO 17.6%

    So the above companies – if they have NO FRAUD WHATSOEVER (but they certainly do) – operate at the above admin overhead costs…even though they generally care for the healthiest segments of the population.

    Whereas Medicare – even if we add in ALL fraud (with no added enforcement to stop the fraud) – operates at about 17% admin overhead…even though they care for the most expensive segment of the population!

    And one more thing, Kenn – have you noticed lately how much the HMO’s have raised their rates? The above data was for California only…in 1997! Now, there’s been some improvement since then. According to this pro-HMO site, the national average for HMO admin overhead is 14%. So…if we pretend that there’s NO fraud in the HMO’s and that we canNOT lower the level of the fraud in Medicare, well, THEN the HMO’s are better, right?

    This, Kenn, is why the rest of the first-world democracies provide care for ALL their citizens at no more than 60% per capita what we ALREADY spend per capita.

    Read this list:

    – National surveys show that the primary reason people are uninsured is the high cost of health insurance coverage.2
    – Economists have found that rising health care costs correlate to drops in health insurance coverage.8
    – A recent study by Harvard University researchers found that the average out-of-pocket medical debt for those who filed for bankruptcy was $12,000. The study noted that 68 percent of those who filed for bankruptcy had health insurance. In addition, the study found that 50 percent of all bankruptcy filings were partly the result of medical expenses.9
    – Every 30 seconds in the United States someone files for bankruptcy in the aftermath of a serious health problem.
    – A new survey shows that more than 25 percent said that housing problems resulted from medical debt, including the inability to make rent or mortgage payments and the development of bad credit ratings.10
    – About 1.5 million families lose their homes to foreclosure every year due to unaffordable medical costs. 11
    – A survey of Iowa consumers found that in order to cope with rising health insurance costs, 86 percent said they had cut back on how much they could save, and 44 percent said that they have cut back on food and heating expenses.12
    – Retiring elderly couples will need $250,000 in savings just to pay for the most basic medical coverage.13 Many experts believe that this figure is conservative and that $300,000 may be a more realistic number.
    – According to a recent report, the United States has $480 billion in excess spending each year in comparison to Western European nations that have universal health insurance coverage. The costs are mainly associated with excess administrative costs and poorer quality of care.14
    – The United States spends six times more per capita on the administration of the health care system than its peer Western European nations.14

    ONLY IN AMERICA are there citizens of a first-world democracy who have NO health insurance.

    ONLY IN AMERICA do citizens of a first-world democracy go bankrupt because of medical expenses.

    ONLY IN AMERICA are there citizens of a first-world democracy that must choose between paying for food and shelter…and paying for health insurance.

    ONLY IN AMERICA are citizens of a first-world democracy told, “No, you can’t have chemotherapy because your insurance will not cover you.”

    ONLY IN AMERICA can a citizen of a first-world democracy be denied health insurance coverage because he had a disease at some point in the past.

    ONLY IN AMERICA, Kenn. Time to get with the program and realize that whatever the American way might currently be…isn’t necessarily the best way for the American people.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Glenn,

    I’m soo happy that health care is now going to be a right instead of a privilege…many things take effect immediately, such as donut-hole for senior costs closes, no more preexisting exclusions of children, children covered under family plan until 26, and no more getting kicked off your own insurance plan if you get sick.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Glenn,

    UPS and FedEx don’t compete against USPS in letter delivery because it is illegal to do so. Besides with modern technology maybe there is not a big enough market to enter the letter carrying business. But, Uncle Scam will still participate even though He will lose billions a year.

    Why is it that computers, cell phones, scanners, and other electronic devices come down in price over time but health care continues to rise. Because the government is not involved in electronics! When that becomes a right like health care then expect to pay more for your Dell.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    jeannie,

    What percentage of Americans get kicked off their coverage after they get sick? I hear that happens but no one ever puts a statistic to it.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Kenn,

    I googled your question and was offered this website as a place to find an answer. I think it contains some good bulleted facts and useful information.

    : )