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2017-06-24 11:32 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 125 references
[Comments enabled]  

There's a relatively-common view among certain people, exposed in public by a person who recently registered on my system, claimed to be a retired MD, and promptly got banned.

He was commenting on my 100 Million Dead article -- where I laid out the utter impossibility of what the so-called "health system" has been doing on a fiscal basis for the last 30+ years, and what it proposes to continue to do backed by the people in Congress and the President -- screw Americans to the wall with an ever-increasing piece of the total economic picture.

Why did he get banned?  It started here:

I'm a retired MD and can tell you the current system is a criminal enterprise.

In other words he admits that the current system is a criminal enterprise to which he was a part.

It gets better (as if self-stating that his own profession is a criminal enterprise isn't enough), and that got him banned:

Tickerguy your timeline on the meltdown is not clear. Why not health care become 30-40% of the economy. We have squandered money on a far worse "noble lie"ie The Cold War.
Why not the Fed take their balance sheet to $20 trillion. I can see the farse going longer than you imagine. I realize we may need to decide if titanium is going into joint replacement or weapon systems but it seems the charade may be far from over.

Thus emerged the fabled "MMT" nonsense, which is propounded upon by people who have advanced degrees but either failed middle-school math (where you learned exponents) or, much worse, they're intentional peddlers of a fraud just as is anyone running a ponzi scheme.

You see, it's easy to print money, especially when you can do it with a mouse-click.

But you can't print value, and since "money" is simply a divisor when you print money you devalue all existing stock of same at the exactly moment you do so by the exact percentage you emit.

That's arithmetic, and arithmetic is, like all physical laws, not subject to suggestion.

You see, the "justification" he tried to run is that despite admitting it's a criminal enterprise he then wants another criminal enterprise (fraud) to cover it up -- and what's worse he thinks it will work.

Well, no.  It won't.

And the disaster is here, in your face, now.

I know, I know, you don't believe my numbers.  Many of you don't believe the MTS either -- the canonical statement of the US Treasury, released monthly, that tells you exactly what is taken in and spent, where, and when.  You can't really argue with the MTS, so instead politicians and people on the street alike stick their fingers in their ears and scream "na na na na na na na na" when you bring it up, exactly as does a 2-year old being told it is bedtime.

I understand that people look at me -- just a guy who ran a multi-million dollar corporation and thus saw all sides of the balance sheet as I had to write the checks, along with matching them with my expectations from my original business plan, as "not credible."  That's ok -- I don't have a bunch of letters after my name for what I believe are perfectly good reasons and many of them have names matching those running these claims in the media on "MMT" and its derivatives right here and now, or even worse, are sitting in places like the Eccles Building in Washington DC.

But then you have an article like this, published by Bloomberg:

Take a good stare at that folks.

If you just retired at 65 your medical expense is projected to be $280,000.

If you're 55 right now and a male (you die earlier) your expected health care costs from 65 to death total a half million dollars.

If you're 45 it's nearly $800 large.

If you're female it's far worse, since women live longer.  About 2-3 years longer, to be exact.  If you're female the total is anywhere from 30-42% higher.

Are you understanding the problem of escalation -- that is, exponents -- here?  10 years previous that total was about $150k.  10 years prior to that -- if you retired in 1997 - it was under $75,000 total, or about $3,750 a year.  That many people could pay but right now most of those people are in the process of dying, and in another 5-10 years they will all be dead.

This article was written to scare people into the stock market, among other things.  I'm sure of it.  But what it ought to do is have the exact opposite effect: It should result in a revolt, right here, right now, today.

There is not one person in ten who can pay the amount of money demanded today, say much less of those who will retire 10 or 20 years from now.  As a single person you can easily eat quite well on $300 a month, or $3,600 a year.  A couple can do so on about 50% more; it's simply how the economics of scale work when it comes to food at home.  Yes, there's inflation in food, but over 20 years @ the Fed's 2% "target" it will add about 50% to those costs before you die.

We can therefore simply extrapolate (and skip the spreadsheet or 20 calculator operations, adding them up.)  The man in this instance will consume approximately $100,000 in food over that retirement lifetime.

Bloomberg projects that he will consume anywhere from roughly three times that much (retiring today) to eight times as much if he's 45 today.

If you're in the 0.1%, you can pay this.

If you're not, you can't.

Period.

You can't pay that amount of money over the next 20 years if you retire today and you sure as hell can't pay it if you are 55 or 45.  While you might be able to amass that amount in retirement funds if you spend it on health care you'll have nothing for food and shelter -- and will be in the street, starving to death.

That's a fact for 95% or more of the population. It's math and the simple reality that most people do not make enough to cover that bill.  They don't now and they never will; that amount of money is so wildly beyond the median earnings power less expenses (that is, what someone can save and invest) that fully 9 out of 10 -- or more -- Americans cannot pay it.

It's IMPOSSIBLE.

It also can't be shifted to the "taxpayer"; if you attempt to do so the federal government instantly collapses.

Illinois is already in the throes of this. Michigan and their cops are not far behind. Virtually all states will be in this situation 10 years from now.

This, more than anything else, is why I came to the conclusion more than five years ago that I had to get rid of the extra weight I was carrying and keep it off.  It wasn't a choice -- yes, I have some money but even with my level of wealth this sort of escalation threatened to screw me and if there was a catastrophic problem on top of it even in my personal situation I'd be in the street.

Look folks, you have one thing you must do right now, and that is get any metabolic disease issues solved on a permanent basis, right here, right now, today.  This means you cannot be fat.

This is not a "fat shaming" thing it's a matter of literal economic and physical suicide if you don't do it today.

If you are overweight or obese today then there is exactly one means that has solid scientific evidence that supports it working on a permanent basis (yo-yo dieting does you no good and might hurt you even more than just remaining fat): Get the damn carbs out of what you eat.  Simply put you not only have to get rid of the extra weight you must keep it off indefinitely.

The above, however, ought to sink into everyone who is a politician, a law enforcement agency that is currently ignoring the rampant violations of both consumer protection and federal anti-trust law, a doctor or surgeon who currently willingly participates in these schemes, a hospital administrator who knowingly and willingly is a part of it, a pharmaceutical business employee who is part of the scheme to charge people in the US 5, 10 or 100x what others in the rest of the world pay for the same thing and more.

You are all responsible for this.  You are either responsible for causing this situation or refusing to act under 100+ year old law to put a stop to it.

Every one of you.

We could start with this bill -- a one-sentence bill -- and then go from there to the link at the bottom of that page.  It's obscene that such a one-sentence bill hasn't been introduced and passed years, even a decade or more ago.

We can still do it now, and we must, because the alternative is going to destroy this nation.  That's not speculation it's a certainty -- whether you wish to admit it or not.

When, not if, there are millions of older people who cannot pay these amounts the entire group of the above people are going to have a very large problem.

If you're lucky that problem comes at the ballot box and in the pew on Sunday, when you get spat on.  It comes when your car breaks down and the tow truck driver demands $10,000 -- 100x more than he demands of someone who isn't in these fields just as you ****ed his father who needed medical care out of 100x as much money as he should have paid.  It comes when there's a hurricane or tornado, your roof gets damaged, and the roofer looks at you and says you go last because you screwed his mother out of 50x what she should have paid for a drug -- and then it rains in your house for the next six months and destroys everything in it.  It comes with indictments, asset stripping and even prison sentences for virtually everyone in the medical and pharmaceutical industry.  And yes, even the latter is if you're lucky.

See, if you're unlucky then some small percentage of those tens of millions of older people decide they can't get justice at the ballot box or by mere social shaming.  You might even pass some more laws to call such shaming "discrimination", perhaps.  These older people recognize they're going to die soon enough anyway, and decide that they're going to live to the postulate that you can only execute a man once, and test the premise that there is in fact no Hell.

That small percentage, a very small percentage of the people who you have ****ed relentlessly for decades, and who you have all laughed at for the last 30 years and continue to laugh at, will decide to go hunting.

For trophy, not food.

That's the end of the civil society folks, and it will happen if this horsecrap medical-system wide isn't stopped now.

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2017-06-24 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 210 references
[Comments enabled]  

It just happened folks.

The FBI has apparently declared that the Scalise shooting (at the baseball park) was spontaneous and not premeditated.

This, despite the fact that they found multiple pictures of the ball field in his possession.

They have also declared that he had no particular target in mind.

This, despite the fact that he had a list of Congresspeople on him at the time he committed the offense.

They have further declared that they have no particular motive either.

This, despite the reported fact that he asked one of the people there whether it was Republicans or Democrats practicing, and only after hearing it was Republicans did he go retrieve his guns and start shooting.

Oh, and this "random", "no known motive" nutbag (at least the last word is accurate) traveled the better part of 1,000 miles in a van from Illinois to Washington DC, rented a storage locker in which he deposited a nice big cache of rounds for his weapons, and then did all of the above.

This is the same FBI, I remind you, that had a Director (since fired) who went on national television and laid out every element of a criminal statute being violated by one Hillary Clinton and then proclaimed that "no reasonable prosecutor would bring the case."

I'm not sure if it was the Hillary thing, or even the 9/11 thing where the ragheads who would go on to blow up 3,000 Americans were called in by an astute citizen who thought it was damn odd they were paying in cash for simulator time and didn't want to know how to land.  After all, we were told, 9/11 was a "complex plot" with "lots of moving parts", especially the ones that were allowed to keep moving and leave the country for their native (guess which one) nation after it happened by one President Bush.

But this, well, it's just a bit beyond belief, you see.

You have a guy who drives halfway across the nation, rents a storage locker, searches on the Internet for where a 2017 GOP convention might be held, takes pictures of the very ball field where he commits his assault, has a list containing the names of six members of Congress on his person and then to put a cherry on top of all of it directly inquires of a passerby whether it's actually Republicans on that field before he starts shooting -- and is told "yes."

This, my friends, is all consistent with a random, no-notice and no-motive shooting "incident" -- not a plotted, and carried out, act of terrorism against Republicans by someone who in fact belonged to a Facebook group called "Terminate Republicans".

Right.

Credit Townhall.com

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Here it is:

"Notwithstanding any other provision in state or federal law, a person who presents themselves while uninsured to any provider of a medical good or service shall not be charged a price greater than that which Medicare pays for the same drug, device, service or combination thereof."

That's it.

One sentence.

If you want to add a penalty clause with it I propose the following:

"Any bill rendered to a person in excess of said amounts shall (1) be deemed void, with all services and goods provided as a gift without charge or taxable consequence to said consumer but not deductible by said physician or facility from any income or occupational tax and (2) is immediately due to the customer in the exact amount presented as liquidated damages for the fraud so-attempted."

It ends the "Chargemaster" ripoff game.

It ends the $150,000 snake bite or the $80,000 scorpion sting.

It ends the $500,000 cancer treatment.

It ends all of that, immediately and instantly.

I remind you that Medicare is required to set pay rates by law at a level that in fact are profitable -- that is, above cost by a modest amount -- for everything it covers.  Further, those pay rates are audited regularly to prove that they in fact are above cost.

Does this solve every problem?  No, and in fact that would leave alone the existing monopolistic pricing systems that many medical providers, whether they be drug makers, device makers, service providers or otherwise have in place.  It would do exactly nothing to get rid of the 10 paper pushers hired for every doctor or nurse, none of whom ever provide one second of care to an actual person through their entire time of employment.

But it would instantly end walking into an emergency room and getting hammered with a $50,000 bill for something that Medicare will pay $5,000 for.

I remind you that even quite poor people can manage to come up with $5,000 in a life-threatening emergency.  Sure, they might wind up paying 25% interest on the credit card, they might have to stop smoking their $5 pack/day cigs, and it might take them three or five years to pay it off, but they can probably do it.

It's not an answer to the problems the mediscam imposes on society, but it would sure as hell bring down costs for people instantly and permanently, and would make the decision to not carry insurance one that people could opt for while having a rational shot at paying cash -- at least for those in the middle class or better, for whom a $5,000 surprise would be bad, but bearable.

More to the point with the crazy deductibles today the $5,000 would actually buy care and eviscerate the insurance ripoff at the same time, because today you get to pay the $5,000 plus another $10k/year in "premiums" -- for exactly nothing.

This matters because most of the argument for so-called "health insurance" is actually about extortion -- either buy the product or be ruined with charges that are 5, 10 or even 100x what someone who has bought the product will pay.

Ending that will force health insurance companies to actually provide a product that is affordable and provides a reasonable set of benefits -- or people can simply stick up the finger and pay cash.

Pass that, which should take no more than 30 seconds to introduce and put on the floor of both the House and Senate and then we can debate this as a permanent solution.

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2017-06-23 10:40 by Karl Denninger
in Corruption , 144 references
[Comments enabled]  

Here's the real nutshell issue with so-called "business today":

Now, Uber has for the first time has acknowledged that Levandowski informed its now-departed CEO, Travis Kalanick, that he had five disks filled with Google's information five months before joining Uber. 

In other words the company recruited and hired this guy knowing he had stolen trade secret information from Google.

If you think this sort of event is isolated, it's not.

Witness nearly one in four Medicaid recipients being prescribed opiods in the last 12 months.  I remind you that a large percentage of Medicaid recipients are kids so the percentage of opiod abuse among adults funded through Medicaid is probably within spitting distance of half of all adult recipients.  Do you really think the pharma companies and doctors don't know this?  Of course they do, but they worked mightily to conceal it because they also know damn well that their lives will be upended if it comes to light.  Then the truth eventually does come out and what is the reaction?  A few lawsuits aimed at some pharmaceutical companies instead of indictments for drug pushing, 20,000 dead people a year be damned.

How about the market generally?  "Technology" will lead?  Is it "technology" or scams?

The biggest scam of all is found in medicine where somewhere around $3 trillion a year is spent in the United States and 80% of that is either stolen or wasted.

The largest act of theft on a daily, continual basis ever in history and yet not one indictment pops out of that conduct.

In fact our own Congress wants to pass laws to make the scam greater rather than lesser, utterly ignoring 100+ year old law that says that the entirety of these schemes are illegal -- and not just civilly illegal either, felony criminally illegal.

We have a sitting Senator, Rand Paul, who has propounded that medical providers should be explicitly exempt from said lawwhich is a blatant and outrageous admission that today they are not and should all be in prison!  Never mind that there is not one but two Supreme Court decisions which confirmed that medical-related firms are not exempt from anti-trust law.  This is what Rand wants and has expressed in his legislative blueprint:

Provides an exemption from Federal antitrust laws for health care professionals engaged in negotiations with a health plan regarding the terms of a contract under which the professionals provide health care items or services.

Of course being a doctor he ought to know, right?  Or perhaps he can simply read the US Supreme Court cases dating to the early 1980s and knows that all existing physicians and medical practices, including hospital administrators, should be rotting in prison right now and would be but for our government's 30+ year long intentional refusal to enforce said 100+ year old law?

How about Amazon?  Robinson-Patman makes illegal price discrimination in goods where the effect is to exert market power to lessen competition.  Do you really believe all that so-called "artificial intelligence" doesn't result in different prices for different people buying the exact same item in the exact same quantity?  This is outrageously illegal if you have market power -- and Amazon, in the online space, most-certainly does.  The record with regard to brick and mortar retailers is clear in this regard.

How much of so-called "innovation" today is in fact simply a means of finding a way to break a law that you are quite confident the government will not enforce?  That companies once in a while get the "oh they won't enforce the law" part wrong (e.g. Volkswagen) doesn't change the general tone one bit, especially when you manage to steal trillions annually in one industry (health care) alone!

And why, may I ask, do we the people put up with the lack of enforcement when your much less-serious lawbreaking, such as speeding, results in an immediate citation, insurance surcharges and similar -- without apology or forgiveness?

Where is the outrage aimed at these jackals, both within and beyond the beltway?

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2017-06-23 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 262 references
[Comments enabled]  

This is a nasty indictment of so-called "sharing economy" entities.

We found that 85% of side-gig workers make less than $500 a month. And of all the side-gig platforms we examined, Airbnb hosts earn the most by far.

In other words there's not a prayer in hell you can make a living doing any of this; excluding AirBNB the average person was making under $400 and the median person is making under $200!

What's worse is that none of this appears to account for costs.

If you make $200 driving for Uber but spend $100 of that on fuel then how much an hour are you actually making?

Oh, and you must account for the deterioration of your vehicle (each mile has a cost in maintenance, deterioration of and consumption of the engine, transmission, suspension parts, tires, etc) as well.

And let's cut the crap on the name of this thing too.  You share something you would already be doing.  If I'm driving to work and your home and office locations are between where I would otherwise travel then we could be sharing a ride to work.  If you page me on some sort of app and I make a trip I would otherwise not make I'm not sharing anything -- I'm selling you the service of carting your ugly ass from one place to another.  Likewise, the premise of "Task Rabbit" or "Doordash" has nothing to do with sharing; I would never bring you food or deliver your package without being paid to do it because there's no part of my daily life that involves performing some random task for you.

Note that since this data set comes from people applying for loans the error, if any, is likely to be in overstating their income and expenses are not asked for.

When you consider the tens or even hundreds of billions of so-called "market value" these various "spring-ups" have in the so-called "sharing" space you have to shake your head at the gullibility of the general public -- those who are providing said services.

There's another possible explanation, incidentally, that's even worse: These firms may be exploiting people at the margin of economic survival to the point that they're "willing" to accept 50 cents/hour of real compensation.  Why? Because it beats zero -- and literal starvation.

I cannot argue that as a consumer having Uber and Lyft available as an alternative to monopolistic medallion-endowed Taxis has benefit.  However if the facts are that these so-called "firms" are simply a way to bring third-world, 10 cent/hour style wages to America, and many of these firms are additionally trying to create an indenture model to go with it (e.g. Uber and "leasing" the cars to be driven at usurious interest rates and inflated financed prices) then what we have here is an outrageous, ridiculous and intentional circumvention of laws that are supposed to protect American workers - - specifically, wage and hour law, with the firms involved being nearly the sole economic beneficiary of the actions performed.

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