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Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [Editorial]
2017-08-27 20:39 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 629 references
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So less than a week after the eclipse which should have given you something to think about with regard to the thin veneer of society that lies on top of a really nasty underlying reality -- we get Harvey.

It slams into Rockport and trashes it.  There we have people who said they couldn't leave because they're too poor.

Really?  Is that an iPhone I see in your pocket?  How much is a bus ticket 200 miles inland again?  Less than that iPhone costs, right?

The good news is that for most of those folks, in fact basically all of them, they won the bet.  The right decision for them in that circumstance was in fact to stay despite the whinefest of "how poor I am" you saw displayed on TV.  

Proof of this is found in the fact that they're alive, and whatever resource they have they didn't expend running from a storm that didn't kill them.

Yes, their place to live might be destroyed, along with their possessions, but things can be replaced and whether they left or not their place was going to get trashed.  And quite honestly, that only one person got to meet God in the immediate aftermath of the landfall is quite remarkable -- and a testament to the fact that we build 'em better than you think we do.  That was a Cat 4 folks, and they're no joke.

But what's happening now is another matter entirely.

I said before this thing came in that the wind wasn't really going to be the real deal.  It was the flooding.  It usually is, and this time it was going to come with the collapse of steering airflow up above, which meant this mean bastard of a storm was going to sit on top of the coastline and dump rain -- maybe for as long as a week.

One way to put it is that it was going to be Noah-like -- for a week solid.  

Guess how many people near Houston left?  Not many.  And that's a big problem because large parts of Houston are in a flood plain and flood fairly frequently.  Get a Noah-style storm and a hell of a lot of it is going to flood, and it both has and will.

So here we are and this pops up on Fox:

If our home floods, the public is being advised that we are not to go into our attics but rather wait on the roof for rescue. How on earth would we get five children on our roof (three of them babies) if it comes to that? My wife and I have had to work through scenarios of who would grab which baby while directing our older two children to stay in a safe place. 

That's because if you go into your attic and the water keeps coming up you just climbed into a coffin.  That should be obvious and that someone has to tell you this says a hell of a lot about your intelligence -- or lack thereof.

The better question is this:  What the hell were you thinking staying there with an inbound storm predicted to stall and dump feet worth of rain for days when you have five small children, three of them babies, in that house?

The article goes on to talk about them not having any sort of rational set of emergency provisions in said house, despite living in a place where hurricanes come from time to time.  They do have a $400 cooler (a Yeti), however, which means they could have instead stocked back a bunch of non-perishable food and some water bladders, Aquamira drops and filters sufficient to insure they had two solid weeks of provisions -- and drinkable water.

But they didn't do that, and what's worse they're relying on the power to keep what food they have edible -- never mind keep their well pump running so they have water, which, it appears, never entered their mind.

Really folks?

Look, I hope these folks are ok.  I really do.  But that this sort of article gets published without a care in the world for what could go wrong in your environment around you nor one single ****ing word about remorse in failure to prepare and failure to leave when there was plenty of time (which there was), especially with five small kids in the house, none of whom can be of effective help in an emergency is outrageous.

Listen, I get it that 75% of the population of this country literally lives paycheck-to-paycheck, and would starve if the next one didn't show up.  70% of the population is in material debt as well, which means that if said paycheck doesn't show up angry bankers start dunning you and taking your ****, like, for instance, your car.

But the responsibility for this is ours collectively.  We let the banksters who got us into all this debt and sold all this crap before 2007 and 2008 keep it all and keep it all on us, instead of forcing it to clear, bankrupting people then (who by now would have rebuilt their economic lives minus said debt.)  We feted Obama instead of excoriating that rat bastard for what he did politically with both the banksters and medical industry in his 8 years in office.  We've spent our time pissing up a rope instead of taking on the medical monopolies and costs, which is a big part of why that 75% of the population is one small problem away from bankruptcy and ruin.  And we've refused to hold a single ******ned executive or politician to account for any of this crap all the way up to the present day. 

Then, for icing on the cake, we have the so-called Antifa out in Berkeley today beating people for their political beliefs on live camera without a cop in sight.  An act that is identical in form and substance to what the Nazis did to the Jews, and yet they claim to be "anti-fascists."  Uh huh.  On what planet is this not a hate crime, conspiracy to deprive civil rights and felony mob action, for starters?  If the Berkeley police won't arrest any of these thugs then they need to be charged as accessories before the fact to those felony assaults with each and every one of them tossed in prison for 20 years.

None of that matters though when the thin veneer of so-called "civilization" is torn off by a nasty storm and what's underneath has been eaten by termites and is rotted besides.  You can't EAT the Dow Jones index and it won't run your well pump either.  Instead of buying expensive iPhones and fancy coolers as a testament to how rich we are how about a ******ned generator to run your well pump, some gas for it, a few water bladders and some water purification drops and filters?  How about a pantry full of non-perishable things to eat, and a way to cook and eat them -- even if it's a couple of bottles of propane or bags of charcoal for the grill?  You do have a manual can opener and enough physical hand strength to use it, right?

And how about if you choose to pop out five kids over a short period of time, such that all of them are of tender years and unable due to age to be constructively helpful during an emergency and instead represent an intractable and yet necessary burden that if you get warning of such a natural disaster being possible and indeed probable you get the hell out of there and spend your $400 Yeti money on a damned Motel 6 for a week 200+ miles inland, reached with the gas in the car you keep half-full or better, or can fill from said emergency generator cans if you decide you have to bug out?

The problem is that you have to take the chance that the warning is false, and you won't get nailed, which means you spent a couple hundred bucks for nothing.  Well, ain't life a bitch.  Your little cocoon of "normal" is all so nice in the suburbs or near-city environs, isn't it?  Nice enough to crank out some babies and buy some expensive coolers without a damned care in the world about what you're going to do when the grocery store shelves are stripped to the walls in 15 minutes and there is no gas at the local station, then the water starts coming up.  And oh by the way, this time you had a couple days warning -- you don't always get that with either natural or "man-made" disasters, you know.

It's called optionality folks and it's what you give up when you buy the Yeti, the iPhone and the expensive SUV along with all the other crap you insist is so damned important, never mind going into debt up to your eyeballs.

Not having optionality when you need it, or being too damned stupid to exercise it prudently can get you and everyone you love killed.  Sadly, a few people have learned that the hard way in the Houston area already and I bet more will before this beast of a storm moves onward.

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2017-08-26 16:55 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 562 references
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Not for "disloyalty", as many have argued.

No, he must be fired for intentionally excusing and condoning acts of violence by the so-called Antifa against others.

I can understand the angst; anyone adhering to Nazi-style beliefs, if you're Jewish (and Cohn is), has to push all the wrong buttons.  But the fact of the matter is that when you go to work for the government you are expected to, and in fact take an oath to, uphold the Constitution.

This is not Germany, where even speaking of Nazi-like acts is in some cases a criminal act.  Germany does not have a First Amendment; the United States does.

To support the position that mere speech, no matter how repugnant, leads to the approval of physical violence is exactly how we will wind up with a second Civil War in this country.

When President Trump said that there were "good people" on both sides he was not endorsing Nazis. He was pointing out that on both sides were persons who were there for the express purpose of protecting and exercising the right of free speech, and that some of those on the "Right" who were present were not Nazis just as some on the left were not there to commit violence or suppress speech.  Further, when he said there were "bad people" on both sides he was pointing out that in fact there were people present intending to initiate violence on both sides of the so-called "protest."

Those intending to initiate violence were and are equally culpable -- and "bad people" -- irrespective of their political beliefs.

I will remind Mr. Cohn that the phrase "Never again" is not limited to Jews.  It is in fact intended to express the position that under no circumstance does one's race, religion, creed or political belief system give license to another's initiation of force intended to suppress, enslave or kill said person or persons.

And how does one demonstrate their religion, creed or political beliefs?

Through speech.

Mr. Cohn, you have no business operating within our Government.  Your mere presence in same today is an affront to everything this nation was founded upon and stands for.  You are not in service to the American public you are defiling the office you hold and that of the President by your mere continued presence, a position you hold only at his pleasure.

The dishonorable Mr. Cohn must resign right here, right now, and if he will not then President Trump must fire him forthwith.

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2016-11-12 06:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 17681 references
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Let me make a few observations.

First, eight years ago, and again four years ago, America elected a President.  Fully half, give or take a couple of percent, disagreed with the outcome.

There were exactly zero riots, fires, "mass protests" and similar following that outcome despite the fact that half the population vehemently disagreed with it.

This time around, not so much.

Now I want you think very carefully about the following.

Most of the land mass of this nation is owned and resided upon by people who are in "red" (that is, the winner this time) areas of the country.  With the exception of certain urban centers and right along the Mexican/Texas border there are very few "solid" blue areas.

Those urban centers consume roughly 90% of the energy and food in this country yet they comprise 5-10% of the land mass.  The "red" areas produce 95% of the food and energy this nation consumes and occupies 90-95% of the land mass.

Do you really think that doing something like eliminating the last pieces of the structure our founding fathers put in place to prevent tyranny of the majority from being able to take hold is a good idea?

A little history lesson: Prior to the 17th Amendment ratified in 1913 it was impossible for the Federal Government to shove any program down the throats of the 50 states.  That's because the state legislatures had effective control of the Senate and could recall their Senators.

The House was elected by the people, the Senate was elected by The State Legislatures (and could be recalled by same) and The President was elected by the Electors, which were voted for in the popular vote.

The latter provides a modest but real increase in the representation of "flyover" states; that is, those with lower population counts.  In other words it is a check and balance in the ultimate tyranny of democracy.

Yes, I said democracy is ultimately tyrannical -- because it is.

America is not a Democracy.  It is a Constitutional Republic.  This is very important; in a democracy 50%+1 can render the 50%-1 slaves by mere vote.  Those who are in the minority in a democracy have no rights at all.  Democracy is best represented by two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner.

We are all minorities in some form or fashion.  If you're gay, black, yellow, male, female, whatever -- all it takes is some other set of groups to get together and decide to oppress you, and in a democracy you're ****ed.

America's founding fathers put in place two systems to prevent this.  The first was the bicameral legislature; a House elected by the people at large and a Senate elected by the State Legislators.  This structure guaranteed that a landmass that amassed 50%+1 of the population (not even in the same state or states!) could not band together and shove down the throat of the States any policy measure because you needed the concurrence of more than half the state legislatures, where each were delegated but two votes to their Senators who were accountable to said legislature, to pass anything at all.

This evaporated with the passage of the 17th Amendment.  Now you only needed 50%+1 of the people in a given state to pass anything you wanted and they could all live in a tiny percentage of the land mass -- such as is the case with Illinois where more than half the population lives in the immediate area of Chicago.

What came right after that?  Prohibition, shoved down the throat of the States, less than 7 years later!

What also came after it was an unbridled expansion of the Federal Government into state affairs.  Indeed, virtually everything became a "legitimate" federal matter.  Why?  Because it was impossible for the States to prevent it.

Do you think the founders were wrong to do what they did, and the 17th Amendment corrected that?

If you believe so then please consider this.

 

Ever drive through small town America?

Hell, how about "not-so-small-town" America?

Many of these towns look like something out of a WWI or WWII European war movie.  There was one factory or maybe two, but now it sits empty, weeds growing out of the parking lot as high as your head, all the windows are broken out and the roof has caved in.  Over on the outskirts there's a Walmart that pays $9/hour, but only offers 20 hours/week.  The factory paid $30/hour, full-time, plus benefits and food, power, medicine and beer cost half of what it does now. 90% of what formerly were little diners and shops in the "center" of the town, which might have one actual traffic light, are gone -- boarded up and often literally falling apart.  There might be one bank left, a branch of a big national chain, and maybe an antique store.  Maybe.  All the factory jobs left for China and Mexico and everything else died when the middle-class incomes to support them disappeared.  We did that as a nation with our "progressive" and "global" agenda driven by the 50%+1 that live in the closest big city 200 miles away.

The locals who used to work in the fields within 10 or 20 miles from that town are all unemployed too.  Why?  Because the illegal Mexicans came and we refused to throw them out.  They work for a few bucks a day in cash, no taxes, no unemployment, no nothing.  No American can live on that; the embedded cost of just trying to stay alive would leave you with zero.  But the Mexicans work hard and then sleep 10 to a single-room apartment, which incidentally is a total ****hole as you'd expect given that density of occupation.  They don't care; it's better than what they had in Mexico, you see, and they can Western Union home some of the money.  This is the face of "immigration", mostly illegal, that really exists in this country.  They brought their third-world ****hole here and while it's a little bit better than what they had in the process of doing it they dragged us into the gutter with them.

The people who lived in that town did and most who are still there do go to church every weekend, and some go again during the week, usually on Wednesday.  There's usually one, sometimes two churches.  Every one of them has the word "God" or "Christ" in the name on the front.  They mean it when it comes to their faith and in addition that's where all the local people shake hands, exchange chit-chat on the last week and, for younger people, it's where they meet one another.  You know, girls and boys.  Yeah.  Faith is real there, you see, and it's Christian. But from your point of view that's deplorable and that "those people" don't like the idea of making a wedding cake for a gay marriage is deserving of a federal lawsuit and loss of the bakery (which is, as a result, now closed -- putting yet more people out of work.)  The people who live in these towns don't see your point of view as a civil rights matter but rather as attacking God.

What was left after the factory was displaced isn't enough to run a "service economy", which is why it never showed up there and the old business buildings are all boarded up.  Nobody can afford $8 lattes on a $9/hour wage for 20 hours a week and nobody would want them if they could.  There's probably a McDonalds on the outskirts, and a couple of self-serve gas stations with a convenience store.  It sells cheap beer and lots of it to the locals who have nothing to do but drink and then go to church and pray for forgiveness for last night's 12 pack.  None of the jobs at any of these places, except maybe the store manager, makes more than $9/hour and Obamacare has forced all the regular workers down to 20 hours a week on top of it.  Try living on $180/week gross sometime -- before FICA and Medicare is taken out, never mind gas for the car and the rapidly-escalating car insurance bill -- and you might understand.  Yes, I know the car is 15 years old and runs like crap.  What do you expect on under $1,000/month of income?

This is what 40 years of sending jobs overseas with "trade deals" did.  It's what Amazon did.  It's what Walmart and its Chinese supply line did.  It's what "progressive America" did, and then to add insult to injury the teachers in the public schools tell all the kids that Mommy and Daddy are bad people and hate both the planet and their own kids because they don't drive a $30,000 Prius or a $60,000 Tesla.

This is everywhere in rural America.  Get in your car and out of your comfort zone some time and you'll see it. It's not far from wherever you are.  I've driven through dozens of these formerly-alive places in the last six months -- every one of them dead today, but full of real people.  I never met one such person that was a racist, xenophobic *******, but they're not very happy, and the people they're unhappy with are those very same folks you wanted to keep in office in Washington DC.

If you think the destruction of small town America is confined to farms you forget the other half -- energy.  Would you like your lights to work?  Many of those small towns are dead because of the insanity of our energy policy -- or lack thereof, tied to left-wing whackjob nonsense.

Now you want to add insult to injury when they show up to vote, exactly as civics tells them we have a right to do, and a large number of you in the cities did not show up.

They bought into the message of bringing American jobs back to America and ejecting those who have no right to be here.  You call them xenophobic, racist and small-minded -- they call it a shot at decent employment for the first time in 30 years.

They believe in the Henry Ford model of American business, and they're not wrong to do so.  Make the product here, pay the people well enough to be able to afford it, and you'll do just fine.

They win the election, in short, and you lose.

Then you decide to be a sore loser and loot, burn, beat people, issue threats, cry, whine on social media and try to obstruct everything by any means possible -- legal or not.  You bus people in to "protest" and riot, you "petition", you raise hell in short -- oh, and all this after you implored the other side to "respect the outcome of the election" and lambasted them for suggesting they might want to merely count the ballots twice!

Note again, as I pointed out above, that eight years ago, and four years ago, these very same people were on the losing end of your stick exactly as they had been for the previous three decades yet they did none of the above.  They understand duplicity and your double-standard quite well, seeing as they did the honorable thing and respected the outcome twice in a row despite getting screwed sequentially both times.  The only thing your brand of government offered them in the end was Medicaid or worthless "health insurance" through the exchange; the former has no doctors that accept it within 20 miles and the latter has a $5,000 deductible before it pays anything, which is utterly laughable when you consider these folks have a gross wage of under $1,000 a month.

Now the question:  Are you prepared for the possibility they might decide en-masse that they're done with this crap -- and with you?  That they're not going to take it any more?

What if the people who live in the "red" areas, that is, those who produce the food and energy that are consumed to the 90th percentile in the "blue" areas, decide they're not going to do that for the blue areas any more?  What if their middle finger goes up, in short?

Remember, we allegedly do not permit slavery in this country any more -- which means that which someone owns they have the right to sell - or not sell.  They have the right to produce - or, more to the point, not produce.

What if the people who peacefully conceded the result of two elections over the last eight years despite vehemently opposing the outcome decide that if the "blue" folks can riot, loot, beat people who vote the "wrong way" and similar they will not accept any further election result that doesn't go their way, and instead of rioting or burning things they will simply shut off the flow of food and energy to said "blue" areas?  After all, you don't value them at all -- you consider them subhuman, racist, xenophobic, deplorable and irredeemable -- all at once.

I'll tell you what happens if they take that decision: Every major city in the country would go feral within hours.

Within days those cities would not be blue, they'd be blackened and reduced to ash as those very same "protesters" you like so much loot, burn and shoot at each other trying to get the last scraps of food and fuel remaining.  They would then probably try to come out of the cities and take by force what had been denied them, only to run into a major problem - the "red guys" have more guns, they know the land because they live there, and more importantly they actually hit what they aim at, having had plenty of practice feeding their families with deer, wild boar and similar.  Mr. Gang Banger against Mr. Deer Hunter isn't a very fair fight, when you get down to it.

Oh by the way there's a phrase for what this would mean, if you haven't figured it out by now: Civil War.

Is that what you want?

It's where your actions are headed, if you keep doing what you're doing -- and nobody knows exactly where the tipping point is.

Better think long and hard, those of you in the "blue" places who are running this crap.  You do not have a snowball's chance in Hell of being able to grow enough in the way of crops on the landmass you control to feed a tenth of your population and every squirrel in your trees would be shot dead and eaten within an hour after this began.  Silent spring indeed.  Never mind the fact that most of you "wonderful snowflakes" couldn't shoot, skin, butcher and cook a deer -- or even a squirrel -- if you had to.  Never mind that a good 80% of you couldn't manage to run one mile if you were being chased by someone interested in eating you.

The day that cellophane-wrapped chicken stops showing up in the grocery store is literally the day 90% of Blue America starves.

Nobody in their right mind wants such an outcome.  But where do you think this all goes if you keep it up, eh?

Every bit of it has been enabled by the 17th Amendment and tyranny of the majority -- a tyranny you wish to increase by doing things such as abolishing the Electoral College.

There's a very good reason our founding fathers designed a Constitutional Republic instead of a Democracy.  They understand the problem with democracy: It doesn't work.  Democracy always ends up leading to riots and civil war, because exactly what the blue folks are doing now escalates until everyone starts shooting everyone.

A Constitutional Republic avoids this outcome because even a very large majority cannot infringe the rights of everyone else -- even when the majority lives in big, concentrated places like cities.

That was the magic sauce of the original design in our legislature and Presidency.  It's why we have an Electoral College -- to provide a bit of "overweighting" to those places that are utterly crucial to the cohesiveness and survival of the nation as a functional republic -- that is, a bit more balance against tyranny of the majority of 50%+1.

We got rid of the biggest check and balance with the 17th Amendment and I have, for decades, maintained that whenever America finally is declared dead and done, and the book is closed, that will be written in as the reason our nation's political system failed.  It's the only Amendment we cannot reasonably repeal, because to do so would require the sitting Senate to vote itself out of a job.  I'm sure you can figure out how likely that is.

But we can avoid doing more violence to our Constitution -- and we had better, or the outcome, given the annals of history available to anyone who cares to look, is quite certain.  If you want to see how this turns out should you keep pressing the issue go have a look at the map of how many states Trump won .vs. Clinton, or how the county-by-county map looks.  You'll see a lot more red of various shades than you will blue.

The bottom line?  Go ahead and be a sore loser.  Go ahead and whine.  Go ahead and try to change what our representative process led to.  Go ahead and decide to loot, burn and beat.  Refuse to accept the result of the election, if you insist.  Hell, go ahead and try to threaten or even bribe the electors!  Make sure you tear down the last little bit of foundation and structure inherent in the design of the legislature and executive of the United States.  Who needs it; it's all in the name of being "progressive", right -- even if when counted by landmass, counties or states the election was a landslide for Trump.

Just don't be surprised, if you keep it up, that at some point, given that you're utterly reliant on those you're abusing for the basics of life -- the loaf of bread, the gallon of gasoline, the electricity that powers your lights -- they decide they've had enough.  That day your supply of cellophane-wrapped meat and plastic bag full of bread disappears like a fart in the wind.  There comes a time when those who you've put the boot to for so long, and then try to deny the ability to change things peacefully through the representative process our founding fathers gave us, decide that despite their religious beliefs and good manners they're not going to service you on their knees any more.

Don't be dumb enough to think you can keep doing what you've been doing forever because you can't and if you go too far there will be no warning, no second chances and no saying you're sorry.  It'll just happen starting with one final stupid act -- and then we all lose.

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2016-10-15 06:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 4569 references
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Go back and read this Ticker, and the link in it on the actual budget deficit we ran last year (no, it's not the nice number you see at the top of the MTS.)

The budget deficit was in fact $1.4 trillion -- not the claimed $587 billion (which is bad enough, incidentally.)

Last year the Federal Government spent $1,417 billion dollars out of $3,854 billion, or 37% of every dollar it spent, on Medicare and Medicaid.  This was a 9.3% increase over last year's expenditure of $1,296,731 (million), all-in.

But inside this figure are even-more damning numbers.

Payments to the health care trust funds were up 13.4% (!)

Spending on CHIP, the plan for poor kids, rose last year by an astounding 56%.  While the total spent was only $14.3 billion that rate of rise is utterly astronomical by anyone's measure.

Don't believe for a second that administrative expenses are under control, which is a claim often made for Medicare and Medicaid: They were up 32% last year for the primary hospital insurance trust fund.  No, that's not a misprint.

Hospital benefit payments for Medicare?  Up 8.4% -- the bright spot, believe it or not.

Medicare Part "D" (drugs)?  Sit down: Up 26.2% to a total of $95.2 billion.

Folks, at this rate of change within the next four years Medicare and Medicaid will consume just over $2,000 billion a year, or $2 trillion -- an increase of $600 billion a year in spending.  

Let me remind you that last year taxes (receipts) rose by a paltry 0.55%, and at this rate of increase over the next four years government revenue will absorb only $72.9 billion of that $600 billion in additional spending -- and this assumes that absolutely nothing else in the budget increases in cost at the same time, an utterly fanciful notion.

In other words there will be at least another $500 billion of additional annual deficit, and likely far more than the $600 billion denoted here, bringing the total to more than $2 trillion in actual deficit being run per year.

If this pattern were to continue for 10 years then Medicare and Medicaid would rise to $3,448 billion, or for all intents and purposes all of the $3,854 billion the government spends now!  Worse, increased tax revenue would absorb only $184 billion of that additional cost -- for all intents and purposes ZERO.

For those politicians and others who claim Social Security is going to blow at roughly the same time, no it won't.  Social Security payments (for retirees and disability) rose 3.2% last year while for both retiree and disability tax receipts rose at a 5.2% rate.  Yes, on a cash basis Social Security ran a deficit last year but the rate of increased tax revenue was higher than the rate of spending growth and Social Security has a $2.8 trillion dollar Treasury security cache it can redeem to cover the shortfall.  At present rates Social Security may have issues in the future, but for right now it is stable.

MEDICARE AND MEDICAID ARE NOT AND THEY ARE WHERE THE ENTIRE PROBLEM RESIDES.

We will not manage to get through the next 10 years at this rate and in fact will not get through the next President's term.  If we do not put a stop to this right now the stock market will collapse and lose up to 90% of its value, all pensions will collapse and at best be able to pay 50% of what was promised (are you a teacher, firefighter or police officer?  Bend over because law or no law you are screwed.)  The bond market will collapse as the spiral of debt will be clear to everyone and nobody will be willing to buy a bond from anyone at any reasonable interest rate, which will instantly destroy the value of all outstanding long-term Treasury debt by as much as 50-70%, government entitlements will collapse (to put that in plain language they will go to zero or effectively so) and real estate values will collapse as demanded interest rates on mortgages will make the 1980s look like a Girl Scout Party.

And by the way it is not possible to tax our way out of this and certainly we cannot do so by "taxing the rich", as is often claimed.  If you confiscated all of the money made by those who make more than $500,000 a year you would not even close the deficit gap for one year.  Of course if you did that the amount of money those who make over $500,000 a year would choose to make next year, and thus be subject to said tax, would be no more than $499,999, and thus you'd get zero in tax from them via this approach in year #2.  Anyone running a "pay your fair share" claim is lying and they know it; again, that's the math.

We must -- and can -- stop this crap with existing law.  Specifically, by applying 15 USC Chapter 1 to all parts of the health care industry.  This will collapse the cost of care for both the government and private parties by as much as 80% and permanently end and reverse the budget problems it is causing -- for the federal government, for state and local pensions, and for private firms and individuals.

I have been writing and speaking on this since I ran MCSNet in the 1990s.  It has been a focus of this column since it was formed in 2007, including in this column written in 2012.  We have willfully and intentionally, as a nation, ignored this issue for the last decade and we are now facing the destruction of our economy, our markets, our government, our society and our way of life if we do not put a stop to the pillaging of our economy and people NOW.

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You didn't see this in the debate as it failed to garner enough votes.

Oh, and by the way, despite Trump's tape not having any votes (it was too late to be included) it got what was darn close to first billing.  So much for democracy and the people's voice, which the commission claimed was going to be responsible for the order of questions and which questions got included at all.

You see, according to the media and Hillary Clinton the most-important thing to talk about is whether someone made lewd comments 10 years in the past.  We cannot, of course, have the first question in the debate be about a 12 year old******victim that was sewed up after being violated, and yet Hillary Clinton, in defending the rapist, filed a motion in court alleging that she liked older menhad filed false allegations of sexual assault in the past and was taken to fantasies.  I've read that motion (it's available at the above link) and it was filed without presenting any objective evidence for those assertions in Hillary's bid to argue for a psych evaluation of the victim -- despite knowing that the original report of the******came about as a result of a call from the hospital where the victim was sewn up after being physically injured from being violated (to an extent sufficient to preclude her from ever being able to have children!) and the presence of forensic evidence linking her client to the offense (which she managed to argue had been compromised.)

But leaving both sides of the "ethics when it comes to women" aside -- a topic that, if given full exposure, I believe Hillary would lose badly -- there is the fact that the media utterly refuses to talk about the issues that are actually before this nation and this goes all the way back to 2008 and the financial crisis!

In point of fact I believe a clean case can be made that my question is the top issue when it comes to both the economy and health care in this election, simply on the arithmetic.

As I pointed out in my post on the budget deficit we ran a $1.4 trillion dollar deficit last fiscal year.  In a few days I will have the MTS and be able to break it down, but I already know what it's going to show me -- continued outrageous acceleration in spending on both Medicare and Medicaid, putting the lie to any claim that the spending acceleration is all about "people getting older."

No, it's not, and no, whether a candidate made lewd comments (even if there were lots of them) is immaterial to the inevitable outcome if we do not address this issue in the here and now.

The most-important issue in this campaign and in fact in our nation today is people getting screwed blind by the medical industry.  It will shortly, if not stopped, become not just about the millions of Americans who are bankrupted by this outrage but will expand to include the destruction of our government's funding model, the economy, the markets, and our way of life that will happen, with mathematical certainty, in the next few years -- almost certainly during the next President's first term.

There is exactly one way to stop it, and that is to start prosecuting and thus break up all of the price-fixing and monopoly practice in said industry, which will cause medical costs to fall through the floor -- a reduction of as much as 80% or even more.

If we do not do this, and do it today, the rest literally does not matter.  We cannot sustain $1.4 trillion deficits in a time of alleged economic expansion for long.  The markets will not allow it and the screwing you take as an individual in your cost of living will not bear it.

We either stop this, here and now, or we lose our nation.

Period.

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