The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [Editorial]
2017-06-24 11:32 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 123 references
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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.


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 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
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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".



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2017-06-23 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 262 references
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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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From the AP:

When U.S. Senate Republicans unveil their plan to overhaul America's healthcare system, they will face a skeptical public that already does not buy the justification for an earlier version that passed the House of Representatives, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday.

They're right to be "skeptical"; Obamacare did exactly nothing to address cost, which is where the real issue resides, and the House bill, as I analyzed, would actually make it worse (which is hard to believe, but true.)

The Senate "attempt" will do the same.

The problem is not "insurance" or "coverage" -- it's cost.

Then there's this sort of nonsense, which IMHO argues for locking up doctors en-masse as drug pushers:

Nearly one in four people on Medicaid, the U.S. health program for the poor, received powerful and addictive opioid pain medicines in 2015, according to research by a drug-benefits management firm.

One person in four?

Folks, these drugs are responsible for some 20,000 deaths due to overdoses a year which wildly outranks other means of accidental death, save one: car accidents (~35,000)

There is only one way to address health care cost: Attack the monopolist practices of the industry and you need no new laws to do it, since we have a 100+ year old body of said law which, I remind you again, drug and medical firms have tried to shoot down twice at the US Supreme Court (in the 1970s timeframe) and they lost both times.

It requires only an executive either at the state or federal level, which again I remind you has responsibility for enforcing the law, to stand up and do their ******ned job, leveling indictments against everyone involved in this industry that attempts to promote monopolies or restrain trade.

That's all it will take and the entirety of the health scam will collapse in an afternoon, crashing prices by 80% or more.

You can look right here for what this would mean, and what it would do.

You will note that there is not one hint of any of this in the House proposal, and there won't be in the Senate version either.  Nor has my phone rang despite the fact that I've been to the Hill in the past and spoken with Senate staffers on exactly this point; they know damn well what's coming, why, and how to stop it.

The US Congress and President Trump are both engaged in intentionally destroying your health and bankrupting you at the same time.  These people need to be run out of town on a rail -- all of them -- and if you cheer on either political party or any of the existing political class at either state or federal level who have all refused to enforce existing law and solve this problem you are a direct contributor to and promoter of the destruction of this nation and her people.

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2017-06-21 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 1387 references
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Go ahead folks, read this one.

Accordingly, I must communicate to you at this time the full extent of our dire fiscal straits and the potential disruptions that we face in addressing even our most critical core responsibilities going forward into the new fiscal year.  My Office has very serious concerns that, in the coming weeks, the State of Illinois will no longer be able to guarantee timely and predictable payments in a number of areas that we have to date managed (albeit with extreme difficulty) despite an unpaid bill backlog in excess of $15 billion and growing rapidly.

We are effectively hemorrhaging money as the state’s spending obligations have exceeded receipts by an average of over $600 million per month over the past year. (ed: That's $7.2 billion/year)

My cause for alarm is rooted in the increasing deficit spending combined with new and ongoing cash management demands stemming from decisions from state and federal courts, the latest being the class action lawsuit filed by advocates representing the Medicaid service population served by the state’s Managed Care Organizations (MCOs). As of June 15, the MCOs, and their provider networks, are owed a total of more than $2.8 billion in overdue bills at the Comptroller’s Office. There is no question that these obligations should be paid in a more timely manner and that the payment delays caused by the state’s financial condition negatively impact the state’s healthcare infrastructure. We are currently in court directed discussions to reach a workable and responsive payment schedule going forward, but any acceleration of the timing of those payments under the current circumstances will almost certainly affect the scheduling of other payments, regardless of other competing court orders and Illinois statutory mandates.

Now folks, you can call this a "one off" if you wish.

It's not.

It is also not a surprise where the problem is centered.  It's in health care.

I've only been yelling about this since the 1990s, when I saw the impact on my firm's balance sheet and cash flow statement on a year-over-year basis for a few years running.  You don't need to see it for more than a couple of years to grasp the gravity of the problem if you have a brain and are not politically poisoned to wave it off.

Anyone with a $3 WalMart calculator can figure it out, given 5 minutes and an IQ greater than their shoe size.  You merely need to run the exponential series out 5, 10, 20 years and what happens becomes obvious.

At ~9% expansion the rule of 72 gives you a close-enough approximation: Costs double every 8 years; in 24 years you spend eight times as much money as you did originally.

There isn't 8x as much money and you can't raise it.

You can't increase taxes by 800%.  You can't expand the economy by 800% over 24 years; at a 3% GDP expansion rate (which we haven't had in the last two decades for any sort of time period, I remind you) the economic output expands by 200%.  This means that you'd have to quadruple taxes compared against economic output, and if you try to do that GDP will collapse because you will consume all of the expansion in economic output and then some.

There is only one answer to this problem and that is to take the entire medical system, which is where the entire problem resides, and dismantle it.  Prosecute every single hospital administrator, owner of an imaging center, drug company executive and physician that has ever, even once, stuck his head in a hospital room and then billed someone $1,000 for a "drive by" consultation -- or anything like it, such as charging $90,000 for a drug here that's $2,000 in another nation, or billing one person $100,000 for a procedure where another is billed $5,000 or $10,000.

Bankrupt them all by imprisoning every last ******ned one of these people and fining their firms out of existence using the 100+ year old and still valid body of law found in 15 United States Code, Chapter 1.

Force every single one of these institutions out of business now.

Let the courts administer bankruptcy sales on every single ******ned hospital and diagnostic center in the nation along with every single pharma business in the United States.  Sell them all off at 2, 5 or 10 cents on the dollar and make damn sure you tell everyone who bids that any repeat of the previous owners performances over the last 30 years will lead to instant indictment and imprisonment -- period, full stop, no exceptions.

Tell all the remaining doctors and medical centers of any sort that (1) they will publish a price on everything, (2) they will charge everyone the same price for the same good or service and (3) any attempt to cheat or perform any anti-competitive act will lead to immediate indictment, trial and imprisonment of everyone involved using perfectly-valid 100+ year old law that has twice been confirmed as valid in the US Supreme Court during the last 30 years.

No bail, no kidding, no mansion, no Porsche, no exceptions -- and no bull****.

At the same time tell the AMA and all the Colleges that if they collude to (1) drive up the cost of learning to be a doctor or (2) limit the number of people who can go through school to be a doctor in an attempt to fix prices and restrain trade, including attempting to continue or enforce state-specific licensing you will lock all of them up too and give the people the controls of CAT D8 bulldozers so they can take out their frustration on the ivory towers of said schools -- after we chain the administrators and AMA board members to the columns.

After all, a D8 beats the destruction of our cities and state governments, along with 100+ million dead Americans, which is exactly where we're headed over the next couple of decades if we don't cut this crap out right now.

Go ahead and believe if you wish that "owning" property in one of these cities -- any of them -- is real.  Go right ahead.  You have a nice piece of land and house there.  It's maybe worth what -- $500,000?  If it carries a property tax levy of $12,500 a year you paid for it again in 40 years but got nothing of value for the money spent the second time.

By the way, how do you afford that $12,500 property tax bill on a middle-class -- or even upper middle-class income, say $80,000 or $100,000 a  year?  You can't.

It would be bad enough if it stopped there but it won't.  My former house near Chicago has seen its property tax levy double in 10 years time.  What makes you think yours won't have the same thing happen?  It not only will it has; I've seen it on other properties I've been watching including property my family members own in such places.

Why would I provide services to the state of Illinois if they can't pay my invoices Net 30?  I would not -- period.  I saw a tiny bit of this with Chicago in the 1990s when they started trying to "stretch" my invoices.  I went into the computer room and yanked the line card out of the cage that fed the Washington Public Library and tagged it off with a warning that any tech that put the card back in would be fired.  The caterwauling could be heard all the way to Waukegan (and came within minutes of my action) but that card didn't go back in the cage until I had a check in-hand.  I don't get to pay my parking ticket when I feel like it and thus neither does the city -- or state get to pull that crap on me.  That was the end of the discussion.

Will someone "factor" their invoice and thus allow people to provide services to the state?  Probably, for a while, but the factoring cost will get added to the bill. That'll work right up until the credit risk gets to the point that the discount rate on those factored invoices is 20% or more at which point there's no chlorine for the water plant that keeps your drinking water safe.

How far are we from that folks?  How long does Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, St. Louis, Atlanta, New York, Newark or Philadelphia remain standing upright and operating when there is no sanitary water to drink, the pumps don't work at the sewage plant so there is literal **** coming up out of the sewer manholes, the cops and firefighters don't get paid and there's no food distribution in the city either because the city and state try to tax the businesses at a rate they cannot pay and a pound of coffee winds up costing $20 and a gallon of milk is $10, which nobody can afford on a welfare check?

You think this is a joke or hyperbole eh?

It's not.

This was much-more easily resolved 20 years ago when I started raising hell about it.

It was rationally resolvable in the 2007/2009 time frame when I started writing The Market Ticker.

Now it's a real bitch, but we still have to do it.

I've laid it all out here, on the air multiple times, and in Leverage.

I've been to Washington DC in the 2011 timeframe and spoke to Senate staffers who confirmed they understand the math and what will happen if this crap doesn't stop.

But they also told me they're unwilling to act because you are more-concerned about abortion, gays, boys pissing in the girl's room and how much you can get in welfare checks than whether your state and ultimately the federal government is going to be bankrupted by a bunch of jackasses in white coats who first told you to eat **** that makes you sick with government sanction, prescribed pills that gave you diabetes, loved the trillions of dollars they stole to treat the diseases they caused at mark-ups of 1,000% or more against a market price -- and all of that after they tossed your health in the ****ter on purpose.

Exactly when you do pull your head out of your ass, America?

Is it before or after our cities lay in ruin and a third of you are dead?

Oh, and if you're dumb enough to think that Trump gives a flying **** about any of this?

You're wrong.

He knows good and ******ned well exactly what's going on.  He has to since he's run a company in this very environment for the last 30 years and he's seen all of it and knows the math, just as I do.  I'm not the smartest man in the room by a wide margin but I sure as hell can use a ******ned calculator and so can both Trump and you, if you choose to.

The very day Trump was elected every bit of the bullet points on "health care" found on his campaign site that actually bore on the real issues disappeared from public view and not one word of it has been seen since anywhere -- not on his transition site and not in a single policy pronouncement since.  There were multiple entreaties made to his transition team on this exact point during those months including by people I've cited here and who were "supposedly" part of the group he was going to consult with.  Those meetings were canceled folks and they have not been rescheduled six months later.

Trump is an actual, willing and intentional co-conspirator in all of this -- and that's a FACT

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