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2020-01-11 17:02 by Karl Denninger
in Podcasts , 124 references Ignore this thread
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Apologies for the slight discontinuity with the tweets at the end; not worth re-processing to fix it smiley

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Lobo
Posts: 691
Incept: 2013-12-25

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Tickerguy wrote..
The better alternative is to not allow this crap to happen in the first place.

Amen.

I listen to guys at work talking about how great their 401(k)'s are increasing and I ask them if they have heard about the rule of 72. Haven't found one yet that understands what that means for retirement.

For some reason your podcast reminds me of Catch-22.




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Village Idiot
Amused
Posts: 500
Incept: 2019-04-22

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I think option (1) is correct. They believe all the homes and other assets are overvalued.

I don't know a lot about this sector, but I have some ideas based upon my limited knowledge.

Since credit is easy to get right now, and the Fed is willing to lend, they would rather use that than their own cash, because if they use their own cash and the crash comes they will be insolvent.

The question I've got is this, what rate of return are they getting for having money parked at the Fed, does the Fed pay them a percentage for being over their reserve?

Also I thought they used to have to park $1 out of every $10 loaned out, but I seem to recall the reserve being done away with during the Great Recession but I don't remember if it was ever restored.

Also, what is the Fed charging for it's loans to backstop the market?

If I was the bank and the Fed was going to charge me less to borrow than what they are going to pay me if I park cash there, I would do the same thing, but like I said, I don't know what they charge at either end.
Amused
Posts: 500
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I kinda understand Apple's scam with the stock buybacks, they were also putting tens of billions away but they were still floating their buybacks by borrowing, but in their case, it was because lots of the cash was from overseas income and the tax rates were so high that to repatriate the income, pay the taxes and then spend would have costed them more than to borrow at a lower rate, given their income, the difference still made it worth it to them to borrow, but that was before the recent Tax Overhaul, now I don't think that justification the corporate overlords spin is viable. We gave them a tax break and repatriation break.

The corruption is systemic and is going to lead to Revolution.

Case in point: I've bitched for years that we should get rid of Capital Gains and treat all income as income and stop this 'unearned' 'investment' income at a lower rate because it is fundamentally unfair to the worker.

I invested my time, I took risk going to school and building my business. My risk and investment is worth just as much as some ****ing day trader or corporate overlord.

But guys like Larry Ellison can game it by getting awarded options, then borrowing against those options at an insanely low rate, hold them for three years, live off the money he borrowed and skate by with a lower tax rate than the poor schlub patching up gunshot wounds in the ghetto.

What does Ellison do? He repeats the same scam year after year, so his effective tax rate is always lower, even though he's still effectively paying himself a lower salary. His Social Security? Hah, if he's not making real 'income' what does he pay? His Medicare? Again what does he end up paying when he finally divests those shares at the end of the three years?

It is fundamentally unfair. That doctor took and takes risk both with his education and exposure to disease, the engineer who went to school and is out in the marketplace, he takes risk daily. A hell of a lot more risk than the 'savy investor' corporate overlord with his golden parachute who ends up paying an effective tax rate of 15%, next to nothing in Social Security and Medicare.

It wouldn't be that hard to fix, we just treat all income as income, it doesn't matter where it is from, you earn a dollar, it's taxed at whatever the rate it, you pay Medicare and Social Security on it just like any other schlub.
Mr_clueless
Posts: 72
Incept: 2009-06-04

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Those of us who aren't playing the game with the new rules are getting left behind.

If we look at corporations, all of them are playing the game by the new rules -- taking on debt, stock buybacks, tax "evasion", outsourcing to n-th degree, etc. If they don't, they are rapidly put out of business and either go bankrupt or get acquired by someone that is playing the game.

In that same way, I think money market funds, CDs, savings accounts are all products of the past. Nowadays one has to be in equities or is guaranteed to be left behind. I have averaged < 2% return over the last 10 years. The entire growth in my portfolio is from new savings.
Mannfm11
Posts: 5764
Incept: 2009-02-28

DFW, Tx
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Amused, they don't loan money, they create it. Banking has always been fraud. Once they create credit, they are insolvent.

You know what I think Karl? I think it's China.

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The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.---John Kenneth Galbraith
Amused
Posts: 500
Incept: 2019-04-22

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Mannfm11: I could believe that. Supposedly part of Phase One of the trade agreement was supposed to be them opening up their Capital Markets to our accounting standards.

Maybe we are going to bail out the PRC...
Whitehat
Posts: 1503
Incept: 2017-06-27

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it is interesting the corner that we have painted ourselves into. i have commented in the past that the high equity values raised the price of the capital assets necessary for life and career such as business or tools of the trade, limiting inter-generational competition for many years, sometimes decades.

the problem is that fixing the problem of inflationary practices crushes what is left of middle class investors' retirement assets as well as real estate. for the small business this exposes them to being upside down on any financing, immediate exposure to competition from their workers and others and no ability to retire on the major capital assets of their businesses through outright sale or lease.

in other words everyone must get hurt to fix the problem, so no one desires to fix things. even those of us sitting on lots of house equity should in a sane economy face a major reduction especially in urban areas, easily sixty percent if not more. then the tax base crashes for anything ad valorem. this further screws the obligations of counties and cities.

the cure is almost as bad as the disease. everyone would rather die of a thousand cuts than face the music. how would society triage the massive upending. most real estate around me is upside down at around twenty five percent reduction in value, some worse. what happens when the inflation plug is pulled? or no one can sell to retire and/or seek lower cost of living or job relocation?

what i think is going to happen is that the Trump-gasim after the elections will provide a lot of psychological energy to things. he is going to win without much effort and Democrats are going to lose seats most probably. Trump does not wish this crash to be a part of his legacy, so he will promote anything to keep the music playing; rates stay low. he only knows one thing which is to cater to the asset class of the mega rich, middle class with equity assets such as real property and business real property and the aspiring investor class. thus without any logic he will double down regardless of the result. there will be no other arrows in the quiver, so he will double down on the only tool that he has. his age cohort will be hoping to make it to retirement and cash out as they have no other recourse.

what will happen in about two years or so is that Trump will lose control and start to get diminishing returns for more and more inflationary input. the equity markets will retrace without immediate crash and lower rates will provide the last gasp of the real estate liquidation with some price spiking. this is why we are beginning to see a sigh of relief or wishful thinking that the millennials are beginning to buy houses. everyone will want to give them low rates or innovative financing, and they will want such. they held off family formation and house purchases for longer than usual. it will be more hope than reality or at least the reality that they desire.

in my real estate market i am noticing something and it is verified by a very trusted contact in a law firm that sees a lot of this. Chinese purchasers of residential real property are getting sixty year mortgages from Asian lenders. the people who ultimately live in the houses are not the purchasers but Chinese ancestry tenants who work in menial industries and, quite noticeable in my area, collect massive amounts of recyclables for deposit return. they are in very nice neighborhoods, not slums at all. one group that does not do the recyclable thing purchased a house one neighbor away from mine. nice quiet people, single family house, they completely renovated a below grade cellar as their living space and rent out the main house to municipal workers who live in the house as traditionally intended in its construction. what's going on here???

it seems to me that two Asian (Chinese) interests are looking for safe havens much like the Japanese did here decades ago. one is their investor class looking to own performing assets in a safer country in the long term mortgages being paid by a reliable source with affinity to them. the other interests are working class Chinese who are becoming landlords while hoping for equity gains over the long term or at least preferring cash income on a mortgaged property that will never be paid off. wonder how much of that cash income is declared? there is always the potential that some Chinese mainland interest is involved here seeking a foothold for some long term plan, but it is not easy to know the players to that level with shells and LLCs.

my advice to anyone is to as Karl says reduce burn rate, including cost of living even if it requires a move within the next two years or less. the best hedge against not having safe investments in which to outpace inflation is to manage to live on net lower effort. it becomes a personal buffer. any cash gained by liquidating assets becomes an emergency buffer and opportunity lever that people will not have as things unfold.

one must remove the specter of rising property taxes, especially if one has a mortgaged property. even without financing, property taxes are an increasing threat and the only tool for wealth extraction that people cannot avoid by not working.

when the market finally calls bull**** rates might not go up. the problem is that economic activity slows to a crawl. no one does anything because he cannot. how can rates be raised with declining economic activity according to the market mavens. so what will happen is that people who are securely employed can take advantage of lower rates which is what i am observing now. the problem will be more and more people working who can barely afford anything. it is called middle class bye and government/favored industry workers doing well.

what the Medicaid expansion states did was to keep people making just above the poverty level from revolting softly. this is why Bloomberg supports Obamacare. it is a taxpayer and inflation transfer to keep people working in urban areas where they could normally not afford to live. economically it is a circular firing squad. without Obamacare there was going to be a giant sucking sound as businesses and workers in the coverage hole above Medicaid stopped working or left or dropped out somehow. so we keep the mismanaged urban areas solvent with inflation. remember as i said above, everyone gets cut in an actual fix. healthcare admin is a major upper class employment in my market. what happens when these people cannot keep their assets and can never replace their income?

even if we fully fixed healthcare as Karl recommends, there will be massive changes in municipal areas, perhaps permanent. this is asset destruction and the society might not be able to tolerate it.

there are two years, no doubt, to make a change. get a sense of urgency and do not try to wait until the end.

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Tickerguy
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@Whitehat -
Quote:
what the Medicaid expansion states did was to keep people making just above the poverty level from revolting softly. this is why Bloomberg supports Obamacare. it is a taxpayer and inflation transfer to keep people working in urban areas where they could normally not afford to live. economically it is a circular firing squad. without Obamacare there was going to be a giant sucking sound as businesses and workers in the coverage hole above Medicaid stopped working or left or dropped out somehow. so we keep the mismanaged urban areas solvent with inflation. remember as i said above, everyone gets cut in an actual fix. healthcare admin is a major upper class employment in my market. what happens when these people cannot keep their assets and can never replace their income?

Yep.

Florida is not a Medicaid expansion state.

My kid does not have "Clinton" as her last name and her interests do not lie in STEM-style fields where she could at least climb on board in a major metro area. I told her I would NOT subsidize her getting a "degree" in a field that would NOT pay enough to be worth the cost of the so-called "education", and in the ones where it still did make some sense she had no interest. She has an account that was turned over to her at 21 and was originally intended for school -- not enough to cover it all these days even not at a "high brow" place, but enough to put a real serious dent in it, which is hers to do with as she wishes (I have no idea what's in there now as a few years have gone by since.) I didn't buy one of the "pre-pay" tuition and fee plans with it as even quite early in her life I suspected she hadn't inherited the STEM gene from me, and if she did and I was wrong the funds + a decent scholarship would be enough, but if not, well, either she goes in a field that makes no sense or the funds are lost. That's nuts.

Well, now what? She's doing ok but has exactly zero incentive to try to walk her way up the ladder because at the point she becomes exposed to the medical insurance scam she's ****ed. The REALLY ugly part of it is that in a non-expansion state there's a cliff at the lower end; there's both a LOWER cutoff which is a HARD cutoff for an Obamacare policy subsidy and a phase-out which for an unmarried person starts right around $22,000. If you are over but near the lower-end cut-off each year you must decide whether to take the subsidy on your projected income for the NEXT year, and if you do it and are wrong (e.g. you get laid off or fired and miss the lower end of income for the year due to a month or two of not having a paycheck) you're ****ED as you have to repay the entire subsidy back when you file your taxes! How would you like to have to come up with $5,000 NOW when you had $14k in income last year?

The same thing happens on the other end but at least in that case you have some money. If I projected $24,000 of income and make $30,000 I'll be forced to cough up a big check, but at least I made the other $6,000. Provided I didn't spend all of it I'll bitch and moan but I've got it. For the person on the LOWER end they're just plain old-fashioned rat****ed.

Now what do you do in December as the deadline approaches? You're over the minimum this year so you would have been ok, but you had no way to know that in January of the previous year, and now you have to guess for the next year! You don't get penalized because the unsubsidized cost of insurance was too high as a percentage of income, but you also don't have it. If you have a serious problem you go bankrupt -- that's what. The only good news is that as a young person your odds of said serious problem are small in relative terms compared with someone who is older.

GOD HELP YOU, however, if you're one of those young people who has a congenital condition of some sort that bites you as a youth. Oh by the way, this is a risk that any young person thinking of starting a family has to contemplate too; if you pull a gray ball out of the hat when you make a kid and said kid has some sort of significant medical problem not only are they ****ed YOU ARE PERMANENTLY ****ED TOO as if you fall off the bottom of that income ladder, and gee, that wouldn't be NEARLY CERTAIN to happen if you had to provide a lot of care to said child with said condition YOUR SUBSIDY DISAPPEARS AND YOU ARE INSTANTLY BANKRUPTED. The only good news is that even in non-expansion states if you have dependents you qualify for Medicaid. But to have and keep that qualification you CAN'T make any material amount of money or it goes away and you're ****ed again. Oh, and you can't have any money in the bank either -- so forget about socking back six months of income like EVERYONE should do, because that INSTANTLY voids your Medicaid elegibility, kids or no kids!

Oh by the way my daughter has a few friends with serious congenital issues. She knows how badly that can screw you because she's seen it. The risk of the event is something anyone who decides to have a kid has to accept but that if it happens that the medical system will financially******you for life and destroy you is not something that anyone should accept; indeed, in my view those who designed the medical system to exploit people like this deserve to be hanged low-and-slow so they strangle to death and their carcass left on the gallows to be picked clean by buzzards.

There's no way out of this box for a young adult who's in that "no-man's" land. If you're in the $40-50k+ income range then as a self-employed individual you're REALLY ****ed because there's no subsidy at all, and you take it right up the *******. But for those young people that, in a "starter job", even professionally, is a tough sell unless you went and got $100 large worth of college debt!

And they wonder why there's no household formation? She's no dummy and has refused to play the "watch me blow my own head off financially" game with these **********s, and I don't blame her.

Oh well - my family's line ends with me, and I'm ok with that.

As you get older it gets even worse. Now you're basically FORCED into the "wage slave" positions where the business gets most of the health insurance bill because the price of trying to do it yourself is outrageous. My effective tax rate between $25-$45k approaches 75% and that's in a zero-income-tax state! Live in an income tax state where they hit you for 5-6% from the first dollar or close enough to it, which is most of them that have one (if they're bracketed you max the bracket REAL LOW) and now we're in the 80% effective tax rate area! And guess what -- when starting some new small business enterprise if you DON'T wind up in that "air pocket" for a year or two you're a ****ing genius -- you ALMOST ALWAYS will, simply because you have to in order to get the damn thing off the ground.

I can do a lot of contract work but I refuse, because I can't possibly tailor my income accurately enough. Passive income, yes -- I can hit the number I want without too much trouble, although I must ALWAYS make sure if I miss it's on the high side and I have to pay back some subsidy, because if I miss LOW then I get ass-hammered for $10 large+ at the end of the year! Obviously I don't let that happen.

**** THESE PEOPLE; they ought to be hanged or even better, tied to a post then slathered in honey in a pen full of feral, hungry hogs.

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Winding it down.

Drifter
Posts: 439
Incept: 2016-02-11

Pacific Northwest
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It's so depressing. The above is why I will have to work until my body gives out. In a rational world I could retire, but inflation is eating at my TreasuryDirect acct. I can't think of many jobs that my teen boys can do to be middle class, so am working to help them out too.

Learn a trade some of you say? How did that work out in the UK? Our 'betters' will always make sure that wages stay low. In my area we have foreigners doing plumbing, dental lab work, physical therapy, k-12 teachers, professors, auto bodywork, auto repair, drafting, restaurants, massage parlors, a second hand shop, landscaping, etc etc. The middle class is toast.

Reason: grammar
Aztrader
Posts: 8493
Incept: 2007-09-10

Scottsdale, AZ
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Karl, you last comments are so true that every time I look at my insurance bill, I want to puke. Being self employed, I have no idea from month to month what the business will make eliminating any possibility that I even consider the subsidized plans. The penalty for actually being productive and making a living has become very extreme and has forced people to make drastic choices. You make a choice to live in a hut and keep your income down or try to outlast the premium race and make enough to afford it. Everyone in the middle is totally screwed and that seems to be a majority of the people.
The left wanted to force as many people into Medicaid as possible and so far they are getting their wish. They weren't counting on getting their extortion payment overturned and now are suing to get the Supreme court to reverse that and bring the tax back.
Your comments on the Fed have never ringed so true. Just saw CHS put up his blog: https://www.oftwominds.com/blogjan20/war....
and he is reiterating your comments. I personally believe that the Fed is either hiding something very bad or simply using it as an excuse to print money that is going straight into the stock market.
We will never know until something blows up. They are controlling everything on wall street including the media, so there are a lot of folks that actually believe the economy is growing. Scams and lies everywhere and the devil his having his day....
Tickerguy
Posts: 161139
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@Aztrader - Yeah, I have a nasty Ticker that I might loose tomorrow in the queue on this Fed bull****, specifically related to the so-called "Repo" nonsense.

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Winding it down.
Whitehat
Posts: 1503
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Gone West
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@Tickerguy -- no one could have said it better.

would add that it is the nature of many businesses to exist in the hole for their owners. even some large operations, run diligently and within the law, do not net their owners anything near a six-figure income. it is a little secret that many self-employed people do not earn the big numbers that observers assume. when i was building my business and during some down times, hell i would have been right in the hole. it can take years to get to higher numbers in traditional business as opposed to hot things. problem is that few discussing and legislating this ever had a payroll or accts receivable.

you mention the cutoff on the low end. makes me smile to think that a lot of "self-employed" income is added to filings to fix this, "oh, ****," moment.

one ****ed up thing of which i have direct knowledge. for low income Medicaid in an expansion state or the subsidized coverage, they do not consider assets. the politics behind this must be very interesting. the example that you mention of a profoundly disabled child, is that subject to different regulation?

one major issue is that a person can be in the coffin corner of not wanting to make too much money to be not subsidized or off Medicaid which is then too little to eat or live indoors.

i know that you decided upon TN, but did you or your daughter consider a no income tax state which also has expansion? someplace like NV. then you would not have to manage income so close to the wire. she could maybe get a start at something. it is really nice here. find myself smiling a lot in this area of the country. i promise to never bother you if you decide to come here instead.

am i correct that in a non-expansion state there is no subsidy of any kind above the Medicaid cutoff?

does not matter for me as i go naked even though i qualify. yea, ****ing stupid people say. easier to live with myself. never took from insurance or the govt, never will.

yep, in NYC, my house, taxes, utilities, insurance, cars, food, alternative medical expenses, some fun under 17K per year. but not for long, heh, heh.

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There are two ways to be rich: One is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little.
snow, seasons, distance and dirt roads: SSDD
"Be not deceived; G-d is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Gal. 6:7)
Tickerguy
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@Whitehat - No, Obamacare was designed to coerce states into taking the expansion. It's a black hole for those states that did it though because the federal subsidy for it disappears; that "extra kick" was only there for a few years! While the state can "take it back" go ahead and try to do that with ANY "freebie" handout and see how long you live before the riots start.

The coercion they decided on (since they couldn't MANDATE it; that's unconstitutional) was to create a "hole" below the Medicare eligibility threshold. If your income is below that you don't have to buy insurance (even when the penalty was in force) because the cost WILL be above the 'no penalty' threshold, BUT you get no subsidy at all! This makes it flatly impossible for anyone below that cutoff to buy an Obamacare policy because they have to pay for the whole thing. The PROBLEM this creates is that for someone with unstable income where they MIGHT be under the threshold on 12/31 for the full year is obvious; unless you're very sure you can clear that threshold you're in serious **** if you guess wrong as the subsidy disappears but it was paid during the year, and when you file your taxes and do the worksheet for it YOU HAVE TO PAY THE SUBSIDY BACK.

The same rape-job happens going the other way and it's bit me a couple of times -- not horribly, but it has. Every year you have to estimate your earnings for the next year. Let's say I estimate my MAGI will be $23,000. Ok, based on that guess the IRS pays a subsidy to the insurance company every month, which is based on the cost of a specific plan (I think it's the "2nd lowest Silver plan in your area" or somesuch) derated by the ratio between your income at the low-income cut-off and the high-income subsidy phase-out. Let's presume that I guess $23,000, the high-income phase-out is for a single person is at like $44k, and the resulting determination is that I quality for a $750/month subsidy. Now I choose a plan that costs $800 but I only pay $50 a month -- the rest is sent to them by the IRS.

Now tax time comes but during the year I had someone come to me and want to hire me to do some contract work, and I made an extra $10,000. I'm ****ed, because when I go to file taxes my MAGI isn't $23,000, it's $33,000! The calculation gets re-run for the "actual" .vs. my guess, and the difference is either paid to (or in this case) demanded from me -- right now.

So come April 15th I may well have to fork up $4-5k! I better not have actually spent any of that contractor income eh? Oh by the way I also have to pay FICA tax on that -- both halves -- too.

Now the FICA surprise is one we all know about but this one is a huge ass-ramming and it's typically a LOT more. Like TRIPLE.

It's also why I don't do contract work anymore and why I have ZERO interest in standing up a small business to market HomeDaemon. I'll go take my final dirt nap with the code on an encrypted disk before I'll put up with that ****.

I'll take the $25/month subsidized deal but I would have NEVER BOUGHT IT IN THE FIRST PLACE for $800/month. Yet the IRS can and WILL force me to do so, just like the ****ing Hospital does by refusing to give me a price until AFTER THE FACT, if my guess is wrong or I advance in my earnings capacity by making an effort.

**** them, **** Trump, **** Congress and **** the economy -- I'll sit at home and play with myself instead of putting up with that bull****.

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Winding it down.

Whitehat
Posts: 1503
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Gone West
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@Tickerguy -- thanks for the clarifications.

what really sucks about this is that the price for insurance should be the ****ing price regardless of personal income. like at my mechanic the multimillionaire pays the same for the same exact job as the grocery clerk. price discovery is the same for both of them for equivalent product or service. last i checked everyone has a comparable body.

hiding the insurance price from those who could not pay it only raises the actual cost for everyone. socialism being what it is; a hard cutoff creates an injustice and negative achievement incentive. how many little businesses or even medium sized companies or working class jobs are not being created due to this mess. let's not even begin to talk about all of the fraud committed due to the demands of this program.

then again we educated a whole two generations into the concept of socialism. those with less money paid less for education passing on the costs to others with no price discovery until we reached a point where no one could afford it without massive debt.

the health debt is being charged to the greater society through inflation due to no price discovery.

about the only thing that makes sense is some subsidy for the very poor charged to the individual state in its entirety. create poor people situation where they cannot afford medical care, pay for it. then again this requires visiting my favorite subject, welfare in general.

a lot of very gifted and industrious people have dropped out of the system or learned to play it. society always loses the smart and hard working ones first.

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There are two ways to be rich: One is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little.
snow, seasons, distance and dirt roads: SSDD
"Be not deceived; G-d is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Gal. 6:7)
Whitehat
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i see how i was incorrect. thought that there was a gap between Medicaid and the beginning of the subsidized plans, which should not be subsidized anyway. that nasty hole all the way down to zero income creates a permanent health underclass in non-expansion states. it is as cruel as it is diabolical.

this video does a good job in its beginning explaining the issue. the rest is just pure left BS:


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There are two ways to be rich: One is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little.
snow, seasons, distance and dirt roads: SSDD
"Be not deceived; G-d is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Gal. 6:7)
Wa9jml
Posts: 463
Incept: 2017-04-29

DeKalb, Illinois
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When I bought my current humble abode in 1987, it cost me $55,000, and I had a mortgage with a 10.5% interest rate. I paid about $900 in property taxes. Now, my house is assessed for tax purposes at ~$125,000, and I pay more than $3500 in property taxes each year, despite my homestead exemption, my senior citizen exemption, and since I am a disabled veteran, I get a $2500 a year break in my assessment. I have not noticed the city services getting better, and the school system has seen their test scores plummet after building a Chicago Suburban class high school.

So, I am striking the flag, and moving to northeastern Iowa in a rural location. The house there cost me twice what the assessed value of my Illinois house is, and I should pay about $1000 less in property taxes on a much nicer house. The taxes out there will be going up, too, but not nearly as bad as they will here in Doomed Illinois.
Amused
Posts: 500
Incept: 2019-04-22

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My advice:
Mexico. Drugs both legal and illegal are cheap. Healthcare is cheap. *****s are cheap. Food is cheap.

Build a nice house somewhere down in Baja or outside of PVR and enjoy the beach and the sun, if you want to make extra money, do contract work online with satellite internet.

Worried about defending yourself?

Not a problem, you can pay what amounts to $8 and drive to Mexico City to the only licensed gun store and buy yourself a few handguns and shotguns to protect your property.

I know several expats who are doing it, is it less 'safe' than here?

Not really, as long as you are not an idiot. Don't flaunt your money, don't******off the Cartels. In most touristy places the Cartels are like the old school Mafia, they keep the peace and deliver candy to your door like ordering a Pizza.

I have friends that have done Mexico and China and the Philippines and whenever I talk to them, they are saddened and disgusted by what we put up with here.

It says a lot one when they say they feel more free in a one party Fascist ethnostate than they do in their own country.
Okiedale
Posts: 4
Incept: 2018-01-23

Lake Elsinore, CA
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On 1-8-2018 my wife got a letter from Kaiser Permanente informing us that she was no longer covered under my retirement medical policy (former company had merged into larger company and we were not notified). Searching the internet we came up with Covered California subsidized plan for $96 per month based on my retirement income (Social Security + Company Pension). In my estimate I failed to add in some additional income which was going to be distributed from my IRA because I turned 70.5 in 2018.
Oops!
Come November I decided to look into how much I should take from my IRA for RMD for tax purposes. I used the Covered California site to estimate how much extra I would pay for the IRA income projection. I entered $600 in the additional income field to see what it would do to the premium to pay in December. The premium amount it returned for Dec. was $450. I was shocked and was even more shocked when I could not even back that $600 out of my "estimate". The system took that $600 as real income as if I had already received it. I called the help desk. No luck... the system can not be changed. But I pleaded that it was only an estimate! Too bad. Can I cancel the insurance instead? YES! So, wife had no insurance in December and zero premium.
Additional fact: Before Obamacare my wife's Aetna medical policy was fully prepaid up. Zero premium and we liked her doctor with $5 co-pay.
Wearedoomed
Posts: 4447
Incept: 2009-01-14

slightly red state
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As KD has pointed out many times, being an ex-pat works just fine... until wherever you are starts to collapse, in which case, you are the foreigner and you might be allowed to get out with your life... maybe.

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Non expedit!
Aquapura
Posts: 945
Incept: 2012-04-19

South of Canada
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I have a friend who has asked me to partner with him on a startup for several years now. It's something I'd love to do professionally; be my own boss and build something of my own. Have a decent client list from my years of working as does he. Now is the time to do it, but I'm not. I just can't make the math work out in my favor vs. being a salary man with benefits as an employee elsewhere. The healthcare nut makes it stupid to start any business where you'd need to hire actual employees.

Re: Amused - I've traveled the globe quite extensively and agree that most "dangerous" parts of the world are probably safer than south Chicago. Then again I haven't traveled through a war zone as an American. You end up on the wrong side of the border when **** hits the fan things will not be easy for you. And going to a place like Mexico, assuming your skin is pale, you will always be a gringo Americano no matter how well you can speak the langugage. Commonwealth countries are probably the better bet for an expat American but not sure how that is improvement over the USA.
Peterm99
Posts: 6895
Incept: 2009-03-21

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Aquapura wrote..
. . . a place like Mexico, assuming your skin is pale, you will always be a gringo Americano . . .
Not necessarily.

Most people don't realize that Mexicans are not just "brown". What most people consider to be "Mexicans" (i.e., "brown") just have a larger proportion of native Indian forebears, and it is almost exclusively these Mexicans who come to the US. There are also many Mexicans who are predominantly descended from the Spaniards with much less or even no Indian admixture and are as "white" as the proverbial N Europeans.

I have no idea if there are any ethnic/"racial" tensions between the "white" and "brown" Mexicans.

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". . . the Constitution has died, the economy welters in irreversible decline, we have perpetual war, all power lies in the hands of the executive, the police are supreme, and a surveillance beyond Orwells imaginings falls into place." - Fred Reed
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