Study: Many Americans die with ‘virtually no financial assets’ Reply

phys.org
Peter Dizikes

It is a central worry of many Americans: not having enough money to live comfortably in old age. Now an innovative paper co-authored by an MIT economist shows that a large portion of America’s older population has very little savings in bank accounts, stocks and bonds, and dies “with virtually no financial assets” to their names.

Indeed, about 46 percent of senior citizens in the United States have less than $10,000 in financial assets when they die. Most of these people rely almost totally on Social Security payments as their only formal means of support, according to the newly published study, co-authored by James Poterba of MIT, Steven Venti of Dartmouth College, and David A. Wise of Harvard University.

That means many seniors have almost no independent ability to withstand financial shocks, such as expensive medical treatments that may not be covered by Medicare or Medicaid, or other unexpected, costly events.

“There are substantial groups that have basically no financial cushion as they are reaching their latest years,” says Poterba, the Mitsui Professor of Economics at MIT.

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Paths to Liberation Reply

By Anna Morgenstern

What if they built a factory and no one came?

A lot of people in the broader anarchist movement seem to focus more on goals or endpoints and ignore or underemphasize the means to achieving them. This is understandable, in that statists are constantly challenging us to identify what a stateless society will be like. (Statists are generally concerned much more with outcomes than the means to get to them, or most of them would be horribly shamed by the programs they advocate.) This creates a great deal of internecine squabbles that I think are unnecessary. Existentially, intentions are much less important in determining someone’s character than actions. Now there are many, many varieties of anarchist individuals and organizations with their own characteristics and philosophy, but I think, in terms of their program to achieve anarchism, we can divide them into 5 basic groups. I will attempt to explore these groups and their means, and see what their impact would be.

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In the Long Run, Is the GOP Dead? Reply

By Pat Buchanan

Since 1928, only Dwight Eisenhower and George W. Bush have won the presidency while capturing both houses of Congress for the GOP.

In his 49-state landslide, Richard Nixon failed to take either House. In his two landslides, Ronald Reagan won back only the Senate. Yet Mitt Romney is even money to pull off the hat trick.

With this hopeful prospect, why the near despair among so many Republicans about the long term?

In his New York Times report, “In California, GOP Fights Steep Decline,” Adam Nagourney delves into the reasons.

In the Golden Land, a state Nixon carried all five times he was on a national ticket and Reagan carried by landslides all four times he ran, the GOP does not hold a single statewide office. It gained not a single House seat in the 2010 landslide. Party registration has fallen to 30 percent of the California electorate and is steadily sinking.

Why? It is said that California Republicans are too out of touch, too socially conservative on issues like right-to-life and gay rights. “When you look at the population growth,” says GOP consultant Steve Schmidt, “the actual party is shrinking. It’s becoming more white. It’s becoming older.”

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The Longest Con Reply

By Anna Morgenstern

The simplest way to put it is that they’re all a bunch of crooks.

The bankers are the chief con-men. They print up (so to speak) a bunch of fake money out of thin air. I can do that too, but no one is going to take “Annabucks” at the coffee shop. Where the government comes in, is that they “tax” people, forcing them to use that money to pay their “taxes”, thereby giving the fake money some sort of base value. In exchange for being the muscle behind this con, they get to use basically as much of that money as they want (up to a limit, they don’t want to spend so much they break the system) which goes largely into the hands of private contractors at the end of the cycle.

The rest of it follows from this basic cycle: the banks flow that money into the big corporations to keep them afloat and help them crush their competi­tion, the government regulates away any opportunities to work outside the system, forcing people to compete to work inside the system. The “insiders” are outside the system in a sense of course. They can basically ignore the law. Once in a while the government has to put on a show trial, just to keep the con going, but by and large they only enforce the law against the outsiders.

You’ll often hear that cliché that only 1 out of 10 small businesses ends up successful. They say that like it’s a law of nature, but it’s not. They have to keep it that way. If 3 out of 10 small businesses were successful, or 4 out of 10, they’d be ruined. If everyone “leveled up” mentally, and became more competent, economically nothing would change for the little guy. They would just adjust the parameters of the system again. In fact, all that would do is make more money for the insiders, because they’d have more to steal. (Which is why they push education so hard, a society with 10 million engi­neers is a society where engineering is cheap)

Libertarians don’t do their cause any good at all when they try to defend big business on free enterprise grounds. There is no free enterprise at that level. No business is going to become big, in this economy, without approval from the gatekeepers. Free enterprise is a system which never existed, ex­cept for brief periods of time during historical social unrest. Once an elite is re-established, it’s back to the game.

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The Predictable “Scandal” at the FDA Reply

By Kevin Carson

It’s gradually emerged in recent months that the Food and Drug Administration not only spied on its employees, but did so on a massive scale — collecting tens of thousands of employee emails to one another, as well as to journalists, members of Congress and congressional staff workers. The FDA also intercepted draft statements to the Office of Special Counsel, which investigates complaints of whistleblower harassment and reprisal. This monitoring, authorized by the agency’s chief counsel, was clearly a deliberate policy of the highest levels of FDA leadership.

So what problem was all the surveillance directed against? Embezzling? Sexual harassment? No. The FDA was out to punish whistleblowers for talking out of school about dangerous radiation levels in medical imaging devices approved by FDA for mammograms and colonoscopies.

That’s right. FDA leadership was out to prevent employees from talking to members of Congress — which the civics books tell us safeguards the public safety and welfare by, among other things, creating regulatory agencies like the FDA — about the very kinds of concerns the FDA was allegedly created to address.

If you think this is just a case of post-Reagan “regulatory capture,” by corporate money, of an agency originally created for idealistic purposes back in Art Schlesinger Jr’s Golden Age — well, think again. The regulatory state hasn’t been “captured” by the regulated industries; it was created by them.

According to New Left historian Gabriel Kolko, in The Triumph of Conservatism, Progressive Era regulatory measures like the FDA were created primarily to serve the corporate economy’s need for stability.

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Hundreds protest over Anaheim police shootings, city officials call for investigation Reply

Fox News

Video: Riot breaks out at police station in Anaheim

City officials voted unanimously Tuesday to ask the U.S. attorney’s office to investigate recent police shootings, including one of an unarmed man over the weekend, that have sparked four days of protests and a fiery clash between residents and officers.

Police stepped up patrols and some donned riot gears as hundreds demonstrated outside City Hall while many more packed the council chamber inside to discuss the shootings that have stoked anger over a spike in police shootings in the city. On the street, protesters tossed rocks and bottles at police and ignored warnings to disperse, forcing officers to form skirmish lines and fire pepper balls at the crowd.

At least two people were arrested, police Sgt. Bob Dunn said. At one point, police shut down a gas station when protesters were seen filling cans with gas, Dunn said.

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Who Is The Smallest Government Spender Since Eisenhower? Would You Believe It’s Barack Obama? Reply

By Rick Ungar

It’s enough to make even the most ardent Obama cynic scratch his head in confusion.

Amidst all the cries of Barack Obama being the most prolific big government spender the nation has ever suffered, Marketwatch is reporting that our president has actually been tighter with a buck than any United States president since Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Who knew?

Check out the chart –

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Ron Paul, fed up with trying to end the Fed Reply

By Dana Milbank

Ron Paul ran for president three times, served nearly a quarter-century in Congress, spawned a national movement and saw his son elected to the Senate.But in his singular objective — to “End the Fed,” as the title of his book put it — the libertarian obstetrician from Texas failed. He didn’t even make a dent in it. In a valedictory Wednesday before Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues on the House Financial Services Committee, Paul raised the white flag.

“Policies never change. . . . No matter what the crisis is, we still do more of the same,” he lamented in what probably was his last public appearance with Bernanke before retiring from Congress at the end of the year. “I hoped in the past to try to contribute to the discussion on monetary policy, the business cycle and why it benefits the rich over the poor. And so far, my views have not prevailed, but I’ve appreciated the opportunity.”For the fiery Paul, it was a subdued surrender. His colleagues — Democrats and Republicans alike — used this final hearing to honor Paul for his passionate service, treating him with the cautious affection one might use to address a crazy uncle.

“This may be his last committee meeting with the chairman of the Federal Reserve,” Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) began. “And his leadership on the committee, especially during these hearings when we’ve had the Federal Reserve chairman appear before us, have certainly made the hearings more interesting and provided several memorable YouTube moments.”

Many on the dais laughed, and even Bernanke smiled at the memory. There was, for example, a clip from February in which Paul informed Bernanke that “the record of what you’ve done in the last six years is destroy the value of real money, of paper money.” Paul instead touted the value of an illegal “parallel” currency and invoked the late Austrian economist Friedrich August von Hayek.

“Good to see you again, Congressman Paul,” Bernanke replied.

Then there was the hearing last July, when Paul hectored the Fed chairman for claiming that gold wasn’t a form of money.

On Wednesday, about 80 men in their 20s — Ron Paul acolytes — lined up outside the hearing room for a chance to see more of the same. But Paul faded away with surprising deference.

“I have over the years obviously been critical of what goes on on monetary policy, but it hasn’t been so much the chairman of the Federal Reserve — whether it was Paul Volcker or Alan Greenspan or the current chairman,” he explained. “I think they have a job that they can’t do because it’s an unmanageable job.”

The one substantial challenge to Bernanke — Paul’s “audit the Fed” bill, which the House is expected to approve next week before it dies in the Senate — was easily dispatched by the Fed chairman, who warned against injecting congressional politics into the staid field of monetary policy. Even Bachus distanced himself from the Paul bill, pointedly noting that it “did not come before the Financial Services Committee, which surprised me.”

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Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad Reply

By Anna Morgenstern

Those of us who mistrust the evolution of our current politico-economic system, often look toward dystopian novels to portray a warning glimpse of where we are headed. The two most common examples are 1984 by George Orwell or Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. While there certainly are elements of each of these systems in our recent history, for instance, the deliberate maleducation and permanent warfare systems of1984, and the technological bread and circuses mentality of Brave New World. In reality our ruling class cannot afford to go too far in either of these directions, lest they undermine our own ability as slave labor to keep them empowered.

The progressive managerial class revolution and the banking mafia consolidation of the early 1900s conspired to create something that looks, more than anything else, like a warped version of Marxism. Taking Marx’s revolutionary mechanics and applying them against their own original objective in a sense, creating a dictatorship of the super-proletariat, and thus, forming a much more stable class system than before. In fact one might say that Marx’s greatest error was in thinking that the proletarian revolution would be some sort of endpoint in history, when in fact it was just one more cyclical change of hands. Therefore, I submit that the dystopian novel that was the most prescient was the lesser known of Orwell’s: Animal Farm.

Animal Farm was Orwell’s warning to the left about what he saw becoming a greater and greater danger. This danger can be summed up in his quote, “All animals are equal, But some animals are more equal than others”. The book was essentially damned with faint praise. Brilliantly written, yet more subtly than 1984, it could not be roundly thrashed by either right or left critics; but it could be put aside as an afterthought.

Looking at the history of what broadly constituted the labor movement arising in the aftermath of the abolition of chattel slavery, one sees a definite progression in the direction of Animal Farm, in the countries that did not fall completely under the spell of Totalitarianism. At first, the goals were often simple and quite egalitarian, and yet also surprisingly libertarian as well. Freedom for the working man from the oppression of the capital oligarchy (which was itself the result of the British/Hamiltonian system of neo-mercantilism) and the wage slavery which resulted from it.

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The Keynesian Sexual Marketplace Reply

Interesting description of the current sexual marketplace as an artificial market. All those guys you know who screw a lot of women are Omega’s exploiting a niche produced by feminism and urban anonymity. In a tribal society these sort of guys would be killed or expelled by an alliance of alphas and betas; if they could manage to get laid in the first place…. More…

The Real Welfare Kings and Queens: Five Reasons the Super-Rich Need Big Government Reply

By Paul Buchheit

Wealthy individuals and corporations want us to believe they’ve made it on their own, without the help of government or the American people. Billionaire financier Sanford Weill blustered, “We didn’t rely on somebody else to build what we built.” He was echoing the words of his famous predecessor, the formidable financier J. P. Morgan, who spouted, “I owe the public nothing.”

That’s the bull of Wall Street. There are at least five good reasons why the wealthiest Americans need government as much as the rest of us, and probably more.

1. Security

In his “People’s History,” Howard Zinn described colonial opposition to inequality in 1765: “A shoemaker named Ebenezer Macintosh led a mob in destroying the house of a rich Boston merchant named Andrew Oliver. Two weeks later, the crowd turned to the home of Thomas Hutchinson, symbol of the rich elite who ruled the colonies in the name of England. They smashed up his house with axes, drank the wine in his wine cellar, and looted the house of its furniture and other objects. A report by colony officials to England said that this was part of a larger scheme in which the houses of fifteen rich people were to be destroyed, as part of ‘a war of plunder, of general levelling and taking away the distinction of rich and poor.’”

That doesn’t happen much anymore. Of course, the super-rich aren’t taking any chances, with panic shelters and James Bond cars and personal surveillance drones. But the U.S. government will be helping them by spending $55 billion on Homeland Security next year, in addition to $673 billion for the military. The police, emergency services, and National Guard are trained to focus on crimes against wealth.

In the cities, business interests keep the police focused on the homeless and unemployed. And on drug users. A “Broken Windows” mentality, which promotes quick fixes of minor damage to discourage large-scale destruction, is being applied to human beings. Wealthy Americans can rest better at night knowing that the police are “stopping and frisking” in the streets of the poor neighborhoods.

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“Green Economy?” We’re Not Green Enough to Buy It Reply

By Kevin Carson

In last month’s Rio +20 (UN Conference for Sustainable Development) declaration, “The Economy We Need,”RIPESS (French acronym for Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of Social and Solidarity Economy) dismisses the “so-called green economy” model promulgated “by governments and corporations” with the contempt it deserves.

There are at least two problems with the green economy movement. The first is highlighted in the RIPESS declaration: It is really a greenwashed attempt to create a new, greenwashed model of capital accumulation for global corporate capitalism, based on “the commodification of the commons.”

Green (or Progressive, or Cognitive) Capitalism, like the first Industrial Revolution, is based on a large-scale process of primitive accumulation (a technical term Marxists use that means “massive robbery”).

The primitive accumulation preceding the rise of the factory system in industrial Britain involved the enclosure of common lands: First of a major portion of the Open Fields for sheep pasturage over several centuries in late medieval and early modern times, then the Parliamentary Enclosures of common pasture, woodland and waste in the 18th century.

The new greenwashed model of corporate-state capitalism, as the RIPESS declaration suggests, achieves primitive accumulation through the enclosure of the information commons. Economist Paul Romer calls it the “new growth theory.” It’s based on enclosing digital information and innovation — things which are naturally free — as a source of rents. This “progressive” model of capitalism, promoted by Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Bono, is even more heavily reliant on patents and copyrights than the existing version of corporate capitalism.

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Homeless Indian Kids Start Their Own Bank Reply

By Stuart Bramhall

In a shelter for homeless runaway teens in New Delhi, the residents have created an unlikely society where everything from healthcare to banking has been initiated, implemented and executed by the kids themselves.

http://www.rt.com/news/indian-children-banking-system-637/

The Question of Teen Age Rights

Makes you wonder whether know India will join Austria, Brazil, Cuba, Nicaragua and the Isle of Man, in letting teenagers vote at 16. Surely if adolescents are old enough to work and pay taxes, they are old enough to vote – taxation without representation was a driving issue in America’s rebellion against Britain.

I blog about this at Lowering the Voting Age. Teenage rights and the tendency of US and other western countries to infantalize adolescents is a major premise of my young adult novel The Battle for Tomorrow – about a 16 year old who leaves home to participate in the blockade and occupation of the US capitol.

I’m working on a sequel about a group of teens who occupy a vacant commercial building in Brooklyn and transform it into a teen homeless shelter. As the New Delhi example shows, adolescents are capable of incredible initiative. They just need to be allowed the opportunity to exercise it.

Taking Economic Advice from Monaco Reply

From Mad for Monaco

Once upon a time money problems were the rule rather than the exception in the Principality of Monaco. The Grimaldis seemed to be constantly cash-strapped and one of the things that had to be considered when marriage discussions were going on was usually how big a dowry the lady in question could provide. However, all of that began to change during the reign of HSH Prince Charles III, though it was not the events of his time which would bring really lasting success. Financial problems mostly became a thing of the past under Charles III because of the gaming industry, done in grand style in Monte Carlo at a time when gambling was illegal almost everywhere else. That, obviously, gave Monaco a considerable advantage when it came to attracting big-spending tourists. The gaming industry put Monaco on solid financial ground but it could not depend on such an industry forever. During the reign of HSH Prince Albert I more countries legalized gambling which cut into Monegasque profits and there was World War One which caused tourism to dry up and also cut down on the traditional customer base of Monte Carlo (royals and aristocrats). However, from that time on, particularly under Albert’s successors Louis II and Rainier III, Monaco adopted the policies that would lead to lasting economic success. Could other countries learn from her example?

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The Much Maligned Free Market Reply

From Kyle’s Corner.

________

It’s official, the commies are winning. Recent Pew polls have shown a slow but consistent increase in socialism’s popularity, despite a 50 year Cold War fought ostensibly against the concept. Youth 18-29 years of age (AKA the future) now prefer socialism over capitalism, and one in three Americans at large now has a positive view of socialist ideology. On the other hand the term “capitalism” is falling from favor. Pollsters and tacticians are warning GOP mouthpieces against using the term and requesting instead that they use the phrase “free market” or “free enterprise”. The phrase “free market” is certainly more palatable to the public, but the growing hordes of commies have great animosity towards even this terminology. Why?

According to the commies and their sympathizers (which likely includes a significant portion of your family, friends, and neighbors) the free market is evil. If laissez faire economics is instituted in America workers will be “exploited”. Children will work in mines or perhaps as chimney sweeps a la Charles Dickens. They clamor for putting “people above profits!” and they constantly complain about the heartlessness of the market. They mock the invisible hand that Adam Smith spoke of, referring to it as superstitious nonsense. How little they know.

The Lockean concepts of private property and free markets have lifted large portions of the world out of destitution. What’s cruel, cold, and inhumane is opposing this great instrument of wealth creation.

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The Serial Ineptitude of the Democrats Reply

By Ralph Nader

If the Democrats in Congress were all drinking water from the same faucet, there might be a clue to their chronic fear of the craven and cruel corporatist Republicans who dominate them.

But they don’t, so we have to ask why their fear, defeatism, and cowering behavior continues in the face of the outrageous GOP actions as the November election approaches.

The explanations go back some years. The Democrats have long receded from the Harry Truman days of “give ‘em hell, Harry”. But their political castration occurred in the late seventies when the Democrats were persuaded by one of their own, Congressman Tony Coelho (D-Calif.), to start aggressively bidding for corporate campaign cash.

Victory in politics often goes to those who have the most energy and decisiveness, however wrongheaded. The Republicans have won these races for years. To
paraphrase author and lapsed Republican, Kevin Phillips, the Republicans go for the jugular, while the Democrats go for the capillaries.

The Democrats are tortured daily by Republican leaders, Speaker John Boehner and Eric Cantor but they do not go into these politicians’ backyards in Virginia and Ohio to expose the unpopular agendas pitched by these Wall Street puppets.

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Sheldon Adelson and the End of American Anti-Semitism Reply

By Eric Alterman

Sheldon Adelson
Las Vegas Sands Chief Executive Officer Sheldon Adelson speaks during a media briefing in Singapore December 21, 2009. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash

If a Jew-hater somewhere, inspired perhaps by The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, sought to invent an individual who symbolizes almost all the anti-Semitic clichés that have dogged the Jewish people throughout history, he could hardly come up with a character more perfect than Sheldon Adelson.
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The tax man cometh to police you on health care Reply

By Stephen Ohlemacher

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold most of President Barack Obama’s health care law will come home to roost for most taxpayers in about 2½ years, when they’ll have to start providing proof on their tax returns that they have health insurance.

That scenario puts the Internal Revenue Service at the center of the debate, renewing questions about whether the agency is capable of policing the health care decisions of millions of people in the United States while also collecting the taxes needed to run the federal government.

Under the law, the IRS will provide tax breaks and incentives to help pay for health insurance and impose penalties on some people who don’t buy coverage and on some businesses that don’t offer it to employees.

The changes will require new regulations, forms and publications, new computer programs and a big new outreach program to explain it all to taxpayers and tax professionals. Businesses that don’t claim an exemption will have to prove they offer health insurance to employees.

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Biggest Financial Scandal in Britain’s History, Yet Not a Single Occupy Sign; What Happened? Reply

By Alexander Cockburn

Since what is now going is being described as “the greatest financial scandal in the history of Britain”  — the Barclays imbroglio – I have a question to ask. Where are those tents outside St Pauls? Or ones in solidarity this side of the Atlantic? Where are the vibrant reminders that – as has happened in the Barclays case – there is most definitely one law for the 1% (none, in fact) and another for the 99 %?

It was very hard not to be swept away by the Occupy movement which established itself in New York’s Zuccotti Park last September and soon spread to Oakland, Chicago, London and Madrid. And indeed most people didn’t resist its allure.
 
Leninists threw aside their Marxist primers on party organisation and drained the full anarchist cocktail.

The Occupiers , with their “people’s mic”,  were always a little hard to understand. And as with all movements involving consensus, everything took a very long time.
 
Was there perhaps a leader, a small leadership group, sequestered somewhere among the tents and clutter? It was impossible to say and at that point somewhat disloyal to pose the question. Cynicism about Occupy was not a popular commodity.
 
But new movements always need a measure of cynicism dumped on them. Questions of organization were obliterated by the strength of the basic message – we are 99 per cent, they are one per cent. It was probably the most successful slogan since ‘peace, land, bread’.

The Occupy Wall Street assembly in Zuccotti Park soon developed its own cultural mores, drumming included. Like many onlookers, I asked myself, Where the hell’s the plan?

But I held my tongue. I had no particular better idea and for a CounterPuncher of mature years to start laying down the program seemed cocky. But, deep down, I felt that Occupy, with all its fancy talk, all its endless speechifying, was riding for a fall.

Before the fall came there were heroic actions, people battered senseless by the police. These were brave people trying to hold their ground.

There were other features that I think quite a large number of people found annoying: the cult of the internet, the tweeting and so forth, and I definitely didn’t like the enormous arrogance which prompted the Occupiers to claim that they were indeed the most important radical surge in living memory.

Where was the knowledge of, let along the respect for the past?  We had the non-violent resistors of the Forties organising against the war with enormous courage. The Fifties saw leftists took McCarthyism full on the chin. With the Sixties we were making efforts at revolutionary organisation and resistance.
 
Yet when one raised this history with someone from Occupy, I encountered total indifference.

There also seemed to be a serious level of political naivety about the shape of the society they were seeking to change. They definitely thought that it could be reshaped – the notion that the whole system was unfixable did not get much of a hearing.
 
After a while it seemed as though, in Tom Naylor’s question in this site: “Is it possible that the real purpose of Occupy Wall Street has little to do with either the 99 per cent or the one per cent, but rather everything to do with keeping the political left in America decentralised, widely dispersed, very busy, and completely impotent to deal with the collapse of the American empire…

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Obamacare: Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems Reply

By Gavin McInnes

Last week, the Supreme Court decided we all have to buy government broccoli for $1.7 trillion. This is the analogy fiscal conservatives are using to describe the Obamacare mandate that insists everyone pay their “fair share.” John Derbyshire says that “healthcare isn’t broccoli,” because while emergency rooms are forbidden to turn away the uninsured, grocers can refuse to provide vegetables to those who can’t afford them. We already pay tax for the people who go to ER uninsured, so why all the outrage? The bill’s details seem pretty reasonable, but just as broccoli is not healthcare, America is not Europe. We have incompetent government just like Europeans do, but we also have 12-15 million illegals and 150 million fat pigs.

We’re told the healthcare system is “broken,” but I’m not convinced giving the government more money and more power would help. It never does. Besides, are things really that bad here? In Canada, we would regularly wait 12 hours in ER. My grandmother in Scotland had to wait an entire year to have her hip replaced. “I’ve had my health card for 90 years,” she told me recently. “It should be platinum by now.”

“We have incompetent government just like Europeans do, but we also have 12-15 million illegals and 150 million fat pigs.”
I have insurance but I called around various providers in New York to see how much it would cost if I didn’t. Aetna said I would be looking at $6K a month and when I said “WHAT!?” they said they could go as low as $4K if I paid for all my prescriptions. (They didn’t seem to care about pre-existing conditions, which surprised me.) The average American household income is $60K. Who has an extra $50k floating around on top of that? I said this to the Aetna rep, who told me about a Bloomberg plan they facilitate called Healthy NY where families making less than $50K can pay about $1K a month for full coverage. Again, pre-existing conditions did not seem to be an issue. The plan is especially forgiving with entrepreneurs. Sole proprietors get to subtract their business expenses and declare their net as their total income. Is this a system in crisis?

The Court and the “Ring of Capitalists” Reply

By David D’Amato

Last week’s 5-4 decision from the US Supreme Court, holding that Congress did indeed possess the constitutional authority to enact the individual mandate that remains Obamacare’s most controversial provision surprised many. The Court’s majority opined that although the US Constitution’s Commerce Clause doesn’t give Congress the power to impose the mandate, the legislative branch’s taxing power does.

Naturally, the decision has rekindled debate about healthcare reform in this country, one in which costs are seemingly out of control. There is arguably no industry whose relationship with the state is as illustrative of state-capitalist symbiosis as the healthcare industry; its power looms over every court decision, every regulation, every “reform.”

Writing in 1903, American anarchist Benjamin Tucker observed that “the government of the United States ha[d] sifted down into the monopoly of power by a ring of capitalists, who … bought their way into that puissant oligarchy.” Tucker was commenting specifically on the Senate and described a “system of capitalistic misrule” in which powerful monopolies suborned the legislature, purchasing the legal privileges that were essential to their continued dominance.

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