Good Ponzi, Bad Ponzi

What’s the fuss? Bernard Madoff was only doing to the very rich what your Federal Government is doing to you.

The headlines are all abuzz with Bernard Madoff, the financial insider/genius so well thought of among the New York intelligentsia that one commentor said, in the article noted above-

“People used to brag how they were getting these great returns when everybody else was struggling,” he said. “They thought Bernie Madoff was a genius, and anybody who didn’t give them their money was a fool.”
-has suddenly turned into a common thief. Well, OK, not a COMMON thief, but a thief none the less.

After all, he got such great returns. He was so well connected. He had a tremendous reputation. People just knew they could trust this man. Herd mentality works like that.

Madoff's plan was simple. Sign new people up faster than he had to pay old people off and he would be able to keep his scam going until he died. As soon as people started to have trust problems with his system or he couldn't sign new people up fast enough, though, the pyramid would begin to collapse. Madoff's only problem was that he lived too long.

Politicians in the Federal government, in the shadow of these events, could be forgiven if they have begun to wonder how long they should live. In about 2016 or so the only Ponzi scheme larger than Madoff's will start having to pay out more money than it is taking in. From that point Social Security will have to take money out of Federal general revenues to pay off nearly five decades of collected IOUs and the pretense of interest paid on those IOUs. That money, like the money being used by the trillions of dollars today to prop up the economy, will come either from your pockets or out of thin air which, by eroding the value of the dollars left in your pockets, is the same thing.

All that is well and good to supporters of Social Security. It has great returns. It is well connected. It has a tremendous reputation. All around me I see people who just know they can trust this institution.

Posted by Lee Emmerich Jamison at December 18, 2008 9:17 AM
Comments
Comment #272296

Well written, Lee. The big difference between social security (also, the national debt; see my article above) and a regular Ponzi scheme is that the latter are voluntary.

Posted by: Chops at December 18, 2008 9:50 AM
Comment #272302

Lee >What’s the fuss?

The only people who are fussing that I know of are the very rich who lost a lot of their money to this latter-day Andrew Fastow, maybe you know differently.

I’m sure not fussing about it because I don’t now have, nor am I ever likely to have, enough wealth to invest in these hedge funds, which by definition are unregulated and only for people who have enough wealth as to theoretically know what they are doing. So much for that theory.

As far as I’m concerned, the Madoff hedge fund was unregulated, the people who gave him all their money should have known that and they have no cause to complain when they came to grief.

Lee >From that point Social Security will have to take money out of Federal general revenues to pay
Lee >off nearly five decades of collected IOUs

And why exactly does SS have all those IOUs instead of sitting on all the surplus revenues that have been collecting for the, oh, let’s say about 28 years?

Could it be that the so-called conservative icon who was president then decided to mash SS revenues into the general tax revenue pool to camouflage the massive deficits he was running up in a vain attempt to cause an evil empire, already on the verge of collapse, to collapse a little faster? Why yes, that is absolutely correct.

Where exactly you’re getting that “5 decades” BS is beyond me because prior to Reagan, the SS revenues were strictly segregated for just the reason you point out.

Lee> All that is well and good to supporters of Social Security.

Actually, no it’s not all well and good to supporters of SS, of which I am not one. Personally, I have already written off SS in my retirement planning since I will near retirement age in 2025.

But the supporters of SS are not fine with the current state of affairs. Firstly, there are a number of reasonable, fairly technically simple actions that could be taken to save SS.

1) Increase the upper limit above which SS taxes are no longer taken out. This would quickly and easily fix the whole problem.

2) Reduce benefits slightly, including automatic cost-of-living increases.

3) Means testing for recipients.

4) Increasing the retirement age slightly.

I notice you seem to offer no solutions, only complaints about it. Even if you had, my guess is you would suggest putting SS funds into the stock market, which is patently absurd given the current state of affairs there.

Lee >It has great returns.

SS was never meant to have “great returns” any more than any other tax which results in a benefit. All it was ever supposed to do was provide a pittance of a monthly allowance to people who were to old to work any longer.

Congratulations on trying to destroy it, you almost succeeded until Bush proved himself a complete incompetent.

Posted by: Varsity at December 18, 2008 11:23 AM
Comment #272303

Varsity,

In fact it was Johnson who first opened Social Security funds up to “borrowing”. He did this to make it look like th budget was balanced. That has been a favorite of both Democrats and Republicans ever since.

No party has clean hands in this.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 18, 2008 11:38 AM
Comment #272304

Lee >In fact it was Johnson who first opened Social Security funds up to “borrowing”

But Reagan was the first to do it on a large scale. Nevertheless, I think we can agree that no one who “supports” (your word, not mine) SS thinks this is or was a good idea. And it’s not the SS program’s fault that it’s funding has been perverted in the way it has been. So you’ve picked on SS for something it had no control over.

What’s your plan, other than complain?

Posted by: Varsity at December 18, 2008 11:48 AM
Comment #272305

The biggest difference between SS and Madoff’s hedge fund is that SS was never intended to be a Ponzi scheme whereas at some point, possibly from the beginning, Madoff’s hedge fund was deliberately turned into one.

And in fact, if you’re going to call SS a Ponzi scheme, then any form of taxation which allows deficit spending is also a Ponzi scheme. Is that what you mean?

Posted by: Varsity at December 18, 2008 11:54 AM
Comment #272306

Varsity,

Social Security is very specifically a Ponzi scheme in the classical sense, in that it purports to be a rational investment that pays early investors out of the direct contributions of a larger number of later investors. By that process it builds credibility with those later investors, exactly as Madoff did.

Deficits run by a government are not the same thing. It is obvious that a deficit means you are spending more than you are taking in. Those who contract with you to spend that money can make a rational decision as to whether they are likely to be paid for services rendered or not. In a Ponzi scheme, however, the payer sends signals to his investors that their invesment is sound and there is no threat of default, as supporters of Social Security have constantly since well before the “reforms” of 1986.

In the years since those “reforms” when anyone like myself, who could see how the numbers could not work, would try to introduce some system whereby some portion of the income would be placed in a real, productive, fund in which the “interest” really was derived from a growth made of a profit Social Security’s proponent (mostly liberals and Democrats, but certainly not exclusively so) would say they were trying to destroy the system.

That is simple nonsense. There is no system to destroy. The numbers don’t work. It’s a sham.

What would I do to “fix” it? Mandate that Social Security can only pay out of its funds on-hand. If the money’s not there it can’t be paid. It will eventually happen when today’s dumb-as-stumps younger generation feels the pain of carrying their greedy elders on their backs and realizes what happens when I promise myself a good retirement out of my grandchildren’s paycheck.

Woe be unto the old when the young get wise.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 18, 2008 12:21 PM
Comment #272312

Lee >in that it purports to be a rational investment that pays early investors out of the
Lee >direct contributions of a larger number of later investors.

Nope, not at all. SS was never and will never be an investment. How much of a return do you get on your sales tax? Your income tax? Your sales tax? Answer to all of the above: None there is no return to a tax, other than the programs the fund. They don’t have an ROI. They just don’t Why are you trying to make out like they do?

Madoff’s fund was always an investment and was run as a Ponzi scheme.

And I see I was right about your solution being to destroy the system instead of taking steps to fix it. What did I expect?

Here’s really the only two similarities between the destruction of SS and Madoff’s fund: both were enabled and accelerated by the ineptitude and neglect of the Bush administration. Bush’s one and only idea of what to do about SS was to destroy it and have everybody put their money in the stock market. This has gone on for 8 years. No other solution was considered. Likewise, for over 8 years, the Madoff funds were reported to the SEC for suspicion of funny business and for over 8 years, nothing was done about it by the Bush SEC.

Once again, it has been proved that the last thing you want to do is elect a group of people to government whose mantra is that “government is not the solution, government is the problem.”

Posted by: Varsity at December 18, 2008 12:55 PM
Comment #272317

Varsity,

Likewise, for over 8 years, the Madoff funds were reported to the SEC for suspicion of funny business and for over 8 years, nothing was done about it by the Bush SEC.
Your view of timing seems conveniently Bush specific, in as much as news reports from several sources said the first indications of trouble were back in 1992.

As to your assertion about “investment” I give you only to look at a page from the Social Security Department’s own website. I, with admittedly biased conservative eyes, see the word “Investment” prominently used, along with the word “securities”.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 18, 2008 1:16 PM
Comment #272322

Lee >1992.

That’s the first use of that year I’ve seen with respect to the Madoff affair, I’m sure you can support it with references. The earliest I’ve previously heard was 1999. Nevertheless, again the Bush administration for the entirety of it’s presidency is shown to be incapable and/or unwilling to exercise the slightest bit of restraint upon the financial industry.

Lee >see the word “Investment” prominently used

Yes, the Social Security **Trust Fund** (something which your obviously conservative eyes apparently chose to ignore on the page) is invested (at least that which has not already been lent to the US government) and pays a return TO the **Trust Fund**, but not to any SS beneficiaries…

When you or I or anyone else pays social security tax, that is in no way an “investment” in the sense that we have any right to expect to increase in the way an investment in GM or Chrysler would. Whoops, bad examples but they still make my point.

Posted by: Varsity at December 18, 2008 1:42 PM
Comment #272324

Lee Jamison-
Ponzi schemes are done with deception and without consent. No sane investor would agree to it, putting money into private hands to be handed to somebody else, conning them into thinking that it’s profits. Nor would they consent to the same being given to them.

But Social Security? It’s out in the open that today’s workers pay today’s retirees, and the system was purposefully configured to do this in a public manner as an act of Congress signed into law by Ronald Reagan himself. Additionally, most people have no moral or practical problem with what is essentially a nation old age pension that one pays into before being eligible to receive benefits.

So, you don’t have the element of deception, nor the element of misdirected funds. The taxes from social security are going to precisely those people that they are supposed to go, according to law, according to the dictates of the average American’s conscience.

Thus, though this is a system where contributions from those paying in are given to those we’re paying out to, it is not a Ponzi Scheme. What makes the Ponzi scheme what it is is the fraud and misdirection of funds.

As for where the word “investment” shows up, the term has multiple meanings and senses. Those meanings do not imply a commonality of context with the situation of a Ponzi scheme. Social Security revenues are the result of taxation, not voluntary speculative investment. Social security disbursements are also not represented as returns on a speculative investment, but the outlays of a social service program funded by taxpayer dollars.

Based on all that evidence, reference to Social Security as a Ponzi scheme is sophistry, a word game played to use the strong negative associations of a despicable con game to smear an otherwise popular entitlement that many see as indispensable to the public’s financial good.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 18, 2008 1:53 PM
Comment #272325

I read the 1992 date in the Wall Street Journal, but this, coming from the Journal’s reporter, Tom Lauricella, was on a PBS interview with Judy Woodruff

So even going back 20 years or so ago, there were allegations that perhaps he was doing something improper.
Lauricella goes on to say that such cries of impropriety were drowned out by praise for the great earnings Madoff produced. People believed what they wanted to believe.

Like, say, Full Faith and Credit…

Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 18, 2008 1:56 PM
Comment #272326

There were no allegations to the SEC until 1999, the last year of Clinton’s presidency. Then 8 years of Bush’s presidency passed with no action.

The only reason the story broke now is that Madoff’s son reported him, rather than due to dogged pursuit by the emasculated and toothless Bush SEC. I mean, that’s what you guys want, right? Less regulation, less oversight, less anything having to do with government? You can hardly take Clinton to task for doing exactly what you wanted in the first place.

That 1992 date is totally bogus, though. Judy Woodruff has never been partisan in her life, has she Scooter?

Posted by: Varsity at December 18, 2008 2:02 PM
Comment #272328

Stephen,

Sure, educated people know what is going on with Social Security. That is why it is so incumbent on educated people to tell the ignorant how unsustainable this thing is. It is the blase ignorant who provide Social Security’s political “consent”.

That level of consent is exactly what you, personally, Stephen, have been deriding in the sales of such instruments as sub-prime mortgages. Only, in those cases you have called it deceit.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 18, 2008 2:05 PM
Comment #272330

Now the interesting thing about Tom Lauricella is when I go to the WSJ page and try to look at his stories about Madoff, it tells me I need to subscribe first, which I’m not about to do.

But then I can open the reader comments, which you have to be subscribed before you can enter comments. So I went through all 5 pages of those comments and guess what? Not a single occurrence of the string 1992 .

Now you would think if someone, even someone as partisan as Judy Woodruff, had said something like this went back to 1992 and Clinton just sat on his hands all through it, the WSJ readership would have commented the HECK out of that.

But, no. Talk about knocking me over with a feather.

Posted by: Varsity at December 18, 2008 2:20 PM
Comment #272331

Varsity,

It is interesting the effort you put into filibustering this conversation by making it into a discussion of this generation’s Lord Voldemort. There are people who will raise Bush’s name specifically because they know he is so polarizing that everyone’s minds go into partizan sleep mode.

W. is not the problem. Madoff is not the problem. People who will not admit the problem, attack the problem, and solve the problem are the problem.

W. at least took hold of the “third rail” of politics. You see the crispy critter that is left of his administration. There will be more of those to come until we elect a whole bunch of problem solvers.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 18, 2008 2:26 PM
Comment #272332

Lee >People who will not admit the problem, attack the problem, and solve the problem are the problem.

Regarding SS, most people, including me, are willing to admit there is a problem and look to attack and solve the problem. Bush, and evidently you, see it as an opportunity to destroy the program and then pretend you fixed the problem, just like everything else associated with the government that doesn’t have to do with killing, maiming or putting people in jail.

So you’re right that people who will not admit there is a problem, are part of the problem.

But so are those like you and Bush who want to use the problem as an excuse for destroying SS when, as I mentioned long ago in this thread (talk about ME spending a lot of time filibustering), there are several ways to solve SS’s problems without destroying it.

You just want to destroy it because it’s a government program and you want people to believe that’s a solution.

Posted by: Varsity at December 18, 2008 2:35 PM
Comment #272333

The 1992 date came from a story entitled “SEC Had Chances for Year to Expose Madoff’s Alleged Ponzi Scheme” by Kara Scannell in the Monday, Dec. 15th Wall Street Journal, page a-16 in the Houston edition. The key paragraph says-

The earliest clues to Mr. Madoff’s business may have come in 1992, when the SEC sued two accountants who had been collecting money from investors to be managed by Mr. Madoff. The accountants raised money from Florida residents and guaranteed returns of 13.5% to 20%. The SEC sued the accountants but not Mr. Madoff, who claimed not to know they raised money illegally.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 18, 2008 2:47 PM
Comment #272334

Seeing how SS is forcefully taken without consent, I would love to see it destroyed. That is, afterall, the only way to solve its problems.

Posted by: kctim at December 18, 2008 2:58 PM
Comment #272339


My two favorite ponzi schemes are the war in Iraq and the housing bubble.

Posted by: jlw at December 18, 2008 3:37 PM
Comment #272342

jlw,
From the Wikipedia article-

A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that involves paying abnormally high returns to investors out of the money paid in by subsequent investors, rather than from the profit from any real business. It is named after Charles Ponzi[1]. The term “Ponzi scheme” is used primarily in the United States, while other English-speaking countries do not distinguish in colloquial speech between this scheme and other forms of pyramid scheme[2].

You may think these other things are scams but that is not the same thing.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 18, 2008 3:47 PM
Comment #272344

Lee> WSJ> The earliest clues to Mr. Madoff’s business may have come in 1992

Not very definite, is it?

Posted by: Varsity at December 18, 2008 4:05 PM
Comment #272347

kctim> Seeing how SS is forcefully taken without consent, I would love to see it destroyed.

It’s a little thing called a law, Tim. You see, the people elect legislators who pass laws which are either vetoed or endorsed by the president. You have given your consent when you or voters before you elected the legislators.

kctim> That is, after all, the only way to solve its problems.

OK, so you’re one of those “We have to destroy the village to save the village” nuts. Tell us, what do you do when a light bulb burns out in your residence? Destroy it? After all, that solves the problem of the burned out lightbulb.

Posted by: Varsity at December 18, 2008 4:13 PM
Comment #272348

My children, who were not represented when this business came into being, are, none the less, going to have to foot the bill for it.

Once they get their say, my guess is they will be wanting it to change rather dramatically.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 18, 2008 4:26 PM
Comment #272349

Lee, absurd article and argument.

Madoff acted to benefit Madoff. The current deficit spending is enacted to save the nation’s economy and people’s jobs and livlihoods. The difference couldn’t be starker. Republican governance allowed Madoff’s greed to go unchecked, hidden, and unregulated. Obama governance marks an end to such governance.

The Titanic was a massive ship like our economy. If she sank today, we could recover her and refloat her, at enormous cost. But like the economic legacy of Republican rule, the cost to raise this titanic economy from Republican devastation, must be titanic. I say we get eventually pay for the cost of raising this economy from the depths from those who sunk it in the first place: the wealthy whose greed knew no bounds and whose abandon of responsibility parallels that of the investors and industrial captains of the 1920’s.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 18, 2008 4:27 PM
Comment #272351

Varsity
Oh, I understand the law just fine. However, I also understand the laws are supposed to be Constitutional.

“Tell us, what do you do when a light bulb burns out in your residence? Destroy it? After all, that solves the problem of the burned out lightbulb”

Well, since I planned on the light bulb eventually burning out, I saved and made sure that I would be prepared when that day came. Beats the hell out of wasting money because I expect govt to collect money from you to pay for my new lightbulb and have it installed for me.

Liberally destroying the burnt bulb does not solve the problem unless one believes it is somebody elses responsibility to replace it.
I believe it is my responsibility to replace it, so I prepared for it.
I’m such a nut.

Posted by: kctim at December 18, 2008 4:48 PM
Comment #272358

“The Titanic was a massive ship like our economy.” Good Comparsion the very wealthy were on the top and the ship was designed for speed and glitz and a false sense of security, but inside where you can’t see the structure they designed it poorly and it was a disaster and when it hit the iceberg it was sinkable without any safeguards built in something that must not be Forgotten.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at December 18, 2008 6:40 PM
Comment #272361

Lee Jamison-
Well, in addition to the other shortfalls, I think we can demonstrate rather empirically that Social Security has never promised very high returns. It’s always been safe, rather than lucrative. As for predictions of its insolvency?

As I recall it, in trying to sell his Social Security privatization plan, Bush appealed to the worst of what were seventy year forecasts, with a scenario so bleak it would likely be the ruin of the rest of the economy as well, making a quarter cut in Security a moot point.

It also bears mentioning that forecasts of that length of where the economy is going are practically useless. There are just so many variables, its not even funny.

On the subject of what I have derided? You’ve got my position wrong. First, I wouldn’t say mortgages are comparable to social security accounts in the least. Second, I never derided sub-prime mortgages themselves. Those, given out responsibly, to people who can afford them, are not a problem in and of themselves.

What made all that a problem was the system for offloading risk, and the way a lack of accountability on the origination and secondary marketing of the mortgages allowed excessive leveraging and irresponsible lending in the market. I know many Republicans would blame the people seeking the mortgages, but the decision makers who held the greatest power in this arrangement were the lenders, The decision of whether these loans were originated rest with them.

The deception I deride was a kind where bad debts were hidden within cut-up tranches of morgtgage securities, Securities further backed with insurance policies that could be backed even by those who didn’t hold any of the securities.

It’s a system where the value of the debt, which would typically be found in its quality, were deliberately hidden, and the system made dependent on nobody noticing the emperor’s nakedness. Once it was clear they had overloaded the market on bad debts, this screwed up system made it impossible for the market to clearly value the assets.

Thus, the banks can’t even tell if they have the money to lend to anybody. That’s what I find ridiculous.

Social Security, by comparison, is ridiculously simple. You know where the money’s coming from, who it’s going to, and what it’s meant to be worth. Any problems in the accounting are imposed from outside, and as such can be solved externally.

You’re generalizing recklessly to a person who’s rather finicky about such things. I was very specific about where the problem is coming from. I’m not making vague or spurious allegations by comparing one aspect of the system (the pass-through financing) with another, when the defining elements of Ponzi scheme is the deception at its heart.

The unifying problem here, in microeconomic to macroeconomic comparison, is the creation of the false impression of wealth. So my first solution is to uncover and untangle as much of that false wealth as we can, and set the books up so people know exactly how screwed they are, and aren’t. Create justified certainty. Give the market what it needs to function: good information.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 18, 2008 7:05 PM
Comment #272372

>I promise myself a good retirement out of my grandchildren’s paycheck.
Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 18, 2008 12:21 PM

Lee,

You must be drawing your SS retirement from a different SS than I am. I, nor any other normal person, can much more than survive on SS. In fact, watch the news this winter and read about those who freeze to death, because all they have is SS, and they could not pay for heat. If I did not have additional retirement income, My wife and I would have to elect food over medicine, heat over lights, etc.

Social Security is not a retirement program, it is a survival program.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 18, 2008 9:01 PM
Comment #272375

“Social Security is not a retirement program, it is a survival program.


Posted by: Marysdude at December 18, 2008 09:01 PM
That’s right MD Good On FDR and Eisenhower for his support and even ;0) RR.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at December 18, 2008 10:12 PM
Comment #272376

So Lee are you saying that because in your opinion OASDI is a ponzi scheme run by the government that Madoff and others should be able to bilk investors out of money? Seems the real issue to me is why after a 70 year old man confesses to this ongoing criminal racketeering he is out on “house arrest” and not sitting in jail.

This diversion you have created with this outlandish comparison to OASDI focus’s on the government as if it is the fault of the government and not that of the consumate wall street insider Madoff himself is typical of repubs. It is always the governments fault not the free market manipulators. This bilking shows all of us, especially those that think that business can conduct itself in an honest and worthwhile manner, that strict regulation is needed on business operations. A defanged and incestous SEC is a sick conservative joke not a regulatory agency.

What we are seeing is another failed piece of conservative ideology coming home to roost. Deregulation has failed us once again.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 18, 2008 10:47 PM
Comment #272382

kctim >I also understand the laws are supposed to be Constitutional.

OK, so why is the SS tax law unconstitutional? Or, more to the point, why has it not been challenged and declared unconstitutional?

kctim >Well, since I planned on the light bulb eventually burning out, I saved and made sure
kctim >that I would be prepared when that day came.

OK, so instead of destroying your house when a light bulb burns out or any of a number of other problems occurred, you took steps to actually remedy or solve the problem, right?

I guess that’s all anyone who supports the concept of SS thinks should be done: fix SS without destroying it. That can be done by a number of measures, quoting myself:

1) Increase the upper limit above which SS taxes are no longer taken out. This would quickly and easily fix the whole problem.

2) Reduce benefits slightly, including automatic cost-of-living increases.

3) Means testing for recipients.

4) Increasing the retirement age slightly.

But what you propose, and Lee proposes and Bush proposed when he (in Lee’s words) oh so bravely “touched the third rail of politics” is nothing more than destroying the house because a light bulb is burned out. That is not a solution to the problems SS and this nation are facing.

What is so laughable about you and Lee and others calling SS a “Ponzi scheme” in the first place is that SS is not really the problem. SS is solvent now and for many years to come if only the IOUs that were given to it in exchange for its revenues are honored, that being the first problem. At this point in time, there is no assurance that the IOUs will be honored when the time comes. But I fail to understand how the solution can be considered to be destroying the program to which the money is owed. It seems to me the solution ought to be to destroy the the programs which owe the money, i.e. keep SS going and pull the money from all the programs financed by borrowing from SS.

The second problem is due to the aging of the workforce such that fewer workers will be paying into SS than are receiving benefits. This problem can be solved by a combination of any of the 4 solutions I’ve listed above.

SS is not the real problem here. Deficit spending, much of it instigated in the last 8 years, IS the real problem. Destroying SS won’t help the deficit spending problem and will seriously hurt the poor, which does not include me. But it does include a lot of people I care about.

Posted by: Varsity at December 19, 2008 8:45 AM
Comment #272383

j2t2,

Madoff’s Ponzi scheme has existed for more than 20 years. It is a revelation of how stupid the notion is that regulation will save us from the evils of the world because it is not just Republican governance that overlooked it. People on both sides of the aisle were snowed by this man. Government is not run by systems. It is run by people. People fail.

I am not excusing Madoff. I am saying the Social Security system will fail for the same reasons Madoff’s system failed- it will not have enough payers to support its payees. Still we go blithely along with people, even people contributing to this thread acting as though the recognition of that fact and acting on the recognition will destroy Social Security.

Commentors here have stated flatly that President Bush, for example, was out to destroy the system with his proposal to place a percentage of the funds in government approved investor accounts. How was taking between 2% and 7% of a person’s contributions and placing them in tightly constrained accounts going to do that? It would have increased funds available for investment in American productivity, sequestered just a tiny bit of funds that were originally supposed to be completely protected from the greed of the Congress anyway, and it would have given hope to people like myself, who have been convinced for decades that our money was being stolen at gunpoint for no good reason, that there was a shadow of a chance we would see some benefit from this money grab.

At least in President Bush’s effort I saw a chance that Social Security could survive into my retirement years, something for which I see no hope today.

A few weeks ago, in response to a comment I made on Social Security in a similar vein someone, Remer, I think, said the issues with Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid were only demographic problems. We go merrily along pretending to ourselves we can assume those demographic issues are just a matter of adjusting numbers. They’re not.

We’re building a ship of state like the Swedish vessel Vasa striking to see, full of ornament and splendor, and too topheavy to sustain sail. Social Security, as it exists today, is the 64 cannons that seal the deal.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 19, 2008 9:14 AM
Comment #272384

From the University of Louisville website I noted above on the sinking of the sailing ship Vasa I give you some wisdom about how inquiries into the obvious obscure the truth when lessons are needed-

Jacobsen answered that he built the Vasa according to the ‘instructions, which had been given to him by Master Henrik, and on His Majesty’s orders.’ The ship conformed to all the measurements submitted to the King before the work began, he asserted, and His Majesty had approved these measurements. The number of guns on board was also as specified in the contract.

De Groot mentions that the ship was built in accordance with the Dutch prototype, also approved by the King.

‘Whose fault is it, then?’ the court asked.

‘Only God knows,’ de Groot replied. And, with that the first inquiry was finished.

On September 5, a Naval Court of Inquiry, chaired by the King’s half brother Admiral Karl Karlson Gyllenhielm, began in response to Gustavus’ demand to find the guilty parties. The court was comprised of 17 persons, 6 of whom were members of the Council of the Realm and present at the previous inquiry. No conclusive result as to the cause of the disaster was reached by this second inquiry either. No one was ever found guilty. No one was punished.

The affair ended with no one knowing why it happened or who was to blame.

Inquiries into the collapse of the Great Society and New Deal programs will look the same as this in 25 years.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 19, 2008 9:38 AM
Comment #272385

Lee >At least in President Bush’s effort I saw a chance that Social Security could survive into my
Lee >retirement years, something for which I see no hope today.

Except of course Bush himself after the dust settled from his ill-considered foray into SS privatization admitted that his plan to let a few people set aside a few percentage of their SS tax contribution in investment vehicles WOULD NOT HAVE SAVED SS. I’ll repeat that - Bush admitted his plan WOULD NOT HAVE SAVED SS.

So it is absurd for you now to come along lamenting that his plan - to not save SS - did not move forward and now you see no hope for it.

Maybe I’ve misread your age and how long you have to go to retirement but unless you’re in your 30s or early 40s, SS will survive as long as the IOUs are honored.

Posted by: Varsity at December 19, 2008 9:41 AM
Comment #272386

Varsity
Actually, I took steps to prepare beforehand, so that the situation would not be a problem when it arose.

All of your “measures” to fix SS involve taking more, which is to be expected when a populace chooses to become dependent on government for things they themselves are responsible for. The more we demand govt do for us, the more govt must take from us. Be it rights or money, if it is done without consent, it is wrong.

It seems you believe SS has to be a way of life for us, so all of your solutions involve around that belief. I do not believe that to be true.

We brought the second problem onto ourselves. We have been conditioned to believe that govt will provide for us, so we gladly spend on ourselves instead of saving for ourselves.
So no, SS is not the real problem, we are.

Posted by: kctim at December 19, 2008 10:05 AM
Comment #272387

Thanks for the clarification Lee, you had me worried on the rule of law thing for a minute. I realize Madoff was able to sustain his scheme for 20 years however I also think that Clinton was a better conservative than either Bush.

The conservatives have made no secret that they would like to do away with OASDI. To think that Bush had honorable intentions in mind by turning any part of the insurance money over to wall street, perhaps to Madoff himself, is beyond belief Lee. Bush and the conservatives have systematically damaged the government with their “fox guarding the chicken” management style and overall ineptness. That much money in single investor accounts combined with the watchdog Bush administration spells disaster much like what we are experiencing today with the same combination of greed and failed ideology.

Wall street and OASDI after 8 years of Bush should not come out of anybody’s mouth in the same sentence IMHO Lee or in the same paragraph for that matter. It is like a sick joke after the recent meltdown and Madoff.

The answer to correct OASDI from the Reagan mistake lies not in more conservative ideology but in putting those foolish notions behind us Lee and moving forward. Take OASDI out of the general account immediately for starters. Then do as mentioned previous in this thread.

And finally Lee of course regulation won’t save us from all the evils perpetrated by corporate America and wall street just most of them. It will allow those with a shred of honesty to act accordingly and not be forced to keep up with those that don’t. Perhaps if we have real enforcement of existing regulations much of the problem will go away. But rest assured more of the same will only get us more of the same, which is much more than we need.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 19, 2008 10:10 AM
Comment #272388

kctim >All of your “measures” to fix SS involve taking more,

No, take another look. Reducing benefits and means testing are not “taking more”.

kctim >It seems you believe SS has to be a way of life for us, so all of your solutions involve
kctim >around that belief.

No, wrong again. I don’t believe SS has to be a way of life at all. But some people less well off than you or I need SS to survive. I suppose putting it in those terms, i.e. that SS = survival implies SS = way of life, makes it seem that way.

I think if you have the means to live without SS, you should and if you don’t, you shouldn’t have to, especially since (as I’ve said time and again on this thread) SS is not the problem, deficit spending is.

kctim >So no, SS is not the real problem,

Correct. So why do you think the solution is to destroy SS?

kctim >we are.

You may be but I’m not, so WE aren’t. Why do you say WE are the problem.

Posted by: Varsity at December 19, 2008 10:19 AM
Comment #272419

>Destroying SS won’t help the deficit spending problem and will seriously hurt the poor, which does not include me. But it does include a lot of people I care about.
Posted by: Varsity at December 19, 2008 08:45 AM

Varsity,

Thank you, as this caste system kctim, Jim M, and Lee propose, does include me.

I:

Gave twenty years of my life to the service to my country…

Worked under Social Security withholding for fifty years…

Went to war (Viet Nam) two and a half times, and returned the third time disabled…

Helped raise eleven American citizens…

And, because I depend on Social Security to sustain me in my outer years, these turkeys want me to give it up and starve to death? Which one of them has given more? Which ones will take less from the system?

I was in the service of my country during the years that, barring factors not in my control, I might have ended up as well off as Lee.

I was being wounded so that kctim could complain about having to pay taxes for things he does not believe in.

I was working for minimum wage at Wal Mart Headquarters, because I could not do better with the education opportunities I’d missed while in the service and raising my children, when Jim M, was formulating his life to the point he does not need Social Security.

I paid into that system for all those years to hear that it is…against the Constitution…a Ponzi scheme…a wasted effort.

Kiss my Ponzi hind end!

Posted by: Marysdude at December 19, 2008 2:22 PM
Comment #272426

Varsity
You reduce benefits by taking away the benefits or parts of them. Means testing is seeing how much “help” somebody needs and then taking away from them so they fit in a nice neat little box.

SS started out as an insurance program and has become an insurance and retirement program. People now look at SS as retirement and use that to justify to themselves that they do not need to save, or save as much, for retirement.

I think every last one of us should be allowed to choose if we want to live with or without SS.
If I choose to live with it, I contribute and let the govt think for me.
If I choose to live without it, money is not forcefully taken from me and I am responsible for my decision.

“Correct. So why do you think the solution is to destroy SS?”

Personally, because I believe every American is responsible for themselves and that the right to believe as one wants is a main staple of our freedom.

“Why do you say WE are the problem”

Because we have embraced the lifestyle of spending rather than saving and with that, we have embraced dependency.

You want to fix SS? Make it an insurance program again, help those who truly need it and cut those who view it as a retirement program.

Posted by: kctim at December 19, 2008 3:03 PM
Comment #272429

Dude
“because I depend on Social Security to sustain me in my outer years, these turkeys want me to give it up and starve to death?”

Nobody wants you to give it up and starve. SS would have to be phased out over time as people were given back responsibility for their lives.

“Which one of them has given more?”

Is “who gave more” really what we want to use?

“Which ones will take less from the system?”

I will only take back what was stolen from me, not a penny more.

“I was in the service of my country during the years that, barring factors not in my control, I might have ended up as well off as Lee”

Yeah, me too.

“I was being wounded so that kctim could complain about having to pay taxes for things he does not believe in”

I sincerely honor that sacrifice Dude, which is why I volunteered to return that favor.

“I was working for minimum wage at Wal Mart Headquarters, because I could not do better with the education opportunities I’d missed while in the service and raising my children”

I was a rent-a-cop and tended bar.

We all have a story Dude, but feelings about those stories are not what we should base law on.
We should be free to act, or not act, on those feelings ourselves.

Posted by: kctim at December 19, 2008 3:31 PM
Comment #272465

kctim,

One of the ways I took care of myself and one of the ways I provided for my future was to pay into Social Security.

Social Security was begun as an insurance program to keep people from starvation in their outer years…it does that.

You say it has become a retirement program…I say horsehocky!..no human being can do more than SURVIVE on SS alone…some retirement you’ve got their.

Survival - insurance

Extra income = retirement

What is so difficult to undestand about that?

We’ve all got stories all right, and since we’re all American citizens, we should be able to tell those stories to help shape what America is and will be. Without those stories, what makes the difference where we are from?

You tell your story, and I tell mine and America becomes a part of both of us, and we both become a part of America.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 20, 2008 3:03 AM
Comment #272505

Marysdude,
I have not heard your story before. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your service and for what I know from raising only four kids (two still at home) is sometimes as tough as facing guns. If you’ve raised eleven honest human beings you’ve done a hell of a difficult thing.

I have not advocated for the destruction of Social Security, though I do not believe it will survive politically when my children and their generation are principally responsible for the two-payee-to-three-payer burden that will exist in about thirty years. I simply believe it must be a system that comes by an honest profit. That is, after all, what a real retirement account does.

When you speak to the vagaries of the market today you are not speaking of such honest investments. Nor are you speaking of something depending on government can insulate you from. As of this comment I know you have read my article above, and have seen how, in the eyes of a liberal economist, the stuff that was happening on Wall Street had nothing to do with legitimate investment in productive enterprises.

The cost of Social Security as it exists today is not merely in the stupidity of its architecture. It is in how it fails to effectively stimulate the kind of increases in productive efficiency we will need to make fewer workers better able to feed, house, and clothe more elderly people. No matter how the money comes to you if there is no food to buy you can’t buy it. If there is no housing you will live outside. That is the principle challenge of economics, not the distribution of cleverly printed paper products with dead presidents on them.

I want Social Security to survive, but the “Robin Hood” plan will eventually bankrupt it, and then, us. If that is what will happen anyway it is better to be rid of it now.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 20, 2008 6:31 PM
Comment #272507

Marysdude,

By the way, having read your comments above, I don’t know how “well off” you think I am. If someone auctioned everything I own it is quite likely they could not get much over $100,000.00 for it. Bank accounts, retirement, house, everything. The art might go well if I died, I suppose, but I haven’t figured out how to enjoy that much.

My most important job on this Earth is raising children, not making money. I’ve put a lot of effort into human relationships and they provide some security, and some wonderful opportunities to do interesting paintings, but monetarily we squeeze by by a thread more often than not.

Now, had I stayed in the employ of the City of Shreveport, where I taught art right after college, and earned the same amount of money I have earned in the years since then, I would actually personally own a retirement account, paid in lieu of Social Security, that would now exceed my present personal net worth by a substantial margin.

That bugs me.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 20, 2008 7:01 PM
Comment #272520

>The cost of Social Security as it exists today is not merely in the stupidity of its architecture.
Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 20, 2008 06:31 PM

Lee,

Herein lies our disagreement…you think the archetechture of Social Security is faulty, and I think the changes to the archetecture since its inception is at fault.

It is far more difficult to repair something that is a base faulty, than it is to readjust something that has changed along the way.

Johnson made the first, and most dynamic change…Nixon, Reagan, Clinton and Cheney/Bush have virtually killed it.

The thing is, the archetecture is still fundamentally sound. I think that especially in these times of financial turmoil, Social Security, as it was meant to be, is more likely to be salvaged than in times of plenty.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 20, 2008 9:28 PM
Comment #272521

PS:

My opinions about your financial status come from the tone of many/most/all of your posts and posits. I can think of no reason for your animosity toward a program that has saved countless lives, than a separation from the need for such a program.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 20, 2008 9:32 PM
Comment #272636

Dude
First and most importantly, I was in no way saying our stories should not be shared or anything like that. I truly enjoyed reading yours, respect it and am glad you shared it. But we cannot make law based on feelings.

“One of the ways I took care of myself and one of the ways I provided for my future was to pay into Social Security.”

And I believe you deserve every benefit your are entitled to for doing so, that is why I said it would have to be phased out.

“You say it has become a retirement program…I say horsehocky!..no human being can do more than SURVIVE on SS alone…some retirement you’ve got their.”

The majority of people factor SS into their retirement plans and way to many make it their retirement plan, or we wouldn’t have such a problem with it.

“What is so difficult to undestand about that?”

I understand it just fine, I just disagree with it being involuntary. I am very pro-choice Dude and I believe who I care for and how I retire is up to me.

“You tell your story, and I tell mine and America becomes a part of both of us, and we both become a part of America.”

I totally agree.

Posted by: kctim at December 22, 2008 10:31 AM
Comment #272718

When we were graced with Bush’s plan after his successful election, two things came to light that cast doubt on Bush’s claims.

First, that the kind of forecasts that required action as prescribed were notoriously undependable, too long range to really mean anything. Also, the forecast he chose was among the worst of the worst case scenarios.

Second, his solution to the problem would ultimately take more money out of the system than it put back in. He admitted as much, saying that his plan for private accounts would not serve to make anything more solvent.

Logically speaking, if you take a system that you’re already claiming is going to lose solvency eventually (a prospect a literal lifetime away), does yanking a trillion dollars out of it over the next ten years, without really replacing it, count as a viable solution to that problem?

And does this get any better if we consider that it might not be the problem that Bush’s extremely pessimistic assumptions on the worst case scenarios expect it to be?

You can make all the comparisons to unwieldy watercraft you want to, the question is whether the metaphor’s appropriate, and your side has not done the homework to prove that. Nor, in that terrible case that ours is a bumbling barge bolting below the waves, have you suggested solutions which actually solve the problems.

In reality, I think, this was Bush doing his absolute best to make sure Wall Street got more of our money, which doesn’t do much to make me reconsider my previous opposition to it, given their brilliant performance in the last year.

The standard Republican line is that they believe the average person is better equipped to handle their own money than the government, but the actions of your party have instead tended to deliver most of that money to a privileged few. This is not some Marxist argument; I don’t mind these people having money. The trick is whether we need somebody in government doing their damnedest to get them more money than their own efforts alone could.

I’d say, unless they are doing something important in the national interests, the answer should be no. The story I’m getting on Madoff from my sources strongly suggests that the commission was hindered from doing its job, and that members of Madoff’s family helped him to pull off his fraud. This wasn’t regulation failing to come to the rescue because it was unable to, this was regulation failing to come to the rescue because the Bush administration believed in the free market more than politing it. It was ideologically disinclined to pursue these cases in good faith.

This was a an economy dependent on ugly secrets, with a ideological tenor on both sides of the aisle that discouraged people from finding these secrets out before it was too late. It’s a system that set this economy up to fail, and fail catastrophically.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 22, 2008 7:48 PM
Comment #272723

>The majority of people factor SS into their retirement plans and way to many make it their retirement plan, or we wouldn’t have such a problem with it.
Posted by: kctim at December 22, 2008 10:31 AM

kctim,

Those who ‘make it their retirement plan’, are those who were not lucky enough to do better, and the very reason for the program to begin with, i.e., a program to allow survival minto the out years. If it were not for them there would be little reason for the program at all. I’m damned glad of it because the little retirement I get from the service plus the Social Security allows me to go from month to month without having to elect between food and medicine or food and rent. Social Security is for survival, and if it disappears, many will not survive. We talk of how SS will falter into the future, because there will be less and less workers and more and more retirees. Then you want to remove all who would elect not to pay into the system?

Posted by: Marysdude at December 22, 2008 8:28 PM
Comment #272748

Dude
SS was part of my in-laws retirement plan and SS is either part of or the entire retirement plan for my neighbors and friends. I firmly believe SS has become more about retirement than insurance.

“Then you want to remove all who would elect not to pay into the system?”

Yes.
Those who freely choose not to pay into the scheme do not get to partake in the scheme when they retire which equals less retirees needing it which equals it costing big brother less. And those who choose to be a part of it are not limited in how much they can contribute either. That way, those who “say” they care about things, can actually do something about it instead of waiting for others to do it for them.
People get the rights and freedoms they are entitled to as Americans and others get the help others feel they are entitled to.
If its such a great program, making it totally voluntary won’t kill it.

I know you guys hate this, but individual choice, rights and freedom are more important. Without them, we are no different than any other country.

Posted by: kctim at December 23, 2008 11:59 AM
Comment #272753

kctim,

Here’s the problem with all volunteer participation:

I elect not to pay into Social Security because I’m not going to fail in life, so I won’t need it. Late in life my illnesses overcome my insurance and I have to dig into my hard earned retirement funds in order to stay alive. My family has a couple of catastrophic emergencies and I either dig deeper into my retirement or say to hell with my family, being a Democrat, of course there is but one choice. Pretty soon, I’m too old to make up the difference and I end up destitute. I cannot ask Social Security to help me because I have elected to stay out of the program. Although my intentions were good, and my abilities and skills were adequate, I’m left down and out.

The only reason for Social Security, is to keep those who are down and out at the end of their lives, from bloating up along side the road, stinking up the place for the rest of us.

It’s called a ‘social’ program, but it’s actually to hold down the spread of diseases from all those bloated bodies.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 23, 2008 1:42 PM
Comment #272765

Resorting to fear tactics, Dude? Bloating bodies in the streets if we govt doesn’t live our lives for us? Seriously? Come on man.

Its probably not a bad guess that the people who would opt-out of SS are going to be from the right, which is a good thing. People on the right tend to give more, so it is probably safe to say that if they have more, they will give more. I have no doubt that, if needed, more charitable orginazations would be there to aid those who need help.
I believe that abled bodied people would save and be more wise with their money if they didn’t have govt as an excuse or crutch.

But what would happen if I elected not to pay into SS and the situation you described happened to me? Well, being a “rightie,” there is but one choice: I would live with my decision and do what it took. I would not sit around and wait for aid and I would not blame others for my misfortune.

To me, my freedom to live my life as I wish, is more important than what “might” happen.

Posted by: kctim at December 23, 2008 3:37 PM
Comment #272776

kctim,

People on the right give more…and also take more, so it comes out about even…that’s why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer I think.

In any case you are asking otherwise selfish people to make up some sort of life for all those people who will be missing from SS in order for them to go on some sort of dole? You forget that everyone of them contributed at least half those taxes. It actually came out of their pockets, so in effect they have paid for their stipend just as 401k and IRA subscribers do. Especially those who’s employers match all or part of their contributions. SS is mainly for those whose employers don’t participate. Low wage earners, part-timers, hard laborers, etc. But again, they alone would not be able to sustain the system. If LBJ, RMN, RWR, WJC and GWB had allowed the fund to grow the way it was designed, it would be solvent today.

While I was pulling your leg about the bloated bodies…please let me know what you think will happen to those who survive on SS, after the rug comes out?

Remember, those who are working today are writing the checks for current recipients. Take all those caring, giving wingers out of the program…??? Why am I crying?

Posted by: Marysdude at December 23, 2008 9:31 PM
Comment #272783

“To me, my freedom to live my life as I wish, is more important than what “might” happen.”

That is of course unless it happens to you. OASDI (Old age survivors and disability insurance) also helps to protect your family should you come to an early demise. To place the burden on extended family members or to force your young children to rely upon the charity of others at a young age is not freedom IMHO. To not contribute so such a fate doesn’t happen to others in the community well…
Perhaps Galbraith said it best-

“The modern Conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a moral justification for selfishness. – John Kenneth Galbraith”

Posted by: j2t2 at December 24, 2008 1:35 AM
Comment #272786

Dude
“You forget that everyone of them contributed at least half those taxes”

I understand people have paid into SS and that they deserve their money back, that is why I mentioned it would have to be phased out in some way.

“Low wage earners, part-timers, hard laborers, etc. But again, they alone would not be able to sustain the system”

They do not make up the majority of those who support SS. IF people actually believe what they say about SS, then they should be willing to give to see it succeed. You add that extra money coming in and fewer people in the program and it might work.

“please let me know what you think will happen to those who survive on SS, after the rug comes out?”

We cannot pull the rug out on them Dude, but we can make it so that it respects individual rights and is more efficient.
Our first step could be allowing people like me to opt-out and people like Oprah to give millions.

Posted by: kctim at December 24, 2008 9:55 AM
Comment #272787

J2
If it happens to me, it happens to me. Life if full of burdens and it is not govts job to place the burdens of one, onto the backs of others.

To be honest, it should be of no concern to you if I am selfish or not. If being selfish is so bad to you, then you should be concerned about your own selfishness, not what you perceive to be the selfishness of others.

You and Galbraith believe the community is responsible for the burdens of individuals and I believe individuals are responsible for not being a burden on society. It is nothing but a belief system and as such, it should be up to the individual, not govt, to decide which is best for them.

Posted by: kctim at December 24, 2008 10:16 AM
Comment #272789

“If it happens to me, it happens to me. Life if full of burdens and it is not govts job to place the burdens of one, onto the backs of others.”

kctim, the government has assumed this burden because in our history it was determined that to do nothing was far worse.

“To be honest, it should be of no concern to you if I am selfish or not. If being selfish is so bad to you, then you should be concerned about your own selfishness, not what you perceive to be the selfishness of others.”

The reason in could be of concern to others, kctim, is the burden of watching youngsters and seniors begging in the streets or being forced upon in-laws or state run institutions is more than a civilized society should accept in the name of “individual rights”. Remember their comes responsibility with these rights and while you may be prepared to deal with these responsibilities many others that made the choice to opt out of OASDI may not, through no fault of their own. Their are many who think of social security as a right kctim.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_and_positive_rights


We are seeing how charities are not be the answer to this problem as the economy continues to meltdown and the charities are forced to cut back themselves.

“You and Galbraith believe the community is responsible for the burdens of individuals and I believe individuals are responsible for not being a burden on society. It is nothing but a belief system and as such, it should be up to the individual, not govt, to decide which is best for them.”

I think this may be more than a belief. OASDI was created by necessity, cold hard facts not belief. The individual did have their say, and it was determined via our representatives that OASDI was the solution to this problem. Opting out is really not a viable option if the system is to cover all Americans.
The rich have been able to escape their fair share of the responsibility forcing the rest of us to bear the extra burden but perhaps this can change in the near future.
Have a merry Christmas kctim.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 24, 2008 11:20 AM
Comment #272790

J2
There is nothing worse than losing our rights.

SS and healthcare will be a so-called “right,” when we finish our transition to being a “liberal democracy” instead of the Constitutional Republic we once were.
And yes, I am fully aware that the majority of Americans are now for this kind of change and that people like me are now the minority. But, I have never been one to just give up something I believe in.

I do not blame or envy those with money and streets filled with the needy is nothing but using and hyping fear. I believe we are, or at least were, a better people than that.

You have a safe and merry Christmas also J2.

Posted by: kctim at December 24, 2008 11:34 AM
Comment #272815

>I do not blame or envy those with money and streets filled with the needy is nothing but using and hyping fear. I believe we are, or at least were, a better people than that.
Posted by: kctim at December 24, 2008 11:34 AM

kctim,

But that is historically what was happening…what has changed between then and now?

You believe we are a better people than that…but, you faltered and changed it to were…wow!

tim, tim, tim…we were not a better people than that or we would not have needed the SS systen to begin with…and, we, with our Lehmens and AIGs and ENRONs and TYCOs and…and…and…whose CEOs are and were raping our economy, not any better as people today.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 24, 2008 5:29 PM
Comment #272817

PS:

Ooops!…I left out my favorite America ruiner…Wal Mart. That company which single-handed, with only the help of the Teflon Ron, managed to kill unions, create a pauper society and make China the greatest power in the current world…who’d a thunk it, a communist nation making a democracy look like a bunch of beginners…and that because of the ineptitude of the most avid free-marketer since The Ayn, and a company that could not have grown or thrived in any other atmosphere than the good-ol’-USA..

Posted by: Marysdude at December 24, 2008 5:37 PM
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