Your Questions About Is The Stock Market A Big Ponzi Scheme

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Richard asks…

The question I would ask is: How will you take better care of our seniors and disabled persons in healthcare l

Hillary explain your mandatory health care and the cost to us.
The question I would ask is: How will you take better care of our seniors and disabled persons in healthcare like the donut hole and in nursing homes and veterans care after serving?

Justin answers:

She hasn’t addressed these issues that I can see.
She was part of the Congress that created the idiotic donut hole for Medicare.
She’s part of the Congress that keeps jacking up Medicare premiums AND trying to “save” money by ripping off docs, but you don’t see hospitals or insurers taking a hit.
In the US, Medicare is going bankrupt. In 1998, Medicare premiums were $43.80 and in 2008 will be $96.40–up 120%. “Medigap” insurance is common because of the 20% co-pay required for service. Medicare HMOs are common because they reduce that burden without an extra charge in many cases. HOWEVER, many procedures which used to have no or a low co-pay NOW cost the full 20% for the HMO Medicare patient. ALSO the prescription coverage they tended to offer has been REDUCED in many cases to conform to the insane “donut hole” coverage of the feds. Doctors are leaving Medicare because of the low and slow pay AND because the crazy government wants to “balance” their Ponzi scheme on the backs of doctors.
“That dark cloud lurking over the shoulder of every Massachusetts physician is Medicare. If Congress does not act, doctors’ payments from Medicare will be cut by about 5 percent annually, beginning next year through 2012, creating a financial hailstorm that would wreak havoc with already strained practices.

Cumulatively, the proposed cuts represent a 31 percent reduction in Medicare reimbursement. If the cuts are adjusted for practice-cost inflation, the American Medical Association says Medicare payment rates to physicians in 2013 would be less than half of what they were in 1991.”
http://www.massmed.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=vs_mar05_top&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=11037

As we get an aging demographic AND more folks who never even had kids, the government will have to either shell out more or there will be a lot of old folks offed to save money–ditto vets.

She’s NEVER addressed the actual health care cost problems–which include shortage of doctors and nurses, NO price transparency, NO free market so competition and cost-cutting are defeated. But what SHOULD be fixed is the illegal activities of the few big insurers who run the marketplace:
When 75% of the people who declare bankruptcy over medical bills ARE INSURED, then insurance is CLEARLY not the answer.
“Aldrich’s situation is “asinine” but increasingly common, said Dr. Deborah Thorne of Ohio University. Thorne, co-author of a widely quoted 2005 study that found medical bills contributed to nearly half of the 1.5 million personal bankruptcies filed in the U.S. Each year, said that ratio has likely worsened since the data was gathered.

Like Aldrich, Thorne said, three-quarters of the individuals in the study who declared bankruptcy because of health problems were insured. ”
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20201807/

Linda Peeno, MD testified that SHE had often denied treatment JUST to save the insurance company money http://www.thenationalcoalition.org/DrPeenotestimony.html

Furthermore:
“the vast majority of health insurance policies are through for-profit stock companies. They are in the process of “shedding lives” as some term it when “undesirable” customers are lost through various means, including raising premiums and co-pays and decreasing benefits (Britt, “Health insurers getting bigger cut of medical dollars,” 15 October 2004, investors.com). That same Investors Business Daily article from 2004 noted the example of Anthem, another insurance company. They said the top five executives (not just the CEO) received an average of an 817 percent increase in compensation between 2000 and 2003. The CEO, for example, had his compensation go from $2.5 million to $25 million during that time period. About $21 million of that was in stock payouts, the article noted.

A 2006 article, “U.S. Health Insurance: More Market Domination, More CEO Compensation”
(hcrenewal.blogspot.com) notes that in 56 percent of 294 metropolitan areas one insurer “controls more than half the business in health maintenance organization and preferred provider networks underwriting.” In addition to having the most enrollees, they also are the biggest purchasers of health care and set the price and coverage terms. “’The results is double-digit premium increases from 2001 and 2004—peaking with a 13.9 percent jump in 2003—soaring well above inflation and wages increases.’” Where is all that money going? The article quotes a Wall Street Journal article looking at the compensation of the CEO of UnitedHealth Group. His salary and bonus is $8 million annually. He has benefits such as the use of a private jet. He has stock-option fortunes worth $1.6 billion.”
–Save America, Save the World by Cassandra Nathan pp. 127-128

“Insurance Companies Robbing Patients
Robbing patients to pay CEOs leads to unprecedented medical insurance corporation greed.
Thursday, January 3, 2008 8:52 AM
By: Michael Arnold Glueck & Robert J. Cihak, The Medicine Men”
http://www.newsmax.com/medicine_men/medical_insurance/2008/01/03/61543.html

Sensible plan:
QUALITY, ACCESSIBLE, AFFORDABLE health care for all.
That means preventative care (physical with follow up). Real medication (no Medicare “donut holes” the really ill are ripped off again.) No bogus ridiculously low “caps” on needed medical procedures. No abuse of the ER. No paying for the silly with the sniffles to go to the doc for free. No more bankruptcies over medical bills. I want THIS plan that ends abuse of the taxpayer, takes the burden off employers, provides price transparency, and ends the rip-off of the US taxpayer at the hands of greedy insurance CEOs (which has been repeatedly documented).
Http://www.booklocker.com/books/3068.html
Read the PDF, not the blurb, for the bulk of the plan. Book is searchable on Amazon.com
Cassandra Nathan’s Save America, Save the World

Daniel asks…

Would it be fair to say that the Wall Street crooks sucker as many shareholders as possible in to their ponzi?

schemes, before withdrawing their ill gotten gains and watching the house of cards collapse?

Justin answers:

It’s no good pretending that Americans didn’t know they couldn’t afford this loans & investments or that they were seduced into believing they could afford them by mendacious mortgage brokers or Wall Street traders.
If they haven’t lusted after bigger house or quick profits they would never have met the mortgage brokers or stock brokers in the first place.
The money-lending business didn’t create the American desire for unaffordable housing or SECOND & THIRD mortgages people took to invest in stock market………….
It simply facilitated it.

Americans should take responsibility for their actions, and stop blaming everything & everybody for their own shortcomings.

A:~)

John asks…

Why not lower heath care insurance than universal health care?

I pay $450 a month for my health insurance, why dont they just cut the cost in half?
Then people could afford it.
Its alot for me but worth it, i had spinal meningitis at 18 and without id be dead.

Justin answers:

Huh? Health care insurance is provided by PRIVATE INDUSTRY. The government can’t just demand they cut the price in half. IF they tried that, besides the court cases they would lose, that would result in: fewer insurance policies, lower benefits, higher co-pays, and more exclusions.
For the bogus government run programs like Medicare which the uninformed or disingenous claim is the answer, here are some facts:
In the US, Medicare is going bankrupt. In 1998, Medicare premiums were $43.80 and in 2008 will be $96.40–up 120%. “Medigap” insurance is common because of the 20% co-pay required for service. Medicare HMOs are common because they reduce that burden without an extra charge in many cases. HOWEVER, many procedures which used to have no or a low co-pay NOW cost the full 20% for the HMO Medicare patient. ALSO the prescription coverage they tended to offer has been REDUCED in many cases to conform to the insane “donut hole” coverage of the feds. Doctors are leaving Medicare because of the low and slow pay AND because the crazy government wants to “balance” their Ponzi scheme on the backs of doctors.
“That dark cloud lurking over the shoulder of every Massachusetts physician is Medicare. If Congress does not act, doctors’ payments from Medicare will be cut by about 5 percent annually, beginning next year through 2012, creating a financial hailstorm that would wreak havoc with already strained practices.

Cumulatively, the proposed cuts represent a 31 percent reduction in Medicare reimbursement. If the cuts are adjusted for practice-cost inflation, the American Medical Association says Medicare payment rates to physicians in 2013 would be less than half of what they were in 1991.”
http://www.massmed.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=vs_mar05_top&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=11037

The problem really is NOT the cost of health care insurance, the problem is that the system has been HIJACKED by a handful of insurers who violate antitrust and contract law with impunity. More than half of the bankruptcies every year in the US are over medical bills AND 75% of those folks are insured. OK? Insurance is NOT saving them at all. Why? Because the government allows (refuses to enforce the law) big insurers to violate contract law and routinely deny legitimate claims:
. Linda Peeno, MD testified that SHE had often denied treatment JUST to save the insurance company money (http://www.thenationalcoalition.org/DrPeenotestimony.html)

Furthermore:
“the vast majority of health insurance policies are through for-profit stock companies. They are in the process of “shedding lives” as some term it when “undesirable” customers are lost through various means, including raising premiums and co-pays and decreasing benefits (Britt, “Health insurers getting bigger cut of medical dollars,” 15 October 2004, investors.com). That same Investors Business Daily article from 2004 noted the example of Anthem, another insurance company. They said the top five executives (not just the CEO) received an average of an 817 percent increase in compensation between 2000 and 2003. The CEO, for example, had his compensation go from $2.5 million to $25 million during that time period. About $21 million of that was in stock payouts, the article noted.

A 2006 article, “U.S. Health Insurance: More Market Domination, More CEO Compensation”
(hcrenewal.blogspot.com) notes that in 56 percent of 294 metropolitan areas one insurer “controls more than half the business in health maintenance organization and preferred provider networks underwriting.” In addition to having the most enrollees, they also are the biggest purchasers of health care and set the price and coverage terms. “’The results is double-digit premium increases from 2001 and 2004—peaking with a 13.9 percent jump in 2003—soaring well above inflation and wages increases.’” Where is all that money going? The article quotes a Wall Street Journal article looking at the compensation of the CEO of UnitedHealth Group. His salary and bonus is $8 million annually. He has benefits such as the use of a private jet. He has stock-option fortunes worth $1.6 billion.”
–Save America, Save the World by Cassandra Nathan pp. 127-128

“While growing into a colossus, UnitedHealth has repeatedly failed to perform its basic job of paying medical bills. UnitedHealth, which covers 70 million Americans, has been sanctioned in nine states for paying claims slowly; shortchanging doctors, hospitals, or patients; or poorly handling complaints and appeals.
One Nebraska woman complained to state regulators that UnitedHealth’s computers had incorrectly rejected claims related to her son’s surgery six times.
At one point, UnitedHealth owed Dr. George Schroedinger, an orthopedic surgeon, $600,000. He and his clinic sued UnitedHealth of the Midwest in 2004.
Deciding for the clinic, U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh of Missouri declared that the company’s claims processing systems were “flawed in many ways, denying, reducing, and improperly processing claims on a regular basis. And despite innumerable requests, United was unwilling to remedy the underlying errors in its systems” (Star-Tribune Dec. 12, 2007).
Payment troubles continued after the verdict, and Dr. Schroedinger filed a second lawsuit. “These people can never get it right, which says to me that they just plain lie,” he said in an interview.
Failure to pay isn’t the only complaint. The insurer also gives incorrect information on which physicians are in its network, creating enormous problems for physicians’ staff.
The AMA said that no other insurer has prompted as many complaints as UnitedHealth about abusive and unfair payment practices. AMA officials have met with UnitedHealth executives 16 times since 2000, with little to show for it.
“They have always got a new plan to fix it,” said Dr. William G. Plested III, past president of the AMA. But “nothing ever happens.”
It seems to us that this case is just the tip of the insurance iceberg. More and more stories are appearing daily in the news media about how insurance company are instructing employees their jobs are to deny claims and/or delay payments.
With such a high percentage of medical premiums and other costs going to the legal profession, to maintain compliance with endless government rules/regulations and being hoarded by the insurance companies and executives — is it any wonder medical costs are increasing so dramatically?
It’s time to take a closer look at the medical insurance companies.
UnitedHealth Group is not the first medical insurance company to rob patients, hospitals and clinics to pay obscene salaries to their executives.
It’s a modern day robbing patients to pay pimps.
Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D., comments on medical-legal issues and is a visiting fellow in economics and citizenship at the International Trade Education Foundation of the Washington International Trade Council.
Robert J. Cihak, M.D., is a senior fellow and board member of the Discovery Institute and a past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.
Http://www.newsmax.com/medicine_men/medical_insurance/2008/01/03/61543.html

This is yet another reason why UHC CAN NOT work. It does NOT address the actual problems.

If you want to see a plan that WOULD work:
http://www.booklocker.com/books/3068.html
Read the PDF, not the blurb, for the bulk of the plan. Book is searchable on Amazon.com
Cassandra Nathan’s Save America, Save the World

No coercion. No wage garnishment. No forcing costs on employers. No room for graft, corruption, or patronage–no wonder it can’t get off the ground.

Paul asks…

Why is US not switching to a single payer health care plan?

More than half of doctors in US now favor switching to a national health care plan and fewer than a third oppose the idea.

Justin answers:

I suspect that is because the government has allowed the abuse of doctors to grow so bad that they’re willing to make a VERY bad deal where they’ll be screwed again.

The REAL problems in America with costs are these:
When 75% of the people who declare bankruptcy over medical bills ARE INSURED, then insurance is CLEARLY not the answer.
“Aldrich’s situation is “asinine” but increasingly common, said Dr. Deborah Thorne of Ohio University. Thorne, co-author of a widely quoted 2005 study that found medical bills contributed to nearly half of the 1.5 million personal bankruptcies filed in the U.S. Each year, said that ratio has likely worsened since the data was gathered.

Like Aldrich, Thorne said, three-quarters of the individuals in the study who declared bankruptcy because of health problems were insured. ”
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20201807/

Linda Peeno, MD testified that SHE had often denied treatment JUST to save the insurance company money http://www.thenationalcoalition.org/DrPeenotestimony.html

Furthermore:
“the vast majority of health insurance policies are through for-profit stock companies. They are in the process of “shedding lives” as some term it when “undesirable” customers are lost through various means, including raising premiums and co-pays and decreasing benefits (Britt, “Health insurers getting bigger cut of medical dollars,” 15 October 2004, investors.com). That same Investors Business Daily article from 2004 noted the example of Anthem, another insurance company. They said the top five executives (not just the CEO) received an average of an 817 percent increase in compensation between 2000 and 2003. The CEO, for example, had his compensation go from $2.5 million to $25 million during that time period. About $21 million of that was in stock payouts, the article noted.

A 2006 article, “U.S. Health Insurance: More Market Domination, More CEO Compensation”
(hcrenewal.blogspot.com) notes that in 56 percent of 294 metropolitan areas one insurer “controls more than half the business in health maintenance organization and preferred provider networks underwriting.” In addition to having the most enrollees, they also are the biggest purchasers of health care and set the price and coverage terms. “’The results is double-digit premium increases from 2001 and 2004—peaking with a 13.9 percent jump in 2003—soaring well above inflation and wages increases.’” Where is all that money going? The article quotes a Wall Street Journal article looking at the compensation of the CEO of UnitedHealth Group. His salary and bonus is $8 million annually. He has benefits such as the use of a private jet. He has stock-option fortunes worth $1.6 billion.”
–Save America, Save the World by Cassandra Nathan pp. 127-128

“Insurance Companies Robbing Patients
Robbing patients to pay CEOs leads to unprecedented medical insurance corporation greed.
Thursday, January 3, 2008 8:52 AM
By: Michael Arnold Glueck & Robert J. Cihak, The Medicine Men”
http://www.newsmax.com/medicine_men/medical_insurance/2008/01/03/61543.html

AND the precious Medicare system:
In the US, Medicare is going bankrupt. In 1998, Medicare premiums were $43.80 and in 2008 will be $96.40–up 120%. “Medigap” insurance is common because of the 20% co-pay required for service. Medicare HMOs are common because they reduce that burden without an extra charge in many cases. HOWEVER, many procedures which used to have no or a low co-pay NOW cost the full 20% for the HMO Medicare patient. ALSO the prescription coverage they tended to offer has been REDUCED in many cases to conform to the insane “donut hole” coverage of the feds. Doctors are leaving Medicare because of the low and slow pay AND because the crazy government wants to “balance” their Ponzi scheme on the backs of doctors.
“That dark cloud lurking over the shoulder of every Massachusetts physician is Medicare. If Congress does not act, doctors’ payments from Medicare will be cut by about 5 percent annually, beginning next year through 2012, creating a financial hailstorm that would wreak havoc with already strained practices.

Cumulatively, the proposed cuts represent a 31 percent reduction in Medicare reimbursement. If the cuts are adjusted for practice-cost inflation, the American Medical Association says Medicare payment rates to physicians in 2013 would be less than half of what they were in 1991.”
http://www.massmed.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=vs_mar05_top&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=11037

Problem is insurers do LOW and SLOW pay and the government balances its Ponzi scheme on the back of doctors. Some have bought the BS of the media that they’d be better off with UHC. HA! Doesn’t work. Hillarycare exists now in Taxachusetts–a mere 6.5 million folks (not 300 million for the US) and look at the results:
“Massachusetts announced that spending on its health care plan would increase by $400 million in 2008, a cost expected to be borne largely by taxpayers.”
http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20080129/ZNYT02/801290745
Last modified: January 29. 2008 5:03AM
Article explains why CA can’t even get it off ground.

Canadian doc on UHC throughout world:
“…Another sign of transformation: Canadian doctors, long silent on the health-care system’s problems, are starting to speak up. Last August, they voted Brian Day president of their national association. A former socialist who counts Fidel Castro as a personal acquaintance, Day has nevertheless become perhaps the most vocal critic of Canadian public health care, having opened his own private surgery center as a remedy for long waiting lists and then challenged the government to shut him down. “This is a country in which dogs can get a hip replacement in under a week,” he fumed to the New York Times, “and in which humans can wait two to three years.”

And now even Canadian governments are looking to the private sector to shrink the waiting lists. Day’s clinic, for instance, handles workers’-compensation cases for employees of both public and private corporations. In British Columbia, private clinics perform roughly 80 percent of government-funded diagnostic testing. In Ontario, where fealty to socialized medicine has always been strong, the government recently hired a private firm to staff a rural hospital’s emergency room.

This privatizing trend is reaching Europe, too. Britain’s government-run health care dates back to the 1940s. Yet the Labour Party—which originally created the National Health Service and used to bristle at the suggestion of private medicine, dismissing it as “Americanization”—now openly favors privatization. Sir William Wells, a senior British health official, recently said: “The big trouble with a state monopoly is that it builds in massive inefficiencies and inward-looking culture.” Last year, the private sector provided about 5 percent of Britain’s nonemergency procedures; Labour aims to triple that percentage by 2008. The Labour government also works to voucherize certain surgeries, offering patients a choice of four providers, at least one private. And in a recent move, the government will contract out some primary care services, perhaps to American firms such as UnitedHealth Group and Kaiser Permanente.

Sweden’s government, after the completion of the latest round of privatizations, will be contracting out some 80 percent of Stockholm’s primary care and 40 percent of its total health services, including one of the city’s largest hospitals. Since the fall of Communism, Slovakia has looked to liberalize its state-run system, introducing co-payments and privatizations. And modest market reforms have begun in Germany: increasing co-pays, enhancing insurance competition, and turning state enterprises over to the private sector (within a decade, only a minority of German hospitals will remain under state control). It’s important to note that change in these countries is slow and gradual—market reforms remain controversial. But if the United States was once the exception for viewing a vibrant private sector in health care as essential, it is so no longer.”
http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_3_canadian_healthcare.html

George asks…

Ponzi schemes: Where are you in the game?

What are some common ones? Prop 13, rent control, social security, etc.?

They all rest on deluding a bigger group of suckers than before. America is lucky that it is having population growth.
The transfer of assets and wealth from new buyers/renters to old buyers/renters in the form of direct payments or benefits?

Justin answers:

The stock market

Thomas asks…

Where would we be if bush got his wish and put social security in the stock market?

With major stocks losing 80% of their value in a few months, there would be millions of senior citizens starving while bush’s wall street buddies make trillions.
lol, repigs always avoiding the question.
Sorry, major stocks like citibank and gm and others were down 80%.
Perhaps some of you should read the part where I stated “major stocks”. Did I say the dow was down 80%? No.

Justin answers:

1. Bush’s idea was better than putting social security in a little box and giving Democrats the key, in case they needed emergency spending. Why do you hate him so? On every matter but this one, he was a fiscal democrat…

2. My generation is looking at nil, anyhow. Why not do away with Social Security and let us invest it however we see fit? I guess we should just trust Big Brother with our future, instead of getting the OPTION of opting out of a huge Ponzi scheme? In this sense, the government is worse than Madoff. I mean, he had to convince people to invest in him. The government just takes your money, tells you that you have no choice, and later wants to know why you couldn’t have kicked off at 70. The government is a fucking mafia where SS is concerned.

3. The stock market lost 80% value in the past few months? Either your lying, or Obama has been a bigger blow to the economy than I thought.
Peace
EDIT
If ppl were dumb enough to invest in GM and citibank, they deserved to lose their SS….

Michael asks…

Why is Socialism OK When it Bails Out Speculators Like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Bear Stearns?

Why is Socialism OK When it Bails Out Speculators Like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Bear Stearns?

Why are Corporations allowed to Socialize their risk but privatize their profits?

And while we’re on the subject of Corporations, why are Companies openly allowed to become Corporations, but workers can’t openly unionize? Clearly there are mor pro’s than cons in regards to becoming a Corporation otherwise why would a company do it? And there are clearly benefits to Unionizing, so why aren’t workers openly allowed to pursue Unionization?

Justin answers:

In most civilized countries the right to form a union by workers is considered one of the basic rights, up there with freedom of speech and religion. That the US differs there says everything about how America is the paradise for free market fundamentalism and social darwinism unless of course big money needs a bail out.
Http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Covenant_on_Economic,_Social_and_Cultural_Rights#United_States_position
Conservatives value corporations over ordinary people. They’re corperatists and social Darwinists. They believe corporations are important so they should be bailed out whenever their existence is threatened where as ordinary and poor Americans are replaceable and not of vital importance to the economy so if they have bad luck they should clean up the mess themselves or simply suffer. To the “free” market fundamentalists either one is fine as long as they are not required to show any form of solidarity.

“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been at the center of the housing market speculation that generated billions for Wall Street investors and CEOs and has now come crashing down, precipitating the greatest financial crisis since the 1930s. The two companies are massively leveraged, holding a combined $81 billion in capital to back the mortgages they own or guarantee—a ratio of capital to debt of 1.6 percent.

Their Ponzi scheme structures have been undermined by the collapse in home prices and the virulent spread of foreclosures. Over the past nine months they have lost a combined $11 billion and their stock has fallen by as much as 80 percent—a decline that turned into a rout last week as their stock values were cut nearly in half.
Their debacle is the latest and to date most spectacular expression of the decay of American capitalism. It is another refutation of the myths promoted by the US ruling elite about the miraculous workings of the capitalist market—supposedly the pinnacle of human achievement.
At the same time, it exposes the cynicism behind the official mantra of “free enterprise.” When it comes to big capital, losses are socialized. Only profits remain private.
Paulson’s plan to use taxpayer funds to rescue Wall Street were worked out over the weekend in feverish closed door consultations between the Bush administration, the Fed, the big banks and investment houses and congressional leaders. They were under enormous pressure to come up with a plan before the Asian markets opened Monday, and the crisis atmosphere was compounded by the fact that Freddie Mac was scheduled to market $3 billion in short-term debt. A catastrophe was looming if the banks and investment houses refused to buy the company’s bonds.
There can be no doubt that Wall Street exploited the situation to extract from the government the broadest possible guarantees and assurances for its interests. But the entire scheme had to be sanctioned by the Democratic Congress, since it required changes in the charters and legal regulations governing the two companies.
The immediate and vocal support announced by key Democratic legislators for this massive taxpayer-funded bailout demonstrates the most important fact of American political life: the utter subservience of both parties and all of the official institutions to the financial aristocracy.
Rep. Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, proclaimed his agreement and pledged to have emergency legislation ready for Bush’s signature by the beginning of next week at the latest.
Senator Christopher Dodd, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, similarly signed off on the blank check for the mortgage giants. Senator Charles Schumer, a senior member of the Banking Committee, said, “The Treasury’s plan is surgical and carefully thought out and will maximize confidence in Fannie and Freddie while minimizing potential costs to US taxpayers.” He added that the plan would “be reassuring to investors, bondholders and mortgage-holders that the federal government will be behind these agencies should it be needed.”
The corporate-controlled media did its part to boost the scheme by portraying it for the most part as a boon to homeowners.
Suddenly, the much bemoaned “gridlock” in Congress vanishes. The Democrats, who have sought to explain away their repeated votes to fund the Iraq war by pointing to the supposedly insurmountable opposition of the Republicans to their “redeployment” plans, claiming “the votes aren’t there” for their partial withdrawal schemes, now march in lockstep with the minority party to rush through laws demanded by Wall Street. Other initiatives, such as those on immigration, have died as a result of unbridgeable differences between punitive and even more punitive bills. But on this issue, Congress moves with military dispatch.
There is nothing mysterious about the abject subordination of both Congress and the executive branch to Wall Street. Paulson, whose worth is estimated in the hundreds of millions, was chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs before taking over the post of treasury secretary.
The Center for Responsive Politics reported in 2006 that about half of the Senate’s 100 members were millionaires, with an average net worth of $8.9 million. In 2004, 123 members of the 435-member House of Representatives earned at least $1 million.
The buying of legislators and their votes by corporate interests is carried out openly and shamelessly. Members of Frank’s House Financial Services Committee received over $18 million from financial services, insurance and real estate firms this year. Frank himself raised over $1.2 million, almost half of which came from finance and related industries.
Senator Dodd’s top contributor in the 2003-2008 election cycle was Citigroup, followed by SAC Capital Partners. He raised $4.25 million from securities and investment firms.
Senator Schumer’s top contributor was likewise Citigroup. He raised $1.4 million from securities and investment firms, his most lucrative corporate sector.

The government-corporate nexus is awash in corruption and bribery. This has grown apace with the so-called “financialization” of the US economy over the past three decades. The ruling elite has systematically scrapped large sections of industry and increasingly amassed its wealth through forms of financial speculation divorced from and destructive of the productive forces. The result has been an immense growth of financial parasitism alongside a brutal assault on the social position and living standards of the working class.

Social inequality has grown to unprecedented levels, along with a new financial aristocracy that dominates all aspects of public life.

The counterpart of financialization is the criminalization of the American corporate-financial elite. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—which have their roots in social reforms enacted during the New Deal—epitomize these twin processes. Virtually unregulated, they have engaged in massive speculation, bolstered by accounting fraud and bribery, to provide multi-million-dollar salaries for their top executives.
The former CEO of Freddie Mac, Leland C. Brendsel, paid $16.4 million in fines last year to settle charges of mismanagement at the mortgage company. The year before, the company paid a penalty of $3.8 million for illegal payments and perks to members of the House Financial Services Committee.
Fannie Mae, for its part, was fined $400 million for accounting manipulation from 1998 to 2004, during which time top executives reportedly received more than $90 million in bonuses.
Nor will the proposed bailout of these companies halt the deepening crisis of American and world capitalism. It will inevitably further undermine global confidence in the US financial system, intensify the crisis of the US dollar and stoke inflationary pressures. What is emerging is a crisis in which the solvency of the US government itself is called into question. As the Wall Street Journal put it on Monday, “But with financial woes mounting, some investors are betting they may profit from weighing an unthinkable question: Could the US government default?”
The bailout with public funds of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will set a precedent for a far broader use of taxpayer money to rescue major financial companies. Last week Paulson and Bernanke went before the House Financial Services Committee to demand legislation institutionalizing federal intervention to bail out failing Wall Street firms. The response of key Democrats such as Frank was to urge the regulators to call for such measures now, rather than after the new Congress takes office next year.
The cost of such bailouts will be borne by the working class, in the form of deeper cuts in social programs, education, housing and basic infrastructure, and new waves of corporate downsizing and wage-cutting.
The working class cannot defend its vital interests through pressure on the Democrats or any other institution of the American plutocracy. In the coming class battles, it must organize itself as an independent political force to fight for t

Ken asks…

Current world issue I can do my speech on?

I’m about to go to the library to research a current world issue that affects America in some way. The problem is that I don’t have a topic.I’m in 10th grade. Any ideas? Thanks!

Justin answers:

The Global Financial Crisis is biggest of them all, America is affected just check out the unemployment levels are the highest in years, 2 Million lost jobs this year alone, crashing stock markets and falling housing prices, exploding budget deficits, wall street bailouts, failing banks(AIG, Lehman Brothers), the entire auto industry on the verge of collapse(Ford, GM, Chrysler), Bernard Madoff involved in the largest Ponzi scheme in history, financial institutions deleveraging, the unwinding of the carry trade.

Mark asks…

What are the main arguments of the antigrowth view and how are these arguments answered by growth advocates?

Justin answers:

I am not an economics person so take this with a grain of salt since it might not be what your instructor is looking for.

From the perspective of a scientist NO system can grow forever. At a constant rate of growth, eventually your system will encompass everything. At that point it can grow no further. (Example: ask yourself “What does $1 at 5% interest/year over inflation become over 630 years?” Answer: 20 trillion 2007 equivalent dollars! 5% plus inflation is not that unreasonable a rate of return, so SOMETHING has to give. Clearly this return cannot be sustained forever.)

If an economic system is based on constant growth then it is eventually doomed to need a serious readjustment. As long as population grows, and resources are not limited, and even better, per capita productivity can increase, growth can be continue. Eventually one or more of those factors will run its course and growth will eventually stop. If your system COUNTS on growth, it is set up to require some pain down the road.

In today’s economy, now you have a bunch of stocks, all priced on the presumption that these companies (and the overall stock market) will continue to grow their profits (ie, high price to earning ratios predicated on future earnings growth) and they can’t. A readjustment becomes necessary.
A stockmarket that counts on growth is essentially a Ponzi scheme.

Points to consider: while net growth has to more or less flatten out eventually, individual companies within an economy can still grow at the expense of others contracting. Also, growth won’t stop overnight. It will slow down and stop over a period of many years to decades. This provides an opportunity for adjustment and less trauma.

Finally there is the deus ex machina hope that we can continue find ways to jack up productivity and/or resources that are not currently obvious, turning growth back on for a while. Industrialization is one, and computers are another. Revolutions don’t come along every century though.

So, living in a finite world is the big picture general fundamental problem with a growth based economic system. There may be real economists out there with more specific smaller picture problems and that might be what your instructor is really looking for. If you want to take a chance elaborate on this concept. Maybe your professor will be impressed if you do it carefully.

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