Is Europe’s central bank misleading us over who's to blame for eurozone crisis?
Proper analysis of Mario Draghi's figures suggests Germany is a major cause of the crisis - not a wage productivity paragon
Andrew Watt for Social Europe Journal, part of the Guardian Comment Network
Wednesday 27 March 2013 05.30 EDT
Over the course of the last week's tense negotiations over a Cyprus bailout deal, much of the commentary has focused on the role of Europe's finance ministers. But perhaps closer attention should be paid to Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank. On 14 March Draghi made a presentation to heads of state and government on the economic situation in the euro area. His intent was to show the real reasons for the crisis and the counter-measures needed. In this he succeeded – although not in the way he intended.
Draghi presented two graphs that encapsulate his central argument: productivity growth in the surplus countries (Austria, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands) was higher than in the deficit countries (France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain). But wage growth was much faster in the latter group. Structural reforms and wage moderation lead to success; structural rigidities and greedy trade unions lead to failure. QED.
According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which reported the affair approvingly, the impact of Draghi's intervention was devastating. François Hollande, the French president, who had earlier been calling for an end to austerity and for growth impulses, was, according to the newspaper, completely silenced after the ECB president had so clearly demonstrated, with incontrovertible evidence, what was wrong in Europe – or rather in certain countries in the eurozone – and what must be done.
Things are not as they seem, however. Draghi's presentation contains a simple but fatal error – or should that be misrepresentation? As the note to the graphs indicates, the productivity measure is expressed in real terms. In other words, it shows how much more output an average worker produced in 2012 compared with 2000. So far so good. However, the wage measure that he uses, compensation per employee, is expressed in nominal terms (even if, interestingly, this is not expressly indicated on the slides). In other words, the productivity measure includes inflation, but the wage measure does not.
But this is absurd. Real productivity growth sets the benchmark for real wage growth. In a country where real wages increase in line with productivity, the shares of wages and profits in national income will remain constant. By contrast, when nominal wage growth tracks real productivity growth, which is apparently the role model suggested by the ECB president, the share of wage income in national income will permanently decrease. Moreover, real wages will decline continuously, if price inflation is higher than nominal wage growth.
In a country with inflation at the ECB target (1.9%) one would expect a gap to open up between the red and blue line in the ECB president's charts of 1.9% per year. Cumulated over the 12 years since the start of monetary union, for such a "benchmark country" the nominal wage-real productivity gap would represent almost 28%.
If Hollande had been aware of this, he need not have been silent at all. On the contrary, he could have pointed out that his country almost perfectly fits this benchmark: on Draghi's chart, the gap for France is about 32%. Similarly, the figure of 28% would need to be subtracted from the supposed competitiveness gaps of the other deficit countries, substantially reducing – although not eliminating – them.
Moreover – and this is the key point – using the correct figures transforms Germany from the wage-productivity paragon, as portrayed by the central bank, into what it really is: a country that has systematically undershot the stability norm for balanced growth in a monetary union, and thus been a major contributing factor to the crisis.
A case can be made that the presentation by the ECB president does indeed reveal the true nature of the crisis, albeit unintentionally. Senior economic policymakers in the European Union are either unaware of basic economic concepts or they are intentionally using misleading figures – to put it mildly – to force policymakers on to a course that suits their ideological preferences but which is inimical to the stability and recovery of the eurozone and, in this particular case, indeed, to their constitutional mandate.
Check the links in the article.ReplyDelete
The Island of Fools. The Cypriots have allowed the Germans to destroy their banking business (and the banking business employs something like 70% of the work force.)ReplyDelete
In short, they are ruined.
All they had to do was blow the nazis a raspberry, and drop out of the insanity. Incredible.
I keep thinking that there's something here that I just don't see; but if there is, it's damned well hidden.Delete
Hidden? I don't think so.Delete
Their banks could not continue functioning without a bailout. They lost a fortune on Greek debt (amongst other things) and could not continue on. If they blew "the Nazis a raspberry" the government would have had to indemnify depositors(deposit insurance) about 30 billion Euros (Cypriot pop 800k). The gov. is big time in debt already. If memory serves, if they simply wanted to borrow the 6 billion required to meet their obligation of the bailout, their debt would have grown to 140% of GDP.
No, nothing hidden, they pooched themselves by running a casino economy without having the game sufficiently rigged (like a good casino) for the house.
I’m not sure that this over yet.ReplyDelete
This could be that Black Swan that everyone's been looking for. We could be on the verge of the Bank Run of All Bank Runs.Delete
It seems to me that you'd have to be insane to have your money in a European bank.
I said the other day; this feels like an Archduke Ferdinand moment.Delete
If you had ninety thousand euros, would you keep them in a Cyprus bank? What about Seventy? Thirty?Delete
What about a Luxembourg bank? Or, even a Spanish, or Italian, bank?
Someone has speculated that the smart money has already left with their money.Delete
Yeah, I wonder who spekulated that? :)Delete
I though it had a whiff of chaw.Delete
Hold your breath.ReplyDelete
How far can they fall before they reach up and grab Citi? Or JPM?Delete
FRANKFURT (MarketWatch) -- European equities,the euro and U.S. stock index futures all dipped Wednesday after Italy Democratic Party leader Pier Luigi Bersani reportedly said he would not attempt to put together a coalition government and was quoted as saying that only an “insane” person would want to govern in the current environment.ReplyDelete
Italian politicians have struggled to put together a new government since inconclusive parliamentary elections in late February. The Stoxx 600 Europe index XX:SXXP -0.60% dipped 0.3%, while S&P 500 index futures SPM3 -0.36% declined 0.1%. The euro EURUSD -0.51% extended a decline, falling 0.4% to $1.2807.
Well, how about that? :)Delete
It's pretty bad when you have an election, and the winner says, "fuckit, I've looked at the books, and I'm outta here."
:) I've never seen that before.Delete
LeRoy said he don' want that ball. :)Delete
You have to love Italy.Delete
I know! I know!ReplyDelete
The solution to Cyprus!
When somebody that has worked all their life for the wife and kids, and kicks the bucket, just take it all, and give it to the dope smokers.!
This is called "Libertarianism' and is the "new hot thought" in all the correct circles.Delete
The government takes from one person and gives to another. Of course if you are on the receiving end, you are all in.Delete
You pay no taxes while you are alive. You just can’t take it with you.ReplyDelete
You object because you have inherited wealth that originated as a gift from the federal government to someone.
If fairness is the issue, which side is less fair?
Three generations of sweat.
You try it.
You sweat one generation at a time. Work is work.Delete
I am a disagreeable person, which is to say that I cannot stand to be in a room full of people agreeing with me. It gives me the creeps. I cannot resist the urge to play devil's advocate, to argue the facts not placed into evidence by group consensus--at liberal events, I'm the psycho conservative, but at libertarian colloquiums, I'm the one arguing that privilege and wealth are real problems that simple rules may simply embed more deeply.
So I feel a little thrill of inspiration when Reihan Salam, one of my very favorite writers, says "I often say that I'm not in the persuasion business. Rather, I'm in the provocation business. Our worldviews are embedded in friendships, loyalty, aspirations, and much else. The kind of person we want to be shapes the kind of argument we're inclined to believe. I think I'm doing my job well when I interrupt the pattern, and prompt a reexamination of received views, partly because I enjoy reading people who prompt me to do the same." Luckily, I have a bit of contrarianism that I've wanted to air, and a series of Kevin Drum posts on using estates to pay for Medicare that has inspired me to make (drumroll please) . . . the case for the 100% estate tax.
No, really, I'm serious. After all, why should kids be allowed to inherit? I know, you are about to say something along the lines of "I worked hard so that my kids could . . . " That is a noble emotion. But at the point at which this question becomes relevant, you will be dead. And dead people don't have rights. They don't own property. They don’t get to make decisions.
And I have very little 'inherited wealth'. What little land I have I bought from my ancestors. Maybe a serving tray or two of sliver. May I keep that?Delete
You have lost your mind.
I pay no taxes when I am alive??
I just paid over $30,000 thank you very much, this year.
Your work and its results are yours while you are alive. That is the natural state of affairs. Now I know that your comprehension is not quite what it used to be, so pay attention:Delete
I pay no taxes when I am alive??
That is how the 100% estate tax works. You pay no taxes while you are alive and you take nothing with you.
Do you think that farming a piece of land for three generations gives you a special privilege? Is that a universal law or is it specific to your county in Idaho?Delete
Do you have an objection to a government taking land away from farmers that have worked land for three generations?Delete
Or is it just personal to you?Delete
Is it crop dependent?Delete
Does alfalfa have one ranking and let’s say olive trees in another county have a different, less scared, status?Delete
Year after year, West Bank farmers experience multiple types of restrictions and physical attacks. In the first week of this year’s olive harvest, more than 870 olive trees were vandalized or destroyed by settlers, according to the United Nations. Hundreds more are reported to have since been damaged or destroyed across the West Bank.
Olive tree vandalized by settlers in the Tuwani fields, near the outpost of Havat Maon, South Hebron Hills, October 28, 2012 (photo: Guy/Taayush)
A total of some 7,500 olive trees belonging to Palestinians were destroyed or damaged by settlers between January and mid October 2012, according to a recent report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Since 2001, half a million olive trees have reportedly been uprooted in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It takes an average of ten years before newly planted olive trees can begin producing fruit. Consequently, the ramifications of this widespread vandalism are felt long term.
The olive industry in the Occupied Palestinian Territories supports 80,000 families, and accounts for 14 percent of the OPT economy’s agricultural income. The inability of farmers to cultivate or harvest their crops due to security-related pretexts or the physical destruction of trees undermines the fragile Palestinian economy and makes arable subsistence for communities less feasible. With water shortages, restrictions to land access, and the expropriation of land by settlements and the separation barrier, total agricultural output has been seriously damaged. The proportion of GDP earned from agriculture fell from 28 percent to 5.6 percent in the past 20 years.
The Israeli army has rejected claims that it has neglected its legal obligation under international law as the occupying power to protect Palestinian civilians and property. It has repeatedly stated that it works to protect Palestinians and their crops during harvest. “The army, the Civil Administration and other relevant organizations are taking every possible effort to secure the olive harvest,” Israeli army spokesman Eytan Buchman told The Media Line. Facts on the ground and in the courts suggest otherwise. The Israeli NGO Yesh Din has reported that out of the 162 complaints they have lodged about settler attacks on Palestinian trees since 2005, only one suspect has been indicted. The recurrent high levels of violence directed at both Palestinian farmers and their crops is indicative of a pervasive culture of impunity; perpetrators have reason to believe that the Israeli state will not charge them.
The destruction of olive trees is not only economically burdensome for the West Bank economy and its people, but also represents an affront symbolically and culturally. The age-old Palestinian family tradition of harvesting olives and maintaining the trees for the next generations is desecrated annually. While the olive tree has become a symbol of Palestinian steadfastness, the Israeli occupation has in turn become characterized by its destruction.
All this is non sense.Delete
Of course, wills are written by the living. But wills are an attempt to give your children stuff at no cost to yourself; they get it only when you can't use it. That doesn't seem so laudable, really. I might admire someone who gives their stuff away while they're alive. But really, there is no such thing as a "generous bequest".
I don't see by what right people should be allowed to order living people how to dispose of their stuff after they're beyond caring. I think people should be allowed to make generous gifts while they're still alive, without gift tax. (Though I think the recipients of those gifts should have to pay income tax on it; I don't understand why we'd want to tax income people get by working, but not income people get by being born. Being born is about the most tax-inelastic thing you can think of.) But once people are dead, then I can make a pretty compelling case that in a modern economy where extended families are not a major economic unit, there's little justice case for inheritance.
To wit: the living person was entitled to dispose of their assets, but they are no longer living, and are not entitled to anything except an undisturbed grave. Since they are out of the picture, we must look to the heirs.
Do they deserve to inherit? By virtue of what? Being born? Having parents? Maybe they put up with their parents, and their parents were difficult, even terrible. But if the parents wanted to pay someone to put up with them, they could have done so when they were alive. And no matter how awful your parents were, "putting up with them" doesn't seem so terrible that it should entitle you to all their stuff, tax free. Even if your mom is Joan Crawford, I can pretty much guarantee that foster care or institutionalization would have been worse. Why not give the stuff to those kids? Because they were unlucky enough to be forced to endure their abuse from poor people?
Inheritance not only hands people valuable income in return for something we don't really want to further reward--being born lucky--but also, in doing so, it entrenches the least attractive feature of our economy: the fact that people who are born to affluent parents are much more likely to themselves be affluent than children born to the less well-heeled. Lack of economic mobility is generally regarded as a bad thing that we should combat.
Yet so many of our institutions, from the geographic organization of our schools, to the financial distribution of our inheritances, reinforce it. Some of those things are not going away (we should not, and will not, order affluent people to move into poor school districts, or shut down research universities for conferring unfair advantages on the mostly affluent students who have the ability to gain admission). But what are the social benefits that inheritance conveys to offset its drawbacks? I think they have to be pretty large to justify letting dead people order us to perpetuate the economic status quo.
So I can make a moral case for a 100% estate tax. Which is, in some sense, what Kevin Drum is doing when he advocates "letting the dead pay for Medicare". He would make Medicare a senior creditor on estates; the government would get first crack at all the assets until the bill for all the Medicare services consumed has been repaid, or the estate runs out of money.
In most cases, the government would take everything. And it's a superficially attractive policy--the idea that you're entitled to free health care from the government, and to leave your children a tidy inheritance, seems faintly ludicrous to me, for all that many Americans embrace it.
But there may be practical drawbacks; we might lose any social benefits that inheritance currently conveys. Let’s think about the possible problems with our estate confiscation.
The first is the bevy of objections about family businesses and farms that is always raised when the estate tax comes up. These are bigger problems than Democrats admit, but they're not insurmountable problems, and they're not really all that common. Facilitate the transfer of these companies while the business owner is alive, or set up a trust with the kids. Or set up a special exemption for the family-owned-and-operated business--which includes a provision that the business has to still be operated by the family five years later, or tax and penalties are owed. Yes, this will create some bad situations--the crippled and broke business owner who can't sell because he'd owe too much tax. But if you discard the assumption that said business owner had a right to get a valuable business for free, this doesn't really seem that desperately unjust. I'm wiling to leave family firms and family farms intact because there's some compelling benefit for society in having them cross generations. I am not willing to do so simply because people like getting stuff for free--this is that great paradox, a truth so universal that it is a completely useless guide to policy.
The second is sentimental items: family homesteads, Grandma's engagement ring. I'm not worried about the latter; one way or another, by the time the probate court gets involved, small sentimental items with poor paper trails will have vanished. I'm basically okay with this. The latter is more troublesome, but we cannot build an entire tax policy around the principle that "nothing sad will ever happen." In these days of labor mobility and agribusiness, there are very few precious family homesteads that have been in the family for 200 years. Your childhood beach home is no doubt a special place, but I’m not sure there’s a policy interest in making sure that your grandchildren, too, can vacation there.
The third is disabled kids; many parents want to set up trusts for them. This seems like a job for a large life-insurance policy and a dedicated trust established now.
But these aren't the problems that worry me. The practical problems I fret about involve the structure and level of economic activity. Does the estate tax discourage people from working or saving? Does it create distortions in the way that we structure firms, investment portfolios, or our lives?
I don't have an answer to that. Without an estate tax, parents probably work harder and longer (Warren Buffett does it just for love, but not so all the owners of 7-11 franchises and button factories). But kids probably work less hard. That's probably a net loss to the economy, since successful parents are on average more productive than their children, but how big is the loss? Could that loss be offset if we used the 100% estate tax to fund dramatic reductions in income or capital taxes?
Saving is even more problematic. Kevin doesn't think that many people would spend down their estates to avoid his Medicare tax, but I think he's grossly underestimating the chances. There's already quite a large problem with people structuring their estates to get around Medicaid restrictions to qualify for subsidized nursing home care; we don't see more of it arguably because only a minority of seniors end up in nursing homes, and not all of them are there long enough to make a significant dent in their assets. By contrast, roughly 100% of seniors get Medicare. I think people will make very different decisions about spending, saving, and gifting if they know that there's no hope of leaving anything to the kids. And our economy is already far too heavily biased towards consumption.
Then there are the distortions. Life insurance is the obvious one; people might start liquidating their estates to buy insurance. (It's no surprise that insurance companies are heavy lobbyists on the estate tax issue). We want life insurance to be tax free, because it's supposed to take care of dependents who would otherwise be left destitute--it's a replacement for lost income, not a capital gain. But we don't want to funnel all of our nation's assets into terrible whole life policies. And that's the least offensive of the ways that people might start structuring around a substantial estate tax, up to and including renouncing their citizenship.
Plus, adults hoping to be left something in the will might be performing valuable services for society, like visiting Mom in the nursing home to make sure that they haven't tied her to a bed and left her to die. (on the other hand, there are the rich people who get tied to a bed and left to die by their heirs so that they won't be able to change the will. Which effect is more powerful?) The trend towards a society based more on interactions with strangers, less on kinship ties, is generally a good one. But the family still serves useful functions that we don't want to get rid of. If we mess with inheritance, are we disrupting an institution that's tremendously important to both individuals and to society?
Then there's the question of where the money goes. Do we want the government owning a substantial portion of the nation's asset base? Or liquidating estates at fire sale prices? (Maybe, to the latter; it's not clear that this would make the economy worse off, and it might lead to more efficient allocations of capital that currently languishes inside family trusts or firms.)
These are all complicated empirical questions without obvious answers. Most of the really absurdly high estate taxes in the world have been either repealed or ignored. On the other hand, estate taxes long predate capitalism, and capitalism emerged anyway, so modest taxes are fairly customary and obviously not crippling.
So while I can make a moral case for the 100% estate tax, I'm more leery of the practical case. We are back at Chesterton's Fence:
In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, "I don't see the use of this; let us clear it away." To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: "If you don't see the use of it, I certainly won't let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it."
This paradox rests on the most elementary common sense. The gate or fence did not grow there. It was not set up by somnambulists who built it in their sleep. It is highly improbable that it was put there by escaped lunatics who were for some reason loose in the street. Some person had some reason for thinking it would be a good thing for somebody. And until we know what the reason was, we really cannot judge whether the reason was reasonable. It is extremely probable that we have overlooked some whole aspect of the question, if something set up by human beings like ourselves seems to be entirely meaningless and mysterious. There are reformers who get over this difficulty by assuming that all their fathers were fools; but if that be so, we can only say that folly appears to be a hereditary disease. But the truth is that nobody has any business to destroy a social institution until he has really seen it as an historical institution. If he knows how it arose, and what purposes it was supposed to serve, he may really be able to say that they were bad purposes, that they have since become bad purposes, or that they are purposes which are no longer served. But if he simply stares at the thing as a senseless monstrosity that has somehow sprung up in his path, it is he and not the traditionalist who is suffering from an illusion.
It's quite possible that a 100% estate tax--or some near equivalent such as Kevin proposes--would be entirely fine. But I'm not sure I understand all the roles that inheritance is playing in our economy, and our lives--which means that I'm fairly sure I don't know what the effects will be. So I’m hesitant to impose such a tax, even though on principle I think it’s a fine idea.
All horse shit.Delete
With banks due to reopen on Thursday, Cyprus is finalizing capital control measures to prevent a run on the banks. Meanwhile, the euro currency has hit a four-month low in response to the bailout crisis.ReplyDelete
The troubled eurozone nation Cyprus on Wednesday scrambled to finalize capital controls to avert a run on banks, a day before they are due to reopen. Banks have been closed on the island for nearly two-weeks while the country secured a huge bailout.
Finance Minister Michael Sarris said he expected the control measures, which aim to limit foreign transactions and capital outflows but not the movement of money within the country itself, to be ready by Wednesday afternoon.
"Banks will open on Thursday ... We will look at the best way to limit the possibility of large sums of money leaving, and not imposing punitive conditions on the economy, businesses and individuals," Sarris said in a Cyprus television interview.
They're out of their ever-loving, cotton-picking minds.ReplyDelete
I'm going back to bed; later.
Well, boobie paid $38,000 in taxes.ReplyDelete
His candidate for President, Mitt Romney, pays an average of 14% of his income in Federal Taxes, let US assume boobie pays the same rate. Makes boobie's "Net Taxable" income right around $230,000 for 2012.
boobie supports the US role in foreign adventures, supports maintaining 12 Carrier Battle Groups and over 750 military bases spread around the globe while he has not seen a farm subsidy program he objects to.
He does object to providing financial help to low income US citizens in obtaining health care services, but not to corporate entities deducting their employees health care expenses, or those employees obtaining the health care benefits tax free.
So, it seems that boobie is netting just shy of $20,000 a month.Delete
Since the average hourly US worker is putting in about 35 hours a week, 4 weeks a month ...
140 hours @ $25 per hour...
Makes boobie a comparable $140 an hour.
Four and half times the average US hourly worker ...
And he pleads poverty.
Betcha he collects and cashes his monthly welfare check from the Federals, and does not object to Medicare.Delete
His subsidies and welfare reciepts ...
$1,200 per month in SS, and a subsidy of around $1,000 per month on his health insurance.
$2,200 a month, give or take. 12 months per year. $16,800 in Federal benefits.
boobie's net net tax ... $11,200
A net rate of around 7%
Actually, it'd be a net tax rate of around 5% that boobie is actually paying.Delete
Not even close, crapper. I wish, is all I can say.Delete
I actually get a little less than $600 a month in social security, which goes in my wife's bank account. She gets about the same. There is no income from the farm right now, other than 1/3 of 30 some acres of alfalfa. Try eating on that.
I am beginning to wish I were on welfare.Delete
You are - it is just called Social Security.Delete
That 100% estate tax is a pretty radical idea. Pretty darn socialist - everything reverts to the estate.
While I think it is a good idea to limit generational transfers of wealth (the rich tend to get richer) there is much to be said about thinking beyond ones lifetime. In particular farming benefits from a multigenerational approach as it encourages the farmer to farm sustainably instead of exploiting the land for the short term.
You file jointly, boobie.Delete
Her $600 and your $600, that equals $1,200 to your join income.
Exactly what I said it was.
You are on welfare. You are one of the drones. Perhaps if Social Security were means tested you would not get it, but it is not.
Your welfare payment of $1,200 and your health care subsidy of $1,000 per month all stand as correct.
Whine away about the injustice of it all.
You will garner little sympathy amongst the knowledgeable.
I am still up. But wait a minute. I paid into Social Security did I not. I remember doing it. How is this welfare then?Delete
everything reverts to the estate. Should not that be state, not estate
Your third paragraph makes some sense.
I want to see your tax returns, crapper.Delete
My wife worked all her life, it is her money.
This place has become insane. Talking about seizing all ones assets at death.
I demand we all put our tax returns on the table here!Delete
You paid taxes in the past. Okay.Delete
You receive welfare now.
The taxes you paid in the past were not a promise of benefits in the future.
That was decided by the SCOTUS, back in 1960.
Your Social Security check is Federal welfare, pure and simple.
The money to pay you each month, borrowed.
You are at the core of the Federal budget problem, not the solution.
Come on, let's open all our banks accounts. I get zero from uncle Sam now, though I did get some when farming. Other than my social security, I am Sam free now.ReplyDelete
What do you get from uncle Sam, Rat, and you Deuce, and you, Rufus?
With your military backgrounds there must be something.Delete
All the rest of my income is from own effort, no government involvement at all. I want this to go to my kids, thank you.
It is called 'Libertarianism'.Delete
I am going to bed with Rufus, but not in the same bed.Delete
When I broke my hip, my own insurance paid for it. It was a huge price. I still have my own insurance. I don't know if I am on Medicaid now, I may be, I am of that age. My wife looks after it.Delete
No, boobie, the short military service does not a lifetime check make.Delete
Perhaps if one is injured in the service of the Republic there is compensation, I am not aware of how that works. Health care through the VA, which you disdain as worse than no health care at all, I am told is available.
But personally there are no government checks on a regular basis. Every time I have dabbled in a Federal subsidy program there were inherent losses greater than the subsidies. So, I no longer act as an agent of the BLM is adopting out the 35,000 "Wild Horses" they have housed in feedlots around the country. Eight of those projects were more than enough. Dealing with the civil service workers ...
How in the world can you comment, continually, about things you admit to having no knowledge of?ReplyDelete
I assume I qualify for medicare as everyone else my age. My wife takes care of it.Delete
Why in the world do you continually attack me?
I knew you would, when it got into money, of which I have very little.
How much do you get from the Feds, now, in the past, and in the future?
Open your account for us.
I am not aware of how that works. Health care through the VA, which you disdain as worse than no health care at all, I am told is available.Delete
How in the world can you comment, continually, about things you admit to having no knowledge of?
Anyway, Dale is dead, outta here, missing, no longer in action, phrase Jesus used for death, I have read, means, absent here, present elsewhere.
The VA just seemed a little slow to me. Not that Dale cares now.
I am in sympathy with your frustrations of working with the Feds, though. My experience is it is mostly not worth it.
You volunteered the information.
You wanted to be an example.
There is no reason for others to be a dumb as you are, just because your debate tactics blowback.
I am not aware of how that works. Health care through the VA, which you disdain as worse than no health care at all, I am told is available.Delete
How in the world can you comment, continually, about things you admit to having no knowledge of?
All I have really said here is that I think the idea of the government confiscating ones wealth at death is not a 'Libertarian' idea.
boobie, you wanted to know if military service got a fella a check for life.Delete
It does not.
As to other benefits, I admit not knowing, but only commented upon comments about those benefits you have mentioned previously. VA medical being judged inadequate for you and yours. So even if those benefits are available, they are to be considered substandard, as you previously written.
I like wills.ReplyDelete
Every year, the International Federation of Health Plans — a global insurance trade association that includes more than 100 insurers in 25 countries — releases survey data showing the prices that insurers are actually paying for different drugs, devices, and medical services in different countries. And every year, the data is shocking.ReplyDelete
The IFHP just released the data for 2012. And yes, once again, the numbers are shocking.
This is the fundamental fact of American health care: We pay much, much more than other countries do for the exact same things. For a detailed explanation of why, see this article. But this post isn’t about the why. It’s about the prices, and the graphs.
One note: Prices in the United States are expressed as a range. There’s a reason for that. In other countries, prices are set centrally and most everyone, no matter their region or insurance arrangement, pays pretty close to the same amount. In the United States, each insurer negotiates its own prices, and different insurers end up paying wildly different amounts. That’s what Steven Brill’s explosive article was about, and it’s why you see U.S. prices expressed as a range rather than a single number.
"Shocking? or "Sickening?" I can't decide how to describe these graphs
If we extended Medicare out to cover all Americans (and, at the same time, allowed them to negotiate drug prices ala the rest of the world) we would have, on average, better coverage for a hell of a lot less money.Delete
Today’s Graph of the Day will tell a story that will be repeated more regularly in coming months and years – the growing impact of solar and wind energy in countries such as Germany.ReplyDelete
This comes from Sunday (March 24) and shows that in the middle of the day, more than half of Germany’s electricity output came from wind and solar. Two things are striking – one is the amount of solar capacity produced on a day in early spring, with nearly 20GW at its peak. The second is the consistent contribution of wind energy, which accounted for more than 25 per cent of the overall output throughout the day.
Imagine, then, what will happen when Germany doubles the amount of wind and solar production, as it plans to do within the next decade. On days like this, there will simply be no room for fossil fuel production – the so-called “base load”. Any coal or gas fired generation that remains will need to be capable of being switched on and off on demand. The base load/peakload model will be turned on its head – to be replaced by dispatchable and non dispatchable generation. Fossil fuels will be required just to fill in the gaps.
Re graph: The yellow bit is solar production, the light green is wind, and the grey is “conventional” – which includes coal, gas and nuclear, as well as biomass and hydro.
Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2013/03/27/germanys-electricity-split-march-24-actual-vs-planned-charts/#DymS6uCIy6j0DsYa.99
I demand we all put our tax returns on the table here!
While I don't go out of my way to do it, I take every dollar I can get from the FEDS. The whole system from control of the economy to taxes is set up as a zero sum game over which most of us have very little control. You'd be a fool to take less than you can get.
WRT the estate tax, a 100% tax is as stupid as no tax at all. The current tax structure seems about right or, at least reasonable, IMO. Given the exemptions and the progressive nature of the tax, only about 0.2 % of people are subject to the tax and most of them pay less than the maximum rate. It brings in a little over $20 billion a year.
Arguing over it is a waste of time.
We now have two votes not to give all our money to the government.ReplyDelete
Cyprus's government raced Wednesday to prepare for its banks' scheduled reopening after a two-week hiatus, announcing temporary capital controls to prevent deposits from fleeing the weakened institutions.ReplyDelete
Amid fears that nervous savers could descend on the island's banks, the government rolled out aggressive curbs, expected to last at least a week and possibly much longer, on cash flows out of the country. The island's central bank was also stockpiling billions of euros of banknotes late Wednesday to cope with demand the following day, officials said.
Mayor Baba hopes the images will serve another purpose. “I imagine there are people around the world who also want to see the tragic aftermath of the nuclear accident,” he says in a video released to mark the Google project, translated by Japanese news blog RocketNews 24.ReplyDelete
“So I hope these images reach the rest of the world through Street View.
He says he wants the imagery to become “a permanent record of what happened” to his town. "Those of us in the older generation feel that we received this town from our forbearers, and we feel great pain that we cannot pass it down to our children.”
Nuclear power ...Delete
Unsafe At Any Speed
Don't build nuclear power stations on a vulnerable coast!Delete
They already have, boobie.Delete
All along the Rim of Fire, from southern California all the way to Japan and China.
The damage is done, the day of reckoning just has not arrived, yet,
Yes, crapper, we already know that!Delete
More Tales of the Imperial Presidency,
Last May, Obama visited Afghanistan to sign what the White House called “a legally binding executive agreement” concerning the structure of future U.S.-Afghan relations, U.S. commitments to Afghan security and an anticipated U.S. presence beyond 2014. The agreement calls Afghanistan a “Major Non-NATO Ally.” Congress was not formally consulted about this, but Afghanistan’s parliament voted on it.
Noting that, in foreign as well as domestic policy, Obama is “acutely fond of executive orders designed to circumvent the legislative process,” Webb recalls that in 2009 the administration said it would return from the United Nations’s Copenhagen conference on climate change with a “binding” commitment for an emission-reduction program. So Webb wrote to remind the president that “only specific legislation agreed upon in the Congress, or a treaty ratified by the Senate, could actually create such a commitment.”
Webb notes that presidents now act as though they have become de facto prime ministers, unconstrained by the separation of powers. This transformation was dramatized in the Libya intervention:
I think the prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu, not universally liked here, though I like the guy, is more constrained in his decisions than our President. To make a really big binding decision, he has to have a positive vote in the inner cabinet. It is not as if Netanyahu decides to do this, or do that. It is a group decision.Delete
Perhaps we can learn something from the Knesset.
How can we learn something from the Knesset, Bob?Delete
Because it is the parties in the Knesset that form the government, and get folks in the inner government, to be dissolved at will. For another election.
On the other hand..........our Constitution.........
Perhaps we can learn something from the Knesset.Delete
Perhaps we can learn something from the Idaho Legislature about not taking our property away.Delete
Deuce, there may be some kind of medical intervention available for you, It may not be too late.
Since mid-March, a Dutch Internet hosting company has reportedly been waging the largest publicly known denial of service attack in history. But a McAfee security expert told The Times the attack probably won't slow down Internet transmission speeds for regular users.ReplyDelete
Spamhaus, a European nonprofit organization that works to block spam from the Internet, has been the target of an attack by CyberBunker for about two weeks now. CyberBunker, which says it will host any type of website with the exception of material related to terrorism and child pornography, decided to attack Spamhaus after being added to the nonprofit's blacklist of sites that are blocked by spam filters.