The Financial Predators Among Us.

Just saw the Wolf of Wall Street http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iszwuX1AK6A and though it was billed as some kind of comedy but it really is an indictment of our financial system. The movie is based on the true story of a convicted stock market swindler named Jordan Belfort. This story is what underfunded regulatory agencies deal with and how the investor gets bilked while the criminal financial brokers continue to long win before they're caught (if ever). Recently Barron's weekly did a piece on Mr. Belfort. Turns out Jordan served 28 months of a 42 month sentence from his 1999 conviction. On top of that he was to pay $110 million plus interest in restitution, half of any future earnings. So far he's paid $1.2 million. He's now living in a mini-mansion overlooking the ocean in California driving a Mercedes SL. He's landed a job as a motivational speaker earning five figures teaching others how to sell. You can probably guess who his clientele is.

Wall Street is full of these characters, working to sell you anything for their own personal gain. No better than a used car salesmen. Here in Toledo I've run into several small firms who work their "clients" in similar ways. Most are able to skirt the law but are, I believe, not working in the best interests of their clients. I've actually sat next to a seminar guest who was excited in the unregulated REIT product the financial planner was hawking. This guest was a retired school superintendent from a nearby city south of Toledo. I raised the issue of the product as being unregulated at this dinner and was never invited back. Another time I had a "Planner" host a wonderful dinner while being sold a oil lease limited partnership. Really looking back on it I should of been insulted by their thinking I would buy this crap but I said no thanks and thanked them for the wonderful five star dinner at a local golf course. Remember Bernie Madoff? His only major crime was he stole from rich people and that alone brought down the house but it took years. If you're a little fish these guys many times get away with it. Belfort stole from the Middle-class and got away with most of it. The big Wall Street Banks stole trillions from the American people resulting in the crash of 2008 and none went to prison. So what I'm saying is buyer beware! Don't be taken in with the shiny shoes and the fancy office, homes and cars. Hell I know one planner who rents his home in a ritzy suburb.
~Above is the opinion of the writer~

No votes yet

JPMorgan Doesn’t Want to Talk About Bernie Madoff
http://www.newsweek.com/jpmorgan-doesnt-want-talk-about-bernie-madoff-22...

Here are select excerpts:

Bernard Madoff’s principal bank, JPMorgan Chase, has for years obstructed federal bank examiners trying to ascertain what it knew about his gigantic Ponzi scheme, an official document obtained by Newsweek shows.

The Justice Department refused in September to back up Treasury inspector general staff who wanted a court order to enforce a subpoena, in effect shielding JPMorgan from law enforcement, the October 8 document shows.

The Justice Department told the Treasury Inspector General “that they were denying the request for enforcement of the subpoena,” which means officials “could not undertake further actions regarding this matter,” wrote Jason J. Metrick, the inspector general special-agent-in-charge.

Newsweek got the memo from The Government Attic website, which on Tuesday will publish it and other documents of closed inspector general investigations released under the Freedom of Information Act. The Treasury Inspector General still wants Justice to seek a court order enforcing the civil subpoena, IG general counsel Richard Delmar told Newsweek Monday. Congress does not give the inspector general independent authority to enforce the law, Delmar noted, so “if the Justice Department does not go to court then we are not in court.”

Then this:

DOJ declined to enforce Bernie Madoff-related subpoena of J.P. Morgan: document
http://blogs.marketwatch.com/thetell/2013/12/27/doj-declined-to-enforce-...

So how's that deregulated world of finance working out for the average American?

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

Question, Mr So-Called-Independent: How many bankers responsible for the 2008 collapse, have been investigated, tried and jailed by Obama's Dept. of Justice?

I'll help you along by hinting the answer rhymes with "zero".

This is what happens when unions get weak and both parties get their campaign cash from Wall Street This really got going when Reagan gave these huge tax breaks to the wealthy. 80% of our markets are owned by the top 10%. Clinton perfected this unholy alliance with Dems and Wall Street. Now Obama has carried his torch with Rubin and Summers. Do I agree with this? Hell no its dangerous for people like you and me. Oh don't forget the Republican party is rolling in this cash. So don't think for a minute they represent you any better then a Democrat. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acLW1vFO-2Q

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

I fail to see how a union being stronger would cause more people to be prosecuted. Banks and financial institutions are not unionized for one. Additionally, the administration is sympathetic to the unions plight. If no prosecutions have occurred it's probably because the union is too busy trying to get exempted from Obamacare.

"Oh don't forget the Republican party is rolling in this cash." The Republican party does not have prosecutor discretion here. That falls under the Justice Dept meaning the Obama administration. If any indictments have or have not been executed it remains solely on the administration which is not Republican.

Do you even understand how our government works? Apparently you are confused about it. Maybe you should talk to a local Civics teacher.

MikeyA

Do I need to explain this? No I think most can figure this out.

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

Well judging by GZ and my responses... YES.

DUH!

MikeyA

Um, how exactly does "unions are weak" translate into a criminal President who refuses to prosecute his banking criminal buddies?

What next absurdity are you going to claim, that without unions we're going to lose voting rights? People use the VOTE to put good men into office and secure the public space. We used the VOTE long before unions came onto the scene.

This issue doesn't involve unions at all. They're totally irrelevant. The thing that IS relevant is 50+ million Liberals who kept voting for that crooked fucker from Chicago or Kenya or wherever he came from.

Hey, Mr So-Called-Independent, have you made sure you have no funds invested in Wall Street? I mean 401k, pension funds, stock funds, etc.

Because if you don't, you're the worst sort of hypocrite. Like most of the Boomers.

How does complaining about corruption and greed on Wall Street while having investments make one a hypocrite? Shouldn’t we expect those who handle our investments to be honorable?

You can't be this dumb.

The people who put their money into Wall Street expect the highest possible return.

Don't lie to my fucking face and tell me you don't.

Well, high returns are achieved by cheating and vicious behavior. That comes right back around and closes your local factory and moves it to Mexico even when the factory was making a profit anyway... just not enough profit.

EVERYONE who puts their money into Wall Street have no call whatsoever to criticize same for its behavior. You can't benefit from crime and then claim the crime should be contained, oh let me see now, contained later and in some way and make sure you have more oversight and blah blah self-serving BLAH. And then you collect another big profit from the same vicious behavior by the same pack of crooks who merely shift gears slightly and commit essentially the same financial crimes.

No, really, get this if you get anything: YOU'RE A HYPOCRITE. Dead right. You imagine your hands are clean but your money's filthy as fuck.

Sorry zero, you’re the dumb one. Those of us participating in the market deserve to have it work without corruption. Good sound business practices can and do exist. Bad ones need to go. That’s why it is right, and not hypocritical, to speak up against corruption in the market, even while participating in the market. Capitalism can and should work without shadiness. High return is not always the result of cheating and corruption. Get a dictionary and look up the definition of hypocrite and try to learn something today.

"High return is not always the result of cheating and corruption."

One of the most false statements to ever have been made on this website.

Madoff produced fat returns for his clients. Remember what happened to that?

The pressure from investors like you, is what produces all the fraud. Even today, financial fraud is prosecuted so rarely and so ineffectually that there's still a huge incentive to do it.

Incentives. You need to understand that word.

And you're still a hypocrite. Your words mean nothing, since your filthy lucre is doing its grisly work on Wall Street. You can't have it both ways. And by trying to, the corruption just continues and I'm going to keep calling you a moron for it.

Count on it. You're the problem here. You and the rest of the fools who play the Wall Street game at arm's length, as if that makes you clean.

One of my best investments was made after the 2000 election. I correctly observed that with an oil man as President, oil companies would go quite well. I purchased some Exxon-Mobil. As of yesterday, my investment is up 371.22%!
Now, what would be hypocritical would be for me to oppose legislation to better control oil companies and/or large corporations. I have never taken such a position. But, I recognize the reality of the political and economic situation. I find it quite ironic, in fact, that dividends from my oil stocks (yes, I have others, now) pay for the cost of gas for my wife and me.

Unlike what many posters here may believe of me, I strongly believe in our economic system. Although I call the stock market organized, legalized gambling, I have been investing in the equity markets for about 45 years. Our system has problems, it's true. But, so far, it's better than any other system. I do see ways I think it could be made better, but bringing about the changes necessary would take great change in the dominance of those with extreme wealth. Meanwhile, I'll play their game and try to benefit the best I can in my own tiny way. Meanwhile, Willard and his friends will make tens and hundreds of millions, while I make a few thousand.

Graph of the day: Who benefits from a stock-market boom?
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/03/11/graph-of-the-...
Research finding that just 10 percent of Americans own about 80 percent of the stock wealth in the United States.

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

Why don't you answer GZ's question?

MikeyA

He can't. It's too hypocritical to expose himself that way. Boomers are the worst of the lot. They expect huge returns from their Wall Street investments, then somehow imagine that factories won't be closing and moving overseas in order to sustain those huge returns.

Mr Not-So-Independent is just another demented Boomer who can't admit he's fully half of the problem. His generation pushed billions into the stock market and then acted all surprised when all this corruption arose. Look, when you go down the street and spy a $20 bill on the ground, you expend the effort to walk over and pick it up. That's a huge return on your investment. To a money manager and broker, it's really quite similar... cheat a little, and reap so much money that it makes your parents' lifetime earnings seem like a pittance. The pressure of all that money in so few places, makes it too rewarding to cheat or be otherwise vicious enough to eke out another 0.1% return.

And there's no oversight worth mentioning. The SEC is a joke. The Madoff Affair should have put paid to the idea that the SEC is for oversight. The SEC instead is there to harm small investors, by giving them a false sense of security. This benefits the major market players, who by no mean coincidence have a revolving door policy with the SEC. The SEC should be disbanded since it does much more harm than good. The real investment environment today is essentially unregulated and we should make that perfectly clear by clearing off the camouflage.

Ullico was caught up in a second conflict of interest scandal in 2002. In June 1998, the New York City local of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America hired Zenith Administrators, a former Ullico subsidiary, to oversee the union's $1.7 billion pension and benefit funds. In 2002, federal prosecutors and the United States Department of Labor investigated the company for allegedly obtaining the contract through the influence of international union president Douglas J. McCarron—who was a director of Ullico. The Labor Department ended up suing Ullico and Zenith Administrators for mismanaging the union's funds
A larger and more significant scandal also occurred in 2002, in which Ullico officers and directors were accused of engaging in insider dealing, stock price manipulation and other offenses.
In 1997, Gary Winnick, founder of telecommunications company Global Crossing, gave ULLICO officers and directors the chance to buy shares of his new company at substantially lower prices than offered to the public. All but two of Ullico's directors purchased 33 million shares for $7.6 million (or about 23 cents a share), with Ullico buying additional stock. Global Crossing went public, and the stock soared to $62 a share in 1999. This netted Ullico about $1.1 billion in profit.[8]

For a variety of reasons, Global Crossing's stock price then began to decline sharply.[8]

In December 1999, Georgine offered Ullico's officers and directors a chance to participate in its Global Crossing profits. Under Ullico's bylaws, Ullico officers and board members had the right to buy and sell Ullico stock. Georgine sent a confidential letter to board members inviting them to sell their Global Crossing shares and use the proceeds to purchase up to 4,000 Ullico shares at the then-current price of $53.94. The increase in Global Crossing share price had not yet been recorded by Ullico's auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers. Unlike publicly traded companies, Ullico only set its stock price once a year, based on its prior year book value. When it was, the auditors were sure to recommend a significantly higher Ullico share price. Under the bylaws, the board members could then authorize a share repurchase plan. Board members would be able to redeem their Ullico shares at the higher price. When the Ullico shares were re-priced later to reflect the now-worthless Global Crossing shares, the company's stock price would return to near its previous level. It was a chance to sell their tumbling Ullico shares.[8][9][10]
Here's the rest of the story if you have the time....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Labor_Life_Insurance_Company ULICo by the way is a UNION company founded by the AFL.

Any statement I make is the opinion of me exercising my first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and is generally permitted.

I just read in the Washington Post that the Affordable Care Act includes a bailout provision for insurance companies should an insufficient number of young-and-healthies choose not to enroll. This has to disconcerting for Obama fans. The info was in a Krauthammer column, so it may appear in the Blade in a day or two.

Patience is a great virtue.

Thanks Don for the indicator. As you know, we had to pass the bill to find out what was in it, to use Pelosi-speak.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-stop-the-bail...

"First, Section 1341, the “reinsurance” fund collected from insurers and self-insuring employers at a nifty $63 a head."

"Then there is Section 1342, the “risk corridor” provision that mandates a major taxpayer payout covering up to 80 percent of insurance-company losses."

I keep telling people that the insurance companies wrote the fucking thing, but they don't want to hear it. I disagree with Krauthammer on his intimation that the insurers are surprised by anything that's happening here. They wrote the bill, the wrote all the bribe checks to the Congress via their lobbyists, and if they don't have Obama's cellphone on their speed-dials, I'm the one truly surprised here. The insurers have the money (i.e. power), therefore they're driving all this. What the insurers don't drive, the govt follows up with, since it's the next big chuck of money (i.e. power). And the only one not represented here is the hapless middle class insured person... after all, the American middle class is really our weakest socio-economic class, since it has enough money to be worth targeting, but it's not enough money for it to defend itself against govt predation. In other words, the middle class is a big juicy cow, lacking fangs and horns.

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

I don't believe the insurance companies are driving this. Why would any industry want to see itself semi-nationalized? Once Obamacare became a certainty in their eyes, I believe, their motivation was to maintain some level of profitability now and well into the future, and to lobby hard to prevent their economic demise. The president apparently also understood that some extremely deep pockets needed to remain in play so that medical payouts can be made. Fortunately for the insurers, they had Wall Street and the automakers to point to as examples of too-big-to-fail.

Patience is a great virtue.

Because the industry is NOT being "semi-nationalized". The law forced 40 million Americans to buy the industry's product or service. That's direct self interest of the industry expressed as legal force. And they have all sorts of outs on the backside. The law even gives people money (from that massive source of free money, called government) so that these monstrous insurance premiums will seem less. Where do you think that money goes? To the insurers!

There's just too much paid self interest in Obamacare to conclude that the insurers didn't put their filthy hands in there to write it.

I can't wait until the next brainstorm in government will be outsourcing Medicare to the private insurers. Oh yeah there buddy, it's coming. Bank on it.

Despite what anyone may believe, Obama is far from stupid. The Clintons tried to implement a true national health care system in the 1990s, and that effort was destroyed by the health insurance industry. Since every other industrialized nation in the world has a true national health care system, such a system, run by government, can be efficient and effective. But Obama knew that he could never get a bill implementing this through congress.
At the same time, Obama knew that America had tens of millions of Americans who had no health insurance. He also knew that thousands of Americans were literally dying every year, many within walking distance of a hospital, because they were afraid to get treatment since they would be responsible for the entire bill. And a high percentage of these uninsured Americans were children, Now, almost all of the uninsured adults had jobs. They are often labeled "the working poor". They make too much money to receive Medicaid, but not enough to be able to afford health insurance. Despite the propaganda thrown around, America does NOT have "the best health care in the world." America has the most EXPENSIVE health care in the world. If you are fortunate enough to be able to access that very expensive health care, whether by paying for it, having it as part of your remuneration from your employer, being so poor that you do qualify for Medicaid, or being old enough that you qualify for Medicare and can afford the much less expensive supplemental insurance available to Medicare recipients, you will be well taken care of. If not, Obamacare is better than the system as it existed before Obamacare. But, it is a compromise position.
Why would a single-payer system, such as exists in nearly every other industrialized nation in the world, be better than either Obamacare or the previous system? A lot of anti-government people complain about the government bureaucracy. And they have every right to do so. But, what about the giant corporate bureaucracy, in this case represented by the health insurance industry. I have referred before to a friend of mine who may have died because an insurance bureaucrat first denied his application for the authorization for a life saving bone marrow transplant. He won his appeal, but his health deteriorated greatly while the appeal process played out, and he died despite having the operation. No one can prove that the delay killed my friend, but no one can prove that he would have died even if the transplant had been done when it was first requested.
In addition, someone I know well no longer has one of her asthma medications covered under her prescription plan. Some insurance bureaucrat has made the decision that that medication is not necessary, even though the patient's doctor believes it to be the best, most effective treatment for her.

In addition, very few cite the problem of improving the ability of America's international businesses to compete with their counterparts in other countries. Because those other countries have the government fund health care, businesses there do not have to fret about the cost of making health care part of the remuneration package for their employees. In addition, because these systems in other countries have held down the cost of health care, a lower percentage of their GDP goes into health care, leaving more resources for other private sector economic activities.

you have a lot of truth in your post. What we call Obamacare is a compromise, featuring the republican mandate, which insurance companies love. I especially like the way you pointed out how companies from other countries don’t have to worry about health care for their employees, and how it helps them compete. Think of how a single payer system would free up our economy and allow employees beholden to their employers for health insurance to branch out into businesses of their own.

If it's a compromise why did it not generate one republican vote? Not one. That's not the product of compromises.

No votes. Not in the House. Not in the Senate. No here. Not there. Not on a chair. Not in your hair. No Republican votes anywhere.

" Think of how a single payer system would free up our economy and allow employees beholden to their employers for health insurance to branch out into businesses of their own" Do you realize how big the Health care industry is? It's a 1.6 TRILLION dollar industry. It employs 16 million people. That's money that feeds the economy. That's jobs. When you nationalize it do you think it'll remain as large? If not, what happens to those jobs? We are already hearing of possible doctor shortages BECAUSE of obamacare.

MikeyA

This was a compromise with the health insurers who killed national health care in the 1990s. Since Republican votes were not needed to pass the legislation at the time, the Republicans made a political decision to not give the plan one single vote so they could use the issue in coming elections. Politically, this made a lot of sense, unless the program becomes a great success, heaven forbid!
You are right. The health care industry is huge...AND more expensive than in any other industrialized nation in the world!! A high percentage of those expenditures go into the insurance industry, almost all of that redundant and non-productive. Those resources could be better allocated to areas of our economy which would do more to help our GDP, and help our international industries to be more competitive. Such reallocation of limited resources could well add many more jobs than are lost in the insurance industry.

The doctor shortage is a red herring issue. This started decades ago when the prices to get advanced education started to soar, and medical malpractice insurance rates soared as well. Yes, Mikey, the insurance industry, along with the fact that we have a very litigious society, played a large role in why many people are turning away from becoming doctors. I saw Ben Carson on Fox the other day. How sad of him to complain about the high cost of medical education and how new doctors cannot get back the, in his words, "hundreds of thousands of dollars" they have to pay back in student loans. Why doesn't Dr. Carson point a finger at the high costs of higher education? How can high achieving students, who are neither poor nor at the very top of their class, afford to attend medical school after paying for college? That, not national health care, is the problem!
My brother was a doctor. He is now retired. I have one first cousin and one second cousin who are MDs. My second cousin left medicine about 20 years ago, mainly because of the high cost of maintaining his practice with the soaring cost of malpractice insurance. he was fortunate enough to be able to enter a thriving family business, but society lost a brilliant doctor! My first cousin was a top student who got into a special program at Northwestern University right out of high school. Within 6 years after high school, she was a doctor. My brother had a fellowship which helped to pay for medical school, even back in those "ancient" days when costs were more reasonable.

Dale, I agree with you on the premise of compromises but payingmyway was misleading by implying it was a compromise with the GOP. The mandate accepted isn't even the mandate the GOP suggested in the '90s and again in the mid 2000's.

On the issue of insurance the balooning costs you allude to. "My second cousin left medicine about 20 years ago, mainly because of the high cost of maintaining his practice with the soaring cost of malpractice insurance." Not just for doctors who must buy their own but the hospitals as well. That's why so many hospitals that used to be self-owned, gov't owned, or religious owned are now owned solely by an insurance company or mutated from the former to a variation of the latter i.e. a religious based insurance company. Obamacare does not attempt to solve this and this is the core problem. That is why it is an abject failure. It's not a website, it's not a mandate. It's because it doesn't solve the issue causing the problems.

MikeyA

No one said it was a compromise between the political parties. The law is compromised in favor of the insurance industry. A big reason it is “compromised” is because of the mandate forcing people to buy health insurance. I call it “a republican mandate” because the original idea of health insurance mandates started with republicans and right wing think tanks.

Note I didn't say you said it was I said you implied it.

Now you are saying I am incorrect in this. I'd like to know then who is the compromise between? Who were the two sides negiotiating this compromise? The Democrats and insurance companies? Democrats and Democrats?

You're telling me my assessment of your post is wrong so I'm asking these questions for clarification.

MikeyA

here is my opinion on what the compromise is, who it is between, and why.

The compromise is the mandate. It prevents a full- fledged single payer system by keeping the insurance industry involved in government run healthcare. It does this by forcing people to buy from private insurers. The compromise is therefore between anyone who has a mandate in their healthcare plan and the insurance industry. It could be the republicans in the case of Romneycare and several other plans proposed by the GOP over the years, or it could be the democrats in the case of Obamacare. Its origins are with the republicans and the Heritage Foundation since they were the first to come up with the mandate idea, and have historically been the ones trying to keep private business involved in government run healthcare.
When Romneycare first came out, The Heritage Foundation took full credit for it- mandate, penalty, and all. They said it “created a market”.

Thank you for clarifying.

I disagree only because Republicans like me have no problem with Romneycare. I've stated on here before I'd have no problem with 51 different variations of Romneycare across the country because I believe a program like that can be well managed in most states when kept at the state level. When you make it federal though it becomes a whole new ballgame in my opinion.

MikeyA

I can see your point, but I still think it can be done nationally as well.

How naive you appear to be on this issue! Did a bunch of states jump on board the Romneycare train after it was passed in 2006? NO! How long would it be before we had "51 different variations across the country?" And how many Americans would suffer and/or die needlessly waiting for their state to adopt such a program?
Point 2 -- To reinforce my first point, all states were given the option of creating their own insurance exchanges under Obamacare. Almost every one of those states run by Republicans, politicians who claim that they want more things done by the states and less done by the Federal Government, chose NOT to set up their own state exchanges, and let the FED do it for them. It doesn't surprise either you or me that, generally, the state exchanges, including one in California, the state with the largest population, are working more effectively than the national exchange.
IMHO -- This was nothing but a cold-hearted, political decision by Republican state leaders nationwide, to increase the odds that Obamacare would not be successful. The larger number of states which opted out of creating their own insurance exchanges, the greater the pressure on the national exchange. It was a good political strategy. It worked very well. For a short time, at least, it brought the national system to a grinding halt, NOT because the idea was unpopular, but, rather, because too many people were trying to access the national website.
Most republican politicians couldn't care less about Americans who suffer and die because they can't afford basic health care. Few Republicans leaders know people like this. Few Republican leaders ever encounter people like this. Most Republican leaders hobnob with the rich and super-rich most of their waking hours. Their biggest fear is that Obamacare will work well. That would be bad for Republican politicians and good for Democratic politicians. SCARY!! But, hey, that's politics in America!

Dale, you don't need to sell me on socialized medicine. We already have it, but it's the most deceitful and expensive form of SM ever invented.

Both the USA and France (which really have similar systems, with grossly differing results) have 20th Century health-care social orders that are not positioned for 21st Century realities. I didn't invent that line of thought. Paul Dutton expresses it well enough in his 2007 book, "Differential Diagnoses". But neither nation will make the required changes. Both have government and union/employer hooks far too deep in the status quo to ever let go in time to spare the destruction of the middle class.

As a Libertarian I advocate official socialized medicine since not only do we have it anyway, but it's the only rational way to allocate resources in a technological society in the First World. But rationality lost by a huge margin in the USA many decades ago, starting in WWII when employers took a much fuller role in citizen health care. Our system continues to avoid the only rational reform, and Obamacare just continues the trend of applying another leaky seal over the spurting losses of the system.

I must repeat: We already have socialized medicine. Go to a hospital in need, and you'll be patched up. It's too deeply encoded in American law for anyone to pretend that it will be any different. So let's just make it official, and in my considered opinion, constitutional. Federal forcing of Americans to buy a private product or service is clearly not in the US Constitution. We're so hell-bent on wrapping up our bleeding with more tape that we've finally stooped to breaking the US Constitution completely... the Roberts Decision having done so. (In short, the RD allows the federal govt infinite power now. The feds can force you to do anything, on pain of being taxed when you don't comply. So much for Obama's being a constitutional scholar.)

like Fascism than Socialism. We do agree that a single-payer national health care system would be better than the health care system either before or after Obamacare.

My proposal would be comparatively simple. Every 2 years starting in, say, 2017, we lower the age of eligibility for Medicare by 5 years. This would evolve the nation into a full Medicare system slowly, but inevitably. We would build upon a successful system which is already in place. And the health insurance providers would adjust to a new reality where they could still provide supplemental, secondary insurance.
Too simple, huh.

Facism and Socialism are government driven entities not corporation. That's the difference. You're distorting the definitions of facism and socialism.

"We do agree that a single-payer national health care system would be better than the health care system either before or after Obamacare." I totally disagree. You will not replace a 1.6 trillion dollar industry with a government 1.6 trillion dollar industry. That means money will be lost from the economy. That means of the 16 million employed by the healthcare industry many will lose their jobs. Our economy will tank. This is not a question of if. It will. You cannot replace 1.6 Trillion. The government CANNOT do it. Your single-payer fantasy land will bankrupt the US and cause a total collapse of the system.

MikeyA

1.6 TRILLION IS TOO MUCH MONEY!!!
AMERICA HAS THE MOST EXPENSIVE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM IN THE WORLD, BY FAR!!!
The current system and Obamacare do little to control costs. Every other industrialized nation in the world has national health care. We still have the largest natioInal economy in the world. We can afford to give health care to our people.
TRUE NATIONAL HEALTH CARE WOULD MAKE OUR BUSINESSES MORE COMPETITIVE!!!
Not having to offer primary health care insurance would allow companies to cut costs significantly, and compete more effectively in the global marketplace.
BEING MORE COMPETITIVE WILL CREATE MORE AMERICAN JOBS IN OTHER INDUSTRIES THAN ARE LOST IN THE HEALTH INSURANCE FIELD!!!
And finally:
AMERICANS ARE AMONG THE HARDEST WORKING PEOPLE IN THE WORLD. AMERICANS WORK LONGER HOURS AND MORE DAYS PER YEAR THAN ALMOST ANYONE ELSE WORLDWIDE!!
We need two things to be more competitive: one is lower health care costs; two is FAIR trade agreements with our main trading partners. No national leader, neither Democrat nor Republican, has negotiated well with our main trading partners. And congresses, one after another, have approved every one of them, with few notable dissenters, Marcy Kaptur being one of those!

First ours is a for-profit healthcare system while the rest of the world has a government system with lower costs and better outcomes.

Second we spend more on our military then all of the worlds industrialized nations put together.

Is it any wonder we can't afford healthcare?

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

We spend more on Social Security then both and that is a inherently racist and sexist institution.

MikeyA

What 1.6 Trillion gets you is innovation. The competition between insurance companies and also between drug companies creates both jobs and innovation. This is true in any industry.

We are the world leaders in medical innovation this is undeniable.

As an example, we have made several breakthroughs in AIDS and HIV research. In 1994-86 it was an epidemic with no signs of stopping and growing at an unprecedented rate. Now 30 years later we are showing both effective treatments and cures. This was previously unheard of, and American companies competition was driving factor.

Now I'm all about fixing the healthcare industry but Obamacare doesn't do it. Socialization does it at the expense of removing a large portion of our GDP and causing massive unemployment.

MikeyA

Let’s except the 1.6 trillion dollar figure for a minute. My next question would be how much of that is already government / taxpayer money? I know the government funds a lot of research. That government spending has to be creating jobs in the health industry somewhere. It is always assumed that government spending can’t create jobs. Hell, Haliburton has made a fortune off the government.

"Your single-payer fantasy land will bankrupt the US and cause a total collapse of the system."

By Mike, we have that system now. Except it runs on emergency care, which is the most expensive form of common care. Little if any prevention takes place.

We already have socialized medicine. We're just proposing we stop denying this truth as a culture, pull our heads out of the 1930s, and join the civilized world.

I propose that by making SM official, we put a stop to people replacing common care with emergency care. The ERs would refuse service to the currently long line of hopeless idiots going to the ER with a tummy ache, since there are other places which accept those people. We re-allocate resources so that just about the same workers exist in the system, but they are providing more diagnostic and preventative care, and not as much common and emergency care as it's done today. D&P care should be cheaper that C&E care. At the worst, you're spending the same money, but have healthier people. Less lives risked in the ERs.

Have you ever dealt with a questionable bill from a doctor? First, the doctor doesn't even talk to you about it, because the doctor does not deal directly with billing. Most practices have, depending upon the size of the practice, a billing office with a least a few employees to deal with the, more than 100, different insurance plans. Many practices hire an outside firm to handle billing for them. All of this costs mucho dinero.
But, then, we have the insurance bureaucracies themselves. They have a phalanx of people hired to administer plans, and others to field questions about these plans via phone and the internet.
If we went to a true, single-payer national health care system, most of these employees would be unnecessary. Yes. This would mean jobs lost. Yes. This would also mean money saved. The good news is that the savings from this would go into patients' pockets and into the "bottom line" of companies that currently offer comprehensive health care insurance to their employees. As I have already stated, this would make our industries more competitive in the global economy, translating into increased business and more jobs in fields outside of the health insurance industry.

One more time, with feeling: EVERY OTHER INDUSTRIALIZED NATION IN THE WORLD HAS NATIONAL HEALTH CARE. WE, AS THE WEALTHIEST NATION IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, CAN AFFORD IT, TOO!!

"WE, AS THE WEALTHIEST NATION IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, CAN AFFORD IT, TOO!!"

Actually, I take issue with this. Obviously from our federal budget being "balanced" only with heavy borrowing, we can't afford it. Affording things means reducing spending. As I love to point out to people, the top four expenses in the 2012 budget consumed 100% of the revenue... SS, military, Medicare/Medicaid (DHSS) and debt interest. Those are commonly treated as "untouchable".

Bankrupt people (and nations) can't be called wealthy. Nor are they in the position to determine if they can afford added expense, even re-allocated expense. You could sling half the federal military budget into health care and still be as bankrupt a nation as you were before. So healthcare among other hot-button issues is just a smokescreen. We're broke and we're addicted to borrowing. That's the real problem.

I repeat: U.S. GDP is higher than China and Japan, the #2 and #3 nations in GDP, COMBINED! The issue is how this GDP is distributed. We choose to allow the super-rich to dominate a system that is skewed toward further enriching them, and passing almost every penny down to future generations. In order to further limit common folks from reaching positions to challenge the future generations of the "chosen" rich, we price higher education beyond the affordable level for far too many of America's young people.

These are all political decisions. As long as we denigrate politics in this country, and greatly discourage a high percentage of common folks from voting, the use of money to control the system by the super-rich remains extremely effective.

Of course the issue is how the GDP is distributed. It will always be contended. But there's still too much spending. I've proven this again and again on this website by using the numbers across 67 years, from 1940 to 2007. The federal government budget grew at a much greater clip than the underlying economy did... about 8.5% yearly over that term than the 3.5% yearly that the economy could justify. That's about two and a half times faster.

Once we stop borrowing, and then start running true surpluses to pay down this debt burden significantly, then we can talk about distribution. But we can't even start that, can we? The Congress and President regardless of party affliation, refuse to start that. They insist on running deficit spending, often big deficits, regardless of economic need. Get it yet? The fault is firmly our own. The US voter only wants the major parties, which are the same party, insofar as control goes. Over 95% of voters consistently choose D or R. Any attempt to pull in anyone else is laughed at. Or threatened off the stage. We are to blame.

"We have met the enemy and he is us."
GZ -- You and I have many fundamental political disagreements, but we do agree that we, the people, are the real problem.
I do believe in the two party system. To me, the problem is that we don't get enough participation in the political process. That leaves a power vacuum. And we all know that nature hates a vacuum. As Churchill stated, "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for those others that have been tried from time to time."

Too many Americans just expect things to work, without ever getting involved. To quote Thomas Jefferson, "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it wants what never was and what never will be." And De Toqueville was the first to state, although it's been often stated by others, "In a democracy, people get the government the deserve." Just one more, the bible states, "...whatever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

Uploaded on Dec 21, 2009

On December 19th, 2009, a group of hardy Twin Cities' health care activists hiked .7 mile over frozen Lake Minnetonka to the shoreline in back of the mansion of United Health Care Insurance Company CEO Stephen Hemsley. Hemsley is also the former CFO for Arthur Anderson and is alleged to have been involved in the backdating of stock options by former United CEO William W. McGuire. Hemsley's profits are up and he's sitting on 3/4 billion dollars of stock options so the season looks bright and merry for him. But this is not true for thousands who cannot afford high insurance premiums.

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

Congratulations to Mr. Hemsley for his success. He apparently spent little time hiking across frozen lakes while in college and instead got his education, found a job, and worked his way up the corporate ladder. Now he is being rewarded by his board of directors for his work, isn't that the American dream? What separates Mr. Hemsley's current status from those who trekked across the ice......hard work, amibition, dedication. And besides his success he gives back to the community - He serves as a trustee of the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota, and as a trustee of Minnesota Public Radio. Additionally, he is a member of the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America, the organization's governing body

Any statement I make is the opinion of me exercising my first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and is generally permitted.

The U.S. Healthcare Bubble
http://www.thebubblebubble.com/healthcare-bubble/
What is larger than the UK’s entire economy, soaring in price, wildly profitable, the leading cause of personal bankruptcy, bankrupting the United States and a massive economic bubble that nobody has heard of yet? Healthcare in America.

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

Government Accountability Institute President Peter Schweizer points out that UnitedHealth Executive Vice President Anthony Welters raised over $500,000 for Obama in 2012. Wall Streeters expect UnitedHealth stock to rocket 40% over the next two years. UnitedHealth "also won big contracts to help implement the [Obamacare] rollout."

Any statement I make is the opinion of me exercising my first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and is generally permitted.

http://billmoyers.com/episode/full-show-mark-leibovich-on-americas-gilde...

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

Any statement I make is the opinion of me exercising my first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and is generally permitted.

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