Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My Return; Four Comments

Storms, cat sitting (my good friend, George), being sick – for way too long, and stuff have put me way behind. I haven’t touched this for weeks. I hope to get back to my efforts.

For today, let me hit a news story or two, err…four.


Recent announcements from people who keep track of it put government spending on health care at almost 50% of the total this year and more than 50% next year. After that, especially with Medicare and then whatever BO gets into the system, government spending will soar!

What does this mean? You know already. More of the same annual inflation of the cost of health care, plus probable rationing, attempts at price controls (MA is approaching that now), and a lowering of the quality and quantity of health care in America. Because of the recession, the loss of our high health care standards will happen earlier than we might have expected. It is all interrelated, the economy and our quality of life.


Speaking of the economy, the recession is lingering. Yes, some have proclaimed the recession over. Maybe in some respects it is, but even then, it is a very marginal thing. I see no immediate reason to declare that our standard of living is recovering. In fact, it is just the opposite.

Now there are stories in the press that the economy will suffer a decline again very soon. You might say that it is good that the press is recognizing the failure of the approach accepted by both Dems and Republicans alike (does “Repub” sound like a nice fit with “Dems”?). You would be wrong. These “economists” who are forecasting renewed recession are doing so because the government hasn’t interfered sufficiently or in quite the right way for their taste. They want more government activity, in areas they think are important. How bizarre. The disconnect with reality is so severe for today’s “economists” that no level of failure will cause them to reevaluate their position.

As the decline in January of the housing market indicated, the stimulus programs that BO put in place are failing to get the economy going. In stead, the economy is still pretty much not going anywhere. Job losses have flattened, bank lending is still falling, and businesses are trying to do the best they can.


If BO does get some more of his programs in place I think that we will begin to see some more significant price inflation. He will be pumping massive amounts of money, new, made-up money (by way of selling bonds overseas or through the Fed), directly into the economy (as opposed to the method used when new money is created by the Fed via bank credit expansion), which will chase after the stuff already available, and prices will rise. We won’t be seeing the asset or commodity bubbles because bank lending is still declining. Price rises will confound everyone, including the Fed, and we may revisit price controls. We certainly will not see spending reductions from the Federal government for the next three years, even if the Dems lose a lot of seats in the coming election.


I don’t write much about this because it is well covered by others and I don’t have anything new to contribute. I did see this on facebook, so I thought that I might mention it.

This was referenced by some conservatives as a good reply to the global warming croud. I’m not sure why. It may be a put up job. It certainly is a denunciation if you regard religion as wrong, but it is offered by the conservatives (?). It does take the science out of the global warming movement, which is a good thing. It doesn’t give any importance to the political aspect of the global warming people, which is their main objective.


This subject should make you very concerned, if you have any significant amount of money in what are called qualified retirement accounts, i.e., IRAs (Roth or traditional), 401(k)s, Simple Plans, Money Purchase Plans, etc. The government, under the assertion that most investors are mismanaging their retirement assets, are suggesting that the funds be turned into annuities. Annuities give you a stream of income that lasts as long as you are alive.

The intention of the government is to move that money into government securities, i.e., bonds. Thus, it won’t matter what China or other overseas bond buyers do in the future, the government will have trillions of dollars to use from the retirement accounts.

There are many downsides to this plan for you, financially speaking. The biggest is that an annuity offers absolutely no protection form inflation. You are on a fixed income. But that, of course is a secondary point. Most important is their plan to forcibly separate you from your assets. Watch this carefully. If they get close to bringing their plan to fruition, you will want to pay the taxes and move whatever money you can to a non-qualified account. In the meantime, you will need to talk to your representation to stop it.

Like the attempt to subvert your health care, this attack on your retirement assets has personal repercussions on you. If you talk to make comments to the Treasury, I think that it is important to point out the principled and practical consequences on you, both moral and financial. You don’t want to lose this battle because the authorities did not realize that you feared for your financial health as well as your freedom. If they don’t care about your freedom, they still might be concerned about the other. We don’t know. Don’t leave out either issue.

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