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The Best Thing to Happen to America in a Long Time

Bruce Krasting's picture




 

 

It’s hard to describe how happy I am to see Walmart facing a slump. I’m delighted to see that the cause of Walmart’s problem is the 2% increase in Social Security withholding taxes.

 

It’s not just Walmart that is feeling the pinch from higher payroll taxes. According to today’s WSJ (link) damn near every company that has a retail sales base is getting nicked.

 

wsj

BI

 

We are witnessing what happens when tax rates go up. There is (new) definitive evidence that raising taxes decreases consumption. That notion is an old one, but I think the reality that is now being proven out in real time has to make a difference in how people think about taxes, government spending and the real economy.

 

Who is responsible for the increase in payroll taxes that is causing all the damage? Don’t blame the evil Republicans for this one. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party INSISTED that payroll taxes had to go up on January 1. Want to blame someone for the slump in retail? Blame Harry Reid (D-NV).

 

Why would liberal Democrats want to whack their base with higher taxes? Easy answer. Because they love Social Security more than anything else. They would sacrifice anything, including the economy and their political base, to protect SS from the criticism that it was no longer “Off budget and self financed”.

 

What an idiotic position. And now those who fought to get the full 12.4% tax reinstated are going to have to pay the price. The evidence is overwhelming; higher payroll taxes hurt the economy.

 

I've felt alone the past 4 years while writing articles on a weekly basis trying desperately to make the point that SS is at the heart of America’s economic problems. I have been vindicated. The ranks of those who will point fingers at SS is going to swell. Those apposed are now going to include all of the big retailers (and their shareholders). That will be a tremendous boost for those who are crying for substantial changes in America’s biggest entitlement program. I can’t wait for ‘them” to publicly come on-board to the opposition.

 

We are living with a program that was designed 75 years ago. Everything has changed – but not SS. The assumptions that were used in the 1930’s are no longer valid today. The ratio of workers to beneficiaries has fallen by 70%. The ratio of worker’s income to GDP has fallen steadily (the rise of the robots). We have substantial changes in expected life. The most significant challenge to SS is the Baby Boomers. Not one of the Boomers was a twinkle in the eye when SS was created.

 

1935 Plymouth - the year SS was created

4513257586_80f5a825db_z

 

 

America is driving a 77-year-old car. The car is dangerous. It has none of the modern safety devices; it burns leaded gas and has asbestos brake pads. It weighs twice as much as a new car, and only gets 8 miles to the gallon. Yet a small portion of the Deciders in D.C. have blocked any chance of bringing SS up to date, and making it safe to drive for the next 20 years.

 

The Social Security Trust Fund has said that to “fix” SS would require an immediate and permanent increase in PR taxes of 2.2% (above the 12.4% today). Based on the evidence of the past few months it’s easy to conclude that a tax increase of that magnitude would push the economy into a recession – Once in a slump, the economy would be hard pressed to recover.

Not only would higher PR taxes kill the economy, it would hurt lower paid workers the hardest. The evidence from Walmart reconfirms the fact that SS taxes are very regressive. They hurt the base of people that the liberals claim they are trying to protect. How can Senator Reid defend that outcome? He can’t.

 

NYT

 

There is an alternative. It would mean that we would have to junk the old clunker and get new, safe, energy efficient car. The new car would be expensive, but the payoff would be worth it.

 

SS taxes can’t be eliminated. The program is too big and very hard to unwind and IT IS needed. But SS taxes could be reduced by 3% if changes were made (Employer taxes would remain the same, worker’s payroll tax would fall from 6 to 3%).

 

The changes required to achieve the reduction in taxes have been discussed for years. There has to be changes in age eligibility over a longer period of time. Changes to inflation adjustments have to be made. There has to be an immediate means tax on benefits to fill the Baby Boomer bucket. The means test HAS to be based on both income AND assets. You can’t be a multimillionaire and get SS checks. That has to stop. Now. SS is, and always has been insurance. If you don’t need the insurance, you don’t get paid.

 

IMHO if individual payroll taxes were cut 50% from the current level, the economy would prosper. Unemployment would fall, incomes would rise. Federal tax revenues would increase, in the process, the deficits would fall. A permanent reduction in payroll taxes is the only chance I see for a sustained expansion of the economy.

 

So to the Execs at Walmart, and all of those other retailers that are feeling the SS pinch, I say "Welcome to the club". You can be the wind behind the sails for the changes that are needed. Just this once I will say that what is good for Walmart, is also good for America.

 

 

Note: Stan Druckenmiller (ex Duquesne Capital) was on TV last night with Maria Bartiromo . Stan is a very sharp guy. He said the same as I have. It’s idiotic that he gets a check from SS. The $200k he might get back in his life is not going to change his spending one bit. But it would make a world of difference to those who are making $40k a year. The Zero Hedge link to the Druckenmiller interview: Link

 

Hope

 

&

 

Change

 

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Sat, 02/23/2013 - 09:20 | 3269636 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

Brucie does his little act in support of the GOP which desperately needs new, phoney wedge issues.  I propose shrinking the GOP to a size that can be "drowned in a bath tub" and then replaced with a real American Conservative party.  A party with grass roots not corporate funding.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 22:01 | 3268952 piceridu
piceridu's picture

 

The bottom 5th of the state’s non-elderly families, with an average income of $12,600, spent 11.1 percent of their income on state and local taxes.  In comparison, the wealthiest 1 percent, with an average income of $2.3 million, spent 7.8 percent of their income on state and local taxes. The question is: How many tax payers at the bottom are needed in order to keep the librarian, who retired in San Diego with a $200,000 annual pension, traveling the world first class, paying for her yoga and spa days and paying for her insulin shots? Immigration reform? 

 

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:57 | 3268489 besnook
besnook's picture

i agree. taxing the middle class affects the economy much more than taxing the 1%. the reason is money floats. the most effective place to drop money if the economy needs to be juiced is at the bottom to assure all of it will be spent on the things that assure the middle class gets a paycheck that will also be spent on the things that make the 1% wealthier. it doesn't matter where the money come from, whether it is a direct grant from .gov(deficits don't matter) or a reduction in taxes(deficits don't matter). this is what should have been done immediately upon meltdown but the money was spent on the least effective place, at the top where it was spent supporting bad money instead of new investment or simply spent in the market place.

 

as far as ss. the math doesn't work. a new model is needed. the answer is relatively easy and cheaper. the foundation is a .gov deposit in an interest bearing account reflecting a 70 year bond. example: 30000 deposited at birth bearing 5% interest(historically cheap) would double every 14 years or 5 times until it matured. 30 to 60 to 120 to 240 to 480 to 960,000 dollars at maturity. the original deposit could be paid out at face value from the employee's paycheck. example: 1000 dollars/year over 30 years, 20 dollars/week. actuaries can figure out the details but it is a simple durable model. it is utopian, however, so you will never see it happen.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 19:46 | 3268634 secret_sam
secret_sam's picture

   the answer is relatively easy and cheaper. the foundation is a .gov deposit in an interest bearing account reflecting a 70 year bond. example: 30000 deposited at birth bearing 5% interest(historically cheap) would double every 14 years or 5 times until it matured. 30 to 60 to 120 to 240 to 480 to 960,000 dollars at maturity. the original deposit could be paid out at face value from the employee's paycheck. example: 1000 dollars/year over 30 years, 20 dollars/week. actuaries can figure out the details but it is a simple durable model.

Is this a joke?

You realize....interest payments have to COME FROM SOMEWHERE.  Money doesn't automatically multiply.  If you're earning 5% on a $30,000 investment today, you're doing very well.

Mind sharing what that investment is?

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 19:55 | 3268660 besnook
besnook's picture

psst. banks pay interest on savings. that is how they make their money. i am sure there is a bank or two that wouldn't mind that sort of deposit on account. maybe one can be created as a quasi .gov organization that makes mortgage loans. that is why banks should be considered a utility, a public service. a 70 year bond is not the same as passbook savings. 5% is historically low in that time frame.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 20:13 | 3268724 secret_sam
secret_sam's picture

Wow.  You don't understand the issue at all.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 21:13 | 3268854 besnook
besnook's picture

seems you are the thick one sam. it is basic finance with a simple insurance actuary model in a fiat money system governed by a quasi .gov agency. simple stuff.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 15:10 | 3270063 secret_sam
secret_sam's picture

Look: you can put whatever figures you like in a spreadsheet, but the end-result that comes out is based on your ASSUMPTIONS.  You're assuming a 5% rate of return because that's what everyone's been trained to do, but there IS NO 5% rate of return these days.  Banks get the money to pay in interest to the savings accounts from the interest payments they *receive* from people who take loans.

How is it going to work when no one is taking loans, or when the interest rates on the loans taken are far below the 5% the bank has to pay out?

If you're saying the government can just print money as needed, fine, but that's not any different from the current system.  It doesn't improve anything.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 18:47 | 3270418 besnook
besnook's picture

i don't know why but here goes. banks can only lend money based upon what their deposits(reserves) are. the interest rate on savings is based upon what the banks NEED to pay you to attract your money for deposit. this is based upon loan demand. if there is loan demand they will pay you more for your deposit because people are willing to pay more to borrow money. yes, the demand for money is low so the interest the banks pay for deposits is low because they don't need your money. (there are other factors in the current market but that is the normal way it goes) the current market is an anomaly but the 30 year bond still pays 3 point something per cent. a 70 year bond pays a higher rate. in a historical context 5% is low. add to that the insurance actuary model(people paying and not collecting because they died or they make too much money or other conditions) and 5% is very low.

the quasi bank set up is easy and the transition to this system will likely cost a lot less than perpetuating the current model.

mind you the number looks large but in 70 years that number will actually be a lot less in today's money but likely enough for a poor working stiff to feed himself after working for a lifetime.

Sun, 02/24/2013 - 16:14 | 3272083 secret_sam
secret_sam's picture

        the current market is an anomaly

No.  The current market is not an anomaly. 

It's the predictable consequence of the past 30 years of artificial "growth" caused by reckless interest rates set by the Fed, coupled with the legislative changes to banking regulation which made it possible for our big banks to do whatever they wanted with deposits in order to juice profits.

The stock market hasn't gone anywhere in 25 years.  Your notion that it is "anomalous" that the market doesn't grow is based on pretending that very brief period of time after World War II in which the USA was the sole "first world" industrial superpower represents the "baseline" of economic growth.

That's never coming back--the US will never find itself in that situation again.  Your "conservative 5% return" is a FALSE ASSUMPTION.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 17:48 | 3268291 azzhatter
azzhatter's picture

Govt leechfucks with absurd pensions is a bigger problem to me than SS for people who made 25-35K their whole life and couldn't save very much.

These leechfucks who produce zero value and suck off the taxpayers should all be hung.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 17:46 | 3268275 Moe Howard
Moe Howard's picture

Bruce, quit calling it insurance. The black crows determined years ago it is a tax, and not a defined benefit program.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 23:39 | 3269165 steve from virginia
steve from virginia's picture

 

 

 

It might help to read the Social Security Act itself:

 

http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/ssact/ssact-toc.htm

 

"Insurance"

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 06:29 | 3269534 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

The facts clearly have not kept ahead of the "meme" on this one.  That's because the political class has a very large megaphone and needs and issue or two to keep us tuned in.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 17:19 | 3268157 anonnn
anonnn's picture

"...feeling the SS pinch, I say "Welcome to the club".

Key observation. Helps destroy the 1% argument that raising taxes on them would only marginally increase the gov revenue. After all, their being forced to pay that extra marginal increase also forces them to confront what the 99% confront daily. Could cause a game-changing viewpoint shift by "the very best people".

Privileges like tax loopholes are there to immunize the the very persons who compose the laws and regs. Some club!

Let 'em taste their own medeccine.

P.S. What's a $50 parking ticket to a millionaire? Or $10,000 for lawyers to get charges reduced to wristslaps? Perhaps better to fine as percentage of one's income, as done in Finland. [Or was done.  A Nokia exec [[2001?]]got a  $400,000+ speeding fine, later reduced on appeal.] 

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 17:08 | 3268118 BanjoDoug
BanjoDoug's picture

I am 61 years old,  & I will be eligible to collect SS next year.   I have paid into it since I was 15 (46 years).   I have paid in the max every year for 31 years.  (I also have a private pension & 401K plan)

Is this an entitlement program for me ?   Or did I pay into it, and should I reasonably & fairly expect to get a benefit out of it ?

I am sick of stupid F'ing authors calling this an entitlement program like it is a welfare program,  BUT I'd be happy to let them call it "that" if the SS system hadn't sucked thousands & thousands of dollars out of my checks for over 4 decades.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:27 | 3268404 Encroaching Darkness
Encroaching Darkness's picture

YOU may be reasonable and fair, but the Government certainly isn't.

Have you figured out what your rate of return is? Pick a reasonable lifespan (from the actuarial tables, family life history, or whatever); multiply by 12 by check amount; calculate interest rate that generates estimated return from schedule of payments. Your answer is probably going to be around 1%, possibly less, maybe a little more.

What investment would you have willingly bought for that rate of return? Oh, and don't forget to adjust for inflation: those dollars you put in at age 20 don't buy as much at 62.

The others above are correct: you have been ROBBED. The fact that your goverment did it doesn't make it right, but it's true.

I don't find it unreasonable for you to collect every cent you can; all you can get is pennies compared to what you COULD have earned, investing it. Just please, please, let it end with you: don't vote for any politician who wants to continue / expand / "revitalize" it, whatever is done will be as bad or worse than what's here now.

Let your children and grandchildren be free from forced collectivist retirement programs that cheat them of their wages for little or no benefit.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 12:19 | 3269824 Vooter
Vooter's picture

DON'T VOTE AT ALL. Subvert and steal at every opportunity--this festering pus-hole of a nation deserves nothing less. Let's get ready to RUMBLE!

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 17:57 | 3268318 CH1
CH1's picture

I have paid in the max every year for 31 years.

Y'all were ROBBED.

Condolences.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 17:47 | 3268284 Moe Howard
Moe Howard's picture

Google is your friend. It is a tax. You have a claim on what they feel like giving you.

 

Don't shoot me, shoot FDR.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 16:48 | 3268030 Walt D.
Walt D.'s picture

 

"The Best Thing to Happen to America in a Long Time"

"It’s hard to describe how happy I am to see Walmart facing a slump."

 

The stupidest thing I have read in a long time. Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it. 

Socialism creates envy - this is why Obama is so keen on class warfare. 

A Russian farmer is plowing his field and unearths a brass lamp. He rubs the lamp and a genie appears. "I will grant you a wish. However, whatever the wish for, the neighboring farmer will get twice as much." 

The farmer makes his wish - "Cut off one of my arms."

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 19:47 | 3268641 secret_sam
secret_sam's picture

I just read something WAYYY stupider than you did...

Some dude was saying socialism creates envy, like he doesn't realize envy's been around hecka lot longer than socialism has.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 16:47 | 3268025 bobbydelgreco
bobbydelgreco's picture

america can not create good jobs at good wages thus medicare is essential to our society big time medicine may not cure you but they hire your unemployables want to see what an american city looks like without hospital jobs check out camden nj (the jobs are in philly) this country without phony disability  would be filled with starvation what bruce & stan don't get is that once it was decided to destroy the middle class (globaliztion & deregulation) the safety net can't be removed even if it is unaffordable

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 17:32 | 3268208 DosZap
DosZap's picture

Disability bennies are tough to get.

My nephews wife had to quit working(driving a forklift),due to Rheumatiod arthritus( almost debilitated).

She gets $927.00 a month.and it took her  2 YRS TO GET on IT.

She was making $16.00 an hour working four 12 hr shifts a night.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 17:59 | 3268325 CH1
CH1's picture

My nephews wife had to quit working(driving a forklift),due to Rheumatiod arthritus( almost debilitated).

That sucks; sorry to hear.

What about that gives you the right to rob everyone else on her behalf?

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 17:06 | 3268107 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

Don't worry. The guys who own the show know providing the dole is far cheaper than make-work jobs.  The jobs are leaving, but the dole isn't going anywhere.

Guys like Bruce just make a proposition to the guys who own the show.  The proposition is this: "If we can guilt or cajole some of the $$$ spent on the dole out of the recipients, can we split the take with your Lordship?"

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 16:40 | 3268003 rsnoble
rsnoble's picture

Yeah the trillionaire execs and owners are really in the same club with the rest of us now. LMAO.

OH OUR FABULOUS STOCK PRICE!!  Do your part and get a 3D printer and make your own plastic fucking garbage and stick it in walmart and china's fucking ass.

That's what im doing.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 16:43 | 3268009 rsnoble
rsnoble's picture

Walmart could lose $ the next 20 fucking years, employees will get fucked, the owners might gradually come out of their 10 mile long line of coke hi and have a heart attack finding out they only have a few trillion bux left.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 16:32 | 3267959 Panafrican Funk...
Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

"I've felt alone the past 4 years while writing articles on a weekly basis trying desperately to make the point that SS is at the heart of America’s economic problems. I have been vindicated." 

Kinda?  It's a debt problem, I agree.  But debt, that's the heart.  Setting SS aside and saying "that's it" ignores other big chunks, like Medicare/Obamacare, defense, welfare, interest on debt, and govt. pensions.  SS is about 20% of that heart; let's not ignore the other chambers.  

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 17:43 | 3268267 DosZap
DosZap's picture

"I've felt alone the past 4 years while writing articles on a weekly basis trying desperately to make the point that SS is at the heart of America’s economic problems. I have been vindicated." 

Let's pare down the FREEBIES Shit first to the TRULY needy.

Not the slut with 18 kids by 8 Daddies(sperm donors) raking in $9,700.00 a month plus FREE Medicaid.

 

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 16:05 | 3267868 Bear
Bear's picture

"A permanent reduction in payroll taxes is the only chance I see for a sustained expansion of the economy"

You are delusional. It would only be temporary and the feds would just find some place else to 'spend' the money.

For a truly 'sustained expansion' we need a massive and sustained reduction in government.  

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 16:04 | 3267863 slightlyskeptical
slightlyskeptical's picture

Social security is not a ponzi scheme any more than any type of lending is. You lend money so it can be spent. That's why I am an equity investor for the most part.

How about letting Social Security invest in the primary home mortgage market? Strict underwriting, full recourse against borrowers, etc. Then they will not have to rely on future taxpayer revenues to earn a return.

 

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 16:36 | 3267981 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

Keep the Fed from feeling determined to hammer rates...and the economy..."to zero at all costs." I've already seen the estimates for how high my taxes will soar for Obamacare...and that number is HUGE. It's time for the hard choices...stretch those dollars Big Government Guy. We the People have been busted because of this stuff.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 16:02 | 3267858 cosmicinsight
cosmicinsight's picture

If 2 % payroll tax rollback is what is killing retail then what about 24 to 30% interest rates on the nearly unavoidable borrowings that keep piling up inspite of their trying to keep them in check.All this while the inter-bank lending rate is close to ZERO.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 15:43 | 3267800 Wheres mine
Wheres mine's picture

The problem with means testing is you're going to have to go very deep into the population to make any difference, because everyone gets the same relatively small benefit. It's not like taxing the one percenters more, which can make a big difference because they make 25% of the money. The top one per cent of SS recipients only take one percent of the benefits. You're going to have to cut out the top 25% to save 25%. I think a lot of those people need the insurance of SS.

I think a solution with more "leverage" is to remove all caps on the SSI tax, and apply SS taxes to capital gains. Of course, that would make it very obvious that this is really a wealth distribution scheme.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 15:49 | 3267789 steve from virginia
steve from virginia's picture

 

 

 

Krasting and Me:

 

Krasting, I'm going to stop beating on you and laugh at you instead! Yr a walking GOP talking point. The Paul Ryan Moron Club already has enough members: Paul Ryan. Why join? Stick with bonds, leave the 'politics of stupid' to professionals!

 

Look at Greece (among other Euro-countries): safety net blown out, pensions looted, banks that held private accounts are bankrupt, no tax collection to speak of, a (non)government ... it should be a WalMart paradise, right? Instead, Greece is on the way to becoming Yemen. Look @ Spain, Portugal, Ireland ... France? Social safety nets are vanishing. Tax receipts are dropping like a stone ... so is GDP. Is that the fault of US Social Security?

 

What happened in 2007 with Social Security that triggered the Great Finance Crisis? Was it payroll taxes ... or was it bad mortgage loans in Cleveland, Ohio and Long Beach, California? How about crude oil prices doubling then doubling again within 6 years? How about corrupt rating agencies and monoline insurers, poorly underwritten CDSs, Lizard-like TBTF bosses and brain-dead central bankers? 

 

How is Social responsible for a massive, multi-decade credit expansion? Was the credit for retirements or was it for bankster bonuses and shadow banking? Are you a serious finance analyst or an embarrassment? You're making me look bad: I have to tell my mother I play piano in a whorehouse!

 

The problem with YOUR economy is at the end of your driveway, I've been saying this for longer than 4 years and I feel vindicated! I'll tell you something else: what's underway is the decarring of the world and it is going to get a whole lot uglier a whole lot faster than you think!

 

'Conservatives' love their cars, they hate Social, not hard to see which stance is easier. 

 

@ Bruce:

 

"The changes required to achieve the reduction in taxes have been discussed for years."

 

Republicans have been trying to overthrow Social since 1935. Stop being vindicated, you weren't alive in 1935.

 

There has to be changes in age eligibility over a longer period of time.

 

The claim that people live longer now is false: the death rate changed when infant/childhood mortality rates declined after WWII particularly when polio vaccine was put into service. If you survived childhood, you lived as long in the 1940s and elders live now. 

 

In the long run, we're all dead! What's the rush? Is the US government really going to go out of business? If so why not cut all agencies and departments? How about low-cost health programs instead of the Mafia racket we are stuck with now? How about ending all subsidies for automobiles and auto industry dependencies? 

 

Changes to inflation adjustments have to be made.

 

The bulk of recipients gain little from indexing and live @ the poverty line. Doe it really benefit the country if elders become destitute? 

 

There has to be an immediate means tax on benefits to fill the Baby Boomer bucket. The means test HAS to be based on both income AND assets. You can’t be a multimillionaire and get SS checks. That has to stop. Now.

 

Divide beneficiaries into to two categories: the 'prudent' who have saved for retirement and therefor don't need benefits and the 'imprudent' who didn't save and therefor don't deserve any benefits. The deserving don't need so they don't get  and the undeserving don't get, either. 

 

The deserving are paid off elsewhere in the tax code.

 

Mom and Dad can eat at a soup kitchen, right? "Are there no prisons? ... And the union workhouses - are they still in operation?"

 

SS is, and always has been insurance. If you don’t need the insurance, you don’t get paid.

 

The Krasting Insurance Company: pay the premium, deny the claim.

 

IMHO if individual payroll taxes were cut 50% from the current level, the economy would prosper. Unemployment would fall, incomes would rise. Federal tax revenues would increase, in the process, the deficits would fall. A permanent reduction in payroll taxes is the only chance I see for a sustained expansion of the economy.

 

Good grief, Bruce are you really this dumb or do you practice? a) The GOP 'voodoo economics' supply-side Laffer-curve nonsense has proven over and over to be bullshit, b) 3% or 5% or whatever% reduction from individual tax liabilities flows straight into gas tanks. $4 gas is killing all retail including Walmart.

 

Just this once I will say that what is good for Walmart, is also good for America.

 

What you are REALLY saying is, "What's good for China is good for America, " Thanks, Mitt ...

 

Stan Druckenmiller (ex Duquesne Capital) was on TV last night with Maria Bartiromo. He said the same as I have. It’s idiotic that he gets a check from SS.

 

Why did Druckenmiller apply for benefits if he didn't need them? B/c he can be on both sides of the issue: to oppose benefits whilst being a greedy Wall Street pigman at the same time. The solution for Druckerman and equally hypocritical Warren Buffett is to feed them both into a woodchipper ... feet first. 

 

BTW: I'm elegible for for Social and don't take it. I have no intention of taking it even though I paid tens of thousands into it.

 

Hard times are coming and the country needs everyone to help each other out: throwing our elders to the wolves does not do so, it creates creates unnecessary enemies instead.

 

 

 


Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:54 | 3268484 Bruce Krasting
Bruce Krasting's picture

You rant at me for 500 words and then end with this:

 

I'm elegible for for Social and don't take it. I have no intention of taking it even though I paid tens of thousands into it.

 

So you have a self imposed means tax. Given that you think this okay for you, then you must agree that it is also okay for me, Druckenmiller and all the others who would be willing to do it.

 

So we are in agreement. Why all the ranting?

 

Ps, At age 70, the checks come, you can't delay it any longer than that.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 23:43 | 3269148 steve from virginia
steve from virginia's picture

 

 

@ Krasting:

 

"So we are in agreement. Why all the ranting?"

 

We aren't in anything. Good grief, Bruce! There is a big difference between not ordering the dessert and having all the desserts in the restaurant stolen out of the back in a truck.

 

Druckenmiller is the ultimate hypocrite: "Poor me, look at the free money, isn't it terrible? Aw shucks, it's wasted on a (bit of animated bloatware) like me, maybe I should feed it to my dog or something!"

 

I didn't bring him into the conversation, you did. Druckerman is poison, not a good example of anything other than tycoon arrogance and hubris.

 

 

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 20:15 | 3268730 secret_sam
secret_sam's picture

       At age 70, the checks come,

If you can still sign up for checks, you don't have to cash them.  You know what big gummit does when you don't cash their checks?  They just send more copies.

Unless the Feds start sending reps door-to-door with briefcases full of money, I'm sure you can escape Social Security payments if you really want to.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 17:10 | 3268123 dexter_morgan
dexter_morgan's picture

LOL, I love these posters that fall for the rhetoric and propaganda and ACTUALLY believe there is really any substantial difference between the two putrid parties. So long as that is the case, we are doomed. COOL-AID DRINKERS UNITE!

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 17:34 | 3268216 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

They serve the same masters and the same ends, but the means differ.  One party is offering me cat food.  The other a punch in the stomach.  I know the difference.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 15:56 | 3267839 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

Good post.

Let's look at the GOP for a minute.  Their conundrum is: how to serve the corporations' every whim without becoming a permanent rump party and a joke?  The traditional Karl Rove Lee Awater method is to create wedge issues that anger voters and get them to vote against the Democrats.  So issues like abortion, gay marriage, gun rights, the supreme court, immigration or school prayer are promoted, but the Republicans have no intention of actually dealing with these issues.  Their corporate masters would never allow it.

These issues are now tired and don't work.  Time to find some new ones.  Enter generational warfare.  The Repubs like that one because they have zero appeal to today's youth.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 17:10 | 3267914 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

Down arrow? Karl Rove is that you?  Fuck you, Karl!

Wow.  More down arrows.  That outreacharound program must be working.  Kudos, Karl.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 15:37 | 3267782 Porksniffer
Porksniffer's picture

I'm a Canadian and I normally like reading Bruce's commentaries and mostly agree with them.  But I can't agree with this latest one in one respect.  Yes, SS is a ponzi scheme and it badly needs to be fixed...... hope you Yanks get it right and very soon.

In Canada we have something similar and it's called CPP (Canada Pension Plan). And I have contributed to it since it was started back in the 60s.  Wasn't voluntary and was always promoted as part of a person's pension income.   I am now retired and living off my savings/investments and CPP plus the official Canadian pension called OAS (Old Age Security .... pays a small amount monthly).

What I disagree with is the means testing.  I have scrimped and saved all those years and now have a good personal nest egg to rely on.   But that was because I was frugal.  Question is why should I be penalized by means testing just because I built up a nest egg?  Those other buggers lived the extravagant lifestyle with all the fancy goodies and great vacations and never set a dime aside.  And now you want me to subsidize them.  Not a frigging chance in hell !!

Bruce is so wrong on this.  There is something called responsiblity and if you're not responsible, then tough luck !!

Lastly, what Stan Druckenmiller should do if he doesn't want to collect his SS is to donate it back.  Sounds very democratic to me.

Cheers.................

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 15:44 | 3267806 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

"Question is why should I be penalized by means testing just because I built up a nest egg?"

Well, you see Brucie is a libertarian, until it interferes with his boss' agenda.  Then Brucie becomes a statist.

Either that or Brucie is a corporatist, just like his boss.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 20:23 | 3268746 Dealyer Turdin
Dealyer Turdin's picture

help! help!Bicycle Reply man!  This guy's trying to ride on square wheels!

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 15:35 | 3267770 SKY85hawk
SKY85hawk's picture

SS is the WORST problem?

Other people are saying Medicare is far, far worse.

Who is right?

I think the big picture is more frightening than anyone will admit.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 19:23 | 3268558 Bruce Krasting
Bruce Krasting's picture

Medicare/Medicaid are a mess. But they are about health, not retirement.

 

I have no clue how to fix Medicare. The answer is you have to cut benefits - that road gets ugly.

 

Look at all the folks who are dumping on me over this article on SS. Think what would happen if I wrote the article:

 

10 Reasons Why Death Panels are Good for the Economy

 

Make a few new friends with that one..........

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 17:22 | 3270290 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

"Medicare/Medicaid are a mess. But they are about health, not retirement. "

Medicare not about retirement? LOL. Brucie, you really must ask your boss for better talking points, he's making you look stupid.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 20:29 | 3268768 Dealyer Turdin
Dealyer Turdin's picture

1. More efficient than solar panels.

2. less noise from the peanut gallery when you're done.

3.  Hospitals full of people with bandaged pinkies are easier to manage, clean, and more profitable.  (being generous, that's 3/10)

4.  Death panels mean goths will finally have meaningful employment opportunities.

5   McDonald's will not look quite as fun.

6.  Governments will have no leverage on the fatally flawed individuals who are now their biggest customers.  This should be fun to watch.

7.  8. 9. 10. Fill er in boys n girlses,  I'm waiting.

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