JPMorgan Explains: The Problem Is The Inexorable Rise In Entitlement Payments

Tyler Durden's picture

Via JPMorgan's CIO Michael Cembalest,

Meanwhile, I visited New Orleans last month to see clients. One question that always comes up there: why can’t the US spend more on infrastructure? As I first wrote 5 years ago, preventive infrastructure spending can be effective: $120 billion was spent by the US government for relief and reconstruction in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. As is now believed in the geo-forensics community, for just $10 million, the Army Corps of Engineers could have conducted more detailed subsurface exploration beneath flood walls erected in the last 25 years. Instead, to save money, testing intervals were spaced too far apart. This led to faulty extrapolations and canal wall failures that caused 80% of the damage (and which preceded water rising over the levees). Given the dilapidated state of bridges, tunnels, rails, roads and the electricity grid in some places, why is US spending on this category falling? And how does the US avoid the kind of environmental problems facing China cited on page 4 as spending on superfund clean-up and other related programs declines?

Another question that comes up: why can’t the US spend more on worker retraining? The entry of China into the World Trade Organization in 2001 accelerated a massive decline in US manufacturing jobs, and after the housing bust, the country’s unemployed construction workers need new skills. As shown in the first chart on the next page, why is less money being spent on training, employment and related social services? The second chart on the next page is striking as well: given concerns around peak oil, fracking, climate change, etc., you would think that public sector spending on commuter rails, urbanized natural gas vehicles, carbon capture and storage, safer ways of operating nuclear power (light water reactors), more efficient internal combustion engines, battery/electricity storage R&D and renewable energy integration would be rising. So why is energy spending falling?

Some people ask if the US is prepared for a renewed cold war with Russia alongside its ongoing battles with other ideological enemies. One can debate whether the US has a national interest in getting militarily involved in Syria and Crimea (I don’t think it does), but that’s different from debating how low defense spending can go before it has repercussions in other ways. The first chart below shows spending on national defense.

The answer to all these questions is the same: these categories are declining since they are being squeezed out by the inexorable rise in entitlement payments. There may be negative consequences for productivity, job growth and national income over the short run and over the long run (the New Orleans infrastructure cost/benefit failure is one textbook example). Of course, some argue that there are sufficient incentives for the private sector to solve the transportation, natural resource, infrastructure, job retraining, energy and urbanization challenges facing the US, so that the above trends aren’t a problem. I wouldn’t.


Read the full Michael Cembalest note below:

Cembalest - 03-31-2014 - The 15% Solution

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LetThemEatRand's picture

The whore calling the hooker a hoe, or something like that.  "If we just get rid of the hoes, there will be more money left over for us whores."

Pure Evil's picture

Why spend money on anything when you can ship jobs overseas and import trained workers from around the world.

Let the peasants eat their EBT cards, especially if their gold embossed.

spdrdr's picture

Easy Answer!  

"Gold" is a large part of their weaponry, and it is all to do with denigrating and suppressing silver.  Gold is for the elites, and they are playing you like a Stradivarius.  Silver is being crunched, unloved, uneconomical to mine.  

Wait and see.  The goldbugs (including FOFOA) are resilient in their hatred of the Silver.


The Limerick King's picture

Isn't that surprising...a member of the "productive class" blaming all of the nations ills on the entitlement class...a class they largely created by shipping all of their jobs overseas and destroying a once thriving middle-class.

First they make you poor...then they blame you for being poor...then they kill you.

Hyperbole?  Let's hope!

Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

Well, people got what they asked for to a certain extent too. They thought big .gov was the solution. It's the tool that the big banks use to fuck everyone over, not the solution. More .gov is not the answer, yet the sheep Baaa for it every day. More Obamacare, more Obamaphones. .Gov is not there to help.

Woodyg's picture

Blame both parties -
The homeland security dept - now the biggest probably in the fed gov - was a bush creation -
The big guv people run both parties -

LetThemEatRand's picture

Not hyperbole.  What is incredible to me is that so many people continue to believe the propaganda, including those who are personally experiencing the results. 

Woodyg's picture

Yep - so says the asshole who bribed the politician to give them tax breaks to ship the decent jobs overseas - leaving previously comfortably middle class people staring at homelessness -
Didnt we hang a bunch of these fascist bastards at the end of WW2?

Time for a hanging party!

cynicalskeptic's picture

says the exec in one of the companies that have gotten TRILLIONS in 'free' money from government to offset their losses......

Hell.. .give ME a few trillion at no interest to play with and I'd be making record profits too....


of course that's offset a little bit by the few billion paid by JPM in fines for illegal activity

Jack Burton's picture

JPM telling old people getting $1,500 a month on Social Security after paying in a high payroll tax for 40 + years, that they are takers and getting way too much. JPM, go fuck yourselves you greedy cunts. JPM is just mad that more of that SS money is not ending up in the JPM bonus pool. That Americans can listen to these fuckers crying that a few peanuts thrown to the old folks is hurting JPM's proft potential. Fuck, why even listen to them?

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Go ahead and eat spend those Lays Potato Chips dollars. We'll make print more.

TruthTalker's picture

uh oh - we are being set up for the fall - perhaps JPM senses the blood in the water and wants to point a finger at big brother - after all if the petro dollar ends because of their supposingly self imposed sanctions then they will be remembered as triggering it - trying to push off blame now?

Pure Evil's picture

Maybe like in gangster movies of olden days they'll all start killing each other.

SDShack's picture

Not quite right. You have to think globally, like a sociopathic banker. If the serfs are complaining about meager scraps falling to them from their masters table, the solution FROM the master isn't to increase the scraps. It's to reduce the number of serfs. The master will start killing all right, and might even try to kill another master in the process. But he'll sacrifice millions of serfs to do it. You see, that way it's a win-win in the twisted mind of sociopathic banker. And winning is all that matters to a sociopath.

NotApplicable's picture

Election season posturing. Effective divide and conquer requires highly polarized emotions.

asteroids's picture

Good point, GS and JPM within days of each other changing their tune. Somethings up.

Gunga's picture

We the people are not morally or Constitutionally liable for the debt contracted between crooked politicians and international financial institutions. 

American Dreams's picture

Gunga!!  You are sooo correct, but there are not enough prison beds to hold the hords of moral, constitutioally correct people once the crooked politicians and international financial instutions come a knocking.  Thats why they will label you a "terrist" and just kill you.

There be no shelter here


Shad_ow's picture

It is beginning to seem they are biting at each other now.  Wonder what's coming?

Carl Popper's picture


And from a distance she looks hot and attractive.

But when she arrives you will see she is a cold hard dominatrix and she is going to stomp your balls and give you a dry assfucking with a huge strapon.

divingengineer's picture

There will be a jubilee, but not for us....for them.

We will be obliged to pay our debts with interest as stated in our contract documents.

They will get a do-over and skate away to their next ponzi-scheme.  After all, they are the "job creators".

Kobe Beef's picture

Not if we kill them.


Seriously, anyone who thinks we can debate, legislate, or adjudicate ourselves out of this Slave System is avoiding reality.

cmb's picture

or maybe the FED can save the money they fund Al qaeda in Syria, and then spend money to fight them in Iraq, or wherever they are?? lol its incredible...maybe that crook Dimon could take a paycut

TheAnswerIs42's picture

"The answer to all these questions is the same: these categories are declining since they are being squeezed out by the inexorable rise in entitlement payments."

Oh yeah asshole, then prove it.

Correlation does not imply causation.

What a douchebag.

LetThemEatRand's picture

This JPM author no doubt runs in circles where -- at cocktail parties and at the expensive imported water station -- it is widely accepted that the problem is people who expect to get a return on their money.  That would include those who paid into SS, Medicare, and JPM managed investment accounts.

mumbo_jumbo's picture


you gotta love it though, I've paid almost $200K into SS (with still a long way to go) and being self employed that is ALL MY MONEY and when i go to collect it the pundits wanna call that an "entitlement" as if i am NOT entitled to my own fucking money.


LetThemEatRand's picture

It's amazing how that word "entitlement" has become commonly accepted as being applicable to social programs we all pay to fund.  I get that there are freeloaders, but most people who use the expression include themselves without realizing it.

Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

Just let me take care of myself then. If I manage my resources well, be happy for me, don't try and rob me. If I manage my resources poorly, and end up in a cold yellow snow bank, well, be happy for me and don't try and rob me!

LetThemEatRand's picture

I get your point of view, but there's not enough land for every person to be self-sufficient, and most people do not make enough money to live to 100 without a shared risk pool.   If everyone who doesn't need it opts out, then everyone who does need it dies in a snow bank.  I realize you don't care, but more people do.  There are benefits to living in a society that is not based on kill or be killed.   I'm guessing that if you were spent every day defending your land from hordes of hungry people you would start to see that.  But you don't have to, thanks to the shared contribution of people like me.  So you say, "I've got mine, everyone else fuck off and leave me be!"

StandardDeviant's picture

I'm all for a shared risk pool, as long as participation is voluntary.

mccvilb's picture

SS is an indexed annuity trust, not an entitlement.,, and don't forget the sad truth concerning Soc Security disability insurance. Most people have no clue they've been paying into an account for SSDI their entire lives; this is an account separate and distinct from Soc Security.

Between the two, multi-trillions of dollars were stolen from our trust funds and wasted on the MIC and the Israeli propaganda machine. Congress has tried multiple times to resurrect this as an entitlement on the basis that the numbers were calculated incorrectly. Hello? How many billions did we waste on actuarial projections over the decades trying to reinvent what didn't need to be fixed??

The minute Clinton removed it from the Assets side of the ledger to the Credits side and replaced it with promissory bonds, that was when the real music started playing.  

fonzannoon's picture

Check this out

"DETROIT--The city of Detroit will be able to borrow $120 million to combat crime and blight after a federal judge approved the municipality's first fundraising since filing for bankruptcy protection.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes said Wednesday that he approved the city's borrowing from Barclays Capital, a subsidiary of Barclays PLC, to buy new police and firefighting vehicles, among other purchases, because of the urgent need to improve city services.

Detroit "is not providing the basic services to meet the basic needs of its citizens," the judge said.

Last July, Detroit became the largest city in the country to seek Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, with the aim of restructuring more than $18 billion in long-term obligation"

So forgetting that Detroit is "lucky" enough to have a bank lend it 120 mil of chump change to buy some police,....JPM paid more than 20 bil in FINES this year already...or enough money in fines to fix Detroit. So where did that fine money go?

Kobe Beef's picture

JPM: Kleptocracy Above.

Detroit: Lootarchy Below.


TheReplacement's picture

I don't mind you collecting your money.  I do mind that it has to be taken from me first. 

TheAnswerIs42's picture

You are correct sir, maybe the cunt should worry about the level of balances held at the FED?


mumbo_jumbo's picture

as was already mentioned WTF did anyone think was going to happen by shipping all they well paying jobs offshore and for the ones that are left here, uncle Sam pics up the heath care costs since many large employers know they can offload that cost to US taxpayers.

this makes zero sense UNLESS this HAS BEEN THE PLAN ALL ALONG.

American Dreams's picture

Plan all along ding ding ding



NickVegas's picture

It has taken a while to come to that exact grim conclusion. They are trying to destroy this country. Since that is the endgame, they are looting at will since they have taken total control of the U.S. You are just a slave on the sinking ship. Who they are? That is the interesting question. We can see the front men, the errand boys, but qui bono, qui bono indeed by the destruction of America?

TheReplacement's picture

They don't exactly have total control.  A lot of the people doing bad and/or stupid things are just useful idiots who think they are "doing God's work."  A lot of those people will be very disappointed when their betters decide to liquidate them before they become too disillusioned and revolt.

Carl Popper's picture

Cities and states and the fedgov could always raise taxes and borrow more rather than squeeze public services to find more money for retirement and other entitlements.

But they proly wont. Therefore things which arent as noticeable nor have a natural constituency to advocate for them will get shortchanged.

Nobody For President's picture

You got that right 42, and he may also be biting the hand that feeds him=

Which major bank runs the EBT 'credit card' program?

Dr. Engali's picture

By entitlement payments I'm sure the Morgue is by no means referring to the trillions in corporate welfare that they and their cronies receive. They didn't complain about the entitlement payments when they were the administrators.

Shad_ow's picture

Yes, glad you reminded everone of that.

disabledvet's picture

"we have cocktail parties in DC too. And we see you and raise you wage and price controls."

Who needs a Bank when you have....a "Central Bank"? Of course those folks in North Dakota seem to have figured out this game. Can't cover every angle.

TN Jed's picture

Another trumped up symptom of the problem.

Here's the problem, "ah... it says on your chart that you're fucked up. Ah, you talk like a fag, and your shit's all retarded."

Carl Popper's picture

Lol. I think i disagree with you but I am not certain.

I give ya a greenie anyway for making me laugh

TN Jed's picture

Laughter is all I have left.

rosiescenario's picture

J.P. Morgan's moral compass might just steer you wrong.