Guest Post: The Face of Corporatist Hypocrisy

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by John Aziz of Azizonomics

The Face Of Corporatist Hypocrisy

From Bloomberg:

“Retirement ages will have to move to 70, 80 years old,” former AIG CEO Robert Benmosche, who turned 68 last week, said during a weekend interview at his seaside villa in Dubrovnik, Croatia. “That would make pensions, medical services more affordable. They will keep people working longer and will take that burden off of the youth.”

Now, as a guy who is living in a taxpayer-funded villa after his bank-insurance-derivatives-hedge fund-ponzi company blew up, we know Benmosche is a hypocrite. In my view, management should be held personally liable a long time before taxpayers. That’s right, I believe in personal responsibility and that means no hiding behind limited liability and bailouts, no matter how “systemically important” you claim to be.

But let’s set aside disgust at government for first setting up this scenario via Gramm-Leach-Bliley, and then in 2008 throwing money at hypocritical grifters like Benmosche.

Is he wrong about social security and medical services?

Spending costs money. You can spend as much as you like so long as you have the revenues to do so. But the US government is failing to fund its current spending, let alone the $61.6 trillion (that’s a low-end estimate — the high end estimate is $127.5 trillion or 737% of GDP) of future welfare liabilities that the US government is mandated by law to spend.

So can America get the money to match future commitments without significantly raising the retirement age?

In theory.

In theory the Federal government can squeeze taxpayers. Perhaps Occupy will get their wish of raising taxes on the 1% to whatever figure they have in mind (though the way corporations and lobbyists have successfully colonised Washington, that seems exceedingly unlikely). But this is a globalised world, and the higher they tax the more activity will leave to lower-rate jurisdictions, and the less activity will be taxable. Tax evasion and avoidance will soar.

In theory America could have an organic recovery and start generating significant amounts of organic GDP growth. But right now, that’s a fantasy. Pinning your hopes to potential future economic miracles like 3D-printing, nanoengineering, widespread solar energy and synthetic petroleum is hardly good accounting practice, even if they are realistically the best hope of a rosy future.

In theory taxpayers could agree to accept less spending, as Benmosche suggests. But Americans overwhelmingly support social security and medicare, and politicians hawking cuts make themselves into political pariahs. Promises are promises, and politicians have suckered the electorate by promising so much for so little. If Greeks rioting over the retirement age seems raucous, wait ’til a politician tries to slash SNAP, medicare or social security.

Much more likely is the current trend of escalating deficits and printing money to pay the bills — and bail out washed-up corporatists like Benmosche (and his “systemically important” equivalents in Europe). Policy-makers can balance the budget and raise aggregate demand and GDP to whatever level they like (the “highest” level presumably being toilet paper) by throwing newly-printed money out of helicopters.

Trouble is, with the US dollar no longer functioning as the globe’s reserve currency it’s going to get harder and harder to hide the inflation overseas or on primary dealer balance sheets. Welfare recipients will keep getting welfare, but in the long run it may not buy much.

No, nations chose their paths long ago. America chose the path of big spending, big warfare, big bailouts and big welfare, and bailout-recipients like Benmosche who plead “systemic importance” are heavily responsible for that slide into fiscal irresponsibility. It won’t be the politicians, bankers and corporatists who created the mess who will have to deal with the fallout; they have foreign villas, foreign ranches, foreign bank accounts, and barbed-wire-shrouded EMP-proof survival retreats. It will be the average American who has done nothing wrong other than believing the words of politicians.

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kralizec's picture

How many outfits are going to want to hang onto higher paid 70-80 year old workers???

Ahmeexnal's picture

Coastal towns in Hrvatska are one of the best places to be when TSHTF.
This guy knows what's coming.

JoeSexPack's picture

A grandfather was from Croatia, & I toured the coast 8-10.


Never seen better combo of coast views, castles, beaches, sunshine, great food, low prices & passable English skills.


Hrvatski should be fine when the SHTF. Many make cheese, honey, grapes & figs at home.


Actually envy a vacation home near Dubrovnik, or Hvar, Zadar, Rovinj,'s all good.


Many there are awake & aware...Ben-Mosche's stay could be short.

Ahmeexnal's picture

Hrvatski should be fine when the SHTF. Many make cheese, honey, grapes & figs at home.

And don't forget Slivovica.....and the abundance of cheap firearms.

ImnotPOTUS's picture

I have my place there all ready to go. 19.5 meters to the cafe, 21 meters to the bodega, 26.2 meters to the sea, 800 meters to the markets. 35KM to the toll exit on the A1.

I am set. Bring on ARMEGGEDON.

UP Forester's picture

You'll be fine.  Right up to the point Srpska and Bosniak forces decide they can get away with killing a few Catholics again, without fighter planes raining "peace bombs" from 10,000 meters....

JoeSexPack's picture

No NATO = No Bosnia, or not much.


Place will get sliced & diced between Serb's & Croats faster than a fish at Benihana.

greyghost's picture

in theory the goverment can just print the soc. sec. money at no cost to the taxpayer. however the goverment would have to change the name across the money from "federal reserve note" to "United States Notes". in theory the goverment could than take all the monies collected from soc. sec. deductions and do something like pay down the theory mind you. in theory the goverment would have to hire non college grads to type into the computor the soc. sec. direct deposit for all who collect soc. sec.....all in theory of course. and since we are totally in theory land...doesn't that just cost pennies to create the free money sent out each month in soc. sec. theory land. now i will totally go off the wall by asking how much does that change the sent to pensioners to spend into the economy and all those tax reciepts spent to reduce the debt. of course none of this will fly with the p.h.d. crowd, far far to simple. so lets all just let these bufoons write and write endlessly about how to correct or tweak or gut or starve people....because after all the system must be saved by all the bullshit taught endlessly year after year.

earleflorida's picture

Funny things goin on with Russia and China regarding FTA today? This, my friend is unsettling for the U.S. hegemony. India, S. Korea, Japan, and now Australia are 'Prepping the New`Weigh Forward',... ready to trade direct having Mr. Hu Jintao, 'Tear[ing]-Down-This-Wall' - gutting America's lucrative 'Carry Trade' -- a soon to be dead albatross floating in a crimson tide off the debt-ridden shores of America's mainland? 

Excellent! {Monti Burn's excellent} ,read :-))

Mister Minsk's picture

I agree. The last remaining paradise in Europe. There are plenty of islands to chose from the Croatian coast w/o airports. Also scattered landmines throughout HR should act as a good deterrent.


WillyGroper's picture

Corporate doesn't want u if ur over 40. 70-80 is hysterical! FUCK Benmoshe sideways. 

chdwlch1's picture

Looking forward to my "golden hours"....

European American's picture

"Corporate doesn't want u if ur over 40."


Fuck Corporate. 


Before you know it, you'll be 70, then quickly thereafter, you'll be 80. That's Life, get ready, this is no drill.

Harlequin001's picture

I'd like to say that's very astute of you, but...

Joe Davola's picture

Say people work until 75, that will save on SS/Medicare, but what about the employment picture for the younger workers?  Seniors may vote, but youths riot.

grove300's picture

Hey I hope I live to my eighties and die at work hopfully not too painful a death. Lucky me!!

Don Keot's picture

I worked with guy that loved his job and fulfilled his dream and died in the elevator on the way to a meeting where he was going to make a presentation.  I doubt he regreted it.  

Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

"Welfare recipients will keep getting welfare, but in the long run it may not buy much."

Tis the solution.  Pretending their is another solution is just that, pretending.  As you build your nominal wealth, keep in mind how it translates in real terms, and hedge accordingly, while hedges still exist.  

TrainWreck1's picture

5 klopniks (or whatever the hell Croatians will use for currency) says this guy puts his villa on the market by the weekend.


GeneMarchbanks's picture

They use the kuna and might be adopting the € soon enough.

exi1ed0ne's picture

With the astonishing number of prescriptions seniors take there is a free high (and raging hard on) in every bite!

youngman's picture

I bet a lt of Euros and Dollars are being spent there right now..buying their hideouts

Race Car Driver's picture

That's DUMB - and they're done. Finished. Ready-and-waiting.

Where do you think all the missing trillions went pre-9/11, anyhow?

ImnotPOTUS's picture

Hardly going to happen, Why would Brussels give themselves a bigger headache by putting them in the Euro, once you are in the EU beaurocracy, they have you by the short hairs.

Let me wonder out loud for them.....HMMMM invite myself another future Greek funding headache or just force them to do my bidding, shove debt down their throats and let their Kuna float down the drain. Making Croatia stay on the Kuna gives everyone in the EU 1% the opportunity to buy their own villas in Croatia. BenMoocher is not ever leaving. He will have plenty of other friends coming over to retire with full benefits at 50. The only crisis the 1% will have to deal with in their cozy costal villas will be avoiding all the Russian mobsters making a ruccus next door.

It is far more likely that they will relocate the vagabond EU government to the Croatian Coast for "special" summer sessions instead of Strasbourg. I mean come on why just spend your paid month long vacation at your villa when you can "work" the whole summer there. They could even pass the relocation off as an olive branch to the former east block states. "Look we like all you slavs enough to make you feel like you're an improtant part of this whole EU thing. No hard feelings about having to trade the iron curtain for the body bag of debt. CHEERS!



Don Keot's picture

Just made me wonder if there are countries not in the EU that use euros for their currency.

Don Keot's picture

Just made me wonder if there are countries not in the EU that use euros for their currency.

critical tinkerer's picture

Montenegro, just kicked out of talk about joining cause government corruption

vintageyz's picture

Hey all you Greek and Croatian readers of ZH!  See where this guy lives?  Looks like a great place to get some of your money back!

brewing's picture

you could land the commando copter on his nose...

Dr. Richard Head's picture

Decades of tax-payer funded single malt scotch will do that to a pirate.  Arrrrr!!!!

ImnotPOTUS's picture

I just figured out why he got the AIG job, He is lousy at decision making.

He picked just about the most inconvinient place to have a retirement villa in Croatia. Out of all the islands, coastal inlets, bays, penninsullas to pick from in all of Croatia, he picks the spot that is the most overrun with tourists.

That place is engulfed in large hotels, the car ferries and giant crusie ships run back and forth in front of his view to reach the crusie terminal. The only benefit to the location is that it is close to the County Hospital. It is fine if you need regular kemo treatment or near death, but if you are healthy, there are thousands of better locations to live on the Croatian coast.

Ratscam's picture

That is exactly what,s so funny about it. They have a need to feel above the "plebs" the people, but close enough for other people to see their wealth. They are in need of the feeling, i am special and above of the plebs, even when they,re sick. I feel pitty for him, but not because of his suffering from cancer.

ImnotPOTUS's picture

Funny you should mention that, He is also right next to the former Yugoslav Dictator Tito's beach house. I guess he is good company. Tito managed to collect over 30 villas.

Sancho Ponzi's picture

There's a villa right on the point of Cavtat that's seen lots of improvements since 2003.

junkyardjack's picture

We'd solve all our problems very easily if we looted the nations we chose to go to war with instead of pretending that we are going to war for righteous reasons. Let's call a spade a spade and do what war was meant to do if we are going to build the worlds largest army...

Dr. Engali's picture

We'd solve even more problems if we dismantled the war machine to where is serves only for defense  and we started producing things again.

LawsofPhysics's picture

You are both correct.  It would be best if we took an honest defensive stance and should a single American freighter or tax-paying territory be attacked, then the actual perps are removed from existance (this being the individuals reponsible, not necessarily a country).  The technology exists, period.

In any case, you are both correct, no one should go to war lightly.  It is a huge mis-allocation and mal-investment of capital and resources, there is no arguing that.  However, if one does go to "war", then one should bring the full brunt of one's military might.  in the end, this results in a more beneficial outcome for everyone (especially if the unfortunate souls who perish, perish quickly).

Some things never change and Nature makes no promises regarding anyone's survival.

MeBizarro's picture

I agree but how does one use "the full brunt of one's military might" against increasing asymetric threats or groups?  Easy concept to follow in practice but an increasingly difficult one to follow in reality.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Talk to someone who has served in a black ops unit, if you can find one.  The last two I knew have recently been called back to Fort Mead. Rather strange, they were at least ten years older then me, so late 40's, early 50's.  I guess they could still serve a role in tactics training.  Anyway, the gruesome truth is these guys make people "dissappear" all the time.  Sometimes entire villiages.  

prole's picture

What threats?

Besides fat-nose gorging at the all-you-can-eat US taxpayers money buffet in Croatia and his fellow thieves, I can't think of what asymetric threat you may be imagining and inventing?

Is Saddam stealing babies out of incubators again? DAMN HIM!!

Harlequin001's picture

prole, you're still here. Shouldn't you be off in search of a serious fucking accident or something?

What happened to the 'Give me Liberty, or give me death.' bullshit you keep spouting. Surely, you should be dead by now.

Go on, do it, stick your head in a fuckin' grinder or something, you know you want to slave boy. We certainly do...

and we want you to take photos...

Overfed's picture

That's crazy talk. Don't you know that all of those countries are chock-full o'terrorists who are dyin' to kill us all? /sarc.

illyia's picture

At the risk of re-repeating myself - but it's a risk I'm willing to take - and this looks like a GREAT Place To Take It:

Blow him and his bankster brothers to living hell: Make the 800+ Trillion in derivatives retroactively illegal. He will die a lonely bankrupt death. Everyone else will be off the hook for the payments and after some chaos and virtuous creative destruction...

Remake health care affordably without the gaming, payoffs and skimming.

There... I feel much better...


shuckster's picture

How do you defend against ballistically armed nuclear submarines that patrol your coast in silence? You can't. Duh

Dr. Engali's picture

You're kidding right? Seems to me like we can't do that now since they are already launching missiles off of our coast. Maybe if we spent a little less time invading countries we could focus our efforts on problems like that.